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Playing SW without TWC or Wulfen - viability?


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#1
Essexkiwi

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A question to the veteran players, how viable is it to play SW without using TWC or werewolves?

 

I like the aesthetics and viking theme of SW, and like wolf iconography, pelts and talismans etc, but I'm just not a fan of having actual wolves or wulfen.

 

So is it viable to run SW without their star players TWC and Wulfen, or am I trying to shoehorn Space Wolves into being something they're not and I'd be better off looking at another chapter?


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#2
Master Antaeus

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(Note--not a SW player, but a veteran of many space wolves battles)

 

Of course it's viable.  Space wolves did fine before they had either of those units.



#3
Wulfgar76

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TWC and Wulfen aren't must have units but they certainly make games easier with the buffs and sheer hitting power they provide.  However, Curse of the Wulfen provided a few competitive great packs like the Blackmanes and Ironwolves.  I've been running a speeder heavy Ironwolves list for a little while now and its worked out pretty well so far.

 

If you don't like the wolfy theme, I get that, you could model your wulfen as berzerkers or some such to still benefit from the unit without the wolf visual.


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#4
Wispy

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Space Wolves armies are terrible without cavalry. In two senses:

1. they're a powerful unit floating an otherwise uncompetitive army. This is just the ruthless truth.
2. Thunderwolves are damn cool and an army without then is doing it wrong. :P
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#5
Garreck

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Some of the formations from Curse of the Wulfen offer interesting non-TWC options, but at the end of the day codex marines are flat better at being "marines" than the Space Wolves are.  I've had some decent results with the firehowlers, for instance, but that's with wulfen support (and wulfen bonuses have been critical to any success or competitiveness.)

 

(Note--not a SW player, but a veteran of many space wolves battles)

 

Of course it's viable.  Space wolves did fine before they had either of those units.

 

Before the Space Wolves had those units, "other" marine forces didn't have the options which make them better in every way than non-TWC/non-wulfen SW compositions.

 

Having said all of that...it's your army!  If theme and style is more important than "competitiveness" you can certainly put together a non-TWC/non-wulfen setup that looks cool and won't result in a lop-sided tabling.  The Iron Wolves formation seems suited to that, and the Blackmanes as well.  I've seen people use company of the great wolf to field an entirely dreadnought composition (Bjorn as HQ, all dreads for elite slots, drop pods all around) and that's always a hoot and generally meta-disruptive if not truly "competitive."  Myself, I'm fond of Arjac and his shield brothers even if that's just about the most points inefficient formation I can think of off hand.



#6
Wolf_Lord_Hardrada

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Welcome to the anti-TWC/Wulfen club!

 

My SW list is probably a little outdated now but it served me well for many years (sorry no points):

 

Wolf Lord (can't remember his gear)

 

Wolf Guard+MoW

 

10 Blood Claws with flamers, power fist, power weapon. + Rhino

 

10 Blood Claws with flamers, power fist, power weapon. + Rhino

 

10 Grey Hunters with melta, power fist, power weapon.

 

10 Grey Hunters with melta, power fist, power weapon.

 

Venerable Dreadnought with power fist+ASScannon

 

Dreadnought with rockets and lascannon

 

Vindicator

 

5 Long Fangs + Razorback


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#7
Rift Blade

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I've only played like 2 games this year but I would say yes, SW's are viable without TWC &/or Wulfen. It's just different tactics. THe Spear of Russ is a good formation as is THe Iron Wolves Great Pack. Also had luck with the Champions of Fenris list but it was really A Spear of Russ formation without any special rules. I've toyed with several lists using the THe Fire Howlers(WG on bikes-don't bother with the jump packs) as well as the Black Manes Great Packs & they look good on paper but I haven't played them. And don't forget Blizz Dreads. THey can be good if properly supported. My 2 cents.


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#8
Essexkiwi

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Thanks guys.  

 

I guess I'm no different to most new players - wanting a SM force that can do it all, hold its own in both CC and shooting, have a good cross section of units, and not be a one-trick pony in play style.  

 

I know logically I should be looking at Ultras as the jacks of all trades but I'd rather have a chapter with more flavour, and a colour scheme and aesthetics that appeal as I'm very much into the painting and converting side of the hobby.  Plus nobody in our club plays Space Wolves so it'll be nice to add something else to the meta.

 

Iron Wolves are definitely appealing to me, will read up more on the fluff and formations.  

