Army Review: Trident Realm

While I am a big fan of the traditional army review format, they usually only show the opinion of one person playing in one particular meta. In reality even within the same gaming group there is often a lot of disagreement over which units are top tier and which leave a lot to be desired. So I decided to format these army reviews in a way that captures that debate.  

A massive thank you to Ben, Jeff, Michal and Pat for their help with this review.

The ‘Expert’ Panel

Ben
Hi, I’ve been playing KOW now for about 4 years; I was a warhammer refugee but I’ve been playing games and role playing since I was about 10. I instantly liked the game as it offered me the top down ‘general in a tent’ kind of tactical game combined with great army build options. I’ve tied playing all the KOW armies and I’d originally dismissed the trident realms. I think the main reason was because there are so many build options I couldn’t work out how to use them. A friend of mine stared using them and regularly beating me and that rekindled my interest. I noticed the Depth Horrors did very well and imagine my delight when I realised I could make an army nearly entirely out of them 🙂. I’ve played over a hundred games with the Trident Realms and I find them a very rewarding army, they require quite a lot of finesse however when you get it right they can be very effective. Some of the most enjoyable and tactical games I’ve played have involved the Trident Realms.

Jeff, the Trident King
My name is Jeff Swann, I’m originally from southern California but now live in TX and play KoW as well known player in the USA south region. Being from California you pick up some of that play style and bring a different take on army composition than what you might normally see in the south region which in my opinion mirrors much of the north in the UK playstyle. Typical players on the west coast in the USA focus more on theematic list and enjoy not having something that is min maxed to be the absolute best bang for the buck. 

 My experience with the army first started when I was flying back to California to play at the West Coast GT hosted in Orange County. The event was being run by old friends of mine who ran the podcast West Coast Kings or before that West Coast Hammertime. Fred was not having much success with his trident realm army so I told him to write me a list but don’t give it to me until I got to the GT. I ended up undefeated with it and won the GT. This speaks loads to how good KoW is as a game if all you need is the basics from playing another army (in my case I had played lots of forces of nature) and you can transfer that into how to play a army that is in many way similar. After this event I liked the army soo much I went home to start my own Trident army and the rest is history. Many people know my “Shark Week” army and love to play vs it. I find that no matter the outcome It is hands down my favourite army to play because it’s fun for both players. 

 I joined the KoW RC back in 2018 and stayed on through 2020. Much of V3 Trident Realm was the work of myself and Chris Morris. I have always been on the side of not making any unit “op” just because I played the army. This will translate into less nerfs in the army and if anything they would get buffs which as a player is always better to get a happy surprise rather than a rage invoking nerf. You will find that Trident Realm are not a perfect army, but in the hands of a skilled player are one of the most difficult armies to play against.

Michal “MiSiO
My name is Michal. I am 38. I play KoW since 2017 but I am a wargamer for at least 25 years now. I am both a hobbyist and a competitive player. I started with WFB in the 90’s then moved to Mordheim, BFG, DBA, BF&S. Played 15mm and 28mm wargames. Historical, fantasy and SF.

Abyssal Dwarfs were my first KoW army as I always wanted a Chaos Dwarf army (since the original rulebook was out) but when Trident Realm was released I switched to them and never looked back. Trident Realm is a weird army with a mix of very different units and heroes. It is also very unique in the way it plays and the number of great builds is endless.I have 6500 points painted and still have so many units to add and test…

Pat Zoro Allen
Patrick Zoro Allen here, Kings of War premier Has-Been that people sometimes listen to for some reason. I’ve wanted to play Trident Realm mainly because I wanted to build this:

This is a work in progress piece, that will probably weigh close to 5 pounds when finished as I plan on encasing the unit in a ~4″ resin pour and having the boat float on top. Trident Realms offers so many unique modelling opportunities and I love the combined races aspect of them and the ability to play with super bright colours. They’ve been a challenging army for me to come to grips with as I normally play an aggressive, alpha-strike style army. After many losses I felt I finally got the hang of them right before the world locked down. 

The Rating System

Each unit in the army is given a rating /10 using the scale below.

Note that the score given is how the unit compares to all other units in the game, not just compared to other units in the army. However, each unit should be considered in the context of this particular army e.g. a Phoenix in Salamanders may be rated differently to a Phoenix in the Forces of Basilea.


Naiad Ensnarers

Photo credit: Malcom G. Brown

Ben – 6/10
Great core unit with lots of utility. The low defence is mainly offset by Ensnare and the 4+ Regeneration should be enough to shrug off shooting softening. The Pathfinder doesn’t come into play too much due to Speed 5 but is always helpful.

Jeff – 8/10
Only ever really taken as a horde, these guys are one of if not the best anvils in the game. 4+ regen and ensnare lets you park them some place and be basically impassible terrain. If people charge them they will have to combo charge to get anywhere close to threatening them. Most of the time you will be -2 to hit them and even if you take 10 wounds you will regen 5 back and could take another 10 next turn and still be totally fine. I often don’t even counter charge so that the -2 to hit sticks and I can lock down units for a very long time.

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Michal – 7/10
Very good, but expansive anvil. Troops and even regiments never see play but a horde is a good choice for a slower naiad/gigas/placoderm based lists. Impossible to take out by many units when positioned well.

Pat – 8/10
The horde is one of the best anvils in the game with its combination of rules.Ensnare and Regeneration make it a pain to remove while Pathfinder allows it to get in position easily. Unfortunately those rules also make them too expensive in troops and regiments to really consider, which is why it’s an 8 and not a 9. The Horde is borderline a 10 though, depending on how well you can roll 4+ for their Regeneration.


Thull

Ben – 6/10
Good flankers but too fragile.

