20 December 2010

Crushing Crescendo: A Grissel Guide

Crushing Crescendo: A Grissel Guide
by Saerko

When I first picked up my friend’s copy of Primal to see about this “Hordes” jive he was spewing, I was having a hard time deciding what faction to play. I hate elves, so Legion was out immediately, and Circle was never going to fit my aggressive, melee-oriented playstyle. So it came down to Skorne and Trollbloods, and I was on the verge of picking up a Skorne army when I leafed through the Trollblood section again and decided to take a look at Grissel Bloodsong a little bit closer.

There was no turning back.

“Why” you might ask, is Grissel that great? The answer is that Grissel can do everything. With melee ability only out-stripped by Borka and Madrak, support abilities equivalent to anything Calandra, Grim, or Doomshaper can bring to the table, a killer feat, a spell list to die for and denial usually reserved for Cryxian warcasters, there’s no list she can face that she doesn’t have an answer for. If some warcasters/warlocks can be thought of as Swiss Army Knives, she’s a fully loaded Leatherman. She has so much potential, I didn’t really feel up to the task of writing this guide, but I’m going for it anyway and hoping I can give you a glimpse at how I use her. This guide will by no means be exhaustive--it’s a starting point and you’ll have to take it from there.

Rules Rundown


Her statline is like a Fell Caller’s, but she takes a hit to MAT/RAT in exchange for the second-highest base DEF in the faction and ARM like Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain (pMadrak). Unlike most warlocks, you actually care about her relatively high CMD because it’s used to determine the distance on her Fell Calls, which we’ll cover in depth later. Her FURY is mid-range, so you can take a balanced mix of warbeasts and infantry without problems, but the extremes on either end will hurt. The take-away on her statline is that it’s remarkably balanced compared to most of our warlocks, so that while she does not necessarily excel in any particular area except CMD, she also lacks any glaring weaknesses.



All Trollkin warrior models have this, and Grissel is no exception. It won’t save you from an assassination attempt 99% of the time, so don’t plan on it. Ever.

Fell Calls

These are what set Grissel apart from all of the rest, and one of her best tools. An important thing to keep in mind is that these DO NOT stack with the calls by the Fell Caller Hero (FC). So if you decide to use Reveille to stand up knocked down models, Grissel can’t give them the benefit of Hoof It or Heroic Ballad. The other thing to note is that while Grissel’s beneficial Fell Calls affect warbeasts and units alike, they don’t work on warlocks. Like the Krielstone Bearer and Stone Scribes (KSB) and FC, these are just actions during your activation, so the only time you can’t use them is after Running or during movement. So if you use them, you can never give them to Grissel with the exception of her feat Fell Chorus, which changes the rules a little bit. Now that we’ve got the caveats in, let’s talk specifics.


This is one of her less useful Fell Calls. Since she only has a 9” CMD range, you have to get her pretty close to the enemy in order to make it stick. It’s an aura, so if the model(s) exit her CMD range, they can go right back to business as usual. Using it to negate spellcasting is about as effective as Mulg’s animus, so if you’re not up against Arc Nodes and facing a threat to Grissel directly, it’s not a bad idea. Even better is the fact that it prevents orders, and with Grissel’s SPD you can advance toward a unit up to 15” away and prevent it from Charging or entering Shield Wall. This can be especially useful when you run up against those Iron Fang Pikemen and Temple Flame Guard that depend on both the Shield Wall and Charge orders to be effective.

Heroic Ballad

Its first effect is that it grants Fearless, which can be useful against units that can end up facing models with Terror or Abomination, and is really just icing on the cake. The real benefit of this call is that it grants a model/unit an additional melee attack, which can be devastating. I like using to improve Mulg’s ability to take down heavies with his Rune Club or have a unit of Kriel Warriors dismantle a Shield Wall unit or get multiple CMAs on a heavy. One of the best uses is to throw it on Long Riders and then have them charge, so that you get a round of Impact Attacks and then can follow up with two attacks from their Axes. Using that combination, you can wreck an infantry unit with just a minimum unit of Long Riders with little difficulty.

Hoof It

This is probably my favorite of her Fell Calls. After all models in the army have finished activating, a model/unit affected can move up to their SPD in inches and can’t be targeted by Free Strikes when they do it. For scenario games, this is an invaluable way to get parity with armies that depend on quickly locking down objectives. If they run, you can get a unit of Fennblades 18” up the board in the first turn. With Long Riders, it’s more like 21”. You can get a slow warbeast like Mulg keeping in step with the rest of the army, or given a model/unit the ability to attack and then fill in the holes they’ve opened and lock them in place. Having trouble keeping that Runebearer with the main line? Hoof It will allow him to use one of his abilities and still move 10” up the field.


Sonic Blast

This is essentially a Scattergunner spray attack, but with the option to boost the attacks. Like all sprays it has its uses, and can be very accurate when boosting or with the support of Grissel’s spell Calamity, but even 8” away is a little close for comfort much of the time. I mainly use it to clear out infantry that are blocking charge lanes or just as a way to kill off pesky solos, especially those that depend on Stealth and Cover/Concealment to protect them.


This is a remarkably nice weapon for a support warlock, and part of what rounds Grissel out. With one less P+S than Rathrok, Magical Weapon and Critical Smite it allows Grissel to get the damage output necessary to put down enemy warlocks/warcasters. The Critical Smite can be key to a successful assassination by Grissel, because you can boost the attack and try to slam a high-DEF warcaster/warlock in order to knock them down and bring in support to finish the job, or cast Calamity to improve her attack and damage output against the target and layer it with other buffs. For base damage output, Grissel falls just behind either version of Madrak and Borka, so you don’t have to worry about getting what you need when you need it. With her low STR though, unless you have a Mauler the Critical Smite won’t do much on Collateral Damage rolls against most models.



In a faction with easy access to lots of buffs, an offensive spell like Calamity can take even the most meager infantry to great heights of attacking power. The difficulty with this spell is really its range, which requires you to get very close to the action in order to use. Units like Farrow Bone Grinders are a great way to extend your distance on the threat range for the spell, but it’s really going to cost you 4 fury because you almost always want to boost the attack roll. Therefore if you’re counting on using this spell in lieu of or in addition to other buffs, you’ll want to bring a Runebearer to reduce the usage cost and/or extend the threat range on it. Against units like Cataphract Cetrati under Defender’s Ward though, this spell can be solid gold.

Hallowed Avenger

I love this spell. It only works on warbeasts in your battlegroup, but it can be used to create great counter-charges and milk out-of-activation movement. Especially useful with our slow yet heavy-hitting warbeasts like Mulg and the Dire Troll Mauler (DTM), you get to charge ANY enemy model after ANY enemy attack destroys or removes from play a friendly faction model within 5” of the warbeast it’s placed on. Get all that? You don’t have to attack model that triggered the spell, it can be any type of attack whatsoever, and it works even if the model is removed from play instead of being destroyed.

