It’s in the Blood #1: Grissel1 Part I

This article series will be an attempt to actually contribute something of meaning to the site. In these pages I will document my experimentation with various Trollblood warlocks and lists. Ideally this should be a study in list construction, playtesting and revision. It might just be another medium through which I ramble on bizarrely for your amusement. One thing I should point out is that I’m terrible for constantly tinkering with my lists. I generally swap things out from lists every time I play them. As this series goes on I intend to try and reign in this habit. However, in this our inaugural posting you’ll have to bear with me as I swap things constantly between games.

This week’s topic is Grissel1, one of Trollbloods best warlocks. The actual idea, and starting list, was stolen shamelessly from Chad of Muse on Minis. The core bits of the list are: Pyre Troll, Storm Troll, Troll Axer, Kriel Warriors, Long Riders, Horthol, Janissa and a Krielstone. There are some other parts, but we won’t go into them just yet. What’s most important here is that I didn’t start with Chad’s actual list, just most of it. I don’t own Kriel Warriors and I intend to pair this list with Runes of War, which requires Janissa, so I had to make some substitutions.

The list I started with was:

Grissel Bloodsong, 5 warbeast points
-Pyre Troll, 5 points
-Storm Troll, 5 points
-Troll Axer, 6 points
Krielstone Bearer and Stone Scribes, full unit, 4 points
-Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder, 1 point
Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew, 1 point
Trollkin Fennblades, full unit, 8 points
-Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer, 2 points
Trollkin Long Riders, full unit, 11 points
Fell Caller Hero, 3 points
Fennblade Kithkar, 2 points
Horthol, Long Rider Hero, 5 points
Stone Scribe Chronicler, 2 points

I do desperately wish her model wasn’t so terrible…

There are two important questions to ask yourself when building a list: how is it supposed to work, and how does it deal with problems. This list functions primarily through its various buffs. Grissel has her fell calls and Calamity, while the Pyre Troll and Storm Troll bring two awesome animi along with them. The Krielstone does its usual buffing thing and the same applies to the Chronicler. The Axer is basically there to make Charge of the Trolls a realistic threat.

The list deals with heavy armour by stacking stupid numbers of damage buffs on a handful of models, giving them an extra attack with Grissel’s Heroic Ballad fell call, and then tearing those high Arm targets to bits. With Calamity, Flaming Fists, Charge of the Trolls and the Krielstone’s +1 Strength aura you can give a model +7 to its damage rolls. In practice you’ll rarely need that and just getting one of either Calamity or Charge of the Trolls is usually sufficient, unless you need to drop a Colossal. The longriders are the ideal target for these buffs but in my list the Kithkar and Fell Caller are also good targets.

The list deals with infantry through a couple of abilities. Grissel’s Cacophony fell call works as great troop denial by stopping orders. The Storm Troll provides much of the other troop clearing through his lightning arc gun and his animus, which grants electro-leap. If you put his animus on longriders, give them an extra attack, and charge them into an infantry swarm you can clear a lot of models. 

A special shout out has to go to the longriders who are really the back bone of the list. One thing Grissel1 lets you do is live the dream of getting two charges out of heavy cavalry. By putting Hoof It on longriders you can have them charge in, kill a bunch of stuff and then move back seven inches at the end of your turn. This greatly reduces your opponents ability to kill your cavalry next turn and stops your longriders from spending the rest of the game stuck in melee.

You have to respect someone who rides a war buffalo

My first game was against Hexeris2 and I took two Titans off the table with only a handful of models. Two longriders killed a Gladiator on their own. It was awesome! Funny story, though, I forgot to put the Kithkar on the table. He’s not released yet and I’m bad for forgetting to put out models I already own much less ones I don’t. Skorne hates this list since they excel at single target damage but aren’t great at removing all of your possible threats before those few remaining threats can drop a titan. My opponent took out 2 of my longriders pretty handily but those last three were all I needed. POW 18 impact attacks are a glorious thing.

I wasn’t too impressed with the Fennblades and they are lacking in a bit of synergy since you can’t give them War Cry to make their Mat decent and use Grissel’s fell calls on them. Switching to Kriel Warriors allowed me to drop the Fell Caller from the list and add in a Runebearer instead. The Runebearer makes it easier for Grissel to cast Calamity and an animus while still having some Fury left for transfers and he can even cast a Calamity for free once per game. Having at one stage had Grissel sitting on no Fury base to base with a Bronzeback this felt like a good thing to have. I also dropped the Axer down to an Impaler and dropped the Kithkar for a Champ Hero. The Impaler provides more ranged support and basically the same Charge of the Trolls benefits while the Champ Hero is a slightly better Commander and brings a bit more infantry clearing.

