Wargear Analysis: Top Relics in the 40K Universe (Part II)

Continuing to look at what I consider the “top 10” Relics in 40K right now:


 

[6] KUROV’S AQUILA (Astra Militarum) — Taken by Company Command Squad Officer only, this gives all friendly AM units within 6″ Preferred Enemy and also allows the Bearer’s squad to re-roll a single failed Ld test per turn.

*Rationale: A very simple, but exceptionally powerful, Relic. There are so many application to being able to give out a Preferred Enemy “bubble” in your army, but some of my favorite include giving it to nearby Leman Russ Executioner squadrons (PE allows re-rolls for Get’s Hot and also make the Plasma Blasts wound on a re-rollable 2+ against most infantry), infantry blob squads (this works for both shooting and close combat, don’t forget), nearby Basilisk batteries (basically auto-wounding anything they hit), and even the Command Squad itself (i.e. jump out of a Chimera or Valkyrie and unleash 9 x S7 AP2 Plasma shots, all with Preferred Enemy). This is especially outstanding because it is not limited to just one unit, but applies to all units with even just a single model within 6″ of the Bearer…. entire Astra Militarum gun-lines can improve both their accuracy and damage output with shrewd positioning of squads around this Relic. Finally, that re-roll of an Ld test can apply to an Officer of Fleet in the Command Squad, making his Ld7 much more reliable when trying to improve your Reserves or deny your opponent’s Reserve rolls. While it is expensive points-wise (12 MBs), I think almost any AM commander would do well to find a way to bring Kurov’s Aquila in their army list.

[7] PURETIDE ENGRAM NEUROCHIP (Tau) – Gives Bearer the ability to choose one of the following abilities each turn: Tank Hunter, Monster Hunter, Stubborn, Furious Charge, and Counter-attack.

*Rationale: While Furious Charge and Counter-attack only apply to the model and are generally not that great in a Tau army (where you almost never want to be in combat), Tank Hunter, Monster Hunter, and Stubborn all impact the entire unit that the Bearer is attached to. Stubborn is the worst of these three, since it is mostly useful for the Assault Phase and, again, it is already a very bad thing for Tau if you are having to use it there. All that said, being able to give “free”/automatic Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter to any unit that an IC attaches to is exceptionally useful, especially in the current Meta, where MCs, GMCs, and Battle Companies with loads of free vehicles abound. One excellent application of this Relic is attaching a Buffmander (Commander with Puretide Engram Neurochip, MSS, and C2 Node) to a max squad of Sniper Drones with an Ethereal attached as well… this gives you 27 TLed BS5 Sniper Shots at 24”, all with Ignore Cover and access to Monster Hunter… if you target an enemy Wraithknight, that averages 26-27 hits, 7-8 AP2 Wounds, and 5-6 Unsaved Wounds after FNP rolls… in other words, Sniper Drones with PENchip, Ethereal, and C2 Node support can straight up kill a Wraithknight in a single shooting phase, which is quite impressive! Alternately, if they can engage Magus the Red before goes into Swooping mode, they average 6-7 Unsaved Wounds on him a shooting phase (and that is accounting for a 3++ save for him), which should almost kill him or outright destroy him in a single volley. Against vehicles, combing the PENchip with Crises Suit Teams, Broadsides, or even Breacher Squads can dramatically improve their performance against armored targets. IMHO one of the best options is a 5 man Crises Suit Team with dual Missile Pods and Velocity Trackers and an attached Buffmander… this unit puts out 20 x S7 AP4 shots at 36”, all with built-in Ignore Cover, Twin-linking, and Tank Hunter… even against AV13 armor, that is an average of 4-5 stripped HPs a turn, without requiring any Marker Light support at all, and it can cause this same damage to AV13 Flyers as well, thanks to the Velocity Trackers on the Crises Suits.

[8] MEGA FORCE FIELD (Waaagh Ghazkull) – All models within 6” of the bearer get a 4++ save against Shooting attacks (if embarked on a vehicle, then only the Bearer’s vehicle gets a 4++, and not any nearby units).

