Faction Focus: Orruk Warclans


Orruks – or Orks as they were called in The World That Was – are green skinned beastial humanoids who’s only pleasure is in fighting and more fighting. If you know Warhammer you probably know who these guys are, they are one of the most iconic races in the setting and have been since the very beginning.

The line mostly translated over into Age of Sigmar but the savage Bonesplitterz tended to see a lot more attention. In addition, the larger and more tanky Ironjawz were created to augment the traditionally more horde-heavy orks.

During 2nd edition they finally got their own battletome which gave different bonuses for splitting the orks into their own subfactions or mixing them into one big giant WAAAGH. Third edition added the Kruleboyz, swamp-dwelling orruks that resort to dirty tricks to defeat their opponents.

Competitively, Orruk Warclans have always tended to skew toward the top. Which subfaction was best tended to oscillate, with Big WAAAGH! being best for 2nd edition while pure Ironjawz do better these days. There’s almost always at least one Ironjawz list in the top 3 of an event, so they’re doing well for themselves.

Boss Nob or Brute – Credit Beanith

3.0 Changes

A lot, actually. The edition of Kruleboyz added an entirely new subfaction for Orruks that you can either combine with the other types or play as an independent faction. Kruleboyz occupy a niche between the more horde-focused Bonesplitterz and elite Ironjawz. They have some genuinely good shooting and magic and a lot of fun tricks to mess with your opponent.

As one of 3 armies with a battletome for the new edition, there are some significant changes to how the faction works. Along with the addition of Kruleboyz, Big WAAAGH, Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz were retooled. Previously Big WAAAGH! was considered the way to go, but it got knocked down pretty hard and it’s usually more advantageous to go with one of the single race subfactions instead.

There’s a lot of high level game changes that really help the Orruks out a lot too. Mawcrushas benefit heavily from Monstrous Rampages, including mount traits that make them work even better. The smaller game board makes Alpha charges with certain lists more or less a guarantee. Finally of course, the generic command abilities help you same as anyone else. All out attack to eek out that extra damage for Smashin and Bashin, Redeploy to better move your stuff into position for the charge. The list goes on.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that Kragnos exists and is a lot better now. This applies to all destruction armies but he’s definitely worth considering in a Orruk Warclans army now with his new warscroll.

The Units

It’s easier to discuss the units in terms of the 3 types of Orruks they fall into, as they all cover some radically different playstyles.


The top tier choice competitively, Ironjawz also have access to the largest selection of great units in the game.

First let’s look at your big leader, the Warboss on Maw-Krusha. This guy is nasty, he hits hard, does extra damage with the Stomp Monstrous Action and then gets to move and do it again. He can issue command abilities to 3 units for the price of 1 and as he kills units he gets stronger, increasing his wound count and attacks. At least one is mandatory, two is highly advised. They get access to a lot of fantastic artefacts, Warlord traits and Mount traits to customize them to taste. Try the Arcane Tome to give them Flaming Weapon, or the Mean ‘Un mount trait to shut down multiple units with Roar. They’re good against almost anything theyre locked into combat with shy of the nastiest of bruisers in the game.

Supporting him should be the Orruk Warchanter who has access to 3 different “beats” that work like prayers. The Fix Em’ Beat is worth taking to support your Maw-Krusha, as his increased wound count is going to require healing to keep up with it. The other beats are good as well, but Get Em’ Beat is great for the early game when you need that long distance charge to go off. Weirdnob Shaman can also play a support role, usually used to cast Da Great Green Hand of Gork to teleport a unit across the field. List building can get expensive, and points are tight so you may or may not have the room.

For infantry you got Ardboyz and Brutes. The good new is both are great now! You can mix and match to taste. Ardboyz are a lot tougher, with their 6+ ward and rallying on a 4+ instead of a 6+ they can hold objectives pretty well. Brutes are nasty for dealing with enemy infantry, as units with 1 wound within 3″ can’t hold objectives. Great trolling move.

One final important mention is the Gore-Gruntas which are good enough people will take the Blood Toofs subfaction just to get them as battleline. These guys are good, possibly too good. With 5 wounds each they get to count as 2 models on objective, they do impact wounds on a charge and the Choppas get Rend -2 allowing them to melt through a lot of units with poor saves to proc Smashin and Bashin. They’re a bit on the slow side for infantry but can be buffed to more than make up for that.


