Friday, July 1, 2016

All New War, All New Trollbloods: pt 1, Warlocks

I am quite happy with the new edition - the Trollblood meta changed dramatically, while keeping a lot of the same feel and flavor that I enjoyed in MkII. In my usual fashion, I'm going to ramble in a disjointed and semi-coherent manner while attempting to be amusing and give my two cents.


Even before the end of MkII, Trollblood tournament warlock rankings were in some pretty wacky flux on account of tier lists and erratas - Warder Meat Mountain, Evolutionary Elementalism, and Runes of War were all the Rage and then all the Amuck overnight, but a few staples remained strong and were pretty consistently played - Madrak 1 and Grissel 1 infantry swarms, Doomshaper 1 with or without Runes of War, Grim 1 still did what he did pretty universally, Bearka (yea, no...), and Calandra was seeing play even after the EE nerf.

On the other hand, I hadn't seen Madrak 2 or Gunnbjorn in a tournament in a heck of a long time.

Now, however... Let's take a look.

The Good:
Madrak 2* - well damn. Unsinkable berserk death tank. Someone in PP HQ took a long look at stock levels and thought they'd be clever (otherwise known as "pulling a GW"). You can annihilate his entire army and, so long as he is alive and in range, he will single handedly do the same to you.
Gunnbjorn - combined arms and gunline lists are on the rise again, and he is the ultimate anti-gunline gunline. He'll deliver based on feat alone, and is now my outright favorite Mountain King warlock - 2 fully boosted POW 16 sprays, whelp shedding, and Rage for the Blitzer/Bomber in a single, useful package? Yes please! 
Calandra - My favorite warlock before, even better with Fury 8. Starcrossed was already good, getting more range and fury control is like having your cake, eating it, and then promptly finding the winning lottery ticked under the box. 
Doomshaper(s) - they differ from each other more now, but follow the same uses as before.
 - Doomy 1: more well rounded, still solid for just about every list type. Guardian Beast is amusing.
 - Doomy 2: Field Marshall Overtake is fantastic on Rok (don't even argue, just take Rok)...
Ragnor - I haven't gotten a game in with him yet, but he is just about everything I want in a Warlock. Upkeep-hate, LoS shenanigans, Knockdown AOE, and an absolutely solid attrition feat. Plus, he looks fantastic! I am highly amused by the ability to drop a huge based model into a freaking hole...
Grissel 2 - She is a finely tuned infantry-delivering machine - Discord and Deflection on the way in, Dash and Feat on the charge turn to get the alpha, an extra fury each turn to power the stone/transfers, and Fell Blasts for sniping, area denial, and knockdown. Not a single spell, ability, or word on her card won't be used at least once, and she doesn't even need a Runebearer to run at full efficiency. 

The Less-but-Still-Mostly-Good:
Borka 1 - pretty much the same, Arcane Ward is a lot more interesting than Iron Flesh. With the changes to Rok's bond, it is downright silly not to take them together.
Jarl - Still good, got a few minor upgrades, still middle of the pack. I like him.
Grim 1 - Slightly different now that SPD debuffs don't prevent charging. The prevalence of gunline lists means his better assassination threat is something a lot of people will be able to prepare for ahead of time. Still good, but I don't think he got much of a boost.
Doomshaper 3: ... eh? Okay I guess? His feat is much less effective now that Ragnar basically stole half of it (the good half, too). His spell combos are still good, and I never played him enough to really get a good idea of the impact of the Scroll Caddy, but I'm going to put him in the middle ground for now.

The Not-So-Good:
Grissel 1 - her feat got hit hard, and that was the principle point in her favor to begin with.
Madrak 1 - all the stuff you didn't like about both Madraks, now in one convenient package...
Bearka - He has one trick, and it gets old and counter-able real fast. I hope Themes help out here.
Hunters Grim - I have never been able to figure out how to play this one, despite how much I started the faction liking Grim 1. His feat is good to benefit shooting, but you have to have your own models actually live to benefit from that, and this is the one sticking point I see with more enemy shooting to worry about.

