Tactica Time: The Double Hellmouth Trick



Prologue:

Making up for my deplorable lack of content from the last few days (I hope), here is a short video explaining and showing, in detail, the double Hellmouth pull trick.

This is a big part of what makes Wurmwood such a versatile caster - he has a damage buff, an excellent delivery system for your army AND a six inch threat extender (if used correctly).

For those of you that prefer going straight to the Youtube, here is the link:

https://youtu.be/DYYNsEQYpIU

For everyone else, here is the video:


Enjoy!

Tactica Time: Tanith the Feral Song, the Update



Prologue:

Tanith was the first Warlock I wrote a tactica for, way back in November 2016. Since then, we've seen Sentry Stones get worse, Scarsfells lose Long Leash, Woldwyrds became amazing, and Loki (and our theme forces) came out, so I figured it was time for an update article.

I'm not going to change too much when it comes to straight up stats, but I'll add some model synergies into the list, talk about playing her in theme, and also tidy up the formatting from the original.

As our battlebox caster, Tanith is the Warlock that most newer players will play first, and this is both a wonderful and terrible thing. She has so much power and potential for game breaking plays, but without a firm understanding of both your list and your opponents list, she will perform sub-optimally.


Stats and Abilities:


Tanith has an extremely average stat line. Speed 6, MAT and RAT 6, DEF 15 and ARM 15 with 15 boxes says solidly middle of the road. She also has an average FURY stat at 6.

For other defensive tech, she has Prowl, which gives her Stealth while she has concealment. This is actually not too bad with easy access to clouds (Gobbers) and the general decrease of models that ignore Stealth out there.

She will die to virtually any dedicated assault in the game, which makes playing her extremely tricky because she really, really wants to utilize the most important part of her card....

Jaws of the Earth

This weapon looks fairly unassuming based solely on the front of her card, and indeed were it a normal RNG 10 POW 12 magic gun, it wouldn't be great.

Fortunately, it has two incredible abilities. First of all, this weapon ignores the defensive benefits of concealment, cover, and elevation. This is huge, making her RAT 6 seem like a much less useless stat.

Second, and more important, if this weapon directly hits an enemy model, it centers a 4 inch AOE on top of that model. Any ENEMY model touched by that AOE suffers Shadow Bind for a round (-3 Defense and cannot advance except to change facing).

I cannot begin to describe the various applications of this weapon, but I will try to hit a few extremely relevant points.

First, it is absolutely bonkers against Shield Wall units. I have used it to successfully stop 5 of 7 Cetrati from doing anything but sit there for multiple turns in a row. I've caught 6+ Temple Flame Guard with it, rendering them completely impotent as they sat a mere inch outside of the Zone they desperately wanted to contest.

Second, it is truly absurd against models with any of the following abilities or spells on them: Dodge, Counter-Charge, Admonition, or Enliven. It also completely messes up Vyros 2's feat.

This has been relevant for me innumerable times. I've shot Warpwolves with Admonition on them to enable my own beasts to finish them off. I've used it on Man O' War Drakhuns to prevent them from countercharging my models as they go in. I've hit Menoth jacks with it to prevent Enliven from saving his heavy.

Third, it lowers DEF by 3, which is a huge deal in a world where arguably Circle's best beatstick is a Warpwolf Stalker at MAT 6. There are lots of heavies in the game the Stalker is capable of killing without Primal...if he can connect, and this really fixes those problems. I've found myself almost never casting Primal with her since I rarely need it between her gun and the spell Scything Touch (I'll get to that in a minute). It also enables some pretty legitimate Assassination runs, which is awesome.

If Circle ever, EVER gets a model with Far Strike as an animus, Tanith will immediately become one of the top Warlocks or Warcasters in the game based solely off of this weapon.


Spell List:

Tanith has one of the absolute best spell lists in the entire faction. She has a DEF debuff, an ARM debuff, Admonition, and two nuke spells.

I'm going to list these spells in the order I value them, there's not a real rhyme or reason to this.

Admonition:

this spell is so wrong in Circle. I played a lot of games with a 4 heavy version of her list where basically I threw a Feral with Admonition on it at an enemy heavy, and then sent in a Stalker to finish it off with Scything Touch and then Sprint out. The opponent would generally have to dedicate two heavies to kill the Feral because the first one would trigger Admonition and the Feral would dance away. He'd send in the second heavy to murder it, and then I'd kill his two (sometimes three) heavies easily with the remaining Feral, Stalker, and Ghetorix.

The other application this spell has is a massive threat extender. This often comes up later in the game when your opponent sends a heavy after your Admonition target to jam things up. Instead of Admonitioning back, you can easily Admonition your heavy forward. This is most useful if your opponent has next to nothing left to activate.

I've gotten free assassinations off of this tactic as my opponent parks their warcaster 12 inches away from my Pureblood, only to run random dudes to jam me at the end of his turn and watch my Pureblood Admonition TOWARD his warcaster, only to get buffed up the next turn and murder them. It doesn't have to be on Warcasters either. A Pureblood (the most pillow fisted Warpwolf) with Scything Touch and Primal is MAT 8 PS 20, and that will fairly likely one round most other heavies in the game.

Another note, and this is important, is that it can keep Loki ridiculously safe. Loki moves up, hooks something juicy, does a few damage and then lets another beast (probably a Stalker) come in and murder it before Sprinting out. Loki can sit there at 14/19 with Admoniton and Evasive up, making him absurdly difficult to kill.

Scything Touch: 

This spell is such a big deal, especially with the new melee range clarification. For those that don't studiously read infernal rulings, the new melee range ruling means that any model within whatever RNG the longest melee weapon on a model with Scything Touch has will get -2 ARM from Dark Shroud.

For example, a Stalker with Scything Touch can kill something, Sprint away, and turn its back arc to an enemy model to give it -2 ARM without engaging it so that other models can shoot it for example. This could be especially important if you take Reeves or Bloodtrackers or....well any shooting model to be honest. It synergizes well with Sentry Stones and Pureblood Warpwolves too, although only because it now affects a larger area of the board than it did before.

Unfortunately, that ruling got reversed in the January errata, meaning that while Scything Touch is extremely good still, it doesn't cover a 27 square inch bubble anymore.

What this spell does is let Tanith play without crutching on Primal, unlike so many other casters in Circle. As a result, your opponent has to worry about your whole army all the time, which is something that people playing against Circle are pretty unused to.

But what about a hit fixer? (I hear you wondering how a MAT 6 Warpwolf Stalker can actually kill anything) Well outside of her gun, which is a pretty darn good one, she also has....

Affliction: 

This is a relatively straightforward spell, and one that I don't end up casting in about half of my games. This offensive spell reduces the DEF of a model/unit affected by 2, and also stipulates that if an attack directly hits an affected model and fails to break ARM, the model still takes 1 point of damage. Note that this means electro leaps and blast damage do NOT trigger the auto point from Affliction as they are not direct hits and electro leaps are not attacks.

This spell is a big part of the reason Tanith is so flexible. She can play easily into infantry swarms, while simultaneously taking on big ARM lists thanks to Scything Touch. I have used Affliction and two-three Mannikin sprays to single handedly eliminate an entire unit of Horgenhold Forgeguard in Wall of Steel and under Ossrum's feat (Effective ARM of 20+).

You won't actually cast this spell every game, simply because there isn't always going to be a target that you desperately need to swing -5 DEF on or there isn't a unit of infantry that you need to mulch through, but when it's good, it's absurdly good.

The Nukes:

Tanith has the obligatory crummy nuke spell or two in the form of Bleed and Rift. These are corner-case to cast, and I realize that's a controversial statement in many ways, but I believe it is true.

The "dream" is to use her Feat to reduce the cost of bleed to 1 and then KD a warcaster and use boosted Bleeds to kill the warcaster in question. In my experience, this is almost mathematically impossible into most warcasters, and isn't worth the time. At best, use Bleed to remove an annoying model in the way of your soon to be charging heavy.

Rift, on the other hand, has a few more applications by nature of leaving an AOE 4 of rough terrain. This is a huge deal against certain factions (Menoth in general and much of Khador and Cygnar jacks) where you can use a Mannikin as a target for a Rift in front of your army to really neuter your opponents' threat ranges. If they don't have pathfinder, this spell is far more useful for its controlling aspect than it is for doing damage.

For example, I played a game of Tanith into Butcher 3 in the finals of a semi-local Steamroller and was able to prevent Butcher from killing my whole army by sniping out his dogs to prevent relentless charge and then casting Rift at him and his heavies. I would have instantly lost that game without the spell. You can read that game here, and the relevant part is Circle turn 2.


Feat:

Tanith's feat lets her channel through models in her battlegroup and reduces the casting cost of friendly faction models' spells by 1 in her control, to a minimum cost of 1 (important note).

This looks pretty underwhelming, but it actually gives you a lot of flexibility. Upkeep Scything Touch somewhere, charge in, activate Tanith, cast Affliction for one and boost, cast Scything for one, cast Primal on something, and camp a couple is a typical feat turn.

It also makes Wraithbane on the Pureblood cost 1, and Primal on the Feral and Gorax cheaper as well.

There are supposedly times when the correct thing to do is to use her feat to assassinate.

To that I say....seriously?

Take Sevy 2, DEF 14 ARM 15, 16 boxes. Say he has no focus.

If he's not KD, I'm going to have to boost every Bleed I put into him. An unboosted bleed does 2 damage, and I'll get three of them.

If he IS KD, then I get 3 boosted bleeds, which do 16.5 damage on average, so sure, he's dead there, but if he's camping even 1 focus, this doesn't work, and Sevy 2 has among the worst defensive lines of any warlock/warcaster in the game.

I'm not saying this is never an option, just please don't go into the game expecting to use this as your primary win condition. It's much better to toss around cheap animi and Afflictions.

A Quick Note on Fury Management:

Tanith wants to use her Fury, a LOT. She wants to be up in the middle of the table shooting things so that she can affect the game. 

How can you do this without dying? There are a couple of ways. 

You can use your Sentry Stones to literally do nothing but create a mobile screen with her, and some games, this is exactly what you want to do with them. 

