Morvhana2 - Deep Dive


Paul - Krueger2 Sympathizer - Sheard

A global pandemic is on the loose, World War 3 was teased and Cygnar are good now. 

Times are strange and with a lot of people being in quarantine I think it’s about time I write about one of my favourite warlocks in the Circle Orboros roster, Morvahna the Dawnshadow.

Morvahna2 has been criminally over-looked and under-rated and it’s a travesty that I intend to put right! I’m first going to go through her kit, explaining why it is so good and how it can be abused, and then go over some specific models and themes that work well for her.

The GOAT, in all her glory

Front of the Card

So, the front of Morvahna2's card is fairly modest; MAT6, DEF and ARM15 and 16 boxes is so standard for a Circle ‘caster that it almost hurts. 

Again, POW12 on her weapon is very mediocre in the context of the faction. Notably, she is a SPD8 Cavalry model with Pathfinder and a useful Reposition 5, which are very nice rules to have. Finally, she is Fury 7, which is very handy as the rest of her card has several abilities that make her control range very important.

Back of the Card

Speaking of those other abilities we’re going to start with the biggest, and most powerful reason to play Morvahna2 - Scales of Fate. I’m sure I don’t need to bang on too much about how incredibly potent having army wide re-rolls to any attack or damage roll that you want. It just makes absolutely everything in the list that little bit more reliable. Suddenly you don’t need to think “Hmm this roll is important; do I boost this hard 6 just to be sure?” You just slam those dice down and with a re-roll you’re usually fine. It also means that stuff that absolutely shouldn’t happen, can.

Next up is an ability linked to Scales of Fate and her Feat (which we’ll get to later) that allows her to function a little better as a caster. Imperishable Conviction makes her kit work a little better by providing a steady trickle of healing, making her slightly more survivable against assassinations – for example, if you’re on 4 health and someone wants to kill you, but they have to kill 5 models to clear a lane and landing zones, then suddenly the run they’ve calculated may be much worse than anticipated. This can stack up very quickly in combination with other healing effects that she has access to, which we’ll come to later,

Last up are two rules that help her murder things very efficiently for a lady riding side saddle on a big fucking goat. First up is Lifetrader, which pushes her damage output to the point where she can sometimes go in and kill a heavy then Reposition back to safety several times. Secondly, she becomes a viable threat to ‘casters with her next rule, Ram, with Knockdown (and an optional push) helping with her decidedly average MAT6.

'Omae wa mou, shindeiru’ – Morvahna’s goat, probably

Spells

Unfortunately, Morvahna2's spell list is kind of meh. She has some decent spells but nothing that stands out as being brilliant.

First up is probably the best spell she has, Fog of War. While this is on a junior in another faction it has far more synergies in Circle, due to the widespread availability of Prowl, as well as boosting Morvahna's defence against spells and ranged attacks to a cool DEF17 in a lot of cases. Bigger numbers, even if conditional, are always nice to have!

Next is Carnivore, which falls into second place due to its conditionality on matchups. If this worked against everyone, it would be her best spell, combining an accuracy buff, spot RFP, and another way to counteract her cutting. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Undead and Construct models around now, which makes it less than ideal. That being said, in situations where it works it can be game changing.

After these two spells the quality drops dramatically. Sunder Spirit is decent and has its uses, but at the end of the day it is an offensive nuke on a ‘caster that doesn’t really have a way to abuse it. Second is Death Knell, which is a spell I often describe as “Spend 4 fury, lose the game”. 

While a bit of an exaggeration, spending 4 Fury to often do nothing at all will often get you killed, especially after boosts and upkeeps are paid for (the boost is often necessary, as Fog of War also provides concealment to your opponent’s models). I’m not saying the situation where it’s usable won’t come up, but in about 100 games I’ve cast it once and it killed a single Trencher. 

Finally, we have Censure . This spell is… weird. On paper it looks like another way of healing your ‘caster while also putting some damage into enemies, but in reality, it’d often be better to just spend 2 Fury on healing rather than risk rolling a 1 on the D3. If an opponent has multiple upkeeps that are all very important, it does become more useful, but that’s not super common.

