Warhammer/Tactics/8th Edition/Orcs & Goblins
Why Play Orcs & Goblins
The great Green Tide is the army for any player wishing to field an army with an insane number of models and perhaps the widest variety of options per force org slot in the game. The level of army customization for O&G, as a result, is almost unparalleled. Orcs are right killy and excel in their specialized role of cc, but tend to suffer from their terrible leadership and initiative stats. In addition, their latest edition reintroduced the Animosity special rule, which can effectively cripple any given O&G unit and spoil any plans you may have so carefully formed. All in all, this army is often for those who wish to have lots of fun without being particularly competitive. However, like most armies, they have a couple of army builds that are very competitive and can do well in most situations given a competent general. Plus, you can fling hang gliding goblins at people.
Lords & Heroes
Note: Under the current edition, named characters tend to be overpriced; you can pretty easily emulate most named characters from scratch and save yourself some points. That said, a few named characters do have abilities and wargear or wargear combos unique to them, so if you absolutely need to have them, go ahead. Just make sure you're really getting your points worth.
- Gorbad Ironclaw: The named Boar-Boss for the army, Gorbad has some seriously awesome gear and rules. He carries a huge choppa that Always Strikes First, inflicts d3 multiple wounds, and ignores armor, and his stat-line insures that he won't be going away anytime soon. The real reason you'll be taking Ironclaw is for his strategic bonuses: he can help any unit within 18" with their animosity rolls should they fail and grants Hold Your Ground! and Inspiring Presence to all units in that range as well. He also counts as both your general AND battle standard bearer, which is both a bonus and a curse. On top of all this, your normal limit on the big 'uns upgrade is now available to as many orc boy and boar boy units as you can field with it. His only disadvantage is his high point cost (coming in at almost 400 points!) and complete lack of ward save, and therefore this fellow is often reserved for larger games. Him being both the general and the BSB is sometimes terrible. If he breaks from combat he automatically dies, because the BSB stands his ground defending the banner and is killed. Definitely not worth it at all as a fighter general. However, Gorbad comes into his own as a "Leadership Bunker." Put him in a unit of wolf riders and you can use his huge leadership bubble and animosity table bonus to stabilize your army.
- Azhag the Slaughterer: At well over 500 points, this is the ultimate point sink for your army. This one model and his wyvern will consume your entire Lord slot in even very large games, and probably will never be a realistic unit to field. That said, he is possibly the biggest bad-ass in the army. He basically makes your units within his range immune to Animosity, has a pair of magic weapons that get re-rolls in cc, 4+/5++, and a crown that makes him a level 3 lore of death wizard (and unfortunately gives him stupidity, but the advantages seem to outweigh this little issue). Additionally, he of course rides his mighty wyvern, Skullmuncha, who shares a similarly insane statline with Azhag, has poisoned attacks, and gets a 4+ scaly skin save. Unfortunate you'll probably never actually get to use this sexy green beast. Also, his model is obscenely expensive even by GW's standards.
- Wurrzag, Da Great Green Prophet: Another 350 point lord, Wurrzag is the ultimate choice for anyone centering their O&G army around Shamans. This mean, green, son of a bitch puts out an absolutely retarded amount of magical power since he has a magic item that allows him to store any unused power dice for a turn, a bound spell in his mask, a 5++, and a staff that gives him magic resistance 3 and re-rolls on miscasts. Additionally, he has a unique spell that can reduce enemy casters within 12" to squigs. Perhaps the main issues with Wurrzag are his mediocre statline and his inability to take the Lucky Shrunken Head. He's also frenzied, but that's less of an drawback in this edition than it used to be. All in all, there are few things as entertaining as getting a good magic roll and watching someone's Archaon get turned into a squig.
- Grom the Paunch of Misty Mountain: The first Lord choice to be mentioned under 300 points (barely), Grom is the ultimate gobbo boss and the named character for Goblin war chariots. This model completely changes the way Goblins play, ignoring the normal Fear Elves rule, granting this onto EVERY other goblin unit in the army. He also has a 5+/5++ and has a magic weapon that gives him +2 to strength and killing blow, which goes up to a 5+ killing blow vs Elves. He has regeneration as well, and he has a little night goblin buddy that carries the battle standard for your army. A very good choice if you plan on mulching a ton of sissy Elves or if you field a lot of Goblin units. BUT since his little night goblin buddy carries a battle standard, if Grom breaks from combat he is destroyed.
