Space Wolf Terminator List…Viable?


We all love Terminators, but for a few years now they’ve been less than amazing units. This may be a way to play them competitively. As always check the Tactics Corner for more tactics articles.

As is often the case with some of these wilder Space Wolf lists, they revolve around one of the alternate detachments. In this case, the Champions of Fenris detachment. As it allows you to have 2-8 Elites and no Troops requirement, you can build some crazy lists.

Add into this equation the cheap Space Wolf Terminators that come in as small as 3 man units and you have a really cost effective way to put them on the table. Plus, they get the bonuses of the Champions of Fenris Deatachment to their stats, but they also have to issue or accept a challenge which is a bit annoying, but oh well. We have a plan to deal with that.

So, in the age old tradition of table top games everywhere, we min max the crap out of that combo! Get some toast, because we’ve got Spam inbound.

What are the best parts of the Terminator squad (besides the armor itself)? The Cyclone Missile Launcher, Thunder Hammer/Chain Fist and Storm Shield. Let’s maximize those elements, and minimize the parts we don’t want: over-priced Storm Bolters and 5++ save bodies.

Here’s the equation: Terminators x 3: Sarge with a Storm Shield (free if he swaps it for his Power Weapon), Termie with a Cyclone Missile launcher, and the last Termie with a TH/SS. That’s a cheap unit that does a lot. It’s flexible, it can deploy on the table or Deep Strike, it is relatively durable with 2+ armor and a pair of Storm Shields, and it gives you a pair of Storm Bolters (Sarge and the Cyclone) as well as the Cyclone itself and it’s pair of Missile Shots. Not bad at all on a mobile platform. It also fights well in melee, with a Thunder Hammer and Power Fist protected by a Sarge that always issues or recieves a challenge and hopes to tank wounds with his Storm Shield. You can toss a Chain Fist on the Cyclone if you choose to deal with heavy armor such as Knights, which are very prevalent these days. The obvious weakness of the unit is the low model count. However, this is mitigated by the fact that you have lots of these units. Up to 8 to be precise. EDIT: I misread the heavy weapon rule in the Wolf Guard Termie entry as 1 in 5 can take a Heavy Weapon, not 1 per 5. Sorry for the confusion! You would need 5 Termies to get the Cyclone. I would run the other 2 models with no upgrades, just ax or maul and Storm Bolter. This takes the total unit cost to 205, still quite reasonable and while taking 8 units may not make sense at that price point, you get more bodies.

Alternatively you could run Termicide units of 3 with 3 Combi Weapons as backfield disruption units that are cheap as chips, still have Counter Attack and still have power weapons! Not bad.

What this gives you is an MSU core and gives you the ability to cover all the objectives on the table, fire up to 16 missiles at 8 different targets a turn, drop special weapons on enemy units, and fight in melee well, too. That many targets are difficult to deal with for most opponents as you simply present too many of them to deal with faster than they cripple your ability to destroy them.

The other nice part of the list is that you don’t worry too much about going first or second. So long as you have reserve manipulation built into your army, you can choose to go second vs. an alpha strike list and then beta strike them out of reserves, anywhere on the table. Plus, with your 48″ range, you can even do this vs. Tau (who typically bone reserve armies) because you can out-range them.

To balance out these elite, low model count units, you want to cover your bases in terms of dealing with units that will give you trouble. The Terminators are great for dealing with hard targets like MCs and vehicles, but they will struggle a bit with hordes (although Frag missiles en masse sure aren’t bad at it). Flyers also need to be dealt with. Add supporting units that fill these roles such as Stormwolves, Rapier units, Sicaran and Scorpius tanks, etc. This ensures that you don’t get overwhelmed by units you can’t deal with.

Astra Militarum or Space Marines would make solid allies for this core of units, too. To provide some bulk in Scouts or Platoons, with low cost support units like Wyverns, Stormtalons, etc.

Is it the best list out there? Nope. But it may be a way to play Terminators in a competitive setting and have fun with it.

What do you all think?


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

36 Responses to “Space Wolf Terminator List…Viable?”

  1. MC Tic Tac December 14, 2014 1:29 am #


    You need a unit of five for a heavy weapon.

    • Reecius December 14, 2014 10:56 am #

      Yes you do, I misread it.

  2. MC Tic Tac December 14, 2014 1:33 am #

    Ignore me
    I misread it

  3. Ed December 14, 2014 3:18 am #

    I thought you needed a unit of 5?

