-By: Elliott (PG_E2lio2tR)
One of the trickiest things to do when you first start in the game is figuring out how to make a list that works for you. There are a lot of lists that can be found online but since they were made by someone else, they may not fit your play style as well as one you made yourself. In this post, I will talk about how I develop a list from start to finish as well as testing and tweaking of the list.
For this article, I will be using the Trollkin Warlock Gunnbjorn. I am picking him as my focus on this list because he plays slightly different than my normal choices in this faction and will help compliment my normal go to of I think. This may change as I test the list and I find that they both ask the same question and provide the same answers.
There are different types of casters in this game. Some like to do the heavy work themselves, while others like to sit back and support the rest of the army. Some like a lot of beasts, and others want a balanced list with a few jacks/beasts in their battle group. How I see Gunnbjorn is as a “Beastcaster” who like to lend a hand with his bazooka but let his army do most the work. I came to this view from the combination of his abilities and spells. So, let’s take a closer look at Gunnbjorn and what he brings to the army.
Gunnbjorn has several support spells that will see a lot of use in an army designed to take advantage of them. The first on the list is Explosivo. This spell allows you to place a 3 inch AOE on any model directly hit and cause a POW 8 Damage roll to everything in it. To me, this spell will do well on a model with either a spray attack or one that can generate multiple range attacks each turn. The more models hit directly, the more models you can hit with the AOEs. POW8 may not be that strung but it can help clear out some models and cause your opponent to have to change their plans to try and avoid giving those AOEs a juicy target.
The next basic spell will be Snipe. With easy access to Far Strike from two different Warbeasts, it may seem odd to have this spell on a caster that will likely take at least one of them. Well, the idea behind it is that it can go on one of the beasts that do not have access to Far Strike but would like to hit something a bit farther away. There are a two good options for this spell. We will get to that a little later on. Let’s just say that in the right combination, you can hit a large chunk of the other army a few times before they get a chance to strike first with several hard hitting ranged attacks.
Rock Wall is a nice spell to help with giving key models a bit of protection. Placing it so that they can gain cover when needed at any place you can raise it at can be very useful. Another nice thing about it is that you can block charge lanes for your opponent and make him have to figure out new plans. When you spend one turn setting up a charge for the next turn just to have to change it all because you do not have access to pathfinder so you can not reach a target over a wall can be rough to deal with.
Now the key spell that I think will do the most for his army and will see a lot of play is called Guided Fire. This spell allows all models in his battle group (including himself) gain boosted ranged attack rolls. For the cost of three Fury, it can generate the effect of 5 or more Fury on the board without the added risk of Frenzying from pushing your beastes too much. The more models in his battle group, the more this spell can do.
For his battle group, he brings a Field Marshal ability that gives all the Warbeasts in his battle group Kill Shot. What this does is allow any Warbeast that kill a model in melee the ability to make one ranged attack once per activation. This already starts to help direct the composition of beasts that I will want to bring in a battle group with him. I am going to want beasts that can perform well in both melee and range. Between this ability and the spells he has access to, I think that Gunnbjorn can be a solid Beast caster. He does a lot for beasts in his battle group, but not much for troops. The only exception would be for Snipe. This spell can target a range unit, but I think it can do more work on a beast when combined with Guided Fire.
With all of this in mind, it is time to start picking out models for his battle group. As stated before, Gunnbjorn will want beasts that can do work both in melee as well as at range. The image of several of the large beasts running along side him as a fortress of meat and gunpowder seems interesting to me, so I decided to start by looking at the heavy beasts. The first stop in this step is to look at Gunnbjorn’s personal beast and its pyg friend Dozer and Smigg. This beast brings a solid range weapon and two big fists. Its animus Lucky Shot will help with its own range attacks and allow for rerolls on shots that deviate to hopefully get them in better locations. This can also be applied to the other models to help with shots that need to land. The biggest draw is its bond with Gunnbjorn. It allows Dozer to automatically boost damage rolls on blast damage. POW7 damage rolls may not be scary, but one with a free boost, it can do some damage that will help clear some of the enemy models. This along with Guided Fire allows for Dozer to get the same effect as multiple fury points for zero cost from it directly. This model will be the target of the Spell Snipe for sure. Bringing its Bombard up to range 18 will allow it to have a threat range of twenty-three inches (18 from the shot and 5 from movement). That is a large section of the board that It can easily threaten. All of this for just two Fury from casting its animus. He also has the ability Bulldoze that will help it push models out of zones or off of flags and objectives.
