Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Basics of a Greenskin Army Pt1: Da Biggest Boss

Most armies will have an Orc Warboss of some kind to lead them, because LD8 isn't all that. Some armies have a Gobbo instead, mostly for theme. The general has several jobs in an O&G army, ranging from providing a LD bubble to smashing other characters in combat. In this article I will be talking about how to get the best out of your army's leader, and different ways to use him on the battlefield. We assume you are not using a shaman for a general, wich can be a good idea but is pretty uncommon. (See coming article about Shamans.) This is kind of a beginner's guide, as it's pretty basic knowledge and there's not much room for sneakyness.

The general:

First off, you need to decide if you want a Warboss or Bigboss as your general. Usually this decision is easy- a Warboss is the better option. However, he is also more costly than a bigboss, and sometimes you can't fit the Warboss into your 25% Lord allotment for whatever reason. Maybe your really want a Greatshaman, or just can't fit a lord into the % at all. LD9 is much better than LD8, so even if you aren't feeling like paying a lot of points for your general it's worth considering going with a Lord.
Second, you need to decide what type you want. As I'm sure you know there are several types of Bosses to consider, each with their own advantages and drawbacks.
Normal orc: Nothing special. Can be dragged down by animosity when in a unit. Cheap and fighty.
Blackorc: Quells Animosity, wich can take a toll on the unit. Armed to da Teef. Immune to Psychology (wich does not transfer to the unit he leads, sadly).
Savage Orc: Frenzy, wich is a double-edged sword. Free 6+ wardsave.
Goblin: Cheap and decently fighty. Nothing special, a bit of a light-version of the Orc.
Nightgoblin: Like the goblin, but cheaper, worse when leading and hates Dwarfs. (Also, an extra point of Initiative. WOHOO!)
With the type of leader decided, you can go on to the fun part: kitting your Boss with nifty gear!
Generally (No pun intended) you want your general to be able to take a pounding in combat and, if needed, from range. This is elementary; he won't do much good if he is dead. Therefore, aim for getting him a decent armour save or ward save, or preferably both. You can also give him other items which make him tougher to kill, like the Glittering Scales or the Trickster's Helm.
If he is going on his own or with a unit wich is not spectacularly killy you'll want to make him able to tear stuff up, as well. It's worth bearing in mind that in Warhammer it is almost always statistically better to increase the effectiveness of each attack than getting more attacks, but everything counts in large numbers, as Avian likes to say. (Avian's site is in writing moment inactive and is about 7th edition, but he was the one who taught me the basics of how to think about Warhammer properly.) Anyway, this leads to the conclusions that weapons wich give you a higher Strength or lets you hit easier are very good, but if you already are making every hit effective by having high Strength and/or hitting easily you can treat yourself to a weapon wich increases attacks. That's the reason I really like Basha's Axe; It makes every hit count and increases attacks as well, and is only 50 points.

Warbosses and Bigbosses are no slouches in combat to begin with, but adding a cheap magical weapon to make them more effective att thumping stuff and handle Ethereals is rarely a bad idea. A good rule of thumb is to not spend more than half of the character's magical items points on a weapon, otherwise you probably won't have enough points to protect him very well.

A Blackorc doesn't really need any extra weapon at all, since the good old GW is one of the most efficient choices for fighty characters anyway. He can even choose to use 2 Handweapons instead, or fight with a shield if you feel you need that. The problem is that GW's don't allow you to use a shield at the same time, but if you are getting your characters some kind of protection which doesn't involve shields this will not be much of a downside. If you're using a Savage Orc you probably won't have much of an armoursave anyway (Though it's certainly possible) so you might as well go for a Wardsave, maybe the Glittering scales and increase your killyness with the rest of the points.


Generals will either be in a combat unit, a "bunker" or cruising around the battlefield on their own (Usually on a steed of some kind) My general is usually seen front and center of my battleline, rushing forwards to do what they do best: Fight!

Putting your general in a combat unit is pretty straight-forward. Have them lead a unit in the centre of your battleline and give out their LD to nearby units, and help the unit out with a few extra kills. I believe this is probably the best option, since it's such a nice synergy. Both the Boss and the unit get what they need more of, making for a potent combat unit.
A "bunker" is almost always an infantry unit, wich usually hangs around behind your lines and has one or more characters in there wich it's supposed to protect. The idea is that you won't have to give them any magic items and they'll still be safe from shooting and hopefully combat, letting the poor gits around them get killed to protect your valuable general. Putting several characters in one fragile unit can turn that cheap throwaway unit into a juicy target for spells and certain shooting, however, so you better be pretty confident about making those panictests you'll almost always have to take. A determined opponent can quite often wipe out your entire bunker at once, leaving your characters very vulnerable to further shooting or spells until they find a new little hidey-hole to hang out in. If the bunker gets into combat with anything wich isn't really wimpy it's done for, and all those soft, mushy characters are just waiting to be killed off. (They won't have to wait for very long, usually.) If you do run a bunker, have them behind a unit wich you know won't give sway to the enemy, or you'll soon have a strong enemy unit breaking it and pursuing/overrunning into you.

