Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Space Wolves: The Perfect Starter Army?
The First, and primary, reason I believe Space Wolves are the perfect starter army can be summed up in two words. Grey Hunters. It is pretty simple really, you need at least 2 troops choices in any given army; more often than not you need 3-4 troops choices. With the troops choice being so instrumental to the composition of a 40k army it is pretty obvious that if an army has good troops it will be easier to play. Grey Hunters represent the most solid troop choice available in Warhammer 40k. It certainly doesn't hurt that Grey Hunters are cheap, compared to other Marine troops choices of comparable nature (meaning I am excluding scouts), highly versatile with multiple weapon options and great transport options. All these factors mean that a player starting out in 40k has access to the most, versatile, cheap, and forgiving troop choices in the game.
The next thing that is necessary for every 40k army is an HQ choice. Once again Space Wolves are home to some of the best choices for a Force Organization slot; namely some of the best HQ choices in 40k right now are Space Wolves. From Special Characters like Njal Rulebreak ::ahem:: Stormcaller and Logan Grimnar, to Wolf Lords riding huge wolves and Rune Priests sending Lightning all over the place; a beginning player has access to awesome HQ choices. The only downside for new players is the struggle of choice. Having to choose between so many great HQ options can be rather overwhelming for new players, especially since you can take 4 awesome HQ choices instead of the normal 2. Which is why Grey Hunters are the number one reason SW are good for new players, because they are pretty much the only choice for troops (don't jump on me, I like Blood Claws, but no new player is going to get the advice to take them so...).
The third reason Space Wolves are the perfect starter army? Their Battle Force box set has only good units in it and it is a real bargain. The contents of the box are 20 Space Wolves 5 Scouts and a Drop Pod. All of them are more than usable in a SW army. Those 20 Power Armored Wolves can be made into the all important Grey Hunters, Wolf Guard, Blood Claws, HQ choices, and the left over bits can be combined with other GW kits to make Skyclaws, Swiftclaws, Thunderwolf Cavalry, Long Fangs, and used to add spice to Speeders, Rhinos, Land Raiders, Vindicators; well pretty much anything you want. I bought two of them for my Space Wolf army and used other SM and CSM boxes to make units with out every having to buy another SW box for bits. I used the plastic bits and units from the Battle Forces to create 2 Wolf Priests out of plastic, a Wolf Lord, and many Wolf Guard. The Battle Force box for SW is simply the best one GW has put out to date. I would suggest a new player buy one SW box and one SM box and mix and match the kits; if I had to do it over again that's what I would do.
Reason number 4. Variety and forgiveness. Every new player wants to try out all sorts of different builds and units. The Space Wolf codex is so solid in several areas that you can take "bad" units and still win games which is really great for new players. The solid nature of the Space Wolf codex coupled with the immense power of the Grey Hunters with a cheap price tag the army is forgiving. Forgiving when a player makes mistakes. New players make lots of mistakes and if the army you're playing is forgiving of mistakes then you will have a more enjoyable playing experience. If your playing experience is enjoyable you are more likely to continue playing the game long term.
With the 4 top reasons for new players to play Space Wolves covered it would be remiss of me not to cover a glaring con. A lot of people either play Space Wolves or hate on Space Wolves, there really isn't much of a middle ground. Much like in 2nd edition when the SW codex first came out and the turn 1 Bloodclaw Rhino rush assault was prevalent, the gaming community is crying "cheese". I don't think it is deserved; the SW codex is very powerful but is far from unbeatable. Any new player looking to pick up Space Wolves should just be aware that while it provides for a less steep learning curve it will also provide for a slightly more bumpy road with your gaming group once your "noob" status has worn off. Then again, you're playing Vikings from outer space so you better have thick skin!
Which brings us to reason number 5 why Space Wolves are a great starter army. You're playing giant power armored Vikings from outer space. What more could you want?