A slow week for blog posting on here it seems - everyone busy working and recovering from the busy Bank-holiday period. It's been a bit hard to get time to write on here, but I figured whilst I'm on a lunch break and trying to get rid of a headache, I'd discuss one of the more versatile Ork units - Nobz.
I've already covered Meganobz in a previous article, and I believe Nob Bikers are a complete kettle of fish to standard Nobz. I'm going to cover Nobz on foot in this article for a couple of reasons - firstly they're criminally underused and living in the shadow of the other Nob units.
Firstly, the footslogging Nobz are not much more expensive than a Space Marine, but you're looking at more attacks and weapon options, along with a 2nd wound.
The best use for the Nobz is to tag team them with a Warboss to make the unit a Troop choice, thus freeing up precious Elite slots and also making them a scoring unit. This tag team of units can easily rip, shred and walk through other assault units, simply through sheer weight in number of attacks, higher strength and initiative from Furious charge. Nobz can take a battering from enemy units and happily bash stuff back - provided you utilise cover well enough.
Even better results can be achieved thanks to the use of special weapons and upgrades to the unit.
First and foremost, Nobz need their armour save improving via Eavy Armour. A 6+ save isn't going to cut it in the world of 40k. Eavy Armour is vital and even though you will still fall prey to Heavy Bolters, the 4+ save helps massively. Although it does pump up the points cost a bit, it's not worth taking the Nobz without Eavy Armour.
The more obvious weapon choice for the Nobz is the costly Power Klaw. The thing to bear in mind is that each Nob in the unit can take a Klaw, meaning Power Klaws in double figures - as costly as a second unit of Nobz - but the power it can throw down is immense. I like to stick with 2 or 3 in the unit, less so if there is a Warboss in the unit. That way the Nobz get some reliable Tankbusting for high armour Values on the charge.
Kombi Weapons are an upgrade unique to the Nobz and Warboss in this codex and come in two flavours - either Rokkit Kombis for a bit of light vehicle busting or Skorchas which are useful for taking down Hordes.
Personally, with the cruddy Ork ballistic skill, I'd stay with the Kombi-Skorchas as they auto-hit and can deal with a problem for Nobz - the Horde. Hordes can slow down Nobz and just chip away at wounds, especially with the Tyranid Termagant flavour of the month!
Big Choppas are often overlooked in Nob units because they reduce the number of attacks by 1 (for being 2 handed) and also because Power Klaws are usually the weapon of choice. But for 5pts, the Nobz get a +2 Strength bonus, which combined with furious charge means you're crumping stuff at S7 on the charge - more than capable of battering a monstrous creature, Daemon prince or causing instant death on puny Eldar.
I've given a run out with 4 of these in a unit and was pretty impressed with their use. Higher strength vs an attack less is a risky tradeoff, but it does bring with it a higher chance of wounding. Swings and roundabouts, but the image of an Ork with a massive 2 handed Axe is cool enough, combined with the low cost.
Waagh Banner and Painboy
The 2 other upgrades available for the Nobz are the Waagh banner, which is definitely worth taking every time, simply to frustrate WS4 opponents with you hitting on 3s. For 15pts, it's pretty cheap and also allows you to go Wound allocation spam.
The best upgrade for the unit, without doubt is the Painboy. He takes your squad from a menacing close combat threat to a hulking melee whirlwind of destruction. Capable of shrugging off tons of small arms fire and puny close combat attacks.
He also gives access to Cybork bodies, providing the squad with a 5+ Inv. save, which I foolishly didn't take in my early days of Ork-dom, then got mowed down by Daemons and have taken them ever since.
He's no slouch in close combat either, with his Poisoned weapon, he's quite often forgotten about until a lumbering Carnifex or Wraithlord shows up and takes a pasting from the 4+ to wound.
The major problem with running a Nob unit like this is getting it safely to its destination. Which means investing more points in transports, of which you have two options.
First off is the humble Trukk. It's fast and means you can pull off a pretty massive charge (possibility of 24" with a Waagh move, if I am correct) which can catch enemy units off guard and crush them under the armoured boot of your Nobz. However, if your opponent so much as coughs near a Trukk, it will blow up - so sticking a hefty point sink unit in there, isn't always the best plan.
On the other hand we have the trundling behemoth that is the Battlewagon, which the Nobz can take as a Dedicated transport. Meaning free spaces in your Heavy Support choices for other units... or simply just filling the table with even more Battlewagons!
I'd choose to take the armoured reliability of a Battlewagon any day, unless you were going for all out speed and a bit of unpredictability.
It is fair enough to say that Meganobz and Nob Bikerz are more popular, but stick a unit of Nobz in a Battlewagon with a Warboss and you have an extremely powerful melee unit that can also take a beating as much as they can give one out.
Give Footsloggers a chance :)