Hear Me Out – Using Gobsprakk in Big Waaagh

Alternative Title: Why there’s a big Gobby shaped hole in your heart.

Why are you writing an entire article about Gobsprakk?

Good question, past version of me. It’s because Big Waaagh have started to raise eyebrows in the competitive scene over the past month (a sustained 60% winrate), and a vital part of my current tournament list is Gobsprakk, and I’ve had a lot of players ask me why I’m using it, especially as many have politely written it off in their heads.

There are many different ways to build Big Waaagh of course, but I felt it would help potential players to provide a resource, much like PlasticCraic has done so for Big Waaagh in general, for Gobsprakk in particular. I truly believe he is a diamond in the rough, and starts to come alive within BW.

An Overview

At first glance, he’s a bit of an odd duck. He’s a combat monster but only has a 5+ Armor Save, and he’s a spellcaster specialising in anti-magic but sports no native bonuses to cast or unbind. That’s not to say there is not basic power in his warscroll, because he has a number of noteworthy features:

  • He’s a totem, on a big ass base.
  • If he issues a redeploy or unleash hell command to a KB unit, he gets an improved version of both (reroll for the former, no penalty to hit on the latter).
  • He’s a two cast wizard who knows the entire Kruleboyz spell lore.
  • If he unbinds a spell he does either D3 or D6 mortal wounds to the caster, based on the unbinding roll.
  • Once per game he can unbind with 3 dice instead of 2.
  • As he’s a Kruleboy, all his profiles do mortal wounds on 6s to hit.
  • Native 6+ Ward.

No one of these things is particularly impressive, but when you put it all together you get something that plays better than it looks. He can get to anywhere you need him to on the battlefield, he benefits massively from the spellcasting bonus unlocked in Big Waaagh, and he excels at threatening smaller, weaker spellcasters. This last point is especially noteworthy, as the metagame has shifted significantly away from megacasters – Teclis, Nagash and Lord Kroak are a lot less prevalent than they once were as the environment get more and more inhospitable to them. Gobsprakk makes the likes of the humble Cathallar shit themselves in fear.

That’s not to say it’s all sunshine and rainbows – as a Monster he gives up a bonus victory point for his demise, and being 280 points you need him to eventually get stuck in and fighting in order to justify his price point. So how can we best use him?

Tips and Tricks

Listbuilding – The temptation is there because he has the Kruleboyz keyword to bring more and more of his buddies into a Big Waaagh list, but that is somewhat of a trap. You can make a heavy Kruleboyz BW list work, but BW flourishes when it combines the raw efficiency of Ironjawz warscrolls with select pieces from Kruleboyz and Bonesplitterz. Don’t go overboard because of perceived synergies – Boltboyz, Sludgerakers and Mirebrutes are all fantastic additions to a BW list, but they aren’t as efficient as their IJ cousins so you run risk of having too little ‘stuff’ to actually win the game with.

To keep Gobsprakk alive you must ensure your opponent has far more pressing needs to concern themselves with, pushing Gobsprakk down the kill priority list and letting him do his thing unhindered. Think of it as overloading your opponent with too much to even properly concentrate on any one thing.

One of the biggest strengths of BW is that it forces opponents to really think about what they need to kill and when, and I’ve won many games in which opponents have hyper focused on one thing, neglecting and subsequently getting slapped by the two or three other things in front of them.

Deployment – As Gobsprakk can move himself by casting Sneaky Miasma in the hero phase, he can deploy way further back and out of the way than you might first think. Yes, you might want to keep him within 30” of your opponent’s spellcasters for his unbinds, but as he can threaten units with Nasty Hex 26” away or Choking Mists 36” away, you don’t even necessarily need to shove him up front – is there a juicy bit of arcane terrain he can park behind? Go for it you mad lad, treat yourself. Make your opponent have to really pull themselves out of position to get a bead on him.

