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Warhammer: The Old World Orcs and Goblins models and lore

Orcs and Goblins fight in teeming masses that flow over their foes like a green tide - meet the most battle-hungry battalions in The Old World.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - Black Orc Warboss, a huge greenskinned brute armed with a massive axe, outlined in green, with a desaturated piece of warhammer art showing an Orc horde behind it

Fierce, wild, and with an overwhelming love for battle, the Warhammer Orcs and Goblins tribes are a green tide of never-ending war. This guide introduces the lore, model range, and rules for the most unruly of Warhammer armies.

If you think you’d prefer to fight with a more predictable force, Wargamer has guides to other Warhammer The Old World factions, including the highly disciplined Warhammer Dwarfs and plodding undead forces of the Vampire Counts. We also have guides to the Old World Rules – Orc players will want to be intimately familiar with the Old World Combat Phase in particular.

Returning Warhammer Fantasy Battle players may have many fond memories of fighting as, or against, these green warriors on the tabletop and Warhammer: The Old World wouldn’t be complete without them. With a ton of models, new and old, to choose from, and buckets of story behind them, the Orcs and Goblins are a mighty meal to chew on. Come with us and get familiarised with what makes these malachite monsters tick:

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins army - a mixed horde of greenskinned warriors

Orcs and Goblins Lore

Unlike most other races, young and old, Orcs and Goblins are not native to The Old World. Instead they hitched a ride on the Old Ones interplanetary vessels. Once on land the Orcs and Goblins didn’t just survive – they thrived. With an almost endless ability to breed, these stowaways quickly became a force to be reckoned with.

Large and filled with a blood lust that can never be sated, Orcs are berserkers. Able to shrug off blows that would fell a human or elf, Orcs only grow tougher as they age. Their skin becomes as thick as armor.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - goblin stone chukka siege catapult, a ramshackle trebuchet

Goblins are their sneaky, smart, cunning cousins. More timid than Orcs, you’ll often find Goblins in unexpected places, flanking foes or planning surprising ambushes. When forced into naked battle, Goblins will stick to the areas where the fighting is least fierce. What they lack in courage they make up for in vicious cunning and sheer numbers.

In the centuries that followed their arrival, Orcs and Goblins spread across the Old World. They split into tribes each centred around a Warboss, the toughest and most brutal member of the tribe. There isn’t a part of the world that has escaped the ravages of Orc and Goblin invasions. Should a Warboss lead their tribe to victory over enough foes, there is a chance that they may form a Waaagh!

A Waaagh! is one of the most feared events known to any of the civilised nations. Throwing caution to the wind, a Warboss with many victories under their belt leads their tribe against their foes with abandon. This urge to fight with little regard for defence is like a drug to Orcs and Goblins, drawing in more and more tribes until it becomes a Waagh!

As they slaughter their enemies, the Waaagh! grows in strength, ever more tribes flocking to the Warboss’ banner in a riotous cavalcade of violence.

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Thankfully for the survival of the other races in The Old World, no Waaagh! lasts long. Most burn themselves out when there are no more villages or cities nearby to raid. Tribe turns against tribe, tearing the Waaagh! apart. The bigger and more powerful the Warboss, however, the longer a Waaagh! will fight on, with some threatening to topple the pillars of civilisation themselves.

Not much is recorded about Orc and Goblin culture; their main contact with any other race is in the form of a Waaagh!, and these leave relatively few survivors who can relate their experiences.

Counterintuitively, the fierce and furious nature of the Orcs and Goblins helped to create one of the largest and most enduring civilisations in the Old World. Ever under threat of attack from the Orcs, an alliance of Dwarfs and Men under the legendary Sigmar managed to defeat the Orcs at a place named Black Fire Pass.

The Orcish assault was blunted forever, closing off their main passageway from the Eastern badlands to the civilized lands of the West. For his valor Sigmar was appointed Emperor of the human tribes, forming the Empire of Man and forging an eternal legacy.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - night goblin characters, one holding a banner, one riding a huge squig, one breathing smoke

Night Goblins

Not all Goblins fight above ground with their larger Orc siblings. Deep under the Worlds Edge Mountains in places long abandoned by Dwarfs, the Night Goblins make their home. Using the ancient Dwarf tunnel network to launch sudden raids, Night Goblins are a hated foe of the Dwarfs.

