Hordes Dominiation – Circle Orboros Review – Pt. 2
Last time we looked at the warlocks from Domination for Circle Orboros, so today we’ll look at the rest of the new Circle options.
Scarsfell Griffon – This model brings a few solid additions to Circle players. First, it has Flight and Long Leash, allowing it to function at huge distances from your controlling warlock and giving it a lot of mobility, letting it ignore terrain and other models. It also has the Shadow Shift animus, giving either it or your warlock Parry for a turn. This has a number of different applications, from extricating a the model out of melee to allowing it or your warlock to strike deep into the enemy’s lines without suffering free strikes. It’s notably handy on the Griffon itself thanks to Flight; not only can it ignore enemy models when moving, it won’t be hit by free strikes as it does.
Stealth and Hunter are good abilities for keeping the Griffon alive. For 5 points, it is fairly fragile, and it can die rather quickly to shooting, but Stealth and Hunter help to counter this.
In terms of damage output, it’s not terribly impressive on paper. It has a single, P+S 12 beak attack and a pair of P+S 11 claw attacks. Fortunately for Circle players, you’re not without the means to increase those numbers, be it via the Gorax’s Primal animus, Kaya the Moonhunter’s Forced Evolution, or Curse of Shadows from Cassius or Mohsar. When combined with a few of those damage boosts, the Griffon can be a handy, little piece for assassinating, else it’s best left to hunting down enemy solos or officers.
It’s also worth noting that the claw attacks do have the Open Fist quality, allowing it to lock or throw enemy models as well. Using it to lock an enemy model is a really handy tool here, especially on a relatively cheap model, allowing you to shut down the Vassal of Menoth’s Enliven on high-priority targets like the Avatar of Menoth.
If you’re looking at taking the Griffon, look to warlocks that can increase its damage output or mobility, Kaya the Moonhunter being a particularly strong example.
Winter Argus – Boasting the same stat line as the original Argus, this model provides a pair of short range, POW 12 sprays and a pair of P+S 12 melee attacks. The sprays are unfortunately made at rather low RAT values, so you’ll need to rely on boosts for it to hit regularly, even if you can manage to teleport the Winter Argus behind its target for a back strike bonus. This, of course, could change over time as new support is added to the faction, like a warlock with Guided Fire. It’s worth noting that the sprays also have Critical Freeze, making the need to boost an even more attractive option. In terms of its damage output in melee, treat it like a regular Argus without the Combo Strike. A pair of POW 12s aren’t terrible, especially if you can get the rather speedy Winter Argus on a flimsy warcaster or warlock, even more so if benefiting from Primal or another damage buff.
Its animus, Winter Coat, isn’t terribly exciting at first glance, as it’s a target Self buff to ARM and immunity to cold, but it’s not a total loss. Many warlocks inevitably discard fury during the early- and mid-game for lack of other things to do with their fury, so getting +2 ARM for it lets you get something in return.
Circular Vision and Immunity Cold are its final two abilities. Beware of your placement if you’re planning on making a frenzy check with the Winter Argus, Circular Vision means it could very well end up turning around and attacking your own models. Immunity Cold isn’t much to look at, as there just aren’t that many Cold-type attacks or effects in the game, but it’s a nice little bonus when it does come up.
When pairing up your Winter Argus with a warlock, look for ones that typically end up discarding fury, like Grayle or Kaya the Moonhunter.
Ghetorix – Ghetorix is a very contentious addition in the Circle Orboros internet community. Many see him as a lateral alternative to the Stalker, which I suppose isn’t far from the truth; he does have many similarities to it. Others see him as an overpriced variant of the Stalker, one whose cost of entry is undermined by the already-available and proven mainstay. Rather than simply compare the two, I’ll discuss Ghetorix based on his own merits.
Ghetorix’s stats are mostly what you’d expect to see form a warpwolf, with high natural SPD and DEF values and a low ARM stat. To go with that SPD 6, Ghetorix is armed with a Great Axe with Reach, giving him a solid threat range coming in at 11″ on the charge before Circle’s many SPD/movement buffs come into play. That Great Axe also hits plenty hard in melee, starting at a base P+S 17, which can jump up to 19 when warping for STR. Combined with his MAT of 7 and Powerful Charge, this immediately sets Ghetorix apart from any other available Circle warbeasts, as he is pretty capable of taking on high-ARM threats without the help of Primal from a Gorax. If he is benefiting from Primal or another damage buff, Ghetorix’s damage output jumps into the stratosphere with his Great Axe, allowing him to threaten even closed Devastators or Cygnar heavy warjacks under Arcane Shield. He additionally has a P+S 14 Bite attack, but I wouldn’t really consider that unless taking on lower-ARM targets or unless he’s warped for both STR and benefiting from a damage buff.
