When the going gets Tough: Madrak 1

It finally dropped! Yeah as im sure all the Trollblood players reading are more than aware for the past couple of weeks we have been enjoying the dynamic update of quite a few models that were looking to get “fixed” from the recent CID; PP did a great job of mainly sticking to the changes and producing an elegant solution to the Krielstone fueling issue and the tuning up of many other models.
The model I want to concentrate on today though is one that lots of people have been looking at, building for and playing currently and that’s the new powerful Madrak 1. Madrak 1 as gone from being the worst caster in Trolls to definitely in the conversation for best. The reworking of him has brought him back to his best in the form of a Defensive monster.

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The clever design works around his signature spell Even Ground which grants +2 Def and no Knockdown. His Feat which is pretty versatile, grants a d3 +3 heal to all models in Control and also prevents Charges against models in his Command. Finally the piece I think that pushes him over the top is Tactician, and all friendly warrior models can move, charge and see through each other whilst in his Control. The three elements together mean that despite playing him as a big blob on infantry you can be quite responsive to the opponent. Positioning has always been one of the more difficult lessons to learn as a new Trollbloods player due to the 40mm base size of most of our models, Tactician removes this issue, although I would advise to learn this skill otherwise when you play non Madrak 1 lists you trip yourself up all the time and block yourself in. The Feat again provides flexibility and practice to learn when to use it, I think the design is actually pretty clever as it rewards optimal use.

Champions
The more you understand the matchup you are playing the more mileage you’ll get out of the Feat. If your opponent out threats you, which will be most of the time as this appears to be one of the weaknesses of the list, then you can just it to remove that Alpha threat and exert pressure on the scenario. Simply measure out advance and melee range of the models and stand outside it. Very few models in the game can advance and melee more than the champions threat of 9”. Or in games when you opponent is going to try and attrition down your force from range you have the healing. I actually think having played him a good few times that the no charges are the better part of the Feat.
Personally Madrak 1 isn’t going to be able to kill a heavy without going dangerously low on fury but he does have a very effective axe to throw at people. Personally I find that I am always taking either an Impaler or Bomber mostly for Snipe. The axe serves as your best way to trigger Bloodboon to cast Even Ground which you should do every turn. The Ricochet is also pretty nice as an addition spot removal although in the current meta most solos you want to remove are stealth so you’ll have to take the original Elder rather than the Northkin one.
Key points to consider

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I think that although arguments can and should be made that Madrak 1 can play in any of the themes and brings something to all of them the place I feel he fits the best is Band of Heroes. The reason I say this is that I feel currently the Champions with Champion Hero can only be played in two themes (Storm of the North and Band of Heroes) and of the two I think the advantages of Band of Heroes in the build I feel is strongest outweigh SotN. The extra +2” board space is very good and better than the Snow Drifts from SotN which can hamper the movement of the beasts in the list and Madrak. But probably more significant is the Remove from Play granted ability on Melee attacks in BoH. Lots of people say the Melee RFP isn’t the way to beat Ghost Fleet which I agree on its own but I think you can play and practice it so that it gives you a game. Will the prevalence of Grymkin at the moment the denial of Corpses verses them is all big and it’s just a better ability in the meta than the free upkeep on Northkin models of which Madrak has none anyway. BoH also allows the inclusion of the Warders would I find fantastic if your opponent only has a few big guns or is looking of unboosted guns to try thin down your force before you get to them.

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I think another interesting choice is whether to play Long Riders or Champions as your workhorses of the list. I’m going to assume that we are playing the list in BoH and so these are the only infantry models available that are going to take advantage of the healing aspect of the feat and that have a high melee output. You could include Fennblades but without a damage buff then I would worry that the list would struggle to crack high arm or multiple high arm targets. You could take beasts but then your not take infantry and getting the free models.
So why take the Champions over the Long Riders? Well I feel that pushing whatever a Warlock does to the limit is an effective way to get a good list. In this case the Defensive Line stacking with Even Ground making the Champions Def 16 is what does it for me. The Long Riders are good and could be pretty strong as they have an increased threat range and the tricks that cavalry bring but for my testing im going to go with the Champions who once the lines have met have a slightly higher damage output. I think you can take either but I’m starting with the Champions.

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The other choice which I think is an interesting one is whether to take the new Northkin Elder or the standard Elder. You are really only taking the Northkin Elder in a BoH build for the +2 Str for the warrior models, so again it depends on other factors. Do you have other ways of getting magical attacks to deal with incorporeal models? Are you looking at facing lots of Continuous effects? If you do, for example you’re taking the Champions with a Sorcerer or don’t see a lot of Menoth, Legion or Minions then I think the additional +1 Str the Northkin Elder brings is very good but the utility of the original elder cannot be dismissed. For me I think the flexibility of the stander Elder is where I’m going to start.
Lastly for this this article, I think there’s the consideration of whether to take min warders or Sons of Bragg. Personally I think that if the opponent can deal with two units of Champions then they can deal with two units and the Sons of Bragg. I really don’t see what they offer in addition, now it could be that the extra output lets you play into lists with a greater number of heavies but I’m not convinced. What the Warders gives you is three Shield guards that can increase the pressure and likehood of you delivering the Champions and I think this is what the list is based around.
So this is the list
Trollblood – Madrak 1

Theme: Band of Heroes
3 / 3 Free Cards 75 / 75 Army

 

Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain – WB: +29
– Trollkin Runebearer – PC: 0
– Troll Bouncer – PC: 9 (Battlegroup Points Used: 9)
– Troll Impaler – PC: 11 (Battlegroup Points Used: 11)
– Swamp Troll – PC: 8 (Battlegroup Points Used: 8)

Fell Caller Hero – PC: 0
Trollkin Champion Hero – PC: 0
Stone Scribe Chronicler – PC: 4
Swamp Gobber Chef – PC: 1

Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes – Leader & 3 Grunts: 6
– Stone Scribe Elder – PC: 3
Kriel Warriors – Leader & 9 Grunts: 11
Trollkin Champions – Leader & 4 Grunts: 16
– Trollkin Sorcerer – PC: 3
– Skaldi Bonehammer – PC: 5
Trollkin Warders – Leader & 2 Grunts: 10
Trollkin Champions – Leader & 4 Grunts: 16

THEME: Band of Heroes
I think it’s an exciting time and that Madrak can be built in many different ways but this is my current take. I think it is a strong all comers list. What are people’s thoughts? What Madrak lists are you playing and why?


Skorne – The bridesmaids are finally getting married

So…Skorne. The perennial joke of Hordes, constantly considered subpar for many editions except for a broken model (Molik) and theme (Fist of Halaak). At the start of Mk3 they were so bad that Privateer Press were willing to go admit that they screwed up and revisited the whole faction 6 months later. Now, after an amazing errata and some really good themes given to them, they are on the cusp of becoming a big player in the game (at least in my opinion).

