8/25/2014

Thoughts On... Codex: Space Wolves



I'm really a relatively new Space Wolf player, so this was the first time I got to have 'new codex excitement!' with them. As the weeks went on, I was enthused in equal measure by the Stormwolf and the new Dreadnought kit (which I totally called, by the way!) It was nice to have something to really get excited about. Games Workshop's marketing is nonsense (or even non-existent) but I think for those of us still interested these occasional opportunities to get excited are really fun and make me feel like a kid again.

I was a little concerned that my army wasn't finished and that I'd have trouble incorporating new things into my plans but, thankfully, that isn't the case at all. If anything, I think my army is in a stronger place than ever!

New Book with a New Presentation

I really like the new layout, having a master wargear list and each unit having its own entry complete with points value. It's about the only thing from the old 3rd Edition codexes worth bringing back and I'm really glad they have! It makes making an army so much quicker/easier. (Although, you know, use Battlescribe!) Kudos to GW for finally nailing this.

There's plenty of pretty pictures too, which is par for the course. These are mostly the new style 'action shots' with plenty of snow and smoke effects and red lighting (why always red?) They're pretty, and it's nice to have inspiring shots like that, but I miss the old showcase of miniatures style. Still, I guess it's pretty redundant now each unit entry comes with a photo. And it's nitpicky, I know, but now they've got plenty of models painted up for several of the companies, it's a bit depressing to see models from Ragnar's company fighting under Logan, when it would be more evocative for them to use the Champions of Fenris themselves.

My Blood Claws are going to travel in style!
The new units are all pretty spiffy too. I love the Stormwolf - a big old flying transport with an absurd number of guns? Yes please! If anything, I think being all round AV12 is a little bit too much. I'll see how it goes when I actually field one. I really like the look of it too - it's a bulky transport, with just enough Space Wolf frills. It fits perfectly with the Space Marine utilitarian aesthetic. The fact it subtly looks like a wolf's head is even better and a nice touch. That could easily have been overdone but I think it's note perfect here.

Not quite as sold on the Stormfang. The big gun sounds fun, but even if I didn't need the transport capacity of the Stormwolf losing the turret would be a bit much just for a big blast and lance (not that helpful against other fliers!)

This is awesome. AWESOME.
Logan's chariot isn't something I'm that bothered with in terms of my army; I don't see myself adding the Great Wolf. However, I do think it's so utterly, brilliantly, 40k. I think a lot of people really want 40k to be ultra-serious grimdark, when really 40k has always been a bit of a comedy and a satire. Technology that makes no sense is entirely 40k. If my army was the Great Wolf's company I'd be excited to add this. 

The Saga of the Deathwolves

Now an actual named character!

One thing that's really excited me about this new codex is the focus on my Wolf Lord of choice: Harald Deathwolf! Better yet, he's somehow managed to get more space in the book than Ragnar Blackmane (the previous poster-boy for the Space Wolves) or even the Great Wolf himself, Logan Grimnar! There's a really evocative artwork of Harald in a battle between the Deathwolves and the daemons of Tzeentch. Harald's saga is detailed too, built from the fluff from the White Dwarf that accompanied his miniature. 

The Great Companies have all been given names too; so henceforth Harald Deathwolf's Great Company shall simply be called 'the Deathwolves'. 

Harald's rules are pretty nice; he's got Outflank and has the now improved 'Saga of the Wolfkin' warlord trait (saves me having to worry about rolling it!), alongside making all Fenrisian Wolves leadership 10 if they're within a foot of him, and being immune to flamers (thank you ice troll cloak!) I think there's a lot of fun to be had with Harald. Very pleased. 

Thunderwolf Cavalry have got cheaper too, making one of my favourite units even more viable!  Not only that, but they can take even more special melee weapons, no longer limited to a single one in a pack. That's a lot of potential high strength models with at least 5 attacks each. You could create a silly deathstar if that's your thing! Even better, now one of the models is a pack leader, meaning the unit has a character. Space Wolves should be able to get stuck into more challenges! 

