Age of Sigmar Review: Orruk Warclans

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Released alongside Cities of Sigmar, the Orruk Warclans book feels like it has a very similar agenda to its sister book. Both books had an intended goal of consolidating some disparate factions into one location. The difference here is that while Cities of Sigmar focused on taking a vast array of units and giving them a theme to play together, Orruk Warclans combines two armies while also giving rules to allow them to function autonomously. You gain no real benefit from playing a “pure” dark elf army in Cities of Sigmar, but here pure Ironjawz has its perks.

The two armies in the Orruk Warclans battletomes, Bonesplitterz and Ironjawz, are long time armies in Age of Sigmar. Bonesplitterz are savage Orruks from Fantasy, using stone tools and bows. Ironjawz were a new army for Age of Sigmar, more technologically advanced by orruk standards and emboldened by the merger of their gods Gorka and Morka into one being, Gorkamorka.

Both armies had battletomes, but they were released in the very early days of Age of Sigmar, before even points existed. This meant they were effectively useless for matched play unless you wanted to shell out money for the battalions alone and while Ironjawz tended to do pretty well on the table both armies really needed and update to bring them into the 2nd edition of Age of Sigmar.

Rather than release two books, GW put them together into one, though they remained as seperate armies. They also included a third option, to put both armies together into one giant (Say it with me now) WAAAGH of green goodness combining the army’s strengths into one unstoppable superforce.

How does the book hold up? Since the book is rather clearly divided I will be exploring both of the separate forces first and then bringing it all together in the combination army.

Ironjawz, The Chosen of Gorkamorka

Ironjawz are, broadly speaking, the more “elite” version of orruks on the table. They’re slower (on paper, there’s lots of ways around this), lack ranged attacks outside of their giant dragon cabbage and they’re very expensive. The flip side is that they have a lot of wounds, great saves and are pretty scary in combat once they get there. A pure Ironjawz army needs to get in charge range but they have plenty of tools to get there and once they’re stuck in, they will be able to withstand all but the most dedicated of assaults

Army Abilities

These abilities are universal to all Ironjawz lists:

  • Orruk Warclans: Similar to the Stormcast Stormhosts, Warclans give you 3 options for a warclan to devote your army to. This grants you a bonus ability but comes with the caveat that you must take the command trait and artefact it provides as your first option.
  • Eager for Battle: +1 to charge rolls. This is an army that wants to get in on the charge every time so every inch helps.
  • Mad as Hell: Anytime a friendly unit takes damage and is more than 9” from an enemy unit they can move D6” inches at the end of the phase. The source of the damage doesn’t matter so if you give your boys a little tap with an endless spell they still get the benefit. It helps get the rather slow ironjawz units a little bit more of a kick to get into melee.
  • Smashing and Bashing: If an Ironjawz unit destroys a unit in the combat phase you can immediately nominate a unit locked in combat that hasn’t fought yet to fight, before your gets to. Nothing here says you can’t chain them, so make your opponent regret those small units they didn’t properly defend.
  • Command Ability: Mighty Destroyers:  A swiss army knife of an ability. In the Hero phase, you can pick a unit wholly within 12” of a HERO or 18” of the General and based on where the units current location is, one of 3 effects happens:
    • If the unit is more than 12” from an enemy unit, they make a move.
    • If the unit is within 3” of an enemy unit, they immediately fight.
    • If neither is true, they must attempt to charge.

It’s a good command ability. It bakes a lot of the stuff you’d want in an Ironjawz army (an extra movement, attack or charge) for 1 CP. There is of course a stipulation that you cannot nominate the same unit twice a turn but anyone who’s played a wargame can tell you the action economy matters and acting twice is ridiculously good.

  • Command Ability: Ironjawz Waaagh! Really odd one. Only your general can use this, only if he’s a Megaboss, and only once per battle. You tally up all units within 18” of the general and roll a die, adding the number of units. If you get an 11 or less, add +1 to attacks of all those units until the end of the phase, if you get a 12 or more, add +2. More attacks is good for orruks of course but Ironjawz armies probably won’t have a ton of models and as the game goes on that number will dwindle. If you can time it just right and have your models positioned just right you can get an early game lead with all those extra attacks, but if you wait you’ll probably just waste it. Keep it in mind, but don’t bank your life on it.

Command Traits

In an interesting move, command traits and artefacts are actually divided up between relics for WARBOSS and WEIRDNOB characters with 6 of each for the former and 3 for the latter.