- Skarsnik, Warlord of the Eight Peaks: Slightly cheaper than Grom, Skarsnik is best in a night goblin themed army. He has an awesome magic staff that fires d3 s6 hits that ignore armor, and this multiplies when he's near other night goblins. His buddy is a fat squig named Gobbla, who gives Skarsnik some real fighting power in cc (not to mention SIX WOUNDS. On a GOBLIN). Skarsnik has some great special rules too, the main one being that he can randomly force enemy units into reserves at the start of the game (perfect for ruining any 'just as planned' strategies), and he also gives night goblin units the ability to move and shoot in the same turn they recover from running from a combat; this is a mixed bag since with Ld 6 they probably won't be doing that anytime soon. The bad: he has no good armor save to speak of and his huge base size (40x60mm) means he's getting picked out by almost the entire enemy unit in combat.
- Snagla Grobspit: A relatively cheap hero option, his low cost is quickly lost by the fact that you have to take a unit of spider riders with him. This isn't a big deal, however, especially if you love yourself some spider riders, as Grobspit makes them all Ambushers, have Devastating Charge, Hatred (Empire), and cause Fear on the charge. Also, SOOO many poisoned attacks.
- Gtilla da Hunter: Basically Snagla, but mounted on a Giant Wolf and meant for shooting instead of combat.
- Grimgor Ironhide: Very possibly Gazkhull Thraka reincarnated as a Fantasy character, and very certainly the most angry greenskin in existence. One of the cheapest of the Orc named characters, but quite possibly the best if you have a particular fondness for Black Orcs. Grimgor must take a unit of Black Orcs as his retinue and gives them all +1 WS and hatred (everyone!). As the army's ultimate close-combat monster, he has 1+/5++, a positively nightmarish stat-line, an essentially s7 weapon... and on top of it all Always Strikes First! Grimgor, quite frankly, will absolutely kill anything if you get him to cc and will take an insane amount of punishment from ranged attacks on the way there. The bad: With both Grimgor and the black orcs having to be joined, it's a huge pile of eggs in a single basket.
- War Boars: War Boars are awesome. They give your guy a 2+ bonus to the armour save and have a special rule called "Tuska Charge" that gives you 2+ strength on the charge. These are what make Boar Boy Big 'Uns so dangerous; a unit on the charge that deals Strength 6 attacks? A good choice for a boss that is going to join a unit of Boar Boyz, otherwise keep in mind what unit your Lord or Hero is going to join.
- Giant Wolf: For fast cavalry mounts, a Giant Wolf is quick, but altogether has the same stats as a normal Goblin warrior +1 I. A great mount for a Goblin hero that's going to be attached to a Wolf Riders. The Giant Wolf has also given rise to the "goblin cowboy" technique. Instead of running wolf riders, you can run a cheap goblin boss on a wolf for similar points. The benefit to this is you have a unit with higher toughness, a better save, better strength, and an ability to tank against certain units. You can take the Dragonbane Gem on a goblin hero on a wolf and run him right into K'Daii Destroyers, Hexwraiths, and cavalry units with flaming. He'll hold them up forever. Also, you can give him a cheap magic weapon so that he can run into ethereal units and kill them.
- Gigantic Spider: Haha, oh boy. This is what makes your Goblin Boss so effective. You get all of the benefits of the Spider's rules, including its Wall-Crawler ability, and you give that Goblin an extra wound. Found that you want another 3 wound character and you've used up your Lords point allocation? Give that Goblin Boss a Gigantic Spider and there you go, for only 10 points more than a Goblin Warboss.
- Great Cave Squig: See the rules on the Squig section. Use at your own risk.
- Wyvern: For a flying creature, it's not that bad. It has thunderstomp and poisoned attacks and it gives your general an 18 inches leadership bubble. However it paints a big cannon target on the General's chest and you want to avoid exposing yourself to any warmachine. The Wyvern is generally considered a bad idea for competitive play but don't let that stop you if you play for fun. If you don't face too many ranged threats then the wyvern can be a great addition to your army. Just remember that it's not a dragon, it can't eat entire units by itself and its primary use is transportation. Try giving your Great Shaman one of these babies and watch as he soars around the table blasting spells all over the battlefield. Very effective as a defense against pesky units and you get to actually use your augment spells in combats where you need them.
Note: While named characters are judged against their generic counterparts, generic characters are examined based on their role in your army.
- Orc Boss: Your quintessential Orky army leader. He comes in both Lord and Hero form and can be mounted on a chariot, boar, or wyvern. He doesn't have the killing power of the savage orc boss or the animosity quelling of the black orc, but he IS cheaper. Call him "warboss on a budget."
