Categories

News page
Tactics page
Orcs & Goblins Tactics page
Ogre Kingdoms Tactics page
Calculations page
Combat Calculations page
Rules page
Orcs & Goblins Rules page
Ogre Kingdoms Rules page
Gaming page
Scenario page
Campaign page
Gallery page
Fiction page
Mini-Games page
Construction page
Other stuff page

 

Random page

Greenskin Spirituality

Misc. Big Stuff

by Avian

In this little article I have gathered together those races of big creatures that don't have enough different types of units and characters to warrant a page for themselves. For the sake of convenience they have been divided into big infantry, small monsters and large monsters. Happily, these critters have enough in common to prevent this page from being a random mish-mash of models with nothing in common. Common properties of these is their almost exclusive reliance on kills to generate any kind of combat result, the exeption being the odd outnumbering and a flank or rear charge now and then (not for small monsters, though, lacking as they are of the neccesary unit strength). Other common attributes is rather high characteristics values (the exception being Initiative) and a rather high points cost per Wound.
As this category of creatures includes models from many different army lists, it will probably never be quite finished.

A note on Chaos critters: Some of the units and characters mentioned here appear in both the Warriors of Chaos and the Beasts of Chaos army books. I only deal with their incarnations in the Warriors book since that is the most recent and at the time of writing the Beasts book is not too far away, and I'm too lazy to bother writing anything based on something that might soon be outdated.
Note also that although they no longer use the term Chaos Trolls for Trolls in the Warriors of Chaos book, or Chaos Giants, I have kept the old terms to differentiate them from critters in other army books.

 

Contents

Big stuff special rules and abilities

Big infantry

Small monsters

Large monsters

 

Big stuff special rules and abilities

All right, so there isn't really any special rules and abilities that all big things have in common, but here are at least a few of the more ... uh ... common ones.

 

Cause Fear

Almost all the big stuff causes Fear (or better), the effectiveness of which depends on what army you are facing. The positive effects of Fear is that if you charge something they have to take a Fear test or they will only hit you on 6s for the first round of combat if you don't outnumber them (usually you don't). This is not really a great advantage, because most things that can threaten big stuff will either be immune to Fear or have so good Leadership that they tend to not fail their tests. Added to that, you really wish to kill everything in base contact, giving the enemy no return attacks at all. For those small units you do outnumber, though, having them flee might not be all that great, since you would proably beat them in combat anyway and you will often have a greater chance of running things down as they break than when they flee from a charge.
The second advantage is that enemies wishin to charge you will need to take a Fear test. Personally I find this to be most useful against enemies with decent Leadership, since armies with low Leadership can often send two or more units your way to make up for the odd failed Fear test and in any case are often a lot less scary in close combat. Thus it is far better if one unit of Empire Greatswords fail the test than when two units of Night Goblins do the same.
The third advantage is that if you outnumber someone you beat in close combat and they are not immune to Fear, they will run unless they roll a double 1 for their Break test. Of course, if any of those three are not true, nothing special happens, which is more often than not, at least for me. If you want to take advantage of this rule, go for small units, such as war machine crew.
Personally I advise you not to rely on Fear, but treat it as a nice advantage when it goes your way.

 

Cause Terror

All large monsters cause Terror, which is a better version of Fear. Most importantly, any unit that fails a Terror test will flee, which can be a huge advantage, especially if you can now run them down where you would otherwise have struggled to win the combat. This also highlights the great risk with Terror - you should not rely on a failed Terror test when you are using such expensive models as large monsters invariably are. After all, most units will pass a Terror test more often than they fail them, and those who do not are often not worth sending large monsters after in the first place.
The second advantage of Terror is that anyone within 6" of you at the start of the turn have to take a Terror test, unless they are engaged in close combat or immune for some reason. This can be a huge advantage, since those units that fail will not normally be able to rally for a whole game turn and will then be out of position. Again this is nothing you should rely on, but it's great when it goes your way. As with Fear, Terror is often more useful against armies with decent Leadership.
It is worth noting that models that cause Fear but who aren't immune to Psychology are often fairly vulnerable to Terror, since they have to take Fear tests to charge Terror causers, or to avoid only hitting on 6s if charged by them. And if they lose combats and are outnumbered, they automatically break unless you roll Insane Courage. Quite a few times I have lost big nasties to even bigger nasties because of Terror, which is why I like the Mark of Slaanesh on my Chaos Ogres.

