Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WHFB: Are Orcs and Goblins Terrible?

Amid all the debates about tiers and which armies are "good" it seems that most people rate Orcs and Goblins very low, usually in the bottom tier.

I don't claim to be an expert on Orcs and Goblins, but it seems to me they have the tools to be a competitive army.  

Let's see what strengths they have...
  • Night Goblins with Fanatics.  This is a fantastic, cheap unit.  They can shoot really well due simply to throwing a ton of dice at their target.  And if you try to charge them with an expensive unit it will get smashed by Fanatics.  So long as you don't do something stupid, like run them in one or two huge hordes, these are absolutely excellent core choices.  Multiple units of 20 are the way to go.
  • Black Orc big bosses are good, cheap, killy characters to give leadership to your low leadership gobbos.
  • Night Goblin big bosses are cheap enough to buy 5 of and have the entire first row of a NG unit be characters.  Since your opponent has to allocate close combat attacks individually, and they are multi-wound characters who will take several attacks to take down, they are one of the best tarpits in the game.  Plus the do have slightly above average stats so they will be doing some damage back to anything they fight.
  • Dirt cheap warmachines.  They can take several bolt throwers, rock lobbers, and doom divers.  All for very cheap.  Their machines aren't as good as Dwarf or Empire, but you get a heck of a lot of them, and throwing a lot of pie plates around will do a heck of a lot of damage.
  • Cheap, killy chariots.  With chariots getting buffed in 8th, being able to take significant amounts of killy chariots give the army a much needed fast wing that is capable of delivering hard charges.
  • Excellent anti-magic.  Between the Staff of Sneaky Stealing and the banner that lets you use your ranks as a bonus to dispell, they are one of the best armies for anti-magic.  This works well, since their large units are especially vulnerable to magic.  They are one of the only "horde" armies that have significant anti-magic ability.  Remember, the game is balanced so that magic is beats hordes.  Orcs and Goblins trump that, by being a horde that isn't afraid of magic.
  • Cheap magic.  Orc and Goblin offensive magic isn't that great, but their miscast table isn't so bad.  The plus side, their mages are cheap.  Unlike other armies, you don't have to spend 25% of your points on magic to be effective.  This means you can take a L4 and two level 2 and still have plenty of points left for the killiness.

So for all these strengths why are they so shit on?
  • Animosity.  Essentially 1/6 of the time your units won't do what you need them to do.  This randomness can strike at the worst time.  It's a relic of the old "Orcs are funny and stupid, not good" game design that punished people for playing Orcs.  We can hope this changes with their new book.  So long as you don't play stupid with your Orcs (like running a Black Orc Deathstar, or a 60 strong night goblin horde) and play MSU, this shouldn't be a huge deal.
  • Weak special characters.  Orc characters are overpriced and crappy.  There is no Teclis or Archon in this book.
  • Weak cavalry.  Orc cavalry sucks.  You need to use chariots to mitigate this, but the fast remains they are not a "fast" army.
  • Lack of good scouts/skirmishers.  Combined with the lack of good cavalry this is a significant problem.  Well actually, I should say it is a problem if you try to force that play style.  

Lastly, Orcs are not Empire.  You can't copy the Empire template for list design and put in the Orc equivalent units and wonder why it doesn't work as well as Empire. Play to the Orc strengths by loading up on the things they do well: warmachines, cheap/killy heroes, cheap wizards, good anti-magic, solid core units, and cheap chariots.  Ignore the things they suck at: cavalry, giant hordes of crap units, and deathstars.  

Call me fucking crazy, but O&G is a solid army.  They may not be as good as High Elves, Skaven or Dark Elves, but Brettonia they are not.

1 comment:

  1. I concur. I played a goblin army with my lizards a while ago and those damn fanatics mauled my saurus and the cheap bolt throwers murdered a steggadon very efficiently. It's definately not a crap army.