Prayers and Predictions: My Hopes for the Upcoming Space Wolf Codex!

So, I’m back, and I’ve brought along my hopes, dreams, and nightmares for the upcoming Space Wolves Codex. A number of rumors have been floating around about what the Wolves are going to wind up getting, but I thought I might take a moment to send a prayer up to the gaming gods on behalf of my fellow Wolf Brothers.

HQs: I must admit that we have some very potent melee HQs, some of the best in the game in fact. However, 2 of our HQS only have Ld of 9 (dang near suicidal in the new rules), and the WS of even our Lords is equivalent to some armies’ troops (read “anything” of Khorne). However, if they didn’t change the statline of our HQs one jot, I’d be okay. What I really need is for them to make them more distinguishable from each other. They are rather interchangeable as is, and I think it robs the SWs of some of their much-deserved flavor.

Wolf Lords: I assume we will be losing an attack, though melee is our forte, so maybe not. Though it cannot be denied that all of our HQs are melee beasts, the WL definitely needs a bump in WS and the addition of an iron halo or comparable invulnerable save. It’s less a points issue and more the fact that we are limited to one Belt of Russ per army. This is odd considering we actually have to take more HQs than anybody else.

Wolf Guard Battle Leader: Vanilla Space Marines lack a comparable HQ, so I’m not sure what GW will do with these guys. They need a WS and a Ld bump, especially the latter. It seems like I take 3-4 Ld tests a turn, and that one point makes a huge difference.

Rune Priest: Where should I start? We need more powers, period. While Storm Caller has its advantages (that LR that’s blasting away at you and driving down your throat is actually in cover), it often loses its effectiveness, and the 5+ save is a joke considering the relative abundance of 4+ cover saves. Essentially, compared to the SM Librarian, we pay 34 more points for a similarly equipped HQ (admittedly with 2 Attacks, 1 point of BS, and 1 point of Initiative) with 1 fewer point of Ld and one fewer spell. It’s not that this is particularly unfair, but the RPs aren’t different enough from our other HQs to make them as appealing of a choice.

Wolf Priest: I think this is my biggest complaint. First of all, you almost have to take a Wolf Priest unless you want one of your HQs to get squished by a power fist without even an attempt at a save, see one Belt of Russ per army. Also, for 2 points fewer (frag and krak grenades make the WP 98 points) we get 1 point of BS, 2 attacks, and 1 point of Initiative. That sounds great until you think about Liturgies of Battle and Honour of the Chapter. Fearless and re-rolls on the first round of an assault, are you joking? I don’t know if we’ll get either of those from a balance standpoint (15 Fearless Blood Claws with re-rolls is a very scary thing indeed), but we need something to distinguish the WP, much like the RP.

Venerable Dreadnought: I love my Venerable. He was the first thing I painted for this army. I’m afraid, however, that he may become too expensive to be viable in the new book. For 16 points fewer than vanilla SM, we get an assault cannon equipped Dread with one more attack and the ability to re-roll the deployment roll. Throw in Extra Armour and the difference becomes 26 points. So, I fear for the viability of our Ven. I’ve heard some rumors about Bjorn, so I’d guess that he might get the re-roll instead of all Vens.


Wolf Guard (unit leaders): To me, this is one of the coolest parts of the SW codex, the ability to take widely varied unit leaders. I’m not sure how they are going to be changed, but I would guess that they will lose some of their options and gain a more specific list like SM sergeants currently have. I also hope they fix the wacky “1 elite choice of 1-20 WG” and just have them serve as sergeants or replace those same sergeants.

Wolf Guard Bodyguard: I’m going to focus on the terminator issue. I’m aware that we have some nasty melee units, Blood Claws for instance, but it hurts my soul every time I hear about the destructive power of TH/SS terminators and realize that mine are just too danged expensive. We pay 55 points per, while SM only pay 40. Our lightning claws are more comparable but still cost 5 more points than their SM equivalent. I’ve also read that we might not even be able to take TH/SS. I can see that from a fluff standpoint (we are a slavering horde and all that), but it still makes me a little sad. I’m sure someone out there is saying, “What about counter-attack and acute senses and…?” I agree that those special rules make our terminators, along with the rest of our units, a bit better than the average SM equivalent. However, I assume we will lose at least one of those, probably counter-attack, and that they will then be tied to Special Characters similar to the SM builds. We’ll see what GW does.

