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The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:26 pm
by BaronDeSade
Hello All,

Had my mixed force of Numenorians, Uruks and Orcs beaten up by Gary's stunties the other day. That was wholly unnacceptable, and I realized that my force was just not Orcy enough! (Also, I just threw it together at the last minute.) So, here's the real Orcish deal, an army worthy of Mordor (although it is my experience that they have pretty low standards,) an army that would make Gothmog get up and dance (if he could,) something I call the "veiled fist!"

1st Warband:

5 Morannon Orcs with shields in the front rank
Khardush the Firecaller and 3 Orcs with spears in the second rank
4 Warg Riders with bows in the third rank

It's a fearless, tough unit that can fight decently in HtH, move 5" and still shoot, and throw fireballs. Warg Riders are much better than Orc archers for movement and fighting, and their mount lets them shoot over the head of the Orcs in front, while being protected from return fire by those same Orcs. It lacks a fighting hero, but with heavy armor and Fury, the front rank should be able to hold off an enemy hero long enough for Khardish to blast him with a Flameburst (dice gods willing.) It goes down on the table first, because it is a solid combined-arms warband that could cope with an early-game attack from my opponent of melee, movement or shooting.

2nd Warband (center Warband):

Depending on the terrain and scenario, I will now put the center warband to the left or right of the 1st warband. Now, I'm just going full-crazy, even though they say I should never go full-crazy.

5 Morannon Orcs with shields in the first rank
2 Orcs with spears and two Orcs with bows in the second rank.
2 Warg Riders with bows and one Warg Rider with a banner in the third rank. A banner is useful for winning fights, which helps keep Orcs alive, and being on a warg means it can move to where it needs to go, quickly, and has a larger radius of effect.
The Shadowlord on Fell Beast in the fourth rank. Suddenly, trying to outshoot the Orcs just got a lot more problematic. The Fell Beast also gives the SL great LoS for spellcasting and much bigger radii of effects for Pall of Darkness and Harbinger of Evil. The plan is to fire some arrows, get the enemy tied up in melee, and then have the SL swoop in on one of the flanks and start rolling it up. And, if the SL starts running low on Will, and it looks like we are winning anyhow, then poor Khardush might meet with an "accident."

3rd Warband goes down last. I'm almost out of points here, and I have already put down the cool stuff, so the 3rd Warband is just a bunch of warm Orc bodies that can hold a line or be recycled into fireballs as needed.

4 Orcs with shields and one Orc Captain with shield in the first rank
2 Orcs with spears and four Orcs with bows in the second rank
2 Warg Riders with shields in the third rank

39 Models and 599 points

Gotta love the cheap Orc troops, especially as Fury and Pall of Darkness compensate for their two biggest weaknesses: low courage and mediocre armor. I can get a named Ringwraith on Fell Beast and banner and cavalry and still get a full 39 models. True, Orcs are mediocre fighters, but with enough bodies and enough armor and Fury saves, they can grind through anything. The one thing that Orcs won't do well against is tricksy Elfses-types that will want to run away and shoot, and hopefully my focus on mobility and Pall of Darkness will make that strategy problematic.

So, I've got some armor, some high-strength models, plenty of numbers, some shooting, good protections against shooting, a decent amount of mobility and a few trickses with magic. It's got a good combined-arms approach that should give it a good chance against any opponent in any scenario, unless they are REALLY tricksey, and I call it the "Veiled Fist" because the Pall of Darkness is a veil, and like the fist is like, an Orc fist, you know, like "Rawar! The iron fist of the Orc!" :wink:


Re: The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 1:47 am
by Gartl
I tremble with fear at the prospect of being fisted by your orcs!

Re: The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:52 am
by Smeagol
Orcish rabble. I've seen this lot before with just a generic wraith in tow. Since you're shy on spear support I presume you will either rely on your heavy armour or shielding to protect your front line. Who is the leader of your third warband?

Re: The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:24 am
by BaronDeSade
Hey Gary, "eagerness" is not spelled F-E-A-R.

Tim, my third warband leader would be the Orcish Captain with shield in the first rank. I can paint him in day-glo colors if you still have trouble seeing him.