I have had a Skorne army for around 3 years, but they rarely come out due to my ongoing love of Khador, my first faction. Recently I have become a bit bored of the big red machine and need a break, with all the great themes, and Zaadesh2 as a fascinating caster, I have bought them out to play. Due to a lucky stock clearance and second-hand sales I also have most of a Makeda2 KitKat list, and my aim is to get them out at a tournament at the end of the month. Here are the two lists I am currently testing:

 

(Makeda 2) Supreme Archdomina Makeda [+27] (Masters of War Theme)
– Basilisk Krea [7]
– Molik Karn [19]
Mortitheurge Willbreaker [4]
Mortitheurge Willbreaker [4]
Tyrant Rhadeim [9]
Cataphract Cetrati (max) [18]
– Tyrant Vorkesh [0(6)]
Praetorian Ferox (max) [20]
Praetorian Ferox (max) [20]
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer [0(6)]
Tyrant Commander & Standard Bearer [0(6)]

  • Theme benefits of +1 starting roll and models gaining takedown and RFP on melee weapons

 

(Zaadesh 2) Lord Tyrant Zaadesh [+28] (Imperial Warhost Theme)
– Agonizer [0(6)]
– Archidon [10]
– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]
– Basilisk Krea [0(7)]
– Bronzeback Titan [18]
– Titan Gladiator [15]
– Titan Sentry [15]
– Titan Sentry [15]
Gremlin Swarm [3]
Paingiver Beast Handlers (max) [7]
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew [2]
Siege Animantarax [17]

  • Theme benefits of +2” deployment and beasts gaining hyper aggressive

The Makeda2 list exploits the standard trick of Ferox being tough (from the willbreakers), steady and then Makeda saving any who die with Stay Death. The most common list before the masters of war theme came out was to include the legends of halaak, min paingiver beast handlers and Orin Midwinter. This is still possible in the post-theme list, and you gain 2 x Tyrant Commanders for free, which helps speed up the cats even more. I have decided to go away from this and swap out the Legends and support for meat with a full unit of Cetrati. This also lets me include Vorkesh for free since I have broken through the 60pt limit for 3 free units/attachments. I am not sure if this will work, especially since it weakens molik and the fury management plus defence against spell assassination, but I want to give it a go. It adds some nice punch to the list, and with the tyrant commanders they are also a bit faster. I will write up how I get on with them after a few practice games.

The Zaadesh2 list plays as a great brick and has excellent ranged assassination defence, plus can also help clock an opponent with a frustrating feat turn. Originally, I ran it out of theme to have Tiberion in the list, but with my acquisition of a new Titan Sentry and the battle engine I have moved into theme. I have also added the Swamp Gobbers for a small unit to score a round zone, plus an additional cloud is extremely helpful with the way terrain is currently done in SR2017. The Gremlin Swarm is also another scenario piece since the only faction solo allowed is the Mortitheurge Willbreaker, which is not particularly good on a flag.

I believe that both lists have good play into Cryx and Cygnar, and provide problems for a lot of people out there. I need to try to avoid anyone with Tough removal when playing the Makeda2 list, but this is generally quite easy to spot, and unless it is widespread in the opposing army it can be played around.

My next article will cover the results of the tournament and any potential changes I will be looking at.

(Thanks to www.conflictchamber.com for providing an easy list builder to put my armies up)


When the going gets Tough: Borka 2

This week whilst we are still waiting for the dynamic update following the troll CID ive been looking at other lists I can play when the updates do drop. I’m pretty sure that most people will dive straight into variations of the new Madrak 1, assuming that he stays mostly the same. As long as Even Ground remains unchanged and he keeps Tactician I think there’s lots to explore, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.
What I had been thinking about is the other changes coming to our Warlocks. We have changes to Grim 1, making him an interesting meta choice due to his control feat and the gradual reappearance of infantry in the meta. Borka 1, who got a quality of life change to Mosh Pit and remains a strong (if a little boring) caster and last but by no means least, Borka 2.

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Borka 2 received a considerable overhaul and not without good reason. I would argue that prior to the CID, Borka 2 and Madrak 1 were easily our least competitive and weak casters. Neither really had a niche that was filled better by another warlock. This is what has had me thinking about the changes to Borka 2 and if they’ll open him up enough, distinguish him enough and ultimately either enable a list build that asks a new and different question to be asked, or answer one in the meta that we currently can’t answer.
So what does he do? Well it’s quite interesting to look at him broken down into his individual parts. In terms of raw stats he’s is easily one of the most survivalable, mobile, and threatening in terms of damage output and number of attacks. He is certainly top of the other beast casters in the faction ie Ragnor, Doomshaper 2 & 3 in this area, and on a par with the likes of Madrak 2.
Looking at his survivability, he is 14/18 (20 under the stone) but has the Defiant Rage which grants a +2/+2 to Str and Arm after an attack, so after the first attack he’ll be Arm 22 a lot of the time which makes him pretty hard although not impossible to kill. You’re going to need Boosted attacks at PS 14+ so really only Heavies are going to be able to down him without debuffs or the like. In terms of his Def 14, which isn’t great, however he has innate Pathfinder, Reposition (3), an army wide Concealment spell if the table is really sparse on defensive terrain and access to a number of Defensive Animi so he should be Def 16 if not higher most of the time. On top of the numbers he’ll also have transfers so is able to play forward and threaten the table.

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His mobility is also pretty impressive, SPD 7, Pathfinder and Reposition makes him our most mobile caster and only the fourth troll caster with Pathfinder. I think it’s important if you want to the build a list that maximises his personal threat you have the option to give him the +2 Mat buff from a Fell Caller regardless of terrain.
In regards to personal output he’s a cavalry model so has Impact attacks which at Mat 8 and Pow 14+, Knock down on hit with Trash is going to easily remove infantry. He also has Assault which is pretty situational, a Pow 15+ rng 2 Melee weapon and a good rule on his weapon in Crit Smite which probably isn’t worth playing for but will be useful as another tool box. So on first glance it looks like he only has the two initials but if he’s charging something, he’ll Impact attack it which unless its immune Knock down then means everything else hits, so a Pow 12, then Pow 15+. I think the combination of these abilities and his free Animus each turn means that he can kill Heavies himself, still camp a bit and Reposition back.

