10 November 2013

Musing on MoM's Armour Spam

On the latest Muse on Minis podcast episode 122 Chad Shonkwiler, American WTC participant and Trollbloods purist, explores the concept of an almost entirely ARM 21 list. Here is the 50pt list he and the other members of the Muse Crew put together:

pMadrak or eGrissel
Max Krielstone + UA
Max Warders
Max Warders

For those of you who haven't listened to the podcast (which I recommend you do) the basic concept of the list is to present so much ARM 21 that the opponent can't chew through it all. Lots of lists have dedicated ARM crackers, but when your entire list is built of ARM 21 is one or two dedicated units/models enough? Most of the time the answer is no. Eventually they will trade their ARM cracker away and then they will be left with no answer to what you have left. Let's look at the models they have included to make the list work.

You may have noticed that their are some pretty obvious inclusions in this list: Warders, Mulg, Krielstone, Earthborn, and Janissa. They are all obviously chosen to skew towards a high ARM stat and they all do work outside just having high armour. Some have high damage output (Warders, Mulg) and others further skew the lists ARM (Earthborn and Janissa), but what does the Bouncer add to this list. Being ARM 21 is not enough, it has to provide more to keep it from being dead points. So what could this maligned beast do?

  1. Shield Guard - keeps your models safe from ranged attacks, with the coming release of Eiryss3 his stock is going up
  2. Brace for Impact - reduces the slam distance by 3 inches, if slammed 0 inches it does not become knocked down, and collateral damage does not knock this model down. Great for scenario at ARM 21 and hard to slam out of zones it will stick around a lot longer then your enemy will want
  3. Chain Weapon - ignores ARM provided by shields and the shield wall order, it's situationally good, but I see a lot of Iron Fangs in my meta and love this trait
  4. Bump - pushes away the first model to make a melee attack against a model with Bump cast on it, while it can be played around it does make it more difficult to plan a turn around killing an ARM 21 list
  5. Reach - always nice to have and on a POW 13 boostable attack it's not bad
The Bouncer is a scenario piece. It will sit on an objective or in a zone and the enemy is going to have to over commit to remove this 5 point model. This is good news for us since it will mean they aren't killing our business pieces. 

You will notice that the list has two casters, pMadrak and eGrissel. During their discussion these are the two warlocks that Chad and the Muse Crew were considering for leading this list. 
  • pMadrak has carnage a spell increasing the MAT of models in pMadrak's control area by 2. Along with his feat which gives Overtake and additional attacks for killing a model, to models in his control area pMadrak allows this very tough list to chew through infantry. He also solves the problem with high defense models, but also fixes the Bouncer's MAT 5.
  • eGrissel can use her feat to give models in her control area Hyper Aggressive, when a model takes damage it advances directly towards the model that made the attack, and Unyielding, and additional 2 ARM while in melee. She also has the spell Dash, which gives models in her control area plus 1 SPD and ignore free strikes. She allows the list to get up the board and properly contesting scenario, she also further skews the list's ARM stat with her feat.
Between these two casters we see two different approaches to what this list wants to do. pMadrak fixes its MAT problem, and can crush infantry spam lists. eGrissel plays to scenario by getting models in zones and making it very difficult for the enemy to score and prevent her army from scoring. Both these strategies look like they'd would be very effective on the table and I'm keen to try them out. However when I was listening to the podcast I couldn't help, but feel they were missing another option for amongst our warlocks. That warlock would be pGrim.

I think pGrim would be an excellent warlock to lead this ARM 21 monstrosity. pGrim helps the list in very similar ways that both pMadrak and eGrissel do separately. His feat decreases the DEF and SPD of enemy models by 3 and prevents them from making special attacks. This helps his army hit enemy models, and rather then speeding his army up, he hinders the enemy army from moving as far forward. This allows him to draw the line of engagement closer to the enemy's side of the board and even keep them from getting in the zone. His spells are pretty toolbox allowing his army to ignore forests (cross-country), from moving as they please (lock the target), and outside feat help his models hit as well as stop stealth and incorporeal (marked for death). He even has the tools to deal with a match up Chad points out as being a weakness for this list, pDenny. For a pDenny (pDeneghra) match up the list does need a few tweaks.

