Saga of the Beast Orks: Analysis from the Frozen North

This week we’ve got a second pair of expert eyes in to take a look at some of what Saga of the Beast has to offer, with Ben Cherwien joining us to evaluate what the boosts in the Ork section of the book do for the faction. If you’re more interested in Space Wolves, check out last week’s look at them with Jon Kilcullen, but if you like your armies green and mean, read on!

Hey all, Ben Cherwien of Frozen North Gaming here, and I’ve been asked to give my perspective on the new Ork side of Saga of the Beast for competitive play. After being forced into the greenskins by some teammates for Adepticon, I’ve grown fond of the army and its ability to gain ground while taking a massive pummeling. Now reading through and plotting lists is something I do with every army, because I like to have a relative idea of what I could come up against. This new Ork stuff really hit home for me, and some of them not in the right way. Overall, there is some good stuff in here that will make your WAAAGGGHHHH the biggest it’s ever been!

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Clan Powers

Starting off with clan specific psychic powers, I’m only going to cover the ones that I feel significantly impact competitive play. To paint a clearer picture when I’m looking at new content to feel out its possibilities, I try and clear my mind of my previous lists in order to take a fresh look. At first, one power only stood out to me, and that’s the Blood Axes no overwatch ability (Clever Talk). This thing is kind of nuts as the power itself has an unlimited range. Excuse me? But most other armies out there would kill for a spell that can be nestled deep behind 200 three-point models and put on a unit across the board.

After some further thought, this power on most matchups isn’t going to be the slam dunk. Except for lists which are wholly tailored to it like lots of Meganobz, but even then, it’s only one enemy unit. The Freebooterz (18” range) half movement power (Jolly Ork’s Glare) on paper looks sharp, but its range really limits it. You have to expend extra resources to fling it around with Da Jump. Just like the Blood Axes, this power is situational but still can be very useful since it is literally any unit (slowing a Knight, Impulsor come to mind). Remember, you don’t have to pick these powers since you pick game to game, but they are clan specific. With that in mind, the other limiter is that Blood Axes have not been a popular choice for competitive play, which overall makes this a bit of a miss – the best two powers are the ones which you’re least likely to see.

Kustom Jobs

Morkanaut. That Gobbo

Next up on the list are Kustom Jobs! These “relics” for vehicles might have those Meks out there emptying the workshop to bring out the Ork armor. The Gyroscopic Whirlgig for the dragster is hilarious. I think it is one of the best things out of this grouping. Free deep strike anywhere every turn and no mortals to the vehicle is strong. The only disadvantage I see is the dragster is kind of big to hide as it’s a vehicle, but a late-game deep strike game could come up HUGE. Granted Orks have Da Jump, but this is free and doesn’t risk the chance of blowing up that Weirdboy on a cast. Wings Note: Don’t forget that you can buy this for a unit of three Dragsters and get it on all of them. Just zapping around the board, forever.

You Killa Kan fans might want to check out the Orkymatic Pistons. This little trinket gives a 3” boost to Killa Kans, and this extra movement could help those small tin cans hit the table. One can only hope as an all Gretchin army would be hilarious. Slug Gubbin gets an honorary mention as an upgrade to the Gorkanaut adding 8 more shots and +1 to hit within 12” as I think it’s a real boost, but in the current meta the Gork falls a little short due to all the multi damage stuff being flung at Marines.

Specialist Mobs

Credit: Soncaz

Specialist mobs are a way to Kustom Build your very own flavor of ork. I think these are going to be used as an offshoot to buff specific units in small detachments, but there are a few that stick out to me. The Tin ‘Eads mob for Killa Kan/Deff Dreads allows for +1 to hit in the Fight phase. The Killa Kans’ current biggest downfall is hitting on 5s. Team this +1 to hit buff with the speed boost we covered earlier, and you got some speedy little guys that hit pretty hard in close combat and shoot like an Ork shoots. The other Gretchin boost, the Grot Mob, is pretty solid too. Adding a 6+ invulnerable save on vehicles and reroll ones to hit during shooting is substantial. I would expect to see the later sub kulture in most Ork lists since Mek Gunz are super common these days, and it is just a straight buff.


Credit: RichyP

16 new stratagems were released with this book. For the most part, they offer a small boost, but realistically most cost too much CP to consider regularly using. However, a few stratagems should make their way into every Ork list. Da Biggest Boss gives your Warboss a much-needed 4+ invulnerable save, a bonus attack, and upgraded strength! I mean, if you aren’t running citizen snips (relic claw Warboss) you should heavily consider it now!

