Goal & Tactical Organization
This article was originally started (and mostly written) by: Voodoo Boyz. Many other users have since edited and updated it.
The goal here is to create a collaborative effort that will be useful for all players searching for quality Ork advice. Since Dakka may have the best user base of competitive, competent players, I'd like anyone interested to offer their experienced and well-written suggestions to this article.
This article will go through each unit in the new Ork Codex and evaluate its overall level of utility (Poor, Semi-Competitive, and Competitive). Then it will go into various configuration options (if any) and identify optimal ones, fun alternatives, and what to avoid.
Note that this guide was written for the 4th edition ork codex to be used with the 4th edition rulebook. The 5th edition, making changes to distribution of wounds on multi-wound-models, has made the Ork Nob Bikers of the 4th edition codex one of the best units in the game.
Unit Evaluation: HQ
The special character HQ choices are all decent enough, but none of them stand out as obvious 'take me over the standard choice!' like Eldrad, Lemartes, or Mephiston as with in some other armies.
The Warboss has seen a significant upgrade in his stats with getting T5. He no longer fears instant death from S8 attacks, which includes 99% of all Power Fist attacks. His points have stayed modest, however he is lacking in a few crucial areas:
He can not take a power weapon.
He can not get a good armor save while staying mobile.
These two crucial options leave him somewhat limited in effective builds. Because the Warboss is no longer a mandatory character for an Ork army, there is no point to minimizing him out. If you want a minimal cheap HQ, there are better choices. So in order to make him effective you really have to make him a close combat unit. The only effective option he's got here is the Power Klaw, either through the Klaw itself or Mega Armor. This leads to two eventual paths, one of which is readily more optimal: The Biker Boss.
Close Combat ICs that can't move quickly are near useless. The Warboss can be kitted out on a Warbike that gives him a 4+ armor save and a 4+ Cover save from shooting. It makes him T5(6) so he's harder to wound for non-rending or no-power fist units. It also lets him be extremely mobile. 5th edition has removed the protection that Independent Characters get when not joined to a unit, so this has made a biker boss a lot less flexible than in 4th edition.
However, players can still use his extra speed to move between nearby Ork units when needed and on a crucial turn when you need a charge the Boss can leave the unit he is leading, move 12" and get that charge you need. He is pretty beefy in close combat and even by himself he can take on shooty Monstrous Creatures (an S10 Carnifex can eventually kill him) and most smaller squads that don't have a powerfist/rending. He'll need some luck to charge headlong into a Demon Prince and come out living, but he's decent enough vs. most HQs. He's even got a good chance at taking down Hive Tyrants, especially if they're carrying around some guns and didn't take implant attack.
The key is understanding what he can and can not kill. In 5th edition, charging any lone model into close combat against a unit with a bunch of models can be dangerous as the defenders get to move their models into base contact before attacking. But the Biker boss is still tough enough to win some combats on his own even with this rules change. However, often it is better off playing conservatively: leaving him attached to the boyz mob, waiting the extra turn and charging with them all together.
Building your Boss
When kitting the biker boss, there are some simple choices to take, below I'm going to summarize the best biker boss I think that can be built:
- Warbike, Power Klaw, Cybork Body (6+ feel no pain), Attack Squig (+1 Attack).
This gives the Boss 5 Attacks, 6 on the Charge with a S10 power klaw. He will have to swing simultaneously with Power Fists, but he's got the attacks and WS to do the damage.
The alternative is Mega Armor, which has its own host of problems with regards to movement. This nearly necessitates that your Warboss be mounted in a Trukk, joined to a unit in order to see combat. There isn't much reason to take a Mega Armored Warboss, over the biker boss, but if I had to I'd kit him out as such:
- Mega Armor, Cybork Body, Attack Squig
He is moderately more survivable from normal attacks than the Biker Boss. I say moderately because the Mega Armored Boss is T5, where the Biker Boss is T5(6), which makes it much harder for most things to put wounds on the boss (including Demon Princes, Hive Tyrants, and S6 Power Fists). Against the attacks that actually threaten the Warboss, they have the same invulnerable save. Do be warned that having a model with Mega-armor joined to a unit means that the entire unit will be striking at I1 when charging (as the model in Mega-armor has to roll a difficult terrain test) unless the unit also has Stikkbombs.
These are the recommended two configurations for the Warboss. If you want something cheap, take a Big Mek or Weirdboy. If you're taking a Warboss it should be because he's effective and in terms of outright killyness, and its hard to get a better all rounder than the Biker Boss described above. And you certainly won't get a decent Warboss by taking a Big Choppa, which is as useless in the new dex as it was in the old one.
Warboss: Special Considerations
As an extra bonus, the Warboss allows you to take one unit of Nobz or Meganobz (with transport) as a Troop in 5th edition, something players have found to be amongst the most effective strategies. The Nobz can of course take bikes and a Painboy confers Feel No Pain to any attached Independent Characters so long as he is still alive. Also you can give the bike boss gifts of gork and mork liike da luky stikk and
also warboss Gazbags blitzbike
The Big Mek is an interesting choice for an Ork army. He is more of a support unit than anything else. Because of his profile he's not going to be a CC monster like the Warboss, more like a Nob on steroids. You can't give him a power weapon, but it won't get extra attacks for multiple CCWs, and he's only I4 on the charge. Suffice it to say, if you want a close combat character, the Mek is not for you. He can be made 'decent' in close combat, but nothing as good as the Boss.
