This GHB is the first time since NOVA of last year where I’m legitimately excited to play Age of Sigmar in a competitive manner. LVO and the Gitz book release came at a very busy time and rolled right into planning an international trip. I’ve been happy to roll some dice, get away from my responsibilities, and pretend to be Saruman prior to the battle of Helm’s Deep but haven’t really been focused on playing in events. I’ve played fewer games in 2023 than I had at this point in 2022 and it makes prepping lists and thinking about the rules a little difficult. Beyond trading my labor for health insurance and cash I’ve been making choice to “play minecraft together” or spending time with my daughter instead of heading out with my minis more often than not.
That makes it difficult to prepare for a two day event when you don’t get any games in. Do you run back the same rules that you’ve been playing? When you’re at work daydreaming about rolling a charge do you imagine getting that 9 or it coming up snake-eyes? How much painting quality are you going to sacrifice to get the models “finished”? Do you care about even winning a game? For me the answers are Yes, 5, quite a bit, not the last GHB.
Fortunately, I’ve built up a pretty good stock of gitz and orc models since the start of the pandemic when I picked up a gitz start collecting box. I think the range has some of the best kits out there and the idea of a mushroom addled army with limited cohesion makes it easy to pick out different paint styles and try new things. Now with a well-written book I”m able to explore different combinations of weird little guys. I’ve also dabbled in orcs, KO, and made an unsuccessful attempt to paint some Soulblight. I’ve had a lot of fun using models that I painted years ago that I never considered for a competitive list like Sporesplatter Fanatics and Dankhold Troggoths.
On the other extreme, I have some friends who get models for a specific 2000 point list knowing that the list will be unplayable when new points comes out. Frantic hotel room painting and living on the knife’s edge of a ten point change to a unit is way too close to everything that I want to escape from in my day-to-day life.
Lastly, I’ve heard stories, tales, yarns, and rumor that some people engage with the hobby by buying what they like for the pure joy of painting. While this isn’t a lifestyle choice I’d encourage the lack of commitment and ability to evaluate kits on their own merits must have some appeal to these free spirits.
With that, I”m going to walk through how I came up with my list for a two-day event. But first, some:
So I’ve managed to do some Age of Sigmar painting over the past month or so. It’s put me on an OK pace to remove my model backlog. I’ve been able to paint 30 models and sold 40 skeletons bringing my total backlog to 224 models with 55 completed this year. This puts me on a pace to not paint all my models by the end of the year like every single other person.
Finished models include my Gobbapalooza, two Dankholds, and a Scuttleboss I purchased in the UK, a unit of squig herd and a unit of hoppers. I feel Ok about the Gobbapalooza and squigs but downright unhappy with the Dankhold and Scuttleboss.
The Hoppers are the first unit of Hoppers or Boingrot Bounders that I’ve all done with the same color scheme. During the pandemic when I picked up AOS I had A LOT of time and limited other responsibilities beyond a job and my family. I messed around with painting models with A LOT of different paints and colors and found that I was better served putting my effort into picking a bold and consistent scheme for a unit. These hoppers represent a desire to just “Get them finished” with the idea that I might one day use them on the table.
My first Dankhold has been a smashing success and one of my most complemented models. I decided to try wetblending a rainbow and used monument paints (not sponsored) since they all have a similar consistency and similar coverage for wet blending. As a low-skill painter wet blending is extremely forgiving compared to feathering or other technics.
For the second Dankhold Troggoth I tried and failed to do a purple with blue and red highlights to keep a mono color model. As a single model I thought this would be a good way to try something new and experiment with a style and theme. If I were going to take a second crack at it I would have blocked out a few areas as significantly lighter and darker purple instead of using a consistent purple and then highlighting new models.
My next project is more Dankholds and big spiders. There are some weird spider rules that I want to play around with but I need to get the models finished and on the table before I get too lost in the sauce. First, I need to finish up my Dankholds and I really want to take my time since they are such a wonderful model to use. After that I’m going to focus on finishing my spiders to see if a grimscuttle list is fun to play in the new GHB.
After a very slow start my daughter has been showing some renewed interest in painting models with me. For the first time I made a suggestion as she painted my loonshrine to not paint over every single thing she had painted in the past. The loonshrine is one of the most consistently commented on models and I love how she’s been working on it for the past three years. Because I was able to convince her to only repaint half of it my loonshrine qualifies as a Batman villain with a “calm” and “active” side. In addition she’s started painting some Sylvaneth models that I purchased and have never figured out what to do with. I’ve told her that they’re all for her to paint as much as she wants to.
I’d be remiss and a yellow-bellied coward if I didn’t mention that I went to South Carolina and got my hide tanned in a one day event. For whatever reason my troggoth list that had gotten me to a 3-0 ended up going 0-3 as I lost to Sons, Deepkin, and Khorne. On the drive back I realized that reavers don’t do 3 damage to models with 3 or more wounds but given the current release books it felt like they could. However, I had a great time and I salute the Age of Sigmar players in South Carolina for giving me a beating.
After that I made up a list with what I hoped to be a forward thinking design that didn’t include Skraggy. It’s not worth reading and is actually illegal with the updated gitz points.
– Army Faction: Gloomspite Gitz
– Subfaction: King’s Gitz
– Grand Strategy: Chasing the Moon
– Triumph: Indomitable
Fungoid Cave-Shaman (90)*
– Artefacts of Power: Moonface Mommet
– Spells: Itchy Nuisance
– Aspects of the Champion: Fuelled by Ghurish Rage
– Artefacts of Power: Nightflyer Cloak
Loonboss on Giant Cave Squig (140)*
– Moonclan Stabba
Scuttleboss on Gigantic Spider (130)**
– Command Traits: Supa-nasty Venom
– Artefacts of Power: Headdress of Many Eyes
Webspinner Shaman (65)**
– Spells: Scuttling Terrors
Spider Riders (90)
– Bone Drummer
– Spider Totem Bearer
– Spider Rider Boss
Spider Riders (90)
– Bone Drummer
– Spider Totem Bearer
– Spider Rider Boss
Spider Riders (90)
– Bone Drummer
– Spider Totem Bearer
– Spider Rider Boss
Spider Riders (90)
– Bone Drummer
– Spider Totem Bearer
– Spider Rider Boss
– Spells: The Hand of Gork
Dankhold Troggoths (360)
Sporesplatta Fanatics (90)
Boingrot Bounderz (280)*
Sneaky Snufflers (130)**
TOTAL POINTS: 1990/2000
The list itself didn’t have a ton of synergy but had a lot of little discrete packages that I wanted to test out as a combos that I think could be important parts of future gitz lists.
- Package 1 – Dankhold Troggoths and Sporesplatta fanatics
- What if I told you that you could get the benefit of a Dankhold Troggboss for only 90 points? What if I told you that Dankhold Troggoths are some of the best independant operators in the game? What if I proposed talking about Dankholds for an entire 5,000 column where I lay out that they really don’t need anything to be great (even with a 10 point increase). The +1 attack from Sporesplatter Fanatics combined with the relatively small base sizes of the Dankhold Troggeths is a great little package combo.
- The Dankholds performed extremely well while the Sporesplatter Fantics were typically supporting other units. The highlight was when my Dankholds destroyed an incarnate.
- Package 2 – Boingrot Bounderz, Squigboss, Loonboss on Giant Cave Squig, and Loonboss, Gobapaloza
- The squigboss was in earlier lists that I used but the first points increase really made me doubt his value. His ability to give additional mortal wounds on jaw attacks is ok, but the additional move helps get Boingrot Bounderz into good combat. The additional rend and potential -1 to hit from the Gobapaloza is a good combo. I also wanted to try getting a chance to fight twice with the Loonboss and Boingrot Bounderz.
- Ultimately this combo was hit in the latest points increase and didn’t perform all that well. The bounders are an OK until that were one of the key units in the 2.0 gitz book. However, with so many more units having a 4+ save they’ve fallen by the wayside.
- Package 3 – Spooders
- I made a scuttleboss my general and gave him the headdress of many eyes and envenomed weapons. I also used 4 units of spider riders to grab objectives and screen. I REALLY liked the way the spider riders performed as they are so cheap at 90 points that it’s hard to trade poorly with them. Most other cheap units have bad saves and the ability to dish out one or two mortal wounds adds up against units like Ardboyz.
