The Netlist. A term used mostly with derision from many 40k players. It is a list created by top tournament players, then put on the internet for all to see and use. There are many players that wouldn’t be caught dead with such a list in their hands or on their tabletop. The most notorious of them was probably The Leafblower. During the Ard Boyz 2500 point tournament of yesteryear put on by GW itself. This list was created by Nick “Darkwynn” Rose and the 40k internets broke with Warhammer generals screaming from one side or another about this abusive list that exploited the meta and rules for that edition.
I was something of a purist myself but when 6th and 7th edition came along, things really began to change for me. For one, I started to play a lot more tournaments and against tournament players, and two, the amount of combos created by allies, multiple detachments, and formations became an intricate puzzle that I am not very good at. Case in point my friend Jeremy “Frenchy, The French Overlord, Mister Cumberbuns, Hipstar Onez” Veysseire sent me a super strong Tau list even before the book came out. I still hadn’t read the codex!
In my opinion for the average 40k player, which I consider myself a part of, the Netlist is now a source of unbridaled power we can wield to destroy our enemies, see them driven before us, and hear the lamentations of their women! Er, um, or get better at 40k and have a better chance at doing well at ITC tournaments local and abroad.
The Netlist is a great start for many new and average tournament players all over as it gives you a base to go off of. Feel free to tinker and change to your liking, but you know it is a strong list to start out and a good place to work from. This will give you an excellent toolset in which to start asserting yourself in the tournament scene.
The great thing now is that Netlists are everywhere! Any list published, in my opinion, is a netlist and now all you have to do is do some searching and discover something close to your tastes. There are great lists out there that have won tournaments all over the place and would be a great place to start an army as you know it has a lot of tools to overcome many obstacles.
Where to Find Netlists
There are many places to find Netlists and you are at one of them right now! Frontline’s tactics section has a ton of articles about new and powerful lists that will get you started. You can check out Frankie’s latest White Scars Battle Company List or Reece’s latest Ravenguard list. Both great examples of Netlists that go in very different directions, are very powerful, and fun to play.
You can also find other lists like the French Overlords Drop Pod Skitarii, White Scars Bikes, or his new Tau List. All powerful lists that have done quite well. There are also articles like Chuck Arnett’s tournament winning Orks and Geoff “InControl” Robinsons War Convocation and Tyranid lists. All great places to start!
Another really great resource is Tastey “That’s Mr. Taste To You!” Tastes Blood of Kittens site. Mr. Taste has done a great job of covering major tournaments and often publishes the top 8 lists from that event. Another great place to get lists that will surely strike your fancy.
Haters Gonna Hate
Using Netlists in your gaming group or with your friends can be a touchy subject, but as long as you are open about using them with your opponents, you should be fine. There are always going to be people that whine about Netlists, that is just a matter of fact. Don’t feel too bad though, 40k has become the Wild West in terms of power levels and army builds so you are just doing what you can to survive.
Once you have the list and are ready to go, the best thing you can do is to practice it over and over, against as many different kinds of lists you can. You have to have an idea of how to use your list to have a good chance to win. A list will only take you so far, but practice will pay itself over and over again. I know I heard of many tales of the player that brought the Netlist only to have it crumble on the first game and blow up in their face, then those models go into the bin.
Every game has a chance of blowing up as this is a dice game after all! You can’t let one game shake you and need to focus on how to improve over starting again. Each time you start with a new list is a new curve to learn. So get out there, grab a netlist, and star Warhammering. It just may be the edge you have been looking for to take you to the next 40k level.