40K Extremes: Can 2000 Gretchin Kill a Warlord Titan?

8th Edition’s rules  put the game’s units on an equal footing. that has me thinking if the game’s real winners are the meek or the mighty?

One of the key hallmarks of Warhammer 40k 8th edition is is the “great equalizer” edition. The difference between infantry, monsters, vehicles and super-heavies is quite blurred and aside from some keywords and a handful of special rules it’s all kind of the same thing.

Everything can hurt anything with the new S vs T table and it shows.

There is a reason that the Chapter Approved Apocalypse rules are only 14 pages, instead of 256. Because 90% of them are baked into the DNA of 8th’s core rules.

Welcome to Extremetown: Population 2001

And that got me thinking about the extremes of the game.

Can the biggest and baddest units face off against the weakest and still work?

Can both players have a fair shot?

Can the rules even handle it?

I got to poring over all our books to find the games mightiest and meekest units and wanted to envision what a game would even look like. Here’s what I found?

The Mighty: Warlord Titan – 6000pts

Armed with (for sake of argument)

  • Belicosa Volcano Cannon (arm)
  • Warlord Gatling Blaster (arm)
  • 2x Incinerator Missile Banks (up top)

The Meek: 2000 Gretchin – 3pts apiece

Yup grots… an endless tide of grots.  Not only were they the cheapest models I could find, they have have a gun!


Now you have to do some basic math to figure out some basics.  We’re not going to go into the millions of possible mission and game permutations, who goes first, and the like. I’m just going to layout some some basics for you to ponder:

  • A six turn game
  • Lets assume the warlord is on a 20″ round base
  • 50/50 deployment zones. (no no-man’s-land)
  • If fully surrounded, in a 12″ deep, 22″ radius torus with a 1″ gap, roughly 1100 Gretchin can fit and shoot at the Warlord.
  • The Warlord is going to kill roughly 65 grethin a turn via shooting, and another 8-10 in assault with it’s stompy feet.
  • It take 90 roughly Gretchin shots to put a wound on the Warlord

It’s a funny thing to wrap your mind around, bit I think the Gretchin have it.  The biggest decider in crazy cases like this is the turn limit.  There just isn’t enough time for the Warlord to kill them all.  On top of that, the Grots are probably going to literally fill every objective they can get to in and endless tide. There are minor issues of course – like the 300 Gretchin take up 2/3 of the 4×6 table, or well more than the area of a standard deployment zone! But Any insane battle like this would of course require a custom Open Play mission.

But the funny thing is that overall – the game could work. The rules would handle it, and god forbid anyone wanted to try it, there would be a path to play it out in the real world.  And that’s a big checkmark for the rules.

My money is still on the chickens Gretchin!

~What crazy missions would you want to try to stress test the game to it’s limits? Do you knoe enough buddies with the minis to pull it off?

  • Kritarion

    Of course. At some point, all the blood is gonna clog up those engines

    • Devil_Eyez

      wasn’t there a story about Hive Fleet Behemoth on Macragge where that happens to a titan with guants clogging it all up.

      • Glenn Walker

        Not macragge but the frist planet the hive attacked

        • LankTank


  • Dylan McManus

    If someone modeled 2k Gretchin for a game against a warlord I would love to see the Warlord be taken down. They’d have earned it!

    • Watcherzero

      I know someone who filled an entire board with plague zombies.

    • marxlives

      Spray paint and dip and it would still take a full weekend.

    • I agree. We’re now talking in the office about who we know has the most of nay one type of unit so we can try out such a crazy match.

      • Wolf-Assassin

        Invite all ork player in your area.

  • Boba Vette

    Funny things is, even 10k grotz are basically 20 orks….fluff wise….

    • AEZ

      And 10k orks are 20 marines.. fluff wise.
      So that would make 100000000 grotz vs 20 marines fair.. fluff wise.
      I’ll bring the marines if you bring the grotz.

      • thegreatmoronos


      • Boba Vette


        • AEZ

          You are a liar 😀 GW never even produced that many grotlings.

  • GoatD

    What am I missing?

    It seems like there is no contest in almost all situations. If victory is determined by objectives, the titan doesn’t have a chance. If it is determined by victory points, unless the grots start adjacent, the titan will score first blood and win a major victory. If the grots start surrounding the titan, then the sample size should be sufficient enough to effectively guarantee taking down the titan in six turns (probability should even out with that many dice rolls).

    The outcome of this battle is determined by the mission conditions, not chance or strategy (except that in a 50/50 split, the titan should start at rear edge of its deployment zone).

  • AEZ

    The titan should move to a corner, limiting the amount of grotz in range ofc. I can see an argument being made for better stomps against hordes btw.

  • Simon Bates

    The Titan can fire on up to 8 different units per turn. Most of his weapons (except the 2 twin Lascannons) can expect to inflict more than 4 casualties, so every Morale test is an extra D6 or more casualties, 2D6 on units within 9″. The Gatling Blaster and two Incinerator Banks ought to more or less wipe out a whole unit per turn each. Combine the turret weapons and that’s pretty much a 4th unit and then the Volcano Cannon is putting a big hole in a 5th. Could potentially take out close to 150 Grots per turn with shooting attacks alone. Throw in a few more getting squished and their mates running away and you might make it to around 1,000 in 6 turns, the challenge is to make it as hard as possible for them to kill you before you do. As others have said, back into a corner (presumably there on’t be any impassable terrain to hide behind) and you can reduce the number of Grots who can get within 12″ quite drastically.

    I think the odds are with the Grots, but the Titan could pull it off with some careful maneuvering and judicious use of command points (mostly re-rolling 2+ armour saves, I would imagine).

