The Road to WTC (Part 2): Electric Boogaloo*

* This article contains footnotes. It may also contain traces of nuts.

disco shrew

The similarities are striking!1

So, although this isn’t as introductory as the next article is going to be, I couldn’t legitimately use “electric boogaloo” for the other one’s title, so I decided to jump Krueger in front.

There was some feedback requesting slightly more in-depth analysis in upcoming articles (since the first one was a bit of a skim-over of options) and so I’ve tried to do that on this one. Unfortunately I’m pretty verbose and it’s tough for me to work out what level to pitch stuff at. So it’s likely that either I assumed too much knowledge in this article, or started too dumbed-down. Hopefully either way you’re willing to forgive.

Also, my usual disclaimer concerning footnotes applies. Open a second window, scroll to the bottom.

After the change in direction to pure circle (from Cryx/Circle) for my Iron Gauntlet lists, I was confronted with an immediate need to get a list ready for the Iron Gauntlet at KingdomCon2.
I had been planning on running pDenny to cover the matchups (Cryx, Trolls, ARM in general and ranged assassins….other than the ones that can see through stealth25) so now I needed a circle list for that purpose.

One of the requirements for Iron Gauntlet is fully painted and based, so with a couple of weeks available and minimal free-time, I knew I needed a list that included a lot of stuff that was already painted and preferably based. That meant pMorvhana was out already, since she isn’t painted, none of the bogtrogs+bokor29 are painted and I didn’t fancy trying to make that happen.

Specifically I needed an answer to Cryx first and foremost and since historically one of my first stops in looking for alternate Cryx answers was Krueger, who I’ve played a fair bit previously and always found to be good3….that’s where I headed.

Krueger the Stormwrath

Krueger, the Stormwrath

He certainly does perform admirably against Cryx, particularly against light-infantry hordes like mcthrall spam and bane spam (though pskarre gives him more trouble than you’d think. Her feat turn, if she feats defensively, is a real problem)

If you add in Megalith, then your infantry clearing goes up to among the best in the game, since he can use lightning tendrils himself, spread it around and/or cast chain lightning as he sees fit. The flexibility is welcome, but even if all he does is cast chain lightning every turn, he’s an extra 3-4 dead models a turn without major effort. Chain lightning is about a billion times better with Megalith than on Krueger and you get to use it for all those little things you want to use it for, like killing solos that wander around the battlefield and are annoyingly difficult to get rid of normally.

Gorman-off

For those pesky, hard to remove solos!

I also needed the list to answer armour… which my typical pKrueger does ok with, since I’m usually running four heavies. The problem in this case being that Megalith is almost always one of those heavies. So I’m left with three heavies to do the “heavy work”. Which is again ok, as long as I also come equipped with some way to deal with buffs, since Krueger doesn’t offer any POW buffs to his heavies.

Enter, the bloodweavers27.
bloodweavers
These are one of my favourite circle units and are particularly good with Krueger 1. They love lightning tendrils more than almost any other unit since reach extends their threat dramatically and makes their gang attacks far more effective.
Ordinarily it is difficult to get attacks on more than about four enemy models with a full unit of 6 bloodweavers, assuming that you want the MAT buff from gang. This is because without reach your opponent should space such that you find it hard to get two models in a single bloodweaver’s melee threat, particularly once you factor in the requirement to turn and face directly towards the model you charged.
You can work around this somewhat by charging with 4 of the models and running with the other two, which generally gets you four MAT 8 attacks.
With reach it is often possible to get a MAT 8 attack out of every model, which is a serious increase in effectiveness. If you then factor in the electroleaps and the ability to explode living models 32 they can rack up a very impressive kill count.
They are accurate, can dispel upkeep buffs and can RFP living models (while scoring extra kills incidentally). If they came in a full size unit I’d be happier, but the standard 6 person unit is satisfactory.

The other option is to instead take a pureblood warpwolf.
Pureblood warpwolf

I’m a “Utility Heavy”!31

That gives you an animus that can, in a lot of cases, take the place of primal, which lets you run without a gorax if you wish. Conveniently gorax plus bloodweavers is the same points as a pureblood and that’s often how I think of those two packages. The pureblood also gives you a great spray and the ability for your other warpwolves to warp ghostly, which can be very handy in a lot of cases. Historically I’ve struggled to find room for purebloods in most lists and in this case it wasn’t any different.

