Master Big Modelcount Armies: Increasing the Tempo


 Justin Del Valle loves his Deffkopta army and needs to show you how to efficiently play a large model count army.

Guest author Justin Del Valle is back with a followup to his first Deffkopta list article. 

First the Army

Deffkopta – the Musical 


Core:  Waaagh!-Band

Mega-Boss with the Lucky Stikk

10x Gretchin w/Runtherd


3x Nobz – Warbikes, Big Choppas

9x Boyz + Nob w/Klaw – Trukk w/Ram, Rokkit

10x Boyz + Nob w/Klaw – Trukk w/Ram, Rokkit

11x Boyz + Nob w/Klaw – Trukk w/Ram, Rokkit

11x Boyz + Nob w/Klaw – Trukk w/Ram, Rokkit

11x Boyz + Nob w/Klaw – Trukk w/Ram, Rokkit

11x Boyz + Nob w/Klaw – Trukk w/Ram, Rokkit



2x Deffkoptas – Rokkit

2x Deffkoptas – Rokkit

2x Deffkoptas – Rokkit

2x Deffkoptas – Rokkit

2x Deffkoptas – Rokkit

2x Deffkoptas – Rokkit

3x Mek Gunz – 1 Traktor Kannon, 2 Kustom Mega-Kannon 2x Ammo Runt

3x Warbuggies – Rokkit

3x Warbuggies – Rokkit

3x Warbuggies – Rokkit

Onto the Battles

The Necrons had the first turn.  They were being very aggressive and moved deep into no-man’s land, intent on securing the Relic. Three Ghost Arks skimmed towards the center of the board disgorging their warriors. The vast Ork Horde was waiting to charge in and wreak havoc on the robots.  It was round two of a local ITC tournament, and I was keen to work on my Deffkopta list that I wrote about last time.  I knew that I was on the verge of something great. I had narrowly lost the first round versus a Demon summoning list in the Kill Point mission, so I was feeling confident that I could steal a victory from the Necrons, since Kill Points was the worst scenario for my unit heavy list.  The Great-Waaagh! Band let’s you Waaagh! every turn so when I saw the Necrons so close I knew that I could charge them my first turn and cause some serious damage.

Little did I know that the Necrons were not my true enemy that round.



The rounds were two and a half hours long, which is pretty standard for an 1850 point game. After we deployed, rolled Warlord traits, psychic powers, agreed on terrain, shot the breeze, and the Necrons took their first turn we had two hours left to finish the game.  His Ghost Arks were in range of a far charge from most of my Trukk squads and like a starving mouse, I took the bait.   I unloaded four of my seven Trukks, placing 48 Boyz on the table. I moved my other units to be able to assist where needed in the following turn.  I shot my Kannons with minimal effect.  I then ran my Boyz forward, getting decent rolls.  I then began declaring charge moves: Charge here. Overwatch. Charge here. Overwatch. Charge here again. Charge here. Overwatch.  Combat time.  I rolled buckets of dice. Removed casualties. Finished combat. My turn is over. 1 HOUR LEFT.


My turn took just about an hour to complete.  My first turn.  Even with my Koptas and Warbuggies sitting in reserves, I took this long.  I was not slow playing.  I did not need to reference a rule book.  I was shocked at how much time had passed. I felt bad for my opponent who was basically just sitting around and rolling a save here and there. I lost faith in my list and my ability to play it.  I lost this one badly and we only made it to the bottom of turn two.  My first game we ended on the bottom of turn 3, but he was using a ton of psychic powers and summoning a ton.  I assumed that it was his fault, but now I see that it was probably mine.  After I despaired and contemplated dropping the list, I realized that in order to truly do the list justice, I needed to up my play efficiency.  I need to figure out how to speed up my play.  Seeking advice from players much better than myself and blindly asking around on the Internet, I have found a few tricks to speed up my play. A lot of these seem like no-brainers, but these are things that can easily be overlooked during the course of a game.  In no particular order:

Mastering Large Modelcount Armies

Have what you need on hand.  I have a bad habit of leaving my tape measure on the other side of the table.  It doesn’t matter which side. I always have to go get it from where I last used it.  The solution to this is to make it a habit that I put the tape measure in my pocket after use.  The same thing happens with templates and blast markers.  I need to always know where they are and have them on the correct part of the table.

