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Old October 30th, 2008, 09:08 PM
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Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

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Unit Strategy Review
Unit: Tor-Kul-Na
Author: Taeblewalker (with thanks to the Unit Strategy Reviewers Circle)

Just when you thought the Marro Invasion was over – enter Swarm of the Marro with Tor-Kul-Na! Powerful against units of all sizes on his own, with the Marrden Nagrubs he is nearly unstoppable. His high cost is about the only reason not to draft him, and one might be tempted to leave him out of any scheme that does not include an all-Marro army. However, he is perfectly usable, either by himself or with Nagrubs, in a army - stomping and hacking his opponents into oblivion.

We will begin with his stats.

Vital Statistics
Tor-Kul-Na
Cost – 220 – Rook/Queen
Size – Huge 10 – Visible
Life – 6 – Robust
Move – 6 – Fast
Range – 1 Melee
Attack – 6 – Deadly
Defense – 5 – Tough
Tournament Readiness - High
Trample Stomp – Tor-Kul-Na can damage or destroy small or medium figures in his way. Tactical advantage – high.

In-Depth Analysis:
We shall now look carefully at Tor-Kul-Na’s statistics, and draw strategies from our conclusions. Below is an explanation of Agatagary's cost classification:

Pawn class (expendable, units that can be useful, but are not worth enormous trouble to protect)
Bishop class (more useful than a pawn, but still somewhat expendable)
Knight class (units that are interestingly powerful and can have a significant impact on the game in of themselves. It is advisable that they be kept alive, but if absolutely necessary they may be sacrificed)
Rook class (units that almost inevitably have a significant impact on the game, and whose death should be avoided as much as possible)
Queen class (devastatingly powerful or important units that should be protected at all costs)

Class:
Let us begin with an analysis of Tor-Kul-Na’s size and cost. Tor-Kul-Na is a Huge Rook Class unit. This is because he can do significant damage and has incredible staying power. With the Nagrubs in play, he may be the only reason you draft them, and in such a case he becomes a Queen Class unit – important enough that he actually justifies more than half of your army in a tournament.

To examine the Tor-Kul-Na’s core stats, we will break them up into two categories—offensive ability and survivability.

Offense:
Tor-Kul-Na’s Attack is 6, which is enough to threaten any unit. Combine that with Trample Stomp and you have a unit that can potentially work on both squads and a larger figure in one turn. Trample Stomp is a great way to get that extra wound on the target of his normal attack or to take out even an expensive small or medium squad figure - Defense does not come into play.

Survivability:
His Life of 6 and Defense of 5 give him very high survivability. With Marrden Nagrubs nearby, his survivability is about the highest there is in the game. His only real chance of dying early is from units like Dead-eye Dan and Sudema, or from concentrated ranged attacks from higher ground over several turns. Even the latter won’t necessarily kill him off in one round, but you will have to be wary of ranged attackers that can get the jump on him. He is vulnerable to Sir Denrick's Giant Killer ability, but that won't slow him down too much. Finally, he has all of the immunties that huge size gives, such as not being vulnerable to Poisonous Acid Breath or Chomp.

Tournament Readiness:
While he represents a significant portion of your tournament army, he more than pulls his weight. He is useful enough to justify making him the center of your strategy, even with several squads of Marrden Nagrubs in tow.

General Strategy:
With his Move of 6, you won’t have any trouble sending Tor-Kul-Na out to engage his foes in the first round. Any Marrden Nagrubs you draft (a steal at 30 points) can easily keep up. More than one squad of Nagrubs is desirable – three will last most games. Don’t fret that you can’t move all of them at once to keep in step! Your opponent will likely send several enemies out to engage Tor-Kul-Na, so he will likely slow down enough for the second squad to catch up to him.

A path paved with small and medium foes is sometimes the way to go, but don’t dawdle about reaching his ultimate targets – your opponent’s huge figures. In spite of his squad killer potential, you can get Tor-Kul-Na’s value without ever using Trample Stomp. He has, in fact, been successful against armies containing no small or medium figures whatsoever. He has an Attack of 6 and a Defense of 5, with a Life of 6 – all of which makes him a unit without any real melee combat weaknesses against even the toughest of foes. Only Jotun presents a significant challenge, more so if Tor-Kul-Na is by himself. If the Nagrubs help out, the Giant will be forced to either concentrate on Tor-Kul-Na with his Attack of 8, letting the Nagrubs bit his ankles and heal their Hivelord, or he will have to dilute his efforts with Wild Swing Special Attack.

