21 July 2014

Trollblood Toolbox ~ Where To Start

Updated 07 July 2014  ~  See The Visual Companion by Celedor

The question on the Trollblood forums that is the most common is where to start and what to begin with when starting a Trollblood force.
There are many good choices in the Trollblood arsenal to choose from and picking the ones to begin with can be difficult. The first stop for any Trollblood player should be the Warpack; the Warpack has a few good things going for it. First of all it has some of the most solid Light Warbeasts available. Secondly is has a caster that helps showcase the way Trolls play and helps you begin to learn when and where to apply buffs. Finally, the cost is good, for what you get the cost is unbeatable.


Chief Madrak Ironhide ~ A solid caster with a very forgiving learning curve. He helps teach you to layer your buffing abilities and gives you a good feel for Trollblood playstyle. If you get in a jam, you don’t immediately lose the game, this is a good thing because when you’re new you make mistakes, not losing from those mistakes helps you learn.
Troll Impaler x2 ~ Quite possiby the best light warbeast in the game for a couple of reasons. Fantastic ranged attack, fantastic animus, decent in melee. He pretty much plays any way you want him to, this is great for a new Troll player and adds a good item to your ‘Toolbox’ as your army expands.
Troll Axer ~ Melee monster for a Light beast, hits hard, hits well, and hits multiple targets. His animus is good for extending a beasts movement. This guy won’t see every list you make, but he will be solid every time you bring him.

The next step in building your Trollblood force is to work on your’ Toolbox’. The ‘Trollblood Toolbox’ as defined by myself. Trollblood Toolbox ~ your most easily applied and widely useful abilities that affect the greatest majority of your models on the table or apply the best pressure where you need it. There are many good models with good abilities, but that doesn’t make them a toolbox model, a Toolbox model is one that brings things to the table that you can usefully apply anywhere its needed at any stage of the game. Most Toolboxes need four things: Damage Buff, Attack Buff, Defensive Buff, & Miscellaneous/Usage.

Below is a list of models that are ‘Toolbox Models’, YES, there are other GOOD choices, but in order to be Toolbox their application needs to be widely available. Any or all under each category will do.

Damage Buffing Models
Dire Troll Mauler, Melee ~ This Heavy Warbeast gets the job done for you. His animus is fantastic at increasing the melee or thrown damage output of any model in your army. On top of that he is an animal in melee with a good MAT, a solid Chain Attack, and very high Fury, not to mention two open fists giving him the option of the full range of power attacks.
Pyre Troll, Support ~ This light Warbeast is good for increasing the melee damage of any model in your army through use of his animus. With the added benefit of making that model immune to fire and have a chance to light what they hit on fire. With two open fists he can do the full range of power attacks available to light beasts. A very solid ranged AOE attack that lights anything on fire that it lands on, its only drawback being its short range.
Slag Troll, Range ~ The Slag Troll has the same melee damage buffing ability as the Pyre Troll but with corrosion instead of fire. Also boasting two open fists, his real strength outside his animus is his ranged attacks. Against any army that brings non-living models (i.e. Warjacks, Constructs, Undead) he gets additional dice.

Storm Troll, Range ~ Storm Troll gets mention here as a toolbox for his animus because autohitting electroleaps are pretty good for clearing infantry. Also put in his own ranged attack with it's boostable leaps and clearing is good. Top it off with the fact that Warjacks become disrupted if they hit him OR if he crits white hitting one in melee. This makes him good in many situations and golden in Speedmachine.

Elder Stone Scribe (Kriel Stone Bearer Unit Attachment), Support ~ This guy fits into many categories and is nearly the definition of a Toolbox model for a support model. One of his abilities lets you add STR to all models under the Kriel Stones Aura. Unlike the beasts above, he doesn’t give as much to a single model, but he gives a little to many models.
Rök ~ It's his animus 'Primal' that puts him up here. Rok brings one of the only hard MAT buffs we have for our beasts outside caster help. Throw in the STR buff as well and things start to look pretty awesome. Watch out for the Frenzy though.

