The Other Theme

Anyone who has read my blog posts can tell that I’m a big fan of the PoD theme. In fact I generally run every list in this as I feel it helps us fuel the stone and thus fixes one of the major issues I personally see in Troll lists. Then you look at the Meta as it currently stands and admittedly it will be different for all of you, but I a lot of lists that really don’t want to see infantry with takedown. The question then is:

“Is Band of Heroes good enough if played into the perfect Meta?”

The first response from some of you will be that Band of Brothers is amazing anyway and you’ve been running infantry heavy lists with Madrak 2 or Borka. You’re welcome to that opinion, but I respectfully disagree. This is the very reason I haven’t been playing the theme before. I used Madrak 2 pre nerf and he was fine, but certainly not Meta dominating once people understood his limitations. We now play in a world where everyone understands how to play against Madrak 2 so a worse version with a limited feat simply doesn’t cut it. I had resigned to the idea that Band of Heroes was unplayable at the moment.

I was pretty happy with this assessment until I saw a list on the Facebook group that blew my mind:

Gunnbjorn (Band of Heroes)
– Mountain King
– Dozer and Smig
– Blitzer
Max Fennblades + UA
Fell Caller Hero
Min Stone

So what’s interesting about the list? Firstly you might note that it’s two points down. I’d probably consider swapping the Blitzer for an Earthborn and giving the stone a UA, but that’s not hugely important. What interested me was that this list doesn’t even attempt to get a single free point. It plays in theme and yet shuns any and all free solos.   The theory appears to be that a unit of Fennblades with Take down and +2 inches of extra deployment for your entire army is worth all the benefits you’d get in Power of Dhunia.

Well let’s take a look at what Gunnbjorn would look like in PoD. Jason Flanzer’s list is probably the most ubiquitous.

Gunnbjorn (Power of Dhunia)
– Mountain King
– Dozer and Smig
– Bomber
– Earthborn
Janissa (free)
Shaman (free)
Shaman (free)
Min Stone + UA
Dhunian Knot

Once you swap the Blitzer for the Earthborn and Max stone you suddenly realise that both lists are pretty similar and we can compare what you give up: Bomber, 2 Shamans, Janissa and Dhunian Knot compared to Max Fennblades + UA and Fell Caller Hero. That’s twelve points and obviously it stings to be down that many points and without knowing the meta, I’d calling you mad for considering it, but these are 12 Fennblades with Take Down +2 Inches of deployment and immunity to shooting for a whole turn due to the feat. That means they’re going to get there!

The Meta

So my second list is currently Grissel2. It’s excellent at killing infantry, but it’s now being asked to play into infantry spam. A currently popular dude spam list is Ghost Fleet. For those of you that don’t know, this is a Cryx theme force based around extreme recursion. The Remove From Play from the Fennblades immediately slows this down and is great for removing the riflemen from each unit. Yes they will still get some recursion from the things you kill by shooting, but the plan is to cause the Cryx player to over extend and assassinate with guns. As an added bonus Gunnbjorn also has Explosivo which means ranged RFP on your guns as well.

Another dude spam list, which is currently popular, is Makeda2 with double cats. This list uses Stay Death to keep two units of cats alive in a list that will remind some Mk2 players of the Harbinger. The bad news is that we can’t stop Stay Death. The good news is that the Fennblades ignore tough and the list offers enough ranged threat that Makeda is at risk whenever she spends focus on stay death. The list also offers a higher number of attacks than the Power of Dhunia list and quantity of attacks is hugely important when fighting against Makeda2.

Next up I’m seeing a lot of Zaal1. Yes it appears Skorne are a very capable infantry faction when they want to be. These Zaal lists don’t want you denying souls and tough from their troops. It’s an exceptionally good matchup for Fennblades with Take down.

We also need to play into Khador lists like Irusk2. In a straight comparison, I’d argue the fennblade list deals with blast immune troop spam much better than the Bomber version. This means you’re dealing with blast immune Retribution and Satyxis Raiders at the same time. These are all things you could be seeing in your Meta.

There is currently a mini Minions resurgence going on thanks to their new Blindwater Theme. Suddenly you can deny souls to Maelok or deny tough to the posse.

Good Old Fashioned Tarpit

That’s not the only gain. My old Grissel 2 list used a swamp troll and a storm troll as a tarpit in matchups where I was out threatened and needed to jam.   They both do ok, but neither is as good at the job as 12 fennblades. The Power of Dhunia list is great, but the lack of large infantry units is a definite weakness that you have to play around, the Fennblades are a great answer to this.

Steamroller 2017

This is the real elephant in the room. What little we know about the new Steamroller pack that’s on its way suggests that we need infantry to score certain zones. This could literally be the knockout blow for the PoD theme. We can try running Runeshapers and honestly I think they might be making their way into my lists, but having some kind of infantry in a list seems like it may very well become a necessity.

My List

So we’ve seen where I took inspiration and so now we can look at my list:

Grissel2 (Band of Heroes)
– Bomber
– Mauler
– Earthborn
Max Fennblades + UA
Max Longriders
Min Stone + UA
Fell Caller Hero (Free)
Stone Scribe Chronicler

This is still a very young list and I’m pretty sure I’ll make changes in the future. I had the initial unit of Fennblades and didn’t like that I needed a Fell Caller Hero to support them as they felt like a lot of points in support for one unit, I also realised I could essentially get a max unit of Longriders for 15 points. With access to dash and deflection I’m happy to say I think they have more value than adding beasts.

The chronicler means that those fennblades could be Def 16 against shooting on the approach. Last week I told you building for deflection could be a trap and then I’m breaking my own rules. I like the idea of having access to charge of the trolls as well, overall there is a lot of nice synergy in the list.

I decided to go without the Mountain king because I’m currently running a MK in my Doomy3 list and didn’t want to double dip. The Earthborn has been interesting so far as a lot of the lists that it plays into struggle to crack his armour if he can find a wall or building to stand near.

The one thing I really miss is the Dhunian Knot. It has such amazing value with Grissel and I’m super sad it’s gone. Whether it’s worth it or not only time (and games) will tell. It feel’s like a good list so far though.

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