You can also keep her relatively safe by clouding up around her with the Gobbers, since many lists won't have ways to ignore Stealth. If you pre-measure correctly, you shouldn't have to worry about melee threats.

Loki also helps immensely, as he has Shield Guard, allowing him to pull the random Flare shot or KD bolt headed at her away. 

A final way is to put Admonition on her, so that should anything come after her she can dance away. 

Model Synergies:
Image result for nature synergy

Sentry Stone and Mannikins:


If you don't have two of these in your list right now (Nov 2016) then you're playing a sub optimal list.


While Sentry Stones are incredibly solid still, I don't think that they're necessarily an auto include with Tanith anymore, especially with two of three theme forces not allowing them.

They still hunt solos incredibly well, prey on high DEF/low ARM or low DEF/High ARM single wound infantry, and can even assassinate every once in a while.

More importantly, a pair of Sentry Stones brings a mobile LOS and spray blocking wall to hide Tanith behind, and sometimes that is worth the points investment alone as you can keep her in the middle of the table without too much fear of reprisal. Tanith wants to use her gun as often as possible, so this is a very important option.

Their best synergy with Tanith comes from Affliction making their sprays into RAT 6 auto point attacks, which is pretty incredible into Shield Wall or Wall of Steel units like Sentinels, Halbardiers, Forge Guard, Iron Fang Pikemen, Karax, etc. I've used Affliction plus one unit of Sentry Stone Mannikins to wipe out a ten man unit in one activation easily.

Reeves of Orboros:

You want infantry clear? These guys will do it no problem. With Affliction, they all become RAT 7 auto point shots with two attacks each, for 20 attacks on the base unit or 22 with the CA (You should always take the CA if you can).

It's also great fun to put 22 damage onto a Heavy Jack with a bunch of POW 8 shots and then kill it with a Scarsfell Griffon/Stalker/Pureblood spray/Mannikins on the charge.

They also have Combined Ranged Attack, giving them the potential for two RAT 17 POW 19 shots, which is going to do about 1/3 of an average heavies health on it's own with no support whatsoever.

I have drifted away from this unit simply because Sentry Stones tend to clear the infantry well enough with Affliction that having Reeves feels redundant, but they are definitely a strong choice.

I like this unit more and more with Tanith the more I play with it. I even went so far (on a dare) to play a Tanith list with basically nothing but guns in it for a team tournament, including two units of Reeves, FOUR Woldywrds, and Loki, all in the Wild Hunt theme. You can find those reports here, here, and here, the last game featuring Reeves gunning down a Marauder from full health with Single Shots.


Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew:

These little dudes are kind of an auto include for Tanith if you're playing her out of theme. They give her Stealth, they give the Stalker Stealth, they give Loki Stealth, they add to the LOS denial with the Sentry Stones, and they're high enough def that they can contest moderately well.

Add to that their incredibly cheap cost (2 points!!) and the fact that they have a weapon now, and I don't see a reason to ever leave these two at home (again, when not in theme).


Bloodweaver Night Witch:

If you're not bringing Reeves and still want to slaughter a unit without using your Sentry Stones, consider this 4 point mini Madrak. With Affliction and the ability to boost to hit, this lady has chewed through entire units of Dawnguard Sentinels, Temple Flame Guard, and Iron Fang Pikemen for me. Sure she only threats 10.5 inches, but that can be a big deterrent for zones and flag control.

Natural Stealth is a plus.


Druid Wilder:

Tanith wants to upkeep at least 2 spells every turn, and that can get pricey fury wise. The Druid Wilder helps out with that immensely, leaving Tanith an extra fury to boost a hit roll with or to camp. She can also force warbeasts outside of Tanith's control range which has randomly been useful, and she can heal or leach fury from beasts, another big deal in a faction with such finicky fury management.


Gallows Grove:

This is not an auto-include, but can be very strong with her. Very often, you'll want to arc an Affliction after her feat turn, and it is frustrating as all get out when you don't have a bark node in your list. While they're not mandatory, they're definitely a good option.

Also they stop Imperatus from triggering Phoenix Protocol within 5 inches, so that's always a good thing right?


Scarsfell Griffon:

This model has fallen out of the spotlight recently, but he is still Circle's answer to the question "How do we piece trade effectively?"

With Tanith, this guy can be MAT 8, PS 16/15/15 on its initial attacks. That's not going to kill a Khador heavy (average dice on a charge against a Khador heavy says 22 damage without hunters mark, and 26 with) but it will scrap any ARM 18 heavy in the game (average dice says 27 damage without hunters mark and 32 with it) assuming you get Hunters Mark on it.

If you use Tanith primarily as your Circle drop, this is of extreme value since you can pretty reliably trade an 8 point light for a 17-19 point Warpwolf.

Also note that their animus gives them dodge, and I've had games where my opponent misses one attack on a unit that charges the griffon, allowing me to dodge away from the rest of his unit and take no damage whatsoever. Also a useful animus on Tanith.

Without Long Leash, the ability to run a pair of them on Una 1 is more or less gone, but it might be worth playing a single or pair of Griffons in your list on Tanith herself.


Warpwolf Stalker:

Tanith can make this guy incredible. Any time you do NOT have to Primal your heavy hitters is amazing, and Tanith, thanks to Scything Touch and her pair of defense debuffs, allows the Stalker to hit accurately and at PS 20 even without Primal.

Add in a hunters mark, and this guy will do 39 damage to a Khador heavy with just his reach attacks, meaning he probably has one fury left over to cast Lightning Strike and Sprint out.

The other thing is that his melee range is 2", which is about as good of coverage as you're going to get for Scything Touch. Even more importantly, if he kills whatever he goes into and can sprint out, he can apply Scything Touch in two places in one turn. Efficiency!

Also, native Pathfinder is a big deal in this era of heavy terrain on boards.

Loki:

This Warpwolf is an extremely strong choice with many of our Warlocks, but with Tanith he might be an auto-include. Shield Guard is an extremely powerful ability, allowing him to keep Eiryss bolts, KD shots, or Flare guns from touching Tanith. His hook extends the threat range of the entire army, and with Admonition, he can be extremely safe afterwards. 

He also has native pathfinder (woot!) and his bond with Tanith gives him Prowl, further increasing his already very good survivability. 

I really like thinking about Loki as part of a 1-2 punch, either with guns softening up his target, or with him bringing it in for something else to kill. 

Woldwyrds:

Circle's very best warbeast, the Woldwyrd loves Tanith's ability to effective make them RAT 11. They provide a strong disincentive for your opponent to use upkeep spells, are very fast, and can constantly threaten assassination. 

I can't imagine playing a Circle list outside of the Tharn theme without a pair of these in the list, they're that good. 

Post-CID Celestial Fulcrum:

What does Tanith like better than a really strong ranged platform? A really strong ranged platform that helps with fury management and makes her RAT and Magic Ability 7. Mmmmmmm....

I think the Fulcrum is good enough with her to play a Bones of Orboros gunline with some extremely strong matchups. Two Fulcrums, some number of Woldwyrds, Loki, support to taste. I'm pretty excited about that list actually, and I will not be surprised if it's as good as Bret keeps telling me it is. 

Theme Forces and Tanith:

Circle (currently, late May 2017) has three theme forces, and Tanith only really plays nice with two of them.

The Wild Hunt:

This theme gives Tanith two things she really wants - Reeves and Woldwyrds. It also gives her beasts Tracker, which is an awesome buff for something like a Warpwolf Stalker or Pureblood, and makes a unit of Wolves have Ambush. This is probably the most absurd benefit of the theme if you build your list around it, and forcing your opponent to gum up in the middle of the table to avoid being charged by weaponmasters from either side of the table is exactly what Tanith wants her opponent to be doing. 

I've played quite a few games with this theme, and I think it can have some strong matchups if you go infantry heavy. I've yet to play a beast brick with it, but that could have merit as well. 

Bones of Orboros:

Guns, guns, and more guns. I really think Tanith can be built well here, with access to Loki thanks to her bond, Woldwyrds, Celestial Fulcrums, and maybe even a Woldwrath to anchor the list. 

It also allows her to play with Sentry Stones, which are an excellent choice for her still. 



List Building:

Tanith is a hard warlock to build lists for by virtue of....well she can kind of do anything. Need a -5 DEF swing? On it. Need an ARM debuff? Here ya go! Need to murder shield wall units? (Something Circle traditionally has a hard time with) Easy peasy.

I've played her multiple ways, so I'm just going to give you some general ways to build her and then give you my sample list.



The ARM cracker:

This build focuses on 2 important spells - Scything Touch and Admonition.

I play it with four heavies (two Ferals, Stalker, Pureblood) and the idea of the list is to chuck a Feral at something while it has Admonition on it, and then follow up with a Stalker with Scything Touch to kill it and Sprint out.

Your opponent then has to deal with an Admonitioned heavy in their lines, usually requiring 2 heavies to kill since you just scoot away from the first one.

The following turn, you get to go in and kill two more heavies, and your opponent is down 3 heavy warbeasts/warjacks for the price of a Feral (who might not even be dead, DEF 14 is a thing).

This is great against any Warjack heavy list outside of potentially Harkevich and a billion jacks, and it's also fairly easy to play.

Sample List:

Tanith
- Wilder
- Pureblood
- Loki
- Feral
- Stalker
- Scarsfell

Gallows Grove
Blackclad Wayfarer

Shifting Stones
Sentry Stone x2
Swamp Gobbers



Bones Gunline (Post CID Fulcrum):

This list basically has a lot of high powered boostable shots that are all fairly accurate, and uses Tanith's defensive debuffs to become even more accurate. Between Shadow Bind and Affliction, you can actually run something with Scything Touch into melee and still have a net -1 DEF.

Veteren Leader on the Fulcrums gives every Blackclad (including eachother) +1 to hit rolls, and that means that Tanith and the Stoneshapers are more accurate as well.

The Wold Guardian is in there because, well, it was that or more Woldwyrds and I think that having a second Shield Guard AND a PS 19 (thanks Scything Touch) backline beater isn't the worst thing.

Alternatively, you could drop two Wyrds, Guardian, and the Gallows Grove for a Woldwrath, but I'm unconvinced that it's a better build.

