Hunter’s Mark Article I: Kromac2

kromac2

Kromac, the Champion of the Wurm

 

I have never considered writing a WarmaHordes strategy/tactics article. I pretty much believed these kinds of things were reserved for those accomplished players whose opinions and strategies others would want to read. I’m going to give it a shot anyway. This will be my first go at a tactics guide; I thank you in advance for reading, and welcome any questions you may have.

kromac

 

Of Blood & Thunder

Kromac, the Champion of the Wurm is on paper a pretty straightforward caster with an upfront and in-your-face playstyle. He wants to play at the head of his army for two primary reasons. One being so that he can kill things that get a little too close and the second is to allow his army to gain the maximum benefit from his spells and feats. I think there is still much latent power to be tapped within this warlock. I would give him an A rank and put his match breakdown as 40% Assassination, 40% Scenario, and 20% Attrition. Kromac will kill damn near any warnoun in the game if he can get to them with a stack of fury or some corpse tokens. His scenario game is fairly strong, but not in the same manner as someone like eKrueger. He’s going to do something more along the lines of “I’m in zone, come and get me”. Attrition is where he is weakest, but because he can do so much work himself he can still finish your opponents when the model count gets low.

His fury hasn’t changed from his primal incarnation, his SPD stayed the same as well, and he has Warpwolf DEF with a respectable ARM 18. He has an elite MAT 8 and wields a hefty reach POW 17. If that wasn’t sweet enough our Champion has Heart Eater combined with Life Drinker and the cherry on top is he has Terror. Kromac is essentially a warbeast on his own, but in true Circle fashion he can be ended like one if you’re not careful. It’s critical to know what in your opponent’s army is capable of killing him in order to avoid an untimely end.

Kromac has a fairly versatile spell list that I’ll quickly run through and focus on what I find most important.

Carnage: Kromac’s signature offensive spell and odds are the one he is casting the most often. It takes just under half his stack to cast, but it is well worth it for the efficiency gained. For one turn it grants a static +2 to melee attack rolls to friendly faction models that are hitting something within Kromac’s control area. This is one of the reasons Kromac likes to play so upfront. It’s also worth nothing that Kromac also benefits from it, so it can still be worth casting even when you only intend to do work with him. In a faction littered with MAT 6, this spell is pure gold. Arguably the better half of Primal without any of the downsides.

Primal Howl: A great defensive spell. It essentially grants a 4 inch +2 DEF bubble with the limitation that it doesn’t work against Cryx. In a faction that commonly has DEF 14, this can get pretty wild when stacked with things like the Druids cloud effects. It has some niche applications for if a unit isn’t fearless and is forced to make a Command Check (did I mention he has Terror?), but that isn’t something to rely on. It can randomly win you an advantage, however, so it is something to keep in mind. It’s a solid spell that Kromac wants to cast, but usually can’t because he put out Carnage.

Aggravator: A very situational upkeep spell. Gives friendly warbeasts Hyper Aggressive. I think there are applications where this spell can be awesome. In particular it shines in the Argus spam tier list. For the most part you’re likely only casting it the first turn to burn fury and probably not upkeeping it afterwards. Some things to note are that it isn’t limited to Kromac’s battlegroup and that it is a full advance, so normal advancing rules apply. This is probably the worst spell on Kromac’s card and it’s not bad.

Awakened Spirit: An amazing upkeep spell that you will probably have up all game. Allows the affected warbeast to use their animus without being forced. This frees up so many order of activation and fury issues that are typically associated with the Warpwolf Stalker and Lightning Strike. It works really well on the Gorax too, once you inevitably lose your Stalker.

Primal Shock: Kromac’s only offensive spell. Allows you to target an enemy model with a magic attack through a warbeast. The POW of the attack is determined by the BASE STR of the beast its “arc’d” through.  Unfortunately, this means that it does not benefit from the feat, warpwolf warps, or Primal. Still at cost 2 and Kromac’s reliable FURY stat, this can be the finishing blow on some pesky targets. It’s great for picking off solo’s who think they’re safe as well.

Kromac is an offensive warlock and you’ll generally be casting/upkeeping the spells that support this (Carnage and Awakened Spirit), with 2 flexible Fury (Lightning Strike, Primal Shock, etc), and a last fury for an emergency transfer. There are times when I lose the Stalker that had Awakened Spirit and I’ll consider a turn casting Carnage and Primal Howl. I’ve also found that the longer the game goes on, the more Kromac wants to hoard FURY for himself in order to do work.

