Monday, January 11, 2010

Lone Wolf Tactics

A Lone Wolf is the single survivor of a Space Wolves pack destroyed in battle. A Lone Wolf is a warrior who has no pack and has not yet attained a place in the ranks of his Wolf Lord's Wolf Guard.

Left with nothing but the desire for bitter revenge, the Lone Wolf has made an oath to seek a glorious death in battle against the mightiest of foes

Lone Wolves are a popular Elites choice in the new Space Wolves Codex because they don't conceed Kill Points if killed. They only conceed Kill Points if they live. So getting them killed is the name of the game, preferably taking down as many foes with them as possible.

To make cutting down monstrous creatures a little easier, the Lone Wolf has the Saga of the Beastslayer, allowing him to reroll to hit models with a Toughness of 5 or higher in close combat.

As a suicide unit, we don't care about him dying so long as he makes his points back.

Much like a Wolf Guard, a Lone Wolf has a huge choice of weapons options from the armoury, allowing you to equip him as the mightiest of monster hunters or a humble warrior seeking a quick and violent death.

Power Sword - There are better options
Plasma Pistol - Expensive
Wolf Claw - There are better options
Power Fist - There are better ooptions
Frost Blade - Not bad
Thunder Hammer - There are better options
Storm Shield - Expensive, but increases survivability
Terminator Armour - Expensive, but increases survivability
Combi-Weapon - My money is on the combi-melta
Chainfist - The best high strength, tank busting close combat weapon!
Melta Bombs - for 5pts, why not?
0-2 Fenrisian Wolves - Take 2 to make sure he gets into close combat
Mark of the Wulfen - Better than a power weapon!

There are two approaches to creating Lone Wolf models for your Space Wolves army. One is the cheap and cheerful option who is guaranteed to meet a messy end and he might even kill something along the way. The other is the tooled up monster hunter for taking on Trygons and other horrific beasties!

It's important to remember that a Lone Wolf is Fearless, has Feel No Pain and cannot be Instantly Killed with 2 wounds.

Lone Wolf 1: 55 points
Mark of the Wulfen, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

Cheap, cheerful and ferocious!

Mark of the Wulfen allows the Lone Wolf to wound monstrous creatures on a 6 (rending hits) and with D6+1 attacks, he should do alright, especially when he rerolls to hit in close combat.

Okay, he's gonna get splattered unless he's very lucky and rolls 3 6s to wound, but for 55pts, he's not bad and he has 2 Fenrisian Wolves to take some wounds on.

Lone Wolf charges a Carnifex with MATHHAMMER!
He gets 3 Attacks+Rerolls, scores 3 hits and fails to wound
He gets 4 Attacks+Rerolls, scores 3 hits and fails to wound
He gets 5 Attacks+Rerolls, scores 4 hits and wounds with a lucky rending hit
He gets 6 Attacks+Rerolls, scores 5 hits and wounds with a rending hit
He gets 7 Attacks+Rerolls, scores 6 hits and wounds with a rending hit
He gets 8 Attacks+Rerolls, scores 7 hits and wounds with a rending hit

With this many attacks, he's pretty good for charging basic enemy squads as well.

To make him more survivable, for a hefty points boost you can give him a storm shield for a 3+ invulnerable save. It could make all the difference between having another round of combat against a big beasty or being eaten by said beasty. But is it worth the points? Probably not. So let's take our Lone Wolf to the next level and pay a trip to the Space Wolves armoury.

For 85 to 105 points you can take one of the following with a mixture of weapons including a combi-melta, thunder hammer, chainfist, storm shield and terminator armour. You'll notice that I haven't included Wolf Claws. This is because many monstrous creatures are generally Toughness 6 and above, so you will be struggling to wound them or be unable to actually wound them at all!

The nastier creatures in the game tend to strike before your Initiative 4 Space Wolves, so these Lone Wolf builds have been equipped to take the brunt of their attacks before striking back with weapons that not only reroll to hit, but wound monstrous creatures more easily.

Lone Wolf 2: 105 points
Termninator Armour, Chainfist, Storm Shield, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

Lone Wolf 3: 85 points
Termninator Armour, Chainfist, Combi-Melta, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

Lone Wolf 4: 105 points
Termninator Armour, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

Lone Wolf 5: 85 points
Termninator Armour, Thunder Hammer, Combi-Melta, 2 Fenrisian Wolves

As you can see from these examples, the Thunder Hammer configurations are better against Monstrous Creatures while the Chainfist is better against Tanks. Both weapons are equally suited to all manner of opponents. The Storm Shield provides extra protection from shooting and more importantly assault with Monstrous Creatures that strike sooner than the Lone Wolf.

