Category Archives: Reviews

Tournament Review: Blood in the Snow

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I recently asked Baz Norman Jr if he’d care to comment on his list from Blood in the Snow on 14th and 15th of January. I also asked him if he’d like to give a run-down of his games as part of that.

As always Baz’s response blew me away, and I thought it deserved an article in it’s own right. So thank you once again Baz!

Peter! Thank you once again for having me on the site. I attended Mark Ward’s Blood in the Snow at Hull’s Angels Gaming Club on the 14th and 15th January 2023. This was my second two day event already of 2023.

Army Faction: Daughters of Khaine
Subfaction: Khailebron
– Grand Strategy: Bloodthirsty Zealots
– Triumph: Inspired


LEADERS
Melusai Ironscale
(115)*
General
– Command Traits: Zealous Orator
– Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome
– Spells: Mindrazor
– Bonding: Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur

Morathi-Khaine (680)*
The Shadow Queen (680)*

BATTLELINE
Witch Aelves
(115)*
Hag
– Death Pennant Bearer
– Hornblower
– Paired Sciansá

Witch Aelves (115)*
Hag
– Death Pennant Bearer
– Hornblower
– Paired Sciansá

Blood Sisters (420)*
Gorgai

BEHEMOTH
Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur
(480)*

ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
1 x Horrorghast
(40)

CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: 1965/2000

I have hit the competitive scene a lot, running Daughters of Khaine (DoK) over the last year so running them again at this event was no surprise to anyone, but what might be a surprise was that it isn’t my usual list.

The list above is a slight variation to the DoK list I ran last weekend on the 7th and 8th January, where I had the absolute pleasure of playing alongside the legends that are Team England at Brotherhood III at Firestorm Games in Cardiff, on Team England’s South team.

So let’s delve into it…

SUB-FACTION – I love my manoeuvrability. I’ve said on previous posts that movement is king, and I wholeheartedly stand by this. Being able to get into positions to threaten enemy units, objectives and push for future turns is huge, so Khailebron was a staple.

GRAND STRATEGY – This list revolves around being in combat, so Bloodthirsty Zealots matched perfectly.

TRIUMPH – At 1,965pts, +1 to wound when I wanted to hit hard just worked.

LEADERS
Melusai Ironscale – Having Khailebron as the sub faction doesn’t make Blood Sisters battleline, and knowing I wanted to run 15 of them meant that it would have to be the Melusai Ironscale as general. The Command Trait was a given at Zealous Orator. Who doesn’t love a 4+ rally? My Artefact of power being Arcane Tome and knowing the spell, Mind Razor. The bonding to the Krondspine provides a +1 to cast within domination range.

Morathi – because its Morathi.

BATTLELINE
Witch Aelves – Two units of 10. These give a decent screen, but also with the run and charge, reroll failed battleshock test, and buckets of attacks, they can still threaten wounded units or chip wounds off when needed. Not to mention being objective grabbers whilst the rest of the army is doing the heavy lifting.

Blood Sisters – One unit of 15. Yes they’ve only got a 5+ save and the DoK 6+ ward save, but that’s where the negatives stop in my opinion. Three attacks base (+1 for the Gorgai), 3’s to hit, 3’s to wound, -1 rend, damage 1, and then the turned to crystal effect after the unit has fought for the first time in a phase. This attack profile alone is spicy, 46 attacks base from this unit. Now we add in and start tuning this unit to another level. Factor in the blood rites table, run and charge from the Ironscale, all out slaughter, mind razor and Fury of the Shadow Queen ability, this unit can suddenly end up having 61 attacks, 2’s to hit with exploding 6’s, 2’s to wound, -2 rend, and 2 damage a piece, then the crystal touch on top… not much can come away from this to be honest.

BEHEMOTH
Krondspine Incarnate of Ghur
– You’ve probably all heard about it, 480 pts that can’t be auto killed, doesn’t allow retreats, is good, but not broken as there are some easy ways around it, but is still strong, especially coupled with the units above.

ENDLESS SPELLS & INVOCATIONS
Horrorghast – I had points left over, easy to cast, can certainly help finish off units if you’ve fluffed a couple dice rolls and left a few models alive.

CORE BATTALION
Battle Regiment – Works for this list, as I normally govern who takes 1st turn.

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Game 1 vs Kruleboyz / Mike Chadderton and Head-on Collision.

Army Faction: Orruk Warclans
Army Type: Kruleboyz
– Army Subfaction: Grinnin’ Blades
– Grand Strategy: Waaagh!
– Triumphs: Inspired

LEADER
1 x Killaboss on Great Gnashtoof
(150)
1 x Killaboss on Great Gnashtoof (150)
1 x Killaboss on Corpse-rippa Vulcha (220)*
General
– Command Traits: Master of Magic
– Artefacts: Arcane Tome
– Mount Traits: Fast ’Un
– Spells: Nasty Hex

1 x Snatchaboss on Sludgeraker Beast (290)**
1 x Swampcalla Shaman and Pot-grot (105)**
– Spells: Choking Mist
1 x Swampcalla Shaman and Pot-grot (105)**
– Spells: Sneaky Miasma

BATTLELINE
10 x Hobgrot Slittaz
(80)*
10 x Hobgrot Slittaz (80)*
10 x Gutrippaz (160)**
Wicked Hacka
10 x Gutrippaz (160)**
Wicked Hacka

OTHER
6 x Man-skewer Boltboyz
(240)**
3 x Man-skewer Boltboyz (120)**
3 x Man-skewer Boltboyz (120)**

CORE BATTALIONS:
*Battle Regiment
**Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: (1980/2000)

Mike (of Goonhammer fame – Peter) is a great player, we regularly converse over Twitter and I’ve had the pleasure of playing Mike before at Sheffield Slaughter 2022; one of my first bigger events. The result ended in his favour before, so he had that psychological benefit.

I deployed just over 24” away, and being a gentleman, I gave Mike turn 1.

Mike made a few little movement wiggles, buffed up his units with elixirs from the Swampcalla Shamans ready to receive the DoK threat.

My turn 1, and I moved my whole army up to threaten his position and to give him too many threats to deal with all at once if Mike got the priority for turn 2.

Turn 2 dice off. I won priority.

Taking the turn, I knew this was the opportunity I needed to hit his army hard, so I prepped for it. Mind Razored the Shadow Queen, withered key units, Black horrored a Killaboss on Great Gnashtoof, cast the Horrorghast and then at the end of the movement phase, teleported the 15 Blood Sisters 9” away from his Killaboss on Corpse-rippa Vulcha and a unit of Gutrippaz.

The shooting phase came and went, with a couple more wounds going onto the already wounded Gnashtoof. Big charge phase inbound. Started with Morathi who was 4” away; into the 2 Gnashtoofs. Krondspine going into a unit of Gutrippaz. 9” long bomb charge required for the Blood Sisters, needed 8 on the dice, due to the Blood Rites table, rolled a 9. Big charge phase ticked off.

The combat phase followed, having Morathi curb stomp the already wounded Gnashtoof, killing it, and making room for her to pile round into some tasty Boltboyz. I started the combat phase with the Blood Sisters to ensure maximum damage. The unit was split between the Vulcha and a unit of Gutrippaz, a couple of Blood Sisters went into the Vulcha, chipping 5 wounds off it, whilst the rest went into the Gutrippaz. Turned to Crystal, which is what I was wanting, all went into the Vulcha, killing it. I did take some damage from other units piling in, and with the misplay of the Horrorghast, 12” is huge! I lost 5 Blood Sisters to battleshock…. lesson here for sure lol

The dust settled from that turn and Mike calculated just over 1000pts lifted in one turn. Solid turn for me.

Being pinned in by Morathi, Krondspine and the Blood Sisters and losing all those units made it really hard for Mike to come back so he played for points and got what could. With me winning turn 3 priority again, the nail in the coffin. We ended the game 32-5 to DoK. So that’s 1 game a piece now Mike….until next time! 😉

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Game 2 vs Sons of Behemat / Rob Anderson and Battlelines Drawn.

Army Faction: Sons of Behemat
Army Type: Breaker Tribe
– Grand Strategy: No Place for the Weak
– Triumphs: Inspired


LEADER
1 x Gatebreaker
(520)*
– Artefacts: Amberbone Totem
1 x Gatebreaker (520)*
– General
– Command Traits: Monstrously Tough
– Artefacts: Vial of Manticore Venom

1 x Warstomper (450)**
1 x Warstomper (450)**
– Artefacts: Glowy Shield of Protectiness

CORE BATTALIONS:
*Bosses of the Stomp – Magnificent
**Bosses of the Stomp – Magnificent

TOTAL POINTS: (1940/2000)

So no “remove from battlefield and set up again”, but I was playing into the Sons of Behemat; an army that just wants to get in your face and ‘Triple H Pedigree’ slam enemies, which, I am weirdly okay with. I screened out with Morathi-Khaine, the Shadow Queen and the Krondspine. And with the Witch Aelves on the flanks, I gave turn 1 away as before.

Rob moved his 4 big boys up to capture objectives (table quarters in this mission), capped the centre terrain piece with Desecrate and charged one of his Warstompers into a unit of Witch Aelves I had on the flank. He rightfully killed them and chipped 3 wounds off Morathi-Khaine.

My turn 1, I chose Gaining Momentum and committed to lifting the giant that had just slapped Morathi-Khaine and the Witch Aelves. Turn 1 finished, and I had lifted 2 giants.

Turn 2 priority was won by Rob, where he continued with the points increase and reducing Morathi to 6 wounds, and did enough damage to reduce the Krondspine to level 1. Another 5 points for Rob. Seeing the work that happened from the DoK turn 1, turn 2 was no different.

Game 2 finished 26-10 to DoK.

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Game 3 vs Skaven / Duncan Woods and Turf War.

Army Faction: Skaven
– Grand Strategy: No Place for the Weak
– Triumph: Inspired


LEADERS
Arch-Warlock
(155)
– General
– Command Traits: Deranged Inventor
– Artefacts of Power: Esoteric Warp Resonator
– Spells: More-more-more Warp Power!

