Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Beat Deathwing with Space Wolves

2:00:00 PM by Adam Smith ·
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Struggling to beat that Deathwing Terminator army with your Space Wolves? Then let me explain how you can defeat an army made entirely of 2+ save Space Marines swinging powerfists or the dreaded Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield combo with any Space Wolf army.

Deathwing are a small, highly elite, yet extremely tough army to play. This is a because they have a low model account which is ofset by the ability to Deepstrike, a good deal of anti infantry firepower and of course, access to Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields.

This also means that a Deathwing army has to be as versatile as possible to take on all comers. So while many competitive players have built Deathwing armies consisting of nothing but Assault Terminators with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields (how imaginative of them!), they still need to be able to shoot you in order to win.

However, the Space Wolves are every bit as versatile and fierce in close combat. The main difference is that we have numbers on our side. But it's still going to be a surprisngly close match up.

Based on my gaming experience, I'm going to explain how to beat a Dark Angels Deathwing army with Space Wolves, while explaining what to look out for and how to best utilise your units to deal with each threat.


2+ Save
When everything has a 2+ save, only two things are going to kill those Terminators. That's AP2 or better weapons and sheer volume of shots and attacks.

Now while statistics should ensure that for every 6 armour saves taken, 1 would be a fail. However, this rarely seems to be the case (unless I'm rolling!). Instead only 1 in 12 Terminators seem to fail their armour save, which makes taking them out with massed firepower or lots of basic attacks in close combat a lot tougher than expected.

Terminators also have a 5+ invulnerable save, which is nice, but not something they should really count on to save them. Just bear in mind that 1 in 3 of these saves will get passed. If an opponent is particularly lucky, they may even pass half of their invulnerable saves. It's statistically rare, but just bear in mind that it can happen.

Powerfists for Everybody!
Everyone has a powerfist, except for the Sergeants, so if you don't kill what you charge before they can strike back, you're going to take some pretty horrendous casualties. Don't forget that the sergeant strikes at Initiative 4 with his power sword, so he's going to be the first casualty in close combat so the Deathwing player can clobber you with as many powerfists as possible.

Feel No Pain Command Squad of Death
If a 2+ save wasn't tough enough, there have been a number of Deathwing Assault Command Squads running about with all the trimmings.

Belial with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield, a Librarian in Terminator armour, 5 Assault Terminators with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield, 1 of which is an Apothecary, granting the whole unit Feel No Pain, while another 1 carries the Deathwing Standard, giving them all +1 Attack in close combat.

A good Deathwing player will deploy their army in a mightly phalanx with this unit at the centre, often taking point and soaking up your firepower like an invulnerable sponge.

Deathwing Assault
Nobody really seems to Deathwing Assault anymore, because Space Marine armies typically need everything on the board right from the start. But it's worth remembering that Deathwing can do this.


Low Numbers
Most Deathwing armies consist of 30 models or less. So every loss is felt, not only in domination of the table, but in the amount of firepower that the army can put out.
A few bad dice rolls for armour saves and the Deathwing are in trouble.

Because the whole army is going to me walking 6" and shooting, the Deathwing army is pretty slow. And because they rely so much on their firepower, running isn't an option that can be counted on to fall back or advance efficiently.

As a result the army tends to receive charges rather than make charges.

However, the offset of this is the standard Deathwing phalanx formation where if a single unit gets charged, it holds its ground, despite taking quite a few casualties, and then the rest of the Deathwing army piles into the close combat and punches everything to death with an obscene number of Powerfists!

If there's one Deathwing army that works and works really well, it's one comprised entirely of Tactical Terminator Squads with Cyclone Missile Launchers led by the Feel No Pain Command Squad of Death. You may wonder why the Command Squad doesn't have a Cyclone? This is because they're too busy running forward to fire it or any other weapons.

Grand Master Belial: Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield
Librarian in Terminator Armour
5 Deathwing Terminators: 5 Thunder Hammers & Storm Shields, 1 Apothecary, 1 Standard

5 Deathwing Terminators: 1 Sergeant with Powersword, 1 Chainfist, 1 Cyclone Missile Launcher

5 Deathwing Terminators: 1 Sergeant with Powersword, 1 Chainfist, 1 Cyclone Missile Launcher

5 Deathwing Terminators: 1 Sergeant with Powersword, 1 Chainfist, 1 Cyclone Missile Launcher

5 Deathwing Terminators: 1 Sergeant with Powersword, 1 Chainfist, 1 Cyclone Missile Launcher

5 Deathwing Terminators: 1 Sergeant with Powersword, 1 Chainfist, 1 Cyclone Missile Launcher

Deathwing Strategy VS Space Wolves
The Deathwing are going to do what the Deathwing do best and that's deploy in a phalanx where each unit covers the other. So if one units gets charged, the rest of the army jump on that attacking unit and absolutely murder it. The Command Squad leads from the front and the army moves slowly as one to cover numerous objectives or to simply dominate a particular part of the board.

The aim of the Deathwing is to bring as many of their units together against as few Space Wolves units as possible. Meanwhile lots of Krak Missiles from their Cyclone Missile Launchers will be aimed at immediate threats from transports to Long Fangs.

