Evil Sunz

Each faction in the grand world of Warhammer 40,000 takes its own way to the various necessities of war gaming; their own highway from the theme to the meta. This goes from infantry to power armor to vehicles to space travel to the base motivations for waging war in the first place.

For the Orks, it mostly boils down to genetic disposition, which I’ve discussed before. In terms if vehicle use, a tank or trukk is just a means to blow things up faster or arrive at a fight more quickly. But for some it becomes a matter obsession. If each of the Ork tribes are focused on one facet of combat, for the Evil Sunz it is all about vehicles.

motivator5758120It should come as no surprise, then, that it is from the Evil Sunz that most Speed Freeks come. The Speed Freeks are that bizarre sub-faction within the Orks, restricted to no particular clan or tribe, that is absolutely obsessed with going faster, no matter the cost. Among them are the warbikes, which simply must be represented in Conquest at some point. These are the Orks who subscribe to the popular wisdom that says ‘Red wunz go fasta!’ This returns us to the mystery that is the WAAAGH!!, that battle cry/psychic field that makes stupid Orks into bloodthirsty warriors, holds Orkish technology (that should explode) together, and actually makes red things go just that much faster.

So the Evil Sunz use more vehicles than any of the other Ork factions and they also have the highest number of Mekboys per capita. The Mekboys are the engineers, the builders, the ones who keep the fight going when all the good bits break down; and you need lots of Meks to keep an Evil Sunz army moving.

While the Bad Moons will use their teef on the flash-est of shootas and battle gear, the Sunz only go in for bikes, trukks, tanks, anything to get the to the fight faster (no footsloggin’ here!). So in at least one sense they are the most orky of orks, but don’t tell the Goffs. They are the fastest and most eager to get to the fight, and who can argue with such orkiness?warhammer-40000-dawn-of-war-20040623021555596-000

I really hope to see a Big Mek Warlord in the near future with some kind effect on vehicles, as I said in my post on Loot. The Evil Sunz are the obvious target for such a warlord, with some kind of global boost on vehicles and lots and lots of attachments. Another on my wish list would be some warbikers with ambush! Zooming in with some bikey boys in the middle of a battle is something I really want to happen.

Well there are only a few Ork Tribes left to go! Hopefully we will see some more represented in actual cards by the time I’m done. The core set should be released in just a few weeks and then the Warlord Cycle begins soon after that! WAAAGH!!

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To Arkhona

I meant to enter this story in the short story contest put on by the folks making Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. Sadly I didn’t get it done in time to meet yesterday’s deadline, hence the abrupt ending. So! I’m putting it here for your Orkish enjoyment.

To Arkhona

The darkness of space does not welcome life. It is void, unsustainable, hopelessly bleak and cold. Space-faring people face this hostile vacuum and cross it when they must, but black nothing does not suffer well the living. Some peoples, however, fare better than others in this colorless star-sea, especially when the promise of battle and glory goes before them.

And thus Snaga waited on some seat or other, somewhere in the Kharon sector or somesuch, scratching his flanks and looking at his shoota. It was cramped aboard the Krooza Kill Kutta, and so work — something struck him and he fell to the side.

‘Oy! Mind yerself, ya git!’ cried the thing that had struck him.

Even its brawling opponent stood to the side, fists on hips, looking belligerent. ‘Yar! Dere’s fightin’ here!’

The moment having seemingly passed, the Choppa Boy who’d crashed into Snaga drew surreptitiously and dove at his opponent, blade waggling. They would fight for the next hour or so, with another two outraged interruptions when they would inevitably crash into more Orks.

Conditions were tight aboard the Krooza, and so Snaga had barely the time to keep his shoota polished, but it was worthy work. If nothing else it gave him time to reflect. He’d always been the living definition of a ‘runty grot’, if it ever applied to an Ork. Whereas the gretchin and grots were actually tiny, Snaga was only tiny for an Ork; standing at about the same height as your average Guardsman. The fact of his survival was largely a matter of a decent shooting eye, cowardice, and pure luck. But this trip had caused some doom to fill his tiny mind: he was not going to survive it.

‘Where’s we goin’ again?’ he thought aloud.

‘Crama or Charna or some uvva hole out dere. Bleedin’ stink-pit, morelike,’ said another shoota boy to his side.

‘How’s dat, den?’

‘Ain’t nuffink down ‘ere for all I’ve ‘eard. Prob’ly end up ambushed by beakies or the like.’

