Friday, January 7, 2011

Ork unit breakdown and probable army list Pt 2: Elites

Okay, finally got around to Part 2 of my Orky guide.

The Elites section of a codex is typically where you find some of the most effective units, though usually they appear in small numbers. The ork codex has a good selection on offer and they all have ups and downs. I will include both tactical concerns and modelling/cost ones, since both have a place in this hobby.

As before, pictures are taken without permission from Games Workshop's main website. Go there for more details on models and some more great images.

Without further ado, let's get started.

The Nobz are the biggest and meanest orks after the warboss and have a solid set of stats. They have the usual low ballistic skill for orks but come with +1 strength, initiative, wounds and attacks over boyz. With furious charge and 2 combat weapons, this means each nob will have 5x S5 attacks on the charge and two wounds mean they can stick around to keep fighting longer.

The Nobz are also perhaps the most customisable unit in any codex that I've seen with each one being able to take any of the equipment allowed (rather than the usual 'for every 5 members, 1 may exchange....' etc.). The equipment list is long too and includes: sluggas, shootas, kombi-weapons, big choppas, eavy armour, waagh banner, power klaws, ammo runts and bosspoles. This variety allows for the nasty Nob trick of making each model unique, allowing you to spread non-instant death attacks around so that each Nob takes a wound before any needs to be removed. That means you can take 10 wounds on a full squad of 10 and will only have to remove a model once the 11th wound is dealt. This can help Nobz stick around a lot longer than the enemy would like them to.

Also in there is the option to add a Painboy, who gives the unit Feel No Pain (and the choice for cybork bodies 5+ inv save), making them even nastier and more resilient. While I don't plan to do it (both for game and conversion/cost reasons) I have to point out the incredible power of Nob Bikers. The entire unit may choose to ride bikes. When accompanied by a painboy and warboss (the latter making them troops) you have a complex wound unit with 2 saves (4+ cover and FNP) where Str8-9 shots can be assigned to the warboss to prevent Instant Death, multi-charges are very easy and they can pretty much wreck anything in combat with a profusion of power klaw attacks. You generally have 1 turn to deal with this unit as it will turbo boost 24" on turn 1 and be ready to assault you come turn 2. It's not invincible by any means and is expensive, but it is very nasty to deal with and a threat that cannot be ignored.

For me, I used the Nobz boxed set, an AOBR nob set and some converting skills to mix up 2 units of foot nobz. I have 16 models total, 6 power klaws, 3 big choppas, some kombi-weapons, a waaagh banner and plans to convert a painboy or two. I will probably mix these models up a bit in two units and transport them in trukks or battlewagons (covered by a Big Mek KFF) to get into krumpin range ASAP. Looking forward to seeing how they turn out on the table.

- Solid melee fighters with staying power and option for FNP
- Customisable and wound allocation
- Fast threat that can't be ignored easily when transported upfield
- Can be troops if a warboss is taken
- Nob Bikers
- Good value ($25 retail) set with loads of gubbinz that fits nicely onto AOBR models

- Slow if forced to footslog
- Expensive points wise (20 base) and more when customised.
- Not the best initiative so can lose to nasty CC units (though their staying power helps offset this to some degree).

Mega Nobz

The Mega-armoured Nobz are actually a cheaper way to get smashy powerklaws onto the table than a regular Nob with a klaw. Costing 40 pts (vs 45 for a PK nob) they also get a TL-shoota and a 2+ armour save. On the other hand they lose the upgrade options (save for kombi weapons) and are slow and purposeful. The latter basically means you must have a transport for them as being stuck in the backfield and only moving 1-2" with bad rolls will not help your game at all. Be wary of fighting against power weapons or powerfists because they have no inv save and will go down to Instant Death. Choose your fights carefully.

These guys do really tempt me just because they are so fun and orky. I mean, strap a few hundred kilos of metal to an ork and point him on his way is such a greenskin mindset. My big downside though is that they are so expensive ($20 per model) if you don't convert. Still, a fun unit that is killy when it hits and definitely attracts your opponent's attention.

- Cheap Power Klaws, 2+ save
- Nasty assault unit that draws attention

- Slow and Purposeful.
- Require a transport (and if it's popped, see previous con)
- $20 per model :-(

Burna Boyz

Now these orks bring some versatile flamethrowers to the table and can be a real nightmare if used well. Essentially they are orks with a flamer (S4, AP5) who can use them as power weapons if they don't fire them in the shooting phase prior to assault.

