Saturday, August 9, 2014

Space Wolves Codex Review - In Depth

Winter has come early, and after spending several hours looking through the digital codex, the 5th Edition Codex, checking the Runes, listening to the winds, and determining my Wyrd; I am finally ready to bring about the most comprehensive Space Wolves review that I can do. This is going to be top down with no holding back. Before I continue, I would like to say that outside of some issues with trying to figure out what costs what, and what different units can take what; I have come to the conclusion that GW took away some of our flair unique to the Wolves, but gave us a codex inline with that of the Space Marines while still giving us the Wolves' flair we have come to expect.


And now, we unleash the Rout.
The Wolves of Fenris have always had a certain air to them. One that has lead the players of Warhammer 40k to come to expect some of the craziest combinations of wargear and characters to ever see the table top. As always the uniqueness of the Wolves come from their sagas, not just of the current generation, but the stories told in the halls of the Aett since the time of Russ.

The first section of the the book is dedicated to the history of the Space Wolves. It talks about the birth of the Primarchs, the Legions, how the Primarchs were scattered to the winds of space, and how the Wolf came to Fenris. The story continues with the Primarch eventually being found by King Thengir of the Russ Tribe, Leman Russ taking over the tribe, and the Emperor finding his lost son (with some of the story changing slightly). It continues with the Horus Heresy, Prospero burning, the Wolf not accepting the fate of the Emperor and the downsizing of the the Legions, deciding to hold his Legion whole (only splitting once into the Wolf Brothers, an ill fated founding).

It continues with the disappearance of Russ, the Forging of Legends on Fenris, the tools of the Space Marines, the Fang (fortress home of the Rout), and the rumors upon Fenris including the Sky Warriors, the Tribes, and some other good bits. It continues with the Fenris System, some of the great ships of the Space Wolves fleet, how the Wolves are initiated, and how the warriors are advanced from Blood Claw to Wolf Guard and possibly beyond.

The Great Companies of the Wolves are discussed including interesting facts about each Wolf Lord, as well as history and stories of some of the most well known Wolves and a better history from the time of the Great Crusade (very little information) up to the present day.

Now that I have gotten through the first part of the book, it is time for the individual units and special issue wargear.

So all of the weapons and gear are in line with the Space Marine Codex from what I can see.

First up is the Wolf Lord.  He comes in at 5 points higher, but with the Belt of Russ (a 4++ that used to be a 25 point upgrade). He is able to take Runic Armour, Terminator Armour, Thunderwolf mount (that is 5 points more, but adds a wound), and he can take some awesome Relics of the Fang. Overall, the Wolf Lord can come in slightly cheaper for what he has from last codex, while having a lot of flavor of his own.  OH Yeah, Fenrisian Wolves come in 2 points cheaper, and he can take up to two.


Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane comes in 45 points cheaper with some changes to his war gear, with Melta Bombs, Saga of the Warrior Born Warlord Trait, Rage, the ability to re-roll a single failed saving throw in each assault phase, required to accept and issue challenges whenever possible, and Ragnar and his unit can gain the Furious Charge special rule. He is a beast that if he gets into combat, he is bringing a Frost Blade that rends while being Master Crafted.

Harald Deathwolf, the new Thunderwolf character, comes in 5 points more than Canis Wolfborn, with that big, bad thunderwolf mount, Storm Shield, and Frost Axe. He has the Outflank special rule, Saga of the Wolfkin, and the ability to give his leadership of 10 to all Space Wolf Cavalry and Beasts. He is bringing the noise with the ability to be unaffected by all Pyromancy psychic powers and all flamer weapons. He brings a big axe and a lot of anger into battle. Oh yeah, he can bring a couple Fenrisian wolves for fun.

His champion, Canis Wolfborn is back with a few changes that make him fun to me. He is the same points as last codex, he is similar to Harald except for two wolf claws, no invul save, the Rampage special rule, WS 5, a bolt pistol (HE CAN SHOOT AT BS2), LD 9, 5 Attacks. He can take two Fenrisian Wolves as well and when he and all fenrisian wolves and cyberwolves charge, they get to re-roll all failed to hit rolls in CC. So he isn't too durable, but he can bring it when he is able to get to combat.