My concern (for the record since this is an ongoing arguement in the circle forums forever) with relying on the pureblood animus(instead of primal) is twofold:
1) If I run bloodweavers and gorax, then I can remove the upkeep AND get the +2 damage. That makes it an effective 5 point swing on something like an arcane shielded stormwall, or a 4 point swing on a death warded deathjack. Of course in both cases you have to get a bloodweaver to the target and hit the target (and not fail the terror check!) but the opportunity is there.
2) If I have no primal, then killing a high-camp caster who DOESN’T have an upkeep on him, becomes much more difficult. Butcher 3 on full camp is a real problem for a stalker without primal.4

As for the “ranged assassination” counter, Krueger himself is pretty decent thanks to skyborne and there are a variety of options available in faction to assist….if you can find the points for them. I generally opt for some swamp gobbers for starters. Then consider druids for clouds (then discard due to cost), then consider sentry stones for forests and because…well…sentry stones.

So my basic starting point was:
pKrueger, Megalith, Ghetorix, Stalker, Gorax, Bloodweavers, swamp gobbers
Which is a package that gives very hard hitting, strong infantry clear, buff removal (and debuff removal if you don’t mind shanking your own warpwolf6) and leaves you with 13 points to spend. I wanted at that point to get sentry stones in, so that took 6 points, full shifting stones took 5, a pair of gallows groves and you’re done. So that’s a triple heavy list, but with only two “serious heavies” and no “throw away” heavy.
Pureblood warpwolf

I’m a “Throwaway Heavy”! Pick me!35

When playing Krueger 1 I really like to have at least one heavy (or a light or two) that can be “thrown away” for the purpose of clearing infantry or a zone. Throw lightning tendrils on a feral, throw the feral at an objective and all the enemy infantry within 4” die from the electroleaps. Clears the zone, kills the objective and initiates a piece trade since they probably have to send in a heavy to kill it. Since you’re often running more heavies than them, that’s a pretty good deal.

You can do it with a utility light beast also, particularly in Steamroller 2014 where the objectives aren’t ARM 20. The only downside is that they can often kill a light beast with a few infantry, which doesn’t start the heavy trade. with two utility light’s you can get some use out of them before you expend them, which is workable if you already have the ARM cracking section of your list good to go.
Argus

I’m a “Utility Light”! Pick me!36

Either way I wasn’t happy that list would have sufficient armour cracking, so I went a little bit further and dropped the sentry stones and shifting stones (to just one unit with ua) plus a grove and picked up a feral. I played that in one game where it performed exactly as it used to, since it’s pretty much the list I settled on about 9 months ago when I last played pKrueger. Which is to say it worked, worked well, but felt…..not good enough. Since it was Iron Gauntlet there would be specialists (one of the things I like about the format), so I thought that a straight swap of feral for pureblood or feral for woldguardian would be a solid option. The woldguardian always sits in the back of my mind as a beast that I really WANT to get into lists, but very rarely get to. He’s very resilient, he auto-knockdowns, he’s girded (which no-one else seems to think is a good ability…but I love it) and you can transfer to him while he’s full….plus he comes with one of the best anti-shooting defensive animi in the game. He genuinely IS a utility heavy and doubles as a throwaway heavy in matches where you dont particularly need the utility.
Thinking about the guardian put me into a bit of an out of the box9 loop, particularly after reading one of the Overload Online articles (Reference here).
So, went the thought process, what if I went with pureblood instead of gorax, then I don’t NEED my beasts to be living, so then I can change all my beasts for wolds…..genius!
Hence I ended up at Krueger, woldguardian, woldguardian, megalith, pureblood, bloodweavers, shifting stones, gallows grove. Which is only 50 points even with two groves. So I dropped a grove and picked up the sentry stones again.
I played that against Cryx, which featured the amusing question “What have you got with magic weapons?” since he had blackbanes ghost pirates.
Turns out the answer to that question is “well, technically the mannikins don’t have magic weapons….in melee. Oh, I guess if I wanted to I could give them magic weapons there too…..so everything?”

In play, as in theory, the list turned out to be short on punch. Topping out at POW 17 is no kind of way to make an “Armor cracking” list. The only other thing that really came out of that game was my realization that “ram” (the wold guardian ability that auto-knockdowns and pushes the target 1”) is much better when you have reach and electroleap. Pushing an enemy model towards important solos so that the electroleaps kill them is sweet!

So I was headed back to living beasts, despite my love for the guardian, (Please privateer press, PLEASE give me an animus or some effect from some random stone guy that gives wolds a POW buff. Even +1 mat, +1 str would be VERY welcome!) when I thought of a compromise that I liked. There was no time for further testing so I ended up taking the following list to KingdomCon:
pKrueger,Gorax, Megalith, Stalker, Feral, WoldGuardian, bloodweavers, shifting stones, gallows grove, gobbers

Which gave me:
Great resilience against shooting:
Stealth stalker, guardian and megalith in front of feral, weavers get girded and Krueger gets flesh of clay.

