Monday, April 4, 2011

Green Tide Rolling In

Orkspeak is a problem, but not the problem.
Making Ork lists is an odd experience for me.  Orks are cheap by definition, yet I always seem to quickly run out of points.  Of course I'm hitting this wall with 100+ infantry in a list and my roadblocks are trying to fit lots of dreads and buggies and a big Nobz squad.  It's a problem that needs context, but a problem all the same.  There's another big problem as well, but I'll get to that after some lists.

Last night I had an idea for EV's proposed Combat Squad to Full Army exercise, one that injects a bit of narrative and helps make some sense out of the impending ork horde.  When I started collecting the current batch of orks way back when Codex: Armageddon was the new hotness.  Part of that codex was a Speed Freaks list, and it was with that list in mind that I started building.  The core of my horde, then and now, is boyz in trukks supported by bikers and fast, shooty vehicles.

You're probably wondering how this ties in with Combat Squad and narratives.  Currently, my orks have a split personality.  They started as Speed Freaks, but now I lean more towards Deathskulls.  I want big infantry mobs, lots of dreads, and plenty of firepower.  In the Armageddon days, I was gearing orks for pure melee, but I've recently decided that orks are already made for melee, so adding in shooting helps address their lack of it while using the ork's natural melee abilities.  Plus I want to paint some blue orks.  I may have blogged about this at the time, but a while back I decided my ork army would really be two separate mobs that have joined together: a Warboss's speedsters and a Big Mek's stompy footsloggers.

Perhaps now the Combat Squad progression makes more sense?  I can start with either half as the basis and add in the other elements as the groups meet and join forces.  I like this solution much more than trying to squish GKs into an ill-fitting form.  I have lots of orks already, possibly everything I need depending on lists, and this is a great chance to paint them up.  I could also co-opt the painting of those orks to fit my ideal "paint twice as much as you buy" equation, both to plug holes in the emergent horde and to build GKs how I want them to end up instead of trying to shoehorn power armored guys into a terminator list.  More on GKs later, for now it's all ork.  How about some lists then?

The core of most any ork list, for me, is a mix of maxed infantry mobs and trukk mobs.  Big squads of shoota boyz with rokkit launchers form a nice tide to roll in, while trukk mobs can flank or zoom around to whatever end.  The flavor comes with what you add to the list after that core.  The first list I made this time around has some buggies and a Battlewagon deathstar, or mini-deathstar.

85 - Big Mek w/ Kustom Force Field
115 - Warboss w/ Power Klaw, cybork body, twin-linked shoota (aka the AoBR warboss), attack squig

75 - 5 Burnas
165 - 5 Nobz w/ 2 Power Klaws, Painboy, Stikkbombs, Waaagh Banner
125 - Battlewagon w/ Deffrolla, extra armor, red paint

245 - 30 Shootas w/ 3 Rokkit Launchas, Nob w/ Power Klaw
230 - 30 Sluggas w/ 3 Big Shootas, Nob w/ Power Klaw
230 - 30 Sluggas w/ 3 Big Shootas, Nob w/ Power Klaw
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
Poor quality shots...
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk

95 - 3 Buggies w/ 1 Rokkit Launcha

That list came out 41 points more than the last time I added it up, but that's pretty minor.  The flavor here is the Battlewagon, plus some buggies for spice.  The HQ and Elites all go in the wagon, which rolls around laying down a cover save until it can discharge the warboss and nobs.  The Burnas can drop lots of templates to fry something to death, plus they can hop out and attack with power weapons as well.  Somehow I thought the wagon only held 12 passengers instead of 20, so I'd probably tweak this to put more bodies in to fill up the wagon.  The idea here is to zoom with the zoomie stuff and roll forward with the rest.

I don't really like deathstars, at least non-Winter Guard deathstars, so the above list is mostly an exercise.  I hear that orks need to max out on battlewagons to work right, and I can see that argument, but I don't want to go that way with them.  Next I went full Speed Freak with Wazdakka.