Large units are also likely targets, but in this case we are talking about the expensive ones like Major Q9, Major Q10, Sir Dupuis and Ulginesh. Don’t waste Tor-Kul-Na going after less expensive units, although if one stands in his way before he can reach a juicier target then feel free to take a passing swipe at him. The main reason for using Tor-Kul-Na against expensive large units is the same reason as for using him against huge units – his high Attack, Defense and Life against their lesser stats. If the unit is hard for most other units to take down quickly, Tor-Kul-Na is your guy. The same goes for powerful medium foes like the Swarm of the Marro version of Sgt. Drake Alexander or the various Gladiators. As a bonus, these units are also vulnerable to Trample Stomp.

As we have seen so far, his strategy of going after your opponent’s powerful figures is fairly easy to envision, as long as he has such figures in play. We will shortly consider what to do if he has not drafted any such figures, but for now we will assume that you will be sending Tor-Kul-Na after them, and we will discuss what mayhem may ensue on the way. A great many swarm units and other cheap small and medium figures may come your way, and you might be tempted to clean house, but if you can, save Trample Stomp for the more expensive squads. Kyrie squads, such as the Sentinels of Jandar, are perfect targets. They are expensive enough to risk the chance that Tor-Kul-Na will have to stop his movement. This does not mean that you should not detour on occasion to take out a well-placed Deathreaver or Aubrien on height. Just be mindful that too many detours to stomp small fry can slow Tor-Kul-Na down and protect your opponent’s meatier targets. Sometimes unique heroes of medium size also stand in Tor-Kul-Na’s way. Use your judgement here – the more powerful units like Drake are a-list targets in their own right, right up there with Charos and the other huge units. Other units that might be worth taking a turn to engage include roughly 100-point units like Agent Carr and Syvarris, both of whom make good opportunity targets if they are on Tor-Kul-Na’s way to bigger game. If you are going to have him stop to attack or stomp lesser units, these medium-cost heroes are the best bet, for they give you the best value in exchange for the detour before Tor-Kul-Na reaches his primary targets.

Don’t fret much over leaving engagement attacks unless the Nagrubs are not with you – if they aren’t, spend more time stomping than risking wounds – otherwise, the Nagrubs can heal Tor-Kul-Na as he goes. Just bear in mind that the more swarm units Tor-Kul-Na bypasses this way, the more he will need to count on Hivelord Life Bonding to heal wounds from there leaving engagement swipes - so be sure to draft at least two squads of Nagrubs if you expect to have any left before Tor-Kul-Na engages tougher foes.

If there is a weakness that Tor-Kul-Na has, it's his vulnerability to ranged attacks. His Trample Stomp is a great asset but also a weakness, as a failed roll will can slow him down. As a double-space figure, he already has issues with being slowed by terrain, even with his Move of 6 that otherwise gets him into the battle fairly quickly. A single range squad in one place is not so bad - he can use Hivelord Life Bonding to heal the wounds he accrues and devastate them when he reaches them, using the Nagrubs for extra attacks. However, if there are ranged figures in at least two different positions, he can be in peril. Don't walk him down an alley with 4th Mass Soldiers on either side! You need to take out those ranged units first, or at least tie them down with swamers. Units like the Marro Stingers are ideal for taking out your opponent's ranged units, as even their base attack is fairly high for their cost. And with Tor-Kul-Na in your army, cost is an issue. If you want swarmers instead, the answer may surprise you - extra Marrden Nagrubs. Two or three squads of Nagrubs are enough for their primary use, Hivelord Bonding and moving with their master. A fourth or fifth squad of them is ideal to send out as swarmers to tie down ranged units. Their Move is 6, and their Attack of 2 is often enough to take out a range squad figure. So, while on one hand you don't want to expend your first few squads of Nagrubs on anything besides being there to heal and support Tor-Kul-Na, on the other hand you do want to use your (bonus) Nagrubs as expendable swarmers. Given their cost, you can have an army containing Tor-Kul-Na, five Nagrub squads, and two squads of Marro Stingers - all with 10 points to spare on the odd Ninja.

