Saturday, October 3, 2009

Preliminary Space Wolf 'dex Thoughts

I've acquired and read at the SW 'dex, and the first thing I can tell you is that no, the sky is not falling. Stop running around, screaming, and otherwise doing things Chicken Little might; you're only looking like a fool. Other people have noted (...I'd link to them if I could recall who) that this kind of shake-out happens every time a new codex comes out. So, here's a short take on them.

Man, I Like 3's in my statline
Your assault marines are WS/BS3
Your bikers are WS/BS3
Your Blood Claws (pistol/CCW maniacs) are WS/BS3

You know what else this WS/BS3 gets you? The 'Headstrong' rule. Are you within 6" of your target? Yeah? Then you don't get to shoot. You have to charge. Well, the bright side, I guess, is that you have the 'Berserk Charge' which grants you +2 attacks on the charge instead of one.

It's more comical when you realize that these troops can take 1-2 flamers/meltaguns/plasma pistols, too. Not gonna get a lot of use out of any of those, are you? Between BS3 and maybe not even getting to shoot it, you're kind of hosed on these options. At least, I know I wouldn't consider taking the bikes; the 'vanilla' Space Marine codex does bikers much better.

If you bring a Wolf Guard, then you can at least ignore 'Headstrong' as he apparently yells and/or beats his troops into line.

The Veteran Mechanic
You'll note that none of your entries have a 'veteran' type guy. Instead, you take Wolf Guard. On the bright side, these guys are highly customizable; there's a page of options here that would make most other HQs jealous (and in turn, SM HQs have even more options).

This is also where you get your Ld9 into a squad. That's right, all the guys that can take a Wolf Guard (and only one, mind you) have Ld8. Ld8 means a 72.2% chance of passing your leadership check, and Ld9 means 83.3%. Considering Counter-Attack requires a ld check, I'm a little more inclined to go towards the Ld9.

The other big option is that if you want someone with a decent number of powerfist attacks, it's a vet. All the other guys have pretty much 1 base attack, and while the crazy newbs get +2 on the charge, the Grey Hunters are kind of 'eh', unless counter-attack triggers.

Still, the basic Wolf Guard with a fist is 38 points, which isn't bad, but still is a little 'eh'. But, that's not the real cost of the Wolf Guard.

Grey Hunters, Transports, or I Hate My Vet Sarges
So, let's say you want your actual marine stat line. You get the Grey Hunter, who comes in units of 5-10. He has the 4's where you want them, and packs the 'supergrit' option of bolter, bolt pistol, and CCW. So, he can pistol you, then charge in with three attacks, and effectively has two 'base' attacks.

You can get a flamer for free, or pay a little for a meltagun or plasma gun. If you have ten grey hunters, then you get a second special weapon for free. You can also take a power weapon or a powerfist, and maybe even hand out the Mark of the Wulfen (d6+1 attacks instead of normal, and gain rending. Ok, I suppose. Not sure I'd use it here).

And, so, we have our merry band of 10 Grey Hunters with two meltaguns, and that costs us 155 points. We go to buy a Rhino, and a Wolf Guard, and...wait, we have to give up a meltagun to fit into our Rhino. Um. Great. I guess we weren't planning on using our troops to blow up transports, but then again, did you really want to? Seems like a great way to trade troops.

I've Seen You Before...
The following are pretty much pulled from the space marine codex, so they're known quantities:

-Venerable Dreadnought
-Land Speeder
-All three Land Raider types

Nothing new to see here in the stats; it's a change of what else is in there supporting them.

...but you're something new
Cavalry units in space marines? Yeah. You've got it now. 6 + d6 + 12" charge is fun, and might actually get you there on foot. You can get the following as cavalry:

-Thunderwolf Cavalry (fast attack)
-Fenrisian Wolves (Fast attack)
-Iron Priests (can ride a Thunderwolf, and take some Cyberwolves)
-any HQ that can take a Thunderwolf (Canis Wolfborn, Wolf Lord, Wolf Guard Battle Leader)

Additionally, some HQs can take Fenrisian Wolves as 'equipment', though it's forming their own unit and unless Mr. HQ is cavalry, he's kind of just made himself a target with a couple extra wound markers. Good job, him.

I need a hero
You can take up to four HQs. I'm not sure this is always prudent, but at least it's not compulsory. You cannot carbon-copy HQs, either. No identical sagas, no identical psychic powers, no identical wargear loadouts.

You can also readily spend up to 180-290 on a named HQ. So, theoretically, half your 2,000 point army COULD VERY WELL BE heroes, though I'm not sure I'd really recommend that.

Break out the arms...
The armory includes some neat little wolf-specific items. I'm not always convinced of their utility, mind you. Some highlights include:

-Wolf Claws (as lightning claws, but choose: re-rolls to hit or wound. Not such a big deal)
-Runic Armor (artificer armor's 2+ save with a 5+ against psychic wounds. Big deal)
-Chooser of the Slain (when I touch on psykers, you'll see why you should never leave home without one on your Rune Priest)
-Mark of the Wulfen (get d6+1 rending attacks instead of your normal ones; doesn't benefit from wargear. Not sold on it yet)
-Wolf Tail Talisman (If you/your unit are targeted by a psychic power, on a 5+ you nullify it)
-Wolftooth Necklace (always hit in melee on 3+; depends on who has it)
-Wolf Standard (re-roll CC misses that show a '1' for one assault phase. Big whoop)

I've got a story for you...
Sagas are upgrades for HQs. You can only take each saga once per army, unless it's a named guy.

