Well here we go! This weekend will see the biggest AOS Tournament in the world…ever. Hats off to Clint and the team, because it’s a great achievement, and the annual buzz around this event has played a huge part in kickstarting the fantastic AOS scene we are all enjoying here in Australia.
Coverage on the Warhammer Community site has been absent, which is a shame given the magnitude of the event, but the good news is that THWG will again be travelling out to provide a Livestream, so don’t miss out!
You can see the event pack and Battleplans here, but a couple of things to point out are:
Realm of Life will be used, so expect to see a lot of Nagash and the Emerald Lifeswarm
The new Tzeentch book is in despite the FAQ not being released, so expect to see a lot of their bullshit on the top tables
We will be following the format we used for our BBBB List Analysis last September; speaking of which, I still owe Joel Hennessy a beer for being top tipster at that event. All 3 of Joel’s picks were in the top 8 at the event, including the overall winner – well done Joel!
Where is my own list?
So I don’t do Cancon. I have done it in the past, but not for a couple of years now. There are a few factors in play: Cancon is in an awkward location for me, the event takes place on the same weekend as my wife’s birthday, and we normally go on a family beach holiday around then.
Ultimately, though, moving to a 6-game format killed it for me, because it turned a 2-day tournament into a 4-day tournament. I realistically need to travel up the day before, and back the day after, and that’s just that bit too much for me on that specific weekend.
The event does seem to be managing to struggle on without me, and I fully understand why they needed to make the jump to 6 rounds, but that’s the reason why I personally will be missing out on the fun.
Now let’s get into it.
Michael Thomson – Queensland
Michael is the founder of The Savage Northmen, a gaming group based in and around Cairns, Queensland. A specialist in Death armies, Michael went 6-0 at Cancon 2019 with his Nagash list, securing a podium at the world’s largest Age of Sigmar event to date.
Some food for thought when reading the selections I’ve made: there are 220+ lists, playing 6 games, with a possible 10 secondaries to choose from. Picking the winner is quite hard when there are so many moving parts, but assuming a good run and decent dice rolls, here we are.
Power Pick: Joshua Nightingall, Big WAAAGH
To me, Big Waaagh is the most powerful thing in the game at the moment. In Josh’s list he is all but certain to be +1 to hit and wound by turn 2. Throw in Get ’em Beat (so that on a 4+ he gets 3d6 to charge), and a possible +1 to Hit with Kill ’em Beat (to smooth out the bumps until his Allegiance buffs kick in), and you have a list that can mince most things without breaking sweat.
Josh has taken an Ardfist Battalion, which now only furnishes you with the one chance to roll that crucial 4+, but like I said if the dice are with you then you’re all good. Nobody ever won a 200-player event without making a clutch roll along the way!
Josh’s opponents will need to kill the Warchanters, but even then you have to beware the 20 Ardboys and 30 Arrowboys. This list is not without its counters, but for me it’s a really solid army. Good luck Josh
Coolest List: Paul Grixti, Swifthawk Agents
This one goes to a gentleman that almost made THWG break the internet… Paul Grixti, who is bringing the Swifthawk Agents.
For those who don’t know Paul, he is one of nicest and most genuine guys in the hobby. I had the pleasure of playing Paul in Round 4 last year, but I will be glad if I don’t see his army across the table this year. 60 shots homing in on my Mortek Guard has me scared, and the Everblaze Comet with its mortal wound output is a nice tool to throw in amongst the enemy.
With the Skywardens flying around and Shadow Warriors popping up, this list has versatility and Paul will know all of its functionality inside and out.
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!!! What’s up me Ladz! Big Boss Frank ‘ere…Let’s do da talk’n ’bout dese CanCon army lists!
Power Pick No. 1: Ethan MacDonald, Fyreslayers
Pros: Fyreslayers are super sturdy, have great combat output and solid control of board space. Lords of the Lodge allows one unit of Hearthguard Brezerkers to fight twice, turning that unit into a tarpit thst just blends through enemies.
Cons: Heroes, although sturdy they’re small, and kinda move slow. So hero missions is where I see this army struggling.
Why do I like it?: Well, in general I’m a control type player, so Fyreslayers are a natural joy for me. To see the introduction of two Gun Haulers (which got a nice solid book in the KO release) gives the list more flex. These boats can sit around, shoot away at support pieces, charge a unit and fly high to shoot again. I think it’s is a super smart decision.
Power Pick No. 2: Wayne Buck, Skaventide
Pros: Bodies, lots and lots of battleshock immune bodies. Do they die easily? Sure, but with all of those warpfire throwers and 30 (YES 30!) Acolytes behind them, that’s a lot of heavy lifting mortal wound dakka.
Cons: I’d worry about this playing the mirror match a bit, if the opponent is rocking lots of Verminlords or Stormfiends. Although the list is fairly balanced, I almost wish some points were shaved for Monks or Fiends. But this isn’t really a con, I like the control approach.
Why do I like it?: Because it’s nice to see a player play a Skaven list with underused units. Acolytes are bonkers good and I think it being a cost prohibitive issue you just don’t see them. I’ve personally had success with adding a Warpfire thrower into Clanrat units, and I’m surprised you don’t see more of it.
Coolest List: Cameron Taylor, Cities of Sigmar
Pros: This is going to come at you fast, hit like a truck, fight twice and has nice little ranged support from the Hurricanum. The Incantor being on disc means it can be in the mix or scoring a key Hero objective easily, while the opponent’s army is being smashed around by the Griffon who is not required to baby sit an objective.
Cons: This is a low model count list, and I think that if it goes up against a horde army like say Bonesplitterz or some Skaven lists, it could struggle. But it should have the punch to help with this.
Why do I like it?: Cause it’s an awesome themed Cities list that isn’t Hallowheart, and actually has real competitive wings (bird joke, geddit?). I like seeing lists like this, and it shows that with a good pilot, more than just the usual suspects are viable.
Ok, let’s all be honest here. While I feel like an all-Stonehorn list is a great team event list, I do worry about it a bit in singles. But, with the right matchups when navigating the jungle in rounds 1-3, Hayden can maybe play himself into a 5-1 and possible podium.
That’s how hard this list hits, not to mention the 60 effective models on objectives. I think Stonehorn-focused lists are the best Mawtribes can offer (which in some ways is a shame), but I worry about the lack of Gnoblars here.
Otherwise this gets a BIG TURKEY LEG HOLDING THUMBS UP!
Joel McGrath – Victoria
Joel followed up an 8th place finish at Cancon 2018 with a 4th place at Cancon 2019, and will be aiming to go even further with his ass-kicking Double Maw Krusha list this year. Joel’s other achievements include hosting the Bush Radio podcast, full of drunk people who swear a lot, where he is the drunkest person who swears the most.
Power pick: Mat Watkinson, Tzeentch
What the fucking fuck? Ya know, I’ve said it publicly before that allowing Tzeentch into an event without an FAQ is fucking dumb, and this list proves it.
Watto (I’m not sure if that’s your nickname but if it isn’t, congratulations. You now have one), is packing all the bells and whistles a competitive army should never have access to in one list. All jokes aside, old mate Watto is going to carve shit up and let me tell you why.
Tzeentch allegiance for starters. They do the same shit that everyone is already familiar with. Access to destiny dice, spells galore, dumb looking birds, the list goes on! Tzeentch now have access to some pretty awesome ‘Hosts’ and the one he’s picked is my personal favourite, The Eternal Conflagration.
To sum it up briefly, all of his Horror and Flamer units get plus one to their rend characteristic. 12-18” missile weapons which now have even more chance of killing stuff. If you didn’t think that was enough of a buff, big bird and friendlies wholly within 12” of him are minus 1 to hit. Not to mention a situational command ability that reduces bravery if you get shot at… To quote the drunken frat boys who clearly wrote this book, “Dude, that’s totally AWESOME!”
What makes this list start to shine is the dreaded Changehost battalion, whose rules have been cleaned up somewhat to make it a less shitty play experience for the opponent. Or so you’d think!
The Changehost also received a couple of buffs, as it totally needed it (AWESOME!). Instead of swapping units around the table, you simply get to redeploy 2 units 9”away if that big fucking chicken is on the table. AWESOME!
As you start to work through the list, you start to see the combo’s. Mainly Watto (you sick bastard) will be redeploying 2 units of Flamers turn 1 in your face because he can, paired up with KFC bucket’s artefact of a +1 to wound bubble and blow you off the table turn 1 with 2/3s and 2s -1 d3 flamers (AWESOME!).
I would critique his choice for MSU Flamers if he was really aiming to go balls deep into the alpha, although I don’t think he is specifically leaning into that. He has however given himself the choice to do so if he wishes. What MSU Flamers does allow him to do is play smarter on the top tables instead of just running a noob stomping Changehost list.
I wish you all the best at Cancon mate, your list is solid as a rock and I’d hate to vs it with my Ironjawz!
Coolest List – Jye Callanan, Slaanesh
Who doesn’t love a good all mounted list?
Jye gets a big thumbs up from me, not only is he running Slaanesh, but an all lawnmower Slaanesh list.
The reason why this is so cool is because the Seeker Chariots and all their cousins are fucking awesome. Their fluff is gruesome, the rules are solid and the models are an absolute nightmare to put together. You have to respect someone who has laboured for 5 years and 6 days assembling 12 of the fuckers.
I think Jye is going to shock some people on the table by not being able to deploy his army entirely, and when he does, he will shock them with a crazy amount of mortal wounds. He will also frustrate his opponents to tears because of the overhang of every single model in his army.
If you don’t know what an Exalted Chariot does, do yourself a favour and go look it up. While the mortal wounds inflicted won’t generate any depravity, they do have 10 wounds each and 23 attacks base. My new buddy Jye will be pumping out summons really quickly.
Asides from that, there’s not a whole lot going on. Seeker host gives the Seeker Chariots battleline status, and you have an army wide +1 to charge. On the spell front he is looking to reduce the shit out of your bravery and make you pay for it with mortal wounds.
I really don’t understand why he’s only at 1860 pts with no extra CP, maybe a cut and paste error? Maybe there should be another chariot in the list? Anyway, it doesn’t fucking matter because this list is dope and I can’t wait to see it on the tables literally carving shit up!
Peter Atkinson – Victoria
Go on then, I’ll have a crack myself. I’m rapt to see Destro well-represent again at this year’s event, so let’s take a look at a couple of Gork’s finest.
Power Pick: Dalton Copeland, Ironjawz
The first time I played Dalton was at Badgacon 2017, when we lined up opposite each other in a mirror match…an exact mirror match. Two identical Mixed Destruction armies down to the same Command Traits and Artefacts. Literally the same army in every aspect.
We still have a habit of thinking in the same way about list design, as proven by this list which is strikingly similar to the final list I drew up in my Big Waaagh! Review, but which I know Dalton arrived at independently.
I got the win on that day way back in 2017, but having lost to this list last weekend I believe it is just a better version of my current build, and probably the best and most refined iteration of the combined arms approach to Big Waaagh that I’ve seen so far.
With movement shenanigans, punishing combat damage (ranging from high volume output to supreme quality attacks), substantial out of phase damage in the Hero, Shooting and Charge phases, chaff screens with strong saves, an army-wide aftersave and the thick end of 200-wounds of Green Delight to chew through, this is possibly the best toolkit army at the event, and gives Dalton everything he needs to compete up there on the top tables.
Don’t fuck it up!
Coolest List: Hayden Walker, Ogor Mawtribes
Hayden is living the absolute fucking dream. All killer, no filler.
With armies of this nature, if you just send a single unit left instead of right, that can put you in a cripplingly bad position that it’s impossible to recover from. But if there’s anyone who can make this work, Hayden is just the lad to do it.
Beastclaw Monsters capping as 10 is the kind of thing you need to be screwed over by to appreciate. As players, many of us are so ingrained into looking at the table in a certain way that it takes a jolt to realise that actually, those objectives are not safe, and will be in no way safe as long as there are 4 angry murdercows rampaging around the backfield.
With 5 Blood Vultures plus the damage on the charge, the Mortal Wounds start to rack up really quick in this build before we even get onto the Thundertusk shooting…and then you’ve still got the combat phase to come.
Speaking of Mortals on the charge, Hayden will be squeezing every drop of juice from that Frostlord Command Ability: pop a single CP, and go fishing for big charges on all 4 Stonehorns. It’s not like he needs them for Battleshock, right?
And if you’re going to try and Alpha him, for the love of Gork, don’t fuck it up; Hayden has healing out the wahzoo. Between the Mawpot, two Thundertusks and the Splattercleaver, he can go from 1 wound to maxing out his profile again, and again, and again. Chip a few wounds off these guys, and you better believe they’re coming back at you harder than ever.
Hayden is also a sneaky bastard, going for what on paper looks like a Gutbusters Tribe instead of Boulderhead. As well as doubling down on the healing, I’ll be watching out for a slick manouevre where he combo-charges a screen off the board, then piles in 6″ to the juicy meat behind. With 2″ reach on all their main weapons, that Frostlord will have 8″ reach in the combat phase alone.
I can’t be the only person hoping to see this one tearing it up on the stream – good luck Hayden.
Thanks again to all involved, and here’s looking forward to a rippa of an event!
BAM! 2019 smashed into you with a relentless tide of huge releases, and the early signs are that there will be no rest for the wicked. 2020 will be coming at you like a freight train, and with two new books already announced, the metagame is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Let’s take a look at what is likely to happen – and what we think would just be cool. This first part of a 2-part article will explore the Battletome releases we know to be round corner, then follow that up with a bit of speculation about what else we might see down the track.
I’m always more than happy to stick my neck out and have a punt, so we will be following up next week with Part Two, which will take a look at everything else 2020 could bring, including GH20 and a Merchandise Wishlist; be sure to check back in for that one!
Known Quantities: KO and Tzeentch
So we already know that Tzeentch and KO are getting their new books. I’m just going to come out and say it: the previous attempts at both books were monumental fuck ups. And that’s coming from someone who likes and seriously considered doing both armies.
The playstyles of both armies were utterly bleak to face. Enduring the drudgery of a full-blown Tzeentch Hero Phase would test the patience of a saint, and dropping down with a Clown Car to blast all your opponent’s key pieces off the board wasn’t a way to win games of Warhammer, it was a way to avoid the inconvenience of actually playing them.
Objectively, the evidence is right there: the sheer volume of magenta print (and entirely new Warsrcolls) that these books both generated in FAQs was surreal, to the extent that both printed books are essentially unusuable in their hard copy format.
It’s potentially intrinsic to the nature of both books that they are just bad armies to play against. Magic and shooting are to a large extent uninteractive, and can leave your opponent feeling helpless as you just point at, and remove, their key pieces.
However, I’m sure GW have got the memo on that, and given these great armies the focus they deserve. The early signs are there in the Karadron Overlords preview: boats counting as Garrisons is an indication that players will actually be encouraged to use them as transports (y’know, moving stuff around the board), rather than purely deep striking mechanisms.
On this theme, hopefully the Barak Zilfin “Battleline If” rules replace their deep striking, rather than supplementing it:
I’d love to see KO become a drag and drop army, where they boats offer shelter and mobility to fragile and slow (but lethal) troops. Each boat getting a pip of extra durability would certainly help here.
“OK, we need to get over there, and challenge for that Objective: all aboard!” How often do you currently see a gang of dwarves jump back onto a ship after disembarking, and zip across the table? Almost never: it’s just the ships dump the dwarves, the dwarves dump the payload, and then we see what’s left standing.
A ground-up reimagining of how to make the ships actually serve the purpose for which they were presumably intended could revolutionise this army. I do hope so.
Tzeentch is a little harder to reimagine, in the sense that they do not have a unique hook like the boats that could offer a whole new direction. It’s probably a safe bet to say that Changehost will be “looked at”, but what will make them strong without belting out a million mortal wounds in a drawn-out Hero phase, or clogging up the board with Horrors and then clogging it up again when they split?
The latest Community Article does offer some pointers for which way this army could go, and honestly, I’m concerned.
One of the great redeeming features of playing against Old Tzeentch was that when you got into combat with them, it could be so, so satisfying. The spell casters generally had weak armour saves, and if you did crashinto them and chop them into pieces, it was glorious payback for the misery you had endured on the way in.
Well, now they are -1 to Hit in combat, so rather than having an inbuilt, thematic weakness, it looks like we’re going full Mary Sue. Already off to a bad start.
Since Endless Spells are easy for Tzeentch to cast with all their bonuses, look out for Geminids to be a staple, putting you at -2 to hit. Oh joy.
Next, we’ve got Horrors. Anyone who played against the old splitting rules will be having flashbacks to the board-clogging shitshow of placing model after model after model after model straight into combat, strung out across the board and tagging new units as they go. It could be even worse now, because you can’t elect not to fight them in melee, so you can’t prevent them splitting.
Maybe there are restrictions on the placement of split models that we’re not hearing about (I do hope so), but at face value, the info we have in the Community article is pointing towards these things being awful for the game (again):
Summoning Horrors straight into melee always reminded me of stringing 30 Dryads out from a Wyldwood to steal an Objective. The player doing it invariably smirked as if they were being very, very clever, but it was actually a zero-skill move masquerading as ingenuity.
The only glimmer of hope I have with Horrors is that we have a clear implication that Horrors are not Battleline:
So it could be quite hard to build an army, right? Well, not when you get the sexy stuff for free.
Another feelbad aspect here is that Tzeentch benefits from their opponent casting spells. Using your own stats against you can be thematic, but it’s also a negative play experience, in the same way that Slaanesh sucked all the joy out of running multi-wound models.
So all in all, we have multiple warning alarms going off about this release:
Horrors summoning straight into combat was busted, and it looks like it’s coming back
Tzeentch now comes with Negs to hit in combat, removing a thematic weakness of the army
Unpointed rules (Chambers) are boosting mechanics that are already difficult to balance (summoning)
Honestly, I can already guarantee that I’ll cop some heat for having an opinion on this that isn’t overwhelmingly exuberant. All I would say there is that I’m not a serial moaner, and the reason I’m concerned is that I think the game is currently in fantastic shape, so I don’t want to see that undermined.
I’ve stuck my neck out and predicted that KO will nail it, which is already pretty bold; and anyone who follows the blog will know that when Gotrek came out (for example), and the internet in general went into blind panic about how OP he was, my own take was much more pragmatic.
I’ve articulated specific reasons why I am nervous about this release, and what it could mean for a meta that is currently in fantastic shape. I genuinely hope I’m wrong and GW nails it, but based on what we’ve seen, I think the indications are that it’s more likely to be a problematic release.
Please prove me wrong!
Let’s be clear, these are both high risk releases. After the Winter 19 FAQ, the game is in the best shape I can remember, and there’s a real chance that one or both of these books could blow the whole thing up.
Both books could easily have some wild oversight that makes a mess in the short term; those issues are generally fixed in short order, however. The bigger challenge with both of these armies is the broad design rather than fine detail in the unit stats or specific rules interactions, and that’s an area where I’d back GW to get it spot on. For that reason, I’m very optimistic that KO will nail it, and an extensively reworked book will provide a more satisfying experience for all concerned.
Tzeentch I’m a little more cautious about. Whereas I think KO will be thematic and engaging, I fear that Tzeentch will be thematic and busted, but I do hope I’m wrong about that.
I’d honestly love it if GW can deliver the books that these great armies deserve.
Solid Bets: Seraphon and Stormcast
Poor Seraphon! Leapfrogged yet again, by more armies who already have books.
Surely their time is bound to come in 2020? I hope so, because these guys are iconic, and from a business perspective they are an unique IP.
My best guess is that they were put on ice because they’re getting the full works, with a substantial new models to update the range. Kroak knows the range needs it – boy, are some of these models tired!
In one way, they were lucky: when AOS first dropped, for some reason they escaped the shattering into tiny subfactions that blighted most armies. So they do have a huge range of kits to choose from, even before the expected new releases (which in some cases are likely to be replacements rather than strictly new units). They can compete in every phase bar devastating combat output, which honestly is fine. I’d expect them to lean into the teleporting and summoning side of this army, and I do hope Bastilodons and Skinks remain just as big of a pain in the arse to deal with.
From a design standpoint, I believe that the theme and structure of this army is sound – it just needs an update and refresh. New spell and prayer lores, some good artefacts, 2 wounds for Saurus Guard, and we’re off to the races.
Remember when everyone was sick of Stormcast hogging all the new releases? Thank fuck they eased back on that for a while, and gave the rest of the range some attention. If there’s one thing that the Stormcast release schedule has proven (as well as Primaris Space Marines), it’s that playing the poster boys doesn’t make you immune to having your toys rendered obsolete.
Whatever shape it takes, the golden boys are due an update. The last chamber that opened up seemed a little rash: they played two aces simultaneously (artillery and magic), which always looked like one more than was necessary.
Will they get new models? Almost certainly. Will they get a new chamber? Very likely. It doesn’t really feel necessary (their range is already bloated, with multiple units competing for the same roles), but it is historically how GW have done new Stormcast books. So even though I don’t think it’s required (or even optimal), that doesn’t mean that GW won’t go back to the well.
One thing of note here is that GW dangled a storyline with Gordrakk laying siege to Azyr…then left it hanging. If we do get a full-fat Stormcast release, I’d love to see that plotline developing further, with an accompanying Stormcast vs Destruction box along for the journey.
If we went down that path, these boxes often include a new, exclusive hero. What could we possibly include as a new model on the Ironjawz side of the box? How about, erm…A Megaboss on Gore Grunta? HINT FUCKING HINT!
And let’s take the opportunity to get a new Warscroll for Big G while we’re at it, one that is finally worthy of his stature. We’ve had two attempts now, both of which were chronically undercooked. We’ve had years on end of that shit now, so for once, don’t be scared of making him “too good”, and let’s just enjoy The Beast Unleashed!
On the Stormcast side, a “Siege Chamber” would tie in nicely with this storyline. They would prevent you getting cover saves against them, since they are dominant in siege warfare and experts in digging out entrenched enemies; meanwhile on the defensive side, units could get extra bonuses for garrisoning buildings.
Indestructible shit isn’t fun to play against (although it does seems to be the rules writers’ flavour of the month), so I’d like to see some aggressive bonuses for being in cover, such as +1 damage to melee attacks to represent the troops fighting like cornered tigers. This could all be backed up by a new Battalion that creates a proper Phalanx when units work in concert, acting as a modernised and improved exploration of design space already covered in the Thunderhead Brotherhood. None shall pass!
These guys would be Sigmar’s answer to the Imperial Fists, who stoutly defend Holy Azyr against insurmountable odds, before finally getting their fucking heads ripped off and smashed into the dirt by the all-conquering greenskinz. Wishful thinking I know! But honestly, I’d just take Ironjawz being relevant to the main storyline for a while.
Now having blasted out all that wild speculation, I should say I’d personally like to see a relatively minor new book release with the existing Chambers fleshed out a little, rather than a new Chamber opening up. Keep that one up your sleeve for the 3rd ed box in another 18 months’ time, maybe?
Something very cool to accompany this kind of release would be more named characters from Not Hammers of Sigmar. There are some really cool characters already well-established in the Lore who deserve representation on the tabletop; Hamilcar Bear-Eater springs to mind, for one. Maybe splashing out one new Hero per Stormhost in the book would scratch the Stormcast itch until they see a full-scale release next time around.
Seraphon will finally get their book, and it will be huge release from a modelling viewpoint. Rules will be a refresh and update, improving their quality of life rather than radically altering their playstyle.
Stormcast will get another book towards the end of the year. It will most likely follow the template of opening a new Chamber and bloating the list of units ever further, but I’d love to see a smaller release that focussed on putting unique Heroes from a range of Stormhosts beyond the goldenbois onto the table.
Having a Punt: Something Totally New
2017: Kharadron Overlords
2018: Idoneth Deepkin
2019: Ossiarch Bonereapers
The pattern of releasing one all-new faction per year, every year, is consistent and well established.
Will this be the case in 2020, and if so, who will it be?
Honestly, there are loads of realistic options.
Rumours of Light and Dark Aelves have been knocking around for a good while now. Personally I couldn’t give two fucks about Tyrion, Teclis or Malerion; I’d rather leave their detritus floating through space, and focus on new characters and stories.
But I’m not the target audience for this (potential) release, and Warhammer Community dropped a very strong hint that Light Aelves could be incoming. I wouldn’t bet against it.
Far more exciting was the “giant” hint buried in there. Could we be about to see a full-on Gargant army? Ohhhh, baby! Talk dirty to me!
Let me tell you: I would go crazy for this release. Giants rampaging through the lands and wrecking shit is what Warhammer is all about. I personally own a Bonegrinder and two Aleguzzlers, and I’m dumb enough to actually use them at competitive events occasionally. Please let this be a thing!
None of these would be truly new armies, since they could all make use of at least some existing kits that are out there, topped up by new models. Which makes me (greedily) hopeful that we will see some or all of these, and an entirely new army on top.
I have gone on record that I was sad to see Gitmob go, particularly because I was investing in the army right up until the moment GW pulled the pin with no warning. So you can imagine my delight when Rippa’s Snarlfangs dropped for Underworlds, with Gitmob all over the flavour text.
They currently have the Gloomspite keyword, but I’m not gonna lie: I’d have a fucking massive green boner if a whole new Gitmob army came out.
Imagine what they could do with the warmachines! Look at the step change from the old Black Coach to the current model, and let the possibilities run wild for what a new Doom Diver could be.
It would also be huge from a Destruction viewpoint because it would break up the underdog cycle. We had literally nothing for year after year after year, then BANG! BANG! BANG! three Battletomes in 2019. Unless we get a new Faction at some point, there’s a real risk that these books could all get outdated together, setting us up for some dark days while we wait for them all to be due an update again in quick succession a couple more years down the track. I’d love to see something like Gitmob, Gargants and maybe even Grotbag Scuttlers to intersperse the current Battletome cycle.
Kurnothi are essentially in the same boat as Gitmob: another Underworlds warband, currently sitting in Sylvaneth, and potentially poised to breathe new life into a defunct faction (in this case Wanderers). I find these a very interesting prospect, and I would guess that if we see one of these Warbands parlayed into a full army, we’ll see both.
Holy Moley, where do you start with all that? Realistically, it can’t all happen, but I’m hopeful that we’ll see a fair old chunk.
If I was sticking out my neck, I’d say Light and Dark Aelves are both a very strong chance, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t see them.
I am optimistic that we’ll also see Gitmob and Kurnothi, and I’d put those at 50:50, meaning that 2020 is shaping up to be another massive year with between 6 to 8 Battletomes in total.
Gargants? Nah. As much as I’d love it – and I’d REALLY REALLY love it – it ain’t happening.
Prove me wrong, GW! Prove me wrong.
So what do you reckon? I’ve chucked a fair few darts at the board there, so there’s bound to be a couple of bullseyes, but am I broadly on the right track, or flailing around wildly?
Will KO and Tzeentch be good for the game, or is it a shit storm waiting to happen?
Are Stormcast due? Will the lizards be smiling? Or should we all just save our money for Battletome Gargants which will be wrecking face before you know it?
Let me know what you think we’ll see, or just what you’d love to see, in the comments below or on Twitter!
It’s fair to say that one particular Battalion in Battletome
Orruk Warclans has been causing a stir – and it’s not the Kunnin Rukk.
Ardfist is a summoning Battalion that can potentially bring units of 10 Ardboyz on from a board edge, so let’s take a proper look today at how that works on the tabletop.
We’ll kick off by taking a look at the actual rules for the Battalion:
The Battalion gives you access to a Command Ability, which means that you are spending 2 CPs on average per unit summoned. Worth noting is that the summoned unit size is locked at 10, regardless of the size of the slain unit.
So What’s The Issue?
Although there is something of a consensus on how the Battalion works, it is not unanimous. In particular, there are a couple of questions that have been recurring.
Can you just keep throwing CPs at it as long as you have them to spend?
The answer to this has to be an unequivocal “Yes”. Let’s take a look at the relevant FAQ:
Ardfist gives you access to a Command Ability, and the rules
of the game set the bar very, very high for not being able to spam a Command
This is specifically noted otherwise:
This is specifically noted otherwise:
If you’re telling me it’s specifically noted, I want to see it right there in the rule in black and white, otherwise it’s just wishful thinking.
Whether you like that or not, the fact is you can keep
hammering it as long as you have CPs to burn.
What about the Battalion cap?
This is an interesting one.
The Battalion requires 3-5 Units of Ardboys:
And as noted above, the Command Ability adds a unit to the Battalion:
So is there a ceiling on how many Ardfist units you can have on the table, being capped at 5 in total at any point in time?
We already know that summoning breaks army composition rules, so for example you can break the rule for only having 6 Heroes once you start summoning on your Heralds and Keepers:
Does that apply to Battalion composition too? Not directly, although it does set a precedent.
Another factor to consider here is what does “added to” mean in this context?
Are you adding it into
the Battalion, counting towards the existing cap of 5?
Or are you adding it onto the Battalion, so it is in addition to the 3-5 units that the Battalion composition allows?
I’ve seen it argued both ways. The latter is more thematic in terms of what the Battalion does (it’s bringing on an entirely new unit that is drawn to the battle), but this is ultimately a judgmental one.
This is the one area that in my opinion is not currently clear, but if TOs wanted to rule that you are capped at 5 units at any point in time, I wouldn’t argue against that.
Is it thematic for orcs to have summoning?
Yes, it is. Reading
the flavour text should make that clear: these are not the same orcs being
resurrected, they are an entirely new unit, which is why they are coming on
from the board edge.
Orcs being drawn to battle by the pull of the Waaagh is entirely thematic.
That’s also why the unit has a flat unit size of 10: it’s not the same unit coming back, so it’s not tied to the old unit’s size. It’s a new, independent mob of Ladz.
Isn’t this a bit much?
Honestly, I don’t think so. You can build to try and maximise the summoning aspect: Load up on CPs and Mortal Wounds to kill a unit of 5 Ardboyz, then bang away at trying to get new units on a board edge.
But how effective is that in practice? You’re tying yourself into an army of nothing but Ardboyz, and stuff to kill your own Ardboyz. “One-dimensional” doesn’t even begin to cover it; good luck when you play against something Ardboyz can’t kill, something that can snipe your Warchanter, or something on 25mm bases that can outscore you.
You’re also giving up on access to some of the best Command Abilities in the game (Mighty Destroyers and the Ironsunz counter charge) to spend all your resources on generating yet more Ardboyz, and the whole thing hinges on a small Hero that can readily be sniped.
There are risks and trade-offs in taking this build, and natural ceiling to how far you can push it. That to me looks like an intentional design choice, and I know for a fact that the FAQ was submitted multiple times; so if GW have chosen to let you throw CPs at it, it’s part of the game.
Given the Battalion’s wording and the relevant FAQ, I don’t see how anyone can argue in good faith that the current rules do not allow you to spend multiple CPs on bringing back units:
Whether you can go above 5 units (due to the Battalion size) is debatable and needs an FAQ, but I’d personally be happy enough to see this ruled as being a hard limit of 5 units pending the incoming Big FAQ.
Now, I do have an interest here as a Warclans player, so I do have some skin in the game; but it’s also important to note that I don’t play Ardfist myself, so I’m not directly advocating for my own army here.
I’ve made a sincere effort to be as objective as possible when citing specific rules in this article. The rules have to be telling us to do something, but if you disagree with my view on what they’re telling us, that’s fine; tell I’ve got it all wrong on the Comments below or on Twitter!
So now that I’ve had my 2 cents on Ardfist, that about wraps up our coverage of the Battletome: Orruk Warclans release.
All up we’ve published 10 articles starting with the preview back in August, and I’ve loved every minute! Be sure to check out any you’ve missed along the way, and keep following the blog as I step back outside of the Warclans bubble, to go back to covering the wider world of AOS:
Hopefully you’ve been enjoying the journey as we explored both Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz; now it’s time to crank up the insanity a notch or three, as we take a look at my own favourite section of the book: the Big Waaagh!
How It All Works
Splitterz and Jawz, together at last! Gork and Mork’s favourite children, united under one green banner.
Big Waaagh brings together elements of both Allegiances, with a sprinkle of its own flavour. It’s a great piece of fan-service, allowing for a lot of fun list building; it’s also got some serious chops.