You still have to charge an enemy model, but nothing requires you to make that a successful charge, so feel free to charge that heavy warjack halfway across the board when the Kriel Warrior next to Mulg gets killed by some rank-and-file infantry trooper. Suddenly you’re 7-10” closer to bringing the pain to the opponent.


A spell that is often overlooked on Grissel, and shouldn’t be. It’s an AOE 4, POW 13 spell that means sudden death to many of the softer infantry in the game, which makes it pretty good all on its own. What takes it to the next level is that it counts as Rough Terrain, and sticks around for an entire round. Well placed, this spell can neuter a lot of long-distance charges and create a mobile quagmire for the opponent.

The real downside on this spell is its cost, much like Calamity. You’re never guaranteed that an AOE is going to go where you want it to, so you usually need to toss out two in order to get the effect you want. That also means you’re saying goodbye to all of Grissel’s fury--a tough pill to swallow. The Runebearer is more your friend when using this spell than any other--giving you the ability to toss out three AOEs if you use its once per game ability, or reduce the cost to a decent level.


Fell Chorus is one of the best feats in the game, in my humblest of opinions, because it’s so amazingly adaptable. It’s practically three feats in one, since each of her Fell Calls is a mini-feat within itself. Each model that activates the turn she pops it gets an additional attack, becomes Fearless, gets to move up to its SPD after all activations are done, and enemy models within her CTRL area can’t cast spells or give/receive orders. Need to get up the field really quickly? Pop her feat. Want to deny some nasty charges or spells? Pop her feat. Do you need to devastate the enemy models on the board, and then fill in the gaps to deny counter-charges? Yep, just pop her feat. Whatever you need to do, including beating a hasty retreat if you need to, just gets easier on Grissel’s feat turn. She controls the battlefield, repositions her army, and packs an offensive punch at the same time. It’s beautiful.

The important thing to remember here is that while Hoof It and Heroic Ballad are both pulses (meaning that they only affect the models within her CTRL area at the time the feat), Cacophany is an aura (it will affect models when they are within, enter, or exit her CTRL area). Consequently, you can use Hoof It to roll forward and catch most warcasters/warlocks within the Cacophany aura, shutting down their spellcasting unless they leave the affected zone. There are warcasters and warlocks who live and die by the spells they can cast within their turn, especially in preparation for an assassination run. Given that Hoof It plus Grissel’s normal movement allows her to effectively advance 12” in a single turn (more if she charges a model), you can easily catch anyone hanging back to try and avoid it.

Another note on the use of the feat is that Heroic Ballad gives the affected model an additional attack, but only during its activation. So if you’re looking to milk the most attacks out of the feat, Grissel must activate first on that turn. Also, do not forget that Hoof It ignores free strikes--as long as you’ve got the SPD to make it.

Core Strategies

The only type of army Grissel doesn’t shine with is a ranged one, and even then she’s not half bad. I do have some specific strategies that I employ when I use her though, and while they don’t capture every possible way to play her, I believe they are both effective and fun.

Take and Hold

Through either individual Fell Calls or her Feat, Grissel is extremely good at launching her army across the board and daring the opponent to try and attack. Using Hoof It turn 1, you can get a unit of Kriel Warriors or Fennblades 17-18” up the board from their starting position, and sit them over the midline right away. With Long Riders, you’re looking at 21” move, which can have you in melee with their Advance Deployment turn 1. Widowmakers? Not a problem. Striders? Gelded. I don’t worry about Gunlines with Grissel--even Haley and Deneghra don’t have what it takes to dislodge me from objectives.

Jack of All Trades

There’s no situation Grissel doesn’t have some answer for. If she needs to improve her army’s ability to hit or output damage, she has Calamity. If she needs to cut through lots of infantry or faces Terror/Abomination models, she can give extra attacks and Fearless via Heroic Ballad. Spellcasters, Shield Wall, and Charges? Cacophany. Need mobility or to avoid free strikes? Hoof It. Need an AOE or to create Rough Terrain? Rift. It goes on. She’s got both a nice ranged attack and a good melee option. Her Fell Calls affect beasts, and with Hallowed Avenger she can punish the opponent and get out-of-activation movement. She does it all.

Devastating Combos

Did I mention she can layer all of the above? She can. You can throw Calamity on an enemy model, hand out Heroic Ballad to any model you please, and throw in a damage buff for good measure to turn any model we have into a one-Troll wrecking crew. An opponent can never be sure they’re safe because she has all of the tools she needs to make your average Stone Scribe into a whirling dervish of destruction and woe.

Fair and Balanced

Like to run Ranged armies? Hoof It lets you forfeit movement for aiming, and then dance out of range of the opponent. Calamity is perfect for making those Scattergunners wipe entire units off of the table. If you take Bushwackers, you can have them shoot and then reposition 12” after firing. Want to run beast-heavy? You can economize on Fury and Boosting with Heroic Balland and Calamity, while sheltering them from charges with a Rift Template. You can have an Earthborn Dire Troll use a Rift Template to get +2 SPD to charge a model 10” away, and then reposition 7” from Hoof It to engage an opponent’s warlock or warcaster. I prefer running her with infantry, but there’s not really a wrong way to run with her, and that element of choice just adds to the fun.

Army Breakdown

While I consider Grissel the best warlock on the Trollblood line and versatile enough to make anything shine, there’s certain models that stand out as especially crucial to any competitive Grissel list. There are also models which she has to stretch herself to aid, and don’t showcase her best abilities. I’m going to structure this portion of the guide to highlight the models she uses with wicked effectiveness, then discuss the mid-range contenders who can help her game but don’t put it over the edge, and then end with the models I think are flavorful, but ultimately less competitive choices. With the third category, I’m going to err on the side of being brief in contrast to the others, where each model will have a detailed entry. Feel free to disagree with here--it’s my guide, and my twisted worldview based on personal experience and metagame.

Cream of the Crop (in no particular order)

Kriel Warriors

These guys were made for Grissel, because they do what she does, but in miniature. One thing every Grissel player struggles with in the beginning is how to handle life without a Fell Caller Hero throwing his two cents in. There are many times when you’ll want to both hit accurately, AND be able to get extra attacks. Any player who’s faced a horde of Satyxis Raiders knows what I’m talking about here. Well with Kriel Warriors you can use Fervor to get +2 to Attack and Damage, and Heroic Ballad to get an extra attack. We’re talking about MAT 7 with P+S 12, hitting twice. Did I mention CMA? Oh yeah, you can get an additional CMA as well, and change it up to every model in the unit outputting MAT 9, P+S 14 attacks. Throw in Calamity, and you’re hitting and killing the Black 13th, every single time. Like Cabers? Calamity and Heroic Ballad are getting you to MAT 9, P+S 17 without any other models on the field. That’s good stuff.

