Insider 11-08-2013

DC: As in our WARMACHINE High Command blog series, Will and I are going to take a look at the varied factions of HORDES High Command in a new blog series beginning today with the hardy Trollbloods. One of the things that makes the Trollbloods stand out from other factions is the new cap on how much CMD or WAR an army card provides. The Dire Troll Blitzer and Dire Troll Mauler are the only cards currently in WARMACHINE High Command or HORDES High Command that can be discarded for 3 WAR.

This makes them nearly as valuable as the 1 CMD/3 WAR resource cards readily available in the other factions, but they’re also powerful army cards with 3 Power and 6 Health each. Choosing between these options can be a difficult decision but can also really swing the tide of battle in your favor. As if their resource and combat capabilities weren’t enough, each of these Dire Trolls is worth a hearty 2 Victory Points. Their purchase costs are also very high, however, with the Dire Troll Blitzer claiming the highest purchase cost in the game to date.

Will: For me, nothing defines the Trollbloods faction, or HORDES in general, more than the Dire Troll Mauler. So, when it comes to playing Trollbloods in High Command, my favorite build is purple/orange/red, which gives me access to all the maulers! Lead by Madrak Ironhide, Thornwood Chieftain, Borka Kegslayer, and Calandra Truthsayer, Kriel Oracle, this build is all about creating a horde of troll flesh to crush the opposition. And while the deck features plenty of warbeasts, it still maintains a healthy mix of troops with purple’s Runeshaper Sorcerers and orange’s Kriel Warrior Horde, while Frontier Scouts provides some solid rush options to help contest locations while you muster the powerful Dire Trolls for the mid-game feast.

Runeshaper Sorcerers in particular are great early-game contenders, since every time your opponent kills one he is forced to discard a card due to Knockdown. Throw the Runeshaper Sorcerers on an unoccupied location and force your opponent to make a choice between ignoring it and giving you the lead or taking the hit and losing a card. While one card may not seem like much, when you combine it with the large hand advantage Trollblood decks can build for themselves, the swing in resources can become truly significant over the course of a couple rounds.

DC: An important aspect of Trollbloods that takes a bit of experience to truly master is their interaction with the banking mechanic. The Dire Troll Mauler, Krielstone Attendants, and the faction’s Desperate Times resource card all allow additional banking. This actually limits the resources available in the short term (this turn, in the case of the Krielstone or Desperate Times, or even next turn, in the case of the Dire Troll Mauler) for the benefit of bigger turns later.

With the right event cards, it’s not difficult to have a 9- or even 10-card turn with Trollbloods. This makes it easier to deploy high-cost cards and to dominate a location with powerful Trollbloods army cards. Add in cards like Kriel Fell Callers or Borka Kegslayer to reduce rush costs, and you can even rush a tidal wave of trolls rather than simply deploying them. Heavily utilizing this mechanic becomes risky late in the game, however, so ease off of the banking as the Winds of War deck begins winding down. Then again, if you’re behind on VPs, you may want to ignore that advice and lean into late-game banking instead. It could hasten the loss, but it could also enable a truly spectacular comeback.

Will: My deck features a lot of Trollbloods banking shenanigans with plenty of Desperate Times and Krielstone Attendants. With only one Fell Caller, however, it relies on Borka to bring home the Dire Troll rush. In addition to the banking allowed by various army cards, Calandra adds another very controllable card multiplier to the deck, allowing you to pick up an extra two cards for the following turn when you choose, potentially setting up a solid Borka turn without having to sacrifice as much during the current turn.

Of course, if all the stars align, you can use Calandra as icing on the cake, tossing an additional two cards on top of all the banking you may have from Krielstone Attendants, Snacking, and Desperate Times. This can make that 9- or 10-card turn DC talked about all the simpler to achieve or even exceed during the mid-game.

DC: I really enjoy the huge turns Trollbloods can pull off, so I’m going to go with the yellow, blue, and red detachments under the command of Hoarluk Doomshaper, Venerable Shaman, Grissel Bloodsong, Fell Caller, and Borka Kegslayer. This gives me access to a bunch of the banking cards I mentioned earlier, as well as Kriel Fell Callers and Borka Kegslayer to rush cards during those big turns rather than simply deploying them.

These colors also give me some great cards to take advantage of big banking. Dire Trolls and Champions of the Kriel can smash through any opposition and prove extremely difficult to dislodge from a location, while Slag Trolls, Pyre Trolls, and Slugger Machine Gunners make great choices to disrupt an opponent’s control over a location.

Will: Knowing if and when to utilize the Trollbloods’ unique banking mechanic is critical to leading them to victory. Horde your resources at the wrong time, and you’ll watch as your opponents sweep in to capture valuable locations unopposed. But time your strikes properly, and you will utterly annihilate them in a wave of thickly corded troll flesh. The strategic decisions are yours alone to make, and there are few things sweeter than seeing the horror on your opponent’s face as he realizes the lead he thought he had was little more than the calm before the storm.