-by Bret (Chocobsessed)

In this Journeyman’s guide, I’ll be walking you through my recommendations of how to play the Circle battlebox, and how to expand it in such a way that you end up with a solid list for all 6 weeks of the journeyman league, while only buying models that will be used in a wide variety of post-Journeyman lists. I’ll also consider Warlock swaps in week 4, with an eye towards warlocks who are easy enough for new players to enjoy, run a list similar to what I’m recommending for the journeyman league, and powerful enough to use long after the journeyman league ends. Most of all, remember that the journeyman league is about new experiences – introducing new players to the game or introducing old salts to new factions – so be sure to play with an eye on learning the game/faction and growing the community. Also, remember that these are simply my recommendations based on less than 3 months of experience with the new edition – so please feel free to disagree with anything I say, and go the way that your meta and your experience pushes you towards.

 

Battlebox overview

Tannith the Feral Song -31

 Gorax Rager 7

 Wild Argus 7

 Pureblood Warpwolf 17

 

Alright, let’s save the best for last and start with the Gorax Rager. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The gorax isn’t particularly bad (it still has two open fists, it still has primal, it still has pain response and it is still extraordinarily cheap). It is marginally useful in battlebox games, but it has no place in a list with living warbeasts that can afford the Feral Warpwolf. If your EO lets you swap out a model from your battlegroup, you should jump to replace the gorax with the feral.

 

Wild Argus. The wild argus is flat amazing now – which is incredible since its statline kind of got worse across the board. But simply by changing its gun from a rat 4 spray to an auto-hitting pulse that also works on undead (and giving it pathfinder), the wild argus should perform a valuable role in nearly every game. Worst case scenario, he chips in another boosted pow 16 (18 with scything touch or primal, 20 with both), and best case scenario he barks at your opponent’s warlock/warcaster and wins you the game. He should show up in plenty of lists, and is absolutely a worthwhile purchase.

 

Pureblood Warpwolf. While this heavy may not seem impressive on paper, I find myself reaching for him more and more in this edition, and he certainly will perform in battlebox games. What you need to remember is that he’s not a mainline tank (unless you’re skilled at using admonition), but he is faster and hits as hard or harder than most jacks. Also, as the game expands you’ll find yourself very happy to have access to the wraithbane animus, which allows you to deal with magical armor bricks without having to lose a turn to primal. He is currently in almost all of my lists for these reasons.

Tannith the Feral Song. Wow, this is a caster I very seriously underestimated – it turns out that being able to reduce defense by 5 and armor by 2 just by herself is extremely powerful in circle – and the ability to ignore infantry armor with affliction and to avoid retaliation with admonition is just a bonus. You may complain about fury 6 and a weak feat, but that only encourages you to play safely enough to keep her fragile 15/15 statline alive – and trust me, a feat that simply casts primal 6 times is plenty powerful.

 

Overall, the battlebox plays in a fairly iconic way for circle, relying on pathfinder and control/movement tricks to make sure that the fight only occurs when and where you want it to, allowing you to overcome your numerical disadvantages. Fortunately, most of the choices will see play after the journeyman league, which makes this an easy box to recommend to veteran players, though I probably still don’t recommend circle to brand new players.

 

10 points (battlegroup only)
Tannith the Feral Song -31

 Gorax Rager 7

 Scarsfell Griffon 8

 Wild Argus 7

 Pureblood Warpwolf 17
[2 points unspent]

 

This point tier is super weird, but fortunately there’s a pretty good choice for Tannith – the Scarsfell Griffon. This cheap model is surprisingly hard to kill with stealth and his animus, surprisingly deadly with his six total attacks (three initials and three fury) and overall very useful with Tannith. He’s very strong in a battlebox format (he can easily trade up against arm 17-18 heavies with primal and scything touch), and he’ll see play in a handful of post-journeyman games, especially with the Kromacs. He’s also a good way to teach yourself the usefulness of power attacks (throws and slams, especially), which is especially important to playing circle.

25 points

Tannith the Feral Song -31

 Gorax Rager 7

 Scarsfell Griffon 8

 Wild Argus 7

 Pureblood Warpwolf 17

Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Druid Wilder 4

Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 3

Sentry Stone and Mannikins x2. Normally I wouldn’t recommend duplicates of anything during a journeyman league, but these units are so ubiquitous and so powerful (I have two of them in every single mkd3 list I’ve ever built) that you should rush out and buy them right now. They’re usually enough by themselves to wipe out the reduced numbers of infantry in mkd3 (especially with support from affliction) and are some of the best tools in the game at sniping out powerful solos. Oh, and they’re extremely difficult to kill and they create a pair of forests to keep your caster and solos safe. Seriously. Two of them. Every list. Buy them now.


