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.


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.


CONCLUSION

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.

CONCLUSION

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.

Dark Angels Vs Tau Empire: Wrath of the Lion

In tribute to our late friend James, our group of gamers were kindly given permission to take his entire 6,000pts Dark Angels army for a last epic battle against 3 combined Tau Empire armies in a special scenario to recover a secret Fortress thought lost on the Eastern Fringe.

We had an incredible game!

The battle was tense, the casualties high and the explosions massive as the Dark Angels took a pounding from towering Riptides and deepstriking Battlesuits. But then the Deathwing teleported into the thick of the fighting, quickly accompanied by the roaring engines of the outflankking Ravening forces. Soon both forces were converging on the ruined Fortress of Redemption through a hail of bolter rounds, screaming missiles and energy blasts...

Special Scenario: Wrath of the Lion
A millenia long warp storm has cleared on the Eastern Fringe, revealing a long lost planet on the edge of Tau space. Naturally, the Tau Empire wish to colonise this new world as part of their 4th sphere expansion. However, the Dark Angels have received an automated distress beacon coming from an ancient fortress on the planet and go to investigate.

The game is played on a 12ft X 4ft board with the ruined Fortress in the centre and 6 objectives evenly placed across the board.

While the Tau and Dark Angels forces battle on the ground, their fleets wage war above the atmosphere, lending orbital bombardments and lance strikes from above.

Each objective is a comms relay which helps to jam enemy communications and disrupt the orbital bombardments. For every 2 objectives an army controls, they deny their opponents 1 Orbital Bombardment per turn. Each army receives 3 Orbital Bombardments per turn.

An Orbital Bombardment is a Large Blast, D Weapon!

Objectives would also generate Victory Points every turn throughout the game. Meanwhile the Fortress would generate D3 Victory Points per turn.

Dark Angels 3rd Company

We didn't have an exact army list for James' Dark Angels. We just took everything that was painted - and that's a lot of painted models!

1 Captain led Command Squad in Dedicated Transport
2 Dreadnoughts
1 Techmarine with 2 Servitors
6 Tactical Squads with Dedicated Transports
1 Sniper Scout Squad
2 Assault Squads led by Chaplains
2 Devastator Squads
1 Thunderfire Cannon
1 Vindicator
1 Whirlwind
2 Imperial Knights

Dark Angels 2nd Company

Sammael, Grand Master of the Ravening in Landspeeder

4 Ravenwing Squads: 6 bikers, 1 Attack Bike and a Land Speeder

1 Nephilim Jet Fighter

Dark Angels 1st Company

Belial, Grand Master of the Deathwing, Chaplain, Librarian and Deathwing Command Squad

13 Deathwing Squads

Tau Empire

Commander Farsight with 8 Bodyguard
Commander Shadowsun
Commander with 6 Markerlight Drones
6 Riptides
2 Battlesuit Teams
2 Steath Teams
4 Firewarrior Teams
2 Firewarrior Teams with Devilfish Transports
2 Aegis Defence Lines
4 Pathfinders with Devilfish Transport
6 Piranhas
2 Sunsharks
4 Broadside Teams
3 Skyrays
2 Hammerheads
1 Hammerhead piloted by Longstrike
1 Tigershark

Deployment

The Tau went first, deploying in two formations, either side of the Fortress. Meanwhile Farsight and the Battlesuits would arrive from Deepstrike on Turn 2, theTigershark would also arrive on Turn 2, while the Fast Attack Wave of Piranhas, Devilfish and Hammerhead piloted by Longstrike would arrive by Outflanking on Turn 3.

One Tau Stealth Team Infiltrated behind the Fortress, while the other Infiltrated close to the Dark Angels objective on the left flank.

The Dark Angels Scout Squad Infiltraded behind the other side of the Fortress.


The left flank


The centre


The right flank

The Dark Angels deployed second, spreading evenly across the board, with the Imperial Knights and Assault Squads deployed on the right flank, ready to advance quickly and close with the Tau. The Deathwing would arrive from Deepstrike on Turn 2, while the Ravenwing would arrive by Outflanking on Turn 3.

Turn 1

The Dark Angels 3rd Company took a pounding from the combined fire of Riptides, Skyrays, Broadsides and Hammerheads. Despite the destruction of some Razorbacks and a Whirlwind, the Dark Angels emerged from the salvo unscathed.

But then came the full brunt of the Tau Empire's orbital bombardment, which annihilated one of the Imperial Knights in a beam of blinding light and crippled the other.

The Scouts and Stealth Team exchanged fire around the Fortress, until the Scouts were wiped out and a handful of Stealth Suits feel back into the ruins before being gunned down by the advancing Dark Angels.

The Dark Angels advanced en masse, returning fire and wiping out the Stealth Teams on the left flank and obliterating a Broadside team with an accurate blast from the Vindicator's Demolisher Cannon. Meanwhile Krak Missiles from the Devastators slammed into the Tau Skyrays

Now it was the Dark Angels' turn to unleash their Orbital Bombardment, but because the Tau had secured 2 Objectives, the Dark Angels could only place 2 Orbital Bombardments.

But that didn't stop the Orbital Bombardments landing with deadly accuracy, as both landed bang on target, vaporising a Riptide, Hammerhead and the Quad Gun on the left flank in a crackling flash of energy.


Turn 2

Farsight, accompanied by his bodyguard and Shadows, as well as 4 Battlesuit Teams all Deepstriked (without scattering) on to the left flank and wiped out the Dark Angels in a torrent of streaming missiles and white hot plasma and fusion blasts.

