First of all, let's be clear; An army list is supposed to be easy to read
. A TO, or the experienced internet reader should only need to glance at your list to know what's going on. If a question is asked about your list, such as "What does that mean?", it means that you've done your list wrong. To that end, the first thing you need to know about your list is to never. Use. Abbreviations.
When can you write shorthand? Never.
Also in line with the above, nobody wants to read through redundant crap that they already know. You don't need to write that your Space Marines have Bolters. It's right there in the Codex. You start with it, and you can't get rid of it. Everyone knows that a Tactical Marine carries a Bolter. You don't need to write it. The only things you need to write are the options
for any given unit.
More recent Codecies give you the option of replacing X and/or Y for Wargear. Write what else you have, what did you not
replace? People need to know that.
If you write nothing, it assumes that no options are taken, and whatever is default is what you've got. Keep in mind that more recent Codecies give 'or' default options. People need to know what you took.
Like things, should be written on the same line. For example, if you have a Flamer and a Missile Launcher in the same unit, they both go on the same line. Seperated by a comma (,). Squad Sergeants and other like 'character models' should always be written on a new line.
Also, with keeping your list short, how many models are in the squad? Are there a 'Tactical Squad with 5 extra marines', or is there a 'Tactical Squad, x10'?
Options, like everything else, should always be written in the Order that they appear in the Codex.
Independent Character Warger can often be tricky to write. [Weapons], [Armour], [Everything Else]. Wargear that changes the Unit Type of the IC - such as Bikes/Jetbikes or Jump Packs - are usually written as the first thing, or the last thing on the line. Terminator Armour is also usally written as the first thing on the line as it determines all other wargear. Ultimately, there are no hard and fast rules for IC Wargear. Just make sure that it makes sense, and follows some kind of order.
Psychic Powers are usually written on a seperate line. Psychic Powers are chosen as part of the list (Eldar Powers even cost points), and you do
have to write them down.
Ultimately, if you're using more than 3 lines to write your unit, you're doing it wrong. There are very few units with more than one 'character model' that needs it's own seperate line. Units such as Ork Nobz, Space Wolf Wolf Guard, Eldar Seer Councicals and Eldar Harlequins can often look unweildy on the page. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. And you should write those units just like you would everything else. If you have two identical character models, do no write them seperately.
If your unit is not an 'unwiedly unit', and you're taking less
than three lines to write your unit, chances are you're missing something, or being super confusing. Or have no options for the unit.
It's easier for everyone, if you write all your units in the order that they appear in the Codex. That way, your reader only needs to go forwards in his Codex as he reads your list. Or, a TO can look at your models on the board and force you to show him your list, if he's looking for a Heavy Support unit, his eyes will go straight to the bottom of the page, and then it's not there, and he has to read your whole
list just to find the one unit...
To that end, lists should always be written as
HQ => Elites => Troops => Fast Attack => Heavy Support
exception to this rule is Space Marines, who write Troops => Elites. Why? For no apparent reason. That's why. Most people will write Space Marine lists as Elites => Troops anyway, because. Force of Habit? Same as everyone else? Who knows? Anyway, now that you've read this, you should too. Somehow, nobobdy has a problem with it.
Multiple units of the same Force Organisation slot should be written in the order that they appear the Codex. Dire Avengers should appear in your list before, say, Guardian Jetbikes. Furthermore, larger units of the same unit, should also appear before the smaller units. Units with Transports (regardless of unit size) should also take precedence over units without Transports. It cleans up the list. Basically, the more options/lines you take to write your list, the further 'up' it should go.
Unit 1 with Transport
Unit 2 with 10 models
Unit 2 with 6 models
Unit 3 with 7 models and a Transport
Unit 3 with 10 models
Additions to the unit are any such model that can't be identified in the 'x#' marker of the unit - such as Dedicated Transports, Eldar Warlocks, or Space Wolf Wolf Guard, Thousand Sons Sorcerers - should be clearly marked
as being attached to the unit that they're attached to. Often by a '+' or '-'. Not
written at the very bottom of your list where it could be inferred that they could be attached to anything. Such things are normally chosen as part of the unit
, and your list should reflect as such.
For example, an Eldar Spiritseer can't be represented using 'Wraithguard, x5' or a Thousand Sons Aspiring Sorcerer is actually a seperate model to 'Thousand Sons, x7', as these are not upgrades like Sergeant models, but entirely seperate models with their own points cost, they need to be added
to the unit. But, they are still part of the unit.
In regards to Dedicated Transports, many players include their points cost as part of the unit's whole. It doesn't really make a difference how the list is read, but, there's less numbers involved.
When writing Independent Characters, the unit that 'you want them to go with' should never be written directly underneath the IC. ICs can be attached to any unit they want. Unless the unit is a bona fide retinue unit that the IC is forced to be with (which are only found in older Codecies anyway), the unit the IC travels with should always be written in it's appropriate section. If it's super important, you can make a note of it underneath the list.
What Point Bracket are you playing in? It's important to know. 1000, 1500 and 1750 are the most common. Tournaments are usually run in the 1500 or 1750 bracket. Most casual games are done at 1500 or 2000. Unless you're part of a tournament crowd who see no need to play over 1750. 2000 point games take too long.
Always list the points cost of your unit. Either next to the unit's name, or underneath the unit on a new line. Either way is up to you. One takes up a whole line by itself, one doesn't. Choose wisely. People need to know how much your unit costs (and if you've calcuated wrong/cheating) and what point bracket you're playing in because there are some choices that are just bad or unfair.
Show your point total. If it's not exactly
the point bracket that you're playing in, people need to know that. Especially if you're posting on the internet for criticisms. There are a lot of savvy people on the internet who can do a whole lot with the 2 spare points that you haven't used.
Do not, ever show individual points costs for options and Wargear
. It's one of the very, very few things GW doesn't let people talk about. So, just don't do it. On other forums (where the mods are 40K-savvy), posters have been banned, and whole websites have been suspended or shut down for showing Wargear Costs. Yeah. That's all it takes. Just write that you have the Wargear. Nothing else. Don't write points
Posting on the Internet
, or, How to Take Criticisms
Unless you've come out and said that your list is the greatest thing in the whole wide world (when it isn't) and there's nothing that can beat it (when there is), and nobody would want to change it (when they do), nobody on the internet is really out to get you. Your list is not bad, and you shouldn't feel bad. Sometimes your list is bad, but, you still shouldn't feel bad.
And, it's sad but true, What You Like, and What Is Good are usually two completely different things. If there are certain units that you like and want to keep in your list, make sure people know that. Thematic Lists are rarely Good Lists. If you want to preserve a list's theme, make sure people know that.
Also, lists posted online are generally looked at for 'all-comers', which, essentially means you'll be playing ~60% Marines (any colour) or Marine Equivalents (Chaos Marines, Sisters, Necrons, etc), and ~40% everything else. If this is not the case (like you bought AoBR and all you ever play against is Orks), you should tell people that.
When posting a list 'of the models you have', make sure people know that. Make sure people know that you can't afford/get different models. They'll still probably hate your list, but, at least they'll know that there's nothing you can do about it.
However, do take note, that 'on the internet', the fact that you don't have or can't afford models is not really an excuse. Because the simple response is "Why not? You should."
If your list is bad, it's bad. And people will tell you so (but, that doesn't make it an attack on you, personally. Don't get too defensive). Because of this, at least think about trying to get the models sometime in the near future.
*Sample List in the near future.*