Decent armour cracking:
Stalker, gorax, feral and ‘weavers to strip upkeeps

Great infantry clear:
Krueger and Megalith

With the only thing I really missed being Ghetorix. In retrospect I could probably drop the second set of stones for upgrading the Feral….but I’m not sure it’s a good idea.
Then, after all that thought/testing/effort… I played it exactly once. I only got to play for the one day, just the Iron Gauntlet, I spent the rest of the holiday with my wife seeing the zoo11 and Joshua Tree National Park12.
Only getting to play it once meant I didn’t really get a good feel for it’s strength in tournament play, which led to me starting the thread about “breaking in new lists” which I’ll probably talk about more in another article (since this one is reaching it’s limit!)
The one game that I did get to play it in was interesting so I thought I’d provide a short synopsis/battle report here. Please feel free to comment on whether you’d prefer actual battle reports, or whether you prefer a more analytic highlights or thoughts about the matchup (which is what I’m going with here)

gameplay troll vs krueger

That’s my thinking forehead…There’s a lot of it.

This game was (I think) round 2, against a guy from Houston (about 6 or 7 texans flew over for Kingdomcon) named Julien. He plays trolls (one of the things I wanted Krueger to match against) and was running edoomshaper with Mulg, Earthborn, Bomber, Impaler, krielstone, janissa and some other odds and ends. He was affected by the painted/based requirements so it wasn’t his usual list.
Really the relevant part in this matchup is that he had a krielstone, Mulg, an axer, janissa and an Earthborn. The reason I say that is the relevant part is because they are the primary ‘question’ that this contest asks of Circle.
Mulg with elemental communion and the stone, behind a portable wall, is a serious problem for Circle21.
I’ve not yet found a particularly great answer to it in any of my lists, Circle is short on reliable ways to take out Janissa from range, short on reliable ways to hit at POW 20+ accurately over a wall and short on casters that can survive Mulg.
The “question” for those that are not ‘in the know’ (ie haven’t been on the receiving end of Mulg in this circumstance) is two-part:
1. Can you kill Mulg or otherwise prevent him from delivering a charge to your caster using a combination of rush, doomies feat and goad for an effective threat of up to 18″ (with two goads) or slightly more if he only needs one good hit to kill you
2. If you cant do the above, can you survive Mulg getting on your caster.

So in the past I struggled for a long time to find any option in Circle that would truly offer a chance to kill Mulg pre-charge, but I failed.
So I fell back on plan b. Which seems horrible on paper, feels horrible in practice, but gets results.

Plan B is, in a nutshell:
Let him have the charge.

Make it so that he can get there, but to do so he has to goad at least twice. Then camp enough transfers so that it’s technically possible to kill you, but very very unlikely.

Then pray that he goes for it and fails.
Pray also that he doesnt instead go for your beasts and simply kill two of them on his alpha.

It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s what I went with in this game and it paid off again.

I went first and we were playing destruction, I setup aggressively and moved very far forward (almost to where you can see my setup in the photo. The photo is taken at the end of my turn two)
He came as far forward as he could in response and set up the start of his bunker.
I then attempted a cheeky feat on janissa and a naked doomshaper (dice minus 7) plus a few of the stone-bearers, using my first unit of stones to port one of the second unit far enough forward for the second unit to be able to pull Krueger back after his feat.

When I pulled Krueger back, I pulled him back to just far enough that I thought Julien would have to goad three times to get to me (because I figured my positioning would make a straight charge impossible and would cut the distance enough to force the additional goad. I camped two transfers, put up skyborne and hoped that I was safe enough.

Realistically since he has the higher threat range in this matchup it’s practically impossible to keep your caster actually safe without leaving the scenario game to him….so I feel like your only option is to make yourself “almost safe” and hope you dont get unlucky.

In this case I was wrong, he went for the attempt and was able to manufacture a charge path that let him kill my two gobbers and goad off each one, getting him just in reach of Krueger with three more fury available and the bonus attack from Doomy’s affinity.

But with Krueger at DEF 17, Mulg needed 10’s to hit me, Wild Aggression made that a solid chance, but the odds of hitting four 10s consecutively are very long, so I was very hopeful that he would miss one. With two transfers available I then would need one of the three that hit to be less than my full health total and I’d be perfectly fine!37.

In the event, he hit the first for 11 damage, which I took, hit the second for 13 which I transferred and then missed both of the others.

