Monday, May 20, 2013

Battle Report: Ossyan vs. Durgan Madhammer at 35pts

Here's the other game I played this past Friday:

I played my Ossyan list:

Lord Arcanish Ossyan (+6)
*Banshee (10)
*Manticore (8)

10 Dawguard Invictors (10)
*Officer and Standard (2)
10 Mage Hunter Strike Force (8)
*Strike Force Commander (2)

Arcanist (1)

I've only used this incarnation of my Ossyan list a few times.  It hits extremely hard from a deceptively long range with the Mage Hunter Strike Force, and Dawnguard Invictors.  The Manticore and Banshee give it some good support with their abilities.  It is vulnerable to fast jamming units, however.  Neither the Mage Hunters nor the Invictors are great at melee, and will tend to struggle with a jam just long enough for opponents to capitalize with their second wave models.

My opponent, Ben, decided to break out his Durgen list for more explosions:

Durgen Madhammer (+6)
*Ghordson Driller (6)
Sylas Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2)

Cylena Raefyll and 5 Nyss Hunters (7)
10 Kayazy Assassins (8)
*Kayazy Assassin Underboss (2)
Lady Aiyanna and Master Holt (4)
Kayazy Eliminators (3)

Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord (2)
Saxon Orrick (2)
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (2)
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile (2)
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator (1)

This list seems to be a core of exceptionally strong Merc units (the Nyss Hunters and Kayazy Assassins) surrounded by a whole lot of support.  Durgen has a dangerous ranged game, and a very good spell list to make those units as troublesome as possible in a slugfest.  He handles units, especially low-Arm units well, and the list can take down heavies with concerted effort.  I would worry about facing a beast brick with a list like this though.  It doesn't have great tools for taking on a lot of heavies at once.


I won the roll-off, and decided to go first.  I deployed my Invictors in two clumps of 6 ready to march around a small forest in the center of the table.  The Banshee went between the Dawnguard clumps, and the Manticore went on the left.  Ossyan and the Arcanist deployed behind the Invictors and 'Jacks.

Ben Deployed the Kayazy (both the Assassins unit and the Eliminators) in the center-left to jam my Invictors and Jacks.  The Nyss went on my right flank.  Durgen, MacNaile, Reinholdt, and the Driller went in the middle near a hill they could climb on.  The other support solos went behind the Kayazy.

Finally, I put my Mage Hunters opposite the Nyss.

Turn 1

I ran most of my models.  Ossyan put Shatter Storm on the Mage Hunters and Quicken on the Invictors, who stayed in Defensive Line formation as they sprinted upfield.

Ben ran the Kayazy Assassins and Eliminators toward my troops.  Reinholdt put Reload on Durgen, and MacNaile used his mini-Feat to give nearby Mercs +2" of range on their ranged attacks.  Finally, Durgen advanced, put Explosivo on 3 Nyss, and Carpet Bombed the Mage Hunters, killing about 4.  The Nyss fired explosive arrows at the Mage Hunters, and killed 1 more.  The Driller ran to screen Durgen from my leftmost troops.

First blood to the Mercenaries, but Durgen was pretty far forward, and I might have a shot at him.  Hopefully I hadn't misplaced my Invictors so badly that I couldn't capitalize.

Turn 2

I started off by upkeeping Quicken from the Invictors, and dropping Shatterstorm.  Then Ossyan Feated and charged a Mage Hunter in the back.  He didn't quite make it, but did toe into that central forest, which protected him from a lot of what Ben could throw his way next turn.  More importantly, it put Durgen in his CTRL, so I'd get  With the Feat adding to their damage rolls, the remaining Mage Hunters advanced, and shot the Driller, hoping to destroy it to open line of sight to Durgen for my far group of Invictors.  They damaged it heavily, but didn't get rid of it.  The Invictors used Extend Fire to get range to Durgen, and all those who could see him blasted him with 2-man CRA's, taking him down to 3 hit boxes.  Three of the remaining 5 Invictors finished off the Driller, but the last 2 couldn't CRA Durgen, because one was out of range, and the shot missed.  Last, I ran the Banshee forward to stop a lot of the Kayazy from charging, and advanced the Manticore, which put a Covering Fire template on my Invictors (still in Defensive Line) to keep the Kayazy from killing them.

