The recent emergence of the Power of Dhunia theme (PoD) as the default way to play Trolls leads us to a bit of a problem. These beast heavy lists clear infantry well enough with the addition of a bomber, but they often lack a front line. They miss Fire Eaters, Mk2 Burrowers of even a Max unit of Fennblades to slow the enemy down. They also lack non blast infantry clear. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the bomber and play one in almost every list, but I know that blast immune mass infantry is a thing. Whether it’s Irusk2, Satyxis Raiders or a Ret gun-line clumped around a pair of Artificers, you need an answer, dear Troll player.
Troll where often described as having the best light beasts in the MK2 game. When we moved to Mk3, the elemental trolls were almost immediately dismissed with the exception of the pyre troll, who many troll players took begrudgingly with 2 units of fire eater. Before we begin, I want to make clear that I’d rather have a unit of Bushwackers or 2 units of fire eaters than the options we’re going to discuss, but the benefits of the PoD theme are too great so we need to work with what we have.
The Swamp troll is the cheapest boostable gun in Trolls. A steal at 8 points he is a flexible piece that might surprise you in the number of ways he can be useful on any given turn. Firstly there is that gun, rat 6 is excellent. It also has critical consume and drag. Obviously he offers potential solo removal which is something that a beast heavy army can often struggle with, but in certain situations he can pull a unit leader out of formation and at POW 10 there is a good chance they survive. Good key solo choices involve Alexia or Ragman require models to be relatively nearby if they want to stay alive a clever player will keep Alexia out of 13inches but a Ragman so far back is basically a useless Ragman so that’s a win/win situation. What the Alexia player might not know or remember, however is that the swamp troll can charge a model 8.5 inches away and still use its gun due to dual attack. Suddenly we have a threat of potentially 16 inches or 18 inches with rush. Don’t just think this applies to small bases. Pulling a Krea or Artificer in so you can kill it with the swamp or another model’s melee attacks might open up the rest of the attacks in a shooting list.
The swamp troll also works as a great jam piece. Send it against living infantry and use that animus. Def 14, arm 18 with 22 boxes can be surprisingly difficult for most infantry to deal with. The main issue is that if he charges and uses his animus that’s all 3 fury so no boosted gun or melee attacks. That said we have a variety of casters that help this: A free animus from Doomy3 under mini feat + Boosted attacks under regular feat plus he isn’t dying on their turn unless they have grievous wounds. Doomy2 gives him a free charge under feat and he could be a fun first turn target for wild aggression. Doomy1 could give him fortune. A caster like Calandra could make him utterly ridiculous. Def 16 against living models with dodge and star crossed. Against Horde heavy spam I still found a great use for humble swamp troll. Use him as a speed bump. Most warbeasts are Mat 6 and as already mentioned a Def 14, Arm 18 22 box light isn’t trivially removed. Whatever they send in will have to be pretty substantial and that’s going to die the next turn.
More often that not when you send in a swamp troll vs living troops it will still be around the next turn and thanks to snacking if it lasts a turn it might still be there 3 of 4 turns later and this is a really good thing, because the final thing that the swamp troll brings is assassination threat. Usually not on his own, it can be difficult to see all the pull angles, especially when you consider he can charge a model 10.5 inches away and then pull a model in 8 inches or 12 with Grim2 or Gunnbjorn. He also has native pathfinder so walking into a forest and pulling a model behind it into base to base is absolutely an option. Once there you can send in a heavy or spray them down with Grissel2, to give two examples of assassinations I’ve had work in the last few months.
Stormzy (As he is known in North London) has become a bit of a recent favourite light troll to act as a speed bump or infantry jam. The caveat before we start is that there is a very decent chance you’ll come up against an entirely lightning immune Cygnar force at some point and then his value is almost zero. He could make you immune to lightning damage, but if we’re honest that’s most going to hit you in the form of electro leaps and pow 10’s rarely trouble troll casters as even Calandra is armour 16 under stone. The Hurricane is coming however and Pow 16 boostable guns could cause a problem, which the animus could help against.
So what does the Storm troll bring to your PoD list. Firstly we have the gun, Range 10 and leaps 3 times. It provides boostable spot removal and not just that, but it can get rid of stealthed solos by leaping your shot off a nearby model. Remember as well that the leaps aren’t considered attacks and so can get around a variety of defensive tech. There are way too many ways to abuse electro leaps and lightning generator, can I suggest talking to your local Cygnar player if you’re looking for inspiration. As a further note, Whelps make great targets to leap off, yes they die, but it’s a small price to pay to kill a key solo.
The Storm troll can also just be sent into a group of infantry to jam yet again. Stick the animus on him and charge or walk him in and you can get 2-8 dead, you do need to factor in his low mat of 5, but it’s certainly an option against low arm troops and ideally you should be relying on his gun to get the initial work done as that wills 2-4 every turn based on one shot.
As a speedbump the perfect situation is to charge a heavy, boost to hit both initials fishing for a critical and disrupting it while you approach. The opponent is then essentially playing a model down for a turn. If that good situation doesn’t occur he can just walk 5 into charge range and shoot something. Electro leap often means you’re picking off key support staff with the gun so it’s value. When they charge the storm troll, your opponent has to deal with being pushed back after every hit. If you place it the correct distance away most heavies will only get 1 hit on it before being pushed out of melee range, the key here is to know your opponents threat range and be just inside it so they don’t end up base to base with you. Placing yourself behind a convenient wall can also help you achieve this.
Both beasts have definite strengths and weaknesses, yes they’d be a lot better at MAT6 and neither of them is likely to kill a heavy even with Rage, but they are also both cheap and they are both incredibly flexible. It’s unlikely they will ever be in a matchup where they have nothing to offer. They definitely won’t always kill 8 or 9 points worth of models, but their flexibility will hopefully allow the rest of your force to trade up in heavy trades, hold zones, jam units allowing your heavies to start the piece trade, kill key solos or set up an assassination.
I’ve included below the 2 lists I’m currently running as examples of where you can fit these light beasts in You are sacrificing the chance to run 5 heavies, but often I feel that is overkill and 4 heavies works just as well.. Note that both lists have an Armory as I still can’t work out which is my Menoth drop. Fuel Cache would be strong with the double shamans on scenarios like Recon
Grissel 2 (Power of Dhunia)
- Mountain King
Min Krielstone + UA
Doomy 1 (Power of Dhunia)
Max Krielstone + UA