Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Howls in the Night...


Hey Reader!

Yeah, that title was a bit darker than I wanted it to be - it's the new name for the Misty Mountains list I'm building, and it sounded better on paper than when I saw it on the blog, so sorry about that, :P  I'm also working on a "Halloween Army" for my new Angmar list (which will contain most of the scary/ghoulish choices for Angmar, minus Gulavar the Terror of Arnor, as I think he's overpriced for what you get), so more on that this summer.

In this post, I'll be looking at some of the models that I'm fielding for the list, some of the conversions that I've made in the creation of my orc brood, as well as some of my recommendations on what to purchase from GW.  For starters, though, here's the list I'm creating - I have two versions of it, based on whether I want more heroes and Might points over and against a larger warrior core:

Howls in the Night (Azog's Hunters, Warbands)
Warband 1
-Bolg (Army Leader): 175 pts
-9 Hunter Orcs: 72 pts
-3 Hunter Orcs w/ 2Hers: 27 pts

Warband 2
-Narzug: 50 pts
-1 Hunter Orcs w/ bow: 9 pts
-6 Fell Wargs: 54 pts
-4 Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs: 64 pts

Warband 3
-1 Hunter Orc Captain w/ 2H: 50 pts
-9 Hunter Orcs: 72 pts
-3 Hunter Orcs w/ 2Hers: 27 pts

TOTAL: 600 pts, 38 units, 8 Might, 68 attacks in close combat at S4 or higher (not including charge bonuses)

Or, I may end up building the list this way:

Howls in the Night (Azog's Hunters, LOME)
-Bolg (Army Leader): 175 pts
-Narzug: 50 pts
-22 Hunter Orcs: 176 pts
-5 Hunter Orcs w/ bows: 45 pts
-6 Hunter Orcs w/ 2Hers: 54 pts
-3 Hunter Orcs w/ Fell Wargs: 48 pts
-6 Fell Wargs: 54 pts

TOTAL: 603 pts, 44 units, 6 Might, 80 attacks in close combat at S4 or higher (not including charge bonuses)

What I'm trying to decide between right now is straight-up close combat firepower coupled with a higher model count (List 2) and a greater Might count and two guys striking with 3 attacks with 2H weapons (one at S4, and one at S5 with no penalty to win the fight).  Both options really appeal to me, so I'll need to playtest it. :)

Purchase Recommendations

So, I don't usually do this for GW, but it's worth doing here.  Two quick notes on purchases regarding units:

1.  Buy the Fell Wargs set for everything warg-related in your collection

Photo courtesy of GamesWorkshop
I recommend the Fell Wargs because the models are nothing short of amazing.  There's been a lot of talk about how the resin/detail quality of the miniatures went up with the Hobbit release, and you really get to see it in these guys.  A lot of detail, very dynamic poses - use these models for everything.  Tiberius loves his Wild Wargs from the original release (which you can find a post about here), but I really like the new models, so I'll pitch them here.  They cost more, but in the case of these models you're paying for quality.

2.  Buy the Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs set if you want to buff your terrain and warg collection


For $5 more, if you opponent doesn't mind you having guys on your wargs, you should purchase this set over and against the other one.  Why?  For starters, you get basically the same poses for your wargs as in the other set (which you'll see side-by-side later in this post), but for $5 more you get six riders and two dead riders for scenery.  So if you like building scenes with a bit more color for your battles, it's only a shy bit more for a lot more bang in-game.  Plus, with over a dozen extra arms (ranging from 2Hes and bows to various kinds of swords), this set also allows for a lot of customization for your infantry (which you'll see in part below).  I recommend this purchase.

Conversions

From the first box of Hunter Orcs I bought, I started customizing.  As of now, I've been able to add a lot of variety to my crew, especially after purchasing the Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs set.

Units
1.  Fell Wargs/Warg Riders


It took me a while to sell me on Fell Wargs, as I'm used to cav units being pincushions for enemy archery, and at D4 S4 you're just asking people to shoot your stuff.  But following the TMAT Grand Tournament this past March, there were a number of times in my third match where I thought, "Wow, I can't charge that guy because I can't see him, and that's really irritating!"  So I started looking into Fell Wargs, and purchased a few back in October.

Then, as the new year approached, I took another look at the Hunter Orcs on Fell Wargs, thinking, "Well: a Fell Warg and a Hunter Orc have the same profile, they pretty much cost the same, and the only difference is that one moves 10" and does not require line of sight to charge, and the other has static 2 attacks on foot.  And I thought, "Huh: as a pair, if I really want the 10" range with no required line of sight, the orc is basically a 'Fate Point' for the Fell Warg should they be attacked."  And if I really need the orc for raw dice count, the warg becomes, in effect, a "Fate point" for the orc.  So I went ahead and bought a few.

