Brutal but Kunnin’: Ork Kill Team Tactics

Do you prefer to beat your enemies to death with your bare hands? Do you like to make sure your forces always outnumber the enemy? Do you have the table manners of a British soccer hooligan? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then Orks may be the Kill Team for you! The original horde force of KIll Team, Orks trade shooting accuracy for melee prowess and heavy armor for high toughness and lots of bodies. In Kill Team they require cunning and strategy to play well, with a careful mix of positioning and Tactics use.

While there have been a number of UK government pronouncements regarding Orks, whether gatekeeping Ork terrain kits or complaining about how easy it is being an Ork player to the UN, Orks are in a good place in 40k (with a big pile of recent releases and a new Codex) and a good place in Kill Team, where they have two Kill Team options available: Kommandos and Greenskins. In this article, we’re going to take an in-depth look at Greenskin Kill Teams – Kommandos will be covered in a separate article.

 

Strengths

  • Melee – Orks make up for their lack of good shooting by having the ability to be solid melee fighters. A Choppa does decent damage, and your average ork running around with 4 attacks and 4/5 damage can be pretty nasty. Orks also have solid movement, so they can get around the battlefield pretty quickly.
  • Somewhat Durable – While Ork armor isn’t great (DF 3 and a 5+ save), they make up for some of that by having 10+ wounds. They can also use the Just a Scratch Tactical Ploy to straight up ignore the damage from an incoming attack, which is super annoying when they do it to you.
  • Numbers –  Ork teams make up for their bad shooting somewhat with numbers. While probably not running as a full horde, an Ork Kill Team will usually be 9-13 models, depending on whether you’re taking Speshulists and Gretchin.
  • Flexible – While they lack some of the tactical tricks of Kommandos, Greenskin kill teams have a larger number of operative options, and get access to burna boyz, lootas, their own kommandos, and spanners. You also have a ton of options for melee weapons and shooting weapons on your Boss Nob.

Weaknesses

  • Shooting – Orks are among the game’s least accurate factions, with a BS of 5+ on most ranged attacks. They tend to have more shots to make up for this, but you’re going to notice that you’re missing a lot of shots. This also makes them a bit swingy in terms of how they play, though there are some ways to improve this with equipment.
  • Damage Variance – Outside of melee Orks can struggle to do damage to more heavily armored targets. I say *can* struggle because they actually have some very nasty ranged weapons, but hitting on a 5+ with those means that they’ll often do absolutely nothing and other times be brutally punishing. They’re difficult to rely on and that can be a problem when you’re taking a chance against a Custodian.
  • Kommandos – Greenskins are fine but on the whole, Kommandos are just a better option.

 

Greenskin Kill Teams

Greenskin Kill Teams are made from two kill teams picked from the following list:

  • Boy
  • Clan Kommando
  • Speshulist (max one of these per team)

Boy teams come with five operatives, and up to one of them can be a Gunner, while one can be swapped out for two BOY GRETCHIN operatives. If you don’t have a leader, you can add a Boy Boss Nob as your Leader (the only free option). Kommando fire teams also come with five operatives, and one can be upgraded to a Clan Kommando Nob if you don’t have a leader yet. Speshulist fire teams consist of four models, and these can be any combination of Loota or Burna boyz, plus one burna can be replaced with a Spanner as your Leader if you don’t already have a leader.

 

Leaders

Credit: Charlie Brassley

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.

Boss Nob

Ork Nobs clock in at 3O move, APL2, 4+ save and 13 wounds, so while they aren’t as resilient as marines, they are still a pretty tough nut to crack. The boss nob is the most flexible choice available to Greenskins, which allows you to combine firepower and heavy melee. For shooting you can choose a slugga, kombi-skorcha or kombi-rokkit (don’t choose a slugga) and for melee you can choose from a choppa, big choppa, killsaw or power klaw (don’t choose a choppa).

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.

Kommando Nob

A boss nob with a mandatory slugga + power klaw loadout but able to benefit from the Skulk About Strategic ploy. It’s a solid model, but without the flexible load out of the Boss Nob you’re going to have to get close to make him do work.

Spanna

This is the leader you can select from a Speshulist fire team, and can be armed with a big shoota, rokkit launcher or kustom mega-blasta. I wouldn’t take a big shoota, but a rokkit launcher remains a solid choice. Spannas are notable in that they have a 4+ to hit on whatever weapon they’ve got, whihc makes rokkit launchas even better than boy gunners (and not needing additional equipment for get 4+ to hit). However the kustom mega-blasta, ideally combined with Dakka Dakka Dakka, is where it’s at. 4 dice, 4+ to hit, 5/6 damage, AP2 and Hot means it’ll melt tough heavily armoured targets pretty quickly, allowing them to only roll one defence dice.

If you are taking this model you are going with a special weapon dominated squad, as you’ll have 3 Lootas/Burna Boyz with it, which will bias your equipment choices towards Targetin’ Fings so any Lootas you take can actually hit things with their Deffguns.

 

Operatives

Ork Boyz
Ork Boyz. Credit: That Gobbo

Boy [Fighter]

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.

Boy [Gunner]

These are boyz forgoing sluggas and choppas for the much more fun big shoota or rokkit launcha.

You’ll have to choose which to use. Big shootas (6 dice, 5+ to hit, 2/3 damage and Fusillade) roll a lot of dice, and buying a Drum Mag to get the Ceaseless rule is a good idea if you are going with big shootas. Rokkit Launchas are 5 dice, 5+ to hit, 4/5 damage, AP1 and Splash 1. I think Rokkit Launchas are flat out better for killing everything. Orks aren’t accurate enough to overwhelm 3 defence dice, so rokkit launchas take a defence dice out, and make it more likely damage gets through.

Boy Gunners are a good model to equip with Targetin’ Fings, as boosting to hit to 4+ makes both big shootas and 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.

Gretchin

The humble grot, with 3O move, 2APL, 6+ save and 5 wounds, is the weakest model currently in Kill Team. 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.

Grots. Credit: Rockfish
Grots. Credit: Rockfish

Clan Kommando [Fighter]

This is a Slugga/Choppa Ork boy that can benefit from the Skulk ploy, but with no access to a gunner in the fire team. The Skulk ploy is good, but if you want to play Kommandos, there is a whole Kill Team for you which is crammed full of characterful models and has access to heavy and special weapons.

Burna Boy

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.

Loota

The other Speshulist choice, lootas come with Deff Guns (5 dice, 5+ to hit, 4/6 damage) which are substantially better than big shootas as a spray and pray weapon, but still need a Targetin’ Fing to have reliable damage output.

 

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

Ploys

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!

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.

Waaaagh!

For the whole turn, 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. 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.

Get Stuck In!

All Boy operatives (note this includes Boss Nobs and Gunners) can reroll a dice when they perform a Fight action. Good if your going to pile your boyz in this turn, and again a way of increasing the number of successes you have.

Skulk About

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.

 

Tactical Ploys

With just two tactical ploys, they’re a little thin on the ground.

Just a Scratch

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. There are various use cases for this, but it’s situational and you’ve got to think hard about whether to use it.

More Dakka

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. Great for when kombi weapons or rokkits go wrong.

Lootas. Credit: Rockfish
Lootas. Credit: Rockfish

Equipment

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.

‘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.

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.

Targetin’ Fing [3EP]

Improve BS by 1 to a maximum of 4+. Really useful for trying to get your gunners to hit stuff.

Cuttin’ Nozzle [2EP]

Significantly improves Burna Boyz in close combat, but I think there’s far better things to do that give your Burna Boyz a pseudo power weapon.

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.

 

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.

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

Final Thoughts

Greenskins are a team with a lot of potential. They may struggle with Custodes (the same as everyone else does) but an 11 model Boyz squad is more resilient than a lot of similar model count kill teams and better in melee. Sluggas aren’t really going to kill anyone, but choppas do, and if you’re up against marines then rokkits to the face can solve a lot of problems.

While you are lacking the individual specialists of Kommandos, this is a much easier to learn Kill Team with much easier to build models. If you’re an Ork player then these are all minis you should be able to put your hands on quite easily, and if you aren’t a single boyz box gives you a reasonable team before you have to go and buy extra bits to ‘optimise’ the list.

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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