Trevy the Great here again from Way of the Swan to start my review of the new releases for Warmachine/Hordes in Devastation, Hordes’ latest expansion.
As with my Reckoning reviews; the rules for these new releases can be found just about anywhere (they’re even on War Room now!), so I won’t be going into specifically what models do on table, just my general thoughts about them.
First up I’ll go over the new monsters unleashed upon an unsuspecting Immoren by my very favorite furry forest friends, the vicious and occult Circle Orboros!
Kromac, Champion of the Wurm
While he’s been out for a while, Kromac, Champion of the Wurm is already making big waves in the metagame. Unlike his previous incarnation, who brings heavies and turns them into monstrous hit & run infantry sweepers, Kromac2 (or BigMac, as he is affectionately known) is a more straightforward blunt instrument. In the vein of other super solo Warcasters such as Butcher3 or Caine2, Kromac can deal a ton of damage himself, all the while buffing his army to crack open heavy armor like eggshells. While initially he was frowned upon for sporting a rather lackluster spell list full of expensive spells, Kromac still brings along the traditional infantry hate that Circle has in spades while acting as a powerful and mobile heavy Warbeast in and of himself. Overall he’s a change and a breath of fresh air for a Faction that had been stagnating in pairings consisting of solely Krueger2/Morvahna2/Bradigus pairings and brings something brand new and exciting to the table.
Bloodweaver Night Witch
Alongside the mighty Tharn Chieftain is a solo that accompanies some of his most capricious followers; the Bloodweaver Night Witch. One of the most interesting pieces to be released in this book, the Night Witch combines a powerful infantry sweeper with a support model who buffs Tharn Bloodweavers. For only 2 points, the Night Witch has the potential to clear a great swath of models herself using Killing Spree in conjunction with her boosting and healing abilities. Furthermore, she has two initial attacks and Grevious Wounds, which not only make her killing sprees more reliable by removing pesky effects like Tough and Self Sacrifice that can stop her in her tracks, but also allow her to kick-start her chain again should the dice fail on one of her weapons. Grevious Wounds in itself is a powerful tool that can be used to cripple damaged enemy warbeasts or set up assassination runs, adding to this solo’s utility. As if that wasn’t enough, she also gives Bloodweavers her Killing Spree ability while in her CMD, adding utility to an already effective unit. Some of her weaknesses come with her relatively low MAT, P+S and reliance on dice to fuel her magic, but she’s already being considered with Kruger1 (who hands out Reach to the Night Witch herself or her attendant Bloodweavers) or Morvahna2 (who can re-roll her poor dice rolls and revive her for a second chain of killing sprees). Overall; a very interesting model.
Blackclad Mist Riders
Another fascinating choice, the Blackclad Mist Riders give Circle its second Light Cavalry option (and who are so stealthy and misty that I can’t find a photo of them). Unlike their predecessors, the Tharn Wolf Riders, Mist Riders are slower and don’t deal as much raw damage, but bring a much greater range of utility to the table. With Cavalry Charge, Brutal Charge and Battle Wizard, this unit can charge in at MAT 7, P+S 12 and cast spells after gutting a few hapless infantry models (don’t forget that they get melee attacks with their mounts too!). These spells can be blizzards, which serve to protect the Mist Riders or other important models such as Prowling Warpwolf Stalkers without the need to take expensive Druids of Orboros or rely on terrain. Alternatively, their POW 12 Shock Bolts can pack a punch, especially at Magic Ability 7, and give the Faction another source of electrical damage to synergize with the new Storm Raptor’s Sky Fire. While they won’t see play in every list, they add a very interesting option to Warlocks such as Morvahna2 who already bring and buff infantry.
Speaking of the Storm Raptor, this book saw the release of the second Circle Orboros Gargantuan Warbeast. When it was originally partially spoiled at Templecon, the Storm Raptor was already considered an odd addition to the Circle Faction. It buffs electrical attacks, such as those generated by Krueger and the Woldwrath, with its Animus and Superconduction abilities (although it should be noted that Superconduction doesn’t apply to spells like Shock Bolt or Chain Lightning, only ranged attacks), something that, while Circle does have, aren’t particularly common in the Faction. Its design as a light, fast, winged Warbeast was also off-putting, since these types of Warbeasts don’t generally translate well into the Gargantuan scale. Unlike the Woldwrath, which is designed to take an enormous amount of punishment before going down, the Storm Raptor’s low ARM stat and small pool of hit boxes don’t do it any favors if enemies get to grips with it; which they probably will considering that, as a Gargantuan it can’t take advantage of Circle’s many powerful out-of-activation movement effects. To add insult to injury, the beast is inexplicably MAT 5, which makes it even more difficult to make back its hefty price tag of 19 points. Fortunately; it’s not all bad for this little birdie (just mostly bad); the Storm Raptors many electrical effects make it a veritable monster at clearing infantry and generating electro-leap and lightning generator damage… even though it’ll have trouble hitting enemy infantry with its low MAT and is likely to be killed off soon afterwards.
In general, Circle’s releases increased the breadth of their Faction’s options, adding some interesting utility pieces that don’t necessarily invalidate old ones; for example Druids of Orboros and Mist Riders can fill similar roles, but each do so in a unique way and add their own additional tools to the toolbox. Kromac, Champion of the Wurm especially is a powerhouse that is not only effective, but fun and exciting to put on the table and will see lots of play.
Are you a Circle player? What do you think of the Faction’s new options from Devastation?
Remember to tune in to Way of the Swan for some more awesome Warmachine and Hordes content!