Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Space Wolves Elites Choices

As Space Wolves players we're pretty spoilt for choice in most sections of the Force Organisation Chart. However, in some sections the choice is pretty clear, I'm looking at you Grey Hunters. The Elites slot is probably the most difficult one to decide upon as there isn't, to my mind, a clear winner. As with any army list decision it's important to pick the units that best reflect your style of play. Therefore, you've got to understand the roles of each of the Elite units in order to make your decision. Hopefully this post will go some way to clearing that up.

Wolf Guard
This is by far the popular choice as it's pretty clear to see the role of Wolf Guard in a Space Wolves force. Whilst some people like to take units of power armoured WG I don't really see the call for it. They can make a nice escort for a valuable HQ such as Ragnar but they're quite a bit more expensive and they lose some of the flexibility of Grey Hunters. Don't get me wrong I salivate at the idea of Ragnar and his Wolf Guard charging out of a Land Raider with 6 attacks each (with a good Insane Bravado roll) but for cost you lose meltaguns and Wolf Standards.
Anyway, back to the point, the PA versions are best employed as Pack Leaders for your other units. As I've mentioned before a WG with PF & combi-melta is only 3 points more than a hunter with a PF and has more attacks. The other obvious benefit is he makes the squad Ld 9 which can come in handy. Remember that you can have a mixture of TDA and PA armoured wolf guard in a squad so you can easily add a couple in. It's also worth bearing in mind that the minimum number in a squad is 3 so by taking the PF/combi guys you almost have to have 3 grey hunter squads (unless you stick one with the long fangs). 

Terminators are the other choice and I'll discuss wargear and upgrade choices another time. The main issue with terminators is you have to have a method of getting them into the thick of it since we can't teleport them. The options are limited to Land Raider or Drop Pod. This comes back to what you want the squad for and your points limit. A unit of terminators in a raider is going to set you back 500pts which is a significant chunk of any army. However, I think this is the better option than the pod. In my opinion, terminators are used best when they're hammering a unit with power weapon attacks in combat. Very few opponents are going to ignore a unit of terminators who've just podded in and therefore you're unlikely to make it into combat at full strength. Bite the bullet and take the raider I reckon.

There are two flavours of dreadnought available to us, namely Venerable and regular. The Venerable dread provides a little bit more survivability but if your opponent is rolling on the damage chart then no result is brilliant and I think 60pts is too much to spend for the other upgrades. Stick with the regular dread.
A lot of people seem to like the rifleman dread but personally I'd prefer my dread to be smashing faces with his DCCW. I think it's worth the 10pts for the heavy flamer as the storm bolter is normally ineffective and incinerating squads of guard or hordes of orks/nids is satisfying. I'm happy to leave the assault cannon on there as it's got a wide range of benefits. It can make a mess of vehicles (even AV14), wounds most troops on 2s and will normally be overlooked when your opponent gets a weapon destroyed result. Finally, if you can spare the points throw in a Wolftooth Necklace. This can really help against squads of marines as you've only got a limited number of attacks in the first place. It can make it more likely for you to get a sweeping advance.

Dreadnoughts in pods make great distractions. If you can afford it they're much better than dreads slogging it on foot (unless you have several). Get them in on the rear armour of a tank that's hammering your grey hunters or kill (or at least tie up) a heavy weapons team. The pods ability to deploy accurately can allow you to incinerate units easily with your heavy flamer too.

Iron Priest
Like the Techmarine in a Space Marine army, it's difficult to see the role of the Iron Priest. Some people mount him on a thunderwolf he'll be quickly dispatched with that single wound. The ability to repair vehicles isn't really brilliant as he's going to struggle to reach them (unless he's on a bike). The thrall-servitors would be more tempting as heavy weapons guys if they weren't BS 3. In short he loses out when you compare him to the other choices for this slot on the FOC.

Wolf Scouts
I've talked about the benefits of these guys before so here I'll talk about an option that never seems to find it's way into lists. The main advantage of our scouts over normal SM ones is they have BS4. Therefore a squad of 10 all with sniper rifles becomes quite tempting at 180pts. Infiltrate them into the centre of the field or use their Scout move to get them into decent cover and sit back popping targets with them. They're likely to get overlooked next to your grey hunters as well. Throw in a missile launcher and you can even have a pop at light vehicles (combining the rending from sniper rifles too).

