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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ogre Kingdoms Now & Then - The Now Part 4 - Lords & Heroes

Saramoff is back with the Ogre Kingdom review and this time he's looking at the Lords and Hero choices.

Tyrants: For some reason, certain units got worse. By small degrees or large ones, in his wisdom Jervis decided to make somethings more expensive when they necessarily didn't need to be. The entire Ogre Kingdom Lord section was one of those things. The Tyrant probably got one of the better deals but still didn't escape unscathed.

Your Tyrant is now 10 points more expensive, with gear that costs a few points less. You still have the 100 point limit on things but overall, those 10 points aren't needed. If anything, 10 points off would have been more fitting. Still, Tyrants aren't nearly mandatory anymore. They aren't needed to unlock a slaughtermaster and you can easily pick up a much cheaper bruiser to do the job of face beating. In high point games, you can get away with him, if you don't mind losing a Slaughtermaster.

With his 100 point limit, your Tyrant can pull off some very nice magical item combinations. You can go either of the following choices, which will be common and tweaked to suit individual need:

Defensive Tyrant: Fencer's Blades, Glittering Scales, Talismin of Endurance – 305

WS10, 6 attacks and a -1 hit penalty and a 5+ ward. Still very hard to kill without the cheap mawseeker and comes with a 5+ ward against a whole lot of things. Spice with Rock Eye to taste.

Offensive Tyrant: Giantbreaker, Greedy Fist, Fencer's Blades – 310

WS10, 6 attacks at S7 with a 6+ ward by the Greedy Fist and the magic destroying fun that comes with it. This Offensive Tyrant can truly cause a lot of pain. Backed up with the Lore of the Great Maw, you can give him 1 more Strength or defensive buffs to help cover him. Spice with Heavy Armour if you really want to.

All in all, he's still not that good but he's still workable with a high point limit. Yes, you still need to buy heavy armour. Goddamn.

Slaughtermaster: Did you enjoy looking at all the points you'd save by buying the cheaper units elsewhere in your codex? I hoped you saved 50 more. Your slaughtermaster didn't change at all, except he costs 50 points more. On top of that he dropped down a wizard level too, being only a level 3 wizard. To boost him up to level 4, you need 35 points more. This is incredibly silly.

Deep breaths. In, out, relaxed, controlled. Good? Good.

Ogre Magic has been changed to function like a proper lore. In the interest of balance, stronger elements must be weakened or culled in order to make things work properly. Ogre Magic was a very strong point. Short ranged but the small casting value paired with high wizard levels meant that you could easily keep your units buffed up at full efficiency, as well as having a spare dice or two to throw into dispelling persistent spells. This is why our Slaughtermaster is an abomination, points wise.

There are two small benefits with a Slaughtermaster, if minor. The first is you don't need a Tyrant to run him anymore, meaning you can easily have him as the only Lord Choice in your army. The second is he has an option for an Ironfist, which is a shield in all respects. Your 100 point magic budget can now take magical armour, because any wizard with the option for a mundane shield can take magical armour too.

It still won't change the fact that your level 4 Slaughtermaster costs 85 more points. It sucks, but there is hope.

Bruiser: The Lord Section must have had price increases in order to compensate for the fact that the heroes are all cheap and unchanged. The Bruiser now comes at a lovely 105 points base with an unchanged statline, meaning he is exceptionally good for his points cost. With such a shift away from the Tyrant, Bruisers will be seen much more, so we'll have to explore his available options.

Equipment costs dropped by a few points across the board, other than Great Weapons. A Brace of Ogre Pistols is 10 points and offers great benefits in both the shooting and combat phase. He can also take a Battle Standard for 25 points (which can also take any magical standard at any points, just that you can't take any other magical items now) with the usual limitations and heavy armour for 4 points. There are a few ways to kit out your Bruiser, depending on what task you want him to do.

Battle Standard w/ Heavy Armour, Ironfist, Dragonhelm, Talismin of Endurance (178): Standard Tank. With a 3+ armour save, 5+ ward save (2+ if it's a flaming attack) and the stats of a Bruiser this Battle Standard Bearer can take one hell of a beating. He'll be able to take the hits in a challenge whilst still providing the reroll aura you took him for.

Brace of Ogre Pistols, Heavy Armour, Giantbreaker (144): Facefisted. The point limit of 50 limits your choices. A tyrant could easily grab this and a talismin of endurance for a boost to durability. Your Bruiser still has 5 attacks at S6 and the ability to take a few potshots if he wants to. You have 25 points to play about with if you want something else, as he has everything here that he needs. At 144 points, this is a good price for an aggressive Bruiser. You can't ignore challenges, but then again your unit champion can take the drop for you if you need to.

Taking even one Bruiser for a Battle Standard with no other items is a worthwhile investment. The only issue is still the same problem in the old book; hero slot saturation. All choices seem a worthwhile option and you simply don't have the points to splash about for all of it. You do have ways of dealing with this quite easily, so we're not as lost as we were before.