Wolf Scouts: It’s undeniable that our scouts are better than the SM version, better WS, better BS, and the ability to automatically come on from the back. (I thought outflanking had largely neutered this, but I’ve found it to be a wonderful asset. The idea of even just 4 guys coming on with melta-bombs makes your opponent pause. It’s especially nice with the new IG ability to make you re-roll your flank.) However, we do pay more per model, 2 points and we don’t have krak grenades. To be honest, I think these guys are pretty fairly priced. They don’t cost too much because their arrival can be a game changer, but they aren’t too cheap because they aren’t troops (I can’t stress the importance of that enough.) and cost slightly more than their SM equivalent.

Iron Priest and Thralls: To be honest, I’ve never used this guy, so I have very little concept of his effectiveness. Any comments you might have regarding their cost as compared to their SM equivalent would be appreciated.

Troops: Just a note, all of my comments on the troops are made assuming we will lose some of our special rules. (See Wolf Guard Bodyguard entry.)

Grey Hunters: These guys are too expensive. This may be a play style issue for me, though. I like assault, and True Grit loses most of its effectiveness in that style. It also negates the usefulness of our counter-attack ability for this unit. Similarly armed, they cost 5 points more than a SM. So, I assume we will get a price break here. The other bone of contention will be the cost of our “Unit Accessories.” My buddies and I have had several somewhat heated discussions about this. It is true that our PW/PF load-outs make us notably better than SM in melee, but that is our schtick. Our PF are also quite cheap compared to those of the SM, 10 points cheaper for GH and 13 for BC. However, our meltaguns are more expensive, 5 and 3 points respectively for the GH and BC. Also, we don’t get a free, or remarkably cheap, Heavy Weapon. Therefore, I don’t know that we’re going to see a large price hike for our PF, but we’ll see.

Blood Claws: These guys are my favorite. I run three units of them, taking only the required unit of GH. I think the adjustments to their points will be determined by how their rules change. Currently, they are probably the best troop choice in the game for assault, at least that’s my opinion. However, they die in droves due to their lower WS. They lose their effectiveness after the initial onslaught, and with the prevalence of Fearless/Stubborn units in the game they often get to that second round of melee no matter how many you kill. I assume we will lose Berserk Charge and that it will be replaced with the USR Furious Charge. That is just fine with me. From a Mathhammer standpoint, if you ignore special weapons, they will still cause about the same number of wounds on the charge, depending upon what you are fighting. However, when you figure in special weapons, Berserk Charge does have the potential to cause more wounds due to the PF. On the other hand, Furious Charge would give them +1 initiative, which would allow them to swing simultaneously with quicker units (Eldar and the like) and before SM and such. This should greatly enhance their survivability. If they keep the points the same and swap Berserk Charge for Furious Charge, that’d be okay with me. One last thing, if they give the wolf priest an ability similar to the SM Chaplain’s Liturgies of Battle, BCs will become just about the scariest thing on the field, similar to Death Company.

Fast Attack:

Blood Claws Bike Pack: I don’t run these guys currently. I think they’d be pretty formidable, but I don’t want to run a character on a bike, so I think they’d be pretty easy to bait with Headstrong. If they allow them to run with an attack bike, I might be more apt to take them.

Heavy Support:

Long Fangs: I don’t take these guys. The ability to split fire is awesome, but I prefer tanks for my heavies, and with their inability to take “plain” Marines to soak up wounds, they die pretty quickly, even with cover. Also, running 1 sergeant and 4 LF armed with lascannons, is almost as expensive as a Land Raider. Again, this may be a play style issue. They’re too stagnant for me.

Leman Russ Exterminator: I’m pretty sure this is gone. I know Leman Russ is our patriarch and all, but it doesn’t fit the army for any other reason. Take into account the fact that I can take a similarly armed Predator (autocannon and heavy bolter sponsons) for 115 fewer points. Yes, you lose twin-linked and a point of armour, but 115 points? Now, if you want to give me some of the other Leman Russ variants
 from the new IG codex, we can talk.

What do you guys think?  Is he spot on?  Dreaming?  I think GW will definitely make some interesting changes to the wolves, and in my opinion they deserve any boons they may get,  along with Dark Eldar for the longs waits and having to play with 3rd edition codices all through 4th.
- Wildeyedjester