Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Guide to Building a Loganwing - Part 1, Overview and Logan Himself
So, I recently "re-caught" the Loganwing bug, as I decided to take my Space Wolves to a GT in Montana. Good times were had by all, and I walked away with 4 wins and a loss. I ended up with 3rd place - it was a win/loss format and I got beaten by the only undefeated player. I had the highest total battle points though by a wide margin. Anyways, the point is that I did very well with my Loganwing. I also only lost one game at the Seattle GT which had draw-able missions (going 3-1-1, again only losing to the undefeated tournament winner). Again, Loganwing did quite well for me.
In both of these cases, I asked myself the tough question - did my army let me down or did I let my army down? Both are really the same thing because at the end of the day you ARE your army and your army is YOU. Nobody decides what selections you take but you, and nobody dictates the choices you make with the units you bring but you.
The conclusions I came to are that Loganwing, as a general concept, could have won me either event. I have yet to see an army that I don't feel confident that I could beat with a well-built Loganwing army. I might screw up the details during army creation (as I did in Seattle), or I might screw it up on the table (as I did in Montana), but the general army concept is solid.
Now Loganwing is not for the faint of heart. I'm just going to throw that out there up front. You generally have no or few transports, and if you do bring transports they are probably Drop Pods. If you are used to zooming around inside the warm, safe baby blankets (your Rhinos, Land Raiders and Razorbacks), it can be a bit nerve-wracking the first time you play an all-foot list.
I mean, you're just... OUT there, ya know? Flapping in the breeze? If someone wants to kill your models they just have to start shooting at them and they start dying.
It's nerve-wracking, let me tell ya.
The other thing is that the army, overall, is quite slow. You may have fast elements, but Loganwing is not a speed demon army. It is not "static," and that is an important point to make. Static armies lose. Slow armies can win, so long as they have at least some mobility. And make no mistake, Loganwing does have some speedy elements as well as the ability to project power quite nicely. More on that later.
Anyways, so Loganwing is generally foot-based, generally slow but mobile. What other characteristics do these armies usually have?
Firepower. And by firepower we generally mean lots and lots of missiles. And not just any missiles, but mobile missiles. Loganwing also has access to melta and other stuff, but a lot of your heavy lifting is going to be done by missiles. Certain builds have more, certain have less, but almost all will have a good amount of them.
And finally Loganwing has good close combat ability. You have a few close combat specialist units, and a lot of guys that are good enough at close combat to take down anything that's not a specialist unit (but will get eaten by specialists).
Ok, so now we have the broad overview done. Why play a Loganwing army?
Well, they are fun, they are competitive, and they are a foot army.
Yes, that's right, they don't have transports, and for some people (like me) that can actually be a good thing. See, I really like having all my carefully painted man-dollies laid out on the board for all to see. I like moving my infantry around, I like having my infantry shoot things. I like infantry in general. I don't mind transports, per se, and I will use them from time-to-time, but I really like Loganwing because it works without them.
On that note, at least some of your infantry models are going to be Terminators in a Loganwing army. A lot of people, including myself, really dig Terminators, and having them out there on the table shooting shit and having a good time is just cool.
I am going to attempt to create a fully fleshed out "guide" to designing a Loganwing army. This will examine a lot of the different options and builds which all exist under the broad umbrella of "Loganwing." Some people might think that this is really outdated since the Wolves codex has been out for so long, but I am inspired to do it. I haven't seen too many people out here playing Loganwing (though a lot of people play Wolves), and I think they are a viable option. I'm sure in other parts of the country that's not true, but I'm just as sure that somewhere out there some dude is going to read this guide and find it helpful, and that's good enough for me.
First let's go through a the Force Org chart and identify the units that probably could or should be used in a Loganwing army. It makes sense to start with the big-daddy himself.
Logan Grimnar - The High King.
Ok, so part of this exercise will be in defining exactly what a Loganwing IS and IS NOT. I think we can all agree that for an army to be a Loganwing army, Logan Grimnar HAS to be in it.
As an aside, this is one of the reasons that tournaments that don't allow special characters really piss me off. "Gee, thanks asshole. You got beat on once by someone with a special character, so now the army that I have poured hundreds of dollars and huge amounts of time in can't be played. Go fuck yourself."
Anyways, Logan Grimnar brings a lot of tools to his army, and an effective Loganwing army will be defined largely by how you decide to utilize those tools.
WOLF GUARD AS TROOPS.
This is an obvious start to the Loganwing. The term "Loganwing" is a play on Deathwing and Ravenwing armies. These are armies of specialist troops which have been moved into the troops slots by special characters. Thus Loganwing armies, in my mind, MUST include Wolf Guard as troops in order to truly be a Loganwing build. You can play an army with Logan and no Wolf Guard troops (I guess...) but I wouldn't call it "Loganwing."
Ok, so what else does Logan bring?
Logan is in Terminator armor with a Belt of Russ. This makes him very resistant to regular wounds and even somewhat resistant to wounds that ignore armor. Combine this with Eternal Warrior and Logan does have some durability.
This durability doesn't just help him, his durability adds durability to whatever unit he is attached to by allowing him to absorb wounds which otherwise would be taken by other models. You don't have to be afraid to stick Lascannon wounds on him because he will always have at least a 50% chance to shrug it off and if he fails he won't just die.
