In my last article about Waaaagh! Nobrot, I finalised the HQ choices available in the army, so the next logical choice was to move along the list into the elites section - and as my army is Deffskullz themed, then Lootas seem the obvious first stop!
When the codex came out, a lot of people immediatly chucked Lootas into their armies. Their possible extremely high rate of fire made up for the very lacking Ork ballistic skill, combined with the fact they were a heavy weapons team that could hold their own in close combat if necessary, all for a very cheap 15pts.
The first lists I saw on the net, all swore by 2 units of 15 Lootas, meaning in a single turn, there was the chance of 90 S7 AP4 shots hitting the enemy, which can be absolutely devastating. Even just a single shot from each Ork is formidable enough to cause problems to light armour and anything with a 4+ save.
Initially I was dubious of the internet listings claiming that Lootas were awesome and everyone should be taking them. I dismissed them mostly due to the fact they're not scoring and are required really, to be sat at the back of my army shooting enemies as opposed to running up and crumping them in the face.
First things first, I converted myself a unit out of 2 boxes of Boyz, to save myself some cash as opposed to paying £45 to get 12 Lootas and 3 Meks (as I find the Meks are a useless upgrade to a Loota squad).
They were made simply from standard Ork Boyz with as many standing straight legs as I could gather, along with numerous Looted Eldar, Space Marine and Imperial Guard Weaponry .
Then, so I could use them as either 3 small units of 5, or 1 large unit of 15, I gave the Lootas some looted Space Marine backpacks painted in different chapter coloures - Ultramarines, Blood Angels and Space Wolves. That way, during gameplay I can easily tell each unit apart from one another, or make them cohesive and avoid looking like Orks with 'Eavy Weapons that might be from Boyz Mobs.
As I said previously, I don't use Lootas as much as some other Ork players, prefering a more assault driven force, but I'm being swayed to their use with the sheer amount of Transport vehicles I am seeming to face each game.
The Lootas ability to shred through anything lower than AV12 is a blessing to the Orks, as it means I can then send the Boyz in against whatever spills out of the transport, or unleash another hail of fire from a Slugga weilding mob. The tag team of these two units combined can wipe a full unit off the table without even the need for an assault.
Against Marine Equivalent armies, the Lootas are more suited to targeting transports, Dreadnaughts and maybe even Bike squads, just to attempt to bypass the Toughness barrier.
Against non-Marine armies, the Lootas can absolutely destroy a unit of Firewarriors, Guardians, Guardsmen and Gaunts with just a single shot each, let alone when you start pumping out double or triple that.
One of the major things to be wary of when using Lootas is that obviously, they have to remain still to be of any use to you. Otherwise they're just a very expensive Boyz mob.
This is most prominent in the deployment phase, where you will want to be looking for a central deployment, in an area providing cover from incoming fire, such as Woods or a Bunker.
I say to keep them central, as not only does it give you a good lane of fire, but will also force your opponents to be wary of this central avenue, forcing them to either split their force to either flank, or commit themselves to a single flank - both situations you can exploit to your advantage. Another advantage of central deployment stops outflanking / infiltrating troops from reaching your precious Lootas as easily... as happened to me in a game once.
The last question before summing it all up is - To Mek... or Not to Mek?
The only upgrade a unit of Lootas can have is if they wish to swap 1 - 3 Lootas for Meks, which really... I don't see the point of.
It can come in handy should you play a lot of Terminator army builds, where the 3 Kustom Mega Blastas can come in handy, or by upgrading to 3 Big Shootas, sacrificing the random element and range for 3 guarenteed shots. Unfortunately, they can't take a Bosspole, which would have been really handy on the unit as once they take a few casualties, they're prone to running.
I really like the random element to the Lootas, from where they can be dangerous, all the way up to destructive to anything they manage to set their weapon sights onto.
At the moment though, if they were scoring, it would be awesome. I'd happily sit them on a home objective and let them loose on anyone coming my way, but with the lack of scoring, high cost (compared to a mob of Boyz) for camping back, I normally prefer to leave them for bigger games.
I do, however like the idea of 2 units of Lootas, with a Grot unit in the middle of them for holding objectives and mobile cover. Hmmmm... we shall have to see!
What do you guys think of Lootas and any past experience of using them or playing with them?