14 March 2012

Grissel2 A Song of Love and Hate - Guide by Somnicide

This Guide can also be found in the Privateer Press Forums

 Grissel2, A Song of Love and Hate - a guide to epic Grissel

Grissel Bloodsong, Marshal of the Kriels is, at the time of this writing, seeking to lead her people to safer lands. We all know that no such thing exists in the Iron Kingdoms but this article will aim to at least give you a map to smash your opponent's teeth in with Resounder.

No other Trollblood warlock has garnered the controversy that she has. Love her or hate her she will seldom inspire indifference. The purpose of this article is to help you get the most out of her when and if you do decide to put her on the table. I will not be comparing her to her previous incarnation other than as a frame of reference for her stats.

Just the stats, ma'am

eGrissel is rocking pretty solid offensive stats with her MAT and RAT getting a bump or one each from her prime incarnation. She is still carrying her war (sledge)hammer, Resounder, and hasn't been hitting the gym any extra so it hits the same. Defensively, she adds a point of armor while keeping the same DEF and Speed. Her command and fury are likewise the same though she does have an extra warbeast point.

She no longer has Fell Calls but rather has Fell Blasts. The Fell Blasts give her up to 3 different shots a turn - a 10" spray, a knockdown 3" AOE, and a 4" AOE that remains in play and acts like a pow 12 covering fire template. A cool little thing about this 4" AOE is that it only affects enemy and nonfaction models so feel free to move into the AOE. It also bears mentioning that the knockdown AOE only triggers on a hit of enemy models, so don't run up next to your target and shoot your own model expecting to put the other guy on the ground.

She can fire each of them up to once per activation, but if she wants to she can fire all three. Situationally good.

She makes me feel all tingly inside

As the Marshal of the Kriels she is kind of a big deal. Nobody wants to be the one that lets her down so they are fearless and automatically rally while in her command radius thanks to Inspiration[Friendly Faction]. It bears restating that the range on this is command rather than control. It is model/unit so single model shenanigans apply. Situationally good.

Show me the magic, baby

Grissel2 has a pretty short spell list, even by Hordes standards. In fact, she has the same number of spells as the solo Janissa.

Arcane Bolt - A pretty generic ranged damage spell whose only real standout is the range of 12. Unfortunately it sacrifices POW. It is good to have since her Fell Blasts aren't magical, but you will probably only use it on a dare. Situationally good.

Dash - We are all familiar with this spell from all the Legion players running Rhyas. Yeah, no one runs her in my meta either... this spell gives both herself and warrior models starting their activation in her control area +1 speed. Also, while in her control area warrior models cannot be targeted by free strikes. It bears mention that both of these effects are WARRIOR only. Situationally good.

Inhospitable Ground - This spell takes up half her fury but when it is worth casting, it is worth every point. While in this model's control area enemy models treat open terrain as rough terrain. Sure, most armies have some way of handing out a little pathfinder but either kill the offending buffer or just laugh at the things that don't have it. Legion in particular couldn't care less on most of their stuff (though never forget that Typhon doesn't have pathfinder...) but there are some armies that are in a world of hurt. Situationally good.

The agony of the feat

Her feat is one of the weakest in the game if not arguably the bottom of the barrel. There is no real discussion about it. It is still a feat, so it doesn't completely suckl but it is basically the Arcane Bolt of feats.

It gives friendly faction models in her control area Unyielding (+2 armor while engaging and enemy model) and Hyper Aggressive (if you take damage from an enemy and live you may choose to make a full advance directly toward the source of the damage).

The armor buff is decent for an army that typically has decent armor to begin with. Hyperaggressive will let you curb stomp a noob but against anyone who has ever seen it they will either shoot only what they know they can kill. There are times that an AOE scatter or a low damage roll will let you take advantage of this in a beneficial way allowing you to engage something and kick in Unyielding, but more often than not if your opponent is shooting you not to kill you, they want you to come forward so they can charge and kill you. But it does let Unyielding come into play. Also, the move is not mandatory - so just because you take damage you don't have to move forward. An interesting edge case use on this is that if an enemy with reach has engaged a beast without reach your beast will not get the armor bonus. However, if the enemy hits you, you can advance into your melee range and get the bonus for subsequent attacks. An edge case as I said, but worth knowing.

Situationally good.

In the right light, she's totally a 10.

You may have noticed that I repeated the phrase "Situationally good" a couple of times. In my games with her what I have discovered is that she allows a pretty flexible playstyle. She doesn't really excel at any one thing, but she helps facilitate a number of different things. No two games I have played have been alike with her and it is that flexibility that I hve personally enjoyed. Below I will go into some more specific synergies and experiences I have had with her as well as a couple of decent starting points on lists. I am of the opinion that she is as close as we get to a control caster.