Warlock Bombardier (115)*
– Spells: More-more-more Warp Power!
Warlock Engineer (105)**
– Spells: More-more-more Warp Power!

BATTLELINE
Skryre Acolytes
(75)***
Skryre Acolytes (75)***
Stormfiends (640)****
– 2 x Windlaunchers and Clubbing Blows
– 2 x Ratling Cannons and Clubbing Blows
– 2 x Shock Gauntlets and Warpstone-laced Armour


BEHEMOTH
Doomwheel
(165)

ARTILLERY
Warp Lightning Cannon
(150)*
Warplock Jezzails (120)*
Warp Lightning Cannon (150)**
Warplock Jezzails (120)**

OTHER
Doom-Flayer
(65)****
Doom-Flayer (65)****

TERRAIN
1 x Gnawhol
e (0)
1 x Gnawhole (0)
1 x Gnawhole (0)

CORE BATTALIONS
*Grand Battery
**Grand Battery
***Expert Conquerors
****Bounty Hunters

TOTAL POINTS: 2000/2000

Duncan is a loyal member of the GAF gaming group and has been to several of our events run by the Warrior Lodge, and every interaction with Duncs is….how can I describe it….erm….lets just say that he is a character and a gentleman to boot, so I knew this game would be laugh regardless.

Skaven is an army that I’ve not played a lot of to be honest, and with him rocking up with two Warp Lightning Cannons and 6 Stormfiends, I knew I had to be on him asap.

No surprises here when I gave Duncs turn 1 and with me deploying out side of his shooting range, he moved some units up to cap objectives. I was surprised that he didn’t go through the Gnawholes with his 6 Stormfiends and try to shoot off the Blood Sisters turn one….maybe he knew something I didn’t…? My turn 1 was simple, move up, and prep for later turns.

Turn 2 priority went in my favour, meaning that Morathi and the Krondspine could get into position for a charge. I also teleported the Blood Sisters for a supportive charge. Dice rolls went back and forth. Duncs killing his own general and bombardier through Skaven antics finished the game 28-9 to DoK.

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Game 4 vs Hedonites of Slaanesh / James Mackenzie and The Silksteel Nests.

Allegiance: Slaanesh
Host: Lurid Haze Invaders Host (Host of Chaos)
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumphs: Inspired


Leaders
The Contorted Epitome
(245)*
General
– Command Trait: Feverish Anticipation
– Artefact: Oil of Exultation
– Lore of Slaanesh: Hysterical Frenzy

Sigvald, Prince of Slaanesh (205)*
Glutos Orscollion, Lord of Gluttony (440)*
Lore of Pain and Pleasure: Battle Rapture

Battleline
22 x Blissbarb Archers
(280)**
– Reinforced x 1
22 x Blissbarb Archers (280)**
– Reinforced x 1
5 x Hellstriders with Hellscourges (135)*

Units
5 x Blissbarb Seekers
(220)*
5 x Centigors (85)*
5 x Centigors (85)*

Endless Spells & Invocations
The Burning Head
(20)

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Expert Conquerors

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 2 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 125
Drops: 3

Having not played Hedonites of Slaanesh before, meant I had had to do some homework the previous evening. High manoeuvrability, lots of units, a lot of shots, buffs from Glutos, the hindrance that Sigvald can bring meant this would be new to me, not to mention the 8 available objectives.

I set up so that each of my 4 objectives, had models touching it and gave James turn 1. He was on me straight away, his Blissbarb Archers being screened by the Centigors lifted both units of Witch Aelves that were on either flank. I had to play super aggressive and hit his key units right from the get go, as I was behind on points. Morathi moved up to just behind a building, being 9” from Glutos and the Krondspine moved up ready to ‘eat’ from Centigors. Charges were made and the Warrior Lodge dice rolled well, meaning that my turn 1, Glutos was dead, the Krondspine was in combat doing its thing.

Turn 2 priority was won by James and he played big for points scoring 7 points his turn 2. Bottom of turn 2 the score was 9 to me, 12 to James…

Turn 3 priority was again won by James and he kept on racking up the points, although he was behind with model count, if he could keep scoring points though, that could see him win overall. Turn 3 finished 15 to me and 18 to James.

Turn 4 priority was won by….James again…I must have used up all my priority rolls on day 1! Again more points racking up in James’s favour finishing turn 4 on 20 to me, 24 to James.

Turn 5 priority came and went….finally in my favour. I managed to get into positions in the previous turns to eventually pin him in and lift the pesky Hedonites which were so quick. Game 4 finished 29-24 to DoK. Phew.

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Game 5 vs Sylvaneth / Peter Twigg on Won’t Back Down.

Army Faction: Sylvaneth
Subfaction: Harvestboon
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumph: Indomitable


LEADERS
Warsong Revenant
(305)*
General
– Command Traits: Spellsinger
– Artefacts of Power: Arcane Tome
– Spells: Treesong, Verdant Blessing

Celestant-Prime (325)*

BATTLELINE
Tree-Revenants
(110)*
Tree-Revenants (110)*
Revenant Seekers (705)**
Revenant Soulwarden
– 3 x Seeker Banner Bearer
– 3 x Seeker Hornblower

Spiterider Lancers (420)**
Spiterider Scion
– 2 x Spiterider Standard Bearer
– 2 x Spiterider Hornblower


CORE BATTALIONS
*Battle Regiment
**Bounty Hunters

TOTAL POINTS: 1975/2000

A little birdy had mentioned to me that Pete wanted revenge from our last meeting from across the table where we were both on table 1, game 5. That last game was also played over Won’t Back Down so things felt similar, even if our lists were different.

Sylvaneth have historically been a challenging match up for me as they’re really nimble and I struggle to pin them down, so knew this match up would be tough, not to mention the fact that Pete had 9 Revenant Seekers and 6 Spiterider Lancers…oh and the Prime!

I did my thing with deployment ensuring that the Witch Aelves were snaked (pun intended!) round the Blood Sisters at 3” just in case the Prime was to come down turn 1, and gave Pete turn 1.

Against the Odds was chosen and he moved units up to threaten, but also to take objectives for a solid 5 VP round.

My turn 1, I did some hero phase shenanigans as usual and ran the buffed Blood Sisters up so they were 5” away from the 9 Revenant Seekers and their pool of 45 wounds. There was no redeploy which I was expecting, even though I had explained the abilities at the start. Charge phase started and the Blood Sisters failed their 5” charge. CP reroll… then I rolled a 8. Here we go! Spending a CP for all out attack and burning my triumph for +1 to wound saw them lift the Revenant Seekers to the wound, nothing more nothing less…. a big dent made.

Turn 2 I got the double turn, which allowed me to move up into position again ready for another charge. The Shadow Queen failed her charge, but the Blood Sisters got another charge off, this time into the 6 Spiterider Lancers but without the Mind Razor buff. Lifting 4 of them meant that Pete could retaliate and then in his turn nip through the woods far away…. Far, far away to the other end of the board…. i.e., my deployment zone lol.

I slowly managed to take the lead with a couple of points difference but at the cost of Morathi dying and we shook hands finishing the game 26-21 to DoK.

Peter: What a result. Thanks again to Baz for sharing his tournament review. Hopefully we can get him on again in the future.

5 Tips for the new Season (Number 6 will surprise you!)

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It’s always an interesting time when there’s a new season of matched play on the horizon. All the subtle reflexes, lists and tricks you’ve built up over the last 6 months are about to be obliterated by a new set of realm rules and battleplans – including points adjustments and therefore significant list changes.

Rest assured, we’re here to help you get a head start on the practical stuff you need to know ahead of Season 2 – Galletian Champions – kicking off next week. Your author has glimpsed the new rules slightly ahead of their official publication date and has played a fair few games with the new rules already (with the new Slaves to Darkness book, in fact) with his club-mates, Sigmar’s Pilgrims, who recently finished 8th at the Brotherhood Teams Event. 

So read on for a few tips, insights, and general things you should start thinking about for the forthcoming season. And what a season it’s going to be – as we guessed in our Hot Takes article – it’s a fantastic new set of rules that offer a welcome reduction in book-keeping from the previous season, helping make it smoother and more accessible, while adding in some awesome new levels of depth. 

  1. Identify your Galletian Champions (aka Galley Champs, aka GCs) 

Put simply, this season is all about non-unique foot heroes under 10 wounds. A number of the new battle tactics require them, and multiple battleplans will either award bonus points for objectives being controlled by a GC, or give GCs priority when contesting them (i.e. if a GC is contesting the objective, only other GCs can). 

This, as you have probably surmised, means you need to have a good look at what GCs your army has available, and start re-thinking their role in your army. Traditionally, most of these kinds of heroes have been underwhelming – why take a piddly foot-slogging dude when you can take a pure chad riding a giant monster? The answer, as it turns out, is because this season tells you it’s the cooler thing to do. If you want to win. 

If your army has GCs who are either strong in their own right (Ironjaws are happy here) or simply cheap and durable, or highly mobile (hence the Knight Zephyros suddenly being S tier) – you’re laughing. If, like Soulblight, all your non-unique foot heroes just kind of suck, well, have a think about how best to protect them and then get them to where they need to be! Which brings us to…

2. Pay the Ferryman 

Chris de Burgh HATES this guy

Lauchon stonks.

Though it’s tempting to leave it there, I will elucidate. If you army doesn’t just happen to have a teleporting GC (or like Fyreslayers, one that can also teleport their own bodyguard…!), then you’re quite possible going to want a way to zoom a GC onto a flank objective – and this season has lots that are less reachable.

The endless spell, Lauchon – aka the Bringy Dinghy – is perfect for this. You just need your GC to be a wizard (not hard with Arcane Tome doing the rounds) and for their base to fit within 6″ of the boat, and they’re eligible for a 21”+ whatever your hero has move. Then they can score points, and on the off-chance the boat doesn’t get Dispelled, at the end of the following hero phase they can zoom right back to safety! So it’s obviously best done with a GC on the cheaper side of things as it may be a one-way trip…

He’s not the only way to get around in style however, which brings us to…

3. Tunnel Mastery 

There’s also another way of getting where you want to go – and it takes the form of what I imagine will quickly become the pick of choice from the new selection of free GC enhancements you now get to choose from. There are some excellent effects and combos but Tunnel Master – which allows your GC a standard teleport (so no closer than 9” to enemy units) – is obviously tasty. In general it’s risky to chuck even a 100 pt GC onto an objective on their own, so timing will be everything here – it’s well worth thinking if your army has a good way to support this play (or bringing a Soulscream Bridge!) so that the hero can have some backup, or some way to do it early then escape if the enemy starts hunting them down.

Alternatively, if you can work out a way – like the Fyreslayer example above – that you don’t have to pick Tunnel Master, then that will open up the slot for another enhancement instead. 

4. The New Drop Off

There are three new battalions in the new Season, but the two that will shake things up the most are the ones GW previewed themselves. It’s not hard to see the respective merits of each, but what we’ve realised after a few games is that you really need to plan around the potential of your opponent taking Sharpshooters. GC scoring is so important that if you don’t have a genuine bodyguard unit to protect your GC from being sniped, you are going to want something in your list to try and deal with the shooting units.

What this means for the average drops is that, in our humble prediction, the new most common drops will be 3 (battle regiment + Sworn Guard) and 4 (Battle reg + Sharpshooters). If you really think dictating turn order is really important to your list, it might mean giving up Sworn Guard.

It’s also possible we’ll see a lot more ‘who gives a crap’ drops due to the following point…

5. 2nd Time Lucky

One of the coolest mechanics of the new season is that the player who takes the second turn gets to perform a second heroic action in their hero phase. This suddenly makes taking second in the first turn even more valuable, but that’s balanced by there now being an incentive not to take the double. And of course if you do get doubled – you can think about how that second action can keep you in the game rather than just sweating bricks.

Now, there are two new heroic actions revolving around fighting in the hero phase with your GC, potentially then followed by their Sworn Guard – which we’ll go into more detail on shortly – but we’ve found in reality they rarely actually get used. And as such, aren’t worth planning your turn priority around. However, you’ll obviously want to have them in your back pocket for when it’s important to be able to move in your turn rather than wait until the fight phase to get stuck in. The most important thing as ever will be reading the board-state, but do start thinking about whether your army can handle giving away first, as you can now potentially really punish over-reaches from your opponent.

6. Remembering Realm Rules
The author is a big fan of the new realm rules, but it pays to be aware of their subtleties, and not lean too much into them for list building.

For example, the obvious, most game-changing benefit to GCs is the Key to Victory rule, meaning they can’t be targeted by ranged attacks while they stand within 1” of a friendly battleline unit, unless the attacking unit is in the aforementioned Sharpshooter battalion. Now it’s easy to mix up Battleline and Sworn Guard – so bear in mind it’s any battleline unit that can protedt your precious and flimsy GC from shooting.

Now, the new heroic actions have an obvious combination with the new rule for getting two heroic actions – bear in mind they both have to be issued from the same hero in your hero phase. The first allows  GC within 3” of an enemy unit to fight, but then gains ‘fight last’ for the rest of the TURN. The second allows the Sworn Guard wholly within 6” of the GC that just fought, and is also within 3” of any enemy unit – i.e. doesn’t have to be the same one the GC fought – to also fight – with the same fight last modifier being added.

In practical terms, this hero phase fight with a unit is frankly unlikely to come off. It will be useful here and there – especially against pin lists like whoops all Nurgle flies or Beastclaw Raiders – but it’s probably a mistake to plan on it. Likewise, if you are hunting frantically through your Tome for the fightiest hero so they can get some hero phase action, just bear in mind that unless they kill that unit, they’re either going to have to stick around and try again or retreat.

Of course, if your hero has a fight first ability – this will cancel out the fight last and they will attack as normal in the fight phase – or likewise, if you have the ability (such as the new Slaves spell) to make an enemy unit fight last, you can much more safely activate this ability and still charge your GC into combat in your turn.

So there you have it – we’re super excited for the new Season and we hope you are too. Let us know in the Discord what your thoughts are once you start getting games in – and we hope these little offerings help you to get a head start on taking names at the table!

How to Play: Black Powder 2nd Edition (Part 1: Introduction)

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An Introduction to Black Powder

Black Powder is a game system produced by Warlord Games and written by Rick Priestley and Jervis Johnson. As the introduction to the rules says:

Black Powder is a game for militarily inclined gentlemen with straight backs, bristling beards and rheumy eyes that have seen a thing or two. If tales of battle and glory in days-gone-by stir nothing in your breast, if the roar of cannon does not quicken the pulse and set a fire in the belly, then stop reading forthwith. Ours is not an adventure to be embarked upon by the faint hearted. Put down this book and be glad that you have spared yourself the discomforting spectacle of grown men attempting to relive the great conflicts of history with armies of toy soldiers.

So heft your muskets and prepare for battle. The library or billiard room will serve as our battlefield, or else some similarly spacious and secluded refuge. Ensure that children are put to bed and lie safely beyond earshot. Secure the doors against the intrusion of womenfolk as yet unfamiliar with the conventions of war. Ready your armies for the long march to glory.

And finally, let us remember that the ideal accompaniment to the journey may be found in good brandy, fine cigars, and the companionship of like-minded enthusiasts.

Black Powder 2nd Edition (2019)

Black Powder covers the Horse and Musket period from 1701 (War of the Spanish Succession) to 1898 (Second Sudan War). Most commonly you’ll find players use the system to refight engagements from the Napoleonic Wars or the American Civil War.

I personally believe that Horse & Musket games come in one of two formats. Either simulation, where the rules will try and accurately represent a battle of that period in minutiae. Or in a more ‘Arcade’ format, where an approximation of the overall battle is given.

The game itself can be played at most miniature scales, with the smaller scales adding to the big battle feel of the game you’re playing.

Black Powder in 6mm – Image from Irregular Wars

Black Powder doesn’t have miniature removal and instead uses markers to show the status of units. Units are usually made up of 4 stands and these will be arranged to shoe what formation a unit is in. Units are usually at a battalion/squadron level, but you can use Units to represent larger formations such as Brigades.

So if this time period interests you and you have a specific war in mind, Black Powder may be the system for you.

To give you more of a taster, we’ve put together a number of articles covering the basics of a turn in Black Powder which, should give you a feel of how the game plays.

Chaos Legionnaires: Role Analysis

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I’ve been starting my own personal journey down the corpse-strewn path to glory and the Chaos Gods’ approval – aka I’m 3 games in with the new Slaves to Darkness book – and I’ve started to consider some less obvious army picks.

As I was looking into Legionnaires for my Be’lakor list and discussing them in the discord, I ran some numbers and did some thinking. Although I’ve not tested them in a game yet, I wanted to write a post that explains my thought process and what I believe is a sensible, generally applicable way to analyse whether unit x is better than unit y in a certain role. Moreover, we all love shooting the shit when it comes to unit comparisons, which is good and well, but unless you look at these things with the correct analytical lens, you’ll either go round in endless circles of debate, or risk misunderstanding what ‘value’ the unit actually has in a competitive environment.


As a quick proviso, if you can’t be bothered to read the full analysis (I won’t hold it against you), consider the ‘four obvious factor’ a few paragraphs below as a tl;dr method for a balanced analysis of any unit.

So, let’s start with a quick overview of the Chaos Legionnaires themselves. They’re an 8 model unit, for 110 points, with two interesting scroll abilities (below) along with them proccing an ability of Eternus – gaining you 1 extra command point if Eternus and the Legionnaires are within 1” of each other.

Their warscroll abilities:

Sow Confusion: Once per turn, at the start of any phase, you can say this unit will sow confusion. If you do so, pick an enemy unit within 6″ of this unit and roll a dice. On a 4+, that unit cannot issue or receive commands in that phase.’

‘Devoted of the Dark Creed: 
In the presence of Be’lakor, these warriors fight with unrelenting zeal.

Add 1 to wound rolls for attacks made by this unit while it is wholly within 12″ of a friendly BE’LAKOR.’

On the surface of it, they seem to be designed to slot neatly into a Be’lakor LotFP list, synergising with Eternus and Be’Lakor. So the question is, are they worth taking over a less synergistic and more expensive unit, such as Chaos Warriors or Iron Golems?

To answer this question, we must first ask ourselves what their role is. You can crunch and compare raw data points of course, but to apply it meaningfully to a list making decision you need to know what the unit in question will actually be doing.

So, there are four obvious factors in their battlefield role: synergy; output; defences; utility.

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Analysis

We start with checking their overall output as a starting point.
NB Because a reinforced Legionnaires unit gets an extra attack, and 3 out of the remaining 5 models get an extra damage point I had to slightly cheat on the profiles below, but overall it’s the correct numbers of attack etc.


I also assumed they would be benefitting from the +1 to wound from being near Be’lakor because that’s clearly their use-case. Initially I compared them to Chaos Warriors without their extra attack from being near an enemy objective, because that’s a more situational modifier.

As you can see, Legionnaires outperform Chaos Warriors (CWs) when the CWs aren’t contesting an enemy objective, and put out a fairly respectable 7 damage against a 4+ save. And bear in mind the Legionnaires have a 50% chance from Sow Confusion if they choose to use it offensively as  counting as the next bracket up (i.e. turning off AoD) – so, on a good day, they’re keeping a 4+ nat save unit on 4+ and doing that 7 damage instead of 5.3.

Now, this is a good start to figuring out their role and value within it, but let’s remember that:

a) Legionnaires are a total of 8 wounds on a 4+ compared to Chaos warriors being 20 wounds on a 3+ with, if you’re taking them in Nurgle (like why wouldn’t you, a -1 to wound and ignoring 1 rend). We must consider that Legionnaires, if using Sow Confusion defensively (they can’t use it for both in the same phase) have a 50% chance of preventing the opponent’s AoA, which is a valuable defensive modifier.

