Monday, January 31, 2011

Tournament Preparations - Grey Hunters & Rune Priest

As I mentioned yesterday I've been working on getting my army ready for the GW doubles tournament in a few weeks. We've hopefully got a warm-up game on the 5th against the guys from C&F. Failing that Matt and I will trial it against some of our other armies but that's obviously not a very realistic test when we can rig the deck as it were. 
GW insists on every army being fully painted so I've been making sure mine will be up to scratch. I've got another long fang to build and paint (probably a day's work) and then a vehicle to finish off (another day probably). I'm easily going to get everything done but it's frustrating because all I want to do is get my Thunderwolves painted!! The plasma gun grey hunter above is the first thing I sorted. Part of me thinks it probably should've been a flamer but I lack the parts for that even if I wanted to change it. Anyway, I'm happy with how he looks so I can't complain.

I've also painted a couple of Wolf Standard greys. I didn't use them at Freebootaz so it'll be a good test of their effectiveness. If I'm not convinced then I may change things around and spent the points elsewhere but they needed painting so it was a way of motivating me! I initially thought of doing the banners differently and I think it I do another I'll probably do black wolf on a yellow background with a red outline. The only thing left to do on these hunters is free hand a Ragnar's company logo onto the shoulders but I'm going to have to psyche myself up to it and really I'll have to do all the grey hunters as I'm not happy with the transfers because, well, they're rubbish.

Also, in order to ensure I'm totally WYSIWYG I've taken the replaced the plasma pistol that comes with the model. It was a simple case of trimming down a bolt pistol from the wolf pack sprue and gluing it on. Barely enough to call it a conversion to be honest. I'd already painted him so it was just a case of painting the gun and arm up.

On a final note I'm going to have to invest in a daylight bulb for my painting lamp because it isn't doing my any favours painting in the harsh light I've got at the moment. I'll also be able to use it to light my models properly so that I can take some decent photos of them for a change! Not to mention making up a little backdrop of white card to show them off properly.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thunderwolves Part 4: Test Wolf

I've not had much time to work on my new Thunderwolves yet. I've been busy with work and getting my tournament army for the GW doubles ready. However, tonight I've had a quick go at painting one of the fenrisian wolves as a test piece for how I'm going to paint the fur on the rest of the fen wolves and also the thunderwolves. I'm pretty pleased with the result. It definitely needs a little something more but for a first attempt I don't think it's bad.

I'll do a full stage-by-stage once I've perfected the technique but basically I undercoated Chaos Black and then painted the whole wolf with Deneb Stone. This was followed by a heavy drybrush with Skull White. The bionic eye and leg were painted Boltgun Metal. I then washed the upper surface (including the metal) with Badab Black followed by Devlan Mud once it had dried. The brown wash was put on so that it covered a slightly larger area that the black to give a more blended appearance. I outlined the mouth with Chaos Black along with the claws and nose, painted the teeth in with Skull White and then washed them back with Devlan Mud. Finally, I used some Tausept Ochre for the eye with a dot of Chaos Black for the pupil. In terms of actual time spent painting it can't have been more than an hour. Obviously it was longer because I had to let the washes dry but I passed the time with some Blood Bowl on the 360. 

Anyway, as I said it needs some improvements. For starters the cream bits of fur need a bit more definition. I was thinking of a Sepia wash but I'm worried this will darken it too much. The alternative is to use something a little darker than Deneb Stone as the basecoat and then drybrush with Bleached Bone and then Skull White as a thin drybrush highlight. I'm not sure whether I want the fur to be quite so brown so I might see what it looks like with just a double Badab Black. Alternatively I might try and put some grey on top of the model before the washes to give it more of a transition. The eye needs to be brighter so I'll use a bit of Golden Yellow on top of the Ochre next time. Also I've just noticed I've not done the lens on the bionic eye so that'll need a spot of red. Perhaps the cables should be done in brighter colours so they're a bit more noticeable.

I have to say the model was an absolute joy to paint. The washes sink into the crevices nicely and the detail really shines through. The bionic sections give them a truly futuristic feel and you can imagine an Iron Priest repairing a limb to help them stay in the fight. I'm confident that, including drying time, I could get the rest of the fen wolves done in a day. 

Stay tuned for my first attempt at painting one of the Tunderwolves themselves. As always comments are welcome!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Space Wolves Rune Priest Psychic Powers

Since Rune Priests feature in every Space Wolves list I've ever written (or will write) I thought it was about time to discuss their powers. To start off with it's worth explaining that each army in 40K that uses psychic powers tends to have a particular style that matches the style of the army. For example, Eldar farseers have powers that benefit particular units in the army along with a couple of aggressive powers. The Blood Angels have powers that help in combat but very few with any range to them. So for Space Wolves as the happy-to-shoot-you-but-also-kick-your-teeth-in-if-necessary wing of the Adeptus Astartes we get mostly aggressive powers.

We're pretty spoilt for choice really as our rune priests can take two powers each at no extra cost. The difficulty is in deciding which combination of powers will work best. To start with here's the basics of the Space Wolves powers:

You move your priest into the middle of an enemy unit and put down a large blast marker on his head. Anything hit by it takes an S3 AP5 hit. The problem is pretty obvious in that your priest has to be right in the thick of it for this to work. Realistically against any decent foe it'll be the last thing he does so chances are you'll only get to use it once per turn. Even on a good day you aren't going to get more than a handful of hits and with it's stats you aren't going to kill much of anything thats T4+. Personally I'd avoid it. There are far better powers.

Living Lightning
This power is the Daddy of rune priest powers. D6 unlimited range S7 lightning bolts with AP5. The range is the key thing here because it means there'll hardly ever be a time you can't get this power off. With a decent amount of hits it's good for demeching and can be nasty against Monstrous Creatures or other high toughness things. To use it on infantry is sort of a waste but OK if there's nothing else around.

Storm Caller
Gives the rune priest and his unit a 5+ cover save. Since the new FAQ ruling that only one model in the unit has to have the stealth special rule for the whole unit to get it this power has suddenly found a use. Basically couple it with a Wolf Priest with Saga of the Hunter and that unit walks around with a 4+ cover save. Let's face it that's minimum 210pts of characters for one unit so it isn't really worth it. Not a bad secondary power but again there are better ones.

Tempest’s Wrath 
Any jetbikes, skimmers, jump infantry and deep strikers within 24” treat all terrain as difficult and dangerous. Initially this may sound pretty good but it's pretty situational. Can be handy for keeping your opponent off your objective, particularly in Capture & Control. Again a good secondary power that will serve you well against Blood Angels, Eldar and Daemons.

Fury of the Wolf Spirits
Shooting attack with 12” range and S5 AP- Assault 3 plus 12” S4 AP2 Assault 2. Additionally, any casualties mean morale check is required. It's a shame that this power doesn't give you better range or a few more hits. Again it's range means you're unlikely to get to use it twice. Only two S4 AP2 shots means you're going to be lucky to kill a marine or two with it. Again I'd avoid this one in preference of others.

