Battletome Review – Orruk Warclans Part 3: Bonesplitterz

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Allegiance Abilities

Woehammer Winner:
We’ll get to Warclans and Warscrolls later, but anyone who has been following the Bonesplitterzance recently will be expecting to see at least some Savage Big Stabbas in the list. The allegiance ability that helps to maximise their output is Spirit of Gorkamorka. Each melee attack that hits on a 6 scores 2 hits, so with a unit of two Big Stabbas, it’s reasonable to expect at least one of these to go off each combat, if not two, especially if All out Attack is also ordered. In real terms, this means that you should be expecting 5 rend -2 damage 2 attacks to get to the wound roll.

Honourable Mention:
I’m going to steer clear of the Rules as Written (RAW) vs Rules as Intended (RAI) debate on this one, but Tireless Trackers is key either way it is played. After deployment but before the first battle round starts, half the units in the army (rounding up) can move up to 5”. With minimum sized unit (MSU) Big Stabbas being quite popular, this can be a lot of movement that can be used to get on objectives early or, as some people argue, repeatedly move a Wurrgog Prophet right into ‘Hard Stare’ range. It’s also worth noting that units can move 5” backwards too, encouraging ranged units to deploy so they can pepper your Savage Orruks at range, only to step just outside of their threat range.

Warclans

Woehammer Winner:
In what is a theme running throughout the whole Orruk book, there are two good ones that have strengths and weaknesses and then one that everyone forgets about and you’ll hardly ever see. The winner is the more common choice and the more successful one that is hovering around mid-60% for the current GHB as per the Honest Wargamer Stats: Drakkfoot. Drakkfoot is fantastic in the current meta that has a high number of Nighthaunt and Nurgle armies as it ignores Ward saves. To put this in context, your Big Stabbas will put a Pusgoyle Blightlord to a 6+ save and prevents the 5+ Ward save Nurgle is famed (and cursed!) for. Throw in a Purple Sun nearby…any damage goes straight through.

Honourable Mention:
My personal favourite is second and is perfect if you’d like to re-enact the charge of the Rohan at Pelennor Fields from Lord of the Rings, but put the greenskins on the cavalry! Icebone has a toned-down version of Venom Encrusted Weapons from Kruleboyz in as much as if the wound roll is a 6, that wound is converted to mortal wounds and the attack sequence ends. But the key draw form Icebone is that Boarboyz are Battleline in an Icebone army. Not only does this avoid giving up an Galletian Veterans related points, but means that practically your whole army can be mounted with a 12” move for over 50 hunks of bacon going forward at high speed. Those few characters you don’t have on boarback can take advantage of Tireless Trackers to get a bit of a head start getting stuck in.

Command Traits

Woehammer Winner:
Easy one for the winner here as it synergises well with several strategies mentioned above and that is Great Hunter. What this allows a Bonesplitterz army led by a general with this command ability to do is to add 3” to the Tireless Tracker battle trait so that it’s an 8” move before the first turn begins. If you want to go full Riders of Porkhan then this means that the few characters you have on foot can actually be 1” further up the board than your 12” mounts, positioning them well to join the charge turn 2.

Honourable Mention:
It’s boring, but probably the next best one here would be Master of Magic to help with some of the buffs available to your casters as the other options for Bonesplitterz don’t really do much for them.

Artefacts

Woehammer Winner:
Really simple one for the winner and it’s Glowin’ Tattooz to improve the Ward save of a hero to 4+ instead of 6+. This is decent on its own, but it’s when you put it on the Wurrgog Prophet that it truly shines, or should that be glows? We’ll get to the best mini-game in AoS in a moment, but suffice to say Glowin’ Tattooz lets your Wurrgog play the game of chicken longer and practically double the threat caused by this single character.

Honourable Mention:
There’s a meme-able option with Mork’s Boney Bitz to potentially be up to +10 to cast vs. Adam Mumford’s (in)famous Cockatrice list, but the second best option is Dokk Juice to heal D6 wounds in the hero phase. What is great is that there aren’t the restrictions of being outside of 3” to this heal as there is to Heroic Recovery. Great on any character, but a fantastic back up for a second Wurrgog Prophet who couldn’t get their tattooz ready for the battle!

Mount Traits

Woehammer Winner:
A somewhat of a restricted list due to the restricted number of units that can take a mount trait, but the winner (again!) is Fast ‘Un – it’s almost like movement is really important in Age of Sigmar! Really handy to get a Maniak Weirdnob where they need to be for a subsequent hero phase or to sneak round and grab an objective.

Honourable Mention:
However, with only a 6+ save and Ward on your Weirdnob and a very economical 6 wounds, if they find themselves in combat after not charging then Smelly ‘Un might help them make it through to be able to attack back or even survive until the next turn. Maybe.

Spell Lore

Woehammer Winner:
If you’ve gone Icebone with lots of mounts with lots of tusks and hooves flying everywhere then the first spell out of the Lore of the Savage Beast you want your wizards to be learning is Glowy Green Tusks. This spell gives Rend -2 to the mounts only of one unit of boarboyz, which is great. One of the big draws of Big Stabbas is that it gives you the rend that this army so lacks, so a spell that gives you that is a big deal and it only casts on a 5 as well.

Honourable Mention:
There are shooting options in Bonesplitterz, but since losing access to Curse and the mortal wounds associated with it in the new 3rd edition book, Bonesplitterz are a melee army. Managing the flow of the combat is something that Ironjawz can do with Smashing and Bashing; Kruleboyz can do with their Waaagh and Bonesplitterz can do with Gorkamorka’s War Cry. Although a tricky cast with a short range, if successfully cast, an enemy unit has to fight at the end of the phase, allowing all your boyz to have a go at taking down whatever they’re fighting before getting hit back, enabling you to hang on to the Bonesplitterz Waaagh of a 4+ Ward for a combat phase for a whole extra turn.

