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 ;)