Hordes/Tactics/Circle Orboros

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Why Play Circle Orboros[edit]

Druids, furries, animals, sticks and stones.

The Circle's playstyle is quite trolly, run up through terrain, strip off your defensive buffs, smack you really hard, then run back through terrain while creating more to pin you down. Circle frequently causes headaches for armies like Skorne and Searforge who already struggle against terrain, have issues with armies with lots of Pathfinder and then the Circle which has near universal Pathfinder and can create terrain and cloud cover because its important you can totally justify our trollface than letting them play a game with their models. That said Legion of Everblight and to a lesser extent Cryx can shrug off your terrain and cloud creation as well as some of your other tricks making those 2 factions demand a different playstyle.

Circle warbeasts come in 2 distinct flavours, Living and Construct. You can run a mix, in fact its quite useful as they cover each other's weaknesses, but its often a case where you will see Circle lists being either Defenders Of The Wild, Tharns and Wolves, and lastly Sticks And Stones. Defenders of the Wild is considered the weakest style at the moment, you use Wolves of Orboros, Reeves and infantry warlocks to push your horde forward and jam up your the open spaces on the board with models to force your opponent into terrain where you can freely use your mobility to kite them out. Tharns and Wolves is a bit similar to Defenders but is more competitive by going heavy on the Tharn, a race of primitives that sort of shapeshift into nasty beastpeople when they get mad, it also means using lots of the Warpwolves to back them with serious hitting power units. SAS on the otherhand tends to look like a very grindy list but is actually a quite a good control and scenario archetype compared to the other two. SAS uses Druid units, Waystones, Sentry Stones, the Woldnoun warbeasts and a few druid solos. Its got a lot of options and can deal with a lot of list types quite easily, its also very shooty which catches a lot of opponents off-guard because the main shooting unit for the Circle is one of the few genuine garbage units in this game.

General Strategy[edit]

Run through terrain on their flanks and make them wish they too could just ignore the trees.

Unit Analysis[edit]


