Goatboy here with a quick little run down of what I like the most about the new Space Wolves Codex.
Overall it is pretty good as it feels like the army is “different” from the normal Marine book but has enough of the building blocks to feel good. It has all the elements needed to make this book work well in 9th edition and even feeds some of the older styles of play we missed in this last edition. Overall it’s a strong book and shows you how much more we could have had if the other Marine Supplements were built in a similar fashion.
The Good Stuff
First of all the good stuff that sticks out to me. The book feels like a Space Wolf book. I remember reading some of the Horus Heresy books and the Space Wolves were always set up to be the “cleaner” army of the Imperium. They were designed to go after something and tear its throat out. This book feels like it does that in spades by setting up a lot of heavy-hitting options that can hit quickly and overwhelm the opponent. On top of that, it also has some very interesting balance options in being able to shoot from far away if needed as well. This makes the army feel balanced which is a good thing.
Thunder, Thunder, Thunderwolves!
The armies strengths appear to be in having some very brutal assault options that can quickly hit you from across the table. For those who kept a ton of Thunder Wolves laying around – they got a lot better. In fact – I can see most armies running 10+ with Character support as they are just going to do a lot of damage quickly. They are designed to love having that Chappie on a Bike to run around with them and you mix in some other Thunder Wolf characters and you start to get the idea of how most armies only have a turn to stay away from the mangy beasts of the Space Wolves. They also are one of the few Marine armies that have the ability to have a big bubble wrap horde with the Fenris wolves. Mix in a few of the Special Character Thunder Wolves and those doggies start to get pretty scary. As you can tell this army has me dreaming about my old Space Goats army especially with all the fancy new Primaris options that can help out.
The Wulfen though, are still not very good as losing the 3+ inv save from the Storm Shield was the biggest hit. I wish they would just get 3+ armor and become the weird Bladeguard like options or the Space Wolves. In fact, that is what I think Wulfen should have just been set up as – just a tweaked Blade Guard variant. It’s just a shame as the model will most likely be used for bit options when building out a more “Wolf-like” version of the army if players wanted. Throw a tweaked Thunder Wolf guy with crazy wolf parts as your counts-as Canis as that model is a bit weird looking when compared to the other Thunder Wolves.
The Relics are interesting and again there are a few “better save” ones that will show up mixed with some of the Marine codex options. This is an interesting thing in that any Marine army has a ton of available options to build their army out of. I am hoping some of the other armies **cough… Chaos*** get a similar treatment in the future but will see. I think we will see the Armor of Russ show up a lot as beyond just being a good saving throw it also lets you pick a unit to fight last. Pretty dang amazing for a model that wants to get in combat. I like some of the other options too as I look towards some Thunder Wolf nonsense to show up in my armies – with 2 Special Characters and the combo of a Battle Leader + Wolf Lord you know. Figuring out ways to keep these boys alive will be important.
Stratagems & Warlords
On the Stratagem front, they have a ton of options that feel all pretty good. Nothing is completely insane or makes Ragnar a brutal buzzsaw of doom. They still have some obvious options with Thunder Wolves and the whole – its the Assault Doctrine now buddies option. The plus 1 to wound strat if you made a charge is going to show up a ton as that just combos well with a few others. Heck, the combos for the army all seem to be mixed around assaulting, charging, and doing damage. Lots of stacks of -1 AP that work with the Assault Doctrine, abilities to charge better, and even some wolf-like rerolls to wound.
This all leads into what I think is the coolest thing is how all the Warlord Traits have an associated “Deed” they can do. This activates an aura/ability once they complete their deed. It’s things like – complete a charge or take a wound. These Deeds are pretty neat and decent enough plus – they are not impossible to complete. This is pretty important as you can build your army around the effect happening instead of hoping your Warlord does something very specifically cool/dumb to do in a game.
Psykers & Secondaries
From there we got some good Psychic spells with decent blessings and maledictions to make the game better for the Wolf player. I have really liked how the Psychics have been tweaked as while they are all good they are not back-breaking to an army. I still have nightmares about those games where the player gets the auto-win spell and there is nothing you can do. Or those games where I didn’t roll the auto-win spell after 16 tries two games in an event. It is one of the things I do like about the edition change we got in 9th as it feels less luck-heavy and more “planning” heavy.
The final thing will talk about as there is a ton of other stuff we’ll go into in the next few weeks is the extra Secondaries they got. Space Wolves got four and while three of them are cute and Space Wolf themed, the other one is an auto-take for most players. Warrior Pride gets you 3 points if you have 2 units in Engagement range or 2 units that successfully complete a Charge. I talked about how this army is going to come at you and hit you hard so this one is a no-brainer for most likely 12 points in a game. Heck you can easily hit 15 if you build your army correctly and the deployment works out in your favor. It is in the No Mercy section so you can easily create an Aggressive army with Engage on All Fronts, Warrior Pride (new one), and whatever other one you want to complete the trifecta. If you are playing versus a Monster/Vehicle heavy army you have three you can easily take, complete, and dominate in.
Overall the book feels like a Space Wolves book. It growls a lot, throws out a decent amount of damage, and is probably one of the few books that will have a ton of Firstborn in them. In fact, most of their Firstborn stuff is good – Thunder Wolf Stuff, Long Fangs, and even some of the simpler troop options. Look for my initial list in the coming weeks as I really try not to go find all my Space Goats stuff I got in the garage.
I will be there at the end, for the Wolftime!