Friday, August 5, 2011

Codex Review: Space Wolf Named Characters, The ehh...

[This article is part of the Codex Review: Space Wolves article series.]

My interest in my Space Wolves has been piqued of late.  Having played a game last week with my Razorspam list against Horde Orks and started to look at possible 'Ardboyz lists, I have deluded myself into thinking that I can put together a decent codex review for the army.  So, over the next few weeks, I will do my best to illumine you as to the awesomeness that is Space Wolves. 

For my intial three installments, I am going to do a sort of "good, bad, and ugly" of the Space Wolf Named Characters, but instead have decided that I need to re-label it to "awesome, decent, ehh...."  The Space Wolf codex is most certainly one of the most powerful codexes out there, which isn't news, and the named character selection is similarly pretty good. 

In this first installment, I am going to look at the characters that are "ehh..." This means that while not outright terrible, for their points, they aren't worth taking usually unless you want them for a certain flavor or specific ability. 

With that said, let's get cracking!

At the very bottom of the list of named characters we have that scoundrel, Lukas the Trickster. Lukas is a 140pt. upgrade to a Blood Claw pack and comes with some decent stat upgrades including WS/BS 5, 2W, I5, and 3A.  He has power armor, a wolf claw, and a plasma pistol for regular equipment and comes additionally with a wolf tail talisman, wolftooth necklace, and the pelt of the Doppegrangrel.  The pelt requires all successful hits against Lukas to be rerolled.  He has all of the normal rules for a Space Wolf with the two additional rules of Rebellious and The Last Laugh. Rebellious basically limits Lukas and his unit to LD 8 no matter what, while The Last Laugh is interesting but also mostly just fail.  When Lukas is killed in close combat, both players roll a die. If the Space Wolf player rolls higher, all models in base contact to Lukas are removed as they are frozen dead by a stasis bomb that Lukas had attached to his heart.  Notice I said ALL models, so yeah, you are going to lose models as well.

Lukas is an interesting upgrade and at first glance looks decent merely due to his stat line.  However, two things immediately make him not worth taking, in my opinion.  #1 is his points cost. 140pt. for 2W with a 3+ save is dumb, even if successful hits need to be rerolled.  That just won't protect him.  He doesn't have eternal warrior either, so he can easily be doubled out in combat by a powerfist.  #2 is the fact that to take him, you need to take a unit of blood claws, who are widely known as inferior to grey hunters in almost every way (which we will discuss later in the series).  Those two things are enough to discount him.  Throw in the fact that when he dies, he stands a good chance of taking out a good portion of his own unit, I say this guy is out.  Sorry Lukas. 

Next up, I submit to you Canis Wolfborn.  Canis is a thunderwolf riding Space Wolf character and the only GW produced model riding a thunderwolf.  Canis costs a fairly decent 185pt.  (most generic wolf lords can get you into the 230-270pt range easily).  He boasts WS5, S and T5 (typical thunderwolf cav stats), 3W, I5, 5A and LD8.  He has power armor, a named thunderwolf called Fangir, two wolf claws, wolftooth necklace and wolf tail talisman, and saga of the wolfkin.  He can optionally take up to 2 fenrisian wolves (aka ablative wounds).  He has the normal Space Wolf and thunderwolf rules as well with the additional rules, Wrath of the Savage and Lord of the Wolfkin.  He also allows fenrisian wolves to be taken as troops.

Let's break him down a bit.  This guy is basically a thunderwolf cav with some additional wounds, attacks and a better weapon skill.  His two special rules are somewhat decent.  Lord of the Wolfkin allow fenrisians within 12" of him to use his leadership as their own. Couple this with rerolls given to fenrisians due to his being a thunderwolf cav and they become a bit better at taking morale tests.  Wrath of the Savage is pretty cool as it allows Canis to replace his attack profile with a number of attacks equal to the number of enemy models in base contact to him.  Imagine assaulting into a unit of Ork boyz, getting surrounded and then proceeding to beat face.  Since Canis can choose to reroll either to-hit or to-wound with his claws (not both though), he should be able to seriously cause some close combat damage. 

Here's the downside though.  3+ armor on a 185pt model.  Canis has no invul save and while S5 protect from a lot of things that can ID him, he is still susceptible to dying from torrents of wounds.  Honestly, you are better off spending more money on a meatier generic thunderwolf lord.  Leave Canis at home.

Our last entry in the "eh..." section is going to Ulrik the Slayer.  Ulrik weighs in at 180pt. and comes with fairly basic chaplain/reclusiarch stats, though he does have WS6.  Unfortunately, 180pt. can't afford a third wound for him. He carries power armor, plasma pistol, power weapon, fang of morkai, wolftooth necklace, wolf amulet, and wolf helm of russ.  He has normal Space Wolf rules with the addition of fearless, Slayer's Oath, and Mentor.

The fang morkai makes his unit fearless, which can be a boon for the low leadership of Space Wolves.  The wolf amulet gives him a 4+ invul.  The wolf helm of russ allows all models in your army that can draw LoS to Ulrik to reroll failed morale tests.  Another great leadership boon to your army.  The helm also forces enemy ICs wishing to attack Ulrik in combat to first pass a leadership test or lose the ability to attack at all for the entire round of combat.  There is some debate as to whether the morale reroll works if Ulrik is in a transport.

His rules are kind of meh.  The Slayer's Oath allows him and his unit to reroll hits against models that are T5 or greater.  Good for taking out MCs, but otherwise, not too useful.  His Mentor rule allows you to pick one non-Unique model in the army and make him +1 WS to a max of WS6.  This is also meh. 

So, Ulrik's true value lies within his ability to keep your army from running away.  but is that worth it for 180pt? Taking Wolf Guard and splitting them into team leaders allows much of your army to be at least LD9.  This is the same as most other Marine variants.  I think I would rather leave Ulrik at home in lieu of other HQ choices.

So there are the "ehh..." choices in the named character category.  None are outright terrible (though Lukas tries), but there are definitely better uses for your points out there. 

In my next installment, will look at the decent named HQs.  Stay tuned.

Other articles about Space Wolves:
Why Space Wolves are so great
Space Wolf Stealth Cheese
Why Long fangs are just that Good

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All pictures provided thanks to Lexicanum and Warhammer 40k Wikia.


Student Teacher said...

Lukas is an upgrade to a Blood Claw unit isn't he? Which mean he can't be singled out in CC. So the only way he's going to be doubled out in CC is if you assign the power fist attacks to him.

But still, he sucks.

Dave said...

Totally didn't catch that. You are right. However, it still doesn't make him any better.

AbusePuppy said...

It also means that his "reroll attacks against me" ability only works when the entire rest of the squad is dead. Which is the opposite of what you will often want, since you're probably trying to use his fancy suicide-bomb. Lukas is fucking terrible and one of the worst named characters currently printed.

Ulrik is just really underwhelming. He doesn't do anything particularly useful or interesting and he costs a fair number of points.

Canis is actually pretty okay, since he opens up a different build and passes out some bonuses to nearby dudes. S5 with Wolf Claws means he can put out a good number of wounds. Lack of a ++ is probably his biggest weakness- T5 makes up for only having a 3+ against most attacks.

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