Recently on BOLS, there was a couple of articles regarding the top tournament armies that they see atm. Obviously everybody has their own opinion on if each army is in the right place or whatever. i just thought i would talk about what i know. so im going to talk about Space Wolves. these musings do include things to do with the latest SM codex, they are not just about 5th ed. this article is tactics in a way, if you dont face space wolves often it may help you see some of their weaknesses, but in the second part of the series i will discuss hold to actually play with them.
1/. running. running is awesome. even your dreadnoughts can run! in any given situation, you are going to be in a position to assault the enemy (should you so choose) possibly up to 2 turns earlier that you would be normally. so, with your squads of 11 with 2 power fists and 1 power sword blood claws spend less time absorbing lasgun fire. seeing lots of marines run at you very fast is enough to panic anybody. and when they panic, they make mistakes. all of this works to your advantage.
2/. storm sheilds. are now awesome. and as a son of russ they are very very cheap! 10pts for my wolf lord to have a 3+ invulnerable? dont leave home without it. 5pts for wolf gaurd - even better.
3/. no more partials. as a general rule this does not help space wolves, as they tend to get blown away more than before. however, for 100 odd points the investment in either a whirlwind or vindicator is well worth the potential fire support that they can offer.
4/.improved cover saves. shooting through other units is a massive boost when playing a gunline army. furthermore you can put marines in front of your dreadnoughts, and they then get a cover save as well!
5/. old codex. the costings for space wolves are based on 3rd rules. this again works both ways, but blood claws are really quite cheap. and they will very rarely need anything more than a 4 to hit somebody (not that this matters with 4 attacks each)other things that are a little broken are the cost of storm shields, our venerable dreadnoughts are better (and can be taken as HQs)they also use the old upgrade system, so you can have units of 5 grey hunters with a plamsa gun, a power sword and a plasma pistols.
6/. counter attack + wolf pelts. this is possibly the biggest (and least know about) advantage. space wolves already have counter attack, and this means that on a successful leadership test, when you charge me, i charge back. with the whole unit. this means that should you charge a unit of 10 blood claws with 1 power sword & a power fist, they will receive 32 normal attacks, 4 power weapon attacks and 3 power fist attacks.
the break down is as follows:
2 berserk charge
=4 each (apart from the power fist, who gets 3)
7/. multiple HQs. for every 750pts or part there of you have to take a hq choice. even if you have to take 5 for a 2500pt game. this means you really can have loads of guys running around with power weapons, leading the charge, healing your long fangs, doing everything. and space wolf HQs are amazing. the wolf lord in particular is a beast, 4 attacks basic is pretty hefty.
1/. no more charging into another unit. you cant charge into a second unit at the end of an assault phase, meaning that you are open to nicely formed gunlines. especially with the new gaurd codex up and coming. this is a big disadvantage for the way i play my space wolves. being in between the enemy lines is how you kill them with space wolves, which means that you will usually end up with rapid firing everything in your face... even more so than in 4th.
2/.template partials. this on both sides because it works for and against me. whilst i use vindicators, plasma cannons and whirlwinds, having one flank blown away by a battlecannon or a big chunk taken form the middle of my lines by a couple of obliterators is just much more likely to happen.
3/. true LOS. this can be a huge pain. no longer can units of blood claws lurk behind a wall of trees until a late game move. you have to find solid cover, like a big hill, or some buildings.
4/. still no rhino rush. i was not (even a little) expecting this to come back in, but since its been taken out space wolves really have had to work harder for thier victories.
5/. "no matter the odds" is no longer applicable. for those of you that dont know what that is... in the space wolf codex there is a rule that says because space wolves are so crazy, they can ignore any and all negative moral modifiers. so testing for LD in combat would always be a straight leadership test. however, in the most recent FAQ this rule just "no longer applies." now, im not going to moan horrifically, as it did show how much the SW codex was broken with the new assault rules... but to merely wipe it away is a little annoying. hopefully, the new SM codex will rectify this, without just making them fearless.
6/. drop pods. the latest FAQ says that for the old space wolf rule you now refer to CSM for the rules. the main problem with this is that under my interpretation, you have to take a whole drop pod army. which personally, i dont like using.
7/. old codex... hurts a little. there is no point taking wolf gaurd in terminator armour, they really are unbalanced. and 30 points each for assault marines? thats a little to much. they eat away points very quickly.