In this week’s round of experimentation, we’ll be looking at one of the most requested list themes for Orks – Trukk Boyz. Beloved by GorkaMorka aficionados, in 8th Edition this was perhaps one of the very worst and least effective ways to run an Ork list. Early big-brain thinkers in 9th Edition have written how effective the transport game can be in the primary objective heavy early meta. We’ve seen it with massed Guard transports, Rhino rushes, Harlequins and more. Can the lowly Ork Trukk pull off the same tricks we’ve seen elsewhere? Let’s find out.
As a reminder, over the next few weeks we’ll be continuing my journey of experimentation across many different themed lists and combos unlocked by Saga of the Beast, the codex and the new edition’s rules. Also, please keep in mind that all of these “experiments” are not intended to craft the best Ork list, but stress-test various fringe ideas to see if we can’t mine up a new gem or two to take into your tournaments. In the future, we’ll be looking at the following lists:
- 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 Dakka – 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.
- 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.
- Trukk Boyz – A Snakebite list that favors resilient transports swarming on objectives for Primary dominance
- Greentide – Check out last edition’s Feral Orks list that relied on extreme amounts of Boyz backed back Painboys and Big Meks to outlast enemy shooting until it’s too late!
So for our second list, I’ve tested out a Snakebites-based Trukk boyz list versus five different opponents (Chaos, Guard, Thousand Sons, Space Marines, Demons). Let’s take a look at the proposed list:
The List – A Trukk Boyz Battalion
Left Flank Objective Grabber
- Trukk – Loaded with:
- 9 Shoota Boyz & Nob w/ Killsaw
- Trukk – Loaded with:
- 10 Tankbustas & 1 Bomb Squig
Right Flank Objective Grabber
- Trukk – Loaded with:
- 9 Shoota Boyz & Nob w/ Killsaw
- Trukk – Loaded with:
- 10 Tankbustas & 1 Bomb Squig
Central Hammer Position
- Trukk w/ Pincha Kustom Job – Loaded with:
- 9 Shoota Boyz & Nob w/ Killsaw,
- Warboss w/ Kustom Shoota, KillaKlaw and Biggest Boss upgrade
- Weirdboy w/ Warpath
- Bonebreaka w/ Grot Rigger and Red Rolla Kustom
Job, Loaded with:
- 5 MegaNobz w/ Killsaws
- Big Mek w/ Kustom Forcefield, Buzzbomb Relic, Follow Me Ladz Warlord Trait, Cleverest Mek upgrade and a Grot Oiler
- Bonebreaka w/ Grot Rigger and Forktress Kustom
Job, Loaded with:
- 6 MegaNobz w/ Killsaws
The Game Plan
Much like our prior experiment with the Feral Orks, our goal here is not so much on the punching power, but on the side of resilience. This is where the oft-overlooked Snakebites clan comes to bear. Their 6+++ Feel No Pain save is universal, and can be used on vehicles and infantry alike. The Trukk is already a rather annoyingly scrappy transport; it’s the hope of this list to extend their life ever so much to where it can last long enough to dominate primary objective scoring. When designing this list, I first looked at some of the most common terrain placement and objective positioning then determined that I could pretty reliably hide two pairs of Trukks behind obscuring terrain on turn 1 while remaining in range of some mid-field objective targets that they could zoom-zoom to.
Tankbustas pack an enormous punch, but with a 6+ save, it takes very little to slap this expensive unit away. We hope to pair a Trukk of Boyz with a Trukk of Tankbustas for very obvious reasons. If your Trukk full of tankbustas takes heavy fire and is on the verge of death, they switch over to the other Trukk to maintain their irritatingly resilient and mobile base of fire. The Trukk of Boyz are there to provide additional bodies for primary scoring, and a reasonably potent melee deterrent to guard the tankbustas.
Meanwhile, we’ve got our triple threat of terror – the two Bonebreakas and Warboss in the Trukk moving straight up the middle, screaming out “Leroy Jenkins!!!” as they aim for dropping the boyz off on the center objectives, crashing into the enemy line, and squishing anyone that dares to stop your deffrollas. The Big Mek w/ KFF is there to provide better protection on your Red Rolla, while the Weirdboy supports the absolutely fearsome MegaNobz with a Warpath, who either unload and kill everything in sight with 5×6 attacks, or pile out like evil candy from an exploded piñata after the enemy pops the battlewagon. If the terrain is advantageous and the enemy’s screening weak, you may even consider Teleporta’ing the Red Rolla and let it open up Turn 2 with the 3d6 Ramming Speed stratagem charge, but the hope is that your turn 1 advances will move your wagons deep enough for your infantry to pile out, move, and advance into advantageous charge positions.
Preferred Secondary Choices:
- Battlefield Supremacy Options:
Engage on All Fronts is generally the best choice as with such resilient vehicles that want to spread out, this is a natural take, but Domination, depending on the mission can be a better option as the speed this list offers and the dynamics of always wanting to keep the two pairs of tankbusta/boyz Trukks on the right and left flanks makes it a strong and attainable choice.
