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.
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…
I 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.
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+.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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