- The scuttleboss is GREAT even if I misplayed the headdress as only working in melee. For 130 points this unit slaps. At the end of games it absolutely cleaned house and stomped a bunch of mudholes. My only issue is that my grand strategy required me to keep my general alive. In a perfect world I’d be able to through it into something and late dice decide if it lives of dies. Most times it will be a point efficient trade.
I went 2-3 with some help from my son during a critical game against Big Waaagh! where my son helpfully put additional space marine models on the board in between asking me to have a plush. I thought it was great having him at the event for half a game and my opponent was a good friend of mine. My son was so excited to sit at the table and give suggestions during the game and I was equally excited to have a guy helping me lost the game.
In other dad news I played an aggressive 13 year old who was beating me by 1 point when time was called at the end of three. I had around 1000 points on the board and he had four models so naturally we talked out an ending where he one by a single point. I told the TO that we ended at round 3, so I was fine with the score as is and they made us talk it out. What kind of monster ENCOURAGES a more experienced player to steal a game from a literal child at his first two-day event? Apparently, my status as a bonafide father made this TO think that I would be MORE likely to stick it to a kid. To make matters worse this event was using the last GHB and I didn’t care about the outcomes of my games. Fortunately, a person with more integrity than me played the next round. I remember distinctly hearing “That’s 80 shots” and “Yes, I do unleash hell with three units” as he played at the top table during game 3.
My biggest issue with the list is that I felt that I was explaining my list to everyone. Since it didn’t have any synergy and everything was a neat little thing my games started late. Most of my opponents felt like telling me about the list they had but I really didn’t care as I wasn’t playing to win. One of the benefits of my Trogg list was that it was pretty simple and I missed that. Some of my favorite event games are where I look across from somebody who has a list or models that I completely understand and they feel the same about my list.
I’ve also played one sparring game against my friend who is taking Big Waagh! to a team event. Last year, after swearing off Kruleboyz I picked up Big Waagh! for a while and really enjoyed my time playing a complex and hero-phase list. It’s one of the most fun allegiance abilities and looks to be really strong based on some weird quirks in this GHB. However, there is a dark side to all that complexity if you don’t get the reps in or forget certain steps. Games are long, and against more competitive opponents lots of questions come up because it’s not the most common of allegiance abilities. Wardokk healing is at the start of the phase and only on bonesplitters units wholly within while the Warchanter heals friendly units within during the hero phase. Who wants to remember that?
The new GHB has changed a lot. Goonhammer has a ton of articles on it (and likely more coming in the next few weeks) but I’d like to focus on a few things that are really exciting as a person who has played one (1) game.
The Nullstone Enhancements Are Great
An issue with the past GHBs is that the “key concept” often ended up becoming a weakness or something that couldn’t be countered. Galatian Vets got scooped up by bounty hunters. Monsters gave away too many points to not be strategic. In addition, some of the meta choices independent of the GHB made the intended build bad. Monsters giving up VP isn’t a bad thing, but Monsters giving up VP when EVERY SINGLE ARMY IS DESIGNED TO TAKE DOWN A MEGA really creates some skewed results. Wet Hot Incarnate Summer kinda sucked if you wanted to have a bunch of infantry out.
Nullstone Enhancements, and the FAQ that “wizard like” abilities keep you from taking them to avoid the worst jank, allow non-magic armies to use the primal dice. With Khorne, Seraphon, and whatever weird cities subfaction comes out I was already moving to use fewer wizards and rely less on magic going forward. Even the weird rules writing, such as only Ogor wizards benefiting from the +1 to unbind, or that non-wizards can take master of magic, is fun.
Early FAQs and Rules Changes Are Good
RIP to Skagrott taking advantage of his +1 to his warscroll spells. Same with the Trogg Bomb (dino version) and Warsong Bomb. Somehow the Wurrgog Prophet does mortals on a 4+ still so that counts as a bonesplitter buff. Other changes to coherency are really welcome from somebody that doesn’t want to always call out people for not using triangles correctly and wants to speed the game along. The worst time you can have at a game based on movement is arguing over positioning with a try-hard.
