I’ve been thinking about the feat, and how some casters have these feats we call “Time Walks.” Others have purely offensive feats. Which is harder to counter? Which feats feel like cheating? How do Trollblood feats measure up? Can we look at these in a vacuum?
What is a Time Walk? The best definition of a Time Walk Feat is one in which an opponent does nothing for a turn, or allows you to somehow take two turns.
For example, Haley1 grants her army an extra attack. Haley2 forces between 4-8 models to decide between giving up a combat action or move action, rendering those models useless for a turn. It used to affect all the models in her control area, but that was deemed too strong. The first example makes it seem like you get an extra turn. The second makes an opponent give up their turn.
Do trolls have a feat that makes an opponent skip their turn?
Borka2 has a limited capability in this regard. His feat grants stealth, eliminating ranged shots from anything but a dedicated gun line. His no melee portion is also limited. The stationary issue limits attacks from cavalry, jacks, beasts, but not most warriors, and does nothing to huge based models.
Gunnbjorn also has a limited time walk, working against ranged armies. It also can make hitting with magic more difficult, but not impossible.
Grim1 offers an answer to melee combat, with anyone activating in his control area suffering -3 SPD, and denying charges, power and special attacks. Good positioning could mean a large number of models might be denied combat for a round.
Doomshaper3 rolls back time as things hit, provided they don’t fight with Grievous Wounds, and aren’t hitting with enough damage to outright kill something in one blow. It is a battlegroup only feat, which is why he usually carries a ton of beasts.
Kolgrimma pushes things back 2”, and denies eyeless sight, as well as pathfinder, flight and shooting. Too bad she can’t stop slams, tramples and charges. The push combined with some sort of terrain manipulation (Sea King) prevents pieces from moving back in, and ranged armies caught in her feat lose a turn. It isn’t as powerful as it could be, since it doesn’t actually blind anyone despite the feat’s name.
Madrak1 offers another healing feat, this time working for the whole army, and straight up denies slams and charges. The healing part of Madrak’s feat only helps if things aren’t being killed outright, and I’m certain there is a damage threshold that the Champions can’t handle.
These Time Walks aren’t as harsh as the pre-2017 Haley2 feat. I’d like some of them to be stronger (Kolgrimma should blind, Borka2 should affect his whole army by making them all immune to cold), but I also know that over the next couple of years, the game warping time walkers will probably be taken down a notch to be equal to my Trollblood time walkers, much like Haley2 was in 2017.
Best of Both Worlds
Looking at feats from another perspective, you can divide them into Offensive and Defensive feats. Some warlocks and casters have a feat that dips its toe into both realms.
Grim1 fits this category. Offensively, he offers a DEF debuff, making his whole army more accurate. Defensively, he slows the opposing army down, and denies charges, power attacks and special attacks. Super into a melee army who stumbles into his control area, but not so great into a ranged army.
Doomshaper3 offers a splendid package for his battlegroup. While not as stable as Grim’s DEF debuff, Doomshaper grants his beasts an extra die to hit in melee. Sorry, Dire Bomber, no bonus for your bombs. The defensive aspect is probably better than Grim’s though. Most hard hitting things usually do around 10 damage to troll beasts. Healing d3+3 as you get damaged means more attacks are required to score a kill. That mini-timewalk could mean a turn of nothing accomplished by an opponent.
Skuld1, or Jarl as he is more commonly known, makes a great cloud wall. True, there are more ways around the cloud than ever before, but on his turn the clouds serve as an offensive component. Basically, Trollbloods inside the clouds have a mini tactician. Defensively, the clouds only work against enemy living models, giving them an accuracy debuff. Strategically, the clouds are clouds and block LOS and grant concealment.
Offensive feats give you more bang for the buck, amplifying damage, accuracy, or speed while doing little else.
Borka1 offers a 2” speed enhancement for the whole army, but only if charging, slamming or trampling. Warbeasts can’t charge for free, but they can make power attacks for free. With an additional die on collateral damage, something that can’t be boosted, beasts are encouraged to slam and throw.
Calandra brings Good Omens, a dice fixer. Her feat allows re-rolling one’s or twos, boosting average damage and accuracy.
Doomshaper2 is similar to Borka1. He grants a 3” speed buff, but only to his battlegroup. The beasts in Doomshaper’s army get to charge for free, as well as trample and slam. They give up free throws, which differentiates Doomy and Borka.
Horgle2 produces an accuracy and damage boost, but only against things in his control area suffering continuous fire effects.
Grim2 offers a range buff to ranged weapons that are not sprays, and gives the army a possible accuracy buff, based on positioning. Accuracy and range is nice, but with the advent of pyg scouts, it is probably time for Grim2 to be looked at in CID. Maybe if Privateer revamps Kriel Company, they’ll consider a damage buff instead of accuracy.
Madrak2 finishes off the last of the offensive troll warlock. Berserk and Overtake make troll dudes and beasts so much better at killing things. It isn’t so much a stronger attack, but an attack multiplier, assuming there are enough things to kill, and assuming those things are 1 hit box infantry.
