Treewalking with Ravagers

Welcome to a Model Article by Anthoney Ferraiolo, originally posted on

Treewalking with Ravagers

There probably isn’t a unit more near and dear to my heart than Tharn Ravagers. I have played them since I began playing the game, being the first unit I bought and painted; even played them in my first Kromac build running his Tier (before I knew what that was)! All that silliness aside, I have grown a real appreciation for this unit and thought they would be a great topic for the model redemption discussion.

I prefer playing the unit full fledged with the UA and WA; as I believe one of their best, and relatively unique assets, is the high model count (8 total) for an 8 wound infantry unit. Their defensive stat line does leave a bit to be desired at DEF 13 ARM 14, however I think this is a bit over stated. They are not easily taken off the board if given the right delivery system. When that is done right, they will get the alpha and there are few things in the game that hit harder: MAT 9, POW 15 on the charge is quite simply… amazing. I can make a case for them to be one of the hardest hitting units in the game, and more importantly they are highly accurate. That stat line can, and has, killed casters and locks. Moreover they are equally as effective versus infantry as they are versus heavies; 4 of them can as easily scrap a heavy as take down nearly a full unit thanks to the Heart Eater mechanic. Even at MAT 7 POW 13 they can rifle most infantry in the game. They hit hard enough to wipe opposing ‘bulky’ infantry off the table; they do approximately 8 damage per Ravager vs ARM 18, that one shots pretty stout 8 box infantry; while hitting DEF 15 on 6’s which tags most high DEF models!!! Many times there is a Ravager or two lurking around in the end game that has a corpse token and can get a boosted MAT 9 charge off in the secondary line, or even the caster/lock.

I can hearing you complaining now, “sure they are great IF they get there, how do you get them there???” Fair question; so let’s run the list: pBaldur has the Feat, Cassius has his Feat, Grayle can make them Stealth with his Feat, pKaya can Occultate them, eKrueger has Stormwall, pKrueger has Deflection (better than you think), Kromac has Inviolable Reslove, pMorvahna has Restoration, Mohsar has Pillars, and eMorvahna… well you’ve seen that work already :). Point is, I just ran the list of nearly every Warlock in the faction and they ALL have a reasonably solid way of delivering them. I know, I’m saying you should use a Feat, in many cases, to help deliver them… is that really correct? YES!!! Once they arrive at the opposing lines they are absolutely devastating and not so easily removed. Not to mention they take so much board position quickly which can give you a decisive advantage in scenario play.

Beyond all that help from Warlocks, they help themselves by having AD and being SPD 6 with Reach. So on turn 1, with full run, they are 25”-28” up the board; well over half the board with one move!!! They can effectively threat 36”-39” on the 2nd turn; put a different way that’s basically the opposing deployment zone. Speaking of threat, here’s a fun threat extension fact: Hunters Mark works on them too! How bout a sweet 13” threat (15” with Mirage)!!! Other delivery mechanisms, how about simply deploying to a flank? Often that is where the bulk of the terrain is while limiting LOS and angels to them as they cross the board. On almost every board you can nearly always find a forest to run them up behind. It’s amazing to have them sit behind a forest, threatening everything on the other side, knowing your opponent has literally no way to deal with your beat stick unit when LOS is completely blocked.

Thanks to all that threat and SPD, they can really play havoc on an opponents scenario plans, and be a key to a sweet jam technique for your Circle list. They draw attention, if delivered using the mechanisms above, they will not only make a strong alpha but with Reach and more beef than a single wound infantry unit, they will make it so your opponent must deal with them. This inadvertently becomes a delivery system for the rest of your army AND starts the process of jamming your opponent out of the scenario. This, may in fact, be their strongest asset; they have won me many games via scenario thanks to their strong ability to jam consistently.

So what other complaints to you have? 13 Points is too much? Too much for what? A unit that is super strong in melee vs both infantry and heavies, vs high DEF and high ARM, takes and grants board position, is hard to stop, can kill casters and locks, be strong in scenario, moves quickly, has Reach, has Advance Deployment, 8 boxes, Pathfinder, ignores forests in every way (including models and LOS), is Fearless, has the ability to buy additional attacks, as well as boost attack and damage rolls… Which part isn’t worth the points? The whole package must be considered when evaluating their true worth.

I admit that I am biased towards them, as I do love my Ravagers. In my experience it’s hard to find 8 bodies that will do more for the points than these guys. They were a big part of some of my biggest successes in this game, and I strongly encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, try them out. Put them in a list where they can be delivered and give them an honest chance to be successful. Once you do, you may well be impressed and find you want some more treewalking!

My New Main Man Mo’

Welcome to a List Article by Anthoney Ferraiolo, originally posted on

Mohsar seems to have been at the bottom of the Circle stable since I started playing the game at the onset of MkII. This past November I was given the Omnipotent Warlock as a birthday gift, and as such I was compelled to put him on the table; what I found is that I think there is something we may have all missed. Here is my list:

Bloodtrackers (x10)
Shifting Stones w/ UA
Gallows Grove (x1)
Gatorman Witch Doctor

List Strengths:
Hits incredibly hard
Causes activation problems for opponents
Has a lot of answers

List Weaknesses:
Feat has little effect on Warmachine
Can be difficult to play which will burn your clock
Mo’s old man stats

Overall I built the list starting with my two character heavies and went from there. What I found is that the list is way more powerful and balanced than I originally thought. The list can put out (up to) 5 reliable sprays per turn, which clears 10-15 models without a lot of issues; and all that is without the help of the Bloodtrackers. The list has 15 ranged (and magic) attacks, something I didn’t really think about until I had a dozen games under my belt. It also has a ton of board control thanks to Mohsar’s huge control area, and what may be the best on demand terrain creation spell in the game: Pillars of Salt.

Additionally the list hits as hard as any list I’ve ever built, and that comes from somebody with a strong competitive Cryx background. Access to Wraith Bane, Primal, and Curse of Shadows is no joke. It also has ways to debuff DEF, with Megalith’s animus, and remove upkeeps with the Bloodweavers Dispel option on their Sacral Blade. Something opponents won’t see coming is the Bloodweavers arriving at MAT 8 POW 11 Weapon Masters; POW 13 if the target is under CoS and MAT 10 if the target is within Undergrowth. Put plainer, if they get to a Gargantuan, which have an average of

What else do you want? Threat extension? How about Mirage, for a 2” place! That takes a bit more planning, but it’s not as hard as you might think. Deliver your piece this turn, then activate your Geomancer or Warlock and rotated the spell to the piece you want to deliver next turn. Fury 8 makes your offensive spells very reliable and fury efficient. So what about a Feat? Who needs a Feat when you have Pillars of Salt! I may be exaggerating, but this spell is incredibly powerful. Early game it can really screw with your opponents order of activation, and often burns their best ranged attack options. This makes the list very resilient to shooting, which is something I didn’t discover until I played the list. Late game, it can be back breaking, especially when your opponent often has limited activations, and limited things that can actually deal with a Pillar, let alone 2 or 3. The possibilities with Pillars are immense, and are still being explored, but it’s also cover on demand, and completely blocks LOS, even to Gargossals. So when I say it’s as potent as a Feat, I truly feel it is as big of a deal as many CNTL feats.

Speaking of the Feat, while it is mostly non existing versus Warmachine, it still shuts down channeling for a turn. That means it’s not completely worthless and can allow you to buy a turn to get up on attrition before dealing with offensive spells coming at you, or saved for late game to take a spell assassination off the table. That said about how it plays versus Warmachine, it is very powerful versus Hordes. It has often lead to many reliable assassinations. Mohsar only has to get the Warlock within his Feat and that complete stops him from Leaching Fury (no you can’t cut for any either!); an unsuspecting Warlock may leave himself on a single Fury, or worse, none. At that point there is almost nowhere on the board Mohsar can’t get them under his Feat thanks to Sands of Fate and SPD 7 models to get where he needs them. That means the following turn is extremely painful for your opponent. Their beasts are frenzying all over their own army, and the Warlock will usually have to take himself out of the game to not die next turn. If he does, you should be in a position to take apart the unsupported army; if he risks it, and stays in the game, you have a plethora of ways to assassinate a low Fury Warlock with the array of DEF and ARM debuffs, fast movement and long threat ranges from ranged and melee.

All in all he’s better than you think, much better. My initial experiences with him have been very surprising, and he is very capable in all aspects of the game. He was good enough for me to main list on my way to Masters at TempleCon and I encourage to put him on the table and if you need a start point with him, begin with this list and then take it where you want to go… you might find yourself liking him Mo’ and Mo’!!!!

Woldwrath, or How I Came to Love the Magic Monkey

When Gargantuans and Colossals were released, I don’t know anyone that wasn’t excited in extreme anticipation to see what ‘theirs’ was going to do. Were Gargantuans going to have 7 Fury?!!? Were Colossals all going to be able to get 5 Focus? ARM 21 base? Strength 20? Okay so these were all the meanderings of wistful thinking Warmachine nerds. That’s fine, we tend to do that; but never was there a release that was going to be this impactful to the game, or so it felt.

Much to my chagrin the big construct was pretty much the complete opposite of everything I had hoped and anticipated. He had a one shot gun, ZERO magic weapons, and couldn’t be buffed!!!! WTF!?!?! Half the fun of these big baddies is pondering all the silly combinations you could possibly muster with all the in-faction buffs; who cares if it’s hardly realistic to actually make any of them happen! Dammit I wanted to live the dream with my (non) Magic Monkey just like a Merc player could with Galleon… just imagine if we can get Gorman, A&H, and Ragman into position with Damiano’s Feat, HE’LL ONE ROUND THE WORLD!!!!

C’mon I’m not the only one who thinks of this nonsense, don’t lie.

My faith was renewed, slightly, early in 2013 when, of all things, I took the Kraken to TempleCon and was able to ride that Colossal to a top 8 finish in Masters. Playing a 20 point model was a different thing entirely than I had experienced before. There was a new level of satisfaction and dominance when it was done right that I really enjoyed. Previously I resolved I was never going to play the Woldwrath in sincere and (not so) silent protest. However I received the Woldwrath as a gift, and after having a positive experience with a Colossal at TempleCon I decided to give the big monkey a go; and that’s where we begin this article…


Monster Made of Stone

Like all Gargossals the Woldwrath brings dual threat capabilities, the difference for Circle being he is a rare commodity in that he joins just 4 other beasts that actually have boostable ranged and melee attacks. It’s not just that he has both a gun and fist, it’s more that he may have the best of both with highest base damage ranged and melee attack in faction; neither are to be trifled with. Don’t agree? Let’s discuss!

Lightning Strike is the boostable gun at POW 15, and range 14 which is an attack powerful enough to rip an arm off a jack, destroy UAs, or one shot calv models. Not to mention threaten a Caster or Lock from 19″ away. All that is not even the reason I have grown to appreciate it; the electro leap is really where it won me over. Often Woldwrath is unchallenged early in the game allowing him to fire for several turns before he has to engage. My target selection with him usually starts by identifying a pesky solo or UA that is standing near a lower DEF heavy or objective whom I can shoot and subsequently electro leap into the unsuspecting low ARM valuable friendly; it’s actually quite reliable when the opportunity is presented (which it often is). I have gotten Eryiss, Gorman, Ayiana, Arcanists, Mage Hunters, Mechanics, Souless, Bayle,  Wilder, Succubus, Madelyn, Sylas… ok, you get the point. It’s a reliable way to reach out and touch a number of important support pieces. How about simply removing a couple of models blocking charge lanes for your heavies? That is a more common use, especially late game. What about the one model at the back of the zone contesting that you can’t reach otherwise? How about running your own guy out in front of the target and use use the electro leap to clip said target up to 24″ away. Not bad! I’m not suggesting you pay 20 points for an electro leap gun, however I do believe it is added value on his abilities that may not be correctly quantified.

Second part of Lightening Strike I learned to love is the POW 10 AOEs it leaves behind covering the board in a swath 6″ wide. In the event I dont have an important solo to clip, I’ll shoot shoot the lead grunts on a unit, and use Storm Generator to be problematic for the remainder of the unit. If you really don’t believe that matters then go ask a Cygnar player what that does to board control. I have wiped multiple calv models running through the AOEs on the same turn. Did I hot roll? Sure, however the fact that its possible means your opponent cannot simply ignore it. Models with Tough hate it because its a clogged mess if one grunt makes their check. Needing 4, 5, 6 or even 7 on a damage roll will make an opponent think twice about running through it. That means Woldwrath can often dictate his own terms of engagement. Worried about missing and not getting the benefits of the one shot? Welcome to Warmachine, it’s a dice game. There is a 75% chance you hit a boosted 14 DEF, over 80% vs a DEF 13, and over 90% vs a DEF 12; you really shouldn’t be shooting anything higher than that. Those odds are about as good as your going to get in this game. I am frustrated by this criticism every time I hear it; while I understand it, I simply don’t believe it’s a detriment to him more than any other model in the game. Ultimately the gun gives Circle a long range support threat we have never had. Sending a beast in on a heavy and worried about one rounding? Drop a shot into it first, might save you a Primal. How about destroying an objective that your unit or solo failed to clear? Drop a shot. On paper I did not appreciate it until I had it on the table. There is a reason why Circle doesn’t have an abundance of great guns, and after playing this guy a lot, I understand why.

