Battletome: Orruk Warclans 3.0 – The Goonhammer Review

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Pairing up with the Stormcast Eternals the Orruk Warclans book supplements the other half of the Dominion and Starter Set’s Kruleboyz (along with the other two flavors of green). There’s a lot to be excited about here, as Kruleboyz have grabbed a lot of people’s attention, especially new players.

A couple of notes here to understand the structure of this book. There are three types of Orruks: Bonesplitterz, Kruleboys and Ironjawz. Each have their own set of Battle Traits, Command Traits, artefacts, spells, etc. and essentially function as completely separate armies all bound together into one book. If you desire to mix and match, you can always pick Big WAAAGH! which forsakes the battle traits of the other 3, but lets you bring along everything other enchantment. The Battle Traits are replaced with a table of points that accumulates bonuses as the fight goes on. With so many options, what to choose? Games Workshop have kindly sent us a review copy, so let’s find out!

Also, if you missed it in the Stormcast Eternals review, the battletome comes with a code to redeem the book in the Age of Sigmar app when it debuts, like 40k’s Codexes do. To my knowledge Games Workshop has not announced this so that’s awesome to know!

Matched Play

I’m going to put this at the beginning here because technically it applies to all 4 factions equally and I’d like to go broad before we narrow things down. In general unit costs went down, some by quite a lot. Which is good news for all three factions. Also, there are a couple of Matched Play exclusive rules that can be used in Matched Play by any army in this book. However some may have prerequisites only one or two of those subfactions can fulfill. There are five Grand Strategies, 6 Battle tactics and 3 Core Battalions. This is like the Stormcast Eternals book and I won’t repeat my opinions them in general here, but to add something new I do think we run up against a real problem here.

Games Workshop treated this as if it was one army, but its really not. It’s four armies, and only one gets to use all the tools. Almost all of these require a specific army keyword, which means that while they get the same number as Stormcast, the non-Big Waaagh! options shave off 2-3 of the choices. They probably should have treated each army as seperate.

Grand Strategy

The Grand Strategies here are are…interesting. I mean that. Some quite viable even. Get Dem Bones! is for Bonesplitterz generals, and lets you choose a terrain feature wholly in your opponent’s terrain. If you control it at the end you complete it. My only concern is there’s no corollary if there is no terrain wholly within your opponent’s deployment. This could potentially be rough on the ones that only cover a Quarter of the field.

Krump em’ All is for the heavy hitters, requiring Gordrakk, Kragnos or Gobsprakk. You complete it if your opponent has fewer than 3 units on the field. This is…probably doable in a lot of cases. Especially if you get pitted against a low drop army. You might be in trouble if it’s a high drop army though.

Waaagh! is probably the most competitive, requiring only that you get your General in the Enemy Territory and they survive the fight. This might paint a target on their head, but you want them in combat anyway, usually. Your General is probably going to be a target anyway.

The last two are a bit rough. In and Out Ladz is for a Kruleboyz General and requires half of your units survive. Not a guarantee in a pure Kruleboyz list as delicate as they can be (and some of their abilities rely on sacrificing stuff) and Show ’em Who’s Boss for Ironjawz generals requires the General kill 2 Heroes. Going to depend on how hero heavy your opponent’s list is, but in the right list, an easy shoe-in.

Battle Tactics

Some interesting ones in here. Time to Get Stuck In! can only be used on turn 1 or 2 and requires your entire army (that is on the field) to be within 12″ of an enemy unit by the end of the turn. 12″ is fairly generous, though whether you want to get your whole army in is another story. This is list dependent, go with your heart.

Wait for it Ladz… rewards the patient, getting 30 Great Waaagh! points. Potentially doable, saving it for when you’re close anyway. Squish da Puny Gitz requires an Ironjawz General and requires there be no more enemy battleline. Which just feels like a harder Broken Ranks but if you already did Broken Ranks and are getting close to mopping up, why not? The Bonesplittaz verson Kill Da Big ‘Un is just Bring it Down! but requires a Bonesplittaz unit to do the kill. That’s it. Not creative, but probably easy to do. Take Dat Ya Suckas is a really weird one for Kruleboyz Generals. They need to deal 10 wounds and take less than 10. You better feel confident before picking this.

Rounding it off is an outlier, Kragnos only, he needs to nuke a faction terrain by the end of the turn. Not much strategy here, if you brought Kragnos and your opponent has faction terrain you know if you can do it.

Core Battalions

Basically terrible. The only one I can kinda squint at and see is Kruleboyz Finga which lets you get an extra CP from 1 Kruleboyz hero and 2 troops. Otherwise you get Slayers for Ironjawz and Swift for Bonesplitterz. The composition really can be better spent putting it into a Warlord Battalion. I think they really got hampered here by dividing them up into these distinct subfactions instead of multiple battalions for each.

Mount Traits

Feels weird to put this one at the beginning but this is about the only thing that is universal in the book so let’s put it here. The Mount Traits here are for both Kruleboyz and Ironjawz and good news they are bonkers. Like, there’s so many good ones it’s going to be hard to choose.

