Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Preferred Enemies: Ironguts

This installment of the Preferred Enemies will deal with the Ogre Kingdoms Core Unit: The Ironguts.  The Ironguts are one of the most durable units in the Ogre Kingdoms book and have the potential to be one of the most damaging.  The Ironguts possess two features which make them above and beyond better than your standard Ogre.  The Ironguts are able to wear heavy armor and wield a Great Weapon.  Whenever a Core Troop choice is allowed to wield a weapon that is +2 Strength…Houston we have a problem… 
Let’s examine the annoying attributes that a Wood Elf general will have to deal with when combating a unit such as the Ironguts. 
  1. The units has a movement of 6: While this is standard for all Ogres, having a movement of 1” faster than a Wood Elf is definitely problematic because it also allows an Ogre player to nullify your ability to capitalize on speed and maneuverability.
  2. The unit is always Strength 6: The Strength 4 Ironguts become Strength 6 due to the oversized cleavers/axes/etc that serve as great weapons.  Since most of the Wood Elf units have a toughness of 3 and little or no armor save, the Ironguts are able to cleave through them with their great weapons and not need higher than a 2+ to wound.
  3. Ironguts now have amazing synergy with other units in the Ogre Kingdoms army – namely the Thundertusk and it’s Aura of Cold(Frost?/Ice? Oh to hell with it - Aura of ALWAYS STRIKES LAST).  Great weapons are already fantastic, when you get to swing with everyone without taking any casualties – they become even better.
  4. Ironguts are generally the first choice for character buses.  Due to the durability of the Iron Guts, characters often find solace hiding within their ranks.  It has become very common to see either a close combat character or a firebelly housed within a large unit of Ironguts.  The unit serves as a fairly effective bodyguard.
  5. Ogre Charge, Stomp, Fear and the nature of Monstrous Creatures – As you would with any Monstrous Infantry.
  6. The ability to take a magical banner of up to 50 points.  This provides the unit with various options – none of which are favorable to Wood Elves.

So let us do an analysis of an average unit of Ironguts that you would encounter in the local metagame here in Portland.  Folks here normally run them either 4 wide by 2 deep with a character such as a Tyrant or Slaughtermaster.  This set up can be very effective, especially if the unit takes the +1 Leadership banner with a Tyrant wearing the Stubborn crown (granting LD10 to everyone within 12”) or they take a Flaming Banner and go Treeman hunting.  Against your standard 5x5 formation of Core troops, the unit could possibly be pouring out around 21 Strength 6 attacks (in addition to whatever character housed in the unit also strikes with).  Even against another unit with higher initiative and Strength of 4, the Iron guts need to suffer 3 wounds to lose attacks, 6 to lose more and so on.  The combat effectiveness of Monstrous Infantry really shrines through with the Iron Guts.  The other popular method to run Ironguts is the 3x3 where you put a spell-casting character or BSB in the center, this unit type usually is to provide flank charges so that the Ogres are able to disrupt ranks and negate rank bonus.

