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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Monday, September 5, 2011

Circle Orboros: An Introduction

Another Warmachine/Hordes faction introduction post, this time by EliasMacale. We do seem to be charging through these...

Orboros is without beginning or end; it is shapeless and yet all shapes. Storm is its breath, spilled blood is its sustenance.  By it's power we chosen few become the scythe that culls mankind.
            -Omnipotent Ergonus

The Circle Orboros is an ancient order of druids and their allies, united by their ties to the Devourer Wurm, a slumbering embodiment of the destructive power of nature, that, were it to awaken, would bring about the destruction of all of Caen.  The Circle's success in preventing the apocalypse depends on their ability to strike at will in any location; thus, the faction's main strength lies in it's mobility and speed, backed by elements of control, denial, and buffing.  Due to the factions basis in nature, many warlocks and units have an elemental theme, particularly earth and air.  The easiest way to describe Circle is as a combination of the synergy and denial of Protectorate with the speed and control of Cryx, while being flexible enough to incorporate other aspects of game play if desired.

Is Circle the right faction for you?

1. Circle's play style revolves around mobility; maximizing your own and controlling your opponent's.

Circle Orboros plays uniquely in that it possibly the faction with the most placement effects (essentially teleportation), movement buffs, pathfinder models (the ability to ignore rough terrain), and some of the highest average SPD stats across the faction.  Only the Legion of Everblight and Cryx can rival the raw speed that Circle armies can achieve, but even those factions do not have the options of mobility that the myriad placement effects available to Circle provide. Indeed, Circle can stack movement buffs in a similar fashion that it stacks STR buffs, delivering units and beasts over significant distances.

Placement effects also give Circle an edge, allowing them to move models to places that would normally be unreachable due to intervening models, leave melee without risking free strikes, and set up charges and firing lanes.

On the other side of this coin, Circle is also highly capable of controlling enemy movement.  Abilities that push, pull, place, slam, knock down and reduce the SPD of enemy models are abundant in our supporting units, beasts, and Warlocks.  Most notable of these are the Druids of Orboros unit, whose Force Bolt spell can easily disrupt enemy formations and pull enemy models in range of your own units.

2. Circle units and heavies depend on buffs (and occasionally debuffs) to muster the striking power to defeat enemy heavy warjacks and beasts.

Unlike many other factions, whose warbeasts and warjacks come with sufficiently damaging weaponry to cripple or destroy enemy heavies very quickly, Circle's strongest warbeasts only boast below average strength on their weaponry.  However, by applying the right spells and abilities, the hitting power, those same beasts can quickly exceed the highest strength warjacks and beasts of many other factions.  This leads to a potential weakness in that if an opponent can eliminate or stop the sources of these buffs, it will be difficult to do more than superficial damage to enemy heavies.

3. Circle emphasizes casting spells more than other Hordes factions.

The Woldwarden and Megalith have an ability called Geomancer, allowing them to cast one of their warlock's spells, at essentially no cost to the warlock.  This allows forces to cast buffs on units too far away for the warlock to reach, or hit enemies with offensive spells without placing warlocks in unnecessary danger.  This this is the closest thing any Hordes faction has to the Arc Nodes of Warmachine, making it a valuable and rare ability.  While not strictly necessary, many Circle players will find the Woldwarden or Megalith difficult to leave on the shelf when writing a list.  However, as platforms for spell casting, Woldwardens and the Megalith are fairly slow, if very reslient, compared to the rest of the faction; in this way Circle differentiates itself from the speedy and fragile arc nodes of Cryx

4. Circle Orboros tends to have a steeper learning curve than other factions, but is very powerful once mastered.

Since the  main strength of the Circle lies in it's speed and mobility, rather than a more straightforward concept like offense or defense, and our models tend to be lightly armored, Circle can be an unforgiving faction to the newcomer.  Until a player can easily maximize the movement options at their disposal, they will struggle to overcome the disadvantages of Circle's fragile models.  However, a skilled and experienced Circle Orboros player will find that they have the tools to deal with any match up or scenario.

Circle Orboros Warlocks:

Baldur The Stonecleaver: Specializing in the Circle's elemental construct warbeasts, the wolds, Baldur is the only warlock in the faction capable of healing said constructs, in addition to bringing other bonuses to them.  He tends to be defensive in play style, with spells that shield his army from blasts and knockdown effects and create small forests, as well as a useful defensive feat.  In spite of this, his ability to teleport between forests within his control area gives him a dangerous assassination vector that can easily kill an unwary opponent.  Baldur likes to use a mix of beasts (with a focus on Wolds), and infantry who can take advantage of his Solid Ground spell.

