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Year uv da Ork!

Da Boyz Git a Noo Book (February 2008)  by Patrick Eibel
Fans of the greenskins have been waiting nine years for a new codex, so expectations were bound to be high when Games Workshop announced the release of Codex: Orks for January, 2008.  No matter what the new rules would bring, one thing was certain – some people would not be happy.  As with any update, the new codex brings a slew of changes – some welcome and some not – that will have a dramatic effect on how you play your army.  In the spirit of the Apocalypse Wow! series, let’s take a look at the new Orks and see how they compare to other recent army updates.

First off, the new codex weighs in at over twice the size of the old one (it is also considerably more expensive).  Most of the additional pages are devoted to background material that recalls some of the classic Rogue Trader era Ork books (Brain Boyz, Odd Boyz, etc.)  As with other recent codices, each unit in the Ork army gets a write-up page to help explain what the unit does and what their special toys may do.  Unlike previous updates, these pages are referenced in the army list. That means when you are writing up your army and you want to be reminded of what a particular item does, you do not have to flip frantically through the book trying to find the page.

Some of the changes to the army jump out immediately.  Both the Waaagh! and the Mob Rule! have changed from the old codex - Waaagh! now allows all Orks to get Fleet-of-Foot for one turn and the Mob Rule! ability make any mob greater than 12 Fearless.  The big addition to the general rules is that Orks get Furious Charge (+1 to Strength and Initiative on the charge, verrrry Orky.)  One quirky change is that Gretchin now have a Ballistic Skill of 3, making them better shots that their larger brethren.  No longer will taking a bunch of grots be an afterthought to fill out your list. 

As for wargear, some old favorites are back (the Shokk Attack Gun), and some have been dramatically altered (goodbye, choppa effect).  There are plenty of new, unique weapons that help offset the losses.  Lootas now carry deffguns, which are like autocannons on crack (D3 shots – may be better, may be worse, depends on how your dice roll).  Flash Gitz have snazzguns, which have a variable AP – fun, unless you are relying on them to gun down some Terminators and they roll a 6.  Most everything else stays the same, other than zzap guns no longer autohit.

Da Ladz
Let’s move on to the army list.  The Ork Codex has a lot in common with Codex: Dark Angels in that if you take certain characters you will get different Troop modifications, and there is a generally more restrictive approach to the wargear available to your squad leaders.

First up are the special characters: Ghazghkull Thraka (mostly the same, allows a unit of Nobz or Meganobz as a Troops choice), Mad Dok Grotsnik (upgrades a unit he is with to have cybork bodies), Wazdakka Gutsmek (Warbikes as Troops? Booya!), and Old Zogwort, a new Warphead character.  While Nazdreg is not included, some of the other old characters can be taken as options in the appropriate unit entry. 


Grotsnik is one bad dood

The standard HQ choices are Warbosses (no longer a mandatory choice, same upgrade as Ghazghkull), Big Meks (one Deff Dred as Troops), and Weirdboyz. While being a fun addition, Weirdboyz have a random psychic power that will more often as not be forgotten (I mean, think of keeping track of ALL those models).  Big Meks can take a shokk-attack gun or a kustom force field, but not both, and this is the only slot where you can get these items.

Next, we have the excellent Elite choices.  At first glance, you may wonder why you would take a unit of Nobz, which can only have ten Boyz max, but a quick look at the base Strength 4 and built-in transport option (trukk or battlewagon), and you will see that they can be a very effective assault unit.  Meganobz up the ante by all having mega-armor (2+ saves and power klaws) and still having the built-in transport option – sweet! 


Dey're big, dey're shooty, dey're just plain badasses: Meganobz!

Burna Boyz, Tankbustas, and Lootas all come in groups of up to 15, all are armed with the same weapon (except for anyone you upgraded to a Mek), and do not come with a built-in transport (meaning they have to walk or get their ride from the Heavy Support section).  Burna Boyz now all come with the equivalent of flamers AND power weapons (okay, not in the same turn, but still…), Tankbustas all come with tankbusta bombs and rokkit launchas (and are your best bet for taking out enemy vehicles), and Lootas all come with deffguns.  Finally, there are the Kommandos, which is the only unit other than Burna Boyz that can take burnas (“Infiltrating burnas? Who gave you that?”). 


