29 January 2011

Out of left field, a few surprises from the Trollkin Skinner

by Hatchet

Most of the things I've seen on the forums about the trollkin skinner are pretty negative. One of the reasons I think this is the case is the fact that he just doesn't fit in with most trollblood play styles. I'm posting this to hopefully show that while the skinner may not be the most trollish of trollbloods, he's still a very viable part of our faction.

Spd: same as Madrak, Str: low for trolls, Mat: good enough to hit average Def on average dice, Rat: not important, Def: average, which is better than a lot of trolls get, Arm: he probably gets made fun of by the other trolls, but his wounds make up for it.

Special abilities
Here's a few things to make him even better at what he does!
not something you see every day on the trolls, get him where he needs to go and get him there fast
honestly if he didn't have this I would be with everyone else saying he's just awful
on a trollkin? this is quite surprising
his P+S 8 may not be much, but this definitely helps

Dismember- useful for his niche
Duck - makes it so he can stay there when the beasties get tired of him
Hunter - great for setting up that ambush
Prowl - there's kinda only one way to set this guy up for what you do with him but he has all the abilities for it

PC 2, yes that's 2. People say he's not good enough but hey for 2 pts I think he's just fine
Wounds: 8, kinda balances out that low arm a little bit 8 is a solid wound count for any solo

Role in the force
now here's where I think most of the hate comes around, his role isn't what normal troll roles are. He doesn't buff, he isn't a frontline "put an axe in their face and call it a day" kinda guy, he's a conniving weasel who's dead set on tying up stuff that would be really annoying to tie up.
If I charge out from the woods at a heavy is that heavy going to die? With 4 dmg dice and P+S 8, I could roll all 6's and no, it would definitely not die. BUT, with dismember it makes it so the guy across the table might be less willing to take a free strike, and if he tries to kill with the beast duck will keep the skinner in the game for a long time. A beast wasting that much time is worth 2 pts.
Well if I were the controller of that beast I wouldn't just let him get tied up, I'd either take my free strike (not killing but not doing nothing either, he's gonna hurt) or I'd dedicate a unit or solo to go kill that skinner. A unit or solo completely going out of it's way to deal with your annoyance, and not going after your brick is a big deal. That unit/solo not being where it needs to be can be game changing. The solo might not be as much of a detriment to their formation, but with 8 wounds that solo probably won't kill him first try. P+S 8 weapon master might do the solo in though, if that happens even once, or if the skinner lasts 2 turns tying up a beast and a solo, he was worth 2 pts. If the skinner ties up a beast and a unit for 1 turn, worth 2 pts.

While it might not seem easy to get him all the way back there in the opponents face, it might not be, some opponents are more concerned than others about dealing with outlying solos, you just gotta play it safe. Prowl will definitely help you here and while "keep him in the trees all the time" may seem situational, I've never played a game without at least one forest. If terrain is placed and no forest you can say "hey man cmon put some trees on this board" most people don't mind at least one forest on the board, and no one is going to be resolute just to stop the skinner.

Using the skinner against WM and all it's jacks
not a beast in sight? not a problem! sure he loses a lot of advantages but he still makes a good fringe solo hunter, we didn't really have a good option for that for only 2 pts. Rough terrain and forests mean nothing so it's not that hard to set it up so you get the charge on their guy rather than the other way around, and Mat 7 P+S 8 weapon master should do the job on the charge. If your target is high Def, you might just wanna use the skinner on the side, as a way to intimidate him away from your trees. Forcing your opponents movement to avoid flanking your army? Worth 2 pts.

I don't use my skinner as an assassin or a hardcore killer. I use him to tie up things worth more to the opponent than the skinner is to me. For that job he does it and he does it well.

Important things to note!
The skinner is one of our easiest to kill models and definitely our easiest to kill solos (the chronicler will be closer and have more buffers to prevent being attacked) You need to be very careful with him. One of my ways to mitigate this is to try and place the model I'm tying up between the skinner and other models that can attack him. If you can keep a beast between you and a solo for example that solo won't have LoS, denying a charge. Sometimes this will be very difficult to do, and sometimes even the best attempts will result in a dead skinner. Play him carefully, make it difficult for things to reach him, and you should be okay. As petergrrrr pointed there are numerous units where even one model will be able to kill the skinner even with his wounds, make sure that he's not a viable charge target for units charging something else, this should be a very high priority. One way to do this is to keep him very far ahead, making it so either a unit doesn't have the movement to reach him along with others or making it so they would have to change facing to see him. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe you can't charge when you change facing. 



