Sometimes I am accused of Space Wolf hate, but in reality it is because all the good armies get stale fast when the “competitive” lists start to all look the same. Long Fangs anyone? Long Fang spam was kinda obvious for anyone with half a brain that read the codex and understood simple math. It took awhile though for the forces of the Internet to pick up on one little upgrade– going unnoticed for quite sometime. A upgrade that was lost by all the Mark of the Wulfen, ThunderCav, and Wolf Guard talk when the book first came out. The first step that didnt take long, when people noticed the real power of the Space Wolves codex was Grey Hunters survivability and assault capacity. Even before upgrades Grey Hunters were obviously good by any standard, but it wasn’t until you spent just 10 points that their effectiveness becomes awe inspiring… even if it was only for one turn.
The Wolf Standard that little one turn bonus for rolling 1s doesn’t seem all that magnificent until you really think about all the possibilities. Even I didn’t jump on the bandwagon until last year when I saw an entire Grey Hunter Foot army win a major GT just because of his ability to turn the Wolf Standard on when he most needed it. I noticed the little piece of wargear popping up everywhere after that GT culminating in Adpeticon this year when I saw spearhead Tony to championship victories.
The math behind the Wolf Standard is a little harder to wrap your head around when compared to simple mathhammering, it could have been one of the reasons it took awhile to catch on. Anyway back in early 2010 one person saw the great potential in the Wolf Standard and decided to math it for our enjoyment.
Here is a copy & paste of what he wrote…
Wolf Standard: A Statistical Analysis
This article is here to determine the viability of paying 10 points for a Wolf Standard in a unit of Grey Hunters. First, let’s take a look at the exact wording of the item:
Once per game, a unit that includes a Wolf Standard may call upon the power of the wolf. For the duration of the next assault phase, all models in that unit may reroll any dice rolls of one.
Seems pretty simple, even seems like a bad wolf priest at first thought since you can only reroll 1’s. BUT, you can reroll all dice thrown that assault phase…think of all of the die rolls you make in an assault phase. You can reroll 1’s for difficult terrain on your charge move, to hit rolls, to wound rolls, armor saves, armor pen rolls, vehicle damage chart, and sweeping advance just to name the main ones. Instead of hitting with 50% of your attacks against models with a 4-8 WS, you’ll hit with 58.33%. 8.33% doesn’t seem too serious…is it really worth 10 points? Well, let’s say you have 8 Grey Hunters in the first round of combat when you use the banner. Because of counter-charge, you’ll have 3A each regardless of if you or your opponent charged. That is 24 Attacks. Assuming you’re going up against WS-4 T-4 opponents, you’re going to get 12 hits and 6 wounds without the banner. When you roll your 24A with the banner, math-hammer says 4 will be 1’s. You just increased the number of attacks in your unit, effectively, by 4 since you get to roll 4 additional attack dice. Well, now that you’ve hit 14 times (12 initial hits, and 2 off of your 4 bonus attacks). With those 14 dice you’ll get 2.33 1’s and 7 rolls of 4+. The 2.33 re-rolls will net 1.17 wounds. This is a total of 8.17 wounds. Based on our hypothetical opponent, you would need to make 32.67 attacks to cause 8.17 wounds without the banner. Essentially, we got 8.67 additional attacks for one turn for 10 points. The more important thing to note is that we increased our wound output by 36.11% against 4WS 4T opponents for one turn with our basic attacks. So, 5 Grey Hunters would cause 5.1 wounds instead of 3.75 and 10 Grey Hunters would cause 10.2W instead of 7.5W.
Well, that’s fine for when I’m fighting Marines and Orks, but what about IG, Eldar, NIds? What abot when my Wolf Guard with a Power Fist is attached to the unit? What about when Ragnar is in the unit? Fuck, that’s alot of calculations to have to do to figureout Wolf Standard’s viability across the board…or is it?
Here the a list ofthe percent chances of rolling a certain number or higher, right next to it I’ve put the percent chance of rolling that number or higher while rerolling 1’s.
6+ 16.67% 19.44%
5+ 33.33% 38.89%
4+ 50.00% 58.33%
3+ 66.67% 77.78%
2+ 83.33% 97.22%
Notice a pattern? In every case, the ratio that the percent chance went up by was 1/6. In retrospect, it seems painfully obvious that this would be the case since we’re going to be always re-rolling 1/6 of our dice. Well, that is good and fine for a single roll…(and also good for pointing out that we’ll be making 77.78% of our armor saves instead of 66.67%), but we’re rerolling our “to hit” and our “to wound” dice. Again, I first put the chance of causing a wound with a single attack and followed it by the chance to wound with a single ttack rerolling all 1’s. I’ve included the most common instances we’ll come across, but take note that 4+ to hit 3+ to wound is the same as 3+ to hit and 4+ to wound mathematically so I have only included it once here for brevity’s(HA!) sake. If you try and do some of these calculations, please note that I originally took everything out to 10 sig fig’s and have rounded to 2 decimal places for ease of reading.
3+ to Hit and 3+ to Wound – 44.45% 60.50%
4+ to Hit and 2+ to Wound – 41.67% 56.71%
4+ to Hit and 3+ to Wound – 33.33% 45.37%
4+ to Hit and 4+ to Wound – 25.00% 34.03%
4+ to Hit and 5+ to Wound – 16.67% 22.68%
4+ to Hit and 6+ to Wound – 8.33% 11.34%
Once again we have a pattern across the board; you’re getting a 36.11% increase in output when you incorporate both the “to hit” roll and the “to wound” roll. In conclusion, we know that we’re going to increase the success of all single rolls by a ratio of 16.7% and increase our total wounds caused by 36.1% for one turn with Wolf Standard…and all for the cost of a single Hunter-Killer missile. Personally, I feel if your intention is to get your unit into close combat at any point during the game, the 10 points for a 36.1% increase in output for one turn is more than worth it.
If you want to read the comments and what else he had to say check out this link.