Monday, December 22, 2014

Unbound Space Wolf Dreadnought Army List

Joshua Jenkins talks us through his Unbound Space Wolf Dreadnought Army List and how its done him proud in countless games.


With the new codex release, I decided I wanted to build an army around the wealth of new armoured options we received. A quick look over my available models revealed that I had somehow ended up with nine dreadnoughts over the years, so the light bulb went off. I hadn't built an unbound list and I had a 1500 point tournament coming up, so I brought the walkers thinking it would be fun but not terribly effective.

The ability to negate so much of an enemy's armoury by relying exclusively on the Space Wolves' extensive armoured options bore a lot of fruit as I ripped apart Space Marines, Dark Eldar and Necron lists without breaking a sweat. By the end of the tournament, I had reconsidered much of what 6th had beaten into our collective heads regarding dreadnoughts. While they don't have the survivability of a Wraithknight, fielding them in great numbers can really panic an enemy. Let's see some different builds I've been using.

1500 Points

Warlord
Bjorn the Fell-Handed (w/ Helfrost Cannon)

Iron Priest
3 Servitors (w/ servo arms)

Murderfang (w/ Drop Pod)

Venerable Dreadnought (w/ Blizzard Shield, Fenrisian Great Axe, Drop Pod)

Venerable Dreadnought (w/ Multi-melta, Power Fist w/ Storm Bolter, Drop Pod)

Venerable Dreadnought (w/ 2 Twin-linked Autocannons)

Stormfang Gunship (w/ Helfrost Destructor, Twin-linked Lascannon, 2 Twin-linked Multi-meltas)

Spartan Assault Tank (w/ 4 Twin-linked Lascannons, Heavy Bolter, Armoured Ceramite)

1750 Points

Add in:

Venerable Dreadnought (w/ Assault Cannon, Power Fist w/ Storm Bolter)
Venerable Dreadnought (w/ Plasma Cannon, Powerfist w/ Storm Bolter)

2000 Points

Add in:

Stormfang Gunship (w/ Helfrost Destructor, Twin-linked Lascannon, 2 Twin-linked Multi-meltas)

How to Run an Unbound Space Wolf Dreadnought Army


Space Wolves lists are usually filled to the brim with Thunderwolves and Grey Hunters, so I liked the idea that I would throw down walker after walker and watch my opponent sweat as they realized just how many of their own units had weapons that would be useless against the armoured assault to come. It's all about denying the opponent the ability to make use of some of their purchases, effectively rendering some of their points absolutely useless in the game to come. If you're facing a horde army or anyone that favors lots of infantry, this is an ideal counter.

Bjorn and the Rifleman should hold your rear line, benefitting from Bjorn's formation from Champions of Fenris which extends his 5++ to two other venerable dreadnoughts. With BS 6 on Bjorn and 5 on the Rifleman dread, you're going to reliably hit. Bjorn should be targeting those units with multiple wound models or monstrous creatures to make use of the Helfrost rule. Nothing ruins an Iron Hands chapter master's day like getting removed after one round of shooting because they failed one strength test. Jaws of the World Wolf never really left us folks, it just comes in a big gun now.

The Spartan has the Iron Priest with three servitors loaded in, so not only do you have a pig with 4 Lascannon shots, 5 HP and immunity to melta, but you're restoring a hull point on a 2+ each shooting phase. The Spartan is there for you to dictate the flow of the battlefield. Since it is highly unlikely that any force is going to be able to bring down the Spartan in a single turn (much less the whole game, I've never ended a game with less than 4 hull points), you can move it where you like, pressuring enemy armor, MCs or devastator/centurion squads without much fear. The ideal situation sees your enemy wasting shots on the Spartan while your dreadnoughts get into position.

The Dreadnoughts themselves, depending on the points allowed in the game, are designed to fulfill specific purposes. The multi-melta dread should drop turn one and engage any enemy armour (the drop n' pop), while the second drop pod should get Murderfang on the field and in cover so he can get to doing what he does best turn two. Draw fire with the Spartan and your long range dreadnoughts. Turn two (turn three at the latest) should see the flyers come in and then you can really bring the pain. The Helfrost Destructor is an ideal mob killer, so use your power of the Machine Spirit to engage enemy armour and MCs with the lascannon and multi-meltas while the Helfrost brings the pain.

