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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Article List Response for Spaguatyrine - Space Wolves 2,000pts Tournament Use

Greetings everybody!

My last article which looked at Hybrid Thunderwolf Cavalry Hybrid Armies spawned a very interesting series of Discussions both on and off the blog. One of those discussions lead to an email from Spaguatyrine who authors over on the following blog: (The Back 40k ) for my thoughts on a 2000pt Space Wolf list he intends to run at a tournament.

"Here is my list.
ThunderWolf Lord Balroc-230 pts
Runic Armor, Storm Shield, Wolf Claw, Saga of Majesty

Ragnar Blackmane-240 pts
Bolt Pistol, Frost Blade, Saga of Warrior Born, Melta Bomb, etc.

Rune Priest Skytak-110 pts
Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Jaws

7 Grey Hunters-170 pts (Ragnar's Pack, WG either PW or Pfist)
Rhino, meltagun, wolf standard, power weapon

6 Grey Hunters-145 pts (Runepriest's Pack)
Rhino, meltagun, power weapon

5 Grey Hunters-115 pts (WG w/combi melta, storm bolter)
Drop Pod, meltagun

5 Grey Hunters-115 pts
Razorback, flamer

3 Thunderwolf Cavalry-240 pts (TWLord's pack)

Wolf Scouts-85 pts (WG Cmelta-TH or Pfist)
4 Bp/CCW, meltagun

Wolf Scouts-85 pts (WG Cmelta-TH or Pfist)
4 Bp/CCW, meltagun

Wolfguard-145 pts
1 Combi-melta, Thunderhammer
1 Combi-melta, Powerfist
1 Combi-melta, Storm Bolter
1 Bolt pistol, Power weapon

Longfangs-90 pts
3 Multi Meltas

Longfangs-115 pts
4 Missile Launchers

Longfangs-115 pts
4 Missile Launchers"

So lets get right into it.

The list looks quite solid, but one thing jumps out at me, well two.

i) Saga of Magesty; and ii) Ragnar.

Saga of Magesty is handy, but it is not needed to my mind because you have character saturation within the list. Not just in a TWL, RP and Ragnar but also in the redundancy of the WG as well. There is Ld 9 base in every single unit except for the 5 man GH unit with flamer (and that's okay - my own lists usually have 2 or 3 units of 5 GH's with a flamer in a transport, it's a really solid unit to have around as templates are very useful up close and against certain armies...I digress, the Ld isn't that big a deal on the unit). So Saga of Majesty seems wasted.

More so, it's Saga of Majesty on a model that is otherwise a huge 215pts...You can run 2 more units of 2 TWC with some MB's thrown in for good measure for the same cost...I know the value of a WL though, an dthe ability to split away from the parent TWC unit is something that is incredibly useful. What am I trying to say here? Saga of Majesty isn't needed in this army because of the high leadership through character saturation within the list. But Saga of majesty on a very expensive TWL is also a waste of the force multipliers for that WL's inclusion in the list. Saga of the Bear. It's 20 more points, but with a 2+/3++ the Bear Saga TWL is there to really abuse wounds allocation and to keep your TWC alive longer. Str 10 weapons or things that cause instant death (of which there are more and more arriving with each codex to be released) scythe through TWC numbers something fierce even with a 3++ SS, and for an 50-80pt+ model to be removed outright, that is a loss which builds up fast. I've had great success with paired TWL's or a TWL in a TWC unit against Tyranids as an example whose Rupture Cannons you assign the wounds off to the Lord and he usually makes the save anyways but if he fails is still around for a good long time. the same applies to railguns et al. So that would be my first suggestion for refinement in the list. Drop Saga of Majesty on the TWL and replace it with Saga of the Bear. Whilst there, Melta-Bombs on the TWL so as you can deal with everything you come across. So, 25pts to salvage so far.

Secondly, Ragnar Blackmane.

Ragnar is fun. Indeed some would call him radical and bodacious because he brings alot of buffs to the army and especially the unit he is with. Once his squad is dead he dies to a pair of krak missiles on average dice but that's a weakness in most non-terminator/artificer armoured characters out there so not needed to be explored here. Instead, lets look at what he brings to the army. He will likely be joining one of the GH units. That unit will get when it charges (counter charge doesn't get any of the bonuses remember so it is vital to keep the initiative) Furious Charge and +D3 attacks instead of the normal +1. The bonus attacks can't be relied on to be greaater then 1 so the unit needs to be able to churn out enough attacks of note normally to make a positive impact for you. As such, Ragnar is probably going to be in the unit of 7 Grey Hunters with an attached Wolf Guard to compliment their combat capabilities. I'd be swinging a PFist or TH into the unit via the WG as whilst the extra inirtiative would help the PW WG, the extra strength/armour busting abilities are needed in a unit which also has 2 PW weapon types in it (including Ragnar). So that's fine. Saga of the Warrior Born means Ragnar is going to keep getting meaner and his unit will get better so long as they can get bogged down in combat every single player turn. And a smart opponent will avoid engaging Ragnar and instead shoot him because of it...I'm losing focus on what I want to discuss.

