New Orruk Warclans Battletome 2021 Review – Age of Sigmar 3rd Edition
You wait all summer for a new Battletome and two come along at once! Exploding onto the battlefield in a roar of fury and destruction are the Orruk Warclans this time reinforced by their Kruleboyz brethren as introduced in the Warhammer Age of Sigmar Dominion Launch Box!
Games Workshop have sent us a free copy of the new Battletome for us to review and share with you all! In this we’ll be looking at their new allegiance abilities, all the ace new Warscrolls that they get, check out the Path to Glory content and see what a 3rd edition Battletome looks like!
If you would like to support the site then why not order your new Orruk Warclans Battletome via our affiliate Element Games and save yourself 20%?
We also have a review of the new Stormcast Eternals Battletome which you can find here
We also have a full video look at the book below and on our YouTube so make sure to check it out! If you’d rather read than watch though, summon up the energy of the Waaagh and get ready to smash some heads!
Destruction Battletome: Orruk Warclans Review
As mentioned in the accompanying Stormcast Eternals review, being the first book in an edition is a strange place to be. The “meta” shifts significantly in a new edition and a lot of weight is on the shoulders of those early books to stand the test of time as things inevitably get refined and improved as the edition goes on.
I’m happy to say however that both the Stormcast and Orruk books look to be starting out from a great place with some of the most freedom we have had yet in how you build your army.
Stylistically things are as great as ever, from the catching from cover showing a rather menacing Kruleboy advancing towards us, to the detailing inside in line with the aesthetics of the 3rd edition Core Book you can tell a lot of love has gone into putting together these Battletomes. This continues throughout with brilliant artwork, maps and miniatures photography that shows off all the aspects of the various Warclans and captures their rather different styles.
Lore is often one of the most important factors in finding an army that you fall in love with, and the new Battletome gives us plenty to get our teeth into, telling the tale of the Warclans from Age of Myth right through to the current Era of the Beast.
It’s here we also get our deepest dive yet into the Kruleboyz, a more cunning and sneaky breed of Orruk who hunt out of damp mist shrouded swamps to ambush unwary travellers. I’ve been keen to know more about them since the Dominion box dropped, and I’ve had a great time reading about them and learning their “kultur”. As with the Stormcast book there are also little hints at the future here – Once again we see reference to Hashut-worshipping Duardin who trade slaves with the Hobgrots in exchange for weaponry. Interestingly the Chaos Duardin have refused to deal with the Orruks directly due to the “Wars of the Broken Promise” and will now only deal with the Hobgrot race themselves, hinting that even evil Dwarfs still hold a grudge!
We also learn of new characters such as Gobsprakk, an enterprising Shaman who understands the words of the ancient Drogrukh known as Kragnos and serves as his translator to the Warclans, offering him a level of authority not often seen for such a low and sneaky individual! As we have essentially an entire new race of Orruks we get loads of fun passages like this further expanding what we know about the Kruleboyz themselves.
Like with other recent Battletomes we also get a full painting guide that shows you how to quickly and easily put together an Orruk army with a range of techniques including some using Contrast. As mentioned in the Stormcast review, I still feel there is a place for painting guides even in an age where lots of hobby content is available online and know as a new player I always appreciated having this on hand in the army books themselves!
The Orruk Warclans Battletome is interesting in that it is essentially 4 armies in one. 3 armies made up of purely Kruleboyz, Ironjaws or Bonesplitterz or the “Big Waaagh!” that combines models from all 4 factions into a single force. This combined with the wide Orruk range gives players some great options when constructing their army and means you can really work it around the units you love rather than those you feel you have to bring.
The Kruleboyz are the sneakiest of the Orruk tribes and use all sorts of poison and dirty tricks in order to gain an advantage in battle.
Their first main ability is venon-encrusted weapons which makes unmodified hits of 6 deal mortal wounds equal to the damage characteristic – which this can’t be banked on, it is something that can be manipulated in order to make some particularly nasty weapons that can bypass wounding and save rolls entirely making them deadlier than their low rend initially indicates.
They also have their own special once per game Waaagh that lets the Warlord and 2 selected units to fight in succession during a fight, allowing them to bypass the alternating mechanic that usually happens here – this is especially great when you combo this with some of the monsters available to you!
Finally they have the “Dirty Tricks” rule that allows them to pick one of 4 abilities at the start of the game: Subtract 1 from wound rolls against you in the first battleround, Boobytrap up to 3 terrain features or objectives to cause D6 mortal wounds when the enemy gets close, force up to D3 enemy units to start deployed off the board and walk in from their board edge or make up to 3 units invisible while in cover! There’s some ace stuff here and really captures the feeling of how the army operates.
Building on this you also get to pick one of 3 subclans:
The Grinning Blades who are invisible in the first battle round if they are more than 12″ away from enemy models
The Big Yellers who get extra range on their ranged weapons and can reroll hits of 1 in the first battle round
And finally the Skulbugs who are infested with creepy crawlies who can make the enemy subtract 1 from hit rolls in melee!
Like with the Stormcast book, each clan also gets their own enhancements.
