I've thought about making posts in regards to Tactica that I've discovered throughout my days playing wargames. I figured I'd start with some advice I gave someone.
About a little over a month ago I had a PM from another forum user in DakkaDakka. He asked this:
Hey Sub (My username is SubParNinja), i m angling to start up a W/H army soon, and i really like the troll bloods look, and from the very few games ive seen at the lgs play style. i was hoping to get some advice on a good place to start for a TB's force. i noticed youve given some posts youve made on the forums so i thought id ask! Not really asking for you to build me a list or anything, I'm more hoping to get some info about a good place to start for competitive play... i.e is more beasts, good combos, best lock etc. atm im leaning toward a war beast heavy style but im not sure how good that is, or what to really round it out with. also is the batlle box worth it ? or should i just buy what i need as i need it? thx a ton for any help you can give me !
This was my reply:
Thanks for messaging me. The battle box is awesome for the brick style player, i.e. making tough durable trolls that are hard to kill and hit like a ton of bricks. Even though it doesn't come with a heavy beast it comes with one of the toughest warlocks Madrak, whose feat is near useless in small games but if you leave any fury on him he is extremely hard to assassinate in one turn, plus you get one of the best upkeep spells known to trolls with Surefoot. What's even better is you get the axer, which if you plan on going heavy on beasts then he is an auto-include. His animus Rush gives +2 SPD (not movement, mind you, which is AWESOME) and pathfinder, which any good army should have the ability to give pathfinder to as many units as possible. The Impalers are so-so, although I've always loved them for their ability to slam at range with a P+13 as well as reach for support. Their animus tends to be self serving most of the time, although if you use a warlock with a ranged weapon then they are priceless (Madrak with a 12" thrown Rathrok fully boosted with an aim bonus has killed many unguarded casters). That's the battlebox in a nutshell, not the best but it is the way I started out and it is one of the best boxes for growing out an army to its fullest potential. Most boxes have something that doesn't grow well with the army or caster, and the trolls have one that ONLY works for growing.
Now onto building your specific army. I've always wanted to build a warbeast heavy list, and since I mainly run Madrak it's not highly recommended seeing as how he tends to support infantry more. You can make him support beasts, but with the lowest fury on the totem pole it quickly stretches your resources to the brim.
First I'll start with warlocks. Although it can be argued that you can run a lot of beasts with any warlock, it is not heavily debated that epic Doomshaper is best suited for the job. He literally is the best warlock for a beast heavy army, no contest. All his spells are centered toward beasts, and his feat just as much. He even has an affinity for the beast of all beasts Mulg. He also has a fury of 7 making it easy to manage your beasts and casts support spells.
Now if you're taking eDoomy you will take Mulg. No questions asked. If you don't you are doing yourself a grave disservice. They go together like root beer and ice cream.
So before I go onto beasts I will tell you about certain units that go well with a beast heavy army. First off the Kriel Stone Bearer Unit, full sized if possible with the Unit Attachment. This unit is a must have in almost any TB force. A +2 armor goes a very long way from making units average to hard to kill. If your beast was hit and damaged 8 times a KSB in range decreases damage by 16 points. That is HUGE. Couple that with the ability to regenerate and break out the wine my friend 'cuz that's some good cheese. The UA for them is also priceless for 1 point. It not only adds one more model to increase the fury vault and range, it stacks on another ability that makes the unit become a toolbox. You can either make stealth units no longer stealthy (not so great considering the close range, but you never know!), you can make your units immune to continuous effects (huge, huge, HUGE against Cryx and Menoth) or you can give every model in the aura a +1 strength (by far the most useful of the three, again making units go from average to awesome), ALL FOR 1 POINT. Keep in mind to protect this unit, usually keeping them in the back, because troll armies only succeed based on their support, and any smart player knows to kill these off first. You'd be surprised, though, how long they last because you will be presenting a lot of other immediate threats.
Actually, now that I think about it, this is the only auto-include unit that I know for beast heavy armies. You can put other units in, but ultimately they would be taking points away from other support models and beasts.
Onto solos... Unquestionably, without a doubt, you will need at LEAST one unit of Troll Whelps. This two point solo has saved my ass every game that I have ever used them. Always keep them off the table when deploying. Always remember to pop them out when a beast is damaged. One trick to keep in mind is when a jack or beast charges a beast of yours. After their first attack gets through you pop out a whelp within 1" of your beast and 1" of their beast/jack. This will make the rest of the attacks at -1 to hit, which coupled with +2 armor from KSB harder to kill. If your beast survives the onslaught then they have something to eat to help regenerate, although you will most likely be using them for comfort food to get rid of unwanted fury. Since they don't start off on the table your opponent will tend to forget about them, so when you charge in and have over 20 fury on the table he will think "Man this guy is screwed next turn" but then you use 1 or 2 of your whelps and POOF no threshold checks. Priceless.
Another priceless solo: Janissa Stonetide. When I started using her I couldn't imagine life without her. She is the perfect defensive tool for any army and has a surprising offensive tool too. Keep her close to your caster to put up a wall about 0.5" away from him on a vulnerable side. Walls have a special rule that says you can't charge over them and you can't end your movement on top of them, effectively closing off any charges short of reach. If a reach unit does get the charge the target gets a +2 def in melee. If you're going against a gargantuan putting a wall 3.5" - 4" in front makes them impossible to get close because of its large base size! Her tectonic shift is great for late game. Sometimes you'll get an opportunity to move close to a warcaster's bodyguard unit and shove them 3" to the side for an assassination run, or move the caster 3" to the side or closer. Very rarely will you want to use her axe, although it is an armor piercing weapon, her other two abilities make it seem not as useful.
