Before we start, Toby Nathan, who was the highest placed Troll player at 2016 WTC has started a blog. He’s the guy who ran the super cool Madrak3 list at Welsh masters. He’ definitely worth a read if you haven’t already checked him out:
You can find his blog Here
Ok, so we’re at a very exciting place for Trolls. CID is potentially going to start this week, SR2017 will be out within a month and overall we’re expecting the Meta to receive a huge shake up. If I would have asked you six months ago how Legion where doing, you probably would have told me they were ok, but struggling. The simple truth is, nobody knows where we’ll be in six months time, but we can at least find out where you guys think we are right now!
So with that said, I posted a poll on the Facebook group and the Lormahordes Forum asking you to pick the three best casters in Trolls. The idea was to see which casters Troll players thought were currently strong in the Meta. I feel we have good parity between many of our casters and wanted to see how others saw our stable. This is particularly interesting, because we’re not getting a lot of top 3 finishes at national and international events so people are trying their own thing instead of just copying a Celebrity player like Jason Flanzer or Jay Larsen, which often shaped opinions of caster strength in Mk2.
Before I show you the rankings lets understand a few limitations with my method. I asked an incredibly vague question. What do you mean by, best caster? Someone could have interpreted this as favourite to play, bets fluff, nicest model or a hundred other classifications that have nothing to do with strength on the table. Even when talking purely about in game strength, the question doesn’t ask whether this is overall or in relation to the current Meta at the moment. More specifically do I mean Local or National Meta? If you have no Cryx in your local Meta, why would it matter if we have an amazing answer into Ghost Fleet? That isn’t something you need or value unless you’re looking at the national or international tournament scene. The clarity of the question will be improved if/when I do this next time.
The Second limitation was that I’m asking for the three casters you think are best. It’s entirely possible, though hugely unlikely that the consensus 4th best caster could finish bottom of my rankings due to the process I used. More realistically, middle of the pack casters are likely to get no votes while a terrible caster could be someone’s favourite and jump ahead of them all. In a perfect world I would get you all to rank all 17 casters from 1-17, but I feel that feels like a lot of effort and would take many of you a lot longer to figure out. I think it would probably reduce the number of responses I got by a quite significant amount. I’m not convinced there is a good work around this problem, but it’s just something to consider when you look at the rankings.
Finally the polling didn’t allow me to limit people to exactly three options. I decided to delete a few submissions with four casters and then a submission with only one caster picked. This is something I’ll again look at next time. Can I find a polling option that can limit it so people have to pick exactly three choices?
Joint 15th Madrak 1: 0%
No Surprise here, he was a dark horse in MK2, but the changes to Sure Foot and swapping feats with Madrak2, ask you what is he doing and why should I take him? We have nothing that benefits from Guided Hand.
Joint 15th Grissel 1: 0%
I feel she is probably middle of the pack and this is a little low, but, I think most of you think she’s average, but no one liked her enough for their top 3. Boundless charge in Trolls is not ok. I think most of you think she’s average, but no one liked her enough for their top 3. Again, weird changes from Mk2. If you gave her a new feat, or her old one, she would be amazing.
Joint 15th Borka 2: 0%
Borka2 actually got a vote, which got removed due to the submission containing four votes. The truth though is that this caster has struggled since release. Low Fury and a boring toolkit that just crutches on counter charge and a somewhat interesting control feat. Borka2 is getting looked at in the imminent Northkin CID, however. Maybe his time will finally come!
14th Grim 1: 1.6%
Bit of a surprise here. Grim1 got into last eight of masters at KingdomCon. There was also a topic on the Facebook group where Jason Flanzer discussed how strong he felt Mantrap was as a spell. The general feeling is that the feat needs the no charge caveat added. It would seem Grim1, was decent enough in ADR, but outside of it Troll players feel there are better options
Joint 11th Madrak 3: 3.2%
After watching Nathan play him at Welsh I can understand why people like him. He is very good into the current Meta. The one sad thing is that we’re getting a stone UA to help infantry hitting power. This helps every infantry caster but him. Still, with Fire Eaters, Champions and Longriders, he might benefit a lot from the Northkin theme regardless.
Joint 11th Jarl: 3.2%
His issue is always tied to the number of upkeeps he needs to run and the stone. If they do decide to look at the stone when they add the UA he could be one of the two biggest winners. At the moment he makes most sense in the Power of Dhunia theme, with a beast brick. This lets him start with all the upkeeps out. It’s interesting, but we have a lot of strong beast brick casters and so many of his spells are just so much more interesting when cast on units.