But still, Chaos Warriors are obviously, clearly tankier by a significant margin. Thanks Peter for the following maths – it would on average take 183.7 attacks at 3/3/-1/1 to take down the Chaos warriors compared to 73.5 to take down a reinforced (so that they’re an equivalent cost) unit of Legionnaires.

And b) in general this is comparing a 110 pt unit with 8 models/8 wounds with a 220 pt unit with 10 models and 20 wounds.

So, with that in mind, we can draw a conclusion that Legionnaires have fairly good output for their price and therefore could function as a sub-hammer.

By the same token, it’s clear that as a defensive role such as a screen, Chaos Warriors seem to massively outperform them. If we reinforce the Legionnaires we have a 16 model unit with 16 wounds on a 4+ with a 50% chance of turning off one unit’s AoA against them, compared to a 10 model unit (so slightly less of a footprint) with 4 more wounds, on a nat 3+, guaranteed to ignore 1 rend and at -1 to wound them – assuming they’re Nurgle marked have the banner (which we are, because again it’s so standard for them.)

Legionnaires certainly aren’t the squishiest thing ever, but they’re not meant to be a screen, clearly.

Let’s continue the output comparison – how does a reinforced unit (220 pts) stack up to a unit of Warriors, who ­do have the extra attack for being near an enemy objective?

The results still favour the Legionnaires and the damage output is not at all inconsiderable! However, let’s also remember this assumes they can all get into range, which in this season they can do with ease thanks to the galley vets two ranks rule, but from the next Season onwards – PRESUMABLY they won’t be able to.

Let’s end the output analysis with a quick look at a unit of 5 Chosen for 240 pts, who naturally put out the following.

So the delta with roughly equivalent points between Legionnaires and 5 Chosen into an average save is 5 in favour of the Legionnaires – interesting! And that would be 16 wounds on a 4+ vs the Chosen’s 15 wounds on a 3+ with 2” reach weapons. Obviously this doesn’t take into account the potential for Chosen to vastly outperform if they roll well on the Eye of the Gods table and their lack of a need to be near to Be’Lakor, but still – interesting.

Synergy/Utility

With that in mind, let’s think about Synergy and Utility. Legionnaire’s Sow Confusion is nice in that it has a 6” range – meaning it can be used while they’re behind a screen themselves – a plus. Consider it could potentially be used to deny Inspiring Presence, Redeploy, and other sneaky commands, not just combat based ones. A 50% chance isn’t bad but you’d have to treat it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than something you can rely on.

However, their proccing the extra CP on Eternus has an obvious drawback – past Turn 1, It seems highly unlikely Eternus will still be in range of them given he’s mounted and these chumps have to footslog. Eternus gets an extra CP from Furies being near him too – who are much better suited to keeping up with him – so in that sense, they don’t synergise very well with him in a real world scenario.

 CONCLUSIONS

Having considered the pure maths and the real world scenarios, I think it’s fair to say that the best use-case for Legionnaires is as a cost-effective sub-hammer. They can’t holistically compete with Chosen as a main hammer, and they’re orders of magnitude less tanky than warriors. They have an interesting, decent-odds if short range utility ability and put out respectable damage. Being 8 models with small bases for a small overall footprint for the cost is decent ‘points on objective’ value also.

A final thought is that, in LotFP (which I’m largely assuming this kind of list is), they could be given a mark for a turn, substantially improving their survivability with Nurgle, or potentially giving them an extra attack in Khorne to boost their output further.

If you have 110 points spare, I think they’re a good pick. Outside of LotFP they’re still a good little add-on to Be’Lakor, but without Big B they’re probably not worth ever taking.


I hope that’s been a helpful breakdown, not just of the merits of Legionnaires themselves but of the wider set of factors you should take into account when trying to ascertain a unit’s role and its value within that role/the wider context of your list.

Like what we do? Why not buy us a Kofi?

Talk it Out: New Ogor Mawtribes Battletome

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Danny
Ok let’s fill our bellies! For this review, I’m talking to a fellow Sigmar’s Pilgrims club member and our resident glutton, Andy – can you kick things off by telling us about your Mawtribes experience up until now? You’ve definitely beaten the average win-rate with them and you’ve been playing them for a fair old while right?


Andy S
Hello, yes I’ve been playing Ogors as long as I’ve been playing AoS (since 2nd ed.)! I started with a mixed army of mainly dad bods and a big angry cow but that army was really struggling so I made the switch to running a full Beastclaw list. I managed to keep my win rate around 50% but then King Kragnos got his glow up! Since then my win rate is at around 70% and I recently took second at the one-day Sigmar’s Pilgrims event, the Big Bristol Brawl.

Danny Salfield Wadeson
So obviously you won’t have got any new games in with the new book yet but from what you’ve seen on paper – what do you think, if any, are gonna be the biggest differences to how the army plays – or CAN play?
The thing on everyone’s lips of course is the Ironblasters… 2 shots at 30” for d3+3 damage – rend 2 nat or 3 with the subfaction has definitely got some portions of the community in a hot sweat

Andy S
No, yet to play the new book, trying it out next week against the new slaves which should be very fun!

Honestly I don’t think a lot has changed in how the army plays… it’s still a very similar army and fans of ogors will still love this book. For me the army still wants to be charging as they get access to so many MW’s and buffs on the charge and just as before they have access to lots of high damage attacks!

A big change I’m very happy to see is the addition of rend to the gluttons (-1) and ironguts (-2)! I think this, along with the buffs to cannons that you mentioned, as well as to leadbelchers (in the Underguts subfaction) has really helped internally balance the book and I think will lead to a lot more dad bods (carrying cannons) hitting our tabletops!


Danny Salfield Wadeson
Nice, that’s good to hear – and GW have been transparent (as of yesterday’s Metawatch) about their internal balance process, so it’s good to see it’s paying off atm. I know you’re a mammoth fan – let’s double down a bit on the kind of charges we can expect now. Stonehorns and Frosties have been been tweaked, there are new monstrous actions – the one I think is especially strong is ‘Unstoppable Charge’ for allowing a 3D6 ‘flying’ move from there, dealing mortals to stuff they pass over. What do you think the best CHARGE! combos are now – between unit/sub-faction/enhancements etc?


Andy S
Absolutely – the MVP of the last ogor book was without a doubt the Frostlord on Stonehorn (FLoSH) and if anything they have evolved with this battletome! In terms of their warscroll they now have 15 wounds on a 3+ 5+, of that wasn’t enough the new Boulderhead subfaction now gives them an extra 2 wounds. Combine this with the Rockmane Elder mount trait (-1 wound) and you’ve got a big angry cow that’s very, very, tough to kill.

For me 2 FLoSH’s is the way to go but swapping one, or including a Huskguard on Thundertusk (HoTT) as well is a really solid option at only 330 points. In Boulderhead that’s a 16 wound priest on a 4+ save with the ability to add a 5+ ward from a mount trait (another great reason to be in Boulderhead – it lets you take 3 mount traits).

The HoTT also give you access to the other new monstrous action which, although not as good at the new stonehorn one, makes all enemy units within 3” fight last on a 3+ (roll separately for each unit).


Danny Salfield Wadeson
3″ fight last – albeit on separate rolls – is not too shabby is it? You can definitely see the synergies opening up around double charging mammoths ploughing through screens and making for some interesting activation sequences.

And you you did a good job there of calling out some mount traits – what do you feel are the biggest winners and losers of the artifacts and command traits? 3e books in general have been solid in general but a few books have had one thing in each category which makes it really hard not to take it in competitive games. To me, they actually seem pretty sweetly balanced for Ogors!

Andy S
I think, as you said with some other 3e books there are a couple of command trains and artefacts that just won’t see any play my competitive players! However, there are a couple of nice options for each depending on the army you’re running.

For the Gutbusters side of the book the Gastromancer command trait lets a butcher general know the entire Gutmagic lore (Ogors actually have a super spicy spell lore). The other pick for me would be killer reputation on a Tyrant which allows you to pick a second big name and can really help you to make a tanky food general for your army. For the artefacts I love the Flask of Stonehorn Blood which now gives the bearer a 3+ ward for one phase in the game… usually I don’t like one use artefacts but this could really come in clutch!

On the Beastclaw side Touched by the Everwinter is the auto pick command trait for me! Having one FLoSH as a priest (and another with arcane tome) really plugs some huge holes the army had before. For the artefact I love Seat of Alvagr which allows a SH or TT hero to perform 2 monstrous actions. 3d6 move over the screens straight into roaring a key unit – yes please!

Danny Salfield Wadeson
Yeah I was surprised just how good the spell lore looked, especially the Butcher lore! Making RHINOX units count as Monsters for the MWs on charges (CV5) and Molten Entrails – for +1 damage to a monster’s mount on a CV6 both seem super strong. 18″ -1 hit on a 6 is also fairly mad good.

And yeah, those enhancements in general all seem pretty darn tasty to me – on paper they seem to allow a huge range of directions to buff things meaningfully in – pretty impressive.
You mentioned Boulderhead earlier – is that going to be your sub-faction of choice? Do you think the others give some different vectors of play – and either way, are there meaningful options for competitive play in there?

Andy S
Yea it’s always been a good lore but this book has brought lower casting values to some of the spells which really helps… park a butcher next to the mawpot for +1 to cast and it’s actually got some casting power.

I think Boulderhead is the go to when playing multiple stonehorns for sure… an extra 2 wounds on each monster and allowing you to take 3 mount traits is fantastic!

There are definitely other options depending on how you want to play – without a doubt you want to be in Underguts if you are running multiple cannons and units of leadbelchers as the extra -1 rend makes that one of the best builds in the game currently I think. If you want to run Gutbusters without leaning into the shooting, or even a mixed force, then I think Meatfeast is a really fun option, suddenly your units of Ogors are doing MWs on 4+ and then hitting like a truck!


Danny Salfield Wadeson
It does seem like a really viable set, which is great – 3e books in general have been pretty good, but there have def been some books with a couple of complete dud subs that only very diehard narrative fans would run!
Penultimate question here – which warscrolls do you think are the biggest winners and losers overall? Let’s forget the Gnoblars as it really seems they need to be FAQd. Anything you were disappointed didn’t get a glow up, or any units you think finally got made competitive?

