Battletome Orruk Warclans: A Celebration

So the waiting is over, and we’ve all got our little green paws on the book! To celebrate the release we’ve all been waiting for, we have a special article this week: I’ve invited some stalwarts of the Destruction community from all around the world to share their early thoughts.

We’ll be looking at some combos that jump off the page, our favourite Warscrolls and analysing some list building blocks. Let us know your own thoughts in the Comments!

I’ll be doing my own in-depth review of the book over the next couple of weeks, but for today, let’s smash a 12″ charge straight into it!

Ian Spink, United Kingdom

Ian is one of the most respected and beloved players on the UK tournament scene. A staunch Bonesplitterz loyalist, Ian rode the Green Wave all the way to Masters last year.

I am a player who is not a big fan of the Kunnin Rukk: yes I know it’s strong, yes I know it has been on the podium at recent events, but I am a stubborn old fool and it’s not really the way I like to play. This is why I feel Bonesplitterz my way has started to feel a little behind the curve this year. That’s not surprising as the book is over 4 years old.

I have enjoyed playing Bonesplitterz for that time and winning is not really my primary goal, although I do try to win more games than I lose at a tournament.

So when Ben Johnson grabbed me as I entered Warhammer World on the Open Day and literally dragged me to a little glass case to show me the 1st display of the new book I was over the moon.

Hopes for the book

My hopes for the new book before it arrived were fairly simple,: don’t mess with the fun stuff, and tweak the stuff you never see to make it at least a choice. Oh, and some Endless Spells and scenery.

I got my hands on the book on Saturday, and after skipping past the Ironjawz section and the Big Waaagh, I landed happily in the Bonesplitterz section. I like that they have put all the Orruk rules in one book, I like they are still separate things if you want them to be and I like you can combine them if that is what you want to do. More options are never a bad thing.  I am a pure Bonesplitterz player so I will look at the other options later. Mind you I did play a game against Ironjawz the other night after the scrolls went live on the app, and boy does a unit of 10 Brutes buffed with +1 damage hurt!

There were 2 things I said when asked about the new book when people asked: Don’t turn Hand of Gork into a generic teleport, and leave my Wurggog Mask as it is.

Well I got one of my two wishes, Breath of Gorkamorka is now better than Hand of Gork as the Movement buff and Fly keyword last until the next Hero Phase. I am sure this will catch some people out. For the Kunnin Rukk move this means flying and double move in the Hero Phase, and for charges we now fly over screens, happy happy days.

The Mask is still good but it’s no longer for me, I happily took the risk every time to just keep rolling the die until one of us was dead. More times than not I died after 2-3 wounds but those times it did 20+ mortal wounds stick in my memory: inflicting 26 mortal wounds on a unit of Enlightened was certainly a highlight.

Winners and losers

I love the way all of the scrolls have had a revamp and all just hit a little bit harder. The big winners I think are Savage Orruks with spears, and Orruk Boar Boys with spears. Unfortunately I think with the loss of the horde bonus, Morboys now slip into second place behind spears. Maybe in small units they could work, but units of 30 seem to be a waste now.

Big Stabbas took a hit but got better overall. Their mortal wounds on death now triggering on a 4+ is disappointing, but the extra attack and the extra +1 to hit is great, and I love that they can run and charge. With all the buffs on them, that’s 21” move in the 1st turn, hitting on 2 with a 4+ save and 6+ after save. That’s a lot of points to buff one unit, but boy will it make a mess.

Boars are movement 12″! Oh happy days. Again we got some good with some bad, I feel the loss of the second pile in for the Maniaks is big. In a world where we have whole armies fighting at different points in the Combat Phase it’s a shame this little trick was removed from us. I am just going to have to be happy with more attacks, damn it would have been nice if they hit on 3+ though.

I am most disappointed by the lack of Endless Spells and scenery, a nice Monty Python style foot lovingly painted green would have made an excellent centre piece for any Orruk army.

Tim Holbrook, United Kingdom

Tim is a Grots stalwart, making his first steps into playing the bigger greenies. Tim is known for his creative list-building, being the brains behind the Gloomspite “Launchpad List” and the Gordrakk Fanatics Bomb. Whereas many people leave such innovative ideas in the studio and settle for running standardised lists at events, Tim walks the walk by actually running them at major tournaments, always painted and presented to an exceptionally high standard.

Warboss Timmy’s Ironjawz Thoughts

3 favourite scrolls:

Basically all the chargey smashy ones. I love Gore Gruntas for big movement and charge bonuses. 2s and 2s feels like a unit of Heroes, it’s great!  You even get some token mortal wounds on the charge which is nice.

