Start Competing: Orks Tactics

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WAAAGH da Orks!

Orks have been an iconic part of the 40k range for a long, long time. I can’t be the only person whose introduction to the hobby was the 2nd edition starter box who still occasionally finds spike-helmeted mono-pose Grots kicking around in their bitz box (thechirurgeon’s note: You find them by stabbing yourself in the thumb with their helmet spikes. It’s SUPER GREAT), and since those humble beginnings the Ork range has been bolstered by many rounds of reinforcements, giving them a huge array of toys to play with, plenty of which (happily) have very powerful rules in 8th edition. Orks had the longest wait for their 8th edition codex of any of the “classic” factions but it was very much worth it, as by the time it landed the rules writers had hit their stride and delivered a powerful force with strong synergies that could make a compelling claim to being one of the strongest in the game in its first few months. While some nerfs and the advent of Space Marines 2.0 have moved them closer to the middle of the pack, the Ork codex has a huge amount of raw power in it, and today we’ll be looking at how any aspiring Warbosses can get the most out of it.

As with all of these articles this was put together at a specific time and some of the ratings and judgements within it will be affected by that. This was written in December 2019, shortly after the release of Chapter Approved 2019.

Overview

Army Strengths

  • Belligerent and Numerous: Orks can put a staggering number of Grots and Boyz on the board while still having points to spare for tastier toys. Both offer more than just raw numbers – Boyz can chop down most threats through weight of attacks, while Grots shield other units via one of the more powerful Ork stratagems. If you want to run a horde, this is one of the armies to look at.
  • Fast: Ork armies built for it can cover a lot of ground very quickly. They have easy and wide access to Advance and Charge, repeatable redeploys, deep strike options and plenty of stuff that’s just naturally speedy. This combos well with being a horde army because it means your opponent is on a real clock to clear you out lest they be overwhelmed.
  • Psychic Powers: Weirdboyz are a regular feature in competitive Ork lists, owing to the fact that Da Jump is one of the game’s best psychic powers, but Warpath is no slouch either. Because Weirdboyz get +1 to their cast attempts for every 10 non-Gretchin Ork models within 10″ when the attempt is made, it’s also relatively reliable, even for powers that have a warp charge value of 7.
  • Surprising Amounts of Dakka: The Orks’ top shooting units are generally unusual but they’re also extremely effective and have various defensive mechanisms to keep them blasting away for long enough for their damage to add up.

Army Weaknesses

  • Counterable: A skilled player can usually get a pretty good read on what an Ork army’s plan is, and most of the strategies can be countered hard by certain builds or tools. Lists are often reliant on characters, which can be sniped out, hordes can just fold to some Marine lists, and the shooting options can be savaged either by multi-pronged plane attacks or Aeldari/GSC with stratagem counters.
  • Swingy Shooting: A lot of Ork shooting is extremely high variance, often in multiple ways at once, meaning a complete faceplant turn is always a risk.
  • Expensive: There is basically no top-tier Ork list that doesn’t need an absolute avalanche of models, many of which have a terrible dollars/pounds-to-points ratio. That can leave starting players without the tools they need to field the very best lists, and none of the available starter kits really get you to where you need to be.
  • So many models: If you’re bringing hordes, you’re going to have a lot of models. Enough that you’ll need to practice playing with them and moving them around to ensure that you don’t end up losing too much time in games that use a chess clock.

Competitive Rating

Medium

This has been a real rollercoaster – ask us this a year ago and the answer would have been “top tier” and six months ago (after the nerfs had bedded in) it would have been “strong”. However, in the last few months the massive upgrade to Orks’ traditional nemesis, Space Marines, has dropped like a hammer on their performance. Various popular Marine lists have the firepower and tools to absolutely ruin the day of the traditional “horde” Ork lists, and they’re a large enough proportion of the top-table metagame that Ork performance has tanked.

Tanking isn’t the same as being out of it though, and Orks were starting from a high enough baseline that they can still put up strong results with the traditional lists, and some common themes have emerged in how players are tuning them to adapt to the metagame. In addition, various players have displayed some Orky kunnin’ to devise new builds that perform better in the tougher matchups, some of which just got a lot better with Chapter Approved. Finally, while Marines can be tough a lot of the ways that players are tuning to beat them can leave them with fewer tools to push back Ork hordes, so some other matchups get a bit easier. Orks still see regular showings in top 4s at major events, and have seen 2 major wins since the release of the new marine codex.

Ultimately, as is well known, Orks is never beaten in battle, and plenty of devoted fans appear to be happy to have their armies die fightin’ in order to unearth the best tricks to prosper in a tough environment.

 

Credit: RichyP

Special Rules

Orks have a number of special rules in common, and they are key to making the army tick. Many Ork units have significant weaknesses on paper, be it low leadership on large hordes, or poor ballistic skill on shooting units. Luckily, for most units one of the rules here will either mitigate or completely nullify the weakness, leaving Ork units extremely well tuned to their roles.

Dakka! Dakka! Dakka!

When Ork units shoot, any unmodified 6s to hit with a ranged weapon always hit (no matter how many negative hit modifiers your opponent has stacked). In addition, for each unmodified hit roll of a six you can also immediately make an additional hit roll against the same target with the same weapon (these hits cannot generate further hit rolls).

This special rule is what makes Ork shooting tick, and means that there’s no problem that cannot be solved by the application of sufficient dakka. As long as you’re making a lot of hit rolls, some of them will get through, and you’ll sometimes get some outrageous spikes of good fortune. This works best with high volume shooting, and many of the best Ork shooting choices either throw a large amount of dice around or are cheap enough that you can run lots of them. It can also be souped up for one unit using the More Dakka! stratagem, improving both parts of the ability to trigger on fives for a turn, allowing a unit such as Lootas to absolutely obliterate something, especially if they’re also Bad Moons and thus re-roll 1s to hit can able to double shoot!

In order to avoid typing out Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! a million times, we’re going to refer to it as DDD for the rest of the review.

In maths terms, the short version of how this works out is as equivalent to re-roll 1s to hit the majority of the time for “expected” damage output, but with bigger upward and downward spikes. If you roll a single die on BS4+ with either re-roll 1s to hit or DDD up, your expected number of hits in both cases is ~0.58. However, the spread of results making up that average is slightly different.

Let’s assume we roll 36 dice under both effects, exactly six land on each number initially, and then for each number we’re re-rolling the six dice we roll again spread perfectly evenly across the six results as well.

We do that and then “bucket” our results – for each dice in our initial pool, how many hits did it generate?

For re-roll 1s, the breakdown is:

  • 15 dice resulted in a miss
  • 21 dice resulted in a hit

For DDD the breakdown is:

  • 18 dice resulted in a miss
  • 15 dice resulted in one hit
  • 3 dice resulted in two hits

The total number of hits is the same (21), but the distribution is different.

What that means in simple terms is that each time you pick up a dice with DDD rather than re-roll 1s, it’s both more likely to do nothing than it would be with a re-roll and more likely to do something dramatic. Very Orky.

‘Ere We Go!

You can re-roll charge rolls for units with this rule. You can choose to re-roll any or all of the dice.

Common to pretty much all units other than GRETCHIN, Trukks and Battlewagons, this is simple but extremely effective, making it easier for pretty much all of your melee units to hit combat. It’s especially good for Evil Sunz, as with +1″ to their charges and this re-roll they have a pretty good chance of making charges out of Deep Strike, meaning Da Jump is a constant threat and worry for your opponent.

Strategically there isn’t really much more to this – if you want to charge it makes it more likely you manage it. In terms of how to use these re-rolls, if you fail a charge it’s effectively always correct to re-roll any dice showing a 3 or less – the closest the probabilities come to that not being true is when you’ve rolled a 3 and a 1 and need a 5, and even then it’s at parity, as the probability of a 2+ on a single die and a 5+ on two are both 5/6.

Mob Rule

Common to all non-GRETCHIN INFANTRY and BIKER units and all SPEED FREEKS vehicles. Whenever you need to use the leadership characteristic of a unit with this ability, it can use one of the following (your choice):

  • Its leadership characteristic
  • The number of models in the unit
  • The number of models in any other unit with this ability within 6″

The main use of this is making large units of Boyz, Stormboyz and Kommandos extremely hard to shift with morale. Many armies will only really have the resources to be focusing down a single unit each turn, and as long as you can keep at least one model from each of your large units tagged within 6″ of the other big ones, your opponent is going to need to get 20+ models deep into your unit before there’s much chance of morale coming into it, or split their fire and risk getting blown out by Unstoppable Green Tide. Because you also have access to the standard Insane Bravery stratagem from the rulebook, the long and short of this is that in order to ensure their safety your opponent needs to be wiping out every last Ork from your mobs, which is often a complete pain for them to do. This ability near-totally mitigates the risk of running huge blobs of Boyz, and is why that has been such a key part of the strategy for this army.

While passing morale tests with flying colours is the main use, it’s also worth remembering that this applies to any situation where you need to use leadership. That means there are one or two things out there (Mind War, Mind Control, neural shredders) that flat out don’t work on Ork units close enough to a big block of Boyz, which is a nice extra.

Speed Mob

The Ork version of vehicle squadrons – units with this ability can take multiple models, but they only have to start the battle within 6″ of each other, and act as independent units after that. Theoretically useful in that it lets you squeeze more than three of some of the newer buggies into your army, and some of them are priced well enough to make that an interesting option.

Dis Is Ours! Zog Off!

Your bog standard objective secured ability, allowing all Troops units in ORK detachments to take priority over enemy non-Troops units when holding objectives. Although this ability is common to most armies, it’s especially powerful for Orks because of just how much of the board they can cover and how heavily incentivised including large and/or numerous Troops units is.

 

Clan Kulturs

There are 7 different Clan Kulturs available to Ork players, all of which have interesting rules attached to them. There’s definitely Kulturs which stand out from the pack, but as army traits go, the Orks have one of the more diverse and equitable sets. There are two special rules around Kulturs – Gunz for Hire and Grots. The first allows units of FLASH GITZ to join any ORK detachment without preventing you from gaining a Clan Kultur, though they cannot benefit from one themselves unless it’s FREEBOOTERZ. The second states that units comprised entirely of GRETCHIN (and note that this is a keyword, so it means any unit with the GRETCHIN tag, not just the actual unit “Gretchin” despite what a number of wishful thinkers tried to argue back when the book came out) cannot benefit from Clan Kulturs, and cannot be affected by Ork Stratagems unless specifically called out in the Stratagem itself.

