The new Ogre Kingdoms book if finally here! And for the two of us that actually played their previous book this is exciting news. This is designed to be an in depth BOLS type review based on first impressions. This is my first Codex/Army Book review, so let the criticism fly.
Ogre Kingdoms is the third army book written exclusively for 8th edition and like the Tomb Kings and Orcs & Golbins before it, it manages to become something new and better without breaking the curve or becoming the Blood Angels of WHF (just kidding BA players, but not really
). Now admittedly an Ogre army from the previous book coming face to face with an army from this book would proceed to wet itself in fear, and rightly so. The new book introduces many new units while rewriting old ones to fit better with the current rules.
The problem with the previous book was an abundance of over pointed and underperforming units. This resulted in very cookie cutter armies. Your typical Ogre army was a Tyrant (eqiured), and either a Slauhtermaster (8th edition) or two butchers (7th/6th edition) for command. The rest of the army would typically be Bulls, Ironguts, Gnoblars, and Leadbelchers. In 8th edition Leadbelchers were phased out. This has all changed. There are no useless units in this book, although some units do perform tasks better than others (but also cost more points). And you are no longer required to have a Tyrant lead your army (he got lazy and wandered off?). But enough of my ramblings on the old days, lets get onto the new.
Ogre Kingdoms opens with a group of Gnoblars playing in the setting sun as a lone Rhinox frolics through the meadow… just kidding. Ogre fluff is just what you would expect, its quick, bloody, and to the point. Ogres are big, mean, lazy, very hungry guys. The fluff makes this clear many times and goes into detail about supposedly important battles they have fought and a lot of focus on Greasus Goldtooths rise to power. The fluff on some of the new named characters is pretty neat. On the down side, the fluff on the Mournfangs is a copy paste of the old Rhinox fluff with the word Mournefang substituting for the word Rhinox. On the up side, Draigos fluff is not in this book.
ARMY RULES & GENERAL STUFF
For those of us used to the previous army book, there will be quite a few things to get used to.
First Ogre Clubs and Cathayan Long swords are gone.
Ogres still inflict impact hits, but strength is determined by ranks instead of models behind the impactors. Also a high charge roll will result in more impact hits instead of just one.
Iron Fists can no longer be used as an extra attack, they are simply shields. But they maintain their full functionality even when the model wielding it is mounted.
Pistols and Braces of Pistols are solid shooting options and also confer an extra attack in assault.
All non-wizard ogres come with at least light armor equipped out of the box.
All standard upgrades are cheaper than in the previous book and command options are HALF what they were in the last book.
Core selection in OK is small but effective. With only 3 units to choose from core will most likely be similar across almost every army
Ogre Bulls are now simply Ogres. Ogres and Ironguts are exactly the same as the previous book, just cheaper. Ironguts are still just Ogres with great weapons, heavy armor, and magic banner access. Both units are solid hand to hand choices and both will probably be seen in every Ogre army.
Gnoblars are a ½ point more expensive (yes I am serious) but are otherwise mostly the same with one exception. That exception is the trappers are gone and are now simply an upgrade for a standard Gnoblar unit. The trapper upgrade is nuts though and should probably be on every unit. Gnoblars are much more a preferential core choice, (after all Nobody Likes A Gnoblar) than the two mentioned above. Still they are pretty handy and can cause unexpected damage and mayhem.
OK now have 6 special units to choose from including two new ones. This section of the list will probably see the most competition and define the role of the rest of the army.
First are the Leadbelchers. They are cheaper, a lot cheaper. They no longer roll an artilary dice for their random number of shots, so they get less…but they don’t explode. Also they can fire every turn now, so you do the math. But wait, there’s more, their range has doubled and they suffer no multishot or move and fire penalties. All in all, I would say they have gone from a meh unit, to a great fire support team.
Item number 2 are the ManEaters. Now clocking in at a little over half their previous point value, these adventurous, pirate, ninja, samurai, start the game with two special rules of your choosing from a list of 8. Want a unit of Stubborn ogres with Swifstride?, their yours at no extra cost. Also man eaters are the only unit in the book (maybe even game?) that can form a complex unit, selecting different equipment for each model. They however must wound wounded models first if possible to avoid abuse. Over all an excellent, although somewhat pricy unit that can hit your enemy in unpredictable ways.
The Sabertusk Pack comes in next. They counts as war beasts with a Move of 8, 2wounds, and 4 attacks. They have a pretty low point cost as well. They have special rules when being joined by a hunter. They however have terrible leadership (worse than Gnoblars, ouch) and a max unit size of 10. So unfortunately this unit probably won’t get much use without hunters to back their terrible Ld. With the Hunter however they might be very, very good.
