Friday, 7 September 2012

Gnashbad Dun Good

Second? I came second? Surely some mistake somewhere. Probably mine. To be fair, it's really joint second with the Slavish Skaven of Leofa, I'm not convinced points difference really cuts the mustard. But equally, I was robbed of a better result against the Empire, so I guess I'll take my winnings where I may.

I'm delighted with how the Orcs did, though - I really can't fault them. Fun to play, solid performances almost across the board, and some very entertaining moments. Like the Enterprise of Campogrotto, I think they deserve proper performance notes.

Gnashbad da Bad

Was it worth taking a full lord for such a small army? I should say so. Gnashbad went down a couple of times, first in an optimistic one-on-one against the Ogre Butcher with Beast of Horros in play, then later in my awful performance against the puny humans. But then, it was because his poxy unit fled so slowly.

Otherwise, he never disappointed, whether it was butchering every character the undead could send against him or brutalising his own fractious troops. 160 points for a killing machine whose leadership not only helped hold the line, but also cancelled out a lot of animosity. And he didn't even need magic items to dominate most of his combats. That extra point of Ld is not overkill in an orky army, not in my book.

Rating - Orksome, dude. 

Night Goblin Shaman (various)

Okay, I knew I'd need a wizard of some kind, and this was the cheapest I could manage. I had no expectations here, so frankly, I'm stunned. Eliminating almost a whole skink unit with a Bad Moon? Nearly killing the Vampire general with headshots? Getting killed by his own side? 50 points, and so very worth it for entertainment alone.

Rating - Eezer Good

Big 'Uns

I only took one unit of orcs, and I wavered for a long time about whether to take the upgrade. Given that the extra strength makes them the same as Empire Greatswords in that crucial first round of combat, I'm very glad I did. They didn't always impress, but they were directly responsible for most of my wins. Frail, though -  no armour to speak of meant they took a lot of casualties. But that 5 point magic banner, allowing a re-roll on the first failed Ld test in a game, made up for that, especially with Gnashbad in the front line.

The extra attacks impressed me greatly. Having just been reading up on the Chaos army I'll never get round to buying or painting, I know how my marauders would be armed.

Rating - Tom Hanks' Greatest Hitters

Redclaw Goblin Spears

Meh. Dirt cheap army filler, and managed to last marginally longer than expected a couple of times. But otherwise, meh. They embarrassed against the undead, fleeing and leaving the main unit horribly flanked. They broke pretty much every time they fought, against Ogres, Empire and Lizards. I kept them back against the Skaven, and a good job too. Even the fanatics were disappointing, probably worrying my opponents more than they deserved. That might be worth it, but in the future, I'd probably go for a second, smaller orc unit.

Rating - Phalanx for nothing

Redclaw Archers

They nearly killed the Thundertusk. That was an early high. Sadly, it was also their only high. These guys were worse than the spears, mostly thanks to a particularly awful set of animosity rolls. They fled the Empire over a petty burning head. They killed the shaman (actually due to poorly understood rules, not that I'd change it for the world). I can't think of anything else they managed that was worth anything. But for 60 points, I couldn't really expect much, I suppose. Equally, those points might have been better spent on a better shaman or some magic gear elsewhere.

Rating - What a Waste of Bloody Points, Should Have Bought a Banner (to the tune of The Archers)

Spider Riders

Yes. Yes please, more of these. The magic they worked on the Ogre missile line was never quite repeated, but their mobility was invaluable in a generally slow army. I misused them a couple of times - they should have finished off the Skaven jezzails, and they shouldn't have attacked the Empire Greatswords over a fence that any normal giant spider would have leapt clean over effortlessly. Otherwise, I just wish I'd had a couple more and given them bows and a banner.

Actually, every army who had fast cavalry got their money's worth out of them, I reckon. I'd have liked to see some skirmishers out there too, but I don't think any of us had fast enough armies that the extra speed and flanking wasn't very handy indeed.

Rating - Catches Points Just Like Flies

Brod the Giant

Poor old Brod. Only against the Lizards did he shine, where he drove off their heavy cavalry and general. But even there, it was a falling comet that finished the job, not his heavy club. He was shockingly unlucky against the Empire; he was mishandled against the Undead; he was a surprisingly frail pointsink against the Ogres and Skaven.

But I'd still take him again, in all honesty - he's just too alarming for an enemy to ignore entirely, and that was very worthwhile. He also moves pretty fast and works fairly well as an independent flanker, which kept me mobile on the field.

Who knows, it would only have taken a couple of different rolls for him to realise his potential. Trolls were my other option for a linebreaker, and I hate the stupidity rule too much to have to deal with it.

Rating - Probably not as good as seven dwarves

Overall? No regrets. I'd have played a couple of fights differently - I should have avoided the Skaven Slavepack, just like I kept telling everyone else to do. The Empire mullered me, but I feel more through awful luck than poor choices on my part (just, on balance). Fewer goblins might have been a better choice, but having a larger army gave me a slight edge in deployment a couple of times.

Animosity - well, you can't say they don't warn you. But for every miserable turn of wasted squabbling, I think I had a surprise advance. I got lucky, this time. I don't think I'd want to risk that again, but More Black Orcs as a tactic is considered Un-Orky by the online community. I couldn't face their disapproval.

But hands up, anyone else, if you beat the Ogres? What's that? You don't have any hands left because Ogres ate them all? Well, I think that speaks for itself, then.


  1. A good assessment. Despite my misgivings, I think the Giant is a good addition to a list this size. I wonder if the Spider Riders would do better in two smaller packs, or if that extra rank/numbers made a difference (although an extra unit would almost guarantee an Animosity fail each turn).

    I think going for a lord general was a good move, especially considering some of the bruisers out there. Not sure if he should have been a Black Orc though. I know he kept Animosity in check, but he killed a lot of expensive Big Uns to do so (not the same as sacrificing a couple of goblins).

    Speaking of which, I think you've been a bit harsh on the goblin spears. With a deeper formation (were they five ranks, or six?) you might have got some useful Steadfast rolls to keep them in place. And I would have always gone with maximum fanatics - increases the chances of doing damage and draws a lot of enemy focus.

    Any thoughts about what race you'll play at your next (possibly dim and distant) WoffBoot?

  2. I think one larger Spider pack would be much better - taking a couple of extra to preserve the back rank a little longer would be well worth it. With ten, even one casualty robbed them of that vital +1!

    I stand by the Black Orc. Yes, he butchered a lot of his own men, but that's partly why I took so many of them! His own depredations never impacted on the unit's effectiveness that I noticed. And it was extremely funny, which counts for a lot.

    Maybe I'm being mean about the spears. I'm not convinced extra fanatics would have worked either, though - yes, more chances to do damage. But to me as well as an enemy. The O&G list is a bit of a crapshoot with luck as it is, I'm very wary of increasing that.

    Chaos. I will be Chaos next time. I'm already looking at the no money I've got and working out how to spend it. Lots of marauders, horse and foot, possibly represented by models like these : -

    This will be at some point around 2040, I'm guessing, when retirement will allow all of us to concentrate on more important things.