Welcome back to Goonhammer’s series for aspiring Titan Principes. We here at Goonhammer’s own Collegia Titanica know that Adeptus Titanicus can seem intimidating to players unfamiliar with its particular quirks, but this series aims to equip you with everything you’ll need to play out epic clashes on the battlefields of the far future with your very own Titan Battlegroup. In this series, we’ll be walking you through how to build your battlegroup and command it to glory, including everything from which Titans to include and how to equip them, through to how to command them on the field of battle to secure ultimate victory.
What’s that? A whole new Titan? You heard right, we’ve got an entirely new class of God-Engine here, complete with a flashy new weapon in the neutron laser. Is it worth adding to your next Titan walk? We’re here with the answer, thanks to Games Workshop sending us out a preview model.
Dire Wolves in a Nutshell
At first glance it’s a funny looking Warhound titan, with a somewhat similar silhouette and basically the same wolf head. Unlike its slightly smaller cousin, though, it has a giant gun strapped to its back and much smaller “arm” guns. It unfortunately doesn’t bring much in the way of loadout variety: you’re either taking a Neutron Laser or a Volcano Cannon on its carapace, and are forced to bring an ardex defensor mega-bolter, which is just a single weapon for both “arms”.
It’s only a little slower than a Warhound with Speed 7″/11″ and Manoeuvre 2/4, so it’s still able to get into position easily. What it gains over the Warhound is 1 extra Servitor Clade (for 3 total) and 1 extra pip of green on its reactor track, meaning that rolling a single double reactor dice won’t put you into orange! However, its shield track is identical to a Warhound’s, so if it gets caught out, it’ll go down fast.
As far as damage tracks are concerned, it’s slightly hardier than a Warhound, for instance requiring 15+ for Critical hits on the Body (instead of the Warhound’s 14+), and a little harder to damage overall but with identical numbers of damage pips on each of its damage tracks, the modifiers will add up quick.
What really sets it apart is its new special rule, Stalker. Dire Wolves are deployed last, after all other units have been set up on the board. Then, you can deploy it anywhere on the board at least 8″ away from enemy units. If you deploy it outside your deployment zone, it has to be at least 50% obscured from all enemy units.
That’ll put it pretty close to your opponent’s forces pretty early on, but does it really want to be that close? With only a handful of shield stripping shots and a single shot draining weapon on its back it’s not going to be doing a whole lot of hunting by itself and since they can’t form into squadrons either there’s no chance for shield sharing. It will die.
Bair: Vulcanum would like a word…I can’t wait to squadron this up with a Reaver or Warlord to share shields and make coordinated strikes.
Realistically, your goal here isn’t to put it close to your opponent’s forces, but to have it come from an unexpected angle while guaranteeing a clear shot on First Fire with your powerful carapace weapon out of the gate, something made easier thanks to its 4+ Command value.
How to Field a Dire Wolf
So how do you actually take one? At first, you might think there are no maniples that they fit into. Flip that command terminal over, though, and you’ll find the rules for deploying this bad boy. While they have the same Auxiliary Titan rule as Warbringers and Warmasters, limiting you to one Dire Wolf per maniple in your Battlegroup as support, the real attraction is their Heavy Scout Titan rule. This rule allows you to instead swap out a single optional Warhound in any maniple for a Dire Wolf. If you’re Legio Audax, you can swap it in for a single Reaver or mandatory Warhound instead, so long as all of your titans are still Scale 6 and under.
In either case the Dire Wolf counts as the Titan it replaced, letting them benefit from some of the more unusual maniple rules and opening up a lot of really cool list-building options. More on which maniple traits this benefits later, though. For now, if you’ve ever wished you could slap a big old volcano cannon on a Warhound, now you can.
It costs you 210 points to buy the chassis and you’ll need to buy a Neutron Laser or Volcano Cannon on top of that, along with the Ardex Defensor cannon.
These were shown off by Warhammer Community when the titan was first announced in January 2022.
Not arm weapons, torso weapon, singular. It has what looks like 2 smaller mega-bolters, but is really just a single weapon system. In most situations it’s just a vulcan mega-bolter that doesn’t get the +1 to hit at short range. However, it picks up the Paired rule in exchange, so if one of them is obscured you fire half shots. This basically means that if you’re using it to peak around corners and take cheeky pot-shots with the carapace weapon, you may only get three shots with the bolter, but this is honestly fine because you’re not taking this thing for the bolter anyway.
Now this is why you’re bringing this Titan. The first option here is the Volcano cannon, which is identical to the Reaver arm weapon in all ways except that it has +1 to hit at short range (30″) making it a little more reliable and the Carapace rule so it can’t shoot at Scale 5 or lower within 6″ of it. In other words, don’t get charged by Knights. Ground-breaking advice, here, I know.
The other option is brand-new, though, and a lot more interesting. Just like the volcano cannon, the Neutron Laser fires in your full front 90 degree arc, has the carapace rule, and is a Draining weapon, so you’ll have to push your reactor before firing – that extra pip on the reactor track will be worth its weight in gold. It’s a single shot weapon without the Blast trait, and can fire up to 60″ range, and gets +1 to hit within its 30″ short range. So far, it’s sort of an odd choice for a forward-deploying Scout Titan, but there’s a bit more going on here.