For Command Traits your Kruleboyz get to pick from being able to retreat and charge, redeploy a Kruelboyz unit to anywhere on the battlefield or gain the ability to pass wounds to nearby units.
The Kruleboyz get 4 unique artefacts, one that has a chance to reduce a target’s hit by 1 for the rest of the battle, another that gives all units within 12″ a 5+ ward for a single phase, a one use item that can deal up to 2D6 mortal wounds to a target monster and finally a 1 use model that can cause mortal wounds to a unit that charges the bearer. I really like the one use ward save as an emergency escape button for if your plans go wrong!
Finally, we get some ace spells for Kruelboyz Wizards:
Da Black Pit – A really nasty spell where you roll a dice for each model in the target unit and cause a mortal wound for each 6 and each dice over the target’s save value – this will decimate Stormcast for example!
Choking Mists creates a 6″ bubble in which you reduce all attacks characteristics of melee weapons by 1
Sneaky Miasma allows you to make a normal move with a Kruleboyz monster – brilliant for getting these up the battlefield!
Nasty Hex – Potentially the best of the bunch, this shuts down ward saves for a target unit!
The Ironjaws are very similar to their previous incarnation, still getting Mighty Destroyers Giving them a move in the hero phase) and Smashing and Bashing (Meaning if you wipe out a unit in combat you can immediately fight with another unit)
Their Waaagh increases charge rolls the Rend of weapons by 1 for a turn.
Like with the Kruleboyz they also get a choice of three sub-factions:
Ironsunz – This gives you a command ability that allows you to charge at the end of the enemy charge phase
Bloodtoofs – This allows Goregruntas that fought to pile in or make a charge at the end of the combat phase, potentially locking down enemy units ready for next turn and as a sneaky way of avoiding unleash hell attacks.
Da Choppas – This allows you to use violent Fury to be used on 3 units rather than 1
Like with the Kruleboyz they get a range of enhancements, including Command Traits that allow you to issue a second Mighty Destroyers command or cause mortal wounds to a friendly unit to increase casting rolls.
Artefacts include the ability to gain a ward and improved hit at the cost of reduced movement or give a single weapon a one turn 3 damage characteristic (nasty on a tooled up mawcrusher!)
Finally the Ironjaws also get a lore of 4 spells:
Foot of Gork – Does D6 damage to a target then you roll a D6, on a 4+ you keep stomping until you either kill them or fail to roll a 4+
Mighty Eadbutt – A low casting spell that is a little disappointing, does 1 mortal wound to a hero or D3 to a Wizard
Da Great Green Hand of Gork – Allows you do put a unit anywhere on the battlefield outside of 9 of enemies
Bash em Lads – Adds 1 to wound rolls within 16″
Some nice bits but I feel the Kruleboyz spells are just better.
The Bonesplitterz are very similar to their previous rules with just a few tweaks. They still get their 6+ ward save and ability to move half the army at the start of the game. In addition if a unit as 5 or more models each hit of 6 does 2 hits.
Their subfactions have some fun rules, the Bonegrinz get extra attacks on their Arrowboys, the Icebone deal mortal wounds on wound rolls of 6 and the Drakkfoot ignore ward saves altogether!
Their special Waaagh increases the ward save of Bonesplitterz to 4+ for a single phase.
Their Command Traits are geared around these abilities, for example you can increase the pre-game move to 8″ rather than 5, or allow the general to fight twice while near an enemy monster.
Likewise their Artefacts improve things such as adding 2 to their ward saves or giving them +1 to cast for every monster within 24″
Like with the other clans they also get their own spell lore:
Squigly Curse – This causes D3 mortal wounds to a hero, and if you slay that hero you improve your casting by 1 for the rest of the game.
Glowy Green Tusks – improves the rend of mounts by 2, making Gorgruntas pretty tasty
Gorkamorka’s War Cry forces a target unit to fight last
Power of the Were-boar adds 1 to run and charge rolls and improves the target’s hit by 1
Again some cool bits here, but I feel the Kruleboyz take the lead for rule of cool
If you can’t pick which tribe and would rather have a combination of different Orruk units you can instead opt for a Big Waagh army! This let’s you take whatever units you want, with the Venom Encrusted Weapons, Mighty Destroyers and War Paint being active for each of those relevant units.
Over the course of the game they generate Waagh power that cumulatively improves their stats – this used to be based around number of models, however now you get more of a steady stream over the game if you do things Orruks want to do like charge into combat!
They also get a special Heroic action that can also generate additional power, something handy to use in the early game when you might not have use for another heroic action.
Path to Glory
One of our favourite parts of the new edition of the game is Path to Glory – this allows you to create a narrative force that grows in size and power as you play games, capture territories and develop your units. Just like with the Crusade content in 40k, the AOS team have added a great section that expands upon the rules in the core book.
Firstly, your non-Big Waagh force can slowly gain units from the other rival clans until it becomes a Big Waagh itself – this is a great way of slowly expanding an Orruk army and using some Ironjaws as part of your Kruleboyz army for example! Once the army has become a Big Waaagh you can then spend glory to unlock the Big Waaagh allegiance abilities on top of the standard ones you have – letting you get the best of both worlds!
