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Behind The List: Space Wolves, Part One – The Blackmanes by Patrick Eibel
In the past, it was an easy matter to write up an army list: you just pulled out your codex, looked at the figures you had, and picked stuff until you filled up the org chart and met the point limit.  In the mix-and-match world of Seventh Edition, however, you might consult two, three, or four books to find the best formations before you even consider making a list.  Websites like Blood of Kittens are very helpful in collecting all of the formations and detachments available, so you can easily see what there is to choose from for your army.

At this point, many long-time players will think this is yet another online screed lamenting where the game has gone.  Far from it.  I like the way the formation concept has opened up the units you might see on the table, and gotten away from the “cookie-cutter” mentality of older editions.  In this series of articles, I hope to document how I approach writing a list as I adapt to new rules, formations, and detachments.

Space Wolves Revisited
Codex: Space Wolves
was released in 2014, but while there were some new units (Thunderwolf Cavalry, and two new Flyers), the codex didn’t really offer much in the way of interesting formations.  To address the lack of a “wow” factor, the Champions of Fenris supplement was released right on the heels of the codex.  While there were plenty of formations to choose from, most involved using Terminators, and, other than the one detachment that requires Elites instead of Troops, was mostly forgettable (we will not discuss the ridiculous Logan Grimnar Santa sleigh). 

At the beginning of 2016, the Curse of the Wulfen supplement finally provided some formations that will affect how I field my army.  I will discuss some of the other formations in future articles, but I will start with the strongest formation – The Blackmanes.  Why is it the strongest?  For units that can take them, Drop Pods are free, and they all arrive on Turn One.  Yes, “free,” and “Turn One.”  





As if that isn’t enough, when you bring Ragnar, all Blood Claws, Sky Claws, and Swiftclaws re-roll “to hit” rolls.  But wait, there’s more!  When units disembark from their Drop Pod, they have Fearless and Feel No Pain.  And, if you take an auxiliary formation, you can get the detachment bonus of countercharging at the end of an opponent’s Charge phase.  I will go unit-by-unit through the formation so you can see how I tried to maximize these benefits.

HQ: Ragnar Blackmane.  Most players might choose the cheaper option of a generic Wolf Lord, but I have had the Ragnar model since Third Edition, and can’t resist using him, especially given the benefit listed above.  For added wolfiness (literally) I am giving him two Fenrisian Wolves.

Elites: A unit of seven Wolf Guard with frost swords.  Sure, they are expensive as all heck, but with Ragnar attached, they wield Strength 6 power weapons (Furious Charge + frost weapon). 

Troops: The formation requires 3-5 units chosen from the ‘Claws (Blood-, Swift-, or Sky-), and 4-6 chosen from Grey Hunters and Land Speeders (I don’t know why, just go with it).  I chose three units of 8 Blood Claws (with free Drop Pods) each with one flamer and one power fist, and each led by a Pack Leader in Terminator army (‘cause you can do that and still fit in the Drop Pod). 

I added two units of 10 Grey Hunters, one with 2 meltaguns and a fist, and one with 2 plasma guns.  Each Grey Hunter pack get a free Drop Pod, of course.  To make up the remainder, I chose two Land Speeders with multi-meltas to add some anti-tank punch.

Heavy Support: Five Long Fangs with 3 missile launchers and 1 lascannon, and a free Drop Pod.

Scouts: Nine Wolf Scouts, including one with a melta gun, led by a Pack Leader with a frost axe and combi-melta.  This unit is a mix of the classic Third Edition Scouts and newer plastic Scouts from the Space Wolf Battleforce.

Auxiliary Unit: Fangs of the Tempest—Stormwolf.  Adding a Stormwolf accomplishes several things: it adds some more anti-tank weapon punch; it gives Ragnar and the Wolf Guard an assault vehicle to ride in; and it unlocks the Counter Charge benefit from the Detachment because it is an Auxiliary Formation choice.

Tactics
While the benefits of having your entire army drop in at the same time on Turn One may be obvious, there are also some risks involved.  While the Drop-Podding units will arrive at the same time, and are not likely to mishap (unless they stray off the board), you are still going to spend a round out hanging out after disembarking.  

To offset this, it is critical to consider where you want to drop in, so that you can hopefully limit the number of units your opponent can bring to bear on their turn.  It would also help if you could inflict enough damage on your opponent’s force that you would not have the full weight of their army counterattacking your units. 

In this list, the Scouts, Flyer, and Wolf Guard can provide late-game heroics where needed.  At least, that is the plan.  Take a look at how it did in its debut game.

 

 


 

 

Posted December 2016.


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Fighting Tigers:
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Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
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