Space Wolves: Tactics and New Rules

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Space Wolves just got brand new rules from the new Psychic Awakening book, “Saga of the Beast”. Below you will find that new information and more! We will talk a little bit about who the Space Wolves are, their play style, The new rules, and end with a solid 1,000 pt army list.

Who are the Space Wolves

The Space Wolves are essentially a close combat oriented chapter of drunk wolf enthusiasts. Additionally, this is an army that favors close range firefights and melee combat. Also, they really like wolves, in fact pretty much everything in the army has “wolf” in the name or is a literal wolf. Additionally, as a result of their predilection towards melee combat, their unique chapter trait gives them a +1 to hit in melee. This is nice on everything but is amazing on stuff like thunder hammers and power fists. Subsequently, nobody can swing a thunder hammer like a space wolf, and while everyone else is hitting on 4’s you will be smashing stuff on 3’s.

New Rules

First up we have one of the biggest changes coming to Space Wolves, which would be the inclusion of Combat Doctrines.

Space Wolves

This is both awesome and makes sense from a design perspective. This is because Space Wolves favor hard-hitting weapons that typically cause you to suffer a hit penalty. Also, giving them a flat 1 extra attack would just be copying the bonus that Blood Angels get. Whereas getting extra hits on a natural 6 is close to giving them an extra +1 to hit. Without making it useless on units that don’t suffer a -1 to hit from thunder hammers, power fist, or already have WS 2. After all, nobody hits on a 1 and so a bunch of units in the army would not benefit from another +1 to hit. Yet, exploding 6’s will benefit the entire army, even dudes with chain swords.

Ragnar Rules Update

space wolves
space wolves
space wolves

First off he has gained some wounds, courtesy of becoming a primaris marine, and now has a total of 7 attacks on his profile. Then, to top things off, he gets another 3 attacks for shock assault instead of one. As a result of this, he gets 10 attacks on the charge with his damage 2 sword, makes him a melee blender that can go toe to with other characters and infantry units. Also, he has an aura that allows units within 6″ to re-roll charges.

New Stratagems

  • Death Grip Bite (1 CP): Pick a unit of THUNDERWOLF CAVALRY and for the rest of the fight phase your crushing teeth and claws become damage 2. This is a great one to get even more damage out of your Thunderwolves and makes their mounts attacks more than just an afterthought.
  • Duty Eternal (1 CP): You can Pop this off when a  DREADNOUGHT is chosen as the target for an attack. When used you get to reduces all damage taken by 1 to a minimum of 1 until the end of the phase.
  • Fury of the Champions (1 CP): +1 to hit until the end of that phase for target TERMINATOR unit. This is brutal on your terminators because this will make them hit on 2’s with their thunder hammers.
  • Hunter-slayer Missile (1 CP): One use per Repulsor. You Pick an enemy vehicle or monster within 48″ of a REPULSOR and roll a dice. If it hits the enemy unit takes d3 mortal wounds. Not a bad way to finish off a tough vehicle or monster.
  • Bolt Storm (2 CP): pick a squad of INTERCESSORS and that squad’s Auto bolt rifles automatically hit if their target is within half range. This essentially turns your boltguns into flamethrowers.
  • Rapid Fire (2 CP):  Pick a squad of INTERCESSORS, and that squad’s Bolt rifles become Rapid Fire 2 for the rest of the phase.
  • Target Sighted (3 CP): Pick a squad of INTERCESSORS. That squad’s stalker bolt rifles can target Characters and cause mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6+ just like sniper rifles.
  • Big Guns Never Tire (1 CP):  Until the end of the phase, a VEHICLE of your choice ignores the penalty for moving and shooting heavy weapons.
  • Transhuman Physiology (2 CP): This next one can’t be used on a VEHICLE or Servitor. Pick a unit, and unmodified wound rolls against the unit of a 4+ always fail, regardless of the abilities the weapon or model has. Use this to punish your opponent for trying to use plasma against you.
  • Vengeance of the Machine Spirit (2 CP): If a LAND RAIDER, REPULSOR, STORM WOLF, or STORM FANG, is destroyed. it can either auto-explode, shoot one ranged weapon or attack in melee. Additionally, you get to use the top bracket of its wound chart. This combo is great for firing off a repulsor executioner’s cannon one last time.
  • Steady Advance (1 CP): An INFANTRY unit can move and still benefit from bolter discipline.
  • Hammer of Wrath (1CP): When you make a successful charge with a JUMP PACK unit, roll a dice for each model that ended within 1″ of an enemy model, any results of a 5+ cause mortal wounds.
  • Gene Wrought Might (1 CP): PRIMARIS INFANTRY only. When used In the fight phase, any unmodified hit roll of 6+ automatically hits and wounds. This works really nicely with your super Doctrine and gets absolutely nuts when used on Incursors.
  • Veteran Intercessors (1/2 CP): You get to upgrade a squad of INTERCESSORS with +1 attack and +1 leadership. Costs 1CP for a 5 man unit, and 2CP for a unit of 6 or more.
  • Hero of the Chapter (1 CP): Pick a CHARACTER from your army that’s not your warlord and give him a warlord trait. This can be really good for Space Wolves, as this means you can get multiple sagas firing off in a game.
  • Skilled Riders (1 CP): A BIKE unit of your choice gets a 4++ save against shooting, which gets boosted to a 3++ save if they advanced.
  • Skyfire (1 CP): This one works for your HUNTERS and STALKERS to make them even meaner towards units with the fly keyword. You can on; target units with FLY but you get to add +1 to hit and wound rolls, with unmodified 6’s doing double damage.
  • Knowledge of the Foe (0 CP): Anytime one of your units kills a CHARACTER in the fight phase you can use this to gain a free CP. There is honestly no excuse for not using this whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  • Counter-Charge (1 CP): Use this one in your opponent’s charge phase to give a SPACE WOLVES unit the ability to heroically intervene 6″. You can use this on a Wulfen squad to punish an opponent who thought they could safely charge a nearby character or support unit.
  • Crushing Assault (1 CP): A unit of Thunderwolf Cavalry that successfully makes a charge gets to roll a dice for each model that is within 1″ of an enemy model. Any dice that rolls of a 2+ deal a mortal wound. Using this on a Max size squad can net you 6 mortal wounds with a little bit of luck, and is really great for just 1 CP.
  • Touch of the Wild (1 CP): Pick a Character in the fight phase and for the rest of the phase unmodified hit scores of a 4+ count as 2 hits. This is absurd on units like Murderfang, and borderline game-breaking on Ragnar Blackmane when combined with the fight twice stratagem. For clarification, he would average about 30 hits in combat… On a 120pt HQ.
  • Vicious Executioners (1CP): This one lets you pick a Wolf Guard unit in the fight phase and any unmodified wound rolls of a 6+ against an infantry unit deal 1 mortal wound. Also, worth noting this is in addition to any other damage but would likely be best used on a unit equipped with wolf claws.
  • Pack Hunters (1CP): Pick a Fenrisian Wolf or Cyberwolves unit in the fight phase and as long as it is within 3″ of a Space Wolves Infantry or Cavalry unit you can re-roll their hit rolls.
  • Storm Strike ( 1CP): In your shooting phase a STORMFANG GUNSHIP can use this to add +1 to their hit, wound and damage rolls for their Helfrost Destructor. First off, this makes Helfrost Destructors so much better, especially the dispersed beam that would otherwise lack the strength to reliably wound vehicles.

