Orc Units and Characters
This part will list all the 'common' Orc characters and units and I will talk a little about what works for me.
The normal orcs have one major advantage and that is the fact that they are currently the only types of orcs that come in plastic. The Orc Warboss, Orc Boyz, Arrer Boyz and Boar Chariot boxes make this breed of orcs far more popular than the others. In addition it is relatively easy to convert characters from the plastic sets, as they come with a host of nice bitz. The command sprue even comes with legs for riding a boar, making it possible to convert extra mounted characters and even plastic Boar Boyz (I have made such a unit at a fraction of the cost of the metal models).
In addition, Orcs are very versatile and by throwing in some common Goblins you have all you need for an effective army.
Being common as muck (and probably smelling that way too!), Orcs do not have as many defining attributes as other breeds of greenskins. However, considering that a lot of the time, the attributes of other greenies tend to be disadvantages, that might not be such a bad thing.
The changes to Animosity in this edition has made Orc units of all types
considerably faster. For Orc Boyz, Animosity is not all that much of a problem,
as the units are quite resilient and able to take a charge if they need to,
especially if backed up by a General with a decent Leadership and a Battle
Standard Bearer. For Arrer Boyz Animosity is more of a problem, as it means that
they have a one-sixth chance of not being able to shoot for a turn, and a
one-sixth chance of getting reduced accuracy due to moving forward. Animosity is
also a disadvantage for Boar Boyz, who most definitely do not want to spend a
turn Squabbling so that they can get charged or shot by an enemy unit. On the
good side, should you get an extra D6 move then it will give your cavalry an
edge over most other units out there. Boar Chariots do of course not take
Animosity tests and so don't care one way or another.
What Animosity does is make your units unpredictable, so you will just have to plan ahead and try to compensate for this. For the infantry in particular, a Black Orc character leading them means that you can mostly stop worrying about the bad sides of Animosity and just enjoy the extra Movement, when it happens. With Boar Boyz this option is a lot less tempting, as they are more vulnerable to those D6 S5 hits, due to their higher cost. When you can't or won't include a Black Orc it can be very unwise to hinge your plans on a single, vital unit acting rationally. This can be compensated for by taking more than one unit, thus including redundancy in your plans. As every greenskin player knows: "Everything counts in large numbers." Of course, if you want a high level of redundancy, you will probably have to go for several cheaper units instead of a few expensive ones, but that is in character and tends to work well anyway. Spreading the risk out is a very worthwhile approach to using Orcs & Goblins.
The new Waaagh! rule makes greenskin armies even faster and combined with the
new Animosity rule it can make a greenskin army consisting mainly of large
blocks of Orc Boyz move across the table much quicker than they have ever done
before. An Orc unit with a full rank bonus and a Big Boss will therefore get the
extra move on a 2+ on the turn the Waaagh! is called, which gives them an
effective charge distance of 8 + D6". Waaagh! makes it even more attractive than
it would otherwise have been to go for infantry units - a lot of them. It does
not, however, give your cavalry much of an advantage, unless they are joined by
the army General. Since the cavalry is quite expensive it can be very expensive
to get any kind of rank bonus with them and thus the chance of losing D6 models
will often be as large as getting the extra movement. And of course, losing D6
Orc Boar Boyz is much more of a blow than losing D6 Orc Boyz.
Waaagh! wins battles and makes greenskins one of the armies that can best field a mainly infantry force.
One of the real advantages an Orcs & Goblins army has, and one that has not changes a lot in the last editions - at least not for Orcs. While Orc Leadership is nothing special, being able to ignore Panic caused by any smaller breed of greenskin is a huge advantage and makes it possible to use tactics that would otherwise have been very risky. The prime example of this is using Goblin units to bait and divert enemy units, putting them in a position where nearby Orc units can either charge them or ignore them (depending on the level of nastiness of the enemy unit). As such a tactic often leads to the Goblins dieing or fleeing through the Orc unit, avoiding Panic means that you can execute this tactic with little worry.
