Space Wolves Codex Review

I’ve returned from the woods and set about writing a review of my beloved Space Wolves’ new codex.

Overall, I’d say it is a pretty solid book, from both an army perspective and a fluff perspective. Here’s the breakdown:

Art: The majority of the art is amazing, though some of the older pieces are showing their age. The art portrays the wolves as noble, semi-rabid combat monsters, which is just about perfect. The picture on page 14 of a Space Wolf leaping recklessly at a greater demon stands out particularly.

Fluff: I really liked the fluff aspects. It gave you a fair amount of Great Crusade background along with some specifics on Fenris. The two things that I really enjoyed were the portions discussing how the Space Wolves occasionally spit in the face of the Ecclesiarchy or the Administratum and the details with regards to the Wolf Lords.

Rules: First off, I’ll admit that there are certain things in the book that may be open to ridiculous powergaming, i.e. Jaws of the World Wolf. However, this power will only occasionally be a game-changer. Thunderwolf Cavalry are going to be vicious, but they’re points reflect that. Njal is going to be murder, but he only has two wounds. Of course, if you don’t deal with him, he will change the entire game.

Heroes: They did a very good job of giving each type of hero its own personality. The sagas and available equipment help with this as do the particular rules for Wolf Priests and Rune Priests. Wolf Priests are going to be extremely useful when used in conjunction with Land Raiders and Blood Claws. Rune Priests are now mandatory due to their ability to cancel psychic powers and those powers to which they have access. Lastly, my favorite wackiness is the idea of a WGBL riding a Thunderwolf and outflanking, too much fun.

Elites: Our terminators could easily become point sinks, but bare bones they have power weapons and storm bolters for a very reasonable price. I’m kind of on the fence with regards to them. There’s a lot of potential, but it’s going to be a fine balance to strike. Wolf Scouts are awesome if a little more expensive than previously. I don’t like the fact that you now have to have five, but all in all they’re still pretty awesome. Lone Wolves are awesome from both a fluff perspective and a game perspective. Just load them up, and run them at your enemy. Give them a pair of Fenrisian Wolves to soak up wounds, and have some fun. You actually want them to die. You have to love it.

Troops: Grey Hunters are one of if not the best troop in the game. They’re cheap, versatile, and deadly with all the wonderful SW rules. Blood Claws have been nerfed a bit with their cost and the ruling that they get no Berzerk Charge on the counter-attack, but they are still quite viable.

Fast Attack: In my opinion, this is the sweet spot, besides the glory of the Grey Hunters. The combination of murderous Thunderwolves and cheap Fenrisians is beautiful. A shield of the Fenrisians followed by their larger brethren is going to be glorious, especially as the Fenrisians get to re-roll their morale checks when they're near the TW. Add in Canis, and it’s a beautiful thing. The Swiftclaws and Skyclaws are pretty meh. Attack Bikes with BS 3 are almost useless.

Heavy Support: All the old favorites are there, but Long Fangs are our only unique unit. Splitting fire is sweet, and you can take some very cheap Horde-murdering units. Five heavy bolters for 115 points is nice.

Characters: Logan, Ragnar, and Njal are absolutely murder, but their points reflect that. Njal is the only one that I feel is close to broken. Bjorn is pretty sweet, but Initiative 3 is a serious issue. I could also get 2 Ironclads for the same price. Ulrik could be awesome if used correctly, and Lukas has the possibility of being very nasty and upsetting for your opponent. “Yes, your Bloodthirster did kill him, but now they’re in a special place, together.” The two most useful characters, in my opinion, are Canis and Arjac. For his points, Canis does some wonderful things. Arjac could be a serious game changer if he can get into combat with characters or monstrous creatures. 2+/3+ with no instant death is pretty.

I’m sure I’ve left things out, but those are my impressions. I really like the book, and I don’t think it’s broken either to our benefit or our detriment. It’s playable and has a wide range of options that can be thematic and still competitive.