Black Orcs are almost always the ded 'ardest group of warriors in any WAAAGH of respectable size. While they can dish out damage as you'd expect a greenskin of their size to be capable of doing, their real utility lies in their ability to disable their primary target and take them out of the fight while letting all the weaker 'gits on their side bash the enemy into a bloody pulp. They appear so far to epitomize the old-school, single target, heavily-armored tank and spank archetype of old.
Black orcs form the bedrock of any greenskin tabletop army. Bred by the dark magic of the Chaos Dwarves, Black Orcs were supposed to be an improved version of Orcy slaves, with their rabble-rousing, in-fighting, and animosity burned out of them from the beginning. The Chaos Dwarves' experiment was successful, but only to a degree. While Black Orcs are much more disciplined soldiers, they still thirst for battle. This led to them rebelling against their Chaos Dwarf masters, escaping the confines of slavery and spreading across the Misty Mountains. With their impressive size and toughness, they have become the de-facto leaders for most greenskin bands.
Curiously, precious little is known about the Black Guard in Warhammer Online up to this point. Since they were announced as the Dark Elf tank class late last summer, all we've gotten to see from them is a few pieces of concept art. Nobody really knows whether it's the Black Guard's ornate appearance or perhaps some special new tanking mechanic that is holding up information from surfacing, but we'll find out soon enough.
The Black Guard are a rare sight in the Warhammer world. They're the personal bodyguard of the witch king Malekith himself, drawn from the very finest warriors in the Dark Elves' northern kingdom. While Dark Elves aren't typically known for being the toughest or hardiest of armies as a whole, the Black Guard wield their halberds with expert skill and form the bedrock of any Dark Elf line. They are renowned for their ability to stand up to the best any opposing armies have to offer, pinning them down for the rest of the army to flank and destroy.
The Chosen in WAR have sworn allegiance to Tzeentch, the Changer of Ways. Not only are they capable of dealing and absorbing massive amounts of damage, but they also use their dark gifts to affect their enemies with auras and debuffs. Their masteries allow them to focus on one of these specialties or generalize in them all. Whatever path a Chosen decides to take, it's nearly assured that destruction and change will lie in his wake.
Chaos Champions are among the most feared warriors in the entirety of the Warhammer tabletop game. Possessing amazing offensive, defensive, and magical abilities, they are capable of channeling the powers of the Chaos gods into a wide swath of bloody destruction on the battlefield. When a warrior professes allegiance to a specific God of Chaos, he is granted enhanced abilities on top of his already considerable physical gifts. There are few more formidable sights.
The Goblin Shaman is every healer's dream. Players accustomed to being relegated to staring at life bars all the time will be delighted to know that the Goblin Shaman's healing abilities are dependent on the amount of damage they put out. So instead of taking a backseat to other classes, the Shaman is a bedrock of any successful Greenskin group, slinging damage and heals at dizzying rates. While this ability to heal isn't directly drawn from the tabletop, the destructive abilities will bear many resemblances to the extremely fun WAAAGH magic deck. For full details on this class, check out our spotlight on the Goblin Shaman.
Behind the leader of nearly every great WAAAGH is a shaman in communion with the Greenskin gods of Gork and Mork. While Orcs possess greater physical gifts, goblins are considerably more cunning, which makes them more capable of attaching themselves to an up-and-coming warboss. Since the magic greenskins wield is directly proportional to the size of a WAAAGH, the most powerful Shaman are tied necessarily to the greatest warbands. The relationship is symbiotic, and while a Shaman relies on da boyz to charge his magical batteries, he returns the favor by smiting their enemies with powerful destructive magic and providing them with utility spells to aid them in battle.
Archetype: Melee Support
The Disciples of Khaine are an interesting creation that really don't have any tabletop counterparts. They're a dynamic spin on a healer archetype, relying on direct damage from melee attacks and lifedrain spells to heal themselves and their allies while burning their enemies to the ground. As worshippers of Khaine, their modus operandi is spilling more blood for the Blood God, and with their dual blades they look well suited to the role. The prospect of being a healer whose job is to close distance and get stuck in melee combat is exciting, especially for those of us who are accustomed to casting from maximum range.
Like the Disciples of Khaine, the Chaos Zealots do not have a direct counterpart in the Warhammer tabletop game. They are worshippers of the Raven God, a god of mutation and apparent demi-god of Tzeentch. Of all the support classes on the Destruction side, the Zealot appears to be the purest in his conventions. His mainstay spells are buffs and debuffs that require close situational awareness, and he's also capable of casting AOE spells and powerful heals. With almost no armor to speak of, the Zealot is a squishy's squishy, but for all the aspects he adds to a group, it should be worth their trouble to protect him.
