Wolf Claw Strike Force Tactics Part 2: The Ironwolves

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Aoooooo! Time for some more super space viking reviews, this time: The Ironwolves! Be sure to check Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner for more great articles.

The Ironwolves are a Great Company of Space Wolves that go to battle mechanized, crushing the enemies of the Imperium beneath their treads!

Space Wolves Army

Article Series:

  1. Wolf Claw Strike Force Overview
  2. Wolf Claw Strike Force Part 2: The Firehowlers

Overview:

The Ironwolves have some exciting special rules that make this a very appealing formation. It revolves around troops in transports and gaining benefits for that combination. It also provides for some interesting playstyles and combinations that are not so often seen on the battlefield and in many ways reminds of of a 5th ed Missile Wolves list which was very effective and popular in that edition.

Composition:

  • 1 Wolf Lord or Wolf Guard Battle Leader
  • 1 unit of Wolf Guard or Wolf Guard Terminators
  • 2-3 units of Blood Claws
  • 2-4 units of Grey Hunters of Land Speeders
  • 1-2 units of Long Fangs
  • 0-1 unit of Wolf Scouts
  • 0-2 Lone Wolves

All units must take enough dedicated transports to transport all the models in the detachment.

Command Benefits:

  • Armoured Onslaught: All Ironwolves vehicles can move an additional 6″ when making flat out moves and when Tank Shocking, enemy models suffer -2 to their leadership.
  • Mobile Assault: Ironwolves can disembark from their vehicles even if they have moved up to 12″.
  • Overwhelming Firepower: All weapon and wargear options on the Ironwolves vehicles are free.

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Tactics:

This is a very cool formation! I seriously dig it. It provides for some fun options and play styles. So first, the Command Benefits here are bad ass. Free upgrades on vehicles saves a ton of points! Razorbacks jump out at you right away as with the turret weapon upgrade, a Hunter Killer Missile, Extra Armor, Storm Bolter and Dozer, you really get some fun benefits you would not normally take. Additionally, a Land Speeder Typhoon with Multi Melta for only 50pts is no joke. You can pack in 4 of them for a measly 200pts and that is some serious firepower!

Additionally, the ability to move 12″ and disembark troops is very, very good. If you have a unit of say, Wolf Guard packing Combi-meltas, this extends your reach considerably. Or, you pack some assault units in an assault vehicle such as a Stormwolf or Land Raider, and your threat range is huge! With a Land Raider, you can make a first turn charge with a decent charge roll.

The -2 leadership on Tank Shocks can win you the game if it scares an enemy unit off of an objective or off the table. In the same vein, an extra 6″ of movement on a flat out move can allow you to reach out and snag an objective that would have otherwise been out of reach. Lastly, if you form the Wolf Claw Strike Force detachment, rushing your enemy and dumping out hordes of infantry out of their transports and then benefiting from Counter-Charge is no joke. Very useful.

I would run this formation with Wolf Guard packing Combi-meltas in a Razorback with all the fixings (I actually prefer the twin Assault Cannon to the Las/Plas load out), 3 units of Blood Claws in Razorbacks with all the fixings and 4 tricked out Land Speeders. Alternatively, Grey Hunters packing special and combi weapons is not at all a bad choice…again in tricked out Razorbacks! 1-2 Long Fangs are still a solid unit and fitting them with your choice of weapon load out (again, with a fully tricked out Razorback) to camp the backfield will be a great addition to your list. A fun trick I have been using is to take Ulrik as my Warlord, stick him in the back with the shooting units where his awesome buffing auras (Preffered Enemy and Stubborn) as well as granting Zealot, FnP 6+, and Monster Hunter to his unit make for a nice shooting combo and keeps your Warlord safe. If you add a CAD to your list, some of the very awesome Rapier artillery units really benefit from these auras, too.

I’d pass on the Wolf Scouts or Lone Wolves for this formation.

If you really wanted have fun with this army, run them in Drop Pods, but take Deathwinds and Locator Beacons on everything and combo that with another detachment featuring lots of Deep Striking units which can benefit from the Locator Beacons! That could provide a surprising, fun army. Also, all those bodies piling out of missile shooting Drop Pods, packing special weapons and benefiting from Counter-charge is nothing to sneeze at.

A solid Auxiliary formation to make the Wolf Claw Strike Force would be Murderfang in a Dreadnought Drop Pod or the Spear of Russ to keep in the mechanized theme. Taking a second Ironwolves Formation to gain the Howl of the Wolves Command Benefit is not a bad idea as you gain the maximum mileage out of the free points on transports. Or, simply skip out on the Wolf Claw and pick and choose some other detachments to create the army you want.

In all, this is a great formation and allows you to play your Space Wolves in a fun, unique way. How would you run your Ironwolves?

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32 Responses to “Wolf Claw Strike Force Tactics Part 2: The Ironwolves”

  1. Charles March 16, 2016 3:19 am
    #

    The land speeder component to me is the best part. You can spam 4 max speeder units and receive about double your points in upgrades.

