Tuesday, 6 November 2018

8th Edition 40k Ork Codex Review: Part 2- Stratagems

Welcome to part 2 of my 8th edition 40k Ork codex review. This part will take a look at the stratagems available to the army. 

The Orks get access to a great number of useful stratagems in the new codex. Some of these are generic stratagems available to other armies, while they also get some unique ones to help too.

Mob Up (1CP)- Used at the end of the movement phase. Two infantry units with the same datasheet within 2" of each other may join up if one has less than 10 models and one has more than 10 models.

This was the stratagem introduced in Chapter Approved last year. It is quite situational, but useful for denying your opponent kill points if the mission has them and you can meet the criteria. It is also a way to perhaps increase squad sizes of certain units to gain more benefit from stratagems. For example, you could mob up a couple of units of Lootas and get both units affected by the same stratagem.

Medi-Squig (1CP)- At the end of the movement phase, select a Character within 3" of a Painboy. The model regains D3 lost wounds

This is a solid stratagem to help keep your characters alive for longer. Used in conjunction with the Painboy's abilities, you can potentially heal 2D3 wounds on a single character in one turn. A good roll will put most characters back to full strength. Very useful.

Snagga Grapple (1CP)- Use on a Deffkilla Wartrike that Falls Back. Select a unit within 1" before they fall back. On a 2+, they suffer D3 mortal wounds.

The Deffkilla Wartrike is a vehicle that has some great close range firepower and combat ability, so getting into combat is a good deal for it. The ability to fall back and deal mortal wounds is pretty strong. This gets better when combined with the Blood Axes Kultur, allowing it to still shoot or assault.

Warphead (1CP)- Before the battle begins, select a Weirdboy. The model knows one additional psychic power and can manifest one additional psychic power per turn.

This allows a Weirdboy to know 2 powers and cast 2 powers per turn. The Ork psychic powers are pretty solid (as you will see in a future part of the review), so this is a pretty good stratagem to use if you are planning on running a Weirdboy. You should be able to cast your powers most of the time, at least until the Weirdboy kills himself with Perils.

Ramming Speed (2CP)- A selected Ork Vehicle can charge 3D6". In addition, if it finishes a charge move within 1" of an enemy unit, on a 2+, the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.

This is great for getting better odds on making a long-range charge, along with bonus mortal wounds if you make it in to combat. On a cheap unit like a Trukk, this can allow you to charge and try and tie up an enemy unit to stop them from shooting, as well as doing some damage when you make it in. On vehicles with better combat abilities, such as one equipped with a Deffrolla, or a Dreadnought, Morkanaut or Gorkanaut, this is a bargain stratagem.

Boarding Action (1CP)- Use at the end of the Fight phase. Select an enemy vehicle that cannot Fly within 1" of a Trukk or Battlewagon. Any models embarked may make a single attack with one of their melee weapons against an enemy unit.

With the right unit embarked in the vehicle, this could do a lot of damage. A unit of Meganobz in a Battlewagon could do some serious damage if you can make a number of hits. This is great when combined with Ramming Speed, giving you the chance of doing a lot of damage to a vehicle with a long ranged charge.

Extra Gubbinz (1CP/3CP)- This is the standard extra Relic for 1CP, or 2 extra Relics for 3CP.

The Orks have access to some good Relics, so I can see this being used to take an extra one in the army if your army composition suits it.

Get Stuck In, Ladz! (3CP)- Use in the Fight phase when it is your turn to select a unit to Fight or the end of the Fight Phase. An Ork Infantry unit from your army that has already fought may fight a second time.

Many armies get a similar ability, but the Orks get the distinction that you do not need to wait till the end of the phase to use it, it can be used whenever you choose to activate a unit. This is a big boost for the ability, and in many situations it will force your opponent to make difficult choices about which of their units they want to fight with and in which order.

