Friday, November 12, 2010

Why Long fangs are just that Good.

So, I was thinking about Long Fangs the other day.  Why do we take them over every single other Heavy choice out there?  Well, simply put, they are just that good.  The Space Wolf heavy slots are actually pretty varied.  We have the option of: landraiders (all variants), predators, vindicators, whirlwinds, and long fangs.  So, we are stacking 4 tanks(6 with LR variants) against a single unit of heavy weapon toting toughs.  Let's size up the competition. 

Land Raiders- You aren't getting out of the garage without spending 250pts.  That's over 10% of your army's allotment at 2,000pt and below.  Really, the only reason to take these guys is if you are running terminators that aren't in a loganwing army, which is usually infantry based. Space Wolves just don't take terminators in droves like Vanilla Marines do.  Thus, these are a waste.  For 250pt. the best anti-tank you can get are TL lascannons which aren't bad, but for about 85pt less, you can get a tank with 3 lascannon shots. The optional multi-melta is good, but means that you have to get within multi-melta/melta range yourself.  Meltas turn 250pt tanks into 250pt. regrets.

Predators- Let's face it. Since the new round of marine codices have been released, people are only really taking dakka preds.  Tri-las are just too expensive considering that you can get almost 2 full dakka preds for the price of a single tri-las.  The hybrid variant isn't too bad yielding 2 autocannon shots and 2 lascannon shots. 

What do we get for 85 pts.? 2 S7 shots and 6 S5.  That is actually decent against light armor and infantry, but anything over AV11 is going to give you fits.  So, step it up a notch.  Go with the auto-las for 120pt.  Now you have 2 autocannon shots and 2 lascannon shots.  This can handle pretty much any light or medium armor in the game.  If you are lucky, you might even score yourself a landraider wreck/explosion result.  Don't count on it. 

Why are predators not taken in a Space Wolf list?  Their main weakness is that they have to stay still to deliver their full payload.  Result: preds drop like flies when infantry units can assault into them with grenades and powerfists.  Auto-hitting against AV10 is easy work. 

So, why not move them? Sure, I would love to spend the whole game chasing a predator with an assault squad or even a tac squad.  Why? Because if you are moving, you ain't shooting.  A predator becomes almost worthless on the move. 

Preds also are screwed if they are so much as glanced.  If they aren't shooting, they are points wasted.  The best thing to do with a pred is keep it in cover and protect it from units sweeping around your flanks of coming in via deepstrike or on your table edges.  The problem is, this means diverting units from your army to do so.  Another fail situation.

So, if preds are the optimum heavy choice, what's next?

Vindicators- This is the bad boy of the tank world.  Lob a S10 template onto anything and watch it go away.  For 115pt. you can do this fairly well.  However, the tank with the biggest gun usually becomes the biggest target and once again, if this baby isn't shooting, it is worthless.  As Fritz mentioned, the vindicator's biggest liability is its gun.  If a pen is scored, you have a 50/50 chance of this tank effectively (and literally) becoming a scrap heap.  That said, it suffers from all of the same issues any other tanks have (i.e. being shaken and stunned, but sans the vodka). Again, it is best protected by being put in cover with a guard dog unit.

*Whirlwinds- Does anyone take these? 

*Addendum- Hopefully, my readers will understand this to be a bit of the 'ol tongue in cheek routine.  My main beef with whirlwinds is the low AV and the fact that mech and MEQs are a huge portion of the metagame.  So, are whirlwinds useful?  You bet, in some cases.  Are they run often or even occasionally?  Nope.  There are just way too many better options in every army that can take them.  So, yes, I know I am offending allow of you whirlwind advocates out there, but this just isn't a good use of points currently.

So, we are down to the gold standard heavy slot for Space Wolve, the Long Fangs!

So, long fangs are essentially Space Wolves toting big guns with an additional point of leadership, but they bring quite a few interesting things to the table.

1) Points cost. Long fangs are stupidly cheap.  For 115 points you can get 5 long fangs with 4 missile launchers, by far my favorite. Need more firepower?  For 10points more than the tri-las pred, you can get 5 long fangs with 4 lascannons which statistically will do better than the tri-las despite its having one TL lascannon.

2) Wound allocation/Wolf Guard- Want some staying power and additional firepower?  Add a wolf guard terminator with a cyclone missile launcher and you can shake off the occasional krak missile with his 2+ save.  You also have a squad leader who can take a dirt nap to keep the squad firing.

3) Splitting targets- Long fangs can shoot at two separate targets as long as the squad leader is alive.  Only a land raider can do that and we can get two squads of fangs for the price of a landraider.