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Next up, his spell list and what I think makes him stand out in comparison to the likes of your Ragnors and Doomshapers and that is Battle Charged. This grants his battlegroup Counter Charge, Counter Charge is a strong ability, one that is unique in Trolls to Borka 2 and serves many different roles in the game. It can be a deterrent to infantry, or damaged beasts or jacks as the single attack can kill them or take out a system or aspect ending the activation or blunting it. It can be used to block a charge lane or as a threat extension, suddenly a beast or Borka 2 is 6” close to the Enemy caster that the player had planned for. There are also other Trollblood specific plays; the animus Winter Coat for example makes a model Stationary at the end of its activation if it ends within 2” of the affect model. This may not sound that great until you catch a heavy of high Def model with a Counter Charge and then auto Freeze it at the end of it activation, it’s also a great counter to one of the ways to play around Counter Charge and that’s to run and engage the Counter Charge model before using other models, now although the engaging model with no longer be engaging as its stationary it’ll still be blocking space with its base, this does however significantly blunt the play. His other spells, Frost Hammer which isn’t really going to get cast much and Snow Shroud which I think is a pretty strong Control Area wide Concealment buff, pushing models into the “needing to boost,” range of Def 14 +. It could also possibly allow for the Borka 2 player to hold the feat and utilise it in a more aggressive and effective way if you can deliver the army for an Alpha and then Feat.
Finally the Feat, its either Stealth on everything on the approach, or a pseudo defensive buff in that the model hit becomes Stationary after the attack. In practice that means that unless they have either a horde of weapon masters, single attack models or huge bases any melee threat is significantly reduced and shooting taken off the table if used in conjunction with Battle Charged, as if they move inside 5” to shoot they trigger Counter Charge. It’s an interesting Feat with some holes in it, I think there are definitely better Feats in the faction but it works well with Battle Charged and allows him some better plays due to the Stealth granting aspect.

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So having looked at his parts how does this come together? Well I find him quite interesting as outside of the Battle Charged he doesn’t really offer much to Beasts and apart from Snow Shroud (which affects Beasts) he doesn’t really offer much to Infantry. I think this maybe puts him in a pretty rare case in Trolls in that he seems a mixed arms caster with a very potent personal threat.
In my lists that I’ve built and played a couple of times I find that I’m tending to play him with a large battle group

Trollbloods Army – 75 / 75 points
[Theme] Storm of the North

(Borka 2) Borka, Vengeance of the Rimeshaws [+27]
– Dire Troll Mauler [15]
– Earthborn Dire Troll [14]
– Earthborn Dire Troll [14]
– Pyre Troll [8]
Northkin Shaman [0(4)]
Horthol, Long Rider Hero [8]
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (min) [6]
– Stone Scribe Elder [3]
Long Riders (max) [20]
Northkin Fire Eaters [7]
Northkin Fire Eaters [7]

The thinking around this list is you have two very hardy and mobile heavies, supported by a aggressive and mobile infantry package. I played after a Heylenna, 5 Heavy build and he found it very difficult to play around the aggressiveness of the list and the Feat. I’ve already decided that I think the list needs more Beasts to offer Counter Charge threats, so im going to swap out the Earthborn for two Bashers. I also found the Shaman pretty useless as you’re playing so far forward so his cloud isn’t that useful and the rest of the army has outpaced him so you can really use the Spray or Chiller. I think a Runebearer is probably much better as he passively extends his the Control Area and Feat and with Harmonious Exaltation and Borkas Attuned Spirit facilitate two Rages a turn for 1 Fury and in a pinch still has access to the magic spray. The final tweak I think will improve the list is I’m going to reduce the Long Riders to min and add a Winter Troll. The Winter Troll gives me another Beast but more importantly a strong animus to prevent the jamming of models around the Winter Troll and Borka who can cast it for free. A boostable spray is also a great tool.

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In summary and think hes interesting and unique due the Counter Charge, I think he’s vulnerable to Enemy Upkeeps as he is very focused on asking questions, he has almost no ability to answer any, but what I think he does is offer a very tanky caster that can get a lot of work done and really move around. I think the key to getting the most out of him is unlocking a list; both in terms of composition but also positioning to maximise the Battle Charged.
So what lists have you been playing? what are you excited to play? what are you thinking of pairing with him?


The Only Way is Up

So as most of you reading this will have read the Trollbloods finished the recent WTC with the lowest faction win rate all the Warmachine and Hordes Factions. I’ll just leave that there to settle.

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So, what does this mean? Well nothing really in my opinion. I think that the WTC is the best event in the planet, if you’ve never been you should seriously try. There’s a solo masters event, the best players in the world get together to play in the main event, it’s got some the highest quality streaming and one of the only places where over 400+ people who are passionate about WMH get together to drink, talk and play. What it isn’t is a solo players event of great size and all the data coming out of it doesn’t include the solos event that is there. So whilst the Trollblood stats coming from the main event tell us that at the WTC the Trollbloods did poorly I think that as a group of players we should use this as a string board rather than that we can never win because our faction is bad. I think often in communities the vocal players who cry foul haven’t play that many games or are blame the models for their poor play.
So where do we go from here? I think i heard it on the Swedish Podcast Moot Point that they felt that the Trolls struggled in the meta at that time because we played “Too Fair”. By this I think they meant we couldn’t affect our opponents game plans enough or ask them questions they would struggle to answer with our lists. I think that at the time this was a fair point but I think soon we will have the tools to push our lists into some pretty challenging places. I think Kolgrima gives us a Cloud wall, shutting down charging and gun lines. Madrak 1 allows a pretty tasty Def skew. Champions who can get into melee and be high def is something new, finally the changes to Grim 1 gives us a Feat that can time walk many opponents.

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I also agree that actually we need to try and solve the challenges of the meta by looking for solutions with what we have rather than asking PP for answers. Ive seen some great list design from players I really admire. Andy Garrard when faced with the Ghost Fleet problem created a very strong answer in Grissel 2, Bouncer, double Warders with Sorcerers and Fennblades in Band of Heroes. The list could shield guard the rifle shots from the Fennblades and the double warders meant that the opponent couldn’t get more than 4 shots onto a parasited unit of warders as you could shield guard to the unparasited unit and then remove the parasite with the Sorcerer. If Denny wants to reparasite then she need to go low and with Grissels gun she is always threatened. Andy played to list into Ryan Evans, Ghost fleet and Andy McBirnie, Ghost Fleet probably the top two Cryx players in the UK and won both games. Andy is a very good player but my point is that he saw a problem that people felt was dominating the meta, looked at what made the list so dangerous and then build a list that could counter those threats and bring solutions of its own.
Moving forward, in November we will be getting lots of new tools which I’m confident will enable us to answer lots of the current problems. I think that currently Cryx as strong obviously with the Dark Host – Ghost Fleet, Grymkin with Dreamer, Child and Heretic usually in Dark Menagerie and Cygnar Hayley 2&3 with Storm Striders and/or Lances. Id encourage the players to look at what makes these lists strong and craft a pair to answer them.
For example the Grymkin in a Dark Menagerie are a beast based brick, that’s looking to grind out games and ask a very serious question as its able to shield guard guns with Crabbits, Cancel spells with Cage Ragers, block charge lanes with Gremlin Swarms and on top of these theres the Arcana to contend with. However ive looked at this problem and believe that out threating them with multiple high damage models enables you to win the game, you take too many of the heavies on your alpha for them to come back and had to be very careful because if they come too far forward them you can kill the warlock.

