Space Wolf Dreamin’ – My List Thoughts

A few months ago, I got bit by the Space Wolf.

Bug. I meant the Space Wolf bug, the one that inspires you to take on a new army and buy a bunch of new toys and then… Leave them piled up on top of your bookshelf for months without paying them any more attention.

*SIGH*

But, since I don’t have anyone to play with, it’s not that big a deal. When I get back to the States next year and have a normal non-life-dominating job, I intend to start hobbying again. That will include, slowly but surely, assembling and (hopefully) painting my oft dreamed of Space Wolf force.

So while I don’t have any inspiring models to show you, I did want to at least pretend I still have some 40K connection in my life by talking a little about the Space Wolf list I’d like to run…

w2I figure, why bother building a SW force if you’re not going to run a strong SW flavor? Especially when I already have a nice Crimson Fist army. I mean, all marines are basically just marines unless you can find a flavor that resonates with you and run with it. So if I’m going wolfie, I want it to be wolfie.

So what are some wolfie traits I want to emulate with my army?

– Animal fury. (That’s fury, not furry. Well, both work here.) I love the superstitious Viking berserker aspect of the force. So I want an assault-heavy, honorable but vicious feel. That’s easy to accomplish with just about any unit.

– Animal companions. I want actual beasts in the army. My first pick unit, then, is easily Thunderwolf Cavalry. I’d like to run a unit of Fenrisian Wolves too, and most likely will, but when it comes down to a points crunch, they’re easy to give up in favor of something more effective on the battlefield. I also want to include wolf companions as wargear for lone wolves and character models whenever possible.

– Hunter’s cunning. I love to employ outflanking in all my armies, allowing my stealthier units to come at you from unexpected angles and timing. Fortunately, the new rules allow for nearly any SW unit to be a potential outflanker.

– Personality. Space Wolves definitely excel at this and it’s easiest to see in the models themselves. Therefore, very few of mine will wear helmets, preferring to face the enemy eye to eye.

– Character. Similar to personality, the SW have more than anyone else in terms of character models. The standard force org/detachment allows for up to 6 HQs, as well as adding wolf guard leaders to most packs. The presence of superheroic (or villainous) character models is one of my favorite aspects of the game. Of course the drawback in having so many is that they suck up a lot of points, leaving much less for the rest of your force.

Notice I don’t have the 13th company wolfen guys here. (I liked being able to have upgraded wolfen models in most unit from the previous codex…) Mostly because I don’t know the rules, didn’t get that book. I guess they’re kinda cool. I’ve heard they have buff effects on nearby units. And I’ve been a werewolf fan since I was five. But I’m also kind of crusty in my ways and tend to stick with classic units. (Therefore not big on flyers, either.)

So what units do I choose? I’ll hit each category in the force org matrix and talk about what I like and why. Obviously, unless I was playing a 5,000 point game or something, I’d never be able to take them all. But this is the not-so-narrow list of choices I’d be picking from.

w4HQ

So easy to go too far with this. Plus, adding Independent Characters to Troops units increases their chance of gaining outflank from a 6+ roll to a 4+.

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As a Warlord, I’d like to run a Thunderwolf Lord, either Harald Deathwolf or Canis Wolfborn. Both are worth the points vs building your own, but are still costly at 190 and 185, respectfully. You can build your own wolf-riding lord for about the same points, but won’t get the special abilities the named heroes have. Other cool options are Bjorn and Ragnar, but I’m not super into them for their fat point costs.

Most of my HQs would likely be priests, both Wolf and Rune variety. They took away Njal’s awesome weather-altering presence, so he’s no longer worth the points for me either. I’d likely build me a cheaper one with Tempest powers. Then employ various Wolf Priests: I like Ulrik (possible War Lord option), as well as others to fill specialized roles with like units: a jump priest and/or termie priest. I’ve always liked Chaplains, plus with the assault-frenzied Wolves, they fit rather well.

TROOPS

You gotsta have troops, of course. I’d have one unit of Bloodclaws led by Lukas the Trickster (‘cuz you can’t leave Loki out when he’s an option, plus he gives them the 4+ Outflank chance). This would be a fairly big unit to allow for casualties as they fight to get in close. And at least a meltagun for anti-armor.

I’d also run at least one, preferably two (depending on point budget) Grey Hunter squads. These are the bread and butter units: tactical, scoring, etc. A special weapon in each, and led by one of the many HQ models (4+ flank and gives the HQ hero some boys). I wouldn’t likely dump too many points into them, though, as I have a lot of costly units I want to bring. I tend not to super-gear one or two pet units, but rather use those points for more models.