New Relics and Litany

  • Mountain Breaker Helm: Infantry only. After attacks but before consolidating, you can pick a unit within 1″ and roll a dice. Then, on a 2+ you deal d3 mortal wounds to them, and if you manage to kill a character and the user is your warlord you treat them as having performed their deed of legend.
  • Talisman of Storms: Rune Preist only. After the bearer casts his first psychic power you get to roll a D6 for every enemy unit within 12″ and on a 4+ they suffer a mortal wound. This is actually a nice relic for a Phobos rune priest who will most likely get some mileage out of it on the very first game turn.
  • Wyrm Splitter: Replaces a power axe. This particular relic is, at first glance, just a power ax with Damage 2 and would be easy to write off. However, this beastly ax will go up to a flat damage 4 if you swing it at a monster or vehicle.
  • Stormsong: Replaces a master-crafted stalker bolt rifle. This relic changes the weapons to heavy 1 strength 6, Ap-3 and damage 3, and more importantly lets you target characters even if they aren’t the closest. Honestly, you have some better options than this one.
  • Wyrdbane: Replaces a Runic Sword. This particular relic is Strength +1, AP-4, and damage D3. This is actually a pretty nice relic due to its ability that lets you re-roll wound rolls, paired with the fact that it becomes damage 3 when used against Psykers.
  • Adamantine Mantle: Anyone can take this. The character gets a 5+ FNP, which is actually really nice in a melee centric army that teds to put its HQ’s on the front lines.
  • Runic Armor: The user gets a 2+ armor save and gains a 5++, which is really nice on your Phobos Rune Priests that otherwise lack an invuln.
  • Morkai’s Teeth Bolts- You pick a bolt weapon the user has and they can choose to use this ammo instead of their normal one. So, instead if shooting normally you only fire one shot and if it hit then the target suffers a mortal wound. Additionally, for the rest of the turn, any further attacks against that same target can re-roll wound rolls of a 1. This can be a good pick if you were unable to include a battle leader in your army and want some re-rolls.
  • Master Crafted Weapon: This one works the same as everyone else’s relic of the same name. Pick a weapon a character is equipped with and add 1 to its damage characteristic.
  • Digital Weapons: After all the character’s attacks have been resolved you get to make an extra attack with this relic and if it hits the target suffers a mortal wound.
  • Companions Blade: Replaces a power sword or Master-crafted power sword. This relic is Strenghth +2, AP-3, Damage 2 and as long as they are within 3″ of another character they can re-roll wounds. If you were already planning on taking a bunch of Characters and keeping them together then this is can do a surprising amount of damage.
  • Wolf Tail Talisman: This relic creates an 18″ aura that causes Psykers within range of it to subtract 2 from any psychic tests they take. Take this one if you want to give Thousand Sons players another reason to dislike you.
  • Space Wolves Exclusive Litany: Tale of the Wolf King and The Lord of the Deep. This one lets you pick a unit within 6″ and add 1 to the damage characteristic of melee weapons in the unit as long as they target a vehicle or monster. Throw this onto 10 Wolf Guard Terminators with Thunderhammers and watch them blow up 2 Imperial knights in a single round of combat.