Tanith
- Loki
- Wold Guardian
- Woldwyrd
- Woldwyrd
- Woldwyrd

Celestial Fulcrum
Celestial Fulcrum

Blackclad Stoneshaper x3 (free)
Gallows Grove

Shifting Stones





Other options:

Tanith can be built so many ways. Literally stick models in her list and go, and she'll probably perform okay.

A common (ish) alternate build I've seen with her is taking double Reeves to capitalize on Affliction. The math is pretty gross actually. 44 Auto Points if they all get shots is enough to kill any heavy in the game and to severely cripple even the toughest colossal. At that point your Stalker goes in and mops it up pretty easily.

While I don't know I'd really recommend picking up a second unit of Reeves just to do this, I can say that it certainly is an interesting idea.

Having now played the Tanith double Reeves build a LOT, I can honestly say it's far more potent than people expect it to be. Auto killing a heavy a turn is respectable, and being able to switch back and forth between killing infantry and cracking armor isn't anything to sneeze at either.

This is the list I played, and be advised, this is extremely skewy and probably isn't perfectly tuned - adjust as needed to your meta.

Tanith
- Loki
- Wyrd x3
- Moonhound x2

Reeves (max) and CA x2
Wolves (max) and CA

Again, this is more for fun than anything, but it can certainly win games.

What NOT to play her into:

Tanith has a really, really hard time with gunlines, especially those that ignore Stealth. Specifically, I'm looking here at Caine 2 and 3 and Sloan, since against Issyria, DEF 15 is still hard for unboosted shots to hit under feat.

This is a common problem among Circle casters, and a big, big part of why you'll see Wurmwood or Baldur 2 in most Circle pairings - they really punish those gunlines by not letting them do their thing or by being ARM ridiculous.

She also has a really hard time with massive amounts of Spell Ward on High Arm infantry like Precursor Knights or Banishing Ward onto Karax or Flameguard.

Belay that, Woldwyrds are a thing. Outside of natural Spell immunity, you want your opponent casting their upkeeps.

Conclusion:

I absolutely love Tanith. She plays super cat and mouse with your opponent, laying traps and springing them with Admonition and Shadow Bind. She can play into literally anything in the game with the right build, and her gunlines are extremely powerful as an alternative to a melee focused build.

If you don't own her yet, try her out. If you lose with her for the first little while, don't get discouraged! She's immensely hard to play well, as every single turn has a massive amount of options and ways in which to approach it.

Thanks for reading!

Circle List Building for SR 2017

Prologue:

SR 2017 represents a huge shift in the way Warmachine and Hordes will be played. Attrition is going to be the most important aspect of an army, shortly followed by Assassination.

Scenario is going to be a relatively minor consideration from now on, as you have to score max points on nearly every Scenario for two turns without losing more than one or two points in order to win quickly. Games are designed to last until turn 7, with a "mercy" rule allowing opponents who are seriously cleaning house to win earlier if they get ahead by six control points.

Also, certain Scenario elements are uncontrollable by various models. Circular Zones can only be controlled by Warrior models, Rectangular Zones only count for Warbeasts/Warjacks, and the Warcaster/Warlock models can control both, as well as flags, while still not contesting.

One of the things that I really miss about the middle years of mark II was the feeling of the game - yes, there were strong things, but instead of complaining about them the idea was to figure out how to beat them. In that spirit, I present my thoughts on how to play and win with Circle in SR 2017.


Advantages:




There are a couple more changes to the SR packet that greatly benefit Circle players.

The first of these - immobile models can control again - makes our Gallows Groves, Shifting Stones, and Sentry Stones viable scoring threats for low point values.

The second of these - that units no longer have to be at 50% or greater strength to control - means that we actually get a great deal of flexibility out of our units when we do clear zones.

A lone Shifting Stone can score on a Circular Zone if it is the last one in the unit. That's a big deal, since late game they tend to not do a whole lot, and when the game ends on turn limit, the person with the most points wins.

Overall advantages:

Mobility: 

Most of our (non - warbeast) models have Pathfinder, which is going to be handier than ever with the new terrain rules.

(For those of you who haven't seen them, central terrain is now required, and there are recommended amounts of LOS blocking terrain etc).

This means we will have an easier time engaging certain armies by having better threat ranges (Menoth, Melee Cygnar, some Mercs) through rough terrain.

We will also have an easier time contesting with our terrain indifferent models.

Jank Angles:

If the premeasurement restrictions in the packet stay, and your TO/Meta actually enforces them, Circle can perhaps get back to our roots of really odd threat ranges in completely non-linear ways.

Shifting Stones combined with Hellmouth or Telekinesis sounds like a good place to start.

Ambushing Wolves or Orboros are great in the Wild Hunt theme, and I'm actually starting to look at Bradigus and Kromac 1 again, since a 5" and 3" threat extension are both really excellent.

We also have Loki, and this might be the most important thing Circle has gotten for SR 2017. This guy is an absolute monster for Attrition fights, as he can regularly pull in an enemy heavy, smack it a few times, and then have a Stalker charge in, kill it, and Sprint out. If you combine him with a unit of Shifting Stones, Telekinesis, or Hellmouth, Kaya 2's Feat, Kaya 1's Spirit Door, Warpath, Grayle's Feat, Baldur 1's Feat (or Wild Growth to block LOS to him), Admonition, etc. he can do this turn after turn after turn.

Alternatively, you can soften his target up for him with Circle's wyrdly strong gun options and have him finish the job by himself.

Expect to see Loki a lot more in SR 2017.

Control Feats:

We have access to a couple of really excellent time-walk type feats in Circle. Kaya 2 lets you go in and really mess your opponent up multiple times in a row.

Baldur 1 can let you get 2-3 rounds of shooting off before the ranks close, as can Wurmwood.

Morvahna 2 might see some play again, as the ability to cycle through your army twice in one game is pretty good where attrition is concerned.

If the meta shifts to nothing but massive battlegroups, Mohsar's Pillars of Salt can control those kinds of armies fairly easily. (I know they're not a feat, but you get the idea).

Tankiness?

Baldur 2, I'm looking at you right now. Woldwrath plus Fulcrum plus Woldwyrds is likely to be one of Circle's staple lists in the coming months as the Fulcrum CID becomes canon. It's a really nasty gunline that also happens to be pretty good in close combat thanks to Woldwrath Auto Knockdown fists, Steady Wyrds, and Gunfighter everywhere.

Meta Shift:

The theme forces coming down the pipe really encourage units to hit the table, and literally everything in Circle doubles as an infantry blender. Our heavies have great anti infantry tech, our units are all fantastic at killing dudes, most of our spell casters have good infantry killing spells.

If the meta shifts to more units, especially because units are better able to contest for long periods of time than heavies are, I can see Circle really getting potent. Anyone wanna see my 4 point Bloodweaver Night Witch with maybe Affliction or Curse of Shadows take out an entire Shield Wall unit? I know I do.


Disadvantages:




We die Horatio, we die:

Circle models cannot take a hit. Outside of a couple select models (Woldwrath, new Fulcrum, Megalith, etc.), our Beasts tend to be ARM 17 with 27-30 boxes. That's not holding up to boosted POW 12s nevermind punches from Heavy Jacks.

High Defense is great, but there are lots of Knockdown effects, DEF lowering spells, Stationary effects, and accurate guns/models out there. I've lost two Warpwolves in a round to a unit of Brigands before.

We die easily.

This is a problem because the game no longer ends very fast, and our models tend to not attrition well. I expect to see Circle really struggle to adapt for the first few months of SR 2017 as our stable of current powerhouses get taken down a peg.

Our most powerful option (currently), Wurmwood cannot hold an attrition fight for more than 4-5 rounds. Much of his attrition value comes from forcing opponents to come to him in a mad rush in order not to lose on Scenario.

Lists based on Warpwolves in general are going to have a rough time. I think Ferals are going to hardly see the table in favor of Stalkers with their built in "get away" trick and Purebloods with the ability to spray from a distance. Loki I think will be in most Circle lists because he does the best Attrition tricks against heavies that Circle has. Ghetorix might also see some play with Kaya 2 (pathfinder), Krueger 2 (highest base damage output), and the Kromacs.

Casters that I think can mitigate this problem:

Kaya 2 (double alpha = good for attrition)
Kromac 2 (His beasts tend to live through the retaliation)
Baldur 1/2 (Control Feat and ARM skew)
Morvahna 2 (Kill everything twice)
Tanith (Admonition and Affliction)

Casters that I think might be able to based on meta choices:

Krueger 2 (Control feat is great, Rebuke on a unit can keep it out of the game, assassination potential is high)
Krueger 1 (Good into some gunlines, kills infantry no problem)
Mohsar (Controls battlegroups very well, high Assassination potential between Sands of Fate and Doppler Bark plus guns)
Wurmwood (Good board control for a few rounds, might be enough)
Kromac 1 (Very high threat ranges)
Kaya 3 (Good DEF buff on her Feat, kills the world with Synergy)
Kaya 1 (Spirit Door might just be amazing)
Una 2 (trading 9 point Griffons for heavies is okay still)
Grayle (Good threat range extender, Stealth from feat is nice)

Casters that I think will not see much play:

Bradigus (I hope I am wrong about this. I'm painting mine up this week to see if he is viable)
Morvahna 1 (She is basically garbage folks)


Our Infantry is Bad:

Circle gets by playing with about 3 units right now. Reeves, Sentry Stones, and Wolves of Orboros in the Wild Hunt. We also occasionally see Bloodtrackers with Baldur 1.

These models are all good at killing other infantry, and can also put a dent in heavies. They're faster than average dudes (speed six is nice) and they all have pathfinder.

Most of the rest of our options hardly see play.

Here are a few that I think will get some attention with the SR 2017 changes.


Druids - these guys plus Krueger 2 = lots of assassination potential. Telekinesis plus Pulse of the Earth or whatever it's called means that if an enemy parks a heavy within about 5 inches of their caster, you have an easy KD on their caster, followed up by shots from Wyrds/Loki/Fulcrum/whatever.

Their ability to push enemy heavies out of zones might also allow Circle to play a Scenario game unlike most other factions AND simultaneously keep our heavies safe by moving enemy models out of striking distance. I suspect this unit will see more play in the coming months.


