Monday, May 17, 2010

Space Wolves Threat Assessment: Overview and Wargear

E-mail in from Mercer:
Hey Chumby,

How's it hanging?

Right, I've got this tournament in June. I know about majority armies except Tau, Space Wolves and Blood Angels. Tau I am not worried about, who plays Tau anyway? :P . What I do need is cluing up on Space Wolves and seems you're a S.W player who has his head screwed on I thought you could perhaps tell me things to look out for in particular.  
Tanks e-bro!
Good man. Not fussed on builds but I need to know how to kill them, stats and what special weapons and rules etc. Knowing your enemy is half the battle. I find that knowing the special rules and profiles the best so I can send the best units to deal with them i.e khorne hounds best to gun down because only 5+ invulnerable but don't let them charge because of furious charge, same for juggernaut.

As for B.A I've asked the mighty King. He seems to know his shit.

Hey dude, I'm fine apart from my tattered ACL and surgery tomorrow >,<.  I would have made some silly joke about hung Parliaments, but I'm too classy for that, so I'll just go for the easy dick joke.  I appreciate the props, I'll try and do right by you aight?  TKE does indeed know his shit, but I've got to give it up to Kirby and MVB for some very useful BA knowledge.

I think I'm gonna try and kill two birds here.  It's very important to know your foe in 40k, and we see plenty of articles, tacticas, and so on on how to use an army, but not much on how to go against an army.  It can be a bigger problem when you bring in all the variant marine armies, since it's a bunch of similar models that all do drastically different things.  It can be I'll do my SW rundown and if it works out I'll see if I can't do something similar for other armies out there.  

Space Wolves share pretty much all the same statlines, vehicles, and wargear with vanilla marines.  They give up combat tactics and combat squads for Counter-Attack and Acute Senses.  So, right off the bat, SW trade some big tactical flexibilities in favor of a handy defensive bonus that helps them almost always fight at full effectiveness in HtH.  They also give up some units in favor of their own versions or new stuff.  All told, SW have a very flexible list with their own strengths and weaknesses.  SW love assault, particularly with their super awesome cavalry, but they can also shoot very effectively.  SM have more tactical and list-building flexibility, but SW have plenty of their own options to make a viable army.  In general though, SW assault relies more on forcing saves from a bunch of normal attacks with a handful of high S armor ignoring attacks to tip the balance.  On the flip side, if you want to slap SW around, they don't bring much in the way of survivability beyond numbers and toughness.  Storm Shields are very expensive on everybody, so they will rely on high model count, T5, EW on characters, and wound allocation shenanigans.  TH/SS Termies still beat face.

The big divergence in SW is the focus on characters, particularly HQs, where they get can up to 4, and the addition of the Thunderwolf Cavalry.  S5 T5 rending cavalry models can be taken in HQ, Elites and Fast Attack, making the foot cav army extremely potent.  Expect SW armies to have very potent (and expensive) characters and a low number of hardcore scary units.  On the flip side, they can do the MSU spam quite well.  Lots of variety here, so it's difficult to nail them down to one particular build or playstyle.  When you're across from the Space Furries, you really can't be sure what they'll bring or how they'll play, just because they have so many options. 

For the most part, SW and SM have the same gear.  Here are the exceptions.

Wolf Claw: Fuzzy lightning claws with a higher price tag and the ability to choose to re-roll missed hits or wounds in assault (chosen at the beginning of every assault phase).  It's not a huge buff, but something to look out for.  Increased flexibility they pay for.

Frost Blade:  Power Weapon that confers +1S.

Runic Armor: Artificer Armor with a 5+ invulnerable save against psychic attacks.  It really only works on force weapons and direct damage attacks, so it doesn't quite make up for Rune Priests and Iron Priests being unable to take Storm Shields.  Makes them very squishy.

Fenrisian Wolf: Lesser Daemon with Ld5, 6+ armor instead of invulnerable, no Fearless, and beast unit type over Deep Strike.  Wolves can be bought for characters and pretty much function as ablative wounds against shooting since they count as a separate unit in HtH.  They can mess up infantry and close very quickly, but low Ld and save makes them easy meat when you draw a bead on them.

Wolf Tooth Necklace:  Always hit on a 3+ against models with a WS.  Your characters won't like it much, and it makes WG and IP much more effective in HtH, so all the more reason to shoot or apply overwhelming force.

Wolf Tail Talisman: Nullifies psychic powers that affect the model or unit he is with on a 5+.  Not as effective as the runic weapon, but it only costs 5 points and they can spread them all over the army.

Thunderwolf Mount:  +1 A, S, T (base stat increase, so S8 won't insta-kill), beast unit type and rending to boot.  It also lets Fenrisian Wolves and Cyber-wolves within 12" re-roll morale.  This is totally awesome, turning SW characters into super awesome death machines with high speed and reslience.

Mark of the Wulfen:  Kinda like Crushing Claws, only it replaces their A stat with D6+1 attacks with Rending (can't combine MotW and special CCW).  Rending is meh, but a bunch of extra attacks never hurt.  Its usefulness depends on who ends up getting it.  A Grey Hunter with 1A benefits greatly, but a TWC with 4A base and rending already doesn't gain much at all beyond being unique for wound allocation.

Wolf Standard:  Once per game, the unit may pop the standard and they get to re-roll all 1's in one assault phase (includes attached characters).  Awesome.  Luckily it only comes on Grey Hunters.

Belt of Russ:  Fuzzy Iron Halo.

So, hopefully that can get the ball rolling.  Sorry for taking so long on it Mark.  Lucky you, I'm about to have a lot of free time on my hands so I can get plenty done ;)

1 comment:

clt40k said...

I would add that you should expect 2 meltas per rhino, cause you can do it pretty cost effectively.

Also, Long Fangs should be a popular choice... gotta love the cheaper Dev Squad that takes 5 Missile Launchers

Finally, Rune Priests (Libby Alternative) are hampered by no wargear, but they have a great psychic power (Living Lighting, D6 Autocannon hitting on 2+ with Chooser of the Slain gear) and they get to dispel your stuff on a 4+.... so no rolling initiative.