Thursday, May 03, 2012

List Building: eGrissel 35 points

I want to shift gears a little bit this week.  With my order of a Dire Troll plastic kit and Mulg coming in this week, I want to revisit my plans for my Trolls.  They have been an army that I've wished to assembled off and on for some time now, and they've always been fun to play against.  When I first started playing Hordes I remember playing against a Troll player far more than anyone else and I quickly learned to respect the blue-skins.  Today I want to discuss a warlock who has faced some negative press since her arrival, but I've loved her model since it was released: Grissel Bloodsong, Marshal of the Kriels.  In particular, today I want to do some list building with her based largely on theory.  She strikes me as quite the interesting warlock and she has such an awesome model that I want to find a way to make her work.  Let's jump right into it!

First I want to look at eGrissel's feat because I find it to be quite interesting.  It seems fairly lackluster and unfocused, but her feat simultaneously gives all friendly models in her control area Hyper Aggressive and Unyielding.  What this means is that when a model is damaged by an enemy attack they can make a full advance towards the enemy model.  This can be quite useful against a foe which might want to soften you up before you get into their face and with Unyielding that also means that when you do get into their face, you are a little harder to damage.  This feat is an interesting defensive feat that can be used preemptively or if you're already engaged and want some extra ARM.  This is not a game-breaking feat by any means but it will be quite useful with anything with a decent SPD.

Her spell list is really small and limited but don't let that fool you!  She had two great spells that you'll want to use fairly often.  The first is Dash, best known for being used by Rhyas and it gives +1 SPD for all friendly models in your control range and makes them immune to free strikes!  This again is better utilized by models which have a higher SPD value already, as while the +1 SPD is great, the immunity to free strikes is really something you'll want to take advantage of.  This is a spell that will probably be cast every turn because if a unit runs that extra 2" can also be quite advantageous!  You could also use this to run behind your enemy lines to 'divide and conquor' and popping your feat would mean your troopers would be annoyingly difficult to dislodge to boot!  You'll definitely want multi-wound models to make the most advantage of her feat since the extra ARM adds to survivability while a model needs to be damaged to get the Hyper Aggressive benefit, and one-wound troopers would not really get to use it.

Her other useful spell is Inhospitable Ground.  While this spell can be easily ignored by models with Pathfinder, it can be situationally quite useful to allow your army to advance upfield quickly without worrying as much about getting charged first.  Even if your opponent has access to Pathfinder via spells or other abilities, casting this spell might at least blunt any plans they might have had for those abilities elsewhere.

Where eGrissel really shines, however, is that she is actually a ranged warlock.  With a reasonable POW on her ranged attacks and a decent RNG (with the help of an Impaler, of course) her ranged attacks are really what will help you to support your army.  On top of the fact that it's ROF: 3, she can choose a special ammo type each time she "shoots" (really more like sings).  So while her spell list seems limited, she makes up for it with these ranged attacks that can have one of 3 different ammo types: Crescendo - a larger AOE and lower POW which damages models which enter or end their movement inside, Quake - which knocks down models in the AOE on a direct hit, and Sonic Eruption - a 10" spray!  These offer Grissel some great front-line flexibility to support her troops offensively in ways in which other warcasters/warlocks would need to cast spells.  What Grissel offers is several ways of keeping her own models safe while keeping opposing models at bay until her force can strike hard.
It's worth considering the War Wagon with
eGrissel, methinks

So what does this mean for list building?  Well I really like her theme force, but without the models being released yet for the Sons of Bragg, it's really not worth trying yet.  Instead I want to take advantage of multi-wound models that want to strike first or have crazy survivability.  Here's what I've come up with:

Grissel Bloodsong, Marshall of the Kriels (+6)
- Troll Axer (6)
- Troll Impaler (5)
- Swamp Troll (4)
Trollkin Champions (min, 6)
- Skaldi Bonehammer (3)
Trollkin Champion Hero (3)
Trollkin Long Riders (min, 7)
Horthol (4)
Stone Scribe Chronicler (2)

This list tries to make the most advantage of what Grissel has to offer.  Her ranged attacks can be quite effective at clearing out or at least clearing out swarms of lightly-armored infantry and once they get close she can even clear them out more with her spray.  Each model in her army has multiple damage boxes too, so it means you'll be able to make the most of her feat, quickly engaging enemy models as well as benefitting from a higher ARM once engaging enemy models.  Long riders are a fun part of this list, especially with Dash, letting them make the most of their Cavalry rules like Ride-by-Attack, when they can't be free-struck if they fail to kill their target.  Dash will also be quite effective at delivering your Champs into melee, and when you do, the combination of not being free-struck while being able to move through your own models (thanks to the Champ Hero), means that you can really cleave through lines of opposing infantry.

This list doesn't benefit from the typical Troll philosphy of 'bricking up' and instead hits like a ton of bricks.  Even when faced with heavy targets like lots of warjacks and warbeasts, these guys can hit really hard since Grissel can make sure that enemy targets will have a hard time getting to you first, thanks to Quake knocking down targets (or at least getting warjacks/warbeasts to spend focus/fury to 'shake' the effect) or using Inhospitable Ground to keep the non-Pathfinder models/units at bay until you are able to get that crucial charge.

Lastly, the Stone Scribe Chronicler and the Swamp Troll offer some great denial effects that stack well with your feat should you choose to use it preemptively so your opponent will have to charge into you, but won't like doing it.
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