For example, you have two Infantry units in combat against two separate enemy units. You choose Ork unit A to fight enemy unit A. In a normal situation, your opponent would select their unit B to fight, knowing that no more damage could come to unit A, so they will get to strike back, thereby hoping to reduce the number of attacks that Ork unit B can take. With the change to this stratagem, there is the risk that you could select Ork unit A to fight again, maybe destroying enemy unit A before they can attack (I hope that makes sense!). You opponent now has to choose between the two units to fight, where before there was one obvious choice of which unit to fight with second.

Orks is Never Beaten (2CP)- Use when an Ork character is slain. The model can immediately shoot as if it were the shooting phase or fight as if it were the fight phase before it is removed.

A common stratagem that is very good for a powerful character. I find the ability to fight again is usually more useful than the ability to shoot again. This goes doubly so for most Ork characters.

Force-Field Projecta (3CP)- Use at the start of the battle round. Select a Big Mek. Until the start of the next battle round, increase the range of that model's Kustom Force Field ability from 9" to 18". You can only use the stratagem once per battle.

This is a pretty strong stratagem to help guard your army. This gives you an 18" bubble for a 5+ invulnerable save, which is a huge area of protection. Ignoring roughly a third of the wounds that your army takes is a huge boost. I can see this being very useful if you don't get the first turn against a firepower-heavy army, enabling you to weather the first turn in relative safety. Pricey at 3CP, but well worth it for me. Just be careful of Sniper units that can take out the Big Mek after you use this stratagem.

Billowing Exhaust Clouds (1CP)- Select a Speed Freeks unit at the start of your movement phase. Until the start of your next turn, subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks made by ranged weapons that target the unit.

A nice, cheap stratagem for helping to keep a Speed Freeks unit safe from enemy firepower for a period. The downside is that you must decide to use it in your movement phase, rather than when the unit is targeted, like other stratagems of this kind. This has the potential that your opponent could simply ignore the unit and your command point is wasted.

More Dakka! (2CP)- Use on a unit in your shooting phase. The Dakka! Dakka! Dakka! ability triggers on a 5 or a 6 (rather than just a 6).

This is incredible, especially on a unit with a lot of shots. Not only do your shots always hit on a 5 or a 6, regardless of modifiers, but you get an extra to hit roll on roughly a third of your shots. This will be very powerful with units with strong firepower, like Tankbustas or Lootas. A unit of 30 Shoota Boyz using this will put out a lot of firepower. A nice counter to negative to hit modifiers against Orks.

'Ard Boyz (2CP)- Select a Boyz unit. Their save increases to 5+.

A nice bonus to help keep your Boyz safer. Not sure it is worth 2CP to be honest. I think I would rather go with a Kustom Force Field and get the invulnerable save. Could help them in combat more against enemy units that don't have an AP value on their weapons. With another stratagem, it does give you the potential to get the unit up to a 4+ armour save.

Tellyporta (2CP)- Use during deployment. Set up an Ork unit with a power rating of 20 or less in reserve. At the end of your movement phase, you can set up the unit anywhere on the battlefield at least 9" from an enemy unit. If used on a transport, all units embarked on it remain so when put in reserve.

This is a fantastic stratagem for the Orks and can be used on multiple units, as it is pre-deployment. For reference, a unit of 5 Meganobz is 10 power, a unit of 30 Boyz is 11 power and a Battlewagon is 8-9 power. About the only single unit that can't use this is the Stompa.

Combined with Evil Sunz to get an 8" charge from reserve (with a re-roll of one or both dice), this is a great way to get into combat with large mobs. Even other Ork clans get the re-roll, giving you better odds of getting a charge off from reserve. This is a very strong stratagem to use in the army.

Extra Stikkbombs (1CP)- In the shooting phase, up to 10 Ork infantry models can fire a grenade weapon instead of 1.

Useful on most Ork units, insanely good on Tankbustas. Boyz units can now take Tankbustas bombs for every 10 models in the unit, so even a regular squad can do a lot of damage with this. For Tankbuastas, this will be 10D3 shots at S8, -2AP and D6 damage. Use with More Dakka! and this unit will cause carnage to most monsters and vehicles.

Grot Shields (1CP)- Use on an infantry squad (that are not Gretchin) that has been hit by a ranged weapon. Each time a model from the unit loses a wound and there is a Gretchin unit within 6" that is closer to the enemy unit, roll a D6. On a 2+, the original model does not lose a wound and a gretchin model is slain.