Back in the old days of 6th edition, the choppa was really an inferior version of the hand weapon, useful only in a few cases. It only gave a Strength bonus when you charged and did not give the extra armour save when combined with a shield. Since Orc Boyz in the old days were charged more often than they are now (due to the altered Animosity rule), this meant that quite often the choppa did nothing. Not so in this version, where choppas are excellent weapons. While not being something you want your characters to be stuck with, Orc infantry benefit a lot from what is now obviously a well-crafted weapon. It is a matter of taste whether you like to have your Boyz equipped with choppas and shields or with two choppas, but either is a useful combo. On the downside, choppas are now so good that even at a reduced cost, the spear is still not a very interesting option. Of course, choppas are still of no use to mounted models of any kind, which again encourages you to go for greenies on foot.
Where common Goblins get wolves, Orcs get the much 'arder boar. While they
can be a bit expensive, boars provide Orcs with a quite useful +2 to their
armour save and have a very good Strength 5 attack when charging. For
characters, boars are the only way of getting a decent armour save, they give
them increased mobility (even in an infantry unit it can be good to have the
option to charge 14" out of it) and in infantry units you are effectively
"saving" one rank a file trooper, since the boar takes up the place
of two infantry models. For expensive infantry models (without spears), this
lowers the effective cost of the boar, as the model that would have taken up
the space where the boar's rump now is could not have done anything useful
anyway. And I think it looks good to have a character riding a boar in a large
mob of foot sloggers.
For Shamans, the boar is not all that interesting, since you don't really want them in combat anyway, but it can be handy if things go wrong and the increased mobility means that you can get out of trouble a lot quicker than if you are on foot.
All Orc characters are worthwhile additions to an army. While not being as cheap as Goblins, they are more powerful, while not being as uncontrollable as Savage Orcs. I must admit that I often forgo regular Orc characters in favour of Black Orcs (Quell Animosity) or Goblins (cost, wolf mounts), but the margins here are not great.
A little more expensive, but a lot more powerful in the new army book, an
Orc Warboss is a very solid character. Though a bit limited in the armour save
department, this is also the only real weakness a Warboss has. I must admit
that I personally prefer Black Orc Warbosses, for their Quell Animosity ability
and access to heavy armour, but I do not find the regular Orc Warboss to be
significantly worse. Indeed, in some cases you don't want to have Quell Animosity
or Frenzy (for example if leading a unit of Boar Boyz) and in those cases a
normal Orc Warboss is the best alternative.
I occasionally see people fielding Orc Warbosses equipped with nothing but a choppa and I can't help but wonder why, as there are so many good magic weapons he can get instead. Or you could get him a simple great weapon. Particularly interesting are the Screaming Sword, Akk'rit Axe and Martog's Best Basha. For protection, Warboss Umm's Best Boss 'At is recommended and you can throw in the Enchanted Shield if you like as well.
On foot: The default option in the old days, when a mounted character in an infantry unit could be targeted by enemy shooting, but not nearly as interesting in 7th edition. It will save you some points, but I consider the option for a boar to be well worth the points. An Orc Warboss on foot can happily join any infantry unit and generate a few extra kills, with good choices being Orc Boyz, Orc Big 'Uns or even Black Orcs (considering that Quell Animosity is useless in a unit that doesn't take Animosity tests, I tend not to have Black Orc characters in Black Orc units).
Mounted on boar: If you have the points to spare, this is a very useful upgrade, even for those Warbosses who intend to join infantry units. As greenskins lack any Magical Armour that boosts their armour save other than the Enchanted shield, a boar is the only way of getting a good armour save. A Warboss on a boar in a unit of Orc Boyz, supported by a Boar Chariot and/or a Troll makes for a very nice and effective team.
Mounted in Boar Chariot: The reason you may want to try this option is of course the extra D6" the chariot moves when the Waaagh! is called, if the General is riding in it. I would not consider this a terribly good option, but it gets you another chariot without having to spend a Special choice on it, and that is no little thing.
Mounted on Wyvern: A flying monster with a high enough Unit Strength to negate enemy rank bonuses and which also causes Terror is great, but having your General flying over on the other side of the battlefield can be a problem for the rest of the army, which sorely needs his boosted Leadership. Thus taking a Warboss on a Wyvern in any army below 3,000 points (where you can take another Warboss to be the General) is a risky choice. It can work and it certainly has a higher chance of doing so in a mostly mounted army, but it is not something I would really recommend on a general basis. In bigger games, though, it can be very useful and in the right circumstances a Warboss with the Screaming Sword, Best Boss 'At and Battle Brew can do tremendous amounts of damage. We had a big multiplayer battle here and this guy collapsed the entire enemy centre by himself!
In normal games taking this guy limits your army to Leadership 8 or less and
many people think that's a serious disadvantage for an army like the
greenskins. I tend to agree and mostly use a Warboss whenever I can. On the
other hand the Big Waaagh! spells are very nice and some of them are really
beneficial to the army, and being able to cast them with up to five Power dice
means that you have a much greater chance of getting them off. What really
makes the difference for me is that the Great Shaman usually ends up costing 50%
more than the Warboss and I have plenty of other use for those hundred points.
A Great Shaman is especially risky
in 7th edition, as he really has no way of avoiding Miscasts other than to use
fewer dice and hope he doesn't roll two 1s. The Staff of Badumm is a decent
investment for a Great Shaman, since it essentially means that he can get away
with rolling fewer dice per spell and thus get more spells off with less chance
of miscasting. The remainder of his quota could be well spent on a Power Stone
(or Dispel Scroll) and
the 'Itty Ring. If you take a Great shaman you will generally want at least one
normal Big Boss to act as your General and a second to carry the Battle
On foot: I reckon that this is probably the best idea, as the boar is a bit too costly for my taste, even if there are some good benefits. Instead, a Great Shaman should be issued with an Amulet of Protectyness, which is about the same cost as a boar, but tends to offer better protection.
Mounted on boar: All things considered, this option is a bit on the expensive side, considering that the benefits are not that great for a Shaman. If you find that you have enough points to spare, then there is little reason not to take one, though. Only two of his spells require line of sight, so you are not significantly hampered by the 90 degree sight arc.
Mounted in Boar Chariot: Not a particularly good idea, as sending your expensive spell caster crashing into combat can drastically reduce his life expectancy.
Mounted on Wyvern: This is not actually such a stupid idea as it might seem at first glance. Though the idea of putting your primary magic user on a flying monster might not seem very wise, Wyvern riders are not good primarily due to their combat power, but because you get a flying, terror causing model with a high enough Unit Strength to negate enemy rank bonuses. Taking a Great Shaman and putting him on a Wyvern also means that you can have the army led by an Orc Big Boss, who can remain with the lads on foot and boost their Leadership. And since there is no reason for Shamans to stay close to units in combat in this edition, flying around the battlefield will not hamper your spell casting.
An Orc Big Boss is reasonably cheap and reasonably tough and provides a very
useful Leadership boost for your units. If he has a fault it is that he is a bit
costly for someone who is not special in any way. For only 15 points more you
can have a Black Orc with +1 WS, Quell Animosity, a great axe and an
additional choppa and the option to buy heavy armour if he wants it (which he
usually does). Thus the Orc Big Boss takes more of a fringe role, unless you are
going for a themed army. The prime reason to take him over a Black Orc Big Boss
is in a unit where the Quell Animosity rule might easily cause more damage than
it is really worth, such as in a unit of Boar Boyz (assuming you don't want the
General there, that is), or where it doesn't matter. A Black Orc Big Boss in a
chariot doesn't get a whole lot of benefit out of his special rules (though the
extra D6 movement when the Waaagh! is called can be very nice) and so you may
choose to take a regular Orc instead.
On foot: A cheap Big Boss can be gotten by giving him a great axe, the Best Boss 'At (or the Amulet of Protectyness, unless some more fragile character has called dibs on it) and leaving him on foot. For just over a hundred points, he is quite a decent addition to any infantry unit.
Mounted on boar: Considering that you only pay 16 points for it, it would almost be foolish not to take a boar at every opportunity. Okay, so you probably don't want to pick up that cheap great weapon which is so nice for foot troops, but there are plenty of affordable magic weapons to take instead, such as Martog's Best Basha or the Akk'rit Axe. In a unit of Boar Boyz you can also consider Porko's Pigstikka, which is a bit on the expensive side, but means that your Big Boss will strike with six Strength 6 attacks against most normal units.
