I have been looking at the rules for Wulfen for a while now and I have to say that they fill me with complete horror.

First of all I don’t like the models. That is a personal thing, I don’t like the look of all models and each race/army have different aesthetics etc, so that is ok. Saying that though, I just feel that the models look naff.

Rules-wise though, I think that Wulfen have some serious issues for the game.

At face value they look ok at first glance.

WS 4 – BS 2 – S 5 – T 4 – W 2 – I 5 – A 3 – Ld 8 (9 with sergeant style upgrade) – Sv 4+

They come with the standard wolves and marines rules.

ATSKNF, Acute Sences, Counter-Attack

They also get Rage and Feel No Pain and two unique rules.

Bounding Lope lets you Run and then charge. You also get to re-roll charge rolls.

Death Frenzy lets a model that has been killed in combat pile in and attack, even if it already did so. This happens at each initiative step.

This rule seems very powerful and also seems to create possible rules issues. Models striking at initiative 5 will often strike first or simultaneously against other units.

For example; against marines/Orks/Necrons/Tau they will tend to go first. Then the opponent gets to hit back and if they kill any of the Wulfen, the Wulfen that already hit get to do so again (assuming you opt to remove them as casualties).

But here is the rub; what happens if I attack a unit of Wulfen that have Thunder Hammers and I kill some at Initiative step 3 (or higher) while still having some attacks at initiative step 2 (or higher). Do the Wulfen now get to swing their Thunder-Hammers at this initiative step, which is not initiative step 1?

Also, if a Wulfen attacks and dies in the same initiative step, does it essentially attack twice at that initiative step? The wording of the rule seems to mean it does.

Okay, okay, that isn’t the end of the world, they only have a close combat weapon right? They are not all going to have Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields etc?

Which brings us to the next problem. The weapon upgrade options are insane.

First of all they are superior to even the slightly better Wolf/Frost weapons. Secondly, they are cheaper, not only to the standard types, but even the already improved Space Wolf versions.

They can have  a two-handed axe that is +3 Str and AP 2 for 8 points. Not only that, but it doesn’t count as unwieldy when they charge. So, this gives them Str 8 AP 2 with unwieldy after the charge. This is essentially a Powerfist for other marines without the charge ignoring unwieldy rule. Every other marine army pays about 25 points for a powerfist. What is more, they are usually on models with one or two attacks and often only one wound. With Rage a Wulfen has 5 attacks on the charge and it would seem can get another 5 attacks later on, if they die in the same combat.

The claws are a similar story. effectively str 6 Ap 2 with Shred and they are less than the cost of a standard pair of lightning claws.

Thunder Hammer and Storm shield is yet again the same. They are Str 10 due to the base str 5 on the model. I can’t really think of any marine unit getting this as an upgrade option from nothing for 20 points. It is usually 25 or 30 points for a Thunder Hammer alone and then 10 to 15 points for a Storm Shield.

The nearest thing I can think of to compare them to is Death Company.

Both units have Rage and Feel No Pain. Death Company get +1 str on the charge.

This means Wulfen have the advantage with having a base str of 5. They also have a higher Initiative value and one extra attack (although the Death Company can come with two weapons base). WS is the same. They have an inferior armour save, but an extra wound and the Bounding Lope and Death Frenzy rules. They also cost ten points more.

At that value I reckon they are definitely worth the points. But once you throw in upgrades all semblance of balance goes out the door.

For 20 points you can take a Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield. The Death Company will pay 30 Points just for the Thunder Hammer and no option for the shield.

They now cost exactly the same. The Wulfen however, is superior in every single way to the Death Company. It has more attacks now, it has a higher strength and an invulnerable save. It also has the Bounding Lope and Death Frenzy rules, Acute Senses and Counter-attack.

The Death Company has a pistol and Fearless. You can take a Boltgun instead of the pistol for free and fire it and charge due to the Relentless rule. The Death Company also have Frag and Krak Grenades as standard. For two points though the Wulfen can take the grenade launcher. The Death Company can also take a Jump Pack, but I am not even sure if that gives it any real edge over the Wulfen.

Finally, we have the Curse of the Wolfen table. This is essentially a free buff to any Space wolf unit near the Wulfen. It won’t always be useful, but it is free and can only help. I fail to see the ‘curse’ here as their is zero downside for a Space Wolf player. I feel that this should have come with some sort of potential drawback, like you have to charge an enemy and run in the shooting phase if you are not close enough to assault. Something, anything other than a straight up buff with no downside.

In summary, I feel that the base rules and points cost are probably ok (that Death Frenzy though gets really stupidly powerful with the weapons upgrades). The weapon upgrade options though are horrifically under costed.