One of the things that I am most concerned about as far as living beasts go in CID, at least on the abusive side of things, is the spammability of Gnarlhorn and Shadowhorn Satyrs with a couple of key casters, specifically Kaya 3.
With that in mind, I set out to put as many cheap heavies in a list as I could fit, along with a Feral Warpwolf and a Warpwolf Stalker for Kaya to have access to Lightning Strike.
For those of you who are curious, this game was played on the Warmachine and Hordes module of the Vassal engine. A quick google search should find both for you quickly.
These are unreleased rules that I am playing with in order to prep feedback for the upcoming CID, if you are not interested in reading a report featuring them you should stop reading now.
Points reduced by 2 to 17
Points reduced by 2 to 16
Points reduced by 1 to 11
Animus changed to Elusive
Strength increased by 1
You will notice that there are no Riphorn Satyrs in this list - I will talk about why at the end of this report.
- Druid Wilder (free)
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Feral Warpwolf
- Gnarlhorn Satyr
- Gnarlhorn Satyr
- Gnarlhorn Satyr
- Shadowhorn Satyr
- Shadowhorn Satyr
- Shadowhorn Satyr
My opponent won the roll to go first, and gleefully chose to do so. I took the side of the table with the only relevant terrain on the table in the small forest close to my deployment line so that Kaya might have somewhere safe to feat on turn 1.
Crucible Guard turn 1:
Syvestro gives both Vulcans and one Railless +2 speed, casts Admonition on himself and moves up. Everything runs, being speed 8 is pretty good. I'm already almost in charge range of almost everything he has and I haven't moved yet.
Circle turn 1:
I opt to move forward aggressively to try and claim table space, pop Kaya's feat, and put up Elusive everywhere to maybe mitigate the incoming damage.
The Shadowhorns advance six, jump five, cast Elusive for free, and then Reposition forward, not necessarily the full three inches, but I've proxied out where Kaya will be for the feat and they all stay in that area.
The Gnarlhorns all trample for 1, cast Earth's Blessing and reposition forward as well.
Kaya moves up a touch, just out of likely spray range for most things, and puts Fog of War up, casts Soothing Song, and Feats to give everything +2 DEF.
The Blackclads are sitting, quite deliberately, as far back as I think I can put them while still maintaining their relevance.
Crucible Guard turn 2:
I completely forgot Syvestro has Purification, and shortly after a free one and a Feat, the right hand Railless charges the Yellow Shadowhorn on the right. Before it makes contact, I opt to counterslam with the Gnarlhorn which does no damage because Slams aren't boosted.
The charge attack misses (Signs and Portents 9s on 2 dice still miss), and the spray attacks and AOE shots hurt the Orange Gnarlhorn in the back more than the Shadowhorn who is still relatively healthy at DEF 15. He is able to kill one of the Shifting Stones in the way of the Vulcan though.
On the left, the Vulcan and Railless together kill off two of the goats and leave the third on two boxes and corroded.
The central Vulcan opts to charge in because the two Goats are still on approximately half health or slightly better, and it summarily kills both of them as well.
I don't have a picture for this turn sadly, so here is the arrangement of pieces. There is a Railless Interceptor that repositioned back as far as possible on the left. There is a Vulcan who essentially did not move from the last picture. The center of the table has a Vulcan toeing my zone, and there is a Railless Interceptor in the pond on the right.
In return, I have the two verrryyy conservatively placed Warpwolves on the left, a Shadowhorn on two boxes and corroded fairly far up the table, Kaya hiding in the forest, and a Gnarlhorn just out of control on the right hand side. I also have the two aforementioned deliberately placed Blackclads.
Both Vulcans, for completeness sake, chose the no healing option on their Alchemical Vents.
Circle turn 2:
The Shadowhorn does not lose corrosion, and Kaya drops Fog of War.
She activates second after the Blackclad on the right moves up and successfully casts Hunters' Mark on the Vulcan in he middle of the table. Following that, Kaya casts Synergy and charges the Vulcan to tick it up to one. She also casts Primal on the Gnarlhorn, and then Repositions away from the Railless.
The Gnarlhorn charges the Vulcan for free and leaves it on about 10 boxes after it's six attacks, four at PS 19 and two at PS 18 after Primal and one Synergy stack. The Warpwolf Stalker warps Strength and also charges the Vulcan, killing it with Initials, putting Synergy at three, and casting Lightning Strike to get back behind cover.
On the left, the Shadowhorn kills two Combat Alchemists and engages a third because it's Mind is still intact and it is now MAT 9. It also casts Elusive for free.
The second Blackclad Wayfarer lands a Hunters Mark on the left hand Railless and that means the Feral is able to Warp something other than Speed to get there. I choose ARM because the feral is hitting at PS 17/18/18 and gets three more 18s after that if need be, all at MAT 10, and if that doesn't kill a Railless my Napkin Math needs to go back to school.
