Thursday 21 February 2019

The Ethics and Morality of List Tailoring

When our local war gaming club came to be in the last years of 4th edition we played our games with the knowledge of the mission we would be playing and which codex each player would be using. The idea was that players would tailor their lists to the mission and to what they expected to face from their opponent. It meant that games weren't always the same fixed lists week after week and it made them more interesting. It also helped our local FLGS because players would go out and make new purchases just for the games and opponents they had the following week.

At the time it made sense for us to do this. The problem was that some players were a lot more competitive than others, and some had more disposable income and were able to purchase exactly what they needed to best the opponents. Over time we slowly stopped playing like this but we still, even now, have a couple players who always ask what their opponent will be playing next club night for the purpose of list building. Most of us prefer not to ask unless someone wants to play against a specific army.

Is it right for players to list tailor against their opponent? In my opinion it is fine if both players consent to it. It's their game after all. The problem comes from when one player knows exactly what another player can bring to the table and builds their list specifically to counter that. Obviously this is an unfair way of playing and smacks a little bit of a WAAC (win at all costs) mentality. After all, why else would you do it? You can't do it at a tournament, so why would you do it in a friendly game?

I'd like to know your experiences and thoughts on this? Outside of a tournament would you engage in list tailoring? If you regularly play the same opponent do you find that you do it unconsciously?


  1. I find list tailoring to codex is fine as long as your opponent is aware of what you're doing and can also prepare accordingly. It makes for more fun and interesting games.

    Any more specific than that is just not on though.

  2. I tailor lists for most of my games, but I'm strictly a narrative player these days and so is my regular gaming buddy. We do it to help with the scenario or in an attempt to level the playing field as much as possible, which makes for more enjoyable games IMO.
    When I played more competitively in the past (5th edition) I was more than happy for my opponents to tailor their list against my standard Witch Hunter tournament army as it was good practice against bad match ups.
    Since 6th edition and the introduction of allies/detachments I now avoid it because the game produces much more unsatisfactory games in bad match-ups than it did in 5th.....unless it's against a like minded gamer who just wants to use it as a balancing mechanism.

  3. I've always been ok with list tailoring, as I've never really faced anyone who has gone over the top with things, apart from one bloke who brought a drop pod space wolves army with 23 flamers\heavy flamers against my guard infantry army and roster over half my army first turn. Was completely out of the blue and I had no idea he was going to do that, although he was a WAAC type player.

    1. We had a player do that back under 5th edition I think it was. His list was just a silly SW drop pod list that he would decimate everyone with. Thankfully he soon got bored of it and moved on to something more interesting.

  4. Doesn’t bother me too much to be honest. I can’t see many armies in the 41st millennium not using weapons appropriate to their targets. Like others have said, so long as it doesn’t go over the top. Our club generally knows who they’re playing with a bit of warning, though most of us have more than one army to use so it’s not that helpful.

  5. I'm not too bothered by list tailoring if it's by codex. Having said that, I tend to play flexible, take all comers type lists myself. My choices are more based on what new units I have painted than the opponent I will be playing.


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