The best of the factions tend to be quite heavily focused on one specific thing, and a consequence of that is that mixed Ork armies are extremely common. Most feature Bad Moon shooting components and Evil Sunz melee threats, and a recent trend has been to cap that off with Deathskulls for the final detachment. These three tend to outshine the others in competitive play

Bad Moons

  • Kultur: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for attacks made in the Shooting phase.
  • Stratagem – Showin’ Off – 2CP: Use immediately after resolving a Shooting attack with a BAD MOONS INFANTRY unit; that unit can immediately shoot a second time.
  • Warlord Trait – Da Best Armour Teef Can Buy: 4+ invulnerable save.
  • Relic – Da Gobshot Thunderbuss: Replaces a kustom shoota or kombi-weapon with skorcha/rokkit launcha. Replace the shoota profile with a gun which is 12″ range, Heavy 2D6, S5 AP-1 D1, auto-hits.

Starting off with a strong one, the Bad Moons are easily the most powerful clan for shooting options thanks to their Kultur and stratagem. Re-roll 1s to hit acts as a flat 7/6 increase on shooting output, but because DDD provides another 7/6 multiplier to your output their effects compound and you get even more dakka for your teef. This is even more true if you use More Dakka and even more true if you use the extremely powerful Showing Off stratagem here to double shoot with a unit, as More Dakka lasts for an entire phase. This combo is currently popularly used with Lootas and Shokk Attack Gun Big Meks, and has been a staple of Ork lists since the codex first dropped, surviving even through a nerf targeted at Lootas.

Blood Axes

  • Kultur: Units with this kultur gain the benefit of cover even in the open as long as they are more than 18″ away from the unit firing at them. Additionally, they can choose to either shoot or charge (but not both) even in a turn where they Fall Back.
  • Stratagem – Dead Sneaky – 1CP/2CP: Select a BLOOD AXE INFANTRY unit with a PL of 8 or less (1CP) or 9+ (2CP) and set it up in Deep Strike.
  • Warlord Trait – I’ve Got A Plan, Ladz!: Roll each time you spend a Command Point when using Stratagems. On a 6+ regain 1CP.
  • Relic – Morgog’s Finkin’ Kap: If the bearer is your Warlord, generate a second Warlord trait. If they are not the Warlord, generate a Warlord trait. The same trait cannot be generated twice.

From a hit we go straight to a miss. While all of this sounds cool, none of it really does enough, and most of it can be replicated in other ways. Most Ork units are packing pretty poor armour saves and boosting a 6+ to a 5+ doesn’t tend to make much difference to survivability against anything with AP, meaning that if players want a defensive option they tend to look at Kustom Force Fields. The stratagem is just weird – Orks have a generic deep strike stratagem covering units up to PL20 for 2CP, and while technically you can use this to chuck a bunch of 20-model Boyz units into Deep Strike for 1CP each, Orks have a tonne of CP to work with and would rather run bigger units than play around this. The Warlord trait hits the same issue of being kind of unnecessary and also a weak version of a CP regen effect. The relic is cute, but there just isn’t any army that wants it enough to take this faction – generally if Orks want an extra trait it’s from the Dread Mob specialist detachment and they can just use Field Commander.

Deathskulls

  • Kultur: Models with this kultur have a 6+ invulnerable save. Additionally, they can re-roll a single hit roll, wound roll, and damage roll for each unit with this kultur each time it shoots or fights. Additionally, INFANTRY units with this kultur gain “Dis is Ours! Zog Off!” (the Ork version of objective secured) even if they are not Troops.
  • Stratagem – Wreckers – 2CP: At the start of any phase, select a DEATHSKULLS unit from your army. You can re-roll wound rolls for attacks by that unit that target enemy VEHICLE units until the end of the phase.
  • Warlord Trait – Opportunist: Re-roll wound rolls of 1 for attacks made by your Warlord that target enemy VEHICLE units. In addition, in the Shooting phase, the Warlord can target enemy CHARACTER units within 18″ even if they’re not the closest enemy unit.
  • Relic: Da Fixer Upperz. The bearer gains the Big Mekaniak ability (see the Big Mek entry). If it already has that ability, then the target of the ability automatically regains 3 wounds instead of d3 each time it’s used.

Back to a hit, Deathskulls see a large amount of use off the back of their ridiculously powerful Kultur (three effects, all good, what is this the Iron Hands Codex?) and powerful stratagem, both of which are especially good when tacked on to a Dread Mob Big Mek with the Souped Up Shokka. That particular combination is the scourge of Imperial Knights everywhere, but the raw, broad spectrum power of the Kultur makes it a good choice on any army that wants to go wide. As we’ll look at in the lists section, an army leaning heavily on various shooty buggies put up a good result at a recent major, and the sheer number of re-rolls this Kultur gives that kind of army takes it to the next level. As a very broadly applicable source of incremental advantage, this is also a pretty good choice for smaller games or as you’re starting out with the army – it just makes your whole army a bit better, so until you’re at the point where you’re putting very focused detachments out it’s a reliable choice.

The Warlord Trait and Relic are both generally passed on. They’re fine, but if you’re going to make a Souped Up Shokka Mek your warlord the vanilla Bigkilla Boss is a better choice most of the time.

 Evil Sunz

  • Kultur: +1 to Move (+2 for Speed Freeks), +1 to advance rolls, +1 to charge rolls. Additionally, they do not suffer the penalty to hit rolls for Advancing and firing Assault weapons.
  • Stratagem – Drive-by Krumpin’ 1CP. At the end of the Shooting phase, select an EVIL SUNZ SPEED FREEKS unit from your army; that unit can immediately move as if it were the Movement phase but cannot charge this turn.
  • Warlord Trait – Speed Freek: Your warlord and friendly EVIL SUNZ units within 6″ of them can charge even if they Fell Back this turn.
  • Relic – Rezmekka’s Redder Armour: +1 Move for TRANSPORTS the bearer is embarked inside of. In addition, while the bearer is embarked, then at the start of your Movement phase roll a D6 for every enemy unit within 1″ of the TRANSPORT – on a 4+ that unit suffers d3 mortal wounds.

Our third and final part of the standard set of Kulturs used in tournament lists is Evil Sunz, and people are here for one thing along – the Kultur. This compliments anything that wants to get into melee outrageously well, meaning that even footslogging Boyz squads are usually going to be making charges on turn 2. If your opponent doesn’t respect the extra threat range this gives you on the board they’re going to get overrun very quickly, and even if they do just the +1″ charge out of Deep Strike or Da Jump combines with ‘Ere we go to make charges way more likely to succeed.

None of the rest of the stuff here sees much use – actual Speed Freeks are more common as Deathskulls, so the stratagem doesn’t come up much, while the relic and warlord trait are both extremely forgettable. Doesn’t matter though – 3×30 Evil Sunz Boyz with a Bike Warboss has been the solid hammer swung by most Ork lists for the last year or so, and even in Space Marine meta it remains enduringly popular in successful lists. Even when that isn’t the path taken, some of the other options you can use (Nobz or Meganobz in a Tellyporta) also benefit from this, meaning it’s likely to remain a key part of the arsenal for the forseeable future.

Freebooterz

  • Kultur: Add 1 to hit rolls for attacks made by models with this kultur if any other friendly unit within 24″ has destroyed an enemy unit this phase.
  • Stratagem – Kill-Kroozer Broadside – 3CP. Use at the start of your Shooting phase. Select up to d3 points on the battlefield, each more than 6″ away from the others and visibile to a FREEBOOTERZ unit from your army. On a 5+ (6+ for CHARACTER units) each unit, friend or foe, within 3″ of any of those points takes d3 mortal wounds. Once per battle.
  • Warlord Trait – Killa Reputation: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for attacks made in the fight phase by friendly FREEBOOTERZ units within 6″.
  • Relic – Da Badskull Banner: Once per battle, at the start of the Morale phase, the bearer can fly the flag; friendly FREEBOTERZ units automatically pass Morale this phase.

Freebooterz are a bit weird, and largely work out as being kind of unnecessary. The Kultur is theoretically extremely good, acting as a huge force multiplier as long as your opponent has at least one vulnerable unit, and working in both the Shooting and Fight phases. Unfortunately, however, it falls into the trap of being a generalist trait that’s less poweful than another generalist one (Deathskulls), and also in a faction that rewards specialising detachments. If you want a shooting threat you’re better off stacking up a bunch of stratagems on a single unit of Bad Moon Lootas rather than trying to go wide with these, especially as that single unit can then be Grot Shielded. The ability is much harder to turn on in the fight phase and also a lot less relevant – at the point where you have multiple Ork units in combat and you’re wiping enemy units, you’re probably on the way to a win anyway!

The non-kultur options here are also pretty mediocre. Re-rolling 1s in the Fight phase isn’t nothing, but isn’t even close to worth giving up Evil Sunz mobility on your melee units. The Relic is near-totally pointless. Finally, we shouldn’t write off the stratagem entirely, as we’ve recently seen orbital bombardments thrown out at the highest level, but it isn’t a huge lure. The only thing worth remembering with it is that if you include a unit of Flash Gitz in your army you’ll be able to use it despite not having a full Freebooterz detachment.

Goffs

  • Kultur: Each time you roll an unmodified hit roll of a 6 for an attack with a melee weapon, make an additional hit roll against the same target using the same weapon.
  • Stratagem – Skarboyz: Use before the battle. Select a GOFF BOYZ unit which is not ‘ARD BOYZ; that unit gains the SKARBOYZ keyword and gets S5. They can only mob up with other SKARBOYZ.
  • Warlord Trait – Proper Killy: +1 Attack. Also, gain 1 AP for melee weapons in any turn where they charged, were charged, or made a Heroic Intervention.
  • Relic – Da Lucky Stikk: +1 to hit for friendly GOFF CHARACTER models within 6″ in the FIght phase. The bearer can re-roll hits and wounds in the Fight phase.

Once again, Goffs suffer from Orks being much more interested in abilities that help them get into a fight than they are in extra killing power once they’ve managed it. The set of abilities here is, at least, all pulling in the same direction, which generally means that if you focus in on it (here probably by going deep on Boyz, Stormboyz and Nobz) it can be quite powerful, but we again can’t honestly suggest this as a better choice for those units than Evil Sunz. However, these have occasionally seen successful tournament use, so if your heart desperately cries for bloodshed, don’t be afraid to give them a go.

Snakebites

  • Kultur: 6+ FNP.
  • Stratagem – Monster Hunters – 3CP: At the start of any phase, select an enemy model with 10 Wounds or more. Add 1 to wound rolls for SNAKEBITE units from your army that target that model until the end of the phase.
  • Warlord Trait – Surly as a Squiggoth: Re-roll Morale tests for friendly SNAKEBITE units within 6″. In addition, friendly SNAKEBITE GRETCHIN units within 12″ automatically pass Morale tests.
  • Relic – Brogg’s Buzzbomb: This is a Grenade with 3D6 shots, 6″ range, S5 AP-1 D1. Once per battle and auto-hits. Once all of the first round of attacks have been resolved, select another enemy unit within 6″ of the target and resolve 2D6 attacks against it with the same weapon.