But the real chargey smashy scroll is of course the Megaboss on Maw Krusha, I love how customisable these things are now: you can make one of them tanky and one of them very smashy and chargey.  

Finally, the Warchanter – drop some beats, deal some extra damage, and again I like the choice of buffs.


What I’m finding is that crazy wombo combos are optional: one thing I already like about this book is that it’s pretty easy to just run forward and kill things without being too smart about it.

So my favourite combo is a Megaboss on Maw Krusha, and a Megaboss on Maw Krusha.

I load up one for burst damage:

  • Live to Fight Command Trait to reroll wounds
  • Metal Rippas Claw Artefact for Rend -3
  • Mean ‘Un Mount Trait for Damage 3 attacks

And one for durability:

  • Ethereal Amulet
  • Mount Trait to ignore spells on a  4+

I call them Spank and Tank, and of course I name them the wrong way round for mind games.

I send in Spank (the durable one, remember) with some pigs to kill chaff and pin stuff down, then send in the chargy smashy one (Tank) with even more pigs to kill the exposed stuff.

All with Warchanter buffs of course, hopefully rolling 3d6 to charge on the chargey smashy one to hop over stuff.

The chargey smashy is loaded out so that only the hit rolls need buffing, which there are Command Abilities to help with. And I won’t need that many CPs, cos everything will be dead in 2 turns, right?

List building

I tend to focus on one gimmick and then build things around that, with mixed but fun results, exacerbating strengths and ignoring weaknesses whilst hoping for the best. I hope that this book will reward such a playstyle…we’ll see!

In my initial list (few models, fast to paint up) it’s all about pinning down the scary stuff with a pretty tanky Maw Krusha, and killing chaff with Warchanted Gorefist pigs – even 3 of them can dish out enough damage to kill stuff. They are a throwaway meat-rocket, to deal with what seems a big weakness for the Ironjawz: chaff screens.

2 Warchanters seems better than 1, allowing you to buff up and charge in 2 units of spicy meat each turn.  This means that after your kamikaze pigs are dead, you need two more chargey killy units to do it all again – so another Maw Krusha (otherwise your free artefact and mount trait is wasted), and an even bigger unit of pigs.

I think most lists will need some ways to get free Command Points somehow, or spend them for free, but there are lots of options for that.  And ways to move really far, which again there are lots of options for.

Missed opportunities

  • The Weirdnob Shaman seems a bit weak; I prefer a Fungoid with Arachnacauldron.  This gives the army some play in Activation Wars via Itchy nuisance, buffs his casting and unbinds, and is another sneaky way to trigger free movement for the ladz via Mad as Hell.
  • The Warclans. I really want to like them, but the Traits and Artefacts they force on your Megaboss is just … I can’t let go of all that smashy chargey stuff above that excites me.
  • The WAAAAAAGH! I thought this would be the big thing in the book, that lists are built around and players dream about.  Seems a bit … shit?  Great on many units of Ardboyz though. But the chargey killy stuff I like barely benefits from it. The real WAAAAAGH! in this book is the Warchanter buff.

Dalton Copeland, Australia

Dalton is one of Australia’s top Destruction players, regularly repping the Boys in Green at major events. We also have an ongoing personal rivalry, since we are both usually contenders for Best In GA Destruction at any large tournament we both attend. This year I won out at SAGT and Lord of War, but Dalton got up at BBBB. Zenith is still looking for his first.

3 Favourite Warscrolls

Big Stabbas
Boy did these lads get a dream buff, now up to 3 attacks and rocking a 3+ to hit.  With some delicious running and charging baked into their warscroll , these lads have turned from something you’d put in a ‘fun’ list to a legitimate threat.

Wurrgog Prophet
Another case of a cool model getting decent rules, I’m glad that my Wurrgog will finally be ready to lead his Warclan in battle, especially with his new 4+ for a Command Point and warscroll spell: Fist of Gork.  While you do need to cast it on a 10+ to get the improved effect, it turns out it’s not all that hard to get casting buffs in this book.

This glorious, angry, head of cabbage is now the Destruction equivalent of a Terrorgheist.  It hits hard on its base rules, with an extra wound and +1 attack each turn you kill anything.  Smart play will see this turn into the boulder trap from Raiders of the Lost Ark.  With the new Mount Traits, not mention all the combos you can build from the Artefact list and the obligatory Warchanter buffs, all will learn to fear the mighty cabbage!

