Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Space Wolves Long Fangs

So I've covered the Grey Hunters for our troops and then talked about the fast attack options. Now it's the turn of the Heavy Support portion of the Force Organisation Chart. Whilst there are certainly more options the Long Fangs are the stand-out unit here as they're the only ones that differ from the normal Space Marine variants. 

Before I get onto them though I want to quickly mention that I think that the Whirlwind is very much underrated considering it's only 85pts. Obviously for 10pts less you can get a lascannon razorback which has a transport capacity but for anti-horde it's nice to put some pie plates down. It's cheaper than the Vindicator too. Whilst the vindi is obviously superior in several ways, its short range puts it at risk and any damage result is fatal. Whilst damage results can harm the whirlwind just as much (if not more because it's AV11) the 48" range means you can sit a long way from the action and hopefully get ignored. That is until you start throwing those pie plates on squads of Guard, Hormagaunts, Orks or either kind of Eldar. Anyway, you're going to ignore it in favour of the long fangs so I may as well talk about them!

Long Fangs - The Basics
On the face of it they don't seem to be much different from Space Marine Devastators but in fact they're far better. For starters, the base cost is only 15pts per model compared to 18pts for devastators. The cheapest 5-man squad you can have comes in at 95pts where as the SM equivalent would be a whopping 150pts!

The Ld of the basic troops is also slightly better than the SM version and the weapons are cheaper (though similar prices to BA). They can't however, be joined by an additional 5 marines with bolters but really I don't see the point since you'd combat squad them anyway. The long fangs can fielded in a squad of up to 6 members with 5 carrying heavy weapons unlike SM devastators. 

The obvious main advantage of the Fire Control ability meaning that you can potentially take out two targets per turn. This might seem minor but it makes them vastly superior to devastators in my book. However, it isn't all rosy, as out of all of the HS choices they are the least mobile. Essentially you rely on placing them in a decent spot and hope that they can see something every turn. You can go some way to countering this by giving them a razorback but they'll still spend two turns not shooting so it isn't really worth it. 

A heavy weapons team in any army be it Space Marine or not will always attract the attention of deep strikers and outflankers. There isn't really much of a counter to this but it can easily be used to your advantage. If your enemy is hitting your long fangs then he's not hitting your scoring units or taking your objectives (assuming you put them in a suitable place). Also with the ever-handy counter-attack they can still harm anything that comes to take them down.

Knowing that your opponent will be desperate to deal with them in order to protect his transports/monstrous creatures means that if you include a second squad and place them on the opposite end of your deployment zone you're going to give him a real headache. Bear in mind that on your average board this will mean that between the two squads you're practically covering every inch of the board.

Long Fangs - Equipment
The most popular loadout at the moment seems to be a 5-man squad of missile launchers coming in at 115pts (or 6-man for 140pts). The advantage of this is in the flexibility of choosing between anti-troop frag missiles and anti-tank (or high toughness) krak missiles. It also keeps costs down as only heavy bolters are cheaper. Whilst I'm on the subject of keeping costs down I'd say it isn't worth giving the squad leader any upgrades. I used to give him a plasma gun (to add some firepower) or a power sword (as a combat deterrent) but honestly, if they get in combat then it isn't going to end well so spend your points elsewhere.

The problem with giving them heavy bolters or plasma cannons is that 36" range isn't really enough for them to be able to hit something every turn. Plasma cannons are notorious for blowing up in your face and also blast weapons seem to miss most of the time for me! Multi-meltas might be an option if you're going to stick them in a drop-pod but odds are they'll die before they get used. Besides wolf guard with combi-meltas, melta-bikes or a land speeder are far better suited to tank hunting.

The only other option left then is the mighty lascannon. Sadly this comes in at 2.5x the cost of a missile launcher so I can understand why people are put off. However, that extra point of strength can be devastating to an opponent. I wouldn't bother shooting AV14 still but AV13 becomes more of an option. The real boon though is AP2. This means you're instant killing lone obliterators and causing terminators a headache (if they fail 5+ saves). In addition Mephiston won't like it and neither will those pesky Broadsides! 

That being said I wouldn't take lascannons for the entire squad but try throwing in one or two and see how many more things you kill. The long fangs main purpose is softening up high toughness targets and de-meching so don't be tempted to go overboard with them.

Long Fangs - Tactics
The most important thing with long fangs is to remember to choose your targets wisely. For starters get used to what 48" looks like because you don't want to waste their firepower. Remember that most boards are 48" across but thing about all that trigonometry you did in school and realise that on the diagonals you might struggle.

Picking a good spot for them is important too. Cover is essential but remember not to obscure their line of sight. This means that if you get to pick your deployment zone then you should really be thinking about how the terrain will look from your long fangs' point of view. That ruined building may make perfect cover for them but if you're view of the battlefield is blocked by a big block of trees then pick somewhere else. High ground is your friend as it can help with denying your opponent a cover save.

The other thing is knowing when to split fire. Personally I always remove the squad leader as a casualty first so after a couple of turns I tend to be forced to focus my fire. Early on I'd focus on transports or the biggest armoured threat to your forces. Ignore land raiders as your melta guns are much better at dealing with them. Focus on AV12 and below and you'll be fine. Pick out targets with multiple wounds that you can try to instant kill as well.

Anyway, enough ramblings, the important thing is to be sensible about how you use them. I hope this post has made you think about your deployment of them a bit more but otherwise they aren't really rocket science (if you'll pardon the pun)!


  1. Nice article pal. Few things I'd also add:

    1. A good tactic with SM devastators I have found useful on a couple of occasions is to combat squad them, with all the boltgun models in one squad. Placement is key for this, as you need to put the heavy weapon squad in cover, where they can't be easily charged and at the same time are a level above the bolter marines so they don't grant instant cover saves for your targets. Then, spread out the bolter marines to block any assaulting enemies from getting to the heavy weapons squad. That way, your heavy weapons can either still fire next turn while your bolter marines occupy the enemy and wait for backup, or if the bolter marines are slain you can turn all the heavy weapons to bear on the enemy assault unit. Can be a real game changer against something such as genestealers, which would likely wipe out most of a 10-man squad.

    2. Logan and longs fangs with relentless in a drop pod can be real nasty.

  2. the cheapest long fang squad is 40pts

  3. @anonymous I stated the cheapest 5-man squad was 95pts and besides the actual cheapest is 35pts but it'd be totally useless so I decided not to mention it.

  4. Great article.

    You could mention the option to take a razorback. It can be useful to add more firepower in the same force org slot and to pick up the remnants of grey hunters which have been blown out of their rhino.

    I totally agree with the whirlwind comment. I recently changed my list from 3 units of 5 fangs to 2 units and a whirlwind. It's only 20 pts more but adds flexibility. You lose 2 missile launchers but gain a large template.



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