Posted in Ironskull's Boyz, Warhammer Underworlds

Ironskull’s Boyz: Holding the Pyramid

Welcome Trophy Hunters! As part of my Faction spotlight series I’ll be looking at Ironskull’s Boyz today. All factions are capable of winning an Event and we’re in a really good place for Game Balance.

The warbands in the Bottom-Tier are warbands that I see as having a weakness that the loss of cards on the Banned & Restricted List has enhanced. 

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I love this bit of artwork!!

Ironskull’s Boyz Weaknesses

Ironskull’s Boyz suffer from a very slow start to the game. Hakka & Basha are really bad models for an aggressively focused warband as their damage output is terrible. Versus a single Block dice they only win the attack roll off 40% of the time and do a measly single point of damage. Unlike, Gurzhag and Bonekutta who win the attack roll off 54% of the time. The odds aren’t really in their favour for making successful attack actions in round one.

Gurzag Ironskull and his lads were trapped in the Mirrored City decades ago, after an ill-fated looting spree amidst the ruins of Shadespire. Ironskull was initially furious, but in the years since he’s grown rather fond of the place; after all, what self-respecting orruk would decline an endless cycle of violence and bloodshed?

Ironskull’s Boyz Inspiration mechanic has always irked me. I get it thematically. They are enjoyin’ a gud scrap as any self respecting Orruk should. However, in-game it is punishing as you need to take damage to Inspire. One of Gurzag’s biggest strengths is that he starts with five wounds, giving him some safety from being one-shot. That’s all for naught when you have to at least take a point of damage to Inspire, meaning that Gurzhag is effectively four health as he needs to Inspire to access his accuracy boost.  

Ironskulls seem to love fighting the undead..I guess the scrap never ends…

Ironskull’s Boyz & The BAR List

The BAR List was a hugely mixed blessing for Ironskulls Boyz. They LOVE that Great Concussion doesn’t time warp them back a turn. Quick Thinker can no longer ruin their charge when they finally make it. However, much like Garrek’s Reavers the Orruks have lost SO much of their potential damage output and the simple Objectives that allowed them to compete now need replacing.

Restricted Objectives They Love 

  • Advancing Strike
  • Precise Use of Force
  • Extreme Flanks
  • Escalation
  • Fired Up

Restricted Gambits They Love

  • My Turn
  • Ready for Action
  • Twist the Knife

Restricted Upgrades They Love
(but will probably never use again)

  • Helpful Whispers
  • Shadeglass Dagger
  • Shadeglass Hammer
  • Soultrap
  • Tethered Spirit

Which Restricted Five Would I Choose?

I would definitely be taking Extreme Flanks and Precise Use of Force for my objectives if I was going down an aggressive route. Whilst I’d be taking My Turn, Ready for Action, and Twist the Knife for my Gambit choices. Again, we don’t see any upgrades from the Restricted list. RIP.

However, if I were to go for a slightly more defensive playstyle then I’d consider Extreme Flanks, Fired Up, Defensive Strike & Change of Tactics for my Objectives, and Ready for Action as my Gambit. Because you can’t leave home without Ready for Action!! 

Related Article: Peaceful Orruks? Surely not!

Ironskull’s Boyz: Faction Cards

The faction cards for Ironskulls Boyz really feel like they harken back to the terrible design decision to have the Orruks be the ‘LOLrandom’ faction of Warhammer Fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, some are amazing, we’ll get to them soon! But a few too many rely on a 50/50 dice roll for the effect to happen. Which is a big no-no from me!

Faction Objectives

I honestly find it hard to include an objective from their faction cards. Lots of their ‘good’ cards are Score Immediately objectives for almost every other faction. Which seriously slows down their tempo and ability to score objectives at a fast rate.

  • Biggest an’ da Best – Score in an end phase if the leader kills someone.
  • Call of the Waagh – Score Immediately if three or more Charge Actions are made this turn. Easy in Turn Two and Hard elsewhere.

I’m gonna break my trend a little here and go off on a rant about how BAD some their objectives are!

  • Dead Kunnin’- Almost an impossible ask to get three orruks round a single target but at least it’s score immediately.
  • Dere’s More of Us No there isn’t. There are four of you. The vast majority of warbands now have 4 or more models so you need to score this meagre single glory point after bashing some skulls in.
  • Good Scrap – Score if any three fighters were removed this turn. Not terrible but damn hard to pull off consistently! At least it’s two glory.
  • Punch Up – This is rewarding BAD play and difficult to score. Score if all surviving fighters made an attack action against different enemies. This stops you focusing firing down a model!
  • Too Dumb to Die – Suffer three or more damage and don’t die. FAQd to not be scoreable before Trap. It’s a rare occasion indeed that attacks are made that aren’t lethal. If it happens at least it is Score Immediately.
  • Showin’ Off  The leader killed two models this turn. Score 1 glory in the end phase. Not only is this difficult to achieve you don’t get your reward until the end. Just take Slayer for the same effect but Score Immediately!!