Inspired in part by “The Battle of the Fang”, I've been having a blast with this dreadnought list, even going toe to toe (and drawing) with a shooty Tau army. Regardless of how effective it is, I've found it to be a refreshing change of pace from more standard Space Wolf builds and it's made for some interesting power shifts in my local meta as other players struggle to deal with the overwhelming armour. If you've got the walkers, give it a spin.

Submitted by Joshua Jenkins

Monday, December 15, 2014

Space Wolves Kick Arse at Warhammer World

Sott Hays met up as part of several gaming groups from the North East of England who all got together to visit Warhammer World for a week end of beer, food, banter and 40k. He played in 4 games over the week end. Here's how it went.

Game 1 (1500 points) - SW Vs CSM + traitor guard (James) - A hard fought game that was made harder by my reserves not arriving until turn 4. To say that this made things interesting would be an understatement. The power armored wolf guard had chronic wolf rolling get hot rolls even with twin linked during turn 1. 4 of them managed to kill themselves. MVP was the humble grey hunter who tore through the chaos cultists. Game ended with very few models on the board for both sides.



Game 2 (1000 points + 1000 points doubles) - SW + Dark Eldar/Eldar (Scott + Harry) vs SM + Necrons (Matt + Adam) - The Space wolves dominated this game and almost wiped out the space marine fraction turn 1. The Dark Eldar/Eldar allies learnt the effect that scarabs have upon vehicles - this left there troop choices horribly out of position and left most of the hard work to the wolves who after finishing off the Space marine fraction set about wiping out the Necron fraction. Game ended with a wipe out.



Game 3 (2000 points) - SW Vs Eldar (Aiden) - Probably the toughest game of the week end. My opponent deployed in a manner to try and entice the wolves to drop in overly aggressively and risk being wiped out. The plan was fooled and the Wolves arrived in a defensive manner and the Thunderstrike formation proceeded to wipe out a key unit turn one whilst limiting the damage that they would take Turn 2. The game was over when the Storm Wing formation arrived and took out the Wraithknight and Wraith lords. MVP - Inquisitors running incinerators - my opponent deployed in tight formation in a forest - the incinerator and flamer/combi flamer in each grey hunter squad inflicted huge casualties. Game ended with a wipe out.



Game 4 (3000 points) - SW vs Dark Eldar/Eldar (Harry) - Fresh from me giving him grief from the doubles match for getting his wave serpents eaten Harry was after revenge. The Turn 1 and Turn 3 were hugely decisive for the Wolves. The alpha strike decimated the Dark Eldar/Eldar left flank forcing Harry to move his highly mobile army to the right flank. The wolves proceeded to move from left to right and tear the Eldar Wraith guard into bits in assault. The heavy conceptration of template weapons in teh grey hunter squads caused hideous damage to the open topped Dark eldar transports and the squads within.





Scott had a real blast and proved that the Space Wolves are still a force to be reckoned with!

How have your games been going lately?

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dreadnought Tactics



The Space Wolves Dreadnought is a testament to the enduring will of the Sky Warriors, stubborn warriors who refuse to die as long as they can still serve. For the Space Wolves, the dreadnought represents a tangible link to stories and heroes past.

A few warriors, laid low on the field of battle, stubbornly refuse to die. Fewer still will be the warriors brave and strong enough to survive the interment process into a life-sustaining sarcophagi, those Space Wolves who endure will stride the battlefields like ancient gods and monsters, bringing the Allfather's justice with boltgun and flame.

The transition into 7th Edition signalled a huge step forward concerning the rehabilitation of the much-maligned vehicle (and thus, walker) rules in 6th.

While we certainly were still not able to out and out call the match between the Walker and Monstrous Creatures over and done with, altering the “explosion” rule to more realistically depict the impact of weapons available in the 41st millennium was enough to give many walkers a second look.

