[WM/H] Uncle Von Asks: What To Do With The Werewolves of Thornwood?

It’s been so long since I did one of these that I’ve had to go archive trawling to remember how I do them…

System: Hordes
Faction: Circle Orboros
Casters: 1/1
Points: 35/35
Tiers: 0

Kaya the Moonhunter & Laris (*3pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Feral Warpwolf (9pts)
* Pureblood Warpwolf (9pts)

Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
* Stone keeper (1pts)
Tharn Wolfriders (Leader and 2 Grunts) (6pts)

This ‘ere’s my go-to Circle Orboros list, which was built out of the stuff Mr. Bandwagon swapped me for my Skorne back when.  It’s very much a ‘do the best you can with what you’ve got’ list that I’ve been slowly adding more bits and bobs to in order to try and do better with (vis. Gorax and Stones).  However, I have as yet only won one game with it despite having been playing it or variants on it for a while now, so I thought that breaking it down and seeing what does what and talking about it might help me think about it and work out what I’m doing wrong.

This sort of thing is happening far too often.

A’right.  I’ll start simple.  The Wolf Riders’ job is in theory to Prey the enemy chaff and use those three attacks each to try and clear the field a bit for the other stuff to move around in.  In practice I tend to get a bit ambitious and end up Preying casters and beasts and other things the Wolf Riders can’t really hurt; they also spend a lot of time moving in from the flanks and getting tied up by whatever the opposition has going on out there.

Shifting Stones!  Well, the Stones went in because I kept having problems on Kaya’s feat turn; either she or Laris were ending up activated in the wrong order and stranded somewhere they didn’t need to be.  Moving Laris out first so that his bark-node could get Dog Pile onto a key target meant he’d already activated after Kaya and so couldn’t be pulled back with her feat; using Kaya first meant she needed to get up front in order to cast Dog Pile and was limited to the same lines of sight as her battlegroup, limiting the spell’s utility.  The Stones enable me to port Laris upfield, activate Kaya, arc Dog Pile, feat, and then either send Laris in on the attack or just Spirit Shift him back to her side in relative safety (if I have some reason not to advance with him, like a lurking heavy with Admonition and Counter Charge nearby).  The Keeper is a point filler who extends their teleporting footprint, brings a bit of extra knockdown fun, and adds Stealth, hopefully keeping all three Stones alive until my second turn when it’s usually feat time.

The Druids are in there to protect Kaya from spellfire death with Counter Magic, to open lanes with Vortex Bolts, and to be honest that’s more or less it.  Could I stand to lose them?  I’m loath to consider it – they are very good at what they do but is what they do really necessary?  I’ve never lost Kaya to spells and in theory I have lots of ways to bypass the enemy already…

I’m much more happy with the battlegroup.  The Pureblood’s spray attack is in theory very nice but I seldom accomplish much with it; he’s much more fun running around passing out Ghostly to the Feral or nobbling Incorporeal foes with his animus or just warping for STR and going to town on whatever he can reach.

The Feral was my unquestioned star of the show even before the Gorax arrived to take him to the limit.  With Forced Evolution and the +2 ARM warp effect he was surprisingly hard to shift; with Ghostly or Warp Speed, he could cover a lot of ground; with Warp Strength and the aforementioned Forced Evolution he could really dish out the pain.  Now add +2 MAT and STR onto that and you realise why I won’t leave home without him; he’s just so damn flexible, especially with access to Ghostly from the Pureblood.

The Gorax, oh my.  Even if all he ever does in a game is cast Primal on the two Warpwolves he’s done something useful, and he’s not bad as a follow-up beast if I shift Forced Evolution and Primal onto him.  In theory, he’s also the victim of any transfers that need to be made, although he tends to end up running too hot for that.

Laris, in many ways, has been the weak link; while he’s not bad with Forced Evolution on him, like a Deathripper that’s got three Focus built in, I usually have better things to do with buffs and I’m more worried about pulling him back to keep Kaya’s defensive buffs ticking over nicely.  I sometimes wonder if I’m not underusing him somehow; should he and Kaya be getting stuck in more, should buffs be being layered onto him to turn this named light into something that bites like a heavy?

And then there’s Kaya, who I cover last largely because she was picked last.  I just wanted a warlock who would close the collection off and make some nice tidy 15, 25 and 35 point lists.  I really like Dog Pile in a build that has two potentially Ghostly heavies aboard, Shadow Pack has yet to let me down while it’s been up, and Forced Evolution is a wonderful stacking buff on the Warpwolves.  In theory, she’s quite hard to hit in melee, as long as Laris is beside her… but why can’t she quite cut the mustard?

