-By: Elliott (PG_E2lio2tR)
Have you ever wished that your model had a chance to shrug off that last damage roll that
killed it? Do you wish they were just plain tougher? Well, that is the topic for today’s Rule Focus, Tough. There are several models and units which have this rule. Almost all of the Trollblood Warrior models have it. Only the Whelps don’t, but they are there to die anyway. It is a common rule which has changed some since the edition change. These changes have tripped up vets of the game and new players alike. The goal of this article is to help you understand it, how it has changed, how it works, how to make it better, and how to get around it.
When it becomes disabled (has no more wounds), a model with Tough (indicated with the icon: ) gets a 33% chance of staying in the game. This is done by rolling a d6 and, on a roll of 5 or 6, the model is knocked down and reduced to just one wound instead of dying. While a model is knocked down, they do not get to make a tough roll. This ability has the chance of really screwing up the attack plans of your opponent. Imagine only having enough attacks to just kill a caster, the last hit you can generate does the final wound, and the target toughs: now you are faced with going from winning to having to defend yourself with no resources to do so. How about needing to clear a model to open a charge lane, but it toughs and stays right there in the way? It is not a sure thing, but it is something that needs to be planned around.
There are some ways built into the game to improve this ability. The first is giving the unit or model the ability to not get knocked down. A good example of this is the spell Solid Ground on Irusk2. With this spell in effect, all models in his Control range can not be knocked down or suffer blast damage. In conjunction with his ability, Total Obedience, all living friendly faction models will not lose tough from knock down effects. As long as you keep rolling 5 or 6 on a dice, the model will stay on the board. Another way to help make Tough a little better is with special rules like Tale of Mist from the Stone Scribe Chronicler in Trollbloods. This ability causes a model affected to no longer be targeted by ranged attacks or magic attacks while knocked down. While you will still need to pass your tough check and forfeit your movement or action your next turn to stand up, the affected model will only be able to be attacked once a turn. That’s not a bad way to stay alive.
There are ways around it as well. There is no ability in the game that does not have a weakness somewhere, and Tough has a few. Since Tough removes damage when it happens, abilities and rules that do not allow damage to be removed stops tough. Things like Grievous Wounds, for example, turns off Tough for a turn, not just on the one hit. The ability Snipe is another ability that denies Tough, but just on that one attack. The biggest and easiest way to turn Tough off is by knock-down effects. The best example of this would be Kreoss1’s feat. Since all models in his Control Range are knocked down, all of them lose tough. Rather scary for Troll players, or anyone that uses tough, to face.
There are some off cases where the interaction with other rules and Tough can get a little confusing. One such case is when a model has both Tough and the rule Dragoon.This rule gives a model a mounted and a dismounted forms of the same model. When the mounted version is destroyed, the dismounted version is placed on the board. Basically, the horse dies giving the Rider a second chance on the board. How this interacts with tough is that the rider has Tough, not the horse. So, when you fill the first damage track you do not get a tough roll. You just place the dismounted model on the board. When that model is reduced to no wounds, is when you make the Tough roll.
Tough itself is a simple rule to remember. It is how it interacts with other rules that makes it seem trickier than it actually is. The best way to avoid any issues using this rule is the same as any other in the game: learn the rule, learn your list, practice.
- Learn the rule: on a 5 or 6, your model gets knocked down but is not boxed or destroyed. If it is knocked down, the model loses tough.
- Learn your list: Know what rules interaction between your models. Does one model’s rule affect how Tough works on another model? Do you have a model that can remove tough from one of your opponent’s models?
- Practice: Play your list. Play it a lot. Learn what to expect and how to avoid the things that affect you negatively. Learn how to facilitate the things that affect you positively. The way you do this is from playing a lot.
These last two things actually can be true about the game as a whole. The interactions of the rules is what makes this game fun and interesting. The trick is that, with rules like Tough, learning how it works in the game as a whole takes a bit of time and experience to know fully. The best way to get experience is the reason we are here in the first place, to get games in and have fun.