This week we’re going to talk about Madrak2 and in the process we’re going to forget about almost everything I talked about last week! My original plan of pairing Madrak2 with Runes of War came about as part of a different thought process than what I am covering here. Instead of writing a Madrak2 list to cover Runes of War’s bad match ups I went for writing a good all around list that asks a very different question than Runes to cause problems for your opponent. I’ll cover what exactly I mean by this later in the article. Let’s get this started!
First things first we should cover the type of Madrak2 list I’m talking about. For the purposes of this discussion I will assume you are running Madrak2 with all of the dudes. You can see some of my earlier opinions on this style of play in It’s in the Blood #6. There are quite a few ways to run Madrak2 dude swarm but you will want a few key models/units if you’re planning on playing this list alongside Runes of War.
You’re going to want at least twenty melee infantry you can cast Blood Fury on and use to crack armour. My previous list was twenty Fennblades and a full unit of Burrowers but there are other ways to construct a Madrak swarm and you can never go wrong with Kriel Warriors. Scattergunners are a pretty important part of how the list plays into certain match ups. They’re huge in the Cryx match up since they’re great at killing Cryx infantry and with Madrak2’s Feat they get a ton of sprays out there. With Blood Fury and War Cry they’re not so bad in melee either so you might actually get some work out of Quick Work. The Kriel Stone is obviously an important part of most Troll lists and as with all things in a Madrak2 list does a surprising amount of work with War Cry and Blood Fury.
What are you looking for from Madrak2 that will compliment Runes of War so well? As I mentioned at the start of the article this pairing actually comes from a very different design philosophy than what I discussed in the last article. Instead of taking Runes as a primary list with a secondary list to cover the bad match ups I’m talking about taking a second well rounded list that plays entirely differently. Runes of War has difficult match ups but can play against roughly anything and Madrak2 can play against most things as well depending on his build. Runes of War asks your opponent if they can deal with heavy ARM skew in the form of a beast brick while Madrak2 asks if they can deal with 40+ infantry, most of whom are weapon masters, charging across the table at them. If you can get yourself into a situation where you could pick either of your lists against a given opponent but your lists do completely different things you can put them into a difficult position. It’s possible to create a list chicken type situation where your opponent has to guess correctly which list you’re going to pick but you could be picking either list.
Both lists have ways of dealing with most things that your opponent can throw at you. Both can crack high ARM, clear infantry and play to scenario. Neither list is really built for assassination but Trolls in general aren’t an assassination heavy faction. This is not to say that they don’t compliment each other some. Madrak2 is better at clearing infantry due to Scattergunners and Madrak’s Feat while Doomy1 offers a strong counter to low POW shooting, especially Cygnar which Madrak does not want to see.
Having said that I’m no longer entirely excited about the Madrak2 pairing with Runes. I played it for several months last year and it’s fine for the most part but it has a few problems. My biggest problem with it is that while Madrak2 is really strong I find him kind of boring. I actually really want to test him out as more of a beast ‘lock but that’s a project for another time. The other issue I found with him is that he shares a few problematic match ups with Runes of War. I found that he can play against Cryx and Menoth but they are not particularly strong match ups and in some cases Runes of War is actually better than him at them. Madrak does not like seeing Harbinger across the table and his Cryx match up is a messy one to say the least. Bile Thralls can really mess up his day. There’s a surprising amount of finesse when it comes to positioning your swarm and making sure your back field can become relevant that are pretty core to how Madrak plays these match ups.
I still think Madrak is a viable pair with Runes of War but he represents my old way of thinking about how to do a list pairing. When I construct a list now I try to decide what factions I want to drop it against and which ones I don’t and handle everything on a faction by faction basis. This system isn’t perfect but I dislike staring at two lists and deciding which of my lists is better versus this specific pair of lists. I’d rather just see Skorne across the table and go ‘Right, Runes of War it is.’ That’s a preference thing really though. If you want to bring Runes of War/Madrak2 to a tournament I think it’s a totally valid idea. Hell, I’ve done it after all.
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!