Sunday, January 15, 2012

Where have all of Wolves gone?

I was talking to the 11th company guys and I think I know why you never see Space Wolves around anymore. The reason why is that most Space Wolf players are band wagon jumpers because prior to the new codex there have not been any Space Wolf players after 4th edition killed their rhino rush. So what happened to all of them? Where did they all go? Who killed them all off?

I think the answer is the Grey Knights, and it was murder!!! Grey Knights do everything that the Space Wolves do only better.

For an example let’s take the top Space Wolf builds and compare them to the Grey Knights.
Loganwing is good, but not as good as Draigowing.
Thunderwolf Cav? If you are looking for a deathstar, paladins do it better.
Razorspam? Grey Knights have strength 6 shooting razorbacks, and fortitude. Not only that but they get 12 point troop units to sit in them.
Grey Hunter spam? That is done better with Crowe and Purifiers.

So that is my thinking behind why we do not see the Wolves as much as we use to.

So here are my thoughts on Space Wolves
I was thinking over my Wolf Scout idea, and the more I think about it the more I do not like it.

If you want to win large tournaments, you need to have a strategy that works almost all of the time. If it can be neutralized, or has a lot of bad match-ups, you need to discard it. For an example, in 4th edition I had an army concept of and Eldar army taking nothing but Vypers and War Walkers (see note below). In play testing I had some bad matchups with some armies (back then it was chaos with tank hunting auto-cannons and a few others). With that army I was winning 66%-75% of my games. That is fine for casual play, but unacceptable for tournament play.

So thinking about my Wolf Scouts there are a lot of problems and here is why:
#1. In tournament play you need to be reliable, and you must do everything you can to reduce randomness. The fact that they come on a side board edge on a roll of 1 or 2 might be disastrous. Also they need to be held in reserve so they might not come in when you need them, and they might not come on in turns #4 and #5.
#2. There are things that can take them out without working up a sweat. For an example of these is the heavy flamer. It will BBQ scouts and cover will not save you.
#3. Then there are tactics that can defeat them. The one that I like to use against them is to put my whole army in reserve and then they come on with nothing to fight, and no good places to deploy. The other tactic to beat them is to cover a corner of the board with troops and vehicles so they can’t come on and hit your valuable targets. 

Now that does not mean that I am going to scrap the idea totally. I still like the idea of 10 scouts with a WG and a Wolf Priest to give them some durability and some options, but I need another way to win.

So as I mentioned in my other post I won some Thunder Wolf cav. My tactics was to place that unit in the center of the board and drive everything else back against the board edge. Kind of like a hammer and anvil.

With me reconsidering the wolf cav. There were a lot of people who played it, and they seem to have abandoned it. I do not see or hear too much about them anymore. There are also some people on the internet that think you can’t win with an assault based army anymore.

I know when I first read the Space Wolf codex they really jumped out at me. As everyone knows, I love a good deathstar unit, so a fast moving, hard hitting unit seems to be the way to go. In Phoenix one of the best players plays Thunderwolf Cav and he won the ‘Ard Boyz semi-finals here with them. He tabled my Draigowing a few times when we first played (One of the few players to do it), when he rolled great saves, but after that my Paladins have handle them without to much of a problem (I will post my batreps with him when we played at the WWSO last weekend). I still wonder where the Thunder Wolf Cav players have all gone. What happened to them? Maybe the players just got bored with them? From what I read it seems that Dark Eldar with poisoned weapons and Grey Knights have hunted them into extinction. They have gone the way of the Nob Biker and Lash armies to be relegated to nothing more than a footnote to history.

Rise of the Wolfstar
I am not going to re-invent the wheel here, so I think I will have a standard wolf build with 5 Thunderwolves with a lord or two. They seem like a good match up against grey knights. They can shut down psychic powers on a 4+ and they can also neutralize psychic powers on a 5+ that affect them.   

But after the talk with the 11th Company guys I think I will give it a rest for a while and try another army that can't win.

Note on the Eldar small vehicle build: The funny thing is that 5th edition made vehicles more durable, and all of the armies that can take them out slowly disappeared. But I waited to long and now there are torrent of fire armies like Grey Knights that will blow them off of the table. Perhaps I will revisit this concept in 6th edition because if the rumors are true it will be harder to hit vehicles with a Jink rule increasing there durability. Perhaps with the new Eldar codex and GWs circle of nerf the overcosted Vyper should be dirt cheap.


  1. Hey Blackmoor firstly nice little blog you have mate, I've been reading for a few months now and I enjoy the stuff you put up. Thanks for that.

    As a long time Wolf Player I echo your thoughts on the topic, Grey Knights certainly saw off the bandwagon players. In the last large tournament I went to back in October the field consisted of only 4 Wolf Players out of 55 (19 of those were Grey Knights)

    Right now I'm playing Loganwing purely because I got sick of pushing Rhinos and Long Fangs around and fancied a change, it struggles against a good paladin build but doesn't do too bad against Grey Knights on a whole.

    As to your Wolfstar it would be nice to see what ideas you had for lists. I used to run a pair of Wolf Lords with an escort of Fenrisian Wolves but this was way before Grey Knights and even before Dark Eldar came along.

  2. >Grey Knights do everything that the Space Wolves do only better.

    Grey Knights are worse against hordes (except Purifiers.) Grey Knights can't bring as many bodies, and are thus less resilient. Grey Knights have worse fire support. Grey Knights have minimal access to Meltaguns. Grey Knights don't have the same kind of fast, strong assault units. Grey Knights don't have backfield disruption in the vein of Wolf Scouts. Grey Knights do not get Land Speeders or anything even vaguely like them. Grey Knights don't get the same cheap utility HQs that SW have.

    Grey Knights are not just "better SW." Both of them are midfield shooting/assault hybrid armies, but GK uses torrent shooting and elite models, whereas SW uses torrent melee and backfield support shooting.

  3. You are right about the bandwagon jumpers. In Chicago we used to have 20-30% space wolf players at tourneys, but now that has dropped to 1-2 guys. Most of the former space wolf players are now grey knight players. In fact one guy plays grey knights and has Njall as his GK librarian and half his army if space wolves grey.

    I think the thunder wolf cavalry can still be played effectively. The trick now is to de-deathstar them. Take it from an 800pt super unit to a 300pt surgical unit. 4-5 Cav with a shield and fist is just about it. Make it a mini deathstar and use the points to create a second mini deathstar of some kind. It is harder to the grey knights to hunt down two mini deathstars.

    And yes, grey knights do everything space wolves do only better.

    1. This has been the way I run have ran them. They are still competitive against grey knights, but must be played carefully.

  4. Actually in N.Ireland we seem to have slightly more wolf players at events than GK's from what I've seen, although the numbers are close.

    Scarily guard have almost disappeared from Tourneys here. I know of 3 other guard players excluding myself.

  5. Army breakdown (meta) changes a lot from area to area.

    There are pockets of Space Wolf resistance, but they still seem to be losing the war.

    Dave Symcox on 40k UK was saying how there are not that many space wolf players anymore among the top players in England as they have all switched to Grey Knights.

  6. I personally enjoy the band wagoning, it gives people a new threat every few months. Even the armies that havent seen such a wide shift towards, dark eldar and crons, provide new and interesting threats to work out on the table.