Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Codex Review: Space Wolf Named Characters, The Awesome

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

We've made it.  Here lie before us the most awesome (in my opinion) characters in the Space Wolf codex.  They may even be some of the best there are in any codex.  If you missed my previous two articles, you can check them out in my Archives section or simply by clicking the following links:

Codex Review: Space Wolf Named Characters, the ehh...
Codex Review: Space Wolf Named Characters, the Decent

As per the template of the last two articles, I am going to start with the character that I believe to be on the lower end of the scale and end with the uber character. So, let's start, shall we.

FTW Ron's Ragnar Conversion.  Simply Brilliant.
Up first we have Ragnar Blackmane.  Ragnar comes in at 240pt. base.  He has power armor, a frostblade, bolt pistol, meltabombs, frags and kraks, saga of the warrior born, wolftooth necklace, and wolf tail talisman.  Ragnar has fairly normal stats for a captain-ish model.  He has WS6, BS5, 3W, 4A, and I5. His frostblade does boost his strength stat to 5.  Saga of the warrior born is one of my favorites.  It allows a model an additional number of attacks on the assault equal to the number of wounds dealt in the previous assault phase.  So, when you wind this guy up, you want him to bounce from combat to combat in which he can feasibly have double digit attacks!

What makes (and possibly breaks) Ragnar are his special rules. Let's talk about the one with a negative side first. Insane Bravado looks really cool at first, bestowing +D3 attacks on the assault instead of +1 for the unit that Ragnar joins.  However, there is a downside being that the unit has to assault if possible.  This creates a weakness for any unit he joins as a simple rhino moving 12" can waste a lot of this unit's potential.  Luckily this is probably the only downside to taking Ragnar.

Next, we have Incredible Reflexes. This one is pretty simple, really.  It gives Ragnar a 4+ invul save which really helps his survivability.

Finally, we have War Howl.  This gives furious charge to Ragnar and his unit. In addition, once per game, Ragnar can give furious charge to every unit within 12" at the beginning of the assault phase.

This guy is the definition of a beater.  Let's look at it.  Just taken with a unit of 8 grey hunters with standard, power weapon, and wolf guard with powerfist, we are looking at Ragnar getting on average 6 attacks at S6, I6.  Then, at S5 and I5 you get 4 power weapon attacks and 28 regular attacks.  Finally, round that out with 4 S9 powerfist attacks.  Then, if he assaults into a new combat on your next turn, Ragnar stands a chance of getting even more attacks! 

The real issue with Ragnar as is with most characters made for pure assault in the Space Wolf codex is that, generally speaking, I don't think Space Wolves make a very good points effective hammer unit unless it's thunderwolf cav.  As such, you have to dedicate loads of points to Ragnar and his unit and usually a ride for them in order to get his full potential.  So, while not hugely awesome, the buffs he brings to the army and his unit make him pretty stinking cool. 

courtesy of lexicanum
Next, we have the rune priest on steroids, Njal Stormcaller.  Njal costs you a mint 245pt.  For that you get a rune priest with a 2+ save, special force weapon, wolftooth necklace, bolt pistol, frags and kraks, and saga of majesty.  He has pretty mediocre stats, notable of which are his WS5, 2W, and 3A.  Luckily, you don't want Njal for his combat prowess.  Njal's runic staff negates pyschic abilities on a 3+, straight up.  No roll off.  You have a 66% chance of ending any psychic ability.  That is dirty.  Also, he has a chooser of the slain that does D3 S3 hits on a model of your choice in base contact with Njal at I5. 

In addition to this, you can give Njal a suit of runic terminator armor for 25pts that obviously gives a 2+ save, but also bears a 4+ invul.  I think this may just be worth it, especially if you think Njal might end up getting mixed up in some combats. 

Master psyker is the first of his rules. Njal knows all of the Space Wolf psychic abilities and he can cast two of them per turn.  You heard me right.  That is plain nasty.  Casting Living Lightning and Murderous Hurricane come to mind.

Njal's most interesting rule is called Lord of the Tempest.  In every turn, you roll a D3 and add the turn number to it (i.e. in turn 2 you would roll D3+2, turn 3 D3+3).  You then look at the result on his handy-dandy Tempest Chart o' Doom.  on a result of 2 nothing happens, but starting on a result of 3 on, you can have such things as making enemies within 24" -1BS to making all enemy units within 18" take a morale test.  One of my personal favorites is a result of 6.  Njal picks a target within 18" and does D3 S9 attacks to it. Vehicles are always hit on their side armor.  The best thing about this ability is that there is no recourse.  You can't stop it unless you kill Njal. 