When the Space Wolf codex dropped, however, it appears that for the Sons of Russ, the walkers were no longer going to be an afterthought to fill in some points for an Apocalypse game: they're real, they're survivable and they are a threat. Let's take a look at what we've got for options.

Your standard dread is 12/12/10 and is coming with a power fist with storm bolter, searchlight and multi-melta for 95 points.

The real weakness here is that this standard build is essentially pointless without the additional 35 points or a Drop Pod to get that multi-melta into range to do some damage before it gets glanced down.

The vanilla build, then, is really a sacrificial lamb unit. In the 6+ games I've run a vanilla dreadnought in 7th Edition, he's never survived a full game. He drops, he pops, he dies. That's his mission, folks, so bring him if you're going to have to deal with Space Marine or Imperial Guard armour. The multi-melta really drops off against MCs, so Tyranid and Tau opponents should cause you to leave the vanilla dread at home. As for options…

OPTIONS

Drop Pod – Unless you're tossing a rifleman on the board, this is the way to get into the thick of it. If you're using drop pods, invest in at least three.

Great Wolf Claw w/ Storm Bolter – For five points, you buy shred for your dread. Most vanilla dreads excel in a “fire support” role as opposed to a line breaker due to the innate fragility of the vehicle type, so unless you're confident that your drop n' pop walker is going to make it to turn two, this should be an automatic no. Even if you're confident, shred isn't too vital for most opponents a dreadnought will come up against as you'll already be hitting at S10. Unless you just can't find a place to spend five points, pass.

Missile Launcher – For ten points you get access to krak and frag missiles, but note that the codex does not list an option for our dreadnoughts to purchase flakk missiles. Leave your dreams of a suitable answer to the Contemptor Mortis at home and pass on the missile launchers. Long Fangs are a much better delivery system for your missiles, especially with some cover set up for them during deployment.

Twin-Linked Autocannon – This one should always, always come in pairs (better known as the “Rifleman Dreadnought”), this upgrade is absolutely ideal for opponents who support a plethora of light armour and low toughness units, notably Dark Eldar, Tau and Imperial Guard. The Rifleman has been a mainstay walker option for multiple editions and nothing changes here, a solid choice.

Heavy Flamer replacing Storm Bolter – Personally, I love this upgrade. If you're dropping your dread into uncertain territory, this is the way to go. Concerned about Fire Dragons or other melta squads? Let ‘em burn. Again, this isn't a vital upgrade if you're sending down a dread to use his multi-melta and then go down to massed return fire, but if you've got turn 2 and 3 (and beyond) ambitions for your dread, drop the bolter for the flamer.

Extra Armour – If you're going to spend the points on this, you might as well go all the way and get the bump that Venerable gives you to WS and BS instead. If you have to choose between the two, venerable is always the way to go.

Smoke Launchers – With so many options for armies to ignore cover in the current edition, this isn't the automatic buy that it used to be, but if you're sending out melee dreads in drop pods this is an absolute necessity. Especially when we're talking about…

Venerable Upgrade – The BS and WS get a point bump and you get to force re-rolls on the vehicle damage table. A useful upgrade if you absolutely must hit your shooting attacks on 2s, which makes it a tempting upgrade for those otherwise vanilla dreads with their multi-meltas, but try to avoid sinking any more points than you have to in a sacrificial lamb. Hitting on 3s isn't so bad! As for the venerable dread, most people looking at this upgrade have their eyes on the new toys it allows anyway.

Fenrisian Great Axe and Blizzard Shield – Only available to venerable dreadnoughts, this was the jaw dropper kit from the new Space Wolves range. Intensely imposing with a massive axe and shield, this brute looks ready for all comers (and he is).

The real weakness here is that delivering him means a nail-biting turn of return fire coming your way before you get to put your axe to good use. Walking him up the field is asking for a bad roll or two on your blizzard shield, so a drop pod is the way to go, but unless you're sporting the special dreadnought drop pod from Forge World with its built in shrouded rule, smoke launchers are a necessity. All told, that means your kitted out Venerable dreadnought with axe, shield, smoke launchers and drop pod comes to 185 points. Is he worth it? I lean towards no.