Ragnar is 240pts.

The biggest strength he brings to the army is that once a game every friendly space wolf unit within 12" of him gain the Furious Charge rule making combined and co-ordinated alpha strike combat forces particularly effective. All the basic marines are str and initiative 5 and the TWC suddenly jump to str 6 and initiative 5. In all, it's a very handy ability. But it's a 240pt ability on a fairly easy to kill model. a 3+/4++ isn't great, indeed it's just a normal space marine with a 4+ cover save, and focused fire will take the unit to pieces and pull a large chunk of your momentum away. The force will hit as one 2nd turn, 3rd turn latest in optimal conditions, so this gives our opponent enough time to target fire to take away Ragnar as a key player in this strike. Ragnar + 7 GH's + a PFist WG and their rhino is a solid 453 points out of 2,000 pts, it's really a rock unit when you look at it and almost a full quarter of your points to boot. Granted your TWC+TWL currently is 470pts (490-495pts with my suggestions above) but they can operate very effectively as two separate entities once they reach charge range so really you have 2 roughly 250pt elements there that don't need support to be effective and mobile so that isn't an you can start to see why I am questioning Ragnar's inclusion in the force.

What can we get for 240 points that isn't Ragnar but will compliment the army as a whole knowing that we lose that Furious Charge bonus that makes the alpha strike more hard hitting when it arrives (This is the second time I've mentioned an alpha strike in this response - for those of you unfamiliar, an alpha strike isn't only a first turn crippling attack and not only at range either, rather, an Alpha Strike is any concerted and focused attack which brings an undue amount of force to bear on a key position in an opposing generals battleline/army in order to overwhelm it and claim victory in that one main push whether exclusively ranged, combat or a mixture). There are a suprising number of options. For a start we're going to take 20pts off of this 240pts to work in the Saga of the bear on the TWL. With the remaining 220pts we can work in more TWC support as an approach. Outside of troops and HQ only Fast Attack has FOC slots available, so using them is the logical approach. We can fit in two solo TWC with PFist+SS at 110pts each, giving us two harrassing units as well as allowing more options for the TWL to join/support. We could Downgrade the TH on the TWC to a PFist saving 5pts and also the TH on the WG to a PFist again salvaging 5pts (if memory serves) ang giving us the magical 230pts. This allows for 4 TWC incl. a PFist and MB (BP+CCW, Bolter+CCW, PFist+Bolter, BP+CCW+MB's = 230pts). It doesn't have the SS support as the other TWC unit does, but working in the Saga of the Bear TWL with SS gives you that extra resilience vs heavier fire power, but coupled with the unit, you have wounds abuse across 4-5 models, potnntially absorbing 6 wounds before models start to need to be removed. It's a butt-load of basic str 5 rending attacks, as well as 4 base str 10 PFist attacks and Melta-bombs are surprisingly useful at times as well for extra armour punching, but the unit brings in that little bit of extra flexibility and hitting power that Ragnar adds, without being fragile. It's not a direct force multiplier as much as more target saturation and strength in a different form.

Above, I mentioned I had two concerns with the list, but really, there is a third as well. The Multi-Melta Long fangs. They have no transport and are a mid-range armour buster unit in an army that when they finally do get in range, they become quite useless because your army is either charging that turn or have already charged and punched a hole in the opposing line. The obvious support replacement would be 3 ML's in a unit of 4 LF's, you're able to reach out from the get go to crack transports and armour so as when your army arrives they've already been supporting the force as a whole for the entire game. But...ML's aren't fantastic at cracking armour. Str 8 AP3, whoop-dee-doo-dah! Str 8+Melta+AP1, that's something to write home about because the unit is also quite useful against MC's and heavy infantry rocks like Paladins. I'd reccommend Lascannons, but you don't have the points salvageable really for that and I like the Melta prescence as it is needed.

A not so often used unit might fit the bill here, in particular, Land Speeders with Dual-Multi-Meltas. They come in at 80pts a pop, and 2 would be 160pts, so if you were doing a flat trade out for Ragnar, them, and the Bear upgrade would leave 60pts for something else, but a straights swap for the LF's leaves you with 1 less MM on the field and 10pts to spare (Upgrading PFists to TH's again if you want or adding MB's/combi weapons elsewhere, or even trimming a GH and adding another ML to one of the existing LF units). The benefits is that you have mobile melta with an effective 30" reach that can both move and fire in the same turn, making it a unit that will contribute to your armies strengths from the get go rather then being all over the place because you can't move and shoot as per the foot LF's. If it doesn't die for some reason (good disruption unit as well) you can also use the LS as a multi-purpose unit in terms of being able to provide cover for TWC as well as an early march blocker.