Ben was locked down pretty well, and Ossyan's Feat was preventing him from doing much ranged damage, so he decided to do what he could to the models he could reach, and jam the rest.  Durgen lurched into the Driller's Wreck for Cover, cast Primed on the Kayazy Assassins, and camped the rest of his Focus.  The Eliminators charged into the Mage Hunters, killing 4 and causing the remaining 2 to flee, and Side Stepped into the front Invictors on their side.  The Kayazy had no good charge targets, but ran to engage both Myrmidons, Ossyan, and one other unengaged Invictor.  The Nyss charged into the last remaining Mage Hunters, and killed the only one besides the Commander.  Saxon killed the Arcanist, and Holt took some shots at an Invictor in the Covering Fire template, but didn't kill him on 1d6.  Rhupert gave the Kayazy +1 Def and Terror, but the Invictors weren't scared.

I had a few options at this point.  I could try to play attrition against Ben's Kayazy and Nyss, and maneuver the warjacks around for another shot at Durgen, or I could ignore most of Ben's infantry, and go after Durgen again.  Fortunately, the start of both plans was the same, so I wouldn't have to choose right away.

Turn 3

I allocated 2 Focus to each Myrmidon, and dropped Quicken.  The Manticore Trampled over a few Kayazy Assassins to free up the Banshee, which actually lost a column to the resulting explosion.  The Banshee then Trampled over a few more Kayazy, killing one to free up the Invictors who had been protected by the Covering Fire template last turn, and ended up engaging Aiyanna, Holt, and Gorman. :D  Then, I decided to go for it.  Durgen was only at 3 hit points, and even at Def 20 (for being on a hill and in Cover) and Arm 19, it seemed worth the risk.  The Engaged Invictors managed to kill off the two Kayazy Eliminators to free up one of their brethren, and the far Invictors carefully advanced around all Kayazy melee arcs in a sort of Conga Line until they looked to be with 10" of Durgen.  Then I did a 4-elf CRA.  It hit thanks to the Combined Arms reroll, and did just enough damage to kill Durgen.

Victory to the Retribution!


Well, I definitely lucked out on that last assassination run, but I basically played an ok game.  I made some mistakes in Deployment.  I should have deployed all my Invictors together to coordinate them a little better.  I played pretty solidly otherwise.  I used the Myrmidons well this game.  Running up, and trampling through the lines with them was a good move that kept the Kayazy from jamming as effectively as they usually do.  I also put the pressure on in my second turn with the almost-successful ranged assassination.  On turn 3, the smart move was definitely to play attrition, and get the Myrmidons into Durgen when I could.  Trying for a ranged assassination against Def 20 Arm 19 was a long shot, even with the Combined Arms reroll, could easily have been a waste of my only remaining unit's activation.

I like this list pretty well, but it is definitely vulnerable to jamming.  Invictors just have trouble clearing models out, and part of the reason I went for the assassination on turn 3 was that I wasn't confident they'd fight their way free of the Kayazy.  They are amazingly effective with Ossyan's Feat though.  Their guns are very accurate, and can threaten a long distance between Quicken and Extend Fire.  If just one more Invictor had been in range to CRA Durgen, I'd have killed him on the top of turn 2.  Mage Hunters aren't an ideal jamming unit/tarpit either, since they'd like to be shooting and hiding.  Lots of people have been touting Halberdiers with Ossyan, and I'll definitely give them a try (possibly instead of the Manticore) as soon as I pick them up.

