Saturday, August 30, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Grey Knight Codex Review - Troops

With only two options and no special characters to talk about this is going to be a pretty short post. Nevertheless I hope you enjoy it...

Strike Squad
Basically these are space marines with mastery level 1, the ability to Deep Strike and all start with an AP3 Force sword. They are 20 points per model and actually for the cost are not that bad. Their problem is that they are not Relentless and so can't utilise the special weapons effectively but more than that they are only 5 points cheaper than Purifiers which are 23 times better plus 7th doesn't care about Troops as much. Also terminators are a better troops choice…

Terminator Squad 
These are only 13 points more per model than Strike Squad models and are twice as durable against small arms fire and infinitely more durable against AP3 or better weapons when not in cover. Plus they have 2 attacks rather than the 1 that Strike Squad guys have and of course they are Relentless so can move and fire the Psilencer and Psycannon to full effect and then assault. It is also worth remembering that Grey Knight terminators carry both frag and krak grenades unlike regular space marine termies and so can still strike at full initiative with their Nemesis weapons when charging through terrain. In fact I would say that their only downside when compared to a Strike Squad is the fact that they cost more and the special weapons also cost more (by 5 points each), but also they can't sweeping advance which is a fairly big deal sometimes, but in no way off sets all the positives.

In conclusion don’t bother with strikes, load up on termies (by that I mean fill your 1 minimum troop selection with a 5 man terminator squad!)

As Matt says, in 7th edition Troops aren't as relevant as they once were. In the Wolves book you'd probably want some of them anyway but here I think there are better units to spend the points on. Of course, this assumes you're using the GK-specific detachment so Objective Secured isn't an issue.

The next post will cover the Elites section of the book and I have a fair idea which unit will shine there!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Grey Knight Codex Review - HQ

Today Matt moves onto the HQ section of the codex, as I said in the previous post there aren't tons of options so it's reasonable to cover them all in one post. Once again, please feel free to comment and Matt will try to respond when he can. 

Brother-Captain and Grand Master
In the old codex nobody took a Brother-Captain. They used to be similar stat-wise to a Grand Master but were missing the Grand Strategy special rule which the Grand Masters had. Therefore everyone paid the extra points for a Grand Master. However now Brother-Captains are looking a little more attractive as they only lose one attack and one mastery level when compared to a Grand Master. Don't get me wrong most people will probably pay the extra 35 points mainly to get the extra mastery level, but at 150 points it may be worth taking a Brother-Captain if you are tight on points.

Brother-Captains and Grand Masters I now think are better than they used to be due to the ability to generate powers from many different disciplines, this makes them both like a space marine captain and librarian rolled into one! The only difference is that this space marine captain/librarian can be either S7 I5 or S10 I1 in combat if attached to a squad! I think the difficulty with these units is choosing which psychic discipline to go with. Obvious choices may be either Divination or Santic to boost themselves and the squad they are attached to (Santic also gives the chance of getting the best offensive power in the game too of course – Vortex of Doom). However, Telepathy is also tempting for the chance to get Invisibility, but personally I think it is not worth the gamble as Santic and Divination both give you much better chances of getting decent powers. In fact if the BC or GM is attached to a terminator squad I would go with Santic as the only power that’s not that great for that sort of unit is Purge Soul (and even that isn't horrendous).

Brother-Captain Stern
Again nobody used to take Stern. He had interesting rules but the strength test thing wasn't much use and a regular Grand Master was a much better option. I have a feeling things may change. At first glance he looks like a mastery level 2 Brother-Captain with a few mediocre special rules. The first of which is called 'The Strands of Fate' and is exactly the same as in the old book, basically he gets a re-roll but so does your opponent in his turn, in my opinion only worth using if you are desperate, giving away re-rolls to your opponent is dangerous. The second makes the Banishment power into a 12" nova, good if you are playing Daemons, useless otherwise. So what is good about him then? One thing, he gets the Sanctuary power as standard. This means he can be placed in terminator or paladin units and boost their invulnerable to a 4++, or even better he can be attached to Draigo….

Brotherhood Champion
In the old book these guys were cool and were the cheapest HQ, but again not many people bothered. They didn't do enough and died to easily. That may still be true here, but they have now got 2 wounds which is a massive improvement plus their Perfect Warrior rule got much better. They can now either have Smash, which not only makes them AP2 but also gives them the option of making a single S8 attack that re-rolls armour pen, or they can choose to re-roll all saving throws and with 2+ 4++. That is pretty amazing when it means he can still attack. Sounding like an auto-take right? Well no, the perfect warrior rule can only be used in a challenge and he costs 150 points, don't bother.

Castellan Crowe
Crowe is basically a Brotherhood Champion with better stats (WS8 and +1 initiative and attacks) and mastery level 2 plus he uses both rules from Perfect Warrior in a challenge. People used to take him so that they could unlock Purifiers as troops but he doesn't do this anymore. However, he can now be attached to squads and he is Fearless which is nice. Also as chief purifier he obviously knows the Cleansing Flame power (one of the best powers in Santic). In fact his only real downside is that he insists on carrying around a weird sword whose power he refuses to use, therefore it just counts as a close combat weapon and so is not AP3 and nor is it Force. But because he is in artificer armour and can therefore sweeping advance he may be worth choosing over a Grand Master to bolster a power armour squad. For example, attach him to a Purifier squad for double cleansing flame! (I can't wait - Alex)

This is probably going to be the go to HQ in this book. The Librarian has had a massive points reduction from the previous book to bring him in line with space marine librarians. However a Grey Knights librarian can be upgraded to mastery level 3 which gives him a good chance of picking up quite a few of the decent powers in the discipline of your choice, which again should probably be Santic or Divination. However, with mastery level 3, Telepathy may be worth a punt for the gambling types and sometimes Shrouding can be useful depending on what you are facing. He can be given the Domina Liber Daemonica in order to generate another power (but must be from Santic) and also allow all units in 6" to re-roll 1s when manifesting Santic powers, pretty awesome! Also it shouldn't be overlooked that he comes with a warding stave as standard which gives him and his unit Adamantium Will, so that coupled with his mastery level 3 will mean his squad often deny's powers on a 3+. In addition, the Aegis special rule (which all Grey Knights have) allows you to re-roll all 1s when denying the witch, therefore the librarian's squad becomes all but impossible to target with
psychic powers.

Basically the same as an SM Techmarine with a servo harness. Only difference is that he is mastery level 1 and can take force weapons. However it is worth noting that he can still take a conversion beamer. He doesn't take any slots so he can be used as a way to get a Hammerhand caster into a squad.

That's the HQ section sorted. Of course it'll be Troops next which is a particularly short one! I'll stick to the same schedule as the Space Wolves review with a post every other day. I'm certainly finding these an interesting read as I check them over before posting so I'm sure you guys are getting something out of them. With GW taking a short break from 40K at the moment I might even get chance to post something other than codex reviews. Hopefully I'll have some hobby content for you once this review is out of the way.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Grey Knight Codex Review - General Overview

Since I don't play Grey Knights and I'm struggling to find time to blog right now (I'm busy painting Space Wolves) I've enlisted the help of my good friend Matt who's been playing them since they were Daemonhunters and knows the army inside out. He's the guy I team up with for the GW doubles events too. Anyway, the format might be a little different from my reviews but comments are welcome as always and Matt will endeavour to respond when he can. The first post will cover some of the general rules for the new book including the warlord traits and wargear. Over to Matt...

Army Wide Special Rules
The Aegis – all GK non-vehicles units and dreadnoughts have this and it means that if a GK unit is targeted with a psychic power then that unit can re-roll 1s when attempting to deny the witch. Combine this with the fact that every GK unit that has The Aegis is also at least ML1 and you will deny on at least a 5+ re-rolling 1s. This makes it very difficult to target GK units with psychic powers.

Purity of spirit – Just a rule to clarify that all GK units manifest Santic powers with perils only occuring on a double 6.

Warlord Traits

  1. Daemon-Slayer - good for fighting daemons, useless for everything else.
  2. Hammer of Righteousness – Hammer of Wrath isn't that great especially when the unit has a base strength of 4…
  3. Unyielding Anvil – Stubborn is pretty useless, many GK units are or can be made Fearless plus they all have ATSKNF, rubbish warlord trait (and it's the one Stern has).
  4. First to the Fray – excellent trait when used with the correct unit guaranteeing a turn one Deep Strike is great and would be nice to combine with a few other deep strikes using the GK detachment rules (see below).
  5. Perfect Timing – Counter attack – not bad I suppose but not great. Not many units will be charging a GK unit with your warlord in it and if they are then Counter Attack is unlikely to help you…
  6. Lore Master – excellent trait and one that I will be hoping to roll on my librarian so that it can be combined with ML3 and the Domina Liber Daemonica and therefore allows him to know all but one of the Santic powers!

Nemesis Force Weapons
All the melee weapons below have the Daemonbane special rule. The Daemonbane rule is much improved in this codex. If you are fighting daemons then it allows the bearer to re-roll all failed to wound and armour pens as long as the Force power has been manifested. This is much better than the old leadership or be removed rule as now no daemons are Eternal Warrior so if they suffer a Force wound they are dead anyway. Therefore having a re-roll to wound gives the average Grey Knight a very good chance of banishing large daemon scum back to the warp.

