Friday, August 12, 2011

My 'I Hate Thunderwolves' List

by SandWyrm


As regular readers of the blog know, I've been flummoxed on how to beat Spag's Space Wolves with my Guard. While his Thunderwolves aren't that big a deal for my Blood Angels (or even Tyranids) to kill, they're a real hell for my IG to deal with. Toughness 5, stormshields, unique equipment, and huge cover-touching bases make them VERY resilient to ranged fire. Like Nob Bikers on steroids. While their cavalry status gives them the ability to hop out of cover in the movement phase, run, and then assault up to 12" in a wide arc that can easily hit 2-3 tanks at once.

In addition, Spag's list has built in solutions for killing any annoying S10 Demolisher/Artillery that one might bring. He has a single drop pod full of meltas that is quite good at taking these units out on turn one. As well as a unit of Wolf Scouts that can enter from my board edge and melta any tank that hangs out too long in my deployment zone. On top of it all, are his Long Fangs that pop my tanks unmolested, and the Grey Hunters that usually have nothing to do but leisurely amble on up to the objectives on turn 4.

Taken in total, his list encourages me to castle up and protect myself from a a throwaway unit that does reliable damage, and then spend half or more of the game trying to kill 4-5 Thunderwolf Cav instead of his Long Fangs and Grey Hunters. While the scouts come in late-game and either kill a Russ or contest an objective in my deployment zone at a key moment.

"But..." I hear you saying, "You're IG! Just take Platoons,  Hydras, Griffons, and Manticores! Shoot him to death!"

Um, no. Regardless how well that might or might not work, doing so would turn my army into a static or semi-static gunline. I HATE playing that way, even a little bit. No, my style is to get up into your face and kill you at 0-12". It's not how most people play guard, but it works wonderfully against everyone but Space Wolves, and to a lesser extent, the new Grey Knights. Mobility, mobility, mobility!

So since my tactics have failed to turn the tide, I've made some modifications to my usual list(s).

175     Company Command Squad w/4 x Melta, Fleet Officer, Chimera        
155     Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera        
155     Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera        
155     Veteran Squad w/3 x Melta, Chimera        
170     Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera        
145     Veteran Squad w/3 x Flamer, Demolitions, Carapace        
145     Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Carapace        
    Fast Attack        
130     Vendetta Gunship        
130     Vendetta Gunship        
120     3 Scout Sentinels w/Autocannons        
    Heavy Support        
165     Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer        
165     Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Heavy Flamer        
190     Leman Russ Executioner w/Hull Heavy Flamer        
2000 Total Points

If I'm always going to lose one Demolisher, I'll bring a second and a plasma Russ too for good measure. Plus some plasmas in the 2nd blocking squad. If I can't safely stay in my deployment zone, I'll just move everything up into the middle of the table instead. As Farmpunk has told me, this list should make most Marine players wet themselves.

The problem is, I don't want to tailor a list for one opponent/metagame. So what do you guys think? Is it too imbalanced to be called an all-comers list? I'm worried about a lack of long range cover-denial against Orks/Nids and not having any long-range (>36") anti-troop. But on the other hand, if I'm controlling the middle of the table, or my enemy has to come to me, is it even a concern?


  1. In my experience against Thunderwolves, I've found Heavy bolters and multilasers useful. I accomplish this by adding HB to the Vendettas and dropping two Vet squads to pick up a mech platoon. I think that the Executioner is overkill, but I think that it's a matter of personal preference.

    I think that your list is pretty heavily slanted towards dealing with MEQs. I also a think that cover denial is something not to neglect in an all comers list. I use a pair of hellhounds and an Eradicator in mine.

    All of that said, I'm curious to see how it goes.

  2. I handle thunderwolves with my Manticore + Psyker Battle Squad. Force a few saves, one failed save and a whole model is gone, and often a leadership is required too.

    I could see the melta drop pod and the scouts giving you trouble with that, but maybe use your blockers to block in the back field instead of mid field? But, a manticore isn't your style, as you mentioned.

    I wouldn't be concerned about Orks/Nids. They're going to want to come at you, and they hate those flamers on the chimeras.

    Btw, I like your blocker squad ideas. I've implemented them into my list as well. Have you made an indepth tactics article on them? I remember seeing them in battle reports, but I'm not sure if you made anything more robust. Currently my blocker squads end up being objective holders/table quarter deniers. Was wondering if yours are the same?