From Andy’s insta – apprentice_of_sigmar

Andy S
Yea great question! Without a doubt the cannons got a huge glow up, probably the biggest in the book. So many ogor players already owned at least 1 or 2 Ironblasters and it’s great that they can finally see the tabletop! Is this the start of GW making artillery great? Probably not but it’s fun whilst it lasts haha! Gluttons and Ironguts have both also improved massively – the extra -1 rend to both units and the change to the paired weapons options for gluttons is a glow up I was really hoping for! The whole gutbusters side of the book how has a chance to be competitive!

For me, as a predominantly Beastclaw Raiders player, one of the biggest losers in the book has got to be the Stonehorn beastriders (the Thundertusk variant doesn’t deserve a mention haha)! It’s bonkers that the models still don’t have the elite keyword so they are essentially useless if they go off alone which is exactly what they should do… they took away the crossbow shot (despite the fact the model carries one) and it’s got a 4+ save and hits on 4+ with its best attack… I’ve played a few games now and I’m very unimpressed!

Danny Salfield Wadeson
Them not having the elite keyword is definitely very weird. I feel like that might be an FAQ issue – but yeah I hear you on the other things. I guess a lot of ‘current’ Ogors players are basically BCR players so this has probably caused a wave of disappointment. Like you say – foot Ogors with great rend, once per game double-fight on the choppy lads, backed up by genuine shooting gives the book some really well-rounded angles.

Of course, aside from killing stuff you need to be able to score. How do you feel about the matched play rules? I feel like the DoK book started a recent 3e trend for ‘auto-score’ BTs, and ‘Eat Your Fill’ – which is essentially have all your units in combat, and ‘Savour the Taste’ which is the opposite, have nothing in combat – are thematic but kind of ridiculously reliable and un-interactive? ‘Let Them Loose’ – complete 4 Monstrous Rampages – is also going to have a fair few ‘guaranteed opportunities’ if you’re running ‘Horns.

Andy S
I think BCR were the competitive pick for sure but most ogor players have Gutbusters (even if they were collecting dust) so most are enjoying the chance to get them back out!

Might makes right is the same (better for ogor foot hero’s now who count as 5) so the army is still capable of taking and holding objectives – more so once expert conquers disappears. With rangers to the matched play section of the book it’s truly dreadful from start to finish – not a positive word to say about it I’m afraid!

Danny Salfield Wadeson
Can you elaborate? Do you mean in the sense you don’t think they’re easy to score or you’re not happy with the ‘interest value’ of them?

Andy S
Of course! For the Grand Strategies they are terrible. Ready to plunder is just take what’s theirs reworded, On the Mawpath requires you to complete FOUR book battle tactics in a game, Sage of the Monster Hunter requires your general to kill a monster and enough grub for all needs a full mawpot at the end of the game (it must have been emptied and refilled). As much as auto complete GS such these feel like a combination of impossible and copycats… for me they’re just a waste of ink and paper!

The Battle Tactics are slightly better to be fair… still not great but I think situationally you could see yourself picking something like Avalanche of Flash (cause more than 10 MWs from charging in a turn) if you had all your big boys lined up with kragnos behind. One of the ones that require you to have all or none of your units in combat could also come into play turn 4/5 if fewer units are in the board! Again, overall I think book BTs are meh though!

Danny Salfield Wadeson
Interesting! We’ll def be seeing how they shake out in the meta very soon, as they’re a popular army and they’ll be coming out of the woodwork with the new book.

To wrap up – stick a pin in where you think they’ll land competitively. Will the combo of good ranged output and tanky, fast monsters catapult them into A tier – or do you think it’s a big internal balance improvement that will struggle to win events? Who do you think are their red match ups?

Andy S
I think they will settle nicely in the mid-tier following their FAQ, unless cannons and gnoblars remain untouched then they will probably be higher! I think we will definitely see some good player pilot them to 5-0 with 4-1 being very achievable now.

In terms of red match ups – on the BCR side I think they are still very susceptible to good shooting/magic at range so armies! I envisage the new StD book being a massive red match up for the gutbusters too having played one game against them, good saves and decent rend on certain profiles will make for a really tough game!

Danny Salfield Wadeson
Interesting, I def see them as top third, maybe better – I know the results we’ve seen so far are probably somewhat down to the surprise factor – new books with glow ups often have that kind of spike, and Gnoblars MW output is surely broken and not long for this world. But they just have all the tools- strong long range firepower that’s hard to charge (because of the 10 shots with unleash hell), fast, durable monsters with shenanigans and slower, super heavy hitting foot troops. I feel with the 5+ wards the ‘Horns have, magic isn’t too oppressive for them, but I do see them potentially struggling against large tanky infantry units.

A big thanks to Andy for his time and thoughts on Ogors – which he’ll no doubt be terrorising our club with in the very near future. Follow him on Insta at @apprentice_of_sigmar

Product Review – Fortified Tower (Tabletop World)

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I hear the cry of male hobbyists the world over – ‘I’m disappointed in the size of my tower’, well, if your erections just aren’t quite piercing the clouds, fear not as I have a product review for you.

I recently picked up the Fortified Tower from Croatia based Tabletop World and tried it out, so you can see if it meets your needs.

This is a five piece resin kit (three of the pieces being the flag, pole and base). The main tower consists of just two pieces, with a little bit of internal detail which might be nice for D&D etc but not enough to do too much with as you only have that level plus the roof.

This kit can also be incorporated into Tabletop Worlds Town Walls kits, these look pretty interesting but for my purposes I only wanted the singular tower.

Tabletop World states that the resin comes pre-cleaned but I didn’t want to risk it and gave the beast a good wash and brush up with some washing up liquid. I was pleased and surprised to find no bubbles or problems with the product to repair, given the material (!), I don’t know if this is their usual quality but I was very pleased. The irregular stone effect of the sculpt looks great and I think you could really put as much or as little effort as you wanted into painting this and it will reward you.

I #slapchopped up the tower very simply and it took the paint very well. I then added some spots of Dirty Down moss on the odd ledge here and there.

The kit is a bit pricey at €65, or £54.90 from Element Games. This beast is absolutely rock solid though and feels like it will last as long as if it really were made of stone. Terrain always is a bit of an investment and I can use this for the Warhammer Fantasy Watchtower scenario objective, in Age of Sigmar or even in 40k for a feudal world.

I’ve added a few pics, with a little green friend, so you can see the scale and how mine turned out

All in all, I’m a fan and might pick some more up…. I’ll let you know!

Tournament Review: War in the Heartlands

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By Phil Marshall

My list

Allegiance: Slaves to Darkness
Damned Legion: Knights of the Empty Throne
– Mortal Realm: Ghur
– Grand Strategy: No Place for the Weak
– Triumphs: Inspired

Leaders
Knights of the Empty Throne Varanguard x 6 (560)*
General
– Daemonforged Blade and Warpsteel Shield
– Command Trait: Inescapable Doom
– Artefact: Grasping Plate
– Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
Knights of the Empty Throne Varanguard x 6 (560)**
Daemonforged Blade and Warpsteel Shield
– Artefact: Corrupted Nullstone
– Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)**
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
– Spell: Mask of Darkness
Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)**
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
– Spell: Mask of Darkness

Battleline
8 x Iron Golems (75)*
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
8 x Iron Golems (75)*
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
8 x Iron Golems (75)*
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
8 x Iron Golems (75)*
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch

Units
1 x Mindstealer Sphiranx (95)*

Behemoths
Chaos Warshrine (215)*
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
– Prayer1: Universal Prayer Scripture: Heal

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment
**Command Entourage – Magnificent

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 2000 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 124
Drops: 4

How it works

Knights of the Empty Throne – How does it work? In Knights of the Empty Throne, you are able to take Varanguard as Heroes, the first unit which is your general has Inescapable Doom and Grasping plate, meaning it can pile 6 inches and you cant retreat from this unit, the other unit has Corrupted Nullstone which is an auto unbind. The list is designed around two units of six Varanguard with the Mark of Tzeentch which allows the re-rolls of 1s to armour saves and gives units a 5+ spell ignore. Then you’ll look to really capitalise on these mechanics with other buff pieces in the army, which include two Sorcerer lords. Sorcerer lords have a built in mechanic called Orcular Visions which gives a unit +1 to save (this ability can stack), they are also wizards so offer the ability to cast mystic shield, demonic power (re-roll all hits and wounds) and mask of darkness (teleport). The final buff piece is the Warshrine, the prayer for Tzeentch is +1 save and a 4+ spell ignore, the only other prayer that may be used is Undivided which allows a unit to re-roll all hits and wounds. On top of this the Warshrine has an aura of 6+ ward which degrades as it takes damage. With all of these buff pieces it allows you to essentially make an unkillable unit (or two) of Varanguard. You can get +6 to your save re-rolling 1s once per game (oracular visions twice, mystic shield, Tzeentch Prayer, all out defence and finest hour), on top of this you can have a 4+ 5+ 5+ spell ignore as the Varanguard have a warscroll ability for spell ignore, mark of tzeentch grants spell ignore and then an additional spell ignore from the warshrine. As a result there are very few things that can deal with these units once they have the buffs on, you need to be able to do mass mortal wounds in the shooting and combat phase, otherwise there is a strong likelihood that you will never do any damage to this unit. I tend to evaluate the main threats of my opponents army and see how they have deployed, if I can capatalise on getting my general into the bulk of it and keeping them locked in combat for as long as possible. The rest of the list is designed to be very hard to kill with four units of iron golems who get +1 to their save if they havent made a normal move, meaning before rend they will be a 3+ re-rolling 1s.