Ben made a mistake early on by overexposing Durgen.  He was too interested in stopping the Mage Hunters before they could do serious damage, and misjudged the threat range and accuracy of the Invictors under Quicken.  He started to recover well on his second turn when his list's superior attrition game against mine started coming into play, but Durgen was already badly damaged, and that was enough for me to win.

Ben's list seems effective, but it does invest heavily in support solos.  I'm not sure what Merc option would fit the bill, but it seems like a dedicated ranged unit would fit well in the list.  Alternately, the Driller could be upgraded to a 'jack with a more imposing gun.  Durgen's personal ranged threat is pretty significant, and I feel like he'd benefit from having a few more models to back him up in early game shooting.

Thanks for a great game!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Battle Report: Kaelyssa vs. Gunnbjorn at 35pts

It's been a while.  I had some more of my story lined up for you, but then I got to play a couple of games.  For this one, I went with Retribution and Kaelyssa.

I played:

Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper (+7)
*Phoenix (10)
*Banshee (10)
*Sylas Wyshnalyrr, the Seeker (2)

10 Dawnguard Invictors (10)
*Officer and Standard Bearer (2)
6 Mage Hunter Strike Force (5)
*Strike Force Commander (2)

Arcanist (1)

I've played this Kaelyssa list a couple of times, and I'm starting to get the hang of it.  The Phoenix and Banshee are both great for infantry support, the Invictors are a solid shooting unit that's pretty good at melee when it can Flank with the Warjacks.  The Strike Force is a powerful toolbox unit that threatens many different targets.  In short, I have a lot of firepower, and pack a decent punch in melee.  My list's biggest weakness is the lack of a jamming element, meaning it has a tendency to get jammed itself.  If that lets my opponent deny me Flank on the Invictors, my melee options against enemy heavies are limited.

My regular opponent and co-blogger, Caleb, went with:

Captain Gunnbjorn (+5)
*Dire Troll Bomber (10)
*Slag Troll (6)
*Troll Impaler (5)
*Rune Bearer (2)

10 Kriel Warriors (6)
*Piper and Standard Bearer (2)
*2 Caber Throwers (2)
6 Pyg Bushwhackers (5)

Stone Scribe Chronicler (2)

His thoughts on this list can be found in this post.  It seems like a solid gunline list for trolls.  The Kriel Warriors are a good jamming unit that can hit hard with the Caber Throwers.  The Beast selection is all ranged, which would make me a little nervous about fighting a beast heavy list, but together the three beasts can put out some very respectable firepower.  The Bushwhackers seem like a good all-around unit.  They're a little pricey, but benefit well from Snipe, and can be fun with spammed Explosivo.  This list looks like it will have trouble against a 'beast or 'jack heavy list that won't go down easily to shooting or the Kriel Warriors.


I won the roll-off and went second, so I could pick the table edge with better access to walls.  Gunnbjorn has Rock Wall, and I didn't feel like trying to soften him up with my shooting when he could give his whole army cover from walls without even using his Feat.

Caleb deployed everything mostly behind a hill for the elevation bonus.  His Kriel Warriors went up front with his Warbeasts, Gunnbjorn and the support close behind.

I deployed my models in a clump opposite Caleb's.  I mixed the two 'jacks in with 3 clumps of Dawnguard, and put Sylas and Kaelyssa behind them.  My Arcanist went in the front to help out the 'Jacks.

Caleb deployed the Bushwhackers on my left flank near some woods, and I deployed my Mage Hunters opposite them to keep them from harassing my Dawnguard and support models.

Turn 1

All the Trollbloods ran except Gunnbjorn, taking a commanding position on the hill, with the lead Kriel Warriors getting to the other side.  Gunnbjorn put Snipe on the Bushwhackers to take them to Range 18.  The Bushwhackers advanced into the woods.

