Battletome Orruk Warclans – Wishlist and Predictions

Everyone knows our horsemen are invincible. They fight because they’re hungry. Our empire is surrounded by enemies. Our history is written in blood, not wine. Wine is what we drink to toast our victories.

~ Attila the Hun

FUCK YEAH! Lock up your monsters and hide your gits, the Orruks are coming!

Battletome Orruk Warclans was announced at the AOS Open Day 2019, and this one has given me a major green boner. Let’s get the hype train rolling with some wild speculation about what might be in there, and what we have to look forward to.

Before we jump into it, make sure you’ve read the Community article on the subject (scroll down to 10.30am):

Now I’m gonna fanboy out, so crack open a Battle Brew and come along for the ride!

What’s the scoop?

What we know so far is that Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz are being combined together into one book. They will both have their own individual Allegiance available, as well as a combined Great Waaagh! allegiance. So, essentially Legions of Gordrakk.

Sounds good, right?

Not my Orruks

Well, some people don’t think so. I’ve heard more than a little kickback from Ironjawz players saying that they don’t want Bonesplitterz in their book. Some people are just dicks, and they can suck it up, but in fairness there is a rational reason behind some of the pushback – specifically, Ironjawz have waited so long for a proper book, that it was reasonable to expect that they would get a big update with new models when it eventually came. And this combined Battletome probably means that a significant second wave of Ironjawz models is still years away.

I hear ya.

Nonetheless, I think we can live without a big new release of models this time for the following reasons:

  • The model range is already outstanding. Brutes are the best orc miniatures that have ever been made by any company for any game system. The Maw Krusha looks like a clenched fist about to smash you in the face. In fact, the only true bum note across the two ranges is the Bonesplitterz Maniak Weirdnob – the rest of the Finecast (e.g. Wurgogg Prophet) is actually pretty good.

Pro Tip: Ardboyz can get a bad rep. They look way better with actual orc heads instead of the helmets. It’s those pseudo-viking helmets that make them look goofy – stick a proper head on there and see the difference.

  • The two ranges dovetail nicely. There is always room for more kits and more specialist units (more of which later), but between the two armies we already have chaff, support heroes, magic, shooting, elite infantry, both light and heavy cavalry, and a fucking ass-kicking smashmonster of DOOM. The combined range is in really good shape.
  • It fits the lore perfectly. These guys already fight together all the time. Firestorm told the story of Gulgaz Gutstompa and his Waaagh!, which pulled together Bonesplitterz, Ironjawz and plenty more besides under the leadership of this Savage Big Boss. Battletome Bonesplitterz has a story about an army of Ironjawz getting bogged down in a grind against Nurgle, only to be rescued by Bonesplitterz who came surging in with fresh energy to turn the tide. So don’t fight it, embrace the Savage Waagh! and fall in behind your new Bonesplitter overlords!
  • It’s been designed to fit everyone’s needs. I’m definitely biased here, because I play and love both armies. But at the end of the day, if you want to play pure Ironjawz…you can. If you want to play pure Bonesplitterz…you can. If you want to combine them…you can.

You can’t really say fairer than that in my opinion.

Low-Hanging Fruit

OK let’s bash out a few easy predictions:

The one-drop Battalions will become Skyports: I could see the three existing Bonesplitterz ones being ported straight across: the most magical one that gets better casting, the horde one that requires heaps of bodies and brings on more from board edges, and the one with the best pigs.

For Ironjawz, you could probably expect to see Ironsunz and Bloodtoofs come across. The third one is up for grabs.

There is some interesting lore already out there about a few other clans: my personal favourite is the Skybashas, who thunder around the skies in ramshackle flying vehicles. Brutes on hoverboards? Yes please!

Unfortunately this one ain’t happening , because it would require a bespoke model range, although it could make a really nice themed army if you fancied modelling up some HoverBrutes to use the Gore Gruntas warsrcoll.

You do have plenty of fertile ground to explore with the likes of the Asheater Boyz and Zedek’s Weirdlads, who will just burn down EVERYTHING…that opens up some really cool design space; for example my inner twat would love to burn down your faction terrain and remove it from the board. So it’ll be really interesting to see what they do come up with.

Zedek’s Weirdladz

Gordrakk will lose his Command Ability: Let’s be honest, it must be a huge millstone for the rules writers to have to consider the “What about Gordrakk” factor in every Battalion, in every book, in the whole GA. Getting rid of that (and replacing it with something more focused) will hopefully let GW cut loose with better Battalions in the long run.

