27 June 2012

Go get'em: Sluggers by Hellectic Mojo

I'm hardly the most competitive guy on the table, and hence my starting warlock for this faction was Gunnbjorn, starting unit? Sluggers. Since I appear to be the only guy in the world who haven't packed them up after the first game, I'll try to justify them and explain how I manage to make these guys work.

How to set up full auto
Number one complaint about the Sluggers are the necessity of aiming to get the most of their shots. As I played them however, I found them to be not really hampered by this. They are one of the few trollblood models with adequate base RNG for their guns. After the first turn of running, the enemy should be coming to your guns, not you chasing after them with it.

Unless you went Gunny tier... eh, actually Gunnbjorn tier too, you should have a core force of mixed arms and meatshield to accompany the sluggers up field. The enemy, if they know anything about trolls will, not waste their time trying to get to your sluggers, when you got scattergunners, Fennblades, KW, etc etc about to ruin their party. This is the factor that will keep the sluggers alive throughout the game and keep em kicking.

Key is positioning. Depending on whether you went Gunnbjorn tier 2+ or not it changes a little, but in both cases, the sluggers should be slightly off to the side of the main force. If you extend too far from the enemy lines, they will isolated and gunned down/ charged, if you are too close to your own lines, the melee will block LOS and cause in melee penalties that will cause more trouble than worth.

Now the model placements within the unit becomes a key for them. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the Nosrek's parting the red sea strategy, How it maximizes offensive coverage, while ensuring that you do not over commit any models in your army. Well the sluggers are the same. If you go all forward trying to squeeze every shot possible with them clumping up and going all or nothing, you will likely get a whole lot of nothing. Spread them out slightly with at least 2 inches between them all times, so enemies with reach can't simply lock up your gunners in one fell swoop. This means that there will be times where only your first 2 or 3 models will get the full auto shot, but given how much survivability and offense you are preserving in the unit, it's well worth it.

The above positioning is different in Gunny's Tier however, due to his trench templates. The 20inch forward trench template is in the perfect firing position for the huddled sluggers. and to make it even more amazing, 5 man unit will fit inside the trench template... perfectly. put snipe on them and let them sit there for the entire game. They will create a 14 inch bubble of zero enemy presence.

How to use full auto
Now it's the second turn. What do? Well it depends, can you shoot anything right now? Plenty of things should've ran their hardest up field ready to engage in some charging madness, but probably not close enough to be within your gun range, meaning you have to walk.
"But I want to full auto!"
No, not yet, now you must slowly approach the enemy. Remember to not over commit, Have one trooper reach close to the enemy line enough to get a single potshot in (likely miss, but it's a good gauge for distance) while the rest of the unit should scoot couple of inches at best making sure to stagger their lines and be behind the lead trooper. This way they can't tie your guns up by running nor will a charge result in more than one trooper in the front.

Get your melee set up, and the lines will converge and the trolls will begin to engage in doing things that trolls do best. You will now discover that the enemy has conveniently come to the range of your guns while attempting to cross blades with your main lines. you should be able to full auto to a good effect now. So do it, start shooting at any stragglers and unengaged troopers on the side and back.
Remember Aiming is not a ability tied to the unit, but each model, if any grunts are too close to the enemy lines where they can simply walk away.(tough models that forfeit action to walk right up to the guns, are particularly annoying) Even if you survive their offense with tough roll, you will likely be stuck in a hard place trying to get your sluggers out of trouble when engaged in melee. It's not worth the trouble, walk away and take a pot shot. While rest of your stationary buddies take care of the rest.

This leapfrogging is the key to getting the most board coverage with these guys and being a persistent threat to the enemy.

Who do I shootDidn't realize until later I wrote this that target selection deserved some mention. How stupid of me...
Another major complaint about the sluggers are their inconsistency, They can get low as 3 shots a turn to 15 shots. My advise? pick your battles. Just because you can full auto, it doesn't mean you should. 15 missed shots are worth nothing compared to 3 that finished off a tough solo. I usually plan my full auto shots to be 2 bullet per target. Nothing kills like overkill, and overkill is what they are good at.

Do shoot: Models that are about to engage your front lines. Trolls live and die by glorious melee, do your Kriel proud and push it into your favor. If the lines aren't engaged, soften the field up by shooting at the front lines before shooting. If engaged, it's highly unlikely that the enemy will have his entire force on the front lines. He probably has half the unit ready to receive the charge order and try to push the melee in to their favor. Deny them that. poor into their back ranks and their sides.
Light jacks and beasts... if you can seal the deal. Sluggers can dent these guys, but not enough to guarantee destruction. But luckly with RNG 10, they will likely be in need of some spell or two to get back you. Also remember, you should be scattered, even if a reach beast/jack charges your slugger, make sure that one trooper's all it's ever going to get.
Medium infantry: Any single wound infantry with def 14 or less and with armor less than 19 are perfectly vulnerable to these guys. Any multi wound would be dead at ARM 16 with two shots. break up shieldwalls and soften the enemy up so the melee can get the kills in.

Do not shoot: Ranged models in cover. Ranged models in cover are likely sitting at the minimum of def 16, 17 or above more likely while boasting weak armor. Do not get into a gunfight unless with gunnbjorn is willing to hand out explosivo. Their armors are probably abysmal as well, making your POW 13 bullets quite a waste when it does connect. Scattergunners exist to clear these jerks, and use them for it.
Heavy armor, you can't hurt it. You have machine guns, not anti tank rifles, act like it and get the hell out of there.
Models in melee; you completely negate the aim bonus with the melee penalty and likely shoot your own dude in the back. Unless you knocked down the target, don't bother shooting into it.

