So haven't seen any of the other folks post something about the new League information, Umbra, so I figured I might through together some of my thoughts as a really raw, really dumb new player to Warmahordes.
I'm only going to pay attention to the Trollblood piece, the Emaciated Dire Troll Mauler. In large part comparing it to the basic Dire Troll Mauler, and my thoughts on it, which in some ways are really almost questions as I haven't made up my mind yet.
So numbers first, the Emaciated is pretty much a Dire Troll with two key differences, Fury(4 instead of the 5 of the base Dire Troll Mauler) and cost, (8 instead of 9) so at first glance this seems like it might not be a bad deal. While the lost of fury makes it a little harder to really put the hammer down, the 1 point difference for a 1 point cost reduction seems pretty good to me. I often don't use the full fury until I get into that absolute crush the foe. But I see a problem related to the second piece of this heavy warbeast.
Powers. So the Emaciated replaces the Snacking with Devour which is a strictly better version of Snacking, healing 3+d3 instead of the d3 of the base power. But the Emaciated loses Regeneration completely, and instead gains Starving, which causes it to deal d3 damage to itself every activation(at the start of its activation). This loss of regeneration combined with the Starving makes me wonder if I'm going to be dealing with a model that is going to be pretty badly beat up before it even gets into a fight. The low speed of trolls, combined with this damage to the troll(which has 28 health to begin with) feels like it could be a big issue. Especially against certain armies. The necessity of devouring being a living model means I'm looking at the potential for not being able to keep them healed up in the face of constructs or undead. And since it requires an attack to box the model you can't simply use whelps to heal up the troll.
And that's the extent of the changes with this model. I have to say I was rather disappointed myself in the differences in this model, hoping for something a little bit more.. interesting. I see the Emaciated Dire Troll Mauler to be an interesting trade off but the lower fury, combined with the need to use him to box living models to keep him alive, makes me wonder if I would want to use him over a straight up Mauler. In those cases though where 1 point makes a difference I can definitely see swapping him in, in order to pick up some other unit, but in general the extra fury, and lack of damage to himself makes me believe that I might be better off going with the normal mauler..
But then I think about it. On average, if I can manage to box 1 model a turn how does it work out. Well, interestingly enough we have 'math' to help us here. If you can box 1 model per turn, with both creatures, and assume you use that extra fury for a regeneration what you actually get is a model that costs 1 point less and on average heals 1 point less per turn. The d3 on the Starving cancels the d3 on devouring leave basically a flat 3 point heal on devouring. With the normal mauler a snacking + regeneration averages 4 points. Now 1 army point for 1 less healing doesn't seem that bad and if I can box 2 models per turn the healing on the Emaciated mauler is now an average of 7(5 per devouring) while the normal mauler is only averaging 6. So for that 1 point less I've actually increased my healing.
Overall I suspect that the change is actually a pretty good one and I'm definitely considering swapping the emaciated in(if only I could figure out how to do it on specialist lists but sadly the point value of the maulers themselves is too large to manage and still take advantage of that 1 point difference to get a 2 point solo up to a 3) for a couple of games. In many games I definitely see the Emaciated's ability forcing my opponent to focus fire on him, if only to ensure he doesn't get a big round of devouring in, healing up all the way. And that gives me an opening to get him through. If he manages to survive such a round of attacks as well, a big round of devouring, possibly even against some of my own(whelps) means I can heal some big damage(5 devours averages more than the Emaciated has in hitpoints) and add some serious survivability to the Emaciated.
So while I could have wanted a creature a little more unique than we got, I actually think the Emaciated may indeed be a pretty good deal against most armies and gives us something that is very much lacking in the current Trollblood Army, an 8 point heavy. Come March I will hopefully let folks know how the Emaciated works out!