-By: Elliott (PG_E2lio2tR)
Well, here we are again. I am ready to stepping away from my last list and into a new caster and a new list. Today, we will be looking at how I am developing a Calandra list and the processes I am going through to fine tune it.
My aim for this list is to develop something that can complement my Gunny list and run a bit more troop focused. I have a habit of writing beast heavy Trollblood lists and I am hoping to avoid that one with this list. Wit this in mind, I have a few options to pick from before I get to heavy into the list design phase.
First is if I should take the new theme force Band of Heroes. This would give me a few bonuses like free models and an extended deployment zone. The reason I am opting out of this one for right now is because the list feels more geared to the elite units like Champions, Warders and Long Riders. With my Gunny list being smaller in model count, I want this list to be a bit larger in this area. I want to make my opponent wonder if he will be facing a large model count army that can do some work but spread out or a smaller model count army that hits hard. With this in mind, I am going leave the theme force to the side for now.
The next step ( and maybe the most important) is to pick the caster I want to use for this list. When we started this blog, we talked about different ways to make lists. My style of list building with trolls is to pick a caster and build around their strengths and weaknesses. Trolls have many options for Warlocks that can help a Troop based list. My initial thoughts were to use Grissel2, Borka1, Doomshaper3 or Madrak1. I decided against Borka, Grissel and Madrak because their style of play to me wants a bit more of a smaller elite army (refer back to Band of Heros here) and do not play into what I am looking for. Doomshaper3 has some nice “mini feats” from his Scroll Bearer that can help warriors as well as some fun spells but when I sit down to write a list for him, it always turns into a beast heavy one. So, he is out as well.
I then took another look at Calandra. I first picked her up when I started playing Trollbloods right before the change to Mk3. She does a lot of what I am looking for in this list. Her large control area and Star Cross will help a large amount of troops. She can feed a Krielstone easily to allow it to pop out a 10 inch bubble of armor buffing. She has some fun spells that can help manipulate the other army as well and make it a bit easier for your guys to get back strikes when needed. She offers a lot to an army. The reason I stopped playing her in the first place and did not think about her right off the bat when starting this process is because when I first played her I fell into the Support bloat trap. This is something I will have to avoid this time around.
Let’s take a closer look at Calandra and what she brings to the table exactly. The first thing to know is that she is not a front line caster. If Calandra gets into combat, something went wrong. Her job is to get her army where you want it and make sure that the alpha strike is as strong as possible. She does this through a combination of her abilities, spells and her feat. She does a lot to help skew dice math in your favor in different situations.
With a Fury stat of 8, she can effect a large area of the board, while staying safe behind the front line. When she casts Star Cross, she effects 32 inch area of the board (16 inches in all directions from her base). This spell causes enemies in the area roll an extra die on attack rolls and drop the highest one. This one thing helps swing the dice math in your favor in a lot of situations and can mean the difference between a model living or dieing. With the average roll of three d6 being 10 that means by taking the highest roll off can usually mean that the remaining is lower than the average of two d6 (which is 7). Any way to help swing the math in your favor is a good thing.
The next spell that she will take advantage of is Befuddle. This spell allows you to make an enemy non warlock/warcaster model advance three inches and change its facing. While this sounds like a small thing, it is how it can help the rest of the army do its job. By moving a model and changing its facing, you allow your other units and models get the Back strike bonus allowing them to have an easier time hitting. More hits mean more chances to damage. Also, if an attack originates from the back arc, then shields do not help with armor. The move itself can actually make more models able to successfully charge a model. This spell has several useful applications. The trick is to know when and how to use it.
Her spell Bullet Dodger will more often than not be placed on herself. This spell can only target one friendly model. It gives the target a Def boost and Dodge. Why this will be on her most of the time is because it will bring her up to Def 16 which is not too shabby. If an attack misses her she gets to move two inches away, helping get her out of a troublesome situation. There can be other models that can make use of it but protecting your caster is a key thing to plan.
Next up on what she does for her army is her feat. This will allow all attack and damage rolls while in her control area ( You know that 32 in area of effect) to reroll 1s and 2s. This may seem like an ok feat. I mean it can only reroll the die if it lands on a 1 or a 2, but it helps skew the dice math in your favor once again. How often do you roll that key damage roll and you only get a total of 3 on the dice? This helps mitigate that and usually you can get a much more favorable result.