Building your Big Mek
The Big Mek brings two big support options to an army: The Kustom Force Field (KFF) or the Shokk Attack Gun (SAG). Sadly, the two can not be combined onto one Big Mek. You also can not combine either weapon with Mega Armor or a Warbike, which would have made either option much better for different reasons.
The KFF is defensive in nature and can be useful to support a horde of Boyz by giving them 5+ cover saves even out in the open. It is somewhat expensive and its only for units within 6", however this ability does work for any unit that has at least one model within 6" of the Mek. This is one of the most compelling reasons to take the Big Mek as you are looking at the potential coverage of a single Big Mek with KFF to be an absolutely huge area as it balloons up to cover an entire mob of 30, where only a few boyz need to be strung along to be within 6" of the Big Mek.
The KFF also provides the absolutely amazing 4+ cover saves for any vehicle partially within 6" of the Mek. 5th edition even allows this range to be measured from the hull of a vehicle the Mek is riding in, so it is entirely possible to put a Mek with a KFF in a battlewagon and create a giant bubble of protection for several vehicles clumped together!
On the other hand, the SAG is a highly potent offensive weapon. The problem is that while its potentially destructive, you end up with a 22% chance of a misfire. Not all the results are terrible for the misfire though, some are even better, so its actually still pretty good, even if a bit risky! I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that you have a 1/36 chance to roll a double six for the SAG result, which basically means that wherever the template touches is automatically removed from play. Yes, this is not instant death and can therefore remove models who are immune to instant death wholesale. Granted this is not something you can plan on happening, but it shows the potential of the SAG. Additionally, this is one of the rare sources of AP2 that you can reliably get in an Ork list, which is something to be pointed out.
The problem is for a Mek with a SAG that you really need to keep him joined to a unit to prevent him from being shot to death from enemy long-ranged heavy weapons. However since most of the Ork units in the game tend to want to keep moving forward and the SAG is a move-or-fire weapon, finding the right squad to join him to can be a bit of a problem. There are three main choices available:
Joining him to a Loota squad with their similarly long-ranged weapons at first seems like a perfect match, however a good player prefers to fire their Lootas at enemy vehicles or Monstrous Creatures while the SAG is almost always better off not firing at these units, since it really excels at killing standard-sized models that have a great armor save.
Big Gunz are another candidate and the artillery rules even allow the SAG gun to fire at a different enemy unit than the rest of the Big Guns in the mob. The only problem is that Big Gunz in general aren't that good.
The last option is really just to go ahead and leave him on his own near the back of your board in some cover and hope for the best, preferably near some Lootas so he can run and join them should things start to get dicey. None of these solutions are ideal so do keep that in mind if you decide you do want a SAG.
Once you've decided on either a KFF or SAG, the only question remains on how to finish kitting out the Big Mek. If the Mek has a KFF, its likely that he will eventually see CC, so giving him a PK is not a bad option. Since the best use for a KFF Mek is in between big mobs of Boyz to distribute the cover save, many times he'll be charging,keep that in mind.
For the SAG Mek, I wouldn't recommend giving him anything else. If he's getting shot, he's likely dead no matter what other options you give him, and if he's in assault, its also probably something bad as well.
The Mek can be given other guns, but the best option is the Kustom Mega Blasta (KMB), which has almost as good a chance of wounding the Big Mek as it does actually hitting its target, so it should be avoided.
Believe it or not I feel that the Weirdboy makes almost as good of a second HQ choice as a SAG Big Mek. He has very little options, but he has the ability to significantly enhance your army.
First things first, you should always upgrade the Weirdboy to a Warphead. Rolling a 1 for your psychic power is not fun, and the re-roll is pretty essential to using the weird boy.
The main Utility that I see in a Weirdboy is the fact that you can get an extra 'Waaagh' move off with him. The trick is sticking him in a giant unit (20 or more Boyz) to give him LD10, and then just pray for that 6 roll for your power the turn you need it. Don't get the 6? Use the re-roll.
What I see with the Weirdboy is a way to make footslogging slugga boyz (an old favorite of previous Codex Orks players) at least somewhat viable. By even using two Weirdboyz, you have a little better than 50/50 to get a Waaagh power off each turn, not accounting for things like Pyschic Hoods or Runes of Warding.
After this kind of application, there really aren't any other ways to use him. He's not much good in a KoS or speedy kind of list, mainly because you can't really rely on getting the Waaagh power. Still, I can see him being a fun choice, and if you're looking for the dirt cheapest HQ you can get for an army that maxes out on units or troops, then a Weirdboy is a pretty good choice.
While there isn't a clear "winner" of the HQ selection that every army should be including, in terms of direct damage and reliability, I don't think you can do much better than the Biker Boss outlined above. S10 Power Klaws come in handy against things like Monoliths or any AV14 Tank that can't reliably be dealt with at range. Plus its always nice to have that extra fast close combat unit lying around.
Each HQ choice does bring about its own risks, and the Biker Boss is no exception. The thing that puts him over the others, in my opinion, is that you have the most control over his risk. By using him carefully you can make sure he gets into a favorable close combat where he will certainly earn more than his points back. He can be used as a throw-away unit to cause disruption and still earn his keep in an army, or he can be played conservatively and thrown against targets he's sure to wipe out with little risk of being killed (Las/Plas or Devastator squads really are not going to like the Biker Boss).
Still, the Biker Boss is not a clear-cut winner, like say a Hive Tyrant is for a Tyranid army. The type of army you are fielding will really determine what the 'winner' is going to be for your army.