Murderous Hurricane 
Shooting attack with 18” range putting out an impressive 3D6 S3 AP- hits and unit treats all terrain as difficult and dangerous on next turn. This power seems to get overlooked by some and I think it's because people see the S3 and are put off. If you're lucky with your rolls you could put out upto 18 shots and even at S3 that translates to a couple of dead marines and a heap of dead orks/eldar/tau/guard etc. The real key to this power is battlefield control. Even if you don't kill anything in the initial volley you present your opponent with a choice. Stay put and waste a turn, perhaps only to be shot with it again or move and risk losing men to dangerous terrain (not to mention slowing them down significantly). Can be really effective against large squads and it's actually easier to kill marines with dangerous terrain than by shooting them!

Jaws of the World Wolf 
Draw a 24" line and anything touched by it has to pass an initiative test or be removed! This can really swing a battle in your favour if you position yourself well. It's amazing how many things you can line up even with 24" range. Whilst you might be put off trying to use it against anything with initiative 4 and up think about this; how much pressure are you putting on essentially a 3+ save for a lot of characters not to perish. Even Ghazghkull will quite easily fall down the hole and be removed. What's more with the FAQ you're allowed to target specific models. Makes it easy to knock the teeth out of Ork Boyz mobs by targetting the power klaw nob. 

Basically, if you're only fielding a single Rune Priest I'd recommend Living Lightning and Jaws. If you throw in a second priest then try Lightning and Hurricane. Storm Caller is a possibility if you feel yourself needing cover (particularly against shooty armies like IG) but really you should try to be on the offensive!

Stick your rune priest in a rhino and pop off Lightning from the hatch as you make your approach. Once you get in close you can unleash Jaws to weaken a unit before getting out and charging it next turn. Alternatively sit back with the long fangs and keep blasting off Lightning to help with transports. A nice little tactic I tried out recently against Matt's Orks was to put the priest and a squad of hunters in a drop pod then on turn one when everything is nice and neatly deployed you can line up a good chunk of the army. Unfortunately both the power klaw nobz i hit passed their test but a few boyz snuffed it at least.

With the second priest you can stick him on an objective with some grey hunters and use lightning up until a unit gets in range for hurricane. Keep them off the objective and pepper them with shots from the rest of the squad. 

I realise I've not talked about Njal's Lord of Tempests but I've covered it a little in his guide.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Powerfist vs Thunder Hammer

When deciding on the equipment for my Thunderlord & Thunderwolf Cavalry I got to thinking about the benefits of the thunder hammer over just a plain powerfist. Granted the thunder hammer will always be infinitely cooler but is it worth the extra points?

On the face of it both weapons fulfil a very similar niche. Both double the wielder's strength and reduce his initiative to 1. They also require a pair to be able to gain an extra attack for two close combat weapons. For Space Wolves the power fist is 25pts and the thunder hammer is 30pts. You may be thinking 5pts isn't very much but it may be that you have 3 models in your army that wield them and by switching to a powerfist you get 15pts back and that's an extra grey hunter. Not only that but it may give you the flexibility to change things around elsewhere in your list. As I've mentioned before choosing your list is an essential part of the game these days and being economic with points is vital.

For our 5pts extra we get the ability to take a multi-wound opponent down to initiative 1. Also for vehicles we inflict a crew shaken result in addition to any other damage result. Sounds worth it initially but when you think about it is it really that great?

Unless the multi-wound opponent has eternal warrior then chances are a strength 8 unsaved wound will be enough to cause instant death. This is even more likely when you think about thunderwolves with S10 hammers. That's assuming you get into combat with a character anyway. Therefore this is only really going to affect eternal warriors and monstrous creatures (or anything T6. A lot of monstrous creatures are initiatve 1 anyway but it's still going to be useful against the likes of trygons or avatars.

Against most vehicles who's rear armour is AV10 you're likely to penetrate. If you roll either a 1, 2, 5, 6 (or for single weapon tanks a 3) then the additional "crew shaken" result that you get doesn't really achieve anything. It's only any good if you immobilise the vehicle. Oh and if you don't stop it moving do you think it'll hang around waiting for your thunder hammer to strike again?

Therefore, for me the only advantage is reducing opponents to initiative 1. As we've discussed this is pretty situational so in my opinion it isn't worth the 5 points. This leaves me torn. I really want to give my models thunder hammers because they'll look much better with them. The hobbyist in my wants hammers and the gamer in me wants power fists. Given that I've got thunder hammers from Arjac and another terminator I think I'll go with the fists. What do you reckon?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Top 5 Tips for Space Wolves in 40K

The title is pretty self explanatory. Basically here are a few things that I've learnt since coming back into the game and from reading Battle Reports it seems that people are making these mistakes all the time. 

I don't claim to be any sort of 40K guru but these things might make the difference between success and failure. Whilst they're geared to assaulting army like Space Wolves they apply to most 40K armies too.

1. Location, Location, Location
It's important to deploy your units in suitable positions e.g. long fangs somewhere with good cover and good fire lines. However, I'd say it's even more important to position the individual models within your units. 

There's the obvious things like put template weapons (i.e. flamers) at the front but in a similar way make sure your meltaguns are up front to give them the best chance of half-range shots. Independent characters should go front and centre too. This will make sure they're always going to take part in an assault. Hiding them in a unit doesn't work as they're going to Pile In before the rest of the unit anyway.

Positioning units as a meatshield is also an effective way of giving a unit a cover save for example fenrisian wolves protecting thunderwolves.
Finally, correct positioning of the individual models means that when removing casualties you can do so without hampering effectiveness or coherency. Put your important models in the middle so that when you remove casualties you're never likely to have to remove them. Bear in mind that when being assaulted you may want to remove the front line of troops to prevent a charge after being shot at.

2. Stay Indoors
It may sound obvious but it's certainly something I didn't learn straight away. Since Space Wolves are predominantly a mechanised army it's important to use your transports correctly. It's very tempting to move 12" towards your target, get out, rapid fire and see what's still standing. Even though your grey hunters are adept at shooting they're far more effective if they charge. 

If possible stay in your transport until someone blows it up. It can be surprisingly difficult for most units to de-mech you, especially if you moved 12" and popped smoke. However, if you've moved into a suitable position on the previous turn then by all means get out and charge your opponent. However, disembarking early just means you're wasting the protection of the vehicle. Obviously the Land Raider is an exception to this since you can move and assault.

Carefully decide whether to move your Rhinos 12" to get as close as possible or just 6" so you can shoot. Rune Priests with Lightning/Jaws/Hurricane should be allowed to shoot from the Rhino if possible.

3. Hold Your Fire!
We've all done it. You get your unit into assault range, try to thin out your opponent with a spot of shooting. Your shooting is a bit more effective than you expected so you actually kill a good number of your enemy. Your cunning opponent then removes the front line of troops and you find yourself no longer in range. In his turn he charges you and it doesn't end well!

