So, as pointed out earlier; I failed to go over a major factor in how to play a balanced Ork army against the main army archetypes; namely deployments.

This was a glaring error on my part because it is crucial to tactics for the fight:  Essentially; the variables as I presented them are thus now:

Shooty Infantry
Assaulty Infantry
Shooty Mech
Assaulty Mech

Sieze Ground
Capture and Control

Pitched Battle
Dawn of War

For completeness, I should probably include “Balanced” as an army archetype; except, as I noted in previous articles, fighting a balanced force with a balanced force is going to come down to pure generalship and really can’t be planned for.

Anyway, if you add “Balanced” to the list, you have 45 different, generic types of battles.  In addition to that, you have to account for variance in terrain in variance in how the enemy is going to prosecute their battle plan.  In any event; its fair to say that there is enough variety in battles that you should never be married to a single strategy; odds are, you’re going to have to mix it up in order to be effective.  That is, of course, the reason I advocate a balanced force.

So, I’m going to try and talk about each deployment type and how that changes the way you’re going to be playing your army depending on what you are fighting against and what the mission is.

Let’s start with Shooty Mech, since that’s where I started in the first place.  I’ve already discussed strategies for dealing with them in objective games; but lets unpack those ideas in terms of deployments.  Since most of my ideas were intentionally generic; you can basically look at them at face value for Pitched Battle as it adds really no wrinkles to the deployment; so lets look at Spearhead and Dawn of War.

Spearhead Deployment/Objective Mission/vs Shooty Mech:

This deployment has one major flaw for Ork players: limited space.  You end up getting bunched up in clumps; and against Shooty Mech, you’re bound to be getting blasted by big pie plates and the like.  There’s really no way around it if you deploy on the table; but leaving stuff in reserve can also bite you in the butt if crucial units don’t come in in a timely manner (I’m looking at YOU, 30-strong mob from the final game of the 2009 TSHFT!  CURSE YOU!).  Its a gamble you might want to try; but understand the drawbacks.  On the flipside; if your opponent lacks lots of blast weaponry; bunch up like crazy!

This deployment does, however, give you a few edges; especially in capture and control.  If your enemy doesn’t have any outflankers, you can focus fire on their speed units like valks/vends/land speeders/Eldar tanks/et al; then put your objective as far from them as possible, in cover if possible; and then leave a unit of gretchin in reserve; move up later, claim the objective and go to ground.  Use YOUR speed elements to go after their objective and send everything else right up the middle.

This deployment is the ideal scenario for snikrot; as well for fast moving units like stormboyz to be in reserve.  Snikrot is obvious as the enemy is going to be bunched up and easy to go after; and the reason for the second part is you can leave your units in reserve and then come in on your long table edge and only have 24″ to get to the enemy.  If they moved up at all on that end, your stormboyz might even be able to assault on turn one; or any units you have in transports as well if you haven’t used WAAGH yet.

If the mission is Sieze Ground; this deployment is nice since you might have objectives in your deployment zone already and/or they might be fairly easy to move to.

Since there is a good chance there might be a really good quarter to take (since terrain placement, I find, doesn’t usually take into account deployments enough); going first might be a really good idea if you have the option.  There’s also the reasons I mentioned earlier:  hitting them early to silence problem units to avoid the counter fire.  If there is no clearly good quarter; then going second and full reserving might not be a bad choice as you should be able to get to his lines fairly easily still and it means he has fewer turns to shoot you.

Spearhead Deployment/Kill Points/vs Shooty Mech:

With Kill Points, the deployment doesn’t matter as much; as most of my thoughts from earlier remain the same.  Target his vehicles and take them out as these are the easiest KPs in any list (unless its all Land Raiders).  Use the long table edge reserve trick to get into his face earlier in the flanks.  Don’t be afraid to leave stuff that is weak in reserve (trukks/buggies/etc…) in order to lessen the chance it gets blown up until it has done something.  Don’t be ashamed to go to ground often.

Dawn of War Deployment/Objective Mission/vs Shooty Mech:

YAY!  Dawn of War!  Dawn of war is undoubtedly the best deployment for me, although, really only if I can go first.  Shooty Mech is going to want to go first as well; since they need to be putting wounds on you early and often; so my advice:  win the roll!  🙂  The thing is; if you DO win the roll; you’re in like Flynn.  Reason is; you start 24″ up the board with two troops choices.  If you play Orks like I do; you’ll have two big units of shoota boyz, and they’ll love being guaranteed to be in shoota/rokkit range on turn one.  I tend to deploy these two units like a big balloon with two big strings on each.  One string goes back towards my side of the board (to make sure the units are in range of the KFF when it rolls out on turn one) and the other goes towards the table edge (in order to make sure there isn’t any way the enemy could deploy any further than 6″ up the board).  Then I have everything else come in on turn one and run.  If this is a shooty mech list; odds are; they won’t deploy anything and just opt to come in on turn 1 with everything (or most things).  That’s fine; since by being forced to move and also with night fight in effect; they really won’t have a ton of shooting targets and will lose a significant amount of firepower that I can absorb and then I assault turn two!  Even in an objective mission; I’m not too worried about it as my Battlewagon can take an objective while sitting back and shooting; or else the trukk boyz can go get one.

If my opponent wins the roll to go first and deploys something to force me to deploy further back; this still isn’t that bad of a situation, since I can still get up close to the forward element as well as being able to move up forward pretty well with the Orks in general (since a transport AND the unit inside count for the two deployments, it makes it very hard to force me back.  Even if they put the single model in the center of the board, I can deploy on the edges and be 24″ up.  I know Guard can get around this with their platoon rules, but still.).  If they go first and deploy nothing on the table (not out of the question seeing how that one unit will be a sacrificial lamb for virtually no gain) or nothing in a forward position; I get to do essentially what I described above anyway.  And their shooting is STILL limited by nightfight and being forced to move.

Basically, Dawn of War is the deployment where I kind of just throw caution to the wind and just blitz my foe; and I feel like its a deployment that puts Shooty Mech on their backfoot.  I get to be in my opponent’s face early and impose my will on the battlefield.  Its essentially like I skipped turn one where I move up to get into the middle of the board; and I get to start blasting away earlier.

The best is when this is Capture and Control where I just have the gretchin stay in true reserve and then come on and claim the objective later while my whole army sans 40 points comes at the enemy.  Very fun!

Dawn of War Deployment/Kill Points/vs Shooty Mech:

Honestly, the tactics here change hardly at all compared to objectives; but instead of being mindful of keep troops alive in objective missions; keep an eye on keeping your weaker units from dying early.  That’s really it.  You should be wracking up transport kills in bunches by turn 2 or 3; so I wouldn’t worry about it too much though.

Ok, lets look at Assaulty Mech now:

Spearhead Deployment/Objective Mission/vs Assaulty Mech:

In this situation, the advantages presented above of being closer to your opponent are now, more or less, a disadvantage.  The Assaulty Mech force wants to get into combat with you ASAP, and shortening the distances in the middle (even though you are 12″ from the center, the distance from 12″ from the center on the horizontally bisecting line to 12″ from the center on the vertically bisecting line is less than 24″) and potentially the sides.  Since you’re going to be bunched up in your deployment zone, you also run the risk of getting multi-charged for a lot of exponentially horrible “no retreat” wounds.  Blargh.

You’re also in kind of a catch-22; you want bodies on the table to cripple his vehicles at range; but if you put them down, you run the risk of being assaulted early.  However, keep in mind the mission objectives.  If your opponent comes at you pell-mell, are they going to be able to go get objectives as well?  Few Assaulty Mech armies have the kind of cheap scoring units that Orks do; so it might be a real drag for them.

Here’s a couple quick thoughts.  Use kans and dreds to shore up the most logical avenues of approach.  They can’t be tank shocked out of the way, and are rugged enough that they can take it on the chin from most armies.  This will allow you to set up counter-charges from the boyz and such.  Reserving large parts of your army might be a good idea.  Being able to come in later to react to situations is a strong tactic.  You walk a fine line though; this will take experience and an understanding of your foe’s forces.  Beware of outflankers!  Be they Baal Preds, Khan-led forces, scouts in storms, Chosen, et al; they make the “back field” of your deployment zone somewhat dangerous.  Leaving Lootas or gretchin on an objective exposed in such a spot is a recipe for disaster and sadness.

This deployment in this scenario against this foe is quite a pickle as it leaves you potentially boxed into a small space with limited maneuverability and little time to shoot your opponent into submission.  I’d recommend going second almost every time for last ditch objective snagging and also to get a sense of where your opponent is pushing towards.  Make judicious use of reserves to react as needed and to give yourself some breathing room as well.  And, as always in an objective mission, concentrate on killing troops and keeping yours alive.

Spearhead Deployment/Kill Points Mission/vs Assaulty Mech:

Most of the above is true of Kill Points as well; but instead of focusing on Troops, focus on killing easy KPs and keeping your easy KPs safe.  Since there are no objectives to go out and grab; you can try and bunker if possible; or go full reserve potentially.  Whatever the case; this is going to be an uphill climb; focus on destroying those transports; and you can do well.

Ok, well I think I’ll split this up as I’m sure RealGenius and company are twitching by now if they have read this far.

I’ll get to how deployments effect your strategy vs the two types of infantry archetypes next time.