Wednesday, October 17, 2012

M.A.W. - Recently Released and Upcoming Ogres

(Model Alternative Watch)

Well it has certainly been a while since I last posted here on the neglected Bellower blog! What better way to bring back the regular posts than to point out a few recently released Ogre alternatives?

First up we have a very cool looking character from Figone:

Could be great as a Maneater, or perhaps a traveling Tyrant? Maybe a deep sea/pirate themed Butcher or Bruiser? The scale is just a tad big at 52mm and the figure is cast in resin.

Speaking of Butchers, check out this friendly chap recently released by Dark Art Studios:

This kit comes with plenty of alternative weapons, and heads, including a Pyramid Head and Leatherface themed Ogre. Fun with gore and resin!

Next up we have another fantastic release in the Ogres of Bloodsail Island line from Titan Forge:

Named 'Gator Drivers', these guys can be bought either in pairs or singularly and are cast in resin. For those looking for even more "big guy" variations be sure to check out the Titan Forge Flesh Reapers who might make great Yhettee or Gorger alternatives.

And finally we have some initial WIP models from Mantic's recent Ogre related Kickstarter campaign (thanks to Mr. Saturday for the heads up):

Great looking stuff! Though the bodies are quite different from the Ogres of the Ogre Kingdoms I like the variety of weapons, heads, and armor bits. Looking forward to seeing what folks come up with out of these new kits!

And that's all we have this time around - if you own any of these models and would be interested in doing a review of them for the Bellower blog, please get in touch!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gnoblar Kingdoms Army Book Beta

Gnoblar fans Mitch Worton and Mark Hampson have just released a beta version of their unofficial army book titled "Gnoblar Kingdoms", which contains rules for fielding a full army of the little green blighters.

Click here to take a look at it!

Their announcement:

"We've been working on a independent Gnoblar Kingdoms army list over the last few months and we've finally decided to push it out into the real world so that all you lovely people can enjoy it.

The book is currently in a Beta stage, this is explained on the first page, bit simply the list is completely finished along with all the magic items, magic lore and Gnoblar crazy extras. However the background writing is still in progress and when it's complete the army book will be upgraded.

So what does this book do? To start it can be used in two different ways, the first allowing you to field an army of Gnoblars independently using all the elements within the book - secondly the other way to use this list is to use it as a contingent force with either the Ogre Kingdoms, Orcs & Goblins or Chaos Dwarfs. This is all detailed within the book.

How do the Gnoblars work as an army? Well Gnoblars aren't the bravest of creatures but the sheer number of them is their main strength, your enemies will find themselves overwhelmed by a tied of viscous little greenskins. However the Gnoblars don't, 'go it alone', as to speak and an army fighting against a horde of Gnoblars will often be surprised that they've got a huge hulking Rhinox chariots joining their ranks as well as the abominable Yhetees or the destructive Burn Furnace... Whatever happens, playing against a horde of Gnoblars will be a random event, and most likely a lot of fun for both armies involved.

But that's not all, the Gnoblars have lots of tricks up their sleeves which they unleash on their enemies, the Cult of Scrap use their plethora of rusty weapons to enhance the Gnoblars around them. Spoonlickers summon spells to enhance the Gnoblar masses as well as annoying the enemies in an attempt to grind them down, and of course the Gnoblar Firecrackers who rocket Cathayan fireworks into enemy ranks blowing them to pieces! There is much chaos and hilarity to be had..."

Feel free to email Mitch or Mark if you have questions or comments for them.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

HeelanHammer Podcast's Ogre Kingdoms Review

Yo yo yo, HeelanHammer's Ogre Kingdoms review is up for download! You can find it here.

From their announcement:

"Today is the long awaited review of the Ogre Kingdoms book and we are joined by Ogre generals WarhammerLegendAlThompson and BryanHobbyKillerCarmichael. We chat through the book from fluff to filth, covering each unit choice. We then take a ton of questions from the twitter listeners.

Hopefully you found the review useful. Any questions and comments please feel free to post on the episode thread on our forums."

Friday, May 11, 2012

YouTube Channel Spotlight - Warhammer Joey

Over the past few months TheJoeyberry (AKA Warhammer Joey) has been documenting her journey into the Warhammer hobby via YouTube, which has been both interesting to follow as wargaming is typically a very male dominated hobby, and entertaining to watch thanks to the unique and enthusiastic approach she takes with many of her videos.