Blood Lust

eMac has the only damage buffing feat in Circle. It grants +2 STR/ARM to his living battlegroup (sorry Wolds) and auto hits on charge attacks against enemy models in his control area. The feat and its applications are fairly straightforward in most match-ups you’re going to use it to deliver an alpha strike that your opponent can’t recover from. Big Mac’s feat allows his warpwolves to hit terrifyingly hard. A POW 23 Ghetorix can take out 2 poorly positioned warbeasts or even one round a colossal with some decent dice. There’s also some defensive tech built into it with the +2 ARM, which is really nice on some select models. I have found, however, that it’s important not to be relying on that to save you. Warpwolf Stalkers are notorious for dying to a stiff breeze, adding +2 ARM isn’t going to change much in that aspect, while Ghetorix and the Satyrs can really maximize on it. It is important to note that there are times when feating defensively is correct. You’ll also want to keep in mind that Kromac is a living model within his own battlegroup.

 

Paying the Blood Price

eMac’s tier list is very interesting, particularly with one of Circle’s newest Solo releases the Blood Weaver Night Witch. I think there is a lot of merit to playing the tier list and that there is still a lot of ground to be explored on this front. I’ve seen a lot of variation in the tier lists. You can run a decent gun line with Purebloods and discounted Moonhounds, an Argus spam list that can potentially run as many Argus as you can get your hands on (the list on left below has 11 free points and still has a Stalker), or a really heavy infantry list with 3 units of Bloodweavers and 3 Bloodweaver Night Witches for maximum Corpse Tokens. The tier list offers some solid benefits that really give it potential all around. I’ve been experimenting with the lists below, but I can’t say that I like either enough to drop my non-tier list for it. These both still need a lot more field time before they’re ready for anything other than some casual fun. I would love to hear other’s thoughts and experiences in this regard.

 

 

Kromac, Champion of the Wurm +4                                                                  Kromac, Champion of the Wurm +4
-Gorax -3                                                                                                                  -Gorax -3
-Gorax -3                                                                                                                  -Argus Moonhound -3
-Winter Argus -4                                                                                                     -Argus Moonhound -3
-Argus -3                                                                                                                   -Warpwolf Stalker -10
-Argus -3                                                                                                                   Bloodweaver Night Witch -2
-Argus -3                                                                                                                   Bloodweaver Night Witch -2
-Argus -3                                                                                                                   Tharn Blood Pack -10
-Argus -3                                                                                                                   Tharn Blood Pack -10
-Argus -3                                                                                                                   Tharn Ravagers -9
-Rotterhorn Griffon -3                                                                                            -Tharn Ravager Chieftain -2
-Rotterhorn Griffon -3
-Warpwolf Stalker -10
Bloodweaver Night Witch -2
Bloodweaver Night Witch -2
Bloodweaver Night Witch -2
Shifting Stones -2
Shifting Stones -2

 

The Champion’s Chosen

Warpwolf Stalker: The single most versatile and important warbeast in any given list with eKromac. Lightning Strike is an amazing animus and being able to have a Stalker that can use it for free is absolutely brilliant. Lightning Strike is pivotal on eKromac as with it he has no problem walking into melee, killing everything in reach using corpse tokens, and strolling right back out potentially into some Druid clouds. This guy kills infantry and heavies alike and losing his animus hurts the list in a lot of ways. So good, it’s well worth taking two and there are lists that run three.

Ghetorix: It doesn’t get any deadlier in Circle than this guy. On the feat turn, he’s potentially swinging at MAT 12 POW 23 and when your opponent goes to hit back he’s a solid DEF 14 ARM 21. Snacking is also worth noting here as it does give you some limited capacity to dish out RFP where you need it. All in all, if he isn’t critical to the other warlock you pair Kromac with, he should be marching up the field with Big Mac.

