This article will describe in detail the Orruk Warclans army starting from its lore, describing the main units and their roles, how the army plays and finally our personal opinion of the army.
For a complete run-down of the different armies available in Age of Sigmar, consult our Age of Sigmar army overview article.
In this article we will refer often to Matched Play and other technical terms like allegiance abilities, command points, army roles in building a list, core battalions, Endless Spells/Invocations, etc. We assume the reader will be knowledgeable with those terms, otherwise please refer to the relevant guides for more details.
Overview of Orruk Warclans Army
Orruk Warclans are an umbrella label that actually comprises 4 different armies, each with their own set of allegiances. Orruks, the Age of Sigmar equivalent of Orcs, are the race that better represents the bestial and ferocious aspect of Ghur, the Realm of Beasts.
They live for war and would attack anyone that could put up a fight. They venerate Gorkamorka, a complex deity that can sometime argue with itself and split in two halves: Gork that is brutal but cunning and Mork that is cunning but brutal.
When enough Orruks and their allies gather, they create a Big Waaagh!, a spiritual force extremely contagious that brings greenskin hordes together and generates enough energy to prompt them to accomplish utter devastation.
The 3 main groups of Orruks are Bonesplitterz (the old savage orcs from Warhammer Fantasy), Ironjawz (the biggest and baddest Orruks) and Kruleboyz (slimmer and more cunning).
The Kruleboyz in particular are the main antagonist of this edition of Age of Sigmar. They are found fighting Stormcast Eternals in many starter sets and other representative boxes. They are a complete new subfaction of the Orruk warclans focussing more on ambushing and shooting tactics.
The model range varies greatly, with Kruleboyz being all new, Ironjawz being recent and having received a considerable boost in Summer 2023, and Bonesplitterz sculpts are more than 10 years old and aged quite badly.
Orruk Warclans battletome was released soon after the launch of the third edition and represents the new standard of battletomes. Each of the four allegiances has its own pros and cons but they are all somehow competitive. They are also extremely beginner friendly, especially Ironjawz with their main focus on the combat phase.
Lore of Orruk Warclans Army
The two-headed god Gorkamorka is venerated by many destruction forces, including the Orruks that better understand his predicament. In the Age of Myth, Gorkamorka collaborated with Sigmar’s pantheon, happy to chase away the biggest monsters from the Mortal Realms, but all of this stopped when the Age of Chaos came.
Since then, all sorts of greenskins and their allies roam the land in search of a good fight and something to destroy, often targeting Sigmar’s cities or outposts but not denying death underworlds or chaos fortresses a good fight or scrap as they call it.
It is not exactly known how Orruks came to be, some say from another Orruk corpse the essence eventually mutates like a tadpole and continues its evolution process reaching a full-size Orruk in time. But to ask them directly is impossible as they just don’t care. They exist, and they do to fight. When they don’t have an opponent, they clash between themselves to determine who is going to lead: “da Boss“!
Orruks gather in warclans and, while they are more common in Ghur, the Realm of Beasts, they can be found anywhere outside of Azyr and the realms’ edges (Perimiter Inimical). This includes Archaon’s own turf, the Eightpoints, where they plan eventually to topple the Varanspire, the fortress home of the Everchosen.
There are three main groups of Orruks, of which the Kruleboyz are those that venerate Mork above Gork. They prefer dirty tricks and foul play: in the end it does not matter how you win as long as you win. They originate from the bogs and swamps of Ghur but have since spread far and wide. They are slimmer than their other counterparts and use in battle various beasts they captured and broke to teach them who is the boss.
The Ironkawz instead are the more brutal Orruks. They prefer Gork and represent the greenskin’s shock troop throwing themselves at whichever obstacle the Waaagh! is encountering. They are tougher and bigger than their cousins and use crude weapons and pig-iron armours to protect them from the biggest blows.
Completely opposite are the Bonesplitterz, that charge in battle covered only with some loin clothes and warpaints, believing Gorkamorka will protect them as long as they have eaten enough marrow bone from the greatest and most dangerous beasts they could find. Whatever the truth, they are indeed protected by an invisible force able to deviate some of the hits otherwise destined to them.
When they gather all together, they assemble a Big Waaagh! like the one Kragnos, the End of Empires, managed to bring to the very door of Excelsis. Kragnos was once the leader of a powerful race of centaurs, the Drogrukh and was imprisoned under a mountain for centuries by an alliance of powerful casters like the elder Draconiths and the Seraphon Slann.