 

Large target

This rule has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side you can see over other troops, but on the negative side you can be seen over other troops as well. Given that you only have a 90 degree line of sight while some enemy units - war machines in particular - have a 360 degree line of sight, this will often be a bad thing. Enemy units also receive a +1 to hit modifier if they shoot at you using their BS, but apart from bolt throwers those types of units are often not very scary, so it's not that much of a problem. The tactical advantage of being a Large target is that you can ignore enemy units in your way and charge something behind them instead, though the usefullness of this is greatly reduced if you cannot fly. Being a flying Large target is good, being a walking Large target is not.

 

Big infantry

Now that it has been officially established that you can get infantry on 40 mm bases, it has certainly made things more clear and it should be apparent that units such as Trolls and Ogres are not monsters, despite being big, scary and a bit monstrous. Big infantry may be techically infantry, but in many ways they are more similar to cavalry, in that they are quite fast and a wide formation in only one line is nearly always better than paying heaps of points to get a rank bonus (especially in 7th edition when ranks have to be 5 wide to count). They tend to win combats by kills, though they are occasionally known to get outnumbering.
Optimal unit size is either three of four, depending on the intended victim - units of three tend to be too few to decisively defeat units with a full rank bonus, standard and outnumbering while being sometimes enough to beat units without these things. It is a matter of maths - even with 3 attacks per model (a total of 9) hitting on 3+ and wounding on 2+ with no armour save, you are only looking at 5 wounds on average and then losing because the enemy has a musician while you do not. Of course, big infantry with 4 attacks per model are looking at a couple of more kills per unit and so three models might be enough.

 

Dragon Ogres

Marginally cheaper than their previous incarnation and now benefiting from a re-roll of Panic tests due to The Will of Chaos, Dragon Ogres are very expensive models, but quite effective for their cost. They can get Strength 7, which is hard to do for something which isn't a character, and which makes them very nice against heavy cavalry units and quite tough characters. Against weaker units they are less effective than Chaos Knights, a unit they otherwise resemble closely.
Another comparable unit is Chaos Ogres, who can get command options and Marks, but who have inferior stats compared to the Dragon Ogres, though if you adjust for points cost, the two are surprisingly equal. You tend to get the same number of wounds for your points, for example, even though Dragon Ogres have 1 more than Ogres do. Comparing units costing roughly the same, the greatest advantage the Dragon Ogres have is their Movement of 7, which the Chaos Ogres can't compete with. The Chaos Ogres can beat Dragon Ogres on damage done if you give them the Mark of Khorne, but that comes with its own disadvantages.
The only real downside to Dragon Ogres is their relative low number of Attacks for the points. A 231 pt unit of 3 has only 9 Attacks in total, which makes them a bit vulnerable to the luck of the dice, especially since they can't get standards or musicians. Storm Rage could be a bit annoying, but you don't run into lightning attacks very often, and you will always know about it so you can prepare. It is also worth noting that while they aren't affected by Fear and are fairly resilient to Panic, they are still somewhat vulnerable to Terror.
As mentioned, prime targets for Dragon Ogres are enemy knights, especially those units that aren't immune to Fear, since they can be outnumbered and autobroken. Knights charge as fast as the Dragon Ogres do, however, which means that unless you have weakened the enemy knights first, you are probably going to need the help of support units to get into a position where you can charge instead of being charged. Against large infantry units you need a decent amount of luck to get even, let alone win the combat, so they should generally be left to other Chaos units with weaker but more plentiful attacks.
Great weapons: I don't think I have ever run into anyone who didn't want great weapons on their Dragon Ogres. You can get Strength 5 (or 6) attacks with a dozen other units in the army, but Strength 7 is very hard to get. Against S7, even 1+ save Knights get 5+ armour saves at best. Since you can easily get two Dragon Ogres in contact with a single model, you have a good chance of killing an enemy Hero, even if they have quite good saves. And of course they absolutely destroy chariots, due to that silly rule they have.
Additonal hand weapons: Considering that they are only slightly cheaper than great weapons and that Dragon Ogres are likely to strike last anyway with only Initiative 2, there is very little reason to go for this option. Strength 5 attacks can be gotten much cheaper on other units.
Command options: Dragon Ogres can only get a champion, which actually takes away some of their advantages. Against any kind of character, for example, Dragon Ogres with a champion are at a disadvantage compared to units without one. The most extreme example is an Empire Arch-Lector on a War Altar with Van Horstman's Speculum. Without a champion, all Dragon Ogres in the unit can concentrate on smashing the War Altar and the jumped-up priest; with a champion, only he will be able to fight and he will have his stats swapped with the Arch-Lector.

