Codex Space Wolves Review Part 4 – Fast Attack, Heavy Support and Lord of War

Hi all,

Poseidon here with the fourth and final part of my Codex Space Wolves review. Today we will be tackling the Fast Attack, Heavy Support and Lord of War sections to exploring what’s new and how things have changed over the course of two editions. The Lord of War section will also introduce the Wolves Unleashed Detachment and highlight the Relics of the Fang. So without further ado…

Big changes:

We got a couple of new vehicles, both of which are fliers! A new high capacity transport allows us to ram even our largest Blood Claw packs right down the enemy’s throats and a gunship variant packing some serious fire power.

Dedicated Transports can now be taken as non-dedicated, Fast Attack vehicle allowing them to transport any units.

Logan Grimnar moved from a HQ selection to the army’s only Lord of War choice.

Note: This review will not cover the standard Dedicated Transport or Heavy Support vehicles as these have remained largely unchanged save for bringing their points costs in-line with Codex: Space Marines (except the Vindicator which appears to be 5 points cheaper).

Fast Attack:

Thunderwolf Cavalry

Thunderwolf Specific Differences
We come to the Thunderwolves – these guys have gotten a lot of love in terms of army-wide bonuses and Special Rules. GW also managed to shave 10 points off their base cost, ‘cause y’know they lost their Wolkin Special Rule which allowed Fenrisian Wolves within 12” to re-roll failed Morale Tests. With the standardising of Wargear costs, Frost Weapons actually got cheaper by 5 points for these guys, Storm Shields are now 15 points cheaper and they got access to pairs of Wolf Claws… but then, they did loos Mark of the Wulfen.

Verdict
With the new Thunderwolf focused Special Characters and Formation / Detachment bonuses for Cavalry units, these guys are going to shine even more than they did in the previous edition. Thunderwolves where always monstrous in combat but with Storm Shields halving in price, they will only get worse as they become even more survivable. I cannot wait to start fielding a packs of these guys, Thunderwolves Ho!

Fenrisian Wolves

Wolves Specific Differences
The big change here is they can now score! They can no longer be fielded as Troops as Canis’ Special Rules have changed somewhat, but being able to score more than makes up for that. Other than that, Cyberwolves had their Toughness reduced to 4.

Verdict
A bit of a “Meh…” unit in the previous edition unless accompanying Special Characters; the fact that they are now allowed to score and considering the bonuses for Beasts confered by Warlord Traits and Special Characters, these guys are a much more usable option. They will work wonderfully in Thunderwolf army builds.

Swiftclaws

Swiftclaw Bikers Specific Differences
On the whole, Swiftclaw packs have had a re-jig of their points cost and available Wargear options. Bikers got 5 points cheaper and the new dedicated WGPL option dropped a whopping 23 points. On the flip side though, Attack Bikers got more expensive by 5 points but let’s face it, they can’t shoot that well anyway… As with Blood Claws, Berserk Charge has been repackaged as the Rage Universal Special Rule (USR) and they lost the Headstrong Special Rule. They have also gained access to whole lot more of the armour in terms of melee weapons, being previously restricted to Power Weapons and Powerfists.

Verdict
Quite a reasonably costed assault unit with survivability and increased threat range due to the bikes. The inclusion of the WGPL upgrade option makes him far cheaper and an almost essential upgrade option adding another Special Weapon into the mix since Mark of the Wulfen has now disappeared. The increased Toughness over Skyclaws is pushing me in favour of the Swiftclaws but I think there are better options in the Fast Attack slow.

Skyclaws

Swiftclaw Assault Specific Differences
Much like the Swiftclaws, these guys got a little points reduction. Base models went down 3 point and we gained access to the WGPL – something that was sorely lacking in the previous Codex and made me put away my Skyclaws in 5th. As with all Blood Claw based models, Headstrong is out and Rage USR replaces Berserk Charge. They are still limited to one model selecting either a Power Weapon or Powerfist, but now two models may select from the range of Special Weapons.

Verdict
The big changes for them was the minor points reduction, extra Special Weapon and WGPL, however I don’t think that will be enough to warrant getting them out of storage. Not as survivable as the Swiftclaws, which are only marginally more expensive but there are much better things to spend your points on in the Fast Attack department.

Stormwolf Transport

Stormwolf Specific Differences
One of our new toys, the Stormwolf is a high capacity transport Flier (16 models) with 12 armour all around, 3 Hull Points, Power of the Machine Spirit, Ceramite Plating and the Assault Vehicle USRs. Only 15 points more expensive than a Space Marine Stormraven, it can be taken as a Dedicated Transport and it packs some serious fire power. It comes standard with Twin-linked Lascannons, two Twin-linked Heavy Bolters, Twin-linked Helfrost Cannons and the option to swap out the Heavy Bolters for Skyhammer Missiles for free or Twin-linked Multi-Meltas for the same cost as a Frost

Verdict
A seriously good investment of points, packed full of Blood Claws with WGPL and/or Wolf Priest these things are going to be awesome. Loads of reliable fire power will help you control both the skies and the ground before divesting your assault units to mop up what’s left. The Helfrost Cannon gives you two fire modes, dispersed for a Small Blast template at S6 AP3 or focused for S8 AP1. The Helfrost Special Rule forces a Strength Test on models wounded but not killed which is nice but situational and I can’t see it coming into play too much. But twin these guys with Thunderwolves packs, they will allow you to cover large distances providing superior fire power to cover your Thunderwolves and then drop supporting boots on the ground to help mop up when the Thunderwolves finally engage with the enemy!

