Monday, August 15, 2011

Guide to Building a Loganwing - Part 3, Elites

Ok, well the Space Wolves have some excellent Elites choices to compliment a Loganwing style army. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Me too. This codex is built with so many good options that it letting a manic list builder like me have it is like giving a tweaker access to a Nyquil factory. This is, more than anything I think, why Space Wolves see so much tournament success. The codex is APPEALING to the kind of analytical people who like to play this game at the highest competitive levels. It's not that these same people couldn't take, for example, Blood Angels or Guard, it's just that the Space Wolves have the best written Codex for those who like to build intricate lists. A lot of this has to do with Wolf Guard and the way that unit works, but we'll save them for the Troops section since this is a Loganwing series.

Lone Wolves
I have a love-hate relationship with Lone Wolves. Mostly love, as to be honest the Lone Wolf is one of my favorite units in the game. But sometimes they can come back and bite you in the ass. I happen to think that Loganwing is THE army to play if you like Lone Wolves, too. They work perfectly with this army concept. I think they would work well with any foot-based Space Wolves list, but I'm not sure that Gray Hunter spam is really a valid concept so my personal take is that Lone Wolves and Loganwing go together like "peas and carrots."

So what does the Lone Wolf do for you? Well, to start with, let's talk about equipment. In my humble opinion, Stelek described the one gear loadout for these guys from which you should basically never vary.

Give them Terminator armor.

Give them a Storm shield.

Equip them with a Chainfist.

Never look back.

Plus, if you have never SEEN a model equipped this way, let me tell you, it's fucking amazing. They just look like they are going to tear you apart. My three Lone Wolf models are among my five favorite in the army. You can really turn them into centerpieces if you want to.

So what do they do? Well, they tear things apart with their Chainfists! Well, actually, that's a secondary role. The truth is that their MAIN job is not GETTING torn apart (at least not too quickly). These guys have two wounds, Feel No Pain, 2+/3++ and Eternal Warrior. Putting them down with bolter fire or the equivalent is just not happening, frankly. And if your opponent is foolish enough to try, thank him for sparing so many shots from killing your Wolf Guard or Longfangs, which is where they should have been going.

Really, the way that your opponent kills Lone Wolves is through masses of AP 1 and 2 wounds. It will, "on average" take six such wounds to down him. Vendetta Squadrons will do the trick, but generally speaking your opponent will have to pour lots of high quality shots into them before they go away.

And they really can't afford to ignore them. They tear apart Dreadnoughts like it's their job (it is) and Monstrous, Bikes, or anything else that's T5 don't really like getting hit by Chainfists which often hit on 3's (Weapon Skill 5) and get rerolls to hit against the really nasty dudes.

Another use for them is tying up huge units that rely on weight of attacks to win combats. Good luck! Ork Hordes may take them down eventually, but usually because of the Klaws and even that can take a while. To be save I suggest putting a few Lone Wolves into those big squads, so that they don't have enough attacks on any one LW to really have a chance of killing them.

These guys are also able to stand up to elite Close Combat units, simply because of their survivability (as opposed to their killiness). Incubi, Genestealers, Blood Talon Furiosos, these guys are there for you.  And if they die in combat, well, they've done their job.

Generally, Lone Wolves work best in the Logan Build that I have generally dubbed "The Bulldozer" variant. That is the build that generally advances (slowly) and shoots you a lot, and then rolls over anything you were foolish to leave in Midfield in close combat. Lone Wolves do NOT work well in Loganbomb units, as they cannot support that army style well and get left in the open.

Think of Lone Wolves as your Linemen. They are there to take on your opponent's heavy hitters, break up their army and allow your Wolf Guard units to finish them off or shoot them to death as appropriate. Never take Lone Wolves alone (har) always take at least two of them. Three gives you the "full effect" but can cause problems of its own. Remember that each Lone Wolf is a Kill Point until it dies, so you can actually have situations where they won't die fast enough and you are giving up KP at the end of the game.

You may wish to bring a couple of Fenrisien Wolves along as ablative wounds and to help absorb hits in the Initial Close Combat. Plus, at that point you can provide a bit of cover for those infantry following along behind the Lone Wolf advance.

The only reason I don't take Lone Wolves in every game is that they compete for slots with another equally outstanding unit.

Wolf Scouts
Wolf Scouts are a really excellent addition to Logan's repertoire. One thing that not everyone realizes is that taking Logan is the ONLY way you can take three Wolf Scout units and have them all accompanied by Wolf Guard (so they can each have two melta-shots). This is something to be considered as having three melta-units either infiltrating or coming in off your opponent's back-field can cause your opponents serious problems.

