Looking at where to find 20 points to strap in that PowerKlaw? Drop some gretchen. Need that extra gain to survivability only a pain boy can give? Drop the Gretchen. In short, they aren't just the worst stat line in 40K (though they literally are) but they are the FIRST thing to go when ANYTHING else is needed.
It is small wonder that Gretchen are almost never seen in 40K. Orks themselves make sporadic appearances these days in 6E, so that makes it even tougher to see grots in action.
The way I see Gretchen used is as rear objective holders. Why?
- With a Twin-linked LD of 7, they actually don't run as often as it seems they would.
- Enemies don't tend to want to waste shots on them until later, secure in the knowledge that 5 cultists could end them... Or just two Marines. They have plenty of time to deal with that rabble later.
- They can be reserved so that even if the enemy wanted to shoot them, they'd HAVE to wait and who knows what objectives might be easier to take later. since the grots cant shoot OR assault basically, they may as well run every round and try to take position.
Time and again I was pleased that the gretchin became my KFF while still absorbing fire. a 2fer! The grots took up space and disallowed Deep Strike shenanigans of any kind. NOTHING could kill ANYTHING that wasn't gretchen without shooting THROUGH a grot. Orks, who aren't known for their armour manufacturing skills benefited a LOAD by having this little rascals in the way and what made it worse for the enemy was the advancing bubble of worthless targets pressing them in further and allowing my MUCH meaner back units to do their thing. Never were the Ork Boyz unable to get a charge off instead of being charged. Never di the Meganobz have this worry. They were always allowed to be the aggressors. In addition, the zzap guns, Shock attack gun and buggies were almost never targeted because the enemy simply wasn't willing to wade through that many tough 7 wounds in the case of artillery, nor try to shoot at Buggies when that horde was a far more pressing concern.
The gretchin keyed everything. They kind of acted like a GUARANTEE that I would always get the charge, never be charged in any way that mattered (they could charge the gretchin or... More gretchin, basically).
The BIZARRE missions at the tournament really disadvantaged this list and I was still able to pull a 2-1 record from it. In one mission, Area terrain CEASED to give cover! I mean seriously? The grotz were even MORE important in that mission obviously.
I was just really impressed as to what Gretchin could do for an ork army and I got to thinking: Hell they could do this as allies! I can think of a ton worse allies to take with you to battle. A BigMek with Shock Attack gun is a steal of a price as an HQ from the experience I had, and the Gretchin do nothing but help you set the opponent up. Fantastic for an allied contingent.
Tau in particular would really benefit from this low cost bubble wrapping. A lot of their tanks could be defended this way. But they aren't the only ones.
So go fill your shelves with old school gretchin models and give them a try in your force. A surprisingly useful and oh so inexpensive value buy.