  3. The entirety of firepower from everything but the Russes can only put out 10 AP4+ wounds and 5 AP2 wounds from >12" on T5.

    So my army would be pretty thrilled about it.

  4. @Ironweevil

    Torrenting fire works to an extent with Multi-Lasers and Primaris Psykers. But you're still talking 2 turns of shooting to kill 5 TWC.

    Swapping a Demolisher for an Eradicator is tempting though.


    If the Wolf Lord leading the pack is carrying a Rune Blade or Wolf Tooth necklace, your day is going to be ruined.

  5. Hydras ~ Psyker battle squad = dead TW's

  6. Three biggest tips are: S10, which you already got. Second, PBS + Vendetta on Turn 1. Just PBS the squad, turbo a Vendetta right next to them, kill 25%. GG he loses. This only works if you have turn 1 though. Still, PBS are money here. Even if he does negate the power on the 5+ with Runic, get him next turn. It only takes one break and then you can escort him. The third tip is to split up your deployment. He can't go both directions at once.

  7. @Dodger

    2 Vendettas = 3.7 AP2 Wounds
    6 Plasma Guns = 3.3 AP2 Wounds
    Total: 7

    3 Sentinels = 2.5 AP4 Wounds

    15 Multi-Lasers = 5 AP6 Wounds

    39 Lasgun shots = 3.7 AP- Wounds

    Grand Total: 18.2 wounds vs. T5

  8. @Boxer

    No, I've never written those tactics up. Maybe I should.

  9. Luckily I don't see Wolf Tooth necklaces(its only a 5+ to ignore the power isn't it?) and instead of Rune Blades I see Wolf claws, so its all gravy.

    And I wouldn't call it ruined, I still have contingency plans. Plasma CCS, melta vets, 20 man blob squad + commissar, 135 points that can hold them up for a couple of turns if I have to.

    I'm not saying they aren't devastating to my list, they wreck me, but if I can't kill them/run them off before they get to me, I try to have enough tools to mitigate their damage as much as possible.

    Btw, I think you should write up the tactics, I'd enjoy seeing them. You would have at least one reader. Haha.

  10. I use the mech platoon primarily as an objective holder and a fire support option. I sacrifice the traditional Hull HF on the Chimera for a HB. At 36 inches it puts out 9 Multilaser shots and 15 HB shots. At 24" it adds 10 lasguns and 4 GL. Supporting fire from other chimeras are usually enough.

    Most folks will put Autocannons into this type of unit, but I've had good luck with HB as anti infantry, especially against orks, nids and DE. It's also a perfect match for the Multilaser's range bracket.

  11. The problem with Psyker squads is that they're too easy to nerf. A BA DOA list with 1-2 libbies, or a Grey Knight list with a Libby in a rushing Stormraven (not exactly rare) is going to make that Psyker squad useless for anything but cannon fodder.

    I do like the split deployment idea.

  12. I've honestly never had problems with psychic defense. Their power is 36" range, so you can usually stay outside of the 24" psychic hoods. I keep them in a chimera, and I believe you can move 12" and still use it since it isn't a shooting attack (Though it does need LoS, so it could be debated. If anyone disagrees I'd like to know so I don't cheat anyone.)

    Even with a psychic hood in range, its like ~30% you'll still get the power off, right? Been a while since I ran the numbers on that.

  13. I don't understand some of your choices, but that's just me ... I play highly mobile guard, and deal with TWC regularly. Demolishers are bad choice #1 (imo). They are no more mobile than Manticores, but while they have better armor, they don't hit nearly as hard. Nothing prevents you moving and firing d3 direct, but your opponent also can't deploy things like TWC hidden, and has a harder time spreading out to avoid many hits. With 3++ or cover, it's not like the AP2 means anything these days.

    I don't know why you have Carapace and the like, nor why you have flamers on a vet squad ... Chimeras and Mantis alone should be providing you with 10 heavy flamers that are more mobile, and don't cost you a trio of meltaguns to own.

    Officers of the fleet are also poop on a stick. Reserving much of an opponent's army is already a drag for them, whereas subtracting numbers from the roll as often as not causes his reserves to come in when you're FAR more committed to a certain course of action, and so where they can do far more against you.

