Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter 2012 Holiday Bundles: Hordes

Much like the Warmachine Bundles offered by Privateer Press for the holidays, today I will look at the Hordes holiday bundles and rank them on the same criteria (Power Level and Longevity).  It's taken me a while to fully evaluate these lists and there are some very interesting differences between the Hordes bundles from the Warmachine ones.  Notably, the Warmachine bundles included the plastic battlegroup box (and so you would normally get a second warcaster to play).  These bundles do not include the plastic battlegroup box (except for Skorne, for some reason) and, in the case of these bundles, that is actually more of an advantage since the rest of the bundle isn't limited by warbeast choices.  Also, the Hordes bundles include a full-sized rulebook instead of the pocket sized one - probably since there's no battlegroup warcaster and they wanted to offer a fair deal.  What's also different with these bundles is that there isn't even a Trollbloods holiday bundle, which is very curious.  Instead, there are two Minion bundles - a great boon for anyone interested in starting the Thornfall Alliance or Blackwater Congregation.  It's great the Privateer Press created separate bundles for what is, essentially, two separate factions.  Well, let's jump into it!

Circle Orboros Holiday Bundle ($122.93):
Savings - $15.99 ($45.98 including rulebook)
Power Level - #1
After thorough consideration - and some admitted bias - I think that this is probably the strongest of the holiday bundles.  In fact, this list is very similar to the 25 point list that I built for Baldur when I first started with him.  This is a very solid list that plays really well to Baldur's strengths and is even is a part of his theme force.  Many people often overlook pBaldur as a tournament warlock but he's so solid since his list breaks a lot of enemy strategies.  Blast damage, Pathfinder, anti-living effects, soul-collecting, and knock down are all abilities that mean nothing to this list and that's a significant advantage and what makes this list so powerful.

Longevity - #4
Unfortunately, this list is very specific and for a majority of the warlocks in Circle, the only models which will be particularly useful are the Woldwyrd and the Shifting Stones (with UA).  There are occasions where you could find yourself fielding other parts of this list like the Woldstalkers or the Wold Guardian, as they're solid elements, but only a couple at a time.  For example, the Woldwarden and Woldguardian are good with pKrueger, but he doesn't really want to bring along the Stoneward and Woldstalkers.  You could, alternatively, easily build this list up to a 35 point theme force for pBaldur quite easily from this, however.  In fact, my 35 point list replaces the Woldwarden with Megalith, adds Shifting Stones, Woldstalkers, and a Sentry Stone and Mannikins.

Legion of Everblight Holiday Bundle ($136.94):
Savings - $15.99 ($45.98 including rulebook)
Power Level - #2

Absylonia is quite the powerful and effective warlock.  She is notorious for her abilities and being perhaps the best 'beast-warlock in the game.  Her feat is incredible and she can upkeep all of her spells for free on her battlegroup - and they're pretty amazing spells, too!  While Striders are a pretty great unit, but some additional Shepherds, Forsaken, and perhaps a greater selection of lesser warbeasts would certainly make this list much more effective.  It's still a really good list
Longevity - #1
Fortunately, all of the elements of this deal will be quite useful in building future lists for Legion.  Striders are a solid unit and can easily find their way into many lists for their ranged abilities.  The warbeast selection is top notch and they'll be useful no matter what list you bring in the future.  Legion players will often tout how awesome the Scythean is for a melee beast and the Ravagore is a solid ranged beast.  Even if you're just looking to start playing Legion, this is a great deal and a good opportunity to start your collection.

Skorne Holiday Bundle ($138.95):
Savings - $20.99 ($50.98 including rulebook)
Power Level - #3
This list is pretty good.  Naaresh is an interesting and challenging warlock to play for Skorne, but is thematically one of my favorites.  The image of this warlock being whipped (literally) as he rages into battle is just super neat and while it's not my cup-o-tea, it's certainly cool if you like the idea of using unbridled rage to fuel your abilities.  He is definitely tricky to use but the Savages and the Gladiator will take full advantage of his spell list and feat.  Nihilators are such a solid unit that they're good in pretty much any list and Beast Handlers are about as important to Skorne as the Choir are for Menoth.