A Big Waaagh army includes any keyword Orruk model. Yes, even Greenskinz! If you want to get some mileage out of those classic minis before they go to the great display cabinet in the sky, this is your opportunity: you’ve got 6 months+ until the next GH comes out and presumably Gitmobs them, so take this opportunity and give those Boyz the send off they deserve.
You essentially start without Allegiance Abilities, and accumulate them as you build up Waaagh points. This is super thematic, representing the build up in energy from swelling crowds of green hooligans, feeding off each others’ energy and revving each other up.
I won’t regurgitate the whole table, but in summary you get Waaagh points from things like having suitable support Heroes (such as Warchanters) who get the Ladz fired up, from having a General who exudes his menacing presence, from completing charges (called it), and so on.
As your Waaagh points accumulate, you unlock bonuses and abilities from the table, snowballing into an unstoppable green tide that crashes straight through the enemy. These replicate parts of the Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz allegiance abilities (6++ after save and Mad as Hell movement), but not the complete package from both (which is obviously fair enough); it does also add in its own signature bonuses that are not found anywhere else, specifically casting bonuses and +1 to both Hit and Wound in Combat. Noice!
The most important thing to note is that these bonuses are cumulative! I’ve seen a bit of confusion about this online but once you earn enough points to trigger an ability, you keep it as long as your Waaagh points remain at that level or higher.
The only way you can move back down the Waaagh points table is either by spending them on casting bonuses, or by gambling them on Da Big Waaagh! Command Ability for extra attacks. Other than that, it’s just constantly onwards and upwards, ratcheting up the bonuses as you go.
Why Big Waaagh?
I mean, first of all, it’s fun. It opens up a whole new toolkit in list building, and plays true to its nature on the tabletop.
Crucially, as well as the Battle Trait (which cherry picks parts of both Allegiances as well as adding its own stamp), you get access to all the sundries from both subfactions. So each part of the army can access its own spell lores, artefacts, Warchanter beats and so on.
This is what really makes the army come together as more than the sum of its parts:
You can have Arrow Boys providing Dakka support to your Ironjawz with access to all of their buffs
You can have a swarm of Savage Orruks lead by a Maw Krusha with a Warchanter to back it up
Units like Ardboys that already have good armour saves and an after save get another 6++ on top
This makes list building such a joy, and feels great from a quality of life viewpoint. It’s like having Allies, but they aren’t capped at 400 points and get their full in-faction synergies.
Also, in case you hadn’t realised: +1 to Hit and Wound is awesome. Given that your combat units are mostly hitting and wounding on 3s to begin with, and in the case of Ironjawz have access to Warchanter buffs, you can easily and regularly launch a large volume of attacks on a frankly majestic profile of 2+ 2+ Rend -1 Damage 2. Even 10 Ardboyz will just mulch stuff: in the right matchups it frankly feels like cheating.
The access to buffed casting (+2 if you really need it) can be clutch. Because you have access to both Spell Lores, you can bludgeon through a Hand of Gork or Breath of Gorkamorka; or better still, give your Wurggog Prophet a great chance of cracking that crucial 10+ on his Warscroll spell.
A Rogue Idol will boost that casting further; but that cheeky sausage gets his own special section below, oh yes!
Why Not Big Waaagh?
You do give up a fair bit for access to all this:
You can’t take Clans from either subfaction. This is your Clan now!
From the Ironjawz side, you lose Smashing and Bashing, which is of course huge.
You also lose access to Mighty Destroyers…at face value. We have workarounds, people!
From the Bonesplitterz side, the biggest loss is the pregame move.
If you are taking a split force, you need two sets of buffing Heroes, which gets expensive quickly.
The flipside of no Clans is that it opens up the whole playbook to you: all those artefacts and Command Traits that are normally cock-blocked by the forced choices become yours for the taking. So that Ethereal Maw Krusha is back on the menu!
All in all there are some significant trade-offs (as well there should be). The great thing about this book is that there are loads of viable armies; Ironjawz, Bonesplitterz and Big Waaagh can all shine. It’s nice to have a dilemma, hey?
What Works Well
Let’s kick it off with a bit of tech: Mighty Destroyers works well! It’s one of the best things about Ironjawz Allegiance, and there are two ways of getting back-door access in Big Waaagh: make a Megaboss your General and give him the Brutally Cunning Command Trait, or take an Ironfist Battalion.
In either case, you not only get access to the CA, you get it for free each turn. This is a significant double benefit: both of these options are already powerful selections in Ironjawz when you already have access to the Command Ability, so in Big Waaagh they are amazing.
Ironfist is always worth its points, but there are plenty of other Battalions that work well in Big Waaagh too (Kunnin Rukk and Ardfist spring to mind); if you’re running one of those Battalions (or none), I’d look very closely at taking a Megaboss with Brutally Cunning instead. Free access to Mighty D really is that good.
A key consideration in list building is, of course, Waaagh generation. Certain units give you Waaagh points just for existing, and I’m here to tell you the good news: they are units you would want anyway. The Warchanter, Wurggog Prophet and Wardokk are three of the best units in the book, and in no way a tax: take ’em for their awesome rules, keep ’em for the Waaagh points!
What should your target be? A good rule of thumb is to reliably hit 20 Waaagh points by Round 2: the +1 to Hit and Wound are money, and this is where they kick in. If you can get there with a little room to spare, so much the better, because it would be nice to spend a few on clutch early casts too.
One way to turbo charge your Waaagh generation is to stock up on bodies: you can parlay a CP into a nice stack of Waaagh points with the ‘Ere We Go Command Ability, which is another argument for taking a 30-block or two of Arrow Boys or Savage Orruks. Even with a decent chunk of Ardboyz it can do some real work – so again, you are rewarded for taking solid units that you would want anyway.
You know what works well in a Big Waaagh? A Rogue Frikkin Idol, that’s what! I believe him to be somewhat of a luxury in Ironjawz, but competitive in Bonesplitterz; yet Big Waaagh is where he really shines.
The beauty of taking him in this build is that you have full access to both sets of buffs (Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz). Whereas in a Bonesplitterz list you can fit in an allied Warchanter for example, giving the Rogue Idol +1 Damage is all he is there for; in Big Waaagh, the Chanter also gets to know a Beat, and you can use him to buff up that 6-block of Gore Gruntas too…all while he’s generating Waaagh points for you, into the bargain. Sweat the asset!
The Bonesplitterz wizards buff your Idol up with their spells and dances, and get +1 to cast in return. With careful list building, you can achieve the critical mass of support units and beneficiary units on both sides of the Allegiance, with the whole wonderful circle-jerk held together by this huge hunk of rock and magic.
As you’ll see below, I’ve written an outline list around Pebbles to explore just how far you can take this.
Worth a mention too is that Greenskinz are officially along for the party! The Warboss on Boar and Wyvern both had their CAs nerfed so they are not “too good” in Big Waaagh (fair enough), but with the rest of the tech in this army they are certainly still viable.
The +1 attack stacks with Da Big Waaagh, and it just happens…no risk of losing Waaagh points. The Waaagh Banner will give you rerolls to wound (always nice to have, especially with the good baseline stats), and the Wyvern has quite a few attack profiles to benefit from extra attacks. Either variant is worthy of consideration if they are already in your collection, although I certainly wouldn’t be rushing out to splash money on them with the Sword of Damocles hanging menacingly.
I would skip past the Boarboys (Savages are better), and the Boar Chariot is probably a fun pick only, but the Greenskinz themselves are interesting as 1-wound chaff and cheap Battleline. Other units may be more efficient on a points-per-wound basis, but sometimes you just want a few bargain-basement dickheads to stand in a Gnaw Hole or wear a Keeper of Secrets to the face. They have their role.
I’m not advocating it as a competitive choice, but you totally could run an all-Greenskinz list under the Big Waaagh if you wanted to. Most of us are expecting the faction to be Gitmobbed in the next GH (although it’s still speculation, because GW have given us no official communication on the matter), so for anyone who wants to take the Ladz for one final fling, this could be just the ticket.
In Defence of Da Big Waaagh Command Ability
I’ve seen a lot of negativity to the Command Ability that gives you an extra attack (or two), and I think at least part of the criticism is ill-founded. Let me explain why.
The first thing to understand is that you don’t lose your accumulated Waaagh points (if at all) until the end of the phase. So you will totally get your +1 to Hit and +1 to Wound as well as the extra attacks in that one big phase, regardless of how many Waaagh points you end up losing. So if you’re looking to set up that one devastating turn, or even just need to hit the “Oh Shit” button, it absolutely does give you that surge in output.
The second thing is that looking a little closer at the table, where it knocks you down to is not that bad. If you roll a 1, you’re obviously fucked, so I’m not going to lie to you and claim this play doesn’t have its risks.
But let’s say you’ve capped out at 30 points before you risk it for the biscuit: if you hit that 2-5 range, and half your Waaagh points, that puts you on 15 after your turn. That’s just 1 point before the +1 to Hit kicks in at 16 Waaagh, and only 5 points before you also click the +1 to Wound. That kind of Waaagh generation just happens by default unless you’re getting tabled, or close to it – in which case, what do you have to lose?
All I’m saying is, don’t rule it out. Understand what it can give you and in what circumstances it’s a good bet; keep it as a tool in your arsenal. It’s a risk-reward play, and it’s quite nicely judged as such.
Just don’t roll a 1, dumbass!
The Gordrakk Conundrum
Big G gives you a straight 6 Waaagh Points at the start of each Hero Phase, so at face value the Big Waaagh is his natual home. Honestly thought – I just don’t see it.
I’m on record as saying that Gordrakk’s Warscroll is significantly undercooked and overcosted. He’s just not the force of nature and dominant, game-defining powerhouse that his points cost and stature in the lore merit.
Big Waaagh doesn’t do enough to change that – his signature Command Ability for example is actually less valuable, given the access to an army-wide buff that achieves the same thing. No doubt someone will find a way to make it work, but equally I’m sure that a player who is capable of doing so would have achieved similarly great things with a lot less heartache if they’d just used a proper Maw Krusha instead.
Gordrakk is still a bit crap, and if you were hoping Big Waaagh would rescue him from irrelevance, I’m afraid you’ll have to keep waiting.
List Building Archetypes
Let’s get ’em on the table! Usually my method is to give you the heart of a list and playstyle, but today I’ve also added a couple of fully fleshed-out 2000 point lists since I am actively playing this army currently. Honestly, I’m having so much fun with Big Waaagh, it’s been hard to knuckle down and get serious with the other two subfactions.
The Rock Star
Let’s explore how far we can push Pebbles:
We’ll kick off with a Megaboss and Brutish Cunning, so Pebbles is piling in every Hero Phase, or getting a free move.
A Warchanter is essential to jack up the output on those mighty fists: even better if you’re swinging twice a turn. He can also heal you up if you cop a few wounds.
Speaking of healing, there is no Rule of One on that particular Wardokk dance. So that’s potentially 3D3 wounds healed per turn, between the Warchanter and double Wardokks.
Not that your opponent will be putting much damage on him, after you’ve put Kunnin Beast Spirits on him (and your casting is auto-buffed, remember!). Why not shake a little shake, dance a little dance and put another +1 to save on him from a Wardokk too? Worth noting that unlike a spell, he can only be affected by each wardance once, but you can attempt it multiple times.
You’re now at +2 to save, and you’re also a keyword Orruk, so you have a cheeky 2+ 5++ 6+++ triple save! Solid.
I guess a 10″ move is ok…but how about we double it, and make him fly, with Breath of Gorkamorka? He’s now flying 20″ a turn. I guess that’s ok…but how about we make that a 40″ flying move by nudging him along with your free Mighty D move too? 40″ flying move! WTF.
With +1 to Hit and Wound, he’ll be hitting on 2s rerolling 1s on the charge (which is also buffed at +1″ in Big Waaagh), and wounding on 2s rerolling 1s with the Warboss nearby. Speaking of the Warboss, fancy an extra attack on each profile? Here, go nuts!
Meanwhile you’re helping the Prophet crack off his horde-clearing spell with bonuses to cast. Now this leaves only 880 points for your troops, so it might be past the point of being truly efficient: but remember you can also use those Heroes to buff all your other units, so they are not a sunk cost.
In the real world you would probably trim at least one support Hero out; as cool as he is, if you punt the Warboss for example that gives you 1020 points to build your Battleline, which feels a bit more competitive. But as an illustration of how far you can take this guy: Holy Shit!
The “All The New Toys” list
Strong as an ox, fresh out the box, I put this list together the day the book dropped and I’ve not been able to put it down since. It really is intended as a Beerhammer list, but it does have some chops, and it’s been hella fun to play:
Committed readers will be all too aware that I’ve fallen hard for Destroyer. It really is wild overkill in an already-choppy list, but once you get used to having it, and once you’ve seen how much fun it is, it is so, so hard to let it go.
Beyond that, the list is really geared up to make use of the new tech in the book: Megaboss Bamm Bamm is rocking Brutish Cunning to bring Mighty D into your life, and a we’re bringing a couple of Warchanters along for the ride because they are the best support unit in this or any book.
On the Bonesplitterz side we have a Wardokk with Kunnin Beast Spirits to get the crazy-gravy saves and double healing on Pebbles, as well as a Prophet for the CP generation and spell which just eviscerates hordes. We also have plenty of access to casting bonuses (Pebbles, Wardokk dances and spending Waaagh points) to get that sweet, sweet 10+ casting roll. Meanwhile Breath of Gork combos with Mighty D to get Pebbles flying 40″ and fucking up whatever needs to be fucked up.
Anyone who doesn’t know what Warchanter-buffed Gruntas and Ardboyz can do is in for a nasty surprise. The humble unit of 10 Ardboyz will be rocking 22 attacks on a 2+ 2+ Rend -1 Damage 2, and that will just rip the heart out of similar units across the table from you.
Wound count is relatively low for a Big Waaagh army – that’s what happens when you take Bamm Bamm and Pebbles. But we’re here for a good time not a long time, and this army is a good time all the way.
“All The New Toys”: Refined and Reloaded
This will be the next iteration of the list above, aiming to become a little more competitive whilst keeping the fun core:
Bamm Bamm has been downgraded to a Foot Boss, keeping the access to Mighty D for a much lower investment. The points liberated from that move have largely gone into a maximum unit of Arrow Boys.
These guys are serious business, don’t doubt it. You can stack the +1 to hit from Brutal Beast Spirits and the Maniak Weirdnob Warscroll Spell to get them hitting on 4s and double-popping on 6s; if your Prophet earns you a cheeky CP, you might even invest in rerolling 1s in the shooting phase.
From their 90 shots they should be forcing something like 35 saves; against Monsters these are all at rend -1 (Mortarchs hate Arrow Boys, believe it!). Blasting a Hero off the board is their specialty, but they also love bludgeoning their way through 1-wound chaff such as Plague Monks.
With Kunnin Beast Spirits and the Wardokk dance, you can get the Arrow Boys on a 4+ save. Maybe even invest one of the Prophet’s spells into Mystic Shield, and you can have a 60-wound unit on a 4+ save rerolling 1s. So kinda like 30 Liberators…with a 6++ aftersave.
Crucially, they give you some output outside of the Combat Phase; as well as clearing off screens for your Gore Gruntas to charge to where they want to be, it means that things like Mortek Guard don’t get to reroll their saves. Shooting is still so, so important in the current meta.
They also ooze Waaagh generation, giving you a nice high body count for Ere We Go. You should comfortably hit 20 Waaagh points by turn 2, and can probably get there even after splashing a little on buffed casting.
Because the Foot Boss doesn’t demand further investment in the same way that a Maw Krusha does, we have jacked up the Prophet instead. He’s got a +1 to cast Artefact, to double down with the Rogue Idol casting bonus and the Wardokk dance. Throw in some Waaagh points, and he can be casting 3 spells a turn up there on his Balewind at anywhere from +2 to +5 per spell. That gives you a great shot at cracking a 10+ cast on his horde-clearing spell from 30″ away.
We’ve also got all the Rogue Idol fun times that we’ve discussed already, but we won’t be flinging him forward turn 1 in most games. The standard play will be buff up the Arrow Boys and put them in an advanced position, and keep Pebbles back to buff a second turn of casting. The pigs can be wave one of combat, bombing down a flank with a Warchanter buff and clearing up an Objective. After you’ve eviscerated their army with your shooting, the Wurggog spell and the bacon, you’re ready to buff up Pebbles and clean up what’s left.
The Ardboyz and Greenskinz are Wave 3. Ardboyz are more than capable of skirmishing with anything that’s likely to be left alive; Greenskinz less so. They are included partly for nostalgia, but mainly as true cheap chaff. They can screen against an aggressive army if needed, but more often they will shield the back of your Heroes from deep striking units or stand in a Gnaw Hole, before running onto Objectives unchallenged late on.
See? Easy! Let’s go!
Coming in with a list completely different from anything I’ve been working on, Eric Hoerger has been smashing it with his own Big Waaagh list, built around a jacked-up Weirdnob Shaman.
The Shammy is now a 2-spell caster with a second lore spell and buffed casting, even before the Balewind. Between his two cracks at Green Puke and Wrath of Gork (which combos nicely with all those units of Ardboyz around), he is bordering on heavy-duty Mortal Wound artillery.
He also has the home run threat of Hand of Gork to keep Eric’s opponents honest with their positioning, and the Prophet will gladly step up onto the Balewind himself if he needs to crack out one of his spells at extended range.
A single unit of 15 Ardboyz is a force to be reckoned with, so watcha gonna do when 75 of them line up against you? With the Wurrgog Prophet along for the ride, there should be plenty of CPs here to get units of 10 back too. Eric’s list demonstrates that Ardfist works well within a “proper army” and doesn’t need to game the system to succeed.
Eric has had an excellent run of early success with this army, including a 4-1 result and Podium at Justice Series GT:
I always try to give my honest opinions on this blog; I love Warhammer, so I’m naturally going to like most things GW puts out, and that will come through in my posts. But I do sometimes get frustrated when I see something I don’t like, and when that happens, I think I make it pretty clear.
So believe me when I say that I think this book is fantastic. All three Allegiances are awash with viable options and list building dilemmas; the great achievement of this book is that the competitive builds are fun, and the fun builds are competitive.
Nothing encapsulates that better than Big Waaagh, which succesfully bridges the gap between Beerhammer and competitive gaming. It’s going to be a hell of a journey.
Do you like big orcs that wear armour, hit like a freight train, come back when you kill them, ignore damage, move multiple times per turn and then smash your fucking teeth right down your throat?
I guess it depends what side of the table you’re standing on, because let me tell you: Ironjawz are legit.
For those who don’t know, I’ve played Destruction right through the period when most competitive players dropped them like a sack of shit. Back in the day it often felt like all that Ironjawz could really do was walk forward into a fight, and then lose that fight.
You were desperately scrambling the whole game, retreating onto Objectives and trying to steal enough Victory Points to carry you through before you got tabled (you always got tabled); and if you sent even a minimum-sized unit left instead of right, it was curtains.
So believe me when I say that I would be the first to call bullshit if I didn’t think this book was up to scratch. Ironjawz in this book feel like a force of nature: it’s been a long time coming, and it’s so, so good.
We finally have a Destruction Battletome with Clans, baby!
Free rules? Don’t mind if I do!
The background for all three of these is pretty cool. The Ironsunz get a decent spread, with Dakkbad being firmly entrenched as a sneaky, sneaky git. Bloodtoofs have a new leader, and although it would have been nice to hear what happened to Zogbakk, the constant anarchic crashing through Realmgates is a really nice hook for the subfaction.
Finally we have the new gunslingers in town, Da Choppaz. I love the blue and white checks colour scheme, and they really lean into the hooligan meme. In fact this section is probably my favourite of the three: it really speaks to orcs as free-spirited and true to themselves, with pure aggression and violence being an expression of their nature rather than evil as such.
I’d love to ransack a Free City with these Boyz. Poison the water, salt the earth, smear green shit all over their Gods and leave nothing else standing.
Let’s start off with a bang: Smashing and Bashing is back. Wipe out a unit in either player’s combat phase, and you get to activate a different unit immediately.
Smash another unit off the board, and you get to go again. And again. And again.
This has always been super strong, but it’s currently at peak importance for two reasons:
Firstly, it circumvents Slaanesh’s Locus of Distraction. Their ability triggers at the end of the charge phase and forces you to fight last; your ability then triggers immediately upon wiping out an enemy unit in the combat, and being the more recent ability it therefore takes precedence (as per the Beasts of Chaos FAQ).
In practice, this means you can get a flanking unit of Gore Gruntas into some Hellstriders (for example), duff them up, then immediately trigger Smashing and Bashing to swing with your Locussed Maw Krusha into their Heroes. Cop that!
Secondly, since the army has had an overall damage boost (and certainly a boost in burst damage for buffed-up mobs), you are now in the position of being able to reliably annihilate enemy units and trigger the chain activations.
Smashing and Bashing was only ever as good as your feather-fisted Damage 1 Ladz; it scales up so, so well with the Warchanter bonuses and it multiplies the impact of your boosted damage output.
This alone is a really compelling reason to take Ironjawz over Big Waaagh; perhaps the most compelling reason.
You also get access to the Mighty Destroyers Command Ability. Since it reared its glorious green head in GH19, this is already firmly established as one of the best and most impactful CAs in the whole game.
You get to move if you are more than 12″ from the enemy, charge if you are within 3″ to 12″, or pile in and attack if you are within 3″. Any given unit can only benefit once, meaning you cannot charge in then activate again to attack, with the result that charging is rarely useful; you might be able to wipe something on low wounds with an impact charge from a Maw Krusha for example, but much more often you’ll be using this for moving or attacking.
Both of these are amazing. Moving is exponentially beneficial to faster units like the Gore Gruntas, the Maw Krusha and even the Rogue Idol: you can really have them zooming across the board. Fighting in every Hero phase can really help you power your way through grinds, and stops your key units getting bogged down with dickheads wasting entire turns.
There is a nice new addition to the package with Mad as Hell, which means you get to move D6″ at the end of any phase in which you took damage, as long as you are at least 9″ from any enemy units. Thematically, the idea is that your opponent chipping away with shooting damage gets you fired up and starting to close the gap to get them in combat. In practice that will certainly be useful, but there are also more kunnin’ applications such as moving backwards onto an objective, or deliberately chipping off a wound or two with an Endless Spell to get a Hero Phase nudge.
The Ironjawz Waaagh! has replaced the similar ability on the various Megaboss’s warscrolls. It is now a once per game Command Ability that guarantees you +1 attack within a radius of your Megaboss, and in rare circumstances +2 attacks. Waaagh! bombing has officially bitten the dust, and that’s fine because we can now win by playing proper games of Warhammer instead; but it’s still nice to have this surge of energy up your sleeve for that one turn where you just need to break through.
We also get +1 to charge which means you can’t fail a 3″ charge. That really is crucial for a combat army, and stacks nicely with the Ardboyz musician in particular.
Broadly speaking, the GH19 package has been carried across (with the addition of Mad as Hell), and that’s fine; it was already a huge upgrade above what came before, and this suite of abilities is certainly fit for purpose in modern AOS.
Command Traits and Artefacts
We’ve got some modern classics in here alright, so let’s take a look at the best amongst them. Ironclad is a great starting point for putting your Krusha on a 2+ save. Worth pointing out that it won’t combo with Etheral Amulet, because it is a save modifier, which Ethereal switches off (positive or negative). Still, it’s a solid starting point for any tanky Maw Krusha build.
Brutish Cunning lets you use the Mighty Destroyers Command Ability once per turn for free. I went on record earlier in this article saying that I believe this is one of the most impactful CAs in the whole of AOS right now, so getting recurring access to that for free is massive. The Big Fella is fighting in every hero phase, so get used to it! A real power pick.
Hulking Musclebound Brute has some appeal for Kannonball Krusha builds in a Beerhammer list (combo’d up with the Big Un Mount Trait and Luminary Rod for max mortals on the charge), but you’re going to have a fight on your hands to take one of those first two off me in any competitive build.
Weirdnob Shamans also get their own table, all of which are viable. You can slap on +1 to cast, unbind and dispell if you’re building a power caster; grab some extra CPs if you’re aiming to spam the shit out of an Ardfist (more of which later); or turn them into a 2-spell caster who knows an extra Lore spell.
A Maw Krusha demands further investment from CTs and Artefacts, but if you aren’t commited to taking one, there is definitely an interesting Weirdnob Shaman list or two out there.
For a Megaboss, there isn’t much here that trumps the Artefacts of the Realms. Your power picks are probably still Ignax’s Scales or Ethereal Amulet.
The one exception is Destroyer. Once a game, you slam an extra +3 Damage onto a melee weapon.
What the actual fuck! That’s amazing!
With a Warchanter buff on there, you can have a Megaboss doing 6 damage per swing on a surreal number of attacks. 6 damage per fucking swing! Holy Guacamole.
I personally made the terrible mistake of actually using this artefact in my first game with the book, to get it out of my system before moving onto more sensible, defensive artefacts. It’s just so much fun, you’re going to have to prise it out of my cold, green hand.
Don’t take it. Take something defensive. It’s too late for me, save yourself and don’t look back!
Weirdnob Shamans again have an interesting suite of options. My favourite is the Shamanic Skullcape for the +1 to cast. There is also a twist: kill an enemy wizard in melee, and you can cast a spell they knew for the rest of the game.
If anyone can spot a teleport spell that does not specify “friendly” units, let me know, because I’d frikkin love to redeploy an enemy unit exactly where they don’t want to be, with their own spell. Maximum Troggoth.
The Spell Lore
If you’re taking a wizard, you’re probably taking him for Hand of Gork. That’s the teleport we all know and love and it’s still really clutch. It’s much more of a crapshoot now – you’ve lost the intrinsic casting bonuses from the Weirdnob, as you will see – but if you’re willing to take the risk and cast from scratch (or invest in pumping up your casting), this is gonna be the first spell you take in virtually every list.
There is also an interesting build based around Wrath of Gork, which can put out a high quantity of mortal wounds if your Shammy is surrounded by MSU Ironjawz units. This could combo nicely with something like an Ardfist and a Balewind Vortex, especially if you took the Command Trait to have him attempting both this and Hand of Gork each turn.
The rest of the lore is largely a flop in all honesty. Take one or both of those two spells, and skip the rest.
Bonus Round! First ever Destro book to have Mount Traits, and they’ve absolutely nailed it.
Seriously, all six of them are viable in some way. It’s so cool to have a full table of 6 items where you can’t immediately narrow it down to the best, the alternative and four varying shades of shit.
I’ve written a whole article on loadouts for Maw Krushas, so I won’t double up here. But the TLDR is that Weird Un will probably be the most popular choice because Defence, but if you’ve already invested in mortal wound protection (e.g. via Ignax Scales) I would maybe allow yourself a little fun with Mean Un for the Damage 3 attacks.
Endless Spells and Terrain
Yeah, sorry, not for you. It turns out that all the plastic in China went into making those ridiculous Ossiarch phalluses.
I’ve covered my thoughts on this topic in the Bonesplitterz article, so I’d encourage anyone interested to take a look at that rather than labouring the point here. The TLDR is that it’s disappointing, but not enough to ruin the book for me.
Yeah…this clan is legit. Ironsunz have always been -1 to hit in the first Battleround, which is incredibly impactful whether you are bunkering up, or YOLOing out there with your dick flapping in the wind, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already got a debuff baked in to help with the counterpunch.
When it first cropped up as a Batallion it only transpired on a 3+, and then in GH19 it improved to a 2+. Now it just happens…what a time to be alive!
The Command Ability that you gain access to is utterly, utterly game changing. You get to counter charge at the end of your opponent’s charge phase. WOW. This will win you matches, right there.
A couple of applications, right off the bat:
Your opponent runs minimum chaff onto an objective to cap it without having to fight. BLAMMO you’re into him, killing his dickheads and capping yourself instead.
Your opponent charges your Ardboyz to get your bodies off the objective, but he doesn’t want a bit of your tooled-up up Maw Krusha. BLAMMO here’s a Maw Krusha in your grill, and a couple of Mortal Wounds on the charge to go with it. You can have those ones for free, next time I’ll have to charge.
Slaanesh (filthy, filthy Slaanesh) use their Locus at the end of the charge phase. Then what happens next? BLAMMO that’s what! You’re into them, and Locus free.
Even just the free movement is huge. Honestly, this is amazing. It will win you games, straight up.
The Command Trait is locked in, which gives you +1 Command Point. It might not be your first choice (you’d always rather have Brutish Cunning, which is similar but significantly better) but it’s not actively bad. It’s still useful, even if not super efficient.
And finally your Artefact reduces rend by 1. It’s basically a worse version of Ethereal, but again that doesn’t actually make it bad – it’s still pretty decent, and it also means you’re not locked into Shyish if you wanted to take Aetherquartz Brooche for example. Similar to the Command Trait, it’s certainly usable.
What a package. People will find ways to win with all clans and none, but I’m gonna come out and say it, this one is da best.
So much so that I’ll be using my red-painted Ironjawz as 40K-style Evil (Iron)Sunz rather than Bloodtoofs.
If you don’t like it, fight me. And you’ll lose, because I’m neg 1 to hit, chump.
So the ability you get is +1 to run and charge, which stacks with the +1 to charge you get just for being Ironjawz. Nice.
It’s not super flashy, but movement bonuses are always impactful. Worth noting too that your Ardboyz will now be charging at +4 cumulatively (including their musician), so a 9″ teleport leaves them needing a 5+ to complete the charge. If only there was a way to get them redeployed reliably, hey? Read on, because Bloodtoofs has you covered!
The Command Ability is more movement jank: this one basically gives you a normal move at the end of the combat phase. You have to have fought (and have a Hero somewhere in the same postcode) but can’t use it to retreat or run; so essentially you need to have blasted away everything that was nearby.
Where I see this one coming into its own is objective screening – both flavours. Your opponent sets up with his models tapping the 6″ line with the back of his base, so they are capping the objective but you are not; after you kick their teeth in, you step forward and capture. Screen that, motherfucker.
And on the flipside: you could find an opportunity to smash something up in midfield, then step onto and beyond the Objective. Again with the back of your bases inside 6″, but the front outside, so your opponent has to fight through a wall of green flesh to get it back. Any extra movement is lethal in an objectives game – and don’t forget, if you took damage in combat, you can potentially double down with a Mad as Hell move too.
The artefact is awesome, but somewhat wasted on a Megaboss since it doesn’t directly boost him personally in any way. The Quickduff Amulet (sweet name too) gives you a free teleport once per game. It’s worded as a Hand of Gork that can’t be unbound, so you can’t double up with a cast of that spell – but a guaranteed redeploy is massive.
I would have loved this even more if you weren’t restricted by the same thing as the spell: namely, needing to be more than 3″ away from enemy models to use it. It would be so powerful if you could save this for a late-game “Now you see me – Now you don’t” switcheroo onto an objective, but being locked by combat means this is primarily an aggro artefact. It’s still really solid for all that – and don’t forget, a 9″ redeploy links in well with the intrinsic charge bonuses that this Clan receives.
So what other goodies do we have? Sadly – nothing. The Command Trait is utter garbage and a major failure. It’s weak enough to begin with, but then being able to use it hinges on a terrain piece (Realmgate) that may or may not be on the table at a competitive event.
Hopefully TOs will let you use it, but you shouldn’t have to rely on goodwill to make up for bad rules. It’s not good enough that they removed the wording allowing you to place a Realmgate, and it’s not good enough that they failed to respond to the FAQs that were submitted on that matter. They’ve completely shafted Bloodtoofs here, and you essentially don’t get a Command Trait which is a huge deal.
All in all, Bloodtoofs is something of a curate’s egg. It’s not a lost cause, but it does seem like they phoned it in compared to the other Clans. Probably one for when you are looking to change things up a bit for a friendly game moreso than going all-out to place highly at a tournament.
Blue and White Dynamite! I love these guys, themed around Ardboyz hooligans. The ability you get is rerolling charges within 12″ of a terrain feature that is partly or wholly within enemy territory. You don’t need to be wholly within 12″, so overall it’s generous enough to be useful, but tight enough to be thematic for a rampaging horde of vandals. I like it.
Your Command Ability allows a Warchanter to buff up to 3 units of Brutes or Ardboyz. Wowzer! This is arguably the best buff in the game, so getting to triple bang it is awesome. Why not take 2, and buff up 6 units per turn? Go on, it’ll be fun!
