Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Thunderfire-Wolves? Hooooo??

I think I've used that title several times...

I was reading an article over on Frontline Gaming yesterday, from Frankie - one of their principal writers (and the world's best 40k player)

He was discussing the use of a 'smash and grab' Thunderwolves list using Champions of Fenris..

It's a great idea and something I'm sure many of us have seen attached to ether SM Bike lists, Dark Angel Ravenwing Command Squads (with scout "support" or 110 points of shite) ... I've also come across it in the UK with Sisters of Battle for Priest action and Hit N Run from Celestine.

I must say, rerolling all saves in combat is an absolute BEAST mode way of playing the Wolves.

But what I thought was a really cool way of playing them was in the comments from the post. This discussed joining all the IC's (WGBL/WL/IP) to a Deep Striking (Drop Pod) Thunderfire Cannon!

Becoming Artillery crew took the unit to Toughness 7 and of course, with easily available scouting, the TWC bomb could be in the midfield, in cover or simply in position to tank like a boss with T7 across the board!

Does this shit work! How cool is that! It does - in the BRB the first line under "Shooting at Artillery" states:
"...If shooting at an Artillery unit, the Toughness of the guns is always used whilst at least one gun remains..."

Whah whah.

So what does the list look like?

Smash mouth Chapter Master - Artificer, Shield Eternal, Power Fist, Auspex, Bike 250
2 x Scout units (1 to hitch a ride further upfield with) 110
Thunderfire Cannon - 135 (w Drop Pod)
Coteaz (Inq. Detachment)

This then leaves a boat load of points for TWC characters

Iron Priest - Thunderwolf 105 x 6 oh OK then...
Take two WGBLeaders with PF, SS and Runic Armour (obvs the TW Mount) @ 165 ea

Maybe grab a Librarian from the SM side,, upgrade to level 2 and try for Invisibility on Telepathy... could be pretty sweet, T7 and Invisible

We need some ablative wounds like Frankie's list - grab 10 Fensrisian Wolves for 80 points and then grab more TWC?

3 TWC stock brings us up to 1815 - we keep them for weight of rending and general attacks, plus they have a distinctly different purpose than the characters.

We could switch it up actually as we have some pretty solid tanking characters and use 2 more psykers:
1 more Lvl 2 from SM in place of the chapter master (more rolls for Telepathy)
1 Rune Priest on a Bike in the Wolves for Biomancy. FNP/Eternal Warrior could be amazing!

So why the need for a Turn 1 defensive buff?

T7, Invisible, FNP etc...

First turn is such a HUGE thing now, certainly in the UK and I am sure over the world - with the coming of the apocalypse (new Eldar) - potentially rending Scatterbikes and D Cannons just deleting units, you need everything you can to toy with them.

Here, barring psychic shenanigans, we have at least T7 Thunderwolves, whether going first or second (just deploy the TFire).

This at least allows us to hit out in one piece.


And it's a BIIIIIG BUT (I like big butts and I cannot lie)

You will still (going second) need to weather a storm of fire - Coteaz helps us here, assisting with the seize (Warlord trait to aid Seizing - hmm...perhaps I should look more at BA and the Veritas, but lose Telepathy then...) and to protect us from the seize happening.

This list does still leave you with your dick in your hands for a turn before getting into things and does it solve the problem of Eldar Jetbike spam? Nah probably not...

That's why I think Drop Pods may have to be the way...

Look at all the shit we are having to come up with just to stay alive! Is it perhaps not better to stay off the board, whether going first or second and punish those pointy eared bastards (and all the other armies with horrendous firepower) before they get to you?

Yes, I think it is... Thoughts on dealing with the "I go, you go" issue of alpha striking?


  1. Dystopian Wars and Void use I go, you go on a unit by unit basis. I'm not sure it would work too well for 40k because of the different cost of units, from 36 pts for 3 mandrakes to 400+ for a squadron of 3 falcons or one of the new Imperial Knights. Buying more cheap units for activation advantage becomes a thing, plus if the order of play is randomised each turn there is the chance for a unit to have 2 activations in a row (activating last one turn then activating first the next turn) - who would want to see an Imperial Knight having 2 turns in a row without being able to respond :(

    Another thing I've seen in both Warmachine and Dystopian Wars is to limit the ranges of weapons. With mobile heavy weapons being plentiful in 40k, it can be most of an army that is in optimal firing positions on turn 1. Seriously limiting the amount of heavy weapons makes turn 1 more of a moving into position, making use of cover to help your advance, rather than just telling your opponent to take off x number of units before they have even moved.

    Actually I think limiting the quantity of mobile heavy weapons would do wonders for the game - not looking at you ScatBikes* :)


    * to be fair just one of many offenders

    1. Hey Rathstar - perhaps I was unclear...I meant that going first with your whole army before the opponent can respond leads to a one sided fight, especially with some of the extreme firepower that we see in 40k.
      I wasn't referring to a skirmish style activation order with Infinty esque order monkeys :)

      Which then forces this with extreme durability or firepower with a seize mechanic or null deployment I.e Pods

    2. DW and Void still only allowed units to activate once a turn, so don't lead to order monkeys like Infinity.

      However I think the main cause of the alpha strike nature of 40k is that there's practically no limit on long range weapons.

    3. I guess in the past, you'd argue this was done via internal unit restrictions, I.e. A Tac squad can only take one heavy and one special at 10 men...or the FOC limits to 3 Heavy slots...

      Now, with alternate FOC, allies, longer range weaponry all over the place or even units with scout, deep strike etc deployment, they don't need super long range units...

    4. Interesting point, and the FOC wasn't that limiting when you could take 2 five man squads to unlock 3 units of heavy support (falcon squadrons, cent squads each costing 300+ points) etc.

      Maybe we could go back to points limits and minimums for each FOC slot, with formations counting towards their position in the main codex FOC, eq. 40%+ for troops, 30% max for each other slot

      It goes against GW's policy to allow people to use their whole collection, but would lead to less heavy weapons and alpha strike.

      Looking at the armies that would easily break this comp are Eldar ScatBikes (maybe reduce the heavy weapon upgrade back to 1 in 3).

      Although I would have to change my own army which only uses 2 units of 5 warriors in venoms as troops I would be very willing to go to such a tournament, although it would alienate a few people who would not be able to attend with their current model collection.

      Do you think going back FOC % restrictions help ?

    5. i do wonder if min points spends would be good,but of course as you state this can create problems. I recently took a bike spam army to a tournament that restricted 0-2 for all units outside of troops... Meant I could field a highly efficient force without worrying about comp restrictions... So it's open to abuse.
      % is an interesting idea, there are some choices that would rise up and some that would fall.. I.e. Cents would vanish in relation to thunderfires or devs as they could fit the % restrictions.
      Perhaps if you spend 300 on troops you get 450 for others, or allowing a % rule.. Say spend x on troops and get 150% x for othe foc areas, with hq being mandatory but no minimum?