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The Lustria - Jungle Hell Campaign

Ogre Kingdoms Army Basics

by Avian

The article is meant as a beginner's guide to using the Ogre Kingdoms army. I will list a few things you need to know and hopefully you will be on your way to mastering this rather unique army. More in-dept info on the various unit types, equipment and magic of the Ogre Kingdoms can be found in the various other articles on my Ogre Kingdoms Tactics page.

 

The good, the bad and the odd one

Ogre Kingdoms strong points

Ogre Kingdoms weak points

Ogre Kingdoms odd points

 

Strong points of the Ogre Kingdoms army

The thing that makes the ogres a good army is their good basic statline, especially their high movement and attacks. Fielding an army where the Core troops are the sort of units other armies get as Special or Rare choices is undoubtedly one of the things that draw many players to the Ogre Kingdoms. It is over all not a bad army, especially when you get a bit of experience with it, and it certainly gets a bit better in 7th edition (or, more correctly, a lot of other armies get worse while we are not much affected).

 

Good basic Movement

Everything bigger than a gnobbo in the ogre army has at least Movement 6 and a few things have more. This is faster than pretty much all other infantry and the reason why ogres (at least my ogres) tend to win against infantry-based armies. You will tend to get the charge and ogres who get the charge are usually doing very well. If you should find that you are frequently the one being charged, you may need to improve your tactics.

There are two advantages to being fast, the first being that you obviously can get from A to B quicker than other people, which is very handy when the people at B are shooting at you. In these cases you don't want to be stuck around A and instead move decisively towards B to rectify the situation. Watch out for enemy units that want to prevent you from marching, so give the people at B more time to fire. If there are non-fleeing enemies within 8" of you when you start your move, you cannot march and are reduced to moving 6", which is Dwarf speed. It is important to remember that in 7th edition if something chases away the march blockers before your unit moves, then you can march as normal. A few support units to chase away those annoying fast cavalry and skirmishers who want to slow you down are therefore very useful. Gnobbos are recommended for this purpose.

 

There are things to fear beyond fear itself

As with the movement advantage listed above, everything bigger than a gnoblar in an ogre army causes at least Fear. If you ask me, the best thing about causing Fear is not having to take Fear test to charge whimpy units such as skeletons, spawn and lesser daemons. These units have the common trait that there is little to fear about them other than their Fear special rule. Not so with ogres.

There is two ways to make use of Fear. The first is not to care about it and be thankful when the enemy fails the odd test. The other is to go for Outnumbering to (almost) auto-break enemies who are not immune to Fear, in which case you either want decently sized units of reasonably cheap Ogres, or combine several units charging at the same enemy unit (personally I recommend the latter). In any case, large units of expensive Ogres is a bit pointless since you get less out of their enhanced combat abilities and you may find that a large unit of basic Bulls is often better. Strangely enough, I have found that Fear is more useful against enemies with decent Leadership. Enemies with low Leadership will often be able to send multiple units against you in case one unit fails the test and those low-Ld units will probably be less of a threat anyway. It is after all much more useful to have High Elf Swordmasters hitting on 6s than Goblins doing the same. Thus a single Ld 9 unit that fails a test is often more useful than two Ld 6 units failing theirs.

Obviously, Fear is better for some units that it is for others. If your units is going to win the combat by miles anyway, auto-breaking is less than a bonus than when you win it by one point against a high-Ld enemy. In my experience, Gorgers get the most out of Fear. Even with a hefty Strength of 5 and the Killing blow ability, they are unlikely to cause more than one or two wounds, and against most war machine crew, this should get you outnumbering by the smallest of margins and send the crew fleeing. My Maneaters, on the other hand, rarely seem to benefit much. They are generally too few to auto-break anything, whenever they charge anything in contact tends to die - making it irrelevant what the opponent would hit you on - limiting the usefulness of Fear to opponents failing tests to charge them once in a while.

 

Another fistful of dice - the joys of ogres charging things

Somewhere at the bottom of the article, I describe the joys of ogre short-range missile fire - a whole lot of dice, but not a lot is likely to happen. Ogres in close combat are a different matter - you get to chuck a heap of dice and lots of enemies die. If that does not bring joy to your heart, then I don't know why you play this army. Ogres should always be the ones charging and when charging the goal should be to kill everything in base contact, at least.

To generate the greatest amount of carnage, you should get as many ogres in base contact as possible - in my experience this will often be four and I therefore base my army around combat units of four ogres - no additional fat unless I expect to get shot at. A good rule of thumb is that against the things they are good at, a Bull with an additional hand weapon will kill about 1 enemy model, an Irongut 1.25 enemy models and a Maneater about 2 models. Combat characters tend to kill about half a model per Attack they have, not counting special bonuses.

The downside is that you are relying on these attacks to win combat for you and if they dice or not kind, you are in trouble. Another downside is that in order to get the necessary number of attacks to actually win the combat, your units will be quite wide and thus more difficult to manoeuvre (more on this below). On the plus side, more elite ogres needing less space to generate the same number of kills.

Ogres can be in a bit of trouble if flanked. You don't have much of a rank bonus to lose, but if you field your unit in only one rank, only one ogre will be able to fight back. For this reason, if you are worried about opponents flanking you, place a single ogre in the second rank, to double your attacks sideways without reducing your attack forward by too much.

 

One of our strengths is Strength

Amusingly enough, the Ogre Kingdoms list entirely lacks attack with a Strength of 3, it is either S2 or S4+ and those with S2 aren't really used to kill people with, so it doesn't matter. As Strength is one of the best characteristics to be good in, this is great for the army. It is even better that this high Strength comes together with 3 or more Attacks. As mentioned below, ogre WS leaves a bit to be desired, but over all they are well suited for killing things. Now, for killing soft and squishy things, you want Bulls. They are reasonably cheap, cost-effective and allow you to take more units of gnobbos, which is a great advantage. For tougher opponents, Ironguts are the business. They cost a bit more, but their three Strength 6 attacks will wound most things on 2+ and give a healthy -3 armour save modifier. They have fewer attacks than a typical Bull, though, and so they are overkill against whimps.

It is, on the whole, quite easy to get high Strength in an Ogre army, by taking models with Strength 4 or 5 (or more) and giving them great weapons. This comes with the disadvantage of striking last in later rounds of combat, but with a high number of high-strength attacks, there is often no second round of combat, so it is not much of a disadvantage. It can be good, though, to add in a model that does not strike last in a unit to hopefully go before the enemy and reduce their attacks by flattening some of them. An example can be a character with a Sword of Might in a unit of Ironguts or great weapon-armed Maneaters, or similar.

Also worth noting is the fact that few things you will come across has more than Toughness 4 and so what you are mainly getting by improving your Strength beyond 6 is an additional -1 to enemy armour saves. Because of this, there is a diminishing return on super-high Strength (in addition to it being very costly), and there is little point in going above Strength 7. Just because it is possible to reach Strength 10 with ogres (Tyrant + Siegebreaker + Giantbreaker + Bullgorger), doesn't mean that you should try to.

 

Bigger is (slightly) better

What multiple wounds do is to preserve your attacks and unit strength when you take damage. Four Ironguts, for example, will still have 12 attacks if the unit takes 2 Wounds. A unit of six guys with one wound and two attacks each, on the other hand, will be reduced to 8 attacks if two wounds are inflicted upon them and have their unit strength reduced to a paltry 4. With most grunts out there not being able to inflict more than a wound or two in close combat, even when they strike first, ogres can be fairly confident to be able to strike back at full strength.

The downside of this is that when an opponent suddenly inflict that last wound to kill an ogre, you are losing a lot of attacks and unit strength in one go. This situation has been the cause of two of the three times when my Bulls have used defensively - I really needed to prevent an ogre from dying, so that I could preserve my unit strength and get outnumbering.

Another downside of being large infantry (ogres are not monsters), is that you are limited to a 90 degree line of sight for even single models. This can be a bit annoying and means that characters running around on their own have to pay a bit more attention to which direction they are facing in than the smaller races.

Some models have more than 3 Wounds. This is especially good if you are shot at by a weapon that causes D3 wounds, such as a Bolt thrower. My Gorger has been saved by this more times than I can remember.

 

Big boys - whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Ogres have some of the best fighter character out there and some of the best magic weapons to equip them with. They are monstrously expensive, but then you get what you pay for. An Ogre Tyrant has a great selection of items at his disposal, good Leadership, great combat stats and is nearly unkillable unless the opponent is very lucky or carries very specific gear. I also have lengthier article on Ogre Tyrants, including a great number of sample Tyrants. And not only are they good fighters, ogre characters can also carry a range of items that boost the unit they are with.

Due to their very high cost, I tend to field about one character at 1000 pts and one additional character per 500 pts beyond this. This keeps them limited to about a third of the total points value of the army and I feel that is about right (with my greenskins I spend on average a little more than a quarter of my army on characters, but then they are a lot cheaper).