I know, I know, he looks so awesome with that huge axe and shield. I get it, and if you're a player who loves a fluff army like myself then you'll bring him along anyway, but for all the points you've spent you're getting three attacks with the master-crafted rule (plus hammer of wrath) on the charge.

Without access to counter-attack, that leaves him with a paltry two attacks if something big or bigger decides to charge him. Clearly, the trade-off here is how eminently survivable he is with that 3++ Blizzard Shield (which also serves as its own AP 2 weapon), but since that only affects attacks from the front facing, the smoke launcher is still a must for that first round on the board after emerging from the drop pod.

It's hard for me to come down without a recommendation on this unit as he's always good fun and that survivability makes him peerless next to any other dreadnought, but the lack of attacks leaves you open to terminator squads.

Even if you get three kills on the charge, a pack of five terminators can really bring the pain in return. If you're facing off against a bunch of MCs, then this dread can do a lot of damage, but mobs pose a real threat. I can't say he's must, but I also can't say forget about him. Consider what he brings to your list before you pull the trigger.


SAMPLE BUILDS

“Vanilla” Dreadnought (Multi-melta, power first w/ storm bolter, drop pod): 130 Points – The baseline model right off the shop floor is a threatening unit against enemy armor to be sure, but there's little chance he'll be of use to you unless he's in a drop pod. Unlikely to survive the full five rounds if used effectively, he's a sacrificial lamb who can do some real good at his relatively cheap cost.

“Rifleman” (Two twin-linked autocannons): 140 Points - Light armour's worst nightmare, the Rifleman dreadnought is an old mainstay for walker builds. For the Wolves, his cost is pretty reasonable and makes you a huge threat to light armor. Incredibly useful against Orks, Dark Eldar and even some Space Marine builds, the Rifleman should be holding up your rear with some sort of cover save worked out during deployment (or with an Aegis Defense Line).

“Plasma” dread (Plasma cannon, Great Wolf Claw w/ heavy flamer): 150 Points – This is a great crossover dreadnought build, able to fill nearly every role. The plasma cannon is equal opportunity pain for infantry and armour, although I'd recommend you hit terminators over any available armour. The flamer keeps him deadly for any counter charges and the added bonuses of the wolf claw make him a real mess for opponents in close combat. The plasma cannon makes him less of a priority for enemy AV potential, so you're more likely to get him stuck in. I'd recommend foot slogging this build as he's already getting expensive without a drop pod and that plasma cannon can do some good before you get close enough to mop up in melee, putting the Shred rule to good use.

“Berserker” venerable dreadnought (w/ Blizzard Shield, Fenrisian Great Axe, smoke launchers, drop pod and venerable upgrade): 160 Points – As we discussed at length above, this one's a hard sell to recommend because of his lack of real range attack and small number of melee attacks. However, he is the most survivable of any dreadnought in the game, period. If you can keep that front facing, he should be able to put that giant axe to good use.


CONCLUSION

No longer relegated to the back of your shelf, the dreadnought has emerged from the new codex with some strong and distinct options, setting them farther apart from Codex Astartes dreadnoughts in exciting new ways.

Pair that with the 7th edition rules for vehicle damage and they're definitely a viable option again, even if you're only bringing one along.

The venerable dreadnought with axe and shield is definitely the star of the new set of Space Wolf models, and despite my consternation on when and where to use him to greatest effect, he's a gorgeous centerpiece for any Space Wolves army. Dreadnoughts are back, folks. Let your enemies flee in terror before the armoured advance.

And if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned Murderfang or Bjorn The Fell Handed, that's because there are separate Murderfang Tactics and Bjorn The Fell Handed Tactics articles for you to read!

- Submitted by Joshua Jenkins

Monday, December 1, 2014

Void Claws Tactics

In this article we'll look at the tactics for the Void Claws formation from the Champions of Fenris Supplement and how they can be used to form an integral part of your battle plan. This article also addresses synergy with other units available to Space Wolves, including a number of Forgeworld vehicles.