  • Sword – this is just a force sword (with Daemonbane of course)
  • Falchion – These are basically 2 nemesis force swords and so gives the bearer an extra attack for 4 extra points.
  • Halberd – I did falchion first as I suspect many people will think that they are the best choice on most GK troops and elites. They will say what is the point in having +1 strength when Hammerhand gives you +2 and therefore you will wound most things on 2+ anyway. The point is that in these days of 7th ed getting Hammerhand off is in no way a given, you will fail it often due to wanting to manifest other powers and so not using many dice and so a base strength of 5 is excellent. If you do get Hammerhand then strength 7 is great if you're up against MC's or vehicles. Even better is double Hammerhand using an Independent Character within the squad to give you strength 9 and the ability to penetrate armour 14 and make Wraithknights go away. But another argument for using halberds over falchions is that often you can have too many attacks in a GK squad, more often than not your GK unit will hopelessly outmatch the enemy unit in combat and so all the extra attacks will do is destroy said enemy unit and leave your Grey Knights out in the open to get shot to bits. Much better to cause less damage and kill the unit over 2 turns allowing your squad to exit combat in the enemy turn. Many times in the past I have purposefully not cast Hammerhand to try to prevent my GK unit from killing the enemy unit too quickly. Plus the halberd is only 2 points per model (half of the falchion cost).
  • Hammer – Still a good choice and everyone will still run one or 2 in a unit. With Hammerhand it is a S10 force hammer, so yeah pretty good.
  • Stave – Force staff but gives the bearer Adamantium Will. Excellent rule to have when combined with the psychic defence GK units already have. A unit that contains one of these will deny on at least a 4+ re-rolling ones. This gives them a better chance to deny than the caster has to get the power off (assuming they both use the same amount of dice).

Ranged Weapons (I’ll only cover the weapons unique to GK)

  • Incinerator – S6 AP4 flamer – great and will see more use due to nerfing of Psycannon.
  • Psycannon – used to be auto take on all squads in last codex. Now stats are same but it's gone to salvo 2/4 which means that GK in power armour can only shoot 2 shots at 12” if they move and then they can't charge. Not good at all. However, I will still run some on small purifier squads as I often found myself standing them still to fire 8 heavy shots before which hasn't changed. Plus I often didn't fire before charging to ensure I made it into combat so not all bad. Plus they are exactly the same on terminator models and so they will still be an auto include in those squads.
  • Psilencer – Used to be rubbish. Now have the potential to be awesome in the right circumstance. A ranged force weapon is very exciting but I can’t see me using it on power armour due to it being heavy and I can’t see me using it on terminator armour due to a Psycannon being a more useful gun. I can see me using the gatling version on a Dreadknight though..

Incidentally, I'll cover all Dreadknight weapons when I review the Dreadknight.

Nemesis Strike Force Detachment
This GK special detachment requires only 1 HQ and 1 Troop and allows up to 4 Elites but limits you to only 2 Fast and 2 Heavy. I think this is great for 2 reasons, firstly I don't want troops because they are rubbish compared to the Elites and therefore I want more Elites because they are better than the Troops.

The detachment also allows you to call in your reserves from turn 1 rolling for them as normal on a 3+. However, if they come in by Deep Strike they can Battle Focus on the turn they arrive (run and shoot in same turn) which is great for getting closer to the enemy or spreading out a bit. Personally though I will only put my squads in Deep Strike reserve if I don't manage to somehow have the ability to cast Gate of Infinity on the squad because GK units are expensive and leaving a load of them off the board is risky even with the ability to come on turn 1. I've played many games where I've had multiple reserves not arrive until turn 4. Therefore starting them on the board and casting Gate to Deep Strike them into position is much better and you can throw loads of dice at it if you really need it to go off. This is of course if you haven't managed to roll warlord trait number 4.

That's it for the first post then. I'll be posting Matt's stuff up in the same order I usually do my reviews in so HQ will be next. There aren't a vast array of choices though so the generic and special HQs will all be rolled into one post. I hope you've enjoyed the first post. It's certainly been a nice break for me and given me some insight into GK to help me when I play them next (which is Thursday incidentally).

Sunday, August 24, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves - Logan Grimnar and Champions of Fenris Supplement

This is the final post in my review of the Space Wolves codex and I come to Logan Grimnar who is probably the most controversial model GW have released in a long time. The community seems to be split on what has been dubbed "Space Wolf Santa" but let's see if the rules might sway people. I'll also talk about the formation in the codex and the rules from the supplement.

Logan Grimnar
Frankly, most people took Logan in the old codex just for the chance to run an all terminator army as he made Wolf Guard troops. That rule has gone now but since everything is scoring it doesn't make much difference. Of course it stops you running more than three units of terminators though (outside of the the supplement - see below).

The man himself has dropped in points significantly but there's a reason for this. His Living Legend and High King abilities have been completely removed. It seems Logan has become a lot more selfish. Otherwise he's still an Eternal Warrior (with an extra wound thrown in) and has kept his other generic special rules. His warlord trait replaces his old saga, increasing its range to 12" and adding re-rolls for Pinning too. The Axe Morkai, like other frost weapons, now gives +2S making him S6 AP3 at initiative 5 which is great considering he gets 6 attacks on the charge. If you choose to use the two-handed version he's essentially got a power fist as before. Effectively he's still the same in combat then but he's lost the potential for Preferred Enemy that High King used to grant.

Let's talk about the elephant in the room then, his chariot (or sled depending on your view). It comes with a hefty price tag but is an AV12 3 HP vehicle with a 4++ save and also converts pens to glances. The wolves pulling his chariot also give him an extra four S5 AP- Rending attacks at I5. Of course this all means he's on his own though as he can't join units when mounted on Stormrider. It's worth having a read of the chariot rules at this point as they've changed from 6th. For example you can assign hits from shooting to either the chariot or Logan which can effectively give him a couple of extra wounds. Also you get D6 S6 HoW attacks on the charge. That makes him pretty badass if you ask me. He'll be pretty tricky to shift and will cover ground pretty quickly to smash into combat.

I guess it all comes down to whether you can stomach the model or not then. Personally the chariot is growing on my but I think I prefer the old Logan.

Great Company Formation
Before I move onto the supplement I just want to briefly talk about the only formation in the codex. It involves taking one of everything except TWC. There's quite a list of units there and even without upgrades you're talking around 1,000pts. Depending on the points limit that basically means this formation is your whole army. I personally find the formation a bit restrictive as there are units in there such as wolf scouts (and to an extent long fangs) that I probably wouldn't take. You get exactly the same benefits as the Wolves Unleashed detachment but also everything causes Fear (which is rarely useful) and has Furious Charge (which is pretty good). I'm just not sure Furious Charge is worth the restrictions. I'll have to give it a go at some point though I suppose.

Champions of Fenris Supplement
Alongside the release of the new Logan model came the Champions of Fenris supplement. This works like other supplements in that it has a slightly different FOC which comes with its own special rules, warlord traits and relics.

An army chosen with the formations or detachment in the supplement gets a few special rules. Sagaborn means all characters must issue or accept a challenge. It clarifies quite nicely that you can choose which character accepts but generally I'm not a fan of being forced to challenge. Of course, knowing this rule is in play you'd equip your characters accordingly. Also, it isn't as big of a deal as it was with the changes to challenges so that attacks spill over into the rest of the combat. What helps too is First Among Equals which gives wolf guard and TWC characters Preferred Enemy (Characters) in challenges.

Warlord Traits
There are some decent offerings here. Re-rolling a single saving throw every turn could be awesome for a 2+/3++ character. Re-rolling to wound isn't so great as you're already getting Preferred Enemy, like wise Master-crafted is only a minor buff at best. The last three are better giving Outflank, Fearless or Preferred Enemy to the warlord and his unit. Basically then a 50:50 chance of something useful which makes them better than the standard codex options most of the time. It's worth bearing in mind that you can still take traits from the codex or rulebook instead if you wanted.


  • Armour of Asvald Stormwrack - basically terminator armour with 4++ and IWND. Pricey for what it is when you consider you could have terminator armour with a shield for 10 pts less. 
  • Frostfury - assault 4 storm bolter with Helfrost. Not bad at all for the points and potentially removes enemy models.
  • Krakenbone Sword - perhaps a little pricey but AP2 is always nice and having it at normal initiative is great for those challenges.
  • Morkai's Claws - very expensive but I suppose only 50% more than a set of wolf claws and they have Rending and D3 extra attacks.
  • Pelt of Balewolf - depends on how it interacts with Daemonic Instability but I'd say most MCs are immune. Can't really see much point in taking it.
  • Fellclaw's Teeth - bit pricey when you consider you're getting Preferred Enemy a lot of the time anyway.
Generally speaking they're better than the codex relics but I still don't see a lot of point in splashing out on them in competitive play.