With the addition of Marro Dividers, a large army (650 or more) points that consists of both Tor-Kul-Na and Su-Bak-Na plus four Nagrubs (so far 500 points) can send three Divider squads out ahead to die up some ranged units, relying on Cell Divide to stay in the fight. They gain a synergy benefit from Su-Bak-Na, just as Tor-Kul-Na does. If you have a 600 point army, try just two Nagrubs, which still leaves you 10 points left over with the three Dividers.

Optional Strategies:
Against Marvel: No one wants to lose Iron Man, let alone Incredible Hulk, to Trample Stomp – but it might happen. Tor-Kuk-Na’s cost and stats place him easily in the league of the Marvel cast. His ability to bond with the Marrden Nagrubs gives him a leg up on his costumed competition. Best of all, he can reach anyone on top of the warehouse ruins.

Castle Storming: Tor-Kul-Na can attempt to break down the door while the Nargrubs use ladders on other parts of the castle to swarm up and distract the efforts of Defenders. A few Nagrub deaths on the ladders can be the equivalent of Hivelord Life Bonding healing because those are wounds that might have affected Tor-Kul-Na.

Units to Avoid:
Ranged Squads that are spread out: Squads like the 4th Massachusetts and the Marro Stingers are your opponent's best bet for taking out Tor-Kul-Na. You can send swarmers like your Nagrubs against them to tie them down, but that just uses your Nagrubs for a purpose other than healing Tor-Kul-Na - not the best idea. Send swarmers to deal with them, or use your own ranged squads to take them out.

Knights of Weston: More so than Sir Denrick, in spite of Giant Killer, the Knights are to be feared because of the numbers of Coward's Rewards they can deliver on one move. Even one or two of these guys is dangerous to walk away from, as Hivelord Life Bonding can't heal more than one wound per turn.

Cyprien: Chilling touch is more reliable than many instant destroy powers. The fact that the vampire can regenerate by killing Nagrubs is only adding insult to injury. His cost is lower than TKN's as it is - add some Nagrubs, and the margin is far greater.

Zelrig and other Explosion Types: The fastest way to lose your Nagrub friends is for Zelrig to blast away at Tor-Kul-Na. You should let Tor-Kul-Na go solo against these guys, trusting to heal him, if necessary, on later turns. Otherwise, let your ranged support units tackle him instead. Be equally wary of Johrdawn, Johnny "Shotgun" Sullivan, James Murphy, Deathwalker 9000, and others with explosion type attacks.

For additional information see The Book of Tor-Kul-Na


Last edited by Taeblewalker; June 19th, 2009 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Added USRC Logo
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Old October 30th, 2008, 09:16 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Excellent article! I love TKN, my favorite Marro out there. Based on your findings, I feel that this army is ideal:

220 - Tor-Kul-Na
310 - Marrden Nagrubs x3
490 - Stingers x3

It uses just about everything you were explaining. Love it!

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Old October 30th, 2008, 10:34 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Awesome! You rock, Taeblewalker! This si one unit that I was waiting to get a strategy guide for! I actually have some ideas of my own for an Agent Carr guide!


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Old October 30th, 2008, 11:29 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Great article! I was hoping this one would be put up, because I have never had a successful game with this Hivelord. Oh man, losing Hulk to a Trample would be the worst.

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Old October 31st, 2008, 01:28 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Great guide, Tablewalker!

In my games with Tor-Kul-Na, I have never lost when facing him, yet I have often won games when fielding him. The way I rationalize this is that he can be incredibly potent when used properly and just as frail as any other figure (with 5 defense 6 life, mind you) when used incorrectly. Allow me to explain.

The games in which Tor-Kul-Na has been defeated have been characterized by sub-optimal usage of Tor-Kul-Na. Contrary to more versatile figures (i.e. ranged, single-hex, greater move values), Tor-Kul-Na needs careful planning to live up to his fearsome potential (blind luck, notwithstanding).

In defeat, he has often rushed into battle and engaged forces on elevation. The folly in this approach is that Tor-Kul-Na cannot use his Trample Stomp and is just a 6 attack/5 defense melee figure in this situation. Continuing to fight at a disadvantage is a sure way to have your Hivelord killed. My advice is to get onto even-level terrain with your attackers/targets (if need be, disengage and heal via Marrden Nagrubs). Even with all of Tor-Kul-Na's mobile life points, there is no reason that you should jeapordize him by affording his attackers height bonuses. Likewise, you should never overlook the value of his Trample stomp for inflicting auto-wounds (even against high-life heroes).