ELITE

Matching the SW flavor and a generally cool, honorable, badass unit, the Lone Wolf models are now free. Well, free in that they don’t take up a slot. You can have one Lone Wolf for each Troops choice without spending an Elite slot. I’d take at least one, maybe two if I have the points to spare.

Wolf Scouts used to be an iconic unit for me too, but now that everyone can potentially outflank and they lost their “behind enemy lines” super-flanking power… They’re getting a much lower spot on my priority list. They are still guaranteed to infiltrate/outflank, but they just aren’t as cool as they used to be.

Murderfang, however, I gotsta have. One because he’s a badass, wolfy, named character. An two ‘cuz he’ll rip flesh and armor alike. I haven’t played him yet to see if he lives up to the potential, but I’m eager! I also wouldn’t mind running a second dreadnought, one more flexible than just being a melee combat unit, but unless I have a big budget, this is unlikely.

Wolf Guard without termie armor are, to me, just more marine models. Not special enough to warrant a precious spot in my army. I’ve also never been a big termie fan, but for some reason the Wolf Guard Terminators have carved themselves out a special spot in my frosty little heart. I do want to run them, with a Wolf Priest dressed the same way. Part of it is their ability for a variety of weapons within the unit. That’s the main thing I never liked about Termie marine units before—the whole squad was either smash or shoot. I wanted variety. Some shooty, some smashy, some fast, some slow, etc. With this variety, I’m all in. I can see them beaming in, shooting up one pesky sniper or artillery unit, then striding over and caving in the rear of a tank next turn. I want them to be multi-purpose to justify their cost.

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What about Arjac you say…? Meh. I might try him once or twice to see if I like him. He is a character that doesn’t require an HQ slot, though, which is always nice.

FAST ATTACK

I’ve already mentioned Thunderwolf Cavalry and Fenrisian wolves. These are fluffy flavor staples. But again, I’m not likely to kit out the Cavs with a lot of expensive gear. The leader I might, but giving them each a super shield will likely just make them more desirable targets from my enemy.

Swiftclaws and Skyclaws… Yes and no. One of the unique things about SWs is that their young fill these roles, thus they aren’t as skilled as standard jump or bike marines. I do like both ideas, though, since both are fast and getting to grips with the enemy is what I want to do. I also like to use fast guys as anti-tank units, zooming in and punching through the vulnerable flanks, either at range or up close. Wolf Guard units can actually be outfitted to fill these spots, but they’d also be Elites that way and cut into my Elite budget (unless I play without the force org, but then I give up the detachment special abilities).

I am likely to have one unit of Skyclaws (with a meltagun for tank hunting), probably led by a jumping wolf priest. For the bikers I’d really prefer to take a White Scars ally unit led by Khan, but dressed and painted to be badass wolf bikers. I mean, who would make better badass Bikers than Space Wolves?! I want to make a really cool conversion unit, and rename my Khan counts-as “Steppenwolf.”

I also thought having a unit of 2 landspeeders with multimeltas flying around as quick anti-armor speedsters would be nice, but another low priority unit. And of course the flyers are badass, but I’m not much of a vehicle guy.

HEAVY SUPPORT

w3I’m really not feeling much on the heavy support for this army.

Long Fangs are pretty standard, I suppose, and equipping them with some adaptable missile launchers (anti-infantry/armor/air) sounds like a plan. I also have a plasma cannon model that needs use.

I might also run a Vindicator tank, mainly because I’ve never done so before. And a big mean tank that gets close (if 24” is close) with a great big boom seems fitting with these guys.

I know everyone’s asking, “Where’s the mandatory Land Raider?” I’ve never been a big LR guy either. I know, I know. Eventually, ultimately, ideally I suppose that’d be the way to go. But for 250 points (and a big wad of cash), I don’t consider it a high priority.

Hmm, this was fun. Maybe I’ll do a post about my other army list preferences too. One a month, maybe? My Crimson Fist list has been pretty standard for three editions/eight years, and I still love it. (And I have more pics to share for them.)

Thanks for reading. (I know it was a long one.)

J. D. Brink

New Chaos Theory website

Old Chaos Theory website

  • I’d run something like that as well if I wanted to play SW. Playing to the flavor of the chapter is what makes it interesting.

