Troll Impaler: Theory, Test, Fix

 

Troll Impaler, the Model

I have always liked the Impaler model.  He(?) looks brutal.  In the old days, he was much bigger than Trollkin, but now they are about as big, and a pack of Impalers could easily be confused for a unit of something wierd.

The older sculpt is still my favorite.

 

I mean, he is carrying snacks! Whole chickens! And the pose is totally adjustable.  Keep in mind the fierce expression, the pack of quickly retrieved spears, and the lack of heavy armor.  These are four of the six I currently own.

Why so many? Well not by choice, to be honest.  I purchased one in the Mk3 starter box with Ragnor, and the rest came from the used troll glut that happened after mk3 released.

Hate for the Impaler

As a relative newcomer to the game and faction, I didn’t understand the hate.  It is a warbeast with a soft snipe.  It shows up in the fluff (fiction in the rulebooks and magazines). It has set defense, so slams and charges will probably need a boost to hit it at DEF 12 bumped to 14.

What it isn’t is a snipe giver. It can’t hand it out to another warbeast or unit, but it did in mk2!

So, it kind of represents the Trollblood faction as a whole.  It, and the faction, lost a lot of the flexibility that once propelled Trollbloods into the top tier.  Granted, it wasn’t only trollbloods who suffered…many hordes animus were adjusted in this manner (or so I have been told).

The Impaler, like a multitude of Trollblood models, doesn’t have a unique purpose.  It isn’t an exceptional model, adept at doing one great thing.

Is it great at ranged combat? Not with RAT 5 and a base Range 8. Fury efficient? No, it costs all 3 to far strike, hit and damage things reliably. Melee? Again, MAT 5.

And most egregious in the eyes of Trollblood players is that it costs 11 points! And in a world where we routinely (albeit erroneously) compare cross-faction, everyone else has something better for far cheaper in what Troll players think the Impaler is supposed to be good at.

Defending the Impaler

So what are we paying for? Let’s look at the Impaler outside the vacuum for a few minutes.

Set Defense

At first blink, this isn’t an amazing ability.  But it reducess the chance of taking a charge or slam attack down a notch.  A MAT 6 to a DEF 12 hits 72% of the time at 2d6. A DEF 14 lowers that to 41%. So that is a 30% difference.

Now, throwing 3d6 (Cavalry charge and Boosting Warbeasts or Warjacks) scores a 95% dropped to 83% for Set Defense.  A MAT 7 @ 2d6 is 83% dropped to 58%, and at 3d6 doesn’t even blink at 98% dropped to 90%.

Still unamazed, right?  Trollbloods don’t Defense skew for a reason.  But Madrak1 with Even Ground can raise these Defense numbers to 16, giving a MAT 6 a 16% at 2d6, 62% at 3d6, and a MAT 7 a 27% chance to hit at 2d6 and 74% at 3d6.

Calandra, with Star Crossed (roll extra die, drop highest), gives us the following:

MAT 6, 2d6: DEF 12 47%, DEF 14 19%

MAT 7, 2d6: DEF 12 64%, DEF 14 32%

MAT 6, 3d6: DEF 12 86%, DEF 14 64%

MAT 7, 3d6: DEF 12 94%, DEF 14 76%

So… Set Defense. Not great against things that are good at hitting things, like Cavalry.

Cygnar,  Protectorate, Khador, Cryx, Retribution all have MAT 7 cavalry.  So on the charge, the impact attack probably will hit (58% chance to hit with 2d6 MAT 7) a little above half the time, and score the charge attack 90% of the time.  And although the impact attack might miss under Madrak1 or Calandra, the charge attack still hits from cavalry because it is automatically boosted.

Keep all that in mind for later, because it doesn’t look like Set Defense on a DEF 12 Troll is really helpful.

Range 8 Thrown Spear

Range 8 isn’t far. Snipe from Gunnbjorn bumps it to 12″, and the Hunters Grim Feat can do that one time, or the Impaler can use far strike.   But then we are shooting with a RAT 5 spear, to hit something big and slow, like a DEF 12 thing (because we can boost).

I think the Impaler was given the chickens. I cant see it hitting one.