Some of my favorites include Mean ‘Un which lets Monster mounts stomp and deal D6 mortals instead of D3, and Loud ‘Un which lets Roar affect all units within 3″, not just one. Tough ‘ Un lets Monsters use the top wound bracket as long as they’re above half-health. For non-Monsters, I like Smelly ‘Un, which is -1 to hit if it didnt charge that turn. The others are fine, not interesting but do the job

Bonesplitterz

Plastic Craic: Ironjawz? Not green enough, too much armour. Kruleboyz? Not green enough, too stinky. Nope, if you’re an orc connoisseur then I’m afraid the choice is clear: it’s Bonesplitterz or death. I’ve been playing this army competitively since AOS launched, taken it to loads of events and it’s fair to say I’ve won a lot more games than I’ve lost.

I’ve been the kind of A-hole who runs a Kunnin Rukk with 90 Arrow Boyz, the kind of legend that runs max-sized units of Big Stabbas, and everything in between. I love this army: it’s my main faction and I will always, always go back to it. AOS 3 has so far not been kind to Bonesplitterz: their win rate at time of writing is hovering around a miserly 45% and worse, the hardcore competitive players who do love this army are voting with their feet and running other factions with better quality of life.

Bonesplitterz really need an injection of life….so is this book any good? 

Yeah, about that…

Battle Traits

First thing to note is that Bonesplitterz have kept their 6++ Ward from Warpaint, and the pregame 5” move on half their units from Tireless Trackers. The Monster Hunter table has gone, which is a shame because it gave you an out against some unbreakable armour saves; 30 Savage Orruks had a decent chance of one-shotting a Bastilodon from scratch with mortal wounds alone for example, but no longer.

That’s been replaced by Spirit of Gorkamorka that makes all unmodified hit rolls of 6 count as two hits – as long as your unit has 5 or more models. At face value this seems much more powerful and relevant than the monster hunter tables, until you remember that Big Stabbas have a maximum unit size of 4 now, so this rule has been deliberately engineered to include only trash-tier attacks.

Given the dominance of monsters on elite armour saves – and the innate usefulness of the monster hunter chart against monsters on elite armour saves – this feels like a targeted nerf to make sure that Bonesplitterz have lost one of their thematic strengths, and overall a net loss to the faction.

Finally, you have a significant change to the Bonesplitterz Waaagh Command Ability. Rather than giving you an extra flurry of attacks once per game, it gives you a 4++ ward board-wide for a single combat phase. Unfortunately it won’t protect you from getting shot off the board, but it’s still not to be sniffed at, and potentially gives us something tangible to work with.

Warclans

Bonegrinz

Only a bonus attack for Arrow Boys. Yup, Arrow Boys have been nerfed down to 2 attacks, and they still hit on 5s. They are now utter garbage and, without Curse, not worth investing in. Bonegrinz used to be so good too.

Drakkfoot

Still switches off Wards, and it now specifies both wounds and mortal wounds. Gotrek hates it, the Amulet hates it, and that makes it pretty nice in my eyes.

Icebone

Wound rolls of 6 (melee only) do mortal wounds equal to the damage characteristic – not too shabby at all. I’d be going with one of these two – RIP Bonegrinz.

Spells

Magic was previously a major strength of the army: a lack of bonuses to cast was offset by solid casting values of 6, and mostly 24” ranges allowing you to cast from way back out of unbind range.

Unfortunately the best spell by a long distance is now completely gone. No more double-move and fly, an iconic part of this army since its original book. Now you have transformed from being a fast army with terrible armour saves and low bravery into a much slower army with terrible armour saves and low bravery. Yay!

The second best spell was +1 to run, hit and charge which has been nerfed to explicitly shaft Arrow Boys:

Credit: Warhammer Community

This was also notable for its dual utility on Big Stabbas who were a hard-hitting unit that could natively run and charge, gaining bonuses to everything they wanted to do from one single spell. So there’s another kicking then.

Gorkamorka’s Warcry has been nerfed to reduce its range down to 12”, and it no longer does D3 mortal wounds; it just makes your opponent fight last. So strictly worse in multiple ways – the hits keep on coming.

The one bright spot is the all-new, all-shiny Glowy Green Tusks which can give rend -2 to the attacks by the boar tusks specifically. A very useful tool for the army, and something it’s needed for a long time; I’d say that Boars are potentially the most promising direction for this book currently.

The save-stacking spell is gone (although you do have the Wardokk and All Out Defence), and the final remaining option is a small damage spell, which is not worth dwelling on. 

Command Traits

The best one here by some distance is locked to a Savage Big Boss: Great Hunter makes your pregame scouting move 8” instead of 5”. The others can be skipped but I would highlight Master of Magic from the generic Enhancements (Core Rules 27.5) as something well worth exploring. This gives 1 reroll to a cast, unbind or dispel per turn, and that’s pretty serious business.

Artefacts

You know how almost nobody takes their own artefacts because Amulet of Destiny is just better? Funnily enough, there is a strictly better version of that in this book, specifically Glowin’ Tattooz. That allows you to add 2 to your ward rolls, putting you on a 4++ generally, and a 2++ on your Waaagh turn. A 2++ ward is legitimately hilarious and given that all your heroes are hyper fragile, that’s probably the way I’d go.