During one of Joey's latest videos (a 2400pt battle report between her Wood Elves and an Ogre Kingdoms army) she gave our Stronghold a big thumbs up and recommended us to her 1000+ subscribers and viewers - cheers Joey! In return, I'd like to draw your attention to her current Ogre related vids.

First up is a light-hearted and gloriously gory guide to the Lore of the Great Maw featuring lots of blood, internal body parts and a blender!

The Wood Elves vs Ogre Kingdoms battle report I previously mentioned demonstrates what can happen if you put numerous eggs in one basket and the Maw refuses to smile on your dice rolls!

Joey tells me she has more Ogre videos in the pipeline, so keep an eye out for those on her channel and on the Stronghold's YouTube favourites - or better yet, subscribe to both!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tactics for Tyrants - Looking Within!

"A person's greatest enemy cannot be harmed by any weapon nor can be stopped by any shield and lives so closely that if you were to look outward you would never see... for your greatest enemy is yourself and you must look within to see it and use truth to defeat it." - Trevor Long

'Ard Boyz is officially dead, but that doesn't mean your competitive spirit is! Changing things up a bit, Tactics for Tyrants will be directed toward competitive play in general and focus on a lot of different aspects and a lot of different point values! This article is going to focus on something that most people tend to overlook, but I feel is a very important lessons a competitive person can learn; Learn your weaknesses!  And if you feel that the Ogres have no weakness or maybe only a few that can be overlooked, think again! We are just like every army and as such we have our weaknesses!

We're stepping it up and getting you all ready for a competitive mind set!  So grab some incense, dim the lights, and turn on the "Sounds of Nature" tape as we self-reflect on ourselves in this Tactics for Tyrants Article: Looking Within!

What weakness and how do I find it?

1.  The state or condition of lacking strength.
2.  A quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault: "the product's strengths and weaknesses".

Weakness is a feature or characteristic that isn't as developed or capable as other features and characteristics and can be the cause of a loss.  Some of these weaknesses lye within the player, but we wont be talking about player weaknesses today and focus strictly on the Warhammer army Ogre Kingdoms.  Furthermore, some units create an innate weakness because they are not properly balanced and their performance often falls short to their respective point value; Greasus Goldtooth and Gorgers are two examples of units within Ogre Kingdoms that just don't cut it.  We will not be discussing those type of weaknesses either.

The Weakness we will be discussing today is the weakness inherent in our army using the best possible units we have in our book and in a "Perfect List" situation.  Mournfang Cavalry, Leadbelchers, Butchers, and Firebellies - some of the best models in our book - but even they have weaknesses. 

To understand what a weakness is you must first understand the strengths and compare and contrast the two; after all, weakness is a point of view not an absolute value and its all relative.  So how do you find weakness? Trial and Error is often the best method for rooting out these downfalls as well as consulting a friend; speaking of friends, this forum is a GREAT location to get opinions from others and toss things back and forth.  Another way to find weakness is to compare the strengths of other armies to your own so that you can weigh the two out and see how the model/unit/item fairs.  This is easy enough on the surface level because of stats vs points comparison, but be careful - its hard to determine how much an impact hit is worth in points or the worth of the Daemons 5+ ward.  The final way to root out a weakness is to watch what you favor; if a man is limping you can tell that one of his legs is weak because he is using the other more in order to stay upright.  The same applies to Warhammer, if you are favoring something, then its probably a weakness. A good example is the fact that almost every Ogre Player I know takes a Dispel scroll, the Hellheart, and (most of the time) the Rune Maw - that's a lot of magic protection... we must be weak vs magic.

Its that sort of logic I will be using today and I will be using all 4 of the above mentioned methods to root out our weaknesses: my own Trail and Error results, the point of views of my friends around me as well as those I have collected from the Stronghold forum, from my personal research of other armies, and where I tend to spend more points when building a list.

The Ogre Kingdoms weaknesses

We'll start from the top! And by top, I mean list creation! Our first weakness is a Two-For-One Weakness (Two weakness in one bundle) and its the fact that you must take a Lore of the Great Maw Butcher before taking any other lore! This is a pretty big deal as the Lore of the Great Maw isn't so... well... great.  In fact, while we're on the subject of our Army's Lore, it just doesn't have the same effect on the game as it did in our old book.

