Monday, December 1, 2014

40K TACTICA: Space Wolves - Wolf Scouts




Version: 7th Edition. 2014 Space Wolf Codex

Yeah, those guys. The ones that fell out of favor when 6th hit because they lost the ability to assault on the turn they outflanked. Wolf Scouts may not be considered competitive anymore but they have their uses and are a fun unit to play. Nothing quite keeps your opponent on his toes like when Wolf Scouts are prowling around his flanks searching for the kill!

I'm going to try and do more of these tactica for the new (7th Ed.) Space Wolves codex because that is what I have on the brain while I am putting together my new Space Wolf army. Recently I've scoured the codex for Wolf Scout enlightenment and have been trying to find a spot for them in my competitive list (gasp). The following article is what I have learned and take it for what it is: one Wolf Brother's opinion.

The Space Wolves blog has been putting out new tactica lately so be sure to check them out also, their link is in the blogroll on the left border of this page.

The Fluff
I normally don't talk about the fluff behind units, especially in a tactica article, but Wolf Scout fluff really stands out to me as being unusual when compared to the traditional Space Marine scout. For starters, Wolf Scouts are not neophytes like in every other Space Marine chapter. Nope, this is the Space Wolves and neophytes are real men that fight as Blood Claws to prove their mettle in visceral hand to hand combat.

Space Wolf Scouts are the real deal. They are the Grey Hunter veterans that have proven themselves on the glorious field of battle time and time again.  It is a great honor to serve as a Wolf Scout, having been handpicked by the Great Wolf himself. No ordinary Grey Hunter is picked for Scout duty, only those wily veterans that have a lone wolf streak in them. These men work best in smaller, isolated packs and have a heightened cunning for the hunt. Each Wolf Scout chosen is, without a doubt, among the best stalkers of his peers; to be indoctrinated as a Wolf Scout confirms a veteran's status as a master hunter, a great honor among a culture of fierce warriors.

Wolf Scouts are not members of individual Space Wolf companies like it would be in other Chapters but instead serve The Great Wolf himself. And it is only The Great Wolf whom can lend out his valuable Scouts to other companies. In this way a Wolf Scout's valuable service to The Fang is not squandered by a Wolf Lord because that Lord knows he will be held accountable if The Great Wolf's scouts do not return.

A Wolf Scout surprises his doomed prey.
Vitial Statistics
  • Type: Infantry
  • WS/BS - As a normal Space Marine, no neophyte 3's. Wolf Scouts are veterans and this places                 them a cut above the scouts of other chapters.
  • S/T/W/I/A/Ld - All Space Marine norm.
  • Save - Space Marine Scout Armor, 4+. A purchased Pack Leader has a 3+.

  • Scout armor, boltgun, bolt pistol, frag & krak grenades.
Immediately you might notice that the Wolf Scouts do not have a close combat weapon. Don't worry, in case you want your Wolf Scouts to wade into the thick of the action they can exchange the boltgun for a close combat weapon. Everything else looks standard fare, the grenades help heaps for assaults and handling medium vehicle armor.

Special Rules
  • And They Shall Know No Fear - Standard Space Marine special rule.
  • Acute Senses - This is the special rule that every Space Wolf has but generally gets ignored. However, for Wolf Scouts it will help them find the correct flank to attack approximately 83% of the time. That's quite a good buff for outflanking, improving cost efficiency.
  • Counter Attack - Standard for Space Wolves and great for when your Scouts arrive on the table and the enemy assaults them next turn. Outflanking Wolf Scouts can often find themselves wading into a mess of bad guys so this special rule is a boon.
  • Infiltrate and Scout - Two birds of the same feather that work better together; this is the Scouts meat & potatoes. Outflank if your Wolf Scouts are geared for attack. Infiltrate and then Scout if you are using snipers or want to place some Scouts forward to take/threaten forward objectives. 
  • Move Through Cover - Helps the Scouts with difficult terrain movement, but they are still slow being Infantry. Utilize this ability in terrain for Line of Sight blocking and for making enemies have to charge you through difficult terrain.
  • May included up to five more Wolf Scouts - At the same cost as a Grey Hunter the price isn't too bad. The problem is that Wolf Scouts are often suicide units so best left at minimal numbers because you can get the same number of  Special Weapons at 5 men as you do at 10 men.
  • Camo Cloaks - Costs 2 cents per Wolf Scout and was missing from the last codex. Cloaks make Wolf snipers viable and better than their Space Marine counterparts.

