Welcome one and all. Last night I took full advantage of my wife being out and Gribblin and I threw down for another game of Warhammer Fantasy. Now, regular viewers may remember from way back when I chose High Elves as the army I was going to be doing. Unsurprisingly for one as fickle as I am that changed on a whim and rather than hordes of Always Strikes First ridiculousness I went with something way out of left field, the much maligned Ogre Kingdoms.
Ogres have had a bit of a rough ride in Fantasy. When they were first released way back in 6th edition they were decried, not only because they were perceived as a bit rubbish due to their MSU build philosophy but also because Wood Elves were due an update and had to wait even longer to get a new book. At the point in time the Ogres arrived I had been waiting for Wood Elf models that didn’t make my eyes bleed as they were an army I’d always liked the background for, Gribblin put paid to that though as a long time Woodies player and having an army, if I had picked up the hippy elves I believe we’d have had some very boring games over the years.
For me, picking Ogres was about challenging myself, sure they are better than they have ever been, but it’s a bit like saying a turd is better than it has ever been if you give it a wallet full of cash. It’s still a turd after all, even if in monetary terms it is the king of turds. This would also give me an army that would have a low model count, something I can do something with and have a chance of painting someday. Hey, a fella can dream can’t he?
So it was that I built an army and last night it had its second outing against the tweaked Lizardmen fielded by Gribblin. My list was unchanged from the last time we played and we are fighting at the 3000pts level, so we both expect plenty of nastiness on both sides. It was a fun game and the initiative was definitely with the Lizards for the first couple of turns, however, an interesting charge declaration in the bottom of turn two set me up to ROFLstomp my way through his lines in the following turns. I had to sacrifice a unit of Ogres really to do it but in the end it worked out. We were playing the Blood and Glory scenario and I broke the Lizardmen on turn 5 with the death of the Slaan and his unit.
Rather than a play by play (my poor memory is not good for writing battle reports) I thought I’d run through the same format as I did with my War of the Ring choices, a breakdown of the items in my list and their performance to date, OK it’s only two games but I am starting to get a feel for things and how they play. Now might be the time to start looking at tweaks.I think I’m on borrowed time before I get creamed by the Lizardmen or he brings out the Vampires.
Tyrant – Mawseeker, Fencers Blades, Greyback Pelt, Wyrdstone Necklace, 2 Sword Gnoblars, Luck Gnoblar.
This guy is nuts! Yes, he is expensive, yes he suffers from Stupidity, but a re-rollable Ld9 is not too much to worry about I feel. Unbuffed he is WS10, T6 with 6 attacks at S5 at 2 more attacks at S2. At best you hit him in combat on a 5. He is designed to challenge and get overkill and he easily makes back his points. So far he has a Slann, an Ancient Stegadon, a Skink Chief and some change, not bad from only two games. When fully buffed from a Butcher this guy is even crazier. I may look at what I want him to do and play with some different items but I really enjoy using this guy, he is blunt force trauma in the truest sense of the word, completely unsubtle but then, he’s an Ogre so why not.
Slaughtermaster – Talisman of Preservation, Blood Cleaver
Mandatory level 4 spellcaster. Sure, the Gut Magic Lore isn’t exactly the best in the game but it does have its benefits. Stackable buffs that can take Ogres over the top in terms of their hitting power and overall survivability. In an army with next to no armour getting the right few buffs off and keeping them up is a strategy in and of itself. The Blood Cleaver is a nice little tool that allows him to reclaim wounds he will inevitably suffer at the hands of his own casting. The Miscast table for Gut Magic is pretty brutal but I rolled on it for the first time last night and he just ended up with Frenzy, result!
I wouldn’t leave home without him at this points levels, single dice casting is alive and well and on a decent Winds of Magic roll I’ll typically end up with dice left over to dispel anything that my enemy has and as that enemy is a Slann there is generally something around.
Bruiser – BSB, Heavy Armour, Talisman of Protection, Great Skull
Again a mandatory choice in any army is now a Battle Standard. The Re-rolls to leadership test is too valuable to give up especially with a low Ld army like Ogres. This fellow doesn’t do a whole lot other than hide in his unit, he has a basic ward save and so far the Great Skull hasn’t done a thing, probably a good thing considering the Slaan can throw miscasts at me. I’m likely to drop this item and use the points elsewhere. He doesn’t really have a job to do but does lend his attacks to a fight while he cowers in the second rank doing re-rolls. No matter the points level this chap would be one of the first things I put into the list.
Butcher – Dispel Scroll
Backup to the Slaughtermaster, carries a scroll for when I really need to stop a spell that didn’t get IF, provides another avenue for buffing the Ogres and can also single dice cast before letting his more experienced compatriot get on with things. It would be possible to drop this chap but I think that would leave too big a hole in my buffing prowess trying to cover all the Ogre units.
