Jump to content
Bhelliom

The Case for a Two-List Format

Recommended Posts

I think Runewars stands to gain from moving its tournaments to a two-list format. For those not familiar with it, it means that you bring two lists (of the same faction) to the event, and choose one each round. Specifics can vary, but you'll know at least what faction your opponent is playing before choosing your list. You might also get to know what scenario and deployment are being used, and/or what your opponent's lists are. So, why would it be good?

  • It helps tame the meta. If there is a faction, unit, or build that is particularly strong, people can bring counters to it without having to stake the entire tournament on it.
  • It helps counter skews. This isn't currently much of a thing in Runewars, but if armies featuring lots of high-Defense units (Baron Zachareth and Golems, perhaps?) become dominant, you can ensure that one of your lists aims to address it.
  • It encourages wacky maverick builds. Imagine a list with a 6-tray unit of Golems - cool, right? Well right now you'd be crazy to take that in a list because of the number of pretty hard counters to it, but if you have another list that can handle opponents with lots of wounding tech, suddenly it's not so bad.

So that's good stuff, really. Units' relative value gets smoothed out, list diversity increases, and it introduces another element to list-building. Although I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons, they're worth a look:

  • It increases tournament complexity. There is already a fair amount of extra preparation required, so changing things even further from the rules packaged with the game increases the barrier to entry for inexperienced players.
  • It makes the game more expensive. Although I think most of the time I would just tweak upgrades, it's certainly plausible that your two lists would look absolutely nothing alike. Not a problem for us die-hards, but it's yet another hurdle for new players.
  • You can get into a "list chicken" scenario, in which each of your lists is countered by one of your opponents. It doesn't feel good to have a game so heavily influenced by what is essentially a coin-flip, but that's also true of single-list formats - two lists at least gives you the opportunity to mitigate it.

@Rattt and I will probably try running any unofficial tournaments up here using two lists, but I'm interested to hear about the experiences and expectations of the community at large.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely love 2 list formats. I come from a Warmachine/Hordes background where that is the norm, and I think it is so much better than single list.

My favorite thing about 2 list formats is that you can build them for completely different things, and you get to choose what those are. You want something that can counter Uthuk paired with something that deals wounds to better handle certain Daqan builds, go for it. Want something that is really good at grabbing tokens paired with something that can turtle to handle various objectives, have at it. Want a general list to run most of the time paired with a crazy skew that you drop when your opponent doesn’t have an answer in his lists, please do.

It just makes list building much more dynamic and allows you to build lists that specialize in one specific thing if you choose rather than having to have a single list that is more of an “all comers” list to handle everything.

To address a few of your cons listed, in Warmachine/Hordes, it is a 2 list format, but you only have to bring 1 with a 2nd list optional. This would address the complexity and expensiveness for new players. If you want to cut cost/complexity, bring just 1 list. If you are fine with that extra complexity and cost, bring 2 lists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Glucose98 said:

I especially see it being useful with some of the more dynamic scenarios.  Like capturing tokens or escort or whatever.

 

Exactly! If you want to build a list that is specific to a certain deployment or objective, you are much better able to do so without hamstringing yourself in other deployments or objectives. It just adds a lot of flexibility to list building that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Budgernaut said:

My biggest question would be the timing of selecting which list you will use. I think both lists should be open information before setup. I think it's better if the choice is simultaneous.

Yeah just have each person have a red and blue list, and secretly put one red or blue die in your hand and reveal or some crap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Budgernaut said:

My biggest question would be the timing of selecting which list you will use. I think both lists should be open information before setup. I think it's better if the choice is simultaneous.

Again, coming from a Warmachine/Hordes background, but in their tournament format, you know the scenario (in this case deployment and objective) and you get to see both of your opponent’s lists. Then you both secretly select your list and reveal it simulateously. I think this works really well because neither player gets the benefit of knowing what their opponent is bringing to this specific game, but you also have as much other information available to make the best decision possible by knowing your opponent’s options (his/her lists) as well as the deployment and objectives. If you don’t know this information, I’m not sure the format would work as well as you could end up picking a sub-optimal list and screw yourself. By having this information, you get the most competitive and fair game possible (in my opinion) which I feel is the goal of a competitive format.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's how it works in the Hangar Bay side events they do for X-Wing. You look at your opponent's lists, and vice versa, and then secretly choose. It makes for some fun strategy before the game begins for sure.

Edited by FranquesEnbiens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not sure I like the idea. Though I have never thought to try it. 