Throw in the Unit Attachment, and those Kriels are not only launching 17” up the board with Hoof It, but they’re going to stay there with Steady, and the extra 3” of Command let’s you spread out across a wide swath of the board, with an approximately 22” diameter bubble around the unit leader!


Like their friends the Kriel Warriors, this unit loves Grissel’s Fell Calls. Whether you’re going for that 18” run up the board with Hoof It, giving them additional attacks with Heroic Ballad, or using Calamity to turn each one into a MAT 8, P+S 14 merchant of death against a chosen target, they’ll put out for you. With Vengeance, it gets even better as you can potentially clear all of the models engaging a Fennblade in maintenance, and then have Grissel jump up and use the cleared gap to get a Calamity casting off on the back rank of a unit, and hand the Fenns Heroic Ballad. Two attacks, MAT 8, and you’re wiping the floor with any nearby infantry.

Add in the UA, and it (of course) gets much better. Not only can they launch across the board with that dreaded 13” threat range, Pathfinder, and Terror, but Heroic Ballad gives them enough attacks to cause a second command check against pretty much anything in the game, or you can just use No Quarter and Hoof It to launch them 20” up the board

Krielstone Bearer and Stone Scribes (KSB)

The KSB is a must-have for Grissel. Her abilities shine with infantry, and nothing keeps infantry alive better than the KSB. Really though, as any good guide on the KSB will tell you, you really can’t leave home without the Stone Scribe Elder UA. The Stone Strength warp in particular is your friend when on the offense, as Grissel has a great way to increase the number of attacks her army can output, but her damage buffs aren’t as widespread. Suddenly, those Fennblades and Kriel Warriors can be hitting at P+S 13, which even without the charge is enough to kill Shield Wall troops with minimal effort. Combined with Calamity, you’ve got a +3 to damage to any model attacking the target of that spell. Toss in a little Combat Warding on the approach, and suddenly that eFeora list that’s certain death to most infantry armies turns into a pushover.

Long Riders (& Horthol, he’s practically their UA)

Who says Trollbloods don’t have Light Cavalry? With Grissel, suddenly you find yourself with the best Light Cavalry in the game thanks to Hoof It. If you’re just looking to make a big impact on the enemy line without any artful dodging, Heroic Ballad will give you an extra attack, and works really well in conjunction with a nice Bull Rush order. Impact Attacks or Slams clear the front rank of infantry, and two attacks after the fact put the hurt on anyone who’s left within their melee range. If you just want to engage quickly, Long Riders are a great way to launch 21” up the board and stop those gunlines before they can even get started shooting.

Toss in Horthol for synergy, and they get more devastating. Heroic Ballad lets you slam a front-rank target, and then Follow Up for two additional attacks against the KD’d target, or just spreading it around to your new neighbors. There’s also a great way to get extra distance out of a Bull Rush slam, which is to give them Hoof It, let them slam several targets, and then Follow Up afterward to somewhere completely different. On the average slam distance roll, that’s an additional 10” these guys get to move after making a 10” slam. A great way to engage ranged units and lock down casters while still doing damage...and it’s practically the same distance as running and using Hoof It! For bonus points against high-DEF units, hit them with a nice Calamity, then send in the Long Riders to clean house with 3d6 attack rolls.

Champions (Also: Skaldi Bonehammer and the Champion Hero)

The only thing better than two Weaponmaster attacks, is three. You guessed it: Heroic Ballad is your friend. Yeah, they’re already fearless, but you won’t care that they don’t milk the maximum benefit from that Fell Call when they’re taking apart a heavy like it ain’t no thang. I especially like using Hoof It to keep these guys moving up the board with the rest of my army, and with Skaldi and the Trollkin Hero you can have them ripping through lines of skirmishing infantry to get to the chewy center of the opponent’s force. If you’re worried about them being charged before they can get to business, a handy Rift thrown in front of the opponent’s charge lane can take care of that nicely, and set up a vicious counter-charge.

More specifically on the Champion Hero, the extra attack Grissel can grant him via Heroic Ballad can turn him into a wrecking ball. Have him charge a Light Warjack/Warbeast surrounded by infantry, Thresher, and then follow up with a Heroic Ballad attack against the jack/beast. Odds are that you’ll wipe out the infantry and put some serious damage on the warjack, making him about as destructive as an Axer for half the cost.

With Skaldi, Heroic Ballad is even better, allowing you to get in 3 Reach, Weaponmaster attacks on a single target. Throw in Flaming Fists from the Pyre Troll and a little Stone Strength from the KSB, and you’ll be shaving the arms off of heavy warjacks. It’s like a miniature version of pMadrak’s feat, as he and the Champions around him start chaining Overtake with Heroic Ballad to guarantee the death of any clustered infantry nearby. To top it all off, on her Feat turn they can either duck out of harm’s way after their daisy-chain of death, or slide in to tie up models your opponent thought he/she was going to be making counter-charges with.

Pyre Troll

Some of the most dangerous ranged threats in the game are damage type Fire, and the Pyre’s Flaming Fists animus can protect you from it. Even better, it gives you an easy way to get an additional +2 melee damage lumped on top of your usual suspect, Calamity. One of my favorite applications is on the Kriel Warrior Caber Thrower, so that I can get P+S 17, Critical Fire, and Slam/Knockdown. I’d take this guy for the animus alone, but he’s also got two open fists and a Fire AOE, which you can get a lot of use out of by giving him Hoof It. Now he can move forward, pop a shot with the AOE at an enemy warcaster or warlock, and then sneak back to safety, effectively giving him a 13” RNG, 17” if you use Far Strike. He’s also cheap, which allows you to sneak in all of the infantry and support you’ll want in any Grissel list. A must-have for the Grissel enthusiast.

Mulg the Ancient

As a Mulg enthusiast, I see potential uses for him everywhere. Despite that, he has real synergy and a solid role in any Grissel list. Particularly, I look at Hallowed Avenger, then at Mulg, and smile. With Mulg’s Reach, Critical Smite, and P+S 19 on his club, a charge from him is a terrifying prospect, and Hallowed Avenger makes it even worse. A friendly model dies within 5” of Mulg, and suddenly he gets to charge any enemy model within his LOS, and on the opponent’s activation to boot. With Mulg’s 9” threat (11” if damaged that turn), that’s the counter-charge from hell.

With Hoof It to keep him moving up the field and Heroic Ballad when you want him to scrap the Behemoth, Grissel has a great toolbox for making the most out of this guy. On top of all of that, he’s also got Protective Fit to keep Grissel alive when the opponent finally gets fed up and decides to try an assassination run. Finally, Hoof it can also be used to get a Refuge-like movement out of him, so that he can charge into combat and then quickly retreat. This tactic is most useful on the feat turn, as you’ll have multiple models using Hoof It that can then fill int he gap he leaves. Really, a match made in heaven.

