Ranking the top three Circle Orboros Warlocks in Warmachine and Hordes.
Chalkboard here from Chalkboard War, continuing my series of articles on Warmachine and Hordes that examines the “Best of the Best” attributes across all models and factions. We’ll examine the top Feats, Spells, Abilities, Weapons, Stat Lines, Damage Grids, and anything else that appears on model entries in the game. All to give you a sense for which models are among the best on those categories.
This Week, we’re nearing the end of the list. Circle, Legion, Minions, and Grymkin are all that remain in our Best of the Best in-Factions consideration. Following that, there’ll be the big finale and ultimate ranking of all time of the Best of the Best overall Faction. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Have to think through those wily Circle Orboros Warlocks for Warmachine and Hordes. From sneaky to blunt, offensive to defensive, Circle has a great array of Warlocks for all roles on the battlefield. Let’s sort though and figure out who rise to the top.
So let’s get right to it! The following are my list of the top three Warlocks in Circle Orboros. At the end is a bonus “Dishonorable Mention” for the one who’s a bit less destroyer wurm and a bit more regular worm than the rest.
Number Three: Krueger the Stormlord
Ah, another faction spoiled for potential top Warlocks. It’s scary when Kaya2 is as nasty as she is and still doesn’t make that many tournament pairings. Given Kaya2 and Kaya3, the pair of Kromacs, and even 2Una and Tanith, I still think that Krueger2 has the edge for making the top three of faction Warlocks.
Control Warcasters and Warlocks are always strong options, and Krueger2 is no exception. There are two ways to play a “bully” style game: either high ARM Colossals/Gargantuans or with control casters. In Krueger2’s case, he can make it so models and units simply don’t get to contribute as well or as easily as they could. His Feat helps with positioning for scenario while also reducing speed so opponents cannot reach your models. His spells further complement that, with Rebuke to slow units’ distance and damage (stopping infantry from charging really, really hurts them). And don’t forget the ubiquitous Telekinesis to meddle with opponents in all sorts of ways. And then he has Gallows as well–another spell that can draw selected enemies closer.
It’s Windstorm that really puts him over the top in my opinion. As the main answer to these types of shenanigans is bringing your ranged list. Windstorm’s -5 to enemy ranged attacks hurts. Krueger2 brings an answer to one of the common answers to his play style. That makes him reach the top of the grouping pretty clearly.
Number Two: Baldur Stonecleaver, the Stonesoul
In the prior entry, I mentioned “bully” play styles. Well, Baldur2 makes this list because he’s the other type from Krueger2: high ARM Gargantuan is his method. He can reliably keep a Woldwrath at ARM 23 throughout the game. And that’s a pretty nasty question to pose to opponents–especially when the Woldwrath cannot be targeted by enemy spells and has Hyper Regeneration to constantly heal.
That said, Baldur2 is also more than just his Woldwrath enabler. He can tune up all sorts of models with his ARM boosts, making almost any Warbeasts deadly in his hands. Loki and Ghetorix are both great options for him as well. With ability to vary the battlegroup and still get interesting work done, that’s alone a good reason to recommend him.
And then there’s the other bits of his kit. Rock Wall is a great toolbox spell that can be used in a number of ways to the chagrin of opponents. Crevasse is a sneaky magic attack spell that can do good removal work in ways that are sometimes hard for the opponent to anticipate. And he’s no slouch in melee himself. If you time his accumulation of Wurm tokens correctly, Baldur can get serious work done if he needs to mix it up himself or close out a game. He’s a rock-solid Warlock, with pun fully intended.
Number One: Wurmwood, Tree of Fate
Wurmwood is so ubiquitously good as a Warlock that it actually might be a problem for the faction. By having such a powerful kit and ability to shut down certain opponents, the Tree is almost a must-take in pairings. It’s less so now after the range of its Feat got toned down, but even then it is still a very powerful Warlock that can control the flow of a game against about 80% of opposing Warcasters and Warlocks. Line of sight denial, rough terrain, and ability to draw opponents’ models in to be killed piecemeal are what makes this Warlock a powerhouse.
But like I said, is the fact that Wurmwood works so well its main limitation? Perhaps so. Not every Circle Orboros player is fielding Wurmwood like it used to be in the 6 months after Mark III released. But it’s still a very good Warlock into a lot of opponents. Which means that other choices and Warlock options become limited. You need something that answers the lists that can reach Wurmwood–often shooting lists that have Mage Sight or another ability to target models beyond 3″ into forests. And thus, a high ARM pounder list like Baldur2 is a natural pair–but having a forced pairing sometimes isn’t the most enjoyable to play.
Well, as a non-Circle player I suppose I’d like my chosen factions to have that problem too. Still, it is maybe the only downside. Other than that, Wurmwood is an excellent Warlock and definitely faction-defining.
Dishonorable Mention: Bradigus Thorle the Runecarver
How the mighty have fallen. Bradigus and his Mark II theme list was one of the boogeymen of the meta. He was frequently seen at tournaments and even more frequently fretted about by opponents. What is the answer to Bradigus? How can you stop him?
Well, change some key elements of his play. Synergy’s change was good for the game (going from unlimited gain to only +3 to hit and damage), and Synergy Warcasters and Warlocks are still really powerful. Bradigus suffered more than most because getting to those high stacks of Synergy with a variety of construct Warbeasts were his specialty. Construct Warbeasts are still good, but the math of which ones to include are a bit different now.
He still has a solid set of tools for the game, and I won’t be surprised when someone pilots him to great Mark III success. But what had been an advantage in the prior edition (only Constructs in battlegroup) now leaves him without some really good options that exist in the faction. He’s more thematic and corner-case for now. Though with next month’s theme lists, who knows… Perhaps Bradigus will again become the common threat that he once was. Until then, I think he remains on the outside looking in.
~ Does this ranking fit your thoughts? Did we miss a critical attribute? Was a great model overlooked, or a powerful interaction missed? Is Number One really that good? Do you think the “Dishonorable Mention” is not so dishonorable after all? Let us know in the comments below!
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