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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Making eGrissel Work

Greetings Ladies and Gentlemen!  It's Whitestar333, the Steam-Powered Gamer here with another article designed to help you think about how to build Warmachine/Hordes lists to play to the strength of your chosen warcaster/warlock!  With my order of a Dire Troll plastic kit and Mulg coming in this week, I want to revisit my plans for my Trolls.  They have been an army that I've wished to assembled off and on for some time now, and they've always been fun to play against.  When I first started playing Hordes I remember playing against a Troll player far more than anyone else and I quickly learned to respect the blue-skins.  Today I want to discuss a warlock who has faced some negative press since her arrival, but I've loved her model since it was released: Grissel Bloodsong, Marshal of the Kriels.  In particular, today I want to do some list building with her based largely on theory.  She strikes me as quite the interesting warlock and she has such an awesome model that I want to find a way to make her work.  Let's jump right into it!

First I want to look at eGrissel's feat because I find it to be quite interesting.  It seems fairly lackluster and unfocused, but her feat simultaneously gives all friendly models in her control area Hyper Aggressive and Unyielding.  What this means is that when a model is damaged by an enemy attack they can make a full advance towards the enemy model.  This can be quite useful against a foe which might want to soften you up before you get into their face and with Unyielding that also means that when you do get into their face, you are a little harder to damage.  This feat is an interesting defensive feat that can be used preemptively or if you're already engaged and want some extra ARM.  This is not a game-breaking feat by any means but it will be quite useful with anything with a decent SPD.

Her spell list is really small and limited but don't let that fool you!  She had two great spells that you'll want to use fairly often.  The first is Dash, best known for being used by Rhyas and it gives +1 SPD for all friendly models in your control range and makes them immune to free strikes!  This again is better utilized by models which have a higher SPD value already, as while the +1 SPD is great, the immunity to free strikes is really something you'll want to take advantage of.  This is a spell that will probably be cast every turn because if a unit runs that extra 2" can also be quite advantageous!  You could also use this to run behind your enemy lines to 'divide and conquor' and popping your feat would mean your troopers would be annoyingly difficult to dislodge to boot!  You'll definitely want multi-wound models to make the most advantage of her feat since the extra ARM adds to survivability while a model needs to be damaged to get the Hyper Aggressive benefit, and one-wound troopers would not really get to use it.

Her other useful spell is Inhospitable Ground.  While this spell can be easily ignored by models with Pathfinder, it can be situationally quite useful to allow your army to advance upfield quickly without worrying as much about getting charged first.  Even if your opponent has access to Pathfinder via spells or other abilities, casting this spell might at least blunt any plans they might have had for those abilities elsewhere.

Where eGrissel really shines, however, is that she is actually a ranged warlock.  With a reasonable POW on her ranged attacks and a decent RNG (with the help of an Impaler, of course) her ranged attacks are really what will help you to support your army.  On top of the fact that it's ROF: 3, she can choose a special ammo type each time she "shoots" (really more like sings).  So while her spell list seems limited, she makes up for it with these ranged attacks that can have one of 3 different ammo types: Crescendo - a larger AOE and lower POW which damages models which enter or end their movement inside, Quake - which knocks down models in the AOE on a direct hit, and Sonic Eruption - a 10" spray!  These offer Grissel some great front-line flexibility to support her troops offensively in ways in which other warcasters/warlocks would need to cast spells.  What Grissel offers is several ways of keeping her own models safe while keeping opposing models at bay until her force can strike hard.

So what does this mean for list building?  Well I really like her theme force, but without the models being released yet for the Sons of Bragg, it's really not worth trying yet.  Instead I want to take advantage of multi-wound models since they can benefit the most from the added ARM of eGrissel's feat.  This time I actually want to share two different lists that I've been tossing around.  Here's the first:

Grissel Bloodsong, Marshall of the Kriels (+6)
- Troll Axer (6)
- Troll Impaler (5)
- Swamp Troll (4)
Trollkin Champions (min, 6)
- Skaldi Bonehammer (3)
Trollkin Champion Hero (3)
Trollkin Long Riders (min, 7)
Horthol (4)
Stone Scribe Chronicler (2)

