Circle of Strife – Faction Blog

Author: Brett W

I returned triumphantly with swag and trophies galore alongside securing the best team award alongside my good compatriots from Epic Flail. We all agreed once again that the Welsh Open might well be the best tournament held within the UK having hammered out a 7 round Masters event against quality opponents and had the opportunity to catch up with old and make new friends. So why would I subsequently feel somewhat disillusioned and downbeat? Unfortunately I think that might have something to do with the meta that seems to be developing and Circles place as it starts to take shape…

Now don’t get me wrong, on a personal level you could argue a very successful weekend: Trophies for best painted miniature, best painted army (winning the trophy my Brother won 4 years ago), best in Faction for Circle of Orboros, best English player (from ‘up north’) and a top 10 finish. Added to which the prize for best Team (Phil Shaw, Marc Williams, Jake Wilstrop and myself) makes for very pleasant reading in terms of stats and performance. But the weekend itself, the journey home and the subsequent days since have got me thinking… let me explain:

Lists:

Wurmwood, Tree of Fate

–   Cassius the Oathkeeper

–   Pureblood Warpwolf

–   Ghetorix

–   Megalith

–   Gorax Rager

–    Woldwyrd

–   Woldwyrd

Swamp Gobber Chef

2 x Sentry Stone & Mannikins

2 x Shifting Stones

Swamp Gobber Bellows Crew

 

Baldur the Stonesoul

–   Woldwrath

–   Woldwrath

–   Woldwyrd

–   Woldwyrd

Blackclad Stoneshaper

Blackclad Stoneshaper

Blackclad Wayfarer

2 x Sentry Stone & Mannikins

Shifting Stones

I am pretty happy with both lists. The Baldur list has remained relatively unchanged since I won the UK invitational in February and the Wurmwood list performed very well at Smogcon and more recently in regional events. Baldur asks a huge question and importantly actually answers certain questions that Wurmwood cannot. Both are potentially resilient to shooting through different mechanisms and the Wurmwood list is flexible enough to be a relatively balanced drop while rewarding creative assassination orientated play should you find yourself up against it.

However the meta they are playing into and the impact of theme forces is potentially a game changer! Over the course of 7 games I played against 6 theme forces. As a result of the theme force benefits on average my opponents had an additional 12 points on the table (in addition to any other sweet benefits) and had an average battle group size of 93 points… NINETY THREE!!

I have included list details at the end of the article but in summary I played Lucant with a colossal and 5 ‘jacks; Sloan with a colossal and 6 ‘jacks; Malekus with 3 ‘Jacks; Vlad with 7 ‘jacks; Fyanna with 8 ‘beasts; Amon with 9 ‘jacks and finally Helynna with 7 ‘jacks. These figures mean that I averaged playing against nearly 6.5 ‘jacks/beasts per game. This is great in terms of the orientation of the game, the visual spectacle and satisfying the game designers trying to achieve a shift away from infantry swarms.

I just wonder whether they have gone too far? Certainly from a Circle perspective. I have always been of the opinion that Circle can play competitively in a match that essentially sees them have one less heavy on the table. I am comfortable strategically piece trading in such a way as to effectively accommodate such a deficit. The utilisation of terrain. LOS blocking, jamming and a few Circle tricks usually mean this possible. But at some point the terrain starts to run out, primal is required on a beast to ensure the kill or you simply run out of board space to manoeuvre into resulting in friendly beasts being boxed.

Wurmwood, an archetypal piece trade enabler can maybe, maybe play into +2 heavies. But even this is rough as you typically are relying upon Ghetorix to one round your opponents models without primal. Curse of shadows helps, Woldwyrds help, pureblood sprays help but equally there are also times when he needs to just get it done himself. Charging without aid vs ARM 20: average dice nets 30 damage leaving for example your bog standard Khador Juggernaut on 4 boxes and Ghetorix staring down another squad of similarly armoured ‘jacks or worse still some rifles / rockets.

Baldur then becomes a viable drop and much like in the games vs Vlad and Helynna (7 ‘jacks apiece) his rock wall becomes the MVP in the games. Placement of the wall to minimise engagement with your Gargantuan’s, limiting reprisal to only 1 ‘jack at a time becomes the extent of the limited strategic approach possible. Hope for a ‘non-scenario’ and grind them out by virtue of ARM and repair capabilities. This however is not a play style I find engaging but it seems it is a necessary evil to endure based upon how the meta is shaping up.

I am hopeful that the new steamroller pack brings some light to the darkness as I find Circle to be in strange place currently. I think as a faction we have an answer to everything… but until events become 10 lists divide and conquer 0 I think we may be in for a rough ride.

If nothing else I have found this a cathartic exercise and just hope you have enjoyed some of the elements of the article. If you have any bright ideas on how to counter this battle group heavy meta we are seeing they would be most welcome.

Thanks for reading!

 

The enemy:

Father Lucant, The Divinity Architect

–   Corollary

–   Prime Axiom

–   Inverter

–   Inverter

–   Diffuser

–   Cipher

Algorithmic Dispersion Optifex

3 x Reflex Servitors

Attunement Servitors

 

Optifex Directive

 

THEME: Destruction Initiative

Captain Kara Sloan

–   Squire

–   Hunter

–   Hunter

–   Hunter

–   Hunter

–   Hunter

–   Stormwall

Journeyman Warcaster

–   Charger – PC: 9

Captain Arlan Strangewayes

Archduke Alain Runewood, Lord of Fharin

 

 

THEME: Heavy Metal

 

Malekus, the Burning Truth

–    Eye of Truth

–   Hand of Judgment

–   Reckoner

2 x Wrack

Choir of Menoth

2 x Deliverer Sunburst Crew

Flameguard Cleansers & UA

Holy Zealotsv& Monolith Bearer

 

Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Prince

–   War Dog

–   Devastator

–   Devastator

–   Juggernaut

–   Juggernaut

–   Marauder

–   Marauder

Greylord Forge Seer

–   Behemoth

Greylord Forge Seer

Battle Mechaniks

Battle Mechaniks

 

THEME: Jaws of the Wolf

 

Fyanna, Torment of Everblight

–   Angelius

–   Angelius

–   Naga Nightlurker

–   Nephilim Bloodseer

–   Neraph

–   Neraph

–   Neraph

–   Seraph

2 x Sorceress & Hellion

Spell Martyr

2 x The Forsaken

2 x Blighted Nyss Shepherd

 

 

THEME: Oracles of Annihilation

 

High Allegiant Amon Ad-Raza

–   Hierophant

–   Castigator

–   Dervish

–   Dervish

–   Dervish

–   Dervish

–   Indictor

–   Indictor

–   Templar

–   Vigilant

Vassal of Menoth

Vassal of Menoth

Vassal Mechanik

Vassal Mechanik

Choir of Menoth

Choir of Menoth

 

 

THEME: The Creator’s Might

 

Magister Helynna

–    Sylys Wyshnalyrr

–   Hydra – PC: 15

–   Hydra

–   Manticore

–   Manticore

–   Manticore

–   Manticore

–   Phoenix

Arcanist Mechanik

Arcanist Mechanik

Arcanist Mechanik

THEME: Forges of War