    • Charles March 16, 2016 3:20 am
      #

      What I mean to say is you get each speeder upgraded which makes them half off.

      • Reecius
        Reecius March 16, 2016 9:35 am
        #

        Yeah, that is solid! Would be fun to play, too.

  2. Frank March 16, 2016 6:08 am
    #

    With a bit of min/maxing, you can put 22 pimped-out speeders in the list. Not saying it’s the best build, but damn it can shoot!

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 16, 2016 8:50 am
      #

      That’s crazy firepower.

    • Jason
      Jason March 16, 2016 1:29 pm
      #

      LOL Just line them up on your back table edge and fire 44 Krak Missiles and 66 Heavy Bolter shots per turn, well at least until your opponent gets his Bolters in range to glance you to death.

  3. fluger March 16, 2016 7:10 am
    #

    Also, the ability to use the counter attack rule means you can still move up, assault with the terminators while disembarking the other units, then in the opponent’s turn they assault in.

    I like the tools this formation brings.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 16, 2016 9:36 am
      #

      Me, too! It looks like a ton of fun to play. I tried it once and got rocked, but I played stupidly.

      • fluger March 16, 2016 12:55 pm
        #

        The key is to play better! 😀

        • Reecius
          Reecius March 16, 2016 1:31 pm
          #

          Hahaha, too true!

  4. Karvala March 16, 2016 9:26 am
    #

    How do you interpret the interaction between the rule:

    All units must take enough dedicated transports to transport all the models in the detachment.

    and the presence of Wolf Scouts and Lone Wolves who can’t take dedicated transports?

    By description you can’t take them as you can’t put them in dedicated transports.

    Just have enough unoccupied spaces in transports to theoretically carry them? Just ignore that rule for them?

    • Jason Wolfe March 16, 2016 9:40 am
      #

      That is a pretty sloppy rule oversight by GW. It specifically says “dedicated transports” and “all the MODELS in the detachment”.

      • Reecius
        Reecius March 16, 2016 10:00 am
        #

        Poorly written rules in a GW game?!?! Say it ain’t so! =P

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 16, 2016 9:59 am
      #

      I read it as you simply need to have enough space in transports to fit everyone, not that they have to take dedicated transports.

      • westrider March 16, 2016 5:44 pm
        #

        Same here. The other odd interpretation I’ve run across on that is that it’s purely about slot availability, people saying that you could take just a bunch of Rhinos and Razorbacks with empty space and still take a couple of Lone Wolves in Terminator Armour. My impression has always been that the Transport Capacity of a Rhino is 0 for Models in Terminator Armour, so you’d need to have a StormWolf or Land Raider with some space to take those.

  5. westrider March 16, 2016 5:53 pm
    #

    I ran this last weekend. Went fluffy, with the Spear of Russ as my secondary, and got beat pretty hard by Necrons, but with more Infantry for better durability, I think there’s a lot of potential here. I also need to get the extra upgrades all actually modeled on my Razors (I agree with you on TLAC, as well, especially in a build like this where you want to keep moving), because I kept forgetting my Storm Bolters and H-Ks.

    Annoyingly, the one time I had a chance to use Counter-Charge, I rolled a 3 on a 1.1″ Charge into Cover.

    Kinda wish it had the option for SwiftClaws, not because I really feel they’re needed, but just because the fluff section lists more Packs of them in the IronWolves than Blood Claws.

    Also, it’s 0-1 WG/WGT, not 1. Makes it a bit more wieldy.

    • abusepuppy March 17, 2016 5:30 am
      #

      I’ve never really been sold on the TLAC Razorback; it spits out shots that are at least mildly threatening to most things, sure, and it chews up light infantry (like Tau/Eldar) or heavy vehicles (like Land Raiders) pretty badly, but it’s just so mediocre against the rest of the field. The Las/Plas Razor not only has a second gun to mitigate Weapon Destroyed results, it’s MUCH deadlier to AV11-12 vehicles, MCs of all stripes, heavy infantry, and anything that is 24.1″ away or more.

      The Counter-Charge benefit of the Wolf Claw Strike Force really shines with the Ironwolves, though, since you can disembark a lot of dudes from non-assault transports on your own turn and then charge them in on the enemy turn (presuming you have at least one other assault unit that gets in, of course.) Sadly, however, I think that Blackmane’s free Drop Pods for everyone probably trumps the Ironwolves for a competitive army in most cases.

      • westrider March 17, 2016 4:26 pm
        #

        I guess our experience just varies. I’ve run both, and despite the considerable effort I put into converting my PlasmaBacks and my desire to use them on that level, I’ve just had to admit that I’ve always had better results from the AssBacks. Weapon Destroyed results are relatively rare these days, (or at least, surviving long enough to shoot again after getting one is), and having Twin-Linked with a high volume of fire is really nice when Shaken, moving 6-12″, and/or firing at Flyers.

