Take a second look at these two Circle Orboros Warlocks for Warmachine and Hordes.
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, with the fifth in a series of second looks articles that examine the stable of warcasters and warlocks of the various Warmachine and Hordes factions and thinks about which ones deserve a second look. With WTC 2016 now completed, the Warmachine and Hordes community has a definite crystalized story now about which Warcasters and Warlocks have the most potential. And while that’s a good source for more journeyman players to get some clues about effective warcasters and warlocks, it can also be a bit constraining in the early formation of the meta (again, we’re not even six months into Mark III). While it’s okay to learn the top models for a faction, there might be some other excellent warcasters and warlocks that are right outside the top consensus that deserve a second look.
Circle Orboros may need this treatment more than most factions, as they have the current elephant in the room when it comes to dominant warlocks: Wurmwood. The combination of rules in Mark III took this warlock from less-seen to the looming threat that everyone needs to have a plan to face. And even with a plan, it can still be a powerful challenege. Lots of players are picking up Wurmwood to be the anchor of their lists, and that’s certainly understandable. Making it more complicated, Baldur2 has some nasty tricks in the new edition as well, and might be almost as popular. Rounding out the common “best” list are models like Kromac2, Baldur1, and of course, Tanith (both for her strong assassination game and for the cult of the new). And while these are some great warlocks that can give opposing Warmachine and Hordes factions fits, it could be useful to take a second look at some warlocks just outside the current top to find a hidden gem or an under-appreciated synergy.
Second Look: Morvahna the Dawnshadow
It’s in some ways the Mark III mantra: recursion isn’t as good as it used to be. In almost every case, models brought back/reborn/revived have to sacrifice their combat actions on the turn they return in Mark III. And that change is enough to make some doubt the usefulness of such abilities (and to make High Reclaimer players chuckle with glee). Morvahna2 had this restriction in Mark II, so it’s likely not that which made her stock drop. The other major change was her loss of Purification, which dispelled all enemy upkeeps, which was part of the Privateer Press strategy of limiting that ability. And while that is a relative loss, it doesn’t immediately invalidate Morvahna2 from consideration. Perhaps part of the reason she’s less popular latelty is that she was seen as one of the more dominant warlocks for Circle in Mark II. People may have simply been a bit fatigued playing with her. That said, she is much the same in Mark III–an effective scenario warlock that can sway the battle her way with re-rolls in the right places. For the wave of newer players who started with the new edition, or the old players who have come back to the game, Morvahna2 fatigue may not be present–and she may be an interesting option to explore.
Second Look: Grayle the Farstrider
I’m guessing that most Circle Players’ first thoughts about Grayle are “why do I need a Feat that gives control area Stealth when I’ve got another Warlock that provides control area forest with Wurmwood?” While that’s a fair concern, I think Grayle has some up sides that are worth exploring both with what his feat provides and the remainder of his kit. Other than being the poor man’s Wurmwood, he’s got a few intriguing upsides. With his ability to clear cloud AOEs and let Reeves see through other models in their unit, he can provide some ability to make lines of sight for a ranged game. Add in a melee unit to benefit from his Death March: a unit that the opponent needs to remove but doesn’t want with Vengeance. Finally, I think it’s worth looking deeper at what his feat provides. In many ways, he’s got a two-way feat. It can be very defensive, giving Stealth to his army. But it can be offensive as well–if he’s got one unit/group of models that can do a distant charge, grabbing 3″ for other models in his force for each model that kills an in melee can be a powerful threat-extender if played correctly–and more importantly an unexpected threat extender, which can be the critical part of securing a good piece trade or an assassination.
~ So how do Morvahna2 and/or Grayle do when you give them a second look? Do they offer enough that they’re worth taking instead of the current “consensus choice” warlocks in Circle Orboros? Could they be a solid half of a pairing? Do they pair well with Wurmwood? Do they ask a question of opponents’ lists that’s worth another round of consideration?
And if you haven’t seen it lately (or ever), take a second look at Chalkboard’s Warmachine and Hordes blog at: