Ogre Kingdoms Tactics: Rare meat
Welcome back to another look into the Ogre Kingdoms army book, today I'm going to talk about our Rare choices. There are only 5 rare choices in the OK book, but each one of them offers it's own unique flavor of usefulness, and 3 of these are completely new to the army!
First up we have the venerable Scraplauncher. It has seen a significant price reduction since it's previous incarnation, about 20% if memory serves me correctly. This warmachine stuck on a chariot works much like a stonethrower, except it has no bonus for the center of the template, but has the Killing Blow special rule. There is a lot of complaining since the previous version used the 5" blast, but with the lack of partial hits in 8th, loss of the tempermental rule, the increased strength and reduced points, I think that the Scraplauncher is still a perfectly valid choice. When using the Scraplauncher, keep it moving along the flanks of your army and don't be afraid to charge it into combat, often times the S5 impact hits, plus the Rhinox attacks can really help tip a hard fight in your favor. The downside to the Scraplauncher is that while it is nice to have a stonethrower, especially with Killing Blow, it is rare that Ogres need more help with anti-infantry, they've got that down pretty well in combat.
Next up we have the lovely new Ironblaster! This unit is very similar to the Gnoblar Scraplauncher in that it is both a warmachine and a chariot. Most ogre players have fallen madly in love with this unit, and for good reason, adding a cannon to the ogre army (one with a very reliable bounce at that), gives the ogres a chance to deal with serious threats, long before they're stuck in combat with you. I typically always field one of these, though lately I've been trying out two and haven't been disappointed yet. Like the Scraplauncher, these work well when advancing down the sides of the board, and when there isn't a super juicy target, charging into combat to help out is always a good choice.
Oh the giant... I personally like them, but unfortunately that's not enough for me to take them very often. They are very hard to break in combat, being LD10 and Stubborn, but often they do not deal enough damage for me to justify their cost. They are slightly vulnerable, having T5, but their W6 tends to keep them in the game for a while. Giants are not a terrible choice, but often times, you'll want to spend your rare points on something more impressive.
Now we're talking, the Stonehorn is a beast of destruction with no peer in the Ogre Kingdoms army book. This monster (like the Thundertusk) has an impressive S/T/W 6, as well as 5 attacks, add frenzy on to that and you're getting really mean. Something nice to consider about the Stonehorn is that the whole model is frenzied, this includes the rider, and as such, is immune to psychology until beat in combat, so no worry about having your lone Sabretusk killed within 6" of it. The best way I've found to use this monster is to advance up flanks, preferably behind terrain that will help protect you from cannon balls, then have it charge into the flank of anything it can reach. On the charge, it's going to do 3-12 impact hits, plus 4 rider attacks and D6 thunder stomps, because of all that, it is rare that it will lose the first round of combat, meaning the following turn you're doing 6 attacks, plus the rider and thunder stomps. This monster is perfect for any army looking for a nasty close combat threat.
This is my favorite monster in the army. For the same price as a Stonehorn, the Thundertusk lacks much close combat ability, but in exchange offers a wealth of versatility. Typically I place a Thundertusk behind a unit, or right next to one. When behind a friendly unit, the 6" Numbing Chill should reach most of the enemy's front two ranks, letting the ogres it is supporting attack first and hopefully do some meaningful damage. When facing wider units, it's not always a bad idea to have the Thundertusk charge in with the unit that it is supporting. This will add 10 attacks to your combat, as well as D6 stomps, in addition to making the enemy all around it strike last. Even though the Thundertusk isn't quite as mean as the Stonehorn in combat, it is still no slouch, so don't turn down a good charge when it comes your way. The last thing I have to say to the Thundertusk is about it's Sphere of Frost-wreathed Ice. Adding a stonethrower to the army on such a versatile unit only helps cement it's place in my list, and is a large part of why I rarely use Scraplaunchers.
There we have our rare choices! You could potentially run a pair of Scraplaunchers as well as a pair of Leadblasters to go with an artillery line ogre list, or as do as I prefer and take a couple of the big nasties instead (one Stonehorn, one Thundertusk).