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Your Orky Opponent

Submitted By: Date: September 21, 2005, 08:16:47 AM Views: 3134
Summary: <p class="subheader">I. Introduction<br /></p> <p class="body">Greetings all,<br /><br /> This is the second (well after the data crash, the first) of my promised pieces contributions to the Tau community, and hopefully it won’t be my last. This will be going up in the Tau project board as well as in the Tau forum, for those who don’t yet have access to the boards. Currently, this is in the developing stage so any comments and feed back will be greatly appreciated. Happy trails.<br /><br />


Orks are most widely known for their fearsome Waaaaagh. A trait that, couple with their immense squad sizes, drives fear into even the most stalwart of foes. With capacity to double their initiative value, and reduce your save to 4+ at best,  foes are few and far apart that can stand up to a fully fledged ork assault. As if that wasn’t enough, orks are possessed of the cheapest troop/ cannon fodder in the game (costing less than a 1/3 of our fire warriors!). Should you be afraid? No. In response to the ork threat, the Tau are equipped very well to handle this menace – perhaps more so than other races. This guide will help you to defeat your orky opponent.


II. Table of Contents



  1. Introduction (above)

  2. Table of Contents (this)

  3. Choosing your Army

  4. Your Orky Opponent

  5. Deployment

  6. General Strategies

  7. Additional Info


III. Choosing your army


This section will guide you through the process of choosing your army against orks. Keep in mind, that what I am doing here is just advice and, ultimately, it is up to you to decide what and what not to game with. Some models will be left out of the list altogether, as they tend not to be very effective against orks. The reasons will be stated below. Equipment is italicized.


Units to Take


Shas’o/Shas’el Commander: Missile pod, Burst cannon, shield generator and multi-tracker. Your commander is best used operating as an independent faction in your army, for hit and run type shots. If you opt for him to take a more active role in your army, and act as a fire magnet to draw fire away from your other troops, then do one of the following. Join him to crisis battle suits, for protection, or get him a bodyguard kitted out exactly like him. The shield generator is there to offer the squad greater survivability, when facing those orky rokkits.


Crisis Battlesuits: TL missile pod, drone controller, and two gun drones. Contrary to the above, these units tend to function better in full squads rather than individual monats. The twin-linked missile pods serve the purpose of popping ork armor, efficiently, while also doubling as an effective horde cutter –should the enemy get too close or lack transports. The gun drones act to absorb the heavy weapons fire that normally cripple your squads, as well as suiting up to hurt and pin a weakened squad. (death rain config.)


Stealth Battlesuits: Burst Cannons. Possibly the most useful unit against orks. Their standard weapons are generously effective against orks with their lack of armor, and are a major asset to any anti-ork force. A full sized squad can expect to take 6 orks every turn, and consistently destroy light buggies and bikes. They can take quite some punishment with their power armor save, and are a quite a force to reckon with in cc (stealth armor= cover). Take these in any game you play against orks.


Fire Warriors: Pulse Rifle. Another very good unit against orks. Hitting on a 4+, wounding on a 3+, and denying an ork a save proves even your standard trooper is a force for your ork opponent to reckon with. Place them inside devilfish, to keep them mobile, and suit them to the task of taking out a particular enemy squad. Mobility is the key word, here, allowing you to stay out that dangerous charge range.


Kroot: Kroot Rifle. A useful unit to provide firepower with, still negating that ork save. Kroot are useful on the charge, strike before the enemy and are capable of dealing awesome damage in such situations. However, if they turn out to be on the receiving end of an ork charge powered by the Waaaaagh, then they will be just next to useless. Personally, I would leave them out and get more Fire warriors, but if you know that the enemy is going to make it into combat at some point in the game, then these guys are decent investments.


Kroot hounds: Teeth and Fangs. Although they don’t have any ranged capability, these hounds are 1 point cheaper than their brethren, and will even strike simultaneously with a Waaaagh! Enlightened ork. Very worthwhile and a unit will quickly earn its points back.


Hammerhead: Ion Cannon/Railgun, SMS, Decoy Launchers, Multi-Tracker and Target Lock. Another very good unit against orks, hammerheads can be used to thin down large, tightly packed foes with their railgun submunition round, or pop more heavily armored ork vehicles (battlewagons, looted Leman Russ). If many of those vehicles can’t be found, then the ion cannon is ideal for stopping small armor squadrons (kans, buggies) or taking out those high toughness bikes. Generally a very useful unit against orks –but you have to be careful how close you let it to the enemy. Sheer number of rokkits that ork players tend to use, makes mince metal of these should the enemy get you into range.


Units not to take


Ethereal: A really double-edged sword here. He is just as likely to send half your army running, as he is to help you out. If you expect to take lots of morale(small squads) then add him in.


Gun drones: Pinning ability is not very useful against orks, as big enough squads (12+) men are immune to such effects.


Pathfinders: Similar to drones, but much more expensive.


Broadsides: Railguns are a little too powerful here, and hammerheads do the job better (in this instance).




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IV. Your Orky Opponent


Every army has its own pros and cons, and orks are no exception. Their games tend to revolve around some consistent units, and this section will help you identify which ones those are. The more dangerous threats are listed at the top – and should be destroyed early on in the game.  The more casual units are closer to the bottom, and should be ignored till all else is gone.


Storm Boyz/ Kommandos A well known fact, is that Tau don’t do well against fast, dedicated assault troops. Stormboyz represent your standard assault marine, while kommandos have the ability to infiltrate. Do not overlook these models, as they can quickly overrun your lines once they get there – and that shouldn’t take long. That being said, don’t waste all your firepower on these fellows, rather using a hammerhead ‘munition or concentrated str. 5 ap 5 firepower (Stealth/Fire warriors)


Trukk Boyz Another very fast unit, with the capability to move 24” in one turn. Destroying the truck doesn’t hurt them as much as it hurts other orks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pop the transport. Take down the vehicle with ion cannons or missile pods, and leave the boyz to slog their way over to your lines. Once the transport is gone, treat them just like regular boyz.


Warbikes As dangerous as the bikes of other races, warbikes have the capacity to move at unbelievable speeds and still be allowed their armor saves. Their guns are relatively short ranged, but still pack quite a punch. Your pulse rifles are still effective against them, but not to the same degree as against their regular boyz. Saturation of firepower works best against these.


Warbuggies/ Wartraks A fast vehicle, capable of assaulting your position from unpredictable places. With speed rivaling that of the other Fast attack options, should you expose yourself to these units, then count that exposed flank as dead. On that same note, you could leave a squad out as bait to draw these units into LOS and then fire your ion cannon/ missile pod at them. Weapons with more than one shot work well against war buggies, as they come in squads, allowing you a greater chance of destroying more of them with one model.


Battlewagon The only other transport option available to orks, and is equipped with decent armor. Although not as fast as the truck cousin, the battlewagon can carry twice the number of orks, and has the potential for lots more firepower. It is very capable of destroying whole squads with its big shootas, and should be destroyed with extreme prejudice. Railguns finish the job nicely here, leaving little to chance.


Looted Vehicle These appear in games few and far apart, but when they do they are a factor of their own for you to contend with. This can take the form of almost any tank in the Imperium, and is the only ordnance weapon orks can get. The only downside to this is their unpredictability and inconsistency. They tend to lurch forward unpredictably, and display themselves. Nonetheless, take them out with what ever weapon you deem suitable (ion cannon for lesser armor, railgun for heavy ones)


Gretchin Mobs Similar to all armies cannon fodder, these little goblins need to be taken out as quickly as possible without over straining yourself. Ideally, you should be firing lots of template weapons to take out these blighters out, or using your kroot in cc, if the need be. They provide a 5+ save to their larger cousins, by using their own bodies as cover. If you make the mistake of ignoring these models, while you fire at their larger cousins, you will find that the ork boyz are suddenly a lot more durable to your small arms fire.  They are fairly easy to stop with pinning weapons, and carbines find their worth here.


Ork Dreadnoughts/Killa Kans Fairly cheap for their effectiveness in the game, and can come in squads. Conversely, they have low armor and are at a relative disadvantage with their open-topped status. They have the potential to put out a lot of firepower, and are deadly in close combat. They are a fairly big hassle to other races, but with our Railguns and ion cannon taking these out shouldn’t be too tough. Prioritize as moderate dangers; with their weaponry they can either be a threat to our Fire warriors or vehicles.


Warboss (inc. retinue) These models appear in almost every game, though their size and function tends to vary. The reason these models are threatening, is because of the sheer versatility the squad can achieve. With every model having access to transports and the orky armory, this squad could rank up on the top – in terms of danger. However, along with all of these options, cost tends to increase significantly – eating up points for other areas in the army. One fully kitted out squad with 10 nobz in the bodyguard is around 350-400 points. Saturation works well here, as other options tend to be overkill.


Tankbustas Feared for their anti-tank capabilities, these boyz are specialist tank hunters. Although their only special weapon option is the rokkit launcher, they are tank hunters, and thus well suited to the role of taking out our transports and hammerheads. If those are in short supply then they are also effective crisis suit hunters. They come in small squads however, and are fairly vulnerable to regular pulse and burst cannon fire. Cost also tends to play a factor in whether or not these squads appear –they are quite expensive.


Skarboyz/Hard Boyz/Stick Bommas The hard core fighting force of the orks, these boyz are quite the close combat nemesis. They can field some decent special weapons, but their strength is to be found mainly in the close combat area.  Mind these troops as a lesser caution, as they tend to be very expensive for their worth. Ideally you should place as many munitions on top of these squads, to cripple their effectiveness. Missile pods are better off than burst cannons here, because they negate the better armor save that these boyz have to offer.


Flash Gitz/Lootas Although the latter of these two squads don’t tend to appear with regularity, both are core of the deadly ork firing line. They have incredible low ap options available to them, and can put them to good use. Both can have very large amounts of heavy weapons, allowing them to be large threats to anything in your army. However, they don’t tend to be very mobile, and are quite expensive points-wise. The biggest disadvantage to them, however, is their abysmal accuracy with a gun – rarely allowing them to make up their points again.


Burna Boyz Renowned for their burna special weapons, the threat these boyz pose is solely because of that. With the ability to equip half the squad with burnas, and the armory upgrade to give them all a 5+ cover save, these boyz are dangers to the unwitting Tau player. The boyz are mercifully cheap, and come in small enough sizes to ride in trukks. Their burnas (flamers) double up as power weapons, thus suiting them ideally to the role of battle suit hunter. Munitions and stealth Battlesuits work best here.


Big Mek/Painboss Often feared for their versatility on the field, these HQ choices have a variety of choices available to them. They can have decent bodyguard retinues and transport capacity. Like-wise they are fearfully expensive and rarely bring anything to the field that the war boss can’t bring as well. Squad sizes tend to be small and also quickly taken out by your small arms fire.


Slugga Boyz/Shoota Boyz These boyz are the core of any and all ork forces, and will indefinitely be appeared in all ork games. They have lots of special weapons options available to them, come in large squads and are mercifully cheap in points. That being said, they are probably the slowest units in the orks army, thus ensuring their low target priority. Unless mounted in transports or battlewagons, ignore these units until almost all others have gone. Submunitions work the best against these massive squad sizes.


Big Gunz Alongside the flash gitz and lootas, this unit usually puts out the most firepower in the ork army. That being said, they are very, very expensive and appallingly inaccurate. It will usually take them half the game to get into range and favorable positions, and even after that, the squad isn’t too hard to take out with our long-ranged Tau weaponry. Munitions work the best here, as they take out the guns and the grot crew.





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V. Deployment


When deploying make sure that your Fire warriors are fairly close together so that you can overlap firepower and make sure they can see the enemy troops. Next deploy your Kroot next to, or behind them to use the tactic 'Kroot Charge' put your Broadsides and Hammerhead into a position where they can see and hit most of the enemy. This is your main army, the part which should stay where it is and just shoot the enemy! Then get some battlesuits and put them on the edge of your deployment area. Use these to do pop in-and-out attacks to weaken the enemies' elites and fast attack. Deploying like this means that you've got faster units (Battlesuits) to weaken the enemy, and the main army can kill anything that gets too close.


VI. General Strategies


Ork armies tend to come in a variety of different packages. Here are some general tips to keep in mind when playing against them.



  • Orks don't do well when receiving the charge. If you are faced with the opportunity to charge or shoot one more round of firepower, then take the charge. While this may seem odd advice for a Tau player, you may often find that a full unit of crisis suits with some drones is more than a mouthful for a unit of orks. Without the power of the waaaagh to stimulate themselves, small ork squads will get squished even by the most modest of close combat squads.

  • Orks do very well with their weapons on the move. With 36" assault weaponry that have a higher rate of fire than our missile pods, they can be quite a threat once they get into range. There is no real way to avoid this, except to stretch your line over a broad front. Force him to pick out many targets with little weapons and see how his low BS affects him

  • Orks transports are very volatile and easy to take down with Tau weaponry, provided you are well enough equipped to take them down. Always include some three or four missile pods in your force to deal with such uprisings.

  • Any ork mob, not grot or squigs, above 12 men in strength is automatically fearless and immune to the effects of pinning and morale. For orks, there is literally strength in numbers, and you should aim at bringing squads in the <10 range before moving to the next target.

  • A mob falling back with low enough numbers can group up with another squad of orks and charge again with renewed vigor. While it may be difficult, try shooting the orks further back before taking out the ones closer to you. This way, when the ones closer to you begin to fall back, they don't have any other boyz to bolster their courage, and they retreat off the board.

  • The power of the Waaaaaagh! Can only be raised if the squad is at >2d6 strength when they charge into assault. If squads are whittled low enough, this special rule won’t become a very big threat.


VII. Additional info.


Created for the enabling readers to quickly determine other facts, this is where any additional information you add goes. Credit will be accordingly awarded.


Hope you like my guide. Comments and criticism is appreciated.


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