I have to run to a meeting right now, but will finish this up later this evening.

Please note, formatting is not done yet, but I just wanted to get this up. I know that I alternated between Grissel2 and eGrissel during the article - this is to facilitate ease of the search function since PP is pushing 1,2,3 but the community still uses p and e.

"My (earth) quake brings all the boys to the yard"

In this section we are going to go a bit more in depth on her shooting options since she seems, at first glance, to be a primarily shooty caster with a ROF 3 gun.

I'd like you to forget that rate of fire for your first couple of games with her. Instead of treating her like she has a three shot gun, treat her as if she has a single gun that can be shot three different ways depending on what you need. Remember "situationally good"? Make that your mantra with her.

Crescendo is an AOE4 that is POW 12. The template remains in play and does a POW 12 hit to any enemy or non faction model that enters it. A couple of key points about this ability is that the POW 12 autohit doesn't take effect right away meaning that if you miss and scatter you are going to only do a POW 6 hit so don't get too big of eyes with that big pie plate. The point of this spell, at least as I advocate using it, is not to do damage. The situation you are looking to use this in is denial of board space.

One good use for this spell is with a jamming unit. You have eGrissel go first and fire at the unit to be jammed and then run up to within it and engage your opponent. If the shot missed but still covered enemy models they will likely be ending their activation still in the AOE after they kill your jamming model since movement is first. This gives them the choice of either risking a free strike to get away or staying there, hitting the jammer and taking a POW12 hit at the end of their activation.

Another great use for this ability is setting up a landing zone for your Pyg Burrowers. Your opponents hopes of denying you a place to pop up - or even really controlling where you do - will be greatly limited. I don't think this point needs to be expanded any further.

Crecendo can be used for charge denial to great effect vs. infantry. The template is NOT a cloud effect so it doesn't affect line of sight, however, a charge must be a straight line. Sure, the kayazy can run around to engage, but they can't charge straight through. It can also be great as a defensive measure on Grissel herself. Move a friendly model to a short distance in front of her and fire at them. If you miss (which you probably hope you do) it will be a very small scatter but will create a large defensive zone directly in front of her. This will render her almost invulnerable to most infantry for a turn on average rolls. Think of it as a 1 point spell (or free if it is all you use that turn) if you are having trouble getting over the fact that she has only 3 spells.

If you happen to have 1 extra point when list building, consider a feral geist for this duty. His incorporealness (incorporeality?) means that you can't hurt him with the fell blast since it is not magickal. The big benefit is that it makes placement of the template even more precise.

The second ammo type we are going to discuss is the Quake. This is a pretty basic 3" AOE with POW 14 that knocks stuff down on a hit. The caveat here is that you must hit an enemy model, so no running your own guys up just to knock them down. But you care about your Trollkin so you wouldn't do that anyway.

Because it only triggers on a hit I would recommend if you choose this option that you may as well plan on spending a fury to get that initial hit unless it is a hail Mary and you are down to your last one. The benefits of knocking your oponent down and then jumping up and down on their spleen is a time honored strategy so I don't think it really needs to be covered any more than to say it is good.

Something to think about is that it is only 1 point higher Str than a Crescendo with a miss so if you are shooting at a stealthed target you will have to decide whether you would rather have a larger template to accomodate the scatter but with a lower strength or a slightly higher strength and a smaller template. That one point does break the curve quite a bit, but Str 6 does have a much higher chance of killing a high def/low armor or stealthed model than a miss.

One last point that I would like to make here is that I tend to keep this shot in my pocket until the end game. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. I'll even use the Crescendo as mentioned above and take a lower strength for targets of opportunity. People have a tendency to forget about something you aren't using and might get sloppy toward the end of the game and let you get off that critical Quake on a heavy or even the caster. Never discount human psychology as a tool. ;-)

The final ammo type available to her is a 10" spray. Sprays are absolutely fantastic, especially on a Rat 6 model with the ability to boost. There is a reason that most models that can boost sprays only have a RAT of 4 and this makes many players overlook them.

Sprays ignore the defense bonus for target in melee, cover, concealment, and can hit models out of line of sight as long as the LOS blocker isn't terrain that completely blocks LOS (ie. some big obstruction or more than 3" of terrain). Many opponents get in the habit of thinking that as long as they are safe from a SLAM that they can hide their support solos or even casters behind a heavy.

It has been my experience that you will seldom use or even want to use all three shots in a single game, much less a single turn but you will likely have the one that you really wish you did, when you need it.

