I’m sure Trollblood players everywhere were just as excited as I was to get their hands on Domination and see how their favorite faction turned out…
Jarl Skuld, Devil of the Thornwood is the new guy for the faction. I outlined my thoughts on him in detail in this article a few weeks ago. Rather than go over it all again, I’ll just say I think this guy was one of the biggest wins for Trollblood players. He’s just got a great toolbox of things the faction can really use.
Grissel Bloodsong, Marshall of the Kriels, looks like she has a lot of potential as well. I think she will be a lot of fun to play, but I’m just not sure if she’s the top tier Warlock Jarl is. You can pretty much lump her into the “super solo” category of warlocks/casters. What I mean by that is that you’re going to want her up front doing a lot of the work herself using innate abilities rather than spells. To this end she has 3 cool Fell Blasts and she can use each one once per turn. She does have to pay to make additional Fell Blast shots after the first, but her different ammo types are all pretty amazing. One of them, Crescendo, is very similar to Eruption, a three focus spell. It leaves a 4″ AoE in play that will cause a POW 12 hit to anyone that enters it. She also has Quake, which, in addition to causing a POW 14 hit, will also knock down any models in its 3″ AoE if you get a direct hit. And finally she just has a 10″ POW 12 Spray.
She has three spells, starting with perhaps the game’s most generic option: Arcane Bolt. Her other two are quite a bit more interesting. Dash gives friendly faction warrior models an extra inch of speed, and lets them ignore free strikes. Any help with speed is going to be welcome in Trollbood armies. Next she’s got Inhospitable Ground. This can be a great spell in the right circumstances shutting some armies down completely. But against armies with a lot of Pathfinder, it can end up being largely useless.
I have to confess to being less than thrilled by her feat. Call of Valor gives all friendly faction models Hyper Aggresive and Unyielding. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot of experience with the Hyper Aggressive ability playing Dr. Arkadius. Sometimes it can make your day giving you extra speed with a model that’s just been shot. But more often than not, another gun or two will just end up killing the model that was just hit, and it will all be for naught. And as for Unyielding, its hard to get excited about +2 ARM for engaging models when there are feats out there that give a flat +5.
For my first Grissel list I plan to take two min units of champs one of which will get Skaldi with it. Then a Champion hero to hopefully maneuver behind the enemy lines with Dash and go for caster kills. These hard to kill infantry will also be most likely to be able to survive to try to take some advantage of Grissel’s feat. Then I think I’m going to want an Impaler, a Bouncer, and a Swamp Troll for extra range and protection for Grissel. Depending on how the army works, there’s a good chance that when the Storm Toll comes out I’ll swap him in for the Bouncer. Moving on, I think a min Kriel Stone unit with Elder and also a Runebearer are auto-includes for this list. I’m also going to throw in a Fell Caller for obvious reasons. The idea here is that Grissel is going to be up front trying to clear out a lot of the infantry. The Champs are going to have to pull most of the weight in taking down the hard targets. The full-blood trolls are mostly there for their animi, but they can also just lend their fighting strength wherever its needed.
Up next is the Storm Troll. I think this guy is another great boon for trollblood players. His Lightning attack and Lightning Fists animus provide an effective way for dealing with High def infantry without having to invest in a 10 point Dire Troll Bomber. And he can do something the Bomber can’t: disrupt warjacks.
Rok is the other new warbeast in the book. Hailing from the icy North, Rok is a Dire Troll with a Battle Axe, berserk, a Frost Breath spray 6 attack, Assault, and a really interesting animus. Previously only seen on the Goraxes of the Circle of Orboros, Primal gives a friendly living warbeast +2 STR and MAT for one round… but the warbeast automatically frenzies during its next activation. People have been flipping out over Trollbloods getting Primal, but the penalty for using it is extremely stiff. As such I would recommend having a really sound plan in mind before you spend the 11 points on Rok. But with his abilities he’s definitely worth adding to your collection.