‘A propa fight, den!’ Snaga said bravely.

The dissenting Ork,  pale green and covered with scars and markings in the shape of an oblong star, shrugged. ‘Ain’t just humies, I fink. Reckon dere’s Chaos boys and panzees an’ worse. One krooza ain’t winnin’ dat fight.’

This was the wrong time for such talk as many orks passed here and there, monitoring the fight which looked to incorporate more rowdy boys into the fray. A towering shadow overcame Snaga and his companion; a rather sharp voice cut through the racket.

‘Wot’s all dis, den? Two weedy runts afeared uv a little fightin’?’

The shoota boy, small to begin with, seemed to visibly shrink with the Nob looming over him. ‘Nuffink like dat, boss!’ he squealed, ‘We’s just havin’ a joke, right Snaga?’

A blank look was Snaga’s reply. It was show enough of his quality that his shoota didn’t fall from his shaking hand at that very moment.

‘And yer a lyin’ little grot, too, ain’t ya?’ bellowed Rafgraf, the nastiest and meanest Nob on the ship.

The shoot laughed a bit too nervously, ‘Nar! We’s just–’

A deafening, ‘YEEEEEEEEEEEEOW!’ preceding a ‘WAAAGH!!’ shattered the low din of Ork voices in the main chamber of the krooza. The fight had ended…or just begun. That was never quite clear. The shout was like a charge through the body of Rafgraf and he grinned a horrible grin, spiky teeth springing from his mouth.

‘Seems ter me you needs a reminda of what a real fight is!’ he said.

The shoota stammered, Snaga waited nervously, then like a pouncing animal the Nob swung, and connected, and the Shoota Boy flew. It was nothing to make a Rokkit Boy proud, but far enough to send him crashing into the bulkhead.

‘WAAAGH!!’ bellowed Rafgraf and strode forward to finish the fight.

As if in answer the bulkhead shook and the rest of the ship rattled with it and all present fell over. Bins full of bolter rounds and ammo clips and choppas and shootas fell with their owners and a poor, lone case of fungus beer tipped over. The gretchin present cried in woe. And then all was still, even quiet, for a moment and there was silence until Rafgraf broke it.

‘Wot’s all dis den?!’

‘Dunno, boss,’ said Snaga quite honestly.

A voice came through wall-mounted speakers like tin. ‘Oy! We’s bein’ boarded ya grots! Get da lead out!’ It was Verrt, Big Mek and the right hand of the Warboss. When he jumped all the other Orks jumped their highest, and Rafgraf was a fine jumper.

‘On me, ya runty squeaks!’ he said. Three dozen boys fell in instantly: Shootas, Choppas, Lootas, even a ‘Ard Boy or two clamored and shoved their way to the fight. The Nob screamed unintelligibly and ran in the direction he deemed the most fighty. Snaga kept at his heels and they charged for what felt, to an Ork, like days. When no fight appeared there was grumbling: was this some ruse, some training exercise by the Boss until the real fight began on Arkhona? Ork physiology does not lend itself well to such thoughts, so it was a stroke of good fortune that the corridor to their left exploded.

Through the gaping hole poured more Orks and a few large men. They gave no battle cry, but engaged the fight straightaway. The disdain of Rafgraf was palpable. ‘Soddin’ freebooters! Send ‘em packin’, lads! WAAAGH!!’ And battle was joined. Rafgraf and his crew crashed into the invaders like oil and water colliding, a chaotic swarm of red and green and fire. Pistols shot, blades flew, limbs were severed. To the untrained eye, the tactics of the Orks were no more than the mantra many of them repeated: ‘Shoot! Chop! Shoot! Chop!’ But in fact they worked as one, each intuitively sensing his mate’s next move; a well-oiled machine that soon surrounded the boarding party. The freebooters were pushed back, almost to the sealed gangway by which they’d come, until Snaga felt the tide of battle shift. Another mob of pirates, these mostly humans in mismatched armor, turned the corridor to their left and opened fire. A wall of boys dropped like bricks and more soon followed.

The blam-blam of heavy fire cut into their flanks, forcing the rearmost Orks to break away and charge the pirates. They too were cut down. Rafgraf, and Snaga with him, were caught between the hammer and the anvil; stuck in, hand to hand against one company with another blasting their sides. Then, like the cry of an avenging angel, Snaga heard sweet music.

‘Bring on da dakka! Shoot! Shoot, ya gits!’

It was Gutlug, their resident Flash Git, and the rest of his boys bringing up the rear. The chorus of dakkadakkadakka matched the bleating of their guns; the clanging of shells against the hard floor of the ship wondrous percussion. If the din of battle was loud before, it was now deafening. But the effect was achieved and the void pirates who hadn’t been cut to ribbons fled back the way they came. Rafgraf and his lads, spurred on by the joy of battle, messily finished the others in a slaughter of fire and choppa strikes.

The battle lasted less than an hour after that, but Snaga wanted more. He felt power surging through his green body, battle lust calling him to kill and kill again. When the last shot was fired Verrt was heard almost immediately on the communication system.

‘Bit o’ turbulence dere, lads, but a fine bit o’ sport afore the real fight! We’s going to Arkhona and we’s takin’ dat rock for da Orks! Bring on dem pirate boyz or humies or whateva. Wurr da Orks and we fight and we win!’

When the ubiquitous ‘WAAAGH!’ came and threatened to break apart the already tired hull of the Krooza Kill Kutta, Snaga was the first and the loudest.

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Confessions of a Worldeater

My first GenCon experience is behind me, and what a wonderful one at that! With it went my first ‘big kid’ tournament, the Worldeater. Here are some early reflections on the tournament itself and Conquest.

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Con Tournaments are like Combat

I have a friend who does big tournaments with some regularity and I’m often amazed at his endurance. Doubly so now. Registration for Worldeater was at 11; first pairings were at 12; cuts for top eight didn’t happen until after 8PM. That many games for that much time puts you into a unique position with your fellow players. You’re stuck in together, brains fried, loving and hating it as the day passes. You’re brothers-in-arms by default as the rest of the Con slides by, all free to do as they please while you’re slogging it out for glory. All the dudes (and one woman) who stuck it out have my respect.

Playing that much is good for your meta game, though!

Designers are People, Too

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting (and drinking) with several designers from Fantasy Flight, Cubicle 7, Mayday, and more, and they’re all incredibly cool, nice people. They just love games and games are their job (sometimes; there appears to be a lot of part-timers who give up their free time for the love of the game). There is no ivory tower from which they dispense errata and intentionally broken card designs. Caleb and Matt from The Lord of the Rings LCG and Brad, the Conquest lead, do great work and are all around good dudes. I even squeezed a hint at a spoiler out of Brad re an Ork card. Mum’s the word.

They all also work their asses off at GenCon for us nerds.

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A Balanced Core Set

I was very pleased to see that just about everyone was playing every mix of factions. The only one I didn’t see directly was a Chaos warlord, but I only saw a fraction of the players there. The decision to limit the tourney to one Core Set was smart even as a final play test, and I think it showed that all factions are viable. My Ork/AM deck went 3-3. I beat (and lost to) AM/SM, Tau/Eldar, Tau/SM, Ork/Chaos, and so on. All were tight matches, and I’m not a skilled player at all.

Brad did tell me that he feels very confident about the level of balance for Conquest. He said one of the killers for Invasion was that the first cycle was imbalanced and tilted the game off a bit from the start. They (FFG) have learned and Conquest looks to handle all these factions well.

The single core set factor did make decks inconsistent, so if you got your cards you did have the edge, but no one was completely crushed. I never did find out what the winning deck was…

Command is Clutch

If you want to learn a game fast, play in a big tournament. I learned so much about this game in the games I played yesterday that my brain is still processing it all. One takeaway I will share with you is this: Command struggles are the thing. Like any game with a resource system, if you can take the loot for yourself and keep it from your opponent then it’s game over (mostly). Battles and deployment and initiative are hugely important as well, but right now I do feel that command struggles are a tad more crucial to the overall game. I was decimated my first name because I just could not get the units out quick enough and my opponent swept through the system and ate up all the resources before I could get my WAAAGH!! running smoothly. Get those gears.

Same Time Next Year

Worldeater, and my whole GenCon experience got me excited for Conquest and all things tabletop. Fantasy Flight releases always do well, but Conquest seemed not only enthusiastic, but positive. All my friends who had shown only an inkling of interest in the game before are now fans of it. As I said above, FFG have learned a lot from previous LCGs and I think Conquest is going to reap the benefits.

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Pre-GenCon Update

I wanted to leave you all with a meaty discussion on the next ork tribe, the Evil Sunz, before I depart for that three-hotel circus known as GenCon (I don’t know how many hotels they actually use), but time ran short! So, let me suffice with a quick smattering of all the news going around the community this week as we ramp up to the big release.

