Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Space Wolves Codex

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This is a full codex breakdown full of Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves tactics. Armed to the teeth, the Space Wolves are among the first into the fray for Warhammer 40k 9th edition. These aren’t your Wolfy McWolf rules though. It looks like a clear directive to get back to the barbaric, savage, Space Viking roots has taken this book by …storm. Changes from the index up to now have added flexibility, mobility, and on-demand problem-solving.

Wolves will absolutely be controlling the battlefield with Heroic Intervention, fight order, quick units, and Outflank. There is no flank safe and their multiple movement abilities will have them causing havoc amongst the sheep of the 41st millennium.

We have lots to cover in this piece for Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Space Wolves Codex, so I’m going to get right into it. I’ll be going over;

  • Stratagems
  • Warlord Traits, Deeds, and Sagas
  • Relics
  • Special Issue Wargear
  • Tempestas Discipline
  • Secondary Objectives
  • The Best 3 Secondaries
  • Datasheet Changes
  • Winners and Losers
  • My preliminary list with best secondaries

The 9th Edition Space Wolves Codex Supplement and Deathwatch Codex Supplement release the same day! We have a full tactical breakdown of the Deathwatch Codex that you can check out here!

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Space Wolves Codex

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Stratagems

The stratagems in Saga of the Beast were amazing, a little too amazing. As such only Counter Charge survived from the index to the supplement. While losing the likes of Touch of the Wild, Vicious Executioners, and Knowledge of the Foe are all sad there are some amazing options to
take their place. Let’s sink our teeth in, shall we?

Go for the Throat

Imagine AP -3 on Chainswords or AP -4 Lightning Claws army wide? This is a great strat if you’ve got a lot of units with a high volume of attacks in combat at once. Use this for blobs of Blood Claws, Assault Intercessors, and Wolf guard ripping through legions of Necron Warriors!

Cunning of the Wolf

While the first thought is Outflanking melee units like blobs of Assault Intercessors or Wulfen, it can also work with shooting units. Eradicators or Long Fangs with Meltas can cause some real damage and put pressure on Chaos Forgefiends.

The Emperor’s Executioners

Narrative and insanely effective. Notably, no CORE restrictions so units of Centurions, Wulfen, or Wulfen Dreadnought can demolish some Rubric Marines.

Savage Strike

Units of 5 Bladeguard, 5 Thunderwolves, Wulfen, Terminators and for 2 CP I’d pay for it on 10 Blood Claws. This is a way to make even our ani infantry units slay some Carnifexes or Helbrutes. Combined with Exhortation of Rage from the Marine codex this gives us 2 ways to get +1 to wound…just call us Blood Wolves. 

Healing Balms

It’s probably not the most effective use of a CP, it can come in clutch. Expecting our Wolf Priests to be Chaplains AND Apothecaries for the same points cost as a chaplain was always too amazing.

Healing a hard to kill Wolf Lord could be game-saving when a Farseer is likely to be able to get another smite off before the Lord can bring the hammer down.

Pack Hunters

I expect a FAQ for this, but you can also choose other targets to charge in addition to the selected target. This means if you make a charge to both targets, you can get a long bomb charge against a juicier target by using the target of the strat to leapfrog. This can be used to great effect for getting some great turn 1 charges with Thunderwolf Cav by using Phobos units and Canticle of Hate.

Relentless Assault

RAW the stipulation includes Swift Hunters so it’s less efficient on those units and would have no effect with the Ragnar aura. Otherwise, this is a great line breaker strat. It really allows you to crash through a screen into the units behind, onto an objective, or maybe to wrap and trap a foe more efficiently.

I envision 10 Blood claws piling out of a Rhino, deleting a unit of Fire Warriors, and then using the extra consolidate to push into the opponent’s Broadsides.

Cloaked by the Storm

Considering the big boost to the Tempestas Discipline and this power now being only 2CP, it can be incredibly strong against gunline armies. Using this with the Stormcaller power on a cadre of Dreadnoughts or Terminators could make an insanely durable death ball.

Deed Worthy of a Saga

I do expect a FAW because currently RAW you can get sagas on named characters that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and you can stack auras on the same character. I plan to use this on a Wolf Lord after he kills an Abominant to give him an immediate fight first aura and make sure his Wolf Guard fight before the remaining Aberrants.

Trophy Bestowed

Basic strat to give a Space Wolves relic to a successor. Make your Successor Chapter Master nigh unkillable with the Pelt of the Balewolf!!

Thane of the Retinue

Incredible on Eliminators who have a 2+ BS for great use of Morkai’s Teeth. Frost Weapons and Master Crafted Weapons are obviously great on an assortment of units. How about Bladeguard with a Master Crafter Frost Sword deleting Mega Nobz?

