Lately I have been experimenting with using Gorbad Ironclaw as my army general. He accomplishes a couple of things; 1, he can more or less negate Animosity within 18" which, if you play your army correctly, encompasses all the important elements.
Also, it makes it so I can turn all my orcs into Big uns. This makes them strong, tough, with plentiful attacks....everything I look for in an army (almost). Ironically, I have usually only ended up with 2 units of big uns in armies at 2800 points...
This time I built it a bit different, going with 2 20 strong units of Savage orc Big Uns with extra hand weapon and full command, 10 Big un Savage Orc boar boys with extra hand weapon and full command, Gorbad, a doom diver, a level 2 Savage orc Shaman with shrunken head, a Savage orc Boss with Crown of Command, and a level 1 Night Goblin with Dispel Scroll...a Mangler Squig, Arachnarok, and I was out of points.
But I like it; I have 2 solid infantry blocks capable both of absorbing a great deal of punishment and of putting a hurting on even the toughest of opponents. I have Deathnarok the Arachnarok to tear up small units, the mangler to deal with tough armor, and my smurf-slapping Boar Boy fast moving, hard hitting unit of doom. And I can possibly use the Doom Diver against anything he brings like a Giant, Necrosphinx, etc.
For scenarios, I am well set for Blood & Glory or Watchtower, and only Dawn whatever it is could be an issue if it yanks my infantry away from the warming bubble of Gorbad's leadership, drop animosity and do untoward things like beat each other up.
We rolled up Battle for the Pass and mass quantities of obstacles.
I put the mangler squig on my left, planning to run up that side dodging obstacles, then come horizontally down his battle line which was lined up behind fences. My Doom Diver went in the tall building next to the Squig, giving them line of sight to the whole field and the reach to hit anything.
Then went the 20 strong Savage Orcs accompanied by the Shrunken Head Shaman and Boss, with the second unit behind them. Deathnarok would use his wall crawler to climb over the building in front of him and the Boar Boys had a clean run up the right flank.
This kept everyone within my LD bubble. Between my him hitting on 5s, my T4 meaning he wounded on 5 and my 5+ ward, I figured he would do 5 or 6 casualties as I crossed the field, so my front unit would be softened but would still be able to participate in a good fight.
Meanwhile, he lined up two catapults in each back corner of the field, the Casket of Souls on the hill in the center, Khalida and his hierophant buffing something like 54ish Skeleton Archers, a block of 20 archers to their left (my right flank) and two units of scouting Skeleton Horse archers behind me to march block the Orc infantry and harass them.
Tomb King Turn 1
He was a couple inches behind the fence line that occupied the center of the field so he made a slight advance to defend the barricade.
He rolls up 8 power dice and the casket adds just one. He rolls 3 dice at Righteous Smiting. I plan to stop that and the Casket and let everything else go. I figure it up and need to average just 3/die to stop it...and manage to average 1.5 per die. Righteous smiting goes off on his big unit. Oh well, just two ranks this turn. Then he rolls a super high total on the casket so I have to use my scroll...and end up with 3 unused dice.
His catapults scatter...let me save time; after this round, every turn one catapult scatters and the other mis-fires, finally blowing itself up. neither ever does a casualty.
The Khalida-buffed archers turn out to hit on 4s and have poison. Double-tapping thanks to Righteous Smiting he ends up wounding 14 of my Savage Orcs (9 via Poison) and I save 5. I actually feel good losing "only" 9 to it, but now I am nervous. Next turn he will have volley fire, and I have lost nearly half my unit already!
Actually, more than half...the other unit does 4 more wounds and I save just 1. In one turn of shooting I lost 12 orcs! With a 5+ ward save and him needing 5s to wound...this is not good. Even his horse archers pick off one of my back unit.
Where we stand
Shooting is great for softening up, but not usually for wiping out units. In this case, one more turn like that and my unit will be entirely wiped out. I know skeletons are weak in close combat, but I will only have one or two units available to take on his massive horde. I am not nervous yet...but definitely know I am in for more of a fight than I suspected.
Orc Turn 1
Too far to charge, so I am going to march everything. Everybody passes animosity (I never fail it all game, in fact). I decide to see if my Mangler can work over his skeleton horse archers. Unfortunately, needing to go I think 7 inches to smash into them, I roll a 4 and 2 1s...6" on 3d6. Yes, that is typical Orc incompetence.
