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March 18, 2013

Hordes: Circle Orboros First Impressions: New Gargantuans Releases

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Gargantuans, the new anthology book for Hordes from Privateer Press, is finally out, bearing rules for many as-of-yet unreleased models.  As a Circle Orboros player, I've been looking forward to this book for some time now.  How do our upcoming spoils shape up at first glance?


Morvahna the Dawnshadow

The first epic incarnation of Morvahna is a sight to behold.  She not only boasts an extremely impressive list of abilities and spells, but she brings an incredible attrition element to the Circle Orboros that isn't reliant on defensive upkeeps like Inviolable Resolve, Regrowth, or Shadow Pack.  The Dawnshadow is very much a risk/reward-style warlock, in that many of her abilities require that she take damage in order to be used.

The first ability in this category is her feat, Blood Sacrifice, which allows her to suffer one or more damage to return a non-character living friendly Faction warrior model to play in her control area for each damage point suffered.  It's important to note that Blood Sacrifice will return multi-wound models at full health, making hardened and robust options like the high-ARM, eight-wound Warpborn Skinwalkers a likely inclusion in many of her lists.

The second ability that requires she take damage is Scales of Fate, which allows her to suffer d3 damage points to allow a friendly Faction model to reroll an attack or damage roll.  This is incredibly powerful, especially for clutch moments or attacks that need to connect in order to allow a complicated plan to bear fruit, which is often the case in Hordes and Warmachine.

With all this damage that Morvahna is suffering, she naturally will desire means of self-healing, which she is fortunately provided both in her own rules and also from other models.  Imperishable Conviction allows her to heal 1 damage point whenever a Friendly Faction model is destroyed by an enemy attack in her control area, making cheap models like Wolves of Orboros a welcome sight to Morvahna.  Carnivore is an upkeep spell that grants target model/unit +2 to attack rolls against living models while removing a boxed model from play and healing Morvahna for d3 points.  This ability, however, is somewhat of a double-edged sword, as the timing of its remove-from-play effect occurs before the destroyed stage, denying models like Warpwolf Stalkers from using Berserk or Sprint or Warpborn from using Blood Drinker.  But still, it's a pretty solid spell and should help to keep Morvahna from cutting herself to death on rerolls and her feat.

Morvahna's other spells of note are Fog of War, which grants all models (friendly and enemy) in her control area Concealment, granting you a no-brainer way of applying Stealth to models with Prowl like the Stalker or Wolf Lord Morraig, Death Knell, which is a solid, if expensive, AOE 4 attack that gets stronger the more models are inside the AOE, and Sunder Spirit, which is a cheap, effective, POW 12 nuke that removes a warbeasts animus for a turn if it is damaged.

I'd be remiss to point out how dodgy she is as well.  At SPD 8 with the ability to move 5" after her action, she is extremely mobile, if also a little exposed due to her large base size.  Again, there's that risk/reward-thing.

I should have Morvahna the Dawnshadow painted and on the table by the time this article goes live, so look for video battle reports with her soon.

Razorwing Griffin

The Razorwing is a new light warbeast that is sort of similar to the Scarsfell Griffin, sacrificing the latter's defensive abilities (Stealth, Hunter) for higher offensive potential in the form of higher damage output and the ability to not only Trample, an ability unheard of on a light warbeast, but to Trample over models of any base size while ignoring all free strikes and while using its P+S 12 Wing Blades.  To top it off, it boasts the Amuck animus, allowing it to boost the attack rolls on all special attacks, in this case the most obvious application being Tramples.  For five points, it has the capacity to be a highly effective little package.

I can certainly see a few these popping up with Kaya the Moonhunter for increased damage output and DEF via Forced Evolution, or with Cassius or Mohsar for the ARM-debuffing Curse of Shadows.  They are, however, quite fragile, and will take some care and attention if they expect to survive more than a turn or two.  Kaya the Moonhunter certainly helps there thanks to Shadow Pack, which grants Stealth, and Mohsar can keep it screened off with his Pillar of Salt spell.

While the Scarsfell Griffin didn't really hold my interest that strongly, I have to admit that I'm excited to try the Razorwing out.

Rip Horn Satyr

This new heavy warbeast is a dream.  For 9 points, it does everything that you'd need from a simple beatstick.  The first and most obvious thing of note is the trio of base attacks the Rip Horn has, all at P+S 16 in addition to Chain Attack: Grab and Smash, which allows it to do one of a number of free power attacks, and the Hard Head rule, which lets it add the POW of its Horns to Head Butt or Slam power attacks.  To top it off, the Rip Horn has the Aggressive rule, allowing it to run or charge without being forced.  This means that a Rip Horn Satyr can charge and get up to four attacks before being forced a single time.

Now, many would be right to bring up its paltry P+S 16, but remember that Circle Orboros isn't exactly hurting for ways of increasing damage, whether by ARM debuffs like Curse of Shadows, STR boosters like Forced Evolution or Stone Skin, or the animus of the ubiquitous Gorax, giving it +2 to melee attack and damage rolls at the cost of frenzying on the next turn.  

The Rip Horn also has the Irresistible Force animus, allowing it to push enemy models that it comes into base contact with, making jams less of an overal issue.  Also, at ARM 19 and 26 wounds, it can take a few shots before being sent into deliver swift death.

Many would be quick to compare it to the Feral Warpwolf due to similar damage output and cost, but what the Rip Horn gains in focus, it loses in the Feral's ability to better adapt via its warping abilities and markedly higher DEF stat, making either a fine option in many circumstances.


Tharn Blood Pack

Like their Ravager brethren, the Tharn Blood Pack are a lowish-ARM, 8-wound model unit with the Fearless, Pathfinder, Treewalker, and Heart Eater rules.  Treewalker, for the uninitiated, allows them to ignore forests when determining LOS while also granting them a +2 DEF bonus against melee attacks and the ability to advance through models and obstructions while within a forest.  Heart Eater provides them with a Blood Token whenever they destroy a living enemy model with a melee attack.  They can use these Blood Tokens to boost attack or damage rolls or to purchase additional melee attacks.

Where the Blood Pack diverges is with their RNG 12, POW 13 bows and the Assault and Battery order, which allows them to make a single ranged attack before charging or running.  This lets the Blood Pack play in a "shoot-and-scoot" manner or to let them loose their bows before charging in to collect Blood Tokens, making them somewhat of a multi-purpose unit.

At 7 points for a four-man unit and 10 points for six, they are rather expensive, and despite having 8 wounds, they are only ARM 14, so keeping them alive might be tricky.  That aside, they do look interesting and will certainly be worth some play-testing on the table before determining overall worth.

Other Circle Models in Gargantuans

We've already covered the other releases for Circle in Gargantuans, the Warpborn Alpha and the Woldwrath.  You can find those articles at the above links.

As a Circle player, I'm really pleased with the series of new releases we've seen.  Look for more Gargantuans coverage over the next several days.
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