Feat

Finally, we get to possibly the most misunderstood part of Morvahna2's kit – her Feat. Now, first things first. This is an incredibly powerful Feat. There are many match ups where this Feat will just win you the game, outright. This comes up a lot against casters that rely on a huge alpha through their own Feat, such as ‘casters like Skarre1, Seige1, Issyria , etc. 

This is because they wipe most of the board, then you reset and say “Can you do it again without your Feat” (and also without the few models you’ve chipped away from them before the Feat). 

The answer, I’ve found 90% of the time, is no. 

However, as much as I have won games with this Feat, I’ve also won a lot of games without ever using it. I point this out because there seems to be a prevailing opinion that if you’re playing into lists with wide access to RFP then she is useless, which I don’t believe to be the case at all. While yes, she is objectively much weaker without her Feat, you still get access to her main selling point in the form of Scales of Fate, allowing your list to do a huge amount more work more reliably than it normally would, and it is very rare for a list to RFP with every single model, so a total shut-off of the feat is unlikely outside of lists like  Dark Legacy or  Band of Heroes. Into everything else, you are very likely to at least get a handful of models which late game can really swing the match.

Dunno what you could possibly mean about Dark Legacy, Paul… 😉 -Ed

Themes

Bones of Orboros – There is basically no reason to play Morvahna2 in Bones. She has no good spells for Geomancy , Fog of War is irrelevant, and she has nothing to Feat on (your editor briefly got excited about a Woldstalker joke here, but then realised that a. the Stoneward is an Officer, and b. these are Woldstalkers . -Ed). If you want Mannikins with Scales of Fate then go for it, but it’s not a good idea in practice.


Call of the Wild – At first glance it may seem like a tempting them e. You have access to Woldwyrds that take Scales of Fate reaallllly well, along with living beasts for a Storm Raptor, and you can take Skinwalkers to just shove at peoples’ faces and Feat back. 

Unfortunately, Skinwalkers are even worse than you remember from the last time you put them on the table and even with Scales of Fate and a second life they aren’t good enough.  They are a slow unit whose biggest selling point is that they are tanky 8 box boys, but in a meta with POW16+ Legion of Lost Souls , Menite Archons with Thresher , or Doom Reavers running around, they simply don’t cut it. 

This leaves no good infantry to Feat on, and while I said you can win without it you don’t want to make a list that can’t ever use it.


Secret Masters – This theme I think is the second best place for Morvahna2 . It has a lot of things she wants. Access to both the Hermit and Dhunian Archons , a valuable unit to Feat on in Mist Riders , and Sacrificial Pawn to help keep her safe from those post-Feat assassinations. 

That being said, I still believe it is considerably worse than Devourer’s Host. One of Morvahna2's biggest shortcomings is lack of a direct damage fix, which means she needs to take models that can crack ARM self-sufficiently – and unfortunately, Secret Masters models generally don’t do that. Mist Riders being POW10-12 with re-rollable Electro-Leaps will certainly shred light infantry, but it sure isn’t going to do much to any serious ARM. 

It’s worth noting that you can take Slaughterhousers which DO crack ARM, very well, but then you are bringing models that can’t be Feated on, and worse, that can’t use Scales of Fate due to them not being friendly faction.


But they have Brutal Charge, Paul! Surely they’re the GOAT in melee… I’ll show myself out -Ed

Devourer’s Host – In my opinion, this theme is her home. She has the best infantry in the faction that she can Feat on, and Fog of War bumps male Tharn and Wolf Riders into defensive stats that become very difficult to remove at range, allowing most of your army to make it to melee.

Notable Models

First and foremost, the best warbeast in faction. The Storm Raptor . This thing is a fucking beast (get out. -Ed) for Morvahna2 . It’s less about what it gives to her (although a gun resistant model to stand behind is certainly appreciated) than what she gives to it – rerolls to hit on a model with Sustained Attack is money. 

The work this model puts out with access to rerolls on every roll is immense.  It also gives some really tasty assassination threat, since Morvahna2 can cast Sky Fire then walk 8″ and Reposition 5″, to threaten 23 inches of Sky Fire if you are going all in on a Raptor activation.