Longevity - #3
This bundle is the only one which includes the plastic battlegroup box, perhaps due to the warbeast selection?  In any event, this is by far the best deal of the bunch and if it weren't for the inclusion of the Savages, this list would be #2 for longevity.  Everything in this deal will be useful in other lists and remember that you do get two warlocks out of the deal.  This is a great bargain for anyone looking to start Skorne.

Blindwater Congregation Holiday Bundle ($161.94):
Savings - $15.99 ($45.98 including rulebook)
Power Level - #4
Bloody Barnabus is a very resilient and powerful warlock.  He has an awesome[ly simple] feat, great spell list, and is an absolute tank in melee.  While the faction is getting the reputation for being "pillow-fisted", Barnabus is a tank by himself and can get stuck-in without much worry of assassination.  All he has to do is throw Iron Flesh on himself and people see how difficult he is to take down (although he's not invincible, mind you!).  This list is quite solid and provides some fantastic tools.  The Swamp Horror is not always viewed as a favorite among the faction but works really well with Barnabus to move models around and you can't go wrong with Iron Fleshed gatormen.  It's a pretty solid list with lots of tools, but it might be a little tricky to use if you're just getting into the game.

Longevity - #2

It makes me really happy that Privateer Press decided to include separate deals for the gators and the pigs, as the Minions as a faction don't overlap nearly as much as Mercenaries do.  If you want to start playing with the gators, then you really can't go wrong with this deal.  Fortunately, since the faction is so small at this point, there aren't a ton of options (unlike Cygnar) and each warlock will overlap a lot of their models in terms of usage.  Pendrake might be the only element of this list that you might turn your head at, but I assure you that he is very good and doesn't get nearly as much attention as he should.  Other than him, you will find yourself using pretty much any and all of these models in building future lists with the Congregation.

Thornfall Alliance Holiday Bundle ($177.92):
Savings - $15.99 ($45.98 including rulebook)
Power Level - #5
Ugh.  I really feel bad for ranking this list last on the power scale.  It's actually a pretty good list but it's just that all of these other Hordes deals are just a little bit better.  Don't get me wrong - Lord Carver is awesome, but the Thornfall Alliance is still lacking that unspoken 'something' to make them a better faction, and this list is no different.  Perhaps it's the two Gun Boars that make me feel like this list doesn't meet up to standards or maybe it's the lack of Farrow Brigands, but I feel like this list will be fun but only if you can survive your opponent hitting you first.  Pigs hit really hard but unfortunately usually can't take a hit very well and don't have the speed to get them into melee fast enough.  Carver, on the other hand, fixes both of those problems (for his battlegroup) and this list just wastes his greatest strengths: Mobility and Batten Down the Hatches.  Saxon Orrik is a good choice for making sure you can move at full speed, but Gundrun (as good as he is) just doesn't work well with Carver.  If you dropped Gundrun and a Gun Boar and added a second War Hog, then this list would be much more impressive.

Longevity - #4
Similar to the power level, this list is not terribly impressive when it comes to building future Thornfall lists.  Having more than one Gun Boar is really just a waste since the faction lacks any ranged support to make them good and their animus is just "meh".  The Slaughterhousers are great, but you'll definitely want at least one unit of Brigands - the best unit in the faction by far.  Targ is also great for whichever warlock you want to play but Saxon Orrik and Gundrun are really just most useful in other factions.  Also considering the pricetag of this "deal", I'd say that this is really not your best way to get into the Thornfall Alliance.

Overall, I believe that these deals are much better than the Warmachine ones.  While I have ranked these lists in relative power to each other, they are generally stronger lists than those in the Warmachine bundles.  You really can't go wrong with any of these lists and they will all perform very well.
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