Another way she effects the dice curve is with here ability Fate-blessed. This allows her to spend a Fury to allow a model in her control range to reroll an attack or damage roll. When you have those key attacks that need to happen, remembering this ability can help when the dice just do not want to work with you. Just as a side note, this ability and her feat can be used at the same time but only once per roll. If you reroll the 1s and 2s from her feat then reroll the whole attack you can not then reroll the 1s and 2s again. Each effect can only be enacted once per roll.
So, there is a summary of Calandra and what she brings to the table. She is going to be a Warlock that is used to help set the army up for a strong Alpha strike and make sure as much gets there as possible. With all of this in mind let’s start working out the build of this list.
Before I step into the beasts for her battle group, I am going to add two things that I feel are needed for her play style and for this army as a whole. The first is the Runebearer. This guy will be used to help lower the cost of spells for Calandra for the most part. For every Fury she saves on casting spells that will see the table every turn, the more she has for the Krielstone (more on this in a moment), transferring damage or rerolling other models rolls. He brings a lot to her and her spell slinging style of play.
The next thing that feels like an auto include for this style of army is a maximum sized unit of Krielstone with the Stone Scribe Elder CA. Calandra has the ability to give the stone 6 Fury turn one and still cast Star Cross. The next turn she can fill it up and still cast spells and have an impact on the table. The Stone in exchange, gives the army a +2 ARM while in its aura (the size changes depending on the number of Fury left on it) as well as one of three effects: immunity to continuous effects, removing stealth and incorporeal from enemy models in range, or a +1 Str. In a troop based army, this can help effect a large amount of models and have a large impact on swings of Armor. Bumping models from Arm 14 to Arm 16 can change the results needed on attacks and help keep more things standing on your side of the board.
Ok, now that those two selections are in the list, it is time to pick out the beast package. I know that my beasts will need to do a lot of the heavy lifting in this army can help with armor cracking of Warjacks and heavily armored troops. I also know that two warbeasts will not be enough to fully Calandra’s Fury stat, so I will need at least three in the battle group.
The first one I add is the Dire Troll Mauler. Fast for a heavy and able to pump out the damage thanks to its animus Rage and the Stones Str bonus, this beast can do some work. Send it into a light beast or warjack and you can make sure it gets removed. During feat turn, an enemy heavy could have issues staying on the board. Its animus can be applied to your other warbeasts as well to help spread the damage love across the board.
The next one I am adding may seem a bit odd to some people, but I have my reasons. Mulg the Ancient. While slower than most of our other heavies, he makes up for this with access to a melee weapon with a range of two inches. Another perk of this weapon is that it would be a magic weapon. This would give me another on in the army besides the one that is carried around by Calandra. The base P+S of his two weapons are 18 and 16. With the addition of Rage from the Mauler and the bonus from the Stone, you can get these up to 22 and 20. When you get to roll straight dice or dice plus two verses Khador Jacks is a strong place to be. Mulg also comes with Relentless Charge allowing him to get where he wants on the charge without slowing down from terrain that can be in the way.
Mulg also comes with an animus that can help control the casting of your opponent some as well. When he (or Calandra for that matter) cast this animus, all enemy models within 10 inches of the caster have to pay one extra Fury/Focus to cast their spell as well as pay 2 to upkeep a spell. This can make it so that the other player will have to rethink their plans for spells and up keeps. Do they keep the upkeep up but not able to cast spells with the loss of the resource? If they do so, will they be able to keep enough for transfers or of overboosting? It can add a layer of control and pressure on the other side.
The last beast I am adding for now is the Axer. The reason for this is to give me access to Rush. While Mulg has pathfinder on the charge, the Mauler does not. This would help the Mauler get to where I need it to be. It also can give any of the beasts a +2 inches of movement. Threat extension is always handy. The Axer also comes with Thresher on its ax. This will allow me access to a way to clear out a large gathering of enemy models.
Now, I say for now because a model I am considering switching the Axer out for is the Bouncer. This would give me access to a shield guard for Calandra. The reason I did not do this for the first run of the list is because I feel that she will be hiding behind enough other models that it will be hard to draw line of site on to her from ranged attacks. The Axer feels like it can get more work done to be beneficial to the army as a whole.
Lanyssa Ryssyle is in the list for much the same reason the Axer is. Hunter’s Mark helps
with threat extension. When you apply it to the right target, the warbeasts will be able to get into combat and do more thanks to the one extra Fury point that can be spent to buy another attack or boost another roll. On the off chance that Hunter’s Mark is not useful, she can cast Ice Bolt to help pick off other models.
