Mark III has been a whirlwind so far and I don’t know what other player’s experiences have been but I have seen a slew of lists featuring very heavy battle groups. I think everyone expected more jacks with the new power up rule but I’ve also come up against and played quite a few beast heavy lists. I don’t know how much of this is people still holding on to old mentalities, especially with Skorne or Legion, or if the new edition boosts them as well as it does jacks. It seems like Skorne and Legion took a huge hit to their ability to run lots of beasts with the changes to the condition rule and Trolls didn’t really gain anything new to help. There was a decrease in fury and threshold stats almost across the board. I would love to hear player’s theories on this phenomenon or if maybe what I’ve been seeing is an outlier to the true new meta. For now I’m going to focus on some of the jacks/beasts that have stood out to me for better or worse.
- Dire Troll Bomber – This guy hasn’t really changed that much but what has changed has put this guy firmly back on the map. His stats are the same excepting a slight bump in MAT. He’s on the expensive side but he really is worth it. What really has impacted his viability is his shiny “new” animus. Lots of troll players are lamenting the loss of the ability to put Far Strike(adds +4 to RNG on ranged weapons) on any model we chose as it is now range self but having it go down a point makes this guy a legit ranged assassin. With Trolls plethora of knockdown abilities, having two pow 16 powder bombs with a threat range of 17 inches(with 5 inch movement) can be an extremely potent control element or if someone gets brave, can end the game quickly. The other bonus is we are no longer forced to take a impaler for casters that want the extra threat as well. All in all, a great point investment.
- Dire Troll Mauler – Once again, statwise not a lot of change but this guy has become almost an auto include in the TB stable. He has kept all of his abilities(including the fantastic rage animus although now the +3 strength can only be applied to warbeasts), got a few health boxes for flair, and effectively gone down to 8.5 Mark II points. With almost all of the trollblood light beast animi becoming self, Rage is almost mandatory and we get it in a very nice package. I also would be remiss to forget to mention he still has fury 5 and chain attack(gets to make a power attack if he hits the same model with both of his initials) which makes him one of the hardest hitting models in the game.
- Mountain King – I’ve waited a long time for this guy to be more playable and Mark III delivered. He gained a useful animus in Rage, Bulldoze(the ability to push models that his base comes in contact with) and Deafen(-2 DEF and cannot receive/give orders on models hit) on his roar. He has a decent price tag for a gargantuan and retained assault meaning he can get two range 10 pow 16 roars a turn. This can be used to debuff models or to scalpel out solos or even take out a caster that thinks they’re safe in the back of their army. Couple his whelp shedding ability with some of our new feats(Doomshaper3’s d3+3 healing on hit or Ragnor’s 1 less dice on damage) and this guy has a brand new lease on life.
- Mulg – To prove that I don’t think everything is all wine and roses, I wanted to mention probably my least favorite change. Mulg used to be a force of nature. He was the oldest and most powerful dire troll on Caen and his stats, abilities and price tag all reflected it. Well he got neutered hard. He lost a point of strength bringing him in line with the other dires, a point of fury, extra speed when damaged and probably the biggest one Protective Fit(if his warcaster is hit he can make an advance toward the attacking model and one attack on them). Now don’t get me wrong, for his new price tag he is a decent add to a list but I just hate that they took such an iconic character and removed almost everything about him that made him special.
- Hammersmith – Yay for MAT 7!! Otherwise he really didn’t change much but with his ability to get into places you wouldn’t expect with beat back and crit smite, his new sparkly price tag(12 points! the same as a Ironclad), and the power up rule. This guy is loving life again.
- Centurion – Same chassis as the Hammersmith so this guy is super solid. The big change for this guy is making Polarity Shield an Imprint(spend a focus any time during the turn and this guy can’t be charged by anyone in his front arc) instead of a special action. So he can imprint and run now meaning his pitiful speed isn’t such a huge hinderance. He pays the price for it in points but his battlefield presence and ability to hold a zone/flag almost solo just makes this guy a great option.
- Seether – His MAT is what??! Wow is this guy a killing machine. Great focus efficiency with Uncontrollable Rage(must run or charge if not being engaged but does so for free), and Berserk. Then you throw in the extra threat with Countercharge. A little expensive for a Cryx jack but a very interesting option.
- Wild Argus – Two words: Doppler Bark. This is a self ranged animus that drops any models base defense to 5 within two inches. Wow! Did I read that right? Although the beast himself isn’t super impressive, for his low price I imagine seeing this guy in lots and lots of lists. Bet him and Kaya will be best friends.
- Rip Horn Satyr – Personally one of my favorite Circle beasts from Mark II. This guy could just put out so much damage and could take a hit too. His abilities and stats haven’t really changed other than his fury went down 1. He is relatively cheap for a heavy but is 3 fury just too restrictive? The Circle player using him against me gave me the impression that he really wants to like him but just doesn’t know if he will force his way into any lists with Circle’s other options.
- Titan Cannoneer – So glad to finally see this guy on the table. I really have always liked the titan models and the idea of a big elephant carrying a cannon in one hand and a giant mace in the other always appealed to me. When I started, I very nearly chose Skorne because of these big grey lugs. Now on to the changes that I think have put this guy back into lists. I think you have to start with his animus. He also gained Far Strike which is great but the increased size to his AOE attack I think really helps him. He isn’t OP by any means but at least now people can feel good about throwing him into a competitive list now and then.
- Agonizer – Wait, the agonizer is a warbeast now? I don’t know if this guy is strictly better than he was in Mark II but now he provides fury and has an animus which is pretty cool. Repulsion is always useful for zone control and on such a cheap module it seems like a pretty solid change. His agonies are now any time abilities and are still very solid(and very frustrating) abilities.
- Blackhide Wrastler – Not sure if I would go with this guy being better or worse than Mark II but he has changed quite a lot. Gone are the days of the flying circus but now the Gatormen have their reliable armor cracker. He gained Rage which is quite the boon to the (half?) faction and still has a very solid stat line. I can see the point that many Gatormen players are not happy with losing such a unique beast but in return they got a very solid one.
- Bull Snapper – Well I have definitely not gotten a positive reaction for this guy from the local Gatormen player. He still has Spiny Growth(+2 Arm and non-warrion models take d3 damage if they hit the model) but it being changed to self without a reduction in fury cost while also seeing the snapper lose a point of fury is pretty harsh. Probably his only redeeming factor is his super low price tag so I guess he could always be brought as a body guard for the caster. He still has some neat abilities in man-eater(can charge living warrior models for free), bloodthirst(gains +2 movement on a charge targeting a living model) and torpid(gets to drop a fury if he kills a living enemy model). Definitely not an auto-include but could probably still be fit into select lists.
- Neraph – Just a super solid beast. He has retained most of his abilities and picked up sprint. Super cheap and if you’re not ready for it, Coil(if the Neraph hits a model with his tail, all of his subsequent melee attacks hit automatically) can wreck your day.
- Juggernaut – Yeah this guy hasn’t changed but now he costs the same as a Ironclad. I’m sure we have a Khador player in the LGS that will be spamming these guys soon. You know who you are.
Now obviously this is not a comprehensive list but I tried to keep it to models that I have personally played with or against or have seen on the table in other games I’ve watched. If someone has a warjack/beast that has really stood out for them, I would appreciate the comments! Thanks for reading.