Codex: Orks hit the shelves today, and as many others I too was queueing book in hand at my local friendly. After running around town half the whole day with the missus (who by the way was very respectful with my eagerness to visit the “nerd store” early) I have now gone through the codex a first time. With all the nerd rage going on over the internet (“I won’t be playing wif dem boyz no moah”, “Dem GW’s real gitz, madboyz, they are”) I want to write about my impressons of the new codex. This is part because I was sinking bit down in the same bog when the Mek Gunz came out (first 1:1 euro/point ratio kit – with max upgrades, and low customizability), and also because I want to help break the negativity out there, just like Stick_em_wit_da_pointy_end
tried to with the Morale Boosta thread. Finally, I expect to collect my initial ideas and impressions of the codex together to something coheret. Let’s see how it goes.
I have been following rather carefully the ork rumour mill for the last few months. This has been quite a rollercoaster with loads of squig dung thrown at the riders. Early rumours talked about Waaagh! charges being awarded for different units in different situations. Santa Klaws and his pet squig Jesub have been rumoured to get new minis. My guess a half a year ago was new buggies-deffkoptas/meganobz/big guns and perhaps another specialist unit like kommandos or flash-gits. These would be followed by a boss and a mek mini. Close but no cigar.
Around Midsumer’s Eve the rumours really started pouring in with some people getting their hands on the codex early as a result of a black-library boo-boo. The air was already tense as people had been eagerly waiting for the new codex for 7 long years (according to the boring bitz in the previous dex), and they now had to face several weeks of mini releases before actually getting their green hands on the rules. What people (the loud ones) wrote, well… it wasn’t happy. At some point I started listening a bit. But that’s what you get for reading the rumours at 2 a.m. while letting your rabbit run around the house. Some bad units were better, maybe? Some were nerfed hard, maybe? Some good ones were actually getting better, maybe? But it did not sound too good. A week ago I still thought the Orks were going to be a bit worse.
I also was a bit wary about the new datasheet format for the units. For me the fluff is very important, and the small fluff texts are something I go through once in a while to relax, just by reading through familiar unimportant stuff and thus erasing all the dirty from the circuitry. GW claimed that they would fit in more fluff this way, but would they really?
The first impression of hte book is again a beautiful book, that bears the aesthetics of the army it depicts. The dataslate format is nice looking and they do fit in alot of fluff of the units still. It’s also handy to have *all* the specific rules for a unit by its entry (well all specific rules for a specific unit, specifically). Just having icons to indicate the battlefield role is a bit difficult for now, but I might get used to that… A bad thing is that there is too much pictures of Bad Moons. Really, there should only be pictures of Goffs or Evil Sunz. Snikrot is okay too, and perhaps a few Freebootaz. Joking aside, the super-sized close-ups of the yellow stompas/morkanauts/dreads and such taking up 13 pages is just too much. Especially with the Looted Wagon stuck into a White Dwarf like its the unwanted child with a Fish ‘Ead. But other than that it seems nice, decent amount of new fluff – especially with Waaagh! Ghazghkull coming soon. Also, the rules seems clearly written. Is the codex writing outsourced from now on?
Da good stuff
The first impressions of the updates are very good. The rules seems interesting, fun and rather balanced. Many of my favourite units were poshed up a bit: Stormboys got a 25% discount and can be taken in units of 30. They also get ‘ere we go (and therefore the Waaagh! bonuses). Kommandos got Stealth, but still the same amount of points. Snikrot is basically the same, but is 20p cheaper. Also, the fliers seems to be much more even now. In a nutshell – the codex is full a lot of good small changes. Also 25 point buggies seems like quite a bargain, especially with outflank.
Da rules of da Waaagh!!
But what really makes the orks unique is the Waaagh! and getting into close quarter fighting to bash in some heads proppa. The last edition was alright with the Mob rule, and a simple Waaagh! Both got a bit destroyed with 6th edition. Fearless lost the taking extra wounds – which upped the value of boyz, while the Waaagh! was perhaps a bit boring. Now we are back to Waaagh! being what it first was. Fearless was also lost (and many cried here), but I think this is just a good thing for the Ork players. We can choose to go to ground now. The boyz understand that their choppas can cut down a dread (“Our weapons are useless”). Now the rules also work for smaller mobs, whereas previously the mob rule was useless for trukk boyz most of the time. It’s still scaled with size, and also it effectively describes the ork adage “Might makes right”.
The Warlord traits look like fun – and 50% are downright useful (warlord is like a BSB, re-rolls charge and run and fearless when Waaagh!) the other half is “not useless”. With the re-roll battleforged armies get, one is likely to get something useful. Together with the ork tactical objectives, that are all very characterful you get a really orky feel. (They change the ones starting with 1 to something… ehm, orky; and if I understand it right, these *must* be used.) This orky feel is also enhanced by the ork detachments, and the ork formation – the “Ork Warband”. Seems like the Phil Kelly and the project team really wanted to tell the ork players to go horde.
Da gifts of Gork (or possibly Mork)
What I was looking forward to most with the new codex was the new relics. I am not disappointed, in fact I think the Ork relics are are the best balanced set so far. Not one of these is clearly overprised/underprised or useless against most opponents. The costs of these might be the lowest I have seen so far. Less than a boy for a twin linked 6-shoota (averaging at 3 hits – so it seems alright), a ‘uge big choppa with rending and “killing blow” for a bit more than three boyz (nice, but ordinary power klaws are still a very good option). With the new equipment combos, I expect to see Kustom Force Field Meks riding on bikes all over the place, one of these bikes might very well be da blitzbike (at the price of one deffkopta), with AP3 shots (add a gitfinda to the Relentless bike, and you’re hitting well). The first of my two favourites is the fun Finkin’ Cap that adds a (random) Strategic Warlord trait (for a boy and a grot).
And finally, what might be the best one: Da Lucky Stikk (as the price of a powerklaw). Some grotz are more lucky than they should be, and even for a grot Makari, Ghazghkull’s mascot, was exceptionally so. To that end he became the self-appointed Banna-Wave’a of the mighty warlord. Unfortunately the grot’s luck ended (like so many other grots’) when he was sat on. This gift is allegedly the remnants of the grots banner – and still has the remnants of the gretchin’s luck (and fate) attached to it. It is a Waaagh! Banner (adding a bit of WS to the members of the same unit) and the bearer can choose to re-roll failed To Hit, To Wound rolls or saving throws. If still fails three times in the same turn after the re-rolls, he is removed as a casualty. Epic.
The Bad Stuff
Now the codex is of course not all I had hoped for in my wildest dreams, and some things I am a bit disappointed by.For instance Loota Boyz were one of the must have units in the previous codex because they are so good. For some reason they are cheaper now. This could be a result of them moving to the Heavy Support slot, but with the option to take multiple detachments slots are readily available so they are more or less just plain cheaper. The same goes for lobbas. Previously they were very good and they are cheaper too. I don’t mind having the firepower – and they also fulfill a role Orks have in abundance: anti-infantry – so perhaps it is alright.
Killa Kans got more expensive (15-20 %) and got an odd (but fluffy) semi-morale check rule. They weren’t *so* good before – with only two hull points, but the grotzookas were awesome. The added squadron size might make up for this, as it reduces the effects of the grot-fear test. Similarly Battlewagons increased in points (25 %), with a halved cost, and number of hits, of the Deffrolla, but this feels like a good balancing – especially with the new improved boarding plank.
I dislike the loss of Invulnerable saves in the codex. This especially hits Nobz and Biker nobz, whose resilience is further reduced with the loss of cover save from bikes. Especially nobz seemed like a sub-optimal unit in the previous codex as they started dropping like flies after the changes in wound allocation and a change from Feel No Pain (from 4+ to 5+). A completely objective perspective on this is hard thouhg, as I am a Goff at heart and like my Nobz. With flat out (and smoke bonus to the flat out cover save) the Biker Nobz might ride it out though. And one should not forget the new Mob rule that is better for small units, and the improved charging and Waaagh!! with ‘Ere We Go (even for bikes).
Summarising thinkin’ bitz
The Ork Codex is improved better if however slightly, and if someone will be able to compete in the Assault Phase it seems to be the Orks. As a very uncompetitive player in a limied meta it’s hard to evaluate the absolute power of the codex – but my best guess would be a solid average (which is good). The codex is still very fun, and although I have lately been both praising and cursing Phil Kelly and his alleged love for random tables, I now like them all. Many of the units I have been using have got a decent boost (Stormboyz and Kommandos), and I do love my Green Tide so I have some hopes for what this update will bring in practice.