15 Dec 2015

Orks Tactica - Deffkoptas

Hello fellow greenskin players and welcome to another entry in my Ork Tactica series! Today I'll be focusing on Deffkoptas, the Warhammer 40,000 definition of a pin-prick and one of the most efficient units in the Ork codex; they can zip around and bring you victory points like few other greenskin models. I hope you enjoy this article!



The idea of Orks - a species whose technology works only because their latest psychic abilities force crude contraptions to impossibly function - having Jetbikes despite the fact that the Imperium can seemingly only access one or a handful is a hilarious concept, especially as the greenskins have fairly good ones themselves. Deffkoptas about what you would expect of an Ork Jetbike; the base stats are very much in line with an Ork Boy, save that you improve his Toughness value to five and bless him with a 4+ armor save. A twin-linked big shoota in addition to a choppa round out the Orks' stock wargear, while on the special rules front he is suitably packed; 'Ere We Go and Furious Charge are quite a bit more valuable on a super mobile Jetbike than for a normal foot-slogging Ork! The additions of Hit and Run plus Scout make for an incredibly value unit that can escape combat in one out of three attempts, deploy very aggressively and generally get up right in the enemy's face with potentially very nasty damage output in a way that Space Marines can only really emulate with White Scars Attack Bikes supported by Kor'sarro Khan's army special rules. It comes as no surprise that the various wargear options available to Deffkoptas further improve their close-ranged threat with them being able to take nasty melee and ranged upgrades, the most popular of which is probably the twin-linked rokkit launcha which is a free exchange for the big shoota.

Adding some extra Strength 8 AP3 shots with re-rolls to hit at no additional cost is always a good idea for pinging wounds off of monstrous creatures or hull points for vehicles, while you can turn the Deffkopta into a nasty little close combat attacker by outfitting it with a Buzzsaw - a Power Klaw in all but name. Being able to take these either solo or in units really adds to the deployment flexibility of an Ork army by presenting the opponent with lots of little threats that are decently durable with Toughness 5 and 2 Wounds on top of possible Jink for either 4+ armor or cover saves, but they often can't be ignored due to the amount of Unwieldy Strength 7 AP2 attacks they can output on the charge as well as their twin-linked Strength 8 AP3 shots. Taking them in squads only increases their threat level to the opponent and also makes them susceptible to morale tests where the Mob Rule ability applies - and with no option for a Nob equivalent, a lot of the results are really bad for Deffkoptas. As such, I tend to prefer taking these solo as one alone can be enough of an annoyance to opponents regardless of whether you use the Buzzsaw or not given how good a free twin-linked rokkit launcha is, especially now that in 7th Edition they are also scoring and really cheap. Deffkoptas are amazing in Maelstrom of War missions given that they are Jetbikes with the Scout special rule, and they are tough enough that they can run into smaller units and tie them up with a chance of beating them due to Hammer of Wrath and three attacks at varying Strengths. I've nicknamed them "the Irritables" as they exist purely to annoy your opponent and cheaply get you victory points, giving them value beyond whatever damage they could deal out or firepower they can endure.

How to Equip Them

Given that the rest of an Ork army brings big shootas in abundance, making a free swap from the stock gun to a rokkit launcha is pretty much a no brainer. The kustom mega blasta seems like the better option because it is essentially a rokkit launcha with AP2, but the fact that it isn't twin-linked makes it hilariously inaccurate compared to the other two twin-linked choices; plus, having Gets Hot can add some unnecessary headaches to what is purely a cheap distraction unit. I tend not to bother with either the bigbomm or the buzzsaw as I find keeping Deffkoptas as cheap as possible is the best approach given that they are very likely to die if your opponent diverts any kind of semi-serious attention to them, and the former of the two upgrades requires the Deffkopta to move over a unit to actually use it. The Buzzsaw can turn a single Deffkopta into a one-Ork wrecking machine but "only" Strength 7 AP2 with three attacks is merely decent, plus one needs to consider that it almost doubles the cost of a Deffkopta; I would rather have two Deffkoptas with twin-linked rokkit launchas than just one with the same gun and a buzzsaw.

Best Uses

Your Deffkoptas really are designed as the ultimate in Ork distraction units, foraging ahead of an Ork force to claim objectives early into the game, slog a few high Strength shots at whatever target fancies you and just generally be a pest by blocking movement and impeding targets attempting to shoot at the rest of your army. They are fantastic at grabbing objectives because of their Jetbike movement allowing them to bypass all obstructions and get some early victory points in Maelstrom of War missions while also being easily able to get Linebreaker. They can be used to charge weak or small units that aren't very strong in close combat and tie them up for a few turns given how durable and thus tough to break they can be, while positioning them to attack the rear armor of vehicles with their melee or ranged weapons can easily be done from the first game turn onwards (not in the case of the former weapon type obviously). Even using them to babysit an objective that is out of the way of both players in an Eternal War mission is amusing enough, while Scouting onto the Relic and claiming it on the first turn only to begin moving back towards your deployment zone immediately is another astute tactic.

Recommended Builds

Here are some builds I recommend for Deffkoptas;

Deffkopta (1) - Twin-Linked Rokkit Launcha - This is undeniably the best use of Deffkoptas; it keeps them cheap and immune to breaking from morale, it makes them an annoying target but just not too strong so that they can be ignored and not become a point sinks, and one operates well enough at being an objective grabber.

Deffkopta (5) - Twin-Linked Rokkit Launchas - If you want to feel like the greener version of Eldar and have a very contested Fast Attack slot for your army list, a unit of five Deffkoptas can put out some serious pain on almost anything while still being hilariously cheap - they are half of three hundred orkarinos! The maximum unit size has one major benefit; an opponent needs to kill two of them to force a morale test, an advantage that only the single model squad shares.

Thank you for reading this article on Ork Deffkoptas! I'm a huge fan of this unit given its' many different uses in all levels of play combined with a super low cost per model for what they do. I'm eager to get my Ork Tactica series completed and hope to greatly speed up the individual unit reviews. Thanks again!


  1. That is a very good point about units being subject to morale tests in ways that single models aren't. It's a weird truth of GW games that having two single-model units is often preferable to having one three-model unit!

    1. I've never really understood it myself as I think a "strength in numbers" most certainly applies; if that is the case, a single model would be more likely to run away if it merely takes wounds rather than just being like "well, I got critically injured and I have no-one here to help me, I'll keep fighting!"

  2. I actually sold my Deffkoptaz because all they did is give my opponent points in Maelstrom of War games. In theory having a fast unit to grab objectives is good and all, but in reality, they give your opponent a very easy point for first blood and any Maelstrom objective that involves killing things.
    Shooting centered armies will pick them out and kill them with almost no effort, close combat centered armies will charge and defeat them, consolidate and be much closer to anything you might want to protect than they could ever be on foot or in a vehicle.
    Each time I played them as single models, I lost so many points and advantagegous positions to the points stated above and each time I played them as a unit, they fled without doing anything after taking minimal amounts of damage.

    1. If your opponents were getting so many points from killing solo Deffkoptas, that speaks to several things that aren't really related to the Deffkoptas themselves;

      1) The Luck of the Draw - Getting a "kill x unit" objective card should not be as common as you claim, however, I've watched games where one player wins purely because they get every single objective card in their favor despite having an inferior list.

      2) Poor positioning - Melee armies should not be able to catch your Jetbike Deffkoptas unless you are actively giving them the chance to do so. Unless you play on a board that lacks good terrain, hiding solo Deffkoptas is incredibly easy as they really aren't that big model-wise depending on what you use.

      3) Distractions - Consider this; it takes 8 Strength 5 HITS of any kind that lack Ignores Cover and AP5 or better simultaneously, wounding on a fixed roll better than a 4+, etc, to kill a single Deffkopta assuming average rolls. That is 16 Fire Warriors, meaning most armies' basic Troops will also need to shell out some serious numbers to kill one Deffkopta. This thus leads into the fact that it takes more than a "token" amount of firepower to kill a Deffkopta unless the enemy army has random Instant Death or Strength 10 Ignores Cover shots to throw around. Seeing as Deffkopta is much less than 50 points if you keep it equipped as I recommend, your opponent is likely wasting well over one hundred points just to kill him. This is a resource that Orks simply cannot go without; being able to take small, cheap units that can die without costing the parent army much but distracting the enemy enough so that enough of the main force can reach their lines/survive.

      Your post reads very much as a "worst case scenario" if a Deffkopta is equipped with a buzzsaw and is not at all representative of how they actually fare in most games. It sounds like you need either some luck or to mix up your tactics when using them, or alternatively try the ranged variants if you don't use them.

      Thanks for the comment!

    2. I brought my koptas out of retirement for a game yesterday and they were brilliant. I used them as units of one for the exact uses described - distraction, hopping on objectives, getting in the way and plinking cheeky hull points off of vehicles.

      TBH it's not the end of the world to me if my opponent goes for a kopta as an easy way to get first blood or a VP for killing a unit. That's one less enemy unit firing at my more important units.

      The great thing about koptas with rokkits is that they actually have decent weapons, so if you get up in your opponent's face with them it makes him think about whether to ignore them or deal with them.