At that point he was left with a few long-shot options (the bomber attempted to scatter bombs onto Krueger with the hope of blasting him to death….the first one actually worked and forced the remaining transfer!! the second one didnt, thankfully!)

The game then turned dramatically in my favor with his heavies dying in quick succession leaving me to clean up. 38.

So, I got the one game, which I’m not sure told me much more than I already knew about my list, which was a pity. In retrospect I probably should have dropped the Krueger list against eFeora in the final just to see how it went, but that’s hind-sight for you

That said, once I got back from Kingdomcon I felt like it was time to start on another warlock since in general I feel like I have a decent understanding of Krueger 1 (at least the way I play him) and I wanted to give a bit of time to the ‘locks I’d played less in the past.

End of Article 2

So, this took a lot longer than I’d hoped (Probably circa 5 hours in all, counting edits etc) and I think I could spend quite a bit longer polishing it if I was trying for a less aggressive schedule.

Unfortunately (from the perspective of this article series) I’m going away for two weeks at the end of this week, so I want to try and get this one up, plus hopefully one more on Friday, then I’ll have a two week gap where I can write some stuff and come back and put up some more.

So please, comment either on this article, or in the thread in the forums, I feel like I ended up rambling a little and jumping from place to place in this article, which is a product of rushing.

If it actually ends up being ok done this way and people like it, then I can keep trying to produce articles fast and let the quality suffer a little.

If people would prefer I can try and instead make more polished, shorter articles.

I’m ok with either one and I’d be interested in the thoughts of any and all, so please comment in the thread here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this very article.

If you want to be confusing you can leave it on a completely unrelated article, though I cant guarantee that will achieve the desired result.

The next warlock I moved onto (who I’m still playing now as I write this article15) is Mohsar.