The first priority it to knock out the Long Fangs to stop them pelting any tightly packed Terminator squads with frag missiles in order to create lots of wounds and kill some Terminators through sheer volume of armour saves being required.

Next up all those Cyclones will target 1 Grey Hunter transport at a time so that all those Storm Bolters can cut down the Space Wolves en masse once they're outside.

The Deathwing will them slowly advance up the board shooting while being ready for a counter attack.

Space Wolves Strategy VS Deathwing
Deathwing are a tough match for Space Wolves, because they function in a very similar way and have a lot of Missile Launchers too.

In order to win the Space Wolves will have to try and target 1 Deathwing squad at a time, firing everything at it until it's dead, then moving on to the next target.

Obviously the Deathwing Command Squad takes a lot more firepower to bring down.

Lascannons are great for picking off lone stragglers, but it comes down to pouring as many basic shots as you can into a squad before charging in to get even more hits on a squad. Your Grey Hunters are going to need their Wolf Standards when they charge in to do as much damage as possible in order to minimise the number of Powerfists coming back their way.

It's important not to attack the Deathwing phalanx head on. Instead, try to isolate one squad at a time. This is where getting out of your transports and rapid firing them can allow you to kill a squad while keeping just out of charge range from the other Terminator squads.

Once you've killed a Deathwing squad or two, you can start rolling up the army. Just be sure to not overstretch your units or expose them to too much Storm Bolter fire and you should be fine.

Don't be fooled, because a Deathwing army played well can be an extremely tough nut to crack. It doesn't help that Space Wolves are typically lacking in lascannons and plasma (unless you're playing Razorback spam), which makes it hard to take down all those Terminators.

Just be sure to strategically use your basic weapons to wittle down squads and then pick off stragglers (who will probably be in the open) with your lascannons or multimeltas from your Land Speeders. It's all about how you apply your firepower. The same goes for the Deathwing, which is why this is a tough match up.

As you might expect, Wolf Guard Terminators with combi weapons and power weapons do rather well against regular Powerfist totting Deathwing Terminators. They'll take a beating in return because of the Powerfists, but they can be effectively used to wipe out a Deathwing squad in a single turn on their own if they're jumping out of a Land Raider. But as with any unit in the Space Wolves army, don't let them wander off on their own or they will get jumped on by the whole Deathwing army and killed.

And whatever you do, do your best to stay away from the Command Squad, because they require a monstrous amount of attacks to bring them down. The only time I've managed to do it in a single turn was when I charged them with 3 Grey Hunter packs that had all used their Wolf Standard. Even then they took a lot of casualties before they could bring down Belial and the Librarian.

Just because Space Wolves are good in close combat, doesn't mean that they're great in close combat!


Da Masta Cheef said...
April 30, 2012 at 4:04 PM

No vindicators?

DS86 said...
April 30, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Nice :)

As a part time deathwing player (its ok they are in pre-heresy space wolf grey led by an imposing wolf thing missed out is the landspeeders.

For the same cost as one of our heavy flamer/mm landspeeders they can take one with missile launchers and mm. I regularly run 2 or 3 to increase to firing rate at the sacrifice of a single squad.

Also enjoy running all storm shield/thunder hammer squads with cmls as....well its quite imposing to shift.

Finally dreadnoughts....they can run a venerable dread with assault cannon and heavy flamer for a lot cheaper then us.

Every now and then at 1500 points I run 2 dreads, contemptor dread with cml and kha/asscann 3x squads of th/ss termys with cmls,one with feel no pain and 2 land speeders with mm and missiles.

It can dish out a pounding in both cc and shooting...but I always fear the mass shooting/charges.

pchappel said...
April 30, 2012 at 9:58 PM

:-) Another part time Deathwing player here... My typical squads are 3 TH/SS and 2 LC, one of which also has the CML... 235 points for a Fearless 2+/3++ Troop section I can Deep Strike in on turn one... Remember, "Dual Wing" gives you access to mobile (Scouting) Melta and Teleport Homers... And as mentioned the Speeders are really quite nice for more mobile firepower... SO many Missiles every turn... Just have a hard time dealing with Hordes...

dewi sant said...
April 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Old School Terminator said...
May 1, 2012 at 2:41 AM

I am also a DW/ DA player and will throw in there that the typical DW list will run much of what has been mentioned above in the comments. Hammers and Shields are standard with a little chainfist here and there.

I also run the TML/ MM speeders at times (usually 3), which adds to the firepower offered by the terminators' missiles.

My advice to Wolf Lords who want to beat us is to gang up. Press us with Grey Hunter squads and kill 5 man terminator squads that way (we are restricted to five man units). If you have banners, pop them, push through a couple squads that way and quick. Be aware that this will get messy, but you have the advantage in combat resolution if you just mob us, trust me.

Save the long range fire for our speeders as they can gang up to wipe out exposed units and generally cause havoc.

Use your best CC units on the Belial Command Squad, preferably after whittling a couple of termies out of it.

Good luck and happy hunting Wolves ... and don't forget the mandatory challenge at the beginning of any DA/ SW battle (old school players know!)

La Denise said...
May 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Nice job once again!

I can't wait for the tyranids anti-tactica !

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