Since the time of the release of our current ork codex there have been numerous tactica written about our beloved Orks. But unfortunately most Ork Tactica articles are variations on a theme advocating the same units and models. However, I would like to take a slightly different spin on the use of the orks. The purpose of this article is to take a look at some units in the Ork Codex that are often overlooked and perhaps encourage the Ork players to try something a little out of the proverbial box. While none of these suggestions are intended to “replace” the units we have all come to know and love they should be given a second look for those who may have disregarded them in the past.
The Overlooked HQ – Old Zogwort
The orks have some of the best bang for the buck in the 40k universe regarding HQ unitswhen you look at what the unit contributes compared to its cost. Everyone who has faced orks regularly are aware of the more commonly used HQ choices. These include such standards as “Warboss with power klaw, eavy armor, cybork body and bosspole” and “Big Mek with kustom forcefield.” Also, there are special characters such as Gazaghkull and Grotsnik whose use, and value, is readily accepted. However, there is at least one character who is rarely seen on the table but who consistently proves to be an asset when used. The Grand Warphead of the Snakebites … Old Zogwort.
Old Zogwort is a character that every ork player should try in four games. Part of the reason why Old Zogwort has received generally negative reviews is because he gets tried once, does nothing or is easily neutralized, and the player concludes that Old Zogwort is a waste of points. This is usually because of the failure of Zog Worts Curse to successfully work. To understand Old Zogwort you must understand Zogworts curse. This power is the incarnation of arbitrary in the orkiverse. Even the Shokk Attack gun is a more reliable weapon. For Zogworts Curse to work you must have (1) an independent character within 18”, (2) line of sight (3) make a successful psychic test (4) not have the power neutralized by a psychic hood or the like, and (5) and roll higher than your opponent on the roll of a D6.
Zogworts Curse is one of those special things in the 40K universe that players read and drool over. They get dreams of turning Dante or Marneaus Calgar into an ‘angry s quig’ and to shortly follow up the following quip to their opponent, “But the good news is that you get to control the squig.” And when all that happens it is in fact a glorious moment. Unfortunately, to get all the pieces of the puzzle to fit together for the Zogworts Curse experience to happen is akin to lining up the moon and the stars. It just does not happen too often.
However, Old Zogwort does have huge perks.
The pre-eminate Snakebite Warphead is in fact a close combat monster. He is arguably the second best close combat fighter in the ork codex. Zogworts Curse and the Wyrdboy powers will be an eternal source of frustration if a player is counting on these abilities, however, Zogwort in close combat will have outstanding results. Zogworts staff, Nest of Vipers, is a 2+ poison weapon. And this can be combined with his normal wyrdboy abilities (as long as they don’t get neutralized by something) which transform his close combat attacks to power weapon attacks. Finally, Zogwort has d6+2 attacks in close combat. So with an average of 5.5 power weapon attacks that wound on 2+ the real benefit of Zogwort becomes clear quickly.
While I am not a huge advocate of nob squads, if one does take such a squad, Zogwort is almost a mandatory incusion. Nob squads invariably will include a Waaagh Banner (+1 Weapon Skill) and Pain Boy (Feel No Pain) and these items are able to confer their abilities onto independent characters attached to the squad. So Zogwort now will typically hit on 3+ and have a much better save. But he also becomes harder to kill as many players are placed into a conumdrum of trying to kill off the unit or the Snakebite Sorcerer.
Occasionally, one will be successful (and lucky) with Zogworts Curse or get the perfect Wyrdboy power at the rigth moment. But those times are rare. Zogwort will shine when he gets to act like the Snakebite he is … spinning his glowing staff like a whirling dervish of death into a squad of marines. With a little practice and a few games even old school warbosses will start to realize the benefit of this underused character.
The Overlooked Elite - Multiple Kommando Squads
The Overlooked Elite - Multiple Kommando Squads
Ork Elite choices are widely know and will appear in almost every ork army. It is rare indeed to see an army that does not include at least one elite choice as these units are, with the exception of the Tankbuster, all extremely viable. Lootas, Burnas, Nobs and Meganobs are as common place in an ork army as are Ork Boys. While the kommando is clearly an effective unit a slight variation on how it is played can make the boys in camo a crushing blow for an opponent.
When kommandos are used the common configuration is one squad with Snikrott attached. And this is without a doubt a very effective unit. However, there is another option for Kommandos that should always be considered. The kommando squad without Snikrott. A kommando mob has the ability to equip its Nob with a burna and, as one might guess, this flaming instrument of death in the hands of a Nob it is a valuable tool indeed. A nob may be equipped with a burna in much the same way as the Nob may be equipped with a Shoota. After you do a weapon swap for the boy you then choose which boy to upgrade. And in the case of the kommando’s you upgrade the kommando boy who is weilding the burna. (See also Ork 2010 FAQ pg 1 regarding whether a shootaboy nob may have a powerfist.)
