Orks in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k
The 6th edition of Warhammer 40K was released in June 2012, bringing with it a host of new rules and changes to old rules. This article will look at how some of those new or changing rules will affect the Ork armies we've used to stomp across the 5th edition universe.
Let's go through a typical turn sequence and I will point out some of the new/changes rules and how it will affect some of our troops. We will look at the Movement, Shooting, and the Assault phases.
'Er we go! 'Er we go!
The most immediate change Ork players will face is the inclusion of Mysterious Terrain. For players of 8th ed Warhammer Fantasy, this will be a familiar rule. Basically, certain terrain (woods, but possibly others) have unknown rules associated with them. Only when a model enters the terrain for the first time is a die rolled to determine the "mysterious" ability. Basing this on Warhammer Fantasy, the terrain effects range from harmful, to annoying, to mildly beneficial.
I mention this in relation to Orks because we often have VERY large mobs that take up a lot of table space. We Orks are going to be rolling for a lot of mysterious terrain. We're gong to have a hard decision to make in many situations. Do we risk a bad roll on the Mysterious Terrain table in order to gain that coveted 5+ cover save (or better)? Simple solution? Take a Big Mek with a Kustom Force Field and avoid the trees.
Speaking of Cover Saves, in 6th ed, cover saves are granted to individual models and NOT to units. You may have a mob of 30 boyz with 15 of them safe in the woods and 15 wandering out in the open. This is going to be a big problem in 6th edition. Here's why.
Your opponent can now choose to "focus fire" at troops out in the open. The benefit of this is that he may target the models in the open, denying your boyz a cover save! The downside of this is that he will be limited to only killing models in the open, so your boyz in the trees will be safe.
So what's the strategy? Try keeping a few models out in the open ON PURPOSE, to give your opponent a tempting trap. Does he target the larger portion of your mob and grant your boyz a cover save? Or does he focus fire on the boyz in the open, denying the cover save, but limiting the number of kills he can score? Since Ork players have access to such large mobz, it's a viable tactic to leave a few boyz out in the open as bait. It's a little weedy, but hey, this is war! To make this trick a little more tempting . . . why not leave a heavy weapon out in the open? If you are expecting to be in Assault range on your next turn, why do you need that Big Shoota? Leave him out in the open and dare your opponent to pick off your heavy weapon. An inexperienced player may jump at the chance to kill a heavy, and ignore the fact that he'd be better off killing more regular boyz to reduce your assault next turn.
I'm going to jump into the Shooting Phase for a moment because it has to do with our movement. Wounds caused in the Shooting Phase are taken by the models closest to the shooting model. This means that any characters (including Nobz now) or any heavy/special weapons models are more vulnerable to being picked off by gunfire. Keep this in mind as you place your models in the movement phase. If you place that Big Shoota in the front rank towards one corner, and your opponent shoots at your mob from that corner, then Big Shoota Boy may being taking that first hit.
Dakka! Dakka! Dakka!
The shooting phase isn't likely to change much for us Ork players, mainly because we aren't usually much of a shooting army. Now, we do have access to a lot of "dakka" (shooting as Orks call it), but rarely is it the focus of a winning Ork strategy. Here will follow a couple of things to consider for 6th edition.
The Orks have access to a couple of brand new Flyers, with a whole host of new rules coming in 6th edition. Click here to read my new article about Flyers in 6th edition. Flyers can move in two modes: zooming or hovering. Hovering basically converts your flyer into a Fast Skimmer and is used for unloading troops in the case of a transport. The Ork Flyers aren't transports, though, so we will be spending our time Zooming around the battlefield.
This sounds fast, but unless we go "super sonic" (basically a flat-out move) we will be moving these bad boys 12" a turn and shooting up to 4 weapons at normal BS. Between Supa Shootas or big Bomz, this can be a lot of Dakka. The good news is that these Flyers are going to be pretty hardy units, too, as most units can only "snap fire" at them, hitting only on a 6. The exception to this rule is if the enemy has the Skyfire ability, which will let them shoot at their normal BS. It is vital that you ask your opponent to point out any Skyfire units they might possess before you deploy your fliers.
The last bit of advice I have on shooting is . . . Rokkits! At only a strength 8, our rokkits often have a hard time penetrating heavy armor. However, with Str 8 rokkits, getting a glancing blow is not uncommon. In 6th edition, glancing hits will automatically take away a Hull Point from enemy vehicles. Most vehicles have only 3 hull points, where heavier tanks have 4. Still, it only takes three glancing hits to knock out most vehicles, and a lucky penetrating hit is even better.