*Rationale: Given Orks overall fragility to shooting (thank you T-Shirt saves), both in terms of troops and vehicles, the “normal” Kustom Force Fields carried by Big Meks are quite a valuable asset to any Ork army, since with savvy positioning of units you can reduce incoming damage by an average of 33%. Well, with the Mega Force Field Relic, you reduce enemy damage by an average of 50%, which obviously is a major force-multiplier for the army. While 6” makes for a somewhat limited “bubble” for this ability (and it only applies to MODELs, not entire units), it still can be a game-changer for everything from Trukk lists to Mek Gunz to War Bikerz to even foot slogging hordes, if you place the Mega Force Field Bearer in the right location. I think this works especially well with, say, a Big Mek on a Warbike riding behind multiple Battlewagons… you can probably fit 3-4 Battlewagons inside the Mega Force Field 6” radius, if they are packed tight together, and now you suddenly have multiple AV14 vehicles that shrug off 50% of the penetrating/glancing hits from shooting attacks against them, which in turn dramatically increases their chances of delivering their passengers into combat, which is where all Orks want to be of course! Another effective use of this Relic is attaching it to a group of Nob Bikerz and using it to help them get across the battlefield safely, especially since there are multiple threats these days that can ignore the Nob Bikerz’ Jink saves (i.e. Wyverns, Tau units with MMS Relic, Imperium units with Hunter’s Eye Relic, Leman Russ Exterminators, any Tau units with ML support, any units with the Perfect Timing and/or Phase Form power cast on them, Necron Tomb Blades with the right upgrades, Template weapons of all kinds, AM units with the Fire on my Target! Order, etc. etc.)

 

[9] MASK OF SECRETS (Harlequins) / ARMOUR OF MISERY (Dark Eldar) – The Armor of Misery reduces the leadership of enemy units within 6” by -2 and also gives the Bearer a 4+/6++, which is a boost for most DE characters. The Mask of Secrets makes the Shadowseer carrying it Fearless (only Shadowseers can take it) and reduces the leadership of all enemy units within 12” of the Bearer by -2 (Note: Nothing prevents the effects of these two Relics from stacking for -4 Ld).

*Rationale: The uses of these two Relics are myriad, whether used separately or in conjunction with Dark Eldar/Harlequin allies. They can improve the chance of breaking enemy units in close combat, they can allow you to inflict lots of wounds with Dark Eldar Phantasm Grenade Launchers, and they make all kinds of Psychic shenanigans possible. I think one of the best applications for these Relics is as follows: take a Succubus with WWP/Armor of Misery and Shadowseer with Mask of Secrets. Use the WWP to Deep Strike them both with no scatter 1″ away from the enemy model/unit that you want to “assassinate,” in this case, let’s say it’s a Riptide. You subtract -2Ld for the Armor of Misery and -2Ld for the Mask of Secrets, making the Riptide/Drones Ld5. You then either use the “Mirror of Minds” power from the Shadowseer or, if you did not roll that up, use Psychic Shriek (which is guaranteed, as a Primaris power). If you have and successfully cast Mirror of Minds successfully, then the Riptide is basically guaranteed to die, since the Riptide has Ld5 and, adding a D6, the highest it can get is a “11,” while the Shadowseer has Ld10 and adding a D6, the lowest it can get is an “11.” This means that the Shadowseer will always tie or be higher and so will keep inflicting wounds on the Riptide until it dies, since there is no way to stop the “chain” by having the Riptide get a higher “sum” than Shadowseer. If you do nor roll up Mirror of Minds, then at least you can use Psychic Shriek, which with 3D6 gets an average roll of 11. Subtract Ld5 from this and you have automatically inflicted 6 wounds on the Riptide with Ignore Armor and Cover (so only Invuls and FNP, if it has Stimulant Injectors, can protect it). I think using Psychic Shriek like this can work well on other MCs or even on dangerous enemy units like Wulfen, Grav Centurions, Dreadknights, etc. and remove a lynchpin unit in an enemy army with high reliability.

 

[10] MOMENTO-MORTISPEX (Belisarius Cawl unlocks for Imperium Armies) — At the start of each of your turns, choose one of the following rules to apply to the Bearer and their unit (or weapons as appropriate): Cognis Weapons (BS2 Snapfire, Flamers do 3 hits rather than D3 with Wall of Death in overwatch), Monster Hunter, Skyfire or Tank Hunter.