- Savage Orc Boss: Comes with the same options as the orc boss, but has a natural ward save and frenzy. This is a great one to run in a savage orc unit, as his ward save gets better with the Lucky Shrunken Head and his frenzy isn't as much of an issue in an already frenzied unit.
- Black Orc Boss: The Black Orc boss is a significantly more expensive upgrade over the regular orc boss. However, it gives the black orc boss +1 WS and the ability to switch between two hand weapons, a hand weapons and a shield, or a great weapon at the start of each close combat phase if not equipped with a magic weapon. Most important of all, he has the "Quell Animosity" rule. If he's in the unit and it squabbles, the Black Orc knocks heads, does a few wounds, and makes the unit work as normal. This guy is is a staple of most competitive lists.
- Goblin Boss: Not much more to be said here. Come standard and in night form, have a wide variety of customization, and can mount chariots, giant spiders, giant wolves, and giant squigs (making them the only units who can roll with your squig-hoppers. Slap one in a squad of those guys and watch their danger level shoot waaay up). Fielding multiple goblin bosses with great weapons is a fantastic way to give an otherwise fairly defenseless unit some real punch.
- Orc Shaman: All the same customization options as Bosses, but they're wizards of the Big Waaagh! The Orcish lore of magic primarily focuses on damage spells, and boy do they do it well. Roll well and you'll be slapping foot-shaped templates all over the board. Just be sure to give them a ward-save for when they inevitably end up miscasting. Give a savage orc shaman the lucky shrunken head item and pile him in with your savage orc mob and the entire unit will benefit from 5+ ward saves, rather than 6+.
- Goblin Shaman: The lore of Little Waaagh! focuses on hexes and irritating the ever loving shit out of your opponent. Field multiples of the hero form of these buggers with your night goblin units for extra lulz. On a good round of magic, you'll get much more channeling attempts and you can quite remorselessly attempt some irresistible force casts, since after all, you have like 10 shamans on the field. Night Goblin Shamans also come with Magic Mushrooms, which improve EVERY casting roll - you must roll for the shroom after every casting attempt; free power dice!!
The thing to remember about Goblin Shamans vs. Night Goblin Shamans is that if you want a level 4 goblin caster, the regular goblin is superior to the night goblin. But in low level casters, the night goblin is better. This is due to the mushroom dice. A 1 rolled on a mushroom die shuts down the caster for the turn. This is a big risk for a level 4 caster. Better to take level 1 or 2 night goblin shamans so that if one rolls a 1, you can cast other spells with different shamans.
- Orc Boyz: Your bread and butter unit. Orcs are tough, have decent stats, and at only 6 points a model, they can be fielded en masse (read: tarpits). Make sure to give them a musician and standard bearer of course, so they can win a combat or two. Give them extra hand weapons as well. With Orcs, it's always a great option. You can also upgrade a single unit of Boyz to big 'uns, giving them +1 strength and +1 Weapon Skill. Also remember that this unit is one of the few that can take a magic banner. Regular Orc Big 'Uns with the flaming banner or banner of discipline unit are a solid unit that's a little more dependable than Savage Orc Big 'Uns.
- Orc Arrer Boyz: Orcs...with bows. It feels so wrong... Again, they make up for their relatively poor stats in solid walls of flesh. Their access to volley fire is useful here, as it allows the whole block to fire their bows, albeit with extremely poor accuracy, but who really cares when you're putting out 30 shots from a single unit?
IDakka dakka dakka!whats the onomatopoeia for arrows? TWANGA TWANGA TWANGA!
- Savage Orc Boyz: Batshit insane Orc Boyz with 6+ ward saves and Frenzy (and at 8 points a piece, compared to standard Boyz' 6). These are an insane Close Combat Core choice, should they ever make it to assault(and if your enemy is smart, they may use Frenzy to their advantage, leading the squad around aimlessly with a small unit at the edge of charge range). You can give them Big Stabbaz, which give them D3 impact hits. Like most units in the army, feature a wide variety of upgrades for tailoring them into just the kind of unit you want it to be, though they are best off doing what they are meant to: flail wildly around in Close Combat, inflict as much damage as possible before inevitably dying. Another, less common (but still good) choice is to take Big 'Uns and arm them with bows. "You want to stay away? TWANG." This shooting unit can benefit from both goblin magic and/or a goblin BSB with the Spider Banner. No one wants to charge savage orcs with frenzy and Str 5, but no one wants to eat 25 poison shots a turn, either.