Judging distances is vital in 40K. Get used to what 6" looks like. It's normally further than you think when being charged and shorter when you're doing the charging! When you move into assault range figure out in your head roughly how effective your shooting will be. If you're just over an inch or two away then by all means shoot but otherwise think carefully about it. 

The other thing to consider is terrain. Even if you're only a couple of inches away, shooting can make this 3-4" and then you're relying heavily on your dice roll.

4. Beat Them to it
No matter what army you're playing against, getting the charge is often decisive. Whilst technically you only gain 1 attack (unless you're a blood claw or Ragnar), by denying them a bonus attack it's doubled. It's even more important when considering things like furious charge. Whilst charging obviously isn't as important for Space Wolves as it is for Blood Angels or Orks it's denying your opponent the charging bonus that is key. Get charged by Blood Angels and you're in trouble with I5 and S5. Charge them and see how fragile they can be.

It's a very difficult skill to ensure you get the charge. Transports make this slightly easier as, assuming you don't get de-meched, you can stop your opponent charging you. Otherwise it's a matter of getting the distances right. Remember to consider things like fleet, jump packs ignoring terrain and open-topped vehicles covering a lot of ground and still assaulting.
5. Lambs to the Slaughter
When you're playing aggressively it can be easy to get carried away and charge everything. Even though I've just said that charging is important, it's equally essential that you don't charge unless you have to. If there's an opponent that you've a strong chance of losing the combat to then don't charge. If he wins and you either get wiped out or break then he's free to do what he wants in his turn. If you let him charge you then he's not going to be stuck in combat on your turn and you can pelt him with fire.

Obviously this is a lot easier when you've got Space Wolves and their ability to counter-attack but it's worth considering nonetheless. It's essential for armies that rely on shooting such as IG or Tau, with the exception of a couple of units/scenarios neither of these armies should charge.

Also if you think you can kill a unit entirely with shooting then think carefully about whether you rapid fire or not. Charging in might mean you lose men but you'll gain a free advance in the form of your charge and eventual consolidation. By shooting you don't put your own models at risk but you'll be stationary.

These 5 tips just scratch the surface of the sort of things you need to consider to be good at 40K. I can't pretend for a second that I've mastered any of them. I make mistakes all the time but if you consider these things when you're playing then hopefully you'll make less.

I hope they've helped out and that they weren't just pointing out the obvious!

Space Wolves Fast Attack Options

I fully intend to do a post on all of the sections of the Space Wolf army but TheBaron over at Claws and Fists made a very interesting post about Skyclaws being the underdogs of the Space Wolf army. Since it ties in very nicely with my Thunderwolf Cavalry I'm going to talk about all the Fast Attack options available to us. 

Firstly, I think we're pretty spoilt when it comes to Fast Attack. Each one of our choices has it's merits and it's certainly a better collection that the standard Marines codex. In general they all suffer from low Ld but bear in mind that 8 is still above average and means they'll pass a test most of the time.

Thunderwolf Cavalry 
Pros: T5, 2 wounds and optional storm shields makes them difficult to kill off. S5 rending attacks or S10 thunder hammer makes them pretty lethal too. Cavalry therefore effectively 19-24" charge range. Good selection of upgrades allows for wound allocation.

Cons: Only Ld 8 and small numbers which means they're likely to break. Only move 6" and run D6" so, unless charging, no faster than infantry. High points cost. No GW model so a conversion/third party alternative is required.

Best uses: Tool them all up differently and pile them into the enemy's most valuable troops. Give them a Wolf Lord to compensate for the low Ld if you can afford it. Great for drawing fire and protecting your transports. Alternatively just take them solo or in pairs and use them to bolster an attack.

Swiftclaw Bikers
Pros: Cover ground quickly. Turbo boosting and T5 means you can normally get them in on your enemy relatively unscathed by Turn 2. Attack bike gives you a mobile multi-melta. Berserk charge means they're good in an assault. Relentless means they can cover ground and still fire.

Cons: Only Ld 8 and small numbers which means they're likely to break. Only one special weapon unlike marine bikes. Relatively expensive when tooled up.

Best uses: Distraction! Tool them up with a meltagun, multimelta attack bike, power fist and give them a WG with PF and combi-melta. Go tank hunting! If you can afford it meltabombs will help!

Pros: Very mobile, can keep up with your transports. Deep strike to give your opponent something to think about. Berserk charge gives you a powerful first assault.
Cons: Only Ld 8 and small numbers which means they're likely to break. Only WS & BS 3 which means they'll struggle against other marines. Headstrong means they'll not shoot most of the time. Other armies do assault marines better. Can't take a Wolf Guard.

Best uses: Take a full unit with Wulfen and Power weapon and go for heavy weapons teams. Wolf Priest is pretty essential as he compensates for WS3 with preferred enemy, improves their leadership and overrides Headstrong.

Land Speeder
Pros: Deep strike means you can hit your opponent where it hurts. Fast means you'll not be stranded once you've dealt with your initial target and you can get yourself a cover save. Relatively inexpensive. Great for anti-tank.
Cons: AV10 all round which means even bolters can cause you a headache. Deep strike can make you vulnerable and won't always get you where you want to be. No assault capability so 1/3 of the time you'll fail to kill a tank.

Best uses: Deep strike equipped with the ubiquitous multi-melta and heavy flamer combo. Go after some tanks and make your opponent worry about his deployment. Alternatively take 3 Typhoons and use your speed to help you sit back and pepper a target.

Fenrisian Wolves
Pros: Cheapest unit in the Space Wolves army. No upgrades needed. Even a full 15 strong squad is only 120pts. With Wolfkin can be I5. Good number of attacks and effective 19-24" charge range. WS, T and S 4 means they're as effective as vanilla wolf guard in an assault.

Cons: Pathetic Ld of 5 means they're going to fail most tests. No ATSKNF means they won't come back either. 6+ saves means they need to hug cover if they're going to get into combat. Slow when not charging. No GW model so a conversion/third party alternative is required.

Best uses: Cover and ablative wounds for Thunderwolves/Thunderlord. If your lord has Wolfkin then they're I5 and Ld 7. Plus the TWC will mean that they can re-roll failed tests. For 80pts you can get 30 S4 I5 attacks on the charge/counter-attack with a good range.

Most players would only take the Land Speeder out of all that lot. I think this is a real shame as there's some characterful and very effective units in there. Not to mention that they make Space Wolves unique. When used correctly they can all be deadly. 

Don't expect any of them to be very versatile because by their very nature they're a specialised unit. All of them perform the role of distraction pretty well. Your opponent has to make the decision whether to ignore them and focus on your Greys or take them down in which case your Greys get a free ride to his lines.

The only unit I'd keep in reserve is the Land Speeder. Although the skyclaws can deep strike they're unlikely to live long enough and also without the charge they aren't as effective.

I hope this brief list has been of use to people when they're deciding what to fill their FA slots with. As I said with the Special Characters, there's no right answer as it depends on your style of play. Personally I can't wait to see what I can do with the TWC and fen wolves.

In response to TheBaron I reckon that Skyclaws aren't the only underdog here. It isn't often you see Swiftclaws either!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Blood Angels Models (actually new this time)

Unlike the tired old re-releases we've received the Blood Angels have landed themselves some new kits. The Stormraven and Furioso dreadnought (both multi-part plastic) have appeared on the Advanced Orders list on the GW website. In addition BA fans can now get their armies off to a good start with the new battleforce that includes 5 jump pack assault marines, 5 death company, a tactical squad and the workhorse Rhino tank for £60. Not a bad little set to start you off but it does lumber you with a tactical squad. Personally I'd be making them into foot slogging assault marines with whatever bits I could get my hands on but other seem to like tactical marines for some reason - they're no grey hunters thats for sure!! These kits will be available from 5th Feb 2011.

This isn't really an earth-shattering revelation since you'd have to have been living under a rock not to have seen the Stormraven spread across the blogosphere. There's been much debate about the look of the thing but I personally think it's in-keeping with other Space Marine vehicles in that it's chunky, ugly and clearly more substance than style. Of equally fierce debate was the idea that other chapters might get to use the Stormraven. It'd be nice to see it in Space Wolf colours and it'd make skyclaws a bit more worthwhile. I'd certainly be very tempted to get one anyway. It's a little on the pricey side mind you (no surprise since it's going to be in high demand and GW aren't daft) and it's a bit unfair that it's more expensive than a valkyrie at £41.

The dread kit looks nice with a good number of options to make some unique looking furioso dreads as well as allowing BA players the ability to create a proper librarian dread (though there are some nice conversions knocking around). I wouldn't mind getting my hands on a left over blood talon from ebay to make my dread look a bit more like Bjorn. In general I'm in favour of the plastic kits for dreads since the old ones were a ball-ache to assemble and heavy as hell.

I'm not naive enough to hold my breath for some new Space Wolf models any time soon but if GW could get round to it at some point I'd be grateful.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Thunderwolves Part 3: Assembly Experiences

As I mentioned last night I've assembled all 15 models now. Once they'd been cleaned up they were pretty easy to clean up and glue together. The fenrisian wolves are on the whole in pretty good condition. It's clear the manufacturer has filled some of the bad bubbles in already as there's darker portions. There's no way you'll see them once they're painted though. There'll be some minor filling to do but nothing drastic. I've found resin to be very brittle compared to the plastic. Perhaps my blade wasn't very sharp but it seemed to break away rather than be cut away. There's only a couple of the wolves that are duplicates which is good. You can guarantee if they were GW models there'd only be 3 varieties and they'd be sold in awkward numbers. It almost seems a shame to base them because the bases somehow don't look right. I think with a bit of scenery on them they'll be fine.

The thunderwolves weren't as easy. There were some large bubbles of resin behind the knees of the riders but they were easily removed with a combination of knifepoint and pointy file. Some of the feet will need filing/sanding down before putting them onto their bases but I'm planning on making the bases fairly scenic so it should be easy to hide any slight inperfections. I can tell that I'm going to have to rebase some of my existing army to match because these bases will get far more attention than my others have. The legs glued in nicely and for the most part they're a good strong fit.

The areas where bubbles have left gaps in the resin are only small and it won't take much green stuff to sort them out. I really could do with a sculpting tool but I'm sure I can fashion something from sprue or similar. They're already looking impressive. The bionic limbs/eyes are a nice touch and help to make the models look unique. I really hope I can do them justice with my painting.

I'm thinking of keeping the cavalry models in a grey colour and the lord I'm aiming for something like this but I know I'm not that good a painter so we'll see what I can manage. I wish I'd got a proper backpack for my lord, you know the one with two wolf heads on it but I've used one already on a rune priest. I might swap the rune priest's out for a standard one and give it to the lord though. There isn't much room on the legs for the "dangly bits" on the space wolf torsos. I'm probably going to trim and bits off e.g. the wolf tails so that the torsos are still wolfy. I'd really love some sort of cloak for my lord so I might try and fashion one out of my space wolf guard terminator cloke but we'll see how successful that is. 

Might be a couple of days before I make any more progress though since I've got my parents over tonight. I'll try and get the filling done once they're gone so I can undercoat tomorrow and make a start on painting them. I'm going to paint the wolves separately before I base them or put the torsos on. Overall I'm really pleased with the models so far they're going to look great on the table top even with my mediocre painting skills! Stay tuned!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thunderwolves Part 2: Wargear Choices

I've managed to clean up all the models and they're ready for a spot of green stuff. The question now is: what shall I equip them with? The plan all along was to make one of them into a Wolf Lord which will leave the remaining 4 as standard Thunderwolf Cavalry. Let's start with the lord.

Thunderlord Wargear
With thunderwolf mount he's got a pretty impressive statline. WS6, BS5, S5, T5, W3, I5, A5, Ld10, 3+. Even without any upgrades that's pretty formidable. His base cost is 145pts with the thunderwolf which doesn't seem bad but we'll definitely need more. Obviously any character is going to get more than his fair share of low AP and power weaponry thrown at him so an invulnerable save is essential. We've got two options, either the Storm Shield's 3+/3+ for 30pts or the Belt of Russ' 3+/4+ for 25pts. I think the extra 5pts is a bargain for a better invulnerable save so we're up to 175pts. It's worth noting that, unlike the shield, the belt can allow the Lord to get a bonus attack but since he's already got 6 on the charge I'm not too worried.

What do we put in his other hand then? Well he's got an impressive initiative of 5 which will come in very handy against MEQ and Eldar. It seems a shame to waste it by giving him either a thunder hammer or power fist. It would also be a waste to give him any kind of gun. Yeah he's got BS5 but he should never be relied upon as a shooty unit! So we're left with three options power weapon (15pts), wolf claw (20pts) or frost blade/axe (25pts). Since we're already rending thanks to the wolf the power weapon alone doesn't give much benefit so it's a straight decision between +1S or re-roll to hit/wound. Most of the time we'll be fighting T4 and in that situation a re-roll is more much more useful, it should even be better at T3. It also happens to be 5 points less so that's a winner to me! Bear in mind with the rending we'll have a reasonable shot against vehicles so strength isn't too much of an issue. That brings out total to 195pts.

In terms of the other equipment I don't think any of it is essential. Melta bombs aren't needed because we're rending and obviously neither is MotW. I'd throw in a Wolftooth Necklace because the Lord is probably going to be used to target enemy characters who'll have decent WS and it's a nasty combo with the wolf claw. If you've got Rune Priests in your army then I don't think the wolf tail talisman is necessary but if not then it's handy, particularly against Nids. Finally, if you're taking the wolf on his own then I think it's absolutely essential to have two fenrisian wolves with him. Ablative wounds are always nice and if you're playing Tau they can be life savers. It's debatable if they're necessary if he's going to be accompanied by some cavalry but if you've got the points then why not. That brings us to 225pts (205pts without the fen wolves) so it's really getting pricey now.