Other solos are okay, but not auto-include like those two.
As I said earlier the first beast you will buy is Mulg, no questions. He's essentially a Mauler on crack with a big stick. At first his stats don't seem too off the wall he can get ridiculous with animi. He gets an extra attack for Doomshaper's Affinity, if your warlock gets damaged (and hopefully transferred) he gets a free advance. If he's damaged by an enemy attack he gets +2 speed next turn. Plus he heals and has critical smite. Couple that with the axer's animus to increase his speed another +2 with pathfinder and eDoomy's feat to have a +3 speed to charges, slams, etc., as WELL as eDoomy's Goad ability, you get what used to be a SPD 4 snail to a potential 14" charge with REACH, and if he kills something (which he will) ANOTHER 2" MOVE!!!!Trample to the caster FTW!
Now that is an extreme example. In reality you will reliably be able to get a 12" charge with reach, which is nothing to scoff at, especially considering that there is NOTHING in the game that Mulg can't kill in one turn. NOTHING. Slap Wild Aggression on him from Doomy on turn 1 and see the carnage as Mulg now charges for free and has boosted melee attacks! That is about as efficient as it gets in regards to kill output. That means he should only be spending fury to buy more attacks, since boosting damage is inefficient when he's got a P+S of 20 (19 base with 1 from KSB). If he doesn't need the axer's animus then use the Mauler's for an additional +3 strength/damage. CRAZY!
That brings me to the next auto include: the Mauler. Single handed the model that made me play TB. He has two open fists for all power attacks, an awesome Animus that makes any beast a killer, the best chain attack in the game, and a great looking model (at least the old one). He should be there to pump out an animus to Mulg, but if not then charging and killing something and throwing it into other things. I always boost this guy's initial attacks to get the chain attack for a free power throw, with his high strength he should be able to throw something far and into another jack/beast. Having two knocked down jacks greatly affects the caster's next turn to be efficient with focus and will hinder the retaliation significantly. It's not quite as crushing against hordes, but it is still significant nonetheless. He tends to really shine when coupled with Madrak, but he fits with any caster, especially a beast heavy eDoomy army.
After that there's the Axer. Bring him for the wickedly powerful animus and thresher attacks. One thing that beast armies can have issues with is going against swarms of infantry. With the Axer having thresher that no longer is a problem, since he can pump up his speed with his animus then attack a butt load of models with reach and thresher. I've killed whole units with this guy. If you need to you can cast Wild Aggression on him for boosted Melee attack rolls for his thresher, and that will guarantee some blood. One way to do so is activate Mulg first, who should have Wild Aggression on, then activating eDoomy to cast Wild Aggression on the Axer. This way you can take care of heavy hitters and swarms of infantry. His main goal, however, is to allow eDoomy to use his animus as much as possible in the early rounds. If eDoomy uses his feat, then uses 6 fury to cast Rush on 3 different beasts, those beasts have a huge charge range of SPD+3+5 with pathfinder! Hell, you don't even have to charge. Hide behind forests so that your beasts can't be charged. Your enemy may even do the same thinking that you won't have LOS to them either. Then you pop the feat and cast Rush and just Trample through the forest and start striking. These are the kind of combos that make Trolls ridiculously better than their stat lines suggest.
Now those are the must have beasts. One other beast to keep in mind is the Bouncer, although this is optional. Having the bouncer around means having a high armor beast with a reach/chain weapon. He is a bodyguard, mostly there to keep popping his animus on the caster to prevent unforeseen melee assassinations as well as to shield guard from shooting assassinations. Nothing too great, but between him and Janissa it's some pretty good insurance considering almost everything else in your army will be far out front stuck in some heavy melees.
Another beast to consider is the Mountain King gargantuan. For all the combos I've mentioned already, they become, pun intended, gargantuan with him. +2 SPD/Pathfinder, Wild Aggression, feat, KSB +2 arm, etc. He may be a bit unwieldy and easily manipulated by the enemy, but that would have a great shock factor to have Mulg, a Mauler, then A MOUNTAIN KING. Even though he sprouts his own troll whelps, bring a unit anyway. You will see your enemy's frustration once they do all that damage then you eat 10 whelps at once to heal for 10-30 damage.
Lastly think about the Earth Born Dire Troll. He is actually more like an auto include, but I honestly prefer the Mauler over the EBDT. If you do bring the EBDT you bring along his awesome animus. If you cast the animus on Mulg with the EBDT right next to him and Janissa's wall behind them with the KSB aura, the two of them can get a 22 and 23 armor. If they happen to be next to difficult terrain they get +2 speed. It's great to have him, and with Janissa it becomes less table-dependent to field him, so if you have the points I'd field him. He's also good at assassinations since he adapts the POW of any weapon in B2B with him (perhaps MULG or an enemy warcaster!). Plus he's one of the coolest looking models in the game.
There you have it! I've thought about this kind of army for a long time now, I've just never gotten around to building it since I haven't even finished painting my Madrak force.
Hope this helps!
That's it for my first tactica. It's not to structured, mostly concentrating on a beast heavy army. Maybe for next time I'll write one for pMadrak.