*Rationale: This may be my favorite Relic in the entire game, just for the sheer diversity it provides and how it plugs a kinds of gaps in an arm without being super expensive (i.e. need some way to deal with Flyers/FMC, but don’t want unbalance your carefully crafted army list with otherwise one-dimensional AA Tanks… take this Relic; need to have a potent anti-tank unit, but you do not normally have access to Tank Hunters… again, take this Relic). Some of the best units to use this on include Grav Centurions, Astra Militarum blob squads, Kataphron Destroyers, Sternguard/Deathwatch Veterans, Deathwatch Terminators with CMLs, Grey Knight Purifiers with multiple Psycannons, Devastator/Long Fang squads, Gunslinger Vanguard Veterans, Sanguinary Guard with Inferno Pistols, Quad Mortar Batteries, AM Command Squads, Ravenwing Black Knights, and even on a Techpriest Dominus in a Cohort Cybernetica. For only 6 MBs, this Relic provides so much flexibility and is guaranteed to work every turn, with no leadership test or harnessing of Warp Charges required. Aside from the high “tax” of taking Belisarius Cawl to unlock it, I think this would be useful in pretty much every Imperial Army. (Note: I am not sure this is intended or that it will be legal after future FAQs, but right now it appears that an Imperial Knight which is a Character, like the High King in an Exalted Court, can take this Relic, which would make it IMMENSELY more powerful in a number of different applications… i.e. imagine Avenger Gatling Cannons, Rapid Fire Battle Cannons, and Stormspear Rocket Pods all firing with Tank Hunter, Monster Hunter, or Skyfire, for example).


 

Later I will post some “Second Team All-Pro/Honorable Mention” Relics that are still good, but not quite as universally amazing as these 10 that I have already looked at.

Assault Vehicles for All!

While I think there is a need for “macro-changes” in 8th edition to help rectify the current discrepancy between shooting and assault, one thing I think that would help accomplish this at the more immediate level would be to provide an additional, affordable assault transport for every major faction so that their close combat troop are not stuck with either footslogging, riding in non-Assault vehicle transports, and/or paying 200+ points for Assault Vehicles.

Here is my stab at making this kind of vehicle for each faction (minus Chaos Daemons):

—————————————

RETALIATOR APC — (FAST ATTACK choice for Space Marines, Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Deathwatch, Sisters of Battle, Inquisition, and Chaos Space Marines) — 100 points

BS4   AV13/11/10   3HP (Vehicle, Tank, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 10 models (no Bulky/Very Bulky/Extremely Bulky models)

WAR GEAR:

-Pintle-mounted TLed Flamer (may upgrade to a TLed Melta Gun or TLed Plasma Gun)

-Siege Shield

-Omni Grenade Launcher — Every turn may choose to use Smoke Grenades (not limited to one use, unlike most vehicles) OR Concussion Grenades (enemy forces may not fire Overwatch at any unit that has disembarked from the Retaliator APC for the rest of the turn)

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Advanced Repair Servo — Can repair Immobilized or Weapon Destroyed results or a lost HP on itself each turn (instead of shooting or moving Flat Out) on a successful roll of a 5+

—————————————

TELEPORTATION POD — (FAST ATTACK choice for Grey Knights) — 80 points

BS4   AV13/13/13   3HP (Vehicle, Immobile)

Transport Capacity: None

WAR GEAR:

-Gatling Psycannon

SPECIAL RULES:

-Deep Strike

-Drop Pod Assault

-Psychic Pilot (3) — Always knows Force, Banishment, The Shrouding (from Telepathy), and “The Summoning” powers (“The Summoning” is a WC1 blessing with 72″ range and no LOS requirements that teleports one friendly Grey Knight non-vehicle unit or Walker unit to within 6″ of the caster with no scatter, using the rules for Deep Strike; you can upgrade it to a WC3 power which acts in the exact same way, except that the teleported unit can charge on the same turn that it is teleported)

—————————————

CERBERUS APC — (FAST ATTACK choice for Astra Militarum and Genestealer Cult) — 75 points

BS3   AV12/12/10   3HP (Vehicle, Tank, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 20 models

WAR GEAR:

-Pintle-mounted Quad Heavy Stubber

-Smoke Launchers

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Suppressive Fire — Any non-vehicle units hit by the Quad Heavy Stubber must take a Pinning Check at the end of the Shooting phase

