Silly Wolves. The rules don't apply to YOU!
From this thread, Behemothh said:
"And I do understand the IC rules, but the wargear fens being a separate unit can be useful - more so than a retinue sometimes. Say your lord and 2 pets charge a unit of hammernators. Your opponent has to get into b2b with unengaged models in the reaction move, so you're basically mitigating a lot more damage than you could with a retinue, and you dont risk losing combat by a *ton* because at most, 2 fens are dying for your increased mitigation, thats all, for 4pts more per wolf. Sometimes it keeps things like hidden fists away for a turn too."
Well, not having access to the rules or the codices at work (Yes, I wrote the list in that comment thread from memory. Yes, I am a massive dork for having the points values from C:SW memorized) I wasn't able to double check on something niggling in my mind about this statement.
Generally, I had discarded Wargear Wolves as being overcosted versions of the real thing unless I was using them for a very specific purpose (with a Stealth WGBL attached to a Loganstar, for instance, for the extra ablative wounds with 3+ cover saves...). In general I would just suggest using the Fenrisian Wolves as a large pack from the Fast Attack slot with an attached Character if you are looking for ablative wounds.
Now, Behemothh's basic strategy is 100% sound. Using expendable models to get into BTB with a unit and then hitting that unit with a character or other killy model allows you to deliver your character's attacks IN while minimizing the hits towards the IC coming BACK. Very sound, something that I've discussed in relation to Hive Tyrants and Termagants, etc. Basically useful against anything dangerous that you don't want mobbing your IC/MC/Your Mom.
Ok, but the second part was bothering me a bit. Basically Behemothh is saying that in a scenario where you have, say, 6 regular Fenrisian Wolves, 2 Wargear Wolves, and a Wolf Lord against 5 Thunderhammer/SS Terminators, you can "tie up" 2 of the Terminators with the 2 Wargear Wolves, 2 more Terminators with regular wolves, and get a final Terminator into BTB with your Lord. Now, let's say you pump your Bajillion Wolf Claw swings into said Terminator unit, and let's say whiff horribly, leaving all five Terminators alive.
The two terminators that are in BTB with your "regular" Wolves can kill up to 4 wolves with their 4 attacks. The one Terminator in BTB with your Lord could do up to 2 wounds with their 2 attacks. But the two Terminators in BTB with your 2 "Wargear Wolves" could only inflict a maximum of 2 casualties with their 4 attacks because there's only 2 Wargear Wolves there for them to kill.
I wanted to double check the rules on this, because something didn't seem right. Now, for the purposes of full disclosure I have never used Wargear wolves with an IC in a game. Just never had the occasion to. I have used Wolves with Lone Wolves, however.
Here's the pertinent rules:
“The rules for taking saving throws and removing casualties, as presented so far, assume that all the models in the target unit are identical in gaming terms. By this we mean they have the same profile of characteristics, the same special rules and the same weapons and wargear.” – Page 25, BRB
“Just like in the Shooting phase, if all the models in the unit are the same in gaming terms, you can carry straight on and roll all the saves in one batch. Otherwise, wounds are allocated against the target unit by the controlling player, exactly like the fire of a single enemy unit during the Shooting phase.” – Page 39, BRB"Q. Do Fenrisian Wolves bought as wargear by an Independent Character act as a Retinue during an
A. No – the Independent Character may still be singled out even though his Fenrisian Wolves are still alive. For example, a unit of Blood Claws is joined by a Wolf Lord with two Fenrisian Wolves as wargear. In an assault, the enemy would be able to direct his attacks towards three separate targets – the Blood Claws, the Wolf Lord, or the Fenrisian Wolves." - Space Wolves FAQ.
Wait, what? Ok, so my recollection of the core rules was accurate. The Wargear rules are considered to be identical to the FA Fenrisian Wolves in game terms, as they have identical stats, rules, weapons and wargear. So one would think that since they are in the same unit, and are identical, one would be unable to limit wounds in the manner described.
Similarly, one would think that the Lone Wolf could NOT be picked out in close combat, as it is not an Independent Character and they are all one unit.
But the FAQ seems to be indicating that the Wargear wolves themselves work basically like an Independent Character, and are themselves treated as a separate multi-model unit. Frankly, I think the FAQ is "wrong" even though I will follow it, in the sense that this makes zero sense within the ruleset at large. It makes no sense to treat the Wargear Wolves and the Fenrisian Wolves as separate units. The Independent Character and his Wolves have joined another unit. Only Independent Characters are picked out of units they are part of, because of their IC status.
To arbitrarily give Wargear Wolves this status too is... strange.
Anyways, I think that Behemothh's interpretation of the above FAQ entry is the only way TO interpret it, but I think it's a poor ruling.
Feel free to disagree, or contribute by pointing to any rules I'm missing which may lend additional clarity.