Moving on to what I like to call the Earthshaker Fist, you can make an argument for it being among the best base melee attacks in the game. I know some of you are ready to punch your screen, but think about it: it has an auto KD effect, which has a threat of +4.5″ of KD on nearby models, or put another way, Woldwrath can reliably KD any model (not immune) within +12.5″ of his starting position!!! For the mathematicians out there, he has 2″ reach, center the 4″ AOE on the model hit, netting another >.5″ to the center of its base (if it’s small based, more if it’s larger), plus the 2″ gained from the AOE itself. KD on on the fist is not an overlooked ability per se, but I think the abuse that it can lead to is under appreciated. It’s super reliable in clearing LOS and catching unsuspecting high DEF models that hover too close to anything that is more easily hit. The fact that Woldwrath is the same P&S as Ghetorix after he warps for ST seems to be missed a lot as well. We’ll get to Spell Ward in a bit, but, at its base, P&S 19 is hardly pillow fisted. While G-Rex has 1″ greater threat, the Woldwrath is more survivable and has Reach on both weapons as well as two open fists. The one detriment of the fists is that you run the risk of KD your own stuff, a concern I had when I first started playing him. What I found is that while you have to be cognizant of it, it’s not the huge issue I anticipated it being. Circle is typically model light and the risk of having your own models in the way is less than I thought. Most often I found myself playing him off to a flank and he wasn’t getting near or in the way of much. The benefits gained from the AOE KD effect on his reach fist are far greater than the inherent risk to your own pieces. In my experience the weapon has been money, and he is one of the most reliable melee models I have ever played. This is largely due to the fact that Spell Ward often prevents my opponents from stopping him from doing what he wants to do. His POW/KD combo is very consistent, and his damage output has never been disappointing. Speaking of Spell Ward let’s go there next.

Spell Ward originally felt like a huge issue to me and really made me not want to play him, as I mentioned at the onset of the article; however, once on the table I begun to feel much differently about it. Playing Gargossals I have found that often my opponent needs some type of spell to help deal with them, either by crowd controlling them out for a turn or by adding some type of damage enhancer. While this is not necessarily true 100% of the time, I would venture to say it’s true more often than not. Once I realized how much more survivable Spell Ward made the Woldwrath it began to unlock him for me. I cannot think of a time when I had him taken off the board by a single activation, often it took 3 turns of damage abuse before he went down, if he went down at all. Most opponents that realize a main asset of dealing with a Gargossal (spells) is off limits means they focus their valuable resources towards dealing with other pieces of the army so as to not get behind in other areas. Often that lead to Woldwrath being around until all other pieces that could effectively deal with him were off the table; which usually meant the game was won. All of the Gargossals are most valuable in attrition, however he seems to shine there much more than I ever thought. Where many of the Woldwrath’s abilities come into play is late game when opponents options for dealing with him become much more limited. So the first point on Spell Ward that I want to emphasize is the natural increase to a Woldwrath’s survivability that it brings; while it can at first seem frustrating, in the long run, you will find it keeps him on the table more often than not.

Regarding Spell Ward as a limitation, I’m with you… well, wait, let’s consider that for a minute. The important buffs that come to mind first that he cannot have are Stone Skin and…? Hmm… Okay, I’m being ironical but the point I’m getting at is, when I started to really examine what buffs he could actually receive most that come to mind are already not available to him by virtue of being ‘living’ or ‘self’. When you stop to think about it, really the only ones that you might miss are the ARM buffs: Inviolable Resolve, Restoration, and RoE (outside the Feat). That said, given what we just spoke about in the above paragraph, would we really rather have our opponents with the ability to increase their damage output on him? My experience tells me no. Moreover, I don’t want my opponent preventing him from doing what I want to do with my 20 point investment. I’ll sacrifice the ARM increases for the Spell Ward and base ARM 20.

I admit that there are some buffs that might be interesting: Carnivore would be nice, however I would not trade Spell Ward for those as he already has an accuracy enhancer built in with KD on the fists. So now what are you worried about? Our own damage enhancement? Let’s talk about what buffs he can receive. The one that is most obviously good is Curse of Shadows. It’s on two Warlocks in faction, and brings him up to effective POW 21. That means he should be able to one round most other heavy chassis in the game. My personal favorite buff on him is Wraith Bane from the Pureblood (yes he can still receive Animus cast by beasts), which allows him to ignore the buffs on opposing models, and gives him magic attacks (YAH!!!). With CoS he is dice plus 2 on an Arcane Shielded Storm Wall or a Warded Judicator; put another way that means he will do nearly 50 damge to either in spite of them being buffed!!! A different use that I have gotten out of Wraith Bane on him is his ability to go in and KD a bunch of Iron Fleshed models with multiple attacks and allow the rest of the support to clear the now KD models; it’s situationally brilliant. The most overlooked buff, in my opinion, is Hunters Mark; which he can gain from a BCW or Lanyssa. It will increase his threat by 2” bringing it to a scary 12”, and bringing his KD threat to >14.5”! That is pretty intense given all the melee potential he has, combined with how unsuspecting most opponents will be of his melee threat distance; not to mention the free charge. Speaking of threat extenders, how about Bounding on him? Another 2″ of threat, and +2 to a charge attack roll?? Sounds legit to me, especially when combined with the aforementioned Hunters Mark bringing him to 14″ and > 16.5″ KD threat. Pretty crazy on a Gargantuan. Another one that I have not tried but feel has merit is Amuck. Maybe not ideal at first, but in the event you get clogged in with a lot of infantry jamming the way, you can use this ability to rip through them with a Power Sweep. MAT 6 doesn’t make you excited to use Amuck? Ask Trolls what they would give for this ability on a MAT 6 Mountain King.

The summary on Spell Ward is this: when I started to examine the faction, there wasn’t nearly as much to buff a Woldwrath with as I thought. What’s more, once I realized the real impact of the defensive benefits of having it I can honestly say I’m no longer disappointed in him having Spell Ward and feel he truly benefits from it, all things considered.

A few other items on his card I want to address, starting with possibly his most overlooked base ability stat which is SPD 5, not 4 which a lot of players forget. That extra inch can make a huge difference (that’s what she said). Especially when many of his counterparts (Conquest, Judicator, Mammoth) are all SPD 4. Feels like we stole one here and I’m really happy about that. The threat of 10” base is a different feel than 9”, and the fact that with Hunters Mark he can threaten across an entire zone makes him that much more scenario relevant. The extra 2 inches of run speed early means he gets to position right away with no positional issues on turn 2. All in all, SPD is probably the piece that is missed most often on Woldwrath’s card, but one I take exception to note here and I’m sure upon second thought you will feel the same way.

His Animus was probably the most revered ability upon immediate release, and likely the most underused ability by the general player community a year later. Funny part is everything we thought early on about the ability is still absolutely true, so why aren’t we using it? To be honest, I’m not sure. Part of it is that Woldwrath isn’t really played a ton. Secondarily, when he is it seems that he is used as a gun platform in a list where he is one of maybe two beasts. When you boost and attack and damage, you don’t want to max out Fury and not be able to transfer to your best target; which ultimately means can’t use Druids Wrath. For me, I played him in a beast heavy list, so I was able to max him out without fear, and while the Animus didn’t come up often for me either, when it did it was situationally brilliant. The pieces that benefit from it probably number nearly half the faction, so I won’t list them here, we’ll discuss which models (I believe) he likes the most in the next section. For now, what I want to mention about the Animus is that it’s an extra die not boosted. This is a significant difference maker and when you need every bit to help ensure you land that crucial spell, going to 4d6 is huge. Additionally it exponentially enhances your chances for a Crit to trigger.

And last, but not least… transfers, oh my lord transfers! While this is certainly not unique to Woldwrath, what is unique is his ability to take more of them than any other Gargantuan in the game. Yes I realize (more than most) that Baldur is the only one that can heal him, however Stones do exist and offer you the opportunity to get him back functioning when you need it most. The point is, the ability to transfer a 15+ point whollup and not sweat it is… well, glorious. You won’t know the true comfort of that unless you have experienced it. While the Woldwrath is healthy, and you have transfers on you, your Warlock is nye unkillable; what’s more important is that Woldwrath will likely come out of it still ready to rumble. This goes back to the whole discussion on survivability. When it comes down to it nobody trades better, or harder, than this big stone monster. Having him in your corner as a transfer target is a warm and cozy blanket that, until experienced, you won’t truly appreciate.

Friends of  Stone

Now that we have discussed the foundational abilities, it’s important to discuss what models Woldwrath likes to hit the table with. While some of this has been hinted at already, let’s go into a bit more detail. Again, this isn’t necessarily every option available to him, however, these are the ones I feel are most worth noting. Let’s begin with:



pBaldur – It can be argued that nobody loves the big stone more than him. I have a detailed article (click here), if you want to read about it some additional details. Here are the highlights, the free Power Attack is clutch, the ability to heal him, and access to making your models immune to KD makes this combo really sing.

eBaldur – a lot of the same benefits as his Primal version, minus the mass KD immunity. The one big boon here is for one turn he can push this guy’s ARM way up, which also can’t be touched with magical debuffs. The Feat also means your Gargantuan gets the alpha. It’s a strong scenario and attrition combo.

Cassius – these two love each other, he is one of the two CoS Warlocks we have. Additionally Black Roots and Druids Wrath mean Hellmouth is on demand. Also Stranglehold is great for holding heavies that are dangerous at bay until Woldwrath can dispatch of them, which is also made reliable by Druids Wrath (and spammable!). A huge base to hide behind is never a bad thing either, and sometimes the Feat can buy Woldwrath the alpha.

eKrueger – this one has been explored quite a bit on the interwebs. Stormwall does prevent opponents from softening him up further extending his survivability. More importantly Gallows and Telekinesis extend his threat range, and eKrueger is a Warlock that loves having access to Druids Wrath more than most. Also this is another Feat than can buy Woldwrath the opportunity to draw melee blood first, probably more so than any other..

Mohsar – probably one of my favorite Warlocks for Woldwrath. He is the other Warlock that has access to CoS, but that is just the beginning. Druids Wrath and Crevasse is incredibly powerful on a Fury 8 Warlock. You can routinely spam it 3 times off Mohsar himself easily wiping a dozen models regardless of DEF or Stealth, and still camp 2 or 3. Pillars partners extremely well with the AOEs left from Lightning Strike. Fun fact, quickest way to get a judge called is to use Pillars to block LOS to your huge base Gargantuan. Woldwrath is also a decent Maltreatment target and works well in order of activation if you want to put Druids Wrath up first and get your AOEs out. Also its a nice base for Mohsar to hide behind as well. All in all this is a marriage that has not been explored nearly enough in my opinion.

pMorvahna – while less obvious of a choice, I like his gun combined with my models follow up in melee in conjunction with her Feat. Plus she is an awesome attrition Warlock and he is an awesome attrition piece. She has no natural ARM fixer so taking our highest POW beast is not a bad idea for her either. Her Feat can also be one that allows him to get the first strike on the follow up turn. The obligatory mention of a great huge base for her to hide behind is worth noting again.

eMorvahna – while it’s well documented that putting these two on the table together is effective, it is not something that I personally do; that doesn’t mean it should not be noted in this article. There is nothing she doesn’t pair well with and re – rolls on Woldwrath is about as good as it gets for Scales of Fate. He is is a great transfer for her despite that she can’t heal him, it allows her to bleed lower and transfer more. She probably benefits most from being able to hide behind him thanks to her own large base. Overall this is a tried and true marriage on the table.



Pureblood – Wraith Bane is my favorite buff on WW so is not surprising the PB made this list. They play off each other well thanks to their ability to operate well independently while both also having high POW boostable ranged attacks.

Ghetorix – is my favorite beast to play with the Magic Monkey. Together they are such a dynamic duo. G-Rex is a great trade piece and Woldwrath loves to have a partner that is equally if not more scary than him. Another bit that I love about Ghetorix is how he can regenerate and snack. Healing 6 damage in a turn means you need another 2 attacks on top of what he had left to get him off the table. Having him be survivable along side Woldwrath means the heavy piece trade is going to be that much more difficult for opponents.

Gnarlhorn – his Animus is one that really shines on WW. The +2 on charge attacks and extra 2″ of threat can really be amazing. Plus counter charge can be great as defensive tech for WW when an unsuspecting opposing heavy is caught by the Gnarlhorn saving the WW.

Razorwing Griffon – i like light beasts in general with the Woldwrath because with a shot from the Lightning Strike and a buff they can effectively eliminate many heavies that would threaten Woldwrath. When you can get a heavy in exchange for a light it’s always a good thing. I’m noting the Razorwing in particular because his Animus is worthwhile putting on the WW, and he’s got Flight meaning he ignores the huge base for LOS purposes.

Woldwatcher – a shield guard isn’t necessarily bad for the WW to have next to him, and this little guy can be a good speed bump preventing an opposing heavy from getting to the Gargantuan in certain cases.

Feral – a lot of the same things about G- Rex is also true here. He is a great swap piece, can regen, and can kill many of the things that Woldwrath might be afraid of; not a bad partner for the Gargantuan to have..


Other pieces to consider…

Fulcrum – not as crazy crazy as It sounds, when combined with the Woldwrath that’s a lot of firepower on the table, and with Storm Generator in conjunction with Flame Blast that’s 10″ of board that creates difficulty for the opponent. It’s a little out of the box but I like the potential in the right list.

Blackclad Wayfarer – Hunters Mark is a great buff to Woldwrath as we already noted. Additionally, he is a great target for Woldwrath to shoot to electro leap into an annoying model that you can’t seem to get rid of. He can be teleported out ricocheted off of and phase jumped back. Also he benefits from Druids Wrath on his spray attack which is never bad, don’t forget the Crit KD chance there!