 

Trolls

In this edition you again have the option of taking as few as a single Troll in a unit and I for one would heartily recommend that option. See the Small Monsters Tactica for the use of single Trolls as small monsters.
Trolls are otherwise decent large infantry now that they got a poins break. They do suffer from a lack of Weapon Skill and Attacks and tend to do better as support units than as combat units on their own. Including a mounted (preferably Orc) character in a unit of Trolls is not such a bad idea if you have the points and character choice to spare (though the problem is that you often do not). If you do not include a mounted Big Boss to lead your Trolls they must be kept within 12" of the General or they have a 5/6th chance of going Stupid. Remember than in units of less than 5 Trolls, he will not get a Look Out, Sir! roll if hit by a template weapon.
The main benefit of Trolls is their rather low base cost and Regeneration, which effectively doubles their Wounds. Their downside is the horrible Leadership and Stupidity, though happily their Leadership is irrelevant with the General nearby and with a Warboss to help them out they have no greater chance of going Stupid than normal greenskin units have of Squabbling, which is acceptable.
Vomit is statistically equal in effect to attacking normally against models with a 3+ armour save and better than normal attacks against better armour saves. Should you somehow be limited to hitting on 5+, then throwing up is always equally good or better than attacking normally (it is better against models with 4+ saves or better).
$ Trolls used on their own should be fielded in units of four if you intend to use them against ranked units (see above). Trolls used as support for other units should be fielded as single models or in pairs. As a single model they gain all the benefits of small monsters while in pairs they have the ability to negate rank bonuses with flank charges. If you have the Rare choices to spare, then I suggest you go for single Trolls - you get to take two Stupidity tests rather than just one and not causing Panic in anything else is, I believe, better than the possibility of devastating flank charges, which are easier said than achieved.
Stone Trolls: Horribly expensive. What used to be a 5 pt upgrade now costs 20 pts, with the only difference being a near-useless 5+ armour save. A single Stone Troll has a limited use as a generator of Dispel Dice when facing Tomb King armies with the Casket of Souls, but otherwise you should avoid Stone Trolls at all cost.
River Trolls: As with the Stone Troll upgrade, this one went from 10 pts per model to 20 pts, though this time for no benefit at all. Idiotic, even if in this case the benefit is proportional to the number of models in the unit.

 

Chaos Trolls

Trolls in the Warriors of Chaos army have some problems compared to other Trolls. They are slightly more expensive and can only be bought in units of three or more, which means you can't field the highly useful and flexible single Troll unit I am so fond of from my greenskin army. There is also the downside that while greenskin armies tend to have generals with Leadership 9 as default, Warrior armies are more likely to have one with only Leadership 8, because the ones with better Ld are so expensive.
That being said, Chaos Trolls have a couple of advantages, the most obvious being that if you save two or more Wounds with Regeneration in the same phase, you get a roll on the Eye of the Gods table, which can give you all kinds of advantages. Sadly my own Chaos Trolls have a tendency of getting 'The Eye is Closed' (no effect) - I guess the chaos gods don't care much for lowly Trolls. The also get to re-roll failed Panic tests thanks to their The Will of Chaos rule. If they are using their own Leadership then the chances of passing are still laughably bad, but if they are in range of the army general (which all good Trolls should be), then you are unlikely to be bothered with Panic.
Chaos Trolls also take up a Special choice rather than the Rare choice they take up in a greenskin army, but it depends on what type of army you like to field if this is an advantage or a disadvantage (if you take Throgg they are Core, which is a clear advantage).
As with all kinds of Trolls, units of 4 tend to be significantly better than 3 if you have the spare points, and that also gives you more chance to acccumulate mutations. Though of course if you run a Ld8 general it is also a bigger risk. Being slower than Knights and Dragon Ogres, I tend to run my Trolls a bit behind the first line, where they hang around with the Warriors. Chaos Trolls also benefit from being deployed close to the Warhounds, who also like to have the general nearby to help them with Leadership issues. To avoid giving your opponent hints about the placement of your general before you need to, it is best to deploy Trolls fairly late. And as with other Trolls, you shouldn't deploy anything else directly in front of them, since being blundered into by a stupid unit prevents you from moving that turn also.

