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Ogre Tyrants

by Avian

One of the best things about Tyrants is the huge variation in equipment he can take. This little article will go through some options in this regard and make some suggestions.

(And, in case it was not apparent, the other good things about Tyrants are in order of decreasing goodness: +1 Leadership, +1 Attack and +1 Wound)

See also my article on Tactics for Dummies for some more generic character tactics and the article on Ogre Magic Items for more on the various options available there.

 

Contents

Our business is killing people

Protecting our legitimate interests (which involve killing people)

Being there for the lads

Equipping your Tyrant

 

Our business is killing people

Less face it, one of the main reasons you like ogres is the "unreasonable violence" aspect they have, and Tyrants are the epitome of this. They have great combat stats and a good choice of items that let them wade through enemy ranks. They might not always be able to break large enemy units on their own (unless you are lucky or you get a chance to splat an enemy champion in a challenge using the Tenderiser) but they can cause a great number of fatalities.

 

Mundane weapon options

Naturally, if you go with a mundane weapon option, you're saving a lot of points which can be used on other magic items or on more troops as you wish. Tyrants have quite a lot of options for mundane weapons and some of them are rather good. I must admit that my own rule of thumb for any combat character is to first make sure all my hits wound the enemy on 2+ with as little chance of an armour save as possible, before I start trying to get more hits. See also the Ogre Weapon Options for more details.

Ogre Club: It's free, but surprisingly it is often better than some of the other options. Against enemies with 4+ armour saves it is just as good as an additional hand weapon and against enemies with better saves it will on average give you more kills. Similar with Cathayan Longswords - if the enemy doesn't have WS6 or the boosted Initiative will not make a you strike sooner, then the club is just as good.
Another good thing is the fact that if you take another mundane option, such as a great weapon, you can choose to use the club against whimpy enemies where all a great weapon really does is make you strike last.

Great weapon: The default option, if you ask me. It will wound pretty much everyone on 2+ and give a nice -4 modifier to enemy armour saves. It makes you strike last, but in my experience combats involving Tyrants don't last very long, so it doesn't often matter.
A Tyrant with a great weapon is one of the most reliable ways of smashing up very tough troops out there, with a good number of Attacks, high Weapon skill and Strength 7. If you want to plow your way through weedier troops, there are better options.

Additional hand weapons: For two points more you can have a Brace of Handguns, which count as additional hand weapons in close combat, but can also be used to shoot with. Alternatively, you could have an Ironfist, also for +2 pts. Never take this option.

Ironfist: A good option if you are taking a single-handed magic weapon (Sword of Striking, Sword of Might, etc.), in which case you can use it as a shield and get +1 to your armour save. You can also use the Ironfist with a club and one of the magical armour options that add +1 to your save, to get a very good 2+ armour save in close combat. I personally don't feel this is worth it, for reasons given in the section below.
The recurring problem with Ironfists is that if it would pay off to use them as shields it's probably not a combat you should have been in to begin with and I find it difficult to gear up specifically for such as eventuality.

Cathayan Longsword: This option is better for Maneaters, since the +1 WS is more likely to make a difference on a WS4 model than on a WS6 one. You get +1 to hit other WS6 people and WS3 people will only hit you on 5+, but over all it's not likely to do more for you than a normal club (at least they have the same armour save modifier).

Brace of Handguns: Personally, my Tyrant rarely has a chance to shoots, since he is usually either marching or charging and I am certainly not going to have my 200+ pt General hang back to deliver two S4 shots that hits most things on 4+. As for the close combat capabilities, I showed above how the basic club is better against most opponents. However, you could for example choose a Brace of Handguns to go with your mundane great weapon, giving you a range of options that work well against a variety of opponents. If you ask me, though, Handguns falls into the category of "stuff you spend spare points on when there is nothing better around".

 

Magic weapon options

I have an rather longer article on Ogre Magic Items, and here I will just give a summary of what I consider to be the useful magic weapon options.

The Tenderiser: Effectively doubles your Tyrant's fighting power against multi-wound models or enemy champions in a challenge, giving him the equivalent of 10 WS6 S7 attacks. If that is not nasty then I don't know what is. And it's a great weapon, which makes it useful against everything else as well. With the chance of racking up the maximum +5 overkill bonus quite easily, a Tyrant with the Tenderiser will always want to be involved in a challenge. Other times when faced with a unit with an enemy character and a champion you don't want to challenge, as you'll end up beating up the champion, but with the Tenderiser that is an easy way of getting six easy points of CR.

