State of the Faction (5/5): Conclusion

I only use this picture now cuz it bugs Bret :D

For those of you who haven't seen the first four articles, I highly suggest that you read them. You can click the links for Warlocks, Warbeasts, Units, and Solos.

Now that you're back, the big question - what now?

It's a bit of a grim time to be a Druid, I will not lie. We have dwindling answers to the scary lists out there thanks to a combination of nerfs to our models and extremely strong theme forces coming out for other faction.

Jaws of the Wolf, the new Khador theme force, gives us fits by removing our Advanced Deployment and incentivizing and rewarding Khador players for putting eight to ten heavies on the table, often with Harkevich for speed boosts and pathfinder.

Oracles of Annihilation is one that we can actually fight fairly well if we bring a Wild Argus, but without that most of our other answers just do not work, and Neraphs trivially remove Warpwolves from the table.

The Exemplar Interdiction theme force has given new rise to Vindictus (oops...mah bad guys) and his insanely fast Cavalry are going to pose a serious, serious problem for Circle.

Add to that the ever-present threat of Cygnar, Ret's new and improved model selection and theme forces, and Skorne suddenly out threating, out tanking, and out muscling us, and Circle suddenly feels extremely vulnerable.

Finally, the changes in SR 2017 making Scenario wins much, much harder and making all of our placement effects more difficult to use with the probable restriction on movement markers (if you follow those guidelines), and we are in for a rough few months here.

Part of the problem is that we just don't have a faction identity with any real coherence.


We're supposed to be the fast faction right?

I present Skorne and Khador, that can get speed 6-8 heavies without too much work AND give them pathfinder, which, by the way, we don't have hardly any of.

We're supposed to be the terrain manipulation faction?

Well..we have a unit that makes a 3 inch forest and a crappy heavy that makes a 4 inch forest, hardly what I would call terrain manipulation, especially as, once again, we don't have pathfinder on most of our beasts.

We're supposed to play hit and run?

Well....we have the Stalker and Loki for that...and that's basically it. Without access to Sprint on all of our models like we used to, we have to commit to piece trades, and we have to do that with our insanely expensive heavies. Our Shifting Stones no longer extend our threat ranges, and outside of Hunters Mark and Dogpile, we don't really have any threat extenders.


The biggest problem with all of these aspects of our faction identity is that when they're powerful and relevant, they're massive negative play experiences.

Fast:

Being constantly outthreated is no fun whatsoever, and we as Circle players have had to experience that for quite a while now.

Sitting across from Tiberion and realizing that I have the same or less threat range than he does depending on terrain and if he's with Xerxis 2 has been incredibly frustrating at times.

Knowing that I get no chance at all to avoid getting shot at changes my game plan significantly, and with the shifts in Scenario for SR 2017, I expect gunlines to be even better.

Circle used to be incredibly difficult to play against because of our odd threat ranges. Stalkers with Kromac 1 used to have a 15 inch nonlinear threat thanks to Shifting Stones and Warpath. 

Double porting Ghetorix into your opponents caster was fairly common, and had little to no counterplay.


Terrain Generation:

Just look at the uproar over Wurmwood and I think you will understand that this ability has no chance of ever getting balanced properly with the current terrain rules. If you could burn forests down or trample through walls with colossals etc., then I think giving Circle more terrain generation and manipulation abilities would be just fine - they'd shield our squishy models from incoming fire and still be removable with effort.

As it is, I doubt we will get too much more in this vein until the terrain rules themselves change.


Hit and Run:

Anyone else remember Morvahna 2 charging in 11.5 inches, killing a couple things, sprinting out 8 and then light cavalry moving back 5? Yeah that was miserable to play against, but it was also how Circle survived with expensive heavies.

We've completely lost the ability to move in, cheat a trade, and then move out again without using Stalkers or Loki, and there's been no counter adjustment to our models' point costs.


Moving forward, there will be lots of innovation required of us to remain competitive, and that's going to be tricky as both our models and our themes are largely lackluster. I'm thinking that since we don't get too much benefit from our themes anyway, we might see a return to early mark 3 Circle with DEF skews backed up by Star-Crossed on Wrong Eye.