  • Wolf Guard Pack Leader - One Wolf Scout can be upgraded to a WGPL for ten cents. He comes with Power Armor, an extra attack and Ld 9. He may take items from the Melee and/or Ranged Weapons list and this is why you would purchase him - for access to a Combi-Bolter for ten extra cents. So that is a 20 cent investment for an extra Melta/Flamer/Plasma one-shot. Is it worth the cost? Probably so, it doubles your chances of taking out the target.
  • Melta Bombs - The WGPL can take Melta Bombs for 5 cents. Eh, if you got a space nickel go for it, you could punk a Walker as part of your bag o' tricks.
  • Any Scout can replace his Boltgun for a Shotgun or Close Combat Weapon - Both options are free. If your Wolf Scouts are Outflanking you probably want to get the Close Combat Weapons, unless you really think your Bolters are going to make a difference? Maybe against some weak Xenos scum but I'd rather take the CCW. Does anyone use Shotguns except for Guard? 
  • Any Scout can replace his Boltgun for a Sniper Rifle  - Costs a mere penny per Wolf Scout but we all know how much sniper rifles kinda disappoint. As much as sniper rifles seem to let us down they do have some advantages: 36" range, Precision Shot on a 6 To-Hit roll, always Wounds on 4+, AP 2 on a 6 To-Wound roll and S 4 vs. vehicles. Sounds like a lot of good stuff doesn't it? That's a lot of having to roll 6's which is the sniper rifle's downfall. However, Wolf Scouts are not beginners and hit on 3+ unlike neophyte scouts that hit on 4+. This sort of makes sniper rifles look OK for us and could be useful in the right circumstances (a backfield objective guarding Scout pack).
  • Two Scouts may replace Bolter for one of the following:
  • Plasma Pistol - For one of these you can get another Wolf Scout. Worth consideration if you need more dakka but not recommended for sniper or suicide Scouts.
  • Power Weapon - Can certainly help in melee but your Scouts have to make it there first. Again, you could buy another Wolf Scout for the cost. Don't bother for sniper or suicide Scouts.
  • One Scout can take an item from the Special Weapon or Heavy Weapon List - Lots of options. Heavy weapons are only going to be useful for static units so that means a sniper pack. A Special Weapon is pretty much a must take for Outflanking Wolf Scouts. So lets break it all down.
  • Heavy Bolter - OK for shooting Infantry or vehicles with light armor.
  • Missile Launcher - The jack-of-trades but master of none. Worth consideration; recommended over the Heavy Bolter. You can also purchase Flakk missiles for a further 15 cents if that makes you feel any better.
  • Lascannon, Multi-Melta, or Plasma Cannon - May not be taken by Wolf Scouts.
  • Flamer - Cheap and cheery, packs a punch against hordes and helps Overwatch.
  • Melta Gun - The 'ole reliable for popping cans and putting Wounds on big things. The default Scout weapon..
  • Plasma Gun - Can't go wrong with Plasma, it's versatile, but it is not an assault weapon.
Bringing a Ride Along for the Hunt
Burn a Fast Attack slot for a Drop Pod or Rhino? I'm not seeing the Drop Pod as being all the useful because the Wolf Scouts have Outflank to deliver them close to the enemy. Wolf Guard do Drop Pods better with more weapon options. The Rhino on the other hand will provide protection from small arms fire but can not use Infiltrate or Scout because the transport is not dedicated. Another problem is that you won't be able to assault the turn you disembark so you are going to have to bring some dakka and find some cover. I don't think I can recommend either transport since it removes the Wolf Scouts best rules. Grey Hunters and Wolf Guard are better choices for Drop Pods and Rhinos.

Air Wolfs
What about hitching a ride on a shiny new Space Wolf flyer? Sure, you could do it but you become like normal Grey Hunters but with worse armor. Blood Claws, Grey Hunters, Wolf Guard all make better options for air transport. Here is an idea though, load up a flyer with sniper scouts and drop them off at an advantageous sniper nest. Probably a bad idea but I thought I would throw it out there.

Putting it all Together

Wolf Scouts have some variety in use which is why I recommend every Wolf Brother should have Wolf Scouts in their collection. Wolf Scouts have the potential to help you win games and hopefully bring some extra fun.

IMHO Wolf Scouts have two main builds and each build has it's own versatility. I will explain the Hunting Pack and Sniper Pack in detail below.

Potential Wolf Scout Builds

Hunting Packs

Hunting Pack, Small
Wolf Scouts x4, meltagun, close combat weapons instead of bolters.
Pack Leader w/ combi-melta and melta bombs.
@ 95 

This is what Wolf Scout squads looked like in the heydays of 5th edition, they outflanked behind the enemy and either took out a vehicle or charged right into melee (you could do that then). They were competitive then but people rarely take them anymore for the reasons I have already addressed earlier. What this unit brings to the tabletop today is that it still has great potential to pop a vehicle, as long as the vehicle is close to the board edge. Yeah, smart opponents won't be doing that; veteran Wolf Brothers long for the days our Wolf Scouts could come on from the enemy's long table edge.

This unit is now more of a distraction unit but able to take out targets of opportunity if within reach. They can also threaten backfield objectives but probably won't have enough strength to take them unless they are guarded by minimal units or some weak xenos scum. At the very least this unit should be able to force your opponent into redirect assets to deal with your Wolf Scouts. So, to get your points worth out of your small Hunting Pack don't make them easy to take out, hide them and use cover and force your opponent to deal with them in their backfield.

