Monday, November 17, 2014

Wolf Scouts Tactics 7th Edition

The new unit entry for Wolf Scouts was a disappointment for me. I was hoping, given the obvious shooter-bias in the new edition, we'd see Wolf Scouts who could still Operate Behind Enemy Lines, or that we'd see the Land Speeder Storm as a Dedicated Transport option for them.

Since Forge World is churning out Heresy-era man-portable autocannons, I was hoping that option from the third edition codex would come back, too.

Instead, we got camo cloaks, flakk missile access.

A lot of folks feel like the Wolf Scouts got short shrift, both in this edition of the codex and the last, given the core rules and the ban on assault-upon-arrival. They've changed, certainly, I'll grant you. But were Wolf Scouts supposed to be the kamikaze backstabbers we used to use them as, where they blew up or assaulted one or maybe two pricey units in the enemy's backfield, then died to withering and spiteful counter-fire?

Infiltrate & Scout

No, these guys are supposed to be embedded, lying in wait, ready to spring on the enemy from an unexpected threat-vector once the main attack has begun. Infiltrate plus Scout lets them do that. No, they're not popping up on the opponent's six o'clock, but with the Wolves Unleashed Detachment, it's almost like they taught the whole Great Company a few of their old Outflanking tricks, so I suppose it's a tradeoff.

Other folks see these guys as costing more than Scouts from those Chapters that are more adherent to the Codex Astartes and draw their scouts from Codex: Space Marines. Sure, they cost more. They're better shooters and better in melee, with WS and BS 4 statlines, plus they've got Acute Senses and Counter-attack. When these guys take and hold a ruin or some other patch of cover, they'll hold it a heck of a lot better than any of Telion's lads from Ultramar. These are seasoned veterans in scout armor, not neophytes. They're specialists, not trainees.

So, what uses do I see for Wolf Scouts, given the new codex unit entry?

First off, these guys have camo cloaks now, so they need to be in cover to provide the most bang for your buck with that 4+ armor save. In cover with cloaks, they're going to be hard to shift indeed. As far as other wargear options, I think we're foolish to not take advantage of camo cloaks, unless you're using them as a speed bump, rear objective holder, or suicide squad. Shotguns and bolters on these guys I'm not so keen on, sniper rifles definitely have their place now, and pushing a few special weapons into the group if you expect them to get attention from armor or heavy infantry might not be a bad call. But I really think the thing here is to keep them cheap—six guys, maybe seven, minimal kit, a clear purpose and mission. Maybe a minimally-kitted Wolf Guard Pack Leader to give them the extra Leadership and some flashy wargear to augment the output of the pack, but I'd keep it minimal.

As I see it, there are four load-outs for Wolf Scouts:

1) Basic Rifle Team:
This is a bare-bones long-gun pack, who establishes a foothold until your Grey Hunters can reinforce them and harden the position. They infiltrate, take a spot during the Scouts phase (midfield objective, fortification, ample midfield cover to channel the enemy, etc), and hold it until reinforced by Grey Hunters, then add their bolter fire to that stron gpoint. If that Grey Hunter pack has the Wolf Standard and the proper kit to stave off enemy charges on the position, good luck shifting them.

Example Pack: 10 Scouts, equipped as they come, possibly adding camo cloaks and/or a heavy weapon.

Cost: 140 points, 160 with cloaks to make them extra durable in cover.

2) Basic Bargain Recon Team:
Boltgun and boltpistol, or boltpistol and close combat weapon, possibly with minor upgrade expenditures like camo and a heavy or special weapon. These guys Infiltrate and Scout forward, grab a midfield objective or fortification, and hunker down until reinforced by Grey Hunters. In an army that favors Drop Pod Assaults, I don't see this really selling—the Grey Hunters can get there quickly enough via Drop Pod Assault to claim the objective themselves in the first or second turn. Maybe, if you're running the Company of the Great Wolf and pushing several of its formations, then you'll want cheap Elites, and these guys can fill that need, but otherwise, I don't see it.

Example Pack: 5 Wolf Scouts (boltpistol/close combat weapon, 1 subbing boltpistol for meltagun), Wolf Guard Pack Leader (boltpistol/power weapon/meltabombs). The pack has a meltagun in case they get a peek at side or rear armor or assaulted by a walker, and the Wolf Guard has a power weapon and meltabombs just in case.

Cost: 110 pts.