If you are playing an KoS or Stormboy heavy army, then taking a Biker Boss is pretty much mandatory. If you are taking a shooty horde army then 2 Meks with SAGs can be a great idea because they fit in with the style of rest of the army and give you some much needed AP2 devastation (something you don't get too many other places in the list). If you're playing a horde assault army then a couple of Warpheads or a couple of Meks with KFFs (or one of each) would definitely help get your Boyz into combat while sustaining less wounds.
Additionally, point cost is another consideration. A Biker Boss costs around 150 points on his own, while you can get two KFF Meks or two Warpheads for just a few more point.
Unit Evaluation: HQ Special Characters
Unlike some other codexes, the Orks don't have special characters that are clearly better than the standard HQ choices available. Ork special characters bring their own benefits and weaknesses to the list and are probably costed a bit more than their worth most of the time. Still, some of them allow for some very interesting changes to the Ork army list and in higher point games they can prove to be extremely valuable.
Given this, I'm not really going to give each character a Utility rating. They are something that is more of a grey area in the list in terms of how good they are and many times it is very points dependent.
For a little more than the cost of 30 Boyz w/ a Power Klaw Nob with Bosspole you can take the Grandest Warboss known to all of Ork Kind. What you get here is a slightly beefed up Warboss in Mega Armor with some unique special rules.
Ghaz has 4 Wounds and is immune to instant death and he's got an extra attack on his profile. This makes him slightly beefier than a normal Warboss. But the real reason he is coveted by Ork players is his 'Prophet of the Waaagh!' Special rule.
When Ghaz calls the Waaagh, it replaces the normal Waaagh rules in the book and a few extra things happen. Most notably all units automatically count as having rolled a '6' for their run move. That's the big one right there. After that, you're looking at some other benefits such as units not fleeing become fearless until the end of the opponents next turn, and likewise Ghazgkull's saving throw becomes invulnerable for this period as well.
So while he costs a boatload of points, he has the power to turn a game around for the Ork player in a single shot, which is pretty substantial. In the end you have to decide if his additional points, which means less models in your army, is worth the guaranteed 6" run move once in the game. Depending on your style of army (the big foot-slogging army, for example) the answer is definitely: yes.
Also of note, Ghaz is amazing in Apocalypse games where his high points cost isn't an issue and the larger number of models affected by his Waaagh make that ability amazing. Plus it probably would take a large apocalypse game to represent the amount of Orks Ghaz probably has at his disposal anyway.
Mad Dok Grotsnik
The Good Doktor is back and he brings with him a mixed bag of abilities and special rules.
He is essentially a stock Warboss with 'Eavy Armor except he's only S4 and I3. What he does bring is the ability to join himself to any unit, which he confers the Feel No Pain ability to. The problem here is that he also makes the unit Fearless but makes them subject to being led around. They must always move as fast as possible towards the nearest enemy, assaulting if possible. This brings with it a problem that it becomes extremely easy to lead the unit he is with around.
In 5th edition where intervening units provide cover saves to those behind, his ability to give a unit 'Feel No Pain' can be used to make a mob (especially 'ard boyz) covered by a KFF a great screening squad. It really isn't a problem in this case that they'll always have to move towards the enemy as you want them out in front. The unit he is with would then have a 4+ armor save with a 4+ feel no pain roll, plus the 5+ cover save from a Mek's KFF. This combo can be a pretty sick way to create an Ork army that is really hard to damage with shooting.
The other thing he brings to the army is that he allows any unit in the army to take Cybork Body for 5 pts a model. This isn't exactly a great ability and its not that great on normal Boyz, but it could be good for themed armies using say Meganobz or something along those lines.
Grotsnik's high point cost makes him an iffy choice, but his ability to give 'Feel No Pain' to units can certainly be worth it in some situations.
Counterpoint: A cybork army can be a pain in your opponents shiny Tau ass if used properly. 30 grots with cybork may be expensive, but they can get an independant character across the board, acting as "ablative wounds." Nobz become praticularly nasty with the saves. However, Grotsnik is only worthwhile if you Cybork most of your army, and only in certain situations. Lobbas work well in conjunction, since they can wipe out infantry squads which would produce a large enough volume of attacks to crush the advantage of invlunerable saves.
A Biker Boss Special Character, with some pretty unique special rules to boot!
Wazdakka is essentially a Warboss but with only I3 and S4, meaning his Power Klaw is only S8 (S9 on the charge) and he has no invulnerable save. He does come with Meks Tools, a Bosspole, and a Kustom Mega Blasta, but none of those are actually all that good. Because of this, in terms of being a Close Combat Killer, he is inferior to the standard Biker Warboss that can be built from the unit entry as detailed in the HQ section of this Takktica. However there are a few tricks and rules that Wazdakka has that make him appealing to Ork players.
The first ability that many people will notice is that he has a Dakkakannon on his Bike. This is an Assault 4 S8 AP4 gun that he can fire after Turbo boosting. Some people see this as some kind of godsend ability, but I'm thoroughly unimpressed. With BS2, Wazdakka isn't going to be a menace in the shooting phase; turbo-boosting around and using his dakkakannon is at best far worse than him in CC. However, Wazdakka can race from one end of the table to another, open fire with his dakkakannons, and with some other boyz. Next turn, he'll certainly be in assault range, and if he's with a mob of bikers, he is safe from instant kill. Remember, turbo boost makes those 4+ armor saves into cover saves, so even low AP weapons will have to deal with it.
