Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thunderwolves and Nids: The Battle of Base Size!

 Old School here to discuss the issue of base size, in particular, the base size for units that don't have models yet. I have heard the debate of base size many times and after reading an article at Craftworld Lansing, I decided to write an article on how we arrive at our base size choices and the train of logic used to decide how we base our baddest beasts ...

Now the first model I will cover is the Thunderwolf. This is hotly debated in some net circles and has been a frequent topic of discussion at the FLGS. Do regular thunderwolves use 60mm "MC" bases or do they use the long, skinny "Cavalry/Biker" base?

The base size here is important on the table as 60mm wolves can spread out far and really hit a tank line or a couple units very hard. Biker bases, not being as wide in the front, can gang up harder on a single unit, getting all the t-wolves into CC, but decreasing the likelihood of multiple. The argument typically comes from the crowd who dislikes the 60mm and would rather the T-wolves have biker bases. While I respect their opinion, let's examine the situation:

Folks that argue for the Biker base frequently point to the fluff in Canis Wolfborn's codex entry where his thunderwolf is mentioned as the biggest thunderwolf (the model comes with a 60mm base), therefore all the other ones must be smaller. I can see where that argument comes from and I respect the chain of logic used to arrive at that point, but at the same time, define "the biggest thunderwolf;" he may weigh more or may just be a little bigger.

I look to the Ork Warboss as an example. Warbosses literally grow as the gain the fear and respect of their fellow Orks, some are said to be the size of dreadnought, but in game, they are represented on a 40mm base, the same as the mega armoured nobz - in fact Thrakka, the biggest and the toughest Ork, who also wears Mega armour also is on a 40mm base. This is my train of logic. I'm not telling the Biker base guys they are wrong, but I respectfully argue my place to field my converted models on the base I logically believe they belong on.

Now, the argument also goes into the "they are cavalry and should be on cavalry bases" - now I say "define Cavalry base" Gw hasn't. Look to the Daemons codex: fiends and seekers are both cavalry, yet they have two different kinds of bases. The 60mm base is called the "monstrous creature base" by some, yet blood crushers (infantry models) are mounted on them. I see this as an indication that the base size for the model needs to be in the codex entries, especially if they do not plan to release the models with the codex. How hard would it be just to define in a unit entry, the size base it should be mounted on for purposes of game play? Until they release the model or FAQ the base size, the argument is just that ... an argument and the base size can be bickered about but really is up to the (reasonable) interpretation of the owner.

With that examined, I want to look at why we choose the base size we think is correct. This brings me to my Nids. The day I decided to get into the new codex, I knew I had to make my choice about the base size for the unreleased units and that I would have to make sure it was fair for each creature. As I looked at the Trygon and its stats, I decided that all of my 6 wound creatures would be on the same base as the trygon. This is an obvious benefit for the tervigon for its biomorph bubble (for the gants) and for it's synapse range. On the same note, this meant that my Tyrannofex, who can shoot across the table would be easier to target and would be easier to pile in on in assault. I could have just slipped him a 60mm base instead of the big oval, but it violated the chain of logic I used to arrive at my base size decision and I think it would be a blatant attempt to benefit from the situation of not having defined base sizes.

This brings me to the big question of the post; "How have you based your unreleased models and why?" Is it a matter of hobby preference? Is it to achieve the maximum benefit on the table? How did you arrive at your decision? (By the way, I chose the pics used in this post because they look awesome, not to make a statement about their creators - great Tyrannofex, BTW Raptor!)


  1. I also agree with you that Thunderwolves should be on 60mm bases. Thunderwolves are the Marine version of bloodcrushers. They add +1 toughness, wound, strength, etc, just as bloodcrushers do. It only makes sense to put them on 60mm just like Canis. If my thunderwolves were the size of goblin riders I would never play them. Yes I have 11 including 1 Canis Model and the rest converted, but anything less would be silly than 60mm.

  2. What about 40mm bases?

    Wouldn't it have been great if GW could have just let us know?