So where do we get rokkits from? Not only can your normal mobz take them (not the best option), but most everything else can take them and often can take them twin-linked (re-roll misses). Rokkit-buggies are cheap and come in squadrons, killa-kans are the same and have a better BS, and even our Tankbustaz become a killy option.
Getting into the mix of things!
The bread and butter of the Ork army: the Assault Phase. This is where we get in good 'n close and chop things ded, ded, ded! Most Ork armies are built to assault, so this is the phase that might bring some of the biggest changes for 6th edition. There are quite a few subtle changes to assault with this addition, and a few major ones, so let's examine how they affect us Ork players.
The assault move is now 2d6 inches; roll two dice and add 'em together, and that's how far your boyz can move to contact an enemy. What if you don't roll high enough? Well, your boyz move zero inches and stand their waiting to get shot up next turn. At first, this seems like a horrible draw back to 6th edition . . . and I won't lie, you will lose some games due to a crucial assault that you roll two low on. However, on the flip side, you will likely WIN some games because you made a daring gambit and rolled high enough to roll the green tide into melee.
On 2d6, the average roll is 7, which is actually a whole inch farther than you could have charged in 5th edition. However, this is the theoretical average of 2d6 if you rolled it out several thousand times. The key is to get your boyz as close as possible before you have to declare that charge and just hope that luck is on your side. Also, taking the largest mobz possible will ensure that they can soak up and extra round of shooting for those failed assault rolls.
The second largest change is going to involve Overwatch. Yes, it's back (for those of you who've played since 2nd edition back in the early '90s). Basically, a unit being assaulted can make a single overwatch move, where they can "snap fire" at your troops as they charge in. They will only be BS1 so they are hitting on 6's. Template weapons like flamers are going to roll a d3 and it looks like blast weapons will not be useable.
So let's break it down. You assault a 10 man Space Marine tactical squad. Let's give them 1 pistol, 7 bolters, a flamer, and a missile launcher. Since we are within the "double tap" range of the bolters, we have to give them two shots. So we have a total of 15 shots, plus d3 for flamer, and 1 for a krak missle (blast cannot snapfire). Let's say the Krak missle misses to make it easy here. The pistol/bolters will hit an average of 2.5 orks and the flamer will hit an average of 1.5 (I know there are no decimals with dice, but these are averages). If we add that up, that's 4 orks hit. Now we roll to wound, Str 4 versus T 4 and we need a 4+ to hit. So those 4 hits translate to 2 wounds.
Whew! It's a good thing we have 20+ more boyz in that mob, right?! So calm down. Overwatch ain't going to mean much for us orks! There's just too many of us.
The overwatch rule can also be used by us! Don't forget about a 20 boy mob of Shootaz. That's 40 shots which equals to about 6+ hits on a unit charging us. The nice thing about rolling a bucket-full of dice, however, is that sometimes the odds work in your favor. How mad would your opponent be if he lost one or two terminators to a bunch of Ork shooting, and THEN still had to contend with the 40+ melee attacks?
What about our Trukk Boyz? Here's it's a mixed bag. It looks like vehicles (including Fast vehicles like our trukks) are limited to only 6" movement if we want to deploy troops. Yes, only 6". However, deployed troops may now move 6" from the vehicle rather than just the 2" bubble. The advantage of open-topped vehicles is that A) we can deploy from the hull, not an access point, and B) we can assault after deployed
So in 5th edition, a typical trukk assault would look like this: Move the trukk 12", deploy a model 2" forward of the trukk (with back of base touching the 2" mark), and then assault 6". That gave us an incredible 21" assault range (including the 1" base width). With 6 edition we have: move trukk 6", deploy 6" forward (assuming front of base has to be within 6" as if it moved from the trukk), then assault 2d6 inches for an average of 7. That gives us 19 inches on average, but we must consider the range of assault values is actually 14-24 inches. So potentially we gain 3" with the 6th edition rules, but on average we lose 2", and a terrible roll will have us losing 7". Wow, this edition is going to be random!
Something to think about. The Ork's Waaaaghh! ability gives ork mobz the Fleet ability for that turn only. In past editions, this meant that orks could run and then still assault. The Fleet rule in 6th editions instead lets assaulting units re-roll the 2d6. Use this ability at the right time and it will greatly affect your chances to bring these swingy odds back in your favor.
Alright, you've made it into contact with the enemy. Now what? What hidden gems does 6th edition hold for us?
