Author Topic: Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games  (Read 1437 times)

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Offline Silanon

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Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games
« on: May 12, 2017, 09:14:30 AM »
Alrighty - as someone who is planning to jump on the 40k-train once the 8th edition releases, I'd like to gather a few ideas beforehand - of course, some things might drastically change, and different choices might become more or less viable - but it probably can't hurt to have an understanding of the status quo before starting to unleash the Space Wolves.

As I'm only slowly starting to build up an army, I'll probably play a few low-point games at first. Thus far, I have access to about two dozen Grey Hunters as troop choices, with a few plasmas thrown in there, plus a group of Long Fangs (laser cannons, heavy bolters). So looking at the beginner videos of Fritz, there's two things missing on the list: A major threat (I would assume that one group of Long Fangs doesn't fill that role yet, maybe I'm wrong on that) and a bit of speed - I was wondering what the best choices would be. Or can running Hunters across the table actually be a winning strategy?

First thing that came into mind: Thunderwolves. I love the models, and will pick them up eventually - but I was wondering if they're a good unit to start with. Given the rather high point cost, you only get a few models, that will pull the attention at themselves - and the infantry would have speed problems to support them properly. Do you need to run them in critical mass and with upgrades?

Second idea is a group of termies - great models as well, and I'm planning to add them at some point... I have a droppod somewhere, so that'd be a way to get them to the front line. That said, they seem to be a point sink as well, and I'd probably want to run close comat termies, meaning that storm shields etc would be a must - and they once again would be on their own, since droppoding Grey Hunters seems rather costly.

I'm not really liking the idea of bikes or jumppacks - while I want to build a rather aggressive close-combat-oriented army long-term, I feel like those don't quite fit my idea of Space Wolves I'd rather add standard-Bloodclaws at some point later on, when I have access to an appropriate transport.
Are there other obvious choices that I'm missing? Of course, you could also throw something like a Vindicator in there, but that doesn't look too resilient when the opponent focuses all high-strength weapons on one single model - it looks like they're more likely to do something once you actually have more of them.

Another question I had in mind: What HQ-choices work best? For psychics, I was planning to have a rune priest, but I was wondering what other choices might be good. A wolflord on a thunderwolf seems quite costly in small games, plus you'd probably want to not run him on his own. Is something like a battle leader on foot a decent option, or does he simply not fulfill a proper role? If so, would you run him with equipment (i.e. stormshield+claw+rune armor or something like that), or just as an hq-slot filler? How much do the actual stat differences between lord and battle leader matter: Would you rather take an equipped battle leader, or a vanilla wolfslord of the same cost? Fluff-wise, I like the idea of a battle leader, and stats might change with 8th edition - I'm simply trying to understand how much which stats matter as of now.

Sorry for this mess of questions, and thanks in advance,
Silanon

Online SharkoutofWata

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Re: Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 09:55:37 AM »
Space Wolves in the current edition are what is considered an elite army to really shine as something special.  Terminators are not a good choice, though fundamental changes to Terminators are incoming that might fix all those issues, and Thunderwolves are an amazing choice.  Wulfen are another very good choice, like a mix between TWC and Wolf Guard and at the start, I would push you towards that as your super wolfy choice so you can get a feel for how Space Wolves like to kill things.  But, they're in a campaign book, which is going to be as obsolete as your Codex when 8th hits.  There is a chance that Blood Claws and Wulfen together make a good one-two punch combo that other armies struggle to deal with, but no guarantees.

Footslogging Space Wolves will not win you games.  At minimum, you need Rhinos to get more distance quickly.  You can grab up a unit or two of those little Wolves, I forget their name, but they make a good immediate threat that allows your other units to position better without taking as many loses.  Speed and table control wins games as much as outright power.  Keep that in mind.

Typical choices for threats are pretty much everything you mentioned.  Vindicators might be taking a hit thanks to the removal of the blast template, we don't know.  Bikes and Jump packs are definitely a no in Wolves.  Unless the Claw units get a buff so they hit on 3+ like the rest of the Marines in the game, these are just not good enough.  Wolves are better at other things.  Keep in mind things like the Dreadnought now though.  We have seen their stats and they're not bad.  Most newer players use them and upgrade away from them as they choose what they want to go with.  A Predator tank is a common second step, focusing on long range if their attack units end up being too fast for Dreads to keep up with.