And he would have stayed there forever, if it was not for Alarielle and her ritual that brought back life in all realms and stirred the Realm of Beasts from its torpor, allowing the Living Earthquake to once again roam the Mortal Realms.
Army rules for the Orruk Warclans
But how does a Orruk Warclans army play on a tabletop? First let’s go through the main rules for this army.
The first and most important choice is which allegiance to use. Each Orruk has a keyword that represents which main faction he belongs to. You can then decide to use Orruks all belonging to the same faction and allegiance, or mix them in a Big Waaagh!
It’s important to remember that the keyword representing a unit, for example Kruleboyz, determines which buffs or enhancements he can use or be affected by. For example, a Kruleboyz general in a Big Waaagh! could take as command trait Suppa Sneaky but would be able to use it only on Kruleboyz units.
For easiness we split the main rules in the four allegiances.
The Kruleboyz represent the techie part of the army, good shooting options and many shenanigans your opponent would not expect.
They have 3 subfactions available:
- Grinnin’ Blades: biggest warclan, focus on anti-shooting (verify June FAQ that improved this ability).
- Big Yellers: originally from Chamon they are the loudest of all, but also the laziest, and choose shooting over melee. Unlocks Man-skewer Boltboyz as battleline.
- Skulbugz: originally from Shyish, they are linked to the many insectoid monsters they coexist with. Focus on debuffs to hit.
Their main trait, venom-encrusted weapons, allows for mortal wounds on an unmodified 6 to hit, meaning they are less reliant on rend and more interested in multiple attacks.
Their Waaagh! allows 2 units to fight immediately after the general once per battle, while Dirty Tricks allows them a special effect that can be chosen before the first battle round allowing to select the most appropriate for the situation (instead of choosing it during list building). These buffs greatly vary but the most interesting, Disappearin’ Act, forces up to 3 enemy units to be set back in reserve until the end of their movement phase.
They also have their own set of command traits, most notably Supa Sneaky (that allows to re-set up one friendly unit at the beginning of the battle) and artefacts of power like Mork’s Eye Pebble (once per battle ward against shooting).
Kruleboyz have access to the Lore of the Swamp, discussed in the wizards section below.
Ironjawz are the strongest Orruk faction, in lore and in game, now with simplified rules.
They have also 3 sub-factions:
- Ironsunz: the largest of all warclans with bright yellow armours to be seen far and wide. Can charge in the enemy phase.
- Bloodtoofs: crazy Orruks rampaging from a realmgate to another in red armour. Focus on end of combat movements. Unlocks Orruk Gore-gruntas as battleline.
- Da Choppas: the hooligans of the Mortal Realms, focus on Ardboyz and Brutes.
Their signature command ability is Mighty Destroyers, that allows a unit to perform extra movement in the hero phase (move, charge or pile-in). This becomes even more powerful combined with the Megaboss ability to use the same command on 2 or 3 different units at the cost of 1 command point.
The other signature trait of Ironjawz is Smashing and Bashing that allows new units to fight as long as the previous one destroyed their target. With accurate positioning and choice of order, it could allow to pick 3-4 units before the enemy has any chance to reply, leaving him short of few units…
The Ironjawz Waaagh! improves charge and rend for a turn.
They also have their own set of command traits with good options like Mega Bossy (with 2 Megaboss in your list, it would allow almost all units in the army to perform a hero-phase movement) or Touched by the Waaagh! (that can be given to a Megaboss with Arcane Tome, transforming him in a wizard and allowing him a bonus to cast). Destroyer (that adds 3 to the damage of a melee weapon for a phase once per game) is also a good artefact of power for Megabosses and Tuskbosses.
Ironjawz wizards have access to the Lore of the Weird, further discussed in the wizards section.
The Bonesplitterz are composed of the oldest models in the range and are more of a glass cannon compared to the Ironjawz.
Continuing the trend, they also have 3 sub-factions:
- Bonegrinz: a large warclan famous for chasing the rarest beasts, focus on Arrowboys, that become battleline.
- Icebone: born from the glaciers of Ghur, they hold sacred their mounts. Focus on melee mortal wounds, unlocks Savage Boarboys as battleline.
- Drakkfoot: hunters of ghostly and magic beasts, they prevent ward saves. Unlocks Savage Orruk Morboys as battleline.
Bonesplitterz main traits are focussed on defence (to cope with their extremely poor save rolls) and attack to compensate their overall lack of rend. Their warpaint provides them a ward save that can be increased to a 4+ for only one combat phase by activating their Waaagh! energy.
