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 also include any number of Minion solos, Minion units, and Minion battle-engines that will work for Circle.
- These models/units can be included even if they have the Partisan [Circle] rule.
- Minion units can have non-Ranking Officer attachments
Full model list
The models allowed in Secret Masters
This list was last updated: 2020.02 (Edit)
- Most Circle warlocks
The warlocks that aren't
allowed are: [Show/Hide]
- All non-character warbeasts
- Other character warbeasts can be taken, but only if they have a bond and they're in their bonded model's battlegroup.
- Any number of solos
- Any number of units
- Any number of Battle-engines
You can spend each Requisition Point on either:
- One Circle command attachment
- Two Blackclad Stoneshaper solos
- Three Gallows Grove solos
- One other small- or medium-based solo without the Lesser Warlock special rule.
- Note:This can be a Minion solo or a Circle solo.
- 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.
2019.07 Theme Remix
- Game-wide Remix changes
- Brennos added to the list of allowed models.
- Freebies expanded (used to just be a Circle solo, or a Blackclad CA)
- Lost the free upkeep benefit
2019.12 Dynamic Update
- Minion Battle Engines added to the list of allowed models.
Thoughts on Secret Masters
Secret Masters in a Nutshell
This is a minion infantry theme with Blackclad support and Blackclad guns to roast infantry. Your mainline infantry will be multiple Farrow or Gatorman units (Farrow Valkyries, Farrow Brigands, Farrow Slaughterhousers, and Croak Raiders)
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.
- Your Blackclad infantry does no armour cracking; the strongest attack your warriors can make is POW 12. Bring heavy beasts
- Certain builds are better off as a Bones of Orboros force, namely if you're thinking of a Celestial Fulcrum plus construct beasts. Bones also has better in-faction skirmish units.
- Farrow models need an update. As of the time of writing (2019.06) they haven't been touched since the start of Mk3.
List Building Tips
The most expensive requisition points are the two Blackclad Stoneshaper solos, the three Gallows Grove solos and the minions Alten Ashley, Hutchuck, Ogrun Bounty Hunter, and the Totem Hunter
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.
Starting a 25 point force
Secret Masters is great for Circle players who want to start a Minion army, or vice versa. This 25 point list is designed to consist of Circle stapes, plus minions that overlap strongly with a Will Work for Food list.
Casters of Note
Released in the themeopolcalypse (2017.09)
Other Circle models/thmes
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
- With reference to the timing chart in Appendix A: placing a spray template down occurs at Step 3. Using Sacrificial Pawn occurs at step 6. Placing an AOE template down occurs at step 7.
Therefore if you use Sac Pawn vs a spray, the placement of the spray template does not change. If you use Sac Pawn vs an AOE, the placement of the AOE template does change.
- A model indirectly hit by an AOE attack cannot use Sac Pawn vs it.
- Since a spray template doesn't move, it may cause the Pawn to be hit twice by the same spray. So you then resolve two damage rolls against it.
- When/if you shift an AOE template, the original target may be clipped by the edge of the AOE anyway (depending on how far apart the original target and Pawn are).
- 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 (Edit)
- 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)
Themes that change a model's Faction [Show/Hide]
- Many themes swap which Faction a model counts as. They're slightly inconsistent with how exactly this is worded. Despite this inconsistency - whenever a model is considered a different faction to normal, it will not be its original faction. (Infernal Ruling)
- For instance Lukas stops being a Crucible Guard model when taken in an Infernal army, and as a consequence he cannot take Toros or Vanguards in Infernals. (Infernal Ruling)
Rerolling the starting roll [Show/Hide]
- You cannot use the theme benefit to reroll if it is a draw. Instead both players reroll until there is a loser, and then the loser can use their reroll benefit (if they have it). (Infernal Ruling)
- If both players have a reroll, first the original loser uses their reroll.
- If the original loser still loses, fine.
- If the original loser now wins, the other player can use their reroll.
