Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Space Wolves

Space Wolves is my current 40K army and they're fantastic.

I like the rate the armies that I come across in 3 different fields: Power, Balance, Design. Before I go any deeper, I'll define what these words mean to me in terms of gameplay mechanics.

The strength of the codex compared to the current metagame. How does it fair against the top rated tourney armies at the moment? Are there many viable power builds in the book? Are the units strong throughout the entire codex? Are they weak? Even if two casual players sat down and played a game, who does it favor more? This is something that competitive players care about a lot - whether or not their current army stands a chance against X new codex.

This is defined in two ways: Internal balance and external balance. By internal, I mean how the units in the book is priced against eachother. Do you find some units absolutely terrible and others too good? Or does everything have a use and is priced at reasonable levels. By external balance, I mean how does this book compare to other books in terms of unit/cost effectiveness? The biggest question here is simply: Do you get the best bang for your buck? Out of these three values, I believe this one is the most difficult to analyze as it's often skewed by opinion and criticism.

I like to define the design of the book as this: Does the book capture the essence of the army strictly in terms of gameplay aspects? Does it feel like a Wolf army when I'm constructing my lists and playing them on the table? Can I make multiple different armies with this book or am I stuck with just one viable build? These aspects must fit the needs of a competitive and casual player. You must feel comfortable playing an army not only because you enjoy the fluff and the lore.. but because the fluff and lore plays out just as you imagined it on table-top. That is the selling point of a good book; one that players will love for many editions to come.

Space Wolves score a 5/5 in all these categories for me

The army has a very solid HQ backbone, the best troops in the game (Grey Hunters), flexible elite choices in the form of Wolf Guards, and superior firepower with Long Fangs. In short, they are basically Space Marines who can actually fight in CC. What truly makes this book great is the sheer flexibility that the book has. You can go heavy shooting, heavy CC, a balanced mix of both, Thunderwolf Cavalry, herohammer style HQs, Logan Grimnar's ability to make Wolf Guard Terminators scoring (Wolfwing), Drop Pod assault, you name it! Not to mention all of those builds are competitive because the book is priced very fairly; I might even say too good. I mean seriously, a Grey Hunter costs 15 points and the options for it are insane! To sum it up, the Space Wolf Codex mixes strong list diversity with strong internal balance that forces a very high standard in today's metagame. I'd say this book is right up there with IG, Eldar and Orks.

The next couple of days, I'll rant about the units that I enjoy taking, what lists I'm currently fielding and what the future brings for me and 40K (Blood Angels baby!)

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