Yhetees are back. They are faster and stronger than normal Ogres and also more points. They are flammable now and lost their magic weapons, but their presence inflicts a debuff on enemy troops. Final word is a fast strong unit that wont be fielded in bulk due to a high points cost.
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be hit by a bulldozer riding on top of a steam roller? You’ll find out if your on the receiving end of a charge from the new Mournfang Calvary unit. With Mv-8, D3 impact hits (at S-5), 4 attack at S-5 and 3 attacks at S-4 per model…I think were done here. They are pricy though at twice the points of a normal Ogre naked. Good luck getting some kind of surprise charge off with these guys though, their very presence on the table is about as subtle as a train wreck…on a boat. Mournfangs are the hardest hitting and toughest calveryi n the game, but they cost more points than Blood Knights. Almost a must have though if only for the cool factor.
The last special unit in the book is the infamous Gorger. Not only did this model have terrible rules, and a ridicules point cost, it was also one of the ugliest models GW ever made, making it a triple feast of failure. The new version still uses the same model, and actually went up in points. However it lost all its penalizing rules, got some really good new ones, and has a stat line rivaling that of a naked Bruiser. Overall it’s a strong single model, but being by itself will make it vulnerable.
Ogre players now have 5 rares to choose from each one fulfilling a different role in the army. 3 of these are brand new too!
The Scraplaucnher took a hit. It fires as a normal stone thrower, but its S-3 even in the center and it lacks the multiple wounds rule. It does however have killing blow and can move and fire. This unit is amazing if your good at rolling 6’s if not, its still a move and fire template.
The 2nd rare choice is what I like to consider the Scraplaunchers big brother. I am of course talking about the Ironblaster. The short version is that it is a cannon on a chariot drawn by a Rhinox and piloted by an Ogre. And I guess there a Gnoblar there for good measure. It can move and fire, it has the mother of all grapeshot’s (I am serious, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT let this thing get close enough to grapeshot), and it has special bounce rules. Who would have thought that Ogres of all people would have a cannon that’s better than the Empire Great Cannon, but expect to pay for it.
The Giant is back. Its more expensive now because it’s a full fledged giant instead of a slave giant. I think that says enough.
The Stonehorn comes in at number 4. Its big, its mean, and its really tough. But that’s all it really has going for it. It gets a lot of impact hits, but gives up its normal attacks to make them. The model looks astounding though. While I don’t think that its too good on its own it might be great if taken as a mount for the Hunter.
The Thundertusk is my personal favorite of the rare choices. It has three shooting attacks. A stone thrower, a harpoon launcher, and a bear trap on a rope/chain (that one has killing blow). It also provides a nasty penalty to all enemy models within 6”. The model looks every bit as good as the Stonehorn. All in all its an amazing support piece, but it will cost you more points than a Sphinx.
Ogres now have 3 new Hero choices, two of which are named. Each fills a different roll in the army.
The Bruiser is still just a bigger Ogre that can also serve as your BSB. He’s had a points deduction bat his stats and equipment access are the same. He’s really good and he’s your only BSB option, so expect one in every army.
The Hunter is just as reclusive as ever. He has the highest BS in the book (that’s not saying much though) and he has some ranged options to take advantage of it. He is a loner so he can only join Sabertusk Packs (but benefits from doing so). He can also take a Stonehorn as a mount. He will be a must for people who like the beasties.
The Butcher is still the Butcher. He can be a level 1 or 2 mage. He’s immune to poison. He is also very cheap points wise. He is a great buy for anyone who wants magic in their army.
The Firebelly wraps up our list of non named heroes. This guy is nuts. He can be a level 1 or 2 wizard (lore of fire only), he inflicts flaming attacks and has protection from flaming attacks, and he has a breath weapon! Did I mention that he’s also an Ogre. He’s more expensive than the Butcher, and has lower spell selection, but can cause much more mayhem in combat. Overall an outstanding caster choice.
The first named hero is THE MOST FAMOUS OGRE OF ALL TIME, Golgfag Maneater. Okay so he has not seen print since the mid to late 80’s, and he also wasn’t even mentioned in the last army book, and you’ve probably never heard of him, but he’s still THE MOST FAMOUS OGRE OF ALL TIME. He has an amazing stat line but costs as much as a naked Tyrant. He has special rules for team games. His main thing is that prior to the game you get and randomly determined number between 20 and 120. This is the number of points worth of magic items you can equip Golgfag with…for free! Golgfag will make a fun but randomly reliable piece in any Ogre army.
Our last hero is Bragg the Gutsman. He can be really nasty normally, but his true strength comes out during challenges where he gains HKB and inflicts additional penalties on the unit he is engaged with if he wins said challenge. He is a very interesting piece but might not see much play out side of armies built around him.
Ogre Lord choices are the same as the last book and really have not changed that much.