The Spirit of Gorkamorka instead provides exploding 6s, now to the entire faction (attention to the June 2022 FAQ that improved this battle trait, exploding 6s means that each unmodified 6 to hit becomes 2 distinct wound rolls).
The last battle trait allows half of the army to perform a pre-game move (Tireless Trackers).
As the other factions, Bonesplitterz also have access to command traits (nothing exceptional, you can have an extra spell on a wizard general using One Wiv Da Beast) and artefacts of power (Glowin Tatooz gives more survivability and Beast-lure Glyphs allows to use a situational spell once per battle).
Bonesplitterz wizards have access to the Lore of the Savage Beast, discussed in the section below.
The Big Waaagh! allegiance ability allows to mix and match units from all 3 factions, maintaining only one battle trait from each one:
- Kruleboys have access to venom-encrusted weapons for mortal wounds on unmodified 6 to hit.
- Ironjawz’s iconic command ability Mighty Destroyers allows them hero phase movement.
- Bonesplitterz’s warpaint provides them a 6+ ward.
Note that each one can use Command Traits, Artefacts and Spells of their own faction. In addition, each faction has access to Mount Traits, like Fast Un’ for an extra move once per game and Loud Un’ for an improved Roar monstrous rampage impacting all enemies within 3″ instead of 1 (Roar prevents the affected units from receiving or issuing command abilities in the following combat phase).
On top of all this, a Big Waaagh! accrues Waaagh! points during the game (mostly by having your general alive, charging or being in combat). These points unlock new buffs to the army, all cumulative until you reach 24 and decide to spend them all for an extra Attack for each melee profile of friendly Orruk models in a single combat phase. A new heroic action gives a chance for some extra points.
The buffs overall are useful things like bonus to run, charge, hit, wound or to cast/dispel/unbind.
While Orruk Warclans may seem a bit complex at the beginning with all these rules, the best way is to focus on a single Orruk faction at a time and expand once you are comfortable. Kruleboyz are probably the most complex, Ironjawz the more gratifying.
Units and their roles in the Orruk Warclans Army
Heroes in Orruk Warclans
Heroes can perform Heroic Actions, in addition to the other abilities they can perform. You do it in the hero phase and you can only do one heroic action. Here is the list:
- Heroic Leadership: on a 4+ (or 2+ if your general has been slain) get a command point only that hero can use.
- Heroic Willpower: one non-Wizard hero can attempt to dispel or unbind a spell for that phase like he was a wizard.
- Their Finest Hour: can be used only once by each hero to improve save and wound rolls by 1 for that turn.
- Heroic Recovery: a disengaged hero can heal D3 wounds if he rolls less or equal to his bravery with 2D6.
Kruleboyz centre-piece is surely Gobsprakk, that is further discussed in the Wizards section. From the same kit, you can assemble a Killaboss on Corpse-rippa Vulcha, a different type of unit, more focussed on fighting with better save rolls and attacks. As all Killabosses, they can refrain Kruleboyz from fleeing in droves should they fail a battleshock test next to them.
Compared to the other Killabosses, he adds his mount attacks to the fray and allows to use twice the same command ability (but from different units and to different units).
The Killaboss on Great Gnashtoof was first introduced in the Dominion box set and is a good alternative to the Corpse-vulcha. Still great speed (although he does not fly), better save roll and statistically really similar attack profile (more consistent, especially when charging).
The Killaboss with Stab-grot is the final version of this Kruleboyz leader, present in few Starter Set. He has two weapon loadouts, one with the same defence as the Gnashtoof, and one with more attacks. Apart from that, he is just a 6-wounds melee hero, 7 if you count the sacrificial Grot that accompanies him.
The Murknob with Belcha-banna is a totem and provides spell protection to friendly units while damaging units in the combat phase. At the right cost is an interesting utility piece.
Swampboss Skumdrekk is another named character, unfortunately that means he starts with a disadvantage compared to the generic version that can be assembled from the same kit: the Snatchaboss on Sludgeraker Beast. The main difference of not being named, is the ability to get command traits and artefacts that can even improve your save characteristic or other traits.
For the rest the two main abilities of both models are one extra mortal wound on an unmodified 6 to hit (will come back when we discuss Man-skewer Boltboyz) and a good chance to utterly kill a low-wounds hero once per game.
The Breaka-boss on Mirebrute Troggoth combines the regenerative abilities of the Troggoth with the cruelty of the Orruks (every hero phase can self-inflict damage to increase the mount attacks). Pointed correctly it can be an interesting option.