  • WARBOSS Command Traits:
    • Hulking Muscle-Bound Brute: After a successful charge, pick one enemy unit within 1” and roll a die on a 2+ deal D3 mortal wounds. Solid choice, good for softening up the enemy before the combat phase.
    • Live to Fight: Reroll wound rolls for the General and his mount if they made a successful charge. Also a solid choice, especially if you put your Warboss on a Mawcrusha.
    • Brutish Cunning: Oh baby what is this now? Once per battle round you can use Mighty Destroyers without expending a CP. Mighty Destroyers was already really good, another free usage is just icing. You will probably take this.
    • Ironclad: +1 to saves. Meh. Your General already has a decent save why spare him something cooler?
    • Bestial Charisma: Use Inspiring Presence for free once per turn, which is the generic command ability to auto pass a morale check. Ironjawz have atrocious bravery and often run in decently sized groups so failing morale checks is a real fear here. Worth considering if you’re bringing a few larger units.
    • Mighty Waaagh!: Makes Ironjawz Waaagh! a 24” range instead of 18”. If you have a real green tide going this might help out on occasion but you really might as well take Brutish cunning.
  • WEIRDNOB Command Traits:
    • Dead Kunnin’:  At the start of your first battle round receive D3 command points. More command points is always helpful
    • Master of the Weird: +1 to casting, dispelling and unbinding rolls to this general. If magic is going to play heavy into your strategy this is a solid pick.
    • Bursting with Power: Know an additional spell from the Ironjawz lore. Crucially, unlike similar traits in other books they also can cast an additional spell. This competes pretty well with Master of the Weird for a good mage trait.

Artefacts

Again, artefacts are split between Warbosses and Weirdnobs

  • WARBOSS Artefacts
    • Armour of Gork – If an unmodified save roll to a melee attack is a 6, deal 1 mortal wound to the attacker. Make them nervous to attack you.
    • Destroyer – Once per battle boost a melee weapons damage profile by 3. Warbosses have at least 6 attacks and do 2 damage a piece. Time it just right and you can delete a unit or a particularly hardy monster.
    • Daubing of Mork – A 6+ feel no pain save. Meh
    • The Golden Toof – Don’t take battleshock tests for units wholly within 12”. Orruk bravery is garbage so keep some squads close and this can help that, though you’re gonna have to be able to squeeze them in.
    • Metalrippa’s Klaw – This is nice, -3 rend to a melee weapon of your choice, effectively negating saves for most models.
    • The Boss Skewer – Boosts bravery of allies wholly within 18” by 1 and reduces enemies within 12” by the same. You have better ways to control morale.

Mount Traits

As has become de rigueur, giant mounts can get their own pseudo command traits. If you include a HERO on a Mawcrusha you can give them one of these traits. For every battalion thereafter you can give another trait to another Mawcrusha. You cannot give the same trait twice and you cannot put 2 or more on the same one.

  • Big ‘Un – +1 wound. Skip.
  • Fast ‘Un –  +2” move. Maw Crusha’s already move 12” at fully health so at best this is a way to keep them going once their health starts to chip but we can do better.
  • Mean ‘Un – Add 1 to the mount’s weapons. Simple but effective, definitely worth considering.
  • Heavy ‘Un – Add 1 to destructive bulk rolls. This is more complex but in short you roll a number of dice after a charge and on each 5+ you deal a mortal wound. If you kill a unit in this way you can charge again, repeating until you fail to kill a unit. This turns that roll into a 4+.
    It’s not bad but Destructive Bulk probably won’t trigger in the way you hope against the things you want it to. You’ll likely only kill smaller units and only if your opponent messed up will you chain it often. It ends up being similar to a lot of Mortal wound after charge abilities, where you soften the enemy up before the real combat phase.
  • Loud ‘Un – Once per battle, at the start of the fight phase, let out a roar that reduces the hit rolls of all enemy units within 3” for the phase. If you plan on wading into a huge crowd, let this one out.
  • Weird ‘Un – You can roll a die when a spell is cast on you, on a 4+ ignore it. Mortal wound spam is a popular way of dealing with monsters, this is a good way of laughing it off.

Warchanter Beats

We’re not done yet. Warchanters are exclusive to Ironjawz and are like your priests. They get access to 3 “prayers” they can choose from. They’re all actually pretty good, cast on a 4+ with one die and can’t be unbinded.