Siegebreaker: Not quite as good as the Tenderiser against characters (even against those where it lets you hit on 3+ while the Tenderiser hits on 4+), but better against heavily armoured 1 Wound targets. And it's not that much worse against heavily armoured characters either, if it will give you +1 to hit. Another great thing about the Siegebreaker is that it's only twice the cost of a mundane great weapon.
Over all, though, the Siegebreaker is better as a cheap(ish) weapon option for those characters who cannot take mundane weapons, such as Slaughtermasters, Butchers and Hunters.

Sword of Striking: If you are already wounding on 2+ with no armour save, then this is marginally more useful than the extra attack you get from an additional hand weapon. Meanwhile, it is a lot more expensive and if you face enemies with a more decent armour save, then the basic ogre club becomes better. Somewhat overpriced.

Sword of Might: Since this weapon has the same armour save modifier as your basic ogre club, this weapon effectively gives you +1 to wound enemies with T4 or more, which can be quite useful since there are a lot of those around. It's not even particularly expensive and if you have enough spare points in your magic item quota and you don't think you are going to face anything too tough, then this option is only 6 pts more than a great weapon and doesn't strike last.

 

Protecting our legitimate interests (which involve killing people)

This section deals with how to avoid having your Tyrant die through suffering too many Wounds.

 

Why is this often not a good choice?

I personally don't think loading up your Tyrnats with items to protect him from harm is worth all the worry, as the most common way for my Tyrant to die is when his unit fluffs their attacks, fail their Break test and are run down. Compared to this, it is a rare occurence when my Tyrant actually takes the neccesary 5 Wounds needed to kill him.

Another downside to stocking up on protective items is that they available ones aren't actually that good at preventing damage. It is possible to get a 2+ armour save on a Tyrant along with a 5+ Ward save (hand weapon, ironfist, heavy armour, Greedy Fist and the Wyrdstone Necklace, for example), but this is rather expensive and limits how much damage your Tyrant can do. If you still want to have a decent amount of points left for those juicy Big names, Magic weapons and Talismans you have been drooling over, then you'll probably have to settle for either a 4+ armour save or a 5+ armour save and a 5+ Ward save. Not too impressive.

 

The other approach

I find that the better choice is to rely on the good Movement of the Tyrant to get the charge on the enemy and then wiping out anything that can attack him in combat and then putting your faith in his high Toughness and very high number of Wounds to protect him if this fails. The Tyrant's monstrously high number of Wounds is a great thing when he is attacked and without very specialised equipment there is virtually no chance to kill him in one go, letting him fell a decent number of enemies in return. Clever opponents who realise this tend to concentrate attacks on the rank and file ogres he is with instead, which is usually a lot more effective and can be fatal for your unit.

Having a higher Movement that other infantry means that on the whole you should be able to charge them, in which case the front (and sometimes also the second) rank should die, making protection from return attacks uneccesary. Against cavalry and other units that move as fast as you do, it can be somewhat more difficult and you'll need the support of other units to bait or redirect the enemy unit if you don't want to get charged.

Another little trick involves getting into a challenge and splatting your opponent (as mentioned, the Tenderiser is great for this), in which case nobody else can attack you at all.

Against dangerous missile fire (i.e. cannons and other war machines), sticking your Tyrant in a decently large unit with a Look-out Gnoblar will generally keep him safe. If the unit is depleted by war machine fire, move your Tyrant to another unit instead.

 

Being there for the lads

There are quite a few items available to your Tyrant that protects the troopers he is with or nearby and considering that Ogres are quite vulnerable to missile fire, spells and psychological effects, I often spend half the item quota of my characters on things that boost my troops.

 

Protection against Leadership-based worries

For what they cost, ogres have pretty bad Leadership and with little protection from ranged attacks, it can be quite easy to force Panic tests on them. A Tyrant can help quite a lot in this regard by simply being present within 12", since this reduces the chance of failing a Panic test from 28% to 17%. In addition, there are quite a few helpful items. See my article on Leadership Calculations creatures for more stats on Leadership tests.

The most obvious item in this category is the Kineater Bit name, which will free a large portion of your army from worries about Panic, if your Tyrant is deployed properly (much easier in 7th edition, since characters and command groups can go anywhere in the front rank). Six inches isn't terribly far, but you only need the toe of one ogre in the unit within 6" of your Tyrant to get the effect and advancing in a tight formation is usually a good idea for armies that are outnumbered anyway.
A bit less useful is the Jade Lion, which only works on the unit the Tyrant is with, but also lets them re-roll Terror tests (which ogres treat as Fear, due to causing Fear themselves) and Stupidity tests (it is very rare for a character with the Jade Lion to not also have the Mawseeker Big name).