Quit fiddling with blast markers.  I see this from many other players as well.  We place our blast over the unit, hold it there, roll dice and then try to maneuver the marker under the tape measure.  Inefficient!  Pick out the center, roll, measure from the center and then place the marker to see. Eliminate unnecessary dexterity checks!  In the same vein, roll multiple blasts at once, use a different color for the first in a barrage, then measure from there.

Know your army.  You need to know everything that your army can do.  This will eliminate the need to reference the rules in the middle of the game. You may not know the enemy, but to speed yourself up you need to know your own army’s rules.


Plan ahead.  Don’t wait for your turn to decide what to do.  Have a plan in place and adjust according to what happens on the board.  If you wait to plan your attack until your turn it will take you longer to finish.

Unpack for the game.  I have a bad habit of packing away my models as they die to save time at the end of the game.  If I play faster, then it won’t matter, the games will finish.  With everything packed away, it takes me longer to get models onto the table (i.e. Trukk Boyz).
Have everything as organized as possible for easy access.  Sometimes this is hard, especially at tournaments where space is limited.  Organization of your models is key.

Reserve rolls at the same time.  This is huge for the Deffkopta list.  So many duplicate entries in the reserve spot means that instead of one unit at a time, you can roll them all together. You can do the same thing for outflanking rolls.  Just roll all of the duplicate units together.

Roll saves together.  Unless you are dealing with Look Out Sir, you can shave a lot of time by rolling saves all at once. The BRB has an entire fast dice entry on page 37 that correctly illustrates how this works.

Run during your movement phase.  Ask your opponent if it is okay to run during your movement phase if you have models that you know won’t or can’t shoot.  The same goes for moving flat out or turbo boosting.


The real enemy of tournament players!

Tournament play by necessity needs to be quick in order to grind out three or more games in a single day.  These tips will allow us as players to speed up our games allowing for more interactivity and a greater game play experience.  With what I have learned, I will continue to work on the Deffkopta list until I exhaust every avenue.  Follow along on my blog.

~What tips and trick do you use to speed up play during a tournament?

  • I thought this was a goatboy set of lists at first and had to recheck the author.

    • I mean, it’s orks, if there aren’t a lot of them what’s the point

  • WaarrggBobo

    Moving run into the shooting phase and making it a random distance is possibly the stupidest rule change they ever made.

    • Benderisgreat

      Next to random charge length.

      “Let’s stop a foot away from the enemy! Derp!”

      • No-one Special

        It’s just an abstract representation of distance, like with the range given for weapons. The bullets don’t just stop in mid air and fall to the ground – their range is just a representation of their effective distance before inaccuracy and power drop too far. In the same way, the charge distance roll simply represents whether they made it or not. It’s not the exact distance they travelled, and they don’t get oh so close and just give up.

        • Benderisgreat

          Nope, it’s stupid. People don’t just stop running arbitrarily, they barrel into the enemy.

          • No-one Special

            Simply repeating yourself doesn’t change anything. If you can’t grasp the fact that the dice roll represents a test and not a value then fine, but calling things stupid and derp through your own ignorance just show it’s you that’s the problem, not the rule.

          • Benderisgreat

            Berating people doesn’t make your case when your argument fails.

            Hey, thanks for being an internet stereotype, though.

