"Let's not shoot them and just charge!"
"Ok!!! ...You know this means you'll strike last with that power fist right?"
"Shhh! I'm preparing to deliver a devastating charge..."
|"But all I need to do is squeeze the trigger!"|
Back in the early days of Warhammer 40,000 4th edition, when the 3rd edition Codex: Space Wolves was still semi-current, I began to put together a squad of Blood Claw Bikers (now called, cutely enough, 'Swiftclaw Bikers'). Years later, I looked at finishing them up with the 5th edition Codex:Space Marines list, and looking over it I quickly found (and wasn't surprised to find) that the weapon options I had planned out originally were no longer valid. This caused me to scrutinize the rules, and like the regular Blood Claws, I found the points vs. payoff were very much not jiving well with me.
|Disarmament treaties really suck|
Let me elucidate: The Blood Claws/Swift Claws suffer from a reduced WS & BS with totally supported background to justify this. They also have the Berserk Charge special rule which I feel is quite a good asset and trade off for the stat penalty, and Headstrong which reinforces their commitment to being crazy, forcing them to charge into an assault if within 6" of a foe.
Between this codex and the previous one, the Blood Claws base cost went up a point however the Head Strong special rule was blessed with this additional caveat: if within 6" of an enemy model and not accompanied by a character model, the Blood Claws/Swift Claws are so worked up that they cannot take the time to aim their pistols. "They're too carried away" with frothing, raging and just going berserk-crazy to point the gun -pistol- in their hand in the direction that they are about to charge. Reading it as is, it sorta makes sense. Sorta. But then after they do charge they count this unaimable pistol as an extra Attack in melee which is now used in conjunction with their close combat weapon! This really is weird when you consider orks who have Furious Charge that somehow can wander up to a unit, shoot it twice with a shoota, then charge in -furiously- and even get a point increase to their strength! And they didn't have to 'prepare', 'work it up' or get 'carried away' to achieve this benefit!
Pictured here is the Blood Claw unit built using the 2nd edition Codex. Yes kids, they ALL have power gloves! They weren't quite as awesome back then, but still awesome enough to model up the unit. They are still some of my favorite paint jobs, and I just still don't have the heart to rip those arms off and modernize them for the current rules, so they get reassigned to other units in need of a good power fist model.
With the 3rd edition book Blood Claws used to be able to take up to 3 power fists (12pts each) or power weapons (8pts each) and I used this option often and effectively. After all, this is a unit made for assaulting and close combat and they were good at it! So, I sense the designers of the current book wanted to nerf or punish this unit, and they did so by limiting the unit to one of these choices and upping the cost. The one power fist now costs 24pts! And in the new rules set, they are more difficult to keep alive than in the edition (5th) that this book was written for.
I hope I have made a strong case as to why I simply don't use them any more. Grey Hunters, for the same cost, just make far more sense, have a good stat line, and are simply more tactically versatile. Comparing the Swiftclaws to the Blood Claws they seem to have the same hang-ups really. There are some weapon choices on my models that I will need to change but this isn't that big a deal. But for their cost, I just didn't see how their usefulness would justify the time I was going to spend working on them. If you follow this blog you might have learned that I just am not as quick as I used to be with painting, so to dedicate my time to work on a unit I would either rarely take or never take would be silly, but I really like these models! I want to paint them! And I have wanted to build the Attack Bike since I bought it.
Then it struck me out of the blue the other day: Wolfguard! I can take all my bikers as a separate Wolf Guard unit! Furthermore, 33pts is the base cost to do this vs. 25pts base cost of a Swiftclaw with reduced BS &WS and I get an extra point of A and LD and without wonky special rules! And the weapon options suddenly get into the realm of solid dairy products: Power Weapons for 10pts, Power Fists for 20pts, Frost Blades for 25pts, etc. and we're talking EACH here! Yeah, they get expensive quick, and I can't take an Attack Bike with this option (waagh), but my goodness! Time to go hunt me some Nob bikers! LOL! I am pretty much sold on this and will probably (re)start work on them this week.
Stay tuned, meanwhile if you have any thoughts or comments I would like to see them!
|The original pic I took for the intro, but it was even sillier when I realized he doesn't have a gun....|