Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Armies in 5th: Space Wolves Part 7: Summary

Smells Like Wargaming

Space Wolves are a unique kettle of fish - they have extremely flexible lists and quite a few options within their codex but rarely will you see an army without a good amount of Grey Hunters + Long Fangs as the core of the list. Whether it's mech, hybrid or foot - these guys are simply what defines Space Wolves. The major exception of course is Loganwing where Wolf Guard replace Grey Hunters. Most other 5th edition books have quite a few different list bases and this often denotes extreme codex flexibility (hello Blood Angels [yes ASM w/Jump Packs, ASM w/o Jump Packs, Sanguinary Guard and Tacticals > just Grey Hunters] and Dark Eldar). Despite this 'sameness' across lists (specifically Troops and Heavy Support), there is still a lot of flexibility in army creation. Are you going mech or non? MSU Grey Hunters or large Grey Hunters? How are you supporting these two units - with utility/disruption/more ranged shooting or increased combat presence? A mixture of both? All of these topics have been covered in the rest of this series and whilst all the lists may seem quite similar, will result in a very particularly type of Wolfy list.

This flexibility makes Space Wolves a very strong yet mildly predictable 5th edition army list. When you face competitive Space Wolves you have dealt (or should have) with the combination of Long Fangs + Grey Hunters hundreds of times. It's not exactly new. Most players know how to handle this in theory (dakka down the Long Fangs ASAP, de-mech the Grey Hunters and force them to do as much as possible and thus overstretch them) but the strength of the army is the ability to have so many different combinations of units around them. These options are aimed at minimising these weaknesses. Disruption obviously limits the impact the opponent can have on the Space Wolves army. Increased fire support minimises the burden on Long Fangs and spreads downfield firepower. Aggressive/midfield units support Grey Hunters and take a huge burden off them, etc.

These options are where you maximise your flexbility on the tabletop. Grey Hunters and Long Fangs already provide decent durability (though Long Fang output drops significantly with a couple casualties) and are excellent units with multiple purposes. Long Fangs can obviously target multiple units and with missile launchers can frigthen clumped infantry and tanks alike. Grey Hunters in particular are adept at adapting to whatever they are facing and generate situations of biggest gain/smallest loss against their opponents. With the other units surrounding these two units their flexibility is a tool which you can use rather than a resource which a canny opponent can overextend. This is certainly still possible but less likely with the other units supporting them appropriately.

The different combinations of these options and how they impact the overall scheme of the Space Wolves army is where you get their army list flexibility. Whilst Wolf Scouts might be a popular disruption choice, they aren't the only choice and as discussed before, the units taken around the Grey Hunters and Long Fangs dictate a lot on how the list plays. It's important to re-iterate though that these units are what allow the Grey Hunters and Long Fangs to operate so effectively. If you just had an army of Long Fangs and Grey Hunters, whilst it might look good on paper you're asking them to do EVERYTHING and they simply cannot do this.

In the end, the ability to surround two very good and relatively cheap units with other very effective units is why Space Wolves are considered one of the best armies around - there's no denying this and whilst they cannot do certain builds of other Marine armies (Jumpers, Mech Marines, Thunderbubble, Dreadbash, etc.) their varied Hybrid builds are the ultimate swiss army knife in the right hands. Space Wolves play as an aggressive army with fire support, not a shooting force and not an assault force. There are other  Marine books for this. The armies which bring 12 LasPlas RBacks might have the maximum firepower possible but they also don't have the midfield or combat prowess a Hybrid army does and this is where Space Wolves shine. There are certainly some weaknesses of the codex such as a lack of a true super unit (not to be mistaken for a lack of a good combat unit as there are many of these), lack of ranged anti-infantry outside of blasts and to re-mention a heavy reliance on Grey Hunters and Long Fangs. Unfortunately you cannot have everything and whilst the book has some pretty derp choices, overall the army list phase is quite flexible and when done right, will give a very flexible army list on the tabletop.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...