Warrior of Legend

Love it! After seeing some of the warlord traits there are some truly cool combos like Wolfkin and Beastslayer to make a murderous Wolf Lord capable of slaying a Renegade Knight.

Bestial Nature

Amazing on units like Blood Claws, TWC, and Bladeguard who essentially get no benefit from any other doctrine. Combo with any of the above unit and Savage Strike to really ruin a Chaos Terminator’s day.

Counter Charge

This strat was tournament winning before and now it’s better. Use this on a Judiciar or Armour of Russ wearing unit to stop a swarm of Boys on the warpath in their tracks.

Keen Senses

Incredibly powerful with some forethought and will allow that TWC cavalry to ignore the unstable ground or tanglefoot grenade for it’s first turn charge against Custodian Guard and hit on 2s with their power weapons. B-A-N-A-N-A-S…

Runic Ward

Not game-breaking but a phenomenal tool. Wait until a deniable power gets cast (like a low smite?) and attempt to deny protecting your Terminators from mortal wounds.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Warlord Traits, Deeds, and Sagas

Each Warlord trait comes in 3 parts. First, the Warlord Trait is the bonus the character gets for having the trait. Next, the Deed is the action the warlord needs to achieve. Lastly, the Saga is the aura the warlord gains for completing the deed.

The system is more complicated than your average warlord trait but also more powerful due to the nature of the auras. Especially since Deeds are so much easier to complete now. Remember the above strat to give any non-warlord character a Saga once they complete the required Deed? Remember the strat to give a Warlord 2 Warlord Traits and he can activate both Sagas? Yeah… They’re great….

Beastslayer

Beastslayer is obviously strong in a monster/vehicle meta. It is probably best used as a 2nd trait on a combat character if you feel you need anti-tank. The Silent King or Swarmlord would be a great target.

Wolfkin

Wolfkin is another good secondary warlord trait pick on a combat character. It’s not the greatest on its own in my opinion since we generally won’t be staying in long-term combat as we’ll probably just kill the things we are fighting.

The random attack bonus throws me off, 33% chance to have a wasted warlord trait isn’t good. However, when the Saga is active it allows units to fight as if they’ve charged for Hunters Unleashed, Shock Assault, and certain stratagems. 

Warrior Born

Warrior Born is one I would almost never start the game with but the one I immediately eyed as my favorite for the strat Deed Worthy of a Saga. Giving a whole chunk of your army fight first can be incredibly strong, especially in a match against Khorne Demons.  

Hunter

Hunter is AMAZING!! My first turn charge plans are coming to fruition. It lets a character reliably get in and when he does, it opens options for the rest of the army.

In 8th, Hunter was cool but once everyone reached combat you didn’t need to advance. Now with Swift Hunters being able to fall back and charge, TWC will be an absolute horror show to pin down and allow them to threaten nearly everywhere with all the mobility. Just call us Bloodscar Wolves…

Aura of Majesty

Aura of Majesty gives that jump pack Wolf Priest a way to compete with the Vox Primaris Bike Priest. Also fearless is incredibly good for Blood Claws with their low LD and makes up for the biggest Lukas downside. Losing multi-wound models to morale is bad and this makes sure it doesn’t happen. Oath of Moment, a strong secondary objective, gives us VP for not failing morale. 

Resolve of the Bear

Resolve of the Bear is a bit wonky in that it makes you want to lose a wound with your warlord to get a 6+ FNP of all the multi-wound models we’ll be running. Getting a 6+ for units of 5 Thunderwolves is great but losing wounds on your important character is not. Also makes the character himself extremely hard to kill by limiting rerolls against him.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Relics

These are Chapter Relics only available to be taken by the Space Wolves chapter. There are a couple of great ones and a few duds.

Armour of Russ

It’s back and it got better!!! It’s essentially a Storm Shield that can’t be Counter Offensive’d. Throw it on a Storm Shield character for 1+ save after the shield modifier or use it on an important character that will be near the front that doesn’t have an invul save. This will be tough to pass up when Khorne Berserkers are coming your way.

The Wulfen Stone

Giving any unit this kind of offensive boost would be terrifying but it’s obviously best on high attack volume units. Rerolling charges is quite good too. It’s not the auto-include it once was but it’s still exceptionally good. Use this on a Saga of Majesty Wolf Priest with Jump Pack to increase the range of both litanies and the reroll charge aura!

Fireheart

Relic Plasma that’s not a knock your socks off relic but could be fun in some narrative games. Use on a Primaris Lord with Power Fist and Plasma Pistol and make sure to paint the plasma pistol red!