Your Command Trait gives a +2 Bravery bubble around your General, which is useful if you lean into the Brutes theme. I also love the name for this one (“Checked Out”), so I like it more than I probably should.
The Artefact is shit on a stick unfortunately. It lets your Weirdnob use the Ironjawz Waaagh! Command Ability, in the same way a Megaboss would. But it’s not like a Megaboss is some kind of tax that you’ll be eager to avoid.
I can see what they were thinking, in terms of allowing you to build a super thematic force (Weirdnobs run the show in Da Choppas) while making sure you don’t miss out on a key combat buff that only a Megaboss can normally provide. But the Ironjawz Waaagh! is only quite good…you can play whole games without it, leaning on Mighty Destroyers instead.
Just as importantly, the Weirdnob can’t function at a high level when he’s locked into a Commant Trait and Artefact that don’t boost his casting and unbinding; his Warscroll just isn’t strong enough for that, unfortunately.
In a balanced Choppas army, I’d suggest going with either two Weirdnobs (so one of them can at least take a decent Artefact to boost his casting), or neither (and avoid the Artefact tax completely – it’s only compulsory if you take a Weirdnob).
Don’t let the artefact put you off: just work around it, because Da Choppas is an interesting combat army waiting to happen. The superpowered Warchanters alone make it a viable choice.
Let me rephrase that: Heroes. Mighty Fucking Heroes, every one of them.
Megaboss on Maw Krusha: We’ve already done a deep dive on these guys, so I won’t go over old ground too much:
Safe to say these guys have had a decent lift, way moreso that I thought at first glance. The biggest step change is the Strength From Victory rule: racking up those extra attacks can get out of hand really quickly.
Your Krusha also benefits hugely from Mighty Destroyers: it has the speed for a Mighty D move to matter, and the punch for a pile in to be punishing.
Maw Krusha 101 currently is to load him up with defensive buffs; send him skirmishing for a few rounds, beating up dickheads and gaining extra attacks; and in this manner you should be able to keep him alive through the first few Battlerounds, by which stage he has likely snowballed past the point where your opponent can stop him. Beautiful.
Megaboss: Hmmm. I’m still not sold on this guy unfortunately. 150 points seems pretty stiff for what is still a second-rate combat Hero. He’s lost his rend -2 and still moves at snail’s pace.
He does have a role as a sponge for compulsory Artefacts and Command Traits when you are taking a Clan: while they would make your Maw Krusha uneconomic since he demands further investment, the foot boss doesn’t owe you quite as much, so the equation makes a little more sense.
Warchanter: The best buffing Hero in the game? He’s got to be up there. This guy got a major, major lift and is worth every one of his 110 points.
In case you hadn’t heard, you pick a nearby unit, and you give it +1 damage.
And you don’t even have to roll for it.
But it doesn’t stop there: you can also choose for him to know a Beat from a table of three, all of which are useful. Fixin’ Beat heals a unit D3 (get that Maw Krusha back up the charts), Get Em Beat lets you charge with 3D6 from up to 18″ away (awesome with your other charge bonuses), and Killa Beat gives you +1 to Hit (cop that, Geminids). All of these have a Rule of One.
Now these only happen on a 4+, which is a bit stiff compared to other Prayers and Prayer-equivalents; however, that is easily compensated for because the +1 damage buff just happens. They could easily have both been triggered on a 3+, but I think we’ve done pretty well out of it being this way around!
Take one. No, don’t take one, take two or three! These guys are the heartbeat of the army.
Weirdnob Shaman: your Wizard took a bit of a kicking, in all honesty. Still only a one-spell caster, he has now lost his bonuses to cast; he also lost the home run threat of his inconic Foot of Gork Warscroll spell. The loss of reliability on Hand of Gork in particular filters right down through the army.
He does get a free crack at Green Puke each turn (making him a pseudo-two spell caster, albeit severely restricted in his options), and that’s serious business when spammed from a Balewind. Losing the buffed cast and unbind is a bit of a shame from a quality of life viewpoint, but I can still see an argument for taking one as a Hand of Gork threat, if only to keep your opponent honest in guarding his objectives “just in case” you do cast it.
Gordrakk: Meh. Some people like him because his twin axes scale quickly with Strength from Victory; I still see him as a worse Cabbage because he can’t take defensive buffs other than the “Weird Un” Mount Trait. I will be honest, I haven’t played a game with him yet; but I’m also not excited or motivated to do so. Still comically overcosted in my opinion, and I’d rather just pay less for a regular Megaboss that will last longer. Move along!
Ardboyz: Boy did these guys get a buff! The Warscroll has been simultaneously streamlined and improved, with the unit now hitting on 3s with rend -1 across the board. Shields are a free survivability upgrade for 2 in every 5 models, and they still get +2 to bravery and, crucially, to charge.
Coming in at 9 points per wound, these guys are super efficient for what they do. They have a chaff-level points cost, with an elite attack profile and a 4+ save. The bonuses to charge makes them faster than they look; they are just a really solid backbone for any Ironjawz army, and good at everything.
Give them a Warchanter buff, and they have that attack profile we love to see: 3+ 3+ Rend -1 Damage 2. I can tell you from experience that a unit of 10 is an absolute blender; anywhere from 5 to 15 seems to be the sweet spot. Cracking all-rounder unit, right here.
Ironskull’s Boyz: These are low-key a decent little unit. Bang on 10 points per wound is pretty reasonable for what they bring: a proper 6++ after save (applies to Mortal Wounds too), improving to a 5++ on the Boss; and a little sprinkle of extra output from multi-damage attacks and the classic ‘Eadbutt. I did also like the reference in the flavour text to hacking and bashing, which was a neat little touch for Underworlds players like me.
Don’t sleep on these guys. I’m obviously not suggesting you build a list around them, but if you are desperate to squeeze 10 points out of somewhere, you could do worse than trim a minimum unit of Ardboyz down to Ironskulls Boyz. They’re pretty capable of standing on a point and defending it against Khinerai, for example. Sweet models, too.
Gore Gruntas: finally, a warscroll to match the model! These guys have always looked like a crashing wave of muscle and bone, which is exactly how they play on the table now. Your weapons choice dictates either an extra attack, or bonuses on the charge and 2″ reach; both are good, and there’s not much in it, but I’ve gone for Choppas.
Mortal wounds on the charge? Don’t mind if I do! These are another unit (along with the Maw Krusha) that can pop a few mortals in the Hero Phase with a Mighty Destroyers charge, then move off and do it all again, so don’t forget you’ve got that one up your sleeve.
Need a hyper mobile unit with Hero phase moves and bonuses to charge? Gore Gruntas.
Need a hammer to smash something up with a Warchanter buff? Gore Gruntas.
Board control? Efficient points per wound? Mobile screen?
Gore Gruntas, Gore Gruntas, Gore Gruntas.
Brutes: Hmmm. I just don’t see it, unfortunately. They still suffer from being way too similar to Ardboyz: they have identical attack stats (with more attacks per models of course), and their only Warscroll ability is humdrum to say the least. It’s just not exciting enough for what is meant to be an elite melee unit and doesn’t give them anything to hang their hat on.
Their bravery is still a joke, and crucially, they are missing the banner and musician for the +2″ charge. With Ardboyz being on smaller bases, they are almost as good at fighting, faster, more durable and better at scoring objectives. Brutes just don’t have enough daylight in their combat output to make up for their shortfalls in other areas.
The gap is narrow enough that if you like Brutes, they are certainly usable. But you’ll be using them because you want to use them.
Interestingly, the Fists still give +2 wounds to the Batallion leader. I wasn’t expecting to see that carry across, but it’s a nice bit of fan-service for long term Megabosses.
There’s not a huge volume, so let’s tackle them in order:
Currently the subject of much online debate, this summoning Batallion needs clarification because there’s no unanimous view on how it functions. I’ll cover this in a little more detail in my Choppas list below, but the ins and outs of the arguments could form an article on their own (and likely will). For the time being, it’s one to discuss with your opponent in casual games, or clear with the TO competitively.
Every Brute does a mortal wound on the charge (on a 4+). Viable if you likes your Brutes, and because it’s not phase-locked you can potentially do some out-of-phase damage: crack off a Mighty Destroyers charge to blast through a weakened enemy in the hero phase, follow it up with a move in the movement phase, then pop off a charge phase charge to smash out some more mortal wounds. Brutes on da rampage! Not a one I’ll be using a lot because I don’t run a lot of Brutes, but if they’re your boys, it’s certainly usable.
Still the go-to in my opinion. The classic “Ironfist move” is replaced by free access to Mighty Destroyers, which doesn’t even have to be used on a unit from the Batallion. As a Mighty D fanboy, I’m all about this. The second thing I like about this one in particular is that it can contain any of your Battleline units in any combination, and wraps them all into a neat low-drop package. Destined to be popular, and rightly so.
Free 9″ move in the first turn. Not bad, but nowhere near as good as a free Mighty Destroyers activation every turn, so I’d always just find the extra points for an Ironfist personally. Not one I’d ever run, even if I was going all-in on bacon.
Bundles up a Shammy with 3-5 Battleline units, getting your drops down further; and lets him cast two free Pukes instead of one (meaning he can puke up to three times per turn). Everyone seems to have skimmed straight past this one, but it’s not actually bad. Probably suffers again in comparison to Ironfist, but it’s one I could see myself taking out for a spin in a Beerhammer game.
A big battalion, and most likely one-drop. You can just about squeeze it into 2000 points, but honestly, you wouldn’t bother. It’s shit and GW blatantly doesn’t want you using it competitively, so they’ve made you jump through hoops and pay through the nose to get your drops right down. Don’t bother, just build a proper army instead.
List Building Archetypes
OK, time to have some fun! As always, I’ll be looking to give you the core of a list to build around, covering a chunk of your Battleline and setting out a playstyle; but leaving room for your individual touch and favourite units.
Let’s kick it off with an all-rounder that will see you compete against most armies on most scenarios. This build should stand the test of time and give you a really solid core to work with:
You’re playing it nice and sensible with your Krusha, giving him the Holy Trinity of defensive buffs: negs to hit (Ironsunz), rend protection (Sunzblessed Armour) and Mortal Wound protection (Weird Un). These all have limitations in some way and don’t offer blanket immunity, but combined they will contribute to keeping the big lad alive into the mid-game, where he can really shine.
Dealer’s Choice for the second artefact, but I’ve gone for the Brooch to keep the Mighty D engine firing while also allowing for some sweet, sweet Ironsunz counter charges. This army has two of the best Command Abilities in the game, and you’re going to want to use them early and often!
A neat little trick you can try with this army is to include a Weirdnob Shaman with Hand of Gork (maybe even with the +1 to cast artefact). Fire up the pigs with the Warchanter so they are damage 2 on all their attacks, and teleport them into the backfield.
You have to set up at least 9″ away, but you’re not glued to the 9″ line: why not set up a little further away at 12.1″? Then you can use the Mighty Destroyers move from the Battalion to perform a normal move. With the Gruntas this is a mighty 9″, putting you 3.1″ away from the enemy, and on an infallible charge thanks to the Ironjawz +1.
I hope your opponent has screened front and back, because you’re coming in hard. And when they get to hit back, they’re doing so at -1 to hit…because we’re Ironsunz!
Under GH19, a lot of Ironjawz builds were focussed on getting up in your opponent’s grill and Waaagh-spamming them into oblivion. Some people liked that one huge turn, some people didn’t, but Bloodtoofs currently leans closest to that playstyle.
We’re taking a big unit of Ardboyz to pump up and throw in there via the Quickduff Amulet. They love the deepstrike with their charge bonuses, but you could easily find a way to pop a couple of wounds on them first if you wanted to get a Mad as Hell to nudge a little closer and make sure.
The plan will be to wrap your opponent in an iron blanket and pin them in their own territory behind a heap of wounds, or deepstrike into the backfield and wipe out the juicy stuff if it’s not protected.
The Maw Krusha and MSU pigs coming in from the front will give you a decent chance at getting +2 attacks from your Waaagh (especially if you’re able to use Get Da Realmgate), and triggering Smashing and Bashing shouldn’t be a problem. After fighting you’ll be able to consolidate and dominate yet more space via the Bloodtoofs Command Ability, and you’ve engineered a huge first or second turn to blast your opponent past the point of recovery.
This list should be able to make use of the Ardfit summoning, while dovetailing nicely with what Da Choppas brings to the party:
The idea here is to kill off your own unit of 5 Ardboyz. Vomit on them with Green Puke to knock a couple of wounds off for starters. Scuttletide should chip off a couple more when it’s set up, and by this stage you are Mad as Hell; perform a d6″ move and take the Scuttletide wounds again. You’re in the end of your Hero phase by now, and a second Green Puke should go a long way to finishing them off. Damned Terrain could help too if necessary, and don’t forget to remove the banner first (if you take one at all) so you can Battleshock off the last one standing if it comes to that.
I’ve also included the Pendulum there, which you might even cast first, so you can put Scuttletide somewhere annoying for your opponent instead if you roll well on that. Best thing about Pendulum is that you can point it towards your opponent and get more juice out of it later, two benefits for the price of one.
You’ll need another wizard to cast both Endless Spells in one turn, but a second Fungoid is always worth his points – especially since you will be desperate for those extra Command Points, which he can generate for you.
Once you’ve knocked off the Ardboyz, you get to throw Command Points at resurrecting them. There is no limit on how many times you can attempt this: keep spending the CPs, and keep rolling those 4+s:
To play it safe, I’ve deliberately left headroom in the Battalion: you start with 3 units and one is now dead, so at that point there are 2 units in the Battalion. There is a school of thought that you cannot add summoned units past the Battalion cap of 5, so let’s assume that’s the case and leave room for 3 extra units to come in.
You do need to roll a 4+ for it to work, otherwise you’ve wasted your CP. Hence why we have built in a lot of CPs to throw at it: one purchased, one from the Battalion, one per turn and hopefully one or more from your Fungoids.
You could double down on this with Aetherquartz Brooch, but I’ve taken the view that it’s more important to keep your Warchanter alive than shooting for a ridiculous number of units (especially assuming the Battalion cap is in place), hence the Ragged Cloak. That also puts you in the right Realm to slap Ethereal on your Maw Krusha if you take one, which you easily could.
Hey Presto! You’ve parlayed a unit of 5 Ardboyz into up to 3 units of 10, exactly where your opponent doesn’t want them.
Deploying 9″ away is no problem for Ardboyz, since they charge at +3; and best of all, because they’re Choppas, they are going be rerolling those charges.
For added fun times, Hand of Gork a single Warchanter over there, and give all 3 units the damage buff via the Choppas Command Ability. 10 Ardboys at Rend -1 Damage 2 will make a mess of most things, and on a 6″ rerollable charge they are hitting what they want to hit.
Now, the good news is: we already have a tournament-winning list to piggy back on!
Any competitive Ironjawz player will know all about Leo Rautonen, who consistently posted 4-1 results with the GH19 rules and competed right at the highest level on the cut-throat UK tournament scene.
Leo has smashed it out of the park by winning the first event he attended with the new book, Bloodshed in the Shires:
If you’ve read the whole article you’ll know I’m all about Ironsunz.
One thing that jumps off the page is the absence of a Maw Krusha: nonetheless, by including a Megaboss in there, Leo has given himself multiple sources of Mighty Destroyers (da boss himself, and the battalion boss), allowing him to project power in separate areas of the board as well as keeping some redundancy for the late-game push.
Between the Battalion, the Command Trait and the “free” battalion access to Mighty D, Leo will have a decent well of Command Points to draw upon, liberating himself to crack off a clutch Ironsunz counter-charge or two at key moments.
If you want to see how it played out in practice, check out Leo’s tournament-winning match (against Slaanesh, no less) on The Honest Wargamer:
After years of struggle with this army, was it worth the wait?
Oh yes! GW have absolutely nailed it with this book. Ironjawz finally play like their press, crashing forward in waves like a force of nature. This is no FEC release – if you just push everything wildly forward, you will lose a lot of games – but who wants that, anyway? We’ve got all the tools we need to succeed, and if you invest in this army, the rewards are there.
There is plenty to explore, and a huge range of competitive and fun builds that will keep you krumpin’ for years to come. It’s a 10/10 from me.
Coming up next will be the Big Waaagh review (where I’ll also cover the Rogue Idol), and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out the Bonesplitterz review too.
I hope you’re ready for the Green Tide, because they’re coming at you hard. Bonesplitterz are very dear to my heart, and along with Mixed Destruction they have probably been the faction I’ve played most across the lifespan of AOS.
Now that we have the FAQ under our belts, we are ready to assess the army in the full light of day. I’ve got a lot of personal attachment here, and I’m very invested in making the best of this book, so join me as I dive into the greenest and therefore bestest part of the Orruk Warclans release.
This is a pretty deep write-up, because I want to do the book justice. Anyone who’s already familiar with the contents is free to jump ahead to the “List Building Archetypes” section, which will hopefully add value for everyone planning on playing the army – but I hope you’ll join me on the full journey through the book in all its glory, because my aim throughout is to analyze rather than regurgitate.
Come On You Boyz In Green!
Ever wondered how mummy orcs and daddy orcs make little baby orcs? They don’t – orcs dissolve into a puddle when they die, and their asexual offspring spawn from the fungal goo. This makes them almost impossible to eradicate; once they have infested an area, their spores are pretty much there for good.
They are effectively animals that reproduce like fungus. This is a ramped-up parallel of some things we do see in the natural world: for example the classic taxonomy of animals was turned on its head when Europeans arrived in Australia, and found “mammals” (such as the platypus) that laid eggs.
I quite like this piece of lore, which makes them feel truly “other”, and not just green humans who’ve been hitting the gym.
Another highlight is the boxed section on World Spirits. Bonesplitterz believe there is a God-Beast of each Realm which they worship alongside Gorkamorka, yet simultaneously they are constantly seeking to hunt them. Skwidmuncha the two-headed shark was my own favourite!
If they ever do get their hands on even one of these great beasts, Bonesplitterz will instantly harness so much Waaagh! power that the whole of the Mortal Realms had better watch out. This could make an interesting hook for future storyline developments or some Black Library support – or it could be a nice premise for your own campaign, if you have a narrative focus to your hobby. See, there’s loads you can do with Destruction beyond “We’re calling a really big Waaagh”!
The basic premise of Bonesplitterz is still the same – they start out life as normal Greenskinz, then go a bit weird and wander off to join the nearest Boneys tribe. They are Gorkamorka’s Faith Militant and the Prophets are running the show.
It’s probably worth pointing out at this point that the book really is surprisingly thin. I was astonished that it covers fewer pages than even the old Bonesplitterz book, let alone that and Ironjawz combined. The quality of the content is high enough that this isn’t a major issue for me – I certainly don’t feel short changed. But it does make me wonder if the release was a little rushed, and I don’t think I’m quite ready to recycle the old book just yet. There are some pretty cool sections like a dictionary of warpaint glyphs that didn’t make it into the new book for example.
Worth a mention too is the artwork. There is some seriously good stuff in here, particularly the new pieces showing Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz fighting side by side. I’ll personally be keeping a keen eye out for this one on Warhammer Art:
Tireless Trackers means that you get to move half your units (rounding up) up to 5″ before the start of the first Battleround.
Let me repeat that:
You get to move half your units (rounding up) up to 5″ before the start of the first Battleround.
How about a little louder?
You get to move half your units (rounding up) up to 5″ before the start of the first Battleround.
This. Is. Huge.
This ability will win you games, straight up. You can spread out to block deep striking. You can push up to stop idiots coming over the Bridge from being right in your face. You can let your opponent patiently measure out his ranges, then feint back out of range. You can step up into unbind range when they thought their wizard was safe. You can get your Arrow Boys up into range for a double tap. You can push your Big Stabbas up for the alpha strike. You can get your aggro units far enough forward to be in position to fly right over screens and into the backfield.
You want me to keep going? I really can’t overstate how powerful this is. And wait until you see the Great Hunter Command Trait!
It doesn’t stop there, either:
Warpaint is now a proper aftersave, so you can potentially get an armour save first. Like a Death save with no Hero ranges!
The Monster Hunters table now lets you choose rather than having to roll for it. Units with volume of attacks will probably choose to pop a Mortal Wound for every Wound Roll of 6, whereas Big Stabbas might go for +1 to hit to squeeze through every one of those valuable attacks
Units who kill a Monster don’t take Battleshock that turn: make sure you don’t forget that one! It doesn’t have to be in melee either, so Arrow Boys can benefit too
You also have access to a Waaagh! CA which works in the same way as Ironjawz. Guaranteed 1 extra attack, might get 2. Handy for Big Stabbas whose attacks are all super valuable, or Boarboys who have two melee profiles for a double benefit
All in all this is a powerful suite of abilities, and a major step up from the prior book. I would have been happy with just the upgrades to Warpaint and Monster Hunters; Tireless Trackers is a wonderful, wonderful bonus.
Command Traits and Artefacts
I won’t rattle through the whole lot, but there is some solid gold in there.
You remember when I was banging on and on about how great the pre-game move was? Well take Great Hunter, and that’s an 8″ move instead. The best just got better.
You may well have a Wurrgog Prophet as your General, in which case he also has a couple of good Wizard ones to choose from too. Master of the Weird can go a long way to building a power caster with +1 to cast, unbind and dispell (nice touch there). You can also give him an extra Lore spell and a 3rd cast with Fuelled by the Spirits.
There are some decent Command Point and Aggro options in there too, but really, I think you’ll have a battle on your hands to take Great Hunter off me.
The best artefact in the whole of Age of Sigmar for me was the Big Wurggog Mask. For anyone who doesn’t know, it was the coolest mini-game ever: you did D3 Mortal Wounds to an enemy unit within 12″, then you could keep staring. On a 3+ you do another D3 Mortal Wounds. Wanna keep staring? Roll another 3+, and you do another D3 Mortal Wounds. Keep starting as long as you like, and you can keep doing Mortal Wounds until that unit is dead. Just make sure you never fail to roll a 3+, because on a 1 or a 2, you die.
You don’t take Mortal Wounds, you just instantly die.
This thing was hilarious, and everyone who has used it has so many stories to tell of when it went right, and when it went so, so wrong.
Sadly the artefact has now lost a lot of its character; it is no longer once per game, but the upside and downside have both been heavily curtailed. It’s actually a viable damage artefact, and can do a decent amount of Mortal Wounds (up to 3D3 per Hero Phase); but I can’t help feeling that it’s had a lot of the fun sucked out of it.
Another one for your Wizards is Mork’s Boney Bitz, giving more access to casting bonuses, and it will see some play.
Glowin’ Tattooz is serious business nowadays, giving you a 4+ ignore from your Warpaint instead of a 6+, and is another one for the shortlist.
Mystic Waaagh! Paint lets you have a free crack at a random spell from your Lore (including a second cast if you already know the one you roll up). As you will see below, I would argue that 5 of the 6 spells are good, so this is worth a look for anyone with the joie de vivre to embrace it.
It’s also fitting that the one shit spell is number 1 in the Lore, so you get “punished” when you pop that natural 1. Not the most competitive choice, but not garbage either, and I could see this one making its way into my Friday night Beerhammer lists, especially doubled up with a Balewind Vortex.
Squiggly Curse: Fucking rubbish.
Within 3″, are you pulling my plonker? I almost wanted to submit an FAQ, but I couldn’t think of anything more constructive to ask than “WTF?”, so I just moved on to the spells that are actually good. I suggest you do the same.
Breath of Gorkamorka: Ooooooh yeah!
This is so much better that it used to be! It doubles your movement and lets you fly…until the next Hero Phase. This is huge. For context, the spell used to be near-identical, except that it only applied in your Movement Phase.
Why is that so big? Well here’s four major applications right off the top of my head:
You can now fly with Hero Phase moves for double the benefit. Get those Arrow Boys zooming up the field, there’s nowhere to hide now!
For added fun times, slap this on a Rogue Idol and give him a Might Destroyers move in Big Waaagh (via Brutally Kunnin CT or the Ironfist Batallion). That fat fucker is now flying a cheeky 40″ per turn!
Arrow Boys can now shoot through Wyldwoods! Dakka Dakka Dakka
Perhaps most importantly of all: you can now charge right over the top of screens with combat units such as Big Stabbas
It is worse in one way: the old spell had no range limitations, so you could cast it from way back out of unbind range. Let’s be honest though, that kind of jank was never going to make the cut in an updated book.
The best spell in the old lore is still the best spell in the new lore, and it’s so, so good.
Brutal Beast Spirits: +1 to Run, Hit, and Charge. Crucially, this is not locked to a particular Phase. Huge on Arrow Boys (get the benefit to your attacks in the Hero Phase, your attacks in the Shooting Phase and then your attacks in the Combat phase). But honestly, just really good on any and every unit you are buffing up.
Bone Krusha: Decent aggro spell that gets better the closer you are to your enemy. You have to be within 6″ to get the D6 Mortal Wounds that armies like Tzeentch and Khorne (or Drakkfoot for that matter) get right off the bat. Not garbage, but you’ll probably run out of Wizards long before you get to the point where you would seriously consider this.
Kunnin Beast Spirits: Sit down and pour yourself a cocoa while I take you on a trip down memory lane.
Back in the early days of AOS, one of the very first ways that people found to break the game was stacking the old Mystic Shield +1 to Save on a unit. You get them on a 3+, then a 2+, then a 1+, then a 0+. Try and kill me LOL you can’t. This was the main reason Rules of One were brought in with GH16.
There are still a couple of niche armies that can achieve something similar (Staunchcast springs to mind), but Bonesplitterz have always had high wound count to make up for their terrible armour saves. That’s super thematic, because they are hulking lumps of muscle and blood, while their armour save is basically tattoos and optimism.
Stack this with the Glyphdokk Dance from the Wardokk, and you can bang +2 to save onto any unit in the book. That puts Savage Orruks and Boarboys on a 3+, with rerolling 1s if you want to put Mystic Shield on them too. They are basically better Liberators, with a 6++ ignore, and way cheaper.
This is a game-changer.
Gorkamorka’s Warcry: Vastly improved over the old version. Basically the same, but without the weird little Bravery roll-off attached, that you would never win because you have low bravery. Along with Arrow Boys bringing the Dakka, this is your toe hold in Activation Wars. Take it.
Overall, this is a really good suite of spells and a fantastic toolkit to work with; a modernised and improved version of the old spell lore.
Endless Spells and Terrain
What Endless Spells and Terrain?
We’ve been frozen out and overlooked, and honestly, it’s really not good enough.
Everybody gets Endless Spells these days, even anti-magic armies. OK, Cities of Sigmar also missed out, but they at least get to be kings of the generic Endless Spells, brining some really impactful bonuses. We get a single half-arsed “destroy terrain” ability on Gordrakk’s Warscroll, which will have precisely zero impact on the meta.
For an army who already had multiple spells that are literally physical manifestations of magic on the Battlefield (Hand of Gork, Foot of Gork, Green Puke), the absence of Endless Spells really is baffling. Bonesplitterz are a magic army, and they should have had Endless Spells. End of. Skipping them is lazy and frankly piss-weak.
On the (non-existent) Terrain side, one thing that does stand out is the skewered rocks-on-a-pole that keep recurring in the new photos:
It may or not mean anything, but the name embedded in the code for that image on the Community site is “ModelsTerrain”. Was that Terrain originally meant to be part of the release, but something got in the way? I wonder if they were meant to be “Dis Is Ours” markers of desecration, where Orruks vandalise other pieces of scenery? They are certainly very prominent in the photos, perched up there on top of the general terrain so you get a nice clear view of them.
All Terrain is made in China, which heavily impacted the Sylvaneth release, so did something happen there? Although given the leadtimes to print the books, I’m not sure GW could be nimble enough to remove all references to faction Terrain.
In fact the whole timeline around this release is very odd, coming so soon after the significant update to Ironjawz (and barely anyone else) in GH19, and as mentioned above the book is particularly slim. So in some ways this does smack of a rushed release.
Don’t get me wrong, what is in the book is outstanding; particularly the rules, which is my own main focus, but also the art and the lore. But I wouldn’t be doing a proper review of the release if I didn’t cover what’s not in there. Regardless, somebody knows what happened, but it ain’t me!
Hopefully we get Endless Spells and Terrain in the next cycle of updates. But in the meantime, I’m not going to let it ruin the book for me. I had to get that off my chest, and I think it’s fair comment; but the rest of the book is honestly so good that I can move past it pretty smoothly.
Let’s take a look at their ability first up:
Is this any good? Kinda. The first part is utter trash, because it seems to be the intention that you can pull enemy units off Objectives; however it fails to achieve that in all but some rare edge cases.
Specifically, the problem is that they only charge “if is is possible for them to do so”, and it is not possible to Charge if you ran earlier in the turn. So if I’m holding an Objective and I don’t want you to pull me off it, I can declare a Run. Roll the dice, move 0″, and now I don’t have to Charge.
The edge case where you might benefit is that a shooting unit holding an objective will be forced to choose between running and therefore giving up their shooting output, or risking completing a charge they don’t want to; how often will that come up in practice though?
It’s either a poorly thought out rule, or for some reason GW wanted to give this Warclan something shit that will never be of benefit. Either way it’s a flop.
Don’t be downhearted though, because the second part of this rule is way more interesting: preventing your enemies from retreating is a real power move, especially with the absolute tarpit you can create from stacking saves on high-wound units.
Slam a big unit off 30 buffed-up Orruks in their grill, and that’s 60 wounds of Green Delight on a 3+ 6++ save. Tag the ends of 4 different enemy units and pin the lot of them in place. Want to retreat? Sorry, not today! We’re Bonegrinz, remember?
The Command Ability is super strong. Another way to stack exploding 6s on a unit; every 6 to hit can explode into 3 extra hits between this, the Savage Big Boss and the Maniak Weirdnob. I really wanna combo this up with a Teef Rukk!
The Command Trait is both crap and compulsory. The Artefact is also shit, but as long as you don’t give one to a Savage Big Boss, you can avoid the tax. All in all the package is pretty appealing, even without the forced charges.
The pigs ‘n’ snow Warclan’s Ability gives you a pip of rend on a Wound roll of 6. Now that’s not amazing at first glance (you have to Hit first), but given the huge volume of dice you will be chucking about, it will certainly add up over the course of a game.
Boarboys and Maniaks will get through a couple of extra wounds, Arrow Boys shooting Monsters will have a splash of rend -2 and Big Stabbas will smash the occasional rend -3 straight past a 4+ save. Like I said – with your weight of dice, it’ll add up.
The Command Ability is absolutely baller. At the end of the Combat Phase (take note, “the” not “your” so it applies on both players’ turns) you can take a unit that is within 3″ of the enemy and wholly within 18″ of a Hero, and retreat. The unit you disengaged from is now -2″ to charge.
The applications for this are insane. We’ll take a look in more detail when we get onto List Building Archetypes below – but trust me, you’ll be putting pigs in places your opponents will not believe!
The Command Trait is where it gets really interesting! First thing to seize on here is that it’s only locked in if you are taking a Maniak Weirdnob as your General.
Take a Prophet instead, and you have the whole book opened up to you. Remember when I was banging the drum for Great Hunter earlier? I love that you can take it within a Clan!
Icebonez are a pretty cool sub-faction and I’ve seen some really nice themed armies out there, with blue orcs and ice weapons, snow on the bases etc. The rules really back it up now too, and anyone who wants to lean into the pigs has a lot to work with here.
Well this has caused quite a stir! Your Ability lets to ignore the Ethereal rule and ignore all after saves.
Well, almost all.
There was a direct conflict with Morathi: either we take a dump on her special rules, or she takes a dump on ours. Which do you think will win out, an Order army that is popular with playtesters, or Destruction? Place your bets!
There was also an unfavourable FAQ for this Clan in terms of negating the Ethereal ability. Ethereal Amulet, for example, does not technically grant the Ethereal ability – just something utterly identical to it.
So there were two possibilities here: either the rules writers intended for this Clan to dump on Nighthaunt and only Nighthaunt, which would be a weird and completely unnecessary kicking for a mid-table army; or they intended for it to affect all such abilities, and when they realised it didn’t, they couldn’t be bothered to figure out an Erratum that would actually work as intended.
The ruling was only Nighthaunt. Hey ho.