Tharn Ravagers - if (and this is a BIG if) the meta shifts to crazy infantry spam, these guys will be kings. The unit can single handedly chew through multiple other units, and they're fast reach models that see through forests.


Here are my picks for models that will see more play than they currently do, but will still be niche:


Mist Riders - the Fulcrum making them Magic 7 is a HUGE deal. The bump between MAT/RAT/Magic 6 and 7 is an extremely significant change in their likelihood of hitting. Between that and a potential shift to infantry heavy lists, these guys could see some play.


Warpborn Skinwalkers - Man I wish they still had two attacks. That being said, these guys are ARM 18 against melee attacks with 8 boxes, and with a few casters (Kromac 1 and Baldur 1 specifically), they go to ARM 20. This means that a charge from a pow 12 infantryman is going to do about 3 damage, and a charge from a pow 12 weaponmaster is going to do 6 ish. What does that mean? Well it means that it takes more than one guy to finish off one Skinwalker, and for attrition purposes, that can be big.

They also have Hyper-Regen, so if they don't get killed in one turn, they're probably not dying the next, and with Relentless Charge, they will not mind the prevalence of terrain that will become the new norm.

Death Wolves (in the Tharn Theme) - with a corpse token, these guys are actually fairly likely to get across the table, and when they do, the enemy units will melt.


Units that I doubt will see play still?

Woldstalkers - Take Reeves.

Blood Pack - Take Woldstalkers. Then when you are still lacking, take Reeves. This unit is seriously awful.


We struggle to kill 8-10 ARM 20 heavies:

Khador is going to likely be our worst matchup in SR 2017. We do not have the firepower to take them on headfirst, we do not outthreat them in melee with about half of their casters (Karchev with Road to War, Harkevich with Mobility and a Kodiak Kloud Wall, etc), and their jacks are mostly Mat 7, so our higher DEF value does very little.

This is a big part of the reason why I think Loki is going to be such a big deal in SR 2017. Contesting with random dudes and pulling in a heavy a turn to kill it with Loki plus guns or Loki plus a Stalker seems to me to be one of the few ways we can hope to win that attrition fight, and even THAT doesn't work if they bring the right Clamjacks.

This is one of the biggest reasons I am considering Mohsar as a serious contender for SR 2017 - Sunhammer chips away at their boxes every turn (Seven turns times 8 jacks times approximately 2 damage per jack is 112 damage, with a range of 56 to 168 depending on your dice - not insignificant), and his feat makes their caster very vulnerable without any focus camp if they want to fuel the heavies.

I personally do not have an answer to this question yet outside of praying for assassinations, but I think this is going to be a constant issue for a while.


Sample Lists:

Here are a couple of lists that I am personally thinking will be good starting points for SR 2017:

Krueger 2
- Loki
- Megalith
- Woldwyrd x2

Fulcrum
Blackclad Stoneshaper
Gobber Chef
Druids of Orboros
- CA
Shifting Stone x2

The list has awesome assassination potential, decent control, and can kill a heavy a turn consistently with Fulcrum shooting, Wyrds, and Loki hooks. Loki and the Fulcrum both have incredible threat ranges in this list thanks to Telekinesis, and can also be kept fairly safe with Druid pushes and KDs and Telekinesis on either enemy models or themselves.

The Druid CA and Gobber Chef are five points that I really haven't a clue what to do with, and the Stoneshaper might not be necessary either, for 8 points of....something else. Options include Gallows Grove and Hutchuk, Blackclad Wayfarers, Night Witches, or a Sentry Stone unit.


Kaya 2
- Laris
- Ghetorix
- Loki
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Pureblood
- Gorax

Gallows Grove
Swamp Gobber Chef
Shifting Stones
Sentry Stones x2

This is my basic beast brick, and I actually like it just fine with Kromac 1 as well. With Kaya, I've seen a couple of builds I really like in the Wild Hunt where the Wolves of Orboros tie things up between the Alpha Strikes.

I think the Gobber Chef is a pretty important piece here, as he allows you to go bananas with your fury on feat turn and then have a bunch of Mannikins for beasts to eat the next turn.


Baldur 2 Bones of Orboros
- Woldwrath
- Megalith

Fulcrum x2
Stoneshaper x3 (free)
Sentry Stone x2

High powered gunline with an absurd amount of Tankiness? Yes please. I really think this list can be terribly potent, and I am even considering dropping the Sentry Stones for two units of Shifting Stones and a Blackclad simply to teleport and heal the Fulcrums.



I am sure there are many other builds out there, but this is my first iteration of several lists that seem potent and interesting.

Conclusion:

I believe Circle is in for a rough couple of months here. We have some pretty cool tools, but a lot of our potency is going to stem directly from what other people decide to play, and that is not the most fun place to be.

That being said, we also have some really cool stuff to experiment with, and I think the last six months of 2017 are going to see some of the most interesting and innovative Circle lists to date surface.

Please feel free to throw your own thoughts on board here, this is just one players opinion and is almost certainly going to be proven wrong ^.^

Thanks for reading!


Tactica Time: Sentry Stones

Sometimes I swear that studio painters are Gods - how the crap do you blend wood veins like that?

Prologue:


Ah Sentry Stones, what a rough ride you've had. Originally trash, then brought to prominence by Bradigus' theme force, then elevated to absurdity and now....balanced? 

Hopefully. 

This unit is one of the main reasons that Circle exists as a competitive faction. They allow you to clear infantry, deny LOS, contest zones, kill support models, snipe out solos, finish off battered heavies (charging Mannikins will do some work), and to top it all off, you're very hard to kill. 

Who wants to play Sentry Stones:


Simply put, every warlock in the faction wants Sentry Stones in their list if it's not in theme. They create a mobile bunker of safety for your Warlock. They clear off your heavies from jamming models. They provide excellent targets for things like Hellmouth and auto KD punches from the Woldwrath.

Quick note about those two things:

The Woldwrath can center a 4 inch AOE on any model that it hits (including friendly models). With it's two inch reach, it can extend that AOE to almost 5 inches away from it, catching high DEF enemy models for your other guys to destroy. By putting your Mannikin at exactly 2" from the Woldwrath, you can make massive swathes of guys fall over.

Hellmouth is a spell that Wurmwood has, and it can also trigger its effect (which drags things within 3 inches 3 inches towards the target and puts down a POW 12 AOE 3). I've had opponents spend 10 minutes carefully premeasuring their unit placement so that things were 3.1 inches away from eachother, only to have me run a Mannikin up into the middle of their unit and kill most of it by targeting the Mannikin.

BE AWARE that you CANNOT target friendly models with spells of ANY kind if they are out of formation. Premeasure carefully. 

Their utility is nearly limitless. 

I will go more into general strategies in a few moments, but for now let's go over exactly how their rules work, since this is often misunderstood. 

How to not cheat when playing Sentry Stones:





A couple of very important timing and rules related points:

1) You place a Mannikin during Maintenance Phase if you have less than three of them. This Mannikin can be placed anywhere in command, which is a six inch distance from the edge of the Sentry Stone's base.

Remember, since it's not completely inside command, you can extend out this placement very far.

This allows you to get into models' back arcs or aim or both, leading to essentially RAT 8 sprays.

The horror stories of Sentry Mannikins shredding units usually comes from this kind of placement, as they're not accurate enough to hit high DEF models without boosting otherwise.

2) At the same time, you roll a d3 to add to their fury pool if the Stone has less than three fury on it. This is actually a fantastic time for this to happen.

Since these are simultaneously timed, you can choose the order in which they happen. ALWAYS roll for Fury first. This will let you make a plan for your turn before you place your Mannikin. If you only roll one Fury for example, maybe your guys are charging that turn instead of spraying.

3) You can pay a fury to place a 3 inch forest on the Stone at ANY point during the Sentry Stone's activation. This means that you can have them run, place the forest, and then Weird Growth the Sentry Stone up if you want to leave a nice little concealment patch for a Stalker or other prowl solo.

You can also do it the opposite way, where you run/charge the unit, port the Stone up, and then make the forest.

4) You cannot move the Stone AT ALL except by it's own weird growth. Nothing can slam it, nothing can pull it, nothing can drag it, nothing can place it.

This is an amazing defensive ability since it means your opponent can't TK it closer to them, move it out of the forest, or slam it out of a zone.

It also means that you can't teleport it with Shifting Stones. Make sure to plan out your placement for these guys at the beginning of your turn, since you can't change it once you've committed.


Alright, what are they good for:





I typically think of my Sentry Stones as having one of several different "modes", depending on the game.

1) Infantry Shredders/Jam Removers

Sentry Stones are really good at killing infantry IF they only need to boost the hit OR the damage roll.

If they have to boost both to reliably kill, then they will not be very successful in killing massive amounts of infantry.

Thanks to their ability to place in back arcs and aim, Mannikins are better at spraying down High DEF infantry than they are at killing High ARM infantry.

In the early game, I use the Mannikins to pick off the closest infantry models. Typically I only get about a turn of this before the lines are engaged. The second turn, I place a Mannikin to spray as many of the enemy infantry clogging my lines as possible and use them to unjam my heavies.

2) Solo hunters

Thanks to their ability to boost multiple times, there are no better models for removing annoying solos in the entire faction.

Need Orin gone? Boost boost.

Need Kell to not be alive? Or Alten or Saxon or Pendrake?

Same answer.

If you get to place the Mannikin on your turn, you can hit models that are just over 20 inches away from the nearest edge of the Sentry Stone.

Remember, Sprays ignore cover, concealment, Stealth and LOS (as long as it's not blocked by an obstruction or 3 inches or more of forest), so many defensive abilities are useless against them.

3) Finishers

I cannot count the number of times I've sent a Stalker or Megalith or some other heavy into an opponents Heavy/Warcaster/Objective/random infantry dude and failed to kill it by a point or two of damage.

At MAT 5 and PS 11, the humble Mannikins actually put out a fair amount of damage on the charge or when boosting damage.

Against a DEF 12 ARM 19 target with two boxes left, a charging Mannikin that boosts to hit has a very good chance of taking it down.

Don't be afraid to charge or make melee attacks with these guys, they're very good late game finishing pieces since they can be fairly accurate and do a few points of damage.

