Part Eleven – Gorelord
Center-Stage is a series of articles spotlighting a particular model or unit in Godslayer. In this article we will look at the seriously intimidating warlord of the Beastspawn sub-faction – The Gorelord. This guy can be terrifying in melee, and also possesses a few tricks also for buffing his warband.
Within the twisted, dank woods of Rhunetal and amid the sun-baked ruins of Minaxos a disturbing new species has been spotted. They are undoubtedly the mixed progeny of Minotaur and Fomorian, and men have taken to calling them Scourgebrood. Their emergence has heralded a new age of war, for these creatures possess a size approaching that of a Minotaur, enabling many to take the reins from the dumb, brutish leaders, but they also have the cunning of a Fomorian, allowing them to organize the Beastspawn mobs into functioning horde-armies. Most dangerous of the Scourgebrood are the large-brained oxbrood variety known as Gorelords.
While the muscle-bound Minotaurs command their underlings with animal fury, they generally lack any strategic vision. Conversely Gorelords are known to cooperate with other races, form alliances between tribes, and even structure their minions into packs with specific roles. It is this capacity which constitutes the death-knell for humanity. These creatures are a recent development in the ever-mutating zoology of the Brood – a development which bodes ill for the future of Calydorn. Intelligence and vision are however relative terms when it comes to Banebrood, for Gorelords are extremely aggressive creatures who rule with an iron fist.
Gorelords are not only massively muscled, they are also expert fighters, usually wielding a pair of hacking weapons for double the destruction. As leader of the pack, the Gorelord commands his minions of mayhem from the front, venting their hatred of civilization on all who cross their path.
The Gorelord is the first warlord of the Beastspawn sub-faction. He is an infantry model and is mounted on a medium base, which means he has sight-value 2, and can therefore see over other SV1 models.
Let’s start with a look at their profile.
MOV 4 – Awesome; this is as fast as many cavalry models!
MEL 8 – Not bad, but a little low for a MEL warlord
MIS 4 – Essentially inexperienced with missile attacks.
MAG 4 – Okay defensive/passive level
DEF 14 – Okay for a warlord but not great. Nevertheless, average models will struggle against 14.
ARM 7 – This is poor for a warlord but average for most models. This reflects the Banebrood’s more primitive nature with less available armor
LEAD 8 – Very low for a Warlord
ACT 6 – standard for a warlord
Lifepoints – 21 Very good
So these stats immediately conjure to mind a fast, offensive melee warlord who is quite well suited for charges, but could use some buffing for extended melee fighting.
Abilities and Tactics
Furious charge – His sub-faction ability gives him +2 inches on his charges. That is better than you might imagine, because he has a MOV of 4, so he has a charge range then of 2X4 +2 +2 = 12 inches. That’s 4 inches more than an average infantry model.
Bloodthirst – The sanguine smell of battle makes the Gorelord even more bloodthirsty. Any time he kills a model with a melee attack, he gains an extra ACT. So if he can be made into a really effective killer, you can maximize this benefit. You want to have the Gorelord killing models as fast as possible, so that means buffing him with tactics and spells.
Horror – The savage fury and precision brutality of the Gorelord are frightening indeed. Horror can cause enemies to flee, and of course, most models need to pass a horror or fear test when they engage or charge you. It is important to remember this at all times, because regular, cheap models will generally have a low LEAD and in many cases they will fail their charges against the Gorelord. Even Fear causing models which are engaged with your Gorelord need to pass a Fear test, otherwise they will suffer -2 MEL. So this is a really useful ability except against other warlords, models with Horror and models with Hardened Will ability (most elite units).
Intimidating Growl – His underlings are so intimidated by the growl of their master that they would rather face quick death on the battlefield than invoke his wrath. Friendly models within LEAD range gain Hardened Will. This means they become immune to Fear and Horror, and never need to make bravery tests. In this way, you make even cheap troops like Mongrels and Reaver Tribesmen into solid, unbreakable rocks.
Bestial Bellow – Enemies are stunned by the deafening bellow of the Gorelord and unable to hear. This has two nice effects; firstly, enemy models within your Gorelord’s LEAD-Range suffer -1 LEAD. Secondly, they need to pass a LEAD to receive or use tactics. This can be a real annoyance when the enemy wants to use their nice melee tactic and combine it with an ordered tactic from a warlord. It is easy to forget this one, so try to remember it. It can make a huge difference! For example, Hill Ogres without Circular Slash are much less effective. Bestial Bellow is also great in combination with Horror and/or Reek.
Howling Mad – Instinctively the Gorelord knows how to stir up the Urghast force enveloping his troops to make it enraged with a resultant flash of hysterical fury in his troops. Target models gain +1 MEL and POW for charge attacks. This is pretty awesome when you consider they already get +1/+1 for the charge bonus. Clearly Banebrood are effective when they are used offensively. Also remember that he can use this tactic on himself.
Now let’s look at his equipment, and the effects other models can provide, then we will explore how they can be combined with the above to create some deadly combinations and strategies.
The Gorelord can take 1 heavy-weapon pair, one armor item, 1 talisman and 1 potion.
All of these have a 2ACT option for a single attack and a 3ACT option making two attacks. Clearly it makes sense to use the 3ACT option in most cases since this is more economical on action tokens. Against weak units the single attack is of more use. Since you get 1 ACT back when you kill one and can easily kill a model with a single blow you can create greater slaughter this way.
Axe & Pick – the standard cheap option at POW5. For 6 points it’s a decent option. If you are planning to use him a lot in a support role by buffing your troops, then you probably don’t need an expensive weapon.
Infector Blades – Only POW 4, but any model hit suffers Black Plague, so must pass a LEAD test or is knocked down. This is a continuous toxic effect, so means he can suffer from it every round! So he needs to pass an expiry test to get rid of the effect (probably spending ACT for that), and he needs to spend ACT to stand up. While knocked down the enemy will suffer -2 DEF and cannot make attacks or use tactics. A great effect, and you don’t even need to cause damage on the enemy to do this, only hit him. Against high-LEAD enemies like warlords, it will be less useful, but against rank-and-file troops, this is a nice one. Try to use Bestial Below before attacking.
Bleeder – Each time the you kill an enemy with this weapon you can immediately move a friendly model or unit one MOV action for free. This is really nice if you have a unit in melee which needs to make a MOV action before it attacks. This is common when models have dies during the melee, leaving some of your troops unengaged, or when they have been engaged by models with 2-inch range weapons (preventing your troops making counter attacks.
OR perhaps you have models nearby who do not have line-of-sight to charge (for example inside a forest terrain), you can use this to get them into melee by killing 2-3 enemy models. Then your troops will still have full ACT for making melee attacks. The effect sounds quite weak and innocuous but trust me, getting free movement for units is sometimes damn useful and could win you the game in some situations! This effectively gives a unit an action token. Bleeder is not as sexy and showy as the Blades of Minaxos; this weapon is more for the strategist. It has various nice little uses, so it’s worth playing around with this one for fun sometimes. Plus the weapon is POW5, so useful in melee.
Blades of Minaxos – the ultimate melee weapon for your Gorelord, and definitely the one to take if you plan to use him as a one-man slaughterhouse. This one is also POW5, but it gives +1 to hit and damage rolls for attacks against models in base contact. Normally he should be able to get into base contact with a couple of models due to his large movement of 4. This one is great in combo with his Bloodthirst ability.
Hornplate Armor – Gives +1 ARM. Not bad, but that only increases his ARM to 8 which is okay for a warlord.
Gauntlets of Garrond Gar – Gives +1 on damage rolls. Useful if you are building a pure offensive Gorelord.
Gut Plate of Negirrath – This one gives +1 DEF, and crits against the bearer must be rerolled. This is far more useful than the Hornplate armor because it increases his DEF to 15, which is quite high. Regular basic troopers with MEL5 would need 10’s to hit him.
