Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Action Man ETC Lists

So, the derailing awesomeness of Lizardmen rumours has quietened down for a day or two… where was I before drowning in cold blooded love?

Ah yes…

ETC players of the world… shame on you!
OK, OK, not all of you.

Some of you are even nice people. Some.

One thing is clear from the class of 2013. This year we are inundated with dull, weak-chinned, unoriginal lists. Chuck Norris would not approve.
Maybe it’s because, after all the hype and a terrible film, the world did not end in 2012. Or maybe Justin Bieber has a bigger fandom in elite WFB tournament circles that was previously suspected.

Either way, it’s time to go caveman. It’s for the:

 Action Man ETC Lists

Now, before we set off on this testosterone-building, stubble-inducing voyage of manning-the-f-up, a quick digression (ideally read in that clear-but-actually-too-fast-to-actually-be-paid-attention-to-voice-they-use-for-the-long-list-of-side-effects-they-read-out-at-the-end-of-drugs-adverts-on--television):

This article is not aimed at the acknowledged “big boys” of the ETC – those with a realistic (or even deluded) belief that they could win the whole thing. Sure, in that situation, you take optimal and dull lists. You even bite the bullet and take Dwarfs (or Empire) for the greater good of your team. That is expected and accepted. Anything less would result in being vilified, lampooned and showered with rotten fish upon their return (yes, I agree, some people take this game far too seriously). There is even a level of interest in the more forensic study of these lists – trying to work out who second-guessed the metagame meta (how to beat the armies designed to beat the meta), who gambled and failed, and who spotted (or, whisper it, created) loopholes in the comp. The reasons why some countries did not take some armies at all (as seen with the “big 3” and WoC) are a fascinating topic of conjecture in itself (ok, fascinating if you have a certain mind set, like your ever-so-humble author).

All in all, hours of fun.

No. The eternal shame is reserved not for those who gird their loins and seek to lay waste to the hallowed halls of Valhalla, for they know the cost of failure (I mentioned the rotten fish right?). No. The darkest of shames is reserved for those Others.

In many ways the heart and soul of the whole ETC experience. Countries who come for the social event that it is, with no preconceptions of getting into the top half of the event, never mind winning it!
Don’t misunderstand me – that is great in itself. As I said, the soul of the event, and I am jealous of those that get to attend.

No, the problem is that they wimp out, like the lanky haired curs they obviously are.

Let’s take an example. Not to pick on them, lovable as they are, but rather as a classic example:
The Mighty Wales. The Red Dragon of the Valleys. The current holders (and New Zealand’s bitter rivals) of the Sheep Hugging Cup.

By all accounts the life of a party (knowing most of them, this is true, though you could make arguments about the grumpy one and the Cornish one… but still ;) ). Proudly “not bottom” for a couple of years now, great stuff!

One assumes once again they are invading foreign shores to bring the fun (I mean, seriously, one of them is basically having his stag do there!). So what lists have they brought? Something suitably epic? Something suitably representative of a country that is represented the world over by a Dragon? Or maybe they have managed to fit in boy choirs and sheep into their lists in some suitably hilarious way?

No. 7 sensible armies (including 3 + gunlines (depending on definition)), Lizardmen skink pain, and their one saving grace – their nutty MSU DoC.
This is not good. This is not manly. Chuck Norris disapproves. Hell, even Steven Seagal is looking uncomfortable.

This does not crush your enemies.
It does not drive them before you.
And the only audible lamentations will be of boredom.

That is not good.

In fact the whole thing seems a bit too similar to the plot of Expendables. Awesome concept. Get the greatest action stars from the golden age of action movies, throw them at the screen in an explosion-laden orgy of puns, guns and sheer I-don’t-give-a-damn-awesome. And then a studio got hold of it, and tried to add in a love story here, plausible motivation over there and all round character development all over the place. End result? Disappointing mess.

Going for fun? Solution: Man up (yes, even the women need to man up here), and gear up to smash up!

