The blackclads are few in number, but their work is constant and endless. Only a small handful of these druids can be devoted to any single task at a given time. But the masters of the wilderness are cunning. They have woven a web of many debts among the inhabitants of the wilderness, whom they can call upon to fight on their behalf.
- An army made use the Secret Masters theme force can include only the following Circle models:
- This army can include 'any number of Minion solos and Minion units that will work for Circle.
- These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Circle] rule.
- Minion units can have attachments, including a Ranking Officer
- For every 20 points of Blackclads and Minion units you can add free of cost either:
- one Circle solo, or
- one Blackclad command attachment.
- Free models don't count towards free points.
- Blackclads gain Sacrificial Pawn [Minion Warrior Model]
- Sacrificial Pawn [Minion Warrior Model] - When this model is directly hit by an enemy ranged attack, you can have one friendly, non-incorporeal Minion Warrior Model model within 3" of it hit instead. That model is automatically hit and suffers all damage and effects.
- Friendly models/units can begin the game affected by the upkeep spells of models in this army.
- These spells and their targets must be declared before either player deploys their models.
- Models in this army do not have to pay to upkeep their spells during your first turn of the game.
| 2018.10 Tharn Dynamic Update
- The Well of Orboros was released, and this theme's rules were immediately rewritten to allow it.
- Now allowed unlimited minions, and they count towards free points. Pretty cool!
Thoughts on this Theme Force
Secret Masters in a Nutshell
This model/theme's rules have recently changed dramtically, and the "Thoughts On" section has not (yet) been updated to reflect its new capabilities.
Please feel free to update the article and remove this warning.
This is a minion infantry theme with Blackclad support and Blackclad guns to roast infantry. The recent update allows for e.g. multiple Farrow or Gatorman units, allowing Farrow Valkyries, Farrow Brigands, Farrow Slaughterhousers, and Croak Raiders as mainline infantry - but the Farrow are in desperate need of a CID. Still, as "bridge themes" go it's an effective one.
This theme has three selling points:
- A cloud wall to hide your beasts behind. Other factions do it better, but it's still fun to have one of your own.
- It lets you mix living and construct warbeasts and take a Blackclad Stoneshaper to support the constructs.
- Some warlocks struggle to cast all their upkeeps on turn 1 and this gets round that. Most notably Morvahna the Autumnblade. (Kromac the Ravenous also has this problem but isn't allowed in the theme)
See also this Insider article for the Developer's opinion on it.
In terms of what models are available, there's a lot of overlap with The Bones of Orboros and Call of the Wild, so any of the three themes are a good option to start a new Circle collection.
Theme Weaknesses & Mitigating them
- Your Blackclad infantry does no armour cracking; the strongest attack your warriors can make is POW 12. Bring heavy beasts
- A Celestial Fulcrum plus construct beasts is normally better handled by The Bones of Orboros. With double Sentry Stone & Mannikins Bones is also normally considered to have the better skirmish screen.
List Building Tips
If going for sacrificial pawns the Gatorman Bokor & Bog Trog Swamp Shamblers can be really effective. Especially if you are double-dipping the bodies with Morvahna the Autumnblade and Regrowth.
Building a 25 point army
Secret Masters is best used for transitioning into or out of Minions; the following list is intended to overlap strongly with a Will Work for Food list with all the units being shared with that list and all the other models being Circle staples including the Battle Box caster.
Casters of Note
Rules Clarification: : Sacrificial Pawn and/or Sucker! and/or Grim Salvation (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)
- Sacrificial Pawn is optional.
Grim Salvation and Sucker are not optional.
- Grim Salvation only works vs basic attacks, not special attacks, power attacks, chain attacks.
- Spells are not basic attacks, because they are not "made with a weapon". (Infernal Ruling)
- CRA and CMA are basic attacks. (Infernal Ruling)
- If a Special Attack generates an additional attack (such as Multi-Fire), the second attack will be basic and as such can have Grim Salvation used vs it. (Infernal Ruling)
- Sacrificial Pawn & Sucker! don't work against melee attacks.
- None of them work vs magic attacks (spells).
All of them work against Magical Ranged attacks, though.
- The model the attack is transferred to is always hit, even if they have an ability that makes them automatically get missed (such as Stealth).
