24 November 2011

Baka's Domination Reaction Corner - Rok

Welcome to the third installment out of seven of the Baka's Domination Reaction Corner series.  The first two articles gave details, my personal reaction to and sample lists that can build on the strengths of our new Domination model entries.  This one will be no different, and will be dedicated to our new character heavy warbeast, the fearsome (and drunken) Rok.

Rok is statistically a fearsome warbeast, statistically identical to a Bomber with +2MAT, +1PC but does boast a shockingly low THR of 7.  Make no mistake, if you leave even a single fury on Rok then he is going to frenzy on average dice, which combined with his animus you might not even feel like you need to care about that.  As well as boasting the standard big meaty fist found on Mulg and the Mauler, Rok also sports a rather tasty POW6 axe giving him a POW only one less than Mulg.  He also packs a SP6 POW14 ranged attack which does frost damage and comes with Critical Freeze.

As great as his statline is Rok isn't finished there, he also sports a list of special abilities as long as my arm.  Rok has the bog standard Snacking and Regeneration abilities we come to expect from all dire trolls, he also comes with Immunity: Cold, Berserk, Assault and Special Issue: Borka.  While corner case immunity to cold is still nice to have, the times you get hit by a cold based effect (such as the feats of both versions of Sorscha) are the times you wished you could mitigate them.  Berserk allows him to continually make additional melee attacks without spending fury so long as he killed an enemy model, it also possesses some interesting synergy with Snacking, as a model removed from play breaks the Berserk chain it allows you some form of control over Berserk so long as Rok has been damaged.  Assault in some cases is just a gimmick, in others it can be game changing, while some casters (such as Gunnbjorn) can make the assault spray into a formidable infantry clearing weapon some others (such as pMadrak) will find next to no use for it and will treat it purely as a bonus damaging attack if it hits.  Special Issue: Borka right now has no value outside of league games (unless you wanted to include him in either of Borka's tier lists), but it also allows Borka the ability bond with him if he gains the ability to bond in his epic version if/when it eventually comes out.

His animus is one best known to Circle players in the form of the Gorax's animus Primal.  This Fury 2 animus can be cast on any friendly faction warbeast within 6", giving them +2 MAT and STR for one round but they automatically frenzy in their next control phase.  This animus gives Trollblood warbeasts something they generally lack outside of pMadrak and eDoomshaper, an accuracy boost first and foremost at the expense of frenzying next turn, however if you frenzy after taking down a high value heavy then often the price can be seen to have been worth it.  The STR boost doesn't really stand out in a faction overflowing with melee damage buffs, but it still combines the melee damage boost of a Pyre Troll with an accuracy boost allowing our standard melee heavies to hit DEF15 on average rolls and even DEF18 on average boosted attack rolls which is pure assassination potential right there.

Baka's Reaction
At first blush many people look at Rok and see a beatstick heavy in a faction full of great beatstick heavies, however I look at him and I see a warbeast that does a lot of things and does all of them well.  SP6 might seem a bit on the short side, but considering that it still gives without any kind of speed boosts a 14" threat range on an attack that is RAT5 ignoring Stealth, Concealment, Cover and Melee at POW14 with Crit Freeze makes him a formidable threat that most opponents will not want to risk having even that one lucky shot on a warcaster or warlock.  Besides you know what they say about POW12's killing warcasters...

Added to that he is certainly no slouch in melee combat, if you send him after a heavy warbeast or warjack even without his animus (or any other damage boost for that matter) you can almost guarantee that he will turn whatever you send him after into scrap.  You can even send him into the middle of an enemy unit and count on him killing as many as 4 or even 5 or 6 (if positioning is favourable including the assault spray).

Although he is no more durable than your token Dire Troll Mauler or Bomber, he has a significantly higher threat range than the former and a much higher melee damage output than the latter.  You pay for a beast of all trades, master of quite a few.