 

Weedy little gits

Some armies out there have cannon fodder units that can cause Panic in friendly units if they flee or are destroyed (Chaos Warhounds, for example). Not so with gnobbos. They can be (and often are) happily sacrificed with little concern from the ogre player. I have a couple of articles, one on Gnoblar Units and Characters and one on Uses for Gnoblar Fighters, that deal with gnobbos more in dept, so I will only present the summary here.

The main advantage of gnobbos is that they can do a lot of the things that ogres can do (plus some things ogres can't do) at a third of the cost of an ogre unit.

 

Weak points of the Ogre Kingdoms army

It is good to have bad points because those provide challenges and being challenged is very much the reason for playing the game (at least for me, that is). As with the strong points of the Ogre Kingdoms army, the weak points of the army are generally caused by the stat line of a basic ogre, with the cost that is tagged onto this. Having used this army for a long time, it feels as if it is on the whole around 5% overpriced, meaning that when you are facing another 2000 pt army, the opponent effectively has 100 pts more than you at his disposal. I was hoping that this would be rectified at some point in the semi-far future with a rewrite of the army book, but with the new Orc & Goblin army book it seems that the approach is instead that the other armies should go up in cost instead. Hrmf!

Anyway, there are ways around a lot of the weaknesses, some of which require skill, some of which require luck and some of which require a lot of points.

 

You are probably going to be outnumbered

Your cheapest actual fighter starts at 35 pts, this means that discounting gnoblars, an ogre army will typically consist of very few models - twenty to thirty guys plus various other large beasties. It gets a bit better when you look at the total unit strength or number of wounds in the army, but in model terms an Ogre Kingdoms force is very small. One recommended tactic when you have a small, quite fast force facing a much larger and slower force is to concentrate most of your units in one part of the battlefield, facing only part of the other army. That way you even the numbers more and the superiour stats of an ogre shines. Obviously, if the opponents suspects what you are doing, then he will bunch up his army more, to counter this. Therefore, it is a great advantage to have a good number of cheap, throwaway units (i.e. gnoblars) or more manoeuverable ogre units (small units of Leadbelchers and Yhetees), which can be deployed so as to trick your opponent into thinking that you are deploying wide. Start with these units and when the time comes to deploy your important units, deploy them close together facing a select weak spot in the enemy army.

As the game progresses, you must try to prevent the opponent from reinforcing those of his units that are in for a splatting with units that are stranded farther away from the action. Gnoblars or all types are great for this, their task being to prevent the enemy reinforcements from marching and threatening to flank charge units moving along the table.

Obviously, this tactic doesn't work well against faster armies, who can rapidly redeploy to counter such moves. Against forces that are smaller than you (in terms of decent fighting units), there is also less reason to bunch up and you can deploy more widely to surround the enemy army.

Another thing that helps to reduce the problem of being outnumbered is to increase the number of units you field, in other words fielding several smaller units instead of a few big ones. In my army, for example, every ogre is expected to do his part and none are taken to lurk in rear ranks (temporary formation changes excluded). That way, you don't spend points on warm bodies or extra weapons you don't think will be used and it is a lot more difficult to outmanoeuvre the ogres. See my article on Ogre Unit Sizes for more ponderings on this issue.

 

Getting shot at can be a pain

Arguably the biggest threat to an ogre army is enemy war machines and missile units. This is because the very high price you pay per Wound in an Ogre army. A basic Bull starts at about 12 points per Wound with a Toughness of 4 and absolutely no armour. For pretty much the same cost, other armies tend to have much better resilience. More specialised ogres units have an increasing cost per Wound, but not much better protection from ranged attacks. There are a number of ways around this. Starting with the most meta-battle approach, if your opponent always places a couple of hills on each side of the table when you are setting up terrain, suggest a more random method of terrain placement instead.

Deployment: The most basic approach involves deployment that hampers the opponent's shooting and manoeuvering that continues this approach. If you are deploying on only a narrow strip of the table, as suggested above, try to find something where not too many enemy troops can fire at you. Ideally, he should have serious problems getting lines of fire to your troopers and when his "stranded" units move along the table to support the units under attack they should block line of sight to the firing units. This works best against enemies who can't move and fire, who don't have a great range or who don't have a 360 degree line of sight.

