While an ork warboss can stomp, chop, smash, rip, and bite his way through pretty much anything, it’s the big mek that actually ends up winning the orks most of their battles. Exceedingly useful in almost any ork list, the big mek’s combination of war gear and unit synergy make him an almost auto-include for any ork general.
Big Mek Basics
- Big Mek are incredibly cheap, costing you only slightly more than an unequipped nob before upgrades.
- A Big Mek can be outfitted to do almost anything, from scrapping in the trenches with the boyz, to being relied on to support your other units with his gear.
- Big Meks make any ork vehicle better, being able to reliably repair them when they get shot up—which they will.
- Big Meks have access to the most powerful ork gun in the codex.
- Big Meks have access to what is unquestionably the most powerful gadget in the ork codex—the kustom force field!
- The Big Mek can’t go toe-to-toe with other enemy HQs, especially not those with a close combat specialty.
Big Mek Builds
Here are some of my favorite Big Mek builds and how I use them. I like creating thematic Mek’s, mostly because it’s fun, but also because an off-the-shelf Big Mek is basically a just an extra nob.
- Da Power Plant: This is by far the most useful Big Mek build, because it utilizes the excellent kustom force field. With him in your list, your battlewagon spearheads and deff dread mobs suddenly get a lot scarier—shrugging off 50% of the hits they’ll take thanks to the force field’s cover save. Your mobs of boyz get some of that resilience, too, though only a 5+ cover save. The Power Plant Mek doesn’t need much else to be happy, making him a cheap and effective HQ. Make sure you at least start him tucked into a battlewagon—because it extends the force field’s range to the hull of the vehicle!
- The Nuka: Sporting the wildly erratic—and sometimes powerful shokk attack fun, the Nuka Big Mek is the last word in ork fire support. Plant this Big Mek in an open-topped battlewagon and watch the mushroom clouds appear on the horizon. The Nuka doesn’t need any other wargear to be happy, he only needs distance and a parking spot to make the most of his gun. Keep him protected and your fire lanes clear! The Nuka excels in the few ork lists where you want your enemy to come to you, and is a great addition to a unit of Lootas. Give him a boss pole to keep your big guns a-shootin’!
- The Scrapper: This Big Mek rocks himself a warbike and burna, joining a warbiker mob as they hunt weak targets. Here the Mek’s specialty is lost somewhat, though he’s cheaper than a similarly outfitted warboss. The Scrapper isn’t especially competitive, but fun for my junk-yard style orks. It’s a good idea to give him a powerklaw just in case the bikers can race around some exposed vehicles to rip ‘em up.
The Big Mek is all about his wargear, since by himself he is limited to beating on people with his wrench.
- Burna. This replaces the Mek’s CC weapon, but remember that the burna becomes a power weapon in any turn that you don’t shoot with it. Sounds good, but not worth the hefty price tag. If you’re going to spend the points, toss down the extra five to get a…
- Power Klaw. Here we go. The best ork weapon will serve your Big Mek well, just don’t rely on the Mek’s klaw to take down anything essential; it’s more of a hit of convenience.
- Kombi-weapons. As I’ve said before, kombi-rokkits are a waste of points; the kombi-skorcha however, is 5 points of awesome. Not only is it stronger than most ork guns, the Big Mek’s BS of 2 won’t impact its shooting. A no-brainer for aggressive Meks!
- Kustom Mega Blasta: A surprisingly good gun for the mek. While it is somewhat expensive, the Mek can shoot it on the move and surprise your opponent. Good for the Power Plant Mek.
- Mega-armor: Uncompetitive over-kill. A mega-nob is 35 points cheaper, but the mek’s tools can be helpful for getting a vehicle-mounted close combat unit unto the fray.
- Shokk Attack Gun: Monstrously powerful some turns, and game wrecking others—count on this thing both winning and losing you plenty of games. Although the Strength of the gun varies, the excellent AP means that you’ve got a fair shot of killing any infantry beneath its template.
- Kustom Force Field: So good that it’s an auto-include in any competitive list.
- Warbike: These are always useful because they make your Mek much harder to kill—but does the speed outweigh the usefulness of a force field? Warbosses are better on bikes.
- Ammo Runt: If you’re using the Nuka Big Mek—take an ammo runt. It’ll make the shokk attack it’s most effective. Other a Mek taking aim with a mega blasta will also benefit from one; they’re certainly cheap enough not to make a big impact.
- Cybork Body: If you’re playing wisely, your Big Mek won’t be tackling anything too scary, so an invulnerable save isn’t as essential here as it is on a war boss. Useful if your Mek is sporting a kustom mega blasta through, since it allows you to protect from errant Get’s Hot rolls.
- ‘eavy Armor: This armor on the other hand, should be essential. Nothing is worse than losing your Mek due to the explosion of his vehicle!
- Bosspole: Always a smart buy, but as I’ve discussed before, these are better on nobs because they can’t be picked out by your opponent. Bosspoles are useful on Mek’s only if he’s paired with lootas or burnas.
- Attack Squig: Fun but not essential. For the points cost you could invest in better upgrades for your other units.
- Grot Oiler: These gretchin are handy for Big Meks running alongside deff dreads, or advancing in a battlewagon. They’ll help the Mek keep the vehicle in fighting shape easilyl
Off the Sprue
The Big Mek has three excellent metal/finecast blisters, each with a slightly different tone. However, like everything else in the ork codex, Big Meks are very easy to convert! Use a nob as your foundation, and gather as many spare parts as you can to make your Big Mek look kitted out for fixin’ or smashin’!