Second best might be Mork’s Boney Bits which adds +1 to casts, unbinds and dispells for every enemy monster within 24”. Everyone is packing monsters right now, you can pregame move up into range if you need to, and it combos nicely with Master of Magic above. Well worth exploring.

Credit: Brin

Units

Leaders

The Savage Big Boss has had his iconic Command Ability completely removed, and his points hacked down to 65 in reflection of his new status as an idiot who does nothing to help you win games. I am exaggerating – but only slightly – because he can now justifiably be taken as a vessel for the Great Hunter Command Trait. So funnily enough, it’s good that he’s awful, because it lowers the tax required to access that.

Keen students of the Savage Waaagh will notice that the fan-favourite Big Wurggog Mask has disappeared from the artefacts table. What’s neat is that your Wurggog Prophet now brings it along on his warscroll. How cool is that! It does make sense because, I mean, look at him…he is wearing the Mask.

For the uninitiated, this Mask is basically a mini game where you keep doing mortal wounds as long as you keep rolling 3+s, but if you roll a 1 or 2 you cop them instead (you’re no longer insta-slain). You keep going as long as you want, or until one unit dies – the ultimate staring contest. It costs you all of your spell casts, but it’s a great piece of fan service and a whole lot of fun. I’ve got loads of stories from running this thing over the years, believe it.

In other news, he’s kept his horde-clearing spell but lost his CP generation. 

The Maniak Weirdnob has been brutally nerfed – he’s lost his rerolls, and his warscroll spell is now a much less interesting +1 to wound in melee. So screw you, Arrow Boys. Again. He’s come down to 100 points but that’s pretty steep for a one-cast wizard with a 6+ save, no casting bonuses and a boring spell. Although he can keep up with your pigs, and keep pumping out that rend spell – unless it gets unbound, which it probably will. Sigh.

The Wardokk is basically the same (yay!) but he lost the Priest keyword (boo!). His access to Curse was the main thing keeping the army afloat competitively, so it’s a body blow to lose that. I’d rather have lost his status as a Wizard, to give the army a range of tools, but that is not the flavour of this book unfortunately. Still your most efficient little dude though.

Battleline

The good news is that Savage Orruks and Savage Boarboys both move to a 5+ base save, which means you can stack +2 on them from a Wardokk dance and All Out Defence to have a 4+ save against Rend -1. That’s a decent quality of life lift right there.T he bad news is that your shooting has been eviscerated, and your combat is lacklustre. Your main win condition right now is probably an onion ring of MSU chaff around objectives, because I doubt you’ll be killing much.

Arr0w Boys have leapt up from 130 points to 145, are only Battleline in Bonegrinz, have dropped from 3 attacks to 2, have lost access to Curse, still hit on 5s and have lost access to exploding 6s from the Maniak Weirdnob. I think that covers all the ways this book has invalidated your purchase, but let me know if I forgot one.

Savage Orruks have rocketed up in cost to 165 points, and lost an attack to boot, although their save is better as touched on above. 

Savage Boarboys are now only Battleline in Icebone, but they did stay flat at 140 points. Like all unit Musicians, theirs has been nerfed down to +1” to charge, but they do also get that 5+ save. Anyone who plays a decent army is probably scratching their heads right now at why we’re excited about a 5+ armour save, but that’s that #BonesplitterzLyf.

Morr Boys are now only Battleline in Drakkfoot, but they do get 3 attacks each (4 on the charge). They are on 32mm bases with 1” reach so you wouldn’t run big groups of them, but a small unit or two can throw a decent amount of dice at the Icebone mortals. They’ve been stiffed with a points hike from 130 to 155 though, so I wouldn’t get too excited.

Other 

Boarboy Maniaks are no longer Battleline at all, because that would obviously be too good. They do throw a lot of dice though – 7 per model on the charge, 6 otherwise. With their 12” move and coming in at 145 points – and their access to the rend spell on top – these are a pretty palatable combat unit in Icebone, and much more appealing that Morr Boys overall.

The Underworlds Warband exists, but they’re awful, and the Prophet doesn’t even get the Wurggog Mask. No thanks.

Finally, our friends the Big Stabbas. Their warscroll has been hollowed out in a deeply emblematic manner. They lost their run and charge, and they lost their bonus damage against monsters. It was originally 3 + D3; then it was D6. Now it’s just a flat 2 damage against any target and that’s a very sad day in my book. Their points have dropped to 80 in reflection of the savage kicking their rules have taken, but a max unit size of 2 leaves them crippled.

Behemoth

You could run the Rogue Idol I guess, although there’s not much point now; losing the access to the flying spell is the final nail in the coffin for the big fella. Vale, Pebbles.

List Building

Right now, I’d be looking at Icebone for sure. Lots of units of MSU pigs fanning out sideways to act as layered screens, with a couple of MSU Maniaks for the action. I’d be aiming for very low drops with the Great Hunter Command Trait (which is exponentially more valuable when you know who has first turn) and the 4++ ward artefact to keep alive until he calls the Waaagh!

You’d still take a single big unit of Savage Orruks to gum up the board on the 4++ aftershave turn, and I’d spend my last reinforcements on a couple of units of 4x Big Stabbas. You’ll definitely want the rend spell in there too.

