In my last article, I spent some time breaking down Quicken on Jarl. Today, I want to break down his other two upkeeps: Tactical Supremacy and Weald Secrets. Specifically, I want to continue to talk about jamming with Jarl.
- First, let’s talk about Tactical Supremacy. Unlike Quicken, which has a direct effect on threat ranges, Tactical Supremacy allows for 3 inches of additional movement after everything has ended its activation. While I don’t think it’s as amazing as Quicken, it does have a few distinct awesome factors:
- Like Quicken, it targets friendly model/unit. That means that it can be applied to solos, units or beasts–even Minions or Jarl himself. This continues Jarl’s theme of being extremely flexible.
- It allows for movement shenanigans. It’s possible to sacrifice movement for the aiming bonus or to stand up a knocked down model and they can still “move” 3 inches. It’s also possible to use it like the world’s tiniest Ride By Attack–move forward, attack, use Tactical Supremacy to retreat. Much like Ride By Attack, it does nothing to prevent you from retaliation, so be aware of free strikes and effects that trigger on movement.
- It allows second line units to keep pace with a Quickened front line. This is the biggest reason I use Tactical Supremacy.
While I think there’s a lot to be said for using Tactical Supremacy as a way to keep Sluggers moving while still allowing them to aim and use Full Auto, or for using it as a way to let Nyss aim and ghetto Zephyr, neither of those units really fit into my jam strategy. Shooting into melee is generally a bad idea–unless you’re Jarl.
So, on to the units I think it works well on:
- Champions. While Champions under Jarl don’t have that same nipple tweaking effect they do under Madrak2, the promise of delivering a full unit is delicious. With the full Kriel boat Quickened far up the board, and Jarl’s feat to cause even more havok to everyone’s plans but Legion, the Champs just have to make it up the board in time to do work. Tactical Supremacy keeps them leaping toward the center of the board. If the KWs run 16″ on Turn 1, and the Champs were directly behind them, after running and using their Tactical Supremacy move, they’ll only be 3″ behind the Kriels, ready for the counter punch.
- Gatorman Posse. See above. If they’re your second line, face smashing counter charge unit, this will keep them from getting left behind.
- The Krielstone. I stick by my opinion from my previous article that the Stone is less than useful with Jarl, but if you’re going to take it, this is a great way to keep it relevant. After running and the Tactical Supremacy move, the smallest aura should still hit a portion of the super jammy front line.
- More Infantry! If you’re inclined to take Fennblades and the Kriel boat, Tactical Supremacy makes a poor troll’s Quicken for the second line.
- Jarl. When you consider that it’s possible for Jarl to move and Swift Hunter twice, he already has a lot of movement potential. Add in Tactical Supremacy and he’s able to move out his full 6″ and, between triggering Swift Hunter twice and Tactical Supremacy, move 7″ into a safer position. His best Caine imitation isn’t going to make him uncatchable, but it will let him get to weird places.
I’d also note that it’s situationally useful on just about any heavy warbeast. The Bomber can use it to get into a position to aim the next turn, or to shuffle around after a turn spent aiming. Mulg loves to smash things dead, and an extra 3″ every turn can really cut down the time it takes him to get into smash range. Earthborn Dire Trolls can use it to reposition near obstacles, rough terrain or water–assuming anyone actually puts water on the table any more.
Unlike Quicken, I don’t think it has any particularly bad choices. Instead, I’ll put it like this: if the 3″ movement is worth one of Jarl’s six fury each turn, then it’s a good choice. If you’d rather have a random boost or another transfer, it isn’t.
Now, on to Weald Secrets. This upkeep grants Pathfinder and Camouflage. Before we get too deep into this one, let me explain my thinking between the two of these.
I don’t think it’s likely you’ll want to upkeep all three every turn. One of Jarl’s big strengths is in tossing out two Magic Bullet shots from 16″ away. With Harmonious Exaltation from the Runebearer, it’s possible to upkeep all three and shoot twice with Magic Bullet if you’re willing to sit on no transfers. The problem is Jarl is definitely on the lower end of defensive stats for a Troll warlock. He’s 2 DEF and a few boxes above Hoarluk “If I have no transfers, I might as well just start rolling for tough” Doomshaper.
My thinking on this is simple. If my opponent is playing Legion, or has any other way to ignore Concealment or Cover, Weald Secrets drops significantly in value, unless the table is just absolutely littered with terrain. If they can’t ignore it, it’s a choice between additional movement and additional DEF, which brings me to my favorite part about Weald Secrets: Trolls have both Concealment and Cover on sticks.
Tale of Mist from the Chronicler will shoot Kriel Warriors or Fennblades to a delicious DEF 16 against ranged/magic attacks. This increases the value of the Chronicler significantly. You may remember from my last article where I essentially suggested the same thing was possible with Quicken. Now, looking at both buffs, it’s possible to launch the Quickened unit up the field with high DEF, then once they get locked into melee, migrate that DEF bonus to the second line. If your opponent is so ranged heavy engaging is just a poor idea, you’ll be making them choose between shooting at DEF 12 in melee… so DEF 16… or straight up DEF 16. Good times.
On to the units:
- Sons of Bragg. One of the strangest bits of Skornergy in Trolls is the fact that the Sons can’t be affected by any other Fellcalls. That means that it’s very difficult to give them Pathfinder. Weald Secrets handles that problem, and also gives them a DEF bonus for getting in terrain. With their higher natural DEF, they’ll be DEF 17 sitting in a forest, or DEF good-freakin-luck behind a wall.
- Kriel Warriors or Fennblades. As mentioned above, the combination of Weald Secrets and Tale of Mist on either of these guys is great for getting them across the board.
- Champions. This is one place where I feel they’re more appropriate than the Posse, since they can be affected by Tale of Mist.
- Jarl. This spell and a 1 point investment in some Swamp Gobbers goes a long way to increasing his DEF. This gets even better with Janissa. Tale of Mist from the Chronicler works here too, but I wouldn’t put a lot of hope into surviving a ranged assassination attempt by rolling Tough and having Feign Death.
Less useful, more cutesy uses are:
- Gatorman Posse. Again? Really, again. The fact that all of these buffs can be used on Minions really increases the value of the Posse with Jarl. If they really need to get through terrain and reroll to hits once they get there, it’s worth considering. It also combos well with Dirge of Mists. Weald Secrets plus Dirge of Mists plus sitting in concealment puts them up to DEF 17. This requires a lot more moving pieces than story time with the Chronicler, but it’s far from impossible.
- Long Riders. The problem with Pathfinder on a stick is that sometimes the stick isn’t riding a Buffalo. If the terrain is a nightmare, it can help them get into places you need them to be.
- Scouts. They already have Pathfinder, but that combined with Hunter greatly increase the frequency that they’re in terrain. Being DEF 17 and having Stealth can be amazing. Unfortunately, Tale of Mist won’t trigger Prowl, so they need real terrain (or cloud effects) to pull this off. Once again, Legion gives no craps about this.
One last point I’d like to make before we move past Jarl’s jamtastic upkeeps is the need to upkeep them. Normally, when I think of placing an upkeep on a unit–let’s say, Defender’s Ward on my Errants or Arcane Shield on my Stormwall–I intend on keeping that upkeep there until the unit is no longer relevant. Jarl’s upkeeps are very different. They’re delivery systems. Once a unit is engaged, you need to evaluate whether or not these buffs will be better used elsewhere.
Are my Quickened Fennblades going to chew through his front lines and charge an obscene distance into the backfield, pinning his army down even more, or are they stuck in the mosh pit for the duration of the game? Are my Sons of Bragg going to need Pathfinder again when they get through cracking skulls? Is there a place for my unit to really benefit from the DEF bonuses of Weald Secrets or Quicken any more?
As soon as these upkeeps stop serving a purpose, don’t be afraid to drop them. They’re nearly all useful on warbeasts and they’re all useful on Jarl, particularly late in the game. Or even just dropping them to save the fury to keep our DEF 15 / ARM 15 friend alive in a world where POW 20s are a thing.
My next article with Jarl will most likely diverge from the informative blather that I’ve been spewing. I’m taking him and his friends out of town for a tournament, so I’ll probably do some critical evaluation of my lists, plus battle reports.