Now the Rune Priest is the same stat line as before, but at 40 points cheaper. They can use the Biomancy, Daemonology, Divination, Telekinesis, and the new Space Wolves' Tempestas disciplines. For 25 points they can bring in the ML 2, a Psychic hood for 10 pts, Runic Armour for 25 points (5 points more than last time), and can change from an axe to a runic sword or stave for free. The Rune Priests have improved including that their Runic Weapons give the Adamantium Will.


Next, the master of all Rune Priests, Njal Stormcaller comes in big and bad and at 65 points cheaper than last codex. He comes standard with Bolt Pistol, Runic Armour, Psychic Hood, Saga of Majesty, and Mastery Level 3. He is the Lord of Tempests, allowing him to re-roll a single failed psychic test each turn when trying to manifest a power from the Tempestas discipline. He can replace his Runic Armour for Terminator Armour for free and has a shooting attack at 24" of S3 AP- Assault D6, and his Staff of the Storm caller is S+2 AP4, Melee, Concussive, Force, and Wyrdbane (grants the Wielder the Adamantium Will, can re-roll a single failed Deny the Witch attempt each turn).

The Wolf Priest comes in at 10 points higher than before, but has a 4++ and Healing Balms to give a 6+ FNP for the user and group. He has Oath of War where he gets Preferred Enemy at the beginning of the game for a unit type of his choosing, he is fearless, and he also has the ability to bring Runic Armour, or Terminator Armour.

Ulrik the Slayer is back and 35 points cheaper.  He has everything as the Wolf Priest including Fear, Saga of the Beastslayer, and all friendly Space Wolves units within 6" of him have the Preferred Enemy Special Rule. He also gives all friendly Space Wolves Faction units within 12" the Stubborn Rule. He is basically a beast for helping people stay where they need to stay.

The Wolf Guard Battle Leader comes in as a reduced Wolf Lord with the same stat line as last codex but at 20 points cheaper. There is nothing else to say but he is a little Lord for half the cost.

Now it is Time for the oldest Dread in the Imperium, Bjorn the Fell Handed. He comes in with the exact same stat line as before, which is sad, but he has the Saga of Majesty, he adds +1 to any Seizing the Initiative roll, and he has a 5++.  He can now take a Drop Pod, bring the Plasma Cannon/Helfrost Cannon for free instead of the Assault Cannon, or a Twin Linked Lascannon for 5 points. His Trueclaw close combat weapon is S10, AP 2, Melee, master-crafted with Shred. He is doing all of this for 50 points cheaper with the ability to come strong Turn 1.

Now that is the end of the HQs. On to the Troops.

The Blood Claws come in at 5+ for 12 pts a model. They have the Rage special rule, and they can go up to 15 strong. They can also upgrade one to a Wolf Guard Pack Leader for 10 points, take a Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod, or StormWolf as a Dedicated Transport. One down side is that the Blood Claws can take a special weapon at 5, and a second one at 15, but they don't get it for free. These guys have reduced in price while still being little beasts in combat. They are 3 points cheaper than before and can bring Lukas for almost half the cost, 75 points less. Lukas can also come in as a Unique Troop, but I have no idea why you would do that. He still has the ability to remove a guy when in a challenge if he loses, and his pelt of the Doppegangrel causes opponents to reduce his WS by -3. He still is Rebellious, but he seems a little more useable.

The Grey Hunters have taken a bit of a change. They have all of the same dedicated transports as the Blood Claws, they can take a Special Weapon for every 5 members, and they are limited to one Wolf Standard per Detachment. They are 14 points per model with the ability to take a close combat weapon for 2 points a model bringing them to 16 points for what they were last edition. They can also take a Wolf Guard Pack Leader who can upgrade as normal. They have the same rules as before, making them still one of the best troop choices.

On to Elites:

The Iron Priest is the same as before except 5 points more,  he can bring up to 4 cyberwolves at 15 points per model, and he can Ride a Thunderwolf Mount.  He has gotten a little more useful, but that is about it, so I am going to move on.