Meanwhile the bombardment from the Riptides and Broadsides took a heavy toll on the Dark Angels in the centre as the Tigershark arrived from reserve and blew the last Imperial Knight apart with its Heavy Rail Cannons.

With the casualties mounting and the 3rd Company lacking in mobility and firepower, things looked grim for the Dark Angels. But thankfully the next two Tau Orbital Bombardments scattered wildly, missing their targets.

But then, the Deathwing arrived!

Only to come under fire from the Riptides and Broadsides which the Tau had equipped with Interceptor technology!

Belial and the Terminator Chaplain were both vaporised by overcharged Ion Cannon blasts, while the Deathwing lost 2 squads to missile fire and more overcharged Ion Cannons.

In retaliation 60 Terminators opened fire on the nearby Riptides, punching through the thick Tau armour with round after round of Storm Bolter fire and rending Assault Cannons.

On the left flank the Dark Angels of the 3rd Company made a valiant last stand against the advancing Battlesuits, led by Commanders Farsight and Shadowsun.

Meanwhile, more Dark Angels from the 3rd Company secured the Fortress, following the destruction of the nearby Riptide at the guns of the Deathwing.

On the right flank the Dark Angels Assault Squads continued to advance behind the cover of the landing pad, under the massive shadow of the Tigershark.

With no anti-aircraft capabilities other than the poorly armed Nephilim Jet Fighter, the Dark Angels would have a tough time taking down this Super Heavy Flyer.

But with 2,000pts of Deathwing Terminators dominating the middle of the battlefield, there would only be so much a Tigershark could do.

Once again the Dark Angels' Orbital Bombardments were incredibly accurate, disintegrating another Riptide in a flash of crackling light, leaving nothing but a steaming crater.

We broke for lunch at this point and over a feast of deliciously unhealthy hotdogs we surveyed the state of the game so far.

Despite taking horrendous casualties, the arrival of the Deathwing had changed everything for the Dark Angels and with a massive force of Ravenwing due to arrive next Turn, it looked as though the tide of the battle was certain to change.

But the battle could take a totally different direction depending on whether the Ravenwing arrived from the left or the right flank.

Turn 3
Before the Ravenwing could arrive to reinforce the Deathwing, the Tau mobile detachment arrived, firing Fusion Blasters from Piranha Scout Speeders and bombing runs from the Sun Sharks in the wake of a bombing run from the massive Tigershark super heavy flyer.

The Dark Angels 3rd Company continued to sustain casualties as the Tau attempted to blast them off the Objectives with everything they had in the hope of shutting down the Comms Relays and getting access to an additional Orbital Bombardment. But, true to their character, the Dark Angels simply refused to flee or die.

Meanwhile the Deathwing stood defiant and undaunted thanks to their heavy Terminator armour and invulnerable saves.

But then the Tau Orbital Bombardments rained down on the Dark Angels holding the Fortress, annihilating the Company Command Squad and its Captain with a thunderous cacophony....

...a thunderous sound that continue to rumble and roar as the Ravenwing arrived on the right flank, directly behind the Tau mobile detachment.

The Dark Angels reinforcements quickly came under fire from the Riptides and Broadsides which the Tau had equipped with Interceptor technology and lost a whole squad to the incoming missiles and ion cannon blasts.

Racing on to the battlefied, the Ravenwing begain blasting skimmers apart with their Melta guns and Multi-Meltas, before taking one of the Tau Riptides apart with chattering Heavy Bolters, Assault Cannons and screaming Krak Missiles.

Meanwhile the Nephilim Jet Fighter closed on the massive Tigershark, like a Sparrow chasing an Eagle! But its many guns were able to score a couple of penetrating hits. But the super heavy flyer was merely damaged, but undaunted by the smaller craft.

The Deathwing spread out, annihilating resistance in a hail of Storm Bolters, Assault Cannons and Krak Missiles.

On the left flank the Dark Angels 3rd Company stubbornly refused to give way to the advancing horde of Tau Battlesuits and towering Riptide.

With that the game ended on Turn 3, because we were asked to vacate Wayland's gaming hall. With so much happening every single turn, the time had just flown by.

And so the game ended with Commanders Farsight and Shadowsun leading a strike team of Crisis Battlesuits with a Riptide in close support, while the Deathwing were advancing on the Fortress with the Ravenwing racing to support them.

The Tau were ahead by just 2 Victory Points! But it was clear to see that were the game to continue they wouldn't be able to fend off so many Deathwing Terminators and Ravenwing Bikers.

CONCLUSION
Wow, what a game!

Right from the start the Dark Angels were on the back foot and to be honest, it didn't look good for them at all. But they stubbornly held their ground and gave everything they'd got before the Deathwing and Ravenwing could arrive to save the day.

Deepstriking 70 Terminators into the middle of the board was spectacular - almost as spectacular as the sheer carnage they caused!

This was a bit of a bizarre game to play because nothing was ever balanced. At the start the Dark Angels were seriously outnumbered, outgunned and outmaneuvered by a significantly more versatile Tau force. They then had to grin and bear it through 3 Orbital Bombardments.

But with 2,000pts of Terminators and 2,000pts of Ravenwing in reserve, we knew the tide could be turned if the Tau could hold out and inflict enough casualties.

I know that some readers like to add up the points of both armies. But I can tell you now that the Tau were a good 1,000pts lighter than the Dark Angels army. But we compensated for this by giving them the first turn, lots of Riptides and Interceptor upgrades.

Either way, playing a game of this scale with so many players is exhausting! I'm glad we only do it once in a blue moon.

James was an awesome guy and my best friend. So it's an honour to be able to do this kind of crazy stuff in tribute to him.

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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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