While it shares the basic layout as the other recently released codexes, it's just dripping with Space Wolf flavor. There are so many great little details, from the bloody footprints under the page numbers in the fluff section, to the fanged skulls on the data sheets, to the really cool stylized corners of the pages. A lot of care and detail went into making it specially wolfy, and I really appreciate it.
Unfortunately, the fluff leaves a bit desired. It's largely all the same fluff we've seen previously in a new arrangement, as was the Tyranid book, so I am not surprised. I do like the Companies of the Fang part, but I think I'm just a mark for the Grand Annulus. They did a fun thing with some of the photos, too, using an orange glow from one side to make it look like the sun is rising over the battle. It's neat.
Now onto the meat of the book, army building. I'm going to tackle this mostly in order, as presented in the new book. But I'd like to point out first that Logan Grimnar is no longer an HQ choice, he is only available as a Lord of War, either on foot or in his wolf-drawn chariot of wolfishness. Sort of replacing him is Harald Deathwolf, a very impressive-looking fellow on a Thunderwolf. So the number of available HQ choices didn't change.
As previously rumored, Sagas are now Warlord traits. Some, like Ragnar Blackmane, come with a specific Warlord trait on the profile (Sage of the Warrior Born, in his case) which he automatically receives as your Warlord, whereas a generic Wolf Lord would roll for one on the chart. I am... less than excited by that particular change.
But I was pleased to see that the basic Acute Senses, And They Shall Know No Fear, and Counter Attack did not change, nearly everything in the book has them still. I've rarely had to use Acute Senses, but I'd rather have it than not. Much to my shock and dismay, however, Mark of the Wulfen is no more. This is devastating to me. I loved it, and it's what made my Lone Wolf such an unrelenting badass. One of the Relics of the Fang (an option available to certain models) is The Wulfen Stone, which fluff-wise is similar, but rules-wise is entirely different.
Also gone are the Wolf Tail Talisman and the Wolftooth Necklace. I will deeply miss the Wolftooth Necklace on my Wolf Lord. Also gone is Chooser of the Slain (SONOFA!!!!). Guess I don't need to paint that Chooser of the Slain marker I made for my converted Rune Priest. I feel like they took a lot of the customizations away. There is still the Belt of Russ and Wolf Amulet (that for some stupid reason both give a +4 invuln but have different names) but you cannot give them to anyone for some points. Either they have it included on their profile, or they can't have it at all.
The only custom items you can give models are their weapons, or Special Issue Wargear and Relics of the Fang, if they have the option for those. A few models (like Rune Priests) have one special optional thing listed on their profile (Runic Armor), but that's it. It's disappointing to have less options.
That makes me sound really down on the book, and I'm really not. Why's that? Rune Priests, baby! They dropped FORTY points, and are base equipped *exactly* the same. Upgrade to Psyker Mastery 2 is only 25 points as well. So, between the two priests I run in my list, I just found 80 points to spend on new goodies. Also, Jaws of the World Wolf is back! Just as I had hoped. Oh, and I am now entirely vindicated in my hatred of the 7th ed FAQ for runic weapons now, because they gave Rune Priests the option to take Psychic Hood for 10 points.
I do think they might have made a mistake (or dumb choice), which is that Runic Armor costs 25 points for a Rune Priest or Wolf Guard, but only 20 for a Wolf Priest and a Wolf Lord. That's stupid, pick one point cost for gear and stick with it.
Wolf Lords got 5 points more expensive, but have all the same stuff, except for the addition of a Belt of Russ, which confers a 4+ invuln (and which used to cost 25 points). Totally worth 5 additional points, except now the model I have doesn't need a storm shield anymore, making him even cheaper (although I do have to break it off and do something else...). Putting him on a Thunderwolf costs an additional 5 points as well, but the frost axe I have on him got 5 points cheaper so that's a wash.
Ragnar dropped 45 points, for about the same thing. Canis, too, costs the same, for about the same (although no Wolftooth Necklace or Tailsman). For 5 more points, though, you can take Harald who has an extra wound and higher leadership, and Outflank. Depending on the points, I may rune my old Wolf Lord as Harald, since he comes with a storm shield (so no breaking anybody necessary) and a Frost axe and that's just how my Wolf Lord is equipped.
Njal Stormcaller? 65 points cheaper! And he's a Level 3 Psyker, with +1 to his BS, and an extra wound. Oh, and just for fun, he comes with a Psychic Hood, has Adamantium Will (+1 to Deny the Witch) AND every turn he can reroll a failed Deny the Witch. It's almost criminal how awesome he is now (and he was great before, just expensive). Yes, I DO rue cutting him up two weeks ago and turning him into a Rune Priest.
|Although, I think he's pretty cool.|
Wolf Guard Leaders are similar, but 20 points cheaper. Bjorn, well, oh my. He's 50 points cheaper, gives you a +1 to your Seize the Initiative roll, has a 5+ invuln, and his ridiculous Trueclaw is St 10, AP 2 with Master-Crafted and Shred. Plus he's still Venerable and you can stick him in a Drop Pod.
Everything is sunshine and rainbows up to this point, all my HQ got cheaper. I would have been thrilled just with that alone, but we still have the whole rest of the book to consider. And guess what? It. Gets. Better. There is much love for the Sons of Russ.
Blood Claws are 3 pts cheaper each at 12, and are pretty much exactly the same. Lukas the Trickster dropped by 60 points for basically the same thing, too. At this point, just from the HQ points drop, I could afford a whole unit of these guys, and Lukas, too. My unit options have increased dramatically.