Magic: Another approach involves a greater reliance on the enhancement spells Toothcracker and Trollguts to protect your army from enemy missile fire, but as I write in the article on Gut Magic, that is somewhat reliant on luck. If your opponent really wants to get rid of those spells before they can protect you from his firing, he usually can.

Employ a missile screen: This method involves placing a unit in front of your nasty combat troops that will absorb the missile fire coming your way, letting your Ironguts or Maneaters get into combat unharmed, where they will wreak havoc. Some people use Gnoblars for this, but that method is too slow and unreliable for me (see Uses for Gnoblar Fightersfor more details) and I prefer a decently large unit of Bulls instead, say about six models. The Bulls have little in the way of extra gear and are kept in check by my Kineater Tyrant lurking nearby. Often my Bulls will be joined by characters to begin with, to make it harder to force a Panic test on them, until they get close enough to charge, when the characters fall back to the second line. Once you get close enough to charge the chosen target, you need to get the screen out of the way - preferably by charging something else - letting your combat unit do what they are there to do. Remember that you must make sure your combat unit has a line of sight to the target or they will not be allowed to declare a charge.

Take out the missile units: The last approach is to take out or tie up the enemy missile units as soon as possible, with the obviously beneficial results. This tends to be the role of cheaper support units (gnoblars, gorgers, leadbelchers, etc.), though missile units are also prime targets for magical attacks. In any case, enemy missile units should be a priority target. Fortunately, these units tend not to fight very well, they can be quite vulnerable to Panic tests (Braingobbler) and they make quite soft targets for Leadbelcher fire and the odd Bonecruncher spell.

 

Fast, but not that fast

Not counting unofficial units, such as the Bull Rhinox Riders, the only things that move faster than Movement 6 in your army are Yhetees, Sabretusks and characters with the Longstrider Big name. Ogres also lack any kind of movement spell. This means that cavalry tends to move faster than you do and will get to charge you if you don't do something about it. This is a bad thing, because cavalry can often hit as hard as you do and are difficult to damage in return. There are mainly two ways around this.

Accept that you are going to be charged: This involves either using a unit that will probably not break, either because it is Stubborn (Maneaters or any unit with Toothcracker if you think you are very lucky and the opponent does not dispel it) or unit that will not lose by much (Ironguts led by Tyrant, for example). In either case, you probably want to have something that lets you re-roll break tests handy, such as a Fistful of Laurels or a Battle Standard Bearer. Then, in your turn after you are charged, you counter-charge with another ogre unit. This approach works quite well against not too nasty knights.

Bait and flee: It is possible to get the charge on units that are faster than you, though it requires a bit of skill and it is not foolproof. In my article on Tactics for Dummies, I have listed some ways of countering this tactic - read it and find countermeasures to the countermeasures. In it's simplest form, this tactic involves getting your opponent to charge on of your (preferably cheap and disposable) units, which flees and gets run down. The charge path of the enemy unit then brings it into a position where you can counter-charge with a unit of your own, for example into their flank. Sometimes you will want your bait unit to escape, so you place them a bit further away from the enemy unit, but this way it is more difficult to get the enemy to charge (it might let him move around the bait) and a failed charge move might not bring the enemy unit as close to you as you prefer.
Good bait units are small units of Leadbelchers and Bulls. Gnoblars are even better, being largely insignificant, though they might bicker at the worst moment. On the good side, the enemy is probably coming towards you, and so the low Movement of the gnobbo unit is less of a problem.
The reason the bait is often sacrificed is that you want to place the bait so close to the enemy unit that he cannot simply go around them and maybe charge something else, he should be forced to either charge, stay where he is or spend a lot of time trying to move around your bait. Most players, after all, are not idiots (though naturally some are). They can often spot a bait and flee trap and will not take the bait unless the alternative is worse.
For this reason, it helps if you can make the opponent believe that charging the bait (if that is what you want and you are not just out to block him in) will give him a fighting chance. Often, using slightly more expensive units as bait can trick an opponent into think that you are simply manoeuvering for a good charge next turn, though naturally there is a limit to how often you can use this trick. The good thing here is that an opponent is more likely to charge an expensive bait unit than a cheap one, and so they can be placed further away and may actually flee far enough to get out of charge range, though as mentioned this will mean the opponent only makes a normal move towards them rather than a double.

Other, more unreliable ways of countering faster units is to either shoot them up or make them Panic before they get to you by using the Braingobbler spell. The last option only works against those knightly units that don't have some kind of psychological protection against Panic, though happily that leaves quite a few units that can be paniced. Most Core knights, for example, have a Leadership that is not too amazing and no protection from Panic, making a Butcher with the Skullmantle casting Braingobbler very useful.

