One hundred days ago Skorne got their Errata. It was greatly deserved, needed and it improved not just internal balance in the faction, but made the faction a force to be reckoned with for the first time in a few years. Sadly however the Errata also marked the start of a new era. One hundred days ago I declared us the worst faction in the game and wrote a piece on the old PP forum called “Start the Clock” declaring my dissatisfaction for the state the faction was in. In honesty a lot of what I said was hyperbole, the intention was to draw attention to my dissatisfaction with parts of the faction. A lot has changed in that time, however. The local Meta near me is nearly indistinguishable from how it looked one hundred days ago. Almost every faction has now seen its command book get released and recent tournament results suggest the game is better balanced than ever. It’s understandable that you’re wondering. What about Trolls?
Before we start though, we need to discuss a word. It’s a word that is unfortunately becoming synonymous with Troll players. How many times in the last few months have you heard the phrase: ”Mopey Trolls Players” ? I get it, you’re seeing everyone get brand new toys and you see tournaments being won by nearly any faction and you feel sad or disheartened. The whole point of this article isn’t to whine though, I’ll be honest I don’t see the point in feeling sad. Either Privateer Press think we need help or they don’t and you being sad about it isn’t helping anyone. I assume you play this game as a hobby as a way to have fun or relax. If playing Trolls is making you angry, upset or annoyed then it might be time to switch faction, or walk away from the game for a bit.
You could also try playing some fun stuff, MK3 came out less than a year ago and there is no way any of you have tested all the casters and all the models we have available. The game isn’t even close to being figured out yet, hell you all got three new casters in the last year on top of everything else.
Even stuff that hasn’t changed is playing into a different Meta than when it was in MK2. You only have to take a look at Kruegar2 to understand this. He definitively got nerfed between editions, but just because something is worse doesn’t means it’s bad. In the transition between MK1 and Mk2 it took players years to start playing Bane Knights and Angelius again. The models weren’t bad, in fact many people would tell you they were too strong and yet, because they were worse than their previous form, people thought they weren’t worth trying. Kruegar2 is seeing a resurgence and that is because infantry spam is back! Ironically, it’s back just in time for a Steamroller change that will strengthen it even more. I guarantee we have undiscovered gems in War Room that nobody has figured out yet. Make it your mission to find them!
So back to my original point, don’t be a mopey Troll player. I wrote an article saying we were bad at a time when it felt like no one was acknowledging it. It felt like it needed to be said, because people were claiming that Cryx were at the bottom of the barrel and needed the most help. I even told Troll players to switch faction, because it felt like the best way to prove the point. I switched faction myself for the entire month of January and planned to try something new for the next six months or a year. For the first time in this game, I became a Menoth player. I followed my own advice and played another faction and the thing that became abundantly clear was that playing something other than Trolls made me miserable. I won a lot, but my opponents would ask me if I was ok or if something had happened, because they could see no enjoyment was there. I told, you to switch factions and for myself at least that was terrible advice. I decided one month and twenty two games in that I’d rather play Trolls in their current state than another faction I perceived to be stronger. If I’m not willing to walk away and play something else then I don’t think I should complain about it either.
So I went back to Trolls and a wonderful thing happened, it all started to click. I was having fun again, I was building lists that I wanted to play. I no longer felt constrained by a need to play Madrak2, because everyone was telling me how strong he was. I started playing all Doomy1 and I had a great time and when I was enjoying myself I started winning a lot. It seems that what I needed was to see there was no other option and to start playing what I wanted to play. Right now it’s super in vogue to play Doomy2 with five heavies. I played it and I won with it and it’s a great list, but it didn’t fit the way I wanted to play. If you aren’t playing the game the way you want then you won’t enjoy it and your own results might suffer. Just because I tell you that Grissel2 is the best caster we have doesn’t mean you have to listen to me. Try stuff out and play a style that you enjoy.
So where do we stand as a faction?
One hundred days ago it was all doom and gloom and if we’re honest a lot of the same problems are still there. We’re still reliant on Rage as an animus, we still have a dichotomy between the Rush and Rage animus, none of our infantry is particularly amazing, our beasts are probably over-costed and the stone is still stealing resources from our casters who are still struggling to fuel them. Some of these things might need to be addressed, but some of these things are more than likely faction features by design. Regardless of which of these is true, worrying or getting angry about how good Trolls are won’t help your play or improve the faction. By this point PP are aware of our gripes, either they agree with us and we’ll get a little help or they don’t and we won’t. Being mopey won’t help that in any way.
Look at the positives, the new Steamroller packet that is in CID looks very Troll friendly. Long games based on attrition are where Trolls, as a faction, really shine and a steamroller pack that encourages that is only a good thing. The assassination game is also coming back. It’s no secret that Troll casters are some of the most survivable in the game. If the Meta is dominated by assassination lists, the strength of trolls, with their multitude of defensive animi, cheap shield guards and good base stats will do well. On top of that the new SR2017 scenarios are currently enforcing a 12 inch kill box on every mission. My Grissel2 list can’t wait for all those squishy casters to be further up the board and in range of her ranged assassination. On top of this the Fuel Cache objectives revolves around continuous fire and as Trolls we can largely ignore that with the stone, meanwhile that same objective will increase our own offensive output.
On top of this we have a Meta that offers a lot of opportunities for Band of Heroes to shine. When the theme first came out it looked cute, but it wasn’t really suitable for what was getting played a lot. As time goes on, we are seeing more and more recursion, we’re seeing more mass infantry with tough. This is exactly the place that Band of Heroes wants the Meta to be in to really shine and so suddenly we’re in a better place than we were before. Not because anything in trolls has changed, but the rest of the game has moved and we’re in a better position to take advantage.
We also have new stuff to look forward to. We’ve been told a Northkin theme is on the way and that should mean the return of Fire Eaters, those guys that will absolutely love the mass infantry that is getting played so much right now. What else is in the theme is all just pure speculation at this point, but with all the command books nearly released we’re surely close to seeing some new stuff. On top of this we have the War Wagon currently on the CID, if it see’s any kind of change that’s great and hopefully it can spice up the faction’s anti infantry options as well as offering a strong assassination piece. Both things we want if SR2017 stays in it current format. Don’t forget that all of the Battle Engines are getting looked at and we should expect a huge spike in them all seeing play. People will want to try out their new toys and if there are Battle Engines in a lot more lists then the value of the Slag Troll surely has to be higher as almost all of them are constructs.
Finally a new Errata is approaching in the summer and could be only a month or so away. Maybe PP will have heard the cries of our community and will give us a bit of help. Expecting such changes will only lead us to disappointment though and I urge you all to play with what we have and to not let yourself reinforce the Mopey Troll stereotype. We’ve told PP how we feel and they’ve almost certainly heard, whether they choose to act is completely out of our control, but if you truly want to improve the strength of your faction then a positive attitude might be the best buff you can receive.