Black Death

D6 attacks sounds good but this is mostly a worse Teeth of Terra from the Space Marine codex. Can do some work against hordes if you roll well but this is another narrative relic. Use on a Primaris Battle Leader that you plan to stick in swarms of Gaunts and watch the guts fly!

Mountain-Breaker Helm

To be frank I don’t have much time for a relic that has a 1 in 6 chance of being useless even if I don’t kill my target with my regular attacks. Not a lot of damage, not likely to happen, not a great choice. However, if you want to use it a Wolf Priest or Rune Priest makes the most efficient choice as they generally lack attack volume, and this would help compensate.

Storm’s Eye

A renaming of Talisman of Storms. Still meh. I can stick of a fun usage though where a Phobos Rune Priest with this causes some havoc early by being able to get lots of units in range turn 1. 

Pelt of the Balewolf

My favorite! Pair this with Resolve of the Bear to absolutely invalidate Lightning Claws which will be wounding on 6s and can’t reroll the wound roll. A character with Pelt and Bear will be incredibly hard to kill especially if that character is a Thunderwolf character with T5 and a Storm Shield. An incredibly strong relic for keeping a character alive.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Special Issue Wargear

These selections of Special Issue Wargear can be taken by Space Wolves or Space Wolf successor chapters. I won’t go over the mainstays from the Space Marine Codex and all the supplements. They are Adamantine Mantle, Artificer Armour, Digital Weapons, and Master Crafted Weapon. The only one worth mentioning is Master Crafted Weapon where making a 4 damage thunder hammer or 3 damage Powerfist is incredibly good. The rest are just worse versions of relics we otherwise have access to.

Morkai’s Teeth Bolts

As mentioned, this is very intriguing on an Eliminator sarge with an Instigator Bolt Carbine. This allows to the unit to be mobile and he’ll hit on 2s and they are core so can reroll 1s unlike characters. Giving reroll wound rolls of 1 is particularly good against big targets like a Tyrannofex.

Wolf Tail Talisman

Excessively big nerf here. I can’t see that one ever being useful as even Codex Space Marines has a better anti psyker relic. If you’re going to use it. Maybe someone like a Judiciar who will frequently be close to the enemy and potentially affected by smites.

Frost Weapon

Yes, this was revealed on Warhammer Community. And yes, it’s that good. Yes, I will rant about it! A Bladeguard Pack Leader with Master Crafter Frost Sword swinging at S6 -3 3 damage with 5 attacks? That’ll hurt some Gravis or even other Bladeguard. A Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf with 2 Frost Claws at S5 -2AP & 2D and rerolling all wounds with your choice of stacked warlord traits? This wargear selection is quite good and very versatile in its target.

Runic Weapon

This one’s ok. I can’t really see myself doing this outside of narrative. The Phobos Librarian is another great choice because he can make 1st turn charges and essentially starts in deny range.

Tempestas Discipline

The buff to this discipline can’t be understated. What was less than ideal before now brings some cool tricks. 4 of these powers I would consider bringing to competitive play. I need more character slots!!!

Living Lightning – WC 6

Realistically buffed from before but much less fun without the strat. It also doesn’t help that the rest of the discipline is much better now. Pair with smite and the Storm’s Eye on a Phobos Librarian for max MWs early which will help against the likes of Canoptek Wraiths.

Murderous Hurricane – WC 6

The name is back, the power is vastly different. This is good against nearly every army in the game. Including the Judiciar, Suppressing Fire strat from Codex Space Marines, Armour of Russ, and this power, that’s 4(!) different ways Wolves can make you fight last with no hope of Counter-Offensive. This is great against big scary vehicles like Knights and Dreadnoughts who are capable of solid Overwatch and hitting hard in combat.

Tempest’s Wrath – WC 6

This is good against shooting units that would prevent you from getting into combat. Like Murderous Hurricane, this is amazing against units that both shoot and punch well like maybe the Silent King, Triarch Praetorians, Aggressors, or Redemptor Dreadnoughts.

Instincts Awoken – WC 6

  • Between Bestial Nature, Adaptive Strategy from the Space Marine Codex, and this power, that’s 3 different units that can be in the Assault Doctrine as soon as turn 1. For those not quite putting 2 and 2 together yet…5 TWC have 31 attacks without getting extra from Chainswords, Lightning Claws or Canis. That’s an average of 5 extra attacks and all of those get extra AP. Doing this on multiple units would allow you to absolutely shred some Venoms to expose the depraved Kabalites inside.