Heavy Support:

Stormfang Gunship

Stormfang Specific Differences
The second of our new toys, the Stormfang is the gunship variant with a reduced transport capacity (only 6 models) in favour of an over-charged Hellfrost Cannon called a Hellfrost Destructor and is only 5 points more than the Stormwolf. This comes standard with two Stormstrike Missiles, two Twin-linked Heavy Bolters, Ceramite Plating and Power of the Machine Spirit USRs. Upgrade options are Twin-linked Lascannons to replace the Stormstrike Missles for the cost of a Power Weapon and Heavy Bolter replacements as above.

Verdict
While both fliers fulfil good air support roles, the Stormfang pushes for sheer destructive power able to dump Large Blast templates with Helfrost Destructor in dispersed mode and adds confers the Lance USR to focused mode. Arguably more focused towards taking on ground troops where the Stormwolf is probably a better for anti-air support, the Stormfang is still able to carry a small squad which will allow for some late game objective grabbing once the death dealing is out of the way. A solid and versatile option for any army, although pimping it out with upgrades will start to eat into your budget for other things.

Long Fangs

Long Fangs Specific Differences
Long Fangs Pack Leaders have been renamed Ancients and the pack has now gained WGPL as an upgrade option. Otherwise, their base cost and stat lines haven’t changed. They have lost Split Fire in favour of the Fire Control USR and their maximum unit size has been reduced by 1 if taking a WGPL as it is effectively a single model upgrade. The WGPL cost has increased by 7 points over the standard Wold Guard base cost he used to be. Heavy Bolters and Missile Launchers have both increased in cost by 5 points but Plasma Cannons have been reduced by 5 points. Furthermore, Missile Launchers have gained access to Flak Missiles as a 10 point upgrade.

Verdict
The auto-include unit from 5th to spam cheap Missile Launchers in order to deal with the surge of light armour at the time, they aren’t quite so essential anymore. The increase in Heavy Weapon costs is enough to make you think carefully about whether they are really needed but anti-air upgrade per model is over costed per model when you have access to two new Fliers, I doubt it will be used by many. Fire Control is a strictly worse version of Split Fire but it still gives you to option to fire off a single shot at another target… although a Leadership test is now required. Overall, I think they are still a solid Heavy Support option although I would rather spend more points to get either a Stormfang of Stormwolf for more survivability and a better threat range.

Lord of War:

Logan Grimnar

Logan Specific Differences
Logan has had quite the revamp, he is now 25 points cheaper and gained an additional Wound but lost his Living Legend and High King Special Rules. Additionally, he no longer unlocks Wolf Guard as troops. He has also gained his own tricked out ride, the Stormrider Chariot is a Wargear upgrade at 70 points. This crazy sledge is pulled by two Thunderwolves, has a relatively low Ballistic Skill of 3 but offers 12 armour all around, 3 Hull Points and 4++ save! It has been granted Relic status (not sure where they had it stashed away?!) that, despite being open-topped, converts all Penetrating Hits to Glancing Hits. It also provides Logan with an additional 4 S5 AP- Rending attacks each assault phase at Initiative 5 because his base 5 attacks weren’t enough apparently. The downside is Logan loses Deep Strike and can’t join other units… Oh no!

Verdict
Overall, Logan got even more beastly. I know a lot of people have hated on his “Sledge” but the rules for that thing more than make up for the looks and relatively minor points investment. If you can afford to take him, he will smash through whatever he is pointed at. Throw in some Thunderwolves and Fenrisian Wolf packs for loads of giggles as you smash through your opponent’s front lines.

Last Bits:

Warlord Traits

  • 1. Saga of the Warrior born – Re-roll failed To Hit rolls in challenge.
  • 2. Saga of the Wolfkin – Beasts and Cavalry gain the Stubborn USR and if within 12″ of the Warlord at the start of an assault gain the Furious Charge USR.
  • 3. Saga of the Beastslayer – Warlord gains the Monster Hunter USR.
  • 4. Saga of the Bear – Warlord gains Feel No Pain (6+) USR.
  • 5. Saga of the Hunter – Warlord gains the Outflank and Stealth USRs.
  • 6. Saga of the Majesty – Units within 12″ re-roll failed Morale and Pinning.

