Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thinking Cap: Kaya and the Celestial Fulcrum

All of this week I want to plug the facebook page for Steam-Powered Gamer so that you all can go there to get updates on the latest posts.  You'll also note that with this blog I try not to just repost the latest releases by Privateer Press, because I figure you can get that everywhere.  I laugh when some new model comes out because the Iron Agenda Blogging Network explodes with reposts.  Well, when those releases do come up, I'll instead share them on the Facebook page so that whenever you come here, there will be a quality article to read.  So head on over because I think you'll "like" what you see!

Lately I've had some thoughts about one of my favorite and underrated warlocks: Kaya the Wildborne.  While her epic form often gets a lot of attention for being really powerful, I tend to actually think that pKaya has a lot of potential to be a really effective warlock.  I've played around with her a lot since I started playing Mk II and I've found her to be quite effective, but she does have some weaknesses, and my recent thoughts have centered around mitigating said weaknesses with a particular model: the Celestial Fulcrum.

Now I have not really been sold on the battle engines for the Hordes factions, as I've said since the release of Domination.  I do think that with Kaya, however, there could be place for the Celestial Fulcrum for a few reasons.  First, one of the reasons why I don't really like the battle engines for Hordes is that they are expensive models that don't generate fury for their warlock.  With Trolls it's not a big deal, since their warbeasts usually generate a lot of fury and their warlocks typically have low fury stats anyway, but for Circle and Legion, it's tough to rationalize a battle engine that does not generate fury.  With pKaya, however, I think this is much less of an issue.

First, since Kaya loves taking her living warbeasts and she's a low-fury caster, she rarely has issues generating enough fury.  In fact, she'll often find herself removing excess fury from her battlegroup with Soothing Song and her feat allows her to immediately leech up to 6 fury points of top of that.  Taking the Fulcrum will not hurt her fury generation at all, so she can afford to take it.  Secondly, the Celestial Fulcrum is unique in that it generates its own fury each turn anyway, and in a pinch Kaya can leech fury off of it if she really needs it.

I guess I'm just looking for an excuse to
field such an awesome model!
So what does she offer the Fulcrum?  Fortunately, the Fulcrum is such a self-sufficient model that it really doesn't need any support from Kaya, except for maybe a defensive boost.  Fortunately, Kaya has Occultation - great for such a giant model that wants to sit back and shoot the crap out of the enemy!  With the rest of pKaya's force being so melee focussed, your enemy will have a hard time getting close to the Fulcrum without getting wrecked by some warpwolves, and they won't be able to shoot at it unless they ignore stealth (damn you, eyeless sight!).  In exchange, the Fulcrum provides two useful things for pKaya: 1) a huge base that can block LOS to her and her battlegroup when she wants to use Spirit Door and 2) some great infantry clearing so that her battlegroup can focus on taking down enemy heavies.  These two reasons are why I think the Fulcrum has potential with pKaya.  Sure, her Pack Hunters ability means that her warbeasts will likely have no problem removing swaths of infantry, but you'd still much rather be swinging at your opponent's heavies.

So with the Fulcrum providing the anti-infantry role as a heavy artillery piece, what does that mean for the rest of the list?  Unfortunately, Kaya doesn't offer anything to infantry, but she does offer a flat +2 attack roll benefit to all living warbeasts in her battlegroup in her control range, via Pack Hunters.  This is a really solid ability especially when you remember that Circle has the beloved Gorax!  This means that you can put Primal onto a Stalker and if he warps for STR, then he's hitting at MAT 10 POW 20 with reach!  Naturally, Kaya will want to take any heavy hitters that will make the most advantage of an effective +2 MAT boost.  While the Stalker is an obvious choice, mitigating his typically low MAT of 6, there are a couple of other warbeasts that can benefit from Pack Hunters:
Gnarlhorn Satyr - I LOVE this warbeast!  For 8 points he is an awesome warbeast for board control and has a fantastic animus for increasing threat ranges.  With an effective MAT 8, this guy can slam front-line targets far away and then with Spirit Door slingshots back to Kaya.  Awesome.

Scarsfell Griffon/Shadowhorn Satyr - I'm listing these guys together because the Griffon isn't out yet (although we saw some blurry pictures from Adepticon!) and because they both have similar functionality - going deep into the enemy lines and two-hand throwing a target towards the rest of the army.  Pack Hunters will probably be better with the Griffon due to the extended leash, but having +2 MAT can be huge if you want to try to throw the enemy warcaster/warlock towards the rest of your army - especially when paired-up with Primal!

Argus - Ah, the much-maligned Argus.  Kaya at least makes this guy MAT 7 which is quite impressive for a light warbeast, and having him is useful for being able to give out pathfinder to warbeasts who need it.  Additionally, he's a cheap little missile that, with Primal, can combo-strike a high-DEF target with a charge attack at effective MAT 9, POW 18 - perfect for hunting bone chickens!
So I've talked-up pKaya enough by this point.  I think it's time to look at a list that I'd like to try with her and see what you think:

Kaya the Wildborne, 35 points
pKaya (+6)
- Warpwolf Stalker (10)
- Gnarlhorn Satyr (8)
- Scarsfell Griffon (5)
- Gorax (4)
Celestial Fulcrum (9)
Shifting Stones (2)
- Stone Keeper (1)
Druid Wilder (2)

While I would certainly feel more comfortable building a list with the Fulcrum at 50 points, I think this list has some fun things going for it.  While the Griffon isn't out yet, as soon as it is released, I'm making sure that I buy one for lists like this.  Like I already mentioned, with the extended leash and the ability to gain parry with his flight, the Griffon would love to fly in and two-hand throw a model closer for that Stalker to munch on.  His animus and power attack will fill him up on fury, so having him at effectively MAT 8 is hugely important for your two-hand throw to be successful against a reasonably high DEF warcaster/warlock.  If you can clear enough models out of the way with the Fulcrum, however, you might not even need to use his animus and then you can try to boost your attack roll even more or throw Primal on him to make him MAT 10 and have a higher STR for damage and distance!

With the Gnarlhorn around you will have a lot of board control and you can use him to potentially keep you opponent from charging into the Fulcrum.  Counter-Slam is an ability that doesn't always get triggered, but if your opponent is trying not to trigger it then you've already been successful at getting him to commit something where he might not want/need it.  Additionally, you can use the Gnarlhorn to slam targets around the board or maybe even over other smaller bases, maybe clearing out lanes for the Griffon or the Stalker.  Even if that doesn't happen, the Fulcrum is also pretty great at clearing out lanes itself with it's spray, electro-leaping shot, and 4" AOE of firey doom.

Lastly, we need to throw in the Gorax because Primal is just so good (although admittedly not as good with pKaya when you're using Spirit Door) and the Stalker will be around to wipe out any heavy targets with ease and then retreat using either Lightning Strike or Spirit Door.  The Wilder is very important to this list because she can toss out an animus each turn for free as you need it (like Primal, Lightning Strike, or Bounding) and since you have such a great toolbox of animi in this list, she'll see use every turn.  On top of all of that, being able to force your warbeasts outside of your control area is huge - especially for Kaya who wants to activate last to get the most out of Soothing Song and her feat!  The Wilder can advance up the board, throw out an animus you need, let you reach out and strike the enemy while you wait for Kaya to activate at the end and cast Soothing Song to keep your fury under control. 

Like I said, as soon as that Griffon comes out, I'm picking up at least one, but in the meantime I think I'll paint up Kaya in preparation to run this list, as it seems like it'll be super fun and has a lot of tools at it's disposal!
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