Battletome Orruk Warclans: Kruleboyz, with Corey Papinniemi

Corey Papinniemi is, along with Joel Graham, current co-holder of the Australian Master title. Corey writes his own lists, plays with scrupulous table etiquette and barely ever drops a game. He’s a gentleman on the table and away from it, a paragon of winning games the right way and – let’s be honest – not above running pure filth. So when he speaks, you might want to listen.

Corey my man, thanks for doing this!  So how the devil are you?

Hey mate and it’s my pleasure. It’s currently the beginning of school holidays and as a teacher, life is amazing. It means catching up on hobby, cheeky games of hammers during the day with the boys, all while sinking beers and throwing shade. Living the dream.

You lucky bastard! Can you tell us a bit about your background, and how you got into Warhammer?

So my name is Corey Papinniemi and I’m a 30-something, father of one Arts teacher in Queensland that is immensely obsessed with hammers, with a wife that lets me get away with it. Before getting into the hobby I was largely involved with high-level competitive gaming (Ascension Gaming), playing regularly at state and national level tournaments for various games (including League, SF4/5, Melee/brawl, SC2, Hearthstone, PoE ladder racing and more).

However, after a long while I got sick and tired of looking at a screen for my hobby/down time and decided I should make some IRL friends that I could share a beer with. Hammers was always something I was drawn to when I was young, but back then the cost barrier kept me out. I decided to step into a GW store one day, met the Master Dave Kerr who walked thrashed me through my first game of AoS and invited me to come along to the local Brisbane GT. I was hooked ever since.

Dave Kerr for your first game! School of hard knocks there, brother. You’ve obviously got the warrior’s spirit to come back fighting though.

Now I’ve gotta say, I was stoked when you told me you were committing to Kruleboyz, because your track record proves that with a decent set of tools you’ll find a dominant list. So what attracted you to Kruleboyz as an army?

I have always been Destruction curious (I’ve got some cheeky One-dayer podiums with Big Waaagh and BCR) but the joint aesthetic (LOTR orcs) and ‘sneaky kunnin’ flavour of the K-Boyz had my interests piqued day one. What really sold me on the army overall was the absolute monopoly on the most prized resource in a game based on save staking – mortal wounds, which we will go into more later.

3+ save, 2+ save, 1+ save, who cares right? K-Boyz bypass that and go straight to the ward – unless they switch that off too hey!

Now what are your initial thoughts on the Warclans book?

‘2 outta 3 aint bad?’ It has to be said that it’s a shame to see Bonesplittaz being put to the wayside with so many fully-invested fans in that iconic army. F’s in the chat…

Conversely, I think they absolutely nailed Ironjawz and you’ll definitely see me pulling out my Brutes and cabbages off the shelf for some one-dayer love, that’s for sure.

As for K-boyz it’s a serious love-hate relationship. It would only take one or two slightly tweaked rules to seriously put these boyz at the top of the S-tier pile and defining the meta (much like another recently released book). But alas, I think it was either a stroke of genius or a happy accident that has tempered the possibilities for this faction to literally take off whole armies in a single turn.

I do think they have serious play, but are very unforgiving – the army is slow and deployment is massive. As long as people avoid the traps and play to the strengths of the army it will see strong placements. Sadly I think stats-wise it will be low and people will buy them, spam a particular unit and get stomped and then sell them the next day (in fact it’s already happening…)

Couldn’t agree more. So which direction do you intend to go with it – how will you win games with this army on top tables?

So I am an incredibly competitive person and when it comes to hammers, it’s not different. It doesn’t matter if it’s Masters top tables game 5, or the local meet and greet with the boys – I play to win. And when writing lists, my goal is always pushing for the 5-0.

The best way I find to achieve this is counter-meta writing rather than point efficiency and math hammer. Whenever choosing an army to play and writing lists, it isn’t just about making a point-efficient list where you min-max on wound efficiency and what units have the highest potential damage in the book (looking at you, Boltboyz). You have to consider the strengths and weakness of the book, the current meta environment and the win conditions of the GHB at the time.

After playing 30-40 games with the K-boyz I ultimately feel the best approach is a mixed arms, counterpunch style army that plays like Skaven in 2.0: utilising both the power projection of the Boltboyz – with their insane point and click buffs – but also the underappreciated melee power of the book.

Are there any traps in here that people should avoid in list building?

HEAPS! Let’s start with the elephant in the room – Boltboyz. I recently made a cheeky post on a FB page (why bother I know) that said Boltboyz were a trap and was dumbfounded to see how many people thought I was joking…

Don’t get me wrong – you aren’t leaving home without them, but spamming them into an orruk gunline is the biggest trap in the book. Let me explain: On paper Boltboyz posses the potential the power to put an average of 15 mortal wounds into your opponent’s army per turn, and the buffs don’t need you to roll a single dice.