I ran everything up except Kaelyssa and the Mage Hunters.  The Dawnguard stayed in Defensive Line to live through the Pow 10's and blast damage coming my way.  Kaelyssa used her remaining Focus (after allocating 1) to cast Rift twice at the Kriel Warriors through the Phoenix.  Both castings fell very short, but popped up a roughly 10" wall of rough terrain in front of the Kriel Warriors, keeping them off my Dawnguard for another turn.  The Mage Hunters advanced to threaten the Bushwhackers.

A pretty standard first round of running and buffing.  Significantly, I'd slowed the Kriel Warriors down with the double Rift templates.  Caleb had no way to give them Pathfinder, so they'd be slogging through the templates, and I'd have an extra turn to shoot with my Invictors and Myrmidons.

Turn 2

The Kriel Warriors ran as far up as they could, but were slowed quite effectively by the Rifts.  The Impaler used its Far Strike animus to give the Bomber +4 range.  Gunnbjorn advanced, cast Far Strike on himself, cast Guided Fire, and killed an Invictor.  He also used his Feat to give everything in his Control area Cover and immunity to Knockdown and blast damage.  The Bomber advanced, half wrecking the Phoenix (though the Generator and Arc Node were still intact), and killing another Invictor with the blast damage.  The Pygs advanced on the Mage Hunters, but didn't get within 5" and couldn't draw LoS around the woods to the Invictors.

Kaelyssa allocated one Focus to the Banshee.  The Mage Hunters advanced and shot the Bushwhackers, killing all but one.  The Arcanist tried to repair the Phoenix, but failed the skill check.  The Phoenix advanced to within 2" of the lead Kriel Warriors, and used Combustion, killing one and setting another on fire.  The Invictors advanced, used their Extend Fire mini-Feat to give themselves +4 range, and took out the next 4 Kriel Warriors they could reach.  Sylas used Arcane Secrets on Kaelyssa, who advanced, put Phantom Hunter on the Banshee, and cast Rift at one of the rear Kriel Warriors to catch it and the 2 Caber Throwers in rough terrian.  She also used her Feat to give her whole army Stealth and prevent it from being charged for a round.  The Banshee advanced, and slammed one Kriel Warrior into another, killing both.

A pretty good round for me.  Caleb hadn't had the time to bring either his firepower or his jamming unit to bear yet, and I had inflicted a lot of damage on his infantry this turn.  Invictors doing CRA's are amazingly accurate.  I'd expected more shots to miss due to Cover, but rerolled 8's to hit is actually pretty reliable.  Caleb still had some dangerous shooting from the Warbeasts and Gunnbjorn, but they'd be shooting at Stealth targets this turn, so the damage would be limited.

Turn 3

There was only one Bushwhacker left, so Gunnbjorn dropped Snipe.  The Bomber advanced on the Phoenix, and got to within 5 inches.  Two more bombs saw the Phoenix's Arc Node, Generator and Movement taken out.  The last of the Bushwhackers advanced, and shot a Mage Hunter, but missed due to being Rat 4.  Gunnbjorn put Explosivo on the Slag Troll, then advanced to within 5" the Phoenix, shot it with his Bazooka.  He scored a Critical Devastation, which threw the Phoenix back an inch and knocked it down, but failed to finish it off.  Finally, Gunnbjorn  The Rune Bearer put Snipe on the Slag Troll.  The Slag troll advanced, and shot acid at my Invictors, but the blast damage did nothing.  Finally, the Kriel Warriors ran again to engage the Phoenix and a few Dawnguard.

Gunnbjorn was safe from charges behind his wall, but not safe from a lot of my shooting.  If I could get him with the Banshee's shot, I could take him down.  So Kaelyssa allocated 2 to the Banshee and kept the rest for herself.  Sylas upkept Phantom Hunter on the Banshee for free.  The Banshee aimed and shot Gunnbjorn, slamming him away from the wall and knocking him down.  He hit a Kriel Warrior, and transferred the damage.  Then Kaelyssa cast Phantom Hunter on herself, and shot the rest of Gunnbjorn's Fury off, doing a little damage in the process.  Last, the Invictors activated, advanced, and shot Gunnbjorn to death.

