Hey everybody, Danny here again with another new feature: Know-A-Formation! Seeing as contemporary 40k is really defined by formations, it is important to know how these formations work and what common ones you see on the table top.
Without further ado, let’s get into a solid formation that can either form the core of an army, add some variety to another army, or be the engine to a meat grinder of a list, the Wulfen Murderpack.
Source: Curse of the Wulfen. Space Wolves Faction
2 to 5 units of Wulfen. No restrictions.
Yep, that’s it. You just need to take at minimum 2 or up to 5 units of these beastly wolf-men. They also get two huge bonuses that can really be the guzzoline in your kamicrazee death machine:
Infectious Ferocity: As per the Curse of the Wulfen rule, you gain +1 to the Hunt/Kill Tables for every unit of Wulfen on the table after the first. This potentially gives you a +4. As part of this, there is now a new rung on the ladder, a “7” on the Wulfen chart (so only achievable via this formation). For Space Wolf units not in combat: You get a free move as if it was the movement phase. For Space Wolf units in combat: +1 attack.
Orgy of Slaughter: Wulfen themselves gain exploding 6s, so any 6 to hit in close combat generates an additional attack. As it is not mentioned in the FAQ, the RAW wording is pretty clear: These extra attacks can generate further extra attacks. Sweeeeeet.
So how do you use it?
Well, it is important to note that the Wulfen themselves are mean, mean units. Each one packs 3 base attacks, WS 5, Str 5, 2 wounds, and inherent Feel No Pain. That is not too shabby at all. They also have access to Thunder Hammer/Storm Shields for Str 10 goodness and 3++ invulnerable save, Axes for Str 8, AP 2 that swing at initiative when charging, and Claws for Str 6, AP 2, initiative 5 Shred weapons that still generate +1 attack for two hand weapons. Just that alone is bonkers, but they have a ton of special rules like Rage (so at worst, 5 attacks on the charge), Counter-Attack (so always counting as charging in the first turn of combat), can run and charge in the same turn (what?!?!?), and if that wasn’t good enough, they still get their full attacks even if killed before their initiative step, and if they have already swung, they get to swing again! Not to put too fine a point on it: These guys are easily one of the (if not THE) best melee units in the game, pound for pound.
So, with that in mind, you can easily use this formation to quickly and cheaply add several units of Wulfen to your army. There is no tax here, so if you have an extra 400ish points in a list and want some melee punch, you can get two nicely kitted small units that will murder almost anything else. This makes this formation ideal for slotting into a shooty army where you just want to be able to intercept any melee units that come into your lines while your shooting elements do their thing. Wulfen and Rip-Tide Wing? That’s a scary combo (as one of our local players, Trevor, is want to demonstrate).
You can also sell out and go for an entire army of Wulfen. At 1850, you can have a 50 wulfen with 350 points worth of upgrades (sorry, not all TH/SS, but 350 pays plenty of 8 point axes and 12 point claws). Is this the best possible approach? No, but is it a serious skew list that can win a good amount of games? Yes, yes it is.
You can also build the Wolf-Star missile with this formation, an army build that can rocket a unit of Thunderwolves potentially 36 inches across the table in a single turn. Yes, you heard that right, 36 inches. This build relies on utilizing The Curse of the Wulfen and the other formation bonus. By taking small wulfen squads (like 4 or 5), you can get a 50% (or at most 66%) chance of sending a Thunderwolf unit flying across the table. These wulfen units, by necessity, will not be very large or well-kitted as the list is points hungry, but sending a mini-Thunderwolf-Star into your opponent’s line on the top of 1 is pretty brutal. You may see an interesting variant with 5 small squads with just axes and several small Thunderwolf-Stars for a lot of first turn charges and a two wave approach.
Lastly, you can Deathstar it by having 1 fully kitted, badass machine and one smaller one to run around and eat up any backfield attackers. With 10 wulfen, 6-7 with TH/SS and the rest with axes, you have a mean unit that get a 2++ with sanctuary, invisibility, endurance to keep away Instant Death, or of course, Electrodisplacement (for those that use it full power) to fly across the table and assault anywhere. With all that str 10 that always gets to swing or even gets to swing twice, exploding 6s, and then the characters you throw in, wow. In my Deathstar experience, I still think a full Wulfen-Star is the hardest hitting melee unit that will truck even other Deathstars.
So, how do I beat it?
Well, Wulfen need to be in combat, so the first thing to do is as always keep it out of combat with anything you want to live. The more you can dance around it, keep it contained, and keep it slowly munching rather than multi-assaulting and killing many things at once, the more likely you can win via the mission. As always against Deathstars, you need to be very mindful of how you move your units, and there is nothing wrong with moving a unit forward to die while your other units move to the flanks.
Wulfen are also pricey to really turn up to 12, which means that depending on how they build it, they will either have just two or three small units without a huge amount of defense or just one or two big units that can only be so many places at once. This means if you are fast enough, you can swing around them.
Also, Wulfen are still t4, so even massed bolter fire can wrack up enough wounds to start whittling them away, and with at most 20 wounds of Wulfen in the unit, this is not the most resilient of the Deathstars. Losing just a few wulfen (which is not that hard to do) can result in an appreciable drop in power. This means that a shooty army does have a chance to really cripple the unit. What about a un-buffed or non-kitted wulfen unit? They are not that hard to kill at all with only a 4+ save and Feel No Pain. Because Wulfen hit so hard and with so many attacks, it is not likely they’ll leave survivors and stay safe in combat during your shooting phase, so you will get plenty of chances to gun them down.
Like any Deathstar unit, Wulfen are vulnerable to stomps. As each wulfen is a vital part of the machine, a roll of a 6 can gut a unit pretty decidedly. Wulfen can easily kill a knight in a single round, but unless they have hammerhand up to make those axes str 10 at I5, the knight is likely going to stomp at I1 and then die gloriously, and if you get lucky, the scattered explosion will catch a few more in the D zone.
Lastly, without dipping into allies, Wulfen do not have Hit and Run, so yep, you can still bog them down with disposable bodies (unless it is a full Wulfen-Star, which is likely to one round just about anything you throw at them except maybe Wolf-Tide or maybe a Guard blob squad with Azrael). So if you are facing a smaller Wulfen squad, you can try to lock them in place for a turn or two.
Wulfen are no joke, but they really need to be in combat to be effective, and so knowing what they can do (murder whatever they touch) is an important step in beating them if you see them across the table.
Also, contributing to the TFG Radio Patreon couldn’t hurt either.