Wednesday, July 4, 2012
As a sweeping generalisation, in 6th edition, assualting is a little tougher, shooting is a lot better and tanks have taken a bit of a beating because you can just glance them to death. Meanwhile flyers and fortifications look set to ruin the game.
The great news is that everything in the Space Wolves army works in pretty much the same way. So you won't need to sell your whole army and start from scratch. Well, not until the meta game picks up again in about 6 months time.
But from what I can see, there's definitely more balance between infantry and vehicles.
The best way to do this is just to go through all the units and explain the good stuff and the bad stuff from there...
You get the choice of Command, Personal and Strategic trait charts to roll on for your chosen army Warlord. Command is all about inspiring the troops around you with Leadership boosts and the like, which Space Wolves really don't need.
Burt if your Warlord is a close combat badass, it's definitely worth takinge a Personal trait, as they're almost always designed for characters that like getting into the thick of the fighting.
Meanwhile, if you don't have a particularly killy close combat Warlord, the Strategy traits are perfect for augmenting your army as a whole. So if your army is led by a Rune Priest rather than a Wolf lord, I'd certainly recommending going down the Strategic route.
Everyone likes Logan Grimnar and the old wolf gets a little better thanks to his Preferred Enemy and Tank Hunter abilities, although these now only take effect during your own turn.
The new Preffered Enemy allows you to re-rolls 1's to hit in close combat and from shooting, which is a nice little boost. It's not amazing though.
Bugt what is amazing is the new Tank Hunter rules. Attach Logan to a unit, announce you're giving them the Tank Hunter skill and re-roll all your armour penetration rolls.
That goes for glancing hits too, so you can reroll to make sure you really blow something up when you need to.
Obviously, this makes Missile Launchers brilliant. Lascannons and Multimeltas will probably glance stuff to death now anyway.
As before, Njal can cast 2 Psychic Powers per turn as well as his 'passive stormy powers'. The FAQ says that Njal knows all the Psychic Powers on page 37 of the Space Wolves Codex. But can you swap them for the new Biomancy, Divination and Telekinesis spells? I'd assume so and some of the Psychic Powers are definitely worth swapping, but more on that in the Rune Priests section below.
Unfortunately Njal's still horribly overpriced for what he does, which is why we're unlikely to take him.
Ragnar is still essentially the same, except you no longer get +1 Initiative for Furious Charge.
Ragnar may have a 4+ dodge save, but he does tend to get smacked in the face by powerfists and the like. However, thanks to Precision Strike, he can pick out the Characters hidden in units likely to do him harm. Best of all, his Saga Of The Warrior Born (which gives him lots more attacks), means more chances of a rolling a 6 to hit in close combat and pick off even more dangerous enemy squad members.
Ulric The Slayer
We've never really liked Ulric and now that his Crozius Arcanum is a Power Maul (Strength 6, AP4, unwieldy), he's definitely better left at home.
Bjorn The Fell Handed
Vehicles have taken a bit of a beating in 6th edition and Dreadnoughts too. This means that despite his higher armour and Venerable ability, poor old Bjorn is likely to get glanced to death pretty quickly and become an extra objective for you to hold.
Wolf Lords/Battle Leaders
Wolf Lords are pretty much the same as before. Obviously the 2+ save makes them more survivable because Power Weapons are now only AP3. Thunderwolf mounts are a little better too, because their 'reach' is more consistent. But I'll explain more on that in the Thunder Wolf Cavalry section below.
Everyone's loving the 4+, 24" dispel with the Rune Staff now that everyone has access to some better Psychic Powers.
And speaking of Psychic Powers, Space Wolves have access to Biomancy, Divination and Telekenisis. The question if whether or not you really want to swap Jaws Of The World Wolf, Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane or Tempest's Wrath for them?
Well, the Telekenisis Powers simply don't stand up to what you're already guaranteed to get. Seriously, just write them off completely.
The Biomancy Powers are good, but they're either short ranged shooting attacks or combat boosts for your Rune Priest. Although casting Feel No Pain 24" on a friendly unit is definitely nice.
Meanwhile, Divination is much better if you're the kind of player that likes to augment his units. So you can cast these on friendly units and make them re-roll to hit, get a 4+ invulnerable save, re-roll their saves, get their weapons to ignore cover (great for Long Fangs!) or er...re-roll reserves, which isn't quite so amazing.
Just remember that if you roll a bad power, you can always swap it for the Primaris Power. In which case, Divination is probably the safest set of Powers to choose, because the Primaris Power 'Prescience' allows a unit to re-roll to hit.
Would I swap Jaws Of The World Wolf or Living Lightning for that? Okay, I'd swap 'Jaws' depending on what I was facing.
Wolf Priests give the unit they join Preferred Enemy against one unit type, which means you can re-roll 1's to hit for both shooting and close combat attacks.
This makes them far more versatile than before, because they can augment any unit, whereas they were better for close combat units before.
I'm still going to insist on keeping them in close combat units, because 100pts is a lot to pay just to stick an Independant Character in with a Long Fangs pack so they can re-roll 1's when shooting. You have better Rune Priest Powers (Precience!) for that.