The last Kruleboys hero is Mannok Da Kunnin’, the leader of Da Kunnin’ Krew, from Warhammer Underworlds Season 5 Harrowdeep starter set. His interesting trick is the chance to choose 2 dirty tricks instead of 1 for that battle.
There’s no leader more iconic for Orruks than Gordrakk, the Fist of Gork, the protagonist of many stories, recently even clashed with Kragnos before agreeing on following his Waaagh!. Despite so, he suffers from the usual issue that, as a named character, it can’t be improved further while his alter ego, the Megaboss on Maw-krusha, can take artefacts that for example can provide an after-save ward.
They have a similar profile with Gordrakk doing mortal wounds to Heroes and Wizards on a 4+ to hit. In addition, they both can Stomp twice if the first Stomp kills the target unit (Stomp is a Monstrous Rampage, in this case with extra mortal wounds depending on how wounded the Megaboss or Gordrakk are) and add to Wounds and Attack characteristic every combat phase they slain a unit.
They also have a good shooting attack, but the interesting part comes from the ability to issue 3 times the same command ability in the same phase at the cost of 1 (in the FAQ it is clarified better how it works). Now you can think about Mighty Destroyers, meaning up to 3 units can move in the hero phase, Redeploy if you want to avoid specific charges (but why would you want to do it?? You are an Ironjawz!!) or All-out Attack. The possibilities are endless.
And talking about performing Mighty Destroyers 3 times, what about 5 times? The Orruk Megaboss has the same ability as the one mounted, only he can perform it only twice. However, Ironjawz Command Trait Mega Bossy, allows a general to perform Mighty Destroyers even if another unit already did. As long as you start with your non-general Megaboss, you can perform it 5 times (or 6 if you have two Maw-krusha) with 2 command points…
But the Orruk Megaboss is still a good fighter, with the same buffs after slaying enemies as the one on Maw-krusha and in addition a “fight-after-death” ability meaning that you are always sure that combat phase he’ll punch in the face.
The Orruk Warchanter is an essential buffer for this army. You’ll always have one in your pocket ready for action. He can increase the damage of a friendly unit by 1 until your next hero phase but also can choose between 3 different warbeats during list building. Killa Beat combines well with the first buff, adding +1 to hit against a targeted key enemy unit to increase the chances to get rid of it.
The latest kit released is a monstrous Tuskboss on Maw-Grunta. He introduces the concept of momentum that we will see also in the other 2 non-hero variants. This is built every time the units run or charges but is lost at the end of every turn. If you do reach the top bracket (6) it increases movement speed (up to 12″), rend on the crew attacks and damage of the mount, but when receiving a double turn you will be forced to see the momentum decrease.
As it can only run and charge when the momentum is 4+, and every increase is a D3 instead of a fixed number, running to increase the momentum can be a gamble forcing you to sit out from the charge phase. He can now be given command traits and artefacts (FAQ November 2023).
Past all of the above, he is a strong unit, in particular in an Ironsunz army where he can charge in the enemy phase increasing his momentum score. His monstrous rampage can not only provoke mortal wounds to an engaged unit, but allow him to charge once again, flying over units with a wound characteristic of 1 or 2.
The Ardboy Big Boss is another new model, this time created to support the light infantry, the Ardoboyz. As such, he can issue Rally up to 2 units of them, the second time for free, returning slain models on a 5+ instead of 6, and can improve their Shield Bash ability to do mortal wounds on a 5+.
Zoggrok Anvilsmasha is the latest named hero to join the fray accompanied by his loyal rockbrow squig, Klonk. He has two different weapon loadouts, and never like now the difference can be significative. The choppa provides a nice -2 rend, but more importantly on an unmodified 6 to hit he permanently removes the ward save from the targeted unit for the rest of the battle.
However, it is more interesting the tongs that increase from 4+ to 2+ his second ability: each of your hero phases, the targeted Ironjawz unit makes mortal wounds in addition to their damage for each unmodified roll to hit of 6. That is pretty scary on the right profile.
The Savage Big Boss is the only non-wizard hero on this roster and is relegated to a complimentary role. What he adds is the ability to fight together with another unit.
Wizards and Priests in Orruk Warclans
Despite the great faith in Gorkamorka, Orruk Warclans don’t have priests. They prefer to dance or beat a drum to invoke his powers rather than praying.
Kruleboyz wizards have access to the Lore of the Swamp with good options like Choking Mist (-1 to attack and impossible to run in a 6″ bubble) or Nasty Hex (removes wards from an enemy unit).