Company of the Great Wolf Detachment

This is essentially the mechanism for getting an army of terminators with 1 HQ and 2 Elites as the only compulsory requirements and a further 6 Elites been an option. Troops are limited to 3 units and you can take upto 4 HQ but there's still 3 fast, 3 heavy, 1 fort and 1 lord of war. Obviously you get Sagaborn and First Among Equals but in addition you get the standard trait re-roll (only on the supplement traits) plus the Kingsguard special rule which gives +1 WS to Wolf Guard and TWC.

Kingsguard Stormforce (Formation)
This formation consists of Logan on his chariot, some terminators in a land raider and a Stormfang in support. Basically "please buy the new Logan and flyer models". The formation gets First Among Equals, Kingsguard and Sagaborn plus the terminators get Furious Charge and a charge range re-roll when they hop out of the land raider. In addition you can have the Stormfang arrive when you want. That's pretty good for the Stormfang as you can guarantee to get it after an enemy flyer has arrived to try and take it out before it targets you.

Brethren of the Fell-Handed (Formation)
Just Bjorn and two ven dreads (which I'd be putting in drop pods) which get Sagaborn and Adamantium Will. The other two dreads get a 5++ save if they're within 6" of Bjorn and all three of them re-roll to hit in combat. That's pretty effective but it does force you to bring all of them down in the same part of the battlefield or, if you're brave enough, walk them up the field together.

Wolf Guard Voidclaws (Formation)
As you might expect this is just five terminators with wolf claws. They get First Among Equals, Sagaborn and Kingsguard and allow you to re-roll reserve rolls. In addition you can re-roll when they deep strike on the first turn. This is actually half tempting as you get to drop them in turn one but I'm not confident they'd survive long against a lot of armies. Reserve roll manipulation is nearly always a good thing though.

Grimnar's War Council (Formation)
Superfriends unit of Ulrik, Njal, a rune priest and an iron priest (although they can be split up). Personally I'd split them as they could give 4 units Fearless that way. If you do keep them as a unit and throw Logan in too they get Zealot but I don't think it's worth the trade. What's great is that you get to re-roll for deploying first and add 2 to Seize with the Wise Counsel rule. That alone makes this formation worthwhile to me as it could easily be game changing. Njal may not be especially great but the other characters are worth taking if you stick the Iron Priest on a thunderwolf (as I mentioned in the Elites section review).

Arjac's Shield Brothers (Formation)
Arjac with some TH/SS terminators in a land raider crusader. They get First Among Equals, Kingsguard and Sagaborn plus Hammer of Wrath. In addition they get Fearless whilst Logan is alive and Zealot if he's killled. They also get Shieldwall which is the same as the Deathwing Knights rule but if you make close combat invulvnerable saves on 6s you inflict S8 AP2 hits in return. That could be awesome against some units but isn't especially reliable.

Wolf Guard Thunderstrike (Formation)
10 wolf guard in a pod plus some terminators. The formation gets twin-linked on the turn they deep strike but all arrive on the same turn (single reserves roll). Pretty good if you're throwing a lot of melta into the units but with the increase in costs it soon gets pricey.

The Champions of Fenris (Formation)
An interesting idea this. Basically a formation of formations with all of the special rules from the individual ones plus some extra rules. This is all centred around the War Council. If Logan is alive they get re-rolls to hit in combat, if the iron priest is alive vehicles get IWND, if Njal is alive they get Ad Will and if Ulrik is allive they get Preferred Enemy. That's a pretty impressive combination of special rules but since you have to take one of each of the above formations it's probably a bit too restrictive. I might give it a try at some point just for the novelty.

As with all of the formations and detachments I feel like GW is basically trying to persuade you to buy models you probably wouldn't have. I don't see why Logan's company should have bonuses to TWC except to encourage you to buy them. Some of the formations are better than others but generally speaking I'm not a fan of being so restricted in my army selection. I'm very tempted to try them out though as the bonuses they give are too good to pass up.

Friday, August 22, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves Codex Review - Heavy Support

Onto the final section of the codex then (if you don't count Lords of War that is). In the old book this section was basically Long Fangs plus the odd Land Raider. Let's see if the new book can change all that.

Stormfang Gunship
As promised in the Stormwolf bit I want to talk a bit about the comparison between the two. The most obvious difference is, of course, the transport capacity. The Stormfang loses 10 spaces for the helfrost destructor and loses Assault Vehicle in the process. The latter is the big deal really. Since most of your wolfy units are about combat rather than shooting it'll be turn 4 at least before you get there with the six men from a Stormfang (arrive turn 2 and get in close, hover turn 3, assault turn 4). That's assuming you arrive turn 2 as well! That to me means you're best going with something like a pack of wolf guard with combi-plasma or melta for a disembark alpha strike or just a minimal points unit of blood claws for holding objectives. There is of course an option three which is to run it empty like people do with a stormraven sometimes.

I think the Stormfang, like the Stormwolf is best equipped for anti-tank duties due to its speed and low AP weapon options. That means lascannons and multi-meltas which make it 20pts more expensive than the wolf. The debate then comes down to which is better, helfrost destructor or twin-linked helfrost cannon. It's a difficult one to call but I think the twin cannon comes out best. The S6 AP2 large blast is tempting but a lot of the time the S6 AP3 small blast from the cannon will be just as effective as it's more accurate and with standard coherency spread it'll probably score a comparable number of hits. Obviously AP2 is better against light vehicles and 2+ armour but I think a lot of the time you'll go for the S8 AP1 shot anyway. Speaking of which Lance is rarely useful (although I think AV13+ will make a comeback) and you've got melta for that anyway.

Personally I've built my model as a Stormwolf as I think it offers more utility but if you're running it empty then there isn't a lot to choose between them. If the stormstrike missiles were AP1 then I'd be more tempted. Concussive is nice to help your assaulting units mind you.

Long Fangs
A staple choice in 5th edition the Long Fangs had already suffered quite a bit from the changes to vehicle damage with their standard loadout of krak missiles being unable to explode anything but open topped vehicles. They also suffer in these days of massed S6/S7 fire as they can be made to take far too many saves for a small squad. The standard 4 missile set up is also more expensive now but does come with the option for flakk missiles. With lascannons a little cheaper and AP2 being handy it makes me tempted to swap them out although this does make for an expensive unit. You can still add a wolf guard pack leader but since they're already Ld 9 it doesn't seem especially necessary. It's a shame cyclone launchers are now limited to terminator squads though as it was nice to stick one in with long fangs for a 2+ tank and extra missiles.

There's also one subtle change that people may not have noticed and that's the Fire Control has been replaced with Split Fire which isn't quite as good. Split Fire only allows a single model to fire at a different target whereas before you could've had two lascannons shooting a tank whilst the other 3 long fangs fired their frag missiles at some infantry. You don't need the squad leader, sorry ancient, to be alive to use Split Fire though, in fact you could do away with him completely and take a wolf guard instead now.

To me Long Fangs seem a bit of a relic from a bygone era. They're too static for the current game and don't offer enough punch any more. A squad of lascannons isn't necessarily a bad idea but I'm struggling to write them into my lists right now. As a final note, do bear in mind that since they're scoring now they could quite happily be static and holding an objective of course.

Vindicator, Whirlwind, Predator
The vindicator is more expensive than the old codex but actually cheaper than the SM version (although you lose a storm bolter and therefore some protection against weapon destroyed). Otherwise it's the same beast and has the same potential as ever although it rarely lives up to it. I do think AV13 is worth looking at again though as it could prove pretty tough to shift for a lot of armies.

The whirlwind is significantly cheaper although the same as the SM book. In the right situation it's great and it's certainly cheap. I can see a role for it in a mechanised list and Barrage is always nice. Just a shame there are probably better things to spend the points on as I love the model. Missiles are cool!

The predator is again in line with the SM book where the lascannon version becomes cheaper but the dakkapred is more expensive. I don't think two lascannons and a twin-lascannon is bad for the points and as I say AV13 could potentially prove to be more effective now.

Land Raiders
There's literally nothing new about the land raiders. They're the same as they were in the last book. I think they might make a bit of a comeback now though as in my games of 7th so far they've often survived until the end of the game (or they meet a wraithknight in combat). They should certainly survive long enough to get their occupants into combat and as ever they have a decent amount of weaponry once they've delivered their cargo.

It really comes down to a style choice I suppose. They're still not cheap and perhaps effectively more expensive when the price of a lot of other stuff has dropped. That means you have to decide if you want to run a smaller army for the protection that AV14 offers. Sticking Arjac and some terminators in one is still excellent and a crusader full of blood claws with a priest/Lukas is a terrifying prospect for most armies.

As I've been writing lists over the last couple of weeks since the codex hit I've rarely found myself taking any selections from the heavy section at all. There's been the odd land raider here and there but often I've used a WG dedicated transport instead. It's difficult to find a role for most of the heavy choices in wolf armies that are either dropping in from the skies or charging headlong into combat on the back of thunderwolves. I'd love to try out a mechanised force but it just feels like you haven't got enough bodies on the table a lot of the time.

The Stormfang might get a look-in every so often but if you're running a CAD then the Stormwolf makes for a better choice as it can have Objective Secured as a dedicated transport. Otherwise I don't really expect to see many armies including heavy choices which is a sad thing given our former love for Long Fangs.

