Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wolf & Sister part 90

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Champions of Fenris Supplement Review

This review of the Space Wolves Champions of Fenris supplement book looks at the alternative rules for running a "Company of the Great Wolf" detachment instead of the regular detachment rule from the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.

I should also mention that if you love the background, stories and artwork, Champions of Fenris is an excellent book. But if you only want it for the rules you may not be too happy about the £30 price tag.

The book contains new Warlord Traits, new Relics, a new detachment, new formations and some new (fun!) missions to play.

Because we're looking to get the best from our Space Wolves armies, we only care about the Warlord Traits, new Relics and the free buffs for taking this new "Company of the Great Wolf" detachment.

Company of the Great Wolf Detachment
If you choose to take this detachment, your Troop Choices lose the "Objective Secured" special rule from the Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook. Because that's the special rule for the Standard Detachment.

But, in exchange, you get Sagaborn, First Among Equals, Grimnar's Right Hand and Kingsguard special rules, as well as new Warlord Traits and new Relics.

Is it worth it? Well, we'll figure that out by the end of this blog post.

Sagaborn: Characters part of a Detachment or Formation from Champions of Fenris Must always issue and accept challenges.

First Among Equals: All Wolfguard Battle Leaders, Wolfguard Pack Leaders, Wolfguard Terminator Leaders and Thunderwolf Cavalry Leaders have the Preferred Enemy special rule in Challenges.

Grimnar's Right Hand: Re-Roll on the Champions of Fenris Warlord Traits chart (which is totally awesome!).

Kingsguard: The following units receive +1 WS: Wolfguard, Wolfguard Pack Leaders, Wolfguard Terminators, Wolfguard Terminator Leaders, Thunderwolf Cavalry and Thunderwolf Cavalry Leaders.

SUMMARY
Would you choose "Objective Secured" for your Troops, or take Preferred Enemy for Wolfguard Characters and Thunderwolf Cavalry in challenges, a better Warlord Traits chart and +1 WS for all Wolfguard and Thunderwolf Cavalry?

I guess it depends on what kind of army you're running and how important those objectives are to your overall strategy. More on this after...

Relics of the Great Wolf:
Please note that you cannot mix and match these with the Relics from the Space Wolves Codex.

Armour of Asvald Stormwrack: Terminator armour with a 2+ save, 4+ invulnerable and It Will Not Die. Probably not worth it for the extra 15pts on top of regular Terminator armour cost.

Frostfury: A 4 Assault Storm Bolter with Helfrost!

Krakenborne Sword: AP2 Frost Sword. Not bad at all. Especially for a Character riding a Thunderwolf.

Morkai's Claws: Rending Wolf Claws with +D3 attacks. Really good!

The Pelt of Balewolf: Beasts, Cavalry or Monstrous Creature unit types in base contact automatically fail a Fear test. Unless Fearless or And They Shall Know No Fear. Considering Monstrous Creatures are they only thing you would worry about and they tend to be Fearless, I wouldn't bother taing this.

Fellclaw's Teeth: Reroll all failed to hit rolls in close combat. Totally worth it.

SUMMARY
All the Relics here just seem so much better than the ones in Codex Space Wolves. The only thing Codex Space Wolves has that's really good is the Armour of Russ. But when you're likely to be striking first with the Krakenborne Sword or Morkai's Claws and Fellclaw's Teeth, not to mention a badass Warlord Trait, is the Armour of Russ such an essential requirement for an Independent Character, especially when you can buy a Belt of Russ or Storm Shield?

Warlord Traits:

Fire in the Blood: Reroll single failed saving throw every turn.
Thread-Cutter: Reroll all failed to wound rolls.
Gatekeeper: Nominate one weapon carried by warlord, becomes Master Crafted cannot be used on Relics.
Blessing of the Wolf: Warlord and any unit he joins during deployment have Outflank.
Thane to the King: Warlord is Fearless.
Deeds Beyond Counting: Warlord has Preferred Enemy.

SUMMARY
Best Warlord Traits in the game? Maybe...

