Thursday, March 22

Codex Review: Space Wolves' Fast Attack

When the words Space, Wolves, Fast, and Attack all find themselves in the same sentence overgrown, rage-addled men atop overgrown, rage-addled wolves are just about the only thing that comes up. Believe it or not, the codex does have other options. In case you've forgotten, we intend to show you all of them.

First up in the codex is the, now legendary, Thunderwolf Cavalry. S5, T5, W2, and A4 makes for a very dangerous stat-line. Although they are pricey at 50 points each, those rock-hard stats coupled with a 12" charge range (Beasts, remember) makes them a very versatile unit. However, equipment also comes at a premium. Storm shields, which are obligatory in order to prevent swift death by plasma, add a hefty 30 points per model. Luckily, TWC aren't carrying anything terribly useful in that hand anyway. Taking three is pretty much the minimum to make sure that they survive the trip across the table, and making sure they're all swinging different weapons help with that too. What this means is that TWC is at minimum a 275 point unit. A 275 point unit that should probably have a Wolf Lord to mitigate the mediocre LD8. They hit really hard, but they're not as indestructible as everyone makes them out to be. Also, their strength is their weakness because remember, Beasts flee 3d6" when they run and they also cannot go up levels in buildings, if you're afraid of TWC get in a ruin and shoot them!

Next up we look at the newbs of the fast attack section: Swiftclaw Bikers and Skyclaw Assault Packs. The bikers are a particularly interesting case. Initially, my thought was to take a small squad with an attack bike to use for harassment and fast melta delivery. However, when the squad is within 6" of an enemy model (including tanks) Headstrong states that they have to charge. This makes the Meltagun option fairly stupid, especially given the BS3. Without power weapons they'll never do too much damage in close combat except on the charge against lightly armored hordes like termagants. This unit is situational at best.

Skyclaw Assault Packs are a bit better. The assault marines are significantly cheaper than the bikers, have the same damage output, and have the same threat range. Limited access to power weapons will, once again, relegate these guys to anti-gaunt duty and potentially hitting back-field shooty units. For assaulting lightly armored troops, however, there are better options to come...

Here's your mobile melta-delivery platform: the Landspeeder. Sure, they go down easily, but it's not that hard for an 80 point fast skimmer with BS4, deep strike, and two multi-meltas to make its points back. Heavy flamers are a bit more situational, but can be very nasty in the right circumstances.

Fenrisian Wolves. I think these are a severely under-rated unit in this codex. These are what hormagaunts used to be in the 3rd and 4th edition Tyranid codex, but with better strength and toughness. A pack of these can be thrown at a variety of infantry units as a distraction, a way to soften them up, or in the case of softer, shooty targets, to wipe them out. If they're within 12" of a TWC model they get to re-roll morale checks as well, which reminds me even more of Tyranids. Because of this they can also be quite useful for preventing the Thuderwolves from getting tarpitted by an Imperial Guard blob or a massive unit of gaunts. Point for point, the wolves fill this sort of role far better than the bikers or Skyclaws.

There you have it. The newbs aren't terribly useful, but the other three choices are solid. We all know the uses for Thunderwolves, but how do you guys use the other fast attack choices in this Codex?



  1. The only way to control the Headstrong issue is to use a character and/or Wolf Guard. Adding a Wolf Guard to say a swiftclaw or jump squad with a combi melta adds a litte to the weak BS 3 with the melta guns. It also starts to eat into your budget of points for your army.

    I have played against both of these units a few times and each time found them annoying but not very useful for the player. Most of the time I wiped them off the board with my IG with only acceptable losses.

    My friend and I have used speeders, I have one melta/flamer and he has two with the missile systems with melta guns. We have had mixed success with them, some games they just don't do jack and die quickly. Other games they tend to make a good distraction and sometimes do something good in the game that makes an inpact. Our problem is finding the points for the units as we tend to favor more reliable and enduring units.

  2. Styx you hit the nail on the head with that last comment the thing about space wolves have so many good units you don't have to make mediocre or bad units work

  3. That sounds so strange to me... as a Tyranid player, and a long time Daemonhunters GK only player. I think I might be a nerd-masochist. What is it like to not have to make mediocre units work?