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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Are Big 'Uns replacing da boyz?

One of the eyebrow raisers in the new Orcs and Goblins book was the fact that Orc Boyz went up in price by one point, seeing as how they were the unit that got the least out of the upgraded Choppa bonus. This is not a complaint, more of a reflection, as I do think that 6 point a model (with only light armor and hand weapon) is well balanced to other core troops in the same range. However, it has made me rethink some of the list designs I used to employ.

Long time readers will know I usually preferred to run two units of 40 Orc Boyz each (at 2500 points, our tournament standard) led by either the Warboss on foot, or the Big Boss BSB on foot. They made for a safe and solid battleline that was usually quite hard to break. But there were a few things I didn't like:

  • I felt I paid too many points much for a fighter Lord whose sole purpose was to provide leadership to other troops and add his kills to the Boyz combat resolution. When I'm bringing a fighter Lord, I want him to be able to take on units on his own.
  • With the BSB instead of a Warboss, I felt the unit didn't fight well enough to match up with other large units, I really couldn't depend on them to break enemies that they outranked with only the Big Boss, since you tend to kit your BSB to survive rather than kill a lot. 
This setup will hardly see the battlefield with the new army book, mainly because I'm really paying 40+40 more points for the same units (not including the much more expensive command options), and with the drop in price for Orc Warbosses on Wyverns, I'm usually going to be flying around with my Warboss and lend fighting support all over the field. Bringing a single unit as a bunker for my BSB could work, but then I'm again faced with the problem of the boyz not killing enough, while still costing more to field than they used to.

So I started thinking about the Big 'Un upgrade, which dropped considerably in point cost (a good thing, the old ones were too expensive for anyone to field). For two more points than an Orc Boy, they get +1 in WS and S (S5 in the first round of combat) as well as the ability to bring a magic banner. Definitely a good deal in my opinion. In an army design that already features Black Orcs and an Orc Great Shaman for the spell augments from the Big Waaagh! that only affects Orc units, I definitely see a use for these guys, who at 30 models actually check in at a smaller point cost than 40 regular boyz, while still being large enough to remain steadfast against smaller elite units. Joined by the BSB, perhaps deployed 6 wide 5 deep, I'll take my chances with Big 'Uns one on one against more elite core troops, such as Elves, Saurus and Dwarfs.

I'm going to be trying them out in larger games in the near future, see how they do. I'll save my detailed thoughts on equipment options, banner choices and general tactics for my Orcs and Goblins army book review due for later on, when the book has hit the stores for real. For now though, I'm starting to expect the Big 'Uns to replace my Boyz in my tournament armies. Which is good thing, considering I've got a unit in the makings already.