Hero Phase – This is Gobby’s bread and butter. In Big Waaagh generally by Round 2 he’s got a +1 bonus to casting and unbinding, which really helps his toolkit come alive. As alluded to before, Gobsprakk has 5 spells (plus Mystic Shield, Arcane Bolt and Metamorphosis):

  • Da Black Pit – Best used against hordes of 1 wound models with a 5+ save or better, a pretty good on rate offensive spell but probably your least used of the five.
  • Choking Mist – Absolutely amazing spell with a great range to it (as even without Sneaky Miasma it can affect a unit 30” away), it reduces the number of melee attacks by affected units by 1 and shuts off their ability to run. The former is great to set up a killzone where you tag your opponent’s units but not your own, the latter is great to limit mobility and even shut off your opponent’s easy Ferocious Advance turn one if they give you first turn and they cluster their support heroes up.
  • Sneaky Miasma –  Let’s you make a normal move with a Kruleboyz monster within 18” of him in the hero phase (this includes himself). Really good spell to explain to your opponent pregame so they’re mentally accounting for the 28” movement capability Gobsprakk has. In addition, go ahead and mentally add 14” to the range of all your spells too. Such a clutch spell, and can be combined with Metamorphosis on other Kruleboyz heroes that aren’t monsters to help them get into position where needed.
  • Nasty Hex – The spell your opponent has most likely heard of before, as it shuts off the ward of an enemy unit within 12” of the caster. Obviously insanely good against units whose toughness is entirely derived by their ward save – Gotrek, Nurgle, Hearthguard, special characters and so on.
  • Summon Boggy Mist – Actually has more play in BW than you might think, because you can use Mighty Destroyers to get the charge in before you even cast this, and use it as a defensive measure against your opponent’s deep striking threats. Nobody loves trying to make 10” deep strike charges, and your own charge bonus cancels this out on your IJ units.

I am usually always casting Choking Mist, with the secondary spell just being dictated by what else I need to happen that turn. He has a great toolkit of spells, which is especially important in Big Waaagh as your opponent doesn’t expect the tricksy bullshit to be stapled onto Ironjawz efficiency. Finkin’ Man’s Waaagh.

In your opponent’s turn, don’t be precious about sitting on the 3d6 unbind – if it’s an important spell turn one and you expect your opponent to be aggressive, just shut that shit down. BW wins by drawing out games to a full five turns, and anything you can do to disrupt their early game plays is super useful. If you’ve got a Master of Magic spellcaster, please keep in mind that 3D6 unbind is always statistically better than a 2d6 unbind with a reroll, though if the roll is a 7 or less you may want to take your chances with the rerollable 2d6 and save the big boi unbind.

Movement Phase – Not much to touch on here other than to plan ahead when moving him, as while he has a 14” move he’s also on a gigantic base, so pre-measuring and sequencing your moves to ensure he has a good landing spot is very important.

Generally you’ll keep him behind your main forces early game, and when your opponent gets their first taste of the Wurgogg Prophet’s eye stares you might as well just be as aggressive with him as you like because I guarantee you they’re way more worried about the Wurgogg than they are Gobby. Speaking of the Wurgogg, keeping Gobby near him is very useful, as the Wurgogg can weaken something with his eye lasers BEFORE picking a battle tactic (they’re both triggers at beginning of hero phase so you can order them how you wish!), pick Broken Ranks/Slay the Warlord/Bring it Down on said unit when they’re on 1 or 2 wounds left, then Gobby can quietly finish it off easily and score the bonus point for doing it with a monster. Gobby’s a huge kill steal and cares only about maintaining his K/D ratio.

As for your opponent’s movement phase, being able to redeploy himself and reroll the dice is very useful for keeping him alive from your opponent’s melee threats, provided you left him space to operate with behind him – he can’t back his ass up if there’s some boltboyz behind him!

Combat Phase – Generally don’t send him in by himself unless it’s against a small snack – he is not a hammer unit and shouldn’t be treated as such, more of a support scalpel to pair with something meaner than him like Brutes or Gore Gruntas. Him being so mobile is useful in this regard because he can lend a monstrous rampage to your foot infantry, and by activating with him first you put your opponent in a bind – does he slap the squishy Gob and then leave the bigger melee threats three to turn them into a thin paste, or slap the Brutes/Boars etc and leave Gobby healthy.