Whether you take the Combi-Melta to inflict a wound monstrous creature or damage a tank before charging over the protection of the Storm Shield is up to you.

Due to the 2+ save, 4+ Feel No Pain and 3+ invulnerable save of the Storm Shield, these Lone Wolf builds are incredibly tough to kill and should be able to get stuck into infantry squads and hold them up for most of the game. The Lone Wolf's measly 2 attacks could be problematic however.


Despite their long list of equipment, a Lone Wolf only gets 2 attacks. This means that he's best used in conjunction with another unit who can soften up a monstrous creature for him, although he's pretty much guaranteed to shred a tank up close and personal with a chainfist.

You can get around this problem with Mark fo the Wulfen, but he lacks the punch to really tear apart a monstrous creature unless you're particularly lucky. He's also likely to get splattered in just his power armour, even with 2 Fenrisian Wolves to take a couple of hits for him.

(Of course, he can embark in a transport if no one else is using it. But unless it's a heavy support Land Raider, it's rare that a transport isn't being used by someone in the Space Wolves army.)

A Lone Wolf with the Mark of the Wulfen is nice and affordable, but while a Lone Wolf with the Mark of the Wulfen in Terminator Armour sounds like a cheap idea, you can get a wolf claw, frost blade or chainfist for the same points or less. So you need to experiment to find the best value for your points.

If you tool him up with Terminator Armour, a high strength weapon and a Storm Shield, his lowly 2 attacks are certain to inflict a wound or two on the biggest of beasties, but at the same time, the Lone Wolf becomes far more survivable, especially if you can throw him at an enemy infantry squad. He could probably sit there for the entire game, slowly killing them, holding up his equivalent in points (or more) and merrily contest an objective.

After all, you don't have to kill all the enemy if they can't kill you back!


Soundwave said...
January 11, 2010 at 3:30 PM

I wish BoLS would do this with their Tyranid articles, but they don't listen :P

Yet another great read, thanks!

Jacob Oveson said...
January 12, 2010 at 2:05 AM

Why not just take a Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield and 2 Fenrisian Wolves? Drop the Termie Armor, it's not worth the added points cost, even if you only lose 5 pts. If you charge a beastie, which ignores all normal saves, or a tank, which doesn't attack u back, it wont matter either way, so you might as well not even get it, especially if there's no rule against sweeping advancing an MC to death (since termies can't SA.).

Adam said...
January 12, 2010 at 6:30 AM

Because for 5pts you can shrug off a lot more basic weapons fire.

Dverning said...
January 12, 2010 at 6:41 PM

@Jacob: Ditto on what Adam said. The way to off a Lone Wolf isn't a Lascannon to the face, it's a single squad of Marines with Bolters.

I'd only favor the PA/SShield approach if you want to have him die before he does much. There's better ways to spend your points.

Badelaire said...
January 13, 2010 at 2:43 PM

I'm just seriously off-put by putting a model that isn't even supposed to have made it to Wolf Guard status in a suit of Terminator armor. When I eventually build a Lone Wolf (probably just used in Apoc Games), I'll probably just give the guy PA, TH, and SSh.

Anonymous said...
January 21, 2010 at 1:31 AM

Why not go with PA and,if you field Longfangs buy them a razorback or rhino and if put the lone wolf in there and drive him to where you need. It adds mobility and gets him to the fight while protecting him from small arms fire as well.

Adam said...
January 21, 2010 at 7:20 AM

You could do. But ideally the Long Fangs razorback would have a twin linked lascannon and sit at the back firing.

I think the fundamental difference is that he needs the 2+ save so he doesn't get killed by massed basic weapons fire.

Anonymous said...
March 27, 2010 at 2:36 AM

When your thinking about using a lone wolf its what you want him to do i have used a termie SSh Mark in my army close to 10 times yeah im spending the points but really when your playing 1250 to 1500 and even sometimes 1850 points your opponent has and idea for all of his units my build of a wolf can cause havoc in no time either taking down the big nasty or tieing up a full unit and lasting till turn 4 no prob while my hunters just go nuts ive even had a few marine players spend a dev squad on him for a turn or to just shrugs im off lol anyway thats my 2 cents go for ultimate surviver 10 matches and hes made it to turn 4 in 90% of em and made back his points no problem

