Friday, 30 September 2011

Overview ~ Ork Codex

Two of my friends are just getting into (or back into) 40k and both have decided to settle on Orks and as I've foolishly neglected Igota4 for awhile I thought this the perfect opportunity to add something worthwhile.
This overview is directed towards new players, so for those who are experienced I suggest seeing this as a 'back to basics' post which might still have some insight. Non-Ork players could even use it as a rough guide to what you might expect in order to come up with ideas to counter them in your lists.

It should be said first that Orks in general work up close and personal (unsurprising), but this doesn't necessarily mean close combat it just means the majority of Ork weapons have short ranges compared to other armies. Orks are however quite mobile, can be decent at mid-range and are almost always able to charge into close combat as well since most of their weapons are assault. Of course as a lot of other armies rely on rapid fire weapons, getting close also means risk getting shot more (even Eldar & Tyranids who don't use rapid fire rely on close range).

Before getting into things I'll warn that a lot of this is personal opinion backed by experience with the game and a small degree of online research. Don't complain to me if you find some units differently suited for you, everyone has their own tastes and playstyle.

Mob Rule!
A fantastically powerful ability and the reason people are often happy taking huge units rather than smaller ones in Trukks/Wagons.
The enemy has to take the unit below 11 models to be able to stand a chance at pushing them back and even around the 9-10 mark will have trouble.
Downside is if you lose combat and have 11+ models you have to take some extra saves equal to how much you lost by, but Ork's are good at winning combat and a few extra saves is much better than risking a Ld test which could cause the unit to be wiped out (quite likely if Orks run due to their low Ini).
Furious Charge
+1 Str on the charge is great for Orks as it lets even basic boyz wound marines on 4+ and most other infantry on 3+ ^^ The extra Str also gives them a chance against most tanks (not dreads or land raiders etc) as a lot of vehicles are rear armour 10 and you always count as hitting rear armour in combat.
The +1 Ini is less useful as a lot of armies will still be going first, but it lets you go at the same time as guard (handy if charging 40man units, as even basic guard are a danger in such numbers).
Unless you have Ghazghkull this isn't always great as a lot of the time you'll be able to get within 6" anyway and giving up shooting for a few extra inches isn't always worth it.
Still, if going through difficult terrain Waaagh! is a great way to surprise your opponent by getting close enough when he didn't think you could.

Discounting special characters, the Ork selection of HQ's are alright but not great..
Very nice stats for their points, although armour and wargear lets them down for me. Big Choppa is alright as he's an okay initiative but combat HQ's without a power weapon aren't too great and with his limited armour/invunerable saves, a Power Klaw is risky as he can be targeted separately in combat (Tgh 5 helps but still).
Big Mek
Nicely cheap with many shiny options, probably my favorite HQ and a favorite in a lot of tournament lists I've seen. Decent in combat but not great and burna's are helpful multi-use tools.
Really tho all we care for are the Shokk Attack Gun and the Kustom Force Field (you can't get both).
* Shokk Attack Gun's provide some fun and powerful very long range firepower to a codex which lacks some. With a large blast and Ap2 it'll really make holes in units (remember their low Bs when scattering tho) and as Ordnance (roll two dice and pick highest for penetration) it'll hurt vehicles decently. They are unreliably tho which adds to the fun but can at times mess you over (so not too good for tournaments but good for games with friends).
* Kustom Force Field's are the main reason a lot of people take Big Meks. As Ork's are lightly armoured and either want to get close to the enemy or have large groups which are hard to get in cover, the KFF helps protect them well. 5+ cover to all units with models within 6" is great and vehicles within 6" (including any he is on) get a 4+ cover save! <also as there is no model you can convert a KFF using whatever pile of mek-bits you have>
Not badly priced and almost certainly the most unpredictable thing in the game *smiles* Each of their powers (except 'Eabanger obviously) are quite powerful tho unfortunately some don't work well with some units (teleport combat guys before they can charge so they can't this turn etc) but if you've taken one then you've already accepted that wacky things will happen.
Note: Its rarely a good idea to have a Weirdboy without some Orks with him, Weirdboyz have no choice but to use powers if on the board and their Ld of 7 means they won't happen much, Ork's upping his Ld towards the 10 mark are great.

