Friday, July 17, 2009

Ogre Kingdoms - Basics for Beginners: Magic Items & Big Names

Here is the (much delayed, sorry) final installment in my Basics for Beginners: Ogre Kingdoms articles. DISCLAIMER: I don't claim to be the end all be all of WHFB knowledge but I do know what works (and what doesn't) for me. There are many different tactics available to a warhammer general, but less so for an Ogre one - your mileage on these items may vary.

Ogre Kingdoms - Basics for Beginners: Magic Items & Big Names


Most OK Generals only use a couple of these Big Names, and even then they are used for very specific purposes, often in combination with other Magic Items.

Kineater: A very defensive upgrade. Rerolling panic checks within 6" is nice but if you are rolling a panic check you are probably already in a bad spot. Can be good when playing with a lot of low leadership troops or a deathstar of some sort.
Strengths - Good at keeping your General on the table.
Weaknesses - Only really useful for one, maybe two units as Ogres are quite wide.

Mountaineater: Pretty bad. High cost, limited use saving throw.
Strengths - Good at avoiding cannons and bolt throwers.
Weaknesses - Pretty much all it can do.

Longstrider: Movement 7 is almost always a good thing.
Strengths - Great when used in combination with flank charges. Good for outrunning opponents if you have to break/flee. Can make a Tyrant a mini-monster that runs around with a large weapon.
Weaknesses - Only useful on lone characters which makes them a shooting/magic target.

Giantbreaker: Not all that useful, but +1S can have its advantages if you already have a Slavegiant in your list.
Strengths - Makes you hit stuff harder.
Weaknesses - You can't flee or refuse challenges. There is also the "hidden" cost of requiring a Slavegiant in the army. +1S isn't always that great in a high strength army (but taking this allows you to get to the quite ridiculous S9).

Deathcheater: Terrible.
Strengths - Makes your opponent reroll their rolls to wound.
Weaknesses - That is all it does and it only does that once a game.

Beastkiller: The name says it all really, this big name is for those that like to go Monster hunting.
Strengths - Immune to Psych and the multiplied wounds make this a must for those facing down a lot of Large Targets.
Weaknesses - Doesn't work (or stack) with Magic Weapons.

Wallcrusher: Pretty crappy. Just +1 impact hit.
Strengths - Good for some scenarios I guess.
Weaknesses - It doesn't add this impact hit bonus to a unit with the Character in it.

Mawseeker: A good upgrade when used in conjunction with the Jade Lion. +1T makes Bruisers and Tyrants much harder to kill.
Strengths - You're Character is one tough mutha.
Weaknesses - He is also one Stupid mutha. It can be risky and put you in bad positions if you fail your Stupidity check.

And with the Big Names covered we can move on to the Magic items.


Just the OK ones, not counting any of the Common Magic Items. 3 are useful and 2 are not.

Thundermace: A tricky weapon to use effectively, the Thundermace is often overlooked in favor of the Tenderiser. The potential damage output is good, but it can just as easily be a no hit wonder.
Strengths - Plenty of potential damage with the small blast template at S4 (and some S8 fun too).
Weaknesses - Rolls against the highest WS in a unit which can make actually hitting units with Characters difficult.

The Tenderiser: AKA "The Standardiser" for its prevalent use in many Tyrant builds.
Strengths - Great for killing multiple wound models.
Weaknesses - Against RnF it is just an expensive Great Weapon. Can be xxpensive to use on a Bruiser making it more appealing to Tyrant builds.

Siegebreaker: One way of dealing with high WS but low to average Initiative models and units.
Strengths - Adds +3 to S and it works well on a Butcher, putting him into Chariot smashing territory. Great for smashing things with no Initiative. Allows the ridiculous S9! Wonderful for smashing Steam Tanks.
Weaknesses - Against low WS but high Initiative troops it can be quite worthless.

Skullplucker: 30 points for killing blow. What a deal!?
Strengths - You get killing blow.
Weaknesses - You lose your Ogre Club, and only get killing blow for 30 points.

Bloodcleaver: Only used on Butchers, and then only if you are desperate.
Strengths - It can get you a wound back. Can be okay when equipped on a Slaughtermaster with their higher WS but that means 3,000 point games.
Weaknesses - You have to be in combat with your Butcher to use it and the Butcher already has a spell to get back wounds. If you want your Butcher in CC take the Siegebreaker for 5 points more.


A lot of specialty type equipment, some of which is mostly useless. Buyer beware!

Mastadon Armour: A second chance at life with 1 wound but it will cost you.
Strengths - You have a chance of not dying.
Weaknesses - Your chance is on a 2+ and you only get back one wound, and the wound had to be caused by something that wasn't in close combat. Basically you are paying 50 points for Heavy Armor with the possibility of saving the wearer.

Greatskull: Magic mayhem that combines with other armor.
Strengths - Another line of magic defense and good in combination with some items.
Weaknesses - It is costly and it is not guaranteed to work.

Bullgut: Unit Strength buff on the charge, makes Bull Charge hits AP for the bearer.
Strengths - Good with Longstrider if you want a quick flanking model, stacks with other armor.
Weaknesses - Pretty minimal usage given that any good player will avoid being flanked or allowing a Bull Charge.

Gut Maw: Armor that stacks and heals for those going Character hunting.
Strengths - Good to use against characters that can be killed and have to accept a challenge.
Weaknesses - You have to kill your opponent in a challenge to get the benefits.