 

Yhetees

This is a classic example of a unit that seems okay at first glance before you realise that the designers have seen fit to heap on a whole host of disadvantages, in this case caused by defining them as not proper Ogres. This in turn gives them the following disadvantages: No Ogre clubs, no Bull charge, they can't be boosted by Gut Magic and they can't be joined by Ogre characters. In addition they cannot take a Standard to get that rather cheap +1 CR, or a musician.
Compare a unit of three Yhetees with the same amount of points spent on Bulls (you get a unit of four, with additional hand weapons, standard and musician) and you realise that you pay a lot for their special movement rules. Now, in an army with very few units that are faster than Movement 6, the designers have apparently thought that the ability to move at M7 through nearly all terrain is worth a lot. But that is not always so. Yhetees aren't that much faster than Bulls, the Scale terrain ability is only useful with a decent amount of terrain on the table and 3D6 rather than 2D6 for pursuit rolls is only useful if you actually win the combat, something Yhetees tend to struggle with, being not particularly better in combat than Bulls with additional hand weapons (and you get more Bulls for the same points). This is caused by Yhetees having a rather low Weapon skill and Attacks (for big infantry), at least compared to how much they cost. Four Attacks per model would have made them much more useful.
To get anything like good value out of Yhetees, you must do your outmost to benefit from their special rules. Use them to carve up Spirit Hosts and Daemons with their magical attacks, jump from terrain piece to terrain piece (make sure you can see out of it if you want to be able to charge) and pick on small, fragile units, preferably with WS2. War machines make good targets, but make sure they don't take much missile fire when getting there, because these guys have absolutely no protection, are prone to failing Panic tests and cost a whole lot of points.
When going after anything like a decent unit, make sure you have four Yhetees and buy a Greyback. They might end up costing a horrible amount of points, but if you don't beef them up sufficiently they'll just lose the combat and that does you absolutely no good.
Command options: Horrible expensive as the champion option may be, it's not actually a bad buy (or, rather, if you don't mind a Yhetee costing 65 pts there is no reason to complain about 20 pts for a champion) and as mentioned, Yhetees need all the help they can get to win a combat.

 

Small monsters

Not having sufficient unit strength to remove enemy ranks, small monsters will generally only win combats against small support units. With a small base size and generally decent Movement, they are manoeuverable and can be more easily hidden than larger monsters. Small monsters are support units, either there to take out other support units or to disrupt larger enemy units.
See also my Small Monsters Tactica.

 

Chaos Spawn

The basic Spawn got a little cheaper in this edition and together with the removal of the lapping around rule means that they are better against weak enemy units, who will be help up much longer than before. Annoyingly, quite a few units have gotten better at fighting lately, which means that they get fewer chances to shine.
Spawn are an annoyance unit - you get another cheap unit to deploy, you can use it to bog down weak units or divert stronger units. And they are only Unit Strength 3, so nobody needs to take Panic tests if they die (this can be a problem with Warhounds).
It should come as no surprise that their random movement can be a problem, especially since the average move is a bit on the low side (there's a reason why 90% of Spawn in 6th edition had the Mark of Slaanesh for that extra D6 movement). On the bright side, your opponent won't know how far they move either, and will have to take into account that it isn't too unlikely that they will move 9" or thereabout even if the average is 7.
One little trick with Spawn when you don't want them wobbling too far forward is to aim them at a nearby friendly unit. There is no downside if you hit it, and you can reduce how far they go if that would be an advantage.
Marks: They have rebalanced the Marks in the new book, which is a good thing since you only ever saw the Mark of Slaanesh on Spawn last edition, but sadly they ended up making all Marks about equally overpriced. I personally don't think any Mark is worth it compared to the 55-point generic Spawn.