As a little bonus, Fenrisian Wolves are now scoring and don't weirdly cost more for characters to buy them as pets. But they're still leadership 5, and Saga of the Wolfkin no longer gives an army wide bonus to their leadership, so they're going to just flee the field more often than not after taking the inevitable casualties. This is mitigated by keeping Harald near them but then he's not outflanking! I'll keep using a unit for flavour purposes, plus they look really cool running down the battlefield, but I think they're still going to either do absolutely nothing or an awful lot in games. Very, very, swingy. 

Stalwarts of the Company


Blood Claws will finally be seeing the use they've always deserved!
Blood Claws, which of all the units in my army are the one that hit the hardest and won me the most games, are finally getting the recognition I've always known they deserved. Not only are the cheaper, they're a lot more so than I expected! I would have thought a single point knocked off them would have been enough but they're only 12 points each! 12! Admittedly, I've lost the ability to reliably outflank them but at 12 points Blood Claws are a steal; especially as they no longer need babysitting (although that was fun!) Stick a Wolf Priest with these guys and I promise you won't be disappointed.

Whilst Blood Claws got much better, Grey Hunters are about the same. I think this is fine. They've gone up a point (if you want the close-combat-weapon) and no longer get a free special weapon. They always seemed slightly undercosted and now they feel fine. The sky isn't falling, they're not suddenly useless (as the 'internet' seems to insist!) and they should still be the backbone of most forces. Honestly, I can't get my head round the idea that a 1 point increase has suddenly invalidated/ruined Grey Hunter focused armies. If anything, they're a little bit better now that you no longer need to choose between a Wolf Guard Pack Leader and a second special weapon! Keep using them - they'll still do everything you used them for before, maybe a little more if you kit them right.

Wolf Priests have gone up 10 points but gained Feel No Pain (6+) which is a great thing to give an advancing squad of Blood Claws. My Wolf Priest has always been amazing in games, so I'm expecting him to keep doing what he's always been doing; using Preferred Enemy to turn Blood Claws from great to brilliant.

Rune Priests are dirt cheap now too - I fully expect mine will be seeing the field a lot more now, especially when I need a cheap HQ/Warlord.

Wolf Scouts have been hit hard though. It's sad to see them lose 'Behind Enemy Lines' - being able to appear behind the enemy really made them feel like veteran infiltrators. Now they're just scouts with a better WS/BS. I think the new page layout is the reason for this - there doesn't look like there's room for the rule on the page. A real shame.

I love Dreadnoughts and I'm pretty certain this is the coolest one GW has ever made.
On the other hand, the new Dreadnought kit is amazing. There's just something incredibly metal about an axe and shield Dreadnought. Muderfang is ridiculous as well, seriously tempted by him! My Dreadnought with a multimelta got a little bit cheaper too.

I'm tempted to try the new Force Organisation Chart too, that gives any unit in the army a chance to outflank and lets you take up to six HQs. A lot of fun could be had there, but I'm not convinced it's worth losing Objective Secured. I'll have to give it a try.

Epic Tales yet to be Told 

The new Codex has given me a lot to think about, planning for the future. My plan to bring my army up to 2,000 points is now: 1 Stormwolf, 10 Grey Hunters, 1 Rhino, 1 Predator Annihilator.

Beyond that, I want more Dreadnoughts! At least two - one with Axe and Shield has to be done. I've always wanted a shooty Dread too and I think a missile launcher/helfrost cannon Dreadnought would be very flexible.

Another three Thunderwolves would be nice too, considering the theme of my army! I'd probably use the opportunity to get different special weapons. Maybe power/frost swords, for higher initiative.

Now I can use them in a 10 man squad of Grey Hunters, Wolf Guard are in my future. I'll probably buy a box of Space Wolves with some Devastators and make some Wolf Guard and Long Fangs.

Viking Warriors with Bite

I think this new Codex and I are going to get on just fine. Accusations of blandness and nerfed Grey Hunters are, I think, unfounded. Certainly we've gained more than we lost. And the new stuff is pretty great! Underutilised stuff has got a needed buff, but overused stuff hasn't been hurt too hard. (7th edition kicked Long Fangs in the pants long before this Codex did!) Mind you, I'm no expert, but I think this looks like a well balanced book.

The Sons of Fenris are renewed and ready to fight in the name of Russ and the Allfather! For the Wolftime!