 I don't recommend a bunker for Greenskins, as it doesn't work with our playstyle that well. If you're running a tough, elite army your characters are probably fighty anyway, and you don't wanna waste points on something wich won't see combat. If you're running a more horde army you'll have problem with being where you need to be, and since you have so many cheap units you can really afford to give your characters some protection. I neither see the need nor the use for a bunker in an O&G army. Also, it's kind of a wimpy thing to do, wich a true orc would never consider! Gobbos are sneaky, leave this to them. Even then there should be something better for your Boss to do.

There are several reasons why you might want your general to traverse the battlefield alone, especially when he's riding something big and nasty. If he's riding a Wyvern his LD bubble extends to 18" and it makes your Warboss a pretty good hammer in his own right. Also, you can fly to make sure your leader is where he needs to be. Bouncing around in a chariot is something best left to less important characters, and riding around on a cavalry mount is usually better if you're doing it inside a cavalry unit. As cavalry units tend to be seen on the flanks of your battleline his Inspiring Presence may be wasted there. Hopping around of a Great Cave Squig is an even better example of a thing your general shouldn't do, since you can't guarantee that he will be anywhere useful at all. Riding a Gigantic Spider can be cool, but watch out for warmacines.

Whatever you do with your general, keep his Inspiring Presence bubble in mind. Whenever you move him you should measure out the bubble from him to see what it covers (As with any other bubble). Obviously things like Trolls or combat blocks of goblins should hang around where this bubble can reach them, otherwise they'll probably wander around aimlessly or get scared off and run away.

Sample builds:
Below are some builds designed to excel at different jobs. You'll notice they are all orcs. That's because I have almost never used a Goblin general and Orcs are better at almost anything.
Ol' Reliable: Black Orc Warboss, Basha's Axe of Stunty Smashin', Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Preservation.
My standard General build, he combines 5 Str6(7) attacks with good defense. Pretty basic all-round fighty guy who also keeps my main unit in check, turning my Big'Uns from fighty to really fighty.

Can't touch this: Savage Orc Warboss, Fencer's Blades, Glittering Scales, Potion of Strength.
Most troops hit him on a 6+, virtually anyone else on a 5+. If he's in a unit with a Shrunken Head shaman he's golden! Dishes out 6 WS10 attacks and can deal with really tough foes by downing the potion. Even has 20 points left to spend on other magic items, maybe the Dragonbane Gem or some MR. Never actually used him, but he seems cool.

The Shredder: Savage Orc Warboss, Sword of Bloodshed, Potion of Strength and 20p left.
Probably not survivable enough to be very useful versus a lot of opponents, but damn... 8 Str5(6) attacks is nasty, and the potion makes it insane for one round. Imagine the damage output you'd get by sticking him on a Wyvern...*drools*

Tank light: Black Orc Bigboss, Talisman of Preservation, Enchanted Shield, Boar.
1+ AS and a 4+ Ward if you aren't using your GW in combat. Cheap and cheerful, yet really survivable. Stick him in an infantryunit and your saves should keep him safe from most templates. If the unit has the Banner of Discipline he's just as good as a Warboss except offensively.
Supertank: Black Orc Warboss, Sword of Striking, shield, Trickster's Helm, Dawnstone, Boar.
T5, enemies re-roll succesful wounds and you get to re-roll your 1+ armoursave. Also hits most things on a 2+. There will take some serious force to move this guy!


  1. Awesome article - I'll take all the help I can get! I like the build suggestions, too; I had never really considered the value of a few of those items. Really looking forward to more posts! WAAAGH!!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad people are enjoying the blog. :)

  2. This has been pretty useful Theo! Keep up the good work. I can't wait for your input on the different shamans. I have most of my list figured out. I'm just trying to settle on magic defenses at 2500pts. I'm thinking a level 1 Orc scroll caddy and a level 4 night gobbo should do the ticket nicely.

  3. The example builds were great, they've really helped me have a good standard build. :-)

    My only complaint is how long I've been waiting for the next post! Get on with it Theo!

  4. I feel I must echo the esteemed Basil.