Sneaky Ogres ?
When People think of Ogres in Kings of War they generally tend to think about the "Gucci" troop choices , Siegebreakers, Chariots, Grokagamok and such , but due to the Lockdown in the UK and the general lack of playing opportunities apart from Online I have been experimenting over the past year with different list builds for Ogres with a view to using something different in the 2022 Tournament season.
So Welcome to the first of these Blogposts where I share my musings on the different types of troops I have tried and how they worked (or didn't) against a varied number of opponents.
The First of these articles is about an Ogre troop type that I love the models for , Ogre Hunters.
I first ran Hunters at the Four Foot Snake Tournament in 2019 , just a single Horde was taken as I had bought and painted the models , they performed ok but the army as a whole was just a hodge podge of models I had liked the look of and thrown together. The next outing for the Hunters was to be the Battlemasters event in Loughborough in the September of 2019 , the Hunters were teamed with Goblin Spitters in the Grokagamoks Hunters formation and the Army also included the "Hell on Wheels" chariot formation and a Woolly mammoth , the Hunters proved their worth when fighting in difficult terrain but their low Defence tended to let them down against both shooting and combat. The Hunters were then shelved in favour of other troop types in my continuing quest for Mahou Ogre world domination.
Roll on Third Edition of Kings of War and a paradigm shift in the balance of the game , shooting armies were out , big blocks of infantry with phalanx helped to curb the excesses of cavalry a touch and a change to the post combat rules signalled that changes were in the air .
The Stat box above is for the Horde version of the Hunters , I rarely use regiments of Large infantry ( except for the obligatory Berserker Regiments , but that is for another article) and so I have no experience of Hunters in anything other than Hordes.
The first thing that springs out for the Stats as compared to standard Ogres is the Speed of 7" , this makes the Hunter hordes very attractive for an aggressive Ogre Army as it allows more manoeuvrability over Bog standard Ogres , this , coupled with the Pathfinder special rule they have means Hunters can push up the table and take positions in difficult terrain more easily than the usual Warriors or even Siegebreakers , leaving the Hunters free to choose Magic Artefacts to enhance their fighting ability rather than just keep their stats safe from hindering. Items such as the Blessing of the Gods, Brew of Strength or even Hann's sanguinary Scripture can serve to boost their combat damage output or just to keep them in the fight for the long term. Hunters also have the wonderful Ensnare rule , this means anybody fighting them from the front will be at a -1 to hit them in combat , couple this with their affinity for difficult terrain and you may find an enemy engaging them at a distinct advantage , sometimes this alone is enough to prevent them being charged and allowing them to dictate the odds in a fight. They also have the option of taking "Crocodogs" for 5 Points, this little item allows them to re-roll up to three natural 1's on a combat roll once per game , so a bit like a miniature "Elite" for one turn , I always take this as I roll loads of ones and at least it makes me curse less occasionally.
Like any Ogre Horde they do have the disadvantages of being large enough that virtually any shooty stuff can draw line of sight to them , this again is a good reason for them to stick to difficult terrain for the lovely cover it can give them, especially as they are only Def 4+, so careful deployment and movement with use of covering chaff , such as the lovely lads of the Red Goblin Scout Corps, can be really important in making sure the Hunters get to do what you pay them for.
I like to support the Hunters with a finely tuned team of very supportive Ogre Experts, initially I used an Ogre Army Standard Bearer with the Lute of insatiable Darkness as the lynchpin of my Hunter Brigade ( I always at least double up on the Hordes , running one in isolation can be frustrating to an Ogre Warlord so they now run in pairs , or more recently , threes to make the most of the synergy and spread the love) The Army standard Bearer provided the inspiring needed by the Hunters , he also helped by (attempting) to Bane Chant the Hunters to help them overcome tough foes , I say attempting because as most KoW players know the 2 dice of Bane Chant provided by the Lute will fail more often than it succeeds. But help was at hand , the nice Rules Council and Mantic Games designers provided the Ogres with an almost perfect solution - Nomagarok !
This Paragon of Ogre Warlockishness is Inspiring , comes with Bane chant(3), Heal(4) and Lightning Bolt(4), This makes him ideal to support the Hunters as the presence of hordes of Ogres ( Hunters Included) gives him +1 to his casting dice up to a max of +3 so he can boost up his Bane Chant to 6 dice , Heal and Lightning to 7 and if he Bane Chants or Heals a Horde they then get Vicious(Melee) for the next turn due to his Bloodlust Special Rule , Outstanding Chap !. Just recently I have been trialling an allied Goblin Wiz with Weakness on a Fleabag , the idea behind this is that the Wiz can cast his weakness on any unit that is threatening the Hunters to make it even less of an attractive proposition to charge into them, as this is still a work in progress I will update my opinion on this Idea in a subsequent Blog post.
Other options include the use of Boomer Hordes to flank the Hunter formation ready to blast any flankers or the use of Ogre Warlocks with Drain Life to hover around the Hunters inflicting chip damage on engaged enemy whilst bolstering the Hunters themselves, Warlocks are also good for the initial volleys of Lightning bolts they can use to clear away chaff that might otherwise be used to distract the Hunters as they close with their prey.
I have also found that the increased movement of the Hunters opposed to the movement of their supporting units isn't as much of an issue as I thought it would be , the Characters can generally keep up within the 2 or 3 turns of manoeuvre that most KoW games involve before the fighting gets serious, plenty of time for only slighty slower but Nimble Ogre Warlocks to get into good positions and as for the Goblin Wiz on Fleabag .........
Time has run out for now but there will be more musings soon