Thunderwolf Cavalry are a new and radical addition to the Space Wolves army. While their inclusion in the game doesn't sit right with many traditionalists, many Space Wolves players have been frantically converting whatever they can find to make Thunderwolf Cavalry from until Games Workshop or Forge World release a set of official Thunderwolf models.
On the tabletop, Thunderwolf Cavalry bring something new and exciting to the Space Wolf army in the form of a small, tough and hard hitting unit that can move, run and charge up to 24" in a single turn.
It's important to note that only 1 model in the Thunderwolf Cavalry unit has access to the special close combat weapons, meanwhile the other riders are restricted to swapping their bolt pistol for a boltgun, plasma pistol or a storm shield.
Also, the Rending ability of the Thunderwolf mount cannot be combined with the rules of a special close combat weapon like a power weapon or thunder hammer.
Boltgun - Rubbish!
Plasma Pistol - Too expensive!
Storm Shield - Expensive, but good for deflecting low AP guns
Melta Bombs - Great when you don't have to give them to the whole squad
Power Weapon - You've got Rending so why bother?
Wolf Claw - You've got Rending so why bother?
Frost Blade - Boosts your guy up to Strength 6!
Power Fist - 4 S10 attacks is nothing to be sneezed at
Thunder Hammer - Same as a powerfist, but 'stuns' vehicles, infantry and creatures
Mark of the Wulfen - Terrible! Why would you swap 5 attacks for D6+1?
As you can see, many of the upgrades simply aren't worth taking. Or if they are, they're very expensive. So we need to be quite sparing with what we give our Thunderwolf riders. Also, while you can take anything between 1-5 models in the unit, I'd never take less than 3, otherwise you're giving away a very easy Kill Point.
Thunderwolf Cavalry 1: 185 points
3 Thunderwolf Cavalry, Thunder Hammer, Melta Bomb
This is the basic squad I'd take. It's got three individual models for wound allocation, which is why I gave one of them melta bombs. The lead model has a Thunder Hammer for stunning vehicles, characters and monstrous creatures, which will give the Thunderwolves mass of Rending attacks an advantage in the following round of close combat.
Thunderwolf Cavalry 2: 315 points
5 Thunderwolf Cavalry, Thunder Hammer, Melta Bomb, Boltgun, Storm Shield
This is my Thunderwolf unit with all the trimmings. Maximum number of models and a guy with a Storm Shield to take the hits from plasma guns, melta guns and lascannons and hamrlessly deflect them on a 3+.
You'll notice that one of the riders has a Boltgun. This is for the 5-way wound allocation.
I resent giving him a Boltgun, because it's worthless and he loses an attack because of it, but it's going to increase the survivability of the unit through wound allocation and it's better than paying out 15 points for a plasma pistol.
It's important to remember that Thunderwolf Cavalary are not on par with Ork Nob Bikers and similar super units from other armies. They're still a good unit, but they can't absorb quite as much firepower or deal out the same amount of damage.
I think they're a brilliant unit to hold in reserve to punish anyone from daring to venture more than half way across the board. Otherwise, I certainly wouldn't use them for a direct assault. This is because they lack the movement of bikes and with a basic 6"+D6" move, they're not going anywhere fast, unless they're charging something. Don't be fooled by their raised Toughness, 2 wounds and 3+ save, this is quite a small and fragile unit if hit with heavy weapons.
Don't get me wrong, there will be many glorious charges of the Thunderwolf Cavalary. You'll just have to keep them leaping from combat to combat in order to keep them away from the enemy guns. Thankfully their potential 19" to 24" attack range will make this a little easier.