This week I'm going to jump to the Space Wolves Codex and the Fast Attack slot to take a look at Skyclaws. Now it's obvious that I think this unit is great...other wise I wouldn't be writing about it. So lets jump straight in shall we..
What We Get
Well for 18pts we get an assault marine with -1 BS and -1WS. On top of this we get the standard marines/wolves rules such as ATSKNF, Counter-attack etc along with Headstrong and Beserk Charge. We also get a few options for a Special Weapon, Special ccw and Mark of the Wulfen (MotW).
What We Dont Get
Well comparing them to an Assault Squad from the Marine Codex (I wont compare them to the BA ones as they are in a different slot, are scoring, and have a lot more options) we see roughly the same options, and roughly the same points cost. However, we cant get away from the -1WS and -1BS, and it's the former rather than the latter that I feel is the main reason we don't see more Flying Puppies on the table.
(Death from above)
Lets not kid ourselves, no one is really bothered about the -1BS on Skyclaws. While it would be nice to have a more reliable melta-gun shot in the unit it's not what they are about. They are all about running up and hitting you in the face. Simple as. So, is WS 3 all that bad?
Sir Biscuit recently did a very good post here about what all the stats do, and what it's important to pay attention to. While I agree with most of what he said I don't agree that WS 3 is bad. It's obvious it's not as good as 4, but it doesn't mean you'll hit less often, it just means you'll get hit easier. He summed it up nicely when he said:
"going from weapon skill 3 to 4 is really a defensive upgrade"
...and it is pure and simple. Don't forget however that this is backed up by T4 and a 3+ save which are very good defensive stats in themselves. Personally I don't feel WS3 limits their abilities as much as people make out, but that might just be me.
Personally I'd always take the maximum number in the squad, backed up by a melta gun, a power weapon and MotW...all for 220pts. This gives you a unit that can potentially take out a tank with its melta gun(but don't count on it) and a staggering 31 normal S4 attacks, 4 S4 PW attacks and between 3 and 9 S4 rending attacks from the MotW. Using simple math-hammer *shudder* that's around 10 (1-2 being pw/rending) wounds on a T4 unit assuming an average roll on the MotW to give 40 attacks in total. That's enough to take the heart out of a large squad of Ork Boyz, or a Guard Blob Squad (being T3 it will be even more wounds).
Now, you can run the unit on its own, but I feel it's better to give them some support and there are 4 options for this. (Technically 5, but I wouldn't advise a Wolf Lord in with Skyclaws as the cost it too much)
Wolf Priest: The Wolf Priest gives the squad the Oath of War meaning they have Prefered Enemy vs a certain type of unit. He makes the unit Fearless, and also comes with his own nifty gear as standard. On top of this he removes their Headstrong special rule which means that you can get a few bolt pistol shots off on the way in.
Rune Priest: Gives the squad a little more combat punch (but not as much as the WP), and some psychic defence. Plus he can give them a cover save if you get caught out in the open, and as you'll often find yourself on a flank you can get a Jaws shot off down an enemy gun line. Also removes Headstrong.
Wolf Guard Battle Leader: Has a few more options that the Wolf Priest and starts off cheaper but will soon get more expensive when you start to add things on. He also removes Headstrong.
Wolf Guard: Has a lot of options and is the cheapest option. You'll no doubt be taking Wolf Guard in your other squads anyway, so whats one more. This gives you the ability to add a hidden Powerfist and a combi-melta into the unit, while at the same time removing Headstrong for 68pts.
I would always take the Wolf Guard, and if points permit, the Wolf Priest as I feel they add the most to the unit. However, the others are options you could try out.
(Point me at the enemy)
Putting it all Together
This squad is all about offensive capability. It's not scoring so don't worry about it if it dies, it's only a kill point. Use it to tear the heart out of the enemies scoring units. Things like Ork Boyz, Gaunt squads and Blob Squads are what this should be going after but thats not to say with the right support options it can't deal with a Tactical Squad.
As always, this is just my opinion and feel free to leave your comments below, and don't forget to check out my contest here.
I rolled: 10 (4/6)