Helm of Despair – Gorelord gains Reek (models must make a LEAD test before attacking). This is one of the best items around because basically all models will need to make a LEAD test before attacking, and that means many rank-and-file troops will not be able to attack him due to failed rolls. Consider also that they must additionally pass a Horror test first once they become engaged with the Gorelord. Use his tactic Bestial Bellow before throwing him into the thick of fighting.
Metamorph Helm – This gives a 4+ protection roll which halves damage received. That’s a really useful item considering he has 21 life-points. From a typical average damage roll of 7 from a POW4 weapon, the Gorelord is going to suffer 4 points damage and this would reduce it to 2. The Metamorph Helm could certainly add 25% to his life-expectancy – long enough for him to do serious mayhem.
Urghast Charm – immunity to spells and magic attacks. Useful when facing Shadow Trolls, Magistratum and Halodynes.
Parasite Amulet – steals D6 Life-points from a nearby friendly model. This can be useful if you have a lot of Mongrels or Reaver Tribesmen in your warband.
Totem of Transmutation – gives +1 for Incantation spells – no use for our Gorelord.
Screaming Heads – prevents nearby enemy models order, using or receiving tactics. Nice but the Gorelord already has the tactic Bestial Bellow which does a very similar thing.
Bubonic Fleas – allows the Gorelord to carry and spread diseases like the Pestbringer. It also allows him to infect enemy models with Infections bite. This is extremely useful for an offensive role since all plagues can help in melee situations. Especially useful is Bubonic Plague, which causes D3+1 points direct damage on an enemy model he hits in addition to any regular damage.
Disruption Totem – this is the ultimate defensive item, giving him concealment so that he cannot be targeted by anything from more than 6 inches away.
Offal Extract – Gorelord gains Reek for one turn (models must make a LEAD test before attacking). This is like the Helm of Despair but only lasts for one turn.
Fleshmorph Draft – a nice healing potion, restoring 8 life-points.
Witchweed Extract – gives +1 to all basic statistics for one round. This is great for when you first throw him into melee and can stack up with some other buffs to make him truly terrifying.
Let’s put a few sample combos together. I will refer back to them later, so if they do not make sense right now, don’t worry.
Ultimate Offense package:
Bubonic Fleas with Bubonic Plague
Gauntlets of Garrond Gar
Blades of Minaxos
Ultimate Defense package:
Gut Plate of Negirrath
Helm of Despair
Blades of Minaxos
Bubonic Fleas with Bubonic Plague
Combining the Gorelord with other Models
Various models in the Banebrood faction have useful synergies with the Gorelord.
• Maldire Mongrels – His Howling Mad tactic (+1 MEL & +1 POW) is a great benefit for Mongrels since their basic POW and MEL are relatively low.
Perhaps even more useful is the Gorelord’s ability Intimidating Growl. This one gives models and units within LEAD range (8 inches) Hardened Will. This not only makes them immune to fear and horror tests but also makes it impossible for the unit to break and flee!
Because Mongrels have the same sub-faction ability, it is quite advantageous to take some on your Gorelord’s warband. Although relatively squishy, they are good offensive troops and can be easily buffed into real killers.
• Pestbringer – As we already covered above, Plagues are a must for a Beastspawn-based warband due to their infectious bite ability of the Mongrels and the Guthackers. It is possible to equip the warlord with Bubonic Fleas in order to get the requisite plague for your warband, but that takes up the warlord’s only talisman item, and that can be a tough choice since there are other talismans which can help the warlord stay alive longer. If you use the Gorelord primarily as a melee-warlord, it makes sense to give him a protective Talisman and leave the Bubonic Fleas to a support warlord (Bistoaur Shaman). The solution is to take a Pestbringer, who can even carry up to two plagues.
• Fallow Shaman – Shamans have access to numerous spells which can boost the Gorelord. We will explore some of the most useful ones in strategies below.
