© The Author(s) 2017. Ductility-dip cracking in Ni-based superalloy, resulting from heat treatment, is known to cause disastrous failure, but its mechanism is still not completely clear. A statistical study of the cracking behavior as a function of crystal orientation in a laser 3D-printed DL125L Ni-based superalloy polycrystal is investigated here using the synchrotron X-ray microdiffraction. The dislocation slip system in each of the forty crystal grains adjacent to the 300 μm long crack has been analyzed through Laue diffraction peak shapes. In all these grains, edge-type geometrically necessary dislocations (GNDs) dominate, and their dislocation line directions are almost parallel to the crack plane. Based on Schmid's law, the equivalent uniaxial tensile force direction is revealed normal to the trace of the crack. A qualitative mechanism is thus proposed. Thermal tensile stress perpendicular to the laser scanning direction is elevated due to a significant temperature gradient, and thus locations in the materials where the thermal stress exceeds the yield stress undergo plastic deformation mediated by GND activations. As the dislocations slip inside the crystal grains and pile up at the grain boundaries, local strain/stress keeps increasing, until the materials in these regions fail to sustain further deformation, leading to voids formation and cracks propagation.