    • Simon Bates

      Pondering the arithmetic on morale tests further. The optimal outcome is that you wipe out whole units (to avoid the risk of wasting firepower in future turns), with no overkill. Next best is just to inflict as many casualties as possible (every dead Grot is one less shot and/or CC attack).

      The extra D6 casualties for units within 9″ complicates things, because it means that whereas normally you’d want to inflict more than 4 casualties (up to the point where you risk overkill) per unit for maximum efficiency, in this case you’re better off spreading shots around to make as many units roll 2D6 as possible. Since even a single casualty will do this, you want to be firing at as many different units as possible. Even if you only inflict one casualty on a given unit, it will then lose 2D6-3 models, most likely about 4 over and above the original casualty.

      So, assuming sufficient targets within 9″, even with standing in a corner, you’re probably looking at:

      2D6 Casualties per twin Lascannon (they’ll most likely inflict 2 wounds each, forcing a test at 2D6-2)

      2D6+4 Casualties per twin Heavy Bolter (unless these are special heavy bolters) (4 wounds and 2D6 morale)

      26+D6 Casualties per Missile bank (15 wounds, D6+ 11 morale, cannot target units within 24″ so no modifiers to Morale rolls)

  • vlad78

    And this is where the removal of templates hurts the most.

    • Heinz Fiction

      Because Grots are overpowered?

      • vlad78

        Because with an apocalypse template, the Warlord would remove 500 of them at a time, not 2D6.

        • Puppet Soul

          Not if they space them out 2 inches each, then you remove 2 years of your life per movement phase, not 2D6.

          • vlad78

            ^^ With a pre measured piece of plastic, it is actually really fast. And you still kill hundreds of them a turn.

          • LOL!

  • I_am_Alpharius

    I understand this is all somewhat theoretical, but can there are some fundamentals that seem to have been ignored….

    Like, how are the Grots formed up? One massive blob? Units of 30? What about the effects of moral? Are they immune? If not then, if ~75 Grots are dying a turn, then something like another 75 (due to the Titan making units roll an extra D6 for Moral Test) are going to be running through moral! And the biggest thing of all…..the titan can just wade into combat and then Grots can’t shoot the Titan, due to other friendly units being within 1″.

    Grots lose every time!

    • Drew_Da_Destroya

      The grots in combat would obviously fall back. Or just be dead already.

  • Kyle Stetson

    The Gretchen would have it easy. The odds when rolling 2k dice of following up a 5 with a 6 70 times are (insert math here for precise answer) good. It’s the same reason my 6 Kastellans with 3 phosphor blasters generating 118 rerollable shots/turn with Cawl can mulch a knight reliably in 1 turn. If anything can wound anything, the swarm has the advantage.

    • LordKrungharr

      Wow, I think I need to get some Kastellans!

      • Kyle Stetson

        Every list should have at least 4, with the 3 phosphor blaster build. Set them to the fire twice protocol, and each one shoots 18 S6 AP-2 rerollable shots that ignore cover.

    • marxlives

      True it is a horde edition.

    • Munn

      If you could spread the weapons out more, I think the Warlord would take it. He only needs to kill about 10 gretchin per squad of 30 to wipe out each squad with them rolling 2d6 moral. With perfect spread the calculated 75 dead to shooting per turn would actually result in closer to 225

      • Koen Diepen Van

        Do gretchins have a special rule where you roll 2d6?

  • Ninety

    I ran the math on how to kill a Warlord. The most cost efficient ways to do it used to be its weight in Malefic Lords, but now that’s shot. Now just swarming it with Broodlord-buffed Genestealers with Toxin Sacs (they already wound on 6s so they’ll always strike at Ap-4 D2) is the best bang for your buck, but hilariously, the other best option is Eldar Warlocks — not casting but in MELEE. They’re 30ppm and their Witchblades always wound on 2s so they’re effectively S32. Plus, each Conclave can cast a bunch of times so you can debuff the Warlord (Jinx is the big one) and buff the Warlocks. Toss in a pack of Banshees to negate Overwatch and a Farseer for Guide/Doom and about 60-70 Warlocks get the job done in one fight phase.

    • That is HILARIOUS. So how many Warlocks, Banshees can you get for 6000pts?

  • oGRE

    8th edition is NOT the “great equalizer” at all: it’s just the horde edition.
    the warlord titan almost auto-destroys 5 10-grot units per turn, 1500-2000 grots take grossly 10 wounds per turn from the titan; after 3-4 turns, the titan shall begin to hit with a 5+ while grots shall continue to take any form of objective in the game.
    without templates, areas-of-effect and panicking units fleeing asking for new LD tests, there’s no other outcome from a game like this.

  • Iron Father Stronos

    Those chickens really made my day.

  • Jeddaven

    Why give it the Belicosa for an arm? Is that solely due to points? It seems like it’d be fairer to give the big guy maximized shot count and match points with gretchin as closely as possible.

    • I tried to build the Warlord as an “average loadout”- not optimized to hunt hordes. In it’s listed loadout, the two missile racks up top are doing most of the killing.

  • chris harrison

    If the rules worked the way the fluff described it, one Big Mek with a shokk attack gun could bring down a Warlord Titan with one shot.

  • piglette

    Grots are the best. I killed my friends Drago with them after tying him up forever.

  • tyler

    Wow, I think I need to get some Kastellans!

  • Aurion Shidhe

    I would rather see 2000 warlord titans vs. one grot. Now THAT would be impressive.

    • Rasheed Jones

      I’d like to see the wallet just before it made that purchase and hold it…just to look at it a bit…here I’ll place the money in my bank for safe keeping, you wouldn’t want to lose it.

      • Aurion Shidhe

        Heretic! The Emperor would not want you to make such a wise decision!

  • maxwell watson

    Do gretchins have a special rule where you roll 2d6?