Jeff – 6/10
Good in all flavours but not worth taking loads of. They are pretty much succubi which I also love but with no fury or unit upgrade option. These are good screen units if you have shooting heavy issue because stealth and cover makes them bad targets to shoot or at least if they do get shot then those shots are not going at other units you have. These are also great chaff killers. High volume attacks that hit on 3’s and you can let the oppoant chaff charge them 1st because ensnare and usually hinder charge will keep them from dying.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Christopher Dwane

Michal – 6/10
They lose to Depth Horrors in most cases, unless you are like me and use Mythicans with surge to support Elementals. I was expecting Thuul regiments to cost 140 in 3rd. They ended up costing 150 and I think that is the main reason they are being considered weaker Horrors. Sadly Stealthy does not work vs Lighting Bolt so Thuul having Stealthy does not compensate lower nerve (to Depth Horrors). On the other hand Thuul benefit greatly from cheaper Sharpness. 190 points for 20 Me 2+ attacks is what most non-Depth Horror lists need. Thuul troops are a solid screens you cannot ignore. Able to clear any other chaff.

Pat – 5/10
Their role is essentially a hybrid of the footguard/beserker archetype. They’re priced alongside Elf Palace Guard and they do similar damage and have close to the same defensive capabilities when accounting for ensnare/stealthy. There’s nothing wrong with this unit and its a rather good unit in isolation, but two things keep it from being an ideal unit to take in a competitive list. 

Inner list balance. Hordes of Depth Horrors are only marginally more expensive for much a better profile and unlock reward. The Depth Horror horde vs Thuul regiment gives a lot of survivability and damage output for only 25pts more. The Depth Horror Regiment vs Thuul troop gives much more survivability and an extra point of US, but the Thuul troop does win out on damage at least.

The current shooting meta. This will vary by location but from what I’ve seen the current shooting meta relies on Lightning Bolt and Ignores Cover. Lightning bolt doesn’t care about stealthy which makes Thuul very vulnerable and Ignores Cover allow Thuul troops to be a decent screen if you were planning on running them in front of your Depth Horrors.

As they are now, the troops are solid as a second line clean up unit. The regiments should only be taken if you particularly like the models, or you’re 25 pts short of a Depth Horror horde.


Riverguard Treeleapers

Ben – 7/10
A solid unit and defence 4 combined with Ensnare means they’ll stick around. Their key skill is their Fly and Nimble that means they can get into great positions. Both troop and regiments are great options.

Jeff – 6/10
Solid 2nd line unit. Always keep them hidden and just use them as a possible threat. Never commit them solo. Combo with Wyrms or a Knucker these guys are solid. Nimble and move 7 means 14″ into terrain and still get a pivot.

Michal – 7.5/10
Like most units in the Trident Realm list, Treeleapers are good at a limited number of things. They’re what I call functional chaff which makes them a solid choice in my eyes. Speed 7, Crushing Strength (1), Flyingand Nimble unit with Pathfinder. I mostly take from 1-3 troops and they always have something to do on a table. Good screens. Very good flankers but swingy like all Me4+ units.

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Pat – 8/10
One of the best infantry units in the game in my opinion. It’s rare to have an unlocking unit that has Fly, Nimble, and Pathfinder which can lead to some very hard to deal with forces. The regiments are solid mini-anvils with solid nerve, Ensnare and def4. CS1 makes them a viable combat threat as well. 

The troops are probably where most people will gravitate towards. Fly means you can sit them behind your units and jump over for some juicy flanks.


Placoderms

Ben – 7/10
So solid crew! Defence 6 nuff said! Then phalanx? Wow! They are let down by Speed 5 and Melee 4 but they’re great anvils. They compliment the rest of the army well you just need to make sure you’re using them against flyers or cavalry to really make them shine.

Photo credit: Patrick Zoro Allen

Jeff – 7/10
Def 6 and phalanx is better than people give credit. These are great with all of the cav, monster cav, and flyers out there. You will find that people just try to leave them alone which can be a good thing. You can put tokens on them or hold objectives and eventually the opponents with have to charge you or just give up the point. Supported with a drain life or heal siren with heal shroud for heal 6 is the way to play these.

Michal – 5/10
Placoderm are a very defensive unit. The problem is this is how most Trident Realm units are. I can imagine troops and regiments being used with Weakness support and/or Bastion. I even have a troop of my own protecting my Giga list. I can imagine a 3-4 regiment list with Placoderm being a main battle like and a source of unlocks. Still a unit with a very limited role. Slow.

Pat – 6/10
If you live in a Cavalry  or Thunderous Charge heavy meta they’ll jump up to an 8 or 9. Great anvils though. They’re hard to get rid of for even the premier hammers (Soul Reaver Infantry and the like). The biggest thing that holds them back in my opinion is the Heavy Infantry base size limits some of the corkscrew shenanigans you could pull off with them as the base.


Naiad Heartpiercers

Ben – 6.5/10
Some of the best shooting troops in the game that are very survivable with Regeneration 4+. They’d be top tier and auto include if they unlocked but as they don’t it can be hard to get the shooting volume when you need other units for unlocks (I think Ben might need to go re-read his Clash of Kings 2021 😉 – Elliot).

Jeff – 8/10
Steady aim and P1 is a great combo, add in regen 4+ and you have a unit that is not likely to be shot off and usually must be charged. Place them in terrain with their leader point just barely poking out so that you don’t take a negitive to the shot but if charged the enemy will clip the terrain. These guys pop the few wounds you need to have your wyrms or depth horrors finish off. These are also good token holders.

Michal – 6.5/10
One trick pony. 2-3 troops or 2 regiments can do work. Ra4+, Piercing (1) is great. They rarely shoot in turn 1 but can be a very effective units in several builds. Go troops if you care about volume of shots, and regiments if you like your units to stay alive longer.

Photo credit: Clive Kelly

Pat – 6/10
These guys will tear up opponent melee infantry and can get a solid volley off before cavalry and flyers. They melt to opponents’ counter-fire as they don’t have the range to go up against 24” shooting effectively. The Regeneration can come in handy for the counter-fire however, as you’ll force the enemy to focus fire in order to remove them. 