Automatically missing is determined earlier in the timing sequence than when the attack is moved. (Infernal Ruling)
From here down, the terms Sacrificial Pawn, Grim Salvation, and Sucker! are interchangeable
- Using Sac Pawn moves all damage and effects onto the other model.
- The new model hit may use any abilities that trigger on being hit/damaged by an enemy attack (such as Vengeance and Shock Field).
- Sprays and AOEs
- A model hit by a spray attack can use Sacrificial Pawn to pass it to another model. The placement of the template does not change.
- Note that this may cause the Pawn to be hit twice by the same spray. So you then resolve two damage rolls against it.
- A model directly hit by a AOE may use Sacificial Pawn to pass it to another model. The AOE template is moved (because Sac Pawn is resolved at Step 6 of the Attack Sequence in Apdx A, but AOE placement occurs at Step 7).
- Depending on how far apart the original target and Pawn are, the first guy might get clipped by the AOE anyway.
- A model indirectly hit by an AOE cannot use Sac Pawn.
- Sacrificial Pawn multiple times
- If a model with the Sacrificial Pawn ability passes it to another model that also has Sacrificial Pawn ability, that second model may pass it along to a third model.
- Models can only use Sac Pawn once each, you cannot set up an infinite loop!
- Quick Draw vs Sacrificial Pawn
- If enemy "Model A" shoots you, and then you use Quick Draw against "Model A", but they use Sac Pawn to move your Quick Draw attack to "Model B" then ... Quick Draw has no effect (or rather, it affects "Model B" who isn't currently shooting you so is irrelevant). Point is, "Model A" can continue shooting you.
- This won't happen with Shield Guard though (outside of a very low-probability scenario) because Shield Guard can only be triggered during an enemy turn.
Rules Clarification: Theme Forces (Edit)
Warjacks/Warbeasts with bonds [Show/Hide]
- A warjack/warbeast with a bond can always be included in a theme force, whether or not they're in the list of allowed models, but only if they're controlled by that bonded model.
- This applies even if that bonded model isn't a full warcaster/warlock (changed as of 2018.06).
Including Mercenaries [Show/Hide]
Number of Mercenaries
- For your solo, if you select a solo that comes in multiples (such as Swamp Gobber River Raiders) you get the normal number of solos. Not just a single model. (Locked thread)
- As per the errata to the core rules, if your "up to one Merc" ...
- ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
- ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
- There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to not only take one Merc solo/unit, but the entire FA of that Merc solo/unit. It's a bug.
Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)
- If the theme force has the Partisan model on the list of allowed models, then it doesn't use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and so you can take the full FA plus another mercenary. Example: Cephalyx in Black Industries or Kayazy in Jaws of the Wolf. (Infernal Ruling)
- If the Partisan isn't on the list, it does use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and you can only take one. There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to take multiple.
- Whether you used option 1 or 2 above, once they're in your theme force they count as a Faction model and so...
- they can count towards free points (if applicable). For instance, Nyss will count towards the "20 points of Retribution units" in the Defenders of Ios theme. (Infernal Ruling)
- they can be taken free of cost (if applicable). For instance, Eiryss1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)
Mercenaries and Quasi-Partisans
- Some themes include a benefit that says "If this model is included, it counts as a Faction model instead of a Mercenary model". For example Greygore in Kriel Company.
In this case, the mercenary model has effectively gained Partisan and is subject to the FA limits described above. To reiterate:
- If that Merc is in the list of allowed models allowed (such as Savio in Storm Division), they won't count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
- If that Merc isn't in the list, (such as the Devil's Shadows in Slaughter Fleet Raiders), they will count against your "up to one Merc" allowance.
Mercenaries and Ranking Officers
- If you can include a Merc unit, and its attachments, then you can attach a Ranking Officer. This is true regardless whether or not that Ranking Officer is on the list of "Allowed models" . (Infernal Ruling)
- Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
- The Merc unit will count towards your "X points of [Faction] models/units" benefit (if your theme is worded that way). (Infernal Ruling)
Benefits for a single model/unit
(eg "One unit of [blah] gains [yaddah]") [Show/Hide]
- If you need to choose which models get your theme bonus, then you do this choice after deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
- An example is how Winter Guard Kommand gives Advance Move to one-warjack-of-your-choice-per-WG-unit.
- In comparison, Destruction Initiative gives all Servitors the Shield Guard ability so you don't need to "make" a choice.