Lanyssa Ryssal –  while not as good of an option as BCW, she still has Hunters Mark (but does not benefit from Druid’s Wrath 😦 ). Also Winter Storm can be situationally brilliant and should not be overlooked.

Gallows Groves – threat extenders on spells that benefit from Druids Wrath are never a bad thing. Plus medium base models can block paths to WW that can be problematic for opponents.

Shifting Stones – one of the few reasons I would consider taking two sets sets in a list is for Woldwrath. They can heal the WW outside of Baldur, block movement to the Woldwrath and the UA gains the benefit of Druids Wrath with Rock Hammer which also has a KD effect.

Skinwalkers/Ravagers/Bloodpack/Gatorman Posse – medium bases are good friends for Woldwrath to have on the table. Stops trampling and these units hit hard enough that with a little help from Lightning Strike they can take out a heavy and prevent infantry from getting to WW.

Druids – i feel obligated to note them due to to their sweet magic missile and Crit effect that benefits so obviously from Druids Wrath.


Shtics and Stones

Throughout the article a number of tactical ideas have come up, but here are a few reminders.

1. Use the gun as support, not just a way to do isolated damage. It’s a combined arms addition to Woldwrath’s kit and can be used to carve out support, crowd control infantry, or score VPs by clearing zones and finishing objectives.

2. KD is a hugely powerful ability that is the beginning step to many critical turns or assassination runs. Use the AOE KD effect to max advantage. It’s unique to him in that he can do it on every swing with a huge swath of impact.

3. Power attacks, use them! Woldwrath has a threat of 12″ on thrown large base model, 17″ if count his SPD. With a selection of Steady models in faction and a no KD upkeep; that is a lot of reliable jenk.

4. Keeping him alive is relatively easy, but leverage that to win the attrition war. If the Woldwrath is the last heavy on on the board, there is a good chance you’ve won the game.

In closing, I would offer this… Play the magic monkey! He has a lot of depth and is much more than meets the eye. You can build around him in many ways, and we have a lot of unique things to help take advantage of his kit. Have fun with that!

I hope you enjoyed this article and found something new and insightful. As always feel free to find me on the forums (phatheadaf) and look for more from DOGC at or

Primal Baldur, No More Tiers!

Primal Baldur, No More Tiers!

by Anthony Ferraiolo

I have never considered writing a Warmachine strategy/tactics article, as I believed they were strictly reserved for only those accomplished players whose opinions and strategies others would want to read. Thanks to some convincing from my friend Omnus, this will be my first go at a tactics guide; I thank you in advance for reading, and welcome any questions you may have.

Since GenCon, the list that has generated the most PM questions on the Forums is my pBaldur non-tier build. I have given much feedback on the forums regarding that list; however this is not going to be an article about that particular build, but instead an article about the Stonecleaver himself and playing him outside of his tier.

Of Earth and Stone

Primal Baldur is one of the original three Circle Warlocks released with origins of Hordes itself. On the surface he is fairly straightforward to play, which is one of his strengths; however, unlocking him is about finding the subtle tweaks that really raise him to the next level.

He is capable in melee, at a reliable MAT 7 with Weight of Stone to ensure accuracy on future swings. He can ‘anchor’ a list, which a lot of players like; with the POW 14 base and a ST buff (Stone Skin) that can be Geomanced onto him from an outside source. Additionally he also has a longer than expected threat range thanks to Forest Walk, all which help him close a game out if need be. That said, you shouldn’t find yourself with him mixing it up too much as he really is best when supporting his list, it’s just good to know he can, if he needs to, close a game out. One thing that does seem to be an annoyance is his SPD 5 which comes up inconveniently when you’re used to SPD 6+ on the rest of your Circle Warlocks.

He has a utility spell list that does a number of useful things. Stone Skin is arguably the best ST buff in faction; it can be rotated, up kept, and also adds to ARM which many use to augment the arsenal of Wolds available to a Baldur list. While stacking armor on Wolds is obviously good, using it on a high DEF Warpwolf making their ARM 19,20, or 21 w/ no KD is… well disheartening to a lot of opposition. It also can go on units as well as individual models which lead to some interesting uses throughout the faction. Downside is that the speed takes a minus meaning they can’t charge, and can’t run as far. This is not quite the issue out of Tier that it is in Tier (in my opinion), however it is a detriment that you need to remember. While this is probably Baldur’s most ‘popular’ spell, certainly among your opponents, it’s just the beginning of what’s in his tool bag. It’s obviously good on heavies, but to me becomes brilliant on units. Most notably the Bloodtrackers; I also like it on Skinwalkers for offensive and defensive potential.

Solid Ground is, to me, his signature spell, even though it does exist elsewhere in the game; in Circle it’s something that really takes advantage of the high DEF non construct models, and part of the reason why I like to play pBaldur with the living parts of the faction (Furries, Druids, BTs, etc.); also what ultimately lead me to playing him with the Woldwrath. This spell should be up in every game, and if your opponent wants to bring resources within range to take the upkeep off of him, you should be in a situation to take advantage of their proximity to a great degree. Don’t let Purification bother you, that means your opponents lock/caster has gotten very close to some of your other (very dangerous) pieces making this a very tricky proposition for the opposing ‘caster/’lock if your positioning is right.

Earth Spikes is one of the better magic missiles in the game, ignoring Cover and Elevation with high POW and a Crit KD on an AOE 3 base. This synergizes well with a lot of what Baldur does. Solid Ground prevents this spell from affecting your own models, he can Forest Walk to a spot to get an angle, he can cast it on a Stone or a Gallows Grove, he can use 4D6 to cast it with Druid’s Wrath from the Woldwrath to raise the likelihood of a Crit exponentially. It can be spammed by Geomancers for a better chance at the Crit, or for an unsuspecting assassination on a damaged caster/lock. All that said, you’re obviously not doing all that every turn or every game and you likely won’t often find yourself casting it in any kind of regular manner; however, unlike many magic missiles in the game, this one has a lot of potential besides just damage and I don’t hear many Baldur players proclaiming its position on his spell card. I found it situationally brilliant and leveraged it to a great degree in a number of games.

Finally Rapid Growth is what I found to be his work horse spell. Surprised? Don’t be. Blocking LOS in this game is one of the most powerful, and difficult, things to do. This spell, especially in certain builds, can really create a conundrum for many opposing lists. Once I really got into the groove of playing pBaldur, I found myself casting this spell over 90% of the time on turn 2, and 75% of the time the rest of the game, upkeeping Solid Ground and Stone Skin, and then putting this 4” Forest AOE where needed the rest of the time while camping two. In conjunction with Swamp Gobbers I can wall off 9” of LOS on the board, add in a Woldwrath you can wall off nearly 14” of board; or, said another way, more than 25% of the table can’t be seen. That’s nearly the same if you have a Woldwarden’s animus available in your list as well. Additionally it triggers Prowl on Stalkers and Gallows Groves and everything else in the faction that benefits from it. It allows Baldur to jump from his current spot in the middle of the board to a piece of forest anywhere (within range) on the board, or vice versa, with Forest Walk. That doesn’t necessarily have to be for assassination, it could be just for repositioning to safety or stronger scenario position (which may be the more powerful use of the spell/ability combo). I found this spell to be invaluable to a lot of the way I played him, and really what unlocked him for me. In a faction where guerrilla warfare is the basis of how we want to play, this spell, combined with the Feat means we can have multiple turns where you are preventing retaliation from your opponent. Once I became comfortable leveraging this spell for greatest value, I really started to dominate games with Baldur; when you get comfortable using this spell you will as well.

Broken Earth

A Warlock’s Feat is obviously part of what separates the good from the great. What makes Baldur a strong; yet straight forward ‘lock is the simple application of the Feat, which is almost always good even if not applied optimally, in conjunction with a tight spell list. Baldur’s Feat is in the conversation for best in Faction, and while many of you might disagree with cries of eKrueger or our new belle eMorvahna; hear me out on this. Baldur’s feat stops movement on all but a few things: Flight, Incorporeal, and Ghostly come to mind first. Yes there are place effects, but by and large those first three are what you have to worry about; of those three only Flight is a real concern, as in my experience Incorporeal and Ghostly are really only associated, in any kind of broad fashion, with Cryx. Good news is that’s not a matchup I plan on putting Baldur into, which leaves only Flight to be concerned with. Legion is the first faction that comes to mind (while not the only faction), however I’m fine with that because the other half of the Feat is extremely useful against Everblight which is that it grants all your friendlies in CNTL area Cover.

In Circle, a melee oriented faction, +4 DEF vs ranged and magic is a huge deal when combined with immunity to blast damage (from Solid Ground) especially when you’re playing the non-Tier high DEF style list. The Feat not only allows you to take board position, but it also typically buys you the alpha which ultimately puts you ahead in the attrition game. The Feat is purely defensive, which I understand many players do not like; however, in my opinion, this allows the Feat to be played well more consistently. What I mean by that is there is no temptation to try to ‘hold’ the Feat for an optimal offensive turn like some players may want to do with a Feat that has both offensive and defensive potential. The Feat normally can be applied early to create the leverage to take an early advantage in the game. Most players figure this out in the first few games

Most often I find myself Feating on turn 2, after I have had one turn of ranged/magic engagement, then I hold my opponent in place, with the goal of scoring a CP on their turn if at all possible, or scoring very easily the next time I have the dice. Additionally the post Feat turn usually is the first full on engagement opportunity which creates a jam effect that, often, on their own follow up turn they have trouble being able to contest my position; which again creates the opportunity to score CP on my opponents turn. That strategy creates an ‘offensive’ feel to the Feat, where I’m forcing board position and leaning hard on scenario. Meanwhile, if I have a list conducive to this strategy, I should also be up by at least ten, or more, points on attrition. In my opinion the non-Tier list has an advantage using this strategy in conjunction with the Feat due to the higher DEF making it difficult, in many cases, for your opponent to deal with what is in front of his engagement line as well as the continued higher SPD models affecting the whole of the game and not just the first turn (as allowed by the tier for slower Wold models).

Learning to use any Feat in an optimal manner is always key to being able to play a Warlock or Warcaster well; the beauty of Baldur in this regard, as was said earlier, is that this is not as difficult to learn with him as it is with other Warlocks/Warcasters.

To Tier, or Not to Tier

So as stated at the onset of the article, this is an article about playing him outside of Tier. The history of the success of the Tier pBaldur build is certainly well documented. However, there is a lot of upside to playing him o’natural, if you will. Let’s discuss the Tier advantages and how non Tier options have their own features and benefits.

In Tier, players like to take advantage of the huge deployment zone, and advanced position their pieces take on the table from the beginning. The non-Tier can take a similar advantage by being much faster up the table, the base SPD of the living troops and Warpwolves is simply higher. Additionally this SPD advantage lasts the whole game and not just the opening turn. The other major benefit of the Tier build is the extra point gained on heavies. This is hard to make up, however, the gained versatility of the living heavies over the constructs is enough of an offset to make the non-Tier build just as viable.

Some players may feel the Wolds make Baldur more Fury efficient and the fact that he can heal the Wolds is a huge advantage; they wouldn’t be wrong. However, it’s worth noting that the Warpwolves have Regeneration which saves Baldur Fury on many important key turns, and with their Warp Effects they are often more self-sufficient than the Wolds. Additionally, the extra Fury to push the furries (4 on them versus 3 on most heavy Wolds) means they can do that much more when they have to; this is situationally huge when it does come up.

The biggest benefit outside of Tier, in my opinion, is the access to the full array of Circle infantry. Stone Skin is such a sweet buff and the best targets for the spell are not really listed in the tier. Bloodtrackers are obviously greatly enhanced, and of course they were hugely important to my own personal build. Some of the same benefits can be garnered with the Wolf Riders. I also really like it on Skinwalkers, and don’t overlook it on Ravagers. I would encourage Baldur players to try Stone Skin on all types of units and models to see how it affects them uniquely.

Additionally access to non-Tier characters, currently (and specifically) Ghetorix, to me is worth noting. I personally loved him in the Baldur build. While this isn’t a huge deal in and of itself, being able to take our hardest hitting heavy to max hitting power is not to be overlooked. The fact that Baldur can do that, and make G-Rex more survivable in the same build is over the top good.

Along the same train of thought, all the living heavies are interestingly good with Stone Skin, especially as trade pieces. I already noted this, but it’s worth mentioning again. The math on taking out a heavy Warpwolf is tricky for an opponent to manage. Stacking ARM on the Wolds is one thing, but dealing with a DEF 13 ARM 19/20 no KD heavy is just ball bustlingly good. Especially when they have Regeneration stock to get them going again w/o having to use Baldur’s Fury.

The greatest advantage of the non-Tier is the versatility of options and increased hitting power of the Warpwolves. Primal Baldur in general has a predisposed weakness toward infantry spam, and Wolds generally have a hard a time cracking high ARM. Stoneskin does help with the latter a bit, not being able to get above POW 19 in the list can leave you wanting on two fronts (vs high ARM and infantry spam), which in Warmachine leaves you with a difficult task; which ultimately lead me away from the Tier. Going non Tier means you can dial most any Warpwolf to POW 20 or higher as well as access to our best anti-infantry tech. To me the full range of Circle’s beast and unit arsenal allow us to take advantage of his greatest strengths while shoring up his weaknesses.

The Chosen of Stone

There are a lot of options that work well with Primal Baldur. We are focusing on non-Tier in this discussion, and while I may include options that are eligible for the Tier we will discuss them from the perspective of how they fit into a non-Tier build. I’m not going to review all the options but will cover some of my favorites.