4) Contesting/Controlling Scenario Elements

In SR 2016, there are couple of important points about how these guys interact with Scenario pieces.

The first of these is a new addition to the rule set, and we can probably blame the Stormwall and it's pods for this - immobile models cannot control zones or flags.

The second of them is that 50% of a unit must be alive to control a zone or flag.

And an honorary mention that all models in a unit controlling a flag have to be within 4 inches of said flag or inside of said zone.

This means that the Sentry Stone itself cannot control a flag. DO NOT place the Stone base to base with it. You MUST place a Mannikin in contact with the flag in order to control it.

The great thing about Sentry Stones is how easy it is for them to have 50% of their unit alive (one Mannikin plus the Stone is all you need) and within four inches of the flag or inside the zone.

Late game, it's often very hard to kill an ARM 18 model with 8 wounds, and so I've found that sitting the stone in front of the Mannikin and building a forest every turn while the Mannikin camps the flag or zone can be an effective way to get points.

5) Piece Trade Openers

Guys, other people hate Sentry Stones with a passion, and many factions have exactly one effective way of dealing with them - sending in a warjack or warbeast.

Be ready for this to happen, and if possible be ready to counter-attack with your own Warbeasts.

I've traded a Sentry Stone for Ruin, Titan Gladiator, Titan Sentry, Tiberion, Reckoner, Scourge of Heresy, and many, many other models worth 3-4 times its point value.

Don't throw them away, but if you see an opportunity to place the Stone in such a way that it will be impactful and require an opponent to invest a heavy into killing it, do it! Just be ready to kill that heavy afterwards.

6) Mobile Forest Safety Wall

Circle Warlocks can be among the safest in the game and still be fairly close to the fighting thanks to the mobile forest wall these guys provide. You can't kill what you can't target, and with two forests hiding your squishy Warlock, your opponent is going to have a hard time doing that.

7) Fury Management with the Gobber Chef

The quick and dirty - The Gobber Chef gives every friendly warrior model (living, undead, construct) within 3 inches of it Comfort Food, which allows a Warbeast that is a Friendly Faction Warbeast to "eat" the Warrior model to remove any number of fury points during Control Phase.

The Warrior model has to be within one inch of the Warbeast. The Warbeast can be living, undead, or construct and so can the Warrior model. Every single Warrior model within 3 inches of the Gobber Chef gains this ability, so you can use it on multiple Warbeasts at the cost of eating multiple Warriors.

The timing here is the important part - the Mannikins from the Sentry Stone get placed during Maintenance (before Control Phase), which allows you to place the Mannikins next to the Warbeast and in the Gobbers command to clear off Fury. I've used and seen this trick used to stop Frenzies that the opponent is planning on happening. It's always fun when an enemy heavy is parked in charge range of your Feral because they think it's going to frenzy next turn.



Random Stuff that will Come Up:





Mannikins are constructs, which means about half the feats in the game don't work on them (Sevy 2 for example), and they don't generate corpses or souls for your opponents when they die.

They are immune to anatomical precision because it only hits living or undead models.

They don't care about RFP effects because every time you place one it's a "new" model, not a returned model.

They don't allow your opponent to snack on them. They're immune to Fertilizer (super niche Circle keyword for the non-Circle people out there).

Basically just make sure that what your opponent is doing affects all enemy models, not just living or undead ones.

Their sprays are magical weapons, so go ahead and blast incorporeal models and Menoth jacks to your hearts' content.

The forest stays even if the Sentry Stone dies.

Conclusion:


These things are the absolute bomb. Their (terrible) stats will make you wonder on first glance why they're so popular, but boosting, placeable aiming sprays will straight up murder light infantry. The LOS denial they create is immensely powerful.

The skill ceiling on this unit is sky high, so don't be discouraged if they don't do much work for you the first handful of times you play with them. They're the real deal - put in the practice, and they'll become your opponents' least favorite models in the game.

Thanks for reading!

Tactica Time: Baldur, the Stonecleaver


Prologue:

Baldur, the Stonecleaver has had perhaps one word added to his card in the transition to mark 3. His feat and spells now affect Friendly Faction models only, and other than that, he hasn't changed at all.

The rules of the game have shifted around him though, and because of the way that forests now work, as well as speed reductions not preventing charges, as well as upkeep removal largely disappearing, he has come out as one of the best control Warlocks in the game. If Wurmwood wasn't a strictly better matchup into a lot of factions at the time of this writing (December 2016), I suspect Baldur 1 would be a regular in competitive Circle pairings.


Overview:


Hey wait...I don't look anything like my artwork...

Stats and Abilities:

Baldur is really slow for a Circle Warlock - he's only speed 5. He's got a good MAT of 7, which, combined with Weight of Stone, makes him very accurate. 

He has no ranged weapon, so his terrible RAT doesn't matter. He's typical Circle DEF of 14, which is pretty low for a Warlock, and he's got moderate ARM of 16 with 17 health boxes. He can take a punch, but unless you feel really safe, I don't recommend putting him in harms way, since he's not nearly as durable as say Kromac 2. 

He also only hits at PS 14 with reach, which isn't going to break hard targets by itself.

At Fury 6, he's sitting right at the bottom edge of Circle Fury stats, but he makes up for it a little bit by having...

Elemental Mastery: Construct Warbeasts in his battlegroup get to make free charges and power attacks without being forced as long as they are in control. I constantly forget about this turn one, but it's always something that comes back to me by turn three. 

With a battlegroup composed of Megalith or Woldwrath plus something else, Baldur runs a pretty efficient ship. 

This ability also lets him heal construct warbeasts, which is a big deal since the other ways of healing them are pretty limited. 

Forest Walk: This is a nifty little trick - Baldur can sacrifice movement as long as he is completely inside a forest to teleport to a place completely inside a forest that is completely inside control. 

Be aware that you cannot do this if you get placed by Shifting Stones as they require you to sacrifice movement already, but it can be a powerful scenario play since Baldur can put a forest down on himself to get this off. 

The dream with this ability is to have an enemy Warcaster camping nothing within 2 inches of a forest in your control area, sac movement, teleport next to the Warcaster, and then murder them. 

This is actually much more situational than it looks, since Baldur isn't accurate or hard hitting enough naturally to really kill someone by himself. 

I really like to pick on pNemo since he's got the worst statline I can think of at DEF 14 ARM 15 with 14 boxes. 

If Baldur has to cast Wild Growth on himself to get in a forest, he can teleport and boost the first hit on Nemo to drop him to DEF 11. At dice - 1 you will do an average of six damage per hit, and with two for the spell and one to boost the hit, you get four attacks for 24 damage total. 

If Nemo is camping 3, he lives through this on average. 

Compare that to someone like Butcher 3 - DEF 14, ARM 18 with 18 boxes. 

Dice -4 on four attacks is 12 damage, or not nearly enough to kill them. There are, of course, many other ways to soften the enemy caster up before Baldur goes in, but the chances of him killing another caster on his own are pretty low.

Bottom line - don't go for this unless you can do some damage to the enemy caster first. 

Weight of Stone: An excellent offensive ability on his weapon that gives whatever it hits -3 SPD and -3 DEF. This makes Baldur (or Baldur's heavy coming in after Baldur) very accurate. 

Wait....I don't look like my art EITHER, what the heck?!
Spells and Feat:

Baldur has a good spell list, with no less than three upkeeps, and one very strong nuke. 

Stone Skin: 

This is a really excellent spell, doubling up as both offensive and defensive in the same thing. It gives +2 Strength and Armor to a Friendly Faction model or a unit, while giving them -1 Speed and Defense. 

With Circle's easy access to Hunters Mark, the -1 speed isn't as big of a downside as it might otherwise be. We also have pretty high speed models to begin with, so going down to speed 5 for a big increase in damage output and survivability is usual a reasonably good trade off. 

The two stand out units that really abuse Stone Skin are Bloodtrackers and Wolf Riders. The +2 Strength gives them a really scary PS 11 thrown weapon base, and for the Bloodtrackers that means RAT 8 PS 13 Weaponmaster shots. Against an ARM 20 heavy, that's 3.5 damage each, not accounting for spikes. They'll put a serious dent in colossals too. 

Their Advanced Deploy and native Speed of 7 means that the negative speed is less impactful than it usually would be, and their native stealth means that they don't mind the slightly lower defense either. 

Wolf Riders get to do truly goofy things with Stone Skin. Speed 8 and POW 11 Weaponmaster throws combined with Reposition 5 keep them safe while they harry things, and then eventually they get to assault in for a POW 11 Weaponmaster attack and a POW 11 Weaponmaster charge. 

It's a good idea to put this on one of those two units early game if you're going to include them in your army, and then later game switch it over to one of your heavies or Baldur himself. 

Solid Ground: 

This spell is either amazing or totally useless. It prevents Friendly Faction models in his control range from being knocked down. 

If you opt for a Warpwolf heavy version of the list, it shores up the wolves' main weakness - getting knocked down so their high DEF doesn't matter in the slightest. 

It also lets you do some really funny things with a thrown heavy, like Ghetorix. If you play Megalith and a Feral in conjunction, you can throw Ghetorix 12 inches and have him beat up whatever he is next to at the end of it. 

The other REALLY important aspect of this spell is that it gives Friendly Faction models in his control area immunity to blast damage. 

Bloodtrackers love that. They're usually going to die to drifting AOE's before anything else kills them, and this just completely neuters that. Against Khador lists with Behemoth or Menoth lists with a bunch of Redeemers, this spell is total money. 

This spell is pretty terrible against pKreoss though, since Kreoss has Purification, letting him trivially strip it off before he pops feat. 

Wild Growth: 

Same spell Wurmwood has, put a 4 inch AOE of forest down completely inside control. This spell is fantastic for LOS denial, letting you control your opponents' charge lanes trivially and giving you a legitimate defense against shooting with other cooperative terrain or Sentry Stones. 

The applications for this spell are almost innumerable, and are also highly dependent on the terrain, scenario, and matchup. I tend to not upkeep it every turn, since where I will find it most useful varies from turn to turn. 