  3. I get why they don't list the base size: they don't want to paint themselves into a corner for some future model, and they don't want to restrict creativity when it comes to modelling... but it'd be healthier for the game (if not the hobby) if they'd list base sizes in the statline.

    As to base sizes: for me, it's all hobby. In my Daemon army, I've based my chariots on Valk ovals and Flesh Hounds on 40mm bases, entirely because I don't like square (fine, rectangular) bases in 40K.

  4. I've never had too much of a personal issue with this. I say personal, because I've only been able to theorize the argument since no one plays twolves (or SW consistently for that matter) at our FLGS.

    I usually have my opinions sided on the side of 'meh' so like usual, I really could care less what size base people use. In the end, you measure front of the base to front of the base so you're not netting any kind of bonus move. They can't be in transports so you're not milking the 'disembark with in two inchss' but have majority of your base hanging over that 2" cliff. (imagine this with like thammer termies on valk bases!) Templates aren't all that exciting to shoot at Twolves (unless they're demolishers and even then I'd rather annihilate that grey hunter squad without the invul). They don't have some crazy base rule like Canis.

    When you boil it all down both sizes have advantages and disadvantages. The only thing I don't like is if they are on the big bases, its easier to chain assault, sort of. You get like an extra 1-1.5" considering you can't just have one unengaged model just hanging in the open to chain your assaults together. Also, you can, with bigger bases, stretch your unit out more to create a much large threat zone.

    My wolves (Dino's) are on the 60mm bases. I feel its fair. The closest thing to a Twolf that GW has is a blood crusher. Its on a 60mm base. /meh

    An as far as bases being named as 'infantry', 'calvary', or 'monstrous' based on the unit type that should go on it, thats a terrible argument. GW has put every type on each type of base (just about). That's just terrible reasoning. The bases have that nomenclature just for reference to the base types to identify them with more than just a millimeter amount. What other name is out there for a calvary base? "25mm by 60mm round corner base"? Screw that, I'd rather just say "Calvary Base" or "Bike Base".

    In summary, if I played someone with Twolves, I would accept bike/calvary bases, 45mm, and 60mm. Anything other than those and its obvious that you didn't make a reasonable choice and you're just trying to gain some kind of leverage because you lack in skill and tactics as a 40k player. And if this is true,more likely than not, you're a douche in general and I'm not that interested in playing plastic army men with you.

  5. Indeed. Bar anything really bizarre, I'm willing to accept a range of bases from minis- my Tervigons are actually on custom bases, being circular and slightly shorter than the Trygon base is long. This means their auras are huge, but it also means that every blast weapon on the table is magically drawn to them and that they have some trouble maneuvering. By the same token, cavalry, 40mm, and 60mm are all reasonable assumptions for TWC.

    In the end, base size is simply not all that relevant to the game. It is both an advantage and a disadvantage and, unless the opponent is clearly abusing it ("Kroot on 60mm bases?"), your time is better spent worrying about something else.

  6. I think the main thing people are upset about, including me, is when people base a model or just model it for the purposes of gaining a tactical advantage. I see the case for the 60mm base as now that I have seen the marines on the biker base size wolves they kind of look like shriners riding around in their little cars in a parade.
    I have never had any complaints for blood crushers being on a 60mm base, except for my general hatred of the daemon codex. They are big models.
    Creativity is all well and good but when base a model with the intent of chain assaulting the living crap out of another army its just sheer beardy power gaming. This makes the game not fun and really ruins it for a lot of casual players. It also causes way to many arguements, this one for instance. Classification and clarification is needed, if for any purpose just to shut up the power gamers and their victims.

  7. This is really one of those silly issues that could easily be a non issue by GW by just standardizing the base sizes. A terminator goes on one size base and all terminators goes on that size base. While thunder wolf cavalry base size have not been a problem for me, the more common thing I have seen is old school players pulling out terminators on the small bases instead of today's size of the 40mm base. The game needs some form of standard for what goes on what base size. The good folks out there who think that it should up to the each individual player.Then consider this ripper or nurgling swarms on monstrous bases, their swarms just really big swarms.

