Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Moonlighting with Minions: Circle Orboros

I know it's been a bit, and I apologize (hey, everyone's got to start long absences with a detailed apology and explanation of why they were out before they get to the juicy content, right? RIGHT?!).  Real life had other things to say, and I kinda moved.  I'm actually using coffee house wi-fi to post this, as my dear cable company doesn't feel like having a paying customer for another two weeks.

Anyway, none of you are here for that.  You're here for the part where I finally finish up my 'moonlighting with minions' series, and that's with Circle Orboros.  Because I somehow lost steam a few months back.  Whoops.

Units of Note - Shifting Stones
These guys do two things for you as a minion-heavy player: they provide some fury management via Serenity, and can teleport beasts.  Healing Field is a neat potential extra as it’s healing that’s not happening during the warlock’s activation, and it can fix constructs if you’re running them and not named Baldur.  The Stone Keeper UA is worth a look for another point, as it gives the stones Stealth, which is nice.

Solo of Note – Druid Wilder
This is your fury-management solo.  She brings you three spiffy tools: Herding, Conditioning, and Spirit Tap.  She’s kind of like a mini warlock; herding lets her force beasts in her CMD 7 range, Conditioning lets her pull the fury off them, and Spirit Tap lets her use their animus.  Note that the latter two require her action.  Fittingly, she’s the faction Warlock Attachment.  It’s probably not a bad idea to have her.

Solo of Note – Gallows Grove
It’s a teleporting arc node.  Some casters could really dig this, and they’re reasonably cheap at 1pt per head.  Consider a couple blisters IF you’re going to play casters that would like them.

Minion unit of note - Cylena and the Nyss Hunters
You know those pathfinding weaponmasters with bows that were obscenely hard to assemble?  They'll work for Circle.  If you're a merc/Warmachine player with them, then you already have an infantry core to use for Minions.  Given their point cost, you'll probably want to hit larger games and make them your only unit, but they're bloody good at what they do.

The Warlocks
Baldur the Stonecleaver
                This is the construct-lover of the faction, as he can heal them.  He’s got all of four spells to go with that FURY6, and only one is faction-specific: Stone Skin is good for +2STR/ARM, at the cost of  -1DEF/SPD.  This isn’t a bad buff, but you’re using it mostly on beasts that you aren’t charging with, or you’re using it on Baldur (ARM18 makes him harder to papercut to death; denying the enemy that strategy isn’t a bad move) in lieu of Solid Ground and immunity to blasts/knockdown.
                His feat grants his army cover, and ISN’T faction-specific.  Cover for a turn, along with immunity to blast damage, allows him to deliver light infantry to the fight.  The only other note is you might want to consider Pathfinder on your infantry, as Rapid Growth lets him place a forest.  Alternatively, you can move your infantry up and then plop a forest on them for instant concealment.  Gatormen love this because they can get up to DEF15 versus ranged between the Dirge of Mists and concealment; the bog-standard pigs can get cover, and Slaughterhousers can enjoy blocked LOS or additional DEF as well as immunity to knockdown.
                All things considered, Baldur1 is pretty minion-friendly.

Baldur the Stonesoul
                This guy’s somewhat minion-friendly, but only in the way his feat is written – his feat gives Roots of the Earth to all friendly models in his control area, whereas the spell requires you to be a Faction model to get the +3ARM and immunity to knockdown/placing.  Written as-is, this guy probably wouldn’t mind Gatormen; wander up and make those Gatormen ARM19 (21 in melee) and use them as a buffer to deliver his otherwise-slow beasties.  For extra BS factor, add in Witch Doctors to make Gators tough and turn the mostly-dead ones into Sacrifical Strike fodder.
                I like the Stonesoul on paper, but he really wants to run a ton of constructs between his ability to buff armor (feat and Roots of the Earth), deny charges (rock wall is great with slower guys) and Elemental Mastery (allows thos constructs to charge/power-attack for free).

Cassius the Oathkeeper
                This guy’s spells have zero interaction with infantry of any sort; he’s got two damage spells (Stranglehold for control joy and Hellmouth for infantry removal), an ARM debuff in Curse of Shadows, and Unseen Path to move that big tree.  The feat is great for scenario, but you may wish to consider pathfinder-capable models if you want to move after popping feat.  Also, bring Gallows Groves, because this is a model that LOVES it some spells and souls.
                He’s honestly kinda ambivalent about his infantry company.  Just don’t bring any removed-from-play stuff and he’s fine.

