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Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: O&G Magic Items

One of the reasonable yet frustrating points about the 8th edition army books has been the removal of all the fun and cheap magic items from previous editions. That being said, the O&G book still contains some of them, and a few can actually be useful! Overall though, they are generally overpriced and rarely useful against all-comers. I've listed them all with a short review and provided a sample character and unit that I would most likely field as the designated wielder of that magic item.

A 5-star item means that item is better than anything that you can find the rule book and is somewhat of a no-brainer for competitive lists. Meanwhile, a 1-star item means the item is either extremely overpriced, poorly designed and would rarely ever find a solid use in a competitive list, so you're better off with several other combinations from the rule book.

Battleaxe of the Last Waaaagh!
★ ★
Black Orc Warboss on War Boar, Heavy armor, Shield
Unit: 10-15 Orc Boar Boyz Big 'Uns with spears and shields.

If you feel like running a large hammer unit of Boar Boyz, this setup can work. The Black Orc upgrade is worth getting as the axe will force you to lose WS while gaining attacks and strength each round of combat. That being said though, this means you're going to want to see combat quickly, as too many failed animosity tests will mean your expensive Boar Boyz Big 'Uns will die before seeing battle.

Basha's Axe of Stunty Smashin'
★ ★ ★
Night Goblin Warboss on Giant Cave Squig, Charmed Shield, Talisman of Preservation
Unit: Alone, or leading 5-7 Squig Hoppers.

I don't mind this item really, as it's fluffy and makes for a fun item when fighting Dwarfs. This Night Goblin will dish out 5 S5 attacks with armor piercing, and 6 S6 attacks if fighting Dwarfs while also causing fear, something that's missing from the Giant Cave Squig. When fighting dwarfs, both the Warboss, his mount and his unit of Squig Hoppers will re-roll misses against the stunties. Pretty good deal for a fairly small investment.  The Charmed Shield is there to ward off a cannon ball to the face.

Armour of Gork
★ ★ ★
Savage Orc Warboss on War Boar, Shield, Spear,
Unit: 5 Savage Orc Boar Boyz with the Banner of Eternal Flame

If you prefer a sure way of dealing with regenerating monsters, while also dealing out a lot of pain against other units, this is your guy. When charging, he will dish out D6 S6 flaming impact hits, followed by 5 S7 attacks at initiative 4 (same as the Hellpit Abomination).His small unit of Boar Boyz is really just there to deliver the Warboss into combat and set fire to his attacks, while not giving up too many wounds if or when the monster hits back.

Lucky Shrunken Head
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Savage Orc Great Shaman, Fencer's Blade, Obsidian Trinket
Unit: Big unit of Savage Orc Big 'Uns.

This is hands-down the best magic item in our book and without a doubt the most frequently used combination. The Savage Orc Great Shaman at WS10 and T5 is a handful to just charge in and kill, especially when he's leading a large unit of Savage Orc Big 'Uns with a 5+ ward save.

Mork's War Banner
★ ★ ★ ★
Black Orc Big Boss, BSB, Heavy Armor, Shield
Unit: Orc Big'Un unit led by Orc Warboss with the Sword of Anti-Heroes

Use of this banner will depend quite greatly on what other characters you can surround your BSB with. In particular, a Warboss with the Sword of Anti-Heroes will help greatly, as this is a sneaky character snipe. This is particularly useful for those who prefer to run a large deathstar-like unit of Orcs, as those are the type of units that usually get the attention of combat-kitted heroes. Wood Elf Lords on Dragons with ward save broaches that includes their mount and the Annoyance of Netlings? Dark Elf Heroes on a Pegasus with the Pendant of Khaleth? Tyrants with Fencer's Blades and Glittering Scales? They will all die when their magic items stop working and the Warboss unleashes with his extra attacks.

Spider Banner
★ ★ ★ ★
Goblin Big Boss, BSB, Light Armor, Shield
Unit: 40-50 Goblins with short bows and shields.

This goblin-only banner is made for Goblin or Night Goblin hordes. I prefer the combination of shooty and fighty gobbo units, which is why I am sticking with regular goblins for this one. Keep the BSB on a corner of the unit to limit the amount of attacks directed at him, as he is quite vulnerable, and unleash 30 shots per turn as your enemies wade forward and then still have to fight your poisonous gobbos in close combat. With constant poison and parry saves, be sure to bring plenty of dice able to roll 6's.

The Bad Moon Banner

Night Goblin Big Boss, BSB
Unit: Black Orc Horde, or something similarly wide and killy.

The second gobbo banner is sadly a very dull and poorly designed magic item. So for the unit that's the most likely unit out of all our choices to be Steadfast after losing combat, they give us a banner that makes us Stubborn, combined with the same effect as the least useful spell in the Little Waaagh deck. If there was a possibility of joining characters to your Squig Herd, this would be attractive, but it's not. One way to possibly make good use of this banner would be to stick him on a corner of a 10-wide Black Orc Horde that's going up against something scary but not as wide. Technically speaking, all Night Goblin models in the unit are Stubborn. The BSB is a Night Goblin model and as long as he is in the unit, that unit will be Stubborn, even though they're no Night Goblins, while also in constant soft cover and dangerous to charge into. But then again, wouldn't it be cheaper to just get the Crown of Command?

Skull Wand of Kaloth
★ ★
Night Goblin Great Shaman, Dispel Scroll
Unit: Smaller unit of Goblins with short bows, shields and 3 nasty skulkers.

When running All-Goblin lists you tend to find yourself with additional points to use. Since dealing with Monsters can be troublesome with only gobbos to kill them, the Skull Wand can be a decent option for a Great Shaman that isn't really looking to get into combat. First of all, it protects you from having to take Terror tests when charged by something scary. Second of all, there might be Monsters with low enough leadership operating outside the General's presence to make for a suitable target (Arachnarok Spiders or Hellpit Abominations spring to mind). Third of all, if you're being harrased by chaff units with low leadership, you're now yourself a Terror causer that can either cause panic tests when charging them, hopefully creating mayhem amongst their own troops, or make them scared of you in close combat if they charge you. If only this item would take up less of your magic item points, there might actually be more offensive combinations available for it.

Agree? Disagree? Have useful combos of your own? Feel free to share in the comments.