Wood Elf generals find themselves in a curious position since they can not really deal with Ironguts the way you would the rest of the Ogre Kingdoms army.  The unit has to be softened up with missile fire first before any close combat units considering charging them.  If there is a Thundertusk nearby that will also require some attention since that will more than likely be tied to whatever strategy the opposing player has in mind for his Ironguts.
  1. Ranged Firepower – Glade Guard need to rain down arrows while maneuvering out of charge arch.  They need to get 14” away and on the side as soon as they can in order to take advantage of the Glade Guard bows at short range.  Treemen on the sides using Strangleroot attack to whittle down or cause mayhem.
  2. Magical Offense – if your Spellweaver is using Lore of Beasts then you can attempt to cast Curse of Anhair and then Amber Spear.  The problem with using Amber Spear is that if you fail to wound or the Spear doesn’t do enough wounds to kill, it stops.
  3. Magical Defense – it is not recommended using your heavy close combat units against Ironguts.  The Ironguts are a high strength unit which means that the high toughness units in the Wood Elf army such as Treekin and Treeman lose an advantage that they have against other units.  Namely: Toughness 5/6 and a 3+/4+ armor save.  It is not recommended engaging Ironguts in close combat unless the Treeman or Treekin have been augmented with the Lore of Life spell “Flesh to Stone” providing +2 or +4 toughness or the Lore of Beasts “Wyssan’s Wildform” providing +1 Strength and +1 Toughness.  The advantage that the Treeman and Treekin have is that they are able to negate the armor save of the Ironguts and also they are initiative 2 and 3 respectively which means they strike first. 
  4. Flank Charging – you never want to engage Ironguts in the front.  It is recommended charging the flank or rear.   If you can minimize the amount of attacks that Ironguts can dish out you reduce the amount of damage you will take.
  5. Close Combat – My favored tactics when dealing with Ironguts is to slam into their flank with either Flesh to Stoned Treekin or Wild Riders.  The Treekin will provide a greater effectiveness since they have a higher toughness but you also run the risk of dealing with a unit possessing a flaming banner ( i.e. Flaming Banner? = Wild Riders, no Flaming Banner? = Treekin.  But make sure they are augmented after you resolve your charge)
  6. If there is a Thundertusk nearby – that model gains target priority.  It is better to engage a unit of big Ironguts and strike first rather than a unit of slightly diminished Iron Guts where they strike at the same initiative as you and get all their attacks as well as dealing with a Thundertusk.  The Thundertusk will be fairly susceptible to ranged attacks since it is a Large Target.  The issue with dealing with the Ironguts/Thundertusk combo is that it affects all models within 6” of the Thundertusk which can affect more than one unit.
  7. Tailored Tactics for specific characters –
    1. Firebelly in unit – Ranged attacks to whittle down unit then engage with non-flammable models (i.e. Wild Riders, Dryads or Eternal Guards)
    2. BSB in unit – Ranged attacks to whittle down then flank charge.
    3. Slaugthermaster/Butcher in unit – When there is a spellcaster of this level in a unit, you will want to multi-charge on both flanks and if possible the rear.  You do not want to allow a Slaughtermaster to get their augment spells off if possible
    4. Tyrant in unit – a sneaky yet fun tactic which can frustrate any opponent is to use a Treeman Ancient w/ Annoyance of Netlings or an augmented Elven Hero with an Ogre Blade and Annoyance of Netlings to declare a challenge on a flank charge and not only reduce the amount of attacks to the Wood Elf unit but also makes the hero have to strike the attacker on 6’s.

To summarize the Ironguts Preferred Enemies post, you will need to fully utilize the Wood Elf strengths of Mobility and Ranged Attacks to reduce the unit down in number then you want to flank charge to reduce the amount of attacks the Ironguts can dish out to the attackers.  You never want to allow an Ogre unit to charge due to their new Ogre Charge rules.  Lastly, when making the decision to charge the Ironguts you will need to remember that it requires 3 wounds to reduce the units attacks and that number continues to increase to 6 then 9 etc.. since the Ogres have 3 wounds each and 3 attacks each. 
                Example: You attack a unit of Ironguts and deal 7 Wounds – that unit loses 6 attacks.  You attack the unit and deal 5 wounds it only loses 3 attacks.  It’s important to hedge your bets and use the flank to your advantage against the models with 40mm bases. 

As always please feel free to leave feedback or comments – if the tactics or advice proves helpful then excellent!  If they ruin your hobby well…you should know better than to trust someone who plays Wood Elves as their main army cause there is obviously some shenanigans afoot!

Also, please feel free to download and listen to our podcast “The Deployment Zone” (link in upper right hand corner of blog or on iTunes) and leave feedback.  Thanks!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Phase Five Results for The Deployment Zone's - Tamurkhan, Throne of Chaos Campaign

The fifth phase of the Deployment Zone’s – Tamurkhan, Throne of Chaos Campaign has come to a close.
The fifth phase lasted two weeks and during that time there were 59 games reported.  In the fifth phase Tamurkhan is ambushed by a horde of Night Goblins and is almost defeated.  Once Tamurkhan broke the army, they then made their way to Nuln.

