Greetings all and welcome to the latest entry in my Orks Tactica series, this time focusing on the first of two Ork super-walkers, the Gorkanaut. I hope you enjoy this article!
A quick note here, as both the Gorkanaut and Morkanaut share most of the same traits, the first two paragraphs will be shared between reviews but the subsequent information will be unique to each variant.
Billed as the Ork equivalent of an Imperial Knight upon its release, the actual rule-set of the Gorkanaut - and by extension, the Morkanaut - couldn't be further removed from that all-purpose Super Heavy Walker if it tried despite some seemingly striking similarities, and it is for this reason that the latest impressively sized Ork dual-kit failed to really live up to the hype surrounding it. First of all, it is a Walker and not a Super Heavy Walker, meaning it only moves 6" a turn in the Movement phase rather than 12" and thus instantly reduces the overall value of using it as an assault model, while it is also susceptible to being instantly destroyed by a single Explodes result on the Vehicle Damage Chart among other vulnerabilities. Weapon Skill 4 and Initiative 2 are fairly below average for expensive dedicated assault units, with the latter essentially signing its death warrant against more powerful high Initiative foes - even standard Space Marine Dreadnoughts at less than half the price are a huge threat to a Gorkanaut/Morkanaut because of the Initiative discrepancy. However, both variants possess four attacks base with Strength 10 AP1 Concussive backing them up due to their Klaws of Gork (or possibly Mork), meaning they are superior to Dreadnoughts against vehicles and models that are reliant on their higher Initiative values to win a multiple-round combat against a Gorkanaut or Morkanaut - still, given the greatly increased cost of the model, this isn't much of an improvement on the basic Space Marine Walker. At the very least, both variants share a base Strength 8 in case their melee weapon is destroyed and also for the purposes of Hammer of Wrath, while the Gorkanaut specifically benefits from the Rampage special rule which is easily utilized given its single-model status for some free bonus attacks.
Both the Gorkanaut and Morkanaut are transports that can carry up to six models each, allowing you to ferry your more elite units around in the most durable transport available in the Ork codex; on first impression, it would appear to be perfect for minimum-sized Meganobz and small Tankbusta or Loota mobs to ride in. However, there are a handful of important disadvantages to using both Walkers in this way that actually render it as one of the weaker transports available to Orks. For assault units, the Gorkanaut and Morkanaut move only 6" + D6" a turn for getting across the field and lack the Assault Transport special rule, signifying that they will take numerous turns to get your units into a good position and then force any disembaring mob to wait yet another full turn before it can declare a charge. On the flip side, ranged units will find little reason to use one as a fire-base because they are devoid of fire points and thus prevent them from simultaneously benefiting from a mobile defensive platform and making their shooting attacks. In both cases, Trukks and Battlewagons serve each type of unit far better, so what are the Gorkanaut and Morkanaut actually designed to transport? The short answer is Big Mekz and perhaps a tiny mob of Burna Boyz with an accompanying lesser Mek to keep the armored beast operating at full functionality in much the same vein as a Stompa, but this only leads us back to the fact that these Walkers are not Super Heavies and are thus susceptible to Explodes results rendering any hull point regeneration shenanigans useless if your opponent has some good luck on those rolls. However, if you play against a force that has no or minimal chances of performing the coup de grace, the Gorkanaut and Morkanaugt are actually fairly hardy all things considered; AV 13/13/12 and a massive five hull points ensures that destroying one via hull point removal will take considerable effort, especially if Kustom Force Fields are in play. This is highly ideal durability for such a model given its plodding nature and seeming focus on close combat, but this is truthfully only half of the story.
Where these two really begin to differ is in their arsenal of ranged weapons - and that the Morkanaut can purchase a Kustom Force Field for itself - which could very well be the key factor in determining which is ideal for your army. Many of the guns are shared as you would expect of a dual kit - each possesses two twin-linked Big Shootas and two Rokkit Launchas, outputting a respectable six Strength 5 AP4 shots with re-rolls to-hit at 36" and two Strength 8 AP3 shots at 24" respectively, but both variants also possess that awful Ork-approved Ballistic Skill 2. The Gorkanaut specifically is armed with a Deffstorm Mega-Shoota as its primary weapon, firing 3D6 Strength 6 AP4 shots with a range of 36", while a single Skorcha serves as its tertiary-class weapon system. Though it is highly inaccurate with that aforementioned Ballistic Skill 2, the sheer weight of shots ensures it will score quite a few medium to high Strength hits on whatever target falls prey of the Gorkanaut - its preferred targets are models with Toughness values of six or lower (meaning all non-monstrous opponents basically) and light vehicles. However, another possibly ugly problem rears its head; as they are not Super Heavy Walkers, Gorkanauts are incapable of splitting their guns between different enemies to match the desired target for each individual weapon. While this is nowhere near as problematic for a Gorkanaut as it is for a Morkanaut given that most of the guns are Strength 5 to Strength 6 with mediocre AP values, it nonetheless bears mentioning as you can't spread the "love" of so six distinct ranged weapons between different targets as necessary. At the very least, a Crew Shaken result isn't too crippling for a Gorkanaut given that it relies on rate of fire rather than quality of shots in much the same vein as Lootas. Still, a nearly 250 point model averaging four Strength 6 AP4 hits at 36", three Strength 5 AP4 hits at 36", one Strength 8 AP3 hit at 24" with some luck, and a placement-dependent number of hits at Strength 5 AP4 with Ignores Cover at a maximum of 8" is really not that impressive given the cost, especially with regards to how vulnerable it is to any single Explodes result, its lacking mobility and hardly above average melee capabilities while also holding the distinction of being one of the weakest transports Orks can utilize. As much as I refuse to label Gorkanauts as a terrible unit, they are simply too expensive - especially if you go all out with Big Meks to improve their defences - for what they bring to the table and are a clear example of the massive advantages that even the basic Super Heavy Walker rules can bring to a unit of its kind.
Seeing as only two options are available to a Gorkanaut, I'll make this brief. Extra Armor is a must on this model as the Gorkanaut becomes nigh on useless if it can't move given that it would also see its shooting capabilities heavily crippled by a Crew Stunned result, so eliminating the former of those two effects is ideal. Grot Riggers provides the Gorkanaut with the It Will Not Die special rule for a sizable entry fee, but if you are interested in putting Big Mekz inside it to repair it of any hull point damage, shelling out the extra points for Grot Riggers is only logical. However, consider that both upgrades do add to an already expensive model and either is moot if an opponent gets a lucky roll on the Vehicle Damage Chart, so you may want to prioritize those points elsewhere.
The Gorkanaut is in a weird situation where it wants to stay away from the typically close ranged AP2 and AP1 weapons capable of penetrating its armor and destroying it outright without regard to its hull points, but it is built as the more close ranged of the Ork super-walker variants. It might be worth keeping it as a scoring unit in your backfield that dissuades fast moving assault units from trying to contest it, though you can also use it to pressure the midfield and bring its Rokkit Launchas and Skorcha into range; the allure of close combat and Rampage is also very enticing indeed. If there is no Big Mek aboard, use cover liberally; if there is, you needn't bother with cover as a Kustom Force Field eliminates the need for intervening terrain and any applicable saves generated from it. Prioritize lightly armored vehicles - such as Rhinos - fragile monstrous creatures - Daemon Princes are a good example of this - and low to medium Toughness squads including Space Marines and anything of a similar or lesser durability. Don't discount flyers as potential targets for its ranged attacks as it has a high volume of middling Strength firepower, and be sure to use its melee capabilities and front AV13 to their fullest; a Space Marine squad lacking a Power Fist will be forced to voluntarily flee against a Gorkanaut if it makes it into a melee against them, tearing up large portions of a squad in the process. Most vehicles don't want to deal with that volume of Strength 10 AP1 attacks and could be seen as the Gorkanauts' chief prey in assaults.
Here are a selection of builds I heartily recommend for Gorkanauts;
Gorkanaut - Extra Armor, Grot Riggers - I would always recommend running a Gorkanaut in this configuration as it usually wants to be moving and the best way to utilize its high number of hull points is to double down on any type of regeneration ability available. Add a Big Mek with a Kustom Force Field and/or a lesser Mek to taste, points allowing.
Thank you all for reading this article, I hope you enjoyed it! The Gorkanaut is not the most competitive option available to Orks and is widely regarded as a points sink, but I've seen some players have some success with theirs. I look forward to reading your feedback on the thoughts laid out above and how the Gorkanaut has performed in your games. Thanks again!