Hunter’s Mark Article V: Bird is the Word

Hunter’s Mark Article V



Finally after an incredibly long wait, the Storm Raptor model has been spoiled! It is a truly gorgeous model that I imagine many Circle players will be picking up even if they don’t plan on running him in every list. I know I certainly will be. So with that in mind, I decided to go over “Zapdos” in more detail to see if I can find a way to make him work.



Storm Raptor


The Storm Raptor is incredibly fast, much like all the Griffons of Circle, at SPD 7 with Flight. He has a respectable DEF of 12 and decent ARM of 18. He is Fury 4, sorry still no Fury 5 beasts in Circle yet, and he’s got a RNG 12 Lightning gun that hits with a whopping POW 14 and Reload[1]. The Raptor has 3 melee weapons: a Beak, a left Talon, and a right Talon. All of his melee weapons have Disruption and Electro Leap, while his Talons are open fists. The Raptor also has some built in defensive tech with Plasma Nimbus; whenever he is hit the attacking model can be chosen to suffer a POW 10 electrical damage roll. His Animus ‘Sky Fire’ is cost 2, RNG Self, and lasts for one round. Sky Fire essentially gives +2 RAT to Friendly Faction electrical ranged attacks and +2 damage to all electrical damage rolls against enemy models in the spellcaster’s command range.

My single greatest point of contention with the Storm Raptor is that he is MAT 5, which is rather bad on a 38 PC model. He’s also fairly low on boxes for a Gargantuan and at DEF12/ARM 18 he’s not equipped for surviving a beating like we’re used to with the Woldwrath. His CMD of 7 really limits the amount of additional threat he can use from the animus. I will say that his RAT 6 and RNG 12 gives him a fairly solid shooting platform. But it is worth noting that very little in Circle currently has electrical ranged attacks outside of the Storm Raptor himself (Krueger, Woldwrath, and Celestial Fulcrum), so it greatly limits what you can bring for synergy with Sky Fire.


When building lists for the Storm Raptor, I’ll be looking at ways to cover his weak areas while trying to strengthen what he brings. This means I’ll be looking for MAT fixers, DEF debuffs, DEF/ARM buffs, other synergies with living warbeasts, and anything with some electrical attacks.



A Bird in the Hand is Worth?


Circle Orboros – BIRD

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Bunker – Steamroller Objective

Kromac, Champion of the Wurm – WB: +28
–    Storm Raptor – PC: 38 (Battlegroup Points Used: 28)
–    Ghetorix – PC: 21
–    Feral Warpwolf – PC: 18

Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress – PC: 3

Druid Mist Riders – Leader & 4 Grunts: 20
Shifting Stones – Leader & 2 Grunts: 3


Naturally, one of the first places I imagined the Storm Raptor was with Kromac2. Carnage fixes his low MAT issue handedly, the feat offers him a well received STR/ARM buff, and Vengeance is an excellent upkeep spell for a model with Disruption. Ghetorix is in the list for all the normal reasons and the same could be said about the Feral. While it feels terrible to sacrifice an activation on a 38 PC model, sometimes the correct choice is to Primal the bird. On the feat turn you can bring him up to MAT 9 POW 22, which will blow models off the table. If you remove everything that threatens the bird, sacrificing an activation isn’t too awful. Primal and the feat are also round, which means that if the Raptor has Vengeance he’ll still be swinging at MAT 7 POW 22 with disruption. Single wound infantry can injure him on the charge, but will likely die in the process due to Plasma Nimbus. Should you be facing loads of infantry and only a couple heavies, you can place Awakened Spirit on the bird and watch as POW 12 Electro Leaps burn through the ranks.

Lanyssa is your cheaper Hunter’s Mark that nearly every model in the army list is happy to take advantage of. I often don’t mind keeping her far back as a late game piece purely for Kromac. As the game goes on and Kromac bullies the board, his threat range becomes increasingly capable of ending the game.

I’ve added the Druid Mist Riders into this list over the Sentry Stones as a mobile cloud wall unit that can cover the approach of your other beasts. Carnage helps fix their MAT 5 to what will hopefully be boosted MAT 7 due to cavalry charges. At SPD 8 with a 2″ reach melee weapon, they’re very capable of delivering themselves. Battle Wizard gives them a very real chance firing off quite a few Chain Lightnings. While their Chain Lightning spell does not benefit from the +2 to attack rolls from Sky Fire, they do still gain the +2 damage benefit. POW 12 eLeaps are incredibly capable of killing many models; most single wound infantry cap out around ARM 18, so you’re killing them on average dice. RNG 10 on the spell can give you some excellent flexibility on the spell as well.

Shifting Stones are basically just the next best 3 point filler in Circle because of their endless uses. They also give Kromac a decent 10″ non-linear threat range. They could just as easily be Swamp Gobbers and a Chef or any other 3 point filler pieces.



Circle Orboros – IS THE

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Effigy of Valor – Steamroller Objective

Krueger the Stormwrath – WB: +28
– Storm Raptor – PC: 38 (Battlegroup Points Used: 28)
– Ghetorix – PC: 21
– Pureblood Warpwolf – PC: 17

Blackclad Wayfarer – PC: 4

Tharn Bloodtrackers – Leader & 9 Grunts: 16
– Nuala the Huntress – PC: 4
Shifting Stones – Leader & 2 Grunts: 3

The next place I jumped to was Krueger1. Krueger, between Forked Lightning, Lightning Tendrils, Storm Ravager (his feat), and his ranged attacks, brings all the lightning Circle can dish out. Combine that with a solid battlegroup DEF buff that the Storm Raptor can actually utilize and you’ve got some real synergy going. Lightning Tendrils also gives you a way to prevent the Storm Raptor’s gun from getting eLeaps at your own models.

I’m taking Ghetorix as additional muscle for the list and the Pureblood again as a more mixed-arms heavy. The Pureblood will also happily take Lightning Tendrils as a buff to give him a greater threat range. Ghetorix doesn’t require any outside support to remove enemy heavies and at DEF 17/ARM 19 you can ensure he gets delivered.

I take the Blackclad here over Laynssa due to Gale Winds affecting Friendly Faction only. Blackclad, being DEF 17 with Prowl, has a way better chance at being able to get him where you want him to.

I think Bloodtrackers are the best unit in Circle to take Lightning Tendrils. Bumping their threat range up to 12″ on the charge actually does a lot for them. Combine that with MAT 8 POW 11 (against preyed targets) with eLeaps and with Quick Work shots; now you’ve suddenly got a unit that will reliably remove nearly any other unit in the game. Gale Winds brings them up to DEF 17 and they innately have Stealth. Outside of some unlucky AoE deviations, they’re often going to be a fairly difficult unit for your opponent to answer.

Shifting Stones for all the normal reasons. This could be Lanyssa or any other 3 point filler combo you’re happy with.



Circle Orboros – WORD

Theme: No Theme Selected
75 / 75 Army

Baldur the Stonesoul – WB: +30
– Storm Raptor – PC: 38 (Battlegroup Points Used: 30)
– Woldwrath – PC: 37

Druid Mist Riders – Leader & 2 Grunts: 12
Druid Mist Riders – Leader & 2 Grunts: 12
Shifting Stones – Leader & 2 Grunts: 3
Shifting Stones – Leader & 2 Grunts: 3

So I’m going to preface this with the fact that this is probably one of the most janky lists I’ve ever made, but I actually like it. Baldur2 feels like the best place to run both of the Gargantuans. The +3 ARM buff from Roots of the Earth is the single greatest spell in Circle when considering what you want on both Gargantuans. Rock Wall is also a really flexible defensive tool. Devourer’s Debt combined with Weight of Stone can also give you that late game potential to assassinate.