The real reason people will want Wazdakkka is because he's 'Da Biker Boss' and allows you to take Warbikes as Troops instead of Fast Attack. Now if you've read the Takktica you'll know that Warbikes aren't the best choice in the codex, but it is a relatively fun choice and makes for a hell of a themed list.
In summary he's not that good but for themed armies or for some general hilarity he will be taken by some Ork players addicted to high-speed mayhem.
The Wierdboy Special Character, Zogwort is actually pretty good. He's got a nifty ability that you can't get anywhere else, is the most reliable Wierdboy you can take, and unlike Ghazgkull his points cost doesn't break the bank.
He's still pretty expensive, working out to be 60 Points more than a Warphead, but he will essentially never suffer the negative effects of an 'Eadbang roll. Furthermore he is absolutely deadly to any enemy Independent Character within 18". This is because he may replace any roll he gets for his psychic power with "Zogwort's Curse" which forces a dice off between the Ork player and their opponent. If the Ork player rolls higher, the enemy IC is turned into a Squig that you must provide the model for. They have no wargear or special rules anymore, and count as infantry from that point forward.
Granted that will be hard to use sometimes, and it only works on ICs not on any enemy model, so against things like Tyranids it's going to be a waste, but in against ICs that are normally a giant pain to kill (like Eldrad), Zogwort's curse can be an absolute blessing.
Furthermore Zogwort has a poisoned staff that always wounds on a 2+, so if he's in CC and you roll a 1-3 for his powers, he has a power weapon that always wounds on a 2+. So you have a 50% chance each round of combat that Zogwort is going to be an absolute beast, which isn't too shaby if he's supported by a mob of other angry Orks.
So if you're considering taking a Warphead for an HQ slot and have an extra 60 Points to spend, it's almost always better to take Zogwort if you can afford him.
Unit Evaluation: Elites
The Elite section is pretty crowded in the new Dex, and sadly its also the beginning of the pattern for the rest of the codex: Lots of options, only a few really good choices.
This isn't to say that there are units here that can be taken for fun and still be decent, but in terms of being competitive there are only one or two choices from this section that stand out as something to include in Ork tournament lists.
Utility: Semi-competitive to Competitive
While they originally seemed weak on paper, units of Nobz have really come into their own in 5th edition, especially with a Warboss making them a Troop selection. Amongst other factors the new rules for wound allocation go a long way towards increasing their resilience.
Equipping the Nobz
The first thing you have to decide upon is their armour save. With two wounds each at a minimum points cost of 20 points and with a base initiative of I3, 'Eavy Armour is almost a mandatory choice. The only real reason to skip on it is if you want to go with Bikes or a Cybork body, instead.
Next, you have to consider Power Klaws. They are S9 charging against vehicles, which can include Monstrous Creatures, and provide insurance against being attacked by the same in turn. At 50 points for 'Eavy Armour and the Power Klaw, they are expensive but do not suffer the mobility issues of Mega Armoured Nobz. Four or five Klaws give some real hitting power against hard targets and you are going to want to mix your weapons for wound allocation, anyway. How many Power Klaws do you need? The option is there, and it is a good one.
After taking Power Klaws into account, at only 5 points each, Big Choppas are not a bad choice for this unit. Before the Trukk, 12 'Ard Boyz with a Power Klaw Nob and Stikkbombs are 172 points. For 186 points, you can buy 6 'Ard Nobz with two wounds each, Stikkbombs and Big Choppas. Not bad. If the 'Ard Boyz in a Trukk are a Competitive choice, the Nobz could be said to be Semi-Competitive and a good place to include an HQ and a bit of shooting.
As far as dedicated shooting is concerned, you are better off with Flash Gitz than Nobz, assuming you can spare the Heavy Support selection. But a non-Choppa weilding Nob can take a TL Shoota or a Kombi-weapon for 5 points. The Kombi-Skorcha is an excellent choice and you cannot go wrong with a couple TL Shootas here and there. What the Shooting options really let you do is differentiate your Nobz. If you take 6 Nobz and 4 of them are unique they each get their wounds allocated onto them individually, which might keep a Nob or two around for an extra turn. Note that Choppa Nobz can take the shooting weapons as well, but lose the extra attack from the Slugga.
If you want to really specialize in Shootas with maybe a couple of Power Klaws, you have to look at Shoota Boyz with a Klaw, as well as Meganobz. These squads also toss dakka down field, but for 5pts each you add some versatility to your Nobz squad. Thing is, you have to start looking at how many points you are putting into the squad. 10 Nobz with 10 shooting weapons, 4 Big Choppas, Stikkbombs, 2 Power Klaws and 'Eavy armour is 380 points before a Boss Pole and Waaagh! Banner. You have to consider that maybe you are better off with 10 Mega Nobz at that price, or maybe you just want to stick with Boyz. They can take a Power Klaw, they are Fearless and they are arguably just as useful in close combat. Another way to put it is that if you are sinking 30 to 50 points worth of shooting into the unit, just to shoot one or two times maybe you are better off with say a single Warbuggy with TL Rokkit Launchas and just stick with the Sluggas. But giving these guys shooting weapons is a great way to get some more guns into your list. Lets call it a "Support" tactic, assuming you are already taking the Nobz as say a retinue for an HQ.
Two upgrades that need mention are a Waaagh! Banner and a Painboy. The Waaagh! Banner gives the unit +1WS. On the charge the Nobz hit (possibly with Stikkbombs) at WS5 S5 I4 A3+1 4+. S7 with Big Choppas. For 15 points it is an essential (and cool) upgrade for what is largely a close combat unit. If you are not taking them for close combat, you are taking the wrong unit.