While I’ve been mucking around with lists I’ve come out around the 195 wounds mark, which is pretty respectable. This will give you a flexible force that is using combat as a distraction, relying on your opponent freaking out when you start saying words like “mortal wounds” and “rend -2” as you pick up armfuls of dice.

Your main goal is to blow up the chaff then cling on for dear life against your opponent’s heavy hitters – and although it’s not an army I’d take if I was aiming to win an event, if played well it could execute enough to give you some tense and exciting games.

Summary

A series of heavy nerfs, with precious little coming back the other way, is a pretty bold move for an army that wasn’t in great shape. The excitement I had at the last two books is just not there with this release. I desperately hope I’m wrong about this – and I’ll be the first to admit if I am – but this feels phoned in, and Bonesplitterz have the stench of death around them right now.

A magic army with scarcely any bonuses to cast, a combat army with scarcely any rend, a monster-hunting army with scarcely any buffs against monsters. GW have managed to strip a whole lot of the fun and life out of this army, leaving behind just a husk of what it once was, and what it could be.

When I look at the Ironjawz side of the book, there’s a lot to like; when I look at Kruleboyz, there’s a lot to get excited about. When I look at my beloved Bonesplitterz, I just feel sad.

Boss Nob or Brute – Credit Beanith

Ironjawz

Battle Traits

With every set of Orruks having their own Waaagh the Ironjaws retain a pretty decent one, with +1 charge helping the army serve it’s primary goal of smashing in combat and the improved rend being what you might need to break through in certain matchups. With decent rend available in some key places in the army being able to apply plenty of -3 rend is key in the current meta and state of the game. 

Mighty Destroyers has returned as a Command Ability with multiple uses. It solves your speed issues in 3 different ways, allowing them to make a normal move if more than 12″ from the enemy, make a charge if theyre within 12″ of an enemy unit and debuting with a free pile-in if they’re already in combat. They’re all pretty handy for allowing you to solve different problems and it’ll be really interesting to see how players use it over the course of games.

Smashing and Bashing is the other returning trait, and has not changed. If you kill a unit in combat you get to immediately activate another unit. It does what it does and helps you get around activations with multiple units in combat. With certain unit setups being encouraged with weapons changes and some very aggressive point costs (looking at you brutes) you’re going to be making more of than than you ever did before with the previous ‘Ard Boyz spam lists which used to be prevalent on tables. 

Clans

There are 3 Clans to pick from within the Ironjaws Subsection: The Ironsunz are peculiar because instead of a Battle Trait they get a unique Command Ability: They can charge at the end of an opponent’s charge phase! This is a fantastic command ability against blocking armies, armies which want to deny you board space, almost the most annoying type to play against for combat focused forces. However what it is is very Command Point intensive, so be warned this will eat into your resources. 

Da Choppas allow you to make the most of your Warchanters, letting you spread Violent Fury to 3 units instead of 1. Taking this could lead to you saving points within army list construction and no longer needing to bring at least 2 Warchanters, but at the same time it does paint a massive target on the one you bring, usually right between the eyes. 

The final clan, the Bloodtooths allows Groe-Gruntas who fought to make a Pile-in at the end of combat and a free move or charge if they’re not in combat. This is good to play against the type of armies I spoke about vs the Ironsuns. It pushes enemy second and third waves back, out of zones and into areas of the map they don’t want to be in. I’m fairly sure this is the default option for that reason.

Spells

Cut down to four spells, and what a rollercoaster this is.

Foot of Gork has returned from the first edition Ironjawz tome. Stunning. A whopping Casting Value 10 gets you D6 mortals and then you get to keep rolling 4+s until you fail to do so, doing D6 mortals every time. Is it good? probably not, too chancy and an insane casting value but very fun. I’m surprised it’s back and glad for it.

Mighty ‘Eadbutt returns dealing mortal wounds to a Hero, and more to a Wizard. It’s kinda crap now though, dealing only one wound to a Hero and D3 to a Wizard.

You know what got better though? The Great Big Green Hand of Gork which does what it did before, teleport a unit anywhere on the field except now it applies to Orruk units. This greatly expands its versatility in Great Waaagh! and is basically an auto take.

Bash ’em Lads also returns. A simple +1 to wound. Simple but effective, definitely worth taking.

Warlord Traits

Five Warlord Traits, 3 for Bosses and 2 for Wizards. There’s two I’m big fans of for the Bosses, which bodes well. Mega Bossy lets the Boss issue Mighty Destroyers even if another Hero already did, which is super handy. The other clinch one is Mighty Waaagh! Leader which lets all units within 12″ of the Boss reroll Charges on the turn he declares a Waaagh!. You really don’t want your boys getting Stage fright at that point so this will seriously guarantee everything gets in.

For wizards Touched by the Waaagh! lets you do deal D3 mortals to the caster and add the damage done to your casting roll. Bring some healing and don’t blow yourself up. That said, bonuses to casting are too good to ignore.

Artefacts

Only 3 and not super exciting. Destroyer is probably going to be the goto if you’re not taking Amulet of Destiny already (You are). It adds 3 to damage characteristic of a weapon once per battle. Put it on a Mawcrusha’s Mighty Fists and Tail and really ruin someone’s day.