Many to choose and all very nice!
Stronger than boyz, more attacks than boyz and two wounds each... Good but not cheap, so good to have them in a truck or something so they don't get shot up too much.
Painboyz are a little costly but in larger units is probably better than 'eavy armour (6+ with 4+ re-roll is better than 4+ by itself and the 4+ re-roll even applies against Ap3/4 weapons). Weapon options are alright but can get costly fast!
Meganobz are a cheaper option if you want lots of Klaws and you get better armour and guns as a bonus *giggles* Unfortunately they stop you getting a Painboy and are are somewhat slow, not to mention they take up two slots in transports. A huge unit will scare the hell out of the opponent (Unless they have units such as thunder hammer/storm shield termies) but a small unit can be useful to throw at tanks or just to sit on an objective in cover and be difficult to budge (if taken as troops).
Burna Boyz
Always been a favorite of mine, a unit of these in a Trukk can be very nasty. 5-12 flame templates shooting from a moving Trukk (6-7") is fun and against marines you can just charge getting a pile of power weapon attacks (tho you'll attack last usually)...
* Unfortunately Burna Boyz can't get a Trukk themselves, but a looted wagon, Battle Wagon or simply some other units Trukk that the Burna's jumped in early in the game all work well (and are pretty Orky).
Often disregarded due to Ork's low shooting skill, but with a unit of 15 thats an average of 5 Str8 Ap3 hits which will worry opponents. Plus if they get a transport (can't get their own but see Burna Boyz) they can all shoot from it.
Personally I don't see the point of Tankhammers as I'd rather be able to shoot as they've Tankbusta bombs for combat against vehicles anyway.. Bomb Squigs are nice to up the accuracy of the unit and catch an opponent by surprise but remember if you do put your Tankbusta's in a transport there is a chance the squig'll just blow that one up!
Very common in tournament lists due to their range and mass Str7 shots. A lot of people use Transports in 40k and Lootas are pretty good at breaking them and are also good at breaking monstrous creatures (tyranids etc) before they get in combat with your boyz.
I wouldn't bother upgrading to Meks as they lack the range of the Deff Gun are aren't any better against vehicles (Unfortunately in GW's box of Lootas one comes comes as a Mek).
I dislike these as very un-orky! *nods* Plus 4pts per model is expensive just to set-up a bit closer, get through cover a bit better etc.. Especially as they can't get objectives like normal boyz.
Only use I can see is is they can go in reserve and come on from the sides of the table, catching the enemy by surprise but this is a little random so still not worth it to me.

Troops are always very important as they are the only things that can take objectives and the stardard chart forces you to take two anyway.
All Ork Boyz are nicely cheap with decent stats for their points but I will do separate notes as weapon option changes a lot.
Ork Boyz ~ Slugga
With slugga boyz you want them up and in combat quick, their mass attacks will make up for being Str3 and when charging they are Str4 anyway! I'd suggest almost always getting a Nob with a Power Klaw as unlike bosses they can't be targeted separately from the unit meaning they're easier to keep alive so they get their attacks and it'll also mean the unit can threaten things like Dreadnoughts/Monstrous Creatures which the basic boyz either can't or have serious trouble hurting.
Last note, Stikkbombs are all but useless and not worth the points.
Ork Boyz ~ Shootas
These seem favoured in tournaments if only for the reason they can sit on objectives and still affect the battle while slugga boyz tend to charge the enemy and desperately try and get to objectives before the game ends (unless the enemy happen to be on that objective at the time).
Its best to get them cover, either using a Big Mek with a KFF or by just plopping them in cover *smiles* Even if they only move 3-4" due to terrain their guns still allow them to strike a decent distance away (using actual cover can restrict their line of sight tho).. In combat they still get a nice number of attacks and in numbers should be able to hurt most things.
As with slugga boyz, never bother with stikkbombs but a Nob with a Power Klaw is a handy consideration (tho not as needed as shootas aren't always going for combat).
NOTE: If you upgrade a Nob to have a better combat weapon, they always get a slugga in their other hand despite being a shoota unit.
Everyone loves grechin but unfortunately they are utterly dreadful! As you must take a herder for every ten grots, 11 models is only 10pts cheaper than 10 Orks and Orks have far better stats and weapon options...
There are a few tactics for them tho!
* The top use for grotz amusingly fits the Orky nature best. A line of grots in front of your groups of Ork boyz will provide cover saves!.. They actually beat Ork boyz for this use as opponents will shoot a covering unit of Boyz but are less inclined to waste shots on grots when they can shoot the big unit of boyz behind them.
* Just as a unit of boyz can absorb the blows of a Monstrous Creature, keeping the Nob alive to smack it with his Power Klaw a unit of grotz can absorb a monstrous creatures attacks while the herders jab it with grot-prods (always wounding on 4+ is nice against monstrous creatures, but no help against Dreadnoughts)... And 55pts for 10grots with a prod is much cheaper than 95pts for 10boyz with a Klaw, however their Ld lets them down so the unit might flee and get wiped out, you do have the Squig Hound/s to help here but you'll need a lot of grots!
* I've seen them used as a cheap unit to hold objectives near your zone (Stand there and hopefully get ignored), but as a unit of 10shootas is only a lil' more expensive I'd go with shootas for this role.
A number of Nobz/Meganobz units and Deff Dread's can also be taken as troops dependent on your HQ choices.
In the case of Nobz/Meganobz this is great as their extra survivability is nice for getting objectives and more importantly frees up elites slots for the other great units in larger games.
I wouldn't advise this with Deff Dreads unless you have 4-5 actual troops and really want another heavy thing because as vehicles they can't capture objectives (even as troops.