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The list ive build (although using the CID rules) is
Doomshaper 2 – Power of Dhunia
– Runebearer
– Mulg
– Mauler
– Earthborn
– Axer
– Brawler
– Night Troll
Troll Whelps
Northkin Shaman
Max Krielstone + Elder
Dhunia Knot
The knot, night troll and Shaman are flexible but the core of the list looks to throw the beasts at the brick and kill the Heavies. Primal Shock kills Swarms, Aggitation causes all the beasts to become a burden. Ive played it twice and won both against very good Grymkin players. I think ive a list in my head that I can pair with it to play into the Cryx and Cygnar but ill leave that for another article.
So in summary, I think we need to be more creative, look to answer the meta rather than continue to play Doomshaper 3, and see what we can come up with. As a last point I think the Sea King works really well into brick lists.

What are you looking at that you think solves the meta?

 

 

 


Waiting for the Storm

So ive not written anything in a little while and from looking around at some of the other writers who are more Trollblood focused I don’t think this is an uncommon theme. I feel the general feeling from the more competitive players is that Trolls aren’t in a great place, which I agree with to some degree although not completely; for me personally it’s a strange side effect of the recent CID.
For a while after release of the Mk3 we played, tested, built, rebuilt and lots of players were feeling pigeon holed by the difficulties in cracking armour (or the perception of this issue) and the limitations of the changes to animi and reduction in the effectiveness of our infantry. So, people had already started to question if the changes to Trolls in the transition were enough, why there wasn’t really anything new and why outside of a beast brick our lists were narrow. Then PP announces that its overhauling Skorne and do a great job at fixing lots of bits and making the Skorne community reinvigorated and excited to play. The Skorne update was done outside of the CID and so when it went live it was instantly accessible, everyone knew the rules or could at least look them up and you could play them at events.

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I think it was five months of waiting between the Skorne update and the Northkin CID. During that time i played some interesting games, fiddled with some casters and played the game at a less intense level, mainly since I didn’t think you could play Trolls at the top tables without going into most popular matchups at a disadvantage. I started this blog and used my time to explore some other things I enjoy. I’d seen the Grymkin CID and not really engaged with it but been curious about the process, then the Cygnar Trenchers CID, and I looked at the stats and thought “oh that’s cool,” when they rebuilt Kraye and made him, in my opinion an interesting and fun looking caster to play.
Then the Northkin CID went live. And wow, some many great rules, a new interesting caster, a load of units and models that gave trolls some abilities and rules that we’ve not had before. This on its own would have been great but I think I might have been more pleased with the way in which PP and community through feedback went and fixed some many issues with existing models. Champions getting Sanguine Bond is very strong and along with +1 pow enables them to get to and kill heavies. Points reductions on the Earthborn and Sea King will mean they’ll see play. Winter Troll being brought up a notch and adding useful abilities means it’ll see play. Mulg and his all changes are great and give us access to an Arc node which is something else that’s new and exciting. Changes to the Kriel Stone opens up so any options and really makes it the centre of the army again but without feeling like such a tax. Finally the big changes to Madrak and Borka 2, the smaller changes to Grim and Borka 1 feel like we have three new casters to play with; all of whom are better and more focused.

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So where am I going with this? Well after the CID ended, start of August I was still really exicited, I played a lot of games with the new Madrak 1 and Kolgrima, I’ve been looking at Borka 2 lists, I painted my converted Borka 2 and finished a few other bits but the problem I’ve been having is I’ve not had any interest in playing in a tournament. The UK nationals came and went, I would have liked to have gone to see people and hang out but whenever I looked at putting some lists together I found it hard to get excited about the “old” rules. The rules the current models have don’t really interest me, we’ve seen what I hope is a pretty close to final reworking of the CID models which I’m excited to play but I find this kind of reinforces what a lot of players said since Mk3 was release. “Hordes, didn’t get the attention that Warmachine did,” “Trolls are in a bad place and have some design flaws,” etc, etc. The problem is, in some ways the CID confirms that some of the negativity was accurate and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Personally, I think that as soon update hits Warroom it’ll be fine but I feel that until that happens it’s like I’ve seen the holy grail but then had it taken away and won’t be returned for an unspecified time so I’m sat waiting.
I think this is a result of the CID being new and PP still looking at exactly how they are going to implement the changes in the CID and I certainly think that they should review all the suggested changes to ensure that things are balanced and there’s no unexpected interactions; but at the same time, its killed my interest in playing competitively until I can play the new “fixed” stuff that I think will be so good for the faction.

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So that’s where I’m at, and it’s a funny place. I’m very excited for the new models and rules but also in limbo as I don’t want to play my “bad” (read pre-CID) trolls.
Is anyone else feeling like this? Is it because I don’t play another faction and so can’t distract myself by playing anything else? I really want to play but with the new rules, do we think this will be a theme for factions going through the CID? Until then i guess im just waiting for the Troll Storm to roll in.


Enemy of the Meta-State

New themes, new Steamroller, new faction. What do you need? A shoot-from-the-hip guess at the future of the meta, that’s what.

Cygnar

Haley2 and 3 are still really good, even with the recent feat nerf to haley2. They can control the scenarios and always have a game. Sloane and Caine3 run mean gun lines, but with steamroller 2017 and the active scenario play they are really going to suffer. Nemo3 is still a sleeper hit, as is Stryker1, especially since his feat is going to give a timewalk effect in scenario play. They are still the top dogs.

Khador

The faction is good with 3 diverse themes. They can run jack heavy, combined or infantry heavy. Winterguard theme is good, it is going to have to change to having a more balanced list with jacks rather than all the rockets. Controlling those round zones is going to be tough. Vlad1 with 5 jacks and rocket spam is still good though. Butcher3 and Sorscha2 will be doing the rounds due to the fact that they have RFP for dealing with Cryx recursion. Irusk2 is amazing with the Iron Fang theme, and with Old Witch2 and the Man O War theme coming they are in a good place. I would expect the 6+ jack lists to drop away so that more balanced lists come in for scenario play, so a little less armour cracking needed.

Cryx

They have got a good bane theme now,  and variety is improving for them. Denny1 ghost pirates is very good and a strong gear check, plus with incorp battle engines, solos and units they are going to make winning by scenario really tough. With the max of 7 turns, timing them out is not really viable either. Skarre1 can run an extremely strong assassination list, and the banes give some more options for dealing with lots of armour.

Menoth

Menoth are currently lacking lots of good themes, but they have a couple of tricks. Definitely not near the top of the factions, with Harby being knocked down a lot. High Reclaimer has a tasty cloud wall and recursion though, and Amon is pretty good with his jacks. The real star is the kicky monk (Allegiant of the order of the Fist) are probably the second best scenario piece in the game. The high level of terrain at the center of the table in SR2017 is going to be hard on them, but it also normally allows some good hiding places for casters.

Retribution

Ret are good with a strong ranged game but also some good combat punch. They have a good mix of lists and a battle engine which puts out 2 x pow16 boosted damage every turn and can never be killed. Helios and Imperatus also are some fantastic scenario pieces, giving control over the zones.