Faction Gambits

Let’s see what the Faction Gambits have to offer. I KNOW some of these are strong!

  • Brutal but Kunnin – Push yourself three hexes after an Attack action so you can Attack someone else later.
  • Kunnin but Brutal – Attack after a Move action so you can pretend you’re not charging but really you are and your halfway there to scoring Keep Them Guessing.

That’s all. The others are too situational for my liking, and there are Neutral cards that are simply better.

Faction Upgrades


Hakka and Basha these pathetic fighters have some absolutely balla upgrades…if Gurzag or Bonekutta could have them!!

  • ‘Ard Head – Damage reduction! Huge in game effect!
  • Brutal Frenzy – Extra attack dice during a charge.

Gurzag does have some strong upgrades though!

  • Unkillable – A Gurzag specific Soultrap. Yes please.
  • Crush and Cleave – This warband with massive axes don’t have cleave printed on their cards. This at least gives them AXEcess to it.

Ironskull’s Boyz: Board Choice

Chosen Axes Aggressive Board

When You Win the Roll…

…this board has become the go-to for warbands with four to five fighters who want to be aggressive. It allows you to deploy the Hakka/Basha & Arnulf/Targor fighters on the right and left to score Extreme Flanks (yup. It’s that big of a deal!). Whilst Bonekutta and Gurzag can go right at the front to ensure that there is combat as soon as possible.

When You Lose the Roll…

…this board allows you to deploy aggressively regardless of orientation. It ALSO allows you the freedom to Inspire an Orruk by moving through a lethal hex. Which is great to set up for Shining Example and getting Gurzag ready for the fight in Turn Two.

Ironskull’s Boyz suffer from existing in a world that Magore’s Fiends also exist in. In every essence Magore’s Fiends do what the Orruks want to do but better. They hit harder, they are more accurate, they are just as survivable, they Inspire from a positive interaction, they hit harder when Inspired, they are faster when Inspired, they have strong faction Objectives, Gambits & Upgrades. 

What do you think? Should Orruks be higher in my rankings? Let me know how you play them in the comments below!

Posted in Event Review, Ironskull's Boyz, Warhammer Underworlds

Peaceful Orruks? Surely not!

Last week I was musing on what to take to the Shadespire Event at the Wargames Emporium. Last time I was there I narrowly missed out on the Glass due to a bit of a hoo-ha with the final round pairings. They run a best of one, urgh, 4 round event! So, I wasn’t really feeling my Aggro Skaven, as I’ve found that Aggro works well in a best of three format so you have a chance to mitigate dice variance.

Whilst I was thinking what to take I stumbled upon this bit of artwork, and thought ‘phwoar, those Orks Orruks look cool’ I’m gonna play with Gazgul and his ladz! Then the coffee kicked in, the synapses fired up, and I realised I’d traded chocolate flavour Aggro for mint flavoured Aggro…

Orruks vs undead
HUR HUR – Harvest that ya bag-o-bones!

…stupid brain. But it did get me thinking – what if I tried to be Kunnin but Brutal, rather than Brutal but Kunnin? A few more sips of brain juice later and I’d specced out my decklist on  – click the link to view the deck.

I’d decided to try and confuse my opponent in a best of one situation and play super passive Orruks…because what kind of greenskin shys away from a scrap?

The Objectives I took are typically found in ‘stallcast’ lists – Perfect Planning, Skirting Danger, Complete Victory etc. With the advent of the new boards Orruks essentially have an ‘ON’ switch for their inspire condition by entering a Dangerous Hex which, in theory, allows me to score Shining Example whenever I want, because what’s more Orruky than hurting yourself to prove how much of an inspiration you are?

The Ploys are entirely focused on push and stall ploys. 7 of 10 being Push Ploys of some form or another, whilst the remaining 3 are Quick Thinker, Hidden Paths, and Anticipation. Push Ploys, QT & HP are all to keep me away from combat and to help score my objectives, and stop Denial. Anticipation being theoretically useful for those games vs other Passive warbands to give me more access to Glory.

The Upgrades all revolve around survivability (3x 50/50 don’t dies, 2 Increased Wounds, Commanding Shout to push vital pieces around and not use Move Actions) and for Glory scoring in the Third End Phase – Hero’s Mantle, A Destiny to Meet, and Formless Key.