Void Claws on their own are pretty outstanding. For the price of a pack of Wolf Guard with terminator armor and paired Wolf Claws, you get a Turn One Deep Strike unit that then allows you to re-roll Reserves rolls as long as there's still one of them alive. And they get a +1 WS. Right there, on its own, the formation sells itself.

Now, a few things on squad composition. I know, that sounds silly: Void Claws are a very specific formation, in that they must be at least five in number, they must be in terminator armor, they must have paired Wolf Claws, and they must arrive via teleport. But, despite those requirements, you still have options. There isn't anything in the formation constraints that precludes you upping the squad size, nor is there anything banning the addition of one Cyclone Missile Launcher per every fifth Void Claw, and there's nothing forbidding attaching an Independent Character. All of these are tempting prospects, if you've got the points.

The first case comes down to the amount of cover on the table and what you expect the enemy to throw at you. You want these guys to last, to make the most of their Reserves control, but you also want them in close combat, where they'll excel, but when they can't get into close combat (like the first turn, when they arrive via Deep Strike), you want them to be able to find good cover from the almost mandatory fire they're going to receive from the enemy.

Adding in a Cyclone Missile Launcher (or two, if you think you can keep ten Void Claws in cover or in combat) allows them to contribute to the weight of fire that first turn, potentially putting a krak missile into rear or side armor, or a frag or two into a pricey and lightly-armored infantry unit. But it also draws additional attention to them and bumps them up your opponent's target list.

Attaching an Independent Character can enhance durability or increase and/or expand their combat effectiveness, and I'll address that below, as I talk about ways to enhance the unit/formation's performance.

But, first, let's look at how you can improve on the Void Claws effectiveness when it comes to Reserves Control.

Option One: Obsessive Reserve Control

Yes, the Void Claws allow you to re-roll any Reserve rolls. Yes, they re-roll their scatter dice, so you'll be able to plunk them down someplace where they can spend that first turn in cover, dodging enemy fire, before legging it into combat in the next turn's charge phase. But dice are fickle things, and even a free re-roll can sometimes fail you. So, how else can we amplify their Reserve control?

Damocles Command Rhino: This adds a +1/-1 to Reserve rolls, increasing your chances of getting what you want from the Reserve dice. And it comes with an Orbital Bombardment to boot, in case your enemy brought something to the table that absolutely, positively needs to be nuked from orbit post-haste. Additionally, it has a Teleport Beacon, to prevent scatter rolls from Deep Strike. Now, the Damocles Beacon is not likely useful to Void Claws—they'll want to be somewhere forward, to earn their points, and a Damocles isn't all that durable, as it's built to be a command and control node, not a frontline unit. But that Teleport Beacon could support later arrivals, once your army has established a decent perimeter and it's safe to move up and start teleporting in terminator-armored units. That Orbital Bombardment, however, hits anywhere on the board, so it could provide support to your Void Claws upon arrival, potentially taking out a squad full of plasma weapons or AP 2 close combat weapons, a tank that can hurl pie plates, and the like.

Land Raider Proteus with Explorator Augury Web:. First off, it's a Scouting Land Raider without the Assault Ramp. It's a rolling bunker with two twin-linked lascannons that gets a head start on the rest of your force. Second, its Explorator Augury Web allows you to apply a -1 penalty to your opponent's Reserves rolls, and in its second mode provides redundancy for your own Reserves re-rolls, in the event the Void Claws run into trouble and are massacred. It's a rolling insurance policy you can toss ten Wolves in for safe transport up the field.

Land Raider Prometheus: Adds a +1 to your own Reserves rolls. Plus its Battle Auspex improves the accuracy of its fire. Not as cost-effective as a Damocles, but definitely more durable.

Wolves Unleashed Detachment: If everything potentially can Outflank and Troops with attached Independent Characters (if both are from the detachment) are going to do so half the time, the only questions then become when they arrive, and from which board edge. The Void Claws enhance your control of the first part.