Druid Wilder. This model is really just 4 points to give you a free upkeep – and for a lot of casters, and especially tannith, that extra fury is extremely important. If you can remove a couple fury or heal during the game, that’s just a bonus.


Lanyssa Ryssyl. Free charges are strong, especially for Scarsfell griffons who rely on a large number of attacks and need a threat range boost. She is both cheaper, and arguably better, than our in-faction source of hunter’s mark. She’ll be in many many circle lists, and is very strong in the journeyman league.

 

50 points (warlock swap allowed)

Tannith the Feral Song -31

 Gorax Rager 7

 Scarsfell Griffon 8

 Wild Argus 7

 Pureblood Warpwolf 17

 Ghetorix 21

Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew 2

Druid Wilder 4

Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 3

[2 points unspent]


Ah, the most freeing week of all – 25 full points to spend, and even the possibility of picking up a new warlock if you want.

If you’re looking for a new warlock that uses the same list we’ve been building up until this point, I highly recommend Kromac2 (Kromac1 is also fine, but the difference in WB points between him and Tannith screws up this week’s purchase). Kromac2 is an absolutely beautiful model, who is extremely fun, plays almost exactly the same list as Tannith, but instead of being a tricky armor breaker he’s a straightforward bruiser that powers up over the course of the game. If you’re an experienced player who simply wants the most powerful choice in the faction, I have to recommend Wurmwood. The tree is extremely difficult to play, but very rewarding, and can play pretty much the same list as the previous casters – and the sooner you start learning how to play it, the better.

No matter what, the purchase I recommend at this points jump is Ghetorix (especially the amazingly beautiful resculpt). Ghetorix is the choice because he just brings so much – infantry clearing and assassination with warp:murderous, survivability to both your warlock and itself with spiny growth, and anti-heavy ability with 5 pow 19 attacks before getting any outside buffs. He’s extraordinarily strong in journeyman league, and will see play in many lists (especially with the four warlocks I’ve recommended so far)  – he leaves you with 4 points in Tannith (which you should fill with swamp gobbers bellows crew to trigger prowl, and save the rest) and 1 point with Kromac2.

 

65 points

Tannith the Feral Song -31

 Gorax Rager 7

 Scarsfell Griffon 8

 Wild Argus 7

 Pureblood Warpwolf 17

 Ghetorix 21

 

Reeves of Orboros (Leader and 9 grunts) 16
Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew 2

Druid Wilder 4

Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 3

 

Max Reeves. Using one of the leftover points, at this point I recommend investing in a full unit of reeves. These models are insane – 2 range 12 shots after moving 6” are just that good. I don’t care about the low pow – it’s actually a bonus in some cases, since it encourages you to massively CRA up, to make up for their low rat. Having 10 rat 7 pow 10 shots, 2 rat 15 pow 18 shots, or 20 shots to abuse affliction is simply amazing, and a steal at 16 points. They are in a ton of circle lists, and are useful against basically every target – either to soften up heavies/colossals or to obliterate infantry.

 

75 points
Tannith the Feral Song -31

 Gorax Rager 7

 Scarsfell Griffon 8

 Wild Argus 7

 Pureblood Warpwolf 17

 Ghetorix 21

 

Reeves of Orboros (Leader and 9 grunts) 16

 Reeves of Orboros Officer and Standard 4
Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Sentry Stone and Mannikins 5

Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew 2

Druid Wilder 4

War Wolf 2

Alten Ashley 5

Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress 3

 


At this point, you’re basically filling in the last couple points with powerful solos and useful choices – if you have a ~10 point option you like better, you probably understand circle well enough to make that choice by now – here are my recommendations for the most useful purchases for after this last week of the league.

Reeve CA. The reeve CA brings survivability from go to ground, and the surprisingly useful ability to shoot into melee (which is especially useful for taking advantage of scything touch, and for working well with War Wolves). They make every list that has reeves, which is quite a few.

War Wolf. Speaking of which, you should try out one of these wolfsworn synergy models – They’re cheap, can get a very accurate pow 13 anywhere you’re shooting with reeves, and are a great scything touch target. They’re marginally useful, and a great way to fill out the last 2 points.
Alten Ashley. I like this solo a lot, in a lot of situations. It’s a very accurate shot, at very long threat range that applies the very useful grievous wounds ability (stopping tough, repair and healing), as well as killing solos from far away while being very hard to kill himself. Also, if you find a gator heavy, you can take out its mind on roll of 2 on 1d3 and it can’t heal it next turn. Amazing. Should show up in several lists, and not that expensive if you don’t end up using him.

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