Middle Earth SBG – The Witch King Summons Allies!

With the drop of the new Armies of the Hobbit book, it’s time to get the Witch King and the spectral Castellans onto the table!

I used the Witch King on Fellbeast flaming sword arm to add that wee bit of extra flair to him. The plan is to paint this up as spectral blue fire, something I will likely carry over to the other wraiths and the Castellans…

A fairly expensive reinforcement, and with a limit to their fighting time, these horrific spirits also offer a massive level of survivability, as they can use their Will as Fate.  Also, Morgul Blades for 5 points? Yes please!

I’ll be painting these up much like the wraiths, keeping to the ghostly, ancient appearance to tie them into the rest of the Dol Guldur, and the touch of blue to tie them into the force as a whole.

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A Month in Pictures – November!

November began with the first few models of my White Council force, Gandalf and Elrond. I really enjoyed cracking into these as it was my first real attempt at a textured highlight. It was also the first time I really felt like I’d acheived the effect I wanted with the swords, and I’m really proud of the result on both.

The only new addition to the Azog’s Legion were the Mirkwood Spiders. A fun addition and something i’ve been loving using in games.

And last but not least I painted up 8 figures for a painting guide in this months issue of Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

I want to get a lot more done in December and round out my first year doing this with a good number 🙂

Models Painted: 13

Total painted in 2018: 164

Middle Earth SBG – Reinforcing the White Council!

Gandalf and Elrond were in dire need of some help and it wasn’t difficult to muster up a few friends for them…

The first of which is the Lady Galadriel herself. Mustering up a respectable profile, she provides a great deal of support. Helping to stop incoming shots as well as offering some help with resisting magic for those needing to get stuck in.

She seems like an easy paint, but I want to keep her fairly dark using her hand as the light source of the model.

Following on from such a powerful sorcerer, is the second Lord of the West to make it into the list, Glorfindal. A combat beast, with impressive defences to match, he’ll make mincemeat of the opposition.

This one’s going to be a lot of fun to paint. It will be my very first time tackling that beautiful elvin armour.

That’s the reinforcements for now, just awaiting availability on a certain brown wizard and to find the right model for a certain white. Once they’re in there I’ll have the White Council properly ready for battle!

Middle Earth SBG – Playing Azog’s Legion!

I’ve got my first 800pts finished and painted up and I’ve really been enjoying the games I’ve been having with them, especially the variety of units I can get on the table. I wanted to offer a look at what I’ve discovered about them.

Overall I’ve found the army very good but also fairly well balanced. So far nothing seems overcosted nor undercosted, although I know there is a debate about whether the ‘Master of Battle’ bonus should be on a 4+.

I also found that they never really felt outclassed, well except by Sauron, always able to meet challenges with at least one part of the force. This flexibility is what I love most about the force. Azog’s Legion is really a jack of all trades, but master of none.

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Gundabad Orcs

Gundabad Orc Warband

The Gundabad orcs offer a solid backbone to your army. An average statline but a good defence brings them in line with most other armies ‘better than usual’ troops.

They won’t wow you on the table top but they’ll certainly do their part.

Pros

  • Solid defence of 6 when equipped with shields. Great against elf bows and the like
  • Ancient Enemies: Rerolling 1s to wound against dwarves and elves is amazing
  • Cheap, reliable captains
  • Strength 4

Cons

  • Average fight value of 3
  • Only source of banners for the army
  • Low courage

Gundabad Beserkers

Beserkers Complete.jpg

Solid linebreakers, but I think they really excel at flanking and outmaneuvering. Some middling stats stop them from being outstanding but this is reflected well in their cost and rules.

Pros

  • 8″ move allows for flexibility and an increased threat range
  • Ancient Enemies
  • 6+ save against wounds
  • High courage

Cons

  • More reliable with support, which can lessen the movement advantages
  • Fairly average stats

Goblin Mercenaries

Goblins Complete.jpg

Offering a nice tactical choice with their ‘Mercenary Ambush’ special rule, which allows them to show up within a terrain peice from turn 2 onwards they do however feel a little expensive. The captain racks up at the same points as the Gundabad orcs equivalent meaning paying for the ability even if you don’t use it. Still a nice cheap addition to an army and you do get a lot of joy when they manage to kill things.

Pros

  • ‘Mercenary Ambush’ ability
  • Very cheap
  • ‘Chittering Horde’ allows them to support one another

Cons

  • ‘Mercenary Ambush’ comes at a cost
  • Mediocre stats, it is still a goblin after all

Troll Brute

Troll Brute Side 1.jpg

I love this guy. The brute causes a s10 hit on every model it touches during movement. If the model dies he can keep moving. And squashing. That is until he fails to wound and charges the survivor.

