Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Warhammer 40,000 Highlander lists against normal lists

The Highlander format for tournaments was envisioned as a way to mitigate spamming.

Spamming is said with such disdain by players when someone essentially takes the most powerful way a unit can be taken and duplicates it three times or more.  It is a source of dissatisfaction by many a gamer, because to put it bluntly it can make the game stilted in either direction.  Both players have at least the higher potential for games that aren't as fun.

Challenging One's Self

I embarked upon an effort to see how a Highlander Tau Empire list would fare against normal competition.  I thought it would be fun to see what would happen if I tried this "less than optimal" list against the worst enemies people could throw at me.  A sort of challenge to myself, as it were.

I've now played 10 games at 1850, three of those at tournament.  My List without getting too deep into it:

3 Broadsides (missiles)
6 FW in a Devilfish
10 Kroot with a hound
3 Crisis suits and a Shield Drone
5 Stealthsuits with Precision shot upgrade and two shield Drones
Shadowsun and her three Drones
Buffing Commander and two Marker Drones
4 Marker Drones

As you can see, I was allowed no more than one of anything in the codex (not even Devilfish's) and so you really are almost looking at the full compliment of what the codex offers.  at 2000 points I could have added a Hammerhead variant to complete the picture a little more but that's okay.

Thus far it lost to Chaos Daemons at the top table at its first showing, to a Blood Angel despite having controlled the game for most of the time (Damn you Commander Dante!) and it lost to a White Scars bike army (11-8 so not nearly as poor as you'd imagine it would do).  It has otherwise won and I can say that 7 out of 10 against solid tournament armies does not suck.

What This Proved To Me

More than anything what this proved to me is that the ideal of playing an army that is actually fun, and not tooled up, can be almost as effective as playing tooled up ones. And so if you think of it like a fulcrum, It seems to me that giving into your whims a little and playing a more balanced 'Codex" list might not only NOT cost you many games, but your enjoyment might actually go up.

I know that my opponents, to a man were nothing short of intrigued by the panoply of the Tau Empire I brought,  All of them enjoyed a game in which there was no clever {fill in the blank}-Star moniker attached.  There was nothing in the army that was over represented or was "spammy" and I think they enjoyed the challenge, win or lose more than they probably did against a more typical Tau force.

And if you care much for the enjoyment of opponents (not that this needs to be the goal, but you can still care about it) then perhaps an experiment like this one wouldn't hurt you.

My challenge to you is to form up a Highlander list you like, and play it against the battle hardened meta of your 40K universe.  See how you do over say ten games and report back to me if you don't mind how you progress with it.  I'd love to see the list you came up with and hear you regale us with tales of YOUR wins or losses using it.

Who knows.  Maybe everyone could win.


  1. Hey
    I've always been intrigued with the highlander idea could you expand on the rules for building a list?

    My thoughts on how it worked were you can only take 1 of each unit in the codex no matter what wargear they have.

    1. Highlander rules are indeed that you cannot take more than one of any unit, literally. There is one exception. Troops can be taken more than once BUT you must equally alternate between your troops choices if you do this. So for example you can take a Tactical Squad, then a scout squad, then a Tactical squad etc... But other than that, no duplication is allowed. Another rule that is generally found in Highlander tournaments is that things like Greater Daemons are the same. Yes, you might have one named Fate Weaver and one that is not, but they are still both Greater Daemons. This particular portion of the Highlander format is sometimes not enforced. I understand the argument but the spirit of a Highlander tournament is that there is only one of anything in the list and having two Greater Daemons, even if they are different, still seems to me a violation of that spirit. Nonetheless, this little issue aside, that's what Highlander is. So you won't find mech spam, you won't find any spam. It will see MUCH more representative lists than normal tournaments boast. The games are much more fun in this way: You know that everyone has brought an all comers type list rather than an RPS list because, simply put, they had no choice. =)

    2. Here is a list I was thinking

      WraithBlades axe
      Wraithguard flame serpent
      Dcannon vauls support battery
      Wraith Knight

      Cast of Players
      shadow seer

    3. Have you tried it? Or is this kind of a "what if" scenario?

    4. More of a "what if" haven't tried highlander at my local club yet, I own all but the Wraithblades so might swap them out for now until I get a chance to buy some.

  2. Well would it be too much to ask you to try it and report back? Love to hear how it goes.

    1. Hey Sorry works been hectic.
      I haven't forgotten.
      Will let you know as soon as I run it.

    2. Well with all these new Eldar rumors going around This "fun" list might be getting an extreme make over and might even be called cheesy if the current Eldar roast is to go by.
      Can't wait to actually have the new codex and see for sure what all the new changes are.

  3. Well that day is coming awfully soon but the rumor mill which is now becoming quite reliable in my opinion, has made the list you have here pretty awesome. Although i love the fact that Malefic powers aren't ones the Eldar get anymore. Thats a very welcome change. Wave Serpent shields are one use items. 2D6 shots and only 24" range. thank the heavens.


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