As evidenced by my seeming inability to adhere to a studio paint scheme and insistence on devoting my time and energy to unloved theme forces, I often find myself opting to do things in ways common sense and conventional wisdom might deem ill-advised or otherwise atypical. This is the kind of mindset I had when I first started playing Trollbloods. I looked into the warlocks available at the time, I heard the forums and higher tier players espousing the strength of the Troll Brick, and thanks to my inherent contrariness, I kid you not, I ended up with over 150pts of Trollbloods before I purchased a Krielstone.
This was back in MkI Hordes days, before my first Templecon, and Grim Angus was my warlock of choice because more than any other warlock available at the time, he was built to play away from the brick. With his feat and the bonus effects provided by Headhunter, he could play with his forces spread out more, mobility and versatility trumping the stock standard resilience of the renowned krielstone-reinforced mob. My first heavy warbeast? A Blitzer. My first unit? Pyg Bushwhackers. My first solo? Alright, a Fell Caller’s still a melee beast, but heck, he has a spray ranged attack as well.
Thus it’s from day one that my interest in the Trollbloods and their potential gunline, which, let’s be honest, didn’t really exist to any real extent for some time.
Then we roll into the modern era of Trollkin shooter. Gunnbjorn, Sluggers, and a unit attachment for the Scattergunners. The Dire Troll Bomber became a force to be reckoned with. We get the gunslinging Jarl Skuld. The brick is still reinforced with the likes of the Warders, but now we have Will Schick teasing us with the metal masters for what he refers to as bandits on The Twitters, though there’s speculation as to whether that’s the unit name, or whether they’re actually the Highwaymen referred to in Grim2’s theme force.
Consider also that three out of the six heavy warbeasts have a ranged attack. Of the nine lights? The Bouncer, Axer and Night Trolls are the only ones that can’t shoot. Consider also, that within that group of six shooting light warbeasts we have Fire, Corrosion, Stationary, Disruption, Slam and Drag effects… oh, and one can provide Snipe too.
All of this has me thinking back to the fine art of building the Trollkin shooty list. Sure, it’s not the standard build, sure, it may not be as reliable, but remember that time I popped Testament off the table with a War Wagon while it was surrounded by angry Menites? Because I do, and it was a source of much amusement.
Were I not currently locked into working on The Invisible Army, dipping my toes in the Khadoran end of the pool for the first time, I’d be casting my gaze back towards lists like Captain Gunnbjorn’s theme force, The Big Bang.
Allowed? Any non-character beasts with ranged weapons, and the Troll Bouncer as a safety measure. Any and all units with ranged weapons, any and all solos with ranged weapons, and Whelps. Sadly, no War Wagon.
Benefits? 8pt Blitzers, 9pt Bombers. Bring units, get Trenches. Bring Thumper Crews, Advance Deploy them right into those trenches. Load up on those cheaper ranged heavies, your entire battlegroup gets +2 SPD on the first turn to help you get them into those defensive trenches too.
The theme force just falls together like something that was meant to be, especially since the two Thumper Crews you need to hit tier 3 can also satisfy the need for two units at tier 2. In other words, you can hit tier 4 at 25pts by bringing three Blitzers and two Thumper Crews. Granted, you’re not bringing any of the light warbeasts, but you’re still getting 3d3 POW13’s out of the three Blitzers with boosted attack rolls thanks to Guided Fire. It’s not ideal, but it’s entirely doable. Anything beyond 25pts and you get to splash in Burrowers and Bushwhackers. You get to decorate with Sluggers, Scattergunners and Scouts. A garnish of Fell Callers, including the Sons of Bragg, is also on the menu along with those lights and Bombers.
With more gunslinging trollbloods on the way I think it’s fair to say that the Trollblood brick paradigm is changing, evolving into a beautiful flower of shooty death… and I’m really really tempted to get back into the Kriels.