Friday, January 15, 2010

Space Wolves: Land Speeders

Visionaries of the early 20th century predicted we'd all have personal flying cars by now. They were only mostly wrong... now everyone can have models of the flying cars predicted in the 41st millenium! So easy, even a Space Viking can fly one! These figs are "affectionately" known as "The Hockey Puck of Doom", "Flying Rollerskate", or even "That Damned Model I Couldn't Assemble Without 4 C-Clamps, Rubberbands, and JB Weld"...

You can check out my more mainstream article for the Space Wolves blog over here.

A quick look between the Space Marine and Space Wolf Codexes will show that this unit was not a simple cut and paste job... after all, they switched up where the "Typhoon" upgrade was listed and added "per model" to all the costs! What, you were expecting SW specific "Wolf's Eye Targeters" or "Missiles of Morkai"? Sorry, but excluding page layout, the Space Wolf Land Speeder has exactly the same options as a Vanilla one.

For those few of you who have no idea how a Marine Speeder works, they are a classic example of build dictating play. When we exclude the "waste of time" builds, we get two basic styles:
1. Suicide Speeder. Typically takes a Multi-Melta, is usually fielded solo, and is considered disposable. They Deep Strike in hopes of nailing an enemy tank, blocking Line of Sight or Movement, and any other annoying thing you can think up. Optionally, they sometimes also take a Heavy Flamer as a backup weapon for Weapon Destroyed results or opponents with no tanks.
2. Long Range Support Speeder. Typically takes 2 Heavy Bolters or a Heavy Bolter and Typhoon Missile System. Assault Cannons and Multi-meltas can be used, but aren't recommended due to their medium-short range. They are often seen fielded in squadrons to minimize KP and Force Org use. These units use speed and range to hose down the enemy. It's worth noting that the Typhoon variant is that the missile pods are ventrally mounted, placing them much higher than the chin-mount. A Rhino in front of the Speeder would block the chin mount, while one in front of a Typhoon is enough to confer an Obscured cover save, but not grant it to the Speeder's target. (I'd show it in pictures with real models, but damnably I can't do this. I built my Typhoon back in 3rd before there was a model and used under-wing slung pods...)

So despite all this, is there any difference between Wolf and Vanilla Speeders? Yes! One nice thing about the Space Wolf Codex is that we don't really get Attack bikes. Why's this nice? Because there's no need to debate Landspeeders versus Attack Bikes. Instead, we have Landspeeders versus Thunderwolf Cavalry, Swiftclaws, Skyclaws, and Fenrisian Wolf Packs. We also have Wolf Scouts for mid-game anti-tank tactics, matching many of the benefits of a Suicide Speeder. Still, they might be a good option if your force has a decent amount of other vehicles to protect or draw fire off your Speeders. I could see a unit or two of Support Speeders forming a mobile firebase in support of a heavily mechanized force.

In the final analysis: Like many other things in the Wolf Codex, the quality of result you get from Speeders will be very conditional. The overall composition of your force, their strategic and tactical use, and even the composition of your opponent's force will drastically affect this. While you may see Speeders from time to time, I doubt many Wolf Lords will favor them over the more "Wolfy" units otherwise available.

***Images courtesy of Break Taker and Turbo-Squid***

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