12 July 2010

The Kriels and you: A guide to Kriel Warriors

by Bakaryu ~ Author of The Lost Kriel

Well here be my first contribution to Trollblood tactica in MkII, and while it will not be awesomely cool as Sev's it is my hope that everyone will find some value in it and maybe help people see how amazingly awesome Kriel Warriors are. Who knows, it might even change the way some people play Trollbloods.

Kriel Warriors
On paper statistically Kriel Warriors are not much to look at, decidedly average or below average stats across the board, particularly in SPD, MAT, DEF, ARM and POW. However, do not be fooled into thinking that they are a subpar unit that cannot hold their own on the field of battle.

Their low points cost help to make Kriel Warriors a bargain unit that combined with the natural trollblood synergy are capable of standing toe to toe with the best of the enemy infantry and easily earning points back over the course of a battle.

At any time during their activation, the leader can give them the option of either +2" of movement or +2 to attack and damage rolls this activation. This gives you the flexibility of a unit that can either charge 10" and run 12" at MAT5 POW10 or the ability to charge 8" and run 10" with MAT7 POW12. We are talking elite infantry levels of MAT here on a unit leader that cannot be gotten rid of thanks to the field promotion ability in MkII, this means the unit hits most warjacks and units with ease without requiring the MAT buff of a fell caller. Against tougher to hit foes, there is always the good old Combined Melee Attack to help drive up those odds and get those vital blows.

Standard and Piper
The first attachment option for the Kriel Warriors, the standard and piper are unique amongst other unit attachments in the game in that they both are single wound models like the rest of the unit, but to make up for this both have either the Take Up or rules, which makes it difficult to get rid of them and rob the unit of their special abilities.

The flaw with having a unit of up to 15 40mm bases is trying to fit them all in that 8" CMD range that the leader possesses. Thankfully the Piper helps with this by helping you get more spread on those Kriel Warriors, helping them to tie up opponents further and further away. If it comes down to it or the extra CMD bubble range isn't needed, he also has a melee attack.

The standard bearer is undoubtedly the real reason you take the unit however, the annoyance of tough is how when you do pass a tough roll you have to slow the unit down because models need to stand up after being knocked down. Not any more! While alive and in formation those Kriel Warriors ain't falling down, which means the Kriel Warriors will continue to engage enemies, and drop and pop tactics will not work against them.

Caber Throwers
Now we get to where Kriel Warriors are really at. Caber Throwers are devastating single wound, single point models that have the capability to reach insane levels of POW and accuracy which can devastate whole units or heavy jacks and beasts at a time.

Now again, MAT5 and POW13 alone doesn't sound particularly awe inspiring but don't let that fool you. Most of the time thanks to reach, those bad boys are attacking at MAT7 POW15 and have the ability to slam small and medium based models and auto knockdown large based models. Again doesn't sound too great, but when you start adding the multitude of MAT and STR buffs we have as a faction, the highest possible is MAT13 POW21 but the most common setup will see MAT9 POW19. That sees them hitting most jacks and beasts on anything but snake eyes and straight dice or better against all but Khador and heavies with the advantage.

What makes it worse is that you can have up to three of them in a unit, and thanks to Take Up you got a massive unit of cheap hard to kill grunts who primarily serve as a delivery system for the Caber Throwers to get in there and wreck face.

To summarize the potential combat stats:

Base: MAT5 POW13
Fervor (Unit Leader Prayer): +2 to Attack and Damage Rolls during activation
War Cry (Fell Caller): +2 to Melee Attack Rolls for this turn
Rage (Dire Troll Mauler): +3 STR (does not apply to Collateral Damage) for one round
Stone Strength (Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribe Elder): +1 STR (does not apply to Collateral Damage) for one round
Charge of the Trolls (Stone Scribe Chronicler): +2 to Melee Attack and Melee Damage Rolls (requires friendly faction warbeast to be engaging target) for one round

Our more melee oriented warlocks are the ones that generally see the most value out of Kriel Warriors, but even the more support and shooty themed warlocks can appreciate the wall of hard to kill bodies that Kriel Warriors provide.

Carnage pretty much ensures that those Kriel Warriors never need a MAT buff from the Fell Caller or Chronicler. Sure Foot isn't really of much use to the Kriel Warriors however as they are already immune to knockdown if the Standard bearer is present and in formation and you cannot get enough of them around a guy for the majority of the unit to gain the +2 DEF. However Caber Throwers when up to MAT9 or higher become monstrous during his Crusher Feat. I have had a single Caber thrower walk through two whole units on his own by hitting one model for POW18 with boosted slam damage from hitting another model, who himself is knocked down but unlikely to die from the POW7 collateral damage roll, only to be auto hit after the Caber Thrower has advanced an inch to help continue the train of pain. Three Caber throwers on pMadrak's feat turn can wipe out easily 4-5 times their points cost of troops.

Arguably my favourite warlock for Kriel Warriors, they tick every box that his army needs. Cheap infantry models that you don't mind losing for Grim Salvation and a unit with high MAT and POW attacks that are likely to reach the enemy relatively intact as the enemy goes for the greater perceived threat in your heavy infantry and warbeasts. With a Mauler and rune bearer you can upkeep Warpath, Blood Fury and cast Rage twice (plus once from the Mauler) to have three POW18 weapon master attacks. Read that again...POW18 freaking WEAPON MASTER attacks that will not miss jacks and beasts. Include charge of the trolls and the +1 STR aura from the KSB to push that up to MAT11 POW21 weapon masters with auto KD. On his feat they can be great for slamming a whole line of infantry out of the way to open up line of sight to squisher models behind.