Wolfenkite said...
June 21, 2010 at 12:11 AM

If you give him the expensive options and a tranport, hes costing you alot for a single 2 attack model (150ish).
The problem I see with the expensive monster-killers is that your not guaranteed to come up against an MC or even get to him. Then his chances of hurting one before getting killed are not great (with the chainfist/thammer at I1, your likely to have to make a few inv saves to get a chance to strike). Even then your only making 2 attacks most combat phases, making him too slow against any non-vehicle or MC units.
He's such a risk, if the MC kills him, you've lost a hundred points, but more importantly you've got an MC back in your face and you might not have a back-up plan to deal with him.
IMO, since hes not even particularly great at his signature role (and relies alot on good saving rolls), hes more of a fun option than a tactically sound one.

I would prefer to keep him cheapish with more versatility. The anon above sounded good. Termie, combi-melta, SSh and Wulfen. 80 points, 100 with 2 wolves. This is still expensive but he is better at hurting a variety of units. Although only the melta and rending makes him still dangerous to the toughest opponents.
Alternatively the authors Lone Wolf Build 1 does almost the same cheaply, but without the defensive survivability.
Unfortunately, I would say there are other units in the codex better and more cost effective at any role, only his lore/survivability appeals.

Gabriel said...
July 8, 2010 at 9:44 PM

HI! Great site! Wolf Claws allow you to reroll "to hit" or "to wound". So against a monstrous creature he can reroll hits (because of his special rule)and choose to reroll wounds. How does that get factored into the calculation? Seems pretty good to me.

Anonymous said...
January 3, 2012 at 5:21 AM

Alternative suggestion;

Frost Blade/Axe, Wolf Claw, Meltabombs. Mark of the Wulfen optional depending on whether you feel like spending 15 points on it or not. On the charge against a toughness six monster, he'll have rerolls to hit from his Beastslayer, rerolls to wound from his wolf claw, and ignores armor saves from his frost axe. Fenrisian wolves also optional if you want him in combat. This model will only be 70 to 105 points for a combat monster who can easily hurt the monstrous creature without risking dying before he can strike in combat from sacrificing your initiative for a power or chainfist, and you're not risking him not dying by accident at some point because you decided to put terminator armor on a model thats -supposed to die-.

Puppy Haines said...
February 6, 2012 at 8:01 PM

For everyone suggesting mark of the wulfen with thunder hammers, power sword and the like, all he with do is throw it away cos modals with the mark fight with there teeth and claws, so giving him any weapon is a waste of points cos he will always hit with strength 4 d6+1 assult with rending, I know it would be awesome to see a wulfen with wolf claws but he will only end up using his OWN wulfen claws, wulfen characters are not effected by wargear, they fight like true sons of Russ!

Jarod said...
March 15, 2012 at 8:53 PM

Great article. I'm new to 40K and love the SW army, so I'm still learning about the different units and what they're best suited for. I was really wondering what purpose a Lone Wolf serves, other than creating one to have a unique story for him.

Love the site; it's been the most helpful site to learn about SWs I've come across yet.

J said...
March 26, 2013 at 12:51 PM

For thos of us who prefer to leave rhe termie armor at home, what about a Lone Wolf in power armor with a power fist and storm shield? 5 points cheaper than a thunder hammer, can wound anything reliably, and has a 3++. It's more expensive without termie armor, but it's more fluffy.

Brian said...
November 7, 2013 at 6:37 AM

For what it's worth, it's reasonable for a Lone Wolf to have Terminator Armor. Space Wolves don't play by Codex Astartes rules (or rules of any other Chapter). While other Chapters tend to give Terminator Armor to honored veterans, the Wolf Lords offer it to whomever they want... A Wolf Guard could have come directly from the ranks of the Blood Claws, if he impressed his Wolf Lord enough, and then, as a Wolf Guard, he can choose Power Armor or Terminator Armor. Fluff-wise, it's the warrior's choice. Presumably, the same offer is made to the Lone Wolf... Something along the lines of "As you avenge the honor of your fallen pack, you have access to any of these tools of war."

Brian said...
November 7, 2013 at 7:03 AM

I haven't actually run a Lone Wolf (or even built one specifically to run as a Lone Wolf, though, obviously, almost any model can be one)... But I'm wondering why so few people run Lone Wolves with decent (or any) guns? They can't Outflank or Deep Strike, so they're foot-slogging down the field. So why not Storm Shield, Ranged Weapon, and Mark of the Wulfen, on top of either Power Armor or Terminator Armor?

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