Following up my last post; I hadn’t thought people would be too keen on Orks vs Infantry tactics; but it looks like I was wrong!
Infantry-heavy lists are; more or less; a thing that most Internet talking heads say to stay away from; but I really think that’s a mistake. Vehicles certainly went from being almost a liability in 4th to rugged and useful in 5th; but the preponderance of cover saves for infantry (buffing LOTS of infantry) and true line of sight (making vehicles harder to hide and therefore debuffing their power) are factors to consider. However, that’s probably a different discussion for different time.
Lets look at ideas for facing a mostly infantry force.
Terrain placement should be relatively similar in concept as before as against a shooty foe; you want to get cover saves as you advance; and against melee heavy armies you want to slow them down and soften them up. A few caveats. Against a mostly static infantry shooting army; it might behoove you to put down more LoS-blocking stuff, especially to give yourself lines of advance that will be protected from too much fire.
There are two ways you’ll see a mostly-infantry force, assaulty and shooty. Lets hit each in stride.
Common Foes: IG, MEq, Tau, Sisters, Eldar
Shooty infantry lists are a throwback to 4th edition when vehicles were worthless and las/plas was the king. While its gone out of favor in most circles; its still around enough; and certain armies can do it well enough that you need to be worried. Shooty infantry lists tend to try and beat you into submission with firepower and…well…that’s about it. The competitive lists will incorporate some kind of assault counter-attack usually; but the basic idea is to flatten your foe with firepower. IG do this the best, currently, with their big blobs of guys and orders. MEq can do this to a certain degree with units like Long Fangs or now BA devastators backed up by priests. Tau I’m including here because crisis suits are technically infantry and are certainly still potent. Sisters can get a lot of bolter fire out there as well as inducted guard. Eldar Iyanden themed armies with tons of wraithguard and wraithlords fit into this category as well. In all these cases; my foe is going to try and alpha-strike my army and reduce my potential of hurting them in return with my shooting and assaulting. How does a balanced Ork army deal with a threat like this?
Unlike Mech armies; objective missions are the ones in which I’m glad to get when dealing with this archetype. Objective-based missions are one of the main reasons people love mechanized, as the added mobility makes it easier to go out and take objectives. But, again, not wanting to get too deep into my “mech is overrated” stance; that only REALLY helps in 1 of the 3 missions. In the draw mission; its much better to have a resolute group of infantry in cover holding that objective than a few smaller units in vehicles. Especially if you gain enough long-range shooting to clear your opponent from their objective! With objective based missions though, a balanced Ork list now has about as much mobility as your opponent (the bulk of one’s troops should be coming from big 30-strong mobs). So really, this comes down to just a straight-up slugfest.
Do you want to go first or second? Almost always you’ll want to go second simiply because its advantageous to have that last chance to take an objective or contest before the game ends. However, you might want to go first and get some alpha strikes in of your own or maybe just move up quickly to get board position and establish tempo. Truth is though, that when dealing with a good shooty infantry list, your potential for alpha strike is lessened. Case in point, lootas become less useful when the only target is big blobs of dudes. Even 45 shots should only net you 6-7 casualties when shooting at a unit in cover; and even less when shooting at a MEq unit or somethin with 2+ saves. Comparing that to the damage you can inflict and also avoid by shooting at a Manticore or a unit of Griffons you can see how shooting at infantry can be less than fulfilling. This is one of the reasons I really like both lobbas and snikrot. In all the games I played with my 1850 Ork list; the games I had the hardest time with were IG lists with lots of big infantry units backed up by Straken. Adding Snikrot to my 2k list really helped me out; but I have yet to play against IG with my 2k Orks, so it remains to be seen whether that was effective or not. Anyway, all that to say that your ability to cripple your opponent is a lot lower when dealing with a foe like this. On the flip side; being able to move up on your turn is good, because then you should be on objectives already, so you can just hunker down with going to ground for the rest of the game if need be.
As in all objective based missions keeping your troops alive is paramount, but how do you kill those enemy infantry units. Well, like I showed above, the majority of your shooting is going to be geared towards knocking out transports (and that makes sense given the current meta); so you’re going to be wasting a lot of shooting on them; but in melee, you should have an edge. Granted; you’ll be arriving depleted and in some cases you’ll be fighting some tough opponents; but its your best chance to kill swathes of enemies. Even with my Ork army geared towards shooting; I’d forgo it and just run every turn and then WAAAGH when close enough. Going back to terrain deployment; you’ll have to choose whether its more important to get to grips with your foe quickly or survive better. If you have a KFF, you might just choose to leave the middle of the board empty of terrain so you can rush quickly. As usual, its going to come down to experience and understanding of your opponent’s army and the capabilities of your force.
A couple more notes; your opponent will probably have a vehicle or two used for either shooting or contesting. Knocking those out early is a good idea as it limits their ability to go after objecctives you control. Try and gain the initiative in these games and force your opponent’s hand. Don’t be afraid to send units off on suicide missions to distract powerful shooting units in order to keep troops alive.
Kill Points Missions:
Now, this is where we start having real problems. I’m looking at this whole discussion mostly from an IG blob as my opponent perspective; and here is a mission that is a ROYAL pain to beat them in with a balanced Ork force (or any force, really). Outside of a few easy to nab KPs (Platoon Command Squads, Company Command Squads without Straken, random vehicles); infantry-heavy IG lists don’t have very many places to score quick points. On the flipside; they have the means to go after yours, and the ability to concentrate firepower to the point that even your tougher units are vulnerable. Against other armies on this list; you might not be so hosed; but lets look at how to deal with big units of IG infantry with a balanced Ork list.
Now, if your opponent has Straken, any blobs on the board are pretty much going to be a waste of time attacking with either shooting or in close combat (unless you somehow weather the storm and get into combat in large numbers). You *have* to go after the easier stuff and hope you can knock it out. Try and take out the artillery units if they are there; or heavy weapon teams; or the other units I listed above. If there aren’t many of those; you’re in trouble. You’re doubly in trouble if the only vehicles on the table are Leman Russ chassis (even worse if its Eradicators…); for which you have NO answer at long-range, and getting close to all those lasguns is suicide.
Beating this type of list starts with terrain placement. Raid the bin and try and get as much LoS blocking stuff as possible and flood the board with it. You need to stay alive and being hidden from all that nasty firepower is your best bet. Try and keep area terrain in either bad positions (like behind LoS-blocking terrain) or out of typical deployment zones. Being gable to assault blobs and strike simultaneously will go a long way towards winning a fight against IG (especially with Straken giving them counter-attack). This is where units like Stormboyz and Kommandos are nice since they come with stikkboms (also a reason to get stikkbomb chukkas on trukks/bws). Also, lobbas mulch IGsmen that aren’t in cover (kills on 2s!), so denying them places to be in cover is ideal.
There really is no easy way to beat a list like this with balanced Orks (or any army really); so don’t get frustrated. Keep practicing and you’ll get better.
That’s about all I can think about when it comes to dealing with Shooty Infantry; next up, I’ll post about dealing with assaulty infantry like Nids, Blood Angels, and some Space Wolves.