Saga of the Beast Preview: Space Wolves Initial Impressions
The Space Wolves have been quietly stalking their prey through the buildup of the Psychic Awakening, and now it is time to spring the trap and show the true power of the Rout! The Previews for Saga of the Beast today on Warhammer Community have me absolutely over the moon! So let’s dive in!
The State of the Army
The Space Wolves are currently in a bit of a tricky spot. While the army is no slouch on the table top, the main problem is they are always playing second fiddle to the other Marine Chapters.
Our Thunderhammer/jump pack characters are amazing, but the reliability and utility of Blood Angel Smash Captains outshines them.
We used to be the only chapter capable of outflanking units, but now White Scars and Ravenguard can do it better and much more reliably.
Space Wolves also generally lacked mobility, with it being very difficult to get access to advance and charge (through Saga of the Hunter) and having to jump through so many hoops to get any bonuses to charge through the Stalker Pack Stratagems (which White Scars just get for free).
Space Wolves are an incredibly deadly army in melee, the problem was always just getting them there. Let’s see if Space Wolves will finally become the Alpha dog.
I know some of my SW brethren out there will be a little disappointed getting the standard marine doctrines, but this does go a long way into increasing the effectiveness of even our basic troops against all targets.
Suddenly outflanking Intercessors firing at AP-2 or Wolf Guard Terminator Storm Bolters putting out 4 shots each at AP-1 can threaten even the toughest Armor. Units like Reivers that bounced off of 2+ and 3+ saves will scare these units with their sheer weight of attacks.
Most importantly, a mono-faction SW army will gain access to this:
I love this ability for several reasons.
- The image of a SW in combat unleashing a flurry of attacks is incredibly fluffy (for more than one reason).
- It synergizes well with Hunters Unleashed. While you still need unmodified 6s to generate the extra attack, if you have a nearby Wolf Priest with Litany of Hate you will be able to re-roll the 1-5s to fish for the extra hits. With the bonus to hit in the first round of combat rerolling has you break even, but combine this with stratagems like Genewrought Might or Incursors that will generate 3 hits on a 6 and things will start to get insane.
- Space Wolves love hard-hitting weapons like Thunderhammers, and even a few extra hits can be devastating.
- It works for subsequent rounds of combat as well as the first (more on that later)
Wow, I love everything about his datasheet. The Allslayer is back and better than ever (*there may or may not be a Ragnar datasheet floating around int he wild*). There are a couple of key points to focus on.
Berserkers Rage This puts Ragnar at 10 attacks during the first round of combat. At S6* AP-4* D2 he will be an absolute monster in combat, particularly focused on killing elite infantry and characters. The extra strength gives him an edge against some of the T5 models which have seen prevalence lately (cough….Centurions…cough) and the sheer volume of attacks even makes him good against strong invulnerable saves. He is in a prime position to destroy other Primaris marines. The Emperor’s Executioners are back!
Battlelust This ability is amazing. Maximizing the utility you get from the extra movement in the charge/assault phase is critical to success as an assault army, and this opens up some interesting options for the Wolves. While the restriction of having to be outside of 3″ of an enemy might seem limiting, I see it being incredible in the following cases.
1. Pushing through screens: You will need to kill what you are in combat with to utilize the consolidation move, and this is usually easy enough to do against screening units. The extra 6″ consolidate means it will easier to tag the juicy gun-line behind them. Remember that Honor the Chapter for Space wolves does not require the unit to be within 1″ of the enemy. After wiping a guard squad, your melee threats could consolidate 6″, then pay 3 CP to pile in 3″ and consolidate another 6″. That’s 15″ of movement your opponent has to consider in their screens.
2. Charging multiple units: Charge a small enemy unit and wipe them in combat, then use the 6″ movement to get in and wrap another.
3. Slingshotting Impulsors: I normally use Impulsors to soak overwatch and pincer units I charge. A lot of times they are the last to fight and have nothing left to attack. Battlelust will now let me slingshot them 9″ towards the next enemy unit. Your opponents will love having a T7 tank with a 4++ invulnerable save and a chance to explode for D6 mortal wounds in their lines!
Saga of the Warrior Born Ragnar’s warlord trait lets him always fight first, and it becomes an aura if he slays a character. This is an ability that is heavily underrated but can be incredibly powerful if you can get wraps off on your opponent’s lines and then decimate them during their fight phase. Ragnar’s datasheet is now highly tuned to make this an effective strategy. He is an excellent character killer and the bonus pile in from Battlelust will help get off the wraps required to hold units in combat. Combine this with the Armor of Russ to force any counter-charging units to fight last, and you now have an army that will trap armies in combat and route them during their turn! Remember how Savage Fury works in subsequent rounds of combat? This will make Space Wolves incredibly hard to fight as an opposing melee army.
This is simply amazing, and will be used nearly every game. In their codex release, Space Wolves had no access to CP regen, and up until now needed to take a Phobos Rune Priest with Mind Raid to attempt it. As an army with a lot of great elite options, this is an amazing tool to fuel the 24 new stratagems Saga of the Beast will bring!
Space Wolves are all about their heroes, and will soon be writing even more epic deeds of legend! Wolf Lords can put out 7 Thunderhammer attacks on the charge (with appropriate WL traits and Relics) that will generate 2 hits on a 4+ and 3 hits on a 6+ after turn 3. Remember what I said about having a wolf priest nearby with Litany of hate? Reroll anything less than a 4 because you hit on a 2+ anyway!
This is an interesting stratagem, as it doesn’t address some of the Thunderwolf Calvalry’s main problems in not being able to advance and charge, and the problems ruins causes the unit. However, it does let you shift some of their power to the mounts letting you shift their role slightly.
I would build them cheap relying on the mounts to pump out the damage if the situation arises. For 120 points you can have 9 toughness 5 wounds that will shred hordes with the option to pump up the damage if they hit a vehicle more elite infantry.
Litanies fill a very large gap in the SW codex, namely Canticle of Hate. The bonus 2 to charge roll will be absolutely huge as Wulfen and Ragnar provide great access to charge re-rolls. This takes us from a 48% chance of completing the charge from deep strike to 83%. If you utilize the stalker pack 3D6 charge, take the two highest, you are looking at a 96.22% success rate. It doesn’t get much better than that.
As for Wolf Priests, you’re going to want another one for:
This stratagem is mostly useful for our basic troops, giving them enough punch to take out bigger targets. With the AP-1 in assault doctrine and this litany, there’s nothing that Reivers can’t handle!
Power axes are a steal at 5 points and some of the most efficient melee weapons you can get. This can really turn your Primaris Battle Leader into a monster in a pinch if you use Touch of the Wild (bonus hits on 4+) and/or Seeking a Saga (reroll failed wounds against a higher PL target). The bonus ability on the axe lets him take out any target he may come up against. I am really pleased to see the bonus against monsters and vehicles as GW has had a bad habit in the past of only giving us bonuses versus monsters. Suddenly that 70 point Battle Leader can bring down a Knight.
While I wouldn’t consider this to be an ultra-competitive option, it is ultra-fun. Cast smite to trigger the relic, and then follow up with living lightning to watch all those 2 man drone units disappear!
An Exciting time for the Sons of Russ
We have only seen the tip of the iceberg, and I can already sense the fear of my regular opponents. Space Wolves will surround you from all angles, suffocating your army in a flurry of attacks! I see many Reivers in my future and I could not be more excited.
These rules show that the Space Wolves are not all bark, but will soon have some serious bite.
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[…] movement outside of the movement phase. I detailed some ways you can use this in my last article, here. Remember that unlike new marines, Space Wolves have the old version of Honor the Chapter that does […]
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