Under Baldur2, the Storm Raptor has the potential to be DEF 12/ARM 21 with some added protection from Rock Wall; non-reach models can’t melee attack over walls and those with reach suffers -2 on the attacks roll, bringing the bird up to DEF 14. The Woldwrath is happy to have the +2 damage from Sky Fire on his gun. It’s worth noting Sky Fire does say “lasts for one round”, so the Woldwrath’s AOE Electro Field that remains in play would jump up to a POW 12 damage roll as well. The Woldwrath also offers his animus Druid’s Wrath to the Mist Riders and Baldur.

This is where the jank of the list begins. You’re basically looking to maximize on both of the Gargantuan’s animus. You gain the boosted attack rolls on the MA 6 Chain Lightning attack from Druid’s Wrath and the +2 on damage rolls from Sky Fire. At SPD 8 and RNG 10 on Chain Lightning (with eLeaps following 4″ after that), these guys can threaten an insane distance. They’re fairly self sufficient with Vortex, but they appreciate the extra durability Baldur provides via his feat or Rock Wall.

Shifting Stones have a lot of uses in this list. One of the most clear uses is to give Baldur that sweet 10″ non-linear assassination threat range. They’re also great for healing off that Devourer’s Debt damage you’re going to be accumulating through the game. They’re an out of activation method for adding additional healing to the Storm Raptor. And they act as fairly efficient Chain Lightning anchors. The Chain Lightning attack will still be boosted (needing essentially not triple 1’s) and due to the wording on Sky Fire they’ll only suffer the POW 10 damage roll while enemies will be suffering that sweet POW 12. Shifting Stones have always been incredibly useful and they’ve got so much synergy with this list that it’s hard to consider another 6 point package.

It’s unlikely you’re ever going to want to put up both the Storm Raptor’s and the Woldwrath’s animi on the same turn, since they’ve really got to lift their own weight in most matchups. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying to live the dream with the Mist Riders! This list certainly touches on the edge of trying to force too much synergy. It is worth pointing out that Baldur can cast his battlegroup’s Animus after being placed by Shifting Stones to assist in living the dream, but I would only recommend that when you’re trying to pull off a maximum jank assassination.


Closing Thoughts


I don’t think the Storm Raptor is going to break the current meta, but I do think that you can build strong enough lists with him to still be competitive. I’m eagerly awaiting any spoilers that we might soon get about Una2 (we’ve all agreed upon Tuna, correct?) and the potential game-changing synergies. The Storm Raptor seems fairly solid, but something we just don’t have all the right pieces to really maximize yet. “Tuna” could very well change that. In the meantime, seeing that awesome sculpt of the Storm Raptor has really inspired me to at least try to make him work for now. If you’ve got some other lists in mind, share them! I’d love to hear some other thoughts on where you think the Storm Raptor fits.

2 Responses

  1. Doug says:

    I agree that the bird needs a caster/unit to cover it’s weaknesses. Primal being a good example or some way to utilize its animus better. Regarding the latter point, call me crazy, but I think one can make TWO storm raptors work. The theory being you can animus the 1st bird and send it in while the second bird can shoot and get the benefits (along with other lighting stuff). The list:

    Storm Raptor x 2
    Blackclad Mist Riders

    Has abundant infantry clearing due to absurd E-Leaps (at POW 12’s), good defensive option vs shooting, and natural arm cracking due to two gargs.

    Now all that’s left is to waste all my money on two big birds.

  2. Mike says:

    It’s worth mentioning that Krueger2 becomes RAT 8 with 3 shots at POW 14 and Sustained Attack when he uses the Animus… and that’s pretty darn good if you can catch a caster with their pants down. Considering he can do that from about 15″ away (because of 9 CMD), or 17″ away with the Shifting Stones, catching a caster with their pants down doesn’t seem that difficult, especially with his feat giving him built-in protection against non-ranged armies.

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