          • No-one Special

            Berating? No, simply calling you on your own comments insulting the efforts of the rules writer by calling it/them stupid. My ‘argument’ was won with my first reply that reasoned the rule, but you chose not to counter it with an argument and simply repeated your insult instead. You’ve expressed frustration at a rule through either failing to grasp or intentionally ignoring the concept behind it. You can disagree with it, sure, but you instead insulted it – even after having the concept explained to you. If you want to point out internet stereotypes, your quick criticism of things you disagree with or don’t understand is pretty much the internet in a nutshell.

          • Benderisgreat

            Great, well, you’re being a troll. keep going with that.

          • No-one Special

            I think you need to re-read this conversation. You are the troll. You may not be attacking a person directly, but that is irrelevant.
            All i’ve done is attempt to explain the concept behind a rule and why it isn’t, in your words, stupid and derp. All you’ve done is repeat your insults and then attempt to play the victim. It’s quite childish.

          • zeno666

            I agree, its just lazy rules design.

        • Lord Solar Mac

          I agree with you. People assume that since the game is turn based, then the units “give up”, when this is actually a constant fluid battle (narrative speaking at least). Otherwise I would have my leman russ fire 10 shots or run gene stealers across the table in one turn. Does anyone really think an assault cannon can only fire 4 shots?? Has anyone ever fired a real mini gun?…’s like 50 rounds a second! (Really awesome to shoot btw) so needless to say, I agree. Cheers!

          • nurglitch

            I prefer to think of shots as scaling, so 1 shot is 1-9 shots, 2 shots is 10-99 shots, 3 shots is 100-199 shots, etc. Once you’ve played Crossfire by Arty Conliffe, or similarly abstract games Warhammer’s abstractions aren’t an issue anymore.

        • petrow84

          “The bullets don’t just stop in mid air and fall to the ground”

          Unless you face that guy…

        • Yep, it more a mater of you giving them “instructions” to move through terrain or charge. The dice rolls are them preforming the task. If they were going to get it right every time we wouldn’t roll any dice at all ever.

          • SeekingOne

            Following this logic, all move distances and weapon ranges should be random ad well. There’s no sensible reason for normal move and assault move to work differently.

          • Hell, it’s a game. I wasn’t using real world “logic” exactly. More drawing a comparison to video games.
            The whole tings abstract.

    • GulMek

      Overwatch and wound allocation don’t help either. I hate to be THAT Ork, but these things are what really hampered assault armies for this edition( as well as random charges and the changes to shooting from vehicles, to lesser extent). This on top point disparity (a rhino is only 5 pts. More than a trukk?!) Are the reason there is such a huge gap between armies in tournament results. I know orks and other lower tier armies have had some good showings, but how much of that is due to player complacency against said armies ( top tier army players saying “this is going to be a cake walk” and don’t take skill into account when playing against them)?

      • No-one Special

        The reason for the point similarity is simply because you can assault from a Trukk. Give a Rhino the Assault Vehicle or Open Topped rule and then you’ll see a much bigger point gap (and marine players laughing)
        The rules themselves are fine – Overwatch should exist, and random charge works both ways. If the codex’s are a problem with some being weak then fine, they can be fixed, but I think the current balance of 40k within the rules themselves is fine.
        Assaults shouldn’t be an easy sweep across the board, they should be an applied attack focusing on weak points in the enemy line – or if there isn’t one, then waiting for the opportune moment while creating one before striking. The days of running a whole army across the board and sweeping your opponent without much difficulty are gone and good riddance, they were a basic and tedious way to play the game.

    • captkaruthors

      Yup. It was an unnecessary design change. All movement of any kind should have always stayed in the movement phase..thus the title of the FN phase…

  • Sigmarine

    Another tip 1: use different coloured dice to speed up to hit/to wound rolls.

    For example: I bring 16 blue die, 2 green die, 3 red die. For my space marines each game.

    Blue = bolter
    Green = plasma gun
    Res = missile launcher Krak missile

    Every time my 10 man tactical squad fire I can roll all hits and wounds at once, saves a lot of time compared to rolling each weapon on its own. Also works in combat as long as weapons have same int.