  8. If your going to adaptecon, you better have them on a 60, according to their FAQ.


  9. Hmmm Interesting. I question a lot of Adepticons rulings mostly due to the fact some fly in the face of the rules completely. I guess that ruling was to be expected though.

  10. With the exception of Canis Wolfborn, who is specifically mentioned against this in the SW codex, you can mount a model on a BIGGER base than it is supplied on, just not a SMALLER one.
    If TWC get biker bases, you could mount them on 60 MM anyway.

  11. Dave- Do you have an reference for this?

  12. The problem with them not listing a base size is the fact that, I can then, if i want, give my Ogryns bases the size of the huge nid ones to give my troopers behind them cover, because although my models come with bases, there is nothing in the rules saying I have to use them.

    Or for that matter I could do the same with heavy weapons teams to spread them out more to prevent instant death issues from blast templates. I can go on with examples.

    Yes T-wolves are -sort- of like bloodcrushers which is the main justification for putting them on 60 besides Canis, but they are not just like Bloodcrushers because they are calvary and Bloodcrushers are not! They are infantry models, giving them whole different sets of rules to live by, including the ability to go up levels in buildings which bikes and calvary can not do.

    This is my basis why they should be on the "calvary" bases

  13. Also, saying that being a on a 60mm base verses the "cav" bases GW makes for 40k allows you to cover a greater threat frontage is a fallacy. Simply put, there is no facing in 40k for non-vehicle models so nothing is stopping you from turning those cav-based models sideways and covering the same (well, slightly more) frontage as the 60mm basing.

    Granted, 40k has a lot of units coming in from differing board edges, but generally speaking the advantage you want will net you the same advantage in the other direction (ie, you get the same frontage backwards as forwards). You won't be able to cover the same vectors of attack that the 60mm can, but the difference is minute to the degree of being ignored.

  14. Page three in The rulebook mentions bases for models they already have, lss. The cav base is slightly wider than the 60mm base when turned sideways and would still allow thunderwolves a huge threat range, so that is really irrelevant. Cavalry base as a term is also irrelevant as you cam comb the books and find examples in every situation of models on different bases. That's really the basis for the whole article.

  15. Right, but by that arguement old school, people with old terminators can field them on small bases. Or what if my models were not packaged with a base? DO i field them with no base? (of course common sense comes into play, but i am playing devil's advocate here)

  16. I know how you love devils advocate, but seriously, my end thought is that there really is nothing to the situation except an arguement. they have made it so nebulous to divine what their intentions are for their unreleased models that any attempt to put a stamp on it really doesn't matter.
    I went the hobby route of putting my thunderjuggers (lol) on 60mm bases because they would look sill otherwise and I don't really feel bad about it as the majority of the T-Wolves conversions out there are on 60mm bases, so are par for the course to most opponents (especially those prepping for Adepticon).
    As far as the nids go, I used some common sense and fairness when selecting the bases and who knows when GW will release any of these models ... with BA getting their range finished off in February, followed by a GK release, there really isn't any endstate in sight for any of these models.

  17. I was accused of cheating in a tournament because my TWC weren't on the correct base. Which base should they have been on? Well the opponent wouldn't give an answer, however he didn't like the base I had them on.

    I think it is really a stupid argument. There are no models for the unit, how can you argue base size when there are no models?

  18. That's the idea behind the article, however I would say that regardless of the model, the base needs to come from the GW line. One problem we have seen locally is people using D&D models with D&D 80mm bases. I think anybody would have a little trouble swallowing that pill ... for instance, in a local tourney we ran that happened despite the tourney FAQ specifically stating which bases T-Wolves would be allowed on in that tourney. It wasn't caught until afterward unfortunately or the models would have been completely illegal due to the blatant disregard of the FAQ.