Servitors can be take as a unit at up to 5 strong.  They are 10 points and don't take up an Elites slot if there is an iron priest in the detachment. Same as the Space Marines so we will keep moving.

The Wolf Scouts come in slightly different: they can Infiltrate, Scout, and Move through cover, but only on the Wolf Scouts and not on the Wolf Guard Pack Leader. They come in at the same cost as base Grey Hunters, can take 5 additional, upgrade to the Pack Leader for 10, take camo cloaks at 2 points per model, and can take a CC weapon/Shotgun for free, Sniper Rifle for 1 pt/model. One scout can take a Heavy Weapon or Special Weapon, and up to two scouts can take a plasma pistol or power weapon for 15 points. These guys have gotten slightly more durable if not more usable for their upgrades.

The Lone Wolf is the same as before including Monster Hunter, Eternal Warrior, Fearless, Feel no Pain, and doing it all for the same base cost. You can take one Lone Wolf for each Troop choice, unit of Wolf Guard, or Wolf Guard Terminators in the army, without using up a Force Org Slot. This is incredible and can make for some fun lists.

The Dreadnoughts keep up with interesting choices from this codex. They come in at 10 points cheaper, without a Smoke Launcher, but stock with a Multi Melta, and Power fist with Storm Bolter. The upgrades are the same as before including a Great Claw with built in storm bolter for 5 points, Missile launcher for 10 points, Twin-Linked Autocannon for 15 points, and upgrade to a Venerable for 25. The upgrade for the Great Axe and Blizzard shield are 25 additional points. The Blizzard Shield is a 3++ only on the front Arc. This is awesome in CC, but might be hard in the shooting phase.

Next, the Murderfang is 135 points with Furious Charge, IWND, Rage, Rampage, and he ignores the effects of Crew Shaken or Stunned (still losing the hull point). He is a beast with the drop pod assault, S7 AP2 Melee, Master-Crafted, Shred, and Specialist Weapon. He can bring some noise and bring it close.

Wolf Guard Come in at 18 points per model, they can take loads of options, and they can take Jump Packs at 3 points per model or bikes at 7 points per model. They can bring noise with the dedicated transports of a Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod, Stormwolf, Land Raider, Crusader, or Redeemer.

In order to take Terminators it is 33 points, same as before, and you can take up to a total of 10 models. They can trade their weapons for thunder hammer and storm shield for 15 points, or two wolf claws for 15 points. This is cheaper than the Space Marines. They can also take, for every 5 models, either a Heavy Flamer, Assault Cannon, or Cyclone Missile. They can only take a Stormwolf, Land Raider, Crusader, or Redeemer.

Overall, Wolf Guard saw a huge reduction in points, and these guys can still be used as a bit of a swiss army knife. One huge thing is that the Terms lost their Drop Pod.

Arjac can still be used and he is 55 points cheaper. He can only join the Wolf Guard or Terminators, and if there is a group of Wolf Guard, he doesn't use up a lot. He is the same stat line as before with Stubborn, must issue and/or accept challenges when possible, and the anvil Shield (3++ with Eternal Warrior and HoW).  Foehammer is still 6" Sx2 AP2 Assault 1, Concussive and Sx2 AP2 Melee, Concussive, Unwieldy.

Moving on from Elites to Fast Attack:

Swift Claws are 5 points cheaper, they have Rage, can take an attack bike for 35 points, and upgrade one to a Wolf Guard for 10 points. These guys are a FA slot, and might have some uses. The Skyclaws are 15 points a model with Rage, they can upgrade to a Wolf Guard for 10 points, and are similar to the Swift Claws.

Land Speeders didn't change, Fenrisian Wolves didn't change, and Rhinos, Razorbacks, and Drop Pods are all FA as well. Only major change is Razorbacks are 55 points like the rest of the Space Marines, as well as the fact that they can be taken independently.

The Storm Wolf, from which we saw the information already, falls under the Fast Attack.  He is a bad mama jamma looking to do work.  At 215 points, he isn't a steal but he can bring it.