Stormcaller – WC 6

Dreads, Repulsors, and Land Raiders oh my. Thunderwolf Cav and Bladeguard will be sitting pretty on +1 saves. Terminators with Storm Shields will have a 0+. Throw in Cloaked by the Storm as needed, and it’ll be difficult to shoot you away…they’ll have to come fight you….

Jaws of the World Wolf – WC 7

Meh. Good on horde units but Wolves don’t have problems with hordes as they generally just mow through them. It’s also strangely the most expensive power. Necron Warriors will hate it though if Njal gets this off on an 8+ and kills a third of the squad with no reanimation.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Secondary Objectives

There are 4 Secondaries in the Supplement and all of them are playable. There are 2 that jump out as potentially high end competitive.

Glory Kills – Purge the Enemy

I could see this being valuable against Tau, Necrons, and Tyranids who typically run a lot of monsters. However, it relies on enemy army comp and you must get the kills or damage. If the enemy force is a monster mash with some characters this could be exceptionally good. This competes with Bring it Down which includes vehicles instead of characters.

Heroic Challenge – Purge the Enemy

This sounds awesome and against combat infantry lists this will be an incredibly fun choice. Assuming you’re bringing a combat list with a solid combat character you should be at least able to get 10 VP. If the opponent can pick an easily defendable character, don’t pick this. My favorite choice for this would be a Saga of the Hunter Wolf Lord on Bike, his reach would be insane!

A Mighty Saga – No Mercy, No Respite

You’d need one super badass to be able to do all this stuff and survive long enough to do it. A Pelt/Bear TW Lord or Bike Priest could be the choice. Either way, I think this is a more fun secondary than a competitive one.

Warrior Pride – No Mercy, No Respite

It’s the easiest to do and I think an extremely easy 12-15 points a game. You’ll always want to be charging and fighting as Space Wolves anyway and Incursors, Drop Pods with Blood Claws, TWC, and Invictors are good units to do this with. There are so many ways to make 1st turn charges happen then beyond. The only problem is that it competes with Oath of Moment which is another great secondary for Wolves.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Top 3 Secondaries

Picking secondaries is a tough gig. You can’t choose multiple from the same category and both the Space Wolf Supplement and Space Marine Codex only allow you to pull a single secondary from each book. At the end of the day, I think these are the best trio of secondaries for an all-comers army. Picking secondaries for your force against another force will be much cleaner but I think the below selections are great ones to start with.

Oath of Moment – No Mercy, No Respite

No Mercy, No Respite is loaded with good secondaries for Wolves. Warrior Pride and Oath of Moment are absolutely great. I actually think Warrior Pride is better, but I went with Oath.

First Oath is sightly easier to do for every army. Secondly, Wolves have chapter-specific options in Purge the Enemy which is an otherwise weak category. Using the Space Wolf objective here means I can’t use any others from this book in Purge the Enemy. With 2 great options from this category, I went with better all-around scoring strength.

Heroic Challenge – Purge the Enemy

While not the most versatile, I think it’s incredibly fun and can surprise others with how many points it can score. Minimum you should be able to get 10 VP as your units hunt down the target and you force your opponent to play differently with their selected character. 15 isn’t out of the realm of possibility as we have some fast and very hard-hitting characters.

Engage on All Fronts – Battlefield Supremacy

Thunderwolves, Bikes, Jump Packs, Terminators, Phobos, Fenrisian Wolves, Cyberwolves Drop Pods…it can be incredibly easy to score this as Space Wolves have become incredibly mobile with good deep striking units. Since pressuring from all sides is a big strength of wolves it makes sense this would be an excellent secondary for us.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Datasheet Changes

For this article to truly be worthy of the title Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Space Wolves Codex, we need. to look at each unit. Blood/Sky Claws got small but important nerfs to both their special rules. Headstrong changed to a Wolf Guard model must be in the unit or you must charge the nearest unit. Being near Terminators or a Wolf Guard Battle Leader is no longer good enough, the Wolf Guard model must be in the unit.

Berserk Charge also took a light hit in that it now excludes Wolf Guard models from getting the extra attack bonus. This makes sense as they aren’t reckless psychos anymore but a nerf none the less. I still think Wolf Guard Pack Leaders are auto-include in the unit for the extra power weapon, LD buff, and tactical flexibility of not charging the nearest Flamer squad.

Swift Hunters also underwent a change and this one was monumental!! Now instead of rerolling charges, it gives the unit advance and charge AND +1” to pile in and consolidation moves! And EVERY unit with a literal Wolf in the unit gets it; Logan on Stormrider, all Thunderwolf Cavalry, Fenrisian Wolves, and Cyberwolves. This please the Allfather.

