Nothing screams 40k like a mighty Ork WAAAGH! Oh there are plenty of things that epitomize 40k, and the Space Marine and it’s equivalents (and we will be revisiting ‘What to do with the Blood Angels Menace’) will always be the poster boys of the 40k World. But nothing SCREAMS 40k like a loud and proud WAAAGH!.
The official spelling of a WAAAGH! is exactly that, Three A’s and an exclamation mark. Anything less is just not sufficient, although as in the case of the title, additional A’s may be added for emphasis. As I progress with my Orky army, I’m going to share with you the discovery and joy of painting, collecting and fighting with a green horde.
While I doubt that my army will ever truly approach the size of a “Green Tide” army, so named for it’s numerous large mobs of Boys, but even at it’s current (half painted) 1000 point iteration it already features Ghazghkull Thraka, 2 20-man boy squads, some nobs, lootas and a Battlewagon. It’s easy to see why even a mechanized force tends to feature a huge number of models.
With the basic Slugga or Shoota coming in at just 6 points and featuring an impressive stat-line in close combat, it’s easy to see why they are so popular. Not only do they have incredible character and personality as an army, but your basic boy is more than capable of causing pain.
Taking a look at the comparable stat line, we can see that they have the same Weapon Skill, Toughness, number of wounds as a much more expensive Space Marine. However, they only have a 6+ t-shirt save as opposed to the Power Armor the Marine gets, and also only have leadership 7 on their own vs the 8 and most likely 9 the marine gets from his sergeant. Not to mention significantly worse shooting at only Ballistic Skill 2 vs 4 for the marine. Where the Ork wins is in close combat.
Even the standard Ork Boy gets the Furious Charge special rule, which confers upon them a +1 Strength bonus and a +1 to their initiative while charging an enemy. They still hit after a marine in combat, but it gives them 3 attacks each (2 base + 1 for charging) at Strength 4 – the same as a marine. Take that into account with their ability to take a Nob with a Power Klaw (Power Fist for the marine player) and it becomes easy to see how they do so well.
Imagine if you will 19 boys plus their Nob (160 points) piling into combat with let’s say a full 10 man squad of Marines (170 points). The Marines hit first, because they have higher initiative. But they only have 1 attack each, plus 2 for the sergeant. So 11 attacks. They have the same Weapon Skill, so need 4’s to hit. This should mean that keeping averages, 5.5 successful hits. The Space Marines are strong, but Orks are made of Animal Fiber and Fungus and are built to feel nothing. The Marines need 4’s to wound the Orks. This should work out to on average 2.75 wounds, so let’s say 3. The Orks don’t really wear armor so all 3 will probably die, but they might make one save. Let’s say hypothetically that 1 saves his wound and 2 die – a reasonable outcome.
Now it’s the Orks turn. There are 17 angry boys ready to krump heads. Shootas get 3 attacks on the charge, Sluggas have an extra combat weapon so they get 4. My army, and the model here is a slugga, so we’ll use that. They hit on 4’s so that’s 68 attacks, averaging 34 or so hits. They need 4’s to wound on the charge because of Furious Charge, so they will average 17 wounds. The Marine player has the benefit of tough power armor, and saves the wound on a 3+. That should mean that he saves all but 5-6. But 5-6 dead marines is an expensive proposition. Then the Nob hits. He also hits on a 4, with 4 attacks on the charge. This should yield 2 hits. He has a Power Klaw though. It is strength 9 on the charge, so wounds on a 2. We should expect that both wound on average. Also because it’s a power weapon it slices right through the Marines and their tough armor, yielding another 2 dead marines. This should mean that for the paltry cost of 2-3 Orks, or 12-18 points, we’ve wiped out most of a Marine Squad, or about 112-136 points worth of men. Seems like a fair trade to me, especially when most marine players split their squads into 5 man groupings.
The challenge for the Ork player becomes getting to combat without getting slaughtered on the way. There are ways to do it though and in future articles I’ll talk about ways I’m doing it in my own army. We’ll also talk about the Ork Steamroller of Doom – the Deffrolla, and the amazing power of the Loota Squad – with hopefully lots of pictures like this ork here to back it up.