Now the Thunderwolf Calvary have become a force. They are 10 points cheaper, can go 6 strong in a pack, and you can take weapons from the melee list. Meaning that, for a total of 55 points, 25 points cheaper than last edition, all thunderwolf calvary can have storm shields.  This is a WIN.

The Predators, Land Raiders, Vindicators, and Whirlwinds haven't changed.  The Long Fangs have changed a little in that they can't have a Wolf Guard with a Cyclone Missile Launcher, but they gained the Flakk missile. The Stormfang is part of the Heavy Support Slot, and comes in at 220 bringing the noise we saw earlier in the White Dwarf.

The last entry is the Wolf Lord himself. Logan Grimnar comes in at 25 points cheaper, and as a Lord of War. He has the same stat line as before with Saga of Majesty, Eternal Warrior, Stubborn, Storm Bolter, Axe of Morkai that can be swung in two different modes (one handed S+2, AP3/two handed Sx2 AP2, Unwieldy, two handed) and that axe can split the attacks. He can get his awesome chariot, Stormrider, for 70 points. Stormrider has a 4++, moves 12" and all Penetrating hits count as glances. The chariot also has 4 attacks at I5, S5 AP-, and it has Rending.  Can you Say WIN?

Well, not yet.

The Tempestas Discipline is the Psychic discipline unique to the Wolves. The Primaris Power is Living Lightning, WC 1 witchfire with 18" S7 AP- Assault 3, Shock, where each roll to hit of a 6 causes an additional 2 hits, unless this was Snap Shots. The Storm Caller is WC 1 blessing gives the user and unit Shrouded. Tempest's Wrath is WC 1 malediction that targets a single unit within 18". The Target unit suffers -1 to BS and treat all terrain, including open ground as difficult. Unless a model is immobilised, all models that are Jump, Jet, Jetbike, FMC, Flyer, or skimmer take an immediate Dangerous Test.

Thunderclap is a WC 1 Nova at 12" S3 AP- and Assault 2D6. Murderous Hurricane is a witchfire at WC 2 with 18" S4 AP-, Assault 1, Large Blast, and Rending. A very interesting power.

Fury of the the Wolf Spirits is WC 2 where you get to fire two Witchfire profiles choosing which one is first and second. Freki is 18" S6 AP- Assault 4, and Geri 18" S5 AP2 Assault 2, Precision Shot. Finally, Jaws of the World Wolf is WC 2 focused witchfire that can target a single unit within 18". The model hit takes an Initiative test where, if failed, the model is removed. Unfortunately, MCs automatically pass this power with Flying Colors.


NOW WE CAN SAY WIN.

The Space Wolves also have a unique Detachment called the Wolves Unleashed. All units in this detachment except fortifications must have the Space Wolf Faction. For this Detachment, you can have 2-6 HQs, 2-6 Troops, 3 Elites, 3 Fast Attack, 3 Heavy Support, 1 Lord of War, and 1 Fortification. The benefits here are the Jarl Of Russ allowing you to re-roll on the Warlord Traits table in the Codex: Space Wolves. Also, before deployment, you can roll for each unit where on a 6+ gain the Outflank Special Rule. Finally, at each turn after the first, you can choose a unit in reserves to automatically come in.

This is incredible in my opinion and can allow a lot of unique combinations.

Finally, the Warlord Traits are interesting. Warrior Born allows re-rolls to all failed to hit rolls in challenges for the character. Wolfkin allows all friendly units consisting entirely of Beasts or Calvary to have the stubborn special rule and units within 12" of the warlord at start of assault phase that are beasts or cavalry have the Furious Charge special rule until the end of the phase. The Beastslayer gives the Warlord Monster Hunter. Bear gives Warlord and his unit FNP 6+. Hunter gets Outflank and Stealth special rules. Finally, Majesty allows the Warlord and all friendly units with Space Wolves faction within 12" of him to re-roll failed Morale checks and pinning tests.

This is everything. Personally I feel that the Wolves have been given an obvious direction. This direction is pointed towards assault, bringing the wolves danger close to all armies and giving them tools to attack from the ground, the air, and reserve.


The Rout is upon the world, and I can't wait to start my full list builds.