HQs are 100% up in the air right now.  We just don't know the bubble buffs that are coming in so if you want to play games now, choose a Sergeant looking model and make him a Wolf Guard Battle Leader until we see which way to go for Wolf HQs.  A Wolf Priest might be just the thing needed for a Blood Claw heavy army, or the Wolf Lord on a Wolf... already tired of typing out Wolf... may still reign supreme with Iron Wolves on more Wolves.  The difference between a Lord and Battle Leader are huge though.  It's the difference between a squad having two sergeants, no big whoop, to having a dangerous beatstick that your opponent will lose models to before the Lord goes down.  But, if you don't have the support to make a beatstick into a powerful unit that does Q mess of damage, you won't get the results you want.  Just a dead Lord and dead unit.

Offline Silanon

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Re: Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 12:14:14 PM »
That's already a lot of answers, thanks for that.

Wulfen are one of those units that I can't really evaluate at all - probably just too many special rules to understand how things play out. How would you try to run them at the moment - simply run them across the table, like a slower TWC, or with transports? I've only seen them in one or two batreps, and they seemed to mostly form the second attack line behind the cavalry - was wondering how well that works without the spearhead of wolves in front of them to draw the fire.

Rhinos will have to come eventually - certainly on my list to add sooner rather than later. Haven't really considered the Fenrisian Wolves, really (that's probably what you meant, right?) - only as additional company for characters. I always assumed they'd get gunned down too easily on their way across, but it's certainly not the worst when the opponent tries to shoot them out of cover... also, they're one of the choices that isn't really available for other chapters. I like the idea - should keep that in mind.

I'd really be interested to see what they're doing with the demolisher cannon - I somehow really like the idea of vindicators, but we'll see how things work out. Dreads will come at some point - how do you usually run them? Thus far, I've seen them either in the back line of shooty armies, or somewhere in the midfield via droppod.

Online SharkoutofWata

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Re: Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 12:56:43 PM »
In smaller point games, Wulfen are plenty threat on their own.  In larger games, yes, the TWC need to soak up the shots because both are very dangerous, the TWC are more so.  And I /heard/ that TWC are going up to 4 wounds per model, but I have no source except word of mouth so don't count on it, only hope for it.  But, as you start out, you will have to make some below-the-best choices just because of financial limitations or as you steadily get more familiar with your army and your style as a player.  So if you were planning an 1850+pt game tomorrow, I would say that you should absolutely have TWC in the front of your pack, because you're starting out, the Wulfen alone will do just fine.  And they are fast enough to be dangerous.  They don't have a flatout 12", but they are running every turn, including the turn they want to charge.  Very unique ability right there.

Arming them is a pretty simple formula.  No more than half get Thunderhammer/Stormshields, to save on points, and the rest get what weapons you see fit.  Claws are faster, axes are heavier, but expect bits of that to change.  We've seen the rules for Force Axes and Force Swords and traditionally, Claws were equal to Swords but with rerollable wounding.  Axes will no longer be as potent as they are right now, losing their AP2 but also, as far as we know now, losing Unwieldy.  If the Wulfen axes will follow the same pattern as the Force weapons, your guess is as good as mine.  There's a lot of new rules interactions that clash with what Wulfen are good at, so we just have to see.  I'm confident though that TH/SS will still be a potent choice in one way or another.  If they remove Storm Shields... a lot of people will be sad.

I did mean Fenrisian Wolves, and you're right, they will get gunned down.  They're not meant to survive or even do damage, but every shot into them is one less shot into your other guys.  And they're cheap, fast and can do damage enough to make them a threat.  New rules in mind, they'll be able to help you control the table if they can move faster than the other guys.  They ought to be a solid choice even after edition change.

