Chewin’ the Fat 8

Hello again Muse community! My exams are over for now, it’s the run up to Christmas and I’ve done the token attempt at painting. Now I finally have the time to go back and contribute something that I can actually do: strategy and tactics!

For this happy occasion I’m going to go into some hefty Hordes details, specifically my extremely fun Circle! If you cast your mind back quite a few articles now I finished up talking about Circle with a discussion on Krueger2. The main point of the article was to say that I think he is still incredibly competitive in a Huge Based environment with the spell Storm Wall, his Feat, and Counter Magic from Druids. This list was fun. I’ve played a few games with it and want to start this article with the evolution of the list over a few games and a move onto what I like to think of as my Magnum Opus list, the most fun you can have with Krueger2!

In more of an overview sense the strategy behind the list was built on excessive denial – I wanted to stop the opponent doing anything of use and then take them apart piecemeal or just win on scenario. The specific tactics here can be split down to Shooting denial, Magic denial and Melee denial.

Shooting denial: Storm Wall from Krueger himself and lots of Prowl in the list triggering from Druids clouds.

Magic Denial: Counter-Magic from Druid UA

Melee Denial: Krueger’s FEAT reduces Spd and prevents charges for a turn and Megalith’s animus creates a large area of rough terrain.

I have played this list a few times now and it has gone undefeated but I don’t feel like it’s optimised in its current form. After a lot of thought about this I think I’ve found the weak link and it surprised me: Megalith.

The way this list plays requires the ability to project force into very precise areas where and when you need it. As a result, every game I’ve played with this list so far he has ended up teleporting into the enemy army and punching something to death – in short, piece trading. He very rarely used either his animus or Geomancy and when paying 11pts for a beast you need to use them to their fullest. Although I like having the option to do these things I started to look into alternative options for those 11pts.

Bearing in mind that I would need another heavy to replace him I started looking into the options. Another Stalker? Too generic. A Feral? Why wouldn’t I take a Stalker? Pureblood? I need a heavy, not a buff bot. Hmmm… Minions? Minions.

Immediately I went to Dahlia and Skarath and looked into the synergies in depth. They are not used often from my experience and most people consider them to simply not be a competitive choice in most lists. Firstly, Dahlia herself. In this list Dahlia is pure gold. With access to Telekinesis she can upkeep Haunting Melody and run into the opponents face from 14” away. Even if she gets out of Skarath’s forcing range with that move you can Hunters Mark the opponent meaning that it doesn’t have to force to charge and then end in her range so this is mitigated somewhat. For those unaware, Haunting Melody is REALLY good. It makes everything within 8” stop getting orders and nothing within 8” can melee or shoot at Dahlia. The weaknesses of Haunting Melody are twofold. First, shooting from things more than 8” away. Any boostable gun from that range can mess Dahlia up. Guess what helps with this? Storm Wall. Now those 12” guns can’t shoot her (I tend to lead the charge with Kruegers face so Storm Wall has a large effect). If a boostable gun with longer than 12” range is shooting Dahlia then I don’t care to be honest. On top of that she has transfers to stop strays. She is now close to immune to shooting.

Secondly, Magic. She does nothing to stop Magic attacks which makes her sad if she comes up against Battle Mages or the Withershadow Combine or even a caster with nothing better to do. Turns out Druids Counter Magic affects Friendly models rather than Friendly Faction. As long as you can protect your Druid leader, Dahlia has magically become immune to Magic. Boom. Again, transfers are available for stray shots and she will almost definitely be camping 3 just in case. The problem with camping 3 means limited use from Skarath which we’re using as a melee beatstick rather than Megalith remember?

