Using Gut Magic Aggressively (2007)
by Stefan Sagebro
In mastering the Ogre race, it is necessary to understand the concept of Gut Magic. Not because it is the foremost weapon of the Ogre (for that is, as we all know, the Ogre Club), but because it differs so much from the magic of the other races. That is why I humbly present you my thoughts on how you maximize your outcome when using Gut Magic agressively.
Magic Phase Strategy
As an Ogre player, the best way to be able to cast the most crucial buffing spells is to first empty your opponents dispel pool. This is done by casting spells that really hurt the opponent, so that he will really want to use his dispel dice (usually, an opponent will rather use his dispel dice than a scroll as long as he has dice left and the spell is not cast with a very high casting value – unlikely with our maximum of two dice). Preferred spells here are Braingobbler and Bonecruncher, since your opponent will be more wary of losing his own troops than you getting some buffs through, as buffs don’t pose a threat in the first turns and also can be dispelled in his own turn.
When casting one of these two spells, I always use two dice. Why? Yes, it’s true that you can successfully cast more spells by using one dice, but those spells will be cast with a lower casting value and thus easier dispelled. Some of your dice will even be wasted in failed attempts – this is perhaps the most obvious argument for using two dice – you want all of your dice to matter in your desire to empty your opponents dispel pool as quickly as possible.
After the opponent runs out of dice your tactic will change – now the mission has evolved from sucking out dispel dice to successfully casting as many spells as possible. Thus the previously rejected approach will now be embraced; we will use one dice to cast spells. This way we will cast as many spells as we possibly can, and at the same time we will force our opponent to use any scrolls on preventing spells only cast with one dice – a frustrating experience for sure. Deviations from this tactic can of course be made if a successful casting attempt of a spell is absolutely decisive for the game; this is however usually more frequently occurring in the later part of the game.
Suitable Magic Items
The suitable tactic when using the almost mandatory Bangstick, like the use of Gut Magic in general, differs from the use of other bound spells. When using other bound spells, it is often recommended to use them in the beginning of the magic phase, as they will never risk you to miscast and will be wasted if you do miscast when casting another spell and saving it for later.
In the Ogre case, the low likelihood of miscasting (with Butchers being restricted to two dice per spell) makes this argument weaker. Instead, the Bangstick can tailor our previous tactical approach. It can initially draw out dispel dice – however, it makes more use when it is saved for the end of the magic phase when the opponent has run out of dice, as long as it has a good target (like a lone walking character or a banshee). Then it can potentially even draw out a scroll.
Another popular magic item that I find worth taking and affects the magic phase strategy is the skull mantle. Besides increasing the effectiveness of the fear your Ogre units are causing, the Skull Mantle increases your effectiveness of both our most important spells, the offensive Braingobbler and Bonecruncher. Lowering the leadership of the enemy will greatly increase the chance of a panic test, either from the Braingobbler or from enough casualties caused by the Bonecruncher (or by the Bangstick for that matter – also of course from shooting, I am however not convinced in the use of Ogres equipped with black powder, but that’s another discussion). This is particularly true when it lowers the leadership from eight to seven, seven to six and six to five, each step eliminating a lot of successful outcomes from the dice roll for the opponent (for example, lowering the leadership from seven to six will lower the chance of a successful leadership test from 58,3 % to 41,6 %). The common interpretation of the rules is that the effects of the skull mantle also affects the spells of other Butchers in the same unit.
You thus have the alternative to have two (or even three) Butchers in the same unit, all spitting out Braingobblers and Bonecrunchers all under the benefiting influence of the Skull Mantle.
This however has its back draws, it makes it harder to find suitable targets for your buff spells and it also makes you vulnerable, putting all your eggs in one basket.
There are of course other magic items that influence the magic phase; I however only ever use these two together with the Siegebreaker for that surprise-S7 and as many dispel scrolls as I can fit.
The Thinling Races
The race the opponent is fielding is of course going to affect both the strategy and effectiveness of your Gut Magic. Therefore I will list my reflections concerning the races of the old world from a Gut Magic perspective. Generally, the races that are vulnerable to our offensive spells Braingobbler and Bonecruncher, will be the ones we will face with light heart and a big smile. It is also when you face these races that you want to run your Butchers on their own outside your units, since you don’t want them to be bogged down in combat and thus unable to have use of their offensive spells (at least, let them leave your units when close combat is shortly ensuing).
The armour-clad horsemen are one of our favourite enemies when it comes to magic. Almost all units are very well suited for Bonecruncher, and as the suits of armour are inhabited by mere humans, Braingobbler can be used to great effect - especially against KotR and Errants. One thing to bear in mind is the MR1 that the damsels will confer the unit they accompany, so try to target units that don’t have damsels hiding within their ranks. Your Butchers should here be run outside of your units, running circles around fast but clumsy lances and casting as many offensive spells as possible.
The Empire/Dogs of War
Similar to the Bretonnians, the humans of the empire and the dogs of war are good targets for panic causing spells. Targets that don’t benefit from the generals leadership have a good chance of failing a panic test, so Braingobbling units on the flanks can give you a clear a way for an enveloping manoeuvre with your fast moving Ogres. Alternatively go for the big prize and target the juiciest target in the centre. Smaller chance of success, but the opponent will be very wary of loosing the targeted key unit (and with skull mantle, the test will be on no more than
. There are also often some knights or fast cavalry that can be silenced by a well placed Bonecruncher. Here we will often however face some troublesome shooting, including cannons and the like. Thus spells like Toothcracker and Trollguts can be useful to preserve your troops to make it all the way into the enemy lines. Remember that when facing S3-shooting, Toothcracker works just as well in this matter as Trollguts, halving the risk of taking a wound.