• Bloodgut Ravager – This guy is primarily useful because he can give the Gorelord the Goreoath tactic. When the Gorelord dies, you can roll a D6, and on a 5 or 6 he is still alive with 1 life-point. This can give the Gorelord enough time to make another two attacks or escape to a safe place (so the opponent does not get the kill-points for him), or capture a scenario goal etc. In addition to this the Reaver is generally useful as a melee supporter who also has a missile weapon. Very few Banebrood models have missile weapons, so he could be useful for taking out war-machine crews and spellcasters.
• Fomorion Guthackers – As with the Mongrels, Guthackers share the same sub-faction as the Gorelord, so they are a logical choice for heavy support in a Beastspawn warband. With an extra ACT from the warlord, these guys are able to make 2 heavy attacks or one heavy and one light attack using Circular Slash. They also become more terrifying with the ordered tactic Howling Mad from the warlord. What they can do for the warlord is act as heavyweight backup, blocking line of sight to him and thereby reducing the number of melee and missile attacks he receives.
• Ursapine – Although the Gorelord cannot buff the Ursapine’s Rolling Doom attacks, he can still boost its regular attacks. With an extra ACT, the Ursapine can make three attacks at MEL 7 POW 6 on the charge (and it definitely should get the charge with its movement of 4 inches). With spells this can be boosted further.
Putting it all Together
Here are a few example strategies for using a Gorelord, but this is far from all the possible uses. You will surely find more as you get experienced using him.
A Gorelord can destroy entire units of rank-and-file troops single-handed! How do you accomplish this?
Firstly consider he has a charge range of 12 inches, or 14 inches with Long Legs spell, or 19 inches with the upgrade of Long-Legs. So you can launch his at unsuspecting enemies. Although sometimes anticipated by enemies, your 19 inch charge-range is often difficult to counter and it’s a distance not so easy to estimate on the table.
For this trick you will need the “ultimate offense” equipment package and one Shaman with Longlegs spell.
At the start of the game he should give Plagues to all relevant models (Mongrels and Guthackers). Your shaman should give your Gorelord Longlegs and upgrade it so he becomes light infantry.
When the enemy warband is less than 20 inches away, he should start his activation by drinking the Witchweed Extract, then use his tactic Howling Mad on himself.
On the charge he has a MEL of 9 and POW of 6. With the Blades of Minaxos, Witchweed Extract, Gauntlets, and Howling Mad, this is MEL11 and POW8 With these stats he will almost never miss, and will kill even elite infantry with an average damage roll.
Against the average enemy (DEF 13), he can only miss on a double-1. Even against warlords with DEF15 he still only needs a 4+ to hit.
Also remember that when he hits, he also does 1D3+1 direct damage from the Bubonic Plague he is carrying.
His initial charge should be made against a relatively weak model if possible, so that he can be sure to kill it with his initial charge attack, use the 3 ACT attack if you think it’s necessary (remember both attacks count as a single attack action).
Assuming he kills the charged model, he then gets D3 inches free movement and a free attack!
Plus he gains 1 ACT for killing a model due to his Bloodthirst ability.
So put him in base contact with 2 models and attack again, however, try to keep him in melee range of only 2 enemy unit models, otherwise he will likely be counter-attacked by the unit. When elite units counter attack (Einherjer, Carnifexors, Cromlech Guard) etc, they could do some serious damage, so NEVER let him be in melee range of more than 2 elites or 3 regular unit models.
So with the charge attack and Slay Movement, he has now probably killed 2 models and used only 2 or 3 ACT (for your charge). Plus you have regained 2 ACT from the casualties. So now continue making attacks against the next enemy model. Most likely you will gain another kill and now be at 3 or 4 ACT left. If necessary you can move him, but remember with the Blades of Minaxos, you can also attack at a range of 1-inch – you do not have to be in base contact with the enemy, (that is only for the +1/+1).
