Piece of Cake: "Stealing” lists

Nobody wants to be just a copycat but developing your own list in dynamic meta may be a problematic task especially when you lack experience. So what we can do to win some games and learn how to prepare a proper list? We can responsibly copy some good lists and learned from them.

Is „stealing” lists ok?
Sure. Imitation is the highest form of appreciation. But of course don’t take credit for the list.

Why do we copy lists?

  • We want to try something new.
  • We do not have necessary experience in list building.
  • We want to find more powerful options in our fraction and finally win some games.
  • We want to learn the game/ new faction and we seek a good start.

We need to remember that the biggest mistake we can make is blindly copy paste a random list from the Internet, pack our models and head for a game to test it out.
Do not get me wrong. Testing new things on the table is good. But if we have no general idea what the list is capable of there is a big chance that we will lose. And if we lose we can give up on solid list or even after few games on our faction.

What we should do before first game with new list?

  • Check if there is some more information about this list. There are many channels with Warmachine & Hordes content so if you are choosing a popular list you have a good chance that there will be some battle reports or even podcast about this list.
  • Analyse matchups for this list.

For good Warmachine content you can check:

  • Arcane Assist
  • Warroom.pl
  • Chain Attack
  • Moment of Clarity
  • Boosted Rolls

Watching few games can be really helpful. You will get the general idea what list should do.
To responsibly copy a list we need to get the general ideal of the list. We need to know WHY someone built this list. Many times two lists are build to complement each other for tournament purposes. So if we pick one list we need to know which matchups are good, bad or neutral for it.
We need to analyse if this list is good against:

  • High Armor armies – do we have good enough P+S?
  • High Defensive armies – do we have good enough Mat and Rat or just some auto hits?
  • Spam armies – do we have big amount of attacks, AOE effects or spell abilities which can hit multiple objects?
  • Fast armies – do we have enough shooting power or SPD to not be outmanoeuvred?
  • For stealth armies if we have many guns or spells? – do we have sprays or techs for stealth ?
  • Big amount of shooting? – can we survive shooting valleys before we will engage our enemies?
  • Caster kill lists? – is our caster hard to kill or do we have some techs to keep him alive?

Don’t worry if some of our answers are “No”. Knowing list weaknesses is as important as knowing it strengths.
Now analyse what lists are played in your community – this is a meta analysing. After that try to decide which of them would had a hard time playing against the list we want to copy. Do the same for the second list.
You may not be sure if your chosen list is good against another lists in your meta it is ok just put “?” and you will try to determined it after few games.

Which lists you should not copy?

  • Lists from team tournaments.
  • Lists which you do not understand how do they work.
  • Lists which have many techs and counter strategies.

What you should do after my first game with new list?

Play second one with no changes no matter what was the outcome. One game does not determines how good the list is. You may feel like you should change something but unless you have much experience you shouldn’t change anything.
After few games when you will unpack (Unpacking is movement before engaging your opponent) your list correctly and you will have basic sense what is going on you can make some little adjustments. Change a non-vital solo for something more suitable for your meta. Change battlegroup a little. After few next games you should have enough experience to make bigger changes and find new answers for the meta.
Even if you started with someone’s list after learning how to play it you will be able to create your own roosters with more ease. Gathered experience will guide you. Knowledge of matchups, unpacking, weaknesses and strengths is the key for good list building.
As always I wish you good luck!

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