See here for part 1:
Space Wolves Tactica, 5th Ed/09 Codex
See here for a Q&A:
Space Wolf Tactica 5th Ed/09 Codex: Part 2. Kind of...
Games Workshop really emphasized the importance of the HQ section for the Space Wolves, claiming that multiple characters should be at the center of a Space Wolves army. However, whilst possessing some very powerful HQ choices, Games Workshop lowered the points cost of other Space Wolf units to compensate for this emphasis on heroic individuals. As such, whilst powerful, it is often best to rather purchase more, cheaper, non-HQ choices instead. Finally, I noticed I put a bit too much into the Special Characters section and so will try to cut down on how much I put...
Wolf Lords are - rightly so - very powerful characters, capable of being heavily personalized and taking on pretty much anything in the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. However Wolf Lords are very expensive and are therefore best left to larger games.
- - Very Powerful with very high characteristics - can really be a one-man meteor of destruction.
- - Similarly Tough with 3 wounds, access to 2+3++, Toughness 5 and Eternal Warrior.
- - Wide range of potential uses and wargear - the most customizable thing in any Space Wolf (or even Space Marine) army.
- - High Leadership - compensates for this otherwise weak point in a Space Wolf army.
- - Can be massively personalized and characterful.
- - Very Expensive, a base cost of 100pts - as much as a Rune Priest who comes with Force Weapon and Psychic Powers.
- - Lacking in ability to influence the rest of your army, the saga of majesty is pretty much as good as it gets - a poor representation IMHO.
- - These cons alone make the Wolf Lord almost an average in rating.
As I have said, Wolf Lords are VERY powerful, they have high characteristics of WS,BS,Wounds,Attacks and Leadership - stat's and abilities that can be further improved by the wide variety of wargear available. But their cost and lack of aura's/special rules let them down, lacking things such as Orbital Bombardments or force-affecting abilities such as that of biker-captains or a leadership buffer. I wouldn't advise taking Lords in games of 1500pts or less, however they can do very well in 2000pts+, however I'd advise trying to keep your Lord below 200pts. Lords can be VERY destructive, but this comes at a cost and risk - you'd be relying a fair bit on one character.
- One of the most powerful and widely used Wolf Lords are Thunderwolf Lords. Thunderwolves alone are very powerful, but add to this the characteristics and equipment of a Lord and you're now fielding a very deadly character. Give him a Frost Blade and Storm Shield too and you could have a WS6,T5,S6,A5,W3, 3++ character who can rend or ignore armour saves, for 200pts exactly. This kind of Thunderwolf Lord set-up is highly customisable also, give him Saga of the Warrior Born and you could be getting huge amounts of Str5 rending attacks - the bane of any infantry or Monstrous creature. Other considerations are Str10 power fists/hammers, Wolf Claws (re-rolling to hit or rending is messy). However, as you can probably guess, the biggest drawback with this is price and potential use - being restricted to leading certain units.
- Wolf Lords in Landraiders (or drop pods) are also very deadly, this gives them a quick and secure way to reach the enemy - where the lord would strive. Obviously a Wolf Lord is also best supported with an appropriate retinue - I'd recommend Wolf Guard or even (a much weaker choice) Grey Hunters. However, other forms of transport of often simply too weak.
- Thunder Hammers, Power fists and Chain fists are good choices - particularly with terminator armour or storm shield where you often lose the extra 2xCCW attack anyway - enabling the lord to take on much larger and tougher characters and vehicles.
- Wolf Claws (and even Power Weapons ) are also good, these are relatively cheap but highly effective (particularly Wolf Claws), although something such as a nearby powerfist would help to protect against larger enemies.
- Storm Shields, Belts or Russ and Terminator or Runic Armour can protect the Lord well, I'd generally recommend Terminator Armour and Storm Shields, these are both very effective but expensive (65pts for the pair). This further emphasizes the cost of the Lord; invulnerable saves are nigh on essential for characters, however the only one's Lords have access to are expensive - see a recurring theme here?
- However I recommend against Frost Blades, Plasma Pistols, Fenrisian Wolves, Bikes, Jetpacks and The Saga of The Bear - they're simply too expensive for what you get IMHO. Wolf Tooth necklaces are often unnecessary also as with a WS6 a Wolf Lord will generally be more than capable of hitting the enemy.
- In terms of Saga's, The Saga of the Warrior born is very effective - albeit costly- and a worthwhile choice. Majesty is also effective and often a good purchase, particularly to give him some actual leader-like characteristics/ force affecting abilities. Bear is overcosted and often unnecessary, invulnerable saves can help protect lords to instant-death attacks as would a retinue, however Saga of the Bear is almost mandatory for a Thunderwolf Lord, due to his price. Beastslayer is effective for it's cost, a bit limited in use, but effective none-the-less, particularly in a Tyranid/Death Guard heavy game. Wolf Kin is also effective for its cost but limited in use, if you field a Fenrisian Wolf army then definitely use it, however that's about the only use.
Rating: Very Good
One of the best units in the Space Wolf Codex, however a controversial one also. Whilst some people claim the Space Wolf Codex is over-powered, many claim that the Rune Priest is over-powered, particularly in regards to the Space Wolf hatred of psykers. When it comes to the mandatory HQ choice to lead your army however, you can't really go wrong with one of these bad boys.
- - With a Psychic Hood (but better), the Rune Priest is adept as nullifying enemy psykers who are becoming increasingly common within the 5th Ed. Codex's. For example, how do you solve a problem like Mephiston or The Doom Of Malantai? On a 4+ that's how!
- - Equipped with some of the best Psychic Powers around - JotWW, Living Lightning and Murderous Hurricane I'd say are the pick of the bunch.
- - Very Flexible - His Psychic Powers can harm a wide range of enemies, whilst combi-weapons and the like can further improve this potential.
- - Capable of Looking after himself in close combat - whilst only possessing 2 attacks as standard, the Rune Priest's force weapon can make him deadly in close combat. Whilst vulnerable if by himself, when escorted by a suitable retinue, he can really cause some pain whilst being able to avoid a painful response due to wound allocation.
- - Like a budgie - cheap. Whilst his stats aren't the most amazing, his wargear and psychic abilities are very useful, making him a good deal for 100pts.
- - A Rune Priest must really be dealt with by the enemy; they are too dangerous and cheap to be ignored.
- - Game-wise, there aren't really any worth listing. They can be neutered by enemy psykers (Eldar spring to mind) quite easily, due to perils, however, they can nullify enemies in return.
Whereas Librarians constantly fall in and out of favour in different Codices/Editions, Chaplains (and their Wolf Priest counterparts) have always remained popular. Whether this is due to their awesome and imposing image or their effectiveness in game, I don't know. Probably both. It remains however, that in the latest Space Wolf Codex, the Wolf Priest is a very good option. Whereas Rune Priests and - to a greater extent - Wolf Lords are one-man meteors of destruction, a Wolf Priests strength lies in his ability to benefit those around him.
Note: It is only with a Wolf Priest that Blood Claws are really worth taking - see Blood Claw section for details.
- - BIGGEST ADVANTAGE = He gives the unit he is with (and himself) preferred enemy against a specific unit type, this causes a lot of pain in close combat.
- - Pretty deadly in close combat. WS5, Power Weapon and a 4+ invulnerable save makes him a tasty addition to units he is with.
- - Confers the Fearless USR to the unit he is with - further helping them. This shouldn't cause many - if any - problems with receiving extra wounds as with preferred enemy, they should be winning anyway.
- - Cheap. Once again, like a budgie. Like a Rune Priest, it's best to keep this guy cheap and cheerful; you're taking him for preferred enemy and fearlessness, not because you should spend extra to make him slightly better in close combat.
- - Preferred Enemy only works against specific enemy types, although it'll usually work, it's not perfect.