The small Hunting Pack is relatively cheap, which is a good thing, costing you 100 cents. If you are pinching pennies you can go minimal and drop the Pack Leader and save 20 cents but that halves your chances of threatening vehicles.

Hunting Pack, Large
Wolf Scouts x9, meltagun, close combat weapons instead of bolters.
Pack Leader w/ combi-melta and melta bombs.
@ 165

This pack means business and clocking in at 70 cents more than the small Hunting Pack. Like wolves circling in for the kill this pack brings numbers to take down larger prey. The best target would be a transport, pop it with Melta then charge the wounded prey that falls out. Backfield support units would be another favored prey. In any event this pack should be able to stand up to shooting better than a smaller pack and can threaten enemy objectives nicely as they should have the numbers to take it unless facing a better melee unit.

If you want to get fancy you can give camo cloaks to your pack and try use ruins for cover but you never know what the terrain might be so it is a gamble. I would only try this trick in friendly game settings.

The large Hunting Pack is going to make your opponent sweat knowing that it is prowling on his flanks, so go for the throat!

Sniper Packs

Sniper Pack, Small
Wolf Scouts x5, sniper rifles x5, camo cloaks x5.
@ 85

A new favorite? Maybe or maybe not, but the Sniper Pack is decidedly tastier with the addition of camo cloaks and besides, they are very cool looking models. I think the strength of the Sniper Pack is as an alternative to a Troop babysitting a rear objective. Comparing costs they are almost the same. With the sniper rifle's 36" range the Scouts can reach out and touch enemy units where the Troops usually find themselves out of range. Sniper rifles (despite their finickiness) are decent at producing Precision Shots and threatens to put wounds on high Toughness models. They are not so great at engaging hordes or models with good saves.

Setting up your Sniper Pack in ruins with a backfield objective is, of course, ideal to make use of the camo cloaks. Or, if needed, you can infiltrate them forward into ruins at the middle of the field and threaten nearly the entire board with their range. I would not be afraid to use Go to Ground to get the 2+ cover in ruins; I think you can afford to miss a turn of firing sniper rifles to prevent casualties, yeah. Scouts in ruins with cloaks are solid gold for staying alive against shooting and holding objectives. If cover denying shooting is bothering you then just hide from line of sight or go to the ruin's lower level to avoid bothersome artillery like Wyverns.

If you want a bigger weapon's punch you could purchase a Heavy Weapon but unless you have extra points to burn you might be better served sticking with the cost efficient sniper rifle spam. Both Heavy Weapon choices has it's merits but the Missile Launcher is the better option. You could upgrade with Flakk missiles but that is a lot of points used for just one anti-flyer shot a turn.

Overall, I'm not saying Wolf Snipers are all that competitive (maybe just a little?) but what I am saying is that they should be in every Wolf Brother's toolkit. I am personally looking forward to testing out a Sniper Pack in my Thunderwolf army, someone has to guard that home objective!

Sniper Pack, Large
Wolf Scouts x10, sniper rifles x9, missile launcher, camo cloaks x10.
@ 184

If you want sniper power in your Space Marines then this is the best you can do of any Marine Chapter. By spamming 9 snipers you are almost doubling your chances of rolling some 6's for precision shots and rending Wounds. IMHO the large Sniper Pack is an effective unit, though unfortunately, they are outclassed by more efficient units like Grey Hunters and Wolf Guard.

Use this pack to harry the enemy leaders and special weapon personnel as you try to pick them off. High toughness models are another priority target, you should be able to force them to make about 3.5 saves per turn. Lower priority targets would be models with crappy armor saves, dropping about 3 or 4 per turn on average.

I think this pack will benefit from having a Heavy Weapon to support it because you want to keep away vehicles and units that will charge your snipers. Just remember that whatever your Heavy Weapon shoots at the snipers are shooting at it too so pick your targets carefully.

Your Turn
OK, now it's your turn. I consider these tactica articles as fluid and open to change. If anyone has any comments, suggestions, corrections or kudos then please leave a comment.


  1. I think this is a great breakdown for Wolf Scouts in 7th edition! I like the idea of bringing scouts and a guard armed with melta, use it in tandem with some other deep striking melta squads and you have an alpha strike that could make any competitive interwebz list start sweating!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Blue. Wolf scouts with melta is indeed a classic. I'm thinking to use them in tandem with Void Claw and Thunderstrike formations to get the best bang for the buck.

  3. So just re-read the codex entry for wolf scouts, and you can squeeze a whole lot more plasma into them then melta. Two plasma pistols, a plasma gun, and a wolf guard with dual plasma pistols (or dual combi plasma for slightly cheaper), all for just shy of four thunderwolf cavalry! Infiltrate those bad boys up front along with some melta toting grey hunters, and you have a truly juicy alpha strike!!