So it can walk 5″, throw a spear 8″ to 12″ and maybe hit something.   At POW 13, it isnt hurting jacks.  Instead, it seeks to do the thing trolls do best… power attack.  In this case, the crit slam is really what we are paying for, but crits don’t happen often, so the Dhunian Knot needs to hang about to give those boosted attack rolls a reroll when needed.

Not something I want to rely on, but it can help push things out of zones.

The Troll Impaler does benefit from the Krielstone, bumping POW to 14 and collateral damage to POW 10. It also benefits from Mauler’s Rage, potentially reaching POW 17, POW13 on those spears with the limitation that it can only throw it 8″.

Snipe

Yup. Love it or hate it, SNIPE is part of the 11 point package.  It probably wouldn’t be so bad if we could pass it around, but it’s mk3 now.

Troll Impaler Role

It has been said that the Bomber is every bit a better ranged fighter than the Impaler.  It has 2 each POW 16 bombs, and can fire both at 12″ with two boosted attack rolls, or a boosted attack and damage followed by a non-boosted.

The Impaler often gets compared to the Ice Troll, who has the cold immunity, pathfinder, and cold damage peculiar to Northkin Trolls, and a native Range 10.  It falls in at 2 points cheaper.  It does have one less armor, but one more MAT.   So is the Ice Troll a ranged fighter, or a melee?

The Pyre Troll is another melee troll disguised as a ranged beast, coming in at 8 points, although lacking pathfinder and only having a 0.5″ melee.

Slag troll at 10 points assault, no pathfinder. Storm at 9, Winter at 8.

There are plenty of ranged trolls to choose from.

The Fix

Armor.

Look at this guy.  Look at all the Troll models.  Why doesn’t their armor rating make any sense?

Ice: 16. He doesnt wear anything.

Night:15. Believable.

Pyre: 16, Slag: 17. Is it because he has rocks in him?

Storm: 16. Swamp: 16. Axer: 17.  Is the armor on the Axer as good as the topless Slag? Basher 16, Bouncer 17 (+2 shield), Impaler 17, winter 16.

It doesn’t make sense!

Bouncer is clearly the most heavily armored troll. Make him 18.

Axer falls in next at 17. Slag by definition can be 17 too, and maybe Pyre, since he looks pretty rocky or lava-ish.

Maybe the northkin have tougher skin. Make them 16.

Then the Impaler and Storm should sit at 15 while the Swamp and Night should only be 14.

And as a direct result, bump up the Defense to match.

Does that mean having DEF 13 and 14 trolls? Absolutely.

The Impaler would be a DEF 14, with Set Defense. The Swamp and night would be DEF 14. Northkin DEF 12, like they are, along with Axer, Pyre and Slag, but Bouncer could even slip to 11.

Why?

What this would do is create a pocket niche for some of these harder to hit trolls. The Impaler would benefit from a more beneficial set defense, starting at DEF 14 vs 12.  The one point doesnt seem like much, but then combine it with whelps, Madrak1 or Calandra and a Swamp troll.

The spear

Two issues here.  One, ranged. Two, melee.  First, look at the other non-elemental, non-Northkin.

Axer boasts MAT 6. Good. He fights infantry with that big thresher axe. Bouncer at Mat 6? Neat. Normally shield guard is more important to me, but he can hit stuff.  In truth, I would actually be cool at MAT 5 if I could have a P&S 13 on that ball & chain. I dont see why it doesn’t do more damage.  Now Impaler…MAT 5 RAT 5? I am almost ok with the average-

ish RAT, because I will almost always boost, fishing for the critical smites, and the Impaler’s almost always after Def 10-13 jacks. So what would be nice is RoF 2. Not reload. Pay one for snipe, one for attack, and one for second attack.  I’m not worried about boosting damage because it isn’t armor punching I’m after (there are trolls that do that better) but the long distance slams (17″ threat).

Total Impaler Package

For 11 points, a drop in ARM, buff in DEF and ROF, you then have a piece that can threat actual presence in a zone, with a DEF 14 (up to 16 vs charges and slams) and a gun that can get two chances for that crit (1 for far strike, 1 for boosted attack, 1 for boosted attack).

Follow up with a revision of the rest of the Trollblood lights, and voila! You have light warbeasts with roles and functions that make them an asset rather than a liability.

Let me know what you think

Feel free to comment below (with your facebook! Keep this all in mind when it comes time for the CID.