Moving beyond his simple damage abilities, Ghetorix has two other warping options in addition to Warp Strength. His second is Hyper Aggressive, which allows him to advance towards an enemy model that damages him with an attack. This will most often be Ghetorix’s go-to warping ability on the approach, since it can potentially give you more threat and allow you to get him into the action faster. His third is Snacking, which should be familiar to Trollblood players, letting Ghetorix heal after boxing living enemy models while also denying reaving and other effects that trigger at the destroyed step.
His next ability of note is Unyielding, which boosts his ARM value while he is engaging an enemy model. This is yet another quality that separates Ghetorix from the pack, making him more survivable than his less-durable brethren. You can get even more out this by looking to outside ARM buffs, which are rather prevalent throughout the faction.
Like all warpwolves, Ghetorix also has Regeneration for self-healing. As Ghetorix lacks the ability to warp for ARM like the Feral or Prowl like the Stalker, you will most likely find yourself using this ability quite a bit.
Gallows Grove – Easily the most impactful model for the Circle Orboros in Domination, perhaps even for all factions, the Gallows Grove has pretty huge implications. They’re 1-point, medium-based models that your warlock can channel through. Like Sentry Stones, they’re effectively stationary and can only move by teleporting. They additionally have Entropic Force, which denies Tough and healing to models within their short CMD range. They also have Prowl to help them survive long enough to deliver your spells.
Not only does this unit occupy a point slot that means it can be easily fit into many lists, it fulfills an extremely important function for many Circle warlocks. Groves provide a source for channeling that is low risk due to their incredible, low cost. This lets Circle players fill out armies that are slightly below the point cap with a model that pretty much all can benefit from. Epic Krueger and Grayle will love them for optimal Gallows casting, allowing them to get that perfect placement without risking their necks or without having to invest in expensive Woldwardens for Geomancy. More fragile warlocks like Mohsar, Cassius, and Morvahna will have a markedly easier time tossing their spells around will still keeping their distance from the enemy.
Entropic Force is a nice little bonus as well, allowing you to shut down enemy models that rely on Tough for survival, or stopping your opponent from healing up his warbeasts to restore missing aspects. While they aren’t the most difficult model to remove from the table when so close to the enemy, this can negatively affect your opponent’s order of activations in a meaningful way.
Celestial Fulcrum – Circle’s new battle engine is a ranged weapon platform. It’s not the sturdiest of 120mm models with its low DEF and rather mediocre ARM stats, but it fortunately can be healed by Shifting Stones, which are pretty common in most Circle lists. It also has Immunity: Cold, Fire, and Electricity, giving it some corner case defenses against things like Legion warbeasts, some Protectorate and Cygnar ranged attacks, and some Cold-type effects like Ice Cage or Sorscha’s feat.
There are a few other abilities of note before we get into the Fulcrum’s offensive capability: Circular Vision, Gunfighter, and Interference. Circular Vision probably won’t come into play a ton, but it’s certainly not bad to have. Gunfighter is really important for a dedicated ranged piece like the Fulcrum, keeping it from being shutdown by enemy models that simply run to engage it. Interference will stop you from placing it via Shifting Stones or spells like Telekinesis.
In terms of its damage output, it’s pretty well-rounded. The Font of Power rule is pretty central to its offensive capability, as it generates a Fury point every turn that the Fulcrum can use to boost attack and damage rolls. It’s also worth noting that your warlocks can leach this Fury as well if the need is dire, but you probably won’t be doing this very often. Its first attack, Winter’s Rage, is a SPR 10 with Critical Freeze, making it often the attack to start with in order to clear lanes and line of sight, especially if it’s engaged in melee. Boosting attack rolls against high-priority targets to help trigger Critical Freeze is never a bad idea, especially if you can get the Fulcrum within range of the enemy warcaster or warlock.
Its second attack, Lightning Bolt, is a long-ranged attack with Electro Leap. It hits fairly hard and can be used from anything to solo killing via boosted attack rolls or putting some damage on heavier targets by boosting the damage. The extra damage roll from Electro Leap is a nice way to take out low-ARM solos or the last remnants of a dying unit.
Its final attack, Flame Blast, is a short-ranged, yet hard-hitting Fire-type attack. Flame Blast is AOE 4, causes the Fire continuous effect, and leaves a 4″ cloud effect at the point of impact. Because of the cloud effect it leaves, you’ll most often want to use the Flame Blast last as not to block line of sight to your other targets. This attack has a number of uses, be it applying heavy damage, denying line of sight, or destroying enemy infantry that are too closely clumped together.
When choosing to take the Fulcrum, look for warlocks that can benefit it. Curse of Shadows from Cassius or Mohsar is great for increasing its damage output. Either version of Baldur can increase its ARM value. Kaya can give it Stealth via Occultation to help it survive during the early-/mid-game.
Overall, I think that Domination was a fantastic book for Circle. Grayle has proven to be a great warlock after what started as a rather lackluster reception, and people are beginning to unlock Epic Baldur. The new light warbeasts are rather unassuming on paper, but I think that time will reveal them to be solid additions. Ghetorix brings incredible hitting power without the need for outside support, and the Fulcrum provides a strong artillery platform that was missing from Circle.
Have at it folks.