10 September 2010

Throw a Brick at them ~ Chief Madrak Ironhide

One of the oldest Trollblood strategies, beginning from our Alpha warlock Chief Madrak Ironhide.  The Troll caster that every Trollblood players owns, yup its our battle-box caster.  One of his signature spells 'Surefoot' means him and his Trolls pack themselves so tightly together that they quite literally form a 'Brick' of Trolls.  Add in things like the Kriel Stone Bearer and Gobber smoke and now Janessa Stonetide playing pMadrak gives you more and more reasons to make sure large aoe's hit all of your army.  Other Troll casters can brick to some degree, Borka with Ironflesh, does a decent minibrick.  But no Troll caster can play clumped up with the effeciency of our buddy Madrak.

Photo courtesy of Battlecollege

Chief Madrak Ironhide

Stats- Madrak has decent stats for a Warlock, nothing glamorous but it's okay two of his spells make up for his defeciencies in Defense and take his good MAT and make it great.
Weapons- He has one that he can use in melee or range. At range it doesn't go far but that is what Farstrike is for, if you happen to kill something on your first throw then you get to throw again. Top that off since its a throw STR buffs increase the ranged damage along with the melee damage and his P+S is pretty good to begin with. In melee he has reach which was a glorious addition in MKII. Icing on the cake is Critical Grevious wounds, which makes enemy Warlock's cry if you pull on off while hitting one of them.

Abilities- He has a few nifty abilities. Talisman on subdual means beasts that activate where Madrak can see them can't charge or slam him even when they frenzy. Snap Fire is discussed above. Scroll of Grindar's Perserverance is pretty awesome and is essentially Madrak taking a free hit that won't hurt him.
Spells- Surefoot is his signature spell and key to bricking, it takes low Troll DEF and turns them into being difficult to hit unless you can boost. Stranglehold slows things down from getting into your front lines and has good range, it's also cheap which is good because Madrak needs all the fury he can get. Carnage means that when your brick closes on their front lines your chances of hitting go way way up.

Brick Basics
Chief Madrak Ironhide ~ Surfoot is why he bricks so well.  Cast it turn 1 or turn 2 (usually on himself) and upkeep the rest of the game.  The added defense for him and everyone around him along with making it so none affected can be knocked down takes the Average low Troll Defense into respectable levels.  Most of the othe Core-Bricking models have decent MAT and carnage just makes it that much better. Toss is his Scroll and a buff or two and he is very hard to kill in an assassination attempt.  If they do rush the brick then Crusher on high MAT high DMG Champs is bad news.

Trollkin Champions ~ Lots of health, good armor that gets better when they are base to base with each other, a pair of attacks with weaponmaster,  and fearless make them ideal for the center of the brick.  If one unit is good, two are better.

Kriel Stone Bearer & Elder Stone Scribe ~ Adding to the ARM of already higher ARM models is called 'gravy' it makes a good thing better.  Having a larger aura than surefoot means it can be in the back. With the added benefits from the Elder Scribe adding to strength, taking away continous effects or taking away enemy stealth is fantastic on your core brick. 

Trollkin Champion Hero ~ Of all the good things this guy does, there is one thing on his list that makes him autoinclude for a brick army.  He gives all your champions the ability to move through each other.  No longer does the front line of your core brick get in the way of each other.  Sporting reach, thresher, commander, a mess of hit boxes, and pure hate, the hero takes one or both corners of the brick and makes flanking models cry.

Skaldi Bonehammer, Trollkin Champion Character UA ~ He himself is a beefier Hero, he grants the Champs he is tied to Overtake which is fantastic. He hits what he wants to and makes an excellent 'other side' to the core brick taking care of flankers opposite the Hero. Throw in the Hero and Skaldi can Countercharge right through the line of Champions.

Swamp Gobbers ~ Their Change in MKII is a little rough since they now have to be closer to the front lines.  Other than that, they do a sweet job of blocking los at beast and increasing defense at worst.

Janessa Stonetide ~ Among her multitude of abilites is Rockwall.   Putting her just behind the Champs means your opponentes have to navigate a linear obstacle on their way into your brick.  She brings so much other good to the table, you just might bring her instead of a Fel caller when you run the brick.

