Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Swift Claw Tactica part 2 by Ted Nagel

In this part of the article I will discuss some general tips for using Bikers and will show you a my army list from the Mechanicon GT 2010.

Before I go into the "General Tips" section, I should mention using the Swift Claw Bikers in more of a support role.

Because of their speed, they are actually really good when used in this fashion.

The idea here is that the Bikers are used as a "second wave" of sorts behind your infantry. This is a useful tactic in KP missions against armies that specialize in close assault.

I will set up with a strong point using the bulk of my army, the Bikers will either be on a flank or behind the main force, out of harms way.

As the bulk of my force Shoots at the enemy, or advances as necessary, the bikers move along the flanks and rear of my army, turbo boosting to stay safe, or even draw a little fire from the main force if needed.

The trick here is to always move fast, and try and stay within 18" of the main body of your army so you can properly support them, when they are needed.

There will be times when you won’t be able to turbo-boost, or when you see an opportunity to take advantage of positioning in order to apply the significant firepower of your Bikers, don't be afraid to do this. With proper spacing of the lead element, your Bikers will be able to position themselves behind a GH or BC pack.

The Twin-linked Bolters give the Blood Claw bikers a significant advantage over the regular packs, and more than compensates for the poor BS.

Here are a few general tips for Swift Claw Bikers.

1. I consider the Attackbike in the pack a must have (already mentioned but worth stating again)
2. Ditto on the Pack Leader
3. Don't be afraid to shoot into a unit before assaulting it (though some care must be taken here), things like Huge Ork mobs, and full Marine squads will rarely lose enough models to cause you to lose assault range. However, the one or two casualties you may cause in shooting may well sway the over-all outcome of the turn and the assault.
4. Turbo-boosting is your friend
5. Learn to judge distances. A common mistake is to turbo-boost up a flank and place yourself in assault range of the enemy, be wary of this, and do your best not to become the victim of an assault.
6. Patience must be utilized when using bikes, don't just throw them into the fray, use their speed to find a weak spot in your opponents force, then strike there.
7. Don't be afraid to change your plan, you have the speed to shift the battle field
8. Running the flanks is a great way to utilize Bikers, but always be wary of any out flanking units which can come on the board and steal away the initiative.

I can't tell you how many times I've read a list, or a Tactica on Army Building techniques that talk about a unit "getting its points back". The theory being that a unit is only good if it destroys more than it costs.

I guess at times you can use this as a guage of sorts when designing an army, but I think the more important question should be "what is the units role in the army?"

While this is a "Wargame" its not always about destroying all of your opponents force (Ok, so 1 out of the 3 basic missions is about that) typically in any type of Tournament play, KPs and Victory points end up being secondary or tertiary objectives, the primary mission being to take and hold some type of objective, or to get into your opponents deployment zone.

When I am designing my lists, I like to look at 3 things:
1. Mobility
2. Counter-Mobility
3. Survivability

Here is a question from HDL another B&C member.

Q: Terrain is always a difficult one for me. Because you have to do a dangerous ground test whenever you go through cover, I avoid it even when it would be really advantageous (for turboboosting for instance). I'm too worried about losing wounds through my own actions. How do you treat that issue Bitz?

Terrain can definitely cause some problems, there are time however that I try to use it to my advantage.

On occasion I try to place my Bikers and a Target between terrain, my opponent, thinking his unit safe will get close. I will then move my Bikers around the terrain to shoot, and break my IC away from the unit and go through the terrain, with his skilled rider rule, it is much less likely that he will take a wound.

Be aware however, that you cannot Turbo-boost through difficult terrain.

Then there are those occasion when you just have to assault into cover. Typically I just do it, and hope for the best. Though, there was that time I did that and rolled 4 Ones!!!

Here is the 1850 list that I took to the 2010 Mechanicon GT. I managed to come in 5th Over-all with this list, and really could have won the whole thing if it weren’t for my Achilles heel (the IG Psychic Choir).

HQ: Wolf Lord (Thorgrimm) Bike, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Runic Armor, Wolf Tail Talisman, Saga of the Bear

HQ: Wolf Lord (Erik, the Master of the Hunt), Thunder Wolf, Frost Blade, Storm Shield, Runic Armor, Melta-bombs, Wolf Tail Talisman, 2x Fenrisian Wolves, Saga of the Warrior Born

Elite: Iron Priest on a Thunder Wolf, Wolf Tooth Necklace, Wolf Tail Talisman, 4x Cyber Wolves

Troop: Grey Hunters Pack x10+1(Wgpl), Melta-guns x2, Mark of the Wulfen, Power Weapon, Wolf Standard, Wolf Guard Pack Leader wears Terminator Armor, has a Power Fist and an Assault Cannon

Troop: Grey Hunters Pack x5+1(Wgpl), Plasma-gun, Power Weapon, Wolf Guard Pack Leader has a Power Weapon and a Combi-Melta. The Pack is mounted in a Razorback with Twin-Linked Lascannons.

