I've been meaning to get to a post about Ogres in the latest edition of Warhammer, but Trent “Hammer” Denison has beat me to it with a post of his own on his blog Stop, Hammer Time. Read his thoughts, come back, and I will lead you through my own thoughts on my favorite fatties (with a bit of commentary on Trent's commentary).
All set? Okay, here we go... to put it simply Ogre Kingdoms in 8th edition WHFB are better all around. Don't believe me? Well let's go over some of their major weaknesses in 7th and see how they stack up this time around:
- Small army size: Yes your armies of Ogres will likely still have less units in 8th but the overall effectiveness of each unit has increased with abilities such as Steadfast and Stomp attacks, not to mention easier access to ranks for you Ogre units. You'll probably still be outnumbered but without the Outnumber rule to doom you to static CR death you have a better chance to winning each fight you encounter.
- Magic and shooting attacks: In some ways the bullseye on your Ogre heads has gotten even larger when it comes to these attacks but we have new ways of dealing with them - mainly Gut Magic! Access to a Slaughtermaster greatly increases the effectiveness of your Gut Magic while also increasing your magic defense by virtue of his +4 to dispel attempts. Throw in buffs that stack and you have a chance at building some really nasty Ogre units. Also, in most cases you will be able to get into close combat on Turn 2 which is where Ogres are safest from these types of attacks.
- Out and out speed: Remember the funny little game of chicken you always had to play with your Ogre units when facing down a line of cavalry? Well not anymore! Now that both units move 2d6" you stand a much better chance of slamming into that unit of knights before they ram headlong into you. Better yet, with a longer charge range possible for your enemies you are more likely to get off a devastating Bull Charge as well (since they won't always have to be as close to get their infantry charge off).
- Maneuverability: Another huge deficit for Ogres in 7th edition, the addition of the Swift Reform rule has made Ogres much more maneuverable overall in 8th edition (also making bellowers even more mandatory for each unit). Being able to quickly reform and then move is a massive boost to the wide frontage most Ogre units bring to the table. Learn to love it, and use it as often as needed!
- Lack of static CR: In 7th edition it was quite hard for Ogres to play the static combat resolution game. With the addition of smaller ranks in 8th it has gotten a little easier. Throw in the necessity of a BSB, and scenarios that reward units with standards, and suddenly your Ogres have a little bit of static CR of their own to throw around. It's not the greatest out there but it is certainly better.
- Average to low leadership: The changes to BSBs in 8th makes even the crappiest Gnoblar capable of so much more! With a Tyrant and BSB in your list (and likely a Toothcracker or two making their units Stubborn) you face a much lower chance of failing most any leadership test that comes your way. A great thing for an army who was previously so prone to panic checks ruining a close game.
- Low Weapon Skill: Not a lot can be done about each Ogre's crappy WS stat - the good news is the new stat to have is Ini and Ogres suck at that too! Instead of complaining about not being able to hit anything you can complain about not having a chance to hit anything even after you charge in! But seriously, the addition of support attacks from back ranks of Ogres, and the Stomp Attack for all Ogres, has greatly increased the effectiveness of all Ogres. Still not the best, but absolutely better.
So there you have it, a few of the biggest weaknesses the Ogre Kingdoms had in 7th edition and how things are looking up after the release of 8th. I mentioned at the start of this post that I would leave a bit of commentary on Trent's thought regarding Ogres, but let me get one thing out of the way before I start.
I think Trent is often the best part of Podhammer, especially when it comes to list building and creating interesting synergies. For example - I blatantly ripped off his Warriors of Chaos Exalted Hero on a disc and changed it a bit into my own beloved build (see my Malal army for more details). While I respect his opinion on matters related to this game my thoughts on the state of the Ogre Kingdoms are just a bit different. I'm not going to repost everything on Trent's blog so if you are wondering what the hell I am talking about you should go read his post first.
