Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Army Profile: Wolfstar

Hey there folks, how's it going?  Today I wanted to do something I've been wanting to do for a while- talk about my Wolfstar list, and what I think makes it tick.  It's also a good reference that I can link to, so I don't need to talk about it in every post to give context.  I might even add some pictures to it!

This list has done well in tournaments.  I don't want to toot my own horn here, but I do want to impress on you that this list has done very well in a lot of local, regional, and even national events.  If you want tournament reports for first-hand knowledge, go to my battle report log on the sidebar (or click this link)  There's a lot of reports I've written over the past year or so, with pictures too! :)

So, what is the wolfstar, you ask?  It's my Space Wolf army comprised of six thunderwolf cavalry models, two lords, and four 'normal'.  

Here's my 2000 point list, first:

Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf Mount, Saga of the Bear, Runic Armor, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Wolftooth Talisman, Wolftooth Necklace

Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf Mount, Saga of Majesty, Runic Armor, Wolf Claw, Storm Shield, Wolftooth Necklace

Rune Priest w/ Jaws of the World Wolf, Murderous Hurricane


3x Wolf Guard w/ 3x Power Fist, 3x Combi-melta

9x Grey Hunters w/ Melta Gun, Wolf Standard, Rhino (Wolf Guard goes here)
9x Grey Hunters w/ Melta Gun, Wolf Standard, Rhino (Wolf Guard goes here)
8x Grey Hunters w/ Melta Gun, Wolf Standard, Rhino (Wolf Guard and Rune Priest go here)

4x Thunderwolf Cavalry w/ Thunder Hammer, 2x Storm Shields (one has both SS and TH), 1x Melta Bomb (on a 'plain' one)

6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers
6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers
6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers

It's a pretty tight list, right at 1999.  I'll go over the individual parts of the list now, and how they contribute, and afterward give my general game plan.

The Wolfstar:

Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf Mount, Saga of the Bear, Runic Armor, Thunder Hammer, Storm Shield, Wolftooth Talisman, Wolftooth Necklace


Wolf Lord w/ Thunderwolf Mount, Saga of Majesty, Runic Armor, Wolf Claw, Storm Shield, Wolftooth Necklace


4x Thunderwolf Cavalry w/ Thunder Hammer, 2x Storm Shields (one has both SS and TH), 1x Melta Bomb (on a 'plain' one)

So, this unit costs 800 points.  Let me restate that.  Six models cost me 800 points.  That's the definition of a death star if you ask me.  Some random stats:
  • 4 Storm Shields
  • 2- 2+ Armor Saves
  • 14 total wounds at true T5
  • 11 S10 Thunder Hammer attacks on the charge (or counter-charge)
  • 6 Wolf Claw attacks
  • 17 S5 Rending attacks
So, it's a tough nut to crack.  The entire premise of this unit is to find an advantage against anything they might come across.  An enemy deathstar?  Unless they pay as many points as me for mine, I'll crush it.  I've been charged by 10 Assault Terminators with Null Zone led by Khan before, and won the combat.  Ork nobz die in droves against them.  To restate:  it's predicated on the ability to create extreme mismatches, which are much more equitable than only a slight mismatch, because they'll easily destroy 200 points of a unit without sustaining 200 points of damage back- not even close.

I've mixed in storm shields to make it inequitable to shoot Las Cannons into them, and Missile Launchers fail against my two Lords with a 2+ save.  The Bear Lord is immune to instant death, which is extremely useful when faced with the numerous S10 things out there (Railguns, Dreadnoughts, Ghaz, Deff Rollas, Mephiston, other Thunderwolves, etc).

One thing many people don't often see as an option but is super useful, is my ability to split the unit up.  When I see a small close combat threat (i.e. a squad of sanguinary guard), I can split off my Majesty Lord to deal with them at higher Initiative and ignore their 2+ armor saves.  When I see a Librarian Dread running at me, I can send my Bear Lord to play polo with his head.  The ability to kill three (or more) units in a given turn a huge advantage that really can't be overstated.

The unit is scary enough that people often have a difficult time choosing what to shoot- the wolfstar, or my rhinos carrying 30 Grey Hunters.  Or my Longfangs.  All great options, but it makes for a very difficult choice.  And we all know that opponent's mistakes are a key to winning the game.

Wolfstars fear a few things though.  Ghaz is a beast against them when backed up by his Waaaagh and a squad of nobz.  High volume of fire is also something scary- Dark Eldar done right can put some serious hurt to this list.  Psyker Battle Squads are also scary, though I do have multiple levels of psychic defense against them.

One other quick aside I might mention is the advantage of not having to rely on a transport.  I can't stress this enough, really.  Units which rely on a transport can be shot into nonexistence by a good shooty army.  The fact that the unit can take a pounding and keep moving make it an extremely potent combat threat, since the only real way to stop them is to kill them (or shove a bunch of turbo-boosting skimmers in their face to slow them down, which nobody I've played against has yet done).

Overall, this unit is the centerpiece to the army.  When points go down, I don't take anything out.  The number of supporting cast goes down, but this unit stays where it is.  As you can imagine, at 1750, this unit is extremely difficult to deal with.  It's designed to threaten anything in the game, and come out ahead.  If people ignore the Star and focus on the rest of my army, I will win the game.

The scorers:

3x Wolf Guard w/ 3x Power Fist, 3x Combi-melta


9x Grey Hunters w/ Melta Gun, Wolf Standard, Rhino (Wolf Guard goes here)
9x Grey Hunters w/ Melta Gun, Wolf Standard, Rhino (Wolf Guard goes here)
8x Grey Hunters w/ Melta Gun, Wolf Standard, Rhino (Wolf Guard and Rune Priest go here)

These troops are as solid as they come.  With the ability to reroll 1's in a vital combat (including saves), and both rapid fire, have two close combat weapons, and counterattack, sometimes I wonder if they're too potent.  By this I mean that I often use them to remove threats, instead of preserving them to score later in the game.