- Big 'Uns: Big 'Uns are a cheap upgrade that is more than worth it. Nearly every competitive list uses Big Uns, more specifically they use Savage Orc Big 'Uns with extra hand weapons. The resulting three S5 attacks per model for as low as 11 points will shred anything on the charge. This powerhouse is generally supported by an Orc Shaman carrying the Lucky Shrunken Head which provides a 5+ ward save for the whole unit, making it quite durable as well as deadly in combat. The only problem lies in getting that unit in combat where you want it to be due to the double threat of Frenzy and Animosity that are just begging to make you lose control of it.
- Goblins: Your army's quintessential tarpit. At 3 points per model base, Goblins can be fielded in insane numbers. Can be upgraded with Nasty Skulkers which are kind of a mixed bag. With three attacks and Killing Blow on the turn they are revealed them, they can be a real pain in the ass to an opponent who expected to run heavily armored knights into the puny goblins and take no casualty. On the other hand, Killing Blow only works for a single turn (a shame) and does nothing to many unit types such as chariots or monstrous infantry. In fact the most interesting use of Nasty Skulkers is to use them to displace rank-and-file models. With three Skulkers and two cheap Goblin Heroes in a 5-wide unit, the opponent will be forced to allocate wounds, most likely causing the opposing force to waste attacks.
- Goblin Wolf Riders: Your army's fast cavalry. Give them spears and watch them flank charge a heavy infantry unit to death, or at least keep them tied up long enough for your chariots to flatten them. The Vanguard rule and super fast movment makes them fairly effective war machine hunters.
- Night Goblins: Same price as goblins, -1 to Ld and +1 to I. They come standard with shields,and can take all the same upgrades as Goblins as well, with just two differences. The first is netters for 45 points, an infinitely useful upgrade to an otherwise simple tarpit unit, netters inflict a -1 strength modifier on any unit they are locked in combat with on a 2-6. There is always the odd chance that they entangle themselves on a 1, but they are already so low strength that that should only add to the lulz. The other upgrade is Fanatics. Ohhh... Fanatics. Excuse me for a minute, slight crisis moment. Watch as the enemy player tries to blast through the squishy night goblins with heavy infantry, only to suddenly be lambasted by up to 18 s5 Armour Piercing hits as the little bastards swing insanely through them.
- Forest Goblin Spider Riders: Goblin special cavalry, spider riders can be quite useful. They pump out plenty of poisoned attacks, but their best trick is their ability to move right up inside of buildings and ignore terrain as they do so. Perfect for flushing well encamped enemies out of cover and the bane of wood elf players. However, their high point cost (at least...higher than wolf riders) makes them sort of situational.
- Black Orcs: Infantry. Black orcs have better staying power, and are one of the few units in the army that are immune to Animosity. They also have Immune to Psychology, meaning they won't panic like most of the other units in the army book. The only foreseeable issue with black orcs is that your opponent is sure to try and avoid them, and they cost twice as much as a standard boy. If used correctly, black orcs can be an excellent addition to the army, just make sure you have the spare points. One catch though. Their low I cause them to get brutally slaughtered in cc with tarpits of skaven, swordsmen, elves etc. Be sure to always use shield and close combat weapons in order to survive the combat and thus making them worth their high cost. Additionally, this is one of the few units we can take that has "can opener" abilities. Orcs and Goblins have a huge amount of str 4-5 attacks. But Black Orcs can pull out great weapons and wipe out tough, heavy armored units that would normally give them fits (Steam Tank, anyone?)
- Orc Boar Boyz: Your heavy cavalry. Though a high point cost, they have a potential to be worth it, as you are putting that awesome cc squad into assault relatively quickly, plus with high strength attacks from the tusker charge special rule. Slap a Warboss on a boar with them so they won't run quite so easy. Boar Boyz are a good unit that suffers from the same problems that plague all cavalry units in 8th edition Warhammer: the boars in a second rank don't get to attack, even though they do most of the unit's damage output.
- Savage Orc Boar Boyz: Again, not much more to be said here, simply more expensive, batshit insane Boar Boyz with some special frenzy rules and they get to take two hand weapons while mounted, which i believe is the only cav unit in the game that can do so. They sacrifice surviveability for more 'ead crumpin'.
- Orc Boar Chariot: What's not to love? It's a heavy chariot pulled by boars. Can easily mow enemy infantry units flat. Give it an extra crew for additional lulz and attacks. Suffers from being more expensive than the goblin chariot. both have Str 5 impact hits, so it's hard to justify an extra 30 points for a boar chariot sometimes.