For what it is worth, here is a short wish-list of changes for any eventual CID. I've given these some thought, and discussed them with the Leyline cast in various capacities.


Theme Forces:


Either we need ways to bring more points to the table (which is a design feature I hate) or we need theme forces that give our models interesting granted abilities. An interesting idea would be to give our infantry Force Barrier for example, or perhaps to universally grant our beasts Pathfinder.

I would like to see less of free points being the main way to measure the power level of beasts and more of theme forces adding unique rules to the models in the theme force.


Warlocks:


Baldur 2: Make his feat impossible to ignore by blessed weapons again. This was a big rules change that left a sour taste in most Circle players mouths and basically made him unplayable into Menoth.

Bradigus: I can't even begin to understand how to make this guy playable, there are so many things wrong with him. Mostly making the Wolds better would go a long way, but his spell list is pretty terrible.

Grayle: Give him Field Marshal [Wolfsworn] - Done.

Kaya 1: Changing Spirit Door to "models placed by Spirit Door must sacrifice movement" would give her some really powerful ways to go for assassination. Giving her a battlegroup wide spell or feat for pathfinder and an extra point or two of movement would also be an excellent way to set her apart.

Kaya 2: Fury 7, done.

Kaya 3: Change her current charge for free spell to Dog Pile. 

Kromac 1: Give him Blade Shield, this will help him not randomly die to guns and also not be overpowered.

Krueger 1: Give his feat the ability to disrupt Warjacks and we could be talking. I'd also like to see him have a damage buff of some sort.

Krueger 2: This is a bit silly, but I'd love his feat to have the "no charge" clause attached to it again. Don't think he really needs it, but it would certainly be nice.

Mohsar: Tweak his defensive stats a bit. Give him Cloak of Ash or something similar. Also give the man a real feat, something like enemy warjacks cannot be allocated focus, cannot power up, and enemy models cannot leach fury.

Morvahna 1: Give her Mark 2 Regrowth. 

Morvahna 2: Put Scales of Fate back to control range,

Una 2: I'd be interested to see if it would be too good to give Sprint to her control range now that her feat doesn't last a round.

Warbeasts:

Brennos: 14-15 points, maybe let him remove multiple fury. 

Feral: 16 points, probably good there. 

Ghetorix: Drop down to 19 points, give Pathfinder

Gnarlhorn: Up to fury 4, Pathfinder. 

Loki: Drop to 18 points. 

Pureblood: Drop to 15 or 16 points. 

Razorwing Griffon: Give it the three initials the Scarsfell has, and let it use the POW of its wings to its trample rolls. 

Rip Horn Satyr: Fury 4, Pathfinder.

Rotterhorn Griffon: Make it the Mark 2 Rotterhorn again please, exact same everything but with the new defensive statline. 

Scarsfell: Drop it to two initials and give it back Long Leash.

Shadowhorn: Pathfinder.

Storm Raptor: Either Range 14 on it's gun, or give it Reposition 3 like the Archangel. Give it 2-4 more boxes, make it MAT 6. 

Stalker: 17 points or 18 points and MAT 7. 

Winter Argus: Rat 6, Spray 8, 7 points. 

Wold Guardian: Fury 4, 15 points, give him his old animus back. Drop Shield Guard. 

Woldwatcher: 8 points, Shield Guard. I'd also be interested to see a version of this guy where he has Wold Primal, something like "Target Friendly Faction Construct Warbeast gains +2 to melee attack and damage rolls for one round and cannot be forced next turn."

Woldwarden: 13 points. 

Woldwyrd: Possibly should get bumped up to 10 points. 

Units:

Death Wolves: Start with a corpse always, 8 points. 

Mist Riders: Initial shot is POW 12, Magic 7, can put Summon Vortex clouds on anything within 6-8 inches. Voulge goes to POW 11, unit reduced to 18 points for max and 11 for min. 

Druids: I'd just like mark 2 Druids back honestly. 

Shifting Stone Keeper: Granted: While this model is in play, this unit may use Shifting to place a friendly faction model completely within ten inches rather than completely within 8 inches. 

Stoneward and Woldstalkers: 7-8 points.

Blood Pack: Let them use corpses for ranged boosting, start the game with a corpse. Unit cost reduced to 16 for max and 10 min. 

