Ork Tactica for Battlefleet Gothic
or "Mudgutz sez: Propa' ways ta krump 'em!"
By-Shane McRoberts "Deadshane"
Orks are the worst fleet!
Orks can't use ordinance or special orders reliably!
The only chance you have of winning with orks is the Space Hulk!
Chances are if you've been playing gothic for a while (or even if you're new to the game), you've heard these comments before when referring to the Ork Fleet. They really aren't far from the truth using traditional or common Ork tactics that you might find online or within publications. Traditional Ork tactics are either reckless (ramships) or totally give up the initiative to your opponent's fleet during the battle (SpaceHulks & Roks). While sometimes these tactics will work, they've still contributed to the "Underdog" status of the Ork fleet in gothic. There are other reasons Orks have a hard time, speed and mobility, unbalanced ships, rear armour 4, reliance on weapons batteries...the list goes on. The fleet has many pitfalls. However, the Ork fleet also has many strengths. We'll try to concentrate on those here. If one is to win reliably with Orks in gothic, it is imperative that you build and pilot a fleet according to the strengths.
In tournament play, when you consider chances for victory, there is very little margin for error with Orks, they are NOT a forgiving fleet to play and your tactics must be sound. This tactica will address primarily tournament play and how to win. How 'I' win...and how YOU might win playing this very characterful fleet. If you've played Orks in the past and gotten so frustrated that you would've liked to take a sledgehammer to yours or your opponents fleet in frustration, this is your chance. This will be how to play your fleet AS an irresistible sledgehammer of the Ork Waaagghh, but in space.
Lastly, before we begin, these are of course 'my' opinions. These are the most effective ways that I personally think the ork fleet plays. Bottom line is, if you already win with orks and feel that these tactics aren't as good as your own or are too different, congrats on your winning record and keep it up! These are ways that I've found that are effective, take from this tactica what you will...or don't. If you've been losing with orks, and you try what I've written here and are successful, I can honestly and with great confidence tell you that the comments you'll be hearing will sound more like....
Geez, that's a ton of ordinance!
I thought Orks were supposed to fail leadership checks.
You're one of the best Ork players I've played!
I didn't know they were that good!
...I hear these all the time.
PART ONE: STRENGTHS OF THE ORKS
or- "Orks is da most strongestest!" -Warlord Mudgutz
All fleets in Gothic have certain things that they do very well or advantages over other fleets. Orks are no different. While they might not have the speed and maneuverability of the Eldar, the Nova Cannons of the Imperials, or all round 6+ armour of the Space Marines, they have their own strengths that make for formidable forces in their own rights. The strengths that we'll make use of here in this tactica include:
CHEAP SHIPS WITH LOTS OF HIT POINTS
For a base cruiser, the Kill Kroozer is one of if not THE cheapest basic cruiser in the game. Figure that in with a front armour of 6 and 10 hit points and its a bargain. The Terror ship also is cheap for a carrier. Devestation's are considered by some one of the better carriers in the game, our Terror ship has the same launch capacity, 2 more hit points, the capacity to launch torpedoes, and is 5 pts cheaper. An Ork Battleship typically costs around the same as other races Battlecruisers/Grand Cruisers.
TORPEDOES ON ALL CAPITOL SHIPS
Kroozers and Terrors can both trade in their forward mounted Heavy Gunz for Torpedo bays. Depending on your fleet make-up, this can provide excellent distractions for your enemy. Torpedoes also increase the versatility of your 'weapons-battery' heavy ships, giving them another role in the battle. Hammer Battlekroozers also have this option available.
Ork fleets can get 3 re-rolls per Warboss and a Warboss for every 500 pts in the fleet. More RR's available than ANY other fleet in the game.
Acting as either fighters OR bombers, they reduce the guesswork about how many of either class of ordinance you need.
LARGE BASES ON THE KROOZERS/TERROR SHIPS
While some might consider this a disadvantage, it actually makes boarding actions easier to accomplish. Which brings us to....