The only difference is that now you probably want Wolf Priests leading your Wolf Guard armed with Combi-Weapons to really make those shots count (and help prevent plasma from overheating).
Wolf Guard are now Characters, which unlocks a number of new abilities for them.
The definition of a character isn't very clear, but Games Workshop give the example of Ork Nobz and Grey Knights Paladins as Characters, which also form units of Characters. So it's a little hazy. But because Wolf Guard can be unit leaders, they're Characters - just to clear that up.
Because they're Characters, Wolf Guard get the Precision Hits and Precision Strikes abilities. So if you roll a 6 to hit a unit, you can choose to allocate that attack to a specific model.
Also, because Wolf Guard are Characters, they can accept and issue challenges. So think of all the times your Grey Hunters have been in close Combat with a squad of Blood Angels and the Sergeant has a Powerfist? Well, now you can challenge him! So is it worth having the Powerfist, or is it a better idea to have a pair of Wolf Claws now? With 4 attacks on the charge (or counter-charge), it's definitely worth considering. Then you can make mincemeat out of the enemy unit once that Powerfist has been dealth with.
Next you've got Wound Allocation and because Wolf Guard are Characters, you can use the Look out Sir Rule on a 4+, even if your entire unit is made of Wolf Guard.
So if your Wolf Guard with the Cyclone Missile Launcher get hit, another of the Wolf Guard can dive in the way and take the hit on a 4+ instead, which is pretty cool.
And don't forget that the whole unit has Precision Fire, so you can allocate those krak missiles, combi-weapon and other high strength, low AP attacks at particular models within an enemy unit on the roll of a 6 to hit.
Finally, your Wolf Guard can be real heroes when leading units by accepting challenges (or issuing challenges) against lone models like Daemon Princes and get a re-roll for every 5 'buddies' in his unit who cheer him on.
Lone Wolves are much the same as before, except Feel No Pain is now a 5+ save. But because they are Characters, they can now issue Challengers, allowing them to cut down enemy Characters and Independent Characters with their token Chainfist...or simply achieve that glorious death they always wanted.
Now that you always hit vehicles in close combat on a 3+, this makes them the ultimate vehicle hunters as well!
Like I said early in the entry for Bjorn, Vehicles have taken a bit of a beating in 6th edition and Dreadnoughts too.
Models attacking Dreadnoughts in close combat with grenades now roll against the Dreadnought's Weapon Skill rather than hitting on a 6. So they're not the immovable close combat threats they used to be. In fact, I wouldn't fancy their chances against a squad of Space Marines, because they'll just get covered in Krak Grenades and glanced to death.
Every Dreadnought is going to become a walking gun platform now with lots of autocannons.
The only unit we're ever likely to keep in reserve are our Wolf Scouts. I've always said that with Space Wolves you need to just throw everything down at the start of the game. But units can no longer charge when they come on from reserve.
So all of you that invested in a full strength squad are going to be disappointed. Everyone who bought 5 Wolf Scouts with a melta gun with the intention of walking on, blowing up an expensive tank and then dying have nothing to worry about.
Space Wolves can't see in the dark so good anymore, but Acute Senses allows you to re-roll your Outflank roll.
Does that allow you to re-roll the Wolf Scouts' Behind Enemy Lines ability? Yes, because it's a variation of the Outflank roll.
Like a Techmarine, the Iron Priest can repair vehicles and restore Hull Points. Unfortunately he's always been a bit fragile in this capacity.
The new wound allocation rules make him a really risky choice, because all it takes is just one failed 2+ save and he and all his Servitors and Cyberwolves get removed. So it's totally not worth it.
I never took one before because of this risk and now the risk seems to have gotten bigger. Although you do get the Look Out Sir 4+ rule for him.
The most versatile unit in the game just got a whole lot better thanks to the Wolf Standard. This is because it allows you to re-roll all 1s during an Assault Phase. That includes charges, dangerous terrain, Overwatch, close combat attacks, wounds and armour saves.
That helps takes the random nature out of charging a little bit, while making your Ovwerwatch that little bit better.
And let's not forget that you can Counter-Charge after shooting on Overwatch. So Grey Hunters are the ultimate objective holding unit.
However, things get a little trickier for Grey Hunters going on the offensive because of how transports work.
Now you can't charge out of a vehicle unless it has an Assault Ramp or it's Open-Topped. So you have to get out and be shot at for a turn before you can make it into the safety of close combat.
Are you going to get out off that Rhino? Heck no! Driving up and firing two Plasma Guns out of the two seems rather appealing though.
And let's not forget that you can move and Snap Fire with your Bolters are range 24".
Suddenly the Las/Plas Razorback spam Space Wolves armies with 5-man Grey Hunter packs carrying a Melta Gun in each tanks looks better than ever. Just remember that an overheat on the Plasma guns causes a Glancing Hit on your tank!
The other snag is that vehicles tend to get glanced to death very quickly now. But at the same time, Lascannons and Plasma Guns are more effective than ever. So it really seems to come down to who shoots first.
Nothing has really changed here. Wolf Priests are still most likely to lead these guys into combat, but their re-rolls don't seem to benefit them quite so much as a dedicated close combat unit. However, Saga Of The Hunter from the Wolf Priest can give the Blood Claws +1 to their cover save, which is pretty important when cover saves are much lower in 6th edition.
Bikes were always pretty good, but now you get a free Hammer of Wrath I10 attack in close combat and a 5+ invulnerable Jink save. Otherwise nothing really changes in how best to use this unit.
Just don't drive straight into the enemy guns like you may have done before with the old 3+ invulnerable Turbo Boost save. Now it's down to 4+ you'll take a few more casualties, which can make all the difference.
Kind of the same as before and like the Blood Claws they're typically led by a Wolf Priest for those re-rolls, which aren't quite so good anymore, because they're a dedicated close combat unit. But on the bright side, they do get a a free Hammer of Wrath I10 attack in close combat, so long as you don't use their Jump Packs in the movement phase. SO bit of a nerf all round really. I never took them anyway - because Russ taught the Space Wolves to fight with both feet firmly on the ground!
Thunder Wolf Cavalry
Thunderwolf Cavalry just became a lot more reliable and let me explain how and why.
First of all, they now move 12" in the movement phase, aren't slowed down by difficult terrain (although it's dangerous) have Fleet of Foot and Hammer of Wrath.
So you're looking at a fairly consistent 'reach' of 22". Thankfully the Fleet of Foot makes re-rolling the charge range much more reliable because you choose which dice you re-roll.
And of course, the free Hammer of Wrath I10 attack is a nice little boost too.
I think we're going to need to take a different approach to Landspeeders. Just think of all the times you've Turbo Boosted them down the flank, passed a whole bunch of 4+ zoom saves, then survived a ton of glancing hits? Those glancing hits are now going to get said Landspeeder killed very quickly.
I think Landspeeder Typhoons with lots of missiles are going to be the new must have mobile unit for our already missile heavy armies.
Everybody takes Long Fangs and you'll be pleased to know that our favourite Heavy Support squads just became even more awesome.
In the Big Guns Never Tire mission they can claim and benefit from Objectives, which is always nice.
When under fire they can Go To Ground and Snap Fire at targets, which makes them more survivable.
Also, because they can Split Fire, this allows you to pick off stragglers outside of their squads in cover by using Focus Fire. So while 4 of your Long Fangs are busy firing their frag missiles into a closely packed unit, the 5th Long Fang can fire a krak missile at a single model in Power Armour that's stood in the open.
And sorry, but Long Fangs do not get Flakk Missiles! It clearly states that this is an upgrade, which they (presently) do not have access too.
Land Raiders are going to get glanced into oblivion - even by lots of krak missiles.
Personally I was never a fan of the Crusader or the Redeemer because I could never get it across the board without someone scoring a luck hit. Meanwhile other people seemed to drive their Redeemers forward, all my guns bounced off it and they passed every 4+ cover save under the sun.
Well, that's no longer the case, because now Glancing Hits take off hull points and the best cover save for a vehicle is 5+.
However, a Land Raider is the only way you can get a unit to charge straight out of a vehicle.
So I'm going to recommend my usual plain Phobos Land Raider with lascannons full of Wolf Guard Terminators with Combi-Weapons and various Power Weapons, a Cyclone and a Chainfist. It's very versatile after all. Plus you can Snap Fire those extra weapons when you move at speed, which is even better when they're twin linekd, meaning you effectively have a 1 in 3 chance of hitting rather than a 1 in 6, which isn't bad.
Does Snap Fire improve Predators? Not really, because their weapons aren't twin linked. Well, you can pay out for a twin linekd lascannon turret, but Long Fangs are still better.
Now that blast weapons remain at full strength when they hit an enemy vehicle, the Demolisher cannon is really dangerous.
On top of that, the general reduction in cover saves makes it more effective at wiping out formations of troops as well.
Is it still probably going to scatter off wildly? Yep.
Is it going to get glanced to death before it can fire? Probably...
Once again, the reduction in cover saves makes it more effective at wiping out formations of poorly armoured troops. But would you swap your Long Fangs for a Whirlwind? Unlikely.
And I'm spent! I was going to write this in seperate articles, but it seemed best to just go through all the Space Wolves units and comment on each and every one.
Overall, 6th edition Warhammer 40K is going to be pretty amazing for the Space Wolves, so long as you can claim objectives without being blasted off them by an army with greater firepower.
Assaulting is going to be tough without some fast units like Bikes or Thunderwolves. Although I get the feeling that we're all going to be running forward on foot, or just riding in Rhinos to bring out numbers up the field as fast as possible.
It looks like vehicles are out and infantry is in with 6th edition. Big blocks of versatile, durable infantry that is. But we all said the same thing when 5th edition came out...and 6 months later everything went mechanised. So we'll just have to wait and see.
But if there's one thing we know for certain, it's that flyer heavy aermies are going to give us all some serious trouble.
In the meantime, stay tuned for articles about Space Wolves Fortifications and Space Wolves Allies.
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