Trollkin Runebearer

Grissel has a great spell list, and I often want to cast a spell, an animus, and upkeep something every turn. That leads to some hard choices at times in order to keep Grissel safe, the Runebearer can seriously alleviate that problem. Not only that, but Grissel has a great offensive spell list (Rift, Calamity), but as a support warlock you want to hold her in reserve until the end of the game. The Runebearer is your disposable arc node, able to slap a Rift over some fragile infantry or land a Calamity on a warjack or warbeast to make sure it takes a beating that turn. If you were lucky enough to land a Calamity last turn, you can use it’s power to cycle Calamity by upkeeping last turn’s casting, using Grissel to cast another instance, and then activate the Runebearer last to cast it again.

Stone Scribe Chronicler

You can cram your infantry down the waiting maw of your opponent with Grissel, but then what? The Chronicler is here to rescue that plan. With Hero’s Tragedy, you can use Hoof It to get your infantry into melee with the enemy and give them the Sophie’s Choice to attack your infantry and get Knocked Down for their trouble, or brave some free strikes. If you’re waiting to close in melee, Tale of Mists will protect you on the advance. On top of that, you’ve got Charge of the Trolls to combine with any attack or damage buffs you please. Believe me, opponent’s don’t forget when a Kriel Warrior benefiting from Charge of the Trolls, Stone Strength, Flaming Fists, Fervor, and Calamity charges in at P+S 19 and MAT 11. Toss in Heroic Ballad for insult to injury, and Stone Scribes can become wrecking crews. A must-have for the Grissel infantry enthusiast.

Swamp Troll

Grissel lists thrive on a solid core of infantry supported by the Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes. I’m usually leading with my infantry, particulary tarpit choices like Fennblades and Kriel Warriors, so Grissel and whatever beasts I took are sitting on the second wave. It’s a rare day that I get to engage my second wave before turn 3 or 4, so the majority of the game Grissel is just buffing and trying to avoid being killed by ranged attacks and crazy assassination strategies. That’s why I like bodyguards like Mulg, and the Swamp Troll fills a similar purpose...but cheaper.

At 4 points, he’s a steal. His animus allows Grissel to automatically get concealment, and also gives a -2 on melee attacks within 2”, which effectively brings her up to DEF 17 all the time. It’s no Iron Flesh, but it makes her extremely hard to kill, especially if the KSB is bumping her to ARM 18. Besides the animus, you also get a beast with two open fists, Drag on its ranged attack, and a nice damage spiral to transfer onto.

Calamity works wonderfully with it’s ranged attack, because they both have the same range, and Calamity will buff the ranged and melee attack that it makes via Drag. Drag also allows you to make additional melee attacks after the Drag-initiated attack, so you can affect the Swamp Troll with Heroic Ballad and get back the initial fist attack it loses by choosing to Drag the target. RAT 5 is pretty decent, and with Calamity and a boost it’s hitting most warlocks and warcasters on an average roll. So for the cost of 1 Fury for the boost, you could do a POW 12, two P+S 14 attacks, and then pay for two additional melee attacks. Toss in Stone Strength and the Flaming Fists, and most of the stuff it could drag, it can now kill with its P+S 17 fists.

Best of the Rest (Good, but with some caveats)

Pyg Burrowers

While Grissel lacks some of the easier and more powerful Burrower synergy seen in Calandra, eMadrak, and Grim, she still offers quite a bit to our subterranean friends. With Calamity, you get power on par with Calandra to buff both attack and damage output on these guys, and Heroic Ballad can give them an extra attack in melee, further increasing their damage output. With a little application of Hoof It, you can have them pop up, charge across the field, dump their pain payload and then further stuff the opponent’s charge lanes and engage his/her models to create havoc.

On the surface, this seems like a pretty good deal, but most people tend to play their Burrowers as a forward attack/skirmishing force, and it’s hard for Grissel to reach out and touch the opponent with Calamity unless she starts a couple of inches behind the Burrower pop zone, which brings their threat range down to that of any normal infantry unit. A key combo with the Burrowers is to buff their attack via the Fell Caller’s War Cry, but that means they can’t be the target of Grissel’s calls, and vice versa. In practice War Cry has tended to dominate the desire for Grissel’s calls, and that interference undermines her role in their activation.

Slag Troll

With warjacks making a comeback in Mk.II and the presence of non-living models in two of the Hordes factions, the Slag Troll rarely hurts for targets. Packing a damage buff animus plus corrosion immunity, fairly heavy ARM and damage output for a Light, and an ROF 2 ranged attack, the Slag Troll is a pretty nice beast. Much like the Pyre Troll, he’s there to sit in your back ranks until your infantry starts getting depleted or operating on a short flank. The immunity he grants is less versatile than the Pyre Troll’s and his ranged attack isn’t as useful most of the time, so I tend to shun him in favor of the Pyre unless I’ve got a point to burn and am running up against a lot of non-living models.

Dire Troll Bomber

This guy is a nice warbeast in general, and Grissel can still help him out. She has the ability to yo-yo him against the enemy with Hoof It, and can improve his attack and damage by dropping Calamity on a target he’s gunning for, bringing him effectively to RAT 7 and POW 18. Against a unit, that boosts the blast damage too, bringing it up to an infantry-crushing POW 10. I especially love using his AOEs after the feat turn or judicious use of Cacophany, because suddenly Shield Wall troops start worrying about his blasts in a very serious way. With Heroic Ballad and Rift in her arsenal though, I find that the Bomber’s AOEs end up being overkill much of the time, and for his points I’d rather take a Dire with better damage output in melee.

Dire Troll Mauler

Grissel is odd in some ways, because the Mauler actually works pretty decently with her. His Fury and animus give him the damage output he needs to hold his own against an opponent’s heavies, and with the support of Calamity and Heroic Ballad he can be truly terrifying. Rage lets him fulfill two important roles for Grissel too, that of the Heavy-destroyer, and that of the damage buff. He’s got more damage boxes and armor than our other sources for damage buffs, and so is harder to eliminate in some ways. For a little while I was taking Mulg and a Mauler instead of the standard Pyre/Mulg combo or Pyre/Axer combo that I’ve been known to throw in, and it worked very nicely when following behind a line of Fennblades and Kriel Warriors. It’s even possible (though I don’t recommend it) to build a Grissel list with just a Mauler as the warbeast.

The downside is that it’s harder to hide the Mauler in your army because of his size, and he lacks the threat range and damage output of the EBDT and Mulg. It mostly comes down to preference though--do you prefer models that are specialized, or those that fill multiple roles? For me, the Mauler wears too many hats.