Lore of the Great Maw has one spell that would be placed on the "Top Ten best spells in Warhammer" list and if I can be so bold to say... maybe even top 5.  But unfortunately it pretty much ends there. 

There is a +1 Strength spell (Bullgorger) and a +1 Toughness spell (Toothcracker), but they are two separate spells where Lore of Beast's Wyssan's Wildform does both in one cast and Lore of Death's Soulblight has a similar result, but does it more effectively.  The Panic test spell (Braingobbler) sees very little use and even when its applicable (Warriors of Chaos or a Mirror Match vs Ogres) is still a very random spell that may or may not have any affect.  The Magic Missile Spell (Bonecruncher) definitely sees more use, however, its very situational vs "Steam Tank" type models or Heavy Calvary with low model count in the unit.  Finally, we have the Russian Roulette of spells for the Ogres and I'll keep this one simple: if I am going to use The Maw, I'd rather use Purple Sun - it's far more effective.

So one really good spell, 2 okay spells (Bone Cruncher Magic Missile and the Signature Spell for stubborn) that have very specific purposes, and the rest are garbage (really really bad garbage).  Our lore just doesn't cut it and doesn't compare to other armies Lore Magic (don't mention Wood Elf lore... yes it's worse than ours... no it doesn't mean ours is good).

Sitaavanu said it best in one of the Stronghold Posts recently by calling this the "Butcher Tax" and its very accurate; in order to use the better Lores we must first add a butcher with the Lore of the Great Maw.  I know personally, I just run a level 1 with my Dispel scroll on it and call it a day and thankfully the caster isn't a weakling like other armies and can take a hit or two in close combat so its not a total waste.  If you disagree with what I'm saying, next time you bring you level 4 Lore of the Great Maw, even if you roll Trollguts, play the entire game without Trollguts (don't cast it) and tell me how effective the lore is; even if a spell goes off that was helpful, wouldn't it have been more effective to get one of the other spells from a different lore off instead?  Just think about it - its a One Trick Pony.

The next weakness, which is probably our most glaring and obvious weakness, is our leadership.  Its one of the worst leaderships in the game and with our low model count, if your Mournfang Cavalry take one wound, 42% of the time they are running and probably wont be very useful for the rest of the game.  Similarly, even our Maneaters have a 1 in 4 chance of running if they take the 25%+ models removed in one phase panic test.  Whats worse is properly using Sabertusks - they require such perfect placement to make sure that if one does die, your entire army doesn't run like cowards at the sight of the poor kitty dying.  I use Leadership tests (Braingobbler, Terror, 25%+ casualties, etc) against the Warriors of Chaos to beat them because they have a similar weakness, but at leadership 8 across the board, its less harmful to them which just goes to show you how big of a weakness this is for us at leadership 7.

A strength can also be a weakness and for the Ogres this comes through with our Multi-wound Monstrous Infantry and models.  Its nice to be able to make a rank with only 3 models, but it isn't nice to make a horde rule with 6 and the cost for the Horde block is incredibly expensive and dangerous.  While other armies can make horde blocks in almost any point value, we cannot and really have to rely on smaller unit sizes with only the front two ranks to fight.  In addition to smaller unit sizes, we have a lower model count in general and this can be devastating vs "Model Removing" spells like Purple Sun, Final Transmutation, and Dwellers from Below and units/abilities that cause d3 or d6 wounds like Cannons.  Although spells like Final Transmutation have a equally painful result against almost every army equally, Purple Sun and especially Cannons do not and its because of our multi-wound profile. 

Our profile isn't just weak because of the multiple wounds (which can also be a strength), but weak because of its Initiative and Weapon Skill.  Now, I'm about to discuss one of the most overlooked, but major weaknesses in the Ogre Kingdom Army; once you see it, you'll never be able to un-see it.  Grab your Ogre Kingdom book because I am about to make a comment that all of you are going to question and go "No way!" --

There isn't a single model in our entire book that has Weapon Skill 7 or higher... none.  Furthermore, we only have one "unit" (a true unit you would run multiple models as a group) that has Weapon Skill 4 and that's Maneaters.  Everything else is 3.

