Warmachine Grow League
I have decided to participate in the Warmachine/Hordes grow league at Crossroad Games. The idea of a grow league is to start with a battlebox of a faction and then add units to it week to week until you get to 35 points. The rules that CG is using can be found here: Journeyman Grow League
I have chosen to play the Circle of Orboros for the league. This is a Hordes army filled with Werewolf type monsters that are cool and pretty good on the table. The flavor of the Circle is sort of like a crazy sect of druids and barbarians that are protecting there fragile world against the other forces that seek to invade them.
The Battlebox consists of Kaya the Wildborne, 2 Argus and a Feral Warpwolf. This force can be pretty good at assassination, but can have trouble with heavily armored forces. Let's talk about the individual models.
Argus: The Argus is a light warbeast and specializes in harrying the opponent. They are fast (MOV 7) and have a decent defense (DEF 15). Their Animus grants Pathfinding and Circular Vision. Lastly they have a ranged attack (6 inch spray) that causes Paralysis. Paralysis hampers movement and makes the victim DEF 7. This will be useful in slowing my opponent down and make assassination attempts. With 2 Argus in my force it should be hard to out maneuver my force. I will have to try and use this to my advantage.
Feral Warpwolf: The Warpwolf is my heavy warbeast. It can do everything pretty well. With FURY 4 it can hit hard and Controlled Warping allows me to choose the best buff for a given turn. Open Fists open up some interesting tactics with throws and locks. Regeneration gives a bit of survivability and Baying of Chaos can give me an edge in FURY. The Warpwolf is my only weapon against very heavy armor, so I will need to keep it alive for as long as possible. That is where Kaya comes in.
Kaya the Wildborne: Kaya is my warlock and dictates how my entire force is going to work. She is fast and hard to hit, but doesn't really pack a punch with only a POW 11 attack. Pack Hunter gives all of my warbeasts +2 MAT which is great. Her feat allows her to use 12 FURY in one round, which can be useful on assassination run. Her go to weapon is her spell, Spirit Door. Spirit Door allows me to overextend a model and then bring it back to a safe distance. The Warpwolf will be the model that I hope to use this with most. Charging the Warpwolf into melee and then Spirit Door-ing back to safety next to Kaya. With this tactic I should be able to make a few softening attacks with relative impunity. That is the theory anyway.
Be sure to check back next week as I present a Battle Report from the first round of the Crossroad Games Grow League.
Warmachine/Hordes Grow League
Week #1: Battlebox
I must admit that I was very excited to begin playing this league. I haven't had a lot of time to dedicate to Warmachine/Hordes of late and when I did get a chance to play, I played Warmachine. I haven't played that many games of Circle in Mark II. It felt like a new army even though I have played them many times in Mark I. It also gives me many new models to choose from when the time comes to build on the Battlebox.
Before we start with the Battle Report, I wanted to add a few thoughts to my initial rundown of my force. The Circle Battlebox if very different in Mark II than Mark I. A few comments that I made in my initial strategy blurb were understated or wrong. So here are some amendments.
1. The Argus is WAY better in Mark 2 than in Mark 1. They new Argus is better in every aspect over it's Mark I predecessor. These have gone from being slightly annoying war beasts to serious threats on the board. They still can't hold a candle to the Warpwolf, but they are pretty dangerous. Certainly not to be ignored.
2. Kaya's signature spell, Spirit Door, doesn't allow the targeted model to attack or move after being placed by the effect. This makes Spirit Door much more difficult to use as an assassination technique, but great for hit and runs.
These two differences within the Battlebox make it play quite different than it did in Mark I. I was very excited to get on the battlefield and give it a go.
For the first game of the first week of our grow league, I was paired my good friend, Chris Burton. Chris has chosen to play Legion of Everblight. The Legion are a mobile, hard-hitting swarm lead by Lylyth and their big hitter, the Carnivean. Chris is a very competent player, so I was stoked to get some going.
The scenario is Tooth and Claw, so the first player to loose all of their war beasts or caster would lose. The game would last 6 turns. I won the initiative roll and decided to go first. The terrain had 4 good sized forests and two hills on opposite sides of the board.
Circle turn 1: I activated each Argus and forced them to cast their Animus and move ahead 7 inches into the woods. The Warpwolf warped +2 SPD and advanced between to trees. Kaya went last and cast Occulation on the Warpwolf and moves up with the battlegroup.
Legion turn 1: Chris ran his warbeats up, positioning the 4 Shredders in a staggered line and the Carnivean on top of the hill within the woods. Lylyth moved up behind the battlegroup and managed some FURY.
Circle turn 2: I activated my right-side Argus, cast it's Animus for Pathfinding and advanced forward to Bark at one of the Shredders and maybe the Carnivean. I missed the Shredder and was out of range of the Carnivean. I decided to shift hard to the left side of the board in an attempt to blunt Chris' ability to draw first blood. The Warpwolf (+2 ARM) and the second Argus advance to the left flank. Kaya follows to the left and Spirit Doors the first Argus to relative safety. The Warpwolf is left a bit exposed to 1 Shredder, but he is safe from Lilleth with Stealth from Occulation.