Butcher: 100 points for a level 1 Butcher, 135 for a level 2. In essence, the old Butcher actually gained 5 points whilst nothing changed. In theory, anyway. Not only do you have the choice of a cheaper level 1 wizard if you please but those 5 points allowed you to take some of the new fancy lores.

Then again, you need 1 slaughtermaster or butcher to take the Lore of the Great Maw before you can access Beasts, Heaven or Death. Does it count as a 100 point Butcher tax in order to get it? Not particularly, seeing as a level 1 wizard is an investment in it's own rights.

As with the Slaughtermaster, you can take an Ironfist. 3 points for a shield is not bad, but the ability to take an Enchanted Shield or Magical Armour in general is a huge benefit to your apron wearing wizard. It means he can use his decent combat stats and 4 wounds to soak up some damage.

Butchers are great no matter what level you take them at and compliment your army well. There are a few things you can give him with his 50 point allowance to make him better. Grut's Sickle, whilst having a chance of lynching your Butcher adds a decent +2 to casting rolls for the entire phase. This means your low level butcher can pump up some shockingly good casting rolls, but you're hard pressed to take any other magical items. Dispel Scroll can work wonders, and then you have the Hellheart.

We'll talk about the Hellheart later. All in all, Butchers saturate your Hero choice with a cheap, useful wizard who can either tank a challenge from a lowly unit champion, or punch an enemy wizard in the face to get him off a Fulcrum.

Firebelly: The new kid on the block. Word in the camp is he's hot stuff. As a new unit, we'll have to compare him to what we have, which is the humble Butcher.

Costing 20 points more, he has the same statline as a Butcher. He loses Immunity to Poison and gains Flaming Attacks, a 4+ ward against flaming attacks and a breath weapon. The flaming attacks may show up every so often, seeing as it affects his impact hits and stomps, as well his 4+ ward against flaming attacks. The Breath Weapon will be useful, especially when you need to roast a horde of low toughness units. All in all, these benefits are a little niche. Thematically speaking, it's all good but in game only one of his special rules will find a use every game.

He may upgrade to a level 2 wizard for 35 points. At 155 points he's getting a bit costly, before magical items are taken into consideration. He also only has the lore of fire, which means you'll have to make sure he gets the best benefit from casting those spells. Of course, fire is a good ranged damaging lore, which compliments ogres well.

No ironfist, meaning you'll want to avoid challenges with him and he can't get magical armour. He can lug a great weapon, which means he'll be able to give a bit of pain back, and for only 9 points.

All in all, Firebellies are decent but a Butcher is cheaper and does the job of being a support/main wizard better due to costing less and not relying on niche, fire specific rules. If you need the lore of fire or want him for a themed army, he'll still be able to do the job well. Taking him won't gimp your army, but a butcher would be more efficient. Certainly not a remorseful purchase and clearly is a great model, and also makes an excellent level 1 magic item caddy.

Hunter: The Hunter was almost never seen before due to various reasons. Mostly, the inability to be a general, paired with the fact that a bruiser can do the job better. Has that changed?

A little bit. For one, he's 15 points cheaper. Same stats, but comes with a Great Throwing Spear standard. This is a 12”, quick to fir,e +1 S (6 effectively) harpoon. Nice for a stand and shoot but due to the small range, you'd probably want to end up charging with him anyway.

Other options include one of the following: Ironfist for 4 points, great weapon for 11, harpoon launcher for 10 and a blood vulture for 10. These are included with your Great Throwing Spear, so you can pick and choose which one you'd rather have. Of course, an Ironfist keeps his defenses up whilst a Harpoon Launcher (36” range, S6 move or fire, D3 wounds, if mounted on a stonehorn or thundertusk you lose move or fire). Whilst it loses the ability to multiple wound large targets or act as a bolt thrower, you gain a dot of strength on the hit and can still stand and shoot.

Still a Loner, but he can join Sabertusk packs. In order to stop him being shot to pieces, you'll want a Sabertusk Pack. In order for your Sabertusks not to be bad, you'll want a hunter with them. It's a situation of mutual benefit to both, as the Sabertusks will easily run away without the high leadership of the Hunter, whilst the hunter doesn't want to be singled out by shooting so easily.

He can use a Stonehorn as a mount for 250 points. As said before, your hero slots are precious and a mount counts towards your allowance of points. If you're fielding a monster orientated list and don't mind losing out elsewhere, the extra Stonehorn will add some needed punch and saturation. In any other list, you're better taking some normal heroes and using a rare slot if you want a Stonehorn.

How can a Hunter be useful? He makes a perfect character for a unit of Sabertusks, but other than that as a lone shooter he falls a bit flat due to being picked out easily. As a stonehorn rider, he'll help improve a monster list with another big beastie. For a normal list, a unit of Sabertusks to move with works well. He'll need the Longstrider Big Name to keep up and make best use of the Sabertusk's high movement, and 30 points for possibly a magical item or armour.

The hunter is better than before but he works in certain ways. If you can fit him into a list and have what he needs to work, he can do a good job. Otherwise, take a bruiser if you want to beat face.

We should aim to finish this by the end of this week with the next post looking at Named Characters.

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