Troop: Blood Claws Pack x7+1(Wgpl), Flamer, Power Weapon, Wolf Guard Pack Leader has a Storm-Bolter and a Power Fist. The Pack is mounted in a Rhino.

Fast Attack: Swift Claws Biker Pack 3+1(attack bike)+1(Wgpl), Power Fist, Melta-gun, the Attack Bike has a Heavy Bolter, the entire pack is equipped with Melta-Bombs, the Wolf Guard Pack Leader has a Bike, a Combi-Melta, and a Power Fist.

Fast Attack: Swift Claws Biker Pack 3+1(attack bike),+1(Wgpl), Power Fist, the Attack Bike has a Heavy Bolter, the entire pack is equipped with Melta-Bombs.

Now, I do have some concerns with the list for this year, one is that Psychic Choir, that ran my Wolf Lord and his posse off the board. The second is Grey Knights. I just love Thunder Wolf Cavalry models, but I don’t think that the 2nd Lord is going to be worth it if he can be instant killed by anybody in an army.

My thoughts? Well, I have a few. Dropping the 2nd Wolf Lord, the Wolf Tail Talismans, the Power Weapon from the smaller Grey Hunter Pack, and the Iron Priest gains me 479 Points.

Here are my thoughts with those points, I can add a Wolf Priest on a Bike, add 4 Swift Claws with Melta-Bombs to the Pack that runs with the Lord, and I still have the points to toss in some Heavy Support in the form of a Long Fangs pack with 5x Lascannons.

I have been play testing this list with some success, but may change it again to gain 2 Wolf Scout packs to keep things more in “theme” with my play style.

Thanks for reading,

Littlbitz (Ted Nagel)


MC Tic Tac said...
September 28, 2011 at 7:14 PM
This comment has been removed by the author.
MC Tic Tac said...
September 28, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Fast Attack: Swift Claws Biker Pack "3+1(attack bike)+1(Wgpl), Power Fist, Melta-gun, the Attack Bike has a Heavy Bolter, the entire pack is equipped with Melta-Bombs, the Wolf Guard Pack Leader has a Bike, a Combi-Melta, and a Power Fist.

Fast Attack: Swift Claws Biker Pack 3+1(attack bike),+1(Wgpl), Power Fist, the Attack Bike has a Heavy Bolter, the entire pack is equipped with Melta-Bombs."

You know that Wolf Guard cannot join Swift or Sky Claws? So you have to use your characters to keep their LD high and their headstrong in check.

Daft I know, and it hasn't even been changed in any Q+A's.

FromTheFang said...
September 28, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Wolf guard CAN join swiftclaws but not skyclaws. Otherwise there'd be no point being able to give them a bike.

Got some swiftclaws I keep meaning to paint up. Might have to get round to that soon.

KB said...
September 28, 2011 at 8:24 PM

it is true that you can put WG in with swiftclaws and not stick a WG in with skyclaws but you can give WG jump packs. it's pointless but still.

Killswitch said...
September 28, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Cor thats a small army O_O

Anonymous said...
September 28, 2011 at 9:58 PM

I don't like this army at all. It's got a lot of mobility, but it's a small army. Mobility doesn't mean that u can't be shot at. And being a small army means a lot is shooting at a few.

This army can't beat MSU, maybe ones every ten games.

This is bad list design.

Sorry i am not convinced at all. It can be a fun army to play with, but this is not a consistent gamewinner army.

Erik said...
September 28, 2011 at 11:09 PM

I don't know, Anon, I'm still not sold on the whole MSU trend. I've faced MSU armies that worked great on 2 of 3 missions and were hopelessly gimped in Annihilation. Sacrificing one of three missions, to me, is poor army design. It'd be nice to see this army in action.

Anonymous said...
September 29, 2011 at 12:14 AM

can i just ask why you favour the heavy bolter over a multi melta?

Brad M said...
September 29, 2011 at 2:39 AM

Can't say I agree with melta bombs on swift claws. If they don't do enough at 25pts per model, they definately don't do enough at 30pts.

Although I think m.bombs are too situational to be taken at all.

