The Ork Trukk.

From all over the web and even from Ork players, I hear nothing but guff about trukks.  It ranges from the absurd like Stelek’s complaint that a trukk isn’t exactly like a Rhino (av11 and not open-topped) to the more maudlin concerns:  it is too easy to kill and doesn’t carry enough boyz.

Of all the concerns with the trukk, I think the most valid is the carry capacity.  I think the trukk should certainly be carrying 15 models (though I think Mega-armored Nobz should count as 3 models for fairness).  Units of boyz in trukks are small, and essentially fragile units and easily seen off with concentrated firepower.  That is unquestionable.

As well, AV10 open-topped means that even a S4 hit has a 5.5% chance of immobilizing or destroying a trukk.  Yes, that is pretty sorry; but here’s the thing, trukks are CHEAP.

“Rhinos are the same price!” you say.  “Rhinos are more survivable and have all this nifty crap on them.”  Woot.  35 points is still cheap, and especially cheap when you consider what you’re carrying is ALSO cheap.

(here, I’ll borrow a phrase from the internet douche lexicon) Pro-tip:  Trukks aren’t supposed to be Rhinos, don’t use them as such.

What do Rhinos do?  They are mobile bunkers for marines and give them a moderate increase in mobility over walk/run.

What do Trukks do?  They move small assault units up quickly and project an assault threat of 20.99″ and up to 26.99″ if you haven’t used a Waagh.  It is fast, and therefore can move 18″ in one turn.  You can assault out of it after it moves.

Lets first look at what we can transport in trukks before getting into ways to overcome their deficiencies (read: using tactics).

12 Boyz:  A fairly standard unit to go in a trukk.  11 slugga boyz and a Nob with a power klaw and boss pole clocks in at the moderate sum of 112 points.  What can that unit do?  If allowed to charge something and go first (like say against the much-ballyhooed TH/SS terminators), the 11 boyz dish out 44 attacks with does 11 wounds (before saves) to MEq and 19-20 wounds (before saves) against T3/WS3 units.  Then, the Nob gets to go and should get 1-2 wounds in with his klaw.  There isn’t much in the game of equivalent points value that can hold up to this unit in combat, and they can easily be tasked to go after more expensive units that might not be that effective in close combat.  They’re also a threat to vehicles, especially with rear armor 10.  The problem that they run into is when poor Ork generals just send them after beatstick melee units that just drink their green milkshake.  Essentially, with a squad like this, you have to make smart choices and pick your charge targets not just send them pell-mell at the enemy and watch them die horrifically.

3-6 MegaNobz:  A fairly expensive unit by Ork standards if fully kitted out; but one of the real hammer units in the ‘dex.  There are very few units that can take a charge from Meganobz and remain unscathed.  This is a unit that is essentially fire-and-forget.  Aim it at the center of your opponent’s forces and have them tear crap up.

Regular Nobz:  Another hammer type unit, but are both less rugged than meganobz, but more potentially dangerous due to having more numbers and WS5 (with the Waagh Banner).  More susceptible to S8 shooting than Meganobz (who only fear AP2/1) and also more expensive; so more care and caution is needed for them.

So, those three units have different roles:  Boyz are kind of like assault snipers; acting in an opportunistic manner to pick off enemy forces; Meganobz are hammers that can go toe-to-toe with most armies and deal death and absorb lots of shooting/attacks; Nobz are super hammers that worry about a few specific threats, but can cause a lot of damage.  What is the role of the trukk for getting them to do what they do?

Well, you’ll notice that none of those units wants to sit still and shoot things; they want to be heading at the enemy at a good clip and assaulting as fast as possible.  Now, for that mission, which is better, a Rhino or a Trukk?  So, the trukk makes sense for what it is transporting, because its advantages (open-topped so you can move and assault and 18″ move otherwise) work towards its purpose in the list.

But, how do you mitigate the issues with the Trukk?  Well, the carrying capacity issue is essentially insurmountable in that you can’t give it more space; but you CAN be smart about what you transport in the trukk in regards to the rest of your army.
The survivability part of the equation however can be mitigated in 3 ways.

1.  KFF:  The Kustom Force Field is a great piece of gear that makes the trukk pretty freaking survivable.  I could run the numbers for you, but a Trukk with KFF is actually more survivable to a Rhino without cover when the shots are higher strength.  Ignoring half (or 1/3rd if you play MY way!) of the damage results is pretty strong and helps out considerably.  Obviously if the Rhino has cover from smoke or being in a parking lot, the survivability champ is definitely the Rhino.

2.  Using Terrain:  This is almost so obvious it hurts (and applies to every unit in the game), but putting your trukk where your opponent can’t see it (behind a ruin or a hill or the like) at all or even with less of their army means you’ve upped the odds of it surviving even more.  5th edition is about LoS-blocking terrain, and if you don’t have a lot of it, then perhaps I understand why these things aren’t working out for you that well…

3.  Don’t send them out on their own:  A terrible habit of most Ork players is that we just like to move stuff at the enemy as fast as possible and get to krumpin’; when, in reality, it’s often a better plan to hold back and try to bring all your forces to bear at the same time.  When I got back into 40k in 4th edition, I was constantly moving my fast elements at my foe and leaving the slower stuff behind and wondering why I kept getting beaten in detail.  Trukks should not be sent off alone even with KFF protection.  It’s best to use them as counter-attack units that stay close to your KFF projector and your big units, providing punch when combats become protracted.  A good tactic as well is to leave them in reserve.  With an 18″ move the turn they show up, they can quickly get to where the rest of your force is at and become an immediate threat.  This is especially effective in Spearhead deployments as you have the potential of CHARGING the enemy the turn you come out of reserve.

So, to boil it down; to use trukks well, understand what the units inside CAN do, figure out what they should target in your opponent’s army, and deploy them to mitigate their lack of resiliency.

Play to their strength (speed) and use guile and skill to overcome their major weakness (ease of destruction).

As a final bonus point, I’d never put a trukk in my list without a reinforced ram.  The main bonus of being able to re-roll dangerous terrain tests is invaluable; but the ability to tank shock with a super cheap unit that can move 18″ is also really useful (as is the bonus 2 points of AV for Death or Glory).  Highly recommend this upgrade.