I’ve been a long-time admirer of the Circle Orboros faction in Hordes / Warmachine, even going back to my very first post on the subject. Of course, my gamer’s hobby butterfly has settled on many other projects between then and now, but I was finally inspired to make a start on the army as I have a bit more painting time than usual. Sadly, actual games are hard to come by at the moment but Joe leapt to my rescue once again to let me know of the Wartable system. We hooked up via Discord and got our WarmaHordes on for an evening.
Game 1 – Invasion (scenario 4) vs Joe’s Mercenaries
[Theme] The Devourer’s Host
[Morvahna 1] Morvahna the Autumnblade [+28]
– Brennos the Elderhorn 
– Ghetorix 
– Tharn Blood Shaman 
Gallows Grove [0(2)]
Gallows Grove [0(2)]
Gallows Grove [0(2)]
Tharn Ravager Shaman 
Tharn Ravager White Mane [0(5)]
Bríghid & Caul 
Tharn Bloodtrackers (max) 
– Nuala the Huntress 
Tharn Ravagers (max) 
– Tharn Ravager Chieftain [0(5)]
Tharn Ravagers (max) 
– Tharn Ravager Chieftain 
There is nothing too clever in here. I like Tharn and Morvanha so I just put them together until the points fitted. An earlier draft had the Gatorman Boil Master instead of the Gallow’s Groves (and a few other things shuffled, of course) but I decided that probably Morvanha wanted to stay at arm’s length from the other side more than Brighid and Caul wanted corpse tokens.
[Theme] The Irregulars
[Fiona 1] Fiona the Black [+27]
– Blockader 
Anastasia di Bray 
Boomhowler, Solo Artist [0(6)]
Harlowe Holdemhigh [0(5)]
Hermit of Henge Hold [0(5)]
Widget, Tinker Extraordinaire 
Asphyxious the Sanctified 
– Stalker 
Kayazy Eliminators 
Kayazy Eliminators 
Artificer Prime Nemo 
– Toro 
Joe told me that he wanted to play with the cool new Warcasters, Asphyxious4 and Nemo4 since he bought them recently and hadn’t really had the opportunity to do much with them. Double Eliminators under Fiona sounds quite horrible (and the pink unit are designated as Cultists) but I suppose I should be grateful for the lack of Archons.
Joe wins the roll-off and chooses to move first. I pick the side with the houses so that Joe has to use forests to hide behind and I some of my things can see through them. Bloodtrackers Prey the Stalker; Brighid and Caul choose the Blockader.
Turn 1: Mercenaries
Nemo puts Lightning Shroud on the Toro and magics a Steelhead Ironhead out of somewhere; the latter then Cranes the Toro forward a little. Boomhowler gives Reposition to Asphyxious’s unit who then puts down a couple of Caustic Mists to mess with my line of sight (not that I have much in the way of ranged options).
Turn 1: Circle
Everyone runs forward at pretty much top speed. On the left I hang back behind the forest so as not to give up an easy charge to the Blockader. In the centre the Bloodtrackers receive Restoration and spread out to get in the way a little. Both units of Ravagers offer up a couple of their number in case Joe wants to take a chance on triggering Vengeance. Morvanha also casts Harvest.
Turn 2: Mercenaries
Fiona allocates two to the Blockader, Asphyxious allocates one to the Stalker and Nemo upkeeps Lightning Shroud. Asphyxious, his servitors and the Stalker kill off a few Bloodtrackers. The Eliminators on the left get charges on Caul due to my sloppy positioning but fortunately one of them misses so the big chap survives. Fiona moves right up and uses her Feat, covering most of the board (how I hate that Feat!) then kills a Bloodtracker with Soulfire blast damage off a Ravager. The Ravager survives due to Tough so the Blockader smashes him into the ground like a tent peg.
Turn 2: Circle
Morvanha upkeeps both spells and returns three Bloodtrackers. On the right, I see that I just need to clear a couple of Mechaniks to score the zone but sadly I forgot about the Toro’s countercharge. It splats the first Ravager and I rather pointlessly throw the rest of them at it; I probably would have been better keeping the unit back once it was evident that I was not going to be able to bring the Toro down. Brennos kills one of the Eliminators on the left by shuffling out of Fiona’s Feat and boosting an attack roll, then lands WINDS on the Blockader. I can’t think of any realistic way to clear the other Eliminator as it’s engaged, in a forest and under Fiona’s Feat. The Bloodtrackers move up into annoying positions in the hope that it’ll be awkward for Joe to untangle the Blockader, Stalker and Asphyxious and get them to do proper work. One of them throws her spear at Holdemhigh in the off-chance that I can roll a 6, but it doesn’t come off. I was going to use Morvanha to put Mortality onto Asphyxious but Joe reminds me that it’s not an upkeep and so will expire before it does anything. Instead she arcs Eruption at Holdemhigh but misses anyway. Neither of us score.