For 50 points (or +30) you can take a Painboy. The Painboy replaces a Nob, does not himself have 'Eavy Armour, and gives the unit a FNP save. He can however take a bike (see below). While lacking weapons himself, he can get his 50 points back by saving wounds on the Nobz. Keeping in mind that certain weapons ignore FNP, the Painboy is a viable upgrade. He also gives the squad the option of Cybork Bodies, which can be considered as an alternative to 'Eavy Armour. Attached HQs such as a Warboss also get the advantage of FNP.
You can also take Bosspoles with the unit. An accompanying Warboss or Mekboy will likely have his own Bosspole, and you can put one or two (or more?) into the unit itself for 5 pts each. Great for mixing up bodies for wound allocation.
Transporting the Nobz or What to do with them
Having agreed that Nobz are largely a close combat unit, there are four options for getting them into combat. Marching, bikes, a Trukk and in a Battlewagon.
Marching Nobz are going to want Shootas, probably twin-linked, they are going to want a Painboy and they are going to want something in front of them giving them a cover save. This is likely considered a Poor tactic simply because they are going to be shooting for two or three turns, and you can easily replace them with say Shoota Boyz or even Flash Gits, who are still I4 on the charge.
Nobz on Bikes is a fairly well regarded if not out-right feared unit. They turbo-boost, they carry Skorchas and TL Dakkaguns, they charge at I4 and they have WS5 with FNP. Klaws and a Warboss are optional. A very expensive but very deadly unit.
You can put them into a Battlewagon. If you are using a Battlewagon you might consider using Meganobz or a 20 man Slugga squad with Klaw, but the Nobz are a good solid unit on their own right. Call it Semi-Competitive whereas the Slugga Boyz are a strong Competitive unit.
The final option is taking a Trukk. Trukks have advantages. First, they are small and you can hide them behind Battlewagons. If it is a 6 man Nob squad with an HQ, maybe they even have a smaller Trukk they use. Hide-the-trukk-hide-the-trukk-hide-the-trukk-assault. A very deadly, very viable unit. Call it Competitive, comparable to a squad of Boyz in a Trukk with a Power Klaw.
Helping them be more useful for fun
Being a small squad, their problem is their leadership. They can carry their own Bosspoles but a Big Mek at ld8, a Warboss at ld9 or even the Mad Dok (also acting as Painboy for the unit) help mitigate this. They are Nobz! They should be acting as the bodyguard, anyway.
Utility: Poor to Semi-Competitive
Meganobz get a bit of a boost with the 5th edition. While still slow (even when making their assault move) they get +1 attack when charging and infantry units in general can no longer combine a Power Klaw or Power Fist with a close combat weapon for a second attack.
Meganobz are straightforward. They have Powerklaws, they have 2 wounds and they have a 2+ armour save. They come with Stikkbombs, which they can actually no longer use without any other close combat weapons, and unlike Nobz they have TL Shootas for free. Similar to Nobz they can upgrade to Kombi-Rokkits and Kombi-Skorchas for 5 points if you want some more shooting in the squad and in your army in general. What they do, is they give you Power Klaws and lots of them, which includes S9 attacks against vehicles.
The tradeoff to all this is that they are slow. With Slow and Purposeful they move in difficult terrain in both the Movement and Assault phases. When infantry would normally make a difficult terrain test they roll 2D6" and pick the highest.
Transporting the Nobz or What to do with them
There are three options for getting them into combat. Marching, a Trukk and in a Battlewagon. If they march, they can toss dakka downfield in the form of their TL Shootas, but this is a Poor tactic, wasting the Power Klaws.
If you want to take them, you can put up to six in a Trukk, or 5 including a character. You can also take small squads of 3 or 4. 3 Meganobz with Kombi-Skorchas in a Trukk is around 180 points. They rip open vehicles (including Land Raiders), they add some punch (haha) to close combat and as a bonus they can Skorch things. A Semi-Competitive anti-tank tactic, especially against AV14.
Finally you can put a full 400 point squad with a character in a Battlewagon. The Battlewagon gives them an initial move of 13", sending them far upfield in the face of any assault troops. Semi-Competitive, assuming it does not get blown up first turn.
Helping them be somewhat useful for fun
They have the same leadership problems that Nobz do, only moreso since they cannot take a Bosspole. This is a perfect retinue for Ghazghkull (especially since the 6" Waaagh! mitigates their slowness). It is also a good place to put a KFF Mek, giving them a 5+ invulnerable against AP2 shooting weapons. Mad Dok Grotsnik makes them Fearless, and gives them FNP and the option for Cybork Bodies. Even a normal Warboss can give them a Bosspole mitigating their leadership problems. All of these options with the exception of the normal Warboss could be considered Semi-Competitive tactics.
These guys are really one of the worst things to happen to a previously great unit. No more tank hunters, but they all get Rokkits! Wow sounds great right? Wrong. Due to their Glory Hogs special rule, they will always have to fire at a tank if it is in LOS, regardless of range. So if you have an empty Rhino sitting out in the field and the Tank Bustas are 6" away from a squad of Marines, they have to fire at the tank, despite the fact that you'd much rather fire at the Marines.
To top it all off, they're expensive. In fact they're the same points cost as the Burna Boyz and Lootas. The problem here is that they're still T4 6+ save models, and they have to get close to fire their Rokkits. This is a recipe for failure, especially because they can not take a transport. However, if you have an extra heavy support choice, you can put these guys in a Looted Wagon which can help them get into range. Furthermore, Glory Hogs applies only if they can see the enemy tanks, and Looted Wagons block line of sight wonderfully.