  • Get ‘Em Beat – Turns your charge from a 2d6” into a 3d6” to a unit wholly in 12”. You already know the charge phase is where the magic happens and this really helps guarantee you’ll make those short charges, or get a longer one successfully. Bring this along.
  • Fixin’ Beat – Heal d3 wounds on a model wholly within 12”. You’ll primarily use this to top off your Mawcrushas and get them to the next damage bracket.
  • Killa Beat – Target an enemy unit, and all friendly units get +1 to hit rolls against them. A nice reliable buff.

Spells

The spell discipline for Ironjawz is pretty solid all around, good mix of mortal wounds, mobility and combat buffs that the army craves

  • Brain-bursta – Casting Value 5, Roll 2d6 against a target units bravery within 16”. If you beat the target’s bravery deal D6 mortal wounds, if not, deal D3. Good against low bravery targets like Gloomspite, but mediocre against daemons or undead.
  • Mighty ‘Eadbutt – Casting Value 5, pick an enemy HERO within 16” and deal D3 wounds. If they’re a WIZARD, deal D6 instead. Solid anti-hero killer, especially if your opponent has a lot of wizards.
  • Da Blazin’ Eyes – Casting Value 6, pick a point 4D6” away and draw a line 1mm thick to that point, for every enemy model it passes roll a die, on a 4+ deal 1 mortal wound to that unit. This one’s tricky because it’s similar to one of the more popular Legions of Nagash spells, but comes with some caveats. Normally the “Draw a line, deal mortal wounds” spells are best cast from highly mobile wizards who can get just the right positioning to maximize damage and Weirdnobz aren’t that. Even with the movement abilities in place they can’t fly which makes perfect positioning difficult. Add in the random distance and it can be very unpredictable, though on average you’ll get 14” which is pretty damn good.
  • Da Great Great Hand of Gork – Or is it Mork? Casting value 7. Pick a friendly unit within 24” and not engaged in combat, and move it anywhere on the field more than 9” from the enemy. The lack of distance for repositioning is very powerful and I probably don’t need to say further why this is great.
  • Bash Em’ Ladz! – Casting Value 8, add one to wound rolls  for all friendly units within 16”. The high casting value can make this iffy but the fact that it functions like an aura and isn’t single target is a huge boon.
  • Wrath of Gork – Or is it…ok nevermind. Casting Value 8, this is an odd one. Pick an enemy unit within 16”, roll 2 dice for each Ironjawz unit (with 2 or more models, so no heroes) within 16” of the caster. For each 2+ deal a mortal wound. Good if your Weirdnob has a retinue with him, but you have to set it up pretty well.

Warclans

Warclans are your stormhosts, optional rules you can take that come with the caveat of needing to take a preset warlord trait and artefact (though for artefacts past your first you can take whichever you please).

Ironsunz

Smart orruks, or cunnin’ as they would say. Pretty solid all rounders, the stuff here isn’t great but it also isn’t by any means bad.

  • Warclan Ability: Ironsunz Kunnin’ – Subtract 1 from hit rolls against your army in the first battle round, good for helping your boys get there in one piece, in order for Mad as Hell to work you need to only get wounded once so why put extra risk?
  • Command Ability: Alright – Get em’! – This is interesting. At the end of your opponent’s charge phase, if a unit is within 12” and within 18” of a hero you can attempt to charge, even though its your opponent’s phase. This is situational but can be a game changer in the right situation. It can help your boys get into a melee to back up your boys who just got charged, or an opponent who ended their phase without considering how close they were to getting charged.
  • Command Trait: Right Fist of Dakkbad – Recieve 1 command point during the first hero phase, as far as mandatory command points go, you really could do worse.
  • Artefact: Sunzblessed Armour – Reduce all rend against the bearer by 1 to a minimum of -1. Really solid, reducing rend is never not welcome.

Bloodtoofs

Bloodthirsty speedy orruks, these boys charge, destroy, and keep moving. Honestly their abilities are pretty weak and probably a drawback to take them, especially the atrocious command ability.

  • Warclan Ability: Hunt and Crush: Add 1 to run and charge rolls. This stacks with Eager for Battle so it’s a welcome addition for an army that seeks to dominate the charge phase.
  • Command Ability: Break Through Da Line – At the end of the combat phase, pick a unit within 24” of a hero, that unit can move again but it cannot run or retreat. In laymens terms it’s meant to be used after destroying a unit to help give you the momentum to get someplace else. You have to be careful with this though, you can’t run and Ironjawz largely move pretty slow, so you could move yourself right into an enemy’s charge range.
  • Command Trait: Get Da Realmgate – if there is a realmgate, add +2 to the effect roll. And…nothing else. Absolutely terrible, you have to have a realmgate on the field to begin with, and even then there’s so many better command traits.
  • Artefact: Quickduff Amulet – The Relic does make up for the poor command trait somewhat. It’s basically a one a game, free Great Hand of Gork, which is a good spell. It cannot be dispelled or failed so this is a really good relic.

