Boaty McBoatface 4

 

Oh Sea King, you were never going to have an easy time being accepted even if you were super strong. Troll players crave more heavies like no other faction, due to the surprising status of having less than any other faction. (Until Grymkin come out, at least) So even if the Sea King was immediately obviously strong, Troll players would still have been vexed. Why not give us Ragnor’s Character heavy instead? Why have Trolls not had a new non character heavy since the Bomber at the start of MK2? On top of this the model is monetarily one of the most expensive models PP have ever made in a Troll faction that is already more expensive than almost all the rest. Add on top of that the fact that it’s competing with one of the best Gargantuans in the game, The Mountain king, which comes with the animus, that feels more and more like a must have Troll Beast Tax in Mk3 and the initial response to the SK (Sea King) has been, meh.

Which is a shame, because not only is the model beautiful, but it brings a lot of interesting tools to the faction. People are inevitably going to ask, “What list can I build with the Sea King” and ninety percent of the time the answer will be, a worse one than the same list with the Mountain King. The main issue is that the Sea King is not like other models in Trolls. It’s a lot like the Storm Raptor in that it’s easy to look at it and dismiss it, without playing it. If the last year has taught me anything it’s that Warmachine and Hordes players are terrible at judging how good a model will be by looking at the stats and abilities. Time and time again they claim things are terrible or amazing without playing them and there is some hope that, that is the case here.

So, what does the Sea King do that is new or different?

Firstly the Sea King hits harder than any other model in Trolls. Base P0W 20 means you could even consider running without a Mauler as POW 21 would be enough in a lot of lists. The main issue there would be that all of your other beasts would be hitting at mediocre POW 16s and so if you went without Rage you’d probably be looking at an Infantry heavy list. Another idea would be to maximize his output. With Ragnor, Rage and Stone aura he goes up to POW 26, which is literally the hardest any troll model can hit in MK3.

Secondly we have that enormous threat range. With literally no help it can charge12 inches with in built pathfinder. The beauty of course is that you could give it rush and due to the previously mentioned high POW you would expect it to kill a heavy with nothing except the stone aura from 14 inches away. That’s a pretty big deal in trolls. On top of this you could put him with Doomy2 and watch him threaten 17 inches and still kill whatever he gets to. I certainly can’t think of another model that is so destructive in melee from so far away in Trolls. Maybe in any faction in the game, why it’s particularly interesting in Trolls is that we have so many denial feats. If you stick the Sea King with a caster like Doomy3 or Ragnor then you can send him in and then know he’ll still be there the next turn.

Next up we have that gun. If we’re honest this is one of those most frustrating things about him. Expensive large models needs to be able to sit back and do work with their gun before they engage in melee. In the crossover to MK3 we were told by PP that Far Strike would become a self only animus to allow them to extend Troll gun ranges. Sadly we got two extra inches on one of the War Wagon’s guns and three light beasts. It could be argued this is one of the big things holding many of our models back. I’d certainly be more likely to consider a Glacier King with Range 14. Seeing the Sea King’s gun at Range 8 feels again like a bit of a slap in the face. It’s a bit of a shame as well, because that gun is so close to being exactly what we wanted. The SK’s gun is good at killing mass infantry and helps us in troop heavy matchups. It’s just when you are 8 inches away that can be problematic as previously said, if you lose the SK on turn 2 or 3 that is absolutely the end of your game. The SK’s gun is legit with our two snipe casters, so at least there is that. It’s also great even when you’re not in range and the bounce is likely to get something with its limited bounce mechanic.

Finally we have the Animus, this is by far one of the most interesting parts of his card. This is the first offensive nuke animus in the Trolls and people overlook that when they look at him. We can now create water anywhere we want and suddenly we are looking at the Earthborn at DEF14. It’s certainly interesting, but it needs to be put on the table to see if it’s actually any good. On top of that the SK can shoot and use his ranged animus in the same turn, plus your caster could in theory throw that animus out 2, 3 or even 4 times. Yes it needs to hit, but we have whelps for that and suddenly you’re staring at actual board control and denial. Obviously it’s less useful as denial if they have easy access to pathfinder, but it still has potential.

On top of that it’s another control effect as moves people and so in theory it’s another threat extender. Hell your opponent might be scared of your Sea King one rounding two heavies in a turn so spaces them far enough apart so as to be safe. You run a whelp next to one of their heavies and use your caster to pull it in. It’s essentially a drag of between 2-2.75 inches depending on the model hit and can be like a mini Hellmouth. Imagine if we ever got an Arc node or a caster that could channel through models. The only real downside to it is the range of eight and in a faction with shaman cloud walls and midline casters maybe that isn’t such a big problem. In this game of pre-measuring when you’re staring at a beast that is one inch out of your threat range suddenly you can run a whelp to 2.7 inches in front of their heavy advance the Sea King to eight inches away from the whelp, shoot it and suddenly that beast is their to be devoured by another one of your beasts. Is that good? Absolutely! Is it worth 42 points, we don’t know until we’ve tried it!

That’s really the point of all of this. I don’t know how good the mini Hellmouth animus is on the table. I don’t know how hard to kill 14/20 Earthborns are to the majority of the field. It all sounds good, but maybe not worth the points, but honestly we all suck at evaluating models on paper anyway. So with that said, I submit to you a few lists you might want to try. Some of you own a Sea King already, some of you want to proxy one and just want lists to try.

Lists

Calandra (Power of Dhunia)

  • Sea King
  • Earthborn
  • Earthborn
  • Mauler

Min KS + UA
Janissa
Shaman (Free)
Shaman (Free)
Whelps (free)

With this first list I get annoyed at the way the points work out. It’s two points down, but I really feel Janissa has more value than the knot as Calandra can already dice fix and Janissa helps low model count armies unjam. The list will have a 16/20 Earthborn up front under Star Crossed. I generally wonder if it’s possible to kill that.

Calandra (Power of Dhunia)

  • Sea King
  • Mountain King
  • Earthborn

Min Krielstone + UA
Shaman (free)
Shaman (free)
Janissa (free)

This list seems interesting to me again. A double colossal list with both having control with a potentially un-killable Earthborn to lead the way.

Calandra (Power of Dhunia)

  • Sea King
  • Earthborn
  • Earthborn
  • Earthborn
  • Mauler

Shaman (free)
Shaman (free)
Janissa (free)
Whelps (free)

A Lot of people nowadays ask for a list without a stone. As a warning, I’m not sure how good this is, but it’s the only melee brick I’d consider without a stone. One of those Earthborns will be 16/18 or 16/20 if you can find a building or wall. It’s also got 16 free points. Maybe it’s good!

Gunnbjorn (power of Dhunia)

  • Sea King
  • Bomber
  • Mauler
  • Earthborn

Max Krielstone + UA
Janissa (free)
Whelps (free)
Shaman (Free)

Wall and water means a 14/22 Earthborn which seems interesting. You can also snipe the Sea King so that it’s range twelve, which is one of his bigger issues. This list doesn’t want to see blast immune troops but otherwise it seems fine.

Conclusion

So basically, that’s it. The Sea King is at least worth proxying a few times to see his value. He may be good or he may not, but he does things that we can’t do it other parts of the faction and he certainly feels fresh like a sea breeze.  I see a lot of people count him off and a lot of that is to do with how amazing the Mountain King is, but creating water, moving models and the longest melee charge in trolls are all tools that might just be super effective.

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