  • Baldur the Stonecleaver - Cool old dude that is about the only level headed member of the circle and is more worried about what sneaky old Everblight is up to than getting promoted. Can swing a big ass sword like it's nothing. Is the go-to guy when starting Sticks And Stone lists because he can heal Constructs, doesn't have to always run constructs but they get more with him. He has the ability to teleport through forests and is very notorious for assassinating warlocks/warcasters with it and a few bits of created terrain.
  • Baldur the Stonesoul - After his resurrection, Baldur went from being the level-headed sensible uncle/grandpa of the circle to a crazed eyes-wide-open-but-nothing-behind-them fanatic... You know like every other person who puts on the black cloak of this Druidic order. He is very similar to his original self, but trades defensive healing for acquiring a token each turn that does 1 damage to him and gives him +1 Str, meaning he just ends up burning life to hit like a rock. Megalith is practically mandatory so you can survive enough turns to build up a major stack of wurm tokens and then one-shot a light warnoun or cripple a heavy and use his special ability to purge them off before it kills him.
  • Cassius the Oathkeeper & Wurmwood, Tree of Fate - The latest in a long line of druids bound to the oldest and creepiest tree in the world. If he hits you, you die and turn into a tree. Not a warlock for newbies, he has a lot of offensive spells and his feat can bog down whole armies, but its tied to the tree, which describes this guy perfectly. He is limited by the tree and it getting hit messes up your warlock up instead.
  • Kaya the Wildborne - The starter kit Warlock, she's a plucky newby who looks up to Baldur as the father figure who doesn't think she's a pagan witch. She has no patience for the Circle's politicking and a tight bond with her warbeasts. Uses a staff and has a spell list loaded down with movement shenanigans. Does a bit of everything but can run a larger battlegroup than most warlocks/warcasters thanks to better beast support spells and her Feat is incredibly good for fury management.
  • Kaya the Moonhunter and Laris - After maturing, turning into a fanatical harridan, turning her back on Baldur and getting tips from Morvahna, we get an updated Kaya. She comes with her companion warbeast which is pretty decent, they can yo-yo like before but for less of a cost. Kaya2 can't run as a large a hunting pack of warbeasts as Kaya1 but she gets a lot out of her companion warbeast that it makes up for it.
  • Krueger the Stormwrath - Growing up in a Protectorate area means his only grasp of religion is the fanatical extreme unacceptable variety and so fits right in with this druidic sect. A pretty mobile warlock who has a nice diversity of spells and good but not great combat potential. Early on he was frequently taken with Woldbeasts but its now common to see him run a more diverse battlegroup with a Woldwarden. He's a magician too, take him to the table and watch infantry disappear with his lightning spell, take him with Woldwardens and watch as infantry will disappear from your local meta as you abuse geomancy to throw more lightning than even Cygnar can.
  • Krueger the Stormlord The the cold uncompromising fanatic of a whole order of fanatic moves up a notch when partaking in eating human hearts with his Tharn friends. More complicated but also streamlined, comes with flying instead of needing to buff himself to fly. Is able to push and pull things around like Rahn but without being a condescending elf about it, instead being smug religious fanatic. Is one of the Big 3 for this faction. Tends to be one of the stronger Sticks And Stones warlocks as his spell list feeds their control powers but equally good in a Defenders or Tharn list.
  • Mohsar the Desertwalker - An interesting bloke, taught Baldur about stone and is the old man who keeps saying "I'm too old for this shit." and yet continues to do said shit without being asked. He can mess people around in scenarios, turning an ally into sand and stepping out of said sand so he's always where you want him. His signature trick is spam summoning pillars of salt that due to rule wording can't be shot at with 90% of all ranged attacks and can't be charged at, using them to pretty much lock your opponent out of doing anything you don't want them to do. Gallows Groves are pretty much mandatory and between them and his teleport ability you can reach a lot of the board with your spells without ever being in your opponent's reach, cue trollface.
  • Morvahna the Autumnblade - Once the premier infantry warlock of the Circle, like all women, she delights in having men and fight and die for her because of absolute bitchiness (wow, warmahordes players are assholes). She supports infantry well, with lots of healing both for them and her and can turn their deaths into a benefit for her so that when a stalemate occurs, she can leverage a slight advantage out of it, or if an infantry stalemate starts turning in the other side's favour, she still has some ability to comeback. She really likes to play infantry vs infantry games as she gets benefits for both sides dying, and can heal/resurrect her own while getting free terrain and aoe damage on enemies near someone she or someone on her side kills. Because of this, she does dislike some of the infantry hose builds like Kruger with 2 Woldwardens.
  • Morvahna the Dawnshadow - Now she literally looks down on men to the men she sends to their death instead of metaphorically, very similar to her non-epic form, she overtook her previous incarnation as our go-to infantry commander. Fog of War is a cheat spell in this faction especially with anything packing Prowl, cast it, upkeep it and move as many infantry units under its cover as you can while being smug in the huge amount of protection your horde gets to his horde. She is one of our Big 3.
  • Grayle the Farstrider - This guy exists to rationalize the existence of Wolves of Orboros and Reeves of Orboros. An infantry general who can fight as good as a berserk Kromac in combat and comes with Stealth. Not bad per se but sort of upfront and direct, which is completely alien to this faction where being a irritant who refuses to fight fair is the defining characteristic. He tends to take Defenders of the Wild hordes along with Morvahna.
  • Kromac the Ravenous - He transforms and can be either melee butcher with no abilities other than to kill things or a decent supporting warlock with good melee stats. When he's in combat mode he can't upkeep spells or cast anything new, so choose carefully when to transform back and forth as he loses a lot of his ability to manage his beasts when he himself becomes a rapebeast.
  • Bradigus Thorle the Runecarver - Circle's latest warlock. He builds golems and can use landslides to move around. Can be incredibly powerful but he's also incredibly difficult to use. Bradigus is restricted to only constructs in his battle group but his kit is such that you'd be all construct anyway.


