This Year’s Activity
I played fewer games than normal this year. All sorts of family activities, coaching, work, and so on, interfered with my “me” time. So I didn’t make it to any tournaments, and only picked up a few games at the local game store, and a few more at home with my wonderful wife, who picked up Protectorate of Menoth this year. Most of my games were with Trollbloods, with a small number of Crucible Guard matches now and then. This summary reflects my thoughts on Trollbloods in the Iron Kingdoms during Oblivion.
Dynamic Update Jan 2019
In January, Khador received their dynamic update, giving a bunch of models some new abilities, and solidifying the Doom Reavers as a cheap, effective fighting unit. From a Trollblood perspective, the Doom Reavers become more fearsome, dropping in points, and becoming more manageable. Their Greylord Escorts turn Doom Reavers into kriel killers, removing tough from trolls. Fenris picked up Grievous wounds, making it easier for Khador to drop our healing-reliant dire trolls.
Dynamic Update May 2019
The pirates picked up a whole bunch of tough units, and found another way to remove stealth. With another way to drop stealth, Borka 2’s feat becomes less effective. The increase of tough units means another reason for people to invest in anti-tough abilities. Overall, the May 2019 update weakens the troll armies, and reduces their ability to remain competitive.
The rules changes for theme list building changed the number of warbeasts tolls could include in a Kriel Company, Storm of the North, and Band of Heroes list without sacrificing free solos. Power of Dhunia picked up some interesting choices as well. Additionally, Boomhowler, Blythe and Bull all picked up Partisan.
Boomhowler, Blythe and Bull
Overall, a great change. Suddenly, Trollbloods pick up a pair of units, one with prey, that benefit from the Krielstone and all the warlock spells. They were always in the periphery, but now they can actually interact with the army. Imagine Gunnbjorn handing out snipe, Grissel bumping up their speed, Jarl hiding them in clouds, Madrak giving them survivability, and Calandra making them lucky.
Additionally, they get to become Northkin models in the Storm of the North theme, and in Band of Heroes, they pick up the super-take-down on melee weapons!
I’m still waiting for Raluk to become a troll again. I believe any troll should be able to heed the call of the kriels. I wouldn’t expect his warjack to gain anything, but he sure could use the +2 bonus to Armor from the krielstone.
The Trollblood archon released this month. On her own, she’s not a bad solo. Another support option for an already support-heavy faction. The question for including her in Power of Dhunia is whether you requision her or the Dhunian Knot. You give up puppet master and healing, but pick up a different form of healing (a friendly model has to be destroyed first) and soul ward.
From my games played, I don’t think it’s as dominating as the Menoth Archon, which takes either a heavy warbeast, or a heavily buffed light warbeast to kill one, and can sweep through your units with its crazy grievous wound mace. Those are troll killers. The Dhunian Archon can take some of the damage, preventing a minimum of three deaths before having to heal herself, hopefully mitigating some of the Menoth Archon output.
My Dhunian Archons are still in their boxes, but will join the Trollblood army in 2020.
I really wasn’t impressed with the theme changes. The solos with marked target is cute, but in Kriel Company, you already have a unit that does the same, and a feat on one of the primary Kriel Company warlocks that turns everyone into a marked target provider.
Looking toward 2020
New Active Duty Roster
Kriel Company and Band of Heroes, with Jarl Skuld, Hunters Grim, Madrak 1 and Grissel 1 offer a few alternatives, with each warlock being acceptable in both themes. Jarl works in KC, giving out pathfinder and the ability to ignore cover on ranged attacks, or in BoH, with clouds allowing charging cavalry to push through fennblades. Hunters Grim and Grissel both offer a different form of defense and armor debuffing, while Grissel enhances troop movement with her fell call. and Madrak is certainly a favorite, working well in BoH, and questionably so in KC. If a champions event ever came up, where I could attend, then this season would not disappoint me, since Jarl, Grissel, and Hunters Grim are all favorites of mine. I have little play time with Madrak, but he never really interested me in the past. I may have to revisit him with Champions, Long Riders and a Dhunian Archon.
A Trollblood player can dream.
I love Runeshapers, Janissa, and Ragnor. I love them so much, I want more. I really think Power of Dhunia should have more earthen stuff.
Runeshaper Elder Krielstone Command Attachment
I dream of a Runeshaper Elder attachment for the Krielstone. I want him to warp the stone with magic enhancing abilities, like +1 to magic attack and damage rolls, immunity to electricity, and an aura that creates rough terrain for enemy models. This should be a female elder!
Minor Runeshaper Adjustment
Runeshapers should just always be FA:U. They should pick up advanced deployment in the POD theme to take advantage of Dig In.
An FA:2 Runeshaper solo with weapon master and Warhead on their 2″ reach hammers. They have MAT 7, P&S 12 and Righteous Vengeance.