Greedy Fist: Armor that stacks for those going Wizard hunting.
Strengths - Magic offense/defense in the same package, great for bringing solo wizards down to earth. Great for eating magic weapons, especially high cost big effect ones.
Weaknesses - Only useful against Wizards and Characters with magic weapons. Doesn't work as well without a Ward or Regen save to back it up.


2 good, 2 not as good.

Cathayan Jet: Some magic defense against very specific types of magic.
Strengths - 3+ Ward Save is nice.
Weaknesses - Only useful against the base lores and it costs a lot.

Spangleshard: Random save that isn't as good as a Ward Save. You feeling lucky?
Strengths - You can nullify incoming wounds.
Weaknesses - You have to roll high.

Wyrdstone Necklace: Standard equipment for the character you want to live.
Strengths - 5+ Ward Save provides some extra insurance, especially when combined with a Luck Gnoblar or other magic armor.
Weaknesses - Crappy roll at the start of the game results in a wound.

Gnoblar Thiefstone: Magic resistance (1) for each stone gives plenty of insurance against incoming magic.
Strengths - Just 1 is often enough and you can stack them up to 3.
Weaknesses - Stacking can be costly, has to be on a character that isn't wearing the Wyrdstone.


2 essential, 3 not so much.

Hellheart: One way of getting a lot of magic off your back.
Strengths - Can blow up enemy wizards real good.
Weaknesses - Can also hurt you as they roll on the Gut Magic miscast table, one use only, your opponent can just decide not to cast the turn it is used.

Grut's Sickle: Stab your expensive Ogres to get one extra casting dice per magic phase. Not worth it.
Strengths - You may get off a gut magic spell.
Weaknesses - You have to cause a wound on one of your Ogres that can't be saved in any way. On a normal Bull that is about 12 points per dice, and it could easily kill one, causing a panic check. Your opponent could still dispel it, and you could still miscast. What a deal!

Halfling Cookbook: Minimizes the damage you might take from 3 Gut Magic spells.
Strengths - If you are casting these 3 spells a lot it can save you some wounds. Good in a Skrag list.
Weaknesses - For the point cost you could just buy a Bangstick or Dispel Scroll which are slightly less situational.

Bangstick: Bound spell magic missile.
Strengths - D6 S4 hits can really mess up blocks of troops or fast movers. Bound spell can draw out dispel dice each turn.
Weaknesses - Power level 3 can easily be dispelled on most turns. You have to be out of close combat to use it.

Skullmantle: Look scary and make things run away.
Strengths - Make things run away with your -1 Ld modifier.
Weaknesses - Won't do much against units with high leadership, immune to psych, or those near their general.


Like most of the OK magic items there are some real stinkers in here.

Brahmir Statue: Good if you want to make Chaos or Skaven run away.
Strengths - Can stack with Skullmantle for a -4 save which is pretty nasty.
Weaknesses - Won't do much against units with high leadership, immune to psych, or those near their general. Will of Chaos negates this negative to an extent.

Daemon-Killer Scars: Tyrant only Terror.
Strengths - You cause Terror.
Weaknesses - You already cause Fear and it doesn't cost you a bunch of points for it.

Greyback Pelt: If you don't have Yhetees you may find a use for this.
Strengths - Move through terrain and -1 hit aren't good enough for you!? You can stack it with Longstrider for some extra fun. Combined on a character with a Cathayan Longsword you can really mess up elite WS troops.
Weaknesses - You can't have Yhetees in your army.

Jade Lion: Re-roll psych tests.
Strengths - Used in conjunction with Mawseeker you have one tough mutha.
Weaknesses - If you fail one test it goes bye-bye.

Rock Eye: Good in really competitive/closed list environments I guess.
Strengths - Gives you a heads up for anything you can't see.
Weaknesses - You learn about hidden stuff and magic items, but not who has what.

Fistful of Laurels: Keep your expensive stuff from running away.
Strengths - Gives you a second chance for one bad roll you make.
Weaknesses - One use only and you still might fail by making another bad roll.


WARNING! Some of the worst magic items known to WHFB players are located within. Buy at your own risk!

Dragonhide: No.
Strengths - Just no.
Weaknesses - Everything. The highest point cost magic banner we have gives you ice magic immunity. That should say everything.

Rag Banner: Roll a crappy version of cold-blooded on panic checks.
Strengths - Can help keep your expensive units stay on the table.
Weaknesses - Still pretty expensive for what it does.

Cannibal Totem: Hatred (plus) against 40mm bases that keeps you from overrunning.
Strengths - It can help you kill other Ogres and 40mm sized units.
Weaknesses - How often does that come up?

Bull Standard: Make your Bull Charge impact hits count.
Strengths - Gives you another chance at killing things.
Weaknesses - You have to get a Bull Charge off with a unit that has the banner. May only come up once or twice a game if you're lucky.

Rune Maw: Slightly useful magic "defense".
Strengths - Something else gets blasted by magic (maybe). Makes taking Gnoblars a little bit better.
Weaknesses - Still a chance you will get blasted and it only redirects towards friendly units. Doesn't work for spells which do not directly target the unit carrying the banner.

And there you have it. The end of my first Basics for Beginners: Ogre Kingdoms series of articles. I hope I have helped some new OK player out there in some way. I know what a dauting task it can be to make choices for an army list without solid experience backing it up. If you have thoughts and opinions of your own for any of the magic items available in the OK army books I would love to hear them! Leave a comment and we might all learn a thing or two about Ogres.

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