Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tactics for Tyrants - Ogre Kingdoms Army Book Review Part 3: Lords and Heroes.

Now it is time to tackle the real "meat" of the Ogre Kingdoms with Lord and Hero choices! Who has the biggest, toughest, most useful guts around? Read through Eg's review to find out! 

Ogre Kingdoms Lords and Heroes

Just covering the "basics" in this article, we'll get back to the Special Characters later this week.

If ever an example was needed of how a changing environment can effect a unit, even when said unit remains almost exactly the same, this is it. For a minor increase in cost the Tyrant lost his club and gained Ogre charge, a very good deal in my opinion. In terms of new changes however, that’s really all the Tyrant got. The loss of the Tenderiser will no doubt be bemoaned by many Ogres after it ruled the roost of Ogre items forever, to the point where it became known as the ‘Standardiser’ (I honestly would be fine paying 100pts for it, I think it’s that good).

That’s not the biggest threat to the Tyrant’s throne however. The Slaughtermaster is so expensive that if players want to field a Lord with a degree of equipment in a 2000 point list, they have to pick between the two. In 8th edition a Slaughtermaster offers a good degree more versatility. This said, a Tyrant is still good at everything he was before. He’s still incredibly tough, provides excellent leadership and is a nigh-unstoppable combat monster. From the point a player can afford him alongside a Slaughtermaster he’s almost an auto-include.

8 out of 10 Gnoblars

The Claudius of the new book, despite his sky-rocketing cost. As the army book’s only level 4 wizard, he’s automatically worth consideration in the new edition, but there’s far more than that to him. He’s as tough as a Tyrant, fights as well as most characters from other books, and even has access to magical armor, turning him into a diet Tyrant if you so wish. His good leadership can be improved easily with the Standard of Discipline. He’s also got great synergy with the new lore attribute, making him even harder to kill and helping maintain the magical onslaught he can achieve with Grut’s Sickle if you’re so inclined. Seriously expensive, but worth every penny.

9 out of 10 Gnoblars

The only character that became significantly cheaper, the Bruiser is in a similar boat to the Tyrant inasmuch that he fulfils the same roles as before, but has new competition for them. As the army’s BSB, he’s automatically a very sound choice and is the only unit who can take the Rune Maw if you fancy a deathstar. Beyond that though he faces competition from the Firebelly as a general combat assistant, helping other units to punch above their own weight as the ‘Belly brings both a breath weapon and flaming attacks to the table, rare commodities in almost any army. Despite this, a cheap Bruiser with, for example, heavy armour and perhaps a brace of pistols is a cheap, effective and eminently viable choice for those who fancy using him outside of his BSB role.

6 out of 10 Gnoblars (or 10 out of 10 as BSB)

By himself, the Hunter is just as outclassed as he was in the old book, perhaps even more so with cheaper Bruisers and the presence of ‘Bellies. It’s with his beasties that he truly shines. When attached to a decent-sized unit of Sabretusks (4+ strong, none of this old pair nonsense) he and his unit become terrifying flankers, with Vanguard more than helping to make up for the Hunter’s comparative lack of speed. The big guy brings the high-strength attacks the tusks need to take down certain targets, perhaps with a great weapon or even a magic weapon. He also has an improved chance of inflicting D3 impact hits courtesy of Swiftstride. When mounted on a Stonehorn he becomes a meteor of destruction that rivals any similar Lord-level monster and mount combo. Both offer the other an extra level of protection and the Hunter gives the ‘Horn a great leadership boost to help overcome Frenzy and also lends additional attacks to ensure that the unit doesn’t trip up over the Stonehorn’s semi-random number of impact hits (the Fencer’s Blades are probably a good idea here). Of course, in smaller games this second option is prohibitively expensive especially considering how vital the hero slots are for Ogres, but in larger ones it’s a more than valid option and has the added advantage of not taking your general far from the front lines as per usual ridden monsters.

5 out of 10 Gnoblars

The standard hero wizard of the army, the Butcher took several serious hits when compared to the last book. He has a slightly higher cost when upgraded to level 2 and has 4 less spells. Not only that, he also faces competition from the much more utilitarian Firebelly as a support caster. There’s still a few things he has in his favor though. Like his bigger brother he has access to a decent handful of lores (Beasts stands out considering the usefulness of the signature spell) and is necessary if you want to free up one of the BRB lores for a Slaughtermaster.

6 out of 10 Gnoblars

Perhaps the most interesting new unit in the book, this guy has Ogres chomping at the bit, and it’s not hard to see why. He has access to a lore that no other Ogre casters do and it’s well suited to low-level casters. He has a very nasty breath weapon which is capable of inflicting a world of hurt against suitable units (mainly brittle infantry). Most crucially of all though, he has flaming attacks, making him incredibly valuable in an environment that is littered with various regenerating units and where other sources of flaming attacks are very limited. However, I would perhaps caution that people seem to be overestimating these things a bit. In order to prevent regeneration, the target has to actually be wounded, and that’s certainly not a guarantee considering the ‘Belly’s low weapon skill and only slightly above average strength. Overall though, it’s not hard to see why these are swift becoming a staple in most every competitive army list.

9 out of 10 Gnoblars

Overall verdict - Some big changes in the costs and popularity of the "standard" characters of the old army book, with the addition of some new options on existing and new units, has really stepped up the Ogre Lord and Hero choices in the  new book. Lots of things to play around with which makes for interesting lists and games! 

Thanks for the overview of the Ogre characters Eg! What do you think about Eg's ratings? Are you finding yourself taking a Tyrant over the Slaughtermaster? How about the Butcher over the Firebelly? How are you finding points in your list for a Hunter or BSB? Leave us a comment and let us know! Tomorrow we'll continue looking at the Ogre units with Core choices. 

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