Another comment I would make in reference to games where the Hivelord has been defeated is that Marrden Nagrub positioning is crucial. Once the Hivelord starts taking wounds, it will be imperative that he have some snacks to eat (Marrden Nagrubs). It is critical that sufficient mobile-life-points (Marrden Nagrubs) be within movement range of (and/or be adjactent to) the Hivelord to come to his aid. So how does one ensure that Nagrubs are on the front line when they are needed? Charging headlong into battle with Hivelord and Nagrubs isn't necessarily the best option. Often, I have found that trailing at least 3 Nagrubs one turn's movement behind the Hivelord (or otherwise out of targeting range) is the best way to close the gap with an opponent's figures. Now having said that, this approach is more important when the numbers of your Nagrubs (within healing range) are dwindling. Using Nagrubs as defenders/cloggers, as Tablewalker suggested, is a fantastic idea, provided that you have the numbers to do so.

Once Tor-Kul-Na does come under fire, it is important to keep moving Nagrubs up from the rear so that Tor-Kul-Na may eat at regular intervals (once per turn). For instance, it does no good to have a wounded Hivelord and a starting zone full of Nagrubs.

Zealot has been a faithful proponent of Hivelord usage and he has fostered some excellent strategies through a great deal of experimentation. To this end, he has had some noteworthy success by using Warden 816 to boost the movement of the Marrden Nagrubs (as Guards, they gain 1 movement bonus point). Thus, the Warden may be the solution you are looking for if you often find that your Hivelord is dead before his mobile life-points can reach him.

When using Tor-Kul-Na, if you often find that your Hivelord is overextended from his own Nagrub reinforcements, then you might consider an another alternative approach. Why rush your Hivelord away from his supply/life chain in your own base, when you can try and make the opponent come to you? Using your own ranged attackers as bait can be one way to make your opponent fight on your own terms.

Tablewalker addressed this issue another way. His plan was to use Marro Stingers to seek out and attack the opponent's figures that are most dangerous to Tor-Kul-Na (i.e. ranged figures). This is a great tactic. Against a turtling opponent who employs a mostly ranged army (i.e. 4th Mass.), however, this approach may not be successful. Strictly speaking, you may run out of Stingers before your opponent runs out of ranged attackers. While the result of the above scenario might not surprise anyone, there is another way.

Situate your ranged forces on elevation (supported by Raelin, optionally). Now, use Tor-Kul-Na like an extremely deadly melee screen. If the opponent comes towards your position, then you can attack from range and height, or you can rush out and engage their troops with Tor-Kul-Na and alternate future order markers between taking ranged shots and activating Tor-Kul-Na and his Nagrubs. For this strategy to work, your ranged attackers need staying power. The Krav come to mind. They are durable against ranged attacks, and their weakness in melee can be circumvented by protecting them with Tor-Kul-Na and his Nagrubs.

The following ~500 point army comes courtesy of Zealot:

Tor-Kul-Na - 220
Marrden Nagrubs x3 - 90
Raelin - 80
Krav - 100

Having posted this army here, I will say that there are many other armies employing Tor-Kul-Na that can be successful. Figures with long range (i.e. Syvarris) are best for this turtling tactic, as they can still provide cover fire for Tor-Kul-Na when he and his Nagrubs rush out into battle.

The key in having success with the Tor-Kul-Na is to avoid jeapordizing him by affording attackers with bonuses due to height or to get cut off from your own Marrden Nagrub supply/life chain.

Last edited by mccombju; October 31st, 2008 at 04:19 AM.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 02:04 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Just my thoughts on Tor-Kul-Na and the article...

First, playing Tor-Kul-Na without Nagrubs is like playing Blastratrons without Gladiatrons. What do Nagrubs give you at 30 points? Tor-Kul-Na healing (3 heals is worth 110 points!), glyph grabbing, extra attacks, and the ability to tie up enemy figures. Playing Tor-Kul-Na effectively is largely based on playing the Nagrubs effectively.

You are spot on in that Jotun is bad news. He definately should be in the "units to avoid" section one of the few figures that can use brute strength to overpower Tor-Kul-Na. So to have any chance against Jotun, the Tor-Kul-Na player must use a lot of finesse. I would try to use Nagrubs to delay Jotun and engage in this most opportune moment. Ideally I would like to get two unanswered attacks in with TKN due to an initiative switch and get a full compliment of "Nagrub Nibbles" in the mix as well.