Ragnor / Battle Wizard Quality of Life Improvement
Fix Battle Wizard so that it reads: “Once per turn, when this model destroys one or more enemy models with a melee attack during its activation, immediately after the attack is resolved it can make one Magic Ability special attack or special action, or cast a spell costing 3 or less.”
Alternatively, instead of fixing Battle Wizard, give Ragnor the “Rock Hammer” as a Magic Ability  special attack. I think I like this option better.
Runeshaper Stone Caller and Leyline Keystones unit
An FA:2 Runeshaper Stone Caller and Leyline Keystones unit consisting of two Leyline Keystones and a Runeshaper Stone Caller. The Leyline Keystones are DEF 5, ARM 18, 5 hitbox stones with carvings all over, like the krielstone. The stones may be used as arc nodes by a friendly faction warlock. The stone is destroyed after a spell is arced through it. The Stone Caller may summon up to two Keystones if there are less than two Keystones currently in the unit. When summoned, the keystones must be placed completely within the command range of the caller, who has a CMD 8. The caller has typical Runeshaper stats, an axe, but no additional spells.
I still feel like trolls are penalized for being tough, in a world where everyone has tough models, and anti-tough is a thing. Either reduce the cost of warrior models faction wide, or make trolls tougher than humans by granting them a tough on 4, 5, and 6. Then give Madrak3 a new feat.
With the warbeast options opened up, KC isn’t bad. But the solo marked target thing seems a little silly, but it’s actually nice. Overall, I really don’t have any complaints about the theme, but there is still room for improvement. There are a ton of unit options here, and again, all the warbeasts, so I’ve nothing to complain about. I have heard about the Kriel Warrior complaint (they aren’t in theme), but there’s enough chaff in available, like Northkin Raiders that it doesn’t really come up.
Theme Quality of Life Adjustment
I don’t like the re-roll. Instead of the re-roll, give us the “up to one Trollkin Scouts unit gains Ambush” rule.
Slugger Command Attachment
Add a command attachment for sluggers that lets them dig in, put out covering fire templates (like Boomhowler 2), and offers a once per game CRA. The command attachment should be armed with a bazooka like Gunnbjorn1’s.
Gunnbjorn 2, as a battle engine. He’s on a war wagon, but the trolls stole a Khador Victor’s guns. So now they have Gunnbjorn firing a Siege Mortar (Rng 20, AOE 5, POW 15) with all the special attack types and arcing fire, and two Auto Cannons with flak fire, plus all the normal warlock, cavalry and war wagon rules. Gunnbjorn 1’s feat is already pretty good, so doing something special with Gunnbjorn 2 would be difficult. Maybe boosted damage rolls vs constructs, Tactician [Trollblood] for friendly faction models in his control range and +2 spd when charging.
These guys need work. I suggest increasing their burrow marker movement to 4″ per turn. And increase their surface placement to 6″, like they pop out of their hole and walk. They can keep the restriction on sacrificing their movement or combat action; that makes sense.
Add reload  for 1 fury. They are carrying a quiver full of spears, let them use it. While I’m dreaming, bump up their Def by 1, to 13.
His feat should be increased to a 3, 4, 5, or 6. So it’s better than a 50% chance. Other than that, leave him as is.
Snow Shroud needs to go back to granting friendly faction models immunity to cold. I want to run him in BoH or PoD or KC too!
Look at his picture on the card. Does it look like the bear has a 0.5″ range? Okay, I understand the mount 0.5, but add in the two claws and bite from the bear! Make them the same as the battle bear claws and bite. Move the Trash ability to the two claws. Give Borka2 two more hit boxes, since some of the blows he receives probably go to the bear.
I used to complain about Horgle 2, but after several games, I’ve learned to love his spell list. Even the feat is workable. I retract everything negative I ever said about him. He’s great.
Fix Vortex of the Deep so that it pushes models, then applies the shallow water terrain.
Great model, but why isn’t the Spew Acid a spray? SPEW! It doesn’t even have to be a big spray. I’d take a spray 6.
Add to Kriel Company. I mean, just look at his hat! He needs to hang with the Scouts.
So after a bunch of games (not as many as I would like), and a nice break, I can say that I still enjoy playing trolls. Breaking from the FB and forum groups was a good idea. It helped me experiment more and gripe less.
I think the game is fairly balanced at this point. I would like to see a few changes to the Trollbloods, but overall I still feel they are really competitive. I think the runeshaper piece needs more exploration, and a few minor tweaks to some of the themes and models would help enhance the game without throwing it off balance.
I purposely left out the Riot Quest models. I haven’t bought any. I don’t feel they really add much to the faction that isn’t already there. I may purchase the pyg tanks later, but even then, they’re kind of an insult to my poor Crucible Guard, who definitely should have had treads on their engines.
So, one more wrap – trolls good. Game good. Tons of fun. Looking forward to the future.