- Goblin Wolf Chariot: A much faster, more fragile chariot option, better for taking on light infantry/fast cav. Unlike the Orc Chariot you can take these things in units of three. However, it's usually better not to due to leadership checks for losing just one chariot.
- Goblin Spear Chukka: Handy for killing infantry and monsters at range, but perhaps not quite as versatile as a Rock Lobba. Then again, this thing is a special choice and is much cheaper than the Rock Lobba so you could potentially field both. In fact, spear chukkas are the cheapest bolt thrower in game currently, partly for the reason that they can misfire just like a stone thrower. You can put a bully in the bunch to keep em in line. Spear chukkas are also a 2 for 1 sort of choice for the special slot, so you can take double the duplicates you'd normally be able to take. The main issue is the ballistic skill of goblins. You'll usually be hitting on 5's or even 6's with the Chukkas, so you have to be judicious in where you place them so that you can get clear fields of fire (very hard to do with Orcs & Goblins).
- Squig Herds: One of the more useful special units for O&G, squig herds are great for taking out large blocks of infantry. They put out a lot of attacks, so at their worst they can at least soften up an enemy unit for your boyz to finish off later. They also EXPLODE if they break, so a loss in combat can potentially cause quite a bit of damage to the enemy. Good unit sizes include 18 squigs/6 herders (small flanking unit) and 30 squigs/10-15 herders (horde combat block).
- Night Goblin Squig Hoppers: Where herds are more about the squigs alone, Hoppers are a special cavalry unit. These are good for harassing enemy units and flank charging, as their relatively high speed and random movement can get them where they need to go better than herds. They're slow and have no armor save, so you have to be very picky with what you fight with squig hoppers. Having random movements actually gives Squig Hoppers an interesting advantage: the opponent cannot declare a charge reaction against them. Archers do not get to shoot them and most importantly, fast cavalry cannot flee and reform from them. Note that only a goblin character riding a Giant Cave Squiqs can join Squig Hoppers, which lets you re-roll the random movement dice.
- Snotlings: Swarms of tiny little greenskins with stats that make goblins look mighty. With 5 wounds and 5 attacks a base, and the fact that they will not run, you can plant a huge swarm of these on an objective and probably hold on to it for a looong time. They can also stand and shoot a single S2 shot that ignores armor, which is highly situational at best. Save your points in this slot for something else. The only use I've found for them has been to put them on a flank and let them run towards war machines. They at least won't panic anything when they die.
- Trolls: Big, strong, and fieldable in large groups, trolls are good for keeping between your groups of Gobbos and Boyz in case they fail their Animosity rolls. Trolls are very powerful in cc, and have some great staying power due to their regeneration. They come in three varieties: standard, stone, and river. The cost differences here between common trolls and river/stone trolls are significant, with common ones being much cheaper with the same cc output. Common Trolls also don't come from your rare slot (river/stone ones do), so they won't take away from your important Manglers/Pumpwagons/War Machines. But no matter what trolls you take, they will be causing some damage. They do suffer from Stupidity(and at Ld4, no less), so you'll have to keep a boss with them or warboss near them at all times if you want them to actually get shit done. Think Ogres, but with a few tricks and retardation issues. Remember that Stupidity also gives you Immune to Psychology, so at least they won't panic.
- Giants: The ever-venerable giant. The model looks pretty pimping hot but its purpose is often limited to receiving multiple cannonballs to the face. A good choice for the purpose of having fun but not much else, the giant is generally skipped by competitive OnG lists. If you have a Savage Orc Shaman in your army you can give it a 6+ ward save but that doesn't do much for keeping it alive. There are way better choices in the O&G rare category.
- Mangler Squigs: Good. Gork. Essentially massive squigs that have been prodded by night goblins till they are insane with RAGE. Manglers behave like enormous fanatics. Point them in the direction you want them to go, pray to Mork they get there (they have no armor, so be careful), and watch as they fling out a positively retarded number of high strength hits. All in all, a very fun (if unreliable) choice for flattening units and wreaking havoc. If you can get off the "Hand of Gork" spell you have a killer combo at your disposition, you can literally win the game in one turn if you can teleport your mangler squig across the map and make it go sideway through the enemy line. Get your tear cup ready.
- Rock Lobba: A fairly standard catapult. Great for flattening Dragons, Manticores, Hydras, Terrorgheists, Daemon Princes, Skycannons and other huge things that orcs normally have a problem dealing with. Even if these juicy targets are not present, it does relatively good against hordes of cheap models. A Rock Lobba is rarely a bad choice.
- Goblin Doom Diver: Extremely powerful. The Doom Diver is one of the most accurate warmachine in the world of Warhammer and one of the most hated unit in the game by non-orc player. If people are going to name something "broken" about OnG then they're going to bring up Goblin Doom Divers. They're perfect for assassinating stuff in heavy armor or enemy characters due to their high precision and ignoring armor saves. Skullcrushers? Dead. Demigryph Knights? Dead. Dragon Princes? Dead. The doom diver suits almost any O&G force quite well and any competitive list will auto-include two of these babies. Important note: if you choose to redirect the Doom Diver then it needs to move the full distance that you roll. The implication is that if you miss a lone infantry character by 1 inch and subsequently roll 3 inches of re-direction, you CANNOT hit that character. You can only fly over the model and leave it unharmed. It's odd to think about but that's the rules. You will also note that the Doom Diver can only hit things where it lands, but in the rare instance that two units are touched by the Doom Diver's base then you get to hit both.
- Snotling Pump Wagon: Pump wagons are hilarious, unreliable and dreadfully scary for your opponent. They have random movement and the potential to veer out of control at any given time, but having 2D6 impact hits is nothing to scoff at. Remember that having random movements has its own advantages, namely that you can charge enemy units during the compulsory movement phase without giving them the chance to perform a charge reaction. This is gold when facing a fast cavalry avoidance list that suddenly find itself not allowed to perform their standard feigned flight tactic. As far as upgrades go for the Pump Wagon, Outriggas and Spiky Rollas are pretty much mandatory, with Giant Explodin' Spores being the single most awesome thing you could buy if you face heavily armored cavalry. Remember that as a suicide unit, the enemy will want to shoot your Pump Wagons at all cost. If you bring Pump Wagons then consider bringing Mangler Squigs as well so that the enemy cannot shoot them all. Mangler Squigs and Pump Wagons serve relatively similar purposes after all.
- Arachnarok Spider: Big fucking scary spider. The model looks fuckin' ace but it is sadly ignored in serious lists due to being overpriced for what it does on the battlefield. It just doesn't have the impact that a 290 points monster ought to have, certainly not with S5/T6 and leadership 6. Only pick it up if you're not particularly competitive or if you're certain you won't face warmachines, otherwise the thing is likely to die from spells or warmachine fire before doing anything cool. On the other hand the Arachnarok Spider is FAST and gets to ignore terrain, so at least there's that. Remember that the goblin crew is equipped with spears and therefore adds eight S4 attacks on the charge.
Building Your Army
The important thing to remember when assembling your Waaagh! is to pick a theme and stick with it. A big downfall of having so many options in the army book is that players can get overwhelmed and try to take one of everything. Mixing too many strategies together is generally a bad idea. For example, it'd probably be a bad move to mix a slow unit like black orcs or trolls in with an all mounted army; by the time these squads get there, chances are your cavalry has already done most of the work (or has been slaughtered and can no longer support your big things). Additionally, both Animosity and Panic tends to be a big problem for O&G, so you should try to build your army in a way that maximizes your bosses' Ld range and minimizes Animosity.
Buying Your Army
As with any army, start with your core choices and first lord or hero and build from there. Always determine just what army you are trying to build before you start purchasing. Sit down with an experienced player and discuss what units synergize best with each other if you are having trouble figuring things out.
You should be judiciously paying for standards, musicians, and characters to boost leadership. In order to lead your greenskins to victory it is absolutely vital to have inspiring presence on as many units as you can. To achieve this there are many types of army composition available to you:
- Orc Warboss and BSB: Provides leadership 9 and rerolls, a strong default choice. The Warboss is a powerful combat character and his Waaagh ability is a fun bonus, albeit small and easy to forget. You can put him on a wyvern for a bigger leadership bubble but most competitive advice will discourage you from doing so, as it is just begging to get sniped on turn 1. The Warboss does a better job on the front line, sending challenges to enemy characters and providing combat resolution through sheer butchery.
- Goblin Warboss with BSB and Banner of Discipline: An alternative to the Orc Warboss, this setup provides leadership 9 and rerolls for those who wish to stick to a goblin-only army. Generally you want to put both the General and BSB in a bunker behind the fighting troops. This makes it harder for the opponent to assassinate either the general or BSB, who are vital in this case since goblins have low leadership by themselves.
