Battletome Orruk Warclans: Bonesplitterz List Tech

Well here we go then! I’ve already had an extended moan about the overall state of my favourite army, so rather than go back over the same ground, you’re welcome to read my thoughts over on Goonhammer where I penned the Bonesplitterz section.

Look How They Massacred My Boy Meme GIF - Look How They Massacred My Boy Meme Massacre GIFs

I did also contribute briefly to the Ironjawz Warscrolls, and that was much more uplifting to write – so we’re going to have a lot of fun when we cover them and the Kruleboyz over the next couple of weeks. But the mood today is defiant: this is my favourite army, and it’s going to take a lot more than a frustrating update to stop me playing Bonesplitterz. So today is about looking for those positive outcomes.

Theory Crafting

The last Battletome was a great time for all of us Big Bosses, and considering the range has basically two kits, there were a huge range of competitive lists that arose:

  • You had the Drakkfoot Kunnin Rukk which was a really strong teams pick, metamorphosing into the Drakkfoot Curse list that preyed on Gotrek in early 3rd;
  • You had janky one-drop Big Rukks built around the rerollable 6++ warpaint;
  • You had King of the Orruks Ian Spink and his pigs zipping around the board at the speed of green light;
  • You had combat armies centred around either Pebbles or massive blocks of Savage Big Stabbas with their wild burst damage;
  • And you had the Facebook crowd up in arms about how awful Bonegrinz was, even while Benjamin Savva was winning a series of big events with it.

People love this army, and there is a solid group of us who will keep coming back to it, time and again. So if we want to keep on playing Bonesplitterz – and we do – what have we got to work with right now?

Forget about what worked before

The combo keeping Bonesplitterz afloat in early 3rd Ed has been slapping Curse on your Wardokks, hoping you get into range without being shot off, hoping you nail that 4+ and then banging a bajillion arrows (or spear pokes) their way. That ain’t gonna work any more, not least due to the minor fact that you lost your only Priest and therefore don’t have access to Prayers at all now. You also lost a huge volume of dice – Savage Orruks and Arrowboys are both down to a flat two attacks now, the latter lost access to a huge array of buffs, and to top it off the Monster Hunter table (which could also produce mortal wounds) has disappeared.

So forget any ideas you had about what was working, and let’s explore what might work now with fresh eyes.

Icebone is legit

Doesn’t take a genius to figure this one out – for an army with precious little rend, mortal wounds are money, and Icebone makes every wound roll of 6 (in melee) ping out mortal wounds equal to the weapon’s damage characteristic.

The combo that jumps off the page here is running pigs, and plenty of ’em. The Boarboys got the 5+ save tickle that they’d been crying out for, and both they and the Maniaks avoided the brutal points kicking that the foot sloggers took.

6s hit twice, you’ve got multiple ways to bump up your hit rolls, and every hit that bangs is liable to crack off a mortal wound or blast through at rend -2.

Fast, cheap and Battleline. So let’s run them then, shall we?

Now let’s not get carried away here – I’ve seen other reviews harping on about weight of dice, without mentioning at all the minor fact that Savage Orruks have dropped from 90 attacks to 60, so if you think you’re going to explode those big, unkillable death stars because “muh mortal wounds” then you’re in for a rude awakening.

Those things are still best contained or avoided, but against most normal units, it will add up to something meaningful – and it will feel amazing when you do spike.

The Bonesplitterz Waaagh can be seriously powerful

4++ aftersave? Don’t mind if I do! This is for a single combat phase only, so any army that’s shooting you off will give zero fucks, but against the majority of armies in the game it’s going to be utterly debilitating.

Already this is steering us in a specific direction – low drops, pregame move up the board and set up advanced positions. Send forward a scouting party of MSU pigs to skirmish with chaff while you zone off the objectives – your opponent has to clean them up first, then when they hit you with gusto in Round 2, it’s Waaagh O’Clock. The meat shield is therefore still standing staunchly going into Round 3, and you have a really solid lead on the primary objectives.

Wurggogs are fucking cooked

Whisper it…but these guys are off their tree. One Wurrgog can do an infinite numbers of mortal wounds, so what’s 6x infinity?

For anyone who doesn’t know how it works, the Wurggog Mask is the coolest little mini game in Warhammer, and it’s right there on their warscroll now along with a little update from how it used to work. What happens is that you stare at an opponent’s unit, and on the roll of a 3+ they take D3 mortal wounds. Then you have a choice: you can either keep staring at the fuckers, in which case the same thing happens again except that if you roll a 1 or 2, you take D6 mortal wounds instead. Rinse and repeat until one of you dies, or you choose to stop staring like a fucking coward.