Gobsprakk, the Mouth of Mork is the top Kruleboyz (strange enough he is not an automatic general). He is a named character, flying double caster with a 6+ ward with few interesting tricks and the ability to damage an enemy caster if he manages to unbind their spell.
His signature spell is also powerful, providing a battlefield-wide +1 to charge for friendly units and -1 for opponent units. He is more of a utility piece, his damage not being excellent and having a 5+ save, but he is also relatively cheap and an astonishing centrepiece.
The Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-grot is the generic wizard in a Kruleboyz army with an interesting twist: he can either cast a spell or give a friendly unit a potion. His signature spell is the same as Gobsprakk, but the potion can either unlock mortal wounds on a roll of 5+ to hit (instead of 6) or add +1 to save rolls to a friendly close-by unit.
It is tricky because it requires the target unit and the Shaman to not be in combat, but used on shooting units like the Man-skewer Boltboyz, really works.
Ironjawz wizards have access to the Lore of the Weird with great options like Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork (classic teleportation spell) and Bash ‘Em, Ladz! (+1 to wound bubble).
The only Ironjawz wizard is the Orruk Weirdnob Shaman, but there’s a reason if Ironjawz prefer brute strength to magic, and this shaman is not here to change their mind. He has access to a specific spell that can be cast by multiple Shamans in the same phase as long as they are all close to at least 10 friendly fighters.
A Megaboss on Maw-crusha is a good target to become a wizard thanks to the universal enhancement Arcane Tome, unlocking the ability to teleport other units (Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork) or buff friendly units (Bash ‘Em, Ladz!).
Bonesplitterz wizards have access to the Lore of the Savage Beast, with good options like Glowly Green Tusks that adds 2 to the rend of the targeted unit mount attacks (the boars) that is a great way to add rend to this army.
The Wurrgog Prophet is often seen as the real leader of the Bonesplitterz army. He is a double caster with his signature spell being a “horde thinner”, i.e., able to do some damage on units with many models. Instead of casting spells, he can participate in a staring contest that ends with the death of one of the participants, quite entertaining for sure!
The Wardokk is another wizard that instead of casting can perform another activity. In his case he can dance with a range of buffs that go from healing a unit to providing a bonus to cast/dispel/unbind to a nearby friendly Bonesplitterz wizard.
The Maniak Weirdnob is a more melee focussed wizard, with his wild mount allowing him greater speed and charge bonus. As a wizard however, he is the least appealing of the bunch.
The last hero, Hedkrakka, Gob of Gork is part of another warband coming from Warhammer Underworlds, this time season 4 Direchasm: Hedkrakka’s Madmob. Apart from being a wizard, there’s nothing else going on here.
Monsters in Orruk Warclans
Monsters can perform special abilities called Monstrous Rampages at the end of the Charge phase. Each action can be performed only once per phase therefore only up to 4 monsters can perform one at a time. Here is the current list:
- Roar: on a 3+ an engaged enemy unit cannot issue or receive orders in the following combat phase.
- Stomp: on a 2+ do D3 mortal wounds to an engaged unit that is not a monster.
- Titanic Duel: + 1 to hit rolls against another engaged Monster.
- Smash to Rubble: on a 3+ demolish a close-by terrain feature, disabling its scenery rules.
Kruleboyz monsters are comprised of 2 kits: Gobsprakk. The Mouth of Mork that can alternatively be assembled as a Killaboss on Corpse-rippa Vulcha, and Swampboss Skumdrekk and his alternative Snatchaboss on Sludgeraker Beast.
The Corpse-rippa Vulcha has more ductility and weight in combat and sees more action in the current meta, while the Snatchaboss is least used but can be a good utility piece in some shooting lists.
Both named characters are great sculpts but less viable in the current meta.
Ironjawz monsters do not need any introduction, the first ones come from Gordrakk, the Fist of Gork kit, with the Megaboss on Maw-krusha an essential piece in any Ironjawz army. They both come with an improved Stomp able to slaughter small units.
The Mount Trait Loud Un’, available to all mounted heroes, provides an improved Roar impacting all enemies within 3″ instead of a single one.
The second kit is the Maw-grunta that allows to create two non-hero variants. The Maw-grunta with Hakkin’ Krew has the same momentum rule of the Tuskboss, that improves when running or charging, buffs movement, rend and mount attacks, but decreases each end of turn, and the same monstrous rampage that allows to charge at the end of the charge phase (with the right conditions).
