If I have a set of 6 elements {a,a,a,b,b,b} and I want to find the number of ways to arrange these in different orders, is it perms or combs that I use?
Strictly speaking it is neither. It is arrangements with repetitions.
Say the problem was the same instructions but with $\displaystyle \{a,a,b,b,b,c,c,c,c\}$ .
Then the answer would be $\displaystyle \frac{9!}{2!\cdot 3! \cdot 4!}$.
We divide to account for the repetitions.
What is the answer to your original question?