Higher strength shooting makes Trollguts more effective. The shooting, the cannons in particular, makes it more difficult to run the Butchers by themselves, and it might be worth considering buying some look-out Gnoblars and run them inside your units, at least initially.
Perhaps the hardest of the Ogre foes (after all, they’re pretty much like Ogres, only smaller with more facial hair), the Dwarfs are almost impervious to both our offensive spells. Great leadership will make any effect of any successful Braingobbler very unlikely, and Bonecrunchers will mostly bounce off the sturdy Stunties. When facing Dwarfs, don’t expect your magic to win you the game or cause many casualties. The best you can do is to prepare your Ogres to do the work where it is done best, in close combat. This by placing buffs on them, initially to protect them against shooting and later to make your bulls more lethal (using Bullgorger).
Just like the humans with black powder weapons, running your Butchers outside your units could be trouble – since you won’t need the flexibility you look for when using your offensive spells, I recommend running Butchers inside units when facing Dwarfs. Facing the Dwarfs sinister cousins, the chaos Dwarfs, will imply very much the same things, with the exception that the chaos Dwarfs includes elements of other races that are a bit easier to panic and also some weaker cavalry suitable for the Bonecruncher.
Like Dwarfs the three elf races have great leadership, making Braingobbler less useful. They are however not nearly as sturdy as the Stunties, so Bonecruncher can be used to good effect, particularly against all types of cavalry. Bangstick can be of good use here, targeting lone straying characters in the late game (and light cavalry). Running your Butchers outside your units can be done, just stay out of sight of the worst shooting and beware of the HoDA.
Hordes of Chaos
The Hordes of Chaos comes in many shapes, and the Gut Magic effectiveness will differ from the different incarnations. Generally the offensive spells can work well – Bonecruncher against cavalry of any kind (knights do have T4, but are oh so expensive). Braingobbler also has its targets, mainly marauders, different hired beasts and the Tzeentch and Nurgle versions of chaos. Targeting undivided units should be avoided if possible (and of course, Khorne and Slaanesh). Buff spells are not a bad choice either, making your Ogres a bit stronger or more resilient could be the fact that tips the ensuing close combat in your favour. Running Butchers outside your units should be the common setup here (with sporadic deviations for any Siegebreaking Butcher for instance).
Beasts of Chaos
Beasts of Chaos have many similarities with their horde counterparts. However, with a fewer number of heavily armoured troops and cavalry, the Bonecruncher will have less impact. Instead focus should be on Braingobbler, as the beasts will have lower leadership and probably fewer units that are immune to panic or undivided. An effective weapon will thus be to panic units out on the flanks outside the general’s 12” influence. Bullgorger can be used to make your bulls more competitive; Butchers should mainly run around outside your units to be able to panic units in each of your magic phases.
The living dead are as you all know immune to the effects of the Braingobbler – after all, they don’t have much of a brain to make a mess of. This limits the use of our offensive spells – our best targets are probably to try to panic Ghouls without the general’s leadership and attack banshees with Bonecruncher. Thus the Gut Magic will be directed mainly to give our Ogre grunts the power to hack through the heaps of walking corpses, mainly by boosting them with Bullgorger.
Butchers can be run both outside units to be able to get to those few vulnerable units, but mainly inside units to bolster their combat prowess. This is particularly true if you as I play the MSU approach of the Ogre race – small units of Ogres can with the aid of a Butcher and the Bullgorger spell take on a roadblock of Zombies with good odds.
Much like when facing vampire counts you will find difficulty in getting real use of your offensive spells when facing Khemri. The best you can do is probably a lucky Bonecruncher on some ill-placed priest. Instead the strategy will mainly be to boost your troops in face of the ensuing hacking and crushing of bones.
Orcs & Goblins
Orcs, and even more their goblinoid followers, has their shortcomings regarding leadership. Braingobbler will work very well indeed, with the aid of the skull mantle in particular. Bonecruncher can also work against the weaker of the race. Other than that, giving your Ogres buffs of different kinds are also welcome, as the face-off between these two races really only can be decided in one way – a bloody settlement between Club and Choppa. I usually consider the Braingobbler the main weapon against O&G, and thus run my Butchers outside my units unless facing to many war machines.
The cold-blooded rule limits the Braingobbler effect. However, Skinks and Skink-run troops like Terradons, Salamanders and the Stegadon that are outside the generals leadership (not very unlikely) can be targeted with success, also here the aid of the skull mantle is welcome. Skinks are actually the perfect match for the Butchers, as the skinks also are fragile enough to be considerably affected by the Bonecruncher (and thus perhaps be forced to take a panic test for taking 25% casualties). As Butchers also are immune to the poison on their arrows and javelins, running Butchers on their own on the flanks, clearing out Skinks, is a great approach. Just be careful of the thrice-cursed Salamanders.
The rats of the Underempire can be affected by both our offensive spells, but it will probably be Braingobbler that has the greatest effect. Anything that’s not ranked up will be your targets here. The real trick is to make your Butchers get into position to target these elements without getting shot down by Jezzail fire or a great beam of pure warp-lightning.
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