War Wagon
Sorcerer/Gobber Tinkerer
Max Krielstone + UA
Max Warders
Max Warders

So you as you can see I've ditched the Earthborn and Janissa package in place of a War Wagon, Thrullg, and either a Sorcerer or Gobber Tinkerer. The reason for this is in this list I don't think that the extra 2 ARM is needed, it's nice, but not necessary. The wall and the other utilities that the Earthborn's animus provides will be missed, but I think that pGrim can work using his own toolbox. The purpose of the War Wagon is that it provides another gun to the list, still remains an ARM 21 model, and a huge base to hide Grim behind. The Thrullg is often ignored, because he's a poor man's Eiryss, but I think in this list he has a place. He hides behind the lines and will be used to knock off any enemy upkeeps, with such high armour we also don't need to worry about him killing or damaging anything. It does have some other shenanigans, but I don't think he'll be used for those very often. The Sorcerer and the Gobber Tinkerer are both good options for the list. The Sorcerer is another form of debuff management, but is less effective then the Thrullg. He does have some late game potential, but mostly would be brought to deal with debuffs. The Gobber Tinkerer is another one point filler, but can help keep the War Wagon up and running. At 22 boxes and ARM 21 it may survive a committed attack, and the Gobber Tinkerer can be there to help keep it on its feet. The one point option is really about personal preference, and I can see Swamp Gobbers or a Feralgeist as good alternatives.

In the occurrence of a pDenny match up I think pGrim has a game, at least better then most lists. It is still uphill, but I feel pGrim has more options against pDenny then most. With his 13" POW 13 magical gun, a -3 DEF feat, and Marked For Death, Grim is a threat and makes his army one too. With the aid of Thrullg and a Sorcerer he has some way to deal with Denny's debuffs. Grim and his army also answers a lot of the different units Denny likes to bring, pirates, Nyss Hunters, Croes Cutthroats, and Banes. The War Wagon's gun can be used to clear a lot of that high DEF low ARM infantry and if it gets lucky even knock some down, Grim's feat really helps with hitting as well. With line breaker on a huge base the War Wagon can also clear infantry in melee pretty well, it sounds nicer then then it normally is, but the option is available. Also being able to charge, impact attack, shoot a 5" AOE, and an spray 8" all on one turn can be pretty devastating, especially on feat turn. The War Wagon also is unaffected by Croe's poison, so that can be situationally handy, it also means if Croes are in the list it won't necessarily die in one turn. Everything also being ARM 21 remains to be a pain, especially after feat turn when only a few can actually suffer debuffs. pDenny is still definitely a threat, but I feel pGrim still has some good answers.

I am really keen to try this list in both iterations and with all three casters, but I do feel pGrim really provides more for the list then either eGrissel or pMadrak. Chad's idea really caught my imagination and I can't thank him and the Muse Crew enough for all the stuff they do for the online community. I can only hope that his idea can reach other troll players, and inspire them as much as it did me.

Thanks for reading,
Crash West

Any questions or comments you can reach me here


  1. Another excellent and thought provoking post on what is becoming one of my all time favourite sites!
    I have to second your praise of MoM, I have only just gotten into Hordes let alone Hordes podcasts so I struggle with some of the terminology but it is great fun and very interesting indeed.

    You have added to my thinking (which I freely admit is sadly limited) and I thank you for it! If you ever test out one of these Troll lists I would be very keen to hear how you got on :)

  2. I like Chad's list and I may try it with Madrak first. While I like Grissel2 a lot, I like the offensive potential with Madrak and the combined DEF buff/ARM buff of Madrak makes it a little more survivable then Grissel on FEAT, in my view.

  3. Funnily enough, I was just putting a similar article together! Beat me to it. My own pMadrak list has this theme already, and I've included the bouncer in it to great effect. Unit #2 of Warders is on the way and I'm definitely going for a second bouncer (i like them regardless)

    Rather than go on about it here, keep an eye out for my pMadrak vs the World part 2 post in a few days.