Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Space Wolves Hot and Cold Unit Reviews

Hey guys, 

Ron here with another Space Wolves codex review in the form of hot/cold units.  While it's still too early to have unlocked the entire codex, we're starting to get a good idea of the winners/losers of this new book.  My main armies are Tyranids and Wolves, and I'm excited to play this codex.  Sure there has been a lot of unique items/abilities removed from the codex, and no, the psychic powers/relics don't seem that great, but there are definitely some gems in the unit entries.  So put on your swimming caps and speedos, it's time to dive in polar bear style.   
NidsandWolves

Hellfrost Hot Units.  If they weren't on an ice planet, these guys would be bursting in to flames.  You'll see these in competitive lists often, and spammed in family sized velveeta cheese packages.

Yo dawg I hear you like wolves, so I put a wolf on your wolf, so you can bite while you bite.
  • Thunderwolf Cavalry - Someone wants to sell that kit that came out late lol.  These guys are the hands down winner for the codex.  If you can get over the idea of wolves on wolves, these guys are stellar units.  For 40 pts you get a s5, t5, 2 wound cavalry unit (fleet and hammer of wrath) with 4 attacks+1 for pistol/ccw each, Hammer of wrath, and rending!  6 attacks giving or receiving the charge thanks to counterassault (let's be honest though, they're not the ones receiving lol).  These guys are bonkers for 40 pts.  6 in a pack nets you 6 s5 hammer of wrath autohits at initiative 10, and 36-s5 rending attacks for less than a land raider.  Throw in the fact that a storm shield is only 15pts now, and you're looking at one durable unit that is super fast, and puts out a ridiculous amount of offense.  I don't think you'll see 6 in a pack because that's overkill for most units, but expect full armies of these guys with IC thunderwolfs/allied bikes attached (hit and run...shudder).  You'll likely see min squad blood claws unlocking storm wolves for air support (their only weakness) in thunderwolf spam lists as well.  I don't see many upgrades for these guys besides the occasional storm shield, so you can keep them cheap and take more of them.       
  • Harald Deathwolf - This guy is a wolflord kitted out with a frost axe, thunderwolf, stormshield for the same points, but comes with bonus abilities.  For starters, he grants outflank, which while some will argue that this isn't potent since you can't charge on a turn you outflank, I still think it has a chance to be a viable list strategy.  No one likes TWC popping up in their deployment zone.  He also comes with Saga of the Wolfkin (absolutely brutal in a TWC deathstar - all cavalry/beasts get stubborn, all cavalry/beasts in 12" get furious charge), Lord of the Wolfkin (confers his ld 10 to beasts/cavalry models within 12"), and a crazy cape that ignores flamers and the pyromancy discipline (kind of a parlor trick, but still freaking cool for routing out flamer laden objectives).  You'll see him often in Thunderwolf stars as he makes even regular TWC s6 on the charge.  You might see this guy in allied biker lists for the outflank/flamer soak.    
  • Iron Priest - specifically this guy is red hot on a thunderwolf.  For a very modest investment, you get a t5 2 wound 2+/6++ character who can take (4) cyberwolves to soak wounds, has a servo arm + thunderhammer (x2 strength which means s10 on a thunderwolf, and both specialist weapons so you get the +1 A bonus), and in a pinch can catch a vehicle to repair it with 12" move.  With 2 attacks base, +1 for the thunderwolf, +1 for the specialist weapon, this guy is hitting with FIVE strength 10 ap1 hits on the charge/receiving the charge...Yikes.  Expect to see 3 of these guys in TWC heavy armies, and the occasional one in bike spam allied lists - 2+ armor on a cavalry character is jawesome. 
  • Fast Attack Drop Pods - Unless this gets faq'd, you can take a drop pod as a fast attack choice in the book.  Where this becomes really nasty when you combo it with allies.  Imagine putting a cent star with tiggy on your opponents doorstep turn 1 or tossing some Grey knight paladins in the thick of things.  The potential for nasty combos is staggering. 
  • Stormwolf - Can be unlocked as dedicated transports with a 5 man bloodclaw/greyhunter group.  Come in at decent price point with high offensive TL output, 16 model assault transport capabilities, a flyer with ceramite plating, and av12 all the way around to boot.  These guys are durable and multi purpose.  I like these over their storm fang counterparts for their lack of force org slot, heavy anti-air output, and lightning quick assault transport abilities.  You'll see these in Wolf and armies with wolf allies in competitive lists.  
       