Turn 3: Mercenaries
The Stalker and Blockader are both allocated two Focus, and Lightning Shroud is upkept by Nemo. Anastasia comes in on the right but can’t quite kill off my Chieftain; sadly (for me) Nemo picks him off later in the turn. The Eliminator on the left saunters away from Caul and clears the Bloodtracker in the Blockader’s way. Holdemhigh charges and clears the Bloodtracker standing in front of Asphyxious and Widget uses Ancillary to get the Stalker to clear itself. One of the Cultist Eliminators runs within arcing range of Ghetorix and eventually Fiona knocks off Spiny Growth with Chasten and applies Curse of Shadows. Fortunately the Blockader can’t actually see Ghetorix from his position so charges my Objective (easily wrecking it) and then knocks off about two thirds of my Warbeast’s boxes including crippling his body spiral. Asphyxious, his little servitors and the Stalker polish off all the Bloodtrackers including Nuala, and the Toro (which got powered up by Nemo’s Mechaniks) drops two of the Ravagers on the right. Joe scores a point for the Objective; 1 – 0.
Turn 3: Circle
The Ravagers on the right hurt Nemo and the Toro a bit more. The Blood Shaman applies Mortality to the Blockader and Brighid and Caul knock more than half of it down. I am quite impressed. I try a cute trick to get Brennos to kill the Eliminator and Battle Wizard to heal Ghetorix with Rite of Spring. Sadly I can only land one of the three boosted attacks and Joe uses the Hermit to block it. Morvanha puts Mortality on Asphyxious by arcing it onto a Servitor who is conveniently facing the wrong way, then heals Ghetorix. The big Warpwolf easily, and rather pleasingly, wrecks the rest of the Blockader. My Ravager Shaman kills the nearest Eliminator by bouncing Chain Lightning through a Servitor. The central Ravagers kill Asphyxious and the Stalker (we assumed that the Stalker should go inert though I don’t think that Fiona could take control); the Chieftain uses the Overtake mini-Feat to get into Holdemhigh and kill him too. No scoring this round.
Turn 4: Mercenaries
Fiona and Nemo upkeep their spells. Widget uses Ancillary on the Toro which misses a Ravager. The left Eliminator runs back towards Nemo and eventually gets cloned. Anastasia drops a Ravager on the right, Boomhowler shoots one a bit, Nemo Locomotions the Toro around and shoots another and the Toro clears a couple more after being powered up; notably the Toro takes out the central Ravager Chieftain. The surviving Cultist runs to position for arcing; Fiona kills Ghetorix with Chasten then takes a random Soulfire into Caul which kills both him and Brighid. Neither of us score; still 1 – 0 to Joe.
Taking a look at the board state, and more importantly the time (already midnight; I am in danger of turning into a pumpkin), I decide to concede. My right side has collapsed completely and I think that I’m running out of anything with any hitting power anywhere else; eventually Nemo, the Toro and Fiona will pick me off. Circle lose by concession.
That was a lot of fun! Wartable is less good than playing face to face, but it is considerably better than not playing at all. The game took quite a long time but in fairness the faction is also new to me so I can hardly lay the blame all on the system. I don’t think that deathclock would be feasible on Wartable but it is a good way to get a few games in for familiarity. I suppose that, for those who are worried about using only miniatures that they actually own (i.e. clearly neither Joe nor me!), Wartable offers the opportunity to play with the whole faction.
The game itself was highly enjoyable. Joe is a great teacher and knows my stuff much better than I do. Many of my mistakes were probably down to not recognising the tools I have available, though my positioning was pretty weak in general. Throwing the whole Ravager unit at the Toro in Fiona’s Feat turn was a bit of a waste, and I struggled to get the auras from the Ravager Shaman and Whitemane to be relevant. On the left, I needlessly gave an opportunity for the Eliminators to kill Caul, and only luck kept him alive. I think that this was a bit of poor match for Morvanha in that there were not many living or undead models for Harvest or her Feat; indeed I didn’t even use her Feat at all. Things I learned:
- One Bloodtracker (or whatever Restoration target) needs to stay way back and remain safe. I should have recognised that the Stalker in particular could get deep and pick out Nuala.
- Mortality really enables an increase in work rate and I need to get better at understanding how much I need to commit to get the job done.
- Three Gallow’s Groves is probably too many. Next time I will probably shuffle things around to have the Gatorman Boil Master instead and run maybe only a single Grove.