The first few games I failed miserably, forever rolling 1s and 2s and squishing nothing, but once he gets rolling he can make a mess of enemy lines. Just watch out for wizards. Compel and Command cast on him at the wrong time can have him walking over your own force!

Pros

  • Excellent squashing abilities
  • Terror and Fearless
  • Access to Brutal Power Attacks, especially Barge
  • 4 wounds

Cons

  • Relatively low defence
  • Susceptible to spellcasters
  • Low Fight

Gundabad Ogres

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The ogres are a weird addition to the force, offering a brutal but easily overwhelmed linebreaker. Much like the Beserkers they have an 8″ move, making them unusually speedy. The ‘Relentless Advance’ rule adds even more flexability. They can charge through thier own troops, orcs, goblins and warbats. Theres a good chance it will kill them, but getting the ogre into a key combat can be worth it.

Backed up by some solid stats and a relatively cheap cost I would highly recommend adding them into your force.

Pros

  • 8″ movement
  • Solid stat line. 3 wounds, 3 attacks, fight 5.
  • Brutal Power Attacks
  • ‘Relentless Advance’

Cons

  • Low defence
  • Easily swarmed

Azog the Despoiler

Azog Final Complete.jpg

Azog is a beast, an absolute beast! He has an outstanding stat line, alongside some brutal special rules meaning he is quite easily one of the best combat based characters in the game. On the White Warg he is a force to be reckoned with. Being able to share their store of Might, Will and Fate they have access to an impressive 6, 4 and 2. This combined with the army special rule, giving Azog ‘Master of Battle’, tools him up to deal with a good amount of the major threats coming your way.

Whilst he’s impressive wielded as a hammer, smashing aside rank and file, I reckon he should be your scalpel. Direct him towards any mid level character and he will end them in short order. Even some of the more prominent characters will fear Azog charging down on them if he has a good amount of Might left.

I should also point out I haven’t used the flail yet so haven’t factored that in.

Pros

  • Wounds heroes on a 3+
  • Might out the wazoo
  • Movement and charge bonus of the warg
  • 12″ Standfast that affects other orc heroes. With the right positioning you can cause a ripple through your force once broken that keeps everbody in the fight. Considering the low average courage across the army this is a huge boon.
  • Master of Battle. I can do what you can do better.

Cons

  • Aim for the warg
  • Susceptible to magic
  • Low Fate
  • Struggles against well armoured infantry

Bolg, War bats, Troll Catapults and Gundabad Trolls

The only ones that I haven’t played with as yet. The war bats and the catapult because there are no models yet and I’d rather wait for official ones. The trolls and Bolg because I haven’t picked them up…..yet.

And that’s my thoughts so far on Azog’s Legion, but I will be looking to get reinforcements as well as some allies in the very near future. More on that soon. In the meantime let me know what you think and if I missed anything.

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Middle Earth SBG – Choosing My Army!

Jumping back into Lord of the Rings meant once again picking an army to collect. I should point out before I continue that evil is my bag. It didnt even cross my mind that my main force would be a good one. I like my monsters and gribblies too much.

Back in the day I had a fairly sizable Dol Guldur army with a Necromancer led contingent and a Spider Queen force and before that a large Mordor force. I wasn’t looking to revisit any of these and wanted to try something new. I painted a lot for those armies and wanted to get a completely fresh start, although I may revisit these forces in a few months.

All this meant looking away from the Lord of the Rings forces and adventuring into the fairly unfamiliar territory of The Hobbit. I had not kept up with model or rules releases for this, so really had no idea what was out there for it. I had seen the films when they were released, but needed a refresher alongside a read of the Hobbit armies PDF. So got the extended editions out and got my geek on.

Following this epic viewing (I really enjoyed the trilogy. Flawed films but still an awesome adventure)and reading session, I knew exactly what I wanted to collect, both good and evil forces.

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I knew I wanted a hoard of orcs, gribblies and massive trolls, led by the big bad himself, Azog. Even though he doesn’t really stick to the Tolkein lore I loved this character. Just a good and proper villain. It really helped that he also came with a great selection of gribblies of all shapes and sizes. As I said earlier this is is right up my street.

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I also loved the Dol Guldur fight between the White Council and the Necromancer and fell in love with the White Council. I love this whole story line and the characters involved. It also meant a small collection of key characters, so not much to collect and a great opportunity to really give them some painting love.

whiteCouncil3.png

Not to mention a mate has a 1000pt army consisting of the Necromancer, the Nine and the Dungeon Master. It’s going to be an epic and beautifully themed game when we get a chance to play it.

I did expect it to take longer for me to get stuck into both forces, but I’ve already painted 800pts of Azog’s Legion alongside 2 members of the White Council. Check them out below…