Option Two: Enhanced Combat Effectiveness

Attached Independent Character in Terminator Armour: So long as the IC attached to the Void Claws while in Reserve is wearing terminator armor, there's really no reason he can't teleport down with them as part of the unit.

Your options here are pretty clear-cut: a Wolf Priest will give you Feel No Pain, Fearless, and Oath of War; a Rune Priest can bring psychic powers and improved Deny The Witch to them; and a Wolf Guard Battle Leader or Wolf Lord can act as a superior member of the pack.

Here, I really think it's the Rune Priest or the Battle Leader. Stormcaller or a witchfire power, plus the ability to deliver an insta-kill via a force weapon greatly enhances the unit. But, if you're going to do it, why not take the Battle Leader, give him the Armor of Asvald Stormwrack and the Claws of Morkai, and double down on the Wolf Claw terminator goodness?

Arjac Rockfist: He's got two wounds and Eternal Warrior. He can toss that nasty thunder hammer of his, thereby ensuring that whatever he hits won't survive the charge of your Void Claws. He's a great add-on to any terminator squad. Personally, I'd prefer to save him for another formation, but if you're not using him elsewhere, consider using him here.

Dreadnoughts: Then again, if they need support forward, the Void Claws might want a big brother to help them out in melee. Pop a dreadnought into a Drop Pod. Here, you have a choice: give the ancient a Lucius pattern pod to give him Shrouded the turn he arrives, or give him a basic pod and add a Locator Beacon to ensure that reinforcement from orbit isn't just timely, but also precise. Either way, if you're reinforcing Void Claws, I'd suggest a great axe/blizzard shield dreadnought or Murderfang, as if this guy is getting stuck in with the Void Claws, you want durability and heavy melee crunch.

Land Speeders: These can Deep Strike. Bringing a brace of these—or worse, multiple braces—down around the enemy's armor and letting the multi-meltas sing could wreak serious havoc on your opponent's best-laid plans. Plus, it puts another dire threat forward with the Void Claws, forcing your opponent to make a hard choice or split his fire between the Speeders and the Void Claws.

Caestus Assault Ram: You can pack ten additional terminators into this thing, add a teleport homer to call for more with precise arrival, and the thing is built to blow things apart and crash into them if it fails to do so. The Caestus is excellent, albeit pricey, close air support that's ideal for terminators like the Void Claws who may be operating forward and need fast support. Plus, as it can Deep Strike, and the Void Claws let you re-roll Reserves, you have a better level of assurance it'll turn up when needed. Magna-melta support fire never hurts, either.

Wolf Guard Thunderstrike Formation: Here's something that's bound to unsettle your foe: Your Void Claws arrive first turn, and then are followed by a Drop Pod full of power armored Wolf Guard and second Terminator pack, all of them at a minimum toting combi-weapons, and all firing twin-linked the turn they arrive, and the whole kit and caboodle arrives via a single Reserves roll (which you can re-roll). Note that the two packs are separate entities, despite arriving at the same time, and can therefore fire on two separate targets. If your Void Claws find themselves in trouble, they can call for close support ‘danger close,' and have the Thunderstrike pod drop just nearby. If there's a locator beacon on the pod, the follow-on terminators are going to teleport in even closer.

CONCLUSION

In closing, Void Claws might just seem gimmicky, but in reality, they can function as a vital command and control enhancement.

Properly supported, they could seriously cramp your opponent's battle plans, and provide timely support to your own, insuring what you need arrives when you want or need it.

With proper and timely support, you could potentially open an attack vector in your opponent's backfield, dividing and conquering his forces, disrupting his orderly battle plans, eliminating integral units, and putting him in a reactive posture, giving you the initiative in the battle.

- Josh Gharst

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Welcome to the Space Wolves blog -the unofficial resource to building, painting and playing the Space Wolf army in Warhammer 40K.


We aim to provide you with all the painting guides, modelling tutorials and game winning tactics you need to get the most from playing your Space Wolf army!



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