Beanith’s new Friend – Warboss Steeve

Units

Leaders

So has he? Has the Warchanter changed? This fella is the crutch lynchpin of the army, effectively doubling your output. This is both a blessing and a curse for Ironjawz, because his role is so impactful – but he’s ultimately a 6-wound goober. It does make things pretty binary, because if your opponent brings Dakka he’s toast – but they don’t, it’s showtime.

Well – he hasn’t changed. Or at least not substantially. You still get +1 damage on a unit, and it still just happens, and if your opponent brings Sentinels you still cry. Overall I think most IJ players would happily settle for this – the army would need a complete retool if that went away, and there was a concern the damage might disappear with no recompense. That didn’t happen, so today is a good day and the fundamentals of what Ironjawz do (read: wild DPS) remain in place.

The Warbeats are now on the Warscroll, and they have been buffed to go off on a 3+. This is a double buff, because you now always have access to the one you need, and it’s that little bit more reliable. His points have been trimmed back slightly to 115: 120 was too much, and 110 not enough? You know what – I’ll take it. This is a great start, and you’ll want two in every army (maybe even three for redundancy if you can make it fit).

The Orruk Megaboss (our favourite dude on foot) by contrast did change – a lot. And all of it for the better. He’s lost his Warscroll CA, which is a clear early trend, but the new Ear-splitting Bellow ability is a seriously strong piece of compensation. When he issues a CA, two Ironjawz units rather than one benefit. WHAT?

It’s hard to overstate just how powerful this is – it breaks a fundamental concept of 3rd edition. Inspiring Presence has always been the Brute’s best friend, and it’s great that multiple units can be protected; meanwhile, can I interest you in Redeploying with two units? Redeploy is a regular game-winning move already, and double dipping is insane. This must be what it feels like to play Aelves, and I like it.

We’re not done yet though. He’s not only kept the Strength From Victory rules (accumulating extra wounds and attacks as he does the Krumpin’), he has 8 attacks base now (up from 6); he’s lost the Ironfist mortal wound bounceback, but it’s a fair trade. Rounding out the package, if he gets killed in combat before he swings, he fights on the way down and dishes out one last kick in the nuts. This model is a modern classic, beloved by all Ironjawz players, and he’s never been in a better place. Bravo.

Battleline

Ardboys return and are looking very different. They gained an extra attack but got worse to hit and no rend. Curious. The most interesting thing about them is they can rally on a 4+ instead of a 6+, which is pretty wild in a big enough unit. I assume the changes were to help reduce the reliance on them over Brutes, because speaking of.

Brutes, possibly the surprise glow up of the book. They kept Duff Up da Big Thing but also picked up a new ability You Messin’? which is bonkers good. All 1 wound models within 3″ do not count for purposes of capturing objectives which can go a long way to beating Horde Armies on objectives. You do need to prepare to use this right, as 3″ might not catch everything. You get access to extra pile ins, use those wisely to maximize the impact.

Others

Gore-Gruntas are still the reliable cavalry they were. Its worth noting for those who did not know, that at 5 wounds they get to just cross the threshold into counting as 2 models which is a great deal when you run 6, coherency issues be damned.

Guttrippaz – Credit: RichyP

Kruleboyz

Carrying on what has become an infamous GW tradition, the Kruleboyz are yet another starter box army that might turn out to be one of the harder armies in the game to play. That first sentence might sound like a downer, but it’s also worth noting that I think if you’re a real Johnny gamer (to borrow an MTG term), this army has so many tools to outsmart your opponent and get an edge. That’s right folks, they’ve made a thinking man’s Orruk army.

If you’ve been anywhere near Twitter or any social media space really, you will have seen the discourse. Nerds in droves have fallen in love with the models but are afraid that they might fall short of viability simply because of raw power. Our initial impressions of this army is that they are real toolsy – and the good news is there may be *just* enough depth to your options to put together something respectable on the tournament tables.

Battle Traits

So Venom-Encrusted Weapons (VEW) are still here, with a slight wording tweak to note that mounts don’t get this rule unless stated otherwise (insert dramatic music sting here). So dear reader, rest assured that some of the beasties in this book do in fact get to vomit out mortal wounds like they’re going out of style – hell yeah.

Kruleboyz get their own finkin man’z Waaagh, which your general can declare when they activate to fight in the combat phase – you may pick 2 additional Kruleboy units wholly within 18” of the general to fight one after the other after the general has fought. In what will become a theme for the swampy boys, this is less about raw power and more about eking out unfair advantages against your opponent. Stinkin’ Aelves may get Lightning Reactions, but Orruks get a once per game better version with convoluted activation requirements!