—————————————

CHAMELEON — (FAST ATTACK choice for Craftworld Eldar and Harlequins) — 90 points

BS4   AV12/12/10   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast)

Transport Capacity: 12 models

WAR GEAR:

-TLed Shuriken Cannon

-Specter Holo-Matrix — Vehicle may re-roll failed Jink saves

-Star Engines

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Assault Vehicle

—————————————

SCORPION (FAST ATTACK choice for Dark Eldar and Harlequins) — 110 points

BS4   AV10/10/10   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 18 models

WAR GEAR:

-6 x Black Venom missiles (72″ S6 AP1 Fleshbane)

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Unrivalled Assault Vehicle — Any units that charge into combat on the same turn that they disembark from this vehicle add +3″ to their charge range and gain +1S to all their close combat attacks during that fight sub-phase.

—————————————

KROOT WAR SKIFF (FAST ATTACK choice for Tau) — 60 points

BS3   AV11/11/11   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 16 models

WAR GEAR:

-2 x Heavy Kroot Guns

SPECIAL RULES:

-War Totems — Only Shapers, Kroot, Kroot Hounds, and/or Krootox may embark on this vehicle. On any turn that a unit disembarks from this vehicle, it gains Hatred, Rage, and Furious Charge for the rest of the turn.

—————————————

DA CHOPPA’ WAGON (FAST ATTACK choice for Orks) — 110 points

BS2   AV14/11/10   4HP (Vehicle, Tank, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 30 models

WAR GEAR:

-4 x TLed Big Shootaz

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per Ork Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-More Dakka! — All vehicle weapons can fire at full BS if the vehicle has moved 12″ or less

-Da Biggest to da Front! — Every Nob, Mega Nob, and/or War Boss in a unit that disembarks from this vehicles gains +1A until the end of the phase.

—————————————

NECRONTYR WAR BARGE (FAST ATTACK choice for Necrons) — 80 points

BS4   AV11/11/11   4HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 10 models

WAR GEAR:

-Gauss Cannon (may upgrade to a Tesla Cannon)

-Quantum Shielding

SPECIAL RULES:

-Living Metal

-Combat Protocol Beacon — Any friendly Necron non-vehicle units within 12″ of this vehicle gain Hatred

—————————————

BROODOFEX (FAST ATTACK choice for Tyranids) — 130 points

WS3 BS3 S6 T6 W4 I2 A2 Ld8 Sv2+  (Jump Monstrous Creature)

WAR GEAR:

-Acid Spray

-Stinger Salvo

[***May take normal Biomorph upgrades, per Tyranid Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Fearless

-Instinctive Behavior (Hunt)

-Brood Beast — Up to 30 Termagaunts/Hormaguants, 15 Genestealers, or 10 Tyranid Warriors may ride on a Broodofex exactly as if they were embarked on an open-topped transport vehicle (i.e. they can all shoot their weapons, they can disembark 6″ and assault the same turn, they are vulnerable to Template Weapons due to the No Escape! rule, etc.).

Waaaghing with the Great Waaagh!-band

,The Waaagh! Ghazghkull supplement for Orks provides multiple additional Relics, formations, and options to the Ork armies. It also provides an Ork “uber-detachment” similar to the Necron Decurion or Space Marine Gladius Strike Force… the “Great Waaagh!-band” detachment.

This detachment provides several additional rules, including changes to the Mob Rule table, a requirement to accept challenges and bonuses if you win them, and Hammer of Wrath for any units with 10 or more models that successfully charges. Most importantly, it allows a Warlord from this detachment to call a Waaagh! every single turn, EVEN THE FIRST ONE!

In terms of a “tax,” the Great Waaagh!-band requires one or more CORE choices, 1-10 AUXILIARY choices, and 1 HQ choice per CORE choice. The CORE choices both require a significant points investment, but are decent, the HQ choices range from small/flexible (Oddboyz) to large/powerful (Council of the Waaagh!),and the Auxiliary choice are generally quite versatile, allowing you to take several effective formations or customize your army with multiple specialist units like Tankbustas, Stormboyz, Deffkoptas, Battlewagons, Mek Gunz, etc. etc.