Mounted in Boar Chariot: A decent way of getting another Boar Chariot without using up a Special choice. It is not my first choice of placement for a Big Boss, though, and an option I rarely take, because I find Big Bosses to be much more useful in supporting other units rather than going solo.
Orc-led armies, because they will often take Break tests on a decent
Leadership, benefit quite a bit from being able to re-roll a failed test
(Goblin-led armies often have such bad Ld that they are quite likely to fail
anyway). Therefore, I always take a BSB, unless I am fielding a very tiny army.
Though the Black Orc BSB is probably a bit better, due to heavy armour and the
very useful Quell Animosity ability, an Orc BSB is not bad in any way. As Magic
Standards are quite limited in a greenskin army (back in 5th edition you could
have heaps of them), taking one for the BSB is tempting. In the previous edition
this would have been a risky option, but now the greater benefit granted by a
boar makes it much more viable. Any and all Magic Standards available to Orcs
are viable for a BSB and which one you take depends on your playing style. If
you do not take a Magic Standard, then Martog's Best Basha and any of the
Talismans work well on a BSB. Alternatively you could take the Sword of Might
and the Horn of Urgok.
On foot: Since the cheap Dea 'Ard Armour (which gave the wearer a 1+ armour save) was removed from the army list in this edition, placing the BSB on foot is a lot more risky than it used to be. At the same time, boars became a much better option, and thus I would recommend that instead. If you are going to leave your precious BSB on foot, then I would suggest that you at least give him a decent Talisman (Best Boss 'At or the Amulet of Protectyness), which of course will prevent him from taking a Magic Standard.
Mounted on boar: As this is such a cheap option and considering that an Orc BSB cannot otherwise get an armour save better than 6+ (due to not being allowed shields), I would suggest that you always give your BSB a boar, unless you intend to have him ride in a chariot, that it. It also adds to his hitting power, particularly when he is taking a Magic Standard, as he is then limited to hitting enemies with his choppa.
Mounted in Boar Chariot: As there are significant benefits to keeping your Big Bosses in units instead of trundling around on their own, I don't really recommend this option, even if it can give you a quite hard-hitting unit (especially with Gork's Waaagh! Banner). By keeping your BSB further back you are more likely to be within 12" of units that could really need that re-roll on their break test and a BSB in a unit will give it an extra +1 to its Animosity test when the Waaagh! is called.
More thoughts can be found in my generic tactics article on Battle Standard Bearers.
The cheapest and safest way of getting access to the Big Waaagh! spell list.
Considering that Big Waaagh! is considerably easier to cast than Little Waaagh!,
this makes the not-so-Great Orc Shaman a worthwhile addition to the army as a
supporting character. The first four spells in the list can be cast with a high
reliability using three dice, which I consider to be of vital importance. If you
do end up with one of the more difficult spells, I would consider swapping it
for the Gaze of Mork, if you did not roll up that spell already.
What to equip him with is a little more difficult, as the new list has very few interesting Arcane Items. Better options are a Power Stone / Dispel Scroll or the 'Itty Ring.
On foot: Easy to hid either in or outside of units, the best way of keeping this guy alive is to balance the chances of getting splatted in combat against those of getting fried with a spell such as Uranon's Thunderbolt. Inside units the shaman also runs the chance of not being able to cast due to a failed Animosity test and thus I tend to keep him outside of units unless there is something particularly to fear in the opposing army.
On a boar: Not a compulsory option, but quite good value for the points. The extra mobility is probably of more interest than the extra armour save, while the Strength 3 / 5 attack and extra point of Unit Strength is only of interest if the Shaman is in a unit, something he will tend to be more often in 7th edition.
With a good variation of units and a heap of equipment options, Orc units offer the greenskin player a great amount of choice. Not all may be very good value for the points, but there are plenty who are very nice.
Along with Wolf Riders and Spear Chukkas, Orc Boyz are a semi-compulsory
choice in the army list. Very good for their cost, so good that you would think
they've been deliberately underpriced so that people would take more of them,
Orc Boyz armed with either choppas and shields or two choppas are the backbone
of a standard greenskin army. With around three decently large units of these
guys as the basis of your army you have some very cost effective units you can
build the rest of your army around, adding fast cavalry, chariots, artillery,
Goblin infantry and Trolls depending on preferences. Decent unit size is around
25 to 30 guys and they do well with a fighter character to lead them, for
example a Black Orc character on a boar.