Druids of Orboros: While pKromac doesn’t like these guys, eKromac has a serious affinity for them. The cloud wall they bring helps protect your beast brick that might otherwise get shot off the table. They can extend your threat ranges by pulling models forward with Force Bolts, enable assassinations on the clutch Crit Knockdowns, or remove contesting models from zones. Counter Magic often gives your opponent’s army fits if they’re not prepared to deal with it. When bringing the UA, you can laugh off most double croak raider lists. If your opponent doesn’t have ways to deal with Stealth, you can warp Prowl and push your Stalkers to the tips of the Cloud Wall. If they do, you can stand behind the wall to block LOS. Kromac is sitting on a large base so he’s hard to block LOS to without clouds. While his DEF 14 is solid, it is still very manageable to hit. The clouds can almost always guarantee you the alpha strike, which Kromac wants in a big way. It’s hard to spend 9 points more effectively than this unit with their attachment.

Blood Weaver Night Witch: Grievous Wounds on a 2 point solo with Killing Spree is really good. Your opponent has to be very careful about their placements or they’ll end up starting a Killing Spree chain that can be difficult to stop. You can also save her for the late game and prevent transfers on Warlocks or guarantee that your Stalker doesn’t get choked on tough models before sprinting away (because Grievous is on the hit). She works largely independently of the rest of your army, which is great as it adds the ability to add something to flank or contest with. If Kromac has Carnage up, she is swinging at MAT 9 and can boost her own damage rolls. I’ve very rarely not had her make her points back.

Shifting Stones: At least one unit goes into 99.9% of all Circle lists and that doesn’t change with eKromac. They’re great for all the normal reasons, but they’re included in Kromac’s chosen because of how large of a threat he is. When the model count starts getting low and you’ve managed to keep your Shifting Stones alive (out of tier they were probably sitting safe behind a cloud wall), shifting Kromac onto an enemy warnoun with a full stack will end the best of them.

Honorable Mentions: 

Blackclad Wayfarer, slightly more versatile than the Night Witch but less independent. If you’re not bringing the Rotterhorn, it’s very easy for him to whiff on Hunter’s Mark or fail to clear infantry with Stone Spray and then die. The Night Witch and Blackclad are quite interchangeable and should be swapped pending how you gear eKromac.

Druid Wilder, Awakened Spirit means that she might actually contribute more than Lightning Strike on a stick… or at the very least allows you to dish out more Lightning Strikes. Lightning Strike really is that good.

Shadowhorn Satyr, Has some cute synergy with Primal Howl and does well to protect Kromac. The leap can help enable assassinations. All in all, I feel the points can be better spent but he’s worth mentioning.

Riphorn Satyr, 3 initials, next to guaranteed free power attack, doesn’t have to be forced to charge, and stats that line up better to utilize the +2 ARM from the feat. The Riphorn grinds enemy heavies to dust. The reduced threat range from a lack of reach and Smash & Grab not working against Gargs/Colossals makes for a tough argument when he’s only 1 point less than a Stalker. Bulldoze is good, but it isn’t Lightning Strike. He’s very good with the only issue being that he has to compete with the Stalker. If your local meta doesn’t have many Gargs/Colossals, he could certainly be rated higher. If Ghetorix is in your other list, he can strongly be considered for a replacement.

Pureblood Warpwolf, Blessed can be really strong and the feat actually brings his damage to a respectable number. The spray can help clear out or soften infantry for the real heavy hitters of the list. He suffers a similar problem to the Riphorn, where he just isn’t a Stalker. Still a good consideration.

 

Enemies of the Wurm

Kromac’s ideal match-up involves relatively low model count beast/jack heavy lists. Kromac does not like being dropped into control casters. Heavy gun-line lists with ways to ignore cloud effects *cough*Lylth2*cough* can shoot down his beast brick before he makes it in. Dude spam lists that have access to large amounts of weapon masters can also be difficult. Fortunately this is why we have pairings.

 

Legion: This one is tough. I’ve done well against the somewhat new pThagrosh + Blight Bringer, but pVayl and Lylth2 are nightmare match-ups. I think he can be built to have some decent game into the faction, but it’s certainly an uphill struggle.

Trolls: Kromac is favored in most match-ups here. There is a lot of back and forth on Big Mac vs Doomy3. I’ve had favorable experiences for it, but would still rate it 50/50.

Skorne: Fist is a lot of dudes to chew through, but Kromac has the potential to do it. Lists with double croaks shouldn’t be problematic. Beast heavy lists are what Kromac wants to see so anything going that route should be favored. I would generally call this a good match for Kromac.