They don’t have the melee threat that other ranged units in their price range boast (sisterhood scouts, gladestalkers) which is a shame since their range means they’re more likely to get stuck in melee. 


Riverguard

Ben – 5/10
Useful troops but they don’t unlock and what they do is done better by other things in the army. The Speed 7, Nimble and Fly means they can get into great positions and behind armies well as they’ll not be your opponents first target.

Photo credit: Patrick Zoro Allen

Jeff – 4/10
These guys are jack of all trades but master of none. I would have loved to seen these ME4 and go down to Def3 . These are basically a fill in for other armies that have light cav with shooting. These are good if you can get people to leave a gap to shoot into early game to get behind units .

Michal – 2/10
Losing Vicious on their javelins and Me4 means Treeleapers are just a superior choice. When I consider using them I always end up with Treeleaper troops. 9/11 nerve seems like an obvious mistake too.

Pat – 4/10
Too pricey for their damage output in my opinion. They’re still quite annoying to remove by the enemy since they boast def4 and Ensnare. However they can largely be ignored as well. The troops are pricier than the far superior Treeleapers, and while the regiment is cheaper, it’s also Irregular in an army that usually likes to utilize a lot of their unlocks. 


Tidal Swarm

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Ben – 8/10
 Best swarms in the game. Yes they die easily but Scout makes them very versatile. They can grab tokens early, shield your more vulnerable units and with Ensnare they can sometimes survive a charge from an alpha unit setting up a great counter. The Nimble means they can really get into awkward positions and at 70 points they’re so cheap so they’re great for increasing units in an army. I don’t think you’ll see many hordes as the regiments are so good.

Jeff – 8/10
One of the best swarms in the game. Scout and nimble is super solid and ensnare can make them dangerous to try to charge on the off chance you don’t break them. They do die to even a slight mist of shooting. 

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Michal – 9/10
I am not a fan of chaff that has no other role (functional chaff) but a 70 point scouting, Fearless swarm is a very good option especially for slower lists but also to control zones and tokens far from the main fight.

Pat – 9/10
Ensnare, Nimble, Scout, Fearless. Those three rules make this unit one of the best chaff options in the game regardless of its low speed. At a good amount of attacks they can often win the chaff war. Its borderline a 10 


Nokken

Ben – 4/10
Useful but their Shambling isn’t used much and really slows them down, their shooting attack is meh, you’ll always find better places to spend the points. Their Ensnare and Defence 3 means they’re a bit more survivable than the Tidal Swarms but its not enough to make much of a difference 

Jeff – 8/10
One of my favourite units that has been changed. More shots and shamble makes for some fun tricks. A unit with built in shots you can shoot them surge can really catch people out who don’t respect them. These are great as chaff or can be great to hold a objective. Parking them near terrain makes them a real pain. Ensnare and hinder is usually enough to make people second guess a charge that could cost them their unit.

Michal – 5.5/10
I play a lot of Elementals and I find that a very proper theme in Trident Realms and I rarely find space for a Nokken horde. Breath (14) is respectable for a 130 point unit. -/14, def 3+ Ensnare unit can take some hits especially behind an obstacle or in difficult terrain but they slow Elementals down due to Speed 6 which makes regiments of Nokken not the best chaff. I like horde more due to 14 breath shots and a potential to grind vs specific units.

Pat – 6/10
 The firepower of Tidal Spray shouldn’t be underestimated. However Shambling at Sp6 means it won’t be able to use that until turn 2-3 unless the enemy underestimates it. One of the few swarms where the Horde is the better choice thanks to Regeneration and Ensnare. They fit great in lists with Water Elementals, and they’re OK as clean-up units in other lists. 


Depth Horrors

Ben – 6/10
Oh how the mighty have fallen. They dish out loads of damage but they’re soo fragile, shoot at them (height 3 is easy to be seen) and they’ll go away. Losing Fearless was massive. The regiments are useful and good value but they won’t survive the game and now they might just let you down when you need them most.

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Jeff – 7.5/10
These are my favourite unit even tough now they dont have fearless anymore. With fearless I would give them an 8/10. These are budget ogres. A true glass cannon unit. Most times they are best used as a 2nd line. Let other units take the hit than come in and let the DH eat! Fearless was key on these because they can very easily be waived with 1 round of shooting. 

Michal – 8/10
Most straight forward unit in the army. The only true hammer we have. That is why we see them being spammed so much. Simple to use, with great support from Depth Horror Eternals. They suffered a bit due to the fact 3rd edition reduced Crushing Strength on most punchy unit and it is easier to need CS1 than CS2 units. Cheapest unlocks we have (except for Thuul that are weaker Horrors).

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Pat – 9/10
Was a 10/10 when they were Fearless. As a unit with Fury, Ensnare, and one higher nerve than most Large Infantry they’re still one of the best melee anvils. Me3 and CS1 allow for steady damage and their price makes them one of the most efficient units in the game if you can keep them from getting shot (or if your meta doesn’t have a lot of shooting). Their one of the go-to choices for unlocks in the Trident Realm list.


Water Elementals

Ben – 6/10
Good Shambling large infantry, main skill is how solid they are. You can build and army around them but I think you’re missing out on other stuff in the Trident Realm list.

Jeff – 9/10
These guys in my opinion are the best elementals in the game. Move 7 and strider make for some real threats. Add nimble to them and look out! Sirens and surge make these guys synergize amazingly. One of the best cores in a TR list is 2 horde and a greater elemental plus a siren. 

Michal – 6/10
Best Elementals in my opinion. I like options and they give them to me. Speed of 7 and shambling are a very strong combination. Some valid Enthral combos (and by valid I mean possible to execute) makes Water Elemental hordes a very fun unit. Sadly they are Me 4+ which makes them very unreliable. Strider makes them reliably medicore. The last 6 times I was able to flank a 15/17 def 5+ horde with my Elementals I never even wavered targeted unit. This makes Entral+surge tricks not only very expensive but also very ineffective.

Regiments are a very solid flank protectors/chaff.