Nuala: Granted: Reposition 3. 

Bloodweavers: 6 points or additional die vs. living and stay 8. 

Ravagers: Give them back Brutal Charge, decrease point cost down to 14 points max unit, 10 points min. 

Wolf Riders: Make their melee weapons PS 10 or 11, reduce point cost to 16 points max, 11 10 min. 

Skinwalkers Alpha: Granted [Rapid Strike].

Wolves of Orboros: Always Weaponmaster, Officer mini-feat gives +3 strength.

Solos:

Bloodweaver Night Witch: Range 1, 3 points. 

Lord of the Feast: 2 inch reach, can spend Corpse tokens to boost ranged attack rolls, remove thresher and give him killing spree. (Might be too strong, but dang it he should be cool). 

Reeve Hunter: Give his Crossbow Armor Piercing. 

Ravager Shaman: 4 points. 

White Mane: 6 points, straight up Grievous Wounds, Crit Decapitation. 

Wolf Rider Champion: Stay as is and become 6 points, or alternatively give Wolf Riders Jump and stay the same. 

Una 1: Field Marshal [Long Leash].

Morraig: Rapid Strike, Weaponmaster always.


Conclusion:

Circle is in a weird place. We're falling behind in theme force viability, we're short on playable models, and the ones that we do have that play well often get denounced as overpowered and unfun to play against. 

Privateer Press is going to have to think long and hard about how to rebalance the faction over the next few years, because as it is most of the models aren't any fun to play and the ones that are good enough to play competitively are no fun to play against. 

I'll be updating this in November or December with any new models, changes we've received via errata, and expect to see more battle reports, random strategy guides, and baseless speculation out of me between now and then!

Oh also, if you want a sweet look at a similar idea but for Protectorate, have a look at Chandler's blog - menothtnc.blogspot.com 

Thanks for reading everyone!

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 ;)

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. 



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. 

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. 


Dojo Day - The New Tuna







Prologue:

Una 2 came into the world last November, and almost instantly was banned in casual games by my local play group.

With a Feat that meant her entire army was safe from retaliation and a swarm of Griffons that she could stay 28 inches away from and still be forcing them, she was definitely over the power curve.

Since then, she's faded out of the competitive scene as Circle's list options have, by necessity, diversified.

Still, she delivers speed 9 light warbeasts that are essentially mat 8-10 PS 12-14 weaponmasters, and that can't be a bad thing right? She also has the extremely interesting spell Hand of Fate, and I can't help but think that she still has plenty of game.


Una's Card:

Real quick overview - average everything statwise, another 15/15 with 15 boxes. She's fury 7 which is great, and speed six.

She has an excellent gun, range 10 pow 10 with reload 2 that can either Thunderbolt, Black Penny, or Snipe.

She gives Griffons in command (8 inches) Sprint and gives Griffons in control Flank.

She has for spells:

Hand of Fate - additional dice to hit and damage for a model/unit, drop the lowest.

Wind Wall - prevents her and anything completely within 3 from making ranged attacks, and prevents her and anything completely within 3 from being targeted by non-magic ranged attacks.

Mirage - an interesting but oft maligned spell that gives a model/unit apparition.

Twister - random pow 10 nuke with a 3 inch cloud AOE attached to it.

Feat - Models with flight gain +2 speed, light warbeasts with flight cannot be targeted by melee attacks for a turn.


Synergies:

Griffons - naturally, and Scarsfells are still the far superior Griffon of the bunch. Three initials, Stealth, and a great animus.

I like running these in even numbered pairs, since you usually run/charge one to engage something and then charge it with another Griffon for flank.

Woldwyrds - these guys are staples of the Circle roster right now. Good damage output from range, high maneuverability, excellent control elements in Purgation and Witch Hound. Wanna see something funny? Purgation and Hand of Fate at the same time. Delicious.

Gorax/Feral - you really need to have Primal in this list. Those Griffons have one job, and one job only, and that is to kill things worth way more points than they are. Without Primal, that gets much less likely to happen.

Units that shoot - Reeves, Sentry Stones, Bloodtrackers. Mirage lets the non-Sentry Stone ones get closer, and then Hand of Fate lets them do silly things at range.