There's just one guy left to talk about now and he comes with a whole supplement dedicated to him so I thought I'd cover his codex rules alongside that.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves Codex Review - Fast Attack

This section looks to be pretty crowded but appearances can be deceptive. The new trend of including transports in the Fast Attack section that started in the Ork book is continued here meaning this section is artificially bloated by the Rhino, Razorback, Drop Pod and to an extent the Stormwolf. I say "to an extent" with the Stormwolf because as we'll see it's quite reasonable to take one empty whereas you aren't likely to do that with a Rhino. Otherwise there's nothing new in this section but what's there has changed in subtle ways.

Each Swiftclaw is a whopping 20% cheaper making them a point cheaper than a standard Space Marine biker. That's pretty good when you consider the bike goes some way to mitigating their lower BS with it's twin-linked bolters. Sadly this reduction in price comes at the expense of a loss of a melee weapon meaning they now swap their pistol for a chainsword instead of simply having both. That means one less attack each unfortunately. This to me is a huge shame as had they kept their second weapon I could really see a roll for them as, like the Blood Claws, they've benefited from the removal of Headstrong and changing Berserk Charge to just simple Rage. To me they're still what Space Marine bikes should be. They should be about getting stuck into the enemy in combat rather than sitting at range like Ravenwing ended up doing thanks to their banner.

You can now easily get a Wolf Guard into the pack without paying a premium, in fact the vanilla WG Bike Leader is 23pts cheaper than he would've been in the old book (mostly due to a reduced cost for bikes). You could feasibly make a decent combat unit with the basic squad plus a wolf guard. I'd probably steer clear from the special weapons with the possible exception of the flamer as there are better ways of getting melta shots. At 10-man squad including a WG with a power fist comes in at just shy of a LR Redeemer and can put out 27 standard attacks and 3 power fist strikes. Not bad at all really. Their problem will be the competition from TWC though.

Rhino, Razorback & Drop Pod
Nothing especially new here but worth mentioning them as you can now take them for units which couldn't get access to them easily before. For example, buy a Drop Pod and stick a Lone Wolf in it. Generally speaking I'd still expect to see a lot of drop pods in SW armies. I think there's actually an argument for the use of rhinos/razorbacks again as they're a bit harder to shift than they were in 6th and offer some protection from the anti-infantry firepower some armies have.

The razorback pricing is now in-line with other books in that the basic heavy bolter variant is more expensive but the other weapons work out the same cost except the heavy flamer which is 10pts cheaper. As I say, same as the SM book. Similarly, extra armour and hunter killer missiles are cheaper just like in the SM book. Finally, it's worth noting that you can now take a locator beacon on a Drop Pod to help your now teleporting WG terminators or other pods find their target more accurately.

I've just finished building mine and I have to say I love it. There were a lot of detractors saying it looks like the bastard offspring of a stormtalon and caestus ram (and indeed the designers said as much in WD) but actually I think it's different enough to both and fits in well with the wolf aesthetic. There's a debate about fire arcs for the weaponry but with the angle it sits at I don't think it'll be much of a problem. I suppose if you were that worried you could have it skimming the ground as it's apparently meant to. Anyway, the big decision, as with any dual kit is which variant to build (unless you can be bothered to magnetise which didn't look easy to me). I'll talk about the comparison in the next post when I cover the Stormfang.

Let's talk about what you get for your points. It's just slightly more than a Stormraven for that you get a twin-linked helfrost cannon, twin-linked lascannon and two twin-linked heavy bolters. I'd pretty much always swap for the multi-meltas as having two anti-air melta shots too good an opportunity to pass up. Like a Stormraven you get PotMS and ceramite plating with AV12 all round. I know from bitter experience how difficult it can be to down a Stormraven sometimes so I know this thing will be pretty durable especially with the vehicle damage changes in 7th. That means your ridiculous amount of firepower will be around for a good while and with Hover you shouldn't be forced to leave the board in the late game.

Hover is essential of course as the Stormwolf has a whopping 16-man transport capacity and Assault Vehicle. That sounds awesome but you have to think about the total number of points you've got sitting in reserve. This isn't a problem with a Wolves Unleashed detachment though as, the way I read it at least, you can guarantee arrival on turn 2 thanks to Cunning of the Wolf. That single think makes putting something inside it viable to me. Too often I've played someone with a Stormraven who's basically had about 500pts stuck in reserve until T4 whilst I gleefully kill off the rest of his army that I'm effectively outnumbering.

It's worth thinking that if you don't choose to go with the Unleashed detachment and opt for Combined Arms instead you can give your Stormwolf Objective Secured for a late game objective steal.

Thunderwolf Cavalry
I was always a big fan of these guys in the old book but I'm well aware that a lot of die-hard SW players don't like them. They are pretty daft but so is a lot of stuff in this fictional universe so why the hell not? They're another unit that's seen a whopping price drop (20% in this case) and can now field a character. They have a minimum unit size of 3 now but a maximum size of 6 (presumably because you get 3 in a box). They still get a disgusting 6 attacks each on the charge and have increased to Ld 9 although they've lost their Wolfkin special rule.

The way you upgrade them has changed to allow for more than one model to take a special melee weapon and they can all still take melta bombs (if you really think it necessary). They benefit from the reduction in storm shield cost and you could not make them all TH/SS if you so desired. The crucial rules change though is that all of their attacks now have Rending regardless of whether they're using a special weapon or not. This may get FAQ'd but for now I think it's pretty clear. Rending is far from ridiculous and I seem to struggle to find the 6s anyway. It'd be great to give them a frost sword or wolf claw though for S6 AP3 Rending. Incidentally I've just noticed that Wolf Claws have changed to give +1S and Shred instead of the choice between re-roll to hit or to wound. That's awesome, my Wolf Lord with claw and shield is now S6!

Fenrisian Wolves
It used to be possible to great a fantastic themed list with Fen Wolves as Troops (thanks to Canis). This isn't an option anymore but the trade off is that they can now score. Apparently someone found a way to explain the "finer points of military strategy" to them. They make for a pretty cheap unit and with Harald they gain Furious Charge provided they're sufficiently close. That gives a 10-wolf unit 30 S5 attacks on the charge which isn't bad for 80pts! For some reason the cyberwolf is now more expensive by the way.

Ultimately they're competing for slots with TWC though so it'll be down to how many points there are to spare or how desperately you want to theme your list. With their poor leadership they need Harald around to stop them from running away as, not surprisingly, they don't get ATSKNF.

Yet another unit that got cheaper and like the other Blood Claw based entries they benefit from the loss of Headstrong and Berserk Charge. Like the Swiftclaws they can take a wolf guard with them for a lot cheaper than before and their one of the few units that doesn't suffer a points increase to their special weapons (they were already paying standard price before).

I'd love to use my Skyclaw models more often but I think it comes down to the fact that they're pretty comparable to Blood Angel assault troops. Their Rage isn't that dissimilar to Furious Charge. That means that first round of combat they can be great but they'll suffer badly when the attacks are directed at them. BA assault marines die easily enough and Skyclaws don't have the benefit of FNP and WS4. Counter Attack is obviously a bonus but they shouldn't be getting charged that often.

Still, for the points I don't think they're bad at all. If you want to steer clear of TWC for whatever reason then they offer you some great mobility to act as a distraction for the rest of your army. Don't expect miracles from them but they're cheap for what they're capable of.

Land Speeders
I used to nearly always throw a land speeder into my 5th edition lists for that deep striking multi-melta and late game contesting. In 6th that option was taken away with vehicles being prevented from contesting. With 7th that's a thing again plus you can actually score with them too so you might start seeing them creeping back into lists. They're pretty much identical to the old version too but Typhoon launchers and assault cannons have become significantly cheaper.

I think the old school multi-melta/heavy flamer is probably still the way to go and 70pts isn't much to pay for the potential to steal an objective at the end. Of course they're still AV10 and 2 HP so not the most durable but with Jink and the changes to vehicle damage they could still prove irritating to shift when your opponent stops ignoring them.

The Stormwolf and TWC are examples of classic GW sales strategy. Make the rules awesome on the new kit to shift some models and reduce the cost of an existing one to boost sales when you brought the thing out too late for most of us. Sadly it's going to work on most wolf players (myself included). I could easily see me wanting two stormwolves and some more TWC which will be a very popular with Harald I think.

I'm pleased to see Skyclaws and Swiftclaws being more viable but I think they'll be overshadowed by TWC in most people's eyes. It's a shame because they're characterful units which have a longer history with the army.

Two more posts to go in this series then so I should have it wrapped up in time for the GK book to come out. GW are really keeping me on my toes! Next time we'll look at the Heavy Support section before finishing off with a look at Logan and the various formations available in his book.

Monday, August 18, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves Codex Review - Elites

This is certainly going to be a mammoth post as on the face of it there's a disgusting number of units competing for the slots. Having said that a few of them are effectively the same thing though so it isn't quite as tough a decision as it would appear.

