Lately I've been planning a more orc-heavy, defensive army. Please note that by "defensive" I do not mean "dwarf-like" with no movement and lots of shooting, no. What I mean is an army with less risky elements in it. No Warboss flying on a Wyvern, no armies with big Troll units led by a Shaman with lower leadership. No big Squig units that can be shot up, no big monsters that can be killed by a well-placed cannon. Just a list with a lot of synergy, units working together, each one with a specific purpose, that can wade through shooting, crazy spells, take down dangerous monsters, kill annoying characters, soften up and redirect nasty units, before finally rolling over them in a tide of green. This is an infantry-focused, orc-heavy army with solid leadership and a lot of punch. They may not provide the sheer hitting power of Trolls or Squigs, but I have a feeling they might prove even more solid as an all-comers army list.
Sword of Bloodshed, Armor of Fate, Potion of Speed
In this list, for this particular role, I believe an aggressive Warboss is the way to go, and as long as you are buying him a heavy armor, I believe the regular Orc Warboss is worth his points more than a Black Orc. This guy will throw out 7 S6 attacks, which makes him extremely formidable as a single footprint in one of the Orc units (put him on the corner of a unit and watch him drastically impact how difficult it is to break that unit. With an armor of 4+ and a ward save for 5+ he is only an average tank, but his toughness should keep him safe against most core units, while only the most foolhardy of enemy characters will want to fight him in a challenge in the first round of combat. He will most likely deploy with my Orc Big 'Uns, to maximize his leadership early on, but will quickly move through all three units as the battle unfolds.
Savage Orc Great Shaman, level 4
Fencer's Blade, Lucky Shrunken Head, Obsidian Trinket
With an unusual amount of Orc units, this guy becomes even more important to buff them in combat, especially with the 'Ere We Go spell. He is still one of the best fighting wizards in the game and with a WS of 10 from his swords, the Fist of Gork spell becomes extremely potent and able to turn a battle on its own - 7 S9 attacks at WS 10, with a toughness of 5 and a 5+ ward save, who would like to fight him? He is also wearing a trinket for extra magic resistance, so if I'm ever up against Death Magic I will put all my Orc characters together for a boosted 4+ ward save and a high leadership.
Black Orc Big Boss, BSB
Talisman of Endurance, Dragonhelm, Ironcurse Icon
Normally I like using my BSB as a deliverer of flaming attacks to whatever unit he joins, this time I'd like to keep him more defensive. With an AS of 3+ and another 5+ WS, while armed to da teef, I feel confident putting him in combat against most enemies. Early on, this guy will lead the Savage Orcs alongside the Shaman, to make sure they're not squabbling and charging somewhere stupidly. If I'm up against a particularly nasty unit, I will join up with both my BSB and my Warboss in the Black Orc unit for as much damage as possible.
Night Goblin Shaman, level 2
Night Goblin Shaman, level 2
Usually I only bring one Goblin shaman to carry a scroll and force out a few dispel dice from my opponent. This time though, with several Orc units, I'm interested in a lot more of the Goblin spells, such as lowering initiative and forcing 6's to be re-rolled (critical if I'm fighting Bloodletters with my Orc characters). I brought a Power Stone with one of my Goblins, as opposed to a Channeling staff, as that could mean one or two extra goblin spells going through semi-reliably at a critical moment.
23 Orc Big 'Uns
Spears, Shields, Standard Bearer, Musician, Banner of Discipline
A more defensive option than Savage Orc Big 'Uns, regular Orcs with spears can dish out almost as many attacks in tight units (5-6 wide) as the Savage Orcs, and they're dishing out just as many attacks as if they had an additional handweapon, but gets the shield bonus for 5+ armor save. They're not as good, period, but they're almost as good while still allowing me to bring a unit of regular Savage Orcs that are quite potent on their own. This means that I have two hard-hitting options at the core slots, where I usually only bring one and a Night Goblin train that rarely does anything. I'm eager to see how these guys do in combat. These will probably match up against less hard-hitting troops, but with plenty of attacks instead, to make sure the Orcs still have an armor save.