Tier list- no
When I run pMadrak I usually run him in a brick, in low point games this usually has very little range or anti-flank support. The skinner helps with that second one. Now for the spells, Carnage: if the skinner is within 10" of madrak, great, otherwise doesn't help too much. Stranglehold doesn't add anything to the skinner particularly. Sure foot is good, but you'd have to cast it on him in the beginning and upkeep it, if you can't find something you'd rather use sure foot on either everything is dead, or... actually everything else being dead is the only reason I'd cast sure foot on the skinner, and even then I'd probably use it on pMaddy. Feat! From time to time I see a range unit that's behind stuff yet still manages to be in pMadrak's ctrl area. The skinner can deal with those fantastically where other stuff normally wouldn't. Highly situational though. All in all I like the skinner with pMadrak, as he helps me fill that little niche.
theme force- no
eMadrak hardly benefits from the skinner at all. His spell list doesn't help too much, and since the skinner doesn't have reach the feat could have the skinner kill 3 small bases models on a good day, although Slidingshields brought up the good point that this second attack could mean the difference between wounding and killing a light beast, so thanks go out to him for that.
pDoomy hates enemy beasts. The skinner hates enemy beasts! They already have something in common! On to the spells, banishing ward; when I run the skinner it's safe in a forest, prowl in a forest doesn't help banishing ward won't either. Fortune; one of the big problems with the skinner is that one attack with Mat 7. Fortune makes it almost impossible, in fact I think one of our stickied items is a probability calculator with fortune on it, that'll give you everything you need! Fortune is definitely good to have on the skinner, and if you decide you really need it on something else just cast it, he'll be ok. Purification; see banishing ward. Rampager; doesn't affect the skinner at all. Stranglehold; see pMadrak.
Feat turn! With the skinner runnin up the sides during this turn it is a very very bad day to be an enemy warbeast. It'd be like if they got a call saying they'd been fired, walked outside for fresh air to see their car getting repo'd, and their girlfriend shows up to say that their mom is dead, and she's leaving him. It also makes it nearly impossible for beasts to hit the skinner without a beast taking d6 dmg. I like the pDoomy skinner combo.
Tier list- yes! But he's in no way affected by it. doesn't add to it either
Spells: Only Refuge affects the skinner and makes it so you have the option of tying something up, or being an annoying forest yo-yo. Other than that eDoomy doesn't do anything for the skinner, but the skinner does give eDoomy beat heavy lists a way to operate out of the ctrl area.
theme force- no
I added the p because soon we'll have an e! Grissel and the skinner is a great combo, I like to run him on the outskirts of her control and keep a beast nearby (preferably something with pathfinder at least on the charge) the fell calls are good but should probably be used on other things, especially since the skinner should be just inside her control. Calamity; the problem with this for the skinner is that range 8, he might charge into the back of whatever's targeted, especially since I like to run him close with grissel. Hallowed avenger; I like to upkeep HA on a beast nearby the skinner, so when they do drop him I probably have an axer all up in their stuff. Rift; Rift is good for absolutely every friendly model with pathfinder. Fell calls, Cacophony; always useful, if the skinner is close by it helps, but he probably won't be. Heroic Ballad; it's nice but I'd rather put it on Champions or Kriel warriors, also another issue of distance, Slidingshields brought up the good point that an extra attack could mean the difference between wounding a killing a light beast. Hoof it; gives the yo-yo option again so it's really just what you need, but if he's within 9" of grissel I'd rather tie up whatever's there rather than just harass it. Feat: Just amazing, don't have to worry about target priority, can charge something and then hoof it 6" to go tie up something he wouldn't have reached otherwise. All the while denying the charge. Grissel's feat is good for everyone all day, every day.
Grim Angus
theme force- of course. His tier 1 isn't necessary (who do you know that wants to field more than 2 skinners? No one that's who, but at least it gives you the option of having 1 Skinner with each unit of scouts. Tier 3 is really where it's at, guaranteed forests where you want them means you get to decide where you want the skinner to set up shop.
Have Grim behind a forest shooting everything that moves and most things that don't and your enemy will be a little frustrated. Counter anything that goes through those woods with 1 or 2 skinners to deny access to your caster? It's nothing shy of fantastic. I don't run him as a fringe solo with grim, I use him to hold down those woods that grim is using as cover to make them even more secure. On to the spells! Cross-country, I usually upkeep this on grim to keep him shooting through those trees. I miss MkI rules where he could do it without a spell but at least they didn't remove it completely so I won't complain. Lock The Target; Make it even harder for anyone to get through those trees. Marked for Death; -2 def is helpful for the skinner but it's real use is in making LOS unnecessary, and while that doesn't particularly help the skinner when you're using the "hide behind the trees" tactic, it's value can't be denied. Return Fire; this is HIGHLY situational for the skinner. Assuming he's within 6" of grim and that whatever is shooting him is less than 5" away if he's in a forest or that he's in melee with something and outside a forest isn't something you're likely to ever see. If you do though well I guess it's ok then. Feat: Definitely a great feat, great for everyone though, no specific additions over what it normally does for the skinner.
Hide behind those trees, put your heavy stuff just to it's side so that going around is a hassle and the skinner(s) in the woods to make going through a real issue too and you're set. Obviously you won't be taking any control points for scenarios but if you wanna do that we have a great list building thread. Oh and don't use "hide behind trees" against baldur, it always goes poorly for me.
Captain Gunnbjorn
First of all let me say that I have only run Captain Gunnbjorn once so all that I'm about to say is purely "this is how this looks on paper" On that note it seems to me that with Gunnbjorn the skinner is just the skinner, using him as a fringe solo with Gunnbjorn isn't bad but for what it looks like Gunnbjorn does I'd probably rather use him as something to block the lines, keeping your shooters shooting longer and in that case I'd rather use something else. Sorry skinner but you and gunnbjorn just don't benefit each other. If anyone has any more experience with Gunnbjorn and sees something I don't lemme know and I'll edit this post.
Borka Kegslayer