Agree with the rest of the article though. And to those of you who are bagging his list, he did place 5th. Which is about where the tourny tweaked lists on this blog have been placing recently.

There's more than one way to play wolves. :D

Student Teacher said...
September 29, 2011 at 3:23 AM

Was I the only one that was sad to open up the Space Wolves blog today with no Wolf and Sister?

Great Article btw. I am about to start putting together some Swift Claws myself. I don't know if I'll ever use them in anything other than a "fun" game or Apoc, but I am making some up just so I have a "complete" army.

Elenneth89 said...
September 29, 2011 at 8:30 AM

a great mobility without a decent fire support from behind cannot lead you to a victory in a semi-decent tourny... maybe the army can be used in a friendly game just for fun, but not in a situation different from this. the TWC do it better

Da Warboss said...
September 29, 2011 at 8:43 AM

The shear amount of attacks this unit can generate, and the fact they can have MORE bikes than any other army per FOC slot, means these guys are WAY undervalued. I run a Raven Guard Bikes/Assault marine lsit that also uses Khan,but if I had to play any other bike source, it would be wolves.

Hieldayn said...
September 29, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I just tried SwiftClaws recently, I use 5 standard ones, with a Wolf guard wearing PowerFist and CombiFlamer (all my WG have combi flamer because I always roll 1 to Hit with CombiMeltas !), with an AttackBike carrying MultiMelta (no other meltagun in the squad).

Led by a Wolf Priest, their aim is to rush infantry. That's why there is no Meltabombs for troops, only for the IC. Making troops too much polyvalent make them too expensive...

For me, as they are still "only" Blood Claws, they need to be quite numbered, and need the Wolf Priest to re-roll To Hit every turn.

They are usually in pair with ThunderWolves Cavalry that have to care about bigger things.

I thought about doing a Wolf Guard bike squadron, but when I compare points/efficiency, this definitly don't do the balance with ThunderWolves Cavalry...

Hieldayn, french Wolf Lord

Thrungrom said...
September 29, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Well, some there is some doubt here that a MSU army would have problems with this list.

So i made (quickly) a 1850 point MSU wolves list.

HQ1: Rune Priest CotS (110)

E1: 8 Wolf Guard G; 3 CM; 5 CM - PF (284)
E2: 6 Wolf Scouts; MG (100)
E2: 6 Wolf Scouts; MG (100)

T1: 7 Grey Hunters; MG; WS; MotW; RH (170)
T2: 5 Grey Hunters; MG; RH (115)
T3: 5 Grey Hunters; MG; RH (115)
T4: 5 Grey Hunters; MG; RH (115)
T5: 5 Grey Hunters; MG; RB TLPG-LC (155)
T6: 5 Grey Hunters; MG; RB TLPG-LC

HS1: 6 Long Fang Pack; 5 ML; RB TLPG-LC (215)
HS2: 6 Long Fang Pack; 5 ML; RB TLPG-LC (215)

Total: 1849

I doubt that your list stand a chance against this, even in annihilation.

Steven said...
September 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM

^^ Possibly the most boring list I have ever seen! ^^

As for Ted, I commend you on not taking the run of the mill maxed out GH lists that everyone is running and having the balls to try something new. Tanking lists like the one above is like playing 40K on easy setting.

Erik said...
September 29, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Nope, still not sold. That list has 20 kill points in it, 18 of them ranging from "fairly easy" to "REALLY easy" to kill. It's a textbook example of why I disrespect msu lists. To throw one in three missions under the bus to become slightly better at the other two just seems kind of nuts.

Marshal Wilhelm said...
September 29, 2011 at 9:22 PM

Tough crowd.

TiguriusX said...
September 30, 2011 at 4:23 AM

Far too many arm chair generals completely dismissing words of wisdom from a fellow Wolf.

It is different from what you know...we get it...that was kind of the point behind this guest tactica.

The concept has proven competitive in his personal experience (including tournament environments). If you are interested in utilizing swiftclaws here is your first lesson.

Thank you for sharing a new approach to battle. I recognise my failings and will be sure to correct them.

Anonymous said...
September 30, 2011 at 8:54 AM

all i can say is no matter what they ride they are still just bloodclaws...

