This post’s cover image comes from CoolMiniOrNot.

Orks are to shooting what Tau are to assault – little more than a punchline.  Sixth edition games skew heavily toward the shooting phase, which has led to Orks seeing a marked decline in both tournament play and tournament effectiveness.

Contrary to popular opinion, though, assault isn’t dead – in fact, it can still be a tournament-winning strategy.  The keys to building an effective Ork army are going to be fast, durable assault units aimed at dismantling immediate threats; large, durable units aimed at sweeping up broken enemy units and maintaining the board control our assault units have carved out; and snatching as many objectives as possible.  Here’s our sample 2000pt tournament Orks list:

  • Warboss, Power Klaw, Warbike
  • Warboss, Power Klaw, Warbike
  • 15 Lootas
  • 15 Lootas
  • 7 Nob Bikers, Pain Boy, Bosspole, 3 Big Choppa, 2 Power Klaw
  • 7 Nob Bikers, Pain Boy, Bosspole, 4 Big Choppa, 2 Power Klaw
  • 25 Ard Boyz, Shootas, Nob with Big Choppa
  • 10 Boyz, Shootas, Trukk, Red Paint Job
  • 10 Boyz, Shootas, Trukk, Red Paint Job

Pretty straightforward, right?  There’s a reason for that: it’s incredibly focused on the three goals we’ve outlined.  The two squads of Nob Bikers, each with its own Warboss, are going to make it into close combat; they’re too big, too fast and too mean to fail.  You’re likely to lose a few Nobs along the way, but we couldn’t care less about that – they’re Orks, after all!  These two assault units are going to accomplish two important things in our quest for board control; they’ll force shooting armies like Tau to deploy further away from you than they typically would, and; they’ll target, cripple and destroy the key units your opponent uses to shoot you off objectives.

Some shooting armies will see your Nob Bikers, immediately categorize your army as a Deathstar – also known as a one-trick pony – and decide to ignore the bikers and focus fire on your troops.  Those opponents are handing you an easy win, and you should thank them by graciously accepting it!  Bikers aren’t paladins; they’re fast, able to maneuver quickly in order to counter your opponent’s tactics, and there are two squads of them.


Ard Boyz are underappreciated. These are from Private Viking Painting.

The squad of 25 Ard Boyz is as close to an auto-take unit as Orks get this edition.  Tau and Eldar are going to be the most common opponents in any large tournament, and neither army is well-equipped to deal with decent armor saves; they pour large amounts of fire into opposing units, but that’s not nearly as effective when they’re targeting a unit of 25.  The role of this squad is to run up the middle of the board (or to whichever side the objectives are concentrated on) and stake their claim; they can shoot up or assault any enemy units that get too close or make it past our two squads of Nob Bikers.

The Ard Boyz are backed up by our 30 Lootas firing an average of 60 Str7 shots at 48 inches per turn.  Together these three units will maintain an iron grip on the objectives that will decide the game; we don’t have to rely on the Lootas to operate at peak efficiency because their job is to remove stragglers (units of 3-4 models left over from other shooting and assaults) from the game, thereby consolidating our hold on the objectives.



Our final two units – our fourth and fifth troop choices – are two squads of 10 Ork Boyz with Shootas in Trukks.  While our Nobs and Ard Boyz are tangling with enemy units and occasionally grabbing objectives, more often they’ll be contesting them; the Boyz are entirely intended to grab two objectives and win us the game.  They’re so critical to this goal, in fact, that we’ve included Trukks in case the objectives we need aren’t close to our board edge.  Those Trukks can move 13 inches and pour out 20 shots from the Boyz (sure, they’ll have to snap fire – but that just means they hit on a 6 instead of a 5), plus the Trukks’ 3 Big Shoota shots – not a ton of firepower, but enough to soften up nearby enemy units before we mow them down with our Lootas.

This list combines all of the tools necessary to be successful in 6th edition, and is built to capture the objectives that determine 83% of the games we’ll play.  I’m excited enough about it, in fact, that I think I’ll be digging some Orks out of my closet soon – what about you?

14 Comments to “Waaaagh!”

  1. And how do you manage 2 dragons?

    Or how can you counter Deathstars like Eldar bike Council (2 farseers, 10 warlocks and baron sathonix), Iyanden Deathstar (Eldrad, 4/5 Spiritseers, 8+ Wraithguards, Sathonix), Tau Conclave, massive Tau gunlines or venom spams?

    Anyways it’s a good list!

    • It would take a fantastic Venom spam player to win against this list – between the Lootas, bikers and Ard Boyz, Venoms will do damage much more slowly than the Orks. Once you’re wrecked a handful of Venoms you’ll have removed the critical mass of shots the army needs to win – I’m confident in this assessment because Dark Eldar with 5 Venoms is my primary army.

      By Dragons I’m assuming you mean Heldrakes, and the answer lies primarily in ignoring them; rush across the board, get locked in combat as soon as you can, and when the Drakes hit the board throw Lootas at them – you’re normally hitting on 5s, so you’re not losing a ton of effectiveness by snap firing. The key will be to hide or reserve your Trukks – you should rely on wrecking a large portion of your opponent’s army with your bikes, but you can’t count on destroying both Heldrakes. Your Boyz should be the only models to hold objectives at the end of the game.

      Tau are always going to be a close match, but I’d use line of sight blocking terrain to mask my approach and get into combat as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to lose a squad of bikers if it means getting the other into combat.

      There really isn’t a counter to the Eldar Council; play your game and keep an eye on objectives. The better player will win here, because avoiding your bikers means leaving the rest of their army to their mercy.

  2. Interesting article. Orks are my primary army mainly because I like painting them. I found them more powerful in 5th edition but have slowly made up ground by painting and fielding more shooting units and also more durable units such as nob bikers. I’m more of a “friendly game” style player but even so I haven’t met many “friendly players” who don’t like to win games from time to time as well. :)

    Yes, I agree that when one fields large amounts of nob bikers people, who aren’t familiar with orks, tend to think “death star”. What many forget is that the bikers are troops too thanks for the dual warbosses. I’d remind people of that in a friendly game, but certainly not in a tournament.

    I’ve also found big guns (all of the varieties) useful. They score in the Big Guns mission and with the T7 rules often require the short of heavy firepower to kill them that otherwise would go against things like nobz. Also, the lobbas are quite painful against massed troops such as Tau fire warriors, who I’m seeing a lot of this edition.

    Enjoyed your post. May I link this to my blog?

    – Ann

  3. This is a great plan, and isn’t a real horde army either. I think it’s an exciting idea!

  4. How would you cut this down to 1500 or 1750?

    • It depends on the armies in your area, but the first thing I’d look at (based on my local meta) would be cutting down Lootas to squads of 10, trimming a biker or two from each squad and maybe slimming the Ard Boyz down to a squad of 20.

  5. This is fairly close to my normal fifth edition army minus the nob bikers. I’ve many games with a shootie ork army. I am one of the few ork players in my area and noone could keep up with my style of play . And many of the ork players my friends know started this style of play when the found out how well the play goes.

  6. I have to say, I’m loving these guides. Though of course I’m now obsessing on how to butcher each of them in turn.

  7. Just when I was considering going to Adepticon 2014 with an list starting with 3 units of 30 grots, each one led by three Runtherds. Talk about annoying! I might win a game or two, but I’m sure many people would get a kick out of seeing that in play. It doesn’t do very poorly in friendly games, but it is nearly 400 points worth of cover for the rest of the army. Plus any left over Grots can claim objectives or challenge the claiming of objectives at games end. Most opponents don’t realize it, but they want to avoid having any minor characters get stuck in combat with Runtherds. A Grabba-Stikk cause a single model in b2b contact to lose an Attack (to a minimum of 1) and Grot-prods wound on a 4+ poisoned weapon. Squig hounds sacrifice 1-3 Grots in order to re-roll a failed Morale test, so a unit of 30 have a better chance to not run away. Meanwhile the rest of my army is bearing down on them. If they last until an assault, Grots are great at soaking up that round of overwatch fire before your Boyz Mobs rush in, too.

  8. Djbillson // November 7, 2013 at 2:01 am //

    Eldar cannot take out decent armor, riiiight we just have rendingish on many units. Star cannons (plasma), Fire prisms, wraightknights with sun cannonns to name a few. Two dark reaper squads with exarch will cause lots of damage to the bikes, if the dice go great we snipe your pain boy, ignore your armor and your Jynx save.
    One thing I would add to your list is an agies line for the lootas gives them great protection they can even go to group and shoot as you said hitting on 6′s not that far from 5′s but a 2+ cover is great and a quad gun for flyers.

    • I was primarily referring to Wave Serpent spam builds. The pseudo-rending on troops isn’t scary because we’ll be in charge range by the time we’re being fired on, but you’re right; they’ll ignore armor relatively often.

      You could add the Aegis and play 3 squads of 10 Lootas instead of 2 squads of 15 so you could go to ground.

  9. Mek Boss Skarshak // November 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm //

    Great article and an interesting biker build… I like it! Its simple, too the point, and certain to Krump your opponent good! The speed of this army will surprise many and with that many lootas your opponents will find that Ork shooting is still a force to fear! The double Biker Boss/Nob group is an absolute beast and is going to wreck anything is touches, which will give your opponent pause to rethink a few things during the game… all according to Gork (& Morks) plan!
    Orks are indeed still very effective in 6th edition and can easily hold their own against any army as long as ya play smart! Orks may be crazy but they aren’t stupid by any means. If they want to Krump & Loot something, they are sure gonna find the way to do it.

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