    “For every 5 models in the unit, one model may choose one of the following …”

    If they could take it with three models it would read the same way other entries do:

    “One Blood Claw may take one item from the special weapon …”

    • Reecius December 14, 2014 4:30 pm #

      Yup, I misread it. Sorry for the confusion.

  4. Vaider December 14, 2014 5:43 am #

    MC Tic Tac, why do you say you misread it? You were correct, termies need 5 models for a heavy weapon.

    • Reecius December 14, 2014 10:56 am #

      He is right, I was wrong.

  5. Fagerlund December 14, 2014 5:50 am #

    For 1070 points you get 4×5 Deathwing Terminators with Cyclone (and any number of TH/SS in the unit you want) and Be’lial. To compare, you get 4 Cyclones less, and half the number of units (but three models less), but instead you get Objective Secured and you know which turn they will come in if they Deep Strike (they will also be twin-linked this turn). Be’lials unit will also not scatter. You don’t have to Challenge, but if you do your Sarge can have TH/SS for no additional cost.

    So basically the same thing with the downside of being fewer units… on the plus side they can actually hold Objectives reliably. And in the end it doesn’t really matter because the bane of all Terminators are Hordes, and here it doesn’t protect you to have multiple smaller units because they will simply be multi-charged anyway. 2+ armour sounds very solid and thus we pay a high price for it, but in reality it’s quite easy to bypass. So if you build your army around this you usually quickly end up in trouble as your units starts to crumble…

    It’s a finesse army and some opponents will probably struggle with it, but most of the time I don’t see it working very well as I’ve played some Deathwing!

    • Dat Chu December 14, 2014 8:53 am #

      I am pretty sure Deathwing Sarg cannot take TH/SS because he has to swap his Powerfist/SB for it which he doesn’t have according to the FAQ.

      • Novastar December 14, 2014 11:09 am #

        My dark angel codex says any model my swap it’s WEAPONS with LClaws or ThSs combo, doesn’t specify what weapons have to be swaped

        • Novastar December 14, 2014 11:14 am #

          Just read the FAQ, that is some major BS, not sure why they removed missile lock since 7th changed it and no other unit has it iirc and the powerfeild generator is just stupid beyond belief

    • Prindlehaven December 14, 2014 9:45 am #

      Deathwing sergeants can’t take storm shields.

      • dr.insanotron December 15, 2014 3:40 pm #

        Yes they can.

    • ironicgolem December 14, 2014 10:53 am #

      You need to include Belial in this cost so it’s 1260, else you can’t have this many units.

      It’s half the units/assaults and half the shots for the same cost. This is a tremendous reduction in damage output.

      • Fagerlund December 16, 2014 8:23 am #

        I included Belial in the cost all ready.

  6. DarkLink December 14, 2014 10:00 am #

    Combi-weapons on them for 5pts is super-awesome, too. I’ve been running 5 with combi-meltas out of a drop pod and making things explode.

    • Reecius December 14, 2014 10:57 am #

      Yeah, that is not a bad way to play them, either.

  7. Hotsauceman1 December 14, 2014 1:15 pm #

    Reece, stop trying to make terminators go and go back to scouts.

  8. AbusePuppy December 14, 2014 5:51 pm #

    Heavy weapons thing aside, Terminator units like that have some problems. I actually ran a BA terminator-heavy list in 5th edition for a fair while and did alright with it, but groundpoundin’ Termies like that just don’t hold up well with the kind of firepower you see these days. The Cyclones aren’t really enough to scare most things and the Storm Bolters are fairly meaningless when you can’t crack open transports or hurt Knights or anything.

    SW Terminators are decent because they are (comparatively) cheap, but I don’t think that, in the absence of other special rules, they are even close to good enough to form the basis for an army. You end up with very few models on the table and very homogenous firepower- I mean, what do you even do against 2+ saves or the like? There isn’t much that the army can do, honestly. Supporting elements, especially via other detachments, can help solve some of that but I think the fundamental problem remains: Terminators and kinda slow and clunky at the end of the day and you can’t even Deep Strike them in a SW army. It’s a real problem.

    • TinBane December 14, 2014 6:04 pm #

      There’s a further problem. Leave aside all the issues with plasma, bladestorm, etc.

      If you have a bolter, you can make them take more points off the table, by shooting at terminators, than space marines. Full stop. Terminators aren’t even price competitive against small arms fire.

      And that is a BIG issue for them!

