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Monday, November 28, 2011

Tharn Ravagers Tactica

Obsidian Portal
Tharn Ravagers Tactica

Tharn Ravagers are one of two heavy infantry options for Circle Orboros. They are male members of the Tharn race who undergo a transformation into bestial avatars of the Devourer Wurm before entering combat. They have access to minimum and maximum units (4 or 6 models) as well as a unit attachment (the Tharn Ravager Chieftain) and a weapon attachment (the Tharn Ravager Shaman).

Ravagers have several special rules which augment their statistics. Fearless enables them to sustain casualties and stay in combat against Abominations. Pathfinder is a Circle staple ability which enables them to move through rough terrain with ease. Treewalker allows the Ravagers to ignore forests for LOS and to move through models and obstacles while in the forest. Heart Eater allows Ravagers to gain tokens when they kill living models. These tokens can be used similarly to Fury.

Tharn Ravagers, like many Circle models, excel at killing low ARM high DEF low wound models. However, as we'll see below, they can be brought to the level where they can effectively kill high ARM targets as well. Don't underestimate the ability of MAT 9 P+S 15 models charging one or two enemy warjacks. A full unit can cripple even Khadoran warjacks on a charge.

Not your average heavy infantry

Tharn Ravagers are very unlike your typical heavy infantry models. It is essential to understand and accept this reality if you want to see value in the unit. If you expect them to perform like their other medium based counterparts, you will be disappointed.

Brain Valenzuela
Firstly, you'll notice that Tharn Ravagers are costed in an odd fashion. Rather than have 3 or 5 man squads like most other heavy infantry, Ravagers are a 4 or 6 man squad. This is unique to both them and Skorne Cataphract units. It's important to remember this when comparing units. When you pay 6 points for Ravagers and Trollkin Champions, you're getting a whole extra model with the Ravagers. This extra model takes up more table space, has 8 more wounds and has its own attack.

Secondly, you'll notice that Tharn Ravagers are the fastest heavy infantry out there. Only the Black Ogrun Boarding party is as fast and they lack both Pathfinder and Reach. Barring ranged attacks, no other heavy infantry boasts the threat range of Tharn Ravagers.

Thirdly, no other heavy infantry unit currently in the game has both a unit attachment and a weapons attachment. This, combined with their odd unit size, means that Tharn Ravagers are the only heavy infantry unit in the game which can contain 8 models.

Now for the not so good unique stuff.

Tharn Ravagers have an extremely low ARM - the lowest of all heavy infantry. To make matters worse, unlike most Circle models, the DEF of Tharn Ravagers doesn't compensate for their low ARM. This means that Ravagers are a true glass cannon.

Next, the P+S of the Ravagers weapon is fairly low comparatively. Exemplar Bastions, Cataphract, Acuarii/Cetrati, Man-O-War Demolition Corps, and Trollkin Champions all have access to additional damage dice on their weapons. Other models like Man-O-War Shocktroopers, Ogrun Assault Corps, Ogrun Warspears and Black Ogrun Boarding Crew, all have access to ranged attacks. Still others such as the Ogrun Warmongers have a higher P+S.

So it should be clear that there really isn't a fair comparison in terms of what models are equal to Tharn Ravagers. None are. And as we continue to discuss their benefits and drawbacks, we'll see that they can fill a few niches in a Circle Orboros army.

Bare Essentials vs a Perfect World

In order to properly understand the strengths of the Tharn Ravagers, you must first place them in a vacuum. Take away anything, spells, terrain, etc, which will give them an advantage. In an absolute worst case scenario, how will they fair?

The answer is, unfortunately, not terribly well. Their low ARM and DEF will make them easy to kill. Their relatively moderate P+S will mean that they can't kill other heavy infantry or high ARM targets well. So why bother taking them?

In a perfect world, Tharn Ravagers are operating within a forest, able to move through enemy models, they are DEF 15 and, hopefully due to some spell support, ARM 16. They should have some heart tokens with which to boost or buy additional attacks. With Hunter's Mark, they have a threat range of 13". Suddenly they're becoming a much more respectable unit.

The truth is, however, that Tharn Ravagers will typically be operating somewhere between those two extremes. But as a player, proper positioning and deployment can help you to maximize the Ravagers' potential while limiting their liability.

Circle Support

One way to maximize the potential of the Tharn Ravagers is by understanding which Circle models can work as support pieces to them.

The three most obvious initial choices are the Sentry Stone & Manniken unit, the Woldwarden and the Woldwatcher. All three can provide forests to trigger the Ravagers' Treewalker ability. The Woldwatcher has the additional ability of Shield Guarding vital Ravager models such as the Tharn Ravager Chieftain.

Other models which can aid the Ravagers are the Warpwolf Stalker, the Pureblood Warpwolf and the Blackclad Wayfarer. The Warpwolf Stalker's animus may seem to be a strange fit at first, however Lightning Strike allows a Tharn Ravager to advance after killing a model. This can enable a vital model with a heart token to get to safety behind his comrades. Consider putting this on a Shaman or a Chieftain to help to keep them alive for the next turn. If a White Mane is nearby, they can advance through other Ravager models to get to safety.

The Pureblood's animus can enable a single Tharn Ravager model to ignore defensive spells on its target. This can be helpful with the Shaman's Lightning attack or when put on any Ravager model which is attacking a buffed enemy.

Finally, the Blackclad Wayfarer can extend the threat range of the Tharn Ravagers. With sneaky movement and a good roll on Hunter's Mark, Tharn Ravagers can charge at even greater distances.