Refinement of Ideas.

Hmmm, We can refine this a bit, it'll make the force a little different but bring in more ability to shoot more targets at range. Lets work on the principle that.

Firstly, we're going for smaller Long fang units, units of 4 with 3 ML's, this frees up 2 ML for a 3rd unit, and with the spare 10 points from the LS above we need 5 points to run a minimum unit of LF's w/ML's. Okay, so we're gonna trim teh PW upgrade off of the WP's unit of GH's. 2 PW attacks at 15pts more is points spent poorly with an IC attached who also brings in 2-3 PW attacks anyways. You'd run the PW GH if you had a WG attached also (WG with PFist, GH with PW, gives good split of damaging attacks) and no IC also in the unit, otherwise it's points that can be better spent elsewhere. that 15pts gets us the points for a 3rd ML in our new unit of LG's and we need to still salvage 15 more for the Pack leader. Assuming Ragnar is gone, His GH unit needs to stay at the PW/PFist combo else it loses punch in combat...At this point I ramble off into my own internal monologue and cut and paste things, getting us to 2030pts total...The only easy way to get it to 2,000pts is to trim a SS off of the original TWC unit or to lose the 4th WG with combi-melta and the Wolf Standard. I think the latter option is probably the best way to go, but it means you need to fiddle with character assignation amongst units a bit game to game as not all 5 melta units will have a WG with combi-melta, this way whilst the Wolf Standard is also gone, you don't have Ragnar there to boost the units hitting strength in combat so whilst it is useful especially with reduced strength in combat overall, it is too expensive and well it's a convenient drop without losing the differences in the TWC units to mess with your opponents deciding what to take out first. Oh and Downgraded your razorback to a Rhino for drive by flaming from the safety of a mobile bunker.

Finally, people will question the strengths/weaknesses of 4 LF's over 5 LF's at 2,000pts or indeed any level, but at the higher levels LF's getting targeted are gonna die regardless. 1 extra body per unit isn't a heck of alot. Another unit entirely however means more space covered and more targets able to be shot. Remember that 2 LF units gets 4 targets max but 3 LF units gets 6 max, and whilst that is just 1 ML on a target as opposed to 2, the strengths of LF's is that you can split fire so you can still heap 2 ML's on a target, in effect getting 2 ML's on the 4 targets base plus an additional ML as well, but with 3 units, your opponents has more dilemmas in terms of resources to devote to them and the rest of your forces, so it is about keeping the strengths in your list alive that tiny bit longer. Kill points doesn't matter, your list is a combat focused list, once it hits, it will make up for any support KP's lost relatively quickly.

And so the list as I would run it in your stead Spaguatyrine would be:

Taak's Modified Spaguatyrine 2,000pts Space Wolves:

HQ 1a) ThunderWolf Lord Balroc - 250 pts
Runic Armor, Storm Shield, Wolf Claw, Saga of the Bear

HQ 1b) Rune Priest Skytak - 110 pts
Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning, Jaws

Elites 1) Wolf Scouts - 85 pts
4 Bp/CCW, meltagun

Elites 2) Wolf Scouts - 85 pts
4 Bp/CCW, meltagun

Elites 3) Wolfguard - 132 pts
2 Combi-melta, Powerfist
2 Combi-melta

Troops 1) 7 Grey Hunters - 160 pts
Rhino, meltagun, power weapon

Troops 2) 6 Grey Hunters - 130 pts
Rhino, meltagun

Troops 3) 5 Grey Hunters - 115 pts
Drop Pod, meltagun

Troops 4) 5 Grey Hunters - 110 pts
Rhino, flamer

Fast Attack 1) 3 Thunderwolf Cavalry - 240 pts

Fast Attack 2) 4 Thunderwolf Cavalry - 230 pts
1 BP+CCW, 1 BP+CCW+MB's, 1 Bolter+CCW, 1 Bolter+Power Fist

Fast Attack 3) 1 Land Speeder - 80 pts
2 Multi-Meltas

Heavy Support 1) Long Fangs - 90 pts
3 Missile Launchers

Heavy Support 2) Long Fangs - 90 pts
3 Missile Launchers

Heavy Support 3) Long Fangs - 90 pts
3 Missile Launchers

Total = 1,997/2,000 points

What's the communities' thoughts? What would you do to Spaguatyrine's army if anything to refine it?

Cheers, and have a great day today.

- Auretious Taak.

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