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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Space Wolves Codex Review: Part 6 - Wolf Guard & Loganwing


Wolf Guard are so cool, they deserve their own post. Not only do they make their own army when paired with Logan to become Troops but they are simply a unit which has a ton of options, helps shore up a major weakness of the Space Wolves codex and are still really cheap Space Wolves meaning they are great midfielders with decent combat and shooting abilities. No I do not want fries with that.

Wolf Guard -

Wolf Guard are like your Veterans of old. 18 points, two attacks base and with a slew of options. Unlike the Veterans of old...those options are mixed from normal power armor through to Terminator armor and instead of special USRs, Wolf Guard can be split off to join other squads. They also come standard with the usual assortment of Space Wolves goodies including a bolt pistol, close combat weapon, counter-attack, ATSKNF, Acute Senses, etc. They also come with Ld9 which is important with their ability to 'become' Sergeants for other squads - specifically Grey Hunters who are base Ld8. With two attacks base they are also excellent places for Power Fists over compared to their 1A Grey Hunter brethren but are also capable of taking cheaper power weapons or wolf claws whilst also carrying around combi-meltaguns so the firepower of a full Grey Hunters unit isn't reduced so much. That being said, the Wolf Guard allows MSU Grey Hunters to work very well as they can bring that extra special weapon to a five-man squad.

This is the most basic of applications - Wolf Guard attaching themselves to Grey Hunters for Ld9, more combat firepower and that 2nd melta weapon. This can also be done with Wolf Scouts for the 2nd melta option and more combat punch as well. They are in essence, Sergeants for the army which take up a FoC slot which compared to what your other Marine chapters get, well it kind of sucks. You're wasting a FoC for what they get standard? Blargh. There are some extra uses beyond this of course. Adding ablative wounds to Long Fangs for example is a cheap and easy process and makes your ranged firepower a bit more durable. Still not worth the praise given in that opening stint though ya? Let's look deeper.

Wolf Guard are split off at the beginning of each game - this means you can pick and choose where they go. Flexibility is always good. Beyond running as 'Sargeants' for certain Space Wolves squads, Wolf Guard can form a decent unit themselves and play a similar, non-scoring role to Grey Hunters. However, this role is boosted by their ability to take longer ranged weapons - specifically storm bolters and Cyclone Missile Launchers. This is furthered by their ability to take multiple combi-weapons to enhance their effectiveness against a range of targets as well as the option to take storm shields whilst mixing power and terminator armor. Add in a character with Saga of the Hunter and you have an excellent midfield unit which can move and shoot, will always have a 3+ save if not better and can attach individuals to differing squads as necessary at the beginning of each game. This becomes a very nice use of a previously 'wasted' FoC slot and helps provide ranged anti-infantry firepower - something Space Wolves can find annoying.

Something I'll quickly mention here as well - the ability to add a Cyclone Missile Launcher Terminator to squads of Grey Hunters and Long Fangs is a nice boon of this squad as well - hell even running it solo can have it's benefits if the opponent doesn't have a lot of ranged shooting. Whilst the Wolf Guard cannot mount in a transport it can give a Grey Hunter unit some long-ranged presence which allows it to sit mid-backfield whilst scoring and more missile + durability for Long Fangs are never a bad thing.

In short, Wolf Guard are Grey Hunters on steroids. Without any extra wargear besides a couple of combi-meltas and combat weapons (much like a Grey Hunter squad tooled out) they are more reliable with higher leadership (and more likely to pass the counter-attack roll) and more capable in their aggressive midfield roll because of this and their improved attack statline. Lack of scoring hurts but then this also frees them up for non-scoring duty. Overall, the Wolf Guard squad is very flexible. Avoid kitting everyone out with a bunch of stuff like Terminator armor, storm shields, Thunderhammers, etc. as they end up very expensive and very inefficient. Rather, a few upgrades here and there will see the whole unit enjoy increased durability whilst keeping the cost down. Their primary use is geared towards helping Grey Hunters, Long Fangs and Wolf Scouts but as units alone, they are quite effective as well.

This brings us to...

Loganwing -

Really, Loganwing can have several posts about it and that is probably something to look into in the future. For now, we'll keep it a nice bit sized summary. Wolf Guard become Troop choices when Logan is taken in the army (hence Loganwing) which gives the Space Wolves player the enviable choice of have all the benefits of Grey Hunters with +1 attack and leadership alongside mobile missile launchers. Um...awesome? The downside is you lose the ability to jump into a Rhino/Razorback and drive up the field but the lost firepower is compensated for and since Cyclone Missile Launchers on Terminators can move and shoot, mobility isn't lost. It's important here to point out Loganwing doesn't mean mass Terminators - it's an option but not a very good one. You can get a handful of Terminators to soak up 2+ saves and a bucketload more Wolf Guard if you don't spend on lots of upgrades such as Terminator armor on every model. Like above, less is more with Wolf Guard.

What this option then gives you is to keep the all-round awesomeness of Grey Hunters but adding an improved statline, more melta options and more missiles. By having mobile missiles with Cyclone Wolf Guard to go alongside Long Fangs, the opponent cannot easily silence your missiles with a heavy dose of anti-infantry firepower at the Long Fangs - it's spread out and has a bunch of ablative wounds. Furthermore, it's mobile. Have I said that before? The bare bones units themselves are also quite cheap, though Logan is expensive, which allows you to run larger squads, lots of support like Njal/Rune Priest, Thunderwolf Cavalry, Lone Wolves, Iron Priests, etc. or even move away from the foot theme and add in some Razorbacks, Drop Pods, Dreadnoughts, Land Speeders, Rhinos, etc.

In short, Loganwing re-defines the Space Wolves list. It can still be a Hybrid list but uses mech more as disruption and fire support rather than 'getting there' vehicles. It is also very comfortable running as all foot and although it takes a bit of the aggressiveness away from the army, the Wolf Guard units are fully capable of taking up the mantle the Grey Hunters have left lying around with just as much effectiveness.

Conclusion -

I know this is brief in respect to Loganwing, but anything longer and we'd be here for hours. I will endeavour to write more about them (or have someone else do it ;)) but all you really need to know is the list is damn good, focuses on mobile missiles and doesn't overspend on useless upgrades like mass Terminator armor. They maintain a similar combat effectiveness as MSU Grey Hunters but bring mobile ranged firepower to the table at the expense of not being able to hop in some tanks. Wolf Guard in general are an excellent unit by themselves with a lot of flexibility at their fingertips but can feel like a wasted FoC slot when used only to provide 'Sergeants' to Grey Hunters and the like. Keeping a core of Wolf Guard around as a unit in themselves with storm bolters and cyclone missile launchers means they can support both Grey Hunters and Long Fangs without the feeling of a wasted FoC slot. However, even if this route is not taken, they are still a good and necessary buy to improve the leadership of Grey Hunters and make the army more reliable overall.

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