Wolf Scouts are an answer to many problems for Logan. We typically have a difficult time contesting objectives on our opponent's board edge. This generally isn't a problem if you have a few Wolf Scout units. One is sometimes not enough because it might arrive too early and die before it can accomplish it's contest move. But even if you have only one unit you force your opponent to be able to respond to the threat of a contesting unit.

Wolf Scouts are a valid answer to Guard armies with units like Colossus or Manticores. These units can cause a lot of problems for Loganwing.

Wolf Scouts, especially if accompanied by a Wolf Claw equipped Wolf Guard (and possibly with a Mark of the Wulfen upgrade or a few extra bodies) can be a reasonable close combat unit as well. They won't be taking on Assault Marines anytime soon but they can deal with Devastators easily enough.

Oh, wait, did I say they can't take on Assault Marines? My bad, they totally can.

A short story of personal experience follows:

During the Montana tournament I recently attended, my last game was against a Hybrid Blood Angels player. I had dropped my Loganbomb in on his flank and blown up his Vindicator on the first turn. He responded by moving a full 10 man Assault Squad with attached Sanguinary Priest and Librarian with Unleash Rage towards me. Now, this was a problem for me, obviously. The superior striking range of the Assault Marines meant that I was going to be eating an assault from them, and even though Logan would strike simultaneously with them, the number of wounds they would inflict on his unit would be crippling. So there he was, approximately 15 inches away from me. I start my second turn and roll for reserves. I get both my Wolf Scout units. Now the army I took had two five man Wolf Scouts with an attached Wolf Guard with Combimelta. No Power Weapons of any kind. But I got them in, and brought them in off my opponent's table edge and assaulted his Assault Squad. Having 12" of assault range off his board edge meant I could get pretty much wherever I needed to, and I dumped like 18 attacks on his Sanguinary Priest and killed him, as well as causing a few other wounds (most of which were saved). But without the Furious Charge (and extra attack) on his side, my opponent was unable to defeat my 12 Wolf Scouts/Wolf Guard. Also, because of the way I had assaulted him, he was forced to "wrap around me" in such a way that it brought the edge of his unit closer to Logan and friends (not that it would have made a huge difference but the point was to ensure that if he beat me on his turn he couldn't consolidate out of range) We went through his Turn 2, and without the Sanguinary Priest to neuter my attacks I was again able to stay locked in combat (thus making my anti-consolidation plan unnecessary). On my Turn 3 I assaulted him with Logan and friends, and wiped him out, and that started my roll up his flank with Logan and company. I even had a few of the Wolf Scouts survive the ordeal.

In any case, this is a perfect example of what Wolf Scouts do best: fuck with your opponent. They aren't a "killer" unit (though you can make them pretty gnarly if you want to), they are an interference unit. You need to identify where they can do the most damage with their Melta or with their close combat abilities, and send them there.

This unit is extremely synergistic with Loganwing, and I'll explain why.

Picture a 40k table. Now draw a line 12" in all the way around the board. Like a Pitched Battle deployment zone on all four edges. Now fill that line in with Red. That's the threat zone of the Scouts if they are being used "optimally." (6" move plus 6" melta and/or 6" assault). Now draw another line 6" further in from the edge and fill the space in with Orange. That's the threat zone if you are using them "sub-optimally" (6" move plus 12" melta/pistol range).

Actually, I just got a hankering to draw it up for you lot because a picture is worth more than, well, you know how it goes.

You can run... but you can't hide!

Now focus on the clear space in the middle of the board. Is your opponent going to move their entire army to that clear space to avoid Wolf Scouts? Good, because that's where your ENTIRE army is, and that's where you will beat him. Even your slowest infantry units can threaten assault throughout that area from Turns 2 on, and your Cavalry can cover that entire Green square on the first turn. (Assuming Pitched Battle).

The point is, Wolf Scouts are potent not necessarily because of their "killiness" but because they allow you to project power onto virtually any part of the board, and more importantly onto the parts of the board that are difficult for the rest of your army to get to.

They cause uncertainty for your opponent, and that can lead to mistakes.

Other Elites
Well, I generally prefer Thunderwolf Cav units to Iron Priests, but if you decide to take Fenrisien Wolves or Land Speeders, this is another option for a "run around and whack things with S10." I don't have a lot of personal experience with them but in theory they should operate like a Thundercav unit if a bit more durable in some ways for the points (and a bit less in others).

Dreadnoughts... no. Just leave them at home for Loganwing. You don't need them, and you don't need to be presenting any mech targets.

Hope that's interesting. I'll be continuing on with Part 4, Troops, next.