Kaya the Wildborne – Circle Warlock

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Wild and untamed, Kaya the Wildborne prowls the forests of western Immoren stalking the enemies of the Circle Orboros like a savage predator. Kaya revels in the deep connection she shares with her warbeasts, guiding their actions with unerring skill and the feral wisdom of a pack leader.

Kaya the Wildborne is the warlock included in the Circle Orboros box set. She's an expert at manipulating warbeasts and has the highest FUR stat of all the box set warlocks. Of all the Circle warlocks in Primal, she's the "Beast Buddy" and can run a force of nothing but warbeasts.
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Statistics

Kaya is as fast as the Argus, has high DEF, and very low ARM. STR and MAT are nothing special. Her warbeast points are tied with Morvanha for Circle's highest, and her FURY matches Baldur and Cassius (which means it's a solid average across all of HORDES).

Feat – Wild Mastery

Kaya's feat allows her to place up to three fury points on warbeasts in her battlegroup and in her control area. The "up to" part means she need not place any. She can then immediately turn around and leach up to six fury points from any warbeasts, in any combination, in her battlegroup and control area, even if she did not allocate any fury to them with the first part of the feat. This effectively doubles her fury for a turn (but does not allow her to exceed her current FUR stat). It can also help manage excess fury on beasts. While Kaya's P+S isn't the greatest, this feat can allow her to make four fully boosted melee attacks in a turn, ore even more if she gets her critical knockdown. Most players use Wild Mastery for fury management after an alpha strike with many beasts. With a little help from other models, Kaya can remove over twenty fury in a single turn.

Weapons

  • Splinter – Kaya's weapon has a below average P+S, especially for warcaster/warlock weapons. Combined with her low-average MAT, this makes her an unreliable assassin. The knockdown critical effect isn't reliable either, even when boosting hits. She can still yo-yo reasonably well—charge in, attack, and use Spirit Door or the Stalker's animus to get as soon as she's done what she can do—but given her other abilities and army building options, you almost always have better tools available for that job.

Special Abilities

  • Pathfinder
  • Pack Hunters Living warbeasts in her battle group get a solid bonus to hit with melee attacks while in her control area. This is an amazing power, and is as much or more of a reason to take her as fury management potential. Warpwolf Stalkers become particularly impressive with Pack Hunters and Berserk when unleashed on enemy warriors. This also frees up your warbeast choices somewhat, as Pack Hunters means you really don't need a Gorax for the MAT bonus, unless you want a MAT 10 Stalker, of course.

Spells

  • Occultation - An upkeep spell that grants target model/unit Stealth. The most obvious tactic here is to put this on a unit of Druids and have them Summon Vortex. The enemy can't shoot the Druids, and everything behind them is out of sight, but nine points is a lot to spend on this trick. The other obvious choice is to cast this on Kaya, so that she has some defense against high-RAT models and CRAs. This spell benefits nearly every model, though, especially units that commonly get shot to pieces, like Ravagers, Skinwalkers, the Celestial Fulcrum, and even the minion Nyss Hunters or Farrow Slaughterhousers.
  • Soothing Song – A low-cost spell that allows you to remove up to one fury from friendly warbeasts in the caster's control area. An outstanding fury management tool. Soothing Song allows you to run beasts to full fury and suddenly turn all of them into damage transfer targets again. Pair it with a set of Shifting Stones to really push your beasts' limits. The most difficult part about using Kaya1 is learning not to take away too much fury such that you have none to leach next turn.
  • Spirit Door - This spell targets either the warlock or a warbeast in her battlegroup and control area. If she targets herself, you can place her within 2" of a warbeast in her battlegroup and control area. If this targets a warbeast, you can place it within 2" of her. In both cases, the target of the spell cannot move or attack after being placed. With the first use, you can escape from a dangerous position to relative safety before ending your activation. For example, advance forward, cast an offensive spell at an enemy model, and then retreat to cover with Spirit Door. The second use is very similar. Send a warbeast into an advanced position, and use this spell to pull it out of immediate danger. This is the origin of the so-called "yo-yo" tactics.
  • Spirit Fang - This is an offensive spell, with an additional effect. If the target is damaged, they suffer reduced SPD and DEF. This has many implications. A model with reduced SPD is unable to charge, slam, or trample. Also, with reduced DEF, that model is now much easier for your other models to connect with, which can save you a lot of boosts to hit, or bring the target's DEF into the realm of being hit by models that can't boost. The low POW of the spell limits it's usefulness to models with low ARM or the caster will need to boost the damage. Given her FURY stat, Kaya will likely need to boost to hit (and occasionally the damage roll too) to get the most out of Spirit Fang. This actually argues for a Woldwarden—if, for some reason, you want to build a strategy around this spell—but mostly, this is merely a good way to deal with incorporeal threats and only occasionally to improve your chances of hitting a high-DEF target with subsequent attacks.

