A comparison of Deathwing against Wolfwing

I thought it might be interesting to actually compare my current Deathwing list built with the Dark Angels Codex against the same build using the Space Wolf Codex.
I'm using my current 1500 point list as the template for this comparison.

Dark Angels HQ:
Belail with Storm Bolter and Sword of Silence (sword is master crafted).
Can be equipped with a pair of Lightning claws or Thunderhammer and Storm Shield in place of his bolter and sword.
Outfitted in regular Terminator Armour and can deep strike.
Makes Terminator squads count as Troop choices.

He's Fearless and has Rites of Battle.
Can upgrade a Terminator squad to include an Apothecary and Standard Bearer.

Space Wolves HQ version:
Logan Grimnar (counts as Belail)
Isn't able to take a pair of Lightning claws or Thunderhammer and storm shield like Belial. But, his power weapon acts as both a power weapon or powerfist (or both, it's your choice) and adds +1 to his strength.
Outfitted in regular Terminator armour but also has wargear giving him a 4+ invul save too. Cannot deep strike.
Has Saga of Majesty which allows any units within a certain distance can reroll failed Morale checks.
Like Belial, he makes Terminator squads count as Troops.

Has more Attacks and better WS than Belial.

He has a few extra special rules too:
Acute Senses, ATSKNF, Counter-Attack, Eternal Warrior and Stubborn.

He also has Living Legend and The High King rule.
Living Legend boosts friendly model attacks for one turn and The High King allows him to grant his squad any one of the following powers at the beginning of each turn, Fearless, Tank Hunters, Relentless or Preferred Enemy.

He also always hits on a 3+ in HTH.
And he can nullify psychic powers affecting him and his unit on a 5+.

Let's move on to the Troop choices then...

Dark Angles Terminator Squads:
Fearless and can Deepstrike.
Can use Deathwing Assault but cannot use drop pods.
Only come in squads of 5 guys.

Equipped as follows:
Sergeant with power sword and storm bolter
Terminator with heavy flamer and powerfist
Terminator with twin lightning claws
Terminator with Storm bolter and powerfist
Terminator with Storm bolter and chainfist

Space Wolves Version of Terminator Squads:
Not Fearless and not able to Deepstrike.
They do have ATSKNF, Counter-Attack and Acute Senses.
No Deathwing Assault but may use drop pods.
Squads not limited to 5 guys.

I can build the exact same squad as above and it comes in 15 points cheaper. And the Space Wolf "lightning claw" can reroll hits or wounds, whichever you choose.

In addition, these guys have the option of taking a Land Raider as a dedicated transport, have access to Melta Bombs and to the improved rules 2-shot cyclone missile launcher. One model may be upgraded to have the Mark of the Wolfen (changes the number of HTH attacks and gives rending).

You may include a Special Character, Arjac Rockfist in the squad as well as an upgrade for one of the models.

Shall we move to Heavy Support...

Dark Angles Heavy Support:
Land Raider (Godhammer Pattern) equipped as follows
Added on a pintle mounted storm bolter
Added on extra armour

Space Wolves version of Heavy Support:
Same vehicle, equipped the same way, costs 5 points more.
Also has the option of adding a multi-melta and benfits from an improved PoTMS where the BS is 4 instead of 2.

And Elites...

Dark Angles Dreadnoughts:
Equipped as follows
Dreadnought CCW with built in storm bolter and Assault cannon.
Upgraded to Venerable and given extra armour.

Space Wolves version of Dreadnoughts:
Same walker, equipped the same way, costs 20 points more.
Has access to additional weapon loadouts to include Mortis Pattern Dreads.
Has improved WS and BS skills.
Also has access to wargear that can provide psychic attack saves, benefits to HTH combat or conferring the ability to reroll failed moral checks to other units nearby.

And there you have it.
The Dark Angels list comes in just UNDER 1500 points while the same Space Wolf list comes in at just OVER 1800 points.

