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. Thunderstomp and poisoned attacks help it out a lot, and it gives your Orc an 18 leadership bubble. But it suffers from being pricy; you could take another unit instead of paying the points for one of these. It also paints a big cannon target on the orc lord's chest. In some builds, the wyvern is great. Just remember that it's not a dragon and can't take whole units by itself.
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.
- Goblins: Your army's quintessential tarpit. At 3 points per model base, Goblins can be fielded in insane numbers. Just like with other units, you can make them shooty or better in combat, can take shields, bosses, musicians, and standard bearers, and can take a special hidden squad upgrade called Nasty Skulkers. Kind of a mixed bag, these ones, as they share near identical stats with goblins, but they do gain killing blow on the turn you reveal them. This is a hilarious surprise to any player looking to smash through the squishy goblins with multi-wound models although they can't touch monstrous infantry like Ogres, Minotaurs, etc. Always priceless to watch that smug grin turn into shock and horror as the opponent loses a hero or two to a unit as squishy as Goblins.
(Skulkers can additionally be used with two cheap Goblin Heroes and a Goblin unit 5-wide and quite deep - Your opponent will have to allocate wounds to the Skulkers and Heroes, leaving the remainder of the unit safe for combat resolution.)
- 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 (at least...higher than wolf riders) cost makes them sort of situational.
- A note on Big 'Uns: While they do cost extra points to field, Big 'Uns can be an invaluable hammer unit. Their increased strength and WS speaks for itself. I personally like to take a large block of savage orc biguns with extra hand weapons, and throw a shaman with a lucky shrunken head in. What you have as a result is a durable unit that can destroy almost anything in cc, being S5 with 3 attacks a piece on the charge.
- Black Orcs: Your heavy 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 consisting of up to three. However, it's usually better not to due to leadership checks for losing just one chariot.
- Goblin Spear Chukka: Yes, it's really called a "Spear Chukka".
Someone at GW must have thought that making a racial slur for blacks into war machine manned by goblins was hilariousignore this 1. GW is a British company and very few people there have heard of this racial slur (in the same way as they wouldn't know the meaning of wetback) 2.Its called a spear chukka because its loaded with spare goblin spears (the undead catapult was orginally called the Skull Chuka) 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 and is much cheaper than the lobba, so one 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 that of ballistic skill. You'll usually be hitting on 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. As with most units in the army, you should try to throw a boss in here so the unit can benefit from the improved Ld.
(Characters cannot join units of Squig Hoppers and anyway they are Immune to Psychology)(They can if they're riding a cave squig, and they let the unit re-roll its random movement). Remember that they're slow and have no armor save, so you have to be very picky with what you fight with squig hoppers.
- 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 shot per base that ignores armor (Well they have 0 BS so they can't shoot their weapons. Still funny though!). 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: Fairly standard rare choice here, the ever-venerable giant can serve a fairly useful purpose depending on how you use it. However, as with all other armies, it tends to be somewhat situational. You may want to save your points for something else here. If you have a Savage Orc Shaman in your army, or Great Shaman, you can give these guys Warpaint for that 6+ ward save.
Never ever even consider taking a giant against Ogres! They will slaughter it in a single round of combat while it potentially get one ogre dead. There are way better choices in the O&G rare category, so...take one if you want to watch a giant take a cannonball to the face.
- 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.
Another take: If you get the "Hand of Gork" spell you have basically won if you are able to cast it. Watch with glee as your enemy cry in horror when a Mangler Squig suddenly appears behind their lines to shred them to pieces or in front to stop their movement. Get your tear cup ready.
- Rock Lobba: The army's heavy artillery, perfect for flattening anything you don't want on the board. A fairly standard catapult, all in all. Take it if you want some long range support to cover your boyz as they march into enemy lines. It's a great tool to take care of VC Terrorgheists, Dragons, Daemon Princes, Skycannons, and other stuff that we'd normally have a problem dealing with. Your second option is to dump them onto a big infantry block. Just remember that it's only str 3 outside the template hole.
- Goblin Doom Diver: VERY useful. Competitive lists always take 2. The doom diver is the piece you want to take if you plan on assassinating stuff in heavy armor or enemy characters. Skullcrushers? Dead. Demigryph Knights? Dead. Dragon Princes? Dead. The doom diver is incredibly accurate with its redirect after the scatter, and can punch through a line of knights with relative ease. The doom diver suits almost any O&G force quite well.
- Snotling Pump Wagon: A relatively cheap alternative to standard rares, pump wagons are hilarious and dreadfully unreliable...but also dreadfully scary for your opponent. They have random movement and the potential to veer out of control and wreck itself in that movement at any given time. Give it outriggas along with a spiky rolla or giant explodin' spores and it'll literally smash heavy infantry and monsters flat.
