Orruk Warclans Battletome Review Part 2: Ironjawz

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Peter: Kieron has had parts 1 through 4 written for a good while now and it’s only my own schedule that’s prevented me from posting these for him. For those who enjoyed Part 1: Kruleboyz and have been waiting for the others, I can only apologise. Part 3: Bonesplitterz will be posted this time next week. With the final part: Big Waaagh! Coming a week later. If you want to read them earlier they’ll be available on our Patreon site

Allegiance Abilities

Woehammer Winner:
How can Ironjawz reliably get three turn 1 charges off, even when their opponent is hiding back in their territory? The defining battle trait Mighty Destroyers is the answer. This amazing ability allows a unit that receives this command to make a normal move if they are outside of 12” of an enemy; attempt a charge if they are within 12” of an enemy unit; or pile in 3” if already in engagement range. Combine that with a Megaboss on Mawkrusha, who can issue the command to three different units and you could have two units of Gore Gruntas moving 18” and then charging. That is to say nothing of the Mawkrusha itself who can also receive the command, moving 12” due to Mighty Destroyers, 12” if they have the Fast ‘Un mount trait followed by a move of 12” and then a charge of up to 12”! Just a casual 48” threat range then on this monster! If your opponent doesn’t screen well, the heart of their army can be ripped out before they can respond, especially when considering…

Honourable Mention:
Smashing and Bashing. This ability means that if the first unit activated in the combat phase kills and enemy unit, instead of your opponent being able to hit back, you choose a second unit to activate. If that unit wipes out an enemy, the Ironjawz fight again and so on until either there are no units in combat or an enemy is not destroyed. Combined with Mighty Destroyers, it is not unusual for an army facing the Ironjawz to be at least three units down while doing no damage in return AND to be pinned in their own territory.

Warclans

Woehammer Winner:
This is incredibly close and depends what sort of army composition you are planning. If you want to lean into speed and mobility while avoiding fielding any Galletian Veterans then you are probably wanting to take Gore Gruntas as battleline and Bloodtoofs lets you do that. In addition, if a Gore Gruntas unit is still in engagement range at the end of the combat phase then they can pile in an additional 3”. Even better is that Gore Gruntas that fought but are not within engagement range can either make a normal move or attempt a charge, further increasing the range of these now turbo-charged pigs who may have moved 9” in the hero phase, 9” in the movement phase, 12” in the charge phase, piled in 3” and then charged an additional 12” for a mindboggling 45” or five times the movement characteristic on their Warscroll.

Honourable Mention:
If you are looking to include mostly Ardboyz and Brutes in your army, then Ironsunz is probably the one you want to go for. Their clan trait is that you can charge at the end of your opponent’s charge phase as long as you are not already engaged in combat. Nurgle players know and love this ability (called Blightkrieg on The Glottkin’s Warscroll) but Ironjawz had it first and it’s free for all units to use, including your Mawkrusha. With Ardboyz and Brutes moving a frankly sedentary 4” each, anything that can give them extra movement is helpful, so having twice the number of charge phases helps get your Orruks across the board and where they want to be: in combat.

Command Traits

Woehammer Winner:
Whereas Kruleboyz players probably want to take at least two if not all three of their versions, the Ironjawz ones are somewhat lacklustre in comparison. The winner is definitely Mighty Waaagh! Leader, which allows you to re-reroll charges for Ironjawz that are wholly within 12”, which is quite big area once you factor in the Mawkrusha’s huge base. With the Waaagh adding 1 to charges and adding a much needed pip of rend to weapons, the last thing you want it for charges to fall short and for this once per battle ability to have gone to waste.

