I’d argue that the faction-defining unit for the Trollbloods is the Krielstone Bearer & Stone Scribes as this unit is in 98% of all Troll lists. Troll players are used to managing their Protective Aura each turn — Can my Warlock safely dump Fury into the Stone? Will my charging beasts leave the Stone’s Aura? Does my Stone need to run this turn to set up for the next?
The Krielstone unit has two Command Attachment options, each coming with a different selection of effects that apply to the Protective Aura. I have never ran a Krielstone unit without bringing along one of the Elders. For three points, you not only gain additional Protective Aura effects, but you increase the max size of the Aura by 1″. I’d have a tough time finding a better use of three points in most lists!
What are your options?
Stone Scribe Elder
The Stone Scribe Elder comes with three Stone Warp options: Combat Warding, Spirit Chaser, and Stone Strength. If you run this Elder, you will be warping Stone Strength the majority of the time as +1 STR for all friendly Faction models within the Aura is really strong!
Don’t count out the other two warps though — Spirit Chaser lets you strip Incorporeal off of pesky solos that are preventing you from scoring flags or zones, and that can make or break your scenario potential. I have yet to strip Stealth off of a model with this aura, as my Krielstone normally sits towards the back of my army. If a Stealth model is within your Protective Aura, chances are good that you can get within 5″ of the model and just shoot it anyways.
Combat Warding is a bit more situational, but it can still be useful. I have warped Combat Warding with my Stone Scribe Elder, moved them up to cover a burning woods, and told a unit of Champions to advance into said burning woods to kill two heavy jacks. Champions really don’t like taking POW12’s from fire, and Combat Warding prevented them from being lit on fire at all.
Sidenote: Don’t warp Combat Warding when your Northkin Fire Eaters (that are much happier being on fire) are within the Protective Aura. I definitely haven’t done that.
Overall, it seems like the Stone Scribe Elder is the Elder you will be taking in beast-heavy lists, as well as in most Band of Heroes armies. This Elder’s Stone Warp options have less restrictions on them than the Northkin Elder’s, even though two of them are situational.
The other attachment option for your Krielstone unit is the Northkin Elder. Like his name states, this Elder is to be taken with armies that consist of many (if not solely) Northkin models.
Stone Cold and Wild Winds both have the stipulation of only affecting friendly Northkin models — with Stone Cold narrowing it down further by only affecting friendly Northkin warrior models. Providing +2 STR is a very strong buff, you will just need to remember that it only affects a subset of your Northkin list.
Wild Winds can be especially effective when coupled with other speed buffs in the faction. Champions with the Quicken upkeep spell from Jarl suddenly threat 12″ when affected by Wild Winds. Bashers under Doomy2’s feat and Wild Winds threat 13″. While you can’t depend on these threat ranges taking your opponent by surprise every game, the knowledge that they can happen will sometimes give you extra space as you advance up the board.
Many of the Northkin models dish out Cold Damage with their attacks, making Winter Magic an incredibly strong option for certain lists. Your Glacier King chucks POW 16 Wind Thrower shots; Kolgrima’s Winter’s Tide spray becomes POW 14; you could even go for an Ice Troll gunline that shoots POW 18 Ice Spears (Rage + Winter’s Tide)!
The Northkin Elder is a fantastic option for the chilly Northkin lists that have been storming the north recently.
Respect your Elder!
Make sure you take the time to think about which Elder best fits your list as this model is an integral piece of the faction’s most valuable unit.