Again I took the list out for a spin and this time it did quite well, as usual, although there were some learning issues. I ended up tripping over my own models a bit and my new version of the list lacked any way to grant my models pathfinder, which is a bit of a problem. I wasn’t too impressed with Kriel Warriors over Fennblades and needed a way to put pathfinder back in this list. I ended up deathclocking myself due to lack of experience slowing down my order of activation.

With some more thought I now present to you Grissel1 list mark 3:

Grissel Bloodsong (*5pts)
* Pyre Troll (5pts)
* Storm Troll (5pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 5 Stone Scribes (4pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Trollkin Fennblades (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
* Trollkin Fennblade Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Trollkin Long Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Fennblade Kithkar (2pts)
Fennblade Kithkar (2pts)
Horthol, Long Rider Hero (5pts)
Saxon Orrik (2pts)
Stone Scribe Chronicler (2pts)
Trollkin Sorcerer (1pts)

I really like this version of the list. Fennblades are still a great tarpit unit and the Kithkars make it easier for me to move them around while providing an awesome target for various buffs. The reason for my return to Fennblades was two-fold: Firstly I already own them and Kriel Warriors are terrifyingly expensive. Secondly are the kithkars. Kithkars in this list fill a similar roll to Caber Throwers in a list with Kriel Warriors. Toss Flaming Fists on both Kithkars and charge them into a Calamity-ed heavy and see how it feels about that after. Along with the KSB aura they’ll have two POW 18 attacks each. That increases the number of possible threats in the list which should help simplify my order of activation since they can move through the Fennblades to clear out certain models. The Fennblades still have their synergy problem but will mostly serve the role of dying bravely and shielding my other models.

I never meant to abandon you guys! You’re my only source for cheap medium based infantry!

Saxon Orrik solves my pathfinder problem and the Sorcerer is there to help prevent my Longriders from getting debuffed so they can’t do anything. Things that drop their speed to prevent charges are not my friend, and I’m planning expecting to play against a lot of Cryx so removing debuffs is important. I might drop Orrik and the Sorcerer for a Fell Caller to fix the Fennblades MAT problem while also granting Pathfinder. More playtest games await!

As an aside here there’s another Grissel1 list I’ve been knocking around in my head that I really like. I won’t be practicing much with it in the near future because I don’t think it pairs well with Runes of War. Both lists are reliant on high armour and so are countered by anything that brings a ton of damage to the table. I think it’s really solid and I’m definitely going to want to try it out. The list is:

Grissel Bloodsong (*5pts)
* Pyre Troll (5pts)
* Storm Troll (5pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 5 Stone Scribes (4pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Trollkin Long Riders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (11pts)
Trollkin Warders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (8pts)
Trollkin Warders (Leader and 4 Grunts) (8pts)
Horthol, Long Rider Hero (5pts)
Stone Scribe Chronicler (2pts)
Trollkin Sorcerer (1pts)

Mmmm can you taste that? It’s the taste of Warder Spam. This list is definitely a skew list but I think it’s a really good one. You replace your usual tarpit with a bunch of ARM 19/21 8 wound Weapon Master infantry. Grissel basically solves all their problems. Too slow? Hoof It on one of them to get them up the table faster. Only one attack? Heroic Ballad solves that problem. It asks a pretty good question: can you deal with 15 ARM 19+ 8 wound infantry models? A lot of lists can’t especially when only a handful of these models, if properly buffed, can take a heavy off the table in one round.

One special thing should be said about Janissa with Grissel1. While I have been playing without her I think Grissel1 is definitely better played with Janissa than without. That Rock Wall helps keep Grissel1 alive if you play her far forward and you really want her forward. Cacophony is an amazing fell call and to get the most out of it you need Grissel1 close to the center of the table. I’m doing my best to find a good way to play Grissel1 without Janissa’s wall but I’m not convinced that the best way to play her isn’t with the wall. She’s still perfectly playable without it but I think you need a really compelling reason for Janissa to be in your other list to play Grissel1 without her.

Troll ladies have to stick together

So there you have it folks! We started with a list I shamelessly stole and ended on a list I came up with myself! I’ll be playtesting more with Grissel1 in the next few weeks but right now I’ve got a freshly painted Grim2 in desperate need of some play time. It’s possible you may see some crazy tech for him from me in the near future. Watch this space! In the meantime I would love to hear about your experience playing one of these lists or something similar. Share the love!

Keep strong my brothers!


5 thoughts on “It’s in the Blood #1: Grissel1 Part I

  1. Thanks for the article. I know many people love Grissel1 but she is a ‘lock that has never struck my fancy…in fact I only bought her about a month ago (she is still sitting in the blister). I plan to playtest the heck out of Grim2 for a while but was looking to get to Grissel next. This has only helped spur on my desire to learn her…..hell I may even put her on the painting table ‘cause of this. Thanks again and look forward to more trollblood action.

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  3. Pingback: Nemesis: The Lich. 8 - Intrepid Bountyhunter Required » Muse on Minis

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