The list:

Combining all of the elements I've just mentioned, you get something like this

Theme: The Wild Hunt

Una 2
- Pureblood
- Scarsfell x4
- Gorax
- Woldwyrd x2

Wolves of Orboros (min)
- CA
Reeves of Orboros (max)
- CA
Shifting Stones


I chose The Wild Hunt for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it lets Una play with everything she likes to play with (Except the Celestial Fulcrum, but that is an article for another day), gives her a few free points, and provides incentive for your opponent to move their army into the middle of the table.

Luckily, this is just where you want it to be, since Scarsfells are hard to hide from.

Finally, it also gives the Pureblood tracker, which on occasion can be complete money.

The list is basically a gunline that then punishes you for engaging it by killing stuff with high MAT weaponmaster Griffons.

Hand of Fate goes on the Reeves or a Wyrd most likely until it's go turn, in which case it gets swapped to the Pureblood or a Griffon depending on what you're fighting.

What would I drop this into?

I'd be looking at Legion, Trolls (I think, I don't get to play that matchup much), other Circle lists, Khador lists that don't skew crazy heavy on jacks, a lot of Menoth lists out there, even Amon with Dervishes (Crusader spam is probably bad), and potentially Cryx as well.



What do you think? How would you build Una right now? Would you even play her? How viable do you think she will be in SR 2017?

Battle Reports 94 and 95: Losing and Learning From It.

Prologue:

I haven't lost back-to-back games since the ATC in early March, and before that, I don't think I have lost back-to-back games in six months or so.

That all changed this last week with a pair of games, and instead of writing up typical battle reports, I thought I would take my usual process of chewing apart every single turn for more optimal plays and share it with you.

When I say taking apart every single turn, I literally mean every single turn. I still remember (and occasionally run through) a loss in the finals of a Steamroller last August (I think?) where Sorscha spiked some dice to take down Wurmwood.

On the drive home (it's 2.5 hours each way to Spokane), I came up with no less than six separate, superior plays for that situation, literally working the turn to death in my head.

I have also noticed that, as of late, I've started to get lazy with my placement again, and since the whole purpose of writing this blog was to help me analyze and improve my game play, I think it is high time that I address that with a seriously hard critique of my games.

Battle Report 94: Mohsar vs. Severius 2 (Creator's Wrath)

Prologue:

Because of my limited pool of local opponents, I occasionally am able to use the internet and Vassal to play games with buddies of mine from across the country.

On this occasion, I had paired up Mohsar with Wurmwood to try out against a Severius 2 and Amon pairing.

Upon realizing that Amon basically had no chance into Mohsar, we decided that Severius 2 into Mohsar would be the best game and off we went.

Mohsar
- Pureblood
- Pureblood
- Woldwyrd
- Woldwyrd
- Argus

Fulcrum

Bloodweavers
Wolves of Orboros
- CA

Gobber Chef

vs.

Severius 2
- Heirophant
- Reckoner x3
- Redeemer
- Revenger
- Blessing of Vengeance

Vassal x2
Covenant of Menoth
Wrack

Choir (max)
Rhoven and Co

I won the roll off and went first, unfortunately I forgot to take deployment screenshots of my stuff, but I got my opponent's just fine. We were playing Outlast.


I deployed pretty centrally with the Fulcrum skewed right. I didn't want to get it wedged between the obstruction in the left zone and the forest.

Circle turn 1:

Everything runs, Wolves on the right, Weavers on the left. I know the infantry is basically going to be useless this game so I don't think about where I am placing it too hard.

Mohsar puts Mirage on the Fulcrum and Sunhammer on himself.


Menoth turn 1:

Everything powers up and advances or runs. The Redeemer scatters into some Wolves, nearly killing the foremost two, but matching Armor on the second one.

The Revenger runs up and Sevy shoots a free Rebuke through it to catch my Wolves.

I apparently forgot to take a screenshot of this turn as well. Derp.



What I could have done better:

I didn't need to get my Wolves within 20 inches of his Revenger on that side. Sure, measuring 20 inches on Vassal is a bit messy, but it can be done and I should have just not done that. The forthcoming Rebuke really messed up the game for me.