- - On his own, he's next to useless, he's not amazing in close combat, but rather makes a nice addition.
- - Only a limited number of units can/should use the abilities conferred by the Wolf Priest - Wolf Guard, Blood Claws and (if Close Combat dedicated) Grey Hunters.
- Keep this guy at the head of your army, attached to a dedicated close combat unit. It is within the thick of combat that this guy will work his magic. This guy MUST be with a suitable retinue however, he's a waste if by himself.
- In my opinion, the best use for a Wolf Priest is to have him leading a squad of Blood Claws. This compensates for their low WS and makes the most out of their large number of attacks, as well as adding another power weapon to the squad, which is very helpful as it enables them to [easily] tackle most enemies. If my maths is correct, a Wolf Priest would give Blood Claws a 75% rather than 50% hit rate against similar WS - that is a HUGE boost and makes these guys very deadly. A common tactic is to run him with 15 Blood Claws + Powerfist within a Land Raider Crusader. Although (very) expensive (600+pts) this is both scoring and very deadly.
- The other unit that a Wolf Priest is best with is Wolf Guard. Per man, Wolf Guard can match Blood Claws for number of attacks (but superior if charged), combine these high amounts of attacks with a superior weapon skill and a whole load of nasty weapons and this is an absolutely brutal - although, again, expensive - squad. If desired, Wolf Claws could re-roll wounds AND hits, making them very dangerous, preferred enemy can also make the most of the available attacks before the Storm Shields are called upon, making Wolf Guard both more dangerous on the attack but therefore also safer on the defense. For cheapness and proximity to the enemy - go with a Drop Pod. For sheer nastiness - use a Land Raider. Either way, the Wolf Priest will provide a squad a huge boost.
- If you have other characters, such as Wolf Lords or Rune Priests, in the attached squad, then he can also significantly improve their already potent threat. Think Saga of the Warrior born re-rolling hits!
- However, I would recommend against using a Wolf Priest with Swift or Sky Claws, as this drives up his and their costs - making them a much more attractive target. Similarly, I work on the basis that these squads should be kept cheap and expendable also.
- The use for a Wolf Priest is simple - attach him to a close combat squad and charge him straight into the heart of the enemy. This makes these squads a huge threat and can really create a death-star unit.
Wolf Guard Battle Leader
The phrase "you get what you pay for" comes to mind for a Wolf Guard Battle Leader (WGBL). The cheapest - as standard - HQ in the codex, but also the worst. I wouldn't say he's a particularly bad choice, he's just definitely not a good one. A Wolf Guard Battle Leader provides good close combat ability and a wide of weaponry, for a smaller cost than a Wolf Lord. However, in many cases, I'd say it's worth paying the 30pts extra for a Wolf Lord - getting you +1 Weapon Skill, Attacks, Wounds and Leadership. What a Wolf Guard Battle Leader does is provide you with some good counter-attacking options. On the other hand however, so can many other units. For less.
- - Wide range of war gear available for maximum customization.
- - Fairly good stats. Weapon and Ballistic Skill 5, 3 attacks. Nothing amazing however, but improved through the available war gear - particularly through a Thunderwolf.
- - Provides effective assault and counter-assault. Particularly against enemy units - not characters. For example, if you you expect the enemy to reach your gun line, then a couple of battle leaders can bring the pain to the oncoming Berserker's/Orks etcetera, whilst not suffering from not being 'escorted' by a non-dedicated close combat squad (eg. Grey Hunters). HOWEVER:
- - Outclassed by most enemy characters - A Battle Leader does a good job against enemy units, but should an enemy character (eg. Chaos Lord, Warboss, Tyrant) come along, then he's lunch. On the other hand, a Wolf Lord stands a [very] good chance against these enemies.
- - Why run a Battle Leader with your Land Raider-embarked Wolf Guard, when you can put a Wolf Priest in there instead?!
- - The potential role as counter-assault can be done by others. For less. Or better.