Pat – 7/10
Throwing Wine of Elvenkind onto this unit is one of the smartest things you can do with the item (see my Dash28 Trident Realm army review for how that works).  Trident Realm have great movement manipulation options to take full advantage of Surgenanigans, Water Elementals are a great core to a list but you’ll have to rely on flanks and tricks to get them to deal any reasonable damage. Otherwise you’ll be settling in for a grind, which they’re solid at.


Naiad Wyrm Riders

Ben – 7.5
Good cavalry, they’ve got everything you want built in, the lower than Defence 5 is offset by Regeneration and with Pathfinder built in there’s room for some nice magic item combos.

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Jeff – 8/10
Arguably one of the best cav units in the game. Many have complained these have no place in the army but I see it the polar opposite. These are basically the price of a cav unit but on a slightly larger base. H4 let’s you see over hiss where normal cav can not, pathfinder built in, regen 4+ in exchange for them dropping to a Def 4 where other knights are def 5. NE 15/17 is +1 NE compared to most* knights. CS 1 is as good or better than TC2 and if played correct can usually charge off a hill for a free TC1 which you will get to keep because pathfinder.

Michal – 4/10
Tried to use them with several different items. That did not work very well. Big footprint for a unit that is not very punchy and that has problems surviving a counter attack. Regen 4+ is great but 15/17 nerve is rarely enough to make them last long enough to benefit from it.

Pat – 7/10
You can look at them as a weird cavalry unit, or a weird large infantry unit. Wyrm Riders blend that design space. Mobility wise they’re great cavalry with Sp8 and Pathfinder. Offensively they’re standard Large infantry, sharing the same offensive capabilities of Depth Horrors and Ogre Warriors (solid, if not spectacular). Brew of Strength will turn a single Horde into a true hammer, while Blood of the Old Kings will be the dangerous budget option. 

They’re Trident Realm’s only unit that’s over speed 7 that doesn’t require an unlock. They excel when paired with some of the faster units such as Knuckers, providing both an unlock and a threat range base for the nimble monster to work off of. 

Their biggest downside is their base size, their status of Large Cavalry (phalanx hurts even though they don’t have TC), and their middling defense. 

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Riverguard Dambusters

Ben – 7/10
Great utility cavalry unit, the Enthral is great and now you can combine with other Enthrals you can use them as part of Enthral spam. The only down side is their cost which means you’ll not see many in any army.

Jeff – 7/10
Flying nimble unit with strider … sign me up. These are not crazy heavy cav that are going to 1 shot anything you front charge. These are better than non nimble flying units in most ways though. You can move at the double 14″ and still pivot but lose the 20″ charge range so pretty even there. Strider means you will always hit on 4’s AND keep their TC2 that adds on to their CS1. These are really solid units in regiment form but also they are unlock units in horde form. Both good choices.

Michal – 7/10
Hordes are a bit expensive hammers. They have a lot of special rules we pay for that requires a specific list to work (regiments) or just does not work at all (hordes). Me4 and Strider makes them similar to Water Elementals. Same average chance to hit in all conditions. Their footprint is a bit difficult to work with and they can not compete with Me3+ equivalents like Wights.

I like regiments a lot. 9 attacks is enough to make a difference. Enthral can work well with Surge and they can fit flanks due to smaller footprint. Hordes with Sharpness or Haste are a thing but they are very expensive. Still our best hammers. Oh. And poison frogs do work on hordes.

Pat – 7/10
The horde should not really be taken without further investing with either Blessing of the Gods or Brew of Sharpness. Their price is too great to rely on 18 attacks at Me4. The good thing is all the special rules of this unit allow those items to really shine. Strider, Sp7, Fly, CS1 and TC2 means that their melee value will stay consistent, and what they hit will be hurt. They’re also very easy to use with screens since Fly will make it easy to make contact with the enemy. The base size does make it harder to join battle in a scrum however, if you’re planning on using them more towards the middle of the board regiments are the better choice and those guys are fine without items. 

Defensively they can shrug off small amounts of small-arms fire with Regeneration and def5, but won’t take serious attention. The frontage also makes it easy to be multi-charged by faster forces.

The Sticky-tongue is a decent clean up threat, but the short range combined with the fact it’s actually an Enthrall spell makes it hard to use for pure damage in early stages of the game. It can be fun to combine with Water Elementals and a Surge caster however. 


Gigas

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Malcom G. Brown

Ben – 7.5/10
They’re very tough, they hit hard and they can get into flanks with the Nimble. Both regiments and horde options are good but at 125 points you can easily spam the regiments, taking down one is hard, taking down 3+ not gonna happen. Their CS2 and Vicious makes up for their lack of attacks.

Jeff – 8/10
Great all around unit. Big shield for def 6 and nimble and CS2. What is not to like? Well the foot print and only 12 attacks if you want to be picky. I’ll take speed 5 nimble over speed 6 no nimble all day. Really probably the go to unit in the army if your are an entry level or just above player looking for easy to play units. Any list is better with them.

Michal – 7/10
Best infantry hammer we have. 12, Me3+, Crushing Strength (2), Vicious attacks makes Gigas as good as many 18 attack units (Butchers). Gigas are another weird unit. Height 2, on a 150mm frontage bases allows them to make some corkscrew charges (thanks to those 4mm). Low number of attacks. A merge between hammer and anvil. Big but Nimble and Big shield makes them almost impossible to kill by many units. Siren seems to be an obvious choice when you decide to take a list with 1-3 horde. Heal and weakness. They benefit from both. Good second line unit.

Pat – 8/10
Defensively the same as Ogre Siegebreakers, they can still surprise people offensively as a medium hammer thanks to good melee, CS2, and Vicious. While Nimble makes their lower speed a non-issue as far as early game positioning goes, they’re still going to be charged more often then charging unless you invest in chaff for them. Their large base makes it harder to control multi-charges so you’ll have to make up for it with good use of angles, which thankfully Nimble helps with.