Earthborn Dire Troll

The Earthborn goes into this section mainly because I’m a bigger fan of Mulg for his role. Grissel offers him the same bonuses she does Mulg, by using him as a great target for Hallowed Avenger, Hoof It to move him up the board quickly or yo-yo in and out of combat (think Refuge with eDoomy...but free!), and Calamity to improve his already stellar damage output. Rift can also provide him with his +2 to SPD anywhere on the board, so you never really have to worry about positioning him for that long-distance charge. She hands the EBDT an extra attack via Heroic Ballad, which makes him even more Fury-efficient and deadly in melee than he was before.

Fell Caller

The Fell Caller is a Trollblood staple, but works oddly in a Grissel list. His Fell Calls compete directly with Grissel’s (you can only affect a unit with one per turn, and unlike upkeep spells can’t replace an existing one with a new version), but are still very nice tools to have access to in any list she brings.

I actually love to run them together, but it takes finesse and experience to figure out when to use which calls. For Kriel Warriors, I usually favor giving them Heroic Ballad over War Cry, but with Burrowers it’s the opposite. It’s usually a question of what you’re trying to do--if you’ve got a unit stuck in front of Rough Terrain, use Overcome. If they’re up against a target that requires an 8+ on your dice to hit, go for War Cry. When I’m looking at a Heavy Warjack facing off against my Fennblades, I hit them with Heroic Ballad to increase their damage output. The great news is that if you use Cacophany, it only affects enemy models, so you can always opt to do that and then had a specific unit another type of call. Just be aware that on the feat turn, it’s going to be the Grissel Show, with no room for the FC’s calls.

One thing to note about the Fell Caller is that he’s got one of the better Spray attacks in the game. It’s quite accurate and deadly, as it’s POW 12 with RAT 6 from the Fell Caller. Throw Calamity on a unit, then feel free to hose it down with his Sonic Blast. There’s not many infantry that will shrug off a RAT 8, POW 14 spray. Oh yeah, he’s also a Weapon Master with two attacks, and jumps to 3 with Heroic Ballad. So even on the turns he isn’t making calls, you can still milk a lot of life out him by mixing him up in combat.

In many of my lists, I run two Fell Callers, but in your standard Grissel list you’ll usually just want one, otherwise the interference with the Fell Calls will start to become frustrating.

Troll Axer

Always a nice beast, the Axer performs well in Grissel lists. With the highest P+S of any of our Light Warbeasts, he can hit almost as hard as a heavy warjack if sufficiently buffed. With Heroic Ballad, Stone Strength and the Pyre Troll’s animus, he’ll be hitting an enemy model/unit affected by Calamity at MAT 8 and P+S 19, while potentially getting 5 attacks. The appropriate time for this combo is usually on the feat turn when he’ll be affected by Heroic Ballad anyway, and on top of all that you can Thresher as the initial attack to spread the damage around a little. Reach on a light plays very well with all of Grissel’s infantry, and he packs an animus that can quite good in certain situations.

He requires a lot of work to get up to Dire Troll hitting power, so most of the time I only bring him if I’m not allowed to bring Dires (Blood of Bragg Theme) or I’m playing very infantry-heavy and want a melee beast to run beside my damage buff. That’s not a lot of the cases where I play Grissel, and he’s not fast enough to keep up with her best infantry choices, so he sits in the second wave, and for a second-wave beast I prefer something that protects Grissel in some way or buffs my warriors.

Troll Bouncer

Another bodyguard like the Swamp Troll, the Bouncer is a cheap light that you can toss in for Fury generation and transfers, but also packs a punch. Like the Axer, he has Reach, but at ARM 19 with his Shield (ARM 21 with Protective Aura), he’s on par with Mulg for damage resistance. You’re really taking him for Bump and Shield Guard though, which are what will keep Grissel ticking even when your opponent manages to get a bead on her for the assassination.

With all of the support she likes to provide through spells, animi, and feeding the KSB, Grissel tends to run out of Fury rather quickly. With Bump, you only have to worry about taking one charge from a model, because bump will push it directly away 3”. If they try to get her with a ranged attack, Shield Guard kicks in and the Bounce takes it instead. The really awesome part about Shield Guard over, say, just another Fury (like what the Runebearer effectively provides) is that all of the effects of the attack stay with the Bouncer. So things like Grievous Wounds and Sustained Attack end up affecting the Bouncer instead of Grissel (or whatever other model you want to protect).

The real downside of the Bouncer is that he’s a melee light that, well, isn’t great at melee. At MAT 5, he needs to boost or get help through Calamity in order to hit anything but a heavy warjack, and most of the time they don’t have shields, so the damage output boost one would have gotten from Chain Weapon won’t even come into play. If you’re taking him, you’re taking him for the defensive benefits he offers, which usually means forcing him to give Grissel his Bump animus every turn and staying within 2” so she isn’t destroyed by some ranged nastiness, until he finally dies from transferred damage. Not that it’s a bad use for a warbeast...but it might give you pause over other 5 point choices you could make.

Janissa Stonetide

Janissa is an interesting model, as she doesn’t pack some of the ridiculous synergy she might with other warlocks, but can still work very well with Grissel. Since her Armor Piercing attack is a Special Action, you can’t get a second one via Heroic Ballad. However, Calamity can make it so that initial Armor Piercing attack hits like the fist of an angry god, increasing both her likelihood to land the attack (it sucks when you miss with that sort of thing), and her damage output on the other side. With just the usual damage buffing we can expect in a Trollblood list (Flaming Fists, Stone Strength) layered in with Calamity, you can have Janissa making that AP attack at P+S 14. For those keeping score, that means you’re at +3 over ARM on the Behemoth, and could almost rip off one of its arms on the charge attack.

Rock Wall is also very nice, as you can use it to plop in front of your infantry lines to give the front rank Cover and +2 DEF in melee. The only problem with using it in a Grissel list is that often your infantry is launching way ahead of where Janissa can comfortably drop the wall, but after contact with the opponent’s models is made she can usually get in there and dump it. Until then, I use it as another way to protect Grissel, placing the wall to deny charges and grant her Cover. Combined with the Swarm from the Swamp Troll, you can get Grissel up to DEF 19 in melee, which is hitting Borka numbers.

On the flip side, she is three points, and you also probably wanted to throw in a Stone Scribe Chronicler, the KSB+SSE, Skaldi, and/or the Champion Hero. With all that competition, it’s a good idea to evaluate whether or not Janissa makes sense when stacked up against the other elements you might bring. For people used to bringing two Fell Callers in every list though, she’s not a bad swap for one of them if you’re playing Grissel.