Game 1 vs Ben Godbold – Slaves to Darkness – Silksteel Nests – Win 32-10

Ben’s List

Army Faction: Slaves to Darkness
Army Type: Despoilers
– Grand Strategy: Take What’s Theirs
– Triumph: Inspired

LEADERS
Chaos Lord on Karkadrak (225)**
Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Artefacts of Power: Helm of Many Eyes
Slaves to Darkness Daemon Prince (210)**
General
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Command Traits: Paragon of Ruin
– Hellforged Sword and Malefic Talons
– Artefacts of Power: Doombringer Blade
Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)**
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
– Spells: Mask of Darkness
Bloodsecrator (125)***
Sigvald (205)***

BATTLELINE
Chaos Knights (340)*
Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Cursed Lance and Chaos Runeshield
Chaos Marauders (180)*
Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Barbarian Axe and Darkwood Shield
Untamed Beasts (70)***
Mark of Chaos: Khorne
Untamed Beasts (70)***
Mark of Chaos: Khorne

OTHER
Varanguard (280)*
Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Fellspear and Warpsteel Shield
Iron Golems (75)***
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
Iron Golems (75)***
Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch

CORE BATTALIONS
*Bounty Hunters
**Command Entourage – Magnificent
***Battle Regiment

TOTAL POINTS: 1990/2000

This game was relatively straight forward, it was a honed Slaves to Darkness list against a variety of different slaves units in the Mark of Khorne. If you are familiar with slaves to darkness over the last two season you will know Tzeentch looks to keep your stuff alive. It was Ben’s first ever tournament and got unlucky pairing this round 1. Ben sent 3 Varanguard, Sigvald, Chaos lord on Karkadrak and khorne Deamon Prince into my general who had all their buffs up. At the end of combat, I had taken zero damage and everything that had gone against it had died, with the Varanguard using their once per game ability to pile in and fight twice. At the end of turn 3, Ben had lost all of units and I had lost 6 iron golems.

Game 2 vs Michael Lowis – Beasts of Chaos – Won’t Back Down – Win 28-17

His List

Allegiance: Beasts of Chaos
Greatfray: Gavespawn
– Grand Strategy: Protect the Herdstone
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Tzaangor Shaman of Beasts of Chaos (135)*
General
– Command Trait: Unravelling Aura
– Lore of the Twisted Wilds: Tendrils of Atrophy
Beastlord (95)**
Artefact: Mutating Gnarlblade
Great Bray-Shaman (100)*
Artefact: The Knowing Eye
– Lore of the Twisted Wilds: Vicious Stranglethorns
Great Bray-Shaman (100)*
Lore of the Twisted Wilds: Wild Rampage

Battleline
10 x Tzaangors of Beasts of Chaos (175)****
10x Pair of Savage Blade
10 x Tzaangors of Beasts of Chaos (175)****
10x Pair of Savage Blade
10 x Tzaangors of Beasts of Chaos (175)****
10x Pair of Savage Blade
10 x Ungors (65)*
Mauls & Half-Shields
10 x Ungors (65)**
Mauls & Half-Shields

Units
6 x Tzaangor Enlightened on Disc of Beasts of Chaos (360)***
Reinforced x 1
3 x Tzaangor Enlightened on Disc of Beasts of Chaos (180)***
3 x Tzaangor Enlightened on Disc of Beasts of Chaos (180)***
10 x Ungor Raiders (80)**
1 x Cockatrice (110)**

Core Battalions
*Warlord
**Vanguard
***Bounty Hunters
****Expert Conquerors

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 167
Drops: 14

Beasts of Chaos is usually a very bad match up for my list due to the board control that they can obtain through summoning as well as the amount of rend that they get on turn 3. There is only one way to play this match up and that is aggressive, you need to do as much damage as you can by turn 3 and see how you can stay in the game. I decided that I would screen out all the board edge of my territory to ensure nothing could be summoned behind me and let my Varanguard focus on heading down the middle of the table. I managed to get the double one into turn which allowed me to clear screens turn 1 and then get both units of VG with even stacks – both +2 to their saves. My General managed to tag 12 enlightened and 30 tzaangor meaning I had them locked where I needed them. In the two subsequent combat phases, I managed to take all of this off at the expense of 3 Varanguard across both units. At this point, I had the board control and was up on points with easy battle tactics left to do.

Game 3 vs Max Barton – Maggotkin of Nurgle – Prize of Gallet – Win 22-15

His List

Allegiance: Maggotkin of Nurgle
Subfaction: Drowned Men
– Grand Strategy: No Place for the Weak
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Leaders
Lord of Blights (150)*
General
– Command Trait: Infernal Conduit
– Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
Lore of Malignance: Rancid Visitations
Orghotts Daemonspew (320)*

Battleline
2 x Pusgoyle Blightlords (250)*
1x Dolorous Tocsin
2 x Pusgoyle Blightlords (250)*
1x Dolorous Tocsin
2 x Pusgoyle Blightlords (250)*
1x Dolorous Tocsin
2 x Pusgoyle Blightlords (250)*
1x Dolorous Tocsin
4 x Pusgoyle Blightlords (500)*
2x Dolorous Tocsin
– Reinforced x 1

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Total: 1970 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 1 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 117
Drops: 1

So we had a Team England face off to finish day one. This game was a chess match for the first 1.5 turns with staying out of threat ranges and not really engaging each other. I had won priority from 1 into 2 and gave it to Max to allow me the opportunity at the double turn 2 into 3, which I did. In my turn 2 my general burnt their once per game fight twice and managed to take off 4 flies. With the double I decided to risk it and mask of darkness my general down the board and risk the 9 inch charge, knowing if I make it the bulk of Max’s army is locked in combat the rest of the game. We made the charge and there went any chance of Max being able to do require damage. The all fly nurgle list is so reliant on the impact hits to damage to the Varanguard.

Game 4 vs Marc Brookes – Maggotkin of Nurgle – Nidus Paths – Loss 24-25

His List

Allegiance: Maggotkin of Nurgle
Subfaction: Blessed Sons
-Grand Strategy: Show of Dominance
-Triumphs:

Leaders
Bloab Rotspawned (320)
Lore of Malignance: Gift of Disease
Great Unclean One (495)
General
-Plague Fall & Massive Bilesword
-Command Trait Nurgling infestation
-Artefact The Witherstave
-Universal Spell Lore Flaming Weapon
Orghotts Daemonspew (320)
Gutrot Spume (170)
Morbidex Twiceborn (320)

Battleline
10 x Rotmire Creed (125)*
10 x Rotmire Creed (125)*
10 x Rotmire Creed (125)*

Core Battalions
*Expert Conquerors

Total: 2000/2000
Reinforced Units: 0/4
Allies: 0/400
Wounds: 95
Drops: 8

Again this was a very cagey game for the first 1.5 turns. I was looking for an opportunity to pin bloab, great unclean one, Orghotts and Morbidex. This came in my turn 2 and despite having all my save stacks, the mortal wound out put was obnoxious, the great unclean ones version of the stomp 4 MWs, stomp D3 MWs, disease with the witherstave being on a 3+ and ward saves of a 6 doing a MW back to me. Kept them locked for long enough but the game was very close and slowly away from me. I had to play for the double 4 into 5 to have a chance at winning the game but at the same time risk losing if I don’t get priority. So what was required, if I complete my grand strat I win, 3 Varanguard go into 10 rotmire creed, fighting twice, failed to kill them, grand strat failed. Nurgle final turn had to kill my warshrine with Gutrot Spume with 7 wounds left, couldn’t make a save and lost by 1VP.

Game 5 vs Sam Barker – Stormcast Eternals – Close the Chest – Win 32-22

Allegiance: Stormcast Eternals
– Stormhost: Hammers of Sigmar (Scions of the Storm)
– Grand Strategy: No Place for the Weak
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty


LEADERS
Knight-Draconis
(300)
Lord-Celestant on Stardrake (500)
– General
– Command Trait: Master of Magic – Celestine Hammer
– Artefact: Arcane Tome
– Mount Trait: Scintillating Trail
– Spell: Celestial Blades


UNITS
4 x Dracothian Guard Fulminators
(460)*
2 x Stormdrake Guard (340)*
– Drakerider’s Lance
2 x Stormdrake Guard (340)*
– Drakerider’s Lance

CORE BATTALIONS
*Bounty Hunters

ADDITIONAL ENHANCEMENTS
Holy Command: Steadfast March

TOTAL: 1940/2000
WOUNDS: 89
ALLIES: 0/400
REINFORCED UNITS: 1/4
DROPS: 5

This match up again is usually pretty dicey for the Slaves to Darkness as all it takes is the dragons to spike on their breath, unfortunately for Sam he rolled terribly for these. I knew it was bad but I thought I would take every opportunity granted to me. Sam made a bit of a misplay by bringing down his fulminators turn 1 to try and take of my screens for the dragons to captalise on later in the game. I decided to put +2 save onto my non general unit with all re-roll hits and wounds, masked them down the board to try and take off the storm drake and then auto ran my general to be with 6” of his fulminators and opted to not re-deploy. I made the charge with my non general unit of Varanguard killing the stormdrake and then piled in 6” into fulminators taking them all off as well. I won prior and gave it away looking for a better double later on. My turn 2 I managed to take off the remaining four dragons and he was left with Knight Draconis. I failed to win another priority which meant I was chasing Draconis around the board for 3 turns till he finally succumbed in turn 5.