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Greater Water Elemental

Ben – 6/10
Good giant with regen, a little less hitty but it’ll lasts well.

Jeff – 7/10
Speed 7 and strider are the sell points here. Regen 5+ let’s him shrug off some small shooting damage. Usually use this guy as an anvil to go lock something down and love a turn while support arrives. He’s also easy to get flanks with due to shamble and surge tricks. 

Michal – 7/10
High nerve, small footprint, CS2, shambling. They are not Krakens or Knuckers but I always take one in a Waterbound themed lists. Square bases allows a lot of great surge tricks. Att of 8 is not impressive so like most non-Depth Horror units you get your value mostly due from advantageous positioning and flanking. They are ok in a straight fight.

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Pat – 6/10
Good defensive profile on a small base. Unfortunately it doesn’t do much damage even in flanks. Still it’s relatively cheap and a 50mm surgeable monster always has some tricks that will usually give the enemy pause.


Knucker

Ben – 9/10
So much for so little cost. Its so manoeuvrable, its hard to kill and it hits very hard, especially in flanks and rears which they’ll get into. It’s a cheap flying character that doesn’t take hero slots. It scores. It’s the best unit in the Trident Realm list.

Everybody hates Knuckers, unless you’re a Trident Realm player. 

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Jeff – 9/10
Too many good things to say. Nimble and speed 9 with path finder makes him almost as good as a flyer but you can’t just disorder him to lock him down. 6 attacks on 3’s makes sure he can usually always stick a wound on something. Ensnare usually means he can live through at least 1 counter charge. A good player can make a knucker get it’s points and more every game. If it was Height 5 it would be a 10/10. Height 4 means other monsters can still see over him if you try to use him to black line of sight.

Michal – 9/10
Knuckers’ in their current form are in a perfect spot. They got several buffs in previous CoK (2nd edition) and a small adjustment when we moved into 3rd. Their size got lowered and their cost went up a bit. Knucker is a unit TR use a lot because it is a missing tool we have problems finding elsewhere. Small footprint, non-hero unit (TR in most builds have problems unlocking) that is a non-flying SP flyer. Flanker, chaff, objective holder. Extra punch in combined charges. You name it. Not a real flyer but close enough.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

I have heard some people complain they should get a nerf (in form of removing previous balancing tweaks to Me and/or Stealthy) but I think a Knucker is in a very good spot when it comes to balance.

Pat – 10/10
There’s a lot to like about the Knucker profile. They’re frustrating to get to grips with the combination of Pathfinder, Nimble and Speed 9, and even though they have low nerve for a monster, Ensnare and Stealthy make them very resilient. Its essentially a Large Cavalry hero in a monster slot which allows it to ignore Phalanx, and frees up a hero unlock.


Coral Giant

Ben – 8.5/10
The hardest giant in the game. Iron Resolve and Ensnare means this is gonna be there at the end. Like all giants lots of Crushing Strength, nothing bad to say really, if you like giants you’ll love this one.

Jeff – 6/10
As good as other giants. Lose 2 attacks and 2 nerve to gain ensnare and iron resolve. Few points cheaper. This guy is best used as a 2nd line. Let other units lock down and then use the CS3 where you need it. Combo with heal or drain life siren and they work pretty solid.

Michal – 6.5/10
CS3 and Brutal (but no Fury). Something most TR lists will benefit from. Like most TR units… very defensive offensive unit. I rated them 6-7 because CG loose to Krakens in most cases. Still a unit I would consider in a Elemental list (Waterbound). Titan base is a disadvantage when compared to Greater Water Elemental base but Brutal and CS3 is what elemental-based lists want.

Photo credit: Danny Graves

Pat – 4/10
One of the few units that combines ensnare and Def5, Iron Resolve adds to the tankiness of this giant. For me, that’s where the good news ends. 

Its offensive capabilities is a travesty for a Titan. It boasts less attacks and less Crushing Strength than the generic or frozen counterpart. And while Iron Resolve and Ensnare sound great, being two points lower Nerve closes the defensive gap considerably. It is slightly cheaper than either counterpart at least. 

Within the faction I believe it’s incredibly outshined by the Kraken to the point that I would only ever take the Coral Giant if I couldn’t spare 25 points. 

Image may contain: people standing
Photo credit: Matt Gee

Kraken

Ben – 7.5/10
Good solid monster, Ensnare and Regeneration 4+ makes up for Defence 4, very hard to kill. Wild Charge and Speed 7 means it gets around  easily.

Jeff – 8/10
Basically a ensnare horde in a more mobile package. This guy is more of an anchor that people often missuse as a hammer. Best use is to charge out into a unit to hold it in place for maybe the entire game? High break point and regen 4+ means it’s going to take a long time to get past it. Most of the time it will out grind that dragon your afraid of if the oppoant moves it in range or you get a long wild charge. Don’t get combo charged is the key here… it can out grind almost any single unit.

Michal – 8/10
Unless shot from range a units that if used correctly rarely dies. I like them in pairs as they out-speed most TR units. Their very long range of 16-18 (if you also use Rushing Tides aura) is what makes them a very good flanker. I see 2 Krakens on a flank with Naiad Wyrmrider Centurions Inspiring support. Taking one is also nice but in most lists their high speed goes to waste. In general a very fast anvil. Ensnarers horde equivalent but still an anvil. Rarely finished anything off by itself. And the models is amazing.

Pat – 9/10
One of the most frustrating units to kill, I am on the fence between the Kraken being a 9 or 10.  It’s pretty much what a Coral Giant wants to be (unless you have a lot of small arms fire in your meta) as it can tank and grind with the best of them. Putting out a consistent 4-5 damage a turn, reducing incoming melee damage thanks to Ensnare, and healing half of the damage it does take thanks to Regeneration. 

Great speed means it can stand off vs cavalry, and if you combine with the Rising Tides aura you can even stand off vs Werewolves and other Sp9 units.


