Sunday, August 7, 2011

Codex Review: Space Wolf Named Characters, the Decent

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

In my last article, Codex Review: Space Wolf Named Characters, the ehh...,  I described Lukas the Trickster, Ulrik the Slayer, and Canis Wolfborn and why you probably could better spend your points elsewhere. 

In this second article, I am going to describe the decent named characters that may or may not be worth their points, but are generally decent. 

Let's start at the bottom of the list again with the Trueclaw, Bjorn the Fellhanded.  Bjorn is available to you for the price of 270pt.  He is a venerable dreadnought for all intents and purposes with a few extras in his stat line.  He has a front AV of 13 and as such is fairly resilient combined with the venerable upgrade.  He also comes with a WS and BS of 6 and S7 (which is irrelevant unless you lose your DCCW). The BS is really what makes him attractive in my opinion.  He comes stock with an assault cannon but can trade it, for free, for a plasma cannon, or a TL lascannon for +20pt.  His DCCW has a heavy flamer.  I would actually keep Bjorn with the assault cannon or plasma cannon as they benefit the most from his stellar BS.  The plasma cannon essentially only scatters D6" instead of 2D6" due to his BS 6.  This makes his infantry killing ability extremely good. 

Above that, Bjorn comes with Saga of Majesty and wolf tail talisman.  This means that he can help keep your models from failing morale if they are within 6" of him. 

Bjorn also has a few interesting special rules.  Ward of the Primarch gives Bjorn a 5+ invul save.  Combined with venerable status and AV13, this guy can be incredibly hard to take down.  Ancient Tactician is the rule that really can benefit Space Wolves.  This rule gives the player the ability to reroll for the chance to choose who deploys (and consequently who goes first).  I think this rule meshes really well with a razorspam list as it gives you a chance to take the first turn and shoot down mech before it has a chance to do the same thing.  Of course, this can be countered by an opponent who reserves their army much in the same way drop pod assault is negated. 

Bjorn's final rule is also interesting and provides both pros and cons for the player.  Living Relic states that should Bjorn die in a game, he makes the entire army fearless.  This can be good or bad, but I tend to look at it as good since I play Space Wolves as a counterattack army that whittles down opponents with hails of fire before going in for the kill in combat. It can be bad if you end up having to tkae fearless saves due to lost combats. 

Now the quirky part of Living Relic is that Bjorn stays on the table after he dies as an objective in objective games while in kill point games he yields D3 additional kill points unless a Space Wolf model is in contact with him.  So, this isn't so fun, but hopefully a smart player will advance Bjorn with the army and be somewhat easy to capture. 

So, the big question is whether or not Bjorn is worth his 270pt.  This is also why I have listed him as decent.  If you build an army around Bjorn and use his advantages to your benefit, then you he can make a pretty mean army.  As I mentioned earlier, I think Bjorn meshes really well with a razorspam army with some good counter attack units.  However, he costs as much as two riflemen dreads.  Also, if you lose him under the wrong circumstances, you are facing an uphill battle.  Thus, Bjorn, in my mind, is decent, but not a named character that you want to take all the time or at small points levels.

Our second and last decent named character is Arjac Rockfist.  This guy alone is pretty amazing.  If he were an HQ choices and not a unit upgrade, I would like him so much better.  He might even be considered an auto-include if you want a good beater character. 

Arjac is a unit upgrade of a unit of Wolf Guard.  He rings in at 170pt.  Arjac comes with a significantly improved statline including WS and BS 5, S5, 2W, and 3 attacks base. He wears terminator armor and carried a thunder hammer, the foehammer, and the anvil shield.  The foehammer is a thunder hammer that Arjac can throw with a 6" range at S10, AP1, assault 1.  The anvil shield is a storm shield that grants Arjac another attack when he assaults.  This means that Arjac is walking around with a 2+/3++ save, a S10 hammer and 5 attacks on the assault.  Additionally, he is a unit upgrade and so he can't be targetted. 