Mercenaries

At the moment they are meh, though new themes will shake them up. Ossrum is a great caster with gun bunny spam, and will get better in scenario now since they can move so many models with bulldoze. Thexes will also get better since being able to move the enemy around all the zones will build up a lot of CPs. Come new themes though all bets are off and they could become really powerful.

Convergence

Convergence are pretty strong at the moment, but have a narrow list design. Basically it is prime axiom+TEP, or a galveniser+axis spam. The new themes should really open them up, as the current previews show, and the new caster at Christmas will offer a whole other dimension, making ranged lists very viable.

Trollbloods

Trolls were really blah, but their new CID tested northkin models and themes, which will be released in a month or two, really change them up. There is a very strong meat mountain, a cloud wall done right, and some potentially strong ranged lists. They also have excellent game in SR2017, now being able to bring some zone holding infantry and good beasts to hang around in the rectangles, plus super strong free solos from themes to go and be a PITA on the flags. I expect trolls to do well towards the end of the year and become a force to be reckoned with.

Circle

Circle are blah, very blah. Wyrmwood is still good, and Una2 griffon spam can be done but not as strong as it was pre-nerf (which was justified). Baldur2 with 2xwoldwraths are around, and there is the Ravager spam in theme, but they are not that hot and not on the top tables. Circle is really the last faction which needs a thorough CID process on the majority of their models. While they have some outstanding ones (Sentry Stones and Warpwolf Stalkers come to mind) they also have a lot of duds, and lost a lot of play with the nerf to shifting stones. I think that there is potential for them, and with some tweaks I think they could be given a new lease of life like Trolls have.

Legion

Legion are a strange bunch. Not super strong, but there is a brutal Lylyth3 list, and the Hellmouth is extremely powerful though not currently in themes (expect that to change next month and make our lives hell). Fyanna2 with Neraphs is a terror, and takes a lot of practice to play against, while Saeryn+rhyas2 are also good with a tasty piece trading and assassination. I suggest to be cautious (and bring RFP).

Skorne

Skorne are currently morphing into a very strong faction. There is a makeda2 list with 2 units of ferox which is a horrific attrition/assassination list (basically 10 cats, high def and arm, tough, steady, and when one goes down she burns a fury to keep it alive). When those Ferox go into theme and the list gets a bunch of free solos it is going to be even worse. Fatty runs an exceptional ranged list, and the derp turtle (Siege Animantarax) battle engine is really fast and hits like a ton of bricks now. And with the new themes they are going to be super strong counter punchers, which is a big benefit for SR2017. With new themes I think they will be pushed over the edge and into A tier faction territory.

Minions

Minions are not great, but not bad either. Rask is a terror, but there isn’t really a second list out there and gators really suffered by dropping to 5 boxes and other nerfs. I haven’t seen anything thrilling for them, but perhaps something will come along next year. At the moment I think they face an uphill struggle.

Grymkin

Grymkin, the new kids on the block, seem super strong. You are going to need to know them inside out if you want to do well, since their bag seems to be all gotchas, all game long. Perhaps once they have being around for a while it will calm down, but with the arcana it is like they have a mini sideboard for every game. With some high powered troops and heavies being able to kill almost anything quickly, and the best scenario piece in the game (Gremlin Swarms FTW) they are going to make a big splash once they are fully released.

Conclusion

The game is in an exciting place right now. SR2017 has shaken everything up, and provided some much needed tension to list design which will make finesse stronger than spam. I think the meta will adjust to a more balanced list type over the next few months, and clever niche picks for lists, such as putting in an otherwise ineffective light warjack/beast with a shield for zone holding, will become the sign of the top players.

Please let me know your thoughts on the meta. This is a fantastic time to play, and I am eager to hear other opinions.

About the Author

mangustheix (Marcus Steffen) has played WMH since Escalation, and has had minor success with some local SRs and team tournaments. He helps run the Cross Gaming Club and enjoys its extremely competitive meta while trying to resist his snowflake list building tendencies. 

 

 


Tom’s How to Paint: Glow Effects

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Hey guys, back again! Hopefully people enjoyed the last one (here) – people in the club chat certainly seemed to.

So much so that they started getting ideas above their station and making requests… So this one is going out for Toby, who can’t make things glow.

Object Source Lighting (or OSL) can be pretty intimidating, but (as with everything I’m planning on talking about on here) there are some simple ways to get a good looking tabletop version without having to be Mike McVey (luckily for me).

The first and most important rule for good looking, easy OSL is: Have a dark or medium base colour.
It’s very, very hard to make glow effects look good and sell themselves on light colours – this is because anything emitting light should be the brightest point on the model (in general). Just look at a lightbulb somewhere nearby and see how the light on the ceiling or wall around it ebbs away – this is even more pronounced with a coloured light.

So, having started with a nice medium or dark background, and knowing that the centre of the glow is going to be the brightest point, it follows that the glow should gently fade between those two extremes. To make this happen easily we’re going to use a Glaze Medium – this is basically paint that has no colour in it, adding transparency to the colour you mix it with. This makes it a lot easier to get a fade effect across a surface, as well as helping your highlight layers blend together.

So, I’m going to demonstrate three kinds of glow effects on a ‘spare’ Wold Wrath shoulder given to me by the good Dr. Norbert (this one is pretty flimsy in places so he got PP to replace it).

The processes in this technique have some pretty lengthly drying times, so be sure to let the previous layers dry completely before moving on to the next one – there’s nothing worse than having to start again because your final mixed in with the previous one and everything getting messed up…

0. Basecoated

Glows-Combined1

Here we have the three areas I’ll be working on, with the area finished. It’s much easier to do glows as the last element to the model, as the glow will ‘overlay’ everything else anyway, so I suggest finishing everything else first. If you’re specifically interested, I’ve broken down the colours and techniques I used on the stonework at the end of the article.

From left to right, we have a single glowing line across a plain area, a set of recessed runes, and a glowing gem (or other magical thingamabob).

1. White-out

Glows-Combined2

From here, thin down pure white (I use Vallejo Model Colour White) quite a lot (you want it to easily flow into the areas that will be glowing). Then, run a brush carefully(ish) through the line and/or runes, or around the glowing object.
Don’t worry too much if you go over the edges a little, this will help with the next step, just try and keep it close to the edges of the rune and not too overpowering (just whick  excess away with your brush or wipe it with your finger).

2. Main glow

Glows-Combined3

Grab a bright colour that you’d like your glow to be (in this case, I went for GW Moot Green), and mix it roughly 40/30/30 paint/glaze medium/water so you have a thin mixture that should have quite a bit of transparency to it.
Then for the line and rune, just run it roughly down the recess itself, and generously around the edges. Where you have a large area with nothing else glowing around it (as on the left), feather the glow colour out to help the blend.
For the glowing object, do something similar – paint around the object, feathering outwards – the more area you cover, the ‘brighter’ the object it. Where you’re hitting a raised area, treat it like you might a regular highlight, just extend the glow a little more to sell it (as you can see on the edges to the sides and below the gem).