Da Choppas

Anarchist Orruks. This clan encourages a more aggressive style, rewarding a strong push into enemy territory.

  • Warclan Ability: Vandal Horde – Reroll charges for units within 12” of a terrain feature within enemy territory. This is good for an aggressive playstyle, as any terrain even partially within your opponent’s deployment zone is fair game.
  • Command Ability: Rabble Rouser – You can use a Warchanter’s Violent Fury ability on 3 units instead of 1, which for reference adds 1 to Damage of melee units. This triples the output and makes packing a bunch of smaller groups in together more appealing.
  • Command Trait: Checked out – +2 bravery within 12” of the General. Pretty good, Ironjawz have less than stellar bravery so this might save you from the occasional turn of bad luck on morale.
  • Artefact: Megakull Staff – You have to make your general a weirdnob but with this staff he counts as a Megaboss for the Waaagh command ability. I suppose it makes Weirdnobs a little more versatile but I question why you wouldn’t just take a warboss.

Battalions

Due to the lack of unit selection, Ironjawz battalions are pretty unimaginative, but they do mean that there’s less in the way of a “Tax” of useless units. If you bring the units you probably will want the battalion to.

  • Ardfist – 3-5 Ardboys, 1 Warchanter – As long as the Warchanter is alive you can roll a die whenever a unit is destroyed, on a 4+ a new 10 man unit appears on a battlefield edge. If you’re bringing Ardboyz this maximizes their survivability and keeps your opponent from being able to push you off the table.
  • Brutefist – 3-5 Brutes – After finishing a charge move, on a 4+ deal a mortal wound. If you have the brutes, sure.
  • Gorefist – 3-5 Gore-gruntas – Essentially you nominate one Sergeant to be the “leader” and as long as the other gore-gruntas are within 18” they can move but not run in the hero phase. As your cavalry they already move pretty fast so this gives them another push for capturing objectives or getting to an essential combat.
  • Ironfist – 3-5 Ardboys, Brutes or Goregruntas in any combination – This is a nice one. You again pick a “leader” and that leader can use Mighty Destroyers for free once each turn. Mighty Destroyers is already good, get all the uses you can, and the unit has a lot of versatility in terms of units.
  • Weirdfist – 1 Weirdnob, 3-5 Orruk Brutes or Ardboyz – As long as the shaman is within 18” of 2 or more units from this battalion he can use his Green Puke spell twice in addition to other spells. Green Puke is an OK spell but you probably just want to use Ironfist.
  • Brawl – 1 Megaboss, 1 Warchanter, 1 Weirdnob, and 3-5 of any other Ironjawz Battalion – The Ironjawz “super” Battalion, a battalion made of Battalions. If your general is in the battalion another Hero can use the Ironjawz Waaagh ability. Now the Ironjawz Waaagh ability is pretty damn good but…look at the cost of all those battalions. You really have to build around this but if you do, 2 uses of the ability is pretty hard to pass up.

Bonesplitterz, Orruk Classic

In many ways Bonesplitterz are the opposite of Ironjawz. While Ironjawz are slow and clad in metal armor, Bonesplitterz run around in little more than a loincloth and a club. They have atrocious saves but make up for it by being in general lower in point cost, having a lot of wounds for models in similar roles, and a Feel No Pain check. Bonesplitterz are an older army, back from Warhammer Fantasy Battles which tends to mean more models to choose from than “new” armies (though in this case it’s not a lot more) . For example, Bonesplitterz actually have ranged units, which is a huge difference in playstyle between them and their metal-clad cousins. They’re still no slouches in the charging phase. One notable downside is they do not have a monster of their own, unlike Ironjawz, but are excellent monster killers, receiving several bonuses in their list to fighting monsters.