Fitting Rok into existing lists
As soon as I saw Rok (and stopped drooling over his frankly quite excellent artwork) straight away I saw him being at home with quite a few of our warlocks:

Both Doomshapers (though eDoomshaper in particular) have fantastic synergy with him, Goad in combination with Berserk is so dirty it makes me feel like a Cryx player having an evilgasm.  A charging Rok (not counting feats, movement boosts or free charges) can cover a blistering 16" of ground and still potentially have up to two attacks to make at the end of it, making it very much unsafe for the vast majority of warlocks and warcasters to get absolutely anywhere near him.  Factor in Refuge, Primal (to ensure hits at MAT9) and eDoomshaper's feat and you could have Rok in melee combat with a warcaster from a ridiculous 29" away.  You have likely sent Rok miles out of eDoomshaper's control area by doing this, but this does leave a great many warcasters and warlocks with the very tough decision to try to camp focus to survive his guaranteed MAT7 POW18 frenzy attack or take the chance on trying to kill him, a prospect that can be very far from a guaranteed success (especially if a whelp pops to make him effective DEF13).

Gunnbjorn also gets great milage out of Rok though in a different fashion to the Doomshapers.  He makes that assaulting spray into a formidable weapon which can devastate tightly packed infantry formations while also giving Gunny an extremely viable melee option for when the lines close.  Add to that his feat can help give Rok that extra valuable turn of durability while also being a ranged option who does not also want 2 fury to magically appear from nowhere to grant him snipe on a warlock chronically starved of fury at the best of times.

Several times so far I have toyed with the idea of trying to fit him into the pMadrak beast brick, typically at the expense of Mulg due to a complete lack of any other options that I have taken that I could afford to drop.  Admittedly Berserk cancels out one half of his feat, but overtake still gives him a lot of killing power when he really needs it.

I have similarly tried to look at including him in my eMadrak "drop and pop list" by switching out one of the two War Wagons that I had taken while finding two extra points from somewhere.  His threat range is admittedly a lot lower than the second War Wagon, but a boostable crit freeze can still spell out an extremely bad day for most casters out there.  Add to that the fact that quite a few models can get immunity to knockdown but relatively few have access to immunity to cold and he does become a more interesting option to take.

Sample List
eDoomshaper (-6)
> Mulg the Ancient (12)
> Earthborn Dire Troll (10)
> Rok (11)
> Runebearer (2)
Max Kriel Warriors (6)
> Standard and Piper (2)
> 3 Caber Throwers (3)
Max Krielstone and Scribes (4)
> Stone Scribe Elder (1)
Janissa Stonetide (3)
5 Troll Whelps (2)

A list built to maximise the strengths of eDoomshaper's battlegroup plain and simple.  With access to three excellent animi that he can cast for free once per round, excellent warbeast support spells and a feat that can leave an opposing list completely and utterly crippled, eDoomshaper is the perfect warlock to take advantage of Rok.  If you can cripple the bulk of an opposing list while also using the ludicrous Rok berserk chain mentioned earlier in this article, then eDoomshaper has this match tied up 9 times out of 10.

The Krielstone is there to protect the warbeasts until the payload is ready to be delivered while Janissa is in the list purely to help make sure that eDoomshaper is adequately protected from assassination.  The Kriel Warriors form an excellent defensive screen once the beasts have smashed into the enemy lines and are also extremely self sufficient with the ability to become MAT7 POW12 on demand plus the excellent Caber Throwers (who I rate highly) which provide another genuine threat to high DEF models.


  1. I'm sorry but what 'ROK berserk chain' you mentioned? I don't see it.

    Not trying to be snarky, just don't really see where you mentioned it

    1. Berzerk chain means that as long as Rok can move after a kill he gets free attacks from "Berzerk". This can be done by P. Madrak Feat which grants overtake or Doomy goad ability that allows beasts to pay a fury to move 2 in after killing a model. If the enemy models or even your models are close to eachother Rok can walk up the like killing as many models as he can hit.

  2. Love your list though. Especially since I have all these models. Painted!

  3. Under the synergy section I mentioned the goad berserk chain with eDoomshaper, the amount of ground it allows him to cover is hellishly unreal.

  4. More specifically I should say the "fitting into existing lists" section, second paragraph :)

  5. nice, sorry about that. For some reason I missed it like twice. Reading is good!