Skarath works with this list almost as well as Dahlia does. Honestly. Dahlia’s second spell grants Prowl and Pathfinder to something in her battlegroup. This list has clouds everywhere so he fits into the anti-shooting tech I’ve already got going. As mentioned, a Blackclad’s Hunters Mark makes him potentially more maneuverable around Dahlia’s limited Control area. The magic ingredient here though is the Gorax and Primal. Skarath is generally a shooting beast with a 10” spray, ask any Ret player who wants some Stealth hate. As a result the melee potential on the giant worm is not that stellar, a Mat 6 Pow 16 attack with only 1 initial. It does have reach though. On top of that, if you want to camp with Dahlia then you will likely frenzy with Skarath at some point which will just screw everything up. Every one of these problems is solved with Primal. 5 attacks at Mat 8 with potential back strike and Pow 18 is flat out better than Megalith who can’t be Primaled. Dahlia camping 3 isn’t an issue when you KNOW Skarath will be frenzying, just make sure to only force him 3 times if you’re counting on transfers. Not being able to be ported by Shifting Stones is an issue but Ghetorix and the Stalker can so I just make sure they are on the flank instead.

Finally, a last little layer of synergy, Dahlia provides help with frenzying. All friendly beasts in her control area of 8” can choose to forfeit activation rather than hurt something and Skarath himself can choose his frenzy target which combos nicely with Primal.

There is one noticeable issue with this combination but it’s only a minor one. My list is now not immune to Purification due to Haunting Melody being an upkeep. Luckily, in most Purification matchups I’m not too worried because I don’t think Dahlia is as necessary. As a rundown:

Vayl2 – Lots of beasts so the lack of orders isn’t a huge issue. She will mainly play zone holding in these anyway, just make sure to protect her until after Skarath has gone in.

Doomshaper1 – A bit of a pain but he only usually has 1 unit that uses actual orders which mitigates this issue again. Plus, I don’t hate the matchup anyway because of Counter Magic.

Kreoss1 – He’s ridiculously good anyway but most of his units shoot so orders aren’t huge again and Storm Wall comes into play a lot. Storm Wall is mean to Zealots…

Harbinger – Probably the biggest of these issues here because we actually really want to use Dahlia’s ability against all of the infantry. Oh well, I guess we have to rely on the FEAT in this case.

My favourite thing about all of this though, the thing that makes it all click, is the points cost. Dahlia and Skarath are 9pts to Megalith’s 11pts. Unlike the other Lesser Warlocks, you can feasibly think of Dahlia as a 3pts solo because she does so much extraneous work – especially in this list. If this is the case then Skarath is a 6pts heavy with a 10” spray that can hit harder than Megalith when necessary! The remaning 2pts buys a 2nd Blackclad Wayfarer and my Magnum Opus is born – the list that isn’t just the most fun you can have with Krueger2 but stops your opponent from doing ANYTHING!

Krueger the Stormlord                                   +5

–       Ghetorix                                                    11

–       Warpwolf Stalker                                   10

–       Gorax                                                           4

–       Druid Wilder                                              2

Druids of Orboros                                             7

–       Druid Overseer                                          2

Dahlia Hallyr and Skarath                             9

Shifting Stones                                                   2

–       Stone Keeper                                               1

Shifting Stones                                                   2

Blackclad Wayfarer                                           2

Blackclad Wayfarer                                           2

Gallows Grove                                                     1

 

Compare this list to the previous one with Megalith rather than Dahlia and the Blackclad. Now we have much more extensive anti-infantry tech with access to 3 sprays rather than 1. We have better anti-heavy tech with Skarath over Megalith and the main strategy is more focussed – Haunting Melody is much better against melee armies than Megalith’s animus. The scenario power remains pretty much unchanged and, without going too much into it, I feel like Steamroller 2013 (at least the Beta for it) is going to be good for Krueger2 in this form as I like him up front so Domination will be in play.

No matter how much I love this list it should be noted that weaknesses exist here. This list is balanced and can deal with almost anything but as soon as things get skewed heavily in certain directions it can have issues. I’ve thought a fair bit about these so that I can try and theorycraft a complementing list. Things like a Titan herd in Skorne or a Butcher2 Doom Reaver horde etc. These are problem lists that present problems to such a focused all comers list. In short, I need answers to excessive armour list and excessive numbers of infantry. Most importantly, as a Cygnar player I hate playing against Krueger2 but Stormwall can definitely present an issue if the opponent protects it properly. A secondary option for dealing with these issues can present an extremely efficient dual Steamroller line-up.