This is not to say that they do not have their uses. One area as pointed out by Yakface is area denial. Bomb squigs (apparently) do not require line of sight to use (nor do they appear to be slowed by difficult or impassable terrain) you can take a minimum sized unit of Tankbustas, give them 3 bomb squigs and keep them hidden behind cover.
This can give you a unit that has an 24/ 30" bubble that vehicles will be afraid to enter. Plus if you get really desperate you can always move the unit into the cover and get one round of desperation shooting off before your opponent obliterates them.
Overall they certainly aren't competitive but the squig bombs deserve a little attention considering how few points they are.
Equipping the Tankbustas:
Their upgrades are likewise cool, but pretty damn well useless. The issue being that Bomb Squigs have to get close, and the Tankhammer has to get even closer. There is no way a competent opponent is going to let them get anywhere near where they have to go to be worthwhile. Even upgrading the Nob is pointless, exchanging his Rokkit for a PK just isn't good sense. (If you play a mechanized Ork army with lots of Wartrukks, you can pop these guys in a Looted Wagon and hide behind the trukks while you amble up to the front; this gives the Tankbustas an assault range of 27-32" if you call your Waaagh! which should be more than enough range to get in range of the enemy's side or rear armor).
And its not like they really present a threat to AV14 tanks in the first place. Even if you buy 15 of them (which is a ridiculous amount of points), you will average a little less than one glance on AV14. They're just not that good.
For fun, I can see putting 12 of them in an Open Topped Battlewagon (with a Killkannon) to just shoot at stuff like crazy, if you can get a target in range. They are a pretty bad choice no less, but if you can get close enough, it'll be hilarious to set off Bomb Squigs!
Tankbustas: Another Perspective
Not everyone agrees whole heartedly with my assessment of the Tankbustas, and fellow Member 40kenthusiast presented a pretty well versed argument in favor of the Tankbustas being something worth considering.
I really don't agree with you about the competitiveness of the Tankbusta boys. I feel that they are an excellent unit.
Every Ork has a rokkit. They are shooty orks. They are going to outshoot marines at 24, marines kill 2/3 * 1/2 vs. 1/3 * 5/6...cover doesn't change this as both sides are currently APing. They cost less than marines, and outshoot them.
Some other things:
- Kill 2 vehicles. With their bomb squigs the Glory Hogs are actually able to kill more than one vehicle in a turn. Shoot at a far away vehicle and release the squigs to get the closer one.
- Fire magnet. A bunch of boys who each got rokkits may seem like an appetizing target, but remember that this is Codex: Orks we are talking about here. Da Boys are getting closer and closer, in trukks and fortresses, on jetbikes or jetpacks. If they take the time out to fire on your tankbustas and as a consequence get charged by a full boys mob, I think you'll be satisfied. Tankbustas in cover will require 2 or 3 squads fire to wipe out (at long range, rapid fire will cut em down, but if they are that close you'll crump em wif yer fists anyway).
- Teamed up with a Looted Wagon. The Looted Wagon costs the same as the Wartrukk, although takes a heavy support choice and doesn't come with a gun. However, the Looted Wagon can still block line of sight to enemy vehicles, and it can also add the option of the Boarding Plank (those tankhammers are still S10), as well as all those other fun vehicle upgrades (I like the Grabbin' Klaw, which forces the vehicle to sit still while the tankbustas kill it in assault).
I see the Glory Hogs rule as being like the "Don't Touch That" rule on the looted basilisk last time around, its a small check on the power of a very nice unit, and orky in the extreme.
Here are the conditions that must be fulfilled before you lose your shots.
At the beginning of your turn
- Vehicle in LOS
- No vehicles within 30".
- No friendly vehicle can be moved into a position to block LOS to the vehicle.
- Tankbustas can't move in such a way as to lose their LOS to the vehicle.
- Nobody else can pop the vehicle first
This may not be enough to change someone's mind on Tankbustas, but maybe its cool that two reasonable people can read the same codex and come off with different ideas about a unit's viability.
Tankbustas: Other Ideas
I, Tacobake, see them being potentially useful in a footslogging list. They benefit from 4+ cover behind other units (say two Shoota squads in a reverse V), or a good ol' Grot screen and just march up the table. They fire 24" (+ they move 6"), and so long as they are not stuck firing at Land Raiders and the Bomb Squigs don't go after your Deff Dred's rear armour you are probably doing pretty good with them. Fire twice and you are probably pretty happy. 6 Tankbustas are 90 points compared to 80 points worth of Warbuggies. Their only real limitation, they compete with Lootas. Note that unlike Lootas, they can take a Bosspole.
Another idear, if you will, (borrowed from H.B.M.C.) is a small squad min-maxing on Bomb Squigs and Tankhammers. A unit you can toss in a Killkannon Battlewagon in fun games, or otherwise they can march and/or borrow a Trukk. Otherwise they suffer from the similar problems that Burna Boyz do, where they are limited by max I3 and 6+ save in combat.
All in all, generally a Poor choice, but they do give you a lot of Rokkit Launchas. And don't forget they still have Tank Busta bombs. BOOM.
Burna Boyz have two disadvantages when compared to the earlier edition. Firstly, they are only I3 on the charge, and with a 6+ save there is only a few that are going to survive to attack back against MEQ. Granted, they still will. They also lost their AP against vehicles, which was a shame.