Gammelpot said...
September 30, 2011 at 8:54 AM

Im affraid Im not into the whole swift biker idea, and as pointed out earlier I think its more about IC building then the bikes themselves, (had hoped I missed a trick or two)...
I'd say against most tuned up lists you would be devastated if your opponent know what to do...
Your second lord is way to fragile when not on a wolf he gets instant gibbed by missiles and lascannons.
Also the heavybolter and no melta in the squad I find a bit awkward, with so few units you need to be able to handle it all.

regards Gammelpot

Bradimus Prime said...
September 30, 2011 at 9:20 AM

Thanks to TiguriusX for hitting the nail on the head, I asked Ted to do this article for all those people out there who want to know how to use Swiftclaws. We are not saying Swiftclaws are the new OMG unit as some of you are reacting like. If you wanna tell us how good your spammy little MSU list is go compare your e-peen with the other douche bags over on warseer.

Quite frankly I am disapointed in some of the replies from you guys.

Mahes said...
September 30, 2011 at 9:22 AM

People need to take the blinkers off a little. There is more than one way to play this game and win. You look at most of of the tactical talk out there and it is focused on a few builds. Over time (if they haven't already) the opposition are going to work these out. Why not throw them the odd curve ball.

Personally I take more satisfaction from winning with style than anything. Better to win 5-4 in extra time than grind out a 1-0


Mahes said...
September 30, 2011 at 9:39 AM

Great work by the way. I would very much appreciate more of the same for other less obvious but arguably more fun units.

For example, I would love to run a 5 wolf guard assault squad, just for the hell of it. Any experience at doing this or does no one bothers because someone told you it cant possibly work?

Keep up the good work guys, I am eating it up


Brad M said...
September 30, 2011 at 12:09 PM

I see this a lot on forums where someone comes along with a different idea and Immediately gets shot down because it's not what the internet says is best. This blog isn't innocent of this either if anyone remembers a Njal article a few months ago.

Frankly I find it dissapointing.

Oh... and that MSU list, while boring, is not the most boring list i've ever seen. Adam's (i think) Iron Warriors list is WAY more boring! :P

Ted Nagel, whoever you are, congrats on both a great article, and playing your own style. :D

Tossidin said...
September 30, 2011 at 12:42 PM

Yeah Brad, it is dissappointing that people speak their mind instead of saying "oh awesome tactica". When I read it the author seemed to imply that swiftclaws are competitive, and people will bite onto that.

And why the hate against MSU armies if I might ask? You seem to imply that we who play them are douchebags :/

Dylan said...
September 30, 2011 at 1:23 PM

I just started to play with swiftclaws nad this article comes as a blessing.

my trick is to make my unit not to big so it becomes to much of a treat and piority target but on the other hand i want to keep it as lethal as possible.

i have 6 bikes
3 normal
1 powerfist
1 plasmagun
1 WG+ combi plasma + powerfist

I would like to add a attack bike with heavy bolter but dont have one yet.

pretty cheap unit and good at schooting from a distance and be a fast support unit.

I made a mistake to rush them to early if you dont go in assault mostly they ignore it and focus on other units who own a melta gun (everybody fears that gun) so thats why no melta is in it cause a fast melta get to much attention.

just my 2 kraks

Ted Nagel said...
September 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

I do appreciate all of the comments, good or bad at least it is provoking some thought.
One thing I should mention, is my own feelings on the hobby as a whole. I have been playing a long time, and my "power list" building days are long over. I build and play what I like, I also go out of my way to read the net lists and do the opposite. I take great pleasure in taking sub-par units and making them work. (To be honest, I am sick of seeing the same old "cut and paste lists" where the hell did we get all these Rune Priests from anyway? it looks like they out number the Blood Claws in the Fang these days) Ask any gamer who has faced me at a Tournament, and I am sure you will be shocked to hear just how well I can make my list work.
Most importantly, nothing in this article is from any sort of "theory" or "math-hammering" it is all written from a game play perspective. I play at least once a week, and have quite a bit of practical experience using the unit I am writing about (In this case Swift Claws).
I do hope that you enjoy reading the article regardless of agreeing or disagreeing with what is presented, and I do hope that Brad presses on and posts the rest.

Buchy said...
September 30, 2011 at 1:57 PM

I enjoyed both articles, I've always wanted to try Swiftclaws and will be making them my next project to model and paint.

I also think they are under utilised and under appreciated :)

Bjorn Stormwolf said...
October 11, 2011 at 6:59 PM

I like the fact that you use Swift Claws.

I would like to make a 13th Company list (that means no Mech/transports whatever)

But I wil need some speed in my list to avoid getting totally outmaneuvered.

I'm looking at Swift Claws, Sky Claws and Fenrisian Wolves to do this.

But it's hard to find any tactica for them. What is the main difference in uses of Swift Claws and Sky Claws?

And what's the use of the Iron Priest in this list?


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