With a charge and slay movement, plus all accumulated ACT, it is likely he will be able to get off 4 double attacks in a single turn (3 ACT attacks). That most likely means 4 dead models. This is perfect against elite unit models (or high life-point models like Ironhide Brutes), and characters. Against regular rank-and-file (Kinswords, Bladeslingers, Hoplites, etc), use the 2ACT attacks, then you will be able to attack more models, and in this way he will likely kill 5-6 models, and could potentially kill 6-7 models.
To make him even more devastating, upgrade him with the Bulging Biceps spell (+1 POW) or Gigantic Jaws upgraded (+2 direct damage to all attacks).
The all-or-nothing Plan:
This is the standard recipe for mayhem. To bake this cake of carnage you will need one Gorelord, one Pestbringer, two Fallow Shamans and two units of Mongrels. Deploy large units of Mongrels with 7-8 models each. This warband adds up to around 350 points.
Deploy the entire warband in a cluster so that the individual models are close to both units. In the first round, activate the Fallow Shaman and cast the mutation spell Long-Legs on both units. This will give your Mongrels a MOV of 4.
Next activate your Pestbringer and infect your units and Warlord with your chosen plague, then send him forward.
Activate your Gorelord and assign each unit of Mongrels an action token. This will then allow them to move 5X4 inches for an astounding 20 inches movement this turn! Move your Gorelord forward 16 inches with his remaining 4 ACT.
Now activate your Mongrels and advance them forward. There are normally 32 inches between the two opposing deployment zones, so if you place your Mongrels at the front edge of your zone and then move them up to 20 inches, then you will be about 12 inches from the edge of your opponent’s deployment zone, (which is already 8 inches past the centre line). If your opponent is sitting back and not moving, then this is a fine place for your Mongrels to be, but if your opponent is moving forward at full speed too, then he might also be halfway between his deployment zone and the table-middle. In that case, moving 20 inches is too far. Make sure that when you place your Mongrels units that you are not within the charge range of the enemy models.
Since they are the last models of your warband that you are activating, you should already be able to assess the right place to put them. You want to be outside your opponent’s engagement range (movement + Melee range; normally 13 inches for most models) so that he cannot charge or move and engage you, but less than 17 inches away. This massive charge range of 17 inches should give you 4 inches leeway for getting it right.
At the start of round-two, sustain the Long Legs spells on the Mongrels during the initiation phase (each mage can sustain one spell). Ideally you now have several charge options. Activate your Warlord and buff both Mongrels units with your warlord. Howling Mad is a perfect tactic to order to them both. If the units LEAD test for receiving the order is failed, then try it a second time. Then assign both units an action token.
Now your first unit is ready to go. Unleash the mangy Mongrels on some juicy target, and try to engage several enemy models/units with the single charge. Now that your Mongrels have 5 ACT and Howling Mad plus the charge bonus, your unit of 8 guys will be making 24 attacks this round with +2 to hit and +2 to wound. And each attack will be with a plague! This is enough to take down a large unit of elites.
Okay let’s do the math. Against an average DEF of 13 you will be hitting on a 6+, and against guys with a typical arm of 7, you will be averaging 5 points of damage (which is enough to kill a normal human with one attack). These numbers produce a 72.23% likelihood of an attack hitting. From 24 attacks, that’s an average of 17 hits, causing an average of 5 points of damage each. Of course against tougher foes they will have a harder time, but even against un-buffed Einherjer (DEF12, ARM9) 83.33% average hits = 20 hits causing an average of 3 points damage = 60 points of damage. Since a full unit of Einherjer has 44 life points in total, statistics say they would be wiped out too.
In your next activation you can use your shamans to buff these victorious heroes using the spells Exoskeleton and Bugstalk Eyes to give them +1 DEF and +1 ARM. This will stand them in good stead for the charge they are likely to suffer. At the same time, you can buff your second unit of Mongrels with Bulging Biceps (+1 POW) so that they have +2 to hit and +3 to wound! Then charge them into the next juicy enemy unit.
