Ogre Kingdoms Tactics: Special
Well everyone, this is now our 200th post and we're still going strong, thank you everyone for reading! I'm going to talk a bit about the Special section of the Ogre Kingdoms book, and it is probably my favorite. Since a few of these units can be so versatile, I am going to give an overview here and go into further detail on them in the future. The Special section of the Ogre list offers a wide variety of units, all of which can be deadly in their own way, and I don't think that any of them are a bad choice.
Leadbelchers hold a special place in my heart. For the price of an Irongut, you are getting an Ogre with what is essentially a D6 shot handgun, which suffers no penalties for moving and shooting or multiple shots. I used these a lot in the previous book, where their gun had a limited 12" range, but now they've been increased to 24" and don't have to reload! The new rules for 8th edition regarding missile weapons allows you to fire these in two ranks, which now adds a lot of versatility. For a narrow frontage of 2 models you could have 4 firing, which will be an average of 14 shots... not bad for some ogres!
Typically, I either run them in small units of 4 with a 2-model frontage, or as a bigger block of 8. They are unable to stand and fire, but when they're a big unit of 8, they are still very deadly in close combat. Keep them advancing with your army, pelt the units that need to be ground down (Whitelions, Executioners, etc.) so that your main combat blocks, or even the Leadbelchers themselves can have an easier time in combat. There aren't really any special tricks with the Leadbelchers, as they are a pretty straightforward unit, but that doesn't mean that they aren't deadly.
This is one of those units that a little article like this wont do justice. Maneaters are an incredibly versatile unit, which can be anything from a monster close combat block, to character snipers or scouts. I'll go over them a bit more in detail in my next article, but for now I can tell you that whatever you want to do with them, make sure that they are fully specialized. If you want a unit of scouts, take a smaller unit that is either stubborn or immune to psych, if you want a nasty combat block, go with a unit of 6 with additional hand weapons in the front rank, great weapons in the back rank and probably the flaming banner, you can either go with stubborn, poisoned attacks or swiftstride to get you in combat faster. I'll go over all the combinations I've tried in my article about Maneaters, in the meantime, I suggest trying out a bunch of combinations and see what fits your army best.
The Sabretusks of yesteryear are long dead, and thank god. Now you can pick them up in units of 1-10, without any pesky hunters. There are a few different ways to run them, though the most effective I've seen is taking 2-3 individuals and have them run around the edge of your army, charging into lone characters or warmachines. For 21 points, killing a warmachine, or at least tying it up for a couple turns can make a huge difference in the game. The major fault of Sabretusks is that they are LD4, cannot use the General's Inspiring Presence nor the BSB's Hold Your Ground special rules... Ouch! The only character that can join them is a Hunter, so if you're going to take a unit of more than 1, you're probably going to want a hunter so that they don't run off at the first sign of trouble, but then you're also increasing their points drastically.
The Sabretusk also have the Running With The Pack special rule, which allows them to have Vanguard as long as the Hunter is part of the pack, and it also gives the Hunter Swiftstride. This can be used as a nasty tactic by taking a single Sabretusk to catapult your Hunter across the board, allowing him Vanguard and Swiftstride so long as the single Sabretusk is alive. I have toyed with the idea of taking a bigger unit of Sabretusks (6 or so) with a Hunter, but since they are Warbeasts, they will only grant a single supporting attack, and with a hunter, that unit is going to cost at least 256 points (2 points less than 6 Ironguts).
These are the black sheep of the Ogre Kingdoms book. One more point than a Leadbelcher or Irongut gets you an unarmored model which moves incredibly fast on paper actually looks pretty decent. They're faster than a normal ogre with M7 and Swiftstride, with an impressive I4 and S5, in addition, enemies have -1 WS when in base to base contact. So why does everyone think that they're so bad? The first reason is that they have no armor at all. The second, and much more important reason is that they are Flammable! With everyone out there running the Banner of Eternal Flame, unless you're playing an open list game, you may have the unfortunate experience of being burnt to the ground by any army you face.
If you're like me and enjoy giving the "bad" units a try, I have to strongly suggest taking the Rock Eye when using Yhetees, for 5 points you can hopefully identify the unit with the Banner of Eternal Flame before they end up eating your Yhetees.
These are the other popular kids in the Special section. When it comes to the ability to take punishment and deal it out, nothing in the game comes close to the Mournfang Cavalry. At 60 points base, they're an okay unit, but after you upgrade them to have Heavy Armor and Ironfists, you now have a 2+ save (and 6+ parry) unit that does 4 S5 and 3S4 attacks per model! Top that off with D3 S5 impact hits and an extra S5 stomp in each round, it is no surprise that many Ogre players have come to swear by this new unit.
I prefer to take mine in units of 4, and since one unit of them can take a magic banner, I always oblige, either with a Dragonhide Banner for some added punishment, or even the simple flaming banner so that they can eat up trolls and take down hydras (who doesn't like a little BBQ?).
Some armies I've seen take 3 units of 4 Mournfangs, and while this is a pretty nasty thing to have to face, Mournfangs are not invincible. When using them, avoid anything that is S5 or higher, as they will demolish your save, and with only 12 wounds for a full unit of 4, you don't have as much staying power as you may think. That said, if you manage to get in combat against S3 spearmen, you are going to have a grand time, crushing dozens of foes every turn and making taking a wound back.
Mournfangs also have the ability to take Great Weapons, which is something that I haven't personally tried, and while it does sound like an interesting prospect, losing your 2+ save and parry seems very dubious. Maybe when I build my third unit I'll do great weapons just because they look awesome.
The unit which was once ever present in the previous book has unfortunately become almost completely ignored. The Gorger is largely unchanged from it's previous incarnation, except that its ambush rule has changed slightly for the better, so why do we not see them as often as we used to?
The answer is simple, we don't need them. In the old OK book, Gorgers were necessary to fill gaps that nothing else in the book could, they were warmachine hunters, flankers, redirectors and tarpits all in one. Now the OK book has new options to perform all those tasks, so sadly the Gorger does not have much of a place. With all that said, are Gorgers a bad unit? Definitely not, they now have a greater chance to come in earlier in the game, and if you don't have any other way to hunt warmachines, they are not a bad addition.