If you do not have the ideal targeting solution, just pack up and run.
I usually run them to where my caster's at so they can act as meatshields/reset their firing position, or hell... just charge... I've only ran out of targeting options when I'm about to seriously lose the game or we are both so damn dead that any offensive push is worth trying. Nabbed 2 caster kills using their dang melee weapons on a charge.
lets pray it doesn't come to that...
Warlock SupportGrim: I mention Grim because he does have spells and a feat that allow the sluggers to function, but he's not the optimal leader for the sluggers, he's too much of a mobility support and a melee delivery vehicle where Slugger's slow and methodical approach really runs counter intuitive to his gameplay.

Grissel1: Now she's good, she's really good at supporting the sluggers, Hoof it, makes positioning a breeze, Calamity means that guns are super accurate, and hit hard as nails, and rift can be used as a buffer to protect the gun line. Fantastic with any infantry, fantastic with the sluggers.

Grissel 2: Marginally good with them. Inhospitable ground makes them very hard to approach, and dash is wonders for getting them set up faster and getting them out of trouble if they ever get into one. Also the dang feat works too, if you want to be set up for full auto next turn.

Jarl: Surprisingly effective. Tactical supremacy offers great shot vectors for the subsequent turns, considering Jarl can't handle spams by himself with magic bullet being quite expensive, the ability to thin the enemy out and open charge vectors with your super fast trolls are welcome.

Hoarluk 1: Fortune is good as buff as any on models that provide so much attacks. You know how I kept on yelling to keep them on the side of your army? Sluggers can actually be placed in the middle of the army. Their wounds and spammable attacks provide a really nice command bunker for Hoarluk's fragile butt, and can guard Hoarluk without taxing the army's offensive potential.

Borka: I mentioned that the sluggers keep to the side because they really can't fire into melee, well, with Borka, the problem can be mitigated quite well. Ironflesh on the front lines and mosh pit means that no matter how the combat turned out your own line is mostly safe from your own bullets while the enemy has to eat dirt with a side order of bullets.
Also there is the NQ theme force called Family Reunion. I have not tested it out, but if anyone has please post, I would love any insight.

Calandra: our Dice goddess smiles upon them as well. Fate blessed is enough to make those shots count and befuddle allows to pick and choose your targets with no repercussion.

Gunnbjorn: Alpha and Omega, the piecake in the fridge, clerical error in your favor, the thing that makes the sluggers shine. Every spell except for guided fire boosts them up, and I already mentioned the benefit of his tier and shoving them in the trench. With scattergunners leading in the front with the UA, nothing's safe from your shooting. Go nuts.

Army support
Janissa: Rock Wall is obvious, and tectonic shift is amazing. Forcelock is just mean especially with Runeshapers.

Runeshapers: AOEs for those things that Sluggers cannot hurt, crit knockdown and tremor too boot. They are good enough for the rest of your army, why not zoidb- I mean sluggers? Also Janissa and her damn forcelock, to hold the line if desperate.

Stone Scribe Chronicler: It allows easy knockdown on the enemy lines, which the sluggers love. Concealment and feign death for the first turn isn't bad either.

Thumper: Only during gunnbjorn's tier at high costs. Gunny's getting a lot of points sucked out of him with these around. The slam makes it hell of a defensive position when combined with sluggers though, if you want to make a long ranged gun line for the hell of it, go nuts, just be aware that the victory/loss will be devastatingly 50/50
Remember blast damage is rounded up, so the thumper and the sluggers have the same blast during explosivo.

Fellcaller: you probably have it, if the Sluggers were playing tag along with the army any stand up call for your lines probably affect them too. allowing you to sacrifice movement after tough rolls to start full autoing again.

warwagon: knockdown galore, perfect for following it around for some spring cleaning.

Wrong Eye and Snapjaw: Tear things in melee, submerge, not be vulnerable to being shot up during the clean up operation. Sweet.

Farrow Brigands: Dig in, while Lobing explosivo around, and watch enemy light infantry die.

Army list ideasI kept it to 35pt since it's bit tighter on the point allotment making the roles and the purpose of models clearer.

Borka -5
Axer 6
Mauler 9
Min Kriel stone + UA 4
Max Fennblades +UA 10
Full Sluggers 8
Fellcaller 3

The idea is simple, The fennblades do what they do best, being tarpits under borka with Ironflesh and Moshpits to provide the knockdowns and providing easy targets. The sluggers play mop up operations after them, making sure that whatever got hit or knocked down stays down. Borka's small control area is no issue for them, since they are there to support borka, not other way around.


Jarl Skuld -6
Pyre 5
Impaler 5
Earthborn Dire Troll 10
Kriel Warrior full with UA and WA to the max 11
Full Sluggers 8
Stone scribe Chronicler 2pt

Tactical supremacy is the key to the slugger success, due to their ranged if you play them on the fringe, They will almost never be engaged by enemy troops barring cavalry or running straight at them, and if they wasting time on your sluggers, more power to you, you got kriel warriors with knockdowns and slams coming at them. not to mention a earthborn at the flank

Also to answer potential question of WHY NOT SCATTERGUNNERS?
Scattergunners are great at general infantry clearing don't get me wrong, but they lack the ability to concentrate fire due to their bodies cluttering up fire and their shorter range. Against multi wound models and enemy tarpits with tough, getting a second shot at them are usually pretty substantial. Scattergunners are anti infantry and anti infantry only. Sluggers can damage light jacks and beasts while denting medium infantry.

1 comment:

  1. Sluggers with Maxwell Finn (with the Thornwood League special alternative model) at RAT 9 are superb!

    If Sluggers ever get a Officer/UA that allows a once-per-game Snipe effect (that CANNOT stack with Gunny's Snipe) it will make them sooo much more use-able with other Warlocks.