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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Review: Goblins

The ugly stepchild of the old armybook, the Goblins got a bit of an upgrade in the most recent incarnation of the army in order to keep up with the Night Goblins and their options. While the nets and fanatics of their darker kin still makes them a superior choice in mixed Orcs and Goblins armies led by an Orc Boss, with Boyz and the Big Waaagh! lore, regular Goblins can work well in a primarily gobbo army.

Like the Night Goblins, the important thing with Goblins is to decide if you'd like a support unit or a fighting mob. For support units, a good idea is to bring a minimum sized unit of 20, perhaps equipped with short bows if you have the points to spare, with a few nasty skulkers in there. Such a unit can shoot down enemy support units and charge into enemies protecting expensive characters such as Wizards and hope for a Killing Blow.

More likely you'll want to bring your Goblin units as a fighting mob and prepare to field them as a Horde. Granted, the Night Goblins get shields for free and get to switch their handweapons for spears for no additional cost, while Goblins buy each of their upgrade for half a point. However, they get light armor which the Night Goblins no longer may, meaning you'll be able to get a 5+ armor save if you buy a shield, which I suggest you always should do for a fighting mob. Interesting to note is that this still allows you to get your Goblins short bows to fire at the enemy for an additional half a point per gobbo. Even for a large mob, this won't amount to very many points, especially since the Goblins don't have the expensive upgrades available to the Night Goblins. This makes for a very versatile Goblin Horde unit that will shoot a lot of arrows (with Volley Fire) at the enemy at range, and still might end up beating some enemies in combat with the same amount of close combat attacks (30) coming their way. Compared to Night Goblins, who can either get fighty or shooty but never both, this mob will cost about the same while adding much wanted versatility.

Such a unit might even be sneaky enough to get to protect the Goblin BSB, who could even be given the Spider Banner for Poisoned Attacks. Ponder the possibility of casting the Gift of the Spider God on your Goblins and you'll have a mob firing poisoned shots and automatically wounding the enemy in close combat on 5+. Using such sneaky schemes can really surprise people.

Unit size: 20 for support units, 40-50 deployed as a Horde for fighting mob.

Equipment: Paying half a point for what Night Goblins get free might irk quite a few players, which is understandable, but it might be well worth considering actually getting several of these equipment upgrades just to do what Night Goblins cannot. Shields should be almost mandatory. Although not as good as Nets, they will cost you about half the points which can then be spent on getting more gobbos into the unit. Short Bows can definitely be worth getting both on support units and fighting mobs, and adds versatility to the army. Spears, however, are usually not worth getting. It's just not worth paying extra points in order to miss out on the parry save while getting another rank of WS2 S3 attacks. Even if these are poisoned attacks, I'd still much rather get the short bows.

Command Options: Standard Bearers and Musicians are well worth getting, for the added combat resolution bonus and the ability to reform swiftly if you've brought bows. Bosses, however, are usually not worth it. This is partly due to their increased costs, but also because the Nasty Skulkers can accomplish the same thing (challenge or accept challenges) for the same point cost.

Nasty Skulkers: The skulkers can add quite a few kills to your combat, but they will mostly be there for their first round killing blows. The skulkers deserve a stand-alone article on their various uses, and they shall have it in due time, but if you do decide to bring Goblins they are definitely worth considering bringing for cheap. Use them to either accept or issue challenges, replace weak characters in base to base contact with the enemy as the skulkers are revealed, or just to deliver key strikes on the foe. One skulker will rarely do much, aside from fighting a challenge, while two or three can accomplish quite a lot if the dice are with them.