Not only that, but coupled with ‘Covered in Mud’ (Allegiance Ability) and ‘Supa Sneaky’ (Command Trait) they can be plonked anywhere outside 9” pre game, and can’t be seen by your opponent’s spell casting or shooting – all at a very low point cost, and acting as Battleline to boot.

However, the Shamans need to be within 3” to give out Poison (hello Hag Queens of old), their shooting profile is forced based on movement, and they are 2 wounds each on a 6+ save… This means that the alpha gunline you were hoping for doesn’t exist.

You can’t cheekily Lauchon the Shammies into position (because Poison is at start of your Hero phase), using the Bridge means they haven’t moved therefore no multi shot, Supa Sneaky means no Poison because you’re out of reach as well as committing a large overreach for your incredibly valuable Croc boy too, and they are only 20” effective range as well for maximum output.

Suffice to say, it will take people time but I am confident they will move away from Boltboyz spam being the answer to taking this army to 5-0 as the top table players aren’t going to kindly run forward turn one and let you shoot their army off with a double turn for free. Other traps include Crack Dobby (LOL no keyword) and the named Vulture (WHY DOESN’T HE HAVE BONUSES TO CAST?!?)

Yeah man! I’ve seen so many first-draft lists that chuck a million Boltboyz on the table and quote how many mortal wounds they’ll be banging out turn 1, with no consideration given to the delivery mechanism. What do you think about those limitations from a design perspective?

As I said earlier the design of the book and especially this warscroll is either a stroke of genius or a total blunder by GW. If there was no 3” limitation on the shamans, if there was a teleport option in the spell lore, if the shooting profile was a choice (like every other multi-shot option warscroll in the game) or even just with different timing of the poison and Lauchon – any of these would dramatically change the power of the book. Honestly it’s probably a good thing it isn’t possible otherwise we would have another Stormdrake issue on our hands.

Now coming back to that 5-0…which meta armies do you think KB matches up well with?  And what are the bad matchups that you’re teching against?

The army itself plays so incredibly well into the existing meta purely through its ability to inflict mass mortal wounds through Venom Encrusted Weapons. Combined with the no-dice-required buffing pieces of the Shaman and Snath-O-Croc, the army is in prime position to table 3+ base save opposition without breaking a sweat.

What’s more, access to ‘Covered in Mud’ is a great tool into a meta where shooting is a constant issue to deal with. Having said that, the existence of the No Line of Sight mortal wound output of Sentinels and Seraphon – going into 2-wound, Bravery 5 units of Boltboyz – is another nail in the coffin for that build. As long as you take this into consideration I think there is play in the book to answer most questions faced on the table.

Yesssssss! Can’t wait to see you taking names with the Greenskinz mate.

The List

Snatchaboss on Sludgeraker Beast (Genreal)

–          CT: 4+ pass off wounds

–          Artifact – Once per game 5++ after save on shooting

Breaka-boss on Mirebrute

–          MT – Double move

Swamp caller shaman

Swamp caller shaman

20 Gutripperz

20 Gutripperz

9 Bolt Boyz

20 Shootas

Rippa’s Snarlfangs


2 drop

How It Works

So this is what I am sitting on right now. Off the bat you will notice a few things:

  • There’s a large investment into Gutripperz
  • I have a movement 5″ Hero that doesn’t count as a monster
  • Only one unit of Boltboyz
  • A couple of Gloomspite units

So let’s get into it. My general takes the 4++ shrug to simply keep him alive for as long as possible (with an effective 28 wounds.) I usually try to extend out the Shootas to tuck within 3” of him as his bodyguard rule reads “friendly,” so allies do count. Like a Cauldron, a Hurricanum or Teclis, he is the heart of the army and is key to a lot of the pieces functioning. He’s also killer in combat and has an amazing hero snipe/coherency buster rule as well.

However the most prominent aspect of his role in the army is utilising the once-per-game Waaagh CA. For one CP you can fight with him and two other units before your opponent in either turn. This alone has gotten me the win in most of my games.

The biggest win condition of the army is setting this up with the double: hide him till its time, then bust through and line up the buffs to take out your opponent’s pieces early. After that, it’s mop-up time.

The artefact is extremely undervalued as shooting is a large threat that can pose a major issue with how slow we move, and the need to set up our big Waaagh turn. That 5++ bubble just takes off the sting and of course allows the potential to spike our saves: 30 buffed Irondrakes, 3 units of 2 Sallys, two bricks of 20 Sentinels and so on can all be tempered massively, and then counter punched for the win.

