I really like the new Fennblade models, and so I've been toying around with what options there are for them. One of the weaknesses I find when I play Trolls is the lack of speed. With limited range options and heavy hitters like Champions being SPD 5 it just feels slow. Especially coming from Cygnar with lots of ranged options and lots of spd 6 choices and various ways to increase it(Piper, eHaley, Kraye, etc.).
However then Fennblades are pretty fast. SPD 6 with reach is a good time. So I've been trying to build some lists based on 20 Fennblades and some Long Riders. (And cursing the fact that Grissel, 20 Fennblades and 3 Long Riders are 351 points)
At 97 for the full unit you can easily afford to bring two, but then question then is, what goes in the rest of the army with them?
In terms of Warlocks it seems to me that Doomshaper is right out, it's not going to be a beast heavy list and then why bring him. Grim probably too, it's not going to shoot a whole lot (Besides I play Cygnar, if I really want a ranged army I'll play them).
I got no experience of Borka what so ever. I've not even seen someone else play him. Grissel seems like an obvious choice, since her abilities benefits infantry, she emphasis speed and she doesn't need a lot of beasts to work. Calandra seems like she could work too. She can go beast heavy but doesn't have to and have pretty good infantry support options. I think Madrak could work, he generally does good with infantry. I don't know if his epic version will be the best, I'd feel bad about not using his elite cadre.
I think Grissel, Madrak and Calandra are the best options, probably in that order too.
But then what beasts do you use?
I could see the Winter Troll being really good in this army, you will have a lot of models advancing quickly and getting in the mix of things and his Animus could cause real problems. An Impaler is always a good beast to bring, and both Grissel and Madrak could have good use out of it's animus too.
An Axer goes well with the speed thing, and could fit in pretty well too I'd imagine. If he had reach he would have been perfect for it.
I'd probably not pick a heavy, too many points I think. But a Slag Troll maybe? I've been very impressed by his performance so far.
I'm thinking one or two lights. Grissel can probably get away with one, Calandra might want three, but I think you could get away with two for her and then just cut yourself when needed.
I think this might be an army where two Fellcallers could fit in well. You got three combat units that can all benefit from the attention of a Fellcaller and if you really want to emphasis the speed getting bogged down in terrain is bad.
Despite no champions I think the Hero is still a good choice. He got two attacks and reach. You miss out on some synergy but he doesn't need the champions to be awesome I think. Never tried the Chronicler, but I don't think he is a good fit, even if chapter 1 and 3 could be pretty cool.
Horthol is a tough choice I think. It really depends on how many Long Riders want and how important they should be. I think ultimately he would be a very good choice for this style of list, but you can do it without him just fine.
If you are bringing 20 Fennblades and some Long Riders you don't really have too many points left to spend on units.
I think the big question is if you should have a KSB or not. I think it could work as long as you run it in turn one (probably) and you take a big unit and load it up with fury. I'd also bring the UA if I were to bring the KSB. Everything he brings is very useful for this army. On the other hand you don't have so many big high armoured multi-wound models to really benefit from the +2 ARM.
Being a Cygnar player I'm always tempted by the shooty infantry, but you would probably end up getting in your own way a lot of the time.
One unknown to me is the Runeshapers. I don't know if they would be a great utility unit for this army or just end up getting left behind with no real role to fill.
Size of the Long Riders? I think anything will work actually. Obviously at 3 they will have a slightly different role than if you have 5 with Horthol. I think with 3 they will be perfect down a flank, while at 5 they run straight down the table and stomp all over your opponent, flanked by the Fennblades.
That's another big question. Swamp Gobbers? I'm a bit worried if they will be able to keep up and still be useful.
Minion Warlocks? I could see Grissel or Madrak running with one of them. My preference is the Dahlia Hallyr, not that I've played with it, but it's the model I like the best (it's in the process of being painted), but I'd guess that Rosh or Wrong Eye could work too.
I think the Feralgeist could be an interesting option. You don't really have the beasts to run it yourself, but if you play against hordes there is probably something tasty to posses, else it's an incorporal model to hold board sections etc.
I probably wouldn't go for any of the units, although Bog Trogs could fit the theme well, I just dont' think you have the points for minion units. And the problem as always is that they miss out on much of the buffing we can do. And yes, I know I just talked about the minion warlocks that are even more points, but they all come with a medium/heavy beast that you might not want to run on your warlock.
Alten Ashley could be interesting to add some ranged punch to the list. As a solo he is more flexible than a unit with getting LoS and might force your opponent to come towards you (if they play Hordes at least).
Saxon Orrik could actually be an interesting option. Trail Blazer could be good, but we do have other options for rough terrain. I feel Pendrake is the worse choice out of him and Saxon for this army, although Dismember could be rude on a unit of Fennblades.
I think Lanyssa Ryssel would be a fairly good choice. Hunter's Mark could be very good, and removing Wings could be crucial. She also gives you a ranged magic attack so you don't have to use your warlock or the KSB to hurt them.
Totem Hunter. Nothing wrong with him in this army. Fast, Killy.
And if you made it this far I've actually made up a list too.
2 Fell Callers
3 Long Riders
Full unit of KSB+UA
It does have some of the choices I'm unsure about, like the Swamp Gobbers and the KSB, but I think if you work on it they can get into position for an important turn, and they do give you more options. Alternativly it could be quite tempting to take them out and stick another Troll in there, probably a Winter Troll. Or just replace the KSB with Horthol.
Now I just need to wait for them to be released.