Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming with a review of the Ork Codex along with the Ghaz supplement and Formations! As always, check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!
Orks, Orks, Orks, Orks! The greenskins are here!
As usual, standard caveats apply. We have gotten a number games in and read the book cover to cover multiple times but of course, may get a few details wrong, so feel free to point out any corrections you spot! Also, these are my opinions and you are free to disagree.
Well, this book is an entirely new beast and really shows us the intent with 7th ed, which is cool. I really like the new system for army building in terms of simply making everything a “Faction.” I suspected we would get a book of data slates as the 7th ed BRB indicated that, and that is exactly what we got. Each unit in the book is a complete Ork Faction unit. What this means is that going forward, any Ork Faction units can be taken in an Ork detachment which is cool as it allows for a modular supplement/data slate/formation/Forge World/etc. system in which they can update a Faction in a plethora of ways without the issue of a Codex confining the Faction or debates about what is “official” and what is not. I like that a lot. It also clears up the whole “Supplement is the same Faction as Codex” issue that confused the crap out of everyone when 7th dropped. I just wish GW would go back and tell us how to deal with older Supplements and Codices that are the same Faction but interact in super confusing ways. The verbiage in the Ghaz Supplement certainly seems to indicate how the older Supplements are intended to function. But, I digress.
Orks also give a taste of 7th ed with Lords of War and Formations in the Codex. Again, I dig it. I have really come to love Formations in the game. The Tau formation is still a bit much, but, in the context of 7th where Tau got hit with a lot of nerfs I feel it is more than fair. Formations so far have added a lot of fun and really boost some of the armies that need them to stay in the fight, like Nids. Orks also got some FANTASTIC formations, but we will get to that later.
Lords of War are also fun, but some of them are still OTT in terms of what they can do on the table, IMO. The Stompa for example, is fair on its own, but when you give it a 4++ KFF save (which is a Relic in the Ghaz supplement) and stuff it with Meks and give it IWND, well, that can get a bit out of hand, fast. We’ll see though how it works in practice, it may not be so bad as it is a boat load of points. Ghaz as a Lord of War is a bit of a head scratcher, though. Is it to give Orks an extra HQ? To try and force us to accept LoW? Not so sure, honestly, but there he is, none-the-less.
In all, I really like the 7th ed format as seen in the Ork book so long as you define the game you want to play in advance with your opponent/club/tournament. You need to decide in advance how many detachments and of what type you are going to use in order to even be playing the same game, really. 7th gives us unlimited freedom in list building, but that freedom comes with the responsibility of making sure you and your opponent are on the same wavelength.
The Good: Units and Rules that are just solid!
OK, so what’s good in the new book? Lots, actually.
The big ones are ‘Ere We Go! and WAAGH! which make Orks faster than greased lightening! The green buggers will get into combat fast as can be. ‘Ere We Go! gives them a sort of half-fleet, wherein they get to reroll a single charge die. That makes them REALLY reliable at short to mid-range assaults, and gives them a better shot at the long charges.
WAAGH! allows you to run and then charge, which is obviously fantastic. However, you can ONLY do it if your Warlord is a model with the WAAGH! rule which typically means a Warboss. You can also get it with an Ork Warlord Trait, though.
Ork Codex Warlord Traits
Speaking of which, the Ork Codex Warlord Traits are pretty solid and definitely go in the Good category. Numbers 1, 2 and 3 are, by a mile, the best. #1 gives you WAAGH! and if you already have it, gives you Fearless for a game turn which is incredibly good for Orks. #2 is equally good, IMO, if not slightly better than 1. It gives all Ork units within 12″ of your Warlord a reroll on failed Morale and Pinning tests which for low leadership Orks with the Mob Rule, is incredibly useful. #3 gives all Orks within 12″ of your Warlord a full blown re-roll on the charge and reroll on run moves. Essentially, it gives fleet, which rocks for many Ork builds. #’s 4-6 are all meh, buffing the Warlord himself. Ironically, number 6 which would be amazing for many other books (+1 strength) is largely wasted on Orks as most Warlords will be a Warboss with a Klaw and already maxed out on strength.
