Morkish Cunning – Building A New Ork List: Feral Greentide

Let’s be honest ladz, there’s a discouragingly growing list of grievances for Ork players in 9th Edition, but rather than take the fluctuations in rules and the differences in Codex strength to harshly, I’ve decided to get in touch with my inner Brainboy ways and start over from scratch in thinking about what the ideal Ork list looks like.  Coming into 9th Edition, so much has changed; the major meta lists have been toppled from their pedestals, especially as the two most prominent HQ choices have been removed, and others substantially changed.  With our next codex many, many months away, we have to lean into these changes for now and dig up some new techniques.

For the next few weeks, I would like to take you along my journey of experimentation.  My goal is to identify some new themed lists made possible through the existing Ork codex and Saga of the Beast. I would like to underline that these lists will be experiments that will lean heavily into one particular element. After we’ve seen what worked and what didn’t, perhaps we’ll have gained enough information to find the right blend of the best.  The lists we’ll be looking at are as follows:

  • Trukk Boyz – A Snakebite list that favors resilient transports swarming on objectives for Primary dominance
  • Kommandos – A Blood Axes list that features massed Kommandos supported by Snikrot, Thraka, and Korkscrew Scrapjets to maximize terrain usage and deepstrike threat overload
  • Gretchin Daka – A Grot Mob list that prioritizes Mek Gunz and Forgeworld Grot shooting to obliterate the opponent with high volume/strength/damage shooting.
  • Ebony Kans –  A Goff list that utilizes Thraka and Makari to maximize the resilience and melee combat of Killa Kans’ incredible melee and ranged potential.
  • Greentide – A Feral Orks list that relies on extreme amounts of Boyz backed back Painboys and Big Meks to outlast enemy shooting until it’s too late.
  • The All-Rounder – Evil Sunz list featuring a Biggest Boss Zhardsnark, teleporta delivered boyz, a Visions of Smoke enhanced Gorkonaut, and Mek Gunz for ranged threat.

The first list we’ll look at today is the Feral Orks based greentide.  Let’s take a look at the proposed list:

The List – A Feral Orks Greentide Battallion

Right Flank

  • Big Mek w/ KFF (Cleverest Mek Upgrade, Warlord Trait – Follow Me Ladz) + Grot Oiler
  • 29 Boyz w/ Slugga/Choppa & Nob w/ Powerklaw (3x Tankbusta Bombs)
  • 29 Boyz w/ Shootas & Nob w/ Powerklaw (3x Tankbusta Bombs)
  • Painboy

Left Flank

  • Big Mek w/ KFF
  • Warboss w/ Da Killa Klaw (Biggest Boss Upgrade)
  • 29 Boyz w/ Slugga/Choppa & Nob w/ Powerklaw (3x Tankbusta Bombs)
  • 29 Boyz w/ Shootas & Nob w/ Powerklaw (3x Tankbusta Bombs)
  • Painboy

Central Reinforcing Position

  • 29 Boyz w/ Slugga/Choppa & Nob w/ Powerklaw (3x Tankbusta Bombs)
  • Nob w/ Waagh Banner

Rear Guard

  • 9 Boyz w/ Shootas & Nob w/ Powerklaw (1x Tankbusta Bombs)

Deep Strike

  • 5x Kommandos w/ Big Choppa
  • 5x Kommandos w/ Big Choppa
  • 1x Deffkopta
  • 1x Deffkopta
  • 1x Deffkopta
The Wildest of Wildboyz

The Game Plan

So, have you ever seen the movie Zulu with Michael Caine?  The Zulu warriors attack the British position at Roake’s Drift with a main force in the center while the two flanks overwhelm the enemy, with the center actually acting as a reinforcing body if one of the flanks falters.  It didn’t work out too well for the Zulus in that movie (the British redcoats are the OG bolter discipline Marine-meta I suppose), but that’s the general idea here. This list wants to completely flood the left, right, and center by sheer weight of bodies and saves.

The single detachment meta is really hard on Ork lists, so the Big Mek warlord with the Follow Me Ladz warlord trait has become very popular to allow this economical coverage. I can position one warboss, one Big Mek, and one Painboy on one flank, the warlord Big Mek and a Painboy on the other to allow the entire mob of 150 to advance and charge under the defense coverage of a 5++ Forcefield and a 6+++ Feel No Pain.  Ideally, the Waaagh Banner stays within range of both flanks via center positioning or opts to head with the group moving into the nastiest combat. Combined with an inevitable Turn 1 or Turn 2 Unstoppable Greentide (3CP, revive a depleted squad back to their starting number), it imposes a very resilient mass of 200 T4 bodies that are difficult to taper.  

This is a list that wants to also start fully deployed on the board.  I went far in last season’s ITC events by denying my opponent the ability to shoot any of my units – null deploying the entire continent of 1000 points worth of boys in the Teleporta – so this represents a big departure for me.   Coming in from a deepstrike with a 9” charge, you always wanted to be fielding an Evil Sunz list for their innate +1 to charge rolls.  The big question is whether the Feral Orks’ 3d6 pick the highest advance roll, plus the 6” pile-in will give a footslogging greentide army more movement than going with Evil Sunz.  Making the most of the pile-in will be key I think.

Preferred Secondary Choices:

  • Engage on All Fronts – Kommandos and Deffcopters are built explicitly into this list to guarantee high scoring on this objective. Domination is a strong option, depending on the mission.
  • Bring It Down, Thin Their Ranks, Abhor the Witch – Many lists feature a list that factors into one of these three. Although built for resiliency, the Feral Orks will mulch anything unwise enough to get in charge range.
  • Investigate Sites – This pairs rather well with the Big Meks as they generally want to keep pace with the large hordes bunched in the center of the board, and can afford to sacrifice their action as they have no offensive power.  Kommandos could also potentially support this secondary.
  • Most Mission Objectives – A good amount of the mission objectives favor such a massive map glutting horde and should be considered vs. Investigate Sites, Teleport Homers or Deploy Scramblers.

Experimentation Targets

  • Can Feral Orks footslog to important positions faster than Evil Sunz?
  • Can this list sustain enough fire to make it into melee and maintain objective control?
  • Is the handicap of giving full points to the Secondary Objective: Thin Their Ranks acceptable vs. its primary objective scoring?
  • Can an Ork list function without fielding a dedicated ranged threat?
  • Can this list physically even fit in most deployments?!

My Hypothesis

  • This list is going to haul ass to the center of the board
  • I’m going to wish I had something cheap to hold back field objectives (but I’m out of Troop slots!)
  • I’m going to dominate the Primary Objectives and get hosed on the Secondaries
  • My opponent will remark “That’s a lot of Boyz” at least 10 times.
  • The Painboys will continue to be one of the worst units in the codex.

Test Case – Feral Orks vs. Tyranids

To my surprise, this high of a model count was able to very cleanly fit on the Sweep & Clear mission, allowing me to position the hordes in the left, center, and right arrangement I had originally envisioned.  With every horde afforded the space to start directly on the line of scrimmage, I held my home objective with my reinforcement squad of 10 boyz, who were also able to provide enough deepstrike coverage around the empty third of my deployment space.

My opponent took the first turn, whittling down the central squad to under 10 models, with minor nicks here and there on other units. With the center objective only 9 inches from my starting line, and the two side objectives 12” on my left and right flanks, the Feral Orks combined with their Warboss and my Warboss Lite Big Mek were able to achieve the distance needed to get almost full coverage on three of the 5 objectives by the close of turn one.  Although my 3d6 advance rolls were strong, I realized how powerful the 1CP reroll (letting you reroll ALL the dice when luck turned sour) was for ensuring that every advance came out to a 5-6 inch.  The Evil Sunz flat +1 to move and advance combined with an advance roll is mathematically superior, but I found much better reliability to move BIG on those advance rolls.  The Tyranid player, realizing the importance of the center, had also attempted to flood the point, allowing for a wave of all but one of five main boyz squads to successfully make it into combat on Turn 1.  My turn one casualties were revived on Turn 1, putting a fresh-faced squad of 30 boyz in the enemy’s backfield, who also successfully made a reasonable 9” charge from deepstrike into the backfield exocrine artillery.

We all know how powerful a squad of 30 boyz can be in melee, but the move from 25mm to 32mm bases had really hampered how effective they could be.  The six-inch pile-in also came in bigger than expected. The huge six inches allowed for very broad combat width and almost full participation from each boyz squad in their fight.  It also allowed much, much more aggressive counter swarming of objectives on enemy Genestealers and Gaunts that had taken forward positions. Another overlooked advantage was utilizing the 6” pile-in to avoid heroic interventions. I could minimize the frontage of models that made contact with the enemy during my charges, preventing critical enemy interventions during the Charge Phase, but losing no fight-phase combat width due to such deep pile-ins in the Fight Phase. It seems like a small feature, but twice it was a make-or-break technique to avoid very hard-hitting Tyranid big-guy characters.

With plentiful CP to fight twice and interrupt the enemy fight phase, my center, and right flank force consolidated on the central and southeast objectives, securing the primary objectives for the remainder of the game, and scoring well on the mission-based secondary objective.  As plotted, my own reserves appeared with small footprints in each of the four corners of the board. The combo of Kommandos and Deffkoptas (which have a free innate deepstrike) provided redundancy encase one unit was plinked out of a corner. These scored Engage in All Fronts till games end.

Morkish Takeaways

  • This list should never be afraid to spend a CP on rerolling an advance it didn’t like. With no worthwhile shooting, it is incredibly economical on CP expenditure and can afford the cost.  CP, in general, is almost always available to allow your mobs to Fight Twice and/or interrupt each turn. This provides a constant menace and threat that you can wipe a wide swath of the enemy’s models during their own Fight Phase.
  • Running such a list in 8th Edition would be unthinkable, but the smaller board size and cramped objective placement in book missions work well with this list in the same way that transports are serving for other armies.  The Feral Ork bonuses are very legit. The 6-inch pile-in especially seems like a hard counter to forward deploy units like Nurglings, allowing multiple turn 1 charges that then slingshot deep into enemy territory and reverse the zoning.  In a moment of desperation, the “Fight Twice” stratagem can be triggered to give a unit an additional 9” of pile-in/consolidation, even if they don’t have a target to attack. For those doing the mental math, in the right circumstances, a unit could theoretically footslog a 5” move +6” advance +12” charge +6” pile-in +3” consolidation +6” second pile-in +3” second consolidation = 41 inches. Haulin’ ass indeed.
  • Greentide feels strong. On one hand, there is the obvious weakness of running into lists with lots of blast weapons, but ultimately it only needs to weather a single turn of fire before it’s into the enemy line and mixing it up in melee. Although this list starts with a lot of bodies, it doesn’t end with very many. Even with the Kustom Forcefields and frustratingly bad but integral Painboys, 80% of the army was dead by turn 5. Ultimately though, the list doesn’t need to finish the match with boots on the ground, as long as it had staying power for the preceding five turns.  It had the resiliency when and where it counted.  Each flank having two waves of mobs and the powerful speed also allowed the flanks to reinforce different fronts that waivered.
  • Big Mek w/ Follow Me Ladz and the Cleverest Boss Upgrade is the real deal. Expect to see him featured in many, many lists.
  • Apart from the Warboss (who’s nightmarishly powerful in melee), the list really doesn’t have very sharp offensive teeth vs. T8 targets. My boyz clanged against the enemy Exocrine to little effect for several turns, but perhaps the full wrap of vehicles and monsters in that sort of the situation through a 6” pile-in is good enough if your intent from the get-go is to really only prioritize the primary objectives.


With the current meta, I think a greentide can work, especially if ran with Feral Orks. Even many Ork players won’t have the patience to field the 200 infantry models in this list, but the current missions favor this sort of playstyle. The big question is whether the choice of Feral Orks is superior to the other mainline picks. Deathskullz have become a popular choice as of late as they can kill really well and have spicy rerolls, but they in-turn give up one, often two major Secondaries, handicapping them from reaching the top. I have some other ideas for accessing some of the hidden strengths in a Snakebite list (which will be covered in the next article), but they don’t have the speed massed boyz need to avoid two turns of shooting. Footslogging relies completely on the speed of the models to reduce the number of turns they have to take enemy fire, and as a final conclusion, I think only Evil Sunz has a chance of competing versus this overlooked Sub-Kulture for those looking to lean super hard into this classic Ork theme.

I hope you enjoyed this first edition of Morkish Cunning – Building a New Ork List! Next time we’ll be taking a look at Trukk Boyz, a list I’ve been testing thoroughly in my Crusade games. Small spoilers, in the process of finding something fun, I may have found something pretty tough! Feel free to share your own list ideas or favorite thematic directions; heck, maybe we’ll take your idea for a spin after we get through the starting topics! So, leave your comments below and follow us on the usual social platforms to stay current with the latest GDFC releases. If you’re interested in joining our Discord community, please reach out to us at for an invite!