I also screwed up my Fulcrum placement hard with the Wolves since it could only Apparate like..an inch forward? If that. I also think I should have committed my Purebloods both to one side since Scenario should have been my win condition here, but I was too caught up in the idea of gunning down a heavy a turn.

What did my opponent do really well:

He deployed an Arc node on either side, making my turn one angles for infantry really difficult without getting Rebuked. 

He also picked the correct side of the table, with excellent defensive terrain.


Circle turn 2:

Rebuke on my Wolves is basically the worst thing that could happen, and without it I could have swarmed him good this turn.

Instead, I move up and nearly kill his middle Reckoner with a combination of Woldwyrd and Pureblood shooting.

I put down some defensive Pillars of Salt and Feat, catching everything but the Redeemer and Revenger.

Bloodweavers run like crazy, engaging stuff and threatening Severius himself if he doesn't clear them out next turn.


Menoth turn 2:

Sevy allocates three focus to the right-hand Reckoner, two to the Redeemer, and stuff starts happening.

Sevy Feats, killing all of the Bloodweavers.

Jacks move around on the left, getting in the zone and preventing me from scoring.

The Right-Hand Reckoner charges my Pureblood and does about half damage. His Redeemer does about half the damage on the Fulcrum with its rockets.



What I could have done better:

I'm not totally sure why I moved that Pureblood up to be honest. I think I went for a cheeky spray into the Reckoner to start the damage train, and that was completely unnecessary.

This turn was actually not that bad. I kept Mohsar in the rubble, fairly safe from most spell assassinations.

I think I probably should have hung back with my Bloodweavers. He might have gone for my Wolves with his Feat then, and my Bloodweavers were much more useful without Rebuke on them.

What my opponent did really well:

He played nice and defensive, giving me one jack to play with but not letting me get at it with anything but a Pureblood and some Wolves of Orboros that couldn't charge.

He also capitalized on his Redeemer having a good target and went after it. There was little I could have done about that and it did make a big difference.


Circle turn 3:

I have delusions about clearing the right hand zone this turn that go something like this: Fulcrum kills the Revenger, Pureblood kills the Reckoner, Mohsar goes over there with Sands of Fate.

Unfortunately, none of these things happen, and instead I commit two Purebloods to the Reckoner, leaving it on about 6 boxes, leave the Revenger on two boxes, and use my Woldwyrds to shoot at his third Reckoner instead of shooting down the really damaged on in the middle of the table.

What I should have done is used both Purebloods to melee down the Reckoner instead of having the second one spray it, used the Woldwyrds to shoot down the Reckoner in the middle with approx. ten boxes on it, and then jammed the Revenger with Wolves after shooting it with the Fulcrum OR just running the Fulcrum away.


Menoth turn 3:

His Redeemer shoots down the Fulcrum with a spectacular damage roll.

His damaged Reckoner in the middle of the table charges my Pureblood in the back and between it and the first Reckoner and Rhoven and Co. kill it pretty dead.

The Covenant sings No KD, and the pillar body blocking my Wyrds get shot off the board, followed by a charging Blessing who kills one of them.


What could I have done better:

Well...I could have finished off his Jacks for one thing. I could have kept my Pureblood out of charge range of Rhoven and Co. 

Thing is, up until this turn, I was feeling pretty good. He had two heavies with 11 boxes between them, a Revenger with 2 boxes left, and a Reckoner way off to the side. If I'd just had better target priority, I could have made it so that he didn't have either of his intact heavies, and also prevented the two Weaponmaster charges into the Pureblood. 

This actually leaves me with a ridiculous assassination threat on the table at that point as both Purebloods can trample up or move and spray once Mohsar goes in to apply Doppler Bark. 

This is really the turn where things fell apart for me, and it was simply because I got distracted and didn't finish the job. Dead heavies don't kill you stuff back, crippled heavies can. 

What my opponent did really well:

He used all of his resources, and I mean all of them. The Reckoner in the middle only had movement and Cortex left before it charged in, and he managed to connect with my Pureblood and bash the snot out of it. 

I had not considered Rhoven and Co. as an offensive piece yet because I felt like Sevy would be too vulnerable without his Shield Guards, but by eliminating my Pureblood there, he didn't really need them anymore. 

