Thursday, May 25, 2017

State of the Faction (4/5): Circle Solos (and the Fulcrum)

Prologue:

Circle's solos span the entire spectrum from infantry shredding support pieces to infantry shredding lunatics with axes to infantry shredding babes with swords.

Wait...there's a theme here, I just don't know what it is...

Ah well, here's the rating scale, and if you want to read the preceding articles, I did one each on our Warlocks, Warbeasts, and Units.

Ratings Scale:

5.0: S-Tier BS, meta bending model or unit, a crutch of the faction. 

4.0: Extremely useful model or unit, high game impact, strong into many other factions and lists

3.0: Excellent meta choice, very strong into the correct matchups but not consistently good. 

2.0: Super niche, ADR model that will occasionally do something cool but is more often not. 

1.0: Nigh unto unplayable garbage, will not see the table in day two of a competitive event. 


I will always give a bit more context than just the rating, a quick paragraph or two describing how I think the beast plays out with the casters that want them the most. For solos, this scale will be based off of internal faction balance as it is too hard to do cross faction comparisons. As always, the comments mean as much or more than the numbers do.


Blackclad Stoneshaper:

Overall rank: 3.5

These guys are the default free solos for the Bones or Orboros theme list, and when you get them for free they're a real bargain. They repair for d6 on all of our constructs (including Sentry Stones!), have a reasonably accurate Spray 8 with crit KD, and can remove fury from construct warbeasts, all while being 15/15 in base to base with a friendly faction construct (including Sentry Stones and Shifting Stones!)

Definitely worth owning, definitely see play in every Bones of Orboros list I can think of, don't get a ton of love outside of that. 

Blackclad Wayfarer:

Overall rank: 4.0

The most common Circle solo to see play, the only real complaint I have about this model is how sad it is without elemental protection and how much I miss having Acceleration on the Rotterhorn. 

Hunters Mark is really important to a melee-alpha faction without hardly any other threat extension or ways to give free charges out (Kaya 2/3 obviously being exceptions), and his spray is yet another way to murder infantry with ease. 

These make their way into most of my lists, they're very much the lynchpin of a melee based Circle army, and when they fare well they're nightmares for your opponent. 

Bloodweaver Night Witch:

Overall rank: 2.0

A powerhouse of Mark 2, and one that made my trolls extremely sad when it was released, this lady still mulches through low DEF high(ish) ARM or high DEF low ARM infantry with ease. So long as she only has to boost once per attack, she can fairly easily kill off an entire poorly spaced unit. 

Unfortunately, she competes with so many other things in the faction that can do the exact same thing, and outside of being a free solo in the Tharn tier (unlikely) I don't see her getting played. Of note, she does give Bloodweavers killing spree, and if you think that Ghost Fleet is going to be a problem for you, this might be worth the extra points investment to field. 

Druid Wilder:

Overall rank: 3.0

Sometimes you really, REALLY need a free upkeep or another source of fury management, and in those situations, the Wilder is exactly what you want. 

There's not much to say here about her offensive or defensive tech (although I've had my Wilder charge in and finish off an enemy heavy or two as a last ditch effort), and it'd be druid of me to not include a list of warlocks I think she is wild about. 

Baldur 1 has a lot of upkeeps and always likes a free one, so do Tanith, Una 2 (if you can squeeze in the points) and Grayle doesn't mind Storm Rager being free so has more fury to murder stuff with. 

Gallows Grove:

Overall rank: 2.5

I wish I had ways to get this into lists more often, because they're really, really good. Unfortunately, I almost always end up cutting them in order to fit more things that kill stuff into the list. 

Channeling is an amazingly powerful ability, and there are a multitude of our casters that want to be able to do so. Krueger 1 and 2 really like to be able to toss out their offensive spells from a safe distance. Baldur 1 enjoys putting Earth Spikes all over the place, and Tanith likes a way to get Affliction out turn after turn.  Wurmwood also likes to be able to use Cassius for other things than arc node duty.

The ability to channel animi is also excellent, putting Primal or Wraithbane on models that would otherwise have been out of range can change the game. 

Finally, these little trees prevent damage from being removed from enemy models within five inches, and unlike Grievous Wounds, this works on colossals and gargantuans. I've definitely had games where Wurmwood Strangleholds an enemy gargossal and then parks the Grove within five but outside of threat ranges of other enemy models. Send in a Warpwolf or shoot it with Wyrds and suddenly the opponent has a real problem on their hands. 

Lord of the Feast:

Overall rank: 1.0

This guy....yeah he's horrible. If you HAVE to play him, use him in the Tharn theme and load him with corpses - you might get some work out of him. 

Reeve Hunter: 

Overall rank: 1.5

I just don't see a spot for this guy. He's more accurate with his POW 8 bow than he is with his with his PS 9 weaponmaster sword. He's got Sprint, which is cool, but unless your opponent hands you a model, he's going to put a scratch on something and then die. 

I don't think these are worth playing, even in the Wild Hunt as you can easily get free command attachments over them. 

Tharn Ravager Shaman:

Overall rank: 2.0

Free in the Tharn theme, the primary purpose for this model is to make Tharn steady so that their tough checks might occasionally mean something. 

It also hands out magical weapons, which is awesome into Ghost Fleet. 

I also like playing one with Kromac 2 to give him steady against a lot of knockdown tech. 

Tharn Ravager Whiteman:

Overall rank: 2.0

It's another infantry clearing solo, but it also has Veteren Leader [Ravager], so that can be a big deal. As part of the extremely expensive Tharn boat in the Theme, it can help the Ravagers hit stuff. 

I still don't like the Tharn theme, and I am aware that biases me, but I don't think it has a place in the competitive meta. 

Tharn Wolf Rider Champion:

Overall rank: 1.5

An extremely expensive solo with a host of mediocre abilities, this is one of the most beautiful sculpts in the whole game and will hardly ever see the tabletop. 

Una the Falconer (Una 1):

Overall rank: 2.0

Una used to be an amazing double Scarsfell package, but with the loss of Long Leash on the Griffons, she can no longer run them and stay safe. She has largely fallen out of favor, with the exception of a certain Baldur 2 list where she runs a Storm Raptor.

War Wolf:

Overall rank: 2.0

Situationally brilliant, these little guys can put serious dents in enemies with Gang Fighter and Sic' Em. 

I'd play them with Grayle and occasionally if I've got Reeves in the list and four points I don't have anything better to with. 

Wolf Lord Morraig:

Overall rank: 2.0

This guy has one use and one use only - making Grayle essentially magic 7 and giving Reeves plus 1 to their RAT. 

Outside of that, I would be surprised if there was ever a reason to play him. He's expensive, pillowfisted without a Wolfsworn model to get flank off with, and only gets one attack against a hard target. 

Celestial Fulcrum:

Pre - CID rank: 1.5 to 2.0
Post CID rank: 4.0 to 4.5

The pre-CID Fulcrum was a frustrating model to play most of the time. It made a cloud with its most powerful gun, which meant that it was harder for it to shoot the second shot at the target. It was fairly easy to kill from range, and didn't contribute much to the game outside of extremely specific lists. 

The post-CID Fulcrum is a different beast entirely. It's able to be accurate or powerful thanks to consistently being able to boost. It lets you run a couple of Woldwyrds hotter than you would be able to otherwise and still be able to use them to maximum efficiency the next turn. It makes thirteen of seventeen more Warlocks more accurate with spells, melee, and ranged, and it also contributes to Blackclad Wayfarers, Stoneshapers, and Druid's accuracy and viability. 