Formations: Great Company

Predator Compulsory

  • 1 Wolf Lord
  • 1 Wolf Guard Battle Leader
  • 1 unit of Wolf Guard
  • 5 units of Grey Hunters (one of which must take the Wolf Standard)
  • 1 unit of Wolf Scouts
  • 3 units of either Blood Claws, Swiftclaws or Skyclaws
  • 2 units of Long Fangs

Really only for really large games, you aren’t going to be able to fit everything required into a 1750 points list unless everything is taken at base cost and even then it will be a struggle. However, if you do decide to field this monstrosity, you will benefit from the following Special Rules:

Jarl of Russ – Allows you to re-roll your Warlord Trait.
Cunning of the Wolf – Roll a D6 for each unit, adding +2 if the unit is Troops lead by an Independent Character. On a 6+, the unit gains the Outflank USR and once per turn, you may choose a unit in Reserve to automatically pass its Reserve Roll for the turn.
Howl of Wolves – While your Warlord is alive, all your units gain the Fear and Furious Charge USRs.

Detachments: Wolves Unleashed

Rhinos Compulsory

  • 2 HQs
  • 2 Troops

Optional

  • 4 HQs
  • 4 Troops
  • 3 Elites
  • 3 Fast Attack
  • 3 Heavy Support
  • 1 Lord of War
  • 1 Fortification

More focused towards competitive and/or lower points cost games, the Wolves Unleashed Detachment is a less restrictive version of the Great Company formation but you lose the Howl of Wolves Special Rule.

Relics of the Fang

  • Armour of Russ – Confers a 2+/4++ and infers a -5 initiative penalty to opponents in a challenge.
  • The Bite of Fenis – Bolter with dual fire modes, one of which applies Helfrost and the other Ignores Cover special rules.
  • Black Death – A power axe that confers +3 attacks while outnumbered in assault.
  • Helm of Durfast – Wargear that allows the bearer to re-roll failed To Hit rolls and shooting attacks gain Ignores Cover special rule.
  • Fangsword of the Ice Wolf – Essentially a Frostblade with Helfrost and Rending special rules.
  • The Wulfen Stone – Confers the bearer’s unit with Furious Charge and the bearer gains the Rage special rule.

Conclusions:

Wolves players have been waiting for a dedicated flier for what seems like an age; almost giving up hope we turned to Forgeworld with the likes of the Cestus Assault Ram, Storm Eagle and Fire Raptor… Then two come along at once both seemingly trying to out-do the other in terms of sheer awesomeness. Packed full with as many weapons as possible and transport capacity to boot! What isn’t to like?

Thunderwolves and Fenrisian Wolf packs probably did the best out of the Fast Attack options, bundled with their respective Special Characters and Warlord Trait will make a really fun army to play around with. Twined with the fliers and/or Drop Pods will leave your opponent worrying about target prioritisation while everything hurtles towards them at high speed. The skew towards assault for this Codex is definitely in favour of these units.

There wasn’t too much excitement in the Heavy Support section if you discount the new Flier. The changes to the Long Fangs were hardly stellar but they weren’t terrible either and there hasn’t been a lot of change to the standard Heavy Vehicle options for a long while. I must admit, I was a little disappoint we didn’t get access to the ol’ Leman Russ Battle Tank again but then, will we ever?

Logan… What can I say but wow. I am looking forward to see what he can do.

With regards to the rest, the Wolves Unleash Detachment looks interesting. If you are planning on loading up on Special Characters and Troops then releasing them in waves from reserve at the enemy, this is the Detachment for you. Bundled into Drop Pods or Stormwolf/Stormfangs to quickly cross the battlefield is going to cause some problems for your opponent’s battle plan.

The Relics look interesting, particularly the Armour of Russ and Helm of Durfast. The Armour will really make a difference in Challenges, and considering the theme of mighty heroes smashing face – this fits right in. The Helm is just all kinds of win, re-rolling To Hit rolls and conferring the Ignores Cover USR to shooting attacks is fantastic. Never leave home without it?

Overall, I think the Codex got a lot of attention and there are a whole raft of changes that are making me want to dust off all my old models and then go out and buy a whole load more so I can give them all a try! I am excited about the assault focus as 6th and 7th both seem very focused on shooting. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I did writing it, stay tuned more Codex Reviews, Battle Reports and other random hobby non-sense!

Note – All images copyright of their respective owners

Poseidon

Poseidon, a serial-hobbiest for as long as there have been hobbies to get excited about.

He has been playing 40k for the better part of a decade and spent most of that time either learning how to build, sculpt and paint or just finish his Nurgle-themed Chaos army… pushing 5 years and two Codex revisions and its just barely got the core units finished! Although to be fair, he has built and painted a Grey Knight army in between then…

In addition to 40k, Poseidon enjoys playing Magic the Gathering, numerous boardgames (Eclipse, Settlers, Carcasonne and Lords of Waterdeep) and the X-Wing tabletop game.

  • Eric Romeo

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