Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Orcs and Goblin Army

I thought I would talk about my Orcs and Goblins list.  I got into the hobby at the time Storm of Chaos came out and immediately jumped onto Orcs and the Grimgor Ironhide army.   While WoC is my favorite army, Orcs and their destructive nature are a close second.  I thought I would share my thoughts about how I came up with the list, why I made certain choices, and what I try to make sure I have in a tournament army.

I have played it in three tournaments with this list, the BAO where I went 3-2, WCGT, where I went 3-0-2, and finally SAWS where it went 5-0.  This is typical trajectory for a new list, with the first tournament winning about half my games and rapidly improving from there.

The list.
Orc Warboss, Wyvern Sword of Might, ToP, Charmed Shield, Other Tricksters Shard
Savage Orc Great Shaman, L3, Fencers Blades, Lucky Shrunken Head, PoT of Swiftness

Black Orc BSB, Spell Shield, Tal of Endurance
Night Goblin Shaman, L2, Dispel Scroll
Goblin Big Boss, Giant Wolf, LA, Shield, Shrieking Blade, Dragon Helm

33 Savage Orc Big’uns, FC, XHW
20 Night Goblins, Std, Mus, Nets, 2xfanatics
5 Goblin Wolf Riders, Mus, spear, sh, bow
5 Goblin Wolf Riders, Mus, spear, sh, bow
Wolf Chariot
Wolf Chariot
Wolf Chariot
Spear Chukka
Spear Chukka
Doom Diver
Rock Lobba
Mangler Squig
Arachnarok Spider

  1. Take models I like.  As competitive as I am, I like the hobby.  There are models I love.  The Chaos Sorcerer, Old Blood on a Carno, Witch Hunters, Orc Warboss on a Wyvern.  They can appeal to me for any number of reasons, I feel the model is bad ass, I love the fluff behind it, what ever.  So I try to incorporate them into the list.
  2. Take lists that compete strongly in the movement phase.  This does not necessarily mean a bunch of fast units (though that is helpful) but rather lots of them.  I love the movement phase, I believe it emphasizes generalship and gives you options on how to approach a match up.
  3. Chaff.  This goes hand in hand with number 2.  What I am looking for is a mix of chaff.  Fast and maneuverable has to be a given.  However I also like a mix of other traits.  Some that are just dirt cheap, some that can tackle other chaff, some that can act as missile troops, ability to act as mage assassins, some that are just plain durable, etc.  Hopefully each unit can fill at least two of these traits.
  4. Solutions too many of the common challenges presented by opposing tournament armies.   Do I have flaming?  Can I deal with high Armor Saves? Can I cope with Death Magic? Hordes and tarpits? Warmachines? Etheral’s? Specific units like the pendant lord or K’Dai.  I try to cover as many of these bases as I can and certainly have thought hard about specific tactics to counter these units.
  5. Units that can fill multiple rolls.  I love it when they can provide some flexibility.
  6. Can I write a back story for the list?  Yeah, I still do that.  They are horrible but what the hell.

One thing that is low on the priority list is redundancy.  This is a powerful concept in tournament builds but I am willing to give some of this up.  My lists can be a bit unforgiving.  I make a mistake in the movement phase, a good player can jump on it or I don’t have the redundancy to make it through a run of bad luck. 

Let’s run through the list, talk about why I took them and how they have performed.

Wyvern-  I love the Orc on a Wyvern.  The model is bad ass and it screams ORC!!! to me.  I first started having success a number of years back when I put one in to that first army.  It is a total emotional choice and I don’t regret it.  As far as tournaments, it provides a great center piece model to the army for presentation.  Interestingly enough, it was not the combat power, which is rather mediocre, that helped the list, but the 18” Inspiring Presence bubble.  The army suffers from low leadership and has a large number of chaff units that get flung around.  Having that extra distance really helped me be more aggressive with the chaff, pushing it farther out. 

Lvl 3 Orc Great Shaman – Only being level 3 hurt, often times leaving me with a suboptimal set of spells.  I choose the Fencers Blades to make him a bit more survivable given he was meant to go in a unit that needed to go in harm’s way.  He has the added advantage of being able to turn into a combat monster fairly easily with fists of gork.  Yes, he has become a WS 10, ST 7, To 5, In 5, 6 Attack beast (with a 5+ ward) on occasion.  I even got ‘ere we go off once with him spun up! 

BSB-  Clearly his big roll is to knock the Savages back into place if they get unruly.  Losing both casting and control of my primary combat block for a turn just hurts.  The Spell Shield was my first attempt at dealing with both Death Snipes and my own foot smashing into the Savages, an extremely common occurrence.  I will drop it in favor of a goblin hero with an MR item.  Yeah he hangs out the side but if MR 1 worked well, MR 2 will work better. 

Night Gobbo Shaman-  Scroll caddy and magic redundancy for when my SO Shaman’s head explodes.  People often forget his lore attribute, so I like to throw one dice (plus mushroom) to get Sneaky off.  They usually let it go and if I can steal 1 of their Dispel dice, it throws them off a bit. 

Goblin Wolf Hero- One of my favorite builds.  He has 2 K’dais to his name and he is primarily there to deal with them.  However, at 71 points, he is also a great chaff unit.  Expendable if I need a diverter.  He gets ignored and can work his way to warmachines or get flank charges on chariots.  Heck, he even held up a unit of 5 Maneaters with the Flaming Banner for 6 rounds of combat, allowing my army to deal with the rest of his.  There is no end of uses with this model and I am seriously thinking of putting a second one in.

Savage Orcs- What can you say about this mad creatures!  They hit like a ton of bricks.  I have found I need to get them in combat, even combats that are not ideal.  When I hold them back or allow them to be diverted, I am usually in trouble. 

Night Goblins – This is a combat unit and works in partnership with the SO.  Ideally they come in on a subsequent round to lend their nets and ranks to the combat.  On the topic of fanatics, good generals are very, very good at pulling them.  I keep them in there because even the best generals have to deal with them.  Those units that don’t care if they get hit by a couple of fanatics I find the SO can deal with.  The unit also gives me another point of fortitude.

Goblin Wolf Riders – Cheap redirecting chaff.  I plan on dropping bows off of them as they rarely kill anything and there are times I will turn them around to face away from the enemy to avoid animosity charges.  I also often run them through forests early to see if I can lose one to a dangerous terrain test. 

Trolls-  Again, cheap redirectors.  They stay near the SO unit to help with redirecting and anti chaff.  They can also be used as a flank unit to bring a little extra combat rez.  2 are a necessary redundancy.

Wolf Chariots -  Anti chaff primarily.  They have a huge threat range, so I can use them in pairs to create a zone where smaller elite units or monsters may not want to go.  I also like to park one near the NG unit.  Any disposable unit that wants to move close in anticipation of pulling the fanatics the next turn can usually be chased off. 

Artillery -   This is a strength of O&G lists.  My artillery train is not maxed out, certainly Double Doom Divers would be much more useful.  However, it is enough to bring threats to the things I need them to and often forces the opponent to come to me.  I love putting the bolt throwers way out on flanks.  They are cheap so that if someone wants to spend the time hunting them down, I don’t mind.  If you don’t, they get a nice enfilade shot and who knows, they may hit something.  I also think that a larger artillery park would lead me to sit back and pummel opponents.  Boring. 

Mangler- Again, 2 would be better, but I find players view two of these as obnoxious.  One is enough that once again my opponent must expend resources to deal with it.  If you are seeing a theme, you are correct.  Individually, many of these units are not that impressive and can be dealt with.  However, any opponent has finite resources and can only deal with so many.  All the while I am chipping away at those resources.  Ignore the Mangler and fanatics in favor of sending the fast chaff to hunt warmachines, and you risk the random movers doing critical damage.  Use magic missiles to kill the mangler and the wolf chariots are chasing your chaff off and the Trolls are limiting you charge options.  So on and so on.

Arock -   I have to say I have been impressed with this model.  While overpriced, it is fast and has the unique ability to charge over buildings.  It also pumps out a good number of decent attacks.  I know I can find a better use for the points but it has been fun to play with.  While stubborn, the leadership value is substandard.  Another reason for the importance of the 18” IP bubble. 

So there it is. Now I am trying to decide to keep running the list or change it up.  


  1. It's good to see how, with careful thinking, an armylist that may look suboptimal is actually something that works good. You went on the opposite side of redudancy, by taking many different tools you are sure to have multiple troublemakers for any opponent you may find (something redundant lists lack).
    On the matter of improvements, I don't think you really need that lvl2 on the gobbo shaman, better to pump the SO to lvl 4.
    Also, I want to read the backstory of the army!

  2. I am capped on lord points unless I drop some magic items on either the boss or shaman.