Early on when I started Orks I knew I didn’t want to push around over 100 models and I quickly started going Speed Freek style. Back then Orks had clan rules and specialist rules for Speed Freeks and Feral Orks but I didn’t actually play a Speed Freek list. I just emulated the style because I was learning the game and Orks and didn’t want to confuse myself with a specialist list. This type of list was pretty unforgiving in 4th edition where glancing could destroy a vehicle, you had entanglement checks for ruined vehicles and there were three different charts for vehicle damage. As much as I enjoyed the ease of movement and approach to the list, it wasn’t the easiest of lists to play.
Then we got the new Ork codex and things changed. Trukks got the ramshackle table instead of applying wrecked and destroyed results which in turn made the Trukks a better option than previously. Then 5th edition came out a bit later and vehicles in general got much better. Ironically as vehicles got better more and more Ork players were going green tide, lots of bodies on the table. With the cost drop of an Ork Boy it wasn’t surprising to see hordes on the table though.
One of the things I’ve always liked about a fast list is the strategy required to play it. No offense to the green tide toting players but moving around four to five 30-strong Boyz mobz with some other units sprinkled in doesn’t exactly require the most thought out strategy to use. There is strategy to it, as there is with anything, but having so many bodies almost forces you into a certain method of playing them. It’s hard to feint when you have a sledge hammer. A fast list though allows you strike with precision and choose your targets. There’s very little you can’t reach on the table in a turn or two and so it puts people on the defensive, which is what I like. If someone is trying to figure out where I plan to hit his lines, when I plan to do it and with which units then that leaves him open to mistakes and I have the speed to capitalize on those.
With almost equal presence to the ability to strike like a snake is the loss of it. Things may have become safer for a vehicle heavy Ork list in terms of rules but it’s also not hard to destroy most Ork vehicles. Fast AV10 transports can be removed by bolters since they’re open topped. A Looted wagon is AV11 and so heavy bolters and other S5 weapons can tear them open potentially. There’s the Battlewagon which is AV14 on the front but it’s so easy to get a side shot on AV12. Because of this my Big Mek with a kustom force field has become a mainstay in my lists. However, despite that 50% chance to negate the effects I will always lose vehicles, I expect to. Orks don’t tend to jump out of vehicles, do their thing and get back in them like Marines or Eldar. Really the idea is to dump them off and get into assault and keep assaulting, so losing a vehicle isn’t a big concern as long as I reach the enemy. A fast Ork list tends to be pretty unforgiving at times and the loss of a few transports early game before you’re in range can really ruin your plans. The key to a fast list is hitting the enemy all at once or in timed waves. Losing vehicles and putting Boyz on foot throws off the timing of that, so you either have to hold back a bit on account of the foot slogging Boyz or you attack with a weaker first wave and hope your Boyz on foot make it there to reinforce it.
If there’s one thing I find hard to deal with using a Speed Freek style of list it’s fighting a heavy foot list. Speed Freeks lack bodies compared to most other Ork lists, which is why timing is crucial. You can’t usually dump off one Trukk of Boyz to charge something, you have to dump off two or three to ensure victory. The lack of bodies means the Orks can be buried by a horde, ironic isn’t it? It’s a much more delicate approach against a horde army, dancing around to find that opening to slam into. These openings are hard to come by. It’s not easy to try and isolate a unit from the rest of the army to remove, you have to nip at their heels and hope to get the job done and get out.
I’m not sure there’s much of a point to this post really. Maybe it’s just I sometimes feel like the last Speed Freek player out there…