10 August 2011

Benelux Masters - Laying the Foundations

So another big tournament is coming up, this time the Benelux Masters which is being held in the Netherlands (Holland for the geographically unaware) during the last weekend of October.

The competition for this tournament is sure to be tough, I anticipate even tougher than at the UK Masters if for no other reason than the tournament format.  For this tournament I am going to be required to bring six lists: three different 50pt lists which all must be used during day one's three games and three different 35pt lists which again must all be used for the three games on the second day.

A number of eyebrows amongst those who know me were surprised at the UK Masters when I took my Retribution instead of Trollbloods, especially as I have been a hardcore trollblood player ever since Evolution in the MkI days of Hordes and Warmachine.  I explained my reasoning for this to be purely because of the issues Trollblood armies faced against the top tier matchups where they lacked the speed to close in on the best shooting armies and fastest melee armies, and the adaptability to deal with the best combined arms lists.  I still stand by my decision and my reasons for why I left my trusted Trollbloods at home and I had a hugely enjoyable and successful tournament finishing a respectable 12th place out of 120 players, losing only to the eventually 3rd and 4th placed players (one of which was the previous year's UK Master).

The release of Jarl Skuld however has given me a solution to numerous problems that I saw our faction face against highest tier opponents, with the Scattergunner UA offering further hope to the tactical future of the Trollbloods.  As a result, and even though I do not expect any new releases in time for the tournament besides Jarl and the Scattergunner UA, it is my intention to take the Trollbloods to the Benelux Masters.

I have several 50pt lists that have always served me well during tournament play, and for me Borka remains undefeated (or even coming close to losing) on the tournament scene.  My tier2 pMadrak list at this year's Welsh Open brought me an overwhelming victory against a pAsphyxious t4 list and so is clearly a contender for making the grade.  Even though Grissel is great at scenarios, she always seems to fall short in tournament play for me for some reason and has a rather poorly record of 4 out of 9 in tournament play.  The Gunnbjorn list I used as an experiment in the Dire Brackets worked superbly, even though it will take practice to learn to judge distances properly on Vassal.  eDoomshaper provides a refreshingly different beast heavy strategy compared to my typical infantry heavy approach while Jarl Skuld offers an excellent mix of speed and defence that should help a melee oriented force arrive safely to the enemy lines.

35pt lists have always been the more difficult ones for me with Trollbloods, from my personal experience I have noted that trolls work best with lots of infantry where our buff stacking synergy can make them perform far higher than their points values and initial stats suggest.  At 50pts it is easy to take a couple of beasts plus support and still have plenty left for two or even three units.  At 35pts this becomes far more difficult, even just adding the trinity of Fell Caller, Chronicler and KSB/Elder takes you up to 9 points, and you haven't even taken a Runebearer or Whelps for fury management or Janissa for warlock protection yet, add in rougly 10 points for beasts taken over your warbeast points bonus and suddenly you are looking at having just 15-16 points for infantry.

Needless to say thats not to suggest that I don't have options, or that Trollbloods cannot be successful at 35pts as evidenced by many people who have won games or even tournaments at 35pt level.  pMadrak has an excellent beast brick at 35pts, Gunnbjorn can bring tremendous firepower to beat on the smaller model count armies typically met at that points value if the scenario is favourable, Grissel tends to be very successful at 35pts for me as does eDoomshaper.  Jarl of course is still an unknown quantity in that respect, and eMadrak is always a powerhouse who can turn even high ARM lists into scrap in record time.

Luckily lists do not have to be submitted until 1st October, and I intend to use the time available to get as much testing in as possible to try to come up with the optimal lists to give me a shot at victory in the Benelux Masters.  Expect fairly regular updates on this as the next three months roll by.

1 comment:

  1. A good read. I'm looking forward to more insight into how you build your lists even though I play the much hated cryx myself.

    Good luck for the Benelux Masters.