On Tyrants - flying 4+ ward save builds are fun and all but as the heart of every Ogre army I find he is much more valuable near the center of the force. His leadership is needed to make the BSB really shine, and his ability to crush most RnF troops is an added bonus when dealing with more attacks coming in from basic infantry. I also think that in general the GW is a waste of time. I much prefer the CLS for it's boost to WS and Ini. Combine that with a potion or a Bullgorger (or two) or even the Giantbreaker big name and you have one mean fat summabutch.
On Slaughtermasters - Grut's Sickle? No. Just no. With a 4+ to cast and a basic casting cost of 3+ what the hell could you possibly need that +1 to a spell for? Not to mention the cost of a Bull putting each use at a meaty 11 to 12 points. If you want a crappy +1 to a spell just take the equally worthless (but cheaper) option of Tooth Gnoblars.
On Hunters - yes they are still not as good as they should be. I would consider taking one if he could be the BSB, but the changes to the battle standard bearer have made it almost mandatory for all lists to include which means less points available for the poor Hunter. I think he may still have a place in some lists but I haven't found one for him in mine (yet).
On Gnoblars - 40 Gnoblars is still just that; 40 Gnoblars. The changes to thrown weapons have greatly decreased their effectiveness, and while Steadfast is cute it won't matter much when your opponent is killing 20+ a turn with their own attacks. Not to be overlooked, but I certainly won't be putting 3 units of 40 in my lists. Kudos for mentioning the awesomeness of Trappers!
On Bulls - for slightly less points you get what is basically the same as a unit of Ironguts. Add in light armor and ironfist and you have a much more resilient Ogre that is still cheaper. If you want the high strength attacks there is always Bullgorger. Don't overlook the original in favor of their flashy brothers in blub.
On Ironguts - attacks coming at Ogres tend to be high strength which usually negates one of the big advantages these guys have in heavy armor. Striking last isn't that big of a deal (since they are base Ini 2 anyway) but their crappy WS still makes it hard to hit elite infantry. Good shock troops but I don't see much advantage to ranking these guys up (with the exception of their higher Ld and ability to carry a magic banner). Without characters backing them up the Ironguts are just a bunch of Ironwimps.
On Yhetees - they are still crap. You are absolutely right.
On Leadbelchers - overall I would say there is even less reason to take these guys in 8th. With the changes to reforming units it makes it much harder to keep these guys in a position of power. Their role in 7th was to support with flank charges and deal with incoming flank threats. Swift reforms make this much easier for Ogres without spending the massive point cost for a Bull with a crappy cannon. I don't see them living in my lists very often.
On Scraplaunchers - you say it is too many points for a chariot, and too many points for a stone thrower, but what about a unit that is both!? Not to mention the large blast template with S3 and KB!? I am pretty sure most armies would kill for something like that. Imagine the Empire with a weapon that was S3 and KB. Sure it can be unpredictable but if you are already planning on taking 3 units of 40 Gnoblars I think you know how valuable something like the Scrappy can be. With horde units being more prevalent I say don't leave home without it!!
On Gorgers - they are bad and have only gotten worse in 8th edition. Most things will be able to quickly reform and blast them off the table before they ever get into combat. With more attacks coming in once it does make it T5 and 4 wounds will only last so long. Now if it had Thunderstomp...
On Maneaters - certainly not as strong a choice as they once were, I think there is still some value to be had here. Take a small unit, add a character or two in front of them, and BAM ... instant ItP, Stubborn, and awesome support attacks. If you are running a solo (non-flying) Tyrant try throwing one with a GW or CLS behind him for laughs.
On Slavegiants - don't be so quick to overlook this choice. He still has the highest Ld in the OK army, and with the addition of Thunderstomp he can really wreck small units of infantry. Worst case you take one to give your main unit of Ogres a break from being shot to bits by artillery for a turn or two and benefit from the Giantbreaker big name.
Besides the things listed here I agree with the rest of Trent's overview, and I too would say the Ogre Kingdoms fall somewhere between a Tier 2 and Tier 3 army. Hopefully a new book this year will put them firmly in the top tiers eating the small fleshy ones!