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!


Brent said...

It's interesting to hear your POV on this: I had the same impression when I read it on Friday.

Admittedly, I haven't purchased my copy yet, so this was what I picked up from a quick glance-through, but I had the same 'how did they miss that?' that you seem to have had.

Obviously people are reading it as a combination of the wargear, in total. We'll have to see how it rolls out.

Take care - Brent

Old Shatter Hands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Old Shatter Hands said...

Brent, thanks for your comment. I know this is going to come up in every game with wolves for the next couple months so I'm going to break it down for all.

This really isn't a question of POV. It's a question of understanding written English.

If you look at the sentence and carefully analyze it's meaning, it's clear you are only allowed one Jaws per army and you can't duplicate any powers.

If it were part of the combination of wargear, then the sentence would have been written in this way:

no two characters may bear the same saga, nor may they bear the same psychic power or wargear combination. (notice how psychic power is not in the plural form.)

However it was written like this: no two characters may bear the same saga, nor may they bear the same psychic powers or wargear combination. (with psychic powers in plural.)

See the difference in meaning? In the sentence, "wargear" is an adjective to the noun "combination." If "psychic powers", a noun in the plural form, were to be an adjective to the noun "combination" it would not be in the plural form. Would you ever say "psychic powers combination?" No, because that is incorrect. You would say "psychic power combination."

However it isn't written that way. Instead "psychic powers" is a separate noun to "combination" so the two are unrelated. This is basic English. There is only one way to read it. There is no other interpretation. It's not up to point of view. It's about understanding the meaning of the sentence.

You could write it this way as well and have the exact same meaning.

No two characters may bear the same saga.
No two characters may they bear the same psychic powers.
No two characters may they bear the same wargear combination.

But the writer wrote this paragraph assuming that most readers would have at least a high school comprehension level of written English, so he combined those three sentences in one so as not to sound repetitive.

It's about literacy, not intrepretation.

vwinter said...

agree there and 5 stars for the new vid on tube.

suneokun said...

Nice. Played against Wolves in an apoc game yesterday.

Had their uber psyker running about at my Kroot. Killed the kroot. Second group of carnivores spam cheated by a group of 'black templars' from a Vendetta - groan!

Won the objective thanks to the four man squad of Stealth dudes. He couldn't claim as the Templars were down to two men and less than 50% (we ran with 4th rules in Apoc as it made turn five steals much harder), but the 4 stealth guys ran 18" and could.

JotW ain't no good if you can't see me. Wolf player spent half the game trying desparately to convince me that 'acute senses' beat night fighting.

Er yes ... 'so I CAN see you!?'

Er no ... because I have a stealth field.

Nothing as annoying as 'new codex' players questioning Tau technology. You should have seen his screwed up face when my AA skyrays took down those Vendettas...

'No they don't, the seeker missile hits on a 5!' ummm no.

Something to consider. We took the MIRAGE pathfinder apocalyse formation upgrade combined with the armoured interdiction cadre.

This additional 150 points got us 4 devilfish with markerdrones (instead of gundrones), 3 pathfinder squads. The armoured interdiction cadre gave us D3+1 autohit markerlights from LoS (no range restriction).

3 markerlight hits would then call down a 'precision strike' on the unit, meaning everything in the army hits the target on a 2+. And we could deploy as many of these as we like based upon 3 markerlight hits and LoS to a pathfinder/devilfish.

Oh, AND the devilfish supplied a stealth field to everything within 12".

The enemy had a warhound ... it didn't come closer as we stripped it of all its void shield and gave it a structure punch in turn 1! It was almost fair?!?

Tau-Tau-Smurfs beat Necron-SpaceWolf-Titan/Guard - some battle!

Oh, it's you, Bob... said...

Suneokun, while I enjoyed the mini-batrep, that bordered on thread-jacking...

Thanks for the codex review, OSH! I appreciate your incite. I count myself among the 'not gonna play wolves' group, but I am a firm believer in 'Know Thy Enemy'.