Starting with my favorite non Tier option and favorite target for Stone Skin is Bloodtrackers. I’m not breaking new ground with this, but it’s certainly worth noting as an amazing option. With Prey and Stone Skin they become RAT 8 POW 13 Weapon Masters on throws. They chew up heavy infantry and heavies alike. My favorite Prey target for BT’s is Angelius. They eat up Gatorman Posse as well, and can get crazy threat ranges moving 9” and throwing another 7” threatening 16” (or 15” if under Stone Skin). Baldur has ranged KD options from a variety Power Attacks as well as Spells. They can often swoop in and kill ‘casters or ‘locks to death with POW 11 not even needing the Prey target. No Feat allows them to often be able to have two turns of throws before engaging. They can handle a lot of Baldur’s weakness versus infantry with little help, and go a long way to facilitating the jam when given Tough and Undead from the Witch Doc and no KD from Solid Ground. This unit is arguably the best reason to play pBaldur non Tier.

Skinwalkers are a unit that I feel is often overlooked with him. Stone Skin is where I’m going to go with this, however, a few things to consider. Before you tell me about the problem you have with SPD 4, remember, it doesn’t have to be put on them before they engage, and the Feat allows them to get there relatively untouched and to also have the alpha. Once there, then throwing Stone Skin on them they get to be ARM 20 no KD (meaning they can’t lose Unyielding), 8 hit box, POW 15, two attack monsters that can hold or contest a zone forever. Even better, they are likely to take damage once engaged, and move 6” with reach thanks to Relentless Advance. I really like this unit w/ pBaldur.

Shifting Stone, while an obvious choice, are still worth noting. I take them in my lists for a lot of reasons that don’t necessarily need be explained. One thing that is interesting to do is when you are desperate for contesting a zone to help pull a game late is to throw Stone Skin on them to gain the ARM buff, makes killing a 5 box stealth model hard to get rid of in a pinch. Obviously not optimal, but situationally brilliant. Ultimately they are super important to a pBaldur build due to Stone Skin being a SPD debuff; so they are crucial at helping models keep a threat range without being able to charge.

Wolf Riders I mentioned before, and while this may seem like another odd choice, your still talking about SPD 8 POW 11 or 13 weapon masters on thrown weapons when buffed with Stone Skin; SPD 10 if they get in range of their Prey target. On the Feat they can creep uncomfortably close at DEF 18 ARM 16 vs ranged and magic. Another ancillary benefit of having Stone Skin on them is that opponents can be lulled to sleep by thinking they won’t be assaulting from way downtown, and the opportunity can present itself to drop the buff and pull the 14” Assault. All in all a sneaky good choice with Baldur.

Ravagers have grown on me a lot over the past few months thanks to my success with them in another list (which you may have heard about :D). It’s made me consider them in a lot of other builds, like pBaldur for example. The Feat means they are DEF 17 on the way in, and now extremely likely to get the alpha; immunity to blast damage means they are extremely survivable. The problem for the Ravagers has always been delivering them; pBaldur is somebody who can actually do that effectively. Once engaged, throwing Stone Skin on them at that point means they are now ARM 16 in melee and POW 15 swinging at MAT 7 with 8 boxes each. That is a stout unit that Baldur can effectively deliver. Same rules apply about buffing them once engaged as with the Skinwalkers. Moreover, this unit has the ability to set the line of engagement way up the board, really allow the Feat to dominate the board making it very difficult for your opponent to get into the scenario game before it’s over quickly.

You can make a similar argument for the Bloodpack, however, I don’t think Stone Skin works as well for them as it does for Bloodtrackers or Ravagers. The Bloodpack ‘feel’ like a cross between to the two units, and what I do like about them is that Feat can allow this unit to shoot from a good position, then take the next turn to Assault and Battery into the opposing lines. Once engaged dropping Stone Skin on them to hold the line as previously discussed.

Druids are part of his Tier and a good inclusion for versatility sake. I personally don’t find them useful in my build; and I don’t think Baldur does a ton for them but that doesn’t mean they don’t add value. They can get already themselves to DEF 18 on their own with Summon Vortex and Camouflage which means they can use Baldur’s Feat turn to put themselves in really good position by running. The immunity to blast damage from Solid Ground is definitely a boon, but beyond that they are Druids doing what Druids do in the list. They add more LOS blocking which I already discussed Baldur takes great advantage of maximizing. If you plan to play a Woldwrath in the list (as I like to do), then the Druids do benefit from Druid’s Wrath adding more KD potential to the list; and the Overseer can extend Baldurs ability to push beasts which can keep him safe thanks to the oft overlooked Beast Master ability. Also the elemental immunity is annoyingly good versus Legion who I like to drop Baldur against. All-in-all, the unit has merit in the non-tier build.

The last ‘unit’ I want to note is the Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew. They add another 5” cloud AOE to combine with Baldurs Rapid Growth spell which is a combo I love so much. It means you can spread out your cloud effects, or clump them. Additionally they benefit from Baldurs Feat which is very nice, and also benefit from Solid Ground which is just awesome. These buggers are hard to kill, and have been late game pieces that contest and/or take a CP from an unexpecting opponent. Also, I really like the Witch Doc in my list, so these guys are sneaky good Sac Strike targets (closed out a game with it in Masters at GenCon!).

Moving into the discussion on beasts, I really like Ghetorix with him. He trades extremely well with Stone Skin on him. When play testing a Gorax in the build, Ghetorix routinely took out two heavies a turn at POW 23 (often being at dice plus 4 or 5). One rounding a Gargossal means you can trade 11 points for 20, and sometimes whatever they have left cannot deal with DEF 13/ARM 21 no KD which is the best part. If you don’t want to go to POW 23, you can leave him at POW 21, and Lightning Strike him then drop the forest in front of him so they cannot retaliate. Also, I really liked warping Hyper Aggressive with him. The 5” (thanks to Stone Skin) out of activation move meant my he often walked into threat range, into Stones, or into a position to cause unexpected Terror checks on my opponents turn triggering Unyielding and creating lots of problems. Most of my assassinations were enabled by a Hyper Aggressive Ghetorix. I even used Ornery on him a number of times, especially after hot rolling a Primaled G-Rex with a few Fury left, I almost always threw it up. Why? Well, why not? He’s going to Frenzy regardless, and since he’s all dialed up, and I know my opponent is going to throw the kitchen sink at him why not take a free POW 23 swipe at a heavy. You be surprised how many times a plus roll (8,9, or 10) means I just took 14 or so damage off my opposing heavy, wiping a system. Then when he frenzies the following turn (if they didn’t kill him which is likely if they lost a system or spiral), he swings again fully boosted at POW 21. I have on a couple occasions killed opposing heavies this way (yes really, and yes more than once). Really an amazing play with pBaldur, and while Ghetorix is awesome in general, he has a lot of plus side in a non-tier build with this Warlock that I had not seen previously before logging all the games with this combo.

My second favorite beast with him is in fact the Woldwrath. As many of you might know at this point, it’s quite public that the WW is the reason I ended up playing pBaldur to begin with. To me, pBaldur is the optimal pairing for the Gargantuan, while you not agree, it’s just my opinion. The free power attack, the fact that Baldur can heal him, and the benefit that Solid Ground brings to the list means you can swing freely and not have to worry about Earth Shaker. The gun adds an element of infantry control to the table with the 3”AOEs, combined with the other board covering AOE effects I like in a pBaldur build, means the board becomes quite cumbersome to maneuver. I also love the gun for clipping annoying solos who stand too close to another model or objective. The Feat also plays very well for the Woldwrath. This allows him to run first turn, move and fire second turn (usually protected by the Feat), then get the alpha the next turn. That’s a huge deal for any Gargossal; especially one that has KD on melee weapons. The Feat and gun also means they can’t really ‘gum’ him up the way they want to. He’s also a tremendous transfer target for Baldur, and a strong part of the scenario game that Baldur can play. He is included in Baldur’s Tier, however, I really like having a Woldwrath and Ghetorix in the list as G-Rex can trade himself for two heavies, and Woldwrath can often easily take out what has killed G-Rex meaning the big guy may well be likely the only heavy left on the table that is nye unkillable. That same play can be made with a Feral or Stalker as well, though not as effectively. Overall my favorite thing to play with Baldur, for a lot of reasons.

Warpwolf Stalker is a beast that I also like a lot with Balder because of his versatility. He does a lot to help Baldur’s trouble with infantry, and also can be used to dial up to a potential POW 22 if all the way maxed out with Stone Skin and Primal. His Prowl ability is easy to trigger in a Baldur list thanks to Rapid Growth, and I love the interaction of Lightning Strike in a pBaldur build because of Rapid Growth. I can send out the Stalker bring him back then drop a forest in front of him, it’s very powerful. That said Lightning Strike on anything in a Baldur list is good because of the way he can mitigate retaliation so the animus is great to have available to a pBaldur build regardless of style of play.

Gorax is a beast I tried very hard to get into my own build, but ultimately couldn’t afford the points. I really, really like him in lists with Warlocks that have ST buffs; I’m just a fan of taking advantages and stretching them as far as they can go. Stone Skin plus Primal means Warpwolves hit unnecessarily hard in this list. I also like the double buff on the Gorax himself. Late game I have caught more than a few opponents with him in a pBaldur build at POW 16 MAT 8 teleporting in for the win. He’s the best light warbeast in the game, in my opinion, and if you can find the points in your build I highly suggest you take him.

Feral Warpwolves and Purebloods I believe are both good plays with pBaldur. The Feral has a lot of the same playability that G-Rex has, just w/o the reach. You will miss the Hyper Aggressive, but as far as trading a really tough heavy, he’s great at being an automatic ARM 20 DEF 13 no KD while still being a scary melee piece. The Pureblood to me is always useful and if you’re not going Tier, you may need access to some extra magic weapons in the list. Plus Wraith Bane means you won’t need Primal in a lot of cases to make up for the benefits which saves you from frenzying the next turn. My favorite part about the Wraith Bane animus is that it can be put on the Woldwrath!!! All in all I think they are both solid choices in a pBaldur build.

Woldwarden, Woldguardian, and Megalith are all good choices and more popular in the tier. They still have a place in non-Tier builds. Just likely not going to spam Wolds unless you want to play the Tier. Mega is always good, and the automatic heal makes him a great transfer target. His animus helps other models hit more accurately; think of effective RAT 10 Bloodtrackers! The Woldguardian is probably the best Wold target for Stone Skin, bringing him to POW 19 and ARM 22. Problem is he absolutely needs the Stones as SPD 3 won’t get you anywhere. He’s not the greatest transfer target either with less boxes than Mega or the Woldwarden. The Warden is a good fit as it gives yet another 4” AOE to cause LOS nightmares and facilitates treewalker that much better.

Way of the Stone

So if you want to play Primal Baldur and looking to try it non Tier, the play style of the list is still mostly the same as the tier version. The Feat is powerful and allows you to dictate board position and gives you a strong opportunity to take advantage of scenario.

Using the whole faction can really unlock some sweet things about Baldur’s full arsenal of abilities. With Solid Ground don’t overlook the value of power attacks, including throwing your own models, especially late game when your opponents guard is down. I have thrown Ghetorix, a Stalker, even a Gorax at my opponent’s casters and heavies for unsuspecting devastation. Don’t believe me? Try it yourself. Its jank, but effective when done wisely (especially on beasts that regenerate).

Baldur’s playability leads to a lot of subtle combos. I have had a Hyper Aggressive Ghetorix walk forward on the Feat turn, only to allow the Woldwrath to throw him at a caster on the following turn for an assassination. I have targeted Stones with Earth Spikes under Druid’s Wrath to cause a Crit KD on a nearby opposing Warlock to then have the Bloodtrackers finish the game with javelin fire. I have forest walked to get myself into Stones, to be teleported to an opposing zone in order to Dominate that I was originally 20” away from.

Always remember that Baldur is not any more survivable than the other Circle ‘locks and leveraging his ability to block LOS and limit retaliation is his greatest strength. His lists hit hard, and are survivable. He has assassination potential but that’s not something I feel like you should build for, just know how to recognize it.

Learn to use all of his tools, but don’t try to do it all in the same turn. He is applied best to one thing at a time, and his CNTL range is his dominion. Once you get comfortable in that space with his abilities, you will find success.

The non-tier options really broaden his scope and allow him to be played in a more take all comers type of list. I believe the non-tier benefits are that the list can build to take advantage of his strengths and patch his weaknesses. Use those options, and try some of the ideas noted in this article, and don’t be afraid to try some of your own!

Article also Posted here (

DOGC’s Anthony Ferraiolo Wins GenCon Masters!!!

This past August, in by far DOGC’s most significant accomplishment to date, Anthony ran the table at GenCon in Indianapolis, one of the largest gaming conventions in the world, to win the Warmachine Masters title. Here is a recount of the games in his own words…

What an amazing weekend at GenCon! It’s hard to explain the deep sense of pride and humility I experienced; this was, and is, as rewarding a moment for a hobbyist and gamer as I could imagine. I do love this game, like I’m sure many of you, so to live this dream is just that, a moment you don’t know will come nor can you ever expect it. To do it at only my third major con is just… crazy. Nonetheless, I will take you through the two events and seven games as best I can remember, tho I promise the details will be sorted as it was a bit of a whirlwind, especially as the rounds and games mounted.