The Scattergunner Officer & Standard add a lot to their unit. Quick Work gives them a much bigger threat range, while Clear allows the models in the back ranks to get in their shots too. Tactics: Combined Melee Attack means the unit also has the option to put a little hurt on bigger targets. While the release of this unit attachment has gotten me excited at the thought of playing with my Scattergunners again, I still don’t think it adds enough to make them as attractive a choice in low point games as Fennblades or Kriel Warriors. But at least now they do have a niche in larger games.
With Domination’s release, Trollbloods finally have a character unit. The Son’s of Bragg are a nice compact self-sufficient little kill team. Costing the same points as a min unit of Trollkin Champions, these guys aren’t quite as destructive offering a bit more utility instead. They can buff themselves with an interesting trio of Fell Calls. First is Call to Action which will allow knocked down models in the unit to stand up. Next is Call of Defiance which will let the unit make successful tough rolls on a 4+ instead of the usual 5+. Finally there’s Fervor which will give them +2 to all attack and damage rolls. That last one brings their hitting power up to par with champs and makes their mat a fair bit higher. Unfortunately only one member of the unit carries two weapons so they’ll have fewer attacks to make. Where Fervor really shines is with the one Sonic Blast the unit brings along. It will bump the Fell Caller using it up to RAT 8 and make the spray a POW 14. And since he has the Assault ability and Spd 6 he has a huge threat range with it. The one downside to this unit is that they can never be affected by other fell calls. And since they don’t have Pathfinder this means they will never get it outside of some Warlock spells. But that one little issue is hardly enough to keep me away from them. Since they work so well without any assistance, I think they have a great place as the one infantry unit in a beast heavy list. They could also do great with either Madrak as he can give them ways to make extra attacks with those really high stats they can get.
And that just leaves us with the War Wagon. Since I don’t think “I want it now” really qualifies as a worthwhile analysis I’ll explain a little further. These things have great strategic potential and will also be really fun to play. With a POW 16, AoE 5 Pounder Cannon, its uses against infantry are immediately clear. But it has more going for it than just a cannon. It can make trample power attacks. And since it’s SPD 7 it might even be possible to find a place to put its huge base after it makes a trample. The Weapon Platform ability lets it make ranged attacks during activations it makes a trample or charge, and it can even do this when engaged. This means you don’t have to choose between putting your War Wagon in melee or shooting that magnificent cannon. It also means that this piece has a huge threat range since it can trample then fire. So if you bring along an Impaler, it can actually shoot at things 24″ away. 26″ if you take it in a Jarl list.
As a cavalry model it can also make impact attacks with the POW 14 buffalo that pull it along. And with the line breaker ability any impact attacks it makes will be boosted. Anything it hits but doesn’t manage to kill will be knocked down. This means you will always be trying to find ways to get it to charge an enemy caster or Warlock for that boosted attack. If you can do this you will get to attack them with a boosted to hit POW 14 that you can then follow up with an auto hitting, damage boosted POW 14, and a hitting-on-anything-but-snake-eyes POW 16 and POW 12. Even if you have to make your impact attacks before you get there, you’ll still be mat 8 for the charge attack. Just make sure you finish them off or you’ll have a huge Battle Engine blocking line of sight to the rest of your army.
Anything that can help your cannon with its to hit rolls can help your War Wagon. Grim Angus is one of the first Warlocks that springs to mind as a great pair for this Battle Engine. Marked for Death can help boost your chances to hit, and consequently ensure your Pounder gets to make use of its Quake ability to knock down models in its AoE. His feat will help boost the odds even further, and drastically reduce your opponent’s ability to maneuver away from the War Wagon that’s hunting him. Grissell’s Calamity can have the same effect while potentially increasing the POW of models hit by the AoE to 10. Finally eMadrak makes a great candidate by virtue of his feat. In fact, the prospect of shooting four Pounder shots in a turn sounds so great I think I might almost want to try out two with this Warlock.