I debate for a few moments; I want to move my heroes from the unit about to get shot to death back to the trailing unit. But I do not want to lose a turn of advancing and cannot figure out how to do it without moving no distance. So I elect just to march and hope his shooting is a bit less effective. Next turn I will move my heroes back.
I pass all my LD tests and march both blocks of orcs forward. Deathnarok marches forward. I thought about moving 7 and firing bows but 8 Forest Goblin archers are not going to do much...better to get into close combat ASAP.
I forget the Doom Diver does not "fire" as normal and give it poison with my night goblin shaman. He stuffs Fists of Gork and I get Gaze of Mork off, wounding 4 skeletons but one saves with MR. Then the Doom Diver misfires.
Where we stand
I am hopeful at least a couple of Savage Orcs can use the power of the Shrunken Head to withstand the withering bowfire for one more turn. Next turn my Deathnarok will smash into his smaller block of archers and my Boar Riders will set up down their flank and head into the big block. He gets one, maybe 2 more turns of firing and then the Orcs will be smashing bones back to dust.
Tomb King Turn 2
His Knights do not turn up. His Horse archers move up behind my trailing unit of Savage Orcs.
He gets 5 power dice and the casket adds 1. He 6-dices it and gets it off irresistibly. Gorbad keeps his unit from getting hurt, it jumps to the Deathnarok and Gorbad saves that, too. Bullet dodged.
Shooting; this time he unleashes the full fury of the volley firing Khalida poisoning and it is super effective; He kills the last 8 Savage Orcs. Worse, his other unit then fires at the now naked Savage Orc Boss and Shrunken Head bearing Shaman. 8 hits, 4 to each. Needing 6s to wound, he wounds the Boss twice...and I duly fail both saves to die. Ouch. Then he wounds the Shaman twice and of course I fail both of those. This is a crushing blow.
His horse archers take down two more of my second unit of infantry.
Where we stand
I am very worried. I did not think there was any chance I would lose my Shaman and Boss. Even if he shot the unit out from around them...which I thought was a long shot...they should survive, hide in the second block and be fine. Instead he took out a unit I was really, really counting on.
Worse, he is whittling down my second block, too. They are already down almost a quarter of their strength and they are two turns from combat yet...so they will face another round of that horrific volley fire, but with 16% less chance to save....they might die all in one go!
On the bright side I still have Deathnarok and my Gorbad-led Boar Boys, and they can do some damage...but I have seen Deathnarok struggle with some wimpy units and was not wanting to run the Boar boys in because that would take them out of the battle for another turn or two and frankly, the infantry block that is left is probably too weak to take out even the weak-fighting horde. I am in danger of getting blown off the field, my best chance of stopping the Casket is gone...I actually think I am way, way behind here.
I am already down nearly a third of my army and have done like 12 points to him. Hmm.
Orc & Goblin Turn 2
I pass to restrain my Frenzy, charge with the Deathnarok. The Mangler falls 1" short of his unit of Horse archers. Garr. I do set up the Boar Boys to flank this 20 man block or, if Deathnarok does what I think he will, flank the big block next turn and start ripping a hole in him.
The Doom Diver actually splashes down dead center in his big block and kills 5 of them. This is awesome...though in truth probably the wrong target. I am intimidated by the T10 of the Casket, but should probably be targeting it anyway.
Deathnarok has 8 attacks needing 3s to hit and 2s to kill. He can only do in 3 of them. They do nothing back. The crew, with 8 attacks needing 4 to hit and 4 to wound...does 3. Then I roll the highest Thunderstomp I have ever rolled, 4...and promptly only wound with 2. Still, another something like 8 guys melt, he is down to just 4 guys left and I think Deathnarok will take them out in his turn.
Where we stand
His horse archers will continue to be a minor nuisance, doing not enough to be devastating but certainly enough to hurt. I figure to lose a couple models either way from 10 more of the Savage Orc infantry which will reduce them pretty much below any effectiveness, even against wimpy Skeleton archers.
But Deathnarok should clear the way to hit his flank and my Boar Boys are going to lay the wood to him next turn.The question is if they can take out the entire block. I do not know. The game kind of hangs in the balance. And not a good balance...I think it is tilted slightly in his favor but not anything that can be overcome.
Tomb King Turn 3
He rolls on his Knights and they "hit" right where he wanted them, in front of his catapult ready to flank my Boar Boys if they flank his archers.The Hierophant leaves the unit anyway for safety.
He only gets 5 pd so again tosses them all at the casket, and again it is irresistible but I pass both LD tests.