Coolest Combo

So my experience of writing really hard lists came from the heady days of deathstars in 7th ed Warhammer 40k, and there’s still a little bit of me that loves nothing more than pushing a super buffed unit over my opponent’s army.  So as an ode to those days, here is a quick recipe for my ‘Big Stabbstar’:

1. Teef Rukk: so what’s the first thing we need for our cake of doom? More attacks!  The Batallion also comes with a Savage Big Boss, adding some explosive fun with his Command Ability.  Sure we have to keep the Boss within 12”, but you can also take a Greenskins Warboss (pre FAQ) and have him baby sit the nutters with the giant stabby branch.

2. Big Waaagh! Allegiance: Now before you get upset and start yelling at me about where is the extra movement that we get from the Bonesplitterz allegiance, I know it’s good, but our cake of doom needs to hit and wound better, and that’s what Big Waaagh gives us with 20 Waaagh Points.  We also get Mad as Hell and +1 to charge to compensate.

3. Maniak Weirdnob: This mad Orruk on a pig is the third ingredient to our mix, providing another exploding hit on every unmodified 6.

4. And finally before we whack this bad boy in our proverbial oven we sprinkle a bit of Wurrgog with Breath of Gorkamorka into our stabby batter, making our mad lads twice as fast (three times if we roll a double) and fly until our next hero phase.  Chaff lines, what chaff lines? We got places to go, and big monsters to stab, repeatedly.  He can also provide extra CPs to allow us to run 6” before we charge, or reroll a failed charge.

Our final cake looks like this: 8 to 10 attacks hitting on 2s, wounding on 2’s, -2 rend, d3 damage (d6 against Monsters), all 6’s to hit exploding into 3 hits, while moving at least 10″, flying and running and charging. And this is for an entry-level unit of two Big Stabbas: one unit, tiny cake.

Best part about all this is that you bring most of these ingredients in an army anyway, so the stabby goodness is not only fun, it’s also not a huge investment of points. It is priceless to see your opponent get mauled by a 100 point unit then have it just throw mortals back at them when they die.

List Building Blocks

Now having mentioned what you’d bring in a list anyways here’s some list building blocks I’m currently finding in a lot of my lists:

Kunnin Rukk: cue the groans from everyone who isn’t an Orruk, this slightly toned down Battalion is still rocking.  A Big Boss plus two units of 20 arrow boys is two battleline slots covered, plus it provides a Hero to buff your other non-shooty infantry, a CP and an artefact all for 720 points. This can also be really good in a Drakkfoot, because being able to kill those murder-blender Witch Aelves / Plaguemonks / Terrorgheists / Daemonettes / Keepers of Secrets, or anything relatively threatening or with a damage prevention roll from range is the thing Greenskinned dreams are made of.

Gorefist: Goregruntas are cool yeah? So Goregruntas moving 18” turn one must be extra cool right? This Battalion coupled with a Mighty Destroyers move is a viable way of getting a buffed up 6-man Goregrunta unit into an opponent’s lines, moving 27” then a potential d6” from Mad as Hell.  Add in a 2d6” charge…yes please, I’ll have my 45” move thanks!  If nothing else, it lets you go hunting for the more fragile parts of your opponent’s list while the rest of your army crashes into their scary stuff.

30 Savage Orruks: Now that you can get these guys down to a 3+ save with Wardokk buff plus a Kunnin Beast Spirits cast, this big block of green ass can tarpit pretty well all of a sudden, keeping your arrow mobs safe to rain down hell on the enemy.  They put out a fair number of attacks in combat to boot.

Now this is definitely not all you can do with what we have in the book, I’ve barely touched on things like Icebone Warclan boar units that can move 53” to 68” a turn or how to get multiple triggers of Mad as Hell per turn (the answer is Gloomspite), but these are some things I think are really handy and I hope they help.

Donal Taylor, Northern Ireland

Donal is one of the world‘s most accomplished competitive wargamers. His many achievements include a Top 10 at London GT 2018 with Stoneklaw’s Gutstompa’s Allegiance, and 5-0 at Facehammer GT 2018 with Mixed Destruction. Donal also ruined the Command Ability “I’m Da Boss, Now Stab ‘Em Good” for the rest of us forever, by unleashing Moonclan Grots with a Damage characteristic of 128 per swing on a world that just wasn’t ready.

Grots are da best.

Ollie Grimwood, United Kingdom

Ollie is a long-term orcs player with a focus on narrative play and rule of cool. Follow him on Twitter for some of the best Destruction-themed conversions and painting around.

The Narrative

It’s no secret I love Orruks. Those big green maniacs are what floats my boat in the Mortal Realms. I was ecstatic at the release of the book, and it delivers. 