When they must travel above ground, they do so at night, or else where thick black cloaks to hide them from the sun.

The biggest difference between Night Goblins and those on the surface is their embrace of all things fungus. The Night Goblins have bred many strains of mushroom which can induce hallucinations, bizarre dreams, or alter Goblin physiology.

Night Goblin Shamans brew myriad potions from these fungi, enhancing the goblins’ abilities in battle, their spellcasting prowess, and causing Night Goblins to become indescribably drunk, some losing grasp of their sanity, others becoming ferociously strong fanatics who whirl lethal spiked balls around their heads on long chains.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins battalion contents - a horde of orcs, goblins, and a single chariot

Orcs and Goblins Models

Warhammer: The Old World brings a few new models to Orcs and Goblins armies as well as resurrecting and bringing new life to old favourites.

The biggest collection of Orcs and Goblins models is the battalion box. This comes teeming with orcy goodness: two Orc Boar Chariots, thirty one Orc Boyz (complete with a champion, musician, and standard bearer), and a truly staggering forty Goblins.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins battalion box

Two brand new models have made an appearance in The Old World. GW has released a new Black Orc Warboss model to lead your tabletop Waaagh! and Orc Shaman Ogdruz Swampdigga, an entirely new character.

Many plastic, metal, and resin models make their return to The Old World. These were previously released in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but will be available in larger numbers where appropriate. Some models previously only available in metal will now be sold in resin, though some metal models are coming back too.

Models Material
Orc Bosses Plastic
Orc Boyz and Arrer Boyz Mob Plastic
Orc Boar Boyz Mob Plastic
Orc Board Chariots Plastic
Black Orc Boyz Mob Plastic
Goblin Mob Plastic
Night Goblin Mob Plastic
Goblin Wolf Rider Mob Plastic
Orc command set Resin
Goblin command set Resin
Troll hag Resin
Bonegrinder giant Resin
Orc Warboss on Wyvern Resin
Orc and Goblin Giant Resin
Goblin bosses Metal
Goblin shamans Metal
Goblin wolf rider bosses Metal
Goblin Bolt Throwa Metal
Goblin Doom Diver Catapult Metal
Goblin Rock Lobber Metal
Goblin Nasty Skulkers Metal
Goblin Wolf Chariot Metal
Orc Shaman Metal
Orc Big ‘Uns Metal
Orc Big ‘Uns Command Metal
Snotling Swarms Metal
Snotling Pump Wagon Metal
Common Trolls Metal
Classic Ogres Metal
MetalMarauder giant Metal (made to order)
Orc Shaman on War Wyvern Metal (made to order)
Classic Stone Trolls Metal (made to order)
Classic River Trolls Metal (made to order)
Black Orc Big Boss with Axe and Shield Metal (made to order)

How to play Orcs and Goblins in The Old World

There are many ways to play Orcs and Goblins in The Old World, but for our money the most natural fit for them is to go big and brutal. Your opponent should look at the board and see an overwhelming wall of green warriors aching to tear their troops apart, a teeming mass of destruction, and they should fear you.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - Black Orc Warboss, a huge greenskinned brute armed with a massive axe

Black Orc Warboss

The biggest and baddest of all Orc Warbosses is the Black Orc Warboss. These mighty warriors can wield equally mighty weapons, magic items, and you can even put them on mounts if you need some extra mobility on the battlefield.

While being comparatively expensive for an Orc, remember that most Orcs and Goblins models and units are cheap compared to other factions. You can tool up your Warboss and still have plenty of points for the boyz.

The Black Orc Warboss has several native special rules. ‘Choppas’ means that they can re-roll Wound rolls of 1 and increase the AP of their melee weapon by 1 after charging (though only if they’re using a non-magical weapon), while Furious Charge gives them an extra attack in the turn that they charge.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - an Orc boss and battle standard bearer, hulking creatures bearing heavy weapons and a huge standard

The Waagh! Special rule, available to the Black Orc Warboss and other War- and Bigbosses, can really drive a hammer into the heart of your foe. Once per game this character can try to invoke a Waaagh! By making a Leadership test. If they pass, they and the unit they’ve joined can re-roll any rolls to hit of 1 and can claim a bonus of +1 to its combat result. Add that to you charge bonuses and this can be a devastating alpha strike.

