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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cookie Cutter/Flavor of the Month Lists

Earlier in the week I was on BoLS and read a post called 40K Editorial: What Really Matters? I read the post and in it Jwolf ask us players what we think of List Maximizing, Wargear Spamming and Denial tactics. It is a great article because you get plenty of opinions from other players. I highly recommend reading it.

While reading the article I decided that none of the topics Jwolf asked about really bother me. I like to play tough lists as I find it improves me as a player. Then I started thinking about what does bother me. My biggest complaint when playing 40K is the cookie cutter or Flavor of the armies that always show up. What do I mean by cookie cutter of FotM armies? Well those are armies that always, no matter who is playing them consist of one or two of the same proven hard hitting units. I will give a few examples, the Mech Eldar with mandatory Seer council on Jetbikes or the ork army with Warboss and Nobz on bikes with a painboy. Those are just two examples I am sure you know the others.

As I stated earlier, I am all for playing a tough list, but when every Orc player (Orks were chosen at random, feel free to insert any army) has an almost identical list it does tend to get boring to play against. Sometimes it feels like people no longer put thought into their list, they just look on the net or copy what they have seen others use in a tournament. This is not a matter of I hate playing a tough list, for me it is about not enjoying playing the same lists over and over again.

Now I have two questions, first how do you players out there feel about these cookie cutter lists? Secondly is it a problem where you play or am I just unlucky in that aspect?

As always thank you for reading the blog and I welcome any responses you may have.



FoxPhoenix135 said...

Right now I am loving the havoc that the new IG codex is wreaking with the "cookie-cutter" players. There are just SO MANY options in there, players haven't come to an agreement on what is "teh uber" list for IG yet.

I don't have too much of a problem seeing the cookie cutter lists up here in Alaska anyway, as most people just play for fun and narrative games, but I do see a lot of it on the internet and it gets old.

For right now, I am loving that I can put up a Guard list and not have it picked apart, because there hasn't been a general consensus on the codex yet. Give it time though, and I am sure that too will change.

Just wait until a new edition comes out, and then EVERYthing might change. I think that will be the only way to break out of this power cycle of cut-and-paste lists, is to change the ruleset again.

Max said...

In my play group half of the people don't have enough models to make netlists for their armies, and those that do don't seem to do so. There's often the semblances of archetypes, like kind-of NidZilla, the Guard gunline and whatnot, but never to the point that it seems netlisty. As for me, I am constantly cursed out by one of our playgroup for taking "an unconventional Guard list." He doesn't have a problem with power level, and has in fact done very well against it... it just creeps him out that Guard can outflank and not have a gunline.

BJ said...


That is one army I love to play against because I have seen soo many variations since the Codex came out. It looked so much fun I bought the codex.

I just started my IG list and I am thinking of going all Mech as I don't have any all Mech army yet. Not sure if it is even viable as an army but I want to give it a try.


I think unconventional lists are fun to play against. I like anything that mixes it up a bit and givens me things I have not seen used in certain ways before.

Gyro said...

If I personally fielded the same cookie cutter list every battle, yeah, that'd be a problem...for me. The composition of the other list really doesn't matter all that much to me, a game's a game, and if I'm playing a challenging, tourney-proven list that been rehashed a thousand times, well I better bring my A-game 'cause apparently their list is thoroughly tested.

In the end, it's those players who are selling themselves short and not playing the game to the fullest, their loss. For me, I'll mix it up, use tried and true tactics or downright funky lists. I would only ever have a problem with another player's list if they just downright cheated, otherwise if it's rules legit, so be it.

A pet peeve of mine is when people declare other lists and armies as 'beardy' or 'cheesy'. If it's a legitimate list, built with the current codex, who's to judge? If it truly was a problem, it shouldn't been made a viable build in the first place.

Squirrel_Fish said...

For me, the cookie cutter builds only peeve me when the entire army is a one-trick pony (Dual Biker Nobz, Dual 10 Warlock Seer Councils, Dual Lash, etc) that only has those one or two units to deal with everything. When you're playing against that, it feels like a hack - pretty much all your opponent's tactics are out the window and they're just throwing a thermo-nuclear bomb at you.

I get a bit of flak now and then for fielding a mini flying Seer Council (3 Warlocks + 1 Farseer) but in reality I feel just not enough of a threat to justify getting called a beardy gnome. Instead, my seer council is just one really big distraction - if they ignore it then they'll eat two heavy flamers, if not then they're (more importantly) taking away shots from my other units which will kill them.

I have a friend who (on a regular basis) fields Pedro with a 7 man strong Honour Guard in a Land Raider Crusader. If that unit gets the charge, it hurts. People call him cheesy. Is it really? I don't think so - it's a unit made specifically to chop hard-core elite units into lots of little pieces and will be absolutely wonderful at that role.

Ultimately, there are two kinds of cheese. The first and most common is as the battlecry of the unprepared. If someone gets trashed from something they were not expecting (tactical genius or their own ignorance) then they will tend to cry cheese.

The second is against something which there is no effective defense. Most armies can't do squat against a Dual Lash/Oblit spam list or a Dual tricked out Seer council list. It's the second that you gotta watch out for - these people are usually the Win-At-All-Costs kinds of people who go from super powered army to the next as if this were Magic: the Gathering. It's these people who (in my opinion) are doing more harm to the community than good by not respecting the game as a hobby.

*End long winded ranty post*


BJ said...

Mik & Squirrel_Fish,

I completely agree, if people are playing a codex legal list then it is fair game. I try not to use the words cheezy or beardy. I am not even saying that the people who use the cookie cutter lists are doing anything wrong because the are not.

I am just speaking as another player who just gets tired of seeing the same lists over and over again. I'm am not saying any one is cheezy and the examples are used are just a few of the possible out there, Space Marine Drop Pod armies were a FotM for awhile.

Anyway I am not saying any of these lists are cheesy/beardy, just not fun to play against over and over and over again.

Pacific said...

I suppose people who have a larger gaming group have an advantage. There are as many different types of player as there are colours in the rainbow, and when you've got a lot to choose from you can afford to be picky over your opponent. So, as an example at my local club we have both a very competitive ranking and ladder system, but also a couple of campaigns going on which usually don't count towards the ladder and are far more open ended, and full of house rules etc.

Similarly, I've got some pretty good friends I play with and the lists which are too powerful (whatever the game system) will only get used a few times before they get a "you've got to be joking mate!" reaction along with a laugh! But, I guess so much depends on your gaming group.

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