 

I don’t think encouraging really specialized builds is healthy for a meta. It creates an environment where you are more likely to see Games that were won or lost (or at least feel like it) in list building. 

 

Example: 

Let us pretend that the Auto-Win Uthuk list really is a list that requires a hard counter. Let’s say that the only effective hard counter is the Daqan double DeathStar (DDD for short). This encourages players to bring that as a hard counter. So what do I do? I bring Auto-Win and a hard counter to DDD that can do okay against other lists. 

So the scenarios are now:

A) They did not bring DDD, I play Auto-Win and stomp them

B) They brought DDD

B.1) They deploy DDD, I bring the counter and get another monster win

B.2) They try to be clever and don’t use DDD, correctly guessing I won’t risk a major loss using Auto-Win. I run the DDD-counter and play out a lesser win/loss

B.3) I outsmart their outsmarting and bring Auto-Win against their not DDD. I stomp them.

B.4) They outsmart my outsmarting of their outsmart and they bring DDD against Auto-Win. I get stomped. Plots within plots within plots, my lord...

 

I don’t like this scenario where 4/5 options result in a lopsided finish involving hard counters or broken lists.

 

What I do want is for the objectives to strongly urge or to force players to bring all-comers style of lists in order to handle them all throughout 3-4 games. 

 

A last detail tail is purely from a fun perspective. If players begin leaning on hard counter or super specialized lists to win, skill atrophies and fun dies. It happened in XWMG (every wave or so), SW:Armada (Fish farm), and STAW (Borg, specifically QVP dreadnought). 

 

Im curious how Warmahordes or whatever it is called avoided this. 

Edited by Church14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the points Church brought up are very valid if there is an auto-win list out there that plays siginificantly different from other options within the same faction (which I am almost convinced there isn’t currently, but others’ opinions may differ). As far as Warmahordes goes, you do see this jump up from time to time when a model is coated incorrectly and is easily spammable or when a rule wasn’t playtested correctly, but their dev team has usually been pretty good about trying to correct this if it does occur.

Overall though, I think the situation you brought up is only possible when the game is not balanced. At that point, you have bigger issues than what format is used for tournament play though.

With all of that being, list chicken could be a big thing in warmahordes at times, but the fear of it also helps to alleviate it at the same time. If you are actually trying to win a tournament, do you really want to bring 2 lists that both have very hard counters? What if your opponent has both counters in his 2 lists? Are you really willing to bet your entire tournament on list selection? Maybe some players are, but I know most of the people I played against weren’t willing to do so, thus the fear of list chicken almost helping to alleviate it just because it was a possibility. None of that is to say some list chicken doesn’t arise, just that it very rarely is THE deciding factor in a game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Church14 said:

I don’t like this scenario where 4/5 options result in a lopsided finish involving hard counters or broken lists.

I have definitely felt the same way, but @Rattt has explained to me why it doesn't end up being the case (or at least, why it's better than single list). Looking at your example, if the auto-win is indeed strong in so much of the field, then we can expect to see lots of it at a tournament, yes? And likely some number of DDD, as meta calls (let's assume DDD is generally poor against non auto-win lists). In that case, pairings have a huge influence over the victor - maybe the ultimate winner is an auto-win that had the good fortune of never going up against a DDD. Anyway, if there are strong lists and strong counters, it is pretty random what ends up happening, but if a list is indeed quite strong then it will likely win.

With two lists, you can play the sort of all-comers army you might ordinarily want to play but which gets stomped by whatever strong thing is out there, then also pack a list that does better against the outlier. This works especially well when factions have strong themes - if Uthuk are indeed over the curve right now, then they, more than a specific build for them, are the thing to build against. The details vary, but Uthuk aren't great at turning, have low defense/high wounds, and take great advantage of terrain. The more factions and lists have access to these counters, the more it keeps everyone honest.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Church14 said:

What I do want is for the objectives to strongly urge or to force players to bring all-comers style of lists in order to handle them all throughout 3-4 games. 

I completely agree with this.

I've played 2-list events before in X-wing. It's interesting, but I'll tell the truth: I'm just plain bad at it. When I prep for a tournament, I think of what play style I want to employ, and run with that. What ends up happening, is I have two very similar lists, with slightly different upgrades. And invariably I am in the middle of a match and go to use one of my upgrades - only to realize that it's not there in the list I picked! ARGH! So yeah, I'm more inclined to bring a single list, but my opponent gets a bonus because they can choose which one is better (not necessarily auto win) against my list. Eh, no thanks. I'd be willing to give it a try. I may like it in Runewars.

