Monday, October 27, 2014

Thunderwolves Tactics

Here are the essential Thunderwolves tactics for 7th edition Warhammer 40K! All the best builds, as well as thoughts on how you can run them in a variety of army builds.

"Many Fenrisians venerate the Thunderwolf as a spirit totem, for the mighty beast is undoubtedly the apex predator in its domain, but only the Space Wolves have the constitution to hunt them in this frozen realm."

Though last edition didn't see many opportunities for us Sons of Russ to throw a squad or two in our lists, which was purely because of the high point cost. Granted 10pt drop from 50 to 40 doesn't seem like much, but it really adds up.

A standard squad 3 man/wolf squad has dropped from 150 to 120! Plus the main price drop has come in the form of their pretty much mandatory equipment, but we'll get to that later.

The squad has also gotten itself a pack leader and you don't have to pay for this one. Another great change has seen these titans of combat receive the ability to take as many melee upgrades as they want, no more "one wolf ride per squad".

One last thing to note before we move on to the equipment: "All close combat attacks made by a model with a Thunderwolf mount have the Rending special rule." Know what this means? Even your special weapons have rending now! Who else just drooled thinking about the wrath that S10 Power Fists are gonna enact upon Vehicles?


Boltgun – Who takes a close combat behemoth like this and uses them for shooting?
Plasma Pistol – A bit expensive, especially for something you'll seldom use.
Power Weapon – This can be any of the weapon types, meaning that if you've got the points to spare you can really deal out the pain! Though with rending on all attacks, it's not a necessity but having a confirmed AP can be a good thing.
Storm Shield – A must for this unit (you'd be surprised how much heavy artillery an opponent will throw at these terrifying beauties!).
Frost Sword – Though that S6 and AP3 are tempting, Wolf Claws give you the same deal with Shred as a bonus and no extra cost!
Frost Axe – S7 and AP2 are tempting, but it's better to just fork out the extra 5pts for a Power Fist and get those 3 extra Strength.
Wolf Claw – S6, AP3 and that beautiful Shred for re-roll on wounding. Great for man slaying if you've got the points, plus that shred can help net more saves for your opponents 2+ savers!
Power Fist – S10 and AP2 make this great for hunting high toughness creatures and those pesky things with 2+ armour saves.
Thunder Hammer – That S10 and AP2 are great for vehicle hunting, plus that Concussive rule is useful for those assaults that take up a few turns.
Two wolf claws – Not worth sacrificing a storm shield for +1 Attack.
Melta bombs – Vehicle wrecking on the cheap, good for Monstrous Creature's too!

This squad certainly has its options, but they don't half rack up the points cost! The gift of rending on all close combat attacks means that most of the special weapons aren't needed, meaning that they are only needed if you absolutely have to confirm a kill. The best bet for this is to give your pack leader one so he's got something for those challenges. Storm shields are a must; these terrifying titans of combat attract the heavy dakka like you wouldn't believe. The squad starts at 3, but can take up to 3 extra riders for a cost of 40pts per model. A standard 3 man squad is often more than enough though, so don't worry about this too much.

Some people like to just go for full man squads instead of getting Storm Shields because they feel that having more meat to soak up the shots is good. This is fine and all, but it's a bit of a waste to pay for something just for it to die (especially when it's 40pts a model). Given that Thunderwolfs are S5, any army that isn't Tau will more than likely through their bigger guns at them. The bigger guns meant for the tanks, you know the things that are upwards of S7 and typically AP3/2/1. So that power armour your wolves are wearing isn't got do them any good and 2 wounds or not, you'll end up losing them quickly. Cause of this, I personally reckon it's a smarter idea to throw 15pts at a Storm Shield for them.

Let's have a look at those numbers, just to further get this point across. A 3 man squad with just Storm Shields comes in at 215pts. Now for the full man approach, 6 Thunderwolves and no upgrades comes in 270pts. That's a whole extra 55pts just for a bunch of dudes you're throwing away. Sure having that 3+ invulnerable doesn't mean you won't mess up the dice, but it's better to have a chance to stop the kill rather than just surrendering your troops to it.

