Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy: Heroes of Moria

And after a VERY long hiatus, we're back! When I left off in the underground discussion last time, we talked about some of the units that the Goblin army has and this time, we're going to talk about the heroes - and while we're doing that, we're going to look at some terrain updates since then. There are many, MANY heroes in the Moria & Angmar sourcebook for the Moria list. I'm only going to talk about heroes that I own by highlighting how to use supporting heroes and combat heroes.

Support Heroes

Durburz, Goblin King of Moria:
Durburz was my first Goblin hero and he compensates for one of the Goblin's worst attributes: low courage. A Goblin army that fields Durburz should keep something in mind: Durburz' greatest contribution to his team does not occur until after your army is broken. Since most Goblin units are Fight 2, you will be losing a lot of fights and quite possibly will take many casualties. Durburz' 12" Stand Fast! helps keep units in the game longer and can lend some muscle in a pinch.
Durburz should remain in reserve for most of the game unless he is facing enemy rank-and-file units with Fight Value 3. Against Fight Value 4 units, Durburz will only win 50% of the ties, which does not give him the dominance you would expect from a hero. Against higher Fight Value heroes/units, Durburz' chances of winning fights are not very good at all and so lining him up to fight is not a good idea.

Using him in tandem with the Cave Troll, however, can be a powerful team. A Heroic Combat by Durburz while he is in the same fight as the Cave Troll can all but guarantee that the two villains win their fight and ensure that the foe is killed after the fight. After this, Durburz can slink away behind the battle lines while the Troll romps on into the foe's army. With the new Monstrous Attacks rules from the Hobbit SBG rulebook (see the "House Rules" tab for what Hobbit SBG rules have been added to the LOTR SBG canon), performing a Heroic Combat is not as necessary for the Cave Troll, but this maneuver still ensures that "Suicide Bob" dies, instead of being simply by-passed. In the above case, the Cave Troll could choose to wound the Khazad Guard against his Strength value instead of his Defense value, which would result in wounding on 3s instead of on 5s, all but guaranteeing that the Khazad Guard dies. Both the Troll and Durburz can then rush Balin and give him a good run for his money.

Groblog, King of the Deep:
Groblog is another Goblin king (just not from Moria). While Durburz can cast a 12" Stand Fast, Groblog helps Goblin shamans by improving their Fury save roll to a 5+ instead of a 6+ as long as he is alive (more on that later). Groblog was first tested here at TMAT at The Hunter's Red October 2012 and let's just say that as soon as I saw him in action, I began a conversion effort. I have since found that while he does slightly raise the resiliency of an army, his greatest benefit is his 3 Might points. Goblins are woefully short on Might, which means that Heroic Combats in tandem with Cave Trolls, calling Heroic Moves, or even winning fights is really tough. Groblog's Might store (and Durburz' too) is a welcome boon for any Goblin player in order to accomplish these tasks. Keep in mind that the greatest hindrance of Groblog is that like Durburz, he won't be killing many people - you have him in your army for the Fury saves, so count how many saves are made on a 5 during the course of the game to see if he's worth it.
Moria Goblin Shaman:
The Goblin Shaman also helps mitigate the weaknesses of the Goblins. The opening rounds (if your opponent can volley) will be spent targeting your Defense 4 units (if he has Strength 2 bows) as they are your weakest units. With the shaman on the main line, he can make sure that your center remains strong under enemy fire. After some fighting, the shaman further helps your troops by keeping them from running. Since Goblins have average Strength and Defense values, keeping them in the field allows you to continue to deal damage against an opponent.
The other benefit of the Shaman is found when your force is broken. The Fury spell says that any Goblin hero or warrior automatically passes any Courage test he needs to take (including the Shaman himself) if they are within 6" of the Shaman. This means that when your heroes need to take Courage tests (with the best rating being a Courage 4 with Durburz), you definitely want them to be within 6" of the Shaman. When that happens, the two Captains and Durburz can keep their coverage over their men stretching out further than the 6" limitation of the Shaman. This is great for keeping your units in the battle and getting the most benefit of your large army.
Combat Heroes

Wild Warg Chieftain:
I've had several discussions with my fellow admin Zorro about Wild Warg Chieftains (WWC). The WWC is a powerful unit to be sure - Fight 5 with 2 Attacks at Strength 6 is nothing to sniff at (and here at TMAT, we give wild wargs of all kinds the cavalry rules, so he can have 3 Attacks with knock-down on the charge). Add to this 10" mobility, and you have a powerful unit that can attack a wing of your foe and then whip back into the supporting spearmen. Defense 6 foes, no problem...
Another key benefit to the WWC is that he's not a unique hero - you can have more than one! Many armies have a unique hero who provides the weight of their fighting power, but once you buy him, you need to look for a less-capable hero to supplement your attack line (unless you're Dwarves, then you've got tons of excellent heroes and only some of them are unique). With WWCs, you can buy as many as you want and for 75 points each, you don't need to spend a lot to get two or three of them.
Zorro's comment to me has been as follows: "For 5 points more, you can get a Cave Troll, who isn't as fast as a WWC, but you get +1 FV, +1 D, permanent 3 Attacks, and the ability to throw stones...so why the WWC?" While it's true that having Fight 6 and Defense 6 is much better than being Fight 5 and Defense 5, there are two driving reasons for choosing the wargs instead. The first and most important is a personal preference of mine: all armies that I run follow the warband rules. Taking Cave Trolls is great, but I want heroes to lead my warbands, and that means that I take a Wild Warg Chief and can spend my other points on warriors who can support me (like Wargs, Prowlers, etc.), instead of buying a tactical hero who won't kill many/any units and take a Cave Troll instead.
The other reason, though, for taking WWCs is because of a habit of my armies and a growing number of Glenstorm's armies: you can't deal with a magic caster if you're playing with Cave Trolls. My first conventional army was a Goblin army from the Mines of Moria set: I found that as powerful as the Cave Troll is that comes in that set, all you need is a hero like Gandalf and your heavy-weight becomes dead-weight. WWCs have not 1, not 2, but 3 Will points, which allows you to reliably resist 1-2 spells that your opponent casts. Very few armies field more than 1 spell-caster, so having more than one WWC can ensure that one of your power units gets to the spell-caster, enabling you to crush an enemy quickly and efficiently (and in most cases, paying for both of your WWCs with a single kill).

This post not only closes out my discussion on my Goblin host (600 pt horde shown here), but also wraps up my work on my Goblin army (besides some glossing that I need to do to protect my models and make them shinier in pictures). Now, it's back to Mirkwood, as I evaluate a few recent recruits, showcase the newest 600 point army list, and prepare for the upcoming TMAT GT in the spring (still undecided as to which army to bring). Until next time, happy hobbying!

1 comment:

  1. Nice write-up on the gobbies (and an awesome Star Wars reference, so extra points, :) ). I've seriously considered dabbling with Moria (though I won't end up buying any models, as we've got plenty of hardware in the gaming group as it is), because I like the varied selection of heroes that they offer. I'd also be very interested in seeing more of the creature-based side of the list more (as I'm curious how the shamans that increase spider venom work in combat).

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