I find your choice of "units to avoid" very odd. Tor-Kul-Na can actually crush a hoard of 4th Mass depending on the map. Depending on how hard it is for the 4th Mass to get height advantage, all Tor-Kul-Na has to is charge the enemy starting zone and start stomping. Without their WTF bonus, the best the 4th Mass can do is kill Nagrubs. With it, they are extremely vulnerable to trample stomp and still can't deal enough damage to keep up with Tor-Kul-Na and his Nagrubs. The 10th Foot are actually far more dangerous to Tor-Kul-Na because they can use their Bayonnet bonus to always get attacks of at least three while forcing Tor-Kul-Na to take several disengagement strikes to trample.

Tor-Kul-Na really has nothing to fear from Zelrig nor any other explosion figures(except the AE but that's not just because of the grenades). Zelrig simply doesn't have the capacity to significantly damage Tor-Kul-Na while Tor-Kul-Na will smash Zelrig once he catches up to him. Also there is no reason to keep the Nagrubs clustered together around Tor-Kul-Na while fighting Zelrig nor will Zelrig get rich frying 10 point Nagrubs. Plus, with their six movement, both Tor-Kul-Na and Nagrubs will be able to track down Zelrig fairly quickly.

The real unit(s) to avoid besides the before mentioned Jotun is the Gladiatron/Blastatron combination. These robots are really bad news for TKN because, since TKN is a nonranged and two spaced figure, the Gladiatrons will ensure quickly that the Blastrons will be rolling 4+ attack dice each which is more than enough to kill anything.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 02:26 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Nice reviews, everyone! TKN is one of my favorite figures to play (with 'grubs, of course). Nothing smashes face quite like TKN. Sisyphus and I both brought him to FFII and made it to the quarterfinals. I agree that Explosion units aren't so much 'units to avoid' as they are 'units to play around.'

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Old October 31st, 2008, 04:41 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

For units to avoid, I would add Krug and Cyprien Essenwein (with his bride).

My Tor-Kul-Na strategy for dealing with Cyprien is to sit on height (or flat ground) with Tor-Kul-Na so that the rest of my army is within charging range. Let Cyprien come to you and take the first roll/attack. After that, it's Stomp, attack, and Nagrub nibles. Tor-Kul-Na should come out on top with a little luck and some tasty Nagrub snacks.

Krug poses a challenge to any sizeable point investment hero, and Tor-Kul-Na is no exception. To combat Krug, I would allow the opponent to waste order markers with attacks on Tor-Kul-Na early game. Disengage from Krug, if need be (healing, of course) and neglect your own disengagement strikes on the Troll beast. In short, you are saving Krug for last. Krug's lowly attacks of 2 twice mean that order markers placed on an unwounded Krug are wasted activations. When it is finally time to confront this beast, you could try to nible him to death with Nagrubs while saving Tor-Kul-Na (if you are trying to maintain a point differential). Alternatively, you could go for the gusto and combine Tor-Kul-Na with the Nagrubs' efforts to bring the big troll down.
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Old October 31st, 2008, 08:50 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

I've actually never had very much trouble overpowering Jotun with Stompy.


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Old October 31st, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

I think Clarissimus can add some insight to this thread if he sees it. He's fielded TKN in quite a few tournaments, even going 3-1-1 at gencon with him.

Another unit that needs to be added on the avoid list is the knights of weston. With coward's reward stomping is almost neutered when the knights engage TKN properly.

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Old October 31st, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

I had a lot of success against TKN at NHSD with two squads of Microcorp on height. Three attacks of four (from range) for 2-3 straight rounds while TKN closes the distance (Grubbies in towe) is enough to take just about any unit down.

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Old October 31st, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Re: Unit Strategy Review: How to use Tor-Kul-Na

Great points, everyone! I understand the feeling that the 4th Mass might be trampled by TKN, but they can often be set up in such a way that TKN can't get to them quickly enough. Ditto for the same point made by NYYS about the agents. It all depends on how the ranged squaddies are positioned.

As for the units to avoid, my main reason for Zelrig and company is that you may have Nagrubs around TKN, and they are primarily the ones who will be hurt. Dancing around my be a better way to put it, as Necroblade suggests.

I can definitely see watching for the Knights of Weston in terms of Coward's Reward. Cyprien as well for Chilling Touch.

I'll add the Glads/Blasts too.

Thanks, everyone.

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