Apart from that, it provides a good sequence of attacks but a 4+ save and a high point cost discourages a little its wide adoption.
The Maw-grunta Gouger has a similar profile to the above, without the crew attacks. His monstrous rampage is also different, allocating strike-last effect to the targeted unit if he can roll less than his current momentum score the same turn he charged. Again, at the right point cost could be seen a lot.
Battlelines in Orruk Warclans
Gutrippaz are the basic battleline option for Kruleboyz. They are mostly meat shields or screen units, cheap enough to be used in good numbers. They have 2 weapon loadouts, which one to use depends on the unit size keeping an eye on the coherency rule with the Hacka a better option than the Stikka in smaller units.
Ironjawz have 2 battleline options. The first are the Orruk Ardboys that received a brand-new kit despite the previous one being quite recent. The new kit lost the musician, and is much more expensive (in points) than the previous one. They are still cheaper than Brutes, but much higher than the other Orruk battleline options.
They hit harder, with the Choppas a great weapon option (when charging it increases by 1 the attacks), but they are now much more defensive with a 3+ save that makes them an anvil option. As battleline goes, they are a great choice, pity the cost will force some sacrifices in list building.
And Orruk Brutes are indeed the second battleline option. In particular their 2″ weapon option with rend -2 is extremely intriguing.
Looking at their warscroll it can be confusing to determine their loadout, but it is pretty simple: they can choose 2 main weapon options with the -2 rend on the Jagged Gore-hacka being really good. Then the boss can choose 2 weapon loadouts and 1 in 5 Brutes can equip the better Gore-hacka (same rend but damage 2) and why shouldn’t you do it?
But their best ability is most likely the fact that they can prevent units with a wound characteristic of 1 from contesting objective when in combat with them. This makes them really good in holding objectives or at least removing some competition.
The main battleline option for Bonesplitters are the Savage Orruks. They are also the most used infantry for this army. They do what the tin box says: cheap screening with potential for some damage. In particular with the new coherency rules on charge they are now 4+/2+ with exploding 6s to hit.
Conditional Battlelines in Orruk Warclans
Kruleboyz Big Yellers subfactions unlocks Man-skewer Boltboyz as battleline (other than adding 3″ range and allowing a re-roll of 1 hit roll per unit in the first battle round). They have 2 different shooting attacks, where Aimed Shot is the one more likely to succeed and Hasty Shot aims at quantity rather than quality. You are forced to use Aimed Shot unless the unit moved or is in combat.
Now, do you remember the Venom-encrusted weapons trait that does mortals on 6 to hit? They work also on shooting attacks. And when we are fishing for mortal wounds, we prefer quantity rather than quality, so Hasty Shot is our objective. The boss gets an extra shot, too, so a 3-men unit has 7 attacks.
The first bonus we can provide comes from a nearby Swampcalla Shaman that can trigger the mortal wounds on a 5+ and the second one from the Snatchaboss (or Skumdrekk) that increases the mortal wounds by 1 on an unmodified 6.
Now our 3-men unit have 7 attacks at 15″ range doing 2 mortal wounds on 5s and 3 on 6s. Not bad for a battleline unit, isn’t it? And it can be further reinforced to 9 models (in Big Yellers’ lists, 6 otherwise).
Ironjawz cavalry can become a battleline in a Bloodtoofs army: the Orruk Gore-gruntas. Not only, Bloodtoofs also allow them extra movement at the end of the combat phase to reposition themselves around objectives or to block in combat a unit ready to run.
They have a solid profile with 9″ move, decent weapon loadouts (remember they cannot be Galletian Veterans, but once you lose a model in a 6-men unit the coherency rules fit perfectly) and damage after charge. They are the staple of any Ironjawz army, the most used unit for a long time.
Bonesplitterz have several conditional battlelines, one for each subfaction. First off are the Savage Boarboys in Icebone, the same one that allows mortal wounds on unmodified 6 to wound in melee. Boarboyz are for Bonesplitterz what Gore-gruntas are for Ironjawz, although not at the same level.
They are a bit more fragile (but remember the ward all Bonesplitterz have) but if they charge and a wizard was able to cast on them Glowy Green Tusks to provide -2 rend to the boar attacks, they can do pretty much same damage as Gore-gruntas if not better.
Bonegrinz subfaction unlocks Savage Orruk Arrowboys as battleline, however they are not as popular as they were in the first edition. They represent the missile unit of the faction, but most Bonesplitterz bonuses are limited to melee attacks. As a bonus, in Bonegrinz, the Arrowboys go from 2 to 3 attacks each.