Leviathan’s Bane

Ben – 6.5/10
Solid bolt thrower however the Enthral sets it apart, this can now be used as part of an Enthral, Surge plan army.

Jeff – 5/10
Basically a bolt thrower but hits on 5’s in exchange for more peirce and option to pull units. I would love an option to upgrade with harpoon that makes it vicious vs monsters and titans so it sells the story of what it is.

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Michal – 4/10
Math says it is the weakest of all the balista and balistas in general are the weakest of all the engines. Expansive due to Enthral harpoon rule and piercing (3). I would say cost is the main problem. Rolling to hit, to wound and then for Enthral also makes harpoon very unreliable.

Pat – 3/10
A cross between a ballistae and a cannon. The lack of Ignores Cover is made up by the Ra4+ and it boasts Piercing 3 like most cannons. It only has the blast values of balistaes though while maintaining the price of the cannon. Ultimately it pays a premium for the Harpoon rule which is situational in use and very low probability to actually get off as well since you still roll for the Enthrall spell with the amount of damage done. If the target moved equal to the number of damage instead it could be a little more useful since the movement would become more reliable. But as is, I would struggle to fit an expensive warmachine into a list that doesn’t have cheap unlocks. 


Naiad Centurion

Ben – 6.5/10
Good solid character, can Inspire all types of units (one of the issues with Trident Realm characters is that they don’t Inspire all unit types so this is very useful).

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Jeff – 4/10
This guy just has no place in the army as is. He needs his ensnare back or you just automatically pop him on a wyrm. With ensnare he would be worth while obviously with a point increase. 

Michal – 4/10
Good nerve, regen, def 5+, Mighty with Pathfinder… but on foot. Wings takes some of his resilience away but the only version I would consider myself. One of few Inspiring (All) units but I never even considered taking him.

Pat – 1/10
With all the offensive capabilities of a human General, the Centurion pays 40 points for Regeneration, Pathfinder and Sp6 with no mount options. He doesn’t really offer much in support or offensive capabilities, and his defense isn’t good enough to bring along. 


Naiad Wyrm Rider Centurion

Photo credit: Clive Kelly

Ben – 8.5/10
Great nimble character who scores and Inspires. Defence 5 and Regeneration 4+ will make them very survivable. A slight variant on the Knucker being 1 speed less but nearly as scary. When spammed with Knuckers they’re amazing.

Jeff – 8/10
Good speed, def 5 , regen 4+ and now with nimble … this guy is great in any list. He’s a great lock down unit or great to get out there and disorder a shooting unit and then just zip off next turn. There are a million good uses for this guy and every list is better with one.

Michal – 7/10
Naiad on a Knucker. Very similar unit to knucker. More resilient than a Knucker but a hero not a monster which is a drawback (unlocks!). Still a very good choice. Fast. Punchy. Inspires everyone. A very good hero is but like most units in TR, requires a specific build to work.

Pat – 9/10
One of the better Large Cav characters in the game. He goes very well with Knuckers. Not the most offensive, but very shifty and hard to pin down.


Naiad Stalker

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Ben – 6/10
Useful disrupter, the shooting is good however you’ll find you’ll want to spend the character slots in other areas as it only Inspires itself.

Jeff – 7.5/10
The best replacement for the centurian. This guy is great anti chaff and is just as good at punching stuff as he is at shooting it. Good to pop some wounds on units on his way to kill a war engine or let him lock down a horde of trolls or ice elementals for a turn. All around great unit.

Michal – 8/10
Naiad Centurion that works. Less Nerve and attacks but Stealthy (most players does not shoot heroes anyway unless with Lighting Bolt and then Stealthy is irrelevant). She has a harpoon gun which is like a mini Lighting Bolt. I used her with Talisman before and she did great. Can ground a flyer, harpoon is very helpful in the late game and she has Ensnare!

Pat – 5/10
Decent little assassin-esque character. Unfortunately, like most assassin types you’ll probably struggle to fit him into lists compared to other characters. He doesn’t have Duelist like most assassins, but does have increased range on his ranged attack and Inspiring (self).


Depth Horror Eternal

Ben – 5/10
Solid character; loosing Fearless has really impacted on their value. They only Inspire Depth horrors which makes them limited.

Jeff – 8/10
This guy fills many roles and does all of them well. He’s chaff, he’s a nimble flanker, inspires the depth horrors, anti monster lock down control with his ensnare and good NE he can lock down ME 4 monsters for a surprising amount of time. The only question you have is to upgrade to a knucker or go with the this guy as the value but.

Michal – 9/10
Great unit. Small footprint, great nerve, Ensnare, Crushing Strength (2). I consider taking them even in a non-DH lists. Great chaff. Great technical tool. Highly recommended.

Pat – 9/10
Borderline a 10 unit, the Depth Horror Eternal is the toughest Large Infantry character in the game with high nerve and Ensnare. He puts out a decent punch as well. His only downside is the conditional inspiring but even then he’s a worthy addition to any Trident Realm list. 


Thuul Aquamage

Ben – 7/10
A very versatile caster, you’ll be seeing more of these now the Enthral/Surge list is more viable. The Wild Charge aura is also a nice addition. It’s Inspiring too but the Inspiring is limited to waterbound.

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Jeff – 6/10
Fun option if you just want a caster with loads of surge or a fun tricks with the wild charge 1 aura. If you give him the wings you can use him as your only surge caster and be fine with it. Add the wild charge aura and you can get a cheeky charge by flying this guy 20″ to effect any unit within 26″. He’s a bit expensive an spells are limited which keeps his score down at a 6 for me.

Michal – 6.5/10
You have to build a whole list around him but has some potential. Rising Tides, surge and the best spell in TR arsenal – Weakness. Weakness in an army that is mostly consisted of anvils is just pure gold. Aquamage is purely a caster. Auto-include in Waterbound themed lists. I can see him in a non elemental lists too.

Icy Breath on the other hand is not a great spell in general. I would say the main problem is the 10” range. Frozen rule would benefit greatly from a 12” spell. Not so much from a 10” spell.