Rating: Very Good
- - Versatile: with a VAST array of available equipment, typically discounted, you can equip your Wolf Guard to fulfil any role.
- - Access to Terminator Armour.
- - Pack leaders or Packs, both works. Very well.
- - Use as pack leaders to add extra leadership and close combat punch to a troop choice.
- - Typically only need the 1 FoC slot.
- - Can act as both shooty and choppy (ranged and close combat); like all good Space Wolf units should.
- - Only one long-ranged weapon, the CML.
- - Despite cheaper wargear, their price can skyrocket. Quickly.
- - Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield combo is very expensive.
- Arguably the best use of Wolf Guard is as a Pack Leader. Individually, the Wolf Guard maintains its considerable hitting power, however it can contribute it to another unit that needs it, as well as a leadership bonus. It's worth noting that a Wolf Guard with a powerfist is cheaper than a Grey Hunter with a powerfist, despite the Wolf Guard having an additional attack and Ld. If you include a Wolf Guard however, then you can't fit them in a Wolf Guard with 2 special weapons (e.g. Meltaguns). You can compensate for this by adding a combi-weapon; this doesn't affect any additional attacks however and is a very reasonable compensation.
As such, many Grey Hunter squads (and Wolf Scouts) are led by a Wolf Guard with a Powerfist and Combi-weapon (the combi-weapon matching the Grey Hunters own special weapon). This provides additional (potent) close combat potential for a very minimal lost in potential firepower.
Wolf Guards with Strength 8 close combat weapons (or Wolf Claws/Power Weapon etc.) are a good addition to a Blood Claw pack; providing additional leadership (again), but more importantly, the extra close combat potential.
A Wolf Guard Pack Leader is typically wasted on a Long Fang pack, the only real exception to this is a Wolf Guard with TDA and a Cyclone Missile Launcher. In this case, it's not worth spending extra points on a better close combat weapon, as you'd want your Long Fangs to avoid close combat at all costs.
- If you have a dedicated close combat unit (of any pack really, not just Wolf Guard), try to ensure they have at least 1 Str 8 weapon; this prevents them from being bogged down in combat with a Monstrous Creature or Walker which they'd otherwise be unable to damage.
- I'd seriously recommend avoiding kitting out Terminator Wolf Guard like you would an Assault Terminator Squad; the Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield combination is VERY expensive in this situation. Then again, it doesn't make Storm Shields or Thunder Hammers any less amazing however; Storm Shields are still well worth purchasing, although I'd avoid them in too large a quantity due to price.
- Pretty much all wargear available to Wolf Guard is worth it; the only real exceptions to this are Frost Blades/Axes, the Str5 typically isn't worth it for the extra points, may as well stick with Wolf Claws, Power Weapons or proper high-strength weapons instead. I'd say the exception to this is if there's Ragnar to make it Str6, in which case they are much more effective. Furthermore, Jump Packs and Space Marine Bikes are far too expensive for what they provide.
- I do however believe a mix of TDA and PA to be the best use though, it combines the natural strengths of both kinds, allowing toughness, fire-power, close-combat ability, flexibility and even strength of numbers. The loss of a couple of suits of terminators is countered by the extra bodies and therefore extra attacks and weaponry. Furthermore, they can also carry Terminator Heavy Weapons and make use of the cheap plasma-pistols and MotW.
I believe that 3x Terminator, 4x Power Armour to be a very good blend, allowing all of the above.
The only flaw? Transportation and cost.
- For specifics on running Wolf Guard (particularly Terminators), see here: Space Wolf Tactica 5th Ed/09 Codex: Part 2. Kind of...
- - 5 Str10 attacks on the charge. He's a very dangerous character in close combat, always hitting on 3's at worst too.
- - Ranged Str10 attack.
- - Very tough; 2+3++ & Eternal Warrior means he won't be easy for your opponent to move.
- - Stubborn; so again, hard for your opponent to move.
- - Potentially scoring.
- - [Very] expensive.