This is very strong for backfield units like Lootas, allowing you to pass off wounds onto a nearby cheap Gretchin screen. This has the potential to save valuable units from harm if you have a big enough unit of Grots nearby (or multiple units).

Loot It! (1CP)- Use when an enemy vehicle is destroyed within 3" of an Ork Infantry unit. Increase the save characteristic of the unit by 1 (can only be used on the same unit once per battle). If used on Lootas, it does not cost you the CP on a 4+.

A nice bonus for your unit, if a bit situational. Good on a unit of 'Ard Boyz.

Long, Uncontrolled Bursts (1CP)- Use at the start of the shooting phase. Select an Ork vehicle that can Fly. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the hit rolls for shooting attacks when targeting enemy units that can Fly.

Some of the Ork flyers can get +1 to hit with some or all of its weapons, so added to this will give you a nice boost against other enemy flyers. Might not come up too often, but useful when it does.

Unstoppable Green Tide (3CP)- Use at the end of your movement phase. Select a unit of Boyz that has less than half of its starting number of models remaining. Remove it from the battlefield and set up the unit at full strength within 6" of a board edge and at least 9" from an enemy model. Can only be used once per battle.

Another incredibly strong stratagem. It is expensive, but well worth it in my opinion. This could be great if one of your large mobs takes a hammering in the first turn, allowing you to remove them and re-deploy at full strength even closer to the enemy army.

Monster Hunters (3CP)- Snakebites only. Use at the start of any phase. Select an enemy unit with a wound characteristic of 10 or more. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the wound rolls for attacks made by Snakebit units that target it.

Very powerful if your opponent has a bit unit such as a Knight that is likely to receive a lot of attention. Great for characters or those models with Power Klaws to wound on a 2+ against many vehicles.

Drive-by Krumpin' (1CP)- Evil Sunz only. Use at the end of the shooting phase on an Evil Sunz Speed Freeks unit. The unit can immediately move as if it were the movement phase, but may not charge.

A great stratagem for boosting the mobility of a selected unit. Very useful for going after objectives, Linebreaker, etc, or for simply getting into the correct position for the next turn. Great when added to the mobility boost for Evil Sunz.

Wreckers (2CP)- Deathskulls only. Use at the start of any phase. A Deathskulls unit may re-roll wound rolls for attacks made against enemy vehicles until the end of the phase.

A solid stratagem for the Deathskulls. Great on weapons with strong firepower against vehicles such as Tankbustas or Lootas. Could also have great potential on a large unit of Boyz attacking a vehicle in combat or firing at them with Shootas. Wounding on a 5+ with full re-rolls should do a fair number of wounds when combined with Dakka! Dakka! Dakka!

Showin' Off (2CP)- Bad Moons only. Use on an Infantry unit after it has fired in the shooting phase. The unit can shoot all of its weapons a second time (can only be used once per phase).

Another solid stratagem. Getting to fire twice with a unit such as Lootas or Tankbustas is a very powerful ability (there is a theme here). Also great when combined with other shooting stratagems, such as More Dakka! to get double the bonus in a single phase.

Dead Sneaky (1CP/2CP)- Blood Axes only. Select a Blood Axe infantry model during deployment (1CP for power rating of 8 or less, 2CP for power 9 or more) and deploy it in reserve. At the end of any of your movement phases, you can set the unit up anywhere on the battlefield at least 9" from an enemy model.

This is only really useful for the 1CP version to set up a lower power level unit. Otherwise, this is exactly the same as the Tellyporta stratagem. A bit of a waste for me.

Kill-Kroozer Broadside (3CP)- Freebooterz only. Use at the start of the shooting phase. Select D3 points on the battlefield more than 6" away from each other and visible to a Freebooterz unit. Roll a D6 for each unit (friend or foe) within 3". ON a 5+, the unit suffers D3 mortal wounds (-1 to the roll for a character). Can only be used once per game.

