After talking with Rozzy, we came to the conclusion that most new ork players keep making the same basic mistakes, so I decided to put together a basic list of suggestions for new ork players.
I was also wondering if anyone had any ideas of what should be included in the list, or if anything I've listed is more of an opinion then a general rule (I have a bad habit of confusing the two ^_^).
Anyway, here are a few things I believe new ork players should keep in mind:
(EDIT: UPDATED FOR 6TH EDITION)
1. Powerklaws are not optional. Every unit of regular boyz needs a powerklaw, and groups of nobz should have at least two. Without them, Marine equivalents and monstrous creatures will walk all over your army. Big choppas are no substitute, as it isn’t really about strength, but denying your opponent their armor save. Also, powerklaws are point for point the best anti-tank weapon in the ork army. For units of boyz, give the one nob 'eavy armor as well, to help keep him alive.
2. Big Meks are not meant for close combat. Giving them a powerklaw is throwing points away, considering that their statistics are nowhere as good as a warboss', and your opponent can exclusively target and kill him long before he hits. The only upgrades they should get are shokk attack guns, and perhaps a piece of armor, like 'eavy or a cybork body. A burna might be worth it, depending on your army, but generally you should keep them in the back, and out of the enemy's reach.
3. Convert units out of regular boyz and spare parts. Paying $35-45 for eight storm boyz is ridiculous, and paying $25 per warbuggy is insane. Learn to convert special troops and vehicles out of spare parts when possible, and some special troops, like kommandos and painboyz, just need a unique paint job to differentiate them from your normal boyz. Your army will be better fleshed out, appear more unique, and it's completely tournament legal (as long as the figures accurately represent the unit's weapons and wargear).
4. Regular warbikes are good, but you can't revolve an army around them. They just don't have the numbers, close combat power, or shooting range to carry an army. I've done very well with Wazzdakka lists and units of 5-6 warbikers as troops, but only when there were just as many units of boyz/nobz to back them up.
5. Do not overspend on Deffkoptas. They're good, but big bombs are a complete rip-off, and having more than 1 buzzsaw in each unit is wasteful. Virtually any unit size is good with rokkit deffkoptas, and 1 buzzsaw per unit is nice, but don't give them anything else. You probably shouldn't outflank with them, instead just turbo-boost and harass vulnerable enemy units.
6. Have a plan for dealing with armor, as rokkits are not enough, especially when facing armor 14. Have a unit that can do serious damage to armor, or easily get around to their backs, like tankbustas, meganobz, bikers with powerklaws, rokkit buggies, and deffrollas. Against 14/14/14 vehicles, like Land Raiders and Monoliths, you're probably better off ignoring them. Just kill everything else.
7. Have a plan for dealing with kitted out close combat units, like Wyches, Harlequins, Space Wolves, and Death Company. For example, consider using nobz, meganobz, lootas, and shoota boyz to help even the odds.
8. Watch out for templates. Nothing can kill orks faster than flamer, blast and ordnance templates, ESPECIALLY with the new 6th edition rules. Make these units your primary targets.
9. Overspending on expendable units greatly limits their effectiveness. Some units were meant to be played relatively cheap: warbuggies, big gunz, looted wagons, trukks, and killa kans to name a few. Spending a lot of points on extra options for them is wasteful, considering how easy they are to destroy in any case.
10. Always put a weapon on your transports. Although it's counter-intuitive, if you run them without a weapon you double the chances of them being immobilized, as any 'weapon destroyed' results your opponent gets from glancing and penetrating hits will instead become 'immobilized' results instead.
11. Use bosspoles, especially in groups smaller than 20 models. In units of nobz and warbikes, they're more or less mandatory. They're very cheap, considering that they statistically raise the unit's leadership by 2, which is a bonus most other armies have to pay 20-30 points for.
12. Paint each of your units of slugga/shoota boyz slightly different. Although many tournaments require (or highly recommend) painting your troops all in a similar fashion, I found it's very useful to paint the helmets, vests or bases each a different color. Why? So when you have multiple units in the same close combat, it’s easy to tell which boyz go with which units.
13. With the new 6th edition rules, you probably don't have to worry about kill points as much. It's still worth making sure you don't have too many, but it isn't as important as it used to be.
14. RE-READ THE RULES. It isn't your fault. Orks have many complicated and confusing rules. Double check both the main and condensed entries for every unit you use. I'd also check up on the FAQ every now and then.
15. Tankbustas, Burna boyz, Nobz, and Flash Gitz all need transports (or in the nobz case, transports or bikes). Without them, they'll be shot to pieces long before they get within effective range. This is especially true for burna boyz and nobz, which your opponent will be able to shoot and avoid, with casual ease, until they're all destroyed. Either give them a transport, or don't use them at all. Even with the new 'running' rules, they won't be effective without wheels.
16. Lootas need to be fielded in units of 9 or more. Lootas are good, but highly susceptible to enemy fire, especially considering how tempting a target they make. Also be sure to keep them in cover, whenever possible.
17. There are only three effective ways to field boyz: 12 sluggas in a trukk (with a nob, powerklaw and bosspole), 20-30 shoota boyz on foot (with nob, powerklaw, and preferably a bosspole), or 20 boyz of either type in a battlewagon (with the same setup as boyz on foot). 10-19 boyz on foot are going to be shot to pieces long before they can do anything effective. Many people also like using units of 20-30 slugga boyz on foot, for added close combat punch rather than versatility. I personally feel that the 6th edition rules favor shoota boyz, but it's up to you.
18. Look for cheap Orks on ebay. Since the new models and codex came out, the older Ork figures have become significantly cheaper, especially the smaller 'viking helmet and axe' Goff Orks. Even if you have extra heads, arms and torsos to work with, it's actually cheaper to buy these older style Orks then it is to buy new Ork legs alone.
19. (Thanks Bruiser117) As good as orks are in close combat, they are not invincible. In fact, in an even fight, ork boyz will most likely lose to other close combat focused units. So don't make it a fair fight! Throw two units of trukk boyz at each enemy unit (preferably at opposite sides of the enemy), plunge the powerklaws and independent characters deep into their ranks, and if you're assaulting with a unit of boyz on foot, have a second unit right behind them, to join in the following round. Most importantly of all, make sure you're assaulting your opponent, and not the other way around. The orks true advantages in close combat are powerklaws, fearlessness, and numbers. Usually, this means using a lot of troops in the same army, but what's really important is picking your fights carefully, only starting fights you'll know you'll win, and having each of your units supporting each other in some fashion.
20. (Thanks BossGorestompa) Try including some fast 'cavalry' units that have the ability to move very quickly. Large groups of regular Orks have trouble after the first round of combat, but if they're supported by a unit of deffkoptas, warbikes or trukkboyz, it can mean the difference between swift victory and a slow, crushing defeat. Bikes, koptas and trukks can also arrive from far away, so I like to keep them hidden between the units of large boyz, so they can rush over and help where and when they're needed.
21. Remember, only troop choices can claim objectives (aside from 2 missions, but you can't count on either coming up), so be sure to use plenty of regular troops. Also keep in mind that vehicles can't claim or contest objectives, so deff dreads and empty trukks don't count, even when taken as troops. I often take a single unit of 12-16 grots with a runtherd, just to claim objectives when necessary. They can also stand in front of your army, giving everyone behind them a 4+ save, and can overwatch fire at charging enemies.
22. (Thanks AKM) Cover is your friend, both for your vehicles and orks. The cover save will keep them alive, provide much needed obscurement for trukks, and if your opponent doesn't have frag grenades, you'll strike first in close combat, provided that they assault you. I always give rams to trukks, so they can hide behind or inside cover for obscurement, and then simply drive through the cover on the following turn, straight towards the enemy. On a related note, beware fellow ork players who hide large groups of shoota boyz in terrain. It might be worth putting stikkbomb chukkas on some of your trukks, otherwise they'll always strike first when you assault them. Just don't give units of 20-30 boyz individual stikkbombs. It's too expensive.
23. Kommandos do not work that well with the 6th edition rules, since you can't assault the turn you outflank. Their burnas are still nice, but they're probably not worth it.
24. Combi-scorchas are your friends. They add a lot of versatility to any unit, and can be taken by Warbosses, Big Meks, Nobz, and Meganobz for virtually no cost at all. I always make sure to give them to Meganobz, as it allows them to deal with hordes well. None of the other combi-weapons are worth it though. Combi-rokkits cost just as much and only provide a single shot per game, that only has a 1 in 3 chance of hitting.
25. Battlewagons aren't as durable as they used to be, since opponents can always hit them in close combat on 3's. Use them as cheap transports, perhaps with a deffrolla and grot riggers. Don't expect them to last long when they get into close range with the enemy.
26. Have a plan for dealing with flyers, especially in larger point games. Even in 1000 point games, I'd use at least one unit that can deal with them. Right now, the only Ork units that seem to consistently work well against flyers are: lootas, dakkajets, Imperial bastion fortifications w/quad-gun (the aegis defense line's gun won't last long enough), and allied flyers/shooty units from other armies (most notably the Imperial Guard).
27. When in doubt, get more boyz. ^_^