So, how do you maximize the special rules of this detachment, namely the ability to declare a Waaagh! every single game turn? Here are some of the key ideas I have right out the gate:

1 – Mechanized Ork Boyz — If you take the Waaagh-band CORE choice, then you have to take at least 6 squads of Boyz and 1 unit of Nobz/Meganobz. Mount them all in Trukks with Boarding Planks, declare a Waaagh! turn 1, then move up 6″, disembark 6″, run D6″, and finally charge 2D6+2″ (with the ability to re-roll one charge dice, thanks to “Ere we go)… that translates into an average charge threat radius of 23-24″ on turn 1, giving you multiple opportunities to charge any opponents deployed on the edge of their DZ in the first game turn (or at least the second, if they are deployed deep in the DZ). This of course is exactly where Orks want to be, especially when combined with potent AUXILIARY choices like Mek Gunz for efficient supporting fire, Gazghkull’s Bully Boys for Fearless WS5 Meganobz with potent CC hitting power, or lots of cheap Gretchin to take objectives all game long.

2 – Stormboyz — With the ability to declare a Waaagh! turn 1, Stormboyz can move 12″, run another 2D6″, and finally charge 2D6″ more, for an average charge threat radius of 26” on turn 1. While not the most powerful CC units by themselves, the Stormboyz can tie up enemy units until slower elements of the Ork army (like Meganobz) can catch up and lay the smack down in assault.

3 – Ork Flyerz — Since all three of the have the Waaagh! Plane rule, allowing them to fire +1 shot with any Assault type weapons when a Waaagh! is declared, then they all benefit significantly from being able to call a Waaagh! every single game turn. This is especially true of Dakka Jets, which can put out 12 x S6 AP4 shots with their TLed Supa Shootas a turn (combined with BS3 via Strafing Run and the Flyboss upgrade and you are averaging 9 x S6 AP4 hits a turn, which can do some serious damage against light vehicles and infantry, just ask Eldar Jetbikes with Scatter lasers!).

4 – Ghazghkull himself — If you take the big ole War Boss (the only way to do so is via the clunky Council of the Waaagh!, unfortunately) as your Warlord, then you can pile on benefits from being able to declare a Waaagh! every turn. First off, this means that Ghazghkull and his unit can ignore their Slow and Purposeful and still run/charge when Waaaghing, which means you can potentially get him, his S10 AP2 attacks, and his unit into combat as early as TURN 1 if they ride in a Battlewagon with Boarding Plank to start the game. Second, Ghazghkull’s gains a 2++ save, making him RIDICULOUSLY tough to kill, as he then has T5, 4W, Eternal Warrior, FNP (thanks to the Mad Dok), and 2++ save to boot! Finally, with Ghazghkull as your WL and the ability to declare a Waaagh! every game turn, you basically make your entire army Fearless the entire game, as long as Ghazghkull is still alive… this is AMAZING for Orks, as low leadership/Mob Rule is one of their biggest “built-in” weaknesses and this completely negates it (i.e. even your humble Boyz squads will never run and fight to the death against enemy Wraithknights, making them very useful as tarpit units and/or objective seizers).

As you can see, there are multiple ways to leverage the “Great Waaagh!-band” detachment special rules (probably several I haven’t thought of to mention here) and, while the CORE and HQ choices of the detachment can be somewhat restrictive, I think a savvy Ork War Boss can craft a pretty competitive army using these rules.

Ork and Chaos Space Marine Synergy

So, both Orks and Chaos Space Marines are, relative to the Imperium or Eldar (all types), a bit on the back foot competitively right now and also have pretty limited access to allies to make up for their weaknesses.

Something that not a lot of people realize is that Orks and CSM are actually Allies of Convenience, meaning that while they cannot share ICs and Psychic Blessings, they also do not have any real negative consequences for working together as allies. Somewhat surprisingly, I think these two factions actually bring a lot to the table in terms of synergizing with one another.

Here are a few ideas I have right off the top:

–ORKS–

1 – Cheap Hordes — While CSM are relatively affordable (starting at 12 PPM), they are still paying MEQ points for their basic troops (Cultists aside). Orks can literally flood the table with T4 bodies that are dangerous in CC, in turn pulling enemy combat power away from the more pricy CSM units. Also, since almost everything except Meganobz have a 6+ armor save, Orks provide a great meat shield/distraction against Grav-heavy Space Marine armies that normally are so dangerous to CSM.