Tier list- yes but the skinner doesn't benefit or add anything to the tiers
Borka doesn't have a whole lot for the skinner that he didn't do already. Using him as a fringe solo could be good but I like to keep him close for the knockdown ability. As a targeted knockdown he could really help set things up, but so could the thumper as far as targeted knockdowns go, although the thumper doesn't allow Borka tiers. Anyway on to spells. Iron Flesh; denies the skinner a charge and if he's already where he needs to be he's too far away for IF. Mosh Pit; This comes in handy, making the skinner able to knock down something that's just in your way that you don't wanna dedicate other resources for. Can really come in handy. Wind wall; there are always higher priorities for wind wall, and the skinner can just go into a forest. Feat: another 2" on that targeted knockdown can really do some damage if you set it up right. Party Foul: You'll know if he's the best choice for party foul, most of the time he won't be.
Calandra Truthsayer
Last but not least, Calandra is one of my favorite trollblood casters. I'm notoriously unlucky and she makes luck less of a factor. As for adding things to the Skinner, I'm not so sure. First of all rerolling missed attacks really shores up that one attack weakness of his. The 14" ctrl makes sure that even on the fringe he's likely to be inside ctrl. Let's look at her spell list. Befuddle; pretty situational that this will be used with the skinner, but it's possible that this could be used to move a light or heavy close enough for his charge, which would be great for making sure that a beast within 10" of calandra (or as some would say waaaaay too close to calandra) get tied up. Bullet Dodger; I can't stress enough that the skinner should stick to the woods where he gets prowl, he shouldn't be getting shot, if he is he'll just get killed before he earns his keep. Force Blow, knock down that beast before the skinner goes for the kill, another good "this beast is too close to calandra" combo. Soothing song; not important to the skinner. Star-crossed; this is always great for everyone! However since the skinner can be far away at times there's a chance he'll get hit by people outside Calandra's Ctrl who won't be affected. Skinner isn't a bad choice for 2 pts with calandra, he becomes practically guaranteed to hit, and can wreak havoc during the feat.

Swamp Troll; Animus, grants concealment! This makes prowl stealth if the skinner is nearby and makes it much harder to hit him. Very valuable to have for the skinner. Drag makes it more likely to hit things with the skinner where other things won't be able to reach him immediately, and pathfinder makes it so that even in the trees the swamp troll can stick with him. They work very well together and you can keep them both at the edge of your casters Ctrl as a good duo.
Winter Troll; Animus, if whatever you're tying up fails to kill the skinner, they're stationary. Not bad, but usually running the winter troll far enough out to be with the skinner isn't happening. More likely is the winter troll making something stationary with a crit on it's ranged attack and the skinner coming in to take a whack.
Impaler; Animus, useless for the skinner, only viable combo between these two is critically smiting something (knocking it down) and having the skinner charge it.
Bouncer; these two should never be close enough to make them even notice each other.
Pyre Troll; Animus, Good for any melee solo but once again I have to cite distance. Not likely to be close enough, and pyre doesn't do anything to help skinner otherwise.
Slag Troll; Animus, See Pyre Troll. Everything else, See Pyre Troll.
Axer; Animus, can't even target the skinner. One way that I use these two together is to use the skinner as bait. Use the skinner in the front lines to charge the first beast that comes close, something else has to come deal with him and the axer gets a great charge thresher with multiple targets, possibly finishing off the initial beast. Also if you're running them both with grissel you can upkeep Hallowed Avenger and once again use the skinner as bait.
DT Mauler;
Units ~ More To Come
Solos ~ More To Come
most of these synergy things will be short, he's usually out of buff range, although the opportunity does arise from time to time. 

1 comment:

  1. I have a healthy respect for the Skinner. As a two-point guided missile that'll rip a goodly chunk out of a light 'beast on the charge, and potentially finish off one that's already wounded, he's quite effective - as you say, that 'tie up and threaten with free strike' approach is very nasty indeed, and it's locked down my Savages more often than I care to remember.