A 6+ army-wide FNP is undeniably nice, but comparing Snakebites to Deathskulls looks totally absurd – thanks to the low natural saving throws of most Ork units adding a 6++ will often be at parity with a 6+++, and Deathskulls get two other abilities beside. In addition, the Deathskulls stratagem is also in competition with the Snakebite one, and while less powerful is also cheaper and will often be sufficient to your needs, allowing you to save on CP. The one somewhat unique thing is the warlord trait, but thanks to the magic of daisy chaining units you can achieve most of the same thing with the basic Breaking Heads ability on a warboss.  The Kultur here is good enough that you won’t hate it if you take it out, but we’d basically always suggest looking at Deathskulls first.

 

Specialist Detachments

Orks were granted 4 specialist detachments in the Vigilus Defiant book. Each one costs 1CP and covers a few different units, and comes with a new relic, 1-2 Warlord traits, and 2-3 Stratagems.

Stompa Mob

  • Units affected: Stompas in a Super-heavy Detachment. One Stompa can be given a one of the two(!) Warlord traits in this detachment, and become a CHARACTER.
  • Stratagem 1 – Stomp, Stomp, Stomp!, 1CP: Use at the start of the Fight phase. Pick a STOMPA MOB unit within 1″ of an enemy units; roll a D6 for each enemy model within 3″ and on a 6+ that model’s unit suffers 1 mortal wound.
  • Stratagem 2 – Stompa-Porta, 4CP: Use during deployment. You can set up a STOMPA MOB unit in deep strike.
  • Relic – Tezdrek’s Stompa Power Field: 5+ invulnerable save. Can only be given to a STOMPA MOB CHARACTER.
  • Warlord Trait 1 – Gork’s One: Add 1 to hit rolls and wound rolls for attacks made by your Warlord in the Fight phase.
  • Warlord Trait 2 – Mork’s One: Add 1 to wound rolls for shooting attacks made by your Warlord.

It’s fair to say that the specialist detachments in Vigilus are a bit hit and miss, but this definitely takes the crown as the biggest and most baffling miss of all. Only being able to use this on a full Super Heavy detachment effectively disqualifies it (you could technically take it with some FW options in slots 2 and 3 but you shouldn’t) from most competitive games. That’s a shame, because while they’d probably still look overcosted, if you could stick some of these buffs (notably the relic and Mork’s One) on a solo Stompa (or even one in a Supreme Command) it would look much more like something that had a place on a tournament table. Given that Knights both Imperial and Chaos get to do baffling mix and matches of relics and traits in Super Heavy Auxiliaries it seems a bit mean that Orks don’t get to, and this is a real missed opportunity.

It goes without saying that if you find yourself in some sort of old-style Apocalypse game with three Stompas in your list, pick this every time. But also reconsider your decisions in life.

Kult of Speed

  • Units affected: SPEED FREEKS units in the Detachment gain the KULT OF SPEED keyword.
  • Stratagem 1 – Turbo-boostas, 2CP: Use at the start of your Movement phase. Pick a KULT OF SPEED unit from your army. If that unit Advances this phase, double that unit’s Move instead of rolling.
  • Stratagem 2 – Charge Through ‘Em!, 2CP: Use before a KULT OF SPEED unit makes a consolidation move. That unit consolidates 2D6″ instead of 3″.
  • Relic – Skargrim’s Snazztrike: DEFFKILLA WARTRIKE only. Add 1 to the bearer’s Toughness, and gain a 5+ invulnerable save.
  • Warlord – Quick, Ladz!: Friendly KULT OF SPEED units within 12″ automatically pass Morale if they Advanced this turn.

What if Speed Freeks, but speedier?

Turns out that the answer is a resounding “meh”. None of this is bad, but none of it is super necessary either, and both the stratagems have exorbitant price tags on them considering that you’ve already paid to unlock the detachment. Both could comfortably cost 1 without causing any great ruction.

If you’re rolling with a huge squad of bikers then it’s probably still worth taking this, as the consolidate trick can let you pull off some nasty stuff. The Relic is also decent if you want to take a Deffkilla Wartrike, but the surprise survival of the Warboss on Bike through Legends has left those a firm tier 2 option. Overall, this is flavourful and fun, and worth looking at if you are already packing the right units, but it doesn’t make you actively want to include them.

 

Credit: That_Red_Gobbo

Dread Waaagh!

  • Units affected: BIG MEKS, GORKANAUTS, MORKANAUTS, DEFF DREADS, and KILLA KANS gain the DREAD WAAAGH! keyword.
  • Stratagem 1 – Kustom Ammo, 2CP: Use in your Shooting phase. Pick a DREAD WAAAGH! unit; that unit can shoot twice this Shooting phase with all its ranged weapons.
  • Stratagem 2 – Mek Connections, 1CP: Use at the end of your Shooting phase. Pick a DREAD WAAAGH! unit within 1″ of a MEK WORKSHOP. If you use the Kustom Job ability to give that unit a kustom job, it receives something ‘extra speshul’ on a 4+ instead of a 6+.
  • Relic – Da Souped-up Shokka: Replaces a shokk attack gun. The Shokka has a 60″ range, Heavy 2D6 shots, S2D6, AP-5, Dd6. On the roll of an 11+ for Strength, each successful hit inflicts d3 mortal wounds in addition to any normal damage.
  • Warlord Trait – Dread Mek: Models with the Big Mekaniak ability.. When your Warlord uses the ability to repair a Dread Waaagh! unit, add 1 to the number of wounds regained.

Here we have an example of a different way in which some of the Vigilus detachments were a bit uneven – this one is outrageously, bustedly, in-every-tournament-list levels of good, but probably not for the reason it was supposed to be. There are a lot of words about Dreadnoughts here but that’s not what most people are after (although they are actually good on Morkanauts, which are right on the edge of seriously competitive). People are coming here for two things:

  • Da Souped-up Shokka – a Shokk Attack Gun but with twice the shots.
  • Kustom Ammo – Shoot twice with your Souped up Shokka

Shokk Attack guns are already good enough that the majority of tournament Ork lists pack three, so being able to take one that works out as four times as good (as long as you have CP) and gets four times the benefit from any other phase-long stratagems you choose to throw on it (More Dakka and the Deathskulls Wrecker being popular choices) is an effective auto-pick for Ork players that want to hit the top tables.

Blitz Brigade

  • Units affected: WARBOSSES, BATTLEWAGONS, GUNWAGONS, and BONEBREAKAS gain the BLITZ BRIGADE keyword.
  • Stratagem 1 – Opening Salvo – 1CP: Use the Shooting phase of the first battle round. Pick a BLITZ BRIGADE GUNWAGON and double the Range of that unit’s weapons until the end of the phase.
  • Stratagem 2 – Krush ‘Em – 1CP: Use in the Fight phase when a BONEBREAKA is chosen to fight. Roll 3d6 for the Ram ability and choose the highest result.
  • Stratagem 3 – Hold On, Boyz! 2CP: Use during your Movement phase before you move a <CLAN> BLITZ BRIGADE BATTLEWAGON from your army. Pick a friendly <CLAN> INFANTRY unit wholly within 3″ of that model and remove it from the battlefield. After that BATTLEWAGON has moved, set the <CLAN> INFANTRY unit up on the battlefield wholly within 3″ of that BATTLEWAGON and more than 3″ from any enemy models. This unit does not count towards the number of models being transported, cannot move further this turn, and cannot charge this turn.
  • Relic – Da Blitz Shouta: At the start of your Shooting phase, if the bearer is embarked within a BLITZ BRIGADE BATTLEWAGON, pick an enemy unit that is visible to that BATTLEWAGON. Until the end of the phase, re-roll hit rolls of 1 for attacks made by friendly BLITZ BRIGADE units within 6″ of that BATTLEWAGON that target the enemy unit you picked.
  • Warlord Trait – Back-seat Driver: While your Warlord is embarked in a BLITZ BRIGADE TRANSPORT, add 1″ to that transport’s Move. In addition, while your Warlord is embarked in it, it gains the ‘Ere We Go ability.

While the Dread Mob is easily the most powerful of the Ork specialist detachments, this one is probably the design winner, as all of this is either interesting, powerful or both. The shooty options are definitely in the “interesting” camp – if you find yourself in possession of a shooty wagon then empowering it with Da Blitz Shouta  and Opening Salvo is a no brainer. It probably doesn’t push them into being something you want, but it’s a nice leg up on them.

The “push” options here, however, are in that real sweet spot – they make Bonebreakas something you really want to look at when you might not choose to otherwise. Being able to advance and charge is absolutely massive for them, and the fact that it then applies to nearby units as well is a big deal. Hold on Boyz, while somewhat limited in not allowing you to charge, does let you put a huge amount of threat into your opponent’s face right at the start of the game (especially comboed with using Da Jump on another unit) and puts them on an extreme clock to do something about your army or get overwhelmed. Finally, if you go get into melee with a Bonebreaka then Krush ‘Em helps to up the reliability of them hitting hard.

This still doesn’t make the units involved top tier, but having played against this in a game where I underestimated it it’s definitely a real threat, and a great gift for anyone who wants to make Battlewagons work.

 

Units

HQ

Credit: Soncaz

Warboss

Warbosses are reasonably nasty killers, fairly cheap, and bring a critical ability to the table – Waaagh. This allows <CLAN> INFANTRY units within 6″ at the start of the Charge phase to charge even if they advanced. In combination with the Evil Sunz clan Kultur, this massively increases the speed of Ork aggressive threats, and is key to letting them close with the enemy in good time. They also have another aura effect, Breaking Heads, which they can use when a <CLAN> unit within 3″ fails a morale check, and deal d3 mortal wounds instead of any models fleeing. This doesn’t tend to help that much with Boyz, but can be useful if you’ve got one of these in the backline babysitting Gretchin, who still have a <CLAN> keyword even if they don’t get the benefits.

Warbosses used to have multiple alternative builds, but the only one that’s survived the coming of Legends (on the tenuous argument that it has a FW kit) is the Warboss on Warbike. This is an extremely good option to take – it boosts the boss up to a mighty T6, and crucially lets them keep up with other fast units. A bike boss with Da Killa Klaw (and often Brutal but ‘Kunnin) has been a very popular choice all edition, but you will often see a back up foot one or two as well. Both options are likely to continue to be key parts of lists.