Lone Wolf
I've always like the fluff on these guys and it amazes me that we don't see more of them in battles. Granted I rarely use them mind you! A lone wolf can add some much needed punch to other units (although he can't join them). For example a unit of grey hunters being attacked by a tyranid MC might struggle but charge in a thunder hammer lone wolf behind them and you're turning the tables. For 85pts you can have terminator armour, hammer and shield. Makes him pretty durable and he packs.

I hope this post has encouraged people to think outside the box a little bit with their Elites choices. As I've said I'm a big fan of the lone wolves and dreads. Wolf guard are great but sometimes surprising your opponent with something hasn't played against countless times can be just as effective.

Speaking of thinking outside the box, check back tomorrow because I'm going to post up a list I'd like to try out (if I had the cash!).


  1. Personally I run with 3 units of GHers so I put three WG in with them. I usually stick a 4th WG in with scouts. Nothing more fun than coming in from the back field and shooting two melta shots and then running in with 3 WS 4 power fist attacks. If I have points I'll toss in a 4th WG in Termie armor and CML and chuck him in with Long Fangs. Gotta love 7 Krak missiles from one unit.

    I'd like to try the 10 Scouts with ML/sniper rifles as well. I think that could mess with some people.

    I hope I didn't spoil anything from you planned post about WG in termie armor.

  2. I use 2 Lone Wolves with Termy Armor, SS, and Chainfist. Great as bullet sponges since they come with FnP and Eternal Warrior with 2 wounds. I can bounce Missiles off and suck up a melta shot, or Lascannon pop. Also T-Hammers arn't soooo scary.

    Third choice is Wolf Scouts with BP/CCW and a Melta for behind the lines tom-foolery.

    WG = Troops thanks to Logan. So I make a lot of use of the Elite choices in the SW list.

    Its like the DE with all the excellent FA choices.

  3. I don't know man: I reckon that you're doing a disservice to the Iron Priest by not factoring in the fact that he can be your Poor Man's version of the TWC unit. Granted he's only got 1 wound but he's got a 2+ save and the option for 4 ablative wounds with Cyberwolves and can hit everything on 3+ for 10 points.

    If you're that worried about him falling over then throw an IC in with him for wound allocation shenanigans so that all the ablative wounds: up to 4 T5 Cyberwolves and 2 T5 Fenris wolves (majority toughness) plus the IC and the Iron Priest makes for a tough unit than can throw out a pile of S10 and S5 power weapon attacks.

    I've scribbled some thoughts on my blog about it.


  4. @Student Teacher Don't worry you didn't spoil anything. I like the CML guy with long fangs too.

    @anonymous I've seen a few people with the chainfist thing. For the points they're probably better than a TH so I might have to give them a go. The WG with the scouts is something I've done in the past too. Gotta love Logan as well :)

    @Stormy Like I said in the text one wound is the killer for me. Even with cyberwolves for wounds he's still going to be taking saves and 2+ isn't invincible. Great article you've written there. I think the main thing with TWC is the Lord. My setup is 230pts which puts him in at cheaper than the special chars.

    You're gonna want the Iron Priest to get into combat and frankly if he does he's screwed. He only gets three attacks (plus the servo) on the charge and they're all initiative 1. Any decent CC unit will get wounds on him before he even swings his hammer. I think if you're going to do TWC you need to go the whole hog or they aren't worth the investment. A basic thunderwolf with thunderhammer is cheaper than the iron priest and gets more attacks.

  5. Everyone else has mentioned WGL + Scouts for OBEL, so I won't cover that. In consideration of the Iron Priest I would present an alternative mechanized option that both leverages his repair ability (at least for the ride he is in) and adds a few more attacks and models to the fray. That unit gets much better when you add close combat thralls and makes Vehicle Wrecked or Explodes the only real ways to slow the unit down.


    Having said all this Scouts and Wolf guard are almost always going to be my first choice units out of Elites.


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