The changes to look-out sir! are keeping one of the few good rules from the prior edition. GW has put a lot of “negative fun” outcomes into games over the years in the name of “balance”. It’s nice to see that the battlepack rules can serve as a testing ground for rules changes that can be slowly layered in instead of waiting for an entirely new edition. Hopefully everything they learn about wizards over the next year gets applied to priests to give that side of the game some interactions.
Also, the lack of an FAQ on No Reward Without Risk is the best thing that GW has done. They need to release one of those one word FAQs that basically reads “I said what I said” in response to the “You Sure?” question. There are two types of TOs out there in the world – those that are going to let us deploy into combat and FUCKING COWARDS. I’ll be sure to note any event I play in that FAQs this early is playing a form of EXTREME comp and shouldn’t be included in any statistical analysis.
Battle Tactics are Good
Battle tactics are difficult but don’t have a focus on controlling objectives or killing. Unlike the last GHB they are well balanced between the early, mid, and late game. The recognition that the orc book specifically needed a boost in tactics is welcome addition and shows another tool in helping raise win rates beyond the reduction in points.
Dadhammering A List
So where does that leave us with less than two weeks to go before a 2-day event? Last year I had to eat a lot of shit after going 1-4 at Southern Fried for my first battle report and I’m not looking to repeat that performance. This year I’ve been playing fewer games and know I have a busy schedule so lets look at the facts. At best I’m going to get in two additional games prior to my event at the end of the month.
- Playing a complex list just isn’t fun. I don’t want to explain things to my opponent or “gotcha” them with things. I had A LOT of fun playing with my Nashcon lists that was really simple.
- Little spiders are pretty good. On a relative scale.
- $32,000 finecast spiders are really good.
- Dankhold Troggoths Together Strong
- Nullstone Enhancements look neat, and are easier to think about compared to more spells.
I’ve seen a lot of well meaning and professional people try to take a list that is complex or has weird interactions and just get bogged down over the course of two days. I’ve played multiple Lumineth players at events and thought to myself “Protection of Teclis; Overwhelming Heat; Sunmetal; Sunmetal; Speed of Hysh” as they try to remember a hero phase. On the other hand well-meaning and competitive players have actually had the audacity to ask for takebacks after moving phases because they were moving too fast and forgot to move using a reroll teleport and shoot things. Unless you’ve been putting in the time I think picking a list you’re comfortable with is far more important than trying to add a few additional tricks that you’ve read about.
Prior to the points release with the GHB I had 5 warscrolls in my list. Unfortunately, the Marshcrawla Sloggoth was too close to squig herd and somehow got nerfed as part of the most recent points increases. So I tossed it and added more spooder.
This is a bad unit. They have a poor save, no rend, and a shooting attack that is almost not worthwhile. It’s also the most confusing unit in the list. Melee attacks hit on 5/4 while shooting is 4/5. Why? The stupid math is the same so stop taxing our poor brain. However, they are cheap, fast, and take up A LOT of space as a screening unit. They also give me confidence in using the spider venom battle tactic in combination with the Scuttlebosses.
They also make up for deficiencies that troggs have. While they don’t count for a huge amount of models on the point it’s more than a unit of rockguts. they’re very easy to zoom up the board. They combo well with a Dankhold who can issue autorun twice at the end of games to cover a ton of space.
What they don’t have is much synergy without spooder casters. No run, shoot, and charge. No ability to drop out of deepstrike like in grimscuttle. These are 90 point battleline units that come back on a 4+ at half strength and I love them for that. An alternative with the new points is using 3 units of shootas and/or stabbas for the same price but decided not to because of the speed of spooders. Without some of the other support units, like Sneaky Snufflers or Gobbapalooza, Stabbas and Shootas don’t do what they need to do and are less efficient at tying up good units. You need a moonclan hero to issue triple rally. And people who have played 3 games (at best) in a GHB don’t need additional things to remember.
Scuttleboss on Gigantic Spider
So this unit slaps. In addition to being the only spider to get venom on both the spear attack and the fangs it moves quickly and has GREAT command traits. I decided to split artifacts and have an offense/defense spider unit. The ability to hold back my general and have him come in when the board is pretty clear is a great option. Conversely, if I get the defensive unit and a Dankhold into combat with a big enemy unit splitting attacks becomes an EXTREMELY dangerous proposition. Nothing in my army brackets (a smart persons way of playing dumb).
