Brutal but Kunnin’: Ork Greenskins Kill Team Tactics

With the first anniversary of Kill Team 2.0 having passed we once again return to our journey through the Compendium Teams. Thanks to a good ruleset and being released in the first box set of the game, Ork Kommandos are constant sight on competitive tables. This can make it easy to forget that players looking to have more control over how their team is constructed always have the option of playing their Compendium counterparts.

Greenskin Kill Teams

Team Structure

In a pattern familiar to anyone who has been reading this series, Greenskins Kill Teams are composed of your usual two Fire Teams, chosen from the following:

  • Boyz
  • Clan Kommando
  • Speshulist (Max 1 per Kill Team)

Kommando and Boyz teams allow for five operatives, with Boyz being able to choose between Shootas, or Choppas and Sluggas. Additionally, they make take a single Gunner per Fire Team, and may take a Nob in place of a Boy as their leader, and may take two Gretchin operatives in place of a single Boy. Kommando teams lack the variety of weapons available to standard Boyz, but may also replace an operative with a Nob as the leader. The Speshulist team provides four operatives chosen between Burna Boyz and Lootas trading manpower for firepower. One speshulist may be replaced by a Spanner if no leader is present.

Additionally, each of these Fire Teams grant access to the Seek and Destroy Archetype with Boyz also receiving Security and Kommandos getting Infiltration.


  • Generalists – Oddly enough Greenskins much like Kommandos lie between an Elite team and a horde team having a decent balance of both melee and ranged capabilities. This later strength comes in the form of particularly hard hitting special weapons, while the former is represented by all Orks coming with a solid 3 attacks, 3+ hit/wound, and 3/4 damage melee profile at a minimum.
  • Beefy – Orks have a minimum of 10 wounds each, meaning that they can reliably take a hit or two more than your standard human equivalent operatives, or can avoid being instantly killed in melee combat by the harder-hitting melee weapons. When you combine this with their ploys, opponents can be surprised when their melee specialist finds himself being pounded on by a standard Ork Boy.
  • Useful Ploys – Many compendium factions have issues with ploys being locked behind useless operatives, or being only very situationally useful. Greenskins beat this trend with all of their ploys ranging from average to above average in usefulness. While some are still operative specific these are often the operatives you will be taking to battle.


  • No Data-Sheet Abilities – Greenskin operatives are very bland and come with no data-sheet specific abilities, or team-wide abilities. Everything that one attributes to Orks is locked behind spending command points, or certain equipment options.
  • Unreliable Shooting – While Ork shooting can be deceptively deadly thanks to their ploys and equipment selection it is also incredibly swingy due to how some of these abilities work. In one instance you may blow up a Space Marine in a single volley, or simply go the entire match hitting nothing.
  • Master of None – The downside of being “OK” at most things is that Greenskins don’t really out perform other teams at any one thing, finding themselves outnumbered by true horde teams, and still exceedingly vulnerable to boltgun fire that is the hallmark of Marine teams.


Greenskins come with high average wounds per operative while sporting poor armor saves. As one would expect, they are better at close combat with a +3 to hit, while their shooting is usually 5+ to hit. Outside of this Greenskins have NO access to GA2, with the exception of Gretchin, and are APL 2 in almost all instances.


Greenskin Kill Teams have three potential Leader models, and choosing either a Spanna or a Boss Nob/Kommando Nob will reflect the different methods that you want to employ.


Goff ork boys. Credit: Charlie Brassley

The humble Ork boy has a save of 5+ and 10 wounds, so is a fair bit more resilient than a Guard equivalent, but you wouldn’t want him running into heavy bolter fire. You can arm them with either a shoota (4 dice, 5+ to hit, 3/4 damage) or a choppa and slugga (4 dice, 5+ to hit 3/4 damage shooting and 4 dice, 3+ to hit, 4/5 damage in melee). As you can see damage output is significantly higher in close combat, even though shootas are as good as bolters… if they can hit.

The role of Ork boyz is to hold objectives and mash up opponents in melee. This is great against everything with 8 wounds or less, as you’re likely to take out any opponent with only taking one punch back. Fighting marines you are more likely to come off worse, and it pays to soften up targets before charging in, or commit two boys into combat with a marine and be prepared to lose one.

Boyz are great for bullying guard equivalents, and struggle with 12+ wound models without them being softened up first. If you are going to mix loadouts, I would recomment 2 or 3 choppa boyz per shoota boy, and using the shoota boyz to sit on objectives near your board edge, where they can still contribute to the battle with ranged attacks.

Boyz also have a Gunner option that can choose between a Big Shoota and a Rokkit Launcha. The Big Shoota unfortunately ranks as one of the worst weapons in the game, making the Rokkit Launcha the only real option here with enemy attacks and damage to make up for a poor ballistic skill.

Gunners are good operatives to equip with Targetin’ Fings, as boosting their ballistic skill to 4+ makes their rokkit launchas much scarier. A rokkit launcha scoring 2 hits against a target in cover may only cause 4 or 5 damage, but with three hits you are now one-shotting a guardsman, or potentially taking a marine down to 4 damage where they can be one shotted by a choppa wielding boy.

Boss Nob

Credit: Charlie Brassley

In most instances this is the leader option of choice for Greenskins. Coming in with 13 wounds, a superior save, and access to deadlier close combat weapons, this guy can definitely pull his weight. Hilariously, the Boss Nob has the option to take a simple Shoota, but this choice is so terrible that it isn’t worth considering, leaving you to decide on which Kombi-weapon and close combat weapon is most desirable. In most cases the Kombi-Rokkit will always be the superior choice, while the Big Choppa, Killsaw, and Power Klaw are all of roughly equivalent usefulness.

The standard ork boy kit doesn’t give you all these options, so you’ll likely be using bits from the excellent Nob kit, which does. I would choose a kombi-rokkit over a kombi-skorcha unless you are facing hordes of guard equivalents, who actually would die to flamers. Rokkits are great, and should be combined with the Dakka Dakka Dakka strategic ploy to get the most out of them. A boss nob with killsaw and kombi-rokkit and equipped with a bosspole would be my go to for a build, but killsaws and power klaws are interchangeable (swapping Rending for Brutal) in terms of damage output.

The boss nob is also a free addition to a boy fire team if you choose to have him as leader. The other leader options replace a model in that fire team, the boss nob does not. This is a big flashing sign to take a boss nob as your Leader.



Grots. Credit: Rockfish
Grots. Credit: Rockfish

The humble grot, with 3O move, 2APL, 6+ save and 5 wounds, is among the weakest models in Kill Team – only the recent glitchlings from the Gellerpox Infected come close. Grots have a blasta, which is a 6” range 2/3 gun with only three dice, though they do have 4+ to hit. In close combat they hit on 5+, have three dice and 1/2 damage. This means they won’t be breaking heads like Ork boyz. Grots are activated in pairs and cannot be given equipment or benefit from ploys.

Each boy fire team can trade one boy for two grots. There is only one circumstance where I would do this, and it is where you have objectives in cover that need a mission action and those objectives are in cover. Grots are not tall models, and if they can be placed where they can carry out mission actions and not seen, and sit there with the Conceal order, then it frees up an Ork boy to go and fight the enemy.

Grots are terrible at actually fighting, don’t kid yourself into thinking they’d be anything other than speed bumps. What they do bring to the table is allowing Greenskins to take one of the most numerous teams in the entire game. However they don’t benefit from ploys or equipment and thus should be taken only sparingly as rear-line objective holders.

Clan Kommandos and Nob

These guys are essentially identical to their Boy and Boss Nob counterparts, except they lose all of their ranged options, and all they gain for this sacrifice is access to a single Strategic Ploy that is exclusive to them. Sadly, if you’re playing with Kommandos they fall into the same category as Neophytes for Broodcoven or Pathfinders for Hunter Cadres. Basically, you’d only play these guys if you want to run your Greenskins purely with Sluggas and Choppas.

Burnas and Lootas

Burna Boyz. Credit: Rockfish
Burna Boyz. Credit: Rockfish

The two standard operatives available to a Speshulist Fire Team, these guys are simply Boyz with special weapons. Burnas predictably come with Flamers, while Lootas receive the Deffgun which is similar to the Rokkit Launcha but trades AP1 for +1 to Crit Damage. An Ork boy with a flamer (5 dice, 2+ to hit, 2/2, 6” range and Torrent). Nice for softening up a target for later shooting or charges, or toasting a guardsmen equivalent like a marshmallow.


The Speshulist Leader option that is basically a shootier version of a Loota, with +1 to Ballistic Skill and the option of taking a Kustom Mega-Blasta or Rokkit Launcha (Also a Big Shoota but again, don’t take that gun). The Mega-Blasta comes with 4 attacks, 5/6 damage, AP2, and Hot making it the nastiest weapon available to Greenskins, although it is hard to say if the extra damage and AP is worth the reduction in attacks and the risk for Mortal Wounds when taken in leu of the Rokkit Launcha.


Gretchin mob. Credit: Charlie Brassley


Greenskins have some very good strategic ploys that drastically improve the effectiveness of the team, and a couple of useful get out of bad dice tactical ploys.

Strategic Ploys

Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! (1 CP)

Affecting all models except Grots, when you roll dice in a shooting attack, if you get a critical you can take a failure and change it to a normal hit. If you are going to be doing a lot of shooting this turn, especially with things like Deff Guns, rokkit launchas, big shootas, which all roll 5 or 6 dice and are likely to get a critical, then you can turn a failure into a success. This is great for Orks, who cannot get a BS above 4+ on shooting (unless it’s Burna Boyz or Stikkbombz) and need to get those hits to overwhelm enemy defensive dice, given a general lack of AP. If you’ve gone for a firepower force this will be your go-to ploy – it’s a solid ploy that helps offset poor ballistic skill and is especially useful with Rokkit Launchas. C

Waaaagh! (1 CP)

Until the end of the Turning Point, each time a Greenskin fights in combat (whether you are performing a Fight action or the target of one) if you get two or more normal hits you can change one to a critical hit.

This is essentially the melee counterpart to Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! – in the turn you plan on getting stuck in, or a melee heavy opponent is going to get stuck into you, this is the ploy to play, as you’ll up your number of critical successes for either parrying your opponent or giving them a hefty whack back. Greenskins unfortunately lack access to many Rending weapons, which dilutes the effectiveness of this ploy. However this ploy is still useful when your teams finally get close to the enemy, and in the case of the Nob’s Killsaw can make him a blender in close combat. C

Get Stuck In! (1 CP)

All Boy operatives (note this includes Boss Nobs and Gunners) can re-roll a dice when they perform a Fight action. Good if you’re going to pile your boyz in this turn, and again a way of increasing the number of successes you have. Another generally useful ploy that can be used in combination with WAAAAGH! to make your operatives deadlier in close combat. This is especially useful when taking Boyz armed with Choppas. C

Skulk About (1 CP)

The ploy people are raving about that’s actually quite situational when you think about it considering it’s on models that have a slugga and choppa/power klaw, it lets you retain a defence dice as a success if you have a Conceal order. This means if you are concealing in cover you get two automatic normal successes. Doesn’t save you from critical hits, or AP, but it lets you get your models across the board while taking a lot less damage, all the better to Waaaagh into your opponent on the following turn.

This ploy was ported over to Kommandos when they received their own bespoke Kill Team, and unfortunately that makes this a pretty bad ploy for Greenskins. C if you take Kommandos

Tactical Ploys

With just two tactical ploys, Orks are a little thin on the ground.

Just a Scratch (1 CP)

When resolving successful hits in shooting or melee attack, spend a CP to ignore the damage inflicted from an attack dice. This can keep an Ork alive and in the game, allow them to strike back in melee by preventing them getting killed, and basically to live a bit longer in a key moment. You should ALWAYS retain a command point just to keep your opponent on edge as to when you might use this. It is especially useful against high-damage ranged weapons, or swinging a close combat encounter in your favor. A+

More Dakka (1 CP)

If you’ve made a shoot action and scored no damage, you can repeat that shooting action. Basically if your dice hate you and everything misses or is saved you can try again. This is another great ploy that is basically a do over if you fail to cause any damage against your opponent. Considering how nasty weapons like the Rokkit Launcha can be with their spike damage your opponent may elect to receive damage from this weapon than risk allowing you a full re-do. B

Lootas. Credit: Rockfish
Lootas. Credit: Rockfish


Greenskins have one of the better equipment selections available to compendium teams that go along way in helping to shore up their weaknesses.

Stikkbomb [2EP]

A good solid grenade (4 dice, 3+ to hit, 2/4, Blast O) that can be fired indirectly to stop opponents clumping up. You might use it in some situations, and if you’re facing hordes it can be a good pick for thinning them out. It’s basically a frag grenade with +1 on critical damage. You really can’t go wrong with having Blast and Indirect options, especially when going up against more numerous opponents. B

‘Eavy Armour [2EP]

Upgrade a models 5+ save to a 4+ save. Got a Spanna or key gunner model? Give up a 4+ to try and keep them alive a bit longer. This isn’t a bad choice, but is slightly overshadowed by other options on this list. C

Bosspole [3EP]

Add 1 to the operatives APL, but can only be taken by a Boss Nob or Kommando Nob. If you are taking a nob it’s virtually compulsory and I can’t see a reason not to take it – it’s a great piece of equipment and is a near auto-pick. This means your Nob can fire his Kombi-Rokkit, Charge, and Fight all in the same activation making them a much more significant threat. A

Drum Mag [2EP]

Shootas and Big Shootas gain Ceaseless. Decent if you bring lots of Shootas, however they are not the strength of the team, and Ceaseless is not very useful for operatives that generally hit on 5+, so you can likely skip this one. D

Targetin’ Fing [3EP]

Improve BS by 1 to a maximum of 4+. Really useful for trying to get your gunners to hit stuff. This is great for your Rokkit Launcha Gunners, and basically a requirement if you take them. B

Cuttin’ Nozzle [2EP]

Gives Burna Boyz a significantly improved melee profile upping them to 4 attacks, 3/5 damage, and Lethal 5+. This is a pretty great for this operative since it will often find itself in melee combat, however you aren’t likely to have to many of them in your Kill Team making this piece of equipment of moderate usefulness. C

Kustom Force Field [3EP]*

Spanna only, gives models wholly within 3” of your Spanna a 5+ invulnerable save against models not within that bubble. Situational when facing kill teams throwing a lot of AP around, and it only benefits models wholly within 3” of your Spanna. Perhaps one of the worst options available to Greenskins, Spanners are the lesser choice as far as leaders go, and a 5+ invulnerable save is very unreliable. F

Tac Ops

Greenskins receive one additional archetype over their Kommando counterparts in the form of Security, which players will almost always be able to choose from thanks to it coming attached to a Boyz Fire Team. Both this and Seek and Destroy play well to the strengths of a Greenskin team with Greenskins not receiving any of the ploys or abilities that make Infiltration a useful choice for The Kommandos Kill Team.

What to take?

The thing that should be made clear is that while Greenskins aren’t terrible as far as Compendium Teams go they’re still a significant step down from Kommandos. That said, they’re amongst the stronger Compendium Teams to find themselves competing with a more bespoke counterpart (Broodcoven or Hunter Cadres being other examples).

A Greenskin Kill Team wants to take minimum of one Boyz Fire Team, which gains you access to the Nob, which can be equipped with a Kombi-Rokkit, Boss Pole, and Close Combat Weapon. Additionally, this will get you a gunner with a Rokkit Launcha and Targetin’ Fing, while the remaining Boyz should be given Choppas and Sluggas.

At this point it is a choice between a second team of Boyz or Speshulists, and this largely comes down to whether you want the team to be a solid mix of shooting and close combat, or to focus more narrowly on close combat. It is important to note that the recent release of Into the Dark means that both Burnas and Rokkit Launchas will be Lethal 5+, making them that much more threatening in that particular Kill Zone.

Goff ork boys. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Sample Roster

This roster is built around Boyz and Speshulists. The go-to team here would be double Boyz, but there is the flexibility there for a Spanna-led team, or to take Lootas and Burna Boyz depending on the opponent.

Operative Weapons
Boss Nob [Leader] Kombi-Rokkit, Power Klaw
Boy [Gunner] Rokkit-Launcha & Fists
Boy [Gunner] Rokkit-Launcha & Fists
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Slugga & Choppa
Boy [Fighter] Shoota & Fists
Boy [Fighter] Shoota & Fists
Burna Boy Burna & Fists
Burna Boy Burna & Fists
Burna Boy Burna & Fists
Loota Deffgun & Fists
Loota Deffgun & Fists
Loota Deffgun & Fists
Spanna Kustom mega-blasta & Fists

Example Kill Teams

When constructing an Ork kill team you select two fire teams from Boy, Clan Kommando and Speshulist (max one Speshulist per team). If you have a Kommando Nob or Spanna, then they replace an existing model in the team, while if you have a Boss Nob that model is added to the team, allowing a ten or eleven model team. This means choosing a Spanna or Kommando Nob effectively sacrifices a model.

Da Boyz are Back in Town

This kill team is constructed from a single box of boyz.

1 Boss Nob [Leader] – Slugga, Power Klaw, Bosspole [3EP]

1 Boy [Gunner] – Rokkit Launcha, Targetin’ Fing [3EP]

1 Boy [Gunner] – Eavy Shoota, Targetin’ Fing [3EP]

6 Boy [Fighter] – Slugga, Choppa

2 Boy [Fighter] – Shoota

This is a one box kill team. It isn’t optimised for competitive play (no Kombi-rokkit for the Nob, no 2 x Rokkit Gunners) but is a great little team for learning the rules and having some fun. Seek and Destroy and Security are reasonable archetypes for objectives, as this is a killing list, not a holding territory list.

Bring Da Noise

This kill team is constructed from a box of Boyz and a box of Lootas.

1 Spanna [Leader] – Kustom Mega Blasta

2 Lootas – Deffgun, Targetin’ Fing [6EP]

1 Burna Boy – Burna

1 Boy [Gunner] – Rokkit Launcher, Targetin’ Fing [3EP]

4 Boyz [Fighter] – Slugga, Choppa

Built around shooting a lot, Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! will be in effect pretty much every turn once the enemy start to shift to engage. Seek and Destroy and Security Archetypes are available, and strangely for Orks this is definitely a murder the enemy list as well. Guns get on vantage points, burna boy and choppa boyz move forward to engage the enemy, and you can picture what happens. It’s not subtle.z

Nob With Waaagh! Banner. Credit: Rockfish
Nob With Waaagh! Banner. Credit: Rockfish

Final Thoughts

Orks are a great and characterful faction, and I miss the old Ork discourse of treating every other army release, especially vehicles, walkers and robots, as a stealth Ork release and just looting them.

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