What they can still do, however. Is kill infantry. Their biggest disadvantage is a silly one, they do not bring their own Trukk. But if you have say a unit of Nobz marching they can borrow their Trukk or Battlewagon.
Equipping the Burnas:
For dedicated anti-infantry work, you do not want to upgrade them to Meks. You can get 5 for 75 points, 6 for 90, 12 for 180 and 15 for 225. A squad of 6 could be considered a suicide squad. A squad of 6 + a Trukk is comparable in points to three Skorcha buggies. Used as a counter-charge squad against MEQ (20 attacks) they will lose 4, bringing them down to 2. Getting their attacks back they will kill one or two. Poor tactic.
The other option is 8 Burna Boyz in a Trukk, compare to 12 Slugga Boyz with a Klaw. After attacking the same squad of MEQ the 4 Burna Boyz kill 3 MEQ while the Slugga Boyz will kill about the same. As the fight continues the Slugga Boyz will come out ahead. Considering there are other ways to get anti-infantry shooting, and the Burnas are only AP5 this is a Poor tactic.
That said: A cool idea
In a vehicle heavy ork force, a small unit of burnas with 3 meks and 3 grot oilers can be great. They have the best repair rolls in the game for their points. This unit is a must for Super-Heavy vehicles, especially those with transport capability that can hold more than 1 unit. The Meks can even fire their Kustom Mega Blastas if the vehicle is open-topped.
One place the power weapons come in handy is against heavily-armoured, low-initiative opponents like Powerfist Terminators or Necron Warriors. They are especially useful against the Necrons as they prevent We'll Be Back rolls (unless a Resurrection Orb is nearby). (Note that res orb does not work like that any more)
And finally, you can of course use them as a suicide squad if you so choose, similiar to Imperial Guard Command Squads. At 90 points for 6, or 150 for 10 you probably have better ways to spend your points in a list that is not lacking anti-infantry shooting. Lootas, for starters, which can fire their guns from turn 1.
These Boyz just barely earn the rank of Semi-Competitive, especially in light of what they compete against in the Elites section. On their own however they can be a pretty good unit, and more importantly they can really provide you with a number of interesting tactical options.
It is also worth pointing out up front, that these guys are the cheapest Elites choice available, on a model by model basis.
Equipping the Kommandos
The way you equip them will depend largely on their intended use. They can take two of any special weapon (burna, rokkit, big shoota), regardless of mob size (max 15). The only upgrade I feel is useless is the Big Shoota, since if you want dakka you can get it elsewhere in the list. Rokkits and Burnas on the other hand absolutely shine in completely different areas.
First are Rokkits. One tactic that can be used is that for a cheap-as-chips squad, you can take 5 Kommandos and 2 Rokkits and use them as a throw-away unit that can infiltrate and with luck (and first turn), can take turn 1 shots at side armor or at skimmers that haven't moved yet. This is a pretty useful unit that will die the moment something sneezes at them, but they are going to require immediate attention or there will be problems for the other player.
The only thing I don't like here is that even vs. normal Tanks, you're still relying on 2 Rokkits to do their job, that hit on 5's. That and the fact that their main Utility is really first turn dependent, which I don't like. It'll be awesome when it works, and they're cheap enough to risk it many times, but there are always other units that those points could be spent on elsewhere. Still, if you like this sneaky git idea, then go for it.
The second method to equipping the Kommandos is to throw two burnas in the unit and then probably max out the squad and put in the obligatory Power Klaw Nob. Between infiltrate and Waaagh, they can do some damage. If you combo this with a Weirdboy or two and get a first turn Waaagh power(you cannot iniciate a waaagh the first game turn), you can do some serious damage. Even without that, they're a turn 2 hit and area denial unit. Not friggin bad.
As a side note, if you do go this route, add the Bosspole to the unit. With their small squad size its going to be rough getting them to stick around. Part of their Utility is the fact that they can tie units up nicely, they can't do that if they run when they lose combat.
Kommando Speshul Konsiderations:
One unit of Kommandos per army may forgo upgrading to a Nob and take Boss Snikrot instead. He carries a heaftier price tag than a PK Nob, and he can't ignore armor saves, but he is something that pushes this unit from "Semi-Competitive" to "Competitive".
His ambush rule allows the Ork player, if they so chose, to allow the unit to go into reserves and when available, they may enter play from any table edge.
This is a pretty big deal because of the possibilities it allows, this nearly guarantees them the charge on many units if your opponent isn't careful and something is within 12" of a table edge, and if they are careful, it could be useful to declare the Waaagh and use Fleet to catch your target. And while Snikrot doesn't ignore armor saves, he can be counted on to put a few wounds on almost anything, especially on the charge. It should be noted that if you do need anti-armor punch, two Burnas in the unit CAN ignore armor saves, making this the ideal unit to take down MEQ squads.
Hopefully it should go without saying, but if you're going to run Snikrots mob, take Burnas and the max squad size. This unit will be expensive in almost any configuration you want to use for close assaults, which is a downside, but with Snikrot you really stand a chance to make your points back. This is more so vs. certain armies (like Marines), but in general if they don't make their points back they will certainly tie key units up at the right moment, which may not make back its points, but it can win you games in its own right and should not be ignored.
In true GW fashion, what used to be one of the worst units in the old Codex is back with absolutely amazing set of rules.
In every list, almost always in the Elite section, you find that one unit that just screams out "TAKE ME!" above all the other choices. This is one of those units for the Orks. Its not because they're much more survivable than the other Boyz, or because their damage output is amazing for their points (though it can be at times), but because you simply need them.