And now we come to the Grey Hunters. They, for exactly what you had before, cost 1 point more per model. It could be so much worse for the best Troops in the game. Their base cost is now 14 points a model, but they lost their close combat weapon. For 2 points per model, you can give it back to them. Wolf Standards are now 25 points, but now confer +1 attack to any unit within 6" of the bearer. Sold!
On to the Elites! I'm not sure I'll take one, but for 55 points an Iron Priest is an attractive guy. Repairing a Hull Point on a model on a 5+ is very nice. Plus he can take up to 4 Cyberwolves and he can be put with up to 5 Servitors. It's certainly interesting.
Scouts got 1 point cheaper, but lost their close combat weapon. But I think that's fine, since they're best used for shooting anyway. For free, they can trade their boltgun for a Space Marine Shotgun or a close combat weapon. For 1 point a model, they can replace that boltgun with a Sniper Rifle.
Now comes to the saddest part of the book: the Lone Wolf. I have been a huge Lone Wolf defender for the last two years. But, without Mark of the Wulfen, I'm not sure he's worth taking anymore. He also lost Beastslayer. He still has Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain, but without those Rending Wulfen attacks, I think he's dramatically less effective, even if plopped in Terminator armor.
Can't have everything, I suppose. But he was my Silent Killer, people didn't really worry about him with all my Thunderwolves running around and Drop Pods flying in, so he snuck up and killed all sorts of goodies. He will be missed.
Your basic Dreadnought dropped 10 points, Venerable is now an upgrade (as opposed to a separate unit) which is 45 points cheaper. Very nice. Either way, it comes with a Multi-Melta and a Power Fist with built-in storm bolter. The Ven can trade that in for the Fenrisian Great Axe and the Blizzard Shield for 25 points.
Then, there's Murderfang. I really don't know what I could possibly say about him other than, I love him. He's 135 points, has Furious charge, It Will Not Die, Rage, Rampage and a pair of special lightening claws called Murderclaws. Murderclaws. They are St 7, AP 2 with Master-crafted, Shred, and Specialist Weapon. And for 35 points you can still throw any one of these Dread babies into a Drop Pod.
Wolf Guard got a little interesting, in that they split them into two Datasheets- one for power armor and one for Termie armor. Makes it a lot cleaner, I think. They're both exactly the same, power armor still cost 18 points a piece, Termies are 33. Arjac also received his own Datasheet, and he's lovely. He now costs 115 points (instead of 188) and his Foehammer is both a melee and a ranged weapon. I am sad I sold my Arjac model now.
In Fast Attack, I still don't see the appeal of bikers, but Swiftclaws dropped 5 pts. You can trade the Bolt Pistol for a Chainsword for free, though. Rhinos and Drop Pods are the same, Razorbacks went up 15 points but can trade its heavy bolters for heavy flamers for free.
The Stormwolf is Fast Attack, 12 armor all around, and has the helfrost cannon. Then there's the Skyclaws. I'm not a fan, but they're 3 points cheaper to take at 15, and everything else is the same. Landspeeders are the same, although some weapon upgrades got cheaper.
Now it gets fun. Thunderwolf Cav dropped ten points a model but they're leadership 9 now instead of 8. Excuse me while I laugh maniacally for a moment. Muhahaha!! Fenrisian Wolves are the same, but the Cyberwolf upgrade is 2 points more expensive and he went down to T4.
And, last but not least, Heavy. The Stormfang is 12 armor all around, with the Helfrost destructor. At 220 it's a little pricey, but it has some strong fire power.
Longfangs, my dear Longfangs, are just as solid as before except that Split Fire kind of sucks now. But I now get a Longfang Ancient in the unit, and he has an extra attack which is nice. Some of their Heavy weapon options got more expensive, some got cheaper.
Vindicators are an extra 5 points, similar gear, Whirlwinds are 20 points cheaper, Predators 15 points more expensive, and all the Land Raiders are basically the same.
The Relics of the Fang are interesting options. Several of the HQ choices can choose to take one. There are 6 of them, and each one can only be taken once per army. They range from 10 to 40 points and are:
- The Armour of Russ (2+/4+invuln, and -5 to enemy's initiative in challenges)
- The Bite of Fenris, (bolter with duel profile of ice and flame rounds)
- Black Death (Frost axe +2str, AP2 and Whirlwind of Death)
- Helm of Durfast (re-rolls failed to Hits, all shooting attacks have Ignores Cover)
- Fangsword of the Ice Wolf (sword with +1St AP3, and Helfrost, Rending)
- The Wulfen Stone (the bearer has Rage, plus he and his unit gain Furious Charge)
All very interesting. That just leaves one more thing: the psychic powers. Wolves can take from Biomancy, Daemonology, Divination, Telekinesis, and their book powers, Tempestas. The Tempestas powers are Living Lightening (Primaris, witchfire), Storm Caller (blessing), Tempests Wrath (malediction), Thunderclap (nova), Murderous Hurricane (witchfire), Fury of the Wolf Spirits (witchfire), and Jaws of the World Wolf (focused witchfire).
So, that's the nitty gritty of it all. I am incredibly pleased with the new book. Lots and lots of things got cheaper and nothing too critical was lost (though I mourn for Mark of the Wulfen). The Tempestas powers are all useful, and the Primaris is solid. I couldn't ask for a better book. I'm a little disappointed that Logan is only a Lord of War now, but I have ten HQ options so I'll live.
I'm looking forward to reworking my list to adapt to these changes, although I don't think I will be making a great many changes just yet. The NOVA Open is in 3 weeks, so I don't have a lot of time to build and paint too many new things. Just based on the cheaper Rune Priests and Thunderwolf Cavalry, I easily have another 150 points to work with. I'll try to make the most of it.