Horgle Ironstrike, Support ~ Horgle gets mention here for his utility with Pyre Trolls and Slag Trolls for the sone reason that if you bring him with two of the aforementioned light beasts he can facilitate the casting of their animus FOUR TIMES per turn with ZERO draw on your Warlock. That alone makes him a toolbox model. Add in some situational spells and the ability to boost some good melee attacks with his Fury he gets the job done in melee when he has to. Keep him safe and life is good.

Attack Buffing Models
Fell Caller, Support ~ This solo is in fact our ‘Toolbox’ model. His Fell Calls add much to our warrior models abilities to move through rough terrain and hit better in melee. Perhaps his signature ability is his Fell Call to stand up everyone around him for free if they got knocked down. No slouch in melee himself, he is a weaponmaster with two attacks with decent speed he can typically get to his target first. On top of that he has a spray attack with good chances to hit. The Fell Caller is nearest thing Trolls have to an auto-include model.
Rök ~ See Above

Defensive Buffing Models
Stone Scribe Chronicler, Support ~ The chronicler adds much to our warrior models. He brings three stories to the table that affects our units. Two of them defensive in nature. The first increases our defense against anything that doesn’t ignore cover and makes them un-targetable at range if they roll tough and get knocked down. The next knocks down any warrior models that kill them in melee (this is probably the most used ability). The third story is more corner case, but useful at times, it gives additional attack and damage to our warrior models that go after something already engaged by a warbeast.
Swamp Gobbers, Support ~ These little guys make a cloud, our guys in the cloud get extra defense, our guys behind the cloud can’t be seen. Simple, cheap and effective. They are hard to hit directly, but quite vulnerable to AOE’s and collateral damage.
Kriel Stone Bearer, Support ~ Put some fury on him at the beginning of the game, spend one to make an aura that gives everyone in it a couple of extra ARM. With models that are easy to hit, our already decent ARM becomes quite good.
Earthborn Dire Troll, Melee ~ This heavy warbeast brings an interesting animus. If you play a lot of games without terrain (which you shouldn’t be doing) his animus is otherwise very solid. The animus, which is also a native ability on the Earthborn, gives you benefits for being within a couple of inches of certain kinds of terrain. Any rough terrain gives you a couple extra inches of movement, Structures/Rocks/Walls etc. will give you a couple of extra ARM, and water gives you a couple of extra DEF.  (NOTE: Grim Angus standing in a pond with this animus on him is fantastic.) Some complain about the terrain requirements, but a good player knows how to use this animus to great effect. Top that off with a very fast beast, that hits very hard against targets with high POW weapons and this beast is a killer.
Janissa Stonetide, Magic Support ~ Janissa has the standard AOE of all the Runeshapers but hits better than they do making her great if you need an AOE. She also adds an ability to Runeshapers that help with control if you need it, though Runeshapers are hardly needed to bring Janissa. If you find yourself with the need to clear some enemies out of your way, move them up into charge range of a beast or get just get them off your back Tremor is great. Where she really shines though is with rock wall. Instant defense buff giving your models cover and allowing you to really mess up your opponents charge lanes makes Janissa one fantastic toolbox model.

Miscellaneous Use
Champions, Melee ~ Champions with very little work have very high ARM and hit hard. Add in some of the above mentioned buffs and they are quite good at bringing axe to mouth. Each sporting a couple of weaponmaster attacks, with added ARM if they are in base to base with each other they are a hard hitting, hard to kill, multiple-wound unit of destruction. The trick is of course getting them to the action, which is accomplished by presenting your opponent with other targets… or speedbumps.

Warders, Melee, Attrition ~ Though they lack the offensive output of Champions, with reach and good armor these guys can are difficult for almost all opponents to clear from the board. They can help you grab a zone and hold it, especially when one of them dies and you have the Kriel Stone up or any number of our other toolbox model's abilities.
Pyg Burrowers, Melee ~ Sevwall’s Burrownomicon will tell you all you need to know about these guys. Suffice it to say, they are a prime target for many of our Toolbox Models.
Kriel Warriors, Speedbump ~ Bakaryu’s guide to these guys is a good place to go. They take the hits for you and clog up the field allowing you to deliver your killing solution unscathed.
Fenn Blades, Speedbump ~ Not as beefy or numerous as Kriels, they have more speed and reach to make up for it. They engage more models making it harder for your opponent to get to your other stuff.