Like with the Stormcast book we also get new Quests and Veteran Abilities to expand on those in the Core Book along with a system for upgrading your heroes, letting you give mounts to characters part way through the campaign – this is a great addition and really allows you to forge the narrative of your army.
The Orruks also get a pair of “showpiece” battleplans that they can unlock by completing relevant quests, giving your army a bit of a cinematic moment during the campaign when they get to do a special one off mission to destroy all the terrain on the battlefield or go hunting for Monsters to turn into trophies!
Finally we also get a range of warscroll Battalions – these no longer cost points, but instead give you some narrative structure and bonuses to your army – its worth noting that these are only usable in Path to Glory so will not impact Matched Play!
Speaking of matched play, we also get some Orruk themed Grand Strategies, Battle Tactics and Core Battalions – don’t panic, these simply expand on and give you more options compared to those in the Core Book – they are in no way more powerful, I’d argue they really just make the army play like they are expected to do with things such as accumulating 30 Waagh Power being a Battle Tactic, or a Battalion that makes 2-5 Ironjaws troops get the Slayers ability.
Now we come to the new warscrolls! I’m just going to cover the new units added here along with a couple of exceptions as there are really no massive changes outside of a few tweaks here and there to profiles, the only big changes are the Mawcrusher units and Brutes who I’ll touch on now.
Gordrakk/Megaboss on Mawcrusher
Yes, their save is now only 4+
However. the Megaboss can up that to a 3+ save by taking the Rip Toof Fist, trading 2 attacks for more survivability. Both units have more wounds to make up for this however with the Megaboss getting 18 and Gordrakk getting 20 – they still get extra attacks and wounds when they kill things which still makes them one of the best units in the book and well worth sticking 2 or 3 in a list!
These guys are amazing. Whenever they are within 3″ of a model with a wounds characteristic of 1, that model can no longer contest objectives! Send a unit of these in to most battleline units and simply steal the objective regardless of how many models they have! Really cool ability and I can see these being used as really effective objective takers.
The new named Shaman, and he is pretty fantastic! Lots of wounds and very quick due to his mount and a magical powerhouse – he can manipulate charge rolls by giving you +1 and your opponent -1 and when he issues the Unleash Hell command you do not need to subtract 1 from your hit rolls! He also has a ward save of 6+, whenever he unbinds a spell he deals D3 mortal wounds (D6 on a roll of 10+!) and once per game can unbind on 3D6. I feel you have to take this guy if you are playing Kruleboyz, he’s just that good!
Killaboss on Corpse-Rippa Vulcha
Similar to the other Killasbosses, but mounted on a slightly weaker Vulcha than Gobsprakk has. Decent general for mobility and can issue a command that has already been issued that phase. He lacks in rend, but that is common to all kruleboyz units who are really banking on their mortal wound output.
An interesting named character on a Sludgeraker. The beast itself is pretty great offering some decent damage output and the Monster keyword, and causes additional mortal wounds on rolls of 6 for all Kruleboyz within 12″ making this a fantastic unit to support your other units with.
Once per game they can also try and snatch a model with 7 wounds or less by rolling over their wounds characteristic on 2D6 – if it succeeds the model is slain! Amazing way of one-shotting support characters
Finally he has an interesting mechanic where he bets that a specified unit of Hobgrots won’t be the first unit to die – you pick any other of your units, and if the unit you chose is first to die you immediately gain a triumph!
The “Standard” version of the above unit, is 5 points cheaper and doesn’t have the Hobgrot rule, but can still snatch and can still enhance the poison of nearby units.
Well worth taking and really pushes up the damage output of your army.
Not a monster, but an interesting unit non the less, 12 wounds (regenerating up to D3 per turn) and a fairly decent combat profile, but you bring him along for his 18″ +1 to hit aura! Like with the above units, I picture this tagging along your main battleline enhancing their abilities.
Again, not a monster but is an absolute powerhouse with a potential 28 wound output a turn! Very decent combat profile and can take Mortal Wounds in order to increase it’s attack profile! Like the Sloggoth it can heal in your hero phase too making wounding it a decent gambit!
The final new unit in the book is the Beast-Skewer Killbow – This thing is great and I’ll be taking as many as I can! It gets a single shot that on it’s best profile hits on a 2, but can have a potential 12 damage! You roll dice equal to the wounds characteristic of the target unit and get damage equal to 2 plus 1 for each 5+ you roll to a maximum of 12! A group of these will make short work of most monsters in the game with some lucky rolling!
Landing alongside the Stormcast Eternals Battletome, Orruk Warclans gets the 3rd Edition of Age of Sigmar off to a great start with some fun rules and varied armies. The book has loads of Battleline options from basic infantry to Goregruntas and Man-Skewers allowing you to make whatever type of army you want, with rule that can enhance those builds.
While I think the Stormcast Book is probably the stronger of the two, there is lots to love in this Battle Tome and sets the standard high for what we will get in the future
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a copy of the new Orruk Warclans Battletome for review purposes