The good news is, despite those unfavourable FAQs, the Ability is still outstanding. Forget about Ethereal, you don’t have much rend anyway; it’s the after saves that are everywhere in the current meta.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Hearthguard. Verminlords. Hag Narr. The whole of Death. Gotrek. Phoenix Guard.
Dead. All dead.
This alone is enough to make Drakkfoot a power pick, which is just as well because the rest of the package is only average.
The Command Ability lets you attempt an unbind with a unit of 10+ models (+1 to unbind if the unit has 20+ models), which might occasionally come in handy but wouldn’t be a reason to take the Clan on its own.
The Command Trait gives you access to a reasonable damage spell on all Wizards, although it’s better against hordes which you won’t usually struggle against anyway; and the Artefact is a straight-up tax.
Ignoring after saves alone is enough to highly recommend this Warclan, Morathi or no Morathi. Safe to say Drakkfoot is a very competitive choice.
Again I won’t run through the whole lot in detail, but there are some highlights worth picking out.
First thing to mention is that rerolls have pretty much gone, across the board. So Boarboy Maniaks get an extra attack as their reward for dual-wielding, rather than rerolling hits of 1. That seems to be a switch in design philosophy, to give you similar output with less messing about and therefore a more streamlined gameplay experience. It’s a thumbs-up from me.
Similarly, the Maniak Weirdnob’s Warscroll spell grants an extra Hit on an unmodified 6, instead of rerolling 1s. Still a nice bonus, with much less messing about; picking out the rerolls (and generating extra attacks, rather than extra hits) was what made the old Rukk such drudgery. This is way smoother.
Because I had played it so much, I had a technique to blast through a Kunnin Rukk of dice in double-quick time: 90 Dice in 90 Seconds was what I was known for. At least I think that’s why the girls called me Mr 90 Seconds. Now anyone should be able to roll out a full Rukk of dice without boring their opponents into submission.
And on the subject of extra attacks – there is a really nice pre-emptive FAQ which states that all similar effects (each granting 2 hits on an unmodified 6) do stack. You could have achieved the same result by making it “an extra hit” rather than specifically 2 hits, but nonetheless it’s a good pickup and it’s great that this made its way into the book rather than slipping through. It strikes me as something that may have been picked up at the playtesting stage, and if so, hats off to those guys for a job well done.
The Wurggog Prophet got an extra Wound, and a kickass horde-clearing spell. He also pops out a “free” CP on a 4+ in each Hero Phase. He did lose his Hero Phase pile-in Command Ability, but overall he’s in a great spot. The range on his anti-horde spell is super generous, and a cheeky Mystic Shield for his second cast combos really well with the stacking saves available to the army.
The Maniak Weirdnob can reroll a cast or unbind in each Hero Phase, Holy Moley! So, so good when perched near a Rogue Idol. He also has a really important role as “the Hero who can keep up with people”.
The humble Wardokk got a drop to 80 points, and best of all, you can choose which dance to attempt now. Still has no Warscroll spell, but his dance makes up for that; I’ve been taking multiples in every list.
Finally, the Savage Big Boss got an extra attack, but you are still probably taking him because a Batallion requires it, which means he is more important staying alive and out of the serious action – although he can tackle chaff at a pinch. And don’t forget that if you’re willing to invest, the Goonboss has a naughty build that turns him into a liquidiser!
Savage Orruks got a much-needed boost to their volume of attacks. They probably get the nod over Morrboys now, who still struggle with 1″ reach on 32mm bases. Buffed up Savage Orruks with Stikkas for 2″ reach can do some serious work, as well as being a superlative tarpit with the defensive buffs stacked on them.
Arrow Boyz are still basically the same. They now trigger their 3rd shot at 15+ models (which helps compensate for the change to the Kunnin Rukk that we’ll discuss in a moment), but they still get their rend -1 against Monsters. Importantly, they dropped to 120 points, which puts them in a great spot as Battleline who can do a bit of work.
Boarboys of all types got a boost to 12″ movement, which is just wonderful! Throw in Tireless Trackers, and these guys are hyper-maneuverable now, particularly in Icebonez. There really isn’t much to choose between the two flavours: Maniaks have a higher volume of attacks, Boarboys have a better save and so can really tank it out with the bonuses.
With their charge bonuses, Boarboys have virtually identical offensive output to Maniaks, but Maniaks get better with the attacking buffs (more dice rolled = more exploding 6s). It’s close enough to be dealer’s choice.
Big Stabbas….oh, Big Stabbas! I’ve always been a huge fan of these guys, and in fact I recently ran 12 bases of Stabbas at a 2-day event. They have been dialed back quite a bit from the full-blown insanity of their old Warscroll: their damage output is less devastating, and Da Final Fling (splash back Mortal Wounds when you are slain) has been curtailed significantly.
Incidentally, that rule was low-key the most busted thing in the old book, for the simple fact that it applied in any phase (including Battleshock). Once you were in, you were in, and they were going down one way or another! The number of times I saw my opponents having a sly check of the Warscroll to make sure I wasn’t making it up was cute.
It has been reigned in significantly, which is a shame. Nonetheless, the extra attacks, better hit rolls and run + charge make these guys more reliable, even if the damage per swing is a lot less savage. I will definitely miss the wild rollercoaster, but the new Warscroll is still legit.
Kunnin Rukk is still da best. Although the units are capped at 20, so your output is less devastating, the cost has come right down to reflect that. It leaves space for more other fun toys, so the Rukk is now a strong tool within the army, rather than being the army, and that’s a pretty cool space to be in.
The fun part is that with Tireless Trackers, you’ll sometimes be able to get in range to shoot Turn 1, and use the Rukk to double-tap rather than move + tap. What’s more, the new Breath of Gorkamorka spell lets you fly in all phases, and even shoot into Wyldwoods: there’s nowhere to hide!
Teef Rukk is interesting, because a Big Stabba meta is a meta I want to be a part of! 140 points seems a bit stiff, but it’s certainly usable.
The others are garbage unfortunately, and not really worth dwelling on.
Kunnin Rukk is the pick, with Teef Rukk as the alternative. Hopefully the Pigs might get something better next time around, because I can’t imagine their Battalions in this book seeing the light of day very often.
Allies and Generic Endless Spells
Is there anything else I would sprinkle into the army? Big Waaagh is obviously a separate case, and will be reviewed in its own article.
Fungoid Cave Shaman is always a good shout, but in this army the Prophet can bring extra CPs in the same manner. Never rule him out, but he’s probably not the priority.
Some 1-wound chaff wouldn’t be the worst thing, especially with Slaanesh so strong in the meta. You could bring in some Stabbas or even a Merc Company of Marauders.
I like this idea more than I probably should, partly because I think it would be a great hobby project to do some Gork-worshipping humans, who paint themselves in green warpaint (as referenced by Phil Kelly in a recent White Dwarf). They can even take a Mark, which would give you some cheeky protection against Nurgle’s antics. Probably more of a niche interest than a serious competitive pick, but I am intrigued by it.
Amongst the Endless Spells, the Burning Head is a decent shout, because its rerolls are not phase- locked, meaning that a Kunnin Rukk that’s digging in its heels can bang away with rerolls all day.
In general though, I think this army operates well as-is, and your counter play to Slaanesh is probably bringing the Dakka. Most of my Bonesplitterz lists currently are pure Bonesplitterz.
List Building Archetypes
My goal here is to give you the foundations of a list, rather than a 2000 point army to pick up and play. It will give you a solid core which has a defined playstyle, ready for you to put your own stamp on. I believe these are all super powerful in their own way – let me know what you think, and how your own builds are shaping up in the Comments!
Drakkfoot Kunnin Rukk
Dakka Dakka Dakka! This build is all about drowning your enemy in a hail of arrows. All your Battleline is sorted, and you have 440 points for some fun stuff. With the pregame move, you might even be able to get into range to shoot twice turn 1, rather than using the Rukk bonus to move up into position.
It’s still important to keep the Savage Big Boss alive for this Battalion, and the Ragged Cloak is the perfect artefact for that. They’re not getting to him through a wall of green flesh, and they’re not shooting him off either – at least, not until you have had a chance to unload yourself.
Slap the Weirdnob spell on them for exploding 6s, give them Brutal Beast Spirits so they’re hitting on 4s, and if you score a CP from the Prophet you can even have them rerolling 1s in the Shooting Phase with the Generic CA. It’s like a green Agincourt.
Icebonez Super Pigs
Remember that spell that doubles your move and makes you fly? Well that puts your pigs on a cheeky little 24″ flying move. In Icebonez, you also get to retreat at the end of the combat phase: so now you’re moving an extra 24″ + D6″ (because you can run when retreating too).
Let’s not forget that you add another 1″ to run rolls from from Brutal Beast Spirits, and you’ve probably had a +3″ charge in there too (+2″ from your musician and +1″ from Brutal Beast Spirits).
So all up, that’s 52″ + 3D6″ of movement in a turn. And you might notice that we took the Great Hunter Command Trait, because you can do that in Icebonez, so slap another 8″ on there for your pregame move.
What the actual fuck, 60″ + 3D6″ in a turn! Wowzer.
You can fly up to your opponent, obliterate his chaff lines and step back onto the centre objectives.
You can beat up his dickheads, then zip into the backfield to cap his home objectives and threaten his Heroes.
You can tag a unit with the Warcry Spell to make them fight at the end of the phase. Then when the end of the phase comes, you do your stuff first (so phase out of combat) and then they have nobody left in front of them to hit when it’s their time to activate (thanks to The Dark Prince in the comments on Doom’s Bonesplitterz review for that one).
These pigs are serious business too. Both varieties have a good volume of attacks and high wound count, but whereas the Maniaks have more output (7 attacks each = more exploding 6s and more hitting the rend), Boarboys have more alpha bunker potential (stacked up with Kunnin Beast Spirits, Mystic Shield and Glyphdokk Dance to put them on a 3+ save, rerolling 1s with a 6++ on top). Taking 10 of each lets you choose your flavour as appropriate.
You might want to back them up with some heavy rend in the form of Big Stabbas or a Rogue Idol; but whichever one you go with asks serious questions of your opponent.
The Pain Train
As we discussed above, a real power move with Bonegrinz is a tanked-up unit of 30 Savage Orruks to pin your opponent in place and prevent them retreating. Grind armies aren’t my own preferred playstyle though, so let’s have some fun with a redonkulous Big Stabbas build.
Remember when Big Stabbas had 2 attacks each, hitting on 4s, and they massacred anything that went near them?
Well how about Big Stabbas with 5 attacks each, hitting on 2s, with every hit roll of 6 exploding into 3 additional hits?
We’re loading them up with an extra attack from the Batallion, an extra attack from the Waagh Command Ability (so every unit benefits from both), and then stacking one unit with the Brutal Beast Spirits and Maniak Weirdnob spells. Let’s also sprinkle on the Bonegrinz Command Ability and the Savage Big Boss Command Ability, to make it super-more-extra-killy. And that’s before any benefits from the Monster Hunters table.
A pre-game 5″ move, 10″ flying move from Breath of Gork, and run + charge (at +1″ to both from Brutal Beast Spirits) makes these guys hyper mobile, and those small cav bases will fly over screens then leverage their 3″ reach to hit exactly where your opponent doesn’t want them. Meanwhile, 30 Arrow Boys spraying shots around should buy you time to get into position and accrue a couple of CPs to fuel the wombo combo engine.
Once you have tagged an enemy unit or three, you’re fighting to the death: most likely theirs. They can’t retreat – we’re Bonegrinz, remember?
Rogue Idol: The Rock Star
How can we load up Pebbles? Loads of ways!
Breath of Gorkamorka is putting him on a 20″ flying move for starters. His base is a lot smaller than a Maw Krusha too, so with +1″ to charge from Brutal Beast Spirits, you’ve got a decent change of vaulting those screens.
You’ll be hitting on 2s, rerolling 1s on the charge, with all of your attacks at rend -2, and also +1 damage from the allied Warchanter.
The best thing is, he’s virtually indestructiable. His 4+ base save is the best in the army, so by the time you stack the defensive buffs from the Warchanter and Mystic Shield, he’s on a 2+ save rerolling 1s, 5++ ignore, 6+++ ignore. Then when they go through all that drudgery to put on like 2 wounds – let’s heal them right back up with another Wardokk dance. Holy Guacamole!
Most armies can’t ignore him, but also can’t deal with him. And here’s 90 arrows in your face too – thanks for coming.
Today was a good day.
There are a few clear downsides to the book: some iconic entries (notably Big Stabbas and the Wurggog Mask) have lost a lot of their character, and the absence of Endless Spells is pretty disappointing for a magic army.
However the upsides compensate for that many times over. Tireless Trackers is incredible; you have strong shooting, which puts you in a great position in the meta; and you have enough tricks and combos to pose serious questions of your own.
This book has had a serious lift in power level, and gives you all the tools you need to do well. There’s plenty here to keep all the Big Bosses busy for years to come.
As a long-term Bonesplitterz player, I’m delighted with where this book has taken us; GW have done a great job making so many completely different builds viable, and exciting to explore. I could play this army alone for ages without getting bored – but wait until you see how much fun the Big Waaagh is.
Following on from our review of Frank’s win, let’s dive into Dalton’s army which also won a separate one-dayer within a week of the book launch. Dalton is a friend of the blog and it was really exciting to see these two Megabosses blast out of the traps so quickly. Tell us how you did it, Dalton!
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.
Measured Gaming’s monthly tournaments are typically a chance to try new or experimental lists. I decided to bring a list with the box-fresh Rogue Idol to see what he could do in a Big Waaagh:
Allegiance: Big Waaagh! Mortal Realm: Aqshy
Leaders Megaboss on Maw-Krusha (460) – General – Boss Gore-hacka and Choppa – Trait: Ironclad – Artefact: Ignax’s Scales – Mount Trait: Mean ‘Un Wurrgog Prophet (160) – Lore of the Savage Beast: Kunnin’ Beast Spirits Wardokk (80) – Lore of the Savage Beast: Breath of Gorkamorka Orruk Warchanter (110) – Warbeat: Fixin’ Beat
Battleline 30 x Savage Orruks (300) – Stikkas 30 x Savage Orruks (300) – Stikkas 5 x Orruk Brutes (140) – Pair of Brute Choppas – 1x Gore Choppas
The list focuses on giving the Rogue Idol +2 to save from Glyphdokk Dance and Kunnin Beast Spirits, as well as applying +1 Damage from the Warchanter onto either the Maw Krusha or Idol, dependant on the situation.
The Maw Krusha is a solid piece that does benefit from the Warchanter but realistically doesn’t need it, and the rest of the list ensures I have a decent mass of bodies. These bodies in turn mean that I generate plenty of Waaagh points, and also gives me the flexibility to protect buffing units early on and then switch gears to serve as waves 3 and 4 if I need more punching.
Game 1: Better Part of Valour
Opponent: Legion of Night led by Mannfred, backed up by an Ethereal Zombie Dragon, two 6-man packs of Vargheists and 3 units of Skeletons in a Nightfall Pack
Deployment: So immediately I was on the back foot: having just explained to my opponent that I don’t get my Allegiance Abilities until I get a turn, I just realized I was going to be outdropped and that he would probably deepstrike a bunch of surly vampires behind my lines to kill all my support Heroes killed pretty fast.
So I castled up, holding my Objectives as best I could while still surrounding my Heroes in walls of green flesh. I left the Maw Krusha outside of the castle because I was pretty sure he could tackle either Mannfred or the Dragon alone; the Idol was at the front of the castle, 3” from the front of the line so I could pile him in and bash some heads in; and the Brutes were strung out holding the backfield, screening out vampire deepstrikes.
My opponent set up his Vargheists in ambush, surrounded all this objectives with a unit of Skeletons each, and plonked Mannfred and the Vampire Lord on either flank. He then proceeded to take first turn, buffed the snot out of his Vampire Lord on Dragon, and moved both Mannfred and the Vampire Lord up in position to charge. He also ambushed one of the 6-man Vargheists next to his Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon.
Shooting phase found the Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon stripping 6 wounds off the Maw Krusha, but that was all the damage that would be done since my opponent flubbed all his charge rolls. Sucks to be him.
So my turn one, I was keen to see what a buffed-up Rogue Idol could do! I gave him +2 to save and double movement, got a free Command Point out of the Wurrgog, and used ‘Ere we go, ‘Ere we go to shoot straight up to 12 Waaagh points. To round out the Hero Phase, I healed the Maw Krusha for a wound and buffed him with the Warchanter.
Movement saw the Idol move to
3” away from Mannfred, the Maw set up to charge the Vargheists, and some shuffling
of bodies and support Heroes to keep in place the screening and buff ranges.
Shooting had the Maw Krusha yell some wounds off the Vargheists, and the Charge Phase saw both of my monsters get into combat. Showtime! First activation was the Maw Krusha, who ripped off 5 Vargheists (noice!) and the Idol tanked all of Mannfred’s output before punching the Mortarch of the Night right off the fucking table. The remaining Vargheist decided to run in Battleshock – smart guy.
My opponent won priority into Round 2, and brought the last wave of his buffed-up Vargheists in to fight the Maw Krusha.
Nothing else moved, shooting was uneventful, and the charge phase had the Krusha charged by both the Zombie Dragon and Vargheists.
Combat happened: the Maw Krusha barely survived the hail of blows from the Zombie Dragon, then turned around and fucked up most of the Vargheists before they could get a swing in. He was able to tank out the remaining two Vargheists’ return blows, because he’s a stone-cold legend.
My second turn was mostly me being annoyed that I’d ran my Rogue Idol outside of buffing range. However I was also at around 20 Waaagh! Points, so I threw what healing and damage buffs I had at the Maw Krusha, and moved the two Wizards up into range of the Idol for the next turn.
The Maw Krusha shot at the Vargheists, killing one more and then in combat he proceeded to kill the Vampire Dragon. The Krusha alone punched through a cheeky 20+ damage after a bunch of horrid save rolls, and the last Vargheist was removed with by the Megaboss’s own attacks.
I won initiative and buffed up my Idol, getting the double on spell casting so it could move a saucy 30 inches and fly.
This meant that I could move him up next to the Skeleton unit on Mannfred’s side of the table, charge it and delete the unit. At this point my opponent decided that he had seen enough and gave me the win.
Result: Major Win
Game 2: Scorched Earth
Opponent: a Bloodtoofs Ironjawz list comprising of 3x 5 Brutes, 20 Ardboyz and 3 Goregruntas all bundled up in an Ironfist. The Hero line up was a Warchanter, Weirdnob, Maw Krusha with Weird Un, and a Footboss with the Quickduff Amulet.
Deployment: Obviously, it was time for a Maw Krusha duel! My opponent deployed mostly on the frontline, keeping his Warchanter back along with the Ironfist Big Boss’s unit.
Seeing another list with teleport shenanigans, I castled up again, similar to last time. This time however I kept the Maw Krusha inside the screens, as I was certain another Maw Krusha swinging first would annihilate mine. My opponent took first turn.
My opponent popped a Mighty Destroyer to launch his Maw Krusha forward towards my own Krusha’s flank. He simultaneously used the Amulet to teleport the Ardboyz to the opposite, promptly forgot to buff his units with his Warchanter and then moved onto the Movement Phase. Christmas comes early!
His Maw Krusha surged forward another 12” and parked his fat ass on some Mystical terrain, then shot at and charged the screening Savage Orruk unit, killing 10 of them. The Ardboyz charged the other screening unit, pulling off 4 for their trouble. I used my Command Point to auto pass Battleshock on the unit hit by the Maw Krusha, and luckily rolled low on the other unit. My opponent scored his objectives and we moved onto my turn.
My Hero Phase had me buff the Idol (double movement) and give the Savage Orruks fighting the Ardboyz +2 to their save. I used a CP to farm 12 Waaagh Points, and gave the Maw Krusha the Warchanter buffs.
In movement I ran the
screening unit away from the enemy Maw Krusha, making sure to screen my support
heroes, and jumped my Maw Krusha over the screen, landing on the same Mystical
terrain. The Idol advanced towards my opponent’s Weirdnob, and shooting was
predictably a non event.
Praise be to Gork, all my charges went off, meaning I swiftly killed his Weirdnob and a Brute that was minding him. In return his Maw Krusha swang, doing relatively little damage because of the two 6+ aftersaves and me rolling hot. In return I hit back a little harder but his Maw Krusha also survived. The four remaining Brutes rolled hot and took my Rogue Idol down to 6 wounds remaining, and the Savage Orruks and Ardboyz continued their pillow fight off to the side, losing a couple of bodies apiece.
My opponent won initiative, buffed a unit of Brutes with his Warchanter, and advanced them menacingly towards the Ardboy / Savage Orruk pillow fight. Meanwhile his Maw Krusha used its Command Ability on itself, and he set up to charge his Megaboss on Foot around my screen and into my Warchanter. The Goregruntas positioned to back up the Brutes fighting the Idol.
Shooting phase was another
damp squib so we continued through to Charging.
The Idol took wounds from the Goregrunta charge, and the Brutes joined
the pillow fight.
Combat saw the Idol dying, triggering a Smashing and Bashing into my Maw Krusha, which managed to survive. In return I took his Maw Krusha to the brink of his demise, took the Ardboyz down to half strength and killed a Brute. Poor Brute.
Onto my turn, and the buffs went up on the Maw Krusha and Savage Orruks. My Brutes moved forward into charge distance while my Warchanter fled from his Megaboss.
Fuck all happened in Shooting, but the good news is my Brutes made their charge and by the end of the combat phase my opponent had lost the rest of his Brutes and his Ardboyz to my Savage Orruks. These guys performed so well all day, and they honestly look like one of the big winners from the new book. The Maw Krusha duel finished with my cabbage asserting his dominance and reigning triumphant.
The later turns were mostly clean-up of his units and grabbing objectives. By the end of the game, my opponent had only managed to kill my Rogue Idol; the rest of my army remained, battered and spoiling for another fight.
Result: Major Win
Game 3: Duality of Death
Opponent: Troggoth Heavy Gloomspite. My opponent brought three units of Rockgut Troggoths (6/3/3), two units of 3 Fellwater Troggoths and a Dankhold Troggboss in a Troggherd battaltion, along with three units of 20 Stabbas, two Fungoid Cave Shamans, a Scuttletide and Geminids.
Deployment: Knowing what I was in for (being a Gloomspite player myself), I tried my best to bait my opponent to one side, where I could brutalize his Troggoths before moving onto beating his Stabba units. This is all provided I could stop him stacking on the debuffs to hit.
Fortunately I got what I wanted: 40 of the Stabbas, most of his Rockguts and one of the 3-man Fellwaters joined his Troggboss General on the same flank as the majority of my army, sans a 30 man Savage Orruk unit who were threatening the other objective and stood facing the remaining Trolls and Stabbas.
My opponent outdropped me and took the first turn, failing to cast his spells but quickly racking up five Command Points. He ran his army forward, making sure that he had his Stabbas on the Objective and the Netters in his unit spread around, so I had to fight through -1 to hit. Meanwhile his Troggoths were sitting pretty beind a wall of bodies, waiting for me to come at him.
My turn saw me throw a speed buff onto my Rogue Idol but only manage to activate one of the armour buffs, which were put onto the Savage Orruks. I managed to barely scrape my way to 12 Waaagh! Points, so I counted my blassings and then abused the fact I was on Damned Terrain by moved my right flank up in its entirety.
The plan was to try and wipe my opponent’s two 3-man flanking troll units and his front line of Stabbas, while my left flank of 30 Savages backed off to try and avoid the countercharge of my opponent’s Rockgut units. It was important to keep the Savages relatively healthy in order to compete for the objective on that side.
Combat went the way I hoped (mostly), with the Stabbas swiftly knocked down to two Grots standing. My Idol killed the three Fellwaters it had charged, and my Maw Krusha also succesfully wiped the unit of three Rockguts it had engaged with. So all was looking good for me if I could win the Round 2 priority…
…Which I did not. My opponent had another underwhelming outcome with magic (other than sending a Scuttletide into my support Heroes), and I was a little lucky to unbind Geminids.
My opponent sought to press the advantage by moving aggressively forward: he sent all 6 Rockguts into my Maw Krusha, and his Troggboss moved in to try and pull apart my Rogue Idol, while his Stabbas streamed towards the Objective. Meanwhile on the left flank, the 3 Rockguts moved up to engage with the Savage Orruks, while the Fellwaters and Stabbas stayed on the home Objective.
The charge phase went my opponent’s way, with every charge being successful; however his activation against my Maw Krusha was less so, with my Cabbage surviving on a few wounds. Big mistake. My Idol then flattened his Troggboss in return, and the Savage Orruks chipped off one Rockgut as well as backhanding off all the remaining Stabbas.
My wounded Megaboss stepped up to smash off all but one of the remaining Rockguts, who promptly ran to Battleshock, and on the left hand side of the Battlefield my Savage Orruks lost only 4 boyz to the Troggoths’ attacks.
Battleshock saw only one of the Savages run away. My opponent then set up a replacement 10 man Stabba unit blocking my way to the left Objective.
In my turn (yep that’s right, all that devastation happened on his turn), I buffed up my Idol including, crucially, the double speed spell; and used another Command Point to get up past 20 Waaagh! Points. Show time.
Movement Phase, and it was time to dispatch my task force of the Rogue Idol and Brutes to clear off the 10-man Stabbas who were blocking the left side Objective. My Maw Krusha had benefitted from some healing and shuffled his fat plodding ass around to line up against the remaining 20 Stabbas on the right flank.
Shooting from the Maw Krusha killed a couple of grots, and more importantly I managed to successfully charge the Idol into the 10-man Grot unit screen. The Maw Krusha limped into combat against the Stabbas, and as predictably as death or taxes, the monsters managed to take their respective Grots off the table. The Savages made similarly short work of the last of the Troggoths, in return for losing a couple more of their number to combat and Battleshock.
Having secured the initiative, I threw all the buffs onto my Idol, making use of my extra Waaagh points to buff the spellcasting. This is a really useful option to have, for bludgeoning a clutch cast past those unbinds.
In the Movement Phase I surrounded my opponent’s brave, last Stabba unit with my Savage Orruks, my Brutes and the Rogue Idol, while my Maw Krusha trudged into combat against the Fungoid on the right flank.
All the charges were successful (hurray for +1″ to charge), and we quickly rattled through combat with the Idol and Brutes managing to eliminate his Stabbas and Fungoid on the left flank, while the Maw Krusha managed to krump his last Fungoid.
My opponent had a final crack at securing some kill points with his remaining three Fellwater Troggoths, but when they only managed to kill a single Brute before dying in return, we called it a game.
Result: Major Win
I ended the day 3-0 and had tabled all my opponents! While I wasn’t up against the strongest of lists, I reckon we have the casting ability to muscle through the buffs when we need to, and I feel like Big Waagh could really have some legs competitively.
This list will continue to evolve, but one thing I’ll be looking out for in the FAQ is whether I can add in a whole bunch of Greenskinz Orruks to up the body count in the list.
Thanks for that Dalton! When I received your write ups and noticed none of them went beyond Battleround Three, I wondered if there was something missing… I needn’t have worried, hey?
I’m delighted that you and Frankwere both able to win one-day tourneys so quickly after the book dropped. Looking forward to seeing where you guys and all the other Megabosses can take this book next.. exciting times for Team Green!
Today our Orruk Warclans coverage continues with some good news stories: friends of the blog Frank DeLoach and Dalton Copeland both wasted no time in getting down to business, winning separate one-day events with their Big Waaagh armies, within a week of the book’s launch!
I’ll be inviting both to share their lists, run us through their games, and looking at what’s next for their armies.
I’ll now hand you over to Megaboss Frank for Part 1 in the series.
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! Get’em Ladz!!
The mantra Da Chonk Boyz holler as they push down the field smashing choppas, shooting arrows & crushing with gruntas.
I took my Big Waaagh list to a one day event at Warp Rider Games in San Diego this past weekend (October 12th 2019): Warp Rider Games is a super cool Independent game store owned by a lad named Larry Dante, with events ran by manager Benjamin Cornelius. Both dudes are some of my favorite people.
Allegiance: Big Waaagh!
Wurrgog Prophet (160) – General – Lore of the Savage Beast: Brutal Beast Spirits
Orruk Warchanter (110) – Warbeat: Get ‘Em Beat
Maniak Weirdnob (120) – Artefact: Mork’s Boney Bitz – Lore of the Savage Beast: Breath of Gorkamorka
What makes this list work? Well, my little snottlings and rabble rousers, here’s why I chose my units.
After reading the Battletome, I took one look at the Wurgogg Prophet and was instantly drawn to a 7 wound, -1 to hit 2 spell caster, who gets a chance at an additional CP. Oh, and his spell is killer. If you read the Celebration post, he’s a top pick for Big Waaagh. He just serves the purpose almost to the “T”.
Let’s talk Goregruntas, ok I’ll keep this quick. Take pigs, I think if you’re looking for a smash unit 6 is the magic number. I don’t rate Hackas, I think you’re asking for a perfect storm to get the bonuses; Choppas are consistent and in big Waaagh with the buffs, they’re monstrous. Move fast, hit hard & wound dense. What more do ya want?!
Savage Boyz. They’re good. Take them. Stikkas are more reliable for more attacks, especially in big units. 2” reach is big. Don’t let the lack of rend fool you. They throw buckets of dice.
Arrow Boyz. I mean, like… ummm…. if you’ve been sleeping the past iterations of Bonesplitterz, K Rukk was a thing. You can achieve the same bonuses (except Hero Phase stuff) now with some buffs and spells. It’s why the Maniak Weirdnob is in there with Bony Bitz, getting procs on a natrual 6. With lore spells you can get these guys REALLY pumping damage. They present a threat to your opponent at arms reach.
Ardboyz… take them, always take them. They’re too good to ignore now. With 3 saves in Big Waaagh (4+ 6+ 6+) and increased damage output, they are a hard-hitting anvil.
Why didn’t I take a Maw Krusha… there are builds that work now. I just wanted a wound dense, board controlling list that could take a shot and swing back with a haymaker. I think my list will go through a couple more versions. But it’s a great start.
Now, let’s get to the games!
Game 1: Focal Points
Opponent: Roberto DeCampos, Cities of Sigmar
What happened?! So… Robert outdropped me, but he ended up passing me the first turn. I deployed fairly aggressively seeing as he didn’t have anything particularly fast.. I just accepted he’d get magic off.
So, I Turn One charged with one unit of pigs, got the other pigs scoring the opposite flank objective, and ran some Savage boyz up into the center.
6 pigs on the left flank dropped 18(!) Ironbreakers in a single swing of combat! They had the +1 damage and got the Get’m beat to allow the 3d6 charge. After battleshock, he only had a couple of dudes left in that unit and now he’s playing on his back foot.
His Turn 1 was spent failing or having spells unbound… BRUTAL. As well as some movement up into position. 4-2 was the score at Turn 1.
Turn 2 I got priority, and continued to ram Orruks down his throat. Hammerers are killing some hogs now. His half, he got Racist Swords off and Shackles too, putting pressure down. 8-4.
Turn 3 he got priority, he kept killing pigs, and did some ranged damage with his deep striking shadow warriors. My half, my boys went nuts! Popped a Waaagh, deleting just about everything in his list sans Shadow Warriors and a couple of small casters. I have control of all objectives and we shook hands.
Result: Major win for the Da Chonk Boyz
Game 2: Battle for the Pass
Opponent: Cory Szabo, GA Order
So here Da Chonk Boyz faced off against their nemesis from the Old World! Brettonia!
With the Mission being Battle for The Pass, I knew I had to apply pressure early and begin scoring.
In typical Chonk Boyz fashion we hit hard and hit early. Cory gave me the first turn after much deliberation, so I took this opportunity to gain some ground, setting my pigs up to act either as an anvil or for second turn charges. His turn, he slammed all 16(!) Knights into my Gruntas unit that had mystic shield and +1 damage. Doing a few wounds almost killed a pig, but the Ladz punched back something fierce, picking off 12 of the 16 knights! This left his force fairly gutted.
My half, we came out and did some more charges…smashed up many Knights and by Turn 3, he was left with very few units to stick around. Just the King, Wizards and 3 knights. He had positioned his King in hopes he’d take off 6 Savage Boyz, but with their 5+ up save in combat and the 6+ FNP they were a tough nut to cracl. They passed their 6++ saves with ease, and couple that with potato level rolls from Cory, only one boy was slain.
