Welcome, dear readers, to another episode. I must apologize for the long delay in between my posts. Today we examine Circle’s options for heavy beasts. Heavy beasts are where Circle tends to excel, with many excellent options, and few, if any, real stinkers. Just like Circle’s lights, our heavies come in two broad, overarching categories: wolds, or fuzzies. Fuzzies, of course, are living and generally have very good to average defense, and very low to average armor. Wolds, on the other hand, are as easy to hit as they come, and only generally have a point more armor for it.
I’ll go ahead and explain the general purpose behind our beasts, point out any good symmetries, and give an overall recommendation. If you wonder why I’ve included Krueger 1 in just about every beast, it’s because you can really do no wrong on selection for him. He can give our non-reach beasts reach, and that is super awesome. Also, he has spells they can geomancy, which is again really good.
Shadowhorn Satyr –The shadowhorn is the cheapest option Circle has available. Average speed, MAT, and slightly above defense, with only average armor make its stats overall kind of lackluster. It’s 3 initial attacks have a tendency to be ‘pillow fisted’. This comes from the idea of punching someone with giant pillows on your fists. It just won’t do a whole lot of hurt to much. Now, that said, you do of course have access to primal, which would make these come up to great MAT and…oh, still not that great P+S. That’s because this heavy isn’t meant to trash opposing heavies. You aren’t sending him against a Khador heavy with thoughts of “Let’s trash that thing!” Oh no, dear readers, that’s not what the shadowhorn should be used for. And here’s why – his special abilities. To start with, he has bounding leap – after a full advance but before actions, he can be forced to be placed completely within 5″, and any effects that stop charges also effect this. Use this ability to walk up to the front line, then jump and bam, you’ve skipped the riff raff and now can lay into support or…better yet…power attack jacks and beasts. Reversal knocks down someone who missed with a charge or power attack, and set defense makes those things more likely to happen. His animus is virility – friendly living Faction warbeasts don’t need to be forced for power attacks, and slams and throws are a bit farther than normal. So, instead of charging a heavy and trying to scratch it, be wily. Walk up, place the shadowhorn next to a beast, and toss it at the caster. Profit. Or toss it out of a zone, or out of control from the controlling lock. Be creative, target support units or key UAs and solos. That said, he’s still a bit on the weak side in my opinion. Use him with Krueger 1, Kaya 1 + 2, and Kromac. Grayle might get a kick out of one of these guys too. Recommendation – 5/10.
Gnarlhorn Satyr – The gnarlhorn costs one more point than the shadowhorn, but you get so much more for that point. He loses one point of defense and gains one point of armor and a strength. His attacks are all just a smidge better, and like his cousin, still weak. His abilities are still pretty excellent, however. Counter slam lets you…counter slam things that end up near by. Make sure you get at least 3″ of move or the slam won’t actually happen. He also has follow up, which means he gets to keep waltzing into the guy he just slammed. Grand slam gives him an extra 2″ of slam distance. His animus gives +2″ movement for charges, slams and tramples, and also +2 to hit on those attacks. All said and done, he can slam an outrageous 11.5″, then the target moves 3″ – 8″, and he comes up that far as well. He can theoretically get a caster 19.5″ away, before you factor in Circle’s other movement enhancement options like warpath, hunter’s mark, telekinesis and the like. That’s pretty sweet. I would suggest the Kayas, as well as Kromac and Grayle as the best bets to effectively use him. Also, Mohsar is fun with grand slam and pillars for 4 damage die shenanigans.Recommendation – 6/10.
Feral Warpwolf – The feral is our general beat stick beast. He has good MAT, a little below average P+S, but with three initials that’s partially made up for it. He has excellent defense, and low armor. His animus is pure crap. I’ve never cast it in nearly a year of using him regularly. He has a nifty thing in his ability to warp one of three different aspects depending on his situation. He can gain +2 speed, +2 armor, or +2 strength. Use the speed if you’re a bit outside of his normal threat range, the strength when you need things to die, and the armor on the approach. He can also be forced to heal a small amount once per turn, so if he keeps getting pot shot, use that to heal some. Many people will tell you that the feral is obsolete because of the stalker, but I think he’s still a very viable heavy, and use him fairly regularly. Krueger 1, Mohsar and Cassius, and of course the Kayas and Kromac can all make good use of him. Recommendation – 7/10.
Pureblood Warpwolf – The pureblood is a mixed use beast. He loses a point of MAT and one from strength from the feral, and gains one armor. He comes with two low pow initials that can be bumped up to…well, not quite so low initials. This guy can’t really go toe to toe with most heavies in a one on one fight. He does have a large spray at the same pow as his initials, which is actually really useful for taking out infantry and support. His 3 warps are spell ward, strength, and ghostly, which he can give to any warpwolf nearby. Ghostly is a nifty ability that lets you get through obstructions, terrain, and ignore free strikes. It’s animus is wraithbane, which grants blessed and magical weapons. This doesn’t generally come up a whole lot, but when it does, you’ll be thankful you brought him along. He could easily make most caster’s lists, with the usual Kayas, Kromac and the Kruegers making the top of that list. Recommendation – 8/10.
Warpwolf Stalker – The warpwolf stalker is a phenomenal beast that can take on a variety of combat roles. It excells at removing infantry with it’s option to warp for beserk and kill things until nothing remains in reach range, and then sprint back to safety. It also takes out enemy lights and heavies, with the option to warp for strength and then sprint back after it takes something down. Further, it feels safe on the approach with it’s option to warp for prowl. It’s animus is stupendously useful: giving sprint out to our heavies is a downright mean trick against many armies, especially with our ability to teleport and add additional movement shenanigans. Very few Circle casters would look at the stalker and think anything other than yes. He is probably auto-include status for most lists. Kromac, both Kayas, Krueger 2, Grayle, Cassius, Morvahna, pretty much everyone but the Baldurs use him in virtually every list. Recommendation – 10/10.
Woldwarden – The woldwarden is an interesting beast with some unusual characteristics. It’s slow for a Circle heavy, has Khador defense, and sub-Khador armor. It does have a very high number of hit boxes, granting it some actual longevity in games, but is a construct – and as such cannot be healed by most Circle casters (the Baldurs can). It has low P+S, with only average MAT, meaning it will likely need to boost to hit infantry, and boost to do much damage against enemy heavies. It does have the nifty chain attack: smite, giving an additional attack that slams the opponent if the first two attacks hit. It’s animus is situationally useful, granting a medium size AOE forest. That forest is particularly useful for Baldur 1’s forest walk ability and granting prowl to warpwolf stalkers. The main reason to bring a woldwarden, in my honest opinion, is his super nifty geomancy ability. Geomancy allow the woldwarden to force to cast one of his caster’s spells (3 fury or less, non-self, non-control). This allows it to hot swap upkeeps, toss out offensive spells, and generally be awesome. The woldwarden is a great inclusion in either Krueger, Kromac, Mohsar, either Baldur, Grayle, and Cassius. The Kayas don’t get too much use out of it, but otherwise, consider it. Recommendation: 7/10.
Wold Guardian – The wold guardian is our tank beast. It’s abysmal defense, Khador armor, and high hit boxes make it able to sustain large amounts of damage before succumbing. It is also the slowest in faction beast (or model, for that matter). It does have decent P+S, with a super nifty auto knockdown if it hits. Ram-fist also has the ability to be transferred to, even when maxed on fury. His animus is good if you’re worried about incoming damage from shooting. I haven’t had too many games with this guy, but he is working his way into more and more of my lists. I’d certainly include him in either Baldur, and if you’re concerned about ranged assassinations, he can fit with pretty much any caster fine. Recommendation: 7/10.
Megalith – Megalith is our character wold. He is average – slow on speed, high armor, and a wonderful amount of hit boxes. He has two open fists for when you need to toss something, and they have the weight of stone ability, which makes enemies hit very easy to hit, and slows them down significantly. Unfortunately, he is a bit lackluster on the P+S, only coming in at +1 to the woldwarden. He also can geomancy like the woldwarden. In addition, his animus is super useful, granting 5″ of rough terrain and -2 defense. If you’re facing a slow heavy, and it starts outside of the 5″ radius, even charging it cannot make it into melee with you without reach. Also, granting -2 defense makes all assassinations more likely, and takes those tougher to hit enemy infantry down to manageable levels. He, and woldwardens in B2B with him, heal d3 at the start of each turn too, so if he’s lost an aspect, he’s auto going to heal it. This makes him surprisingly more useful with non-Baldur locks. His affinity with Baldur gives Baldur the same d3 healing ability each round, which is absolutely necessary with Baldur 2, and very handy with Baldur 1. If you’re running either Baldur, Megalith is an auto-include. Other good pairings include Krueger 1 and 2, Mohsar and Kromac. Recommendation: 10/10.
Ghetorix – Ghetorix is our newest character, a warpwolf. He has really solid stats, very high defense, high armor, even higher armor in melee through unyielding. High strength and reach and also the +2 to hit on charge attacks are all very nice…He’s pretty much everything you want in a beast stat-wise. He can warp for strength, of course, which is awesome. He can also warp for snacking, which lets him heal a bit for each guy he kills. He can also warp for hyper aggressive, which lets him move if someone shoots him. I’m not sure how often that will come up, but getting the chance to engage earlier or hide behind terrain / walls after getting shot seems really good. His animus strikes back at a foe, and with his high P+S this can do serious damage. It’s range self, and not many casters are likely to run into situations where it’s good to cast this instead of camping fury. Unfortunately, I’ve not gotten around to any table time with big G, and as such, all suggested locks are based on theorymachine and third party experience. His special issue: Kromac gives good reason to take him for fluff and theme, and he certainly can get stuff done, so Kromac is a good pick. Baldur 2 can make his already high armor even more amazing, and as such is also a good pick. Of course, being a furry, he fits well with either Kaya. Grayle could use him, as could Mohsar or either Krueger (I’d probably pick Krueger 2, if you’re picking between them). Recommendation: 10/10.
Conclusions – So, all in all, that’s what we’re working with currently. If you have any questions on why or why not, opinions, or general condescension, I’d love to hear it. Leave a message below and I’ll do my best to address it. My next article is going to examine our options for units. Let me know if you have any ideas for future articles. Until next time, dear readers.