3) Special Weapon Delivery:
Plasma pistols, meltagun, heavy bolter or missile launcher, power weapons—you can move something nasty forward. With a Wolf Guard Pack Leader, you can add to that, but he'll be without the camo cloak. Technically, they'll be able to get close, hide in cover, and set up a Turn Two charge on an advancing enemy unit, but then we're back to kamikaze style, and unless they're lucky, I'm not sure it'll pay off in the age of the return of Overwatch. But, again, they could grab a midfield point and hold it until reinforced or relieved. They could also temporarily crew an Aegis Defense Line, too, then, once relieved, move on to follow-on objectives. Still, I don't see this being a popular choice. Too expensive.

Example Pack: 10 Wolf Scouts (2 power weapons or plasma pistols/close combat weapon or boltpistol (note, you could go gunslinger here)), 1 meltagun, 7 boltpistol/close combat weapon), Wolf Guard Pack Leader (combi-flamer or -melta/power weapon). Plenty of armor penetration, but it's all selected to keep these guys on the move. You could add meltabombs to the Wolf Guard Pack Leader for extra security. These guys infiltrate forward and look for a juicy target to charge, or secure a fortification well forward of the deployment zone.

Cost: 215, 220 if the Pack Leader has meltabombs. Like I said, expensive.

4) Forward Sniper Team:
Here, I think, is where the new Wolf Scouts will see the most play. The camo cloaks give them better saves in cover. Flakk access means they'll have a means of scaring off or responding to fire from aircraft before getting reinforced. Kit them out, and let them create a threat bubble in the middle of the board for you, while you push Rhinos or strike Drop Pods down around them to consolidate the salient. While you're doing that, they might drop a squad heavy weapon or character with the sniper rifles (Precision Shot on 6+, plus Rending), and earn their points back in a single turn.

Example Pack: 5 snipers (sniper rifle/close combat weapon or boltpistol/camo cloak), 1 heavy weapon (heavy bolter or missile launcher/boltpistol/close combat weapon/camo cloak), Wolf Guard Pack Leader (boltpistol/power weapon), or leave the Wolf Guard Pack Leader out entirely. The snipers do their job, the heavy weapon guy and the Pack Leader (if you have him) are there to fend off anybody trying to assault the snipers' roost. Here, it's a toss-up whether you want the heavy bolter for extra anti-personnel, or the missile launcher, possibly with flakk, to stave off attention from armored attempts to shift those snipers from their forward position. This pack infiltrates forward, and uses its scout move to ensure they're in prime cover with clear lanes of fire on anticipated avenues of enemy approach. The snipers should go gunning for small squads with heavy or special weapons, or those units with characters and leadership units in them. Weight of fire attrition and Precision Shots on sixes should erode any Look Out, Sir , shenanigans in short order. Having a flakk shooter established forward in cover, particularly if his position overlaps another anti-aircraft shooter (examples include a Long Fang flakk squad, Hyperios Whirlwind, an anti-air fortification, Sicaran Battle Tank with its jink-ignoring accelerator autocannons, or your own flyer), may also make your opponent more cautious when fielding flyers.

Cost: 116, 121 with missile launcher, 137 with flakk.

CONCLUSION

Wolf Scouts aren't the one-shot jack-in-the-box they used to be. Now, they're more how they were always described in the fluff—seasoned veterans, operating ahead of the main force. Treat them as such, support them, and they can pay serious dividends. Try to make them go-it-alone flankers, and you're throwing away some serious opportunities. Think like a wolf pack: harry the target from all sides, wear it down and confuse it, then go for the throat.

- Josh


Monday, November 10, 2014

How I Would Play The Stormfang Gunship

A lot has been made of the Stormwolf as Dedicated Transport and close air support weapons platform, but little has been made of its Heavy Support cousin, the Stormfang gunship.

The Stormwolf allows you to get a maxed-out pack of Blood Claws and Independent Character (most likely a Wolf Priest to mitigate the WS 3 of the Blood Claws) into a vehicle that has capacity and an assault ramp that acts as a Dedicated Transport, where the best we could hope for in previous iterations of the Space Wolves's rules was yielding a vital Heavy Support slot and dropping them into a Land Raider Crusader. On top of that, it's got a nice complement of weaponry, enabling it to counter other flyers, tanks, and infantry.

So, conventional wisdom states that the Stormwolf is where it's at. It'll deliver your Blood Claws, provide good anti-armor, anti-aircraft, and anti-personnel support fire, and Bob's your uncle, whereas the Stormfang has a meager transport capacity of six models, doesn't have the assault ramp, costs five points more base, and still needs upgraded weapons (twin-linked lascannons and multi-meltas, for a grand total of 35 more points) to truly excel as a flying tank. That's not an incorrect perspective. There's actually a lot of wisdom to that view.

