I'm not late. I'm inebriated, and this is what Tuesday looks like from the other side.
It's been a few years now since Codex: Space Marines came out. At first, I was among the many up in arms about how Matt Ward was ruining everything. Over time, and having read through the book more than a few times, I've realized that only one of my initial complaints is really valid, but, me being me it's kind of a big one.
Matt Ward clearly hates the Iron Hands.
I have my reasons for believing this, but that's another full post's worth of whining, and maybe one week when I'm not feeling very "writey," I'll just rant about why Codex: SM hates Iron Hands. For today, that's tl;dr, so you get REAL content. Or at least, you get the prelude to REAL content.
I was beginning to think that my options for an Iron Hands theme force were limited to "take MotF, recieve three more Dreadnoughts instead of Predators, get Razorbacks because apparently some IH chapter master (wait, do they have a chapter master? When did that happen?) thinks they're A-OK. Then I discovered Codex: Space Wolves. "Come to me," it said, "and I will give you everything you wanted!
Terminator sergeants? Yeah, we got 'em. A Dreadnought HQ? Yeah, we got it. Close Combat servitors cleverly disguised in this codex as wolves and cyber-wolves? You know we got 'em. Fast attack choices that would fit better in any other army's heavy support section? Aww, yeah, we got that too."
We have two choices here. Choice 1: Take Bjorn the Awesome-Handed. He's got a 5+ invuln save AND Venerable AND front armour 13 AND a 5+ chance to nullify psyker shenanigans (suck it, Zoeys), a 6" Morale reroll bubble thanks to his Saga (which he literally CANNOT violate, because Dreads are immune to that morale crap), WS/BS6 on a Dread, and did I mention he's a friggin DREADNOUGHT HQ CHARACTER? Pardon me while I go change my pants. Drawback? Gotta sacrifice an Elite slot to get Wolf Guard. However, since you get an HQ dread, you'll still have 3 in any given army.
Choice 2: The so-called Loganwing army. Troop Wolf Guard. One turn 18" bubble of +1A on EVERYTHING. Unit he's with gets a free USR every turn. A weapon that is whatever seems most useful at the time. Saga of Majesty (again). 5+ anti-psyker defense. Hits everything on a 3+. Oh, and did I mention TROOP wolf guard? Yeah, that's right, I can get my termy sergeants without sacrificing the Elites slots that will, of course, be going to Dreadnoughts.
275 points not enough to spend on HQs? Get a Rune Priest and fluff his offensive powers as conversion beamers or graviton guns or vortex grenades or heretekal Necron stuff or whatever. Or get both these guys for extra lulz (and 550 points of HQ).
The bread and butter. Take Grey Hunter squads. Stick Terminator Sergeants from your Wolf Guard squad. Remember, Drop Pods have a capacity of 10 in the Wolves book, so you can't take ten plus a sarge (which, frankly, is kind of goofy. All the other amazing stuff in the codex, but your DROP PODS take a nerf?). If you took Grimmers, you can take Wolf Guard squads as troops instead for increased CC punch at the cost of having combi-weapons instead of special weapons, but with the benefit of bonus attacks, better weapon options, bike/termy/jump options... and pretty much everything else ever.
DREADS DREADS DREADS DREADS.
Maybe a squad of Wolf guard for Termy sarges, if you took Bjorn the Awesome-Handed.
Don't like dreads? Here's an idea! Take an Iron Priest. Fill up on Cyberwolves. Put him on a Thunderwolf (AKA mini-dread, or something). Stick him with your...
... Fast Attack:
I'll be honest. When I think "fast attack," this is not the legion that springs to mind. However, there are a couple unorthodox choices that could be all sorts of fun.
Wolves/Cyberwolves: Did somebody say "augmented combat servitors?" Because I'm pretty sure somebody said "augmented combat servitors." Wolves? That's crazy talk. These are clearly combat servitors. Fifteen of them, one of which is cybertastic. Put that Thunderwolf Priest and his cyberbuddies in this squad, if you took him. Heck, you could take three packs of these bad boys and flood the field with fuzzy, hungry bodies. Who says hormugaunts are only for xenos?
Thunderwolves: Okay, so technically these are cavalry, but if Grey Knights can have a Baby Bjorn and call it a battlesuit, I can have Thunderwolves and call them Loyalist Killa Kans. Mock up some suits of Temrinator armor with extra spiky bits, or put these guys on bikes and load those bikes down with tons of extra armor and put a cow-catcher on the front. Heck, even scratchbuild mini-Dreads, if you're feeling ambitious. The sky's the limit.
Heavy Support: Long Fangs are, I suppose, the "default" way to run this. It's well-established, by better players than me, that Long Fangs are pretty much the best long-range heavy weapons troopers in the game right now, and who am I to argue? Predators are, of course, totally acceptable. Vindicators are, of course, always good. A Land Raider of some kind would allow you to mech up at least one squad of troops. Maybe a land raider crusader for your squad of 15 wolves plus Njal (ow, ow, okay, it was a joke, stop throwing wrenches!).
So, now that we know all the cool crap we can do with that army list, the next installment is how to turn Codex: Space Wolves into Codex: Iron Hands.