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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Friday, December 16, 2011

Armies in 8th: Orcs and Goblins: Part 3: The Toyz

In the previous entry in this series I discussed the heart and soul of the army, the Boyz, which make up the Core choices.  Now it’s time to discuss the proverbial potatoes to the Savage Orc meat: the toyz.  To continue the food metaphor, the Core choices are the food, and the warmachines are the seasonings.

Orcs and Goblins have some of the best engines of war this side of Dwarves, and their great variety allows them to cover the inherent weaknesses that a horde-ish army without tremendous offensive magic has.  Not only are their selection of warmachines a swiss army knife that can be optimized to take out any type of enemy, they are cheap enough to flood the battlefield.  If they have any drawback at all, it’s that the models themselves are quite expensive and fielding a full panoply would murder your wallet.

The king of the OnG warmachines is the Spear Chukka.  Unlike the bolt throwers of the Elf armies, these are in the Specials slot, not Rare.  This is huge.  It means you can load up on a full 25% of Rare choices, and still max out your Spear Chukkas.  This is how OnG flood the battlefield with warmachines.  Chukkas are also 35 points and you can bring up to six of them in a normal game, which you should almost always do.  This is the easiest 210 points to spend.  Sure, bolt throwers aren’t really amazing at any particular battlefield role, and these aren’t especially accurate weapons, but when you have six of them the firepower is withering and intimidating.  Unless you’re playing a chariot list that is utilizing all its Specials points for chariots, you should always max out your Spear Chukkas.

At 85 points each, bringing two Stone Throwers is a pretty great value in your Rare slot.  Stonethrowers are low strength small template weapons, so their primary targets are large units of low toughness/low armored enemies.  This is useful for OnG for numerous reasons, first being that against a horde opponent like Skaven, you cannot count on out-hording them.  Skaven bring the own artillery, so it is important to thin their ranks as much as possible.  Additionally, stone throwers force your opponent to come to you.  Whoever has the longer range artillery can sit back and shoot and wait for the opponent to come to them, which is a sizeable advantage.  Additionally, there are certain armies like Daemons who use large blocks of rather expensive infantry.  T3 5++ Bloodletters in a ranked unit can be quite scary, but two hits from a stone thrower on turn one and you can mulch a not insignificant part of that force.  Like I mentioned earlier, 170 points for a pair is a no brainer purchase for almost every OnG army.  The biggest reason not to take them is that you’re paying almost $120.00 at retail for 170 points, which isn’t very cost efficient, to put it nicely.

 The Doom Diver is the other side of the stone thrower coin.  It is a highly accurate stone thrower that deals high strength, armor ignoring hits.  This is your anti-knight engine.  A typical unit of five Chaos Knights hit by a Doom Diver is in serious trouble.  The Rock Lobber pair is almost obligatory in an OnG list, but a Doom Diver is less so.  For starters heavily armored units get eaten up by your Spear Chukkas as is, and OnG aren’t as afraid of five Knights as some other armies.  Five Knights charge, kill four Savage Orcs, and then get wiped out in return.  So Doom Divers are far from mandatory, but they are still quite good at what they do so if I would typically find space for one in a list that already has six Spear Chukkas.  If for some reason you aren’t maxed out on Chukkas, two Doom Divers makes a lot of sense.  Oftentimes, six Chukkas and two Divers toegther make a lot of sense, because there is no kill like overkill.

The last useful warmachine the greenskins have is… Mangler Squigs?  Sorry guys, Snotling Pump Wagons aren’t the bee’s knees, maybe next book.  But Mangler Squiqs are.  I know what you’re saying: these aren’t warmachines.  True enough, but they are similar to the other OnG warmachines in that they are relatively cheap to take a pair of, and in that they have game changing power.  They are basically uber-Fanatics that drop 2d6 Str 6 hits when they touch a unit.  They are ideal at ripping through a unit of heavy armor elites, but they can be just as scary to medium sized, medium value units that Elf or Dwarves or Chaos mortals tend to bring.  Another thing to consider: their hits are resolved during the movement phase.  This nice little fact means that they can soften up a unit prior to it getting charged by one of yours, and that means there are a multitude of tactical interactions opened up.  I like to describe them as a cannonball that is fired in the movement phase, but with the drawback that it usually cannot often shot big monsters. 

In summation, if you consider a list that maxes out all the Toyz you’re looking at only spending about 670 points, which isn’t that much in the grand scheme.  When you consider the firepower that all of these put out, it becomes rather scary.  Also consider the chilling effect that multiple Fanatics and two Mangler SquiqsMSU elite armies) it can completely dominate the game.  Fantasy veterans like to say that the key to the game is deployment and movement, and the OnG Toyz allow you to control the movement phase.  The withering firepower of the warmachines forces your opponent to move or be shot to pieces, and the Manglers/Fanatics punish them severely for moving.  If this sounds rather fearsome, it should be since after you deal with that, the Boyz are still there to contend with.

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