I like doing army lists. I used to complain, quite rightly I believe, that too much of victory or defeat in WHFB and WH40K was decided at the moment of army building, rather than at the level of gameplay tactics and that a good game system should be one that make all units, and almost all combinations of units, playable, but I still spent a lot of time trying to make good army lists. It has been many years since the last army list I built and I must say it was a real, if a bit nostalgic, joy to find the time to sit down and do a list again.
The purpose of this list is also to act as a global painting project for my Orcs and Goblins army. I want a playable but not necessarily a highly competitive army. I am privileging a balance between what I want to paint and what is viable in the game over both sheer competition and pure fluff. This is many ways respects my original attitude as a kid. Would I be doing the same now with a completely new army project? No, I would probably go for a highly customized themed army. (If I ever have time to do something like that, I will do it in grande stile with the Tyranids / Byzantine Marines matching armies.)
Here’s a link to the combined rule-set + army list 9th age all-in-one compendium that you would need to make deeper sense of the following, in case you wanted to.
The first element of the list is going to be a big bus of cave goblins (9th age name for night goblins), with a cave goblin battle standard bearer (for the time being, I’m planning to use the rackham guy in heavy armor I have already painted, with a banner planted on the base).
45 Cave goblins (120 + 150). Spears & shield (45). Full command (60). 3 Mad gits (195). Banner of discipline (35): 605.
Cave goblin chief (70). Battle standard bearer (50). Light armour with Pan of protection pinchin’ (30). Heavy weapon (10), Lucky charm (10): 160.
I want to go with a close combat block with spears over the probably better option of a horde of common goblins with bows for a series of reasons: being 9th age slightly more objective-oriented than WHFB 8th edition, I need big scoring units with some staying power; I can now use such a huge mass of bodies to block line of sight and protect mages without necessarily having them inside a bunker; spears now grant an agility bonus (new name for initiative) when charged and with the cave goblins natural 3, it means that they will have agility 4 both when defending and when charging (charge gives a +1 agility), making them strike before a good number of units in the game; mad gits (fanatics), though having been “nerfed,” are still prodigious if used correctly. In short, I think I will be able to use this as a surprisingly strong defensive unit, effectively capable of holding a centre objective on its own and, with the help of some spells, grind head-to-head (well…) with regular infantry units and even crush trough small elites. In order to help them cope with their discipline problems they will host a Goblin Battle standard bearer and receive a Banner of discipline which, in combination, will have them automatically pass panic tests and decimated test (old 25% casualties test). I may go ham and give them nets for a good chance of reducing one enemy unit’s strength by 1, but at 90 points, I think the upgrade would be more efficient for a smaller support unit at a lower price. The unit should not be in combat most of the time anyway and when it does, it is going to be either against other tarpits or being supported by spells.
Second entry, two cave goblin mages, each of a different way of magic:
Cave goblin witch doctor (150). Wizard Adept, Thaumaturgy (75) [h, 3]. Crystal ball (25): 250.
Cave goblin witch doctor (150). Wizard Adept, Witchcraft (75) [3, 4]. Rod of battle (60): 285.
Cave goblin witch doctors, as they are called, are a bit pricier than witchdoctors from other goblin races due to their magic mushroom rules – twice a game a 5/6 chance of subtracting a d3 to the enemy dispel roll. The rules are not great, but the ‘shrooms might still mess up the opponent’s magic phase from time to time and, more importantly, I want to use cave goblin models. In square brackets you find the spells I am planning to use more often (you can now choose the spells you want): 3 of thaumaturgy, “Speaking in tongues,” allows you to cancel the enemy’s battle standard reroll or general discipline upgrade on one unit; h, stands for the hereditary spell, which is the specific Orcs & goblins spell “Bring the pain,” allowing you to reroll failed hits against the target enemy unit; 3 of Witchcraft is “Twisted effigy” and prevents an enemy unit within 36” from using shooting attacks (!); and finally number 4 is the excellent “The wheel turns”, which makes attacks made by (and allocated against, at a higher casting level) rank and file models in the target enemy unit hit and wound on 4+ regardless of characteristics. Rod of battle allows you to cast a bound spell that grants +1 to hit in Close Combat, another useful buff, and Crystal ball allows you to draw a different flux card for the magic phase (basically reroll how “big” the magic phase is going to be). Btw, there are no dispel scrolls any more.