Honourable Mention:
There is a possible combo with the Arcane Tome as an artefact and either Touched by the Weird and Master of Magic to help a spell (Hand of Gork – see below) be cast, but I’m going to stick within the book for this one and go with Hulking Brute. Hulking Brute adds D3 mortal wounds once the general has completed a charge on a 2+ to one enemy unit. While not incredibly inspiring on its own, if the general on Mawkrusha also takes Mean ‘Un as a mount trait, then Stomp goes to D6 instead of D3 and there are no more pesky Hunters of the Heartlands left to stop you! Add in the Warscroll ability Destructive Bulk and not only are another 3 mortal wounds (at top bracket) added to the damage, but if a unit is then destroyed, the Mawkrusha can immediately pile in D6” and Stomp again for another D6+3 mortal wounds. Add in the impact hits from Gore Gruntas who are probably fighting alongside the Mawkrusha, ten wound screens are at serious risk of just making charges shorter and not actually achieving any screening at all.

Artefacts

Woehammer Winner:
As mentioned above, there is a combo with Arcane Tome available, but I’m going to stick to the Ironjawz Artefacts of Power here with Armour of Gork being the winner of the three. Armour of Gork gives a 6+ ward and adds 1 to hit rolls, but with a penalty of 2” from the model’s movement characteristic. On a Megaboss on foot this results in a hilariously bad 2” move, but on the Mawkrusha, that’s still a 10” move that can get up to 20” once per battle with Fast ‘Un. A 6+ ward also makes the Megaboss effectively 21 wounds rather than 18 and offers some measure of protection against mortal wound spells and shooting.

Honourable Mention:
A close second and probably the one you’d give to a Megaboss on foot (though see why this might be different for Big Waaagh in Part 4) is Destroyer for a once per battle +3 damage to the bearer’s melee weapons. Combine with the Warchanter’s +1 damage buff for between seven and eight 6 damage attacks depending on which flavour of Megaboss is carrying this artefact.

Mount Traits

Woehammer Winner:
To give the option of a first turn angry Orruk cabbage charge, there can only be one: Fast ‘Un. The base that the Mawkrusha sits on is huge and while this can be a good thing, it can also make manoeuvring difficult, meaning that an extra move can be really helpful to get in exactly the right place for that charge, be it on the first turn or not. It’s also a great combo with Armour of Gork to offset the movement penalty that comes with this artefact.

Honourable Mention:
As referenced above, taking Mean ‘Un can maximise the damage done on the charge and through stomps by your Mawkrusha, making it your second choice. Double Mawkrusha lists have taken down many events in the past (and have done so even in 2022-23 Season 1) so Mean ‘Un could be a choice for a second mount trait if you go down the Warlord/Command Entourage Battalion route. Then you need to ask whether the D6 damage vs. D3 damage on the Stomp every turn is worth more than Destroyer as a second artefact? Probably not, but it’s quite a fun option.

Spell Lore

Woehammer Winner:
If you are not using herds of Gore Gruntas and Mawkrushas to get across the board, then the mobility of your foot troops is one of the biggest challenges as an Ironjawz general. Step up Da Great Big Hand of Gork to solve all those problems. For a mere casting value of 7, a unit that is not in combat and is wholly within 12” can be redeployed any where on the battlefield 9” from the enemy, but cannot move in the following movement phase. At this point, if Gork is throwing Brutes across the board, you can then Mighty Destroyers the Brutes to get them to attempt a 9” charge, with another two attempts possible in the charge phase if you don’t make it first time. However, if you want to channel that other Orruk god, Mork and be cunningly brutal, you can use Da Great Big Hand of Gork on a unit of Gore Gruntas and then place them outside of 12” (that is, 12.1” away). When Mighty Destroyers in then used, they can make their normal move of 9”, ending up with a 3” charge away from the enemy, getting around the restriction on moving after using Hand of Gork as it’s out of phase and preventing enemy redeploys for the same reason. (You could use the same trick with Brutes too, especially if you plan on calling the Waaagh that turn to get +1 to charge rolls in the charge phase, making it effectively a 7” charge.)