If you’re looking at how to expand your Dominion collection check out the article by Bair for doing exactly that. Otherwise lets look at some of the best of the bunch.

One of the nastiest units in the army right now is the Man-Skewer Boltboyz. All Kruleboyz do Mortal Wounds on 6s to hit but these guys don’t need to risk the enemy getting too close to do it. With the Swampcalla you can juice that to a 5+. A unit of 9 of these guys is going to do an average of 8 Mortal Wounds but you can juice it up a bit more like with the Big Yellers faction ability to reroll 1s on the first round (potentially getting more 5+s) and the Swampboss to up the damage to 3. With enough chafe to slow the enemy down you can do your fair share of mortal wounds to nail them before they get too close.

Gobsprakk is another excellent Wizard to take as he does a real number on enemy wizards, doing Mortal Wounds when unbinding on a 10+. D6 mortal wounds could potentially kill a lot of of smaller on-foot wizards. Swampboss Skumdrekk is a decent monster who does a fair amount of damage and can insta kill any unit with 7 or fewer wounds, covering most on-foot heroes.

The infantry is pretty lackluster. Gutrippaz are…there but with judicious use of Skare Tactikz they will live a bit longer than you’d think. Hobgoblins are awful but can make a pretty decent screen for your Man-Skewerz and Beast-skewer Killbowz. In both cases you’re fishing for those 6s for mortals.


Bonesplitters definitely struggle compared to the other factions, with their more limited unit selection and everything just being sort of sub-par.

Naturally you’ll want to start with a Savage Big Boss to lead your guys. His ability isn’t as impressive as some of his bigger boss brethren but controlling the order of attacking units can make or break you if it means weakening a stronger unit with a lot of attacks first.

The one redeeming factor here is you do have a lot of good casters. The War-Dokk is practically an auto take as in addition to being a caster he has dances similar to the Ironjawz Warchanter. You don’t even need to pick one, unlike him. The Wurrgog Prophet and Maniak Weirdnob both have some good warscroll spells worth looking at as well.

Onto your troops you have a fair number of options. Savage Orruks are your bread and butter battleline (though each subfaction gives you another one). They’re pretty weak but you get a lot of them. Your Arrowboyz are your ranged option, better at taking down Monsters but you work with what you got. The Savage Boarboyz and their Maniak cousins are your infantry for catching stray objectives and maneuvering around enemy lines.

Guttrippaz – Credit: RichyP

How To Play

The “how to play” for such a diverse faction is going to be difficult to pin down and we only have so much time. I’ll give a brief overview of how each of the factions usually works, but like anything else there’s going to be a lot of variation depending on how you’ve chosen to construct your list.

First, Ironjawz. Ironjawz are deceptively fast, although all your units are slow on paper you have access to a lot of charge bonuses and rerolls. You’ll probably use your Ironjawz Waaagh early to get that +1 to charges and the Warchanter to let them charge from further away. Mighty Destroyers is one of your key abilities to  let you get multiple attempts to get across the field, particularly if you made your enemy go first and watch them walk up the field.

In short the strategy is simple, but the mechanics might be more difficult. Your goal is to get the charge in with everything you can and early. Press the advantage so your opponent is kept in the back and once the melee starts you can time Smashin and Bashin to get multiple activations in a row. Everything comes down to the alpha strike, hit them before they hit you and make sure they don’t get back up.

Bonesplitterz end up playing very similarly to Ironjawz but more about quantity over quality. In general this is a less ideal experience as their abilities and units just arent as good. Still you’re more likely to outnumber the enemy on the objective, and most of your warscrolls have some bonus after the charge, pushing you to make that first charge whenever possible. The army wide 6+ Ward can be helpful in a meta that spams Mortal Wounds, and the once per game 4+ can be clutch if saved when you most need it. The lack of Monsters is tough here, so overwhelm your opponent.

Kruleboyz arent quite as bad in combat as Bonesplitterz, but not nearly as good as Ironjawz. You also don’t have the numbers. They occupy a comfortable middle ground and generally want to avoid combat. They have a lot of cowardly tricks on handlike Dissapearin’ Act to  make some of your opponent’s more deadly units harder to move into position as they have to sit out the first movement phase. In general you have to think smart, use your debuffs and don’t be afraid to throw some cheaper units to the wolves to keep the enemy busy. With judicious use of spells like the Swampcalla’s Boggy Mist or Choking mist from the spell lore you can keep the enemy tied up long enough to grab objectives or shoot them with Man-Skewers.

If you wanna go for Big Waaagh! there’s no real clear answer. It’s going to be a mix of what you’re bringing. Got some Ironjawz and Kruleboyz? Charge in with the Ironjawz while shooting with Kruleboyz. Ironjawz and Bonesplitterz? Let the Ironjawz do the heavy lifting while splitters bog down the enemy and capture objectives. Balance your forces to accomplish the task you need most.

Credit: Brin

List Building

It’s genuinely not worth looking at all of the factions, instead I’m going to look at the most interesting: Ironjawz and Kruleboyz. These lists aren’t necessarily optimized, they try and include nice diversity to experience as many different things as possible.


Ironjawz List - Click to Expand

Allegiance: Ironjawz
– Warclan: Bloodtoofs
– Grand Strategy: Beast Master
– Triumphs: Bloodthirsty

Megaboss on Maw-Krusha (480)*
 Boss Gore-hacka and Choppa
 Command Trait: Mighty Waaagh! Leader
 Artefact: Armour of Gork
 Mount Trait: Fast ‘Un
Megaboss on Maw-Krusha (480)**
 Boss Gore-hacka and Choppa
 Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
 Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Orruk Warchanter (115)*
 Warbeat: Fixin’ Beat
Orruk Weirdnob Shaman (90)*
 Lore of the Weird: Da Great Big Green Hand of Gork

5 x Orruk Brutes (160)*
 Pair of Brute Choppas
5 x Orruk Brutes (160)**
 Pair of Brute Choppas
3 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (170)**
 Pig-iron Choppas
3 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (170)**
 Pig-iron Choppas
3 x Orruk Gore-gruntas (170)**
 Pig-iron Choppas

Core Battalions
**Battle Regiment

Additional Enhancements

Total: 1995 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 123
Drops: 5

Basic Ironjawz list tend to use 2 Warbosses on Maw-Krushas. They’re just too good to sit with just one! The Warlord Battalion maximizes effectiveness by giving them another artefact. Basically you want to move up, charge in with everything you can and do as much damage as possible. You have a realistic chance of getting everything into the enemy turn 1 before they even move up. If you want to optimize more you can drop the brutes for more Gore-gruntas and drop the Shaman for another Warchanter. Check out Jiwan’s list from LVO for an idea of how it looks at top levels.


Kruleboyz List - Click to Expand

Allegiance: Kruleboyz
– Warclan: Big Yellers
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs: Inspired

Gobsprakk, The Mouth of Mork (280)*
 Lore of the Swamp: Choking Mist
Swampboss Skumdrekk (320)
Swampcalla Shaman with Pot-grot (105)*
 Command Trait: Supa Sneaky
 Lore of the Swamp: Choking Mist
Killaboss with Stab-grot (110)*
 Artefact: Spiker Seeds

9 x Man-skewer Boltboyz (360)*
 Reinforced x 2
3 x Man-skewer Boltboyz (120)*
10 x Gutrippaz (180)*
10 x Gutrippaz (180)*

20 x Hobgrot Slittaz (160)*
 Reinforced x 1

Beast-skewer Killbow (130)*

Core Battalions
*Battle Regiment

Total: 1945 / 2000
Reinforced Units: 3 / 4
Allies: 0 / 400
Wounds: 130
Drops: 2

A lot of this list is going to rely on protecting those Man-Skewers. When played right they can do a ton of mortal wounds but you have to shield them from enemy fire. This means playing dirty. Use the Supa Sneaky command trait to put the Hobgrots 9″ away from the enemy in a long line. They’ll probably kill them in one turn, that’s ok. You baited them in close enough for Hasty shot to double your fire. Have Swampcalla and Swampboss set them up with extremely potent mortal wound shots. After that just keep shielding them. Use the Gutrippaz, whatever is on hand to keep  them tied up and pelting them from a distance.

Whatever flavor of Orruk you prefer, get out there and become the new big leader of the great Waaagh!

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