Light Warbeasts

  • Argus - Isn't great, nor is good something you use to describe him. The model has its uses, it can paralyse a larger beast with its Doppler Bark animus, buying time for you to get something lined up to beat it. The standard battlebox gives you two, but paint one white and use it as a Winter Argus (which is, in fact, legal for battlebox-only games!).
  • Argus Moonhound - Basically a two headed hunting dog. He will help your dudes see and hit their targets at range. His Animus negates stealth on enemies in 5" which means pairing it with at least 1 ranged unit like Reeves of Orboros, the Celestial Fulcrum, or a Druid Stoneward and Woldstalkers unit. It has an aura that adds +2 to shooting attacks against enemies in 5". Another trick with this beast is to charge an enemy bodyguard unit with the Shieldguard ability which is negated by being in combat, while granting the range attack bonus on the real target. Being cheap & squishy means this is like a once-off buff on a stick, rather than a beast, and your only concern should be positioning missile units to be ready for that one turn of shooting before the Moonhound is killed. Meh in a vacuum, but becomes great the more ranged attacks in an army, easily one of the best light warbeasts in Circle.
  • Gorax - If you're running Living warbeasts, you take this guy first. His Animus is amazing on Warpwolves and Satyrs and he himself can use it to destroy any other light warbeasts. He's mostly used for his animus, but when battlegroups collide send him after any utility lights while your heavies focus on the harder stuff.
  • Scarsfell Griffon - Has the Long Leash ability which means your Warlock's control area is calculated as double its size for the purpose of controlling this beast, this means that Kaya1 can pretty much cross the battlefield to wherever she wants, while Mohsar can reach anywhere from near the centre of the table. Is a good combat light that kind of invalidates the other 2 griffons, its animus grants dodge so that enemy attacks that miss grant a 2" free move.
  • Razorwing Griffon - Has Long Leash. He got blades on his wings and can use them to trample everything, vector strike-like. Is kind of meh in combat directly compared to the Scarsfell, and because trample power attacks lack supporting buffs it needs to start close to light infantry which is risky for a light beast. Rotterhorn does the same job but less risk and less predictable.
  • Rotterhorn Griffon - Has Long Leash. This bird screams loud enough to hurt, this is it's animus. Once per turn if it kills a model in melee it can use its animus without being forced. Its kind of meh, its suited for killing light infantry, especially blobs where you can cram a lot of bodies into the 2" radius of its scream.
  • Winter Argus - Basically a two headed dog that barks ice breath. His Animus is a Self-range buff so you can only use it on the warlock and the Winter Argus, but if you're in a battlebox game and you find yourself fighting Sorscha she suddenly can't feat assassinate you, the cold immunity is niche but applying stationary to anything in 2" is potent whether you're attempting melee assassination or defending against it. Is too niche to take regularly, but ok if cold effects are an issue or you want to go all-in on warlock assassinations.
  • Woldwatcher - Bodyguard golem, can shield people from arrows and bullets and harden itself. It also has a pretty solid ranged attack and any living enemies it kills turn into forests, which is nice for most warlocks but with Bradigus and Baldur can be hilariously powerful.
  • Woldwyrd - The most niche of the Woldnouns, a specialised anti-magic warbeast, usually taken when you have issues with Druids of Orboros but want to fuck over magic heavy lists.

Heavy Warbeasts

  • Feral Warpwolf - You will learn to love this guy, or play pure construct, definitely the workhorse heavy beast of the Circle. He's got the most straightforward Controlled Warping list that makes him faster and tougher than the other Warpwolves and he's got lots of high-POW attacks to wreck armour with.
  • Gnarlhorn Satyr - He's a ram, so he loves to charge things headfirst to slam them away. So much in fact he can do it during your opponent's turn.
  • Pureblood Warpwolf - Usually run with a Feral at the least, a very common sight. Hits very hard and has bark that is arguably as bad as its bite. He lets your Warpwolves walk through walls to kill people.
  • Riphorn Satyr - The bodybuilder Satyr. Tough and strong, he can push people around.
  • Shadowhorn Satyr - Light Satyr, he knocks down people who miss him in melee and can jump around.
  • Warpwolf Stalker - Usually taken with a Pureblood, a Feral or complementing a Gorax and Argus. This werewolf uses a bigass sword and can go berserk on people with it, or hide really well in the woods. Considered the best non-character heavy currently. His Pathfinder and Animus let him move in, trash something and then back into the cover of nearby trees, sort of like a lurking predator... because you know its a werewolf with a sword trying to be a ninja. If you're only taking one heavy he's usually a strong contender since he's good at killing almost anything.
  • Wold Guardian - The big brother golem bodyguard. Slow, but hits hard, immune to explosions and can become impervious to ranged attacks. Pay attention to the knockdown on his melee attacks.
  • Woldwarden - One of the more infamous beasts in Circle, Geomancy is a very strong ability and was responsible for Mk1 Kruger's reputation for evaporating infantry from whole metas. He's good in normal lists and the goddamned backbone of Sticks And Stones lists. Also something that is frequently overlooked is that Geomancy functionally makes this guy a shooty beast and having 2-3 of him means you have better ranged output than many Warmachine lists. Keep in mind that he's pretty pillow-fisted and takes support to take on heavy warjacks in melee. Woldwardens heal themselves 1 point every turn which adds a little bit more resiliencey.