        • abusepuppy March 18, 2016 5:01 pm
          #

          See, the thing about volume of fire is that the Las/Plas gets three shots while the TLAC gets four. It really doesn’t shoot THAT much more than the LasPlas does, and its shots have a significantly worse profile against most targets.

          • westrider March 18, 2016 11:52 pm
            #

            That’s assuming you’re within 12″, tho, and even then, only two of those three are Twin-Linked, which is a pretty big deal when firing Snap Shots. At that point, you’re looking at over a 50% increase in average number of Hits from the TLAC, and at 12-24″, the TLAC is dishing out 2 1/2 as many Hits on average. If I’m going to be scooting 12″ to drop dudes off regularly, that’s a significant concern.

          • abusepuppy March 19, 2016 5:51 am
            #

            If you’re already driving 12″, chance are you’re within 12″ of your target already. It won’t _always_ be true, but pretty reliably so.

            Given that the Lascannon and Plasmagun are both higher strength and benefit from AP2 (both against infantry/MCs and when rolling on the damage table), I find that the marginal loss of volume is perfectly fine. Even firing only one shot with Plasma, the LasPlas ends up with similar numbers against AV11 targets and is blatantly superior against AV12.

            basically it boils down to the TLAC essentially just being a single Eldar Jetbike against the majority of targets- and that’s not atrocious, but neither does it impress me. Consistent AP2- and the extended range- do a lot more in my book.

          • westrider March 19, 2016 4:51 pm
            #

            To me, that says more about Scatbikes than about Assbacks.

            I end up in the 12-24″ range zone plenty of times, especially later in the game when it’s kind of broken into a couple of different engagements, or on the first Turn, where it’s pretty much guaranteed unless someone Scouted or Infiltrated closer to me.

            I also find Cover generally makes AP2 kind of underwhelming.

      • WestRider March 17, 2016 4:44 pm
        #

        Oh, and yeah, I definitely agree with you that the Blackmanes are stronger. I’m mostly into the Ironwolves because that’s how I painted my SW when I started them back at the start of 6th.

  6. bigpig March 17, 2016 12:49 am
    #

    Very good write up. I like the concept of the Ironwolves and the Typhoons are the draw for me, but overall I feel it just lacks for top tier. That being said, it has the ability for competent general with a bit of luck to take to the the top. Going to a local RTT this weekend and coaching my 13 year old (ie: I help him with the rules but he makes the decisions). We may go with the IW

  7. Xasz March 17, 2016 2:54 pm
    #

    What are your plans for the 2 HQ’s from the Ironwolves?

    • WestRider March 17, 2016 4:46 pm
      #

      I don’t actually think I’d bother doubling up on the WCSF in general. It’s a pretty heavy tax for Furious Charge and Fear.

      Since the Ironwolves can’t take any of the really good builds for a Wolf Lord (e.g. TW Mount), I just keep him cheap, WGBL with Meltabombs and a Frost Blade or something.

      • Xasz March 18, 2016 3:21 pm
        #

        Yeah we came to the same conclusion, double great pack seems too much in most cases.

        Right now we are playing Ironwolves as single formation(detachment),
        Countercharge is a really cool rule but the heavy assault units you need to make it work are neither that great nor accessible for Ironwolves.

        Instead we are combining the Ironwolves with a CAD or CoF detachment with some thunderwolf units and ironpriests.

        • westrider March 18, 2016 6:33 pm
          #

          I actually think that one approach that might be good is mis-matched GreatPacks. I haven’t run the numbers on it, but something like IronWolves + FireHowlers + Wulfen Murderpack. With the bonuses from Curse of the Wulfen and their Formation, the FireHowlers have decent odds of getting at least one First Turn Charge in a lot of situations, and the IronWolves can push forward far enough that they’ve then got potential to pile in with Counter Charge in the Opponent’s Turn.

  8. Rob March 25, 2016 4:13 pm
    #

    What is stopping you putting your wolf lord on a thunderwolf? So far as I can see there is no restriction that prevents you doing this as the lord doesnt have to be in a transport, it just needs the space available. Unless Im missing something (hopefully not something painfully obvious).

  9. Adam August 10, 2016 12:18 am
    #

    So with the free upgrades, can the vehicles get ceramite plating ? My friend plays wolves and he says the formation says anything from the vehicle upgrade list..

  10. Marc December 14, 2016 12:32 pm
    #

    What do you think about wulfen in LR? Can you move 12” with an ironwolves LR (wolf guards) and charge with wulfen out of it? The rule says “ironwolves unit can disembark…”.
    As for wolf lord, he cannot be on TW as he has to be able to get in the transport. The faq says it does not apply to scouts and lone wolves (so it applies to the lord).

    • WestRider December 14, 2016 6:34 pm
      #

      Nope on the Wulfen Disembark thing. That’s a bonus that is granted to Units from the IronWolves Great Company Formation, not to other Units in the same Army.