 

Gigantic Spider

I have an old model of a Forest Goblin Big Boss on a Gigantic Spider that I made during 5th edition which I can now use again (Gigantic Spiders were in the Ravening Hordes list for 6th edition but not in the army book). Disappointingly, it was now much less resilient (one less Wound and losing its 4+ armour save) and didn't cause Fear. The latter was particularly annoying, because I was planning on having a Goblin Warboss on a Gigantic Spider lead my main block of gobb infantry and making it immune to Fear. What it did get in this edition was two more points of Movement, which basically makes riding around with Spider Riders the preferred activity of a git on a Gigantic Spider. While this might not be such a bad idea on a table with a decent amount of terrain, on a more open table a fast-moving unit of Wolf Riders with a Big Boss on a wolf would be more useful with their higher Movement, better armour and ability to get a rank bonus. As with the Great Cave Squig, the ability to cause Fear would have been a great benefit, as would the possibility of having more gobbo Big Bosses in the army.

 

Gorger

A Gorger is best employed for one of two things: either to chew its way through war machine crew or to charge a unit to hold it up almost indefinitely. They can perform in either role and become better at the second due to the removal of lapping around with the 7th edition rules. Obviously, two Gorgers are a lot more reliable than just one, if you are willing to spend multiple Rare slots on them. Favourite targets for Gorgers are stone thrower type war machines who will rarely be able to target him, let alone hit, and missile troops that cannot move and fire, such as handgunners and crossbowmen.
If used to hunt war machines, make sure the Gorger is not exposed to too much missile fire on the turn it shows up. As luck would have it, the Gorger has 4 Wounds, so a single shot from a bolt thrower or a regular cannon will not kill it. If your opponent has placed his war machines to provide mutual support, try to make sure that they block each other's line of sight to the Gorger (the opponent cannot fire through his own war machines) and munch your way through them. Against war machines with three or less crew, the Gorger will nearly always win the combat even if he only kills one crewman and will then automatically break the remaining crew (disregarding Insane courage). This is a good thing, because the Gorger will typically only manage one to two kills per turn.
If you want to hold up larger units then go for ones who are not too nasty in close combat and the Gorger will not be at much risk. The objective is to stop the enemy unit from moving or firing, either indefinitely or until you can send in another Ogre unit as reinforcements. In this case the Gorger is unlikely to win, unless facing missile units in only one rank, but his high Toughness should keep him reasonably safe.
It seems that often people don't really understand the Ravenous rule and move their Gorgers full speed towards the nearest target, ending up facing them. This isn't actually neccesary and unless you have something within charge range you need only move a tiny fraction of an inch and can end up showing the enemy your rear, if you want to. It is also worth nothing that even if you start your turn within, say, 6" of the closest enemy unit (which we shall call A), you don't need to end the Gorger's move closer than 6" to unit A, all you need to do is to end your move closer than 6" to any enemy unit. So if unit A is a single character you will never be able to catch, why not step witin 6" of a war machine, for example.

 