Circle: Bradigus can be tough with the new lists that tend to bring more heavies, but it’s still a brick that Big Mac can crack. eMorv will generally bring more than you can chew through. eKrueger will depend on the list, but most lists you’ll be un-favored due to the feat. eBaldur’s Roots of the Earth isn’t enough for him to weather your feat turn. eKaya can be an interesting match up due to the identical threat ranges, but I still think overall Kromac is favored here. Incredibly match-up dependent.

Minions: Rask can be difficult since assassination is next to impossible with how many dudes he can bring, and he can really dial things up with Fury. Porting berserking Stalkers can potentially mulch through enough dudes to make it happen. Auto-knock down from Barny means he ignores all your glorious DEF 14, so he can and will kill your beasts. He usually brings more heavy infantry than you can chew through, so the retaliation is going hammer you. Carver throwing out Quagmire prevents our usual hit-and-run shenanigans which we don’t like. Dr. Arkadius can essentially ignore the cloud wall by running his beasts into melee and frenzying them all with the feat. I wouldn’t recommend tech-ing your list for Minions, but your standard Kromac2 list should be good into most of these lists.

Cryx: Another match-up where I’ve generally found my other list is better suited. They completely ignore Primal Howl, tough and incorporeal can be rough, can bring high enough DEF that they’re still difficult to hit with Carnage, and can bring accuracy buffs that nullify your DEF 14. You can build Kromac so that it isn’t a terrible match-up, but in general I wouldn’t recommend him here.

Menoth: He can be dropped into some of the jack heavier lists. Not a bad drop into most Menoth lists, but not particularly favored.

Khador: Kromac is probably one of the few casters in the game that can actually threaten to kill any/all of the Butchers on camp. Mad Dogs of War is more weapon masters than Kromac wants to see. Butcher 3 with Black Dragons can be difficult and Irusk can also bring more than Kromac wants to deal with. In general, Kromac shouldn’t be super unfavored but it’s very list dependent.

Cygnar: Kromac really doesn’t like control casters and it’s uncommon to not see some version of Haley across the table with Cygnar. Gun Mages are also really popular with Cygnar and they are the bane of Druids. I would call a fair amount of matches just slightly unfavorable.

Convergence: Axis is a control caster with a SPD debuff feat, which isn’t what Kromac wants to see, although Druid cloud can offer some protection. Lucant has Purification and Watcher, which can be difficult to play around but he likes to brick up; Kromac2 likes cracking bricks. Iron Mother has an accuracy buff feat, but not a lot of good ways to get around the Druid’s clouds. In summary, I would say Kromac2 has solid game into Convergence.

Retribution: You deal really well with the Griffon spam list as it’s fairly easy to take out 2 lights with each warpwolf. Will of Nine Voices can shoot down your Stalkers before you get a chance to berserk through them, but it’s not completely unplayable. Issyria is very list dependent, but she can nullify your Druids and Admonition can make it difficult to take out a carefully positioned Jack. Kaelyssa’s feat hurts, but I find with bringing double Shifting Stones it isn’t terrible. I’ve actually managed to Force Bolt a Jack into the walking threat range of Stalker before. Somewhat list dependent, but I would call it favored.

 

Allies of the Wurm

eKrueger: This guy has a special place in my heart within Circle. His feat can just win you games against some armies that aren’t prepared to deal with it. He can be built to play well into Legion and Cryx, which eKromac doesn’t like to see. He’s a great pair for nearly everyone in Circle and that doesn’t change with eKromac.

pKrueger: Deals with dudespam probably better than anyone else in Circle. eKromac doesn’t like too many dudes across the table, since Stalkers are so fragile. A solid pairing for eKromac.

Bradigus: Creates an interesting ARM/DEF skew where, if your opponents list chickens incorrectly, you may just flat out win. Cryx and Legion can still be rough match-ups, however, so it is fairly meta dependent. Good pair.

pKromac: The Kromacs actually pair fairly well with each other. pKromac used to be the standard answer for Cryx and other dude-spam lists, but fell out of favor as answers for meta ARM skew were sought out. He also generally had to compete with eKrueger/eMorv for a slot, and that’s a tough spot for most casters in the game. Solid pairing potential with eKromac.

pMorv: Sac-pawn into Blackclads makes Ravagores very, very sad. Influence and Harvest make for fun times against Cryx. The Green Machine pairs surprisingly well with eKromac.

eMorv: She has the best potential to give the best overall coverage or generalist list, so I feel like the less you know about what you’re playing into the more value she gets. Similar to eKrueger in that she pairs really well with just about everyone in Circle and that’s not different for eKromac.

