Monday, August 27, 2012

6th ED: Wolves and Pods

I love drop pods. The lists that I always enjoyed playing in 5th used 3x Drop Pods and would deliver 1x squad with Rune Priest, Wolf Guard and 8x Grey Hunters along side 2x pods full of a Wolf Guard and 9x Grey Hunters. I found this to be hit and miss (because sometimes that 3rd pod just won’t come on!) and while survivable because of its high numbers – it lacked an ability to run up and punch you in the face. In games against armies using long range supporting fire like Tau and Heavy Marine (thunderfire) armies it did very well. But against mobile armies it could struggle because as Mars always tells me ‘Drop Pods are only fast once’ and every once in awhile my guys would find themselves struggling to keep up with faster armies.

In 5th there were a couple of other things working against Drop Pods, the mishap table was slightly less forgiving, the reserve rolls were slightly harder and Rhino’s were more survivable than they are now. Not only are those two charts slightly more forgiving now, we have things like ‘Linebreaker’ and ‘First Blood’ that encourage two things that Drop Pods excel at – getting into enemy lines and blowing stuff up. Those are two easy victory points right there that help you with not only winning the game but also serve to put your opponent back on their heels and force them to react to you and what you are doing – rather than executing their plan.

If you think that Drop Pods might work for your army and you play style then next logical question is – how should I use Drop Pods? First of all the minimum number of Drop Pods you want to use with Space Wolves is at least 3. Why three Drop Pods? For starters the ‘Drop Pod Assault’ rule, you take the number of Drop Pods in the army and divide it in half, rolling up, to determine how many Drop Pods hit on turn one. If you take 2 pods you will get one on the first turn and one in reserve, arriving on a 3+ turn two, 3+ turn 3 and automatically on turn 4. Another factor for Wolves is that we cannot teleport into battle like other Marines so we can get one Drop Pod in and then use the homing beacon on it like other armies. Realistically this is why I say ‘three pod minimum’, because the way I play (punch you in the face) requires dudes on the table in sufficient numbers to survive until reinforcements arrive. One Drop Pod delivering 10 wolves is simply not survivable enough to hold out when the majority of your opponent’s army will now be aimed squarely at them.

If you decide that you want to use Drop Pods the next question is, what the heck should I put in them? Really your only two choices in this are Wolf Guard in Terminator Armor and Grey Hunter squads. In my example above I was always using 30 marines in power armor as my assault force with a Rune Priest, 3x Wolf Guard and 26 Grey hunters. Lately I have been running a Wolf Star in place of the Rune Priests squad that looks like this: Rune Priest with Terminator Armor and Master of the Runes, Arjac Rockfist, 3x Wolf Guard with Terminator Armor, Chain Fist and Storm Bolter. The other two pods each have a Wolf Guard with Power Fist, Combi Melta and 9 Grey Hunters with Meltagun, Power Sword and Wolf Banner. This allows me to look at my opponent’s army and decide whether or not to bring the Terminators first turn or to save them in reserve for a counter punch later in the game. Nine out of ten times you are going to hit the ground running with your Terminators and Grey Hunters in the first turn and use the second squad of Grey Hunters as clean up / linebreakers later in the game – but at least you have the flexibility to react accordingly to your opponent.

Next time we will discuss what kids of targets to go after and how to use Psychic Disciplines, instead of JOTWW and Living Lightning, to maximize the effectiveness of our mini Wolf Star.


  1. Consider taking pods for two more units in your army and then have them come down empty. I run 5 pods at 1500 and beyond. It still bothers people that I don't have to deploy anything. This gets me 30 3+ saves in the enemies face on turn one, and the threat to drop a full squad on objectives later in the game.

    If you don't have troops come down in your pods, they make great LOS blocking terrain and can really change the battlefield to your advantage.

    Just my 2c

  2. What do you think about podding 5 PA wolf guard with dual combi weapons?

    Here in Spain they use to run five dudes with 5 combi-plas and 4 combi-melta so you can go after armour or heavy infantry. If someone survives the next oponent turn, you still have some firepower to launch.


  3. I have almost dropped my pods entirely at this point, with the introduction of the Daemons and Helldrakes it pushes us back to the midfield where we should have always been. We took advantage of our superior Grey Hunters for too long and now there are counters out there. Moving back to midfield is where our strength is and where I feel we can be most effective. Squads of 5 don't have enough punch to bring down targets in one turn and will get blown off the board the following turn... at least that has been my experience lately. :(

  4. Yes I see every wolves player playing with 3,5 or even 7 pods but I agree with you that Helldrakes, Daemons and now Tau will force us leaving the pods at home.

    It's a shame, just have finished 2 pods and had bought a third one.

    Anyway, I think a single pod could still be very useful to a deepfight strike unit. Someone has to kill this evil basilisk or defiler sitting in the back of the enemy deployment area.