I firmly believe that this piece is going to be one of Circle's most viable models going forward, and I'm excited to have it in Warroom so that I can play with it all the time (fingers crossed for Lock and Load). 

Conclusion:

Circle's has a couple of useful solos for general play, a few that are only seen in theme forces, and many that are complete garbage. They suffer from mostly doing the same thing - killing infantry in droves when there's less infantry out there - and by being expensive while still having fairly garbage defensive stats. 

I've got less complaints in the solo section than I did about Units and Warbeasts, but there are still a few stinkers (Wolf Rider Champion, Una 1, Morraig and LORD OF THE FEAST) that I think really need some attention in order to see the table on a more regular basis. 

Tomorrow I"ll have a short wrap-up, including a list of models that I think absolutely need to get changed and some general thoughts about the direction of the faction, and that will be the State of the Faction. I'll probably do a new analysis every six months or so. 

After that...maybe I'll actually put a battle report up! Who knows, I might even be playing Circle in it for a change ;)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Battle Report 101: Tanith (Storm Raptor, The Wild Hunt) vs. Thagrosh 1

Prologue:

I hadn't played a game with Circle in about a week, and I really wanted to bust Stormy out and put him on the table, so when my gaming group all were busy/out of town, I enlisted my roommate to let me get some of the Warmachine withdrawals out of my system.

I tossed together a really derpy list.

Tanith
- Loki
- Pureblood
- Storm Raptor
- Woldwyrd x2
- Gorax

Shifting Stones x2

In the Wild Hunt theme to give the Storm Raptor tracker.

My opponent played:

Thagrosh 1
- Typhon
- Scythean
- Carnivean
- Seraph
- Protector

Deathstalker x2
Forsaken
Shepherd
Nyss Warlord

We rolled up Extraction, he won the roll off and correctly chose to go first.


I had forgotten how much Stormy makes taking pictures impossible. 

Off to the right, you can see my opponents homemade dice tray and then the Wyrmwood dice tray that I got sent last weekend to try out and review - expect that sometime soon!

Legion turn 1:

Fog of War goes up, which is annoying since Thagrosh will be too far back to really punish him for having the upkeep out. 

Everything runs at me, except the Deathstalkers who chill out. 


Circle turn 1:

Well I can move up and prevent him from charging me, but I can't really do much about his ranged presence. Fortunately, my opponent chose to put Typhon in the forest, and with that in mind, his threat range is really limited. 

Admonition ends up on Loki, who is in some Shifting Stones, and Scything Touch goes onto Stormy. I run the Gorax up the right side in case he doesn't contest on his next turn and I need something to take the flag with. 


Legion turn 2:

Another aggressive advance, the Seraph putting Flare onto both Loki and the Wyrd. His Carnivean moves up and shoots at the Woldwyrd, doing a small amount of damage. Typhon derps out of the forest, and the Protector moves up so it can shield guard the three combat heavies. 

Thagrosh moves outside of the killbox. 


Circle turn 2:

I get REALLY greedy this turn, and decide to try and shoot down at least one heavy and then commit Stormy to kill off another without Primal. 

Between Pureblood sprays and Wyrd shots, both Typhon and the Carnivean are on life support when Stormy does go in (I rolled really hot) and then proceeds to miss all but two (?) attacks, leaving them both alive. I should have just Primaled him.

Loki hooks in the Seraph but can't do enough damage to it. 

Tanith moves up, boosts a shot into the Carnivean and misses, hitting Stormy instead and doing 6 damage >< 

Stones port both Loki and Tanith back. I get a point from the Gorax, so...yay?




Score 1-0
Advantage Circle

Legion turn 3:

Stormy dies to the Scythean plus Carnivean, and then Typhon forces to regen and charges my Pureblood killing it. 

The Protector runs up to the flag, taking it and standing in Shield Guard range of basically everyone. 

A Deathstalker runs up to contest the flag where the Gorax is hiding out. 


Score 1-1
Tie

Circle turn 3:

I figure I can try and kill all of his heavies with Loki and Wyrds (not impossible actually) OR I can try and win here with the opening I've been given. 

Wyrds do 95% of the Protectors boxes, with the last Wyrd missing 2 of 3 attacks. 

Tanith moves up and shoots down the Protector, Feating, and casting Affliction onto Thagrosh. She puts Primal onto Loki and camps one - I should have put Scything Touch on Loki. 

Loki gets ported up, warps Strength, and boosts a hit into Thagrosh, yanking him in. His free attack connects and leaves him on 1 (should have been five, forgot about the Strength debuff). 

He's on two transfers and I have three attacks at dice damage, needing 3s to hit. 

I hit all three attacks, doing enough to force him to transfer every time, even with five boxes. The last attack connects and he fails his tough check. 


(Undeserved) Victory for the Druids!

Post-Game Thoughts:

Man I made a mess out of this. If Tanith could have shot at the Carnivean before Stormy went in (translation, if I hadn't boxed her out turn 1) he would have murdered both him and Typhon. If I'd just put Primal up, the Storm Raptor lives for another turn, as does the Pureblood. 

I got extremely lucky on my last turn with Loki's attacks all hitting and doing enough damage AND my opponent not making a tough check. Any one of those things change and I lose this game, plain and simple. 

A goofy list, I probably won't be coming back to it without extensive revamping - Stormy has to be playable with more than just Kromac 2 right? 

Thanks for reading!


State of the Faction (3/5): Circle Units

Prologue:

Circle's units are, almost universally, much maligned. They tend to be expensive, pillow fisted, and not capable of taking a hit from a Gunmage.

If we ever get a faction wide CID, units are going to be the first thing I hope to see Privateer Press revamp, followed shortly by Warbeasts.

Deep breaths, here we go.

Ratings Scale:

5.0: S-Tier BS, meta bending model or unit, a crutch of the faction. 

4.0: Extremely useful model or unit, high game impact, strong into many other factions and lists

3.0: Excellent meta choice, very strong into the correct matchups but not consistently good. 

2.0: Super niche, ADR model that will occasionally do something cool but is more often not. 

1.0: Nigh unto unplayable garbage, will not see the table in day two of a competitive event. 


I will always give a bit more context than just the rating, a quick paragraph or two describing how I think the beast plays out with the casters that want them the most. For units, this scale will be based off of internal faction balance as it is too hard to do cross faction comparisons. As always, the comments mean as much or more than the numbers do.

The Death Wolves:

Overall rank: 2.0

These guys have one place - the Tharn tier. Having lost both the ability to deliver themselves with their initial corpse token AND their natural prey (units), these guys don't have any real reason to see play outside of the one theme that allows them to start the game off already primed. 

I can see them played with Una 2, Tanith, and maybe one of the Kruegers or Baldurs in the Tharn tier. Other than that, you shouldn't feel hounded to play them as they'll likely be your death. 

Druid Mist Riders:

Overall rank: 1.5

Expensive, pillow fisted, and with no targets in a high ARM meta, these models are beautiful additions to anyones bookshelf. Careful though, they've been known to cause mildew in paperbacks.

Druids of Orboros and CA:

Overall rank: 2.0

Man these guys got the short end of the Mark 3 stick. They lost countermagic, they lost their fishing pulling spell, and they ALSO lost Advanced Deployment. 

In addition, their Clouds giving enemy models -2 to hit in them is almost a non-factor with the sheer amount of 1 and 2 inch reach running around, cannot trigger Prowl on anything with the changes to terrain rules, and lost Camouflage. Oh, and they don't fit in any theme lists. Whoof. 