Joint 11th Doomy 1: 3.2%
Speaking of beast brick casters, we have the troll caster that saw more play than any other in MK2. The cost change to Rampager hurt a lot, as did the loss of his theme. He also has much better game into Hordes than Warmachine and if we’re honest Doomy3 is doing his shtick better. He isn’t bad, he is the one who kept goad, and his version of purification is utterly ridiculous. He has amazing spells like Stranglehold and Fortune as well as the amazing Guardian Beast, which just flat out wins games on its own. He can even charge an enemy caster and strip all their focus or fury with a single attack if you feel that way inclined. He feels so close, but it’s hard to argue he’s top three.
10th Grim 2: 4.8%
Hunters Grim are one of those casters that has a cult following. They have one of the highest skill ceilings of any caster in trolls; they answer forests, clouds, crack armour and defence. I honestly wouldn’t have been surprised if Grim had been in the top 3. To me, his only current issue is the lack of a good theme to play in. He is fine in Power of Dhunia with a shooty beast brick, but I think he likes infantry gun-lines even more and so is salivating at the prospect of Kriel Company. Expect him to rise if we do this list again in six months.
9th Borka 1: 11.1%
Initially seen as a great answer to Wurmwood, due to his ability to make a Gargantuan spell immune. Borka also benefits from having a theme that feels tailor made for him: Band of Heroes. Borka can run anything but gets most value out of making infantry hit from a long way away and remaining hard to kill thanks to the defence buff. The thing is, that theme wasn’t even his theme, and in theory the Northkin theme is even more to his liking. He loves Fire Eaters and you have to imagine he wants a stone that hands out a damage buff to his infantry. Expect this guy to see a lot of play testing the CID changes.
8th Horgle: 12.7%
Remember what we said about Jarl struggling due to reliance on too many upkeeps? Horgle is exactly the same. In theory he works with everything, but there feels like frustration that nobody can utilize his whole kit effectively. He wants a Krielstone badly. People also want to work out what goes well with him. He needs uncracking as he seems like there are multiple ways to build him, but nothing ever seems quite right. Maybe the Northkin theme will be what he finally needs. After all he does like Fire Eaters.
7th Madrak 2: 15.9%
Where would he have placed if we had done this list six months ago, pre Errata? The thing that most Troll players struggle with is the concept that he is worse, not bad. It’s often hard to play models that you see got a straight nerf. You think back that you weren’t winning all your games with him before so now that he’s straight worse what will happen? There are true believers though. Jason Flanzer still believes in him and Band of Heroes does nothing but help him. There is also an argument that the meta is tailor made for him. He plays better than any other Troll caster into the Khador theme Legion of Steel and he is great into Ghost Fleet. Madrak is the highest ranked of the mainly melee infantry casters and again he salivates at the idea of a stone that gives strength to melee units.
We cross a threshold between 7th and 6th place. While thirteen of our seventeen casters received votes. 81.4% of all votes went to these six casters. It would be fair to say that these six are the ones that most Troll players surveyed think should be at the top. If you are unsure of who to play I think you’re unlikely to go wrong if you play any of the ones that follow
6th Doomy 3: 30.2%
One half of my current pairing, I find it a bit baffling how low he’s ranked. I would argue there is no caster in Trolls that answers the national Meta so well. Do you have problems with Fyanna2? Doomy isn’t just good, but great into the matchup. Haley 2 Heavy Metal? Again Doomy is the man. He has phenomenal spells which he uses all the time, apart from unminding, which is awful. He has a theme that is amazing for him. He denies so many opponents’ tricks and he is just so much fun to play. If we go, based on the current Meta he feels to me like the king of not just trolls, but maybe of every faction. That said, a shadow sits on the horizon. Steamroller 2017 is coming and it wants you to take units.
5th Gunnbjorn: 36.5%
In 2014 I distinctly remember him being referred to as the worst caster in the game, oh how times have changed. A series of cool releases that synergize with him, a overhaul on the feat, killshot for all his battlegroup and changes between MK2 and Mk3 that made gunlines more prevalent. Late last year Gunnbjorn was in a very good place. Then they released Power of Dhunia, which he loved and the meta started running Ghost fleet. Gunnbjorn wants to play ghostfleet with his ranged Remove from Play. This is kind of a perfect storm for Gunnbjorn to really shine, yet it just keeps getting better. Kriel Company is the theme tailor made for Gunnbjorn and he loves the new Battle Engine. Don’t expect Gunnbjorn to be going anywhere.
