A Dream Roster?


The new Active Duty Roster (From here on, known by the initials: ADR) roster for the second half of 2017 has appeared and today we’re going to take a look at them. There is a lot there that is interesting, which we’ll get to, but first:

PP has kept two casters from the previous roster. If we assume they will rotate those two off in January and keep the two they just added then this is a huge step forward for ADR. Many players complained that it wasn’t worth learning a caster and getting the necessary reps if they would be rotated out after six months. The potential for casters to stay there for a whole year should alleviate it and it means that you could play Grissel2 and Calandra for the next year and really maximize your skill with them. It is of course speculation at the moment, until PP say something, but it makes sense and I feel it’s a good bet we’re moving towards a two in, two out system for ADR.

It’s easy to look at any Troll ADR Roster, pick two good casters and think you can get a good pairing. Sadly this isn’t always the case. Pairings have to cover each other’s weaknesses and while specialists help with this, there is more to it than that. A great example is the ADR Roster from the first half of this year. On paper: Doomy2, Horgle2 and Ragnor are all great casters, but they all do very similar things with lots of heavies hitting hard. The reality is that anyone wanting to play Trolls in ADR had to look at Grim1, the 4th caster there as an anti infantry option.

It’s fair to say that when the ADR was first announced Grim1 was much maligned by the general Troll community and so ADR as a whole was discounted.   Mark Gerow though decided to run ADR, due to his success with Doomy2 and managed to make Grim1 work, qualifying for Masters at Kingdomcon. Suddenly a lot of players were re-evaluating Grim1 and how strong the spell Mantrap was in particular. In this case a player got ADR to work, because they discovered the one anti-infantry caster was a bit underrated.   That isn’t always the case though.

In the second half of last year, at the start of MK3, the Troll ADR was: Madrak1, Doomy1, Grissel1 and Ragnor. Doomy1 is still very good, and Ragnor is great as well, but they are both beast casters. Grissel1 is an enigma. She gained Boundless Charge, but lost her feat. Is she a beast caster or an infantry caster? Sadly at the moment she’s a mess, though obviously I hope one of you proves me wrong. Madrak1 is also in an awful state, which is a shame, because he was so interesting and stylish in Mk2. Imagine if they swapped Guided Hand for Hand of Fate. You could suddenly run him with melee infantry, a beast brick or a gunline. He would be super interesting and I hardly feel he’d break the game. That said, he was the only anti infantry caster on that roster and due to his mopey state Troll ADR never really got played.

What I’m basically saying is that a good Troll ADR roster features both an anti infantry caster and a beast brick. Guess what, this current ADR checks all the boxes and that’s why you should think about using it. The roster is:

  • Ragnor
  • Calandra
  • Doomy2
  • Grissel2!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s start with relative strength. If I was to tier our casters currently it would look something like:

S Tier: Grissel2, Doomy3, Doomy2
A Tier: Gunnbjorn, Madrak2, Ragnor, Calandra
B Tier: Borka1, Grim2, Doomy1, Madrak 3
C Tier: Grim1, Horgle2, Jarl
D Tier: Madrak1, Borka2

I’m fully expecting hate-mail and for some of you to disagree, that’s fine. It’s very hard to express any opinion on caster strength in this game without someone disagreeing with you. That said, part of that reason is that every caster outside of the two in the D Tier are pretty good. We have two casters that don’t really work and otherwise I wouldn’t think anything of seeing the other 14 casters on our roster. I’ve seen very good Troll players running all of those C Tier casters and finding success. Basically don’t take my word for it. If you like a caster, play them and prove me wrong.

The point though is that I think all four casters in the ADR are S or A tier. They are among the very best seven casters we have and that means as long as you think about your matchups you can’t really go wrong with this ADR. We spoke earlier about covering roles and here we have Grissel2 that is good with a Gun-Line or infantry spam. We have Doomy2 and Ragnor who excel at beast bricks and finally Calandra who can run basically everything.

Sample Pairing

Grissel2 (Band of Heroes)

  • Bomber
  • Bouncer

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

Specialists:
Mountain King
Whelps

With this list you get to run Grissel2 with a Mountain King whenever you can and leave it out if they are running Deneghra1 or Strakhov2.   The MK list looks like this:

Grissel2 (Band of Heroes)

  • Mountain king
  • Bomber
  • Bouncer

Max Fennblades + UA
Min Krielstone + UA
Whelps
Fell Caller Hero

This version of this list offers huge assassination threat and there is a very good chance an opponent would be unable to deal with a Mountain King. When you look at ADR it’s good to think about what you would change and when. It’s very hard to make changes on the fly when you’re under pressure, so think about your sideboard and what changes you would make for what matchups.

Doomy2 (Power of Dhunia)

  • Mulg
  • Earthborn
  • Earthborn
  • Mauler
  • Mauler
  • Axer

Max Stone + UA
Whelps
Whelps
Janissa

Specialists:
Slag Troll
Slag Troll
Slag Troll
Shaman
Shaman

Ok so this list is clearly stolen straight from Mark’s ADR list for Kingdomcon. The trick here is to swap 3 Slag Trolls in to replace one Mauler and one Earthborn. This gives you 3 boostable guns that can be used in matchups like Haley2 in Heavy Metal.

Doomy2 (PoD)

  • Mulg
  • Mauler
  • Earthborn
  • Slag
  • Slag
  • Slag

Max Stone + UA
Whelps
Whelps
Janissa

Conclusion

So that’s the first pairing, I intend to do the same thing next week with a Ragnor and Calandra pairing and see what that might look like. I’ve got very mixed personal feelings about this ADR roster if I’m honest. I know lots of very good players swear by Doomy2, but I remain unconvinced that he handles some of the nastier things in the Meta. If he can’t play well in Cygnar and Legion, then to me it’s not worth looking at. I also grow fonder of Doomy3 every time I play him so losing him would be sad, but then again the idea of Grissel2 on ADR seems gross. Add on top of that the fact that Ragnor is legit and very strong and Calandra is really interesting and it’s such a tempting prospect.

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