Lukewarm Units.  There's potential here, but these guys aren't auto include, and require well thought out lists to utilize fully. 
  • Wolf Lords - these guys are your build-a-chapter master units, minus a wound.  They get extremely costly once you start decking them out with gear, and don't have any way to get eternal warrior.  Still, you can attach them to squads and look-out-sir instant death wounds.  They come with a 4++ standard now, and can ride a Thunderwolf (+1 S,T,W,Attacks) to pack a fast durable punch.  You likely will only see the Thunderwolf mounted version on the tabletop. 
  • Wolf Guard Battle Leader - Cheap, durable build-a-champions.  These guys are your bargain wolf lord with one less wound, and slightly lower stats.  They don't come with a 4++ standard, but can get access to a storm shield on the cheap.  Taking them on a Thunderwolf seems to be the best option to make use of T5 and another wound.  You will likely see these guys in TWC units in semi to full on competitive lists to look out sir/soak wounds and toss instant death ones to their wargear pups. 
  • Canis Wolfborn -  Canis is basically a Wolf Guard Battle Leader with two wolf claws and a thunderwolf mount with rampage and rerolls to hit on the charge for him and wolves in his unit.  He is fairly expensive, but is an absolute monster in CC with 6 base attacks+rampage with dual wolf claws (s6 ap 3 shred).  He will make TWC stars that much more brutal.   
  • Rune Priest - Fairly cheap, still decent in cc, saw a big price decrease this edition, too pricy with many upgrades besides ML2.  Wolf powers are fairly lacking, but they can be decent unit buffers with divination.  Difficult to get a lot of them without the Wolf specific detachment (6 HQs), and psychic powers are generally harder to get off this edition.  I can see some fluffier lists with the several of these guys leading grey hunters using the wolf detachment.  Drop pod rain with them buffing grey hunters could still do some damage.   
  • Wolf Priest/Ulrik the Slayer - Decent unit buffers with fnp 6+, preferred enemy (infantry or MC), and fearless.  Not the biggest bargain on the block, and options again make him too pricey, but still could be effective with the right unit.  For a mere 35pts Ulrik adds in better stats (including a much needed extra wound) a plasma pistol, fear, 6" unit preferred enemy bubble, and stubborn for units in 12".  I can definitely see Ulrik in a list or two, as he is the hands down better option between the two (comparing cost to usefulness). 
  • Blood Claws - I like the changes to blood claws, they're less expensive, gained rage and don't have to give up shooting to make use of it.  You can also spam plasma with them on the cheap.  I expect you'll see some minimum squads of these guys unlocking storm wolves as dedicated transports.  They don't have a ton of offense on their own (ws/bs 3), but they're still durable 3+ marines that can cap objectives with objective secured. 
  • Grey Hunters - Went down a point but lost their ccw (though it can be bought back for 2 pts, a net increase of 1 pt), lost mark of the wulfen and the standard is not nearly as powerful (limited to one per detachment, +1 A in 6").  Still, grey hunters are marines with counter attack, so they still have their place.  The biggest win here is that models in the unit count for the special weapon unlock, so expect to see 10 man drop pod squads with 2 meltas, and a wolf guard with a combi melta for some vehicle popping power the turn they arrive and have to sit there.  Buying the CCW for a drop pod squad can be ace as well, since you can drop - rapid fire, get assaulted, rapid fire overwatch, then attack with 3 attacks per normal guy at iniative 4 (ouch). 
  • Lone Wolf - Lost the whole "kill me and I get a point!" shtick which was awesome and very characterful, can't score/deny at all, but can be taken one per every troops choice/wolf guard unit in your army without a force org slot.  These guys are fairly cheap for a 2 wound monster hunter dude, and will generally be annoying for your opponent.  Throw terminator armor on one and teleport him in your opponents backfield for a small distraction.
  • Stormfang Gunship - slightly more pricey than the Stormwolf, has to pay to get the TL lascannons (20 pts more than the storm wolf version).  The difference between the two is that the stormfang has a helfrost destructor.  This is nearly identical to the stormwolf's helfrost cannon, except that it's s6 ap3 mode is large blast, and it's s8 ap1 single shot is lance.  Unfortunately it loses the twin linking that the stormwolf has on the helfrost weapon, and it loses the assault ramp and 10 models of transport capability.  It's still a great offensive unit, but with those tradeoffs you'll likely see the force org free stormwolf unlocked by cheap troop choices.    
  • Longfangs - still good, still cheap, still have split fire.  You'll see these guys in lists.    
  • Logan Grimnar on stormrider - the foot version is icey cold, overly expensive - losing almost all of his force multiplying abilities, but the guy riding the storm rider is a beast in cc.  4 wounds, eternal warrior, 2+/4++ with a 3HP av12 all the way around, 4++ sled that can't suffer penetrating hits.  Ouch.  Throw in the sheer amount of attacks Logan has (with dual modes and the freedom to split attacks between the modes), the attacks the sled adds, and the crazy d6 Hammer of Wrath that chariots get, and you're looking at exploding anything he touches.  He still has to get there, but with 12" movement on the storm rider, that becomes a lot more likely.  He is a Lord of War, so he may be restricted in some tourneys, and he breaks past the 300 pt barrier with his mount, so he's fairly prohibitive to take.  If you can find the points and shrug off the santa's sleigh jabs when fielding him, he will do a ton of damage.    
    Hope you haven't been naughty
Frosty icey Cold Units of the frostfang ice frost.  Sadly most of the named guys show up here.  They tend to be too expensive for what they do.  You'll likely see these in fluffy/themed lists, but that's about it.  

