01 December 2013

Never Surrender! For Kith and Kriel!

I like to believe I am decent at this game, not great, but I don't suck. However I do feel I have the bad habit of giving up before the battle is really over. Often I find that my games start with attrition in favour of my opponents. They alpha strike hard and remove pieces of my list I'd thought would be sticking around longer, which is silly, because this game is about trading models for either attrition, scenario, or position. It would be wrong to expect I wouldn't lose models.

My disdain for losing models can then put me in a salt induced nosedive where sometimes I give up prematurely. I don't stop playing, but my heart is obviously no longer put into the game. This is bad and is something I am working to identify and overcome. I am not the only player I have seen do this, and from experience a salty player can sometimes make the game less fun to play. I don't want to be that player, especially when I'm giving up before the game is even over. 

Trolls for all their weaknesses is not an easy faction to remove from the table. Even from a terrible scenario or attrition position a well played troll army can fight its way back. Trolls have a large number of models and effects that can work to bring on a come back. 

For one we have tough, and as much as I hate this rule it does aid trolls in attrition. Every time I roll that die its a gamble, and I hate that. I know that sounds weird coming from a guy playing a game driven by dice, but I don't feel the dice as much as I do when I'm rolling a tough check. The whole game can ride of a tough check on a simple 1 in 3 chance. I realise logically all games probably hinge on a similar fraction or statistic, but I don't find it nearly as transparent as when I'm rolling tough for Madrak or Grissel. Tough irritates me to no end, it can make and break the game, and I hate that the whole faction is balanced around it. I try to ignore it, but when its a core mechanic of your faction and you spend a large portion of the game rolling tough checks, it can be hard. 

In trolls we have some really great attrition feats, especially those belonging to p and eMadrak. Both have feats that can completely change the board state and both can do it with very little models. It always amazes me how much work so few models can do during these feats. pMadrak's feat should have been called Pacman, as that is pretty much how your models behave as they cut through your opponents army like Indiana Jones does through a jungle. pMadrak and Mulg alone can decimate a whole army during feat turn, and god forbid that the opponent leave a trail of breadcrumbs to their caster. I have yet to live that dream. 

I personally am a fan of eMadrak and am always amazed at the work he himself can get done. His feat is ball busting amazing, and combined with Rathrok's Awakening and Tide of Death Madrak can become Death incarnate. I love watching him eat an entire unit of Iron Fang Pikeman. It shocks me every time I pop his feat and watch the enemy army disappear. A few Fennblades here, a two warders there and maybe a little Blood Fury for seasoning and you have yourself a game changing feat. One of the reasons I love playing eMadrak is that whenever I start to feel tilted I just have to pop feat, and more often then not I feel a lot better.

One of my favourite things in this game are Warlocks and Warcasters that are hard to kill and I hate squishy casters that I have to worry about dying to stiff breeze, and man oh man is Trollbloods the right faction for me. Borka and the Madraks must be in the top 5 for Most Survivable Warcaster/Warlocks, and even warlocks like Doomie and Calandra are more durable then most, even with their old man stats. The krielstone alone provides more then most other factions do. Its a +2 ARM buff and can get rid of and prevent status effects, like continuous fire, which has a nasty habit of killing warlocks and warcasters. So when you take that with warlocks like the Madraks and Borka then your really having a party. Here take a look at how bullshit these guys really are:

  • Stumbling Drunk - Borka's companion the Keg Carrier can give him the rule stumbling drunk, which prevents him from being knocked down, and if he is hit by an attack he stumbles away three inches in a direction determined by a deviation template.
  • Unyielding - gains +2 ARM if engaged in combat
  • Iron Flesh - +3 DEF, but -1 SPD, this isn't for early game, but for when you know he is going to be attacked, so he doesn't need to move far
  • Wind Wall - Borka protects himself and any model completely within three inches of him from non-magical shooting, but protected models can also not shoot
Borka is incredibly hard to kill. With all these rule in effect and the in the Krielstone's aura Borka is ARM 21, DEF 17, may walk out of combat if you do mange to hit him, and can't be shot, except by magical guns. With all that he also has 3 fury to fall back on. This guy might be the harder model in the game to kill.

  • Scroll of Grindar's Perserverence - once per game before the damage has been rolled Madrak can negate the roll's outcome
  • Talisman of Subdual - beasts can not charge Madrak
  • Sure Foot - a spell that provides +2 DEF and steady to models within 3" of the model who the spell is cast on
Not quite as hardy as Borka, but has some solid defensive abilities. A once per game damage negation is pretty handy, and immunity to beast charges is pretty nice, and sure foot is a spell so good it can be the focus of a list build. 

  • Grim Salvation - if Madrak takes damage a friendly trollkin model within an inch of him is removed from play and Madrak suffers neither the damage or effects triggering on damage, however this rule is mandatory
In an eMadrak list each infantry model is an extra transfer and it may seem that using models as wounds may seem like a bad attrition choice, just remember all the work he alone can do and the effectiveness of his feat. eMadrak only needs a few choice warrior models and a few beasts to get work done. This rule can be extremely frustrating opponents to work around. Their is a rule people in my meta live by and that is "Don't try and kill Madrak".

With warlocks this hard to kill as this and with the ability to do work themselves really need to stop getting discouraged when attritition starts to go poorly. Even if most of my infantry is dead, my opponent still has to deal with my crazy hard to kill warlock, and hope they don't lose too many models trying. It isn't uncommon for them to commit their caster out of necessity, but fail to make the kill and then losing their own warlock/warcaster to a toughed Madrak or Borka.

I love models like Champions and Warders that are very hard to remove from the table and while they may seem out numbered, in a prolonged match, they can often out attrition most other infantry. Enemy models are like waves hitting ineffectually against the shore, except the shore has blunt instruments with which it beats the waves back into submission. This however can be slow and when I'm salty I sometimes don't realise that losing 3 Warders is acceptable, because his unit of 12 is going to break before my 5, its just going to take awhile. The trick is to remain calm, because what I am often told after a game is just how frustrating the same situation is for the opponent, and objectively they probably have more reason to be angry, since attrition will eventually favour me as a troll player. The trick is to be patient.

When I look at units like the Warders and Fennblades who actually receive benefits and buffs from being attacked, I start to see that this is how the faction is designed. This seems to indicate that trolls are designed to be on the receiving end of an alpha strike, rather then alpha striking ourselves. We are built to absorb the hit and strike back from a disadvantaged position. Thats why often during the early game when it looks like we are losing, however it is late game where we really shine. When both of us are on our last legs, troll models are just that much more durable and will probably outlast most opponents.

Trolls are the anvil upon which the hammer strikes, and that hammer will keep striking until it breaks. As trollblood players I think I have to learn to receive a lot of punishment before I can really see hope of victory. This means I have to be psychologically prepared to be on the losing end of attrition for most of the game. If I can manage to keep a cool head and an open mind, I will often start to see all the options left open to me and making moves towards that oh-so satisfying comeback. This isn't only true for trolls, if you do play another faction don't lose your head if your game is going bad, every faction is built with some way to come back from a few bad turns, you just need to stay cool and look for it. This is a problem I do struggle with sometimes, but I am working to fix that. For those of you out their who find they have the same trouble I hope this helps, but I feel the best way to overcome this is to accept it, and to just play through it. If we come up the other side we will all be stronger players for it.

If you guys have any questions, comments, or suggestions throw me an email here, drop a comment below or pm on the forums, otherwise have a good week and may all your dice roll tough.

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