Victory to the Retribution!


That was probably the best game I've played yet with Retribution in terms of positioning and timing.  I used Kaelyssa's abilities well, and took advantage of the terrain well.  Using Rift to slow Caleb's jamming element was essential to keeping control of the game, and timing it just before popping Kaelyssa's Feat worked very well.  Otherwise, I made no power plays, but I also made no major mistakes.  I just methodically exploited my advantage, and played attrition until Gunnbjorn exposed himself.

The list worked out very well this game, although I've had it fall flat once or twice.  The lack of a jamming/counter-jamming unit is sometimes hard to deal with.  The Invictors can't really break themselves out of melee without Flank (and even then they can have trouble).  They're versatile, and they were very strong this game, but they get swamped easily.  Kaelyssa can help them out with Rift and her Feat, but it can be a little hair-raising, especially if the opponent has easy access to Pathfinder.  When I pick up Halberdiers (the next big thing for Ret for me), I'll try them out in place of the Invictors and the Mage Hunters, and see what works best.  They'd speed the whole army up, and help out a lot in the jamming department.

Caleb had a bad matchup here.  He didn't make any mistakes other than hoping that a wall would protect Gunnbjorn.  He chose his targets well (beating up on the Phoenix to prevent it from disrupting his infantry and threatening his only heavy), and timed his Feat to give him the most protection against my shooting.  It just wasn't enough.  Without a Fell Caller to grant Pathfinder, his Kriel Warriors couldn't jam, and got shot to pieces.  With my overall high Arm and Kaelyssa's Feat granting Stealth, Caleb never had the chance to maximise his list's firepower.  Gunnbjorn's last ditch shot to finish off the Phoenix wasn't worth the risk, especially against a list that can ignore Cover so easily, but there wasn't much else for Caleb to do at that point.

As for his list, it's hard to judge.  A source of Pathfinder would be very nice, and not just for the Rift and Inhospitable Ground matchups.  The Stone Scribe Chronicler and Rune Bearer both seem nice but unnecessary.  Maybe swapping them out for a Fell Caller and a third Caber Thrower would help the list out.  The Fell Caller gives out Pathfinder or +2 to melee attacks, which is a good set of abilities.  Standing the army up would be more corner case, since the Kriel Warriors have Steady, and Gunnbjorn's Feat prevents Knockdown.  And the Fell Caller has good melee and ranged attacks of its own.  Another Caber Thrower means the Kriel Warriors jam better and longer, although I can also see the argument for a sorcerer to remove Speed debuffs etc. from the unit.

That's it.  Thanks for the game, Caleb.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Trollblood Tactics, pt 1: Mulg vs Rok - the Eternal Question

I haven't been doing a lot of posts in a while, but I'm hoping to change that. Expect more battle reports in the coming future, hopefully at least 2 a week from myself. In the meantime, here's this:

In an effort to be a more effective blogger (and forestall further increments of Skorne fanfiction... even if it is a fun read...), I'm going to be doing posts on subjects that, for me, don't have definitive answers or advice elsewhere.

All of us, at one point or another, come across a question or an issue -- indeed, one would say a indubitable conundrum -- in Warmachine/Hordes list building, tactics, or with a model (or 2) that we either:
1): cannot, for the sake of delicious apple pie, find an answer for (despite developing short term carpal tunnel by apparently angering the Google itself with unceasing attempts),
2): find so many answers, counter answers, and arguments for/against that it becomes a exhausting quest to mine useful information from the numberless hordes, or
3): find answers that, at the core of your being, you simply disagree with or feel are misguided.

Of those three possibilities, #2 is the most common, #1 the least (for the simple reason that many of the good stump-er questions/answers get a well thought out response eventually), while #3 can be the most downright frustrating.

Today's Conundrum: Mulg or Rök?