New Ork Kommandos, ready to inflil...infel...sneek up and git da 'umies

There are only two Troop choices, continuing the trend toward minimizing your options (Tau get Kroot and Fire Warriors, Necrons get Warriors, Marines get Tactical Squads and Scouts.) Gretchin remain pretty much the same except, as mentioned before, they are now BS 3 (their guns still only have a 12" range, so don’t get too excited.)  The big change for the Gretchin is that you now need a Runtherd for every ten you take.  To replace the screening ability from the last codex, Gretchin can now eliminate mines.  In all honesty, I am not sure how effective Gretchin will be in actual gameplay.  They do not Waaagh!, so they will always move at regular speed, and they have a short-range weapon.  If you field a mob of 30, they could be useful as a close combat tarpit, but that Troop slot would probably be better served by something else.

The backbone of the Ork army continues to be the Boyz.  Instead of being broken into Slugga Boyz and Shoota Boyz, as was done in the last version, there is just one Boyz choice that is very versatile.  Give them close combat weapons and they are Slugga Boyz; give them shootas and they replicate Shoota Boyz; upgrade each one to have a Stikkbomb and they are like the old Stikkbommas; and take 12 with a Trukk and you have Trukk Boyz (minus the handy bail-out skill Trukk Boyz used to have.)  One unit can even be upgraded to ‘Ard Boy status and get a 4+ Armor Save.  Between the variety of ways you can outfit your Boyz mobs and the units that can be taken as Troops by certain characters, filling up Troop slots should be no problem.


Iffn the first word you think of when you look at this is "Sweeeeet," you are most definitely an Ork player at heart

The Fast Attack options are all pretty much the same as before, with the addition of Deffkoptas (boy, I’m glad I picked those up when they came out the first time.)  Wartrakks are now an upgrade to a Warbuggy unit, which save on having to add a separate slot for them.  The only thing I was sad to see is that Boarboyz were not included: I have 10 of them. I am planning on using my Boarboyz as Stormboyz (similar movement requirements, and making them Warbikers just seems too much of a stretch.) 


Expect to see lots of Deffkoptas over the battlefield

There are more big changes in the Heavy Support section.  First, the 0-1 restrictions are gone from Battlewagons and Looted Vehicles (Wagons).  The weapon and wargear upgrades for Battlewagons and Looted Wagons are quite tasty, but the trick will be fitting them in without using up all your heavy slots (remember, Nobz and Meganobz can take Battlewagons as designated Transports).  The Looted Wagon entry considerably simplifies what vehicles Orks can loot. Most of the options are there in some form, except I wish they had kept the provision where you could use one slot to get three vehicle that were 50 points or less. 


Flash Git in Bad Moon colors

For some reason, Flash Gitz got moved to the Heavy Support section.  While the unit looks like it would be fun to play, and would have some dramatic effect with those snazzguns, I could not see taking them instead of a vehicle (unless you were going all-infantry.)  One thing that helps with freeing up HS slots is the ability to move your Deff Dred to the Troops section by taking a Big Mek. Of the Big Gunz, kannons and zzap guns can now be an effective way to take out enemy vehicles, because of the upgrade to the Gretchin Ballistic Skill.

A Kuple Tings, Tho...
Although I think the new codex is great, I have two major complaints. The first is that Games Workshop missed an opportunity to do something with the Ork clans. Maybe using a single clan for your army could have allowed you more Troop options: Bad Moons could get a unit of Flash Gitz; Deathskulls, a unit of Lootas; Blood Axes, a unit of Kommandos; Goffs, a unit of Burnas; Evil Suns, a unit of Buggies; and Snakebites, a unit of Big Gunz).  Ah, well. 


How come Mekboys can't get KFFs? 

The other major complaint I have is that the Big Mek is the only one who can take a Kustom Force Field.  The KFF should have been made available as an upgrade to the Meks in Loota-, Tankbusta-, and Burna mobs.  These mobs will tend to be smaller than mobs of regular Boyz and will attract plenty of enemy attention, so KFFs for each would have been golden. As it is, I doubt I will ever get to field my Shokk Attack Gun as what it is (it will represent a KFF instead.) 

Complaints aside, the new codex does reduce the point costs on many units and makes vehicles a lot easier to distribute to units that don’t get transports. Problems with too many Elites or Heavy Support units can be solved by taking multiple detachments, which is what I think GW is trying to encourage. 

Next in this series, I will describe the steps I took to bring my Ork army in line with the new rules.
 

Year uv da Ork (main page)
 

Posted February 2008. Model photos are copyright 2008 by Games Workshop and are used for review purposes. 
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex<> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle