Kirb your enthusiasm!


"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Email in: Thoughts on Wolf Priests

This is a two part e-mail so I've made it two individual posts (with the 2nd looking at the normal email army list requests which don't pertain to the points above)! This was sent in by a reader obviously concerned about the comments in regards to the Space Wolves HQ review... Let's see what is being said.

"Hey Kirby,

This is a long read if you bother with it. Would have been a simple "review my army, plox" e-mail but you started reviewing the Space Wolves Codex. The HQ section review, I admit, bugged me.

I've been following your blog for a while now and find it excellent. Keep up the good work! I particularly like your arguments about flexibility and trying to get people to stop doing a copy-pasta (as much as that is possible) with their competitive lists.

I think you overlooked some things with the Wolf Priest. Well, one thing in particular: Saga of the Hunter.

Why give this to a Wolf Guard Battle Leader? He's more expensive and has less utility. Let's compare them:

Wolf Priest: 110 points gives you an HQ with Power Weapon and 4++ save that gives the unit he is with Fearless, Preferred Enemy, and Stealth. He has two wounds but is Initiative 4 and does not have Eternal Warrior (which is basically a death sentence in my play group for an HQ if you meet another HQ). He's very clearly a support choice that increases the capabilities of a single unit of your army.

Wolf Guard Battle Leader: 80 points + more for wargear that gives the unit he is with Stealth. In order to get an Invulnerable save (which really only matters for close combat) you have to pay a steep fee. He is Initiative 5 provided you don't give him a Fist or Hammer but again doesn't have Eternal Warrior. He's also only Leadership 9.

To make him minimally useful in combat he'll only be 15 points cheaper than the Wolf Priest option but will be missing far more than that point wise. You could give him some strength doubling weapon, but without an Invulnerable there isn't much point since he can be singled out and anything you'd need that for (tanks don't count, meltabombs are cheap and arguably better) would rip him to shreds. Probably before he gets a chance to play, unless you significantly increase his point cost.

When you really stop to think of it there's no reason to at all to give Saga of the Hunter to anything BUT a Wolf Priest, in my opinion.

As an aside, I don't understand the argument that Blood Claws are useless without a Wolf Priest. Preferred Enemy does not shore up their weakness like I see everyone argue. WS3 is only a weakness compared to WS4 in two circumstances: 1) when trying to hit something with WS6 or WS7 and 2) when receiving attacks from someone with WS4. Take a look at the To Hit chart again sometime and really think about what you face and what you generally throw your Blood Claws against. Their only real downside is that they only have pistols.

Which reminds me: I'd also say that Wolf Priests have a secondary purpose as pack leaders for Skyclaws since the Wolf Guard can't join them (and that hasn't been fixed in a FAQ) and historically Jump Infantry,outside of Blood Angels, tend to be in smaller units, meaning you want every hit to count).

Anyways that's my rant about Wolf Priests. I really think most people are missing the point with regards to Wolf Priests (and Blood Claws)."

In regards to Blood Claws - they aren't taken much because...well they areonly an aggressive unit. Grey Hunters are a great unit which can do lots of little things when you combine the abilities of counter-attack and their boltguns. Blood Claws have one real mode "charge." Certainly their damage output is going to be fine (except against WS7+ models) in comparison to Grey Hunters but that WS3 is pretty big when being hit back by WS4 models (i.e. most MEQ armies).

So the Priests... certainly it was something I probably should have mentioned in regards to their uses. That being said, saving those 15-20 points on the Battle Leader is pretty significant as that unit generally isn't one you're throwing forward at the enemy but rather using in a more supportive role in midfield - that's why you're taking stealth and stormbolters. This means the BS5 of the Battle Leader is more appreciated and the lack of inclusive invulnerable save less of an issue. If you are using this unit more aggressively then yes, the Wolf Priest can be a better option as you get preferred enemy and the inclusive invulnerable save - the question you have to ask is you want to use such unit aggressively? I'd not want to as you then start having to add some combat weapons to your unit as well outside of the power weapons the Terminators have and that's trying to make the unit do everything.

Yes, it is probably something to have been mentioned in the review and I'll edit it in but I don't think it it's a better choice unless you're using the unit aggressively which is something I would be inclined to not do.

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