Ork shooting units got their own unique stratagems, like the Flash Gitz +12″ range from Speshul Shells. Lootas can reroll Deffgun shots if they have a Spanner. However, each of these stratagems costs 2 cp in addition to anything else you slap on them. They really needed these to be 1 cp to make them usable, but instead fall into the category of stratagem I have dubbed “Desperate Measures.” It’s too expensive to use regularly, but you got your butt kicked so hard that you need at a minimum one unit to really pump out some damage regardless of cost.

Credit: Greg “Greggles” Hess

Ork vehicles were not left out and also got stratagems tossed their way, but outside of the planes, I don’t think they are going to matter. Now to my favorite stratagem, Flyin’ eadbutt. THIS THING IS HILARIOUS and it actually is super useful into some very unfavorable Ork matchups. This strat allows you to fly a plane and crash it on purpose blowing it up without a die roll. Now Ork have a bomber that does an auto 3 mortal wounds to units that are within 6″ of when it burst into a ball of flames. Combo that with dropping its bombs and you’re taking one plane and dishing out tons of mortal wounds. This is huge. HUGE. One matchup comes to……looking at you Fishheads (Tau).

Just imagine wiping that smile off his face. Picture it.

You can bomb a squad and blow up in their castle with tons of mortal wounds or it forces them to spread out. Either way, it’s a win for the Orks.


Big Mek. Credit: Kevin Genson

BIG MEK WITH KFF IS BACK BABY and honestly it should never have left BUT one key thing changed on it. IT WORKS IN COMBAT NOW TOO. Like what? I’m pretty sure this is going to get the nerf bat hard but for right now you can finally put a KFF with your combat stuff!
Wings Note: It’s also changed to be <CLAN> only, and also lost it’s ability to affect a transport. Honestly we all just need to wait for the FAQ on this one.

Source: Warhammer Community

How many wanted to scream WAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH at the top of your lungs when you saw his model? (Everyone is the correct answer!) How excited were all of you to see his special rules and statlines? How many of you were mad when you saw his point cost? (Everyone is the answer again here). Now I’m not sold on the big bad ork yet since 280+ points is a bit much, but I think there is a serious thing to consider here. He has an ability brand new to the game. He can only take 4 wounds a phase. That’s incredible. Paired with a Painboy (using Medi-Squig as he can’t be healed normally) he can be a real pain to bring down for some and outright impossible for those lists lacking interaction in multiple phases. I think a lot of people are going to start making room for him in their list, and I believe they aren’t going to be disappointed. With that said, everyone is aware of Ghaz’s only 7″ move and I feel this is not going to be enough. They gave him the <Monster> keyword, which eliminates him from using his own advance and charge aura. I literally facepalmed when I read that, and it hurt me inside thinking about it.

Now Ghazzy comes with a little buddy (Makari) that makes me crack up since he has a 2++ invulnerable. You read that right 2++, but that’s about it. Other grots can use his leadership, which moves the leadership dial to a 6 instead of a 4…not great. I like him since he’s cheap and durable, but I’m not a fan outside of that.

Anyway, back to Ghazzy, obviously, he is an absolute monster in CC dishing out a flat 4 dmg per wound with his weapon. This beast will also gain attacks as he gets hurt, but rocking a 4+ invulnerable save, which isn’t shabby alongside his 2+ armor save and T7, he’s not going to get that hurt. Pairing all that together, I start to think that his movement is going to make him avoidable, and a 9″ charge rerolling any dice still is not reliable, so I am on the fence hardcore. Matchups exist that he will absolutely crush, such as Centurion spam lists as each Ghazzy hit picks up a Cent. They can only do 4 wounds to him in each of shooting and combat, and the same goes for Blood Angel character spam where only one 4 damage hammer hit is going through. It also applies to basically any slow-moving list that does its damage in one phase. I’m definitely going to have to play around with him and see what he can do, but my gut is telling me a 280+ counter charge unit (as he’s slow) may not be the best. On the other hand, I do really like hero hammer, and this beast of an ork certainly brings that to the max.

Final Thoughts

Overall the book here did exactly what it was supposed to by bringing units that in the current meta were unplayable towards being maybe usable such as Killa Kans and the bombers. It brought back the cheaper version of the KFF, which was much needed. Is this the update like Grey Knights that puts Orks on top of the meta? No, 100% not, but it does enable Ork players to run some of their other models and stay competitive. Orks to me since their codex release have been strong in the meta but exhausting to play, and I think that is a big turn off for some, especially given the price tag. But if those don’t matter, then this army is fun and, in my opinion, able to hang with the best lists out there. They got some tools much needed for the other clans, situational stratagems, vehicle upgrades, and GHAZZY.

Wrap Up

Thanks to Ben for taking the time to put his thoughts together for us, and we hope that’s helped any of our Orkier readers get psyched up for the next big Waaagh. If you have any comments, thoughts or suggestions, drop us a line at