The important thing to be aware of with Warbosses is that they are surprisingly squishy. Unlike similar characters from other factions, they have no invulnerable save, which means that against pretty much anything loaded for combat they will splat hard. You can make them moderately dangerous (and ones with Da Killa Claw are deadly) but still not really something you’d want to put in a fight with most combat characters – they will absolutely lose a slug fest with pretty much any character with an invulnerable save and a multi damage weapon. That’s not saying “don’t take them” (absolutely do), just remember that you’re in it for the buffs, not really for a hardcore combat character.

 

Credit: SRM

Ghazgkull Thraka

Ok but what if we want a hardcore melee killer as our warboss, as well as one of the most iconic characters in the game? Well we could take Ghazgkull Thraka. He’s big, he’s tough, he comes with a souped up version of Waaagh which gives out extra attacks, he’s got a hard hitting weapon, a pile of attacks and an invulnerable save and he’s…235pts?!?!?!

Yeaaaah no. I kind of feel like they’ve written themselves into a corner with Ghaz’s current rules – he’s about as nasty as a foot melee character can be, but he’s still a foot melee character with no delivery mechanism and in no world, considering how full of brutally cost efficient stuff this book is, do you turn around and spend that many points on him.

That’s a real shame – there’s some cool stuff to work with here and this character should be great. One of his saving graces is that his Great Waaagh ability works on all Ork Infantry units, not just GOFF ones, so the fact that he’s in one of the weaker clans matters a lot less as you can sneak him in via a Supreme Command, or a Spearhead leading up a bunch of Mek Gunz, but at the moment you just don’t really want to.

“New Ghazgkull” has been up there with Fulgrim as the most rumoured next “big” model coming, so let’s hope we’ll see a replacement for him in the future.

 

Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun

These are one of the most important units in the codex, and at this point more lists appear to be packing the maximum of three of these than not. At a bargain price of 80pts (with an optional four for an ablative wound in the form of a Grot Oiler), you get a super-deadly shooting unit that has character shielding. Shokk Attack guns are absurdly swingy – they’re d6 shots and d6 damage, which would be bad enough with Ork accuracy, but you also roll 2d6 for their strength for each round of shooting, and on an 11 or 12 they do d3 Mortal Wounds on a hit as well. It turns out to be the case that, while this is incredibly high variance, the good cases are good enough and you hit them often enough (especially once you throw one with Da Souped Up Shokka and the ability to double shoot into the mix) that these are just fantastic. The sheer number of bodies that Orks put on the board also make it a pain to get to them through character screening, with snipers being the only real way to pop them early. Marines do have good options in that area, so remember that you can Grot Shields one of these (probably the souped up one) in a pinch.

In terms of Clan, these are overwhelmingly seen as Deathskulls and Bad Moons. Usually there’s a couple of Deathskull ones, one with the super shokka, and one Bad Moon one. Both clan benefits help these a lot, and both also have useful strats for them, Deathskulls helping them hunt vehicles and Bad Moons giving them another way to double shoot. The consensus currently seems to be that Deathskulls do slightly more for them (the damage re-roll is huge), so if in doubt, ram three of these into a detachment of those and you’ll basically be happy.

They can also, like any good Big Mek, repair vehicles. This doesn’t come up super often, and you want to keep them stationary to shoot their gun, but if you happen to be standing them next to a Mek Gun that takes some wounds then don’t forget to heal it!

Realistically, if you want to compete with Orks you should own three of these. The fact they fill an HQ slot is just gravy.

Big Mek in Mega Armour

Whether the Big Mek in Mega Armour sees any play is going to depend a lot on what on earth happens around the “Big Mek with Kustom Force Field” unit entry in Chapter Approved. Kustom Force Fields (KFFs), which give a 5++ against shooting to Ork units wholly within 9″ of the bearer, have been a very common anti-alpha strike choice in Ork lists up till now, but almost always in the hands of a very cheap foot big Mek or a very fast and large-based Big Mek on Bike. The Big Mek on Bike is definitely gone the way of Legends, but there’s the tantalising prospect that the foot Mek with KFF might be staying after all – it’s still not 100% clear.

If it does, this unit sees no play – you pay a large number of points in tax on one of these for weapons and a stat line that you don’t want or need, whereas the foot option can go bare bones at a vastly lower price. If the foot option actually does end up gone then this unit might be considered, but my suspicion is that people will instead look at Wazbomb Blastajets. It’s true that they can be shot down, but you can bring more than one and they add a lot more to the table than this unit does. I don’t rule out this seeing some play if it ends up as the only valid character choice, as shielding a bunch of Mek Guns in the backline can also be very handy, but outside of that, give this a miss and build the model as a Meganob instead.

 

Credit: Soncaz

Weirdboy

Weirdboys are absolutely critical to the success of any Ork horde list, mostly as casters of Warpath and Da Jump. These two abilities push Ork Boyz from being a somewhat threatening unit to being a complete nightmare, able to redeploy across the board and hit like a truck.

If you’re packing Ork Boyz, Weirdboys are also extremely reliable at landing their buffs thanks to the Power of the Waagh ability. This adds +1 to their casts (up to +3) for every non-Gretchin Ork model within 10″ when they cast. That makes landing WC6/7 buffs extremely reliable, and has only the mild drawback that they perils on any roll of a 12+ after modifiers, not just an unmodified double 6. You do, therefore, need to be a little bit wary with these, and sometimes will want to move them away from other models to take the risk of a head explosion down, as don’t forget that if you perils and die your power doesn’t go off. If you have a Painboy, keeping them nearby so they can heal up a wounded Weirdboy is not a bad idea, but also don’t forget that each Weirdboy can suck up at least one Perils, so don’t get too precious until you’re in danger range!

Much like with SAG Big Meks, the fact that Weirdboys fill up an HQ slot is a bonus. This effect is further amplified by them being cheap, and none of their powers or abilities being <CLAN> locked, so if you need to fill slots in a mix and match list (which as discussed, many are) these help with that too!

As with Warbosses, do just be aware that these will die to a stiff breeze, and you need to be very careful to hide them against any snipers.

Boss Snikrot

Boss Snikrot is cute and pretty well priced for what he does, but is a victim of just how much better the Evil Sunz trait is than any of the others for Deep Striking melee units. Orks actually don’t have many sources of re-roll 1s to hit, and Kommandos are pretty good, so if you ever wanted to take Blood Axes he’s probably see quite a bit of play. Sadly, however, you never really do, and while the rate here is fine and you certainly won’t hate taking him out if you’re a dedicated Blood Axe fan, he isn’t good enough to draw people in.

Boss Zagstruk

Another Character that’s cute and good fun but doesn’t push a weaker Clan over the top. Here, Zagstruk feels like he’s criminally missing Waaagh – if he could grant a bunch of Stormboyz Advance and Charge while jetting about the battlefield he’d be an interesting alternative to a Bike Boss, but as it is he just doesn’t quite manage to find a niche.

Credit: Soncaz

 

Deffkilla Wartrike

An exceptionally cool model released alongside the Codex, the Deffkilla Wartrike has a tonne of different cool things going on and is pretty aggressively priced, but still doesn’t ever seem to quite make it into top tier lists. A big part of that is probably that it doesn’t grant Waaagh to INFANTRY (instead having Speedwaaagh, the same but for VEHICLES and BIKERS) and has a weird, special Power Klaw that can’t be upgraded to Da Killa Claw.

Unusually, the physical dimensions of the model are also a big strike against it. It’s on a massive base, but it’s still very much statted for going after characters and elite infantry rather than big targets like Knights, so when it’s accompanied by a sea of Boyz making sure it can actually be properly manoeuvred is a real challenge. Finally, like all Ork characters it’s way easier to kill than the model would suggest, although that at least can be heavily mitigated by the relic from the Kult of Speed specialist detachment.

All of this being said, this isn’t a terrible unit. It’s pretty decent at what it does given the cost, and is low to the ground enough wounds wise to benefit from character screening. You can absolutely take this out in armies and have fun with it (definitely take the Kult if you do), but it just doesn’t quite compare to other ways of spending the points when you’re going for super optimised lists.

Kaptin Badrukk

The Kaptin hasn’t seen much play up till now, but Flash Gitz are a bit of a wildcard coming out of Chapter Approved, as they got a huge point cut.

If they turn out to “get there” now, the Kaptin will probably play a part in it. Being unique among non-Gretchin Ork units in having BS4+, Flash Gitz are very well placed to benefit from his re-roll 1 aura, stacking with DDD to seriously boost their damage. He’s also no slouch at shooting himself, and will actually throw out some hurt over the course of a game, especially if you buy him an ammo runt (and you should). He’s not as good as a SAG Mek, but if you want him to boost up the Gitz then you won’t be sad to have him.

This model lives and dies on whether Flash Gitz are good now, but just by existing he makes that more likely to happen, and I’m comfortable saying the question is definitely now whether they’re “fine” or “seriously competitive”, so if this guy and his pirate mates have been languishing in your collection, definitely get him out and have a play.

 

Troops

Boyz

Simple but effective. That’s basically the summary here. At 7ppm, and coming in units of up to 30, you can squeeze a tonne of these into an army, and three big units of 30 is a very common way to do it. Going big tends to make them better – at 20 models or above they get an extra attack each, taking Choppa ones to 4A, and when you have 30 you maximise the chance of your opponent missing the kill by a few models and you getting to respawn the unit with Unstoppable Green Tide, and also get more benefit when you do so. Having multiple blobs of 30 also lets them cross-cover one another for Mob Rule, meaning that they very rarely suffer serious morale issues. Just by sheer volume of attacks they’ll tend to flatten anything you run them into, and if you needs some extra killing power chucking a big choppa, power claw or killsaw onto the Nob in addition to their choppa (with all three being valid options depending on spare points) lets you add a bit more punch against targets where the lack of AP really tells.

In terms of other unit options, for every 10 models you can take a tankbusta bomb, and you should because there’s literally no reason not to and occasionally you’ll punk a vehicle with Extra Stikkbombz. The other sneaky thing you can do is switch out some of the choppas to be shootas – on 32mm bases it’s usually difficult to get a whole unit into combat, so you don’t really lose anything by swapping your back ranks to a better gun (20 choppas, 10 shootas is a split I’ve seen) while adding some extra incidental screen clearance. It’s by no means mandatory, but if you have the models it can be a good thing to consider.

While 30 model units are the norm, there are definitely use cases for 10 model units too. Using Da Jump on them can send them off to hide behind terrain on an objective, and if you’re playing with magic boxes ten of these in a ruin can be a pain for some armies to prise out. If you don’t need 10-model units for anything else you can just staple them onto a bigger unit with Mob Up and get more bang out of Warpath and Da Jump (though remember that doing this switches off Unstoppable Green Tide).