In my view there are some good times to use them in the latter role (vs Power Fist terminators) where their low initiative doesn't matter and the power weapon is key, but generally I prefer them to use their flame templates. Given that they are the same as Boyz stat-wise (and cost nearly 3x as much), they aren't going to stand up to dedicated assault troops well enough to warrant frequent hand to hand.

A great change in 5th edition for the burnas is that there are no partial hits on flame templates any more and with no roll to hit, orky BS doesn't matter at all. If each burna boy can cover 2-3 marines with a template, then the hits really add up fast:10 burnas, 30 hits, 15 wounds, 5 dead marines, follow up with an assault move and you'll probably take out that marine squad. It gets even nastier in vehicles as you can either drive up beside (or tank shock into a clump) your foe, drop one template coming out of the wagon and multiply the number of hits by the number of burnas. So 5 marines covered by a template equals 50 hits with 10 burnas.

From a modelling perspective, these guys come in the same box as the Lootas and have the option to be lead by a mek. I don't really see too much utility in the mek but you might find space for a kustom mega blaster to add some punch. Money-wise, your best bet is probably to buy 2 boxes (giving you 10 bodies total), make up 8 lootas OR burnas then buy a box of boyz and use those bodies to make up the 8 of the other elite unit. Much cheaper than buying repeat boxes of the same.

- Flaming burney death on a large scale
- Power weapon assaults can slaughter certain targets
- Good boxed set combination with Lootas

- Expensive per model with no more survivability than a boy
- Vulnerable to assault threats
- Boxed set provides odd numbers (multiples of 4)


Lootas are definitely one of the premiere elite units in the codex and one that few players should (or will) leave out of their army.

Each loota brings a deffgun, which is essentially a Heavy D3 autocannon. A unit of 10 will fire between 10 and 30 shots out to 48", more than enough to put the hurting on enemy vehicles and mess with a mech player's day. You roll once for the unit each turn on shots though so the damage output is variable and you can certainly have a bad game where each turn you get the minimum shots. Conversely a bunch of 5s and 6s will have you wrecking light armour like nobody's business.

The downsides of lootas are fairly simple. They are regular boyz who can have leadership issues, cost a bunch of points (15 each) and come in a box that only makes 4. It can be costly to build up large units but their guns too look very cool with a mix of tech from all the different races.

- Great range unit that swats light armour or high Toughness targets through torrent of fire
- Relatively cheap for high damage output potential
- Tempting target, taking heat off your advancing boyz/nobz/etc.

- Relatively small units with low leadership (max unit of 15 doesn't give much mob rule leeway)
- Variable damage output with the usual orky BS
- Annoying boxed set comes in multiples of 4 (great models though)


Infiltrating orks here who get to move through cover. Their classic use is for first or second turn assaults on foes who cannot react in time but they act as nice area denial troops too. Leading them with a PK nob who gets first turn auto-hits on a vehicle your opponent thought was safe is definitely mean. One option is to use them in conjunction with Boss Snikrot too. Though you lose the PK nob option, Snikrot lets you bring the Kommandos on from reserve on any table edge. Woe betide those Long fangs who though they were safe on the rear or flank position.

- Area denial and/or first turn assaults
- Snikrot gives tactical utility

- Smaller units with limited survivability
- Expensive models ($38 metal set of 5).


The tankbustas bring some orky mayhem to the mech environment of 5th edition. Each ork has a rokkit launcher and must fire it at the nearest enemy vehicle in LOS, regardless of range. They can also come with tankhammers (S10 assault weapons vs armour), AT grenades and bomb squigs who go scuttling off to blow up nearby vehicles. Definitely a lot of fun and with great potential.

The key weakness of Tankbustas that must be mitigated is their requirement to shoot at the closest enemy vehicle. If you have LOS to a Land Raider 40" away but there is a squad of marines right next to you....tough. This means you need to plan carefully with tankbustas so you can deny them LOS to the targets you don't care for.

- Lots of rokkits
- Bomb squigs let them engage multiple units
- Tankhammers can be swung from atop trukk boarding planks :-)

- Glory Hogs means they must shoot vehicles
- Smaller units with limited survivability
- Expensive models ($38 metal set of 5).

That's it for elites. I'll try to be faster on the other parts of the codex so I can get on and put my final list up.

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