Hey everyone, Reecius here to talk about everyone’s favorite baddies, the Orks! As always, check out the Tactics Corner for more great analysis!
Orks are commonly considered the weakest army in the game right now as a solo army. While many consider them to be great allies (they still have absolutely rockin troops for the points) with some stand-out units, by and large the data and popular opinion is against the Green Skins.
I would like to make the case for why the Orks can still get it done and be a lot of fun to play.
So, good analysis is rooted in a mixture of fact and informed opinion. Let’s start with the facts.
- Great scoring units.
- Boyz still are absolutely solid troops for 6pt models. A 120pt unit of 20 Shoota Boyz is a great scoring unit. They shoot well, they assault well they are fearless with Mob Rule and they are so hard to deal with that often, they get ignored. These fellas will routinely win you the game as a reasonably priced but still useful troop. They have just enough offense to be a threat if they need to be but not enough to pose a huge threat and their beefy defense means they will take a lot of attention to deal with. Not being able to go to ground in the face of some of the crazy offensive power we see in units like Missilesides can be rough (although they often ignore cover anyway, haha) it is a good trade to not have to see the unit melt in the face of a flubbed Ld check.
- 12 Trukk Boyz or 20 Slugga Boyz in a Battlewagon are also a great scoring unit. Trukks rock now, and with a Ram and/or Boarding Plank, they can really surprise some folks with a game winning assault or Tank Shock. They also give you a MASSIVE threat range being open topped and the WAAGH! when you need it makes charges ultra reliable. I absolutely love Trukk Boy units and went 3-0 with an army of 6 of them at a local tournament. I only wish Orks could ally with themselves to get more of them! I would take 8 in a heartbeat! Hull Points was actually a benefit to Trukks as the damn things are so flimsy, down-grading a glance to only taking a Hull point is awesome! The increase in speed to Fast Vehicles was also really nice for Trukks and they just fly around the table. You can use the tricks for Defensive Assault, and Secondary Movement we often discuss to protect your Orks too, and to help them survive Overwatch to get into combat reliably. Combined with their cheap cost and the Ramshackle Table, I honestly feel Trukks are one of the better transport vehicles in the game at present.
- Similarly, 20 Slugga Boyz in a Battlewagon is all of the same goodness, a bit slower but harder to kill and harder hitting. We will get to the various benefits of the Battlewagon itself, later.
- Mega Nobz. These guys got a massive boost in 6th ed, and they hit like a brick shit-house. I prefer 3 in a Trukk as a cheap, scoring, hard hitting, fast assault unit.
- Biker Boyz. Warbikerz are actually quite good (a bit pricey, but their special rules in 6th ed are really good) and I use them frequently. With Wazzdakka making them troops, and they providing a 4+ cover save to themselves and units behind them due to their special rules, they are solid. They are also fast and they shoot surprisingly well, particularly as a unit to ground FMC’s and such. I’d love to see them drop down to 18-19 points, then they’d be spectacular.
- Nob Bikerz. Pricey, but solid. These guys are hard to kill, fast, hit very hard and are a scoring unit. Nice one, all around. The key to using them well now, IMO, is to take smaller units than we did previously. They are too susceptible to ID from Smash attacks in HtH or from Str10 shooting to really count on them to be an all purpose shock troop unit, but a smaller unit of 3-5 still packs a wallop for a much lower price point.
- Grots. The good old Grot squad. While it has been eclipsed to a large degree by taking a bare bones Shoota Boy unit as a dedicated scoring unit, the Grot Squad is still one of the cheapest units in 40K that will consistently win the game for you. Reserve, hide them in a Bastion, etc. they really add a lot.
- Efficient Support Unit
- Lootas, lootas, lootas. These guys rock the house. Always have, and they got better this edition. Now, they can move and shoot at half the efficacy as holding still. They kill MC’s quite well and mine routinely blast FMCs out of the air without having to ground them! They shred infantry, light and medium vehicles, and in almost any game you play, they will kick ass. The only Flyer that really scares you is the stupid Heldrake, but if you take a Skyshield or hide them, you can hopefully avoid the Baleflamer and then move into the open and go Turkey Hunting!
- Warboss on a Bike. The Warboss on a Bike is a stud, pure and simple. For his very reasonable points cost, you can get a fast, insanely hard hitting IC (6 Strength 10 attacks on the charge? Yes please!) that is also fairly resilient. At T6 he has poor man’s EW, and while his 3 wounds go fast, he will almost always smack your opponent in the nuts with his Power Klaw before going man down. I often take 2. Also, he is small enough to run him solo, safely. Hide him behind a Trukk or Battlewagon and join a unit before assaulting, even using the Slingshot Engage tricks to give either he or his unit greater reach.