Farewell to the Jank: There’s plenty of old rules here that need to be tidied up, both beneficial and harmful to the armies. All of those Within bubbles can expect to become Wholly Within; popping extra attacks for Bonesplitterz will be on Unmodified 6s; buffs will last until your next Hero phase; Strength From Victory will specify that you allocate wounds from the relevant weapon last; and so on, and so on, and so on.

We will get a Megaboss on Gore Grunta: as part of a Carrion Empire-style box. And he will be glorious.

Buckle up, let’s make some calls

So I haven’t really stuck my neck out too far up until now. Let’s run through a few riskier calls. Feel free to chime in with your own in the comments!

The Waaagh! Mechanic: We know from the Community article (linked above) that this is a resource you accumulate over the course of the battle, and choose when to unleash. I’m thinking that this will be something you can build up in multiple different thematic ways: for example, you could gain a number of Waaagh! points for every completed charge, for every 5 opponent models slain in the Combat phase, for every 10 Orruks within 12″ of your General at the start of your Hero Phase, and so on.

You will then have a range of options for how you spend it. Both Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz already have a summoning mechanic based on extra Ladz being drawn to the Battlefield by the pull of the Waaagh!, in this case via the Ardfist and Bonegrinz Batallions. The option to resurrect units via Batallions may or may not live on (unlikely in my opinion), but I do expect the Waaagh! mechanic to give the option to bring units on a board edge.

The other option (similar to Blood Tithe) will be to spend the resource on bonuses such as out of phase moves, out of phase combat activations, extra attacks and so on.

Ironclad means Ironclad: the article describes Ironjawz as “ultra-durable”. Now this could be typical Community-article hyperbole…or it could mean that they are getting a boost to their staying power.

I’m tipping that Ironjawz allegiance brings (the old) Ironclad Command Trait as an army-wide Battle Trait…so your whole army reduces rend by one. A mini version of Ethereal, which would be huge for an army on 4+ saves. It plays to the theme, too…they are plodding along at 4″ Move because they are covered head to toe in thick armour plate, so let’s see some upside from that!

A Magical Army That is Actually Good at Magic: For a supposedly magical army, Bonesplitterz are currently dreadful at it. Their magic was OK back in the day when pretty much everyone was casting and unbinding from scratch, but the wizards are woefully underpowered in the current meta. The only thing that keeps their magic relevant is that their buff spells are “Within” (not Wholly Within), enabling you to cast Brutal Beast Spirits and Hand of Gork from the backboard, out of unbind range…and this itself is probably on the way out.

Bonesplitterz are an army that channels primitive magical forces they do not themselves fully understand, sometimes catching the current just right and unleashing explosive forces on the world around them. This is already reflected by their bonuses effects for casting on a double, but I’d like to see this go a step further, with a Battle Trait stipulating that any casting rolls of a double are automatically succesful and cannot be unbound.

BOOM! How’d you like them apples? We could have a few nearby Orruk heads explode as a payoff, I’m OK with that. So essentially “Irresistible Force” from Chamon should be a thing for Bonesplitterz.

Kunnin Rukk will live on…in name only. Similar to Vanguard Wing, there will be a Batallion in the book with this name chiefly for nostalgia purposes, but it will have no link at all to the abilities of the current Kunnin Rukk. And I think most Bonesplitterz players will be ok with that.

Previous updates to the army (via General’s Handbook) have focussed entirely on hiking the points for Kunnin Rukk and its constituent parts, while doing nothing much to give the army a viable alternative playstyle. The net result has been to make much of the army (hellooo, Savage Orruks) comically inefficient in anything but a Kunnin Rukk.

A proper melee ‘n’ magic army (with some shooting support) would actually be bang on the money.

Prayers should be a thing: The Warchanter and Wardokk already have prayer-like effects; the Warchanter’s is great because you don’t have to roll for it, whereas the Wardokk’s is weak because it’s totally random. Both should be Priests. Frenzy of Violence would go off on a 3+ instead of being automatic, but on the flipside it would last until your next Hero Phase, and we can let him attempt a Prayer from the relevant Lore as well.

Similarly with the Wardokk, let him pray to Gorkamorka for an effect of his choosing (being heard on a 3+). Bonesplitterz are Gork and Mork’s Faith Militant, and as such one of the most overtly religious armies in the game.

It just. Makes. Sense.

More Bigga is More Betta: Will Gordrakk as General make Maw Krushas into Battleline? Frankly I don’t really care.

I’d love to see an effective Batallion containing 2 or 3 Maw Krushas: Double the Maw Krushas is Double the Fun, and it’s something I do love to run.

