Know-A-Formation: The Greentide

Hello everyone, Danny here as always to go over a Formation that still sees play although it is lost to time, one way to break your back but win as Orks!

Now to do some OSL on each model…

The Formation: The Green Tide

Faction: Orks          Source: Waaagh Ghazghkull supplement

1 Warboss

10 units of Boyz


No dedicated transports. Warboss cannot take a Warbike.

Special Rules:

Biggest an’ da Best: If the Warboss is your Warlord, he has to challenge, and if he wins, he rerolls wounds in close combat for the rest of the game.

Da Boss iz Watchin’: +2 to roll on the Mob Rule table, but when taking damage from Mob Rule, unit takes D3+3 hits instead of D6.

Green Tide: All units join together into one super unit which the Warboss can never leave.

Waaagh! Horde: All models gain Hammer of Wrath for the Assault Phase if they rolled a 10 or more to charge.

Stampede: If this Formation’s Warboss is the Warlord, he can use the Waaagh! special rule each and every turn after the first.

Ok, wow, so there is a reason that this formation is so utterly popular that people still demand to use, and GW lets them.  This is both a powerful formation, possibly an army unto itself, but it is also as fluffy as fluffy can be for the Orks.   You get to have 100-300 Ork Boyz all in one single unit, and that’s both amazing and terrifying.   Really, that’s the special rule that matters the most here as being able to have a unit of over a 100 models is completely meta-busting.  Stampede isn’t too bad at all, allowing the Orks to run and charge after turn 1, which helps this foot-slogging horde get to combat. Biggest an’ da Best is another way for GW to make Orks life harder as the Warboss, if Warlord, has to challenge, and there are plenty of characters that will eat a Warboss, but through canny positioning, you can keep him safe.

Ok, but 100 Orks doesn’t seem that scary. 

Well, really there are 90 Orks who are there to soak wounds for 10 nobs with Power Klaws and a Warboss.  That is a lot of S8 or S9 AP2 hits, and you can’t challenge them all out.  An Ork Boy isn’t too scary on his own, but when he has 2o or 30 friends in the same combat, quantity is most certainly a quality all its own.  Each Boy produces 4 attacks on the charge at S4, so even getting just a fifth of the Green Tide into combat means you have 80 attacks to roll.  That’s a lot of heat.

Really, what makes the Green Tide so scary is that with all of those hidden Power Klaws, you can’t avoid taking the hits, and there isn’t really anything in the game that isn’t concerned about massed S8 AP2 hits.  With all 10 Nobs with PKs, you are pumping out 40 Klaw attacks on the charge, and that’s more than enough to wipe a Knight or two or even put a dent into an invisible Deathstar.  That’s the thing: the Green Tide is the Orks best Deathstar as it packs tons of ablative wounds around some high quality hits.

You can also make it relatively resilient by adding in the Hardest-Working-PainBoy in the business.  Giving the whole unit Feel No Pain just radically increases how much damage the unit takes, and unless you can pump out 60+ S8 shots a turn, this Ork Horde is coming right at you and saving 33% of wounds, not to mention if they get a cover save.   Mad Dok Grotsnik is not a bad idea as while he is much more expensive than a PainBoy, he does grant the unit Fearless (which is absolutely necessary) and adds another Klaw to the mix.

Because Orks are dirt cheap, in a standard 1850 game, you can have a Green Tide and either a small Bikestar or even Buzzgob’s Stompa in the same army, so there is still plenty of room for adding various needs.

Ok, that is scary.  So why don’t Orks ever, ya know, win?

Well, the Green Tide has some limitations.  First, it is slower than any other Deathstar for the most part.  Being able to run and charge helps, but a lot of other Deathstars are going to get there first, meaning those Boyz are only S3.   It also means that they are not going to get to the Relic first or be able to take the center of the board as easily. Also, the Warboss may not be the Warlord (so no Waagh every turn) as you may want another character like say Zhardsnark.

Coupled with this, there is no way to get Hit and Run, so once this unit gets stuck in combat, it is there forever.  This means a savvy player can hit you on the flank, especially if no PKs are nearby with say a Dreadnought and start dragging the whole enchilada over to one side.  Even a relatively small, resilient character like a Solitaire, Iron Hands Captain, or something like that can hit the flank, and until the Klaws can get there, the unit is stuck being dragged across the table with no way out.

Model placement is key as you need to make sure the PKs are spread out to avoid this but also close enough to the front that they can actually concentrate and get to fight together.  1 or 2 PKs is manageable for a lot of units, 4 or 5 is not.  This also means that player error can be real, and while a big, scary unit like Green Tide can seem like autopilot, it really isn’t.  If you move a PK somewhere, you need to know why it is there.

The other issue is that the Green Tide just doesn’t have the level of self-buffs that other Deathstars do.  It cannot get invisibility, endurance, re-roll saves, or even Forewarning.  So while it likely has far more bodies than any other Deathstar, its practical wound count is likely lower when compared to something like Wolf-Tide or Thunderdome.  It also lacks any psychic defense, so it is easy as hell to debuff a whole lot of points with a single malediction.


Lastly, there are real-world concerns with the formation, namely time and pain.  Moving 100+ models each turn, multiple times a turn, takes forever.  Unless you are super quick with it or devise a way to speed the process up, you will eat so much time out of the game just trying to move this many models.  It also physically painful to spend 60+ minutes of every game hunched over the table moving models. Ork-Back is real, and even a spry, young thing is going to feel it even after a 3 round event, let alone a 6 round event.

So, The Green Tide is an awesome formation that has legs in the competitive world, but because lol Orks, it is not quite as dominating as it can seem.   Thanks as always everyone for reading, and if you are at LVO this weekend, come say hi.  You can also hit up our Patreon to make sure we have some gambling money.