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Pat – 8/10
The Aquamage is a good mage despite his limited spell options. The Wild Charge Aura alone can provide a big X-factor to many lists while Icy Breath (10) can be great clean up if you aren’t going the surge route. Weakness pairs well with Trident Realms attrition-oriented units. He’s a 6 or 7 if you aren’t utilizing his conditional Inspiring however as Trident Realm’s hero choices is a very crowded space. 


Thuul Mythican

No photo description available.
Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Ben – 6/10
Another useful caster with Surge. This one offers access to Windblast and Lightning Bolt, you’re paying a bit over the odds.

Jeff – 8/10
My go to caster. This guy is great because you get just enough surge on him to make him great but then you can instead use him as a mele hero because people will charge him thinking he’s just a caster… but then he smacks them in the mouth with 5 attacks with CS1. Another great option is to give him just wind blast to push shooting units into terrain to force covered shots or to stagger the enemy lines.

Michal – 6/10
Mythican main problem is that they inspire only Thuul and Krakens. This is weird for a buy who can take Surge (6).

Pat – 8/10
A build-your-own-swiss-army-knife. The Mythican is a mini combat character who can also buy spells. He provides great utility, especially utilizing his conditional Inspiring. If you aren’t running Cephalopod units however I’d rate him at a 6 or 7.


Naiad Envoy

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Ben – 6/10
Standard standard bearer with Regeneration making it a bit more survivable. The Fury aura option is nice and may be a way to offset some of the Depth Horror nerf.

Jeff – 5/10
Basic Inspire source but gains some survivability bonus. Not really a needed unit in most list. He can take bastion which is ok of you are playing lots of gigas or placoderms.

Michal – 6/10
Fury Aura Naiad Envoy can have is not enough to make units like Thuul dethrone Depth Horrors. But I do like Bastion spell a lot. If only there were enough hero slots to take another caster to support Watherbound.

Pat – 8/10
Few armies get special options on the ASB’s and then Envoy can buy Bastion and Horn of Ocean’s Fury together to make him a great support character. While the Horn cannot be paired with a magic item, Bastion can which allows him to be yet another mage option in Trident Realm, and the only one with full-fledged Inspiring. Lute is my go-to item, but Tome or Shroud are also solid choices. 

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Riverguard Sentinel

Ben – 6.5/10
Useful disrupter and character killer, Speed 7 is great for getting around and into your opponent’s back line but it’s not as good as Speed 10 Fly which other armies have access to.

Jeff – 8/10
Probably the best assassin in the game but you pay the points for it. You can give him the scout upgrade and be on top of your prey right away. This guy has something to do every turn between his shots or his mele attacks. He also takes a fair amount of commitment to remove. 

Michal – 4/10
Defence 5 and Ensnare is the story of this guy. Speed 7 and Fly is also great. He can throw a javelin too but 135 points just because he is Mighty and has a Duelist rule? Way to much for me unless in a Riverguard list. We must remember that if a hero like Stalker wounds a unit she becomes Mighty herself (disordered units can not move through heroes anyway).

Pat – 7/10
The closest thing the Trident Realm get to a mounted individual, he fulfills the Mr. Fix-it role in Trident Realm serviceably. He’s surprisingly stout and can be a great harassment character. His number of attacks is just low enough that even with Duelist you won’t be one-shotting most mages and there’s a solid chance that the dragon will still be able to fly away. If you aren’t utilizing his conditional Inspiring he’s still useful, but a little pricey for just an individual-missile, he’s a 6 without any of his friends. If you aren’t taking amphibians for him to Inspire, Kyroqsh is probably a better choice for the role for not much more points.


Siren

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Ben – 6.5/10
Part of the Enthral/ Surge list. Access to Drain Life 6 is nice and you’ll probably put both together to give the Siren a use throughout the game.

Jeff – 6/10
The siren has some cool synergy when you play with surge in the army but not so much when you don’t. With surge you can Enthral a into forward to get some fun flank surges that were not there prior to the Enthral. With the slight buff to Enthral she is better now than the beginning of V3 but not a lot. I would have liked to see her Enthral get to roll to wound after like the banshees do.

Michal – 5/10
Siren lost her Living Legend status but to even consider a single Siren you have to have a very specific build in mind (like a Giga/Eckter/Placoderm Def 6+ list). I like her for her Heal and Weakness spells. Her Iconic Enthral spell is not good on her. She is short, rarely can see over Elemental. Some Enthral late game tricks are to situational to pay points for a non-Inpisring hero like a Siren.

Photo credit: Adrian Scott

Pat – 7/10
Yet another mage-type character, the Siren is one of the few units in the game with access to Enthrall and one of two non Living Legends that has it as a base spell. Enthrall’s tactical flexibility is much greater in a list that also utilizes Surge, but its still useful in pulling enemies off objectives and causing traffic jams. Her spell options are the best of any of the mages. Heal or Drain Life can make for a scary wall of Def6 and/or ensnare that just won’t die. She pairs exceptionally well with Gigas and Placoderms, using Enthrall to force the enemy to engage and switching to Heal/Drain Life/Weakness to keep your wall of Def6 alive.


Riverguard Dambuster Sentinel

Ben – 5/10
Useful flanking character but when compared to Naiad Wyrm Rider Centurion it doesn’t stack up. It does have access to Enthral though which means it can be used in the Enthral/ Surge list.

Jeff – 7/10
This guy is always a hard call for me. He is a solid choice and usually fights over the same spots as a reg of dambusters, knucker or wyrm rider centurian. The reason to take this guy is the CS2 TC1 with strider. All of the other options have nimble and compare up to this guy but he will always do dependable damage when needed. His ranged attack will at times catch people out as well if you need to pull a unit just out of charge range or just into terrain to force a hinder charge.