This list tries to make the most advantage of what Grissel has to offer.  Her ranged attacks can be quite effective at clearing out or at least clearing out swarms of lightly-armored infantry and once they get close she can even clear them out more with her spray.  Each model in her army has multiple damage boxes too, so it means you'll be able to make the most of her feat, quickly engaging enemy models as well as benefitting from a higher ARM once engaging enemy models.  Long riders are a fun part of this list, especially with Dash, letting them make the most of their Cavalry rules like Ride-by-Attack, when they can't be free-struck if they fail to kill their target.  Dash will also be quite effective at delivering your Champs into melee, and when you do, the combination of not being free-struck while being able to move through your own models (thanks to the Champ Hero), means that you can really cleave through lines of opposing infantry.

This list doesn't benefit from the typical Troll philosphy of 'bricking up' and instead hits like a ton of bricks.  Even when faced with heavy targets like lots of warjacks and warbeasts, these guys can hit really hard since Grissel can make sure that enemy targets will have a hard time getting to you first, thanks to Quake knocking down targets (or at least getting warjacks/warbeasts to spend focus/fury to 'shake' the effect) or using Inhospitable Ground to keep the non-Pathfinder models/units at bay until you are able to get that crucial charge.

Lastly, the Stone Scribe Chronicler and the Swamp Troll offer some great denial effects that stack well with your feat should you choose to use it preemptively so your opponent will have to charge into you, but won't like doing it.

These are models which are fairly common among most Troll lists but I wanted to try something a little different so I tried thinking outside of the box and created a second list that I figured might also work well:

eGrissel (+6)
- Earthborn Dire Troll (10)
- Dire Troll Bomber (10)
- Troll Impaler (5)
Kriel Stone Bearer (full, 4)
- Stone Scribe Elder (1)
Trollkin Runeshapers (4)
Trollkin Runeshapers (4)
Janissa Stonetide (3)

This might look a little strange at first, but if you forget entirely about using the spell Dash, this could be quite interesting to try.  Since eGrissel's singing is ROF: 3, she can spend her fury on buying extra attacks or boosting damage instead of spending it casting spells.  This list sacrifices the melee prowess of Champions to instead focus on slamming your opponent with ranged attacks.  The Bomber is well-known for its powerful ranged attacks, but with Grissel being capable of knocking down a bunch of models in an AOE (thanks to Quake), the Bomber can be even more threatening.  The same holds true for the Runeshapers which have Critical Knockdown on their Rock Hammer or can even just cast Tremor to knock down a bunch of targets nearby.  Even the Impaler can knock targets down with his Critical Smite on his spear, so most of your list is capable of knocking your opponent onto their feat.

Another interesting interaction is with Janissa and the Runeshapers.  I've written before on my blog about how awesome Runeshapers are, but with Janissa they become even more interesting since she can give them Force Lock, meaning enemy models can't leave their melee range.  With Grissel's feat this can be quite interesting because if an enemy damages them they can advance forward and potentially lock-up enemy models from moving anywhere else (regardless of whether they have Parry, Acrobatics, Ghostly, or Incorporeal).  Throw in the Kriel Stone and the Unyielding from her feat and suddenly those Runeshapers are looking pretty difficult to kill on top of all of that!  You still have Janissa walking around throwing up a Rock Wall to keep your ranged units alive even longer and you have Tectonic Shift if your opponent throws a model in your face that can't be knocked down, so you can just move it out of your way.

Trollkin women, unite!

This second list plays the attrition game rather well - keeping your models safe from reprisal while you barrage your enemy with a load of AOEs.  The Earthborn can comfortably sit back behind a rock wall and in the aura of your KSB (at ARM 22!) while the rest of your models throw out POW 14/15 AOEs and soften up a target for him to munch.  Even Grissel will be difficult for your opponent to assassinate while she's sitting at DEF 17/19 behind Janissa's Rock Wall and can be at ARM 21 thanks to the KSB and Elemental Communion.  Oh and on top of all of that, you can cast Inhospitable Ground just to mess with your opponent and buy yourself even more time to sit back lobbing AOEs in their face.

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