Just the sheer amount of space these take up is great in formats like ITC as well, as they allow you to saturate the board with dangerous models that your opponent doesn’t really want to tangle with. Playing against Orks on a mission like Seize Ground is an utter nightmare, because if they go first they can often get onto 4-5 objectives and stay there for at least 2-3 turns off the back of the Boyz.

The only real caveat on these is that the metagame is currently a little bit more hostile to them than it once was, mostly thanks to Thunderfire Cannons existing. These are a total nightmare, being able to shut down the mobility of foot slogging units and stopping you covering nearly as much ground with them. While you can still jump one unit, having more units close behind was always part of their strength, and taking that away can let your opponent hold these back long enough to pick them off one at a time. This is pretty much the main reason behind the current low ebb Orks are on metagame wise – Marines are just real good at killing Boyz. It isn’t an unwinnable game by any means, and lists with these are still doing well, but people are also trying other units as the core to their strategies.

Gretchin

Who wants 10-model Troops units for 30pts? Everyone? Right.

Gretchin are comically terrible at achieving anything in their own right (their Surprisingly Dangerous in Large Numbers ability for packing 20+ models is usually a trap), but boy are they cheap for filling out detachments and providing screening for other, better units at a bargain price via the Grot Shields stratagem. Most lists pack a decent number of these, because they’re simply so cheap that as soon as you want a detachment of any clan you may as well make it a battalion for the extra juicy CP and to pack more bodies onto the board.

While they die in droves to pretty much any shooting, just the sheer number of wounds these add to the board can be a challenge for some armies to chew through, especially with some Warbosses around to use Breakin’ Heads on any that try and run, and this helps them contribute to the wider Ork battleplan of just saturating the board with a tide of green flesh.

Realistically, if you’re an Ork player you want at least three squads of these available to fill out an off-clan battalion, and I’ve seen plenty of lists go past with 60 or even 90 in them.

 

Elites

Painboy/Mad Dok Grotsnik

Painboys give <CLAN> INFANTRY and BIKER units within 3″ a 6+ FNP, which doesn’t sound like much and is a very small aura, but can really add up thanks to the number of wounds Orks can put on the table. It’s especially good if you’re packing any 2W units like Nobz or Warbikes, as 6+ FNPs on those have a big impact against D2 weaponry (which is both popular and good against Orks). They can also heal a friendly unit once per turn. When armies going all in on massive units of Boyz were popular these were staples, these days they’re much more of a “sometimes” unit. The fact that they’re easy to snipe out is definitely a factor in that.

If you’re worried about snipers or running a mixed list with at least one Deathskulls detachment you can work around this by upgrading one to Mad Dok Grotsnik. He’s about 20pts more and has the drawback of sometimes having to declare a charge, but gets a couple of big upsides as well – an extra point of T and a 5+++, making him harder to snipe, and providing his aura to all ORK INFANTRY and BIKER units rather than just the clan. Since detachment mixing is near universal and most armies have Deathskulls he’s probably the one to look at if you want this effect, but while it’s fine it’s also totally OK to skip out on an 86pt model that is neither a slot filler nor an alpha unit.

Credit: SRM

Tankbustas

Our first entrant for alpha shooting infantry, Tankbustas will absolutely blow vehicles to smithereens, more effectively than pretty much anything else in the arsenal other than Da Souped Up Shokka, but they need to get pretty close to do it. Their rokkit launchers are only range 24″, so you need to be actively closing on the foe to utilise them. That can make them a bit more challenging to use than their main competitor (Lootas), as although you can either Tellyporta them or use Da Jump to get them in position, doing so while keeping enough Grots around to shield them from a counter-punch can be tricky, and these are valuable enough that your opponent will turn the big guns on them sharpish. Another option you do see with these is sticking them in transports like Trukks or (occasionally) Battlewagons. You lose the ability to drop stratagems on them, but it lets you put another shooting threat down without them dying quite so trivially to a stiff breeze. As their weapons are Assault, keeping them on the move like this is much more viable than with Lootas.

The killing power is definitely there and these show up in successful lists both in and out of Transports, but they’re definitely just a bit less popular than Lootas, and have a new competitor in the form of Flash Gitz.

Nobz

Nobz can be relatively effective as a slightly more resilient push threat that still doesn’t break the bank. Equipped with their most common loadout (choppa and big choppa) these only run 19pts each, so you can squeeze in quite a few and potentially send them off to menace a weak flank using Da Jump or similar. However, it’s difficult to argue that the army every really needs them, and most lists choose to spend their points elsewhere. They also open up a gaping vulnerability to D2 weaponry – plenty of stuff will just cold-cock a unit of these off the board.

Ultimately, these are a perfectly acceptable unit, but the army never really needs them and highly optimised lists tend to pass on them.

Nob with Waaagh! Banner

A Nob with a fancy flag that gives <CLAN> units within 6″ +1 to hit in the Fight phase. That’s some fairly hefty force multiplication and these certainly aren’t bad, but they’re another unit where it’s not always clear that the premium you pay to bring one is justified over just including more models in other squads. It’s arguably more appealing if you’ve gone in on big hitter melee units like Meganobz, as offsetting their -1 to hit can be valuable, but even there you’d probably prefer just having two more models in the unit. Ultimately, the fancy flag boy is fine, but eminently miss-able.

 

Credit: SRM

Meganobz

First things first – yes these look a bit embarrassing next to Assault Centurions, but they can still compliment the Ork army extremely well. A full squad of ten of these runs you 350pts and is perfectly PLed to go in a Tellyporta. Especially if you make them Evil Sunz, they will come out of Deep Strike and mess stuff up in a way that’s pretty complimentary to the overall Ork battleplan of keeping the opponent on the back foot. If your opponent is already trying to fend of 90 Boyz that are all up in their business, the last thing they want to deal with is 30W of 2+ save killling machines coming at them from a different angle.

We have recently reviewed lists that saw success running multiple squads of these, and I think there’s real potential in them in the current metagame – having something that doesn’t just melt to a bunch of AP-1 firepower is crucial, and bringing that straight in for a charge from Deep Strike helps to keep your opponent on the defensive for long enough to build board control

Nobz on Warbikes

The other flavour of souped up Nobz, this time riding Bikes, and bizarrely a mainline Codex unit unlike similar Index choices from other armies, so survived Legends. That isn’t super impactful, sadly – the price just isn’t quite right on these, as giving them any interesting weapons at all makes them pricier than Meganobz, and they don’t have the 2+ save to make them a real, serious problem to shift.

They do get a brief mention because they’re by far the funniest thing to combo with the Kult of Speed. Double moving these turn one with a Deffkilla in tow to give them advance and charge will probably catch the odd opponent by surprise and leave them scrambling to get back into the game, but I can’t really defend it as a possible top tier strategy!

 

Credit: SRM

Kommandos

Pretty much since the Ork book released these have been an occasional, lurking presence in lists. Just having a unit in natural Deep Strike that can pop out and gank something at a key time provides a decent amount of utility, and some players swore by these in the early days of the codex. They have mostly ebbed away as lists lean in to stuff like Shock Attack Gunz more, and finally lost the (obviously unintended) ability to take two free Burnas that the codex/index combo gave them, but if going deeper on bodies gets better again expect to see them return with a vengeance.

The Rest

  • Burna Boyz: Do actually have a small chance of a look-in since Chapter Approved gave them a discount, but still probably disqualified by the cardinal sin of just not really filling a niche.
  • Runtherd: Not usually seen, but can be relevant if you’re packing large Grot units and don’t have a backline Warboss, as they have a version of Breakin’ Headz just for Grots
  • Mek: None of the HQ Mek options get taken for their repair capabilities, so given that’s all this brings along you probably don’t bother. Some armies would value the cheap Elite slot, but since every Ork detachment trends towards a Battalion over time, Orks don’t need it.

 

Fast Attack

Shokkjump Dragstas

All of the Orktober buggies got a big drop in Chapter Approved, but two of them were already pretty decent and only get better (unsurprisingly) with a big discount. The first of these is the Shokkjump Dragsta, which is good for the uncomplicated reason that it puts three hard hitting shots out on the move, two of which are hitting at actually decent BS thanks to the +2 to hit it gets on the main gun. In a world full of Marine fliers, something spicy that you can point at them and actually still hit with on a 4+ is nice to have, and being effective anti-tank on the move makes this a pretty nice get, and all the nicer at its new price.

The main gun is extremely good in combination with the Deathskulls trait as well, being near pitch-perfectly statted to squeeze full value from it.

 

Megatrakk Scrapjets

The other “good” buggy, the Scrapjet combines decent shooting from its arsenal of rokkits with actually being a real threat in melee. With lists that want to go big on buggies, having some vehicles that can hit back when your opponent tries to charge or wrap you is really good, and being able to seamlessly transition from ranged attacks to applying melee pressure is really nice to have. It’s also another strong beneficiary of what Deathskulls bring to the table.

Stormboyz

If you’ve been paying attention thus far you’ll hopefully have pieced together that Orks want to apply pressure by charging real fast at the enemy, and you might be thinking that rocket pack Orks with an auto-6″ advance would be pretty good for this.

You’d be right – while they’re another mild casualty of a drift away from going all-in on hordes, lists that were basically entirely made up of Boyz, Stormboyz and support characters saw some serious success in the past, and will almost certainly return if the meta gets less hostile to them, especially with the survival of the bike boss, who is pretty much mandatory to keep up with them and give them advance/charge.

There’s not a huge amount of complexity to talk about here – these are just another lethal blunt instrument for Orks to cudgel opponents with.

 

Credit: Soncaz

Deffkoptas

These aren’t really tearing up the metagame, but need a quick mention because as-of the Chapter Approved changes running a single one with twin big shootas is only 30pts. Given that it can deep strike in from a board edge, that’s a pretty inoffensive way to pack a random objective grabber if you find yourself with points to spare, and also provides a cheap way to fill a Brigade if that’s something you’re interested in doing. These probably give up ITC kills too easily to make much of an impact, but it’s worth knowing they exist and are ridiculously cheap just for list building purposes.

The Rest

  • Warbikers: Saddens me though it does to say this, these are just way too pricy for a unit that isn’t notably better at any job than competing options.
  • Kustom Boosta-blasta: Doesn’t really have a niche among the buggy options.
  • Boomdakka Snazzwagons: Amazingly named, but just not really filling a niche. It’s clear that GW felt Orks needed some units that were (on-paper) ranged anti-horde, but the drop-off from their poor BS means that these just won’t really do anything on the table. They are at least super cheap now.
  • Rukkatrukk Squigbuggies: I will admit that this got such a gigantic cut in CA that it could be good in go-wide buggy lists, but the problem is that Scrapjets and Dragstas dropped too, and I think you still just fill out on them (and because you can take them in squadrons you won’t run out of picks). This is at least now fine at 100pts, and it’s a hilarious concept and model.