I’m not going to go over general wargear changes. Everyone knows storm shields are now +1 to save rolls as well as 4+ invuln, and chainswords are now -1 AP. I will of course touch on things where wargear wasn’t announced. Looking at you, Stormfang…

HQs

Logan Grimnar
  • One-Handed axe swing damage lowers to 1 damage but gets 2 attacks for each attack on his profile.
  • Two Handed no longer is forced to subtract from the hit roll
  • Lost the old chapter master ability and gained the new chapter master ability to select a CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6” and they reroll all hits.
  • Gained 6” aura of rerolling 1s to hit for CORE units
  • The High King of Fenris ability changed from morale immunity for Wolf Guard to having his Deed auto-complete if he is your Warlord
  • Warlord Trait: Aura of Majesty
Logan on Stormrider (includes the above changes)
  • +2 wounds
  • Lost Alpha Predators ability for rerolling charges and gained Swift Hunters
  • Increase Flurry of Teeth and Claws AP to -2
  • Flurry of Teeth and Claws never lose attacks to bracketing
  • Lost the vehicle keyword and gained the chariot keyword

** Stormrider just became rock-solid cool! With Litanies still affecting characters, it’s possible to have him be affected by the +2 to charge litany and make an 8” charge the enemy deployment turn 1!

This requires a baller advance roll but it’s awesome. He provides both a great distraction and a hell of a beat stick. Now he can better deal with hordes with better wolf attacks, not losing wolf attacks, and the improved 1 handed axe attacks.

He lost the vehicle keyword which is a nice little buff considering a lot of stuff messes up vehicles super well. A little more durable with +2 wounds. 

Bjorn the Fell-Handed
  • Went from 8” movement to 6”
  • Built-in Duty Eternal ( -1 to all damage to a minimum of 1)
  • Explosion only does 1 MW not D3-Gained the Smokescreen keyword 
  • No longer gives a bonus CP -Trueclaw now rerolls wounds instead of only failed wounds
  • Warlord Trait: Aura of Majesty

** Bjorn got cheaper and way tougher to kill. For the price, he’s a beast if you can get him to the fight …Stormraven anyone? Also if you want the perfect buff piece… 1 CP gives any Dreadnought (not Wulfen Dreads) the option for a reroll 1s for hit aura OR reroll 1s for wounds aura. Seeing as Bjorn already has the Wolf Lord aura for hit rolls you could also give him the Battle Leader aura for CORE units.

Njal Stormcaller
  • Nightwing went from Assault D6 to Assault 3
  • Staff of the Stormcaller gained a point of strength and AP
  • Staff of the Stormcaller now lets you reroll all Deny the Witch tests instead of just 1 failed Deny the Witch
  • Invulnerable save decreased from 4+ to 5+
  • He knows 3 powers from the Tempestas Discipline
  • Warlord Trait: Resolve of the Bear

** Terminator Njal is the only option. A little less durable but a better fighter and better at Denying the Witch. Not much to say here except he’s an excellent choice for reliably casting powers and messing up others. Since our powers are much better, he’s inherently quite a good option.

Arjac Rockfist
  • BS2+ from BS3+
  • Foehammer is damage 3 in both shooting and melee and becomes 4 damage against characters and monsters
  • Champion of the Kingsguard goes from reroll failed melee hits against characters and +1 attack for Wolf Guard within 6” to just reroll melee hits against characters
  • The Anvil Shield goes from 3+ invul and -1 damage to just 3+ invul
  • Warlord Trait: Resolve of the Bear

** To be honest, not a fan of the changes here. He becomes I think one of the only marines with a 3+ invul after the storm shield nerf and he got more damage. Yet he loses an attack himself for his ability, loses his damage limiter, and no longer buffs Wolf Guard.

Considering that was everyone’s favorite aspect of him, I am disappointed. Not to say that I don’t understand the reasoning. Wolf Guard are about to be the best units in the codex between Thunderwolves, Bladeguard, and Terminators. I just think the HQ slot is too crowded for him as a slow, flighty character that doesn’t do much else.

Ulrik the Slayer
  • Crozius Arcanum becomes an Artificer Crozius, gaining +1 strength and an extra AP
  • Loses Healing Balms which is now a strat
  • Slayer Oath is changed to litanies he chants are automatically inspiring, (don’t roll) if he kills a character or monster
  • Warlord Trait: Aura of Majesty

**meh. Gets a little better in melee but he just doesn’t compete with a Primaris Bike Priest who can be a Master of Sanctity. With the marine strat to automatically chant a litany even his ability just doesn’t stand out.