While not troops, you'll get most Trukks from troops so will include it here..
Trukks are speedy, being able to go 18/19" maximum but most of the time you'll do best around the 12/13" mark as that way you get to shoot, the boyz inside can get out (and be able to charge) and most importantly if the Trukk's blown up (not uncommon) the boyz inside won't be automatically killed.
Personally tho Trukk's are at their most amusing when they are destroyed, which is my biggest attraction to them.. Of course as noted in Burna's/Tankbusta's I do like the idea of big groups of boyz shooting from them as they move!

While I actually own a unit of these (can't recall why/how) I wouldn't really advise their use. At double the cost of a normal boy for only an increase in speed, they just aren't good.
They do move fast (faster than a lot of these if they charge too), but they don't benefit from Waagh so when that activates Ork boyz aren't that much slower when charging.
Nicely cheap and speedy but fragile rust-buckets. A unit of these are the cheapest way to get rokkits flying at the side/rear armour of the enemy but they will get shot up quick.
Alternatively you could go with Skorchas, in which case against armies that aren't all in vehicles they are fantastic distraction units as you race them around to the enemy... Infantry armies like Adjudicator's Eldar & Anony's Scouts will go well out of their way to stop Skorchas which will give the rest of your army chance to do their thing! Plus if the Skorchas get close they will hurt!
Fairly cheap, tough and always get a 4+ cover save. I like Warbikers and they even have decent guns, hehe. They are pretty straightforward, racing forward guns blazing, shrugging off incoming fire somewhat and then joining combat (they still have two combat weapons, so 4 attacks each on the charge).
Again a Nob with a Power Klaw is a good idea if you have a decent sized unit.
Two wounds each, tough and fast. These have a lot of uses, you can use them like Warbikers as their extra wound makes them even tougher to kill with small fire, although they are easier to kill with Str8+ weapons due to instant death. Deffkopta's get a free move before the game thanks to 'Scouts' so turbo-boosting them 24" before the first turn will make an opponent change his tactics, plus it gives them a 3+ cover save if the opponent gets to go first.
A regular tournament tactic however is to take single model units armed with Rokkits & Buzzsaw. Alone they are less likely to attract fire from large enemy units and that weapon combination gives them a special anti-tank role... You turbo-boost them before the game to get close to the enemy tanks (you can't get within 12" using 'Scouts') and then on the first turn you jump 12" forward close to the tank, shoot your rokkits and if the tank survives you charge it with your 3 Str7 Power Klaw attacks (which automatically hit if the tank hasn't moved, I.e. if you get first turn), you also get 2 Power Klaw attacks if still in combat in the opponents assault phase tho only at Str6 (fairly likely as you've a good chance to cause Crew Stunned/Immobilised).. Then in your next go you can either back away to shoot/charge again or move onto another vehicle and do the same, assuming the enemy hasn't decided to get rid of it by then *laughs* Plus if you pick a vehicle on the side of the enemy army and only cause Crew Stunned/Immobilised, the tank itself will block sight or give cover!