Thunderwolf Cavalry 1: 190 points
3 Thunderwolf Cavalry, all with Storm Shields, pack leader with Wolf Claw and Melta Bomb

This basic squad is cheap and cheerful. Well cheerful for you, not so much for your opponent. It's more meant for just rushing at squads and making wounds. Everyone's got a Storm Shield to help keep them safe, but the pack leader is where the pain is based. The Wolf Claws make him an ideal choice for hunting down important targets, the Shred helping to up the likeliness that your wounds will land. The Melta Bomb is more there as a "just in case" option, so can easily be taken out if those 5 points are needed elsewhere.

Thunderwolf Cavalry 2: 245 points
3 Thunderwolf Cavalry, every one of them with Storm Shields, 2 with Power Fists, leader with Thunder Hammer

This build I like to refer to as "The Nut Crackers" cause it's great for breaking into those armoured walnuts hiding your opponent's troops or dealing out the heavy fire power to your forces. The numerous S10 hits make cutting through most armour easier than butter, the chance for rending making even the mighty Land Raider shudder with fear. The AP2 brings a +1 to the damage chart, so you might get lucky and make some fireworks. Plus it's great for cracking terminators and such open with ease. The Thunder Hammer on the leader is optional since it's mainly for whacking those pesky multi-wound big creatures with its "Concussive" rule, since it'll leave them at I1 if the fight goes on for more than one turn. If you're in a game with no multi-wound big creatures, drop it for a power fist.

Thunderwolf Cavalry 3: 280 points
6 Thunderwolf Cavalry, leader with Power Fist and Storm Shield

This is my take on the "meat shield" approach to using this unit. I've still given the leader a Storm Shield since it's better to be safe than sorry. The reason the leader gets the toys is cause he's the one who's going to have to deal with challenges. By giving him a Power Fist you ensure that he can deal with everything. Want a vehicle gone? Punch it! Power armour minions of chaos getting in your way? Punch them! They got friends in terminator armour? Punch them too! AP2 means that no armour can stand in your way and that S10 makes it so that nearly everything in the game is getting wounded at 2+ and that even Land Raiders are going to worry about you puncturing a hole in their armour.

Thunderwolf Cavalry 4: 370 points
5 Thunderwolf Cavalry, all with Storm Shields, pack leader with power fist, 2 power swords, 1 power maul, one more power fist

This list is more designed for bigger games and offers a little bit of everything. Again I've kept the storm shields; big games mean that you're opponents going to have more big guns. I've kept the squad to five men to keep the cost down since this squad is already pricey as is. The five rider approach is to make sure that you've got more than enough to attacks to plough through most squads.

You get 20 attacks (provided you haven't lost anyone) for throwing, 25 on the charge. Plus this gives you five S5 Hammer of Wrath hits. So that's 30 attacks on the charge, pretty sweet huh?

The power fists are there to help deal with things with a 2+ save, high toughness creatures and vehicles. The two swords are there to confirm kills on most models in the game by getting rid of their save, because most units in the game don't have 2+ armour. The power maul has been chosen for that lovely "Concussive" rule, but it's +2S is good for something that's already S5. Landing a wound against a multi wounded model will leave at I1, leaving them striking at the same time as your power fists, assuming they last long enough.


A unit of Thunderwolves can get expensive pretty quickly, but they're a fast and ferocious assault unit that the Space Wolves army has needed for a long time.

However, these units tend to scare most players into throwing all their big guns at them. As good as a Storm Shield is and as useful as that extra wound is, when enough saves are thrown your way you're bound to fail a few.

And this is where the discussion about whether it's worth taking Storm Shields or more models comes in. Because people were running packs of Thunderwolves long before they could all take Storm Shields.

With the latest Codex, Thunderwolves became a little bit cheaper and got a little bit better at the same time, thanks to the Rending special rule now being applicable to all of their close combat weapons, not just their basic attacks.

If you've attached a number of Independent Characters riding Thunderwolves and accompanied by Fenrisian Wolves and Cyber Wolves to soak up all the shots that will be coming your way, then you may be more inclined to give your Thunderwolves Storm Shields and Power Fists.

If you're lacking the "ablative Wolves" to take the hits, you'll probably want a pack of basically equipped Thunderwolves to take those hits instead. Especially if you're thinking of running a whole Thunderwolf Themed Army.

But don't forget that Thunderwolf Cavalry are a fast moving assault unit that you need to get into close combat as quickly as possible. So identify your target and get them stuck in by Turn 2! Just try to make sure they don't take too much of a beating before they get there.

Finally, if you're like me and use these guys often, get yourself the Champions of Fenris book. Taking this detachment boosts your Thunderwolves (and Wolf Guard) up to WS5. So the next time you're in close combat with Space Marine equivalent infantry, you'll be hitting them on 3+ rather than 4+. And that's a substantial statistical boost!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Iron Priest Tactics

Space Wolf Iron Priests are the mystical tech marines of the Space Wolves Chapter. They bless the machines, appease the spirits of plasma and flame while converting failed Iron Priest aspirants into servitors and wounded Fenrisian wolves into Cyberwolves.

As with all things Space Wolf, technology and the Iron Priests are surrounded by mysticism and myth. Fortunately, fielding an Iron Priest in a Space Wolves army is far more straightforward!

I can see Iron Priest being overlooked in favour of other Elite choices, but this doesn't mean that an Iron Priest doesn't have his uses.

An Iron Priest is essentially a Space Wolf with an extra attack in his profile, but he also comes with Runic armour (2+ save), a servo arm, a bolt pistol or bolter, a Thunder Hammer and frag n' krak grenades. He also has the Battle Smith rule that allows him to repair vehicles. So, considering his equipment, he's not bad for the points. But let's have a look at his wargear options.


0-4 Cyber Wolves - Awesome units for their points.
0-4 Thrall Servitors - Essentially Guardsmen with powerfists. But they help him repair.
Heavy Bolter for servitor - Maybe...
Multimelta for servitor - Will he be in range or live long enough to use it?
Plasma Cannon for servitor - Too expensive!
Space Marine Bike - If you want him to join a Bike Squad
Thunderwolf Mount - Oh hell yes!
Melta Bombs - If you have 5pts going spare. But not essential for this chap.
Digital Weapons - If have have 10pts going spare

There are only 2 really good builds for an Iron Priest.

Iron Priest 1: 165pts
4 Cyberwolves, Thunderwolf Mount

The Iron Priest build that everyone loves! A unit of 5 Toughness 5 models with plenty of attacks. He also gets +1 Wound from his Thunderwolf Mount. Combine this with his 2+ armour save and he becomes a tough little assault unit.

Iron Priest 2: 95pts
4 Thrall Servitors

This is the load out for sitting in or walking alongside a vehicle and constantly repairing it. Each Servitor gives you +1 to your 5+ Battlesmith roll, so your Iron Priest will be repairing repairing on a 1+ (the roll of a 1 is always a fail) until you start losing Servitors. I've seen people run this repair crew behind a battery of 3 Vindicators. I've also seen people run this repair crew inside of various Land Raiders, as well as the Stormfang and Stormwolf. It's not a bad little unit for 95pts.


While Iron Priests are Independent Characters, they seem to be happy by themselves, surrounded by their creations in the Space Wolves background and in the Space Wolves army list.

Cyberwolves are fantastic for their points! Simply surround your Iron Priest with 4 Cyberwolves, mount him on a Thunderwolf and away you go. He feels like a more affordable Thunderwolf Cavalary choice.

However, if you're running a Thunderwolf heavy list, you can attach him to a pack of Thunderwolves, giving them some ablative wounds in the form of his Cyberwolves.

I've also seen someone running two Iron Priests on Thunderwolves with 4 Cyberwolves each in a Champions of Fenris Detachment to meet the minimum Elites requirement. They then run along with an Imperial Knight, repairing it as it advances. Although that's 2 repair rolls of a 5+, which is a 1 in 3 chance of success. You double that up and it becomes a 1/2 chance of success overall.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Space Wolves Cosplay

These Space Wolves Cosplay photos were sent in by Juha-Matti Seppä from Finland who had a dream to make a Space Marine costume. His dream came true and of course he made Space Wolf one!

What do you guys think?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Extra Close Combat Weapons for Grey Hunters

Is it worth paying the points to give your Grey Hunters extra close combat weapons?

Any true Space Wolf player will enthusiastically insist that all of your Grey Hunters should take extra close combat weapons.

Firstly because that used to be their standard equipment in previous editions.

Secondly "because they're Space Wolves" and have a reputation for being fierce in close combat.

But let's stop a moment to do some Mathammer and see whether or not the upgrade is really worth it.

Or if, in a controversial move, you ditch Bolters altogether for Bolt Pistol and Close Combat Weapon!

Bolters Only

For easy maths, let's do this with 10 Grey Hunters. 2 of them have Melta Guns and 1 of them has been upgraded to a Wolf Guard, armed with a Combi-Melta.

That's 180pts.

They're going to shoot an enemy 12" away. That's 14 Bolter Shots, inflicting 10 Hits and 3 Melta Shots, inflicting 2 Hits.

In close combat the Space Wolves charge (or Counter-Attack!). That's 21 Attacks.

Shooting Orks = 7 Kills
Close Combat with Orks = 5 Kills

Shooting Imperial Guard = 9 Kills
Close Combat with Imperial Guard = 9 Kills

Shooting Chaos Marines = 4 Kills
Close Combat with Chaos Marines = 2 Kills

Bolters, Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons

Let's do that again, but with an extra close combat attack.

They're going to shoot an enemy 12" away. That's 14 Bolter Shots, inflicting 10 Hits and 3 Melta Shots, inflicting 2 Hits.

In close combat the Space Wolves charge (or Counter-Attack!) and have extra close combat weapons. That's 31 Attacks.

Shooting Orks = 7 Kills
Close Combat with Orks = 8 Kills

Shooting Imperial Guard = 9 Kills
Close Combat with Imperial Guard = 13 Kills

Shooting Chaos Marines = 4 Kills
Close Combat with Chaos Marines = 3 Kills

Is it Worth it?

For an extra 20pts you can kill 3 Orks, 4 Imperial Guard or 1 Chaos Marine in a single round of combat. And that's not a bad return on your points.

So when you consider how much a pack of Grey Hunters can kill without the extra close combat weapons for 180pts, they certainly can't kill 180pts in a single turn of shooting and assault.

The only concern is if those Grey Hunters you've paid extra to give close combat weapons to get killed. Then you will have wasted even more points.

It's a tough one.

Alternatively you could always...

Pimp My Wolf Guard

When you consider that it's Strength, Wounds and AP that cause the most kills (just compare firing Melta Guns over Bolters), perhaps giving the Wolf Guard a pair of Wolf Claws is a better investment in points?

So for +20pts (we'll drop the Combi-Melta) we can give the Wolf Guard +1 Attack with a Strength 5, AP3 close combat weapon with Shred.

Let's run the maths for the squad!

Shooting Orks = 6 Kills
Close Combat with Orks = 7 Kills

Shooting Imperial Guard = 8 Kills
Close Combat with Imperial Guard = 12 Kills

Shooting Chaos Marines = 3 Kills
Close Combat with Chaos Marines = 4 Kills

Overall the numbers are lower for shooting and close combat, except for close combat with Chaos Marines.

But the thing is, you need to try to keep 1 model safe in the squad in order to keep your close combat attacks up.

This means that you can afford to take some casualties, so long as you don't lose the Wolf Guard. But can you really keep up with that kind of micro management in the middle of a game with your Grey Hunters getting shot at from all angles?

Possibly not.

Versatility is Key to Success

The one thing I must emphasise with Grey Hunters is that you NEED to get them into Rapid Fire range with their Bolters to make them an effective unit.

Then you NEED them to get stuck in to close combat to kill even more of the enemy and hide from the enemy's guns.

A 5 man squad sitting at the back of the board with a Plasma Gun is just a fat waste of 80pts. You're not going to be able to out-shoot 80pts of Imperial Guard, Firewarriors or even Orks with that.

So Grey Hunters need to get stuck in and be as versatile as possible.


14pts for a Grey Hunter with a Bolter or 16pts for a Grey Hunter with a Bolter and + 1 Attack?

I can see tournament players who go for the minimalist approach not paying for the upgrade and just rapid firing those Bolters and Special Weapons while doing their best to stay out of close combat.

Personally, I know I'm not going to be able to stay out of close combat.

I WANT to get into close combat when the moment is right, because it stops armies with greater firepower than the Space Wolves from blowing my Grey Hunters away. It also helps my army to push its way up the board and chase down enemy units.

Also, Space Wolves have Counter-Attack as their Chapter wide special rule. And by giving our Grey Hunters extra Close Combat Weapons we can make the most of what defines a Space Wolves army.

I've always found that being versatile is the greatest strength of the Grey Hunters who have forever been the core Troop choice of the Space Wolves army.

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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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