Ogre Tactics: 'Guts vs Bulls
Once, a long time ago, you had a requirement of 1+ bulls, but that is no more, now you are free in your decision to take Guts or Bulls! Today I'm going to go over the two units and why you should take one over the other.
Ogres are a wall of meat, fists and fat, boasting the fairly impressive stat line, they move fast and hit hard. At a mere 30 points a piece, each model is dishing out 3 S4 attacks, and now they come with light armor! They have 2 equipment options, neither of which are particularly expensive, your choice is either an additional hand weapon or an ironfist (basically a shield). Standard command options, though unfortunately no magic banner.
Ironguts are a bit more costly at 43 points a model, each one comes equipped with a great weapon and heavy armor, meaning they're going to dish out more damage and take potentially less. They also have normal command options, but they also get the ability to take a magic banner, which is extremely important to remember.
When we compare the two units, we need to understand their respective place on the field, as well as their point cost, a fully equipped bull is 25% cheaper than their Irongut counter parts, so you can basically get 4 Bulls for the cost of 3 Guts. I'm also going to be discussing small units (3-4), medium units (6-8) and hordes (18) of each so we can see where the two compare at those levels.
A unit of 3 Ironguts is going to cost you just under 130 points, and you will get 9 attacks at S6 wrapped inside of 9 wounds and a 5+ save; alternatively, you can get 4 Bulls with Iron Fists, who will have 12 S4 attacks, have 3 extra wounds and still have the 5+ save and 6+ parry. Offensively, the guts will deal 3.75 wounds against anything T3/4, provided they don't suffer any wounds first, and the Bulls will deal 3 to T4 or 4 to T3, as well as one additional impact hit over the Ironguts. When dealing with a unit this small, unless you have a very specific target with high armor and low attacks, I think the Bulls always win.
Now we are down to units of 6 Ironguts vs 8 Bulls. Meaning 18 S6 attacks and 3 S5 impacts vs 24 S4 attacks and 4 S5 impacts. Against T4, the bulls are dealing 7.166 wounds on the charge, while the Ironguts weigh in at a whopping 9.5, though when dealing with lower toughness, the Bulls are hitting for 11.33 wounds and the Guts for 10.5. That's actually a pretty marginal difference, and when you factor in armor (5+), that 11.33 wounds on the Bulls is reduced to 9.4, while the Guts are unaffected. The Bulls can take more punishment with the extra parry and wounds, but even for the same point cost, the Guts just take the cake in combat.
A horde of Ironguts is a terrifying sight, and for the same amount of points you could get 24 Bulls! I wouldn't recommend a unit of 24, but a unit of 18 plus an extra unit of 6 isn't a bad idea. Lets pretend that you're fortunate enough with your horde fully in combat and they charged, your Bulls will deal 18.5 wounds vs T4 and 23 against T3. Ironguts however in this kind of volume are dealing 27 wounds against either T3 or T4! When it comes down to sheer hitting power, the Irongut horde will probably butcher anything in it's path, if you put in the Flaming Banner then very little will be able to stand up to you. Now lets talk price tag, 18 Ironguts is starting at 774 points, which could very well be 30% of your whole army, but the Bulls are only going to run you a modest 576 points, still expensive, but only 23% of a 2500 point army.
I've tried playing with both the Gut horde and the Bull horde and honestly, while the damage the Guts deal is impressive, it is hard to justify spending nearly a third of my army on a single unit. When you're running a Gut horde, it will become a Gutstar, and basically dictate the whole way your army plays, while if you're taking a Bull horde, you will still deal a ton of damage and be able to withstand a gruesome amount of punishment. Of the two, I now prefer the Bulls, since they allow me to still have a flexible army with multiple hard hitting units, instead of just the one.
Take the Bull by the Horns
I know that Bulls is now an antiquated term, but I don't care, I still love them and want to give them the credit they deserve. For both small and large units, I think the Bulls win every day, they are just so much cheaper now that for a large unit, they aren't terribly expensive and for a cheaper unit, you can still get a fair number of models on the board. I still do enjoy my guts though, but they are mostly mitigated for mid-sized units where they can deal a lot of damage without taking a huge chunk from your budget.