Lootas are Ork specialists obsessed with two things:
- Making the biggest bangs.
- Nickin' stuff.
Granted this goes for most Orks, but lootas take it to the extreme.
These obsessions define their twin roles in Ork society. In war they are the heavy weapons specialists, wearing Studded Armour and wielding the horrifying (for their targets, for anybody near their targets, and for anybody anywhere near the lootas) Deffguns, the ultimate Ork-portable testament to the philosophy of MOAR DAKKA. Deffgunz are cobbled together by lootas and Meks with the goal of creating more noise and delivering more firepower in a vaguely downrange direction. Often this just means they weld or ducttape 'recovered' weapons from the battlefield on to a frame and slave the triggers together.
This is not to say that all Lootas are poor scavengers mind you, certain rich Lootas are known to carry around the rare but expensive and powerful Kustom Mega-Blasta or the smaller Kustom Mega-Slugga.
Off the battlefield, however, they're more like heavily-armed scavengers. Lootas, good to their name, excel at looting. They infiltrate enemy camps to steal weapons and vehicles which they rebuild to fit ork sensibilities and tactics. Lootas and Mekboyz have a close relationship; the lootas often bring meks the best gubbinz to work with, as long as the meks give them better deffgunz and vehicles to use. However, Loota's attitudes regarding property extend to more than just other races, and they have no problem stealing from other orks.
Many boyz consider lootas a bunch of thieving jerks that need to keep their grubby klaws to themselves. Not suprisingly, Lootas are mostly found in the Deathskulls Klan, though they can be found in all the other Klans.
In third edition, these guys were notorious for having the bizarre ability to field imperial weapons, notably right out of the armories of imperial guard and space marines codices at the time. There were no restrictions on how often a weapon could be taken, so you could arm all members of a squad of ten with missile launchers or lascannons and shoot from afar. Mind you, one would pay the same price as listed in the codex and shoot at ork ballistic skill, but it made for amusing loadouts. Unsurprisingly in later editions this was removed.
Lootas are a very popular choice for Ork players, especially in 8th Edition, and especially in Bad Moon or Deathskull armies. They have some of the longest ranged dakka in the Ork codex and they can reliably wound almost anything with their S7 Deffguns. The Deffguns are Heavy d3; roll a d3 for the entire mob, and that's how many shots each Loota in the mob gets. This means that a full-strength mob of 15 Lootas can potentially vomit out 45 S7 shots at 48" range with -1 AP and 2 wounds each, which is absolutely insane. On the downside, Lootas are not optimized for melee, they are rather expensive, and they are also somewhat fragile, having the same profile as a regular Ork Boy. This means that screening them with Gretchin is absolutely mandatory. You also have the option of replacing up to one in every five Lootas with a Spanner.
Previously, there was little benefit to including a Spanner with a Loota mob, but this has changed with the release of Prophecy of the Wolf. Now if you take a Spanner, you can apply the Klever Spanner stratagem for 1 CP if the mob is a total of 9 models or less, or 2 CP if the mob has 10 models or more. As long as the Spanner is alive, you can now roll two dice when determining the number of shots your Lootas (or Burna Boyz, incidentally) can take, and choose the best result. This is much more CP-efficient and reliable compared to burning CP to fix low dice rolls for shot output. Don't forget that the Spanner can also perform minor repair work, so try to position him next to your other back-field support vehicles like Mek Gunz.
Lootas are already a force to be reckoned with, but try taking them as Bad Moons, then buff them with the More Dakka! and Showin' Off Stratagems. Not only do they reroll 1's, but 5's and 6's auto-hit while also generating additional hits (which also reroll 1's and auto-hit on 5 or 6). Then, after the first salvo, they get to fire AGAIN. A full-strength mob has the ability to fire up to NINETY shots in this manner. When so buffed Lootas become truly terrifying, albeit very CP-hungry.