This is the turn one catapult explodes, the other hits for the only time in the game but fails to wound.
His other shooting is more effective; he wounds 10 Savage Orcs, I ward save 2. His horses kill another.
In close combat the Deathnarok unsurprisingly slays his last 4 archers in the small unit and reforms to look the big block of archers right in the flank.
Where we stand
Ouch, ouch, ouch. His Knights are a real threat if they hit me in the flank. I will have to charge them with either the Arachnarok or the Boar Boys. Meanwhile, the other one will have to charge his archers because, even if I charge with Deathnarok and fluff my attacks, I have to stop their shooting.
My original 40 Savage Orcs (in two blocks) have been whittled down to 8 by 3 rounds of shooting. I cannot take any more of that. If I do not do something about the archers I am done for anyway.
On the other hand, if Deathnarok actually goes all Deathnarok on his big unit I will do lots of damage, stop them from shooting, and with only 3 or 4 attacking back, have an excellent chance of either winning the combat outright or at worst losing by very little; by hitting in the flank and minimizing the attacks back, some of his 3 or 4 point static resolution will be mitigated, and I think I can do 5 or 6 wounds.
Orc and Goblin Turn 3
I send Deathnarok after the flank, specifically because his Thunderstomp will help against them but be pointless against the Knights. I send Gorbad and his Boar Boys after the Knights, hoping Morgor the Mangler can do some damage.
I also take a low risk, high reward chance with the few remaining Savage orc infantry and declare a charge on the front of the unit. I need I think a 10 to reach; if I fail, no big deal as with any luck his big block will be engaged anyway with Deathnarok. If I make it, I avoid the nuisance shots of the horse archers and add, if not what it once was, at least some serious combat ability to the Deathnarok.
Meanwhile, the Mangler finally hits the horse archers and one of his 2 blocks of 5 melts away to nothing. For the rest of the game the Mangler will roam around the backfield missing obstacles by an inch every turn. Random dice for the win.
The Savage Orcs roll 11 and make it into combat. The Doom Diver hits the casket and actually manages to wound it!
I choose to do the wrong combat first; Gorbad and company. His unit champ declares a challenge. I want Gorbad to maximize his multiple wound ability so take it with my champ. He hits just once, but it is a killing blow...which I then Ward save. I see your 6 and match it with my own. But then his snake kills my champ anyway.
Gorbad can only hit twice, but manages to do 2 wounds with each for a total of 4. Gorbad saves a wound and pick up the dice. Needing a 4 to hit, I have 16 attacks; I know I am going to melt his last 2 wounds on the regular guy which will crumble the champ.
Unfortunately, there are only 2 dice in that 16 that manage to hit. At least one of those wounds. None of the Boars does anything. He still crumbles, but wow was that fluffed attack a gut punch. On the bright side, because he crumbled I cannot overrun and instead combat reform to face the big block.
Khalida declares a challenge, my unit champ accepts; she hits 5 times, wounds 5 times, I save zero. This is the most overkill I have ever suffered...and I am worried.
Deathnarok does his customary 3 kills, then the Orcs show they are still a force to be reckoned with; the 7 remaining guys do 9 more. The goblins atop Deathnarok continue to show they are as good at he is at killing dead things, doing three more.
He then kills 2 of the Savage Orcs, I do 4 more with Thunderstomp...best game I have ever had with it....win by 10 and his unit is much less intimidating now.
Where we stand
What a difference a round of combat makes. This game is all but over. Next turn my Savage Orc Boar Boys are going to thunder into the rear of his archers. They cannot stand up to my infantry, Deathnarok and the Boar Boys. Other than that unit, he has a pointless catapult, the Casket,, and a Hierophant. I have this game in the bag.
For all the whittling down he did with shooting, he is done in by having no close combat troops that can stand up to my infantry, much less my cavalry or Deathnarok.
Tomb King 4
His Horse archers try to charge the rear of my infantry. A bold move, and a worthy attempt, though they need a 12 to make it. It is a low risk, high reward gamble; if it succeeds, he adds +2 to his combat resolution and possibly more if any attacks are successful. I already have soft targets, so it adds nothing to my combat resolution.
Meanwhile, if he fails, he had nothing else to do with them anyway...maybe shoot at the Mangler, but it is likely to kill itself running into an obstacle anyway, so why not take the longshot gamble that might have a positive outcome? It fails, but was a brilliant move. No downside.
Ironically, he maxes out power dice this turn. I cannot stop him giving killing blow to the big unit. I can...and do...stop righteous smiting....and cannot stop the Casket which then kills my Doom Diver.