Earth Spikes:

This is one of the best nuke spells in the whole faction. At cost 3, Range 10, and POW 13 with a 3" AOE, that's already pretty solid for a spell nuke. Add in that it ignores the Elevation, Cover, and Concealment bonuses and you've got a pretty awesome Geomancy spell for Megalith. That isn't all though! On a critical hit, it knocks down everything in the AOE, which can occasionally be a huge blowout. 

This spell is one of the reasons that I really like taking Megalith with Baldur - it gives you something resembling a ranged game, and using Megalith to get a crit KD on a squishy but high DEF Warcaster or Warlock can occasionally just end the game as Bloodtrackers, Woldwrath, Baldur, etc. all converge on the poor Warnoun. 

The FEAT!!!!!

Baldur's feat is one of the most controlling, defensive feats in the whole game. It says that while in his control, enemy models (including colossals) lose pathfinder and treat all terrain as rough terrain. If also gives all Friendly Faction Models cover. 

Until you have felt the awesome power of parking your Woldwrath 6.5 inches away from a speed 5 colossal and being totally free from retaliation, you haven't lived. It's a pretty amazing feeling. 

It also guarantees you a couple turns of dominating a friendly flag or zone, since there's not a whole lot the enemy will be able to do to contest when running for most models will only move them 5 or 6 inches. 

This is obviously totally useless against mass Ghostly skew (Cryx) or lists with a ton of flying models (Una 2, Fyanna and angelii spam, etc), but against most conventional lists, the combination of cover and rough terrain can absolutely wreck their plans. 

You can use this feat to get ahead on scenario, spend two turns in a row shooting at your opponents' models, advance up so you can get a melee alpha, or sometimes all three. 


General Play Style:

Baldur is a Scenario caster primarily the way I play him, with a really good attrition chance against most non-Cygnar lists, and the ever present danger of assassination via a crit Earth Spikes. 

Typically turn 1, you cast Stone Skin on your early game target, put Solid Ground up if you're playing with Bloodtrackers or other squishy infantry so that they can't get blast damage or for no KD on Warpwolves, and then charge up the table. I like to go second with him so that I can score easily, and with Wild Growth, getting the side of the table you want is often very beneficial. 

Turn 2-3 you feat, which either buys you a solid Scenario lead or lets you get the Alpha off in a very definitive manner. There are some lists that you absolutely have to feat against to not get Alpha charged yourself, and this is another reason to feat early. 


Model Synergies:

Baldur synergizes well with a lot of Circle models and units. He can be built as a gunline, a melee force, or a combined arms caster. 

I only have experience with him as a combined arms list at 75 points, but I have played some of the other, also interesting options, at lower point levels. 

Woldwrath:


Wow did this guy get a massive upgrade in mark 3. Spell Ward getting changed to Sacred Ward is such a big deal. 

Baldur loves to chuck Stone Skin on the Wrath late game for an ARM 22, PS 21 Auto KD colossal. Oh did I mention it has hyper regeneration? Baldur can also heal it thanks to Elemental Mastery. 

Also thanks to Elemental Mastery, this guy charges for free every turn, and that is a massive deal. The extra attack is the difference between a banged up enemy colossal or heavy and a dead heavy/crippled colossal. 

Also, he has a fantastic gun now at Range 14, AOE 5, POW 15. The AOE stays for a round and anything that enters it takes a POW 10 electrical damage roll. With Baldur's feat, you can really use the Woldwrath as a bully, taking shots for 2-4 turns before finally going in and messing up the remaining models on your opponents' side of the table pretty good. 

Stick him in a zone and he's not going to be easily removed, especially under Baldur's feat. 

Druid's Wrath also opens up some interesting control builds with Druids. Boosted MA 6 knockdown or push spells are not bad at all, and can really give some lists with many heavies and not much infantry fits. 

The Woldwrath is one of the two ways to build his list, and I think it's a really strong one. 


Megalith:


An LED keyboard, a rock, and Rocky had a baby. They named it Megalith.


Megs is a strong consideration with either Baldur, but he's not nearly an auto-include with Baldur 1. 

Baldur 1 doesn't need the hyper-regeneration nearly so badly as Baldur 2 does, and Baldur 1 only has one spell for Megalith to Geomancy as opposed to Baldur 2 who really, really needs the extra Roots of the Earth every turn. 

That being said, Megalith is definitely a choice worthy of consideration with him. He's a good Stone Skin target, going to PS 19 and ARM 21 with it on him. He can channel an Earth Spikes every turn, which contributes to Baldur's pseudo-gunline. 

An expensive choice, but one that can definitely pay off big dividends.

Warpwolves:




I'm going to file these under a broad category since it's a completely different playstyle choice with Baldur, and if you're going to play with them, I suggest going in on the living beast theme. 

You do lose out on Elemental Mastery giving out free charges, but the Warpwolves are generally superior beasts to most of the Wolds, so maybe that's okay. 

All of these beasts get massive benefits from Solid Ground. Most of the time, good opponents engineer ways to knock a Warpwolf down before sending in their heavies so that they can guarantee their hits. Knocking a Warpwolf down is a death sentence for it, since their ARM and boxes aren't high enough to live through anything that auto hits them. 

Ghetorix is a monster with Stone Skin, hitting at PS 21 before Primal and sitting at ARM 21 with Spiny Growth on him. 

The Stalker also gets a lot of mileage out of the additional hitting power, as does the Feral and Pureblood. 

If you decide to go this route, I like three heavies, some combination of Stalker/Ghetorix/one of the other two. Personally, I go for a Pureblood and a Gorax, but that's due to my love of the Pureblood's spray and having access to Wraithbane

Other Wolds:

I will be blunt - from a competitive perspective, these are almost all bad options. I don't like the Woldguardian or Woldwarden when for a small point increase I could just have Megalith. 

The Woldwatcher losing Shield Guard hurt him really badly. Fertilizer on his gun can lead to some interesting LOS blocking, but it's not reliable enough for 9 points. 

I don't actually mind a Woldwyrd in there if you're going to play a more ranged centric build. Against any upkeep spell on a unit, he can get some major work done every turn. 

Sentry Stones and Mannikins:

They block LOS, they clear charge lanes, and they're cheap. We already know how amazing these guys are and they're just as good, or better, with Baldur thanks to Wild Growth. You can grow a 10 inch forest wall every turn that both Stones are alive. 

As of this writing, I can't help but recommend taking 2 in each list. 

Bloodtrackers:

I've already touched on this, but giving them a damage boost through Stone Skin and immunity to blast damage via Solid Ground is a huge boon to these ladies. I'd strongly consider taking them in basically every Baldur list. 

Losing the point of speed hurts a bit, but they still threat 13 inches and can shred a heavy or unit of heavy infantry. 

Wolf Riders:

Again, I've touched on this already, but these guys are monsters with Stone Skin. This is the one place I'd really consider taking them in the faction right now. 

Skinwalkers and CA:



These are a really interesting option for the non-Woldwrath builds. The idea is that they follow the Bloodtrackers or other, faster unit, and then stick in a zone and become nightmares to remove. 

With Stone Skin, they hit at MAT 8 PS 16 when Gang is factored in, and they sit at ARM 18 base with Hyper Regeneration and Unyielding.

With their 8 health boxes, it takes most heavies two swings to kill each one of these guys. A fully loaded Reckoner isn't actually all that likely to kill two of them in a turn. 

Add to that the beautiful screen they can provide Baldur, and I'd highly consider taking them if you don't have access to or do not like the Woldwrath. 

Druids:




I know, these guys took a massive hit in the transition from mark 2 to mark 3. That being said, I think they're sill a definite consideration if you're also taking the Woldwrath. 

Druid's Wrath makes them quite accurate, and the denial they can have with their push-away spell combined with Baldur's feat can break some very jack or beast centric lists. 

The ability to make a big cloud wall beside the Woldwrath for Baldur/Megalith/everything else to hide behind isn't nothing either. I've played with them probably half of the games I've played with Baldur, and I have really enjoyed them. 

The CA, while nice, is not strictly necessary. If you forget to Apparition a lot, I wouldn't really consider taking him since that's a big part of his draw. 

Shifting Stones:

Honorable mention, mostly because they can heal the Wrath and Megalith, and they're really good for contesting with. 

Do note that you cannot control flags or zones with Immobile models anymore, so don't just send a unit of stones to take the zone over without backup. 

Blackclad Wayfarer/Lanyssa Ryssyl:

I actually like the Blackclad over Lanyssa in lists with the Woldwrath, since Druid's Wrath makes him much more accurate than she is. 

That being said, there's something pretty sweet about popping Baldur's feat, putting down a forest in front of her, and then popping Winter Storm with her to strip flight off enemy models activating within nine inches. 

Either way, you want a source of Hunters Mark in the list to offset Stone Skin and to make your models threaten farther. 

Druid Wilder:

You know what Baldur has lots of? Upkeep spells. You know what Baldur doesn't have a ton of? Fury. If you can make the points work, bring a Druid Wilder. Upkeeping a spell for free every turn is a big deal when you might be upkeeping three. 

She can also run up the table and let you force outside of Baldur's relatively small control area. 



Sample lists:

Baldur has basically modes - Woldwrath and non-Woldwrath

I think currently that the Woldwrath build is superior, and this is what I've been playing lately:



Baldur the Stonecleaver
- Druid Wilder
- Megalith
- Woldwrath

Lanyssa Ryssyl

Sentry Stone and Mannikins x2
Tharn Bloodtrackers and CA
Druids of Orboros



I've played with the Druid CA over the Wilder a few times, and I think into most matchups that I prefer the Wilder. Apparition and Elemental Immunity are both really good, but the extra fury every turn can be an even bigger deal.

This does, of course, change depending on the meta. If you have to drop him into a Menoth heavy Meta, I'd take the CA over the Wilder any day. Being immune to fire really increases the survivability of the unit, and the combination of high value shooting and spells in the list that can completely neuter jacks makes the Menoth player have to actually think about which song the choir is going to sing every turn.

If they sing Spell Ward, then I get to shoot at the jack. If they sing no shooting, then you can knock down and push around the jacks until you can deal with them.