The place to start is with my lists, which I received many, many questions about…





Bloodtrackers (full)

Shifting Stones w/ UA

Witch Doctor

Swamp Gobbers


Stalker x 2




Woldstalers x 2

Shifting Stones w/ UA

Galows Grove

Lord of the Feast

Swamp Gobbers





Ravagers (full) w/ UA and WA

Skinwalkers (full) w/ UA

Wolves of Orboros (full) w/ UA

Shifting Stones w/ UA

Gallows Grove x 2

So yes, no Megalith, no Nuala, no second unit of Stones (in any list), and yes, I did play a Pureblood, Ravagers, Feral, and Lord of the Feast; Baldur was not in Tier, and I did use a Woldwrath. Guilty as charged. After it was all said and done, it was somehow good enough to win GenCon Masters :D. Honestly, it could not have worked out any better, and every list performed as I had prepared it to. The pBaldur list, as I have said in other BRs, was built around the Woldwrath and what I think takes advantage of what it does best. Ultimately it’s an attrition list that swaps heavies until an unkillable Gargantuan is the only thing left and overall the list is really really strong in scenario play; it does struggle with massed infantry however. The eMorvahna list construction has generated the second most questions. In my opinion her list wants to be in melee; Reeves and Bloodtrackers just didn’t do it for me. I did not have a great experience with them and found that the Ravagers really ‘deliver’ the list well, are great in melee, and 8 box infantry are tremendous on her feat turn. The list also handles guns lines fairly well, as it engages everything quickly and Morvahna herself is fairly hard to kill at ranged given the protection built into the list. It’s in general a good all comers drop, while being a strong counter to a lot. Lastly Kromac is built in not a completely atypical way, I have a few twists that brought some different things to the table. The entire list brings magical weapons, and the Lord of the Feast brings a different dynamic than most opponents expect from a Kromac list, as does the Pureblood. That said the list does struggle with scenario but is excellent at taking opposing pieces off the board in any order I choose (most of the time).

GenCon runs a two day masters with two qualifying heats, three list Divide and Conquer [1] (each qualifier and the final) which means you have to play each lists one time (in each event). The opening heats were only slated for three rounds which means you would essentially be locking yourself out of a list each time you played a list, and by the last round you would be completely locked in. I really wanted to qualify in the first heat to give myself as much mental rest as possible as well as giving myself an extra half day to enjoy the con.

Masters Qaulifier – Heat 1

Round 1 – vs Menoth

Scenario – Outflank

Recap – I don’t remember my opponents three lists, but I do recall he was playing three non Purification Casters which is what struck me. Purification is the bane of most Warlocks/Warcasters in the game, but feels much worse for me as a Circle player than it does for anything else I play, so not having to deal with that set me at ease early. The selection of the first list was actually the hardest choice of the event because essentially you are forfeiting whatever list you choose for the rest of the day. That said, I was not entirely sure what he was going to drop, but suspected eKreoss2 Tier as the auto hit and extra attack on Feat turn are bad news for high DEF Circle; given that after considering all things I decided to go with pBaldur. I know dropping difficult terrain is an issue for a lot of Menoth; the Feat can really allow me to get ahead on attrition, and it’s the list that I expected my opponents to be ‘least’ familiar with. Plus if I have to live without it the rest of the day I feel my other two lists can handle what the Baldur list is normally good at.

Sure enough my opponent dropped eKreoss2; good news is that I have two local players that have run this list quite a bit so I’m very well versed in facing it. My opponent won the die roll and opted to have me go first, which I thought meant that he wanted to move from the side of the board with the impassable terrain; however he chose to stay where he was. So I’m happy to take the opening turn and take board position. In this scenario, it’s a bit tougher because I have somewhat limited resources to protect two distinct zones, so what I like to do is have Woldwrath hold up one zone, and use the rest of my battle group in the other, and the BTs to support either, creating a barrier between my opponent and Baldur. There was no comfortable wall in my area so I had to rely on this barrier and blocking LOS with Gobbers and Rapid Growth. After deployment I had the Prey put on the Daughters that had deployed to the far R side of the board, looking to flank.

As such the opening turn I ran the Woldwrath forward toward the Left zone, with Ghetorix in the middle, and Stalker to R, with the BTs out front and the Shifting Stones in a strong position toward the R center with Ghetorix, Stalker, and Baldur within. I put Stone Skin on the BTs, and Solid Ground up. My opponent took his turn and did not move as aggressively forward as I had expected; ot seemed that he was somewhat unsure of my threats, and wanted to keep out of obvious threat. He pushed most of his forces to the zone where the Woldwrath was, moving the Daughters and the Fire of Salvation to the edge of the other zone, towing in, then turned the dice over to me.

On my turn 2, I knew I was in strong position to feat, he did not have much in the R zone at all, and just a few daughters and the jack. on the right he had clouded 3 units of Knights Exemplars on the edge of the zone, and the Exemplar Errants in the middle also protecting the zone. So I started with Woldwrath who put a shot into the lead unit of KEs dropping two 3” AOEs in the front of his massed infantry, killing two, and keeping Woldwrath far outside of their 8” threat. I moved the BTs up, and had them open fire on their Prey (the Daughters) and needing 7’s helped quite a bit as they were cleared from the zone, and the remaining Daughters failed their command. I also was able to kill a few KEE’s. Then I activated Baldur, Feated, and cycled Stone Skin onto the Stalker. Stones activated and dropped the Stalker in front of the Fire of Salvation that was the only Protectorate model remaining in the right zone. He dispatched of him w a few Fury to spare, successfully clearing the zone. Witch Doctor toughed the BTs, and I turned dice over. My opponent was officially fully locked up in Baldur’s Feat, he couldn’t get anything over to the zone I currently owned, as the effects of the feat were limiting his movement, and he knew it. So he decided to do what he could to flood the left zone, as he started to run through the two AOE’s he lost the first two models that ran though, and decided that was not the best choice, and started to run around it really limiting his movement further. The KEEs opened fire on the BTs and really couldn’t hit any as DEF 18 on the feat was too much to ask, the couldn’t aim due to Stealth (he needed to move to get in range), and they didn’t have range to charge. So after doing no damage on his turn, he turned the dice over, allowing me to score the zone on the right for the first point.

My turn 3, I dropped Stone Skin from the Stalker as it was no longer needed there, I then used the Stalker to kill the two remaining Daughters, allowing me to move Prey to the KEEs. The Bloodtrackers then went to town killing nearly 2/3rds of the KEE unit, leaving them with only 3 and all of the them on the far left side of the board. I activated Woldwrath, had him go forward into the Knights Exemplars that had run into proximity, and Power Sweep killing 3, then killing two more on buys, and KDing two more that were out of Reach but in the 4” AOE. Then Baldur activated, moved Stone Skin to Ghetorix, put Rapid Growth in front of the Woldwrath (not to block LOS but to create difficult terrain), and then moved into the zone for an easy Dominate. The Stones then dropped Ghetorix onto the unsuspecting Reckoner, who was subsequently scrapped by the character beast. Firmly in control at this point, I turned the dice over at 3 CPs. My opponent was feeling the pressure, had no jacks, Gravis, Kreoss, and a unit and half of KEs left and a few KEEs left. So he decided to Feat this turn, and go for what he could. He started with the unit of KEs nearest Woldwrath and declared a run/charge, only able to get two on WW, he did minimal damage. The rest were blocked out by the Rapid Growth. The Errants moved forward to try to deal with BTs, but thanks to Tough and no KD, were not able to do anything meaningful. With a hole cleared to Ghetorix, and seeing that the game was likely out of hand, he activated Kreoss feated and charged G-Rex. Then activated Gravis to do the same. After all had settled G-Rex was still alive, and I had scored 2 more CPs on my opponents turn winning via scenario on the bottom of 3. Onto the next round!

Round 2 – Cygnar

Scenario – Into the Breach

Recap – Cygnar is one of the matchups where I like to have pBaldur available, and of course he’s off the table already. Honestly in this matchup there was really no choice for me but to play eMorvahna. Admittedly I really wanted to save her for the third round as she is my most well rounded list, and Kromac is susceptible to match up issues especially versus the boostable guns of the swans. Knowing I have to win this round to worry about the next, I resolved myself to drop eMorv regardless of which caster my opponent is playing. My opponent was one of the solid Canadian contingent named Matt, and he had eCaine left along with another (eHaley maybe?). However I expected eCaine, and I was right. It was the ever popular Mercnar list, with eCaine at the helm; right down to the Forgeguard, Alexia, and Boomhowler. Luckily, I have faced eCaine enough to know how to manage this matchup.

I did win the roll to go first, which I had incorrect on the RFP podcast interview (apologies Matt and Omnus), and took the opportunity to do so (now that I can recall the details correctly and look at the photos :D). Obviously I did not want to give eCaine’s infantry heavy list a chance to unpack, so I had my Ravagers deployed out front across from the scoring zone on my R so they could engage quickly, with my battlegroup and Skinwalkers backing them up. There was a piece of impassable terrain in the middle of my half of the board, and I put the Wolves of Orboros on the L side of my deployment, to the far side of this piece of terrain; they would work to keep the flag contested if need be, and close on the flank long term. My opponent established his whole line directly across from the main scoring zone, all three units, layered with Boomhowlers first, Alexia second and Forgeguard last, with Ol’ Rowdy on my L nearer to the flag with eEyriss. My opponent, Matt, looked at me and said, “this one is going to go on for a while,” I knew he was definitely going to be right.

On the opening turn I moved to the zone, putting half of my Ravager unit at the 29” line, across half way, knowing he was going to have to move into threat range, and did not have an easy way to bring Caine out to start firing early, as he was buried behind all three units. I had Fog of War up early, Carnivore on the Wolves of Orboros, and pushed my line to the center of the board. On my opponents turn he did the best he could to move out, and ran directly out to get some Boomhowlers into the zone, and pushed Alexia up to my R to free up the Forgeguard to get into a backup spot behind the Boomhowlers. Eyriss took position on a hill and on the far L and I knew she would stay to help the Rangers shoot down the WoO as they came across the board.

On my turn two I sprung the Ravagers into action and crashed home with all four Tharn in the front, and another shot from the Shaman plus and electro leap. With that I had officially set the line of engagement way up the board, and pushed up with the Skinwalkers, and sent the WoO into the Ranger lines to take most of them off the table. Rowdy did counter charge and squish one. On my opponents turn, he fought back with the Boomhowlers to get back into the zone, and pushed Alexia to the hill on the R side near the scoring zone, in a good spot to dictate to the zone. Then Ol’ Rowdy pushed closer to the zone and killed a few more WoO that were threatening Eyriss, and she shot another. On my turn 3 I surveyed the board; I had lost some Ravagers, but to good purpose as his line was beginning to dwindle and Alexia was unexpectedly exposed. I decided to send the Skinwalkers forward thru the gaps left in the Ravager lines, and clear out the models that were in front of Alexia, so I could spring a Ravager onto her. The Skinwalkers did well to make room, and thanks to a Powerful Charge, Brutal Charge, and a re-roll, Alexia had taken enough damage from the Ravager that it could not be absorbed by Death Magic. She was now gone, as such I was able to be a bit more aggressive with Morvahna. I had a nicely positioned forest just off the zone on my side of the table that I could safely keep her in and around. The remaining Ravagers were able to get into the second level of models and start doing work on the Forgeguard. The WoO crashed into the flank to clear remaining Boomhowlers, and  were now threatening the rear lines of his Caine’s support. I was happy with my position; had Fog of War up, Flesh of Clay on Morvahna, and three transfers available. I was in the forest at the edge of the zone, and confident I was out of Caine’s threat. I turned the dice over.

My opponents turn 3, and he was basically out of Boomhowlers and Rangers, Alexia was dead, and he was left with Rowdy and the Forge Guard; but still had his Feat. At this point Caine now as able to get LOS to some of my stuff to help his army clear models. He started to do his work, and allowed the Forgeguard to get into the Ravagers and Skinwalkers. They did quite a number, killing a half dozen models, plus a few WoO. Rowdy continued to dwindle the WoO as well and moved closer to the zone charging the UA and Standard to eliminate them. When I got the dice back on top of turn 4 it was evident it was my turn to Feat, and I planned bring nearly everything back; I alsoI had a good chance to kill Rowdy this turn as well as long as I could remove the Arcane Shield upkept by Jr. (which I didn’t want to have to use Purification to manage). This was a critical turn, so I was methodical. I started with the Ravagers and Skinwalkers, and wanted to use their activates to clear as much as possible, with their mulitple attack mechanics, before bolstering their ranks with the Feat. I was able to clear the last of the Boomhowlers, and Risen as well as reduce the Forguard to less than half. I activated Morvahna, brought back the UA for the WoO and all the Skinwalkers and Ravagers I had lost, then put Flesh of Clay on Morvahna again and light calv moved back to the woods, but this time staying on the edge of the zone, as it was now clear to be dominated. I sent the WoO to work using their minifeat to kill Jr, Reinholdt, and the Squire along with some more of the Forgeguard, and even ding up Rowdy (getting the buckler!). Now with Arcane Shield off of Rowdy, I activated the Guardian who charged a damaged Rowdy to finish him off with four swings and a little help from Scales of Fate. I moved the Stones to get the Feral and Woldguardian within the triangle of terror and I was able to successfully dominate for the first two points of the game; nearly the entirety army was back on the table versus only about 8 or 9 Cygnar models on the table.