 

Wulfgar76 I like your idea of running proxies for Wulfen if I can pull it off without it being lame.  Ironically I had a load of old fantasy Chaos Skullcrusher mounts that I sold earlier this year, but I see from a bit of googling that the idea has been done to death already as Iron Wolf themed proxies for TWC.



#9
Immersturm

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Wulfen ain't all that. They are useful in the Formation but that is about it. Is it possible without TWC? I do not see why not. Most seem to be so focused on them that they block out everything else. Outside of silly stuff like 24 Pods from Blackmanes, SW can offer rather solid midfield play and shooting. Iron Wolves come to mind with all their Speeders, general Long Fang play and maybe some armour, like Spear of Russ (say what you want about Raiders, but I like this Formation and outside of D, the Raider will live long enough). Do not forget to pack Ulrik for his PE bubble and the Wyrdstorm Bros for even more output. You'd be surprised how shooty things can get ;)

And to answer you concern, Wolves get fairly close to your image. While not optimal, I consider them more rounded and versalite than SM. Why is SM more successful then? Simple. It is Grav. They happened to have the one tool that breaks the strongest units in the game. Without, they would fall into near obscurity. My opinion, anyway.

Edited by Immersturm, 29 December 2016 - 10:43 AM.

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#10
Essexkiwi

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Cheers Immersturm, I like what you're saying.  Agree on grav guns too, from my limited 40K experience so far they are a potent crutch.  


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#11
Garreck

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Why is SM more successful then? Simple. It is Grav.

 

In the grander 40k scheme I agree it's Grav that elevates codex marines from vanilla to competitive.  In a more limited head-to-head comparison with SW (and more specifically SW without TWC or wulfen)...don't you have to consider things like chapter tactics that give their tacticals and devs an edge over ours?  SW get unique things that codex marines don't have access to of course, but "on the table" it's those unique things that make up for not having stuff like grav or chapter tactics.  Take away those unique things (which is by and large TWC and wulfen) and you're left with a marine army that can't do the sort of things a codex marine army can do.  Or, as is the case with wyrdstorm brotherhood vs librarius conclave, a marine army that does some things less effectively and at greater cost.

 

Max Land Speeder Ironwolves are a pretty compelling argument for how effective and unique SW can be without TWC or wulfen though. 



#12
Nrthstar

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Grav and a formation that lets them spam vehicles. As for us Wolves, we can make vehicles fun with ironwolves. We have two formations that can make dreadnoughts fun too, my goal is to field nothing but dreads one day.

As for my beloved Long Fangs, which were the backbone of my 5th and 6th lists, they aren't strong anymore. What made them great was their split fire. Don't get me wrong, you can still use them, but they aren't mobile enough to get objectives to win games, they die too easy to Tau and Eldar and now Marines, Chaos Marines and genestealers that can assault on deep strike.


QUOTE (hendrik @ Aug 16 2011, 05:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
so not only do you dare to call an elder wolf a whelp, but now your also reglecting the sacred rule of dibs and shotgun??!!! :blink:


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#13
Wulfgar76

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I still use long fangs in my lists but it's usually limited to two heavy weapons to capitalize on split fire. They usually sit in cover and make a nuisance of themselves.

SW require more of a combined arms approach to be successful. My Ironwolves make use of speed and firepower to win games although I'm lacking any significant assault capabilty.
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#14
jerrys

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I'm interested in this too; let us know if you come up with anything.

 

I had two cop-out ideas, one of which I followed up on and one of which I didn't. I'll pass them on in case either appeals to you.

 

1. I thought the TWC looked silly in the sense that they are too scrawny to carry around an 8' tall dude in power armor, and they don't look like they have a 3+ save (in addition to looking silly in the usual sense -- I can't fix that, but hey, this is warhammer). I worked around this by converting a bunch of Juggernaut guys.

(I'll attempt to put some pictures in here, though I've never done that before and who knows what will happen...)

 

cavalry.jpg

(that's a pyramid my 1st grader made as part of some school project, which I like to think of as being on Prospero...)

 

2. I thought that instead of Wulfen, you could make sort of elite wolf-guard guys (Huscarls or something) who go around inspiring the troops to game-breaking feats of heroism. Maybe model them as truescale wolf guard marines on 40mm bases with TH/SS, and just use the wulfen rules for them.

