Thursday, August 23, 2012
Friday, August 17, 2012
|Gates of Morkai, where is my shoulder pad?|
Wolf Guard as pack leadersThe concept is alike to Sergeants in the other Marine armies. Basically a Ld9 character with 2A base and access to some more toys than the rest of troopers. What made it special for Space Wolves is the great flexibility in the system. So you invest one Elite slot (ouch) in a Wolf Guard unit, you give them any combination of armour and weapons, then decide before deployment if you want to detach anyone from this unit and add it to another (usually Grey Hunters or Scouts) as their leader.
Taking this concept to the extreme it meant you could have say 10 Wolf Guards with a different array of combi-weapons, power armour or terminator, some melta bombs, and depending on who you where facing, the mission, deployment, terrain... decide the best allocation. Usually this meant keeping a small core (3-4) as suicide melta hunters, and send the others to the Grey Hunters and Scouts, or even to a Long Fangs pack in certain situations. This is great in terms of flexibility but comes at the cost of an Elite slot.
Losing an elite slot aside, the main caveat with doing this is that prevented your Grey Hunters from getting a second free special weapon. Phil Kelly was kind enough to give SW a free second special only if the Grey Hunters count 10 bodies, so if you wanted to run them mechanized (which you usually wanted) then kiss goodbye to the second special. This was solved in part by loading the Wolf Guard with a 1 shot combi weapon. The benefits for doing this?
- Leadership 9: Wolf Guards as pack leaders make Grey Hunters much more reliable as midfield scoring units as they increase the base LD from 8 to 9. Might not seem much but this gives Grey Hunter a decent Ld.
- A good place for the PFist. Having 2A base means Wolf Guard are good enough to grant them a power fist. Giving a special CC weapon to models with 1A base, even with counterattack, is well, rubbish :p
Enter 6th edition. The challenges system means your 1W character is probably going to be dead before he gets to swing his powerfist in CC. On the other side, his Ld9 will be very handy to hold on objectives, as now you have to be outside of a vehicle to be able to do so.
Are Wolf Guard pack leaders still a must ?
This is the big question when it comes to Wolf Guard. What was a no brainer in 5th edition is not as clear in 6th. Let's take a look:
In CC, the Wolf Guard with PF will swing 3 times, granting 1 or 2 hits/kills when fighting MEQ. For the same cost, we can have 3 more Grey Hunters that will make 2/3 wounds so ~1 MEQ kill. The PF has a higher damage output and can deal with 2+ armour, but the concern remains to be - is he going to be alive to swing back? remember, T4 W1 3+. Chances are he won't. Some people say to give him a SS/PF, but that is still a 3++ on a 1W model that costs 68 points, then hope he passes these 3++ saves. This is far from a good idea.
Add to that sometimes a powerfist is not your best lever in CC. If you are fighting low toughness / bad armour save units, these 9 extra S4 attacks can be more useful.
Leadership 8 is a concern, that is for sure. Being able to regroup even when within 6" of an enemy is a small relief though. There are ways to minimize the Ld8, as for example giving your Rune Priest the Saga of Majesty. For 15 points you can reroll missed Ld tests as long as they are within 6" of the Priest. It's not a complete solution, but a decent patch as you should normally play with 2~4 Grey Hunters packs very close by in midfield, supporting each other. It shouldn't be too difficult to place the Rune Priest within 6" of the rest of packs.
Having a unit of 10 strong Grey Hunters gives access to the coveted second special weapon, this time for free (even a plasma gun) and with unlimited shots. In 5th I rarely found myself limited with just one melta shot after using the combi melta previously, but it is obvious that it's better to have unlimited ammo than one shot.
Finally, if we ditch the Wolf Guard for 3 extra GH has some other benefits. That is 6 more attacks in CC, 2 more wounds to get rid of the squad, and more rapid fire shots. Last but not least, it grants access to a third Elite slot. Having another Lone Wolf or Rifleman will be handy most of the times.
ConclusionThe choice between a 5th edition Wolf Guard (power fist + combi melta) or 3 more GH and a free special weapon still tilts towards the side of the Wolf Guard and his Ld9. The biggest drawback is that the PF is not the to go option now. You can either go for a wolf claw or don't give him anything for CC, and in both cases keep avoiding the fights that you should alredy be avoiding. If you must fight something nasty in CC, bringing several GH packs is still your best bet.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
One of the things I like the most about SW is how their playstile reflects their fluff. In the Horus Heresy books the Space Wolves are portrayed as cunning hunters rather than mere barbarians
On the gameboard, SW still look like barbarians :P but do not rush forward like a real assault-based army. Instead they use the long fangs and scouts to put pressure on the opponent from different parts of the board, drawing them close to the big core of Grey Hunters in midfield. As I see it, this will not change in 6th. What it changes, and significantly in some cases, is the degree of efficacy in which they can do this.