The command attachment gives them Apparition, which is nice, and also the ability to be immune to elemental damage, but he's often not worth his points. 

They don't have a ton of good fits anymore, with notable exceptions being Krueger 2 for that sweet KD tech and Baldur 1 out of theme for their synergy with the Woldwrath and Druid's Wrath (subtle much PP?).

I can also see them getting a bit more love once the Celestial Fulcrum's new rules go live, but since they can't be taken in theme, that still seems unlikely. 

Reeves of Orboros and CA:

Overall rank: 3.5

Probably the best "big" unit Circle has now, these guys are extremely versatile and can toggle between infantry clearing and denting heavies with ease thanks to ROF 2 and CRA.

The CA gives them Go to Ground, which is a once per game ability that gives the unit cover and immunity blast damage, which is money, and he also allows them to CRA into melee, which is an even bigger deal.

After Sentry Stones, these are my highest recommendation for picking up, and anyone that does so and plays them with casters such as Tanith, Baldur 1, Wurmwood, and actually basically anyone playing the Wild Hunt theme will reeve their rewards in short orboros.

Sentry Stone and Mannikins:

Overall rank: 4.0

These were the breakout unit at the beginning of Mark 3, and they're still (post nerf) the rock upon which most Circle lists are built. The mannik build up of anger towards them pre-nerf, while perhaps unwarranted, led to a much more balanced unit, and they are still capable of more than earning their points back every game. 

With the ability to boost, recur endlessly, and stay relevant late into the game, this unit guards the highest spot on the Circle infantry totem with very little in the way of contenders. They're one of the few ways we have to proc prowl outside of table terrain, they keep casters safe, and they kill solos and infantry while maintaining the ability to dent heavies if they need to. 

They're going out of style a bit with the many themes that cannot take them, but they're always sentrily located in my battlefoam whenever I take a bunch of models to game night with no clear idea of what I'm playing. 

Shifting Stones (and CA if I must):

Overall rank: 3.0

Circle's fury management! Seriously though, these used to be the defining feature of the faction, increasing the threat range of most of our heavies by about an inch and allowing us to do some truly unique things. 

Now, with the shift to completely within 8 inches for their teleport, they are nowhere near as useful for threat extension as they used to be (except with Loki). 

Now, though, they're excellent fury management and healing, all for three points. 

Don't bother with the CA unless you're playing Kaya 3 or Morvahana 2, as Prowl is nowhere near as good as Stealth, and he will keep on looking pretty on your shelf. 

Stoneward and Woldstalkers:

Overall rank: 1.0

Take a Woldwyrd. Take two units of Sentry Stones. Don't let your warcasters offspring become wards of the Circle by playing this unit. They're bad, and I never consider them, preferring to stalk my bag with other models. 

Tharn Blood Pack:

Overall rank: 0.0

I can't think of a reason to play this unit, and tharn't enough good puns to make out of them to unpack an entire paragraph of text to cover it. 

Tharn Bloodtrackers and Nuala:

Overall rank: 2.5

I'm going to draw a lot of criticism for this, but I don't think this unit is very good either right now. They die to a stiff breeze, Stealth mitigation is everywhere, and without Reposition (formerly reform), they just don't track with their point cost.

Furthermore, the meta has really shifted away from infantry and towards armor skew, meaning that there's less punch behind boosted POW 9s or 11s compared to mark 2.

I take them with Baldur, Wurmwood, and Mohsar, and these are all occasional at best. Their only real saving grace is for the Tharn theme list, where they are the best way to get free points without paying points for garbage models.

Tharn Bloodweavers:

Overall rank: 2.0

These guys lost basically everything interesting about them in the transition, and now I take them solely as souls for Wurmwood, Sands of Fate targets for Mohsar, or as a way to apply Grievous Wounds if I haven't managed to weave Alten or a Nightwitch into my list. 

They kill infantry really well, but so does everything in the faction. They're speed seven, but with a half inch melee range they threat a static 10.5 inches - hardly anything to get the blood up. 

Tharn Ravagers and CA:

Overall rank: 2.0

I am aware that there's a Tharn theme list out there with two units of these, and for the life of me I can't understand why it does well at all. Anti-infantry is so good right now, and these guys have paper thin stats on the defensive end. 

When they do manage to 1) get across the table and 2) make it to a unit or light warbeast, they'll tear through them just fine, but topping out at PS 13 (15 with a couple casters) is just...not great. 

I'm definitely going to get ravaged for this one, but I just cannot recommend these guys the vast majority of the time. 

Tharn Wolf Riders:

Overall rank: 2.0

Hey look, Tharn that are niche and not great! What else is new? 

These guys are fast, moderately accurate, and have decent output against their assaulted target. That being said, they're PS NINE. I'm not interesting in paying 3.6 points PER MODEL for a PS 9 weaponmaster attack with garbage defensive stats. 

And defensively, 14/14 is not going to save these from basically anything that wants to shoot at them, and annoyance is a cute ability, but again, a warbeast just needs to boost to hit and then pretty much auto kill on damage. 

Warpborn Skinwalkers and Alpha:

Overall rank: 3.0

Probably the best heavy infantry in Hordes, these guys are still a bit disappointing. Trading off rapid strike for gang is...interesting at best, awful at worst. The small attack volume is a serious drawback, especially when the unit costs as much as a pricey heavy when the CA is included in the cost. 

Relentless Charge is nice, and if often means that they're charging forward every turn rather than running up the table, definitely not warpspeed by any means. Hyper-regeneration walks their survivability up a touch, but, like most healing effects in this game, there has to be a model on the table still for it to matter. 

I like them with both Baldurs, Morvahna 1 and 2 if you're interested in playing with them, and Grayle if you're going to play him in Wild Hunt. 

Wolves of Orboros and CA:

Overall rank: 2.5 to 3.0

Before the Wild Hunt theme, I would have given these guys a solid 1.5, but with the addition of possible Ambush, suddenly this is a unit to be feared in the right scenarios. 

I still find it a little (a lot) silly that their fluff blurb describes their spears as capable of "piercing the thickest of Armor" when the models are PS 9 with only one turn of weaponmaster a game. 

CMA helps with that a touch, but these guys get one turn of decent-ness before fading back into pillow-fisted obscurity. They, like most of Circle's units, have victim defensive stats and won't survive long once they're engaged. 

Conclusion:

Out of all of the main frustrations I have with the faction, our limited, nay, nonexistent infantry choices for competitive play remains the biggest thorn. 

Is it any wonder that Circle lists all feature 60 ish points of battlegroup? (not that that's saying much, that's basically three beasts)

We need a serious slew of releases OR a dedicated Circle infantry/beast CID in order for this to change anytime soon. Nothing short of that or the game randomly swinging 100% back to infantrymachine is going to change that. 



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

State of the Faction (2/5): Circle Warbeasts

Back for more! This time we will be looking at the Warbeasts of the Circle. A quick reminder that you can find the Warlock Review here, and before we get going let's look at our rating scale:

Ratings Scale:

5.0: S-Tier BS, meta bending model or unit, a crutch of the faction. 

4.0: Extremely useful model or unit, high game impact, strong into many other factions and lists

3.0: Excellent meta choice, very strong into the correct matchups but not consistently good. 

2.0: Super niche, ADR model that will occasionally do something cool but is more often not. 

1.0: Nigh unto unplayable garbage, will not see the table in day two of a competitive event. 