On the other hand, sometimes all you can ask for is to keep your army alive during an alpha or during a retaliation.
Borka2 offers stealth, which works against casual gun lines, and threatens to make the enemy stationary if they attack in melee. Huge based models do not care about stationary effects. And there are plenty of ways to see stealthed models. I think it is supposed to work in conjunction with countercharge, so they walk up to 5” for a shot, but get countercharged. The stationary effect also only works for your cold immune models, and Borka lost his ability to hand out cold immunity, so his list selection becomes more restrictive if you try to maximize his feat. I think I’ve discussed this enough elsewhere, so I’ll stop beating a dead bear and move on.
Gunnbjorn fortifies your army against ranged attacks, preventing all ranged damage. Note that damage from electrical leaps still hurt. Cover is provided to the army, so the DEF vs shooting and spells increases by 4. Finally, Gunnbjorn offers no knockdown and therefore possibility of multiple tough checks.
Grissel2 hands out Unyielding and Reposition. The old way of doing business was to reposition to engage, thus gaining a +2 ARM against everything. With the change to Unyielding so that it is simply a +2 ARM vs melee damage, the re is no reason to engage. Enemy and friendly sprays, AOEs and magic will hurt more than they used to. Hopefully her feat will get another look if and when the Kriel Company gets a CID.
Kolgrimma, the new Trollblood hotness, offers a mandatory 2” push along with removal of eyeless sight, flight and pathfinder. It does also prevent shooting. This is much weaker than I expected, thinking that Snowbound would actually make things blind. So that thing that Lanyssa Ryssyl can do any time she wants is Kolgrimma’s feat, and there is a 2” push effect there to eat your clock as well, but it’s okay because things within 14-16” of gramma can’t shoot for 1 turn. I’m probably grandma’s only critic, but I really did think she should have blind as part of her feat. The denial stuff seems like it had anti-Legion thoughts behind it, and little else. If terrain isn’t an issue, then I don’t see this becoming a problem for most players outside of a very shooty army who can’t also melee.
Madrak1, the Troll favorite right now, removes damage and denies charges and slams. This is a little different from the other charge/slam denial feats, since the activating model doesn’t have to be inside Madrak’s control area to be affected. The upshot is that Madrak heals everyone in your army, and prevents enemy models inside and outside his control from charging and slamming. Although he only prevents melee, his feat does work during both your turn and your opponent’s.
Madrak3, the final incarnation, has a less impressive feat, since it is limited to protecting warrior models and does nothing for Warbeasts. It gives tough on 4,5,6, and repo if they tough. It also grants no knockdown, so they can keep making those 50% tough checks. It doesn’t grant any kind of parry, so if they move out of range they can suffer a free strike. Hopefully this one will go up for review, and allow either parry or an attack on toughing. And maybe no knockdown on Warbeasts?
Finally, the last of the Defense team, Ragnor. He offers the most comprehensive defensive feat ever… one less die of damage. So charges are one die less effective, purchased attacks, e leaps, whatever. It’s simple and effective.
Lastly, we have some warlocks who carry a mixed bag. Either their feats are not well defined, or so little for the army.
Grissel1 allows her army to be affected by more than one fell call, and allows her to use all three of her fell calls at once. That means with two fell callers, you could stack pathfinder and +2 MAT for an offensive blow. Combine that with her own Heroic Ballad for an extra attack…for that one unit. It really means you must take other fell callers in the list to make this worthwhile. It also means playing melee dudes. It is just one of those strange feats that probably has its moments, but isn’t outright offensive, defensive or a good blend for the whole army.
Doomshaper1 also offers a feat that seems rather odd. It deals 3d6 damage to an opponent when they use fury or focus. Most beasts and jacks won’t care about the d6 if they haven’t been injured. Most casters and warlocks will move back to cast, or if the time is right, ignore the feat and take the damage. If the timing is right for Doomy, then they’ll maybe be prevented from doing anything, but that requires injuring the enemy before using the feat. It’s a hard one to classify.
My final thoughts:
I haven’t decided which of the Troll warlocks earns the title of super feat. Certainly, none of them are like Haley2, Denny1, or Rasheth. Those guys have feats that are both defensive and offensive, and usually affect a wide swath of models.
Here is how I rate them… A-F.
- A- Madrak1
- B- Ragnor1, Calandra1, Doomshaper3, Skuld1, Grim1
- C- Borka2, Kolgrimma1, Gunnbjorn1, Madrak2, Grim2, Horgle2, Doomshaper2, Borka1,
- D- Doomshaper1, Madrak3
- F – Grissel1, Grissel2
A: Affects most of the army, during your turn, and affects the enemy during their turn.
B- Affects more than one aspect of your army, or the opposing army, but not both.
C- Affects only 1 aspect of your army (ranged or melee, for example).
D- Poorly affects only a narrow selection of your army
F has no real benefit or effect on the battlefield