eBaldur: Similar idea as with Brad where you have a brick and brick breaker list. eBaldur can be built to play really well into Cryx, but Legion can still be troublesome. Decent pairing.

pKaya/eKaya: The lists that come from these two are generally going to be beast heavy and similar to what eKromac is running. They’re not any better into Cryx or Legion, which are probably your most difficult match-ups. Bad pairing.

pBaldur: Can actually be built to have solid game into Cryx and Legion. He just isn’t a caster you see much from. He got some increased value from the new changes to the Woldwarden animus. I’ve not really played this enough to give a lot of advice for this, but on paper it seems like a good pairing.

Cassius: He hates Legion, Kromac hates Legion. Probably not your best pairing unless your plan is to dodge Legion.

Mohsar: The lists with this guy vary so wildly that it’s really hard for me to say. I’m on the boat of the popularity of double croaks has somewhat decreased his value, and I don’t think it was that high before. I don’t think he plays super well into Legion or Cryx, since they have very little difficulty dealing with/ignoring the pillars. Those are ideally what you would like your pairing to cover. He can probably be built to have fair game into them though, so I’ll give him an OK on the pairing.

 

My List

Kromac, Champion of the Wurm +4
-Ghetorix -11
-Warpwolf Stalker -10
-Warpwolf Stalker -10
-Gorax -4
-Druid Wilder -2
Druids of Orboros -7
-Druid Overseer -2
Shifting Stones -2
Shifting Stones -2
Bloodweaver Night Witch -2
Bloodweaver Night Witch -2

 

I kept coming back to this list after trying out many variations. I’ve tried at least a dozen different non-tier heavy builds with various “filler” support/worker models. I kept finding lists with a single Stalker would take a pretty heavy hit from his loss, and it’s not overly difficult to lose one. Lightning Strike is really strong in the list, if for nothing else than throwing on Kromac himself. The Stalkers are also considerably more versatile than most of our other options with their warps. Ghetorix has fluctuated in and out of the list, but the two primary reasons for his inclusion are his potential damage capability and Reach. The Gorax has come and gone as well. This list was designed to break bricks and Primal is such a huge facilitator to that. He also tends to hang just far enough back that he can become a fairly strong late game piece. I’ve come up 1 or 2 shy on attack/damage rolls for assassinations too many times to not have Primal in the list.

I’ve tried the list without Druids and I don’t like it. If you’re playing out of tier, I just can’t see any argument for not having them for how much they bring. This list works to eliminate any non-essential support models. Every model in the list needs to be able to make its points back. I played with Lord of the Feast, Blackclads, only one unit of Stones, no Wilder. Ultimately, I felt this list came to best mix. Lord of the Feast just wasn’t reliable enough for me to include him over 2 Night Witches. The Blackclad was really nice for the threat extension, but I found him falling back into the old routine of “he runs up, misses Hunter’s Mark, and dies”. The Night Witches have single handedly won me games and I’ve not had them make their 2 points back yet. Double Stones feel so strong when you have the Druid cloud wall to protect them. They almost always make it to the late game in this list, because there are just so many larger, more overt threats. If you can collect 3 corpse tokens on Kromac (and that’s really not that difficult), you can port him for potentially 11 MAT 8 POW 17 attacks. There’s also a lot of times where charge lanes are just too clogged or you need the threat range extension. I did decide to drop the UA in order to facilitate grabbing another Night Witch. I found the lack of UA wasn’t a huge deal, since the list can be packed pretty tightly and the clouds offer protection to the Stones. I dropped the Wilder a few times, but ultimately I found that I wanted Lightning Strike on more targets and she’s the best way to get it out there.

Summary

Kromac, Champion of the Wurm’s upfront and in-your-face playstyle is something that I really love in Circle. It is a lot of fun to have a warlock that can threaten to kill enemy heavies on his own. I think his tier list has a lot of potential that has yet to really be refined and tested enough. I’ll be curious if PP will alter it all with their recent decision to look over and adjust the Theme lists. I’ve already decided that he will be in my pairings for the rest of the year (my WarmaHordes year starts and ends with Gen Con) and I’m looking forward to continually tweaking and playtesting lists with him. I would really love to hear any feedback, advice, thoughts, and/or opinions you have. Thanks for reading!

–Hoppydapunk

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