Saturday, 7 August 2010

Wolf Scouts anyone?

So Wolf Scouts have been appearing in my own and more vocal, competitive player’s army lists very recently, especially for those of you who are in the States and heading to the NOVA Open.

Yes, Stelek, this is your fault.

So I thought I’d post my thoughts on Wolf Scouts.

I have only had one game with them, vs Hybrid Eldar, where they came in Turn 3 and shot then charged a unit of Dark Reapers hunkered down in cover. Scouts won and Reapers fled off the table.  Scouts were then going to head over to tackle their Pathfinder counter parts…but we called the game at end of Turn 3.
Good debut.

You can find a basic tactica on Wolf Scouts over at the Space Wolves Grey blog.

Sniper Scouts?
Infiltrate and all snipers, perhaps a Missile Launcher too?
Well, infiltrate is not a bad option, getting the missile launcher into place early and getting a shot off first turn.
But if we just leave it there and get no more upgrades we are looking at 5 scouts and a missile launcher. 85 points.
How many missiles are you going to fire?
2? Maybe 3 tops?
Maybe even just one if the enemy has nothing else to shoot at or have a good, cover ignoring blast o two to fire.
If they have first turn you may not even fire that missile.
Hunter Killers are a hell of a lot cheaper and you may actually fire it. If you do not, well its 10 points as opposed to 85…
What if we then add sniper rifles to all the guys? 3 points per model makes them the same cost as Wolf Guard.
This is fine as they have a decent cover save and a good range with good accuracy.
I thought the snipers were not points efficient, but as the *best* marine snipers, do they have their place? well, no not really. The problem is, they just get too expensive and supply a product there is not the demand nor the need for…
And what do we need snipers for? Tackling monstrous creatures in most armies. Rending through tough, FNP troops perhaps?
We can comfortably smash up 1 maybe 2 MC per turn between Long Fangs (ML), dual melta rhino GH, HKM, TWC etc...
So this niche, which might exist in other codices, is not present in the SW one...

So its BEHIND ENEMY LINES we want the scouts for.
Quick melta, kill a tank and die. 85 points for this privilege.
Happy with that? Yes.
The impact they have on deployment and the first couple of turns movement is great.
Lets take best case scenario (I’m a glass half full kinda guy)…Your opponent knows the scouts are coming in, he moves his tanks/transports a little further forward in Turns 1 & 2 than he normally would..not much, just a few inches extra to get out of melta range… he’s now at least 13” from the back table edge…

Brilliant. If you are playing a list like this…then you are now getting those GH Rhinos packed with Melta in range all the quicker, getting those TWC hitting rear armour vehicles even quicker than normal…and the long fangs are still firing (no change there then)…
But this distance closing has occurred quicker than normal because the scouts have pushed the enemy line forward more than normal.
Worst case, the enemy ignores the scouts completely and when they come on they end up out on the left flank, well away from the action… Tough shit. Well, it was only 85 points…

So they can have no effect, a middling effect or a fantastic impact on the game…


The plasma pistol...well, its an extra S7 shot at BS4.. brilliant normally, especially in rear armour...but it is 15 points. Bearing in mind the cost of the unit itself is 85 points (5 men, 1 melta) and the fundamental flaw of the scouts - their inability to show up if you roll reserves poorly (50%, 33% etc) or their potential to show up in the wrong place (33% or 16.6% if there is a useful flank attack to be had) ...and frankly those 15 points could be spent better elsewhere...

Powerfist, again good option, but expensive and may not get used if the unit cannot charge the turn it comes on...3 more S8 hits is very useful though...OK, will playtest the Fist...

The attached Wolf Guard with Combi-Melta? Pushes the cost of the unit up by 23 points.

Adds an extra measuring of counter-probability (is this even a term?), by giving an extra melta shot when they come in.

Also adds to the cost and therefore hurts just that little bit more when they don’t come in on the right location or turn.

Adding a power weapon to the WG? Only 10 extra points and can seriously hurt static gun units such as opposing Long Fangs, Dev’s, Heavy Weapons squads, Pathfinders, Dark Reapers, Broadsides etc…

A nice balance.

The Powerfist? 3 more S8, giving 5 total (CM, Melta, PFist) for the turn they come in. Brilliant. Will definatlely wreck that vehicle you wanted them too.

If they come in right place/time.

If they don’t? The unit is now 140-ish points and it’s a bigger impact when 10% of your army does not do anything all game….

The P/Weapon is the better option in my mind.

