-By: Elliott (PG_E2lio2tR)

There are many ways people attempt to make lists. Some people build lists to be really strong on the table. Others build lists to portray something from the story line and create an interesting look. Theme forces allow for a middle ground of these people. A theme force limits what you are allowed to us to create your army list but gives you bonuses for doing so. Today we are looking at theme forces, how they work, and what has changed between editions.

ragnor-skysplitter-the-runemaster_andrea-uderzo-14oct15In Mk2, theme forces required you to hit certain criteria before gaining a bonus, be this a number of a type of unit, bringing a solo of some sort or running a type or larger number of jack or beast in the battle group. They also were locked to a particular caster. One theme list based army would look like another. There was not much variety in them.

In Mk3 this is no longer the case. When you take a Theme Force, you are limited to the models that are listed. You also have the option of using any Warlock or Warcaster in the faction with the theme force.  For doing so, you gain a number of benefits automatically. So far these are free models for have a certain number of points used for a certain type of troop or beasts/jacks, an additional ability for some models that they do not normally have, and a general effect of some type. These additional rules opens up some design options that normally were not available to you. The trick is to find when they help play, when they limit your list design too much and when you can find different ways to use the theme.

Most Theme forces so far have listed that you are only allowed to use Non-Character Warjacks or Warbeasts. There is an exception to this rule. Some Jacks and Beasts have a rule called Bond. This rule states that the Jack/Beast is allowed in a theme force lead by their bonded Warcaster or Warlock. This means, for example, that Mulg can not be ran in a Trollblood theme force list with Borka1 but he can be ran in one with any version of Doomshaper. This allows you to run a thematic army of your favorite caster and their go to Beast or Jack.

The nice thing about the new Theme force system is that you can design the army in different ways to fit your style and what you want to get out of it. If you want to play beast heavy, troop heavy, or something between the two you can find a way to do so easily. I am going to use the Power of Dhunia theme from the Trollblood Command book as an example of this. Let’s take a look at what this theme brings to the table:

 

Restrictions:

  • Non- Character beasts
  • Solos and Units that have a magic ability or Stone Scribe units/solos
  • Whelp solos
  • All Trollblood Warlocks

Bonuses:

  • Allowed to field as many Runeshapers as you want
  • For every 25 points of beasts you can take a medium base solo that is allowed in the theme for free or five whelps for free
  • The beasts in the army get a better Threshold
  • Allowed to start the game with upkeeps in play on friendly models.

Now this theme can be taken in many ways and each person can look at it and find different ways to use it. Below are three army lists that take it in very different directions. For now this will be a general overview. I plan on coming back and Expanding on this in a future post once I get some table time with the theme.

Army 1: Beast Heavy

  • Doomshaper2
    • Runbearer (Free)
    • Mauler
    • Mauler
    • Mulg
    • Axer
    • Earthborn
    • Slag
  • Whelps (Free)
  • Whelps (Free)
  • Dhunian Knot
  • Krielstone Bearer & stone Scribes
    • Elder

hordes__trollkin_runeshaper_by_jayaxer-d3cm4zmThe idea behind this list is to let the Warbeasts do all of the work. The rest of the army is there to support them and make sure you can get the Alpha strike. Between Doomshaper2’s feat and the Rush Animus from the Axer, the Dire Trolls should be able to get where I need them to be. The Maulers themselves can crack the armor where needed. The Whelps, Knot and Stone are all there to support the Battle group and make sure once they are in they can do what they need to do. Mulg is allowed in this list because of his bond to Doomshaper.

 

Army 2: Troop/Beast balance

  • Calandra
    • Runebearer
    • Slag
    • Axer
    • Mauler
    • Earthborn
  • Janissa (Free)
  • Whelps (Free)
  • Krielstone Bearer & stone Scribes
    • Elder
  • Runeshapers
  • Runeshapers
  • Runeshapers
  • Runeshapers

While in this list the Beasts may do a good amount of work, it is the Runeshapers that are going to be setting things up for the kill with being able to knock stuff down and the Battle wizard ability from Janissa. Calandra’s spells and feat also help the units hit when needed and get up the board to where you need them.

Army 3: Earth manipulation Themed

  • Ragnor
    • Runebearer
    • Earthborn
    • Earthborn
    • Slag
    • Slag
  • Janissa
  • Northkin Shaman (Free)
  • Northkin Shaman (Free)
  • Krielstone Bearer & stone Scribes
    • Elder
  • Runeshapers
  • Runeshapers
  • Runeshapers
  • Dhunian Knot

Ok, this list is just to stick to a design theme and have fun with it. It may not be the most competitive. The idea behind this one is that the army is built around manipulating the earth and the stone around them. The warbeasts either come from inhospitable violent locations (Slags) or adapt to what is around them (Earthborns). The units and solos for the most part gain power from the stones around them. The Knot is there to be the advisers to Ragnor. The Shamen are the mountain men of the army and have traveled down the mountains in the north to help the army. This one is purely there for the look and the theme.  

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As you can see, the models used to make the lists are not really that much different from one another. It is how they are organized and put together that changes how the army works as a whole. The first army is very beast oriented. The second is a mix and tries to be balanced. The third is just for fun and to put a thematic army on the table.

Like I mentioned earlier, these lists have not been tested and are just a rough idea on ways to use the theme force. However, they do show how the same theme force can produce several different styles of lists while still taking advantage of the abilities provided. The trick is to find a way to use the theme force to enhance what you are trying to do, and not to force it. If it actually hinders what your goal for your list is, then do not use the theme. Theme forces are optional, not required. There are benefits to taking them but they are not the end all be all of list building. I still think my Gunnbjorn list is better the way it is then trying to force it into this theme. I would lose too much from restricting it then just playing it normally. The best way to find if you like a theme is to play around with it and see if it works for what you want to do. Go have fun making lists. Now, if you would excuse me, I am going to go play with the Band of Heroes theme and Grissel2 and see if I can make something click in a list.

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