I will always give a bit more context than just the rating, a quick paragraph or two describing how I think the beast plays out with the casters that want them the most. For warbeasts, this scale will be based off of internal faction balance as it is too hard to do cross faction comparisons. As always, the comments mean as much or more than the numbers do.


Argus Moonhound:

Overall ranking: 3.0

The Argus Moonhound is an odd little beast, giving Circle's (ever increasing) ranged game some much needed accuracy buffs while simultaneously allowing them to get through Stealth, which is something Circle doesn't get anywhere else. 

I find him extremely useful in lists that are planning on running 2+ Wyrds and another ranged Beast, even if it's a Pureblood because RAT 7 sprays sound like a good time to me. At six points, he's pretty easy to fit into most lists, and that's good because most of the time you'll be throwing him away to mark a target and then lose him the next turn. 

Brennos, the Elderhorn:

Overall ranking: 3.0

I like Brennos a lot more than most people do, and he's done a lot of work for me in the past. His ranged weapon is fantastic, and can actually do more work than the Pureblood's spray on some occasions. The ability to put down big areas of no shooting is extremely strong, and one of the main reasons I play him with Grayle. 

He also has Pathfinder, and for a Circle heavy, that is a BIG deal. Our pathfinder living heavies include Brennos, Warpwolf Stalkers, and Loki, so we are pretty strapped. 

His staff has 2 inch range, and it is blessed, which means that against an any ARM buff of 2 or greater or any DEF buff at all, he actually does as much or more damage as the Warpwolf Stalker does. 

Take Megalith and Brennos together with Wurmwood for a hilarious time of Strangleholding enemy stuff and then hitting them with an AOE 4 of no shooting. Other possible options include Tanith for that sweet Shadow Bind action on ranged heavy infantry, Grayle for ridiculous amounts of no-shooting denial, and Kromac 2 for that sweet damage and ARM buff. 

Feral Warpwolf:

Overall ranking: 2.5

I hate to rank this guy so low, but the fact of the matter is that he's a Primal bot, and we can pay 11 points less and still get Primal in the faction. 

He doesn't have pathfinder, he gets taxed for his ability to Warp Armor by being one ARM lower base, and while he has way higher damage output than any of our other Wolves except possibly Ghetorix, he just can't get there sometimes (although neither can Ghetorix). 

If, by some miracle, Circle ever gets another caster with a way to give Pathfinder, even just on the charge, this guy will be excellent with them. As it is, I only like to see him played in a few select lists.


Ghetorix:

Overall ranking: 3.5

Ghetorix has the second highest potential damage output of any of our beasts (The Storm Raptor I believe has the highest), and is a presence that demands respect from your opponents, should there be no mitigating terrain. 

Yet another Circle living heavy without Pathfinder, Ghetorix is almost always a hard sell for me when I compare him to the Stalker for hitting power and to Loki for suriviveability. ARM 19 with Spiny Growth is really good, until you compare it to ARM 19 base on Loki, especially with so many blessed effects out there of late. 

If you really, really need a heavy hitter, Ghetorix is your man, but outside of certain Baldur 2 and Kromac builds, I don't see much reason to take him over the Stalker. 


Gnarlhorn Satyr

Overall ranking: 2.0

This guy is basically good for his animus, and even that isn't necessarily a good enough reason to take him. He's pillowfisted, slow, doesn't have pathfinder (sensing a theme here?) and his counterslam ability is cute, but insanely easy to play around if your opponent knows what they're doing. 

I don't think about this guy when building lists. 


Gorax Rager:

Overall ranking: 3.5

Not nearly as good as his Mark 2 self, the Gorax still slots into most of our lists right now. As much as I HATE paying the tax for Primal on all of our beasts, the fact remains that most of them are balanced around it, and therefore we will probably need it to close out games. 

You'll see him in most lists, but he won't be doing much other than being a transfer target and Primal bot.

Loki:

Overall ranking: 4.5

Mmmm....Loki is probably our best Warbeast right now. He lets Circle cheat out the first enemy heavy without taking any serious losses, and single handedly rekindled my love for the faction back in February when I was getting low on it. He's durable, accurate, HAS PATHFINDER, and plays nice with nearly every Warlock we have. 

Also, he's a gorgeous model and I would have bought him just to paint him. 

Megalith:

Overall ranking: 4.0

Megs is the absolute best Wold heavy there is. He's a Magic 7 Geomancy mage, he's ARM 19 with 35 boxes, and he has a fantastic animus. 

Add to that his excellent Weight of Stone on the fists AND Mat 7 AND PATHFINDER, and you have yourself a seriously good Warbeast. There are only a few Warlocks I wouldn't take Megalith with (Grayle, Kromac 1/2, Kaya 1/2/3), but the rest of them can all use his unique toolkit to some degree or another. 

Pureblood Warpwolf:

Overall ranking: 4.5 or 5.0

Wow I cannot sing the praises of this model enough. It's got access to terrain negation, it can be immune to spells, and it has an AMAZING animus in Wraithbane. It also has a 10 inch POW 14 spray, and that is a rare thing to find in the world of Warmachine and Hordes. 

I think that any list not playing Bones of Orboros should have one of these in it. Wraithbane is basically one of Circles top strengths at the moment, and if you are not utilizing it, you're handicapping yourself needlessly. 

Razorwing Griffon:

Overall ranking: 1.5

Oh look...it's a light warbeast that clears infantry, in a faction full of infantry clearing. No defensive tech other than a high DEF value means he dies to guns very easily, and no significant damage output means that even Una 2 doesn't want one of these. 

Rip Horn Satyr:

Overall ranking: 1.5

I want this guy to be good so badly. He's one of our cheapest heavy options at 14 points, but he's speed 5, no pathfinder (sigh) and only Fury 3. I haven't seen him in a competitive list...ever? and I don't think I will unless the Circle beast stable gets a CID look. 

Rotterhorn Griffon:

Overall ranking: 0.5

This is about as close to completely unplayable as it gets, don't buy these, or if you do convert them into Scarsfell Griffons. 

Scarsfell Griffon:

Overall ranking: 2.0

Una 2 really wrecked this guy for everyone else. He used to be extremely good with Una 1 in a variety of lists, and I also liked playing a few of them with Kromac 2 and Tanith.

Now he's a much more niche model, and really only good with Una 2. Losing Long Leash means that other casters I liked him with (mostly Tanith) have to be way too close for comfort, and it also means that they're basically useless with Una 1 now. 

Shadowhorn Satyr:

Overall ranking: 3.0

This guy is almost competitively viable I think. He lets you do some really silly things with threat ranges and positioning, and at 12 points is almost always worth throwing (ha!) away to get one of your opponents better heavies back towards your lines. 

He and Loki are really the only ways Circle has of trading up right now, and I think we're going to see some interesting builds with this guy. 

Storm Raptor:

Overall ranking: 2.5

The Storm Raptor is one rule away from being a very strong piece with a lot of different casters, but as it stands I can only see playing it with Kromac 2, Kaya 2/3, Una 2, and Tanith. 

It suffers from low ARM with few boxes for a colossal and being MAT 5. If you can mitigate its weaknesses with ARM/DEF or MAT buffs however, this thing has crazy threat ranges and hits like a truck. 

I like playing it with Kromac 2, sticking Vengeful on it, and then using it to kill 2 ish heavies before requiring the entire rest of the army come in to kill it. 

Most hoped for rules on it eventually: Reposition 3, Range 14 gun, MAT 6. 