The Wolf Scouts I will be using then are;

5x Scouts, Meltagun.
1x WGuard, Combi-Melta, Power Weapon.



  1. I left my scouts behind at a tourney once and it was the first and last time I ever do that. I missed them so bad it hurt and I cried for weeks after. In my most recent tourney they did ok but they put the proper willys up my opponents and took out some key targets. Bradimus says Scouts all the way baby!

  2. Scouts are like Kommandoz only they don't cost 200+ points for the unit. They're a one and done unit, but can be useful if your opponent feels like hunkering down in his DZ.

  3. Welcome Bradimus! I have never liked them and never used them since the codex hit...even though I have played Wolves since then! Didn't like the lack of reserve manipulation (but then its the only unit in the codex that likes to reserve really) nor the random factor that can mess you up.
    How to you hear about all of the UK Tourneys Brad?

    @Chumb...any way we can think of to keep them from being a 'one and done'?

    I agree that they are in general, but can they be kept alive? If enough threats are pushed into the opposing players face they can be relegated down the target priority?

  4. I would avoid the Power Weapon- anything that it's useful against (like Long Fangs/Devastators) you don't really have al that good of a chance of actually killing off with it, and honestly you're just as happy to just keep them from shooting for 3-4 turns instead.

    The WG with Combigun is a great move, though; it plays right in to their disposable nature (remember, you are just 5-6 dudes with 4+ armor. Anyone who cares to kill you off will do so.)

    If you really want a vehicle-charging weapon, Meltabombs are it. Your targets should be stationary anyways, so you're getting one guaranteed pen rather than 3 2/3s chances of pens with a Fist- and for 20pts less.

  5. So you would advocate the Mbs on the WG attached over his power weapon?

    I was thinking along the lines of added utility.
    Being able to swing 3 PW attacks...lets say against other marines means I'm getting 0.75 dead MEQs as opposed to 0.24 without the Pweap.. could swing things in my favour?

    Not that I want them in combat...

  6. They aren't going to be beating down super units in assault. If anything, you want to keep your opponent engaged so you don't get shot up. Go after infantry blobs, Broadsides, artillery and the like. You really don't need much more than a single PW to do sufficient damage.

    I'd say melta, combi-melta and WC would be fine.

  7. Don't blame me.

    Anyone seen Brent?

  8. I keep mine very basic with just a Meltagun although I attach a WG with a CombiMelta and a fist which comes in at around 128 ish.

    If I see an army on the table and I think "Scouts are going to do shit this game theres nothing worth attacking from behind" I will deploy that Wolf Guard to my back field GH squad instead.

    I always say a safe bet is to tell yourself that they will die the turn after they turn up and wreck something but is that special something is a Land Raider full of Thunder hammer toting Terminators I reckon thats a good trade off.

    As for UK tournies I just cehck the WH forum and to be honest I've got a few good contacts now in the Northern WH40k scene who keep me updated on event etc.

  9. I've been running a six man unit with a Meltagun for 100 points. In general they've done pretty well and the only real problem I've had with them is when they don't turn up until turn 4 or 5. I think the main issue with Scouts is that they're competing against Wolf Guard and Lone Wolves for Elites slots.

    I quite like the idea of a Power Weapon or even Mark of the Wulfen but I agree with Puppy and Chumb that you want them to be tying up enemy weapons squads. I think if you put too many points into the squad you lose the benefit of them being a throwaway unit which is one of their main plus points.

  10. Thanks for all the posts guys.

    Chumb- WOlf Claw is a different stab at it..almost as expensive as the powerfist though no? Rerolls are more useful agreed...

    Stelek - no brent :(

    Bradimus - WH forum? Am I being thick but I can't figure out where you mean? Figured that by simply attending you'd get to hear about alot...I'll rectify that in November at the GT

    C&F - 6 men? Extra bullet catcher? Try and keep melta alive...

    At 85 points they compete directly with the magic trio for the Lone Wolf don't they...TDA,CF,SS...

  11. Sorry mate by WH forum I mean

    Pretty much every UK Warhammer related event gets announced here and quite a few US/Europe events too.

  12. Brilliant, cheers Bradimus! I'm off to check it out...

  13. It's not so much a bullet catcher as I always try and get them into combat the turn they arrive. The 6th man is more for an additional Krak Grenade if (or in my case when) the Meltagun misses an enemy tank and also just to be another body in combat so it's a little bit easier to tie up a big enemy unit.