Circle Orboros

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The Circle are a group of Druids whose power is linked to the Devourer Wurm—a primordial god of annihilation and primal aggression that threatens to return to the world and destroy everything. It is the role of the Circle to prevent this from happening, mostly by keeping civilization in check. The Circle is not a benevolent faction and will kill indiscriminately to further its ends, since ultimately they seek to prevent the end of the world. Circle's theme is nature magic. The Circle warlocks run the gamut from stone shapers, to weather wizards, bestial brutes, healers and beast handlers. They have access to fire, ice and lightning attacks and are most commonly thought of as a speedy hit and run faction.

For backstory, refer to Lore - Circle Orboros.

Circle Orboros for Beginners

Aesthetic & Playstyle

Circle Orboros is a faction of speed and aggression. This is typified by our signature heavy warbeast, the Feral Warpwolf. We have some of the highest threat ranges in the game, and most other factions require specific caster/support interactions to catch up. We can also put out a lot of damage with our warbeasts, and kill infantry more easily than almost any faction. That having been said, like all factions, we have some weaknesses as well. Our warbeasts (even our heavy constructs) tend to have either fewer hitpoints or lower armor than other factions' heavies, and often both. And while most factions have infantry options that excel at taking out warjacks, we're very lacking in that department, and tend to rely more heavily on our warbeasts to get work done than other factions. In addition, we rely fairly heavily on stacked buffs to achieve our high damage output. Most of our anti-warjack/beast packages involve a heavy warbeast, the Primal animus, and a warcaster buff in order to get the damage up enough to be a threat.

In addition to the above, we're also a control-heavy faction, sporting three outstanding control casters in Krueger2, Mohsar, and Wurmwood. In addition to those, most of our casters have at least one debuff spell, which reduces the stats of an enemy, or inhibits them in some way. Spells like Stranglehold and Rebuke can limit the opponent's activation by preventing them from performing certain actions, while other spells like Rift and Spirit Fang can keep them from getting where they want to go by putting down patches of rough terrain or directly reducing their speed. We have a lot of models with a knockdown ability of one type or another, and several other ways to block the opponent's game plan while we set up a better feat turn or board position.

Finally, we're a faction of unpredictability. We can use teleportation (mainly from Shifting Stones) to attack from an unexpected direction, use spells like Curse of Shadows to let us charge through a target, and use Geomancy on our Woldwardens and Megalith to throw out more spells than our warlock's fury value might otherwise indicate. Circle, perhaps more than any other faction, is known for convoluted assassination runs that involve moving models around, charging through other models, teleporting in, etc. for some 10-step long grand design that's incredibly difficult for even experienced players to see coming or protect against. While many of the changes in Mk. III have reduced our ability to back up that reputation, we still have plenty of spells and abilities that can provide very unexpected attack vectors.

Starter Sets

Starter Set

Mk3 Battlegroup Set

Contents: Tanith the Feral Song warlock, a Pureblood Warpwolf heavy warbeast, a Gorax Rager light warbeast, and a Wild Argus light warbeast. Plus a bunch of peripheral stuff (see picture).

Tanith is a solid debuff caster, with a deep toolbox. The Pureblood has a great assault spray, and brings the animus Wraithbane to the faction, which is useful against anything buffed with spells. The Gorax is a common sight in nearly every Circle list, since Primal is a key tool required to piece trade with other faction's heavies. The wild argus is a somewhat niche piece, but his animus is useful to many casters for assassination runs, and his combo strike can help him hit above his weight class.

Theme Force Starter - The Devourer's Host

Contents: A 6-man unit of Tharn Ravagers plus their command attachment, a 6-woman unit of Tharn Bloodweavers plus their command attachment, and the character unit Brighid & Caul

This one is designed to be an add-on to one of the other starter sets, rather than be one all by itself - you'll note it doesn't include a warlock or any warbeasts. It is roughly 35 points.

2017 Circle Army Box (limited availability)

Contents: Kromac2 warlock, his pet heavy warbeast Ghetorix, a Feral Warpwolf heavy warbeast, a Warpwolf Stalker heavy warbeast, two Rotterhorn Griffon light warbeasts, and two units of Shifting Stones.

You may not be able to find this any more, as it has gone out of production. This box unleashes the whole rulebook upon you - from units to power attacks and solos. Its 50 points limit is slightly behind the most popular 75 pts tournament formats, but prepares you well for such a challenge.

Other worthwhile early purchases

After that, that are a few things that can find their way into just about any list:

  • Shifting Stones - they are available in every theme, provide fury management, non-linear movement, and can be very tough to remove from zones. They are also super cheap to purchase, so it's not a bad idea to grab 2 units. Don't bother with the command attachment until you are sure you want him.
  • Blackclad Wayfarer - threat ranges are extremely important in warmachine, and the Wayfarer brings one of the best buffs in Hunter's Mark. This spell can be invaluable to getting the Alpha strike. His spray is good too, and he has possibly the best combat stats of the blackclads (though he still isn't great). He can be taken in 3 of Circle's 4 themes, and is common in those themes. Definitely grab one of these guys, possibly two.
  • Druid Wilder - While not every warlock wants to take her, she is useful to the ones that really want her. Fury management and a free upkeep is always useful, especially with low fury warlocks. Note, she doesn't do anything for constructs, so if you are diving into the Wold side of the faction, skip her for now.
  • A Warpwolf Kit - this kit includes the parts to make any of the three warpwolves, a Feral Warpwolf, a Pureblood Warpwolf, and a Warpwolf Stalker. These models are often the face of the faction, and many players are drawn to Circle purely out of love for the giant wolves swinging swords about. If you have the necessary skill, magnetize this kit, so you can swap between them. Each wolf plays very differently, and learning which one you like most can take some time.