How did it perform? Read on, dear reader, read on…

Game 1 versus Stormcast Eternals

I lost the roll off for board deployment, and my opponent set up wide to wide with the intention of flooding the way through with his Stormcast. I chose to use the new boards in every game as I wanted to test out their uses, in this game I chose the Crystal board and deployed far away.

When I drew my opening hand of objectives I had all my turn 3 objectives AND flawless strategy…I had to dump them. I mulliganed into an equally bad first hand of Escalation, Chosen Champion and Master of War. FANTASTIC! Gork & Mork were obviously laughing at me from their big green palace in the sky.

Needless to say, this game went south quite quickly and I only managed to score a meagre four glory, whilst through good use of the hazardous hexes I was denying my opponent his Score Immediately cards e.g. being pushed onto the hexes and dieing does not count for Precise Use of Force or Lightening Strikes. My opponent was able to score seven glory and was victorious. Not a great start.

Game 2 versus Farstriders

In this game I was able to deploy length ways and was able to keep my Orruks far away from any potential mishaps. The Farstriders also seemed content with this and we drew cards viciously at each other. After a mighty flurry of back and forth I was able to use Distraction and Great Concussion to prevent a Tac Supremacy 1-2, whilst scoring three of my own objectives.

Turn 2 saw much of the same of the card draw, I was searching my deck for Heroes Mantel, A Destiny to Meet, and the Formless Key to equip them all on Gurzag to score me Escalation, Chosen Champion & Shining Example by sidesteping into a hazard. Classic Orruk behaviour.

Turn 3 I was able to score ‘Ard as Iron and my three upgrades to provide an eleven to seven victory. We had an interesting rules query come up in the previous game: If a model uses Hidden Paths to arrive into a hazardous hex they are ‘placed’ – as such they do not Move into it, are not Pushed into it, and are not Driven Back into it so do not take any damage. An interesting tidbit for your future games!

We dint even get to Bash any stunties! RUBBISH!

Game 3 versus Dwarves

I won the roll off and chose the Forge board, and forced my to deploy length ways. He deployed in a way that the Orruks would not be able to charge first turn…hur hur hur we tricked ‘im boss and Gurzag and Ladz deployed at the far back of the board putting around 10 hexes between us.

My opponent had a terrible first hand and ditched a hand full of upgrades…including Grimnir’s Speed. This was huge! The only way he’d be able to reach me in time now was to Hidden Paths over – if I could deny him inspiring of keep pushing him away from Edge hexes I was quietly confident.

The stars aligned on my objective deck and I was able to consistently score three per turn with the final turn being ‘Ard as Iron, Complete Victory & Escalation PLUS the three upgrades for a massive 11pt final turn. Through good use of ploys throughout the game I was able to stop Grimnir getting Inspired til the final phase and prevented Supremacy every turn through Great Concussion, Earthquake and Distraction. The game ended at fifteen to five in favour of Gurzag. Maybe Gork and Mork were appreciatin’ the kunnnin’ plan afterall…

Game 4 vs Stormcast

Ah. Trouble! I was playing against Ian (the eventual winner) who is a veteran of the passive deck and has played into this type of match up far more than I have. He was able to score more consistently than I, and was able to ustilise a Hidden Paths + Great Strength Obryn to bop Basha on the head in the Third turn – killing my hopes of ‘Ard as Iron, Complete Victory & Flawless Strategy. After he’d died I knew I’d lost as the huge uptick in glory from that attack. +7 Glory & Actions lost replacing them meant I was crushed fifteen to five in favour of the Stormcast.

Congratulations to Ian, he went on to win the event via Glory Difference, and is a very skilled player! We’re now 1-2 in the head-to-head, hopefully I’ll get to play him in a best of three event soon. You can read his review here!

Is not fair!! I dint even get to use me Choppa! Stuff this!

In Conclusion…

I was happy to see how the defensive/passive list played and feel I understand some of the intricacies a bit more now, and have an insight into how I would play against them with my Aggro decks. If I were to commit to this build then it is 100% the Stallcast build I’d go for as it has another Opponent Push ploy in through Peal of Thunder, and the fewer models mean to huddle up or jump on edge hexes requires less cards. Orruks were fine but not the masters – they did catch players off guard but not in a meaningful way versus the more experienced player.

At the end of the day I’m still firmly in the Aggro camp! The defenisve games I had did feel a lot like Solitaire and think I made a grand total of four(?) Attacks over the four games. The games that went well felt like I was a fun sponge on the game as there is little to no tension, and the games that went against me felt punishing because you’re so reliant on the cards. It’s an interesting build, but I’ll be returning to my Skaven for the next few events.