180 - Wazdakka

371 - 6 Nob Bikers w/ Painboy, 2 Power Klaws, 3 Big Choppas, Stikkbombs

285 - 10 Bikers w/ PK Nob
...for poor quality models.
285 - 10 Bikers w/ PK Nob
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk

135 - 3 Deffcoptas w/ TL Rokkits
70 - 2 Rokkit Buggies

A little off again, but these are rough lists that can all use some polishing.  This one is all about gasoline dreams and open throttles.  There are two problems with the list though: lack of bodies and lack of models.  Orks are a horde army, so an ork list with 69 total models is too small.  Granted 27 of those are bikers of some flavor, and thus a little tougher than your average ork, but it's still not many boots.  I get nervous with less than 100.  Plus I only have 10 bikers, so the prospect of adding 17 more at $40ish per 3 for about $250 on ork bikers is a bit of a put-off.  Money will be spent, it's all but unavoidable, but if I'm dropping a decent chunk I want to get something versatile.  17 ork bikers only has one real application.

For the final list, I went heavy Deathskull for the dreaded green tide, though a slight twist on the theme.

85 - Mek w/ KFF
70 - Warboss w/ TL Shoota, Big Choppa

This one isn't so bad really.
68 - 3 Nobz w/ 1 Big Choppa, Stikkbombs

245 - 30 Boys w/ 3 Rokkit Launchas, PK Nob
245 - 30 Boys w/ 3 Rokkit Launchas, PK Nob
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
142 - 12 Sluggas w/ PK Nob, Trukk
120 - 30 Grots w/ 3 Handlers

95 - Dread w/ 3 CCW, Big Shoota
130 - 3 Kans w/ 2 Big Shootas, 1 Rokkit Launcha
130 - 3 Kans w/ 2 Big Shootas, 1 Rokkit Launcha
130 - 3 Kans w/ 2 Big Shootas, 1 Rokkit Launcha

There are a couple problems with this list, mostly that I have either 7 troops or 4 heavy support, but there's also the walking warboss and nobs.  That aside, the idea here is more or less the same: big blob of infantry marches forward while trukks zoom around.  This time it's heavier on the slog.  I'd go even more in that direction, but I'm trying to make lists that I already have most of, and I don't think I have 150+ boyz.  I really like all the dreads here, but those will be a problem like the bikers in that I don't have them yet and 9 kans is only going to fit a specialized build.  I also need to mount the Warboss somehow as I can't have the leader of the speed freak element on foot.

Now towards the end, we can address the problem I have with orks that isn't math or force org slots.  To me, orks are something of a glorified delivery system.  The heavy lifters in my lists, stompy dread list aside, are Nobs with Power Klaws in boyz units.  I think a PK Nob with 11 bullet catchers in a trukk is going to get the job done, but I also think it's pretty boring.  Considering that the most effective anti-tank these lists have is PK Nobs, I'm kinda stuck with them.  Sure there are rokkits, and they might do something, but you sure can't count on them.  A mass of boys is bound to take down any take eventually through all the attacks, but the Nob is what will be killing things most of the time.  You can get the odd bit of ordnance through vehicles, but reliability is a problem again and I don't want to run a bunch of battlewagons.

This need plenty of work.
This is going to be an issue for every list because of the ork list itself.  Orks have exactly two troops options: boys and grots.  A unit of grots as a screen for infantry is a fine thing, but they aren't effective at anything other than providing a cover save.  Boys are great, but they have few options.  Big shoota, rokkit launcha, power klaw. that's about it.  Force organization charts make this even more of a problem.  Ideally I'd like to run 2-3 foot sloggers and 5-6 trukks.  Unfortunately, you only get six troops choices.  The trukk itself is a problem too as it limits the mob size to 12.  In 3rd this wasn't so bad because of the rule that let mobs absorb each other.  That rule is gone in 5th which means you can't run the trukk mobs up front and then collect the broken pieces with the infantry behind.  This means trukk mobs have no good way to get around their fragility, so the massed trukk assault that I want to do doesn't work as well anymore.  This is all fine, games change over time, and my army leanings have changed as well.  I like the idea of lots of walkers, but I also like the idea of lots of trukks.  I suppose I could take Nobs mobs in trukks, and I may have to look into that more, but I really wish I could run a warboss, a big mek, and fill the rest with a horde of trukk boys.