Character Heavies

  • Ghetorix - Boss Werewolf. He used to be one of the half-furry people but became so angry he flipped off the druids, specifically Morvahna. He was pounded into submission by Kromac, at Morvahna's request, because she needs to see men fighting for her to get off and then was force fed bong water the Warpwolf Elixir because Morvahna can't go a day without being a massive fucking bitch. If you want to run 4 Dogs, then this guy is the 4th instead of a second Feral. Hits like a truck etc.. Really just a REALLy strong Warpwolf.
  • Megalith - Very good and often the second or first construct purchase for Circle players, subs for a Woldwarden. Baldur always takes him because of their synergy, Baldur1 and Megalith become a solid pair of unkillable badassness, while Baldur2 benefits from being able to run hot on wurm tokens with Megalith's healing mitigating the burn, late game Baldur2 can swing for stupid amounts of damage thanks to Megalith's assistance. Bradigus also likes having him around, as Woldwardens B2B with Megalith heal D3 from their Mending ability instead of 1.
  • Brennos - Morvahna's character warbeast, a Satyr wizard who works for the Circle in exchange for their protection for Satyrs in general. He's got a weird assortment of abilities; his affinity is great for EMorvahna, but his animus support and Mage Killer almost make him better in a warbeast-heavy Kaya list.


  • Woldwrath - Huge golem that shoots lightning from his eyes. One punch knocks everyone around on their ass. Is sort of a mixed bag, some warlocks find him a straight upgrade to the mainline Wolds, while others can't really do much due to his Construct nature.


  • Druids of Orboros - Magical tricksters: they heal warbeasts use magical smoke grenades, push or pull things around and their boss can stop enemy magic around them. People either love them of hate them.
    • Overseer He can make the unit immune to most elemental effects and throws spells much better.
  • Druid Stoneward & Woldstalkers - a druid with his pet laser-shooting golems. A good ranged unit. With the Druid's Concentrate Fire spell they hit harder for every member of the unit who hit the same target previously, this means that they start at POW 12 and get to POW 16. The unit is fucked if caught in melee so use Zephyr to GTFO as PP didn't give these guys gunfighter they still don't fair well in combat but they have gunfighter now. Have lost their title as workhorse shooting unit as Reeves are good now and Mannikins got buffed.
  • Reeves of Orboros - Hunters with double-shot crossbows. Considered poor for their cost Now they're actually good again. Reeves continue a trend of Circle having good anti-infantry options, recent changes to themes have lowered their popularity a little from everywhere to just common, but they're no longer the joke they were awhile ago. Keep them out of melee and and away from blasts as each casualty is 2 shots lost.
    • Chieftan & Standard Bearer generally considered the most useless unit attachment in the whole game because it attaches to Reeves Now its almost mandatory to take the CA with Reeves as the Chieftan's mini-feat protects against blasts, gives you some ability to respond to melee threats, while the standard bearer lets you spread out wider to avoid blasts.
  • Sentry Stone & Mannikins - Wooden golems and their control tower. A utility unit that can kill easy-to-hit units, provides fantastic Fury management, and provides forests for defense; it's not going to kill a lot alone but it's crucial to some lists.
  • Shifting Stones - Magical stones that heal or teleport things. One of the best support pieces in both games. With several spaced apart properly you can chain teleport things across the board to deliver them anywhere.
    • Stone Keeper Hides the stones to protect them, allows them to spread more. Often used for the forward set of stones while you leave a set without the Keeper in your deployment zone to start the teleport chain.
  • Tharn Bloodtrackers - Women who are really good at throwing javelins on people. This is our other main ranged unit, it can hold up better in combat than Reeves or Woldstalkers but it brings very mobile shooting and coupled with terrain generation they can dance out of combat range throwing their Weaponmaster Javelins.
    • Nuala the Huntress Tharn queen, allows the Bloodtrackers to hit and run, makes a great unit fucking amazing.
  • Tharn Bloodweavers - the Tharn priestesses, they gut people to do magic. They're a quick melee toolbox; they can clear light infantry, crack heavy infantry, and take buffs off of enemies.
  • Tharn Ravagers - Furry lovers who took things too far. Now look like monster movie rejects. Our heavy infantry, and true to form, softer and more mobile than the next leading competitors. Have an advantage if they can alpha strike a light infantry unit and get a bunch of hearts before hitting their main targets and using the hearts to boost. They can get places they really shouldn't be if you can put forests on the field.
    • Ravager Chieftain - He gives the unit Advance Deployment and a bonus to charge damage to get the Heart Eater chain going.
    • Ravager Shaman - He provides a mid-POW ranged attack with Assault and Electro Leap to soften up the enemy before the heavy hitters get into the fight.
  • Tharn Blood Pack - Ravagers who decided to grab bows. They can do a respectable amount of damage if the dice cooperate, but they're pretty dependent on killing things with their charge.
  • Tharn Wolf Riders - Bloodtrackers on wolves to go faster. They're about twice as expensive but they come with some extra damage output tricks and they're a fair bit tougher.
  • Warpborn Skinwalkers - Man-sized werewolves. They are tough and go faster when you hurt them. Most Circle players swear by them when they have their Alpha.
    • Warpborn Alpha Makes the skinwalkers be able to attack twice and eat their enemies to regenerate. No point taking the Skinwalkers without him thanks to the sheer damage boost.
  • Wolves of Orboros - Basic grunts and all around expendable troops. Cheapest infantry in the faction.