Drakkfoot unlocks Savage Orruk Morboys, the least favourite unit of the entire faction. They are cheaper than normal Savage Orruks but also more fragile, better attacks only if they charge, but no weapon options. Overall, they are not a bad profile, they just don’t represent a different role than other units in the same faction.
Other units in Orruk Warclans
The Beast-skewer Killbow has the role of Artillery and the main quarry would be high wound heroes or monsters considering its damage depends on the wound characteristic of the target. Has the same rules related to which type of shot to use as the Man-skewer but in this case you want to point on quality (Aimed Shot) and let the -2 rend do the rest.
The Hobgrot Slittaz have a similar role as the Gutrippaz but they are not battleline, meaning that they can be used as chaff without the regret of leaving victory points to your opponent. They even have a missile attack with rend to use to harass nearby units but don’t expect them to last long.
The Marshcrawla Sloggoth is an interesting piece that provides a +1 to hit bubble around it and a chance to utterly kill low wound heroes or unit champions. It is probably more interesting in a Gloomspite Gitz army as an ally since its ability is not tied to any keyword (friendly units in range) and has the Troggoth and Grot keyword.
The last kit Ironjawz received makes two different types of bare-chest Brutes. The Brute Ragerz have great attacks, all weapon options with 2″ range (the Gore-hacka is still the best option as more consistent and a great -2 rend) and the ability to run and charge. You can’t ask more from a glass cannon (5+ save).
On the other side, the Weirdbrute Wrekkaz are more of a horde thinner, receiving exploding 6s to hit when fighting 10 or more models (each to hit roll of 6 becomes 2 separate wound rolls). As such, they are currently a bit out of meta, but the run and charge and 5+ ward when engaged, makes them a unit to consider nonetheless.
The last units are from Warhammer Underworlds, specifically Season 1, Ironskull’s Boyz, and Season 3, Morgok’s Krushas. They are smaller units of Orruk Ardoboyz and Orruk Brutes respectively.
The Savage Big Stabbas is the only Bonesplitterz unit with natural rend and therefore an important piece in the army. Cannot become battleline meaning the maximum size unit is 4; despite so they can punch hard and with the revised rules in the last FAQ, they also have exploding 6s to hit.
The Savage Boarboy Maniaks are a wilder and more attack-focussed unit than the Boarboyz. They trade resistance (worst save roll) for improved attacks (no Stikka option but when charging they get 4 attacks on their Chompa profile and 3 at 3+/3+ on their boars). They also can benefit from Glowy Green Tusks to add rend to their mounts.
Kragnos, the End of Empires
We have a separate guide for Kragnos as his warscroll is reprinted in all Destruction battletomes.
Endless Spells, Terrain and Start Collecting in a Orruk Warclans Army
Gorkamorka apparently does not provide for fixed abode so both faction-specific terrain features and endless spells are not available to this army. Orruk Warclans have then to rely on the few spells they know and no physical representation. Or use the generic Endless Spells, of which there are few good options. Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws for example really fit the Ghur theme.
Regarding the discounted boxes, Kruleboyz are at the forefront being the main antagonists of Stormcast Eternals in Age of Sigmar 3.0. You can see all Starter Sets compared here but suffice to say you would need to split the Stormcast part with a friend. They are also the only way currently to get a Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-grot and a Killaboss with Stab-grot, outside of the second-hand market. The Gutrippaz in the boxes can be assembled only with Stikkas, meaning if you prefer the other loadout, you need to buy a different box.
Ironjawz had a Start Collecting box that was an easy way into the army, but since Ardboys were replaced by a newer kit, the entire set was retired.
Now Orruk Warclans have a Vanguard box that is a good way into the Kruleboyz side without having to go through splitting the starter sets with a friend or selling the Stormcast half. It is also a new way to obtain some kits that have been available in the Dominion box and for a brief period sold as a Command Group: the Killaboss on Great Gnashtoof and the Murknob with Belcha-banna. They are both great addition to a Kruleboyz army but you need also battlelines and for this there’s 10 Gutrippaz (standard sprue with all options available), and 3 Man-skewer Boltboyz (conditional battleline, great shooting piece).
If you want more firepower the Beast-skewer Killbow is a great artillery piece.