Notable Mentions (Some synergy, but rarely anything extraordinary)

Pyg Bushwackers

Calamity can actually boost these guys up to a decent RAT, and remove the necessity for them to always aim and CRA to hit and kill targets. She can also hand them Hoof It to allow a move-shoot-move operation. My problem with Bushwackers is that at their point value, I always have a better time taking their cheaper alternative (Burrowers) or running a full unit of Fennblades instead.

Trollkin Scattergunners

Essentially the same tactic as the Bushwackers, with Calmity and Hoof It being the primary synergies. I like them a little better than the Bushwackers because they have an easier time hitting, and with the exception of big CRAs usually manage to put out more damage too. 5 pts for the minimum and 8 for the max is a lot to shell out for a unit that doesn’t get a lot of benefit out of Grissel’s feat though, so I usually leave them on the shelf.

Trollkin Sluggers
With Hoof It you get the bonus of being able to do Full Auto and still move after activating, and Calamity is great if the unit ends up outputting a lot of attacks. The variability on their weapons, their range, and their lack of strong melee ability doesn’t make them a great fit for your typical Grissel list.


Grissel can buff their attack and damage output through Calamity, and they’re a good unit to run on a flank since they have Pathfinder and Steady. Heroic Ballad can give them an effective way to use Tremor, where they can use Tremor and then follow up with an attack from their hand weapon against any knocked down targets in range. With all of the bonuses available on attack for our faction, and especially in a Grissel list, I find Tremor to be less useful than it might be in other cases.

Trollkin Scouts

Grissel is an old-style Trollblood warlock, and likes to keep her army close by so she can affect them with her calls and help buff them via her spells. As an AD unit, the Scouts are going to be on their own with her most of the time, and so are really going to be an unsupported skirmishing force. Given that Grissel can get Kriel Warriors and Fennblades moving fast enough on the first turn to negate much of the AD benefit, you’re really taking them when there’s a lot of terrain and flankers. For the points, I like my stuff to coordinate a little better.

Thumper Crew

Hoof It isn’t going to work well on these guys, as their SPD always stays at 1 for its use. Unless you take an Impaler(s?) it won’t really pay out for you, as Grissel’s army tends to launch pretty quickly up the board, and the medium-based Trollkin in the army tend to block LOS to the models you really want to target. For the cost of two Thumpers you get a full unit of Burrowers or Kriel Warriors, and for my points that’s just a tad expensive for the marginal benefit they provide.

Winter Troll

The Winter Troll isn’t nearly as terrible as I (and other people) generally make him out to be. He’s just not a 5 point model. At 4 points, he might be decent, but at 5 he’s a little wasteful. His primary strength is that he packs a decent SP 8 attack with Critical Freeze, but at RAT 4 he really won’t be hitting with it that often, even when he boosts. Critical Freeze is also devastating if it accidentally catches one of your own models, so the tactic of spraying into combat is something you think twice about. His animus is well discussed elsewhere--it’s not great either, especially in a faction that has as many buffs to attack as Trollbloods do.

With Grissel though, he’s certainly not a hopeless case. She can buff both his attack and damage on the Spray via Calamity, and Hoof It can allow him to circle on a flank to get in position for a Spray on the next turn. Take him if you want to--but for my points, I’d rather have any of the other 5 point beasts.

Troll Impaler

Back when we didn’t have a lot of light beasts and no reason to take Dire Trolls, the Impaler made a lot of sense for Grissel. With her Mk.II incarnation though, she lost her Hand Cannon in favor of her new Spray, which can’t be modified by Far Strike. He has some nice synergy with warbeasts that Grissel likes to take, and can be an integral part of your list’s strategy. With his main use being his ranged attack and melee ability on par with the Bouncer, he doesn’t bring anything to Grissel that he wouldn’t also bring to any other warlock in our army, which puts him in my third category. If you can land Calamity on a warjack/warbeast and smack it with his spear, you do improve the chance of a Critical Smite coming up, and he can effectively Bushwack via Hoof It. He’s also a Reach warbeast, so feel free to throw him in if you’re also taking the Stone Scribe Chronicler, because you’ll make it that much easier to get Charge of the Trolls going.

Trollkin Skinner

Grissel actually can buff this guy a good amount, with Heroic Ballad giving him an extra Weaponmaster, Dismember attack, improving his damage output significantly. With Hoof It you can go from charging and potentially killing one warbeast to then jump in and tie up another that will have to combat Duck. Calamity further increases his warbeast-destroying potential, and he automatically ignores any Rift template Grissel may have thrown out, which is another bonus. So why is he at the bottom of the heap for Grissel army choices?

Truth be told, it’s the P+S on his attack combined with his usefulness only against Hordes. He becomes startlingly less effective than the Hero once you’re fighting warjacks, has crap for defensive stats, and is surprisingly easy to deny targets when an opponent knows what he does. His threat range is fairly poor, and if the opponent fields any Advanced Deploy units, they can go to town on him with deceptive ease. You’d think Prowl would help with this...but it doesn’t. As with the Winter Troll though, if you do decide you like him, Grissel can help him out significantly.

List Building

I play most of my games at 35 and 50 points, so this section of the guide will focus on those two point levels. Rather than cover every single list you could possibly make (there are lots), I’ll just introduce the reader (you) to some of my favorites, say why I think they’re awesome, and also go into an in-depth analysis of her Theme list and the benefits gained at each Tier. I’ve got quite a bit of time in using her with her Theme and and without, and have won several tournaments with the ones I’m going to post. Each list does have weaknesses though, and it’s important to identify other warlocks or build lists to combat those weaknesses when noted, so that you don’t run up against a bad match-up and feel like you’re running uphill.

Unrestricted Lists

50 Points

Grissel Bloodsong
-Pyre Troll
Kriel Warriors (10)
-Standard & Piper
-Cabers (2)
Fennblades (10)
-Officer & Drummer
Trollkin Champions (5)
-Skaldi Bonehammer
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (5)
-Stone Scribe Elder
Fell Caller
Stone Scribe Chronicler

If I’m not playing Blood of Bragg, this is what I reach for. Due Diligence: Mulg makes it into every list I play where he isn’t specifically disallowed. If you want to know why, check out my Mulg Guide.

The Kriel Warriors (KWs) are my hard center and typically my Hoof It target for the first turn. With the UA they’re Steady and can spread out, and the Cabers represent a threat that’s difficult to ignore, so they draw a lot of fire. I tend to run the Fennblades on flank or sharing the center with the KWs, while the Champs run up behind the wall of single-wound models, with Mulg and the Pyre following. The Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (KSB) is usually sandwiched in between the the first and second wave, spending for its aura to keep everything alive, while the Stone Scribe Chronicler (SSC) hands out Tale of Mist to the Fennblades (lower ARM, so I like to pump up their DEF). The Fell Caller will tend to give Overcome to the unit that doesn’t get Hoof It.