Partly it’s a question of target priority.  Pointing Dog Pile at casters too early in the game rather than using it and her feat to wipe out enemy heavies and pull my own to safety, relying on the later game advantage this secures me.  I’ve become hooked on turn two and three kills after playing Cryx – weird as this sounds, Kaya seems more suited to a longer game, with the kill coming on turn three or four.  Partly it’s been not having anywhere safe to keep her, pulling things back to screen her when they could be left out there as major threats that need to be dealt with before the enemy comes to Kaya and diverts force from attacks on her person.  But is it something else?

I’m not sure it’s the list.  The list has a lot of tech and I don’t, instinctively, feel it’s missing anything.  I’m sure it’s me.  I am thinking about working toward a Theme list using most of the same stuff, but I’m not sure I need to.

System: Hordes
Faction: epic Kaya – Call of the Wild
Casters: 1/1
Points: 35/35
Tiers: 4

Kaya the Moonhunter & Laris (*3pts)
* Gorax (4pts)
* Feral Warpwolf (8pts)
* Pureblood Warpwolf (8pts)

Druids of Orboros (Leader and 5 Grunts) (7pts)
* Druid of Orboros Overseer (2pts)
Shifting Stones (2pts)
Warpborn Skinwalkers (Leader and 2 Grunts) (5pts)
Druid Wilder (2pts)

Buggered if I know, really.  Help a chap out here?

6 thoughts on “[WM/H] Uncle Von Asks: What To Do With The Werewolves of Thornwood?

Add yours

  1. At risk of the stating the obvious and making people shout “CRUTCH” I love the Lord of the Feast in my Circle lists, he’s expensive for a solo but with the Stones and Raven combo he can get a lot of places people don’t expect him to get and so long as you pick sensible targets he can do some serious damage. Of course for extra filth add and Argus to give him 360 line of sight to go with his Reach Thresher nastiness.

    Kaya can pull off a nice assassination run with an impressive range by running Laris up to the caster, Spirit Shifting in then going to town with 4 damage dice attacks (flank = additional damge dice then you can boost)

    Circle are really tricky, they have some awesome combos but require carefull timing and you MUST get the activation orders right, I enjoy playing them as if you get things right you can run rings round people and a win with them feels like a win you’ve earned by playing well, there’s no gimmes with these guys.

    Why are you losing games? Is it scenario, caster kill or a mixture?

    1. It’s the tactical choices that I’m failing to make that concern me; how I lose isn’t so much a matter of the victory conditions as it is one of playing myself out of the game through poor decision making.

      Last game, for instance, I went for an over-optimistic Dog Pile and feat run on a DEF19 Morghoul, which was stupid (come on, thirteen on three dice?), instead of going for a virtually guaranteed run on two heavies that would have left my learned opponent without anything that could really threaten me.

      I have also put Prey on warlocks, warbeasts, support units and, in general, everything except the chaff units that I know I need to clear out early and efficiently, and which the Wolf Riders tend to excel at clearing. It’s like… I know what I should do, but I put Circle models on the table and suddenly I get overambitious and greedy rather than going with the plays that I’ve learned or considered beforehand.

  2. “Moving Laris out first so that his bark-node could get Dog Pile onto a key target meant he’d already activated after Kaya and so couldn’t be pulled back with her feat”

    Gallows Groves, due out in January. One or two of those should help with activation order issues?

  3. I’d want to do a couple things. One, add in a Blackclad. Hunters Mark makes threat ranges ridiculous, which eKaya makes more ridiculous, etc. First striking from over a foot away is awesome.

    Two, I’d be tempted by a unit to clear out said chaff. If they have something screening their heavies, her alpha strike gets harder. Druids I suppose can help move key models away, but I’d rather kill them. I’m tempted by Tharn Bloodtrackers here, especially with Nuala, and especially for the “lots of stealth” theme that it creates. Woldstalkers, oddly enough, would be my other possibility, because their ranged attack is pretty good.

    1. Bloodtrackers do tempt me. In theory, that chaff removal is the Wolf Riders’ job; I just forget to actually Prey and move toward the chaff (see reply to Robbie up above).

      The Blackclad’s an interesting proposal, although I think that any Hunter’s Mark that I use is going to becoming from Lanyssa for a while, since I own her and may not have money for new toys until my next good work month.

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