Michal – 8/10
I play a lot of Elementals and he is great synergy. He has some punch. Has best Enthral, Inspires some Dambuster regiments and/or Treeleapers. Give his Blade of Slashing and you are ready to go. He looks very similar to Naiad Wyrmrider at the first glance but his role is very different. He is a second line unit. Fly and H4 allows for many tricky plays.

Pat – 8/10
Conditional Inspiring and a slightly low nerve are the biggest downsides to this Flying Large Cav character. Otherwise he’s a great Can Opener that has a little extra utility with his Sticky Tongue rule. He doesn’t have the attacks to take many units on by himself, but his rules makes it easy to get him into flanks and multi-charges.


Eckter

Photo credit: Matt Gee

Ben – 9/10
Very tough, useful spell, Inspiring, hits hard. He’s nearly got everything, the only downside is his Speed 5. One of the best Living Legends in the game.

Jeff – 10/10
Eckter is a Boss! He’s only available to Trident Realm armies so it keeps him in check from being borderline OP. His speed makes him avoidable which is exactly what you will have to do is avoid him as an opponent. He’s a great unit defender to pop in front of units your worried will get combo charged. He can strike fear into any cav unit in the game with -2 to hit him from ensnare and phalanx. If you have a siren around to heal him he may literally never die. The kraken maw wind blast 8 in the hands of a good player makes for a real challenge for the opponent to line up all of the charges they really want to get. Any list is better with him.

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Michal – 8/10
People say he is auto-include but I find him situational. His best tool is Krakenmaw but he is slow and does not fit every list. Another great anvil in a list full of anvils.

Pat – 8/10
He is very pricey, but thanks to his amazing Krakenmaw ability he’s still worth taking as a Sp5 Individual. A very high amount of Wind Blast that damages and never takes modifiers can really mess with your enemies plans. Very few enemies can kill him, and even fewer can do it in one go. He’s a decent addition to any list, and can be downright terrifying if you build a list to his strengths.


Trident King

Ben – 7/10
Very useful Inspiring bubble (often hard to get enough in Trident Realm army). Tidespray can soften up some units but you’ll be getting into combat too quickly to really use it. The main issue with the Trident King is the Kraken which is just tougher for 10 points more. Also you can legitimately declare “Release the Kraken!” whenever you deploy which is an opportunity that’s hard to turn down. 

Photo credit: Alaric Hart

Jeff – 8.5/10
If he had 1 more NE point I would say 9/10. The Trident king is in every single list I write, not because he’s amazing at one thing but because he is the ultimate tool box. Very Inspiring on a chariot base usually means 12″ inspire bubble. Ensnare def 5 regen 5+ means he can take a hit pretty well and come back from it. He is as good at shooting as he is at combat so there is no reason to go rushing into a combat to get his use but you will find that people will often want to charge him for the same reason so you always run units near him to punish that decision. He’s great! The only reason to not take one is you want lots of Kraken instead.

Michal – 8/10
Multi-purpose tool that can do few things well. Not great but well. He is best (surprise, surprise!) at grinding. Def 5+, Ensnare, regen. But he can add few wounds here and there due to 12, Me4+ attacks. He has no Pathfinder so it can be tricky to benefit from his TC1. He is also Very Inspiring which is big for a SP8, Nimble unit like this. King expensive (got even more expensive in 3rd) but he is a Kraken and a Nokken mix. His chariot base makes him very hard to block and non-flying nimble means only Ensnared attacks can limit his ability to move around enemy units shooting and threatening flanks.

Pat – 7/10
A little pricey and not the most straightforward character to use. He does provide a huge amount of utility with a great ranged attack, decent melee attacks, and being very hard to kill. 


Kyroqsh, the Hunter in the Deep

Ben – 5/10
Useful disrupter and the special rule means it’ll do some damage when it hits. The main issue is its Defence 4 so when it hits the big monsters to use it’s special rule it won’t survive the counter attack. The Lightning Bolt is useful as it can be used to soften up units before you hit and when combined with Speed 7 and Individual you might be able to duck and dive before you hit to kill but when it comes down to it you’ll find a better use for the points.

Jeff – 7/10
Love the fluff on this guy and most of the rules (probably because I made them lol). The idea of a thull that stalks monsters is super fun. His scout makes him a huge threat from turn 1. Most monsters hit on 4′ so 5’s on this guy with his ensnare. I wanted to swap his lightning bolt out for life leech 1 vs monsters but that didn’t happen… we can’t have it all. With that change I think he becomes a 8/10. Still a great unit even if you just scout out to go take down shooting units with him when there are no monsters. Very fun guy.

Michal – 5.5/10
Used him in a Waterbound themed list with Thuul support. His Inspiring seemed great but rarely worked due to his Scouting role. If you have problem with shooters he is your guy that can shut them down turn 1. His Lightning Bolt is a nice addition but (3) is not impressive and all we can hope for is a random chip damage when he has no one in charge range. I would say 120 points is his spot but if you are looking for a scouting hero he is your guy.

Pat – 8/10
I feel like a broken record, but if you’re taking him without utilizing his conditional Inspiring he’s probably a 6 or 7. He’s a solid-all around character that fulfills the individual hunter adequately, and flyer-stopper admirably. His special Hunter in the Deep rule makes him much more consistent in grounding dragons and other defense 5 flyers. Scout plus Sp7 keeps the enemy honest when deploying such units.


Summary

Overall Average Rating /10 – 6.8/10

Most agreed upon unit(s)- 
Riverguard Dambusters (all four players agreed)

Least agreed upon unit(s) – 
Naiad Centurion (5.5 points of difference between the top and bottom ratings)
Coral Giant (4.5 points of difference between the top and bottom ratings)


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Elliot’s Beer Fund

If you’ve enjoyed the blog and you’re feeling generous, you can buy me a pint. Please dont feel any obligation to do so, I’ve started this blog because it’s fun, not to make any money. Any money received will go towards hosting costs. Or my beer fund… ok mainly my beer fund.

£3.00

2 thoughts on “Army Review: Trident Realm”

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