My Tactics pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor a seal pup. I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume to know better than anyone else... unless I must call out ego or pretension.

It's a hard Grot's life...

Gretchin, Grots, Runts the never-ending butt of most Ork jokes and perhaps the most colorful creature in the entire Warhammer 40k universe. If you just look at the number of Gretchin models in so many kits you see just how iconic Games Workshop feels they are. When it comes to game play, Gretchin are perhaps the most inept unit one could encounter, but that won't stop every Ork player from having at least one unit of them in their lists.

Before we start dissecting, lets take a quick look at the differences between the 2007 and 2014 Gretchin codex rules.

(Click to Enlarge)

Gretchin Rules 2007

Troop: Gretchin - 40 Points

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5

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 grotlife

 

Ork Boy Rules 2014

Troop: Gretchin - 35 Points

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Sv

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UNIT TYPE:
Infantry. Runtherd is Infantry (Character).

UNIT COMPOSITION:
10 Gretchin
1 Runtherd

WARGEAR:
Gretchin:
Grot blasta
Runtherd:
• Grabba stikk
• Slugga
• Stikkbombs

SPECIAL RULES:
• ’Ere We Go!
(Runtherd only)
• Furious Charge
(Runtherd only)

OPTIONS:
• May include up to twenty additional Gretchin…3 pts/model
• Must take one additional Runtherd for every 10 additional Gretchin in the unit…10pts/model
• Any Runtherd may replace their grabba stikk with a grot-prod…5 pts/model
• Any Runtherd may take a squig hound…5 pts/model

Readers of my previous tactics will notice a few changes to how these reviews are presented. Now you will find is a break down each unit into five broad categories.

Utility

Gretchin have two purposes and is the basis for their utility. The first one is filling the Troop slot requirements and the second is holding objectives. When it comes to holding objectives  Gretchin must come in late and hide. Since Gretchin aren't Fearless expect going to ground as a common occurrence. As well with their scale it makes it very easy for Gretchin to hide behind most terrain and not be seen. When it comes to filling your Troop choices you cannot do much better because...

Cost

Gretchin cost is the main reason you see them in every Ork army. For only 70 points a Ork player can fill their Troop requirement, (in most situations) leaving Ork players with plenty of points to invest in everything else. The cheapness of Gretchin is all the more important with the 7th edition change to holding objectives, making Gretchin survival less than critical. 

Speed

Gretchin don't have special speed advantages, and without a dedicated transport mostly foot slog across the board. Luckily, Gretchin don't have to travel far as most players just have them post up on table edge with an objective and hide. 

Assaulty

Stories of mighty Gretchin assaults have made the annuals of many 40k games, but usually as result of comical bad rolling from opponents. Gretchin have the worse stat-line when it comes to assault, and it is only the Runtherd who can make any difference, and even then he is usually too busy avoiding a challenge or just dying a pitiful death no matter the situation.

Shooty

As the only creature type in the Ork Codex to get BS3 Gretchin can actually hit a side of barn. The problem with Gretchin shooting is the Grot Blasta, nothing more than a single shot Lasgun. It shouldn't put fear into your opponent, but then again you shouldn't expect it to anyway. 

When it comes to game play, Gretchin are perhaps the most inept unit one could encounter, but that won't stop every Ork player from having at least one unit of them in their lists.

Shepherd of Snot

The Runtherd is an important cog in the pantheon of Ork genetic templates. The role on the battlefield is simple: keep Grots in line. Without the Runtherd we would be left with LD5 units, an easy LD test away from running off the board. The Runtherd in his latest incarnation is the weakest he has ever been. The Grabba Stikk no longer works all the time and forces your Runtherd into pointless challenges. Grot-Prod is useless as it you never want Gretchin in Assault unless you have a Stompa near by for Fearless. The Squig Hound is now optional and is the reason we see a five point reduction in the unit overall cost.

All the possible Runtherd upgrades are inconsequential and one's points are better spent else where. The Runtherd is also susceptible to precise shooting.  It is important you surround him with your Gretchin not leave him on the outside of any coherency ring, as he will get picked off. You are pretty much left with hiding from everything with the Runtherd. no glorious battles as he is the key to keeping those Gretchin from running and holding those objectives!

Putting all Together...

As long as objectives are the primary scoring apparatus in 40k you will see Gretchin. Gretchin have proven app at holding objectives as long as the rest of your Orks can hold their own. Gretchin though also have another role with the help of Fortifications, with the best BS in the codex, Gretchin have a place manning Quad Guns or hiding in Bastions. This bit of tactical flexibility means Gretchin are not forced just to sit back and do nothing. In addition, with Stompas now relevant you finally have a good defensible place to hide them in. The Stompa Effigy ability also means Gretchin can swarm in large numbers, not fearing a bad LD roll and running. For the real beardy players, Gretchin can also fit underneath a Stompa's body creating the ultimate mobile line of sight blocking terrain piece.

The Gretchin blob is only possible with Stompa and provides the cheapest bubble wrap to protect your Stompa as well. Sure you can run a Warboss with a Big Bosspole, but that is a lot of points invested in weak ablative wounds, if only the Grabba Stikk still worked the old way then you could have something pretty deadly. As it is Gretchin are best used in limited numbers for the sole purpose of keeping objectives safe or at the very least force your opponent to dedicate units to their eradication. 

-- Gretchin Army Templates--

 Gretchin Allied Detchament List

Gretchin Combined Armies Detachment List

Gretchin Great Waaagh Detachment List

Gretchin Ork Horde Detachment List

Formations

Grukk's Rippin' Krew: This Narrative formation from Santus Reach offers the only Formation where Gretchin are required. There is no real useful reason to take this Formation unless you plan on playing the missions from the Santus Reach Campaign.

Detachments

Ork Horde Detachment: This great Detachment forces you to take three Troop choices, and Gretchin units cost makes investing your points in what really makes this Detachment possible. If your goal is more about bringing hammer units than about filling the board with Troops then Gretchin are the choice for you. You lose Objective Secure, but the investment is so minor, so you shouldn't worry. 

Great Waaagh! Detachment: Taking this Detachment can mean only one thing! Deep Striking Gretchin! This is by far the most amusing use for your Gretchin and done properly can really throw your opponent for a loop. You can use the Deep Striking to get Gretchin into position for backfield Objective grabs and force mishaps to keep them off the board longer without worrying too much if they die. This though is for the narrative forging in all its glory.

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Gretchin do what they always have done; sit back and hope your opponent is too busy with other things to care shoot them. There are no elegant builds that make Gretchin any better, they simply are what they are. It isn't a big deal, they got even cheaper and you are hard pressed to find a cheaper objective grabber in the game. 

Warning

It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.