Warpwolf Stalker:

Overall ranking: 3.5

Our main pathfinder beatstick heavy, he's expensive, squishy, and difficult to use properly. He's also only MAT 6, which is a bit of a problem against non-Khador heavies. 

That being said, he's our most consistently deliverable heavy thanks to Pathfinder and Warp Prowl, and he combines with Loki really well, being able to move in and kill whatever Loki hooks and then Sprinting out. 

Wild Argus:

Overall ranking: 3.0

This guy was the source of some of the biggest hype going into Mark 3. Doppler Bark is one scary animus, and combined with high mobility casters like Mohsar and Wurmwood or when combined with movement tricks on the Argus itself, it can change games. 

All that being said, it still doesn't work on Warjacks, anything in Convergence, or any Wold beasts, and that's a pretty large chunk of the world to be ineffective against. 

With pathfinder and a relatively cheap point cost (7), he'll worm his way into a lot of lists, but he is no must take beast. 

Winter Argus:

Overall ranking: 1.0

When Una 2 was extremely popular, I had a crazy good counter to her with Kromac 2 and a couple of these guys. Now, however, I don't think they're worth playing basically anywhere. 

Wold Guardian:

Overall ranking: 1.5

Gosh these guys make me sad. Seventeen points for a speed four, fury 3, PS 17 heavy which can only have its damage output improved by four casters? Color me completely uninterested. 

It has a place with Bradigus and it basically ends there. 

Woldwarden:

Overall ranking: 2.0

Again, moderately expensive Beast with Fury 3, PS 16, and little game impact. You take one for Geomancy when you can't afford/can't play Megalith OR you take him with Megalith, but he doesn't really do much on his own. He can't engage enemy heavies, he's not accurate enough to deal with good troops, and he is too expensive for what he does. 

Woldwatcher:

Overall ranking: 1.5

Expensive, pillowfisted, and outclassed completely by the Woldwyrd in nearly every way. I don't even consider this model outside of maybe a one-off in a Baldur 2 list, and even then I could just pay 1 more point and get double Sentry Stones. 

Woldwrath:

Overall rank: 3.5

This guy is a very good Gargantuan. He's tough, impossible to debuff, has excellent offensive capabilities in both melee and ranged, and is even fairly quick for a Wold at Speed 5. 

The only problem is he's a construct, and that means that a lot of our Warlocks have no way to synergize with him. 

I'll play him happily with both Baldurs, Kromac 2 for some serious Primal Shock jank, and Mohsar. 

Woldwyrd:

Overall rank: 4.5 to 5.0

This is the primary reason that I think Circle has competitive outs, the humble Woldwyrd. Purgation on a gun that we can so easily give Blessed is straight up money, and with a high speed (7) and pathfinder, these little dudes will get wherever they want to and shoot whatever they want. 

They're reasonably accurate at RAT 6, and POW 12 is nothing to sneeze at when you can boost and also have a couple of casters with Curse of Shadows. 

I recommend playing 2 in almost every list, and there are lots of lists that I recommend playing 3 in. They're Circle's answer to upkeeps, and they're very good at what they do. 


Conclusion:

Circle hinges off of a select few competitive models in basically every category, and the Warbeasts are no exception to that rule. We have a couple of heavies that work well, a few lights that are good, and then one Garg that's playable and the rest...is pretty much never going to come off the shelf. 

It's one of the things that makes Circle so hard to stay with competitively for any serious length of time - we just don't have that many strong options. It's a good thing the models that are good are fun to play with, because if they weren't I don't know if the faction would see any play at all right now. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

State of the Faction (1/5): Circle Warlocks


My obligatory Storm Raptor intro photo :)


Prologue:


I've been meaning to look through all of Circle's myriad model options and assign rankings for quite some time, both as a way to organize my ideas about the faction, and also as a way to discuss the models with others.

Over the next week, I will hopefully be posting a review a day, starting with Warlocks, moving to Warbeasts, Units, Solos, and then Minion options.

I will do my best to keep my own bias out of the analysis, and please bear in mind that these rankings will change over time as the meta changes and new releases come out.

This particular State of the Faction review is coming to you from May of 2017.

Ratings Scale:

5.0: S-Tier BS, meta bending model or unit, a crutch of the faction. 

4.0: Extremely useful model or unit, high game impact, strong into many other factions and lists

3.0: Excellent meta choice, very strong into the correct matchups but not consistently good. 

2.0: Super niche, ADR model that will occasionally do something cool but is more often not. 

1.0: Nigh unto unplayable garbage, will not see the table in day two of a competitive event. 


I will always give a bit more context than just the rating, a quick paragraph or two describing how I think a warlock will be played or how they will pair, as well as their weaknesses and strengths in regards to Scenario, Attrition, and Assassination, on a scale of Great, Good, Meh, and Bad. 


Okay, let's go!



Baldur the Stonecleaver (Baldur 1):

Overall rank: 3.0

Baldur 1 has some incredibly good matchups and some incredibly bad matchups. Anything that flies (Fyanna 2 anyone?) has good upkeep removal (Harbinger and Kreoss 1) will give him serious problems as his entire game plan revolves around his upkeep spells. 

Currently, I'm seeing him played mostly in Bones of Orboros for the sweet extra 2 inches of deployment and the free Stoneshapers, but there are also builds with Druids and Bloodtrackers or Wolf Riders that I do not mind at all. 

He tends to play a gunline with Geomancied Earth Spikes from Megalith and possibly a Warden, with Woldwyrds and a Woldwrath to boot. I think the CID Celestial Fulcrum will help him a lot. 

Scenario Ranking: Good - his feat can really prevent an enemy force from contesting a flag or zone if the positioning is correct. 

Attrition Ranking: Good - he has a durable army backed up by a very good control feat and a LOS blocking spell in Wild Growth, his models tend to get 2-3 turns of work done before engagement. 

Assassination Ranking: Meh+ - if your opponent lets you geomancy a bunch of Earth Spikes onto their caster and get the crit KD, you've got some serious pain coming for them. Canny opponents will do their best to prevent that from happening, but it's hard when the spell is an AOE. 

Also, Forest Walk can occasionally win the game. 



Baldur the Stonesould (Baldur 2):

Overall rank: 3.5

Baldur 2, like Baldur 1, has some seriously good matchups and some seriously bad matchups, and it all depends on whether your opponent has a way to get blessed weapons on beasts or on heavy hitting infantry. 

I think he is nearly unplayable into most Menoth pairings (especially as Exemplar Interdiction comes out), and he also struggles into Legion and Circle since both of those factions have easy access to Wraithbane. 

Typical Baldur 2 lists are also in Bones of Orboros, and they're much more focused on taking the Alpha and then retaliating. These builds tend to have 1-2 Woldwraths and some support. 

The other option is to take him with a bunch of Warpwolves and Wrong Eye/Snapjaw, using High DEF with no KD from Roots of the Earth on the Warpwolves in combination with Star-Crossed and Rock Wall to keep his army alive. 

Both of these builds encourage bricking up like no other Circle list, and give it some fairly difficult times on some Scenarios. 

Scenario Ranking: Meh - he just has such a hard time contesting and controlling everything on spread out boards. 

Attrition Ranking: Good - difficult to kill army + good damage output = good attrition. Crevasse through Megalith can also do more work than expected.

Assassination Ranking: Bad - he has nothing in his army to increase assassination threat, and doesn't have that much of his own. 