IRRESISTIBLE BOARDING ACTIONS
Warlords double the boarding value of any ship they're on except for the Space Hulk. When you have 3 in say, a 1500 pt game, that's potentially 3 ships with a boarding value of 20, more than double a basic cruiser. Throw a Warlord on a Battleship and the boarding value is 24, THREE times a basic cruiser. This is a very big deal indeed. Normally it requires ships to gang up on a single in order to get bonuses like this, when Orks can use this advantage ship-to-ship, it can translate into horrendous results for your enemy.
There are also some scary weaknesses that you always have to be on the lookout for. If you want to play with Kroozers and Terrorships (we do) you have to look out for:
REAR ARMOUR OF 4
The only ships you want behind you are dead hulks of cruisers that you've destroyed. You'll also need to launch enough fighters to keep enemy bombers at bay, they can also do horrendous amounts of damage to our ships.
While we don't have to make a leadership check to go "All ahead full!", more speed would be nice. Our capitol ships need to close the distance fast and get into knife-fighting range as soon as possible. Our plodding speed of 20cm is a definite issue, be aware of how long it takes to get into the fight. While on par with Imperials, nose to nose, they can out shoot us.
NO LANCE WEAPONRY
This glaring weakness is one of the big reasons that we as Orks have to alter our tactics and strategy to accommodate the tools we DO have available. Only our Battleships have anything resembling lance armament. Armour 6 on enemy ships requires a different approach during an engagement.
Orks obviously don't really care to play it safe and don't know much about defense. A single shield sounds bad, and it is. A single turret combines with that rear armor of 4 making enemy bombers a DEFINITE issue.
LOWERED LEADERSHIP ON OUR SHIPS
This makes special orders difficult, reloading ordinance is harder. Re-rolls are that much more important, luckily, we get lots of them.
Don't worry, these weaknesses can all be compensated for, its not as bad as it sounds.
Put all of this together and what does it mean? How are we going to build our tournament list? Try to think about it a bit. Your tournament list will consist of many more HP's of ships than your enemy has, cheap carriers, tons of ordinance, and maximum Warlords. How do we destroy ships? Sometimes with weapons batteries, sometimes with lots of ordinance, but mostly BOARDING ACTIONS.
PART TWO: SHIP REVIEW
OR: "She dun look like much, but Sheez got it where it counts, ya grot!" - WARLORD MUDGUTZ
Some of the ships in the fleet are great, others, not so great. Some are downright a waste of time. In order to build a fleet that will lend itself to the combat doctrine that this tactica will encourage, we have to avoid certain ships. Escorts, in particular, are not a good idea. Escorts are easy to destroy and give up victory points much easier than capitol ships. Most of all, they don't help out with the boarding actions which is what our fleet will be doing in every game if possible. I've found that there is very little in a support role that an escort can do that ordinance cannot do itself. I can hear you already..."But what about the ramships????"...more about them later, lets start with the big ships.
THE MIGHTY SPACE HULK
Hit points like crazy, gunz everywhere, lances, gunz, ordinance, heavy gunz, 6 turrets, more gunz, that little cluster to the right on the top....yup...GUNZ! An impressive sight on the field, scary, mighty....don't bring it! It doesn't fit into the plan, speed is a factor. The last thing we need is the backbone of our fleet moving 10cm across the board a turn, and it WILL be the backbone, at 600pts it demands that you build your fleet around it, to support it. On paper it looks great, on the board its fun to play, but it wont work. It can be avoided far too easily thanks to its slow speed. In effect its a 600pt carrier that only launches 11 craft a turn on average. Not so good. You have to be able to maneuver in this game, this monstrosity doesn't do it, leave it at home.
Why you would take these w/o the Space Hulk I cant imagine. Again, unable to maneuver and easier to kill than the Hulk. Roks are part of a Space Hulk strategy. Again, leave them behind.
Armada gave us these mighty ships. Large and in charge, these cheap 12 hp monsters can be either the true spear-tip and purpose of your attack, huge support, or a mighty distraction so that the real attack succeeds. Ork Battleships, strangely enough, are amongst your FASTEST ships when employing tactics that are complimentary to the fleet. Specifically, the Dethdeala and the Kroolboy have "Soopa Engines" making your AAF orders more effective allowing you to get one of your Warlords 'stuck in' quickly. This is a huge threat to any ship considering your boarding value of 24 on a battleship with embarked Warlord. Gorbags Revenge can be fun at times when maxing out ordinance is to your taste. Slamblasta, sadly, doesn't really help much, its specialty being 2 prow mounted lances....the only source of lance firepower in an ork fleet short of a Space Hulk...its too little too late. Also, the Hammer...Kroozer HP's at a Battleship cost, its versatility isn't really needed or useful.