As this happened during the Dunharrow Campaign, I was mulling over my thoughts on cavalry during those games, and I came to realize how much I liked having a few "fast attack options" in my army (to borrow a 40k term), and as I was looking at a primarily D4 army for my Azog's Hunters list, I can say that I'm grateful that I made the purchase.  Not to mention, it gave me a lot of arms to customize my footmen contingent:


See?  Eight new poses (four of which are "archer-to-swordsman" conversions); the one on the far right is my Hunter Orc Captain conversion, who will likely be using a 2Her.  As I was looking at the choices for heroes, I knew I wanted Narzug, and I knew I wanted Bolg, but I was looking for a third captain for my final warband, and when I realized that Hunter Orc Caps have the Many Blades rule, it solidified it for me: an orc that's F4 with 3 attacks (since he's not mounted) using a 2Her at S4?  That's killing D7 dwarves on 5s, killing D6 infantry on 4s, and killing Grey Company rangers on 3s.  Oh yeah, :)  Only D5 with 2 Wounds and 1 Fate, though that's one of the inherent problems with the list: you're light, so swallow that and just meat out more damage than you're receiving, :)

2.  Hunter Orcs


So, I've been excited about these models since I first saw their profile.  Like all orcs, they're F3, so they'll lose ties against elite infantry.  And as they are only D4 (like all light armor civs), you can lose a lot of casualties in a fight if you lose combat.  But, if you win combat, you're set up for success: S4 for damage and with the Many Blades rule, if the hunter orc is not mounted, he gains +1 attack, so 2 dice at S4 to wound (and 4 if the enemy is trapped).  For my force in the GT, I teamed them up with orcs from Angmar, and spear-supported these guys for 3 attack dice - that was fun, :)  But even without the spear support, if you think of the second attack dice on an 8-pt unit as free spear support that can't be shot by archers out of a fight, you can already see why I love these guys.  The extra arms and changes I've made to these guys - who already had awesome poses, but the extra add-ons and changes just made them more awesome - was just gravy on an already amazing unit.

3.  Hunter Orcs w/ 2Hers


...And if that weren't enough reason to love hunter orcs, it should be that they also come with a 2Her option!  2 attack dice at S4 with a +1 to wound?  Now that's a deal I can go for, :)  I like teaming these guys up with a regular hunter orc, so that the swordsman's two attack dice win the fight (as there's no penalty on them), and the 2Her kills the model they're up against.  It works pretty effectively.  The only sad thing about these poses is that because of the structure of the arm, it's hard to create new poses with these guys, as they're pretty much built to do one pose.  But that's a common problem for Fantasy and 40k as well in any circumstance where you have to have two hands on an object.

4.  Hunter Orcs w/ Orc Bows


And to cap off the units, hunter orcs can also take orc bows.  Granted, orc bows are the worst bows in the game, but that's one of the reasons I'm glad they have them.  Subconsciously as a player, I love rushing archer troops, especially archers that haven't been wounding very many people during the game.  As I approach such a troop, they usually attempt to shoot back at me, and (of course, because it's a S2 bow), there's not a lot of damage dealt to my force.  Then I hit them, and the fight is pretty much over as soon as it started.

Until you hit a hunter orc.  Who, like his frontline counterpart, is boasting 2 attacks at S4, and can tear you apart just as easily as the swordsman.  And since they're only D4 and F3, they make a tantalizing target for horsemen - horsemen who will soon find themselves tied in dice against the archer (or, if there are more archers, outnumbered 2:1 or worse) on the initial charge, and if they're caught on the defense, they'll find the numbers stacked even higher against them.  My maxim that "whenever you see the word 'archer' you should read the word 'swordsman'" rings truer here than perhaps anywhere else: a hunter orc archer will do far more damage in close combat than he will at range, so I highly recommend them to meet some of those transitional needs for your army.

To all of this I'll be adding Bolg, who is a massive hero if I ever saw one.  At F7 S5 with 3 attacks using a 2H with no penalty, this guy is a beast for offensive firepower (and with 3 wounds at D7 with 1 Fate, he's not terrible on defense either).  He also has an interesting special rule.  After killing two enemies, he gains the Terror special rule (so less people charging him, optimally).  After killing five enemies, he gains the Harbinger of Evil special rule (further reducing the units that charge him).  And if you use him enough to get 10 kills, he gains Aragorn's special rule, using 1 free Might point each turn.  Not invincible (and for the same cost as Aragorn, I'd likely not choose him unless it was in this list), but he will provide the strength and durability that this list requires.

Conclusion

As we head into February, I'll be releasing doing a few videoblog (or vlog) posts on army bestiary and the like as combinations of past posts, and will also be releasing information on the first ever comp system for LOTR (similar to the Swedish Comp System for Fantasy).  Until I write again, happy hobbying!

Watching the stars,

Centaur

"Centaurs are not the servants or playthings of humans." ~ Firenze, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

2 comments:

  1. Scary stuff mate.

    Have you looked at Fimbul? for same cost as your capt, trade off an attack for +1F/C/M and if you choose to mount him, he ignores all difficult terrain. Sure you lose a little on the damage output, but the FV should mean you win far more fights (especially against the armies you face), he'll also do better at holding the army together and you get an extra heroic action. Might be worth the trade off of losing 1 attack (in an army with 70ish attacks that already has a major damage dealer)

    Personally I would take Bolg over (stock) Aragorn any day. Significantly higher damage output, able to one-up the F6 elite heroes that good armys rely on, effectively halves incoming wounds and able to prevent counter-charges within a couple rounds. Sure Aragorn has the whole "free might" thing going for him, but very rarely have I seen Aragorn use more than 3-5 of them, frequently to promote dice that Bolg wont need to. Sure, I wouldn't often pay the points for him, but it really is nice to finally have an evil Aragorn.

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    1. Yeah...I looked at Fimbul: to be honest, the reason I didn't field him is that I was already planning on buying more Hunter Orcs, and I didn't want to cough up the cash for the Fimbul model, :P That's the only reason, :P

      I dunno: I still prefer Aragorn, but I really like Bolg. Plus, F7: tying Elrond and Glorfindel will be fun, :)

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