    Sacrifice a vet squad or two in terms of deployment to keep the drop pod from dropping within meaningful range of your tanks - he can't drop and charge you, and you're full of meltaguns and heavy flamers and multilasers. Let him drop, shoot a vet squad or long range shoot one chimera (b/c your mantis will be behind those), and then light his suicide drop squad up. Suicide squads in general = badhammer. Teach him.

    Use mobility and block shens, plus if absolutely necessary the same super strung out vet squad at the right time to prevent scouts from doing too much (if they kill one thing and promptly die you win).

    Company Command Squad w/ 4 Melta, Astro (for better vendetta/manticore reserve on when going 2nd), Chimera - 175

    6 x Meltavets w/ shotguns (yes, shotguns, for when you have to charge and finish off that lone pesky meltagun marine or scout w/ a meltagun or whatever) and Chimeras - 930

    3 Vendettas - 390

    3 Manticores - 480

    Congrats, you have 25 points left, MANY more s10 templates to drop on really whoever you want, the same mobility, 2 more Chimeras than you used to, and another trio of twin-linked lascannons on a more durable hull. Also, good players are going to laugh off attempts at first turn Demolitions charges ... don't do et! Most of the time, 10 krak grenades is all you really need anyway, if someone really drops their drawers to a first turn scout up of a couple of vendettas.

  14. Er, and a PS - hope that doesn't come off harsh; typing on the fly on a break from updating / polishing our FAQ and mission packet for NOVA ...

    The best way to deal with Long FAngs is to spam them with 21 multilasers a turn and watch them fail 3+'s ... this is much easier to do when you're blanketing TWC and razorbacks/rhinos in lascannons and manticore rounds. You have less vendetta lascannons with which to shoot TWC or razorbacks/rhinos, and you can't even really bring the Demolisher rounds to bear early on without ADVANCING against a 19-24" charging TWC army. This probably more often than not forces you to roll and hope your multilasers and autocannons against the TWC, and eat the long fangs in the face all game. No amount of thunderwulfen can durably survive 3d3 s10 templates and 9 twin-linked las every turn, and you can actually pull this off with an amendment that frees all your long range small arms to pepper the fangs down.

  15. I didn't realize you liked manticores that much, Mike. Did you have them in your battle for salvation list last year? It has been awhile since I read those batreps...

  16. You're counting Plasma shots that are inside the Vendetta, as well as a bunch of Lasgun shots that similarly can't fire because there's no way they're getting out of the Chimeras.

    My math was the ACTUAL output, not the theoretical "if nobody's in their Transport vehicle at the time!" output.

    You'd have 3 Plasma shots and 17 Lasgun shots.

  17. @Dodger

    Hold on there, my total was actually a bit too low.

    I usually deploy those carapace armored vets as blocking troops. So...

    3 x 5 Lasguns firing from Chimeras once at 24".
    2 lasguns firing from plasma Chimera
    14 carapace lasguns firing twice at 24" (orders)

    equals: 45 lasgun shots total, or 5 wounds on T5

    Plus I can do things like move the Vendetta 6-12" and drop off the troops for a total of 61 Lasgun shots and 12 plasma shots. Plus flamers and demo charge.

  18. That's the point I'm making. With this army, too much of your massed Shooting is reliant upon people leaving the safety of their metal boxes.

    Once again, my army would be thrilled.

  19. @Mike

    I appreciate your point of view, as always.

    The name of my game is movement denial. I want to either block you physically from getting where you need to go, or I want to scare you into going where I want you to.

    Those 2 Vet squads have carapace because I use them as blockers and I don't want them erased by a round of bolter fire. They have melta bombs to keep enemy tanks from shocking through them. Or allow me to scare someone into deploying poorly to avoid a scout strike. They're expensive, yes, but also extremely flexible in terms of roles.

    Three flamers + demo charge are not a waste, as they will do far more wounds to a unit like TWC or Assault Termies than 3 plasma guns will. While keeping said unit from multi-assaulting my tanks.

    Delaying enemy reserves for too long with an Officer of the Fleet has rarely been a problem for me. While delaying/deflecting things like Blood Angel deep-strikers, Daemons, and outflanking Genestealers has always been golden. Obviously our milage may vary, but I like how the OoTF encourages people to put what they have on the table.

