Monday, August 29, 2011

Codex Review: Space Wolf Elites Part 2

[This article is part of the Codex Review: Space Wolves article series.]

Alrighty, today we are wrapping up the elite section of the Space Wolf codex.  Last time, I talked about Lone Wolves, Dreadnoughts, and Iron Priests.  Today, I am going to talk about the two more widely used and perhaps more tactically sound elite selections, Wolf Guard and Wolf Scouts.

We will start with Wolf Guard and man, let me tell you.  They are wicked!  This unit is the ultimate Warhammer 40k swiss army knife, but I will get to that in a minute.  Wolf Guard start at 18pt. base and have all the marine sargeant stats, chiefly 2A and LD9. They come stock with a close combat weapon, bolt pistol, power armor, and frags and kraks.  The two things that make Wolf Guard utterly amazing is their access to equipment and the allocation of that equipment per model and their Pack Leaders rule.

Let's start with equipment. No single unit in the entirety of 40k can choose from a selection bigger than Wolf Guard. They have access to almost every type of weapon with the exception of true special weapons (meltagun, plasmagun, flamer) and heavy weapons.  Everything else is on the table. 

Kind of like this, but with more weapons.
Wolf Guard are also amazing because each individual model can take a unique set of equipment, even to the point of having a mixed unit of power armor and terminator armor models.  There are very few restrictions, one being that you can only take a single terminator heavy weapon per 5 models.

courtesy of GW
But wait there's more!  The Pack Leaders rule allows any single Wolf Guard model to be split from his original unit and placed as the sargeant of another unit (the unit must be blood claws, swiftclaws, grey hunters, wolf scouts, or long fangs).  This provides two key things for the unit he joins.  1) He improves the leadership of most of these units as the majority of Space Wolf units are LD8.  That is huge as if you play Space Wolves much, you will quickly realize that you will fail some morale tests.  Get those Wolf Guard in the units to up their leadership! 2) They bring additional combat and ranged weapons to the unit they join.  A very common Wolf Guard pack leader setup for combat units is a powerfist and combi-melta.  This provides some nice combat and mech popping ability.  Remember, the sky is the limit with equipment and you can easily tailor your wolf guard to shore up weaknesses in a unit.

I generally see Wolf Guard units taken 1 of 2 ways, which is pretty obvious.  One unit is taken for the army and the entire unit is split up to give squad leaders to various units.  This generally consists of the powerfist/combi-melta Wolf Guard and will often also include at least one Cyclone Missile launcher terminator to bolster shots in a Long Fangs squad.  Another great recipient of a Wolf Guard pack leader would be Wolf Scouts, but I will get to them in a minute.  The other set up would be to take your Wolf Guard as a stand alone unit.  When you take Logan, they become troop choices and you will often see tricked out units of Wolf Guard.  I also hear a lot about people putting Wolf Guard into drop pods and using them to suicide melta mech early in the game.  If I were to run a stand alone unit of Wolf Guard, I would go the dirty route and add in a WGBL with Saga of the Hunter to give them stealth.  Then add a smattering of terminators and power armored Wolf Guard with storm bolters and various combat implements.  This yields a scary midfield unit that is hard to shift and puts out quite a few wounds in either shooting or combat.

Here's the bottom line.  Wolf Guard are almost essential to a Space Wolf army.  They provide a critical leadership boost and they shore up weaknesses in units such as lack of melta or horde control.  They are also relatively cheap for what they provide your army.  Take them. Always take them.

courtesy of Student Teacher at Three Color Minimum*
Next we have Wolf Scouts. Wolf Scouts are essentially Space Marine scouts on steroids.  They are better than other scouts in every way.  First, they cost 15pt.  as opposed to 13pt. for vanilla scouts.  However, for an extra two points, they are infinitely better! First, they are WS and BS 4 instead of 3 and they can take a special weapon on a regular scout.  Aside from that, they can take all of the normal scout upgrades like bolters, sniper rifles and heavy weapons.  Also of interest is the fact that up to two Wolf Scouts can take either a plasma pistol or a power weapon in addition to the one that can take a special or heavy weapon.

Where Wolf Scouts shine though is their rule Behind Enemy Lines.  It is very similar to outflank only so much better.  First, the table edge randomization is far better.  Instead of the 1-2,3-4,5-6 system used by vanilla scouts, Wolf Scouts come up on your left edge on a 1 and your right edge on a 2.  If you roll a 3+ you can bring them on any table edge you want, even your opponents' board edge!  This unit strikes fear into the hearts of static gunline armies. Knowing that melta toting combat scouts are going to come in behind your mech is a huge psychological hit.  It can even completely change how your opponent deploys and plays their army.  Add to this the fact that the scouts can also be led by a Wolf Guard pack leader (who can't wear terminator armor, a jet pack, or ride a bike) who gets to go behind enemy lines with them and you have the possibility of having two melta shots on the turn you arrive on the table edge or a plethora of any other combinations to make this unit simply scary.

I generally keep my scouts cheap and effective by only taking a unit of 5 with meltagun and a Wolf Guard pack leader with combi-melta and sometimes a combat implement.  This yields a unit that can pop transports and even take on things like tactical marine squad and anything weaker.  A lot of players also take melta bombs, but at 5 points per model, the additional 25pt. is sometimes prohibitive and a canny opponent will simply move his vehicles making it harder to stick a meltabomb to his tanks.

The bottom line for Wolf Scouts is that they are plain scary.  They are a great unit on the table and more importantly are a great way for you to take a psychological advantage over your opponent.  I almost always take mine with a pack leader as he really does give them the extra oomph needed to make them a truly scary unit to have in the backfield.

There are your Space Wolf elites.  All of them are fairly cool, many of them are viable on the tabletop, and a few of them are almost auto-includes.  I routinely fill out my 3 elite slots quickly and the beauty of the Space Wolf codex is that you can fill out the slots for relatively few points compared to other codexes. When I think of the word elite and its meaning, I think of Space Wolf elites.

Next time, I will start in on the Troop choices: Grey Hunters and Blood Claws.  I have enjoyed the comments and questions you are leaving, so please keep them coming.

*Check out more of Student Teacher's Space Wolf models at his blog Three Color Minimum.

Other Space Wolf articles:
Space Wolf Stealth Cheese
Why Long fangs are just that Good.
That's no moon...that's a space station!

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Stokie_Rich said...

Thanks for sharing again Dave, reading through these enthusiastically as they come up. Great info for a new SW player and

I'm starting to appreciate the time it takes to write articles like this after starting my own blog, I find it time consuming just to write about my hobby time, nevermind write reviews!

Student Teacher said...

Hey those are some snazzy looking scouts!

Thanks for the plug. I am honored that you thought my Wolf Scouts looked better than GW's (yes I know what the GW scouts look like).

Also a great article. The only thing I like to add is that the Wolf Guard are the only way to put a "sergeant" into a Hunter/Claws pack, so we have to give up a tasty elite slot to bump up our leadership.

Keep up the good pugs... er work! :)

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