Sunday, August 22, 2010

Damn those Thunderwolves

Grade A fuckers: Well over €100 worth of them.
This is the first game where I decided to use Scouts in a list and I had to change some things around in order to fit them in. I managed to organise a game with Dave, one of the Blizzard lads, and his Wolves. We rolled up a Pitched Battle/Seize Ground game after we agreed not to play the Draw mission.

This was the first list I'd played against that featured TWC so I reckoned that I had enough tools to dispose of them and tear into the rest of his army.

My list for this encounter was:
Wolf Lord on TWC with 2 pets
WGBL on TWC with Wolf Claw with 2 pets
Rune Priest

4 Wolf Guard, 3 with Combi-melta/Fist, 1 with Combi-melta, Meltabombs.
5 Scouts with Meltagun

3 x 5 Grey Hunters in Rhinos (2 with Wolf Std, Melta, Mark, PW; 1 with Mark, Melta, Wolf Std)
5 Grey Hunters with Flamer in Lasback

8 Fenris Wolves

2 x 5 Long Fangs with 4 Rockets

Dave's list was:

2 Rune Priests with Lightning x 2, Jaws and Murderous Hurricane

Lone Wolf in TDA with Storm Shield and Hammer
4 Wolf Guard with Fist

3 x 8 Grey Hunters with Melta, Wolf Std and Mark in Rhinos
5 Grey Hunters with Melta in Lasback

4 TWC with Shield, Hammer and Shield, Bolter

2 x 6 Long Fangs with 2 Lascannons and 2 Missiles

I knew that I'd have my work cut out chewing through his Grey Hunters so I needed to pop his transports and throw the Lords at the units, while silencing his fire support. The TWC would be allowed to chase transports before the Hammer Lord turned his attention to them. That was the plan.

Our deployments were -
Mine from L to R:
Long Fangs, Lasback, Wolf blob, RP & GH in Rhino, GH in Rhino, GH in Lasback, Long Fangs. I put the last GH in Rhino in reserve.

Dave's set-up was:
TWC, GH in Rhino, RP with GH in Rhino, Long Fangs, Lone Wolf on walkway, RP with GH in Rhino, Long Fangs, GH in Lasback.

Point of note - The terrain we used was stuff we grabbed from the display table. Bad idea. That Fortress of Redemption thing is too big to be practical. The circular end pieces are grand but having the middle third of the battlefield covered with something that was inaccessible to a big chunk of my army. I'd get rid of the big walkway next time.

Dave ended up going first and I prepared to batten down the hatches. He moved his stuff forward a bit and opened fire. He didn't do a whole lot though, shaking a solitary Rhino and killing a Pack Leader. When I got my turn I did something similar and destroyed nothing apart from the odd Storm Bolter on a Rhino. At least I managed to silence the Lasback.

In turn 2, the enemy Wolves pushed into midfield with the TWC sprinting through the backfield and the Lone Wolf staying on the walkway in the middle. The Grey Hunters and RP in the Rhino next to the walkway hopped up onto the platform and move forward as their transport was stunned. Again his shooting was abysmal with some minor damage done.

In my turn 2 Z arrives and the party can begin. I push everything forward although the Wolfblob moves at an angle toward the two Rhinos on my left with the Wolves trailing out wide behind them. In the shooting phase I tear the Lasback's weapon off and shake the Rhino on my right. The Scouts combi-charge the Fangs and the Razorback and annihilate it with Meltabombs.

Rule question - The exploding tank killed 3 Long Fangs and some Scouts. We didn't know if they counted toward combat or not as the casualties weren't a direct result of combat so we rolled a D6 for it and said that it did. Afterward, we were told that they wouldn't as they weren't caused by the enemy. Or something.

Here's the aftermath and here's the counter-attack that predictably wiped out the Scouts in Dave's Turn 3. Still, they did their job neutralising the Lasback and dragging down 5 out of 6 of the Fangs so they were points well spent.

The rest of Dave's Wolves advanced forward, the Grey Hunters and Rune Priest in the middle walked in a Jaws-baiting formation while his shooting finally starting to find its mark killing most of the Fangs on my right and the Rhino belonging to a central GH squad, bagging 2 of the Marines.

Note - One thing I've found is that when a Rhino gets popped and the Marines inside take hits I tend to lose a couple of men and I dread making the rolls as having a lot of special stuff and very little grunts to allocate hits to means I'm bound to lose something. As a results I'm thinking of either dropping some gear on the squads or shaving points from characters to get more warm bodies to soak up damage.

You can see how it is at the end of my Turn 3. The Lasback at the bottom of the pic has immobilised itself while the Rhino in the background has arrived in my turn and raced forward while smoking to contest the objective on my right (its the red Space Hulk terminator) while the Wolf Blob is strung out on my left. I don't know why as I should have pushed that right into the enemy's face to get the Characters into combat.

Dave's turn 4 rolls around and he throws the Grey Hunter squad that were in the Lasback into the Rhino which was next to the walkway and then pulls that out wide on my right while the Long Fangs finally started chewing through my Rhinos destoying the 2nd one in my centre. Then the fecking Thunderwolves show up to support them and they predictably eat my Rhino exposing my Grey Hunters and pinning them.
Yeah, they're boned...
I was really annoyed at them being pinned as I had planned to jump up onto the building on my right and be immune to attack from the TWC and try to take out the Rhino and possibly assaulting the contents, trapping them down and preventing them from taking the objective.

The Lone Wolf charged into my Wolf blob and took out the WGBL without taking a wound despite failing 2 armour saves, trapping the Lord in combat and preventing him from chewing through the enemy Grey Hunters.

