It’s In the Blood #7 Pairing With Runes of War Pt. 1

It has been a really long time since I last wrote one of these. Sorry about that…

I have returned, however briefly, to give you a handful of articles related somewhat indirectly to what I consider the best list in Trollbloods. That list, which the title has already spoiled, is Doomshaper1’s theme force: Runes of War. This series isn’t actually going to talk about Runes of War all that much since many people have already done that far better than I could. Instead, we’re going to talk about the problem of what list should be taken alongside Runes of War to a Steamroller tournament. Generally you want your second list to cover bad match ups for your first list so in our first article we’re going to talk about what match ups present problems for Runes of War.

First things first, we need to talk briefly about Runes of War. For the purposes of this article I will be assuming that you are playing the standard Runes of War list which is:

Hoarluk Doomshaper (*7pts)
* Troll Axer (6pts)
* Dire Troll Mauler (9pts)
* Earthborn Dire Troll (10pts)
* Mulg the Ancient (12pts)
Krielstone Bearer and 5 Stone Scribes (4pts)
* Krielstone Stone Scribe Elder (1pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Trollkin Runeshapers (Leader and 2 Crew) (3pts)
Janissa Stonetide (3pts)

These guys have so many rules it’s honestly a little unfair. I love it.

This list is pretty great. It has a shit ton of armour that can be a real pain to chew through. The heavies can all happily sit at ARM 22 or higher and the infantry are all ARM 17 with 5 boxes each. POW 10 shooting does basically fuck all to this list. It’s really resistant to standard shooting in general because all of the heavy warbeasts can happily sit behind a wall and be DEF 16 against enemy guns meaning that this list is really strong against gun line armies.

In general I consider the strong match ups for Runes of War to be: Cygnar, Legion, Circle, Skorne, and Retribution. I will admit to not having played it against Mercs or Minions enough to have a real opinion on them but I think Runes would be strong against them. Circle deserves some special mention because I haven’t played Runes vs. Morvahna2 much and while I think Runes is generally in a pretty good place Doomy1 is susceptible to assassination and Morvahna2 is such a pain. I’d like to test it more. I also have very few opportunities to play the mirror match so we won’t be covering that. Doomy1 is in general very good against Hordes (Rampager is a great spell, Purification is a pain for most Hordes factions, Doomy’s Feat is miles better against Hordes). In the Troll match up I suspect he’d be generally pretty strong but you run a risk of playing the exact mirror (Runes vs. Runes) which is obviously a 50% match up. Lastly, I’m mostly ignoring Convergence since they’re still super new and I have yet to really play against them. They don’t have many Reach heavies so the Walls in the list could pose huge problems for them and Doomy’s Feat has the possibility to be hilarious against them but I don’t know them well enough to say anything definitive about them.

This leaves us with Khador, Cryx, and Menoth. We should go into each of these factions in a little more depth.


I think Menoth is the least bad for Runes of these three factions. Menoth gunlines still struggle against ARM 22 Dire Trolls behind Walls and Dire Trolls are pretty good at killing Menoth heavies. The real issue here is that Menoth is great at shutting down Runeshapers. Errants and Zealots generally can’t be targeted by Rock Hammers and the Covenant of Menoth shuts them down pretty much entirely. It’s a real pain in the ass. That said, Runeshapers are only 12 points of your 57 point list and they’re still at least MAT 6 POW 10 in melee. You can also make use of their spells with careful positioning to avoid the book. Tremor doesn’t target and is surprisingly frustrating for opponent’s infantry (if you Tremor some Errants from 2” away they will struggle to kill the Runeshaper back with their POW 10 bows that don’t ignore the Stone’s aura). Force Lock is always an option for frustrating your opponent. This is definitely a playable match up for Runes of War but it’s not an ideal one.

Harby is basically always a pain, especially with the Avatar.


Cookie cutter high defense skew Khador is not a problem for Runes. If you’re opponent runs IF Kayazy and Winterguard at you and you’ve got Runes you’re going to have a good day. Purification + 12 Rock Hammer AOEs a turn makes short work of Kayazy and Winter Guard. What you have to look out for are Iron Fang Pikemen, who can threaten beasts with their charges and are mostly immune to Runeshaper blast damage, and Butcher3. Butcher3 is a real problem since he can pretty easily kill two of Runes’ heavies and be immune to retaliation. You can stop him from doing that via Doomshaper’s Feat but that only lasts one turn. Butcher2’s Theme Force with all the Spell Warded Doom Reavers also poses a problem for Runes. In general Runes doesn’t like tons of hard hitting infantry it can’t blow up with Rock Hammers.


As a follow on from that last one, we’ve got a faction of hard hitting infantry that can’t be blown up with blast damage. Runes can play a game against Cryx, it can play a game against basically everything, but it’s not an easy game. ARM 23 Mulg that’s immune to spells and behind a wall is actually surprisingly hard for Banes to kill. I’ve even played Runes vs. Lich2 and had reasonable success. The caster you really want to watch out for, though, is Skarre1 with 30 Bane Knights. When her Banes are super accurate and +5 Strength they will happily blow up your heavy warbeasts, even the aforementioned Mulg. There are a few other things Cryx can do that can pose problems for Runes, after a point enough Banes can wear down your heavies and kill them off. Once the Earthborn dies Mulg becomes much easier to deal with. Doomy is, as ever, still pretty easy to kill and Cryx has some decent janky assassination options. Doomy is pretty susceptible to Lich2’s Feat for example, so watch out for that.

I’ve never had Skarre2 Feat on my heavies, but it sounds awful.

So basically we’re looking for a second list to help us with Menoth, Khador and Cryx. Over the next three weeks I’m going to explore and discuss three warlocks I think can help with these match ups: Madrak2, Grissel1 and Grim1.

That’s all for this week, though. Thanks for reading!


3 thoughts on “It’s In the Blood #7 Pairing With Runes of War Pt. 1

  1. I hate this list. I hate it so much. How come no one ever does an article like “Here’s how Skorne makes Doomshaper1 look like a bitch”?

    Sad face.

    • I love it so much! If I’m feeling up to it I might do an article on ways to deal with Runes of War but that’s really Vagrant Poet’s territory. Besides, giving away tech that would help Skorne would also help Ciaran and I’m firmly against doing that. 😛

      • I have Troll issues. Ret and Trolls always give me fits. I don’t even have bad win records, I just find the Arm skew game, and Ret shooting all my stuff so fast and well drives me crazy!

        I’m sure that I’ll eventually have to talk about putting a stop to Issyria and Runes. I should possibly start playing against lots to think it true like I did with Lich… Guh… I don’t wanna go to school.

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