It also has the Shock and Bypass rules which is an incredible combination that we’ve only had on the Natrix Shock Lance so far. Bypass does what it says, it bypasses void shields entirely (but not Knight Ion shields) so after you hit you move straight to armour roll, whether or not the target has void shields up. After making that armour roll against a Titan (again, not Knights) if its still alive after dishing out the damage you roll a D6: if you caused a Direct, Devastating or Critical hit then on a 3+ the target immediately takes a Shutdown order, replacing its current order, but removes the Shutdown in the end phase instead of staying through the next turn as normal. If you did not cause any damage though then instead this only happens on a 6. This can be incredibly devastating and with a gun at S7 depending on your target you can be shutting down a key enemy titan in each of your turns. It is a draining weapon though and this titan’s reactor is not very long at all, once its taken 3 heat (which could happen in 2 rolls) it gets to be in danger of crippling itself, or if you’re really unlucky completely destroying itself.
So that’s what the titan does so now let’s look at how you might want to field it in your list. The lighter maniples might seem an obvious choice but it can benefit from some of the heavier and mixed maniples too.
- Venator Light – Maybe one of the most obvious choices here. Replacing a Warhound and counting as one for the maniple’s Opportunistic Strike ability. A fun little interaction here is that if the Dire Wolf’s Neutron Laser causes a shutdown order and the target had had shields, the Reaver from the same maniple gets to make a free shot, because the shields were dropped due to an attack.
- Regia Battleline – As mentioned above, if you swap out a Warhound for a Dire Wolf here you’ll get to share shields with a Warlord and also have the range with your weapons to hang back with them. I think this will be a popular choice to add durability to an otherwise weaker engine and shutdown enemy engines for the Warlords to make kill shots on.
- Dominus Battleforce – For similar reasons to add a bit of survivability to the titan, allowing the knights from the same maniple to take hits for it and cause negatives to hit against it while they’re still alive. Not a cheap maniple to take however for it since you’ll normally need to take a Warlord and 2 Reavers first. Solaria could have fun with it though replacing the Reavers with Warhounds.
- Precept – Since it’s not able to squadron up for more reliable orders like Warhounds, it’s not too bad off with a 4+ command value, but being able to take a First Fire order on a 2+ to get a shutdown on an enemy early in the turn could be game-changing for you. Adding that level of reliability is just never a bad thing.
- Lupercal – This is the most reliable way to squadron a Dire Wolf if your legion traits won’t let you. It still counts as a Warhound, so it gets to join up in squadrons every turn. This means it can merge voids to make it a bit harder to damage, but more importantly, it can now make coordinated strikes. Pushing that neutron laser to an effective S8 to be able to more reliably score direct hits means easier Shutdowns.
- Mandatum – In a Mandatum, the Direwolf will get access to easier First Fire orders and be able to land hits easier on targets near it’s master – with the distraction of a Warlord bearing down you could land some juicy flank shots. And if you can get the Warlord close to your target, the +1 to hit makes the neutron laser’s Shock rule that much more reliable.
- Arcus – The Dire Wolf still acts as a Spotter thanks to the Heavy Scout Titan trait, so either build can provide some extra punch or weaken the targets for the Warbringer to land some pie plates on.
This really deserves its own section because of how differently Audax make use of the Dire Wolf. Instead of replacing a Warhound, they can instead replace a mandatory Reaver, so long as all the titans in the maniple are still Scale 6. They can’t swap more than one, so the Corsair maniple isn’t an option, but this has opened up a few new maniples previously unusable by Audax.
- Ferrox Light – Not just the Dire Wolf but all of your Warhounds hitting even harder when they close in on targets? Not a bad thing. Won’t benefit Ursus claws unfortunately but does help everything else.
- Venator Light – This is probably the singular time you want to take the volcano cannon over the neutron laser on your Dire Wolf, and even then it’ll be hard to make good use of with how much heat you’re generating. That said, being able to pop shields off with Warhounds and get free shots of any kind is a new trick for Audax to have access to. You’ll want to take Enhanced Coolant probably to mitigate some of that heat.
- Janissary – One of two most easily forgotten maniples, and for good enough reason. It’s one more possibility for Audax now but still won’t be taken as often as the others. Being able to activate some Knights alongside a Warhound for a charge is nice, but not as reliable as other options.
Legio Tricks and Tips
Aside from Audax benefiting from a unique rules set with the Titan which other Legios are going to benefit from one of these heavy scout engines?
- Vulcanum/Venator- Being able to squadron up with any other titan gives very easy access to coordinated strikes. Doing this with a Warlord to get the Shutdown and then immediately follow up coordinated fire has the potential to just remove titans from the field – if lined up correctly.
- Praesagius – Can make great use of the Pinpoint Accuracy trait to reroll hit locations into things they are more likely to wound with the Neutron laser to increase overall effectiveness at long range.
- Crucius – The Warmonger’s Bi-Folded Power Containment wargear can help keep the reactor under control and keep firing twice a turn.
- Solaria – The Imperial Hunter’s Cameleoline Shrouding can be used on sniping builds to give them some more durability.
- Vulpa – On the flipside, Vulpa Dire Wolfs can deploy aggressively as they can use their Disruption Emitters as a counter charge threat for anything that gets within 11″. Perhaps more importantly, though, scoring a shutdown will make it that much easier for your clawlord to get across the table.
- Ignatum – The Fire Wasps have a few synergies that look to work nicely together. The Foe-Slayer trait applied to a Princeps Seniores in a Lupercal performing a coordinated strike will get their Neutron Laser up to Strength 9.
Soggy: Yes, I realise this is rather Johnny Combo.
On top of that, Gravitonic Sensor Array will help land your shots at range and if they do come close the rerolls from We Loyal Few applies.
The list goes on, and you’ll find the Dire Wolf has synergies in most lists. We’re curious to see how people field them.
Who’s a good boy?
The Dire Wolf is. It offers a specialist role that will complement many battlegroups, time will tell in the long run as to which is the more popular variant as each has very different things to offer.