Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ogryns – The Shunned & Abused

So this article on Dakka popped back up:

It got me to thinking again, especially with how dismissive and plain incorrect some of the comments are, about one of my favorite units in the IG book. OGRYNS!

This article is a review on the strengths and weaknesses of this unit as it applies to the hardcore mech lists, hybrid lists, and the foot horde. Basically I want to talk about the Ogryns place in an IG army and try to explain their purpose for those people who actively dismiss them as a unit to bring and maybe see if I can get some people to give them a test run. This isn’t a “well you just don’t know how to use them” article. My goal is to explain their strengths and weaknesses and allow you to see if they might work for you.

So let’s look first at an Ogryns general positive points:

-3 Wounds
-12” Heavy Bolter
-Furious Charge
-St5 Base

And their negative points:

-Ld 7 (6 once the Bonehead goes down)
-40pts each
-Initiative 2
-Blob Squads do anything Orgryns can do better

Most people’s issue with Ogryns seems to revolve around their point cost which is why I listed it. Personally I think anything less would be just disgusting when taken on the whole with the rest of the IG codex. They also discuss the need for an IC Commissar Lord to make them effective which isn’t true either. Basically they review the Ogryns in a vacuum. So let’s dive into my thoughts on Ogryns in an army build.

As you can see from the above there are a lot of advantages that comes stock on an Ogryn and very few drawbacks. However those drawbacks to some people are massive road blocks to trying the unit out, especially in competitive environments. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty (I’m street yo!)

In general most people see Ogryns, if they have considered them at all, as defensive units. Defensive linemen if you will whose job is to block enemy units from your more important pieces. This ties in neatly with why many people constantly compare them to Blob squads. What needs to be considered is that like any unit, an Ogryn squads purpose is determined by the rest of your list, your opponents list, and the mission parameters. Also consider that even shields should be used offensively from time to time.

Let’s look at some archetype builds.

This one is pretty easy since it’s not really an active comparison to blobs. And by Mech I mean a fair few Vet units in Chim’s, some Vendetta’s, Maticores/Hydra’s, and a command squad or two. Granted even mech comes in two primary varieties, the advancing and the gunline, but I think Orgyns have a place in a mech force. Especially in the current environment that revolves around lots of speed and mech itself. How many times in the last few years with your guard has it been a race to eliminate as much as you can before your opponent hits your lines and then it’s a dance for survival after that. Enter Ogryns in the role most people consider for them, linemen. By even having Ogryns it increases your ability to concentrate your fire. You can know that if one unit gets thru at full strength you can still sideline them and so simplify your target priority.

In an aggressive mech force, the type fielded by Mike Brandt, Ogryns fill a similar but different role. Ogryns become crowd control and area denial units. They still are blocking for your other units but now in a different way. Most armies basic units think twice about getting out of a vehicle in charge range of an Ogryn unit to eliminate you’re Veterans ride using those melta guns everyone seems love. Also a unit of Ogryns, even ones that fit into a Chimera, can cover a fair amount of ground with their 40mm bases and 2” coherency. Basically they become a mobile shield that can be used to bash your opponent into submission when give the choice.

I can tell you that if I see a well built IG army across the table from me with my tuned Space Wolf army and they brought along 5-6 Ogryns I wince because it will completely change how I go about engaging the Guard player and that if used aggressively they can subdue or sideline a significant portion of my forces since they aren’t likely to move even if they do lose combat as a smart opponent keeps a standard w/in 12” of them.


Ogryns in a foot list are harder. In this list the Ogryns disadvantages become more pronounced, especially the leadership.  I still feel they do the counter attack job better than any blob squad that doesn’t exceed 300pts but there is no doubt they are harder to manage in a pure foot force. However in a pure foot force you’re likely looking at things to increase leadership and so might have already brought a Commissar Lord or Yarrick. In which case Ogryns come back into their element. They are cheaper than blob squads, provide similar close range shooting (except Ogryns can charge afterwards), and are more resilient assuming a banner is within 12”. 5 Ogryns at 12” kill 1.63 MEQ’s and a blob that is all in range numbering 20 Guardsmen kill 2.06. Ogryns however get to charge and are much harder to reduce in number.

Ogryns also allow you to take the fight to your opponent in those tournament missions basically force you into a brawl in the middle to claim the victory which is something a blob just can’t do reliably. Sometimes you need units to account for poor mission design and Ogryns help with this also.


Ogryns I feel excel in a hybrid list. This list will generally have enough vehicles that Ogryns can ride into battle which negates their leadership issues but will have enough fire support that Ogryns can be used extremely aggressively. In this instance my Ogryns tend to be a missile I launch at my enemies as a major disruption unit. Against shooty armies they have to take out the Ogryns or they will rampage thru their forces. And if it’s an assault oriented force you can divert a decent amount of those assault elements thru aggressive use of these brutes.

In essence Ogryns fill a needed gap in the IG codex. They’re a unit that allows you to act more aggressively and shield your advancing forces from light/medium combat threats. Personally I think gunline IG are dead but if you do play them then they stiffen up your chances of winning greatly as they provide a counter attack unit to prevent enemies from eating your force in huge bites. They provide decent firepower and a heck of a CC punch. You can enhance them through various means but even without it they more than pull their weight.

I’ll post up two-three army lists later in a single post to show an example of how Ogryns fit into each archetype. I’d do it now but this has already passed 1200 words J Thanks for reading if you stuck through it.  Share your thoughts!