Iron Priest & Servitors
Curiously the Iron Priest became 10% more expensive than before and I'm not really sure why other than to make his cost more in line with a techmarine. You could think to yourself that he's a bit useless but when you factor in a thunderwolf mount I'm not so sure. That would give him 5 S10 AP1 attacks on the charge from his servo-arm (2 base, 1 for charging, 1 for TW and 1 for two specialist weapons). That's certainly not to be sniffed at. The mobility the thunderwolf would grant him would also allow him to run over and repair a vehicle should the need arise too.

You could also consider running him and some servitors in a flyer to keep it afloat. Seems a bit of an expensive option though. Servitors are a bit useless otherwise and need to be taken with a priest to avoid Mindlock.

Wolf Scouts
The new book is a bit of a mixed bag for Wolf Scouts. Their old rules used to allow them to arrive from reserve behind your opponent but that's gone now. It wasn't as good as it used to be anyway since they stopped assaults from reserve but it's a shame to see it go. What we're left with are essentially just WS/BS 4 versions of the scouts that appear in every other book (plus Acute Senses and Counter Attack of course) as they now have access to camo cloaks (yay!) and shotguns (meh). They're not particularly expensive but still more than Blood Claws and with 4+ armour.

I think basically the only time we'll see them is as sniper scouts with camo cloaks in the same role as you would in a marine list except without the benefit of being Troops. Of course that doesn't matter outside of Combined Arms but still. They also work out about 15 pts more expensive than SM scouts but they are superior. I think there are better ways to spend your points though.

Lone Wolf
These were pretty ubiquitous in the old book. Despite the rumours they've retained Eternal Warrior and the basic model is still a bargain price. Beastslayer has been replaced with Monster Hunter which is perhaps a slight nerf but you no longer lose a kill point if he survives. The trade off is that a lone wolf is never scoring.

The big issue for a lot of people (myself included) is that you can no longer run them with a chainfist and stormshield (gutted that I spent so long making right handed shields). To be honest though you can just run him with a hammer and he's almost as good and 10pts cheaper for your trouble. I'd even be tempted to throw in some fenrisian wolves too.

The good news for lone wolves is that since you can now take drop pods in a Fast Attack (more on that in the next post) you can stick your lone wolf in one and not worry about spending all game trying to get him into the action. I really think a lone wolf is still an awesome choice and he won't struggle too much against most vehicles with a hammer instead of a chainfist.

I think with the changes to vehicles in 7th edition we might see dreadnoughts more often as they're certainly more viable. Of course they can still be glanced to death but they're less likely to die to a single shot. The basic dread is 10pts cheaper and the venerable one is about 25% cheaper than before. It's great that you can now take a helfrost cannon too and some of the other weapons have become cheaper. It's very tempting to give the dread a great wolf claw which is basically 5pts for Shred. Extra armour is also cheaper and combined with Venerable makes for better resilience.

The axe and shield combo is an interesting one. The axe is just a master crafted power fist but having a 3++ save to front armour is huge especially in combat. It makes the dread pretty pricey though and it can still be taken down by hull point stripping like anything else. Not to mention I think it looks a bit daft and I'm not a fan of the wolf skull head option.

This guy might have a stupid name but he makes up for it with his rules. Put him in a pod, drop him into your opponents lines and watch them desperately try to down him before he can cause havoc. He get's IWND and an immunity to shaken/stunned which means a decent chance of him getting into the thick of it but you need to be careful where you drop him to protect him from melta etc. Should he get to charge he get's a disgusting number of attacks (potentailly 10) that strike at S8 on the charge with re-rolls to wound and a re-roll to hit. Very little can stand up to that and with character he can be challenging out power fists and things to make sure they die.

I'd find it very difficult not to include him in a list for the points although I would feel like I'd fallen victim to the classic GW move of make the rules awesome to sell a new model!

Wolf Guard
It's tricky to figure out why you'd take wolf guard now as you can't split them up to join units. They get an extra attack over Grey Hunters but lose a ranged weapon for the privilege. The whole unit can take pretty cheap jump packs or bikes though which makes them a very tempting prospect as an alternative to swiftclaws and skyclaws. Their combi-weapons became more expensive which I'm sure will frustrate a lot of people who used to run pods of them with melta alpha strike.

Generally speaking I think you're better off with hunters unless you want jump packs or bikes for them.

Wolf Guard Terminators
The big news is that WG terminators can once again deep strike. I'm sure you've not missed that in the rumours though so let's move on. Before I do though I'd like to remind people you could still take a drop pod in Fast and use it for the terminators if you so desired.

As we've already seen with wolf lords and lone wolves, some of the weapon combinations are no longer available but generally speaking the weaponry is cheaper. Their base cost is the same though which means you're getting a much better terminator for only slightly more than a regular SM one. It's nice that you can equip them with TH/SS for a much lower price now too. The assault cannon and cyclone missile launcher are cheaper also.

Terminators are awesome on paper but with the massed firepower some armies can bring to bear it often feels like that 2+ save isn't enough. You need a decent delivery mechanism such as a stormwolf or land raider but that bumps the cost up further.

Arjac Rockfist
By far my favour special character in the old book and still a beast. Arjac used to be an upgrade for wolf guard which meant he could join grey hunters but you're now forced to run him with wolf guard. I know a lot of people are writing him off as they did in the old book as he only has two wounds but trust me he's still great (although not quite as great). He's taken a massive price reduction of around a third and retained his 2+/3++ with EW.

His re-roll to hit is now only in challenges which makes him a little less useful against single MCs but still awesome against other characters. His shield no longer gives him an extra attack but instead gives Hammer of Wrath which could potentially help him out. Foehammer can still be thrown 6" but has been downgraded to AP2. He may not be quite the man he was but he's still a fearsome prospect and especially with the reduced costs.

Well that's one hell of an Elites selection. There's probably only the wolf scouts that I wouldn't want to take most of the time. The idea of running three dreadnoughts is hugely tempting and I'd even consider Bjorn as a fourth. Dropping him and Murderfang in turn one would be pretty terrifying especially when followed by another couple of pods in later turns. I'm already thinking I need some more drop pods!

It's a shame I can't run Arjac with grey hunters now but it won't stop me including him in the vast majority of my lists. The Iron Priest is actually tempting me now too. Damn you GW.

Next up, Fast Attack which is again pretty bulky!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves Codex Review - Troops

In the old days the Troops section was the real meat of the book. This was, of course, due to only Troops being scoring units (well mostly at least). If you're taking a Combined Arms detachment there's still some call for them to take advantage of Objective Secured but in a faction specific detachment they're less of a necessity. Indeed, if anything they feel like a tax you have to pay to be able to start taking some of the good stuff. This was never the case with the old SW book as you wanted to take plenty of Grey Hunters since they were frankly awesome. Let's see if that's still the case but there's the small matter of the Blood Claws first.

Blood Claws
These guys were nearly always overlooked in the old book thanks to Grey Hunters being vastly superior in a number of ways. That's set to change with the new book as they're no longer the same price. I'd like to point out that contrary to the picture in the codex, you don't have to be ginger to be a Blood Claw. Anyway, they're now 2pts a model cheaper than the basic Grey Hunter. They start with a pistol and chainsword which means they're already getting 2 attacks which increases to 4 on the charge with Rage. That's pretty good for such a low cost.

Of course their WS and BS are lower than a Grey Hunter but I'm not sure that's such an issue and their other stats are identical. The problem used to be Headstrong which meant you couldn't really control them unless you had a character. That's gone now so their low cost makes them a compelling choice. They lose an attack if they take a special weapon though and you need 15 of them for a second both of which are more expensive especially the second weapon which used to be free. You can now upgrade a model to a wolf guard to give them Ld9 too. You pay for the Blood Claw and the upgrade which makes them more expensive than the old wolf guard.

Coming back to the WS/BS thing. They've only got pistols so BS3 isn't a huge problem and you could take a flamer as the special weapon negating the BS completely. The WS is barely an issue when attacking but it makes them more susceptible to hits in response but you could take more of them to compensate. Using a LR Crusader or Stormwolf seems an obvious choice and they can now take the latter as a dedicated transport which is tempting. I'd personally run them with a single special weapon and a wolf guard in a pack of at least 10 (unless you're going for minimum troops of course).

Lukas the Trickster
In the old book Lukas was an upgrade character for a squad of Blood Claws meaning he couldn't be challenged out etc. He's now a fully fledged IC with all of the problems and rewards that brings. He must join a unit of Blood Claws though but doesn't take up an FOC slot.He's pretty much half the price he was before which is awesome and makes me pleased I didn't sell the model I've had for a long time unpainted.

Despite the massive price difference he's actually just as good if not better than before. His Rebellious rule still prevents Ld higher than 8 (not a huge loss) but his Last Laugh is now slightly worse as you have to win the roll off whereas before you could draw. Still, the potential to remove an enemy character even when you lose the combat is almost worth his points alone. Challenge a Bloodthirster, lose and then literally have the last laugh if you win the roll off! His Pelt is slightly different now in that it reduces the enemy's WS by 3 instead of forcing re-rolls to hit. That's pretty powerful and without doing the maths probably works out better than before a lot of the time.

I like Lukas a lot and with Blood Claws being more likely to feature in my lists I can see me using him finally and I can't wait.