Ragnar Blackmane
  • Battlelust now freely gives extra 3” consolidation but is only for CORE units
  • War Howl changed the infantry restriction to CORE units

** That’s right, Thunderwolf Cavalry can consolidate 7” when near Ragnar and can reroll their charges along with Dreadnoughts. The best beat stick in maybe the game lost a bit with Touch of the Wild but is still amazing and still relatively cheap. Nuff said.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Ragnar Blackmane
Krom Dragongaze
  • Wyrmclaw gained a point of strength and went to flat 2 damage from d3
  • The Fierce Eye ability went from -1 to LD within 3” to -1 to Combat Attrition tests within 3”

** I see no reason to take this character over all the other amazing buffing characters or beat sticks we have unless you really want to commit to LD shenanigans.

Harald Deathwolf
  • Crushing Teeth and Claws AP goes up to -2
  • Glacius’ ability changed to “for each unmodified wound roll of 6, deal 1 MW in addition to any damage
  • Gains Swift Hunters
  • Mantle of the Troll King now gives -1 damage to a minimum of 1

** Took Arjac’s defensive ability and got the sniper ability for Glacius, both solid changes along with keeping outflank and gaining advance and charge. The -1 damage ability is quite strong on a T5, 7 wound model and his weapon will chew through elite infantry. An excellent option.

Canis Wolfborn
  • +2 attacks on his profile but his weapon no longer gives an extra 1
  • Crushing Teeth and Claws go to AP -2 – His Wolf Claws change to Canis’ Claws are now 2 damage and reroll the wound roll instead of just fails
  • Lost reroll 1s to wound aura
  • Lost Alpha Predator and gained Swift Hunters
  • Changed the Born of Wolves ability to +1 tooth/claw attacks for cavalry and beasts, and +2 wolf attacks for Stormrider
  • Gained 6” heroic intervention and can move towards the closest unit OR a character
  • Gained “if in engagement range of a character, this model fights first”

** MASSIVE overhaul for Canis who went from garbage to incredibly interesting. Changed from a Battle Leader to a Company Champion and got a lot of alluring goodies. 2 damage claws are perfect for the meta and with Savage Strike could be near Ragnar status for running through Primaris. No invuln still hurts but that’s solvable with Psychic Fortress and in a Thunderwolf build he’s a great force multiplier.

Generic Lords and Battle Leaders on Thunderwolves
  • Crushing Teeth and Claws to AP -2
  • Battle Leaders are now BS2+
  • Thunderwolf characters got Swift Hunters
  • Auras affect CORE only

**. With some of the warlord traits and relics in Codex: Space Marines there are some amazing combos. For instance, Imperium’s Sword and Teeth of Terra is an incredibly cheap chap. Advance and Charge from himself, reroll charges from Imperium’s Sword, and a combined 9 attacks at S6 -2AP 2D. Throw on the psychic power Might of Heroes for a cool 10 attacks at S7 on top of making him T6. There’s also Resolve of the Bear and Pelt of the Balewolf for nigh unkillable Wolf Lord. Or Beastslayer and Wolfkin with Frost Claws….

Troops

Grey Hunters
  • 2 wounds
  • Chainswords cost 1 point
  • CORE

** Yuck. Grey Hunters should just not be taken instead of Intercessors now unless you are THAT tight on points. If you take the chainsword, Blood Claws are cheaper, and Assault Intercessors are the same price. There are other units that can perform better backline duties. Unfortunately, just our least competitive troops choice.

Blood Claws
  • Got the changes to Headstrong and Berserk Charge
  • Went to BS3+ from BS4+
  • 2 wounds
  • Wolf Guard Terminator to 3 wounds
  • CORE

** Simple and incredibly effective buffs. 9 with a Wolf Guard Pack leader is likely the way to go unless stuffing them in a Razorback. 20 wounds pouring out of a Rhino or Drop Pod with 7 power weapon attacks and 28 chainsword attacks is no joke. With the CORE keyword they can be buffed by litanies…say +2 to charge from a pod or +1 to wound, that’s right, suck it Blood Angels. Upgraded BS means it’s no longer moronic to put special weapons on them, it’s now only daffed. Maybe one of my favorite old is new again units. Relatively cheap with cheap transports but also hit quite hard, this combo is what we call “competitive”.

Elites

Lukas the Trickster
  • +1 attack
  • Now reroll hits for all blood/sky/swift claw units
  • Pelt of the Dopplegangrel changed from -1 to hit in melee to a hit roll of 1-3 always fails.
  • Master of Mischief changed to only affect Space Wolf units
  • The Last Laugh no longer rerolls ties, you must win the roll or nothing happens.