Image result for Bradigus art

Bradigus Thorle, the Rune Carver:

Overall rank: 1.0

Bradigus...just doesn't have any tools or tricks right now. Wolds are bad outside of Megs, Wyrds, and Wrath, and his Feat doesn't give the Wrath any benefit. 

His spell list doesn't do hardly anything, he himself is super vulnerable to shooting now that Woldwatchers no longer have shield guard, and while he can put Synergy up, Wolds top out at PS 19 with the Woldwrath and PS 17 with everything else. Add to that that the Guardian is fury 3, and you have a caster who is incapable of killing Khador heavies on the top of a Synergy chain. 

Scenario Ranking: Bad

Attrition Ranking: Bad

Assassination Ranking: Bad



Grayle, the Farstrider:

Overall rank: 2.0

Grayle has some seriously oddball builds, and his feat is basically Warpath with shooting protection, but the dude is just incredibly hard to kill between naturally high DEF and ARM, Stealth, and Storm Rager. 

I've had pretty good success with him and a billion wolfsworn models, and I actually think that it's a somewhat legitimate answer to Fyanna 2. The list comes in with the lowest MAT being 8 or 9 on the charge, and most of those models have CMA, meaning that even DEF 17 Seraph/Neraph/Angelius models have to be worried. 

The Wild Hunt theme list seems a natural fit for him, as tracker on his warbeasts is very good in combination with his armies natural mobility. All I want for him to be great is to have Field Marshal [Wolfsworn] and make all of his living beasts into Wolfsworn models. Moving Stalkers back through screening Wolves of Orboros sounds pretty great to me. 

Scenario Ranking: Good - he plays a ton of dudes, and tons of dudes tend to be good at contesting things. 

Attrition Ranking: Good - his army is excellent at whittling down the enemy, and he himself can do some serious work every turn thanks to Sprint and Side Step. 

Assassination Ranking: Meh - basically your threat ranges are very static. The only really tricky thing is War Wolves - those guys can literally kill a caster from half the table away if they leave charge lanes open for Sic 'Em. 


Kaya, the Wildborne (Kaya 1): 

Overall rank: 1.0

Kaya does almost nothing interesting other than making your beasts hit really accurately and pulling them back after they have done so. 

Her main schtick is to take either Shadowhorns or Loki and pull/throw enemy models back into your lines, murdering them, and then using Spirit Door to pull back said Shadowhorn/Loki to safety. 

She also has the Doppler Bark assassination that so many Circle Warlocks have access to in that she can have a beast run up, cast Spirit Door on herself, Doppler Bark the enemy caster, Feat to get fury back, and then port out, at which point your Wyrds/Purebloods shoot the hapless enemy Warcaster/Warlock off the table. 

Unfortunately, Mohsar does this way better, and Kaya doesn't do anything else worth mentioning. When your entire game plan can be shut down by a shield guard or an immovable heavy like Tiberion, you need a new game plan. 

Scenario Ranking: Meh

Attrition Ranking: Depends - if your opponent has shield guards, it's bad. If they don't? It can be pretty darn good. 

Assassination Ranking: Good - technically she has the tools to pull off Assassinations from nowhere, but man, just play Mohsar if you want to do that. 

Image result for Kaya the moonhunter art

Kaya the Moonhunter and Laris (Kaya 2):

Overall Rank: 3.0

Kaya 2 is an entirely different animal from Kaya 1. She actually has a Feat, her spell list is pretty decent, and she has the ONLY way in Circle to give pathfinder out. 

That being said, she also has some major problems. If she wants to cast Shadowpack, that means she's got three Fury left. If she wants to cast Dog Pile, she also probably needs to boost, meaning she's sitting on nothing, and most turns, she won't even have enough to boost after upkeeping Forced Evolution on Loki or Ghetorix.

At Fury 6, she can't even come close to doing enough stuff every turn, and that's a big weakness. 

She also has an entire game plan that can be denied by Polarity Field, Stranglehold, Feats that prevent you from charging, spells that prevent you from charging, etc. 

Scenario Ranking: Meh - her definition of win on scenario is "I killed everything, so I'm going to go sit on this flag for points". 

Attrition Ranking: Good - getting two alphas is amazing, enough said. 

Assassination Ranking: Good - she can teleport to Laris and go to town at MAT 8 PS 11 Weaponmaster, and the double alpha means that your opponent won't often have enough models to screen their caster effectively after the first, and will also be forced into risky plays to stay even. 

Image result for Kaya the Wildheart

Kaya the Wildheart (Kaya 3):

Overall rank: 3.0

Kaya 3 is, strangely, best as a gunline caster with some Wyrds and Purebloods. Reposition 3 on everything means that you can move up, shoot ten, and then back up 3 and be safe from the retaliation of most heavies. 

Once the lines close, you still have a Synergy caster, and that means your Purebloods, with Primal top out at PS 21 - not bad for a PS 14 base heavy!

Other options include going for raw ARM breaking with the heavier hitters like a Pureblood, Stalker, or Ghetorix, but her inability to give out pathfinder means that I have pretty much resigned myself to Loki and a Stalker in every non-gunline battlegroup I build with her. 

She's very good in the Wild Hunt, as tracker on an all battlegroup build like hers is phenomenal. 

Scenario Ranking: Meh - just like Kaya 2, basically her definition of winning on Scenario is killing everything. 

Attrition Ranking: Good - if you build the gunline version, you should be tearing a heavy down every turn from range and then killing a couple a turn once the lines close with little retaliation with good feat timing. 

Assassination Ranking: Meh - if you can charge their caster with a beast, then, as usual, that caster probably dies, but outside of that she doesn't do anything particularly interesting on the Assassination front. 

Image result for kromac the ravenous art

Kromac the Ravenous (Kromac 1):

Overall rank: 2.5

Kromac 1 does some REALLY cool things. Bestial is one of the most gamebreaking spells I can think of, and he also has a few other excellent spells like Inviolable Resolve, Wild Aggression, and Warpath. 

He gives his beasts crazy threat ranges, and he himself is capable of killing every single caster in the game bar Karchev between his feat and Doppler Bark. 

But...the dude just dies to gunlines, and there are so, so, so many of them out there. He also doesn't have any damage buffs, so he has a really hard time with jack spam.

Loki, and the ability to take Ogrun Bokurs, really helps this, but that means that you're never playing him in theme, and the lack of free points makes it really unappealing.

I wish I could give him a higher rating, since he really does do some truly unique things. Stalkers threatening 14 inches without any outside help is amazing, Loki being able to move up, hook something, have a Stalker kill it and then Warpath Loki back is also very cool.

If you know you're not playing into a gunline or Khador jack brick, Kromac 1 really gets a chance to shine. He's probably some of the most fun you can have playing Circle, and the 2017 rule set encouraging infantry makes me hope he can make a come back.

Scenario: Meh - too squishy, Kromac relies on killing everything before he gets killed.

Attrition: Good - extreme threat ranges, high accuracy, extremely flexible list, these are all elements of a fantastic attrition game.

Assassination: Great - Kromac has one of the best assassination runs in the game, as he himself threats 13" and can then put 14 PS 14 attacks into a target after Doppler Bark, killing any Warcaster or Warlock in the game outside of Karchev.


Kromac, Champion of the Wurm (Kromac 2):

Overall rank: 3.5

Kromac 2 is very difficult to rank, since he isn't like anything else in Circle. He has a consistent MAT buff in Carnage, and has an extremely good damage buff with his Feat. He also has some interesting ranged options thanks to Primal Shock, and he's one of the few places that I think playing a Storm Raptor is a legitimate option (and boy do I love me some Stormy).