    Another tip 2: repeat certain colours for certain AP weapons where possible.

    Using the above I know

    Blue – ap5
    Green – ap2
    Red – ap3

    If I roll to wound against at an 3+ save unit. Its faster telling my oppent the results with no armour save, meaning they can remove those models, make feel no pain, cover saves etc. While I count regular wounds which need saving.

    Trick is consistency, I always use green for plasma (I paint the chambers green). By turn 3 most of my opponents start removing models when those dice come up 2+. Its a small change but adds up is you ever play 6000 point games.

    • Grafton Is Dust

      Except the rules now say you have to fire them sequentially, in case they put each other out of range.

      • Sigmarine

        thank you for the reminder. This does indeed only work if range is not likly to be a factor ie rapid firing the above weapons at unit entirly within 4 inches of yourself.

        • Grafton Is Dust

          Yeah, or in Apoc where no-one really cares anyway. If you were at a tournament like the OP was though, people might get a bit narky over it.

    • Commissar Molotov

      That’s definitely faster, but since wounds are allocated and casualties are removed sequentially for each “wound group” of different weapons under the shooting rules, you might get slightly different results using your method.

      • Sigmarine

        satistically its usually worse results for the roller. Using my example, a clever opponet would take the ap beating saves on the single marine with a storm shield protecting the unit. While using bolters first I stand a good chance of killing that model if they are in front, then using the ap negating shots to kill more models.

        However, its worth working out the disadvatage of that vs less game turns. There are times when less game turns are an advantage.

  • Grafton Is Dust

    This is all a bit basic really, isn’t it? I mean, you had all these tips, but it still didn’t stop you taking an hour?

    As someone who loves a good ol’ Infantry Guard game, I have serious problems playing them quickly and efficiently, and become increasingly conscious of the fact the only player is sitting there bored while I move 120 Guardsmen into position.

    Plus a lot of these are things that aren’t going to help anyway. “Plan during your opponent’s turn,” but that doesn’t help if their parting shot or assault has a freak luck that wipes out a unit you were expecting to hold. Or you line up a battery of Basilisks to beat up a Carnifex before the men Lasgun it and it scatters off the table/onto your men/in the middle of nowhere, ruining said plan.

    Plus if you’re the sort of person to forget your tape measure…you’re the sort of person to forget your tape measure. You’ll forget to put it in your pocket and leave it on the side, like I do, then spend a minute out of every ten tracking it down again.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I often have 150+ models in my CSM/IA13 army, what with all the cultists, zombies, mutants etc.

      Movement trays are a big help (I’m thinking of getting some of those flat mousepad terrain pieces to use as trays with the minis blu-tacked onto them), running in the M phase, having blocks of ten dice ready sorted, storing your models in their units ready to go, colour coding or otherwise marking similar units to tell them apart.

      I am a big fan of measuring sticks and have old style folding rulers in 6 and 9 inch increments. Having a 5 inch stick to do movement with (you can leapfrog 25mm bases over it for 6 inch moves), having a 12 and 24″ stick for measuring ranges and for marking out deployment zones (sticks are faster than a tape measure by far).

      • Grafton Is Dust

        Movement trays are a nice idea, but then terrain starts mussing it up, it feels a bit rigid, and it was one of the aspects of WFB I personally disliked.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          I use small trays, just 5 guys on each, recessed so the bases don’t fall out. They were madde by Wargames Tournaments. Speeds things up hugely and with strips of 5 guys you can usually fit them into or around terrain.

          • Grafton Is Dust

            Might work actually. How much do they usually cost you?

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            cost me about £30 to get enough for my army.

            WT have a clever site, you can specify how many slots you want on each base:

          • nurglitch

            60mm bases also work well for holding five 25mm based guys.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            the perfect size for a small blast to hit all 5 though!

          • nurglitch

            Yes, if it hits dead-on, but will miss completely on any 2″+ deviation.