My opponent took the dice, and still had his Feat, he contemplated a lot. Morvahna was on four transfers, she was at about half life after Carnivore healed her a bit, and had Flesh of Clay on her as well. She was in concealment from the forest and Caine was pinned in behind a wall of Ravagers and Skinwalkers. So he would have to Gatecrasher to the zone, kill a model in melee and use the remaining shots to try for the game. He did just that, but instead of going for Morvahna he opted to try and gun down the Feral. He did not upkeep anything, as he was only a Focus 6 caster at this point, he spent three to Gate Crasher to the Ravager; Feated and went to town. It took him an extra attack to kill the Ravager than he planned, then started in on the Feral, but was unable to kill him. With Caine being the only model in the zone, I was able to dominate again with Morvahna, and now be at four points. The game was already over, as I could auto dominate again, but seeing as Caine was there for the taking, I activated Morvahna, put Carnivore on the Woldguardian, healed him for one, and put a fully boosted Sunder Spirit into Caine, which took him to a third of his life. The Guardian was teleported to Caine, boost to hit, KD on the first swing and killed him on the first damage roll. The game ended and I was able to dominate one more time for max CP and nearly max points destroyed. The game stat line appeared more lopsided than it really was, Matt played a strong game, but it’s even harder to attrition out my particular eMorvahna list (more so than it already usually is), and she is well suited to stand up to his Feat with transfers and Flesh of Clay. With that game behind me, I was now one win away from qualifying for the Masters final on Saturday!

Round 3 – vs Skorne

Scenario – Close Quarters

Recap – My third round opponent was Skorne with eMakeda. It was not a particularly good matchup for Kromac, but not a bad one either; it was going to be a game, and I was happy to have a punchers chance to qualify for Masters with a win in this contest. Both of us were Beast heavy, but his list had the unusual position of out threatening my Kromac list and had the goods to hit me reliably with the eMakeda feat. I won the roll to go first, looked at the board, and decided I wanted the opening turn to get myself into position to threaten everything he had on turn two. I had an objective that was impassable just outside of my deployment area, center massed, that was in a good spot for me to keep Kromac just behind to be in the kill box but completely walled off from my opponent. My opponent had five heavies including three Archidons, Molik Karn, and a Gladiator. They were all deployed in the middle of the board, and the Nihilators were deployed on my L side of the board, with support scattered as needed behind his lines.

On the opening turn, I moved both units of Woldshirmp up the flanks to firing position, put Wild Aggression on the Stalker to my L nearest the unit of Nihilators, Lord of the Feast had Inviolable Resolve, and Warpath on Kromac. I had Kromac behind the obstruction I noted earlier and the Pureblood and other Stalker on the R side of the the impassable terrain. My opponent came out in response being super aggressive with his beasts. Putting one Archidon in my face, ran the Nihilators far forward as possible, and had Molik Karn threatening just behind them, and then the remaining three heavies batting clean up with the rest of the support. As I took the dice back for my turn 2, I saw that Molik Karn was well within threat of my Wild Aggressioned Stalker so long as I could remove a Nihilator or two. So I activated the Woldshrimp on that side and took out the requisite Nihilators, Warpath moved the Stalker, had the Wilder put Lightning Strike on him and then activated him, warped ST and charged the Molik Karn (for free thanks to Wild Aggression). Intuition wasn’t going to save him, and he was dispatched of with Fury to spare, I then LS back to relative safety. The Lord of the Feast went next charged the Archidon and took up a spot next to a wall the Archidon was hugging in the middle of the table. I then activated Kromac, cycled Wild Aggression to the other Stalker which subsequently ported over the obstruction to the Archidon that was most forward to kill him easily after the LOTF had taken a chunk out of him already. The rest of the battle line took up position to threaten the line nearest my own flag. I figured I was safe in my line of battle (within striking distance of my opponents flag), unless Makeda wanted to get super aggressive and come forward to Feat.

As it turns out, he did indeed want to be super aggressive; needing redemption for losing two heavies, he pushed Makeda forward to his own flag to get her CNTL area to my include my heavies and dominate, and sent his remaining Archidons in to take both of my Stalkers off the table; he also got LOTF in the process. It was a surprisingly aggressive move, but I could see why, as he was now up 3 heavies to my 1, but Makeda was exposed with only 2 Fury (after upkeeping Leash and casting Road to War). So I look at the board, and I see that I can get a Primaled Wild Aggressioned Pureblood to her. His only transfer target is a fully healthy Gladiator, the other two beats were full on Fury. I was going to have to do something about the Gladiator. I started by plopping the Gallows Grove out into the middle of the board toward Makeda where the Pureblood would be. I used the Stones to port the Pureblood onto the far side of the Archidon protecting Makeda, just past it’s melee arc. I activate Kromac, who upkept Warpath, cast Wild Aggression and Primal onto the Pureblood through the arc node tree, then Feated, gains back all his Fury, switches form, moves and jumps into melee with the Gladiator. Now in Beast mode he goes to town with 4 boosted damage rolls on the the warbeast bringing him down to near dead. The Woldshirmp kill a remaining Nihilator to trigger Warpath on the Pureblood, allowing him to walk into melee with the opposing Warlock. The Pureblood is now MAT 8 POW 18 under Wild Aggression, with four Fury to push. Makeda was able to transfer one attack to the Gladiator before suffering splash damage, and she died on the third attack from the Pureblood.

That game was fast and furious (phew)! My opponent was aggressive and pushed me to play that way in response. Taking Molik Karn so early was critical from my perspective, but my opponent told me afterward that he hadn’t needed Karn in most of his games, so he was a bit of a decoy. However, he admitted that he underestimated the Pureblood and didn’t see all the pieces of the assassination with him which is why he got so aggressive with Makeda. I was extremely happy to be advancing to the Masters Finals on Saturday in the opening heat and now I could enjoy the next day and a half of the con!

Masters Finals

Round 1 – vs Retribution played by Bob Grant

Scenario – Process of Elimination

Recap – So here we are, opening the Masters, and I had been this far before, but I definitely wanted to improve upon my showing at TempleCon. Assessing the field, I felt good about my three Warlocks; but drawing the only Ret player in the field was a bit of first round bad luck. I normally would want to drop eMorvahna against infantry spam ranged lists ala Cygnar and Ret. However, it was too early to put her on the table, which left me with Kromac and Baldur; of the two, Baldur is far better against ranged lists, with a huge transfer target, LOS block, and a cover granting Feat. That said, of the three lists Bob was sporting he had Ravyn with Snipe Feat Go, eVyros Griffon spam, and Kaelyssa. Of the three, Kaelyssa presents far and away the most problems for Warlocks, so I fully expected to have that one dropped on me. I was right. So Baldur v Kaelyssa it was.

Bad news in this matchup is that Kaelyssa at any point can assassinate Baldur and just needs range thanks to Energy Siphon and Phantom Seeker. That means she ignores most of what Baldur can do to protect himself. The other issue in this matchup is that he had lots of infantry, three full units: Sentinels, MHSF, and MHI. Baldur is really not great versus infantry so I would have to get the most out of my Feat to have a chance. My opponent had first turn, and on deployment he had set his Sentinels on the L zone and the MHI on the R, MHSF in the center, with the jacks accessible. On my side of the board I had the Woldwrath on the L zone, which is likely why the Sentinels set up across from the zone with my battle group on the R side of Baldur and the Bloodtrackers in the middle; I put Prey on the MHSF, which proved to be a visionary decision. On the opening turn he MHI ran full blast out ahead, toward the R side of my area, the MHSF moved to the center of the board, and the Sentinels moved into the zone on the L. He tucked Kaelyssa in the rearguard of the army, behind a nice obstruction where she could dictate to the board. The jacks moved to the middle of the table behind the line of infantry. On my turn I decided that I would have to Feat opening turn to not be jammed out of scenario and allow me some time to take board position; this list was very far up the field.

On the second turn, my opponent had a bit of a conundrum with a lot of infantry and losing pathfinder. He took his two Mage Hunter units on moved them them out of the way of the jacks and sentinels to the R side of the board, and the Sentinels moved more forward into the L zone. The jacks ended up in the middle of the table. Kaelyssa Feated in response to my Feat to limit my guns, and prevent me from getting my beasts up the table. At the end of my opponents turn, I had him check his own Kill Box, turns out Kaelyssa due Baldur’s Feat really mitigating all the opposing infantry movement, was not able to get into the Kill Box, awarding me two quick CPs. This changed a lot for me. At that moment, I resolved myself to going full bore on the scenario. The plan was to put my beasts on the R side of the table take the objective for the third point, and put my BTs Tough and Undead with no KD in between the L zone and the rest of his infantry. I started by using the BTs to kill some Sentinels that were closest to the Stalker. I put Stone Skin on the Stalker and used the stones to port him into the Phoenix, and due to some bad rolls the Phoenix was still alive and operational. However, he was still on the R side of the table.Then with the way clear of BTs that had moved L, Ghetorix was able to get to the objective on the right side of the table and make quick work of it. I moved the Woldwrath forward to shoot at the Sentinels, however missed due to Kaelyssa’s Feat. up 3-0 I turned the dice over to my opponent to see how he responded.

My opponent assessed the situation and as I suspected the prospect of killing two heavies this turn was too much for him to pass up. He used his Sentinels with their Vengeance move and charge to get to the Stalker and take him off the table; then used the two heavies to take out Ghetorix, and was sure to move Kaelyssa into the Kill Box to not auto lose the game. At that point, he realized that he had very little in the zone on the L. The only thing remaing was the MHSF what was more in the R center of the table. So they just ran as far L as they could, able to get three of them in the zone. On my turn, the game, at a glance looked bleak as I was down two of my heavies, and his models owning the R side of the table. However, the devil is in the details, me up on CPs within a turn of winning. I had to clear the zone on the side to win the game. I could reach the objective easily and had enough movement to get the BTs in plenty of range to the the MHSF, whom I was happy to have Prey on at this point, and I had enough attacks to clear the rest of the Sentinels. I started with Woldwrath and tried to shoot to the two Sentinels in the zone with his gun, and missed. Bad start to the turn, but I had plenty left. Before WW was done I put his animus up, which was circumstantially brilliant at this moment. Baldur was next, charging the objective, destroying it and dropping an Earth Spikes on the Sentinels removing them. Now it was just the MHSF. I activated the BTs who had enhanced speed being so close to their Prey and they succeeded in getting into range of the remaining culprits in the zone I was able to clear all but but one MHSF. I still had two good attacks left, however only needed the Witch Doc. I moved the Gobbers up into position to be a sweet Sac Strike target, and was able to move forward with the Witch Doc and finish the game successfully clearing the zone. I still had the Stone Keeper with a boost attack on his POW 14 magic missile as a fail safe; however the Witch Doc finish was stylish :). It was a good opening round W, handing the sheet in at 5 CPs and zero points destroyed was a little silly, but I was happy to won a game against a good opponent with a great list and be on to the second round!

Round 2: vs Dan Smilek playing Khador

Scenario: Into the Breach

Recap: After finishing round 1 in relative short order, it allowed me some time to relax before my round 2 game. Shortly after the matchups dropped, Mattie K (from endgamegaming) gave me the tap to notify me that I would be put on film for my round 2 match vs Dan… cuz their wasn’t enough to worry about with my competition across the table :). That said, I truly didn’t mind and was a little excited to be on my first endgamegaming video cast. What I didn’t know is that I would be at that table the rest of the event.

As we swapped lists, my opponent had two vlad lists, one of which was all the horses Vlad3 tier which he used in the opening round, he still had his Butcher 2 Doom Reaver spam list, and a eVlad2 list. Given that the Vlad3 list was dropped in the opening round I fully expected that I was getting Doom Reaver spam; and I was correct. Baldur having been dropped in round 1 really wasn’t an option. I torn between Kromac and eMorvahna in this one, seeing as I expected the Doom Reaver list, I thought both lists had a good game against it. However, I don’t like Kromac in the scenario as much as eMorvahna. Kromac wants to keep distance from the opponent and stop retaliation, which can lead to being a bit gimped in scenario play. I knew the Butcher list can really push and I was worried that I would not be able to attrition in the manner I would prefer and have to start sacrificing my position to stay in the scenario, so I decided to drop eMorvahna. In retrospect I still feel I made the right choice.

I won first turn and set up my line with the Skinwalkers directly across from the zone, as I feel they are the best at contesting an area in the long game, and the Wolves of Orboros across from the flag as they are quick enough can get to the flag to ensure no early points are scored, as well as threaten a Caster that may go near the point and are harder to hold out of the area as they are a large 12 man unit. I finished my deployment by putting my Ravagers out in the L center nearer to the in front of the Skin Walkers. My opponent responded by setting up four of his units to the R side (as I look at the table) of his deployment area, with two units to the L across from the zone, supported by the two jacks, Man Hunters, and Yuri. Butcher and Fenris were center massed IIRC. To me his deployment indicated that that he was going for the flag on the R, and throwing waves of Doom Reavers at the zone to win a long attrition game on scenario. I thought this was an astute response to me gaining first turn. I felt good about where I was to start and was ready to take the center of the board on the opening turn.

As the game opened I moved the Ravagers from Left Center to hard Left and was careful to stay out of the Doom Reavers charge range, and essentially put as much pressure on the zone as I could on the opening turn. I had some decent terrain on the R side of the board including a piece of impassable on his side of the board, and some forest on my side. So he would have to navigate all that on the way to me. I took the WoO up in an around the forest to use that piece as a flank protector. I had the position I wanted so turned the dice over to my opponent. In an interesting twist, he took Butcher and his two jacks and rammed them forward max distance, and set a line of engagement with the Doom Reavers that was going to allow me to charge him next turn, starting the piece trade in the zone. On the R side of the board they began flooding up the board, in and around terrain. Nothing exciting, but we were prepped to engage on the next turn.

