Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wulfen in 6th?

A development in the saga of the Space Wolves that I sadly missed whileout of the hobby was the Eye of Terror campaign that GW ran during 3rd edition, and the addition of Wulfen and the 13th Company army list.

How cool are Wulfen, seriously.  Space Wolves that have lost their rag, been subsumed by the wolf within and now exist in a semi-feral state, chasing the forces of Chaos over 10,000 years and throughout the Eye of Terror.  You just know that Chaos is fleeing terrified that these guys might one day catch up and give them a serious kicking.

It helps of course that the models are some of the nicest GW ever made.

I managed to acquire a set of these guys a while ago, and in the old edition I used them as scouts.

More recently I picked up 10 more giving me a grand total of 15 and I've been thinking more and more about trying to bring them back for a small force of 13th Company in 6th Edition.  I've been researching how they worked in the old game, and what with all the changes from 3rd edition to the current, there's no real way you can just transfer across the rules into the new addition and have at it.  Take a look at their old rules:

They were an Elites choice, but could be made Troops if you took a Wolf Lord with Mark of the Wulfen, and the only Special Character that could join the unit was a Wolf Priest (who was guiding them in their final battles, much like the Death Company in the Blood Angels codex).

Taking a look through the Space Wolves codex, there are a few units that could potentially be used to represent these Wulfen with some small changes, Blood Claws being the most obvious perhaps.  Instead, I've decided to try out making the unit from a customised Wolf Guard unit.  I'll give you the listing (all hail my mega-gimp skillz!), and then I'll try and explain my thinking for my choices below.

  1. I've chosen an elites slot as from my experience its the area most highly fought over in the SW codex, what with Wolf Guard, Lone Wolves, Dreadnoughts and Scouts all coming from this slot, the 0-3 limit of choices often means you have to make some difficult choices.
  2. Wulfen, although having devolved somewhat are still warriors who fought alongside Russ himself during the Heresy so it is only right that they should at least have somewhat better stats than your average 40K Grey Hunter, for this reason I chose the Wolf Guard as a starting point for the pack.
  3. To represent the fact that they are Wulfen and not just another Wolf Guard Pack, the only "option" that they have is to take Mark of the Wulfen, but they all have to take Mark of the Wulfen, at the standard extra cost of 15pts.  Essentially they are 33 point models (compare to the 20pts of Death Company and all the extras those guys have and I hope I haven't priced them too cheaply), quite similar to the cost of Legion of the Damned models who would fulfil a similar role for a vanilla space marines army.
  4. I've kept the 5 - 15 choice from the previous entry, you are going to be shelling out for them, 165pts for 5, and a massive 495pts for a full squad of 15.
  5. They have Infiltrate - this is a nod to the fact that a 13th Company force wouldn't deploy like a normal army, they will literally materialise on the battlefield from rents into the warp so could appear anywhere.  I chose Infiltrate over Deep Strike as to my thinking, if the Rune Priests have been guiding them through the Warp for 10,000 years, they will be able to navigate well enough to get them where they want them to be.  They would also use them in the vanguard of any attack so wouldn't be wanting to wait for later turns for them to arrive.
  6. The Curse of the Wulfen:  I wanted to add further flavour to an army that contains the Wulfen, and this is my attempt to do so, and also to try and reduce the number of horrible combinations that are possible.
    1. Only Wolf Priests can join them - this comes straight from the fluff and earlier army list entry.
    2. A Rune Priest, if present, must have Gate of Infinity - again somewhat from the fluff and earlier army list, but also limits the choices for an army including Wulfen.
    3. Can be made Troops, but to do so you have to essentially sacrifice a Wolf Lord of Wolf Guard Battle Leader by giving them Mark of the Wulfen

So based on all of that, and before even having a chance to play a game with them, there are already questions I can see that will be raised.  I've listed below the ones that immediately come to mind based on the choices I've made, but I'm sure there are more and would love to hear what you think.
  • Perhaps base them on Lone Wolves as the stats better match the old entry - I'm loath to do this as a Lone Wolf is a powerful enough character on their own, heaven knows what they would be like in a pack
  • Alteration of points - they are currently expensive as I didn't want them to be so cheap as to be an automatic choice.  This could be altered up or down depending on how they perform.  I wonder how the Rending aspect of Mark of the Wulfen will affect my view on this.
  • Extra special rules - could they get Scout, should they have Deep Strike instead of Infiltrate, should they even have Infiltrate?
  • Curse of the Wulfen - what changes do you think can be made to this to better limit/reflect the make-up of an army with Wulfen?
    • Perhaps allow a Wolf Lord or Wolf Guard Battle Leader, chosen so that Wulfen are Troops, to be able to join the squad too?  Should the Rune Priest with Gate be made to be part of the Wulfen squad?
    • Is it even fair to allow them to be Troops?  Should I add in the Supernumenary rule from Fenrisian Wolves so that Wulfen can't score?
      • I'm loath to do this as I'd love to one day make a force completely of Wulfen to really get the essence of a devolved, 13th Company or Wolf Brothers list.
So that is it.  I'm going to see if I can start play-testing these in games, and would love it if others wanted to give them a go and fed back any thoughts or impressions.  I'm going to treat this as a living codex entry that I hope to evolve over time (much like Big Jim and his Soul Reapers, although on a far smaller scale) to something that is really playable, as balanced as possible, and that people would actually want to see included into an army (pretty big hopes I realise).

Let me know what you think, and good luck and thank you to anyone who actually has a go using these in a game.
Cheers - Andy


  1. I think it's looking good - I'd love to give them a try, however as you know I'm struggling to get 15 terminators let alone another 5-10 wulfen :D

    I would personally drop the infiltrate - it would encourage players to use the rune priest with gate... just as they used to do and how many people will already have their small 13th comp forces set up that way. The ability to infiltrate and then gate would be nasty!

    I would also consider adding the standard move distance + an extra D6" towards the nearest enemy. It adds back in the element that they are very primal and racing headlong towards the enemy.

    That's also balanced by the fact infiltrate would be removed.

    What about making them a troop option if the wolf lord is mounted on a thunderwolf? The recent finecast wolf lord on thunderwolf was apparently meant to be turning wulfen and that's why he had such a close affinity with frost fang... or what ever it's name was. That also means by taking the unit your sacrificing your main one of your key hq units to play the force.

    That way you could have a very wolf orientated force. Thunderwolves, wulfen and fenrisian wolves.

    Just some additional food for thought, but things you've probably already considered.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts Krom, you seem to be in pretty much the same mindset as me about them. I also know what you mean, the number of army ideas and units I'd love to build and paint are just tumbling from my brain, problem is it takes me about 3 months to paint a measly 5 marines, so its unlikely many of the projects will ever happen.

      Dropping Infiltrate is one thing I'd most willingly do. I'm going to play them with for a little while to see, but I do like the idea of them Gating around the battlefield with a Rune Priest.

      I'd avoided the +D6" move towards the nearest enemy for fear they would end up being led around the battlefield much like Rage in the old addition. Its definitely something that could be tested for the future though, and it would make a nice balance to removing Infiltrate. I'll see what of the standard special rules there are that might work for this as another aim that I didn't mention was to stick to existing rules wherever possible so they wouldn't be too "different" for someone playing them the first time.

      I like having a Thunderwolf mounted Lord make them Troops, that could be included in addition to the Mark Lord as a way of making them Troops, although it'd definitely need something to balance it like the Supernumenary rule as otherwise it might get a little too powerful, Thunder-Lords are a go-to choice after all and I don't want to make these too good, if for no other reason than to make it more likely that I can use them in the future.

      If you ever do use these rules in a game, even if just with proxies, do tell me about it and how they performed, I'd be fascinated to hear about it.




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