Saturday, April 02, 2011

Space Wolves (Regular) HQ Choices

Having covered the Elites recently here and here along with the Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support, all that remains is the HQ slot. I've talked at length about the special characters (see the links on the left) but I've not really mentioned their regular counterparts. We're pretty spoilt here again but all that seems to get used are the Rune priests. I'll cover them first but hopefully I'll persuade people to try something new too.

Rune Priests
In a lot of ways no SW army would be complete without one of these guys. Whilst they don't have a particularly impressive statline their real benefits obviously come in form of psychic attack and defence. I've spoken about the powers in a previous post but the psychic defense is some of the best in the game. With two priests in your list, deployed in the right way, you can shut down the vast majority of psychic attacks on the board on a 4+. This can really frustrate any force that relies on psychic such as nids and eldar.

By sticking them in a sizeable grey hunter squad in the obligatory rhino you can afford them some protection. However, you can be sure your opponent will throw some attacks his way in combat so with just two wounds he'll be lucky to survive.

Wolf PriestsJust like chaplains who get overlooked in favour of librarians these guys get left in the thunderhawk a lot. Costing the same as a rune priest and with an identical statline they offer a bit more durability with a 4+ invulnerable save. I personally think this is a bargain for 100pts but we also get Preferred Enemy (to a nominated unit type) along with Fearless and a power weapon.

I wouldn't bother with any upgrades for this guy except one. The recent FAQ made Saga of the Hunter a very nice little upgrade. The FAQ said that if one member of a unit has the Stealth USR then the entire unit benefits from it. Therefore 10pts means your greys or scouts can benefit from +1 to their cover saves. This means that a Saga of the Hunter Wolf Priest (110pts) can make your objective holding grey hunter unit a real bitch to shift. Not only will they get a 3+ cover save but if they get assaulted they'll likely re-roll to hit their attackers. Sticking him with scouts means that they can still OBEL but they can re-roll to hit those heavy weapons teams and with a bit of luck (and a good consolidation roll) they'll get a 3+ cover save if they manage to wipe them out. Give the priest a plasma pistol for a bit of extra clout against vehicles rear armour if you like.

Wolf Guard Battle Leaders
I don't remember ever seeing a list with one of these guys but they certainly play a role. They're only 70pts and this gives us 3A at I5 and WS5. Granted they've only got two wounds and no invulnerable save but they can still be pretty nasty. The only problem with them is that they don't have any benefits for the squad they lead. Grey hunters will benefit from a slight increase in Ld but otherwise they don't bring much else.

However, coming back to our Saga of the Hunter, if you keep him in power armour the WGBL can give a squad SotH for just 80pts. For another 25pts you could give him a power fist (with 4 attacks on the charge)and stick him with your wolf scouts. Not bad considering he'll still be less than the SotH wolf priest, but bear in mind this is somewhat wasting the I5. He certainly makes for an interesting low cost addition when points are tight.

I think the main reason we don't see them is that you can get the same benefits from elsewhere. The wolf lord offers a better combat beast and more options, the wolf priest has his Fearless and Preferred Enemy and the rune priest gives you psychic attack and defense. In terms of points he also loses out to the lone wolf in a lot of ways. Even though he has better BS and an extra attack the lone wolf is quite a bit cheaper and provides a similar boost. The LW can't join a squad but makes up for this by having Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain.

Wolf Lord
To me this is where the fun comes into it. Whilst rune priests are the obvious choice for HQ I think lords are where the character comes into an army. By producing an interesting conversion, a suitable vikingy name and a bit of backstory (if you must), you can give your army something a bit different. I know a lot of people like to create their own character but just changing the name of one of the existing SCs but I like the idea of having my own Wolf Lord leading who makes his own saga by heroic deeds.

Fluffiness aside the wolf lord is a very viable choice. They can either be power armoured, terminator, bikers, jump packers or TWC. Let's start with the basics though. For just 100pts you get a pretty formidable statline. 6 5 4 4 3 5 4 10 3+. The highlights are obviously WS6, I5 and 4 attacks but Ld 10 is pretty rare in our army and certainly comes in handy. Equipment wise you don't get much but at least you've got a shedload of options.

As you'll already know I'm a big fan of the wolf claw and storm shield combo. This can be applied to any of the above options and works well with all of them. To give the guy a hammer or fist will waste his high initiative (and you'd be better with Arjac). The other option is to drop the shield in favour of a Belt of Russ giving him a 3+/4++ save instead of 3+/3++. I wouldn't bother with many other upgrades since I don't rate melta bombs and he's WS6 so necklace isn't necessary and wulfen is a waste. Fenrisian wolves make some nice ablative wounds and are in keeping with a thunderlord theme. Saga wise if you're going to make him a combat beast then go with Warrior Born and if you're making him rock hard use Bear. The only other one I might suggest is Wolfkin to get I5 fen wolves but that'd have to be a very themed army.

I run a thunderlord (145) with claw (20), shield (30) and saga of the bear (35) at 230pts. The other option which I've been considering recently is a footslogger for your greys (100) with pistol, claw (20) belt (25) and warrior born (35) coming in at 180pts. The former has been discussed elsewhere but the latter is quite interesting really. With a good sized grey hunter body guard he's likely to get overlooked whereas your priests and cavalry certainly won't be.

Imagine what you can do with his flurry of attacks combined with a standard, re-roll to hit or wound and warrior born. That reminds me, I always forget to use it on Ragnar, not that his foes normally make it to a second combat phase!

Well that wraps up my guides to the choices available to us as Space Wolf generals. I may come back and visit particular units individually but I hope that these articles have given you some ideas for your own armies. Although I give my opinions these posts are mainly there so you can make your own decisions. Despite what other blogs/forums may say there isn't actually a "best unit" for each slot. Alright so I wouldn't take blood claws but there's always a role for them. The danger with producing lists with the bog standard rune priest, greys and long fangs combo is that your regular opponents will quickly find ways to counter this formula, strong though it may be.

This blog has always been about having fun and interesting games of 40K (even in a tournament) and not worrying too much about the winning. Some of my most enjoyable games have been close victories & defeats that came right down to the final roll of the dice. By bringing a "wild card" unit (if there is such a thing in a SM army) you keep your opponent guessing and make it more fun for both sides. You'd hate to play against hydras and vendettas forever wouldn't you??

Anyway, I'm going to add all the posts as links on the right so you can easily find them when you're writing your army lists. I hope you've found them useful and they've given you food for thought.


  1. One use for the WGBL is to put him on a Thunderwolf, give him Saga of the Hunter and some suitable equipment, then bring him on from reserve. Your opponent will have to avoid the 2feet on either side of the board to guarantee you can't charge him the turn you arrive, and when you do you are going to cause him a real headache and you'll be seriously messing with his deployment and movement.

    One issue is you stand the chance of him not coming on till late in the game when he may not be able to do much.

  2. Can't give a Thunderwolf WGBL Saga of the Hunter as he has to be infantry, taking a TW makes him cavalry sadly :(

  3. Don't think I said you could give him both a tw and Hunter. It's a shame but it would be overpowered!

  4. Good idea for the foot Lord, could certainly be useful in amongst a pack of Hunters.

    P.s. check your email! I've requested a few more spots for Blog Wars! It's growing!!!


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