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Monday, October 18, 2010

A Cunning Scheme: Overall battle plan

Related to my earlier army list and my thoughts on deploying said army, this time I thought I'd write a little about how the army should behave in battle. I fear I might have taken on more than I can chew on this one, as the strategy you employ tend to change as often as your opponent. With that said, there's a few things that I'm looking to do in most of my games.

Stop squabbling!
In general, the greenskin way of fighting has to be swarming your opponent and overall just win the game by having more stuff than the enemy, and pray that your units will do what they're supposed to. That's why I always try to limit animosity, as that can really just mess up a good plan. If you've read my list, you'll notice I only really have 200 points out of 2500 points that's prone to squabble - the squig herd and the wolf riders. The black orc characters will lead both the orc boyz unit, and black orc units and trolls won't squabble, so that's 4-5 combat blocks that will do what I need them to do, which is get into combat when they're supposed to.

Da boyz will deal with da nasty stuff
My rule of thumb in regards to opponents is that either they'll have less units that want to fight than I do but the ones that want to fight usually fight better than anything I can muster. Or, my opponent has an equal amount or more fighting units than I do, but my units will fight better. When you consider it for a moment, it's pretty obvious.

In either case, I always like to bring my units of orc boyz into combat against the nastiest fighting block that my enemy can muster, because most of the times, even though I'll lose the fight, my bosses will kill enough enemies to make them feel it, and my boyz will be more than the enemy so they won't run away immediately. If I do get the charge, I usually bring a chariot charging alongside the boyz. The nice thing about chariots is that they're able to rank up corner to corner against an enemy unit and still fight just as well, without decreasing how many boyz get to smash heads. If you're lucky, and roll well on impact hits, such a combo-charge can sometimes break an enemy on the first round, since the boyz are usually enough to prevent the enemy being steadfast. If they don't break, usually because they're so much better at fighting than you are (brrr, Chaos Warriors...) at least you've ensured that neither you or the enemy will be running away anytime soon, and since they're better at fighting than you are, it usually means they'll have less combat units so you can swarm them.

Big 'uns bashes puny 'uns , then hit da flanks!
This is where the shock troops, such as Black Orcs, Trolls and the Squig Herd comes in. What's important to remember with either of these is that they're usually not able to fight the nasty combat units that your orc boyz are dealing with. While it might seem epic and sticking to the fluff if you're bringing your Black Orcs into combat with Chosen, or Black Guards, or anything else nasty, you're really only setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, these "elite units" (I find it hard to consider anything in the O&G army elite) should either be fighting something that's weaker than they are, or assisting the orc boyz if they're losing. This might feel weird, but it's really a good way of getting the maximum value out of your units. As such, my Black Orcs are either looking for a regenerating monster where they can put their flaming great weapons to good use, or a block of fairly weak core troops (skeletons, rats, goblins, skinks, state troops, all make good targets) where their dual choppas can kill enough of them to break them in a round or two. The same thing goes for the Trolls and the Squig Herd with only slight variations. The Squig Herd will gladly fight anything that's slow, since they dish out so many S5 attacks on a good initiative (for O&G anyway), while the trolls loves to puke on knights or pummel anything wielding great weapons, since they can strike before them on initiative 1, and don't care if they get struck hard in return, they still get to regenerate. Watch out for troops that you know get to take a magic banner, as most armies will be bringing flaming weapons to the fight.

Da little 'uns stand in da way
If things work out according to my strategy, my orc boyz should be fighting the enemy elite units but remain steadfast, since 40 ladz on T4 takes a while to shift. Meanwhile, my shock troops should either be fighting of their weaker troops and combat reform, or simply move into a flanking position if there aren't enough enemies to keep you from it. In the end, I want to end up with one of my hard hitters in the flank of an enemy tied up with the boyz. Much of this I have to accomplish by deploying correctly, and once the game gets started I sacrifice my snotlings, or fast cavalry in this case, to stand in the way of enemies who once they defeat my throwaway units will end up in combat with the orc boyz.

I won't talk much about magic, as I'd like to dedicate an entire post to it at a later stage, but since I am bringing an orc great shaman, who 9 out of 10 times end up with the Waaaaagh! spell, I should at least mention it. If I do get the spell, I'm usually quite conservative when it comes to charging in the movement phase. If I have to roll more than 6 to make it, or if I'm not 95% certain the enemy will hold as a reaction, I instead often opt to march to within an inch or two, and charge in my magic phase instead. People are often surprised when I tell them I tend to end up in combat on turn 1, but the fact is that on a given turn, orcs & goblins can actually become the swiftest infantry army in warhammer. If the general call the Waaagh, and then you march forward and get the Waaagh! spell through in the magic phase, you're actually moving 8" + 3D6 in one turn, which easily ends up being 20-25" if the dice are kind. Although sometimes I have to fight my way and depend on a few steadfast-test to end up with a swarming flank charge as described above, at times I can accomplish this just by marching forward and getting my spell through. It goes without saying that giving my Squig Herd, Trolls and Black Orcs the ASF-rule and Hatred for a round of combat usually results in the enemy being turned to bloody heaps, so a lot of my army is built to take advantage of my Great Shaman getting his spells through.

Shooty stuff
As for my artillery and their targets, these things tend to vary so much depending on what I'm up against. In general, the Spear Chukkas usually fire at either monsters in hopes of overperforming and taking out 200-300 points on a lucky dice roll, or enemy war machines that could hurt my combat units. The Doom Diver is even better at hitting flying skirmishers such as harpies, ungors or furies that seek to divert my hard hitters from getting in the flank charge. Finally, the Rock Lobber can perform multiple roles, and you really need to consider your target priority and the effectiveness of the shot before you fire. Anything on a 20mm base, with low toughness and moderate armor are good shots (elves make for excellent rock lobber targets) while models on 25mm bases, with higher toughness and excellent armor make for less effective shots (chaos warriors are horrible targets). It can also be a good idea to take aim for enemy monsters with the rock lobber, as it's still a 1/6 chance of a direct hit, which equals to a S9 D6 wound rock in the face. All in all, my artillery are usually rubbish, but they're so cheap and sometimes they do overperform with a lucky dice roll that wins you the game, that it's always a good idea to bring a few to every battle.

Plan is a good 'un
That's it for the strategy part of my army list breakdown. I hope I managed to make some sense and I'm happy if some of my readers ended up learning something for their own army, whether orcs or not. If you have questions, I'd love to hear them and will do my best to answer them.

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