24 October 2013

Why Our Battlebox Makes Us Better Players

My own painted Battlegroup

Hey folks! Kro here, with my first real article on the Scrum!

When I originally picked up Trollbloods as my primary faction, a number of players in my meta warned me right off the bat: "Trolls are awesome, but their Battle box sucks." or "They are one of the few factions that introduce you to Warlock/Warcaster that essentially does nothing (feat wise) for the beasts they come with." The most popular bit of criticism was the fact that our battle box lacked a heavy chassis. All of the concerns were valid and hard to ignore, yet when I made my initial purchase a small whelp in the back of my head was telling me "Relax! There's a reason why the box is set up this way!"

What can I say, I went in deep and never looked back. 60+ battle box games later, and I can safely say that our box is FAR from underpowered. It is competitive, just in ways that set it apart from the other factions.

Follow along after the jump to find out why!

So lets just start off by listing what most non Trollblood players consider major issues with our box:
  • No Heavy beast
  • pMadrak's feat does NOTHING for MM/TC match ups
  • 5 Fury Warlock dealing with potentially 9 Fury from beasts running hot
  • No high ARM cracking
  • 3 Light Warbeasts
With all these reasons listed, it's easy to see why some Trollblood players prefer the alternate battle box if they have a choice between the two. Lets take a look at the elements that make our standard battle box great and then at the end I'll bring everything together to explain why I think our battle box makes us better players

Troll Impaler

Our box comes with two sources of range, Rathrok and the Impaler spear. The animus it gives it better range, but that's not what makes this beast excel. I think, arguably so, that it is the workhorse of the entire battlegroup. The ability to crit smite EVERYTHING makes it a strong X Factor. With two of them in the battlegroup you shouldn't have any problems knocking everything down that stands in your way. The fact it also has reach ensures that even in melee its threat range needs to be respected despite its low P+S damage value.

Also, not that it needs to be said, but if your not boosting every ranged attack roll, you're doing it wrong!

Troll Axer

This is what I like to refer to as our light heavy warbeast in the context of the battle box. Granted, it's not going to kill a Behemoth in one round, but it can seriously cripple any beast with ARM 18 or lower. It's animi ensures that your opponent will have to pay attention once your within twelve inches regardless of what terrain stands in your way. With thresher and reach, you can always find ways to catch multiple models in melee and spread damage around on the charge. Used in conjunction with Madrak they can severely cripple a heavy, if not outright destroy it.

Madrak Ironhide

The best part of any battle box is always the Warcaster or Warlock. Sure, his feat falls short of being anywhere near helpful in battle box games, but what he lacks in a feat, he makes up for with his spells.

Sure Foot allows him to do a limited brick and ensures your opponent will be boosting most (if not all) of their attack rolls. Stranglehold gives you the ability to to limit the usefulness of any beast/caster/warlock that your Impalers don't knock down. Finally, Carnage gives you the MAT boost that should make hitting everything in melee that much easier.

Not to mention that against Hordes, warbeasts won't be charging Madrak thanks to his Talisman of Subdual. Couple that with his Scroll and its ability to ignore a single hit means you can live a dangerous life with Maddy and still be relatively safe.

The biggest advantage Madrak possesses is Critical Grievous Wounds. As long as he can actually hit his target, it ensures that it doesn't matter how much focus or fury you have on hand. The damage done by Rathrok is going to stick around for at least two turns and by that point, the enemy Warlock/Warcaster, should be dead.

Bringing Everything Together

So, the battle box has its fair share of short comings. Primarily being that we cant just charge head first into melee and alpha strike everything and hope to come out on top. No, we as troll players must play a much smarter game from turn 1 onward. Utilizing terrain, whether it be walls or hills, gives us a much larger advantage when you add in the defensive bonus from Sure Foot.

Its all about costing your opponent focus/fury. If they have to boost an attack roll here, there's a sacrifice being made elsewhere. That roughly translates into a spell or animi not being cast, or fewer attacks in melee.

Our battlegroup must be used together to be effective. The Impalers can smite heavies out of the way, knock them out of charge distance, or domino them into each other. Remember, if your opponent has to spend focus/fury to stand/shake, that's one less fury or focus they have to use against you. You have the Axer to help deal with any opposing light beasts/jacks using its animi to boost its threat range to twelve inches.

The way I use my box, is to always go for the assassination. With all of the pieces we get, its the strategy it can effectively pull off time and time again with very little problems. Unless you get incredibly lucky dice rolls, taking heavy beasts/jacks off the table could prove to be a fruitless endeavor. Considering it will most likely take two lights or a combination of Maddy and a light to have the best chance, its not a reliable strategy unless you have no other option open to you.

Since we cant rely on a single feat or spell to give us a distinct advantage, we have to learn to use what we do have to maximum efficiency. If you manage to take out a critical aspect/system, throw Rathrok to trigger crit grievous and ensure that model stays crippled. Use your animi wisely, Snipe on Madrak or the Impalers makes them better! Considering your going to need your battlegroup to carry you further means maximizing every bit of utility you can squeeze out every turn. If you manage to knock down a caster/warlock instead of taking an auto hit with Madrak charging in, opt for the boosted attack roll for a chance of triggering Rathroks critical effect.

As Troll players we pride ourselves on having some of the toughest (pun intended) models in the game. Most of the tips I've mentioned here will be "no brainer" tech, but for all you new players I hope it helps to shed some light on what your getting into when you select Trollbloods as a faction. Our battle box makes us better players because we don't get the "easy win" feat, spell list or beasts. We get to use effects and abilities to reposition our opponents models in places we need them to be, and that allows us to tear them apart model by model. We need to use the battlefield, model positioning and spells to make everything work together. This thinking also carries well over into our faction as a whole. We have units that survive through synergy with other units, more so than other factions and our battle box helps us to learn this lesson early. It may not be the easiest lesson or even the most fun to learn, but it will serve you better later on down the road.

As always, have a comment/question/suggestion? Leave it below! Agree or disagree with me? I want to hear it! Articles you'd like to see done here on the Scrum? Speak up! I can't write it if you don't tell me you want it!

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Till next time kin, Stay tough and remember...


  1. Nice write up Kro, the Madrak box is seriously underrated - I hope this insight can help calm newer troll players and stem the tide of negativity. I do think it's worth drawing attention to the fact that everything in the battle group has reach, which is something that along with careful positioning and movement players should learn to exploit, plus when the opportunity arises (in a Journeyman League for example) Madrak's feat, Crusher loves reach!

  2. As a new troll player, I appreciate the reassurance! haha

    Good read.

  3. Thanks guys! You are right Mabrothrax, I did forget to include reach as an aspect, hindsight and all haha.

    Glad you both enjoyed it!

  4. Nice points there,I agree with them all and putting some crit smites on most alpha stike pieces slows them down greatly

  5. I wouldn't necessarily consider that a benefit. More players means more competitive play means more quality releases.

    I'd hate to think that our box discouraging new players could be construed as a benefit.

  6. Nice write up. About to start a Journeyman League with the Battlebox and was worried about the BB only week. This makes me feel better. From what I've seen though, what Madrak lacks in his feat he makes up for in abilities and spells. I've survived some bad situations with him to come out the victor!

    1. Thanks for the compliment! Just remember to be patient and take your time when playing and you should do just fine!