I came up with the following “dream team” of ETC lists in around an hour or so. With 6 months of training montages, chicken chasing and fine-tuning I would be willing to wager the team would perform just as well as they will this year with their girlymon lists. And they would do so in style.

So, what  maketh a manly ETC list? Well, there is a theme. But the ETC somewhat limits just how manly you really can be. Cowards. Still, let’s see what we end up with, highlighting where each army picks up ManPoints™ (or even Extreme ManPoints) as we go:

Blue: Girlymon.
Orange: ManPoints
Red: EXTREME ManPoints

ARMY 1 - High Elves

Sure, you lose out on some ManPoints before staring by choosing an army that wears dresses, but we’ve grown used to that.

Turns out the pretty-boy elves could get properly manly, if not for the ARCom’s restriction on fliers. The debate then becomes, double Hero Griffons, or another Dragon. The answer is always the same. Dragon is the very pinnacle of manliness. Apart from that one in that film Eragon – but we don’t talk about that.

Getting passed the “max four flier nonsense with flying chariots (including a bsb on a party surf board), the only part of this army that lets is down is the core. 4 flying monsters. I feel like I need a shave. But I am too manly to shave. So now my face s itchy. The price of manliness.

ARMY 2 - Ogre Kingdoms

The fallen children of 2013 – is there any hope for these boys in the crushing embrace of Chuck?

When feeling insecure about your prowess. Smash. When uncertain if you are passed it, smash some more.

Flying Tyrants is make Rambo cry – all sorts of balls out goodness. Add in 3 Monsters rushing forward, 3 unbreakable freaks coming up behind and in general a whole army that doesn’t know any better than rushing forward to kill things, and you have an all-out action movie experience.

ARMY 3 - Warriors of Chaos.

The new enfant terrible of 2013. In much the same way that you can’t have Christmas without Die Hard coming up on the TV (thankfully!), you cant turn around in a tournament without seeing a WoC army. And too many of them are like all the others. Can we man up this already pretty manly beast?

What is manlier than an unkillable Daemon Prince? Well, in truth, lots of things.
A freaking DRAGON however, is where its at. And yes, 1 Dragon most definitely is > 1 (or even 2) Daemon Princes. You should feel like a weak child for even asking that!

Exalted BSB drops from EXTREME ManPoint status purely because he is used by everyone.

5 monsters is almost an overdose on awesomeness.
Shh. Just do it.

ARMY 4 - O&G

Girly-men keep taking the mighty green tide and playing them like unhygienic dwarfs.
Enough is enough.

Keep the full out manly aspects, such as green dudes with feather headdresses and nets, and stip out girly nonsense like artillery. That is the essence of manliness, just ask JCVD.

Edit - I am reliably informed that dual Arachnaroks are manlier and better than Giants... An easy switch

Not too many points in this list purely as a lot of it is what is already taken – it just removed the stuff that allows it to be used defensively.
In short, 4 Monsters = Good. Trolls = Good. Feathers = Good. 2 Giants > Warhammer. That is a simple fact. Sure, 1 for 200 is expensive. But 2 for 400 is sensible… Ask Ben Curry… or something like that…
Bringing back the MAN to the WAAAGH…. Hmmm.

ARMY 5 - Dark Elves

Comp stops Dark Elves being anywhere near as manly as they could be, relegating them to an emo-esque wishing of manliness. Still, it’s a classic angle for them, and they wear it well.

Not much has to change here to get the “bro nod”. Not taking a Dragon is not an option. Not taking a Manticore is not an option. Not taking 2 Hydras is not an option. Fill in the rest.

Sure, as the saying goes, “every army needs to be able to deal with a Hydra”. The question is though, can it deal with two, tow flying monsters and a cav bus? If yes there is not much you could have done to begin with, deploy it on the 12” line and pray to the dice gods!

ARMY 6 - Vampire Counts

Vampires can really Man up – in between sparkling away and looking anguished about never getting laid.
Unfortunately the comp writers for the ETC are terrified of vampires – must have had some bad experiences on Halloween or something.