- You should still write on your army list how many of these bonuses you get to hand out, though, so your opponent can clearly see. (Infernal Ruling)
- ie at the bottom of your list, you'd write "3 warjacks gain Advance Move" but you don't need to state which three are going to get the bonus.
Free models and Specialists (ADR) [Show/Hide]
- You can swap out as many models from your main list into your specialists and vice versa as you like, but you must completely recalculate the new army list when you do, including bonuses. As long as the new army list is valid, including all free models, it doesn't matter what the left over points in your specialists are. (Staff Ruling)
- If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.
Unit Attachments & free points [Show/Hide]
- If a unit counts towards your free points, then all attachments count too; regardless of whether the attachment is the same model type. For instance:
- If the unit gets a benefit from a theme force, the Attachment will too. (Infernal Ruling)
For example, a Trollkin Sorcerer will gain Serenity if its attached to a Dhunian Knot unit in a Power of Dhunia theme force.
When to apply theme benefits [Show/Hide]
- Theme force benefits are applied when you construct your list and models keep the benefit for the whole game. You don't gain/lose theme benefits due to in-game changes.
Also, if you put a new model into play midgame, they immediately gain any relevant benefits too. (Infernal Ruling)
- For example, Scourge of the Broken Coast gives Dodge to "models in the army." If your opponent takes control of one of them, it keeps Dodge even though it's currently not "in the army".
- For example, Storm Division gives lightning immunity to "Cygnar models in the army." If you include a Mercenary unit with a Ranking Officer, they will get the theme benefit and also keep it even after the Ranking Officer dies.
Number of free models [Show/Hide]
- If a model is normally added to your army in multiples (such as 3 Scrap Thralls for two points, 2 Crabbits for seven points, etc) and you choose to use your free card on such a model, you only get one model. (Infernal Ruling)
- There are some exceptions, such as Storm Division's benefit explicitly saying you'll get 3 stormcallers.
- There is one odd exception, for Children of the Dragon, where it was ruled that you'll get 5 incubi. However that ruling is an exception, not a general case.
Cryx - Ghost Fleet [Show/Hide]
- The "free solo" can be any kind of solo, it doesn't have to be a Revenant solo.
Cryx - Scourge of the Broken Coast [Show/Hide]
Protectorate - The Faithful Masses [Show/Hide]
- A Mercenary unit with an Attendant Priest does count as Protectorate unit for the purpose of calculating points for free cards. There is a bug in Warroom that prevents it counting properly. (Staff Ruling)
Protectorate - The Creator's Might [Show/Hide]
Mercenary - Llaelese Resistance [Show/Hide]
- It is 2 Cruicible or 2 Cygnar or 2 Menoth.
You can't take more than 2, and you can't mix and match from multiple Factions. (Infernal Ruling)
Circle - The Bones of Orboros [Show/Hide]
- Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)
Circle - Call of the Wild [Show/Hide]
- When it comes to other things that alter COST (such as Lamentation), follow basic maths: Double/halve first, then add/subtract.
- Due to the way Tanith's feat is worded, during her feat turn the COST of animi cannot drop below 1. (Infernal Ruling)
Circle - The Devourer's Host [Show/Hide]
- Free Tharn models do count towards the free corpse tokens. (Infernal Ruling)
- Bradigus1 is not legal in this theme. The theme only allows living warbeasts, his rules only allow construct warbeasts, and you can't just 'skip' his battlegroup - you have to spend your warbeast points.
Legion - Children of the Dragon [Show/Hide]
- If you select Incubi as your "one" solo, you get five of them. (Infernal Ruling)
Skorne - The Exalted [Show/Hide]
- If a Construct model loses the Construct advantage mid-game, it keeps the theme benefit anyway. (Infernal Ruling)
Trollblood - Kriel Company [Show/Hide]
- Despite being treated as a Trollblood unit during a game, Dannon, Blythe, and Greygore still use up your Minion slot during list creation. They are more like a Partisan Minion unit, in that respect. (Infernal Ruling)
Crucible Guard - Magnum Opus [Show/Hide]
- If Mosby is attached to a Mercenary weapon crew unit, they would gain 3" reposition and would not lose it if Mosby is no longer in the unit. (Infernal Ruling)
Models in this Theme Force
Refer to Category:Secret Masters