Tuesday, March 19, 2013


In my recent games, I've been having trouble with units which completely overpower 20 boyz in combat.  These are units with 2+ saves and the ability to single out the Power Klaw with challenges and either destroy him before he gets to swing or force him to watch on while the rest of the boyz swing uselessly in the combat.  

I am beginning to feel as if I need to go back to a larger unit of Meganobz with Mad Doc in it.  This is extremely expensive, but to be honest, there doesn't seem to be any recourse.  While it's true that Monstrous Creatures, Terminators, and Wraithguard can be taken down with mass firing, multiple units like this on the field have a tendency to make it into combat regardless.  The amount of shooting required to actually deal with this many units is to go more heavily into shooting than I'm willing to.

Let's look at my conundrum for a moment, and explore why I don't like the idea of going with a pure shooting Ork list.  In an 1850 list, 3 squads of 10 Lootaz, an Aegis, and three Dakkajets are 890 points.  At that point, it's almost a requirement to add the Comms Relay for a total of 910 points.

There's not a lot left after that.   Going this far with the Lootaz and the Dakkajets force my hand with other units. For example, the Lootaz really are very fragile against Torrent weapons.  Very fragile.  Boyz and Gretchin need to be taken in order to create 18" of padding so that Heldrakes can't touch the Lootaz.  This means blobs.  Additionally, two Warpheads are almost an auto-take at this point in order to get the full effectiveness out of the Dakkajets because, let's be honest, if they aren't working at peak efficiency to whittle the enemy down when they reach my lines, I'm a deadman.

So with support personnel including 90 shoota boyz (each with a bosspole nob and 3 big shootas for a total of 630 points) and 2 Warpheads, we're looking at a 1710 point list.

This begs the question, with 140 points left to spend on offensive elements, can I hope to win a game against a more advanced opponent?  I have very little ability in this list to go after units which are hiding behind terrain or clear off scoring units on the other side of the board.  I have to hope that I can blow units off the board with shooting rather than relying on assault to completely delete units or at least be in position to contest.  This is a really iffy prospect for sure. I think this list is completed by adding two units of Lobbas in the hopes that they'd be enough to strike at hidden units and clear out that one or two models left at the end of the game.  Additionally, I'd use the Warpheads to re-roll for 'Ere We Go and deepstrike behind enemy lines.

This list did work at the beginning of 6th edition, and it pulls flyers right out of the sky, but people are taking a lot more monstrous creatures and 2+ armor these days and even that weight of fire is extremely unreliable. People are also beginning to take Land Raiders and this list has absolutely zero things that can deal with that. Literally zero.

Which is what brings me to the Megastar.  It's Mad Doc with 9x Meganobz, Cybork Bodies, and a Battlewagon with Red, Ram, and a Big Shoota.  This unit is 670 points.  Let me break down the rationalization for this unit.

First of all the unit is durable.  It features the 2+ save, which is king.  There is a lot of plasma out there today, but the invulnerable save and feel no pain will protect them.  The Battlewagon is pretty much required or else there is no way this unit makes it into combat.  Mad Doc is an odd choice at face value, but there's one Achilles' heel of all Nob units and that's leadership.  It's even worse for Meganobz due to the fact that they can't take a bosspole. Mad Doc will make them fearless.

Why so many? Well, there are three distinct reasons for this.  The unit needs to be able to make it into combat with at least five meganobz alive regardless of enemy shooting.  Eight 2+/5++/5+ ablative wounds should make this possible.  Also, the unit should be able to survive the first assault and then move on to a second one.  Another important factor is that such an expensive unit should be able to assault and kill either a) another hammer unit or b) multiple regular units.

The large number of meganobz also means I might be able to actually surround a land raider and destroy the unit inside when I assault.

There are quite a few negatives to this unit.

The first problem is that Mad Doc is one scalpel short of a medpack to be sure!  This list, in a way, plays me as much as I play it.  Positioning is key.  Placing Megastar on one side of the board allows me to methodically work through an opponent's lines from one side to the other.  They'll have to commit units to a flank in order to draw Mad Doc away from the bulk of their army.  If I position Mad Doc in the center, then my opponent can more easily bait Doc away and, additionally the Battlewagon becomes much more vulnerable to enemy fire.  However, with a central deployment, the Megastar is more likely to crash into multiple units.  In the past, central deployment has worked out better.

The second problem is the reliance on the battlewagon as a delivery system.  Of course, there's very little choice here in an Ork list.  You're either getting them into assault via battlewagon or you're walking, so there's no sense in lamenting this.  However, the big issue with relying on a huge hammer unit like Megastar is that you absolutely must make it into the enemy and eliminate their key units or you've wasted hundreds of points.  What do I do if the battlewagon is destroyed?  Slog across the battlefield?  Or do I add a second or even a third battlewagon to the list in order to ensure their delivery in turn 2?  I think the answer is clear.

Of course, there are the old issues with running a big hammer unit like this.  You run the risk of the unit being stranded and shot to death before they can do anything.  You also risk facing the perfect unit designed to defeat your deathstar.  In my case there are a plethora of instant-death monstrous creatures that will eliminate Megastar with ease and there's little I can do to avoid my opponent taking advantage of the unit's weaknesses thanks to Mad Doc's compulsory movement.

So, just like the shooty list forces my hand with more shooting, the Megastar list forces my hand with more assaulting.  Indeed, even if I weren't looking at the Megastar and were, instead, going with Boyz and Burnas, it's still extremely important that at least two battlewagons are mobile on turn 2.  The only way to ensure this is not a Kustom Forcefield anymore as it is now a 5+ cover save... it's more Battlewagons.  Battlewagons full of efficient scoring units that are also very good offensively.  Of course that means Shoota Boyz.

Two Battlewagons, each with 20 shoota boyz (including a nob with bosspole and two big shootas) is 500 points.  That puts our megastar list at 1170 points.  That's actually rather respectable considering we have 63 wounds sitting in three 14/12/10 vehicles right now.  Even if two battlewagons die, if I put Megastar in between the other two, the Boyz can get out of the one surviving Battlewagon, Megastar can get in, and zoom forward while the Boyz fall back to camp objectives.

The question is, what do I do next?  Do I put a KFF Big Mek in with a boyz squad so the Battlewagons get a cover save (as well as the boyz inside when the vehicle explodes)?  Do I take a Mega Armored Warboss to absorb wounds for a squad of boyz when their vehicle explodes and to be a more reliable Warlord who makes the Megastar scoring?  Do I then fill out the rest of the list with Dakkajets?

A Mega Armored Warboss with Bosspole and Cybork Body and three Dakkajets is 500 points on the money which puts our list at 1670.  I have a problem with three Dakkajets in this list and that's the fact that we haven't picked up an Aegis with Comms yet and we don't have any Weirdboyz.  With the prevalence of Runes of Warding and Tyranids, I guess the latter shouldn't really bother me anyways.  But the Dakkajets really make their mark when they alphastrike to the tune of 18 shots each and not having them come in all at once is actually pretty bad when you consider they are AV10 and one is probably going to die before it gets to shoot thanks to Interceptor.  So, an Aegis with Comms is 1740 leaving us with 110 to play with which probably has to be a small squad of Lootaz, a power klaw for one of the boyz units, and a few bibs and bobs for Megastar's Battlewagon.  It might be a good idea to drop one of the Meganobz in favor of a 10-man unit of Grots for backfield scoring.

That is NOT a lot of models and Dark Eldar totally wreck them.  However, I'm rather used to Dark Eldar wrecking me, so that may be a moot point.

What do you think?  Can you think of something better to do with the 680 points remaining rather than the Dakkajets and comms relay?  Would a couple more Battlewagons be better?  I'm not sure because when battlewagons explode, boyz just die these days.  It's a bit of a conundrum.

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