Grey Hunters
The rumours about Grey Hunters losing their extra weapon were pretty scary to a lot of Space Wolves players. Thankfully, as we hoped they can still take both a bolter and two melee weapons but they took a 1pt increase to do so. You can run them without of course but then they're just tactical marines with Counter Attack. If you're not just taking mandatory minimum troops then I think it's worth having that close combat weapon nearly every time. They're better off in the thick of it rather than shooting anyway. The basic grey hunter, though slightly more expensive, is the same guy we know and love then.

What's changed though are the upgrades for the squad. For starters the special weapons base cost has increased by 5pts across the board (bringing them in line with other SM armies) and the second weapon is now longer free. That means the basic squad is even more expensive then. The other weapon upgrades (i.e. power weapon/fist and plasma pistol) are the same cost though. You can now upgrade a model to a Wolf Guard but they work out even more expensive than the Blood Claw one which seems a bit off when they're effectively the same. The standard power fist and combi-melta loadout is 10pts more expensive too with the model coming in at a whopping 59pts which is about a third more expensive.

The big deal for me though is the loss of the wolf standard and mark of the wulfen. In the old book these two things made an already great unit feel pretty unstoppable. The standard may have only lasted for one assault phase but during that phase the hunters felt invincible. The wulfen was a great way of potentially getting some more AP2 hits and gave more attacks if nothing else. The current for of the wolf standard has been made one per detachment and is 15pts more expensive. It no longer gives re-rolls of 1s but instead gives a 12" morale re-roll bubble and a 6" bubble giving an extra attack. It's difficult to sit down and work out if this is better or not as although the new standard is less powerful it can work for the whole game potentially. It's a bit more of a problem losing the model with the standard now though.

If you aren't interested in Troops for anything other than the mandatory compliment then Blood Claws are going to be the way to go. Blood Claws used to lose out greatly to Grey Hunters but with the hunters losing a lot of their good stuff and claws being cheaper it's now more difficult to choose. I'm pleased that you can now reasonably include both without feeling like you're gimping yourself as it lends itself better to the fluff if nothing else. I don't think us SW players can really complain about the hunters. Yes, they're more expensive now and less deadly but they're still an awesome troop choice that a lot of armies would kill to have.

It's a shame the wolf guard have become so much more expensive and it feels a little ill thought out. I suppose it brings them in-line with other armies but that isn't something I like the sound of. Of course you still get the option of terminator armour which other armies can't do but that's adding further expense. I'm not convinced it's always worth taking the wolf guard any more except for the extra character to protect an IC from challenges. It's good to note though that the wolf guard is included in the squad size for taking a second special weapon though so you can have two meltas and a combi-melta in the squad.

Finally, I think Lukas is something you'd take for a bit of fun. I'd be tempted to chuck him in a Stormwolf with some Blood Claws and throw him at the most dangerous character you can find just for the chance of removing it from play!

Right, that was a nice short section. Onto the vastly oversubscribed Elites section then....

Thursday, August 14, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves Codex Review - Special Character HQs

I was pretty impressed with the generic HQs despite the fact that little has changed from before. The special characters were always going to be the crucial thing for me. I love using them and I'll be frustrated if they aren't at least viable.

Ragnar Blackmane
I loved Ragnar in the old book and in the BL fiction, indeed my Space Wolves are painted with his company colours. He made the unit he was with insanely good with extra attacks and Furious Charge. The trouble was that he lacked Eternal Warrior so I often found him dying against power fists on other characters. That meant he seemed too expensive at 240pts. He's now around 20% cheaper but he suffers some of the same problems and he's been toned down as a result.

His Incredible Reflexes used to give him a 4++ save which now comes from a Belt of Russ. Those reflexes let him re-roll an invulnerable save in the assault phase though which could go some way to saving him from power fists. Insane Bravado gave him and his unit +D3 attacks but now it forces him to issue and accept challenges. I'm generally not a fan of this and especially on a character without Eternal Warrior. He's basically committing suicide sometimes. Having said that a lot of the time he can kill the model with the power first before they strike. Also I'm not sure how it would work if you issued a challenge with another character in the unit. Could you do that to prevent Ragnar being able to? Bit of a rules-lawyer move but potentially doable.

Anyway, Ragnar's problem is that he's geared up for challenges with his special rules but actually tooled up for taking out squads of Space Marines. Of course the extra wounds spill out of a challenge now but he simply isn't as good as he was. War Howl only applies to his unit for example, whereas before it could affect a decent chunk of your army for a turn. I don't for a second think he's awful, rather I just don't think he can compete with some of the other options for the points. A reasonably tooled up thunderlord is better and offers a lot of the same bonuses without the drawbacks. In fact about the only thing you can't replace is his War Howl.

Harald Deathwolf
The rest of the internet would have us believe that Harald is the new best thing ever. He's pretty much the same in basic stats and equipment as a thunderlord and would come in at the same cost as a similarly equipped one. However, on top of this you get Outflank (automatically, unlike other units) and a leadership bubble for other TWC and fen wolves. His Mantle is nice but will very rarely be useful.

Basically if you're running a whole pile of TWC then it makes a lot of sense to take Harald which I suppose is fluffy if nothing else. He's great but mainly because you get stuff for free on top of a basic T-lord. The kicker is probably his warlord trait which gives Stubborn (great combined with his Ld bubble) and Furious Charge. I can see a lot of people taking him and I'll probably be buying the model but he just doesn't grab me like other characters do.

It's funny that the model has now been officially recognised as Harald. Clearly it was designed to be all along which makes you wonder if they were originally going to wait for a the new book to release him but were forced to bring him out sooner thanks to Chapterhouse.

Canis Wolfborn
Canis is essentially a WGBL on a wolf. Rampage is a nice bonus, if a little situational, but he's pretty pricey for something without an invulnerable save and only 3+ armour. The main reason to take him is for the Born of the Wolves special rule which when combined with Harald's Furious Charge makes for an incredibly potent melee unit. That can often be a problem though as something particularly deadly in combat can often find itself either avoided (difficult with TWC) or else killing stuff too easily and being out in the open to get shot.

He's stayed exactly the same cost, lost the ability to make fen wolves troops (a must for a TWC only army - outside of unbound) and Lord of the Wolfkin has been given to Harald. It's a shame to lose Wrath of the Savage too and Rampage is a poor substitute most of the time.

Personally I think that in the case of Canis, the generic HQs offer more for your points. Again, he's best in a TWC themed list and again that's pretty fluffy if he's joining Harald. Finally, I think part of the issue I have with him is the fact that Fangir really doesn't blend in well with the rest of the new TWC models. I'll therefore be avoiding him on both rules and hobby grounds (although a conversion is always an option I suppose).

Njal Stormcaller
Just as before Njal has the issue of being about the same cost as two separate rune priests so he needs to justify that pricetag to compete for a slot. He comes with free psychic hood and free runic armour which can be upgraded to terminator armour for free (i.e. do this pretty much every time unless transport space is a premium). With ML3 and a re-roll you're nearly guaranteed Jaws (although I'm sure someone will do the maths can tell me I'm wrong) or at least you'll get it in most games. Having ML3 means he'll also be cancelling powers on his own unit on 3+ (6+ base then higher mastery, psyker and ad will). He can also re-roll a Deny the Witch attempt which is potentially game changing. Nightwing is now a ranged attack with more hits. Least it gives him some shooting outside the psychic phase.

Ultimately with the wargear and options he's got the pricetag is probably reasonable. It's a shame to lose Lord of Tempests and he no longer gets a 4++ save in his terminator armour. I'm likely to run him in the odd friendly game (since I've got the model collecting dust) but unless I'm missing something he won't see much competitive action.

It's worth thinking at this point about what having 6 HQs means for Space Wolves. You could easily fill those slots with ML2 rune priests and give yourself 12+D6 WC (or 13 with Njal). That could be pretty annoying for traditional psychic armies like GK, Eldar and Daemons and if you can swallow the fluff issues with Malefic Daemonology you could get yourself some Daemons (I don't think I'll ever bring myself to do this). Remember that Sanctic Daemonology is also an option if a little risky on Perils grounds. With Njal having 3 wounds now he's probably your man if you want to go down that route.

Ulrik the Slayer
Ulrik was one of my dark horse favourites in the old book if for no other reason than he was just about the cheapest HQ special character. Like Njal he's found another wound down the back of the sofa and that's apparently made him cause Fear (which used to come from the Wolf Helm of Russ). His Helm now gives Stubborn although I can't see wolves losing many combats! Like the standard wolf priest he gets Healing Balms now and still comes with a 4++ save. He's lost his Mentor rule which is a little bit of fluff I'm sad to see go (although I always forgot the WS increase I'd given to another character!).

The main thing about him now though is having a 6" Preferred Enemy bubble. It's difficult to say whether this is an improvement over his old Oath as it's more universal but less reliable. Monster Hunter is a nod to the old Oath but he's got to be your Warlord to get it and I can't see many people choosing him when he's fairly easily insta-killed. He suffered with the changes to his weapon in the last edition more than anything else. He's going to score a decent number of wounds against most MCs but they'll save the majority.

