Insider 11-13-2013

DC: The Circle Orboros play style in HORDES High Command is all about mobility. Not only does it have plentiful abilities that move cards between locations, but it also has the lowest rush costs relative to their purchase costs. Even cards with higher rush costs, like the Gnarlhorn Satyr, can rush very efficiently under the right circumstances.

As useful as maneuverability is, however, Circle Orboros detachments are also blessed with plenty of hitting power. They have fairly numerous Power-increasing abilities, and their warlocks pack a serious punch. Their one downside is a typically low Health stat relative to the other factions. There are exceptions to this rule, but nearly twice as many Circle Orboros cards have 3 Health or less compared to those that have 4 Health or more.

Will: There’s something immensely satisfying about pure speed mixed with brutal aggression, and no other faction really exemplifies this trait more than Circle Orboros. In fact, unless focusing on Circle’s red detachment, the primary strategy when playing Circle is to focus on only rushing cards. Where most other factions will spend the first turns of the game potentially buying up army cards to deploy later, Circle’s best move is to focus solely on acquiring non-basic resource cards. Don’t be afraid to cycle your reserves multiple times in the first turn or two in order to set up the perfect third turn rush by purchasing non-basic resources and stacking your reserves with low-rush army cards. Purchasing and then deploying a Primal Argus or Feral Warpwolf when their rush cost is a measly 1 WAR more simply isn’t a smart return on investment. Even the Gnarlhorn Saytr’s rush cost can be reduced to an incredible 4 WAR through use of Bounding, making it perfect for a one-two warlock/warbeast punch during the mid- to late game.

Indeed, with such low rush costs and the proper resource padding in the first few turns, it’s not unlikely for a Circle deck to be able to rush two or even three cards to battle during the early game. Proper use of this incredible speed is vital to victory, as Circle decks need to establish a VP lead by the mid-game because they simply don’t have the staying power to really contend with factions like Skorne or Trollbloods. Once the mid-game hits and your opponents are able to start deploying their heavy hitters, your tactics need to change from location capturing to location denial.

DC: There are certain elements of the Circle Orboros in HORDES that buck the trend of the faction. In a mobile yet fragile faction, the various construct models stand apart as much slower and sturdier than their living counterparts. The Circle Orboros cards in HORDES High Command follow the same dichotomy. Their construct cards are found predominantly in the red detachment and have high Health stats for their costs.

The faction’s custom resource card, Path of Stone, supports these sturdier army cards by providing extra CMD or WAR when purchasing constructs. Since so many Circle cards have 3 or even only 2 Health, the 4–6 Health stat on every warbeast or warrior card in the red detachment really stands out. The Woldguardian’s clunky 10 rush cost stands out as well, though, and forces you into a slightly different play style direction when embracing the Path of Stone.

Will: With Circle’s speed in mind, my preferred build is blue/purple/green, with Grayle the Farstrider, Kromac the Ravenous, and Krueger the Stormwrath as my warlock choices. Not only do these detachments give me access to plenty of Feral Warpwolves and Gnarlhorn Satyrs , but they also provide access to my favorite Circle troops period, Tharn!

Tharn Ravager Tribesmen may not look like the most intimidating warriors in High Command, but put them on a location with enemy warrior cards and their Power doubles to a warrior-murdering 4. With a low rush cost and solid resource and VP values, Tharn Ravager Tribesmen are perfect whether being used to capture or deny locations.

Similar to their Ravager brethren, the Ravager Shaman Council trades in Heart Eater for Electro Leap, which allows you to punish opponents twofold when you destroy all their cards at a location by forcing them to also discard a card from their hands. With a fantastic rush cost of 4 CMD, Shaman Council represents a great deterrent to opponents looking to threaten multiple locations with low-cost, low-Health cards. Combined with the many card movement abilities like the Argus’ Tracker or Grayle’s Darkest Night, you can really bottle up your opponents, preventing them from ever threatening your established early game lead and possibly maneuvering in such a way that you can even grab a location or two in the mid- to late game by running circles around your foes.

DC: I’m going to choose Baldur the Stonecleaver, Krueger the Stormwrath, and Mohsar the Desertwalker, featuring the red construct detachment supported by the yellow and purple detachments. This combination takes a far more control-oriented direction than other Circle possibilities. Between the stone-shaping elements, the warlocks’ more control-oriented bent than some of the other warlock options, and plentiful Druids of Orboros, I’ll be playing far more of a control game than a raw battle of rage.

There are numerous options to contest a location for a very reasonable deploy or rush cost. Every one of my red warrior/warbeast cards fit into this category, but my numerous Druids of Orboros are arguably even better for the job. Their Camouflage ability allows you to skip your attack at their location entirely, guaranteeing they’ll survive to the following capture step. There’s still plenty of offensive punch, however, from the stocky constructs as well as from other army elements like Gnarlhorn Satyrs and a couple of Will’s mighty Warpwolves.

Will: Speed and mobility are the cornerstones of Circle Orboros tactics. While the enigmatic cult of blackclads may not boast the numbers of other armies of western Immoren, their ability to pick and choose where battles occur, as well as to grab significant location gains before their opponents have barely had time to begin mobilizing their own forces, grants canny generals the edge they need to achieve victory.