I didn't try this yet, though. The real reason is probably that I am lazy, but my excuse is that my group is not competitive enough for me to field wulfen without being a dick.


Edited by jerrys, 30 December 2016 - 01:02 AM.


#15
Yoyo ninja

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I haven't fielded my TWC since Curse of the Wulfen came out. I had a mechanised wolves force back in 5th ed when it was good, then when moved to TWC heavy when it became the only way to play. But now we have Ironwolves :D I dug out my tanks again and never looked back.
I run Ironwolves and the Spear of Russ:

Ironwolves

WGBL
Bolt pistol and CCW

Grey Hunters
As they come
Razorback with TL Lascannons
And all the trimmings

X2 Bloodclaw units
As they come
Razorback with las/ TL plas
All the trimmings

Landspeeders x3
Heavy bolters and missile launchers

Long Fangs
x4 missile Lainchers
Razorback with TL lascannons
All the trimmings

Spear of Russ

Iron Priest as he comes

Landraider
As is

Predators x3
TL lascannon turrets
Lascannon sponsons

It all comes in at 1500pts.

It's not the most competitive and won't win any tournaments, but it's good for most games and will take on most stuff (I played my friends Orks the other day, we had loads of fun and many a Saga was written).
It can be a bit unwieldy at times, that much armour on the board needs a lot of carful placement to keep firing arcs and not block eachother.
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#16
Immersturm

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Why is SM more successful then? Simple. It is Grav.

 

In the grander 40k scheme I agree it's Grav that elevates codex marines from vanilla to competitive.  In a more limited head-to-head comparison with SW (and more specifically SW without TWC or wulfen)...don't you have to consider things like chapter tactics that give their tacticals and devs an edge over ours?  SW get unique things that codex marines don't have access to of course, but "on the table" it's those unique things that make up for not having stuff like grav or chapter tactics.  Take away those unique things (which is by and large TWC and wulfen) and you're left with a marine army that can't do the sort of things a codex marine army can do.  Or, as is the case with wyrdstorm brotherhood vs librarius conclave, a marine army that does some things less effectively and at greater cost.

 

Max Land Speeder Ironwolves are a pretty compelling argument for how effective and unique SW can be without TWC or wulfen though. 

 

 

Nah, don't think so. At the end of the day, what impact to Chapter Tactics have? A few turns of re-rolling 1s and one turn re-rolling all with primarily Bolters is only a marginal increase in accuracy, especially when shooting at BS4. At BS3 it would have made a much bigger impact. With easy access to Prescience on important units and Conclave, it isn't as great. Do not get me wrong, re-rolls are great, but not the make of break part. What SM get through CT, SW get through superior units like TWC, Wolves, character buffs like Harald and Ulrik. SM do not have access to those ;)

As for the Psykers. Wyrdstorm all day any day. The minimal cost is lower and the offensive power waaaaaay higher. Sure, you can cast reliably and if you can fish with Tiggy, you can have solid powers. However, you are paying at least 130pts extra for that privilige, 180-220 in most cases. What do you get? A powerful units or useful shenanigans. Maybe I am too primitive, but why bother with so many buffs when you can just mind bullet the opponent to death. And all of the Psykers are always active and always throw lightning, be it big or small, on a a 3+.

 

Do not take this the wrong way. I am not saying SM are bad or worse than SW. CT and the Conclave are great, but those things alone does not push this army into the top ranks these days. It is Formations (Iron Hands 2+ FnP and WS Battle Company) and Grav that do it. CT and Conclave just make those better. If SW had Conclave (with Tiggy) and CT, they would be marginally better and probably push higher tier (which can be done). If SW had access to 2+ FnP and Grav they would easily overtake SM by virtue of having better base units.


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#17
Wolf_Lord_Hardrada

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Space Wolves are still Space Marines. We CAN do the things that other marine armies can. Sure they might have some fancy chapter tactics or these vaunted grav-guns people talk about, but those things aren't such a great divide. Wolves are still S/T4 3+, and lets remember we are still power armoured poster boys because of that. If you were so inclined you COULD take an 'all' heavy weapon/support wolves list. You could take all bikes/speeders. You can take infantry heavy, or a balance of all of it. We're still Astartes, and flexibility is what Astartes do best.

 

If you look at other armies lists and think about how much better they are than yours, then you've already admitted defeat.

 

The main issue we face on the tabletop is the same every other army faces. What is the other player going to use, and is our fielded army adaptable enough to deal with it? Especially in this day and age of unbound Riptidalwave nonsense...