His main problem is that he just doesn't do anything tricky, which can be a hard space to inhabit when your game plan is to try and beat swarms of 10-16 point heavies with your 17-20 point heavies.

This is a big part of the reason that I like playing him with the Storm Raptor so much, you can trade off the Storm Raptor for two heavies with Primal and Feat, and with Vengeful giving the Raptor retaliatory strike, it can then disrupt a heavy that comes into if afterwards, meaning that you need two or more heavies to kill it properly. Kromac and his wolves hang out behind the Raptor and clean up afterwards.

Scenario: Good - Solid threat ranges, reasonably surviveable army, and a Warlock that can kill a heavy on his own and Sprint out.

Attrition: Good - see above.

Assassination: Meh - nothing special here, unless you build the Woldwrath version with Primal Shock under Druid's Wrath. 


Image result for krueger the stormwrath art

Krueger the Stormwrath (Krueger 1):

Overall rank: 1.5

Krueger 1 answers two problems.

1) Infantry Spam.

2) Shooting.

In regards to point number 1, the ENTIRE FACTION answers infantry spam. Circle has more infantry clearing tricks than any other faction in the game, and Krueger 1 just happens to be really good at it, making him less interesting as a Warlock.

In regards to point number 2, he actually doesn't save his models from the gunlines that exist, and that is a scary thought. When DEF 17 against shooting isn't good enough, it might be that the guns out there are too good.

Outside of that, he has no damage buff, one pseudo threat extender, and that's really it. I don't think about this guy very much, I don't think he's playable right now.

Scenario: Meh (unless you're playing into a billion dudes)

Attrition: Great (into infantry) and Meh (into ARM).

Assassination: Meh - he doesn't do a whole lot to encourage it with his own models.


Krueger the Stormlord (Krueger 2):

Overall rank: 4.0

Ah, our first 4 ranked caster. Krueger has everything you could possibly want EXCEPT a damage buff. He has threat extenders, he has denial, he has crazy assassination angles, and he also has a sweet model.

Telekinesis is my favorite spell in the game, hands down, and the fact that Megalith can cast it in addition to Krueger is just phenomenal.

Between TK, Druid's casting Pulse of the Earth, and guns in the form of Wyrds/Fulcrum/Pureblood, Krueger plays arguably the best assassination game in Circle (it's either him or Wurmwood), uses Rebuke and a strong denial feat to control the table, and can attrition quite well with Loki for heavies and lots of infantry clearing spells and models for everything else.

Scenario: Good - he used to be great, but his feat took a serious hit when it no longer prevented charges.

Attrition: Good - it's tricky and placement dependent, and many newer players will not see the openings until they've played quite a few games with him.

Assassination: Great - spend more time on the models around your caster and your casters placement than you do on the rest of your army when playing against Krueger 2, he's constantly looking to kill you.



Mohsar, the Desertwalker:
Overall rank: 3.0

Mohsar has gotten a fair bit of attention of late with Dan piloting him all the way to win Kingdom Con a month or so ago.

His entire list is built to be a gunline, with Mohsar flickering in and out and putting down Curse of Shadows and Doppler Bark wherever needed, and I think that is probably the best way to play him.

The constant threat of a Doppler Bark from anywhere within 14 inches of any Wolf of Orboros or 16 inches from any Bloodweaver is pretty darn strong, and combining that with Woldwyrds and Purebloods means that you get lots of shooting over several turns.

His Feat actually works on Hordes in this edition, and is arguably better into Hordes than it is into Warmachine. Meanwhile, Sunhammer chips away at Jack Spam lists, making everything just a touch easier to kill as they spend several turns moving around in Mohsar's 16 inch control range.

Unfortunately, the dude dies to a stiff breeze, with the worst statline out of any Circle warlock - 14/14 with 15 boxes, and that can be a major problem. 

Scenario: Good - Doppler Bark and Pillars of Salt can really control the enemy army and let you get some excellent Scenario presence.

Attrition: Good - guns!

Assassination: Great - this guy has the easiest time applying Doppler Bark on an enemy caster out of any of the Circle Warlocks in faction, turning every infantry model on the table into a potential death threat.

Morvahna the Autumnblade (Morvahna 1):

Overall rank: 1.0

I don't like this caster. She essentially has an ARM buff and a way to keep her upkeeps in play through Purification effects. She has strong recursion, but those recurred models don't ever get to kill anything before they die again.

Scenario: Good - she just always has a ton of dudes, hard to lose on Scenario when you're always contesting.

Attrition: Meh  - those dudes don't kill enough.

Assassination: Bad



Morvahna the Dawnshadow (Morvahna 2):

Overall rank: 1.0

Another caster that basically had everything good about her taken away from Mark 2 to Mark 3. Scales of Fate only affecting models within 9 of her means she has to play way too vulnerable. Reposition and Sprint being exclusive means she can't play as aggressively as before.

Her feat got nerfed, and she lost Purification on favor of something straight up worse. Her infantry all got significantly worse, and infantry hate got much better. She's been on the receiving end of essentially 5 or 6 nerfs.

Scenario: Good - tons of dudes, all the time.

Attrition: See above.

Assassination: Bad


Tanith, the Feral Song:

Overall rank: 4.0

Tanith has it all. She debuffs DEF, ARM, and Speed. She has a great spell list, and can always run Loki in theme.

You can literally build her in a thousand ways, and that is another of her strengths. As usual, keeping her alive is a bit tricky, but with Prowl, Admonition, and the almost constant presence of Loki's shield guard, she is less difficult to keep alive than many other Circle warlocks are.

With some foresight, she can be built to face nearly any faction.

Scenario: Good

Attrition: Great

Assassination: Good


Una the Skyhunter (Una 2):

Overall rank: 3.0

This one is probably a bit more controversial, but I don't think Una 2 is as good or as bad as most people seem to think she is. I believe she has some really cool tools (Hand of Fate being chief among them), but I also think that she has lost too much between the Scarsfell losing Long Leash and her Feat no longer mattering past a turn.

I think she can definitely Silver Bullet some matchups, especially against Menoth, but in general I just don't think she's going to be showing up in high places for competitive events.

Scenario: Not sure honestly, probably Good

Attrition: Good

Assassination: Meh




Wurmwood, Tree of Fate:

Overall rank: 4.0

Wurmwood is another of those casters that has a bit of everything. He can control with Stranglehold, attrition with Hellmouth, and use the aforementioned spell to set up some truly ludicrous assassination runs. He has an ARM debuff (Curse of Shadows), and is personally very, very hard to kill.

Although the nerf to his Feat and the Sentry Stones really hurt him, he still retains most of his power. I like building him with a very, very shooty Battlegroup (read: 3 wyrds, Pureblood, and Loki) and plopping in a Moonhound Argus to make them all more accurate and ignore stealth.

While he's not the overbearing, meta-bending presence he once was, Wurmwood is still probably Circle's best caster.

Scenario: Great

Attrition: Good

Assassination: Great


Conclusion:


Circle has a lot of really excellent Silver Bullet casters, but our stable of potent, consistent Warlocks is very small. This really hurts, as we no longer have the ability to ask significant questions while still answering all of the ones posed to us. 

Too many things we rely on are situational at best and downright chancy at worst, and I believe that's why Circle is starting to feel stagnant once again. 

