Welcome to our Closer Look series. We are digging into the changes for each faction in Age of Sigmar 3.0. Join us moving forward as we bring on different authors to give insights into their favorite factions!!
My name is Jarrad and I have been playing Age of Sigmar since shortly after the very first Generals Handbook. I previously wrote an article on the Stormcast Eternals and today I am back to talk about my beloved WAAAAAGH!!
WAAAGH!!! Orruk Warclans is a book chock full of destructive fun! With the Kruleboyz added to the warclan’s, this book has been expanded to 4 unique and playable armies. With the emergence of Kragnos during the Broken Realms and the surge of magic in the realm of beasts the warclans are now a threat like never before. So now we will take a closer look at the Greenskinz, Ironjawz, Kruleboyz, and their combined forces in the Big Waaagh! So roll up your sleeves, smack the gitz around a bit, and hold on tight!
First up, I’m going to talk about the Ironjawz. Lead by the Might Fist of Gork, Gordrakk himself. This clan has heavy armor and heavy weapons. Don’t let that fool you, though. They are surprisingly fast and can cross the smaller battlefield in a single turn. Be aware that all Megabosses can now issue their commands to multiple units for just a single command point (2 if on foot, or 3 when astride a Maw-Krusha). Many of the Ironjawz Allegiance abilities remain, though many saw slight changes. They retain the Mighty destroyer’s ability, but it has lost the ability to fight in the hero phase. They also kept Smashin N Bashin, which allows them to have another unit fight immediately after the first if a unit is destroyed. 3 Sub factions remain in the Ironjawz allegiance for you to choose from; the Ironsunz, Bloodtoofs, and Da Choppas. Another interesting change to the faction is that the buff to charge rolls now only apply during the turn in which your general calls a Waaagh and, you also get an additional rend on all attacks instead of additional attacks. With the effect save stacking available to nearly all armies calling the Waaagh at the right time can allow you to punch through a unit your opponent thought was durable enough to hold a key objective.
Let’s take a minute and talk about some of the interesting command abilities, artifacts, and spells you could use to build your strategy (or to watch out for from your opponents).
First up and possibly the most commonly used is the Mega Bossy Command Trait, which allows your General to use the Mighty Destroyers command even if it has been issued by another model in that phase. If you had 2 Megabosses on MawKrusha, you could use this ability to move 6 different units in the hero phase. Mighty Waaagh! is another Command Trait that is useful on that key turn by allowing all your units wholly within 12″ to reroll their charge rolls. Moving onto the artifacts available to an Ironjawz hero, you have a few options for Megaboss’s. For a Megaboss on MawKrusha, the Armor of Gork makes a lot of sense. The -2″ movement does not affect the monster all too terribly; in exchange, you gain a 6+ ward and a +1 to hit. However, if you want to give another hero an artifact, you will have to look to the generic enhancements in the General’s Handbook. Since its introduction, Da Great Green hand of Gork spell has been a staple in many Ironjawz armies because of its ability to deep strike the slower units in the army. You might also consider Foot of Gork to deal a potentially infinite number of mortal wounds to a unit (just keep rolling 4+) or Bash’ Em Ladz! To improve the wound rolls of all units wholly within 16″ of the caster.
While each sub-faction has its own strengths and benefits, the current Meta strongly leans towards the Bloodtoofs. The biggest reason is their ability to make the hardy and quick-moving Gore-Gruntas unit battleline. With their 9″ move, 4+ save, and a weapon option to have a -2 Rend, this 3-model unit can be tough to handle. Since each model counts as 2 models on an objective (5 wounds per model), it’s not easy to prevent them from taking objectives with small units of your own. Combine this with a Megaboss on MawKrusha using the Mighty Destroyers command; you can get the MawKrusha flying 24″ and the Gore Gruntas moving 18″ across the board before charging. You combine this with the Great Green Hand of Gork to teleport a unit and the Go Get’um Beat from a Warchanter. The army could have a MawKrusha, and 3-4 units of Gore Gruntas in your opponent’s face in a single turn.
An army utilizing this strategy might look something like this:
Don’t think this is the only scary army you may face. Think again. While the army has low bravery there are several ways to mitigate that weakness, allowing units of Brutes to deal massive damage and stand until the last. Having access to the same -2 Rend 2″ reach weapon as the Gore-Gruntas, you can effectively run them as a unit of 10. This one unit with just a Warchanter buff can deal out around 27 damage to a unit of 4+ wounds and a 4+ save. That will nearly topple a Mega-Gargant in a single activation.
