Yesterday Fantasy Flight announced the fourth War Pack in the Warlord Cycle for Warhammer 40,000: Conquest (I’ve heard that there is only war…) and our next contender is an Ork! In a fine episode of kismet, I was listening to an episode of Adeptus Podcastus that I’d missed and thought ‘Isn’t it about time for them to announce the next pack?’. Sure enough it was announced that evening. We’ll take a few hundred words now to see how this Oddboy stacks up and where he fits with the rest of his ilk.
Lemme Show Ya Sumfink
A Runtherd is, I feel, an odd choice for such an early Warlord. Most players want to see Nobs and Warbosses with humie heads on pikes, or Loota Boyz with lots of dakka. Then again, I’m told Oddboys are quite popular amongst Ork players in tabletop. Another thought is that everyone will likely be buying these early packs, so a big nasty Nob could be a nice pull for later cycles as the hype of the new shinies dies down.
So, Old Zogwort is an Oddboy (an Ork Psyker) whose reaction puts Snotling tokens into play. It’s already been commented that Squigs may have been a better choice, but we’ve already got the Snotling tokens in the core set. His forced reaction, to keep things from getting too bonkers, destroys all Snotlings that you control.
At first I thought this sounded harsh. All the Snotlings at Zogworts planet, yes, but all the grots?! On second thought this is a clear design choice: cards like Snotling Attack, as well as the rest of Zogworts signature squad, could easily put in way, way too many tokens and create a bit of imbalance. The little runts, as I aim to argue below, can be very nasty and effective.
As a Warlord he’s nothing special, neither is he something to sneeze at: he has the usual pool of HP, the measly 1 ATK. But Warlords aren’t there to pack a whallop (yet), they’re there to do cool stuff. Let’s see how his squad helps him to do just that.
What’s an Oddboy without his Stikk? Wyrdboy Stikk can attach to any Oddboy unit (at this point, the only other one is the core set’s Weirdboy Maniak, who is not an obvious fit for this. Anyway, attach this thing to Zogwort and you can reinforce a battle that’s already happening when a grot goes down or, when his Forced Reaction triggers, get a free Snotling to use next turn. Not a whole lot else going on here besides a seriously cool piece of art.
Fall in line, ya gits!
The rest of Zogwort’s signature squad revolves around his ability by summoning even more Snotlings (imagine that)! Zogwort’s Runtherders are not much to look at. They’re 3 cost for 1 ATK, 3 HP, and 1 Command Hammer. But looking a little further their utility begins to show itself: they could easily be paired at a planet with Zogwort himself for a goodly flood of Snotlings to overrun an enemy force. Additionally, having that Command Hammer makes them a good ‘setup’ type of unit. Put them at planet 4, for example, and you could get a free command struggle and then, when the enemy decides to engage the planet with a Warlord and the Runtherd starts taking damage, you end up with extra defenders for free!
The realm shame, though, is that all of the damage manipulation that would help make these guys even more useful (Cybork Body in particular) is that they’re all tied to Nazdreg. So another option to beefing these guys up and getting more tokens out of them would be allied attachments like Rune-Encrusted Armor and Hostile Environment Gear.
Oddboyz need a place to live, too! I love how Zogwort is assuming the role of the strange Ork hermit wizard type. Is there something in one of the codices that I’m not aware of?
Anyways, I like this Support card because it effectively gives Zogwort the same ability as his Runtherders: a free Snotling when defending. This is even better though because it’s not when he takes damage but when he defends, so even if the damage is shielded we still get the free grot. When he does start getting shot on the Hovel will make him a natural target for planet Iridial to clean him off and start again. A swarm is coming…
Rounding out this Gretchin-filled signature squad is Launch Da Snots! Played correctly, this card goes from okay to straight flashy! Let’s say all the wheels are moving for the deck: Zogwort has committed and even attacked once; the Runtherds have taken some hits, as has the Oddboy, and you have the hovel in play. Trigger this is to let Zogwort, or a Goff Nob or a bloodied Rugged Killa Kan, swing for easily +5 ATK. That’s an instantly blooded Warlord, or a dead Daemon; whatever needs killin’ is killt. It takes some setting up, certainly, and may end up discarded as a shield, but there is massive potential for destruction with this card.
Dat’s Grots’ work, dat is
The question lingering, I’ll wager, is the real utility of having all of this Snotling manipulation. The little runts are only 1/1 tokens, right? Anyone who has played Snotling Attack at a planet with a vehicle or beefy Space Marine or Daemon knows the value of these little guys and that is tying up big units (or any units for that matter). Even if you have a hulked out Fire Warrior Strike Team, or whichever beefy unit gives you fits, they can only exhaust to kill one unit per round. That one unit exhausts to kill one Snotling, then he’s got X more Snotlings taking little bites out of him. It’s a ‘real death by a thousand cuts’ scenario or, if you like, death by nasty little goblins with guns. Of course the depth of Conquest is what we love and there would be lots of other cards to consider before making such a move, but it can and will work. So if Zogwort is cranking these little guys out it’s bad news for small enemy squad. Couple it with buffs like Catachan Outpost and Battle Cry, and you have some big plays in your deck.
The great weakness, of course, would be AOE units and planet effects. That’s where the real brutal cunnin’ (or is it cunning brutality…) comes into play. Use initiative to your advantage, set things up ahead of time, use your stronger units early.
Once it hits I will be the first to throw a Zogwort deck together. Thematically he is not my favorite. I much prefer the monstrous, well armoured, gun toting Nobs and Boyz we see in every good WAAAGH!!, but mechanically this kind of deck is going to be very fun. We get a brief foretaste of it with the core set Astra Militarum deck. Those little Guardsmen tokens can be very annoying. Now multiply that irritation by about 10 and I think you have the feel of the Zogwort deck. It’s also very cool that each Warlord is going to, almost automatically, change the theme of your factions’ deck. Zogwort is almost nothing like Nazdreg and that is a very exciting prospect.