In terms of Heavy Warbeasts, Trollblood players have approximately 6 choices (not counting the Mountain King, aka -- apparently-- "Bruce"). Let's break them down a little:

Shooting: Blitzer and Bomber - they both shoot, have Fury 4, can do melee (but will need some help), and have a useful animi.
Melee/Support: Earthborn and Mauler - melee powerhouses, the EBDT is more of a toolbox while the Mauler is flat out aggressive destruction. Both have very useful animi, and can wreck face.
Characters of Destruction: Mulg or Rök - the two deadliest Heavy Beasts that Trolls have, they play very differently. Lets discuss why, and determine which is "better" at what.

Side A: Mulg

Ah, Mulg the Ancient, the tactical nuclear missile's badass grandpa. The term "Mulg-ed" has long been a stand alone reference to "doomed in as short and bloody fashion", and your opponent likely knows that (or, bonus for you, very soon will). Here are the quick Pros and Cons.

- P+S 19, Reach, Magical, Crit Smite main attack
- P+S 17, Open Fist secondary attack
- Mostly good stats - MAT 7, ARM 19, etc.
- 34 hit boxes. Just... damn.
- Great abilities - Relentless, Protective Fit, etc.
- Animus will flat out shut down enemy spells/animi.
- Fury 5, Threashold 10

- SPD 4
- CMD 6, making his animus effect short ranged
- He's not a cheap date - 12pts is pretty expensive.
- He's a bit TOO powerful - don't expect him to live long against a smart opponent.

The Savvy: He can kill anything. I'm not kidding - there is not a single damn thing in Warmachine/Hordes that he cannot wreck, smite, crush, destroy, maim, or (assuming it was alive to begin with) eat in a single turn. Barring certain warcasters/warlocks (the Butcher(s), Thagrosh(s), Kromac on a good day, maaaaybe Terminus), I have not run into a single model in the entire game with more raw destructive potential than Mulg, and that includes a few Colossals/Gargantuans.

However, he first has to get there, and, despite being ludicrously powerful and annoyingly hard-to-kill, he's not invulnerable. Plus, your enemy will probably know all of that - Mulg is one of those models with a very well deserved reputation, and you don't play  the game long before figuring that out. Trolls have a messload of stuff that make up for this, however -- various feats, animi, and support spells provide speed boosts, and the ubiquitous trollblood brick (and snacks) only enhances his survivablity. Regardless, he is only one model - the enemy can and will kill him at the earliest opportunity, there are a metric crap-ton of things that can slow him down, and after everything else he still has his issues (like dealing with high DEF, being knocked down, Gorman, etc.).

His Niche: He can kill anything. Jacks, beasts, warcasters, warlocks, solos, UAs, whatever - he will kill it. Plus, he will shut down the enemy's spellcasting and animi when he's near them (assuming he survives the "kill it! kill it with fire!" knee jerk reaction), making him a great Brick model. This is particularly useful against attrition armies (skorne or trollbloods, for example) and Warmachine, as he can simply power through any ARM bonuses/damage penalties and lay waste to whatever he's targeting.

That being said, he will not work well against units - high DEF (e.g. kayazy) and/or numbers will be able to bog him down and tie him up for a while, especially if the enemy can block trampling lanes or reduce his speed. A tar-pitted Mulg is going to be in trouble.

Pairings of Note: Axer, whelps
Mulg really is a loner - he needs very little to function effectively, but whatever he does get make him even more deadly. The Axer is a great option, as +2 movement is just what the doctor ordered to counteract the speed issue, especially in those crucial first few turns when he's going to lag behind. Since you want to get as much use of of him as possible, most of the time it's best to max out his fury on a charge and kill as many things as possible. If he lives through the retaliation, you're really going to want whelps around to make sure he doesn't frenzy and so you can heal him up next turn.