2 – Mega Force Field — This is a Relic from the Ghazghkull supplement for a Big Mek that projects a 4++ Invul save against shooting attacks to ALL models within 6″ (this means that even enemy units get the save, which applies to allied CSM, who count as “enemy” models per the Allies of Convenience rules). There are lots of applications for this with CSM allies, such as giving Chaos Land Raiders or Spartans a 4++ to help them get across the battlefield and deliver their assault troops successfully, buffing nearby CSM with Mark of Tzeentch to a 3++ save against shooting, providing Cultists camping on objectives with a 4++, etc. etc.

3 – Mek Gunz Fire Support — These are one of the hidden gems of the Ork codex, I think. With T7, a 3+ save, and multiple Gretchin crew per gun (and the ability to take up to five guns per battery), they are surprisingly survivable and can put out some very potent firepower to supplement CSM allies, despite Gretchin BS3. The Kannon provides a versatile Missile Launcher equivalent with both Frag and Blast shells, the Lobba and Bubblechukka provide anti-horde capacity with their blasts, the Zzap Gun and Smasha Gun provide potential anti-armor/anti-TEQ with their low AP shots, the Kustom Mega-Kannons are basically S8 AP2 Plasma Cannons, and the Traktor Cannon gives cheap and highly effective AA defense to CSM forces that often lack this.

4 – Tankbustas — Another little-known gem from the Ork codex, Tankbustas are quite solid against a variety of targets, despite their BS2. With 10 Boyz in a Mob they can reliable get 3-4 hits with their Rokkit Launchas per turn. Add in Tank Hunter USR for added power against vehicles and easy access to “bunkers” in the form of Trukks or Battle Wagons from which they can shoot all their weapons (thanks to their Open-Topped nature) and they provide massed S8 AP3 firepower at a very economical points cost to deal with enemy MCs, vehicles, and medium infantry, all of which often requires much more expensive options in the CSM codex.

–CHAOS SPACE MARINES–

1 – Psychic Might — While Orks have Weirdboyz, they are limited in numbers, PML, and available disciplines. With the advent of the Cyclopia Cabal, CSM now can get 3-5 Sorcerers (all of which can get up to PML(3) easily)), all of whom can access Chaos disciplines plus Biomancy/Daemonology/ Telepathy plus their unique formation ability “Shroud of Deceit,” which enables you to take control of an enemy non-vehicle unit and shoot with it at your opponents (obviously, this can be an amazing  help to Orks, especially when facing firepower heavy opponents like Eldar, Tau, and Astra Militarum).

2 – Dirge Casters — Since Orks are really geared to getting into assault in large numbers, anything that helps them do that and minimizes enemy interference is a boon. Enter the CSM Dirge Caster. Shutting down Overwatch by any enemy units within 6″ of the vehicle equipped with the Dirge Caster can make quite a difference for the poorly armored Orks, especially when charging armies like Tau or Dark Angels that have significant “buffs” to their Overwatch abilities.

3 – Heldrakes — While Orks have multiple flyers of their own, none of them have the raw power, survivability, and anti-infantry damage output (at least consistently) of one or more allied Heldrakes with Baleflamers. Able to come in 36″ and then torrent another 12″ with their S6 AP3 Ignore Cover Templates, you can reliable kill entire squads of key enemy units in a single turn with these weapons. In terms of supporting allied Orks, this can be critical for taking out key enemy non-vehicle units (i.e. Long Fangs, Eldar Warp Spiders and Jetbikes, Tau Pathfinders, AM Heavy Weapons Teams, Necron Destroyers, SoB Retributors, Skitarii Vanguard, etc.) that would otherwise be devastating to Ork forces.

4 – Tough Objective Holders — Since Orks are so lightly armored and can have leadership issues when not made Fearless by special rules/characters, they can struggle to hold objectives. On the flip side, CSM have access to Plague Marines, which are not only Fearless, but have T5 and FNP built in, making them great for holding those Objective late game even (especially if they are made Troops and gain Objective Secured) when your opponent levels his entire arsenal at them. Alternately, if you have Typhus as a HQ, you can then take super-cheap Plague Zombies with Fearless/FNP for the ultimate in cheap, tough, unshakeable Objective Secured units.