- Warboss in Mega Armor. Also a stud, although slightly less studly than his biker brother. This Warboss grants Slow and Purposeful to any unit he joins which is really cool for Lootas as it means they can move and fire at full effect (although no Overwatch). He can also tank wounds for them, give them a LD buff, and packs a punch in HtH for a low price point. He is also great for going with a unit of say, Slugga Boyz in a Battlewagon or Trukk and if the thing explodes, he can tank all the wounds to save his Ork buddies. This also goes well with Lootas in a Battlewagon as it means they can move and shoot at full BS!
- Battlewagons. Ah yes, the legendary Deff Rolla express itself, the Battlewagon. The damn things were the bane of my existence in 5th, and they dropped off in 6th but I think when people see how good they still are, that will change. Why? in the current meta, they are really good (well, they are really good anyway). A lot of the heavy hitting armies out there are massed str 5, 6 and 7 armies. Missilesides, Wave Serpents, Fire Warriors, War Walkers, Soul grinders, Etc. A lot of armies actually struggle with AV14. The Battlewagon is cheap AV14 that is also an assault vehicle. Nice! The Deff Rolla is also a fantastic weapon for smashing Wave Serpents, and with a little luck, Broadisdes and such, too. Don’t forget awesome upgrades like the Boarding Plank and Grabbing Klaw either, and you can surprise the hell out of people when you tell them you can smack their vehicle in assault from 2″ off of the hull without getting out, or that their Wave Serpent can’t move the next turn! However, the bttlewagon is also a very reliable way to get assault units up the field. They are also excellent for hiding Trukks, Bikers, etc. and being able to move enemy units around with a Tank Shock for getting them off of objectives, moving them into a clump for shooting or for cutting off LoS for assaults is all extremely useful. And again, it’s cheap! Taking them with the Big Mek though, not as good as it used to be due to the amount of stuff that ignores cover in the meta at present. Red Paint can still be good though, when you have units like Lootas in them as you can hide the BW, move 1″ to just see around LoS blocking terrain, shoot at full BS with the Lootas and still not get auto-hit in assault. Nice!
- Big Gunz. (Thanks to Bug Sculpter for pointing out this omission). These are a really good, cheap support unit. Lobbas and Kannons particularly, are very good. They provide you with the ability to snipe models out of a unit, hit models out of LoS or to take on heavier tanks and 3+ save units. They also do well on a Quad Gun as one of the grot crew can shoot it at BS3, which is as good as it gets for Orks! These guys also do well on or under a Skyshield as you can shoot barrage weapons from under a piece of terrain through it but oddly (and probably not intentionally) not down through it. Go figure.
- All the other units.
- Yeah, there are a lot of stinkers in there. As much as I always like to find the positive, a lot of the Ork units are either truly bad or a near miss. Storm Boyz for example, are almost awesome. If they were 9 pts for example (totally fair, IMO) they would rock! You could take massive mobs of them and just fly up the field kicking ass! But, at 12pts per model they are too expensive for what you get. Shame too, because they are absolutely fantastic models.
- Burna Boyz are the same. They were very good last edition, but now that you can only move 6″ and fire out of a vehicle with Template weapons, they just struggle to ever get into range to do their thing without disembarking in which case they can’t all shoot and subsequently get owned. They’re almost awesome, can be great, but consistently will not perform as well as Lootas which they compete with.
- Kommandos are still pretty good but not being able to assault out of reserves and overwatch just kicked them square in the nuts. While in certain match-ups they can be good, you will be hard pressed justifying taking them over more Boyz or Lootas.
- Dakkajets. Gah, if only they were Strength 7, they would rock. While they are great for the points, shred infantry, and kill FMCs, Storm Talons and Scythes well; the most common flyer and worst nightmare to Orks, the Heldrake, takes a big, chaotic dump on the Dakkajet. It will also get absolutely smoked by Tau skyfire. That to me makes it fall into the liability category as in comparison, Lootas do the same thing but more reliably.
- Then there are the stinkers such as the Looted Wagon, Flash Gitz, etc. Fun, funny units that can be good, but typically suck almost all the time.
- Being an older book, Orks simply lack a lot of the tools needed to play in 6th ed. AA for example. Lootas are a great stop gap but not a true AA solution. Dakkajets are awesome but being Str 6 really hamstrings them. They can’t do anything to the Orks’ biggest nemesis: the Heldrake. That plus their extreme fragility means they are a bit of a liability in a really competitive list.
- Assault. While not having to take Fearless saves helps a lot, Challenges hurts just as much. The poor Nob, even with Eavy Armor and 2 wounds, tends to come out on the short end of the stick in most challenges. The Boyz can get it done in a fight on the charge with Furious Assault, but in subsequent rounds of combat really count on the nob to add wounds into combat and tear into tough units like Termies and such. Having him taken out of combat so easily, often killed, really stinks. The only work around is to go into tough combats with multiple characters so that one could fall on the sword when needed. As it stands, I often see my Boyz get eaten up by Tactical Marines and such in a combat. You can’t count on Orks winning the game through assault alone.
- Psyker defense. Or, more appropriately, their lack thereof. Orks are really at the mercy of Psykers and in this edition when certain powers can just be devastating, that is rough.
- No real AP2 shooting. While yes, they technically have some, it isn’t noteworthy. Orks have trouble getting through 2+ saves such as Broadisdes, Riptides, Oblits, Termies, Etc. While volume of fire will work in a lot of cases, against things like Riptides, it just isn’t enough. You need to have a plan to get around this, typically with assault.
So what to make of it all?
Orks definitely have some weaknesses in the current meta. While in general they have some great tools in their book, when faced with what you will likely see in a tournament in 6th ed, you definitely need a plan of attack as to how to proceed.
- Hell Turkeys
- Who cares about the rest of the Chaos book, Orks can go head-to-head with them and do just fine. It’s the damn dirty Turkey that is such a pain in the butt. A Double or Triple Dragon list can destroy you by itself. So what to do? Lootas and Bikerz are really your best bet to attack them. Lootas can directly engage and destroy them. The trick though, is doing it before the Heldrake bar-b-ques your Orks, first! In order to accomplish this, you need to be able to hide your Lootas for the turn the Turkeys come in. You then move out, and hopefully, blast them. As many tournament tables lack adequate LoS blocking terrain, you may want to bring your own. A Skyshield is great for this as you can just hide underneath it, then move onto it for the 4++ and let ‘er rip! This also gives you defense against the Baleflamer in the instance you fail to kill your target. A Bastion is also good to hide behind. However, don’t forget that the stupid Turkey can shoot into the bastion, so don’t think being inside is a total defense. Bikers are also quite good Turkey Hunters as with 3, twin linked str5 shots and speed, they can fly under the Turkey and shoot it in the ass with good odds of taking it down.
- Defensively, Battlewagons are a good bet as if you position them well, you can show your front, be immune to the Baleflamer, and then haul ass under the Turkey and away from danger. Or, put your Lootas inside the BW and have them shoot out of it, immune from the Baleflamer in the front arc. Trukks also provide a little defense as at the least, they soak up one of the Turkey’s attacks.
- Orks are actually really good at taking on this army. Taudar fold when you get them into combat, but getting their is the hard part for most armies. Orks with their speed, numerous units, either fast or resilient transports and numbers, can really give Taudar a run for their money. With Battlewagons, so long as you can survive the stupid Ion Cannon Blast for a turn or two, you are in combat. Presenting too many threats is also a great way to overload Taudar as they tend to have a few, very hard hitting units as opposed to lots of units. So, if you come at them with multiple, fast assault units, especially with Transports to absorb some shooting, you will get across the table. Subsequently using your transports and terrain to then block LoS to survive the vicious overwatch means you should be able to get your green mitts on those Taudar! Weight of numbers also helps as if you have loads of threats in their face that they have to deal with, they may run out of time to take out your beefy scoring units before endgame. This game will feel like you are getting your teeth kicked in the entire time, but playing to objectives, killing their troops and hanging in their until you can get to grips with the Riptides and Missilsides and tie them up or kill them is the key.
- Eldar are probably the single most powerful book in the game, right now. The strengths of this army is their Wave Serpents, Wraith Knights, psychic powers and crazy firepower. Orks will struggle with the massed Small Arms fire of the Dires, Guardians, War Warlkers and Wave Serpents. Wraith Knights will also be a big threat to your Battlewagons. However, if you can Neutralize the Wraith Knights with fast moving units of Boyz with a hidden Klaw that can’t be challenged out as the WK is not a Character, you will kill the big fellas or at the least, stop their heavy firepower. Your Battlewagons will then be your best tool for getting up field as they will be immune to a lot of the weapons Eldar have, dealing with Serpents (assaulting Boyz out of a Trukk or Wagon also make short work of Serpents) and then kicking the crap out of the Space Elves in combat. The transport vehicles are also your best defense against the Eldar potent psychic powers. The Stupid Jetseer council of suck-ass lameness is tough, but if you can get multiple Klaws into a combat with this unit, you can defeat it in assault by getting around the Baron with his 2++ reroll save. Massed AP2 attacks coming from multiple units is the best way to do this and that is somethign the Orks can definitely do!
- This is a tough match for the Orks. FMC Daemons is actually not that bad if you play it right. So long as you are fast, Orks tend to have lots of units for shooting and you can follow the FMCs around, waiting to ground and pound those that fall out of the sky. Use your Warbosses to get into tougher fights where a unit of Boyz alone won’t be enough to either tarpit them or chew them up. Be wary of the Black Mace though, as Orks really do not like that thing. Also, Lootas will drop these winged nuisances like nobody’s business. Fateweaver particularly, fears the Lootas! As always, kill whomever has the Grimoire first, then go after the rest in order of who is the greatest threat to you, working your way down.
- Ground based Daemons is tougher as they are simply better in combat. Daemonettes, Khorn Dogs, Seekers, Fiends, etc. will just eat you up. Their invul saves blunt the impact of your Klaws, too. You have to be able to shoot them to death or let them assault you into cover to have much of a chance. Again, Lootas, Bikerz, and Shoota Boyz are going to get it done. Trukks can be good to stay out of assault range or choose where combat happens. Battlewagons will largely suck as most any of the Daemon units will just blow them up in assault and not care much about the Deff Rolla. This match-up will come down to who can out-maneuver the other player and dictate combat on the more advantageous terms. Orks are also good at tying up the stupid Screamerstar with a big mob of Boyz mixed in with a Mega Nob or Boss as you can then alternate taking AP2 hits or normal attacks on whomever you want to slow down the damage you take and keep the lame unit pinned down.
- White Scars
- I mention this army particularly because it is the most prevalent of the SM builds in tournaments and the hardest for the Orks to deal with. The other builds are largely manageable. White Scars though, present a tough mix of strengths. For one, they are very fast. This makes it hard for Orks to get them in combat (which is where you want to be with this army). This is further exacerbated by Hit and Run, which makes it even tougher for the poor Orks to kill the bikers as they often do not hit hard enough on the assault to actually destroy the unit. If the White Scars player is smart, they will also sacrifice their Sarge to reduce the amount of damage the Nob does with his Klaw through a challenge and then Hit and Run away, leaving the unit of Boyz to get wasted in the next shooting phase.
- The Grav guns smoke your vehicles and while they may suck against Boyz, the Bike units can simply opt to shoot their twin linked Bolters instead. Storm Talons and Thunderfire Cannons are also brutal against Orks.
- So what to do? Oddly, shooting the stupid Bikers is a good strategy. They suffer badly to casualties. Each loss really reduces their efficacy. Often, staying in your Trukks and Battlewagons as long as possible, picking away at the Bikers and waiting to make an assault until wherein you can get two of your units onto one of theirs is the right call. You do this so that you have one Klaw take the Challenge and the other chews up the unit. Be aware though, that the Biker player will often then kill the units that get out.
- Mega Nobz will be great in this match-up as. So long as they survive overwatch from Grav Guns (which they should) they will kick the holy living crap out of a unit of Bikers in combat, taking little to no damage in return. Warbikerz and Nob Bikers are also going to have the advantage in Bike on Bike combat due to their great defense, offense and punch in assault.
- Lootas will whip on the bikes. Sound familiar? Yeah, Lootas are amazing. However, the White Scars player is in all likelihood going to try and take them out with this T.Fire Cannons and Storm Talons which is why a Skyshield landing pad, again, can be awesome. Stand underneath it and laugh as neither of those units can hit the Lootas. A Battlewagon also helps to keep them safe as well. Also, using a unit of Trukk Boyz or something similar is a great unit for hunting T.Fires which also means the Bike units will be reacting to you! And as with the Turkey; Bikrerz and Lootas will blast a Storm Talon out of the sky quite easily so long as they get the chance to take a shot at it.
- The White Scars Command Squad with Chapter Master Brutus Beefcake, will be a problem. He will win a fight with the Wraboss, and the FnP & 2+ save on the CM is hard for the Orks to get through. You will need to either gang bang them in a multi-assault with lots of individual Klaws to get around the CM and chew up the unit, or pour massed shooting into them. Either way, it won’t be easy.
So there you have it. Orks have a tough road to hoe in the current competitive meta, but they can still do it with some ingenuity and creative tactics. Stick to the bread and butter units, take lots of them, and you will do fine plus you will have the enjoyment of playing an army people don’t see that often these days.
You just have to ask yourself how you can get the most out of each unit in your arsenal given the current mission, opponent and terrain layout. Often that means using your units in ways that do not jump out at you right away. Attacking an enemy head on that you have little to no chance of defeating is asking for failure and frustration. So, ironically, when playing Orks, you have to use your head!