Gunnbjorn: Revisiting One Year Later

I largely took this year off from Warmachine due to a new addition to the family.  Now that things have steadied again though, I am back to playing a couple games a week.

A year ago I wrote an article about Gunnbjorn and his place as a Troll Warlock and as an overall War(noun) in the game.  I offered a list, at the time, which I thought to be an okay way to break him in, letting his beasts do the heavy lifting.

Since that time, there have been some really nice new Ranged elements entering Trolls, namely Dozer & Smigg, Braylen, Highwaymen, and Northkin Fire Eaters.  I am always looking for a new pairing to handle troop lists primarily (I typically run eMadrak Weapon Master Spam or Runes of War as my primarily list) and to bring something to the table that players don’t expect from Trolls.  I originally wrote a list for Grim2 using a lot of the models previously mentioned, but then I took a list at the oft forlorn Gunnbjorn again, and I noticed that these releases make his theme force pretty legit in my opinion.

Here is the Theme Force Tier 4 list I have designed for him:

Captain Gunnbjorn
* Dozer & Smigg
* Dire Troll Bomber
* Dire Troll Bomber
Northkin Fire Eaters
Northkin Fire Eaters
Thumper Crew
Thumper Crew
Trollkin Highwaymen
Braylen Wanderheart, Trollkin Outlaw
Fell Caller

I think this list has some merit, particularly against troop swarm.  Snipe on the Highwaymen gives them two Rng 12 Pow 10 shots for clearing basic infantry, and if they can get behind heavier infantry their shots gain an additional die of damage.

Fire Eaters are great all around, a good number of (likely) boosted attack/boosted damage auto fire sprays.

Braylen brings two more Pow 12 shots that get rerolls if they miss.

Thumper Crews, Dozer & Smigg, and Gunnbjorn put out four Rng 14 Pow 14 shots a turn, with Knockdown/Slam, auto boosted Blast Damage, and Crit Devastation respectively.

Fell Caller is mostly there for Pathfinder/Tough Knockdown recovery, but as with most Trolls, he is a solo who does work.

Finally, the Bombers do what the Bombers do, dropping multiple Pow 16s a turn.

Now on top of all that, the Theme Force lowers the point cost of those Bombers to 9, gives me two Trenches for Deployment, gives the Thumper Crews Advance Deployment, and my Warbeasts get +2 SPD on the first turn.

While Gunnbjorns feat isn’t really a force multiplier here, I feel like Snipe on the Highwaymen and Guided Fire really make good models great here.

I think the primary strength of the list is the high volume of average to above average damage attacks.  It should shred most Troop spam lists.  The Thumper Crews can also help get even heavy armor targets out of zones/off flags.

The weaknesses are pretty straight forward, it isn’t going to handle Heavy Armor skew (MMM, Fist, etc.) well, and it loses some value against high defense models that can ignore blast damage, such as Satyxis Raiders, Nyss with Gorten, Baldur1, etc.

All together, I think it could pair well with Runes of War, as Runes typically suffers against real swarm armies.  Once your Runeshapers are engaged, your sustainable volume of attacks drops dramatically.

Looking at this list it looks fun, and I think it has game in a lot of matchups.  I am going to give it some play and report back!