Keep in mind, I limited my Space Wolf selection to mimic my Dark Angels list written using the DA Codex. I'm not getting into the "better" build or any rules debates, just a straight comparison here.

Maybe next time, I'll see what it takes to get the Space Wolf list down to 1500 points. I wonder what I would have to do without.

Additional DW vs WW comparison articles:
Deathwing vs. Wolfwing by Military of Ultramar

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. I was JUST writing my own version of this post ;)
    I'm still a Deathwing man myself, I dont like drop pods and don't want to be painting any more Landraiders any time soon, so the Wolf Wing won't be happening yet!

  2. I am glad you posted this as I wnat to do a Deathwing army in the near future but my friends keep telling me to do the wolf book as Deathwing.

    This comparison tells me I am making the right choice by going with the Dark Angels codex to build my Deathwing.


  3. About the only pros I can think of for the Wolf book?

    -variable-sized squads
    -combi-weapons in the squad
    -better Cyclone launcher
    -cheaper dreadnoughts (potentially)
    -better PotMS
    -better storm shields

    one of the problems is that Logan Grimnar, while spiffy, is more than twice the cost of Belial.

    With just a Fist, the basic Wolf Guard termie is (I think) 43, same as a Fearless DW Termie.

    The only other big advantage is that drop pod deep striking is a bit safer.

  4. Interesting list and comparison. I still think that point for point the DA's do the Terminator army slightly better than SW's.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thanks for doing this; its good to see an intelligent side-by-side rather than the hyperventilating that has surrounded the whole "Wolf-Wing" option.

  7. This is great. I did a post like this on my blog. www.barrrykiker.wordpress.com Except mine was more generic. I have to say that Dark Angels still come out ahead. They can have 2 specialized armies, Ravenwing and Deathwing. They also have more shooting capability than most other armies.
    I'll be sticking with my Dark Angels.

  8. I like the comparison, I'm surprised the Wolves Terminators came in so close to the DA Terminators.

    Comparatively, when a friend and I reviewed his DW army, his terminators all came in the same, or drastically more with the Wolves. While you do get the more beneficial rules for the Cyclone, and Storm Shields, you end up paying more for those particular pieces of gear, 30 points for the Cyclone compared to 20, and 30 points for the TH/SS compared to free. Even one DW squad kitted for CC throws off the entire point comparison.

    That being said, the standard stormbolter/PF squad did seem slightly more appealing from the wolves dex if you opted for Frost Blades instead of PowerFists. Str 5 attacks at initiative 4.

  9. Okay not sure if this helps or not but i hear that the dark angels are supposed to get their new codex next summer sometime. But as with most rumors please take with a grain.
    If it is true then it would be interesting to revisit this post with the three way side by side comparision.

  10. I'm sure I missed some things but I wanted to put this out there for people to see the side by side comparison.

    Even after I finished the comparison, I'm still jealous of the Wolves and some of the benefits their characters have. I wish I had that kind of treatment for my guys. I don't necessarily want their rules or benefits, just the same amount of attention to detail for my guys.

    I personally haven't heard anything about a Codex update for the DA's but I'll revisit this post for sure when it does happen.

  11. I don't think it's a very fair comparison. Of course a direct translation isn't going to work, but you're overlooking the biggest advantages the Wolfwing has over DW:
    -Variable squad sizes
    -No Fearless
    -a wider variety of options
    -cheaper base costs
    -superior wargear
    -superior PotMS
    -better psychic powers and defense

    Not every model needs to have a pair of LCs or a powerfist, the basic power weapon is more than enough. 5 WGT with 1 chainfist, 1 cyclone, and 1 storm shield runs you 225 points, 10 points more than just a basic unit of DWT.

    Venerable upgrade sucks for Wolfy Dreads, so the basic Dread is some 20 odd points cheaper and gets options for dual TLAC (you know, the Mortis variant).

    Then you get into Lone Wolves, mini characters that can do all your heavy lifting for HtH. My WW list has 3 of these guys with storm shields and chainfists, they sit in front of the shooty Termies and deal with any problem units that decide to show up.

