(Detailing my favorite cards in the same way as thatfrood’s wonderful human guide: Avoid Your Problems: A Small Guide to Being Human):
Trolls are really slow, except the times they are REALLY fast (Tangle Mages and Marsh Princes)
Trolls are horrible at generating gold, but are extremely gold efficient and generally dont need a lot of gold to be powerful. Its often a better idea for your Goblin or Dwarf buddy to give you cash to spend on forces than they do it themselves.
Trolls are mana hungry - which is okay because Tangle Mages help make sure you can secure good sources of mana.
Trolls tend to win on defense and then surge outwards.
Trolls’ specialty is protecting mana pools and rescuing other players.
Lets look at the cards:
Everyone has their own style, but I am a huge fan of spamming Tangle Mages. Tangle Mages = options. For 20 mana they are the fastest untis in the game and can carry other units with them as they hop to mana pools. The Tangle Mage is also only 125 gold, so I often spawn them to just go around and (slowly) take settlements (so even when not using their power they are useful because of their low cost). In a pinch, because of their moderately low cost, its not unreasonable to march them into an oncoming horde to slow a group of zombies if you really need an extra hour.
Note that the mana cost to secure a Mana Pool is just less than the 20 you start the game with. Plan accordingly.
(oh, and Tangle Mages can jump to blighted mana pools. This is a great way to get behind zombies and create a bastion with which to clean some graveyards)
Your standard banner for the Trolls. Boring, but super useful. My ideal pool hopping force is Tangle Mage x 2 and a Hydra Gonfalon. This allows you, at a premium mana cost, to hop pretty much wherever you need and then pop reinforcements down. I use this Mage/Gonfalon task force to defend vulnerable mana pools.
Gonfalon’s are important on their own because they can deploy cards right on to the front line to allow for minimal need to walk into a fight. In an army of lumbering brutes, the banner card is particularly important.
After Tangle Mages I use the standard warrior units quite a bit – Troll Spears and Marsh Hunters. In a gold/power ratio, there are few units as cost efficient as these. Troll Spears at a mere 150 gold for 450 power is amazing. Its matched only by Dwarf Hammerers as a base unit, but with Troll Spears you have the added flexibility to buy smaller numbers (allowing you to tailor your army against the incoming threat). Marsh Hunters are even better to protect Trollish core areas. 150 gold for a 600 power unit that excels at protecting your settlements? Yes, please.
As it stands, the Serpent Charmer has to be considered a core unit. Serpent charmers, when placed right, can generate 400 Gold for a mere 4 mana. Multiple Serpent Charmers should form the basis of your economy. Popping a Charmer in a less optimum spot (that generates less gold than maximum) and then slogging towards a better spot is not a bad idea. Plan your use of mana and your travel times and work to ensure your Charmers are never idle with their power unused. .
As of the updates in early March 2016, another very strong “auto include” card is the Marsh Prince. First off, the Marsh Prince adds a powerful, gold efficient and FAST unit to your hand. For less than 200 gold you can deploy a hero for over 500 power. Thats one of the best gold per power rations in the game. Better yet, you can deploy him without forcing a cool down meaning you can get him AND another unit into a Troll settlement at one time. then, you can redeploy him for a token mana cost to get him to another front (you need another 175 gold to do this… but still. wow). Marsh Prince is a winner…
Oh, and the Prince is a Hero, so his likelihood in dying in battle is actually pretty favorable to the Trolls. As a hero, he only takes up one population from a settlement – no small thing when Troll settlements are often 100 population or less.
To sum up: Cost efficient, Powerful, Mobile, Survivable, has special deployment rules, and is a Hero so his impact on settlement populations is minimized.
Possibly the best melee card in the game.
My favorite card in all the game? The Turtle Warriors. I love the pic, and I love what they do. They are expensive (relative to other Troll units), but they are so wonderfully rock hard. Its not unreasonable to throw a unit of Turtle Warrior headlong into one combat after another. They will attrit down, but go for so much longer than similar units (and gain some xp along the way). I try to make Turtle Warriors the core of any expeditionary force I make. Its a luxury card, but at the point where a Troll player is going on the offensive, there should be a little extra golds to throw around and give to these guys.
The other guys:
… and then there are the situational cards…
Troglodytes are amazing on maps with lots of goblin settlements. I underestimated the value of these guys on first blush. Do not make my mistake. For 6 mana, you can eat some of the fastest, largest, and most dangerous zombie stacks in a given scenario. These guys eat Jester Kings happily.
Ah, the Crone. Shes great for when an Immortal Lord or stack of zombies gets out of control. The Crone is super expensive in terms of mana, but she is very versatile and can be useful. Use Trogs or ranged attacks from other races first, but sometimes you just have to use a Crone to knock a bad guy down to size. The Crone cal also eliminate home terrain bonuses (for a limited time) as well as pretty much almost anything that modifies a card (such as buffs or immobilization statuses). Just about anything big and getting out of hand can be knocked down to a more manageable size by the Crone.
hen there are a lot of units in play, dont underestimate the value of the Brute. +9 to all troll in an army is impressive. I tend to note use the Brute in anything less than an army with 40 Trolls.