The Monster Mash
What could be cooler than a warband consisting entirely of Monsters! This is possible with Banebrood since you can take 3 Ursapines and 2 cyclopses plus of course your Gorelord. That’s 6 monstrous models for 270 points (plus equipment).
But how best to use them?
Firstly your warband should also include 1-2 Shamans. These guys will do most of the buffing. In fact this is not the warband for using your Gorelord as a buffing warlord, but it is fun to play.
Don’t worry if the enemy turns up with 40 models against your 6 monsters….in fact that is ideal since your guys have tactics that are perfect against large, weak units.
Creatures are unable to accept orders, so the Gorelord will not be able to order tactics to buff them, but if you can keep the Ursapines within 8 inches, they will gain Hardened Will due to the Gorelord’s Intimidating Growl ability.
Firstly you need to get the charge so that you can maximize your initial impact. Creatures can easily get bogged down and slaughtered while facing lots of enemy troops. Buff your warlord as in the “Raging Bull” strategy so he has MEL 11 and POW 8
Buff the Cyclopses with Long Legs and upgrade spells, giving them a charge range of 14 inches. Your Gorelord and Ursapines already have a charge range of 12 inches.
What you really want is for the enemy to bunch up or arrange themselves in a defensive line. In this way you can maximize casualties from your Death Ray and Rolling Doom tactics. So ideally you should pin the enemy with the Cyclopses and Gorelord while you maneuver the Ursapines to the flanks.
In the following round, cast Bulging Biceps (and upgrade) with your Shamans, to give your Ursapines POW 7 with their regular melee attack, and POW 4 on their Rolling Doom tactic. Charge the enemy flanks with your Ursapines. After the initial charge attack, use their Rolling Doom tactics to try to kill large units of weaker troops. If you hit the same unit with 2 Rolling Dooms, you will likely wipe it out.
Once in melee, assign your Cyclopses an action token from the warlord so they can make 6 attacks per turn. Against high-ARM models, use the Statue attack at POW 8 (with Bulging Biceps). When the opportunity presents itself, use your Deathray instead (against low-ARM models and Ethereal models).
For greatest effect, keep all of your Cyclopses and the Gorelord close together so the enemy cannot surround them individually with lots of troops. Ideally you should array your Gorelord and Cyclopses across a choke point so that you have cover on one or both sides.
Don’t be too worried about losing your warlord in this strategy. His buffing possibilities are not great with this warband composition, so the best thing he can do is fight in melee. For this one I recommend the Monster package. This gives him good offensive capability (Blades of Minaxos with +1D3+1 damage from Bubonic Plague) with some good melee defenses (4+ protection roll and healing potion).
The Horrifying Strategy
The key to this strategy is causing enemies to flee from Horror so you will need models that cause horror and models which lower the LEAD of the enemy (to make failing Horror tests more likely).
Take one Pestbringer with Gutrot Plague and a small unit of Skulleaters. Equip your Gorelord with the Helm of Despair which requires enemies to pass a LEAD test before making any attack on the bearer.
These models will be lowering the LEAD of the enemy.
To trigger the Horror tests you should take one Bloodgut Ravager and Horror-causing models. This could be 2 Cyclopses or it could be a unit of Mongrels with Grotesque Abomination & upgrade spell cast on them. With the Cyclopses, Horror is always on (also for your Gorelord). With the Mongrels you need to have a Shaman specifically dedicated to keeping them upgraded, but the Mongrels option has the advantage that you can engage probably the entire enemy warband with the one unit quite easily (since Mongrels have a unit coherency of 3 inches).
A) Lower the enemy LEAD
Use the Pestbringer to soften up the enemy by infecting models with Gutrot Plague from his missile attack. Those models affected suffer -1 to basic statistics (including LEAD).
Use the Gorelord’s Bestial Bellow tactic liberally to cause models within 8 inches of your warlord to suffer -1 LEAD. In combo with the Helm of Despair, attackers must make a LEAD test on -1 in order to attack him.
