Three’s Company

So right now, I’m in super prep mode for the Welsh Masters this weekend, which is one of the biggest events in Europe (a seven round Masters event held over two days)  As such, I was worried I had little to write about this week as I’m basically playing my Grissel2 and Doomy3 lists exclusively. Then PP goes and drops a new theme force on CID. Hot damn that’s exciting, let’s have a look at what it does and maybe have a bit of a dojo. Obviously if you’re reading this in the future, the theme is on CID so some things about it might have changed.

Fluff

Firstly a bit about the fluff: This is Kriel Company and I’ve seen a bit of confusion from people thinking this is a base Kriel Militia theme and so it should have Kriel Warriors etc. That’s not what this actually is. We’re looking at all the Cygnar trained trolls that are mostly under the control of Gunnbjorn. They are way more like a Warmachine infantry company and not much like the usual roaming nomadic warband. It does incorporate a few models from outside of that general thematic idea such as Fire Eaters, Sons of Bragg, Highwaymen and Fell Callers, but you have to assume Gunnbjorn would be incorporating what’s available to his Cygnar training to maximize the effect.

Benefits

The reason you are taking these themes are for the benefits, otherwise, why are you restricting yourself? The first of these is +1 to the starting roll seems like a direct response to Troll players complaining about filling the stone when going second. The good news is that this helps immensely and will mean you win the dice roll roughly two thirds of the time. The bad news is that this probably means the Stone will be staying exactly the same. Regardless PP listened and this theme allows you solve a problem many of us where complaining about.

Next we have one free solo or weapon’s crew per twenty points of infantry or battle engine in your force. The first thing to note here is that it’s all units so you’re not being charged a double support tax. In a theme like Band of Heroes, the Krielstone doesn’t just cost points, but also limits the amount of free solos you can get. This theme doesn’t suffer from the same issues and that’s not just good for this list, but potentially a promising sign moving forward. Either way, these points are easy to accrue and you can easily get one, two or even three solos in a list and it will generally feel like combined arms.

When we look at the solos, you can take it gets super interesting. Firstly they’ve given us some solid support options with the whelps and Fell Caller hero. They are both excellent and allow you some flexibility with your list. I’d be hesitant to run scattergunners without access to the fell caller and he might start becoming more of a necessity for fire eaters with the upcoming terrain changes in SR2017. The whelps being around mean you don’t have to fear running a Mountain king and Bomber battle group, which is super nice as you do tend to run them hot in some matchups and you can’t really afford either to frenzy.

Braylen is a great super solo for free even if you don’t decide to take highwaymen. I know the community is very much split on the unit at the moment and I’d hesitate to pay four points for her, but for free I know she can almost certainly make a good impact. Then we have the two weapon crews. I must confess I find this really exciting. I’ve never put one on the table before and I will definitely be giving them a try.

The Pummeler looks like fantastic infantry clear and super strong even against things like stealth and high defence solos. Consider the following list:

Gunnbjorn (Kriel Company)
– Mountain King
– Dozer and Smig
– Pyre
Min Krielstone + UA
Fire Eaters
Fire Eaters
War Wagon
Pummeler Weapon Crew
Pummeler Weapon Crew

So there is some nice synergy here. Dozer’s animus is obviously great to throw out on the two Pummelers, War Wagon and Gunnbjorn himself. I like that the feat also protects the fire eaters on their approach. Obviously the list doesn’t want to see Irusk2, but otherwise it seems super strong infantry clear with a great assassination if the opportunity arrives.

The Thumper is the option you want when you are playing a list that want to knock down and shoot things off the board. You’re probably looking at Grissel2 or Grim1 for this. The added bonus is when you go for an assassination there is a potential to slam an opponent into another model or wall, which means you get a boosted POW 16. You might consider something like:

Grim1 (Kriel Company)
– Mountain King
– Bomber
Min Krielstone + UA
Max Bushwhackers + UA
Max Sluggers
Max Sluggers
Thumper Weapon Crew
Thumper Weapon Crew

This list hits so hard is a serious assassination threat to casters who are camping large stacks.   While you’re waiting for that assassination to become available throw a few man traps out and shoot beast, jacks or heavy infantry off the table.

Also in the theme all solos and weapon crews gain reposition three inches. This is again excellent on the weapon crews, especially the thumper which potentially suffers because of its short range of 12 inches. It can potentially aim, shoot and then move back to 15 inches away which seems strong. Don’t forget that it also works on the fell caller hero who could walk up make a spray and then get safe, which seems really useful. Also Braylen can use it, for the odd times when her Run and Gun fails, suddenly she can get back into a forest for prowl, which again seems useful.

What’s missing?

So there is definitely something to like about the theme. Guns will be back in Trolls once it gets officially released and I’m certainly not turning my nose up at 9-18 free points and + 1 to go first. That said there are some negatives and at this stage we’re not sure which of these drawbacks are an over sight and which are genuinely intended as a form of balance. This theme completely disallows melee beasts, which means no Mauler. Unfortunately this means that you either need to take a damage buff on your caster or a Mountain King. The simple truth is that otherwise you will probably end up trying to kill Arm22+ with Boosted POW 16’s.

Too many infantry lists have can get high arm values now for you to just run two bombers and risk it. That said Grim2 is probably fine with those Bombers hitting at Pow 18. Horgle2 and Calandra might be ok as well using their feats as one turn damage buffs. Grissel1 and Ragnor would probably be ok as well, but I doubt you’d run them in this theme. For every other caster you’re looking at a Mountain King and that’s disappointing for a theme which seems to be focused around shooting infantry. It also means that the War Wagon won’t see much play as you’re probably not going to want two huge bases and 53 points spent on two models in a list that seems focused on infantry with guns. Obviously we’d like to see either the Mauler be added or for the Pyre/Slag to get it’s animus changed back to Target Beast. Either would help the list immensely.

Secondly the lack of Runebearer is annoying. It seems most factions get their Caster Attachment included in every theme and for whatever reason we’re not. Lots of these casters would really like him though, consider how much Grim2 is missing an extra mortality or Grim1 would like another mantrap. Maybe it’s an oversight, but we’d like the option.

Finally the list is lacking the Stone Scribe Chronicler. A lot of our shooting infantry is DEF13 and the Chronicler helps there. He’s just a generally good support solo for certain units and it’s frustrating that he can be taken in the Power of Dhunia theme where he is almost never useful, but can’t be taken here where he would be. It wouldn’t take much to change the line to:

“Krielstone Bearer, Stone Scribe Units and Solos”

Lastly as a flavour thing I’d really like to see Dozer and Smig be allowed with all locks in this theme. He is clearly the most Kriel Company beast we have flavour wise along with the Blitzers. He also has great synergy with not only the war wagon, but the Pummelers. It isn’t without president either. Circle has a Tharn theme where any caster can take Ghetorix, because he is the Tharn warbeast.

Conclusion

So there we have it, I’ve seen a lot of disappointment over this theme, but I’m personally excited to try it out models and units that I haven’t ever used before. I don’t know about you but I’ve never played either weapon crew, Sluggers or the War Wagon before and I think they all have a place in theme. On top of that the list lets me play Fire Eaters and I’ve missed those guys in the past four months.

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