Tuesday, February 20, 2024

You Should Play Random Lists

Today I’m here to talk a bit about a killer tool I found, an Infinity Random List Generator! You may think I’m totally bonkers, but hear me out. Long ago, I wrote a series of articles where I challenged one of the top players I know, the legendary Barakiel, to three rounds of gaming.

I was a newer player at the time, but would have full knowledge of the faction he was playing, and the scenario to be played, plus the help of everyone to help craft the perfect list. Barakiel on the other hand would simply generate a random army, using the sweet Random List Generator. Replete with subpar profiles, including Tiger Soldier Lieutenants, and Shaolin Monks with Smoke Grenade Launchers, he proceeded to kick my ass.

Years later, I’ve come to find out that the creator of the Random List Generator has kept up development, improving it further. As you know, I’ve been playing Combined Army a lot lately, and what I’ve been finding is that list building for them isn’t nearly as fun as when I’m making Ikari, USAriadna, TAK, or Caledonia lists. The reason was that CA has a tool for EVERYTHING. I often boast to my local community, that it doesn’t matter as much what I take, as long as I have 10 models, used most of my SWC, and a few specialists, I’m good to go! Combined can get plenty of orders with Imetrons, Ikadrons, and R-Drones, as well as super powerful pieces like the Charontid.



Ideal is Bad

Whenever you go to start making a list for whatever army you play, you probably start with a few tools you consider your “must haves.” Maybe you always stick with the Med-tech Obsidon for Combined, Joan for PanOceania, or a Van Zant in Ariadna. From there, you probably add your preferred specialists, ideally infiltrating, with camouflage, and fill the rest with some of your choice power pieces for breaking enemy faces. This creates a safe list, that you’re familiar with, and probably know how to get the best milage out of, and a perfectly valid option for people who really want to practice hard for a tournament, have a limited selection of miniatures, or just are really comfortable playing with those toys… but it’s not for me.

The reason I think running random lists is a good idea is simple—by using tools I’m unfamiliar with, I’ll grow as a player. Without my usual crutches, I’m forced to think outside the box and come up with new ways to solve my problems. This is something all of us have experience with, any time the game is going sideways, and your favorite units have been destroyed, we start looking for new ways to solve the problems we face. It is in these desperate attempts to recover from a loss, that we grow the most as players.

When I play a faction, I PLAY the faction. I have every model and profile for Combined, Ikari Company, and USAriadna, and will soon add TAK and CHA to that list. Despite having a wide selection of miniatures, I noticed that about half of them never see the table. It’s not that I think any of them are “bad” necessarily, it’s more that it’s weird and scary to try new things.

So, to make playing games with my Combined a bit more interesting, I’m going to mostly be playing randomly generated lists from here on out.



It’s Not the List, it’s You!

We hear this mantra again and again, but how can we put it into practice. The principle of the statement is simple, that your experience with Infinity should be the primary reasoning behind your performance as a player. This is a simple concept, and some people throw fits about how if you take it 100% literally it means you should be able to win Highly Classified without any specialists… Obviously the statement is a broad generalization of a concept, one which I think is just as valid today as ever.

With that in mind, as I’m generating these lists, my basic rule is that as long as it has at least 10 orders, regular or otherwise, and 3 specialists, then I’ll throw it on the table. I also tend to re-roll lists which are generated that come up with obviously great combos, like Van Zant (Executive Order) with a Minuteman HMG Lieutenant, and Unknown Ranger Chain of Command. It’s only happened once, but that’s a combo I already know and love, so it doesn’t really help me grow to keep exploiting it.


Not All Talk

To really show my commitment to the concept, Jon (WiseKensai) of MercRecon, and I have both played randomly generated lists for a tournament last Saturday, and will be playing them again for a Showdown tournament tonight! Even though we get our butts kicked a bit more than usual, it’s still a really fun way to play.