Orc Boyz can also by used in smaller units of 10 or so as supporting units for your larger fighting units, as a replacement for Goblins. Such units tend to do best with additional choppas and a musician, but have the disadvantage over Goblins that they can cause Panic in your larger fighting units (though not in Black Orcs). For this reason, when my support Boyz get charged, I usually hope that a lot of them get killed so that there are 4 or less remaining, which means they can't cause Panic in anything else.
Big 'Uns: For the price of a unit of Big 'Uns you can have the same-sized unit of "normal 'uns" and an equally large unit of Goblins with whatever reasonable combination of equipment you might desire. Personally I prefer the latter and don't really consider the cost to upgrade the unit to be really worth it anymore. On a decent-sized unit you are paying 100 points or more to upgrade a few attacks per turn and get the option for a Magic Standard. As normal Boyz get Strength 4 in the first round of combat with choppas anyway, I save the points for more units instead.
Additional choppa: One of the top two options - alongside choppa and shield - particularly for those units who you hope to be charging with (i.e. those led by a Warboss or Big Boss, plus smaller support units). You are stuck with a 6+ armour save, but +1 attack with the +1 Strength bonus in the first round of combat is very good for such a cheap model. Against units that are less capable in combat, two choppas are even better than a spear and shield when the unit is charged, a situation you might think the spear was better.
Spear: Considering the improvements to the choppa in this edition, spears only tend to make a difference in the second and later turn of a combat, provided that the Orcs would not get to strike first (which admittedly they rarely do). If the combat only lasts one turn, then the extra Strength and either extra attacks or extra save of Boyz with either two choppas or choppas and shields tend to do better. The irony is of course that by choosing the spears and hoping to do better in the second round, you will end up doing worse in the first round of combat, which decreases the chance of there even being a second round of combat, since you are more likely to run away.
Shield: Orc Boyz now get the extra armour save in close combat granted to models fighting with a hand weapon and shield. Even better, they also get the +1 Strength in the first round of combat. I would rate this option marginally higher than the option for additional choppas, as the lower cost and better armour save means that you can get a unit that is both larger and more resilient (and, of course, by being larger you get even more resilient - twice the bonus). Remember that you can also choose to equip models with additional choppas with shields, in which case they get the extra armour save against missile fire and can choose which combo to use at the start of each combat (though they must continue to use that combo each turn in that combat, they cannot choose something else, should the combat last for two or more turns).
Command options: Support units should be issued a musician and nothing else, unless you really have a lot of points to spare, in which case you may consider a Boss as well. For your main combat units you will want full command options. Should you decide to make the unit Big 'Uns, then any of the four Magic Standards available to Orcs are worth it.
You must realise that whatever qualities Orc Arrer Boyz possess have nothing
to do with the 'Arrer' part. They are an okay unit because they are Orc Boyz
(very good) who have bows (not particularly good) and not the other way around.
Arrer Boyz have never been particularly impressive, though currently they are
at least rather less useless than they used to be. Sixty five points gets you
ten Arrers with a musician and there is a limit to how useless a sixty-point unit can be. The
problem is that a unit of ten normal Orc Boyz is fifty points and for the extra
ten points you get bows which only half the unit is every likely to use, while you
cannot choose any other weapon or armour upgrades. That is not a particularly
good deal and Orc Boyz with shields tend to be a better buy than Arrer Boyz.
They fight better (the only good thing about Arrer Boyz are their combat
ability) and will probably kill as many enemy models with missile fire as the
Arrer Boyz will. That being said, small units of Arrer Boyz are not all
that useless and can be used as cheap support units on the flanks of
other units (particularly Black Orcs, due to the Size Matters rule). More
ramblings about the failings of greenskin missile infantry can be found in my
article on Greenskin Archery.