Frankly for just 35pts more than the standard wolf priest (who I believe to be excellent), Ulrik offers quite a lot. His version of Preferred Enemy is better but you might wish you had runic armour some of the time. I can see him getting some use in competition but most will opt for generic HQs in preference.

Bjorn the Fell Handed
Bjorn is yet another special character that's taken a massive drop in points but he's actually become better for it. For starters his Ancient Tactician has become a bonus to Seize which is always handy. He's been helped a lot by 7th edition too as AV13 becomes pretty tough to shift again. He's vulnerable to meltas of course but few vehicles aren't. His claw is basically the same as the Great Wolf Claw but Master Crafted.

Just about the only thing he's lost is the Living Relic rule which isn't much of a hardship since, although it gave Fearless, the D3 victory points lost was a bit of an issue. The big change for Bjorn is his access to the Helfrost Cannon but more importantly a Drop Pod. This one thing makes him infinitely more viable. Before you struggled to get him into the thick of it but now you can drop him right into enemy lines and have some fun. The only problem here is Murderfang who's much cheaper and much more of a CC threat. However, with Bjorn, Murderfang and the new venerable dread you've got the potential for a dreadnought themed list which would be a lot of fun. There's a formation for him too in the Champions book but I'll get to that another time.

One final point is that he's a character now too. This means you can challenge out that Ork warboss and smash him before he uses his klaw or any other character equipped with an inititative 1 weapon. He'll be tricky to shift in combat too as AV13 means no krak grenades and even power fists might struggle when they need 6s to pen followed by Bjorn's 5++ save and venerable.  He certainly isn't cheap but I'm almost definitely going to pick up a couple of the dread kits and build me a Bjorn and Murderfang with the spare parts used to upgrade my old dread to a venerable. I love dreads so this is something to get excited about. I'll probably need some pods too, damn you GW!

I'll talk about Logan in a separate post when I cover his supplement too. Despite his cost I think Bjorn is the standout unit here. Not only is he powerful but he'll be a lot of fun and a bonus to Seize is a huge benefit to the army. Harald is pretty tempting too for what you get for your points. Ulrik is a great choice too.

Sadly I think Ragnar, Njal and Canis will lose out again. I'll be giving them a run out from time to time (well except Canis) but I'm not sure many others will bother. Still, I think things are pretty good here. There's some characterful choices with a lot of the fiddly rules taken away. Having 6 HQ slots in the Unleashed detachment doesn't have make me tempted to run all of the specials plus Logan at least once to see how much fun I can have. Probably won't have many spare points mind you!

Onto the core of the book next with the troops section which isn't the one-horse race it used to be.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Space Wolves Codex Review - Generic HQs

As ever we start these unit reviews with a look at the generic HQs. With the Wolves Unleashed detachment allowing up to 6 HQs I'd expect to see plenty of them. I'm aware that my first impressions post was particularly negative on Sunday night so I'm determined to be more positive with these reviews. Don't get me wrong it's a great book but I got a bit caught up in lamenting the loss of some stuff I loved in the old one. Anyway, here goes.

Wolf Lord
Let's face it when most people think of a wolf lord they think of him on a thunderwolf but let's look at what you get from the basic lord. He's gone up in price slightly but you get a Belt of Russ thrown in so he's actually quite a bit cheaper. Having said that I'd have preferred to see him without the Belt as it feels a bit of a waste if you give him a storm shield. I suppose it brings him in line with a captain in another chapter though. His stat-line is unchanged.

The basic weapons for him got cheaper but as we'll discover there are certain combinations of terminator weapons that are no longer possible. Having said that he's an exception to this as he can swap any ranged or melee weapon for a storm shield. Speaking of storm shields they're cheaper for now which is great. Otherwise the options are pretty similar. Obviously he's lost the talisman, necklace, wulfen and sagas but I don't think that matters too much. I rarely bothered taking a necklace anyway as with WS6 he strikes on 3+ most of the time anyway. Giving him Eternal Warrior is the biggest loss but if you're putting him on a thunderwolf there isn't a lot of things that can instant kill him.

Speaking of which the thunderwolf is now slightly more expensive but there's a crucial difference in that he now gets an extra wound too. That's huge for the tiny price increase! I still think the best way to run a lord is on the back of a thunderwolf with runic armour and a storm shield. That makes him pretty solid and if you give him a wolf claw you're taking full advantage of his I5. Problem is when you come up against a 2+ save character in a challenge and you wish you'd taken an axe, hammer or fist. Very tempting to run him with a hammer for 6 attacks on the charge. I've seen people talking about running 6 of these with minimal troops which is a scary thought! Sounds fun to me though! Still solid without the sagas especially with a Helm of Durfast (not that Space Wolves should wear helmets!).

Rune Priest
The same statline but now with the option of running him with ML1 or ML2. I'm thinking it might be better to run several at ML1 to give you a better chance of the powers you want. Very cheap way of getting Divination into a unit for example. He still cheaper than the old version even with ML2 and a psychic hood. It's a shame the psychic defense isn't as good but you still get a 12" range to stop Maledictions and Witchfires on a 4+ if you take a hood and of course you can still stop Blessings etc on 6s like anyone else.

For some reason runic armour is slightly more expensive for a rune priest than a wolf lord but don't forget you now get 6+ invulnerable save to everything rather than a 5+ to psychic powers. Not amazing but will be worth it sometimes and will feel pretty awesome if you manage it.

As I've said the Tempestas discipline has been toned down a bit from the SW book but it's still pretty potent. If you're planning on going with Tempestas you'll probably want ML2 though as half the powers are WC2 and you'll need the extra dice. Options-wise he's pretty similar but I'll be very suprised to see people taking much more than runic armour and/or a hood. Chooser of the Slain has now gone but remember you no longer need to make your characters individual so there's less reason to take one unless you really found it that useful for disrupting infiltrators. The runic weapon no longer wounds daemons on 2+ but I can't remember ever surviving in combat with a daemon long enough to use it anyway!

Another unit that's still pretty awesome. Like the wolf lord there's some things missing but they're still great nonetheless. They're also the second cheapest way of using the detachment to give a +2 to your Cunning of the Wolf rolls for your Troops. Worth bearing in mind.

Wolf Priest
I seemed to be just about the only person who ran a wolf priest in the old book. This was mostly because you could take Saga of the Hunter and Outflank some Grey Hunters but there's a chance of Outflanking anything now. His stat-line is unchanged but he's gone up by 10%. That's probably because Fearless is in shorter supply now but also in part due to his Healing Balms which give FNP 6+. His Oath of War is effectively the same and a great boon for any unit he joins.

It's worth noting that the rumoured Terminator wolf priest seen in the codex picture is a conversion after all (like we thought anyway). As it stands there isn't actually a model for a wolf priest so you'll have to convert one from other kits. Not a big deal but I'm tempted to pick up the limited edition Games Day one from a few years back.

Like the Rune Priest I'd probably run him with minimal options except perhaps runic armour. He's more expensive than the Rune Priest but provides more reliable buffs to your army. Fearless can be awesome these days and having Preferred Enemy is useful to mitigate the BS/WS 3 of Blood Claws which I think is probably the best place for a Wolf Priest. Fluffy too I suppose!  It's worth noting that a bike or jump packs is now significantly cheaper so it's easier to throw a priest into Swiftclaw or Skyclaw packs.

Wolf Guard Battle Leader
In the old book the WGBL was nearly always overlooked in favour of the lord. He's a bargain for 50pts though. Obviously he isn't getting the Belt of Russ but you can always give him a storm shield and you're still saving points. Otherwise you have to decide if losing a point of WS and Ld, a wound and an attack is something you can live with. Even after you've given him the storm shield you could give him two fenrisian wolves and still save points versus a lord. The fen wolves will help mitigate the loss of wounds and attacks. Stick him on a thunderwolf and you've got something pretty similar to the thunderlord in the old book (basically just one less attack).

Part of the reason people took the lord was the access to Saga of the Bear which has gone anyway. He's the cheapest way of getting the IC for Cunning of the Wolf too. The list I've seen with 6 thunderlords would be much cheaper with thunderbattleleaders (not as catchy) for example. I don't think he's going to be as overlooked as he once was.

Well I said I wanted to be more positive and I haven't struggled! The generic HQs are all pretty awesome. I think there'll be a lot of thunderwolves around but the rune priest and wolf priest have certainly got a role to play too. Having access to 6 HQ slots means you don't really have to worry about which is better. Take one of each if you want and find out!

On Thursday I'll be looking at the Special Character HQs where quite a bit has changed. They'll be the competition for the generic HQs but I think there'll be at least some that will prove worthwhile. Mind you everyone knows I'm biased when it comes to SCs!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New 7th edition Space Wolves Codex Review - First Impressions & General Rules

Time for this blog to go back to its roots then and talk about Space Wolves again. I have to say I was pretty apprehensive about this codex. With all of the special characters having models I was at least safe in the knowledge that none would vanish like in the Tyranid and Ork books but I expected a lot of the things I loved about my Space Wolves to come under threat. The Ork book felt a lot less "orky" than the old one and I feared the Space Wolves book would be less "wolfy". I hope that makes sense? Anyway, basically all I want from this new book is some anti-air and otherwise I think the old book could hold its own.