- Gorbad Ironclaw: A special character, this guy provides both leadership 10 and rerolls at the same time! Problem 1: he's a special character and they aren't always allowed. Problem 2: he's expensive as all fuck. Problem 3: he is a standard bearer and is therefore bound by the rules that normally affect standard bearers. That means he cannot run, ever. A standard bearer is automatically removed from play when a unit breaks and the same goes for this guy, regardless of whether he is a legendary badass that just happens to have a flag on his back. All things considered, unless you absolutely want to field this character for fluffy reason then you're better off with a separate Warboss and BSB.
- Orc Great Shaman and BSB with Banner of Discipline: Provides leadership 9, rerolls and magic support all at the same time. This is a pretty interesting setup since unlike most wizards, this bad dude is T5 and can actually survive in combat. Equipped with Fencer's Blade and buffed by Fist of Gork, he can even dish out a lot of hurt. He can also be made to carry the Shrunken Head in a unit of Savage Orcs Big 'Uns, in which case he will also be protected by a 5+ ward save. As usual, the biggest danger of using a Wizard general is miscasting: if the shaman gets sucked into the warp on turn 1 then you can pretty much pack your things and go home.
Regardless of what you choose, remember to stick with your army theme. Whether you want to use huge blocks of infantry, multiple small units, big scary monsters or swarms of cavalry, you don't want to end up with too many strategies on the field. If you're going to try something then you need to commit to it. An OnG army with no direction will fall apart quickly.
Anything that gives ward saves is always handy. Bosses should take magic weapons and Shamans should take things that either boost their own powerdice or fuck up the enemy's magic phase. It's also hilarious to put the one that turns enemy wizards into toads on a low level shaman as well. Lastly, if there is a magic banner that can help with Ld issues in your army, take it. The following are the O&G specific magic items:
- Battleaxe of the Last Waaagh!: Not worth it. Getting d6 additional attacks and strength is one can of serious ass-wooping but it's unreliable and risky, on behalf of having to run a lord character completely naked in order to carry it.
- Basha's Axe of Stunty Smashin': Interesting item but not that appealing. Getting +1S and +1A and armor piercing for 50 points is about right but it's nothing to write home about. Skip it unless you happen to be fighting Dwarfs a lot and really hate their guts.
- Armour of Gork: How about no. The +D3 toughness and impact hits are nice but the 100 points price tag is completely ridiculous.
- Lucky Shrunken Head: Best magic item in the book. The Shrunken Head upgrades the ward save granted by Warpaint from 6+ to 5+ for both the bearer and his unit. It costs 50 points and can only be carried by a Savage Orc Shaman or Great Shaman so you need to be ok with sending your wizard into battle. This is not only the strongest magic item in the whole book but also the most popular, appearing often in competitive lists to support a horde of Savage Orc Big 'Uns. This item also causes the ward save of one character (Wurrzag) to become 4+ if he happens to be in the unit.
- Mork's War Banner: Horrible item. Gives magic resistance (d6) and turns magic items into mundane items when in base contact with the bearer. Woopee doo. Horribly expensive at 100pts and not worth it.
- Spider Banner: Somewhat ok. The Spider Banner grants poisoned attacks to a unit, while attacks that are already poisoned will now take effect on a 5+. This has synergy with the spell Gift of the Spider God from the Lore of the Little Waaargh. Sadly, the 85 points price tag and the specific rules mean that this banner can only be taken by a defenseless goblin BSB. The Spider Banner is typically used to deliver a ridiculous amount of poison shots with a horde of Goblins, Arrer Boyz or Savage Orcs with bows. In the later cases, it means you have a goblin character standing next to a Orc unit which just doesn't look right.
- Bad Moon Banner: Crap version of Gnoblar Trappers. Can only be taken by a Night Goblin Battle Standard Bearer. Dangerous terrain tests are only taken by models that charge into base to base contact with the unit with the BSB, so only the front rank of a charging unit gets hit. Told you it's crap.
- Skull Wand of Kaloth: Situational item at best. The Skull Wand grants the bearer Terror and can unleash a curse at the start of every round of close combat, forcing one model in contact with the bearer to pass a Leadership test or automatically die. Can only be taken by a Shaman. Interesting item but made useless due to costing a whooping 75 points. Nobody wants to send an unprotected wizard lord into combat, even if it has a cool magic wand.
As mentioned previously, O&G Shamans get access to two unique lores: the Big Waaagh! (orcs), and the Little Waaagh! (goblins). Where most of your damage spells will be coming from the Big Waaagh!, Little Waaagh! spells focus on debuffs for your opponent and buffs for you. Often times you may want to take one of each type so you can access both lores, and generally this is what you should do. Additionally, sometimes greater numbers of lesser shamans can be more effective than a single great shaman, as with the typical greenskin Ld they will be miscasting at least once a game. It's always nice to have backup casters when your main one's head explodes in a shower of magical gore and brains (and it WILL).