Paul’s lovely light-up Storm Raptor, courtesy of  @Becky Red Miniatures, whose work you should definitely check out!

Next up is another battlegroup model in the Warpwolf Stalker; if you for some reason aren’t bringing a Raptor , or you just fancy a second warbeast, then I recommend giving this boy a whirl. The Stalker's only problem (besides its price) is its awful MAT6. However, when you have rerolls on tap, this issue is mitigated, allowing it to unload its POW19 attacks at will then Sprint away without the chance of missing everything like a dick and sitting there with his tail in the breeze (between his legs? -Ed). Additionally Fog of War triggers his Prowl warp, giving you an always tasty Stealth heavy. which is always tasty. As the cherry on top, you get Sprint on Morvahna2 which, with how boss she is in melee, can be really powerful.

My final battlegroup model recommendation, this time specifically for Secret Masters and Call of the Wild lists, is the Woldwyrd . This thing is just a generically good model, especially with rerolls propping up its average RAT of 6, and then when it gets to make use of Purgation, rerolling 4 dice damage can be big for those occasional rolls that shit the bed.

Honourable mention to Ghetorix in the context of Devourer’s Host, as he’s just generally decent and Morvahna2 likes having Spiny Growth, but he is very expensive.

Now, onto units. Firstly, the mainstay of Devourer’s Host, Tharn Ravagers . These guys have everything that you need with Morvahna2 ; they have a DEF stat that takes Fog of War well, the potential to Overtake with Carnivore and heal Morvahna2 for an absurd amount, and they have the kind of unbuffed hitting power that her lists cry out for. They are also very good at being Feated back, being multi-box and sticky to remove with Tough and potentially Hunters' Grace.

Second is Wolf Riders , who I find to be a severely underrated unit. While their output isn’t super high, what they are is very, very annoying to remove. Taking a Wolf Rider Champion to stand near them means that Fog of War gives them Stealth (and DEF 17 against most ranged and magic attacks). Combined with a strong base DEF15 with Annoyance in melee, Jump, and Reposition 5”, they are a very efficient unit at getting up the board safely and laying into backline support. Junior Warcasters, UAs, support solos, support units – none of it is safe from these girls and often removing these pieces can really help a match up long term. Finally, the Feat isn’t limited to medium bases, so these girls can come back too for a double feature of back-line partying.


 ‘The rave party went somewhat downhill after the Wolf Riders found the DJ’s back arc’

Bridghid and Caul have a natural fit as hard-hitting models – the power of a budget heavy for the price of a light is always nice. Like everything in the faction, they take rerolls well.

If you’re in Secret Masters, then as discussed above, at least one unit of Mist Riders is your unit of choice. Like Wolf Riders , they can be Feated back, and all of their Electro-Leaps can be rerolled too which isn’t nothing.

Finally, there’s only really a couple of solos that are worth considering besides the regular support you’d take. 

Hermit is the first. He does everything Morvahna2 wants, by providing an ARM debuff, giving her a free transfer for when people get desperate post Feat, and benefitting from Fog of War, making him an annoying DEF13 so that some attacks may actually miss him. 

The only reason he isn’t an auto include windmill slam in every list is because of his direct competition. – the Dhunian Archon . This model is also absolutely nuts for Morvahna2 Having a turn by turn Threads of Life for important solos and unit leaders like Wolf Rider Champions , Ravager Shamans and Chieftains , and Brighid and Caul (if you are taking those) is awesome. Additionally, she gives another method of healing for Morvahna2 in Mother's Embrace , and brings Dispel on a stick which isn’t nothing!


She also brings a rabbit, which we as Knights rightfully fear for its nasty big pointy teeth

Overall, Morvahna2 is a criminally underplayed caster who has a lot of game into a lot of things. I will caveat this by saying that because the meta currently isn’t kind to Tharn, she has lost a lot of oomph compared to how she was, but that’s not to say she’s bad (I suppose that she has value as a dark horse… dark goat? -Ed). If you haven’t already I highly recommend giving her a go and seeing how you like her.



Share this post