** With the changes to And They Shall Know No Fear, morale is a much bigger deal for marines, and making Blood Claws LD6 is awful. Since all the units he buffs are CORE, the reroll bonus is minimal if you replaced him with a Lord instead. He got some nice things but the morale debuff, the nerf to last laugh, and the cost for the little he brings is just too much for my taste. If running him pair with a Saga of Majesty Warlord to remove his drawback.

Wulfen
  • +1 movement
  • T5
  • Always in Assault Doctrine and always count as having charged
  • No FNP (Feel No Pain)
  • Can only fight on death if they have not fought that phase
  • No advance and charge
  • Can’t do actions
  • Wulfen Howl only gives a charge reroll aura, there is no more extra attack buff
  • Thunder Hammer is only AP -2
  • Great Axe is now +3 -3AP 2D but no longer gives an extra attack
  • Not CORE

** (take a deep breath, it’ll be ok) 2 changes that didn’t happen are increased save to 3+ or extra wound. They are now incredibly easy to kill without shields and the shield change negatively affects them more than any unit in the game.

Lacking CORE means no +2 to charge litany and they didn’t get any new transport options except the Stormraven. They also didn’t drop in cost a lot although they did drop. The axe becomes an even worse option now that it doesn’t get the extra attack. However, they may not be dead, they are still fast, and infantry, unlike TWC.

The loss of Transhuman and Honour the Chapter sting too. However, maybe it’s not so bad. T5 protects them from S4 and S5 shooting while having their shield in cover gives them a 2+ save, hello Stormcaller. Cover hopping and hiding among ruins, they provide a scary threat. Probably not competitive any more but 1 squad of hammers could bear fruit.

Wulfen Dreadnought
  • Fenrisian Great Axe now D3+3 damage
  • Built in Duty Eternal
  • Can’t do actions
  • Explosion changed from d3 MW to 1 MW
  • Not CORE

** 4+ Blizzard shields are still a thing!!!! Huzzah!!! Duty Eternal and that axe damage increase are legit bonuses too and Wulfen Dreads did not increase in cost with the axe. That flat 4 min damage means 1 Outrider dies per swing…. I love it. Not having CORE is understandable and probably why they didn’t see the increase Ven Dreads did in the Space Marine Codex.

Wolf Guard
  • 2 wounds
  • CORE

** Other than the basic wargear changes and going up a wound they stayed the same, including their cost, which is fine with me. There is some potential for these guys with Jump Packs to have an impact on competitive tables, especially with Lightning claws and supported with Bestial Nature to be in the Assault Doctrine.

Wolf Guard Terminators
  • 3 wounds
  • CORE

** Other than the basic wargear changes and going up a wound they stayed the same which is fine with me. Déjà vu. A very tough shift and some very cool loadout options. Slow but drop them where you need them, crash an objective, and dare your opponent to move them.

Murderfang
  • BS5+
  • Murderclaws can now reroll any wound roll, not just fails
  • Now gets +3 attacks for shock assault instead of 1 but lost his +2 attacks for charging
  • Can’t perform actions
  • Duty eternal built-in
  • Explosion is now 1MW

** Errr is this auto include? I’m not sure but as he’s a character he can get buffed by litanies and psychic powers. Essentially always 8 attacks is pretty snazzy and duty eternal will really help him stay upright. I think Murderfang may sneak into more and more of my lists, even at the competitive level. A character who reliably removes any threat and doesn’t take up an HQ slot is always valuable.

Hounds of Morkai (compared to Reivers)
  • Lose Terror Troops ability
  • Lose Shock Grenades keyword
  • Hunters Beyond Death lets them ignore Look Out Sir against Psykers and get +1 to hit and +1 damage against Psykers 
  • Runic Totems means they can’t be targeted by psy powers unless they are the closest unit, and they get a 4+ FNP against MW in the Psy phase
  • Morkai’s Howl gives enemy Psykers -1 to cast within 18” and -2 to cast within 6”

** The Hounds of Morkai are the new anti-psyker Reivers and bah gawd will they kill some warp addicts. They have the Reiver Pistol which is AP -2 so shooting psykers with S4 -2AP 2D shots, hitting on 2s will be nice.

It will be -3 AP in the Assault Doctrine.  They also really screw with enemy casting and can make your opponent wary about where to place their casters. The big problem is if there are no psykers, Hounds are strictly worse Reivers with no Ld debuff and no Shock Grenades. Combine that with the cost of 22 points a model and you realize one of these low impact squads is nearly the same points cost as a squad of Eradicators or Bladeguard.

All in all, they’d be great if the meta goes heavy Psychic but until then they are not good, competitively, for their cost. They are very cool though.

