Wargaming Tradecraft: Runeshapers and Warders after the January Errata


Runeshapers and Warders after the January Errata

I'm going to talk strategy for a moment, in regards to the million voices crying out over the Trollbloods errata that Privateer Press just released. (January 2016) I don't normally talk strategy, but my little community is in turmoil and I want to say a few words to help out.

This post is mostly about a unit I'm particularly fond of: Trollkin Runeshapers. I'll talk a little about the Trollblood Warders and what they role is in an army as well. Mostly I want to stay positive about the changes we've seen and how to move forward.

While I welcome comments, please keep things positive and lets look forward to the future of our kriels!

If you're curious about the sculpts depicted here, check out my Hordebloods project for links to tutorials on all my Troll mods and paint jobs. (I've really got to get around to painting these guys and gals! Though I think I want to revisit the Warders shields and make them look extra awesome.)

A quick Note

First off, MK2 has been around for a while and we've seen a couple large expansions, the introduction of Battle Engines and Gargantuans and a couple smaller new factions. It's entirely possible that between errata and tournaments and series where models get new abilities, Privateer Press is just getting a little crazzy [jazz hands] and mixing it up to try out some ideas before writing things in stone when MK3 roles around.


So, Runeshapers got what some may call a nerf and others may call a buff. I'm going to call it a buff until I see otherwise. If you're unfamiliar with the changes, here we go: Runeshapers used to be able to charge and roll to knockdown models within 2" - Both of these things are gone, reducing their threat range by about 5". Their new ability centers a 3" AOE on them and affects anyone touched by it. (10" threat to 5.71" - This loss will be felt.) HOWEVER, they can now knockdown anyone within 0.71" automatically. No roll.

Lets look on the bright side: Auto-Knockdown. (Herein referred to as aKD)
  • FEAR
    • Can you think of a unit in another army that no matter what, if it's on the field, you have to pay attention to it? Trolls just got that and I'm pretty excited about it.
  • Top of Mind
    • Threat range may not be great, but your opponent WILL have to take them into account. They _cannot_ ignore aKD. Trolls have a lot of tough models to put into the ground, which can require over-commitment by the enemy. Here's a small unit that just got really dangerous in the right position that'll require resources to deal with.
  • Defense!
    • Perhaps this plays into Trolls defensive nature? Poor threat range on the offensive, but as the enemy washes up against our brick, they have to worry about some Runeshapers sauntering up, knocking them down and getting pounced on by auto-hitting trollkin in response.
  • Automatic Hits
    • Speaking of auto-hitting, some of our units (Like the Kings) don't have great MAT... Now there's a frightening thing for our opponents to factor in.
  • "Dhunia Bombs"
    • You can throw these guys into the enemy's ranks and while they'll have to forfeit move or activation, cause havoc with some instant knockdowns. (If they survive the throw...)
  • Alluring
    • Finally, Allure and aKD... is there something there? It feels like maybe something could be worked out.
I'd be curious what non-Troll players think about this from the perspective of going up against lists with Runeshapers now.


This is a touchier subject and one I'm not too fluent in, because I never subscribed to the "There can be only one!" netlist approach. (Or in Trolls case, 3.)

Admittedly, this is a flat out nerf. Warders lost Weapon Master, which means they now roll 1 less die of damage at all times.

But Warders always seemed (To me, at least.) to be a defensive unit. Lots of armour and Reach to deny the opponent movement. They still fill this roll, they just don't hit back as hard.

From the reactions of some people, asking for things like a UA that provides all kinds of damage buffs, it becomes clear to me that perhaps Warders really were filling a role that Privateer Press didn't intend for them. An interesting suggestion I saw was for a UA that would provide some additional form of anti-magic defense. That's neat and would build upon their place in the Trollbloods faction.

A note about List Diversity

Someone actually argued that these changes removes the diversity in lists that are available to play. (lol?) Diversity doesn't mean everyone on the internet play 3 lists and the moment someone asks for advice, cramming those options down their throat. Trolls have been given a bunch of new units that haven't worked their way into any of the 3 lists we're "allowed" to play. Netlists are a good place to start for someone new because they're tried and true... but they're not the end-all-be-all and shouldn't be so vehemently defended.

Find something that you enjoy playing. Find what works for you. Experiment. Try things out. If you're curious about adding a Skinner to your list because there's a lot of Hordes players in your meta, for the love of GOD do not ask Internet what they think of Skinners. Just represent him for a few games then buy the model when you realize that like the rest of the Trollblood army, every model serves a purpose.

If you'd like to try something new, I invite you to try "United Horde". It's the list I roll with at 50pts and does quite well. It's an infantry heavy pMadrak list that I've slowly built and tweaked to get it where I like it. It's changed slightly since this post or depending on how I feel that day.. Typically I pull from the Fennblades as they're mostly just a flanking tarpit to add things like a Sorcerer and Chronicler. You gotta be quick on the clock though, there's a lot of models to take into account.

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