Ork Codex Review: Stratagems

Hi everyone, Michael here with a review of the stratagems in the Ork codex. The new book has brought some shiny new toys for the Orks, are they all awesome, or there there some duds to be had. For more reviews and analyses, check out the Tactics Corner.

Rating system

Here is the rating systems I will be using in the review:

  • Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
  • EfficientThis is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combined up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
  • SituationalThis is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.

Obviously, most stratagems are Situational as you need specific things to happen to be able to use them. However, this rating does not refer to that, but rather that you will rarely be using the stratagem, even when the right conditions come up to allow you to use it.

Mob Up (1CP)– Used at the end of the movement phase. Two infantry units with the same datasheet within 2″ of each other may join up if one has less than 10 models and one has more than 10 models.

  • Efficient to Competitive, depending on unit. This was the stratagem introduced in Chapter Approved last year. It can be useful for denying your opponent kill points if the mission has them and you can meet the criteria. It is also a strong way to increase squad sizes in mobs to benefit from stratagems, abilities, etc. For example, you could take a unit of 15 Lootas and 10 Lootas in your army and mob them up to a unit of 25 Lootas on your first turn. You now have a great firepower unit that can take maximum advantage of some of the other strong stratagems that the Orks have access to (as you will see below).

Medi-Squig (1CP)– At the end of the movement phase, select a Character within 3″ of a Painboy. The model regains D3 lost wounds

  • Competitive. This is a solid stratagem to help keep your characters alive for longer. Used in conjunction with the Painboy’s abilities, you can potentially heal 2D3 wounds on a single character in one turn. A good roll will put most characters back to full strength. Very useful.

Snagga Grapple (1CP)– Use on a Deffkilla Wartrike that Falls Back. Select a unit within 1″ before they fall back. On a 2+, they suffer D3 mortal wounds.

  • Efficient. The Deffkilla Wartrike is a vehicle that has some great close range firepower and combat ability, so getting into combat is a good deal for it. The ability to fall back and deal mortal wounds is pretty strong. This gets better when combined with the Blood Axes Kultur, allowing it to still shoot or assault after falling back. It can fail to wound, forcing you to spend another CP to pass the roll, but this should hopefully be rare.

Warphead (1CP)– Before the battle begins, select a Weirdboy. The model knows one additional psychic power and can manifest one additional psychic power per turn.

  • Efficient. This allows a Weirdboy to know 2 powers and cast 2 powers per turn. The Ork psychic powers are pretty solid (as you will see in a future part of the review), so this is a pretty good stratagem to use if you are planning on running a Weirdboy. You should be able to cast your powers most of the time, at least until the Weirdboy kills himself with Perils. If you are surrounded by a lot of Boyz, then you probably only get a couple of turns out of the Weirdboy before his head explodes, so this stratagem may have limited potential.

Ramming Speed (2CP)– A selected Ork Vehicle can charge 3D6″. In addition, if it finishes a charge move within 1″ of an enemy unit, on a 2+, the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

  • Competitive. This is great for getting better odds on making a long-range charge, along with bonus mortal wounds if you make it in to combat. On a cheap unit like a Trukk, this can allow you to charge and try and tie up an enemy unit to stop them from shooting, as well as doing some damage when you make it in. On vehicles with better combat abilities, such as one equipped with a Deffrolla, or a Dreadnought, Morkanaut or Gorkanaut, this is a bargain stratagem. It is also great for units that arrive from reserve (via the Tellyporta stratagem below), requiring a 9″ charge on 3D6 (or 8″ with Evil Sunz).

Boarding Action (1CP)– Use at the end of the Fight phase. Select an enemy vehicle that cannot Fly within 1″ of a Trukk or Battlewagon. Any models embarked may make a single attack with one of their melee weapons against an enemy unit.

  • Situational. With the right unit embarked in the vehicle, this could do a lot of damage. A unit of Meganobz in a Battlewagon could do some serious damage if you can make a number of hits. This is great when combined with Ramming Speed, giving you the chance of doing a lot of damage to a vehicle with a long ranged charge. Most of the time, you are going to want a powerful unit to get out of the transport to charge the vehicle itself, so this may not get used all too often.

Extra Gubbinz (1CP/3CP)– This is the standard extra Relic for 1CP, or 2 extra Relics for 3CP.

  • Competitive. The Orks have access to some good Relics, so I can see this being used to take an extra one in the army if your army composition suits it.

Get Stuck In, Ladz! (3CP)– Use at end of the Fight Phase. An Ork Infantry unit from your army that has already fought may fight a second time.

  • Competitive. While this was more powerful in the original version, allowing you to fight again when it was your turn to select a unit, the FAQ has brought it into line with similar stratagems for other armies, in that it can only be used at the end of the phase. This is still a powerful stratagem, as Orks have access to many powerful melee units and characters.

Orks is Never Beaten (2CP)– Use when an Ork character is slain. The model can immediately shoot as if it were the shooting phase or fight as if it were the fight phase before it is removed.

  • Competitive. A common stratagem that is very good for a powerful character. I find the ability to fight again is usually more useful than the ability to shoot again. This goes doubly so for most Ork characters.

Force-Field Projecta (3CP)– Use at the start of the battle round. Select a Big Mek. Until the start of the next battle round, increase the range of that model’s Kustom Force Field ability from 9″ to 18″. You can only use the stratagem once per battle.

  • Competitive. This is a pretty strong stratagem to help guard your army. This gives you an 18″ bubble for a 5+ invulnerable save, which is a huge area of protection. Ignoring roughly a third of the wounds that your army takes is a huge boost. I can see this being very useful if you don’t get the first turn against a firepower-heavy army, enabling you to weather the first turn in relative safety. Pricey at 3CP, but well worth it for me. Just be careful of Sniper units that can take out the Big Mek after you use this stratagem. Unfortunately, you only get to use this once per game. I see it being used in the early turns to help you as you close in on the enemy army.

Billowing Exhaust Clouds (1CP)– Select a Speed Freeks unit at the start of your movement phase. Until the start of your next turn, subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks made by ranged weapons that target the unit.

  • Efficient. A nice, cheap stratagem for helping to keep a Speed Freeks unit safe from enemy firepower for a period. The downside is that you must decide to use it in your movement phase, rather than when the unit is targeted, like other stratagems of this kind. This has the potential that your opponent could simply ignore the unit and your command point is wasted. The only reason I don’t give this the Competitive rating is that it is limited to a few selected units, and can be easy to avoid if your opponent chooses to do so.

More Dakka! (2CP)– Use on a unit in your shooting phase. The Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! ability triggers on a 5 or a 6 (rather than just a 6).

  • Competitive. This is incredible, especially on a unit with a lot of shots. Not only do your shots always hit on a 5 or a 6, regardless of modifiers, but you get an extra to hit roll on roughly a third of your shots. This will be very powerful with units with strong firepower, like Tankbustas or Lootas. A unit of 30 Shoota Boyz using this will put out a lot of firepower. A nice counter to negative to hit modifiers against Orks, making it great for taking on Aeldari units and Flyers. Also gets even better when you have a source of re-rolls to hit in shooting attacks.

‘Ard Boyz (2CP)– Select a Boyz unit. Their save increases to 5+.

  • Situational. A nice bonus to help keep your Boyz safer. Not sure it is worth 2CP to be honest. I think I would rather go with a Kustom Force Field and get the invulnerable save. Could help them in combat more against enemy units that don’t have an AP value on their weapons. With another stratagem, it does give you the potential to get the unit up to a 4+ armour save. Not sure how often this one will be used in games, though I may be wrong about this and it may be better in practice.

Tellyporta (2CP)– Use during deployment. Set up an Ork unit with a power rating of 20 or less in reserve. At the end of your movement phase, you can set up the unit anywhere on the battlefield at least 9″ from an enemy unit. If used on a transport, all units embarked on it remain so when put in reserve.

  • Competitive. This is a fantastic stratagem for the Orks and can be used on multiple units, as it is pre-deployment. For reference, a unit of 5 Meganobz is 10 power, a unit of 30 Boyz is 11 power and a Battlewagon is 8-9 power. About the only single unit that can’t use this is the Stompa. This has gotten even better with the new FAQ. If you use it on a transport vehicle, you only include the power level of the transport, not the unit(s) inside for the maximum power level of 20. This allows you to load up a Battlewagon with some very powerful units and still get to use the Tellyporta stratagem to get them an a battlewagon to a great position on the table.

Combined with Evil Sunz to get an 8″ charge from reserve (with a re-roll of one or both dice), this is a great way to get into combat with large mobs. Even other Ork clans get the re-roll, giving you better odds of getting a charge off from reserve. This is a very strong stratagem to use in the army.

Extra Stikkbombs (1CP)– In the shooting phase, up to 10 Ork infantry models can fire a grenade weapon instead of 1.

  • Efficient to Competitive (based on unit). Useful on most Ork units, insanely good on Tankbustas. Boyz units can now take Tankbustas bombs for every 10 models in the unit, so even a regular squad can do a lot of damage with this. For Tankbuastas, this will be 10D3 shots at S8, -2AP and D6 damage. Use with More Dakka! and this unit will cause carnage to most monsters and vehicles.

Grot Shields (1CP)– Use on an infantry squad (that are not Gretchin) that has been hit by a ranged weapon. Each time a model from the unit loses a wound and there is a Gretchin unit within 6″ that is closer to the enemy unit, roll a D6. On a 2+, the original model does not lose a wound and a gretchin model is slain.

  • Competitive. This is very strong for backfield units like Lootas, allowing you to pass off wounds onto a nearby cheap Gretchin screen. This has the potential to save valuable units from harm if you have a big enough unit of Grots nearby (or multiple units). When combined with a Kustom Force Field or other types of saves, this has the potential to save the unit from a lot of firepower. You either want lots of small units of Grots nearby, or a Runtherd to help with morale issues from losing so many Grots to dedicated firepower. As per the FAQ, it is based on wounds and not damage, so your Gretchin can take a Lascannon to the face to save a more valuable model, rather than losing D6 models for the damage caused.

Loot It! (1CP)– Use when a vehicle is destroyed. Choose an Ork unit within 3″ or that was embarked on the vehicle . Increase the save characteristic of the unit by 1 (can only be used on the same unit once per battle). If used on Lootas, it does not cost you the CP on a 4+.

  • Efficient. This stratagem got better with the new FAQ. It can now be used on a unit embarked in a transport vehicle that was destroyed. This is great for units of Ardboyz or Meganobz that are embarked in a vehicle.

Long, Uncontrolled Bursts (1CP)– Use at the start of the shooting phase. Select an Ork vehicle that can Fly. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the hit rolls for shooting attacks when targeting enemy units that can Fly.

  • Situational. Some of the Ork flyers can get +1 to hit with some or all of its weapons, so added to this will give you a nice boost against other enemy flyers. Might not come up too often, but useful when it does.

Unstoppable Green Tide (3CP)– Use at the end of your movement phase. Select a unit of Boyz that has less than half of its starting number of models remaining. Remove it from the battlefield and set up the unit at full strength within 6″ of a board edge and at least 9″ from an enemy model. Can only be used once per battle.

  • Competitive. Another incredibly strong stratagem. It is expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. This could be great if one of your large mobs takes a hammering in the first turn, allowing you to remove them and re-deploy at full strength even closer to the enemy army. Like much of the Ork army, this has the potential to cause a lot of worry to an opponent, allowing you to get a big unit of Boyz, or a smaller, more powerful unit in their face early on.

Monster Hunters (3CP)– Snakebites only. Use at the start of any phase. Select an enemy unit with a wound characteristic of 10 or more. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the wound rolls for attacks made by Snakebit units that target it.

  • Competitive. Very powerful if your opponent has a big unit such as a Knight that is likely to receive a lot of attention. Great for characters or those models with Power Klaws to wound on a 2+ against many vehicles. This has the potential to turn a game against a big enemy threat if you can launch several attacks on it at once.

Drive-by Krumpin’ (1CP)– Evil Sunz only. Use at the end of the shooting phase on an Evil Sunz Speed Freeks unit. The unit can immediately move as if it were the movement phase, but may not charge.

  • Efficient. A great stratagem for boosting the mobility of a selected unit. Very useful for going after objectives, Linebreaker, etc, or for simply getting into the correct position for the next turn. Great when added to the mobility boost for Evil Sunz. The fact that you cannot charge after using it is the only downside.

Wreckers (2CP)– Deathskulls only. Use at the start of any phase. A Deathskulls unit may re-roll wound rolls for attacks made against enemy vehicles until the end of the phase.

  • Competitive. A solid stratagem for the Deathskulls. Great on weapons with strong firepower against vehicles, such as Tankbustas or Lootas. Could also have great potential on a large unit of Boyz attacking a vehicle in combat or firing at them with Shootas. Wounding on a 5+ with full re-rolls should do a fair number of wounds when combined with Dakka! Dakka! Dakka!

Showin’ Off (2CP)– Bad Moons only. Use on an Infantry unit after it has fired in the shooting phase. The unit can shoot all of its weapons a second time (can only be used once per phase).

  • Competitive. Another solid stratagem. Getting to fire twice with a unit such as Lootas or Tankbustas is a very powerful ability (there is a theme here). Also great when combined with other shooting stratagems, such as More Dakka! to get double the bonus in a single phase.

Dead Sneaky (1CP/2CP)– Blood Axes only. Select a Blood Axe infantry model during deployment (1CP for power rating of 8 or less, 2CP for power 9 or more) and deploy it in reserve. At the end of any of your movement phases, you can set the unit up anywhere on the battlefield at least 9″ from an enemy model.

  • Situational. This is only really useful for the 1CP version to set up a lower power level unit. It also doesn’t have a power limit, so could be useful to set up a very powerful unit. Otherwise, this is exactly the same as the Tellyporta stratagem. A bit of a waste for me.

Kill-Kroozer Broadside (3CP)– Freebooterz only. Use at the start of the shooting phase. Select D3 points on the battlefield more than 6″ away from each other and visible to a Freebooterz unit. Roll a D6 for each unit (friend or foe) within 3″. ON a 5+, the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds (-1 to the roll for a character). Can only be used once per game.

  • Situational. I’m not sure about this one. If it was hitting units on a 4+, it would be pretty strong (and what Orbital Bombardment wished it could be). It has the potential to do some serious damage against the right opponent, but it could also fluff and do nothing at all.

Skarboyz (1CP)– Goffs only. Use before the battle, select a unit of Boyz (not Ard Boyz). The unit gains the Skarboyz keyword and the strength characteristic is increased to 5.

  • Competitive. I think this is solid and very good for 1CP. It can also be used on multiple units if you want. Wounding most infantry on a 3+ will be great for the unit and really boost your damage output in combat.

Overall

The Orks have access to some fantastic stratagems that should really boost the effectiveness of the army.

Force Field Projecta, More Dakka!, Tellyporta and Unstoppable Green Tide stand out at the moment as incredibly useful. Luckily, Orks have access to a lot of cheap troops units and HQ units to maximise the number of CP they can start with, so you should be able to use a lot of these during the game.

Most of the stratagems are solid in the right situation, with only Dead Sneaky feeling a bit useless (and then only because Tellyporta exists).

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

24 Responses to “Ork Codex Review: Stratagems”

  1. WestRider November 20, 2018 7:46 pm #

    Unfortunately, the FAQ also changed Loot It! so that it’s useless on Meganobz, since it can’t improve their Save Characteristic past 2+.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr November 21, 2018 12:14 am #

      Ah, I didn’t realise it was limited to 2+. It does make it useless for Meganobz.

  2. rvd1ofakind November 20, 2018 10:25 pm #

    Strange you don’t consider Loot It competitive but you consider the KFF extension competitive.
    The KFF one is a waste of CP IMO. When lootas eat 5 CP a turn especially so.
    Loot it however is a permanent +1 save. Make nobz have power armor and it’s pretty competitive I’d say 😀

    • abusepuppy November 20, 2018 11:53 pm #

      Loot it has a prerequisite, which means that you can’t just activate it whenever you want that save bonus. It’s good, but you won’t always have a unit nearby to take advantage of it.

      The Projecta is potentially strong because it can shield many units from your army, and especially units that don’t otherwise generally get much of a save against weapons (such as Trukks, Battlewagons, etc.) It’s good for the same reason that the KFF has always been good.

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr November 21, 2018 12:17 am #

        As abusepuppy says, you can activate the Projecta without any special conditions occurring and it affects a huge range of units, rather than just one.

        Getting a 36″ wide bubble for a 5+ invulnerable save is a huge boost to any army. It could help protect you against going second in a lot of cases and still give you a strong army to counter on subsequent turns.

        • rvd1ofakind November 21, 2018 12:45 am #

          The thing is that I already fit my entire army within 1 KFF. I fit 90 boyz, 60 grots and 25 lootas. I’ve done that in the last game I’ve played. All in range of the painboy too 😉

          And yes, loot it can’t be used all the time, however Nobz are generally in lists with transports, which charge the enemy and tend to die. Finally you can always take a mek gun in the backfield or any other shooting vehicle and have it die to buff stuff in your backfield (boyz, lootas, etc)

          • Michael Corr
            Michael Corr November 21, 2018 2:20 am
            #

            Great if you can squeeze your entire army into a 9″ radius circle, but that severely limits your board control and ties up much of your army and could make them susceptible to blocking units. Plus, if you want to take any vehicles, that will seriously reduce the space you have to put other units in the radius.

            I still think it is a solid stratagem. Not going to be useful in every game, but useless in a lot of them I imagine.

          • rvd1ofakind November 21, 2018 2:43 am
            #

            Which is why I would call it situational, not competitive. Competitive is something you use most games you play if your army is constructed to use it ofc. This one I doubt people will use in most tournament games. Maybe once every 20 games. 3 CP is sooooo steep for just “just position better” and only to cover just a couple more units with 5++

          • abusepuppy November 21, 2018 6:44 am
            #

            I dunno, I see the Projecta as something that you will use any time you are facing a shooting army and have a KFF in your list. It’s certainly not cheap, but the effect it gives you is very strong and applicable to many situations.

            (Also, I would love to see you squeeze 115 32mm bases into a 9″ radius now, since there literally is not enough square inches there even if you have 100% perfect packing fractions, which of course you don’t with circular bases. Not calling you a liar, as presumably you were doing it with 25mm bases, but these days that 9″ is a LOT smaller than it used to be.)

          • rvd1ofakind November 21, 2018 7:00 am
            #

            Yup. 25mm. Reece said ITC won’t enforce it so fk it 😀
            Also a lot of people just take 2KFF, and then it’s very easy. The thing is that orks are either in the KFF range or in combat most of the time(where the invul doesn’t work). I doubt people will use it too much.

          • Reecius
            Reecius November 21, 2018 7:48 am
            #

            I didn’t say the ITC wasn’t enforcing it I said GW wasn’t planning on it. So for now, yeah, let it ride.

          • Seth November 21, 2018 12:42 pm
            #

            This. Most people who think the ‘Force-Field Projecta’ is good are not ork players themselves and are thinking like they are fielding a guard or something.

            Orks are stronger together. You want your boyz to get that 6+++ from your painboy, 5++ from your BIg Mek, and +2 WS from your banner, as they roll down the field as a ball of death.

            The stratagem might have its uses if your a speed freak and you need to get everyone in that bubble turn 1.

            With that said! I’m not a fan of loot it as well. I think it’s only really useful if you pack 10 nobs into a trukk, and let it boom for some discount meganobz.

          • Venkarel November 21, 2018 1:49 pm
            #

            If I remember correctly ITC gave space marine players a season to switch bases and now expects them to be 32mm. I think the same should be given to orcs.
            So the simple version of the math on 9″ KFF for both 32mm and 25mm, assuming no wasted space (which at least 15%-20% seems wasted, someone better at math than me can figure it out) is:

            Area of KFF 9″^2(π)=81(π)=254.469 sq. in.

            A 25mm base covers (0.9842522″/2)^2*π=(0.492126)^2*π=.22188*π=0.7608756 sq. in.

            A 32mm base covers (1.25984″/2)^2*π=(.62992)^2*π=0.396799*π=1.246581 sq. in.

            So assuming no wasted space 334 25mm bases could fit or 204 32mm bases.

          • rvd1ofakind November 21, 2018 7:50 pm
            #

            Which fits my 90 boyz, 25 lootas, 5 characters and 60 gretchin(25mm) easily, especially since a unit of boyz is usually in deepstrike.

    • Seth November 21, 2018 12:10 pm #

      I agree. I think people who think the KFF strat is strong don’t play Orks. Your marching that unit up the board like a green tide. You try to smash your opponents frontline and go through them.

      With that said, I don’t think loot it is all that strong as well. I could only see myself using it for a squad of nobs in a trukk.

  3. Kitani November 20, 2018 11:46 pm #

    I find it quite funny that a special 3CP(!) stratagem for Snakebites is worse than a free Craftworld psychic power.

    • abusepuppy November 20, 2018 11:51 pm #

      “Free” insomuch as it costs 110pts?

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr November 21, 2018 12:19 am #

      In the context of the army, I think it is a strong stratagem. The way stratagems function with other units and rules in the army is what makes them strong.

    • The Traitor November 21, 2018 1:10 am #

      The stratagem can’t be avoided (unless AoV is used, and monster hunter doesn’t make much sense against drukhari) while the power can be failed or denied, apart from being tied to a model that can die and has a limited range.

      • Michael Corr
        Michael Corr November 21, 2018 2:20 am #

        True, it is very powerful, but there are ways to mitigate it, as you have pointed out.

  4. Alex Thomas November 21, 2018 5:25 am #

    I had been hoping drive by krumpin might let Orks fire and fade lootas or tankbustas like Dark Reapers. I’m still imagining using it with a big unit of koptas or bikes to move up, apply dakka, then advance to somewhere hidden / threatening. Though I’m not expecting koptas to be the new shining spears, nob bikers look interesting.

  5. deru November 21, 2018 1:49 pm #

    You have to pay for the orks that come back on via Unstoppable Green Tide, correct?

    • Reecius
      Reecius November 21, 2018 1:56 pm #

      No, you do not. They’re free so long as at least 1 model in the unit is still on the table when you use the strat. It’s also only once per game, FYI, and cannot be used if you Mob Up! However, it is a game winning strat. So damn good.

      • abusepuppy November 21, 2018 6:30 pm #

        Yeah, it doesn’t exceed your starting unit size and doesn’t have explicit text about costing reinforcement points, so the models are free.

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