After this point, it comes down to which portion of the faction you enjoy. You like the big stone guys? Check out the Bones of Orboros theme and grab a few Woldwardens and Woldwyrds. You enjoy playing living beasts or mix living and stone guys with some militaristic warriors? Then get into the Wild Hunt and grab what beasts you like and unit of Wolves of Orboros. Or do you want to play half-beastial humans? Then your choice is the Devourer's Host. Both the Wild Hunt and the Devourer's Host has lots of options to go into when building. Beginners are suggested to avoid Secret Masters at first, it has a higher learning curve, and requires an investment in minions.

Starting a Theme Force

Theme Forces restrict which models from your Faction you have access to, but give you benefits in return. They are considered the default way to play Warmachine and Hordes, and the benefits of playing in-theme are so great that most players never play out-of-theme.

Don't overthink it, though. When you first start playing you should ignore theme forces, and instead buy a few models you like the look of. Besides, you can't even use the Theme Force rules for games under 25 points.

That said, you should start looking into themes sooner rather than later, to ensure the models you are buying will all end up fitting into one cohesive theme. If you don't, you'll end up with a hodge podge of models.

Theme Forces

Secret Masters

All the druid types, both kinds of beasts, and a buttload of Minions.

The models allowed in Secret Masters are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2019.08   (Edit)

Warlocks

Warbeasts

  • All non-character warbeasts
  • Brennos
  • Other character warbeasts can be taken, but only if they have a bond and they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.

Battle engines

Structures

Units

Solos

Minions

  • Any number of solos
  • Any number of units

The Bones of Orboros

Druid solos and construct warbeasts.

The models allowed in The Bones of Orboros are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2019.07   (Edit)

Warlocks

  • All Circle warlocks

Warbeasts

Battle Engines

Structures

Units

Solos

Minions

  • Up to one solo
  • Up to one unit

Technically Una1 is allowed in this theme, but as of the time of writing (2019.06) her Limited Battlegroup rule is incompatible with the theme's requirement for Construct warbeasts.

The Devourer's Host

Tharn, the half-bestial humans of the forest.

The models allowed in The Devourer's Host are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2019.07   (Edit)

Warlocks

  • All Circle warlocks
  • Well, except for Bradigus (★)

Warbeasts (Limited)

Units

Solos

  (Warlock Attachment)

Structures

Minions

  • Up to one solo
  • Up to one unit

(★) Notes:

  • Technically Bradigus1 is allowed in this theme, but as of the time of writing (2019.06) his Stonebinder rule is incompatible with the theme's requirement for Living warbeasts.
  • The Primal Archon is explicitly allowed, so doesn't use up your "Up to one Minion solo" slot.

The Wild Hunt

Wolf Sworn, the more militaristic warriors of Circle, alongside large groups of any of the Circle warbeasts.

The models allowed in The Wild Hunt are:   [Show/Hide]

This list was last updated: 2019.07   (Edit)

Warlocks

  • All Circle warlocks

Warbeasts

  • All non-character warbeasts
  • Brennos the Elderhorn
  • Other character warbeasts can be taken, but only if they have a bond and they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.

Structures

Units

Solos

Minions

  • Up to one solo
  • Up to one unit

Circle Models

Unreleased Models

Last Updated: 2019.10

  • None at the moment

Warlocks

Baldur1 Baldur the Stonecleaver
Baldur2 Baldur the Stonesoul
Grayle1 Grayle the Farstrider
Iona1 Iona the Unseen
Kaya1 Kaya the Wildborne
Kaya2 Kaya the Moonhunter & Laris
Kaya3 Kaya the Wildheart
Kromac1 Kromac the Ravenous
Kromac2 Kromac, Champion of the Wurm
Krueger1 Krueger the Stormwrath
Krueger2 Krueger the Stormlord
Mohsar1 Mohsar the Desertwalker
Morvahna1 Morvahna the Autumnblade
Morvahna2 Morvahna the Dawnshadow
Old Witch -1 The Old Witch of the Wood (Not tournament legal)
Tanith1 Tanith the Feral Song
Thorle1 Bradigus Thorle the Runecarver
Una1 Refer to Circle solos, below
Una2 Una the Skyhunter
Wurmwood1 Wurmwood, Tree of Fate & Cassius the Oathkeeper

Warbeasts

Living

Construct

Character

Battle Engines & Structures

Units

Solos

Minions that work for the Circle

Refer to Who works for Whom and/or Category: Circle Orboros Minion

But basically, as of 2018.08, Circle have access to all Minions except:

Other

Designer's Notes 2016

Just before the launch of the mk3 ruleset, the game developers did a series of Insider articles about what they saw as each Faction's "Core Identity". Although it's a little dated now, it is still an interesting insight to how they view Circle 2016.05 Circle Preview.

Official Short Stories

See Lore - Source Material#Short Stories