Hello again dear reader! It’s time for the penultimate article in our series on lists to pair with Runes of War. This time we’ll be talking about everyone’s favorite bounty hunter: Grim Angus! This guy is pretty amazing and one of the best turd polishers in Trollbloods so there are a lot of options for what could go in a Grim Angus list. This week we’ll be talking about how to build him to cover Runes of War’s problem match ups as well as what abilities he has that makes him so great as a second list. Without further delay lets get down to business!
Grim is strongest in the Khador and Cryx match ups so we’ll mostly be covering those. He struggles a bit against Menoth since he generally doesn’t build for a huge amount of ARM cracking. His lack of damage buff means that he relies on softening up heavy targets from range before closing and Choir shuts that down. It’s not an unplayable match up for him but generally relies more on assassination than I’m comfortable with. That said the presence of Grim Angus with a decent amount of guns can be enough to scare Harby players away since he’ll happily shooter her a lot from quite far away. Generally, though, expect to be playing Runes of War into Menoth. That said, if you can scare the Harby players away she’s usually where the Covenant of Menoth is and playing Runes vs. Menoth without the Covenant is not nearly so bad.
Cryx and Khador share a lot of similarities. Both tend to run a lot of melee infantry backed by relatively few warjacks and have casters who does a lot to personally buff their army. They also both tend to bring a decent selection of solos that buff their units along for the ride: Saxon, Kovnik Joe, Tartarus, Warwitch Sirens, etc… so spot removal is very useful. This means that they can be dealt with by similar lists. There are some important differences in how they play, though, and your list will need to be able to deal with those differences. The biggest one is that Khador can bring a lot of guns to bear against you while Cryx almost never will. That means you’ll either need to out shoot them or be able to jam into their guns without being shot off the table first. Khador will also always have at least one heavy warjack while Cryx often only plays with a couple of arc nodes. You’ll need enough ARM cracking to get through one heavy warjack and possibly enough to get through a Conquest although that can be a lot trickier. Iron Fang Pikemen are all the rage at the moment, with good reason, and they can skew ARM pretty high so expect Khador to be more resistant to POW 10 shooting than Cryx but without Vengeance they’re a lot slower than Bane Knights. With that in mind what does Grim do to deal with these factions?
Firstly, and most importantly, what Grim brings to the table is his amazing Feat. The -3 Def is gold for making sure all of your attacks hit but the real money is the -3 Speed. This basically buys you a second turn of shooting against your enemy or possibly a turn of shooting followed by a charge. It slows your opponent’s list to a crawl which is exactly what you want against a melee centric army. Don’t underestimate the value of shutting down special attacks, either, since it shuts off Bile Thralls for a turn. Even if you don’t catch the Biles in the Feat it stops any long distance Excarnate Purge tricks since any Bile brought into existence in your Control Area won’t be able to Purge. This also goes a long way to mitigating the high defense builds that both faction can go for. Satyxis Raiders and Kayazy Assassins are both very annoying but easily dealt with when you tank their defense.
Secondly, Marked for Death. This is the spell you’ll probably cast most on Grim’s spell card. The -2 Def is a great all around buff but stripping Stealth and Incorporeal is the big part of this spell you want. Being able to shoot Kayazy or Bane Thralls from a decent Range is really useful. Combined with the Feat you can make short work of Iron Fleshed Kayazy from 12 inches away. Removing Incorporeal deals wonderfully with that bane of Trollbloods the Satyxis Blood Witches, effectively negating their mini-feat and also helps if you happen to run into Blackbanes Ghost Raiders. In general this spell is just a great to have available.
Thirdly, Grim’s guns. These are a key element of how he plays. Head Hunter is obviously the big one to talk about here. Range 13, POW 13 and Magical is pure business especially when it comes to getting rid of really annoying solos and unit attachments early. Want that Blood Hag dead from 17 inches away? You bet you do. It’s great spot removal especially against two factions who love their annoying solos. Savvy players will keep their key pieces well away from you but that can be a win in and of itself. Grim’s Snare Gun isn’t to be laughed at either. Knock Down is useful for boosting accuracy and clearing line of sight. It’s also very handy for killing an enemy ‘caster that has gotten too aggressive. It’s pretty common for Grim to force an enemy caster to get involved after the huge attrition swing of his Feat and the Snare Gun helps you capitalize on that.
