Hello everyone SaltyJohn here from TFGRadio bringing you a new review of a unit that might rival my Librarius Conclave review for salty comments. Today I review the Wolfkin formation! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!
The Space Wolves live up to their name when it comes to units. Unlike the various Angels, who don’t have any real Angels, the Wolves of Fenris use actual wolves in their Chapters Great Companies when they go into battle. These take three forms, Thunderwolves, Cyber Wolves, and Fenrisian Wolves. With the release of Curse of the Wulfen we gained some great formations, and a few new units, for Space Wolves. One of these formations utilizes Fenrisian Wolves and allows a player to field a single, massive unit, of Fenrisian Wolves when normally the unit would be capped at 15 models. This unit has given rise to a new super list the Wolftide. No, it isn’t called Bark Star.
Overview: The Wolfkin formation allows a player who takes it to combine all of the units of Fenrisian Wolves from the formation into a single super unit. On the surface 45 to 75 Toughness 4, Strength 4, single wound models, with a 6+ save, and one attack base doesn’t sound very good. The unit becomes a gold mine when you start to add characters and/or psychic shenanigans to it. It’s a fairly cheap Auxiliary choice for the Wolf Claw Strike Force weighing in at just 80 points for the 2 minimum squads. It can be buffed up to some meaningful size with 45 wolves at just 360 points and with the full 75 Fenrisian Wolves you reach a near insurmountable tide of wolves at just 600 points.
- 2-5 Units of Fenrisian Wolves.
- Restrictions: None
- Monster Hunter
- Alpha Pack: If you wish all of the units in the Wolfkin formation can be deployed as a single unit known as an Alpha Pack. Add 1 to the attack characteristic of all Fenrisian and Cyberwolf models in an Alpha Pack whilst there are 20 or more models in the unit. (Note it says models in the unit so if you are down to 15 Fenrisian Wolves and 5 attached ICs you still get +1 Attack on the Fenrisian Wolves!)
- Call of the Wolves: If the formation is within 12 inches of the left or right table edge they can call outflanking Space Wolf models onto the battlefield from that edge instead of rolling for their outlfanking edge.
Like I said above, on paper this unit doesn’t seem like much to begin with. It is also only really worth taking in two situations. The first is if you want a cheap way to fill in the Auxiliary tax for a Wolf Claw Strike Force. This is a perfectly legitimate, and cheap, way to get your auxiliary unit taken care of! It is also of great use to Space Wolf decurions that want to utilize Outflanking units as part of their main strategy. With Call of the Wolves you now have a great way to make sure those Outflanking Space Wolves come in on the correct board edge. If you’re expecting the Wolfkin formation to do much more than act as a lure, and small harassment unit, in a Wolf Claw Strike Force then you’re going to have a bad time.
The second situation in which you’d want to run the Wolfkin formation is if you want to run the vaunted Wolftide. This list is mean. Wolftide uses the Wolfkin formation and allied Independent Characters to buff the 45-75 Fenrisian Wolves to demi-god like stature. Let’s look at this approach to using Wolfkin by doing two things. First let’s list a weakness of the formation, then let’s explore how to fill those gaps and create the Wolftide in all it’s fur laden glory.
- 6+ Save
Here the answer is fairly easy. You ally in Azrael, as your Warlord, for a 4+ Invul save on the unit then choose the Hold At All Costs Warlord Trait so the unit has Feel No Pain when within 3 inches of an objective. Now you have 45-75 models that have a 4+5+FNP. I don’t like this build personally, although it is admittedly the most popular. I prefer to go heavy psyker tech with my Wolftide; so to beef them up I do the following. First I take an allied Librarius Conclave, you could also try Grey Knights librarians, Ultramarines Chapter Tactics because I love Tigurius but taking White Scars is common as well. You want to roll on Divination first to get Forewarning (4+ Invul Save) and Prescience (re-roll to hit). Once you have those fish for Veil of Time for re-rolls to failed saves. After that go for Endurance to get 4+ FNP, Eternal Warrior is nice for all those attached ICs. You could also fish for Sanctuary to get +1 to their Invulnerable save. If you shoot the moon you could end up with a unit of 80 models (75 wolves + 5 Librarians) that have a re-rollable 3++ followed by a 4+ FNP. Nasty and arguably harder to deal with than the couple unkillable 2++ re-roll stars out there due to the sheer size of the Wolftide. Azrael certainly gets you something similar and if you ally in some Mastery Level 3 Grey Knight librarians you have a decent chance at getting Veil of Time and Sanctuary. Honestly it’s personal taste at that point.