They returned fire with Da Waaagh popped and easily dusted him off, meaning the game was over by the end of Turn 3. Cory was a great sport and was totally aware he had no business winning games with Brets. He smashed off a triple Thirster Khorne list in round 1! So I knew he’s an experienced player. Hats off to that lad, playing what you love. (He made me very aware, he typically plays Slaanesh and that he wants a rematch with his Daemons!)
Result: Major win for the Da Chonk Boyz
Game 2: Total Commitment
Opponent: Chris Hernandez, Seraphon
This game was intense. Not only is the deployment long ways, but Seraphon in his build can teleport two units a turn, and Chris is a top player with the Dino Dreams.
So, Chris gave me Turn 1. I spent this turn putting up buffs and jockeying for position. On his Turn 1, he teleported tons of skinks into my face, blocking off half of the board. Score even.
Turn 2, I won priority. Shot those skinks off, got the Gruntas into positon and made a nice big charge into some more Skinks. I also managed to clip a Bastiladon with both units of Savage Boyz.
One unit of pigs on the left flank did get bogged down a bit with Rippers and Skinks, but I wasn’t too fussed because I knew I had to keep pressure up while maintaining board control.
Chris’s Turn 2 was really all about moving units out of combat to be able to shoot next turn, summoning more Skinks & Rippers, and trying fight his way back onto board space. Fortunately for me, I had tons of board space covered meaning he couldn’t just make me lose out on scoring.
Turn 3! BIG TURN. I again won priority. I needed to keep the pressure up and not give an inch.
After losing my left flank of pigs I had to make a move. I decided the Arrow Boyz would better used spidered out on my home objective to hurt his teleport abilities, and I moved up the Ard Boyz up into charge position, with the plan of just hitting the front line of Skinks/ Rippers/ Razordon. But after hitting them with Get’em Beat, and rolling a natural 16″ charge on 3D6, and adding +3” to that with Ardboyz, I decided to go for broke and wrapped as much as possible.
This was the game winning moment.
This charge enabled me to clear another 40 Skinks, severely damaged one Bastiladon and kill off the Razordon. Chris’s half of the turn was played extremely well; he is a true warrior and did everything he could recover.
Mind you, at this point I’m only up by 2 points. So, in his Hero Phase he used the Banish spell, to send my Ardboyz packing! They ended up 9” away from the Rippers on the left flank which took some pressure off him.
Turn 4. Chris won priority. Knowing he’s going to lose if he can only keep 3 objectives, he spent all of his summoning to drop another 40 Skinks onto that objective. He shot up some Savage Boyz and finished up the left flank pigs.
Unfortunately in his quest to finish off my pigs, he had to charge big and pile into range of my Ardboyz. Big mistake, simply cost him the game. He killed the pigs, and I piled in my three inches. Killed some Rippers. Turn over.
My half I buffed up my Ardboyz again, ran my Maniak Weirdnob 18” (6” run CP) in the hope that I can end up with more models on the Objective if things get tight. In combat I cleared all of the Rippers and a few Skinks. The Ardboyz had won the day!
This game was INTENSE. Tons of jockeying for position and really well played by Chris.
Result: Major win for the Da Chonk Boyz
3-0, all Major Victories and that’s the event in the bag!
I love my list, and at this stage the only thing I might change is to give more Savage Boyz a go.
This would possibly mean dropping some pigs and taking it to 2×3 to make room, but I don’t know. This book is so deep, the possibilities are endless.
So Ladz! Get out there and Waagghh!!
Thanks for the write-up Frank, and congratulations once more on being the first Megaboss in the world to rack up a win under the new book!
We’ll have a report in a similar format from our boy Dalton Copeland coming up in the near future – Dalton also won a one day event with a very different Big Waaagh list on the other side of the world, later on the same weekend. How exciting is that!
After that we launched into a fan-service review of the book, where I invited some stalwarts of the Destruction community to share their thoughts on the new book. Our guest writers each picked out their favourite Warscrolls, some cool combos and any other initial thoughts they have on the book:
Coming up later this week, I will have a two-part mini series where friends of the blog Frank DeLoach and Dalton Copeland both discuss their tournament wins with the new book.
That’s right, both of these Megabosses exploded out of the blocks to win one-day events within a week of the book launching. I’m delighted that they are taking the time to share their lists, and how they operated on the tabletop.
I’ll be putting up an analysis of the FAQ when it drops this weekend, and after that, I will be diving into a full 3-part review of the Battletome, kicking off with Bonesplitterz.
The format you can expect is a quick blast through the lore, and a deep dive on the rules and tactics. I will be putting up some list building blocks and army bulding archetypes, and flagging up some really filthy combos that myself and others have already spotted.
The upside of this schedule is that it means we will have the FAQ in hand before we publish the full review, so we will be as informed as possible.
Let me tell you, initially I was royally pissed off that there were no Endless Spells and Terrain; but there is so much good stuff in this book that I’ve turned that frown upside down. I’m loving that #AoSLyf right now and this book has loads to offer.
Finally, I want to point you in the direction of some other great content that is already out there.
Although I do think those “Read the book from cover to cover” leak videos have an important place – believe me, I was all over them – I think at this stage they are no longer a high priority for most people.
We have the book in hand, we know the contents – what we want is value-added analysis. So that’s what I’m focussing on here.
Doom and Darkness
Full disclosure, I’m a massive Doom fanboy. Nonetheless, he has absolutely nailed it with his coverage of this release.
The main reivew (with a heavy focus on Ironjawz) has some really thoughtful analysis of how the book will work in practice, and some great ideas for exploiting the movement shenanigans:
The Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz Unlocked shows both bring back a beloved format, which effectively reviews the book by presenting and breaking down multiple list archetypes. Both guests (Matt Gammie and Vince Venturella) are outstanding:
Finally (for now) there is a Batrep where new Ironjawz take on new Sylvaneth.
Spoiler alert: 30 Dryads have historically been a real challenge for Ironjawz to trudge through.
How will the irresistable force go against the immovable object?
I’ve got one word for ya: TIIMMMMBBEEERRRRRRRR!
The Honest Wargamer
Rob and Nathan put out a great overall review of the book. Nathan is a long-term Megaboss and he really knows his stuff; some of the combos he comes out with leave Rob audibly shocked:
Following on from that, Rob picked the brains of Leo Rautonen. Leo has consistently achieved S-Tier results with the GH19 rules for Ironjawz, so there is nobody better to break down the new book for you. It’s a great insight into the thought process of a top, top player:
I’m sure there is plenty more great content out there, but that’s what I’ve been enjoying so far. Hour after hour of stimulating discussion of the book, at your fingertips…what a time to be alive!
I’m looking forward to keeping the bandwagon rolling over the coming weeks, with plenty more coverage on the blog.
The next landmark is the FAQ this weekend…see you on the other side!
Thanks to Tom for running us through his Cabbages! Now for the second part, I’ll be exploring some different loadout options for building your Maw Krusha.
As a little history lesson for all the snotlings out there, back under GH16, there was only one way you loaded up your Krusha: Bellowing Tyrant and Battle Brew. If you were a real hipster, you might have the Talisman of Protection instead of the Brew.
Fast forward to 2019 and now we have multiple levers to pull: Command Traits, Ironjawz Artefacts, Artefacts of the Realms, Mount Traits and faction buffs are all available to help you fine-tune your very own smashmouth doomfucker.
Broadly-speaking, we have three competing imperatives: durability, killing power and tech.
This guy is a quarter of your army, and demands further investment in buffs: he really owes you some output. On the other hand, you can do a million damage per swing, but if you never get to roll a dice because you get murderfucked in the first turn, he might as well have a Moonclan Grot’s attack profile for all the good he’ll do you. How do we find the right balance?
Underpinning it all
The first thing to bear in mind is that you will always want a couple of Warchanters in your army. They’re just that good. The +1 to Damage just happens, and you don’t even have to roll for it.
Warchanters aren’t a tax, they are the heartbeat of the army, and I think it’ll be a very unusual build that doesn’t take at least one, and probably two.
Now let’s be clear, there are some armies that can blast a Chanter off the board turn 1, no worries: he will be deployed with a wobbly red dot on his forehead whenever Vanguard, Jezzails and the like are across the board from him.
For this reason, I’d always have two of them. If we’re at the point where your opponent can shoot off both of those in a turn, then you could look at taking Ragged Cloak as an artefact, Prismatic Pallisade or even some allied Sporesplattas; but it’s probably fair to assume that in 90% of your games, you will have access to +1 damage on both profiles (the Megaboss and the Krusha itself), and a chance at healing back D3 wounds every turn from the Fixin’ Beat.
Option 1: Build for Impact
I can’t be the only Megaboss who wants to see how redonkulous this can get, can I? Let’s take a look at ramping it up to 11, and then going one louder because we can-can-can.
Needless to say, we’re taking the 8 attacks, because 8 is more than 6.
That’s maths, and you can’t argue with maths.
Worth a mention here is that Live to Fight (reroll all Wounds on the charge) now benefits the Mount as well as the Megaboss. GW has explicitly thrown us a bone there, so if you are reading: thank you!
I don’t think the Mighty Waaagh Command Ability is worth building around, so we won’t dwell on that.
Brutish Cunning is certainly worth having, but off the top of my head you can also get extra CPs from the following sources (while having a Maw Krusha as your General): Batallions, purchasing a CP, Aetherquartz Brooch, Ironsunz Command Trait, Fungoid Cave Shaman and the Wurrgog Prophet. So although it’s probably the sensible one to take and will be popular, you can still get Krumpin in the Hero Phase without it.
Metalrippa’s Klaw is certainly solid: investing in rend -3 on your Boss’s weapon just gets better and better and better as Strength from Victory ramps up the number of attacks with that weapon.
But Destroyer. Ohhhhh, Destroyer. Whisper it…but I think I might be in love.
+3 Damage to a weapon of your choice once per game is off its fucking tree. It also creates a really cool mini game where you have to choose between unleashing it early for a breakthrough – and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be tempted to pop this at the first opportunity – versus banking it for late game when you have more attacks to maximise it.
Damage 5 per swing, or 6 per swing with the Warchanter buff. 6 per fucking swing! I don’t think Grots can even count that high.
Mean ‘Un is the go-to here, putting the Krusha’s attacks on Damage 3 per swing base (Damage 4 per swing with a Warchanter buff). This is getting out of control pretty fast, hey?
The Big Waaagh can realistically achieve +1 to hit and +1 to wound by the second Battleround, putting you on 2s and 2s across the board.
With a bajillion attacks, doing a bajillion damage each.
You know what a bajillion times a bajillion is? Plenty, that’s what.
Worth noting too is that he will have a 6+ ignore damage save in Big Waaagh, and the absence of Clans really liberates your options for Artefacts and CTs. It’s worthy of serious consideration, even in a pure or mainly Ironjawz army.
This guy is an unstoppable, whiff-proof wrecking ball.
Solid To Hit and Wound stats, backed up by a high volume of Damage 6 and Damage 4 attacks, rerolling all Wounds on the charge. And hey, let’s spend a CP to reroll 1s to Hit, because why not?
Allegiance: Big Waaagh!
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha – Boss Gore-hacka and Choppa – Trait: Live to Fight – Artefact: Destroyer – Mount Trait: Mean ‘Un
Option 2: Build for Durability
Doom argued convincingly that the key imperative is to build to last: if you build for durabiility, the output will take care of itself. Strength From Victory will rack up and get out of hand pretty quickly, if you can just avoid getting jibbed in a turn.
Incidentally, Doom’s whole Battletome review really is very good, and I recommend it to everyone who hasn’t yet seen it:
The levers you can pull for durability begin with your weapons profile: you have the choice between extra attacks, or taking a Riptooth Fist which bounces back Mortal Wounds on a natural save roll of 6. This might not sound like much, but when you’re facing opponents that force you to roll bucketloads of save dice (hello, Plaguemonks!) you can deter them from attacking at all in some cases.
This could actually be quite funny if doubled up with Armour of Gork, to bounce back 2 Mortal Wounds every time, and could be worth consideration if you are playing in a Horde meta.
Ironclad stands out: this puts you on a 2+ save, which is huge. The old Mystic Shield was nerfed for a reason, folks!
Probably the standout is the Ethereal Amulet from Shyish, which ignores all save modifiers (note that this would also switch off Ironclad, hence the two cannot be combined); or Ignax Scales, which ignores Mortal Wounds on a 4+.
Gryph Feather Charm (-1 to be hit in all phases) also warrants a mention – and if you are concerned about Activation Wars, Doppelganger Cloak comes into the equation too.
Loud ‘Un gives a once per game -1 to hit to all units within 3″, which shouldn’t be overlooked.
The other one to look out for is Weird ‘Un, which ignores the effects of a spell or endless spell on a 4+. This can act as a proxy for Mortal Wound protection, since a decent proportion of Mortal Wound output in the game comes from magic. It won’t help you against Jezzails popping off headshots; but nothing in the game should be completely invincible, and this does go some way to squaring the circle.
An Ironsunz Maw Krusha will be negative 1 to hit in the first Battleround. Not to be sniffed at!
The forced Artefact from this Warclan is actually a decent defensive item too, the Sunblessed Armour: this reduces your enemy’s rend by 1, so it’s effectively a nerfed Ethereal Amulet.
So there’s quite a lot of help there in keeping your Maw Krusha alive.
You also have the standard options of Mystic Shield (combos nicely with Ethereal to shut normal damage right down), and sending Geminids out prowling. Although this might not be efficient for an expensive one-spell wizard like the Weirdnob Shaman, they can be decent uses of an allied Fungoid Cave Shaman, or as the second cast for a Wurggog Prophet.
Both of these loadouts offer a good spread of improved saves, Mortal Wound protection and negatives to hit, the Holy Trinity of defensive buffs:
Option A: Ironsunz
Allegiance: Ironjawz – Warclan: Ironsunz
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha – Boss Choppa and Rip-tooth fist – Trait: Right Fist of Dakkbad – Artefact: Sunzblessed Armour – Mount Trait: Weird ‘Un
Option B: Big Waaagh or Generic Ironjawz
Allegiance: Ironjawz Mortal Realm: Aqshy
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha – Boss Choppa and Rip-tooth fist – Trait: Ironclad – Artefact: Ignax’s Scales – Mount Trait: Loud ‘Un
Option 3: The Cannonball
There is a specific build which is designed around maxing out on the impact mortal wounds: chaining together as many Destructive Bulk charges as possible. The world record as far as I’m aware was achieved by Adam Kakwah at SAGT in Adelaide, 2019: he strung together an impressive 7 chain charges!
The build here is to take the Hulking Musclebound Brute Command Trait, so on a 2+ you are triggering an extra D3 MWs every time you complete a charge. This is backed up by the Heavy’ Un Command Trait, so you are triggering Destructive Bulk on a 4+ per dice rather than 5+, meaning each charge is worth roughly 6 Mortal Wounds.
This can give you a great reason to trigger a charge with Mighty Destroyers or even the Ironsunz countercharge.
Tech that combos well with this includes anything that can knock a few more wounds off, and get those multicharges happening more easily. So chip damage from Arrow Boys shooting, from magic or even the Luminary Rod artefact can tee you up to go Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! through the backfield.
Allegiance: Ironjawz Mortal Realm: Hysh
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha – Boss Gore-hacka and Choppa – Trait: Hulking Muscle-bound Brute – Artefact: Luminary Rod – Mount Trait: Big ‘Un
Option 4: Double Bubble
The final thing to cover is the opportunity to take multiple Maw Krushas in your list. Tim Holbrook discussed his “Tank and Spank” build in our previous article, and there is certainly scope for them to work in tandem.
Punching holes in chaff screens for each other with combined charges, giving each other a prod forward with Luminary Rod while softening up enemies at the same time, throwing a Brutally Cunning activation each other’s way…sometimes it’s good to have a buddy.
Bringing it all together
In terms of supporting your Maw Krusha, I believe that Ironsunz or Big Waaagh offers the most overall.
Time will probably prove that a balanced loadout is the most sensible option: maybe something like the Ironclad Command Trait to reduce damage, Ignax’s Scales to reduce Mortal Wounds and the Mean Un Mount Trait to give that little sprinkle of extra burst damage would be a solid choice. All backed up by a Warchanter to kick up the damage output another notch, and maybe heal a D3 or two across the game.
Now I don’t know about you, but I’ll be taking that build with Destroyer for a spin!
Thanks for joining me as we continue our series of articles on the new Orruk Warclans Battletome. Today’s focus is the mighty Megaboss on Maw Krusha: I will be joined by an expert in the field, Thomas Bell, as he runs us through some fundamentals. In the second part, I will be exploring the options and considerations when buliding your own Maw Krusha loadout.
Thomas Bell: Me and My Cabbages
Tom is a competitive Ironjawz player based in the UK, and known for his double Maw Krusha lists. Tom’s recent exploits include an exciting Double Maw Krusha + Weirdfist combo, which he ran under GH18 rules, and more recently a Gordrakk + Cabbage list that he took to a 4-1 result at Blackout 2019.
As someone who has mainly played Ironjawz since getting back into the hobby nearly 3 years ago, when I was asked to do a post on the new Orruk Warclans, it was obvious to me which aspect I would talk about: I decided to take a lead from one of my club leaders.
Anyone who watched The Honest Wargamer’s
coverage of BOBO 2019 will remember Lee “Tuggy” Kay. Maybe you don’t remember
the name, but you will definitely remember his carrot measuring sticks. In
honour of Tuggy, I’m going to list the reasons why everyone needs more Cabbages
in their lives!
First things first, what is a “Cabbage”? A Cabbage is the colloquial term for a
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha, the massive angry flying death-monster of both Ironjawz
and the Orruk Warclans book. It’s also the only monster in the entire book,
which when combined with its points cost of 460 means you will never run out of
Behemoth Slots, because you just don’t have the points to fill them up! 4
Cabbages would leave just 160 points at 2k, not enough to fill your Battleline
requirements. With that sorted, let’s get into why you need more Cabbages.
As every Ironjawz player knows, it doesn’t
matter how big your stick is if you can’t apply it to your opponent’s face, or
their units. This is one area where a Cabbage doesn’t suffer: having a starting
movement of 12” means it’s the same speed as any of the boar riding
Bonesplitterz, and even after suffering 10 wounds it’s still movement 8”.
Considering the standard speed of an Ironjawz unit is 4” it’s basically got a
jetpack on. Conveniently for my jetpack analogy it’s also the only unit in the
entire book which has Fly as an innate part of its warscroll. So it’s fast and
can fly, two things which are incredibly useful and sorely lacking anywhere
else in the Orruk Warclans book.
Anyone who has ever talked to me or seen my army lists will know that I ***LOVE*** the Aetherquartz Broach, because I spam Command Abilities and can never get enough Command Points. The problem is that all the Command Points in the world don’t matter if you can’t spend them when and where you need them. Fortunately, being so mobile and having such a large base means that a Cabbage is a highly effective Command Ability delivery mechanism. Unlike the other slow and plodding Ironjawz Heroes, if you need to throw out an Inspiring Presence, use Mighty Destroyers to fight in the Hero Phase, or even just reroll a charge your cabbage can get there to provide it.
Speaking of Mighty Destroyers, a Cabbage
isn’t just one of the best delivery methods, it’s also one of the best recipients.
This is because it can really utilise all aspects of the Command Ability: I’ll
first go over what Mighty Destroyers does, then show why it really helps make
your Cabbages the best around. I’ve cleaned it up a little bit for clarity.
You can use this Command Ability in your Hero
Phase. If you do so, pick 1 friendly Ironjawz unit wholly within 12” of a
friendly Ironjawz hero or wholly within 18” of a friendly Ironjawz General.
That unit must:
Make a Normal Move if it is more
than 12” from an Enemy unit
Fight if it is within 3” of an
Make a charge move in any other
You cannot pick the same unit to benefit
from this Command Ability more than once per Hero Phase.
This is obviously a fantastic Command
Ability which offers a massive amount of utility and power, but why is it so
much better on a Cabbage?
Firstly, we have the Normal Move portion.
As noted above the Cabbage has a 12” move with fly. As the Command Ability
doesn’t prevent you from moving in the following Movement Phase, that means
it’s rocketing 24” across the board. This makes it one of the fastest and most mobile
units in the entire game!
Secondly, we have the pile in and attack: as possibly the biggest hitter in your army, getting bogged down in combat with chaff is your worst nightmare. Mighty Destroyers offers a solution for this situation by giving your Cabbage the opportunity to fight its way out of combat. This frees it up to move on to the much more important targets later in the same turn.
Finally we have the charge, nothing special about that. Except for the Destructive Bulk impact hits that is!
Most of you will be aware of impact hits: when a unit completes a charge, it inflicts mortal wounds, often based on some sort of dice roll. A Cabbage has one of the best forms of impact hits: you pick an enemy unit within 1”, then refer to the damage chart and roll a number of dice equal to the Destructive Bulk value. This starts at 8 and decreases by 1 per profile down to a minimum of 4. For any 5+ dice rolls you inflict 1 mortal wound on the target; you can increase this to a 4+ with a Mount Trait, more on those later.
While that’s reasonably strong it’s not
what really makes the ability terrifying. Unlike every other ability which does
impact hits, Destructive Bulk has a unique second part to the ability. If the
mortal wounds inflicted by this ability mean there are no enemy models left
within 3” of the Cabbage, it can then attempt to make a second charge. This
charge also benefits from the Destructive Bulk ability, so inflicts the mortal
wounds and can trigger a Third charge. So far my personal best is 4 consecutive
charges, wiping out two units and a Hero in the charge phase.
Combine this with the Mighty Destroyers
Command Ability. Suddenly you can potentially charge in the Hero Phase, bounce through
several weakened or low-wound units, then move in your Movement Phase, and
charge again in the Charge Phase!
Disaster strikes, despite your best efforts you’re locked in combat with some pathetic irrelevant creature, like Archaon or Nagash, who should be nothing but a stain under your Iron boot. How can you finish them off, so you can get on to find some more targets to smash? Well the Cabbage has the only shooting attack in the entire army. Normally this would be a downside; what self-respecting Orruk would want to get caught with a missile weapon?! Well don’t worry, this isn’t actually a missile weapon, it’s just your Cabbage shouting so loud it messes the opponents insides up. Inflicting death by shouting at your target, how to kill in style!
Finally we’re onto the bit that really matters:
just how mighty is the Cabbage? Turns out
it’s pretty mighty, with its Mighty Fists and Tail being the only -2 rend
Irojawz have. Throwing out 8 attacks at full wounds with 2 damage each is
pretty nice but not amazing…if only we had some way to increase the damage. Well we do! Another one of those tasty Mount Traits just
gives a flat +1 damage on its Mighty Fists and Tail. Throw in a Violent Fury from one of your
Warchanters and it’s now 4 damage each!
This is before we even get to the Megaboss himself,
who forced the Cabbage to submit and then chained themselves to its back for
maximum style. Starting at a reasonable 6-8 attacks (depending on which weapon
option you choose), again it’s solid but not amazing.
Don’t worry though, this gets better as well.
Orruks get bigger and stronger with every
enemy they duff up. This means that at the end of every Combat Phase in which
they killed at least 1 enemy model, your Megaboss gets +1 attack on their
Choppa and the Cabbage gets +1 wound. So as your opponent fights and pummels
your Cabbage down its profiles, making the Fists weaker, your Megaboss is
continually growing stronger.
In the last game I played, my General was
up to 11 attacks and 20 wounds by the end of turn 3!
‘Ard as Iron
That’s right, Twenty wounds. Starting at 15 and getting +1 from killing
stuff in every Combat Phase means you can get up to a potential 25 wounds by
the end of the game. That’s just 5 shy
of that pathetic Khorne Dragon! Throw in
a 3+ save and that’s one tanky Cabbage. Oh and that Warchanter we mentioned
earlier, they can take a Warchant called Fixin’ Beat. This lets you attempt to heal a model for D3
wounds in each of your Hero Phases, keeping that Cabbage in top fightin’ form.
Da Biggest An Da Ardest
All of this is great you say, but what if I
want more Cabbage? Even Da Best Cabbage
there is? Well then it sounds like you
need The Fist of Gork himself, Gordrakk. With +1 Mighty Fists attack, +1
Destructive Bulk dice, +1 wounds and a stronger Command Ability, we’re already
off to a Mighty start.
Big G has way more than just this though.
His Massively Destructive Bulk doesn’t just kill enemies, if you end a charge
with 1” of terrain you can roll a number of dice equal to the value in his
Damage Table. If any of those dice come up a 6 that terrain piece no longer
gives +1 to save for cover, preventing your cowardly foes hiding from the
Krumpin’ they’ve got coming.
But wait, there’s more. Not only is Big G’s
Cabbage, Big Teef, the mightiest of Cabbages. Big G himself is the Mightiest of
Megabosses. Instead of the usual choppa, Big G wields Smasha and Kunnin’ each
with their own attack profile, and BOTH of which gain +1 attack for every stack
of Strength from Victory he has.
Each of these weapons also has its own special
rule: every unmodified Wound roll of 4+ inflicts D3 mortal wounds against
Wizards, or Heroes who are not Wizards, depending on the weapon!
Personally I’m running 2 at the moment, Big
G and a normal Cabbage (the third isn’t painted yet, sadface).
This comes to exactly 1k points so they’ve
even gotten together to make my list building easier.
Hopefully it should be clear by now why everyone needs more Cabbages!
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
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
Metal Rippas Claw Artefact for
Mean ‘Un Mount Trait for Damage
And one for durability:
Mount Trait to ignore spells on
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?
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.
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.
Mawkrusha 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!
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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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
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!
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!
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.
When my wife asked me that, I genuinely didn’t know how to answer.
Like a lot these things, I obviously had my reasons for it, but I hadn’t really thought them through explicitly. This post explores the question of why someone would knowingly take an underpowered army to a competitive event, and seeks to articulate the reasons for that in the context of the army I will be taking to BBBB this weekend.
First Things First
Before we launch into it, let’s get something straight:
If you take an underpowered list to a competitive event, that’s on you
There’s no sense or logic in list-shaming. It’s a competitive event. People are perfectly entitled to try and win as many games as they can, and to take the armies that give them the best chance of doing that.
Moaning about someone taking an OP list to a competitive event is just as bad as bringing the filth to a Saturday night beerhammer smash-up. A GT is an appropriate time and place for stretching what you can get out of a book. That’s not to say it’s the only type of list that is suitable for a GT – this article aims to explore exactly that subject in more detail – but it most certainly is fair game.
What are you looking to achieve?
So if you’re not going to a tournament to try and win it, why are you going at all? There are a few different potential motivations:
The social aspect
This is the thing I personally enjoy most about Age of Sigmar. AOS rightly has a reputation for having a great community, and I’m pretty much at the stage in life where my Warhammer friends are my friends.
I’m lucky enough to have a great group locally, and just as importantly, Doom and Darkness once made the point that the great thing about playing tournaments regularly is that he can turn up pretty much anywhere in Australia, and he has friends locally that he can engage with. That’s huge.
The social aspect alone has kept me in the hobby through times when I’ve been down on the direction of the game itself, and I know a lot of other people for whom this is the case.
Masters rankings points
For anyone chasing a Masters slot, they will have a rankings points target in mind, and an idea of what kind of result they need to achieve that. It may be the case that they are more interested in locking in a 4-1 result than shooting for the 5-0, because that will give them the points they need. So an army like Idoneth Deepkin, which is a consistent 4-1 army, might be prefereable over something riskier but with a higher chance of winning the thing.
In my own case I’m currently sitting in 15th spot in the rankings, and the top 16 qualify for an invitation to Masters. My current total includes one smaller score from an undersized event ready to drop out, so it wouldn’t be hard to bludgeon my way to a 4-1 result with a Kunnin Rukk and lock in a Masters invite. However I’m not available the weekend that Masters takes place, so it’s not a consideration for me – otherwise that may well have been my primary goal this weekend, and I’m sure it will be for some attendees. The race to Masters is a great motivation and sub-plot in the tournament year.
However I do currently hold the Bonesplitterz and Mixed Destruction icons in the rankings, and it would be a nice little goal to choose one of those armies, and hang on to that icon. So that’s a consideration in army selection too – it’s obviously not as big as winning a GT, but it can be a nice little achievement in its own right.
Your own mission statement
What do you actually want out of Warhammer? For some people, it is to win as many games as they can. If you’re not a regular tournament-goer, it might surprise you to know that these are a small sub-group of even competitive players.
I’ve really got no problem with that, as long as people are honest about it. Own the filth! Just spare me the old “I’ve always loved the models, no but I really have” bullshit. It’s really not a good look.
Let me give you a positive example. Tristan Smith recently won Badgacon with a DOK netlist, and he slapped down any attempts at list shaming by simply stating his goal: to win the majority of his games consistently. Taking a high-powered army and practicing with it relentlessly gives him the best chance of achieving that, and he has achieved his goals, so fair play to him.
Other players want the underdog win, and to explore how far they can take an off-meta army. They want the buzz of knowing that every victory is due to their own smart play and not leaning on the rules of their army.
These are the people I really admire: for me, Mike Wendel winning a GT with Gutbusters or Rob winning SCGT with Spiderfang will echo through history, long after another goober pushing FEC forward is forgotten.
Or to put it another way: I personally respect people who are honest about just wanting to win, but I admire people who find a way to win against the odds.
There is also a contrarian strain of thought, that seeks to analyze the meta and take the tools to break it. When everyone else steps left, they step right. With a fair tailwind and the right matchups their list can go far, but their primary goal is to take on a filth-chaser and piss on their bonfire.
My own mission statement is: To do as well as I can, with the armies I love.
I’m an orc guy, first and foremost, and I always run Destruction armies.
Not a lot of the time. Not most of the time. Always.
Competitively, I win over 70% of my games with armies that generally run at 40% to 50%, so in that sense I’m achieving my own goal. Having said that, I’d also be more than happy for Destruction to be back in the position of GH16 where they were right up there alongside Order and Chaos – if the new books are top tier, I’ll be delighted for the “To do as well as I can” part to mean regularly competing for podiums.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be
People might run an army because it is going out of circulation: either completely deleted from the range, or gone in its current form and replaced by a new book. One more spin, for old times’ sake!
With the new Orruk Warclans book imminent, this would be my final chance to get a tournament out of the current rules for Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz.
I was expecting the Kunnin Rukk to disappear in its current form, so that was a factor, but also keen to run one of the Ironjawz big batallions before I expected them to become “free rules” with Clans. Either way, it ruled out Gloomspite or Ogors for this one.
What kind of games you like
The games I always look back on and remember are tactical games with ebb and flow, lots of movement, retreating onto objectives, big decisions and swings in momentum.
Lists that are designed to win as many games as possible can give you that. They can also give you complete non-events. Let me give you a couple of examples.
At SAGT in Adelaide this March, I took my Kunnin Rukk as an anti-meta choice: FEC and Skaven were all the rage. I played Mick Creighton from the Failed Charge podcast with his FEC, and we had an absolutely epic match. I held him to 8-8 on the scenario, he got the Minor on Kill points on his way to a 5-0 result, and we were both reeling after an absolute rollercoaster of emotion.
At the same event on Day 2, I played Andreas and his Skaven. Now Andreas is no scrub: he won a 60+ player event in Melbourne with his rats a couple of months later, and he was running a top tier army. I utterly annihilated him and he conceded at the end of the first Battleround.
Not because I played well, not because he played badly, but purely because these two armies created such a wild mismatch that what we played could scarcely be described as a game.
So if your goal is to enjoy a series of tactical games, bringing top tier armies to an event can give you amazing matches, or it can give you an utterly broken experience.
So let’s all bring fun armies! Yeah…it’s not as simple as that either. If you think you’re going to have fun getting smashed again and again and again, to the extent that you can barely interact in 3 or 4 out of your 5 games, by all means go ahead. But in my experience, there is nothing as bleak as bringing a “fun” army to a competitive AOS tournament.
The rules are ratcheted up to 11 and it is utterly punishing if you are off the pace. You might get lucky and have some great games against similar armies – especially by Day Two when the pairings have done their work – but you certainly can’t bank on it.
Whatever army you take, from hardcore to beerhammer, there will be a band of matchups that are close to auto win, and a band that are close to auto lose. Then you have that band in the middle where you have interesting, tactical games.