Due to the dual (triple?) nature of the book there’s a little less room for narrative, however what it’s lost in width, it’s made up in quality. The most important is the confirmation of them being mushroom monsters, fighting fungi, tussle truffles. 

Orruks not being green humans is part of the interest for me. They have no gender and the battle is a critical part of their reproductive cycle. It gives a great motivation for their behaviour and sets them apart from the other very humanesque nature of most of the other fantasy races. 

The Warscolls have all been rewritten and greatly simplified; granted this has meant the loss of the magnificent Brute Boss Klaw and Basher weapon option. However the less wordy rules-ridden scrolls make for a better in-battle experience, and their brutal simplicity has a distinctly Orrukish feel.


A few highlights are the new Maw Krusha which is now a touch more survivable, but much more offensively capable with almost twice as many attacks. With the inclusion of mount traits, the Maw Krusha’s fist are capable of 8 damage 3 attacks. Much more fitting for a model which exudes so much physical menace. 

A raft of similar simplifications are present in the Bonesplitterz ‘scrolls, most pleasingly with the Morboys. Gone are less impactful separate toof shivs and the situational and weak death ride. They’ve been replaced with a straight 3 attack combined melee attack, and a bonus attack at a strength of 15 or more models. Power of the Beast Spirit remains. Even in minimum sized units they’re still a dangerous proposition. 

The Wurrog Prophet still shines. Its now combined melee profile has lost rend on two of its attacks, but has gained D3 damage on them all, a fine trade off. Its Squiggly Beast companion still accompanies its owner into battle.

Gone is the Command Ability, replaced by a Command Point generation ability the Command Abilities that come with the Allegiance. The ability to cast 2 spells is still there, and the Fists of Gork spell has increased range, a decreased casting roll and boosted enhanced effect.

In  one of my favourite combos, with the correct Traits and Artefacts a Wardokk-boosted Big WAAAGH Prophet could be casting 3 spells in a Hero Phase with +5 to cast for an impressive magic assault. 

Allegiance Abilities

Allegiance abilities are boosted for both Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz.  For me however it’s all about the Big WAAAGH, allowing for a mix of units which will build WAAAGH points. These give cumulative bonuses as they increase, which mixes some the abilities from the other two Allegiances with extras thrown in, such as an Army wide WAAAGH +1 to hit and +1 to wound.

These bonuses are available for any Orruk units meaning a complementary army of Jawz and Splitterz is great under this Allegiance. It’s also worth noting Greenskinz are still in the GHB and possess the Orruk keyword meaning they’ll still generate WAAAGH points and benefit from its bonuses, for now at least. 

A resounding WAAAGH

If there’s one missed opportunity it’s the lack of a new unit or two. With the Warscoll rewrites, the army does feel new but it would have been a perfect opportunity to correct the Ard Boys’ posture to fit with that of Brutes and Bonesplitterz. There was also the chance to take a leaf from FEC and put the Arrow Boy weapons sprue in with the Boarboys, to create a mounted archer unit. It’s nothing critical but might have been a nice touch. 

Taken altogether Warclans is a detailed and versatile book (and I’ve not even mentioned the freebie Warclan rules for the pure Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz armies) which just feels right. It’s a resounding WAAAGH from me.

Seth Cook, New Zealand

Seth is all Destruction, all the time. “The Goonboss” is always a live contender for Best Opponent Votes, and made a big splash in Australia when he took a Skitterstrand-based Gloomspite list to 4-2 at Cancon 2019. Seth’s speciality is building hyper-damage wombo combos, including a Spider Boss that could dish out a surreal volume of Mortal Wounds in his Skitterstrand list.

3 favorite warscrolls

Warchanter: already a modern classic, this guy is absolutely essential in any Ironjawz list. It cannot be stated often enough how strong his +1 damage ability is.

Wurgogg Prophet: two casts, a kickass warscroll spell, CP generation and an extra wound. What’s not to love!

Savage Orruks: Extra attacks and access to stacking +1s to save make these a real force to be reckoned with. Finally more than just a chunk of wounds.

Coolest Combo

So you thought the Savage Big Boss was a Batallion tax? Not with this loadout….

First he takes the Monster Killa Command Trait, which allows him to pile and attack a Monster twice.

Then he takes the Greatdrake Tooth Artefact, that makes unmodified 6s to wound cause double damage, going from 2 to 4.

Then he uses his Command Ability on himself: unmodified 6s to hit are now 2 hits. This gives him potential of 12 hits.

Then cast Bone Spirit on him from a Maniak Weirdnob, giving him another exploding hits on unmodified 6s to hit (every 6 is now 3 hits).

