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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?