Army Abilities

These abilities are universal to all Bonesplitterz lists:

  • Bonesplittaz Warclans: Just like the Ironjawz, there are 3 optional clans you can join with the same restrictions on artefacts and command traits. We’ll go into them further down.
  • Tireless Trackers – After both players have set up, you may move half your units 5” before the game begins. Scout rules are always appreciated and moving half your army in this manner can set up some good first turn shenanigans. Just be careful not to move your boys right into enemy turn 1 charge range.
  • Warpaint – 6+ feel no pain save. Bonesplitterz have terrible saves as a rule so this gives them a little extra padding.
  • Monster Hunters – When a unit is within 3” of a MONSTER and selected to fight, you can choose one of these abilities to affect them until the end of the turn.
    • Wild Abandon – Models can move an additional 3” in the pile-in phase. This is useful the first time you fight if your charge only barely made it in so most of your boys are out of combat range. This will give you more room to circle around the monster and get more into combat.
    • Stab! Stab! Stab! –  +1 to hit, simple and reliable
    • Berserk Strength – This is the good stuff, on an unmodified 6 to hit deal an additional mortal wound when targeting a monster. Mortal wounds are one of your best tools for dealing with monsters with any army, and the more models that are locked in combat the more 6s you’ll roll
  • Spirit of the Beast – After slaying a MONSTER, take no battleshock tests this turn. More of a perk than something you’ll actively use because it’s going to matter if your opponent brings a lot of monsters or not. If they do this can be useful, Bonesplitterz have terrible bravery and unlike Ironjawz likely will be in larger groups so it can be a concern. Otherwise though…eh.
  • Command Ability: Bonesplitterz Waaagh! – This is actually identical to the Ironjawz version just with Bonesplitterz. The reason for the separation is because of allies, Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz can ally if you choose not to go the Great Waaagh route, so this separates the “other” faction from benefiting. This command ability is probably a bit more useful on Bonesplitterz because they tend to have more bodies to throw around, meaning you’ll hit that 12 much more often.

Command Traits

For Bonesplitterz, Command traits are divided into 2 categories, six for Prophets and Savage Big Bosses, and 3 for Wizards

Prophets/Savage Big Boss

  • Killa Instinkt – On unmodified 6s in melee, deal an additional mortal wound. This isnt too great because on a single character you’re unlikely to be rolling enough hits for this to make a difference.
  • Waaagh!-monger – Roll a die in the hero phase, on a 4+ gain a CP. These are becoming very common in new books and they’re just as useful here.
  • Great Hunter – For the tireless Tracker trait, all eligible units move 8” instead of 5”. This is really, really nice. Another 3 inches gives you more leeway to moving into a tactically advantageous spot, or just further up the board. And it isn’t an aura, it affects all units you move with the ability.
  • Power of da Beast – +2 wounds. Meh.
  • Voice of Da Gods – +2 bravery within 18” of the general. Solid choice, bravery will be a thorn in the side of Bonesplitterz so if you’re using large units, consider this.
  • Monster Killa – Your general can fight twice if they’re in melee with a monster. If you know you’ll be facing a Monster or two this can be very powerful, otherwise it’s wasted.

Wizards 

These are all identical to the Ironjawz ones, even with the same names (Save for the last one)

  • Dead Kunnin’ – D3 command points at the start of the battle. Vanilla, but useful
  • Master of the Weird – Add one to casting, dispel and unbinding roles for the general. Solid choice, since Bonesplitterz don’t have as many ways to improve casting rolls.
  • Fueled by the Spirits – Know and cast one additional spell for your general. The spell lore is pretty good so this isn’t a bad pick either.

Artefacts

Same as the command traits these are divided into 2 lists: one for prophets/Savage big bosses and one for Wizards. The

Prophets/Savage Big Boss

  • Dokk Juice – Heal D6 wounds once a round. Give the holder a little extra survivability, which is useful since they do lack a healing spell.
  • Savage Trophy – +1 to bravery within 18” of bearer. Same as other leadership buffs, it might be useful but you only need so much.
  • Lucky Bone – This is a nice versatile one, once per phase you can reroll a hit, wound or save roll. Meaning you can reroll one missed hit or wound, and also a save later. 
  • Glowin’ Tattoos – Turn your warpaint’s save from a 6+ to a 4+. Really powerful, you’ll shirk off a barrage of hits this way.
  • Greatwood Toof – Pick a melee weapon, on an unmodified wound roll of 6 you deal double damage. Put this on a weapon with a high damage value and while you may not get that 6 all the time, it’ll pay off when it does.
  • Weepwood Shiv – +1 to attacks on 1 melee weapon. Simple, but good. I’d heavily consider it if it wasn’t in competition with so many good artefacts.