- If it is now a draw, both players reroll until there is a loser. Then the player that hasn't used their theme benefit reroll can still use it, if they want.
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
- 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.
Mercenaries and Ranking Officers
- Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
- See also the section on Partisans
Including Partisan Mercenaries [Show/Hide]
Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)
- Since Partisans are Mercenary/Minion models, there are two ways you can add them to a theme force:
- If they are on the list of allowed models, then you can take as many as you want, plus another Mercenary unit/solo.(Infernal Ruling)
- They can be explicitly allowed (for example: Cephalyx in Black Industries or Kayazy in Jaws of the Wolf).
- They can be implicitly allowed (for example Scourge of the Broken Coast allows "living Cryx models" and Partisan Cephalyx fit that criteria). (Infernal Ruling)
- If the Partisan isn't on the list of allowed models, it does use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and you can only take one.
- 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 be taken as a Requistion Option (if they fit the Requistion description).
- For example Eiryss1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)
- They will get any theme benefit that they fit the description for.
- For example Storm Division gives all Cygnar models Immunity Electricity, so Partisan Mercs in that theme get immunity too.
- For example Nemo4's Mechaniks get Reposition  in Heavy Metal. (Infernal Ruling)
Requisition Points [Show/Hide]
- You can choose the same Requisition option as many times as you like, as long as it doesn't put you over a FA limit.
- You can't mix and match models from different options. Say one option allows 3 Machine Wraiths and another allows 3 Necrotechs. You can't use your Requisition Point to get 2 Wraiths and 1 Necrotech.
- If you have an option that allows one other solo, you can't use it to get something already on the list. For instance, Ghost Fleet allows 3 Misery Cages (which are FA 4) for one Requistion Point, and it allows 1 other solo. That "other solo" can't be a 4th Cage.
- If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
Free models and Specialists (ADR) [Show/Hide]
- 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 [Show/Hide]
- If a unit is allowed in a theme, any-and-all of its attachments are allowed too. Exception: Ranking Officers are not allowed unless explicitily mentioned.
- If the theme force gives a benefit to a specific unit, any-and-all attachments to that unit will benefit too. Even if it is a "generic" attachment like the Void Leech. (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.
- If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
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.
See also these Theme-Specific Rulings [Show/Hide]
Rules Clarification : Black Industries (Edit)
- The entry which allows "Cephalyx models/units" only applies to Partisan Cephalyx. That's because the theme's rules start off with "this army can only include the following Cryx models". Partisan Cephalyx are the only ones that fill that condition.
- The Cephalyx Agitator also works for Cryx and can go in Black Industries but, because it is not a Partisan, it will use up your Mercenary solo slot.
- (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : Flame in the Darkness (Edit)
- You can take any number of Mercenary jacks. You can also select two additional jacks from Khador and Cygnar in any combination you like. Character warjacks with a bond don't count against this limit of 2. (Infernal Ruling)
- There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to take two Cygnar and two Khador jacks.
- Morrowan Battle Priest:
- If your warcaster is a Cygnar model that makes every unit you take a Cygnar unit, and Battle Priests can be attached to any unit.
Warroom has a known bug where it doesn't allow this interaction.
- If your warcaster is a Mercenary or Khador model, though, the only units the Battle Priest can attach to are the Morrow ones.
- If you attach the Battle Priest to The Devil's Shadows Mutineers then it can be returned via Blood Bound. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : The Bones of Orboros (Edit)
- 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)
Rules Clarification : The Devourer's Host (Edit)
- 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.
- If you create a new model mid-game (ie with the Well of Orboros and that model can have corpse tokens, that model does not enter play with a corpse. Because it's not the beginning of the game. (Locked thread)
Rules Clarification : The Exalted (Edit)
- If a Construct model loses the Construct advantage mid-game, it keeps the theme benefit anyway. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : Band of Heroes (Edit)
- Boomhowler uses up your Minion slot. His Fell Calls ability is not enough to make him a "Fell Caller model/unit". (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : Magnum Opus (Edit)
- 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)