Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lone Wolves – My Thoughts on Why and How….

I was asked over a 2 weeks ago to describe the role Lone Wolves play in my current Loganwing list and how I see their roll overall. I had been meaning to do this and it just got away from. Luckily I found the beginning of this article on this computer and can happily knock this out. Onto my thoughts!

General Disclaimer: My opinions are not the be all, end all of thoughts on 40k be it list building or strategy and opposing lines of thought are appreciated as it makes for better conversation.

That said let’s look at my superstar and favorite unit in the SW’s codex; the Lone Wolf. Now we’re going to start with the unit entry as a whole and then I’ll go into how I’ve slipped them into my lists over the two years.

A side note but an important one: Lone Wolves should always come in pairs!

For the love of all that’s holy you won’t get half the results you’re looking for if you run them as singles. Generally pairs are best and that’s with those pairs supporting each other as they can tag team quite well. We’ll get into it a bit more later but it needed to be mentioned.

Now how do you build him to your list? There are a couple of things you need to consider:

-What are you lacking and what role do you see the LW fulfilling?
-Do they fit your personality?
-Are your expectations realistic?

The last one is probably one of the most important ones. Yes, the much touted LW in terminator armor with a stormshield and chainfist is a beast. But he isn’t someone who can take on an army or an elite squad by himself.  It’s easy to get distracted and think he can after a few games where they do the amazing but the LW is a utility tool. He isn’t a game changing powerhouse on his own and that’s something to remember. He has a role in your force and that role should affect how he’s equipped and your expectations.

Secondly is it something that fits your mentality/personality? I ask because some people aren’t cool with the idea of throwing away units sometimes for little to no gain. You also need to be flexible enough in your personal play style to enable you to use this tool to its full potential. Remember that just because you used him to fill a whole in your list that doesn’t mean he can’t serve a purpose on those rare occasions he can’t be used for the original reason you brought him.

Personally I think that Lone Wolves pretty much come in 2 roles. Disruption and damage dealing. Does that seem limited? Well it isn’t because there are several different ways a LW can be equipped to do the above based on your style of list which we’re going to go into now. I have two builds personally I use based on points and based on my list.

The first is a LW with a simple power weapon. 35pts nets you a model that can likely kill entire combat squads (assuming no powerfists) or munch entire squads of low powered horde type models. This is due as much to his resiliency as his damage dealing potential. Normally I take two of these who steal rides and head up field to eliminate small specialty squads or just wreak a little havoc. I don’t think there has been a single time they haven’t made their points back. This is primarily a disruption build though. If you do have spare points a melta bomb or an upgrade to a frost blade isn’t a bad idea. Though keeping them cheap is a requirement.

The second is the obvious. An LW w/terminator armor, storm shield, and chainfist. I normally use him in my all foot lists and in pairs again. These guys can pop tanks, beat down big burlies that don’t have invuls, and can wreak havoc on a lot of opponents unless an insane amount of firepower is redirected to them. When it comes to this style of LW I either have them as a buffer in front of my less CC oriented units as a way to at least break some of my opponents teeth or I use them as a cruise missile that I fire off. The second is generally when I’m playing a fast opponent that probably won’t engage me like DE. I then use the big guys to contest home objectives if they survive. And if they don’t then that normally means 2-3 more of my normal models did since firepower was directed at the LW’s.

Now the reason for pairs and why I always run them this way. First off is it triples or quadruples their survivability, especially in combat. If I’m engaged with an opponent he now has to split attacks between the two separate units. Making it so that even the non-storm shield variety of LW’s can survive 1-2 extra turns in CC. Also while one terminator LW might not be able to take Mephiston two of them sure can. Things like that are huge. Plus doubling them up increases the chance of finishing off an opponent in the right turn against things like combat squads since with one guy you’ll generally need 3+ rounds of CC if you live. Whereas with two it should take exactly 2 rounds of CC, freeing you up to move again in your turn.

So those are my thoughts on how and why I run Lone Wolves. Not sure it’s as comprehensive as I like but I’ll be happy to answer questions or thought exercises if people post them in the comments since that might help me focus J