I just feel like for me, rather than being an additional way to get an advantage, it's just another way to make a mistake by choosing the wrong list at the start of the game. Maybe I just don't have a good feel for good matchups in Runewars at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Parakitor said:

I completely agree with this.

I've played 2-list events before in X-wing. It's interesting, but I'll tell the truth: I'm just plain bad at it. When I prep for a tournament, I think of what play style I want to employ, and run with that. What ends up happening, is I have two very similar lists, with slightly different upgrades. And invariably I am in the middle of a match and go to use one of my upgrades - only to realize that it's not there in the list I picked! ARGH! So yeah, I'm more inclined to bring a single list, but my opponent gets a bonus because they can choose which one is better (not necessarily auto win) against my list. Eh, no thanks. I'd be willing to give it a try. I may like it in Runewars.

I just feel like for me, rather than being an additional way to get an advantage, it's just another way to make a mistake by choosing the wrong list at the start of the game. Maybe I just don't have a good feel for good matchups in Runewars at this point.

I’m not sure how this would work in Runewars, but in Warmachine, some people will plan to play a single list the entire tournament but bring a second list that is completely different that your opponent now has to worry about during list selection. It allows you to mess with your opponent in a few different ways. First off, they don’t know one of your lists is a “dummy list” that you have no intent on playing, so they may drop a list trying to counter it where it was never really an option. Second, you can play some kind games during list selection. When you see your opponent’s lists, look at them for like 5 seconds, then say something along the lines of “of this is an easy choice, I know exactly what I’m playing”. You knew before you even saw his lists what you were playing, but you can make them think you have some super good counter into both their lists lol.

Tl:dr while having a single list can be a disadvantage, you can possibly turn it into an advantage by bringing a second list you have no intention of playing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, ares1618 said:

I’m not sure how this would work in Runewars, but in Warmachine, some people will plan to play a single list the entire tournament but bring a second list that is completely different that your opponent now has to worry about during list selection. It allows you to mess with your opponent in a few different ways. First off, they don’t know one of your lists is a “dummy list” that you have no intent on playing, so they may drop a list trying to counter it where it was never really an option. Second, you can play some kind games during list selection. When you see your opponent’s lists, look at them for like 5 seconds, then say something along the lines of “of this is an easy choice, I know exactly what I’m playing”. You knew before you even saw his lists what you were playing, but you can make them think you have some super good counter into both their lists lol.

Tl:dr while having a single list can be a disadvantage, you can possibly turn it into an advantage by bringing a second list you have no intention of playing.

Most WM/H tournaments I've seen prevented this by forcing you to use each list at least once. If you played list 1 three out of four rounds, you would list-lock yourself into list 2 for the final round. I think that's a bit more fun in that you can't bring a stupidly skewed list just to spook your opponent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What does this alternate format really add? If I want list diversity, I don't play in tournaments; I play casual games. With casual games, you can work with your opponent to make campaigns that have list restrictions or consequences to winning.

I came up with an idea for BattleLore where you play through the campaign game but you have to use the 3 pre-built arimes. If you win, you can use that army in future campaign matches. If you win, you can use that list again. People may argue that this causes a snowball effect, and they're right. It does give the early winner a better chance of winning. However, it also makes games meaningful because losing has an effect on future games, making this a good thematic variant if a little unbalanced. I could see myself doing something similar in Runewars. You design 3 lists where the unique rule applies across all lists. Then you choose some scenarios you will play on (I won't go into details here) and play a bunch of matches.

My point is that there is so much this game has to offer and so many lists to build and take that you would never take to a tournament, so why not leave the generalist lists to the tournaments and play the more specialized builds in casual games? Of course, if your group is excited for 2-list tournaments, then that's the best way to play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something else that contributed heavily to 2-lidt formats in WMH is the warcaster/lock mechanics. Because you couldn't repeat caster/locks, you were essentially forced to build 2 differing lists. This is based on how much inpact a required, unique character had on your overall list and strategy. There's nothing really to compare to in RW, atleast not on that scale of magnitude.

X-Wing Hanger Bay is a good example of "I change 2 upgrades and it's a legal 2nd list" even though those few upgrades aren't all that consequential. RW from it's core doesn't have a good mechanic to facilitate diversity that a 2-list format is designed to bring.

