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Narric’s Guide to Writing an Army List for the Internet

Started by Narric, December 22, 2013, 09:17:14 PM

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Now, I know what you're thinking: "Who does this guy think he is telling me how to write an army list for my army/game system?" To answer your question, I am a guy who has seen a large number of army lists for numerous systems and factions. I primarily have seen Warhammer 40k and Fantasy Army Lists, so this is my current focus for this guide.

I shall say up front, that this is entirely my personal opinion. I am by no means saying this is the only way to write a list. This just how I do it, and up to writing this guide I've never had anyone ask for clarification of who has what.

For this guide, I shall be using the Chaos Space Marines Codex for 6th edition Warhammer 40k (no FAQs or Erratas)

What do I do?
- I always start by making the FOC titles larger and bolder than the writing on the units themselves, this gives a clear line between which unit/model is where in the FOC.
- Next, I write the unit title, and the total cost of the unit. Don't worry if you haven't selected the wargear and upgrades for the unit, as you can always edit this as you go.
- For a single miniature, like a Chaos Lord, the next line will be for any upgrades the model has. For this, we shall simply say a Power Sword and Sigil of Corruption.
- For a unit that includes a single lead Character (CSM Squad or Cultists squad), this second line is just for the Character. I always use a single word to denote this character, for this example, it is just "Champion." For upgrades for the squad, either for individual models of the unit as a whole, this goes on the next line down under "Squad."
- Once you have selected which units you want to take,  make a new line and title it "Total" and putting an equal sign to the side. Make the word "Total" bolder, to make it clear where the end of the list is.

Here is an example army list, to demonstrate what I am trying to explain.
Example List 1

Chaos Lord – 105pts
Power Weapon, Sigil of Corruption

Chaos Space Marine squad (5) – 95pts
Champion – Power Weapon, Meltabombs
Squad – Boltguns swapped for CCWs, 1x Flamer

Cultists (20) – 102pts
Champion – Shotgun
Squad – 2x Flamer

Total = 302pts

As you can see, it is mostly obviously obvious who has what.

Depending on how I feel at the time, I do also embolden the unit name. This divides seperate unit entries further.

However, this may not work for some armies, such as Tau and/or Imperial Guard. I shall give an example of what I'd do for a Tau unit of XV8 Crisis Suits or XV25 Stealth Suits (Codex Tau Empire, 4th/5th ed Codex)

Example Units

XV8 Crisis Suit Team (3) - 197pts
Shas'vre Team Leader - Cyclic Ion Blaster, Missile Pod, Targeting Array, Bonding Knife
Shas'ui 1 - Twin-linked Missile Pod, Flamer
Shas'ui 2 - Twin-linked Missile Pod, Drone Controller, 2x Shield Drones

XV25 Stealth Team (6) - 279pts
Shas'vre Team Leader - Burst Cannon, Targeting Array, Bonding Knife
3x Shas'ui - Burst Cannon, Drone Controller, 2x Gun Drones
2x Shas'ui - Fusion Blaster, Targeting Array

These two alternate types of unit writing are also clear. Comparing the list to the miniature, you can easily know which model has what unmodeled wargear, whether it be a Bonding Knife, or a Targeting Array.

The first unit is best for units made up of semi-unique individuals, whilst the latter is best for units that have duplicates of the same wargear loadout.

Lastly, I have a method for writing a unit for use when playtesting. For this i shall be using my own faction Codex, The Kadesh.

Playtest List Example
Heavy Assault Suit Squad - 105pts
WS:3 BS:3 S:6 T:4 W:3 I:3 A:2 Ld:9/8 Sv:3+
3 Models
Feel no Pain, Hammer of Wrath

Heavy Rifle
Range:24" Str:5 AP:3 Heavy 3

Energy Blade
Power Weapon with Concussive and Haywire

Weapon Stabiliser
Models with Heavy Weapons, treat them as Assault Weapons

Kadesh Recon Team - 55pts
WS:3 BS:4/3 S:3 T:3 W:1 I:3 A:2/1 Ld:9/8 Sv:5+
2 models

Range:12" Str:4 AP:5 Pistol

Sniper Rifle, CCW

Recon Armour
+1 to cover saves

Sergeant has +1 BS

Total = 160pts

This list is how I'd write down important details of a unit that needed playtesting. It serves as a quick reference for the playtester, as well as the opponent for important rolls such as Melee To Hit rolls and To wound rolls in general, as well as for tests such as Sweeping Advance, etc.

The two seperate units are divided by their unit names being emboldened, with the Total serving as a clear cut-off for the end of the list, for such details as in-game notes. This last method is entirely unimportant, and is only being shown here for an example of other ways of writing an army list.

Hopefully this has been an informative post. If you think my explanation was confusing, wish to see my take on writing an army list for a specific faction orgame system (I.e, and Imperial Guard Platoon list? Infinity the Game?), or you have an alternate method for writing a list, do take the time and post your thoughts on the subject.

Thank you very much for reading.


scar face

Nice guide  :)

Seen a lot of dodgy lists across the web, so hopefully this'll help sort stuff


This is very good Narric.  The number of times that I've ended up asking (or gently telling if it's the forum where I moderate) people to format their army lists along these lines to make them easier to read and follow has been far too frequent over the years, so at least here it's not possible to just link people to this thread.

The worst offenders are those who just copy and paste from army builder.  Reading through all of that when a simple list of optional wargear is all that is needed can be a real nuisance.

I think that it might be a good idea to post this twice as a sticky in both 40K army list boards, as that's where it would be of most help.
Soñando con una playa donde brilla el sol, un arco iris ilumina el cielo, y el mar espejea iridescentemente



A good post I recommend it to friends, then friends, they actually do.


Welcome to 2S! If you can convince your friends to join up then they'd be welcome too. If you want to introduce yourself, here's the place to do it. We're always happy to get a new member  :)