The Trogg Boss is our Distraction Carnifex. He runs up the board turn one and sets up for turn two with his once-per-game double move. He has the potential to do some damage but the best part is: he doesn’t give away any Battle Tactics, while posing enough of a threat that needs to be answered. 180 points? Lock it in Eddy. Swampcallers just throw Poison on your chosen unit and are done. In all my games I can count on one hand when I decided to cast instead of poisoning someone and I’ve regretted it every time.

9 Boltboyz are a staple of the army and you’ll see them every time. They are an incredibly powerful unit who benefit greatly from force-multiplying the Venom Encrusted Weapons trait. This unit will take the most amount of practice to get right and ultimately will separate the good, the bad and the ugly.

20 Shootas are just more points efficient than Hobgrots and fit into the one-drop more cleanly, as we are strapped for slots. I also find units of 10 single-wound chaff to be risky with shooting, casting and charge damage all potentially opening up holes. A 20 blob with a 5+ save against shooting and neg 1 to hit in combat and don’t count as BL – sign me up!

This army is pretty slow with the average movement being 5″ (even with plus one to charge), so the inclusion of the Rippas Snarlfangs gives us some access to a fast, 6” pile in MSU unit that can score late, act as a screen, 2.9″ tag and most importantly be our throwaway unit for locking up Unleash Hell. They are an invaluable little unit that I hope others pick up.

Lastly let’s talk about the 40 Gutripperz. Yes they are overcosted, yes they are a 5+ save with a janky warscroll rule. Yes they are bravery 6 with no rend. Yes yes yes… BUT THEY ARE BRILLANT! A brick of 20 does 20 mortal wounds on average. 20!! And I take 2!!! They are 40 wounds, 4+ save (let’s be real you aren’t using All Out Attack) at potential neg 1 to hit and plus one to charge.

Now the reason these lads are so good isn’t just the numbers – its what the bring into the existing meta. Currently damage is what I would describe as quality damage rather than quantity. Meaning these large blobs of save-stacked wounds can act as great anvils to soak that up, still hold objectives and spike back damage by hitting those 5’s and 6’s.

Scenario one: Playing against new Ironjawz with Brute spam and a Krusha, they take first and without shooting threats you make them minus one to wound turn one. They alpha anyways because LOL Ironjawz, they blow up screens and get into your Boyz but with low Bravery, they are now neg 1 to hit and wound, into a blob of 40 wounds… which you then buff, and counter punch half their army off with mortals. You pick up the double either turn two or three and win the game (kindest regards Round 2 Ironajwz player).

On top of this mortal wound output is at a premium so having access to a unit that can reliably get all their attacks in and throw out 20+ mortal wounds, while fighting with three units out of sequence EVEN IN THE OPPONENT’S TURN….you are sitting pretty.

Scenario two: Playing Mega Gargants and they go first. They kick their objectives in Savage Gains (fuck off with that shit – make it a primary already GeeDubs*) and sit pretty with a Best Day Ever primed and ready. You buff and swagger forward and throw some pot shots in with the Boltboyz, and slam 20 Ripperz into the closest one. 2” reach means they all get in and take him off.

Get the double and do it again, this time with your General and both units of 20 all going first, backed up with the Boltboyz and you take two Megas off in one turn!! (Sorry Hoops xoxo).

Of course both examples include me getting the double but even without, that’s what your screens are for, and having the two bricks of 20 means you can be flexible with which one will be the anvil and the other the right hook.

Sounds fucking awesome! There are a lot of decision points with this army – can you walk us through some Turn 1s?

Turn one in a perfect world I want my opponent going first, moving forward into my range and onto the objectives, ready to get doubled. Even with screens you have the output and power projection to blow past them and set yourself up for buffs the following turn – leaving yourself in position to absorb their turn two if you lose the priority.

You have to actually play the game with this army – trade efficiency is the name of the game. Your hero phase is not complicated outside of keeping inside ranges of your Sludgeraker (12” for both his aura and artefact for shooting protection) as well as the Shaman’s 12” and 3”. I like to position so that I can choose between multiple units (e.g. Ripperz, Sludgeraker, Boltboyz). Boltboyz placement and movement is pivotal and is the difference between taking out key threats and doing absolutely nothing. Patience is the key.

What are your options for the pre-game redeployed unit, and under what circumstances?

My first drafts of lists included the (at first reading) amazing Command Trait where I was planning on using it with my 9 Boltboyz, along with a double move mount trait Sludgeraker and double move Rogue Idol, thanks to the lore spell at plus one to cast. The purpose being was to take first, kidnap a single wound screen then double move my two monsters into position and mess some people’s days up.

