Orks: Meh

I love Orks. The fluff is fun, unique and usually amusing. I like the Ork mentality of “might makes right” and the barbaric hierarchy they adhere to. I like the Ork aesthetic of cobbled together weaponry and vehicles that belch bullets and smoke. What I’m realizing though is that I just don’t care for playing them.

I have played Orks for eight years. It was my first army and then I started playing Necrons, who at the time were one of the most elite armies. I then branched into Space Marines and most recently Chaos Space Marines. See a trend there? None of them are horde armies after the Orks.

I play my Orks as a fast mobile army crammed full of Trukks for Boyz and other paper-thin ramshackle vehicles to propel my army forward. As far as Ork lists goes, it’s not a horde list. I can get deployed in short order as everyone is in a vehicle or it’s a small unit like artillery or Lootas. Compared to most other armies though it’s still a big list and packs a lot of bodies. Not surprising of course, they’re Orks after all.

The thing I’ve come to realize is that I just don’t care for the quality of quantity. Pulling out every model needed for a list, mass removing casualties and putting it all back into trays at the game’s end is not fun. Writing lists doesn’t excite me either sadly. The new Ork codex lowered the cost of a lot of units so now I can get more into my lists. Having more types of units in a list is great, at least it’s not longer mostly Boyz, but it’s also more units and bodies and becomes more horde-like, the thing I’m disliking. There’s some great changes in the codex for Orks, and I think it’s a solid codex, but for the most part they still play the same as they always have, bury the enemy in bodies.

I’m not sure what I was hoping for in the new Ork codex. I shelved my Orks for nearly two years because I just got tired of them and how they play out on the table. It just feels too one-dimensional for my tastes and I was hoping for something to change that dynamic in this codex. I could field something more elite with less bodies but it likely won’t do very well on the table and it would require spamming those few elite units. I could put down a Stompa (if I owned one), and soak lot of points there but then the rest of the points would go into Boyz to get objective secured and make for a very dull list in my opinion.

There’s probably some other things with Orks that I can’t put my finger which accounts for my lack of interest with them but it doesn’t matter. I just lack interest in the army, period. With my Chaos Space Marines I enjoy list building, working out different synergies and after each game I’m excited to work through what went well and what I need to fix. That’s missing for me with Orks, which is too bad. There’s just nothing in the army that’s really drawing me in.

For now, I’m going to jump back to my Chaos Space Marines and let the Orks sit on the sideline for a bit and evaluate what I ultimately want to do with the army. It may be the answer is sell them off, I’m not sure. As much as I love the greenskins I’m just not seeing myself getting back into the army with the vigor I once had for them in my early days of 40K. I guess you could say that I love Orks but I’m not in love with them.

This image’s use is courtesy of Jason Leonti/AlteredYou.

  • I think this is actually a common attitude in 40k. Most people like the aesthetic, fluff, and humor of the orks. They get excited to see the crazy models, especially the conversions and scratch builds that are almost mandatory in an ork collection. They are easily as widely liked as the Space Marines but they have always been far from as widely used.

    They’ve always been a horde army, even back in Rogue Trader they tended to outnumber Marines or Eldar by quite a bit. They’ve always been a bit wacky, and they’ve never been as straightforward to win with as their simplistic mentality might lead you to believe. They are a ton of fun to model and if you can find a style that suits you they can be a ton of fun to play but they’re just not for everyone.

    I wouldn’t sell them off just yet. You’ve put a lot of work into your orks and you may still enjoy bringing them out from time to time, at least for the smaller games. You may even be able to work them into your Chaos lists from time to time where they can play a role similar to your cultists but with the potential to be faster. At the very least you should keep your better conversions and a small contingent for the occasional game.

    • I could see busting them out occasionally for certain things but I don’t see them as my day-to-day army. Chaos just suits me more.

      I’m not sure if I’ll sell them or not. Orks were never an army I invested much in financially since it was so easy to convert and scratch-build. So, I don’t feel that need to get back part of my investment or anything. There’s no harm in hanging on to them, they just soak up space. eBaying an army is not something I honestly want to do, too much work breaking it all down so it sells, but selling the army off wholesale to someone is a consideration. Nothing I’ll go out of my way for but something I’ll keep my eye open for. Who knows?

      • Chaos does seem to suit you more. It is much more compatible with a more elite force approach but still lets you put a good number of models on the table when you want to. Still, you may want to bust out the orks for the occasional fun game or themed event. I also think they could fit into your CSM lists from time to time. When I’ve played your CSM the biggest challenge has been getting your units into assault safely. A couple of cheap trukk mobs, bikers, storm boys, or something along those lines could help. They’re faster and cheaper than most of your CSM units and dangerous enough to draw some fire. If they don’t draw fire they can tie up a flank or key unit while the rest of your force moves into position.

        I reserved a Stormclaw box so I’ll be “required” to dig out my orks before long. Maybe I’ll borrow/steal some of your units as I try things out.

        • Chaos is a strangely addictive army. I don’t win much with them at all but I just enjoy the army as a whole. I wish Orks could build out HQs like Chaos can. You can build a Lord to do anything with Chaos and Orks just lack those fun extra options and features that Chaos get. I think the flatness of the Ork HQs is definitely part of my problem since I love creating my own characters and it’s just not there for Orks.

          You’re welcomed to borrow whatever when you get around to da Boyz again.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    I think Orks work very well as allies for CSM.

    • Yeah? In what capacity do you see Orks as an ally for Chaos? I mean, as a cheap assault screen, loading up on dakka, etc?