    Logan has a lot more to offer than Belial. He's a better fighter, harder to kill, and offers a lot of buffs that help the entire army. Tank hunting cyclones, Fearless for a turn, +1 attack for everyone, this guy is a real handy fella.

    The only thing DW has over WW currently is combining with Ravenwing, otherwise the pups beat them out. Sad but true.

  12. It also occurs that the SW 'dex has a decent psychic defense; Rune Staff > Ld9 psychic hood for everything but the range.

    Plus, the psychic powers are also more useful. Invulnerable save off a psychic test? Not bad, but not great. The random flamer is 'eh'. The Rune Priest gets Living Lightning, which is useful in and of itself. Then, he has an array of decent backup powers, most of which screw with the enemy's ability to move, and that's never a bad thing for a mostly-foot army.

  13. Only thing about Logan's tank hunting ability is that it might as well not even be. While it would be good for cyclones, you can't have a CML in a squad of just 4 WG termies and Logan, and you MUST have ONLY 4 WG termies so as to fit the 5 of them in a drop pod, which you MUST do to even COMPARE with deathwing. Also, he can make a squad relentless, but terminators already get that. Logan's good for sure, but a lot of his great abilities that come with his 300 point price tag are useless in a Wolf Wing. Make no mistake, Belail is a better HQ in this case, because he's sooo much cheaper, meaning that you can get MORE terminators. which is what matters most.
    That aside, I do personally believe that a 5-man termie squad in a drop pod run in a WW is better than a 5 man DW squad using Deathwing Assault, or using anything else. Space-wolves-grey.blogspot.com has a great comparison of the two, and his WW comes out on top, mostly because everybody gets a combi-melta or combi-plasma AND a power sword, which in some ways is even better than a powerfist, considering that tanks will be blows up through melta power or ONE chainfist ALONE. his squad runs:

    1 Wolf Guard in terminator armour with combi-plasma and power sword.
    1 Wolf Guard in terminator armour with combi-plasma and wolf claw.
    1 Wolf Guard in terminator armour with combi-melta and power sword.
    1 Wolf Guard in terminator armour with combi-melta and Chainfist.
    1 Wolf Guard in terminator armour with heavy flamer and power sword.
    Drop Pod (carries 5 terminators)

    That runs at 245, which is outright better than any other 245 combo of termies in deathwing.

    As for dreadnoughts, SW win out. no doubt about it. Deathwing noughts cost 20 points more than wolves noughts, and have no options that the wolves nought cannot also take. The upside is that all of the upgrades that you can give a deathwing nought are cheaper, but it still doesn't add up. changing SB for HF on a DW nought is 5 less points, and changing assault cannon for autocannon or plasma cannon is 10 less points than on a SW nought, so even if you had both of these upgrades, the SW nought would STILL be 5 pts cheaper than the DW nought. As for venerability, the upgrade is not worth it for either one, so either way you should not make your noughts venerable. However, if you did, while it is 20 pts for the DW nought and 40 for the SW nought, that is because the SW nought *also* gains +1 BS and +1 WS. Either way, however, once again, this does not matter, because you should never make your noughts venerable, because it is never worth the added cost.

  14. Was thinking about starting 40k again wolfwing looks a fun and easy to get the hang of army but can anyone give me a decent 1500 point army that I could use? Not for tournaments but just for games shop games and pls include cyclone launchers I love those things :) thanks keep up the good work guys

  15. Anon: That's a tough one. Sure people will agree on some units as being "better" than ohers, but it comes down to how you want to play the army.

    The perfect example is cyclone missile launchers, I have none of them in favor of using all heavy flamers.

    I will tell you that at 1500 points, there aren't many models in a Wolfwing.

  16. So what army would you recommend for 1500 to 1000 point games? Also I only play supposedly good guys so no chaos armies (sorry I know I am off topic :( ) I have seen some good 1500 point wolfwings though ?


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