That said, he is only 280 points and he can spike a fair amount of damage if you roll sixes, you have the +1 to hit and wound bonuses up from BW andor you put him into a unit where only having 1 rend isn’t the end of the world. Don’t be so precious with him that he never does anything but casts spells, one of the greatest strengths of Orruks are that even their support pieces slap harder than you would expect. 

An Example List

Wurgogg Prophet
Credit: Mike ‘Ellarr’ Chadderton

Click to expand

Allegiance: Big Waaagh!
– Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
– Triumphs:

Orruk Warchanter (115)*
 Warbeat: Get ‘Em Beat
Wurrgog Prophet (150)*
 Artefact: Glowin’ Tattooz
 Universal Spell Lore: Levitate
Orruk Warchanter (115)*
 Command Trait: Master of Magic
 Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
 Warbeat: Fixin’ Beat
 Lore of the Weird: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork
Gobsprakk, The Mouth of Mork (280)**
Orruk Megaboss (140)**
 Artefact: Destroyer
Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-grot (105)**
 Lore of the Swamp: Nasty Hex

15 x Orruk Ardboys (255)***
 Reinforced x 2
10 x Orruk Brutes (320)***
 Jagged Gore-hackas
 Reinforced x 1
5 x Orruk Ardboys (85)**

3 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (170)***
 Jagged Gore-hackas
6 x Man-skewer Boltboyz (240)*
 Reinforced x 1

Core Battalions
***Hunters of the Heartlands

Total: 1975 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 4 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 143
Drops: 11

This list tries to squeeze as many excellent trading pieces as it can into 2k points, while maintaining flexibility in having mobility (Gore Gruntas, Gobsprakk, Teleport), reach (Wurgogg, Boltboyz), and pure wound efficiency on objectives (Ardboyz). There’s a lot of freedom within BW to tweak and adjust to personal preference, this is just an example of what I would use if I were to enter a tournament today.

Gobsprakk is but a piece of the puzzle, and my opponent will often be far more worried about the 10 Brutes potentially charging into him from a teleport, or the Destroyer equipped Mega Boss going off, or the Boltboyz melting a support hero from 24″ away, or the Wurgogg basically killing whatever it damn pleases, or the… Well you get the idea.

In terms of playing this list, you have to be patient above all. Unlike Ironjawz, you’re not trying to go all in turn one because you have neither the incentivising Waaagh that pushes you in that direction, or Smashing and Bashing to set up powerful activation chains. You will find yourself playing cagey in turn one and potentially even turn two, trying to make sensible trades and establishing board control while waiting for all your bonuses to come online. In some matchups where objectives are centrally located, that’s turn two, whereas in other games it may be turn three where you’re realistically committing everything. Gobsprakk plays into this gameplan well as he is mobile and can help you control space with Choking Mists, then when it’s time to commit he can get to where he needs to go with Sneaky Miasma.

If you want to go on your own BW journey, consider the following units to swap in as they’re all great and contribute nicely to BW:

  • Mirebrute Troggoth, who sends a valentine’s card to the writer of the battletome for letting them have access to +1 to hit and wound in BW.
  • Ironskull’s Boyz, a slightly budget Ardboyz unit that notably does not give up broken ranks, which is very useful!
  • Rippa’s Snarlfangs (allied from Gits), a 70 point screening unit that can move very fast and can activate and pile in from 6″ away, setting up useful movement tricks to tag units.
  • Snatchaboss on Sludgeraker Beast, what I like to call the poor man’s Mawcrusha, who can slap very hard at a budget price.
  • Savage Big Stabbas, another cheap trading piece that can sit behind an Ardboyz unit and present a pretty good 3″ punch.

Closing Thoughts

I know Gobsprakk is an expensive model to purchase, I know he’s a bit intimidating to paint, and I know his warscroll doesn’t scream powerhouse. I don’t care. Proxy a base in for a playtest game if you have to – but give him a try in your Big Waaagh lists! He is a pleasant surprise in an otherwise mostly depressing Kruleboyz roster, and his toolkit gives you so many big brain plays that you can feel like an extremely smart man moments before you push your Wurgogg Prophet too hard and he blows his own head up with 6 mortal wounds.

Oh, and he’s a gorgeous model that’s a blast to paint and makes a great centrepiece for your army.