23 October 2013

Mabrothrax does Madrak (part 1: ‘The Sleeper and the Miracle Warlock?)

So, as I mentioned before, I was inspired by the upcoming ‘Madrak Challenge’ coupled with the realisation that I’d not played pMadrak outside of a battlebox demo (which I reckon is possibly true for a large number of Trollblood players).

Warders are my new favourite unit so my thinking was to make an alternative brick. With a 35 point Steamroller coming up (played yesterday at time of writing) I got a few practice games in at my local club. I played two games against Cryx (Skarre/Satyxis list), Farrow and Legion.

First time I popped the feat against cryx I lived the dream and Madrak cleared out soooo much infantry, as did the warders. Against a beast heavy list and against the Farrow with tough, Crusher was far less effective.
As we all know (or have been told) Madrak just doesn’t die. With his small control radius, you have to play him up close and personal to get the Crusher and Carnage to work, but with Sure foot and the stone, perhaps Janissa’s wall (and Elemental Communion) plus his own tech, you really are presenting a decent challenge.

This comes back to something I wrote earlier about my play style with trolls, about ‘ignorance and synergy’. It’s fairly obvious that posing a tough question (no pun intended)with a brick of Warders, Madrak and beasts sitting on armour anywhere between 17 and 21, not to mention a respectable def and no knockdown in a smaller bubble is both easy to play and hard, if not just plain annoying, to deal with.

From just a few games it’s clear to me that whilst pMadrak doesn’t necessarily threaten an opponent with alpha strikes or broken-ness, he amplifies the trollblood synergisitic defiance. Here’s the 35 point list I played at my club to try things out:

Earthborn Dire Troll
Dire Troll Mauler
Troll Bouncer*
Warders (max)
Kriels Stone & Scribe (min) +Elder

*In my very first game the Bouncer was a Pyre.

The following week I attended the ‘unlucky for some’ (it was on Sunday 13th) 35 point SR at Dark Sphere games, London. Minus T (of the SmogCon crew) was the Press Ganger running the show, and a very smooth event it was. Great Work Tom!

I went with my one list, and only one list, eager to test pMadrak in the tournament scene.

My expectations were, on the one hand, low. One list, a less than highly respected Troll caster, no regard for meta and such. Other the other hand however, I was playing a warlock rarely seen outside of a battlebox, and I was playing one list built to do what I wanted to do, NOT to answer all possible matchups. This gave me a mental advantage.

Round 1: vs Skorne (Close Quarters)

My opponent had pMorghul, a Titan Gladiator, a Bronzeback, Tibereon, Basilisk Krea, Cyclops Brute and two units of beast handlers. It was a straightforward big monster smash.
The game was very close to begin with and we each put out a fair amount of hurt on each other. The Warders took out Tiberion (much to my opponent's surprise), the Bronzeback spent a couple of turns destroying the Mauler. The piece trade continued at a respectable pace. By then both our Warlocks were on each other's flag, and unfortunately with some duff threshold checks and Morghul’s feat I was unable to clear the last few pieces contesting his flag, whilst the Earthborn who was contesting and threatening got taken out by combined efforts from a Cyclops and a Bronzeback.

A loss, but a good one and a tough game.

Round 2 vs Khador (Into the Breach)

My opponent had pIrusk, a Man o War kovnik, Iron Fang Shield Guard, Uhlans and three jacks - two Devastators and a Spriggan.

I have to say that this wasn't a hugely enjoyable game. The guy had no cards and was flipping between the kahdor book a lot and drawing damage grids on paper, plus he didn't seem all that sure of various rules. Anyway. I sat most of my force in the zone and spent forever trying to take out the ridiculous arm 25 warjacks. Irusk went for the flag and so Madrak stepped up for an assassination attempt and knocked the Khador caster down to four boxes, then he missed three attacks in a row. After that it was simply a case of the Spriggan repeatedly poking Madrak with a power lance. Game over.

A second loss. A rather annoying one at that - it is easy to blame bad dice, but to be honest my opponent wasn't playing well. I should have had that one.

Round 3 vs Circle (Supply and Demand)

The Circle army was I guess a kind of beast brick... I don't think it did what it was meant to do. He had Kreuger the Stormlord, Megalith, a Feral and a Pureblood Warpwolf, a Gorax, shifiting stones and the Lord of the Feast.

This really was a simple grind. Despite his best efforts to wear down my buffed warders and beasts I took out all the beasts one by one and went for Krueger. Madrak got the assassination. The only thing left was a single shifting stone.

First win, and a solid one at that.

Round 4 vs Cygnar (Process of Elimination)

The dreaded Epic Haley, but no Stormwalls! My opponent had a Squire, Stormclad, Triumph, Arcane Tempest Gunmages +UA, full Nyss Hunters and a Stormsmith Stormcaller.

In my second turn I had destroyed an objective and started camping a zone... it was just a case of weathering the storm of shooting and clearing out the contesting models. Epic Haley's feat is super annoying but didn't really lose me much. I think it’s far too easy to be intimidated by it. That said, my list doesn’t rely on precise order of activation, and once set up with Sure foot being upkept and the stone doing its thing… well, no big deal. The Warders proved that they are pure gold and under the feat cleared out the pesky contesting Gun Mages. My Mauler took out the Stormclad warjack and although I had lost the Earthborn, I had managed to keep the zone and win on control points.

My second win, and a good one at that playing to my lists defensive strength.

As the dust settled I placed 9th of 18 players, the best of three Troll players as well. I also won best painted army! (pics coming soon)

Of my opponents, only the Skorne player placed higher than me (coming fourth). The top armies were unsurprisingly Cryx and Legion, and all forces except Minions & Cyriss were represented. One of the Merc players actually brought a double Galleon list. Sigh.

So what does any of this mean? Well, going 2-2 is okay I guess and placing right in the middle of the rankings is neither good nor bad. But let’s consider the following:

  • I was playing one list (pretty sure I was the only person doing so).
  • I was playing ‘my list’ and not an ‘answer the meta list’.
  • The only opponent of mine that placed higher than me came in fourth (Skorne amongst a sea of Cryx and Legion).
  • There were two other Troll players, both placed lower and had eGrim/Borka and pGrissel/eMadrak… those are some of the warlocks considered (among Trollbloods at least) top of the heap.
  • I was playing pMadrak, y’know the battlebox guy?

I’m moving in the right direction. I’m looking for some more (preferably 50 point) events to throw Maddy into. I need a second box of Warders, and fancy a Kithkar.

Till next time, keep rolling tough!



  1. Excellent stuff, thanks :)

  2. I would consider more models that synergize with his feat. For example 1-2 Fell Callers to hand out the Mat buff to a Champion Hero and Warders. Also, consider Horthol who can do a bull rush order for the slam + follow up. Hopefully he gets the extra distance from follow up and kills his target, allowing some silly Crusher angles. Mat 10 Horthul under feat is stupid... Reach is where its at with pmadrak.