GB’s Army Guide: Boyz

Since Warboss Glarsnot Bloodcurdle has been rather inundated with paperwork lately, and hasn’t much chance to crack skulz, I thought I might reflect for a bit on the various components of a Greenskin army.

Boyz are, of course, the backbone of any Ork horde. They’re tough in assaults, able to beat most infantry counterparts in a fair fight. Of course, no Ork warboss worth his teeth ever fights fair: Boyz are also cheap, and they should be thrown against the enemy in large and completely unfair numbers. Waaagh!

I remain undecided regarding the relative utility of choppa-and-slugga Boyz and dakka Boyz with shootas. I’ve had a few memorable moments with the latter, gunning down a Carnifex or wiping out a squad of Terminators in a hail of dakka (and poor armour saves). Other times, however, I’ve had difficulty maneuvering them into just the right position to make full use of their firepower, or found myself in close assault wishing for that extra attack a slugga would bring. Much depends on who you will be fighting, and how dakka-resistant they might be. If you’re not careful with dakka Boyz, moreover, you’ll use them too cautiously, eroding the assault orientation of most Greenskin armies.

What is clear is that both regular sorts of Boyz work best in big units of 25-30, where they’re better able to withstand incoming fire, maintain their fearless status longer, and roll a truly fearsome number of dice when they fight or shoot. As with all units, you’ll want to try to get them into an assault rather than receiving a charge, not only for the +1A but also for the +1S (valuable for S3 orks) on a Furious Charge.

In my experience, you always want to take a Nob, and you always, always, always want the Nob to take a bosspole. I can’t count the number of times a leadership reroll has saved me. I think you always want to take a klaw for your Nob too: it rips through everything, from beakies to the heavist beastie to armour up to AV14. A klaw-armed Nob is always pretty much the last figure to die, so you retain that capacity until the end. The result is that a unit of Boyz can have remarkable flexibility—even if you bought it to kill other infantry en masse, it can tackle heavier opponents when it needs to. Moreover, while a big choppa may swing earlier than an I1 klaw does, initiative rarely helps Orks since theirs tends to be lower than most everyone else’s.

Grenades are best left behind for much the same reason—you’ll usually be swinging last in any assaults, unless you’re fighting other orks or another low-initiative army.

What about armour? For larger units, it just isn’t worth it–given the choice, for the 120 points it takes to upgrade 30 Boyz I would rather have.. another 20 Boyz. Orks use numbers and aggressiveness to keep their units intact, not armour saves.

I do, however,  often field a smaller unit of Ard Boyz (seen on the left, converted from WHFB Black Orcs, which look more impressive on the battlefield). This is always a small, trukk-mounted unit of 12 (or 11 plus warboss), intended for high-value targets or rapid exploitation of the battlefield. In this case, the smaller number of points seems worth it to keep the much smaller unit intact just that little bit longer, as well as allowing it to better survive any exploding trukks.

Next episode: upgrading your Boyz with dem handy rokkits and big shootas.

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