My Warlord always has Runic or Terminator armour for a 2+ save, so Fire in the Blood is brilliant.
Space Wolves always get stuck into combat, so Thread-Cutter is awesome.
A single re-roll to hit with Gatekeeper? Sure, I'll take that if I haven't already taken Fellclaw's Teeth.
Blessing of the Wolf is very situational. I'm personally not a fan of Outflanking because it's unreliable.
Fearless is ok. Preferred Enemy is nice to have unless I've already taken Fellclaw's Teeth.

Oh but wait, "Grimnar's Right Hand" rule says I can reroll if I don't like the first result.
Well, I'm going to take Fellclaw's Teeth, so I have a 50/50 chance of rolling something good the first time round. But if I don't get Fire in the Blood, Thread-Cutter or Gatekeeper, I may as well roll again.

CONCLUSION
Ok, some let's bring this together.

I can swap the Relics and Warlord Traits from Codex Space Wolves for some far better ones in Champions of Fenris.
To do that, my Troops Choices lose "Objective Secured".
But in return, I also gain +1WS for for Wolfguard and Thunderwolves, Preferred Enemy for Wolfguard and Thunderwolves Characters a reroll on the new Warlord Traits. The only snag is that I must accept and issue Challenges with all Characters.

But all my Characters are totally awesome close combat nutters!

Ok, they might get killed by Eldar, Daemons or Tyranids who strike before they do. But I suppose that's an incentive to not take Wolfguard Pack Leaders unless absolutely necessary. Although I don't really want my Rune Priests challenging all and sundry. It's okay for Wolf Lords to do it with their Terminator/Runic Armour and Storm Shields.

But, to make the most of the free buffs in Champions of Fenris, you'll want to take as many Wolfguard and Thunderwolves as possible. Not forgetting some badass Wolf Lords, armed with the best Relics (and a tasty Warlord Trait!) to slaughter the enemy in close combat.

This is the Space Wolves Detachment that's out to kill - and kill well!

The only question is how you're going to get it across the board. Going "Unbound" with a Thunderwolf Cavalry army is an obvious choice. +1 WS all round and you're going to be taking a badass Wolf Lord (or two) on Thunderwolves. Time to get your Morkai's Claws out with Fellclaw's Teeth!

The army I'm currently building is a Drop Pod themed force. And that caused me a dilemma, because I actually do what to secure objectives, but I also need to make a strong foothold in my first Drop Pod wave and kick some ass when the Space Wolves get stuck in to close combat. So I'll be switching between the regular Space Wolves Codex and the Champions of Fenris supplement until I find what works best.

I imagine that most Space Wolves players will be doing the same.

Formations
Finally, a quick word on the Formations in the book.

I don't feel that any of them are worth building your army around. Unless you were going to take that combination of units anyway. But chances are that you probably weren't going to.

Arjac leading Wolfguard Terminators with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields in a Land Raider Crusader is something you'd be likely to take. And their formation special rules are awesome. So they're totally worth it, if that's what you were planning to field anyway.

Similarly, the Wolfguard Thunderstrike looks awesome for someone like me who wants to field a Drop Pod army because they re-roll all their shooting attacks on the Turn they arrive from Reserve. But wait! It says I MUST field 10 Wolfguard. Now that's a big pointsink when I was only planning on taking 5 with Combi-Meltas. So I need to give this some thought. But not giving them enough Combi-Weapons makes the re-rolls rather pointless. The only problem is that the Combi-Weapons are 10pts each. Owch!

Is it worth the investment? That depends on the Meta and how many Imperial Knights or Super Heavies I'm likely to encounter...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wolf & Sister part 89

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Space Wolves Codex First Impressions

Having spent a good chunk of the weekend reading (and re-reading) the new Space Wolves Codex, here are my first impressions.

Firstly, there are a lot of changes. Some a obvious, some are subtle. Some are actually pretty good!

So here's a quick run down of all the various units, explaining what's changed and what I will probably be fielding in my army lists in the future.

And after this post, I will begin updating ALL of the Space Wolves Tactics articles for each unit in the Space Wolves Codex.

Wolf Lord
For 5pts more than before, they come with a Belt of Russ for a 4+ Invulnerable Save and get access to some new Relic Weapons. Helm of Durfast (re-rolls to hit), Armour of Russ and Black Axe of Death, along with the Fangsword of the Ice Wolf are all right up there on my shopping list! The Wulfenstone is waaaay too expensive for what it does.

Meanwhile, Warlord Traits are a bit worthless and unreliable. Helm of Durfast (re-rolls to hit) is what you really want anyway.

Wolfguard Battle Leader is a poor man's Wolf Lord like before.

Ragnar, Njal, Ulric, Lukas, Logan Grimnar
All overpriced and pointless in taking. The standard HQ equivalents are just so much better and more reliable.

I shed a tear for Logan Grimnar. He's lost his High King abilities, has no skills to pass to the unit he joins and has not 18" +1 Attack bubble anymore. He's a fat bloke riding a sled. And he's a Lord of War, which puts you at a disadvantage, because your opponent gets to roll on the 'anti-Lord of War' Warlord Traits table.

He's not bad on the Stormrider actually, but he's only good at charging in.
Is he worth 250pts for a hard man on foot? Maybe... But the standard Wolf Lord is looking like a better choice.

Rune Priest
Considerably cheaper and by far the most sensible HQ choice, like before. Space Wolves psychic powers have been toned down considerably. But we'll probably end up taking Biomancy and Divination anyway.

Wolf Priest
Went up 10pts and got Healing Balms which give 6+ Feel No Paint to the unit they join. It's ok I guess. Good for leading a big mob of Blood Claws, but I feel that there are better HQ choices for your points. That said, because we must now take a minimum of 2 HQs, we could see a lot more Wolf Priests in play.

Bjorn the Fell Handed
Good as he always was, without throwing away Victory Points. A bit cheaper too. And he can take a Drop pod.

Murderfang
Oh hell yes! Take him and give him a drop pod. 'Nuff said,

Dreadnought
Much the same as before. Now has access to a Great Claw, which is a Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon with Shred. Not bad for 5pts.

Venerable Dreadnought upgrade is only worth taking if you want to pay even more for the Ferisian Axe + Blizzard Shield combo. But it's a lot of points to give a Dreadnought a 3+ Invulnerable save, which is essentially what you're paying +50pts for in total.

Lee thinks its awesome and that you could Drop Pod a Venerable Dread, Murderfang and Bjorn all together. I'm not sure if they'll just drown in Krak Grenades. Although there's no question that Murderfang is an awesome choice.

Iron Priest
Meh...

Wolf Scouts
Lost "Behind Enemy Lines" skill, making them rather redundant. But they can take Sniper Rifles and Camo Cloaks. I'd only field these as Sniper Scouts now... if at all.

Arjac Rockfist
Still awesome. Slightly cheaper. But can now only join packs of Wolfguard.

Wolfguard in Power Armour
Combi-weapons are now 10pts each, making each Wolfguard 28pts.
This makes them a very expensive Melta-Suicide squad in a Drop Pod. But I honestly cannot see any other way you would run this unit, because Grey Hunters and Blood Claws fulfill their other possible roles far better.

Wolfguard in Terminator Armour
Same as before, but cannot have a Chainfist AND a Storm Shield (more on this under Lone Wolves). The good news is that they can take a Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield for just +15pts - Hooray! And they can also now Teleport into battle.

But don't forget that you can buy them a Drop Pod from the Fast Attack section!

Lone Wolves
A lot cheaper, but they now concede a Kill Point. However, they no longer take up an Elite slot in your army. The real kick in the nuts is that they cannot have a Chainfist AND a Storm Shield. This is the same for Wolfguard Terminators and Wolf Lords. And it seems to be because Games Workshop only modelled these options on the Left Arm.

So now I'm thinking that Lone Wolves either need to take a Thunder Hammer (or Wolf Claw) & Storm Shield for survivability. But that makes them rubbish tank hunters. Or we can try an interesting Wolf Claw and Chainfist combo. But that leaves them without a 3+ Invulnerable Save, making them more likely to die. I shall ponder upon this.

But if they're in Terminator Armour, a Lone Wolf can now Deepstrike. or you can buy him (and his ablative Wolves) a Drop Pod from the Fast Attack section.