Tharn Ravager Chieftain

The newest Tharn Ravager model to Circle Orboros is the Tharn Ravager Chieftain. Besides being a gorgeous model, the Chieftain brings two key things to the Tharn Ravagers: Advanced Deploy and Brutal Charge. Advanced Deploy goes a long way to helping the Ravagers get into combat early in the game and in lining them up against a good target. Brutal Charge gives the Ravagers a much needed boost to their P+S during charges. MAT 9, P+S 15 Tharn Ravagers should be pretty frightening to just about any target and enables them to threaten heavy infantry or heavy warjacks / warbeasts.

Tharn Ravager Shaman

The Shaman was originally the Tharn Ravagers' unit attachment. Now, however, he is a weapon attachment. He has Tharn Ravager statistics and rules with the addition of a Lightning ranged attack (with the same P+S as his weapons) and electro leap on his ranged attack. He also has Assault, which enables him to shoot when he charges as well. While you may think that giving a weapon attachment to a melee unit is counterproductive, remember that he's got Assault. So it's more like a second melee attack or a P+S 13 pot shot with a threat range of 19".

Tharn Ravager Whitemane

While not an attachment, the Tharn Ravager Whitemane offers the unit Tactician, which enables them to move through each other. This can be useful in enabling all models to charge or in acting as a delivery mechanism for the Whitemane by screening him on the approach and then moving through the unit.


As can be expected, Ravagers work better with some warlocks than others. I'll review the warlocks and what they offer to the Tharn Ravagers and whether I would recommend running Ravagers with that warlock.

Baldur, the Stonecleaver - Baldur offers several advantages to the Tharn Ravagers. The most obvious is Rapid Growth which gives the Ravagers a nice forest in which to hide. Solid Ground can help protect them against AOE spam. His feat, Broken Ground, can help protect them against ranged attacks on the approach. Stone Skin, while it prevents charges, can be used defensively after the Ravagers have charged and are already in melee. This can make them more survivable and give them a P+S 15 attack after the charge as well. Recommended

Baldur, the Stonesoul - Baldur offers only a few benefits to the Tharn Ravagers over other units. Rock Wall can be used to block charges or give the Ravagers a DEF boost. Roots of the Earth can give them a valuable ARM buff. However, neither spell is going to be effectively used for a whole unit. Hallowed Ground is by far Baldur's best ability for the Ravagers. But, in truth, his ARM boost for them will be fleeting and have limited effect compared to other Warlocks. Not Recommended

Cassius, the Oathkeeper - Cassius shares Ravagers affinity for forests with the Treewalker rule. Cassius' feat, Forest of Judgment, is obviously the biggest advantage which he offers Ravagers. The 22" wide forest is pretty amazing for enabling Ravagers to have either defense or in order to move through other models on the attack. Curse of Shadows can bring Ravagers' melee attacks on the charge to an effective P+S 17. This helps bring them to the level where they can reliably take down heavy infantry. Recommended

Grayle, the Farstrider - Grayle can augment the Ravagers' abilities in a number of ways. His feat, Darkest Night offers Ravagers both Stealth and the ability to move another model in the unit after making a kill. This can make them extremely powerful when facing enemy single wound infantry. Stealth can protect them from enemy retaliations via ranged attacks. Wind Blast can be used to limit enemy shooting or to clear away cloud effects which would block charges or even damage the fragile Ravagers. Finally, Storm Rager can be used on either a White Mane or a Tharn Ravager Chieftain to further boost their damage output. A Chieftain charging under Storm Rager is hitting at MAT 10 P+S 17 and is fairly resilient with ARM 16. The White Mane is even more deadly with Overtake and Heart Eater. With his Leadership ability, the White Mane is best delivered by a unit of Ravagers and then allowed to break into the enemy center. Recommended

Kaya, the Wildborne - Kaya can give the Ravagers Occulation. Stealth can help keep Ravagers from getting killed by shooting on their approach. However, there is little else Kaya can give the Ravagers. Not Recommended

Kaya, the Moonhunter - Kaya really offers nothing to Ravagers in her army. Not Recommended

Krueger, the Stormwrath - Krueger can protect Ravagers from ranged attacks through Deflection. Lightning Tendrils can give Ravagers Electro Leap. However, Krueger and Ravagers both excel at killing the same types of models. As such, they overlap heavily. Not Recommended

Krueger, the Stormlord - Krueger can toss Ravagers forward with Telekinesis. This gives Ravagers and even larger threat range. Storm Wall can cut down on enemy shooting as well. However, the real advantage Krueger offers is his Theme Force. Ravagers can not only get a free heart token at the start of the game, but gain additional movement on the first turn. Recommended in Theme Force

Kromac, the Ravenous - Kromac can give Inviolable Resolve to the Ravagers, boosting their ARM to more respectable levels. This is a two way street here. Kromac can be screened by a Ravager unit as they're both medium based models. Kromac's Theme Force gives the player a second Chieftain for free. Two Advanced Deploying units of Ravagers can provide multiple threats to an opponent's army. Recommended in Them Force

Mohsar, the Desertwalker - Like Cassius, Mohsar offers the Ravagers additional offensive potential through Curse of Shadows. Mirage can extend their threat range or be used to move them back out of melee (hopefully 3" away from the target) for another charge. Pillars of Salt can block charges or LOS to the Ravagers. Ravagers are an eligible target for Sands of Fate as well. Recommended

Morvahna, the Autumnblade - Of all the Circle players, Morvahna may offer the most to Tharn Ravagers. Eruption is a reliable way to make forests for Ravagers. Restoration gives them a bonus to their ARM similar to Inviolable Resolve. Morvahna's feat Seeds of Destruction, allows Ravagers to turn their victims into forests, which, in turn, can protect them. Recommended

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