Related items are the Beastkiller Big name, which makes the Tyrant Immune to Psychology but only has an effect when he is on his own (not really worth it, as single Tyrants are not too worried about psychology and he will be unable to flee from a charge) and the Daemon-killer Scars, which in addition to the offensive effects of Terror makes the unit the Tyrant is with Immune to Terror themselves.

If you don't have a Battle Standard Bearer nearby, I would advise you to take a Fistful of Laurels on your Tyrant. At only 15 pts, this little items reduces the chance of failing a Break test to more comfortable levels and a single re-roll is often all you need.

 

Protection from spells

One of my favourite items in the Ogre list is the Gnoblar Thiefstone. For only 15 pts, this little Talisman adds an extra dice to each and every dispel attempt against spells that affect the bearer or his unit. One Stone is often sufficient, if combined with a few dice from your pool, though if you have enough points then a double Thiefstone is also good and will generally mean that the opponent doesn't bother with casting spells at your unit and goes at an easier target instead. For this reason I would consider three Stones more than you need. It is after all better that the opponent tries at something difficult and fails completely than that he tries for something easier and succeeds.

Other items that protect against magic are more dubious - I have used the Greatskull now and then and my opponent never seems to cast with enough dice to Miscast with any regularity, Cathayan Jet only protects the Tyrant himself (and probably does it worse than the same amount of points spent on Thiefstones) and a Tyrant getting a chance to attack a Wizard in close combat will usually kill him anyway, so reducing his magic level with the Greedy Fist is redundant.

 

Protection from ranged attacks

It may seem very counter-productive to a lot of ogre players out there, but getting shot at is not actually such a bad idea. There are a few ifs to this idea, though. It is not such a bad idea for the Tyrant to get shot at by missile fire if it is rather weak and if this means that a normal ogre does not get hit instead. Taking a cannon ball to the head when you are standing outside a unit is not a terribly good idea, but catching the odd arrow inside a unit can be one. Any such missile will have a very low chance of hurting the Tyrant, certainly a lot less than against rank and file ogres, and even if it Wounds, it's likely to be less of a worry, since a Tyrant has 5 Wounds at his disposal, compared to 3 for a trooper.
For this plan to work, there must be less than 5 rank and file ogres in the unit, or they will take all the hits. In addition, to get a "Look out, Sir!" roll (against cannons and similar, if the opponent has them), even with a Look-out Gnoblar, you need at least 3 rank and file ogres, so there is a somewhat narrow window of effectiveness here.

Added to the above, a Tyrant in a unit can increase the number of models that need to be killed before the unit has to take a Panic test. A unit of four ogres need to test after only 1 casualty, but if you add in a Tyrant (or any other character), then the opponent needs to kill two ogres before any test is needed. For this reason, it can be wise to add characters to your frontline units to protect them from missile fire initially and then move them back to the second line if and when the frontline units get shot up.

 

Equipping your Tyrants

Here I present a wide selection of different Tyrant builds, sorted by their Big name, if any.
Note: I have not equipped many of the Tyrants with Handguns, because quite frankly I consider them to be something you spend spare points on, rather than something you plan around. However, all Tyrant builds can include them, if you like. Note that those Tyrants with decent armour or Ward saves have a Luck Gnoblar, while none have Sword Gnoblars. For more on Gnoblar attendants, see my article on Gnoblar Units and Characters.

 

Kineater Tyrants

Kineaters are some of the best Tyrants, if you ask me. Being shot to pieces has been the cause of most of my losses with the Ogres and with a re-roll of Panic tests the remaining ogres are much more likely to stick with the plan rather than head for the hills.

Kineater Tyrant #1 @ 306 pts
- Kineater
- The Tenderiser
- Heavy armour
- Gnoblar Thiefstone
Currently my favourite Tyrant build. Splats things in combat, keeps the army in order and protects his unit from magic. Optionally, the Thiefstone can be swapped for a Fistful of Laurels and / or you can swap the Tenderiser for the Siegebreaker and another Thiefstone.

Kineater Tyrant #2 @ 249 pts
- Kineater
- Great weapon
A "Budget Tyrant", yet quite effective at more than 50 pts cheaper than #1. Add one or more Thiefstones and / or the Fistful of Laurels if you feel like it.

Kineater Tyrant #3 @ 320 pts
- Kineater
- Great weapon
- Heavy armour
- Gut Maw
- Daemon-killer Scars
The "Terror Tyrant". Instills fear in both his own and enemy troops.