Legion turn 2: So the problem with Stealth is that it doesn't work if your opponent doesn't have eyes. All of the Legion models in the Battlebox have Eyeless Sight and ignore Stealth. Lylyth advances up and plugs the Warpwolf with her bow, Hellsinger. This activates Witch Mark and Blood Lure on the poor Warpwolf. Lylyth then casts Parasite on the Warpwolf for ARM 15. She then plugs the Warpwolf a second time for good measure. The Carvivean acts next and advances out of the trees on top of the hill. It breathes a 10"(!!) breathe weapon catching the Wapwolf for more damage, but is short of the Argus that is right behind the Warpwolf. The one Shredder that is in range of the Warpwolf, forces to Rabid and charges for free due to Blood Lure. Chris boosts to hit and lands the charge. The Warpwolf is within one or two good hits from going down. The Shredder forces for it's second attack, but fails to connect. The three remaining Shredders move to form a wall of flesh to protect Lylyth.
Circle turn 3: I decide that I don't need to upkeep Occulation (hmm). The Warpwolf is hurt but still very dangerous, especially to a lowly Shredder. The Warpwolf was had it's Mind boxed, so it starts by forcing to Regenerate. I get 1 point which is all I need. Warp +2 ARM. Force the Warpwolf to attempt a two-handed throw with the based Shredder into another Shedder, hopefully killing both I need a 4 and miss by rolling snake eyes. Enough of the cute stuff, I make two more Claw Attacks and smash the Shredder to paste. The forward Argus activates next, charging the left Shredder and one shooting it with a POW 16 charge. The second Argus advances and Barks at the remaining leftmost Shredder and Lylyth. I connect with the Shredder, slowing it down, but missing Lylyth. Kaya activates next and advances to the top of the left hill. She then casts Spirit Door on the Warpwolf and then the final Argus, bringing them to the hilltop with her. Kaya feats and refills her FURY to then Spirit Door the last Argus to the safety of the hilltop.
Legion turn 3: Chris activates Lylyth, advancing up and plugging the front Argus with boosted hit and damage, fails to connect with second shot. The Carnivean Assualts the front Argus. The mighty war beast cannot hope make it into melee, but it can breathe magic fire from 10" away. Both Argus are in range, but Chris misses my 1 and then 2. (Thank you to the hill!) The Shredders advance to screen Lylyth.
Circle turn 4: The front Argus, heavily wounded by Lylyth volley, limps down the hillside and Barks at the Carnivean. The second Argus forces for Pathfinding and then Charges down the hill at a Shredder. Connecting with a boosted to hit rolls and turns the Shredder to paste. Next the Warpwolf Warps +2 Speed, Regenerates 2 boxes and charges the last Shredder, annihilating it easily with a boosted attack, Kaya goes last and slides down the hill into the safety of the nearby woods and Spirit Doors the fresh Argus and the Warpwolf to a safe distance. The last Argus is left out for an easy snack.
Legion turn 4: Chris starts with the Carnivean and decides that he can do more damage by positioning the Carnivean and breathing on the Warpwolf, catching the damaged Argus in the spray. The Carnivean misses the limping Argus, sparing it an agonizing death, but connects with the Warpwolf. A below average damage roll leaves the Warpwolf in decent shape. Lylyth plugs the Warpwolf 2 more times leaving it within 2 boxes of death and then Bushwhacks behind the Carnivean.
Circle turn 5: The nearly dead Agrus limps around the Carnivean and Barks at the monster, hitting it but missing Lylyth. The second Argus casts it's Animus on the Warpwolf and then charges the Carnivean connecting with a boosted to hit. The Warpwolf Renerates, Warps +2 STR and charges the Carnivean. The a 9 MAT (thanks to Kaya), even the mighty Carnivean falls before the Warpwolf. Kaya advances to behind her war beasts and heals the Warpwolf a few points in an attempt to keep it alive for a little longer.
Legion turn 5: Lylyth retreats into the woods and plugs the Warpwolf 2 more times finally taking it down. Chris has to relie on Lylyth's 16 DEF to keep her alive against the weakened Argus.
Circle turn 6: Kaya Activates and heals the damaged Argus so that it has all of it's Aspects. Then the cats a boosted Spirit Fang on Lylyth, connecting for a fair amount of damage. The second important effect of Spirit Fang is the -2 DEF, which should make it easier for the Argus to hit. The limping Argus advances toward the woods and Barks at Lylyth, but misses. It finishes by casting it's Animus on the remaining Argus to grant it Pathfinding. The last Argus activates and charges into the woods after Lylyth. A boosted to-hit roll gets the needed 7 and Lylyth goes down to the POW 16 charge. The Circle stands victorious.
Final thoughts: The game was a really back and forth experience. I was amazed at how well the force could attack full on and get away to safety. I would love to give the MVP to the pair of Argus, but i have to give it to the hill that I Spirit Doored my entire force to on my feat turn. The Carnivean's breathe weapon missing both Argus because of the defense bonus of the hill. The game would have been very different if both Argus had died then and there. A fun game with a great opponent. An auspicious beginning to the Grow League.
Looking ahead: For week two I have four points to purchase new models with. I have decided on two War Wolves and a Reeve Hunter. These models fit right into Kaya's Hit and Run theme with fast movement, Pathfinder and cruise missile like hitting power. They are also new models that I have never played with in either addition. Week 2 should be interesting.