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Into the Lists We go !

How is it done? what is the best way to do it ? I may not be able to give you a heads up on the best way to do it but I can share my experiences since I came into the Kings of War scene and had to start learning how to play a game from scratch. I can share my experiences with you, my Reader, and hopefully you can glean some nuggets of information from the general grime of my postings.

In the Beginning there was….

My first foray into KoW list building was in the second edition of the game. I had been persuaded to try the game when I returned to my wargaming club after a gap of some 4 years or so. I had no experience of KoW before that and the only

viable models I had in numbers to play was an old 28mm Landsknechts army I had from Warhammer Ancient Battles Days. So the first lists I did were dictated by what I could do to port the Landsknechts across to fit a Kingdoms of Men list. This involved working out how many of each type of model I had and seeing what I could fit it into on the KoM list. This is the most basic form of List building, working out a list dictated by the models you have and unless you are starting out with a large collection of models , this is how most of us start with armies made up of the models you have to hand and only later do you buy specific models. Although one thing I have done with KoW is played with MDF bases with the troop types written on them , allowing you to use units you wouldn’t normally have if you were just starting out at the game, even now my gaming group will use blank bases or proxy models to test out new troops in an army before purchasing or painting new models.

I sat down and looked at the KoM list , I had been treated to a couple of games of KoW at my local club and the advice was to “Go Large or go Home” so I started by building a Horde of Pikemen and a Horde of arquebusiers as these were the main troop types available to me, I then made up a hodge podge of other units from whatever models I had over and whatever the list had that fit them. As a throwback to my Warhammer fantasy days I made sure I had an Army Standard Bearer and at least one General. As I was limited to Historical Models I had no Winged Generals or even Wizards and ended up using a couple of Camp Follower models as these. I must say though that after I rebased the Lansknechts for KoW they did look amazing and got several compliments at Clash of Kings 2017 when they got their first run out. However the List was unwieldy and I came dead last – a combination of not knowing what I was doing and a very poor list.

This is where I made my second mistake, I assumed that the list was at fault and immediately changed it extensively, adding Cavalry and a Winged General to no avail, then chopping and changing units after each defeat, always on the quest for the perfect combination of units. I also changed from KoM to The Brotherhood list as my collection of Fantasy figures increased. I had slightly more success with this list but not really a lot more than with the KoM.

It was during the “Brotherhood” period that the Trolls headed out to Spain to take part in the Madrid Clash of Kings tournament, this was a real eye opener as the Spanish Players are a lot more, lets say, uninhibited when it comes to using every tool in the box and they are very happy to discuss their army choices (even if it is only to practise their English lol) I played against one of the Spanish scenes best and nicest players, Nacho, and he introduced me to the concept of playing the same list for more than one Tournament before making any changes (as well as persuading me that Ogres were the Army for my playstyle , although how he came to that conclusion is still a mystery to me )

However good Nacho’s advice was I didn’t take it up immediately as I now entered into another phase of my List building Journey – the “Netlist” period.

My Reader may or may not know what a Netlist is so I will elaborate as it was a new phenomenon for me as well. After my game against Nacho and our discussions he gave me a copy of his Ogre list, having seen him use it to great effect and wanting to do a Mantic army to replace my KoM/Brotherhood models I decided to use the list, without changing it, to choose my Ogre Army. The use of another players list without change is referred to as “Netlisting” even if the list doesn’t come off the internet. There are a lot of sources for the lists- T.O’s sometimes post the Lists of their players before the event takes place , usually on Facebook. Or you can watch a live stream of the lists for the Bigger Tournaments on Youtube or people sometimes post their lists on one of the Discord groups or Facebook groups they are in, if you are a member of a Wargames Club you may even get people sharing lists the old fashioned way… on paper and the Mantic Companion allows you to browse and view Players lists that the players can make public for your delectation ! Netlisting allows you to see what other people are using in your chosen Faction and by following the Netlists of some of the better Players you can gain an insight into the list choices of the high and mighty, but beware, Lists taken out of context of the original creator can be baffling. Everybody has their own way of playing and so everybody’s lists may be different in some slight but significant way. It is almost impossible to take a Netlist and replicate another players performance exactly although it may improve your overall performance you will still need to make the list your own. I have come to use the Netlist approach as a “foundation” upon which to build your own lists. The Main problem I had was that I became addicted to using Netlists as a quick “fix” to Tournament success. I did have a degree of initial success using Nacho’s Ogre list but that persuaded me that Netlists were the way forwards, I then started to chop and change between Netlists and Factions, again seeking that elusive Superlist that would allow me to play on “easy mode” at tournaments with the list taking all the heavy lifting out of the games, I have since come to realise that Kings of War doesn’t work that way!

Networking, this is akin to the Netlist idea but involves gathering a group of KoW players and brainstorming the lists while practising. This can be in person or as part of an online group and is a great way of working out if things will work in a list by sharing experiences or knowledge between players while discovering if things can actually work on the tabletop, This is sometimes even a good thing to do at Tournaments while spectating games ( although care must be taken not to disturb the Players) or by watching and discussing Universal Battle or Live Stream games. I have personally found that commentating on games with the Trollcast live streams (Whaddya mean you haven’t seen the TrollCasts ? go and look here                                          and don’t forget to like and subscribe while you are there )has allowed me to see how different players cope with different situations on a live tabletop. All this knowledge can be assimilated into the list building experience.

Play Practise, this is one of the most important factors in List building and development in my opinion, whether you are practising on the tabletop or online via Universal Battles, practising what works in your list and actually being able to see the results for real on the Tabletop is invaluable. Actually setting up situations and running through deployment options for scenario play can also help to attune your “KoWBrain” and provide a “muscle memory” to your play style which means that you start to develop an underlying level of skill and game knowledge that can come into play almost subconsciously at tournaments, while encouraging feedback from your regular opponents can also help develop this , remember Practise makes permanent so makes sure your practise is Good Practise! Then when a situation occurs in a game you can think back to the “what if” scenarios you have practised and maybe this will help. As well as helping the tabletop performance of your army, these sessions can aid your list building by practising with various combinations of units, upgrade options and artifacts until you have reached a point where the armylist is functioning as you want it to and this is the best place to be.

Playing with the Army a lot against different opponents in different scenarios on different table layouts is the best way to fine tune your army as long as you keep with it and don’t drastically change the army after every defeat – don’t throw the Baby out with the Bathwater !





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