I love Deathrolla's so I've a fondness for Battlewagons and you can get them without taking slots if you've a unit of Nobz (tho you can't get a Killkannon).. Battlewagons are also great if you want to move a decent sized unit of boys (13-20, for 12 or less Trukks are better as faster and cheaper).
The downside of Battlewagons is they can get costly fast if you start grabbing wargear, and they are slow compared to Trukks. Speed is the downside two ways, firstly you don't get your boyz in as fast as Trukks (tho you can still go 12/13", get out and charge, assuming you don't take a 'ard case) but mainly the trouble is weapons... If it moves (even to turn on the spot) you can only fire one of the many weapons you can put on a Battlewagon and if it goes more than 6/7" it can't shoot at all..
This is counter-intuitive as transports are good to keep moving but its mass weapons make you want to stand still.
NOTE: If you have a Killkannon, firing that stops you shooting other weapons anyway so you might as well go 6/7"
Deff Dread
Nicely cheap and not too costly even if you grab more claws. Deff Dreads will make a mess of things in combat (tho avoid monstrous creatures/combat dreads with an Ini of 4+ and also be careful of 'hidden' power fists/klaws as noted in Ork Boyz).. Personally I'd suggest big shootas or skorcha weapons, tho more klaws is always fun.
Killa Kans
Only slightly less tough and around half the price of Deff Dreads, Killa Kans are very nice (plus they are grotz which is funny!)..
Their higher Bs makes them more reliable with guns than Deff Dreads and their Ws of 2 isn't that bad as you'll still hit the majority of things on 4+, only characters or the very rare elite model/unit will cause you to need 5+ and as you can get a unit of two for the point cost of one Deff Dread you actually end up with more attacks.
Last thing about these, units.. Tis common in tournament lists to see multiple units of three of these (sometimes nine Killa Kans in one army) due to the better shooting and mass Str10 attacks.
Flash Gitz
I'd avoid these, Bad Moons have never been a clan I've liked (yay deathskulls) and Flash Gits get expensive very fast and don't hit any better than other Orks... Painboy option tis interesting as would give you a relatively tough unit to budge off (Tgh4, 2wounds with 4+ armour and 4+ re-roll) but they can't hold objectives so meh.
If you want Orks with gadgety weapons, take Lootas!
Big Guns
More Grotz meaning a better chance to hit, Big Gun units will fall apart easily if shot at but Kannons & Zzzap Guns provide some long rang anti-tank which may help get opponents out of transports. I wouldn't bother with Lobba's as Orks don't usually have trouble against infantry and throwing inaccurate blast marks is bad as they could scatter to your units.
Looted Wagon
Cheap as a Trukk with better armour. Looted Wagons don't get the gun and aren't as fast but still allow you to move 12/13", get out and charge!
You could grab a Boomgun, but if you really want a big blast cannon I'd consider a Battlewagon with Killkannon, which while hasving a shorter range and slightly less power (it'll will still kill most troops on a 2+) I feel the 45pts difference is worth the better armour, more transport space and you avoid the 1 in 6 chance the vehicle won't get to fire its cannon each turn, others may disagree tho.

I've covered bits of this above, such as stikkbombs being all but worthless and Power Klaw nobs being nifty..
Big Choppa's
One less attack but +2 Str, I'm not too fond of these.. They do let you break tanks (Nobz becoming Str7 on the charge) for cheaper than Power Klaws and both reduce your attacks equally but you'll likely be striking last anyway and Klaws give higher Str and ignore armour. I put these as a poor mans power klaw for vehicle killin' purposes..
Cheaper than imperial combi-weapons and sometimes worthwhile, I wouldn't really bother with a one-shot Rokkit with Ork's low BS but a Kombi-skorcha is fantastic... More powerful than marine combi-flamers for less points and of course don't rely on Bs!
Kustom Mega-blasta
Half as likely to hurt yourself as you are to hit the enemy.. That sums up why I think these aren't worthwhile, Ap2 isn't fantastic as cover isn't hard to get and while their Str8 makes them better than imperial plasma guns they can't rapid fire.
Cybork Body
A nice choice for the points cost and can make for fun looking models

'Ard Case
If you ever plan to put troops in the vehicle, ignore this upgrade... Not being open-topped might make the vehicle survive a little more it stops you shooting all your troops from it and worse means you have to get out before it moves if you want to charge!
Armour Plates
Cheaper than the imperial equivalent and nice if you want to keep the vehicle moving because its got troops inside, generally a personal thing whether you think its worth the points.
Boarding Plank
While fun I don't really see the point, most of the time you'd be better hopping out and charging the vehicle anyway... But at times you might not want to risk the unit getting shot just to break open a lone vehicle or don't want to risk getting attacked back by Dreadnought..
Grabbin' Klaw
Another fun option which I'm unsure of the use.. But racing at the enemy and then preventing their movement can often really upset an opponents tactics so who knows.
Grot Riggers
Another way of helping the vehicle keep moving, cheaper than Armour Plates and less reliable as you still lose a turn while they repair and even then its 50/50.. But if the vehicle is important and will be a waste if immobilised on turn one/two, its a worthwhile investment!
Red Paint Job
You'll notice I've regularly noted vehicle move distance in the style of 6/7", thats because of Red Paint!
An Orky option and that extra inch is discounted for all calculation purposes, so it doesn't affect shooting or troops getting out!
Reinforced Ram
Mostly pointless on a Battlewagon as they can tank shock and have front armour 14 anyway.. On other vehicles I guess it's up to you but I wouldn't bother.
Stikkbomb Chukka
Cheaper than giving a whole unit of boyz stikkbombs (especially if talking a unit of 20 in a Battlewagon), but stikkbombs are still not too useful for most Orks.. I'd only really consider them if a 12+ unit of Nobz without Power Klaws as their Ini is 4 on the charge.
Wreckin' Ball
Similar to a Boarding Plank in use but if you've a Nob with a Power Klaw on board the Boarding Plank is less powerful.. At 10pts I'd probably not consider it, but being able to drive off and break tanks after the unit gets out is interesting.

There we go, comments as always are welcome. Let me know your thoughts on things.

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