Use the Skulleaters with their Cannibal Corpse tactic to cause -1 LEAD to enemy models within 8 inches of models they kill. Keep them close to the Gorelord to create overlapping zones of effect.
If you give your Mongrels Gutrot Plague, any model they hit will suffer -1 to all stats (including LEAD).
Together these three actions of the Skulleaters, Gorelord and Pestbringer should cause many models to be at -2 or perhaps even -3 LEAD.
Remember that models which are seriously wounded suffer -1 to all basic stats, including LEAD.
So even a Fearless Syntarch with LEAD 9 who is seriously wounded and inside the Bestial Bellow zone plus the 8-inch zone from Cannibal Corpse or Gutrot Plague will be on LEAD6 and needs to take a Fear test to attack your warlord or suffers -2 MEL, plus an additional LEAD test on 6 because of the Helm of Despair.
B) Trigger lots of LEAD tests
Now charge or engage enemy units with your Cyclopses/Mongrels, thereby requiring a Horror test. With enemy units on -2 or -3 LEAD, you have very good chances of spooking regular units that have an average basic LEAD of 7.
Whenever possible, use your Bloodgut Ravager to kill unit leaders of the enemy, thereby requiring the unit to take a Horror test and giving them another -1 LEAD.
Remember that when your Gorelord kills a model, his Bleeder weapon allows you to move a model or unit within 8 inches once. This can be useful for positioning your Cyclopses to get them out of melee (Lumbering Beast) and position them to use their Deathray without expending their own ACT. Basically your warlord can generate 3-4 free ACT each round.
When the Strategy does not work
Fearless models will still be subject to Fear, and that means they will be at -2 MEL, which is still beneficial, even though they did not run away.
Models with Hardened Will, Undead and non-living are more difficult to deal with because they are immune to Horror tests. This includes all warlords, so you will just have to rip them apart with regular attacks. If you can cause one or two characters/units to flee, then you will probably outnumber the enemy, and be able to wreak havoc.
Hold the Line
Tired of running across the battlefield to attack the enemy? The Banebrood are flexible enough to also use defensive strategies. Here is an example.
You will need 1-2 Shamans, 1-2 Bloodgut Ravagers plus a full unit of Skulleaters and a minimum unit of Guthackers. Equip your Gorelord with the “ultimate defense” package.
Place your Gorelord and Skulleaters to receive the enemy charge, and place your Guthackers a little further back. To encourage the enemy to charge, you can use two Bloodgut Ravagers with advanced deployment to shoot at the enemy with their bows 3X each per turn (with 1 ACT from the warlord).
When the enemy gets close, use your Bloodgut Ravagers to give the Gorelord Resilient (allowing dead models to remain alive on a 5+).
Your Shamans should be casting Bugstalk Eyes (plus upgrade) on your Gorelord, and Skulleaters. This means your Skulleaters will in effect have a DEF of 14, and your Warlord will have a DEF of 16, and will be immune to MIS and MAG attacks and Spells from more than 6 inches away. Additionally no models will be able to charge your Skulleaters or your Gorelord – they will only be able to engage him, and then they will need to pass a Horror test when they do that with the Gorelord.
Let the enemy come. They will soon learn that they are not able to charge your units (because of Bugstalk Eyes), and they will then have two painful options: A) wait and get charged by your Skulleaters (with Carnage tactic), or B) they will likely engage you.
In the case of B, they will have no charge bonus, and will also have wasted at least 2 ACT to get into MEL range, so they will be much less deadly!
If the enemy consists of mediocre troops, then do not bother to counter-attack. Your DEF 14, ARM 8 of your Skulleaters plus Resilient should see most of them survive. Save your action tokens to attack during your own turn when they can benefit from the fighting style bonus and an extra ACT from your warlord (enabling them to make 2X heavy attacks at POW6).
Your Shamans should now be casting Exoskeleton (plus upgrade) to give the Skulleaters ARM 10, and your Gorelord ARM 9.
Finally, charge with your 3 Guthackers to deliver the killing blow to the enemy warband.