- Low Leadership
If you’re going the Azrael route this isn’t as big of a deal as Grim Resolve means the unit will be Stubborn. However that means you will have a game every now and then where an opponent will cause enough wounds turn 1 to force a morale check and suddenly you’re off the board when you blow the Ld10 check. It happens, it’s rare, but it happens. The resurgence of horde armies and Eldar Warp Spider spam has seen a shift in the competitive meta toward a lot of Artillery based armies, or at least armies that cause a massive number of wounds per turn. If you’re going second and haven’t gotten the psychic buffs up on your Azrael led Wolftide then you could blow the Ld10 check and be gone. This is another reason I eschew the Dark Angels build and instead go for a more pure Space Wolves. I like to get a Chaplain, or Wolf Priest, into the unit to make them Fearless. A Fearless squad will never blow that random Ld10 check turn 1 and lose me the game before I get a chance to play. If you’ve allied in that Wolf Priest you’ve also gotten the Wolftide a 6+ FNP. It’s not a 5+ from Azrael or the 4+ from Endurance but it is another layer of protection.
- Low Strength
There are three basic ways of dealing with the relatively low strength of the Fenrisian Wolves. If you’re playing the DA build you have Azrael choose For the Lion as his trait and then he and his unit have the Furious Charge Special Rule. Though you’re giving up the 5+ FNP. This is arguably the better choice when running Wolftide with DA. Again, I disagree and find another way around. In my psyker heavy build I am already reliant on psychic powers to buff the Wolves survivability so that route is out. Not to mention there aren’t a lot of great options for buffing an entire units strength through psychic powers. Here again the Space Wolves codex comes to the rescue. Since you are already taking a Wolf Priest to make the Wolftide Fearless you can take the Wulfen Stone (suitably named, get it? GET IT!?) for 40 points and now the Wolf Priest and his unit have the Furious Charge special rule.
- Low Toughness
This, you’re not getting around. You’re best bets are to stick with one of the two ways we get around the terrible save above.
- No AP Value on their attacks
Again, you’re most likely not going to get around this one. Volume of attacks will usually get things done for your Wolfkin, when built and taken as part of the Wolftide, but you can try to get Rending. If you went the Conclave route you may have rolled Misfortune already while fishing for Forewarning. If so you can now grant your Wolfkin rending against a single enemy unit. Not too shabby. If you hit a Stormsurge or Wraithknight with just 30 Wolves from the Wolftide that is going to be 90 attacks, re-rolling to hit from Prescience, at Str 5 from Furious Charge, and Rending from Misfortune! The real low AP value hits will come from the Axes on your Conclave members (you really need to read my conclave article if you’re not taking force axes still). I personally like to run my Wolftide alongside a Thunderlord or two for some nice S10 powerfist attacks.
The Azrael Wolftide versus Conclave Wolftide debate can go on and on. I’ll leave you with two lists for Wolftide, using the Wolfkin formation obviously, and give you a bit of homework. Look through the rules for how all the units work with one another, the benefits conferred etc. Then decide for yourself. I truly feel that how the Wolftide is built depends more on personal preference and play style than anything else.
Space Wolves Heavy Wolftide:
SW CAD: HQ– Wolf Lord, TWM, Fist, Shield. Wolf Priest, Wulfen Stone. Elites- 3 Iron Priests, on TWM Troops- 2x 5 man Bloodclaw squads in Rhinos.
Wolfkin Formation: 3x 15 Wolves
Ultramarines Librarius Conclave: Tigurius, 4 Mastery Level 2 Librarians on bikes with Force Axes.
DA CAD: Azrael, Sammael, Troops: 2x Scouts Fast: 4 Black Knights
Wolfkin Formation: 5×15 Wolves
Grey Knights CAD: 2x Grey Knight Librarians with Daemon Hammers, Level 3. Troops: 2x 5 man Strike Squads with 1 Psycannon each.
The Wolfkin formation is an enigma in my opinion. It can be both a throw away tax choice for a SW Decurion or the basis for a fearsome Death Star in the form of the Wolftide. There is no real middle ground on this one. If you want a preview of what I’ll be taking to the Hammer of Wrath GT this weekend, you can find a similar list here.
As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.