Monday, June 23, 2014

Catching back up with Trolls

  It's been a long month.  If you'd had any ear to the news, you'll know that the midwest has had the crap kicked out of it with storms in the last three weeks.  The first one totalled my Mustang with softball size hail, and set my town up as a temporary heaven for roofing companies everywhere.  I missed out on a tournament in the search for a new vehicle, and finally got some games in again day before yesterday finally.  On the plus side, the new Jeep can carry my gaming table much better than the Stang ever could...

  Three weeks isn't a long time to be out of the game, so that's cool, but it's been busy.  I'm coming off the tail end of getting my butt handed to me consistently by a local Cryx player. There's been a bunch of good learning games in there, so that's good as well, but yeah.  So, three quick topics I'm brainstorming through.

 I.  The 2 list matchup, with Cryx as a priority.

 II.  Vengeance/Exigence Casters and handling them.

 III.  Bearka and Dozer.

 I.   The 2 list matchup, with Cryx as a priority.

  Goreshade2 and Denny1 have been handling me pretty easy lately.  The 2 list I have currently is Madrak2 and whoever I feel like.  I've been through Grim1, Jarl, and have started vassaling Calandra, Grim2 and played my first game with Grissel1.

  Grim1's not my playstyle.  I can't explain it.  He doesn't click.  He's cool, but I simply can't make him work for how I want to play.

  Jarl plays much more to my playstyle.  Less straightforward, more tricks and angles.  Still doesn't haven anything to scale up against Cryx though.  He's not bad for some matchups, but with 2 lists, I can't find a place for him.

  Calandra's a blast, but I'm only vassaling the Elemental Lights NQ tier, I haven't bought it yet.  I hate to spend that much money on that many lights that I will Never use outside of her tier.  It's a good tier though, and it's been working for me.  It's not my cryx matchup though.  So that's out.  Calandra herself is good though, and I could see building an anti-cryx list with her specifically, tarpitting with star-crossed Nyss under a Witch Doctor (Nyss are not fearless.  In fact, they are pansies), with max unit of Scattergunners behind them to wipe out Cryx hordes.  Maybe a Thrullg in the back, and a heavy of choice for the armor cracking.  Haven't decided.

  Grissel1 is cool.  I feel ashamed that I've had trolls for four, five months now and only just now played her.  That model is so ugly though.  But awesome caster.  My strategy for list building her army was simple.  All of the troll infantry I own...  And Longriders.  I have yet to make the Longriders work for me, and she seems to have everything they want.  I will be playing her more just to give me a good reason to field Longriders more often.  Otherwise, she seems like a decent counter for Cryx.  Not because she can stop any of their shenanigans (Except charges and spells, which is nice), but she just brings that much infantry, her feat is appalling and giving everything two attacks is pretty baller good for scaling up in the attrition war.

  Grim2, however, is my primary focus at the moment.  I love his playstyle.  I also like his feat.  The snipe is cute, and helps him out a bit, but +2 to hit for Scattergunners is fantastic.  I also like his toolbox.  Oddly enough, I prefer Magesight to True sight.  Being able to land a shot from Grim, and then also the Bomber, Impaler, or Dozer is fantastic.  Can't beat that.  I love Mortality more too.  Can cast it twice, and it drops ARM and DEF both.  He's got a lot of tricks.  He likes to be up front, but between reform and the trap, is generally fairly safe.  If you're super worried, bring Mulg.  I'm really liking Grim2, and am going to try to push him hard for my Cryx matchup.  I also like him against anything with lots of infantry.  Cephalyx, Khador, some Menoth lists, some Circle.  Really, anything Madrak2 doesn't want to deal with.  Debuffs and DEF skews, mainly.  Madrak2 really chews through most of everything else.

II.  Vengeance/Exigence Casters

  I didn't see any of them, and them all of the sudden, I fought 3, including the Cephalyx caster, Exulon Thexis.  The other 2 were Issyria and Butcher3.  Issyria, I should have handled just fine, but I brought Jarl and got shot to pieces and didn't have anything to shut down a Hyperion.  Madrak2 would have eaten everything alive.

  Butcher3 was interesting.  I mainly got lucky there with Madrak2.  The map had lots of rough terrain, and so the IFP were well behind Butcher most of the game, and his other main infantry unit, the Boomhowlers, failed CMD to the Fenns on turn 2.  Butcher was an inexorable force though, and at one point, he killed 2 Warders, a Bomber, a Kithkar and something else in once turn, by himself.  The IFP nearly caught up at that point, but the Burrowers stepped in, and even though they really failed to kill anything, they tarpitted so well that the IFP never were in the game really.  Overall, I tarpitted his forces, and fed enough high-value targets to Butcher to keep him feeling like he was doing something until he got close enough for my last 3 Warders and Madrak2 to end him.  Looking back, I'd rather have anyone with Mulg, or Grissel1.  Either one would be super hard on Butcher3, since he needs orders.  The new Dozer dire can put the hurt on his support too, like Maddie or Orin.  Butcher can be a super problem for stuff like Cygnar, but against Trolls, for the most part, they can handle the stack of ARM that Butcher3 is.  I packed Fennblades around him for the most part until I wanted him to come out.