- No Mercy, No Respite Options:
Grind Them Downis really the only choice here; you have the resiliency to not give up many unit kills, but lack the firepower to score Thin Their Ranks well. While We Stand, We Fight is not viable, as the MANz very much want to be at risk in the thick of battle.
- Purge the Enemy Options:
Titan Hunter & Bring It Down are both natural choices that ride on the incredible potential of tankbustas to straight murder any vehicle they get in range of, while the two Bonebreaka and MANz also have good punching power. Cut Off the Head and Assassinate remain rare choices.
- Shadow Operations Options:
Raise the Banners, Deploy Scramblers and Teleport Homers are all about roughly equal with this list. From my experience, I found Deploy Scramblers more attainable, but your mileage may vary. Raise the Banners is a much better option if you ditch the boyz and sub in Gretchin and more Trukks in their place.
- Can the Snakebite trait and obscuring terrain save the Tankbustas from an ignoble Turn 1 death?
- Will the Trukk boyz have any degree of teeth/survivability?
- With the list having 16 potential Bring It Down points, will it give up secondary scoring to easily?
- Is this an effective approach to primary scoring domination?
- The Trukk boyz, the central theme of this list, will be the weakest part.
- I’m going to really, really wish I could afford a banner with all those MegaNobz
- The HQs are going to do some heavy lifting, but the Red Rolla’s survival and damage will make or break every game.
Test Case – Trukk Boyz vs. Ultramarines
In playing the Scorched Earth mission vs. Ultramarines, I was staring down the barrel of Eradicator Squads, a Leviathan dread and an Invictor that I knew could eat the lunch of any of my units. Turn 1 positioning was a focal point in every test match with this Trukk Boyz list, and the use of obscuring terrain was all-important, especially versus the Eradicators. With this being a super low, seven vehicle drop list, it’s quite achievable to have a good chunk safely shielded. Starting out, I hid both pairs of tankbustas/boyz Trukks out of sight, but with the central objectives only 12” from our deployment edges, both pairs were within capture range. For the Bonebreakas, I always have to just accept that they’re too big to hide, and I instead did my best to keep the enemy dreads between dense cover for the -1 to hit, and cowardly stay 24” away from the Eradicators.
Losing the roll-off, the Red Rolla Bonebreaka was rightly chosen as the primary target and ate the full firepower of the two dreadnoughts, as expected, and piddly bolt rifle shots. By keeping the embarked Big Mek within it for a 5++, and some very clutch 6+++ Feel No Pains, the battlewagon managed to get off easy and only lose one bracket of wounds. On my subsequent turn, we kept with the game-plan. Both pairs of Trukks moved to the left and right objectives in the center of the board. With 9th Edition’s much more shallow board size (this is such a huge gameplay change), this also put one of the enemy dreads in range of one tankbusta Trukk, and the Eradicator squad in range of the other. Meanwhile, the center Trukk, armed with the Pincha melee weapon, offloaded its squad of boyz onto my back objective, and then moved forward to body-block enemy outrider bikes from zooming up to engage my valuable tankbusta Trukks in the center. The two bonebreakas surged forward, with the Red Rolla getting within 7” of the enemy castle of smashy characters, intercessors, and a dreadnought. After a withering shooting phase, one tankbustas squad dropped one of the two dreadnoughts to its lowest bracket, while the other got enough lucky hits to remove the lynchpin Eradicator unit. Three damage rokkit shots do work versus Eradicators, and any other alternative could have signaled a tough loss. Although the Red Rolla completed a successful charge and smeared the enemy’s unit of aggressors on the charge, they clapped back hard via their Primaris Ancient’s banner and brought the Red Rolla down to its lowest bracket.
At the top of turn 2, the Ultramarines realized they needed to remove the Red Rolla during the shooting phase, because if left alone, it could heal up to 4 wounds from the Grot Riggers and Big Mek, raising it back to a strong bracket. All units retreated from combat with it, while the remainder of the castle and the neutered dread just barely cut away its last wounds, largely thanks to the Snakebites trait. Five MegaNobz and their Cleverest Mek warlord then menacingly unloaded very close to the enemy castle, losing the Grot Oiler during the disembark. With nothing left to shoot, the Ultramarines player took his Bladeguard veterans out of cover and made a successful charge on a tankbusta Trukk, while his outrider bikes engaged the Pincha armed Trukk loaded with the Warboss and Weirdboy. Although dealing out good damage during melee, the Pincha Trukk survived and in turn killed one bike in its counter-attack with its d6 damage klaw. The tankbusta Trukk was naturally destroyed by the Bladeguard, forcing nine remaining guys to disembark.
At the bottom of 3, on the right flank vs. the Bladeguard, the tankbustas that lost their transport switched places with the boyz squad that still had their Trukk, but instead of tangling with those elites, the disembarked Boyz opted to instead get into charge range of the enemy’s backfield objective, guarded by Assault Intercessors. The warboss also disembarked from his Pincha Trukk, which was centrally located, to fight the Outrider bikes and sent the Weirdboy to support the deeper MegaNobz squads. On the left flank, the Trukk loaded with tankbustas cruised into range of the Invictor and left its paired Trukk boyz to sit on a point.