The Opposition managed to win this and there were many games played using the special scenario. 

Total Games Reported: 59
Total Opposition Wins/Points Total:  29 - 72 Campaign Points
Total Chaos Horde Wins/Points Total:  23 – 48 Campaign Points
Total Draws: 7
Special Scenario played (Sundered Pass): 15
Narrative Battles:  1
Storm of Magic:  0

Notable Battles during Phase 5:
2800 point Tide of Ruin – The Great Hunt of Athel Loren vs Vampire Counts
The Great Hunt of Athel Loren brought war to the nefarious Vampire Counts.  Vampire Counts fell to Wood Elf supremacy at the bottom of turn 6 (i.e. they lost by 172 VPs).  Was a very good game, Corpse Cart and Terrorgheist were crucial in this game.

3000 point Orcs and Goblins vs. High Elves
A Night Goblin army using the special rules of the scenario took on 3000 points of High Elves.  Throwing 3 Colossal Squigs into the High Elf army was extremely brutal to the pointy eared warriors.  The Night Goblin army won by the top of turn 5.

3500 point Dwarves vs. Orcs and Goblins
There was another attempt with the Orcs and Goblins to use the special scenario list against another army of the Opposition.  This go around however the Dwarf artillery proved to be too powerful for the Night Goblin horde as the line of Organ Guns and Flaming Cannons made short work of not only the squigs but also caused chain panic tests through the entire army.  Dwarfs won this game after six turns.

Phase 5 has resulted in a win for the Opposition!  The Campaign Results will be posted in a few weeks along with the Winners of the raffle!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Deployment Zone’s - Tamurkhan, Throne of Chaos Campaign Phase 6: The Throne of Chaos

The Deployment Zone’s - Tamurkhan, Throne of Chaos Campaign Phase 6:

The Throne of Chaos

The Chaos Horde tore through the Border Lands and after the near defeat at the hands of the Night Goblin Horde, spilled into the ripe fields of the Empire.  Before them stood the city of Nuln, it’s walls surrounded by rivers and an open killing field.  The Empire had prepared for this incursion and set up the city’s defenses for an attack from the South.  Not even the Empire however could have imagined a horde of this scale pouring from the mountain passes to meet them.   Tamurkhan stood on top of his mount and viewed the city before him.  He knew that once Nuln had fallen that the Empire would be ripe for the plucking and his ascendancy would be complete. He would sacrifice the entire population of the Empire in order to appease the Father of Rot. 

Tamurkhan raised his blackened axe and roared.  The unholy horde surged forward unleashing a deafening battle cry as the populace of Nuln cowered behind the city walls.  Theodore Bruckner called for his Knights to join him as he raced down the city streets of Nuln.  Overhead the reptilian form a Carmine dragon cast shadows across the rooftops as it’s master surveyed the gathering horde.  The battle that would determine the fate of the Empire and by extension mankind was about to be fought.  If the Chaos forces are victorious this battle then Tamurkhan ascends the Throne of Chaos and attains Daemonhood on the back of unimaginable slaughter.  If the Opposition wins, Tamurkhan is cast down and the great city of Nuln and the rest of the Empire endures!

Scenario Rules for Campaign Phase 6 – The Throne of Chaos

Special Scenario:  The Battle of the Bloody Levees (7 CP to the victor)

The Scenarios: (roll a D6 to determine what battle you play – or you may elect to play the Special scenario instead)

D6           Result
1-2          Invasion* (4 CP to the victor – see the Warhammer Rulebook – use a larger than normal table, if              one is not available then reroll and choose another scenario.)
3-4          Raze and Ruin* (3 CP to the victor – see the Warhammer Rulebook)
5              Heroic Last Stand* (3 CP to the victor – Opposition player always the one making the Last Stand)
6              River of Death* (4 CP to the victor) – Fought as a Grand Battle or a Storm of Magic scenario (3 CP to the victor) as chosen.