4) Cover- Long fang can take better advantage of cover in most game and in a pinch get an even better cover save by going to ground.

5) Unstunnununable- Long fangs being infantry models, you can't stop them from firing unless you kill them.  No shaken or stunned result. 

6) Counter attack- So, you want your scouts to assault in and tie up the long fang squad.  They have counterattack and so will get additional attacks to fight back with.  These guys aren't pushovers, though they will die to dedicate assault units or any unit with a power weapon. 

So, am I a bit biased in my evaluation?  Probably, but I don't care.  No matter how you slice it, long fangs have one up on the tanks found in the heavy slot in every way.  It is my opinion that every space wolf army should start with 3 units of long fangs before selecting anything. 

What are you thoughts?  Are long fangs the best option we have?  Do you agree with my statements about why they are superior to all other heavy slots for Space Wolves?  How do you run your long fangs?

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socjologia said...

they are infantry it is easier to LoS block them with a rhino or razor to minimize incoming fire to only part of the enemy army. something a pred or LR wont get .

Dave said...

That is a good point, but couldn't they just split fire to take out the rhino/razor and then continue to shoot at the targets blocked by tank?

I also like the fact that they can use multi-level terrain better than a tank. Having long fangs in the top floor of a building protects them from a lot of threats.

Stormy said...

Another reason for part of the Long Fangs becoming so good has to do with the preference for a lot of players to go heavy on anti-tank weapons to deal with Mech lists.

A Lascannon or Missile can bag almost any tank in the game with a single shot but will struggle to make a dent in a Long Fang squad as it is only capable of killing a single model when used (I'm assuming Krak not Frag). Even at that, the Pack Leader (always the first to die) will typically get a 4+ cover save.

You can argue that they're more susceptible to anti-infantry fire but a lot of Heavy anti-infantry guns (MultiLasers, Heavy Bolters, Shuricannons) are range 36" and Fangs can simply stay out of their range and pound them without fear of retribution.

Their relatively low price also allows you to buy more Grey Hunters which are arguably the best Troops in the game at the moment, so they contribute more to your army than simply popping tanks.

Dave said...

I think you said it well Stormy. Long fangs are en vogue due to the proliferation of mech. They handle mech at a very economical price and free up our troop choices to handle the infantry in most cases. This ends up being probably one of the better synergistic armies in the 5th ed.

trouduculcul said...

For sure you speak the truth, but I still have one point 1 disagree with you : the Whirlwind. I played 1 today and I crushed my ennemy with this baby : 24 Tau Fire Soldiers. In a 1,ooopts game, this was great. Espacially because my own Long Fangs were sadly unable to kill anything except a devilfish VAB (APC? sorry I'm french). So as much as I love my grey hairs grandpas, I must defend the whirlwind choice, you can hide and still fire good iron pies to take down light troops, especially those under cover whilst your Long Fangs shoot down mech or heavy troops.

Sincerly yours, Amalrik

P.S. : great article dude, added to my bookmarks!

Dave said...

Thanks for the comment. I agree that the whirlwind has merit against infantry heavy armies, but the current metagame of 5th edition really trends towards heavy usage of transports which you are very unlikely to do much to with a whirlwind. This single points makes it a very situational choice and I think that is why I rate it so low. The long fangs on the other hand, can handle both transports and infantry though they will give most infantry an armor save being only S4 AP6 when firing templates. Still, thanks for the statement. I think the whirlwind has some merit. I think it would be absolutley devastating if it could be used in the new kill zone. I'm not sure if it can. It also rocks in very low points games where transports aren't as numerous. Once again, thanks for the comment.

trouduculcul said...

You're welcome, it's been a pleasure reading you.

I'm reading a thread about SW on a french 40K forum ( and a guy is talking about the heavy choices just as you did, and made a point about the Wywy : it's a real pain in the ass for every units using cover save(rangers, tyranids and orks hords, turboboost unit) and once again the ability to fire without LoS is a big +.

Anyway, I hope to read article like this one about any other Wolves units, I've been cherish this babies for 10 years and they are now really fun to play with many different way to play them.


P.S. : sorry about the AIM name but I had to create an AOL account to post and I didn't wanted a serious one for I won't use it. Thanks.

Dave said...

Alas, I am an arrogant American and failed to learn French (I am totally joking here). If you might be able to obtain an English transcript of the article on the forum, I would love to read it. Thanks again for the comments. I have made an amendment to my article to mention my thoughts on the whirlwind.

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