As soon as the new Space Wolves Codex was released; I rushed straight to my local Games Workshop to immediately pick up said Codex (as well as the Space Wolves novel Stormcaller). And so for the majority of my weekend was spent reading the new Codex. Tell you what; I actually really love the new Codex. Sure it removed and nerfed several things Space Wolves-esque; but also buffed some things.
Here's a hint; Logan Grimnar is a beast!! And I don't just mean the Canis Helix!!
Starting with the lore... There really hasn't been much change here. Space Wolves are still anti authoritarian and keep to their own. They are still the Emperor's Executioners (as per the Horus Heresy novels). In truth there really is nothing different here than in the previous Codex. The Vlka Fenryka are still the Vlka Fenryka.
They did add Harald Deathwolf into the mix; so it's no longer just all about Ragnar Blackmane (as badass as he is). In fact Harald Deathwolf gets a whole entire page to himself. Logan Grimnar, Bjorn the Fell-Handed and Ragnar Blackmane all share 2 pages.
Truth be told; I would also love to see some more lore about all the other Space Wolf Lords/Heroes; such as Egil Iron Wolf; Sven Bloodhowl, Bjorn Stormwolf and the rest. Maybe in a future supplement outside Logan Grimnar's very own Codex Supplement Champions of Fenris
Not many people seem to enjoy the new of the Codex and the Datasheets. In truth I thought it would annoy me too; and it does to a degree. There's now less information on the individual lore of each of the units. However it does make reading the stats and rules a whole lot easier! Depends on your point of view really. Do you love lore? If so the old way is better. If you just want easy references for war; then this new way is better.
Onto the units themselves. I'm not going to discuss each individual unit in too much detail. Only the really big and important things like new HQs; massive changes etc.
Mark of the Wulfen has been removed... which sucks big time. Hopefully they include it in a 13th Company Supplement (there had better be a 13th Company Supplement; otherwise I'm coming up with Houserules).
Harald Deathwolf is a new addition to our list of heroes and Special Characters. He comes armed with a Frost Axe, Bolt Pistol, Storm Shield and Thunderwolf Mount. His Warlord Trait (or Saga) is the "Saga of the Wolfkin". His special Relic is the "Mantle of the Ice Troll King"; which basically makes him immune to fire. He comes and a nice hefty 190 Points.
Now you might thing taking a standard Wolf Lord and arming him exactly like Harald Deathwolf would be cheaper? This would be a no. A Wolf Lord armed with a
Frost Axe, Storm Shield and Thunderwolf Mount costs exactly 190 points. Which basically means you get a Relic for free with Harald Deathwolf.
The Deathwolf also comes with a nice unique Special Rule known as "Lord of the Wolfkin". This allows Cavalry and Beasts within 12'' to use his Leadership value instead of their own. Extremely useful if you're playing an Unbound Army of nothing but Thunderwolf Cavalry and Fenrisian Wolves.
Truth be told; this is the character I would want in my Thunderwolf Army. Obviously I'm going to convert my own 13th Company version; but he's a definite inclusion in a Wolf heavy army.
Bjorn the Fell-Handed
As rumours previously sugested; Bjorn was to be included in the Lords of War. This is not the case and is false. Bjorn is still a HQ unit. He has been buffed slightly; otherwise there has been no change.
Bjorn now caries a 5++ at all times; and still retains his Front Armour of 13 and Initiative 3. His Power Fist has now been upgraded to a Relic weapon known as "Trueclaw". It is basically a Dreadnought Powerfist crossed with a Lightning claw (S10 AP2 Melee, Master-Crafted, Shred).
He also has access to all his old weapons in the previous Codex (i.e. Assault Cannon, Plasma Cannon and Lascannon). However he now also has access to the new
Grey Hunters have got nerfed slightly; in that a Wolf Standard is now useless on them; and they cost more now. For 14pts per model; you can now have access to a Grey Hunter armed with just a Bolter and Bolt Pistol. Rumours initially suggested that they lost their Close Combat Weapon. In which they did and you know have to purchase it as an upgrade for 2pts (just like Chaos Space Marines).
They still don't have access to Heavy Weapons (thank the Emperor); and still retain their double Special Weapons combo (thank the Emperor). The Wolf Guard Pack Leader is no longer part of the Elites unit section and is instead bought as an upgrade for the units (and any unit that can normally have a Wolf Guard attached).
Each Wolf Guard Pack Leader can also be armed with Terminator Armour (unless they're Bikers or armed with a Jump Pack).
Wolf Guard and Wolf Guard Terminators
Talking about Wolf Guard; the Wolf Guard have now been split. And in terms of the Power Armoured Wolf Guard; nothing has changed. However the WG Terminators have been nerfed. They can no longer be armed with their different Storm Shield combinations (least by my understanding of what I'm reading). By these combinations I mean; Storm Shield and Chainfist; Storm Shield and Power Fist; Storm Shield and Power Weapon. Admittedly the deadly combo of Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield is now cheaper and costs only 15pts for the upgrade.
Any Wolf Guard in Terminator Armour (outside the Wolf Guard Battle Leader) has practically lost their versatility.
Dreadnoughts and Venerable Dreadnoughts
Venerable Dreadnoughts are now simply just upgrades that give a bonus in stats (I'm not sure if that was always the case). And in truth; nothing has changed with Dreadnoughts except one thing. The Shieldnought.
Only Venerable Dreadnoughts may take the Axe and Shield combo and it must take both; it cannot choose either or. The Shield is known as a "Blizzard Shield" and it does in fact confer a 3++; however it only applies to the front facing. Which is pretty easy to solve; just keep rotating it.
Here's one of my favourite changes. Actually nothing here got changed much outside of a Pack Leader and cheaper points cost (40pts per model). They can still be armed with their Storm Shields (in which everyone who takes an Army of Thunderwolf Cavalry like me should be arming them with Storm Shields).
If by my understanding; the Rending special rule is also conferred by the Thunderwolf Mount; so imagine a S5 T5 Cavalry model with 5 Attacks on a charge; with Rending and a Thunder Hammer!! I expect my opponent to give me the finger...
Not much to say about Long Fangs other than they got nerfed. Their Split Fire rule is now the same in the Core Rulebook. Not like it matters much anyway; you're still going to firing all Rockets into the enemy with all the Missile Launchers in the squad.
Lords of War
Here's the massive big change. Logan Grimnar got beastly!! And I don't mean he turned into a Wulfen. Nothing major has really changed with Logan Grimnar himself (in terms of stats and his One-Handed and Two-Handed Axe). In reality the real big change is his ability to take
Stormrider is basically a Chariot pulled by 2 hulking Thunderwolves. So not only can it move 12'' across the field; but all Penetrating hits count as Glancing and it even has a 4++!! It has 3 Hull Points basically giving Grimnar a further 3 wounds.
And if that didn't convince you how beastly he is; Stormrider also gives Grimnar a further four S5 AP- Rending attack in each Assault phase, and it is at I5!! He practically has the equivalent of 10 Attacks on a Charge; outside the Hammer of Wrath attack!!
If you're a Space Wolves player; you'd be insane not to take him!! I'm definitely converting and building up a 13th Company comprised of as many Thunderwolves as I can fit!! Including a "count as" Harald Deathwolf and "count as" Logan Grimnar!