On turn two, I sent the Ravagers into battle, charging them forward, and taking out nearly a whole unit of Doom Reavers on the L side of the board, with about 3 of my Ravagers including the Shaman and his assault shot. On the R side of the board I had a wave of about 4 WoO charge forward and set a line of reach models for the bulk of the Doom Reavers coming my way, flanked by the forest for further protection. Morvahna had taken up residence behind a nice wall on my side of the table about 18 inches from my board edge, flanked by my warbeasts. Giving the dice back to Dan I had started the piece trade and felt good about what I had taken and what he was going to take back. The Doom Reaver responded in kind sending the second wave on the L side of the board into my advance Ravager models, taking them all off the board. On the R side, the Doom Reavers pressed forward hard, flooding around up the far R flank and wiping the front four WoO, with Fenris now near the 24” mark of the board backing up that side of the Khador line, with Yuri and the Man Hunters spread evenly across their lines. What was the most interesting part of the turn, when had expected Butcher to go towards the flag, he did not; instead he cast Boundless Charged pm both jacks and charged Butcher straight forward with the Jacks putting one in the Zone.

I took the dice, and pondered my opponents decision, and it was clear Butcher was coming my way, and he was not interested in scenario play at this point. So I measured where I was, and decided to start moving my line into the Zone, and wanted to start putting damage on the Jacks to be in position to make a move next turn. I used another three Ravagers to take out the second Doom Reaver unit on the L side, and a Man Hunter thanks to Corpse Tokens and re-rolls, as well as get a great charge attack on the nearest jack doing double digit damage to it. I then moved forward with the Skin Walkers setting my second line comfortably. On the R side, I pushed further into the Doom Reavers with the WoO, however the line of engagement on that side was pushed pretty far forward. I then sacrificed another two WoO on the far side of the tree to hold the line at bay from the extreme flanking maneuver they were attempting. I made sure to keep my flag safe so I had my re-roll on leadership checks available. I also made sure to tuck one WoO to the L, in with the my other infantry pieces to make it hard to clear that unit off the table, incase I needed to Feat them all back to hold my opponent off on the R side of the table. Next the beasts moved farther L and Morvahna held the wall with no real threat to her coming on this turn. Dan had successfully closed the gap between his lines and mine as he took the dice. He decided this would be the feat turn. He used both jacks to clear the Ravager that was in Butchers way, then decided to get Butcher going popping his Feat. Butcher cast Boundless Charge on himself and got range to my WoO lines, charging into the them and starting to pac-man his way up the board. He ate through more a half dozen models and ended up with 6-8 inches of Morvahna. He gave rage tokens to a few select models to start to dig out my key pieces in the back lines. He made a hard push to clear all the WoO off the table and was able to get somebody into a Stone to make sure I wouldn’t be teleporting anyone. Then he needed to secure Butchers position as he was very close to my Battlegroup so he flooded the area around Butcher with the nearest unit of Doom Reavers from the R, and pushed the other two units up behind them. Having done quite a bit of damage he handed the dice back to me.

At this stage, I was not feeling terrible about my spot, and realized that I had a relatively reliable assassination available to me on Butcher. He was not camping much focus (one I believe), and all that stood in the way of him and my Beasts was Doom Reavers. So I looked at my resources and went to work. I decided to drop one of my remaining Stones in the middle of the Doom Reaver unit protecting Butcher. I activated Morvhana dropped a nice fat Death Knell on the Stone, and IIRC had 5 models in the AOE, I was able to clear all the Doom Reavers that were in the way, and boosted damage on the Stone to make sure it was gone. Then I moved Carnivore to the Woldguardian. With the path to Butcher now clear. I charged the Guardian into Butcher, boost to hit and KD him, allowing me to take three swings at dice minus a few to take Butcher down to a few hit points. The Feral was able to activate and walk forward to seal the deal.

All of a sudden I was heading to the semi-finals of GenCon!

Round 3: vs Lou Coduti playing Cryx

Scenario: Incursion

Recap: Before the round started I had noted that there was Legion, Menoth, and Cryx players as possible opponents in the semi final round. Having used both Baldur and Morvahna in my first two rounds, I really wanted to be able to get Kromac on the table this round; as such I never wanted to draw Cryx so badly. If I drew Legion or Menoth I was going to have to go a different direction if was pushed into a matchup with one of them likely being forced into Kromac in the last round. However, when the pairings went up, I couldn’t contain the smile that crept across my face, Cryx it was! At this moment it was the first time at any point where I felt like I had a real chance to win the whole thing; though I wasn’t going to dwell on that though too long, as I had a very formidable opponent in front of me. Lou, my brother from another italian mother, was my Masters semi final opposition. He was showing eGorshade, eDenny, and eGaspy3 who was also the only warcaster he had not played to this point. We listed off, and I really didn’t give any thought to not playing Kromac; Lou dropped legendary Gaspy as I had suspected he would given the factors in play. Oddly enough I happen to think this incarnation of Liche has a lot of game versus Circle; good news for me is I’m also a Cryx player so I’m very comfortable in this matchup.

This game went so very long, the details are definitely the fuzziest out of all the games I played that weekend. If I recall correctly Lou won the roll and opted to go first, and I chose the side with the comfy wall right outside my deployment zone. After a quick exchange it appeared that Lou’s list was built more on incorporeal than he realized and too his dismay literally every attack in my list was magic based, or could be. On deployment he had Raiders AD to my L, with Mechanithralls behind them, Wraith Engine center massed with Blood Witches to the R, and all the support laid in behind the lines on either side of Liche (as he had every notable merc solo available in the list!). For me, my deployment is pretty standard with two units of Woldstalkers on either side of my deployment the two Stalkers in the middle with the Pureblood on the R of Kromac and Gorax on the L. Wilder and Arc Node were on the R of Kromac I believe.

On the opening turn, the Raiders moved to a strong flanking position spreading themselves out in three separate lines. The Blood Witches ran forward and the rest of his line moved forward with the Wraith Engine pressed forward to the middle line of the board thanks to Apparition and running. Liche put Ashen Veil on the Raiders, and took up a good spot in the middle of the board. On my opening turn, I put Wild Aggression on the L Stalker so he could deal with the incoming Raiders, Inviolable Resolve went on Lord of the Feast and Warpath up on Kromac. I then had the Wilder put Lightening Strike on the Stalker and charged him out to the nearby Raiders that had come very far across the board. Killed what was there, then took the opportunity to move back behind the wall that was in the middle of my side of the table. I then teleported the LOTF forward with the stones, then during his activation using the Raven on a Blood Witch to get right next to a Warwitch Siren and Hag. The Blood Witches promptly failed their leadership check at the hands of my Terror causing LOTF; which had a pretty big impact on Lou’s psyche, more than it probably should have. Better news was the I was able to get both the Hag and and Siren dead, as well as a Blood Witch or two with his Blood Reaper attack. Having successfully locked up that side of the board, I moved up the Woldstalker unit to support the LOTF and really whittle down the Blood Witches more. With buffs up and feeling good about my position board wide, I decided to end my turn and give the dice back to my opponent. At the end of my turn the flag on the far L side of the board had disappeared, which was beneficial to me as the Raiders were all over that area of the board and that would have been the hardest for me to get to.

On the next turn, my opponent was pretty flustered with LOTF in his lines, and not wanting to walk into duel Stalkers, but he had no choice. The Raiders took position in front of my Stalkers who were protected by the wall, and moved the Wraith Engine behind them, with the Cankerworm supporting the battle engine in hopes that he could trade for a heavy next turn. The Blood Witches rallied but it didn’t matter much this turn. He was able to get Gorman over to blind LOTF that turn, which was the only good news at this point for Lou. The Mechanithralls were now moving in behind the Raiders, and it was apparent that was where the Cryx push was going to come from. I took the dice back, and surveyed the board briefly before continuing to sandpaper his army down. I used LOTF to walk over to Gorman and engage him, unable to do much else. Then the Woldstalkers on the R side opened fire on the Blood Witches who were standing there waiting to be shot to pieces. On the L side, I used the Gorax and some boosted attack rolls to clear the Raiders that were jamming my Stalker that was under Wild Aggression, then used Warpath to get out of the way. The Wild Aggression Stalker mowed through a few more Raiders before using Lightning Strike to retreat to the wall again; not before triggering Warpath on the other Stalker. Kromac activated moved Wild Aggression  to the other Stalker along with Warpath, then took up a position a little closer to the game within 1” of the Wall getting the DEF bonus, if it should come up. Then the other Stalker moved out to take out more of the Raiders, and Lightning Strike back to the wall. Lastly the Pureblood moved to get his spray on more Raiders who were down to just a couple models left in the unit thankfully having not done anything to this point. With two of the three infantry units down to really very few models, and no chance for my opponent take over scenario yet, I decided that I was still confident with my position, having lost very little if anything at this point.

Third turn and Cryx was not looking good, so Lou knew he was going to have to pull it together if he was going to get back into the game. He started advising the Wraith Engine was going Incorporeal, then activating Liche to get Carnage up, and pops his Feat preparing for my retaliation. He then activates his Wraith Engine that had Apportioned forward declaring he wants to charge my Stalker over the wall. After some careful measurements with the help of a nearby Judge it was determined that the charge failed. As such, Lou’s frustration with the game mounted further; but he kept composure and attempted to rally. Charging the remaining Raiders into my lines through his incorporeal battle engine, he was able to pop their mini-feat and do some meaningful damage to my Pureblood. Then Cankerworm and Gerlak converged on the Pureblood, and when it was said and done the Pureblood was still alive. Gorman then opted to take a free strike from LOTF, which was whiffed (wtf??!!!) and subsequently was able to blind the character solo again. The remaining Blood Witches charged the Woldstalkers on the R side of the board near the flag, and were able to kill one, holding up immediate scoring next turn. The dice then came back to me, and I surveyed the board again carefully. The potential for me to go after Liche was there. Having the Stalker in Carnage meant that Liche was w/in 14” and possible threat of assassination. However, his Feat was up, and he was camping 4, which means ARM 21, healing with every Fury spent, and he had a few straggling Raiders with Ashen Veil nearby which could make things very interesting for placement and hitting thanks to their Reach weapons. With all that going on, I felt that I was in good control of the game and decided to not go for the assassination right then not willing to risk bad dice; and instead I would continue to attrition him out. The Wild Aggression Stalker was first to activate to kill the Cankerworm, then Gerlak, which allowed the Pureblood Warpath so I had a path where I could move past the remaining Raider and not have to navigate the wall. Kromac activated, moved Wild Aggression to the other Stalker and put Lightening Strike onto him as well. Then Kromac Feated so he could put Beastial up to counter Liche’s Feat next turn (with the pile of Souls he was gathering); he also healed the Pureblood and took position behind the wall again. The Wilder then put Wraith Bane onto the PB so he could actually damage the Wraith Engine who was still incorporeal thanks to his failed charged last turn. The Pureblood was able to scrap the Cryxian battle enginge, allowing the another Warpath on the Gorax. He moved up and killed some more Raiders that were holding in the Stalker again. Having freed up the Stalker that was now under Wild Aggression, he was able charged into the oncoming wave of Mechanithralls, using Warpath after Berserking through a number of models, (it seems like a dozen at the time); however he was not able to Lightning Strike back to the wall, so he was out in front. On the R side, LOTF moved to engage Gorman again, and the remaining Woldshrimp cleared off the flag allowing me to score my first point of the game.

My opponent took the dice, and realized that despite Kromac being accessible, he couldn’t use spells, and didn’t have charge range even if he had a Madelyn move. So he opted instead to try and take the Stalker off the board. He decided to have Gorman take another free strike from LOTF and again I whiffed (fml!!!) this time allowing Gorman to blind the Stalker closest to Liche. That done, Liche was able to come forward and camp the flag with less fear. Then the Necrosurgeon made more Thralls, bolstering their numbers before they charged. On the charge they were able to kill the Stalker, and when it was said and done Liche had scored 2 CP dominating the center flag. All of a sudden a game I had controlled so well, was not in such good position. That said, I had scored on my opponents turn as he did not get anything near the R flag so I was able to grab another point; we were tied at 2-2. On my turn I knew my goal was to put my foot on his throat in scenario play and Gorman had to die. So I moved the Pureblood up to spray Gorman, boosted to hit and killed him, then used the Warpath move to get the PB into base with the flag on the R. Then I used the remaining Woldshrimp to shoot at Madelyn, but was unsuccessful. I put Wild Aggression on the remaining Stalker, and moved Kromac away from Liche and towards the obstruction on the R side of the board on my side of the table. Moved the Gobbers in front of him and dropped a big cloud so he couldn’t see. I had a couple transfers, and was getting cover on Kromac. The Stalker then went to town on the remaining McThralls and Necrosurgeon, before Lightening Striking back to the wall. The Gorax was now free to run to contest the flag stopping Liche from dominating again. As I turned the dice over, I had scored on the flag on my R again, now leading 3-2.

At this point, I noticed the crowd around the game had really grown quiet a bit as we were the only game this round that was still going; Lou and I took the opportunity to have some fun banter with the on lookers. My opponent, feeling like he had a reasonably good assassination run at this moment with little recourse in the game, decided to charge the Swamp Gobbers with Asphyxious (to get into the cloud) and cast a Hex Blast at Kromac (who was on half health thanks to the Feat). However, given the cover, even a boost was not enough, and he missed. He then tried it again, couldn’t boost, and missed again. He moved up Corbeau to contest the flag on the R. On my turn I had a few choices, perhaps go into Beast form and try to kill Liche, or just clear the scenario. I opted for scenario, I moved the PB to get Madelyn into melee, killed her and Warpath backwards to the flag. Before I could finish my turn, Lou gave me his concession with a high five on a well contested semi final match… meaning…I just advanced to the GenCon Masters Final!!!!