Some would include others models in their toolbox depending on playstyle or preference, but most can agree on the above list of 'Toolbox' Models.

While you work on your toolbox add in some flavor. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is by adding a Warlock. While some warlocks work better with troopers like Grissel and others favor more beasts like epic Doomshaper, and yet others are more self-sufficient like Grim Angus, all our warlocks can benefit from the ‘Toolbox’.

Trollbloods have many other really good models to choose from and almost none of them are downright so bad you won’t want to bring them. Some of them that aren’t Toolbox models, are still by themselves quite good... amazing even. Pick the ones you like based on their looks, abilities or cost and you’ll like almost all of them. Really though, make sure to work on your toolbox so you can round out any army you decide to field with something that can fill the gaps for you.

Remember, toolbox models don't have to be in your arsenal but this Trollblood player (i.e. TheGreatBlah) recommends you bring at least one from each category in the games you play.   Happy hunting my fellow Trollbloods.   "Axe to Mouth Baby!"


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  4. I'm looking to start a warmahorde army in the next couple of weeks and have been flipping between Cygnar and Trollbloods. I found a really neat List build from the starter box up to 35 pts, escalating from the box to 15 pts, 25 pts, and then 35 pts. The guide starts you with the units from the box and decents tactics (I assume) for the units inside and gives you good add ideas for your escalating army with tactics for each tier. I haven't been able to find one for trollbloods that starts with the starter box units and builds from there and it would greatly help me decide which army to build first; though really I think I want to do trollbloods first but I feel like I have no idea what im doing, even after reading some tactics posts from here.


    1. Alright Andrew I can give you a bit of advice based on my own experience in a journeyman league. At box trolls have a fairly solid starting line. pMad is a great starter caster and steadfast is an amazingly useful buff and is generally something you should cast on him your first activation as it shuts down pKreoses feat and boosts your defense line across the board making you allot harder to deal with. At 15pts I would recommend investing a max unit of Stone Scribes and their attachment, this will again shut down the menoth army at 15 pts and make you again harder to deal with while giving you a tool to manage your fury (one of the hardest parts of playing trolls). At 25 pts you have your first difficult choice to make for the next 10 pts you could invest in one our wonderful unit options or you could buy yourself a heavy. Now personally I like the Dire Troll Bomber, nothing like throwing some AOEs down the field at your opponent; but the Earthborn is our go to killing machine. Additionally at 25 pts pMadraks feat will kick in as being a useful tool in clearing out your opponents units. I've eaten an entire unit of iron fang pikemen using the feat healing my bomber to full health. Now at 35 you've come to an interesting situation, depending on the rules of your league you could be allowed to run what ever you want or still be stuck running your battle box plus +25 points of other stuff. So lets make them count, at this point its a large manner of preference based on your own play style but running under the assumption that you are going to just add 10 more points of models onto the last list then go with a infantry unit and you've got loads of good choices for that. Everything from Nyss hunters to Fenn blades find what you like best and run with it (I personally like Fenn blades as nothing says I love you like a 13" threat range charge). Tactics is a long discussion and is honestly something that I feel is best picked up through experience (or you could read the articles in the tactics section, they are really useful).

  5. Hey, I am also trying to get started with Trollbloods, are there any other forgiving starter warlocks I can begin with for trolls?.

    I like Doomshaper, Grim Angus and Borka as well. WOuld you recommend any of them for a total beginner?

    Thank you in advance!

  6. the other Journeyman legal battle box is PDoomshaper a Dire Troll Mauler, a Pyre Troll and a Storm Troll. Pretty nice list, and PDoomshaper is a really good lock, not quite the "smash face" lock like Madrak is, but he has a lot more tricks and is very powerful in Tooth and Claw games

  7. Doomshaper1 can be strong if you are playing against Hordes, but he struggles against Warmachine AND he has very low DEF and ARM stats making his quite easy to kill if you aren't careful with him. Also, other than the battlebox, we have tried to leave Warlocks out of the toolbox discussion and leave it up to the player to choose what warlocks suit them. Though a quick breakdown of each caster might not be a bad idea.