  Cephalyx was neat.  Grissel1 was the girl for that game, and it was the first time I'd played her.  Cephalyx bring a Lot of infantry....  Jarl would like to fight them too.  Grissel did ok though.  I had enough models to really tank what he was bringing, and got lucky with a few deviations from the Bomber and was killing support, and really, Cephalyx is incredibly support dependent.  Any unit they bring relies on their UA and Agitators a lot.  Jarl with Magic Bullet, Dozer, or the Impaler/Bomber combo killing those guys really cuts down on what they can do.  They still have lots of models, and they don't die easily to blast damage, but they still are pretty weak offensively without their UAs.  Exulon Thexus himself is a controlling nightmare.  Telekinesis everywhere, lots of controlling your own dudes, things like that.  The monstrosities are pretty cool too, but they die fairly quickly between taking D3 from Thexus for being arced through, and your models attacking them, it doesn't take much.  They're awesome for 7pts, but a Bomber alone can put some serious hurt on them.  A Jarl list with Dozer, Bomber, Boomies and whatever else would handle Cephalyx pretty well I think.  Pair of Warders maybe.

 III.  Bearka and Dozer.

  I like Dozer.  He fits into a few lists without needing the Impaler.  I swapped him out with the Bomber/Impaler combo in my Madrak2 list for solo removing support, and put the remaining 6pts to a Slag or a Pyre and put the other pt wherever I wanted.  Dozer doesn't mind Snipe, but he doesn't really need it, and is plenty happy without it.  A Slag or a Pyre can get him up to PS17, PS18 (W/ stone).The only thing I really miss from the list is the Girded animus, which is incredibly good for keeping Grim Salvation from triggering on lots of low-damage blasts.  Also protects the KSB like a boss.  But Dozer does have some cool things.

 Bearka... is ok.  Looks like fun, but without playing a 3 list format, I can't find a place for him.  The forums don't seem to think he answers any questions, but I disagree.  He definitely throws any shooting for a loop with Stealth on the feat, and he really makes you question charging him at any time between his feat and counter charge on everything.  I particularly like the stealth though, and MHSF can suck it.  But otherwise, he doesn't do much, and certainly doesn't replace anything I have already. Time will tell.

  That's all I've got for now.  Scattergunners and Grim2 have done well enough for me in proxy and Vassal that they're being assembled today, I'm headed back to that, and the Steam Sale...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Almost two weeks ago, I played one of our PGs, a normal trollblood player. He recently switched to Ret because he's a two timing, no good, bandwagon jumping, traitorous kind of player. Anyways. We led off, and I dropped Jarl, trying him out some more. I'm really having a difficult time finding a 2nd list for tournaments. Madrak2 is my 1st list, and there's so many options for my second. I have yet to try Madrak2 against Cryx, and I really need to. Madrak2 should have been my drop against this list, but I'd already played Madrak2 against the other PG (another batrep I'm also working on). I keep making the mistake, consistenly, that shooting casters in trolls are made to handle shooting armies, and that's just not the case, yet I keep doing it. Madrak2 shrugs the shooting off pretty consistently, and tears it up in melee, whereas Grim1 and Jarl hunt solos and support the melee line, but their playstyle isn't such that it protects the guys as they move up the board. Madrak bricks up, brings high armor, a stone, a wall, and just marches up the board inexorably. The shooting casters actually want to be engaged. Grim1 will strip defense and hand out debuffs while Jarl protects the dudes on the way in. Against a shooting list, that's not a sound strategy.

Yet, here we are, Jarl vs. Issyria.

Fenns w/UA
Sons of Bragg
Fell Caller

The PG brought:

Houseguard Halberdiers w/UA
Houseguard Thane
x2 Mage Hunter Assassin
Ayaina & Holt

Right off the bat, I was going to struggle to kill Hyperion, and I knew it. The Slag could put a few shots in, and the Bomber would too, but it would take a few rounds to carve through him. Secondly, the MHSF were an issue, because I hate them... The Fenns die to them on less than average dice, so that doesn't help anything. Otherwise, I had enough shooting to pick out support models, and with clouds, had a way to protect my guys moving up the field from the Hyperion at least. Not the MHSF, of course, but everything else.

On the plus side, I didn't really have anything for Issyria to shut down with Blinding Light, so that wasn't too much of an issue. Her feat turn would weather me down pretty well, but other than that, wasn't too big of a deal. Hyperion would be an issue though. And the MHSF are frustrating.

So, everything moved up from Ret. The Hyperion picked up Inviolable Resolve, and the Chimera arc node got Admonition. Otherwise, everything ran, and spread out.