Archetype: Ranged DPS
Squig Herders in Warhammer Online are definitely an improvement over the pewter version. Instead of wielding prods and spears and having only loose control of their squigs, they've become a more traditional ranged DPS pet-based class. With their squigs' ability to leap behind lines to attack squishy targets, Squig Herders seem poised to play an important role taking out support classes as well as neutralizing and rooting the melee DPS on the side of Order.
Squig Herders are generally a rare sight on the tabletop, as the novelty of having a herd of squigs on the battlefield is somewhat obscured by their lack of reliability. Squig herders themselves are meant to provide some leadership to the herd, but due to their squishy nature, they can be felled fairly easily, leaving their fungal counterparts to ravage across friendly and enemy lines alike.
More than any other class, the Dark Elf Sorceress exemplifies the glass cannon style we've come to associate with the magic-wielding ranged DPS classes. Extremely susceptible to damage, the Sorceress keeps foes at range with the threat of huge damage. If enemies can get close they can take her down, but only if she hasn't already destroyed them first.
The elves of Warhammer lore are renowned for the abilities commune with the winds of magic. But while the High Elves demonstrate extraordinary patience and discipline in their pursuits of the arcane arts, the Dark Elves utilize their cunning and guile to try and bend the winds of magic to their nefarious intentions. They epitomize the Dark Elf style to the letter.
Truthfully, the miniature pictured to the left is actually a Lord of Tzeentch. And while a Lord is more melee-oriented than the Magus, they do share that oh-so-familiar icon of the God of Change - the daemonic Disc of Tzeentch. The Disc itself is actually a daemonic entity in itself, capable of delivering destruction as it subtly manipulates its rider to do its bidding.
Archetype: Melee DPS
WAR's Choppas follow a philosophy faithful to their tabletop counterparts: find an enemy and hack them to bits until one of you is no longer standing. Choppas gain strength the longer they remain in the thick of the fight, and can unleash their blood frenzy in the form of special high-damage attacks. They're a difficult opponent to face in battle because their damage output only increases with time, but since they're not a tank or healer class, they're not going to be the target of much focus-firing. So beware the Choppa.
Almost all Orc Boyz have the inherent potential to become a Choppa. They're simple creatures, and all they desire out of life is an enemy to fight and something big enough for them to use to bash that enemy's head in. Orcs prefer wielding bits of sharpened metal that they refer to as choppas, and in the Orc mind, the only thing that's better than having one choppa is two choppas.
Like the Dark Elf Sorceress, the Magus is a fairly straight-forward ranged damage-dealer. Beyond felling their foes with dark magics, their main utility lies in the secondary effects of their spells, which can be used to protect them from harm, keep enemies at range, and to bring the forces of Order to their feet. We still haven't gotten a totally clear picture of how the Magus achieves this, but we're hoping it involves some synergy with his demonic Disc.
Archetype: Melee DPS
For players not accustomed to the Warhammer universe, Witch Elves can be a somewhat amusing sight. Pale, scantily-clad elven maidens aren't the most intimidating sight in the world. After facing one in battle for the first time, those players will likely change their tune. A Witch Elf's frenzy can quickly cut an enemy to pieces, so they need to be taken out of the equation quickly if there's any hope for survival.
Probably the most iconic unit in any army of Malekith, they are a terrific symbol for the Druchii style. They're not very tough and are completely lacking in armor, but they're totally fearless and capable of utterly devastating enemies with their multitude of attacks and poisoned blades. Their contributions to any battle are usually short due to how much focused fire goes their way, but if under-estimated, they can swing things in their Dark Elf lord's favor.
Archetype: Melee DPS
Warhammer Online's Marauders are even more intimidating than those seen on the tabletop. Granted the powers of change by their lord Tzeentch, they are subject to deadly, obscene-looking physical changes and transformations that only enhance their ability to crush enemies. Players will be able to focus on one of these mutations with their masteries, enabling them to specialize in a particular style of wanton destruction. Learning to recognize these transformations and adapt to them will be a key factor in weathering the Marauder's storm.
Marauders are the core of any Chaos army. Composed of mortal men who have flocked to the banners of Chaos, Marauders are still an intimidating sight for any opponent with their high initiative and weapon skill. Hailing from the icy world of Norsca, these men would be stout warriors even without the blessing of the gods of Chaos, but with the benefit of their grace, they are formidable indeed.