 

Heavy Support

Mek Gunz

Mek Gunz, in particular the Smasha Gun, are so good that running the full 18 has been a genuine and pretty common competitive strategy. At their pre-CA cost of 31pts each, Smashas were way too tough, deadly and broadly applicable for their price, and it was pretty much assumed they were getting a hike. CA has rolled in and increased their cost by (drumroll)…2pts each. So they’re, uh, still pretty good, probably still the best of these, and still eminently spammable – when a model is so good people want 18 of them, nerfing them so lightly that they gasp only get 17 isn’t really shifting the dial that much.

Smashas are good because they have a pretty decent rate of fire at two BS4+ shots each plus DDD, hit like absolute trucks against hard targets and are entirely comfortable switching gears and going after elite infantry, where their ability to wound T5 stuff on (effectively, their wounding mechanic is weird) 2s is a really valuable capability when there are so many Centurions bouncing around. With 6W each and T5 they’re also just non-trivial to deal with at range for most armies, so a lot of forces will lost the “race” if they try and win an attrition war against them (although it is worth being aware that Imperial Fist planes will absolutely eradicate them).

Smasha Guns are just so outrageously cost efficient that most of the rest of the weapon choices don’t get much of a look in, with the exception being people occasionally bringing along a few Traktor Cannons. The unique gimmick of this in auto-hitting and automatically making a flier it kills explode can give it some nasty bite against a few armies, but with the higher cost you don’t see these outright spammed in the same way as Smashas.

Mek Gunz being so good is a major contributor to Orks being an expensive army to collect – when you load them with Smashas you’re spending more than a dollar per point, which is not a fantastic place to be. Realistically, you should pretty much always be looking for ways to acquire some as an Ork player – having access to a bunch is extremely helpful.

 

Credit: SRM

Battlewagon/Bonebreaka

The whole Battlewagon family doesn’t quite make it into the big leagues, but there is some promise. The shooting options are kind of a bust – they just don’t do enough for the price – but as either a melee push threat (the Bonebreaka) or an open-topped shooting platform (a basic wagon) you can have some fun with them, especially boosted up by the Blitz Brigade. In both cases you want to fill it with something nasty – powerful shooting models in a wagon, nasty melee options like Nobz with a Bonebreaka. Do this and you should be able to have some fun with these – they probably won’t take you to the top tables, but they’ll at least put the fear of Gork (or possibly Mork) into your opponent.

 

Morkanaut

Morkanauts and Gorkanauts are in a weird place, being a sort of “Lord of War lite”, presumably added because they realised Stompas were a bit much for a lot of armies to want to include. Of the two the Morkanaut is the vastly superior option, and running it out in a Dread Mob (so that it can double shoot) makes it look pretty reasonable. The key to this is the fact that it can mount a Kustom Force Field (which you always should) – this both gives it an invulnerable save for itself and can also provide one to a large part of your army nearby thanks to it’s huge size. The main gun is also pretty deadly, and if you stack More Dakka on it to go with your double shooting it is going to delete enemy vehicles quite spectacularly. While it isn’t as good as the Gorkanaut in melee, it’s still fine at it, and trundling it towards the enemy while it shoots gives them another angle of threat to worry about

Obviously it is still going to have a gigantic target on its head against anything that can shoot it off the board, but as large targets go the invuln and wound count mean that it isn’t going to go down trivially and will probably at least keep your opponent’s attention for the turn. That encourages you to run this out with other stuff you might be worried about getting shot up like planes and buggies – drawing fire can be a virtue all of its own.

Morkanauts aren’t the best option for Orks that want to shoot stuff simply because foot-slogging units can be so effectively protected with Grot Shields, but they’re pretty close to being properly competitive and are something you can have a lot of fun with.

Lootas

There are some units that will make players who were going to tournaments at a certain time shudder, and Lootas are definitely one of them. Prior to Mob Up getting nerfed, building a 25 model unit of these and stacking strats on them to murder everything while hiding behind Grots was one of the top lists in the game, and a complete nightmare for a lot of armies to deal with. In addition to this, you used to only roll once for their number of shots per phase, meaning that players would use a CP to “fish” for 3 shots per model and then double shoot once that was locked-in.

Even after all of this has been dialed back, Lootas are one of the premium shooting units in the Ork army, and a staple of competitive lists. 8th edition is the edition of the autocannon, and each model in units of these is effectively lugging one around (don’t bother with any of their special weapon options). When run as Bad Moons, double shooting them while under More Dakka will put a huge dent into two vehicles each turn (usually to a point where a SAG Mek can finish the job if they don’t), while also being just fine at switching gears to delete heavy infantry. They can do this all at extreme range, meaning that backlining them behind grots is pretty easy to do, and although their weapons are heavy you can still move them with impunity if you’re going to pop More Dakka, or even use Da Jump on them to get a better firing position, meaning that hiding from them is really tough.

Ork lists tend to want exactly one INFANTRY shooting death star, and Lootas are the current holder of this crown in most competitive lists. Other options are definitely worth a go, but you really can’t go wrong by packing a squad of 15 of these behind some Grots.

Flash Gitz

A dark horse new possibility, Flash Gitz have occasionally turned up in tournament lists in the past, and have just gotten a massive 20% point cut in Chapter Approved, meaning that a lot of players are looking at them with renewed interest to go into the Loota/Tankbusta slot. They have a pretty unusual statline, with each model essentially being a Nob (2W, S5, 3A) while also packing BS4+. While they’re actually dangerous in combat (with 3A each) they’re still primarily a shooting unit, having a very nice gun (snazzgun, 24″, H3, S6, AP-2, D2) that’s in the sweet spot to be able to very flexibly go after vehicles or elite infantry, just like Lootas. They also have a special ability that gives them absurd high-roll potential – after you finish shooting, you roll a d6 and get to shoot at the closest target again on a 6. Finally, while they have to roll as FREEBOOTERZ, you can still give them Bad Moon like re-roll 1s by bringing Kaptin Badrukk along.

While these are now pretty competitively priced and are definitely a unit that will do work, my suspicion is that they’ll still lose out to Lootas after testing. While they have some upsides, as seen above, there are downsides too:

  • They’re short ranged, have heavy guns, and actually do lose something by moving and shooting under More Dakka because of their good BS.
  • You need to bring FREEBOOTERZ Grots to grot shield them. You can “game” a battalion in pretty easily (Badrukk, Weirdboy, 3 Grot squads) but that stops you being able to take the Bad Moons/Evil Sunz/Deathskulls trifecta.
  • There’s no way to guarantee they double shoot, capping the benefit from More Dakka.

Maybe I’m off base here and the extra quality they put on the table at baseline is enough to get them into top lists reliably, but I suspect Lootas keep that role. However, these absolutely are now a unit that will bring some punch to the table, so if you have a bunch of Ork space pirates kicking around, give them a go!

Credit: Soncaz

The Rest

  • Deff Dreads: While the body on these is extremely cheap, the fact that there are four mandatory weapon points on them and their number of attacks is scaled based on how many combat options you buy stops them really being cheap enough to be something you actively want on the board in optimised lists. They also suffer heavily from the existence of Mekatrakk Scrapjets, which are basically just doing “mixed mid sized shooty and melee threat” better in almost every way. You’ll probably have some fun with them though, they’re not outright bad for 85pts with two claws and two big shootas
  • Gunwagon: None of the gun options on a Battlewagon come even close to being specced to mitigate the poor BS of Orks, even when they can double shoot, so this build just isn’t really worth it.
  • Killa Kans: It’s really tricky to justify putting points in these – either they’re solo and give up a free kill or they’re in units and you start running the risk of losing models to morale as soon as one dies. As a final kicker, they aren’t even really any good at killing stuff! Gretchin Dreadnoughts turns out to just not really be a valid concept
  • Gorkanaut: What if a Morkanaut, but with basically none of what makes it good? You get a Gorkanaut. It isn’t very useful. There’s really no excuse for it’s main gun not being D2, and that’s what it needs to make it worthwhile.

 

Dedicated Transports

Trukk

The ‘umble Trukk doesn’t see that much play, as it turns out Orks don’t really need the help to get to melee, but occasionally turns up where people want to experiment with multiple shooting INFANTRY units, thanks to it being Open Topped. If what you really want to do is pack a lot of Tankbustas or Flash Gitz maybe give these a look, but the majority of lists don’t have a huge use for them. They’re already reasonably aggressively priced, but arguably needed just a little bit more of a cut in Chapter Approved to make them really worth looking at.

 

Lords of War

Stompa

Alas for the poor Stompa – there’s just no real home for the poor thing in 2000pts lists. Yes it mounts a tonne of Dakka, yes it’ll mess up anything it hits melee with, yes it’s a terrifying icon of Gork and Mork but it’s still 870pts and for a model with no natural invulnerable save and the world’s biggest target attached to it.

If you take one it’s pretty much mandatory to pay the tax for a KFF Big Mek (who can ride inside and confer a 5++), making it a bit easier to put down, but at that point we’re into the region of 950pts+ for a model that just isn’t going to make that back in any reasonable game.

Alas for the Stompa. Maybe next edition. Or I guess if there’s something wild in the Ork PA. We can dream.

 

Flyers

Credit: Greg “Greggles” Hess

Dakkajet

Not a common pick, but pretty much the only attempt at building an Ork anti-infantry gun platform that “gets there” thanks to getting +1 to hit when it concentrates the firepower of its Supa Shootas. Not top tier, but kind of fine.

Burna-bommer

This got a massive cut on its missiles in Chapter Approved, meaning that it’s another anti-infantry platform that’s actually pretty decent now thanks to shot volume, while also mounting a couple of bombs that it can drop. The main issue it has (and shares with the Blitza-bommer) is that sending it off to actually do a bombing run is usually suicide for it, and it’s a bit pricier than you’d like with that in mind. Still, while it has the weaker bombs the high rate of fire on this probably makes it the preferable bombing option.

Blitza-bommer

Better bombs, worse dakka. Since being all-in on the bombs is a downside, that probably makes this the weakest of the fliers.

Wazbom Blastajet

Finally, probably the best of the fliers and the one with a real niche in lists. This mounts some extremely potent anti-tank firepower, making it a really good user of Long, Uncontrolled Bursts to go after enemy flying vehicles, terrorising poor, “defenceless” space elves and Marine planes. It can also bring a Kustom Force Field, and having a large base means a few of these can extend the shield to a very wide area, something exploited by one of the lists we’ll look at, while also obviously being very happy to take an invuln in their own right.

These have started popping up in a few places, and especially with the loss of Bike Big Meks, I think a decent number of players might be about to find that these have been an undiscovered treasure in the book up till now.