The Shadow Lord blows away a generic wraith, as it keeps Dwarfs and the merry men of the Grey Company from shooting up my line so much. True, not EVERY Morannon Orc has a spear, but a shielding action works just as well for keeping a model alive, plus they have heavy armor, a banner and Fury, so I think their survivability is decent enough, and they have a ton more S4 attacks than my Easterlings do, so I expect that they can deal out plenty of damage in HtH. Shooting numbers are average, but the SL makes my shooting competitive.

As I said, though, only the tabletop will tell...

Thanks for commenting!


Re: The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:19 pm
by BaronDeSade
"Rabble," he says!

Yes, I don't have a spearman to support every Orc on my front line, but I don't really need that, either. To me, a line of shields works just fine with half that number of spear-support. Half of the soldiers attack with spear support, and the other half defend by shielding. True, half of my troops won't be able to strike, but I don't really care that much because, hey, they're Orcs, and even if I throw a bucket of dice every turn, I'm likely to only get a handful of kills. So, part of the function of the "grindstone" strategy is to keep my Orcs alive as long as possible, so that they CAN throw that bucket of dice. An Orc that survives two rounds to strike with two dice is better than an Orc that lives only one round to strike once with two dice, because a living Orc maintains a zone of control and keeps the army from breaking, and an Orc that strikes with one die in two rounds can potentially kill two enemies, while an Orc that is part of a "phalanx-shoving-match" is likely only to kill the one enemy in front of him (not that either of them are likely to kill anything at all.) So, knowing that the Orcs are unlikely to kill anything drives me to shield as well as strike, and spend the points I save on spearmen on warg riders instead.

One of the side benefits of having warg riders in the third rank is that once the enemy engages my front line, the warg riders can wrap either flank. A warg rider costs just a point more than two spearmen, and on the charge, he gives two attacks plus the chance of a knockdown. So, yes, I'm happy to dispense with a pair of spearmen to get a model that can use its mobility to wrap the enemy flank and knock enemies down, rather than try and win a straight-up phalanx-shoving-match. If I am fighting single-warband to single-warband, I can divert warg riders to either flank, and I can do the same if I am fighting three-warbands to three, as the banner-bearing warg rider can stay in the center where he is needed, along with his two banner-catchers. Once the front ranks and flanks are engaged, then the Shadow Lord can swoop around and attack the foe in the rear. In such a situation, the foe may have as many models or even more than I do, but I will definitely have the advantage of position, just like that old Carthaginian general did at Cannae :wink: . BUT, in order for that to work, I need the front rank to hold for a turn or two, and that's why they have heavy armor, shields, Pall of Darkness, banner and Fury.

I've played my Black Guard a couple of times in the last few months, and the results have been very disappointing. On paper, they look awesome. High strength, good fighting skill, with banner and Orc spear support, they should just tear through anything. On the tabletop, though, they usually don't do very well. Some of that is due to bad luck, I am sure, but some of it is that I am paying a premium for a pretty small advantage. True, against most enemies, a BG is more likely to win a fight than a Morannon Orc, and is more likely to score a kill if he does win the fight, but the end result, one or two enemies dead, is the same max result as I would get from either a Morannon or common Orc, at 50% and 100% of the respective cost.

So, like Gary's recent Wood Elf-experience against my Orcs, I had the problem of sending my so-called elite troops in and watching them bounce back and die. Not only is that a waste of points, it's VERY annoying. So, not only does the warg rider have abilities that the Black Guard does not (when compared to a common Orc) but there's a decent chance the WR will functionally have two hit points, as the mount may survive the death of the rider. I'm not going to throw my BG away, of course, but I am seeing how really limited they are.



Re: The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:32 pm
by Smeagol
1 Black Guard is the same cost as two orcs. So I can see the problem. I agree about the warg riders. See I'm not unreasonable.

For the record I'm still going to beat your orcs into paste. :-P

Re: The Veiled Fist of the Orc!

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:44 pm
by BaronDeSade
Of the many names I have called you, I can't remember "unreasonable" as being among them :wink: .

Going to beat my Orcs into paste, eh? With what, your bows? Going to choke 'em with the strings? I'll admit, your fancy-prancing Elves and human hero will probably account for their share, assuming they don't spend half of the game being Transfixed, and your overall fighting skill is better than mine, but I expect the Morannons and Warg Riders to cut a bloody swathe through your poorly armored rangers.

We'll just see who ends up pounded into a fine red mist!