IABNSo, having aquired a fair bit of Trollblood models and having had people recommend NOT starting with circle since their play style is counter-intuitive to the rules of HORDES!, I'm starting with the not so lowly trolls.
Some things I've discovered in my reading and thinking:
While he may seem quite dandy to start with Rathrok and relatively high mat (7) he is a bit on the weak side with ARM 16 and his movement rate of 6. While I see him as being a beatstick with a brick around him, this is definitely NOT my play style.
This guy has caught my attention because of a couple of things: -Feat: Add 3" to SPD and making warbeasts not be forced to charge slam or trample makes getting into the thick of it a lot easier. makes my trolls run a lot faster and while I see this being used on the first turn to get closer to the enemy a lot more useful than not forcing to charge and slam or trample.... less of an attractive thing. - Goad: While his feat would likely be used to run first turn, if you decide not to use this I can see this ability being used on such beasts as the Dire Troll Mauler or Mulg, simply for the added beatstick ability. moving 2" with a warbeast then forcing more attacks seems quite useful. especially for Mulg as you get to attack again with his STR 13 = dead stuff. no matter what it is. especially if you boost him. Aggitation: Putting fury on your opponent's warbeast during your turn seems fun, though I see them frenzying and attacking Doomy for the effort. Seems useful at first, but in the end is a double edged sword. Wild Aggression: Seems quite useful.
Calandra or "I make stuff do what you want"
I like Calandra the best of all of the Troll Warlocks. However some things need to be said first:
She will be easy to hit and easy to damage. this is bad.
She is low MAT and RAT so she can not hit anything except peons.
She has only 16 boxes of damage so can die quickly to beast/jacks with a decent str.
That being said, if you take her she gives you a LOT of benefits: -Feat: AMAZING. I get lots of re-roll for anything in my 14" Control Area -Fate Blessed: AMAZING. I can spend fury to give stuff in my Control Area Re-Rolls. -Befuddle. Great for moving intervening models away from a caster for assassinations. or even puting others in the trample path of a Beatstick. -Dodge Bullets: an amazing spell that can really help out a unit that needs to both survive and move quickly. -Star Crossed:Great for close in stuff, but if they get too close you die. a double edged sword, but if you're this close, you have a plan already (Read Fell Caller/Dire Troll Bomber)
Synergies of Calandra:
The Dire Troll Bomber is your best friend with Calandra. As are Impalers. Adding 4" to the DTB's ROF 2 Bombs is..... well, rather stupid for your opponent. Have a RNG 12 POW16 AOE 4 blast is rather devistating. especially to single wound models that just sit there to tarpit stuff. Rather funny really when an entire unit or two disappear. Or if you really want to be an ass, you can boost his attack rolls with it and hitting a caster with 2 of those will cause a lot of damage. direct hits with re-rolls seems kinda broken, but meh. you pay for it in points.
Pyg Burrowers are also great on feat turn as you get to re-roll your 1 and 2. since they can attack with their POW 14 guns in combat, and you take 10 of them, you buff their MAT to 6 with the Fell Caller then charge in and unload a mass of firepower onto pretty much anything. lots of re-rolls + POW 14 = dead stuff. pure and simple. 10 shots with re-rolls is POWER Playing.
This is your built in Auto-Take. He buffs, he's a weapon master with 2 attacks, has a nice spray, and has 8 boxes. all for 3 points. Duh.
Stone Scribe Chronicler:
Another Buffer, 5 Boxes and the ability to knock down powerful opposing models. fun to put on a tarpit unit engaged with a heavy and keep it locked down for a turn.
Often underestimated IMO these guys help you in several different ways. 1 you get 5 for 2 points. 2, they are a fury management tool, you want to force the crap out of a warbeast? do it and comfort food them to a manageable level. 3, healing for warbeasts. D3 without forcing and 2d3 with forcing on a troll warbeast = no more crippled aspects. 4 hinderance. a little debuff to attack rolls while close to opponents. They have a lot of abilities that can come in very handy. just don't expect them to survive, ever.
So in the end I believe I will be playing with Calandra.
Why a Feralgeist? Well, mainly because i just like the idea of putting a model of the opponent's into play against them. even if it only has 3 boxes left before it dies again. I can do it a few times if I'm lucky. or I can bind to my bomber if i really want to throw a few more bombs after it has died. sure, it does not always work very well, but it can really piss someone off if they spent a lot of time killing one of my guys and i just bring him back as a minion. lols all around.
Do I expect to win the world with this army? hah. I expect the impaler to die first to deny the snipe, then the bomber. then calandra. HOWEVER, i do expect that this army MAY be able to win some stuff.
If I had to remove some stuff I'd probably drop the Feral, 1 Caller and drop the Burrowers down to Min size to gain another Impaler. I may just do that in the end, but who knows.