That makes the Ogre Kingdoms the ONLY army in the entire game with such lackluster Weapon skill and we pay for it dearly.  Weapon Skill 7, for those who don't know, is the magic number since all Weapon Skill 3 units/models now hit on 5's instead of 4's without a fear test or special equipment.  Enemy Lord Selections that have Weapon Skill 7 can run up to every block of units we have (With the exception of Maneaters) and we're only going to hit him on 5's; to make matters worse, these same lord choices typically have toughness 4+ so we will only wound on 4's and then will probably save the few hits that get through.  Stronger Characters, like Bloodthirster from Daemons of Chaos, can literally solo an entire Ogre Kingdom army if you don't bring at least 1 or 2 cannons; even then though he has a good chance to clean up.  I know this because Bloodthirster has (more than once) destroyed my entire army. 

Even outside special characters though, many enemy armies have a Weapon Skill 4 Core Troop and half of all of their Special choices have Weapon Skill 4 (typically) so most match ups they will be hitting us on 3's - making our Toughness 4, one of our so called "army strengths," an illusion since the difference in wounding a toughness 3 vs a toughness 4 is the same difference in hitting on 3's vs hitting on 4's.  Think about that for a little bit.

Finally, the last weakness is overall resilience and wound mitigation; we have practically no armor in our army and ward saves are even fewer apart.  The Cost per wound of most of our models is 10-17pts and in that range we should definitely have a little more protection, but we don't.  This is a pretty big weakness because if the enemy takes advantage of it, they will just sit back and relax while you take your time trying to get to them as they pick you off with a medium shooting phase and a medium magic phase.  It only takes 1 dead Ogre per phase to make an impact on our close combat phase since that's 2 Ogres per turn and it takes 3 turns to get into Close combat with a Passive/Defensive Player; Six times an average of 38 points a model (just an arbitrary number) is about 8-10% of our army gone.  This is not a big weakness by any means, but for the cost of our models, we should have better saves and we don't so I feel the need to mention it.

So a Quick recap and numbering for the next section, what we can do about our weaknesses:
  • The Butcher Tax and Crappy Lore Magic (Forced model in your army with lackluster abilities)
  • Leadership (Panic Tests)
  • Multiple Wound Models (Hard to make Horde Rule and Model Removal Abilities)
  • Profile Stats (Weapon Skill and Initiative)
  • Poor Saves (Low Armor saves and No Ward Saves)

What we can do about our weaknesses

1.  The Butcher Tax and Crappy Lore Magic (Forced model in your army with lackluster abilities):  Pay the tax and move on, haha! But really, the best way to deal with this weakness is just that - add a naked butcher with a dispel scroll who has Lore of the Great Maw.  If you get astronomically lucky and get Trollguts, put him into a unit, if you get anything else you can deploy him solo and have him act like a Toughness 5, 4 wound Sabertusk and do some misdirection with him! That's What I do.  I've also seen a few Ogre Kingdoms go double Firebelly with a Tyrant as the general; this is also another good way to divert this weakness since two firebelly's is a tough offensive magic phase to deal with.  Finally, Embrace the Lore of the Great Maw with a Level 4 and hope for the best to get Trollguts - if you don't, do what we used to do in our old book... equipped Wand of Jet (To Replace the old use of Grut's Sickle) and just minimum cast every spell with 1 dice haha!

2.  Leadership (Panic Tests): BSB! Add one to your list and put him where he can affect the most models!  You can also put your general into a unit of Ironguts that has the +1 Leadership banner; this will give the General a leadership value of 9 (or 10 if you go Tyrant) that other units can use/rely on.  Also the Gleaming Pennant banner is an often overlooked banner, but I use it almost in every one of my lists for my Mournfang Cavalry or Maneater blocks if I have them doing some crazy Commando Mission haha!

3.  Multiple Wounds Models (Hard to make Horde Rule and Model Removal Abilities):  If you're trying to make a Horde rule block of Ogres, you may want to reconsider your strategy as it isn't a very favorable method for victory so to deal with the difficulty of a horde rule, just avoid it.  As for Model Removal Abilities? Rune Maw + Hellheart barring caster is probably the most effective methods for protecting a unit from enemy spells since the Rune Maw doesn't allow that unit to be targeted and the Hellheart helps to protect from a point blank Purple Sun.  Cannons are another story all to themselves and the best method for mitigating this weakness is to fight fire with fire using your own cannon or Leadbelchers; either work very well!  And if you can't field a strong counter to the cannon, at least bring the Ironcurse Icon for that extra chance to protect yourself - you wont regret it if you don't bring it, but you'll be thankful you did when it does work just that one time!