    Like I said, this style of IG works great. Except versus this one type of Wolf list with this one unit that breaks all the rules. It's fast AND durable AND hard hitting, while not being all that expensive either.

    Yes, I could spam Manticores, Hydras, and Psyker squads. But I don't want to play a defensive sit and shoot list. I've tried Hydras. Do you know what always happens to mine? They kill something on turn 1, and are dead no later than turn 3. I have no reason to believe that Manticores would be any different.

    Whereas my Russes, if I can keep them out of assaults, will live to intimidate my opponent all game long.

  20. @Dodger3

    You don't understand how this army plays. The last time we played I was using a different strategy.

  21. Umm! Really? All this for me.

    I am suprised that none of you haters realized that a rune priest has a 50% of cancelling your psychic power and of course that I am going to play defensive against a PBS. In addition, do you think that 4 thunderwolves in 2000 points is the only thing that you have to worry about with a space wolves army?

    And yes you have to have line of sight to cast a psychic power that requires LOS boxer saint. Hence the codex stating:

    "Choose one enemy unit within 36" and line of sight of the psyker battle squad."

    @Sandwyrm, (and everyone else) I have guard and love the executioner. Most people don't but with all the terminators out today, it seems like a great tank. Not sure of the effectiveness against TWC, but puts a thought into my head about what to do about it.

    You are almost there without the advice. Keep it up! :)

  22. Keith - if you can't keep vets covered from bolter fire while also blocking, you aren't using enough cover / using vets right (?)

    That's what confused me about your use of something like Carapace. I play movement denial and movement myself as priorities ... hence my advice point / outlook.

    Meltaguns placed properly enough are fairly effective denial of tank shock, sine you know the straightline a tank that can shock you is going to take before you move / place your dudes.

    Personally, I want some tard to reserve with a standard arrival average ... makes my target prioritization and game problem solving easier.

    Plus, late arrival IS a problem for you obv, by your own point:

    "While the scouts come in late-game and either kill a Russ or contest an objective in my deployment zone at a key moment."

    Hydras are defensive, and slow, b/c they can't move and shoot. Manticores can move and shoot all day, and thus are perfectly well suited to keeping up with a Chimera core. With far better firepower, especially against 3+/3++ TWC, they're the choice to go with ... that and a trio of vendettas, none of this missile/krak/punch-bait Sentinel jazz (IMO).

  23. Damn Mike don't you feel guilty taking 3 Manticores? Some lists don't even stand a chance!

    The PBS is a great tool to have. It has good odds of being totally devastating. That's worth the small chance of failure. It's not guaranteed to work but that's why we take multiple layers of redundancy in the guard, right?

    Keep in mind that you can use positioning to minimise the odds of runic weapons/psychic hoods negating your PBS:

    A rune priest/librarian has to be within 24 inches of you to block the power. If they are right at the edge of that range (greater than say 15 inches) just move out of it. If they are closer then move up some melta guns and blow them away before deploying weaken resolve.

    Even if they do get to try their luck, it's still only 50:50 that they'll block it. It's basically a psychic cover save - they'll fail it as often as they pass.

    Of course if they have a Farseer with runes of warding, well then it gets tougher, but Eldar aren't really a big challenge.

  24. @Spaguatyrine The PBS needing line of sight wasn't what I was talking about. I took Obvious Observations 101 in college, I came out with a C+, so I passed.

    I was saying that it isn't a "psychic shooting attack" so you may be able to drive over 6" in a Chimera and still cast it. But since it needs LoS it could be argued that you cannot move over 6" and use it. Thoughts?

  25. @Boxersaint,

    Page 66 or rulebook:

    "Models firing from a vehicle count as moving if the vehicle moves, and may not fire at all if the vehicle moved at cruising speed that turn."

    pg 57 Movement:

    A vehicle that travels more than 6" and up to 12" is moving at cruising speed...."

    Putting these two together states that a unit inside a vehicle moving 12" cannot shoot as they are moving at cruising speed.

    Not meaning to sound all "matter of factish". Sorry if it came out that way.

  26. Naw its cool. I agree with you. I suppose the 'real' question here is is, does Weaken Resolve count as a psychic shooting attack?

    INAT says no. GW is mostly silent.


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