Wizards 

  • Big Wurrogog Mask – A weird one, pick an enemy unit within 12” and roll up to 3 dice. On a 2+ you deal D3 mortal wounds, on a 1 you deal D3 mortal wounds to the bearer. This is good because you get free mortal wounds but if you get greedy you could blow yourself up. This is probably not competitive, but sure is fun.
  • Mork’s Boney Bitz – Add 1 to casting rolls. Add 2 instead if there are two or more enemy monsters within 24” of the bearer. It’s a decent choice on its own, if your opponent plays a lot of monsters, icing on the cake.
  • Mystic Waaagh! Paint – This is an “additional spell” artefact with a twist. You must roll for the spell in question each turn, but the cast is free for that turn. If you have the spell already, you can cast it twice. Again probably not very competitive because you just won’t hit upon the spell you want most of the time, but definitely fun.

Spells

A little addendum about these spells. The first 3 have an additional ability that procs if you roll doubles. This is a little under 17% chance of happening so it’s not too rare. The rules also don’t specify that the doubles have to pass the casting value, so double 1s or 2s can still help.

  • Squiggly Curse – Casting Value 6. You have to be within 3” of a an enemy Hero, so locked in combat. You deal D3 mortal wounds, or if you roll doubles, D6 mortal wounds If you roll doubles. If you kill the Hero the caster gets +1 to casting checks. This is so situational it’s hard to recommend outside of fun casual games. Your wizard has to get perilously close to heroes and only if you roll doubles will you do particularly well, all for +1 casting for the battle. It’s true Bonesplitters lack for casting roll buffs but putting your wizard at risk is a gamble.
  • Breath of Gorkamorka – Casting value 6. If successful pick a unit within 24” and double their movement characteristics. On a triple, triple it (!!!). This is insanely good and you’ll probably take this every time.
  • Brutal Beast Spirits – Casting Value 6. Pick a unit within 24”, add 1 to run and charge rolls, on a triple you can pick 2 units. A solid, if unexciting utility spell.
  • Bonekrusha – Casting Value 6. This is an interesting one, it has a range of 24” but is more effective the closer you get. If they are more than 12” away it just does 1 mortal wound, making it a longer range arcane bolt, which is still pretty good. Less than 12”? D3. Less than 6”? D6. This is good, it gives you that D6, affects units (not just Heroes) and doesn’t require you to get quite so close as Squiggly curse.
  • Kunnin’ Beast Spirits – Casting Value 6. +1 to saves for one unit within 24”. Another solid utility spell, given Bonesplitters have such garbage saves.
  • Gorkamorka’s War Cry – Casting Value 7. Pick an enemy unit within 18”, deal D3 mortal wounds and they fight last in the ensuing fight phase. Pretty solid pick, especially useful against something like Slaanesh which abounds in “fights first” rules.

Warclans

Same as Ironjawz you have 3 options Warclans which come with the stipulation of a Command Trait and Relic you must take before all others.

Bonegrinz

Make the enemy come to you! The use of this army can be difficult to ascertain at first but with some clever positioning you can disrupt your enemy’s plans. Don’t think closely about where you’re putting stuff though and you’ll pay.

  • Warclan Ability: Bring it on! – If your enemy is within 12” of one of your units they must charge you and they cannot retreat in subsequent phases. This is absolutely powerful if you position yourself right. If an enemy unit is moving toward a point, move one of your guys within reasonable charge range and force them to come away from the point. Keep a lot of decoys around and use those movement abilities to always be creating targets for your opponent.
  • Command Ability: Feel Da Spirit! – Use on a unit within 18” of a savage big boss and get exploding 6s, so each 6 counts as two hits. Use this on a big unit to try and fish for the most 6s you can.
  • Command Trait: A Right Monster – Enemy units have -1 Bravery within 12” of the general. This combos good with your warclan ability as it essentially can force the enemy to come to your general and be affected by the aura.
  • Artefact: Maw Krusha Beast Totem – Lets you steal the ranged attack from a Mawcrusha once per battle. It’s a pretty strong ability, so you could absolutely do worse here.

Icebone

Icebone are your skirmishers. They like to ride their boars in and hack at an opponent before ducking back out. A good option for a cavalry based list.

  • Warclan Ability: Freezing Strike – On an unmodified 6 for a wound roll, improve rend by 1. Solid ability given your units don’t have much, if any, rend.
  • Command Ability: Freeze and Run – A bit to unpack here, basically it lets you select a Boar unit at the end of the combat phase, they immediately retreat and all enemy units within 3” of them get -2 to charge rolls until your next charge phase. If a fight is going badly or you just have business elsewhere, use this to get your boys out of there and slow their chase after you.
  • Command Trait: Pure-Bred Warboar – Only a Maniak Weirdnob General can take this. Add +2” to your  general’s movement characteristic and +1 to hit and wound rolls for the boar’s attacks. A solid trait which makes your boar better in just about every way.
  • Artefact: Kattanak Pelt – +1 bravery in 18”. Again boring but not bad.