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First, I will be attending GenCon 2014 and I will be participating in the Worldeater Tournament representing, of course, da orks! If you missed it, the point of controversy with this tournament has been that Fantasy Flight are only allowing entrants the use of 1 core set of the game, as opposed to…well, as many as it takes to build up the 50 card deck of your choosing. In the plus column, this makes the tournament friendlier to new players and we’re pretty much all new players. It will mean a little more luck and a little less skill, since most cards only get 1 copy or so in the core set. I hope that it makes for a competitive tournament that’s maybe just a little bit less about flexing one’s deck-building might. The negative, of course, is that it is not a true tournament experience where everyone brings the nastiest decks they can come up with and that has some people upset. As an example, I mentioned in a previous spoiler article that one Ork Kannon is just so-so, but with three in play you could really do some damage. So we will just have to wait and see what we can come up with once multiple core sets are purchased and a few War Packs are released.

The other bit of news is that all the cards are now spoiled on CardGameDB! Have a look here. The resolution is a bit low, but what can you do? All the cards are revealed along with counts for the core set, so us tournament goers can begin thinking about deck design. With the information now available, I went ahead and made a little spreadsheet that might be useful here.

So that’s the big news for this week! Expect a big update with all of my GenCon experiences soon — I won’t promise one during the event, as I may just be having too much fun to blog, but certainly next week after the dust settles. 

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Damage, Dakka, and Rokkits

As our friends over at Fantasy Flight Games ramp up for the debut of Conquest at GenCon in just a few short weeks, more and more information is coming to light! Just today the Tau preview, the final faction preview I might add, was released, along with a PDF of the rulesand a second preview for the War Packs of the Warlord Cycle!

Per usual I have sifted through the odds and ends and looted what Orkish goodies I could from the fold, so let’s have a look.

Get all dem bitz and skrapz fer da boss!

dakkadakkadakka

From the preview for the second pack in the Warlord Cycle, The Scourge, we got the usual fan and an Ork card was front and center. As an aside, I’m torn over how I feel about their use of the ‘clam packs’ for the new game: is it more economical/ecological than the usual cardboard packs that the other LCGS use? I don’t know, but it’s uglier.

In any case, the card in question is Dakka Dakka Dakka! and it literally deals 1 damage to each unit during the Deploy phase. This is kind of bonkers and Orky and plays right into the strategy I’ve been reiterating time and again for the Orks up to this point: damage manipulation. Early game this could be useful to put a few points on an opposing force that is outpacing you, whilst pumping up your boyz. Late game it could be used to pick off a few units in conjunction with the direct damage cards we’ve seen already (more on that later). Thematically, it represents da boss going nuts and shooting everything up.

On the one hand, I like the implementation of dakka in this regard. On the other, I think of ‘mo dakka’ as a batch of Shootas and Flash Gitz blasting everything in sight. So it’s a potential balancing act, having it affect only Ork Warlords in lieu of tricky wording. Because you can’t limit it to ranged units and not all army units have the proper guns to make use of the card.

In any case, I doubt this will be the last we see of the DAKKA. I’m sure the have propa ork taktikz in mind for the future.

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Direct damage is a big part of the Orks as they’ve been represented so far and some particular wording caught my eye before I got bored of the rules reference:

Moved damage bypasses all damage prevention and reassign opportunities, and is placed directly upon the card to which it has been moved.

Maybe you were somehow aware of this, but it makes Kraktoof Hall huge! The damage moved by this support cannot be shielded or cancelled in any way, making it a perfect tool for eliminating annoying units or polishing off damaged Warlords. Think of the possibilities of having even a single point of unstoppable damage.

More Boyz

I also snagged a few new unit cards that are, I believe, as yet unspoiled.

rokkit boy snotlingscrushfaceI may go into more details with these, in terms of strategic value, a little later. But! It’s nice to know that the Orks have some defense against Flying units and it’s good to finally see the runty Snotlings token card revealed.

Crushface will also be incredibly useful in fielding boyz at a reduced cost and I’m glad to finally get a full reveal on this guy who we saw through a fuzzy filter so very long ago.

For now, enjoy the spoils! I’ve decided to put all the spoiled cards into one place under the Gallery tab. I hope it’s useful. And remember: red ones go faster!

Orks and their Allies

 

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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.

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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.

Puny Humies

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?