My GH are stranded and have to push forward for the objective in front of me. I've been trying to throw Jaws at the Rune Priest and buddies for 2 turns and Dave doesn't roll less than 4+ each time. He does it again when they're lined up perfectly for it making it even more infuriating. I did finally manage to blow up a Rhino but didn't do enough damage to force a Leadership test nor were they pinned.

The Lord finally squashes the Lone Wolf but he's cock-blocked by a Rhino so he has to run to grab the central objective. The game was all but over when the TWC, who were waiting for the Grey Hunters to get shot up, were left sitting there as the Hunters were shot by their counterparts and I failed all their saves so all 4 died. I had nothing left over on the right so that objective belonged to Dave and I had my work cut out rushing to grab the other two.

Turn 5 came by and the now free TWC came barrelling toward the central objective with a Grey Hunter squad nearby to grab the objective. I was hopeful that the Lord would be able to deal with the TWC by the end of the game and my Grey Hunters would have to tie up his long enough to wait for the Lord to arrive.

Meanwhile my Lasback Grey Hunters went for a long shot and prepared to throw themselves at the Grey Hunters and their cock-blocking Rhino. Here's what the Hammer Lord is supposed to do:

On my right the GH and the Fenris Wolves throw themselves at the enemy GH but they manage to lose combat mainly due to the enemy's use of a Wolf Standard. The Wolves flee leaving the Marines to their fate. At least the Wolf Lord batters his way through the TWC but they hold in combat preventing him from rushing the Marines taking the objective on my right.

The game goes on for another turn and his Grey Hunters and Rune Priest open fire before assaulting my equivalent and they win through, again with their Wolf Standard making the difference. I had used mine the turn previous in an effort to assault them but only rolled a 2 and a 3 for my Difficult Terrain Test stranding them and using up my Wolf Standard as I had hoped to get a re-roll to get into combat but it didn't happen.

With my Lord not finishing the TWC until my turn Dave's 3rd objective was safe from gigantic Wolf-death retribution. He had another one anyway as his Hunter's superior numbers told and he destroyed my final small squad. At least I was able to show his TWC who was boss. Yeah, like a boss.

End result was a 2-1 loss.

Post-game analysis - I reckon if I had been more agressive with the Rhinos and Lords and decided to chase only 2 of the 3 objectives I would have been able to lure his units out and bum-rush them with my Wolf Lords that were unable to get onto the walkway otherwise.

The Rhinos getting popped aren't such a problem if I'm already half-way across the board and need only 1 turn to get into Melta or Assualt range. I need something to attract the enemy's attention but not fall apart as soon as someone points a gun at them so the Wolves are gone. The Claw Lord doesn't need Saga of Majesty anymore and if I get rid of his Wolf Tail Talisman I can keep the Scouts.  I'm thinking of taking a WGBL on TWC tooled up with a Claw (2+/3++) instead of a Lord but I'm not sure the loss of a wound is worth putting a Wolf Guard Pack Leader in with the Scouts.

Another option is to put in a Lone Wolf and run him forward with the Lords attracting attention with his 2+/3++/Feel No Pain. There is one other route to go and that is to buff the Grey Hunters to 7 man Rhino squads and pack in an extra Long Fang with a Rocket. I'll be playing with a few more games to see how they perform. I'll probably take the final list to Gaelcon and Conclave in October.


  1. okey doke. Time for another batch of my homemade wolf expertise. Having played wolves for way longer than you I'll always be more right.

    Your grey hunter squads have no teeth. There I said it. The wolf guard is doing all the heavy lifting and when they come up against WS4 armies (there's only a few) he's not going to carry you. Liking the double melta on those squads but less numbers means more allocating.

    I'm fairly sure it was Stelek said it but it might have been someone else. Small marine squads need razorbacks for teeth. I say either drop the wolf guard and start loading up on lasbacks or else start warming up those squads with warm bodies. If they're going to go boldly where no wolf has gone before then something like pinning simply can't be as decisive as it was in this game. the way I see it you're caught in two minds. You want smaller units for redundancy but then they're going across the board with forward movement that would make Slaanesh proud. Your pacing was on the ball for making your move but you don't have the survivability to do what you did consistently.

    this time it didn't go your way. There may well be a next time but I say man up with the bodies or start losing powerfists.

  2. Oh and I'm still of the impression that the wolfblob would be better off gathering dust with just one lord. Just go like so.

    His pets can hide behind a rhino easily enough. And I like the idea of the rhinos making way and suddenly this snarling hideous blob of animal with huge massive teeth comes out of nowhere. And he's riding a wolf ;). Ideally that's what you look like on the turn you smoke then next turn (if all has gone well fire support has been neutralised) Lordie goes for a jog towards transports while Long fangs play the tin opener role on the lovely John West Guard Veterans.

    Can I haz multi-charge?
    Yeees. Om nom nom nom nom.

  3. Honestly, taking razorbacks is not necessary - you're basic Rhinos supported by two squads or so of Long Fangs is enough.

    The Wolf Guard boosts the squad considerably in cc, not to mention the D6 rending attacks from Mark of the Wulfen, and counter attack. Support that Grey Hunter squad with another one, and you have all the 'teeth' you need.

  4. I've found the Lasbacks vital for mobile fire support and being able to angle shots at side armour when the more static Long Fangs are left pounding higher front AV.

    They also give me the option of backing up my Rhinos by having squads jump into them and tearing off to grab objectives late in the game.

    I'm not fond of just having Long Fangs provide fire as they can be bogged down in combat preventing them from firing. At least with the Lasbacks the threat is spread out across units and I'm not relying on them to do too much - I'm happy if they cut down enemy mobility by shaking/stunning transports.

    I need something that can reliably get across the board quickly and start to carve up tanks/fire support allowing my Rhinos to get into position for the late-game push.

    That, and I don't want to have to buy another Rhino and chop up more Grey Hunters.


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