Grand Strategies

Woehammer Winner:
Waaagh again would not be a bad pick, but because of the fact there are restrictions associated with who scores it, Get Dem Bones! is also a decent choice. To succeed with this Grand Strategy you just have to control a nominated terrain feature wholly within enemy territory at the end of the battle. Potentially this could be one to avoid if Realmstone Cache is in the mission pack as the territory for that battleplan might mean there isn’t terrain wholly within, but usually you should be okay and it can be scored by your Maniak Weirdnob late game with their 12” hero phase Fast ‘Un move, followed by another 12” move and then an auto-run of 6”.

Honourable Mention:
Just as with Ironjaws, Take What’s Theirs is your GHB only best-pick as you’re going forward anyway.

Battle Tactics

Woehammer Winner:
With the new GHB, gone are the points for killing monsters…unless you’re a Bonesplitterz general. They have access to Kill Da Big ‘Un if an enemy monster that you choose is killed by any attacks by a friendly Bonesplitterz unit, meaning it could be melee, ranged or magic…or even a ‘Hard Stare’ from a Wurrgog. It might seem a bit of a risk as the Wurrgog, as we’ll see shortly, can be swingy, but due to the wording of the Wurrgog’s ability, there is a work-around. The Wurrgog ability must be used at the beginning of the hero phase, which rules out any shenanigans in Big Waaagh of teleporting the Wurrgog into ‘Hard Stare’ range. However, in Bonesplitterz (and Big Waaagh, though to less utility) it means that you can do the attacks with the Wurrgog before you choose a battle tactic. If the monster’s dead, you pick this tactic and score it; if not, you can evaluate whether or not to go ahead. There is an argument to make the Wurrgog your general to take advantage of this sequence to guarantee This One’s Mine.

(UPDATE: Thanks to Calvin from AoS Coach who has rightly pointed out that because the Wurrgog’s Laser Eyes are an ability and not an attack, sadly means that you cannot score either of Kill Da Big ‘Un or This One’s Mine. Thanks Calvin! Potentially you can still use the work around of ‘stare first; battle tactic later’ with Outmuscle, Gaining Momentum, Eye for an Eye or Against the Odds as these don’t specify attacks. Realistically, you probably don’t need out-of-sequence jank in these circumstances though.)

Honourable Mention:
Returning to the Orruk book, we have Time to Get Stuck In! that synergises really well with Icebone and their speedy boarboyz as you score it if all models are within (not wholly within) an enemy unit at the end of the turn. The only restriction is that this needs to be scored in the first or second turn only. If book tactics aren’t being used, then Barge Through Enemy Lines is similar in its philosophy and should be doable with some of your mounted troops.

Warscrolls

Woehammer Winner:
The most famous of all Bonesplitterz units and the one that plays a large part in a good proportion of Big Waaagh lists being Ironjawz plus one Bonesplitter is the Wurrgog Prophet. Firstly, though quite an old sculpt, the model is awesome and really conveys the glee of this crazy Orruk dancing around before and during the battle. Where things get real is with the Wurrgog Mask mini-game. Instead of casting, you can pick 1 unit with 12” of the Wurrgog and visible to it. On a 3+, that enemy suffers D3 mortal wounds. So far, so alright. However, you can then choose to play again and go for another 3+ roll. If you make it, another D3 mortal wounds are coming your opponent’s way; if you roll a 1 or a 2, then the Wurrgog takes D6 mortal wounds – this is where Glowin’ Tattooz comes in to ignore half of those. You can keep playing this mini-game until one of three things happens:
The Wurrgog stops staring
The enemy unit is destroyed
The Wurrgog blows his own head off
Fortunately, the Wurrgog starts with 7 wounds, so you can gamble at least once. It is very swingy and it does take some skilful positioning to get the Prophet in range, but if you do, you can kill anything in the game that can die, regardless of what other layers of protection they have. As mentioned above, you can also stare before you choose a battle tactic, allowing some Kruleboyz-esque sneakiness to creep in.

Honourable Mention:
While I’m very much Team Icebone, we can’t not mention the Savage Big Stabbas. They come in units of two, giving you an 8 wound unit with 6 attacks, hitting and wounding on 3s with Rend -2 for 2 damage. Any hits of a 6 explode into 2 hits and each time on of these is killed in melee, they do D3 mortal wounds to a unit within 3” on a 4+. If this is a monster, it’s a 2+. And then there’s the points cost…80 points. They’re an absolute steal and can set up some great ambushes where a unit is screening 2” in front of one or several Big Stabbas. The screening unit may or may not survive, but the Stabbas can’t be touched by the charging enemy unit…but the Stabbas can certainly hit them back with the 3” range on the weapon!

Final Thoughts

Bonesplitterz are in a really interesting place. Their meta representation is pretty tiny, in the bottom 5 overall, but their win rate is 63%, which is top 5 (thanks again to the Honest Wargamer Stats team of Rob and Ziggy for this info). There’s a good chance that you may not see Bonesplitterz in action much, but they have been seen on Season of War, with Michael Simeon running them, so check out that battle report if you want to deep-dive everything boney in the Orruks’ book.

The final part of the series, Part 4 of 4 will be Big Waaagh, the pick ‘n mix of the battletome, where the best bits of all three allegiances come together for a good old ruck and features a battle tactic that even Daughters of Khaine players would look down upon for being too easy!

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