Lootas are the only unit in the Ork army that can reliably deal with tanks up to and including AV13 at long range. They are quite possibly the best anti-skimmer unit in the entire game. You will pay points for this ability, but it is available to you. And remember folks, any time you can put the screws to a Mech Eldar player with Orks a Nob somewhere out there gets his Power Klaw.
Equipping the Lootas
They're already equipped as well as any Ork. Upgrading any of them to a Mek will immediately relegate your rank from "Warboss" to "Grot" by any Ork players in a 2 mile radius who gets word that you actually exchanged the Deffgun for a Kustom Mega Blasta or something worse.
On to actually using the Lootas, their application is very specific. These Boys are expensive, and they're still just T4 with a 6+ save. What they do have compared to other Elites that fit this criteria is a 48" range with a S7 AP4 gun that does D3 shots. To use Lootas effectively you will have to deploy them in cover where they will have a good line of fire to a good portion of the board.
That's really all there is to using them. Their application once deployed is to sit still and just keep firing at anything that's a target. They can put wounds on Dakka Fexes, present a credible threat to any skimmer, even ones with Holofields+Spirit Stones, and can put glances on Predators.
Some people may disagree on the methods of statistics used for Lootas, but if there is one thing that everyone can agree on is that a unit of Lootas is one of the few credible threats to a Holofields + Spirit Stones Grav Tank in 40k. Fact is that if a Mech Eldar player has to spend a turn in LOS and range of a unit of Lootas they will not like it.
Likewise one unit of 12 can open fire on a Dakka Fex, at 48", and depending on the number of shots for the unit can put anywhere from 2 to 8 wounds on it reliably, and once you get a Dakka Fex rolling that many saves on a 3+, he will start to go down. Now imagine firing this on a unit of Marines or equivalent and you see why they can be so devastating.
Because of these things, this is a unit that screams to be taken in multiples.
I recommend going with Mob sizes over 10. I'm finding that 12 to 14 is about the max I want to use, mostly on the lower side. One of their main problems is that they will never have a lot of models and they can't get a Bosspole. So if they really start taking casualties, they will run. So keeping the mob at a healthy size and in a place that will make engaging them difficult is crucial to using them well.
The thing to remember about Lootas is that unlike the other "really good" stuff in the Ork list, or in any list, is that while they are extremely potent, you have to use them well or you will see them die. These guys are not Terminators, they are not Harlies or Dragons delivered via Falcons, but I think they're going to be used just as much as those units, despite not being as survivable. They leave very little room for error and will take skill to use, but when used correctly they can be devastating. And most importantly they do things that nothing else in the Ork list can replicate.
On the other hand...
I feel that it should be pointed out that after some experience with the Lootas, they are indeed as killy as they seem to be. However, while they are something that should be taken in multiples I feel that maxing out on them would be a bad idea for two very important reasons:
They are expensive and fragile
You may not always get enough terrain to deploy them in safely with good LOS. This is especially true if you take three large squads of them.
So while this does not take away from Lootas being the premier Ork Elite choice, it does give pause to any player who thinks that they should therefore max out on them in any competitive list.
With GW, and even with Phil Kelly, not everything in a codex can be useful, and Elites is a section that is crowded with a lot of bad choices and a few very good ones.
Competitively speaking, Lootas stand out above the rest of the choices like a Nob in a Grot Mob. Kommandos make a good showing, but ultimately in the context of the rest of the army, the Lootas are what really win out in a number of competitive builds simply because they can reliably put down skimmers at very long range. Its a fact of the Meta-game that you need to be able to glance at least 3 Falcons/Hammerheads per turn reliably. These Boyz give you that option and nothing else in the list can replicate that.
This is not to say the other units aren't fun. In terms of character and fun, the choices in the Elites section is one of the best in the dex! When playing friendly games, there is no reason to ignore Meganobz in a Trukk or maybe even go nuts and put down a mob of Bike Nobz with a Painboy. And either unit can be Troops if you take a Warboss!
That is what makes the Ork dex so successful. If you want to be competitive at a tournament, you can. But if you want a crazy fun choice with a lot of Character, there is a wealth of options you can take. Just don't expect them to do well in a very competitive environment.
On the other hand, the elites can be turned into a concentrated punch if used correctly. Nobz and Meganobz can take trukks, while the rest of them can take Looted Wagons (if you have the open heavy support slots, which you probably will since elites are costly; Looted Wagons cost the same as trukks just can't turbo-boost). A mob of tankbustas or burnaboyz hiding inside a looted wagon which is screened by wartrukks is virtually untouchable until they deploy, by the LoS rules.
Alternately, there are some things which only the elite can really touch. If a mob of 30 boyz with one PK nob gets caught in CC with a Wraithlord, Carnifex, Hive Tyrant (etc.,etc.) the nob is the only one with a hope of touching the thing. On the other hand, a 5 man squad of PK toting nobz costs roughly the same and can kill the monster in one or two rounds. It's also safer than sending in your warboss, who may very well face instant kill (especially against Wraithlords or Carnifexes, S10).
Overall, the elites do cost more, but they cost the right amount. It may require some thought to get them to the front line, but they are definitely worth it. Friendly battles, or GT, the orky elites do have a place in the 41st millennium.
Takktica Part 2
This article is continued in Part 2 located here: Dakka Dakka Ork Takktica Part 2
Or just skip straight to Part 3, Quick Tips, or On the Tabletop