Honourable Mention:
While Foot of Gork is hilarious, potentially causing enough wounds to one-shot a fully tricked out Gargant, second place goes to Bash ‘Em Ladz! It is quite tricky to get off, with a casting value of 8, but Touched by the Waaagh! can help with that and it gives a buff of +1 to wound for ALL Ironjawz units wholly within 16” of the caster. Bonuses to hit are fairly commonplace, but there’s a reason that Inspired is the best Triumph you can pick – often there’s no other way to get this buff. Now imagine this on a Mawkrusha and two units of 6 Gore Gruntas…Destruction Grand Alliance indeed!

Grand Strategies

Woehammer Winner:
More so than with Kruleboyz, Waaagh is a fantastic Grand Strategy for Ironjawz by virtue of the fact that your general is probably flying around the place and looking to stomp enemies in their own territory anyway and, if you chose the Bloodtoofs Warclan, then a single Gore Grunta can score this for you.

Honourable Mention:
For the second choice, if you are going GHB only, the Ironjawz best pick is the opposite to Kruleboyz with Take What’s Theirs as your whole battleplan involves getting right in your opponent’s face and killing their army in their own territory and this Grand Strategy plays right into these strengths.

Battle Tactics

Woehammer Winner:
Continuing the theme of Battle Tactics with interesting spellings (or should that be spellinz?), Ironjawz have access to Squish Da Puny Gitz. There needs to be at least one Battleline unit left on the battlefield and there needs to be none left at the end of the turn. With the amount of output possible from Ironjawz, particularly Bounty Hunter Gore Gruntas doing up to 3 damage per attack against Galletian Veterans, this should a fairly straightforward one to get.

Honourable Mention:
With such an absolute beat-stick as a Megaboss on Mawkrusha as your general, This One’s Mine is a total no-brainer. Find it. Kill it. Score points. ‘Nuff said.

Warscrolls

Woehammer Winner:
This unit has been mentioned repeatedly throughout this review, so it has to be the Megaboss on Mawkrusha. Not only does he allow three uses of Mighty Destroyer a turn and have a huge base for sharing this command and other buffs (e.g. re-reroll charges), but he can be absolutely devastating in combat too. With the Warchanter buff and if the Destroyer relic is taken, he should do between 5-10 mortal wounds before even fighting and then, with All out Attack and Finest Hour (aka Best Day Ever) and the Ironjawz Waaagh, seven attacks that hit and wounds on 2+ at Rend -2 for 6 damage each followed by eight attacks from his mount that hit and wound on 2+ at Rend -3 with the Waaagh for 3 damage each. Add all those up and it’s a potential of 70+ wounds in a single combat from a unit that may have started over 50” away from you. You can close your jaw now.

Honourable Mention:
A very important unit to Ironjawz is the Warchanter, but based on a lot of the combos discussed so far, I’m going to go for Gore Gruntas. They’re significantly faster than other troop options available and movement is absolutely key to this edition of AoS. They also hit pretty hard – not quite Fulminator hard – but plenty hard enough to clean up Battleline in short order and push more elite units too, particularly with the chip mortal wound damage they can do to help make any attack back pretty inconsequential.

Final Thoughts

Ironjawz are a really fun army and a pretty good first army to pick up as they’re relatively forgiving with their tough armour and relatively straightforward gameplay, resulting in quite a high skill floor for new players. There is still plenty of nuance in this army though, with Mork-like sneaky plays with Mighty Destroyers and the Hand of Gork and just because you can charge everything turn 1, it doesn’t mean that you should. Jiwan Noah Singh is a great American Ironjawz player who can be found on streams playing a more considered approach. The thinking being that if you can hold the Mawkrusha back a couple of turns then by the time it is committed, there’s nothing left that can meaningfully threaten it, allowing it to rampage around the board, destroying all it touches.
Next up will be Part 3 of 4 of the Orruks book, the weird cousins of both Kruleboyz and Ironjawz that live on a commune to be in touch with nature, usually touching them with a massive stone spear: Bonesplitters.

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