Uber psyker with psychic ability lockdown, Njal is simply beastly. He can really ruin your day. 

A crappy picture of my Logan conversion, still to be painted.
Last on the list of the awesome is the High King himself, Logan Grimnar.  Grimnar weighs in at a hefty 275pt.  The High King has pretty nice stats for the price tag, though. WS6, BS5, 3W, 5A, I5.  Logan wears terminator armor and has a belt of russ giving him a 4+ invul.  He has a storm bolter, a wolftooth necklace, a wolf tail talisman, the axe morkai, and saga of majesty. 

The axe is pretty cool.  You can choose extra slicey mode utilizing the axe as a frostblade, or tenderizer mode which allows the axe to be used as a powerfist.  Even better, you can split his attacks between the two types of attacks, meaning Logan becomes very versatile in the assault.

Grimnar comes with a whole bucket load of special rules including eternal warrior and stubborn.  As the Great Wolf, Logan takes Wolf Guard squads as troops.  This leads to some very customizable troop choices for your army. 

Living Legend allows Logan to grant +1 attack to every model within 18" for a turn.  This is great for a mass assault. 

Logan's High King is what makes him really dangerous.  For each player turn, Logan can choose to bestow a USR on the unit he has joining.  He can give fearless, tank hunter, relentless, and preferred enemy.  Tank Hunter long fangs are fan favorites.  In the next turn, when they are shot at, Logan can make them fearless.  Should he join a unit of fighty Wolf Guard, he can give them preferred enemy.  Again, Logan becomes a really versatile character bringing buffs to the army in a variety of situations. 

As stated by some comments in my previous posts, Arjac becomes really nice in a Logan army as well.  A unit of long fangs bringing Logan and Arjac is a real deterent to most units that might try to assault it away. 

There you have it.  The best of the best of the Space Wolf Codex Named Characters.  In the next few days, I will begin to tear apart the generic HQ choices.  Which ones work well and which ones are better left at home. 

Other useful links:
The Templar Wolves Ride Again: The Severe Beating of A Blood Angel Army
A Rose of a different color

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Lord Rao said...

Pretty sure Njall can only cast ONE psychic shooting attack per turn. That's just a basic rule, only things like walkers and MCs get to fire two weapons/turn. So, no Living Lightning and Murderous Hurricane in the same turn, for example.

Other than that I can do nothing but agree with you on these HQs. Great few posts here, really looking forward to the rest of the SW dex review.

AbusePuppy said...

Ragnar is kinda underwhelming to me. Is he pretty dangerous in combat? Yeah, relatively speaking, and if he gets going he can really be a murder machine, but lacking any good way to get there it's unlikely you'll get the huge numbers of attacks a TWC Lord can get.

Njal got boned by the FAQ, plain and simple. His abilities don't do what you think they do and that hurts him a lot. That aside, he's still awfully pricey for a single model, but his stuff is at least all useful.

Logan is a beast. Expensive, but quite good, and one of the few characters in the book that's really worth his points. His flexibility and power work together well and he makes any squad he joins dangerous in a variety of ways.

And yes, Njal can only cast one psychic shooting power per turn.

Karvala said...

Ragnar is almost a good character, but fails because of 2 points:
First, as you noted, the fact he must assault if he can. Whilst you can often manipulate movement such that it isn't a problem, a 200+ point character shouldn't have drawbacks like this.
Second, the D3 extra attacks on the charge.... it gives the potential of the unit really being badass on the charge, or just being normal. That variability in performance really makes it hard to use the ability well as you can't reliably make a prediction of the results of the assault before you commit.

Dave said...

Thanks for all of the great comments.

About Ragnar, I agree that the Insane Bravado is a hard rule to work with and his a huge negative for such a pricey model. However, with the right unit and ride, Ragnar can beat down many units with ease. He helps to create some of the best hammers in the codex (but not the best). I think his price and the price of making him efficient is why we only see him in larger games like 'Ardboyz.

I also really like Njal. With Grey Knights and Eldar shenanigans, his 3+ psychic defense is pretty fantastic. I also like his Lord of Tempests rule as it really does create some problems on the board for the opponent. Despite his actual psychic abilities getting nerfed, I still think he is pretty sweet. By the way, thanks for the update on only being able to use one psychic shooting attack per turn. It totally slipped my mind that this would apply to psychic abilities as well.

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