Regardless of how you slice it, the heart of any ork list is boys.  I happen to have a bunch, probably 50-60, of boys assembled and somewhere between primed and almost finished.  Unfortunately none of these are based, so I won't get that layer of primer helping hold down the ballast, but I hope it won't be a big issue.  I've scattered poor pictures of a batch of these boys throughout the post here, as you've surely noticed.  These are from the most finished end of the spectrum.  I plan on doing all the infantry as Deathskulls and all the trukkers as Evil Suns/Speed Freaks.  There are a couple converted big shootas in there that are done up in red and yellow.  They'll stay that way if I can shoot them out of a full speed trukk, but if I can't shoot on the move they'll get a coat of blue and the trukkers will be only sluggas and PK Nobs.  I only have a few rokkit launcha boys, and have only tenuous ideas on how to make some, so I may have all the "heavy" weapons I need already.  Like the Blood Angels, all my transport are outdated, so adding new trukks will either look odd or require a full replacement.  If I go the full swap route I hope to convert the old trukks into rokkit buggies, but then I run into the problem of needing rokkits again.

I'm not ready to fully commit to the orks yet, but they are the best option I have and the current front runners.  I had an epiphany at work yesterday that I could take 10 man GKT unts and combat squad them so I still had two 5 man squads while only paying for the ammo once.  All the termies are LD9, so having the Justicar in one squad doesn't matter so much, and doesn't matter at all for the Paladins.  I figured that the essence of Grey Knights is Terminators, so I want to take an all termie list with walkers.  This won't jive with the Combat Squad approach, so I think I'll go with the orks that will work perfectly in small increments instead of trying to chop up the GK list into workable pieces.  I also think the orks will match up with Dark Eldar better than GKs, though I think they'd both work.  The lances will hurt less when they kill a boy than a terminator, and I think I'll have enough bodies to sustain losses until I can take out the transports.  I don't even think that will be so bad as every weapon I have can potentially take them out, and I'll have enough shots to overcome orky shooting and flicker fields (which I assume give the vehicles a cover save) with weight of numbers.  Since I have the bulk of any non-biker list already, I don't really have the opportunity to tailor my list to fight DE which is a good thing.  The big problem with the orks is going to be painting them all.  Cocktail napkin math tells me I need to do around a model a day.  I think this is possible, as I'll be shooting for a lower standard with this army, but is still a punishing pace.  I'll see if I can settle on a list and figure it out for real, but in the meantime I'd run something like this at 500.

  85 - KFF Big Mek
230 - 30 Slugga Boys w/ PK Nob & 3 Big Shootas
182 - 23 Shoota Boys w/ PK Nob & 2 Big Shootas

Straightforward list here, a big blob of boys that rolls forward under cover of Kustom Force Field.  EV looks to be running three transports and a small PW unit, which again I think this list will have the numbers to deal with.  From here I'd add some walkers and fill out the undersized boys as the Mek builds his band, then add in the Warboss and trukkers as the two leaders combine forces.  I don't know that taking a lot of low armor vehicles is a great idea with the amount of anti-tank EV should have, but I'm not going down the battlewagon route.  There should end up being lots of vehicles so perhaps I'll have too many targets to deal with.  Regardless of how the matchup looks, or whether I do the orks for the Combat Squad thing that needs a better name, I think I'll build them with a mix of walkers and zoomie vehicles backed up by a mess of boys.


  1. Honestly, a Green Tide approach is going to give me the biggest problems.

    The Flickerfields give my Raiders and Ravagers the same save your Boyz get under the influence of the Kustom Force Field. Nothing to write home about, but on an AV 10 vehicle it's worth its weight in gold.

    I'll not go into my plans yet, but I've got a few ideas as to how to deal with a foot-slogging wall.

    Instead of calling it "Combat Patrol", or "40k in 40 Minutes", or "40k in a Flash" you could always call it "a 500 point game"...

  2. I mean a name for what we're doing here, the whole slow-growth thing. Maybe we can work this into a campaign of some kind, those always seemed nifty.

  3. Some sort of mini escalation "league" perhaps? Or the winner of each battle getting some sort of special asset before the next game, or for a couple of games based on how powerful the advantage is? Sounds fairly cool. I made up a mission deck using a deck of playing cards before, and I'm sure if we put our heads together we can come up with something interesting.

  4. Having never tried a wargame campaign before, I have a couple ideas but nothing real solid. I think something as simple as a narrative thread that links the separate games together would work, as would something more complex with perks for the winners and things like that. Whatever the case, I'd much rather refer to something as "Assault on Hive World Hostess Pie" than "slow-grow psuedo-league thing." Makes it easier to acronymize, and I do love acronyms.

    In unrelated news, since I picked the day and time I'm making you pick the system and points for Thursday.

  5. Bring 1,750 points of Blood Angels and I'll try out my Deathwing again.