The great thing here is that your main man has 7 Wounds (meaning that you can’t instajib yourself), and a 6+ Ward to help you on your way (make that a 4+ with the Glowy Tattooz artefact). It comes at a cost – you give up both casts on your 2-cast Wizard to do this – but if you’re not willing to strap yourself in for this wild ride I suggest you take up a more sedate hobby, one pitched squarely at the faint-hearted like knitting, or crossword puzzles, or lining up 100 Sentinels across the board.

If you’re keen on running a few of these fellas, the official model is amazing, but you probably don’t want 6 identical minis on the table. The plastic Wurrgog from the Underworlds Warband is also great, and I’ve invested in one of them; you can also happily use the Freddy Krueger dude from that kit as a Savage Big Boss or riding on the back of a Savage-themed Maw Krusha for example, because you certainly won’t be running the actual warscroll.

After that, you might be looking at converting some up. Beyond looking magicky and coming on a 32mm base, they’re gonna need a mask – but every Bonesplitterz player has a million shields in their bits box that can be clipped and converted to fit the bill.

I’ve got a hobby saw and a can-do attitude, so you just try and stop me.

Credit: Dale Penberthy @SirVikingMonkey

The List: That Guy Keeps Looking At Me Funny

Allegiance: Bonesplitterz
– Grand Strategy: Predator’s Domain
– Triumphs: Nope

Wurrgog Prophet (150)*
 Command Trait: Master of Magic
 Artefact: Mystic Waaagh! Paint
 Universal Spell Lore: Levitate
Wurrgog Prophet (150)*
 Artefact: Glowin’ Tattooz
 Bonesplitterz Spell Lore: Gorkamorka’s Warcry
Wurrgog Prophet (150)*
 Lore of the Savage Beast: Power of the Were-Boar
Wurrgog Prophet (150)***
 Lore of the Savage Beast: Glowy Green Tusks
Wardokk (80)****
 Lore of the Savage Beast: Glowy Green Tusks

10 x Savage Boarboys (280)**
 Reinforced x 1
5 x Savage Boarboys (140)***
5 x Savage Boarboys (140)***
5 x Savage Boarboys (140)****
5 x Savage Boarboys (140)****

4 x Savage Big Stabbas (160)**
 Reinforced x 1
4 x Savage Big Stabbas (160)**
 Reinforced x 1
4 x Savage Big Stabbas (160)***
 Reinforced x 1

Core Battalions
**Hunters of the Heartlands

Additional Enhancements

Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 171
Drops: 13

“All the Big Stabbas you own” has always been a good rule of thumb for the most fun you can have with this army. We’re taking that and adding the megalulz of “All the Wurrgog Prophets” you own – let’s goooooo!

Those Big Stabbas might not get the exploding 6s to hit, but they do get 2 mortal wounds for every 6 to wound from Icebone, so they’re still getting plenty of juice from your army tech.

Meanwhile your bossman is jacking up the bonuses to cast from the Waaagh! Paint Artefact – everyone is bringing monsters right now, so you can pregame move into range for those +1s if you need to. Crack off a Wardokk buff, to go with his Master of Magic generic Command Trait, and he should be in a great position to decimate your opponent’s largest unit with his Warscroll spell.

Spells aren’t as important as they used to be for this army, so we’ll generally be happy to stare the shit out of our opponents at every opportunity. We’ve taken Levitate on our boosted caster (since it’s CV8) and that will generally be an early game bunker-setter-upper (coupled with mystic shield), or late game “oh shit” button to dramatically reposition a unit where it’s least expected, or even to vault a screen with some suicide Stabbas.

There’s redundancy on the shiny new rend spell, mainly since we really want to play with it but also because it’s pretty bloody good, and the other spells are all tech choices for as and when they are needed. With a large number of small combat units, Warcry will really come into its own, but Plan A really is to stare as much as possible and use magic and dances primarily for +1s to save on our screens.

Our dream scenario is to set up little bunkers of Big Stabbas hitting over the top of screens, with Wurggogs dancing around beside them, and we can use our pregame move and Vanguard runs to get there.

I’m not saying that this is a cutting-edge competitive army (it’s not) – nor even the most competitive direction you can go within Bonesplitterz. But what it does do is showcases all the best new toys that the faction has at its disposal in one list, to get us excited about playing this army again: we’re cruising with the rend -2 and mortal wound damage combo on the pigs, taking loads of those fuckers, cramming in a frankly irresponsible volume of Big Stabbas since they got cheaper and mercking entire units just by looking at them funny. Glorious.

The More Competitive Version

Geez, lighten up would ya? It’s only a bloody game.

You wouldn’t catch me running 90 Arrow Boyz in a one-drop Kunnin Rukk back in the day, that’s for damn sure.

If you don’t like it…get Rukked

If you did want to tighten the list up a little, I’d look at running something similar in a double Battle Regiment to get your drops right down. I do believe that this army really needs more than 3 Heroes, and yet the pregame move is exponentially more powerful when you have control over what happens next, so 2-drop is the sweet spot here. Plus, y’know, the whole alpha bunker thing we talked about.

