Wednesday, 27 January 2016

New [Space Wolf] Wulfen First Impressions (Updated with Curse of the Wulfen & Weapon Option Rules)

[Click on pic to see it large to make out the Wulfen stats]
Rumours of new Space Wolves have been doing the rounds the last few weeks, which have coalesced into the rumour of a new campaign book featuring the Space Wolves and Daemons.  However more concrete evidence was light on the ground until this morning when I came across the pic above courtesy of the Space Wolves Blog Facebook page (link here).

The pic is from the German White Dwarf, and the Space Wolves Facebook page gives the following translation:

"Special rules:
Know no Fear
Curse of the Wulfen
Sharp senses
Feel no Pain
Todesraserei/Deathfrenzy: If a model in this unit is killed it can move up and attack at the end of the current initiative step. This even applies if the model already has attacked.”
Weite Sprünge/Leaping Bounds: This unit can run and attack. It also reroll failed charge rolls.

May contain up to 5 more Wulfen…. 30p/m
Each model may take a salvo grenade launcher 2p/m
Each model may take one of the following:
Two Handed Frost Axe 8p/m
Two Wolf Claws 12p/m
Thunderhammer and Stormshield 20p/m
One Wulfen can be upgraded to Wulfen-Pack Leader with two Frost Claws 20p
This unit may take a stormwolf as a dedicated transport"

Initial Impression

For this initial impression I'm going to assume the unit has rending (maybe it's part of the Curse of the Wulfen rule), so my view may change if they don't have that.

Update:  It appears that the Wulfen do not have rending, but for 30 points they still have a nice number of str5 attacks.  However the rules for the weapon options, which I think combined with the Death Frenzy rule (see above) gives them a nice boost, see below, with the icing on the cake being the buff to nearby units in the Curse of the Wulfen rule (see below).

The obvious comparison is to Thunderwolf Cavalry, our go to assault unit.  Both are 2 wounds, and are designed to kill things in assault.  The Wulfen come off significantly cheaper to start with 30pts vs 40pts), however the Thunderwolves win when it comes to natural speed and toughness.

The T4, 4+ save & Feel No Pain is not as good as T5 and 3+ save.  The Feel No Pain is nice, but I believe it doesn't make up for the worse toughness and save.  The Thunderwolves also get the option to pick stormshields on their own.

Thunderwolves move 12" in the movement phase compared to the Wulfen's 6".  The Wulfen ability to run and charge is nice, but they need to roll a 6 for the run to be as fast as the Thunderwolves, and outside of charging the Thunderwolves are on average 7" faster a turn (being fleet the Thunderwolves normally get a inch further with their run moves on average).

The Thunderwolves also do well when in comes to attacks getting 6 attacks on the charge compared to the Wulfen's 4, plus there's the warlord trait (that 2 special characters come with) that makes the Thunderwolves even better on the charge.

The weapon options are nice on the Wulfen, and are comparable to the Thunderwolf options, however they are slightly cheaper meaning a tooled up wulfen unit will be much cheaper than a simularly tooled up Thunderwolf unit.  Another bonus is that the smaller size will make the Wulfen easier to hide around terrain.

Overall I don't think the Wulfen top Thunderwolves (if the rules for the Thunderwolves do not get worse in the update).  The Wulfen are stunning models, and they would be good as a second assault unit after thunderwolves, as they are cheaper and occupy an Elites slot.

As they occupy an elites slot you could take other Fast Attack slots (eg. flyers, Swiftclaws etc.) rather than a second thunderwolf unit, or more likely you could split your thunderwolves into smaller units, eg. instead of having a thunderwolf unit, a fenrisian wolves unit and a skyclaw unit in fast attack, you could drop the skyclaws for wulfen allowing the thunderwolves to be split into 2.

My last concern with the wulfen is how to transport them to get them across the battlefield fast enough.  They can take a Stormwolf as a dedicated transport and another option would be the landraider.  A Landraider crusader with 8 wulfen coming out would be a scary opponent, and I think that will be the best way to use them.  The Stormwolf is nice, but it has one turn zooming (after it comes on) where it is a sitting duck for enemy anti air, which would be a tempting target as the enemy would kill around 500 points if they killed the flyer.  The flyer itself; is around 250 points and then each model inside takes a str10 (and I beleive ap2) hit which would instant kill the Wulfen allowing no save or Feel No Pain.

I do think the comparison to Thundrwolves is a bit harsh, as Thunderwolves are undoubtedly a very good unit.  Now the Wulfen are good, it's just in my mind they don't top the Thunderwolves for the 1st choice for an assault unit, however they should be in the running for a second assault unit to put into your army.  After all, after a landraider has moved them 18" closer to the enemy on the first turn, they are ready for a turn 2 charge, and they epitomise Space Wolves in assault.

I'm seen people take large bloodclaw units in Landraider Crusaders, and I think Wulfen would be perfect to replace them.  I'll definitely be picking up this unit to add to my Space Wolves, will you ?  A great excuse to finish off painting my landraider crusader.

Update: The weapon options include the following:
"Weapon Rules:
Salvo Grenade Launcher: 12", S4, AP5, Assault D3, assault grenades in close combat
Frost Claws: +1S, AP2, Shred
Stormhammer: X2 S, Concussive, Helfrost
Two-Handed Frost Axe: +3S, AP2, Unwieldy, Merciless Swing (Strike at normal Initiative when charging)"

What immediately jumps out is the Two Handed Frost Axe, which is Str8 Ap2 and keeps Initiative 5 on the charge.  The Pack Leader with 2 Frost Claws is also a steal at 20 pts.  Next we have the buffs from the Curse of the Wulfen rules:

"Curse of the Wulfen:
ALL non vehicle models within 6" affected.
Blood Claws, Skyclaws, Swift Claws affected within 12"
Long Fangs affected with 3"

Wulfen, Servitors and units that start in transports are not affected.

At the start of the player turn, roll a dice for ALL units. The affect lasts until your next player round.

Units outside of combat roll on the Hunt Table.
Units in combat roll on the Kill Table.

1-3: re-roll failed charges and get Hammer of Wrath
4-5: +3" when you move, run or charge.
6: Furious Charge and +D3 attacks when charging, unless they have Rage

1-3: +1 Initiative
4-5: Re-roll to wound
6: Death Frenzy (see Wulfen rules)"

The rules for the Curse of the Wulfen makes the Wulfen a good force multiplier as well, if you have other assault units nearby the Wulfen they can give them some nice buffs, and as a Space Wolf player you're bound to have some extra assault units.  Wolves and Cav units would benefit tremendously from the extra movement making them almost fly across the board (giving them an extra 6" of movement, from move and run or move and charge). plus the additional initiative would make them strike before other marines.  However the gravy would be the possibility of a models gaining an extra D3 attacks each and Rage on the charge.  Cav and Wolves would turn into complete blenders.

Overall these extra rules (weapons and Curse of the Wulfen) have lefted the Wulfen in my eyes into a very nice unit.  I'd still take Thunderwolf Cav first, but the Wulfen look like a very good choice for 2nd assault unit.  I think they'll be replacing my Assault marines in my current list, which frees up a Fast Attack slot for a Drop for 5 of them to deepstrike in (another option for a small unit of them).  It may be a small unit of 5 but it's still 10 wounds with Feel No Pain

I'm looking forwards to what else this Space Wolves update will bring, hopefully some formations will get leaked soon.


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