- Arachnarok Spider: Big fucking scary spider. This thing is EXPENSIVE and is a huge fire magnet, but can make the perfect casting fortress for one very lucky goblin shaman. This thing is FAST as well, and gets the same ignoring of terrain as the spider riders do. If a great shaman is riding the thing it can buff other nearby wizards, and it is positively deadly in cc with its number attacks, all of which are poisoned, make it very deadly against other monsters. It can even mount a flinger that can shoot out of combat and cause problems for enemies. A fun choice if you like warmachines, but remember, quantity over quality is an ever present issue here. Also note, the spider has poison attacks and a lot attacks, but low strength, so keep away from anything with a good armour save.
- Often considered pretty shitty in competitive play, as you're paying a fuckton of points for a giant target with no saves. It's mighty Toughness of 8 is offset by the fact that even low Strength ranged attacks can wound it on 6 in this edition. (Its T6 with a 4+ save...Even worse imo considering the amount of fire it will draw. Model looks fuckin' ace though). Remember that the goblins on top have spears. More Str 4 attacks on the charge never hurt!!!
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.
Again, due to the whole low Ld thing, you should be judiciously paying for standards, musicians, and characters to boost units. Big infantry blocks are generally a good idea so you can take advantage of horde rules as well, because Gork knows you'll be suffering from psychology otherwise. The combination of these two principles should help you to actually win a few combats. Next, it is absolutely vital to have inspiring presence on as many units as you can. You can do this one of several ways.
- Orc Warboss and a BSB. With leadership 9 and a reroll, he has a good bubble and you'll be good for most things. Hide him in a unit for more survivability or put him on a wyvern for a bigger bubble (but less survivability). The BSB toting the banner of discipline is optional here, as the warboss is already leadership 9.
- Goblin Warboss and a BSB with Banner of Discipline. Again, this gives a leadership 9 bubble and a reroll. A lot of people will run a small bunker of goblins behind their main fighting units and take a cheap goblin warboss and cheap BSB with the Banner of Discipline. This means that it's harder to assassinate them and drop your leadership (very important for this army). Plus you can more easily move it around to make the bubble cover more troops.
- Gorbad Ironclaw and Wolf Riders. He also works best as a bunker and gives a leadership 10 bubble with 18 inch range and a reroll. However, he's expensive. I've used it before with some success, but I'd rather have the warboss and BSB for less points.
- Orc Great Shaman and BSB with Banner of Discipline. Also leadership 9 with a reroll, you save the points on a warboss and put the shaman in charge. This is dangerous sometimes, though, especially with the dangers of miscasting. If the shaman gets sucked into the warp from a miscast, you can pretty much end the game there.
Lastly, I can't help but reiterate: stick with your theme. Whether that be huge blocks of boyz or gobbos, swarms of cavalry, or otherwise, you don't want to end up with too many strategies on the field.
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!:
Gives you d6 additional A and S per turn but decreases your WS proportionately. Is not worth the 100 points price tag since you can't take defensive items with it.
- Basha's Axe of Stunty Smashin':
Grants armor piercing, +1 S and + 1A. This bonus is doubled against Dwarfs and causes fear in the stunties as well. Good if you fight a lot of the stubby bastards but at 50 points is somewhat situational.
- Armour of Gork:
Heavy armor, gives you +d3 T and d6 impact hits. At 100 points its not really worth it.
- Lucky Shrunken Head:
Upgrades the ward save granted by Warpaint from 6+ to 5+ for both the bearer and his unit. Costs 50 points and can only be carried by a Savage Orc Shaman or Great Shaman. Is the best magic item in the whole book and also the most taken. Often appears in competitive lists alongside a horde of Savage Orc Big 'Uns. Also causes the ward save of one character (Wurrzag) to become 4+ if he happens to be in the unit.
- Mork's War Banner:
Gives magic resistance (d6) and turns magic items into mundane items when in base contact with the bearer. Horribly expensive at 100pts and not worth it.
- Spider Banner:
Something finally worth its high points cost, this 85 point banner grants poisoned attacks to the entire unit it is in. Attacks that are already poisoned attacks are upgraded to work on a 5+. Can only be taken by a goblin BSBs. Put it in a Goblin horde to deliver a ridiculous amount of poison shots per turn, also works with Arrer Boyz. Gets better with the goblin spell Gift of the Spider God. I take this item a lot along with 35 savage orc big 'uns with bows and a big night goblin unit with bows. The BSB can be put in either unit so that you're shooting poison shots the whole game.
- Bad Moon Banner:
Crap item. 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:
Grants the bearer Terror. Can unleash a curse on one enemy model in base contact at the start of every round of close combat, the victim must pass a Leadership test or automatically die. Can only be taken by a Shaman. Interesting item but made useless due to costing a whooping 75pts. 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).