My next addition to the battlegroup is a pair of Bombers. There are several reasons I want to include this beast. The first is for the animus, Far Strike. It is just another version of Snipe but with the normal spell being on Dozer, this version can be placed on Gunnbjorn himself. The next reason is for the range weapon itself. Being able to lay down a pair of AOE4 POW 16 bombs per beast seems like it can be fun. With the addition of Far Strike, they can threaten seventeen inches. (12 inches from the weapon and animus and 5 inches from movement). These 4 attacks can also force your opponent to spread his models out more and dictate how they play their army. Each one will generate two fury a turn. One from reloading so that it can get two shots a turn, the other from casting its animus.
For my last addition to the battle group I am stuck between two heavy warbeasts, the Mauler and the Blizter. The reason I am stuck between these two beasts is because they each bring something different to the list. The Mauler brings something to help deal with high armor targets in melee. It could help deal with enemy Jacks and Beasts. The issue with this is that it will generate a lot more Fury on the turn it gets into the mix then my Warlock can pull off of it if I am going to activate my other beasts normally. It also would not get benefit from the Field Marshal ability. The Blizter would be a good target for Explosivo. With D3 ranged attacks a turn, it can cause more AOEs then another model with just one ranged attack. It would not need to be forced to boost these attack rolls because of Guided fire. Its animus would allow me to have a second model with Bulldoze on the table to help push models around. The issue here is that I would have trouble with heavily armored models like Khador Warjacks. I think for the first version of this list I will start with the Mauler. It will help with armor cracking. It will also allow me to pull off throws with its chain attack to help knock other models down to help the rest of the army hit them easier if it can not fish off the job. Also, it is a point cheaper, so with so many heavies in the list I will be able to take other models it help fill the gaps in.
Now that My battle group is set it is time to build the rest of the list. I start off by picking up a unit of Warriors. There is no frills in this choice. It is just a ten man unit. It is there to be a cheap tar pit to fill a zone or hold an object/flag and make the other side have to work through. I was stuck between these or a unit of Warders but for what I want the unit to do numbers would do better than multi wound models. The Warriors sport a respectable ARM15 which goes up to ARM17 in melee causing them to be a bit harder to work through and dislodge them.
The next unit I plan on including is the Dhunian Knot. This unit is included for two of their abilities. The first is for Puppet Strings. With so few attacks in the main part of the army, I want to make sure the ones that are taken have the best chance of hitting and doing damage. The main targets on this ability will be the war beasts that I plan on doing the most work that turn. The other ability that brings them to this list is the re-rollable Threshold checks they allow. Just in case I need to run my beasts a bit harder than I originally planned and have Fury left on them that I can not leech, I want to give them a better chance of passing their checks so that I can use them the way I want the next turn. This re-roll will help with that. If needed, these models can help heal models.
To help with the Fury management as well, I add in a set of Whelps. While helping heal beasts as needed, they also can act as a way to remove Fury before Leaching happens, so they will give you one extra turn of control after that big push. Also, with their Spawn Whelps ability, you can place them where you need as your beasts take damage. It just adds a little bit of flexibility to the list.
At this point in the process, I have 11 points left to play with. I have several key aspects filled in my list. I have the Fury management covered as well as a tarpit unit to occupy the other side for a few turns. So these last points will be used to fill in the holes left by the rest of the core of the army. To start, I add Alten Ashley. Although he is another ranged attack model in an army filled with this type of attack, he brings the ability Grievous Wounds to the table. This will help remove tough from models that I am trying to remove from the board for a turn as well as not allow them to heal. What he hurts, will stay dead. He also can help add more damage to enemy Warbeasts with his Monster Hunter ability. Extra damage helps where ever you can find it.
The next model added to the list will be a Fell Caller. This model will pull double duty. First it will support the Warriors to give them Pathfinder if you need to get them through some rough terrain in order to get them where you want them to hold. After that, he can act on his own, running around to get to the back of the other army to weed out the support models as well as add extra damage to harder targets thanks to its two Weapon Master attacks. It can affect itself with its own Fell Calls, so you can pick the ability that will help you the best in any given situation. This flexibility can help solve some issues that picking another model would present.
The last model to be added is the Gobber Chef. This model is really in the list because of its point cost and to round the army out to exactly 75 points. If I decided to switch the Mauler out for the Bitzer, this model would be removed as well to allow this change.
- So the final list looks like this:
- Dozer & Smigg
- Fell Caller
- Kriel Warriors (max)
- Dhunian Knot
- Alten Ashley
- Swamp Gobber Chef
- Total: 75 points
Now my plan is to play this list in at least five games versus different opponents before modifying it. After that I will see where the army needs to be tweaked to make it better and sure up issues that I find in it. This process will continue till I think the list is as good as it can be and I feel comfortable enough to play it and know what the good and bad match-ups are. I will update this list & the blog during this process.