Rounding out the battle traits are Dirty Tricks, which might be my favorite part of the whole book. You have a number to pick from and you declare which one you benefit from after players receive their starting command points but before the start of the 1st turn. We’ve already seen Noisy Racket which is a generically good default option but let’s highlight two others that are kunnin’ and brutal:

Disappearin’ Act lets you live out your depraved kidnapping dreams, and might be one of the cleverest and confusing options that your opponent will HAVE to account for during deployment. Roll 3 dice, and for each 4+ pick one of your enemy’s units that are not reinforced. Roll a dice for said unit, and if the roll is higher than their wounds characteristic your opponent is forced to pick them up and put them in reserves. At the end of your opponent’s first movement phase they must put the unit back into play wholly within their own territory and more than 9” away from enemy units. You can’t use this dirty trick if the battleplan specifies no reserves however, so GW wisely saw an opportunity for feel bads and removed it – nice job! Anyway, all that aside this option is situationally incredibly powerful and will force your opponent to completely rethink their deployment, as suddenly cheap chaff screens are in danger of getting yeeted into next week, or particularly powerful low wound units that are MSU like Lumineth Sentinels.

Covered in Mud on the other hand is far simpler but is also really interesting – roll 3 dice and for each 4+ cover a friendly non-monster, non-hero unit in mud. If they’re in cover, they are not visible to your opponent – NICE. A great option for protecting your fragile Boltboyz or Killbows from most ranged threats, except Lumineth whose owls are apparently trained to see through camouflage.

Clans

Grinnin’ Blades

The red shields and generic option, these guys get the special rule Out of the Mists, that means that during the first battle round they are not visible to your opponent’s units while they are more than 12” away. Really interesting choice in the mirror match and against most of the prominent ranged units in the metagame right now.

Big Yellers

Big Yellers can also take Boltboyz as battleline, which is good because Gutrippaz hardly set the world on fire and this lets you pivot towards a pretty potent ranged gameplan. Discussed at large already in the social media space – a very strong choice and probably the default when running a Kruleboyz army (unless you’re skipping over their ranged units entirely).

Skulbugz

So Skulbugz don’t get any extra battleline options from this clan, and this rule is sadly just quite underwhelming. The reality is this is a narrow special rule that also has at best a 50/50 chance of even being active, which is absurd when you compare it to your other two options that are both more powerful and not dice dependent.

Spells

So all four spells have already been revealed by Warhammer Community for this lore, and there isn’t too much to say other than – neat! None of these options are outright bad, and Nasty Hex is just straight up gas against many of the prominent units in the metagame right now. The biggest thing holding you back from casting these is relative lack of access to casting bonuses, meaning you’re at the mercy of dice rolls and your opponent not taking a megacaster to shut down your meager attempts. The other tension point here is that your basic spellcaster can’t cast these spells and brew poisons, making Mystic Tome an appealing choice to gain access to Nasty Hex without giving up those all important poison buffs.

Warlord Traits

Every option here is rock solid, with my favorite (aside from Supa Sneaky) being Egomaniak, which effectively works like the Necromancer’s bodyguard ability but in a more Orruky way. Supa Sneaky however is a clear standout as giving you access to a powerful redeploy that can let you set up Boltboyz in a forward position, throw some assholes in front of their frontlines to clog up their ability to move up the board or just reposition a unit after using it as bait to mess with their deployment phase.

Artefacts

On the flip side to the powerful warlord traits, these artefacts are mostly underwhelming. They’re all once per battle use and are fairly narrow in their effect. The clear standout is Mork’s Eye Pebble, which grants a 5+ ward bubble wholly within 12” of the bearer for the duration of an enemy’s shooting phase. This would have been a heartbreaker in 2nd edition, but thankfully the generic options are strong enough that it isn’t really a big deal. Have you heard about that Amulet of Destiny? It’s pretty good.

Credit: JoeK

Units

Leaders

Gobsprakk, the Mouth of Mork is a 2 cast, 2 unbind wizard with a reasonable combat profile, a 5+ base save and a 6+ ward. The Mouth of Mork special rule is rather fitting for his lore, improving Redeploy commands he issues to allow him to reroll the d6” move, and his Unleash Hell commands issued do not come with the -1 to hit mallus. Notably he comes with no bonuses to cast or unbind, meaning while he has some potent anti-magic trickery that Warhammer Community already previewed, it’s not nearly as dependable as some of the other bigger casters in the metagame. It’s an interesting toolkit on a fairly squishy chassis and I’m not entirely sold he gets there for his cost. Notably, the Vulcha’s attacks explicitly do benefit from the poison special rule, giving him (and his generic version below) some decent mortal wound potential.The final point to make is that in an Orruk Warclans army Gobsprakk knows the full lore of the swamp, along with the same Warscroll spell as the standard shaman. This gives him 5 really good spells to cast from each turn, some of them make for excellent little combos. 

Killaboss on Corpse-Rippa Vulcha is the generic build of Gobsprakk, swapping out a wizard for a more martial Orruk with a different suite of abilities. Notably he’s 60 points cheaper than Gobsprakk and has a 4+ save with 14 wounds, making him reasonably tanky at a budget price. He has the same All part of da Plan rule as the other killabosses, and his other special rule lets him issue the same command that another unit has already issued in the same phase (though you still can’t stack on the same unit). This gets super spicy when you consider this means you can double tap Unleash Hell if you have two applicable units in range.

The Killabosses from Dominion are unchanged in terms of warscroll, but both got 30 points cheaper and as such are fairly reasonable budget inclusions if you wish to mitigate against battleshock issues. The Murknob also cheaper and becomes another consideration in a magic heavy meta, and the Swampcalla Shaman went down to 105, ensuring that there’s rarely a world where you don’t stuff at least 2 if not 3 of these dudes into every mono Kruleboyz list.