Bonesplitterz don’t have a start collecting box but, really, almost the entire army is composed of 2 kits: Savage Orruks that allows to assemble Savage Orruks, Morboys, Arrowboys or Big-Stabbas and Boarboys that allows to assemble both riding versions. Note that the Big-Stabbas takes 2 models out of the 20-models box, meaning that you will be left with an incomplete unit. You will need either to buy multiple boxes or possess some conversion talent (Hedkrakka’s Madmob contains few Orruks that can be easily integrated).
Tactics and Final Verdict on the Orruk Warclans Army
Orruk Warclans was the first of a long series of battletomes that updated an Age of Sigmar 2.0 army into 3.0 and does a terrific job at it. It combines basically 4 armies in 1 while facing many challenges and overall succeeds in the objective.
Each army has it own playstyle, with Kruleboyz being the most complex for beginners. However, they also have the most recent models, an amazing range and the advantage of having many recent online material for painting, using the army and so on.
The Ironjawz are definitely the most popular sub-faction that works really well in what it does: run towards enemy lines and smash them). However, Kruleboyz and Bonesplitterz have been relegated to the bottom side of the meta ranking with unfavourable results in the last months of the third edition.
This leaves the question mark on the Big Waaagh!: are they a good faction? The main hurdle is the fact that such allegiance needs to balance all different Orruk factions with each other without being too weak or the optimal choice every time. Overall, it succeeded, with often better results than the other individual factions. Yet Orruk Warclans suffer a lot from being the first book of the third edition.
This mix and match faction is probably the funniest to collect as you can pick units from everywhere and combine them in a non-cohesive bunch. However, if you want to succeed, the road is much steeper as you need to carefully consider every single unit advantage and with which other units they would synchronise better. Many abilities are keyworded on specific factions, meaning Wardokk dances affect only Bonesplitterz units and Mighty Destroyers can be used only on Ironjawz units.
You can still play a single faction within the Big Waaagh! allegiance to take advantage of the increasing bonuses coming from the Waaagh! energy accumulating, however it’s probably not the best way.
Starting an Orruk Warclans army can be easy, especially if you are interested in Kruleboyz as they are available in many starter sets and other products. Although collecting all of them can be a daunting task, especially the older models like Bonesplitterz. The recommendation would be to decide which style (both visually and play-wise) best fits your preference and stick with that until you feel comfortable to explore other factions.
Kruleboys rely on tricks (their main battle trait is even called Dirty Tricks) to get an advantage. Overall, they require more fiddling than the other allegiances because separately their units are weaker. It’s when they are combined that they become strong. They are also the Orruk faction with the best shooting options and the ability to do mortal wounds compensates the overall low rend in the army. In that case you definitely favour more attacks to any other bonus to wound.
Ironjawz are more straight-forward but they also have few combos that really benefit from wise placement of the units, for example Mighty Destroyers can be done up to 5 times in a turn if you trigger the right sequence, Mawcrusha Stomp can decimate enemy units if you activate it against the right unit, Smashing and Bashing allows you to fight before your opponent as long as you start with the easiest fights first, and so on. Timing is the essence, but for the most part they are a satisfying army to play.
Their recent range additions greatly improved variety and helped in providing new tactics, while still maintaining the high melee-focus of the army.
Bonesplitterz are similar in concept to Ironjawz but are less elite and much easier to bring down. They rely on their wards to survive a bit longer and even here, the timing for enabling their Waaagh! is essential (4+ ward really increases life expectancy). Their exploding 6s to hit are good if you can wound, and on this they lack some rend. Indeed, outside a spell that increases rend on mounts and the Big Stabbas, they have limited options. Their main drawback are the outdated models; however their cartoonish aesthetic is what draws many fans to this army.
Monsters are not the focus of competitive rules anymore, but are still important, especially for their use of Monstrous Rampages. A Megaboss on Mawcrusha is an essential unit in an Ironjawz army, but the other complimentary units may change depending on the meta and the current season rules.
The recommendation is, if you don’t follow the continuous changes in the competitive world, to focus on what best suits your current requirements, in particular when choosing weapon loadouts if you are not planning to magnetise the weapons. Generally speaking 2″ weapons are more useful in big blocks (20+ models), while 1″ weapons have better to hit/wound stats. There’s always time to adapt if you need to participate in a more competitive tournament, first you need the experience on the field with your new army. And start painting them!
Orruk Warclans is a good battletome, with a bit for everyone, that will satisfy many palates.
If you are interested in the competitive standpoint, when we talk about statistics, a tremendous effort is done by Rob from the Honest Wargamer, Ziggy and Tsports Network! in the AoS Stat Centre with precious information, constantly kept up to date.
Really good informative material is also collected by Dan from AoS Shorts.