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I was considering strategies to help my armored infantry style Ork army get into assault range and was looking at Lootas as a long range direct fire support option. I see Mekboyz may replace 1-3 Lootas, but what is the value of replacing Lootas with Mekboyz? The weapon options for a Mekboy do not offer any advantage over the Lootas deffgun that I can see, so why would someone field Mekboyz with Lootas?

Update 8 October 2012 When I asked this question, 40K was in 5th edition, and the accepted answer remains quite valid for 5th ed. Now that we're in 6th edition, a Battlewagon full of Lootaz may fire their heavy Deffguns as snap shots when their rolling fortress moves. Having a Mekboy along for the ride has some tactical value for immobilized/weapon destroyed repairs on the Battlewagon. I do not want to start a discussion, simply point out I find there is now some tactical value for choosing a Mekboy with a mob of Lootaz in 6th edition.

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There's also now with the new wound allocation rules some value in having a bullet sponge that you can stick out front of units. –  Affe Oct 9 '12 at 4:00
    
@Affe Excellent point! –  David Pointer Oct 9 '12 at 13:58
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Most people don't field the Mekboys. In fact, in 5 years I've never seen anyone put a Mekboy in a squad of Lootas.

So, you're not alone in not seeing their usefulness. Technically you could use the Mekboy to build a little duality into the unit. This makes them slightly more well rounded so as to be able to deal with other types of threats, but that's not what people generally take Lootas for.

Lootas are Orks most consistent and effective long range shooting, adding a Mekboy degrades their points efficiency.

In response to the edit about 6th

In that case I think you are better off with an attached Big Mek. That way you can add in a Kustom Force Field to protect the battle wagon. I'm also not a big fan of just snap shooting them from a moving vehicle. They'll be susceptible to stun and shaken results on the wagon even if they disembark afterwards. Going from a 5+ to a 6+ to hit may not seem like much, but is still a 50% reduction in shooting effectiveness. Why do that if you don't have too? And finally, why would you need to move a long ranged unit like Lootas in the first place? A good deployment position should give them range to most of the board. Put something else in that wagon; something you want to get closer to the enemy.

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