* “Even THERE?” Achievement unlocked : Use a footnote in the title of your article
1 I kind of wish it was epic Krueger I was trying to use. The line “Krueger two can still boogaloo” was just so much gold. So I thought I’d use it down here anyway.
2 Which was a great event from what I saw of it. I only got to play one day…not that I’m bitter. Gail did a wonderful job, even if she made my woldguardian sad.*13
3 Though not good enough, for reasons I’ve not been able to articulate well.
4 because you know, WITH primal he’s almost a certainty to kill butcher 3 right I mean do the math, he only needs 6’s to hit and he’s only at -4 on damage….so he does 16 damage if he hits everything which….wait a minute. Well I mean he could boost the damage rolls right? So now he hits everything, boosts damage on the first sword, then buys a sword and boosts damage….then. Hmm, so now we boost the fist, or buy an un-boosted sword huh? So we do…..18 damage…or we do 17. Neither of which kills him. Huh.17 Also: I guess you probably DO have to roll to hit right?
5 I really want you to hear this song in your head when you see Krueger, I certainly do, in fact just run it in the background while you read this article8: Something for Kate – Electricity
6 and then inevitably rolling boxcars on damage.
7 Because clearly what this world needs is more puns from me.*10
8 Well, I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that before, I’m going to music pair all future articles, assuming that I remember.You can learn about Australian music22 and I can feel the sweet joy of foisting my own music preferences on other people without need for context or that awkward part in the car where you’re the guy with the song the other person has never heard before and you REALLY want them to like it but it’s hard for them to get into a random song from another country that they’ve never heard before and are hearing for the first time with someone sitting next to them who quite obviously REALLY wants them to get into it and is currently drumming out the song on the steering wheel and singing along and glancing at them as if pleading…..or you know, something like that. 18
9 only a little bit, when I go a long way out of the box bad things happen.
10 I dream that one day there’ll be an invasion by a superior race who (quite intelligently) created a language with no linguistic ambiguity33 and as such find puns to be horrendously intimidating. They will be within moments of destroying our global governance24 and that, then, will be my moment. It’s going to be amazing.
11 Highly recommend. Polar bears eating carrots, ‘nuff said.*14
12 Highly recommend. No polar bears, but lots of rocks. *14
13 Which in turn meant that Will, who had kindly bought an extra one for me spent the whole convention with a random woldguardian on the table next to his CoC.*16
14 In fact I further recommend that if you can make it work, rolling a single day of a convention into a holiday is actually pretty sweet. You get to see a bunch of cool stuff and still play some sweet games.
15 I’m guessing I’m about 2 weeks behind, I think I started playing mohsar about two weeks ago. Catching up though
16 CoC really is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you so much for that acronym Privateer Press, you’ve given me a backup pun for any situation.*7
17 and THIS is why I say that high-camp casters are a problem for circle. Fortunately not many warmachine players realize it, so not many people do stuff like camp full on scaverous and run at you. Because ARM 26 scaverous is not something circle wants to deal with. Also: Please don’t play Darragh Wrathe.
18 I think it’s a subset really of this: XKCD – Youtube Parties
19 Generally via your stomach. Which shortly thereafter ends up all over your friends in a perplexingly explosive manner. I mean I understand it’s magic, but the ability to stab someone and heat all of the fluid in their body to a boiling state so rapidly that they quite literally explode with enough force to kill bystanders…it just seems like you’d still be able to damage with that to things that arent living right? The amount of energy needed to spontaneously evaporate approximately eleven liters of blood is pretty serious. I mean even warjacks wouldnt like having that much heat load dumped into them suddenly and presumably even zombified bog-trogs are still full of some sort of fluid28.
21 Yes, probably most factions are short on answers to that particular riddle, but even though I promised to go into more depth in this article I am absolutely NOT going to try and crack that list from the perspective of every faction.
22 or at least a specific subset of Australian music from the 1990s and early 2000s
24 because we’ll have global governance by then, this is the future. We’ll also have rocket fists. Though they’ll be surprisingly unhelpful in the event of an invasion as we neglected to factor our own rather minimal mass vs that of the astonishingly large alien invaders….resulting in quite a lot of aggressive humans “rocket-fisting” their way to victory and indeed over the horizon.
25 And are also capable of still shooting accurately with -2 to everything they love and no army still alive and a bunch of Nyss shooting at them… It’s quite a short list.
26 Don’t look at me like that, I can’t help if it’s also got ambiguous context/implication. Consider that a bonus.
27 And if there’s one thing that lady can do it’s make an entry19
28 I hope that “bin-juice” is a term that Americans are familiar with, it’s the fluid that’s in the bottom of your bin when you accidentally threw away things that were full of some liquid which somehow got out of the bag and ended up at the bottom of the bin and now resembles nothing so much as it resembles the pure essense of detritus distilled into a sticky transluscent fluid with an odor that will never, EVER come out of your shoe after it drips off the bin bag onto your foot…..that stuff, that’s what’s in bog trogs. The undead ones at least. I assume that the living ones have a pleasantly piquant blood.
29 Gatorman Bokor and Bags of Bin-Juice would have been an awesome name for that unit.
31 You should announce “I’m a Utility Heavy!” in the Ralph Wiggum “Oh boy, sleep, that’s where I’m a viking!” voice (refer: “Oh boy!”. Utility in this case is being used loosely.39
32 But not bags of bin-juice
33 Of which puns are not a particularly good example. Yes, if you want to nitpick a lot of things people use as puns aren’t really cases of linguistic ambiguity and more of an example of misinterpretation or similar sounds. Things like “Ben and John met at the park and went back to his house for a fun time” are a better example26
34 This one isnt linked to anything. That’s because I randomly generate numbers and then just fill in backwards and I ran out of thoughts to connect to footnotes. So that it doesnt stand out like the much maligned and abused testacles on a pureblood warpwolf I’ve put some text in here.
35 No, you’re not. Because if I throw you away, I dont have your animus which I just built my whole list around since the entire reason I’m taking you is to enable me to not take a gorax. That doesnt work if I actually use you for something useful and as a result you die.
36 No, you are a useless light. There’s a distinct difference.
37 Perfectly fine in this case meaning I’d have transfered about 35 damage onto my beasts, have no transfers remaining, be under half health, in melee range of Mulg and with him still having the rest of his army (other than doomy and the earthborne) yet to activate…..so perfectly fine.
38 Incidentally that is why a lot of good players refuse to play for assassination unless they have to. Even the best assassination run can fail on terrible dice….and if it does that is often the end of your game. If an attrition play fails because you roll three consecutive snake-eyes…then you just move on, swearing a little.
39 The strongest praise I can give to this model is that the sculpt of the metal version is possibly the most perfect portrayal of the facial expression of a werewolf when it has just been kicked in the nutsack by a troll that I have ever seen. It’s even holding one claw in the air as if to scream “Why, why cruel world would you burden me with this high point cost, mediocre combat ability and screaming pain in my testacles?”

 

Author: bobliness

I'm an Australian living in Houston, Texas, I started playing Warmachine/Hordes in March 2012 and I consider myself to be on a continuous learning curve that I'm not sure will ever end. I play for strategy and combinations, I am in no way a qualified hobbyist or painter though I admire those that are. No, I dont know Chunky, but the other five people that live in Australia tell me he's really swell.

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