As someone who grew up playing 2nd editon Warhammer 40K, the Space Wolves inspired a combination of awe and fear. This was because Space Wolves were not only the same cost as other Space Marines, but they were considerably better. So what if the Space Wolves could only field heavy weapons on tanks, dreadnoughts and in Long Fang squads? Their insane close combat abilities more than made up for it.
The only downside to Space Wolves was the sheer detail of the miniatures with many of the Space Wolves characters literally dripping in lavish detail which include wolf pelts, wolves teeth necklaces, wolf tails and anything else vaguely wold related. I fonly remember the Space Wolves terminator with a wolf skin draped across his back, sealing off the ventilation ports on his suit.
Space Wolves have always been a massively popular army for their character and playability. In 2nd edition Space Wolves were rightly feared while in 3rd edition Space Wolves were champions of close assault, leaping out of Rhino transports and only just managed to keep up with the combat crazed Blood Angels with their supercharged Rhino APCs by sheer volume of power weapons and powerfists alone. However, when it came to 4th edition, the Space Wolves suffered.
As the Space Wolves had been intended for 3rd edition, they were heavily geared towards close combat while Warhammer 40K 4th edition was about moving, shooting and hiding behind large clumps of cover. Space Wolves, who specialised in aggressive charges were suddenly unable to leap out of their transports and bound into close combat. Meanwhile the rapid codex revisions of the Space Marines and other armies, left the Space Wolves overpriced and underpowered.
New Space Wolves CodexIt has been 9 long years since the last Space Wolves codex. But a new Space Wolves codex will be with us soon. Some rumours indicate it could be as early as September, while the Space Wolves Horus Heresy book titled 'Prospero Burns' is avaiable to pre-order for November (yes, I have pre-ordered my copy!).
So before everyone starts jumping on the Space Wolves bandwagon, I thought it was time to make a start on my own Space Wolves army, especially while everyone else is currently distracted by the new range of Imperial Guard, including all the new Imperial Guard tanks, Valkyries and new special rules, as well as cheaper points costs. I only wish that Space Wolves are given cheaper points costs to follow suit. With Phil Kelly at the helm of the new Space Wolves codex I'm quite hopeful that he will do a good job.
With Space Wolves rumours already flying about, I have decided to base a small force around the units that I know will be essential to a successful Space Wolves army, especially when Wulfen and Wolf Guard could become the new uber units to challenge the Ork Nob Bikers and Eldar Jetbike Seer Council for supremacy. Meanwhile Bjorn the Fell Handed is reported to make a return and with extra armour plating, giving him Armour 14 on the front and sides.
While making a start on my Space Wolves I'm flying blind and basing my army selections on background rather than performance. Considering Warhammer 40K 5th edition plays the way the army background indicates, then it would be wise to stick to the Space Wolves background when building my Space Wolves army.
So, that means I'll need a Space Wolves venerable dreadnought to start with, at least one squad of Grey Hunters and will have to play "As Russ Intended", which is on foot. Apparently the Space Wolves Primarch, Leman Russ (or Russ to his mates) dictated that no Space Wolf should use teleporters or jump packs, instead leading his legion by example as his charged forward on foot.
While a horde of Space Marines trudging forward on foot would be a stirring site, Space Wolves lack the combat squads rule that other chapters benefit from as well as the long ranged heavy weapons. So I would have to make up for it in other ways.
One choice was to give every unit in my Space Wolves army a drop pod. In the early background, it was very characterful for Space Wolves Space Marines to drop pod into the enemy formation in a massed planetstrike. However, now that every other Space Marine chapter seems to do this I think it would be better to mount all my Space Wolves in vehicles.
This way I can make the most of the highly survivable new vehicle rules while keeping my Space Wolves safe from the enemies guns, while returning some long ranged firepower of my own through extensive deployment of Razorback APCs.
Equiped with a twin linked heavy bolter turret as standard, the Razorbacks should provide my Space Wolves with the long ranged firepower they need while being more survivable and mobile than a 5 man squad.
Choosing a mechanised Space Wolves force over a drop pod assault was a difficult choice as the appeal of dropping up to 3 Space Wolves dreadnoughts armed with heavy flamers and multimeltas into the heart of the enemy formation was too tempting. However, a mechanised force is far more versatile in terms of in game play and deployment. Whereas a drop pod strike could leave my Space Wolves stranded in no mans land, eagerly awaiting for reinforcements that take too long to arrive.
Here's my planned 1500 points Space Wolves army so far:
The points have been loosely based on combinations/predictions using the current Space Wolves codex and the new Space Marines codex.
Venerable dreadnought: Plasma cannon, heavy flamer
(X3) 6 Grey Hunters: power sword, melta gun
Razorback APC: twin linked heavy bolter
(X3) land speeders: multimelta, heavy flamer
This gives me a tough commander, plenty of troops, plenty of long ranged anti-troop firepower as well as plenty of close range anti-tank and anti-troop firepower. Failing that, all 30 Grey Hunters and the Venerable Dreadnought can charge!