Ah, the big base dudes. The monsters. Show Piece Models. And totally not worth it in 90% of circumstances.
There are some people out there that would disagree with me. However, at the end of the day, they are over costed and do not do what people think that they do.
Trolls, Ogre Bodyguards, Rat Ogres, and Possessed. Many people would not include the Possessed in this list, because they are heroes, not henchmen or hired swords. I tend to lump them in with the rest for the same reasons.
The thing with the big guys is that people think that they are killers, but they are not! What the big guys are there for is to hold the line. Their stats are not so incredibly better then the standard warrior. Yes, they are SLIGHTLY stronger, but most of them are not faster, or even have more attacks then a well rounded henchman with a couple upgrades and the right equipment. The main point of the big guys is to sit there and tie up other units, so that some other killer can come in and finish them off.
Let me examine them a bit in depth.
The Ogre Bodyguard is probably the most common, but it has a few huge advantages. While it doesn't have stats that are amazingly better then a henchmen or a hero, it does gain experience, it isn't stupid, and you can equip it with either two hand weapons or a two handed weapon. That gives it a leg up on taking what you need. If you need a high strength guy to cut through armor or high toughness, he can do it. If you need to get more attacks in to cause more wounds, then he can. The main benefit of the Ogre Bodyguard is that he's realitively cheap at roughly x3 the cost of a warrior.
The Rat Ogre is both better and worse then the Ogre Bodyguard. It is much stronger then the average henchman and hero, which makes up for it in the early stages of the game. There are a lot of HUGE detriments to the Rat Ogre though, first and foremost is the extreme cost, almost half of a starting warbands cost. Then it also does not gain experience, which is fine since it is better then most things. The main downfall though is that if it drops out of action, and then dies, you are out a HUGE amount of crowns. Many people advise you to wait until later in the game for a big guns, but with the Rat Ogre, its only really a good investment in the opening stages.
The Troll is probably the best of all worlds. Its big, its tough, it regenerates. While it is ridiculously expensive, you never have to buy another. Even if it goes out of action, it never requires a serious injury roll. While it is stupid, it is the probably the most like what people think of as a true monster. It has enough power to take out almost anything in the game, and it gets a regeneration roll after every wound taken. While it is hands down the most expensive, and still requires upkeep, it is the all around best.
The Possessed is not a true monster, its a hero. What I've found to be very effective with them is to take them vanilla with no upgrades in the opening stages, and then save as much money as possible for when (not if, when) they finally die, so that they can be replaced with Possessed with Mutations. At first glance the unupgraded Possessed seems like a bad deal, but it is the equal of an Ogre Bodyguard only with one less wound and one more in weapon skill and initiative. That's why I include them on the list.
The reason I wanted to talk about these guys is because of last week's column where I talked about the different types of units that people often overlook. The mud unit. The big guys are all about tying things up. Often they are not the most killy guys around, but there is nothing to bog down the opponent like a big guy.