Sunday, February 24, 2008

Space Wolves Redux

In response to Jon's question to this post, I thought I'd ruminate about what I'd like to see in an updated Wolves codex. At first I figured they could repair the most grievous errors in the current ruleset, make everything a little cheaper, and we might be in business. But when I went over each of the Wolves units and compared unit costs with the vanilla list, I honestly couldn't find anything that overpriced. For instance, the Grey Hunters are just as expensive than an equivalently upgraded vanilla marine, but the Hunters (and all Space Wolves) also get acute senses and no matter the odds thrown in for free. A Wolves venerable dreadnought is more expensive, can be used as an HQ, has BS/WS 5, and grants the ability to re-roll for first turn (a pretty great ability); the vanilla ven dred is cheaper and can be given tank hunter or furious charge, but he's stuck with BS/WS 4and 2 base attacks. There's really just not that much to bitch about as far as pricing goes. Wolves essentially trade in higher leadership for extra attacks and greater resolve when in assault.

After further review, I figure there's still a few issues with the book, but I'm not so sure that fixing them will make the list much more competitive, at least until 5th edition and C:SM are redone too. It may be that the Wolves redux arrives after both of those releases anyway. Anyway, here's what I'd tinker with, in order of urgency:

Wolf Priests - No brainer: give him honor of the chapter and litanies of hate and be done with it.

Wulfen/13th Company - They should dock 13th Company rules into C:SW by allowing squads of Wulfen. Come on now. It's 2008, about time we got some goddamn actual (power-armored) werewolves in C:SW. Those models are too cool not to let those who play any of the other 12 Great Companies use them. And give them fleet. And big ass wolf packs wouldn't be too remiss either for a fast attack choice.

Rune Priests - I don't mind having a weaker (but cheaper) psychic hood, so if they stayed at Ld 9 so be it. However, I think the Storm Caller ability should be made to be always-on, granting the psyker and any unit he joins a permanent 5+ invunerable save (against shooting and assault) as well as an assault buff similar in effect to the banshee mask. Chooser of the Slain is probably too cool a piece of wargear for GW to let the Wolves keep, so I'll be sad to see that go.

Blood Claws - WS/BS 3 should stay, double attacks on the charge should stay, but the headstrong rule is unnecessary clutter; they got rid of it for berzerkers already, so it's clearly loseable. The ability to include two power fists needs to stay. I stand by this allowance as essentially wolfy and effectively priced. Bikers are fine as they are, but Claws should be able to take jetpacks for only four or five points each, and as such the whole "feet on the ground as Russ intended" insta-fluff nonsense can please leave and never return. Anyone seen Russ around lately? Hmm? Ok, strap these fuckers in already.

Long Fangs - Hard to make more competitive without ditching the flavor and accompanying cost inflation. Still, they're supposed to be small units of grizzled veterans, maybe they should give them tank hunters or BS 5 besides the Pack Leader's split fire.

Wolf Guard - Leaders or bodyguards, they're basically fine as they are, though they may want to simplify the squad leader rules to just make them upgrades. If they absolutely have to take away the multiple heavy weapons in terminator units, then so be it, but with the coming rending nerf, I just don't think its necessary.

Grey Hunters - Not much to say here. They should stick with the basic 6-man or larger "pack" flavor. They should also keep the ability to include two powerfists.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mike,

Good points. I too tried to review the SW list with a fellow SW player and saw how little could be made better without becoming broken (when considering abilities vs. points).

So you'd like to see Wolves and Wulfen added, but not Slayers and Storm Claws? We couldn't see a clean way of adding them, unless it was that certain Lord choices (special character?) could unlock 13th company specific units.

What's your thought on the "1 HQ for every 750 points"? Would you consider this a neccessary fluff item to retain? Would there be a better, cleaner, more elegant way of including this?

For the record, I am a 13th Co. player and don't want to lose on my investment (despite playing with friends which would allow the old list.)

erwin fox said...

I, a fellow Space Wolf Brother, think that some of these are good. I think the headstrong rule should stay the same, it shows the youthfulness and eagerness of the Blood Claws to prove themselves. I believe it should be canceled out by the presence of a Wolf Guard leader, or at least make it a leadership test at the beginning of each turn for each blood claw unit. I think the Wulfen will stay separate, as he is a berserker like the vikings had. The HQ for 750 points each is a good rule, but I would make it for every 900 or 1,000, to help players from spending large points on HQ and neglecting others. I would also like my grey hunters to be able to take rocket launchers and Heavy bolters, they should get them too since they are more advanced Brothers. I also want the ability to buy Leman Russ Battle Tanks in something other than the discontinued Exterminator pattern. Maybe the Space Wolves could loose the Predator, but I would like the stronger hitting vehicle cause I don't have much in the way of anti-armor. In an assaulty army, or so I have been led to believe, my infantry and rhinos are getting destroyed by defilers, vindicators, and other Leman Russ's. I would also liek either more roomy Razorbacks or smaller squads. I cant put a wolf guard leader in my units and put them in razorbacks. Just my thoughts. -Brother Jacob, Wandering Company of Russ-

Unknown said...

To be honest i think blod claws will end up with furious charge and that will be it (not nessicarily a bad thing). Sorry to say this to erwin, but did you just sugest removing the preadtor!!!! we invented the bloody annialator pattern!!! Good call on Thr HQ rule though it should be put up to 1000 points. I Have Alwayz felt short changed that our wolf priest of 10 less points doent get fearless rule nor does he give re-rolls