Black Orcs have better stats than regulars Orc, so the Black Orc Warboss is the most killy character you can pick. They also improve the reliability of your nearby forces with the Quell Impetuosity rule. This ability means nearby units ignore the Impetuous rule – we’ll cover Impetuous in detail when we get to the Orc Boyz, but suffice to say this makes your normally unruly forces a lot more dependable.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins shaman wearing the scalp of a troll as a head, accompanied by a pot-stirring goblin

Orc and Goblin Shamans

No Orc or Goblin army is complete without the blessings of their gods, Gork and Mork. Goblin Oddnobs and Orc Weirdnobs are level 3 wizards while Orc Weirdboys and Goblin Oddgits are level 1 wizards – both can be upgraded to level 4 if you shell out the points.

Orc Shamans can take spells from Battle Magic, Elementalism, and Waaagh! Magic, and Goblin Shamans can take Elementalism and Waaagh! Magic spells. If you don’t like one of the spells you roll for a model, an Orc shaman can discard it for the signature spell from the Lore of Gork, while runty Goblins can do the same with signature spells from the Lore of Mork.

The goblin signature spell Itchy Nuisance is worth calling out, as it applies a -D3 penalty to an enemy unit’s toughness and initiative, a perfect setup for one of your punchy combat units to rip them to pieces.

Orc magic calls upon the collective enthusiasm of nearby Orcs as much as it does the winds of magic, so Orc Shamans get better at casting spells when they’re attached to big units. While they’re in a unit with Unit Strength 10 or more, they get a +1 modifier to all casting rolls.

Orc Shamans aren’t quite the combat-wizards you find in the Chaos Warriors, but they’re not totally fragile either, so don’t be afraid to slam them in to combat. Goblin shamans are absolute wet towels, but they do have the option to ride around on top of a colossal Arachnarok spider which, thanks to its Howdah special rule, gives them a 360 degree line of sight for their spells (as well as Terror, Poisoned attacks, stomp attacks, toughness six, seven wounds…)

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - Orc Boys, stooped greenskins with prominent underbites and tusks, wielding sturdy spears and shields

Orc Boyz

If you’re looking to field an Orc army you’ll definitely be stocking up on Orc Boyz. The meat of your army and the grunts you’ll depend on in most situations, Orc Boyz are tough, strong, and pack a punch. With a durable T4, the Choppas ability on the charge, access to warbows, paired swords, spears and shields, Orc Boyz can be tailored to hold the line, crash through enemy units, or peppering foes with arrows.

Orc Boyz have the Warband rule, which grants them a bonus to their leadership based on the rank bonus of their unit. Big blocks of Orcs can be as brave as Dwarfs, but as they take casualties this will erode over the course of a game.

The problem with Orc Boyz – in fact, with almost every Orc unit – is that they’re impetuous. Every turn, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will be forced to declare a charge at an enemy unit within range. This can leave them badly out of position as they attempt stupid charges at enemies at the very limit of their charge range, or distraction units out on the flanks. If you don’t enjoy this unreliability, a unit of Black Orcs will prevent this kind of unruly behavior.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - a unit of goblins armed with spears and shields

Goblin Mob

Smaller but feistier than an Orc, Goblin Mobs are teeming, chittering masses that are perfect for tying up enemy characters or even just acting as meat shields for your more valuable units. They are incredibly cheap, so you can field them in truly massive hordes.

Their leadership is a tragic 5, but the Warband ability means that a sufficient rank bonus will give them some insurance against failing break tests. With strength and toughness 3 they’re no weaker or more fragile than a human, but they’re cheaper, thanks largely to their rubbish weapons skill 2.