The Feral does in fact get there, even with a snake eyes to hit, and both myself and my opponent score a point as no one is contesting the far zones.
Score: 1 - 1
Crucible Guard turn 3:
Without Syvestros Feat, the Railless is a bit sad. Syvestro drops Admonition and pops another free Purification before recasting Admonition on himself and Transmutation on the Vulcan.
The Railless and Alyce's big form take the Gnarlhorn down to about half health (I know the health box says Shadowhorn, we got it mixed up but they're the same).
The Vulcan moves up, misses it's first attack into the Shadowhorn, misses it's first attack into the Feral, and then hits with two of it's three remaining attacks on the Feral, leaving it on half health and with no crippled aspects. This is important since it chose the "no healing" ability again.
Prospero shoots the Druid Wilder to death and we both score again.
Score: 2 - 2
Circle turn 3:
The Shadowhorn's corrosion goes out (phew!) and the Gnarlhorn frenzies into Kaya for eight damage (oucchhh).
Kaya starts the Synergy by killing the Combat Alchemist. She then puts Primal on the Feral and repositions backwards. The Shadowhorn of destiny whacks the Vulcan and repositions into the far zone.
The Feral warps STR and now at PS 20/21/21 thanks to both Synergy and Primal kills the Vulcan with all of it's attacks and repositions to face away from everything so it doesn't frenzy away next turn.
I land a Hunters' Mark on the Railless, which allows the Stalker to charge it. It is able to kill both the Railless and Alyce, and then cast Lightning Strike to sprint into the far zone to contest as well. I score again.
Score: 3 - 2
Crucible Guard turn 4:
Syvestro drops everything, charges the Stalker and puts a free boosted Stygian Abyss into the Stalker which....lands the Crit Blind. Between Syvestro and Prospero, the Stalker goes down, but the Shadowhorn lives again to contest.
At this point, I am going to score up 4 - 2, and we realize that all Kaya has to do is walk into the forest, cast Primal on the Shadowhorn and heal him, and then reposition back into both the left zone and my back zone. If the Shadowhorn kills the objective (expected damage is 28 and it's only got 18 boxes), I then win on Scenario and even if it doesn't, I do the next turn. With this in mind, my opponent concedes.
Victory for the Druids!
Red: Riphorn Satyr. Now, I know this guy didn't feature in this report, but there's a very good reason for this. He is almost strictly worse than the Gnarlhorn and he is two points more. Let's compare quickly:
Expected damage output of Gnarlhorn: PS 16/15/15 and then 16/16/16
Expected damage output of Riphorn: PS 15/15/15 MAYBE PS 15 and then PS 15/15/15
Animus of Gnarlhorn: Earth's Blessing is one of the staple animi of the game.
Animus of the Riphorn: Irresistible Force is one of the absolute worst animi in the game.
Other advantages of the Gnarlhorn: Counterslam, while not amazing, still requires your opponent to think about it. Grand Slam and Follow up are incredible threat extenders.
Other advantages of the Riphorn: Aggressive is nice, but with a nine inch threat range both of these heavies require Hunters Mark to compete with other heavies, so it's kind of moot.
With the Feral being 2 points more expensive and the Gnarlhorn being 2 points cheaper, the Riphorn as stands is completely uncompelling and will almost never see play.
Yellow: Surviveability of Circle heavies. Let me explain. Usually when you have an elite heavy like the Stalker, you kill off the things that can kill it and then it bullies the table (or at least this is the goal). Circle heavies have such generally low ARM values and low box totals that almost anything on the table that can charge scares them. Against even something like a Protectorate warjack, several charging PS 11 models aren't that frightening.
It takes approximately 6 of those models connecting with a Warpwolf to kill it.
Now the counter argument is that DEF 14 etc. is pretty darn good for warbeasts, and while this is true, the binary nature of DEF means that until DEF hits a certain threshold or is combined with the inability to be made stationary or KD, DEF is less valuable than ARM and boxes on a heavy.
Furthermore, the Satyrs with their universal 26 health fall on the extreme low end of heavy warbeasts. Some Trollblood lights are hardier than these before even accounting for the innate ARM buff that trolls have in the stone. I would be interested in seeing Circle heavies tested with a point of extra ARM to bring the wolves up to ARM 18 base and perhaps a few more boxes on the Stalker and the Satyrs.
Green: Everything else! Pathfinder on these beasts continues to feel like something they always should have had and it makes them feel very fun to play. Spammable heavies with Synergy exists in other factions, and the top end of these 11 and 12 point heavies isn't nearly so high as the top end of many other Synergy casters. In this game, the Warpwolves did almost all of the Heavy Lifting, and the Goats were simply there to screen them or start the Synergy chain up.