Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Space Wolves: Logan Grimnar

Logan... a name simply synonymous with asskickery. Grimnar... what better name for the grim, dark, grimdark future where there is only war? The man, the myth, the Great Wolf. But does he stack up to the hype?

Right off the bat there's his cost: 275 points. One infantry model... that costs more than a Land Raider. He'd better do something pretty damn special for that level of investment.

Well, what can he do?
1. Take a hit.
Yeah, he's only T4... so it isn't THAT hard to hurt him. However, he also sports Terminator armour for a 2+ save and a Belt of Russ for a 4++ Invulnerable. Eternal Warrior keeps that pesky Instant Death at bay, so anything beating his armour will have to do so three times. Overall, not bad for an old guy. Throw him in the middle of a decent bodyguard and he's going to be a pretty tough KP to net.

2. Say hello at range.
A Storm Bolter and BS5 isn't flipping up many skirts. Still, every bit counts and it is good to note and remember.

3. Annoy Psykers.
His Wolf Tail Talisman gives that extra chance to shut down Mind War and other such annoying psychic attacks.

4. Maul entire units in CC.
His WS 6 is really just for show since the Wolftooth Necklace makes him always hit on a 3+. Throwing 5 base attacks that ignore armour is spiffy too. But the jewel is his versatility, given by having a choice to split any of his attacks between S5 I5 or S8 I1.

5. Acts as a force multiplier.
This is where he starts being more than just another pretty face.
a. Grants Stubborn to himself and any unit he's attached too. You shouldn't need it too often with his Ld10... but it certainly helps in CC or against pesky things like IG Psyker Battle Squads.
b. "The High King", allows him to confer Fearless, Tank Hunters, Relentless, or Preferred Enemy to himself and any unit he's attached to. Oh my, the options...
c. Saga of Majesty grant his unit and anyone else nearby gets a re-roll on failed Morale tests. Now we are talking Space Marines... actually paying for this upgrade may be of limited benefit. But you might as well use and abuse it with Logan as it comes as part of a package deal!
d. Then there's Living Legend giving an +1A to all friendly models within 18". Yeah, it only lasts the one CC turn, but a timely application can sway the course of an entire battle.
e. Last there's the one rule to ring them all: "The Great Wolf". This is just a small blurb sub-box only in the Army List section and is almost easy to miss. But the effect is a fundamental change to the army structure: allowing Wolf Guard as Troops. This opens up a whole field of options including WolfWing (Terminators as Troops ala Deathwing), Veteran Troops, Scoring Jumppackers, and many, many other things.

Some thoughts on when and how to use him:
1. When should he hit as a Power Fist instead of a Frost Blade?
a. When the enemy is going at I6+. If you're hitting last anyways, might as well hit harder.
b. When the enemy is at I5 and they're unlikely to kill him. If he can't kill them before they attack, then try to kill more of them.
d. Versus T5+ opponents. The only exception is when you need to risk getting lucky to kill them at I5.
c. Versus multi-wound models that are T4 base or less and don't have Eternal Warrior. Instant Death is your friend. Again, this is optional if you need to risk killing them at I5.
e. Against vehicles. Those 3 extra points of Strength make a huge difference to beat AV.

2. What skill should I get with "The High King"?
You have 4 options... let's look at each:
a. Fearless. Now any unit he's with already has Ld10, Stubborn, ATSKNF, and a re-roll to failed tests from Saga of Majesty... the advantage gained is minimal and/or situational only. It's an okay default if the other skills will do you nothing in your or your opponent's turn, but honestly kinda meaningless. It's actually a drawback in Close Combat, as if you lose the combat you'll suffer automatic No Retreat! wounds rather than testing versus Ld. Still, this might be nice if you're getting his with a bunch of negative Ld modifiers or other Ld test, such as against Psyker Battle Squads or Tyranids.
b. Tank Hunters. This one is fun and even worth strategic consideration when building your army. Some people advocate putting him with Long Fangs for this, as he can make them better anti-tank. Me? I say the Long Fangs should just pay for Lascannons or get melta weapons. The Chapter Master has better things to do... like get into CC. Now this ability paired with a nice squad of Termies sporting a couple Assault Cannons or Cyclone Missile Launchers? This is good family fun. Definitely worth using if your attached squad is opening up a tank. Don't forget, this bonus applies in Close Combat too.
c. Relentless. One gimmick advocated with this is putting a unit of Multi-Melta Fangs in a Drop Pod with Logan. Drop in, blast 2 tanks, enjoy! Downside? You're talking about quite an investment in hopes that your opponent gives you two tanks worth blasting. This is too situational for me. Plus, the legality is questionable. Logan's not in play at the start of the turn, so how can he choose an ability? I think it will get FAQ'd that it can be done, but be warned until then. UPDATE: The new FAQ does specifically allow this now. I think this skill is nice, but most units I'd want him with would have it anyways or won't benefit it. Still, it might be a nice trick to use with a bunch of Rapid Firing Grey Hunters, allowing them to still assault afterwards.
d. Preferred Enemy. He and his unit can re-roll to hit in CC with all failed to-hit? To quote the Kool-Aide man... OH YEAH! Using this ability on a nice sized CC unit is just brutal, especially with his other benefits. This is the skill I expect to see used and abused with regularity.
Now the nicest thing about The High King: "choose... at the beginning of each turn" and "[lasts] for the duration of that player turn". A quick check of the main rulebook, page 9 shows "Whenever a rule uses the word 'turn'... it means 'player turn'". So you get to declare The High King at the start of every player turn as best fits your objectives and who he is attached to. This kind of tactical flexibility can be priceless.

In the final analysis? He's a flavorful unit that really does bring a lot to the table. His cost is certainly still an issue. He'll be of limited return just slap him at the head of a normal Space Wolf force, especially at lower points values. However, if you craft a force knowing that he'll be in charge? He can be a major force multiplier and a sound investment. I expect him to be a common sight in the years to come.


  1. I'd hestitate to give any unit fearless--especially since they would already have stubborn and a re-roll on the morale test. Since if you were to happen to lose combat, you'd be taking additional wounds instead of passing 99.3% of the time (unmodifiable 10 with a re-roll). Yeah, you'd mentioned the reasons why you likely wouldn't take that, but it would just seem more complete if you added the downside to fearless as well.

    Granted, I haven't thumbed through the codex, but based solely upon your write-up and my all-too-often-outdated understanding of the rules, Fearless seems to be an awful choice.

  2. The Fearless might be nice while advancing, as it negates even the remote chance of suffering Pinning or something. But in CC? Yeah, why risk the No Retreat! wounds, much less miss out on Preferred Enemy. Fearless duly updated. Thanks!