I still typically equip my kommando nobs with powerklaws but do place two burnas in the squad. This is because the extra “punch” of the power klaw is often needed in so many circumstances and I have found that laying down two flamer templates (and a boy is just as good as a nob for this purpose) when coming out of Outflank (or Ambush) is more useful than using the power weapon with the Nob. But for those who enjoy the use of Kommandos it is certaintly nice to know this option exists and it is a cheap way to have an extremely combat worthy Kommando Nob.
The kommando squad is special in that you can have up to two boys who have burnas. While these burnas, on the surface, seem cost prohibitive at 15 points each, in reality, they function exceptionally well in the hands of kommandos. This is because of the likelyhood that kommandos (with or without snikrott) will be able to hit some sort of target on the turn the unit comes in. And as previously stated, washing a unit that are relying on cover saves with two flamer templates right before charging in is always a wonderful perk.
However, one of the great strengths of the Kommandos is not simply the use of Snikrott or the ability to use burnas but when multiple units of kommandos are used. One kommando squad is a threat that the enemy needs to address. However, the use of two full kommando squads becomes a thing to be feared that has the potintial to crush an enemy flank. This tactic can be as powerful as a full mob of cybork nobs or armored meganobs at roughly the same cost and it has a far greater tactical surprise to it as well. My prefered configuration for multiple kommando squads is to have one kommando squad with a power first weilding nob and the other kommando squad to be led by Snikrott.
Tactically when beginning outflank / ambush rolls I will always roll the normal kommando squad first. This is an attempt to know where they are coming in before you make the same roll for Snikrott. If the normal kommando squad does in fact come in, then hopefully Snikrott will comein via “ambush” as well. If this occurs you will want sneaky Snikrott he comes on to the board in the same general area as the normal kommando squad. Thus, coordinateing their attacks into an enemy line. In the event one of the units does not comein on the next turn I will try to reinforce that side of the table with whatever outflanking unit has not yet come in. With multiple kommando units the player must keep in mind to focus his forces if at all possible. It has been my experience that 30 kommandos are significantly more than twice the threat of one kommando mob of 15.
The Overlooked Troop - Grots
At a west coast Grand Tournament recently a friend of mine, another experienced ork player, lined up across the table with a gentleman using nearly all Nob Biker list which was tricked out in all its cheesy glory. The Nob Biker player then tried to make an argument that he his army was gouda-free because he had graciously included some “useless” units in his army as well. Namely he was refering to his mob of grots. My friend was slightly soured on the other player because of his 20 nob bikers and two biker warbosses but developed an instant dislike for this person by his attempt to bamboozle him into thinking that grots are “useless.” Grots are, without a doubt, one of the most useful units in the ork codex and have won as many, if not more, games for ork players than probably any other unit.
When the Ork Codex first came out there was a great question about what use would grots be in an ork army. With a minimum sized ork boy squad costing 60 points and a minium sized grot mob costing 40 points many a warboss wondered why anyone would ever take a squad of grots when for approximately 20 points more you could take a squad of Ork boys which would acutally be able to function offensively. However, time has proven that the Grot has a place in an ork army. And in fact, the grot mob has become a unit which I rarely leave home without.
The strength of the grot mob is not in its offensive ability but in its ability to be an inexpensive, hard to kill, hard to break unit and which can hold an objective. The minimum sized grot mob (10 grots and slaver) can do more for 40 points to alter the composition and offensive power of an army than any other unit in the codex. By using this mob as a dedicated objective holder it allows the remainder of your army to do what the orks want to do … go on the offensive.
In games where objectives are used the ork player with the grot mob should try to place an objective in cover as close to his table edge as possible and in cover. Then during set up he will always place the grot mob into reserves. The remainder of his force strikes forward doing what orks do best. The grots, on the other hand, stay in reserves for as long as possible. When the grot mob eventually does come out move and run directly towards the objective in cover. When the grots get there they will then want to go to ground (and pray to Gork, or was it Mork, for their survival) probably for the rest of the game. By doing this you have a unit which has 11 wounds, a reroll to its leadership and a 3+ cover save that is successfully fuly holding an objective. No where else in the ork codex can we hold an objective so effectively for such a small cost.
The sheer volume of fire power it will take to “dig out” the grots, the fact that this unit now has to be addressed, and the fact that you do not have to hold back any of your boys to control this objective more than makes up for the cost of the grot mob.