Did you know you can now pre-order single ships for Armada? That’s right, next month we’ll be releasing individual ships for the Basileans and orcs before following it up with dwarfs and Empire of Dust in August.

We’re making the single ships available now because, as people become more experienced with the game, it’s likely they’re going to want to start customising their fleets a little more with options that aren’t available in the starter or booster boxes.

Oh, and if you’re not experienced with the game, check out Ronnie’s video below, which introduces the basics… and includes Ronnie swearing a bit when his ships get sunk. Oops!

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s get on to some top tips for creating an orc fleet that Korgaan would be proud of. Thanks very much to the Armada RC for putting these lists together! Oh, and in case you’re wondering, we created the lists using Easy Army’s list builder, which you can subscribe to here.


Orcs love close combat fighting, because they’re good at it! This list is all about closing on the enemy and boarding their ships. Morax on all the main battle ships is a necessity, as is the Grappling Hooks upgrade on all ships able to initiate Boarding Actions. If you can keep your fleet fairly compact and funnel the fleet into the same space, then you have more chance of benefitting from the War Drum of Spite with multiple ships. The Hammerfists are equally terrifying in Boarding Actions with their CS of 6 (excluding Rabble Sqn), and magic items chosen specifically to further enhance their damage output.


A smaller fleet, but one that is equally devastating at range as it is up close. The Bombboats are a fantastic support ship. Not only do they have an IDW on the Bow and Stern, they also have 3C on the sides! This means you don’t necessarily want to hang back with these ships, but sail forward, closing in on the enemy for the chance to unleash the Broadsides at point blank range. The Hammerfists will sail in close proximity to deter any ships trying to take out the Bombboats, and then at the opportune time close in and board the ships to finish them off.


If a Maul is sighted by the enemy, they will know they are in for a hard fight. With 7C weapons on the Sides, and Captained by Yinn Greythunder, the Maul can severely cripple any ship in a single activation. The CS of 12 will outmatch anything the current fleets can muster, and the Ensnared rule will mean almost certain doom for any ship that is grappled.

Armada Orc Ripper Hulk colour

The Ocarina of Korgaan will help you plan the perfect attack, at the last minute changing the wind direction to hand initiative to you. The Hammerfist is a perfectly capable ship in Boarding Actions, able to go toe to toe with even enemy L ships. The Rabble Squadrons will aid where they can, and the Blood Runners can take on other M and S ships.


The smallest battle ships in the orc fleets, Hammerfists do not really have the bulk or impetus to ram enemy warships, but this simple fact does nothing to deter the Gadjits, who set about embellishing their ship with enormous mechanical flails and pneumatic battering rams. These seemingly impossible engines of destruction can achieve with ingenuity what a Smasher can only achieve with size, inertia and a fair wind, and are the vessel of choice for the true thrill-seeking orc.


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Even some goblins show at least some aptitude for naval combat, so much so that they might be deemed capable of taking charge of a small sailship without the ‘assistance’ of orcs. These goblins typically band together in small squadrons, whose job is to cause as much of a nuisance to the enemy as possible. Once the larger ships get stuck in up close, the Rabble squadrons zip through the gaps in the line, and board the already stricken foe with the aid of their grapple-harpoons. The defending crew then find themselves attacked on all sides by grinning, cutlass-wielding maniacs, and as soon as the battle is won, the Rabble disengage and go hunting anew.

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Those orcs with a particular penchant for things that go ‘boom!’ are often the first to volunteer for Bombboat duty. The thrill, however, is short-lived – after one or two battles aboard such a vessel, the average orc finds themselves deaf as a post. Designed by goblin Banggits, Bombboats are fitted with incredibly large and very dangerous mortars, and their one and only job is to use that weapon against the biggest target they can find – if they don’t get torn apart in the attempt.

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The largest and most improbable orc vessels are the Ripper Hulks – and hulks they indeed are. Captained by the highest-ranking Krudger in the fleet, their tactics are simple but effective. In battle, they sail slowly and inexorably towards the biggest, baddest enemy ship they can reach, and set to work with their crude machinery – huge saws powered by goblin crank-wheels that can cut a three-decker in half, mechanical battering rams capable of denting even a dwarf ironclad, and other devices more at home in a siege than on a ship.

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These large warships are remarkably effective at what they do: they have one simple task in battle, and that is to harness every breath of wind in their sails, and ram full-speed into the first enemy vessel they reach.

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One of the more versatile ships in an orc fleet, the Blood Runner does at least boast heavy broadsides for ranged capability, as well as a massive prow-drill designed for holing enemy ships. They tend to be captained by those rare orcs who have survived past their prime, and crewed mainly by goblins. Blood runners are often derided by other orc crews, because they aren’t designed for sticking around after crippling the enemy. But in truth, without the efforts of the sneaky Blood Runners, the lumbering battle ships of the orc fleet would get to grips with the enemy far less frequently.

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