The biggest problem is this: in order to give Circle back the faction identity and tools of a guerilla warfare faction, PP would have to be okay with it being a severely negative play experience for many people. As it is, I don't think they really have a solid handle on where they want the faction to go, which means that we are going to see quite a few months here of uncertain Circle pairings until they (hopefully) figure that out. 


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Battle Report 100 - Vindictus (Exemplar Interdiction) vs. Nemo 1 (Heavy Metal)

Prologue:

It's kind of neat that the finals of an event is the one hundredth battle report for this blog.

I'd spoken about my pairing philosophy with the other players at the event, and how Severius was my Cygnar drop.

That was, at least, until I saw that my opponent was running Nemo 1 as his pairing with Haley 2, and I knew I had to take my chances with Vindictus into this particular Cygnar pairing.

Nemo 1 completely neuters Severius' game, disrupting his entire army, charging from farther away, and doing massive damage in both melee and range.

Fortunately for me, my opponent dropped Nemo 1, and I won the roll off, allowing me to go first.

Nemo 1
- Squire
- Stormclad
- Centurion
- Dynamo
- Firefly
- Firefly

Arlan
Jr.
- Firefly
Jakes
- Stormclad

We were playing Outlast, and we were both aware of how bad a matchup this was for him.



Menoth turn 1:

True Path up, run everything up to outside of charge ranges. Very simple, but threatening his deployment zone.

Same plan as normal, Vengers charge in first and then Knights clean up afterward.

Defenders Ward on the left Vengers.


Cygnar turn 1:

Things move up. A Firefly zaps a close Venger on the right, leaping three times and killing a KE, a choir dude, and doing nothing to the Reckoner.

Dynamo doesn't do much on the right, DEF 14 really saving these guys.

His Centurion gets Arcane Shield, pops Polarity Field, and runs at me after Nemo Locomotions it up.


Menoth turn 2:

Feat turn! Also time to kill a couple of lights, if possible.

Reckoner shot into the middle Firefly half kills it. Knight Seneschal charges into the Firefly and whiffs hard.

Vengers charge in, the one on the left half killing the blue Firefly, the other few killing off the middle Firefly.

Vengers on the right get into the Firefly there and kill it, repositioning back.

Vindictus pops Feat and sits safely behind the Reckoner.

I have the Knights Exemplar on the right as a counterpunch for the Stormclad should it come in, and on the left to go into the Centurion once Gravus removes Arcane Shield. 



Cygnar turn 2:

My opponent gives out a lot of focus.

Nemo extends his control and feats, only disrupting the right Reckoner.

Nemo blasts the Seneschal, disabling but not knocking him down thanks to Gravus.

Dynamo fails to kill either of the unengaged Vengers, but does trigger Battle Driven.

The Centurion moves around, dismounts Gravus, and kills the Venger leader. The Seneschal heals a point.

He moves the Stormclad up to contest on the right.


Menoth turn 3:

I have an assassination angle here, and I decide to go for it.

The Knight Exemplar Seneschal charges and slams the Lancer out of the way from the Vengers charge path.

Vindictus moves to the right, casts True Path, and camps a bunch.

Two charging, Battle Driven Vengers put Nemo down.



Post-Game Thoughts:

Okay yeah...this list is pretty amazing into a LOT of matchups.

The threat ranges are huge, the damage output is extremely high, and it is extremely hard to alpha.

Bad matchups - Fiona, probably Haley 2, I expect Nemo 3 also poses some problems, but these are all holes that can be filled or at least patched over by I believe Sevy 2.

I'll write up a bit more of a tactica in the next few days, but suffice to say that I think I will be playing this list quite a lot.

Thanks for reading!

Battle Report 99 - May Masters Round 2: Vindictus (Exemplar Interdiction) vs. Fiona the Black

Prologue:

My opponent had Ossrum and Fiona, and I felt like Sevy was probably the right drop here. He has a great play into Ossrum since he basically has no magical guns, and he has a ton of infantry clear for Fiona.

But...I came to play Vindictus, so Vindictus I played. Spoiler alert, this was a terrible idea.

Fiona the Black
- Sylyss
- Nomad x2
- Freeboater

Wrong Eye
- Snapjaw
Dahlia
- Skareth

Idrians
- CA
Commodore Cannon Crew
Alexia and the Risen

And I played Vindictus:

Vindictus
- Reckoner x2

Gravus
Knight Exemplar Seneschal
Wrack

Vengers x2
Exemplars x2
- CA x2
Choir (min)

I won the roll off and decided to go first.



Prey went onto Vindictus, and away we went. 

Menoth turn 1:

I already felt pretty far on the back foot here. Fiona has a spell to give a unit a better version of the Errants Self-Sac, she can give something magical guns to get through my Feat, and she has a ball-busting feat.

Add to that Star-Crossed and I was in for some serious trouble.

I put Defenders Ward on the left unit of Vengers and put True Path up, hiding Vindictus behind the cloud from Fuel Cache.

Everything ran, staying outside of Idrian charge ranges.


Mercenaries turn 1:

Broad strokes, this was a complicated turn.

Idrians put a big CRA into a Venger and leave it on one box. The Commodore cannon finishes it off.

Everything runs up, and the Idrians get the self-sac spell.

I was expecting a Feat here, but he has not and suddenly I'm on the back foot.

Star-Crossed is up.


Menoth turn 2:

Star-Crossed seriously messes with me here, as Vengers need sixes to hit the impact attacks on Idrians.

Gravus goes in and gets the hit off on an Idrian, dispelling the upkeep self-sac.

As a result, I only get one charge into Snapjaw and a couple of charges into the Freeboater.

On the right, I get four charges into the Nomad, but I roll trip 1's on a charge and leave it on 7 boxes.

I move up models to control flags in case he decides not to contest.

I popped my Feat here.


Mercenaries turn 2:

Through a complicated series of killing his own Idrian leader model to promote to a new leader, he is able to contest the right flag.

All of my right hand Vengers die, and the left flag is narrowly contested by a Risen.

Fiona moves out of killbox and pops her feat.


Menoth turn 3:

I spend a ridiculous amount of effort killing the two contesting models, control both flags, and prepare to lose most of my models.

Star-Crossed and Fiona's feat mean that I can't get anything done at all.


Score 2-0
Advantage Menoth 

Mercenaries turn 3:

He creates a Risen, which charges the left Reckoner and does 12 damage. Skareth sprays down four KE's on the right, including the CA.

His Nomad easily kills the left hand Reckoner, and the Freeboater finishes off Gravus and a Venger.

By this point, my opponent is down to about three minutes on his clock.


Menoth turn 4:

I pop mini feat with the left unit of KE, charge in and...do almost nothing. The Nomad takes about 1/3 damage, the Freeboater even less.

I can't clear the right flag either, and I begin to start playing for clock by spacing out contesting models everywhere.



The Rest of the Game:

Several turns go by in quick succession here, and I didn't have time to take pictures.

I send contesting models in every turn, running Vindictus away with Defenders Ward up, and eventually my opponent clocks himself with only a Reckoner and Vindictus left on my side.



Post-Game thoughts:

Wow. This was a horrible matchup, just absolutely atrocious. The list doesn't really have straight up MAT buffs, and Star-Crossed and dice manipulation just wrecked my ability to do anything.

Also, Dahlia is a big, big problem for this list, as she straight up prevents my threat ranges from being absurd, and that's kind of the point.

I always feel a little scummy playing for time, but this game literally came down to me forcing my opponent to make a bunch of attacks in order to have a chance at winning the game on Scenario.

Also, I kept Vindictus really, paranoidly safe, and that was more or less the key.