Of these skews I feel that heavy armour is the biggest issue. Against these lists I would almost always try and win by scenario with Krueger but a second option for flat out killing it is always nice! With that in mind there are 4 possible casters in Circle that can manipulate damage output. Mohsar and Cassius both have Curse of Shadows, Kaya2 has Forced Evolution and Baldur1 has Stone Skin. Of these I have decided against Baldur1 because precise heavy hitting power becomes much harder with a Spd debuff. So 3 casters that can potentially fight against the skews!

Both Cassius and Mohsar are heavy considerations because, in both cases, I feel like Megalith is almost an auto include. Now that Megalith is free though I am very happy to have him throw around Curse of Shadows, Crevasse or Sranglehold. Both of them have some very strong scenario plays with Hellmouth and Pillars of Salt being thrown around like it’s going out of style. In both cases there would be dual Stalkers with access to Curse of Shadows and Primal to get to P+S 22 which can almost take out Stormwall in a single activation. When Ghetorix isn’t available this is basically our best answer to high armour outside of Kaya2 who happens to have the extra fun of stopping the beast from dying with her teleportation shenanigans. I think they even trump Kaya2 because outside of heavy armour skews the other possibly dangerous skews that I expect to face are really heavy infantry skews with some decent way to take out Dahlia. Although rare, I do think that these could be a very bad matchup for Kaya2 but Hellmouth and Crevasse are pretty solid at stopping most of these. These have not been tested but I have a couple of sample lists for them below:

Mohsar the Desertwalker                             +5

–       Megalith                                                    11

–       Warpwolf Stalker                                    10

–       Warpwolf Stalker                                    10

–       Gorax                                                            4

10 Tharn Bloodtrackers                                   8

–       Nuala the Huntress                                  2

Shifting Stones                                                   2

–       Stone Keeper                                               1

Shifting Stones                                                   2

Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew                       1

Blackclad Wayfarer                                          2

Gallows Grove                                                    1

Gallows Grove                                                    1

 

As far as I’m aware this is a fairly standard Mohsar list. The Swamp Gobbers trigger Prowl for Stalkers and Groves while the Bloodtrackers have inherent Stealth. The things in the list that aren’t Stealthy can be protected by Pillars and there are plenty of angles for Crevasse or Curse of Shadows to come from. It seems to have solid scenario play and, most importantly of all, it can kill things dead with Stalkers and Bloodtrackers massacring everything that comes close. The Cassius list is similar in both style and execution:

Cassius the Oathkeeper                                 +6

–       Megalith                                                     11

–       Warpwolf Stalker                                     10

–       Warpwolf Stalker                                     10

–       Gorax                                                             4

10 Nyss Hunters                                               10

Shifting Stones                                                    2

–       Stone Keeper                                                1

Shifting Stones                                                    2

Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew                        1

6 Farrow Bone Grinders                                   3

Gallows Grove                                                     1

Gallows Grove                                                     1

 

Similarly to Mohsar, this list can kill things dead with Nyss bows and Hellmouth killing infantry as well as Stalkers with Primal and Curse of Shadows killing anything big. Hellmouth can massively help with scenario play, especially in combination with the FEAT and there are lots of shenanigans in these lists to accomplish what you want. My main issue with Cassius and Mohsar both is how SR2013 affects their gameplay. I’m just not sure how they will fare with much more live scenario play.

After all is said and done I am curious as to what people think about these? Is there anything you think I’ve just flat forgotten about?

Hope you found this interesting and see you next time!

PurchasedPig

Author: PurchasedPig

Hi there, PurchasedPig here, based in bonnie Scotland in the UK. I'm a relatively recent convert to Warmachine/Hordes from the GW systems (been playing for about a year and a half). I played 40k from aged 11 and sort of kept going with Wargaming from there... I have a severe case of Faction ADD and collect more factions than not. As a result I feel like I have a lot of information to extol! Hopefully any ramblings are appreciated, give me a shout if you want to know anything else!

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