One of the skills of 40k in general and Loganwing in particular is deciding how many wounds you want to take from shooting on your ICs before you say "I need the rest for the inevitable close combat(s)." We should consider Logan as a prime candidate for attachment to units that we would expect to take a lot of fire for this reason (handy, because we want him with them for other reasons, too). Remember though that whether out in the open or in cover, Logan is still only getting at 4++ against wounds that ignore his armor saves (unless you are sneaky and take a WGBL, more on that later). This can be problematic if he's getting shot a lot with plasma or Lascannons or the like.
CLOSE COMBAT ABILITY
Logan will usually get six attacks on the first round of combat. He can have up to seven once per game. His weapon is one of the better close combat weapons available in the game, with the ability to switch between Strength 5, Initiative 5 power weapon attacks and Strength 8, Initiative 1 power weapon attacks. He can even split his attacks between the two profiles. Combine this with his ability to get rerolls to hit (and he's usually hitting on 3's) and he is a melee combatant to be respected.
Is he the be-all-end-all of choppy characters? No.
He only has three wounds and a 4++. He WILL die if you put him in the wrong combats. But he has the effect of making charging his unit an iffy prospect for many foes, particularly those swinging at Initiative 4 or below. Logan will put a huge dent in their striking force before they ever swing. Thus his presence in a unit can protect it both from shooting (see above) and from assault.
Remember that anything that strikes before Logan is going to overcome a large portion of his utility. In that case you will always want to use your attacks as Strength 8 (power fist) attacks. Logan by himself can protect his unit from normal threats like Grey Hunters and the like. Logan with a mean buddy like Arjac can protect his unit from pretty much anything.
Logan has the ability to grant his unit one special rule per PLAYER TURN. Choosing the correct rule to use in each player turn is another important skill for Loganwing. These special rules will also affect the choices of which unit you want Logan to roll with (but, importantly, just because Logan STARTS with something doesn't mean he needs to END with them).
The special rules he can grant are:
Of these rules, Fearless will only ever be used on your opponent's turn and only if you have absolutely no fear of being charged. I have only used it a few times, for example if my opponent has multiple "Fear of the Darkness" and I know they can cast it at me but not charge me this turn. Logan has Saga of Majesty, meaning that his unit and others within 6" of him can reroll failed Morale checks, so Fearless is far less valuable for him.
Now, Relentless and Tank Hunters are going to be your big shooting buffs. These powers allow Logan to accompany a unit of Longfangs and make them better at what they do. These two powers, and the choice of what weapons your Longfangs will be equipped with, will change a lot about how you build and play your army. Note also that you don't HAVE to have Logan with Longfangs. You can also have him with a 10 man Wolf Guard unit with 2 Cyclones. The Cyclones don't need relentless so you can have them marching up the field and shooting Tank Hunting Krak Missiles every turn. It's a valid strategy, just not my preference (though that doesn't mean that I haven't had Logan join Wolf Guard squads after his Fangs die and give them Tank Hunters - I have).
Logan can also grant his unit Preferred Enemy. Now I prefer to use this ability defensively for the most part. Preferred enemy combined with Counter Attack and Logan (plus usually another power weapon equipped dude) are a great deterrent for people thinking about charging your Longfang unit. It's often like sticking your hand into a wood-chipper - what you put in don't come out. This ability can obviously also be used offensively - if you are charging something nasty and need the extra hits, turn on Preferred Enemy. You should be cautious, however. It's often best NOT to completely blow away your enemy on your turn - instead I try to do enough damage that I can turn on Preferred Enemy during my opponent's turn and wipe him out, and end up unengaged again on my turn.
Now that we understand the main uses of his powers, don't be afraid to get creative. Tank Hunters can make Logan's melee attacks Strength 9 against vehicles. Relentless can let his unit shoot bolters and assault. These may not be common uses, but the point is that you can get creative about ways to make these rules help you.
BONUS ATTACK BUBBLE:
This is a really nice once-per-game ability that Logan can use to make his already nasty Wolf Guard into freaking super-heroes. All of my "ablative wound" Wolf Guard are equipped with Bolt Pistols and Close Combat Weapons (ok, that's a lie, some of them have storm bolters) but the point is that they are veterans with two base attacks, another attack from two weapons and another attack from charging (or counter-attacking) and then they can get a FIFTH attack from Logan once per game.
When you have 5 man squads putting out like 23 attacks apiece on the charge, and you have five or six such squads, you can do a boat-load of damage.
Don't forget that in many cases it won't really matter whether you charge or whether you get charged, you are still throwing out the same number of attacks. Knowing when to use this ability can often turn the tide of a battle. My first suggestion is to keep your army close together. This is good for many reasons but really lets you get the most out of this ability. My second suggestion is to use the ability when you know it will be useful, but don't necessarily wait until the moment that it will be "game changing." Such a moment may never arrive, and you will find yourself wishing you had used it when you had more bodies on the field.
So that's Logan. The beating heart of a Loganwing army, and the center around which the whole army revolves. I will continue working on the second part - this may end up being pretty lengthy as I have quite a bit of experience with this army and a lot of affection for it, and want to be thorough.
I hope that was interesting or at least entertaining. As always, questions and comments are most welcome.