Drakfoot

Drakfoot are your magic orks. Their Wizards are better and their abilities are good at dealing with similarly spooky things.

  • Warclan Ability: Strength of Purpose – Ignore the Ethereal ability, which is a nighthaunt ability to ignore rend. It also gets to ignore feel no pain saves similar to your own Warpaint and this is where it’s good. A few armies have these kinds of saves, either baked into the army or in a trait or artefact so you will see quite a lot of use from this.
  • Command Ability: Shout down Da Magic – Basically stopping enemy wizards with the power of song. After a Wizard casts a spell, you can pick a unit of 10 or more to unbind the spell, if they have 20 or more get +1 to the unbind roll. Definitely useful if your Wizards are too far away.
  • Command Trait: Fireball – Not a command trait in a classical sense, in fact Drakkfoot generals dont get one! Instead all wizards replace their Arcane Bolt with a jacked up Fireball which does more damage the more models are in a unit. One model is 1 mortal wound, 2-9 models is D3 mortal wounds and 10+ is D6 mortal wounds. There’s nothing to dislike about this, it’s an improvement on Arcane Bolt in every way and it’s free. You probably can overlook the lack of a command trait for this.
  • Artefact: Burnin Tattooz – Whenever you successfully use the Warpaint trait, deal a mortal wound to the one who tried to inflict the wound. Make your opponent hesitate just a little.

Battalions

Bonesplitterz are a little more diverse in their battalions given the slightly larger range of units available to them. Every battalion involves some sort of bonus for remaining within 12” of the Battalion’s hero, which encourages a bit of a mobile castle playstyle with Heros moving and his retinue surrounding him for the boons he grants.

  • Brutal Rukk – 1 Savage Big Boss, 2-5 Savage Orruks or Savage Boarboys – Units run and charge as long as they remain within 12” of the boss. Compliments the armies mobility options well. If you use Boarboys be careful about them getting too far ahead and then being unable to charge.
  • Kop Rukk – 2-5 Wardokks, 2-5 Savage Orruk Morboys – You need large units for this one so you can’t get away with being cheap. A Wardokk can cast the Fists of Gork spell (found on the Wurrgog prophet’s warscroll) once per turn if they are within 18” of two battalion units with 10 or more models. Fists of Gork is not a bad spell but this requires a lot of set up, too much to be worth it.
  • Kunnin’ Rukk – 1 Savage Big Boss, 2-5 Savage Orruks or Savage Orruk Arrowboys – This is a nice one, if they stay within 12” of the Boss, they get to move or shoot in the hero phase, the only caveat is units must max out at 20. Bring a bunch of Arrowboys and blot out the son.
  • Snaga Rukk – 1 Maniak Weirdnob and 2-5 Savage Gore Gruntas – reroll charge rolls for battalion units within 12” of the Weirdnob. Really good if you got Gore Gruntas, especially for setting up turn 1 charges with Tireless Trackers or the Icebone clan abilities.
  • Teef Rukk – 1 Savage Big Boss, 2-5  Big Stabba Units – +1 attack while within 12” of the Boss. Big Stabbas are your heavy hitters so more attacks to them is welcome
  • Big Rukk – 1 Prophet, 3-5 Bonesplitterz Battalions – Another Super Battalion, this one is a bit more worth the effort to set up. The bonus lets you reroll your warpaint saves, giving more survivability to a pretty delicate army. If you can invest the points in a large enough game this is definitely worth taking.

The Great Waaagh! (Bringing it altogether)

Can’t decide on just one orruk clan? Want to just paint the table in green with your fungus boys of all types? Great Waaagh! Is a third way, rather than allying in a small force of the “opposite” clan you can throw them all together in one big list with no restrictions on units! It comes with some stipulations on army abilities so let’s break those down.

  • Forget the army abilities the other 2 have, Great Waaagh armies have their own which will be detailed  below.
  • Great Waaagh! Does not have its own Command Traits, Artefacts, Spell Lores, Warchanter Warbeats, Mount traits or battalions. You refer to the appropriate army for these instead.