The Tyrant is the biggest non character Ogre in the book. He’s a little bit more pricy than his previous self. He is a must for anyone who wants a really fighty general.
The Slaughtermaster is a bigger, better, more expensive Butcher. As a level 3 or 4 mage he is our strongest (non character) caster. He can also be your general now. Take this guy if you want a casty lord.
Skrag the Slaughterer is our first named lord. He is a level 4 wizard, has a stat line comparable to a Tyrant and gives multiple boosts to Gorgers including letting them come in 2 man units. He has a function similar to Epidemios in that for every model he kills he and all Gorgers get cascading bonuses. As a piece whos main purpose is making underused pieces better, he probably wont see much use. For those of you that like Gorgers, this is your guy.
Greasus Goldtooth is the last unit in the book. As the Overtyrant he is the biggest Ogre you can have. His stats are as big as he is, and so is his points cost. But he can effectively alleviate your need for a BSB. Goldtooth mights be worth every point in an army composed entirely of cheaper units (Ogres, Ironguts, Leadbelchers, Gnoblars, and Sabertusks), but probably wont do to well in armies utilizing the bigger stuff.
BIG NAMES AND MAGIC ITEMS
Like Orks & Goblins and the Tomb Kings the Ogre magic list has shrunken significantly. And unfortunately many of this items including old favorites are too expensive to take effectively.
Mawseeker is the same as it was before (+1 toughness + Stupidity), just 4 times more expensive.
Wall crusher is twice as much.
Kineater is lets you re roll panic tests with 6” and is fairly priced.
Mountineater makes it so you always need at least a 3+ to wound the bearer.
Giantbreaker is +1 Strength plus a penalty and a hefty price tag.
Deathcheater is like the tricksters helm, but one use only with a base to base model.
Longstrider gives +1 movement.
Beastkiller gives bonuses against large targets unless you also have a magic weapon.
Brawlguts gives a bonus to impact his and as the cheapest big name costs half an Ogre.
Thundermace gives the weilder the Sphinx thundercrush attack but leaves you with almost no points.
The Siegebreaker is a great weapon that strikes against initiative and gains bonuses against models in buildings. It also leaves you with almost no points.
The Thiefstone gives you magic resistance 2 and a random item from a table of 6.
The Greedyfist can destroy magic weapons and gives a strength bonus plus a ward save.
Gut Maw is magic heavy armor than can recover the wearers wounds in challenges.
Gruts Sickle is a terrible clone of the Scrificial Dagger that costs twice as much and can get the weilder killed.
Hellheart is 100% situational. In optimal conditions, it can end the game, on the other hand it could be a complete waste of points.
Rock Eye is a dirt cheap item that lets you see where fanatics and assassins are hiding. May or may not be useful depending on how many people are playing Dark Elves and Orks.
The Rune Maw banner is stupid strong spell protection for the unit but only against spells that directly target the unit. Costs 2 Ogres.
The Dragonhide Banner is crazy good. The unit carrying it re-rolls all ones during the assault phase on the turn they make a charge. It also gives the bearer a breath weapon that on top of normal damage inflicts always strikes last on the enemy unit hit.
Out of all the Big Names and Items, I think the ones that are most useful for their points (and the ones you will see on the table most often) are (in no particular order): Dragonhide Banner, Rune Maw, and maybe Giant Breaker.
You might occasionally see Rock Eye, Hellheart, Gut Maw and Kineater. But I think those will be used less due to their situational use.
I don’t think you will really see much of the others at all unfortunately, mostly due to insane points cost.
Ogre magic users (other than the Firebelly) have access to the following Lores: Heavens, Beasts, Death, The Great Maw. If you employ Ogre mages (again besides the Firebelly), one of them must have the Lore of the Great Maw.
The lore of the Great Maw is full of mostly augments that target a single model of every unit within x inches when boosted. The lore attribute usually heals the caster and boosts his casting ability, but occasionally injures him.
Signature Spell – grants Stubborn
1 – Magic Missile
2 – Strength boost
3 – Toughness Boost
4 – Panic Test
5 – Regeneration
6 – Magic Vortex
All in all it’s a pretty good lore that can give your Ogres just what they need to win a fight they couldn’t on their own.
The new Ogre book brings Ogre up to the bar letting them fight toe to toe with other armies of different fronts. With units like the Mournefang one of their key strengths (speed) has been made even better. Cheaper units let them put more models on the field and maybe not be wiped out in one turn by war machines. Furthermore points reduction, combined with new units and tweaked rules have opened up a potential new option for Ogres; a super mobile Ogre gun line. In closing to those of you who stayed with the Ogres through the good and bad, and to those of you just joining the kingdom I feel I should leave off with an oddly appropriate line from Metal Gear Solid:
“Laugh, and grow fat.” (Fat Man)