 

Terrain

Mekboy Workshop

They tried. They really tried. This has a tonne of abilities, it’s a super cool concept, and there are some crazy combos you can pull off with it, but none of it is worth bringing a Fortification Network along, and the turn of lag time on the best ability (souping up a gun) also really hurts the chances of this ever making a list.

 

Credit: Head58

Power of the Waaagh!

At an initial glance, the Ork powers seem to have really high casting values. However, don’t forget the Weirdboy’s rule to get bonuses to cast from being surrounded by other Orks, making getting off most of these pretty trivial.

  1. Eadbanger – WC8 – 18″ range, roll a D6 and compare to the closest visible enemy model’s Toughness. If the result is higher, the target is slain. This is one of the weirder weird-Smite powers. It could go off huge if you manage to throw it on something like a Drukhari Archon or Farseer, but also you usually end up really murdering a single Scout or something. C
  2. Warpath – WC7 – 18″ range, pick a friendly ORK unit and get +1 Attack until the next Psychic phase. A straightforward power, but an effective one. What are Ork units for? Punching things in melee. What does this power do? Makes them better at doing that. A
  3. Da Jump – WC7 – 12″ range, pick a friendly ORK INFANTRY unit within 12″ and re-deploy anywhere on the table more than 9″ from enemy units. This is a fantastic power for yeeting large mobs of Boyz into the face of an opponent, and for general board redeployment. This is the engine that makes most horde Ork armies tick, and an absolutely vital part of almost any list. A+
  4. Fists of Gork – WC6 – 12″ range, pick a friendly ORK CHARACTER and gain +2 to Strength and Attacks until your next Psychic phase. A great third power if you have the chance to take one; Ork characters love to get in and fight and this makes them better at it. B
  5. Da Krunch – WC8 – 18″ range, pick an enemy unit and roll a D6 for each model in the unit. Each 6 does 1 mortal wound. Once you’re done, roll 2D6, and on a 10+ roll D6 for each model in the unit again, and again do a mortal wound for each 6. This has a high ceiling in the right situation, but most of the time you’re looking at doing 1-2 mortal wounds on a unit and then failing to repeat it. C
  6. Roar of Mork – WC8 – 18″ range, -1 Ld for all enemy units within range until your next Psychic phase. Like all Leadership effects, this is crazily situational. There’s a conceivable use for it if you get to pick game to game, but you probably don’t want it more than Warpath or Da Jump 99% of the time. D

Realistically, you want Warpath and Da Jump as top priority, following up with Fists of Gork if you have any powerful characters. The rest of these are super missable, meaning that the 2-3 Weirdboys most lists pack will be adequate.

Stratagems

  • Mob Up – 1CP – At the end of your Movement phase, select two <CLAN> BOYZ units from your army that are within 2″ of each other and have the same datasheet; if one of the units has 10 or more models and the other has 10 or fewer, the two units merge and count as the same unit for the rest of the game. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Originally let you merge any INFANTRY unit that met the criteria, but that turned out to be incredibly stupid with Lootas (the infamous “Loota Star” you may hear referred to in older writings) and so got nerfed to only affect Boyz. It’s still sometimes useful, most notably to staple an extra ten models to a unit you are about to cast Da Jump on or to sweep up a unit with a few models remaining to deny a kill in ITC. However, it’s definitely a situational effect rather than a must-use. B
  • Medi-squig – 1CP – At the end of your movement phase, select a <CLAN> CHARACTER within 3″ of a friendly <CLAN> PAINBOY and regain D3 wounds. Ehhhh, sure whatever. Sometimes this will be good, but their low saving throws tend to mean that Ork characters exist in very binary “alive” or “dead” states. The main use here is healing a Weirdboy that has caught a perils so that they can afford to keep casting without fear. C+
  • Snagga Grapple – 1CP – Use when a DEFFKILLA WARTRIKE Falls Back in the Movement phase. Before it moves, select an enemy unit within 1″ and roll a D6, on a 2+ that unit suffers d3 mortal wounds. Extremely situational effect on a firmly mid-tier unit. D
  • Warphead – 1CP – Use before the game begins; select a WEIRDBOY to become a Warphead. They know 1 extra power from Power of the Waaagh and can manifest an additional power in each Psychic phase. Most lists want Da Jump and Warpath and allowing one of your Weirdboyz to do both either lets you skimp on a second if you’re point constrained or build some redundancy if you aren’t. Doesn’t show up in every single list, but commonly used and very helpful. B+
  • Ramming Speed – 2CP – Use in the Charge phase; select an ORK VEHICLE unit from your army. You can roll 3D6 when making a charge move this phase, and if it completes its charge then you can select an enemy unit within 1″ and on a 2+ that unit takes d3 mortal wounds. Boy is this expensive but boy is it good when it’s good. If you’re trying to make a Bonebreaka in a Blitz Brigade work this will be a big part of it. Also great if you’ve gone in on a Morkanaut. B
  • Boarding Action – 1CP – At the end of the Fight phase, select an enemy VEHICLE unit that cannot FLY and is within 1″ of a TRUKK or BATTLEWAGON from your army. Any models embarked on the TRUKK/BATTLEWAGON can make a single attack with a melee weapon against that enemy unit. This is so conceptually cool but such a missed opportunity thanks to the limits on it. Will almost never come up. D.
  • Extra Gubbinz – 1CP/3CP – 1CP for an extra relic, 3CP for two extra relics. Most Ork lists want two relics at most, but this is always good and will almost certainly get better when Orks get their turn at Psychic Awakening. A
  • Get Stuck In, Ladz! – 3CP – Use at the end of the Fight phase. An ORK INFANTRY unit that has already fought once this Fight phase can fight a second time. Nerfed from its original form (where it worked at any time in the phase) but still good, clean fun. Well, incredibly messy fun, but you know what we mean. A
  • Orks is Never Beaten – 2CP – Use when an ORK CHARACTER from your army is slain. That model can immediately shoot as if it was the Shooting phase or fight as if it were the Fight phase. Handy if your pesty opponent insists on sniping out your Shokk Attack Guns, but firing “out of sequence” tends to make them less good because you can’t stack the buffs. B
  • Force-field Projekta – 3CP – Use at the start of a battle round. Select a BIG MEK model from your army; until the start of the next battle round, increase the range of that model’s Kustom Force Field to 18″. Once per battle. This is very expensive but might still occasionally be worth it. How good this is depends a lot on whether GW clarify what exactly is going on with the foot Big Mek with KFF, as if this ends up limited to only Mega Armour Meks it probably falls by the wayside. Even as it was, armies with Big Meks on bikes were often not bothering to use this even though they could, so it’s a firm C
  • Billowing Exhaust Clouds – 1CP – Use at the start of the Movement phase. Select a SPEED FREEKS unit from your army; until the start of your next turn that unit is -1 to hit with ranged weapons. Looks OK on paper, but because Speed Freeks are often good when they’re going super wide it’s tricky to find a situation where your opponent doesn’t just shrug and choose a different target when you activate it. Probably best if you’ve brought a mssive mob of Bikers, but still suffers from needing to take a turn before it switches on. C+
  • More Dakka! – 2CP – Use before shooting with an ORK unit in the Shooting phase. Until the end of the phase, Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! triggers on unmodified hits of 5 or 6. This is a huge part of what makes Ork shooting good, allowing units like Lootas, Tankbusters and Big Meks to do real damage. A
  • ‘Ard Boyz – 2CP – Use before the battle. Select a BOYZ unit which gains the ‘ARD BOYZ keyword and gets a 5+ save. That unit can only Mob Up with other ‘ARD BOYZ units, and cannot be SKARBOYZ. Switching from a 6+ to a 5+ just doesn’t do that much, unfortunately. C
  • Tellyporta – 2CP – Use during deployment. You can set up a unit with PL20 or less in deep strike. Deep Striking is good, and this is necessary to make some borderline competitive units like Meganobz workable. A
  • Extra Stikkbombs – 1CP – Use at the start of your Shooting phase. Up to 10 models from an ORK INFANTRY unit from your army can fire a Grenade this phase, instead of 1. Orks aren’t really accurate enough for this to reliably get stuff done, but it can be good in the right situation. Boyz mobs can take a tankbusta bomb per 10 models for three, and a trio of models chucking those does, just about, threaten to randomly punk an enemy vehicle, so can be worth spinning the wheel on for 1CP. If Tankbustas have ended up in grenade range, this is also very good for them. B
  • Grot Shields – 1CP – Use this Stratagem after a <CLAN> Infantry unit from your army (excluding units comprised entirely of Gretchin models) has been hit by a ranged weapon. Until the end of the phase, you can roll a D6 each time an attack made with a ranged weapon wounds that unit if there is a friendly unit comprised entirely of <CLAN> Gretchin Infantry models within 6″ of it, and the Gretchin unit is closer to the attacking model than the target unit. On a 2+ one model of your choice in that Gretchin unit is slain and the attack sequence ends. Oh boy. This makes including a single high-threat infantry shooting unit like Lootas or Tankbustas in your army pretty low risk, as you can include so many grots so cheaply that you can near guarantee them a turn of shooting with impunity. It’s also sometimes useful if your opponent tries to snipe out Big Meks. The only thing you have to watch out for is enemy planes circling round, but proper Grot placement to ward off all directions should be able to mitigate that, and this is easily one of the best stratagems in the book. A
  • Loot It! – 1CP – Use when a VEHICLE is destroyed within 3″ of an ORK INFANTRY unit from your army. Improve their Save by 1 to a maximum of 2+. You can only use this once per battle per unit and that unit cannot be affected by Mob Up afterwards. If used on Lootas, they can roll a 4+ to refund the CP. After an initial combo that allowed this to kerb stomp the rules engine and give Meganobz a 2++ (in a fashion that was technically correct but also extremely stupid) was FAQed, this has largely seen no use – there just aren’t really enough units that benefit from +1 to their save in the army. If Flash Gitz actually pan out post Chapter Approved it might be OK on them if they stand next to a Mek Gun and loot it, but most players are only going to fall for that once. C
  • Long, Uncontrolled Bursts – 1CP – At the start of your Shooting phase, select an ORK VEHICLE which can FLY. Add +1 to hit against enemy units that can FLY. A strong contender for best-named stratagem in the entire game, and also actually good – Wazbom Blastjets are fringe good and this helps them a lot. B
  • Unstoppable Green Tide – 3CP – At the end of your Movement phase, select a unit of Boyz which has less than half its original number remaining, and remove it from the battlefield. Set it up again within 6″ of any board edge and more than 9″ from any enemy models, at its full starting strength. You cannot do this on a unit which has used Mob Up and you can only use this Stratagem once per battle. One of the most terrifying stratagems in the entire game to play against, and something that warps pretty much any game involving large Boyz mobs around it. Opponent missed finishing off the squad by one model? Sucks to be them, because 30 Boyz are about to turn out to have been behind them all along, all kunnin’ like. If you’re an Ork player, use this, if you’re against them, fear it. A+

Your bread and butter out of these are:

  • More Dakka
  • Grot Shields
  • Unstoppable Green Tide
  • Get Stuck in Ladz

You should be using, or at least forcing your opponent to deal with the possibility of you using, these in most of your games. Plenty of the rest (and some of the Clan specific ones) have their uses, but make sure you’re thinking about how to maximise the benefit from these first and foremost.