The other build, or something similar, that I would consider running is:


Baldur the Stonecleaver
- Druid Wilder
- Ghetorix
- Warpwolf Stalker
- Gorax Rager

Lanyssa Ryssyl

Sentry Stone and Mannikins x2
Tharn Bloodtrackers and CA
Warpborn Skinwalkers and CA
Shifting Stones



Two high damage heavies, a really hard to remove unit, and the ever present Bloodtrackers to go in and mess things up in advance of the rest of your army.

I still think the Woldwrath build is better, but this definitely has some merit.

The main problem here is that you really want Stone Skin on like...literally everything in the list all the time, and that means that it cannot quite run at max efficiency until late game once you have traded pieces back and forth.

Also, Wurmwood runs a very similar list and does it much better, so I don't typically consider Baldur for this kind of list.

Good Matchups:

Baldur has a lot of game into conventional, mixed arms lists. Anything that doesn't skew incredibly ranged heavy will generally be an okay matchup for him.

Even Sloan with a bunch of Hunters has to make a hard choice against the Wrath build - do you ignore the Bloodtrackers making a beeline for the jacks and shoot down the Woldwrath? Or do you go after the Wrath at dice off six when Stone Skin is factored in?

I like him into almost all of Menoth, with the exception of Kreoss 1 and Harbinger since Purification really ruins his day.

I think he has good matchups into the typical Cryx lists right now that are running Satyxis and 'Jacks over Banes and other Ghostly models.

He also seems pretty darn good into Legion and Minion and many of the Troll lists out there.

I also think he's pretty good into non-ARM skew Mercs, Khador, and most of Cygnar, simply because you get to control the game so well with his Feat and Wild Growth.

Bad Matchups:

I do not particularly enjoy Baldur into most of the ARM bricks that are running around right now. This matchup is a little better if you're running Druids, since you can really mess with their ability to actually engage you between pushes and KD spells, but in the end you really struggle to kill very much.

I dislike him into Cryx if they start running lots of Banes again, since Ghostly just flat out ignores the Feat.

I'm also not too sure I like him into a lot of the popular Circle lists right now. Baldur 2 tanks harder, Wurmwood controls better, and Una 2 will just fly over your army and murder Baldur unless you play super conservatively.

Conclusion:

Baldur 1 is a legitimately competitive caster. He's got an excellent toolkit of spells and abilities, a Feat that can just end the game under the right circumstances, and a highly flexible game plan. \

Currently, he is overshadowed by Wurmwood, who can do similar things, but arguably does them better.

That being said, he can ask different questions than Wurmwood can simply by being able to run the Woldwrath so well. That is a big part of why I think the Woldwrath build is superior - it requires a different set of tools to handle than anything else in the Circle arsenal.

I hope this little tactica was helpful, and thanks for reading!

Tactica Time: Tanith, the Feral Song



Tanith was the first new Circle Warlock coming into mark 3, and man is she a strong one. The Circle Battlebox is amongst the strongest of the battleboxes, having, unlike many of the others, an extremely high skill ceiling based solely off the Warlock.

I've been asked to write a specific tactica about the list I have been running as of November 2016, and I will do that at the end of this article.

The bulk of this article will look at Tanith in general, her abilities, tricks, and synergies with the faction. Again, this article was written in November 2016, and the likelihood of changes based off the January 2017 errata, while not particularly large for her, still exist.


Stats and Abilities:


Tanith has an extremely average stat line. Speed 6, MAT and RAT 6, DEF 15 and ARM 15 with 15 boxes says solidly middle of the road. She also has an average FURY stat at 6.

For other defensive tech, she has Prowl, which gives her Stealth while she has concealment. This is actually not too bad with easy access to clouds (Gobbers) and the general decrease of models that ignore Stealth out there.

She will die to virtually any dedicated assault in the game, which makes playing her extremely tricky because she really, really wants to utilize the most important part of her card....

Jaws of the Earth

This weapon looks fairly unassuming based solely on the front of her card, and indeed were it a normal RNG 10 POW 12 magic gun, it wouldn't be great.

Fortunately, it has two incredible abilities. First of all, this weapon ignores the defensive benefits of concealment, cover, and elevation. This is huge, making her RAT 6 seem like a much less useless stat.

Second, and more important, if this weapon directly hits an enemy model, it centers a 4 inch AOE on top of that model. Any ENEMY model touched by that AOE suffers Shadow Bind for a round (-3 Defense and cannot advance except to change facing).

I cannot begin to describe the various applications of this weapon, but I will try to hit a few extremely relevant points.

First, it is absolutely bonkers against Shield Wall units. I have used it to successfully stop 5 of 7 Cetrati from doing anything but sit there for multiple turns in a row. I've caught 6+ Temple Flame Guard with it, rendering them completely impotent as they sat a mere inch outside of the Zone they desperately wanted to contest.

Second, it is truly absurd against models with any of the following abilities or spells on them: Dodge, Counter-Charge, Admonition, or Enliven. It also completely messes up Vyros 2's feat.

This has been relevant for me innumerable times. I've shot Warpwolves with Admonition on them to enable my own beasts to finish them off. I've used it on Man O' War Drakhuns to prevent them from countercharging my models as they go in. I've hit Menoth jacks with it to prevent Enliven from saving his heavy.

Third, it lowers DEF by 3, which is a huge deal in a world where arguably Circle's best beatstick is a Warpwolf Stalker at MAT 6. There are lots of heavies in the game the Stalker is capable of killing without Primal...if he can connect, and this really fixes those problems. I've found myself almost never casting Primal with her since I rarely need it between her gun and the spell Scything Touch (I'll get to that in a minute). It also enables some pretty legitimate Assassination runs, which is awesome.

If Circle ever, EVER gets a model with Far Strike as an animus, Tanith will immediately become one of the top Warlocks or Warcasters in the game based solely off of this weapon.


Spell List:

Tanith has one of the absolute best spell lists in the entire faction. She has a DEF debuff, an ARM debuff, Admonition, and two nuke spells.

I'm going to list these spells in the order I value them, there's not a real rhyme or reason to this.

Admonition:

this spell is so wrong in Circle. I played a lot of games with a 4 heavy version of her list where basically I threw a Feral with Admonition on it at an enemy heavy, and then sent in a Stalker to finish it off with Scything Touch and then Sprint out. The opponent would generally have to dedicate two heavies to kill the Feral because the first one would trigger Admonition and the Feral would dance away. He'd send in the second heavy to murder it, and then I'd kill his three heavies easily with the remaining Feral, Stalker, and Ghetorix.

The other application this spell has is a massive threat extender. This often comes up later in the game when your opponent sends a heavy after your Admonition target to jam things up. Instead of Admonitioning back, you can easily Admonition your heavy forward. This is most useful if your opponent has next to nothing left to activate.

I've gotten free assassinations off of this tactic as my opponent parks their warcaster 12 inches away from my Pureblood, only to run random dudes to jam me at the end of his turn and watch my Pureblood Admonition TOWARD his warcaster, only to get buffed up the next turn and murder them. It doesn't have to be on Warcasters either. A Pureblood (the most pillow fisted Warpwolf) with Scything Touch and Primal is MAT 8 PS 20, and that will fairly likely one round most other heavies in the game.


Scything Touch: 

This spell is such a big deal, especially with the new melee range clarification. For those that don't studiously read infernal rulings, the new melee range ruling means that any model within whatever RNG the longest melee weapon on a model with Scything Touch has will get -2 ARM from Dark Shroud.

For example, a Stalker with Scything Touch can kill something, Sprint away, and turn its back arc to an enemy model to give it -2 ARM without engaging it so that other models can shoot it for example. This could be especially important if you take Reeves or Bloodtrackers or....well any shooting model to be honest. It synergizes well with Sentry Stones and Pureblood Warpwolves too, although only because it now affects a larger area of the board than it did before.

What this spell does is let Tanith play without crutching on Primal, unlike so many other casters in Circle. As a result, your opponent has to worry about your whole army all the time, which is something that people playing against Circle are pretty unused to.

But what about a hit fixer? (I hear you wondering how a MAT 6 Warpwolf Stalker can actually kill anything) Well outside of her gun, which is a pretty darn good one, she also has....

Affliction: 

This is a relatively straightforward spell, and one that I don't end up casting in about half of my games. This offensive spell reduces the DEF of a model/unit affected by 2, and also stipulates that if an attack directly hits an affected model and fails to break ARM, the model still takes 1 point of damage.

This spell is a big part of the reason Tanith is so flexible. She can play easily into infantry swarms, while simultaneously taking on big ARM lists thanks to Scything Touch. I have used Affliction and two-three Mannikin sprays to single handedly eliminate an entire unit of Horgenhold Forgeguard in Wall of Steel and under Ossrum's feat (Effective ARM of 20+).

You won't actually cast this spell every game, simply because there isn't always going to be a target that you desperately need to swing -5 DEF on or there isn't a unit of infantry that you need to mulch through, but when it's good, it's absurdly good.

The Nukes:

Tanith has the obligatory crummy nuke spell or two in the form of Bleed and Rift. These are corner-case to cast, and I realize that's a controversial statement in many ways, but I believe it is true.

The "dream" is to use her Feat to reduce the cost of bleed to 1 and then KD a warcaster and use boosted Bleeds to kill the warcaster in question. In my experience, this is almost mathematically impossible into most warcasters, and isn't worth the time. At best, use Bleed to remove an annoying model in the way of your soon to be charging heavy.

Rift, on the other hand, has a few more applications by nature of leaving an AOE 4 of rough terrain. This is a huge deal against certain factions (Menoth in general and much of Khador and Cygnar jacks) where you can use a Mannikin as a target for a Rift in front of your army to really neuter your opponents' threat ranges. If they don't have pathfinder, this spell is far more useful for its controlling aspect than it is for doing damage.


Feat:

Tanith's feat lets her channel through models in her battlegroup and reduces the casting cost of friendly fraction models' spells by 1 in her control, to a minimum cost of 1 (important note).

This looks pretty underwhelming, but it actually gives you a lot of flexibility. Upkeep Scything Touch somewhere, charge in, activate Tanith, cast Affliction for one and boost, cast Scything for one, cast Primal on something, and camp a couple is a typical feat turn.

It also makes Wraithbane on the Pureblood cost 1, and Primal on the Feral and Gorax cheaper as well.

There are supposedly times when the correct thing to do is to use her feat to assassinate.