Still, I think most people can see the value of 3 full squads of Grey Hunters.  Nobody shirks in complaining about them at least :)

One thing I should point out is that they are far, far better with a Wolfguard w/ Fist/Combi-melta than a full 10-man squad with 2 meltas/fist.  You get that extra point of leadership (which is HUGE), and an extra fist attack (which makes an enormous difference), for the difference of what... 8 points?  It's always going to be worth the extra cost.  Seriously, double melta sounds good, but in my experience- I shoot a single melta shot per model in the average game anyways.  Why delude yourself you'll be shooting more than that?  Ld.9 is also money, and takes away one of the few weaknesses Grey Hunters have.

The presence of melta here should not be overlooked- the wolfstar doesn't have a great success rate of blowing up Land Raiders who have already moved more than 6" in a turn, but tactical placement of your rhinos can ensure hesitation on the part of my opponent.

The list overall just needed more close combat threat than 800 points of Wolfstar.  Don't get me wrong, the Star pretty potent, but the added 29 solid close combat bodies are really where it's at- shooting, charging, scoring, these guys can do it all.  Just hope the opponent isn't smart enough to wreck all your rhinos turn one instead of shooting the Star :)

The supporting cast:

Rune Priest w/ Jaws of the World Wolf, Murderous Hurricane


6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers
6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers
6x Long Fangs w/ 5x Missile Launchers

These guys provide the long range firepower a list like this needs.  I have good close combat, but the ability to remove a Tervigon turn 1 with the Rune Priest is huge.  Murderous hurricane is amazing against squads of 30 boyz, or assault marines, or other Thunderwolf cavalry, or... the list goes on.  The added psychic defense is also a must in this age of ridiculous psychic powers (Eldar, Blood Angels, Wolves, Guard, soon to be Grey Knights).

In the end, it is incredibly handy to have 15 S8 shots every turn.  They kill Monstrous creatures, transports, etc.  The Wolfstar benefits drastically from this support.  When they've killed a vehicle, the next squad can shoot frag missiles at the squad who is smashed together from the disembark.  Guard armies with a Psyker squad, look out for me doing exactly that.  There's really no limit to the value of the Long Fangs, and they're extremely cheap compared to other codices (look at the C:SM book, where you can get 4 missiles for 150 vs. my Fangs' 5 missiles for 140).

How the army fits together:

Well, I've touched a little on this already.  My basic strategy against close combat armies is to open transports with the Long Fangs, and strand dedicated combat units.  Once isolation has occurred, the Wolfstar can kill the Terminators/Assault marines/whatever else without fear of reprisal.  Then, they can advance on the supporting cast of the enemy army and finish them off.


The Grey Hunters are sometimes offered up as bait to my opponent.  It's usually easy enough to kill a single squad of 10 marines, but the Hunters pose enough of a threat to require them to dedicate a lot to killing them off.  Once their good combat stuff is out in the open, the Wolfstar can launch itself at them, remove the squad in a turn, and then proceed to tearing up the rest of the enemy army.

It's really all about support, and what support can be offered by Grey Hunters to the Wolfstar and vice versa.  Keeping each within the others' counter-charge range isn't always possible, since the Wolfstar has such ridiculous charge range, but being able to threaten multiple targets at once is.  Making your opponents make lose/lose decisions is ultra-important.  It's a different kind of support, and isn't immediately obvious, but it certainly exists.

Though the list perhaps seems like easy button, I've learned that there is quite a bit of nuance and finesse required to play it at a 'top' level.  Being able to beat lists of every variety is what a 'top list' needs to be capable of, and being adaptable is very much a requirement.
  • When the wolfstar runs off the board from shooting turn 1, what to do?  
  • When facing an MSU guard list with 15 tanks, how to spread fire to the greatest effect?
  • Battlewagon orks can F*** me up royally if they do it right, how to ensure they don't get their 27" charge in a favorable manner?
  • Mephiston is advancing next to three Librarian Dreadnoughts and they'll be on top of me next turn and they've all popped smoke (even Mephiston).  How to delay them from multi-charging the shit out of the Star?
  • Eldar has 97 skimmers, and has decided to play for the draw, sitting in reserve waiting to contest the two objectives at the end of the game with 36" move shenanigans.  How to get full points in a tournament situation where you need full points?
  • When should I split the Star up, going for multiple targets?
  • Should I reserve a squad of Hunters?  What if it doesn't come in til turn 5?
  • Where do I put the Long Fangs in Dawn of War, when they can't get good LOS to anything from anywhere?
 There are lots of dilemmas.  Lots of choices to be made with this army.  There are things that this army is good at, and makes the dice behave better.  This means that to win, I need to play well, not roll well.  Making good decisions pays off big time for this army.

I could say more, but I think this gets my point across in general.  Questions?  Comments?

5 comments:

Kyle said...

I have a nice red sharpie you could use to paint a target on your back if you want to complete this particular project.

Xaereth said...

haha what's all this Kyle? No love for the Wolfstar? I thought you were a fan :)

Zachary said...

what does saga of majesty do?

Kyle said...

I'm not articulating my own dislike for the list, just saying that writing this article is likely to draw the ire of the community given the fur-star's relationship to the current meta.

Xaereth said...

Zach: It lets every unit within 6" of the model reroll failed leadership checks. Very handy if I fail a Ld. 10 check for my 800 point unit, heh.

Kyle: What exactly is that relationship? One of hate? Dread? Fear? Laughter?

Hopefully the community doesn't get angry, just wanted something to refer to when someone asks me what the wolfstar is :-p