Old Shatter Hands said...

@suneokun, thanks for the mini batrep! I was wondering about Tau datasheets. I have never played apocalypse and I am organizing my gaming group for a big game on the 17th. Each player only gets one apocalypse formation. What would you say is the best? I could do any but the piranha wing one.

On Space Wolves, remember this, with all the hype and doomsaying, Space Wolves are still MEQs and die just as easily as other (except plague marines).

Dverning said...

OSH: Another point for not spamming JotWW? Sagas have a specific exception for Special Characters, something Psychic Powers does not.

As an old Wolves player, I'm glad to see some people retaining some sense regarding the new Codex. It's nice, it's shiny, but it's not all that and a box of crackers too.

@suneokun: It may be the verbage you use was poor... Acute Senses does not BEAT Stealth Suits. But as Stealth Suits work "as if firing at night", you'd have to be a real cheddar head to deny him a re-roll. Especially in a beer and pretzels kinda game like Apocalypse.

Haunter said...

Yeah, I feel the same on most points. People were scared of the new codex or were clamoring to start a SW army. I think they'll be blanced by he fact they are still just a handful of guys with a 3+, who have to be outside transports to do anything, so they'll be out in the open a fair bit. The HQ's still seem really over the top though. All I can hope is that the Blood Angels will get equal treatment, being extra fluffy and getting a big book filled with more chapter history unlike the current PDF.

I just had a great idea that GW will never do. Every army gets a printed codex that's big and comprehensive, and then they get a PDF data sheet that's barebones stats and examples, free up on their website, so anyone can get the data from anywhere in the world so they can build a list and then their opponents can read the info and not be making things up or refuting your rules all the time.

Oh, and OSH, on my last blog post I posed a question to other bloggers and was looking for some of your insight, since you've been at this a lot longer than I. So any comments are welcomed.

Old Shatter Hands said...

Haunter, I just checked out your blig. I'll post in a bit. I actually had a long comment but my web browser crashed for some reason.

Dverning, The Space Wolf is pretty balanced I think. Sure the HQs are really powerful but that's in line with the fluff of the space wolves. Part of having a space wolf army is having access to some serious heroes. but notice how they reduced the amount of powerfists grey hunters and bloodclaws can get. The basic troop choices while still great, aren't armed to the teeth as previous incarnations of the Space Wolves. I also love Njal! How cool is his stormcalling power. Now he really is a storm caller. Of course he's a bit of point sink. Still for players who hero-hammer, this is a great codex.

Joshua said...

So, by what you are saying that if I have a SW army led by 4 rune priests, the last rune priest only gets one psychic power? Why didn't they just write no two characters may bear the same saga, psychic power, nor may they bear the same wargear combination. That wouldn't leave it up to a debate. By the way they wrote it you can only break the sentence down into two sentences.
No two characters may bear the same saga.
No two characters may bear the same psychic powers and wargear combination.
I'm going to say that because psychic powers and wargear seem to be separated from sagas by the word nor then combination applies to both. They could have put the "nor" after psychic powers.

Remember, it's the queen's English. lol

Old Shatter Hands said...

Ugh, I am so done with this conversation. nothing I've heard has convinced me otherwise, and I seem to not be convincing anyone anyway. I read it one way, other people read it another. Whatever its a game and I've actually faced JotWW and it aint all that after all. Anyhoo, I don't thank space wolf players are spamming it much because there are so many good things in there that it doesn't really matter...

Joshua said...

Yeah, you played me. :)
Desert Wolves!

Old Shatter Hands said...

I knew it! I had no idea if this was you Josh or some other random internet Josh! Haha! I know now. yes, you can use multiple Jaws against me anyday...that is, until GW FAQs and everyone sees that I was right! haha!

Can't wait for our game on the 13th. I got the day off and I have been preparing a surprise for you all!