Bloodripper the ork nob boss thundered down the metallic street at flat-out speed in his trukk, surrounded by his equally ‘eavy armoured nobz. He surveyed his massive power klaw mounted where his right fist used to be, and prayed to Gorka that it should see more shiny humie space marines pierced on it like a grot barbecue stick, then any other ork in this battle today. The trukk skidded to a halt, blasted off bursts from its big shoota, and the nobz disembarked. They charged the line of space marines clad in their ceramite black armour, firing their weapons. A orange plume of flame erupted from one of his squad, falling 3 of the metal-encased men. Bloodripper ran straight to the humie without a helmet and the feared ‘chainsword’. The leader. His opposite number; the only one who would provide the most fun in battle. He charged, raised his power klaw and brought it down on the marine’s weak fleshy head. Why did humies have such weak flesh? He struck again, removing the head from his-
“Wait a minute, don’t I get overwatch?”
“Huh? Oh…yeah. Sorry.”
“And I’m pretty sure I have a higher initiative! Stop trying to cheat!”
“I haven’t played in ages! I forgot!”
After more then a year of painting and collecting Warhammer 40K armies, I’ve finally started playing with some regularity. The first few matches were littered with rather foreseeable mistakes such as the one above, and with that its become more and more apparent that my precious Orkies will almost always have an uphill battle, especially against the Space Marines and their well-armoured ilk.
Its what I deserve for not being loyal to the Imperium of Man. I started with Space Marines, and got quite far in making a sizeable strike force, but the orks were calling. I was drawn to their ridiculous tech, the shoddy vehicles with massive guns and spiky, Mad Max-inspired trim – all painted in bright yellow or red. The latter colour making them go faster, because the will of the ork is can break reality. The more I read about them, the more I enjoyed their playstyle too. Blob up the battlefield with 30 ork boyz in one squad, effectively cutting the enemy army in two. Could I kill the thing I was fighting? Maybe not, but he’s not getting away any time soon. And maybe I could even kill something else! Boyz with shootas get 2 attacks each, 30×2=60 shots per turn. Even if I have to roll 5+ to hit, then 4+ to wound, and the marines get to roll 3+ to get an armour save, the boyz might get lucky, and they will certainly cheer when they do so!
That’s not to mention the charging benefits they get: They can reroll charge dice, they gain +1 Strength when charging, the aforementioned shoota boys get 3 attacks now, and the ones with choppas and sluggas get 4! 4×30=120 attacks. Call a Waaagh! and your boyz run 12″ but can then charge after, giving them extra chance to get in choppy range. How could you not grin the evilest of grins at that thought? Then there’s the long-range units like Lootas and the Big Guns and Battlewagons who can blast enemies from across the map, giving them something to worry about even before the horde crashes into them, along with air units of awesome, biker gangs, walkers, and special rocketeers and kommandos ready to outflank. Sounds great; sounds fun! Let me show you how that bubble was burst for me by actually playing the game.
Groups of boyz cover A LOT of space, especially if you want them to avoid getting clumped together. Getting clumped makes them an easy target for blast weapons (such as the Imperium’s glorious plasma cannon). This means finding cover is tough, if the battlefield lacks it. All in all, you’re getting shot at 24″ away by the marines with boltguns. Close the gap to 12″ – you’ll need to run to do that in one turn, and you can’t fire then – the space marines now ‘rapid fire’ and can shoot twice per boltgun. They’re AP5 so you get no armour save. Find some cover and its 4+ but then it’ll slow you down getting across said cover. You close the gap finally, you declare a charge, marines do overwatch, more orks fall, you charge in, they get to strike first because of higher initiative, their weapon skill is the SAME as their ballistic skill, so they’re just as good close up. You’ve maybe lost half your boyz by now, and morality tests come into play. You can avoid it but you have to smack some units of your own to regain control. More orks down. Now you get to hit but next turn they get to go first once again. It doesn’t look good.
Their army-wide ballistic skill of just 2, compared to Space marine’s 4, means charging is really the only way to win, and you will almost always hit second. Its a gamble you have to take. Its on you to throw everything into the enemy in an orchestrated tsunami in the exact right way to achieve victory. If the marines get lucky once and take out your centrepiece units, its probably over.
But, at the end of it, you have to look at it like an ork. Did I have fun? Yes. Did I kill a lot of things? Yes. Did I secure the objectives? Probably not, because YOU CAN’T KILL AN OBJECTIVE. The great thing is that ork warbosses are probably the cheapest form of warlord for what they are. They’re absolute monsters. Unkillable, powerful, buffing all surrounding allies. Challenge the puny enemy leader to a duel and strike him down for, not glory, but to show who’s da boss! Your boyz aren’t designed to get that perfect 120 attacks on the enemy – they’re there to take the enemies’ pummelling until your boss or your meganobz arrive in their red spiky limousine and grab the enemy by the throat, and throw him off the table edge. Your big guns and their crazy random misfire tables are there to make both players have fun, if it goes your way or not. They’re cheesy but not in a bad way; its the only way they can have a great victory. And don’t get me started on how awesome their walker formations are. Walking tin cans with spinning blades charging into enemy infantry. That would be my ideal army. Plus its fun to wonder if you’re opponent is a little bit scared of your horde, because if they make contact with the enemy, then the battle can begin in earnest – and the humies are in trouble.