Episode 18 of Forgot to Feat is up (Click me!) Presented to you by The Dark Omen Gaming Club and Hand Cannon Online. We are back to our regular show as we talk to Josh the newest member of Dark Omen on an all Circle Cast.
Tag Archives: Circle
Treewalking with Ravagers
Welcome to a Model Article by Anthoney Ferraiolo, originally posted on discountgamesinc.com
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 discountgamesinc.com
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:
Shifting Stones w/ UA
Gallows Grove (x1)
Gatorman Witch Doctor
Hits incredibly hard
Causes activation problems for opponents
Has a lot of answers
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 handcannononline.com or darkomen.org
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.
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 (http://handcannononline.com/blog/2014/01/01/part-i-of-primal-baldur-no-more-tiers/)