      • WestRider December 15, 2014 5:08 am #

        If you don’t load too much junk on them, SW Termies actually work out about even with Grey Hunters against torrent Firepower. Not quite as good for most load-outs unless you’re kitting up the GH as well, but not nearly as bad as standard Termies.

        In the process, you trade some firepower for quite a bit of extra CC punch against MEq or better Opponents.

        • TinBane December 15, 2014 2:01 pm #

          The problem is though, that they aren’t just taking massed low impact fire. They need to be significantly better at taking that fire, to make up for how comparatively inefficient they are against AP2 and better shots, and rending, and bladestorm, etc.

    • middleagedfatkid December 15, 2014 2:56 am #

      Good points but SW TDAs can deep strike now.

      • AbusePuppy December 15, 2014 10:20 am #

        Oh, can they? Interesting, I hadn’t realized that was re-added.

    • WestRider December 15, 2014 5:09 am #

      SW Termies can at least Deep Strike now. They’ve even got at least one Formation that’s required to do so.

  9. WestRider December 15, 2014 5:19 am #

    If you’re talking MSU Deep Striking SW Terminators, I think you also need to at least mention the Void Claws Formation. 5 Termies with Wolf Claws that Deep Strike Turn 1, re-roll their scatter, and let you re-roll all Reserves Rolls while at least one of them is on the table. And yes, you can take a Cyclone for them, too.

    They’re kind of pricy, and need an attached IC (I use Arjac) to get a Storm Shield in there, but they bring Reserves Manipulation without dumping Points that this list is kind of wasting into a Fort and tying a Unit down manning that Comms Relay. You can also drop them in very first thing and use them to help control the scatter on Turn 1 Pods if you’ve got any of those.

    I’d also think about Lone Wolves. 75 Points for a solo dude with 2 Wounds, Eternal Warrior, TH/SS, and FNP, without taking up a slot. They’re a non-trivial threat, but as single Models, they don’t really look like they’re worth “wasting” firepower on, compared to a Pack of 5 regular Termies. They can really up the Target Saturation factor for just a couple hundred Points. Or go even more so by just leaving them with SB/PW, which I think are only like 50 Points each.

    • Reecius December 15, 2014 11:22 am #

      I agree with you on both points. Void Claws are great for that reroll to reserves and the Lone Wolves are no joke to drop down and cause havoc in the backfield.

  10. JarlJoe December 15, 2014 2:56 pm #

    I’m sorry my friend but terminators are just not worth it. You’re better off to spend in the points on long fangs or blood claws or gray hunters or fast attack her maybe even an imperial knight. but leave the terminators at home because they’re just not worth it. competitively speaking

  11. dr.insanotron December 15, 2014 4:36 pm #

    I like your idea, But I feel that the most competitive TDA army is the Grey Knights. You can run squads of 5 with a psycannon and hammer for 185. take like 8 units of those and 2 level 3 libbys and your good to go

    • Reecius December 15, 2014 5:28 pm #

      Yeah, that is legit.

      With Wolves, the best way to do it may be to go hardcore MSU and run 8×3 with Combi Weapons and nothing else, maybe just a Chain Fist in there.

      • Dr.insanotron December 15, 2014 5:37 pm #

        Yeah I get what your saying. And if someone already has the models I would definitely say try it out. However if it was someone that was looking to start a TDA army I would point them to grey knights. Although to would look into allying I. Some wolf termies for some combi melta and chain fists

        • Reecius December 15, 2014 5:44 pm #

          Fair enough. But yeah, GK definitely bring the most to the table for the points, plus they’re troops, too. Their detachment is bad ass, too.

        • Dr.insanotron December 15, 2014 5:45 pm #

          Maybe run grey knights I the strike squad and the wolves void claw

  12. Valhaal December 18, 2014 10:59 am #

    Why not just go Grey Knights? 205 points gets you 2 Thunderhammers, a Psycannon (Heavy 4, Str 7, Ap 4, Rending? enough of those will threaten almost everything), force weapons, ML 1 per unit, and Hammerhand makes Str 10 attacks from the Thunderhammers. They even get assault grenades. That’s a versatile unit. No storm-shields, sure, but 4+ cover is just as good most of the time, since you rarely see ignore cover AP 2 in any number to threaten 5 units of these guys (and that’d still be just over 1,000 points!).

    • Reecius December 18, 2014 11:33 am #

      Yeah, probably a more effective way to run Termies, for sure.

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