From the release preview, we’ve known about the ‘alignment wheel’ and that, accordingly, Orks are able to ally themselves with both the Imperial Guard (okay fine, Astra Militarum) and the forces of Chaos. Sounds good, right? We’ve gotten previews for all of these factions now, so let’s take a moment to look at some potential combos with the Orks!
A few things to consider first: the yellow circle thingy indicates that a particular card belongs to a Warlord’s signature squad and cannot be used in any other fashion. A blue circle thingy means that a particular card is ‘loyal’ to its printed faction and, thusly, cannot be used in a deck belonging even to an allied faction. Finally, you may choose only 1 of the 2 allied factions to be included your deck.
I am not going to get into thematic appropriateness with these cards today. Even though I love the fluff, we will be speaking strictly in terms of mechanics and strategy. While it may be weird to see an Umbral Preacher in an Ork deck, he still has his tactical uses.
As an aside, I’m sure it’s obvious but it may be worth noting that a deck always aligns to its Warlord’s faction.
Of the spoiled cards for the Astra Militarum only two can be played by allied factions. In the card fan, though, I see a nice Hellhound that could potentially serve as a lovely looted vehicle, assuming it is not loyal. Those two cards are the Ratling Deadeye and the Catachan Outpost.
The Deadeye is a cheap army unit that will let you ping one enemy during the Ranged skirmish before the battle proper starts. He also has one command hammer, which can be useful with a cheap ally to secure an empty planet for the command struggle. But is he worth including in an Ork deck? Unlikely.
While Orks do have lots of damage manipulation/shifting abilities which could potentially leave a weakened enemy unit open to being picked off by the Deadeye, it’s hard to say if his ability is worth taking up precious space in your deck. It would be difficult to scale his ATK: his miserly 1 HP means he cannot benefit from Brutal without expanding his HP pool, and his HP pool can only be expanded to 2 with Cybork Armour.
The Catachan Outpost, on the other hand, looks great. +2 ATK is always welcomed, especially when the core Orks are all about boosting the Boyz to greater attack strength. Now notice that the Outpost is not unique, so you can have up to 3 copies in your deck and 3 in play. That’s +6 ATK to spread around your Boyz. Seems like a natural fit and the versatility of multiple copies should be exciting!
Within the card fan is a Hostile Environment Suit which costs just 1 resource and grants an army unit +3 HP; perfect fit with the direction Orks are taking! However it’s unclear whether or not it is a loyal card. If not, it’s an easy inclusion for the Ork/AM deck.
Gork, Mork, and Tzeentch
Not unlike the AM cards, most of the spoiled Chaos cards are either loyal or belong to a signature squad (which is pretty much the same thing) and of the three full spoilers that aren’t I don’t see many good fits.
The aforementioned Umbral Preacher is an interesting ally, designed to stick around (4 HP) and keep anyone from retreating from a battle. If you’re mixing in Chaos with your Boyz anyway, this could be a good fit when played properly: if you have the advantage of a nice swarm of Orks then his ability is potentially fatal to the enemy. Do note that it says ‘army‘ unit, so this will not prevent the Warlord from escaping, but it does have the power to keep a large enemy force tied up and hopefully smashed.
The titanic Soul Grinder is a tough call. It is massive with a terrible ability: if the daemon is committed to a planet in which you win a command struggle the enemy must choose and discard one unit. Ouch. However, it’s cost is 6 and unless you include some Cultists to help mitigate the costs that’s going to prevent you from fielding too many Boyz and will leave you tapped for later phases. I’m on the fence with this guy, unless you’re planning on a ‘big unit’ deck and are prepared for it.
Finally, there is the Warpstorm. Apparently an easy fit with core Ork decks, this 3 cost event deals 2 damage to all units at a planet. It’s basically a more potent version of Ork Kannon or the Weirdboy and should be used as such: either to pick off enemies or pump your Orks up for use with the Brutal keyword. Using bigger units would make the 2 damage negligible and a great boon along with Brutal.
The card fan here provides some potentially more interesting options.
Rune-encrusted Armor is a no-brainer. +2 HP and +2 ATK for 2 cost is crazy and an easy fix for some of the weaker Ork units to benefit from Brutal. Those weenie Snotlings are now a respectable 3 ATK, 3HP unit for 3 cost. Not too bad! Or, of course, it can be used on a Nob to take him to even greater heights of power.
The rest are Chaos Space Marines and other creatures that could potentially fit snugly in your Ork deck if you’re going with a heavy unit focus. We can’t see all of their stats or abilities, but I’m sure we can safely say they’re nasty and will compliment well any Ork swarm.
I’m excited to try an Ork deck augmented with some of the nice abilities we’ve seen from the Astra Militarum so far. Blood Axes are my favorite tribe so it’s a nice thematic fit as well!
What do you think? Are you pleased with the options for AM and Chaos, or underwhelmed?