4.  Profile Stats (Weapon Skill and Initiative): Accept that you will probably be hitting after the enemy and prepare for that by augmenting your unit's resilience or hexing your enemies units.  I have found from personal experience that Ogres are good without any magical support, but are almost Game Breakingly good when supported by even 1 magic spell (Hex or Augment); try your best to get one off.  As for the Weapon Skill?  Avoid any character with Weapon skill 7 or higher for as long as possible.  If he is in a unit, attack the unit instead of the character and if he's solo, shoot everything you have at him (Magic and Shooting) until he's dead! This is especially true for Bloodthirster.

5.  Poor saves (Low Armor saves and No Ward Saves): The best way to mitigate this weakness (believe it or not) is with Leadbelchers and Sabertusks.  Sabertusks are viewed by many as the most annoying, potentially most under priced model in the game and its nuisance will cause it to become the target of Fireballs and Arrows alike; better him than your unit!  Leadbelchers have an uncanny ability to cause any archer unit or war machine to shiver in its boots and tear them a new one quickly; this works for you in two ways 1) They are weakening the unit every shooting phase 2) They get a lot of attention because of it (Again taking the fire off your melee units).  In close combat, pair your High Armor save Mournfang Cavalry vs the high model count units which typically have very low armor save and pair your core against their scary Anti-Armor unit ... you don't really have any save anyways so what are you going to miss?  Finally - Trollguts is incredible powerful... cast it every... single... magic phase (if you have it).

Our enemy's perception of our own weaknesses

Thankfully, although our weaknesses are incredible dangerous to us and can cause a lot of issues/problems, they are not glaring (except for the leadership) and as such our enemy's perception of our weaknesses is going to be one of immaturity and a lack of understanding; "Ogre Kingdoms are so overpowered! They don't have any weaknesses!" Blah blah cry cry! We've all heard it before and seen it on many forums.  The truth of the matter, as you've seen so far in this article, is that we do have weaknesses and we are a very balanced army - they just need to look beyond that.

So what do we need to expect in a competitive situation? That our enemy understands our weaknesses and they are going to use it.  Expect an enemy deployment that is further back with a very heavy magic.

On the surface level and at a light competition, they are going to see our leadership and our Magic weakness and hit it over and over again like a boxer with a bloody eye.  In fact, be prepared for cheese as our two biggest weaknesses (Purple Sun and Leadership) are so glaringly obvious, that many enemies will perceive this as the only method for defeating us. 

Take this and run with it! Bring the Rune Maw, Dispel Scroll, and Hellheart and combine it with a Tyrant/BSB combo or a Slaughtermaster/+1Leadership banner combo!  The two of these combined should reduce those weaknesses to a manageable level and it will then decrease enemy moral; he probably wont know what to do and thus start flailing around making many mistakes.  For added protection, Sniping Maneaters is always a great solution to enemy magic ;)

On a deeper level and at a very heavy competition, expect them to manipulate our poor profile stats and pair higher Weapon Skill characters against our large blocks (Flank charges typically) while utilizing our low initiative to hit hard and fast (Like High Elf White Lions) before we get a chance to hit back.  Typically these type of players are going to be very aggressive, making sure to prevent our impact hit charges by charging us first.

Keep a high moral as long as possible vs these players because their aggressive play style typically slows down as time goes on.  White Lions hit hard, but they are still toughness 3 so hang in there and wait to hit back a few rounds.  Use Poison Maneaters vs those high Weapon Skill models and units; poison hits and wounds on a 6 and there isn't much they can do to stop that (haha). 

Next time

Well its good to be back and writing again for the forum!  Tactics for Tyrants, as discussed earlier, will be focusing a lot on different subjects and I would like to take votes on the next subject.  Look for a new Post on The Feeding Grounds where you can place your vote!

I will be posting one to three articles per month depending on how my schedule is, so plan for only one and be happily surprised when I get ambitious and write three! Haha!

Stay hungry my Gnoblars!