Putting the Hand-Carved Nullstone Icon on my general is a way for me to use primal dice and hopefully unbind a critical teleport or other spell that Dankholds can’t ignore. Since I’m not going to be casting any spells myself I’ll be able to use the entirely primal dice pool for unbinding.
The Scuttleboss also has the ability to retreat and order a spider unit to retreat at the end of combat once per game. This is a great move to allow you to slingshot a unit in later rounds. Additionally, people tend to overlook Spider Rider units when they’re in combat with multiple better units.
D3+3 damage. Four attacks each with a 3/2/-2 profile. 4+ save that gets +1 for standing around in some light. D3 regeneration in each hero phase AND after they’ve activated.
4+ spell ignore. These really are the perfect units and any amount of Dankholds are enough to destroy nearly any unit they come in contact with. With 10 wounds it’s really hard to be SURE you’re going to lift them unless you have a special unit (fully buffed Akelian King) or have invested so many points that I should be able to win the trade in the next combat. Since they don’t have any abilities that trigger on the charge they don’t particularly care how they get into combat, as long as they do.
They’re also great models to paint. I wasn’t upset when I realized that to make my dream come true I was going to need to paint ANOTHER Dankhold. I’d like to shout out my degenerate friend Sung, who is providing 2 of these for me to borrow. I thought about dropping the single dankhold for a support unit that could provide some mortal wound protection. I thought about adding a unit of squig herd or other dense body. I thought about dropping it for a marshcrawla sloggoth so that I could always be hitting on 2s. But thinking isn’t the point of playing a Dadhammer list. I’ve never felt, in any game since the new gitz book was released, that I’ve found a problem that a proper application of Dankholds couldn’t solve. Incarnates, Gnashing Jaws, it all gets decided by the dice rolls once we’re in combat.
Finally, the best part is that I’m going to squig units to jelly at the end of the combat phase. Any model that manages to survive combat with six or fewer wounds is gonna get squished into jelly on an equal to or greater than roll of the dice. I CAN”T WAIT to pick out a model in a unit taking advantage of the new coherency rules.
Now imagine you’re a Dankhold Troggoth, but you don’t want want to do D3+3 damage, you only want to do D6. And maybe, for whatever reason, you only wound on 3s instead of 2s. But you have two extra wounds and the ability to shout and get people walking in the right direction. And maybe you even have your finest hour.
You also get some pretty sweet toys, heal D6 wounds instead of D3, and have the ability to get (or give) an extra attack when you issue all out attack. You still get the 4+ spell ignore and the jelly hands at the end of combat. All and All that’s a pretty fair trade, depending on what the toys are.
How about a 4+ ward or the ability to issue two commands in the same phase? That’s pretty sweet. While it’s likely that the ward will be eaten by the end of the game it provides a critical unit that is able be picked last to fight and survive.
What am I missing?
So not being able to cast spells is a really bummer. Not having the moonfaced mommet on a Fungiold Shaman is a double bummer since I lose out on the command points. Not having mystic shield, hand of gork, or an endless spell kinda sucks. Gitz have great warscroll spells as well that I won’t have access to. I don’t really have any wards of note except for my Dankhold Troggboss. Gitz typically have one or two units that through out a -1 to hit but I’ve declined to take any of those units.
I have no way of knowing what the local meta will be like at the event and there is a lot of excitement about all the new spells and casting going on. Most of my army has a better spell ignore than Khorne. I have a wide range of gitz and non-gitz battle tactics that I think help me make sense of things. It’s pretty clear that I’m going to lose to something like KO and other weird shooty armies. I’m assuming that I’ll lose to soulblight too but locally I haven’t seen too many of those armies around.
What I”m also missing is a bunch of headaches while I play my game. My hero phase is battle tactic, heroic action, and move on. I move, shoot, charge, and fight. If you can fight better than me you’re likely gonna win. If you can keep me from being in combat you’re likely going to win. Otherwise I’ll be a gitz player whose fate is decided by dice.
Next Time – Let me know in the comments what you’re cooking for the GHB. Also, if you’re attending the Southern Fried Gaming Expo in Atlanta, GA after reading this and beat me you have no honor since I told you everything my simple list does.
Next Time: Results of Southern Fried.
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