3. Highlight

Glows-Combined4

The next layer helps make the glow pop. Pick or mix a highlight colour (I used GW Yriel Yellow), and mix it to roughly the same consistency as before (including the Glaze Medium). Repeat the process as above, but keep the highlight colour closer in to the recesses/object – on the object, keep the highlights on the edges to help it pop.

4. White-in

Glows-Combined5

The final step in most of these glows is a final pop highlight of white – make the mix even waterier (roughly 30/30/40 paint/glaze medium/water) so it runs down into the recess even if you mess up and splodge outside.
If some paint sticks on a flat surface, whick it up with your brush or wipe it off with your finger.
For the object, keep the white right in next to the source itself.

5. Final touches

Glows-Combined6

This is mostly finished, but you can take the opportunity to look at the model and see if you’d like to adjust anything before calling it done.
In this case, I thought the gem didn’t look sufficiently glow-y to be making as much light as it obviously is, so I grabbed my GW Moot Green and glazed a little around the edges, then added a coat of GW ‘Ard Coat (gloss varnish) to help the light pop.

 

 

 

 

So, there we go, all done! This is a pretty quick and dirty technique, but the fundamentals should see you through even if you want to go for a more advanced paint job.

 

Recipes

Stonework:
Basecoat VMC Grey Green
Sponge highlight Vallejo Game Colour Cold Grey
Sponge highlight 50/50 VGC Cold Grey/VMC Off White
Shade GW Nuln Oil
Edge highlight VMC Off White

Glow:
Wash VMC White / VMC Glaze Medium
Wash GW Moot Green / VMC Glaze Medium
Wash (less) GW Yriel Yellow / VMC Glaze Medium
Wash(even less) VMC White / VMC Glaze Medium


Relight my Fire: Fire Eaters

So, this week I wanted to have a little talk about the great little package that is both flexible and powerful; Fire Eaters were released in Mk2 and saw a lot of play initially. However, in the recent transition to Mk3 and the prevalence of theme forces in many people eyes the cost to field the Fire Eaters was outweighed by the benefits of the theme forces. The fact that there were no theme forces where you could play them only compounded the lack of Fire Eaters in lists since release of Power of Dhunia and Band of Heroes. Well all that’s is about change, in a couple of months we will not only have one theme force to play them in but two.1438549637865

Kriel Company and Storm of the North I think both offer benefits the Fire Eaters in different ways, due to different advantages and disadvantages that this unique, flavorful and well design unit possess. I want to look first at what makes them the premier skirmish unit in trolls.

Advantages – With Advanced Deploy and Speed 6 the unit can counter deploy and threaten large areas of the board from deployment. Many lists that run a jamming type screen do so hoping to rely on the high Def or protective rules like Stealth to protect them on the approach and mean that they take a much greater investment in resource to deal with than their points value. This means that the bulk of the army is delivered through either the jam succeeding or the opponent devoting so much resource to removing them that there is little left to prevent the rest of the army arriving unhindered. When under the effects of Continuous Fire the Fire Eaters benefit from their unique rule Fire’s Fury which grants boosted attack and damage rolls meaning that even Def 14/15 troops are hit on 8/9’s. These boosted attack rolls are what makes them so dangerous to the opponent’s troops, the fact that it comes in a spray 6” is what enables them to decimate opposing infantry. Assault and boosted damage are what enables them to threaten and put damage into high Arm targets.

Fire Eaters

The Assault rule and the fact that they are basically getting two attacks each means extra Fire Eater can do on average 10 points of damage to a Arm 18 heavy. Its this combination of rules that mean Fire Eaters pose a very real and versatile threat that opponents cannot ignore. The 15” threat of the boosted sprays means they either have to give ground or try and tempt you into a disadvantageous charge/assault.
The fact that their ranged attacks are sprays further combos with their already fearsome threat. In lists its often useful to bring different tools or at least have a plan for different commonly asked questions. For example, AoE’s are great for dealing with very high Def models as the scatter doesn’t need to hit. Sprays are effective as they ignore the common defensive benefits of concealment, cover and stealth. Although in this case they only gain an additional 1” of threat versus Stealth models’ due to usually needing to be within 5” to not auto miss the 6” is a great tool for clipping multiple models and really force multiplying the value of the boosted attack and damage rolls.
Each model also has five wounds and Steady when on Fire which is strong on the occasions when the opponent can’t quite kill them or they tough and are stood next turn ready to be disengaged so they can Assault off further into the juicy models hiding further behind the front line.
Their Def 13 also works great in pushing them into the range of needing to boost to hit them if your shooting or using magic to try and deal with them, greater pushing the expenditure vs reward divide wider.

hordes-trolls-fire-eaters-01
Disadvantages – So for me there are two biggest disadvantages that must be accounted for when looking to include Fire Eaters in a list. First is the lack of Pathfinder, you can take them without it but you will soon learn when playing a skill opponent that they use the lack of pathfinder on the Fire Eaters along with terrain to manage where you can go and cut down the threat range of them making them much less able to bully the board. If you don’t take a way to give them Pathfinder it also means that you can’t benefit from defensive terrain (except clouds) without reducing your offensive output, as you can’t charge over walls and lose half your distance if moving through Difficult ground.

Secondly you need a way to light them on Fire, meaning that usually you need to bring a limited number of models that enable you to do this without relying on Crit effects. Currently the best option outside of Warlocks is the Pyre troll or better yet another Fire Eater. Previously when the Pyre troll have much more utility and served his Warlock better he was a solid choice. However, in Mk3 I find it rarely the better choice to take one over another unit of Fire Eaters if you can. The trick with either is to position the lighter within walk range of the Fire Eaters to want to light up. They will need to be in a triangle position and clumped so that either the Fire Eater spray will catch all three or if using the Pyre troll the missed attack can’t deviate far enough to not light them all on Fire. The advantage of the Pyre troll technique is that when he misses the target the blast damage is mathematically impossible to damage the Fire Eaters because of the Fire’s Fury rule and the timing. The Continuous effect is applied on Hit and then they benefit from the +5 Arm vs Fire attacks for the Damage roll.
In the future, we will be able to light them up using the Hooch Hauler which I fear further relegates the Pyre troll but we will see. There is another method using one of the models in the unit to light up the others through Assaulting something along a line to catch them in the rear before they perform their Assault and Charge attacks. This method is useful to have in the tool box but means you are usually giving up some output and can leave you getting reduced value from the unit.

Hearthgut-Hooch-Hauler
Tricks and things to watch for – So once you’ve burn down an opponents world a few times they will soon learn to adapt to the Fire Eaters.
Things to watch out for:
• In order to threaten the application of Continuous Fire to the trio and send them off Assaulting lots of juice targets you need to position the unit very close together. Be mindful if your opponent has AoE’s, Sprays or Slam abilities or spells, as you can easily lose a unit before they get to rule the game.