Swampboss Skumdrekk and the Snatchaboss on Sludgeraker Beast are largely the same unit, so let’s cover them both together. As is the case with the Vulcha units, the mount’s primary weapon profiles benefit from Venom-Encrusted weapons, and the Sludgeraker itself projects a 12” aura that improves the damage characteristic of mortals caused by hit rolls of 6 (explicitly not 5s, even with Shaman buff) by 1. This is obviously a very potent damage amplifier and works on both ranged and melee attacks, meaning you can make those Boltboyz even meaner. As for the profiles themselves, there’s four of them with a healthy mix of rend 1 and rend 2 damage attacks that means they’re respectable in a scrap. They’re fairly tough with 14/15W respectively and a 4+ save, and once per game at end of combat they can attempt to insta kill a non-mounted model with 7 wounds or less if they either beat their wounds characteristic on 2d6, or match it or beat if it’s Skumdrekk. At worst it can be used to snipe out command models, and at best it can fairly reliably kill a 5W hero that strays too close to him (3” range baby).

Skumdrekk also has a betting rule that requires you to take a hobgrot unit, fulfil some convoluted requirements to gain access to a free triumph for the hobgrot unit of Skumdrekk – it’s more cute than good and is reflected in the fact Skumdrekk is only 5 points more than the generic version. They’re both fairly expensive but the aura buff to poison means you’re probably making room for one as it’s just such a force multiplier for Gutrippaz.

Breaka-boss on Mirebrute Troggoth rounds out the options with a mediocre beat stick that might sneak into some lists as a trading piece because he might make his points back at 180 points with a little bit of support. What he does provide however is a possible 10 attacks, at 3/3/-2/3Damage for his cost. If you look at him as a unit of medium sized infantry from other armies you won’t be far off from what he can provide, just on a single base and really easy access to hit buffs. 

Battleline

Gutrippaz are here and have been updated slightly to reflect their multipart kit. You can now take musicians and standard bearers for +1 to charge and +1 to bravery respectively. You can swap their spears for hand weapons, but you won’t as they only gain +1 to wound and give up that vital 2” reach.

It’s important to realise that with a 4/4/-/1 profile they aren’t going to ever achieve much, even with the none spear option and a 4/3/-/1 profile you still aren’t writing home about it anytime soon. However with 2A each and the VEW allegiance ability you’ll average 1 MW for every 3 Orruks each combat. Add in a shaman and that’s now 2 per 3 Orrucks. Add in one of the Sludgeraker Beast options and now that’s 1 MW on average per Orruk (give or take). Suddenly that starts to really add up. What they aren’t going to do however is do much without support and you can only really support so much every turn.

Artillery

The Killbow has already been previewed by Warcom, and at 130 points it’s actually fairly cheap for it’s damage potential against big stuff. It’s marked Single which means you can’t get cute and have a single shaman buff two killbows (or spam 8 of the fucking things) but in the current metagame he has appeal in both Big Waaagh and Kruleboyz.

Others

Hobgrot Slittaz got cheaper and remained otherwise unchanged. At their new price they start to creep into respectability in the sense that if you want a cheap screen this is your best option, but it’s not an exciting one.

Man-Skewer Boltboyz remain unchanged from Dominion, and only got meaner with the addition of the Swampboss to buff them and tricks like Supa Sneaky or Covered in Mud to teleport them or make them invisible respectively. People hoping for Kruleboyz to not be dependent on these guys should probably face reality and embrace crossbows – they’re our best raw damage output unit.

Marshcrawla Sloggoth, or Dobby for short, is a unusual beast that lacks the Orruk keyword, doesn’t hit particularly hard, isn’t particularly tough, but provides some fringe utility in an 12” AOE +1 to hit for melee Orruk units (Big Waaagh players take note), and the chance at targeted model removal at the end of the combat phase. He’s not a monster, he’s not battleline and he’s not an Orruk so the reality is you’re taking this guy for the hit buff and little else, but at 150 Dobby might sneak into some lists for utility reasons alone.

List Building

Lists probably start with a core of Shamans, some Boltboyz and some Gutrippaz (if for no other reason than you’re kinda pushed down that path by what’s available). From there, your options are to lean into a melee build with more Gutrippaz, a Mirebrute or two and a Sludgeraker, or go more controlling with more Boltboyz, some Killbows and Gobsprakk. I personally think you put a Sludgeraker in every list, but they’re about the same price as Gobsprakk which means taking both significantly cuts into your ability to field enough bodies to play the objectives.

As for clans, melee builds will take Grinnin’ Blades and ranged builds will take Big Yellers and no-one will take Skulbugz. There’s some real damage output you can push with Sludgerakers in particular, as with Shaman buff up and Sludgeraker buff aura in range a unit of 20 gutrippaz will dump out approximately 20 Mortal Wounds – Nasty!

