As I read through my No Quarter magazine, I can’t help ask myself how I would handle Trenchers with my troll army. What problems do they present? How do they counter our strengths? Are they stronger than us on scenario?
What Do Trenchers Ask of Us?
Expect lots of Tough units hiding in or behind smoke clouds. Cygnar has the ability to add reposition to its units, who can then pop smoke and disappear from sight. Band of Heroes obviously deals with tough, but how do we handle clouds?
In my game against Caine 3 at Texicon last July, I found my trolls facing a line of fire and smoke clouds. As long as the Trenchers stay just inside the cloud, they can be seen. They if they are completely within, they gain the Def bonus vs ranged and magic attacks, but don’t have a defense against melee. So the answer is “engage, engage, engage.”
The other issue with Trenchers is that they often out-threat trolls. Their guns can soften us up before we can position a charge, and if they are given reposition, they can dance out of range of everything.
They can also add in Mercs. Expect to see Ragman, Gorman, and other nasty solos. Probably not too many units, unless they add Murdoch, who makes Mercs become Cygnar. Armor debuff, anti-magic, blind, and sniping are all tools the Trencher army will have access to.
Cygnar has pretty much all of their Warjack at their disposal. That can be frustrating at times, since they can keep using lightning in all their themes, run heavy hitters with high armor, and keep their good Melee/Ranged combo jacks. It doesn’t seem fair, but it fits their faction. The good thing here is that when they pick up jacks that do cortex damage, or have disruption, they are paying for abilities useless into our troll armies.
The structure is interesting. Heavy ARM, but not ridiculous. ARM 20 is within dire troll range. It provides a lot of ranged fire, but can’t move. Its biggest contributions come in the form of recursion and the extra trench templates.
Biggest worry: Trencher Commandos
Anti-tough infantry killers, who work well with Finn. They are like extra, mini Finns. Stealth, reposition, scatterguns, grenades, and a +2 attack/damage. My favorite Cygnar unit got amped up.
Into Tough and Recursion, remove from play is an easy answer. Also, we have practice in dealing with recursion from handling Ghost Fleet. Cryx boogeyman probably helped the meta prep for Cygnar Trencher Mania.
If we play Band of Heroes, we need to consider warlocks with speed buffs to get our troops engaged. Fennblades have the +2 from No Quarter, so they can get there. Add in a buff from Jarl and the Trenchers are in trouble.
For the solos, we need to bring something with sniping capability. I will be honest; I haven’t figured out what the best solo sniper is for trolls. We have a few ranged trolls, but nothing like some of the snipers and solo hunters other factions use. An option may to go out of theme, and incorporate Alten Ashley or the Totem Hunter. The Skinner may have a job, since those pesky solos tend to float along the edge of the battlefield, and ambush can wreck a careless solo pretty easily. Speaking of Ambush, our upcoming Northkin, the bears, may help in killing solos along the sidelines. In theme, Braylen has a pair of decent guns, and sees play with Kriel Company.
What about that blockhouse? Primarily a recursion piece. It is expensive. An enraged Dire Troll can kill it with no problem. It might get a few shots off, but it is stationary. When it falls, it leaves behind trenches that provide cover to us just as well as it did for the Trenchers. If Cygnar runs one, they’ll be spending 14 points fewer for jacks or troops. Honestly, I think it is a little overpriced (12 points would be better) and that helps us a bit.
The Trencher Commandos are a huge threat to troll units. Our main defense is to out threaten the commandos. They also can’t dig in. They’ll need to use trenches to avoid blast damage. This makes them vulnerable to a good scatter.
Scatter, even in the context of missed AOE attacks, always makes me think about Scattergunners. These guys have always been a favorite of mine, and with Trenchers digging in and laying low in trenches and clouds, our Scattergunners are going to be busy. Remember that spray attacks ignore “concealment, cover, Stealth, intervening models, and target in melee DEF bonus.” Sprays also ignore clouds, per the errata, so bonus! But I think you might have to at least see a target before laying down a spray template (I’m a little uncertain), but Clear fixes that pretty well.
They have a strong ranged game, offer a good melee, and play into strengths many of Cygnar’s casters. Despite their strengths, I think trolls have a good game into Trenchers. Kriel Company with Gunnbjorn can work pretty well, Grim2 brings mortality, Calandra Starcrossed, a Band of Heroes build, or a Mountain King spray fest. The struggle against Ghost Fleet not only tipped the meta further against us (anti recursion is usually anti tough), but has also helped us prep for Trenchers.