I'm not sure about this one. If it was hitting units on a 4+, it would be pretty strong (and what Orbital Bombardment wished it could be). It has the potential to do some serious damage against the right opponent, but it could also fluff and do nothing at all.

Skarboyz (1CP)- Goffs only. Use before the battle, select a unit of Boyz (not Ard Boyz). The unit gains the Skarboyz keyword and the strength characteristic is increased to 5.

I think this is solid and very good for 1CP. It can also be used on multiple units if you want. Wounding most infantry on a 3+ will be great for the unit and really boost your damage output in combat.

The Orks have access to some fantastic stratagems that should really boost the effectiveness of the army.

Force Field Projecta, More Dakka!, Tellyporta and Unstoppable Green Tide stand out at the moment as incredibly useful. Luckily, Orks have access to a lot of cheap troops units and HQ units to maximise the number of CP they can start with, so you should be able to use a lot of these during the game.

Most of the stratagems are solid in the right situation, with only Dead Sneaky feeling a bit useless (and then only because Tellyporta exists). 


  1. good round up of the stratagems

    lots of character and most look to be very useful in most battles.

    can a stompa take a kultur? if so make it blood axe and then you can use dead sneaky and have a stompa deep strike for only 2CPs! that stratagem doesn't have the max PL limit like teleporta

    not sure why but i do fancy collecting some orks!

    1. Dead Sneaky is Infantry only, so no sneaky Stompaz. The Orks have not yet produced a Creed of their own ;)

    2. No deep striking Stompas, I'm afraid!

  2. I kind of feel like 'Ard Boyz should have been a 4+ Save, like they used to be. I might consider 2CP for it then. Not for a 5+, tho.

    Nids could really use a Stratagem like Grot Shields. It would make a number of their big monsters more viable if they could pass off Wounds to nearby Gaunts.

    Dead Sneaky mostly seems to me to be a way to send in a Character more cheaply than with a Tellyporta, since they're all below the PL8 threshold. Other potentially worthwhile uses are on Tankbustaz or a Unit of 3-4 Meganobz. But yeah, more generally, a lot of variety has been lost now that there's little distinction between what used to be Infiltration, Deep Strike, Outflanking, etc.

    To me, it feels like the real problem with Kill-Kroozer Broadside is the d3 for the number of "shots". If that was a minimum of 2 guaranteed, one way or another, I'd give it a much better rating.

    Also, think about the potential in using Loot It on Nobz, or even Meganobz!

    1. Yeah, a 4+ armour save would be much better, even with an increase in the command point cost, or limiting it to one unit.

      I agree with you on Kill-Kroozer Broadside, it is just lacking something to take it over the edge.

  3. Good work Mike, great summary as usual!

    These all look pretty awesome, which is probably what I have issue with from what I've seen of the Ork Codex thus far. I look at the T'au codex (or even the SM/DAngels one), and I see and handful of good stratagems, a whole bunch of meh/very situational ones, and far too many downright junk/unplayable ones.

    Then I look at the Orkdex. And I cry. Big fat SALTY tears....

    Now don't get me wrong, I dont begrudge the Orks a good Codex ('cos throne knows they have suffered in the past) but having seen the kulturs, stratagems and warlord traits so far it looks like Christmas/Easter/Halloween/Kwanzaa has come all at once for the greenskins.

    Anyway, I'm off to replenish my salt levels ready for more tears in the next review - keep them coming!

    1. I know what you mean. Looking at the Space Marine codex, it is sad how many of the stratagems are just a bit useless. As more and more codices have come out, most armies are getting stratagems which are simply amazing, or way too good.

      If they had all been kept the level of the Space Marine ones, they would add a bit of flavour without being too overpowered and game changing.

    2. That's exactly it! I actually like the T'au codex and thought the stratagems were cool because there were no overpowered ones. HAving seen the SM ones I had assumed that this was the way it was going to be for all the codices and everyone was going to be on a level(ish) playing field for once, which would be great.

      Now it feels like the end of 7th again, where the later formations just had the kitchen sink thrown at their special rules and any vestige of balance spiraled into oblivion.

      Anyway, I'm not salty much, I promise :p