My army of choice has been Salamanders for a few years now. I started that army before the 5th edition codex had leaked because I loved the color of the army and I wanted to do a bright green army for a change (I had previously done Black Templars, a dark red Chaos army, and a snow camo scheme Tau army, all rather bland actually).
Having finished those armies and with my Salamanders pushing the 7000+ point level I got the itch to do something new that didn't involve green. Don't get me wrong I am by no means getting tired of my Salamander army but I wanted a new project after selling my Templars, Chaos, Tau, and being less than enthusiastic about my Ork army, which remains unfinished after 2 years.
I had a number of Space Wolf models sitting in my bits bin so when the new codex came out I thought I would give them a go and I have loved every minute of it. I went with a pre-heresy style grey with Space Wolves Grey as an accent color. I bought a bunch of the new models including two Battleforce box sets. Before assembling them I combed the internet for ideas on what I should build and came to the conclusion that I didn't like what everyone else was doing, so I went my own direction. I read the codex cover to cover several times and started by picking an HQ I wanted to use. The following list represents what I liked best from the Codex at first glance and I took it to an RTT at Game Empire and won the best General Award, not bad for my first 3 games with the army.
- Wolf Priest, Necklace, Meltabomb
- Wolf Priest, Necklace, Meltabomb, Plasma Pistol
- Wolf Scouts(5), meltagun, 2x powerweapons
- Bloodclaws(15) 2x meltaguns, powerfist
- Bloodclaws(15) 2x flamer, powerfist
- Greyhunters(10) 2x meltaguns, powerfist
- Heavy Support
- Land Raider, Extra Armor
- Land Raider Crusader, Multimelta, EA
- LRC, MM, EA
- Fast Attack
- Landspeeder MM
As I said before the list played really well, 3+ land raiders are hard to deal with and I admit it's a little beardy. But it provided enough "push button" for me to feel comfortable playing my first 3 games with the army at an RTT. I have since played several more games with the Space Wolves and have tried out a myriad of different units and builds. I haven't tried everything in the book but I will run down my assessment of what I have tried out, I don't like to speculate on units I haven't actually played or played against so if something is missing that's why.
Canis Wolfbourne: This guy is a beast in close combat but dies far too quickly, I also don't run any TWC (Thunder Wolf Cavalry) so he isn't well supported in my army. If you run TWCs I would suggest taking him, the lack of an invulnerable save is tough but he really shouldn't be getting stuck in combat with high strength weapons given his speed.
Logan Grimnar: I have only run him in a drop pod with Long Fangs and the results are awesome. Dropping 5 MM in and being able to fire them that turn is amazing. Grimnar is a CC (close combat) beast, after dropping him in with the Long Fangs I like to break him off and have him go eat a unit. Getting to choose whether to use his attacks as Frost Blade, Powerfist, or a combination of both makes him extremely versatile albeit expensive.
Rune Priests: These guys are ridiculously good. I think enough has been said all over the internet about them so I won't say anything more except I like the Storm Caller power a lot.
Wolf Priests: Pairing them up with 15 bloodclaws and throwing them into an LRC is a huge fist to the face. If it weren't for bloodclaws I would probably never take a Wolf Priest, they are in the boat as Vanilla Maines' Chaplains.
Wolf Guard: I haven't run a squad of pure Wolf Guard yet but I think their strengths as squad leaders are amazing. I don't put them in units in Rhinos or Drop Pods because I think the second special weapon is more valuable but if you take an LRC or LRR throwing one in doesn't hurt. 14 BCs with a powerweapon, WG with a Powerfist, and Wolf Priest is a good combo.
Wolf Scouts: I have a few load outs I like on these guys. I prefer to run two squads of 5 rather than 1 and I either kit them both out all the way or give them just a special weapon. My favorite combo is one squad with meltagun, 2 power weapons, and BP/CCW and another squad with Plasmagun, 2 plasmapistols, and Bolters. Being able to reliably come on the board from ANY table edge is a powerful mental tool you can leverage on an opponent before the game even begins.
Bloodclaws: As I have already stated I like Bloodclaws in large squads a lot. Taking a powerfist, powerweapon, and/or special weapons are really personal choice.
Grey Hunters: These are, in my opinion, the most versatile troops choice in the game. They get Bolter/BP/CCW and can get 2 special weapons. Adding either a powerfist or powerweapon is another case of personal preference I have fielded both and both are nice ways to run the unit. I used to leave Mark of the Wulfen at home but I have recently discovered how great it really is. Now I never leave home without MotW. I am not a fan of the small GH squads in Razorbacks, I prefer large squads in Rhinos or drop pods. Having the ability to take 2 special weapons and drop in or perform drive buys is priceless.
Landspeeders: They are the same as Vanilla Marine speeders so the benefits and drawbacks are the same too. I can take or leave speeders in any list I take without feeling like I am missing out on or gaining a huge benefit.
Long Fangs: I wasn't sold on these guys at first. The lack of ablative wounds like their Devastator counterparts get worried me until I actually ran them. If my opponent chooses to shoot at the Long Fangs then he is ignoring my units screaming towards him in transports, if he shoots at my units in transports screaming at him he is ignoring my Long Fangs, and if he is splitting his fire that's even better all around. If you take 3 squads of them with 5 Missile Launchers (ML) each you are putting out major fire power. I actually like to mix a las cannon or two in here and there and sometimes I even like to take 3 Plasma Cannons (PC) and two Heavy Bolters (HB) in a single squad. All in all Long Fangs are cheap and put out a ton of fire. A word of caution, this is a unit where redundancy beats repetition every time. One squad of Long Fangs or squads whose weaponry is too mixed are going to be painfully ineffective.
Land Raiders: I am going to bunch the variants together because I think most everyone knows Land Raiders are awesome and more than one in a list is even better. I like the God hammer pattern so I can sit a squad of GH on an objective in a nice mobile bunker. I like the Crusader because it holds all of my bloodclaws plus a Wolf Priest perfectly, I even like the Redeemer because believe it or not my experience with the Redeemer has been a good one. I know there are a lot of Redeemer naysayers out there but I like them. That being said I don't run the Redeemer with my Space Wolves because I don't feel it meshes well with what I am trying to accomplish. Always take a MM and EA on the Land Raiders, they are too precious to have turned off occasionally, and the MM should be a no brainer by now.
As I said I haven't played everything in the Codex yet and I am not sure I will but as I play Space Wolves more often I will give you updates. Look for a battle report soon!