Grey Hunters
Are you going to give your Grey Hunters close combat weapons for +2pts each, making them 1pt more expensive than before? That's the big question.

Wolf Standard is now 1 per Detachment - and you'd only take it for the extra attacks if you were following a crazy close combat character into the thick of the fighting. Mark of the Wulfen is gone. We now have to pay for our second Special Weapon once we reach 10 models in a unit.

And the Wolfguard Pack Leader and his weapon options are more expensive than before as well.

I'm contemplating sticking with the 8-man squad of old with a Melta Gun, led by a Wolfguard with a Combi-Melta (and possibly powerfist) and leaving it at that. But being able to buy 2 more models and give 1 another Melta Gun for 2 melta weapons in a squad is just too tempting.

The Wolfguard Pack Leader can take Terminator Armour too, but cannot access Terminator Heavy Weapons.

Blood Claws
Cheaper than before to the point they're actually tempting. However, the need for 15 to access a second Special Weapon causes issues. I'm tempted to run them as poor Grey Hunters to help balance out the points increases and bring a Melta gun and Wolfguard Pack Leader with Combi-Melta to the front. Although Blood Claws only have BS3.

15 Blood Claws led by a character in a Stormwolf sounds awesome, but it's a huge investment in points.

Drop Pods
Can now be taken as Fast Attack choices, safely dropping your Wolfguard Terminators and Lone Wolves into the thick of it. Or you can buy an extra drop pod (or two) to ensure that your first wave of drop pods in an all-drop pod themed army is substantially large enough to cause a lot of damage on Turn 1.

Stormwolf/Stormfang
The new flying transports. A bit pricey, although it has some nice weapon options. The only downside is that the model is so long that the Multi-Melta sponsons will never really get into short weapons range. Especially with their 45-degree fire arc. Missile and lascannon upgrades look like the best option, because of the high strength and range.

Swiftclaws, Stormclaws, Thunderwolves
All cheaper, especialy Thunderwolves. An unbound Thunderwolf Cavalary army will do very well thanks to the points reductions. And it would actually be worth getting Harald Deathwolf, Canis Wolfborn and even Logan Grimnar on Stormrider to lead it!

Long Fangs
Slightly more costly. But not by much. They can take a Wolfguard Pack Leader, but there's no point. They can also buy Flak Missiles, but at an additional 10pts each it's not really worth the cost.

All the Vehicles
They're exactly the same as before.

CONCLUSION
My biggest concern for the Space Wolves is the increase in cost for combi-weapons and the difficulty in fielding Chainfists - the two most reliable weapons we have for tank hunting.

Meanwhile, Grey Hunters are considerably more expensive, pushing me in the direction of Blood Claws to keep the body count and Melta weaponry, but essentially swap Bolters for extra attacks in a charge. It could work if all I want it Melta weaponry. But they're going to need to be joined by a character to make sure they get shot at!

There's some bizarre logic in this. But basically, a number of models will get shot and killed. And I'd rather that 6 Blood Claws got shot and killed instead of 8 Grey Hunters, who are a far better investment throughout the length of a game. Especially if I position the Blood Claws so that only their Melta guns are the important weapons they're firing.

This is all theoretical for now. But maybe we'll just have to take the extra costs for Combi-weapons on the chin to get the Melta we need. And give Combi-meltas to our characters for a mere +5pts to get the job done.

Speaking of characters, I was actually looking forward to fielding a Wolf Lord in Terminator Armour with a Storm Shield and a Chainfist. The same goes for the Lone Wolves.

The only question is whether I choose to play it safe with a Thunder Hammer (or Wolf Claw) & Storm Shield for survivability, or go kill crazy with a Wolf Claw and Chainfist combo?
Although my Wolf Lord will probably just end up with the Helm of Durfast, Armour of Russ and the Black Axe of Death (or Fangsword of the Ice Wolf), because it's an easy choice.

Either way, there may be some magnetising ahead...

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We aim to provide you with all the painting guides, modelling tutorials and game winning tactics you need to get the most from playing your Space Wolf army!



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