Chronicler ~ Make your Champs that much harder to hit and makes your opponents pay if they get into melee and kill them.

Runebearer ~ Runebearer is nice with Madrak since he has fury issues and he can cast Surefoot turn 1 to allow Madrak to fill up the Kriel Stone.
Brick Beasts
Madrak can't support more than a couple of beasts.  Usually his max is three lights or a heavy and a light.  But beasts he needs and good choices come aplenty with Full Blooded Trolls and Dires alike.

Light Beasts ~ So we have some awesome heavy beasts, their biggest problem is that they are easy to see and hit and can't even hide in the back.  For that reason, when playing the brick it is quite beneficial to bring light beasts and stuff them in the back of the brick.  Your enemies can't see them and they can toss in their animi or take down a pesky flanker as needed all from the relative safety of the back lines.  Ill do a quick rundown of  some of my favorite Brick Lights.

Impaler ~ Reach on the side is good, thats why the Character UA and Hero are on the flanks. Throw in some Farstrike and some Crit slams and they help your brick keep moving forward.

Slag/Pyre ~ In this list they do the same thing +2 to melee damage, with the added benefit of helping with some immunities.

Axer/Bouncer ~  If you bring these guys they spearhead your brick.  The Axer to help clear infantry or the Bouncer to take the first few hits from your Champs.

Winter ~  His animus adds some interesting survivability to your front line.

Swamp ~ His animus makes Madrak very hard to see and only IF they can draw a line to him anyhow.  Toss in some Drag and target become unwilling cusher targets.

Heavy Beasts ~  That is not to say our heavies are no good in the brick.  Quite the Contrary, some of them are downright fantastic.  Large bases stick out like a sore thumb in the brick but their support is great and their ability to take down hard targets better.  With the amount of points put into Champs though it is somtimes difficult to fit heavies into a brick list.

Mauler ~ In the brick the mauler is a fury battery and an animus thrower.  You only mix it up in melee with the Mauler late game.

Earthborn ~ Throw a rock wall down in front of the spearhead of your brick with Janessa and throw one or two animi on your front lines guys likely to get hit.  Yup ARM22 Champs are sweet, though only a few will be up there.  Where he shines with madrak is his own ability to buff himself requireing little in the way of needed help from a fury stretched caster.

Blitzer ~ With Farstrike he can do some nasty things from behind the brick and his animus is nice for clearing a lane.

Mulg ~ If you though Madrak was hard to assassinate before, sit Mulg next to him.

Bomber ~ Probably the only heavy you'd play up in the middle of the brick.  He can use his animus and every champ on your front line of the brick is now immune to blast damage.  Takes care of a huge weakness of the brick.

Other Trollbloods/Minons
While the brick is nice, sometimes you need to distract or soften up your opponents before you hit them with your brick.  All of our single wound infantry options minons or trollblood do this quite well.  Put them on the flanks and run them up, they are all faster than the brick and by running them up the sides you funnel your opponent into the middle to face the brick head on.

Kriels/Fenns/Scouts/Dygmies ~  Their job is simple, get in the way, do as much damage as possible and then die horribly.  Use them as speedbumps, get them in the way and do as much damage as you can with them to buy time for your brick to get into position.  Run them up the sides to the left and right to take away the opponents flank or even put them right our in front of the brick and make them wade through your single wounders before your Champs go to work

Fel Caller ~ Yeap I said it, the Fel Caller is not an autoinclude with the Brick. With Madrak's own attack buffing spell and your Brick's already high MAT and the fact they aren't getting knocked down and can already charge accross rough terrain regulates fel caller to supporting flanking units. In larger games he becomes autoinclude but at smaller levels you can probably do without him.

Bushwackers/Sluggers/Scattergunners/Nyss Hunters ~ All make excellent flank support but are not brick models in larger games they help keep stuff off your sides.

Alten/Pendrake/Croak/Totem Hunter/Skinner ~ There are probably more, they're not brick models, but they're great solos that don't require much support.