• Check which models your opponent has that are immune to Fire. This great reduces the biggest threat of the Fire Eaters so make sure that you AD them properly and focus them of the models they can deal with.

• Sometimes if you are looking to make the most out of the Fire Eaters and send them into the opponent as fire and forget missiles careful not to use the Combat Warding Stone effect otherwise you’ll have just undone your work lighting them up.

• After the turn you light them on Fire doing expect them to be there the next turn. If your opponent doesn’t deal with them there’s the chance that they die to the Fire if it doesn’t go out. If it doesn’t they lose a lot in terms of output.

• Many opponents with run to jam them, this is tricky but can work in your favour. If you have a unit positioned to advance and spray of the first unit not only will you unjam the unit but you’ll also hopefully light them on Fire at the same time. If you don’t have another unit you can give an Advance order and use the medium base unit members to block LoS to the pyg who can then walk away, spray the other models in the unit catching the jamming model but more importantly lighting the front medium based models on Fire. Fire’s Fury applies to all attack and damage rolls and isn’t restricted to ranged attacks.

• Sometimes don’t feel the need to lead with the Fire Eaters. If your opponent has a good way to deal with them or out threats them, let the rest of our army move pass them and create a situation where you can use them as a second or even third wave when the volume of threats mean that they keep allocate the resource required or are force to apply that resource elsewhere.

images (1)
I think we are going to see lots of the Fire Eaters back in Storm of the North as coupled with the Ambush units in the theme they create an aggressive army that leaves very little space on the board where they are not threaten. In Kriel Company you get the +1 to go first which dependent on the matchup enables to pick board edge or first to further steal board space.


The Cross Gaming Club has a new home! Plus a Khador battle report

By Norbert Brunhuber, aka Dr_Norbert

Horse1

Welcome to the new home of the Cross Gaming Club – the Horse & Stables pub!  Conveniently located right next to the Lambeth North Tube station, or just a 10 minute walk from Waterloo, we are grateful to have found another home for our club right in the heart of London.

Horse2

The pub has an extensive food menu and being a freehouse, has loads of interesting beers on tap.  There is even a bar upstairs for us.

Horse3

The room is even more spacious than we had at our old location, with great lighting and aircon.  There’s room for 6 miniatures games to go on at once.

Horse4

And on top of that room for 2 boardgames to happen at the same time.  All in all a great move for us.  We game on Wednesdays starting at 6 pm with a second session that starts around 8:30 pm.  There is no charge for your first visit.  After that it’s £3 per session unless you are a member where it is £2 per session after a one time £20 membership fee.  We do ask that you purchase your dinner and have a couple of drinks in the pub if you can, as we do have a minimum spend each night.

If you wish to schedule a game with us, please post in our Challenges Forum, or else on our Facebook page.

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I was excited to attend the inaugural session and get a game of Warmachine in with my buddy Jaden, so let’s get on to the battle report!

Vlad 1 vs. Maelok – Recon II

Continuing my list practice for the WTC (and actually Iron Moot coming up soon), I stuck with my current list pair of Vlad 1 and Strakov 2.  Jaden was bringing Maelok along with a Blackhide Wrastler and Blind Walker, the Sacral Vault, Pendrake, a Witch Doc Croc, Totem Hunter, and 3 units of the improved Gatormen Posse, thanks to the theme list.  Based on that I didn’t want to take my Strakov 2 list which is filled with juicy infantry for his army to kill.  So it went to Vlad 1 to get on the field.  My Vlad 1 list is in the Winter Guard theme with 3 units of Rifle Corps + Rockets and 5 jacks.  I decided to try out my modification of this list which switches a Juggernaut for a Marauder and then adds an Artillery Kapitan.

Jaden elected to go first.  Here is how we unpacked our armies on the top of Turn 2.  The white piece of terrain in the middle of the board is a cloud.  The cork terrain on the back right is rubble.  The Devastator on the right is actually a proxy for an additional Marauder.

Jaden1

I decided to lead with my jacks and keep the infantry back because they were going to get slaughtered by his infantry and he didn’t have much shooting back, aside from the notable exception of the Sacral Vault.  That model had to be priority target number 1 before it got protected by the feat since I have next to no magical weapons.  I used 3 jacks on the right to protect some of the infantry as well.

I’m still learning a bit about the nuances of SR2017 and can tell you a key mistake I made already in this game.  That was not running the Artillery Kapitan over to the right so he could get on my flag as soon as scoring started.  He doesn’t help my artillery enough in this matchup to contribute much in that way, but he is my added solo element to the list specifically to score on flags as necessary.  I’ve learned that you have to use “defensive scoring” on your own zones/flags right away in SR2017 as it can matter later on in the tiebreakers.

After weathering some attacks by Jaden, I feated and put boundless charge on one of my Marauders.  That one went long into the Blind Walker leaving him on one box (a recurrent theme in this game) whilst the other Marauder went into the Sacral Vault killing it.  The other jacks ran left to block the advance of that set of posse and the Wrastler.  Here’s what the bottom of Turn 2 looked like:

Jaden2

Jaden’s counterpunch was quite good.  Whilst the 2 jacks on the left were still alive, they were severely crippled.  He was also able to clear out one of my forward jacks as well and put some damage on the 2nd one.  He ran up his solo to start scoring on his flag and also put a gator on my flag to prevent me from scoring there.  Finally he feated to make everyone incorporeal.  He threatened Vlad by getting the Totem Hunter up the middle of the board.  Top of Turn 3 looked like this:

Jaden3

I didn’t take a picture of the next turn because not much happened, since I couldn’t get through the incorporeal.  Vlad walked up and killed the Totem Hunter.  My objective gave magic weapons to the Marauder and it went right to clear off the gator on my flag.

Jaden made quick work off of my remaining jacks on the left and tried to kill the jack next to the Blind Walker, but it didn’t quite do it.  It was clear now that I should try to end this game with a ranged assassination since Maelok was no longer protected.  This is when I made a major rookie mistake.  Not having played Hordes in a while, I went ahead and cleared off the nearly dead Blind Walker with my crippled Marauder.  Big mistake, because Maelok promptly reaved the fury and went from 1 camp to 4 camp.  Argh!  I put a lot of S&P shots into him but they were all shunted off into the Wrastler.

Jaden4

With that, Jaden closed in and it became a matter of who could score more points in the little time that both of us had left on the clocks.  This is where an odd situation happened that could be important for SR2017 going forward.  I thought I could clock him out, but as it turns out we each only had 32 seconds left on the clock left and with the 15 second rule, I would be forced to ship the clock over to him two more times which meant that we would go to Turn 7 and the game immediately end.  This was significant because he was up on CPs over me and whilst he didn’t have the 5 more needed to win, his majority over me meant that tiebreaks at Turn 7 would give him the win.  Realising this, I just conceded the game over to Jaden.  Here’s what the final table state looked like:

Jaden5

Really important game for me for two reasons.  First was to brush off that Hordes mechanic when it comes to assassination runs.  Second was the peculiarities about scoring, Turn 7, and Deathclock in SR2017.  Had I had my solo flag scoring right from the start, I may have had more CPs than Jaden at Turn 7.  Important lessons and a great game to cap off our first evening at our new venue.  If you are in central London on a Wednesday, please do join us!