Ahhh, the much maligned Kill Kroozer. I call it a mighty chariot from which my second and third warlords win the battle for me. Kill Kroozers, typically ignored by opponents due to their lack of ordinance threat or effective firepower, scream towards the enemy in an attempt to get to boarding range. Warlords with Mega Armoured parties hitch a ride on these boyo's and sometimes will double up on a particularly important target for a sure KILL. Not wounding....KILL of a capital ship. Don't let their speed of 20cm's fool you, they can be FAST. Pick a direction to fly this thing, and launch it like a missile using the ork's AAF orders. Frequently you'll be surprised with a 10hp chunk of steel flying at your enemy at 30+cm a turn....with a warlord on board. That is one dangerous missile, if it hits its target wonderful things happen. To max out ordinance, go ahead and replace the forward heavy guns with torpedoes for a one-shot distraction. It gives your opponent something to think about, and it covers your advance for the REAL attack.
The bread and butter of the ork fleet. Terror ships launch wave after wave after horrendous wave of Fighta-bommaz, AB's and torpedoes. Squadroned together, they will reload off of the leadership of the best leadership in the squadron. Assisted by the many many available Ork ReRolls, you will find that this cheap cheap carrier will easily make its presence felt in the battle. Their role is support, but in a pinch they can still add 10hp's to a boarding action. Always remember that ordinance is the primary mission however. Keep pumping it out, keep the enemy concerned with dealing will all your ordinance. Brace sparingly...your hp's can handle whatever damage they dish out. Reload reload (reroll) reload....
Remember that problem that our ships have with enemy bombers? Yea, multiple cheap Terror ships mitigate that disadvantage by launching scads of Fighta-bommas.
As I am writing this tactica, I will tell you my opinions of escorts. Many of those that read this will disagree with me, but they can write their own tactica.
Anything escorts can do, ordinance can do better.
Ordinance is faster, and in enough numbers can handle break-off flanking forces of the enemy fleet just fine. Enemy escorts die in droves against AB attacks. Ordinance when it dies, costs nothing. Escorts when they die, cost victory points.
I typically don't use escorts, and prefer to maximize capital ships. That is MY formula for victory, this is my tactica. Now with that said....
If you find that you really want to use escorts in your fleet, there is one in our arsenal that fits the bill. No, it isn't the Ramship. Ravager attack ships add MORE ordinance into the mix. These ships, with their d6 wave of torpedoes each, can intensify your ordinance strike. A truly scary sight is when 6 cruiser hulls, several ravagers and even torpedo bombers all launch their payloads simultaneously. It's a torpedo spread that cannot be ignored and will break fleets up out of formation so that you can pick on portions instead of charging headlong into their entire gun line.
Ramships are wasteful, a danger to themselves by definition and not armed heavily enough to be effective. Some Ork players stand by them stating that they are the only source of speed that allows them to even contend with Eldar. I say, if you are counting on speed 25cm to deal with Eldar...you will lose the race...every time.
Ordinance is faster, and can deal with Eldar more effectively than ANY of our escorts.
PART 3: TWO KEYS TO VICTORY
OR "Do dis an' dis fer da big WIN!"-Warlord Mudgutz
My successes with the Ork fleet can be directly attributed to two things: ordinance and boarding actions. These two damage dealers are the two mightiest strengths that the orks have at their disposal. Both are reliable weapons, both very destructive. Yes, I said that Ork ordinance is reliable...contrary to popular belief.
How do people keep from taking damage in Battlefleet Gothic? "Braced for Impact" is how. Can you brace for impact against damage done in a boarding action? Nope. What do Orks love to do to enemy ships? Board.
If you want to play Orks in Battlefleet Gothic, you have to learn every last detail of boarding. You have to get good at it. Boarding actions will always be in the back of your mind during the battle and you will know how to get every single 'plus' out of the boarding table to swing advantage more into your favor.
A "How To" article on boarding actions in Battlefleet Gothic could take up plenty of space just by itself. Since this is MY tactica...I'm going to simply go with how I'VE had success. You can work and play with my formula...maybe come up with your own ideas. We'll do this assuming a 1500pt battle.
First, point your fleet in the right direction to intercept the enemy and utilize your FREE Ork "All Ahead Full" orders. This makes your entire fleet fast all of a sudden. Don't forget, this doesn't reduce the amount of ordinance you fire so on the first turn do it with your Terror ships as well in order to keep them in range to support your Killkroozers and Battleship.
Max Warlords...Every time. The stronger your boarding ability in your fleet, the stronger your fleet. More ships with Warlords ready to board=redundancy and more opportunities to board.
Personally, my favorite way to facilitate boarding in my Ork fleet is to throw a Warlord on a Battleship (one of them has to go there anyway) and give him power fields. This is your 'decoy'....but its a decoy with teeth. The job of this ship (preferably the dethdeala or Kroolboy for speed) is to soak up the firepower and/or ordinance of the enemy covering the advance of the rest of the fighting vessels in your fleet. I will typically give the Warlord "extra power fields" in order to soak up a little more fire on the way in. If the Battleship is able to board a juicy target, its great, but the time your opponent will spend shooting it up since its the biggest and baddest ship in your arsenal will be considerable...and it should prove an invaluable shield for the rest of your fleet.
Essentially, the Battleship covers the advance of my two Killkroozers that are also Warlord equipped and right behind her. These Warlords aren't equipped with "extra power fields", instead opting for the "mega armored boarding parties". With the added plus of the Mega Armour, the KillKroozers boarding value of 20 (with the Warlords of course) is a serious problem for any fleet that gets within 15-20cm of our forward arc. Killkroozers are definitely the ship for this mission. Terrorships can do the job as well if needed but Terrorships are generally kept busy pumping out more and more ordinance to cover the fleets advance.
Also, be sure that your ships are all mounted on larger bases. This makes boarding actions that much easier and is completely legal, strangely enough, due to a packaging blunder that GW covered by simply saying "Larger bases OR small bases can be used on cruiser hulls for orks". While this may make navigation past blast markers a little harder or present a better target for nova cannons, the benefit for boarding actions is too great to pass up.
Dogpile important targets with multiple ships to ensure their death. A ravaged Battleship and two healthy kill kroozers equipped as above is a death knell for most any capitol ship out there barring tyranids. No braced for impact allowed, and a drifting hulk to give you that many more victory points at the end of the battle. Glorious.
Ordinance is just as important as boarding to your game. I personally like to use 4 terrorships in a single squadron to contribute a VERY formidable force of fighta-bommas in the air. AB's are of course launched in abundance if the escort threat is significant, but Fighta-bommas are great. With d3 + 3 attacks against ships with 3 or more turrets, they tend to hit harder than regular bombers (sans fighter escort) against capitol ships with that sort of ordinance defense. (against a target with 4 turrets: regular bomber needs to roll a 5 or 6 to do damage, fighta bomma needs to roll 3+ on its attack run) My current fleet can support up to 20 aircraft and 20 fighta-bomma's coming at you cannot be ignored...its damage, it finishes off damaged ships, and regardless of how "useless" people tell you fighta-bommas are, they still don't like to be hit by them. Since I tend to replace forward mounted heavy gunz batteries with torpedo launchers, its all the worse. You bring lots of carriers in an Ork fleet to mitigate the disadvantage of fighta-bommas only being able to hit a target 3 times MAX. What's more effective in a 1500 pt fleet? 8 Eldar bombers, or 20 Ork fighta-bommas, that not only can do bombing runs...but intercept the eldar bommers instead if they decide to.
The fact that you don't have to decide a ratio of fighters to bombers out of your launch bays does a lot to make your ordinance runs easier...less chances for mistakes there. People forget about this advantage and its a big one. If an opponent with huge amounts of launch bays makes a mistake in how many fighters he launches, he might miss an opportunity to do damage. If he launches too many Bombers, he might get taken advantage of by a surprise ordinance alpha strike by his opponent. Orks don't have to worry about this as much as other fleets since our fighta-bomma's are dual purpose. The only thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not you want to launch assault boats.
Make sure you run your carriers in a squadron to take advantage of that SINGLE leadership 8 terror ship that you rolled. Your fleet may have low leadership across the board, but if you bring multiple terror ships (like any good player using this tactica) one of them is bound to roll a 7 or 8 for leadership. Combine this with the multiple rr's granted by the multiple warbosses, enemies on special orders giving you an additional +1 and then the fact that Terrorships generally play the backfield of your fleet keeping a low profile to avoid getting blast markers in contact, and you've got a squadron that generally doesn't have much trouble reloading its ordinance throughout the game.
Keep pumping ordinance at people. Remember, even though your Battleship may be going AAF every turn...it still lends a launch CAPACITY of 4. Keep your ordinance in the air in maximum amounts. If your opponent is worrying about your ordinance, he's worrying less about your ships. Ordinance costs nothing, ships cost points.
Huge torpedo salvos launched by entire ork fleets can sometimes break up enemy formations. If you replace all of your heavy gunz with torpedoes...it creates a rather impressive torpedo strike that formations will have trouble surviving. Concentrate all your torpedoes toward the center and watch your opponent break his fleet into two separate smaller formations. This makes engaging into knife fighting range easier. It can also make it harder for his ships to support each other.
More and more and more ordinance on the field gives your opponent more to think about. More things to think about allow for more opportunities to make mistakes.
Pump out that ordinance. Board those ships. The combination of these two mechanisms in your fleet are the two primary keys to victory.
PART 4: SOME LITTLE TRICKS
OR "Ya gots ta be STRONG AND KUNNIN', but dere's times ya gots ta be KUNNIN' AND STRONG!"-Warlord Mudgutz
There are some tactics that work really well in an Ork fleet that some other fleets might not be able to get away with, or benefit from quite as much. We'll talk about a couple of those here.
BRACE FOR IMPACT
As an Ork Admiral, your fleet is one of the stoutest out there. You've got hit points to spare. You've also got opponents out there that expect you to brace for impact when your terror ship is about to take 8pts of "for sure" damage. Here's your problem, if you brace, you lose the ability to reload your ordinance next turn...that simply wont due. TAKE THE HIT. Often, in the game of BFG, your opponent will expect you to brace, sometimes...he'll NEED you to brace. When you don't, you don't go along with his battle plan. That can only be a good thing for you. If your opponent blasted the snotlings out of your Terror ship expecting you to brace the entire squadron he could be in for a rude awakening. Your squadron may now be in the position to move forward a bit and be totally within striking distance of the ships that caused this damage...and your crippled terror ship could still have reloaded its ordinance so as to contribute STILL two more fighta bommas and maybe even a torpedo salvo in order to extract revenge for itself. Note that your ship took 8 hit points....the damage that kills a normal cruiser, now your ship is operating at half capacity. Again....WHEN OTHER CRUISER HULLS WOULD BE DESTROYED! You've got hit points to spare amongst your fleet. Dont worry about the threat of 4 lances that are Locked on. Dont brace against the first or even the second Nova cannon shot. Take some risks, your ships will pull you thru. Remember, Orks don't give a dang. Play them that way. Try not to brace for impact unless its a REAL emergency. Take some hits...come out the other side all scuffed up, its ok...your opponent will be hulked.
PLAY WITH TERRAIN AND DIFFERENT SCENARIOS
Don't play "Cruiser Clash" against a good Eldar player in open space. You just lost. Play scenarios where there is an objective to control, or a ship to escort. Some Scenario's can force an enemy to get close to you, that's where we want them so we can board. Not only are these battles more interesting, but they're more in character for us. It should come as no surprise then that these sort of missions are easier to win. Also, "Cruiser Clash" IS an ok mission to play...just not in open space. Play with some terrain. Use the rulebook rules for placing terrain. Your fleet benefits very well from the cover that terrain in BFG grants. Also, learn to utilize planetary gravity wells. A good Ork player can completely make up for his lack of maneuverability throughout his fleet by hovering near a medium or large planet using gravity well turns to maneuver. I almost ALWAYS use planets to aid me in battle. If there is a large planet on the board I will always try to make sure the planet is between the bulk of my forces and a significant long-ranged part of his. Not only does it block line of sight, but it will grant me some maneuverability as I advance toward it. USE PLANETS.
FIGHTIN' DA PANZEES
Corsair and Craftworld Eldar fleets seem to be the bane of Ork players everywhere. We cannot catch them, and our gunz don't have the range to reach them.
Remember what I said about Cruiser Clash and Terrain? We dont need to go back there right?
O.K. then, what is your problem vs. Eldar? Speed. It's the Eldar claim to fame. Speed and Maneuverability. They go where they want and as fast as they want. You're ships are still plodding along at 20cm hoping to catch them, right? Wrong.
I'm going to illustrate the PERFECT scenario against an Eldar fleet and you can take from that some tactics and tricks on how to fight them.
Firstly, you want the Eldar fleet to be between you and the Sun. What this can do is make it more difficult for a key enemy ship to 'run away from you'. They can still move parallel, or even toward you, but moving INTO the sun is their slowest speed, and your best chance to bring your prow mounted gunz (at 45cm range) to bear...and we all know how much Eldar hate Weapons Batteries.
Second, try to take cover behind a large or medium planet. It cannot get shot thru by the Eldar lances and any torpedo strikes will hit the planet and detonate. If the planet is large you should be able to utilise gravity wells and lower speeds to maintain a position behind the planet. If you're able to do this, the only way the Eldar fleet can touch you is to jump to the other side of the planet (where he'll be meat for the beast..and our WB's) or try an impotent attack with his bombers...which brings us to the final and most important key of beating the Eldar....
Third, Fighta Bomma's, the key to success against the Eldar. Ordinance, Faster and more maneuverable than the Eldar fleet. Using this tactica we have aircraft in abundance. More than the expensive Eldar carriers are equipped to handle. Send salvo after salvo of fighta bommas after the eldar. DO NOT run them in waves. Since the Eldar ships have no turrets waves of aircraft have no purpose...send each one out separately. If/when your squadrons are close enough to engage the Eldar fleet send only one or two fighta-bommas to each enemy ship within reach. Your goal is to cover the entire enemy fleet with blast markers. If your Eldar opponent is running several units of escorts (since Eldar escorts are so good) make sure THEY are all covered with blast markers. This can create a dangerous situation for your opponent. Not only is there a potential for damage from the bombers, (slight due to the holo-feilds) but when your opponent moves away or thru the blast marker on his turn he has a chance to take another point. Unlike our sturdy Ork ships, Eldar ships cannot sustain any real amount of damage and every point can be felt. Every point inflicted has a good chance to score a critical. This is danger that your Eldar opponent cannot outrun and can only mitigate with distance, time, and his own fighters. Eldar are truly one of the most important reasons that Ordinance is so important to Orks in a Tournament/Take all comers fleet. The more Fighta-bommas you can keep in the air, the easier a battle against Eldar is going to be.
If you are able to utilize all of these strategies against an Eldar player, while NOT playing in open space and possibly with an objective that will draw him to it...you will have a better than average chance of victory.
PART 5: CONCLUSION
OR "Dat's dat! Now get out dere an' SMASH 'EM...WAAAGGHH!"-Warlord Mudgutz
Well, that's pretty much it. Of course all these little tidbits require practice and proficiency on your part to pull off successfully. This is however, how I've managed to have such a good run with the Ork fleet over the years. As you should be able to see, the Ork fleet in BFG is much different than say an IN fleet or Chaos and CANNOT be run the same way. Its a fleet all its own that requires a certain "technique" no less specific than even the Eldar fleets require to be run successfully.
It's something I really hope for that Ork players will see these tactics and make them their own. Hopefully, some of you will learn just a little bit from what I've written down here and really surprise your opponent with a good beatdown. Maybe even utilizing these techniques in ways that 'I' never imagined. I've had tons of fun with the Ork fleet since the first models were released for them many years ago...and never looked back. It's truly one of the most fun fleets in the game if you can learn to play it well.
Played well, its immensely strong and since its considered an "underdog" fleet...all that much more rewarding and impressive when you pull off that "big win".
Played badly...well..."Orkses is never beaten in battle. If we win we win, if we die we die so it don't count as beat. If we runs for it we don't die neither, so we can always come back for anuvver go,see!"