27 Savage Orcs
While S5 is better than S4, from my experience the times I bring in my Savage Orc Big 'Uns they're in for overkill, or I'm up against such extremely nasty units that not even da boyz can tackle them (Tzeentch Chosen Warriors, for example). As such, I'm curious to see how my regular savage boyz will do against much the same opponents. With a 5+ WS, they will match up against anything hard-hitting but with either lower toughness or lower armor save (Executioners, White Lions, etc). For the times that I do need that additional strength, I feel confident that my Champion (at 4 S5 attacks on his own) and the Great Shaman will be able to take care of that.
20 Night Goblins
Short Bows, Musician, 1 Fanatic
It is always useful to bring a few throw-away units that can perform multiple roles, and minimum sized Night Goblin units are as good as it gets when it comes to that. Early on, they will hold my Gobbo Shamans, receive a Spider-God blessing for poisonous attacks and plink away at enemy re-directers and monsters (trust me, anytime you can score a wound or two on a Hellpit Abomination or Bloodthirster with your 60 point unit, you feel great). After that, they will either set up fanatic traps as enemy charge my Orc units, or serve as last-minute redirecters if a nasty enemy gets too close, too soon.
5 Goblin Wolf Riders
Always bring a unit of cheap fast cavalry. Hunt war machines, chase down fleeing units, re-direct, sacrifice, plink in a wound with a lucky arrow. The times that you don't bring fast cavalry is the times you will miss them.
Goblin Wolf Chariot x 3
Instead of bringing them in a unit of three, I have elected to use them as individual chariots. Gives me additional deployments and allows me to cover more surface area with their long charge distance. These chariots will line up against the nastiest unit the enemy has brought and suicide charge into it, hopefully softening them up for the boyz to smash.
Orc Boar Chariot x 2
I'm bringing a lot of chariots in this army, as I've found lately that the moment I start bringing a 4th hard-hitting infantry unit is when one of my units tend to end up as cheerleaders, or stuck chasing down chaff enemy units. Orc chariots are better to support charge alongside the boyz, or hit a flank once combat has been joined, as they dish out even more damage while taking less in return.
20 Black Orcs
Shields, Standard Bearer, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame
As my third Orc unit, the Black Orcs will move away from my earlier opinion of them as specialist troops that don't need a character to help them out, to instead become the most flexible of all my troops. They will hunt monsters and cavalry, but they will also serve as my main anvil unit if needed, reforming into a unit 5 wide, with shields and heavy armor (with a parry save) to ward off medium or heavy blows. When joined by both my Orc characters and boosted by my Orc spells, this mob will be difficult to break.
Troll x 2
Trolls are great in big numbers or on their own. Redirecting is of course always useful, but they're more than capable of hunting down enemy chaff, or even charge an exposed flank or rear, since even a single troll can be a nuisance to get rid of while you're fighting my boyz to the front.
One is perfect for soaking up arrows while my chariots move into position for early charges, two Manglers are often too much, as they can be easily disposed of by many armies and suddenly I feel like I'm starting to bleed points without hitting key units with my charges. I'd rather bring another chariot in that case.
Goblin Rock Lobber
Goblin Doom Diver
Whenever I bring more than two war machines I tend to feel like I've got nothing to fire at once battle is joined midway through the game. If ever I bring less than two war machines I end up facing something that I really need to shoot down. Two war machines is all you need as a Greenskin.
There's a few things that I am unsure still about this army, namely the relative small size of some of my Orc blocks (I'd like the Big 'Uns to be closer to 30 and Black Orcs not much smaller in size) and I am concerned that I am bringing too much magic with my second gobbo. I'm going to try this army out in my next game, see what works and what doesn't, and make adjustments as we go.
Questions? Comments? I'm happy to answer them.