JoeK: for list building, I’ve also looked only sparingly at the other factions, and have written up how I would build this army if I played them:

 

Gobsprakk

Swampcalla Shaman

-General

-Skilled leader

-Mork's Eye pebble

Swampcalla Shaman

Swampcalla Shaman

x9 Manskewer boltbois

x9 Manskewer boltbois

x3 Manskewer boltbois

x3 Manskewer boltbois

x10 hobgrot

x10 hobgrot

Beast-skewer killbow

Beast-skewer killbow

x2 Battleregiments

You have anti magic abilities with the bird bro, and then a metric shiii.swamp ton of mortal wounds. You have screens, and are 2 drops. You don’t care about -‘s to hit, cuz you just are hunting those 5+ mortal wounds from buffed units by the shamans. (Almost 30 on average from just the boltbois) Quite disgusting.

Liam: For a more melee based option then you can look at something like the following:

Sludgeraker

- Artefact: Amulet of Destiny
- Command Trait: Supa Sneaky
- Mount Trait: Loud 'un

Shaman
- Artefact: Morks Eye
- Lore of the Swamp: Choking Mist

Shaman
- Lore of the Swamp: Hasty Hex

Shaman
- Lore of the Swamp: Da Black Pit

Killboss

Mirebrute Troggoth
- Artefact: Mystic Tome
- Universal Lore: Flaming Weapon

20 GutRippaz

20 GutRippaz

20 GutRippaz

It’s all about the Mortal Wound Output but as we’ve spoken about if you’re able to get VEW working effectively then 20 Orruks can do 20 MW (plus a little bit more chip damage) and a list like this allows you to really make the most of the Kruleboyz Waaagh and attack putting out ~60MW before your opponent can swing back with anything of their own!

Finally you’ve got the mixed approach:

Gobsprakk

SnatachaBoss
- General
- Command Trait: Supa Sneaky
- Artefact: Amulet of Destiny
- Mount Trait: Loud 'un

Shaman
- Hasty Hex

Shaman
- Choking Mists

10x Gutrippaz

10x Gutrippaz

9x BoltBoys

Beast-Skewer Killbow

Beast-Skewer Killbow

Mashcrawler Sloggoth

This allows you to still have the firepower of the Bolts, the magic, potions and elixirs of the shamans and the melee power of the MW Gutrippaz and Snatachboss, but at the same time does cost you being really good at any single thing.

Big WAAAGH!

Can’t choose? Big WAAAGH! let’s you use all 3 in combination, forsaking your normal battle traits for a more universal system.

Kunnin’, Brutal and Savage

Well good news is you don’t lose all your battle traits. You get to keep your Venom-encrusted Weapons, Mighty Destroyers and Warpaint Battle Traits from the other armies. Good stuff, those are probably the best battle traits of those armies, so you can bring the units over mostly intact.

‘Ere We Go, ‘Ere We Go, ‘Ere We Go!

New Command Ability, though probably too risky unless you are really close to the next Waaagh! Power. You roll a die and if you beat the current battle round, you get WAAAGH! points equal to the current round. So if on round 2 you roll a 4, you get 2 points. What do those points do? Glad you asked.

The Power of the Waaagh!

Each round you generate WAAAGH! points, a D6 at the start of your Hero phase, and then some additional points for having certain units or accomplishing certain tasks, like charging or fighting. These points accumulate and you gain stacking buffs as the game goes on, so you want to get them up as fast as possible.

In the past, Great Waaagh! was basically the way to go, its buffs were powerful and even if you wanted to run pure Ironjawz people ran the Great Waaagh! anyway, it was that good. Now? Not so much. The table has been stripped down to a much more condensed form. The biggest sin is how boring it is, just +1s to stuff across the board, +1 to run, +1 to charge, +1 to casting, it goes on. There used to be some fun stuff like spending points to get an even higher casting bonus. Not anymore.

If you hit the top of 24, you add +1 to attack of all units in your army for the turn. Which isn’t bad at all! But then you have to cash out and lose your points. This might be useful if theres a clutch win in it for you but overall the fact it’s just dull is a hard pill to swallow for what used to be one of the most fun armies to play. I don’t think it’s unsalvageable if you want to play it though, the synergy was always kind of the point and if you go that route you will have a lot of options in the form of more enhancements, battle tactics and grand strategies to choose from.

Conclusion

JoeK: this Book is gonna see play for a long time, As it’s old book has before it. 18-20 wound mawkrushas, buff heroes, mortal wounds, ignoring wards, sneaky bois and some not so sneaky toys… I think orruk players are gonna have a field day with this book. And we will see a ton of lists come out of this.

RagnarokAngel: Big fan overall. The nerf to Big Waaagh is unfortunate but I don’t think it’s unusable. Pure Ironjawz got a lot better, which feels good since they would often be taken in Big WAAAGH! as pure Ironjawz, which feels like it defeated the point. Brutes are going to be…scary to deal with. Not looking forward to that.

I think Kruleboyz came out OK. are they op or meta defining? No, but they’re interesting, and interesting is more fun to look at. They’re also hardly bad even though I think a lot of Doomsayers might feel that way. If you wanna be a cheeky little general who messes with their opponent’s head, Kruleboyz do that just fine.

Poor Bonesplitterz. Maybe one day they’ll get better.

We’ll look at Path to Glory for both Battletomes later in the week. For now if you have any questions or comments leave them below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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