 

Relics

  • Da Dead Shiny Shoota – replaces kustom shoota, 18″ Assault 12 S4 AP-1 D1. Extremely mediocre. D+
  • Headwoppa’s Killchoppa – replaces big choppa, S+2 AP-2 D2 and wounds of 6+ do 2 mortal wounds instead of the normal damage. The boost here is extremely marginal, but it’s at least inoffensive if you have nothing better to take. C+
  • Supa-cybork Body – 5+ FNP. Good on paper but short on places where it’s actually worth using, as Deffkilla Trikes probably want the Kult of Speed relic instead, and most other models won’t derive enough upside from it. C+
  • Da Killa Klaw – replaces power klaw, Sx2 AP-3 D3 and re-roll wounds. Now this is what we’re talking about. One of the big laments from Ork players between Legends being announced and it actually dropping was “with Bike Bosses going, who will carry the Killa Klaw?”. Luckily they stayed – it’s a Christmas miracle, and secures this a place as one of the relics of choice because just look at those stats, good grief. A
  • Scorched Gitbonez – PSYKER only, +1 to Psychic tests for Power of the Waaagh spells (no Smite!). Paradoxically, a lot of the time this is actively bad for the bearer. Most horde Ork lists don’t struggle to load up the full +3 from Power of the Waagh, at which point most buffs are an extremely reliable cast already and you don’t want a greater risk of a perils. Could see some use if the Deathskulls buggy list catches on though, as there a Weirdboy is much more likely to be casting with a lower bonus. C+
  • Gitstoppa Shells – kustom shoota or kombi-weapons get +1S, +1D, +1AP for the shoota or kustom shoota profile. Nah. Similar options in other factions can be quite good to add some ranged punch, but Ork BS is so intensely unreliable that this will never provide enough bang for your buck C

Ork relics are easy – Da Souped Up Shokka is best and every list should take it, and Da Killa Claw is the next best. That’s kind of all there is too it – Orks are not complicated.

Warlord Traits

  1. Follow Me, Ladz! – Your Warlord gets Waaagh! and Breakin’ Heads (see above), or gains 3″ on these abilities if he already has them, plus a bonus CP. Eh, it’s fine, but not exciting. C
  2. Bigkilla Boss – Gain +1 to wound for your Warlord’s attacks that target a VEHICLE or MONSTER unit. Extremely good on a Big Mek with SAG, which since that’s one of the best units in the list, maks this great! A
  3. ‘Ard as Nails – +1 Toughness. Ork characters splat when they get hit hard, and this isn’t enough to stop it so not worth it. D
  4. Brutal but Kunnin’ – Re-roll hit rolls in the Fight phase, and +1 Damage to melee weapons in a turn where you charged, were charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention. An outrageous boost to damage output, and popularly comboed with Da Killa Klaw and Fists of Gork for when the discerning warboss really needs to one-shot a Knight. A
  5. Kunnin’ but Brutal – At the start of the first battle round but before the first turn begins, you can redeploy your Warlord plus d3 friendly <CLAN> units. A potent ability that kind of falls by the wayside because most lists woudl prefer one of the two big punches above. Still powerful, and will rise to higher prominence if Orks get a way to double dip on traits that isn’t locked to a bad clan. B+
  6. Might is Right – +1 Strength and Attacks. Fine, but Brutal but Kunnin’ does this job better 95% of the time. C+

The choices here tend to be Bigkilla Boss on a Souped up Shokka Mek, Brutal but Kunnin’ on a Killa Claw boss and occasionally Kunnin’ but Brutal to help deal with an inclement matchup.

The Lists

Bobby Kingsada’s Classic Orks

Army List - Click to Expand

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Orks) [42 PL, 762pts, 8CP] ++ 
Clan Kultur: Evil Sunz

+ HQ +
Big Mek (Index) [5 PL, 75pts]: Choppa, Kustom Force Field

Warboss [4 PL, 78pts]: Da Killa Klaw, Power Klaw, Shoota (Index)

 
+ Troops +
Boyz [11 PL, 210pts]: 3x Tankbusta Bombs . Boss Nob: Choppa, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa
Boyz [11 PL, 210pts]: 3x Tankbusta Bombs . Boss Nob: Choppa, Slugga
. 29x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa
Boyz [11 PL, 189pts]: 2x Tankbusta Bombs . Boss Nob: Choppa, Slugga
. 26x Ork Boy W/ Slugga & Choppa


++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Orks) [25 PL, 531pts, 5CP] ++
Clan Kultur: Bad Moons

+ HQ +
Weirdboy [3 PL, 62pts]: 3. Da Jump 
Weirdboy [3 PL, 62pts]: 2. Warpath
Weirdboy [3 PL, 62pts]: 4. Fists of Gork


+ Troops +
Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts] . 10x Gretchin
Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts] . 10x Gretchin
Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts] . 10x Gretchin

+ Heavy Support +
Lootas [13 PL, 255pts] . 15x Loota

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Orks) [39 PL, 706pts, 3CP] ++ 
Clan Kultur: Deathskulls
Specialist Detachment [-1CP]: Dread Waaagh!

+ HQ +
Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 84pts]: Big Killa Boss, Da Souped-up Shokka, Grot Oiler, Shokk Attack Gun, Warlord
Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 80pts]: Shokk Attack Gun Big Mek W/ Shokk Attack Gun [4 PL, 80pts]: Shokk Attack Gun

+ Troops +
Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
. 10x Gretchin
Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
. 10x Gretchin
Gretchin [1 PL, 30pts]
. 10x Gretchin

+ Heavy Support +
6x Smasha Guns
6x Smasha Guns

This is a recent successful list, taking 3rd place at Merry Slaaneshmas, and very effectively shows off how the best tools in the Ork arsenal are brought together in tournament lists. Just shy of 90 Ork boyz are going to rampage forward and put the enemy under extreme pressure, while the Shokk Attack Guns, Lootas and Smasha Guns are going to try and neutralise the enemy’s big hitters before they can do the same back. If ii goes first there’s a decent chance it can just overwhelm the enemy, and even going second it has enough redundancy in weaponry and enough protection for the Lootas that it can stay on the board and still hit back like a trukk. It isn’ especially complicated, but Orks have been doing this since their book dropped and it can be very, very effective.

Krisztián Vizsy’s Buggy Spam

Army List - Click to Expand

+ PLAYER: Krisztián Vizsy
+ FACTION: Deathskulls
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 9
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 2000
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
++ Battalion Detachment (Deathskulls) - Specialist Detachment: Dread Waaaagh! - [42 PL, 4 CP, 821 pts] ++

HQ1: Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun (55): Shokk Attack Gun (25) - WARLORD: Big Killa Boss (Trait), Da Souped-up Shokka (Relic) [4 PL, 80 pts]

HQ2: Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun (55): Shokk Attack Gun (25) [4 PL, 80 pts]

HQ3: Big Mek with Shokk Attack Gun (55): Shokk Attack Gun (25) [4 PL, 80 pts]

TR1: 9x+1x Boyz: Tankbusta Bomb, Boss Nob (7): Choppa, Choppa, 9x Ork Boy: Slugga & Choppa (9x7) [4 PL, 70 pts]

TR2: 9x+1x Boyz: Tankbusta Bomb, Boss Nob (7): Choppa, Choppa, 9x Ork Boy: Slugga & Choppa (9x7) [4 PL, 70 pts]

TR3: 27x Gretchin: [4 PL, 81 pts]

FA1: Shokkjump Dragstas (108): Rokkit Launcha (12) [6 PL, 120 pts]

FA2: Shokkjump Dragstas (108): Rokkit Launcha (12) [6 PL, 120 pts]

FA3: Shokkjump Dragstas (108): Rokkit Launcha (12) [6 PL, 120 pts]

++ Outrider Detachment (Deathskulls) [32 PL, 1 CP, 702 pts] ++
HQ1: Weirdboy (62): Da Jump [3 PL, 62 pts]

FA1: Megatrakk Scrapjet (90): 2x Twin Big Shoota (2x20) [5 PL, 110 pts]

FA2: 2x Megatrakk Scrapjet (2x90): 2x Twin Big Shoota (2x2x20) [2x5 PL, 220 pts]

FA3: 2x Megatrakk Scrapjet (2x90): 2x Twin Big Shoota (2x2x20) [2x5 PL, 220 pts]

HS1: Mek Gun (15): Traktor kannon(30) [2 PL, 45 pts]

HS2: Mek Gun (15): Traktor kannon(30) [2 PL, 45 pts]

++ Air Wing Detachment (Deathskulls) [24 PL, 1 CP, 477 pts] ++

FL1: Wazbom Blastajet (99): 2x Wazbom Mega-Kannons (2x12), Kustom Force Field (20), Smasha Gun (16) [8 PL, 159 pts]

FL2: Wazbom Blastajet (99): 2x Wazbom Mega-Kannons (2x12), Kustom Force Field (20), Smasha Gun (16) [8 PL, 159 pts]

FL3: Wazbom Blastajet (99): 2x Wazbom Mega-Kannons (2x12), Kustom Force Field (20), Smasha Gun (16) [8 PL, 159 pts]

While Bobby’s list is a very classic way to play Orks, it isn’t the only one, and innovative players are constantly tinkering with lists. This second list is one we looked at a little while back, and it’s a completely different take on the army that is nonetheless provably effective, and gets a tonne cheaper post CA (the prices here are the old ones), allowing it to get even more stuff on the board.

This list leans on the Deathskulls trait to put out an absolutely absurd amount of powerful shooting, and goes extremely wide on the board with threats, meaning that your opponent is going to waste firepower by over/underkilling stuff at key moments. It’s also all extremely fast, allowing it to dominate the board, and has a few units of troops to teleport around with Da Jump and steal objectives.

Because of just how much better this already powerful list gets out of Chapter Approved, I expect to see plenty more people try it out. If you want to know more about the list, Krisztián has done a write-up of how it plays on his blog.

 

Orkz is Never Defeated

Hopefully you’re now armed with everything you need to get out there and start krumpin’ ‘eadz. And as always, if you have any questions, notes, or feedback, drop us a message in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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