At some events in the past, my goal has been to make that first band as wide as possible and give myself the best chance possible of winning the most games I could. I won’t apologise for that because it’s a competitive event – but at this event coming up, that was not my goal.
A “fun” army makes that band at the bottom far too wide: best to save that for Friday night games with your mates, where you can both plan your armies in advance. My goal for this event was to make that middle band as wide as possible, so I could engage with as many opponents as possible, on as many Battleplans as possible, in a meaningful way.
I want to have the best chance possible of having five great games – bringing a soft army will not achieve that, and the army I have brought is not soft. It is a balanced army, not cutting edge but with a diverse toolkit, and I will be aiming to actually win games of Warhammer rather than choke the life out of them.
So there ya go, 12 Big Stabbas! They will rip monsters to shreds, especially with the buffs stacked on them. In the Batallion and with the Wurggog Prophet’s Command Ability, I can get them piling in up to three times per turn, all fully buffed. They also contribute to Activation Wars in their own little way, through the Mutually Assured Destruction of Da Final Fling.
Boarboy Maniaks are another unit who can do a bit when buffed up, and whereas Savage Big Stabbas bring the heavy rend and mortal wounds, these guys bring the mobility and volume of attacks. Plus they look fucking hench on the table.
And to avoid the negative play experience of trying to fight a combat army when you have little foothold in Activation Wars, the Arrow Boys can bring the Dakka if needed. It’s not the full face-melting insanity of a Kunnin Rukk, but it is a useful tool within the army, and the Arrow Boys can also carry the buffs if required.
Probably the only bit of sneaky tech in the list is the Kunnin Beast Spirits spell. I think this one has largely flown under the radar, but it is dynamite in the current meta: it forces your opponents to reroll 6s to hit a given unit. Fling a unit out there, and just switch off all the crazy shit that happens on exploding 6s these days. Love it.
And that’s it! That’s Da Final Fling. Hopefully this army will give me and my opponents 5 good games, lock in the Bonesplitterz icon in the Australian Matched Play rankings, and give Battletome: Bonesplitterz the send-off it deserves.
Let me know your thoughts, and tell me if I’ve got it all wrong, either here on the Comments or hit me up on Twitter @PlasticCraic. Excelsior!
Bendigo Bush Bash Bonanza, aka BBBB, is a 2000-point Matched Play event organised by Measured Gaming, and taking place 5th – 6th October in Bendigo, Australia.
With 41 lists submitted and a fully-licensed venue, this is shaping up to be a cracking event. BBBB will again have representation from multilple States, drawing in another big crowd to the Australian bush.
For many involved, this will be their last chance to rake in the rankings points before the cutoff for Australian Masters, so we can expect people to bring their A-Game.
In this article I have invited a group of guest reviewers from various different scenes to each hand-select one Power Pick and one Coolest List.
Measured Gaming will also be doing a full YouTube List Review show this Sunday 29th September at 7.15pm AEST, so jump on board – and the good news is, I’ve got Monday off work, so feel free to join me in the chat as I get pissed up and call everyone scrubs.
Missions are not announced in advance, bringing balanced lists to the fore
One nice touch that Measured have introduced to their events is recording in-game Victory points as part of your tournament score. So playing to the objectives is effectively the first tie breaker
Like many modern packs, this event will disregard Realmscape Features
So with that context, let’s hand it over to our guest pundits!
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.
Power Pick: Charles Black, Skaventide
Alright, this guy Charlie is coming with the dirty dirty rat filth. I’m into this list, it brings a few threats and creates a lot of board control. So let’s break it down.
How the list works
Let’s start with the easy stuff, 40 Plague Monks… if you don’t know what these guys are doing by now, you’re sleeping in a sewer with the other ninja turtles lol.
So with 40 Monks and 80 Clanrats, this list could pose problems for opponents, having the Screaming Bell backing them up granting battleshock immunity wholly within 13”. Sounds small but on that size of a base, it’s fairly easy to achieve.
That Screaming Bell took the spell Death Frenzy, allowing a friendly unit to pile in and attack when it dies. BRUTAL. The Bell also offers its Peal of Doom ability, giving buffs or damage dealing effects every turn.
Finally the Grey seer’s spell, Crack’s Call can wreck low movement units like Fyreslayers with potentially decent mortal wound pop.
Now, Warlock Bombardier. This model is sick! Just wanted to get that out of the way, but what is he doing? He’s got a Doom Rocket, which is a pretty quality shooting attack. His Warp Lightening spell is kinda like a super Arcane Bolt, at 13” doing d3 mortals. You can supercharge it to do d6 mortals with the chance you possibly blow this dude up! How appropriate for Skaven.
With his Command Ability (allowing 1 Skryre unit to reroll hits for shooting attacks wholly within 13”), along with his spell (allowing a Skryre unit to re roll hit and wound rolls), he becomes a quality buff piece.
Let’s talk about this Verminlord. Well, the Deciever is a beast! I love this guy. He’s got a decent little shooting attack doing extra damage against units of 10 or more models, and in combat he can totally handle chaff to small to elite units. He’s got a 5+ DPR save, -2 to hit in the shooting phase and move 12” at full profile.
If this wasn’t enough (!), his Command Ability allows him to reroll wound rolls, he’s also got a spell… oh his spell.. Dreaded Skitterleap. Casting on a 6+ allowing him to teleport a unit with 12 wounds or less, then setting them up outside 6”… did you hear that?! 6” that’s so close!
Meaning he can use his ability to dump him self into range to drop his SUPER SWEET artefact! The Gnawbomb! Once per game, he can turn a terrain feature into a Gnawhole!!!! Did you hear that?! Turning any feature into a Gnawhole, allowing those Monks to get where they need, or those Jezzails to get that sneaky Hero.
This list controls the board, has quality shooting and combat, is solid in the magic phase and will keep the pressure up while maintaining objective scoring.
Coolest List: Michael Clark, Mixed Order (Hallowheart)
Why I like this list
Why is this so cool?! Well, Mike here has built a list utilizing the defensive capabilities of the 60 Phoenix Guard and the Anointed, whose Strategic Genius provides an extra Command Point at the start of the first Battleround.
Those guys are BRUTALLY tough:
With a 4+ save (3+ in cover)…
And a 4+ DPR save…
And the Anointed sitting behind them, granting Battleshock immunity while within 8”!
Not to mention rerolling wounds in the combat phase using his Command Ability
Then he’s got the quick and easy always breezy 3×10 Freeguild Guard with sword and board, rerolling 1’s on their saves.
Let’s talk about the punch units in his list. Mike’s using Fyreslayers to do this, they’re great units with again solid saves and quality damage output.
But you’ll say Frank, how’s he getting them there? Ahhh… here we go.
So he’s paired both units of Hearthguard with a Smiter, allowing them to deep strike and it grants them a 4+ DPR save as well! See a theme? Hehe.
Bringing it all together
Finally let’s talk about why are the hounds here? Screen and small time objective grabbers, for 20 points.. they move quick and have 2 wounds each!
To round this out, he’s got an Archmage whose spell grants ANOTHER 6+ DPR in a bubble, and the allegiance of Hallowheart allows any unit to attempt to unbind a spell.
I think this army looks like a weird mash up, and in ways it kinda is. But when you look at the details, it’s well thought out and should do decently.
Joel Hennessy – New South Wales
Based in Sydney, Joel is one of the top Destruction players in Australia. Joel followed up an excellent 4-1 performance at Sydney GT (rocking a double Colossal Squig list, no less!) by taking out Best Destruction at Cancon 2019 with his Gloomspite Gits.
Power Pick: Joel McGrath, Staunchcast Eternals
How the army works
Joel is going wait to get charged, his opponent will bounce off, then he is going to counter attack.
This army is tough, and has plenty of ways to put damage out. He has plenty of mobility to hit where he wants to, and if you try to castle up he’s going to drop a comet on your head.
Why I like this army
The big reason that this army is strong is because it is a brick wall, in a meta where so many armies are relying on high damage output units, with limited staying power (looking at you Skaven, FEC and Slaanesh). Joel is a very competent general also, having recently won a 1-day tournament with a similar list.
Oldcast is an army we rarely see these days, but they are tough as nails and not to be underestimated. The Desolators with Staunch Defender have a 2+ save rerolling 1’s, and 30 wounds of killing power, with reliable midrange MW output and insane melee output (5 Thunderaxe attacks each) that can’t be bogged down by chaff due to the Heraldor.
Any of the Skaven Plague Rat lists – they won’t have the damage output to remove the big pieces and are going to be forced into combat situations. FEC is in a similar situation and will have a tough time short of amazing Terrorgheist rolls.
Lists with enough bodies to get on objectives quickly and hold them, while gumming up the board and preventing the list from playing for Objectives. All the while standing up to the punishment that this list can put out.
How I would tackle it
I would tackle this list by attempting to take out some of the characters, particularly the Heraldor and Castellant, preventing some of the mobility. From there, you want to try and tie up the Drakesworn Templar and Desolators – I play Gitz, so I have plenty of ways of applying debuffs.
Coolest List: Pat Nevan, Mortal Khorne
This was a toss-up between Alex Sobiecki’s Namarti Corps, or Pat Nevan’s Bloodthirster Lite Khorne Mortals. Pat’s Khorne Mortals won out.
The army has a ton of Blood Tithe to gain, and will look to throw buffed units of Bloodreavers across the board at you relentlessly.
I really like that this is an intelligent gamer’s army. This army in the hands of a bad general will not fare well. Having said that, as we saw at Cancon with Matt’s Khorne, movement shenanigans and good play win games, and I think Pat will do really well. There’s a lot that Pat will be able to do once he builds up some Bloodtithe and how he decides to use them will be very interesting.
I think this army can definitely go 4-1. I’m really intrigued to see how it goes up against some of the power lists in the tournament.
Michael Thomson – Queensland
Michael is the founder of The Savage Northmen, a gaming group based in and around Cairns, Queensland. A specialist in Death armies, Michael went 6-0 at Cancon 2019 with his Nagash list, securing a podium at the world’s largest Age of Sigmar event to date.
Power Pick: Dalton Copeland, Gloomspite
Why I like this army
I have picked Dalton’s army for several reasons, one of them being that I know he is a good, tactical AoS player. We saw Dalton TO Badgacon in June, so I imagine he is raring to go for this tourney.
His army works on multiple levels: negs to hit, mortal wound output, run and charge mechanic and teleporting, just to list a few. This makes it a very versatile list: he can sit back and defend, or he can be aggressive and in your face.
156 wounds is nothing to sneeze at, with 100 Stabbas backed up by a Colossal Squig and Arachanarok Spider.
How I would tackle it
The way I see his list operating is that it all revolves around the Heroes: they will be providing buffs and holding the army together. If I played against the army, I would be getting those guys off the board as a matter of priority, to leave the Stabbas isolated without buffs and Battleshock protection.
Good and bad matchups
This list is so well-rounded, which is key when the Player’s Pack has no missions announced.
With the addition of Scuttletide and Geminids, Dalton will be forcing his opponents to really think about that priority choice.
Dalton would know better than me, but I would have loved to have seen Itchy Nuisance as a spell in his arsenal, for those tough matchups with Slaanesh (although negs to hit will help there). Skaven will be another tough match up for Dalton in my opinion, but knowing Dalton he will be all over that and I’m sure he has a plan laid out.
Good luck mate.
Coolest List: Michael Clark, Mixed Order (Hallowheart)
My selection goes to Michael Clarke: we see two units of Phoenix Guard buffed by two Anointed, with an Archmage and the Elemental Shield, as well as two units of Hearthguard and Runesmiters, giving Michael the ability to tunnel up.
With 4+/6+ damage saves, Michael’s army is the “Challenger 2′ battletank of the AoS world… he’ll be looking to bring units tunnelling up where you don’t want them, he has the bodies, and he has a lot of anti-magic. I think he has given himself a really interesting toolkit to work with here.
Unfortuately for Michael, there are a lot of Jezzails in this event, so he might struggle against Skaventide or the SCE Raptors. Nonetheless I think this list has a possible 4-1 in it, dependant on matchups and scenarios.
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.
Power Pick: Tristan Smith, DOK
How the army works
Sisters can retreat & charge, ensuring the unit isnt locked or tagged in combat
Bodies score objectives, and kill things
6″ pile in, 2″ reach of Sisters win Activation Wars
What makes it so strong
Rerolls: Hag Narr 5++ rerollable after save, reroll hits/charges/wounds with Daughters Allegiance Abilities and the Hag Queen
Lots of bodies
Lack of ranged in the meta means that characters should stay safe
Relatively low drop (for the tournament) so should choose majority of the time
Unique aspects of the list
Double Medusa, double Hag Queen, 3 units of 30 is a different choice (rather than Morathi)
It will be super difficult to clear off the units with this level of target saturation
Good and bad Matchups / Battleplans
Good Battleplans: All the Battleplans
Good Matchups: All the Matchups
May struggle on Hero missions, as they lack a lot of Heroes. That said, they should be able to run the Cauldron into the middle, screen with Sisters / Witches and then put Heroes on the other objectives also screened
How you would tackle it if you saw it across the table
Take out support characters (Cauldron / Hags)
Avoid the Blessing of Khaine unit
Debuff them in combat
Coolest List: Peter Atkinson, Bonesplitterz
How the army works
Shoots things with arrows, makes friends and does damage with Big Stabbas.
What you like about it
How well you think it can do
Note: this is my own list, so thanks Donal for the vote!
I’ll do my best to Stabb them Biggly.
~ Pete aka Plastic Craic
Thanks everyone for your contributions. And a big congratulations to Michael Clarke, with two separate nominations for Coolest List you win the prize…Make yourself known to me at the event, and I’ll buy you a beer!
Frank DeLoach, USA
Matt Kent, Slaanesh
Hayden Frankhuisen, Slaanesh
Tyson Gleeson, Idoneth Deepkin
Joel Hennessy, New South Wales, Australia
Joel McGrath, Staunchcast Eternals
Hayden Frankhuisen, Slaanesh
Charles Black, Skaventide
Michael Thompson, Queensland, Australia
Dalton Copeland, Gloomspite Gits
Andreas Nicolay, Skaventide
Tristan Smith, DOK
Donal Taylor, UK
Tristan Smith, DOK
Lachlan McLean, Gloomspite Gits
Matt Kent, Slaanesh
Thanks again to all involved, and here’s looking forward to a rippa of an event!
Before I fanboy out over these things too much, I want to make it clear that I am in no way affiliated with this business. I do not have any financial interest here, and I do not know the people behind it personally. I’m just a satisfied customer, who paid for these things out of his own pocket, and nothing more.
I think it’s important to get that clear before I start banging on about how amazing these things are, because – Spoiler Alert – I fucking love them.
Why MiniMag Trays?
In a nutshell, these things are designed to make moving your models around easier. I’ve gone on record that my preferred army build is a couple of big monsters, with swarms of dickheads nipping around their ankles – a proper Destruction rabble.
It’s those swarms of dickheads that can be a problem. Picture the scene:
Deploy 60 Grots on the table = Pain in the arse
Pick them up and move them with Hand of Gork = Pain in the arse
Complete a 9″ charge and move them all again = Pain in the arse
We’re now 20+ minutes into the game, everything you’ve done is pure drudgery and we’re not even into your first combat phase yet. Your opponent is probably comletely disengaged and pissing around on their phone at this point, and I wouldn’t blame them either.
This can be such a dispiriting experience that maybe you don’t even use those big units as much as you’d want to, especially in friendly games. And it’s not just a single block of 60 Grots, it could be multiple blocks of 40 Plague Monks, 30 Witch Aelves plus 30 Sisters of Slaugher, and so on.
Move a million models, move a million more models. complete your charges and move them all again. Real talk, you’re not gonna finish your game in time to have a beer between rounds.
Get them on MiniMag Trays, and that unit of 60 is now effectively a unit of 12, and suddenly that’s a whole different beast.
Let’s pause to think about that for a moment: MiniMag Trays will help you drink more beers at tournaments. I’m not even joking. It’s a real, practical benefit.
What are the advantages over the alternatives?
It’s accurate to say that there are other movement trays on the market, but it’s also accurate to say that they’re all shit. MiniMag Trays blow them all out of the water, and make them instantly obsolete.
The competition is generally MDF, or sometimes plastic (GW released their own recently under the Apocalypse brand). All of which have rims to keep the models in place.
Rims have two downsides:
They look crap
They are impractical
In terms of the appearance, they are clunky and jarring on the Battlefield. You can paint them to match your army’s basing scheme, but that’s a huge amount of busy-work, and you still have a big blob around your guys that doesn’t need to be there.
And when you come to use them, the damned things just get in the way. If you want to get your models into combat or base-to-base contact, the rim is in the way, so you have to lift your models up and out of the trays. So from the first combat phase onwards, your models are out of the trays, and the trays are already effectively unfit for purpose.
Like a lot of people, I bought the MDF trays, used them once or twice, and then put them in a cupboard. More hassle than they’re worth.
No rims is a game changer
In sports, they say a referee has had a good game when you don’t notice them. Same applies to movement trays in my opinion. MiniMag Trays are virtually invisible on the tabletop, which is exactly what you want.
It also comes into play when you are removing models, and piling in on top of the trays. Check out the video below from their own Twitter feed:
The magnetism is easily strong enough to lift a tray and move it around, just by grabbing one model:
There are also a couple of neat little touches, which really show that these were designed by an actual wargamer:
You have the option of tight or spaced formations, so you can either bunch up into buff range, or spread out at 1″ coherency for zoning and control
There is a combat tray designed to space your models such that you get the maximum number into 1″ combat range
Pro tip: The strip of 3x models on 25mm bases, spaced 1″ apart, can also be used to keep 5x models in tight formation.
Are they affordable?
In a word, yes. Each one individually is fairly cheap, and postage is a flat GBP 6.00 whatever you buy.
Once you start clicking and adding things into your cart, like anything else the cost will start to rack up.
But the beauty of these things is that you will use them again and again.
You don’t have to match any basing scheme, so they will follow you from army to army to army. My own 25mm trays have already followed me from Gitmob to Moonclan to Squigs.
Similarly my 32mm trays have already seen action with multiple blocks of Arrow Boys in a Kunnin Rukk, and big blocks of Ard Boyz in my Ironjawz.
Once you own them, you own them forever.
Look at it this way: we’ve all got some plastic sitting in a cupboard of shame that never sees light of day. For the price of a unit, you can completely transform your hobby experience with something you will use in every single game. They will actually make your life a tiny bit better.
The only “extra” cost is more magnets, but they’re like 10p each or something. I did buy mine from MiniMag Tray (rather than scouring eBay for an equivalent), because they’re the perfect depth to sit underneath a base, and they effectively cost nothing for shipping when you add them to an order (due to the flat rate shipping).
As far as the product itself, I couldn’t be happier. However I wouldn’t mind having an instructional video on the website of how to magnetize your models.
The website suggests using a glue gun to attach magnets underneath the bases, and there are some photos showing how to do that. My ineptitude with anything practical is legendary (I had to give away my airbrush because I was too dumb to use it), so for someone like me, a video of this process would be helpful.
That being said, I just used superglue instead, and so far I’ve not had any dramas.
MiniMag Trays are a real Before and After moment: I couldn’t play a game without them now.
I bought them with my own money, and then went back for more. I really can’t give them a better review than that.
For anyone who has been living under a rock, Gotrek is back! Who’s he? Well, Gotrek was a much-loved character from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle era, starring in many of the most popular Black Library books ever released. To say that my own Warhammer Fantasy Battle career was brief would be quite the understatement, but even I had heard of this guy!
He has a new model, Matched Play points, and a Warscroll that has already caused quite a stir…so what do we think of him? Is this a good thing for the game, and when you see him across the table (which is definitely gonna happen), how do you handle him? Let’s take a look at the Wee Man in detail.
He’s an angry little dude who likes fighting. One cool aspect is that he’s actively seeking his doom, in a manner that is truly fitting for a mighty hero: his sidekick Felix actually came along to chronicle the story of Gotrek’s inevitable death.
There is extensive background information available here, but honestly, Games Workshop has a catchup articlewhich directs you towards the source literature. People whose judgment I trust speak very highly of the original books, so I suggest that anyone interested goes back to them.
If you’re not keen on necroing the old books, you can jump on board with Realmslayer, which brings Gotrek into the Mortal Realms: as pointed out by Ollie Grimwood, this also serves as a nice satire on the journey of WHFB players into AOS. This one is on Audible, which is a lot more affordable than going direct to Black Library, so I suggest going down that path.
One thing worth a mention is that after the End Times, Gotrek spent his time fighting in the Realm of Chaos, before making his way on to the Mortal Realms. What I do like here is that we have a proper pathway from the World That Was to the current setting.
Honestly, I’d prefer that we move on from WHFB and start telling new stories with new characters, like we did with Skragrott for example. But if we are going to play favourites and resurrect some old heroes, I’m glad that in this case we have a proper narrative thread explaining their continued existence.
If you like Gotrek, if he’s your boy, I’m glad for your sake that he’s back: and he certainly got a miniature and Warscroll worthy of his legendary status.
One look at that, and I was sold. He’s so defiant and full of spunk, ready to take on the world in his blue jeans and bovver boots. Possibly my favourite smaller character since the Megaboss, and certainly worthy of the Avatar of Grimnir.
The price tag is also very reasonable. $55 Aussie Dollars is a lot cheaper than I was expecting, and it’s a great price point for anyone who just wants to pick him up as a painting project or as a tribute to his legend.
The one thing I’m not keen on is the base size(s). The GW Webstore states that: “He comes with two options for bases – a 32mm round base for using him in your games, and a 40mm round base with scenic detailing”.
That’s just bullshit. He is an epic Hero, with an epic Warscroll, and he looks epic on the proper base: don’t fudge it and give him another advantage by bumping him down to a Blood Reaver base. This isn’t some Battleline goober. He comes on a 40mm and that should be the end of it.
Pick and stick, fellas! Literally every promotional image shows him on the larger, scenic base, which can’t be a coincidence: compared to his proper base, he will look shit on a 32mm, and GW must know that.
Anyway, people with a keen eye will spot something very, very unusual buried in that last point…yes, I will be buying one! Any non-Destruction purchase is incredible rare for me, but one look at this fella and he won me over. You’d need to have a heart of stone not to be on this guy’s side, so once I saw the model, any thoughts I had about him being better left to rest in The World That Was were swept aside.
I should also take this opportunity to annouce that… I am actually a closet Dwarf fan. A dear friend of mine, who passed away far too young, was the person who originally got me interested in The Hobby way back in 1994. Until I jumped back on board with AOS shortly after launch in 2015, my only experience of Warhammer was those couple of years where I collected Undead and he collected Dwarves. So I do have a lot of goodwill towards the little fellas, dating way back.
I have no current plans to put my own Gotrek on the tabletop, but I do suddenly find myself owning over 25% of an Order army, so never say never.
On The Tabletop
How Will He Play?
Like a little Stonehorn, but with a much better Stone Skeleton…and crucially, much slower.
Honestly though, when you’re this hard to kill, you can safely run him out on his own to dominate a whole area of the board. Round 1, Gotrek can run 10″ out into the wild blue yonder (using a CP if necessary), and stand out there with his dick flapping happily in the wind. He doesn’t have (or need) any real synergy, so he’s super modular in the way he operates.
According to the Community article, he automatically wins literally every combat and is completely unkillable. Please don’t accuse me of exaggeration there; if it is an overstatement, it is GW’s overstatement, not mine:
I do think they may have stacked things in his favour a little (no Hero Phase for Nagash?), but you get the picture. 4″ may still be his Acchiles’ Heel, but it isn’t as slow as it looks when you look at how this guy operates in practice.
What Kind of Armies Will You See Him In?
Literally the whole of Order can Ally him in, and really, he can operate well in most builds.
One early piece of tech doing the rounds is including him in an Idoneth army, using the Ionrach enclave. This gives Allied units access to the Tides of Death, meaning that he gets various bonuses depending on the Battleround, all of which are really clutch for him:
Cover in Round 1
Run + Charge in Round 2 (Ooooh Lordy!)
Fight at the start of the Combat Phase in Round 3
Retreat + Charge in Round 4
Cover again in Round 5
These are all huge, especially Run + Charge. If you are chaffing him up late game, remember to wrap around him so he can’t retreat!
Will this prove to be better than Fuethan + Eel spam in the long run? That is open to debate, although I suspect not. It will certainly be a strong army though, and one I think we’ll see in action.
You might see Gotrek crop up a lot in forthcoming Cities of Sigmar armies, because as a Soup tome they will have a lot of angles covered, and hence little need for other Allies. Keep a keen eye out for any tech in this book that affects all friendly units, and is not keyword-restricted!
Chronomatic Cogs obviously works very well with him, and even at 80 points could be worth building into your army. I especially like this one if you have a Plan B usage for it, specifically a durable wizard that can benefit from slowing down time in the matchups where you really don’t want to give your opponent short charges. If you have that dual-purpose built in, I think it can justify its 80 points.
So look out for the Gotrek + Morathi 1-2 Punch, with Cogs to get those stumpy little legs pumping, or to have Morathi rerolling all saves, as the scenario requires.
Healing in general is dynamite on this guy. Your opponent has to work so frikkin hard to remove every single one of those uber-expensive wounds, and slamming D3 back on there will be debilitating for them. The Excelsior Warpriest fits the bill – and it might be time for the Emerald Lifeswarm to see some table time too.
One concept that Jack Armstrong mentioned was looking at Shootcast lists that funnel your opponent towards Gotrek, which really is smart thinking. Chaff screens and avoidance are all very well until you get 100 arrows in your face, and you have to step forward into the Lion’s Den; I’d be very interested to see any list ideas along these lines.
Is He OP?
Hellz no! When people are whining about him being uninteractive, what most of them mean is that they can’t just push their Terrorgheist into him, and that leaves them clean out of ideas. He’s a good counter to a lot of on-meta armies, but that is in no way the same thing as being OP.
Honestly, there is loads of counter play…none of which involves pushing a fucking Terrorgheist in his general direction. We’re not that basic here, we can do better than that!
This whole thing is just so cinematic. You will have all these widely-feared Monsters running away in blind panic from this tiny dude pumped up on rage. It’s going to be hilarious to see on the tabletop.
Honestly, I love it.
How To Take Him On
Realistically Gotrek can’t whiff, because he rerolls everything and gets two bites at the cherry. You can’t just ignore this guy and hope for the best.
The first thing to recognise is which of the potential workarounds are limited by the Warscroll. Damage 1 spam is obviously the most efficient way to churn through those 3+ after-saves, but it’s hard to fit a lot of bases around his. Units on 25mm bases with 2″ reach would have a decent shout, so things like DOK and Plague Monks could be in decent shape.
Crucially, you can’t instajib this guy with the likes of Reality Splitting Axe or Hand of Dust. I’m not sure this was really necessary – those things are very rare, and the units involved pay a premium for them. For how often it will come up, I think they should have just let it happen. It’s good for the meta that “unkillable” stuff can always meet its Armageddon.
Reducing that damage to 1 Mortal Wound (which he will probably save anyway) is a bit of a slap in the face. Gotrek is already an uber-tank, and removing opportunities for tactical counter play is rarely a good thing.
With that said, strap yourself in, because the good news is that this Warscroll has built in some very well-designed limitations, and we’re going to look at how to exploit all of them:
Only 4″ movement
No deep strike
1″ range in Combat, so screens do work (at least for the first pile in!)
Second pile-in comes at the end of the Combat Phase, so you get a chance to hit back inbetween
Basic best-practice movement and board control will see you a long way here.
Layered chaff screens: Keeping 3″ gaps in between screens will leave Gotrek marooned after his first activation, and unable to pile in for a second time. This might sound familiar to people from my last article: the meta is pushing you towards multiple screens, folks. Take the hint!
Smart removal of casualties: When removing models, look for opportunities to leave Gotrek outside of 3″ to prevent his second pile in, even if it means you can’t attack back yourself. Holding the objective for an extra turn, and forcing Little G to waste a second turn killing the remainder of a chaff unit, will usually be more valuable than putting a wound or two on him.
You might even be able to leave those few remaining bodies on the Objective but behind him, so he has to move backwards to clean them up in his next activation! Shape up with this in mind when preparing to face a charge.
Waste his time: He’s most likely running Turn 1, so he has a maximum of 4 turns to have an actual impact on the game. Each of those turns is therefore a huge resource, and making him waste those turns killing junk units can be as effective as killing him.
Screen the objective: Set up to face a charge with the back of your base inside 6″ of the Objective, and the front outside. Gotrek relies on holding Objectives by 1 model to 0 after murdefucking everything on there. This way, even if he kills you, he can’t score VPs…as long as you are careful not to leave him a second pile in that would bring him onto the Objective! But you’re already all over that from reading the points above, right?
Multi charge: As noted above, Gotrek’s second pile in is at the end of the phase. If you can attack with multiple units first you can potentially grind him down. Units that fight first, Slaanesh’s Locus, the Doppelganger Cloak, and spells like Itchy Nuisance are all really impactful against him as long as you can get in range to attack.
Summoning: If you can resurrect your units as quickly as he kills them, you can keep scoring those Objectives and break his heart: he’s only 1 model!
You know what’s worse than a 4″ move? A 2″ move. There’s plenty of tech out there to slow him down further, but one of my favourites is the litte-seen Shards of Vargharr Endless Spell. Combo the movement debuff with a neg to hit, and that little bastard will be running around puffing and panting with a bright purple face, while you just Moonwalk around the table scoring the Objectives.
Other than the many ways to half his movement, what else can we do to manage his positioning on the board? Plenty!
Deny him charges That’s a lot of free movement. If you give him a 6″ charge, that’s a turn and a half of movement for him. Obviously you can’t always leave all your units 16.1″ away from him, because you’ll give up far too much space on the battlefield, but do try to leave him praying for long bombs as much as possible.
Pre-measure your movement so he’ll be just outside the distance to complete a given charge, rather than just inside – if you don’t think an extra 1″ matters, ask your wife.
Edge cases: Hypersnare Seeds (Ghyran artefact) could be a good second or third artefact behind Ghyrstrike and / or one from your Faction. This is useful in a lot of matchups, and dynamite against Gotrek.
It only works on a 5+, but you’ll likely be rolling for it multiple times in every match. So many games come down to a key charge being made or not made…Across the course of a tournament season, this artefact will win you matches.
Stormcast budgies are another useful piece of charge denial tech. They can also perform neat tricks like zipping onto on Objective away from the main unit that is being charged, so even if the unit being charged gets wiped, you continue to hold it…just make sure you stay out of 3″ to deny that second pile in!
#BuildThatWall: He can’t fly or teleport: block him in with Palisades, Soulsnare Shackles and Scuttletide. Bit of a dick move? Hey, I’m not the one who designed a Warsrcoll, then boasted that there’s literally no point in ever trying to engage with it.
And if you think I’m just going to push my models towards him so you can delete my army, you’re in for a fucking shock, let me tell you.
Gotrek is sensitive to stacking Debuffs to hit. Rerolling a 3+ means you get basically everything through. Rerolling looking for 5s or 6s is another beast entirely: Grots can feasibly have him fishing for those 6s and nothing else.
He still does a lot of MWs, but you know what Grots have a lot of? Wounds. It’s gonna take more than a few D6 MWs to blast through them in a turn. Which makes all the difference between him being an infinite-damage wrecking ball, rolling around the table deleting your army, and an expensive liability that gets bogged down until Turn 4.
As you’ve probably gathered by now, in general I think containment and managing him is the route to success for most armies. But that’s not to say he’s unkillable!
Due to his Super Stone Skeleton, high volume of Damage 1 attacks is the way you’ll whittle him down. Forcing 48 zero-rend saves is the magic number to wipe him in a turn….hellooo, Kunnin Rukk!
(Incidentally, this is yet another situation where Kunnin Beast Spirits is low-key one of the best debuff spells in the game right now, and one that I hope makes it into Battletome Orruk Warclans.)
In combat, again you are looking for a high volume of low-damage attacks. Because Rend is still useful in getting past that initial 4+ save, Rend -1 Damage 1 profiles with 2″ range are the sweet spot. This is even better if you can explode into 2 Hits, or into 1 Hit + 1 MW (e.g. Daemonettes or Stabbas), again forcing Gotrek to roll more and more dice at those 3+ after-saves.