During the damage phases, the tankbustas squads were able to delete the Invictor, but couldn’t scratch the Bladeguards without their innate rerolls that effect vehicles only. The squads of MegaNobz were able to charge the intercessor and character castle in the backfield, but only hitting on 4s and attacking a captain with an Iron Halo resulted in next to no damage. Meanwhile, the Biggest Boss Warboss was able to swiftly dispatch the outrider bikes, but the Assault Intercessors interrupted the fight phase and obliterated the Trukk boyz that had engaged them. That 6+ Ork Boy save is such a weak spot vs new -1AP Astartes Chainswords.
For the rest of the game, we had a pillow-fight between the MegaNobz that couldn’t roll 4s to hit, and the intercessors and characters that couldn’t pierce the MegaNobz armor. Eventually, three out of five Trukks were destroyed, and one battlewagon. Looking at the board on Turn 5, Orks took a close victory through good primary control, but the loss felt pyrrhic – there was very little left on the Ork side, while the Ultramarines still sported a relatively intact castle.
- Looking at the damage output and resiliency, I was very satisfied with the Trukks and battlewagon staying power, even versus a rather hard-hitting Ultramarines list.
- With that in mind, the “Bring It Down” secondary points weren’t as big a liability for this list as I would have expected. Trukks were often whittled down to 2-3 wounds, but not killed. In those scenarios, the Trukk could be retreated behind obscuring terrain to deny the points.
- The Trukk boyz themselves, regrettably, did very little offensively, and only served the role of holding points. If that’s their only purpose, one could easily argue I could field twice as many if they were all replaced with transported gretchin. At the rare point where they opted to charge or disembark, they were wiped with no save by new Astartes Chainswords or basic bolt rifles. With only three squads of Trukk boyz, I don’t think I’ll have a problem on a four objective mission, but with six objectives on Scorched Earth, I always felt like I had two fewer units than I needed.
- Shootas are also a waste of time. The temptation to take them in an open-topped vehicle is there, but they’re never worth your time to roll.
- MegaNobz are outstanding, but I really, really felt the pain of lacking a Waugh Banner. Cutting the points to make room for him wasn’t very practical, but hitting on 4s really limited the MANz.
- Tankbustas is where this list shines, and this is the sort of list that is a super counter versus Imperial Guard or opposing transport-spam lists. In other test games, the speed of the Trukks and battlewagons were obnoxiously strong at tagging tanks or other vehicles while the tankbustas crush two vehicles per turn. Tankbusta transports were resilient enough to keep them on the board, especially if you have the redundancy of their backup Trukk. There will be some infantry heavy lists that just cut the teeth out of this army though, such as Sisters of Battle, some Marines list or any sort of horde.
- Although not included in the test game write-up, I experimented with Flashgitz and Squiggoths as substitutes for Tankbustas and bonebreakas in other games. They both do interesting things, but Flashgitz and Squiggoths are to over-costed to be an option right now.
- Bonebreaka battlewagons are fantastic, and I think one could even make the case to run three of them filled with MegaNobz and support units, but on certain board arrangements, they can physically get in each other’s way; this spacial issue was a factor throughout all my test games on more dense terrain-filled boards.
All-in-all, I can admit that Trukk Boyz aren’t the worst way to play Orks in 9th Edition, but I can’t say I like the play-style of it. Trukk Boyz are a really fun, thematic idea, but the deeper you look at the army, it’s clear they’re the weakest part of it. As a whole, the army is a successful concept that achieved what it aimed to achieve, but as we look at all of these unique themes during this series, I presume it will be the weakest, or second weakest of options. Looking into a future codex, I hope we see some sort of datasheet or upgrade that makes a Trukk Boy more than just a minimum sized boyz squad. Simple changes or stratagems can vastly change their viability. One interesting idea that struck me was allowing a “Trukk Boy” to charge even if their transport moves, but limit their maximum squad size to 10 so that they can never make use of the Greentide +1 attack buff that regular boyz enjoy.
As for the secondaries, I think this list has legs on missions with 4-5 objectives, but six objectives is a bridge to far (unless I downgrade the boyz to gretchin). As to the question of Snakebites vs Deathskulls or Evil Sunz, I think Snakebites remains the option. It does exactly what this list needs to do, which is keep the Trukks alive with 2-3 wounds, allowing your tankbustas to play musical chairs. A counter option I’d consider is ditching the Trukk boyz altogether, filling all the transports with MegaNobz, and just running Tinheads, but hey, that’s a fundamentally different list!
At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this second edition of Morkish Cunning – Building a New Ork List! Next time we’ll be taking a look at one of my favorite lists I crafted in 8th Edition – Blood Axe Kommandos. It’s a list I loved so much in 8th, I often considered taking it to tournaments. Can it function in 9th Edition though? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for an invite!
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