Now that my battle group is selected, it is time to sit down and work out the core of the troops and what I want them to do. I know that I will want a solid unit that can get into the mix and do some work. I first thought about a unit of Champions but I felt that the number of models would allow them to be overwhelmed by larger forces. So I knew I would want to take a unit that can get up to 10 models at least. This leaves me with Fennblades and Warriors. Warriors I do not feel would be able to hit as hard as I want. They can take the hit but dishing it out is a different story.
Fennblades it is then. A full unit of 10 and the CA allows me to take a unit of models that can hit hard, hit often, and move fast. With Vengeance, I can punish a my enemy for killing my stuff. I could also use that move to line myself up for better charge lines that were not available at first. Cleave allows me to use the unit to clear out larger batches of enemy models, especially during feat turn. The mini feat from the CA, No Quarter, allows the unity to move about the board a bit more freely and quicker for a strong Alpha strike. It is a solid choice that can do the work I need and the numbers I want.
The next choice is the Fell Caller. As many of you can remember from my gunny list, I did not always have the best results from this guy. Well, he is back and this time he is here for his primary role. His job is to put his Fell Calls out on the Fennblades to give them access to pathfinder, better MAT or getting up from being knocked down. If I need him to go into combat, he can but his primary goal is to support the Fennblades and make them able to do their job better.
With access to the spell Befuddle, this means I can set models up for easier back strikes. With this being the case, why not bring models that can take advantage of this? Well, that is why I am bringing Braylen and a minimum unit of Highwaymen. Braylen comes with the ability Backstab. This allows her to gain an additional die of damage on each of her guns as long as the attack is to the back of the target. While in her command area, the Highwaymen have the same ability. This means that after I turn a model around thanks to Befuddle, I can have 14 guns rolling 3d6 dice of damage plus the POW of their guns. That is not to bad.
Now, you may be asking why a minimum unit and not a maximum unit of Highwaymen? Well, this is mostly for points and maneuverability. A full unit plus Braylen is 20 points while a min unit with her is 14. These 6 extra points allows me to add a few more choices that can help army as a whole. The smaller number of models allows me to move them around to where I want them without blocking the main force from getting where I need them to be.
Well there we go. Here is the breakdown of the list:
- Calandra Truthsayer
- Braylen Wanderheart
- Lanyssa Ryssyl
- Krielstone Bearer (max)
- Stone Scribe Elder CA
- Highwaymen (min)
- Fennblades (max)
- Officer and Drummer CA
It feels like a strong list that can do some work and make your opponent question what he should do. It moves in layers with the Fennblades and the Beasts in front, while Calandra and the Stone move up behind them.
I actually had a chance to run this list in a game the other night. It was a game we played so we can try out new lists, models and rules. He was trying warbeasts packs out (more on that in a different post) and one of his new casters. I was trying out the list and the Highwaymen package since it was my first time using them.
One thing I found was that Befuddling a warbeast can be fun. I moved his Tiberian up, shot it with two Highwaymen and Braylen as well as a charge from Mulg and removed it in one turn. A few turns later, I was able to do it again, but with five of the Highwaymen, to a Gladiator. This turn I was able to unload all of my Highwaymen and Braylen into it under feat turn. This allowed me to remove it as well in a turn. This package feels strong and has some tactical uses that will need to be explored. It can not be used on caster models because of the limitation on Befuddle but it can help scalpel out key models that are key to their plans.
Like always, This list needs to be ran through the paces some and the kinks worked out. I hope to do so over the next few weeks. The list , however, feels like it is in a good place at this time. It gives me solid wall of troops that can do work and good balance of support to back them up. Practice is what the list needs and that is what I plan on giving them. While I do that, go out there yourself and figure out your own lists and have fun.
Post Errata World Update:
I wrote this a while before the Errata. Because of that one of the models in this list, Lanyssa Ryssyl, had a point increase. In order to adapt to the new point cost, I need to change the list some now. What I am going to do is change the Axer to a Bouncer. It adds a Sheild Guard it the army but I lose access to Rush. I will feel it in some ways but I think the elf is a better choice at this time.
I do have the option later to add the Axer back in and take the bouncer and Lanyssa out. In this cause I would add a Gremlin Swarm. The name of the game here is adaptation to the errata and what changes were done. All of them were good changes and I can see the reason for the point changes. Lists will need to be tweaked but are still functional.
Much testing will need to happen.