* - Narrative scenario from the Warhammer Rulebook

Special Rules:
War on an Epic Scale!
The Chaos player may choose to use the Hosts of Chaos rule provided the battle fought is a Grand Battle.  If the Chaos player chooses to use the Hosts of Chaos rule then they may increase the size of their army by 25% with the following restrictions:
-          The points must be used to purchase Core units from any of the four armies: Warriors of Chaos, Daemons of Chaos, Legion of Azgorh or Beastmen.
(Example if the battle is selected to be 3000 points then the Chaos player receives an additional 750 points to devote to Core choices in is army)
Should the Chaos Player decide to play using the Hosts of Chaos rule then the Opposition gains the following Veteran Ability to bestow upon a single Infantry or Monstrous Infantry unit :
Bloody Butchers – The unit gains Killing Blow for the first round of combat when it charges.

Victory Effects:  
Chaos Horde won two battles and receives the following Veteran Abilities for Phase 6.
  1. Hell Riders – A single unit of Cavalry, Monstrous Cavalry, or Monstrous Beasts/Warbeasts gain Devastating Charge special rule.
  2. Watched Over by the Gods – A single unit gains Magic Resistance (2).

The Opposition won two battles and receives the following Veteran Abilities for Phase 6:
  1. Fated Destiny – One unit gains a Ward Save of 5+.  (Replaces existing ward save if the unit has one)
  2. Expert Defense – One unit may fight with an additional rank on the first round of combat whenever they receive a charge.

There was a single Tie during this campaign as a result the following ability is granted to both sides:
Beast of Legend –
A single Monster gains +1 Attack and +2 Wounds.

Special Scenario:
The Battle of the Bloody Levees
The scenario represents the battle along a key part of the battle line outside the city of Nuln – a line its defenders must hold at all costs or see their great city slaughtered as a sacrifice to the Chaos Gods.

Armies: This scenario is for two players but can be expanded to accommodate more (the table will need to be expanded should more than two players participate.)  This scenario is intended to be a Grand Battle and as such the point value recommended for this final scenario is 3400.  The Opposition is intended to represent the Defenders and the Chaos Horde the Attackers. 

The Battlefield: The table is set up using the rules in the Warhammer Rulebook on page 142.  The rules for Mysterious Scenery should be used.

A water ditch/river should bisect the battlefield along the long table edge near the center of the battlefield.

The battlefield is split into two halves and the players roll to see which picks a table side to be their deployment zone. 

The defending player may then place two hills anywhere they wish inside their deployment zone, along with up to 12” of obstacles they wish within their deployment zone. 

Deployment:  Players take turns to place units on the table using the alternating method of deployment as described on page 142 of the Warhammer rulebook.

Units may be placed anywhere in their player’s half of the table that is more than 18” away from an enemy model.

First Turn: Roll off to see who has first turn.  The player who finished deploying first receives a +1 to their roll.

Game Length: The game lasts for six turns or until an agreed upon time limit by players.

Victory Conditions:  Standard victory conditions are used to determine the winner of the battle, and in addition all Lord level characters are worth double their Victory points (Special Characters are worth FOUR times their value).  Also every unit in the opponent’s deployment zone and not fleeing at the end of the game scores 50 Victory Points for its side..

Scenario Special Rules:
The Levee: The water ditch of the levee should make for an erratic line between 4” and 8” wide across the entire line of the battlefield – it has been flooded and staked to form a defensive barrier.  This area counts as Dangerous Terrain for everything except Monsters in this game.

Fortunes of War:  Special bonuses and abilities gained from playing previous battles in the Throne of Chaos Campaign apply for this climatic battle.

Special Option:  Each general in the army receives the Hard to Kill Veteran Ability which gains them +1 wound to their profile.

Please make sure to report your battles to me in person, at or through the Ordo Fanaticus forums ( and message me as Sylvos.

Thank you for playing the Tamurkhan, Throne of Chaos Campaign.  Phase 5 results will be posted and then in three weeks the Campaign Results will be available and the winners announced!