No-one in the Warhammer speaking world can have failed to notice that one of the army books in direst need of being updated has finally crashed through the wilderness of the GW design studio and landed with a thud in stores around the world.
I’ve read, pondered, digested, giggled maniacally, planned, re-planned and procrastinated the writing of this post. I thought it about time that I actually put forth my feelings on the latest book. I believe the best way to start that is to look where we’ve come from.
The previous Ogre book stemmed from a previous age and was starting to show it, even in its native 6th edition it was regarded as an auto-win if you faced them across the table. Seventh edition didn’t do them any favours either but there were those of us who enjoyed the fat, sweaty, subtle as a London rioter being filmed walking down the street with the 52″ TV he’s just looted from the local branch of Currys, big guys! People played the Ogres the only way they could that would let them have any chance of winning. Then, we got 8th edition, a whole new era of gamer dividing awesomeness, suddenly Ogres were actually competitive again. Sure, no-one was singing that they were as broken as Skaven or Daemons but the changes of the new edition brought enough of a see-change that even though people still decried them as bottom of the ladder we could now bring the pain and shock people. Arguments ensued over just how Gut Magic worked, small children wept at night about how many characters were stacked into all-consuming death stars of Bulls or Ironguts but the Ogre players, like the armies that they played, rolled with it and kept on fighting.
So, after almost 300 words of drivel what is the new book like then? As we all know by now GW have decided to put all the new 8th books into hardback, another way of screwing more money out of gullible punters or a genuine improvement in robustness? I’ll let you be the judge of that. However, I must admit that the new books are very nice, still not sure they are worth the money, the Ogre book is 96 pages for £25 afterall but I paid it so I can’t really say all that much now can I?
The background section has been fleshed out (pun intended) so we get much more detail about what happened to the Ogres on their forced migration across the mountains, there are also larger sections expanding the known tribes and the new map is brilliant for showing the tribes, their haunts and the various roads leading through the region. Background and fluff is something the Sherriff has never had a problem with in my book. They might not be able to write clear and concise rules or even balance stuff all that well in some circumstances but they can certainly spin a yarn.
The bestiary is good and provides fluff for all the options in the book, although people have noted that the old Forgeworld Rhinox fluff has been copy/pasta’d into the Mournfang entry. Rather unsurprisingly all of the new units that models have been released for are viable. Ogres certainly have a lot more variety in how they can bring the pain. Gnoblars lost a dedicated Trappers entry and Bicker! but went up in price by 25% when the cost of Ogres across the board dropped in a lot of areas. The Tyrant got more expensive as did the bargain that was the Slaughtermaster who now makes a viable (if low leadership) general.
The special characters are generally overpriced for what they are and the Ogres have far less of them than the other new books, although you could argue how many Ogres you can get with a distinct personality. The new Lore of the Great Maw is pretty decent containing a huge haul of Augment spells and you have to take it on at least one of your Mages, the Lore has no quirks now and works off the standard rules just like how the Lore of Nehekhara has been brought into line with the new edition.
Ogre Bulls are now just called Ogres, are cheaper and now come with armour, they have a number of options and Ironfists now count as a shield so you can get a Parry save! Ogres have lost the Armour Penetration of their Ogre Clubs but also will be more reliable when charging into stuff and scoring impact hits due to the changes in those rules. The Special choices are really where things get interesting for the Ogres now, Sabretusks can be taken in packs of 1-10, that’s right for a mere 21pts you can take a M8 model with the same stats as an Eagle for running around on flanks and hunting warmachines or redirecting the enemy. The Mournfang cavalry are the heavy shock troops for the Ogres, they can get a 2+ armour save, can carry a magic banner and can use Ironfists to get a Parry even when mounted. They cost a lot but are going to be a huge benefit for Ogre generals. Slam in some normal Ogres into the front of a unit and a flank charge from these guys is going to be devastating! If you want another unit that is going to make your opponent cry then the new Maneaters are where it’s at. Substantially cheaper than before you now get to pick two of a myriad special rules when picking the unit, this makes them eminently customisable. They are not cheap either but then Ogre players are used to having to deal with expensive units.
In Rares we now find the Scraplauncher that uses a small template but won’t charge headfirst into the first thing it sees! We get a cannon with S10 grapeshot that is mounted on a chariot, it’s 40pts more than the (cheaper) Scraplauncher but also fills more of a hole. We get the Slave Giant now called a normal Giant and using the same profile from the Orc book, although I think he will now feature in even fewer lists thanks to our new arrivals. The Stonehorn (pictured at the start of this post) is a pure brute, it does an increased number of impact hits when it charges. It certainly isn’t going to take a normal sized unit down on its own but it will make a mess of what it hits. The Thundertusk is a support beast, still big and tough but not as brutal in combat. It can spit out spheres of ice and give Always Strikes Last to enemies within 6″! No more re-rolls for those pesky High Elves.
The Ogre magic items are typically lean as has been the style with the new books, they are often overpriced for what they are. Debates rage online about just whether the Ironfist (which performs exactly like a shield so the rules tell us) means that a Slaughtermaster can take magical armour but overall we have another solid book here. The general consensus among Ogre players is that this is a massive improvement, an assessment I am happy to agree with. It doesn’t make the Ogres hugely overpowered, but offers improvements and viable choices where none existed before.
I’ll be looking to get some of the new units for sure and will give a rundown of how the go when I finally get around to putting them on the tabletop.