Last but not least, we need to choose a Saga. Do we really need one? Probably not but it gives him more character and since he's already expensive it would seem a waste not to. Anyway, Beastslayer isn't really necessary with the stats and equipment we have and isn't useful against many targets. Majesty can come in handy but since he'll be charging forwards it might not find itself in range. Warrior born can be amazing but it's very situational and expensive. That leaves Saga of the Bear and Saga of the Wolfkin. If you could be sure you're playing an army with S10 weapons (i.e. Tau) then Bear is all but essential or if you've got fenrisian wolves in your army I5 from Wolfkin can make them more threatening. If you've only got the 2 fenrisian wolves then go for Bear every time. We've got the following then:

Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf with Storm Shield, Wolf Claw, Wolftooth Necklace, 2 Fen. Wolves and Saga of the Bear = 260pts (or 240pts with Wolfkin)

He's not cheap then so I don't think he'll see much action in low points games. I'm intending to use him as a DIY special character in place of Ragnar or Logan.

Thunderwolf Cavalry Wargear
Let's start off by saying that just for the basic 4 models you're already paying 200pts so we'll try and be frugal with our wargear. The key thing here is wound allocation. If you've got two of the same model then you only have to take two wounds to lose one of them. If all your models are different then you'll have to fail 5 saves before one falls. Doesn't make them invincible but should help keep them alive until they get into combat. Again shooting weapons are a waste of time. To avoid a long winded discussion:

1. Thunderwolf Cavalry with storm shield and CC weapon = 80pts
2. Thunderwolf Cavalry with power fist and bolt pistol = 75pts
3. Thunderwolf Cavalry with chainsword, bolt pistol and melta bombs = 55pts
4. Thunderwolf Cavalry with no upgrades = 50pts
GRAND TOTAL = 260pts (coincidentally the same as our Wolf Lord!)

The reasoning is pretty straightforward the storm shield gives them smoe more survivability but it's too expensive to take two. The power fist is to help out against vehicles/walkers/high toughness and the extra five points for a thunder hammer is a waste as has been discussed elsewhere on the interwebs (although hammers look much cooler than fists!). The melta bombs are a cheap option for wound allocation and will give you a good shot against land raiders, against other vehicles it's probably better to rely on rending. 260pts then for 8 T5 wounds, 14 S5 rending attacks and 4 S10 attacks on the charge/counter attack. You can take them in smaller squads in lower points games but I'd always use a storm shield. Either way they're going to be a source of great annoyance to your enemy. They'll draw (and soak up) a lot of firepower that will protect your transports and other troops and if not then they'll be a full strength when they hit your opponents lines which isn't going to end well for him!

It isn't all rosy though. Power weapons really aren't your friend and especially hammers or fists. but this is true of any Space Marine unit. Anything that's S10 will give you real headaches. Mephiston dispatched a lord and two cavalry on his own at Freebootaz for example! It's not like S10 is a regular feature in many (non-Tau) armies though so I wouldn't worry too much. Finally, Leadership 8 isn't exactly brilliant so attaching the Lord will come in handy.

A Note on Fenrisian Wolves
As I've mentioned I also bought 10 fen wolves to give them a try out. A lot of people dismiss them because they're competing with other Fast Attack choices (including the TWC) but I think they're very much underated so I wanted to try them for myself. They're not much more than a cover save for your other units but that's a good enough reason to take them I reckon. 

If the full squad made it into combat, and with 19-24" charge range they've got a good chance, then they'll cause as many wounds as vanilla grey hunters. Sadly they aren't going to survive the attacks back because of their 6+ save and Ld5 but if your Lord has Wolfkin they'll have I5 and Ld7 which should help out. They're a Space Wolves exclusive unit too which makes them worth a go in my opinion! Compare them to Ork Boyz and they essentially trade a gun for a 12" charge range and permanent fleet for 2 extra points. I wouldn't go basing your army around them but if you fancy trying something new then why not!

Thunderwolves Part 1: Unpacking

You may recall I ordered some Thunderwolves and Fenrisian wolves from Mythicast back in December. Their site said something like 4-6 weeks delivery time and it's been almost exactly 4 weeks and they're here! I've been willing them to come sooner but I'm just glad that I've not been ripped off! The models have come all the way from the Phillipines via Singapore so I don't think 4 weeks is all that bad. In case you needed proof (not that you did) they came packaged in a Philipines newspaper! I ordered 5 thunderwolves and 10 fenrisian wolves and as a bonus they've thrown in some shields. 

These are my first resin models and I've been doing a bit of reading about them. Apparently it isn't uncommon for there to be air bubbles and the models will require a good wash in soapy water before painting to ensure the paint will go on.

I've unpacked all 15 models (and the shields) and overall the quality seems to be pretty good. When I was doing the research about Thunderwolves some people had commented that the quality of the Mythicast figures wasn't great. Whilst it isn't a good as the plastic we're used to from GW I think with a little bit of green stuff they'll look fine. On first inspection the poses seem pretty good and assembly should be really straightforward (if a little fiddly). The shields are bit too flimsy to be used as storm shields but I thinky they'll look good as wolf accessories on some of my vehicles so not a total loss.

Also on my research I looked at Mr. Dandy models. Whilst I'm not really a fan of the Thunderwolves they sell (they're a bit chubby, a bit expensive and frankly not wolfy enough) they do have a nice guide about working with resin which will help me prepare these figures. Right I'm off to find an old toothbrush, some soap water and then I'll while away the evening trimming and filling. I intend to post throughout the various stages of the assembly and painting of these guys so that other people can make an informed decision as to whether they're worth it. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review: The Ultramarines Movie

Me and my housemate Scott sat down to watch the Ultramarines movie a couple of days ago. Now I'll try and keep this as spoiler free as possible but if I don't manage it I'm sorry in advance. 

The story follows a squad of Ultramarines as they battle on an alien world. The story itself isn't too badly written. It's a little predictable and the dialogue is very cheesy at times. I got a bit sick of them saying "and they shall no know fear" but I guess it's a necessary evil. I was keen to watch the film as Ultramarines were my first army back in 2nd edition. I didn't really expect a lot from the film since I knew it was largely an in-house production and was on a very tight budget. In general I thought it was fairly good. I was originally going to write a review slating it but I had to remind myself that this isn't an epic hollywood picture but more an independent work.

The animation felt a lot like a cut scene from a video game than a movie but to be fair I think we're pretty spoilt by amazing CGI these days so post Avatar everything looks a bit amateur. Let's face it the budget was a touch smaller here. The marines all have a unique look and there's some nice touches to the armour. Somehow the heads looked a little on the small size when they didn't have their helmets on but then their armour is meant to be pretty chunky. The couple of vehicles in the film behaved pretty much as you'd expect them to. It was nice to see a land speeder zipping around. My only gripe was that for superhumans the marines didn't seem to run very fast!

The planet where most of the action takes place felt very much like a 40K environment but they scrimpted a little by making it misty. I suppose they'd argue it was to build the tension but in reality it was probably to save on animation! The internal environments were pretty solid and again were in keeping with the universe.