"But she didn't DO anything!" the student cried. The teacher nodded sagely. "Exactly."

I spent a lot of time and space above just covering the parts that make her up. I'll be the first to admit that on paper there isn't a whole lot that stands out about her or even really makes her look playable. To be completely honest with you, I thought I would play her a handful of times, paint her up (because the model is gorgous), and put her in a place of honor on my shelf to admire her and never touch the model again.

Obviously, that didn't happen or I would be spending the time writing this up. A funny thing happened on the way to the shelf and the word for that is "winning". I didn't start out with a list built specifically for her - I actually just hot swapped her into pMadrak list that I was comfortable with and she did well. I played her beast heavy. Again, she did well. I played her infantry heavy with now predictable results.

Talking to my friends after the game and asking what they thought of her was that, well, she didn't actually DO anything. In fact, after a recent Vassal game between Goris and Bakaryu those exact words were said after eGrissel beat her Prime self. It seemed like that to me when I started with her too but I looked a bit deeper - there had to be SOMETHING there because I was doing better with the exact same list. I figured out that what she was doing was facilitating the rest of my army. She was allowing me to control tempo better than anyone else. Sure, she wasn't flashy. Her feat is lackluster. Her "best" spell has a hard counter in every faction. I am of the opinion that almost every game will have one or two critical moments. Grissel lets you create those moments rather than having them thrust upon you.

Dash lets you get up the board a little quicker and jam far more effectively by slipping between models and jamming the back line. It also lets Grissel herself ignore freestrikes in case someone tries the jam on you.

Inhospitable Ground will only stop one or two charges in most games, but your opponent (unless legion obviously) will be a bit more wary in their play. +2 Armor from her feat is pretty weak until you add the EBDT animus and a Krielstone. Armor 24 is no joke, especially on our heavy hitters like the EBDT and the Mauler. Mulg is Armor 25 in that perfect situation. Which seems like a decent segue way into a discussion on the supporting pieces.

Beauty and the warbeast

I think one of the biggest strengths eGrissel has is that she has no huge strengths. What I mean by that is she is a good generalist. She's not going to brick up as well as Maddy or Borka nor will she exploit a ranged game like Gunny or Grim. This gives you a wide berth to play the game you want (and more importantly the game your opponent doesn't want you to). That being said, the beasts that you like to run with your caster of choice will most likely run well with eGrissel but I am going to touch on some of my favorites below. Just because something is excluded doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad choice, just not something I happen to use.

Earth Born Dire Troll - His animus is outstanding and easily bumps Grissel2's already exceptional defensive stats even higher. You might end up getting to use the speed with her as well, since when it combines with dash she can charge a target 10" away and ignore freestrikes along the way and, to steal a phrase from the Chain Attack podcast, she can put the kids to bed herself. If only she put Resounder on a longer stick. Inhospitable Ground will likely help you get the charge on your opponent's heavy and we all know how that usually ends.

Pyre/Slag/Storm/Winter Troll - Situationally good animi. I don't always use one of them, but I don't hate any of them either. You know your meta better than me, if you need a damage buff or an elemental immunity, take them.

Swamp Troll - This stinky little guy has really grown on me. His animus increases her already great defensive stats (effective Def 17 vs both melee and shooting without any terrain dependence). He is great as a fury battery and transfer target. You might get to swallow something up with the tongue and that is always fun.

Impaler - The ever-popular far strike tax as he is known to some cynics. It seems an obvious fit for her as the animus increases 2 of the 3 ranges. I have found that she tends to be a frontline caster so I was using it once a game if that. He is always a good add if you are running a stone scribe chronicler though.

Axer - The axer is a great addition to any trollblood force so obviously he works well here too. He doesn't bring anything specifically for Grissel but as I hope I have gotten across, she doesn't really need anything. She can help him out with getting the charge off and can actually facilitate his thresher if you use Inhospitable Ground as a trap for infantry who are getting clustered up as the battle lines meet.

Mulg - Everything tastes better with Mulg. Of all our beasts he probably probably gets the most use out of the feat. Don't mistake this as me saying her feat is great, but we make the most of what we have. In case you missed it before, say this out loud just to see how it feels "Yeah, Mulg is armor 25 right now." It won't always be that awesome, but at the minimum it is armor 21 which doesn't suck.

Bomber/Blitzer - Inhospitable Ground might net you an extra turn of shooting with both ranged beasts and with Crescendo and the Bomber you can clear 3X4" AOEs of space in a single turn. It can be nasty. Quake can give the blitzer an easier time hitting big things with his shooting.