Brick Use
Deployment of the Brick is pretty standard once you decide on the particulars of your list.  A flying V of Champions in the front with the Hero on one or both sides and the UA on the other or back in.  Curing in are your beasts, they hang out on the flanks in the back and box in the Kriel Stone.  Use them as support only until later in the game.  Madrak with Surefoot right in the middle, with him are the Kriel Stone, Janessa, The Chronicler, and the Gobbers (though I will deploy the gobbers to one side of the V quite often.  You then take your single wounders, your independent models and any support they may have a spread out to the left and right of the brick.  These models one and only job is to funnel your opponent to the middle of the table, get in the way of flankers, and kill whatever they can.

Sample Brick List and Usage (pics to come)
35 Points
Chief Madrak Ironhide -6
Slag Troll +6
Troll Impaler +5
Kriel Stone Bearer and 3 Scribes +3
*Elder Stone Scribe +1
Trollkin Champions (5 Man) +10
Trollkin Champion UA +3
Trollkin Champion Hero +3
Kriel Warriors +6
*Kriel Warrior Standard & Piper +2
Stone Scribe Chronicler +2

50 PointsChief Madrak Ironhide -6

*Slag Troll +6
*Troll Impaler +5
Kriel Stone Bearer and 3 Scribes +3
*Elder Stone Scribe +1
Trollkin Champions (5 Man) +10
Trollkin Champion UA (Skaldi) +3
Trollkin Champion Hero +3
Kriel Warriors +6
*Kriel Warrior Standard & Piper +2
*Kriel Warrior Caber Tosser x3 +3
Fenn Blades +8
*Fenn Blade Standard & Drummer +2
Stone Scribe Chronicler +2
Fel Caller Hero +3

There is a lot of Competition for the Champ UA, and Fel Caller Spots, Janessa can go in as well as a second Fel Caller.  If you do bring two Fel Callers one goes with Fenns and one with Kriels.  Yeap, only two light beasts so take care of them.  I have a tendency to play Scattergunners and so will usually sub them in for one of the other single wounders.

Deployment ~  Brick in the middle with UA and Hero to either side and the beasts in back.  KSB, Madrak, Chronicler, behind the front wall with scribes trailing behind.  Gobbers usually hang on the right side Champ for me... because they do. Kriel Warriors take one flank while Fenn Blades take the other Flank.

Turn 1 ~ Run Run Run.  Nearly everything will run.  This turn you can use the chronicler on a Kriel or Fenn, The leading Champ on the Brick should get 10" everything else in the brick should get 8-9"ish.  Madrak needs to cast surefoot, so pick a charge target for him if you can to get him up where you need him.  Fel Caller if you have one will give pathfinder if needed to Kriels or Fenns and then hang back.  The Kriels and Fenns should go their max distance keeping their UA's back as far as possible and spreading out a little in front of the Brick to cut off hits on the Champs .Gobbers move up and throw smoke on part of your brick.

Turn 2 ~ Hit them in the fact with your brick.  You should be looking for opportunities to feat if you can pull off a good crusher.  Even if that means your sacrificing the hero to do it.  If not Charge if you can, if you can't charge then run up your units engage their front lines with a coupld of fenns and Kriels and leave the rest back for countercharge.

Turn 3 - You should now be knee deep in attrition.  If your playing scenario you're probably in good shape.  If you're going for a caster kill then continue grinding and the game will be yours.

Strength's ~ High ARM, lots of models, good damge output. Lots of medium bases on the field. (41 to be exact) limits enemy movement.  With buffs good defense added to high armor.
Drawbacks ~ Stong AOE's are bad news for your stone and some of your guys.  Terrian is an issue as well, but with the new UA it is mitigated. Lack of heavy hitters.  Low Beast Count.

1 comment:

  1. I don't see much mention of his feat here. Taking reach units (Fenns, Long Riders) to compliment your brick really helps clear troops out.

    Ideally, you'll be recieving a charge turn 2 or 3 to the front line of your brick. Then, after your opponent has poured as much as possible into your front lines you counter-attack with Crusher and Carnage going strong. Reach infantry can easily clear entire units, especially if you give them the double-buff of the Warcry.