6 Ogre Bulls – Standard and Musician
You have to take a single unit of Bulls, in this edition they got better due to Stomp and Monstrous Infantry. They can’t be Killing Blowed and some of the big spells won’t work on them. Giving them proper ranks also helps no end. They still suffer from low Initiative, low Weapon Skill and lack of armour but the can absorb a lot of punishment with Gut Magic around. These guys can do some damage but are mainly a flank protection unit for the others, they are small enough to be able to manoeuver around things but big enough to provide a threat in combat. I am happy to sacrifice these guys to achieve goals with the other Ogres.
9 Ogre Bulls – Standard and Musician
This is the second main combat unit, two ranks and generally the hiding place of the Butcher. They can get buffed and are likely to make it into combat with a large number of attacks, it takes a concerted effort to shift them although last night an Oldblood with Blade of Realities shows just how easy it can be to get rid of a 300pts+ unit when you take a 300pts character with a 75pt magic weapon against someone who generally can’t pass a Leadership test to save his life (and being out of range of the BSB didn’t help). I do like this unit as it’s pretty beefy, although I could combine the two units and go for a Bull Horde, I am just wary of the fact I’d have all my eggs in one basket and one IF Purple Sun could potentially then remove me from the game.
7 Ironguts – Standard with Rune Maw and Musician
I LOVE THIS UNIT!!!! This is the core of my offensive line, if you’re a character and not the Butcher you go in this unit. I know, it’s a Death Star but that is the way to play Ogres and have any perceivable chance of winning. I deploy them 4 wide therefore giving two Ironguts a chance to attack alongside my Slaughtermaster and Tyrant. I’m happy to take challenges on either one of those guys really although the Tyrant is built for it. The Great Weapons are really not a hindrance on a unit that has low I anyway but between all the impact hits they do, the stomps and the huge number of high strength attacks they can roll they wreck things. Last night they went into the Slann and Temple Guard unit, two rounds of combat later and the Slann legged it and was run down, he only had a single wound left after the entire unit of Temple Guard got clubbed to death, I lost 1 Irongut…
The unit totals (with characters) over one-third of my total army cost but it is well worth it to see them rampage across the battlefield. I’ve not yet used the Rune Maw due to nothing offensive being cast their way but I’m going to keep it as I think that may change.
Nothing much to say here, 5*8 for steadfast they are a giant roadblock and sit on the flank of the Ironguts, they die in droves to anything half decent but if kept close to the Tyrant’s unit (if they don’t bicker) they provide a valuable disruption unit and ablative wounds for the Rune Maw, at 80pts they are ridiculously cheap for what they bring to the table and if they don’t all die to a man or flee from the table it’s a bonus.
8 Gnoblar Trappers
These guys buy me a second Scraplauncher and the models are ace. However, they have done nothing in either game, they have just died although they have taken a cavalry unit out of the game for a few turns which is not bad for a unit costing less than 50pts. I’m waiting for them to wow me but they’re Gnoblars so I’m not expecting it anytime soon. Scouts is good but when you can’t setup out of line of sight in a wood somewhere or something they lose some of their effectiveness. They are still funny though.
Interesting units these guys, they are a chariot with a stone thrower on it. A Large Template Killing Blow stone thrower. They’ve not really killed a lot so far. They have been lobbing templates with impunity and last night they shot every turn but only rolled one Hit. They are horrific models to assemble but if I were to drop them I struggle to see what I could add in their place other than more Ogres, not necessarily a bad thing, maybe I just need to start rolling average for scatters and Leadership tests and my mileage with things may change.
Small and annoying, hilarious when an opponent doesn’t know too much about them and they choose to Stand and Shoot. They haven’t managed to blow themselves up yet and I can consider adding a second unit like this to sit on a flank and being annoying. I like them.
2 Gorgers – My Warmachine and Lone Character hunters. I like them, they are a little uncontrollable and I sent them against the wrong unit in last night’s game but they will always feature in my list as appearing in the back field of an opponent is something they need to plan for and worry about.
2 Giants – Both got mullered in the first game, second game one survived to the end. I use them as a tag team on a flank and I think they are doing their job well. They attract a lot of fire and all those poison shots are not going against my Ogres which is a good thing. Using two is definitely a good thing as otherwise it would be too little of a distraction, one turn of shooting generally sees it off. They are a threat which you need to deal with, I like the threat saturation approach.
Overall I’ve been very pleased with how my Ogres perform. I’m remembering all of their rules now which is a good thing and they’ve done me proud against one of the current top-tier armies. Gribblin is tweaking his army still and last night’s game was a lot tougher than the one before as it had a lot more Ogre killing potential than its predecessor, I don’t see that changing and I need someway to destroy that Oldblood with Blade of Realities, avoiding the unit he is in also sounds easier than it will be to pull off.
I might change some items around and still need to make up my mind on the Scrappies, I am sure they will have one game where they don’t miss and I just have to endure until then.