Dire Troll Mauler - Great animus to use if you want to smash face with Grissel. Bumping her to P+S=17 let you really take advantage of her decent Mat. Inhospitable Ground can help you get the charge in.

Bouncer - Don't own one, haven't used it, can't really speak to it. Animus looks okay but again, I can't really speak to it.

Rok - I don't typically like to proxy things that aren't out but will update this when I get him.

No woman is an island. Unless she is really fat, and eGrissel isn't

Grissel's the popular girl and she likes to party with a lot of different boys. Let's take a look at the units I like with her. Again, just because I don't mention your pet unit doesn't mean she won't work with them. I find she works well with most anything.

Scattergunners - These guys are fantastic and deserving of a tactica all their own. Always bring the UA. In a nutshell run up early, aim when you can and spray death everywhere. They are a really nice combination piece with Grissel as they can open up lanes that models can move through with Dash allowing that deep jamming or even charging back lines. Dash on her has been criticised because of our medium bases. Scattergunners are a good answer. Used in combination with Burrowers they are absolutely demoralizing. One word of caution here, if you are planning on taking them to timed events be aware that multiple sprays hitting multiple units can take up a lot of time. You have been warned.

Burrowers - Fearless and immune to free strikes. If you haven't yet sold your soul, go read the burrownomicon and then add the words "immune to free strikes". As mentioned above, I like to pop them up in front of the scattergunners to give me great spray angles and then target them in the back. The Burrowers are safe because of the Scattergunner UA and you are very likely to get charge lanes to something your enemy would rather not be charged by dygmies. Also, Quake knocking down a hard target like a jack or beast and then swarming with the little guys is fun.

Fenn Blades - Dash lets you jam up 14" on turn 1 and in later turns you can get off some particular cruel minifeat charges thanks to ignoring free strikes. Dask is not an upkeep so Vengeance move will still trigger them. Don't forget that like I have. It will make you sad. Inhospitable Ground can limit what is charging at them as well.

Kriel Warriors - An always solid backbone unit. Dash lets you get a bit further and can also let you use your damage prayer rather than movement to get those ranged charges off. Dash also lets you shove flaming cabers in even more uncomfortable places since the fear of free strikes is removed.

Kriel Stone Bearer - Grissel typically has the fury left over to keep this thing humming. In fact, I usually fill it on turn 1 and then toss one there every now and again as necessary. Add elder to taste.

Champions - High armor and multiple wound make you feel like you might benefit from hyperaggressive, but that is a trap. If you make the hyperaggressive move you will probably lose your defensive line bonus. Making them immune to freestrikes is nice as is making them a little bit quicker.

Toughaloes - The Long Riders are fantastic in any list so it makes sense that they would be great here. If you are the kind of player who runs them on a flank they won't get much out of her but that is typical of all casters. That being said, while they are in her control area they cannot be targeted by free strikes which gives impact hits and ride by attacks the potential to be really rude.

That diva is never seen without her entourage.

You want to bring along your support staff as usual. The great thing about eGrissel (frustrating, some might argue) is that the list doesn't build itself since she doesn't have a strong focus. Solos help you round out what you need.

Fell Caller - at least one. If I need to explain why, you don't actually play trolls.

Stone Scribe Chronicler - I am always torn on him. I don't bring him in every list, but when I do I like him.

Janissa - I bring her in every eGrissel list. My current tourney pair is Jarl and eGrissel and I don't run her in that list so for me it is an easy choice. Janissa is great, we all know that. EBDT and Janissa's wall makes her 19/19 vs. shooting and that is pretty awesome. If you have the Krielstone along 19/21 just makes your opponents shake their heads. She is also a great late game jammer who can make use of the dash shenanigans.

Champion solo - he loves him some dash. The bump to speed 6 and ignoring freestrikes really lets him get into optimal thresher position. Also with reach, it is a bit easier to get that unyielding bonus on feat turn but it's not a big enough bonus to build a strategy around.

Horthol - if you bring long riders, bring Horthol. You might even consider bringing him on his own in an eGrissel list. He gets the dash benefits as noted above plus, if you happen to run theme (or are close) he is required for tier 2 and gives you +1 to go first and is a point cheaper.

Feralgeist - His particular synergy with her really is just as a target for Crescendo. I wouldn't build around it, but it is nice to have a purpose for that one last point left over.

Somnicide's musings on Trolls and WarmaHordes can also be found at his blog Focus on the Fury

1 comment:

  1. I like Steady Kriel Warriors with Grissel2. During her Feat, a successful Tough roll, especially against ranged attack, allows Cabers to advance to engage models that may not have shot yet (addn'l +4 DEF/+2 ARM, and possibly no shooting from an opposing model or two).