 

I'm a fan of 2-list formats, but I'm not sure the decisions made for Runewars early on in development will facilitate that format efficiently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, the obvious good example of upgrade variety for Waiqar is Mistlands Saboteur vs. Executioner. Same cost, same slot - they're even the same figure! But their effect on the battlefield is very different, and being able to trade those two out depending on what my opponent brings sounds great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I think Waiqar stands to gain the most from it, because they have a lot of answers. Maro gets a lot better if there's no Kari or Aliana to prey on him, Death Knights are exceptional against the right targets, Executioner has serious value against the right targets, they can build for pretty extreme mortal strikes or blight control. Waiqar is kinda the toolbox faction, and I'd love to see them better able to take advantage of that toolbox.

Daqan has some interesting stuff too - the Eagle Banner Bearer is a strong answer to high-defense targets, Rune Golems are pretty strong against the right target, and Uncontrolled Geomancer is pretty nuts against the right target. I guess you could make a list entirely of Defense 2(3)+ models which might be an interesting take.

I'm no Latari expert, but I expect you'd find a list with lots of blocking to hold off the more aggressive armies and one with more aggressive elements to punish slow-rollers.

Uthuk I have even less idea... a berserker star and msu rippers? Will be more interesting with the new releases later this year, I could imagine a board control list taking advantage of Beastmaster Th'Uk Tar and Viper Legion, with Obscenes to keep enemies where you want them.

Basically if I can take two lists I get to bring more weird stuff, and I would love to see more weird stuff on the table.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the 2-list format wpuld fascillitate me bringing thematic lists. For example, I'm really looking forward to running Th'Uk Tar with nothing but Flesh Rippers and Spined Threshers in the list. Then I can have my other list be more well-rounded. Trouble is, it's easy for me to get sucked into making my second list thematic, too. But that's not a problem with the format - it's a personal problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎8‎/‎22‎/‎2018 at 2:36 PM, Church14 said:

I’m not sure I like the idea. Though I have never thought to try it. 

 

I don’t think encouraging really specialized builds is healthy for a meta. It creates an environment where you are more likely to see Games that were won or lost (or at least feel like it) in list building. 

 

Example: 

Let us pretend that the Auto-Win Uthuk list really is a list that requires a hard counter. Let’s say that the only effective hard counter is the Daqan double DeathStar (DDD for short). This encourages players to bring that as a hard counter. So what do I do? I bring Auto-Win and a hard counter to DDD that can do okay against other lists. 

So the scenarios are now:

A) They did not bring DDD, I play Auto-Win and stomp them

B) They brought DDD

B.1) They deploy DDD, I bring the counter and get another monster win

B.2) They try to be clever and don’t use DDD, correctly guessing I won’t risk a major loss using Auto-Win. I run the DDD-counter and play out a lesser win/loss

B.3) I outsmart their outsmarting and bring Auto-Win against their not DDD. I stomp them.

B.4) They outsmart my outsmarting of their outsmart and they bring DDD against Auto-Win. I get stomped. Plots within plots within plots, my lord...

 

I don’t like this scenario where 4/5 options result in a lopsided finish involving hard counters or broken lists.

 

What I do want is for the objectives to strongly urge or to force players to bring all-comers style of lists in order to handle them all throughout 3-4 games. 

 

A last detail tail is purely from a fun perspective. If players begin leaning on hard counter or super specialized lists to win, skill atrophies and fun dies. It happened in XWMG (every wave or so), SW:Armada (Fish farm), and STAW (Borg, specifically QVP dreadnought). 

 

Im curious how Warmahordes or whatever it is called avoided this. 

I understand the issue with this; however, the issue is just magnified with one list. At least with two options there is a possibility of beating the Auto-win if you prepare for it, but if you don't run DDD you can't beat auto-win and now you're just hoping you don't go against them and someone else beats them. The issue with the rock paper scissors you've given is the benefit. You don't know which list they will be bringing so you have to prepare for both, but you can. As of now you don't know what they're bringing and you have to plan for everything at once. Uthuk everyone thinks are over powered but if everyone gets two lists you can have an anti-uthuk and not ruin the games against Daqan for example. You can have one team be great against low armor armies like Uthuk and another list that punishes using mortal wounds and disregarding armor. Or one list that is defensive and one list that is aggressive. Having the options makes things more balanced. You can counter the stronger lists. So if you're running a stronger list you have to prepare for the counter as well.

Running one list means you can have a diversified list but if it struggles against any kind of list and that list is brought. You lose. At least 2 lists you have a chance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...