Circle of Strife – Faction Blog
Author: Brett W
Circle of Orboros is currently blessed with a number of extremely competitive Warlocks as we move out of the MKIII transition period and settle comfortably into the meta that is developing. Wurmwood, Baldur 2, and Una 2 for example find themselves extremely well placed in the higher echelons of Circle power casters. Rather than explore these Casters I want to talk about a Caster and list that I have played throughout MKIII, taken to the UK Nationals, Blood and Oil and WTC – Baldur the Stonecleaver.
Baldur the Stonecleaver
– Scarsfell Griffon
– Scarsfell Griffon
2 x Blackclad Stoneshaper
2 x Blackclad Wayfarer
Tharn Bloodtrackers and Nuala the Huntress
Druids of Orboros and Overseer
This list plays as what I would call a ‘balanced skew’. It brings 2 units, an assortment of solos, a couple of light Warbeasts and a Gargantuan (Balance) but presents a pretty effective ARM skew with the presentation of an ARM 22 Woldwrath. So while asking the key question – can you kill this guy? It also attritions very effectively, controls the battlefield and plays a particularly strong scenario game.
The list is rich in synergy by virtue of not only how Baldur enables the army to function but also how the models interact with each other effectively to maximise their output. The list always presents at least a soft counter to most problems that you may face across the gaming board.
Baldur himself regularly plays with all three of his upkeeps in play. This creates the combined sweet situation of LOS blocking terrain (Rapid Growth), immunity to knockdown and blast damage (Solid Ground) and a strength and armour buff to a model unit (Stone Skin). Often this means that T1 / T2 the only viable target for meaningful attacks is the ARM 22 Woldwrath because everything else is stealthed or hidden and the typical anti infantry tech vs stealthed models such as AOE attacks is muted by Solid Ground. Put some speculative attacks into the Woldwrath and he will trivially repair / heal for 11 points of damage a turn without the assistance of Baldur.
All of this typically means you are able to deliver your entire force intact to the skirmish line. That’s where the synergy rich components of the army start to then shine:
12” threat (Hunters Mark) on the Woldwrath is decent, free charges with Baldur mean boosting your initial to hit roll is not as impactful on your Fury stack (particularly as a successful hit knocks down the target and models close by).
Potential POW 13 Weapon Master javelins from the Blood Trackers do significant work against all but the most highly armoured targets and can effectively eliminate potential threats to the Worldwrath.
Druids for all that they are much maligned in MKIII compared to their previous editions brothers most definitely serve a purpose in this list. Pulse of the Earth can set up a host of scenario, attrition or assassination options. Wind Strikes help control the flow of the engagement by distancing threatening models or can be used to snipe at high DEF models with the aid of the animus Druid’s Wrath (Deadeye for magic).
Stoneshapers and Wayfarers both come armed with POW 12 magic sprays meaning if there is no repairing or threat extending necessary these can efficiently clear jamming infantry enabling the freedom of movement that would otherwise prove challenging.
In most games it is possible to generate both an ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ strike. The alpha is often delivered by the Blood Trackers in combination with some well-placed Wind Strikes or Pulse of the Earths controlling perceived threats. The POW 15 Lightening Strike from the Woldwrath contributes some heavy artillery to the skirmishing damage a combination of which is often enough to eliminate one premium pointed threat or heavy. The Wind Strikes and Rapid Growth combined with other board terrain often results in no forthcoming reprisal to your ranged alpha strike allowing you to rinse and repeat.
If a counterstrike threatens Baldur can employ his ball breaking Feat: Broken Earth to significantly hamper all movement within his control area to everything but a token few models (Flight). This typically means the only attacks an opponent can make against your forces are of the ranged variety which must then contend with the fact that all friendly faction models also gain cover through the Feat. Overall this often results in a game state where you get to draw first blood, follow that up with a significant melee alpha and all the while should be driving the scenario game due to the control elements of the list.
I love the list because it plays for multiple win conditions (I have not even touched upon Baldur Forest Walking for a cheeky assassination), pivots around an army centre piece in the Woldwrath, provides excellent answers to a range of problems typically presented by opponents while asking some very major questions of its own. So if you want to try a list that has killed 4 Scarsfell Griffons under Una the Skyhunter’s Feat, controls and beats down Karchev and his Mad Dogs then I recommend this list highly – hope you enjoy your games!