Orruk Warclans Battletome Review: Big Waaagh

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Allegiance Abilities

Woehammer Winner:
The Power of the Waaagh! is the undisputed champion in this slot and is one of the reasons that Big Waaagh! army that is Ironjawz + Wurrgog is arguably stronger that pure Ironjawz. At eight different points in a battle round, your army can earn Waaagh! points:

  • D6pts at the start of your hero phase
  • 2pts at the start of your hero phase if a friendly Warchanter is on the battlefield
  • 1pt at the start of your hero phase if a friendly Bonesplitterz Wizard (i.e. probably a Wurrgog Prophet) is on the battlefield
  • 1-5pts as a heroic action in your hero phase
  • 1pt in your charge phase for each friendly Orruk unit that finishes a charge move
  • 1pt at the end of your combat phase for each friendly Orruk unit that is within 3” of an enemy unit
  • 1-5pts as a heroic action in your opponent’s hero phase
  • 1pt at the end of your combat phase for each friendly Orruk unit that is within 3” of an enemy unit

Arguably I’ve duplicated those last two, but I think it’s worth it to point out that if you lean into it, the points can mount up quickly. As for what you get for these points, they start at 8pts for +1 to run rolls; 10pts for +1 to charge rolls; 12pts for +1 to cast, dispel and unbind; 16pts for +1 to hit in melee; 20pts for +1 to wound. And here’s the magic: they are cumulative, so you get ALL the buffs at 20pts. At 24pts, you can release the Power of the Waaagh! which you should NEVER IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DO! The reason for this is that your Waaagh! points revert to zero for the pathetic buff of +1 to attacks characteristics for ONE combat phase. Hitting and wounding on 2s is better than having one extra attack that hits and wounds on 3s. In addition, there is a battle tactic that requires you to have at least 24 Waaagh! points at the start of the turn and then have at least 30 by the end of the turn. If you release the Power of the Waaagh!, you give away one of the easiest, if not the easiest battle tactic in Age of Sigmar.

Honourable Mention:
Although you don’t get the full benefits from each sub-faction when you include them as part of Big Waaagh!, you do get some of the juicy rules with Kunnin’, Brutal and Savage. Namely, you get Venom Encrusted Weapons for any Kruleboyz units (see Part 1 for more details); Mighty Destroyers for any Ironjawz units (see Part 2 for more details); Warpaint for any Bonesplitterz units (6+ Ward). This helps to give a little extra flavour and efficiency to each of these units, which is important as…

Warclans

…you don’t get any! The point of Big Waaagh! is that all the Orruks come together from many Warclans so there aren’t any rules for separate Warclans.

Command Traits

Woehammer Winner:
There are lots of command traits available for your Big Waaagh! general, but it does depend on which sub-faction (Kruleboyz, Ironjawz or Bonesplitterz) your general comes from. Who your general is probably depends on what else your army is trying to do, so there are a few ways you could go here. Assuming that we’re going with either an Ironjawz Warchanter or even a Megaboss on Mawkrusha, Touched by the Waaagh! not only has Waaagh! in the name (so it must be good), but also allows an Ironjawz Wizard (thanks Arcane Tome!) to do D3 wounds to a unit within 6” of itself and add that to the cast roll. Once you’ve got to 12 Waaagh! points then that’s D3+1, allowing a relatively straightforward cast of your key spell: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork.

Honourable Mention:
Maybe you have Chronomantic Cogs to help with spells going off or maybe you want to go full aggro, but an honourable mention is Supa Sneaky from the Kruleboyz part of the tome, probably put on a Mirebrute Troggoth with Fast ‘Un. Just as with Kruleboyz, this means you can put this very angry trog 9” away from the enemy and then move them 5” forward for an almost guaranteed charge. You can potentially combo this with Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork and Mighty Destroyers to start movement phase one with the Mirebrute and six Gore Gruntas 4” or less from your opponent’s front lines, possibly with a Mawkrusha about to move an extra 12” to be able to absolutely decimate your enemy. The caveat with this combo is Big Waaagh! lists often want to have multiple artefacts and/or mount traits so you may not have the option of who goes first, which puts your general at a disadvantage if you do Supa Sneaky him. However, if you stick with just one artefact (Glowin’ Tattooz), take a Weirdnob Shaman for Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork in place of Arcane Tome and the other options listed above, you can get to a double battle regiment, two-drop list.

Artefacts

Woehammer Winner:
If you’re taking the Wurrgog then you need to take Glowin’ Tattooz to improve the Ward save of a hero to 4+ instead of 6+. For your opponent, this takes the Wurrgog Prophet from a threat to an absolute nightmare to get within 12” of, knowing that it can kill absolutely anything in the game.

Honourable Mention:
Almost every Big Waaagh! list will feature Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork and almost none of them will feature a Weirdnob Shaman to cast it. Instead, the Arcane Tome fills in, allowing a Warchanter or Megaboss to ping any Orruk unit (i.e. not just Ironjawz) 9” away from the enemy.

Mount Traits

Woehammer Winner:
By this point, you can probably guess what’s coming…that’s right, it’s Fast ‘Un! One of the reasons for going Big Waaagh! vs. Ironjawz is to be able to take the Wurrgog Prophet, but almost as compelling is the ability to take the Breakaboss on Mirebrute Troggoth. And as Glowin’ Tattooz is practically compulsory on a Prophet, Fast ‘Un is practically compulsory on a Mirebrute. It’s obviously also amazing on a Mawkrusha and even a Sludgeraker as a budget version of the Mawkrusha.

Honourable Mention:
As command traits are at an absolute premium and you won’t be taking Hulking Brute over the options above, the next best option is Smelly ‘Un for that extra survivability on (likely) your Mawkrusha. With a 3+ save base, add in -1 to hit when not charging, +1 to saves from Their Finest Hour, All out Defence for an extra +1 and even Mystic Shield, that Mawkrusha is not going down short of getting in trouble with Kragnos and it will hit back tremendously hard, possibly clearing the unit that had the temerity of attacking it, ready to move on to some fresh victims!

Spell Lore

Woehammer Winner:
It has been mentioned several times already, but Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork is the first spell that should be on your army list. Mawkrushas and Gore Gruntas are relatively quick without it, but practically everything else you’ll be taking in Big Waaagh is slow. Add in the combination explained in Part 2 of these reviews where you Hand of Gork Gore Gruntas 12.1” away from an enemy and then Mighty Destroyers it 9” in the hero phase, circumventing Redeploy, then you’ve got a winning combo. It also works on anything with the Orruk keyword, not just Ironjawz, so throw those Boltboyz in danger-close or even some Big Stabbas.

Honourable Mention:
There is a very strong case for Nasty Hex taking this slot, particularly in the current meta with lots of ghosts and gross flies wafting around the place. But you do need to either take a Swampcalla Shaman to access it or put the Arcane Tome on a Kruleboyz character. It is much more likely that you’re going to have access to a Bonesplitterz wizard as the Wurrgog is also a wizard when there’s nothing to stare to death within 12” at the start of the hero phase. The spell you’d go for in this case, would probably be Gorkamorka’s War Cry in order to make an enemy unit fight at the end of the phase. Losing out on the Kruleboyz Waaagh! and Smashing and Bashing means that the fight phase is not in your control as you would ideally like. War Cry goes some way to redressing this balance in the favour of the Orruk player.

Grand Strategies

Woehammer Winner:
Applying the same logic as I did with the Command Traits, then Waaagh! has to be the option here and it’s definitely worth considering if your general is a Mawkrusha and/or you have taken a big unit of Brutes that can be dropped in by Gork. In almost all games, your Mawkrusha (if you take one) will be wanting to do work in your opponent’s territory and even on foot, Brutes (or even 15 Ardboyz) should be able to make it across the battlefield in five turns!

Honourable Mention:
With the manoeuvrability of Big Waaagh! then an honourable mention is No Place for the Weak, particularly if you have included either a Warlord or Command Entourage battalion because then you’re not winning the drop game and you may as well also make the Gore Gruntas you take (and you will want at least six) to be bounty hunters. With a Warchanter buff on them, that’s 3 damage vs. Galletian Veterans, making those battleline units disappear very quickly. Alternatively, if you’re playing a bit more cagey in the first couple of turns with a Mawkrusha, then by turn three, anything that is a genuine threat to your big angry cabbage might already be dead, allowing him to roam the board, chewing up and spitting out any battleline he can find.

Battle Tactics

Woehammer Winner:
As alluded to earlier, Big Waaagh! have a book battle tactic that is ridiculously easy to pull off with Wait For It, Ladz. You need to fulfil the following to conditions: have at least 24 Waaagh! points at the start of the turn; have at least 30 Waaagh! points at the end of the turn. It is very likely that you will be at 24 Waaagh! points by the start of battle round 4 and it’s practically guaranteed to be there by battle round 5. If you ever start a battle round with 30 Waaagh! points, then it’s already scored…even if you are tabled!

Honourable Mention:
With Wait For It Ladz being our likely turn 5 battle tactic, Barge Through Enemy Lines is a great choice for turn 4 as Big Waaagh! is a melee-centric faction with the buffs from the Power of the Waaagh. Therefore you probably have one Galletian Veterans unit relatively close to enemy territory by this turn and a sneaky Hand of Gork could pop another one in, scoring not only the battle tactic, but the bonus point too.

Warscrolls

Woehammer Winner:
The core of your Big Waaagh! list will most likely be Ironjawz as they have the best battleline and Gore Gruntas are great. The warscrolls we’re going to focus on are the two warscrolls that are the most common non-Ironjawz units chosen: Wurrgog Prophet and Breakaboss on Mirebrute Troggoth. Please check out Part 3 of the Orruk Warclans book for more information about what the Wurrgog does and why he’s so fun, but I’m going to give you an example of what he can do with Big Waaagh! If you also have a Mawkrusha in your list, then it is a high-value target that your opponent will want to take out, but sufficiently tanky that something quite substantial needs to be committed to remove it from the board. If you have a Wurrgog Prophet within 12” of your Mawkrusha, your opponent can still charge, but then you’re perfectly placed to ‘Hard Stare’ that unit out of existence if they succeed with the Mawkrusha. You could even point this out to your opponent to check to see if they really want to take that risk. If they choose not to charge, you win. If they choose to charge and the Mawkrusha destroys them, you win. If the Mawkrusha dies, then you win as you then get to play ‘Whose head will blow up first?’, which is fun whichever head pops first! Just don’t try this with Morathi as she ruins all our fun.

Honourable Mention:
The other unit is the Breakaboss on Mirebrute Troggoth. You’re not going to find a much more efficient way of delivering up to five damage 2 attacks and ten (!) damage 3 attacks than the Mirebrute. With the Supa Sneaky or Hand of Gork + Fast ‘Un combo, you’re almost guaranteed to get into combat and then he can do some severe damage. In your opponent’s turn, popping Their Finest Hour and All out Defence can make him hang around longer than he really should and if (when) he dies, who cares! He was only 180pts and he probably wiped a fairly premium unit and held your opponent up a turn while potentially a Mawkrusha and Gore Gruntas hammered the other flank.