This is a real list of “what could have been”… rather fitting for modern day vampires. The obvious route is 3 Terrorgheists and screaming sword, but apparently that is too crazy for the ARCom. So we are left with a list with five fast moving threats, 4 of them monsters, and most importantly, the Vampire Lord is on a FREAKING DRAGON (just, anyone who has read the stats for the thing knows it’s a Dragon in cool points only).

When you beat someone with this list you will be able to mock them mercilessly for the rest of eternity. That’s just the rules of the game.

ARMY 7 - Tomb Kings

Another example of limp-wristed ARCom fear, the Tomb Kings could theoretically reverse their stereotype form a table edge counter punching gunline to a relentless wall of high toughness death. But no. The mighty Sphinx is too terrifying to contemplate in abundance.

What we are left with still qualifies under the push it forward-and-smash criteria of ManHammer™.

Its not a subtle tricky list. Push forward, bubble movement (healing as you go). And just WIN goshdarnit.

ARMY 8 - Lizardmen

The mighty servants of the Old ones could have brought some real pain in this, the last high profile hurrah of the 7th edition book. Who can even dream of the possibilities awaiting these cold blooded Brazilians nect year?

When the Old Ones did create this world, they foresaw issues with manliness declining in the ages to come in the face of insipid metro-ness, and as a by-product of a mystical force known simply as “the internet”. To combat these foul magiks of Chaos, they made sure that when the time came they could unleash a tide of scaly action hero goodness upon the world. That time is (or should have been) now.

Six monsters. Barely anything to read. No tactics. Manly. Too. Much. Power.

Are you ashamed your country did not take these lists? Well, if so you probably take this whole thing too seriously. Are you ashamed you did not take one of these yourself, but instead took Dwarfs? Good. You deserve it.

Are you not ashamed at all? In that case you should probably be.

Who knows, perhaps with the constant release of new books (and whatever the comp writers come up with) next year’s ETC will bring with a reinvigorated breeze of change.

Cue ignored background explosion midst slow-motion towards-camera walk.


  1. Cheers mate!

    Night Goblin Death Stars are still pretty manly though!

  2. There are plenty of top lists you're still missing out on that surely hit the 'grr man' scale spot on.

    If we're gonna talk about the Welsh Dragons, a few years back they'd thought about running as many dragons in the team as possible, you've missed out the mighty powerhouse of the WE, which in ETC comp can monster mash it up nicely.

    Lord on dragon - 3+ ward till failed (so 1 use only in my case), moonstone of hidden ways (Dragon to the rear T2)
    3 Eagle Riding nobles (1 a bsb) - Flying circus of death (3+ ward vs non magic & Dragonhelm, 2+ ward from 1 wound , annoyance of netlings and charmed shield on the third)
    3 x 5 glade riders & musos
    3 x 8 dryads
    6 Treekin
    2 treemen

    A bunch of equipment on the characters brings you to the full 2700pts available. None of this nancy glade guard stuff and no messing about with a scroll caddy mage, Grr Manstuff.

    Your TK list is also a poor shadow of a proper army, 2 lvl 4's... Oi jessie, take some more manly stuff. 2 kings on chariots, 1 with destroyer, 1 with golden mask RARRRRRRRRH.

    1. Lol, indeed - WE would be in if going for dragons - they were 10th on my list for overall grrr ness though (as opposed to dragons)... Just lack of monsters let them down.

      Yeah, disappointed in the TK list on reflection. Keep a lvl4 (the lists are still meant to be good after all!) for bubble movement goodness. Other lvl4 is for Light buffing monster goodness.
      The epic fail in the list is that could drop some core and take ANOTHER Bone Giant and a couple of Scorpions.

      Have slapped myself for missing it :(

      TK get so many points to play with they can do pretty much anything - though was shocked to see there was a comp on sphinxes...

  3. Great post Raf, as others have said it is one of your best! Quite chuffed you liked the ogre list, I took something very similar to Cry Havok but it had a lesser spotted thundertusk too!

    Really inspired me to take more mental and less safe lists in the future, can't wait to get my dinosaurs out again!