In that scenario you’re definitely running the Savage Big Boss, and giving him the Great Hunter Trait for an 8″ pregame move, with the Glowin’ Tattooz artefact so that your 6+ save dickhead of a General might actually survive until the crucial Waaagh turn.

Beyond that, you’re trimming down the Wurggogs and the Big Stabbas, and ploughing those points and reinforcements back into more pigs – and you wouldn’t be crazy to chuck some MSU Morrboyz in there to bump up your wound count further, and throw a heap more dice into the Icebone pool. It’s essentially the same army and playstyle, but trading off a little of the dumb fun for a bit more backbone and substance. That’s probably how I’d run it at a 2-dayer.

The Alternative

You could totally still spam the shit out of Arrow Boys. They operate fine as MSU units in Bonegrinz – you can quite realistically jam in over 100 of them, with 3 shots each, and the required support heroes. You end up sitting on 230 wounds or thereabout, but your output will be very limited – while Arrow Boys now have 2 attacks each in combat, they are still 1″ reach on 32mm bases, with no rend and damage 1. You’ve also traded away your mortal wound output, so it really is just about jamming up the board with muscle and blood as you bludgeon your way through with volume of dice.

It’ll be crap to play with and against, but I’ve got loads of those fuckers painted and ready to go, so I reserve the right to crack them out of storage if Stormcast Dragon cheese takes off as I fear it might. Rend -1 will be enough to batter through whichever unit(s) don’t have All Out Defence so it is worth having up your sleeve if your metagame is already giving you a bleak experience.

Credit: Dale Penberthy @SirVikingMonkey

So Is It Any Good?

I honestly believe that the Drakkfoot Curse list was worth a place at any teams event, and there’s nothing that powerful in here to my mind. That being said, the sheer insanity of the Wurggog Mask will cure a lot of problems, and fishing for mortals on 6s will always be good fun.

So although I think the army has taken a pretty heavy knock in power level – it was a below-the-radar A Tier attrition army beforehand, in my opinion – if you’re willing to go nuts, it can be wild fun to play now. I believe that the more competitive builds will be less fun, and it’s not an army I would take to an event where I was hoping to podium, but there are some very cool lists in here that I would be more than happy to rock at a one-dayer.

Lazer-eyed Gargant Massacre

But a one-dayer is not enough for a legend like Will Potter, oh no. He’s running a 6 Wurggog list at a GT over in the UK at the end of October, and I am enabling this stupidity supporting his endeavors with the promise of one packet of Tim Tams mailed over to him, plus one more packet for every game he wins.

Will has cheered up everyone in the Bonesplitterz WhatsApp group with tales from his first practice game, where he took on Soulblight skellies with a Mercenary Gargant on Feral Foray. Let’s see what went down.

Soulblight Turn 1

  • Soulblight had the drop and took first turn: the Mega struts forward, and up pop 20 Graveguard from their gravesite, outside of 9″
  • The Graveguard whiff the charge leaving them exposed, but the Mega makes it and smashes into Will’s screen of 10 boars, killing only 2 of them for the loss of 2 wounds himself

Bonesplitterz Turn 1

  • Will successfully casts the -2 rend spell on a unit 5 boars. New shiny, let’s go!
  • Then the fun begins….. The first Wurggog uses Laser-eyes on the Gargant doing 20 wounds before his own head explodes. The second Wurggog finishes off the big chump, with one wound remaining himself
  • Those 8 Boars and a unit of 2 Big Stabbas are now free of the Mega, so they take the opportunity to move up and charge into a unit of 20 skellies. BAM! the pigs delete them
  • The buffed unit of 5 boars charge into the 20 Graveguard, killing 14. The rest run to battleshock

By this stage, Will has taken one of his opponent’s backline objectives so when he secures priority into 2, that’s all she wrote! Soulblight concedes and can do nothing but stare in disbelief at the tattered remains of their army.

Unfortunately that left plenty of time for a rewrack, and we won’t dwell on that because Soulblight won that one; although the same Laser-eye trick did take the scalps of 5 Black Knights, a Wight King on Steed and a second one on foot.

FUCK YES!!!!!!

I’ll be back next week with some filthy Kruleboyz list tech from one of the best competitive players around, so in the meantime, have a great weekend you bunch of big nerds.

Cover image: Adam Bray’s Hearthguard about to get utterly fucked by my Big Stabbas. 3″ is plenty, that’s my motto

2 thoughts on “Battletome Orruk Warclans: Bonesplitterz List Tech

  1. I think a lot of people are still in the AoS 2.0 mindset when looking at Bonesplitterz. If they are the new template, Im excited to see whats next. Nothing is over the top, the points need some work but when does GW ever get the points right the first time.

    Liked by 1 person

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