However, having 4 Maw Krushas and no troops would not be of interest to me personally. I like my Orruk armies to look like a rabble, with a couple of big monsters, some cavalry, and a whole heap of dickheads running around their ankles. I’m happy to let BCR get the big beasts as Battleline.

There’s nothing more thematic than a proper Destruction rabble

Don’t Ask = Don’t Get, Amirite?

OK, now let’s move on to the Wish List section.

Am I saying these things are likely to happen? Hellz no! BUT I WANT THEM, DAMMIT!

First cab off the rank is…

A Centrepiece Model for Bonesplitterz…Hear Me Out! So they hunt monsters and take their bones as trophies, they don’t keep them as pets. For that reason I personally prefer to Ally in things that don’t have bones: for example Arachnarok Spiders (chitinous exoskeleton) or the Rogue Idol. Having said that, I am totally two-faced enough to accept the Monster Hunter bonuses against my opponent’s keyword Monsters, regardless of what bones they do or do not have!

Rather than a Wyvern, I would love to see Bonesplitterz get a Wurggog Prophet on Mighty Boar Chariot. This is a buff wagon pulled by a team of like 6 or 8 Boars, with a Prophet on the back. Instead of a Howdah he has a coterie of his closest Wardokks. The design space for this is limitless, but I’m thinking AOE buffs that give all Boar units access to impact Mortal Wounds on the charge, and a spell that gives all Bonesplitterz units an extra pip of rend with melee weapons (kind of important if we’re serious about moving on from Arrow Boy spam).

So there you go, a centrepiece model and 14-wound Hero without an anti-thematic monster…easy!

I’m Not Generic, YOU’RE Generic! OK this is where I’m going to lose some people…I’d personally like to bring Greenskinz into the fold. Reason being, they fill a Battlefield Role as true chaff. Ardboyz are efficient for their points, but their minimum unit cost is 140 points, and that’s too much to leave standing back on a home objective, doing nothing and not even controlling much space.

Sometimes you just need some idiots to stand in a line 9″ from a board edge, or wear a Keeper of Secrets to the face.

Or putting at it another way, Ardboyz are cheap wounds, but they are not cheap bodies.

Enter the Greenskinz.

I’ve heard it said that these guys are too generic to be part of the Mortal Realms. Bullshit.

Leaving aside that “Normal Orruks” give context to “Big Orruks” or “Wild Orruks”, they are way less generic than something like Skeleton Warriors or Zombies, or generic medieval Germans in pantaloons for that matter. They are more than good enough to be Battleline goobers in a Green Soup book.

So I think the current models are perfectly fit for purpose, but if it’s too late to save them… I would LOVE to see the RKO Outta Nowhere when this book gets updated in the next cycle, with a new plastic Greenskinz kit bringing true 1-wound chaff to the army.

Integration of Forgeworld Monsters: My main concern with the evisceration of GA Destruction armies is where that will leave the Forgeworld big beasties. Things like the Magma Dragon are too big to fit into 400 points of Allies (and don’t have any appropriate keywords anyway), and the Rogue Idol (which was only rereleased 2 years ago) looks to be on thin ice with the Greenskinz keyword.

Won’t somebody please think of Sparky?

Gloomspite Gitz saw units such as the Troggoth Hag and Colossal Squig get the updated Keyword, which was great to see (as well as a cheeky buff to the Hag). I’d love to see the Orruk Warclans keyword added to some of the remaining FW Monsters – but maybe not the Dread Maw, let’s save him for Ogor Mawtribes.

Integration of Forgeworld Monsters (Alternative Version): Or….how about giving us a Batallion that includes “Any 1 Destruction Monster”?

There ya go, the whole Forgeworld range given a home forever, badda bing!

So whaddya reckon? Are you stoked for this book, or is this not the one for you?

Let me know what you hope and expect to see in this book in the Comments, or hit me up on Twitter @PlasticCraic


5 thoughts on “Battletome Orruk Warclans – Wishlist and Predictions

  1. Meh, it sounds like you are advocating a khorne-lite approach with prayers and a mighty wagh/blood tithe mechanic that gains power as the battle wears on. I’d say you are spot on with most things but I have a feeling a lot of current ork players wont be happy when their books get dragged into AOS 2 compliance. Then again their is a chance not everything will be wholly within Fyreslayers style. My only quibble is the combined force. Aren’t bonesplitterz on a mystical quest to kill every last monster in the realms. Running them with Maw Krusha’s or Magma dragons seems a bit like allied wizards in a khorne army.


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