Side B: Rök

The younger, drunker crazy uncle of the Dire Troll family, Rök brings a lot of things that Trolls don't get anywhere else, and he brings it with style. And by 'style', I mean 'deranged beer-soaked homicidal rampage'. Here's the lowdown:

- Amusingly Aggressive (Berserk & Assault)
- Nasty-good Animus (with a MAT & STR boost!)
- P+S 18 Axe & P+S 16 Open fist = good
- Boostable 6" POW 14 Spray w/ Crit Freeze!
- MAT 7 and SPD 5 mean he's fast AND accurate
- Durable (Snacking, Regen, and decent hit points)
- Immunity:Cold (Khador might be inconvenienced)

- Your beasts (him included) will frenzy with Primal
- 6" spray is a bit underwhelming and situational
- Berserk can be troublesome to use properly
- Effectively as hard to kill as a Mauler
- Lacks Reach
- Cheaper than Mulg, but more than a Mauler

The Savvy: Used properly, he can kill a few things in one turn. Berserk, Assault, SPD 5, and a boostable Spray attack make him the absolute bane of most infantry (especially heavy infantry, surprisingly), and Berserk gives him the option to have his cake and devour it too. Where Mulg can pick one or maybe two targets a turn and utterly smash them into pulp, Rök can conceivably take out a single big target -- or that pack of poor foolish infantry and (if you angle it right) the big target too. The Spray attack and Assault lets you clear out pesky solos and beast/jack buddies (henceforth known as "oh hello Paingivers, let me sing you the song of my people...") while beating the living tar out of the the big guy they were hiding behind.

Stop planning Berserk-a-geddon, because Rök is no Molit Karn -- he lacks (probably deliberately) the support abilities that maker Berserk ridiculous, such as reach, overtake, bulldoze, or sidestep. So instead of working his way through a unit or two, Rök needs to find a pack of models (maybe close to a heavy beast/jack or high-ARM target) and proceed to go to freaking town on them. Plus, thanks to Snacking, you have a rather efficient way to stop the berserk if you go nuts a little too close to your own lines -- namely, just eat something. Berserk ended. This has it's upsides and downsides - you can't crazy-snack your way through an enemy unit, but you also won't snack your way through your own units.

His Niche: Crowd Control, plus heavy hitting. That wall of advancing Man'o'War? Line Segments. That brick of Cetrati? *Burp* The Avatar of Menoth and those choir? Rubble and frozen corpses. And while you're at it, that Mauler on the other side of the field suddenly and unexpectedly went Primal'd batshit on the high-DEF enemy warlock.

What Rök really brings is versatility - he's kill-y enough to go toe-to-tow with heavy jack/beasts, his abilities let him face down heavy infantry better than any beast we have, and his animus is just what the doctor ordered for those assassination runs where your other beasts need just a little more oomf to take on Warcasters/Warlocks. Where Mulg can often be overkill, this guy is just about right for most situations, and can spread out the hurt a lot more.

Pairings of Note: Earthborn, Mauler, Blitzer, Light Beasts (especially the Axer and Night Troll)
Much like his club-wielding counterpart, Rök is fairly self contained, and anything else you bring is really just a bonus for him. However, where Mulg wants models to buff himself, Rök wants models that benefit from his animus the most. Troll Beasts (excluding Mulg and Rök) have always had a tough time hitting opponents - who can blame them, with an average MAT of 6? But, if you boost that MAT up to 8 (and throw in an extra +2 damage) you've pretty much solved that problem and then some. The Axer's Thresher ability benefits especially well from this, as does the new Night Troll with it's below-average MAT. The next problem arises when you realize that the beast will frenzy and you're going to lose it for a turn regardless - this alone makes whelps less of a good buy, as you could spend 2 points on models to pick up the slack on that turn.

Conclusion: I like 'em both, and I can see situations where either would be more useful. I've had Mulg for longer but haven't used him much (no, I have no idea why not), whereas Rök and his animus seem very centered on an all-out, 1 turn assault - which I often end up doing anyway, given retaliation from a smart opponent. I'll be using both of them from this point onward, though not always in the same list.