So he goes from 6 to 18 potential hits per pile in. And if he’s fighting a Monster, unmodified 6s to wound cause a mortal wound in addition to regular damage. 

So you’re looking at potentially 18 attacks that are 4 damage each, plus 18 mortal wounds, and doing it all twice.

That is a potential 180 damage in a single Combat Phase.

All you have to do is roll nothing but 6s for all your Hit rolls and all your Wound rolls, which I have mathed out at 1 in 4,738,381,338,321,616,896

A cheeky little 4.7 quintillion to one shot…easy! If enough Orruks believe in it, it’ll happen, right?

List Building

I’ll be using a lot of the following foundations in my armies:

Savage Orruks: as described above, these guys are now a really solid Battleline choice.

Ways to build Waaagh: I’m pretty keen on the Big Waaagh, and it’s important to have a feel for how quickly you can expect to build up points in the first couple of turns.

Buff synergy: our units benefit massively from their support Heroes, so you need to be all over buff ranges, which buffs are locked to certain phases and so on.

Missed Opportunities

I’d have loved to see a pip of Rend on Morboys.

I’d also love to see a new Wurgogg Prophet on Chariot in the future.

Frank DeLoach – USA

Frank is co-founder of the We Slay Dragons wargaming club in California, USA: WSD are regulars on the top tables of the ITC competitive scene. Frank’s videos are legendary in the Gloomspite Gits WhatsApp group, and also kinda NSFW.

Oi Ladz! Big Boss Frank here, let’s do some talking about my three favorite units and combos in the new Orruk Warclans!

Favourite Units and Combos

Wurgogg Prophet! 

This lad does all da magic needed for da Waagghh. At 160 points he’s a two spell caster, -1 to hit in combat and gets a chance at a Command Point every hero phase on a 4+! That’s such value.

His warscroll spell is GREAT! Fist of Gork: CV 5, pick an enemy unit within 24” visible to them. Roll a dice for each model in the unit, with each 6 causing a mortal wound. Cast this on a 10+, mortals happen on a 4+. 

Combo: Wurgogg Prophet as the General, take the Command Trait Waaagh!-Monger (another chance on a 4+ for an extra CP) or Dead Kunnin (D3 extra command points at the start of the game).

Combine this with the Mystic Waagghh Paint! Now you’ve got a super-solid caster, dumping 2 lore spells a turn while creating more Command Points for you! Stick this Savage on a Balewind and watch him go to THREE CASTS per turn! 

Ard Boyz

Well, these little bastards saw a BIG boost in the new Battletome. With straight 3/3 -1 1 damage on the profile, throwing 2 attacks per model (4 for the leader), you can see already why their price tag of 90 points for 5 is relevant.

Are they a touch over costed when next to a similar unit like Thralls? I don’t think so, having 2 out of every 5 Ladz shrug regular wounds on a 6 is huge! Oh, did I mention you can take them in 5’s?! That’s a BIG deal, now you can run a pesky tough little screen. 

Combo: These dudes are straight utility, you can use them as small screens or a big heavy hitting anvil if you have the points available. It’s a SOLID choice for smashing choppas into enemy faces.

Take these bro’s in a Big Waaagh and once you hit 12 Waaagh points, they gain another 6+ DPR save; this one also shrugs Mortal Wounds! 10 Ard Boyz buffed with extra damage from a Warchanter in Big Waagghh is a serious threat. 

Megaboss on Foot

Waaagghh!!! Da boss man himself! (Megaboss Leznar! Da big bad of Krump’n Ladz!). He has a cleaned-up attack profile, built in wound reflection on a straight 6 for saves, and Strength from Victory is so easy to buff up now.

For 150 points this guys is a SAVAGE! I love using him. 

Combo: He’s just a good beatstick: his stats make him basically a super consistent Daemon Prince who gets better with fights.

What this guy loves is artefacts! Personal favorites are Thermalrider Cloak for the +4” move and fly, or Gryph Feather Charm for -1 to hit and +1” move. This gives him more mobility, helping to keep him in buff ranges and doing some SMASHING! 

Honorable mentions

Fungoid Cave Shaman with Scuttletide: Umm… maybe the best ally for 90 points. Take Scuttletide to block off board space, do damage and even hit your own dudes to get you moving. 

Big Waaagh!: Alright I’m just putting this on here because it gives so much flexibility and tool kit to get your Ladz in the mix and doing some proper Krump’n! 

So there we have it! This book has loads going on, and it’s got enough variety and tech to explore to keep any Megaboss occupied for years without getting bored.

I’ll be continuing to explore this book over the next week or two, so stay tuned for more articles and don’t forget to let me know your own favourite units and combos in the comments.

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