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In several different threads, people have debated the value and utility of dire wolves, so I thought a thread of their own would be appropriate. How necessary do you find them? How many units do you take and of what size? Do you ever take a doom wolf? In what roles have they been successful or not successful for you? For those of you who maintain whole kennels of the things, how do you run an army with many dire wolves? And what do you Sylvanian list players think? Do you ever go without them? And most important of all, are they lap dogs or hell hounds?
My Tactica for wolves, with help from Grimbog Elf Ater.
Dire Wolves: One of my absolute favorite units in the game. They are fast, and have good old free reform. And early on in the game, their speed is amazing and will help you, a lot. Put them in a position on the first turn to either flak/rear charge a unit or at least charge a unit. These guys should be put to use, in the beginning, for getting rid of any and all artillery and anything with a bow. Kill them off to save the rest of your army from their shooting. After they have ridded you of all those long ranged weapons that we Counts fear so much, turn them around with your good old free reform and attack the rear of the nearest unit. The units you are looking for are light infantry, fast cavalry, or anything else that you believe will be a good target and wonâ€™t butcher your Wolves. Alternatively you can just sacrifice them to slow your enemy down. I wouldnâ€™t recommend this because they can actually do a decent bit of damage, they are no where near as weak as everyone makes them out to be. But if itâ€™s a choice between a unit you know will come down the field and totally wreck havoc on your guys, and a light infantry unit, block the strong unit. It will keep them occupied for a turn or so, and it lets you get better prepared.
One or two units with 6 to 8 models will allow them to both be disposable and thus you wonâ€™t worry so much about them, and they will also be able to make it to the other side of the field. Using your little squad you can effectively get them where the artillery is, or just mess with a couple units and turn themselves into speed bumps, blocking your enemyâ€™s path. You could also go for 3 or more 5 to 7 model units, small, not to expensive, but a lot of them. Taking your units you can not just do what you can with one or two, but you can also mess with your opponentâ€™s head. You can take all your squads of them and shoot them right into the center of your enemyâ€™s army and just blow up in the center. Youâ€™ll be able to flank and rear attack many of your enemyâ€™s units, thus stalling them like none other. You could also just take all your squads and break them up to do a dual flank attack on your enemy. Or even the good old go for one unit, bust the heck out of it, then move on to another.
Using these tactics for a few games your enemy will actually become more aware of the Wolveâ€™s presence, and as such you have fear on your side (actual fear, not just in game psychology). Using this you can herd your enemy into positions they wouldnâ€™t normally get into, and this will give you a huge tactical advantage because then you can separate units that would be devastating near each other.
However, the Wolves arenâ€™t for everyone and have some glaring weaknesses. Such as the lack of any sort of armour, meaning that you will be very vulnerable in combat, and especially out in the open. You need to get the charge in, if you donâ€™t you can actually get severely hurt and possibly lose your unit/s. So, always try and either go for the charge, or say out of range of any nearby enemyâ€™s charge. And donâ€™t attack the front lines unless itâ€™s on a unit that you know you can widdle down to the point where you win combat and they have to run away. Also, if you decide to run after a unit that you have broken, be careful that you wonâ€™t run to close to another unit, because that will leave you wide open for an attack, which would totally make you lose your tactical edge, unless the unit that you made run will definitely cause future problems and you arenâ€™t that worried about your Wolves. Also, if you last in combat more than one turn, youâ€™re most likely striking last. They have an extremely low likelihood of living through two turns of combat. So, flank and rear attack will be your best friends and the perfect way of keeping you out of combat that evil second round (unless youâ€™re stalling someone, then you want to be in combat as long as you want to stall).
And NEVER forget slavering charge. It can be your best friend, extra strength is great.
And remember you do not get a rank bonus with these guys. So donâ€™t keep them in ranks unless you are moving through terrain features. It will only weaken the unit if you do, and that is bad. And never forget that each on your Wolves counts as 2 models for your unit strength. And as always, flanking is your best friend with these babies (Grimbog Elf Ater).
So, if you feel you want some spice in your army, take a couple units. If you feel you are willing to actually try and have a bit of fun and let loose and see if you like the Wolves, take like 4 or more units. These guys are really useful for any army, but you may just not like them, itâ€™s up to you.
As for a Doom Wolf, no reason, they cost twice as much as a normal wolf and don't have nearly the effectiveness of 2 wolves (they just do double the attacks but doesn't have double the wounds). For the same 20 points, you could get 2 Wolves of a Fell Bat (which is 2 wolves, just look at it's profile, it's the same thing minus the charge ability and with flying instead, but stat wise, same thing as 2 wolves).
Really, after all that's been said, in numerous threads, including my points, I'm just leaving it at one thing:
5 wolves are 50 points. Cheap. So who cares what they do? They cannot fail.
Dire Wolves work great in units of 6. 2 units, one of them for shielding and the other with a Doom Wolf for charges looks OK. Anyways I like ghouls so with Strigoi or Necrarchs I play only 1 unit if 6 wolves (no points for the 2nd). They shield the Black Knights on the flank, then the survivors (if any) marchblock the enemy getting in their rear. Wolves rarely win battles (WS 3), but otherwise are great support unit.