Example List

So up next we have a solid example list to get you started with a 1,000 points Space Wolf army. Then I will go and break down the list and how it works.

space wolves

++ Battalion Detachment +5CP (Imperium – Space Wolves) [43 PL, 979pts, 8CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Battle-forged CP [3CP]

Detachment CP [5CP]

+ HQ +

Primaris Battle Leader [4 PL, 70pts]: Saga of the Wolfkin, The Wulfen Stone, Warlord
. Power axe and bolt carbine: Power axe

1 Primaris Rune Priest [7 PL, 103pts]: Psychic hood, Runic sword

Ragnar Blackmane [6 PL, 120pts]:

+ Troops +

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 102pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher, Bolt rifle
. 4x Intercessor
. Intercessor Pack Leader: Thunder hammer

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 102pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher, Bolt rifle
. 4x Intercessor
. Intercessor Pack Leader: Thunder hammer

Intercessor Squad [5 PL, 102pts]: Auxiliary Grenade Launcher, Bolt rifle
. 4x Intercessor
. Intercessor Pack Leader: Thunder hammer

+ Elites +

  • Murderfang 9Pl [125pts]

+ Dedicated Transport +

Impulsor 6PL[97pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, orbital comms array

and another Impulsor 6PL [79pts]: 2x Storm Bolters

Impulsor 6PL[97pts]: 2x Storm Bolters, orbital comms array

++ Total: [43 PL, 8CP, 997pts] ++

Space Wolves Army Analysis

So, the first thing you may have noticed, is that I have updated the list to include thunder hammer upgrades on the intercessor sergeants. Additionally, I have also removed the Wulfen and added Ragnar and Murderfang. As Icing on the cake, I also went ahead and put orbital comms arrays on two of the impulsors.

The Core of The Army

First off, the core of the list revolves around the intercessors, impulsors, and characters. Impulsors are fast with a 14” movement and your models embarked in them can get out AFTER it moves. Now, you can’t charge if you get out after the impulsor moves. Yet, you still get your full movement and can fire your weapons. This is fantastic for our intercessors! They will want to be aggressive but still use their bolt guns against screening units. This means they have a threat range of 53” with their bolt guns and 38” if you want to be in rapid-fire range. Lastly, I have included comms arrays onto some of the impulsors so they can dish out some mortal wounds in the shooting phase.

The other component of the list is the characters. Firstly, you get a lot of utility from your Rune priest casting psychic powers and the reroll 1’s to wound from the battle leader. However, the really awesome synergy comes from the warlord trait on the battle leader plus his relic. The Warlord trait gives him an extra attack, but if he kills 5 models it becomes a 6” aura that affects everyone. Also, The Wulfen Stone gives everyone around him an additional +1 attack. This means your veteran intercessors will have 5 attacks each hitting on 2’s. Plus, your sergeants would be making 6 attacks with a Thunderhammer hitting on 3’s.

Ragnar

Firstly, we have the new and improved Ragnar included in the list. Ragnar is now an infantry mowing powerhouse that can take on tarpits and other characters, all while giving nearby units some fantastic bonuses. His first and most useful aura is “War Howl”, which allows everyone within 6″ to re-roll their charge rolls. Also, he lets everyone nearby him re-roll hits of a 1 and lets them pile in 6″ instead of just 3″. As Icing on the cake he comes in with 10 attacks on the charge, which we can make even better by using the 1CP stratagem “Touch of the Wild”. To elaborate, this makes it so unmodified hit rolls of a 4+ count as two hits instead of 1. On average that’s 15 hits at strength 6 -4Ap dmg2, so your opponent better hope he has an invulnerable save.

Murderfang

Lastly, I have included Murderfang as a hammer unit for the army, and he does his job a little too well. So, the first thing we have to mention is his attacks profile, as he has 5 attacks base but will get another 2 for his murderous ability, and another extra attack for shock assault. In summary, he comes in with a total of 8 attacks, at strength 12 ap-3 and damage 3 that re-rolls wounds. Plus, he also gets access to the “Touch of the Wild” stratagem to give him an average of 11 hits, meaning he can kill a knight in a single round of combat! However one of his best features is that he is a character with less than 10 wounds, making him unattackable unless he’s the closest unit.

In Conclusion

This list is a lot of fun to play and is a genuinely awesome melee army. Now, that’s going to wrap up our article for today, but we also have some awesome battle reports featuring Space Wolves that you should check out!

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