Final Thoughts

Big Waaagh! is what you choose if you like Ironjawz, but want a few more techy options; or if you like Kruleboyz but want to be a bit tougher and faster; or if you like Bonesplitterz but fancy having a big monster run around the place. It’s also a really fun army from a hobby perspective as you can take all these disparate sculpts and bring them together as a cohesive whole with which to stomp the enemy with. It’s also quite a rare army to see out in the wild, so if you have a few Ironjawz, half a Dominion box and some Savage Orcs from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, then maybe give them a try.

This is the last part of the Orruk Warclans Battletome Review. Is there anything that we missed? Any combos not mentioned? Are any of our choices just plain wrong?! Please leave a comment below, in the Woehammer Discord or even contact me at @yeliabnoreik on Twitter. There’s just one thing left to say and that’s: WAAAGH!

Lumineth Realm-Lords Battletome Review

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Poots
OK, I have returned from the dentist and all of my teeth are back in my head. Hopefully that remains the case for a while. Let’s talk Lumineth Realm-lords. Overall I’m pretty happy with what I’ve seen. The core rules of the army are flavorful, and encourage a very unique play-style. The Realm-lords are built to be the essential “Take All Comers” faction, and I think they will fit into that role well. The artifacts and command traits encourage players to build their heroes in such a way that emphasizes their strengths, and Teclis looks just as powerful as a god should be. I’m not completely happy with the internal balance of the book, which we can get into later, but there are plenty of viable builds presented. What are your thoughts on the core rules of the army?

Danny
I more or less echo that sentiment! High level – combined with what I’m hearing from my shiny, pointy-eared Clubmates, is that the feel of the army has changed significantly. On the overall plus side, the Great Nations are much better balanced now, offering a variety of contrasting play-styles. The main army rules are unchanged – and remain as useful and thematic as before. In true LRL fashion they have a lot of bling – i mean, enhancements – to choose from. But I think in many ways, discussing them will make more sense after considering the units. What were your gripes with the internal balance on the unit side?

Poots
Specifically with the durability of the Alarith units and rules. Taking the Ymetrica great nation allows your Alarith units to ignore Rend -1 and Rend -2, giving the Stoneguard units easy access to a 3+ that is potentially unrendable against many armies. They gain a 4+ ward when contesting an objective that is controlled by the LRL player, which means when those attacks do penetrate the armor, there is a 50% chance of the wound being shrugged. Overall I feel the combination makes those units so powerful that they overshadow many other elements of the book, and may encourage a mono-build faction.

The balancing point would be their relatively limited damage output, but if you can consistently hold primary objectives, you don’t necessarily need to destroy your opponent’s units. Ignoring that, however, the rest of the book is great. Most units seemed to come out of the new book without any major nerfs, and the Stoneguard and Windchargers are the only units that received major buffs (notably the Windchargers’ ability to ignore ward saves). Teclis took a minor blow, limiting his spellcasting slightly as he suffers wounds, but he received a points drop to counter that, which I think leaves him in a great position. Are there any warscroll winners in your opinion?

Danny
Yeah it does seem like Alarith and Stoneguard rules are very pushed in this book. Bear in mind the objective ward is only against MWs – but it’s still very strong and with Speed of Hysh it’s easy enough for them to zoom onto an objective to proc the ward. Pair that with generic or named Big Cow – who can target an enemy unit within 18″ for a -1 to hit (ranged AND melee) and Alarith can actually be insanely tanky on paper. You’re right they don’t slap the hardest but with a decent number of attacks – and the Stonemage giving them MWs on 5s to hit – they can still bring the pain! Agreed that Windchargers got a big glow up – ignoring wards and their extra shot being extended to 6″ is huge, both for zooming up to something and making it a pin-cushion or UH behind a screen.

The other biggest glow ups for me are Avalenor, Eltharion and the Ballistas. Eltharion now absolutely slaps, dealing extra damage to monsters and being on an unrendable 3+ by default kinda makes him a mini-Gotrek in some ways – certainly has rules befitting his beautiful model now. The Ballistas also got pretty reliable for their points, and adding one more source of targeted -1 to hit (once per battle in their case) is icing on the cake. Have GW finally figured out how to balance artillery!? How do you feel the Enhancements and streamlined spell lores fit in with the newly improved heroes?

Poots
The artefacts are all pretty viable, with some really standout choices for each type of hero. The Waystone would allow you to build a versatile Vannari hero, since it provides a free 13″ teleport with the ability to deploy at least 3″ from an enemy. This could either get your beatstick in range of an unprotected hero, or allow them to jump through terrain to grab an unoccupied objectve. The Silver Wand is a straightforward, but great artefact providing an extra spell cast for a Scinari hero, and while the Arcane Tome would do a similar job, I expect the balance scroll may make the Arcane Tome less appealing. The other artefacts are all decent, but I think that those two are the standouts for me.

The Command Traits set the book up to make list building interesting. All of them are good, and all of them buff the heroes to do the job they are designed for. This will make picking the general for your Realm-lords list a slightly difficult prospect, since you will wish for ways to take more than one. Almighty Blow and Swift are both simple, but deceptively good. The first allows for some pretty reliable mortal wound output, and the second makes it much easier to place your Wizard more efficiently.

There may be too many to dig into in this article, but what are your thoughts on the spells?

Danny
Agreed, the Artifacts/Command traits seem nicely balanced and should give a fair bit of flex and depth to your hero makeup. Spell lore wise, things have been streamlined a little – which was necessary, both from a book keeping standpoint and general external balance. Lambent Light has gone (re-rolling failed hits) which makes sense as that was the primary vector for abusing Sentinels. Solar Eclipse, another spell on the ‘watch list’ remains but had it’s CV increased to 9.

The new lores are mainly balance tweaks like this – but the higher CVs are mitigated by most casters now having a built in once per battle auto-cast on their warscroll. Either way, LRL still have an incredible magical toolkit – with Howling Gale for turning off CAs at 12″, the new Unbreakable Stoicism spell for allowing Stoneguard to do MWs on 5s instead of 6s, and the good old teleport spell ‘Transporting Vortex’, which when combined with Stoneguard and their mw ward of 4+ on objectives they control, will allow you to plonk them down T1 and ask your opponent some rock-hard questions.

How do you feel the tweaks to the Great Nations have ended up?

Poots
I think the Great Nations are all pretty great (see what I did there?). Ymetrica has already been mentioned, and is the go-to for building extremely tanky Alarith units, but I won’t say that it’s a standout winner. All of the Great Nations strike me as useful, it’s just a matter of how you want to build your army. If you want to focus on spellcasting, Zaitrec provides your wizards with a +1 bonus to casting, dispelling, and unbinding rolls, which will help offset the high casting value of the Realm-lord spell lore. Meanwhile, if you want to have extremely powerful Vanari Sentinels, Helon increases the Attacks characteristic of your ranged weapons if your target is within 6″. Syar and Illiatha boost Aetherquartz reserves, and Alumnia rewards you for playing tight formations. Most tomes that have been released so far leave me thinking there are either one or two subfactions that are better than the rest, and here I can honestly say that I can see relatively equal value in all of what’s presented. I think that leaves us with the Matched Play rules. How do you feel about the Grand Strategies and Battle Tactics?

Danny
Interesting, I didn’t think of Sentinels as benefiting much from Helon – I think it’s Windchargers that become a real menace there though. A reinforced unit of 10 is able to fly forward 12″, ignoring terrain – say it can get within 6″ of an enemy unit, and then put out 31 attacks – with AoD on 2/3/-1/1, ignoring ward saves – before charging for 10 more attacks 3/3/-1/1 and 20 3/4/-/1 from the mounts OR proccing ‘Move Like The Wind’ to pile in 6″ in ANY direction – i.e. sling-shotting themselves out of engagement range. That’s a powerful drive..well, ride-by.

The Matched Play rules are seeming really quite pushed in the most recent books. We discussed how DoT’s bump them up a tier instantly – LRL fare pretty darn well too. In terms of Grand Strats, it’s a mixed bag, but ‘Alarith Aftershock: 2+ friendly Alarith units contesting 2+ objectives’ is very doable unless you’ve been tabled in which case, who cares. Battle Tacs are much easier. Now ballistas are good, ‘kill a monster with one’ is going to be an obvious pick, especially if you’ve taken 2, once you leave a monster on around 3-4 wounds. ‘Kill an enemy unit with a unit with an aetherquartz reserve, without spending that reserve’ is also going to be fairly trivial when the time is right. ‘Cast 4 spells’ is extra points for exactly what you want to do, and will be easily able to do against all but the most magic dominant armies, especially factoring in the auto-casts. ‘Have 2+ endless spells at the end of the turn’ will be super easy first turn most of the time. By and large, I think they’re just about within acceptable parameters. The main issue I have with them is, when the LRL picks then, 9/10 times they will just be utterly non-interactive and impossible to deny.

Mind you, given how techy the rest of the army is, maybe anything more complicated would have been the mental straw that broke the camel’s mind.

So to cap off – let’s pin our hats to the wall again – competitive rating guess?

Poots
I think this will be a top tier army, competitively, but I’m not sure if we’ll see spam lists the same way we do with other high performing armies. I suspect that players will lean heavily on windchargers and stoneguard, and a fair few of their battle tactics can be instantly scored by Teclis. Given what we’ve shown above, though, I’m not sure that the army composition is what will win games, so much as the battle tactics. I think the ability to easily score points will drive the win rate above 50%, but I honestly think there are other factions that will be good counters for them. DoT and ThunderKroak will counter their magic, and hard-hitting armies like DoK may be able to remove the problem units before they become an issue. Overall, I think their win rate will be above 50%, but I don’t know that they will break 55%.

Closing Comments
As we’ve been a little slow in posting this review, there’s been a chance for some new lists to meet the (searing) light of day – with some success, it seems!

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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