Cassius the Oathkeeper & Wurmwood, Tree of Fate: Cassius and Wurmwood form an unusual duo with an unorthodox play style.  Packing three powerful offensive spells, including an upkeepable debuff, Cassius can deal out a lot of magical pain.  Wurmwood is also one of a rare few models in the game able to claim souls from both friendly and enemy living models with no restrictions which makes it worth taking an abundance of infantry to fuel this ability.  Wurmwood is both an asset and a liability, as damage done to it is applied to Cassius, and as such must be carefully protected.  The pair of them have an extremely difficult match upp in Legion of Everblight, whose beasts with Eyeless Sight easily bypass Wurmwood's defensive abilities, and significantly reduce the effectiveness of Cassius' feat.

Grayle the Farstrider: One of Circle's newest warlocks to be revealed, Grayle personally represents one of the more powereful melee models available to circle, with abilities that allow him to kill several enemies and melee, and then retreat to safety.  He will most likely mesh well with ranged warbeasts, such as the Woldwyrd because of his awareness spell, while also buffing melee solos and himself to obscene levels with the spell Storm Rager.

Kaya the Wildborn: Circle's starter set warlock.  She has the useful ability to give a bonus to the melee attack rolls of her living warbeasts, making the already accurate Feral Warpwolf even more deadly, and almost entirely removing the need to boost attack rolls for many of our beasts in melee.  In spite of this, she struggles with fury management, and will be hard-pressed to play an extremely beast heavy list, yet does little to support infantry.  As such, she is widely regarded as one of Circle's least competitive warlocks.

Kaya the Moonhunter & Laris: Our most effective beast warlock, she can run many beasts very efficiently and comes with a character light warbeast which is one of the only Hordes models that a Warlock has the ability to channel spells through.  She can give her beasts and herself stealth, and also possesses a pair of very powerful buff spells.  With judicious use of her feat, her beasts can launch an all-out attack on the enemy and then retreat out of range of enemy reprisals.

Kromac the Ravenous: This powerful warlock can choose each turn between two forms: one a fragile human with powerful spell casting abilities, the other a beastly warrior capable of tearing enemies to shreds at the cost of all access to his spells.  Kromac has several powerful buff spells for his warbeasts, and can also shut down enemy spells in his control area.  He is considered by many to be one of Circle's most competitive warlocks.

Kreuger the Stormwrath: Kreuger specializes in destroying enemy single-wound infantry.  Several of his spells are bent toward this end, and even his feat can cause severe damage to enemy infantry units.  Kreuger is a very powerful warlock, because he is capable of dismantling the often fragile support elements of other armies.  However, he is mostly ineffective against jack-heavy lists.  Certain Cygnar lists can cause him difficulties as well.

Kreuger the Stormlord: Kreuger's epic form forgoes his anti-infantry abilities and instead amps up Circle's ability to control enemy movement to eleven.  His feat is very powerful in scenario play, and can essentially forestall the enemy advance for a turn.  Combined with his Storm Wall spell, which reduces the range of enemy ranged attacks, he can shut down an entire army for a turn.

Mohsar the Desertwalker: Though old and blind, Mohsar boasts the highest FURY stat in the faction (8) and a powerful spell list to accompany it.  He is capable of making hit and run spell attacks on the enemy because of his powerful Sand of Fate teleportation effect.  He can make structures in his control area, which makes the Gnarlhorn Satyr a nice choice with him, as slamming enemies into these structures will deal extra damage to them.

Morvahna the Autumnblade: The premiere infantry caster of Circle Orboros, Morvahna specializes in growth and vitality.  She can regain spent focus when enemy models are destroyed, revive slain infantry models, and turn enemies into damaging forest templates.  She is highly dependant on upkeep spells, so enemies that can dispel these are her bane.


The Circle Orboros faction is surprisingly deep and varied, with several sub-themes running throughout it that are not clearly represented in their selection of warlocks.  Amongst their Warbeasts are the  beastly warpwolves and magical elemental constructs, and the ranks of their Units and Solos are filled with mysterious blackclad druids, the savage Tharn tribes, and much more that I haven't yet described.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments or approach me in the Chatterbox.

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