Circle turn 4:

Desperation time. Mohsar drops everything. 

Pureblood goes Ghostly and moves around the Reckoner, but stays within 2 because....no reason really, and so becomes rat 3, missing Sevy by 2. 

Wolves move in, kill choir, and Reposition forward. Mohsar maltreats the Pureblood, Sands of Fates to the Wolf, casts Doppler Bark, but cannot seal the deal, not doing any damage with his first three attacks. 

I call it at this point. 


What could I have done better:

Well...I could have maybe tried to play for attrition. 

The Reckoners have about 8 boxes between them thanks to Sunhammer (remember they had like 11 between them before they charged in), so I could used the Pureblood to potentially move around them and spray both of them down from inside the zone, or at least spray the one in the zone and also Rhoven. 

I have four Wolves of Orboros left and the Revenger has two boxes. They could go in on it, and then if they fail, Mohsar could Sands to one of them and the Sands to the Standard Bearer behind the wall to potentially not die from a charging Sevy. 

At that point I go 2-0 with an intact Pureblood who would be out of charge range of all of his models thanks to the forest, and my opponent has to start throwing things away to contest. 

Ah Hindsight. 

I could also have done the same thing, but moved the Pureblood more than two inches away from the Reckoner, meaning my spray from him would have hit. I could have also done that last, after Sevy had had his defense reduced to 5 so it wouldn't matter. 

Post Game Thoughts:

Lots of things I could have changed, lots of ways I could have mitigated dice. 

It's pretty incredible how a series of small misplays can just spiral the game out of control. It's actually one of the mantras I used to recite to myself before tennis games - unforced errors are not how you win games. 

Warmachine is an extremely complicated, tactically dense game, and it's always important to look back at the games you play and check yourself to see how you can do better than you did, whether you won or lost. 

This next report hammers home a different, arguably more important general idea rather than looking specifically at the things I could have done better. Only one of them mattered. 


Battle Report 95: Vindictus (Exemplar Interdiction) vs. Rasheth

Prologue:

Vindictus
- Reckoner
- Reckoner

Knights Exemplar Seneschal x2 (Free!)
Wrack
Gravus

Vengers Max
Vengers Max
Knights Exemplar
Knights Exemplar

Vs.

Rasheth
- Hydra
- Despoiler
- Gladiator

Soulward
Paingiver Master Tormentor x2

Tyrant Commander and Standard
Beast Handlers
Bloodrunners


I unfortunately lost the roll off, meaning that I had to go second. This is a problem for this list since my threat ranges are so massive (15 inch threat on Vengers is amazing) that I really want to take up the table space and not let him have any of it.

There's nothing I could have done about this here, so onto my deployment.



My game plan here is to use the Vengers to set the line of skirmish firmly on his half of the table. He simply doesn't have enough attacks to really clear everything I throw at him, and I am going to feat turn one in order to insure the alpha strike.

After that, and probably after his Feat, I get to charge in with two units of Knights Exemplar (who actually threaten 11 inches in this list) and their Seneschals, not to mention two Reckoners which, thanks to the new Fuel Cache objective, can go in through the forest to finish off the Hydra should it survive.

I think my Deployment here is fine for that game plan. Vengers will get up the table very quickly, limiting where his Bloodrunners can go. A turn 1 feat means that his Master Tormenters will have to walk up to combat with the Vengers, likely not killing any with thresher and then sitting there waiting to die.



Skorne turn 1:

My opponent moves everything up the table as far as it can go, with the exception of the Master Tormenters and the Bloodrunners.

Already I am giving him headaches with the threat ranges on the Vengers, and he spends about 5 minutes on the right hand Tormentor to make sure it cannot be charged this early.

I notice Rasheth shifting to the left, and I think this is going to be a strong Scenario game for me based off of that. He cannot protect all of the zones well enough, and I might actually be able to score three on my second turn.


Menoth turn 1:

I set up my army pretty well here. The Vengers in the left zone will come into the Hydra from where I put them and anything else that ventures into there will simply get slaughtered.

I've put my Reckoner just outside of Hydra walk range, so if he wants to get at it he needs to trample. That being said, the Hydra is in charge range of the Reckoner, so he needs to either move back or (probably) die next turn to charging Cavalry and a charging, Battled heavy.