The best magic combo is usually a level 4 Savage Orc Shaman and a level 1 (or 2) night goblin shaman. The Savage Orc usually totes the lucky shrunken head and the night goblin totes a dispel scroll. The night goblin is either a level 1 with the ruby ring of ruin or a level 2.
With this combo, you have plenty of options to choose from.
As far as spells go:
Instead of writing about them, there's an article by a member of Da Warpath (Orc & Goblin website) about our magic. It's written better than anything else I could say. Plus, I'm lazy. Go here to read and be amazed by what our magic can do for you.
How Does The Army Play?
The Orc and Goblin army plays a little differently than you'd expect. The main thing that you'll see across almost all O&G armies is 2-3 pretty big blocks of troops backed up by lots of chaff units and war machines. The army works best by softening up the opponent with shooting and magic while using chaff units to hold up/redirect big units and assassinate war machine hunters. Once the opponent's war machine hunters are dead, the O&G player picks his/her combats by using redirectors (wolf riders, heroes on wolves), board denial units (pumpwagons, manglers), and countercharging the units that were weakened with shooting and magic. This changes depending on the opponent's army, but you'll usually see variations on this strategy.
Typical Things You'll Usually See in a Competitive List
- Savage Orc Big 'Uns (30+) with Savage Shaman (and Lucky Shrunken Head)
- Big troll blocks, usually 8 or more
- Rock Lobbas and Doom Divers
- Maxed Mangler Squigs
- Big Night Goblin Units (50+) with netters, sometimes with several cheap night goblin heroes toting great weapons
- Goblin bigbosses on wolves as chaff units and war machine hunters
- Multiple magic levels (usually a mix of big and little waaagh! lores)
- Black orc giving quell animosity to the magic user's unit and a BSB giving rerolls
- Pump wagons and wolf chariots
Tips for Playing Orcs & Goblins
1. Orcs & Goblins is one of the only armies where their special rule is a drawback. Elves get always strikes first, daemons get ward saves, and O&G get...animosity. Thanks, Mat Ward. We also fear elves, which is just icing on the cake. It's almost like they want O&G to be a mid-tier army. Oh, wait...they do. Somehow this is also Mat Ward's fault. Anyway, most competitive orcs and goblins lists mitigate animosity and take a combination of units and gear that minimize it. Here are things you can do to mitigate animosity:
- Put a black orc character in a unit,especially in a unit with a level 4 caster. You don't want your unit squabbling and wasting a valuable turn not stomping the opponent into goo with the Foot of Gork.
- Take units that don't suffer from animosity (trolls, black orcs, pumpwagons, manglers, etc.).
- Use cheap goblin heroes on giant wolves instead of wolf riders for your war machine hunters.
2. Manglers and Pumpwagons are NOT throwaway chaff units. One thing I see time and time again (and used to do) is throwing the pumpwagons and mangler squigs forward. Opponents love moving a fast cavalry into the mangler to kill it. That is not a good use of the mighty mangler squig. Instead, the mangler works best as an area denial unit or a countercharge unit. To do this well, you have to shoot and magic the enemy's chaff units before they get to the mangler and step on it. After you kill the opponent's chaff, you have two great options:
- Area Denial- You move the mangler in front of their expensive unit. They can either stop (giving you more time to Doom Diver/Rock Lobba/Magic/Foot/Curse/Throw Rocks at the unit and soften it up. Alternately, they can walk through it, taking the 3D6 hits and likely decimating the unit.
- Countercharge- Orcs and Goblins aren't a super fast army. Almost every army (unless it's Tomb Kings) is going to be faster than you. Orcs and Goblins excel at taking charges and countercharging in the flank. With mangler squigs, you can hide them behind your lines and throw them against the side of the table (they stay still this way, but you take a dangerous terrain test). When the enemy charges you, you can throw the mangler through the enemy units. Usually by this point they're all lined up for you because they've charged your Savage Orc horde or Night Goblin horde.
Pumpwagons are similar, but have a few slightly different uses. With outriggas, the pumpwagon has a huge threat range. They work great in the early game by protecting your war machines on the edges of the table. You can throw them into the side of the table to stop their movement and then turn and charge when the enemy gets near. After that, they work great as countercharge units (throwing them into the flanks of enemies trying to charge you).