Thrommel is a keg. An armour-plated immovable object with a warhammer that stands higher than his own head. Black hair and beard shrouded in heavy helmet, thick muscles and no neck. A will of iron and a heart of gold. He is a clear example of the old dwarven ideals and his dedication to the royal line makes him one of the strongest royalist icons, which makes him loved and despised among mainland dwarves as the divide in their society deepens.
Thrommel is a brick wall. He is probably the best embodiment of the Defender archetype. His statline is typical (for a Dwarf), with MOV and AGI 3 and a RES of 2 common to Defenders with a respectable Soul Harvest of 4 (I have managed surprise Soul Harvests with Thrommel more than a few times, which really helps with getting his level up and catching your opponent off guard).
Where he begins to shine is when you gt to his weapon. This both, one of the things that will attract the attention of newer players, and also the thing that will potentially put them off him. First, the good: The damage track is the most damaging in the game, boasting 4/5/7! Then, the bad: This attack costs 2A to swing (or 3A to charge) meaning that there is precious little else that Thrommel will be doing with his turn. This is somewhat exacerbated by his MEL 6, which means that you will need to be stacking modifiers if you want to ensure that he is actually connecting with his attack. He really likes the Gang Up bonus, or smashing enemies who are already Knocked Down by some other means.
Thrommel has, in my opinion, one of the weaker Defender abilities in his Bodyguard Innate Ability. In practice it only works out to 2 damage negation (+2 RES) for the first attack on a friendly non-defender model within 2″. The slightly more niche benefit is that if it is someone like Rakkir coming in with the intention of executing a Combat Manoeuvre it can make it significantly harder to proc given the requirement to actually deal damage. But even then it is a fairly trivial order of activation fix for the opponent to get someone else to hit their target first.
In a recent Patch Notes, Thrommel got the Natural Sprinter ability, giving him +1 MOV during turn 1. More relevant to 5v5 games than 3v3’s, this is a nice boon to help him get up the field and into Shrine contesting territory on the first turn without needing to dedicate part of turn 2 to the same. Alternatively, it gives him a bit more reach to try and get the first turn monster kill (9″ charging threat) on a lot of 3v3 maps. But we will come back to why you would want to try this later.
Moving on to Combat Manoeuvres, Thrommel can inflict Stun for just 1S. Stun can be a very frustrating condition for your opponent as it reduces the actions available to an affected model from 3 to 2. Additionally, models affected by Stun cannot make parting blows. This can be a kind of niche effect that is part of Thrommel’s toolbox, but every now and then it will be game defining. The main strength to Stun, comes with Thrommels’ Hammer Time ability. For 1 Fate, you Knock Down you target and deal D3 True Damage. Firstly, this brings Thrommels’ damage output up to a theoretical max of 10 per activation. But the combination that I like is being able to stack both Stun from the Manoeuvre, and Knocked Down from the Ability. An enemy suffering both of these conditions is in a very bad place. Especially if they are fate starved, it can effectively reduce the target model to having only a single meaningful Action during their next activation.
Fierce Challenge is another corner case ability. It gives him something to do with the odd remaining action if he is already in position following a basic attack, but it plays into his role as a tank and can help skew the dice math in your favour. The -1 to their pool effectively buffs a friendly models’ AGI by 1 from attacks from your targeted model.
At Level 2, he gains the Immovable Object ability, which it what makes Thrommel the king of Shrine control. Movement and positioning plays such a vital role in Judgement, that suddenly being immune to pushes and knocked down makes him a lot harder to deal with. Simply park him on a Shrine (bonus points if it is the one closer to the enemy) and watch your enemy throw everything at him to try to dislodge him. Bear in mind though that he is not immune to places, so things like Styx, Kvarto and Sharn can still mess up his day in this regard.
Level 3 (Dwarf Toss) makes Thrommel entirely self sufficient, if a little Fate hungry. For an Action and a Fate you can place him completely within 6″ and Knock Down everyone within 2″! Not only is this 2 MOV’s worth of movement, but as a place you dont need an open path to get there. This would be amazing on its’ own. The gravy is the fact that you get to Knock Down everyone within 2″. Thrommel no longer needs outside help to get a decent dice pool for his attack, and in fact can suddenly really enable the rest of your warband to take advantage. The obvious counter play to this is for your opponent to not bunch up but that is really easier said than done as this “bubble” is almost 6″ across!
Getting Thrommel to Level 3 can be a bit of a tall order in a lot of games, and if you are aiming to utilise his Dwarf Toss ability as part of your battle plan, you need to consider how you will get him there. One of the most popular tactics for this is to engineer the first turn Monster kill to get him to L2, and then purchase the Tome of Experience to get him to L3. He can’t generally 1-shot monsters, even Gloom is a bit of a tall order as he only get the 1 attack and needs to rely on a combination of Hit and Hammer Time, but if you have another Hero who can use Push Manoeuvres to move the Monster closer and do a bit of chip damage it becomes a lot easier.
Interestingly, the Heroes that Thrommel likes to fight alongside are also the ones that he hates to fight against. As an ally, Kvarto and Styx can be very helpful with their Mind Control or Ethereal Passage abilities. Mind Control is an obvious boon as you suddenly get twice the value out of his Warhammer attack, and Styx’s place ability are invaluable for setting up Thrommel with the right charge lane without the need to spend time running there himself. Another Hero that really works with Thrommel (or any Dwarf) is Loribella. She can keep up a steady stream of healing as well as at Level 2, she has a 4″ aura that grants +1 MOV. As ever, Bastian is a solid boon to any melee Hero sharing his Warband.
On the flip side, both of these Heroes have an offensive place ability which can be used to remove Thrommel from whatever Shrine or board position he was wanting to hold. Further more, abilities like Brok’s Molten Metal will really hurt and you will need to watch out for them.
Looking at Artefacts, the Tome of Experience has already been mentioned as a strong one to assist with getting him levelled up. This levelling plan can also incorporate a Hunters Knife that Thrommel can immediately trade in against the cost of the Tome if necessary – just to make sure he gets the Monster kill. Depending on how mobile you want Thrommel to be, the Boots of Speed wouldn’t go awry either.
Defensively, I would probably be looking at Elixir of Life or Minotaur Essence, both with the intention of making him even harder to remove turn to turn.
Card Version: 1.6