    I’m with you on the Land Raider too. AV14 is not what it used to be. There was a time when a Land Raider was nearly indestructible, but that was a few editions ago. Now you’re lucky if you get through turn #2 with it intact, and for 250+pts, it’s not worth it.

    • JD Brink

      I haven’t played enough with vehicles in the newer editions to know for sure, but I imagine that’s so. I remember my crimson fist dread taking tau missiles one after the next in 5th ed when i first came back to the game. Now, he’d be dead by turn 2, I’m sure.

      • The Hull Point system has definitely cut down on the durability of Vehicles. This was necessary, because the Game was just turning into METAL BAWKSES, but it does get a bit depressing at time, especially when the increased firepower that’s around these days is factored in.

        • It’s too easy to take down a vehicle now though. At the time it made sense. At the time the game didn’t have as many threats to vehicles either. Now, it’s kind of silly.

          I don’t know the answer, but it really needs to be adjusted a bit in favor of the vehicle. Not like the old days, but just a slight boost.

          • I think that needs to come from Codex changes. A big part of the problem is just that there’s so much damn firepower out there.

            • It would be nice, but I don’t see GW toning down codices either. Plus, it would be such a long process, where doing something in the rules would be more immediate and global.

              Eh, either way I think we know it won’t likely change.

              • I reckon since neither is going to happen, I might as well wishlist the one I think would be better for the Game overall ;)

  • OK, this is basically gonna turn into a post of its own.

    HQ: Don’t forget about Wolf Guard Battle Leaders. They’re actually pretty good as Budget Wolf Lords, especially on a ThunderWolf and with a Storm Shield. Rune Priests are a lot of fun. I like taking the Helm of Durfast on one, because Ignores Cover and re-rolling to Hit with all the Witchfires in the Tempestas Discipline is great. Wolf Priests are solid. Ulrik is great, especially as Warlord. He buffs all the dudes around him so much. It’s awesome.

    Troops: Blood Claws want to stay cheap. I generally just take a Flamer and no other upgrades in the Unit. Grey Hunters, on the other hand, really do benefit from spending some Points on them. Shelling out for the extra CCW is a bit pricy, but in combination with Counter-Attack, it lets them get into short-ranged firefights without having to worry about being Charged by anything but serious CC Units. Remember that you can buy an extra CCW for any “Model”, so you can get a Combi-Weapon for your Pack Leader and still have two CCWs for him. I pretty much never leave home without at least one full Pack, with 2 Specials and a Pack Leader. Kind of expensive, generally comes in around 200-220 Points, but totally worth it.

    Elites: You’re pretty much in line with my thoughts here, except that for me, Thor, not Loki, is the automatic include. Arjac is pretty awesome, really. So is MurderFang and the Axe/Shield Venerable Dread. The rest of the Elites are kind of meh. Oh, except for the Wulfen. They really are pretty awesome.

    FA: I usually take a single Storm Shield and then a PowerFist or Thunder Hammer in each TWC Pack. I find that’s generally enough for the power levels it looks like you’re planning on playing at. SkyClaws are a lot of fun. If you’re taking a Meltagun, tho, take two of them, because ‘Claws get a little too excited to reliably shoot straight. This is also another Unit I like to pick up a WGPL for, give him some extra CC upgrades and Meltabombs. Fenrisian Wolves are super-cheap in small Units, and actually still pretty useful like that, as long as they’re going in supporting another Unit, rather than trying to take on anything substantial with just 5 Wolves. An IC on TW really helps with their Ld issues, and dealing with tougher targets.

    HS: Also kinda meh. Vindicators are fun, because who doesn’t like big explosions, but yeah, not terribly necessary.

    You really should at least take a look at Curse of the Wulfen. In addition to the Wulfen themselves, the Wolf Claw Strike Force (specifically with the DeathWolves Formation as its Core) is pretty well in line with your ideas here, except that it’s hard to get regular Wolf Priests in. Find a copy you can borrow and have a read through.

    Welcome, brother. May you bring glory to Russ and The Fang!

    • JD Brink

      Thanks! Good to get a wolf brother vet’s opinion!
      Good thinking on the CCW — which i believe used to be standard… those GW bastards.
      I like your advice overall and will definitely adopt it, whenever i get to playing again. And I’ll def look at the wulfen guys too. I’m a big werewolf fan, but also a stick in the mud for older units.

      • I hope it helps, and most importantly, remember that they’re just suggestions, just things to look at and give a try. And some of them are entirely just matters of personal preference. If they don’t end up working the way you want, keep fooling around with it until you find something that does.

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