Kaya the Wildborne
                Occultation can go on anything, but if she’s running beast-heavy then she’s running it on herself if there are guns around.  Honestly, she’s kitted out to run beasts between Soothing Song, Spirit Door, and her feat; at best you might rock a unit of infantry with her.
                It’s worth noting that since the two-player battle box for Hordes is announced, you can get her with a Winter Argus, Argus, and Feral Warpwolf, but you ALSO get a unit of Skinwalkers in there.  I would say this battlegroup is preferable to double-argus, and owning Skinwalkers is…um, owning skinwalkers and nice for those times where you might actually want a faction unit.

Kaya the Moon Hunter (and Bark Node)
                She’s 100% beast focused.  Any points spent on infantry are points she’s not spending on beasts that she makes sick.  Honestly, you can probably skip her; she’s just ambivalent about infantry and wants to get the charge off with beasts.

Kromac the Ravenous
                Skip this guy for our particular exercise.  His armor buff (Inviolable Resolve) and battlegroup movement buff (Warpath) are both faction-specific.  You’re losing out on some seriously useful tech if you go minions for infantry here. 
                Admittedly, you can always drop Resolve on a beast or Kromac, but +2ARM over a unit is a bigger benefit.  You also make triggering Warpath more difficult, and honestly, you may lose out on fun stuff like grabbing new threat vectors and the like.

Krueger the Stormwrath
                You lose out on Deflection, which is a fun buff for faction warrior models with +2ARM vs incoming spells/shots.  However, lightning tendrils still work on minions, and the rest of his spell list/feat is offense-oriented.  Krueger’s got plenty of oomph for killing infantry with his own spells/attacks and Lightning Tendrils on infantry, so bring heavy-hitting beasts and you’ll be looking at something workable.

Krueger the Stormlord
                This guy’s infantry will enjoy Storm Wall’s ability to shut down ranged attacks (within reason; they have to start in his control area and suffer -5RNG).  Beyond that, he doesn’t really offer a lot of support to infantry, but he’s likely to be using Telekinesis and animi instead.
                He’s passable with minion infantry, and certainly doesn’t lose anything with them.

Mohsar the Desertwalker
                The major loss with Mohsar is Mirage; this could be fun on a unit but may be better-served in allowing a beast two more inches of threat range.  You do lose out on Sands of Fate, but that should be more of a ‘get out of jail for a Faction Trooper’ card than a regular thing you use; DEF14/ARM14 has no business being close to the front. 
                He’s largely workable with minions, but doesn’t have anything that outright screams USE ME! USE MEEEE! With minions over, say, faction troopers.

Morvahna the Autumnblade
                Skip.  You lose out on Regrowth, Restoration, and her feat.  This is to say you’re losing out on the ability to regenerate grunts, an ARM buff that can heal Morvanna, and a feat that gives you wide access to Removed From Play and terrain generation.
                Morvahna loses a chunk with minion units.

Grayle the Farstrider
                Grayle’s main loss with bringing Minion infantry is the feat, which is army-wide stealth and potentially army-wide movement buffs (it’s basically Warpath for Faction models versus the battlegroup).  He can dispel clouds and screw over shooting with Wind Blast.  Storm Rager isn’t that huge of a loss, as it impacts one model only; this lends it towards buffing Grayle (+2STR/MAT/ARM is nice on someone with Sprint and two initials) and/or someone like The Lord of the Feast (…because his 360 thresher needed to be MAT10, PS15…).
                Honestly, this guy’s not terrible with minions, but you are losing out on the feat, which is sad because it’s a nice setup.  At the least, bring infantry that can deal with being the only shooting targets on the field (either via durability like the Posse, or the Brigands’ ability to Dig In could save them here).

                Honestly, Circle has a fair amount of ambivalence/non-synergy with mercs.  I would suggest Baldur1 is among the best for working with minions, between Rock Wall, Solid Ground (things like Nyss Hunters LOVE immunity to blast damage) and the feat.  Baldur2 is subject to making sure his feat works on minions.
                Cassius and Krueger2 are mostly ambivalent about minions; they just don’t interact with them and they’d love to maybe have some Gallows Groves around for more angles to do fun things like sling spells.
                Grayle is kind of on the fence; losing out on the feat is a potentially hefty blow, but otherwise his playstyle doesn’t look like it would change much.  Mohsar doesn’t lose a terrible amount, but he DOES lose out on the ability to bounce away from danger in exchange for a friendly faction model.
                The rest of the cast either loses out on active buffs (Kromac being the worst offender) or would rather have more beasts (Kaya1&2).
                I would probably start with Cassius and/or Krueger.  Cassius is ambivalent, and Krueger2 can lean on the minions to screen him/clean out enemy infantry while his beasties do the work.