So, those are the main elements that Grim Angus brings to these match ups, what sort of list do you want to play with him? Obviously we want guns, ideally quite a few guns. You’re also going to want to have something that can get into a zone, though, so that you don’t suffer the usual gun line problem of having no scenario presence. Grim also offers no ARM cracking at all so you’ll need something that hits hard to deal with any heavies your opponent might bring. I played the following for the last while with good success:
Grim Angus (*6pts)
* Troll Impaler (5pts)
* Dire Troll Bomber (10pts)
Pyg Burrowers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
Pyg Bushwackers (Leader and 9 Grunts) (8pts)
Sons of Bragg (6pts)
Trollkin Scattergunners (Leader and 5 Grunts) (5pts)
* Trollkin Scattergunner Officer & Drummer (2pts)
Dahlia Hallyr & Skarath (9pts)
Gatorman Witch Doctor (3pts)
Stone Scribe Chronicler (2pts)
The Impaler is basically an auto-include with Grim to get the most out of his guns. The Bomber is great infantry clearing and ARM cracking since you can easily get two rounds of boosted POW 16s into a heavy target before committing into melee against it. Burrowers are great under Grim’s Feat and jamming the turn after. I have even used them as a shooting unit on a few occasions to great success. Without a Fell Caller it’s harder to get work out of them outside the Feat Turn, though, but not impossible. Scatter Gunners are machines at clearing infantry especially under the Feat or against a Marked for Death target. Sons of Bragg offer more spot removal, a bit of infantry clearing with the Spray and a bit of hard hitting melee to help finish off an already shot up hard target. They’re also great for getting into a zone or taking a Flag for a couple of turns. The Witch Doctor helps with the Pygmy’s terrible command stats and shuts down several effects Cryx has that require living targets, most notably Excarnate. The Bushwhackers AD + very long range lets them get a round of shooting into your opponent well before you Feat, obviously with CRAs to mitigate their terrible RAT, and during the Feat turn they can clear quite a bit of infantry. Dahlia and Skarath are completely stolen Flanzer tech that is as brilliant as you might expect. Versus Cryx that Spray 10 is awesome and versus Khador they are the best counter to Iron Fang Pikemen. Dahlia shuts down Shield Wall and Skarath’s Spray causes Corrosion so it can actually kill a decent number of Black Dragon IFP under Iron Zeal.
This list is, unsurprisingly, hardly perfect and easily can be modified to suit your play style or preferences. The Bushwhackers + Chronicler can easily be dropped to make room for Nyss Hunters who are more accurate and versatile than Bushwhackers but shorter range and no AD. Nyss Hunters also make slightly more use of the Witch Doctor. Some people, Flanzer among them, run Fennblades instead of Burrowers which obviously requires taking some points from elsewhere. You could move points around to make room for a Fell Caller to get more options out of your Burrower play style. The Storm Troll is also a great option for this style of list since his gun can clear a lot of infantry, some of which can be harder to reach, and his animus is a great way to clear out a few more models. As I mentioned at the start Grim Angus can be played with almost anything, there are just some elements you’re going to want to prioritize with him in the Khador and Cryx match ups. The core of your list should probably be Impaler, Bomber, Scatter Gunners and, I would strongly suggest, Dahlia and Skarath. I really can’t stress enough that the piper lady and big Snake fit into this play style so well that you’ll hate leaving home without them after. Definitely try those two out.
Grim Angus is just an all around great pair for Runes of War. He covers Cryx and Khador very well and can play certain Menoth match ups, mostly Harbinger, if you really want him to. There are some things you’ll want to watch out for, though, mostly from Khador. Vlad1 gunlines can cause a problem for Grim because then you’re in a shooting match vs. Signs and Portents. Harkevich with a bunch of Warjacks can be too much ARM to deal with and Conquests in general can be annoying. Against the high ARM targets you can Feat on them to drop their SPD to pitiful and keep them out of scenario zones to score them out. In this case I usually pick one zone and Feat to clear everything I can around the Zone while simultaneously jamming their face with models. I can then dominate that zone for points and score out in a few turns. It’s a bit like playing Denny2 but not quite as good. Versus Vlad1 things are more complicated, you have to hope for some favorable terrain and just start killing his units first. Vlad often has a few warjacks but likely won’t get much work out of them since he should have no Focus to spare between Signs and Portents and Wind Wall every turn. It’s worth putting some shots into him early with Grim’s gun to soften him up and force him back. If he drops Wind Wall you can always go for the assassination. If you really suspect your opponent to drop Vlad1 on you, though, Runes of War deals with him pretty well. It can put you into list chicken, though, which I personally hate.
Hopefully you found this article informative. There is of course so much more to say about Grim Angus and so many more ways to play him but I’ve tried to keep it brief here. If you want to look at a slightly different style of Grim Angus I highly recommend watching Flanzer’s videos from Warmachine Weekend on Endgamegaming.net.
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading!