Hammer of Math: Green Tide Boyz Resiliency

This week’s Hammer of Math gets stuck in with the Boyz and looks at how difficult it is to kill a unit of Ork Boyz in a Green Tide when they’re led by a Painboy.

Orks is best. That is indisputable, because Orks can never be beaten. If they win, they win. If they die, they die fighting which from an Ork perspective is a win. If they run away, they live to fight again which, again from an Ork perspective, is also a win. That, and the fact that they have a gun which teleports semi-sentient fungal creatures into the armour of their foes (after subjecting those creatures to a brief stint in the Warp), is more than sufficient evidence to justify the initial claim. They also have a shiny new codex which is proving to have some very fun options inside it.

Orks on the prowl at the March 2024 GHO

One of those fun options is to combine the rules from the Green Tide Detachment, a large unit of 20 Boyz, and a Painboy. The Green Tide Detachment rule Mob Mentality gives every BOYZ unit a 5++ and allows them to re-roll 1s if the unit size is 10 or more models. There are two ways to guarantee that the unit is considered to have 10+ models, including the Raucous Warcaller Enhancement (the bearer’s unit is considered to have 10 models) and the 1CP Braggin’ Rights Stratagem (two BOYZ units within 6″ of each other in the Command phase are considered to have 10 or more models for Army purposes). The Painboy gives the unit the Feel No Pain 5+ ability.

The 5+ save has a 33% probability of success. Re-rolling 1s improves that probability by 17% (1 out of every six times you get to re-roll), which means a net probability of 39%. Combine that with the 33% probability of success from the Feel No Pain roll and the end result is that 59% of inflicted wounds will be ignored. From an effective wounds perspective the added protection is equivalent to every Ork having roughly 2.5 wounds. Take three units each with a Warboss on top (30 wounds base) and you have 90 wounds which are going to be an absolute nightmare to deal with. Not a bad foundation for 885 points.

On top of that, closing the gap here is really tough – Green Tide Orks can use the Go Get ‘Em Stratagem to move forward when they lose models to enemy shooting – D6″ normally, but a flat 6″ if they have 10+ models – and they can end up in Engagement Range with this move. This means that units within 7″ of a Boyz unit won’t get a chance to close the gap and fight them before being hit in melee and that’s bad news for the likes of say, Retaliation Cadre Crisis Suits, which need to be within 6″ to get their Detachment rule.

So how hard is this to kill?

Well, it depends on what you’re shooting them with. The biggest challenge we’re going to have is that we need a lot of shots. Blast weapons help in this regard, but even getting 5 extra shots is only going to lead to at most five dead Orks most of the time, unless you’ve got something with multiple blast weapons (we’ll come back to that). That said, Orks aren’t really worried about being shot by Lascannons, they’re worried about massive amounts of smaller firepower. So we’ll look at five specific units which you might take to handle a Green Tide unit and how they stack up. Spoiler: Bring flamers.

The first round of testing is against four potential shooting threats:

  • A unit of 10 Thousand Sons Rubrics armed with 9 warpflamers and a soulreaper cannon supported by an Infernal Master.
  • A unit of 10 Plague Marines supported by a Foul Blightspawn – armed with 2 plague belchers, 2 plague spewers, 1 plague sprayer, 1 blight launcher, and a plasma gun.
  • 10 Infernus Marines in a Firestorm Assault Force detachment with Immolation Protocols active.
  • A T’au Starscythe unit with a Coldstar Commander, all armed with flamers, in a Retaliation Cadre detachment deploying within 6″.

Rubric Marines

The sheer volume of fire from the Rubrics is a major factor here, with 10 models they’ll do some real work on the Orks, averaging 14-15 dead models… if the Boyz are on an objective, giving the Rubrics full re-rolls to wound. If they’re not, this goes much worse. That said, the Rubrics with an Infernal Master also clock in around 300 points, so it’s not the most efficient way to handle the 295-point Ork boyz unit. It’s worth noting that the Infernal Master is doing a ton of the work here – he’ll kill 2-3 Orks by himself on average, and potentially another one if you’ve Enhanced him to be 2 damage. If you swap him out for Ahriman you lose his big shooting attack but gain +1 to wound on your flamers. That’s generally a wash – the kills you gain from the wound bonus are offset by the loss of the Infernal Master’s Vortex weapon. The other option here is a Sorcerer, who gets you the best results, owing to having a Warpflame Pistol and a nasty psychic attack. Add him in and you’re looking at closer to 18-19 unsaved wounds, depending on how lucky you get with your Devastating Wounds from the Detachment rule.

Again, this all depends on getting full re-rolls to wound, so in most cases even a unit of 10 Rubrics can end up being a speed bump for a unit of 20 boyz.

Plague Marines

At 180 the Plague Marines are more efficient, and with the Foul Blightspawn they also have the Fights First ability, making them a huge liability for the Orks to charge into with their Go Get ‘Em Stratagem. They’ll average around 6-7 dead boyz in shooting and if the Orks move in they’re likely to finish the unit off in melee using a mix of heavy plague weapons and knives, plus their targets with be T4 at that point – the Plague Marines are likely to pick up another 9 Orks. That’s still not the whole unit however, and they’ll be in big trouble when that Warboss starts swinging and the Painboy brings back models in the next Command phase. It’s more of a tar pit situation than anything at that point as the Plague Marines will fight first in diminished numbers, kill a few more, and probably take another turn or two to die.

Infernus Marines

The Infernus Marines are similar to the Rubrics here – they won’t get full re-rolls to wound, but they are S5 attacks and they’ll get DEVASTATING WOUNDS from the Immolation Protocols. On average that’ll be good enough for 9 dead Ork Boyz – nowhere near good enough to avoid being cut down.

Starscythe Battlesuits

The Starscythe Battlesuits just don’t have the firepower to do the job even with a Coldstar Commander adding their firepower, averaging around 8 dead orks on 10 flamer shots – and they had to get within 6″ to do that, so they’re pretty much boned when the Orks press forward into melee.

Shoota Boyz. Credit: Rockfish
Shoota Boyz. Credit: Rockfish

Chaos Havocs

With the new Codex out for Chaos Space Marines, we also wanted to take a look at some of the options available for the Havocs. A unit of 5 Havocs armed with 4 Reaper Chaincannons and a plasma gun will get 8 shots at BS 3+ with S5 and 1 damage and a single plasma gun shot (we’re trying to stay more than 12″ away). A Dark Pact to get [SUSTAINED HITS 1] is pretty likely, and there are a lot of Detachment options that are worth exploring.

  • Veterans of the Long War can re-roll hit rolls, which is particularly nice for [SUSTAINED HITS 1].
  • Pactbound Zealouts can take the Mark of Nurgle to get critical hits on 5s, complementing [SUSTAINED HITS 1] again.
  • Alternatively Pactbound Zealouts can go with Mark of Chaos Undivided to re-roll 1s to hit and use Profane Zeal Stratagem to re-roll all wound rolls.

The overlap is pretty high, but the option to re-roll wounds and re-roll hits with Pactbound Zealots and MoCU is slightly stronger in this application. Two units would have a pretty good chance of taking out a fully loaded unit of Boyz… but you can only use the Profane Zeal Stratagem on one at a time. Without Zeal your expectation drops to something more like 8 wounds.

On the other end of the model spectrum, Forgefiends seem like they can put in a solid amount of work here, as they sport three Ectoplasma Cannons, each with D3 shots and BLAST. Those will pick up 4 shots each against the 21-model Boyz unit, giving them a total of 12 extra shots, for an average of 18 on each volley. Combine that with the Mark of Nurgle for Sustained hits on a 5+ and you’re likely to make 18 hits off a regular BS 3+ volley (missing with one third but generating an additional hit with one third), generating around 15 wounds, of which 2-3 will be Devastating Wounds. At three damage apiece feel no pain saves aren’t likely to keep a 1-wound model on the table, but the invulnerable saves will stop one third of the shots, giving you an expectation of around 9-11 dead orks. That’s not bad, but it’s not great, either and those 10 orks only cost 85 points.

Ork Battlewagon. Credit: Kevin Genson

Wrapping Up

The conventional image of Orks is a massive horde of Boyz running towards the enemy lines with reckless abandon. That option looks viable with the new codex, not to mention all the other fun things that can be done with Dread Mobs and the like. And since the Battle Wagon has a transport capacity of 22, you can even give them a ride!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments feel free to email us at contact@goonhammer.com. That’s also the best way to suggest topics for future articles.