Axe mastery is definitely a great skill as it help with the long axe that has 2 tile reach as well as well as the two and one handed axes.Have you ever destroyed a orc warlords camp without taking a loss with this build? I think it could works if the front liners use two handed axes that have swing for crowd control. The long axes in the back rows would then help with support. My other question is do your crossbows hit more then they miss?
Max i have killed with such a build was 16 orc warriors and 2 warlords. Or loads of berskers and younglings (probably in the 30s) but that one is easy. I dont play at the highest difficulty, so im not sure i can ever run into 30+ orc warrior group.
Crossbows – like i said, the key is to hire expensive backgrounds that start with both melee and ranged high, such as raider (i havent played much last version, so they might have changed it, but previously you could get raiders with both at 55+). Such skill level is more than sufficient to have even the front line hit at least 50% of their shots. If you are fighting orc young or berserkers, the enemies who tend to swarm in large groups, then hitting them is even easier.
Shields might be crucial on first line though. If youre gonna fight a lot of orcs, you want to use their metal shields too. If your entire frontline uses metal shields, the orcs will spend 2 or 3 turns breaking them, which means they will build UP A LOT OF FATIGUE and will barely be able to act until the of the battle.