Psychic Awakening Ork Review

Hi, everyone! Steven Pampreen here to tell you all that you need to know about the new Orks. Other places have gone into more details of what everything is, so I’m diving into my predictions of builds that will result. Take all of this with the understanding that FAQs (particularly to the new “clan locked but works in melee” Kustom Force Field)

Broad Strokes:

Before we go into changes, we have to agree on what came before: the super-dangerous, sexy, horde infantry armies that ruled ork tabletops for much of 8th edition. 

Generally, Ork builds relied on Shokk Attack Gun wielding Meks, Smasha Guns, mass Grots, and Lootas or Tankbustas. Usually, some combination of those units with flare left to individuals for Flash Gitz (my preference), mass boys, or maybe even some Meganobz and anything cheap to fill out a brigade. 

Now that we have all these new fancy rules? Well, none of those things got any game-changing buffs. Lootas got more reliable, Meganobz got their 1+ save back if they take the Bad Moons psychic power. Mek guns can reroll 1s now. All this is helping reliability but nothing that opens new tactics or fixes bad matchups, just a moderate increase in damage or durability. 

So, where did all these new buffs help?

That’s right, the other half of the ork codex that everyone kind of forgot existed. Everyone aside from this guy. Holy shit, is THIS guy excited! (His name is Chris Fischer)

buggies.png

  So, let’s talk about some of these new scary combos using models that people forgot existed. 

If your opponent has these things in their army, it should trigger a “wait, I should probably ask my opponent a bunch of questions about that unit, so I’m not surprised” reflex later on. 

New Interesting Units:

Gorkanaughts: I bet you don’t even know the difference between this and a Morkanaught, well, neither did I, and I own one! They can take a Kustom Job that makes their basic gun Heavy 24 instead of the normal Heavy 18, except now if you are within 12 inches, the Gorkanaught gets +1 to hit. 

That’s right: ORKS HITTING ON 4s.

Also, the Vigilus strat that lets the SAG Mek shoot twice also works on this guy. So, that’s 48 shots hitting on 4s. Additionally, you can put him in a Freeboota army (Credit to Ben Jurek for doing this even when it was bad), so he can hit on 3s. You can also make it Evil Sunz and reroll all hits with new psychic power. 

However, I think that’s a bit of a trap. In my experience, Evil Sunz have a habit of getting to the fight quickly, then not doing anything once they’re there. I don’t see anything from this book that changes that. 

Burna Bomber:

Orks___Flash_Git___Colour_by_taytonclait.jpg

The strat for blowing up for three flat mortal wounds in a devastating 6-inch bubble is unprecedented to my knowledge. This will be an interesting 130 point kamikaze. Certain armies that have no way of killing it turn one and like to group up will be devastated by this. 

*Cough* Grey Knights *Cough*

It also has a strat to drop it’s bombs a second time as it flies towards it’s eventual and, in this case, purposeful demise. There is a new Pyromaniac clan that will make this more effective. However, I’m not convinced many armies will be willing to give up a whole detachment for a few extra mortal wounds after bombing and, despite my best pondering, I can’t figure out any other combo with the clan that isn’t better with a codex clan. 

This may be the most game-changing addition to the Ork arsenal as it fills a hole that Orks desperately needed out of LOS damage. Granted, it’s an unusual way to go about it, but it’s Orks, what did you expect? I expect to see standard Ork infantry + Mek gun armies including a single bomber just for Grey Knight or similar “hide behind a building and reserve” style armies. 

Grot Armies:

Grot armies are here, everyone. They’re going to be scary. They will play much like Iron Hands, just doing a decent amount of damage but being so meaty that you can’t get through them. 

Most people know Mek Guns are obnoxious because of their absurd durability. Well, Killa Kans are similar points per wound, except they have a 3+ save. Their moderately dangerous strength 8, 3 damage, ap 3 close combat weapon that they sort of know how to use will keep things from touching Mek Guns. Eighteen Mek guns and 18 Killa Kans with all the character support and 90 Grots fits in 2000 points. 

Now that entire army always rerolls ones and has a 6+ invul and can easily have a 5++ invul on the whole army for a single battle round. You can still squeeze in a Deathskull detachment for the best 84 points in the game (Deathskull Shokk Attack Gun). 

The Killa Kan units can each have different Kustom Jobs, +3 movement, -1 to be hit, +1 BS. It’s a very real army. 

37cbcc52ae67fcecadbe634f9237b959--warhammer-fantasy-warhammer-k-orks-art.jpg
  •  Clan Kultur: Deathskulls
  •  + HQ +
  •  (Vigilus Detachment)
  •  Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 84pts]: Grot Oiler, Shokk Attack Gun
  •  Weirdboy [3 PL, 62pts]
  •  + Troops +
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  ++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Orks) [54 PL, 902pts] ++
  •  + HQ +
  •  Deffkilla Wartrike [6 PL, 120pts]
  •  Weirdboy [3 PL, 62pts]
  •  + Troops +
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  + Heavy Support +
  •  Killa Kans [14 PL, 210pts] (+3 movement)
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  Killa Kans [14 PL, 210pts] (-1 to be hit)
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  Killa Kans [14 PL, 210pts] (+1 BS)
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  •  . Killa Kan: Big Shoota, Kan Klaw
  • ++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Orks) [50 PL, 878pts] ++
  •  + Configuration + 
  •  Clan Kultur: No Clan
  •  + HQ +
  •  Big Mek [Legends] [4 PL, 55pts]: Choppa, Slugga
  •  Weirdboy [3 PL, 62pts]
  •  + Troops +
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
  •  . 10x Gretchin
  •  + Elites +
  •  Nob with Waaagh! Banner [4 PL, 77pts]: Kustom Shoota
  •  + Heavy Support +
  •  Mek Gunz [12 PL, 198pts]
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  Mek Gunz [12 PL, 198pts]
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  Mek Gunz [12 PL, 198pts]
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  . Gun: Smasha Gun
  •  ++ Total: [114 PL, 2,016pts] ++

Buggies:

Buggy units are still not mathematically strong enough and don’t have powerful enough stratagems to be a core of a competitive army. 

However, I think top tier armies can still use them. With the importance of single units (SAG Mek + Lootas + Boys) eating vast amounts of command points, there are often a few hundred points of Ork armies that can’t use tons of CP. I think some buggy units could live in this space nicely. They are the first to be cut if something needs to change in the list, but they are working their way towards relevance.   

Personally, I look at the Megatrakk Scrapjets. Being able to double fight (with a Kustom Job that stays on the units even after they split!) turns them into close combat bullies, especially if your army already includes a Waaagh! Banner. I almost always run anything with low attacks as Deathskulls, and that’s how these would operate as well. Four strength 8 ap 2 d3 damage swings hitting on 4s (3 with Waaagh! Banner) that auto swing twice is legitimately a threat to most units. The extra six inches of piling in and consolidating could be game-changing as well. If they all hit at once, their mortal wounds after charging could seriously injure even a durable combat unit.  

Psychic Powers:

We got some awesome psychic powers. The one that sticks out to me is the Deathskull power. Deathskulls are already in contention for best overall clan, and they got arguably the strongest power, especially in conjunction with the style of armies that you generally build with them. It’s very easy to have swarms of small units with lots of AP 0 strength 5 weapons, or even just swarms of Deathskull Grots that will now be ap 1 against a single target. Just ask Ravenguard Centurions what mass ap 1 firepower can do. If I had to point to a single thing in the codex that improves generic armies, it would be this. 

The other powers are good but niche to certain clans that don’t have solid meta builds. I would need a lot more words to say something along the lines of “sure, I can envision this being useful in this scenario, but how often does that really happen?”.  

The Meanest and Greenest:

Ghazgkull is back, and he is a monster, literally. He’s got the keyword every Ork was afraid he would get, BUT they gave him a snazzy new rule to make up for it. He can only take four wounds a phase. So, what does this mean?

Credit to Games Workshop
Credit to Games Workshop

Well, with a Goff Painboy to heal him d3 with Medisquig strat, it effectively means he won’t die to shooting until he’s across the board. However, with two practice games using him, I find that he dies by a combination of shooting and smites or melee. So, if you can keep a screen in front of him, he will basically live forever. 

This leads me down two different lines of thought. 

-Vehicles

Take Ghazkull with lots of vehicles, the new Gorkanaught, new Burna Bombers, Killa Kans, Mek Guns, Trukk boys, or Buggies. Lots of different options. Force your opponent to do the necessary four wounds to Ghazzy before moving on to ace your remaining tanks. 

-Infantry 

KFF works in melee now. Just run a full Goff boy horde and run at your opponent. Sure, every single anti-tank gun in the opposing army will be pointing at Ghazgkull, but that’s fine; he’ll take his lumps and move on, healing D3 every turn. Your boys will prevent him from getting smited or assaulted back, though, so he’ll get to do his damage. Not to mention that Goff boys hitting nearly 7/6 times when standing next to Ghazgkull and a Waaagh! Banner is devastating, especially Skar boys at strength 5! They will also deal with one of Ghazgkulls issues of getting tar pitted. Well, let me tell you, there isn’t a tarpit unit in the game that can survive a Goff boys squad’s unfriendly ministrations. 

Conclusion: 

To use a programming/orky sounding term, Games Workshop’s rules writers seem to Grok orks in a way they never really have since I started playing them in 2004. Creating units that generally balance against one another, fun fluffy clans that are still lethal on the tabletop. Wild variability with some downsides but mostly upsides. It feels like they finally gave us enough bullets that we can effectively shoot despite our poor ballistic skill. 

While I have been critical of GW in the past, I think they did a good job here. 

This article is a love poem to all those players who love 

Big clanky, 

smoke billowing,

tin-can shaped,

scrap-yard created,

grot-infested,

maniacally imagined,

Gork or Mork embodied

Ork vehicles. 

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

secondhandhsop

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4 Responses to “Psychic Awakening Ork Review”

  1. Avatar
    Dakkath March 31, 2020 9:35 am #

    WAAAAAAAAAGH!!

  2. Avatar
    abusepuppy March 31, 2020 7:01 pm #

    I think it’s a very, very strong chance that the KFF will get an FAQ so that it does not work in melee, as I would be absolutely shocked if that were intentional.

    • Avatar
      red3_standingby April 1, 2020 8:17 pm #

      There’s also the issue of it only applying to units instead of your whole army. GW really giveth and taketh away on that one.

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