From Zeros to Heroes 1

 

So this week we’re going to take a look at one of Toby Nathan’s list from the recent Welsh Masters. In this case it’s his super interesting Madrak 3 list in Band of Heroes. It really doesn’t look like anyone else’s list that I’ve seen and it performed really well.   Toby went 5-2 at the event and only lost against two Khador players.

So first the list:

Madrak 3 (Band of Heroes)

  • Impaler
  • Bouncer
  • Pyre

Max Fennblades + UA
Min Champions
Min Warders
Max Champions + Skaldi
Kithkar
Kithkar
Champion Hero
Fell Caller Hero
Stone Scribe Chronicler

Ok, so lots of things here that might seem counter intuitive, at first. Let’s start by looking at that battlegroup. First thing that’s obvious is that, the list completely lacks the rage animus. The list will be mostly playing into matchups like Cryx, infantry heavy Ret and Khador. You’re expecting to see a lot of infantry and the list is tooled to beat that. Unfortunately in round , Toby played against a Vlad1 list which spammed Rocketeers and brought five Khador heavies. The match was recorded and you can watch it on Youtube Here

It’s actually still a really close game and if Toby nails a crit slam with the impaler then he stands a good chance of winning on scenario.   So, the battlegroup doesn’t allow the list to crack high armour. What it does, do however is enable Madrak3 to play far up the board and get work done. He has access to three super useful animus that help make Madrak into a super solo. The Impaler increases the range on his excellent RoF2 spear, the Bouncer helps protect him and the Flaming fists animus helps him hit harder. If your opponent brought 2 Khador Heavies then you would expect to finish one off with Beasts and champions and then send Madrak in on the other. When you consider Spell piercer and all the weapon masters in this list then hopefully Madrak can answer most armour that’s thrown against him. Still it’s annoying that PP didn’t feel an infantry focused Troll caster who doesn’t want to take the stone might want a damage buff. Ignite would have been an excellent choice, making infantry do work and even getting the lights to hit at an acceptable level.

Next up we have the Fennblades. We’ve spoken before about how strong they are in this theme with their long threat range. In this list they are also working great as a screen to allow the rest of your troops to get up the board.   I do find them a little susceptible to shooting, but that’s what the feat and Stone Scribe Chronicler are for.

The list also features Skaldi, who grants relentless charge, which is great when you’re running so much infantry and only one Fell Caller. Skaldi is one of multiple combat solos in this list that also provide support abilities. This is a huge amount of support, but when you know they can also do work they aren’t as bad. Toby, himself admits he was sceptical about Retaliatory Strike on the Champions, but when you’re playing against infantry it’s actually proved much more useful in practice than in theory. You’re presenting so many models that your opponent has to chance low pow attacks on Champions and if they fail to kill or if you tough you’re killing models in an opponent’s turn. It synergizes even better when you consider Madrak has a turn of 4+ tough.

The Kithkars are also interesting. Not only are they helping the MAT of the Fennblades, which is super useful when you’re running so much infantry with only one Fell Caller, but they also have righteous vengeance which is also great with so much infantry. This list is a real infantry brick and while not presenting any huge armour skew it’s pretty tough to chew through for lists that run a lot of Pow 10 and Pow 11’s.

Grissel 2

With all of that in mind, I changed my Grissel2 list.

Grissel2 (Band of Heroes)

  • Bomber
  • Earthborn

Min Stone + UA Max Fennblades + UA Min Warders
Min Warders
Min Champions
Min Champions
Fell Caller Hero
Stone Scribe Chronicler

The first thing to note is that I’m embracing our heavy infantry more, as time goes on. I really do wish the stone and Fennblades counted towards free solo’s but it is, what it is.   Grissel and the Bomber create your assassination threat and the rest of the army is there for the long attrition game. There job is to stay around and kill things and in the few games I’ve played they have done just that. The earthborn is there to prevent the Scourge assassination. People will suggest that he should be a Mauler, but then I just die to Ghost fleet. Also with dash the list is pretty fast up the board. It also gets genuine value from the unyielding part of the feat. I’ve played versus opponents who were generally confused at how to get through arm 23 Warders. The list seems to have decent game into gunlines with it’s potential Def 16 Fennblades and everything else packing high armour and boxes.

Overall you’re looking at a list with dash that moves quickly up the board as a brick with an extra two inches of deployment. There is certainly a lot of synergy there and it’s always nice when you can use more of the abilities in a casters toolkit.

Keep Trolling to a Minimum

One of the main reasons I’m looking at the theme more is due to Jason Flanzer’s comments on a recent Scrum Cast that you should always be looking to take min units of Warders and Champions. I was initially wary of this, not least because I only owned 1 unit of champions, but also, because it seemed a strange idea. That said, we don’t have a lot of unit buffs in the faction and even when we do, you usually don’t get more than three models in on the kind of targets you want to buff your troops for. You can see above that Toby breaks the convention by taking a max unit of Champions, but this is really to get maximum advantage out of Skaldi and generally you want to look at the min Champs or Min Warders option as not only do they fit nicely into the 20 points for a free model part of list building, but the warders and Champs are actually more cost efficient per model when taken in min units (i.e. You pay less per champ or Warder.)

List Ideas

Looking around the rest of the faction for casters you could try this style with; Madrak 2 seems a good candidate:

Madrak 2 (Band of Heroes)

  • Bomber
  • Bouncer

Max Fennblades + UA
Min Stone + UA
Min Warders
Min Champions
Max Champions + Skaldi
Stone Scribe Chronicler
Fell Caller Hero
Kithkar

Again, in this list we’ve gone for a max unit with Skaldi, and if you ever get blood fury on them then they could end the world on the charge. I will concede it’s annoying that it lowers their defence, but I suppose that makes it more likely they can take advantage of retaliatory strike.

Borka1 also seems like a good choice. We have a feet that infantry really like as well as mosh pit which is excellent with repositioning fennblades. Stick Arcane ward on the Fennblades and watch as your opponent can’t debuff them and has to deal with Def 16 infantry. It seems good, to be honest.

Borka1 (Band of Heroes)

  • Mountain King

Min Stone + UA
Max Fennblades + UA
Min Warders
Min Champions
Min Champions
Stone Scribe Chronicler
Kithkar
Fell Caller Hero

I would need to play this list to see how good it is. Usually I’d be terrified at the idea of playing a Mountain king in this situation, but with Arcane Ward it’s no longer likely to die on Denny’s feat turn. It’s also immune to Strangle hold. The idea that people have to chew through all that infantry only to then have to deal with a mountain king seems strong. We’d need to put it on the table to test though.

Closing Thoughts

Band of heroes seems a lot better when you stop trying to rely on Longriders who completely underwhelmed me when I was using them with Grissel2 and Max Champs or Warders with Sorcerers. A large part of any theme is getting the points to work right and with a bit of practice you can make Band of Heroes lists that feel right and work on the table. At the very least it gives us a strong way to play Madrak3 and it’s always nice to find a good list for a new caster. Horgle 2 has been out for nearly nine months. In theory he works with literally everything in the faction and yet no list every feels right. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day, thanks for reading.

Chris Daker, Nicholas Martin liked this post

One comment on “From Zeros to Heroes

  1. Reply Justin Stogsdill May 31,2017 4:06 pm

    Thanks for the positive lists.

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