 

Fast forwards, slow sideways

Ogre units tend to be quite wide and therefore wheeling will take a lot of time to do. Therefore, the more an ogre unit is forced to turn and go along the table, rather than straight across it, the slower it moves. This makes it more important for ogres to deploy in the right place, because it takes a lot of time to redeploy. Again, the benefits of having a handful of units whose correct deployment is less essential are great. They are deployed first and your more important units will have time to see where their best place is. This includes gnoblars (who are cheap and not vital to your plans if you know what's good for you) as well as Leadbelchers (who frequently come in small units and so can wheel more quickly than bigger units) and Yhetees (who are faster than other units and can move through terrain).

Remember also that your units can turn 90 or 180 degrees, move half a normal move (i.e. 3" for normal ogres) and then turn back to effectively make half a move backwards or sideways. This is good if you just need a short move and the width of the unit makes no difference.

Do not waste time trying to get larger units to turn and follow a faster and more agile enemy unit that is running circles around them, it will probably not work. That task should be reserved for units of one or two models, if it is at all neccessary. Leadbelchers, for example, can be tasked with bringing down speedy fast cavalry nipping around your flanks and blast them to shreds with their cannons. Optionally, you can let the gnobbos do this. Being often deployed in a more or less square formation, gnobbos can easily make a turn manoeuvre and move away in a different direction, something ogres are not good at.

 

You'll have to rely on killing things

Considering the high cost of an ogre, there is very little point in placing them in two ranks, even more so in 7th edition, where ranks need to be 5 wide to count. This tends to mean that your ogres have a very low static CR (combat result bonus) and has to rely on wounds inflicted along with the bonus from a standard and the odd Outnumbering bonus. Some people will claim that the change to 5 wide ranks in 7th edition is a bad thing for ogres, but it really isn't. Paying 140 pts minimum for a point of rank bonus that could be shot away quite easily was never a good idea in the first place, and two units of 4 ogres was nearly always better than one unit of 8 (the only real reason to go for large ogre units is to make them more resilient to missile fire). It is a far greater bonus for us that other units have to go 5 wide to get a rank bonus, since it lowers their static CR and lets us get more guys into combat.

Of course, killing things is something ogres do quite well, so that's not much of a problem, but it does make you depend more on good dice rolls than a lot of other armies. Once and again, your Ironguts will charge in with 13 Attacks, hit with two of them, wound with only one and then lose the combat by miles. Such is life. For that reason, it can be very good to invest in a Battle Standard Bearer for larger armies or have a Fistful of Laurels handy. Being Stubborn is also a godd help, though with ogre Leadership being what it is, relying on Stubborn aloe is risky and you really want the option to re-roll a failed break test.

Occasionally, you will outnumber the opponent, in which case you will automatically break him if you win the combat (barring Insane courage). This is very good, especially against those troops with very good Leadership, who are Stubborn or who have a Battle Standard nearby. Sadly, however, a lot of armies that fall into this category often have countermeasures that can be employed against Fear. There are banners that make Fear ineffective, Sacred Spawnings, Chaos Marks and spells. And then of course, some armies such as the Undead are immune to Fear to begin with. Over all, it's not worth relying on against decent close combat units, and it's more useful for your support units beating up his support units.

 

Three, the magic number

It is often claimed by some Warhammer players that Weapon skill is one of the worst stats out there to be good in and that they get a very low return for having WS4 on their missile infantry units. There is some truth in that, but for units that can and are relied upon to fight, being limited to WS3 on everything except Maneaters and characters can be a pain. Sadly, except for units that already have good WS, there is not a lot you can do about this, except pick on WS2 people when the chance presents itself. This follows what seems to be a theme for the ogres, in that it is often easy to make them better at something they are already good at while difficult to make them better at something they struggle with. The idea is probably that we should play to our strengths, or something like that...

On the bright side, at least you will still hit most people on 4+ and with a high number of attacks at a good Strength, there should not be a lot left to fight back.

 

The problems with mediocre Leadership

Coupled with a low static CR, ogres have a decidely low Leadership, which means that if the dice don't go your way and you lose by a point or two, you are quite likely to break. This is bad, since ogres in general only flee 2D6" and are thus likely to be run down, and the high points cost of ogres makes the loss of a decent combat unit a great one. The lack of decent Leadership also makes them vulnerable to Panic tests, especially those weapons that cause Panic tests even with less than 25% casualties.

