There are a finite number of army list permutations for a given codex just as there are a finite number of chord progressions for a given key structure in music. Before their latest codex, Dark Eldar had one or two viable lists. Grey Knights have two or three just as Necrons do. In 40k, as you go backwards from the newest release to the oldest release, the diminishing viability becomes more apparent. In music, it is quite the opposite – just ask the Axis of Awesome with their 4-Chord Song!
With the internet a basic staple in most households, it is quite easy for anyone to communicate their ideas and equally easy for someone to borrow/copy/steal those same ideas. Getting a net list from the internet can be good for many reasons provided your intent is not to stomp your local scene with tactics/ideas that aren’t your style. If you have run out of ideas or need inspiration, then a net list might be get you over the hump. It has worked for me on several occasions. I even hate to admit that I have also borrowed a net list (with a revision or two) because I was tired of trying to reinvent the wheel.
Many players new to 40K go to a net list because they lack experience. I firmly believe new players should have at least 50 games under their belt before using a net list. Going to the internet too soon provides a short cut past the valuable experience they need and takes them directly to what they think is the promised land. Often times the road to the promised land is paved with derision (if they have smart peers) or a false sense of winning (if they have not so smart peers).
These shortcuts are detrimental not only to you but your gaming club or group and quite possibly to 40K players world wide. The Imperial Guard Leaf Blower list virtually swept the world after the 2009 ‘Ard Boys tournaments. At Adepticon 2010, most Imperial Guard players had some variation of this list and most of their opponents had some list that could deal with the Leaf Blower because they knew they’d eventually face it at Adepticon. Now you don’t see the Leaf Blower too much because with the passage of time, it has invariably earned it’s reputation: flash in the pan.
In my younger days with 40K, I avoided using net lists because I knew I was not getting better as a player. When I faced net lists, I took great delight in defeating them. Now that I enter the veteran gamer phase, I do not have quite the same outlook anymore as I used to. I know now that net lists should be used as the salt & pepper of my gaming experience, not the meat & potatoes. Be careful of which reason you choose a net list for and bon appetit!
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