General Thoughts
I'm still not really a fan of this new style of codex. I love the hardcover format as much as ever but the datasheets are a mistake in my opinion. I like that there's (theoretically) less flicking back and forth now but the loss of the artwork (which I was looking forward to seeing in colour) and heavily trimmed unit fluff is a big sacrifice. The images are just too big on the page and it feels lazy. I had to laugh at the picture of the wolf lord who's just made from the generic SW kit so that they can protect their IP, he looks totally underwhelming for the leader of a great company. The fluff section itself is larger than before but I'm not convinced it's worth sacrificing the artwork for. I'm also not hugely keen on every special rule being in the appendix. It's irritating to have look rules up when reading about a unit. Anyway, this is clearly the way GW are going with their new books so I suppose we have to get used to it. On the plus side I think it's easier to find things now.

As with the Ork book the 'eavy metal section feels thinner but the standard of the photos has certainly improved significantly. Obviously having everything painted in the same colour scheme isn't a big deal here as it was in the Ork book as their aren't any successors (depending on whether you think they're still alive or not).

The other thing to note is that Lords of War are again included, of course this time it's only Logan but the precedent is clearly set for when we get to Necrons, Dark Eldar etc. It's a shame for AM that their book came out just before this change.

Army Wide Rules
Nothing really changed here. Pretty much everything still gets Acute Senses, Counter-Attack and of course, ATSKNF. Acute Senses used to be less situational when it worked like Night Vision but at least GW have taken steps to make it worthwhile them having the rule as they've given options for allowing things to Outflank.

Mark of the Wulfen has gone from the book now which affects quite a few units but most notably Grey Hunters. I think basically this is because there isn't technically a model for them anymore. I never used the 13th company models anyway and my wulfen will easily merge back into the units again so it isn't a big deal. It's the start of the reduction in "wolfiness" that I was fearing though. I had a lot of fun with my wulfen with a memorable incident where a wulfen and wolf guard combined to kill Mephiston in a single round of combat. Good times.

Wolf Guard have changed quite a bit too, of course I'll discuss them in more detail in the Elites section but the way they join squads has been altered. Wolf Guard now act as upgrades for all of the squads they used to be able to lead. For some units this means the cost of the Wolf Guard has increased significantly whilst for others like the Skyclaws/Swiftclaws the cost has dropped dramatically (mostly because bikes/jump packs are cheaper mind you). This also has an interesting effect on unit size. In the past the Wolf Guard was the 11th man but now he's within the 10. This means you can take that second special weapon though in Blood Claw and Grey Hunter packs.

I must say I'm already lamenting the loss of Sagas. These were a fantastic way of building your own character without using the specials. Another wolfy thing that's gone and the warlord traits aren't same. If nothing else they're limited to a single model for a start. I'll particularly miss giving Eternal Warrior to a Wolf Lord and having a Wolf Priest outflank a squad with Saga of the Hunter (I'm aware you can still potentially outflank now). Generally it's a loss of character in the book more than the rules that upsets me. In a similar theme we've also lost the Wolftooth Necklace and Wolf Tail Talisman from the old book.

Finally, I guess this is a good place to talk about some significant army selection changes. For a start you need to use the SW specific detachment if you want more than two HQs. This gives you some extra rules of course (more below) but it's shame you have to sacrifice objective secured for it. It remains to be seen whether you'll want several HQs though I suppose.

Warlord Traits
These may have the word Saga in their title but don't be fooled they aren't particularly related to their old namesakes. Saga of the Warrior Born, for example, is a shadow of its former self and is very situational now. Otherwise their not a bad selection but you'll be grateful for the re-roll a lot of the time as some as more useful than others depending on your army list. Saga of the Hunter is probably the stand-out here as Outflank and Stealth combined make for some fun possibilities. Ultimately for me it depends which SC got which as to how useful the traits will be. You might still be better rolling on Strategic in some cases.

Psychic Powers
This was going to be a big deal for everyone who wanted to know what would happen to Jaws. For anyone who's been victim to it over the years I'm sure they were hoping it got nerfed to hell and back. The powers have mostly retained their names and are at least similar to their former versions. Having Living Lightning as the primaris is nice. It's now limited to 3 shots rather than D6 though but frankly most of the time I seemed to roll a 1 anyway. It's also had it's range reduced from infinite to 18" which is somewhat unbelievable! It does get a little version of Tesla though and the fact that it doesn't work on Snap Shots gives me a glimmer of hope for the same in the Necron book.

Storm Caller is now just the psyker's unit rather than a bubble but having Shrouded can be handy a lot of the time. Tempest's Wrath is again limited to single unit rather than everything in range but giving -1BS could be great in the right situation. The range of Thunderclap got a lot better but it lost its AP value for the gain of 2D6 hits. It's certainly no Cleansing Flame but could be awesome against the right target.

The rest of the powers are all WC2 and with the rune priest only being ML2 it might be a struggle to get them off. Murderous Hurricane has been boosted to S4 and gained Rending but lost the difficult/dangerous effect and will probably score a lot less hits now. I really don't see why it's WC2 but GW seem to think blasts are better than they actually are. Fury got a boost to range, strength and number of shots but I'm not sure again that's all worth WC2. It'll get used when you want something offensive but a lot of the time you'll be saving your dice to get other powers off.

Finally, the elephant in the room, Jaws. The old version was effectively a Beam with a range of 24". This version is now just a Focussed Witchfire with a range of 18" and Monstrous Creatures are now immune. That means Tyranid players will be breathing a collective sigh of relief but I actually think it's still extremely potent. The old version was often used to try and snipe single models anyway and it's still going to be devastating to lose your 250pt tooled up warlord to a single initiative test! Certainly not as good as it was but still awesome I reckon.

Relics of the Fang
For starters The Armour of Russ is pretty awesome in my opinion. Having 2+/4++ is great but then getting -5 to Initiative in a challenge as well is a great bonus. Especially if your character has a fist or hammer. I'm thinking it'll work nicely on a thunderlord and it's pretty cheap when compared to terminator armour for example. The Bite is the seemingly obligatory upgraded boltgun that seems to be in very marine codex but this one is nothing special. Helfrost is obviously nice to have but you're probably giving up an attack in combat to use it.

Black Death is very situational I'd say but could be useful on a solo thunderlord perhaps. The Helm of Durfast is a nice little upgrade but pricey. The Fangsword is another interesting upgrade but I can't see it being that widely used. Finally, the Wulfen Stone is basically Furious Charge for a unit and massively overpriced for it too.

Generally speaking a pretty underwhelming set of Relics, especially when some of the recent codices have had some real gems. Like the Ork book you can only take one per character too which doesn't help to make them more appealing. Of course there'll be combinations that arise but generally speaking they're a bit, well, meh.

Formations & Detachments
Another bit of 7th edition that I'm not sure what to think of yet. Generally I think it's an extra level of complication that the game didn't need but whatever. The Wolves Unleashed detachment in this book allows you to take up to six HQs (!). That's gonna be a hell of a lot of points sunk into those 6 models though. You get the obligatory re-roll on the warlord trait but also the Cunning of the Wolf special rule. This gives you a kind of Red Thirst equivalent where rolling a 6 before deployment gives you Outflank for the unit with Troops containing an IC getting it on a 4+. I wouldn't be a fan of this but for the fact that you can guarantee to get at least one of the units turn two which mitigates the risk of having potentially a large amount of points in reserve. It's a nice way of using Acute Senses properly and probably what GW intended when they changed the rule in 6th. Not 100% sure it's worth losing Objective Secured for but time will tell I suppose.

There'll undoubtedly be more formations coming in Champions of Fenris but for now I'll just talk about the Great Company formation in the codex. You need quite a prescriptive list to make the formation with some of them being units I wouldn't necessarily bother with. You have to take a Wolf Standard too which is useful to be fair but not something I'd take every time (more on that later). Basically it's the same as the Wolves Unleashed detachment but you also get Furious Charge and Fear for the whole army. That's pretty awesome really but it comes down to whether you want to run those specific units. At lower points limits you'll need to run MSU to afford the units of grey hunters and claws too. Definitely a formation I'm going to try out but I'm interested to see what the supplement brings too. Generally speaking I think formations are just a way of getting you to buy specific models but whatever.

I've had a general flick though the book and I think it'll be pretty powerful. It won't be the new power codex but there are some strong builds in there. My first impressions aren't particularly good mind you as I think it's been made to feel more like just another SM book than the old one which was pretty different. Sure there's units that are unique to the Space Wolves but little things like losing wulfen and some of the other upgrades do take away some of the character. It's a simpler book to write lists for if nothing else I suppose.

Anyway, as ever I'll be going through the codex section by section and reviewing every single unit as I do. I hope you all find this useful again. Finally let me remind you that if you find the series of posts particularly helpful you can always donate using the button on the right. Not for a second saying you have to but it's always nice to feel like the time I put in is appreciated.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy the next few posts which will be coming up throughout August. Hopefully GW won't be releasing GK as soon as the rumours say as I'll struggle to keep up if they do!


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