Zagstruk and Da Vulcha Boyz…

So, this is quite an interesting formation in the Waaagghhh Ghazghkull Supplement. Basically, you take Zagstruk and three Mobs of Storm Boyz, with the option to merge them all into a single, “uber” formation (which gives up multiple VPs if destroyed). Additionally, the formation has special rules that makes it only scatter D6″ when deepstriking and giving all members the shred USR for their Hammer of Wrath attacks.

So, how can this formation be used? Well, if you combine it with a Warboss with Waaaggh! and the Stormboyz ability to run 2D6″, you can potentially get Zagstruk and 30+ Stormboyz accross the table and into combat as soon as turn 1. While this is good for getting some early close combat damage against the enemy, what it is REALLY good for is when you use a giant formation like this to pull of a turn 1 multi-charge and tie several enemy units in close combat at once. That means, of course, that those enemy units are not shooting, which buys invaluable time for the rest of your Ork army, whether foot-slogging or mechanized, to get accross the board with minimal damage get stuck in.

This tactic would work especially well with a Green Tide style list, since it disrupts the enemy DZ, reduces his shooting, and allows those green hordes to get accross the table-top while you “hold” the enemy in place with the gian Vulcha Boyz mob. Put another way, you are limiting your opponents ability maneuver and shoot (i.e. reducing his options) while increasing the options for your own army. In this way, aside from any damage they do themselves, Da Vulcha Boyz formation is an excellent “force-multiplier” unit for many different Ork army styles, enabling the rest of the army to doe their jobs better, even in a competitive, tournament oriented all-comers list.

Get on the Bandwagon… I mean, er, Battlewagon. Drive by Dakka, Ork style!

Orks… despite the begrudgings of many, I think they are actually pretty solid in 7th edition, especially if you take into account the Ghazkull Supplement and the trend of other codices in recent months. I also think that the new Ork book allows/encourages fluffy builds (i.e. Green Tide lists, Trukk lists etc,) which are still competitive, which is a big plus.

Now, from a tactical perspective, looking through the updates to Ork units and equipment I think there is a little gem that not many players use (I certainly haven’t seen it) which could be quite solid in competitive play. The unit combination is as follows:

-Big Mek with Mega Armor and appropriate shooty weapons
-Max Squad of Flash Gitz
-Battlewagon with Deff Roller (Big Mek and Flash Gitz ride in this)

Now, since Mega Armor confers Slow and Purposeful (which applies to the whole unit and makes them count as having not moved) and since the Git Finders on the Flash Gitz increase their BS to 3 if they haven’t moved, the entire Flash Gitz squad should be able to ride forward in the Battlewagon turn 1 and shoot out to max range and with BS3. Now, 10 Flash Gitz put out 30 shots, of which 15 should hit with BS3. Of these, against a normal MEQ opponent, S5 Snazz Guns means that they should inflict about 10 wounds. Now, depending on the random roll for AP, if they roll 1,2, or 3, then that is an entire squad of Marines that just got vaped in a single round of shooting.

If they roll AP4 or worse, then only about 3-4 MEQs dies after armor saves, but you still use Flash Gitz firepower against less well-armored opponents and inflict quite a lot of damage. For example, against a typical Guardsman Equivelant unit (GEQ), Flash Gitz have 30 shots, 15 hits on average, 12-13 wounds and, unless they roll a 6 for AP, that’s 12-13 dead Guardsmen (or Guants, or Cultists, or Guardians, or DE Warriors, etc.etc.). Throw in the Big Mek shooting for additional damage and the Battlewagon’s firepower and you can basically take out a squad a turn.

Flash Gitz shooting out of their “mobile bunker” can also do solid damage against light vehicles, with an average of 15 S5 hits a turn, which translates to 2-3 HPs stripped against AV11 vehicles and aout 5HPs stripped against AV 10 armor (i.e. say they are shooting at a Land Speeder Squadron). Finally, after shooting, Flash Gitz are not half bad at assault, so after softening up a unit with lots of S5 firepower they can charge out of the Battlewagon and finish them off with fisticuffs (or, more appropriately for Orks, “fistichoppas”).