The Boyz are back in town

I’ve been wargaming for over seven years but I’ve never been inspired to play Warhammer 40k; the game seemed expensive, cumbersome and tedious. 8th Edition has apparently fixed this and that has me finally dipping my toes into the GW franchise that has captivated so many before me. I am not alone in my decision; many former fans of 40k are dusting off old models and re-entering this grim dark world of skulls and melta-guns. Since I am oblivious to all 40k lore, fluff and power trends I am entering this game with completely fresh eyes and my eyes are fixed on those beautiful green-skin orks.

Apparently, Orks were pretty abysmal in 7th edition. Their staple unit, the Ork Boyz, were awful because they had a low initiative score and would get wrecked before their choppas could come crashing down. 8th Edition cleverly fixed this by giving initiative to whoever charged, this means orks just have to survive long enough for them to get to the fight and then they can do what they were meant to do, kill everything!

Here’s a little peak at the Boyz stats


By themselves, there are three standout elements that make these Boyz a staple for Orks. First, strength four is great; they’ll be able to damage (most) vehicles on 5+ rolls. Second, is that Boyz get +1 attack for consisting of 20 or more models. That is a lot of a dice. Lastly, they are cheap. At only 6 points per Boy (or 5 if you are playing via power points) you’ll have plenty of room to bring a mob as well as complimentary pieces.

Speaking of complimentary pieces, here are some synergistic solos that will make your scary orks even scarier:

Weirdboy (+1 attack)

Ghazaghul Thraka (+ 1 attack)

Ork Nob with a WAAAGH! Banner (+1 attack during the fight phase)

Painboy (Gives all nearby orks a +6 save vs wounds)

Big Mek with a Kustom Force Field (Gives nearby Ork units a 5+ invulnerable save against shooting attacks)

Warboss’s WAAAGH! ability (Allows friendly Ork units within 6″ to charge even if they advanced)

There are more synergies out there, for example a Weirdboy might pass on using Warpath and instead choose to Da Jump a unit of 30 Boyz behind enemy lines. I believe this was known as “deep strike” in 7th edition. Using Da Jump can be tricky though because you need to keep the unit that’s jumping >9″ away from any nearby unit, so that means in order to jump and charge in the same turn you would need to roll a 9. Thankfully, okra have access to two rerolls (Ere’ We Go and command points) so it will likely be pretty common now to see 30 boys charge on the first turn. Ere’ We Go allows you to re-roll the entire charge roll and a command point allows you to re-roll a single die.

Now I know all of this sounds great but what about Morale? If all your Orks run away than these abilities mean next to nothing. Fear not! The Boyz have multiple ways to mitigate cowardice. The best way to mitigate it is by having a Warboss within 3″ of a unit of Orks. Rather than losing more orks than your two hands can scoop up, the warboss can simply make an example out of a few of them (D3, to be exact) to keep the rest of the Boyz in line and in the fight. Another morale mitigator are Nobz squads. For each nearby Ork that tries to flee, roll a d6, and on the result of a 6, they do not. Both of these rules are nice but the best rule so far is the Mob Rule which allows a unit of Orks to use a leadership value equal to their unit size or the leadership value of a nearby Ork unit.

You want to run? Think again.

So, 8th Edition has clearly given these Boyz a lot of oomph, but did it do anything to negatively affect orks? Well, like I said, I never played 40k before 8th but, through some research I’ve found a handful of people are upset about the change to cover saves. The new rule says the unit has to be entirely in cover, which makes it unlikely that a mob of 20-30 Boyz is ever going to benefit from cover. And even if you did manage to squeeze all the Boyz in the new rule only grants you +1 to your armor save.

My response to this downgrade is a half-hearted shoulder shrug. Even a novice like me can see the benefits outweigh the cons. Besides, unless you are from the Blood Axe Clan, tactics like running into cover doesn’t seem very thematic for orks.

Now if you are a stinking oomie or nasty nid and are looking for tactics to beats orks then here’s my two cents on some anti-ork tactics. Use snipers and target prioritize Warbosses and Nobz. Once the morale mitigators are down than hitting mobs of Boyz is suddenly going to be very rewarding. Even on his best day the Painboy can only save so a few so that means that those who you don’t shoot off the table are likely to run away.


2 Responses

  1. The Ork Nob with a WAAAGH! Banner gives nearby units a +1 to hit in the assault phase. Not a +1 attack. 🙂

    • Dan says:

      Thank you! I’m as green to 40k as the greenskins I’m pushing around. I’ll be sure to edit the piece and correct the misinfo.

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