“They see me trolling…they hating…”
Blood Rage is a complex game. There are hundreds of thousands of different strategies that can be employed throughout the game to make the most out of Ragnarok. Some of them are god based, some are troop based. Some of the most interesting, however, are monster based, and this is where this blog comes in.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article for this blog about using the Dark Elf and Dwarf Chieftain together in a strategy based around gaining control of Yggdrasil.
Soon after that I got thinking about my first ever game of Blood Rage. I went straight for the troll (a First Age card) because he was big and ugly and imposing and impressive. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, and soon ended up regretting the decision because he was (a) relatively expensive and (b) a little more complex than I gave him (or her I suppose…I am no expert on troll anatomy) credit for.
So, like so many other places on the internet, let’s talk about trolls.
Blood Rage Strategy: Tony the Troll
Meet Tony…he’s a troll…
Trolls are so easy to get wrong in Blood Rage and can be so difficult to get right. During the First Age of the game, there are very few large beasties that can make their way onto the table. Although not the largest monster in the game, Tony the Troll is by far the meanest looking thing to come out of the First Age and this makes him incredibly appealing for players to take.
The troll (Tony) is also incredibly appealing for players to play straight away, and this is where it is so easy to get it so wrong. The troll should never be played at the start of the First Age. His real strength comes in when the board is busy, and the board gets busy when people have resources.
So, before we get into why, let’s have a closer look at what Tony the Troll’s ability is.
The troll is a strength two character in Blood Rage. This makes him as powerful as the leader of a faction. He also costs two Rage to invade the board with. This is, ironically, not where the troll’s strength is. Well…it is…but it isn’t…if you get what I mean.
The troll’s real strength comes from his ability.
When this monster invades a province, destroy all enemy warriors in it.
Yes, consider how powerful that is just for a moment. Destroy all enemy warriors within a province. It completely changes the dynamic of the game.
Holding Back The Troll
Where it is so tempting to thrust the troll forward right away, the best strategy I can think of with the troll is to take him and hold him back until near the latter half of the middle of each Age. There is a huge risk that, upon deployment early on in the game, the troll gets deployed into an empty space (or a space with only one warrior) and gets avoided the entire game. Ideally, if you use him, because of the nature of the monster, you want to keep him invading. This means you need him to kill and then be killed before the end of the Age.
This is easier said than done. Players tend to avoid the monsters and for good reason. It takes a hand of good Tyr cards to be able to face the majority of them down without many warriors on the table. There appears to be a mentality when playing Blood Rage that changes the strategy of the other players. This is “Where are the monsters? Oh, they’re there. Okay, I’ll go somewhere else.”
So invading your troll too early is definitely a bad thing.
Wait For It…Wait For It…NOW!
So now we know when not to invade, there are two different options for invading the troll (depending on which takes your fancy) and both involve wrecking the other players’ days.
The first one of these is when a player, or more than one player, is setting up for a Pillage by stockpiling resources. Take the image below as an example of this.
Now, in a normal game, there will obviously be more players and more going on with the board. What this means is where this may seem unrealistic for the case of an article, it is a situation that regularly happens within the game. Players are known to stockpile resources, especially near the start of the game, leaving pillaging until later on in the Age.
Such stockpiling of warriors, in this case of the Wolf clan, would be done by the player to ensure a reward they truly want. It is worth noting, at this point, the exact text on the troll’s card – Tony’s special ability only works on warriors, so the above setup is ideal, without any monsters or leaders.
Then, when the opportune moment arrives, play the troll.
How do you know when the opportunity has arrived? This is the difficult bit. It’s a bit like poker. You need to understand and guess when your opponent is about to pillage and how insecure they are with their current warrior base. Move in and strike, leaving it as late as you dare, and then pillage quickly to claim it for your own.
If you do want to take on monsters and leaders using the troll, and if you want to go for the strongest possible troll strategy, then it is worth picking Tyr as a god to regularly stockpile the cards of. Clearing the warriors out of a province is one thing; however, cleaning the Fire Giant, a ship, and a clan leader out are completely different things. The troll is only strength two, so you will need a lot of Tyr cards to ensure victory. There is no point going for Loki with the troll strategy unless you want to seriously irritate your fellow players.
Trolling With The Troll (Meta-Trolling)
The other way to play the troll is very simple. Don’t play the troll until much later in the game – much, much later in the game – so late in the game it is almost too late. This may sound like a weird strategy; however, it actually makes some sense in the context of the meta-game.
The troll is, in some ways, a bit of a wrecking ball. He comes in, causes chaos, and then is pretty easily killed. The damage, however, comes almost exclusively at the start of his invasion. This means he cannot be fought or defended against when dealing initial damage.
With this in mind, you can stop your opponents ganging up on you, especially later on in the game, if they think you can destroy them pretty easily with a single monster. To do this they need to fear the troll, and hopefully, they don’t realise how weak he really is.
Later on in the game, the players are more invested. They have more resources, in a smaller space, leading to more conflict. This can be played on as a troll controller, and (hopefully) it is possible to use the fear of the troll to keep everyone at bay. Players won’t want you to destroy what they have spent a whole game trying to get.
Then, later on in the game, play the troll anyway. You have nothing to lose at this point and they have everything worth taking. It won’t make you popular, but if you wanted to play nice you wouldn’t have got a game with both Blood and Rage in the title.
Own The Board
So there you go. I hope you found this brief (okay, not that brief) exploration into Blood Rage strategy and the troll useful. Let me know how you get on with it in the comments below.
SIMILAR ARTICLE: Blood Rage Strategy: The Elf and The Dwarf