Potential attachment - Chieftain & Standard: can make the Wolves of Orboros very effective in melee one turn per game.


  • Blackclad Wayfarer - This dude can warp to shifting stones anywhere on the board, or make your dude charge from further away. Immune to most elemental effects. His main trick is using Hunter's Mark and terrain to setup unexpected charging lanes to deliver Tharn Ravagers or Skinwalkers into your opponent's face.
  • Druid Wilder - Druid apprentice learning the job. Helps micromanage your beasts, this guy can take the stress of keeping things in check, but is usually unnecessary with Constructs as they don't Frenzy.
  • Reeve Hunter - Reeve boss, teaches the others reaves to use camouflage. Can theoretically kill 6 things before breakfast each turn thanks to Quick Work and Snap Fire. Unlike his underlings, this guy is actually respectable, not a super assassin like the Elf Hooker, but he can breakup light infantry units and becomes a "can't ignore, but too wasteful to commit a unit to killing" factor in games.
  • Tharn Ravager White Mane - Old tharn man who fought a lot of battles and lived to tell stories about them. He's there to wander through infantry units with Overtake and Heart Eater to keep going.
  • War Wolf - Trained wolf. Can charge things Reeves put bolts in. To get the most out of this you need Reeves... so thats pretty much another miniature gathering dust on the shelf. Has some funny synergy with EMorvahna's feat, but that's about it.
  • Gallows Grove - Barknodes and a big middle finger to Toughness/Healing. Gallows Groves are mandatory for the control heavy casters as its giving them so much reach and the ability to just flatout deny areas of the board because even though you're not near there, your warlock can still fuck things up there. Tends to get targeted by players who've experienced them before because trees mean your warlock is going to stay back and poke them until the trees are lopped. Their cost and FA means that you will always see two of them unless your opponent is going to just go for your throat.

Character Solos[edit]

  • Lord of the feast - The manifestation of an old, angry god. Called that because he feasts on enemy infantry. Can theoretically kill a light infantry unit, bird into another light infantry unit kill that one and then start ripping into a third because it was bunched up next to the second. You will like never pull this off, maybe once, and then everyone will space their units apart because of stupid Circle ploy. Hell this guy earns his value back because your opponent must react to his presence on the board. Hilarious if against a Damiano tier 4 list where you have like 40+ Silverheads to rape.
  • Wolf Lord Morraig - A general for Wolves and Reeves of Orboros. Mounted on a big wolf, he hits fast and hard with flank for five damage dice on the charge.
  • Una the Falconeer - A lesser Warlock who can only take Griffins, though at a discount. Not a must buy, but a respectable purchase to fill out a list. Works good with the various builds. Used to be great with Scarsfell Griffons before the nerf stripping them of Long Leash.

Battle Engines[edit]

  • Celestial Fulcrum - Giant weather machine able to cause floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Do not leave on.
The games and their factions of Privateer Press
Warmachine: Convergence of Cyriss - Cryx - Cygnar - Khador
Mercenaries - Protectorate of Menoth - Retribution of Scyrah
Hordes: Circle Orboros - Legion of Everblight
Minions - Skorne - Trollbloods
Other games: Monsterpocalypse