Guest Editorial: 10 Reasons Why Gretchin are the Best Ork Unit in 8th Edition

I’ll give everyone a moment to stop laughing/swearing… It’s okay… I’ll wait.

Please, just hear me out.

I have been playing Orks for just over 20 years, and I believe that one unit that has consistently been worth it’s points in every edition has been Gretchin.


Always cheap, always good at tar-pitting big baddies you don’t want to deal with, (“Nice Carnifex… have fun chewing on Gretchin for the next 4 turns), always the best shots in the army, always cheap, always versatile, always underestimated, and mostly overlooked.

This has not changed in 8th edition.

Gretchin how I love thee… let me count the ways:

  1. Cheap models: When you figure the headcount of an Ork army, Gretchin are the least expensive models that the Orks have. For less than $50 at MSRP you can get 30 Gretchin and 3 Runtherds.
  2. Cheap troops choice: Being able to take units between 10 and 30 offer a lot of versatility. Even if you just need to fill out troops choices for a Brigade Detachment, you can do so for less than 200 points.
  3. Objective Secured: Because they are troops, they get the objective secured trump card. This can really help when you take small units or if a larger unit has been whittled down by the enemy while camping on an objective.
  4. Better bullet catchers: They can keep you from getting obliterated in the shooting phase by tying up your enemies in combat. Don’t forget that Gretchin have the same 6+ save that Boyz do, but at half the cost. This goes nice with cover saves and a red wine while camping objectives.
  5. Foiling fallback moves: Using Da Jump to throw some Gretchin behind your enemies is a good way to pen them in and keep them from being able to Fall Back. The bigger the squad, the more ground you can cover and prevent your enemy from being able to move out of combat.
  6. Board Presence: Even just 3 squads of 10 Gretchin each can effectively block your entire deployment zone from infiltrating shenanigans.
  7. They are the best Ork Shooting unit: It’s true. They hit on a 4+ and if there are 20 or more Gretchin in the unit then they get a +1 to hit with their Grot blastas. This means they hit as well as Space Marines. And since their guns are S3, that means that they wound most infantry on 5’s. Don’t forget that Grot blastas are pistol weapons and get to fire while you are in combat.
  8. They are Fearless: If you have a Warboss or a Runtherd with a Squighound within 3”, they are effectively Fearless at the cost of D3 mortal wounds/models.
  9. They’re ORK, <CLAN>, INFANTRY: This means they benefit from things like a Weirdboy Waaagh! Energy, Da Jump, Kustom Force Fields, Dok’s Tools, the Warboss’ WAAAGH!

Moving, advancing and charging with Gretchin sounds like a bad idea, but remember, if they have 20 or more models they get a +1 to hit because of their Surprisingly Dangerous in Large Numbers rule. They also get +1 attacks from Ghazghkull’s Great Waaagh! ability.

I’m not saying Gretchin will do a bunch of damage in the assault, but with some lucky rolls, they could. And more times than not, opponents get nervous when you are throwing 60+ attacks at them.

Heck, if you use the Mob-Up Stratagem to add another 10 Gretchin to the unit in the movement phase, then cast Warpath on them, that’s 120 attacks that are probably hitting on 4’s. That’s 1 attack per point spent on Gretchin!

If you have a Runtherd with a Grot Lash nearby you get to re-roll hit rolls of 1’s in the fight phase.

And if they last into your next turn, they will get to shoot their Grot blastas, probably hitting on a 3+.

At very least they are disruptive. This means they will have to dedicate something to dealing with your Gretchin instead of your other threats.

  1. Gretchin are fun: That’s really the best part about Gretchin. They are hilarious models. They have a ton of character, and since no one expects anything from them, any time they perform well it makes it that much sweeter.

I mean anyone can brag about beating face with Ghazghkull and a bunch of Nobz, but when you beat someone with Gretchin, you become legendary!

I find that most Ork players only include Gretchin as an afterthought to their army to fill Troops slots and maybe to claim some easy objectives for an extra point or two per game.

However, if you build your list and plan your tactics around them, you will find that they are the most points efficient and the most versatile unit that the Orks have.


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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

31 Responses to “Guest Editorial: 10 Reasons Why Gretchin are the Best Ork Unit in 8th Edition”

  1. Avatar
    Maeglin January 19, 2018 12:50 am #

    Bring back Rebel Grotz! You can be Head Honcho Reece 🤣

  2. Avatar
    rvd1ofakind January 19, 2018 2:39 am #

    Pretty much everything they do Boyz do better.

    But where did you get those models on the bottom of the post?

    • Avatar
      Maeglin January 19, 2018 4:53 am #

      You could say the same thing about Guardsmen and Conscripts, doesn’t stop people taking them because they’re cheap and effective at what they do.
      The models are/were direct only ones I think.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy January 19, 2018 6:49 am #

      How good are squads of Ork Boyz at costing 30pts? Because that’s what Gretchin do best.

      • Reecius
        Reecius January 19, 2018 8:57 am #

        I lol’d.

      • Petey Pab
        Petey Pab January 19, 2018 11:44 am #


      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind January 19, 2018 12:27 pm #

        Well yes, filling troops slots is really the only thing they do better

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy January 19, 2018 7:38 pm #

          And taking up board space.
          And blocking movement/reserves.
          And holding backfield objectives.

          Did you read the article? Reece actually explains a lot of this stuff.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind January 19, 2018 9:13 pm

            And those things can be better done with KMK. It’s grots + a big ass gun.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind January 19, 2018 9:15 pm

            There’s a reason you see no grots in highest placing ork lists…

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy January 19, 2018 10:05 pm

            Wait, are you saying that Ork Boyz are better or that the Gunz are better? Because a second ago we were talking about troop units, but not it seems like you want to argue a completely different point.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind January 20, 2018 8:20 am

            Gretchin can fill 2 roles. And KMKs or Boyz are better in those roles.
            Which is why the only thing they have going for them is 30 pts troops slot

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind January 20, 2018 9:41 am

            Or is supplementing my first statement not allowed?

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy January 22, 2018 12:23 am

            If you’re making that a supplement to your first statement (“Ork Boyz do everything better than Gretchi”), it doesn’t really make any sense. I was arguing that Gretchin’s cost was their primary advantage- they are cheap and can many things which only require the presence of a model, regardless of what that model is.

            Ork artillery is cheap compared to other kinds of artillery, but is certainly not cheap compared to Gretchin. You certainly do get some Gretchin with that artillery, but they do not fill a troop slot and are typically going to need to stay near the artillery models themselves, which will significantly limit their ability to block off space, to go get objectives, and to move into hidden positions as needed. They don’t really fill the same role at all.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind January 22, 2018 1:26 am

            Boyz fill the troops role (a ton more damage)

            KMKs fill the backfield objective campers role (more durable and can actually do stuff from there). Only 42 pts (12 more for a total of 11 wounds, 5 of which are “characters” and 6 of which are much more durable)

            Which leaves grots in “can do both but are a lot worse”. Meaning the only thing they really have going for them is 30pts troops for battalions/brigades. But when you get to that, “just take more boyz and kmks instead by cutting other parts of your army”

            this is refering to Reece:
            Again, the burden of proof is not on me. Pretty much all the top ork lists have max 10 grots or, more often, none. When someone says something is the “best unit” and it sees almost no top table play, I have to say – “wtf are you talking about”. If you say that, it means either every top tier ork player is too dumb to realise that OR, more reasonably, you’re just wrong.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy January 22, 2018 3:23 am

            What is arguably the “top Eldar list” right now (Sean Nayden’s GT-winning list recently) contains zero Dark Reapers. That doesn’t mean that Reapers aren’t probably the most powerful single unit in the Eldar codex.

            Not all units are appropriate for all lists. And while I wouldn’t agree with the thesis statement of the article (that Gretchin are the “best” unit in the faction), they certainly aren’t as useless as you make them out to be.

  3. Avatar
    abusepuppy January 19, 2018 6:48 am #

    The reason Gretchin have value, and have always had value, is that there is a certain utility to simply being a scoring model that exists on the board, regardless of your stats. As Reece points out, Gretchin have the same Objective Secured rule and the same ability to take up space on the board (to block reserves, stop fallbacks, etc) as any other model in the game, but at a fraction of the cost. In many games your units’ guns and stats don’t really matter a whole lot- that Plasma will kill a Space Marine just as it will a Grot, but the Grot costs a mere fraction of what the Marine does.

    As one of the cheapest possible troop choices in the game, there’s a lot to be said for Gretchin and the things they can do. They probably aren’t going to win any awards for going out and massacring the enemy, but that’s what the whole rest of your army is for- those three squads of ten Gretchin do a great job of holding your backfield and filling out a battalion/brigade while costing an almost trivial number of points.

    For a few points more, Ork Boyz have much better stats and abilities. But if you don’t need either of those, Gretchin are fantastic.

  4. Avatar
    Beau January 19, 2018 7:34 am #

    Isn’t taking them very similar to how Chaos players take cultists/poxwalkers? We know that strategy works as long as you also have some real damage.

  5. Reecius
    Reecius January 19, 2018 8:59 am #

    Grots are awesome as a screen as they are essentially fearless if you want them to be, you get them 2 to 1 for Boyz and no one wants to shoot them. They’re fairly resilient with the KFF and Painboy which will likely be there to support the Boyz, anyway.

    I love a unit of 30 Grots to stand in front of the Boyz as with all of the crazy Cultist Bomb/Bloodletter Bomb/first turn mayhem out there in the game right now, they provide a cheap buffer to keep your better Boyz from getting mulched before doing anything.

  6. Avatar
    Michael January 19, 2018 9:07 am #

    In 6th I had a 10 grot unity with Runtherder annihilate a 5 man Bloodangel vanguard veteran squad in hand to hand. Couldn’t stop laughing for the next hour. Hey boss that’s how it’s done innit. 🙂

  7. Avatar
    Doc Rogers January 19, 2018 11:27 am #

    I also forgot to mention that the Nob with Waaagh! banner grants +1 to hit for gretchin in combat.

    So when you look at the stats, they are really pretty good with the standard character support in the army.
    You could literally have a unit of Gretchin who hit on 3+ in the shooting phase, even while in H2H, get 3 attacks each in the assult phse hitting on a 3+

  8. Avatar
    Doc Rogers January 19, 2018 11:29 am #

    I also forgot to mention that the Nob with Waaagh! banner grants +1 to hit for gretchin in combat.

    So when you look at the stats, they are really pretty good with the standard character support in the army.
    You could literally have a unit of Gretchin who hit on 3+ in the shooting phase, even while in H2H, get 3 attacks each in the assault phase hitting on a 3+, getting a 6+/5++/6+++ and are fearless.

  9. Avatar
    The Traitor January 19, 2018 1:19 pm #

    I know I’ll eventually make a full gretchin army (with conversions to represent other units) they’re a part of the 40k lore I’ve always loved.

  10. Avatar
    Martin January 19, 2018 1:29 pm #

    It is possible to take this one of two ways. Either “yay, Gretchin are good” or as a damning indictment of the Ork index (ie “if Gretchin are the best we have we really are screwed”)

    Heres hoping we, eventually, get a decent codex


  11. Avatar
    WestRider January 19, 2018 6:18 pm #

    All true. Grots have always been the great secret weapon of the orkoid races.

  12. Avatar
    koooaei January 20, 2018 2:21 am #

    Grots are only 33% more survivable vs bolter fire. And are ~1300% worse at killing stuff. The secondary adantages are in no way enough to justify taking gretchin units instead of boyz.

  13. Avatar
    Doty January 20, 2018 5:13 am #

    I use them to screen my front-line vs other melee armies to set up a counter-charge, ‘box out’ deep-strikers from getting at my K.M.Kannon Mek-Gunz, help Ork Boyz fill out a Brigade (a Big Choppa Nob + 9 Shoota’s/Sluggas can also do work for 7 more points, but 9 less Wounds) but most of all; to eat Smites/absorb Mortal Wounds in general, even if I have to teleport them between the enemy Psyker & his target.

    • Avatar
      koooaei January 20, 2018 6:28 am #

      8-th index killed grots. I used to have a squad of 10 grots and a runtherd. They filled a troop slot. Now i don’t need to feel a troop slot. And all this stuff about how awesome they are at screening and that they are fearless…well, guess what. Ork boyz are also great at screening. And they are also fearless. But they’ll kill stuff unlike grots and won’t be dead weight if you won’t need a screen – and quite often you just need to push forward cause the opponent is just gunlining against your mellee forces.
      They are a fun unit with awesome models but please don’t fool people into thinking they have any use on the table right now. Boyz do everything grots do but can also deal good damage. And since cover doesn’t work any more, there is absolutely no reason to take grots from competitive point of view. No wonder no well-placing ork list used grots at all for anything other than manning big gunz.

  14. Avatar
    koooaei January 20, 2018 6:32 am #

    *to fill

  15. Avatar
    Astavar February 1, 2018 10:14 pm #

    I find Grots not only very amusing, but very valuable. I´m not interested in their ability to do damage, only to disrupt my opponent. My Gretchin are standing in the way of bikers and other fast things, they stand in the way of deepstriking units, they block paths and “get in the way”. They are much more fun than very many other units, and with a runtherder with squig they even have staying power. It´s like a manouverable small wall unnerving the enemy. So, in my opinion, it comes down to the question! They are great, but what for?

  16. Avatar
    Rammarkostein February 6, 2019 4:00 am #

    I get that this was written before the ork codex was released, but gretchings do not even benefit from the klan kultur. Morale is still ok, better if you are snakebite. They get so little love from GW that it hurts. The only stratagem you can use on them is grot shield.

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