I've played some games with Gunnbjorn, and I'm really excited about Calandra, Doomys' 1 and 2, and Ragnor. Here is the list I played for Gunny, and a few others that are rolling around in my head:

Gunnbjorn, 75pts
Captain Gunnbjorn - WB: +28
- Mountain King - PC: 36 (Battlegroup Points Used: 28)
- Dire Troll Bomber - PC: 19
- Dire Troll Blitzer - PC: 16
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 3 Grunts: 6
- Stone Scribe Elder - PC: 3
Pyg Bushwhackers - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15
- Pyg Bushwhacker Officer & Mortar - Officer & Mortar Pyg: 5

Simple, straightforward, and deadly. I'm curious to see if it's better to have a Mountain King or 2-3 more ranged beasts in Gunny's battlegroup (especially since one of them can be Dozer and Smigg), but I want to try this variation more first. I tried a slightly different list with Highwaymen and Dozer/Smigg instead of the Pygs and Blitzer, and it worked okay at first, but the Mountain King went in first and got killed (while taking out a lot of stuff, admittedly), but that left the Bomber and Dozer/Smigg a little pillow fisted against a skorne beast brick. Plus, AOE's couldn't take out the obnoxious Karax threatening my Highwaymen - a job I think the Blitzer would be more suited towards while  possibly under Rage and beating up an enemy heavy.

Calandra, 75pts
Calandra Truthsayer, Oracle of the Glimmerwood - WB: +27
- Trollkin Runebearer - PC: 4
- Dire Troll Mauler - PC: 15 (Battlegroup Points Used: 15)
- Dire Troll Blitzer - PC: 16 (Battlegroup Points Used: 12)
- Troll Bouncer - PC: 9
Stone Scribe Chronicler - PC: 4
Braylen Wanderheart, Trollkin Outlaw - PC: 5
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 3 Grunts: 6
- Stone Scribe Elder - PC: 3
Trollkin Champions - Leader & 4 Grunts: 17
- Skaldi Bonehammer - PC: 5
- Trollkin Sorcerer - PC: 3
Trollkin Highwaymen - Leader & 9 Grunts: 15

ALL the DEF Skew!! Befuddle and Braylen/Highwaymen are just way too good with Calandra, and I think I'm going to like the Blitzer/Mauler combo with her. Less range on the Highwaymen than with Gunny or if I took Pygs instead, but twice the attacks and they're half there to distract from the Champs threat anyway.

Doomshaper 2, 75pts

Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia - WB: +27
- Rök - PC: 21 (Battlegroup Points Used: 21)
- Mulg the Ancient - PC: 19 (Battlegroup Points Used: 6)
- Dire Troll Mauler - PC: 15
- Earthborn Dire Troll - PC: 15
- Troll Axer - PC: 10
Troll Whelps - 5 Whelps: 4
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress - PC: 3
Dhunian Knot - Leader & 2 Grunts: 6
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes - Leader & 5 Grunts: 9

My original Doomy2 list had a Blitzer (see: more cowbell) and a Bouncer, but I realized I was lacking a lot of pathfinder, so I swapped the KSB Elder for Lanyssa, the Blitzer for the Earthborn, and with that extra point, upgraded the now animus-redundant Bouncer to an Axer. The Animus goes a long way to keeping Doomy alive, and I'm doubling up on the speed buffs to get in there and really take advantage of Overtake. The Dhunian Knot and this many beasts is the next best thing to automatic to keeping an overtake/berserk chain going.

Since normally the Beasts need clear charge lanes and then easily outrun the krielstone bubble if I put it up first, the Strength buff isn't as useful as it normally is (especially with Rage and 4 heavies running around), so I dropped it. I think Lanyssa is a better use, but we'll see how it works. 

That's all for now - expect Warbeast, Unit, Solo, and Support posts in the next few weeks.

*I'm going to call this one - Madrak 2 is getting Errata'd. In absolutely no way is he not the single most badass and flat out unkillable model in this game. Stick a pack of Kriel Warriors, Warders, or (dear sweet Dhunia, this actually works) Swamp Shamblers around him and you will have to kill something like 15-20 models before even touching him - and then he'll feat and chew your face off all on his lonesome. Hell, Grievous Wounds doesn't even phase him if he's got enough squishy meat shields nearby, and that's just about the most dangerously underhanded assassination tool out there right now. I think maybe he'll lose Overtake on the feat or have it changed to "friendly Faction Non-Warcaster/non-Warlock Models", that seems to be the most direct way of balancing his outright crazy.

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