Impaler puts Far Strike on the Bomber for some early drifting goodness, and walks up. Boomhowlers 4+ tough and run into the zone, and the Fenns run forward as well while the Chronicler gives then "Feign Death". Bomber stands on the hill, drifting AOEs. He kills an MHSF and a Halberdier, and then a Fenn, who toughs.

Runebearer puts Harmonious Exaltation down, and Jarl moves up, trying to Magic Bullet the MHSF UA off of Hyperion, which I promptly miss. I was going to try it again, and was informed that killing the UA doesn't remove the Phantom Hunter from the MHSF, so enough of that. Jarl hangs out and camps the remaining three Fury.

Issyria allocates a few to the Hyperion, and feats. The MHSF proceed to annihilate the Fenns, but with Tough rolls and Feign Death, I still have 7 of them. On MHSF hits a Boomhowler, but he toughs.

The Halberdiers move up. The Chimera runs around the Hyperion to get more central to the map. Assassins push forward, and that's pretty much it.

There's nothing to upkeep, so Jarl pulls everything in. Fell Caller pushes forward and does Reveille, standing the Fenns up, who minifeat, charge, and force CMD checks. The MHSF fail, and will flee, but unfortunately, with Inviolable Resolve from Issyria, she can cast it before they even activate and nothing will have changed except she's down 2 focus from what she would have had.

So. One MHSF dies, and two get into Hyperion, and do decent damage, but nothing crazy. The Bomber moves up, puts 2 shots into Hyperion, boosted for damage on them both, and the Slag hits twice, doing some serious damage as well. I don't think I crippled anything on either side, but I did do decent damage. Storm Troll tries to get in there and electro leap some things, but can't make it work.

Impaler gets Far Strike on Jarl. Jarl magic bullets off of the Hyperion and kills an MHA. He then feats, and hides all four beasts.

The Boomies do a 4+ tough and charge, only a few of them actually getting the charge. They spread out a bit and kill a few Halberds, but that's it.

Sure enough, Issyra puts IR on the MHSF, and velocities back. The mhsf activate, and try to clear off the Hyperion, but fail to kill the two Fenns engaging him. Not because they weren't hitting and doing damage, but because I had hot tough rolls. One, however, does tick me off by shooting down my whelp back by Jarl that I was hoping to reign in my fury with. So much for that.

Holt tries to do work and he can't get it done either. Hyperion can't take any shots against my trolls because he can't see them, but he can't move any because the Fenns are in the way. He ends up blowing his activation killing the two Fenns remaining.

The Halberds tangle with the Boomhowlers again, but only connect against 2, and both tough.

I have a ton of fury out there, probably seven, and Jarl is sitting on 3. I pull everything off of the Impaler, and one from the Slag, but the Bomber and Impaler both frenzy, the Bomber goes after the objective and the Stormtroll takes down some boxes on the Slag troll. The Slag troll, sitting two fury, throws a shot into the Hyperion, boosts damage, and hurts it again, but not bad.

Impaler Far Strikes Jarl, who kills Holt, but can't quite get Ayaina. The Boomhowlers push back into the Halberds and kill a few. It's just a slugfest from here on out.

Hyperion gets focus again, and the Chimera gets a few too. The Halberds get back into the Boomhowlers, hit and box every one of them, multiple times, and I pull off a 100% tough with them.

Chimera charges the Bomber and does some damage, but fails to cripple him, and I spawn whelps.

MHSF focus fire and kill Chronicler and Fell Caller. Hyperion walks up and kills both the Slag and Stormtroll.

Boomhowlers stand up and kill more Halberds. The Impaler and Bomber take the Chimera down to a few boxes. Runebearer puts Quicken on Jarl with the minifeat, and Jarl casts far strike on himself and goes wide, putting 2 fully boosted shots into Issyria, and leaving her on two boxes.

The Halberds no long outnumber the Boomies, in fact, there's only two. They keep trying, but the Boomies are still toughing like crazy. The Hyperion walks in and tries to smash Jarl, but he transfers to the Bomber and kills him.

Issyria sprints as far away as she can.

Boomhowlers converge on the Halberds, Impaler finishes the Chimera, and Jarl goes chasing after Issryia in a hopeless race.

MHA charges Jarl and murders him.


1. Should have dropped madrak2. But, I wanted to try Jarl. Overall, Issyria isn't the end all the forums made her out to be, but I'm also playing trolls. She completely neuters a ranged unit, so Trolls don't mind that too much.
2. Hyperion was simply too much armor. I really didn't have anything to handle that, and I knew it from the start. The assassination was really the only chance I had, and I botched it the turn before hand by running my beasts hot. Impaler/Bomber and just 2 more boxes of blast damage and Issyria would have been gone.
3. Jarl is anti-ranged, no doubt, but MHSF counter that quite well, and love eating Fenns. A double warder list might have worked better, but overall, a typical brick of any sort would have done much better. Of course, there's Ossyan for that, but ok.