  • Ragnar Blackmane - very expensive, not as much of a unit multiplier as he once was, susceptible to S8 Instant death (and has to issue challenges).  If you get him in to combat, you're relying on his s5 ap3 rending attacks to kill the other character before they swing, otherwise one fist/chainfist/hammer/s8+ etc will wipe him out.  
  • Njal Stormcaller - Expensive for what he does.  Wolf powers aren't that great, so you're likely going divination.  Tigurius does it better for cheaper.  
  • Bjorn - a pricey dreadnought with a nasty CC weapon, and your choice of heavy weapon.  What hurts him is that you're only going to see effectiveness from either CC or shooting at any given point, but you're paying a lot since he has both.  Really expensive for a dreadnought, and despite being venerable, av13 front, and 5++, he still has a hard time foot slogging in to combat to make use of that nasty s10 ap2 claw.  Taking a pod for another 35 pts makes him more likely to get in to combat, but also even more expensive.  In short, av13 makes him almost worth it, but his high costs just doesn't make him as effective as other options.        
  • Lukas the Trickster - Caps his unit to LD 8, last laugh ability is situational at best, costs the same as 7 more blood claws.       
  • Servitors - really only useful for a foot iron priest in a transport to repair it (the flyers come to mind), though that makes the transport a lot more expensive than it needs to be for the durability offered.
  • Wolfguard/wolfguard terminators - lost the ability to be farmed out to units, more expensive for typical builds, and the termie variety can't pod to deliver the combi weapons with durability. 
  • Wolf Scouts - lost their whole shtick (behind enemy lines).  Yeah they're bs 4 scouts (netting camo cloaks for 2pts), but for all intents and purposes they cost the same as grey hunters for less.  Infiltrating these guys anywhere near the enemy is a good way to get them destroyed turn 1 while your opponent has nothing else in range. 
  • Dreadnoughts/Venerable/Murderfang/ - Amazing new kit but that's about where the compliments stop.  AV13 would have REALLY helped the venerable dread be worth the points. Some potential with a shooty one, and the 3++ front armor shield/axe one has some durability (albeit at a steap cost), Murderfang has crazy murdery murder killing output, but really these guys still suffer from the problem that all dreads have suffered from since the addition of hullpoints - s6-7 spam murder-annihilates them, and the cc ones have to footslog/pod and stand still for a turn.  
  • Arjac Rockfist - Can only join wolfguard units, has eternal warrior but only has 2 wounds.  Has a s10 ap2 weapon but will go last in a charge and likely be killed.   
  • Swiftclaws/skyclaws - Bloodclaws on bikes or with jetpacks.  They're ok, but they aren't winning many games and take up a fast attack slot.  
  • Land Speeders - cheap, decent output, can even deepstrike, but not enough to overcome their av 10 and ap2 durability of tissue paper.  Also competing for fast attack slots. 
  • Fenrisian wolves - specifically as a unit these guys are cold.  As wargear for characters they rock for throwing s10 instant death wounds on.  The unit can score now, but no longer can be made a troop choice by canis.  These guys are competing with TWC and flyers for Fast attack slots, don't expect to see them on their own. 
I didn't throw in the predator/whirlwind/landraider/rhino/etc. since they are no different than space marine ones.  So what units do you like in the wolf codex?  What units have I given an unfair shake?  Let us know what you think down below.  Thanks for sticking with that wall of text!  Until next time, keep up the good fight against the grey tide.

-Ron