To that I say....seriously?

Take Nemo 1, DEF 14 ARM 15, 14 boxes. Say he has no focus.

If he's not KD, I'm going to have to boost every Bleed I put into him. An unboosted bleed does 2 damage, and I'll get three of them.

If he IS KD, then I get 3 boosted bleeds, which do 16.5 damage on average, so sure, he's dead there, but if he's camping even 1 focus, this doesn't work, and Nemo 1 has among the worst defensive lines of any warlock/warcaster in the game.

I'm not saying this is never an option, just please don't go into the game expecting to use this as your primary win condition. It's much better to toss around cheap animi and Afflictions.

A Quick Note on Fury Management:

Tanith wants to use her Fury, a LOT. She wants to be up in the middle of the table shooting things so that she can affect the game. 

How can you do this without dying? There are a couple of ways. 

You can use your Sentry Stones to literally do nothing but create a mobile screen with her, and some games, this is exactly what you want to do with them. 

You can also keep her relatively safe by clouding up around her with the Gobbers, since many lists won't have ways to ignore Stealth. If you pre-measure correctly, you shouldn't have to worry about melee threats. 

A final way is to put Admonition on her, so that should anything come after her she can dance away. 

Model Synergies:
Image result for nature synergy

Sentry Stone and Mannikins:


If you don't have two of these in your list right now (Nov 2016) then you're playing a sub optimal list. They hunt solos incredibly well, prey on high DEF/low ARM or low DEF/High ARM single wound infantry, and can even assassinate pretty well now with the way focus has changed in mark 3.

Add to that an ability to create a six inch movable forest wall with which to hide Tanith behind, and you really start to get a unit that is worth its weight in gold.

Their best synergy with Tanith comes from Affliction making their sprays into RAT 6 auto point attacks, which is pretty incredible into Shield Wall or Wall of Steel units like Sentinels, Halbardiers, Forge Guard, Iron Fang Pikemen, Karax, etc. I've used Affliction plus one unit of Sentry Stone Mannikins to wipe out a ten man unit in one activation easily.

Also important, you can use them to keep Tanith in the middle of the table without too much fear of reprisal by building her a forest wall every turn. This is massively important for her, since she wants to use her gun every turn if she can.

Reeves of Orboros:

You want infantry clear? These guys will do it no problem. With Affliction, they all become RAT 7 auto point shots with two attacks each, for 20 attacks on the base unit or 22 with the CA (You should always take the CA if you can).

It's also great fun to put 22 damage onto a Heavy Jack with a bunch of POW 8 shots and then kill it with a Scarsfell Griffon/Stalker/Pureblood spray/Mannikins on the charge.

They also have Combined Ranged Attack, giving them the potential for two RAT 17 POW 19 shots, which is going to do about 1/3 of an average heavies health on it's own with no support whatsoever.

I have drifted away from this unit simply because Sentry Stones tend to clear the infantry well enough with Affliction that having Reeves feels redundant, but they are definitely a strong choice.


Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew:

Yeah these little dudes are kind of an auto include for Tanith. They give her stealth, they give the Stalker stealth, they add to the LOS denial with the Sentry Stones, and they're high enough def that they can contest moderately well.

Add to that their incredibly cheap cost (2 points!!) and the fact that they have a weapon now, and I don't see a reason to ever leave these two at home.


Bloodweaver Night Witch:

If you're not bringing Reeves and still want to slaughter a unit without using your Sentry Stones, consider this 4 point mini Madrak. With Affliction and the ability to boost to hit, this lady has chewed through entire units of Dawnguard Sentinels, Temple Flame Guard, and Iron Fang Pikemen for me. Sure she only threats 10.5 inches, but that can be a big deterrent for zones and flag control.

Natural Stealth is a plus.


Druid Wilder:

Tanith wants to upkeep at least 2 spells every turn, and that can get pricey fury wise. The Druid Wilder helps out with that immensely, leaving Tanith an extra fury to boost a hit roll with or to camp. She can also force warbeasts outside of Tanith's control range which has randomly been useful, and she can heal or leach fury from beasts, another big deal in a faction with such finicky fury management.


Gallows Grove:

This is not an auto-include, but can be very strong with her. Very often, you'll want to arc an Affliction after her feat turn, and it is frustrating as all get out when you don't have a bark node in your list. While they're not mandatory, they're definitely a good option.

Also they stop Imperatus from triggering Phoenix Protocol within 5 inches, so that's always a good thing right?


Scarsfell Griffon:

This model is in the spotlight right now, and for good reason. It is Circle's answer to the question "How do we piece trade effectively?"

With Tanith, this guy can be MAT 8, PS 16/15/15 on its initial attacks. That's not going to kill a Khador heavy (average dice on a charge against a Khador heavy says 22 damage without hunters mark, and 26 with) but it will scrap any ARM 18 heavy in the game (average dice says 27 damage without hunters mark and 32 with it) assuming you get Hunters Mark on it.

Since I use Tanith primarily as my Circle drop, this is of extreme value since I can pretty reliably trade an 8 point light for a 17-19 point Warpwolf.

Also note that their animus gives them dodge, and I've had games where my opponent misses one attack on a unit that charges the griffon, allowing me to dodge away from the rest of his unit and take no damage whatsoever. Also a useful animus on Tanith.


Warpwolf Stalker:

Tanith can make this guy incredible. Any time you do NOT have to Primal your heavy hitters is amazing, and Tanith, thanks to Scything Touch and her pair of defense debuffs, allows the Stalker to hit accurately and at PS 20 even without Primal.

Add in a hunters mark, and this guy will do 39 damage to a Khador heavy with just his reach attacks, meaning he probably has one fury left over to cast Lightning Strike and Sprint out.

The other thing is that his melee range is 2", and with the recent infernal ruling, he spreads Scything touch to within 2 inches of him EVERYWHERE.

That means that if he is facing away from a model, he's not engaging it but it is still getting -2 ARM for your Reeves to shoot up or for Tanith to tag with her gun. It's a big deal, and he can cover a large swathe of the table. Even more importantly, if he kills whatever he goes into and can sprint out, he can apply Scything Touch in two places in one turn. Efficiency!

Also, native pathfinder is a big deal in this era of heavy terrain on boards.



List Building:

Tanith is a hard warlock to build lists for by virtue of....well she can kind of do anything. Need a -5 DEF swing? On it. Need an ARM debuff? Here ya go! Need to murder shield wall units? (Something Circle traditionally has a hard time with) Easy peasy.

I've played her multiple ways, so I'm just going to give you three general ways to build her and then give you my sample list.



The ARM cracker:

This build focuses on 2 important spells - Scything Touch and Admonition.

I play it with four heavies (two Ferals, Stalker, Pureblood) and the idea of the list is to chuck a Feral at something while it has Admonition on it, and then follow up with a Stalker with Scything Touch to kill it and Sprint out.

Your opponent then has to deal with an Admonitioned heavy in their lines, usually requiring 2 heavies to kill since you just scoot away from the first one.

The following turn, you get to go in and kill two more heavies, and your opponent is down 3 heavy warbeasts/warjacks for the price of a Feral (who might not even be dead, DEF 14 is a thing).

This is great against any Warjack heavy list outside of Karchev and his Mad Dogs, and it's also fairly easy to play.

Sample List:

Tanith
- Wilder
- Pureblood
- Feral
- Feral
- Stalker
- Scarsfell

Lanyssa
Gallows Grove
Alten Ashley

Sentry Stone x2
Swamp Gobbers



The Circle Drop:


Cuz this is Circle right now

When I've been playing Tanith of late, she's been paired with Wurmwood. As a result she has become my Circle, Ret, and all around "cover Wurmwood's weaknesses" list.

The list runs 3 Scarsfells, and was originally piloted by Tom Guan. I was already running something similar, but he had the stroke of genius to replace 2 Griffons (I was running five at the time) with Wrong Eye and Snapjaw.

Let me tell you how amazing DEF 15 models under Star-Crossed are. They're bonkers. Boosted NINES are a 45% ish chance to hit with that spell floating around, and that's what most Warjacks need. Couple that with Dodge, and these birds take a ton of resources to kill.

This list preys on Wurmwood/other Circle lists, most Ret builds, and can be dropped into many Wurmwood counters like Rasheth with a million Shamans with success.

Placement and activation order are very hard to nail down with a list like this though, and only after about 20 games did I really feel like I understood the list.

Tanith
- Stalker
- Pureblood
-Scarsfell
-Gorax

Una
-Scarsfell x2

Wrong Eye
-Snapjaw

Sentry Stone x2
Shifting Stone
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew



Other options:

Tanith can be built so many ways. Literally stick models in her list and go, and she'll probably perform okay.

A common (ish) alternate build I've seen with her is taking double Reeves to capitalize on Affliction. The math is pretty gross actually. 44 Auto Points if they all get shots is enough to kill any heavy in the game and to severely cripple even the toughest colossal. At that point your Stalker goes in and mops it up pretty easily.

While I don't know I'd really recommend picking up a second unit of Reeves just to do this, I can say that it certainly is an interesting idea.

Other builds I've seen are the 6+ Scarsfell lists, but with the release of 2Una, I seriously don't think Tanith is the one to do that with anymore, as 2Una's griffons do far, far, far more damage than Tanith's do.

What NOT to play her into:

Tanith has a really, really hard time with gunlines, especially those that ignore Stealth. Specifically, I'm looking here at Caine 2 and Sloan, since against Issyria, DEF 15 is still hard for unboosted shots to hit under feat.

This is a common problem among Circle casters, and a big, big part of why you'll see Wurmwood in most Circle pairings - he really punishes those gunlines by not letting them do....well anything really.

She also has a really hard time with massive amounts of Spell Ward on High Arm infantry like Precursor Knights or Banishing Ward onto Karax or Flameguard.


Conclusion:

I absolutely love Tanith. She plays super cat and mouse with your opponent, laying traps and springing them with Admonition and Shadow Bind. She can play into literally anything in the game with the right build, and ADR with her is just disgustingly good.

If you don't own her yet, try her out. If you lose with her for the first little while, don't get discouraged! She's immensely hard to play well, as every single turn has a massive amount of options and ways in which to approach it.

Thanks for reading!