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.