Gifts or Gork and Mork
Orks also got excellent relics in the Gifts of Gork and Mork. Da Finkin’ Kap is fantastic, giving you an additional Warlord Trait on the Strategic table which is my favorite table. They are all good, but if you get the Infiltrate the Warlord + 3 non-vehicle units, wow, that can be crazy for some Ork builds. The only downside here is that you have to put it on your Warlord and as a model can only have a single relic from the Ork Codex, that means you don’t get any of the other awesome choices. But, as problems go, that is a good one to have. My second favorite is Da Lucky Stikk. This gives the bearer and his unit +1 WS which by itself is amazing for Orks with tons of attacks. Also, it lets the bearer reroll any to hit, to wound or saving throws! The downside? If you fail 3 of those in a turn, the model is removed as a casualty with no saves. This is an incredible piece of kit though, and goes with Mega Armor like steak with fries. It allows the Model to tank wounds like a boss, or to buff his offense a bit where needed. This is–no joke–one of the best Relics in the game. Next on my favorite list, is Da Fixer Upperz. The ability to fix a vehicle on a 3+ is crazy, especially when you consider that you can also take Grot Oilers for a reroll on that roll and you get an 8/9 chance to fix something. Last on my list of cool relics, but still fun and useful, are the Blitzbike, Killchoppa, and Dead Shiny Shoota. These are a buffed Warbike, Big Choppa and Shoota respectively and are all cool, fun and relatively cheap upgrades that will work great on models where you have a few extra points.
Orkimedes’ Kustom Gubbins
The Ghaz Supplement also has some real winners in the Relic category! Oddly though, we again see this weird situation where it appears you can take more than one Relic per model here, but not with the Codex due to the wording used. At any rate, the Choppa of da Raggnarok is a potentially beastly weapon. It starts out as a Big Choppa, but for every round of combat wherein you inflict one or more wounds, it gains +1str and -1 AP! Wowzers, that can get savage, quick. The Big Bosspole is amazing: Fearless for the unit it is in which is incredible for Orks as it gets around their morale issues. Da Supa-Cybork is pricey, but it grants FnP (5+), Relentless and Eternal Warrior. That is beefy. Da Killa Klaw is situationally amazing as it can be used to make a single Strength x 2, AP2 Instant Death attack. Otherwise it is a normal Klaw. A bit pricey, but when you insta-gib a Wraithknight with it you will be happy you bought it! The Mega Force Field is another big winner, chicken dinner! A 4++ KFF. Yeah, no need to explain that one! Lastly is the Kill-Dakka which is a silly Ork gun that does random stuff. It’s fun and funny but not likely to be seen in a tournament list.
Variety is the other big win for the Ork book. Man, you can play this army SO many different ways, which is awesome. Between the Codex, Supplement and especially the Formations, you have a ton of options for really cool, themed and effective builds. Before I read the Ghaz Supplement I was actually going to list this in the ugly category as the book is bursting at the seams in the HQ and Heavy slots and makes it tough to write a list that has the tools you need, but with the Formations, you can beef up your list to get where you want. So, for me this is a big win for longevity in the army and creativity in list building but also, effective lists that give you a good chance at winning a game. You want a Mek themed list with loads of vehicles or Walkers? You can do that. You want a foot horde that doesn’t beat itself to death with Mob Rule? You can do that, too. You want a Speed Freaks army? You can do that. You want to play a crazy super Ork unit of butt kicking? You can do that. You want anything in between? You can do that, too.
In your HQ slot you have almost all good choices.
The Warboss is going to be pretty much mandatory in a foot Ork list. WAAGH! gets you into the fight, pure and simple. Plus, the Warboss hits like a brick shithouse. Not having the ability to get an invul sucks big time, but he is dirt cheap. I think you will most commonly see him in Mega Armor or on a bike, but a foot Warboss has a use too, as he can run which is important for getting the most out of the WAAGH! in a unit of Boyz that would get slowed down by the Megaboss. Plus, his Ld9 means he dramatically reduces the impact of morale and Mob Rule on his unit. I almost slipped him into the bad category as he is comparatively weaker than he was, but, he is so cheap and adds so much that he is a win and you will see him in a LOT of lists. He’s a Good ‘Un!
The Weirdboy goes here, too. He may not be a top choice, but he is cheap as dirt, comes with a Force Staff and the Ork powers are fun, and quite good. He has access to a number of Witchfires which are all pretty solid, actually, but are mostly warp charge two, which can be tough to get off. However, they tend to hit hard like Killbolt, a Strength 10, AP2 beam. Ouch! Or, Power Vomit which is a Strength 7, AP2 template. Ouch! Da Krunch is cool too, a Barrage Witchfire, which is a first. Da Jump is great, basically a slightly worse Gate of Infinity and while it can debuff your unit it can also win you the game with a critical objective grab. Lastly, and the best power, IMO: Warpath. +1 attack for the Weirdboy and his unit. That can get out of hand fast with Orks when you have potentially 30 Boyz or a big group of Meagnobs, etc. Not bad at all for a cheapo Weirdboy. The only real issue with him is that he competes with the other choices.
Meks are so cool! What a great idea, I really like this. For a measly 15pts you get a non FOC character that permanently joins a unit like a Wolfguard or a Cryptek does. But, he’s cheap as hell, a Character, and has Mek’s tools and the ability to take Mek wargear and you can take 1 for every other HQ choice you have. That means he can fix stuff, pack in another Killsaw (think Chainfist), fall on the sword in a challenge so the Nob can swing, etc. He’s super useful at only 9pts over a regular Boy. Two thumbs up!
Like the Mek, but bigger! Also, he has more options. He is Ld8, which in Ork land, is great! This is also one place to get your KFF (5++ against shooting attacks to models within 6″) and all kinds of other goodies. He also can take the Mega Armor and some fun stuff like the Tellyporta Blasta and Shokk Attack Gun. Mostly though, you will take this guy for the KFF and his ability to repair things. Mega Armor will also be useful for tanking wounds, etc. Plus, you can now give him a Warbike for a mobile KFF, nice!
Hells to the yeah! An IC that grants FnP is incredibly incredible for Orks. A mob of 30 Boyz becomes so much more resilient with FnP, as do the already tough Meganobz. In fact, this guy can go anywhere and pull his weight. Plus, he can take a Warbike, too. Again, the only downside is how crowded the HQ slot is with good choices.
Mad Dok is just amazing. With just about the hitting power of a Warboss (same stats but strength 4) plus the FnP buff of the Painboy and the incredible buff of granting his unit Fearless and Ramage, Mad Dok will be in a LOT of lists. He with Meganobz is going to be a wrecking ball of a unit. Rampage on the already hard hitting Meganobz is brutal. The only real question is going that route, or putting him with a big unit of Boyz to make them ultra reliable, but get less mileage out of Rampage. Again, this is a good dilemma when you pick 1 of 2 great options.
Zagstruck and Da Vulcha Skwad Formation
Zagstruck is pretty wimpy with no special attacks outside of his mediocre Hammer of Wrath attack which he often won’t ever get to utilize as you typically use the Jump Pack in the movement phase. Also he usually won’t be in the front row to get the Hammer of Wrath hit as he is pretty squishy and you don’t want him to die. But, it can come in handy if you get it in say, a challenge where it can insta-gib a character. However, who cares, that is not why you take him. You take him for his awesome Warlord trait (#2 above) as he helps keep the other Boyz from killing themselves and/or running away and he is dirt cheap. The only downside with this is that if he is your Warlord, you get no WAAGH!. This is a good place to mention his Formation: Da Vulcha Skwad! This is a super cool Formation and really fun. It consists of 3 units of Stormboyz and Zagstruck. They all have to Deep Strike, come in at the same time, and only scatter D6″. The Boyz in Zagstruk’s unit also get Shred on their Hammer of Wrath attacks which makes them decent on crummy Ork strength 3 when it works. However, the biggest benefit is that you can blob the units together! That means you can have 15 to 90 Stormboyz in a single unit with Zagstruk. Realistically, 15-30 is what you will see as that means Zagstruck+3 Nobz in a single Stormboyz unit. That is a LOT of hitting power. 3 Nobz with Klaws buried in a unit will pack a mighty wallop and makes this unit seriously scary in a fight.
Grots are weak, cowardly, hit like a wet noodle and pretty much worthless except for two, key facts: they’re cheap and a troop! In detachments with ObSec, they can and will win you the game plus they fill troops slots for next to nothing. For those reasons, the lowly Grots are a good investment as they win you games. In bigger units, take the Squig Hound to keep them in the fight longer.
Tankbustas got a HUGE boost! These Boyz are looking good now and I expect a lot of them to pop up in lists. They got a points drop, lost the crummy old version of Glory Hogs and in general are just fantastic. My one complaint is that they die like Orks, but that is OK as they hit like Tyson. Each Tankbusta has a Rokkit (assault 1, 24″ range Krak Missile) and Tankbusta Bombs which now count as Melta Bombs?!?! Holy explosions, Batman! That is nuts, each of these guys is armed to da teef for very few points. They have lots of fun options, but running them bare bones is a great idea. Just 5 in a Trukk is 100pts, which is nothing. Or, run a 15 man unit with some bells and whilstles in a Battlewagon and you can do some serious work. I wouldn’t run them on foot though, as they die quite easily and will have a big target on their head.
Meganobz and Da Bully Boyz Formation
Meganobz are better than they were and they were good before. They still pack a punch, and putting some of them in a Trukk is like launching an Orky Scud Missile. You can now give them Killsaws which are effectively Chain Fists, but are pricey. Any of them can take a bosspole which is nice as this is one of the few units in the book that actually benefit from Mob Rule as with their 2+ save and 2 wounds, they aren’t too worried about the wounds they take punching each other in the nuts and will stick around when they would have otherwise run or been pinned. Also, slapping Kombi-skorchas on them means they are also excellent at clearing light infantry for a measly 5pts per model. Nice! Also, the Bully Boyz Formation, which besides having a sweet name, is an amazing Formation. It is expensive, but worth every point. It consists of 3 units of at least 5 Meganobz. The benefit is that you get +1 WS, cause Fear and are Fearless. WOW! That is incredible. Stick each unit in a Trukk and you have a hammer blow coming down on your opponent at break-neck speed.
Kommandos and the Red Skulls Kommandos Formation
Kommandos would go in the Ugly category as they are not bad at all, but not outstanding. They have Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, Stealth, and can come in MSU squads with 2 special weapons and a Nob with Klaw for backfield disruption. They die fairly easily though, and would be a good distraction unit in some lists, but really it is their Formation that again, makes them worth considering and lands them in the Good category. The Formation consists of 4 units of Kommandos and Snikkty Snikrot attached to one of the units. The entire Formation must start in reserves and they all come on at the same time. When they do come in, they all choose the table edge they come in on (including behind your opponent!). On the turn they arrive, they all get Shrouded instead of Stealth and can reroll failed cover saves if they do not shoot. Wowzers! With Shrouded and cover, that means they get a rerollable 3+ or 2+ cover save for that turn or they get to shoot the bejeezus out of something. They present 4 distinct targets to your opponent that all have to be shot individually and are typically assaulting your opponent the next turn. That is an incredible disruption tool and can win the day while also playing major head games with your opponent. I really dig this Formation a lot and the idea of super-stealth mode Orks is just too cool. Icing on the cake? Snikrot is possibly the coolest Ork model ever made.
Stormboyz would also have gone in the Ugly category but for their Formation as described above in Zagstruk’s section. They got a general nerf in terms of their abilities. They no longer move 12+D6″ which was awesome, but now can run 2d6″ which would be awesome but for the fact that when they do so they all take Dangerous Terrain checks. For Orks, that is rough as any 1 rolled is probably going to be a dead Ork. However, this is offset by the fact that they can WAAGH! and have ‘Ere We Go! which means on the turn you make your big charge, they have HUGE reach. Plus, they got much cheaper. They are a solid choice, not bad at all, not great either but in their Formation are pretty damn scary.
Deffkoptas look solid! Their only real downside is they compete with the now fantastic Buggies, but, they hold their own. For a very reasonable price point you get a unit that can Scout move, has Hit and Run (which admittedly at I2 isn’t THAT good, but still cool), and a Twin-linked Rokkit! Nice! That is a really solid little unit. You can give them some fun stuff, too, like Buzzaws, Bombs, etc. but running them cheap and brimming with Rokkits is solid.
The Dakkajet got nerfed due to only getting 1 extra shot per gun on the WAAGH! instead of double like he used to, but is still a really solid flyer at a great price point. He gives you good AA, particularly against FMCs, plus with strafing run, is really good at clearing ground units, too. You can’t go wrong with these guys, plus they look awesome!
The Burna-Bommer is much improved. At a bargain basement price, you get a decent amount of Dakka and the infantry clearing Burna Bombs, which are essentially Heavy Flamer large blasts that only scatter D6”. You can also take Skorcha Missiles if you like for even more incendiary mayhem but they add up in points fast on an easily killed model. I would run him cheap as he is a great unit on his own.
Warbikers also got much improved and I think will be an awesome addition to an Ork army. They got a big price break and still shoot like the dickens, hit fairly hard in assault and while they no longer always get a 4+ cover, then can Jink which doesn’t hurt their already low BS much, and if they Turbo Boost they get +1 to their cover save. Being T5 and having a 4+, they also get around Mob Rule well and tend to benefit from it far more than suffer. Now that you can add in a Painboy on a Bike, and other support characters, Warbikers are a really solid choice.
Warbuggies got a massive boost! Wow, these are really appealing, now. For a super low price, you get a fast vehicle that can outflanks with a lot of weapons options. The Twin-linked Rokkit and Skorcha jump out as really appealing. This gives you the ability to take units of 5 of these little buggers that pack a really nasty sting. They can be upgraded to Wartrakks for a reroll on the dangerous terrain test which is also super useful. Plus, they will be fun to convert up!
Mek Guns are an absolutely stellar unit. These will be in so many lists. They are now proper artillery units with a ton of options. Most folks are looking at the Traktor Kannon which is a fantastic AA piece, but, for my money the Lobba and Kannons are where it’s at as they are incredibly cheap for a unit of 5. For another 3pts a pop, you can add in an ammo Grot to Twin-link each gun for a turn which is critical. These are an all star unit. Their only downside is their crummy leadership, but if you are applying pressure to your opponent with other units, the Mek Guns will often get ignored.
Battlewagon the Blitz Brigade Formation
The Battlwagon is back, baby! Well, he never really went anywhere, but, you will be seeing a lot of them. With vehicles generally getting more survivable, and all the ways to fix vehicles in Ork armies, Battlewagons are really solid choices. They can take Grot Riggers for a measly 10pts which gives them IWND, and you can put Meks inside for additional chances to repair. They also protect you well with AV 14/12/10, can carry 20 Boyz around, can shoot well with the Killkannon upgrade and can still pack the feared Deff rolla. The Deff rolla got nerfed down to D3 hits, but gained AP4…but as Capt’n Dees pointed out, it only works when a unit fails a Death or Glory attempt. Doh! So yeah, Ram it is! To top it off, Battlewagons cheap as hell for what you get. This is also a great place to mention their Formation, which once again, is bad ass! (Notice a trend here?) It consists of 5 Battlewagons that all have to take a Deff Rolla or Ram (gee, twist my arm, why don’t ya!) which is a bit pricey, but, they all get Scout! Booyah! That is crazy as it gives you so many options. For one, you can make them all totally shooty as they will often start in range to open fire right away with a zillion guns, and you can additionally pack the Battlewagons with shooty Orks for even more Dakka. For two, it also means you start out really close to your opponent with hard hitting Boyz, too. Again, a great Formation on an already great unit.
Lootas are still kings of Dakka and got a price drop: awesome! They also got moved to Heavy: boo! Honestly though, they should have always been in Heavy Support. It means they compete with other great units but hey, that is a good problem to have as we have been seeing. You know em, you love em, they do what they did. They also can be used in a slightly sneaky way, to take a unit of 5 with 3 Lootas upgraded to Meks and stick them in a Stompa, Gorkanaut or Morkanaut to give it crazy repairing power at a low price point. Back that up with Grot Oilers and you will be a hull point repairing machine! Plus, they can take a Trukk if you want to, but don’t: it is a death trap for them. Put them in a Battlewagon if anything.
Flash Gitz are so much better now, it’s crazy. I really dig these guys. Their big weakness is their 6+ save, but you pretty much always stick these fellas in some type of metal box. They go very well in a Battlewagon or even in a Stompa. They pack a mean punch with their shooting: 24″, assault 3, AP D6. That is hawt, right thur. 30 shots from a full strength unit with Nob stat line models that can then assault and pack a solid wallop in combat. Half of the time they are blowing through Marine armor, too. You can give each an Ammo Runt which is a good idea for that critical turn where you really need to maximize their punch. Once in position, if they hold still they get +1 BS, which is aces! And come on, how can you not like a unit that has a weapon called the Snazzgun?!
Ghaz and the Council of WAAGH! Formation
Ghazzy is still beefcake, head to toe. I am sad he lost his 5++, and don’t see why he is a LoW, but, he has an amazing Warlord Trait (#1), allows Meganobz to run when he WAAGHS!! and still goes 2+ invul that turn. He will still beat the tar out of most things and he is just cool, too. You can also give him Squigs and Runts which means he can get some cool utility like rerolling to hit, rerolling FnP rolls, etc. Ghaz’s Formations is also, again, fantastic! Council of WAAGH! consists of big dog Ghaz, Mad Dok, 2 Warbosses, a Big Mek, and a unit of Nobz that all join together to form a legion of Orky evil power! First of all, holy crap! That is a unit that is out for blood. On top of the obvious kill power and abilities of the various members of this League of Extraordinary Orks, the Warbosses get an additional +1 WS on top of the WAAGH! Banner that buffs the entire unit with +1 WS. Even better than that though, the Formation gives all Ork units within 12″ a reroll on failed Morale and Pinning Checks which is amazing. Finally, Ghaz gets two extra rolls on the Ghaz supplement Warlord trait. Wow, what a unit. It’s a pre-packaged Ork deathstar with a ton of different uses. I think in most cases it will be run in a Battlewagon with the 4++ KFF, and some kit on the Warbosses and Nobz for a brutally powerful, fearless unit with FnP that also buffs nearby Boyz.
The Stompa is pretty obviously awesome. On his own, he is a Dakka spitting, ass kicking Ork robo warrior. But, the fact that he give units within 6″ Fearless is just incredible. He also carries 20 models which means you can pack him with a KFF and Meks to fix him as he goes. You can also give him IWND with Grot Riggers. Basically, you can turn this guy into a neigh-unkillable dealer of death. However, if he does go Boom! then he, the Orks inside and most of the Orks nearby are probably all going to die a horrible death. His only real limitation is his high points cost and the fact that he isn’t that good at winning missions. Gotta try and table your opponent with a list built around the Stompa.
Da Green Tide Formation!
This thing is hilarious good fun. I almost put this in the Ugly category as it doesn’t have ObSec, but, for it’s pure awesomeness, it goes in the Good! What is it? A single unit formed of 10 units of Boyz all blobbed together along with a Warboss that can never leave the unit. That means 101 to 301 Boyz in a single unit, haha. That is too funny, but it is also really damn good. For one, you allocate wounds caused by Mob Rule and since you have Da Boss is Watchin rule from the Gahz Supplement, you can never get a 1 on the table. You also get Hammer of Wrath when you roll above a 10 on a charge and, if the Warboss in the Formation is your Warlord, you can WAAGH!! every turn after the first, which is nuts. So, this unit is made up of a possible mix of Shoota and Slugga Boyz, a Warboss and can have 10 Nobz with Power Klaws hidden in it…holy crap! This is an obvious place to put Mad Dok, too. Fearless and FnP on a unit this big is bananas. This thing trundles forth and smashes face, pretty simple and brutally effective.
The Bad: Units and Rules that are pretty crummy.
Mob Rule stinks, pure and simple. I understand WHY it is in the book, but I don’t think it was done right, personally. Here’s why: the last Ork book was written a looooong time ago when you took fearless wounds in combat. The point was to make big mobs of models manageable and not result in long, grinding combats. However, Orks simply wouldn’t function without some type of morale control as they are designed to take heavy casualties and will often lose combats or get blasted with shooting which with Ld7 would result in units running away and getting run down en masse and an army that just didn’t function. Now there are no fearless wounds in combat anymore so the game devs added Mob Rule which causes you to kill your own Orks when you fail Morale or Pinning checks. It means you run away and get run down less often, but still take loses on the way. They may have thought hey, with FnP and 30 Boyz, it will take ages to kill them all, or something like that (I’m speculating, of course).
However, the problem is that in this day and age, killing 30 Boyz is easy. The firepower levels in the game have gone up so much that Orks die in droves. Just ask Buffmander with his Missileside buddies or a Wyvern Battery. Having the Orks kill themselves to speed up the process really hurts. A savvy player can use this rule against you by doing anything that forces morale or pinning checks such as with Tank Shocks, Pinning Weapons, Psychic Powers, etc. The real bummer here too, is that each of those things happens in a separate phase, so you could be taking boatloads of Mob Rule checks per phase per turn and end up just kicking your own ass left and right which can be really frustrating. Plus, anything that forces Ld tests like Fear, etc. really hurt Da Boyz with their lowly Ld7, even in large mobs. Now, there are ways around Mob Rule thankfully, but I think it is a poorly implemented rule. Ork players had 2 editions to get used to being Fearless with the old Mob Rule and it was hardly broken. I don’t think it should have been changed.
I got a rude introduction to this rule when I tried 9 Trukk Boy list vs. a Drop Pod Sallies and got really demoralized seeing my Boyz murdering each other wholesale. However, in retrospect that was one of the worst match-ups for Trukks as the Sallies are very likely to explode them with Twin-linked Metlas all over the place (which is uber painful for Boyz now that Ramshackle got nerfed, resulting in an average of 5 dead Boyz out of 12 per Explode! result) and the smaller units of Trukk Boyz suffer from Mob Rule the most. They often would have to take the mandatory Pinning check after getting chewed up in the explosion AND a Morale check as they suffered 25% casualties, meaning I often killed my own Boyz two more times in a single phase! Ouch!
Da Boss is Watchin’ Mob Rule alteration to Mob Rule in the Ghaz Supplement goes here, too. This rule gives units with is a +2 to the Mob Rule roll, which means no number 1 and only a 1/6 chance for Breaking Heads (which lets you pass the check so long as you have a Character). While it does have a very specific use: it benefits large mobs of boys, it also has the downside of when you do fall below 10 models in a unit, you are almost certainly done for as a Character in the unit will be far less likely to save your bacon if you fail a morale check. The cool thing about this though, is that you can run large mobs of Boyz with no Nob. The only time you really want to do this is with naked Shoota Boyz as they can run and gone and rarely run away until they drop below 10, in which case they will take morale like a normal unit. Second downside: each time you hit yourself, instead of D6 wounds, it is D3+3 which means you never take less than 4 hits, and average 5. Ouch. This is in character with Goff Orks, but it makes for a very punishing playstyle.
However, my faith has been restored with the Formations and special characters as there are so many ways now to mitigate Mob Rule. You can get leadership bubbles, fearless, and all kinds of other goodies to really help with the morale issues. I still think this rule is a bummer as while admittedly yes, Mob Rule is better than not having it in most cases, it makes Orks struggle against themselves where other armies’ special rules buff them. I think leaving Mob Rule as it was or simply making it 1 or 2 auto wounds would have been better, but hey, everyone’s a critic!
Da Biggest and Da Best
The Biggest and Da Best rule from the Ghaz Supplement which applies to their Detachment and all the Formations. This rule states that your Warlord must always issue or accept a challenge. Just ask any Chaos player how fun this rule is. However, if your Warlord wins said challenge, you get to reroll failed to wound rolls in combat for the rest of the game. Not bad. If Ghaz is your Warlord? No worries as he will kick the Teef out of most opponents. If it is a Warboss with no invul save? Weeeeelll, it might not go as well for you!
Boyz are in the Bad category. Yeah, I said it! Before I get booed off stage, let me explain. Boyz unsupported are pretty dang stinky. They are very likely to run away or beat themselves up before doing a whole lot. Plus, they are REALLY susceptible to any leadership style attack. If a vehicle they are in or near explodes, they die in droves. However, with support, they can kick some serious ass, which thankfully, we have been given lots of options for. Anything that makes them harder to hurt, gives them better leadership, a reroll on leadership, etc. will make your Boyz so much more reliable. You need to find how you are going to do this to make them work as anything other than cheapo scoring units. They can also all take Eavy Armor which is nice, but it is a bit too pricey for regular Boyz. I wish it was 1-2 points cheaper and it would be great on a unit or two but as is, it is a bit hefty on the price tag. Also, gah! Why can you no longer buy ‘Eavy Armor for just the Nob? It’s a little thing but it helped so much for tanking the random wound or surviving to swing in a challenge.
The Ugly: Units and Rules that are neither good nor bad.
Almost everyone got Stikk Bombs….yay? Haha, but seriously, it is a nice benefit, but one that will hardly come into play as most Orks are I1 and I2. It will be fun to throw one on occasion and it will be cool on the rare occasions that you do charge I1 or I2 targets in cover, but it is a bit meh in actual effect. As Loopy pointed out though, this can be very helpful against vehicles in the case you make a disordered charge and are only strength 3, and when you don’t want to swing your Klaw and possibly explode a tank, killing your own Boyz.
Ork Detachments and Warband Formation
The special Ork detachments in the Ork Codex and Ghaz supplement both give you some cool options, like the ability to reroll your Warlord Trait in their respective books, and extra FoC slots, Hammer of Wrath on charges over 10 on the roll or even the very funny ability to Deep Strike 1 in 6 Troops units with Ghaz, but, they give up something very big: ObSec. ObSec is huge, and giving it up for extra slots isn’t worth it, IMO, so I place these detachments in the Ugly section.
For the reason above, I also slap the Ork Warband Formation in this category as while being able to WAAGH!! every turn after the first is really good, losing ObSec isn’t.
Ghaz Supplement Warlord Traits
The Ghaz Supplement gives you some decent Warlord choices, but I think most Ork players will pass on these in favor of Strategic traits in the BRB. My favorite of the bunch are Crusader for the Warlord and his unit (great for foot Orks), FnP on the Warlord, and Outflank for the Warlord and his unit. The other are decent buffs to the Warlord himself.
I almost stuck Badruck in the Good section as he isn’t bad at all, but isn’t great. He’s got snazzy fashion sense with his pirate hat, decent defense and good shooting (particularly with the obligatory ammo runts to avoid overheating to death) but lacks any punch in assault and just doesn’t really hold up compared to the other HQs. He is good enough to consider, but really not a very solid choice outside of themed armies.
Burna Boyz go in the Ugly category as they are fun and can be awesome, but they got a slight price bump and it is really difficult to actually get them into position. I use them a lot and they are a unit that will often smoke an infantry unit and then die horribly as they will often have to get out of their vehicle to get range on a target. They can take a Trukk now which is awesome, and I can see uses for them, particularly as a 5 man unit in a Trukk for a cheapo price point. Or, 15 in a Battlewagon and hope you get close enough to deliver the devastating hit that a flamer template off of an open topped vehicle *15 Burnaz can be, but they will very frequently die before doing anything. On another note though, you can upgrade one of the Meks in the unit to have a Killsaw, which is pretty cool!
Nobz aren’t bad at all, but they don’t really have a place, IMO. They are tough, and they fight well, but they can’t be taken as a troop anymore, and while they are cheap, I’d rather take Boyz with a choppy character and ObSec. They can be kitted out to fight and shoot, but you really have to sink some points into them to make them scary in which case I am inclined to go with Meganobz. Plus, they need morale support, too. Again, not bad, just not outstanding. If you are playing a Ghaz Detachment or something similar with no ObSec, I would definitely look at taking them, though.
Trukks used to be my favorite transport in 40K, but now with the nerf to Ramshackle they are rolling deathtraps for lightly armored Boyz as with a strength 4 explosion, you will routinely see 5/12 of the models inside obliterated which will then often trigger 1-2 Mob Rule checks (obligatory pinning followed by morale if 25% casualties are suffered). For Boyz with better armor like ‘Ard Boyz or Meganobz, Trukks still a great way to get up the field, though. They are fast (and with WAAGH!! and ‘Ere We Go! Have a massive potential charge range for their unit), can take a Rokkit or Big Shoota and have some fun wargear options like the Wreckin Ball (which can actually be quite good) but in general should come with the obligatory Ram, which allows it to Tank Shock, ram other vehicles more effectively and reroll dangerous terrain tests which is awesome. If taken as a dedicated transport for an ObSec unit, they also get the ObSec rule, too, which is extremely useful. If you want to go Trukk heavy, be prepared for big wins and big losses. If you go first, you are in the enemy deployment zone turn 1 with a ton of Boyz. If you go second, half your Trukks are dead before moving! Try using things like the Void Shield Generator, Aegis, etc. to keep them alive in the case you go second. Plus, side note, they can now be taken empty as a Fast Attack choice.
I wanted to put the Blitza-Bommer in the Good category so badly as it has awesome Boom Bombs which are a mighty Str7 AP2, Large Blast, Armorbane! However, the very Orky plane has a propensity to blow itself up when it goes in for the attack. Not often, only 1/12 times does something bad happen, and you can get a really good result 1/12 times, too! But that unreliability will make it a questionable choice for tournaments. However, if you like that craziness (which in this case is pretty reasonable, honestly) you will love this flyer. It really does provide some needed heavy AT, though, and so my Ugly rating may be off in this case if you are a lucky gamer.
Deffdreads, Killa Kans and Gorka/Morkanauts.
I want to love these guys but honestly, walkers struggle a bit. 7th helped them all out a ton with the bump on the damage table to explode on a 7, but, they can all still get one-shotted quite easily, even the Morkanaut and Gorkanaut which are really pricey. I wonder why they didn’t make the big boys similar to Knights? That would make them really fantastic, actually. The ‘Nauts do pack a good punch but they have a really eclectic mix of weapons and have to fire all of them at the same target which means often, some of the weapons won’t be able to do anything. They are slow, too, but if they do get into combat they hit quite hard. You can give them a lot of great support with Meks and a KFF (plus the Morkanaut can take a KFF, himself) plus IWND from Grot Riggers but none of that helps if they get one-shotted by a multi-melta.
Killa Kanz are a bit pricey for a 2 HP vehicle, IMO, even at armor 11. They can pack a nice punch with Grotzookas, but they also can lose a turn of shooting if they fail their Cowardly Grots check after taking casualties and all suffer a Shaken result (although when that happens they don’t lose a HP). Deff Dreads are cheap as chips but suffer assault Dreadnaught syndrome: how do you get them into combat? They are slow but do hit hard when they get there. Again, you can buff them all over the place with Grot Riggers, KFFs, and Meks, etc. but in the meta we have of uber shooting, is it enough? Plus, all of the above compete for the very stacked Heavy Support slots.
Dread Mob Formation
I really want someone to make an awesome Kan Wall list and prove me wrong here, that would make me quite happy. The Dread Mob Formation might be the way to do that. It consists of a Big Mek, Painboy, 2 Gorka/Morkanauts, 3 Deff Dreads and 3 units of Killa Kanz. All models in the Formation also cause D3 Hammer of Wrath hits instead of the normal 1. Now, here we might be able to make the Ork walkers work! Why? Volume. You have so many of the buggers that some of them have to make it across the table…right? With lots of support, KFFs, Meks, Grots, etc. and taking an Ork CAD with even more of them, you can make a very cool, fun, themed army that might actually be quite good by simply overwhelming your opponent’s ability to deal with that many armored targets. Hammer and Anvile against a shooty army will still be the pits, though.
Whew, that was a lot of typing!
But, Orks is a big win, IMO. I was at first really bummed about Mob Rule and what it might mean, but, I see now that there are a million ways to get around it. Plus, you have so much incredible variety in Orks and the ability to make just the army you want AND to make it actually fight well, too. That is a big win and I think Orks will be a great army for the casual player, the competitive player and the hobbyist that just want to make some cool looking stuff.
Now go and get yo WAAGH!! on! I know I am. Da Sons of AnOrky shall ride again!