Khalida hits her cutomary 5 times, but can only kill 1. Deathnarok does...wait for it...3. His skeletons then kill the last 4 infantry, but my goblins do...you probably already know. 3. Thunderstomp returns to normal and does just 1. He reforms to face the Deathnarok.
Where We stand
His once mighty unit of archers now has Khalida, some other character, and like 5 guys. I am about to smash into them with my mighty unit of Boar Boys which wiped out his Knights in one go for the loss of their champion, and Deathnarok will do some damage.
I have lost both units of infantry, two heroes, and my Doom Diver...but I think I have this in hand.
Orc & Goblin 4
Sure enough, in go the Boar Boys; Khalida declares a challenge which Gorbad has to take; she has killing blow so I am nervous. Fortunately, my ASF cancels out hers so no re-rolls...and she whiffs 4 of 5 attacks, can cannot wound with the 5th. I only can hit once in 4 tries myself, but that one wounds...and multiplies to 3. Down goes Khalida!
The Curse does 2 wounds, both of which I save. I wipe out the rest of his unit.
At this point I do not think he has anything left that can hurt me.
And indeed the only thing of not that happens is I cannot stop the casket on the next turn, roll a 17 for my LD test on the Deathnarok which would instakill it...fortunately, Gorbad is only 17" away...so his 18" LD bubble lets me reroll and I pass. Next turn I charge the casket and wipe it out.
What Went Right
10 Savage Orc Boar Boys with Gorbad leading them lay out a serious number of high strength, decent WS attacks.
Deathnarok is lethal against infantry; consider this; he should have been doing 4.42 wounds per turn, the goblins should have done 2, and the Thunderstomp should have been doing 2.9 per turn. So I should have done 9.33 wounds per turn with that model; I did 29 in 4 rounds of combat for a total of 7.25 wounds per turn....meaning Deathnarok actually UNDERPERFORMED in this game, and he was still possibly my MVP. He is AWESOME.
Passing every Animosity test, every LD test and Gorbad just being well worth the points for giving me Big Uns to do massive damage.
And while my dice were at times just awful (I point to hitting 2 times in 16 attempts when odds were I would hit 8 times, give or take one or two), they were awesome when I needed them to be. Timing is more important than consistency; in fact, on the aforementioned turn, I still wiped out his knights, largely due to Gorbad alone. So the poor dice did not hurt me there.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Where to start? Mangler Squig falling nearly 4" short of expected movement on the first turn, costing me several extra casualties from his horse archers.
Not being able to stop Righteous Smiting or the Casket. Not being able to withstand the shooting and seeing both infantry blocks die relatively fast and easy. I am still in shock over that...it was quite unexpected.
Having two heroes shot to death in a turn I thought they were safe. But that was my own fault; spending thirty seconds looking at the rule book means I would have had them in the second unit and "safe" for another turn.
In the end it was a pretty close run thing. Early on it seemed his lethal shooting would be a difference maker; in the end, he desperately needed some decent close combat troops to consolidate what would have been a victory. Unfortunately, the Tomb Kings book has none of those to offer.
I guess he COULD have sacrificed the catapults and smaller shooting block to put in...I don't know, the over priced Ushabti? A Necrosphinx or Warsphinx, which probably cost as much as the Deathnarok without being as valuable? His version of a giant?
I assume you see my point He really had no good options. Maybe a chariot unit hoping to impact hit away some orcs?
His best combat unit went head to head with my best combat unit. He did one casualty; I did (between actually casualties and crumble casualties) 9. And that is arguably the BEST unit in his army.
Khalida probably means no tomb prince or king (whoever has the "my will be done" rule), but without bumping up S, that only prevents a couple casualties and does not swing the outcome.
This is me being sad about the Tomb King book. It has the potential to be really cool; it ends up sucking very badly. Unnecessarily.
Meanwhile, the Orc book is pretty cool. I can do so many different builds; strong infantry, strong cavalry, strong monster, massed but ineffective shooting, fanatics bolstered by squigs of various sorts, and mixtures of those.
The Empire book is also varied and intriguing. I love the new Warriors of Chaos book. The OGre Kingdoms book is generally acknowledged as slightly stronger than most but generally solid. Same with Vampire Counts.
But the Tomb Kings? Their best units are chaff, their worst units worthless...so disappointing.
Still, thanks Fixed Dice for an entertaining game. Beware the Beastmen.
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