Sunday, October 4, 2009
The Ethereal Council: Thoughts on the Space Wolf Codex
I stepped into my local gaming store to brave the smell of Chinese food and unwashed teenagers and pick my copy of the Space Wolf codex. It is a wonderful codex. I spent lots of time yesterday reading through the fluff and rules, dreaming of owning a Space Wolf army to one day paint and send to battle for the All-Father.
I must say there is really nothing over-the-top in this codex. Even the Jaws of the World Wolf power isn't as powerful as I once thought. First off, you can only have one Rune Priest with this power not four like many a doomsayer has claimed in the 40k blogsphere. The wording on page 81 is pretty clear that "no two characters may bear the same saga, nor may they bear the same psychic powers or wargear combination." Notice how it did not say psychic power combination; it says in plain English that no two characters may bear the same psychic powers. Period. If you disagree, I say you need a refresher course on 5th Grade English. BOLS you got that wrong.
Second, it's shooting attack and therefor you must see your target to affect it with this power. This psychic power is not going to be as common as we all may have thought. That said there some other cool psychic powers; one that is defensive and others offensive. I'm interested to see how players use the psychic powers like Murderous Hurricane and Storm Caller to create new and unforeseen stratagems.
The Space Wolf army offers some interesting options to make a variety of Army Builds including an all terminator force, a fast mechanized army with Grey Hunters in Rhinos, Thunderwolf cavalry and Bloodclaw bikers, and options enough to make an awesome armored spearhead. (A wolf pack of panzers, how cool would that be?)
I hope there are enough creative and imaginative Space Wolf players out there to realized this. The codex offers lots and lots of options and I hope players pick up on that and create something of their own, without copying the latest army list they've seen on the internet. (The one list. To rule them all and in the darkness bind them.)
The writing in the book is very well-done as we've come to expect from the recent codices. One thing that really caught my eye are the Sagas. Each Saga confers a special ability to the character bearing it and an Oath. The Oaths have no in-game effect at all but rather encourage players to play their armies in-character. For example, Saga of the Iron Wolf allows the character to add 1D3 inches to the movement of any vehicle he rides and adds a +1 to any repair rolls on it. The oath for this ability is "Take the fight to the enemy," and states that the character can prove the effectiveness of Armored Assaults by ending the game in the enemy's deployment zone. There are no bonus conferred in game, only bragging rights and personal pride. Things like this really make the Space Wolf Army come alive.
In closing, I have to tip my hat to GW for another beautiful, colorful and content-heavy codex. I recommend anyone to go out and get it or at least borrow your friends for a couple days, even if you're not a Space Wolf player as it's a great read in itself.
Of course, the heavy metal pages are enough reason to pick it up time and time again. That's all for now.
Coming soon on Tau of War, another army showcase, this time a video!