Great Cave Squig

People often ask if this is a worthwhile choice and my view is that it isn't. Even a Night Goblin Big Boss on a Squig tends to be quite expensive considering how hard-hitting he is and how easy he is to kill. On the bright side, he is fun to use, such as when you roll up Hatred and Frenzy for Guzzla's Battle Brew and you get to throw him into combat with an unsuspecting unit using the Hand of Gork (I am speaking from experience here). On the whole, though, I would like to see the Great Cave Squig become a bit cheaper and cause Fear, which would help a bit with its survivability. Part of the problem is also that gobbo Big Bosses are now more limited than in 6th edition; if all-gobbo armies could still get extra Big Bosses I am sure that we'd see fun options such as this one more often.
One thing that isn't such a big problem with him is being explicitly forbidden from joining any units (no, he cannot even join Squig Hoppers, in case you were wondering). Having him run along next to a unit of Squig Hoppers would mostly be a better idea anyway as the unit can block lines of fire to him and you can hop him into contact with the unit to control his move to a degree (as he cannot move through them). Two rolls for Boiiing! also gives more predictability as you are not hinging on a single dice roll, and if you beat a unit in combat you can make two pursuit rolls instead of just one, giving you a better chance of running down the enemy.
Teaming him up with Squig Hoppers is also a good idea because they are used in much the same way - if you have figured out how to use Hoppers, you will know how to use a Big Boss on Squig.

 

Large monsters

This category covers all monsters who are Large targets and cause Terror. They can be very expensive and take up Rare slots in the army list.
One of the main advantages of large monsters is that they cram a quite a bit of fighting power into a relatively narrow frontage. Being much smaller than most other units makes them both quite manoeuverable and good for supporting other units in combat. This is important because while a large monster might do well against enemy units by themselves (particularly if you manage to flank or rear charge something) they are not that great at killing things and few can hope to cause more than 3 or 4 Wounds per turn in damage. This in itself often makes them unpopular with players, who feel that they can get far more out of the same amount of points spent on troops.
The greatest enemy of large monsters will often be war machines and thanks to being Large targets it can be quite difficult to hide from them. Thus it is often neccesary to hug cover while advancing and making enemy war machines a high priority target for other units in your army.

 

Chaos Dragon

The second-most expensive type of Dragon (High Elf Star Dragons cost 10 pts more for +1 WS, S, W, lacking the weaker breath weapon but the S4 one can cause Panic with just one casualty - a very good deal), Chaos Dragons compete with the much more affordable and much more squishy Manticore. I guess they would have been used more often, despite the high cost, if there has been a recent model available in stores. You could try to get your hands on the old Engrimm van Horstman model, or convert the plastic High Elf Dragon, but personally I'm waiting to see if we get a new model of our own until I buy a Chaos Dragon.
With the increased resilience of Dragons compared to the slightly smaller big nasties (Wyverns, Griffons, Manticores, etc.), you can ignore enemy shooting or zapping to a much greater degree. Dragons (and their riders) tend to be so tough, that for a lot of armies out there, their best tactic is to feed them several expendable (or a single rather less expendable) units to distract it while their other units beat up the rest of your army. There are a couple of ways to avoid this - either field a Dragon rider only at higher points values where you can afford more other stuff, or take more care when you charge in so that you don't get bogged down and don't end up having to do several other turns of manoeuvering afterwards to get more stuff to splat. Having two breath weapons certainly help by giving you something to do in the turns you don't charge, but shouldn't be seen as the main reason to take a Dragon and you shouldn't let good targets for flaming be the main decider in where you position it. A Dragon only has a 90 degree line of sight, and by placing it close enough to a unit in order to hit it with a breath weapon (around 5" away) you might end up severely limiting the number of enemy units you can see.

 

Giant

Good all-round monster if you can keep him from getting shot on the way in and he doesn't face anything too scary in close combat. They are notoriously unreliable, and if you don't like that you probably won't want a Giant in your army. One little trick here, to use when charging the Giant in along with other units is to roll for the Giant's special attacks after you have resolved the other models' attacks. That way, if the Giant decides to Yell and Brawl, you don't lose the attacks of friendly models in base contact with him. Other than that, you can remedy their unreliability somewhat by not letting them charge in alone and chariots in particular make good companions to Giants. While it is certainly possible for a Giant to win combat against decent enemy units, it is unlikely to win by very much.
Being Stubborn and having a very high Leadership makes Giants very likely to hang around even if they lose the combat, especially if you have a Battle Standard nearby. As with small monsters, Giants also benefit from the removal of lapping around, meaning that even if they don't win combat one turn, they are not neccesarily any worse off next turn.
With my greenskins, I have on occasion fielded two Giants along with a Warboss on Wyvern. Normally greenies don't do too well if the general is flying around on the other side of the battlefield, but by using Giants as moving bastions which the Boyz on foot can gather around. The big nasties can hold up stuff the things your infantry aren't well equipped to deal with, the infantry can push forward putting pressure on the enemy centre, while the Wyvern swoops around the flanks before smashing into the enemy units in combat with your other units.