The way this has been impletemented is super thematic, and the restrictions built into the Warscroll make it an intriguing challenge. I do think the death-proof bonus was unneccessary, but that is an issue more in theory than in practice, and really a minor distraction in the grand scheme of things. Way more important is that the decision to block any teleport / redeploy was a masterstroke. This is a huge limitation in modern AOS, and the key factor that makes this Warsrcoll strong, but fair.
It’s often said (including by me) that you legitimately need to consider the impact on the mid-tables and garage gaming when assessing whether something is so powerful as to have a negative impact on the game. Well this is the exact opposite – it will be a huge net positive in those arenas, by proactively teaching and training people to Git Gud.
Let’s be honest, a lot of players will get utterly wrecked the first time they face him, but learning how to tackle him across a few sessions is a great training exercise – because what works against him also works against many other Death Stars. Learning to screen, controlling space on the table, debuffing, and above all having the clarity of thought to avoid engaging in a battle you can’t win (rather than being drawn into it through morbid fascination) is all money in the bank for your Warhammer career.
Good players will find ways to win a lot of games when using him; bad players will lose a lot of games with him.
Good players lining up against Gotrek will find ways to contain him; bad players will push everything in his general direction, lose it all, and then complain that he is OP.
Honestly, there is so much scope for player skill to determine the outcome here; and if that’s not a well-designed Wasrcroll, I don’t know what is.
The model is amazing, the Warscroll is spot on, the Black Library support is on the money…GW have nailed it with this one. It’s a great release.
Following on from last week’s article, which discussed “Are Slaanesh OP?”, we’ll be taking a look at how to beat the bastards!
Joining me this week is none other than Australia’s #1 Slaanesh player, Mr Joel McGrath:
Joel has been running this army with great success, both before and after the book came out. In fact, Joel took Slaanesh to Australian Masters last year, which at the time was definitely a bold move!
Taking a very off-meta army into an environment where, by definition, every match is hard-fought against a strong opponent with a strong list, Joel nonetheless won the majority of his games (finishing up 3-2), which was an excellent achievement.
With the current Battletome to underpin the army, Joel has doubled down on his success with Slaanesh in 2019, by winning the Battle of the Northern Realms, a 2-day GT in Queensland, Australia.
Before we launch into it, I do have a couple of basic pointers of my own that I think are worth flagging up:
To avoid DP generation: 1-wound infantry is your friend! If Slaanesh summoning is causing you a lot of problems, everyone has access to 1-wound chaff that doesn’t give up Depravity; if not in their own army, then via Allies or even Mercs.
Check out my previous postfor specific advice on how to place your models, if your goal is to minimise summoning.
In terms of countering Locus, one simple counter play to have in your pocket is multi-charging: If you can engineer a situation where two or more hammer units charge an isolated Slaanesh Hero, she can only apply Locus to one of them, leaving the other unit(s) free to layeth the smacketh down.
So now I’ll gladly hand you over to someone who actually knows his arse from his elbow: take it away, Joel!
Joel Spills the Beans
When Pete first asked me to do a write up on this particular subject, I couldn’t refuse, as nothing would give me more pleasure than to backstab my fellow followers of the Dark Prince.
So let’s get into it!
The First Principles
The first step on knowing how to beat Slaanesh, is knowing what
makes Slaanesh tick. Here’s a quick list
of things you’d expect to see happening on the table when playing against them:
Slaanesh are super quick. One of the fastest armies in the game without question.
An almost abusive summoning mechanic. Some argue that Depravity Points are broken, which they’re not. But it is very good, and something you need to be mindful of when playing against them.
Insane damage output. Damage 5, rend everywhere, Mortal Wound output. The list goes on!
The most abusively powerful thing in a Slaanesh army is the Locus of Diversion. All Hedonite heroes have a relatively good chance to make you fight last in the Combat Phase… Every Combat Phase.
A surprisingly strong magic defence, with the Harp/Mirror combo especially.
A fair few ways to self-heal on Heroes: Spells, artefacts and the Hand on the Keeper’s Warscroll.
Double pile-in mechanic from the Keeper’s Command Ability makes them super strong in combat.
Daisy chain summoning. Probably the most effective way of daisy-chaining in the game, due to how much depravity you can generate.
So let’s balance this out and look at some of the
Slaanesh are super squishy. There is literally nothing in the entire book that has better than a 4+ save. No rend immunity, and fuck all Mortal Wound protection. (Excluding the Contorted Epitome – which is probably the best unit in the book, more to come on that later).
Apart from a few spells which have a wholly within 18” range (or worse), and the harp Shiela, there is realistically no shooting in the army.
There are no flying units in the army – everything is coming at you across the deck.
Did I already mention Slaanesh are super squishy?
With all that said, how do we beat Slaanesh? Let’s break it down into the key points…
List building considerations
If you are looking to play the meta, then you should have
already considered these. It’s just business as usual for us scrubs who can’t
afford to chase the meta:
Shooting: Nice and simple to work out. You will need some form of ranged output in your list to beat Slaanesh. Otherwise you’ll be fighting uphill even more.
Chaff screens: Another no brainer. Lack of flying really helps here.
MSU hammer units: these work well against Slaanesh to counteract the Locus. Just make sure those units can deal 14 wounds against a 4+ save – the healing on the Keeper is full-on, so it’s your responsibility to make sure you can one-shot them.
Fast units: speed kills, and while Slaanesh are fast they only have the advantage if you’re slower than they are.
Durable anvil units: these can also work a treat. Something that can tank heaps of chaff attacks from Daemonettes will go a long way to winning the attrition game.
Slaanesh can’t generally teleport or summon in their Turn 1, unless you failed at an alpha. So you won’t need to give much thought in screening off your backfield. Just make sure you measure the threat ranges, check if a keeper has Thermalrider, and don’t leave any gaps.
You can cancel out the double pile-in pretty easily at the Deployment stage. This ability can only trigger when an enemy unit (one of yours) is within 3”, so by leaving gaps greater than this between your screens and the units they are shielding, you can choke it off at the source.
Look for opportunities to bait out Keepers. Slaanesh players running Godseekers love to go fast, over extend and gift you the death of their Keepers / Bestigor / Daemonettes Turn 1. Keep this in mind when deploying. Dangle something that will tempt them in, set up for a counterpunch and laugh at the noob across the table while you rack up all the points on Objectives.
If you have units that can deploy off the table and come on somewhere in your turn: Do it! Because Heroes are crucial to this army, anything that can threaten them by dropping out of the sky will either force the Slaanesh player to waste disproportionate resources by screening front and back, or let you go to work on their Heroes who aren’t as well defended as they should be.
Combos to watch out for:
Thermalrider Cloaked Keeper of Secrets. This fucker can move 18” and fly over your screens. Make sure there’s nowhere for them to go, so she can’t fit in between your lines of shit. Deny her a landing zone: you want to create a bit of distance where applicable against Slaanesh.
Keeper’s Command Ability + any killy unit (including themselves). Double pile-ins are nasty. But they are exceptionally fucked when you’re also fighting last.
Epitome + Enrapturess. The Mirror / Harp combo. Guaranteed to fuck Tzeentch’s hero phase in the ass. You are forced to reroll successful casts, and if it’s a double on the reroll you take D3 mortals. The Epitome gets to reroll its casting, unbinding and dispelling.
Speaking of Tzeentch, you might see Kairos allied into a Slaanesh list. He’s the only non-Slaanesh hero that can generate Depravity Points (if a nearby Keeper knows the Song of Secrets spell, then he does too). Slothful Stupor is a very powerful spell, especially when it is cast through the Umbral Spellportal…by a Tzeentch Hero of all things!
He will also change the game and break your heart, when that one time your opponent does actually roll a 1 for Locus…he changes the result. As a clutch Hero who can generate Depravity (but won’t earn it by taking wounds), Kairos represents a priority target.
Spellportals you say? One combo I do like is casting Hysterical Frenzy through it. This spell can Fuck. Hordes. Up. It is wholly within 18” range, but that’s what the portals are for!
You might be surprised when I tell you not to worry about the Keeper straight away. It’s one model who is surprisingly whiffy. Let it do its thing, feed it chaff and who cares. Deal with it on your terms, unless it’s right in your face. Unless your Slaanesh opponent is running the Super Keeper General – then all bets are off. That’s a scary motherfucker you don’t want roaming free.
Slaanesh players have a habit of going really top-heavy in their lists to get the most out of Depravity Points. I personally think this is a trap. But it’s great for you, reader! Kill off their bodies and start scoring those Objectives.
Kill off the support Heroes before the Keeper. These Heroes are usually in the backfield or second wave. By killing them, and feeding chaff to the Keepers, you will limit where they can summon – this is a really key point!
Bringing It All Together: Overall Strategy
I’ve hinted at a few things through this write-up, so let’s bring it all together and highlight the key points:
Deploy smart. Ask for threat ranges, ask if one of the Keepers flies, and then simply don’t let your opponent get in your face Turn 1. That’s one turn fewer of Depravity generation.
Kill the heroes outright. Don’t leave them on a wound, if you commit to killing one make sure it drops. That’s one less Hero your opponent can summon around.
Prioritize the support Heroes and infantry. Control the board and choke your opponent’s summoning options. The summoning mechanic isn’t great when they can’t use it effectively. The support Heroes don’t usually have many wounds, so by getting rid of these it’s a double negative for your opponent.
Kill the Keeper on your terms. Don’t be afraid of a single Monster. Don’t get me wrong, they can spike damage and that sucks. But for the most part, outside of a Pretenders Keeper they aren’t hitting much harder than a Ghorgon. And when you do kill the Keeper, make sure it dies in one go. They have solid healing potential, and you don’t want to give your opponent more free Depravity Points.
I think we’ll leave it there: I hope people get something out of this. And thanks to Pete for giving me the opportunity!
Thanks Joel – Well there you have it, Mr Slaanesh has sold the family silverware!
No excuses for anyone losing to Slaanesh now, just go out there and dominate.
And if you want to see Slaanesh in action, make sure you subscribe to the Measured Gaming YouTube channel, where Joel and the boys regularly put Slaanesh through their paces in some great tactical batreps.
Well the performance of Slaanesh at Blackout has certainly caused quite a stir – today I’ll be discussing where I think they stand, and what that means for the game.
Part Two of the Series (coming next week) will look at How to Beat Slaanesh, with Australia’s top Hedonites player spilling the beans!
The big headline was that Slaanesh filled out 5 of the Top
10, and the first thing I want to say there is…
That’s not as bad as it might look
Think about what has to happen in practice to end up in that situation. If all the Slaanesh armies were utterly dominating everyone else, they are all sitting at 3-0 overnight, and end up playing each other on the top tables. This means they take wins off each other, and knock each other back down.
That certainly happened a lot with DOK under GH18 in particular. While their overall tournament win rate sat between 70% and 75%, their win rate outside of mirror matches was an running at an astonigshing 90% in their prime according to stats guru LLV. That’s just fucking ridiculous.
Think of it this way: we’ve all been at events where two people meet at 4-0, on Table 1, in the final game. Very rarely does the loser of that match actually finish 2nd overall – even though they were playing off for the win.
So what that leaderboard is telling us is that while some of the Slaanesh were mixing it at the top tables, others lost earlier in the event and rose up through the ranks. Dominating the final Top 10 like that is usually an indicator that they were not dominating all weekend.
Furthermore, they didn’t win the event, and the high-ranking Slaanesh armies racked up losses against Khorne, KO and Deepkin, which would seem to be a decent spread (thanks to @JustPlay_Ritchie for that insight).
Where it gets a bit harder to explain away is that while this may be a blip – it is not only a blip:
At Essex GT in July, we saw Slaanesh filling out 3 of the Top 5, and 1st Overall
And then at Midwest Meltdown, they got the 1-2-3 and swept the podium for Best General
In this context, I think it’s a fair question to ask: Are
Let’s Dig Into the Discussion
Let’s look at some of the arguments we’ve seen advanced on
“Slaanesh are not fun to play against”
Well, this one could be a whole topic in its own right! I get that it can be frustrating to have to kill your enemy and kill them again – it can certainly feel like they are being rewarded for failure in a way that other armies aren’t. HOS players can afford to misposition or even YOLO their Keeper of Secrets, and they are automatically halfway to getting another one for free. In that sense they are out of step with the power levels of other armies.
The second common complaint is Locus: specifically that it is unengaging to sit back and watch the Hedonites activate again and again and again, while you just stand there and die.
While it’s true that there are some workarounds (more on
this below), I do have some sympathy with this complaint.
What I would say here is that at least stuff is killing and being killed. I would much rather have this dynamic that
something like Vanguard Wing in its prime, which was designed to choke the life
out of games.
Or putting it another way: HOS are very strong, but at least
they are good at winning games of Warhammer, as opposed to avoiding having to
actually play at all.
“They are too strong in certain matchups”
I could certainly agree with this one. It’s very difficult for a Slaanesh player to lose a game against some armies with multi-wound Battleline: you’re not just relying on playing well yourself in that situation, you’re relying on the Slaanesh player doing something stupid, so it really can be out of your control.
The depravity table is just too generous in these games.
Furthermore, is matchup-dependency a sufficient way to “balance” an army? Let’s say we were at a tournament with an abnormally high amount of shooting (perhaps taken by some people specifically to address Slaanesh), and a Slaanesh army can therefore “only” manage to go 3-2 . They would be balanced in the sense that they did not dominate the event, but if all 5 of those games were wild blowouts, that’s not my idea of what good game balance looks like.
Pro-Tip: Sometimes you will actively want to avoid killing a Keeper of Secrets, so as not to award Depravity Points which might otherwise let them bring on some Daemonettes, to steal an objective for example.
My suggestion: Charge it! If you wait for them to charge you, they will be the ones to dictate what models you have in combat.
Whereas if you charge a Keeper of Secrets with 1-wound chaff, you can double-tag the Keeper to prevent them from piling in, and therefore minimise the number of models you are forced to attack with yourself.
For example, this is how I would contain a Keeper with Gloomspite Gits:
You have to attack the
Keeper – but you do not have to pile in.
With the Netters debuffing the Keeper, two models locking her in place, nowhere to retreat to, and her summoning blocked off, these units are going nowhere fast.
“They’re not unbeatable”
I should bloody well hope not. That really is a pathetically low bar to set for what is acceptable. If any army was literally unbeatable, we might as well give up now.
An army can quite conceivably be both beatable, and OP. Anything in that 70%+ win rate window I think
deserves be looked at very carefully.
There are certainly some workarounds that can be built into your army. For example, you can encircle Slaanesh Heroes to shut down their summoning. This aspect of the mechanic would be true whether you generated summonable units 10x faster than you do now, or 10x slower. In fact, you could get an infinite number of Depravity points, but if you get your Heroes shut down or sniped, you can’t use them.
I think most people would accept that an infinite amount of
summoning would be OP. The exact same
difficult-to-achieve workarounds would apply in that scenario. So just because there are ways and means to
shut down the summoning does not in any way mean that the scaling of it is
Shut it down and you’re golden. Fail to shut it down and they will generate
extra units at a ludicrous rate. It’s a
good mechanic that has been overdone – the definition of OP.
“Just take shooting”
Let me flip that around: Why bother, when you can just take Slaanesh? They are way easier to win a lot of games with than most shooting armies, which will be hamstrung across the course of most tournaments by bad matchups.
If you want to run an S-Tier army, fair play to you, but at least own the filth. Don’t try to put it on your opponents for not taking jank that will lose them a lot of games, and that you haven’t been willing to go out on a limb and take yourself.
I would argue that if you believe the entire meta should shift to accommodate a specific army that cannot reasonably be dealt with by most mainstream builds…again, that’s actually a pretty good working definition of OP.
WWPD: What Would Plastic Do?
If Slaanesh summoning was cut in half, would they be a bad
army? Of course not. You will still have that game of cat and
mouse where you are trying to shut down their summoning entirely – what it would
do to the game is make it a much tighter equation when that is not possible,
rather than a dispiriting blow out.
My suggestion would simply be to rescale the summoning table, and significantly increase the number of DPs that each unit costs: DPs already require a huge amount of bookkeeping so I don’t think that’s a strong enough argument against. Personally I would look at a 30% – 40% increase across the board, but there is room for some more finesse there once you get into the fine detail.
A more subtle way would be to prevent Mortal Wounds from contributing DPs – this used to be the case before the book came out, and their summoning really didn’t need that buff. This would be a lesser nerf, and has the upside of bringing in more strategic counter play.
A third option that I quite like, as suggested by Michael Thomson (@greenraiderz21), would be to limit the summoning to once per Movement Phase, maybe even wiping the slate clean when DPs are used in a manner similar to Khorne’s Blood Tithes. Any of these methods for reigning it in could work.
Similarly, I think Locus is a good mechanic that has been
overcooked. What if Locus went off on a
5+ (and 3+ for Greater Daemons), instead of a 4+ (and 2+ for Greater
What you would see in practice is that there would be fewer feel-bad moments from chains of Locus. Good players still have the tools to win a lot of games with the army, but less experienced players would have to improve their standard of play to do well with Slaanesh on the mid tables, where currently they might often get away with loose play.
Similarly, it would take the edge off a little in their (very) good matchups, and make more room for player skill to come into the equation.
The rules would be exactly as thematic as they are now –
mechanically, they would function in literally the exact same way. The army’s strengths and playstyle would
still be what they are now.
So you’d end up with a powerful, thematic army that is both
challenging and fun to play with and against.
That would be a great spot to be in.
Slaanesh are obviously very strong: however, the domination of multiple recent events is a red herring.
My gut feel is that they are too strong on the mid tables moreso than the top tables – bad players are not punished sufficiently for bad play.
Similarly they are overtuned in their good matchups to an extent that they breaks those games, even if they don’t break the game.
I believe that Slaanesh has some good game mechanics that have gone too far:
Slaanesh summoning is too generous and I would
like to see that dialled back
Locus should also be made one click harder to
This is about bringing the army back down to earth in specific ways, rather than smashing it across the board – overall, they present an interesting challenge, and relative to other recent boogeymen, it’s not actually that bad for the game that Slaanesh is having its moment in the sun.
We all have skin in the game here. Slaanesh players have a vested interest in arguing that the army is “fine”: partly because they want to feel like they are winning games through superior Generalship (and not simply by pushing around a busted army), and partly to win the online war of words, thereby shielding their army against potential future nerfs.
We also need to recognise that Non-Slaanesh players have the exact opposite interests at stake, so I have at least tried to be fair in my assessments.
But being fair is not the same thing as failing to reach conclusions or having opinions. Like all of you, I have opinions on Warhammer, and these are mine: you’re welcome to agree or disagree, either in the comments here or by hitting me up on Twitter @PlasticCraic
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.
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.
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.
MoreBigga 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.
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.
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
My Thoughts on the Removal of Order Models from the Range
My Rider of the bright eyes, What happened you yesterday?
I thought you in my heart,
When I bought you your fine clothes,
A man the world could not slay.
— Dark Eileen O’Connell, 1773.
It doesn’t feel great, does it?
Many people were sad to see large swathes of the Order range culled in anticipation of the forthcoming Cities of Sigmar book. Were these reactions reasonable, and what lessons could we as a community, as well as GW, learn from this episode?
Why it was done
Let’s start off by getting realistic. GW cannot be expected to continue to stock, sell and support every model they have ever made, forever. Hopefully spelling it out like that makes it apparent just how unrealistic an expectation that would be.
Having worked in manufacturing industries for most of my professional life, in my opinion the biggest factor here is SKUs (Stock Keeping Units). Having more SKUs becomes exponentially more expensive the more you have – in terms of warehousing costs, shelf space and so on. Your economies of scale are shattered and it’s the first thing any logistics manager looking to make an impact in a new job will review.
Quite simply, if we want the game to keep moving forward, something has to drop off at the back end to facilitate that. And believe me – we do want the game to keep moving forward. If you stagnate, you die – let’s look at Netrunner for just one recent example. Without new releases – which ultimately means the removal of old releases – the meta calcifies and the game whithers in no time.
So what’s the problem then?
Fundamentally I think most people do understand and accept that miniatures have a life cycle, even if they haven’t thought about it explicitly in those terms.
So why was there such a big negative reaction over the weekend?
There will always be a negative reaction
People care about this shit. It matters to them. These little plastic armies have memories and moments that matter to us – and we put a lot of time into painting them. It matters.
And yes, some people are whiners. Their actual hobby is whining about The Hobby. But that doesn’t mean that the majority of people who were affected last weekend weren’t legitimately upset – dismissing them all as whiners is cheap, mean-spirited and incorrect.
What can the community learn from it?
We need to understand that it has to happen
So first and foremost, as a community I think we need to accept that change isn’t just inevitable – it is essential. That can be easier said than done when that’s your army being affected, but it genuinely is good for everyone in the longer run. Change keeps the game alive. It has to happen, and it will happen again.
Let’s show some empathy
But secondly, I think it’s important to show empathy to your follow #Warmongers when their army takes a kicking. There’s nothing clever about poking someone to get a reaction, and always remember, that could be you next time.
A sub theme of this runs along the lines of “Look, I collected some of those minis too…and I don’t care, so you shouldn’t either”. But how about instead of antagonising someone who is shaken up by it – take a moment to reflect on why the other person is more upset about it than you are. Maybe they’ve spent the time painting it to a high standard, even if that wouldn’t be a high standard for you. It’s the love and the hours that they’re mourning.
Maybe you have other armies ready to go that you can move on to, and they can’t afford to hop around as much.
Maybe it’s an old army to you (been sitting on your shelf for years), but a new army to them – they could have been halfway through buying it when they pulled the pin! I’ll come back to this below.
And maybe you’ve even reacted similarly in the past yourself – it’s great that you’re able to roll with the punches now, but “Just get over it” isn’t a helpful or constructive message to bring people along to where you’re already at.
People just need the arm around the shoulder, not sand kicked in their face.
I believe that a sympathetic ear is what most people are looking for – they will move on quicker than they think if you help them get there.
Offer people a ladder to climb down
If you’ve got a friend who was seriously wound up by this – help them out of a hole. They will want to keep up the hobby, want to keep up the friendship, and want to keep using the rest of their collections.
Don’t make it about who was right or wrong in the way they reacted – you can help out constructively, for example by suggesting alternative uses for some of the models. “That old Hero would make a really unique Leader for XYZ unit, I would be cool with you using him for that when you play against me”. In my case, I still use Grom the Paunch as a Loonboss, and the people who do recognise him generally think it’s cool.
Lessons for GW
It’s fair to say that the reaction was pretty lively to this one. Even if very few players will actually walk away from The Hobby over this, it’s not in GW’s interests to squander any part of the tremendous goodwill that has been hard-earned from the “New GW” approach.
So given that by necessity some models (or whole armies) will need to be retired again in future, how could it be approached differently?
Communication is King
Probably the most common complaint was “I don’t like the way it was communicated”. Let’s be honest, in some cases, that’s probably just something to hang your hat on, because it sounds inherently more reasonable and harder to refute than “I’m pissed off that my army got squatted”.
Regardless, the fact that some people will always find a reason to complain does not in itself prove that your communication was actually good. Let’s be honest – it wasn’t.
How could the communication have been better?
Enough with the patronising Community posts. “A handful of units” was the meme of the week and it was basically “Deadly as ever” all over again. You are insulting people’s intelligence, and they will call bullshit on that, every time.
Make it clear that what is gone, is gone. So many people were (and still are) speculating about what is gone-gone, what is being reboxed, what is being replaced by a new model, etc. It’s cruel to leave that glimmer of hope when there is none.
Give them the send off they deserve. Let’s have a Community article celebrating them. Let’s have your key Social Media accounts promoting conversations about what people’s greatest memories were. Pretending it’s not happening doesn’t mean you are controlling the narrative, it means you are ducking it.
Collateral Damage: Give things a new home where possible
I think it’s important to note the knock-on effect that removing models from the range can have. For example in the case of Gitmob Grots, that has left Mixed Destruction on wafer-thin ice. Remove Greenskinz next year and it’s pretty much dead. Does that matter, in an era where every remaining Allegiance will have a Battletome?
It does if you’ve just shelled out $220 on a Magma Dragon that cannot be used anywhere else in Matched Play! These units are too big for a 400-point Allies slot, so I’m just hoping that things like him and the Dread Maw are given a useable keyword (like the Troggoth Hag and Bonegrinder Gargant were with Gloomspite).
Similarly, you may not have noticed that several Ogor models were all but deleted from the range a week or two back – there was certainly nobody in my Twitter feed raging that their Finecast Tyrants were going to get the elbow. Why? Because it was a replacement, not a straight-up deletion. Sure, you can continue to use your old Tyrant model…but why would you want to, when you’ve got this amazing new model available?
It was a similar story for Loonsmasha Fanatics, and plastic Squigs. The new ones look so much better than the old, that people will upgrade anyway – you don’t need to delete them, the market will take care of that for you. People will upgrade of their own free will, and might even think you’re doing them a favour.
It won’t always be possible, but I think it’s a smart play to offer people a Plan B where you can. It softens the blow in the short term, and long term most of them will upgrade anyway.
I actually think Cities of Sigmar will prove to be great for this – once the book comes out, people will realise they can use a lot of their models as units of dwarf / elf-themed “Warriors”, and they will get a new lease of life.
Pathway to Obsolescence
When a similar thing happened to my Gitmob army, the main thing that got my back up was the timing of it. These guys had been proactively promoted 18 months earlier as one of the main reasons we actually have Allies in the game:
Gitmob (as part of The Savage Tribes) were also featured in the Core Book less than a year earlier. On the other hand, it’s also true to say that these sculpts were pretty old, and we got a heap of new Gloomspite releases at the same time. Removing old Gitmob to make way for new Squigs and Troggoths is not unreasonable. But when you buy an army in November 2018, and it is silently deleted from the range in January 2019, it does leave a funny taste.
Many of these sculpts were undeniably old, but a kit that just landed on someone’s hobby table is not old to that person, who has only recently bought it in good faith. To that person, it’s not an army they have had years of use out of – it’s their brand new toy.
So the question becomes – if we’re removing old models, what is old? By the yardstick of the Sky Cutter (lifespan: 2013 -2019), we should be expecting to see Liberators and Judicators deleted from the range in 2 years’ time!
With any declining product line, there will always be someone who has just bought it…How then can we prevent people getting their fingers burned in this manner, and feeling like they’ve had their pockets picked?
My proposal is to establish a pathway to obsolescence.
People should be able to expect that a unit will have a year of Matched Play support after they’ve bought it, give or take. Yes, you can still use things in Legends…but we’re all grown ups here. We know what being removed from Matched Play means.
The good news is, that’s essentially what these Order units have been given (in a way that Gitmob were not). Because the most recent General’s Handbook has only just dropped, and they have points up until the next one, you have a year’s grace to use these guys and give them the send-off they deserve.
(People smarter than I have argued over whether they will remain useable until the next General’s Handbook, but in practice I think it’s a safe assumption that TOs will allow it regardless).
And just as importantly – perhaps moreso – nobody has been put in the position that they have just bought something literally days before it was yanked away. By the time they are removed from Matched Play, they will be at least kinda old for everyone who owns them – or at least not brand new – and you can’t say fairer than that, in my opinion.
Consistency is Key
At this point I am wondering what is the point of Compendium. Is it meant to be part of Matched Play, or not? Why do we need it, when everything can either be in a Battletome or shunted off to Legends?
How come Gitmob bypassed Compendium entirely, and were just deleted from the game completely (the only time that’s happened)? And when some units were made Compendium, only to be removed from that a few days later in the Errata, it kinda looks like you don’t know what you’re doing.
I would certainly be very cautious about bringing things back from Compendium after languishing there for years, as happened with Tomb Kings. All that is teaching your customer base is that they should refuse to let go, and bang the drum for their missing units or armies at every opportunity.
Currently there is no consistency about how products move through their Matched Play life cycle, which can make people nervous and erode their confidence in the product and the company. Let’s make a plan and stick to it, then we all know where we stand.
Thanks for reading the article, and I hope it’s given you some food for thought – feel free to agree, disagree or tell me I’m an idiot in the comments.
My main hope for anyone to get out of this article would be that if one of your friends, or even a stranger on Social Media has their army squatted, you will help them to keep their chin up rather kicking them when they’re down. AOS has a reputation for being the best community of wargamers in the world, so let’s all do our bit to live up to that.
If anyone from GW reads this, I hope you would consider the way these moves were communicated, which I’m sure was on your agenda already. I would also hope we can work towards some kind of coherent vision for the life cycle of a product.
And I hope that if you are one of the people whose armies have been removed from the game, you will be able to come to terms with why it was required for the long term health of the game, and you can focus on the good memories those units and armies gave you.
And most of all I hope for all of you that Cities of Sigmar is a roaring success, and gives you a lot of great new memories to forge and stories to tell, both with the rest of the models in your collection and anything new you add.
Thanks for joining me on my journey through the Mortal Realms
First up, why the name?
People in the UK and Ireland tend to get the pun, whereas I know from experience that Australians do not. Even in the UK it is not bombproof…I have been shouted out on one well-known podcast as “Plastic Craig”, for example!
Anyone involved in The Hobby will be familiar with the phrase Plastic Crack. It’s a reference to crack as in crack cocaine…the concept that this stuff is seriously addictive, and let’s be honest, we as a community tend towards being hoarders and accumulators, so we are certainly susceptible to that.
Craic (pronounced “Crack”) is an Irish term meaning “news, gossip, fun, entertainment, and enjoyable conversation”…and that’s what we’re all here for, right? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craic
So this blog will be exploring the world of Warhammer Age of Sigmar, bringing you:
Opinions and Editorials
News from the legendary Australian tournament scene
Gittin Gud: tips for improving your game
To let you know what kind of tone to expect, I am completely independent of GW. So not only do I have no free products or any kind of inner-circle status to risk, on the flip side I also have no axe to grind against GW as a company.
I do tend to like most of GW’s releases (we’re all here because we love Warhammer!) but if I do get exasperated with something, I won’t be shy about telling you so.
What’s my focus? I’m an orc guy. The armies I play (roughly in order) are:
So it’s fair to say that my own hobby is pretty heavily Destruction-focussed, and that will of course be reflected in the Blog. We all like what we like. Hopefully what I cover will be of interest to everyone, however.
Like most of you, I love consuming entertainment about this hobby. I listen to the podcasts, I watch the YouTube shows, I mouth off on Twitter (@plasticcraic) and I avoid FB like the frikkin plague because it’s mostly full of plebs.
In that context I feel like there is currently a general lack of enjoyable content in the written word (with some noble and notable exceptions), so my goal is to give people some Warhamms to read about on the train, or at work…on your lunch break of course!
Part One of our 2020 Wishlist and Predictions focussed in on Battletomes, both confirmed and speculative; here in Part Two, we’ll be looking at pretty much everything else. As always, it’s a chaotic mish mash of things I believe are likely to happen, and what I’d just love to see; but definitely trending towards the latter.
White Dwarf Support
White Dwarf has been smashing it recently. I did stop buying it for well over a year, but pretty much every issue over the last 6 to 12 months has been excellent: the short stories are consistently interesting and engaging (look up the Mawtribes story in the November 2019 issue if you’ve missed it, that one had me creased), and most importantly from my viewpoint, the rules support has really kicked it up a level.
We’ve had some superb mini games for Underworlds, which give you entire new modes of play; a standalone boardgame for free in the December issue; and perhaps most significantly, new Battalions for Slaanesh and Nighthaunt.
The former was a true facepalm moment…you’re given a blank cheque to come up with the coolest ideas you possibly can, to give any faction in the game a bump up or just a refresh; and of all the things that could possibly exist, the most pressing need is to double Slaanesh’s summoning power? Really? C’mon now!
Nighthaunt was a much better idea conceptually, in that they really needed some help. The Hexwraith Battallion actually isn’t bad, and the lore around the whole thing is neat too. Although it wouldn’t have hurt for these Battalions to be maybe a little harder edged, it’s still a nice moment to be the centre of attention in that month’s magazine.
The whole concept offers hope for a mid-term boost to struggling factions who have a ways to go until their next full update, and for Destruction loyalists like me it’s a way to break up a potential underdog cycle that could come down the track, if our recent glut of books all become dated together.