The backbone of the army is going to be the same then: a solid core of GH supported by missile toting long fangs, and led by a rune priest. Add support units to taste, in the form of TWC, lone wolves, speeders, you name it... and that is your bog standard list. This is tasty recipe from 5th ed that should still work in 6th, however some changes will be needed as we will see later.
The good news
|You use a hood? suck it!|
I have a shiny runic staff and a black crow
The new range of psychic powers bring added flexibility. In terms of powers, living lightning, jaws and hurricane continue to be excellent staple powers but consider exchanging one for a roll in the divination chart. Getting re-rolls for the long fangs+razorbacks is plain awesome, and can help with AA purposes. Or can be used to boost units in midfield as needed. Pretty damn good.
Troops seem to be very important in 6th, even more than they were in 5th. And Grey Hunters are nominated for the Best Troop unit in the game. Marine stats, counterattack, CCW+pistol and a boltgun, access to wolf standard and wulfen... and now a longer reach for rapid fire. Oh yes! on the flip side they have now (more) issues with the transports, but more on that below.
|There are wolves on Fenris|
The new allocation rules play to our advantage in this case, and make the placing of the storm shield puppies very important. Make sure they are the ones closer to the big enemy guns / AT. As for small arms fire, a wolf lord with a 2+save in the front will help to shrug it off. Unfortunately, this is still a very expensive unit for what it does, and with the increased threat range might be less needed than before. To begin with I think I'll go for the well known 4 TWC combo with 1SS, 1TH and 1MB.
If you think about it, it's a relatively powerful unit that costs similar to other deathstars (15 points more than Mephiston, 40 more than Hammenators but don't need a transport). While not as killy as these 2 examples, the TWC still bring good duality in terms of AI through sheer number of rending attacks and AT through 5 S10 attacks on the charge. It's has a reasonable mobility and durability, and can provide some relief while the rhinos are getting your GH where you want them to be.
And finally we get to the humble speeder. There were debates in the past about whether scouts were better than speeders. Consider now that 70 points give you 2 MM and the changes to the squadron rules... I wasn't a big fan of speeders in the past but will try them out for sure.
The bad news
Light vehicles are lighter than ever, and unfortunately that is the only way we can get our GH to midfield. Unless you spam AV11, they won't last long against all the suppression fire out there (IG, Necrons, Tau...). In addition to that, you can no longer keep your GH drinking mjod inside of their Rhinos and charging out of it at will, plus the melta range has been reduced. All in all bad news for what is a key component of the army; without it, the army lacks mobility and our troops are more exposed. For the time being, I will stick to Rhinos and try to protect them by creating more inmediate threats to my opponent. I don't think this is a good solution though, and hopefully with time and playtesting we'll get a decent solution.
Scouts have also suffered with the transition to 6th. I found them to be more annoying than really effective in the past, but at least were able to show in someone else's backside, blow a tank/dread with point blank melta and then multiassault. At least they will come now more reliably with a 3+ in turn 2 + re-roll to select side thanks to Acute Senses, but once they get there they will basically shoot and be shot down next turn. More suicide than ever. Which is a real pity, as often times you will find small 5 marine units camping in a base, or some guard blob that can be defeated in combat, proven you charge the right way and have a wolf guard attached with you (pro-tip: do it). As they are now, bolters will be more useful than CCW+pistol.
Missile toting long fangs are not as effective as before. They do not get any bonus to the damage chart, and we are likely to see more 2+ on the board. For dealing with vehicles, you'll have to focus on eliminating the hull points. If they get AA missiles sometime their utility will obviously increase, but that is yet to be seen. For the time being, should you face a flyer heavy army, use a rune priest with the prescience power from divination to get re-rolls in the fangs. This power buffs any squad in 12", enough to cover 3 LF packs and some lasplas.
Alternatively, consider adding a lascannon or two per squad. These are considerably more expensive but will be golden when confronting certain builds *cough*Deathwing*cough*.
And we get to flyers. Unsurprisingly for an army that doesn't even deep strike, Space Wolves have no access to Flyers (save Allies) and no AA at all. A couple of rifleman dreads won't save you the day, but some TL shots will certainly help and if supported by the LFs, they are a serious threat to aerial threats. It is a considerable waste of firepower mind you, but at least gives you a decent chance to bring something down if you must.
Are Wolf Priests viable again?
But what about Grey Hunters? here is a nifty idea: a Wolf Priest gains outflank by purchasing Saga of the Hunter (a niftty 15 points), and grant that USR to any unit he joins. See where I am going? A unit of 10GH with standard and wulfen, led by a WG is nothing to be sneezed at. 12 T4/3+ bodies that bring 4 special weapons, can double tap with bolters and charge/receive a charge with 3 attacks, and re-roll all 1s in CC thanks to the standard. Count me in thanks. Is it a gimmick or can it work? well I can't wait to try it out!
Conclusion: So what do we do in 6th?