When activating Grissel turn 1, I usually size up my opponent and try to figure out how quickly they will start throwing damage my way. If there’s a lot of ranged or Advanced Deploy, I just have her dump all of her Fury on the KSB, pop out a Fell Call, and then run her to keep up with the army. If it looks like I’ve got another turn before the action starts (rare), I’ll cast Hallowed Avenger on Mulg and then put the rest on the KSB. The concept is that you want the KSB close to full capacity on its Fury Vault by the time damage starts getting handed out, so that you can protect all the troops. Hallowed Avenger is nice, but not essential on the first turn. The only downside of the second-turn cast is that it will leave you without the ability to cast much else that turn, as you’ll also be filling up the KSB and leaving a little on Grissel for transfers in case of assassination.

It’s a fast list--you want to tie up long-distance killers (ranged units, long distance charging threats) with the KWs, using Hoof It if you have to. The Fennblades have a 13” threat, so most of the time they’ll be able to get the first strike unless you hit a denial list, in which case you bring in the KWs to block with their great defensive stats.

When to pop her feat is always tricky--but don’t get hung up on Cacophany. It’s good, but if using it to deny the opponent’s spellcasting is going to put you in harm’s way, focus on the offensive buffing power and forget it. You want to ram your list down the opponent’s throat, and bring in Mulg and the Champions as soon as a hole opens in the line of Fennblades and KWs.

The SSC’s tale Hero’s Tragedy will be key to put on your KWs if they’re acting as blockers, and is generally your go-to story after turn 1. The only real exception is if Mulg gets in melee with something and hasn’t yet destroyed it, which is when it’s time to bring in Charge of the Trolls. 

35 Points

Grissel Bloodsong
-Pyre Troll
Kriel Warriors (10)
-Standard & Piper
-Cabers (2) [Alt Version: Cabers (3)]
Fennblades (10)
-Officer & Drummer
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (5)
-Stone Scribe Elder
Fell Caller [Alt Version: Stone Scribe Chronicler]

Much like the 50 point list, but you’re sacrificing some of the second wave. With her ability to buff the number of attacks the single-wound infantry can put out and the speed at which they can get up the board, it’s really fine this way. There aren’t many 35 lists that pack enough heavy armor that Mulg and the Kriel Warriors won’t be able to handle it. Tactics are much the same as with the 35 point list, but you don’t have the SSC for defensive support.

The only thing to watch for is assassination threats--there’s less between Grissel and the opponent’s heavy hitters, and Mulg makes for a big target (an ARM 21 target, but still).

I’m always iffy on 35 point lists, because I never feel like I really get all that I want in there. One alternate version I’ve taken is to swap out the Fell Caller for another Caber and the SSC. You lose the ability to stand up some of your models, and the list becomes more defensively oriented. However, the interference with Fell Calls drops off as an issue, and you gain some heavy-hitting capability by having another Caber. I think they’re about equal, with a slight bias to the one with the additional Fell Caller just because he packs so many different tools, including one of the few ranged attacks in the list.

Theme Lists

Grissel’s theme force, Blood of Bragg, is one of the more competitive theme forces in our faction, and depending on the tiers you decide to go for, it can be quite competitive at the tournament level as well. It’s important to know what you’re giving up though--right off the bat, you lose access to all multiwound units in the faction. Grissel excels with infantry, and our multiwound infantry are some of the best in any of the factions. You also can’t take Fennblades, which are really the new entry-to-faction infantry unit for Trollblood players. It’s Kriel Warriors and Pygs all the way, and a lot of them.

You also are going to have to do without Dire Trolls, which means any access to heavy-hitting models you thought you might have had is just gone. Quite a lot of support vaporizes too--no Stone Scribe Chronicler or Runebearer allowed.

I’ll go ahead and say it right now: if you don’t have (or aren’t willing to obtain) two or more units of Kriel Warriors, this theme force will be difficult to get working. If that’s an expensive and corner-case acquisition for you, I’d pass on this one.

If you already own two or more units of Kriel Warriors or are willing to buy them, there are lots of benefits here. We’ll go tier by tier:

Tier 1
Cheaper Fell Callers is almost enough to sell Tier 1 on its own, as they’re a great buy at their standard price. You should take two in every list you make with her, because not to do so is a crime. Their melee ability and spray alone are worth the reduced price cost, with the Fell Calls coming as just icing on the cake...which makes sense, because on her feat turn, that’s all they’ll have.

The movement effect for warbeasts is nice, because it allows them to keep up with the army. Veteran Grissel players know very well that her army moves up the board lightning quick, and anything that gives a bonus to the rest of it keeping pace is just awesome. You’re taking two Fell Callers and two Light Warbeasts anyway, so it’s not even something you have to really alter your list construction to get. For a first Tier, that’s nice.

Tier 2

Remember what I said about the minimum two units of Kriel Warriors? The truth is that the bonus at this Tier is why you’re doing the Theme in the first place. My first action every time I play an unrestricted Grissel list is to give my Kriel Warriors Hoof It. Not only are you getting two Fell Calls automatically in the first turn, but you can still have Grissel hand out another one of your choice. Combined with the Tier 1 bonus, that means you’ve got an army that can rocket up the board first turn without needing to pop Grissel’s feat to do it--and that’s HUGE.

Against almost every army in the game, you’ll not only be faster than they are, but you’ll also be sitting on top of whatever objectives are floating out there right off the bat. In competitive play, nailing the objectives is ludicrously easy--even Haley, Deneghra, and the Old Witch will have trouble denying you a scenario victory. It also means that you really want to pack in as many Kriel Warriors as humanly possible into every list just to milk that benefit--and that’s expensive. For my money though, it means never really worrying about gunlines again.

Tier 3

This has potential, but I’m not sold on it right now. The first unit of Pygs isn’t a problem--you’re obviously taking Burrowers. After that it gets tricky though, because (and this is pure opinion) Bushwackers just aren’t that great for what you pay. I’m not talking about the general case--Bushwackers have a place in a great many Trollblood lists, and can even make it with Grissel quite well. The problem is a cost-benefit one--how good is this Tier, and how much are you willing to restrict yourself just to get to the next one?

I tried it out in play, I really did. I ran the list at Tier 4 (you’d never sit at Tier 3...Tier 4 is that good). The only thing the Bushwackers did with great consistency and gusto is soak up an excessive amount of bullets and shrapnel. In a list with so much single-wound infantry, the field gets crowded, and to get there you needed two units of Kriel Warriors and two Fell Callers. Even taking the bare bones, you just ate up 16 points before adding warbeasts, and it would be criminal not to throw at least the UA and one Caber onto those KW’s. Since it’s an infantry-heavy list and you have the option, it would be an even greater crime not to take the KSB...and while we’re on the subject, how ‘bout that Stone Scribe Elder?