The voice acting was of a high standard, early on in the film some bits were slightly wooden but otherwise it was decent. The choice of actors fitted pretty well with the characters and all of them sounded "mariney". There were no excessively cheesy voices that might have ruined it. The sound effects were pretty much spot on too. Bolters sounded how you'd expect them to.

Without giving too much away the only major problem I had with the plot was that a handful of Ultramarines managed to achieve what a whole company of Imperial Fists had apparently failed to do. Pretty sure there'll be some unhappy Fists players out there. As a wolves player my only gripe was that they did a bit of intro about marines and ended with "and the greatest of them are the Ultramarines" (probably a slight misquote) which I obviously disagree with!

We only see one enemy race in the film which was a bit of a disappointment to me. The enemy are again well animated and voiced and they are in keeping with their fluff (as far as I remember anyway). The ending, as I've already mentioned, was somewhat predictable which was a shame. As a stand alone story I think it was reasonable but it's certainly not particularly original. Mind you it's difficult to come up with a plot line that hasn't been thought of these days!

It's a noticably short film and it's a shame they didn't spend a bit more time on it and extend it for another 10-15 minutes. It would've been good to see a bit more of what befell the Imperial Fists for example. It also felt a bit small scale. Whilst marines are meant to be an elite unit who don't need numbers to achieve their goals, it would've been amazing to see battle on an epic scale. I think the fact that I've just finished the Space Wolf Omnibus that has a huge Imperial army in it near the end makes me wish they thrown in a few more tanks etc. There really wasn't enough action in it. Granted they'd got to do some background for the uninitiated but really I doubt it would appeal to anyone who isn't already into 40K.

Overall I can't pretend I'm blown away by the Ultramarines movie but it's a good start. They're on the right lines but it just needed a little something extra. Personally I'd love to see GW sell the rights to a studio that will have the resources to do the stories justice. I'm glad I didn't fork out for the DVD myself as I think the content doesn't really justify the expense. Obviously it's GW pricing again but still, you wouldn't expect to pay as much for a special edition of a hollywood blockbuster, even on blu-ray!

So where next then? Will we see another Ultramarines film or will a different chapter get the treatment? Obviously I'd like to see the Space Wolves in action but whichever chapter it is I hope we get to see them fighting various enemies and that we get a lot more action.

Verdict: 6/10. Not a bad start but there's definitely a lot of room for improvement. I'd recommend watching it to a fan of 40K but it isn't going to win over anyone who isn't already hooked.

Book Review: Space Wolves Omnibus - William King

Matt lent me the first Space Wolves omnibus over Christmas and I just finished it this morning when I got home from work. The omnibus contains three books (all by William King) entitled "Space Wolf", "Ragnar's Claw" and "Grey Hunter". This is my first foray into the world of the Black Library so I've got nothing to compare it to but here goes anyway.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone else but a basic synopsis is that the first book tracks Ragnar's progress from being picked up by Wolf Priests from his Fenrisian clan to training and eventual acceptance as a Space Wolf. "Ragnar's Claw" sees our hero as a Blood Claw taking on a mission to secure an important alien artifact in order to save a seemingly doomed planet. Finally, Grey Hunter describes the Space Wolves defending one of their own worlds from an attack by Chaos. 

Many other reviewers have commented that the books make the Space Wolves out to be immature, beer swilling space vikings. I personally don't see what the problem with that image is. The Space Wolves are different from the other chapters since they have the canis helix which makes them that little bit more feral in nature. Their background is that of warring tribal clans on a hostile world and it seems they retain some of these aspects when they become Space Marines. Makes sense to me anyway.

I will say however, that at times the book seems to be directed at a younger audience which is again fair enough since let's face it there's a lot of teenagers who play 40K. Whilst it certainly isn't a high brow intellectual read the "childishness" didn't bother me too much. There are times when the banter between the Space Wolves seems a bit unnecessary but I think it's important to remember that throughout all three books Ragnar is still a Blood Claw. Those guys are meant to be immature, battle hungry, moody and volatile as they struggle to get to grips with the changes going on in their bodies - kind of like teenagers!

The internal monologue can get a little tiresome at times. In nearly every situation Ragnar seems to be the ultimate pessimist. I know this is a device by the author to point out the enormity of the situations but it comes across as stating the obvious and puts the brakes on at times. When Ragnar isn't being all doom and gloom he's thinking he can take on the world which again is fine as part of the Blood Claw process.

The action in these books is, for the most part, well written. There are words and terms that seem to get overused but then I suppose it's difficult to come up with enough metaphors for the way in which someone's head gets split open. The writing conveys a good sense of pace and there are times when you genuninely wonder how they're going to get out of it. In the end you know he's going to survive because the whole story is written in flashback form where Ragnar is remembering how he got to where he is today as a Wolf Lord. 

The main thing I like about the book wasn't really the main plot itself but rather learning about the background of the Space Wolves. There's that little bit of fluff in the codex but otherwise we don't get told all that much and I can't say I've read it all anyway. There were things I'd never thought about like why Space Wolves tend to avoid wearing their helments and the hierarchy within each great company. In addition I'd never really considered the role that wolf priests, iron priests and rune priests take outside of a battle setting. 

There's a good few days reading here and for the most part it's enjoyable. It's definitely made me want to buy the second omnibus and read some of the Horus Heresy books. I think as long as you aren't expecting a literary masterpiece and you go into it open minded then you'll enjoy the Space Wolves Omnibus. It's cemented my love of the chapter and inspired me to get cracking painting the models that I've got, particularly Ragnar! 

Overall I'd give it a 7/10. Enjoyable to read for the most part but there's excessive description at some points. Clearly aimed at a slightly younger audience but it doesn't detract too much from the action.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"New" Space Wolves Models at GW

OK so they're far from new but the way GW talked about them you'd think they were! Dunno if anyone else reads "What's New Today" on GW's website but I couldn't help but notice the other day that they're re-released some of the old space marine models. Along with the old school Marneus Calgar (pre-antilochus armour) they've also brought back power armoured Njal and Bjorn the Fell Handed.

I can't say I'm particularly fond of either model myself since Njal is very two dimensional and Bjorn is a massive heavy lump of metal and I'm used to nice light plastic now! I remember having an old metal ultramarines dread and it wasn't exactly fun to assemble and it weighed a ton! Oh and by the way he's a whopping £36.00! Nice to see the model back because it's how I first knew Bjorn to look but seriously, when you get a stack of spare wolf bits to convert a standard dread with, you'd be mad to fork out £36 for the real thing. If you are suitably mad the model is re-released on 22nd of January so get your pre-order in now! I urge you to consider the forge world Space Wolf dread first though! Makes me want to do something about my dread's close combat arm to make it look more like a claw though.

Let's hope they still get round to doing a second wave of Space Wolf models but since they seem content with the old ones I can't see it happening myself. Would be nice to see a proper Ragnar, Ulrik and some plastic fen wolves & thunderwolves though.

Coming Soon From The Fang

Whilst other blogs may have already listed out their plans for 2011 when the year was still new, I'm going to be fashionably late and write my post 11 days in! From the start back in late August I've always had a massive list of posts that I wanted to write and it seems that I'll never get to the end of it because I add far more to the list than I tick off.