Command options: As with all greenskin units, musicians are great and cheap. Standards are more dubious to me, the unit will probably not be in combat very much and you always run the risk of some half-decent enemy unit breaking them, effectively earning himself more than twice the Victory Points he would otherwise have gotten. Lastly we come to the Orc Arrer Boy Boss, the best archer champion in the game when it comes to combat. He is not, however, any better at actually shooting and I have always managed to resist the temptation to take one.
In 6th edition this unit was quite unimpressive for what it did, and I was
hoping that in the 7th edition army book they would receive an improvement. In
a way they did get this, as the new Animosity rule greatly increases the chance
of getting an extra move, but most of the other army-wide rules alterations
tended to benefit infantry or other large units. In fact, when the Waaagh! is
called, Boar Boyz could be in serious trouble if they rolled a 1, since D6
Wounds would be a heavy blow to this rather expensive unit. On the other hand,
Boar Boyz benefited little from the new Waaagh! rule (due to not having much of
a rank bonus) and not at all from the altered choppa rule. If the designers had
seen fit to keep the Orc Boar Boyz at their old cost of 18 points per model,
then I believe they would have been okay. But they didn't; they increased the
cost of the unit to the level of 6th edition Orc Boar Boy Big 'Uns. This
further reduced the benefit of the new rule changes, as it became even more
expensive to get a rank bonus (and thus a benefit from the Waaagh!) and losing
D6 models was even more of a problem. Argh, argh, argh! I guess the reasoning
is that when they underprice the Orc Boyz (as they quite clearly have done),
they have to overprice other units to make up for this. Bollocks!
As it is, Orc Boar Boyz are a bit all-or-nothing in this edition (here's hoping for a cost reduction in 8th edition!) and probably need the assistance of the army General if you are going to get much out of them. This means that you don't need a large unit to get a bonus move with the Waaagh! and no risk of losing models due to an unlucky squabble. Of course, any greenskin unit becomes significantly better if joined by the General, and you will get problems should you want to have him somewhere else instead, or field two units of Boar Boyz.
Orc Boar Boyz thus suffer from being a not terribly good Special choice in an army with a lot of better Special choices. They have quite miserable armour for a unit with pretensions towards being heavy cavalry, as well as unimpressive Leadership, Weapon Skill and Strength. In my opinion, if you want things that move fast and hit hard, take chariots instead. Or, if you must have Boar Boyz, take Savage Ones.
Big 'Uns: Not only did they raise the base cost of the unit to match the old Big 'Un cost, they doubled the cost of the Big 'Un upgrade. Not really worth it, especially since one unit of Boar Boyz can take a Magic Standard, regardless of Big 'Un status or not.
Considering that both Wolf and Boar chariots are now equally limited, I have
started using the boar-drawn version a lot more. It is quite an orcy vehicle -
tough, slow and hard-hitting. It is a lot more resilient than the Goblin
version, being twice as hard to destroy with most weapons (below Strength 7)
and very unlikely to be blown away by a single magic missile. Boar Chariots
work very well in support of the infantry and a Boar Chariot charging in to
support a decently large unit of, say, Orc Boyz will give you both quite a few
kills and quite a high static Combat Result from the ranks and outnumbering
bonus provided by the Boyz. Should the enemy unit break, then the Boar Chariot
gives me another pursuit roll on 3D6, leading to a very high chance of running
down the enemy unit. Since chariots cannot make march moves it has problems
keeping up with cavalry units (unless they are willing to slow down) and they
are usually less suited to this role. As with any chariot, it will not be able
to defeat decently tough enemy units on its own unless you are very lucky,
though it can plow through more fragile enemy units, such as missile troops
deployed in only one or two ranks. Two chariots together, on the other hand, can
take on quite nasty units and defeat them.
Extra crew: I have one problem with this upgrade and that is that it is quite difficult to fit three orcs into the plastic chariot model. It is otherwise a quite good option, but not an essential one.
See also my article on Greenskin Chariots.
I am not personally a great fan of special characters and I must admit that the only one I find to be really interesting in the current army book is Skarsnik, due to his special rules that affect the whole army.