 

Longstrider Tyrants

It's important to remember that just because your Tyrant has a higher Movement than ogres, it doesn't mean that he has to run around on his own for the entire battle and it can be very effective to start him inside a unit and move him out later when it becomes advantageous or when it gives the opponent a nasty surprise.

Longstrider Tyrant #1 @ 310 pts
- Longstrider
- Great weapon
- Heavy armour
- Bullgut
- Greyback Pelt
What you would like your Hunters to be. Optionally the Greyback Pelt can be swapped for the Daemon-killer Scars.

Longstrider Tyrant #2 @ 306 pts
- Longstrider
- Siegebreaker
- Heavy armour
- Bullgut
- Fistful of Laurels
Knight-killer surprise! Charge out your unit and bash 'em up. If anything goes wrong, you have the Laurels to fall back on.

Longstrider Tyrant #3 @ 300 pts
- Longstrider
- Great weapon
- Mastodon armour
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Luck Gnoblar
The loner. Never intends to join units.

 

Giantbreaker Tyrants

By bumping your Tyrant up to S6, you open up a lot of options as far as weapons go. No longer are strength-boosting ones near-mandatory and you can try out some of the more odd ones. Thus it is a paradox that characters with the Big name that makes them stronger are not usually amongst the strongest, since they have less reason to go for great weapons (magical or otherwise).

Giantbreaker Tyrant #1 @ 303 pts
- Giantbreaker
- Sword of Striking
- Ironfist
- Heavy armour
- Gnoblar Thiefstone
- Fistful of Laurels
For chewing up rank and file troopers. You can drop the Ironfist and / or the Laurels and get more Thiefstones, if you prefer.

Giantbreaker Tyrant #2 @ 317 pts
- Giantbreaker
- Great weapon
- Brace of Handguns
- Heavy armour
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Brahmir Statue
- Luck Gnoblar
The "Chaos Hunter". Great weapon for smashing knights, handguns for less tough foes. Brahmir Stuatue just ruins their day. Also great against Skaven.

Giantbreaker Tyrant #3 @ 295 pts
- Giantbreaker
- Cathayan Longsword
- Greyback Pelt
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Luck Gnoblar
The "Ninja Tyrant". Unless the opponent has WS8+, he'll only strike the Tyrant on a 5+ and those with WS3 or less only hit on 6s. Meanwhile, he has 5 WS7 S6 attacks at a quite good initiative of 5.

 

Mawseeker Tyrants

Mawseekers are tough. Cast Toothcracker or Trollguts on them and a Mawseeker is damn near impossible to harm. However, as I have mentioned above, there is not that much point in making your Tyrant indestructible when a canny opponent can attack the unit he is with instead and get a better result.

Mawseeker Tyrant #1 @ 309 pts
- Mawseeker
- Great weapon
- Heavy armour
- Gut Maw
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Jade Lion
- Luck Gnoblar
The "Hungry Tyrant". Damn hard to hurt and regains Wounds by eating falled enemies in a challenge.

Mawseeker Tyrant #2 @ 323 pts
- Mawseeker
- Sword of Might
- Ironfist
- Heavy armour
- Greedy Fist
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Jade Lion
- Luck Gnoblar
The "Tank Tyrant". One of the most expensive you can find and is both hard-hitting and resilient. Has 5 S6 attacks, a 3+ armour save and a 5+ Ward save in case anything gets past his Toughness of 6.

Mawseeker Tyrant #3 @ 301 pts
- Mawseeker
- Siegebreaker
- Heavy armour
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Jade Lion
- Luck Gnoblar
Less extreme variant of the Mawseeker and one that I have used with good success. He needs decent opposition to be worth it, though, or you may find his protective items to be more a disadvantage than a help. If nobody attacks him you are more or less paying 70 pts to make him Stupid and give him a one six chance of losing a Wound at the start of each battle.

 

Nameless Tyrants

Lastly, a selection of Tyrants with no Big name.

Nameless Tyrant #1 @ 311 pts
- The Tenderiser
- Heavy armour
- Gut Maw
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Luck Gnoblar
The "Challenger". Eats other characters and champions for breakfast.

Nameless Tyrant #2 @ 281 pts
- Siegebreaker
- Heavy armour
- Greedy Fist
- Wyrdstone Necklace
- Luck Gnoblar
Another anti-character build. Swap the Greedy Fist for the Greyback Pelt for a more anti-knight version.

Nameless Tyrant #3 @ 220 pts
- Great weapon
- Heavy armour
Last and least we have one of the absolute cheapest Tyrants out there. You can even shave off a few points more by dropping the heavy armour, which isn't strictly necessary.

 

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