However, I think that view sells the Stormfang short.

Flip to pages 62 and 63 of the Codex, and you'll start to see how (with the utilisation of that limited transport capacity) the Stormfang might just be potentially a better choice.

Up until this most recent iteration of Codex: Space Wolves hit the street, the biggest gap in their toolkit lay in its ability to address flyers, which have become an integral part of force construction since their arrival in the core rules of 40K.

Sure, if you had the access, time, patience, and permissive local gaming environment, the Storm Eagle and Fire Raptor were available, or you could ally in Storm Ravens or some other army's flyers, or pin your hopes to an Aegis Defense Line or other fortification, but within Codex Space Wolves itself, there was no true answer to flyers.

Pair with Iron Priest & Servitors

Now, the game has changed, and despite the twin-linked helfrost turret and transport capacity of the Stormwolf, I'd argue the Stormfang, properly supported, is a serious and thus-far-neglected game-changer for the Wolves. And the reasons for this are right there on pages 62 and 63: the Iron Priest and his thrall servitors, and could potentially make the Stormfang one of the best flyers in the game, for the meager addition of 85 points.

An Iron Priest with three servitors restores a hull point or fixes a destroyed weapon each turn on a 2+, basically conferring an enhanced It Will Not Die 2+ upon a vehicle he is in base-to-base contact with or embarked upon. Taking Jink, Armor 12 all-around, Ceramite Plating, and three hull points into account, that's taking a pretty durable flyer and giving it some serious second chances. Potentially, the Stormfang ends up being more durable than a pack of Long Fangs with the Iron Priest and his retinue embarked, and with Power of the Machine Spirit, there's still a version of Split Fire available. Plus, because it's a flyer, it can directly engage other aircraft with its heavy weaponry, whereas Long Fangs can only do so with flakk missiles, which come at a premium price-point for a one-wound model in a squad with no real ablative wounds. And the Helfrost Destructor either provides Lance or Large Blast, depending on its mode of fire, adding some seriously threatening versatility to optional twin-linked lascannon and multi-melta upgrades.

CONCLUSION
The Stormfang avoids the principal weakness of the Stormwolf. It need never drop into hover mode to deliver its cargo, because its cargo is what keeps it so durable. Sure, if there's an objective or a vehicle that needs to be tended to by the Iron Priest, you could disembark him and his servitors to do so, but for the majority of the game, you want that flyer zooming and engaging high value targets it's uniquely qualified to address. And point-for-point, turn-for-turn, that means the Stormfang is potentially more effective on the tabletop than the Stormwolf, whose pricier, melee-oriented cargo must be disembarked to begin to earn its points back, leaving the flyer as a skimmer and much more vulnerable to ground fire that turn. With its large template, heavy armor-penetrating weapons, and the Iron Priest's ability to repair it mid-flight, the Stormfang is providing more bang for your buck every turn it's on the table.

Imagine a game where you've got two of these babies in a Wolves Unleashed detachment, coming on guaranteed in the second and third turns, possibly appearing on the enemy's flanks on a 6+. Wolves players who favor Land Speeders arriving via Deep Strike to kamikaze an enemy Super Heavy or other hard-to-kill unit might want to look here instead, as this potentially survives that first strike to conduct a second, possibly a third, and is harder to hit, harder to damage, and harder to destroy. True, the helfrost effect rarely will come into play, but a S 6 AP 3 (per FAQ; I know it said AP 2 on the foldout in the codex) Large Blast with the option to go S 8 AP 1 with Lance is nothing to snort at, in and of itself, particularly since it's not ordnance, so your other weapons won't have to snapfire. You're potentially removing whole squads of Guard/Tau-equivalent foot or leveling a multi-prong threat at squadrons of armor or a Super Heavy each turn your nose is pointed at the enemy. It's a flying, jinking, up-gunned Vindicator with a longer reach and more durability. Sure, it costs a bit, but it's cheaper than flying a Stormwolf into the teeth of the enemy's defenses to hopefully deliver that pack of Blood Claws and then having it and its pricey cargo become a flaming, bloody pile of scrap inches short of getting those Blood Claws stuck in.

So, for 85 points for the Iron Priest and his three minions, you can add technically give a 2+ It Will Not Die roll to a Stormfang. No need to upgrade them or have the Iron Priest pull out any special wargear. So, for 320 points, you have a gunship that with a threat radius of 48 inches (twin-linked lascannon) that just gets nastier closer in (twin-linked multi-meltas and helfrost destructor at 24"), which can shoot at two targets (via Power of the Machine Spirit).

Alternatively, if you want the extra range to "reach out and crush someone," save yourself the 15 points on the lascannon upgrade, and keep the two single-use stormstrike missiles. 72 inches in range mean that you'll be able to shoot pretty much anything on the board from anywhere, with Concussive effects to boot, with only a one-point drop in strength. Sure, you'll only be able to fire them twice, but how many rounds are you going to be on the table-top?

This is arguably the most durable aircraft in the game, and puts out enough firepower per turn that you might consider leaving the Fire Raptor at home sometimes. If you plan to use the Iron Priest and his servitors to claim a late-game objective, you could add two servitors (and take up the full six seats in the cargo hold of the Stormfang), and swap their servo-arms for heavy bolters, plasma cannons, or multi-meltas for an additional cost. It's really up to you and your play style.

- Josh

Monday, November 3, 2014

Space Wolves Thunderwolf Army List 7th Edition

After spending weeks trying to dig for gold in the 7th edition Space Wolves Codex, I've simply accepted that a new Thunderwolves Army List is the way to go.

I tried so hard for so long to refuse to take all the new awesome units. But you know what, sometimes it's just easier to go with the easy no-brainer choices in a Codex and just roll with it.

Besides, I should have accepted that every time a new rulebook or Codex comes out that I'll have to throw down another £200 to keep playing my chosen army competitively.

Anyway, without further ado, here is my...

7th Edition Space Wolves Thunderwolf Army List: 1850pts

Wolf Guard Battle Leader: 181pts
Thunder Wolf, Powerfist, Storm Shield, Runic Armour

Wolf Guard Battle Leader: 181pts
Thunder Wolf, Powerfist, Storm Shield, Runic Armour

Iron Priest: 165pts
Thunderwolf Mount, 4 Cyber Wolves

Iron Priest: 165pts
Thunderwolf Mount, 4 Cyber Wolves

Blood Claws: 60pts
Stormwolf: 235pts
Twin linked Multi-Meltas upgrade

Blood Claws: 60pts
Stormwolf: 235pts
Twin linked Multi-Meltas upgrade

Thunderwolf Cavalry: 230pts
2 Storm Shields, 2 Powerfists, Leader with two Wolf Claws

Imperial Knight Errant: 370pts


COMMENTS

First, to get the best from this list you need to take the Champions of Fenris supplement and the Champions of Grimnar detachment.

Because this will give all of your Thunderwolves and Wolf Guard Battle Leaders +1 WS, better Warlord Traits and your Battle Leaders and Thunderwolf Cavalry Leaders will get the Preferred Enemy special rule in Challenges. The only catch is that they must always issue and accept challenges.

The two Iron Priests fill the compulsory 2 Elite Choices for he Champions of Grimnar detachment and the Blood Claws fulfil the compulsory 2 Troop Choices while bringing two flyers to the table with anti tank guns.

The Independent Characters all join the Thunderwolf Cavalary, forming a big Thunderwolf mob that can split apart for multiple charges when it gets close if need be. Or it can smash one position with overwhelming force.

Meanwhile the Imperial Knight runs along with them.

CONCLUSION

It's small, it's tough, it's fast and it looks like a lot of fun!

The aim of the army is to hit the enemy lines by turn 2. Maybe turn 3. So having 2 flyers in reserve shouldn't hurt the army that much because one of them should arrive on Turn 2 to lend its fire support.

Is it the bestest army ever? Probably not, because it's going to get shot, despite all those 2+ saves, 3+ invulnerable saves and an Imperial Knight being in there. But you know what? This is probably the best no-brains build in the Space Wolves Codex at the moment. Like all small hard n' fast close combat armies, some clever deployment and tactics will be needed to close with the enemy as quickly as possible and minimise casualties along the way.

I don't think it's that expensive to build either, because you can convert the Battle Leaders and Iron Priests using plastic parts from various kits.
You get the Iron Priest chests, heads and shoulder pads from the Stormwolf boxes. The rest of the bits you need come from the Space Wolves and Thunderwolf kits.
Cyberwolves can be converted from regular Fenrisian Wolves using spare mechanical parts from all the kits.

3 boxes of Thunderwolves
1 box of Space Wolves
2 Stormfangs
1 Imperial Knight
1 box of Fenrisian wolves

That comes to approximately £195 with postage from Wayland.
You could buy a Finecast Harald Deathwolf instead of the 3rd Thunderwolves box and convert him. But I wanted the extra plastic parts :)

Not bad if you're starting a Space Wolves army or need to purchase an optimised force for the current meta.

- Adam


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?

Options

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.

CONCLUSION

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!

-Nathaniel


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