 

Chaos Giant

20 points more than a normal Giant gets you a better version of the 'Eadbutt special attack, which is highly useful. While Chomp doesn't stop the victim from attacking, the way 'Eadbutt does, it does D3 damage instead of just 1 and lets you heal that many wounds to yourself, which is very handy since despite a Toughness of 5, Giants eventually go down to weight of fire.
As a downside, Chaos Giants are Immune to Psychology, which may sound positive, but considering that they are Leadership 10 and cause Terror to begin with, the only thing they were even mildly vulnerable to was Panic, and just having The Will of Chaos would have been a lot more useful. As it is, Immune to Psychology basically just means that you can't choose to flee from a charge, which can be useful now and again, especially since people don't often expect Giants to do that.
Marks: Giants are one of those cases where just about all the Marks are decent value for the points, it being more a question of whether or not you think that Giants at all are useful. However, the one that stands out is the Mark of Slaanesh. Getting Always Strikes First on a Giant is a huge advantage, not because you'd not normally get to strike back, but because it limits the damage your big nasty takes (and as mentioned, Giants are by no means indestructible).

 

Slavegiant

Losing Stubborn and swapping Thump with Club for the near-useless Throttle with Chain (big creatures habitually have a Toughness twice as high as their Initiative) for a 30 pt discount is not a good deal. The Slavegiant should stay away from anything bigger than cavalry if at all possible and really needs a Battle Standard nearby in case he ends up doing something silly (like picking up the champion of an infantry regiment) and losing combat by a lot. More than with a normal Giant, you must find the randomness of a Slavegiant amusing in order to take one.

 

Manticore

The smaller cousin of the Dragon in both the Dark Elf and Warriors of Chaos armies, the Manticore doesn't fare well against especially tough foes, having only 4 attacks, WS5 and S5. It can chop up weaker enemies, however, especially if it goes Frenzied. And if the rider is nasty enough, the differences between the mounts might not matter all that much. After all, the Manticore can fly, causes Terror and (while the rider is alive) has enough Unit Strength to negate enemy rank bonuses if you charge them in the flank or rear. And it costs 160 pts less than a Chaos Dragon and doesn't take up an additonal Hero choice. While a Dragon might be much more destructive, below 3,000 pts it leaves little room for anything else, especially since the rider is likely to be on the expensive side himself.
One other downside to the Manticore is that with 2 wounds less than a Dragon, 1 less Toughness and no kind of save, it dies a whole lot quicker and needs to worry about even quite weak missile attacks a Dragon can just ignore.
There is also the whole risk of getting Frenzy, but with a little planning that's not a biggie - move up on the flanks of the enemy army, giving you a wide range of targets (being a Large Target helps) and if you have to charge something you should be able to find something worthwhile. This should also give you a chance to avoid a lot of missile fire.

 

Shaggoth

In the Beasts of Chaos test list from UK WD 275, the Shaggoth (called a Dragon Ogre Drake) was almost universally complained about for being horribly powerful for it's cost. For once, players' complaints were actually listened to, and the version that ended up in the army book was toned down to the level of disappointment and then some. What we now have in the Warriors of Chaos book is almost as good as the original incarnation, except that you can't get the ridiculously good armour save (they started with 4+ scaly skin and could get heavy armour for 6 pts and/or a shield for 3 pts). Amusingly, it is not now reckoned to be terribly good.
Compared to a Giant, you always know what the Shaggoth is going to do - it's not going to try and Yell And Bawl against a Steam Tank, for example, or trip over and fall on the enemy unit instead of attacking. The downside is that the damage potential is a lot less - against a fully ranked unit he's not going to win and doesn't have Stubborn on a Ld of 10 to help him out until you can send in another unit in support. What they can do is reasonably reliably kill cavalry with very good armour saves, something the Giant can have some problems with.
Another advantage I feel does not get enough attention is the increased Movement of 7, which makes him slightly quicker flat out, but more significantly means you have a much greater chance of running down enemy units. Even assuming a Giant can break enemy cavalry, he will only run them down one in four times, while the Shaggoth will do the same about one in two times.
The Shaggoth also comes with an armour save, which is worse than any previous incarnation and apart from deflecting the odd blowpipe dart from a Skink unit, Large Targets don't often get much out of a 4+ armour save. His Weapon skill of 6 is more useful in this regard, since very few opponents will hit him on anything other than a 4+, while Giants are very often hit on 3+.