This legendary special character (he had rules in 5th edition, but not in
6th) gets a model for the first time ever, as well as a more developed set of
rules. Having a higher Leadership than any other greenskin as well as a better
range that units can use it within obviously makes him interesting. He even has
the sense to ride around on a boar, which we all know is a very sensible option
in this edition. That does not mean that you should use him to lead a unit of
Boar Boyz, and he might do a lot better leading a mainly infantry force, from
the safety of a decent unit of foot sloggers.
The Good: Leadership 10 and a re-roll of Break tests within 18" means that most of the army should keep moving the right way. Being able to strike first is always a good thing for a fighter character and means that it is reasonably safe to put him in a unit of Orc Boyz, where he is more likely to get charged.
The Bad: Special effects turn into a disadvantage as soon as he takes a Wound. Considering that he has only a 3+ armour save and no Ward, this could happen more easily than you'd like.
The Dull: Being allowed to upgrade any number of Orc units to Big 'Uns is not very attractive, considering the high cost of it in this edition.
Azhag is the most powerful 'regular' Orc fighter of them all and counts as
a wizard to boot. He is mounted on a Wyvern and is certainly not amongst the
abusive special characters in the game. As in the previous edition he is a sort
of pseudo-Black Orc, in that he has the increased WS and heavy armour that only
Black Orcs normally get, and he can reduce the effect of Animosity like a 6th
edition Black Orc character. Happily he no longer insists on being the General.
As with any Warboss on a Wyvern, he
The Good: An Orc that uses Death magic (heaps more fun than in 6th edition, when he just used the Little Waaagh!). The Lore of Death has several spells which go well with a character on a flying monster. With five attacks at WS7 with a re-roll to hit, he will almost certainly hit.
The Bad: Stupidity. A Strength of 'only' 5 means that it can be difficult to convert those hits to Wounds. Not terribly well protected against enemy missile fire, which is especially bad considering that he might suddenly decide to go Stupid for a turn. Spells from the Lore of Death tend to be quite difficult to cast for a second-level Wizard.
The Dull: Not many other units will be within the 6" needed to get a re-roll of 1s for Animosity tests. His Wyvern is just a normal Wyvern.
(Rules available from the GW website. At the time of writing he is
unofficial and has not been updated for 7th edition)
Unlike Azhag this guy is somewhat unique. He's an odd mix of Hero and Lord with quite decent stats and equipment. While he's not too expensive he does take up two Hero slots, which none of the more recent special characters do.
The Good: Four Strength 5 attacks hitting at 2+ or 3+? Nice! Three wounds makes up for his lack of a decent armour save and as said before he's not too many points or character slots. Hatred of Dwarfs just add to the damage. Coming with a Magic Resistance is not too shabby either.
The Bad: Only a 4+ save and no Ward makes him easier to wound than any other Orc special character.
The Dull: The model is very hard to get hold of. Unofficial rules.
One might not think of Orcs as typical mercenaries, perhaps due to the difficulty of finding anyone with enough teeth to pay them with.
(Printed various places, most recently in the Storm of Chaos book)
Being a remake of a 3rd edition unit, the Armoured orcs give the greenskins access to a unit with crossbows and heavy armour, led by a Big Boss. I have tried out this unit, to get a chance to use my old Orcs with crossbows, and although they did nothing very impressive, they were okay. For a shooty unit they are very expensive (Ruglud doesn't shoot any better than other orcs), and they are not all that impressive in combat. I would not use more than 10 or 12 models in total, but they are a nice addition to the army every now and then.
Ruglud: A normal Big Boss with a crossbow and a not too impressive armour save, taking the Armoured orcs gives you a decent fighter in a unit you'd otherwise probably never have thought to place a Hero. On the one hand, Ruglud's presence makes the unit a lot more resilient, but on the other hand he makes the unit quite a bit more expensive.
The Arnoured Orcs: As with most missile units in this game, the Armoured orcs are not exactly cheap. For twice the cost of a normal Arrer Boy you get +1 to you armour save and crossbows instead of normal bows. Not very impressive. The unit also comes with an additional War Banner carried by a Goblin. Considering that the banner is lost if Maggot is slain, it's a good thing he has a Ward save in addition to his heavy armour. Still, he's not a lot harder to kill than the normal orcs in the unit and care should be taken to kill those who might threaten him. The special Animosity of the unit would have been worrying, had the orcs been better shots.
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