It’s Like Tactics: Battlewagon Review

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

Circle the Wagons

The history of the Ork Battlewagon is glorious! I can remember the hobby glory days when people scratch built them off rare kits. Then the Battlewagon got its own plastic kit, accompanied by some of the best rules any unit could ever hope for. I can still hear the screams of many an opponent as they faced down the deadly Deff Rolla. Fast forward today, you everyone sees the dramatic changes for this iconic Ork unit, changes very much for the worse.

Before we start dissecting, lets take a quick look at the past and present Battlewagon rules.

(Click to Enlarge)


Battlewagon Rules 2007

Heavy Support: Battlewagon – 90



Battlewagon Rules 2014

Heavy Support: Battlewagon – 110


Vehicle (Tank, Open-topped, Transport).
1 Battlewagon
Transport Capacity: Twenty models. If the Battlewagon mounts a killkannon it may only
carry twelve models.
Fire Points: If a Battlewagon has the ’ard case upgrade it has five Fire Points, two on either
side of the hull and one at the rear.
Access Points: If a Battlewagon has the ’ard case upgrade it has three Access Points, one on
either side of the hull and one at the rear.
• May take a killkannon…30 pts
• May take one of the following weapons:
– Kannon…10 pts
– Lobba…10 pts
– Zzap gun…10 pts
• May take up to four of the following weapons in any combination:
– Big shoota…5 pts each
– Rokkit launcha…5 pts each
• May take any of the following:
– Deff rolla…10 pts
– ’Ard case…15 pts
– Grabbin’ klaw…5 pts
• Battlewagons may take items from the Ork Vehicle Equipment list.

[show-rjqc id=”23″] 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.


The Battlewagon has always been the quintessential Ork delivery system, with decent armour and high transport capacity. This combination gives the Battlewagon a place in a mechanized Ork army, too bad it has been hit with so many nerfs it is hard to justify using it in the current state of Warhammer 40k.


The Battlewagon is like most tanks moves at an average pace. You can take the Red Paint upgrade to move faster, but unless you run quick units around it you are better off saving the points. Their average speed almost makes the Battlewagon susceptible to being gunned down, as it can take multiple turns to get in position.


Battlewagons can still tank shock/ram, but the gutting of the Deff Rolla you definitely want to keep it away from any sort of Assault situation as long as Orks units are on board.


The Battlewagon can still get a ton of guns! As a fire-base you can’t do much better with Orks, but it will cost you and that is a problem for an already over-costed transport. Just remember if you go the gun route add a shooty unit of Orks inside to amplify the potential.

I can still hear the screams of many an opponent as they faced down the deadly Deff Rolla.


Terrible Choices

Killkannon – 30 pts

Yippie! The Killkannon is now half the cost, but it is still 20 points too expensive. The main reason for this is the range of the weapon, at only 24″ you have to get your Battlewagon close to an opponent to be effective. The Killkannon is also hurt by being an Ordinance weapon, because it makes all other shooting Snap-fire. If you are going to justify the 30 point cost it also needs to be S9 AP2.

Deff Rolla – 10 pts

The Deff Rolla needed to be toned down, I have no qualms with that, but being totally destroyed is lame. For five points over a Reinforced Ram, I get D3 hits IF ONLY a unit fails a Death or Glory attack! What a steal! All the Deff Rolla really needed was a Strength reduction and everyone would have stopped complaining.

‘Ard case – 15 pts

I like an upgrade that makes my vehicle not Open-Topped, but at 15 points is just completely insane. This is a 5 point upgrade, because the bonuses are nothing in comparison to what is lost by taking this piece of wargear.

Grabbin’ Klaw – 5 pts

Finally, a item worth its points. The Grabbin’ Klaw is fun piece of wargear, and is very tactical if used properly. The best part is it can be used against Walkers! It isn’t clear, but it also might stop them from Assaulting. The best part is you do it on your opponent turn, so you if you run up into a field of vehicles you can pick which one you want to try to grab. There is also no restriction against it being used on Super Heavies?

Putting it all Together…
As it often happens, GW overreacts to complaints about a unit, the Battlewagon is one of those prime examples. I still remember the Deff rolla hate, and perhaps this is a response to it. More likely GW just felt like they sold enough of the kit and decided to focus Ork players on buying newer models. The result no matter how you get to it, is the Battlewagon being punished to almost Trukk levels. The biggest problem with Battlewagons is the cost, they went up 20 points for no reason, then you get the gutting of the Deff Rolla. Sure the Deff Rolla needed to be changed, but now it pretty much does nothing. There is also the other nerfs that inadvertently hurt the Battlewagon, the changes to the Kustom Force Field for instance. New things like Grav Weapons and Hull Points also do a number to the Battlewagon survival levels.
So after you stop complaining what can you do with the Battlewagon?
There is a few ways you can make this unit useful. If you want one vehicle to deliver a large Ork Deathstar this is the unit for you. Kustom Force Field is still effective if you plan on only running one Battlewagon. Just make sure to keep it cheap, like take a Reinforced Ram and that’s it. Battlewagons are not bad as weapon platforms, you can just move once, sit, and get to shooting. At 140 points you can get four Big Shootas and a Kannon, along with whatever you put inside, like Lootas. You can also make it a Kill Kannon platform, too bad that weapon is really hurt by the short range. Battlewagons work well with Morkanauts, as a way to get some KFF action, especially if you want to keep a mechanized Ork shooting theme. There is also some fun stuff you can do with Formation available.
Battlewagons are hurt by Lootas, Mek Gunz, and to a lesser extent Flash Gitz also being Heavy support choices. You can of course get around this a bit, by taking them as Dedicated Transports of Flash Gitz or Nobz, even then you are basically paying a tax if you don’t want to use those units in the first place. Taken all together this leaves the Battlewagon in the lower-middle tier of Ork units, they have very specific uses you just make sure to check if you can accomplish the same with less.

— Battlewagon Army Templates–

Battlewagon Allied Detachment List

Battlewagon Blitz Brigade Formation List

Battlewagon Combined Arms Detachment List

Battlewagon Great Waaagh! Detachment List

Battlewagon Ork Horde Detachment List


Blitz Brigade: This is actually one of the most fun Formations for the Orks. It takes your Battlewagon collection and gets some use out of it. You can get your Battlewagons up close and issue a pretty nasty Alpha Strike. Units of Burna Boyz and Tankbustas are the best choice here. You can also create a wall to stop other units from getting through, since you are going to be so close to the opponent make sure to take Meks to repair any immobilizing results that will surely come. Remember if you are not going first you can also you can still Outflank all the Wagons!


Ork Horde Detachment: If you need a ride for your Deathstars the Battlewagon is great option, they can hold a large unit of Meganobz and still have room for characters. Usually you are only going to need just one, so make sure to take KFF to give you some chance of making it across the board.

Great Waaagh! Detachment: Yes, I want Deep Striking Battlewagons! If you get lucky you can have it! Too bad Ork Boyz cannot get them as Dedicated Transports otherwise you would have a good chance of it happening. If you are going to go for it, take Flash Gitz Battlewagons and hope for that lucky 6!

Final Thoughts…

Overall, Battlewagon has taken some serious hits. It is too bad because they were a reliable unit for the Orks. Making it worse everyone can see just how calculated GW was in hurting this unit and for what reason? Beyond taking the Formation, I only see limited use for this model in the near future.

For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discover an inaccurate interpretations of the rules– edits will be made accordingly. Also check out other articles in this series…


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