I started the blog to chronicle the battles between my group of friends but it's grown a little since then. I never really expected anyone else to read it but I'm glad people do. Therefore I want to move away from so many battle reports and get some more useful content on here. Don't worry I'll still report on the battles we play but perhaps not in such painstaking detail.

As I've said before I'm trying to flesh out my army and attempting to get it all painted up to a decent standard. To this end I've built up everything that I've got and ordered the last few bits that I need. I still need to get another rhino/razorback kit but otherwise I think I'm pretty much there.

My most recent order was the Thunderwolves which should hopefully appear this week. Once they arrive I'll put some shots of the unpacking process so that people can see what they're getting from Mythicast. I'll then show the stages of assembly and painting. I'll do a post about TWC tactics too and then a nice battle report from their first engagement.

I've also got to finish off the rest of my army so I'll throw in some articles about painting various units as a log of my progress. Continuing my focus on special characters I'll write up those SC lists as promised weeks ago and talk about my Arjac conversion and the assembly and painting of Canis. I've also got a squadron of bikes to "wolf up" and paint and I'll discuss my proposed tactics for them. I'll put in an article of my opinions on equipment for various squads in particular long fangs.

Finally I'll continue my Know Thy Enemy series and theme my posts that week around the enemy I'm discussing. I'll try and make it a set day for each post so people can keep track better. 

The next post will be a review of the first Space Wolves omnibus from the Black Library which I'll probably finish reading tonight.

I hope there's some stuff in there that people will find interesting. If anyone has anything they want me to write about feel free to comment. I hope people are still reading this time next year! My aim is to keep this blog about making 40K interesting and diverse. I'll try and include more pictures of my own army instead of stealing GW's or someone else's. I'll also make sure it stays a mathammer free zone!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Battle Report: Wolves vs Orks & Blood Angels vs Orks

As promised earlier in the week here's a report of the two battles Matt and I fought yesterday. I have to say that I don't normally enjoy fighting Orks but both battles yesterday were really good fun! We started off with my Space Wolves taking on Matt's Orks and then after that I took over as "Da Boss" and fought Matt's Blood Angels. It was interesting to see how each chapter dealt with the green tide, I've already posted the lists here so without further ado:

We rolled for mission and deployment and got Capture and Control and Pitched Battle. Pretty straightforward then! I won the roll off and place my drop pod, speeder and scouts in reserve. The vindicator went in the centre of the field fairly far forward to try and get a shot off nice and early. The whirlwind was over to my left and the long fangs took up a position in a hilltop ruined building. The rhinos went in the centre of the field. The dread was on the far left in some trees.

Matt deployed his Orks in the centre of the field with Ghazghkull and the nobs in a battlewagon to his left and the other battlewagon with the tankbustas on the right. The lootas were in a ruined building in the centre (which was Matt's objective) surrounded by hordes of Orks. The Kommandos were in reserve of course.

Turn 1
The drop pod plummeted from the clouds and smashed down next to the battlewagon on Matt's right flank. I tried to place it between two pieces of terrain but sadly it scattered so it wasn't in a position to block the advance. Nevertheless the rune priest led his grey hunters out of the pod. Elsewhere the rhinos, vindi and dread advanced. 

Having recovered from the drop the rune priest opened up a chasm beneath the front line of orks which threatened to swallow 9 of them including 2 nobz. Miraculously 6 of them passed their initiative test including both nobz!! The rest of the squad added a further 6 to the total with flame and bolter fire. The whirlwind and vindicator added 7 (including a single loota) between them and a flurry of frag missiles and bolter rounds from the long fangs added another 11. At the end of the first turn I was already full of confidence as Matt's three 30 strong boyz mobs now numbered 17, 26 and 15.

The battlewagons plowed forward and seemingly unaffected by their losses so did the boyz with the exception of one mob which hugged the objective along with the lootas. The Shokk Attack Gun (S.A.G) fired a S7 blast at the wolf priests rhino but failed to penetrate. The lootas were more successful but could only shake the rhino's crew. 

The tankbustas had managed to move away from the drop pod enough for the dreadnought to be the closest vehicle so they set loose 2 bomb squigs which made up for the wayward rocket shots by both hitting the target and blowing up the dread. The Nobs piled out of their battlewagon and attacked the vindicator blowing it up causing a wound on one of them. The grey hunters that emerged from the drop pod were charged by the 17 strong mob. The hunters could only kill 5 of them so the remaining 12 struck back. Matt managed to roll 17 6s on 40 dice when rolling to hit! So I had a lot of saves to make. I wasn't as lucky with my rolling and 7 grey hunters fell. The rest of the squad broke from combat. Not looking quite as good as it did with two of my vehicles reduced to smouldering craters and my grey hunters fleeing from orks.

Turn 2
Ragnar directed the driver of his rhino to head towards the tankbustas battlewagon. The resulting melta fire blew up the wagon killing 2 tankbustas. The remaining grey hunters fired their bolters as the rune priest summoned a murderous hurricane on his pursuers claiming 4 boyz. Elsewhere the whirlwind missed it's huge target. The long fangs killed one nob and wounded another whilst their wolf guard immobilised Ghaz's wagon with krak missiles to it's side armour. 

The wolf priests squad fire their pistols and melta guns at the nobs and manage to kill 3. They then draw their chainswords and pile into combat. Their wolf fury slays the remaining nobs whilst only two grey hunters fall.

The tankbustas blow up Ragnar's rhino as Ghazghkull gets out of his wagon and heads towards the wolf priest as he does so he unleashes his powerful Waaagh! The lootas kill a heavy bolter long fang bu the S.A.G misses it's target. The boyz advance on the remaining drop pod grey hunters and fire as they go. Their shots ping off the power armour with no effect and the hurricane claims 4. In the ensuing combat the wulfen rolls a handy 6 and 4 more boys fall. Sadly it's too little too late and the remaining wolves are slain. 

Unbelievably the Wolf Priest's grey hunters manage to wound Ghaz twice despite his 2+ invulnerable save and only lose two of their number in return.

Turn 3
The whirlwind claims another pair of boyz as do the long fangs in a poor showing from them. The land speeder deep strikes in and incinerates 3 more. The long fangs rune priest attempts to open a chasm beneath Ghazghkull but he misses despite only needing 2+. Ghazghkull kills the wolf priest and 3 hunters but takes another wound. Elsewhere Ragnar and his squad kill off the remaining tankbustas and avenge the fallen rune priest by killing off the boyz.

The kommandos come in to assault Ragnar and his pack. Ragnar kills 3 kommandos but his squad aren't inspired and fail to kill a single ork. Luckily the Kommandos only kill 1 marine and lose another due to being fearless. The S.A.G misses again. The boyz in front of the land speeder manage to immobilise it with shooting enabling them to blow it up in combat. The field is now littered with the cratered remains of vehicles.

Ghazghkull is unaffected by one of the two remaining grey hunters but despite killing them both he dies to a blow from the wolf guard.