A unit with shields and light armor will make for a tarpit of bodies that should hold up to a charge, provided the battle standard bearer is close by. If you want to deal damage, hide some Nasty Skulkers in the unit, combat specialists aren’t revealed to your opponent until the unit makes combat. Alternatively, the goblin BS3 is quite acceptable, so Goblin Mobs with short bows can make for a competent ranged unit, especially if you upgrade them to Skirmishers.

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - Stone Trolls, lumpen creatures with grey skin, huge ears and noses, carrying bone clubs and rocks

Troll Mobs

For an elite troop, you can’t go wrong with a few Trolls. With S5, T4 and 3 Attacks apiece, these regenerating troops can take apart other units with surprising ease.

Troll Mobs come in three distinct flavours. Common Trolls are the baseline; River Trolls get an extra Wound at the cost of their Initiative; Stone Trolls come with extra defences in the form of an Armoured Hide and Magic Resistance.

All Trolls, however, share some stats. They are afflicted by Stupidity, which means they need to stay close to your General’s command range or they’ll risk spending their turns blowing bubbles. Inflict Fear on those around them, have a Regeneration save when they lose wounds – though they’ll lose this if they’re wounded by flaming attacks, as they’ll all Flammable.

Finally, Trolls have a disgusting secret weapon. They get an extra melee attack which allows them to vomit on their foes, a medium strength attack with an AP of -2 that automatically hits. It’s a reliable way to dissolve enemy units that can survive the trolls’ regular attacks with evasive abilities or high armor saves

Warhammer the Old World Orcs and Goblins - an armored Orc Warboss riding a lumpen Wyvern, a winged, draconic creature with large fangs and green scales


Orc and Goblin armies are renowned for using creatures in their ranks, enhancing the army and providing support from surprising directions. These are almost all mounts, including, Boars, Wolves, Spiders, Wyverns,  and Giant Cave Squigs, all of which give particular bonuses to those riding them.

There’s no wrong picks here – the big monsters are massive combat threats and make your heroes survivable, the regular mounts let your heroes pump up the performance of a cavalry unit. For the Warboss, it’s hard to argue with a Wyvern, a hulking brute with the ability to fly right into the flank of an enemy unit where they can inflict maximum damage. And don’t forget that a character on a Wyvern simply looks awesome.

The Marauader Giant miniature, part of the Warhammer Orcs and Goblins range, a huge humanoid wielding a tree branch as a club and carrying a full barrel as a hip flask


Finally, let’s discuss Giants. The heavy hitters of the horde, these behemoths are as much siege weapons as living creatures. You see a Giant striding across the battlefield, you know you’re in for trouble, so it’s natural that these colossal juggernauts will become targets for everything your opponent can throw at them.

In typical Orcs and Goblins fashion, there is a degree of pure chaos to how they operate on the tabletop. Instead of attacking normally, you will first choose between a Pick Up And…attack or a Giant Attack. When making a Giant Attack, you roll a D6 to randomly determine what the giant does. This could be anything from a Mighty Swing of the giant’s club across the enemy unit, to ‘Eadbutting a single foe into a paste. Each is deadly in its own way, but you may end up with an attack that doesn’t quite fit the target you’re fighting.

If you Pick Up And… your Giant will attempt to grab a model nearby and remove it from play as a casualty by… well, the rules don’t say, but it can’t be pleasant. You can keep doing this until your opponent passes an Initiative test for their models to dodge out of the way, or you roll 1-3 on a D6 after a successful grab, resulting in the Giant forgetting what it was doing.

Giants are a random, but utterly offensive weapon, even up to the point of death. With the Timber! special rule, when they die there’s a chance they will fall on top of the enemy unit, squashing many more troopers flat in their death throes.

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Orcs and Goblins lean towards one overarching playstyle – go big and make your opponent go home. But there’s plenty of variety to satisfy nearly any player that we haven’t touched on. On the face of it you are looking at a horde army so you’ll want a lot of bodies to throw at your foe, but with heavy hitters like Giants and Trolls on your side and the deadly spells of Gork and Mork under your belt, Orcs and Goblins don’t just overwhelm enemies – they can crack them open like a nut under a hammer.

Add into the mix some of the wilder units available to any faction, thanks in main part to the wonderfully wild Night Goblins, you’ve got a fun and deadly force that can take on the best armies in the game.