First weekend of September in England means the UK Nationals. It’s a seven round event run out of Element Games in Stockport. I attended and rather than give huge blow by blow battle reports I thought I’d give brief overviews and talk about what I learnt.
It’s first worth pointing out that I entered this tournament pretty down on the game. This happens to all of us from time to time, but a combination of Cygnar and Cryx’s perceived dominance with my inability to find my bearings in the new Scenario pack all troubled me. It’s important to identify your own strengths and weaknesses and the last year has taught me that I am slow to adapt to large changes in the game.
Before we get going, one interesting thing about the new scenario packet is the number of scenarios. From my understanding the UK is unique in it’s penchant for 7 round events. With only six scenarios it does mean we find ourselves repeating one.
Doomy3 (Power of Dhunia)
- Mountain King
Max Stone + UA
The list I’ve been running for a while, but with a unit of Runeshapers instead of a Storm Troll. The idea was obviously to have a scoring unit in the list.
Grissel2 (Band of Heroes)
Min Stone + UA
Max Fennblades + UA
Fell Caller Hero
Again this is similar to my previous Grissel2 list but I found myself annoyed with an inability to crack Khador jacks. I decided that the right models where better than free models so I swapped the storm troll and a unit of Min Warders out for a Mauler. Yes I now only have one free solo, but the list works.
Horgle2 (Band of Heroes)
- Mountain King
Min Stone + UA
I had intended to play a Gunnbjorn list, but my Dozer and Smig got delayed so I was stuck needing to pay something last minute and I decided to go with this list, which was essentially untested. I liked the idea of Boosted Pow 14’s with Crit KD on feat turn from the Runeshapers. I’ve played this twice now and I’m of the opinion this list doesn’t work and there probably isn’t a strong current way to build Horgle2.
Grissel2 vs Shae
I panic during list selection. My opponent has two dude spam lists and a Shae list that spams Buccaneers. I worry about playing Doomy3 and being jammed out of the new Scenario packet even if he won’t crack my armour very well. I drop Grissel2 and discover to my horror that Shae’s defense doesn’t drop when she’s knocked down, Buccaneers can’t be knocked down and my Fennblades are pretty amicable to the idea of becoming pirates when Press Ganged. I get assassinated after the Commodore cannon slams the Bomber over my caster.
The lesson here is to trust the strength of the faction. We are a high armour faction that is tough to crack. Unless you see weapon master spam across the table then stick to your guns and do what we do best.
Doomy3 vs Nemo3
Doomy3 is my Cygnar drop and I wasn’t going to risk dropping the wrong list this time. I get ahead on attrition. He loses almost all of his Storm Lances before he even gets a chance to feat, but I’ve filled all my beasts and he manages to kill me on his feat turn.
Two losses and two very silly mistakes which means I’m 0-2. It would be fair to say that I was pretty grumpy at this stage. One important note is that the Storm Troll would have kept me 100% safe in that matchup.
Horgle2 vs Baldur2
I check his lists over and the lesson of Round1 is still fresh. I know he will drop the double Woldwrath list into me and I feel Horgle is probably the right answer. A damage buff on feat turn means my Mountain king one rounds one of his Roots of the Earth Woldwraths and I eventually assassinate Baldur after he fails to kill my MK in retaliation.
Finally a win. The list may have won, but it feels pretty clunky. The Blitzer inevitably rolls 1 shot when you need more. Also I’m three rounds in and can no longer be list locked. That’s a plus.
Doomy3 vs Amon
When I see a Menoth player with Amon, it’s usually what I’m going to see. I really like Doomy3 in the matchup. The Mat 6 Menoth jacks can sometimes struggle against Def 12 Trolls. We also have a time walk feat and soft spell control. This game went in a similar fashion to most, I got an attrition lead and then started scoring control points. My opponent eventually concedes when he has only his caster left and I am scoring all four zones every turn.
Grissel2 vs Strakhov2
At UK Nationals the 5th round draw is released on the Saturday Evening so you have a chance to prepare for it, talk to friends, get advice, etc.
My opponent is a local player from Stafford Powerfist. He has switched to Khador from Menoth less than a month ago so he’s still learning the faction. He had played Butcher3 in all four round so far as that was the caster he felt most comfortable with, but I also know he is rooming with one of the best Khador players in the country who know how strong Strakhov 2 is into Trolls. This is kind of important as Grissel2 is my best shot into Strakhov2, but if he drops Butcher3 I’d prefer to drop Doomy3, especially as his Butcher3 is this new style jack spam version.
I guess correctly and drop Grissel2. He’s never played the caster before and I manage to squeeze a scenario victory. Even against someone brand new with the caster Strak2 is so tricky for trolls. Still I’m happy to be in the winning column.
Doomy3 vs Vlad1
Dropping Doomy3 into Rockets and hoping it’s enough. I manage to send the MK in and kill a heavy on my alpha and then get the feat up. Vlad is about six inches away from the Mountain King and my opponent is left with two marauders that he doesn’t want to send in under my feat. He attempts a gambit and charges Vlad in with Blood of Kings camping 3. I’m left in a pretty tricky situation and go for a boosted headbut which works and knocks him down. I then finish him with a Rockhammer from a Runeshaper.
Feels like a lucky escape as I needed a boosted 11 to hit that head-butt. Still I’m 4-2 and have a chance to get five wins which would be a first for me at a big seven round event.
Doomy3 vs Una2
I’m against my clubmate and regular youtube co-commentator Jacob. We don’t actually play against each other very much, so it’s always pretty cagey. He knows I’ll drop Doomy 3 and he goes for Una2. I feat and send my Mountain king forward. He doesn’t go in and jams with infantry. He then goes in next turn and kills both Mulg and the Earthborn under feat. From there my Mountain King is never in any trouble, but it’s impossible for him to work through Jacob’s army before the game ends on scenario. He wins and I finish a respectable 4-3.
- I tried Runeshapers this weekend. One unit in Doomy3 and two units in Horgle2. They don’t work. I’d just rather have another beast if I’m honest. They feel expensive and super fragile when all the opponents anti infantry options have nothing else to go after. These things need testing, but the Storm Troll is going back in the Doomy3 list
- Horgle2 isn’t some undiscovered gem. He might, after CID, be the worst the troll caster. He will certainly be bottom four with Grissel1, Madrak3 and Jarl. His feat is fiddly and the only way to get all the upkeeps out are in Power of Dhunia and nothing in that theme really takes advantage of his spell list. Some people think he will be much better in the Northkin theme. I remain unconvinced.
- The Scenario pack is fine, it’s taken me a while to adapt, but I don’t think there are any truly problematic scenarios. Even Spread the Net against Strakhov2 Pikemen spam didn’t feel awful. I think it’s just important to score your own flag, even if that means a key solo like the Fell Caller isn’t doing much.
The most important thing the weekend did was bring back my passion for the game. I felt mopey about playing Trolls pre CID, but I’m revitalized and often a tournament will do that for you. Thanks for reading.