 

Wyvern

Some people look at the low number of Attacks a Wyvern has and proclaim it useless. That is not the problem with the Wyvern at all; the problem with it is that it requires a Lord-level Orc to ride it, and the greenskin army is more than usually dependant on having the general hang around with the lads to give their Leadership a boost. There are basically two ways around this, the first is to use the Wyvern in battles of 3,000 pts or more, where you can have one Warboss be the general and lead the main force of your army while another Warboss rides around on a Wyvern and enjoys himself. The other is to mount a Great Shaman on a Wyvern and have an Orc Big Boss lead the army. A wizard Lord on a big flying lizard is not as bad as it might seem (more on that later) but having a general with Leadership 8 can be a bit limiting.
The best thing about a Wyvern is having a flying model with enough Unit Strength to negate rank bonuses in combat. Against a large enough unit, this can swing combat 4 points in your favour by itself (three ranks negated and a +1 bonus to you for attacking the enemy unit in the flank). With that as your starting point, it is less important that the Wyvern (and possibly also the rider, if he is a Great Shaman) is not the best fighter out there. Wyvern riders work best in combination with other fast and reasonably hard-hitting units capable of removing rank bonuses, such as a Giant or a cavalry unit. Negating rank bonuses is, as most readers of my tactics articles will know, a ploy I don't set too much store by, but it is definitely made easier when you have a large flyer. If the companion unit can do a bit of damage, it becomes even less important that the Wyvern rider cannot slaughter entire units by itself.
With other nasty units rapidly closing in on him, some of your opponent's attention should be distracted from shooting at your monster rider. This is a good thing, because Great Cannons, Screaming Skull Catapults and Organ Guns are all definite threats to your big beastie. In addition to distracting such units, you can make an effort to take them out or tie them up with other fast units. Hiding behind terrain is also recommended, while hiding behind other units (apart from Giants) will not work since the Wyvern is a large target and can be seen over other units that are not large targets. This also has its good sides since the Wyvern rider can see and charge over intervening units (provided it has room enough to land) and it is such difficult to block or divert it. Moving up on the enemy flank can in this way give you a wide variety of units to charge; if the closest enemy unit turns to face you, you can just hop over it and charge a unit further back in the flank. Charging straight across the table, on the other hand, will often leave with few units in sight after your initial charge.
Terror should never be relied upon, though occasionally it will be a great benefit. In one battle it caused a unit of Chosen Knights of Tzeentch to flee towards my line after the Wyvern had landed behind them. With no chance to rally, they were humiliatingly run down by a unit of Wolf Riders in my following turn. In some cases, Terror can even be a disadvantage, as a unit that would otherwise probably hold flees and your follow-up move ends you up in a position where you would not expect to be. Or your opponent might flee voluntarily, with the same result. Being charged in the flank, sometimes by magically-moving units, by otherwise weak units has caused the death of my mighty lizard-riding Lord almost as many times as it has been shot down by artillery.
Lastly, I will mention a little trick I personally don't consider to be very wise but which often gets mentioned when people discuss Wyvern riders, is taking advantage of the Waaagh! rule. Initially the Wyvern is placed out of sight behind a hill or other piece of terrain which barely blocks line of sight to and from enemy units. When the Waaagh! is called, the Wyvern rider moves forward enough to get a good line of sight and can charge in. Obviously this only works if the Wyvern rider is the general and/or a Black Orc. While this might work, a Waaagh! called to just benefit one model might easily cause more problems than it is worth and I would not gamble on this.

 

Other related articles

Back to the Tactics page Back to the Main page