Doomie himself has little use for Kriel Warriors except as a line of bodies to stand in his way, and with the KSB aura, concealment from the chronicler and banishing ward they do so remarkably well. A unit with DEF14 vs shooting, immunity to magic attack and enemy animus targetting, ARM17 and immunity to knockdown with as many as 15 models for 11 points is a wall that will take even the most determined opponent a great deal of time to churn through to reach Doomshaper.

Again except as a meatshield, he has no time for Kriel Warriors. Except that unlike pDoomshaper he has no worthwhile buffs to give except one free Rage each turn, and that will likely just go on a warbeast who will benefit from his spell selection and feat.

Grissel gives these guys everything that they lack: Speed, Fearless and the potential for a second attack as well as the possibility to deny enemy units the charge with her feat. Because they will invariably be the front line shoved down the enemy's throat, they make a great unit for whichever warbeast (typically Mulg in my lists) has Hallowed Avenger. The only thing hotter than eMadrak giving an additional dice to Caber Throwers? Grissel giving an additional attack to Caber Throwers! Her Hoof It fell call allows them to move again (ignoring free strikes) at the end of your turn after all activations, or alternatively Heroic Balland gives them an additional attack plus Fearless. If three buffed Caber Thrower attacks are close to killing a heavy, six buffed Caber Thrower attacks will do so easily with attacks to spare.

Another caster who sees a lot of mileage out of the Kriel Warriors, Borka gives a lot to this cheap and versatile unit. Mosh Pit gives auto knockdown to models in his control area, giving you the ability to use a Kriel Warrior first to knock down that big target so your Cabers have no chance of missing when they charge. His high amount of Fury means he can cast Rage on all three and not have to rely on the Mauler's fury to do so, while Iron Flesh combined with Concealment means that they can approach the enemy at up to DEF17 vs ranged and magic attacks. Additionally Borka's feat means that you can get up to a 12" charge at MAT5 POW10 or a 10" charge at MAT7 POW12.

Grim himself gives relatively little to Kriel Warriors, with Cross Country likely to be used on juicier choices such as Bushwhackers, a Bomber, Blitzer or a unit of Long Riders. His feat however can pretty much guarantee that the unit will hit the enemy with ease or deny the enemy the ability to get the alpha strike against them, ensuring that first blood belongs with the Kriels.

Another caster who, like pDoomshaper, uses the Kriel Warriors more as a denial fueled roadblock than an offensive juggernaut. Star Crossed, Tough, ARM17 and Steady will have the enemy tearing their hair out as their lowly DEF of 12 suddenly becomes a nightmare to hit. Even though she generally doesn't add much punch to the force, her feat can suddenly give them that extra burst of deadly survivability that will help them to take down heavy warjacks and beasts. The only flaw is that she generally needs her fury for so so so much than spamming Rage, Flaming Fists or Acidic Touch. 

Army Synergy
Kriel Warriors are one of those units that can benefit greatly from just about every synergy based aspect of our army. Their base stats with Fervor is decent, but not so that buffs to their MAT, STR and ARM do not become redundant.

Fell Caller Hero
One of the bread and butter buffers of the Trollblood army, the Kriel Warriors are always happy to get either Pathfinder or +2 MAT to help push their attack changes up to a near certainty. If you got the standard bearer in the unit then its very unlikely the unit will ever need his Reville fell call, which is just as good as the rest of the army also has tough and will likely pass a few tough rolls...

Again another solo where every single one of his buffs helps the Kriel Warriors. Concealment on the way in means that with 15 of them, that extra +2 DEF will make a noticable difference especially when combined with Calandra or Borka's ability to make them harder to hit. Charge of the Trolls can help push even normal troopers up to MAT9 POW14 without any other external buffs, and the Cabers up to a fearsome MAT9 POW17. When the grind is on, Hero's Tragedy means that the enemy will pay for every single one of those cheap single wound models that they manage to take down.

Champion Hero
Not much synergy here, except for CMD10 and Commander, which helps make sure that they stick around when the CMD checks are coming, especially with the Standard Bearer so you can reroll if you do manage to fluff a check.

Krielstone Bearer and Stone Scribe Elder
The +2 ARM aura from the Krielstone Bearer helps push the ARM of the Kriel Warriors just about to the point where POW10 attacks will fail to force tough checks on average rolls. This pretty much ensures that the unit has a decent survival rate against most trooper model attacks and all but the most powerful blast damage. Immunity to continuous effects is always helpful against certain lists, and a blanket +1 STR aura is always helpful for the Kriel Warriors.

There are relatively few minions that are truly helpful to the Kriel Warriors, and none at all that buff them directly.

Swamp Gobbers
The 5" cloud effect can help boost the DEF of several Kriel Warriors, but generally they already have concealment from the Chronicler, besides they should be dropping 3" clouds to protect LOS to your warlock or buffing the DEF of warbeasts.

The Trollblood army (outside of pDoomshaper) has no way to strip offensive upkeep spells off our units such as Fear of God and Crippling Grasp. The Thrullg helps here, 3 attacks means even attacking a Kriel Warrior from behind you can be sure he will hit, and even if one does die, it means the upkeep spell is removed from the entire unit.

Lanyssa Ryssyl
Hunter's Mark can help boost the threat range of your Caber Throwers to ensure they get the beat down on that heavy jack or beast. But again realistically it should be your warbeast benefitting from it, especially as the charge doesn't require the beast to force.

Saxon Orrik
His ability to give a single unit Pathfinder can be useful, meaning that the Fell Caller or Grissel can still give them a worthwhile Fell Call or be giving Pathfinder to someone else.

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