Next, another core, the unit I am painting at the moment:
34 Common orc ‘eadbashers (230 + 323). Hand weapon & shield (34). Full command (60). Stalker’s standard (50): 715.
Yes! They are not going to be 60, they capped the unit of ‘eadbashers at 35. They are not going to be deployed as horde but rather as some kind of anvil: the new rules for hordes are completely different: units in this formation now lose rank bonus and gain fight in one extra rank, meaning that it is a formation for elites not for masses of cheap troops – not a bad change, but they need to find a better name than “line formation” for it, imho. Hand weapon and shield now grants Parry, which means +1 defensive skill (WS is now split in offensive and defensive) or, at least as much defensive skill as the enemy’s offensive skill if yours is originally lower. Tanky (but the bonus is negated by paired weapons, one of the very few rock-paper-scissors dynamics in the system). ‘Eadbashers have a natural Strength 4 and gain +1 Strength in combat as long as they win combat and have more ranks than their opponents (the rule is called “born to fight”). The Stalker’s standard gives them Strider, which allows them to pass dangerous terrain tests and prevents them from losing their Steadfast or rank bonus while in terrain, which keeps them viable as anvils in any situation.
In the unit, I am going to put my general, a common Orc warlord:
Orc warlord (220). War cry (45). Axe of Shady Shankin’ (70). Heavy armour with Tuktek’s guard (55) : 390.
Tuktek’s guard gives him +1 Resilience for Resilience 6 and immunity from lethal strike, and the Shankin’ enchantment gives his weapon lethal strike, magical attacks and lighting reflexes (+1 to hit), at strength 6 until the unit loses born to fight, plus rerolls to wound in duels. May have to give him an invulnerable save, though.
Going on with the hordes, a big nasty 24 strong gnasher (squig) herd:
24 Gnasher herd (150 + 210): 360.
These die like flies but are brutal. Having many many other bodies should help me keep these safe until they have a chance to chew through some elites…
Similar unit, but targeted against regular troops, a 24 strong unit of savage orcs:
24 Savage orcs (175 + 44) (48). Paired weapons (24). Full command (60). Mammoth stabber (25): 376.
To be put, like the herd, in line formation, so that they can fight in an extra rank. The mammoth stabber is there just in case they have to face a monster or monstrous infantry – plus, as you will see, for modeling reasons. The new fury rules make them a little bit more controllable, but harder to rally, they are weaker in defense but gain an “exploding dice” dynamic by which every 6 to hit turns into 2 hits.
Giants are now less random, so it’s a good idea to include one, especially since I don’t like the idea of using Gargantulas (what was the name, Arachnarok?) – the big spiders – without a single forest goblin unit in the army. So:
Giant (290). Giant club (30): 320.
Chaff is going to be a mix of units with a little punch so that they can hit other chaff pretty hard if needed:
5 Common goblin raiders (120). Light lance & shield (5) (5): 130.
5 Common orc boar riders: 140.
Orc boar chariot: 170.
And, finally, the staple war machines, which will help me deal with monsters a little – something I would not really be equipped against otherwise:
2x Git launchers (180). Orc overseer (20): 400.
Splatterer (180). Orc overseer (20): 200.
I have still 7 points to spend, and may want to play around with characters and enchantments a little. But more or less this is the project for the army. Still a horde army, but with the cave goblin horde done (save for the bases), the gnasher horde almost finished and the ‘eadbasher horde on its way I’m kinda hopeful.
Feel free to ask questions about the 9th age if you have any and I’ll answer to the best of my knowledge. From the next post on I will concentrate more on the hobby itself – no long text-heavy post is due in the foreseeable future!