This would prove incredibly effective into castle armies with soft shooting units like bow snakes, Sentinels, Irondrakes etc which I felt were bad matchups that I was teching into. Again, after a few games of some success, it felt I was relying on my opponent to not be aware of the strategy and that If I were to come across a savvy opponent that knew my opening move that they could easily counter deploy.

As a rule of thumb, I want to be able to play and beat my opponent where at the end of the game when you shake hands, they know you won fair and square by playing a tight game, not because they weren’t up to date on the new filth in your hands. No one enjoys that, so I’ve moved on from that CT to the bodyguard.

Are battalions important to this list?  

The army doesn’t revolve around any CA strategy so no need to worry about extras of those from Warlord battalions. I personally feel that with the counterpunch playstyle, the choice over first turn is incredibly important. There is an argument to drop the Breakaboss in favour of a Beastskewer and go to a one drop, but as I said I like the role that the Trogg plays, and the one drop armies tend to want to go first in order to set up buffs that we don’t really care about (see: Teclis LRL).

Are you going first or second?  

We are classically planning to give away first to play for early double, thereby setting up for a huge Waaagh combat turn and ensuring that we extract maximum value out of the Boltboyz as well. While of course positioning in a way that if we don’t get the double, we aren’t getting tabled thanks to using our screens and large investment in volume of wounds.

I can’t stress enough the importance that the army truly plays optimally as a counterpunch army, regardless of your approach with your list. There are plenty of janky cool combos with a Rogue Idol buffing your casting then double moving up for monster mash alpha accompanied by 20 Rippaz (jumping across a bridge) with plus 3 to charge, or a 30-man Gutrippaz parking lot build that aims to keep people off the main objectives, and that’s not even all of it… 

Hehe nice. So how are you planning on using the dakka optimally, given the short range?

Boltboyz are best utilised as a brick of 9 with a Shaman holding their hand, standing under the 12” umbrella of a Sludgeraker beast. Of course the MSU style with the extra shot is nice, but without Covered in Mud, they are prime targets for a little bit of sprinkle chip damage here and there and then suddenly they are gone.

Without the Shaman buff to smooth out the spiking for mortals, and the Sludgeraker for the large spike payoff on the 6’s, Boltboyz damage with rend one really doesn’t seem worth it. Turn one and two likely they will be forced to take single shots into prime rib units, threaten 5-wound synergy pieces or open up screens, while turns three and four your opponent will be moving into their 20” kill ranges to score and that’s when you come out of the hide-e-hole and blow things up. Their true role is forcing a reason for your opponent to move forward into the jaws of your combat army.

Were you tempted with the artillery piece for the SOB matchup at all, or do you think you’ll take them down regardless?

I was at first – for 130 points why not take a unit that can potentially spike and take out 1/3 of a big monster’s wounds (hello big boys). Especially since it can fit into the one-drop so nicely. But as the classic saying goes “If you roll like me…” that 3+ to wound roll is a killer, so mine will sit on the shelf until I can be bothered to make a display board (I can hear my team mates laughing at my hobby skills from here…)

Did anything surprise you once you started running the list?

How much of a trap Boltboyz are, and how insanely undervalued Gutrippaz are. I also really wanted to make more of the cool janky rules they have access to like Supa Sneaky and kidnapping. Sadly after a few games the gimmick wears thin and you realise that leaning into mortal wounds and wounds on the board outweights those options (in this GHB/meta anyway).

Fair. Do you think this army has the tools to take down Lumineth and DOK snakes?  How about other Gotrek lists?

I have the luxury of being able to play high-level opponents very regularly (5-6 games a week on average) and that includes having the pleasure (please someone bring Nighthaunt just once) of having to deal with the usual filth you see at top tables every game.

I’m happy to say I’ve collected plenty of top table filth scalps including both a Teclis Sayr 30 Sentinel list, and Morathi with the bow snakes as well. No Gotrek yet as our group / local scene have all come to the consensus that he is terribly overhyped and typically brings down an army’s overall performance (take a look at the stats), but I am confident that with redeploy and screens I can handle his nonsense. 

Thanks mate. Any shout outs you’d like to give?

Firstly to my wonderful wife, she is my super power and without her support I couldn’t have achieved what I have.

Secondly, I want to take this opportunity to say I’ll be stepping back from Warhammer for the foreseeable future. I’ll be coming back after I’ve had time to get the juices flowing again – you know how it is. So I will sign off with a big thank you to the whole Age of Sigmar community, who have been so incredibly inviting and supportive. Thank you.

Thanks Corey – looking forward to having you back when the time is right for you mate.

You can and should follow Corey on twitter at:

Massive thanks to NC Dave for all the sexy, sexy artwork. This army is going to be a privilege to play against – give him a follow at:

…and on the Bush Radio podcast.

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