These are just a few of the threats you may face from an Ironjawz force. And we will revisit some of their forces later in another sub-faction from the Orruk Warclans. But next up, let’s talk about the other returning faction from the Orruk Warclans of the second edition, the BoneSplitterz.
Bonesplitterz is an interesting faction that does not often see a lot of the tabletop. With their abilities like the warpaint 6+ ward save, Spirit of Gorkamorka (exploding 6s), and Tireless Trackers (pregame move of 5″), they have a lot of interesting things they can throw at an unsuspecting opponent. Their Waaagh has also been changed so that during that turn, all Warpaint saves are a 4+ ward instead. Making your army extremely resilient for that key turn, you need to hold objectives. Their 3 warclan’s also have strong and unique abilities.
Bonegrinz, give all your Arrowboyz an additional attack with their bows for 3 attacks per model. They also become battleline for your army. So with just a pregame move, normal move, and 18″ range, you could rain down 90 dice upon your opponent from a single unit of 30 archers 28″ away. That is nearly the back edge of the board in most scenarios. Taking a look at the Icebone warclan, you get mortal wounds equal to the damage characteristic of the weapon with unmodified 6s to wound. This gives your army with very little mortal wound output a way to punch through those strong defensive armies like Stormcast Eternals. By far, the most interesting to me is the Drakkfoot war clan. When you play this warclan, your opponent CAN NOT MAKE WARD SAVES against wounds or mortal wounds caused by your unit’s attacks. You can still have wounds caused by spells and abilities negated, however. Negating a ward save means some of your most resilient armies lose their best asset for survival. I once had my own Gotrek Gurnisson shot down by a mob of Arrowboyz in a Drakkfoot army.
I have pondered what an army might look like if I were to build one for Bonesplitterz, and this is what I have come up with:
While I don’t see it as an incredibly effective army on paper, it intrigues me when you consider that some of the top Meta armies rely on ward saves for survival. So between chipping them from range, the high rend of the Rogue Idol, and the Big Stabbas, you can easily move up the board and start taking objectives. Also, something to consider, there are 173 wounds of Orruk in this army for your opponent to chew through. Another interesting ability combo is the Wurrgog Prophets Wurrgog Mask and the Glowing Tattoo. With the ability to roll potentially infinite damage (3+ does D6 to your chosen unit, 1-2 D6 to you) and ignoring any damage you take on a 4+.
Another very interesting tactic of pure speed and weight of dice can be employed with the IceBone Clan. When you combine the Tireless Trackers with the Great Hunter Command Trait, you can have 3 units move 8″ before the game begins. In the first turn, you could have 3 units of boars moving 20″ across the board without the use of a command point or requiring a dice rolls. With 5-6 attacks per model and the ability to make them hit and wound on 3+ with 6s to hit-making additional hits and 6s to wound, causing mortal wounds. A unit of 10 boar riding Orruks would virtually guarantee you still have all bonuses to hit with each unit as they attack. So 7 boars could be pumping out 35 attacks and forcing 19 saves and 5 mortal wounds. 1 unique thing about the Bonesplitterz is that they have a wizard mounted on a boar that can keep up with the troops for even more buffs and increased damage beyond the first turn.
An army built around this idea could look something like this:
Taking a look at a few of the other spells, traits, and abilities, you may want to be aware of Glowin Tattoo, which adds 2 to the ward save of the bearer. Da Voice of the Great Green God is another trait you could use on a wizard to issue commands to units 24″ away instead of just 18″. Finally, in Icebone Warclan, you should strongly consider taking Glowy Green Tusks as a spell on one of your wizards. It grants the tusks and hooves attacks on a unit of boars -2 Rend. Power of the Were-Boar is also strong on a melee unit because it grants +1 to run and charge rolls and +1 to Hit (but the unit can’t shoot).
With these first two factions of Orruks, you have to be aware of their speed being unlike most other armies. They will make it to your units on the first turn if they want to. They could also use these movement tactics to reposition to secure objectives early. The key to victory is often surviving that first charge and making sure that they only strike your units that can withstand them or are not crucial to your counterattack. Deployment is key to controlling what units an Orruk army can target with the first charge. A single slip up could see a unit in the middle of your army rip apart your critical support hero. Bravery is one of the Orruks key weaknesses that you can exploit. By targeting several units to chip away models and pressure for failed battleshock, you can thin out the army without having to kill every single model in an opposing army. Be aware of these Greenskinz, even if they seem crude and straightforward. The new factions won’t be so kind.
Next week, tune in for Part 2, where I will share my insights on the Big Waaagh!, Kruleboyz, and more!!