Saturday, January 15, 2011
A Cunning Scheme: Stubborn Black Orcs
Now, I've long been arguing that what makes Black Orcs so good is because they are the one unit in the entire army that don't need to be joined by a character (since they won't squabble) and don't need to be close to the general (because they have good leadership on their own). Joining fighting characters to them, or even worse put the Warboss general in there, is not an effective use of your points since characters are much more needed in other units. However, I've had some trouble figuring out where to place my Great Shaman. If I put him next to the Warboss in the Orc Boyz unit, it makes that unit so much more of a target - if they break, then the game is basically lost. Similarly, if I put him in the Orc Boyz unit led by the BSB, I worry that the unit won't have enough of a fight in them to win battles, and the Great Shaman makes the unit almost twice as expensive, so losing them would hurt too. But how about putting your Great Shaman in the Black Orcs unit, equip him to actually survive what the Black Orcs will be fighting, and even give him a few items that will make the Black Orcs better in a brawl?
My current favorite is to equip the Great Shaman with the Amulet of Preservation for the 4+ ward save, the Waaagh! Paint for the +2 to cast spells while in battle (which he will see a lot of), and the Crown of Command. At times I even give him the Screeching Blade to make him cause fear, so if the enemy unit fails their leadership the Black Orcs will hurt them all the easier while being harder to hit themselves. It's a nice little bonus for the cheap cost. Also, killing off the Shaman who's at T5, 3 wounds and a 4+ ward save is easier said than done.
The problem I've had in the past with using Black Orcs is that they're so expensive that you have to be so careful in what you put them up against. Having the Crown of Command to make them Stubborn removes a lot of that concern and opens up a lot of options, since you no longer have to be as afraid of them losing combats.
I like to use a unit of 20 Black Orcs. That's enough to keep them in prime fighting condition for a fair number of combat rounds, without them being all too pricey (just under 300 points). I deploy them 7x3 to maximize their attacks and put the Shaman on a corner to minimize the attacks directed against him. If ever the Shaman is challenged, he will refuse and hide since the Black Orcs don't need his leadership anyway (really it will just free up more attacks). I also like to make use of their ability to carry a magic banner, as that's really one of their main benefits over other units like the Squig Herd. Now you'll want to pick your banner depending on what you want the Black Orcs to excell at. If you want monster hunters, get the Banner of Eternal Flame and use your Great Weapons. If you want to destroy core troops, get the Banner of Butchery and use your additional choppa. Or, if you'd just like a solid unit that won't run away from anything, get the Banner of Discipline and just make sure they're within 12" of your BSB, safe in the knowledge you've got the same leadership as the Warboss. No matter what you choose, you'll want to hit combat early as that will make your Shaman even more effective, and while you're fighting you always want to be casting the Bash 'Em Ladz spell on the Shaman's own unit, as there is no unit better suited as the target for that spell than the Black Orcs.
Making my Black Orcs Stubborn has greatly increased their value to me, and makes them even more versatile. Not only can they fight off monsters and cavalry, while being a perfect hammer unit for charging flanks. Now they can even serve as an additional anvil unit for other hammer units (chariots, squig herds, etc), something that would have been problematic before if they were ever charged by anything that was nastier than themselves. All this makes me appreciate the unit even more. I hope it will do the same to you.