Similar to the Defensive strategy, this one relies on forcing the enemy to charge a sacrifice unit, and then charging them. Equip your warlord with the “Horror package” of equipment.
You will need a minimum unit of 4-5 Reavers, 1-2 Cyclopses and a unit of Guthackers. Optional: 1 Shaman.
Guthackers and Gorelord should be placed together.
Position the Reavers 8 inches ahead of your Guthackers and warlord, 1.5 inches apart (more than 40mm), to allow your Guthackers to move through them.
Let the enemy charge the Reavers. Even if they kill the Reavers in one turn, and then spend 2 ACT on movement, they will probably still not be able to engage your Guthackers
Order Howling Mad to the Guthackers from your Gorelord and give them one ACT so they can make 1 high-POW attack and one low-POW attack this turn using Circular Slash. Charge with your Guthackers and Gorelord.
Remember that each time the Gorelord kills an enemy model, you can move a model or unit. This can help your Guthackers get into position or allow you to retreat them from the combat so that they cannot now be charged by a fresh enemy unit. If you give your Guthackers Long Legs, and assume your warlord kills 4 enemy models, they will be able to retreat 16 inches, or even better – advance 16 inches to engage another enemy unit!
Keep in mind the Guthackers need to be within the Gorelord’s LEAD range (8 inches) to benefit from this free movement. But assuming you get slay movement and move once with your Gorelord, you should be able to advance the Guthackers around 13-14 inches or perhaps more depending on placement of your models. That should be enough to get them into melee with another unit.
• Beware other fast models such as Amazon Hunters, Bloodvargs, Cerberoi and Bladeslingers. Don’t let them charge your Gorelord or he could be cut down. The ultimate deterrent for opposing fast models is an Ursapine / Gorelord with Long Legs spell and upgrade – such a beast can move 25 inches per turn or charge 19 inches!
• Remember that when you make a melee attack, the target models can counter-attack if they have action tokens. If instead you use the ambidextrous attack option, then the two attacks count as a single action, so the enemy can normally only make a single counter-attack. So it makes sense to use the ambidextrous attack if you are fighting Warlords and Creatures with lots of life-points.
• The Gorelord is monstrously offensive, but because of his unimpressive armor, he is a little squishy. Try to always keep other models on either side of him so that you limit his exposure to charges. This is easier said than done because the Gorelord is often so offensive that he is ideal for charging units, but remember that in every turn (except the first turn of each round) you can activate 2 items, so try to activate a unit or creature after the Gorelord has done his devastation, then use that to protect him from likely charges.
The Gorelord was conceived of as a pure melee warlord. Despite that, we felt we should give him a couple of useful rules to help his warband since he would be one of very few warlords to start with, some flexibility would be good. Initially he was conceived of as a Minotaur but we realized this would make him too focused on melee for the initial warlord of the faction, so we created the concept of Gorespawn – hybrids of Fomorions and Minotaurs, and we realized that fit him perfectly.
At first, Bestial Bellow was part of Howling Mad but these were later separated since one is offensive and one is defensive At first he had a rule called “Impaler” which allowed him to auto-kill a friendly model, then that unit would cause Fear, but this was stripped off later because it was not so useful, and we wanted to keep the Gorelord less tactical to balance out his melee skills.
At first he had ARM8 and DEF13, but we switched these since it was more fitting to the primitive Banebrood to have less armor. Apart from that he remained the same throughout the play-testing. He did gain 2 life-points because some play-testing felt he occasionally died too easily. And finally his original points of 44 were adjusted to a more suitable 52.
Offensively the Gorelord probably outclasses any other warlord in the game! However, he does not have the staying-power of the Runegate Keeper or the Duskborn Chieftain, nor does he have the command and support abilities of the Demarchon or the Centurion. For this reason he is best played either offensively (with some support). However, we have seen that he can also have a great beneficial effect on his warband at times, so during some rounds it makes sense to use him as a supporter to buff units with Howling Mad and action tokens.