Saga of...
The Wolfkin (Wolves/cyberwolves have I5, Ld7)
the Bear (gain Eternal Warrior)
Majesty (any unit w/in 6" can re-roll failed morale tests)
Hunter (character can outflank, gains 'Stealth')
Warrior Born (get a bonus number of attacks in this assault phase = to how many you killed last phase)
Beastslayer (re-roll failed to-hit rolls vs walkers, monstrous creatures, anything with T5+)
Iron Wolf (any vehicle you're in can get an extra d3", +1 to your repair rolls)

Mm, fluff. Wolfkin goes nicely for cavalry armies. The Bear is decent if you want to hunt bigger game, though Beast Slayer is neat. Warrior Born is cool if you're in an assault for more than one phase. Iron Wolf is 'eh', since it's pretty much the techmarine saga.

This is a first impression; I'll later give some reflections on the HQs and the psychic powers. I'll tell you this now: the psychic powers are not the end of the world, nor are the wolves' psychic defenses. They just have a pretty decent set of wide-spread psychic defenses.


haihastur said...

"Man, I Like 3's in my statline"

apparently GW wanted SW players to field more grey hunters instead of the infamous 12-powerfist-attacks-on-the-charge blood claws.

but now considering the base price and the options are the same for both troop units, the fact that gray hunters have a better statline and a bolter, and the fact that berserk counter-charge doesn't work, the problem is the opposite : why take blood claws anymore ?

stupid move from GW IMO.

"The other big option is that if you want someone with a decent number of powerfist attacks, it's a vet. Still, the basic Wolf Guard with a fist is 38 points, which isn't bad."

another stupid thing with this codex : wolf gard with powerfist is 38pts, while a simple grey hunter with power fist is 40pts, with 1A+1Ld less...

wolf guards can also take combi-meltas/plasmas for only 5pts, which if you already gave them a powerfist won't be a penalty in CC. it can provide a cheap extra melta shot when the time comes.

in the end a guard with fist+combi is only 3pts more than a hunter with fist, so why would you take an extra hunter with meltas instead ?

"-Iron Priests (can ride a Thunderwolf, and take some Cyberwolves)"

not IC anymore + only one wound = useless.
- they can't board on a transport with another unit
- the only way to offer them some protection is with wolves/servitor.
- you COULD buy him a tunderwolf, but he'll cost you 95pts, still only have 1 wound, 3 attacks (+ 1 servo-harness). on the other hand a thunderwolf cavalry model with thunder hammer is only 80pts, has 2 wounds and 4 base attacks... could be fun to make him run behind your land raider so he could repair it, though.

"Additionally, some HQs can take Fenrisian Wolves as 'equipment', though it's forming their own unit"

errr... actually I too searched the codex for this statement, but it's never actually written anywhere the IC is forming a 'unit of his own' with his wolves. so one could argue he's still an IC model, and can join another unit, and then the IC, the wolves, and the other models form one big unit. will need an FAQ to be sure, but it'd be coherent with the previous codex.

no, the true error with the wolves was to make them take TWO places in a transport : who's gonna pay for them aside for ICs travelling on thunder wolves ?

"-Chooser of the Slain"

yup. I guess we won't see much a rune priest without it. it's simply great. and I think it's very characterfull too, so all in all one of the best things in this new codex.

"-Wolf Tail Talisman (If you/your unit are targeted by a psychic power, on a 5+ you nullify it)"

too bad you can't give one to your wolf guard pack leaders...

"-Wolftooth Necklace (always hit in melee on 3+; depends on who has it)"

interesting on things like dreadnoughts. can't see why bjorn doesn't have one though

"-Wolf Standard (re-roll CC misses that show a '1' for one assault phase. Big whoop)"

read again : it's "can re-roll any 1 in the next assault phase", so it's not only CC misses, it could be (for instance) the dice giving the number of attacks of your wulfen ;-)

"They just have a pretty decent set of wide-spread psychic defenses."

it's gonna take a lot to "mindwar" a rune priest with rune weapon, rune armor and wolftail :)

Raptor1313 said...

Yeah. For Elites on Foot, I'd go Lone Wolf over Iron Priest any time, as you're correct to point out that the Iron Priest + Cyber Pups is a bit 'eh'.

I'm not entirely sure WHY you'd ever give a Grey Hunter a powerfist; a power weapon would at least give you some oomph and a decent two attacks.

Blood Claws as troops can still throw out more attacks on the charge; if you're moving at the enemy on foot you're giving up a single pistol shot, maybe not even that. Still, though, even if I'm going massed foot BS I think I'd walk angrily at the enemy and lay down fire, or just run.

On the 'Fenrisian Wolves' as wargear: I'm moving from the note that in the Tau 'dex, there are explicit notes that an IC with Drones is still an IC for joining units. I'd like some clarification on it, to be honest; 2 wolves as wargear isn't bad but two extra wounds isn't a lot if you're on foot.

Dverning said...

Wolf Standard (re-roll CC misses that show a '1' for one assault phase. Big whoop)

As haihastur says... it's ANY 1 that Assault Phase.
So it can be to-hit, to-wound, saves... All sorts of usefull things. Makes me wish I could get one for a squad full of Assault Termies...

Also, I was totally going to make a Chicken Little reference myself in regards to the Codex. It's almost pathetic the way people react to a new codex. Fie, I say.