You’ll never need to move around your Burrowers--they won’t be affecting anything until the next turn, and putting them on a flank is silly. What you’re left with is the ability to choose what hemisphere of the board you want the Bushwackers on...and it’s not enough.

Tier 4

Everyone likes extra deployment, especially if they’re going first. I’m no exception, and stacked on top of the Tier 2 bonus, we’re talking about some serious distance up the board. Even going first in a Steamroller game, you’re still 5” over the midline on turn 1 with those Kriel Warriors, and that means you’ve got the objectives locked down. In almost anything but Kill Box, you’ve practically won the game automatically. What do you have to do to get here? Essentially what you were going to do anyway--take an extra light warbeast. The only downside is that this guy isn’t going to benefit from the Tier 1 bonus, but them’s the breaks sometimes. If you really feel like taking Blood of Bragg for all it’s worth, you really won’t mind the restriction here. In my Tier 2 lists, I often find myself taking an extra light anyway, so you can sit comfortable here.

One neat trick at Tier 4 is to use those worthless Bushwackers you had to take to get here as a method of gumming up the enemy line. Just have Grissel give a trailing member of the unit Hoof It, then run them. Deployed on the line, they’ll be engaging the opponent’s Advance Deploy on Turn 1, and blocking movement lanes for everyone else. Combined with your ability to sit on the objectives, a scenario victory is almost guaranteed.

Final Thoughts

Grissel is about launching up the board and grinding down the enemy--at every Tier, Blood of Bragg plays into just that. You won’t be assassinating the opponent, you’ll be systematically taking apart their army piece by piece.

The KSB+SSE is not an optional component--with so much single-wound infantry continuous effects, blast damage, and Strafe/Chain Lightning are the bane of the list, and the KSB will make the infantry you take that much more survivable.

You can take Trollkin Sluggers and Thumpers in your list, but I don’t recommend it. I’ve played several games with the Thumpers in play, and they end up starved for targets most of the game or sniped at a distance. The Sluggers run into the same problem, except that they don’t auto-KD the target and have even less POW than the Thumpers. Taking Bushwackers and Scattergunners is a judgment call--I think they can work decently in her lists, but I prefer melee more. With how fast her army moves, most of our non-warbeast ranged options don’t make a whole lot of sense.

Example List:

Blood of Bragg, Tier 2 (50 points)

Grissel Bloodsong
-Pyre Troll
-Troll Bouncer
-Troll Axer
Kriel Warriors (10)
-Standard & Piper
-Caber Thrower (2)
Kriel Warriors (10)
-Caber Thrower (2)
Kriel Warriors (10)
-Caber Thrower (2)
Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes (5)
-Stone Scribe Elder
Pygmy Burrowers (6)
Fell Caller
Fell Caller

This is the list I’ve been using lately, and I love it. I’ve tried swapping out different elements to change things up, but I always end up returning to this or something similar to it. Three warbeasts gives you plenty of targets for transferring, and I find I rarely have use for more than a minimum unit of Burrowers by the time the Kriel Warriors get into the action. You could dump the Axer or Bouncer for more Cabers, Burrowers, or even another unit like Scattergunners or Sluggers. For my points though, this gets a lot of bang for my point expenditure.

The Kriel Warriors will take up pretty much the entire table most of the time, so you don’t really have to worry about flanking tactics. My usual strategy is to deploy the KWs in 2-2.5 ranks right on the line, with a medium base worth of space between them to place the warbeasts that are going to Advance Move. In this case, that’s the Pyre and the Axer, with the Bouncer sticking next to Grissel. The Fell Callers sit right behind the flanking units of KWs, with the Krielstone Bearer himself behind the Pyre or Axer so that he can get the most movement after they jump from the line. Grissel is usually sitting behind the other light warbeast, ready to hand out her Fell Call and take off. Burrowers deploy on the AD line unless something looks like it can attack them right away, at which point I move them behind the wall of KWs.

First turn is pretty much the same every time--I Advance Move my two Lights (typically straight ahead), advance and Burrow the Pygs, and then start activating KWs. The way you maneuver the KW’s is dependent on the terrain set-up. If there’s Rough Terrain on a flank that you’ll be transiting, it’s a judgment call on whether to use your Hoof It movement to power through it (lagging behind the main line), or whether you try to go around it and just shift the entire front rank in a particular direction. Remember: Hoof It is a Fell Call, so there’s no way to affect them with the FC on the first turn. Once I decide where I’m moving, I start activating each one, using Swift Foot to gain +2” of movement, and then running 12” forward. If you’re going to a tournament, practice doing this swiftly--it can eat up your clock. When doing my final positioning, I try to keep at least 4 KW’s around each Caber as Take Up fodder, and also make sure there aren’t gaps in the line that the opponent can exploit.

From there it’s just a matter of running the Fell Callers, Pyre, and Axer forward. Then I activate Grissel, dump all of her Fury on and give Hoof It to the KSB, and then run forward (neither is an action). Then the KSB uses its aura (usually warping for Combat Warding), and goes balls-out for the center of the KW line. Hoof It moves now trigger, and I advance the KW line and the KSB until I’m camping all of the objectives and getting decent Aura coverage. First turn, it’s almost impossible to get every KW covered, so just go for as many as possible.

After that, it gets hard to share concrete plans. The Burrowers rarely have a target that’s worth using them on right away, so pop them up behind the KW line and run/advance back, preparing for the Reburrow. The KW’s will either be in charge distance of the enemy, or have been charged by the enemy, so they’ll be going to work. At this point your Fell Callers should dump War Cry on two of the KW units, and Grissel will usually hand out Heroic Ballad to the third or start using Cacophany to deal with Shield Walls, refilling the KSB after it generates the Aura, and casting spells/animi where appropriate.

In the majority of my games, it’s the Kriel Warrior Show until turn 3 (sometimes 4), where either you’ve already won by overwhelming them with a tide of infantry, or enough of them have been killed to open up holes in the line that Burrowers or the warbeasts can slot into. I usually pop my feat on turn 2 or 3 depending on what the opponent has done (it’s worthless if eHaley popped hers first, for instance). I’ve never lost on scenario using this list, so the biggest challenge is always just making sure Grissel is close enough to the main line to be effective, but far enough back to be protected. The biggest mistake you can make is over-committing to buffing your infantry. If CMA, Stone Strength, and Fervor absolutely can’t get the job done, bring in Grissel. Otherwise, keep her safe with a good stock of Fury and just play it out. Your Fell Calls are free and easy to hand out at a distance--use them to get the job done.


  1. This is an incredible piece of work. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into this and it paid off. As a player interested in Trollbloods, this was a great read. Solid stuff, thanks!

  2. Both your lists are over on points.... So there is that....