21 December 2013

Fennblades Tactica: Or How I Learned to Love the Alpha Strike

Or How I Learned to Love the Alpha Strike
by GreenJello 

Fennblades with their unit attachment are one of the best alpha strike units in the game. So good that I often refer to them as Trolls other cavalry unit.

Battlefield Role
Fennblades have a couple of roles in a Trolls army.

Screening Unit/Tarpit
Fennblades with their reach, okay defensive stats, Set Defense, Tough, and average cost are one of the better tarpits, screen units in the game. If you want an idea of how best to utilize them as such, I strongly recommend reading Opening Strategy: Parting the Red Sea

Alpha Strike
The base unit with it's SPD 6, Reach, and Vengence has a threat range of 13". Add on the unit attachment for another 2" to 15", and then finally Borka's feat to get them to an amazing 17" threat range. This will out threat most of the Cavalry units in the game.

Run to Engage
With Reach, decent Speed, Tough, medium bases, and average cost, Fennblades can be a key part of getting our melee units stuck in by running to engage ranged units.

Solo Sniper
Open up your opponent's front line, and then have a few Fenns rocket past them into the juicy support solos in the back.

Fennblades have relatively average troll stats. -1 ARM vs Kriel Warriors, +1 SPD, STR, and MAT.

Allows them to move 3" and make one melee during maintenance when one dies. Does not work when knocked down by tough. A lotof people forget about this, I recommend putting the first dead Fenn directly in front of you as a reminder.

Vengeance increases threat range, and allows them to reposition out of activation.

No damage or effects from Impact attacks (good for screening) or Collateral Damage.

Hooked Great Sword
Above average POW for infantry weapon, and reach. Fun Fact, during mk I Fennblades were an anti-cavalry unit, and the hook is based on historical polearms used to pull mounted men from horses.

Unit Attachment
The Fennblades unit attachment takes the unit from a decent to outstanding unit, largely due to the officer's feat. Players arestrongly advised to bring the UA when fielding Fennblades.

This guy is target number uno for most armies unit he uses his mini feat. Against ranged opponents try to keep him in the back, behind some bodies.

No Quarter
This is the money. It extends the threat range of the Fenns, grants Pathfinder, makes them fearless, and terror causing. Usually best used turn two, it's the reason why Fenns are one of the best units in the game.

Set Defense
Great ability on a unit that's often used as a screen, this boosts the Fenns defense when they get charged (or more likely counter charged).

The drummer's main addition is increased command distance, which allows the Fenns to spread out. I try to make sure to deploy him, the Officer, and the Leader all within 3", so that if the Officer is picked off, I don't have a lot of models out of formation.

Most of our Warlocks can get use from the Fennblades, since they're largely self supporting. I'm just going to list warlocks with a special synergy with them.

Grim's DEF lower feat and spells coupled with the Fell Caller can boost the Fennblades to a remarkable MAT13, allowing high DEF units, like the Winter Guard Infantry deathstar to be dealt with.

Fenn can make excellent sources for Mark the Target on his feat. Mirage will boost their movement by 2" each turn, making them super fast with him, or allowing them to get out of melee during maintenance. Mortality can reduce unbuffed heavies to killable range for the Fenns.

Grissel loves infantry, and Fennblades can really sing under her (get it, get it, nudge nudge  ). First, her feat/Cacophony can give them a small boost to survivability, by preventing enemy charges. Second, her feat/Heroic Ballad can allow them to take an additional attack. Finally Hoof It can get them down field far quicker, or allow slower infantry units to keep up. It can also be used to gain a second alpha strike by moving some of the Fenns out of combat, while leaving a few models still engaged, or moving a couple of Fenns to screen the majority of the unit. Rift can also be used to get them the alpha strike, since the officer's mini-feat ignores rough terrain. Finally Calamity can fix high DEF models, or allow them to take down a heavy.

Not as much synergy as her first form, there's still some combos. First, Cresendo/Sonic Erruption can be used to remove engaging enemy models. Cresendo can also be used to partially screen them. Second, Dash gives +1" and the ability to run through enemy lines. Finally Quake can be combined with Fenns for an assassination (Drop and Pop).

Banishing Ward can keep enemy upkeeps off them, and Fortune can help them hit high DEF models/units.

Can provide a screening unit to Refuge beasts or Doomshaper behind.

Make good use of his feat, between reach, and decent melee abilities. Carnage and Fell Caller can up their MAT to 10. Sure Foot can make the DEF14/16 vs Charges.

Also make excellent use of his feat. One tactic is to run them into melee, then feat, effectively threshing everything in melee range. His tier list also allows for a free UA, outside of the field allowance, allowing you to take two. Decent target for Blood Fury.

Jarl can really make the Fennblades into a nightmare unit to counter. His feat allows them to run through other units, or be run through themselves. Quicken or Tactical Supremacy increases their speed. The +2 DEF from Quicken gives them a nice boost against ranged attacks.

Feat gives them 2" additional charge range. Mosh Pit can allow them to knock things down. Iron Flesh'ed Fennblades combined with Set Defence takes them to a very nasty DEF17 vs charge attacks. The Chronicler's Tale of Mists can boost this another +1. Finally Wind Wall can help them survive against ranged attacks.

Fell Caller
Fell Caller is great with most of our melee units, and the Fennblades are no exception. While they won't get much use from his Overcome, Reveille and Warcry fix knock down, and MAT 6 respectively.

Screening using Fennblades will allow these units to get down field relatively unmolested, and potentially make an alpha strike.

Stone Scribe Chronicler
Charge of the Trolls is awesome on a unit that already has Reach and POW12, allowing them to easily drop a heavy.
Hero's Tragedy is great for a unit that's likely to take a charge attack, or counter charge.
Tale of Mist can help on that critical second/third turn when they're most likely to be shot.

Fennblade Kithkar
An awesome melee solo in his own right, Tactician[Fennblade] can help the Fenns be allowing them to charge through their own models. This is a very nice ability when you're under the gun in a tournament, and don't want to worry about a bunch of fiddly interactions between models and bases.

As a front line unit, Fenns are one of the most like targets for a spell like Crippling Grasp, and since they spread out, more like to survive the follow up attacks from your opponent.

Fennblades Vs Kriel Warriors
One of the perennial questions on the Trolls Forums is which is better to take. In a nut shell both are pretty good, with strengths and weaknesses on both sides, and they both fill similar roles of front line screening units.

For most new players the answer is often Fennblades, purely from an price stand point. A full unit of Fennblades + unit attachment is $72, while a full unit of Kriel Warriors + unit attachment + 3x Caber Tosser weapon attachments is nearly double that for $140 dollar. (Kriel Warriors being metal with 3 weapon attachments put them over the edge).

Advantages of Fennblades over the Kriel Warriors on the table top are: Much larger threat ranges, reach, and +3" command. Kriels are a bit more defensive, with +1 ARM, Steady, and the excellent Caber Tosser, which adds Reach and POW15+.

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