#18
Garreck

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What SM get through CT, SW get through superior units like TWC, Wolves, character buffs like Harald and Ulrik. SM do not have access to those msn-wink.gif

 

True, but recall that the premise here is a comparison of SW without TWC to Codex Marines.  That leaves you with Ulrik (which, fair enough, I haven't included in my calculation and his PE bubble for the points is pretty beast.)

 

That said you may have sold me on your analysis of Wyrdstorm vs Conclave.

 

I may have dragged the whole discussion the wrong way anyhow, since the OP was asking about "viability" not a direct competitive comparison...and sure, SW without TWC or Wulfen are surely "viable."  And certainly fun.  Because they were surely fun before those units became the lynchpins of SW competitiveness.  I still think by and large SW without TWC or Wulfen are basically codex marines with limitations that don't apply to codex marines, but there are plenty of such setups that are unique, fun, and viable.  And just to be perfectly clear I choose to play SW even believing that analysis!  Maybe even because I believe that analysis.  Form over function and all that.


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#19
Spacefrisian

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Iam playing without TWcav all the time and been doing great...although iam in the process of making a 2nd 5 strong unit of them.


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#20
TheWolfLord

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The only reason SM are ranked higher than SW currently is the Gladius Strike force and Grav. Since DA got Grav and their equivalent Gladius they have been top tier too.

Objective Secured means they have the advantage in most competitive formats, the free transports increase their table control and name them very difficult to table. The Grav gives them the tools to easily deal with any unit in the game.

I don't envy Grav as I honestly think it's too strong, we have free transports and free upgrades on vehicles but the massed objective secured is something we really need in a Marine heavy list. I wouldn't expect Obj Sec on our hard hitting assault units like TWC and Wulfen but a formation that focuses on our less played units would be welcome.

The Iron Wolves is very good, one of my favourites.

The Blackmanes is very good but I find Drop Assault lists pretty boring so I don't use it often. However using Ragnar, massed Claw units and Wulfen to buff their speed will give you a really lethal list even without the free pods.

The Wyrdstorm is great and very underrated, the Libby conclave is better for a Deathstar but the Wyrdstorm is better spread throughout your list and is more destructive.

The only list I'd play at a competitive level if I couldn't take Wulfen or TWC would be the Ironwolves backed up with Forgeworld tanks and a Wyrdstorm Brotherhood

#21
Immersturm

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By the way, Grav Amp. Read the wording ane compare to Shred. It says to re-roll the whole thing, not failed wound/pen rolls. I do not know if it is common knowledge elsewhere, but the German league has adopted it a few weeks back. This significantly weakens Grav Cannons around here and may just cause a small shake-up in the meta around here (and by extension the ETC).

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#22
Gemini

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Interesting... "When rolling To Wound with a grav-weapon, or to determine its effect on a vehicle, the bearer can re-roll the result."

That is NOT "reroll fails" that is "reroll the result" so unless it's a single shot weapon (pistol) all of the dice from that weapon would need to be picked up and re-rolled, not JUST the fails....

Interesting...


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#23
TheWolfLord

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The reason Grav is worded like that is because technically according to the rule book you roll each hit to see if it wounds, each dive is considered a separate result.

“For each shot that hit, roll again to see if it wounds the target.”

“To determine whether a hit causes a telling amount of damage, compare the weapon’s Strength characteristic with the target’s Toughness characteristic using the To Wound chart below”

This has only become an issue because people are so used to rolling a group of dice for speed, therefore 'the result' has changed in people's mind to mean all the 'to wound' rolls for that weapon. The brb never tells us that's how it's done though.

You do keep track of each wound caused by using the wound pool which is still applied 1 wound at a time.

Someone who chooses to roll all of their 'to wound' rolls with Grav can reroll any single dice as nothing forces them to roll those dice together as a single result.

This was clarified in the SM draft FAQ and I'd be amazed if that was changed when the official FAQ hits.

Not criticising anyone or any group for playing it differently but RAW there's nothing I can see that prevents single dice being rerolled.

#24
Immersturm

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The biggest clue is when you read the Grav Amp entry of the WHW Command Tank. It says at the end that if you re-roll you must keep the second result. That should say it all.

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#25
Lord Ragnarok

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Let's please stay on topic. "Armies without TWC/Wulfen Viable?"


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