Round 4: vs Legion played by Chuck Elswick

Scenario: Close Quarters

Recap: So here we are, GenCon Masters Final. At this point, whatever happens in this game is just excess. To have gotten this far in one of the largest tabletop conventions in the world is an accomplishment unto itself. I didn’t have time to really let sink in what had happened thus far, by the time my semi-final game had ended, they pretty much had us ready to start the final. I have to say all the opponents I played all weekend were great, especially my masters opponents, Bob, Dan, and Lou; all were great players and gentleman across the table. However, I have to tip my hat one more time to Chuck; he is the best opponent you could wish for at a Masters final table. Not only is he a great player, he’s a great competitor and great ambassador for the game. He set the tone before the game even started as pulled me aside before the dice rolled. Recognizing the moment and setting the tone so we can have an awesome game, that was relaxed, while still being a top shelf competitive game. The spotlight was new to me, but not to him, and the fact that he took a minute to acknowledge that and set me at ease over it really resonated with me. Now to the dice rolls…

Chuck, as is well documented at this point, had list suicided into Absylonia in the final match. I had been fortunate enough to play each of my Warlocks in the first three rounds, so I had my druthers over whom I would play. I had the pBaldur card in my hand, and was really REALLY close to playing him in this matchup; he was my Legion drop, tried and true over the past few months. However, I was fixated on Purification and the upkeeps available to Abby, and selfishly I knew I was really wanting the headline of the game to be Woldwrath vs Archangel. After a brief consult in my own mind, I decided that I could not pass on what appeared to be the stronger play with Purification and eMorvy. Looking back, I have to stress, despite the outcome of the game, given what I know now, I made the wrong decision and should have played Baldur. I think I would have been able to force my agenda more, and not have to allow Chuck to dictate the game like he was able to. What I didn’t recognize about the Absylonia list was the insane amount of RFP that was available. In my list, I really built it to take full advantage of the Feat. When you have five (yes five!) ways to RFP models each turn, it really can add up. I definitely underestimated the full capability of the list I was facing, and this game was as tough as it appears when read, and hopefully see on endgame.

Chuck deployed Archangel center cut on the board with Absylonia behind him, the Ravagore was on the L as I look at the board, and the Scythean on the R. The Pot was in the rear of the lines, with the Afflictor near by. The Shredder pair were split on the board, and the Harrier was near the Pot, all of it were in range of the Pot, so he could mint more. The Foresaken were on each end of his deployment. For my setup, I had the Ravagers AD across from the Ravagore, to get to him quickly, and I made a small adjustment to have the Wolves of Orboros behind them for quick follow up. I wanted the Skinwalkers nearest my Flag to make scoring on my flag that much more difficult. I had the Feral and Woldguardian on either side of Morvahna in the middle of the table.

On the opening turn, Chuck moved his Ravagore forward to good firing position, the Scythean ran to the wall on my R on his side of the board, directly opposite of my flag. his Afflictor moved to the edge of the forest moved up and lessors moved into the woods behind. The Archangel took a position in the middle of the board, blocking LOS to the Absylonia. Abby put up Forced Evo on the Archangel, and turned the dice over to me. On my turn I ran the Ravagers into strong position, in two waves in the middle of the board, the WoO up into the gaps behind them. I advance the Skinwalkers up towards the Flag on the R side, and moved Morvahna up to wall out in front of my deployment area, with Flesh of Clay on her, and Carnivore on the Wolves. I moved the Feral up next to her on the L and the Woldguardian w/ Flesh of Clay on him, Trampled into b2b with Morvahna so as to prevent blast damage from the Ravagore.

Turn two, Legion took the dice and the Ravagore opened fire on the closest Ravager killing him. Then the Afflictor came forward charged a Ravager, killed him, and created an incubui who would get into the second rank and kill another Ravager. The Archangel ride by attacked and dropped a few shots into the Ravagers, missing most due to range at that point, but getting a scattered damage. The Foresaken took the opportunity to fill up on Fury. On my turn, I took the opportunity to crash home with the Ravagers. I was only able to get one Ravager into the Ravagore, but was able to do decent damage. I was not able to kill the Afflictor with two non charging Ravagers, but was able to get the Incubi. I also moved the Skinwalkers farther forward, to the midline of the board, having two out front, and 4 in the rear, attempting to bait the Scythean out from behind the wall. The WoO moved forward, and filled in the space left behind by the Ravagers. I had not had a great turn, and could see that Chuck’s model positioning was extremely sharp and he was well practiced in being outnumbered in model count. I turned the dice over anxious to see what Chuck was going to do in response.

Again the Archangel used Ride by attack to shoot more Ravagers, and this time killing one, down to only a couple. The Afflictor activated to kill another Ravager, and spawn another Incubi, who in turn took the opportunity to charge into the rear of the Ravager engaging the Ravagore, killing him. The lessors came forward and killed another Ravagers as well. The now freed up Ravagore was able to fire into a small clump of WoO staring to whittle them down. The Pot then activated and killed a number of it’s own models to fill up and create a new Lesser. The Scythean opted not to come forward that turn, and wait me out. On my turn, I was now unable to Feat back the Ravagers as most had been RFP from the Incubi and snacking from the Shredder. So I decided not to Feat, charged the remaining Ravager into the Archangel and begin doing damage to him. I charged the forward most Skinwalkers into the Archangel and the Scythean who wisely opted not to come forward. One into each, and ran another to block the Scythean at the wall. I was able to do some additional damage to the Archangel and some damage to the Scythean. I had three Skinwalkers forward, and another line of three near the flag. The plan there was to get the Scythean out from behind the wall after the AA cleared the way to the Skinwalkers, or have the second wave of Skinwalkers hit the Archangel and possibly kill it before Abby could Feat. The Wolves of Orboros were able to kill the Lessors, and finish off the Afflictor as well as the Incubi. However all that in the way meant I was not able to get to the Ravagore to engage him with WoO. I had heavies still on either side of Morvahna to respond to threats to his heavies.

On turn 4, neither of us had Feated to this point. Chuck had a chance to clear the Ravagers off the board, and possibly get all the Skinwalkers as well. So he went to it, starting with the Archangel, he was able to kill both the Ravager and Skinwalker he was engaged to. Then a Harrier was spawned and charged the Skinwalker nearest to him from across the board to kill the Skinwalker. Then a remaining Shredder had come forward to kill another nearly kill another Skinwalker blocking the way for the Scythean. The Foresaken came forward and popped his Blight Bomb to kill finish off the Skinwalker. That mean the Scythean was free to go get the second layer of Skinwalkers. He charged, put Slaugtherhouse on himself and destroyed the rest of the Skinwalker unit. The Ravagore then fired his shot into the UA for the WoO and took out the officer. Now the game was clearly in Legion’s favor, as I was out of my two 8 box infantry unable to bring them back, Legion still had all of it’s heavies on the board, and nearly untouched. I took the dice and saw the I had the opportunity to swing the game back in my favor. Now that the Scythean had come forward, I had a chance to kill both the Ravagore and Scythean this turn, which would force his AA forward to deal with one of my heavies. So I started with Morvahna, Feated the UA back into play for the WoO giving me their mini-feat back, and then put Carnivore on the Woldguardian. I activated the WoO who mini-feated and charged the Ravagore, killing it, with attacks the spare and clearing out the remainder of the Pot crew. I probably didn’t need the mini feat to do it, but I wanted to be sure and not rely on a bunch of re-rolls to get it done. Then I used the stones to port the Woldguardian into melee with the Scythean. He made quick work of the Scythean was now in threat range of the Archangel. With the turn gone exactly as I wanted, I turned the dice back over to Chuck, with tide officially turning!

Turn 5, Chuck acted quickly deciding to take out the Guardian in range. He began by moving the Foresaken forward that still had Fury on it, to Blight Bomb the Wold, rolled silly to take a third of it’s life away. Then activating the Gargantuan choosing to ride by attack the Archangel still under Forced Evolution, was able to finish off the heavy Construct, before moving back in front of Absylonia. Abby then activated and feated the AA back to fully healthy before turning the dice over to me. At this stage, the last turn and half had progressed exactly has I had anticipated, I was able to trade the Skinwalkers for access to the Scythean, and able to use the WoO to get the Ravagore. In response the AA came forward to take the Wold and that left the Gargantuan in range of a teleport from the Feral. I looked at the board, and was able to get the remaining WoO into the Archangel with charges and re-roll taking him down about ten damage or so to the AA. Then Morvahna activated, I contemplated using Purification, but decided to put Carnivore on the Feral before teleporting him in to as it was more Fury efficient. I dropped the Feral in on the AA and he was able to rip him apart, leaving nothing but an empty space where the Gargantuan was between the Feral and Absylonia. With that, the game that I had been behind nearly the entire time, had now swung fully in my favor. I turned the dice back to Chuck.

With no choice Abby had to kill the Feral to have a chance of surviving. She used a Fury to force herself to gain ST, then charged the Feral. Did some damage and took it down to about ¼ of it’s life. Then created a Stinger from the Pot, who was not able to charge, and got in on the Feral but was unable to kill him. Then in a last ditch effort the Foresaken in range charged to try and bring the Warpwolf down. When it was all said and done, the Feral was sitting on one box in front of Abby. On my turn, I did not debate long, I started with the WoO who promplty failed their Abomination check by getting near Abby. Tough break, but I would not be deterred. Morvahna charged the Forsaken, hit with the Goat attack, and rammed her back an inch before killing her to get within Reach of Abby. Having kept Carnivore up on the Feral, I had 6 Fury left. I had three attacks on her, all extra die of damage, one fully boosted. I burned Abby’s last transfer, and killed the Stinger w/ the damage. The Feral only needed one swing to kill the Warlock.


After I shook hands with Chuck, I pulled my hat down over my eyes to absorb the moment just for a few seconds, then turned to my friends who were all front and center watching at the edge of the table where I had just played. My teammate Shane was the first to grab me for the most epic sweaty man hug of my life! What an awesome awesome moment, not just for me, but for all the Dark Omen guys who help me practice and make me better, and the Northeast meta where I play. I could not have been prouder to accomplish this in all their names.

I’ve had a long time now to reflect on the games and the accomplishment, and it still is surreal to think of myself winning. I’m very grateful for the experience, and humbled by the accomplishment. There are so many take aways from the weekend that I want to share, but will narrow it down to three:

The first of which is to tell any of you reading this that want to compete but feel they aren’t good enough, that you simply have to put yourselves into the arena and play. You don’t really know how good you are or how much success you can have until you put yourself out there. You win zero percent of the events you don’t play in, guaranteed. Compete because you enjoy it, not because you want to win; if you enjoy competing, you are guaranteed to have success no matter what the outcome of your games.

Secondarily, luck is when practice meets opportunity. I’m sure you have heard how luck always plays a part in qualifying for a Masters, and certainly winning one. While that is true, I think clarifying what luck means is important. If I had not had the preparation to take advantage of being paired against Cryx in the semi-finals match playing Kromac, luck would not have mattered. While being lucky may well give you the opportunity, you still have to have the skill to take advantage of it. That is true in any endeavor and certainly this game. Yes, there are going to be times when you need to ‘get lucky’, but what you do when that happens defines your ability to be successful… that’s call seizing the moment. When it comes to that, there is no amount of luck that can do it for you. You do, or do not, as they say; there is no try.

Lastly, the lessons of being a high level competitor and how we manage ourselves and our opponents are probably my biggest takeaways. This is probably the most underrated skill that many, if not all, of the top level players have. You are going to run into situations that have to be navigated with your opponent and if you want to compete, you have to learn how to handle those situations, and handle them well. Etiquette of the game is an oft debated topic amongst players as I’m sure you know. While there is a clear rule set, and even some additional aids such as the judges and players guide; there is a an unwritten social contract to this game. One that cannot be scribed into a document; it can never really be expressed, only understood. Playing with Chuck, and other great players of the game, I can assure you that how you win, is more important than simply winning. Unfortunately not everyone subscribes to this notion (whether intentionally or unintentionally). While we all want to play by the rules of the game, and make sure our opponents do the same; we should also strive to bring the best out in our opponents, winning or losing, while playing our best game in response. That means you don’t look for points of inadequate advantage over your opponents, instead look to make them better by not allowing that to happen. Play with a level of integrity where the spirit of sportsmanship is upheld, not dishonored. Just because you can take advantage, doesn’t mean you should, regardless of whether the rules as scripted allow for it or not. Win because your best moves were better than your opponents best moves, not because you caught them in a clear misunderstanding of an application. All easier said than done, of course; and we all fear being taken advantage of in that manner. I watched as many great players did uphold this standard, repeatedly refusing to let their opponents walk into unknowing free strikes or be taken advantage of by mistaking an in-game effect… and still managed to win the right way. I know competition can get the best of all of us, me included. That doesn’t mean we should give an opponent the right to run all over us, but it means we should give them all the chance to be treated the way we want to be treated. This past weekend, I saw and played with many a gracious opponent, and I will strive to continue hold myself to that standard going forward in hopes that my opponent will hold me in the same regard despite any success I might have. It was awesome to see and experience first hand, as I travel nationally to play and I encourage everyone to do the same in their LGS and local meta.

What a weekend, what a tournament, and what an experience; one that I will truly never forget. With GenCon a fond, fond memory, I will now embark on my next Warmahordes journey… to St. Louis and the Warmachine Weekend Invitational :).