Friday, 6 September 2019

REVIEW: Gotrek's New Warscroll


In case you've spent the last day under a particularly thick rock, Gotrek's new AoS rules have just hit - by way of a rather charming Warhammer Community article where he proceeds to beat the mould lines off some of AoS's bigger plastic kits (and some unfortunate Night Goblins). Let's take a detailed look at our old friend's new rules!

Some people had worried that Gotrek's rules would be a rather underwhelming and likely over-pointed tune-up of  an Unforged or Grimwrath Bezerker, but he's managed to exceed the expectations of those of us who'd dared to dream, hitting as hard as two charged up Celestant Primes, being more difficult to shift than a Great Unclean One with that command ability (you know the one I'm talking about), and is less manoeuvrable than most pieces of scenery. My sole complaint is Gotrek having the duardin keyword and not DWARF. I have already sent a grumpy email to GW's editors.


I should probably start with how Gotrek can be included in your lists. Coming in at a whopping 520 matched play points, he can be taken as an ally by any Order army (and obviously be included normally in an Order allegiance force) in matched play games of any size, regardless of the cap on allies (I'd love to see him used in a Meeting Engagement). Taking Gotrek prevents you from bringing along any other allies (he must be non-union), including Mercenary Companies, which is a bit of a shame. He's also doesn't take up a Leader slot in matched play games, but at 520 points you're probably going to want to spend what you've got left on more bodies and not maxing out on heroes. With his points coming to over a quarter of an average matched play force, you're probably going to want to structure your list around him.

Gotrek hits very hard, doing around 30 wounds on average to opponents with a 4+ save by the time he's fought twice in a single combat phase. With a 3+ "ward" save Gotrek's 8 wounds effectively become 24, and his Avatar of Grimnir special rule means that no single attack or spell is going to do more than a single wound to him (including instant death ones like Nagash's Hand of Dust), making him a great tank in the face of bigger models that rely on high damage attacks, and mortal wound happy spells. The silver lining of this is that similar to a Stonehorn, Gotrek is especially vulnerable to deaths by a thousand cuts from large units of smaller models with lots of damage 1 attacks like Witch Aelves and Freeguild Crossbowmen - appropriately characterful for a dwarf who he's not soloing Greater Daemons and gods is getting kicked around by town guards and tavern louts, and once got knocked unconscious (and developed amnesia) after getting hit in the head by a mutant with a sling; heck, he even got stuck under a pile of Chaos Warrior corpses in Realmslayer.

The flipside of Avatar of Grimnir is that Gotrek can't be redeployed or teleported using spells and similar abilities, meaning that you're gonna have to stretch that 4" movement pretty far, and making the Chronomantic Cogs and a wizard able to reliably cast them an auto include in any list he features in. At a 7+ to cast the Cogs aren't much of a guarantee with no casting modifiers, and luckily most armies have access to a wizard or artefact that can boost cast rolls by at least +1. In their current state Cities of Sigmar have only got the Darkling Covens Sorceress, able to sacrifice nearby friendlies for +2 to cast, but who knows what the lay of the land will be when the new battletome hits.

The Cogs net Gotrek +2" to move and charge distance, which coupled with his being a hero and able to use the Forward to Victory command ability on himself to reroll failed charges gives him a reliable threat range of 16", which is nothing to be sniffed at. Make sure to spend 50 points on an extra command point, consider the Aetherquartz Broach, and always think about using At the Double to get a 6" run if a charge ain't happening that turn.


Distressingly for Fyreslayer, Kharadron and Dispossessed players, with Gotrek not getting on with other allies and thus preventing being able to sneak in a Knight-Incantor to cast the Chronomatic Cogs, it seems like he's a very characterful poisoned chalice; even Fyreslayer priests being able to cast Prayer of Grimnir's Fury allowing him to fight in the hero phase (I don't see him riding a Magmadroth) it just doesn't seem worth the trade off the Cogs bring (it would have to have been a pretty tough opponent to have survived the previous combat phase with him too...).


Even more distressingly, Gotrek fits rather snugly into an Idoneth Deepkin force, the Ionrach Enclave allowing him to take advantage of all the speed and shenanigans Tide of Death offers, and also giving wizards a casting boost to get those all important Chromomantic Cogs off. He's effectively two Eidolons in a smaller, better package. The obvious con of fielding Gotrek like is is that Idoneth Deepkin are elves, and probably the most ridiculous kind of elves at that; while on the flipside you would be getting to model Gotrek in a snorkel.


When it comes to building lists around Gotrek I think there are couple of important considerations. The first is that even if you can reliably get Chronomantic Cogs off, he's still a single non-flying model, and will easily get bogged down and boxed in by chaff. Lots of chaff. Counter this by loading up on offensive magic to (hopefully) nuke that chaff in the hero phase, allowing Gotrek to move normally to wherever he needs to be, and missile troops to kill any chaff fortunate enough to have survived in the shooting phase, and at least allow Gotrek to try and charge something more worth his time. Missile troops are also important for shooting off your opponents missile troops, which if they are damage 1 can be guaranteed to be drawing beads on Gotrek, with no amount of Look Out Sir! persuading them otherwise.


The other consideration is that while it's easy to look at Gotrek's rules and know that he can shrug off pretty much anything thrown at him, he probably won't be able to keep shrugging it off after five continuous turns, and that you might want to look at units able to heal him. I'm sure the new battletome will change everything, but right now Cities of Sigmar have access to Excelsior Warpriests and Jade Battlemages, neither of whom are fussy about who they heal. Gotrek's 3+ special save means you get way more mileage out of any heals thrown his way too, with each wound healed effectively becoming 3.


If you're a Cities of Sigmar or Stormcast player who's finding Gotrek uncharacteristically dying a lot, and/or looking for a surrogate Felix, look no further than the Errant-Questor If you're lucky enough to own one of these Warhammer World and Warhammer Citadel exclusive models, then you can treat yourself to a (presumably) unintentional combo so good I suspect it'll be FAQ'd, using the Sworn Protector oath on Gotrek to soak up his excess wounds taken after they've been reduced to damage 1 and 3+ warded. I know I'll be picking one up the next time I'm in Notts if he hasn't been errata'd by then.


Getting priority to get Gotrek in position faster will be important, and you'll want to keep your oppnent's magic phase busy if they've got any movement debuff spells like those used by Legions of Nagash, and so a few predatory endless spells on top of the Chronomantic Cogs may not prove the worst idea in the world, especially if you're loading up on wizards to clear out chaff and free up Gotrek anyway. Emerald Lifeswarm flitting around and healing him is obvious (who cares if it heals your opponent's nearby stuff, D3 wounds aren't going to make a difference to him killing it in the next combat phase), and the Purple Sun of Shyish seems like it could make a surprisingly good fit, able to cheerfully help clean out chaff, and only doing a single mortal wound (that will more often than not be saved) to Gotrek on the slim chance it goes near him and rolls a 6.


I can't wait to get hold of my Gotrek model and get painting him in just over a week, and am looking forward to using him as an excuse to go to more events in the foreseeable future and seeing how he fares. What do you think of his rules, and did I overlook any particularly OTT combos? Let me know.

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