Arjac's is stubborn, has saga of the bear, and has the Grimnar's Champion rule.  Saga is great meaning that he can eat one high strength Ap2 or 3 shot without dying due to eternal warrior.  Stubborn is also nice for whichever unit he joins. I am not necessarily a fan of Grimnar's Champion, but the guy is tooled out to use it well.  If an IC or Mosntrous Creature is in contact with Arjac he has to allocate his attacks at that model.  Seeing as how he will usually pulp whatever he hits, it isn't such a big deal, but a canny opponent could use this to hamper his ability to drive up combat res. 

Here's the thing about Arjac.  This is why he is decent and not awesome.  He is the definition of an offensive character.  He needs to be in a unit that is making it's way to beat face.  This is where the problem occurs.  Since Arjac is wearing terminator armor, he is either pedestrian, riding in a land raider, or in a drop pod. This means that additional points have to be allocated in order to make him more efficient.  You also have to consider which units he is best utilized with.  In my opinion, you want him in either grey hunters or wolf guard.  Again, in order to provide a decent beater unit to place him in, you need to invest points.  Ultimately, taking Arjac leads to creating a deathstar unit which will wreck many armies, but be totally negated by others. 

Arjac has great stats and absolutely beats face in combat, but the costs of taking him efficiently means you have to invest a lot of points in one unit.  Ultimately this means that Arjac is decent instead of awesome. 

In my next article, I am going to go over the big three.  The most awesome named characters in the Space Wolf army.  Stay tuned.  If you haven't read my previous article, take a look at the link at the top of the page. 

Other useful articles:
Codex Review: Black Templar Named HQs
Codex Review: Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard

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Pictures provided thanks to Warhammer 40k Wikia.


AbusePuppy said...

I think Bjorn is actually quite poor- 270pts is a LOT, and what does he do for you? Saga of Majesty, reroll to go first. Oh, and he has a downside built in. Offensively he is a real turd, bringing an uninspiring single gun to the party- even with BS6 you're only going to get 2-3 wounds out of him most turns. AV13, venerable, and 5++ does make him quite resilient, but again- 270pts. I wouldn't bother taking him in Razorspam because I could instead get a Rune Priest and an extra Razorback squad- Razorspam doesn't specifically need to go first when played well.

Arjac, on the other hand, is a complete beast, but really only works one way: coming down in a Drop Pod in a Loganwing army. Stelek explored the concept in a couple of his lists, but you essentially put Arjac, Logan, and six Long Fangs in a Pod and dump them into the enemy's face. The unit is basically impossible to assault due to the two chars and isn't easy to shoot down, either, all the more so because it dumped five Multimeltas into their lines already.

Karvala said...

Arjac is 188 pts by the way. 18 pts for a WG and then +170 for upgrading him to Arjac.

The plasma cannon on Bjorn is actually pretty accurate. With BS 6 you are subtracting 6 from a roll of 2d6. That gives an average scatter of 1" when it scatters, which would still hit the nominated target. This is better than you described (because an average d6 roll is 3.5).
However..... he IS 270 points....

Dave said...

Good call there Karvala. I just included Arjac's upgrade cost. I agree with you that Bjorn's plasma cannon is sweet, and you are right about him costing too much. That is why I put him the decent section. If he were perhaps 30-50pts. cheaper, I would seriously think he was one of the better characters, but when I can get two dreads for his price, he is a bit too pricey unless playing larger battles.

Lord Rao said...

Imho Arjac actually plays well into a SW agressive defence. His mere presence can dissuade enemy squads from charging him or nearby SW squads, as he can simply Counter-Charge or join the combat next turn (provided your unit is still alive).

Especially if the enemy comes to you (Orks, Nids, and BA although they are often a bit too fast if all jumpers) Arjac and his mates can just stand there and look menacing.

Put him in a Crusader and he becomes much more mobile (doh) and can be used much more aggressively. No matter what a lot of people say, Land Raiders are still hard to take down (certainly for Orks and Nids) and especially Crusaders are lethal.

The fact that he can't be targeted (no IC) can keep him alive almost indefinately, provided you keep his squad alive.

I actually have more success with this guy than with Logan, but that is probably down to my player group, as the rest of teh interwebz seems to disagree with me.

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