Turn 4
Frustratingly the scouts appear on the right flank but still manage to blow up the battlewagon. The long fangs only kill a single boy. Otherwise I'm only able to do some maneuvering.

The S.A.G fires the Mek into combat with Ragnar which doesn't end well for him. The boyz squad leaves the objective to charge Ragnar and co. The hunters fail miserably to kill any orks and 3 die as a result.

Turn 5
The battle is now going to be determined by the combat between Ragnar's pack and the boyz mob. I have nothing in range to contest the objective and the scouts are unlikely to make it in time. To try and help things I tank shock the other boyz mob but the nob uses his bosspole to prevent them from fleeing. Ragnar isn't strong enough to resist that many orks and he falls. The long fangs kill another boy from tank shocked squad but it's clear how the battle will go now.

Turn 6
The scouts charge the smaller boyz mob and only manage to kill 1 as does the shooting from the long fangs. The whirlwind hits the other squad but to little effect. The scouts are finished off in Matt's turn.

Final result: Orks control their objective and win 1-0. KP: SW 8 vs 10 Orks. VP: SW 1550 vs. 1365 Orks

A solid, if close, victory to the Orks. I managed to kill an impressive number of them but despite some early luck (such as 5/6 wulfen rolls being 6s early on) it seemed to run out in the later turns. Ragnar's squad did appaulingly badly in combat and I'd wasted the banner killing off the kommandos which was upsetting considering how many 1s I rolled in the combat with the boyz. 

Despite losing I feel pretty good about this battle. I've previously only fought Matt's Orks with Eldar or Tau and found it nearly impossible to thin down 30 strong mobs. It's the first time I've fought them with Space Wolves alone. I'd already killed 32 orks in the first turn but I sadly didn't keep up this tally. I'm confident in future battles I'll be able to deal with them better.

I think the battle would've gone very differently had I sat back and let the Orks come to me. I was determined to table Matt completely after how well the first turn went which made me play a bit too aggressively. Had Ghazghkull not wiped out the wolf priest's squad I'd have been able to hold onto my objective pretty well if support from the long fangs and scouts. 

I was very much looking forward to trying my hand at commanding an Ork army though.....

Since this is a Space Wolves blog I'll try and make this report a bit shorter but I think it's interesting to compare the strengths of the chapters which is why I'm including it. We got Dawn of War and Seize Ground. The 4 objectives were clustered around the centre of the table which meant the fight would be bloody. Matt got first turn. Matt kept his predator and terminators in reserve and deployed his razorback and death company in their rhino. I deployed Ghaz and the meganobz in their transport over on the far left of my lines, hoping that I knew where Matt's devastators would be, and a 30 strong mob opposite one objective. My kommandos were in reserve.

Turn 1
The sternguard's drop pod landed right in front of my lines and threatened to block my advance. The occupants could only kill 2 boyz much to Matt's disgust. Equally bad for him was the twin-linked lascannon missing my battlewagon as it sped onto the field.

The tankbustas came on in their battlewagon and blew up the drop pod as a squig ventured inside and detonated. Miraculously no gretchin were harmed in the explosion but neither were any sternguard. The killkannon hits the sternguard but Matt had cunningly positioned his sanguinary priest to give them FNP so one survived. The zzap gun misses the razorback in return.

Turn 2
The Blood Angels advance and the assault marines engage the boyz mob on the hill in the centre. Showing how useful furious charge and FNP are they manage to kill 15 boyz for 1 loss! The razorback hits this time and immobilises the battlewagon with Ghaz inside.

The tankbustas can only blow off the storm bolter from the death company's rhino. The killkannon claims another 2 marines and the zzap gun shakes the razorback. The assault marines kill off the remaining boyz. Another mob charges the newly arrived terminators and librarian and kill 2 terminators for 9 dead orks. The kommandos appear behind the devastators and kill them all for a single dead ork. The gretchin claim the life of the remaining sternguard nearly paying for themselves in the process!

Turn 3
The Baal Predator comes in on my left and kills half of the lootas. The dread attempts to run to engage Ghazghkull but rolls a 1 meaning it falls short of charge range. The assault marines easily deal with the gretchin and the other squad finally finishes off the power klaw nob. The orks kill off the remaining terminators leaving the librarian alone and surrounded.

The tankbustas head towards the predator. Despite releasing another squig they can only stun it. They follow up with a charge and destroy the assault cannons. The killkannon claims another marine. The meganobz charge the dreadnought but lose two of their number. Ghazghkull immobilises it (uselessly). The boyz easily finish off the librarian.

In a fantastic demonstration of ork randomness the S.A.G explodes (a double 1) killing the lootas, mek and the rhino containing the death company. I burst out laughing as the entire squad is removed from play! We both vow we'll keep our distance from the S.A.G in future!

Turn 4
The assault marines move in to avenge the fallen librarian and kill off everything but the nob. Ghaz blows up the dread but not before it kills the other meganobz (blood talons are nasty). The assault marines fail to charge my remaining boyz which have moved in to try and claim the objective in the ruined temple. Corbulo and his squad charge in killing 13 boyz but taking 4 marine casualties despite FNP. 

The tankbustas finally wreck the predator and the killkannon yet again claims a marine. The kommandoz immobilise the razorback and blow off it's turret. The lonely nob is finished off and Ghazghkull charges the marines that had failed to charge killing 5 including the priest. The remaining 2 marines run. Corbulo kills 1 boy and takes no casualties.

Turn 5
The remaining marines jump onto the objective on the hill. The boyz manage to finish off corbulo and consolidate to claim two objectives. The kommandos shepherd the two fleeing marines off the board.

Turn 6
The marines on the hill move down to try and engage the orks controlling two objectives but aren't in range again. Ghazghkull moves towards them to try and counter. The game ends with me still claiming two objectives (2-0).

Final result: 2-0. KPs: Orks 14 vs 6 BA. VPs. Orks 1785 vs 895 BA.

In Matt's defence he wasn't aware that a unit could control two objectives so he thought he was securing a draw by moving onto the hill. Had he read that bit of the rulebook FAQ he would've undoubtedly charged in. How successful it would've been is anyone's guess with Ghazghkull around!

Although the numbers don't seem to show it I think the Blood Angels have a much easier time dealing with large mobs of Orks. Whenever they got the charge they easily wiped out whole swathes of them. Obviously the S.A.G exploding and claiming the death company dramatically changed the battle. The only thing Matt failed to do was blow up my battlewagons. The killkannon was a real hindrance to him and probably claimed double figure kills. That's where combi-melta wolf guard shine along with being able to give a squad a meltagun without hampering it's CC efficiency. 

It comes as no surprise that the Space Wolves killed a lot more orks from shooting. However, I feel like I should've done a lot better in combat than I did. It didn't help that Ragnar didn't get to charge a bit mob liked I'd hoped for. I don't think either of us really did a great job of handling the Orks. It's probably down to our inexperience fighting them more than anything. 

I still stand by my post on how to deal with them. Obviously I just need to fight them again to prove it!!


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