My critical mistake here? Not checking one crucial distance.

I make sure that Vindictus will be outside of the Hydra's trample range, but I fail to consider the sprays. I also fail to consider the Despoiler, and running 12 inches to apply Dark Shroud.

Let's do some math here.

Hydra gets five sprays, and under Rasheth Feat he needs 7s to hit and is dice -2. He has no other attacks since Vindictus popped his Feat, so no spells, no charges into Vindictus, nothing.

Vindictus is camping 3, and my opponent will (next turn) boost hit and damage on the first two sprays, leaving the last three to chance.

Oddsmachine puts this at a 22% assassination run.

With Dark Shroud, that number goes up to 56%.

This is all well and good, but had I chosen to place Vindictus a quarter inch farther from Despoiler, it would not have mattered (dice went funny).

Other options I have include:

Put my Reckoner farther up to make my opponent need 9s to hit Vindictus.

Build a Reckoner wall in front of Vindictus 4.1 inches (I think this is probably a bad idea since my opponent can reasonably trample up to and cripple one of them with the Hydra and possibly charge the other with Despoiler).

Cast Defenders Ward on Vindictus instead of True Path and camp 4 (Ultimately wouldn't have mattered with my opponents dice, but it takes the assassination run down to a 3.29% assassination WITH Dark Shroud and a 0.17% chance without it. Actually even with my opponents dice, that would have made enough of a difference to prevent the first two boosted sprays from killing Vindictus)

What I should have done instead of all of those options is prevented my opponent from rolling any dice by keeping Vindictus three quarters of an inch farther away from the Hydra and not letting him even have the chance.

This is the biggest lesson, I believe, of risk mitigation in Warmachine. The less dice you allow your opponent to roll, the better your game will be. Vindictus did NOT need to be that extra smidgen of movement closer to my opponent's Hydra. Take that off the table and my opponent has no good options.

He can't get to my Vengers on the left with anything but Hydra Sprays, and he's going to kill the two he is in range of, trigger Battle Driven, trigger Righteous Vengeance on the Seneschal next to him, and then he will take three boosted PS 14 lances, 2 PS 11 Weaponmaster attacks, one a charge, a few PS 9 Weaponmaster charges, and a Reckoner charging him with Battle up.

Even under Rasheth's Feat, I think that Hydra is dead.

On the right side, his prospects are even worse, as to get the Vengers under Rasheth's feat, Rasheth has to be incredibly exposed. I probably lose one horse at worst, and then sweep that flank.

I am in a very good position here EXCEPT....

I've left Vindictus in a place where my opponent gets to roll dice against him.

Now, it still takes a good player to realize that all of this is an option - I sure didn't see it until it was happening. Many people would have just let me sit there and set up to take the Alpha - props to my opponent for taking the opening.




Skorne turn 2:

The Despoiler Runs, Rasheth Feats, and my opponent rolls very well, killing Vindictus in two sprays.




Post-Game Thoughts:

I had all the information, I had all of the tools, I just got lazy and didn't consider the Hydra Sprays a legitimate threat. I got lazy, I got complacent.

I got too caught up in how freaking incredible my turn 2 was going to be, and didn't consider how vulnerable I had left myself. I could have done many things differently to make the dice math worse for my opponent, but again, I could have just not let him roll dice at things that mattered.

This is one of those games that you don't ever forget, and they usually jump start you to play better the next time you set your models up. In the game I played today with Harbinger for example (see battle report 93), I tripled checked the threats he could get onto Harbinger every. Single. Turn.


Conclusion:

Every loss is an opportunity for growth. One of my favorite movies as a kid was "Chittie Chittie Bang Bang", and my favorite song from that film is called "From the Ashes".

The line in particular is "From the Ashes of disaster grow the Roses of Success".

It's a rousing little tune, and it's really fun to watch a bunch of old guys bluster about. That being said, they have a point - learn from your mistakes, be honest with yourself, and don't begrudge your opponents their wins.

The object of the game is to win, the point of the game is to have fun. Actually the object of the game is to win, the point of the game is for both players to have fun, and that's something that I, personally, need to work on.