- - Lack of maneuverability; he's infantry and in Terminator Armour meaning he's limited for transport options too.
- - Lack of range. Obviously he's best in close combat. With a 6" ranged attack, he needs to be there, but this doesn't mesh well with a lack of maneuverability.
- - Kind of unreliable. It's not that he's not consistent; he'll consistently smash almost anyone's face in in close combat, but he won't always justify the investment.
- Arjac's a tricky guy. He's good, but he's also very expensive. Whether he's worth the 188pts you pay for him is very difficult to say and in most cases, you're best off spending the points elsewhere. As such, he's best used at higher points levels.
- One of the best things you can do with Arjac is to make him scoring; with his toughness and close combat ability, he should be good at seizing and holding objectives. There's two ways to do this; join him to a troop choice or purchase (the also expensive) Logan.
- If you can afford it; him leading a squad (Wolf Guard, Grey Hunters, Blood Claws) in a Land Raider makes it a very deadly unit. This'll also be inevitably expensive, but say if they're scoring for example, it's a slight compensation. At the least, the Land Raider investment protects your Arjac investment; ensuring he reaches CC. This links to the problem with Arjac; you need to spend more(!!) points to make this already expensive guy effective.
- Arjac's hammer throw is of similar strength to a meltagun; therefore if you have him join a squad of Grey Hunters with a meltagun, he can provide effectively a 2nd meltagun; making them a potent anti-tank unit, as well as scoring and close combat and shooty. If you had him lead a squad of 8 Grey Hunters with a Meltagun, Wolf Standard, MotW and Drop Pod (373pts) then they are an immediate threat your opponent must deal with or risk losing an objective and/or a chunk of his force. It's by no means perfect, but it's one of the better uses I can see for Arjac.
- If you go for a Loganwing army, you could have Logan lead one unit of Wolf Guard whilst Arjac leads another; effectively giving you two mini-deathstars.
- - Can pack some heavy ranged weaponry; something the Space Wolves can struggle to access.
- - Can also pack a real punch in close combat; this and the ranged weaponry make them ideal escorts for Long Fangs.
- - Armour Saturation; in a mechanized list, having more armoured targets is always good.
- - Can arrive in the enemies face via a Drop Pod; it shouldn't go in unsupported however.
- - Versatile.
- - Personally, I love the model.
- - Competes with Wolf Scouts, Wolf Guard and more.
- - Slow; Walker = Walking speed.
- - Venerable status is arguably over-costed.
- Giving him two Twin-linked Autocannons (a.k.a. Rifleman) for some powerful ranged fire; particularly against transports. Missile Launchers and Lascannons are also good options, although the latter of which is arguably over-priced.
- A Lascannon and Heavy Flamer can provide 3 roles: 1) Ranged Anti-tank. 2) Anti-infantry. 3) Counter-assault capability. This build is an ideal escort for a fire-base, protecting the more fragile Long Fangs who suffer in assault whilst providing additional firepower. A personal favorite. Plasma Cannon/Heavy Flamer can also work well for some template/blast madness and versatility.
- In a Drop Pod with a Heavy Flamer and Multimelta (or Assault Cannon) is good too; the Pod allowing the Dreadnought to arrive early and in a prime position to cause damage (lots of damage). This can also slow down the enemy and cause some real target priority problems, whilst assault armies can loathe to split their forces (e.g. 'Nids, Orks). Just 1 of these will mean the Dread wouldn't last long, whilst 2 of these is much tougher and more likely to achieve ample damage and impediment to the opponent.
- The Venerable upgrade/status is questionable. They used to be HQ's (which was COOL), but now are only ever Elites. Whilst it does improve the toughness and reliability of the Dreadnought, whether it's worth 60pts is definitely questionable. Make use of the improved BS and WS by giving him a non-twin-linked weapon, or something like a Plasma Cannon to reduce scatter. I think a Venerable Dreadnought is really a 'Your mileage may vary' unit; some people love them, others hate. Some games they'll be amazing, others underwhelming...