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        I use them as part of a rush/bomb list, ie a little over a third deep-strikes, a little over a third rushes and there is a bit under a third for fire support (I often go for a bastion with comms relay full of lascannon havocs and a few other things). I feel this is the best type of list for CSM as it plays to their strengths.

        Orks are fast and cheaper than CSM so they can fill out the rush part of the list, give it more bodies and let it occupy more of the table and therefore pin part of the opponents army (as part of a refused flank).

        If you go with the refused flank option the idea is to deploy cheap fast disposable units on one side of the table and hopefully your opponent will waste troops by deploying opposite them. Whisk them away to join the general assault leaving your opponents hopefully slower troops uselessly stranded. Orks in buggies, deffkoptas or bikes are great for this, maybe even on foot since they are so much faster in the new codex.

        You can do the same with fast Daemon units (especially hounds) but they tend to be more expensive and not as fast as the Ork units. I think I prefer fast Daemon units as part of the rush and deepstriking Daemons along with Oblits as part of the bomb for fluffy reasons, but I often field Orks with my Alpha Legion. I’ve even been toying with the idea of making a counts-as-Orks force of beastmen and mutants to go with my Alpha Legion representing hive city scum.

        • Gotcha.

          I tend to do the same with Daemons, when I use them anyway. You’re right, Orks are faster and cheaper for the job but like you I prefer to use Daemons in that role just because it fits with fluff. However, I do like your idea of using Beastmen as Orks. I have some myself I used for Lesser Daemons back in the day and they would make a great Ork stand-in.

          • You could say that the ork allies are some of Tuska’s boyz, hauled out of the warp temporarily to fight something other than demons for a change.

            I like the beastmen idea too, but you’ve already got so many ork models to use!

        • JD Brink

          Oooohhhh, love the idea of counts-as-orks beastmen!

          • Maybe a fun project for down the road or something.

  • Ming

    I find that people enjoy and play their best with the Army faction that best suits their personality. Frankly, I just don’t see you as Orky enough to really get off on them. You may be more of the brooding doomed chaos marine type. Not aligned with tzeencht either…probably more nurgley than khorney.

    • I agree. Factoring personality into army choice is something most neglect to consider. It’s something you may not realize until you’ve found it and I’d say I’ve found it in Chaos.

  • BenitoSenence

    I see the love but not the love you have for your Marines. My observation is because you have added some awesome lore to your two powered armoured armies. One is good while the other is it’s fallen brothers. You made some great personalities and they have had some great stories from games you played. If you want to keep at the Orks write a story for a war boss building a Whaagh and see if it changes. I loved my Nids but when building my Dark Eldar each unit has a story of why they join my Ancient. It built some great connections and I began limiting what was available to me in the codex. Like you I now have fun whenever I break them out and play.

    • My Orks have some fluff. Their history is in place and some characters exist but they are shallow compared to my Marines. I could certainly drive down that road and create more interest there but I just don’t have that same passion to do it with them as I did my Marines. The recent work I’ve done for the Disciples of Twilight was a ton of effort, which I enjoyed, but my Orks aren’t as inspiring and the effort would feel more like work.

      You’re right though, it’s why I have such a good time with my CSM. Being able to get behind the army, to see a game become a story unfolding is just awesome.

  • JD Brink

    I haven’t seen the new codex but agree with the attitude. Orks are fun as hell to think of as a crazy Mad Max kind of army, but in practice… Seems like they only really play one way and the units don’t vary enough to really do much else with them. Marines, to me, are very similar. You have marines/orks on foot, on bikes, with big guns, with little guns, etc, but it’s still basically the same unit with, at the core, the same general role. I like Orks, but couldn’t see investing in such a huge force of essentially cannon-fodder guys who I know are mostly going to die so that a handful can charge blindly into combat. Just not a creative enough force for my tastes.

    • I agree. It has an appeal and I enjoyed it when learning the game but not at this stage.

  • One of the chief problems I’ve seen with the ork codex, is that a good chunk of ork players are trying to play their ork lists exactly the same as before.

    They put the same list together. They put them on the table…it doesn’t work as well as it used to, or it plays nearly the same. They get bummed out, and put the army back on the shelf, or try dumping it on ebay (a REALLY bad idea right now, mainly due to so much flood).

    You can’t go through three editions of rules, and a major codex overhaul, and expect things to remain the same. Embrace the change, learn from it, and adapt!

    A different way of looking at the codex is to scrap any old army list, and build something completely different then you’ve ever played before. There is a massive amount of flexibility in the new codex (+ formations, lets be honest, its a codex plus four books of formations and a dataslate). You can fit a ton of stuff in the list, with a ton of really wild and fun choices.

    I have a completely different problem. I want to finally paint up a complete 100% painted ork army, but I can’t settle on the exact list I want. There is way way way too many choices now. It’s mind boggling trying to pick which synergies you want to link together for painting.

    We’ve got the base codex, with standard CAD and optional CAD.
    We’ve got the ghazzy supplement with another CAD, and five or so formations.
    We’ve got Red Waagh thingy book 1 with two formations.
    We’ve got Stormclaw with a dataslate, and another formation.
    And book three of the sanctum will have even more formations.

    Limitless combinations doesn’t even begin to describe the orks now.

    • Well said and I completely agree. I have no problems with what Orks have now. Options are not limited by any means and they can play in any manner you want. The biggest problem players have, is as you said, they play their old lists and then feel the codex has failed them when in fact they have failed themselves for failure to adapt.

      For me it’s not what they can’t do or how they have changed. I’m all for embracing what Orks are now. It’s just that it doesn’t “feel” like my army and that nothing new to this codex. It’s something I struggled with last codex too. It’s just not my favorite army to play is all.

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