Tactica: Ulrik the Slayer
21 June 2011 | Brad McDonaldThis is an article on how to get the best out of Ulrik in your Space Wolves army. This is intentionally a very thorough article, so to veteran players some of this might be stating the obvious - then again, you might learn something anyway...
Firstly Iíll be looking at Ulrik as a stand-alone character. Ulrikís stats are simply that of a Wolf Guard Battle Leader with WS 6 instead of 5. So while heís no slouch in combat, heís not exceptional either. Even though he has some nice pieces of wargear, we really canít rely on him to eat squads by himself like Ragnar or Logan might.
Where you will get the most benefit from Ulrik is as a unit/army buffer and a Monstrous Creature killer. Also Ulrik has some ability as an Independent Character dueller. So this is what Iíll focus on.
Wargear: Most of Ulrikís wargear is standard fare for a Space Wolves character. With the exception of the plasma pistol, which will likely get Ulrik killed often enough for you to end up not using it, but will be handy for putting that extra wound on that Trygon youíre about to assault.
He also has a handy 4+ invulnerable save, which will give him some form of protection from those MC and power weapon attacks. However, with only 2 wounds and no eternal warrior I wouldnít rely on Ulrik to hold up units in combat. If you canít beat them quickly, find another way.
The item I would like to focus on is the Wolf Helm of Russ.
The Wolf Helm has a nice ability which allows any friendly Space Wolves unit which can draw line of sight to Ulrik to re-roll failed moral tests. Note the entry says Ďmayí so the re-roll is not compulsory, so it wonít increase the chance of getting tied up in un-winnable combats. This is as close to a Chapter Banner as Space Wolves get. Arguably better due to the range of the effect being unlimited. The morale buff this gives to the army is obvious.
The second effect of the Wolf Helm is to force enemy Independent Characters in base to base with Ulrik to take a Leadership test if they allocate any attacks on Ulrik. If they fail the test then they may not attack at all. This is not a morale check, and is negated by Fearless. Keep in mind though that most ICís have Ld8 or more, meaning that you canít rely on this enough to use Ulrik as an IC killer. But if there are any enemy Independent Characters or Monstrous Creatures, then Ulrik (with support, which Iíll discuss shortly) has the wargear to potentially take them out for no loss.
But once again Ulrik isnít tough enough to do this by himself, nor does he hit hard enough even with re-rolls to hit and wound. He needs a squad for support.
But before thatÖ
Special Rules: Firstly Iíll deal with Mentor. This grants +1 WS to any other non-unique model in the army, up to a maximum of WS 6. Your first instinct might be to give this to your other HQ. But Wolf Lords are already WS 6, and all Space Wolves HQ choices can take a Wolf Tooth Necklace which lets them hit on 3+ anyway. So, the only benefit here would be to make the HQ choice harder to hit, which is a bit of a waste of this skill: besides the Wolf Lord, you shouldnít be relying on your HQís for your combat punch anyway.
So, maybe weíll upgrade a Wolf Guard. This would be a good option, as it would allow the Wolf Guard to hit on 3+ against most rank and file troops. But, in my opinion, itís not the best option.
Grey hunter + Mark of the Wulfen + WS5 = winner? I think so. D6 rending attacks, hitting (mostly) on 3+ with a Wolf Standard. This surely is the best bang for your buck with this skill.
Now for Slayerís Oath. This skill is going to put some serious fear into enemy models with Toughness 5 or more, as it allows Ulrik AND his squad to re-roll all failed to hit and wound rolls. Just take a moment to read that again if you want because thatís a LOT of re-rolling. Even if you need 6ís to wound, you are going to generate a lot of saves on that MC with the right squad supporting Ulrik.
However this skill has one major flaw, and that is that it isnít Oath of War. That is, itís a skill with a very specific use. So when youíre fighting an enemy that is Toughness 4 or less (which is most of them), all you have is a squad being led by a Wolf Guard Battle Leader. And that is not worth 180pts.
So after analysing Ulrikís Wargear and special rules, weíve established that his abilities lie firmly in the realm of Monstrous Creature killing, with a small amount of ability in Independent Character duelling. But that he canít do it solo. So now I will cover what unit to support Ulrik with.
Support: For Ulrikís support, Iím going to focus purely on killing Monstrous Creatures.
Firstly, a brief mention for Wolf Guard. While you can tool up a bunch of Wolf Guard and have a very nasty squad, this is very expensive, and they are not a scoring unit. If you are going to do this, donít bother with Wolf Claws, as Ulrikís Slayers Oath already grants re-rolls. However, there are much better ways to use your Wolf Guard models.
So, that leaves us with Grey Hunters and Blood Claws. Transport options for these squads are roughly the same so Iíll cover them first.
Firstly, the Land Raider variants. A Land Raider is the easiest and safest way to get Ulrik and his squad charging into that Monstrous Creature. Just point the Raider at the target and floor it. I wonít discuss the differences between variants here because this isnít ĎTactica: Land Raiderí, except that the Redeemer and Crusader will allow you to take larger squads - which means more re-rolls in combat.
However a Land Raider (250 points), Ulrik (180 points) PLUS approximately 200 points for the squad is far too much to spend on a unit with such a specific purpose, unless you really, really need to kill that Monstrous Creature. You could take a whole lot of Krak missiles for those points...
That leaves a Rhino or Drop pod then. Drop pods are nice and fluffy, but they are tricky to use correctly due to your squad being exposed for a turn before it can charge. The Rhino is, and always will be, a nice, cheap, reliable option.
Now, Grey Hunters. Unfortunately Grey Hunters are so flexible that it becomes very difficult to justify any other choice for troops. 7 or 8 Grey Hunters with a Meltagun, Power fist, Wolf Standard, Mark of the Wulfen plus a Wolf Guard with Power Fist and combi-melta is a tried and proven setup that is hard to go past. With Ulrik leading them these guys will really stand up against Monstrous Creatures. Just donít use the Wolf Standard if your fighting Toughness 5 or more, because it will be a complete waste. But remember weíre going pure MC killing, and for that Grey Hunters wouldnít be my choice.
Which must mean Blood Claws. What? Yes, Blood Claws. 8 Blood Claws with a Power Fist, Meltagun and a Wolf Guard with Power Fist, combi-melta is 25 pts cheaper than the 8 Grey Hunters mentioned above. Slayers Oath negates the lack of a Wolf Standard and WS3. Berserk Charge gives them an extra 8 attacks on the charge, with re-rolls to hit and wound, and 6 Power Fist attacks as opposed to 5. Remember Ulrik doesnít want to get locked in combat for too long. If you want it killed quickly then the Claws are the Wolves for the job. If ever there was a place for Blood Claws, then this would be it. I would LOVE to see this combined with Ragnarís War Howl for some ultra-berserker carnage!
Tournaments: Would I recommend Ulrik for competitive play? Short answer - no. His skill set is too specific to provide the flexibility needed for tournaments. The primary arguments against using Ulrik in tournament play are Long Fangs and Jaws of the World Wolf. Space wolves already have so many options for killing Monstrous Creatures that the only reason you would take Ulrik is for the Leadership re-rolls. As Ulrik costs almost as much as two Rune Priests, this is difficult to justify.
So, is this article a waste of time? HELL NO! Ulrik will bring a different aspect to your Space Wolves army, and give something different for your opponent to think about. I also think Ulrik will synergise really well with Ragnar Blackmane. If you can get Ulrik and a squad of Blood Claws charging an enemy with Toughness 5 or more, supported by Ragnarís War Howl, you might just never use Rune Priests again.