 

 

 

 


When the going gets Tough: Trollkin Champions

I come to write this in eager anticipation of the latest CID changes coming online and tournament legal. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the community integrated development program, Privateer Press has adopted a new approach to play-testing new models and reviewing old ones. In the latest cycle, the new Trollkin Northkin models were tested and seem like they will be a breath of fresh air to troll players. Those new models however won’t be available until they are released, which is likely around November/December time. But included in the cycle were many older Trollkin models; one of which were the Trollkin Champions.

Champions
To best explain my excitement of what the new changes mean (if they stay the same) I need to explain my perception of the meta and the Trollkin faction since Mk3. In the transition Trollbloods lost one of its main play styles, infantry heavy backed by a selection of utility lights, but mainly maxing out the army with a mix of single and multi-wound infantry. Now there are a number of reasons why this playstyle had died off in the past year; firstly, the reduction in cost of warjacks, their increased output via Power Up, the changes to Animi targeting of the lights in faction from Range to Self and finally the reduction of the one of the more powerful Trollkin infantry casters Grissel 1. Coupled with these there were also many anti infantry choices added to factions enabling them to very effectively clear infantry.

Trollkin-Champions_Nstor-Ossandn-&-Andrea-Uderzo

So why has any of the above changed? Well let’s look at the changes proposed in the CID for the Champions. There is a decrease in points, granted it’s only a 1-point reduction but this does allow more models to be taken which means more attacks to throw at the enemy. Secondly, they are hopefully adding Sanguine Bond, this allows the damage suffered by a single champion can be spread around the unit to maximise the number left standing at the end of the opponents turn. The Sanguine bond also puts the Champions out of the danger range of low Pow shooting. At dice of -7 from a military rifle, even with a spike the Sanguine Bond prevents the need to make a Tough check and will force the opponent to dictate great Pow weapons to deal with them. When you take the Champions with the Champion Hero they gain Retaliatory Strike, this combined with Defensive Line mean you have the ability (if the models are in Base to Base) to spread damage with Sanguine Bond, leaving the model alive and triggering the Retaliatory Strike as long as the attacking model is within 1”. Finally, the last change is that they have increased the Strength of the Champions so they are now P + S 12 base. This is very important as its now in the range that enables the Champions to kill heavies, and with a combination of buffs kill multiple heavies.

trollkin-hero
So how do I play them? Well the problem with Champions and admittedly this hasn’t changed in the CID is that they still threaten via a Charge a mere 9”. The problem that this poses is that you are going to have to find a way to deliver them (or not ;)) . They are couple of ways in which to do this

  1. Use them as a second counter punch unit behind your front line. Position the Champions anywhere up to 9” behind your front line. Ask your opponent if they come in to kill your front unit do they want to take the Champion charges.
  2.  If the threat to the Champions comes from Ranged attacks you can support them with a unit of Warders to Shield Guard them from the higher Pow shots that come into them.
  3. Use a defensive buff or feat to deliver them. A couple of great synergies that are a great fit with the Champions are – Gunnbjorn’s Feat has it prevents Ranged Attacks, his Rock Wall to give Cover to some of the unit and prevent non-Pathfinder unit/models. Borka 1, Arcane Ward pushes them to Def 14 to Ranged who can’t be targeted by Magic attacks and Def 16 in Melee. Calandra, Starcrossed is a Def buff against all attacks. Grissel 2, has Deflection to raise their Def to 14 vs Magic and Ranged attacks. Horgle 2, has Invoilable Resolve to increase the Arm to 20. Jarl, Feat can hide them and remove the increased threat range advantage most opponents will have, Quicken increases their Def against Ranged and Magic. Madrak 1 (CID version) gives them a universal Def buff against everything, his Feat is also very strong in healing all the multiple wound models you want to take with him and prevent charges against them. Madrak 3, Feat enables 4+ tough. Ragnor, has Earths Sanctuary to give individual models +4 Def against Ranged and Magic. Kolgrima, has clouds to hide them..
  4. The final strategy is to present them as a front line but with one of the defensive buffs above on them to increase their Def to levels that the odds of the opponent’s infantry hitting them in Melee makes it so that they need to commit a Heavy to do the job.

skaldi_CLPD

The reasons I think that the Trollblood multi wound infantry is going to make a comeback is that the combination of the above; reduction of points, ability to spread damage through Sanguine Bond, Retaliatory Strike triggering (when in BtB) 33% of the time due to Tough and Steady giving a strike back gaining more value from the Champion and the increase in the P + S to 12 (13 or 14 under stone or in Northkin) is massive to creating situations when the points investment required to remove the Champions, means that the Champions can favorably trade with Heavies.
Offensively charging Champions now do:Charging Ps 13 (assuming a hit) does 8 damage to a Arm 19 Heavy, the second attack does 5 damage. This means that three Champions will reliably remove an Arm 19 heavy.

Three Champions cost 10 points which is equivalent to the budget heavies available to the warmachine faction, and much cheaper than the Hordes budget heavies which are around 12 points. These heavies are usually only 1” Reach meaning things like Retaliatory Strike can Trigger but also allows you to position so that the model can only reach one model to attack it, the next turn the Champions can charge in Retaliation and wreck or cripple the jack/beast. The other important number that comes up is the Def 14+, even Mat 7 Jacks/Beasts need too boost to hit and then dependent on if there aren’t other models available to attack, you can either let the Champion die to waste allocated Focus or go for the Tough to Ret Strike back.

420cd94e7f643e314a7a669b1fe50d74--art-reference-character-art
I think the casters that support the Champions the best are the ones that either help deliver them so any one of the casters above but also the ones that can either increase the threat range or damage output. The best ones do the two or three of the above.
I think the casters to try the new Champions are Borka 1, Madrak 1/2/3, Kolgrima 1, Horgle 2, Grissel 1 & 2 and maybe Jarl. I am looking to try them in them Storm of the North as I think that the Northkin Elder “Stone Cold” ability is huge and pushing them into the realm of two Champions removing Heavies, the Theme benefit of the Snow Drifts gives Concealment on the way into Melee, and the new Ambushing units could create an interesting situation that serves as a distraction. The Band of Heroes theme grants the +2” deployment meaning you can be closer to the enemy and gives access to the Stone Scribe Chronicler and Fennblades Screen.

I feel very exicted to get the new models on the table and for all the options we have in the new models coming out but also the old stable that have been given a new lease of life, good job PP.


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