So I’ve finally gotten around to playing a game against the new Ogre Kingdoms (and the new Tomb Kings actually, not 24 hours later using the same Dwarf army list). The game itself was a bit on the crazy side — my historically lousy dice finally decided to roll some 6’s and things really got out of hand fast — but the game definitely upheld many of the same old tenets of 8th edition play.
For starters, size definitely matters. Not just in terms of getting big gribbly monsters on the board, but also in terms of unit size. With the many points decreases in the Ogre Kingdoms book, my friend Nathan essentially threw together a 7th edition army list, but with more characters and multiple (smallish) units of Bulls, Ironguts, Maneaters and Leadbelchers. Basically just a quick “little bit of everything” style list to test the waters using the new book. When faced with decent troops, ie. a unit of Dwarf Warriors with great weapons in horde formation, individual Ogre units without character or magic support simply get evapobliterated.
In that game, I saw a unit of 4 kitted-to-the-teeth Maneaters disappear in a pink mist upon charging the unit of 36 horded-out Warriors. Sure, they killed a handful on the Impact Hits and another handful with their 20 attacks… but then they all died. And the Dwarfs didn’t even roll that great. 31 attacks hitting with S5 should easily kill those Maneaters probably 50% of the time. Just imagine how much worse it would have been if the unit had character support, or if they were Longbeards with S6. Units like Chaos Warriors will get even more attacks, hit more easily, and actually strike first instead of last. Simply put, the Maneaters charging a decent horde unit are f***ed. Seriously. Don’t do it.
And it’s not just hordes, either. Elite infantry ranked 5-wide are still a pain for Ogres. A unit of 6 Bulls with Ironfists bounced off of 25 Ironbreakers without making so much as a dent in their ranks. 18 S4 attacks plus all those stomps and impact hits sounds great, but it’s still not safe to assume they’ll be able to beat a unit without help. Combo charges, stacking multiple Augment spells, and softening up targets with shooting are all just as important as ever.
So by now you’ve probably realized the obvious: Playing an 8th edition army without using any of the new toys isn’t the best way to do it. So let’s take a look at the sample lists that I am suggesting Nathan try out. They look fun, well-rounded and he owns most of the models. Adding a couple new monsters to his list won’t break the bank, and I bet he’ll really enjoy working on the new kits, too.
1500pt Core Force (1489 actually… or 1484 with the Thiefstone option on the Slaughtermaster)
L4, Armor of Silvered Steel or Talisman of Preservation or Gnoblar Thiefstone
BSB, Heavy Armor, Ironfist, Trickster Helm (T5, W4, 3+ armor, 6++ Parry and force enemies to re-roll to wound? Yes, plz.)
L1, Additional Hand Weapon (cheap, flaming attacks and delivers a S4 breath weapon when you need an extra boost. Flaming Sword of Rhuin or good old Fireball would be a good bet.)
Full Command, Lookout Gnoblar
Full Command, Lookout Gnoblar
3x Mournfang Cavalry
Musician, Standard Bearer, Ironfists
The core of the army is pretty simple. 2 characters join the Ironguts (probably the BSB and Firebelly if you are worried about knocking down regen for the Ironguts to merrily slay monsters) and 1 in with the Bulls (Slaughtermaster usually). The Bruiser, despite being a BSB, is actually a great shutdown character. Most attacks thrown against him are pretty much wasted. High toughness (5), lots of wounds (4), solid save (3+ and 6++ Parry) and the Trickster Helm forcing enemies to re-roll when they successfully wound.
Seriously, this guy is a great tank. A High Elf Noble with great weapon, for example, will do 0.27 wounds per turn to this guy. Not bad, for hitting and wounding on 3’s (with a re-roll to hit) and -3 to the armor save. Every dinky little S3 attack allocated against him (assuming they hit him on 4+) has a whopping 0.38% chance of wounding. Every time a rank and file trooper scratches him, it should automatically trigger a spontaneous Ewok village party.
The Mournfang Cavalry are the heavy hitters and have staying power in the form of 2+ armor and 6+ Parry. Still, there’s only three of them so don’t throw them against really dangerous units on their own or they will get ground down to a nub and broken.
Sabertusks are an interesting choice in the new book. At 1+ unit size and M8 with Swiftstride, they can be a good harasser unit. Sort of like a poor man’s Great Eagle. They are 42% the cost of an Eagle and can still threaten crews or solo characters. Not too shabby for a throwaway unit. Just don’t ever expect them to rally if they panic; they’re stuck at Ld4 and can’s use Inspiring Presence or the BSB re-roll for Ld checks. The rules for Sabertusks are just beautifully executed… a potentially awesome bargain but with a very large and characterful drawback to prevent them from being open to abuse.
And the rest…
1000pt Supplement (1008, for a total of 2497)
(added to the existing unit)
Musician, Standard Bearer, Banner of the Eternal Flame, Handguns (Sniper + Poison for their Been There, Done That ability)
The supplemental units really add all the depth to the list, as you’d expect. In addition to reinforcing the Ironguts and adding a utility unit of 4 Bulls, you get some honest-to-god ranged threats.
The Thundertusk has that nifty little snowball attack, which is respectable S3 small template to thin enemy ranks a bit, the crew get in on the action with a couple of various S6 shooting attacks, and the Ironblaster is a fairly beefy cannon. The S10 grapeshot is neat, but the chance to roll two artillery dice for the bounce (and pick the highest) is probably more useful. Ask any Empire player how much fun it is to have their Great Cannons get stuck in the mud…
In combat, both these two units are pretty decent as well. They can give you just enough extra attacks/impact hits/stomp attacks to swing a crucial combat and have the toughness to not be a liability on return attacks. The ASL aura delivered by the Thundertusk’s Numbing Chill ability deserves mention, too. This can make a big difference, either by negating enemy ASF re-rolls or by letting your Ogres strike at full force before they get whittled down by incoming attacks. Bulls aren’t as nasty as they look, so this can help them deliver their painfully slow attacks onto the target.
Finally, there are the Maneaters. These guys are the subject of much debate as to their true value on the field. With Sniper and Poisoned Attacks via Been There, Done That, they can deliver some S4 armor piercing death to enemy characters or solo models (I’m looking at you, Mr. Hellpit).
Toss the Banner of Eternal Flame into the mix, and they are a great unit for killing Regenerating enemy monsters and units — at range or up close and personal in combat. Those “pistols” give them additional hand weapons, meaning 5 S5 attacks per model. Plus impact hits and/or stomps. They are as fragile as any Ogre unit, but I really do believe that they will be able to deliver critical wound support where it counts. Just don’t throw them up against full units without support, or they will die.
These lists are just barely scratching the surface of what the book can do. Building themed lists around any of the different units, ie. more Monsters/Mournfang Cavalry, going truly magic heavy (with multiple lores available), taking extra smashy characters, or even the dreaded 18+ Irongut Deathstar. But I think it gives you a good taste of the new options available to Tyrants everywhere. You can shoot a lot more effectively than ever before. Leadbelchers, while much more reliable than before, remain a bit underwhelming… but those Ironblasters and flaming/sniping/poisoning Maneaters can really be a nasty surprise for enemy characters or monsters.
For the first time in a good long while, Ogres are a legitimate contender again; they can kick ass and look good while doing it. I think Ogre players will be very happy with this book. Yet another excellent army release for 8th edition.