Vindicators are a Blood Angel thing, because theirs move 12" and shoots just fine.  I play enough armies that I usually cherry pick the units in each Faction just based on if they do it better.  So my Blood Angels are the ones that use Vindicators.  They are such a major threat though that they got broken fast.  Most tanks in general are going to have to hold off till we see all the rules.  Dreadnoughts are a personal choice.  Drop Podding some at close range is a very valid strategy, and Space Wolves have some good upgrades to drop them with.  Long range weapons on Dreads are getting some upgrades too so that's not out of the question.  The best part is that the arms shouldn't require glue to attach shoulder to body, so you can swap them out as you see fit to see what feels right for you.  What is lacking in your army, or what you want to play with.  Personally, I like the CCW arm and an Assault Cannon at close range.  That might change with the new rules for Twin Linked and that Heavy Bolter looks nicer and nicer.

Offline Silanon

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Re: Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 02:15:42 AM »
I'll certainly have a look at the Wulfen once the new rules get released - I'd assume that they'll have above-average speed for infantry as well, but we'll see that then... more wounds on TWC seems interesting - from what I've seen thus far, they looked damn resilient already.

Talking about units like Fenrisian Wolves to draw fire: How are your experiences with Lone Wolves? I'd assume that they'll fulfill a similar role, though they're certainly slower on their way forward. At least in the beginning, they wouldn't really compete for any army slots, and you can always let them join the wolf guard later on. Speaking of which, how does the usual loadout on wolfguards look like? Just a combi-weapon to keep them cheap (though combi-weaponry might become more expensive with the changes), or something like close-combat weapons for the extra punch? Of course, this will likely change with the new attack rules anyway - just curious.

Lastly, the option to switch gears on tanks and dreadnaughts would certainly be useful - I've seen that you , in theory, can magentize a few of them, I'll take a closer look at that when I get new additions (at the moment, I'm waiting for the rules, meanwhile getting a few models painted).

Online SharkoutofWata

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Re: Beginner question - proactive threat in small-point games
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2017, 12:13:31 AM »
In the current rules, a Lone Wolf is about 90% useless because you actually can't let them join a unit later.  They don't have Independent Character, which is the rule that allows them to join units, and they specifically have a rule forbidding other ICs from joining them.  They are as full and complete a unit as a Grey Hunter unit, but much much smaller.  You can attempt to make them better, sure, or use them as a distraction, but they're not big enough to be a real Distraction Carnifex, the affectionate shorthand name for units that you rush forward to either die horribly or mess things up for your opponent.  The units of Fenrisian Wolves make a better distraction carnifex, and usually for cheaper.

Wolf Guard are similar to CSM Chosen in that they are a special unit of too many options that just don't survive taking a whole mess of hits on the chin.  And they're going to get hit hard if you load them up to be a 250pt monster squad.  Dump enough weapons in a unit, and Character, and Transport, and you're hurting your overall army because of it.  If Chosen get good, Wolf Guard will have gotten good.  We see a chance of that happening, but no guarantees yet.  Grey Hunters are the diet choice and carry two Special Weapons per ten men, improving their chance to hurt things.  I would say avoid Wolf Guard unless you have a footslogging HQ that needs a dedicated Bodyguard for Assault but isn't quite good enough to warrant Terminators.  Or, if you happen to have the models built up with a mess of weapons and don't want to waste them.  The big thing is their transport.  You need to be able to Assault out of it and Land Raiders are expensive on points, but we know almost everything about what they're becoming, and they are powerful.  The Stormwolf is also viable but we know less about it.  It's a haphazard solution, but it is a solution and they might be strong as hell.  Right now, the Stormwolf fails to impress me.  Again, I play a mess of armies so I only look at the best of each category to actually work with and Space Wolves are nowhere near kings of the sky.

Nearly every model in the game can be magnetized through various amounts of work.  On the Stormwolf, I had to build a magnetized structure on the inside of the chassis to swap out the front door and main cannon, but it wasn't overly difficult.  Just took some thinking.  On some tanks I have a magnet on one end and just a strip of broken and dulled hobby knife blade.  Hard metal for the magnet to grab.  It quickly becomes just another part of building a model to drill and slap in a magnet on the stuff that'll need it.