Beware trollblood players. The Dark Mother brooks no disrespect, and her powers are insidious. She controls the dice, and through them, the game. Play her with regularity and you will expect the dice to respond to your beck and call. Addicted to the power, games with other casters seem hollow, as fickle dice refuse to bow to your whim. She is powerful, but once played she refuses to play second fiddle to anyone else.
If you are weak willed, I suggest you stop right here. If not, continue on, and see the face of true power.
Alias: Cali, Sexy Trollkin, Tipsy Gypsy, Dice ****er
Calandra doetn’t play the same game as everyone else. She manipulates models, but more importantly she manipulates the dice. Other casters have various powers, but they cannot turn a roll of a 3 into a roll of a 9. Calandra can, with ease, in two separate ways. She is fragile, but her spells and dice manipulation makes her one of the most survivable casters we have. She lacks some power to kill things herself, but even then she will stalk and kill the wounded with her vicious dagger.
Calandra knows that to be truly powerful, your opponents must think you are weak. She disguises her power behind pitiful stats. Her DEF and ARM are strictly bellow average, and her MAT isn’t going to win any contests. Even her SPD is merely average. She seems weak, a spellcaster warlock like Hoarluk or Vayl.
The Dark Mother holds a weapon on great power, and it shares some similarities with her playstyle. Weak, it spikes in power when attacking a wounded model. Calandra has a dangerous kill run, where she charges a caster, KDs it via fully boosted Force Blow, and then hits the model with 10+4d6 followed by two separate 10+3d6. Casters who thought they were safe will be surprised to see her tiny dagger ending their lives.
Tough - Tough is an ability inherent to all trolls, but on a caster it’s worthless. If you are making tough rolls, you have lost the game, plain and simple. So try not to do that.
Fate Blessed - Fate Blessed is where we start getting a taste of the true power of the dark mother. Any and every faction model in her control can get a little boost akin to fortune, all for the cost of a measly fury. As we will go into later, it is rare that Calandra does not have at least 1 or 2 spare fury in a turn. With this ability, she can turn any one botched to hit or damage roll into a successful one. Did your Dire Troll bomber just roll a 4 to hit the Khador jack? No, for one fury, he didn’t. Did your champion just flub his 4d6 damage roll. No, for one fury, he didn’t. This extends to herself as well. Did you just miss a boosted Force Blow at Ashlynne? Instead of casting the spell again, why not effectively recast it for a single fury. She is actually a spectacularly accurate spellcaster due to this, and her army will flub rolls much less often.
In addition, don’t forget that you can reroll successful rolls too. Did you really want your impaler to crit, and he didn’t? Well, hit or miss, reroll the dice, and try again.
Befuddle – This is a beast/jack killing spell, particularly high DEF heavies. Trolls do not have great threat ranges, and their beasts do not have great accuracy. Hitting a beast/jack with this spell solves both problems, as you can move the target 3” towards you, then turn it to face away from your model. It is rare that your target will live through the next activation. Or, if you simply can’t kill it, you can walk it 3” away from you, and turn it away from your army. If it is a melee heavy, it won’t be doing much of anything but running next turn. If it is a ranged model, it probably wasn’t worth it, but thems the breaks.
It also serves as a lane opening spell, like telekinesis, with the benefit of more movement and the detriment that you can’t move your own models. It is not widely used in this manner due to our army playstyle, but in a pinch it will end games.
Force Blow – Calandra possesses the pinnacle of offensive magic, a Knockdown spell. With her reroll ability, it is also surprisingly easy to KD a caster by boosting both rolls and getting the equivalent of two chances to hit and two chances to damage. Very few casters in range of this spell will come out of it on their feet.
Soothing Song – Though I personally can’t get any use out of this ability, it is worth noting that Calandra has virtually no reason to activate before her beasts, leaving this spell as a stunning fury reducer if you like to spread the load out over a few beasts. Its nice to have, but it isn’t critical to her game play.
Star Crossed – This spell is the game changer, the big killer, the spell that will cause your opponents to hate their dice, hate Calandra, and hate you. The spell is a reverse signs and portents, which, boiled down to its essence, means that your opponents will roll a <6 50% of the time, and >5 50% of the time. This nominally translates to –2 to their attack roll, but people will tell you that its not mathematically accurate. Its not accurate because your chances or rolling a 9 or 10 are virtually nonexistent, unlike a flat –2 to attack rolls. This means that the chances of rolling a 2 or 3 are disproportionately high, and they can no longer count on ‘sure thing’ rolls. The opponent will be forced to boost if they absolutely need a 6, 7’s are bad news. An opponent starts needing elite troops to hit your DEF 12 trolls, and DEF 14 models like Calandra require special effort.
Bullet Dodger – This spell is the key to keeping Calandra alive. While you could put it on most models in your army, Calandra herself loves the +2 DEF vs. ranged attacks, as those will often be a major threat to her. More importantly, any missed attack will allow you to move her 2”, ignoring free strikes. This cannot be fully grasped without some playtime, but what it means is this: Most assassination runs allow for a few misses. Sure, you might miss one or two attacks, but if 4 doomreavers are charging, the caster is still going to die. Bullet Dodger negates this completely. After the first miss, Calandra has zoomed away. She’s gone. No more attacks. Whole assassination runs can be crushed by a single low roll that allowed the Dark Mother her reprieve. Combined with Star Crossed, keeping Calandra alive is trivial, allowing you to focus your mental resources on dismantling the opposition.
Good Omens – This feat benefits you in the same way that Starcrossed hurts your opponents. Your low rolls become extremely unlikely, almost nothing will roll below a 6, and models can be expected to roll around 8 or 9 in a pinch. Since it affects accuracy as well as damage, this translates to a turn of incredible performance for your army. Everything just…. works. That fennblade will hit the Skarlock, and will kill it. You don’t need to worry about it much. Your charging dire troll is almost guaranteed to hit that khador jack with every attack, no 3’s or 4’s to mess anything up. That Nyss hunter is going to kill that Stormblade, rolling a 5 is almost out of the question.
This ability is compounded by Fate Blessed, which means if you do somehow roll a 3 followed by a 4, and you need a 6, you can reroll it one more time. That extra layer of insurance is the final nail in the coffin of random chance. Now, the abilities don’t stack quite right. If you reroll 1’s and 2’s, then reroll the roll, you can’t reroll 1’s and 2’s again. But even then, if you go into a roll needing a 6, you are nearly 100% guaranteed to get that 6 if you feat and spend a fury on it.