Warmachine: Underdog Story – Trollbloods

Trollbloods Warmachine Underdog Story

What’s the least-used model/unit in Trollbloods? Can a list highlight them?

Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with part four of a series on the least-used models for each faction in Warmachine and Hordes. As I explained at length in Part One, I love underdog stories. Nothing is better than when your model that is overlooked and underused manages to be the hero in a game. So I wanted to see if there were ways to make that happen in Warmachine and Hordes. After some thoroughly non-scientific polling, I compiled what seemed to be the competitors for least-used model within each faction in the game. The goals? First, to figure out why they’re least used (meta has shifted, model is over-costed or under-powered, bad sculpt, strange rules, no clear spot, better choices for the points, no caster to pair with them, etc.). Then, to try and theorize a list that could make these underdogs shine.

We’ve covered CryxCircle, and Cygnar so far. Now it’s time for Trollbloods (the other near-unanimous agreement faction).

Least Used Trollbloods

Winner: Trollkin Sluggers

These Slugger-toting, trench warfare experts look so cool as models. And that’s generally where people stop in praising them. It’s hard to say whether their biggest difficulty is their points cost or their inflexibility on the battlefield. Key to these guys is that they get d3 shots per model (if they aim). That means the full unit is, on average, getting 10 shots when aiming. Well, that’s how many shots the Pyg Bushwhackers get with better range, the Scattergunners get with sprays (thus potentially hitting more models), and half the number that the Trollkin Highwaymen can put out. Sure, on a max roll these guys get 15 shots, but at the same price as the other options it leaves them losing out. Plus, they don’t really have the armor that makes their multiple hit boxes any advantage over these 1-wound models.

Warmachine Bell of Lost Souls Trollbloods Sluggers

That’s all the more complicated by their bad RAT and the fact that they have to aim to get the multiple shots. With a 10″ range and needing to sit still to get volume of fire, Sluggers are lucky to get one turn of shooting. Many armies have ways of getting their models able to charge 10″ or more, and with the abysmal melee stats of the Sluggers a melee unit can simply run up and jam them to take their shooting threat off the table.

Runner Up: Trollkin Skinner. This guy got a lot of votes, to be sure, as he’s quote underwhelming and usually not able to accomplish the thing he’s supposed to do (kill Warbeasts). Why he made runner up instead of winning is generally because he’s cheaper in price and points, so more likely to hit the table due to trying him out or having some spare points (though Trolls are spoiled on excellent low points choices). Plus, No Quarter 63 last November released a new “Winter Kin” theme list for pMadrak that has at least a bit of an interesting addition to the Skinner’s tool kit.

Building a Trollkin Sluggers List

Okay, so this is going to be an uphill battle. Making the Sluggers the “star” of the list means finding ways that they can at least get the chance to get multiple Full Auto shots off during the game. While I thought about the pBorka Family Reunion tier list that allows multiples of them, it really didn’t synergize at all in allowing them to do anything special. Instead, I thought about pGrim as a potential good match. Grim’s feat has a speed debuff that is designed to allow more shooting and Lock the Target that also slows up single models. He also has the Cross Country spell that grants Hunter so the Sluggers would be able to see through some usual screening methods. With some other Trollbloods support, I thought that maybe foes could be slowed and channeled down into the killing field where the Sluggers are waiting with their guns. Sort of a “Charge of the Light Brigade” notion of making the enemy feed into your shooting.

The List: “Charge of the Light Brigade”

Grim Angus

Troll Impaler

Troll Impaler

Troll Bouncer

Troll Bouncer

Max Trollkin Sluggers

Trolkin Sorcerer (Sluggers Adjunct)

Trollkin Runeshapers

Trollkin Runeshapers

Janissa Stonetide

Trollkin Scouts

Max Longriders

Trollkin Sluggers Tactics:

So stay with me on the thoughts with this one (we are trying to make Sluggers the focus, after all). The player figures out the spot where they’ll get maximum killing potential for the Sluggers, and plan to set up shop there. The Scouts and the Longriders are on flank duty, their whole job just to get forces to want to choose to go down the center instead. The Sluggers form the center line with Grim nearby, with a group of Runebearers and a Bouncer on each side and slightly forward. The two Impalers hang out behind the Sluggers to give Far Strike and/or Push power attack them. Janissa uses her Tectonic shift to let the Sluggers move a bit and still aim, either to get forward or to get backward, or to put up the stone wall to defend them. Grim focuses on getting the enemy debuffed, along with the Sorcerer taking away pathfinder to slow everything down, hopefully giving the Sluggers a turn of shooting. Even if the enemy goes toward the Runeshapers/Bouncers, their abilities (knockdown, reach, Bump animus) can keep foes still in the line of fire. The hope is that with correct positioning the enemy has to “come in” to the valley of death, and the Sluggers can shine.

Underdog Grade: Million Dollar Baby. By that, I mean that this is one underdog that deserves to be put out of its misery. All that effort above, and I still think that opponents would see it coming and not fall for the trap. And there would be so many other Trollblood ranged units that could do the job better than the Sluggers can with the same (or far less) support.

Trollbloods Underdog Story Grade Sluggers Warmachine

In the end, this list is likely to be Charge of the Light Brigade but from the British point of view rather than the Russian: the enemy will surround and eliminate rather than you doing the same to them. The list would lose on scenario often, as opponents who avoided your trap and played at the edge of zones would spoil the plans. The primary problem is that making the Sluggers shine takes the entire rest of the list setting them up or playing interference. And they are not good enough to warrant it. With a points reduction, a RAT boost, or ability to simply move and get their d3 shots, I think Sluggers would see more play. Until something happens, these Warmachine and Hordes underdogs are unlikely to have any happy endings.

Thanks to the Trollbloods folk who chimed in: Sletchman, Zombied00d, Coinlord, Candles, PG_joedj, Cannotcope, and Cannibalbob.

~ What would you pair with the Trollkin Sluggers to make them better? Is there any chance for an underdog story on this one? 

Interested in what underdogs the author is fielding? Check out Chalkboard’s blog at www.chalkboardwar.com


  • Richard Mitchell

    Pretty solid exercise of a little used unit. So I am going to steal and tweak okay.

  • Drew

    I agree wholeheartedly; I love the models but the unit is just straight-up underpowered for the points. They desperately need an errata- the normal way to fix units (a UA or solo that makes them better) would have to be absolutely phenomenal to justify the additional expenditure on a unit that’s already overpriced.

    If you gave the unit beat back on the shots, for example, you might see them getting more play, as then they can not only blast for damage but to push the enemy back and open up another turn of shooting for other units. Though that might be too good with the volume of fire we’re talking about…still, something like that.