Character challenges. Yes, you or your opponent can call out an enemy character and automatically move to base contact. This can be great for us because our "sergeants" are now characters than can answer a challenge or declare them. How many other unit sergeants have T 4, two wounds, and three attacks with a str 8 powerklaw? Our Nobz are going to eat some characters in challenges. Be careful, though, would you rather your mob be killing some grunt sergeant or krumping a mess of space marines? It might not matter if extra wounds roll over. We'll have to see.
What about Bikerz? When bike units assault, they now get an immediate extra attack resolved at initiative 10. That's not too bad!
A 6th ed bonus for us is that there are no more extra wounds in assaults due to being Fearless. This means our boyz should stick around to the bitter end. Even against really tough melee units, we can afford to lose a round or two, since we wont be taking extra wounds every round we lost, and as long as we stay above 10 models, we won't be running anywhere. This is a big win for us in 6th edition.
The last thing I'll mention with assaults is that there are now AP values for melee weapons. Most things like Choppas or Chainswords are AP "-", so no changes here. However the BIG change is that standard power weapons are only AP 3 . . . Which now means that Meganobz (with their 2+ armor save) just got a whole lot better. Basically, it will take powerfist equivalents to crack our pricey meganobz!
Space Marine terminators will enjoy this same advantage, but here is how this still works in our favor. More players will likely take terminators as they are better protected in close combat. There are so many power weapons out there now (or equivalents) that people don't like putting termies in assault. With the new rule, we will likely see more terminators, and we'll likely see them in assaults more. Why is this fine with orks? We have SO many dice to throw at them, that terminator players will likely roll a couple of 1's and fail their armor save anyway. The more terminators we see on the field, the less we see of everything else!
So we've had some more time with the 6th edition rule book and I've noticed a couple of things that I wanted to include here. These are in no particular order, so bear with me.
Burna Boyz - template weapons cannot normally "snap fire", however they CAN overwatch. This means, when an enemy unit declares a charge on your unit, you can immediately shoot at them using overwatch. Template weapons (such as the Burna) auto-hit d3 models. Can you imagine 10 burna boyz now getting 10d3 hits on a charging squad of anything? That's 10-30 Str 4 hits before close combat has even begun! On top of that, your burnaz can now be used as power weapons in CC with that magical number of AP 3.
Stormboyz - Jump troops can now either move 12" in the Movement phase and roll standard 2d6 for Assault . . . . OR move 6" in the Movement phase and then re-roll their charge distance. When you choose the second option, they also get the Hammer of Wrath ability. This ability gives each model in base contact with an enemy an automatic hit at Initiative 10, using the models base strength, at AP "-". It does say "base strength" so I don't think the +1 Str for Furious Charge kicks in. Note that your Bikerz get the same Hammer of Wrath ability!
WAAAAGGGHHHH! - I wanted to clarify this a little more. The Ork Warlord's Waaaaggghh ability gives your troops FLEET for that turn only. In 6th ed, Fleet no longer allows you to run and then assault. Fleet now gives you the ability to re-roll either your run or your charge distance (you can't do both!). It gets better! For the charge distance, you actually get to re-roll either or both dice; meaning if you roll a 6 and a 1, you can keep the 6 and re-roll the 1. I can't even calculate how much that increases the odds or the average charge distance... but it's a lot!
What about Ghazgkull and his special Waaagghh ability? The 6th ed FAQ is up on GW's website and it says his ability just gives orks and automatic 6 on their RUN rolls that turn. This used to be awesome, but since we can no longer run and assault, his ability is only useful to bring those slacker units closer to the front while the rest of your boyz get into CC. Nerf!
There are many subtle changes to the rules that will likely bring about greater Ork tactic discussions. This article is meant as an overview of some major changes, and not a definitive guide to playing Orks in 6th edition. The rules are still very new to us, so I'll likely be updating this article and adding to it. Please check my other 6th edition articles linked to below:
- New! Space Marine Codex Review 6th Edition
- NEW! Eldar Codex Review (6th Edition)
- New! Tau Codex Review 6th Edition
- NEW! Dark Angels Codex Review (6th Edition) - Awesome new codex!
- Chaos Space Marine Codex Review (6th edition) - Overview of new units!
- NEW! Heldrake Conversion (part 1) - Introducing the Helbat!
- Rule Changes in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k - Part 1: Setup and Missions
- Character Rules in 6th Edition Warhammer 40k - (new!) Rules and tactics
- The new Allies rules in 6th edition - rules and strategies.
- The new Fortifications rules for 6th edition - What you can take and how it works.
- The new Flyers rules in 6th edition - How they move, shoot, and die!
Please feel free to comment below. I will respond as I see them. We've already seen some great comments and addition advice. Give them a read! Good luck, everyone, and happy gaming!