Joint 3rd Ragnor: 38.1%
The highest entry of the three new casters we’ve received in the last year. Ragnor was hugely popular at the start of MK3 and it would seem he remains so. He seemed to be the best served of our casters to run the new and improved bouncers. He often wants to play beast bricks and the double gargantuan list is one of the more common ways to see him currently. Time walk feats are going to be less relevant though moving into SR2017 as opponents can wait them out and not risk losing on scenario to the same degree so he may take a fall.
Joint 3rd Grissel 2: 38.1%
The other half of my current pairing. If you read my blog regularly you are probably aware I never shut up about her. She plays well in both themes and could potentially be even better in Kriel Company or the Northkin theme. She plays a real triple threat with multiple strong builds and has the best gun in the game, period. People will genuinely not believe her personal assassination threat and at times she basically feels like cheating. That said, she’s not our best answer to ghost fleet, she doesn’t like playing into Legion of Steel and the current meta is teching against ghost fleet so we’re expecting to see way more anti knockdown tech on casters.
2nd Doomy 2: 39.7%
Doomy2 is a bit of an oddball in Trolls. Generally we take the first hit and counterpunch. We are the faction that gets initiated on. We have defensive feats that try and keep us alive so we can trade back. Doomy2 doesn’t do any of that. Doomy2 is the threat range king. He knows that the best defence is a strong offense. He assassinates with melee beasts far better than any other caster. He even gained a bit of utility with the addition of Hex blast in MK3. He loves running a beast brick and so Power of Dhunia is great for him. Well apart from losing Rok; imagine if the Northkin theme lets you take Rok with any caster. Doomy2 with Fire eaters and Rok seems pretty nice. The five heavy list that everyone is running might struggle in SR2017 without units to score. I also personally think he’s significantly weaker than Doomy3 in the current Meta, but he allows Troll players to be proactive and if that is how you want to play there is literally no one better on our roster.
1st Calandra: 61.9%
Look at that number! 61.9% of Troll players that voted considered Calandra to be a top 3 caster in trolls! Does that surprise you? It surprises me. It’s not just that she won, but she won by such a huge margin. That isn’t just a win, that’s a landslide.
She was good in MK2, even before EE, but she was always one of those casters that people admitted was strong, but not many people played. EE changed that a little, but the consensus seemed to be that the theme made her top tier and she was a B+ caster at best. In the change to MK3, she got an extra fury. An 8 fury caster in Trolls seems amazing, as does a 16 inch Starcrossed bubble. Especially now that most people are playing in theme and so can’t take Wrong Eye and Snapjaw. Bullet Dodger also got strictly better. Do any of these changes make her top tier? Most of you clearly think so.
The interesting theme is that her adaptability will always be her strength. She runs literally everything well and she will get more options with every single release, because she will find great synergies with every theme, in beast heavy, infantry heavy gunline or control. Calandra is the ultimate Troll turd polisher. She is our version of Denny1, Sevvy1 or Vlad1. Some casters have wide ranging abilities that make anything better and she is ours. If I had asked you to rank all casters from 1-17 I don’t actually thinks she would have received many votes as our best caster. I wonder if many people picked their favourite beast brick caster, favourite gunline caster and then picked Calandra as a third choice, because she is such a good jack of all trades.
I feel this was an interesting exercise and I’ll be interested to see how this translates to WTC lists when they eventually get released. It will also be interesting to see how the next six months changes the list. We’ll have a new SR2017 pack, which might hurt the Power of Dhunia theme. We’re also getting at least one new theme with potentially a second to follow up. The Meta will also potentially change.
The above poll had 63 responses by the way. That’s alright, but obviously the more data the better. I reckon we’ve a bit more planning we can vastly increase that for this in January.
Finally I didn’t vote myself. You hear enough of my opinions if you read this blog and I think it’s interesting that this time you’re saying who is strong. I like the idea of combining our shared knowledge on something like this. That said, if I had voted, it would have been for Doomy3, Grissel2 and Gunnbjorn.
Here is the raw data: