Greetings all and welcome to the latest entry in my Orks Tactica series, this time focusing on the second of two Ork super-walkers, the Morkanaut. 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 Morkanaut specifically has the Kustom Mega-Kannon as its primary weapon, firing a single Strength 8 AP2 small blast at 36" with the irritating Gets Hot special rule, while a single Kustom Mega-Blasta serves as its tertiary weapon system. This is obviously intended to be the vehicle, monster and elite hunting of the pair due to firing a total of four Strength 8 shots with AP values split between three and two, but the problem of regular Walkers not being able to split their shots between different targets is important to note here as the twin-linked Big Shootas are obviously at odds with the other weapons carried by a Morkanaut in terms of preferred targets. Also, unlike the Gorkanaut, the Morkanaut does not have a high rate of fire on its many guns or guaranteed accuracy with a Skorcha to make up for that horrid Ballistic Skill 2, meaning the small blast - itself an already unreliable type of gun - and numerous Strength 8 shots that it relies on are likely to do little of note compared to what a Gorkanaut will typically accomplish in any given Shooting phase. Additionally, with two of its weapons being subject to the Gets Hot special rule, the Morkanaut also runs a much greater risk of being destroyed due to hull point removal; its effective damage output is not superior to a Gorkanaut to justify this, though it is at least somewhat less expensive than its twin to make up for it. While the ranged AP2 shots of a Morkanaut are useful for most Ork lists and its lower cost in addition to the optional Kustom Force Field do give it some edges over its kit sibling, it still suffers much the same fate as the Gorkanaut; it is overpriced for what it does, too easily felled by any single random blow, slow, and does little damage-wise to really earn its place over the other competitive Heavy Support choices available to the greenskins.
In much the same vein as the Gorkanaut, the Morkanaut has a slightly increased three options available to it as opposed to two, but seeing as a pair of those are shared I will similarly not waste too much time on this section. Both Extra Armor and Grot Riggers are pivotal for a Morkanaut to get full value out of them, but the points you spend on them could be better spent on any given Relic or in other places should you desire as such. What really sets the Morkanaut apart from its kit sibling is the exclusive optional Kustom Force Field, providing it with a powerful 5+ invulnerable save against all ranged attacks. While I wouldn't deem the Morkanaut as a stellar close combatant, most enemies will still want to avoid an AV13 Weapon Skill 4 Walker with four Strength 10 AP1 Concussive attacks in a melee, so providing it with an invulnerable save - meaning it works against Ignores Cover weapons that otherwise tear Orks apart - is incredibly worthwhile, albeit expensive. If you want to make use of a Big Mek to repair the Morkanaut, he can opt to take the Kustom Force Field as opposed to the Morkanaut; technically it is better to place it on the Big Mek as he can spread it to other units when and if the Morkanaut is destroyed or if there isn't significant enough firepower to threaten the Morkanaut at any given point in a game.
Whereas Gorkanauts can be used against most light to medium targets and feel reasonably justified in doing so, the Morkanaut is delighted proportional to the more elite or tough a unit is - those Strength 8 shots are there for a reason, and it doesn't involve killing random Cultists. I still wouldn't advocate for shooting at anything with an armor value of thirteen or greater as a Morkanaut is far too inaccurate and unreliable compared to the Orks' other dedicated anti-tank options to really warrant its use against them. Light vehicles and especially monstrous creatures of the grounded variety are often more afraid of a Morkanaut than a Gorkanaut, but other targets short of Terminator equivalents are less efficiently dealt with by the former. Assuming you use a Kustom Force Field given how much more widely available it is for a Morkanaut compared to its kit sibling, forcing it to move through cover and slow it down is unnecessary and less than ideal given that it lacks Move Through Cover and is already rather plodding despite its size. The same dilemma of wanting to close with opponents and yet stay back from any deadly short ranged weapons they possess applies here, but it is arguably less of an issue for the Morkanaut given that it has a 24" Kustom Mega-Blasta as opposed to an 8" long Skorcha template, while the lack of Rampage further reduces the incentive to charge headlong into an opposing unit. Regardless, the Morkanaut has a powerful melee presence and making use of that is smart - it can cut through Centurion Devastators if it manages to catch them without being Immobilized first, while vehicles will struggle to survive against five Strength 10 AP1 attacks on the charge in addition to a Strength 8 Hammer of Wrath strike.
Here are a selection of builds I heartily recommend for Morkanauts;
Morkanaut w/ Extra Armor, Grot Riggers, Kustom Force Field - If you want to use a Morkanaut but don't care much for taking a Big Mek, this is your "all in one" build; it treats Crew Stunned results as Crew Shaken results instead, it can regenerate hull points and it has a 5+ invulnerable save against shooting attacks. However, it is incredibly expensive; arguably, the upgrades are necessary to make it function properly in a competitive army, but that doesn't make paying for those wargear options any less painful.
Morkanaut w/ Grot Riggers - If you want a cheap Morkanaut or a walking transport for a Big Mek, this is all you really need. I would argue that Extra Armor isn't quite as necessary for a Morkanaut as it is for a Gorkanaut if only due to not having a short-ranged gun or increased melee capabilities.
Thank you all for reading this article, I hope you enjoyed it! The Morkanaut is a slightly more interesting option than the Gorkanaut but ultimately suffers from all of the same problems, albeit with somewhat increased use in competitive match-ups. I look forward to reading your feedback on the thoughts laid out above and how the Gorkanaut has performed in your games. Thanks again!