This week we get to plumb the depth of knowledge of Guildford Games Club member Matthew Arnold who has kindly written up his thoughts about the different Ork army lists in Epic: Armageddon.
I’ll hand you over to Matt.
Ghazgkhull’s Horde is an all arms, flexible list, in fact it is noteworthy for being the most varied and flexible list in the game! Here’s why it can be so much fun!
The most important aspect of any army in EA are the race specific special rules, and the Orks have some gems, these two being the best:
Orks believe that as long as there are a bunch of them still fighting together (slightly more than they can count up to is ideal!) then there’s always a chance that they’ll prevail, no matter the odds. To represent this, Ork formations with more than five units, not including Grotz or Big Gunz units, receive a +1 modifier to any rally rolls they make, and formations with more than ten such units receive a +2 modifier. For the purposes of this rule, war engines count each point of starting damage capacity as a unit.
Power of the Waaagh!
Orks are not noted for their organizational abilities, and thus usually have a pretty low initiative rating. However, if there is one thing that will galvanize an Ork warband, it’s the thought of a good punchup! Because of this, Ork formations that are attempting to take an engage or double action receive a +2 modifier to their action test roll. Ork flyboyz similarly relish the chance to shoot things up, and receive a +2 modifier to their action test roll when attempting to carry out interception or ground attack actions
These special rules also apply to all Ork lists including Speed Freaks and Feral Orks.
Orks are born for war, it’s instinctive, so as long as you play aggressively as is natural for Orks they will carry out orders with a reliability on a par with Marines, just don’t expect the outcome to be quite as reliable! The results of Ork shooting, engages, and armour saves are volatile in the extreme!
But even the unpredictable nature of how Orks react to coming under fire or being in a fight can be used by a wily Ork player … moving an ‘Uge Mob of Boyz up to an enemy formation and shooting them a little will cause little to no damage, but it will put a blast marker on them and leave them with the tough decision as to what to actually do about that mass of Orks taunting them, the Mob Up rule makes them surprisingly difficult to shift and it can be tough predicting the outcome of a toe to toe fight with Orks!
Variety and Adaptability
Ork players also have access to a massive variety of units and key word abilities such as sneaky Scouts and Infiltrators, Disposable Grots, Supa Gunz with Titan Killer or Barrage, Stompas with Reinforced Armour and so on. This pick and mix of units are available in battlefield formations which are highly adaptable, Ghazgkhull’s Horde is one of the few list where players are encouraged to upgrade and beef up the base formations through discounts when doubling or tripling the size of the formation as listed so no two Ork formations or armies will be alike.
Ork players are able to take advantage of synergies like few other lists can.
Your Boyz getting shot up? Add some “Disposable” Grots as a bullet screen or heavy armour and mobile cover in the form of Dreads and Stompas, or both!
Need some more firepower? Add Big Gunz or Odd Boyz!
Trouble with aircraft? Speed around the table with an entire formation of Flak Waggonz or take a squadron of 20 Fighta Bomberz!
Almost any grand strategy or crazy tactic is possible with the list, you can build a force of purely infantry or armoured vehicles and watch your opponent weep as all their las-cannons or heavy bolters are rendered useless, you can take hordes of light vehicles giving you un-paralleled speed and manoeuvrability, a whole army which Garrisons on the objectives from turn one and still retains and enormous amount of variety, go for an air assault list with five Landas…. Ork players always have the opportunity to do something really surprising, and/or a bit mad!
Both in game terms and hobby terms Ork armies are cheap to build, they have a huge variety of useful and cheap upgrades with handy key word abilities which can be easily knocked up out of parts from your bits box! Keep in mind those unreliable aspects of using the Horde list can be remedied by taking lots of models to ensure the job gets done!
Hint: Getting more than one of anything for 25pts in EA is a bargain and you can’t go wrong taking advantage of it, be that shots or units…. beware getting carried away though as you’ll risk getting timed out in tournament play as you’ll have lots to do each turn!
The units don’t look stellar on paper but they’re cheap, can be mixed into formations how you like for brutal combinations of attributes and abilities, and most of them have the excellent mob up rule making them extremely reliable. The challenge of using Gaz’s Horde is capitalising on those reliable command and control aspects of the army without falling foul of how fickle it can be close up.
Authors view: When it comes to winning games and tournaments the key for the Ghazgkhull’s Horde list is surprise and invention, if you want to build one optimised list and get to know it inside out for best results, a Horde may not be for you.
Kults of Speed and Feral Orks
These variant lists both sacrifice a little variety in favour of slightly more reliable performance when getting to grips with the enemy making them far more straight forward. The Horde is a mid-tier list which will always have something to bring to the table, both Speed Freaks and Ferals are top-tier lists but are far more predictable and can come unstuck verses some armies and opponents. Neither Freaks nor Ferals are seen as frequently as Gaz’s Horde lists at events as they’re both most effective as Horde lists requiring a lot of repetitive painting (up to 120ish mostly red or brown tiny models!) and the models are slightly more difficult to cobble together from your bits box!
The Speed Freak list sacrifices access to slower and/or heavier units in favour of more fast light vehicle units at a discounted price. Whatever Speed Freaks do is fast and on mass, their usual tactic is to overwhelm one section of their opponents’ battle line and then sweep through before any coordinated response or plan can be put into action. Its great fun moving formations of dozens of Buggies and Bikes a meter at a time whilst making engine noises but it can take some time! Speed Freak players need to play as quickly as their army moves in order to finish games at tournament (and to avoid annoying their opponent). On some occasions Speed Freaks will come across an opponent who know exactly what they’re doing or have a formation that a massed assault of light vehicles just can’t crack (Hello Warlord Titans!) and the main thrust of the army will bounce, at that point it’s anyone’s game!
Hint: Boyz mounted in Truks are exceptionally good value…..
Feral Orks sacrifice access to anything which looks much more sophisticated than a kettle in favour of numbers and a few oddities. The main tactic will always be a general advance which is just tough to stop as there’s either a tide of typically enthusiastic Orks, or the army is riding on a menagerie of armoured dinosaurs! Often both! Opponents are limited by their ability to manoeuvre around so many bodies, even aircraft have a tough time as Feral or Weird Boyz have the ability to swat aircraft out of the sky with a devastatingly powerful psychic attack (say goodbye to your fully loaded Thunderhawks and Vampires!). Again, with certain builds Feral Ork player run the risk of having too much to do if they’re not focussed and they will sometime meet opposition they just can’t overwhelm by force of numbers.
Hint: Junka Truks are great value and hordes and hordes and hordes of Boar Boyz can make for a really tough list!
Author’s view: In contrast to Gaz’s Horde a Freak or a Feral player will do really well building a list they love and works for them and sticking with it, play well and to the Orks’ strengths and they will perform consistently well…. Also you don’t want to have to paint even more brown or red right?!
An Ork list with lots of Gargants at its core, including the majestic Mega Gargant! Still in development this list is frequently played casually but not yet legal in all tournament formats, it will be though so don’t be put off! I can’t really say much about this list as it is still a bit in flux, sufficed to say it’s the shootiest of the Ork lists……
Thank you Matt for your input! Hopefully this will inspire someone to give the Orks a try or dig them back up out of that dusty box and give them some table time!