Saturday, June 18, 2011
BFG Fleet Overview: Orks
Its been a while since I have blog reviewed BFG fleets. The High Admirals, GW's designated stewards for BFG, have been busy updating the rules and we are now awaiting formal approval for them. Their work can be viewed here. Personally I hope the entire rule sets get consolidated and published as BFG 2nd ed. I have taken the liberty to include some of these updates in my review of the orks under the experimental section. Secondly, I want to mention that the annual BFG modeling competition is once again near. More information for the 2011 competition can be found here. All of the Ork images in this post are from previous entries with the exception of the Ork ravager escorts, which is by flips001 at Deviant Art.
Just like in 40k, BFG Orks are presented with similar theme. Over all, they use crude technology though it can be surprisingly effective. Their escorts are above average in durability though primitive (less maneuverable) just like their boyz. Their cruisers are tough and highly veriable just like their meks and kans. They are largely a charge in and fight, just like in 40k. What is particularly fascinating to me about BFG Orks is their relationship to Necrons. Per fluff, Orks may have been engineered by the Old Ones to fight the Necrons. Necrons in BFG is particularly tough and among some considered as too tough. But the Necrons' lack of shield is easily exploited by Orks for hit and run attacks, boarding, and ramming (the latter two cannot be saved by the Necrons' notorious armor saves). These three abilities are among the Orks' strength.
Firstly, Orks auto pass All Ahead Full special orders. Note that auto pass does not mean auto perform as a preceding failure of another special order still means that no further special orders can be tested for. Thus all intended All Ahead Full special orders should be conducted prior to any other special orders be tested for. Though this only result in an additional 2D6" movement forward rather than the 4D6" for other fleets, it still facilitate the Orks to close early in the game. In addition, to ram a ship must first pass All Ahead Full and then make a leadership test. Auto passing All Ahead Full more than compensate for the lower Ork leaderships. Secondly and speaking of ramming, Orks have escorts designed for ramming. Ramming is easier to do for escorts against larger ship, requiring only a leadership test with 1D6 rather than 2D6 which mean these ram ships shouldn't have much of a problem hitting their targets. Normally each ramming ship rolls a number of attack dice equal to its full hull points against the target's facing armor and for regular escorts, this means 1 roll but the Ork ram ship gives your four attack dice rather than just one! The rammed ship rolls against the ram ship's front armor of "6". Thirdly, the Orks get a +1 on boarding rolls, only Space Marines do better. Fourthly Orks can field fighter-bombers. Fighter bombers are actually very versatile and reliable as attack crafts to take out enemy ordnance and for bombing runs. Each fighter-bombers that survive turret defenses will make D3 - defensive turrets bombing runs plus one, meaning Ork fighter-bomber is guaranteed to make at least one bombing run (per 2010 FAQ). Fifthly, Ork cruisers are 10 hull points rather than the standard 6-8 though their turrets and shields are only one each. Finally orks have heavy guns, 15cm batteries that inflict two hull damages for each hits and with the 2010 FAQ can fir simultaneously as its weapon batteries, thus avoiding any negative modifiers for blast markers. Together a very good list of strengths.
The first and biggest weakness to the Orks all their leadership roll is modified down one. Leadership is essential for special orders so this means other than All Ahead Full Orks are less likely to do any other tricks. The second weakness to the Orks is that they are limited to 6 cruisers in their list. These really are their best ships in my opinion and in addition, will limit the maximum number of battlecruisers and battleships to three. The third weakness to Orks in BFG is that with few exceptions, nearly all their weapons firing are limited to just one arc each, front, left or right. The last weakness is that many of their weapon and launches are variable with each attack. Personally I think this is more characterful rather than a weakness, but if it bothers you enough, take a warlord (with a reroll) and pay the upgrade to allow re-rolls for gunz firepower.
Fleet Selections: Cruisers
To really use the Orks' strengths, the fleet should be built around terror ship cruisers (pictured above). These are your carriers with a set 4 bays for fighter bombers or assault boats (for hit and runs). The terror ship is one of the cheapest (185 points) 4 bays carrier in the game and it has 10 hull points, 2 more than any other; unfortunately it only has one turret and one shield where other fleets would have two each. Like most Ork ships it is built to attack rather than defend. You could take a warlord with the shield upgrade; I think a warlord on a terror ship is a good way to go to give it that re-roll to ensure that Reload Ordnance special order. If points doesn't permit, or for variety, the other Ork cruiser the kill kroozer (155 points) could be considered. Instead of the terror ship launch bays, it has 4 heavy gunz each starboard and port.
Fleet Selection: Escorts.
The ram ship is self evidently the best Ork escort. It is the only Ork ship that has weapons that can fire in left/front/right fire arc and can turn 90 degree. The ram ship is also the cheapest Ork ship (25 points), fast at 25cm move, and as previously mentioned, it is built for ramming and a core strength for the fleet. A good alternative escort is the ravager attack ship (pic above) with torpedo capability potentially equivalent to most cruisers (1D6 strength launch). In addition, per the 2010 FAQ has the ravager at 40 points and 2 turrets (one of the weakness for escort is attack crafts). The other two escort classes are alright with one armed with D6 batteries (the onslaught) and one armed with 4 heavy gunz (the savage gunship). Between these two, I think the savage gunship maybe better with faster move (25cm rather than 20) and 5 points cheaper (30 rather than 35 points) though its weapons are only 15cm rather than 30 cm ranged.
Fleet Selection: Battlecruisers and Battleships.
Three of the four battleships available here are actually character ships, meaning you can field only one of each. The best is probably the Dethdeala battleship with the best weapon output, 4D6" All Ahead Full rather than 2D6", and armed with a strength 6 prow bombardment cannon. A good alternative is the Gorbag's revenge as it is a carrier capable of 5 +D3 attack craft launches and simultaneously D6+2 torpedoes. The combo of simultaneous attack crafts and torpedoes allow you to overwhelm enemy turrets. The other battleship is the Slamblasta armed with 2 prow 45cm ranged lances. The fourth battleship is the kroolboy with 6 prow heavy gunz and like the Deathdeala can All Ahead Full on 4D6". All battleships have 12 hull points, two more than your standard cruisers for about 50% more points, but have two shields and 3 turrets. They can also switch leadership with a cruiser. Included in this category is the hammer battlekroozer with the same hit points as your cruiser but 2 shields and 2 turrets. It has more firepower an almost as much bays (D3+1 rather than the 4). Since battlecruisers can be squadroned with regular cruisers to mitigate against ork lower leadership and share the warlord’s reroll, battlecruiser seems a better choice than battleships in general.
Fleet Selection: Others.
The Ork list also has options for a 600 points behemoth Ork hulk. It is ponderous in its movement, only able to turn every other game turn, but has its own 5cm gravity well! Its leadership is always 6 and its warlord upgrade options are slightly modified with shields costing 50 rather than 25 points. Naturally it is awesome in firepower and can serve as your pirate base in campaign games. The other special fleet option are roks, mobile planetary defenses with 8 hull points armed with torpedoes, gunz and heavy gunz (no bays). Roks move 10cm ahead each turn but can slide sideward on All Ahead Full; if this slide is 10cm or more than the new movement direction is in the same direction as the slide and this is the only way the rok can turn. I think both the hulk and the roks are amusing additions to the Ork list. A hulk and only roks list would be cheap to build financially but doesn't seem to build much on Ork strengths.
Experimental Rules Notes.
These are proposals to GW by the High Admirals. Firstly, there are clan squadron upgrade options. Goffs get an additional +1 for boarding and +1 bonus to test for ramming. Evil Sunz gets +5cm movement. Bad Moonz can reroll gunz number of attack die. Deathskulls get looted torpedoes or lances. Blood Axes can take Imperial Navy or Chaos escorts. Snakebites get free +1 bonus for Brace for Impact tests. Secondly there are more customization options to upgrade squadrons including ram prow (+1 leadership test for ramming and one auto hull damage before any dice are rolled), tellyporta (for 30cm rather than 10cm hit and run attacks) and Shokk-Attack lances. Thirdly are three new ships, a terror ship built for assaults (essentially a Goff terror ship), a light gun cruiser (though i am not sure why anyone would take this at 6 hull points even at 90 points), and an escort for assault (counts as two hull points for boarding value but test to ram on 2D6 even against larger ships). For more information on these options as well as the 2010FAQ go here.
Your fleet should be built with a good mix of capital ships (cruisers and battlecruiser/battleship) and escorts (ram ships and ravagers). You will have the usual choice between many bays or only a few. Heavy ordnance would be hammer battlecruisers with 2 terror ships and some ravagers. Alternatively take a battlecruiser and two kill kroozers for a gun line. Always take at least 4 bays per 1000 points and with Orks, there should always be a place for ram ships. The Ork list also give you the option to take a warlord for every 500 points and while not mandatory, should always be considered. To start with, all ahead full toward the enemy and hold your launches until within launch and strike range. Your front line should be ram ships and your second line should be your ordnance ships. Also remember that ships on all ahead full cannot turn outside of gravity well so the initial orientation of your models will be very important to get the maximum out of your auto pass all ahead full. Your opponent with try to use his greater maneuverability to keep away. In summary I think if played to their strength Orks is a formidable fleet in BFG, competitive against Necrons but likely much less so against Eldar (extreme maneuverability).