As mentioned in the beginning, the core of the army doesn't change.
- Continue to use the staple units -GH, Rune Priests, Long Fangs- and do it in a cohesive way just like in 5th.
- Make some adjustments to the units: perhaps drop the PFists in the wolf guards, consider a couple of lascannons for the Long Fangs...
- Test things out: saga of the hunter Wolf Priest, double-melta speeders, rune priests buffing units with Divination, both in midfield and with the Long Fangs, try adding some allies to complement our weaknesses (for example mobility, durable transports in midfield, cheap mass S6/S7 fire...).
- And what's more important: keep you mind open, play games and have fun!
Take care and see you soon!
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
What we need
Magnetizing is really a cheap business - we just need:
- Some 3x2 mm real earth magnets. I buy mine from Back2Base-ix, you can get 50 for about $10. Although these days I buy them in batches of 200. These magnets are really handy!.
- A drill tool or a power tool. A manual tool will give you more control and is probably safer, while a power tool will make things easier, just make sure you handle it carefully.
- 2mm and 3mm drill bits. Although I use 3mm magnets, sometimes you might want to make a small 2mm hole, then expand it to 3mm.
And that's about it. Using magnets greatly increases your ability to switch gear, and now 6th edition is starting it comes in real handy.
Some smart use of the magnets consists in magnetizing the legs from the torso. What would I do that I hear you asking? well to begin with, it's easier and safer to transport, but it also allows you to play with the pose. It must be the kid in me, but I like to see my minis in different poses, or I would end up bored with them. It's just 2 magnets and a couple of minutes so really worth the effort.
This is what we need to do: drill a 3mm hole in the center of the round base above the legs, and another hole in the area below the torso/sarcophagus where it fits. If the hole is not exactly centered, that will make the pose slightly tilted, which is cool if that is how you want it to look. To fix the magnets in place, add some PVA (white) glue and stick a magnet. The flipside is that it will dry slowly, so refrain from putting the parts together or the magnets will detach. Some advices when magnetizing 1) obviously make sure you check the polarity before! and 2) make the hole slightly larger than the magnet size. This is because the glue will occupy space. We don't want the magnet to protrude from the surface, but to fit in it nicely.
The next part is a bit more tricky. In order to be able to swap the front plates, we need to create a point in the torso to place the magnet. There is no obvious place so what I do is to build a small cross with a suitable piece of the sprue, and place the magnet there. With a cross shape we gain four points of contact to ensure it will stay there. The front plates will need a piece of sprue as well to bring both magnets closer.
Adding the final touches
Now that we are able to swap the torsos, all we need to is paint them and the arms as well. The arms need no magnetizing at all as they are easily swapable (sounds obvious but do not glue them to the body!).Be aware though that some work might be needed if you want to use weapon arms from other kits, as GW decided to make them in different diameters. I hope they didn't do this on purpose although the contrary is difficult to believe.
If you want to use FW arms (the autocannon ones are rather popular these days!), then you just need to drill the hole in the arms to match the diameter of the dread's peg. Easy peasy. And you can always add magnets in there if need be.
We can also magnetize the upper part of the torso so the magna grapple, searchlight or smoke launchers can be added at will. To do this we'll drill in the center of the squared area in the top of the torso, right where the searchlight in the DC dread below is, or the smoke launcher in the picture above. These 2 options should be straightforward to magnetize, just be careful as these are small items and could slip while drilling. And that's about it, let me know if you have any questions!
Thursday, August 2, 2012
From a hobby perspective, it's refreshing to paint units that look different to the rest of the army. Considering the fluff and their damage output, I decided it was only fitting that they would stood in some Bone field bases from Secret Weapon Miniature. I refrained from adding blood though, there's already a lot of bones!
As I do with most of the units that have different wargear options, I throughoutly magnetized their arms and backpacks / jump packs. It doesn't take a lot of time and it's very handy when you want to try new things out. Hmm should I lose 1 attack in CC and instead doubletap with bolters? easy peasy. Or add some plasma guns to deal with those pesky terminators? there you go. I have to admit though the fact that the magnets allow me to change the poses and look is also important. Blame it to all those G.I.joes I used to play with in the late 80s. But I digress. These guys have been great fun to paint and I'm looking forward to bring them to tourneys *sardonic smile*.
|Keep your Techmarine happy and enjoy the wargear|
As for the painting, I'll be doing a complete tutorial sometime soon. Suffice to say painting black armour can be a royal pain in the arse (see this great article @ From The Warp), and that the secret is actually in drawing the attention from the armour - things like gems, faces, weapons, parchments... can help here. Stay tuned to a tutorial and enjoy the pictures!
|Lemmy, care to place your jump pack straight? *sighs* magnets|
|Some OSL in that power fist|
|Top tip: Some glossy varnish on the gems will give them volume and shine.|
|Notice the weathering powders in the legs, scorching in the armour and OSL talons.|