Thoughts on Kaya, the Wildborne


Kaya the Wildborne is fundamentally a warbeast warlock—more specifically she's a LIVING warbeast warlock. Her spells assist beasts and troops to close or maneuver, and Pack Hunters means that her beasts will rarely have to boost melee to-hit rolls, leaving them plenty of fury to boost damage or buy additional attacks. Between Soothing Song, Shifting Stones (for Serenity and healing, as much as teleportation), and a Wilder, Kaya can manage fury like a champ, letting her beast run nearly as hot as possible for longer, certainly during the game's critical rounds. Kaya can run an army with six or seven warbeasts and comfortably manage a few heavies and a few lights. At higher points levels, she can unleash and manage far more warbeasts than any other warlock in the game.

The primary drawback to Kaya is that she has to play pretty far forward, and she's pretty squishy. In many ways, this exemplifies HORDES's design philosophy as a game of risk management, since it's hard to leverage Pack Hunters and Spirit Door without putting her at serious risk. This fits her aggressive character in the fiction but is also a source of some consternation, especially among new players encountering her in the battle box. Playing Kaya1 well requires skill and some finesse (an accommodating opponent doesn't hurt either), and players new to the game or to Circle often find this difficult. Kaya can leave a sour taste in the mouth after too many frustrating games, but she's a rewarding warlock to master, especially for people who find they enjoy beast-heavy armies. Learn the threat ranges of enemy models and your own, learn how to place terrain and to use it, and measure her control area a LOT.

An absolute ideal thought experiment goes like this: At the start of her turn she has six fury and will be activating close to last. All of your warbeasts—let us say there are seven heavies—run hot this turn and rack up incredible amounts of fury, but because you're clever, six of them ends up within 1" of one of your six Shifting Stones by the end of the turn. Kaya casts Soothing Song and removes one fury from each beast, so that's seven down. She spends all of her remaining fury, pops her feat, and leaches fury without adding any. The Druid Wilder walks up to a heavy, likely the one not near a Shifting Stone, and takes away three more fury. That's a grand total of (7 + 6 + 3 =) 16 fury removed in a single turn. Every beast is down at least one, making them valid damage transfer targets, and some are likely free of fury altogether. At the start of your next turn, the Shifting Stones can Serenity any surviving beasts, and Kaya can leach as normal, consuming anywhere from six to 12 additional fury. In that ideal situation, your seven beasts could have spent as much as 28 fury points and be at zero at the start of the next turn. That's two turns of absolute bedlam with seven heavy warbeasts/Goraxes (assuming you passed all the Threshold checks at the top of the second turn).

Theme Army - The Wild Hunt

Originally presented in Forces of Hordes:Circle Orboros
A Kaya force can be chosen from any of the options available to Circle Orboros, but a themed or Tier list can only be built from a select number of units, warbeasts and solos. The units required to unlock the special list abilities for Kaya are as follows:
  • Warbeasts - Circle living non-character warbeasts
  • Units - Reeves of Orboros, Tharn Bloodtrackers, Than Wolf Riders, Wolves of Orboros
  • Solos -Druid Wilder, Reeve hunter, War Wolf, Wolf Lord Morraig
Tier 1
Army uses only models/units that are among those listed above.
Benefit: Point cost reduction for Reeves of Orboros. Increase the FA of War Wolves by 1 per Reeves unit
Tier 2
Army includes Wolf Lord Morraig
Benefit: 1 Wolves of Orboros unit gain Advance Move
Tier 3
1 or more Reeves of Orboros unit
Benefit: For each Reeves of Orboros unit place a medium AOE forest templates 20 inches from player edge. Forest templates cannot be placed near other terrain features, including forests.
Tier 4
Two or more Heavy Warbeasts
Benefit: Extended deployment zone.

Thoughts on The Wild Hunt

Pure madness is the best description for this tier. It doesn't have the necessary Shifting Stone unit to make the yo-yo possible. It asks you to bring a load of terrible infantry when your only "infantry" support is Occultation.