  • Benderisgreat

    When someone tells me the orks suck I point to rocket spam armies like this and tell them to read their codexes again,

  • Commissar Molotov

    Movement trays for big mobz of boys (or broods of nids) helps a lot, too – but you inevitably have to pull them off the tray to go around or through terrain.

    • nurglitch

      The WOTR trays were perfect for this. Litko also produces great trays.

  • sethmo

    These are great tips!

  • nurglitch

    Running during movement is cheating because running affects line of sight and cover saves.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      True, buti t can impact htem negatively too!

      • nurglitch

        That’s just it, it’s not playing by the rules for material impact on both sides.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          its usually fairly obvious where this will be an issue. People can use their intelligence to decide when running in the movement phase won’t change anything.

    • It can be cheating, if you’re intentionally doing it to change LoS, which is why you clear it by your opponent first. When you’re playing a list with hundreds of models you have to do what you can to speed things up. This is how most people I know play horde lists and I’d stop playing with them if they insisted on always doing run moves separately.

  • This list is so small.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      I was thinking the same! Its about 1/3rd the size of my old Ork list.

      • I couldn’t believe it took him an hour for his first turn..How drunk was he…
        I like the list for it’s redundancy but hate so few trukks in a list. I have a list full of changes not that it would bee all that much better, but maybe a little.
        Heck I have everything to play this list. I might just plug it into Battle Scribe and make my changes.

  • TenDM

    It doesn’t sound like it would matter that much, but even if they don’t have balance issues weight the bases on your models. It makes it much easier to move them in clusters and you’ll spend less time fiddling with them. For models like Hormagaunts it’s a must.
    Personally I have no objection to letting my opponent move and measure for me. Obviously it’s a case by case basis but if I’ve got two dozen Termagaunts moving down a hallway I can move the front row then have my opponent move the rest since all they’re doing is piling up behind the front row.

    Also, and I understand this one isn’t going to suit everyone, you don’t have to min-max every movement. If the game is dragging I’d rather move an entire unit quickly in a way that avoids terrain and have three models out of firing range than take a minute to move them individually in a way that gets everyone in range. Yes I’ll lose three shots and that can be disastrous, but the value of keeping things flowing isn’t to be under-estimated either. They’re just Termagaunts after all. I’d rather not get hung up on them and then have to rush decisions for the more important units later down the track.

    • TenDM

      Oh, and you know those measuring sticks GW puts in their boxed games?
      Cut those down to common lengths and paint them so they rotate between
      black and white every inch (maybe even paint the numbers on it in a big
      font). A 12″ stick painted that way will handle your standard movement,
      your run moves, your charge moves, synapse range checks and even a lot of weapons (24″ range is just two stick lengths). If you have a bunch of units using 32″ Rapid Fire weapons cut a 32″ stick, paint half of it white and half of it black.
      While you’re doing that cut 2″ off a sprue and glue it to the end of the stick. That way when you’re trying to spread a high model count unit out to avoid templates or daisy chain them to an objective you can just poke the end with the 2″ sprue between the bases and know they’re 2″ away from each other.
      It sounds stupid if you’ve been playing Space Marines but trust me, if you’ve got a bunch of Orks on bikes or a Tervigon pumping out Termagaunts every turn being able to plonk down a template instead of fiddling with the tape measure is a life saver.

      On the subject of tools it should go without saying but bring tons of dice. Double what your biggest amount of rolls could be. You can’t run a high model count army with a twenty pack of D6. Bring multiple colours/sizes so you can combine certain rolls. Bring enough scatter dice that you can roll multiple blasts/barrages together.

      If you really want to get organised try sorting your dice into groups of five during your opponents turn. It’s a minor thing but it makes it a lot easier to grab 33 dice. Likewise use a big dice tray for rolling. Any time you roll forty dice together at least one is going to go off the table or into a hard to see spot. The dice tray cuts that out and makes things just that little bit smoother.