Evaluating Hordes Battleboxes

Well, if you are keen on starting up one of the best miniature games out there, there’s no better time than during a Journeyman league.  I took a few moments before to talk a little bit about the Warmachine Battlegroups and what is good about them and what isn’t.  Today, I thought I’d take a few moments to do the same for the Hordes options.  As a reminder, Warmachine and Hordes are completely compatible game systems balanced against each other.  For anyone who was sad that last time I didn’t get a chance to evaluate the Mercanary options, I’m going to talk about those in a post next week (stay tuned!).

In the Circle Orboros you have two very distinct kinds of beasts, and the battlebox offers a sample of the living ones (affectionately known as “furries”).  Let me just start by saying that this box contains a duplicate of a beast you may never use again, in the Argus.  The Arguses (plural, Argi?) have a short range, okay attack, but are dramatically outclassed by Circle’s favourite light beast, the Gorax.  If you want to play pKaya in our journeyman league an 11 point list that might be more fun could replace one of the Argus with a Winter Argus.  The Feral Warpwolf will be an excellent piece for your collection that you will play frequently.  Prime Kaya is a bit of a subtle warlock.  She’ll give you a really good taste of what Circle likes to do, which is play a very mobile teleporting hit-and-run game, but she might be a caster you move away from if you want to play more aggressively.  She has a good fury management tool, which will make learning Hordes a lot easier, so I’d still suggest her as a first warcaster.

The first unit purchase I recommend for any player wanting to understand Circle are the Shifting Stones.  A lot of Circle’s strategy relies on clever use of these stones.  They teleport, heal contruct beasts, and manage fury.  Learning how to use these stones well will quickly teach you a ton about the faction.  Also, as mentioned above, consider getting a Gorax.

For a second warlock you have some really great options.  To use what’s included with the battlebox Prime or Epic Krueger gives you a more spell slinging warlock.  If you’re excited about Circle’s constructs and want to look at an all wold, or partly wold list, Baldur (prime or epic) is an excellent choice.  Circle is a powerful, subtle, diverse faction.

Legion of Everblight has a genuinely good Battlebox filled with models you will continue to use even after you are more experienced with the faction.  While Prime Lylyth is only an okay warlock by Legion standards, she is seeing more play now that colossals and gargantuans are a thing.  The Carnivian used to be “the beast” in Everblight’s army, but even with some of the new beasts taking center stage it still has a place.  The four Shredders included in this box will rarely disappoint.  They are truly amazing beasts who, for their points, pack a mean punch.

If the hit and run style of play makes pLylyth amazing, no caster in legion is more in-your-face than Thagrosh.  The Battlebox army supports either Epic or Prime Thagrosh very well.  I personally like Prime Thagrosh better and would take him to a tournament anywhere, but few warlocks get to have as much fun as Epic Thagrosh.  As a first unit choice the Spawning Vessel is a lot of fun, but I might take Legionnaires instead, as they’re easy to learn and offer support for either warlock.  Legion has a nasty habit of ignoring rules, so if you’re a fan of playing a little “unfair,” welcome to the blight.

Skorne might just have the best battlegroup in hordes.  Master Tormentor Morghoul has the highest unmodified defense in the game, respectable support for his beasts, and a game ending compliment of powers and abilities, especially against other Hordes players.  His box includes a pair of Cyclops Savages who have a strong threat range, a decent animus, and the future sight ability letting you boost after seeing a die roll.  Where the Savages are distinctly okay and may or may not see long term use in your collection, the Titan Gladiator is amazing and will always get taken out on the town by all the doting Skorne warlocks.  Rush as an animus is the secret to making the otherwise slow Skorne force get up the field.  Grand Slam paired with Follow Up means the Gladiator can end up a full 17″ up the table after a free slam attack, and still have fury to buy a few more attacks.

For a second warlock, epic Hexeris will give you an excellent taste of a most spell slinging side of Skorne, while supporting the beasts you have very well.  When you’re ready to include a unit in your list, check out the Paingiver Beast Handlers.  They’re the Skorne equivalent of the choir, and see an impressive amount of play.  If flaying, torture and maiming are your thing, check out the Skorne (and then some therapy).

Trolls have a great warlock in prime Madrak with a forgiving set of abilities that should give beginner trolls the opportunity for some smashing.  The Troll Axer might just be the best light beast in a faction of great light beasts.  His rush animus (as stated for Skorne) really adds an impressive amount of speed to the faction.  Add to that his armor 18, the power 14 reach attack, and his option to attack everything in his melee range with a thresher attack, and you really have a hard working beast.  The included Troll Impalers are not quite as exciting, although they offer a similarly powerful animus and can deliver the pain when required.  In terms of your collection, a fair number of troll lists use the impaler with a Dire Troll Bomber or a ranged warlock.  If the two impalers feels like a little much for our Journeyman league, consider replacing them with a Dire Troll Mauler.

If you kept the two impalers and want to see them shine a little more, consider Grim Angus.  He plays a nasty ranged game and his Bait the Line ability can let you get off some very long charges after shooting an enemy warlock.  If you’re a bit more keen of going big with trolls, no one loves Dire Trolls more than Hoarluk Doomshaper.  No matter which warlock you pick as your second, everyone in trolls is going to appreciate Fenblades who I would recommend as a first unit to pick up.  They’ll keep you safe behind a tough line of angry trollkin, and then get angry enough to hit back.  If that’s the sort of thing you might be interested in, check out the Trollbloods.

Snipe, Feat, Go?If you’re excited about putting together a minion force, the evaluation of Gators and Pigs is coming next week, along with Mercenary battlegroups.  Stay tuned, and as always if you disagree, have comments, questions, or just want to offer a offer a few words of advice to a new player, stop by our forums!

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