So although the Slaanesh one felt like a truly odd choice, and the Nighthaunt iteration may have been a little undercooked, this is definitely A Good Thing. We’re all new to this, including the writers, so although they made need little slack to start off with, I think it’s a very positive initiative and one I’m hoping to see developed further.
Go on then, surprise me. Call for some Destruction love
Well, if you insist. The number one army I would like to see getting some attention from Grombrindal is Gloomspite Gits. The best and most succesful armies are centred around blocks of debuffing Grots, and plenty of them. If you’re willing to put in the hard yards, they can do pretty well, but it’s a shame to see so much of the book forgotten about.
Squigs sit in a great spot as a fun army that can do ok competitively if played well; Troggoth and Spiderfang armies, on the other hand, are struggling.
Now there are decent units within them: specifically, Rockguts and Fellwaters are both pretty solid choices to provide a Moonclan-heavy build with a bit of punch, and the Arachnarok Spider, as a durable and efficient Wizard, is a regular competitive choice.
But Troggoth-heavy armies are a bit of a joke. The issues they have are myriad:
The Hero who unlocks Battleline is comically overcosted and underpowered
Ditto the non-Hero big Troggoth, except even moreso
The core units are very efficient in a vacuum, but get virtually nothing from their Allegiance kit
The Battalion is restrictive (notably lacking an option for “Any TroggothHero“), overly expensive and does fuck all
Anyone trying to do a Troggoth army has gone down the following slippery slope:
Pure Troggoth army! Woo hoo!
OK, that was rough. I’ll add a unit of Stabbas to my Troggoth army
OK the Stabbas were the best unit. I’ll add some more of them to my Troggoth army
OK just a few more Stabbas
Woo hoo! I now have some Troggoths in my Moonclan army
Similarly, Spiderfang have a couple of good units (essentially the Wizards), and a whole lot of dross. Spider Riders are hilariously bad compared to anything else in a similar bracket: compare 20 Spider Riders to 20 Hearthguard Bezerkers at the same points cost – the same fucking points cost, mind you – and try to keep a straight face.
The Skitterstrand Spiders are great fun (I’ve just accumulated a couple more so I can run the Battalion), but they’re hardly likely to be challenging top tables any time soon; and the other variants are irredeemable trash.
So what are we gonna do about it?
Let’s push the boat out, and give Gloomspite Gits their own free rules with Clans! It was bizarre that they didn’t get them in the book, especially when GW already done the groundwork in the fluff to set them up.
The one I really want to see most of all is a Clan that makes all Battleline recyclable! Let’s take Troggoths, Squigs and Spiders and resurrect them through the Shrine on a 4+, in the same way you can for Grots.
It’s entirely thematic, because they all come swarming up from the caves in the lore; and it unlocks the fun in the book. Currently the only unit you can get back for free is the most powerful and least enjoyable to play against; let’s incentivise people to take the fun stuff instead, hey? It’s a only a few free Spiders, for fuck’s sake!
In terms of Battalions, what about the old classic and low-key fan favourite, Sons of Behemat? This one appeared back in the Godbeasts campaing book (which I still enjoy referring back to), and although it’s never had Matched Play points, I have had great fun running it in an Open Play event.
GW have tried everything to shift the Big Fellas, from dumping them in an Ironjawz Christmas box (back when you didn’t have Allies, so you couldn’t even use them legally in Matched Play), to putting a pair of them in an Allies kit when Allies first launched. The only thing they haven’t tried is not making them utter garbage, so about we give that a crack, hey?
And finally, what about a special feature on Stormcast named characters? The poster boys are probably due a refresh, but if GW wanted to give them something in the meantime, a splash release of special Hero models with the White Dwarf rules treatment could be just the ticket.
There’s currently no representation beyond Hammers of Sigmar, yet characters like Hamilcar Bear Eater deserve to be on the tabletop. White Dwarf could be the perfect medium to make it happen.
OK let’s spin that wheel! Focussing on the Matched Play side of things, and points in particular, the early indication is that OBR could be shaping up to need a couple of tweaks. The points in general maybe don’t fully reflect their outstanding rules kit (specifically Petrifex Elite, and the abundance of RDPs), but it’s Mortek Guard and the trebuchets that are both over-represented in competitive lists, and oppressive for many armies to play against. I don’t hate the idea of them getting their wings clipped a little.
I’m already happy to say that the Tzeentch book is likely to need to be “looked at”, especially the ease with which Horrors can flood the board. It might seem a little early to call foul on that, but it does seem like 200 points is on the cheap side for a 50-wound tarpit, and likewise by inference the Gaunt Summoner who comes with a free unit of them.
20-point horde discounts in general should be treated with extreme caution: Hearthguard specifically really don’t need to plumment down to 400 points just because you take them in a block of 20. I’d honestly like all 20-point discounts to be looked at closely, but for Hearthguard I’d just yank the discount to 10 points straight off the bat.
I’ve covered a few units in my Gloomspite daydreaming above that could use a drop, so I won’t labour the point further, but it would be great to see some attention for the half of the Gloomspite book that rarely sees the table.
GH20: FAQs and Errata
OK, can we please get the memo on spamming CAs? It’s a very frequent source of Errata in Second Edition, with recent examples including Hallowheart, Ardifst and now Archaon; how about we make a new rule that we check every CA for spammability before hitting “Print”?
I believe that the Soulscream Bridge needs attention, because that 6″ bubble is way too generous; it really should be just one unit, not a whole frikkin’ gunline.
What’s more, as a generality, I’d love to see teleporting out of combat count as a retreat move by default. Teleporting is powerful enough without needing that hometown ruling in its favour.
Specific teleporting rules very frequently prohibit their use when the target unit is within 3″ of any enemies (see: Khailebron, Hand of Gork, etc). If you’re going out of your way that often to work around it, maybe it’s the core ruling that needs attention? Putting the onus on yourself to catch it every time just increases the likelihood of something janky slipping through.
I like buying shit. Here’s some shit I’d like to buy in 2020.
6″ Objective Markers
The concept here is that you place a 6″ radius disc on the spot of the Objective, and that represents the “scoring zone”; any models on or within that area count towards capturing that Objective.
Just count the number of models on the disc, and Badda Bing! You’re done. No faffing about to make doubly-sure you’ve zoned it off properly, no arguing about whether this guy is in or out, no intricate measurements with models and intertwined units in the way. Just count ’em up and go.
There is one manufacturer that I’m aware of who is already making these, but they are magnificently fugly; it’s hard not to feel that they got a little greedy by forcing their company logo as a permanent advertisement on your paid-for product. I’m not “Mr Immersion”, but even for me, these things are hideous.
Far better are those showcased by THWG on their Twitch stream; since they are transparent, they won’t ruin the look of a nice gaming table:
All of the upside with none of the downside, let’s do this!
These magnificent beasts actually went up for pre-order as this article was being written. GBP 26.00 gets you a full set of 8, and I’ve already got my pre-order in. If you enjoy the content that THWG puts out, then it’s a great opportunity to support their endeavours. I’m all in.
GW Store-Specific Merch
If there was anyone more likely to labelled a nerd at school than us wargamers, it was the guy who collected T Shirts from Hard Rock Cafe in different locations. I didn’t really “get” it myself, but a lot of us do have the collecting gene, so I really think GW are leaving money on the table here.
Whenever I’m on holiday, I make sure I nip into the local store to see what’s going on. I can’t even explain why I want to: maybe I just got old, and became Hard Rock Cafe Collector Guy after all.
Now if anyone outside of Australia has heard of Bendigo, it’s most likely due to Rick and Morty:
Bendigo also happens to have a Warhammer store, so wouldn’t that be a nice piece of swag for fans of both? Leaving aside the whole compulsive-collector thing, all of this merch would make a great gift for your mates. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be T Shirts, it could easily be gaming tools like dice cups, combat gauges, you name it. Print “Warhammer: [Exotic Location]” on it, and I will buy it.
Diversity in Event Swag
The old Combat Gauge and 9″ stick aren’t going anywhere soon; and nor should they, they are super useful, and accumulating a stockpile of these things from tournaments is part of living that AOSLyf. But even so, there’s definitely space for TOs to expand and show some initiative in the tournament swag on offer.
One great example is that my own club Measured Gaming gives out Stubby Holders (apparently known as Koozies in the USA) at their annual showcase tournament, the Bendigo Bush Bash Bonanza:
This is such a cool idea, and something that sees a lot of use in my house, believe it!
A couple of other ideas I had are for Triumph tokens (how often do people forget those bloody things!), and maybe even dice cups. Nothing boils my piss more than those wankers who hesitate during the priority roll, so they can see what you’ve rolled first; when I come up against that guy, I like to slam my dice down under a cup and reveal it after they’ve rolled. They have other practical uses too (Helloooo, Archaon), so it’s a nice themed gaming tool that I’d be happy to receive.
A Little Merchandise Shout Out
For all your gaming tokens, look no further than Pro Painted Studios – these guys really know their shizzle. The quality is supreme, and you can tell they are active AOS players by the stuff they produce: they were straight onto Big Waaagh with a “Green Power Points” counter for example, and their Ironjawz tokens include a Strength Through Victory tracker.
Other gems in their range include Command Point tokens, Triumph tokens, and above all: scenery tokens. Fuck scenery dice; life is too short to roll on two separate tables. I feel like I should be employing a professional caddy if I’m being asked to undergo that level of drudgery. Grab scenery tokens from a dice bag, slap them on the terrain piece and you’re off to the races.
I’ll also take this opporunity to emphasise that I have no personal or commercial links to these guys. I’ve had a few people ask if I’m getting kickbacks from Mini Mag Trays after my glowing review of their product, and I can tell you that’s not the case: I’m just a paying customer who loved the product. Same applies here, I don’t know the Pro Painted guys at all, I just bought some stuff off their website with my own money, and loved it. Go check it out.
And just one wish…
Please, for the love of Gork, keep your hands off Mawtribes Might Makes Right ability. Yes, it’s cool; and yes, it’s bloody powerful. But can we please not have “Counts as X models for capturing objectives” creep?
Before you know it, it’ll be everywhere, like the new Activation Wars. Mawtribes is a flawed book in many ways, so how about we don’t rip out their unique Battle Trait and fling it like candy at other armies?
At least not until Mawtribes get teleports and army-wide deepstriking and cheap Priests with good prayers and useful Command Abilities on their expensive Heroes and durable chaff and actual Warscroll Abilities for Ironguts and Endless Spells and meaningful Allies and significant play in the Activation Wars and 2+ rerollable armour saves and summoning and Stonehorns that pile in and attack twice and fight when they die.
Until then: back the fuck up, and just let them enjoy something nice. It’s their thing.
So Gabe Huddlestone posed an interesting question on Twitter: what’s the fastest unit in the game?
Gabe set out the following parameters:
Movement buffs are included (exploring those is kinda the point!)
Teleports aren’t included, obviously
You can charge, but can’t include charge buffs (not really sure why, but it’s Gabe’s game we’re playing!)
So with those rules of engagement, what’s the most a unit can move in a turn? Chaos and Death players were coming up with 73″ or 76″ combos, but don’t worry, Destruction can leave them trailing in the dirt.
Spoiler alert: Bonesplitters are abbreviated to BS for a reason!
In the real world, my own PB on the tabletop was a Rogue Idol moving 60″ per turn in Big Waaagh. This came from casting the Bonesplitterz spell Breath of Gorkamorka to double his move and make him fly; as well as enjoying a Mighty Destroyers move in the Hero Phase (accessed in Big Waaagh via the Brutish Cunning Command Trait).
Because I cast the spell on a double, the base move of 10″ tripled to 30″ instead of doubling, and Pebbles was doing that twice in a turn. My opponent Ken had been trying to stay out of his range…yeah good luck with that, Ken! The Rogue Idol with two sets of buffs is bullshit. Wonderful, wonderful bullshit.
Speaking of bullshit…
A personal favourite artefact from the Bonesplitterz book is Mystic Waaagh Paint:
My own plan is to slam this on a Wardokk who knows Kunnin Beast Spirits, so that with his dance and doubling down on the spell, you can stack +3 to save on a unit. It’s only a 1 in 6 chance that you get the spell you wanted, but you’ll be attempting it a couple of times each game, so over the course of an event you’ll probably hit lucky a couple of times; and when you do, it’s a potential table-flipper.
The other spell with which I think this Artefact has legs is Breath of Gorkamorka. Pay tribute to Loonboss Donal by doubling and doubling again; or better yet, if we’re talking theoreticals (and we are), let’s assume we cast on doubles, meaning we treble the movement…then treble it again. So that’s 9 times (NINE FUCKING TIMES) your base move.
Who’s the lucky boy then?
A Rogue Idol, moving twice in Big Waaagh, is certainly a worthy recipient of Mork’s blessing. With his 10″ base move trebled and trebled again, that’s buffed to 90″ per move, or 180″ per turn.
Pretty good, right?
But how about we see how far we can push it with the fastest unit in the book? That would be Boarboys, who enjoy a 12″ base move, exploding to 108″ when we multiply it NINE FUCKING TIMES.
They don’t have the Ironjawz keyword, so putting them in Big Waaagh isn’t going to help them get a Mighty Destroyers move; but don’t worry, this is Bonesplitterz we’re talking about, and we know there’s a mad combo in there somewhere.
Let’s put them in Icebonez, so they can retreat at the end of the Combat Phase. So that’ll be 108″ twice, thank you very much!
Finish the thought
The one and only Darren Watson pointed out that no movement combo is complete without Chronomatic Cogs. So that’s an extra 2″ onto their movement, taking them to 110″.
You can also put the Brutal Beast Spirits spell on them to add a further +1″ to run and charge, and they charge at +2″ natively (due to the unit’s musician). With Cogs, that’s +5″ on the charge in total.
Just to rub it in, you can run and charge with the Brutal Rukk batallion:
And pile in 6″ thanks to Wild Abandon, from the Monster Hunter table within the Bonesplitterz Allegiance Abilities:
So let’s bring it on home
(9x 12″ base move, +2″ from Cogs, and 6″ + 1″ run)
(Charging after running thanks to the Brutal Rukk Battalion – we’re not allowed to count charge bonuses here, although we do have ’em!)
Pile in 6″
(With Wild Abandon from the Monster Hunter table)
(Thanks to Icebone, and still running with the same bonuses as above)
So all in total: 252″ in a turn, and that’s without counting the +5″ to charge. Zoooooom!
Is this practical?
No, not remotely. You’ll never get the full wombo combo off, and even if you did, it would be massive overkill anyway. It’s really just a thought experiment and a bit of fun, although it does have some real-world applications:
Mystic Waaagh! Paint is an overlooked artefact that can just blow the game wide open if you hit lucky.
There are a lot of competitive double-battalion, low-drop Bonegrinz lists being cooked up currently. In the context of a 3-artefact army, it’s certainly worth considering.
Putting that artefact on a Wizard who knows Kunnin Beast Spirits may be the best usage.
Doubling the movement characteristic (and flying) is pretty reliable, requiring only a single cast with a generous 24″ casting range, meaning you can potentially cast from the backboard out of unbind range.
In a Big Waaagh army, you can reliably get a Rogue Idol (which also buffs your casting) to move twice thanks to Brutish Cunning or the Ironfist battalion.
This effectively quadruples his movement and makes him fly, which is very achievable; and already at that point, with a 40″ flying move, you’re getting wherever you need to go.
Similarly in Icebone warclan, the extra retreat move after combat means you get a double benefit from the movement spell on a unit that is already very fast; this will get you where you need to go, and it can be achieved reliably.
So what do you reckon? Is the double-treble flying move the best in the west, or have you got a unit that you could jack up to go faster? Let us know, here or on Twitter!
This honestly made me well up. I’d encourage anyone who hasn’t done so to read both parts, and value what you have.
Rest in peace, brother.
Achievement Unlocked of the Year
What’s the most Destructive Bulk charges you have managed to chain together with a Maw Krusha?
For me it was four: I’d softened up a few support Heroes with Spear Chukkas, then went BAM! BAM! BAM! straight through the lot of them, finally crashing into a unit of Black Knights. “Satisfying” doesn’t even begin to cover it!
But let’s hear it for Kakwah, who virtually doubled my own PB at SAGT in March this year, when he chained together SEVEN in a combo charge. I’ve proactively searched for anyone who can match or beat that, with no success – so all hail Megaboss Kakwah and his World Record!
If you want to try and go one further yourself, the Cannonball Krusha build is worth a look: and don’t forget you can now soften up your opponents with Arrow Boys in the Big Waaagh too. Records are there to be broken, ladies and gents!
Battletome of the Year
Orruk Warclans. I’ve waxed lyrical about this one over the course of 10 (Ten!) articles, so I won’t go over old ground here – go check them out.
I’m having so much fun with Big Waaagh that I’ve barely touched Ironjawz or Bonesplitterz, but there’s so much to enjoy there too. Come On You Boyz In Green!
Battletome Review of the Year
Doom’s Bonesplitterz review. Red hot takes from Doom and his guest Matt Gammie, when the book was still warm from the printing press.
Loads of great ideas and tricks for the army, and the joy shines through. They absolutely nailed it.
Worst Battletome of the Year
FEC, take a bow. The phrase “broken” is wildly overused, but this travesty of a book literally broke the Combat Phase, which is only the most important part of the game.
In their pomp, any moron could push these fuckers forward and win games – and many did. Just take a look at the twists and turns and keyword convulsions in the Gloomspite book to make sure they weren’t “too good”, and compare it to the wild abandon with which this bullshit was allowed to run free –the rules writers should really be having a good look at themselves here.
Aided and abetted by a home-town ruling in the Khorne FAQ, these twats completely sucked the joy out of the game for combat armies for a while there, until thankfully the changes with GH19 brought them back in line. Get thee to a nunnery!
Sex Face of the Year
Check out this little beauty, from Codex Space Marines:
Feel free to send in your own nominations from Codex / Battletome art for this award next year, people!
Missed Opportunity of the Year
No Endless Spells for Orruk Warclans. Honestly, WTF was that about? It’s on the record that I loved the book overall, and I’m not going to let this ruin the release for me – but in an era when even anti-magic armies are getting Endless Spells, it’s straight up fucking lazy that a magic army like Bonesplitterz didn’t get them.
Foot of Gork. Green Puke. Hand of Gork. We have literal manifestations of physical magic on the Battlefield, but we don’t get Endless Spells? Piss weak.
Artwork of the Year
This little beauty from Battletome: Orruk Warclans:
Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz, together at last! And a Maw Krusha taking a big fucking chomp out of a dumbass dinosaur for good measure.
I’m peronally keeping a keen eye out for this one to appear on Warhammer Art! Love it.
Rules Writing of the Year
The best FAQ this year never actually made it into the FAQ, that’s how on-it they were.
The Bonesplitterz section of Battletome Orruk Warclans included a pre-FAQ, specifying that exploding 6s stack:
I have no insider knowledge, but this smacks to me of a good catch by the playtesting team – and if so, kudos to them for a job well done.
Batrep of the Year
Fat Lads or Greenskinz, who do Gork and Mork love more? Check out Doom showcasing the new Mawtribes book against Ironsunz…the results can only be described as “emphatic”!
If this batrep was a Billy Idol song, she’d cry MAW MAW MAW.
Miniature of the Year
Always a hard one, hey?
Honourable Mention #1 to the new Keeper of Secrets which was certainly in contention, but its striking pose is some ways the problem: you usually see multiples of this model on the table together, and they end up looking too samey. Still a very cool model though, and probably the biggest step change from a shitty, ugly old mini since The Black Coach.
Honourable Mention #2 to Skragrott. Nicely detailed, a joy to paint, and the cloak plus Squig retinue was a really smart way of having a centrepiece Grot that is still Grot-sized, and not riding on the back of something bigger. A mini worthy of a Loonking.
Honourable Mention #3 to Katakros. I get that this will be a divisive choice, because some people aren’t on board with the whole diorama look, but I loved it. He looks so dominant and commanding, and it’s a really impressive effect on the tabletop. It fits in with, and enhances, the disciplined, pseudo-Roman martial theme of the army so well. A triumph.
And the winner is… The Chaos Lord on Karkadrak.
Look at him. He’s here to conquer.
The mount itself is so cool and unique – and the grey-green colour scheme is just perfect.
I’m actually a fan of all middleweight mounted Heroes, including each of the many Stormcast variants; but this one takes the biscuit, and catapults straight in at Number 1 in his category.
Awesome to see a cool centrepiece like this launch straight into a Start Collecting, alongside the other new Slaves to Darkness minis. This army is all set to sell by the truckload!
Now where the fuck is my Megaboss on Gore Grunta? Come on, we don’t ask for much!
Worst Mini of the Year
The OBR Terrain piece. This was a monumental fuck-up, from conception to execution, from aesthetics to rules. The practicalities of using this at a tournament are an unnecessary headache, and slamming down a massive phallus in the centre of the table which displaces everything around it is an incredibly confrontational way to start the game.
I get that the game is not called Peacehammer, but you could write entire postgrad dissertations on the ways in which this thing is fucked up. I was actually half-tempted to do an army, until I saw this piece of shit.
A time-consuming minigame around terrain placement is the last thing this game needs. Please, no more.
Warscroll of the Year
Rogue Frikkin’ Idol, take a bow. All they needed to do was add the Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz keywords…and that’s pretty much all they did do.
His “Stone Skeleton” got a minor nerf (although it can be situationally better), but he also got the Orruk keyword, which means he really shines in Big Waaagh. The overlapping keywords and buffs are a joy to work with, and this beautiful hunk of rock and moss brings sunshine and rainbows to this drab world of ours. As a piece of fan-service it was a masterstroke, but he does have serious chops in a lot of Bonesplitterz or Big Waaagh builds.
Rejoice, for the Rogue Idol and Arachnarok Spider are both serious competitive options. What a time to be alive!
My Game of the Year
After putting together a couple of wins at Saggy T in Adelaide this year, I was playing Mick from the Failed Charge podcast up on the nosebleed tables. Mick was running Blisterskin FEC, which along with Skaven was brand new on the scene and already tearing it up. I’d taken Kunnin Rukk as an army that could hopefully handle itself against both (as well as DOK), and I did end up playing all three at this event.
We played on Better Part of Valour, and let me tell you: this was an absolute EPIC. My dakka and high wound count, versus Mick’s punishing anti-bravery tech and brutal combat. We had triple movement spells cast on a double, a GKoZD being killed by a humble Savage Orruk, Ladz dying in their droves to Flayers, a spell cast on an 11 and unbound on a 12, and a unit of 30 Arrow Boyz summoned back on a natural 6. BOOM!
The game finished 8-8 on the scenario, but Mick smashed me on Kill Points to claim the Minor on his way to a 5-0 performance (all 4 other wins were Majors), and 2nd Place overall.
Mick was an absolute gent when I needed a pause to think through the permutations of burning versus contesting objectives; this was a game where every roll was bringing a huge swing in emotions, and I had to constantly calculate and recalculate the equation. This Battleplan gets some stick, but I think our game was a great advert for the kind of games it can give you, and also for how exciting and tense a game between two completely different competitive armies can be.
I can also confirm that Mick drank me under the table on the Friday night, so I make that 2-0 to him in the head to head! Looking forward to throwing down with you again this year mate.
So there you have it! 2019 had its ups and downs, but all in all it was a rippa of a year. I’d love to hear what your own awards for the best and worst would be, so hit me up in the comments below or on Twitter!
The culmination of another great year on the Aussie tournament scene, Masters brings together the best players in the country for an annual celebration to crown the king. Only 10 people are in attendance, but the quality of the field is sky-high so it will be a bloody good achievement for whoever goes on to win it.
Masters is based on the Australian Matched Play Rankings, which are maintained and hosted by Heralds of War: check it out here.
Realm Rules have largely been dropped by most events these days, so there’s no great surprise to see that they do not make the cut; Ardfist has been house-ruled to allow only one attempt, which I don’t personally agree with, but there you have it.
Masters this year will be playing random Scenarios, rolled
for on the day, the exception being the first round which has been pre-drawn
(after list submission).
A lot of people in attendance are personal friends, but I’ve made an honest effort to call it as I see it. We have 10 good players with 10 good lists; there is nowhere to hide and every victory will be earned the hard way.
The stage is set for a cracking event in Melbourne this weekend, and there are some really intriguing first round matchups, so let’s get into it!
Ash McEwan vs Tyler McDonald
Ash is coming at you hard with an anti-meta Devoted of Sigmar list. These guys are utterly punishing to Chaos, who make up 6 of the 9 opponents Ash will face, including Tyler.
Take a look at the War Altar warscroll if you’re not already familiar with it, and shed a tear for Tyler’s Bloodthirsters!
Tyler has a hyper-aggro Tyrants of Blood list, designed to quadruple-bang the Bloodthirsters one after the other, and leave you looking at the smoking ruins of what used to be your army.
The Ragged Cloak is a nice pick: this under-used artefact
will protect his crucial D-Thirster from being shot at for a turn.
How it plays out
That’s the sound of a War Altar frying a Bloodthirster from
Ash has built a really smart list that is high drop, but
doesn’t care; he has plenty of chaff to screen from the Alpha strike if you go
first, and the reach to punish you if you put him in the driving seat.
Between the Bridge, the Comet and the religious artillery,
Ash can apply pressure to any part of your army from Turn 1 onwards.
He has predicted the meta down to a “T” and fair play to
him: this one looks like a rough old matchup for Tyler on paper unfortunately.
I’m surely not the only one who would find it hilarious if
Tyler blows up the Incantor with Mage Eater – but he’ll have to pull out
something special to win here.
Dave Kerr vs Sam Morgan
Dave is the reigning back-to-back Master and has nothing left to prove. Running Ogors in a hyper-competitive field like this is a bold move, given the amount of Depravity you would bleed out to Slaanesh; however it looks like it has paid off, with only one such army to avoid.
This list is super-aggressive, ramming two Stonehorns down your throat and backing it up with a fucking devastating unit of 8 Ironguts. He’s even doubled down on this with aggro Mount Traits and Artefacts on both Stonehorns (Ethereal is for wimps!).
Sam has pulled out another one of his trademark, high-drop Order lists that grabs disparate units and puts them together into what looks like a “collection of models” army at first glance…until you see the name at the top of the PDF, and realise you should look again, because he’ll almost certainly podium with it!
There are a lot of strong units here, such as 10x Heathguard backed up by a Runelord and Runesmiter, Khinerai to steal your objectives and break your heart, Skinks to piss you right off and the classic Tenebrael Shard / Sword of Justice combo to assassinate your General. Unit after unit after unit either starts off the board or has movement jank, which makes it an absolute nightmare to deal with. And Gyrocopters are fucking busted and make anything similar in the game look shit for its points, so why not grab a couple of those too?
With reach, shooting, durability, chaff and loads of movement shenanigans, Sam has given himself all the tools he needs.
How it plays out
Dave is the aiming for the Three-Peat; who’d bet against him? At some point, you just know Sam will bring down his Khinerai, redeploy the Tree Revs and retreat the Skinks that just charged up to steal Dave’s home objective.
With the Hearthguard camped on one middle Objective, I can
see Dave just ignoring that side, ploughing down the other flank and onto Sam’s
home, and then it’s going to be really interesting to see what the Hearthguard
Basic Ogors counting as two models for scoring is huge in this one, because it means 5 Khinerai can’t steal an Objective cheaply; they’ll effectively be outnumbered 6 to 5 by a basic unit, and they’re not winning that fight if they do engage.
This will be an absolute rollercoaster, but I’m backing The
Master to edge a classic.
Joel McGrath vs Charles Black
Joel is bringing a slightly unusual Slaanesh build, in that he has taken multiple Chariots and 5x Battleline units. Those lawnmowers are a force to be reckoned with, and could play a huge part in the matchup.
Joel took Slaanesh to Masters last year in what was a true renegade move at the time: as a long-term disciple of the Dark Prince, he’s entitled to his moment in the sun, and with an expected nerf inbound in the next Big FAQ, this could be perfect timing for a strong tilt at the ultimate prize.
Chuck has had great success with his rats this year, most recently winning BBBB in Bendigo, and he is 2-0 up in the head to head with Joel.
Nobody wants to look across the table and see 80 Plague Monks standing there, and the suite of Endless Spells could have a huge impact on the game. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say again: Geminids is still a frikkin steal at 60 points!
How it plays out
Joel has the drop on him, so I’m tipping Joel to give Charles first turn and use the middle Objectives as bait. Those chariots and the Keeper will plough into whatever steps up to claim them, then push their way through, backed up by wave after wave of summoned units.
Being on for the double turn is super important for Slaanesh, so they don’t end up with their Heroes surrounded and a heap of Depravity left on the table; for that reason Charles can plan confidently around being given the first turn, but then his challenges are just beginning.
Those extra chaff units that Joel is starting with could come into their own as Gnawhole blockers early on, and casting the Bridge ain’t easy with the Epitome around. Charles may have to make his way past the middle the hard way, whereas Joel will constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to chain summon 30 Daemonettes into the backfield, and for that reason I’m backing Joel to get revenge on Charles in this one.
Jordan Burgess vs Mat Tyrrell
They’ve been around for all of five minutes, but we already know what OBR are all about! Matt is leaning into the abysmal internal balance in this book by running multiple blocks of Mortek Guard in Petrifex Elite, and who could blame him?
20-blocks of the foot troops are almost impossible to grind off, and therefore exponentially better than minimum-sized 10s. Mat has also resisted temptation to cut the Endless Spells, which is smart, because they are dramatically undercosted for their impact on the game.
Personally I’d have been a lot more afraid of this army if I was looking across the table at 2x Trebuchets rather than the Stalkers, but if there’s one thing Matt knows, it’s Death armies.
Jordan has been a Nurgle loyalist this year, and his army is visually fantastic: I’m not sure if there’s a Best Painted award at this event, but if there is, Jordan has to be bang in contention.
If you’ve played against 30x Plaguebearers before, you’ll know they take a bit of shifting! With a healthy body count, and a Blightcyst to do the heavy lifting, Jordan has built a really well-rounded army.
How it plays out
OBR does Nurgle better than Nurgle…WAY better than
Nurgle. I have to give this one to Mat
based on the relative power level of these two armies alone.
This is how I see it going down: Mat can’t get in front of the centre objectives to screen them off, so he lets Jordan go first, then steps forward to engage with them.
One unit of Mortek and the Stalkers clean up whatever side the Plague Monks are on, with the Stalkers positioned towards the middle so they can step across and clean up the Plaguebearers on the other side next.
At this point we’re coming up to the mid-point in the game and about level on the scenario, but Jordan is down to low model-count units who can’t score the objectives as they get slowly ground down, so Mat runs away with it on VPs from there.
Matt Campbell vs Rhys McGlinn
Matt is Khorne’s Chosen on the Australian scene, putting together a string of stunning successes with a Battletome that some lesser players have written off as uncompetitive.
Matt knows this army top to bottom and back to front, and he
leans heavily into the Blood Tithe table as a finesse tool, putting units into
unexpected positions and keeping his opponent on the back foot.
Thirsters for the killin’
Flesh Hounds for the cappin’
There is a theme in these list reviews that the top players in Australia got there by really knowing their army and getting the most out of it, rather than lurching from one flavour-of-the-month netlist to the next. Rhys is another shining example of that, having played the Dawi Zharr solidly for two seasons now.
This is a really balanced list, with Mortal Wounds at range from both his Battleline and the Magma Cannons, and a couple of solid anvils in the K’Daai and Skullcracker. And let me tell you, you underestimate the Bull Centaur at your peril, because that thing hits like a fucking train.
How it plays out
Of all the matchups, this is perhaps the one I’ve found
hardest to call. If Rhys can get the
Bridge past Khorne’s anti-magic, he can put his shooting units right where they
need to be, and punch a fucking massive hole in Matt’s army. It could honestly come down to a few key dice
rolls, specifically those casting rolls and the wildly variable Magma Cannon
If things go Matt’s way, I could see Rhys running out of
bodies as the game progresses and Matt summons on chaff.
There’s a real chance Rhys blows Matt out of the water and wins in good style, but there is a fairly narrow pathway to walk for that to happen; more likely in my opinion is that Matt wins an absolute nail-biter, with some great stories coming out of it. Batreps please, gents!
Prediction: Matt to
So there you have it! Let’s see how many I’ve called correctly, but more importantly, good luck and safe travels to all concerned.