Happily, there are ways around this. Taking a Tyrant whenever possible and having either the Fistful of Laurels or a Battle Standard nearby when a break test is taken greatly reduces the chances of failing. Yet another reason for sticking ogre units close together. Similarly, equipping your Tyrant with the Kineater Big name makes Panic much less of a worry (see my article on Ogre Tyrants for more). And then there are Maneaters, who don't take Panic tests at all and who are Stubborn at a respectable (though not amazing) Ld of 8.

You can also bump up your units in size a bit, to make it a bit harder to make them Panic, or make gnobbos do your dirty work, seeing as nobody cares if they flee or die.

 

You will probably have to engage the enemy

It is very difficult to earn any Victory points with ogres from more than a foot away. Sure, you have a few ranged attacks with better range, the Scraplauncher takes the prize with 48", the Hunter's harpoon launcher has a 36" range, handguns can kill the odd model at 24" and the offensive Gut Magic spells have a 18" range, but the Ogre army struggles to field enough long-range threatening firepower to force the enemy to move forwards. Therefore, against most armies out there, you will need to move forward because almost everyone can inflict a quite high number of casualties on you from more than two feet away. Facing a typical Dwarf army, for example, can do far more damage to you at range than you can ever hope to do in return. Therefore you must advance, while he does not have to.

That being said, some armies will not be able to outshoot you and then you can dictate the flow of the battle more. This may be because you are fighting armies with no long-ranged capabilities at all, or because you have decided to go nuts and take four Scraplaunchers. This consideration should affect whether or not you decide to go first, when you get the option to choose. If the enemy army has decent long-range firepower then not taking the first turn can be a serious mistake, but if he has few or no weapons with more than 24" range (a Dwarf army loaded with Thunderers and Organ Guns, for example), you can let him go first with much less risk - it will effectively deprive him of a turn of firing.

 

Odd points of the Ogre Kingdoms army

Some aspects of the ogre army works very differently to other armies, without this being clearly an advantage or disadvantage. The odd stuff is another thing that is bound to appeal to a lot of people, while I must say that it sometimes feels like it's wierd for the sake of being wierd.

 

Spellslinging

I have a lengthy article devoted entirely to Gut Magic, so I will only go into the briefest details here. For me, the best thing about Gut Magic is that every wizard you have will know all the spells of his lore, letting you plan much more for how you want to conduct your magic phase. The worst thing about Gut Magic is that the effectiveness of the best spells give the opponent two goes at dispelling them before they really become effective (i.e. after the opponent's magic phase). It relies a lot on luck, it is very short-ranged and you will use up your Butchers if you are not careful. Don't fixate too much on the low casting values of the spells, it is not meaningful to compare casting values of Gut Magic to other types of magic, since they work so differently and when you cast a spells on 3s the opponent is generally free to dispel whatever he wants dispelled.

That being said, Gut Magic can be horrendously good if the dice are with you.

 

Spray and pray

As opposed to ogre long-ranged shooting, which is characterised by few, though reasonably accurate shots, the short-range missile salvos of ogre units often involve large handfuls of dice, few of which will hit anything. A Leadbelcher, for example, can get ten shots, but will average around 2.5 hits when firing at a normal target. Happily, though, he might easily get twice that number of hits. On a decent day, Leadbelchers and gnobbos throwing sharp stuff is okay at scaring away light support units and may even make a dent in bigger units. On a bad they they'll do nothing or even blow up.
Example: My first ever salvo with a pair of Leadbelchers. Double Misfire. 11 hits on my own unit. 9 Wounds. Unit wiped out. Damn!

One great advantage of the short-range missile weapons, which they have in common with all other ogre ranged attacks (except the Hunter's harpoon launcher, grrrrr!) is that they can move and shoot with no penalty. This is great, as ogres are otherwise limited to doing nasty things to units that lie more or less directly in front of them at the start of their turn. The shooting, on the other hand, allows you to target things that are speeding around your flanks and are out of your charge arc. Another good side to this is that is increases the effective range of the weapons, sometimes by as much as 50%.

Ogre short-ranged shooting is good (though variable) and, most importantly, good against a lot of the things the rest of the army is not good against. However, these units also have the advantage of being reasonably cheap and haveing the necessary unit strength of more than 5, which is needed to do interesting things. Thus you will often be presented with a difficult choice between moving and shooting or marching and not shooting.
Gnobbos also have a lot of other good sides, as described in my article on Uses for Gnoblar Fighters.

 

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