In essence what you’re doing here is trading in some of your army abilities for a more generalist play style, many of the army abilities are actually taken from the other 2 armies, but now you can apply them to all units. The trade-off is you don’t get them to start, you have to earn them, with Waaagh points.

Army Abilities

The Keystone ability of The Great Waaagh! Is Waaagh! Points. You generate these in a few ways:

EventPoints
At the start of each hero phase if General is on the fieldD6, or 6 if your general is Gordrakk
For each warchanter on the Battlefield Gain:2
For each Wurggog Prophet or Wardokk1
Each unit with 10 or more models to make a charge move1
For each Hero within 3” of an enemy unit at the start of the fight phase1
For each unit with 10 or more models within 3” of an enemy unit at the start of the fight phase1

 

In essence the book is encouraging you to bring many heroes, many units, or both. Exactly what Gorkamorka would intend. What do you get for all of this?

Waaagh! PointsAbility
4Zog Em – If a unit takes a wound and is more than 9” from the enemy they can run D6”
6Zap ‘Em – Use Waaagh! Magic trait (see below)
8Get ‘Em – Add 1 to charge rolls
12Laugh At ‘Em – 6+ Feel No Pain
16Smash ‘Em – Add 1 to hit rolls for melee attacks
20Bash ‘Em – Add 1 to wound rolls for melee attacks
24WAAAAGH! – Use Da Big Waaagh! Command ability (see below)

A couple of notes, you do not need to spend Waaagh points to gain these abilities: they are automatically earned when you hit the proper threshold and Waaagh points are not lost unless told otherwise. Additionally, they are cumulative, so if you get up to 8 points you have Zog Em, Zap Em and Get Em’.

This makes the army a bit of a sleeping bear, at the start you won’t have a lot to show but as the game goes on you continue to get more power. Many of the abilities are taken from other armies, such as Zog Em being a copy of Ironjawz Mad as Hell or Laugh At Em’ being a copy of Warpaint. Except now they apply to both factions of orruks instead of just one.

The Waaagh! Magic Trait is an army ability (not a command trait) which allows you to spend D3 Waagh points to add 1 to casting, dispelling or unbinding rolls, or D6 to add 2.

Command Traits

‘Ere We Go, ‘Ere We Go, ‘Ere We Go! – Choose a Hero and every 10 models within 12” of the user (18” if its the general or a warcaster) grants one Waaagh point. If you’re close to the next threshold this is a good way to squeeze out a few more points.

Da Big Waaagh! – This is similar to the Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz Waaagh with a few modifications:

  1. You only gain +1 attack, no rolling to see if you gain +2
  2. You may use it more than once per battle
  3. You must have 24 Waaagh points. After the phase you use it in, you roll a die. On a 6 no additional effects occur, on a 2-5 your Waagh points are halved (!) and on a 1 they are reduced to 0 (!!!). This requires you really balance the risk vs reward because while youre giving yourself a huge buff in the moment your army will likely be weaker for the next turn or two.

Closing Thoughts

The Orruk Warclans Book is an interesting Battletome. It launched aside Cities of Sigmar and had a similar goal in mind: It took disparate forces which had seen a lack of support and helped put them on the same level as newer armies, though it handled in a much different way. Cities of Sigmar has a huge list of options. Even after removing many old Order models from the store, CoS still has some of the largest unit selection in the game, which allowed for a lot of versatility.

Orruk Warclans faces a very different sort of problem. Old Greenskinz were moved to Warhammer Legends which reduced an already small collection down significantly. So instead the Warclans book attempts to take a limited unit selection and really squeeze more out of them and on that front, it succeeds. 

The 2 “main” armies Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz play very differently. Ironjawz haven’t changed a whole lot from their initial Age of Sigmar incarnation, they’re still the slow, tanky orks with a Monster to die for, but are a nightmare if they get into the charge range. Now they just enjoy a lot more options in terms of army customization. Bonesplitterz offer a different playstyle from their previous incarnation, a series of mobile castles which can decimate the enemy with clever positioning and tactical use of command abilities.

The Great Waaagh! Option feels a bit hollow due to having to offer itself as a third way, while also not obsoleting “pure” armies. It also lacks a bit of an identity, having no Command Traits or Relics of it’s own, and many Great Waaagh abilities are just stolen from the other armies or being boring +1s to hit or wound. It’s still an efficient choice for those who don’t want to pick just one type of Orruk and overall I think the book will perform well. Previous Orruk players are likely quite happy with the buff they received, and new players will walk into an army that will stand quite well on the table.

 

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