This is the home of the unusual tactic, the improbable gambit, the army list they said would "never work" or the codex that "sucks"...yet we win with it. Winners take every advantage and every lesson they can get, applying them, no matter how unorthodox. What works, works. Arguing that it didn't is a fools errand. Read the past Blog entries (the right column of this page), comment on them and let us know what you think. Welcome!
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
What does "Netlist" even mean anymore?
Playground to the battleground
Adults go from physically aggressive to passive aggressive as they get older and realize that punching people in the mouth isn't nearly as effective a punishment for insolence as ostracizing them is. So we perfect the art and the internet has spawned a whole generation of people who know how to go about it very well.
A favorite way to express this is in referring to peoples armies as a "net list". I've used the term loosely to describe tournament winning armies that people copy. Generally winners will post their lists and if its a big enough event they get noticed and emulated. Clearly the list has less to do with winning than you do, but it's fair to say as I have pointed out before, that people with limited time or limited resources (or both) will gravitate to the most effective single build because they just don't have the time or money to experiment as freely. And where can they possibly learn that less expensively than the Internet? That's not a recrimination, just a simple observation of fact. Some people MUST utilize other peoples experience and mistakes to form their lists. Some would argue that it shows wisdom to do just that!
What has happened now is that the inevitable slide towards sardonic humor begins and people now refer to net lists in a less positive way: as lists that only "That fucking guy" (TFG) would play. In other words it's no longer a term that describes a successful list, its become a term that is derisive and refers more to the player playing it.
As usual online, people act ten times as rude and twenty times as bold as they would be were they in your presence because lets face it, punching someone in the mouth while not as good a punishment, certainly IS still an option in person. Grown men who play with little plastic toys who don't like to lose will attack the personality of their opponent by suggesting that they "only" won because they played a Net list (as if a list could ever guarantee you a win). They assassinate the character of a person, which is a harder slap to the face than any open hand can deliver.
Others proudly claim that their list is NOT a net list. I know I have done it (and again, I see it as a term that reflects successful armies, not a person who is a dick for taking it, so my usage is a little different). I think most would agree that my lists are in fact here, on the Internet, and that it has had success. So by MY definition my lists are Net lists! Yet if shown to someone who is super swayed by the Internet gestalt opinion on lists, I think they might argue that vociferously if they didn't know the source. Proudly proclaiming your list as NOT a net list (on the Internet) is ironic, but it sort of points to how much the meaning of that term has changed! You're not REALLY saying that it's not a net list. You're suggesting that the list you are using isn't the ones "those TFG''s use" in the same way. it's a sort of attempt at attaining moral high ground.
So on the offensive or defensive side we've twisted the meaning of this term into something it isn't.
"Net Listing" (I define this as using lists that you find on the Internet because of widespread acceptance that it is good) is pretty much what you need to do when resources and time are not your friend. Paying to be frustrated seems a bad policy, and losing can be frustrating even if you're a tinker gnome like me so if you just can't experiment like i can you need to learn from someone who can. I think it should be worn as a badge of pride when you can avoid using those lists, as it allows you to exhibit your skill and creativity more than your reading ability, but I don't think less of someone for using a successful list! It literally makes no sense to dislike someone for doing what makes sense, especially in competition. Even the banner of my own blog has proclaimed since its inception that "What works, works. Arguing otherwise is a fools errand".
My problem has always been with the unimaginative sort that claims the net lists and their small variations are the only way to win, or those who resist any temptation to actually think outside that box and allow for other things to also be true in their small minds. Those people are the problem. Folks who are always trying to make themselves feel better about losing by pointing out that someone used a net list? Come on. Isn't it just possible that the General could have done better? Isn't it a dice game where not everything goes to plan? I think so.
Do you reaaaaly need one?
I think some generals sell themselves short by using a net list. After all it was designed for a person who thinks a certain way and plays a certain way. It's so specific to them that it will take a little learning curve for some people to adopt its strategic realities. Some Generals who "net list" might be a lot prouder of their own wins without the net list. There are nigh infinite amounts of possibilities (many of which we talk about here) available to the creative and savvy general, and they get to take credit for being the author of a whole new "net list" if it works out! There is something to be said for THAT! Having said all that, one doesn't ignore good advice or good sense while doing it. It also doesn't mean you didn't earn those wins when using a net list which I think is intimated by some people when they use the term against you. You did. Until a Wraith Knight isn't the best thing in the game, Eldar will bring it. Why wouldn't they? Riptide Wings are a thing. You're going to see them. Is it any shock that an excellent formation gets used? It shouldn't be! But the question is, do you need it to win? Or is it just low hanging fruit? Well if you haven't got money or time, low hanging fruit is probably what you need. When you have the collection and time to experiment, maybe not.
I think a larger dose of kindness would do us all good. I am not immune to the human wish to justify my losses. But at the end of the day, the scoreboard never lies and I think it's better to improve your skill, so that a net list isn't the end of you at tournaments. And maybe...just maybe...be open to learning from the one who gave you a beating. You might get smarter. Wouldn't that be cool?