The humble Ork bosspole it sounds cool re-rolling morale tests but is it really worth the 5 points?
For many of you the above question will be a straight forward answer, though perhaps the bosspole needs to be looked indepth for what actually it does.
Firstly the bosspole is 5 points so it's pretty cheap and can only be taken by certain HQ choices and Nobz units only. What it does it allows you to re-roll failed morale tests, pretty cool, eh? While re-rolling morale tests is cool the bosspole has a catch to it, like all Ork wargear, where there is a positive there's a negative. When you use the bosspole a model in the unit takes a wound (you still get armour saves) so lets say you take the wound on a normal Boy which costs 6 points, you fail that armour save which makes the bosspole cost 11 points - you do this several times through out the game, lets say another two times making that bosspole cost 5 points plus 18 points (3 x 6 points per Boy) you think it's worth 5 points now?
I know comparing other codexes is bad, but the Chaos Space Marines can get a icon of chaos glory for 10 points which allows them to re-roll failed morale checks like the bosspole, but it also allows any units which deep strike within 6" and they do not scatter - cool eh? This costs 10 points. So why is the Ork bosspole which has the same benefit more or less have a negative too? Wouldn't it be better just costing 10 points and be done with it?
Now we know what the bosspole can do and what it costs in terms of points and sometimes models lets look when a bosspole will be needed:
Morale tests are taken when a unit loses 25% of its models, this is any phase so kill enough Guardsmen with gets hot! rolls with plasma guns and you take a morale test, lol.
Morale tests are taken when enemy tank performs a tank shock.
Morale tests are taken in combat, which is -1 modifier is applied to for every wound the unit has lost combat by.
So now what's clear what a morale test is, is the bosspole really useful? Well shooting Orks can die very quickly but should be in large units, so a bosspole could be useful when you eventually start losing Orks, however, keep in mind Orks use leadership value equal to unit size when under 11 (makes them fearless) so the only time a bosspole will come in use is when you have a unit size of 7 or under, though having a higher leadership value doesn't mean you're always going to pass ;) . So is a bosspole worth it for shooting? Maybe...
Tank shock only affects Orks once the unit size has been trimmed down and while tank shocking is cool it's not always something someone can and will do. So I would say bosspole for tank shock purposes probably isn't all that important.
Now onto close combat and morale tests and this is where the pole is most used. In combat Orks strike last and die in numbers before they even strike, when they have big units they can asborb the damage but when they start falling morale tests start rolling around, but unlike other morale tests it's a -1 modifier for each wound lost combat by. If the Orks have lost combat you'll find you will more than likely need a below average leadership roll to pass morale, even if the Orks are LD10, this is because 6+ armour along with striking last in combat and being S3 doesn't help much - in combat the bosspole doesn't really help as either the Orks are winning or losing, badly, which means re-roll morale test when you say need 4+ to pass on morale, which isn't going to happen all that much and means you will more than likely lose a Boy in the process (or a wound) and end up still getting swept in combat...bummer.
Are bosspoles worth it? Sometimes is the answer, it's kind of grey. I've been using bosspoles since I've been playing Orks and I've found when Orks get shot at they die rapidly and the bosspole can help then. In combat Orks either win or lose, and when they lose they lose badly (being tied up in combat hurts them), and when you're taking -1 modifiers on a LD7 it's not going to help you and when you get re-rolls for morale you are still probably not going to pass.
If you're doing wound allocation muckery and your Orks are on foot then bosspoles are worth it. If you intend to be in transports blasting away and hopefully win combat then the only time a bosspole will be any use is in combat, which, Orks may lose, and then that pole won't be helping you out.