Fast Attack

Fenrisian Wolves
  • Swift hunters
  • Not Core

** That’s it, no points drop. I still don’t like them. No Hunters Unleashed, not CORE, and will die to the dandelion fluff floating through the air and run from it too. On 40mm bases and in minimum units of 5 they just aren’t small enough to hide or tough enough to fight. If I want a backline unit, I’ll take Cyberwolves. Hilariously can still do actions. 

Cyberwolves
  • Swift Hunters
  • Not Core

** Also hilariously can still do actions. These guys are MUCH better in my opinion because 2 cost is less than a min Fenrisian Wolf pack and can screen more space, hide more efficiently, be used as overwatch sponges, and just always live up to their very low points cost. However, I might struggle to find openings in my fast attack slots now with Thunderwolves being so good.

Skyclaws
  • 2 wounds
  • Headstrong and Berserk Charge
  • BS3+
  • Melta bomb keyword

** Your flying blood claws, now with +1 wound! The Melta bomb keyword is hilariously surprising. Get in combat with a vehicle and do 2D3 MW. Still meh in my opinion. Wolf Guard with Jump Packs and the same loadout are only 1 point more expensive and better in a few ways. One of them is that Wolf Guard doesn’t take up a fast attack slot.

Thunderwolf Cavalry
  • +1 Wound – Swift Hunters
  • AP -2 on Crushing Teeth and Claws
  • CORE

** (Remember that time you sold all your TWC when they were bad in 8th? Thanks, because I have 12 now for ridiculously cheap. Y’all got any Wulfen?)

And chainsword and shield dudes went DOWN in points…what the actual duck is happening? Core is amazing for buffs, 4 wounds are amazing because it’s about to be a 3 wound meta with Heavy Intercessors, Eradicator, and Bladeguard.

That means people teaching to take care of those threats might not be as efficient against Twolves. If shooting Thunderwolf Cav with D6 damage weapon, even if it gets past the invuln, there’s a 50% chance the model will still live.

Then you’ve got the strats…the sweet, sweet, strats. Pack Hunters, Savage Strike, Bestial Nature, and Keen Senses are all great. With 4” pile in and consolidate, their big bases are less of a hindrance and their big bases help them when it comes to army wide 3” Heroic Intervention.

I’m quite excited to lean into the Wolfy McWolfface of it all. 6″ HI, plus 4″ pile in, plus 7″ Consolidation (near Ragnar) and you’ve got a theoretical movement possibility of 17″ in one fight activation.

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Thunderwolf Cavalry

Heavy Support and Flyers

Long Fangs
  • Gain Grav Cannons
  • 2 wounds
  • Can use Armorium Cherub
  • Lost reroll hit rolls of 1s when all targeting the same unit
  • Now 1 model gains BS 2+ while the pack leader is alive
  • CORE

** 2 wounds make them durable and they can still have a Terminator with Cyclone Missile Launcher but losing the native rerolls hurts. 1 model can fire twice in the same phase at BS2+ but these just will never compete with current Eradicators…. unless you want to melta from a pod. Expensive but you might be able to see your opponent clenching while you decide where to drop 12 Multi Melta shots. They’ll really miss Wolf’s Eye.

Stormwolf
  • Twin Multi Meltas switched to Melta Arrays which are 24” Heavy D3 S8 AP-4 D6 damage that have blast and +2 damage in half range.
  • Skyhammer Missiles no longer suffer -1 to shoot ground targets but only get +1 for shooting Airborne units
  • Twin Helfrost Cannon increase to 36” range on both its modes and the focused beam went from D6 damage to 4
  • Can carry Centurions who take up 3 spots
  • Got the Machine Spirit keyword

** Got a point increase from base cost but stayed the same if equipped with Meltas. With no durability increase and loss of the Vengeance of the Machine Spirit strat, these got worse than before even with the weapon buffs, which brings me great sadness. They still are the best way to transport Wulfen or Terminators though…playable in casual games but essentially just giving the game away in competitive at the incredibly high points cost and relatively low durability…. unless you play against Demons.

Stormfang Gunship
  • Twin Multi Meltas switched to Melta Arrays which are 24” Heavy D3 S8 -4AP D6 that have blast and +2 damage in half range.
  • Skyhammer Missiles no longer suffer -1 to shoot ground targets but only get +1 for shooting Airborne units
  • Helfrost Destructor went to 36” range, dispersed is now 1 damage and blast, focused is now Heavy D3 S10 AP-4 6 flat damage and blast
  • Machine Spirit keyword

** Yikes. It has a massive point increase and averages fewer shots or does less damage with its best weapons. Spending 17.5% of your available points in a 2000 point game on something likely to get shot down before it shoots if you don’t go first is legit bad. Even if you spend 2CP to put it in strategic reserves you can’t guarantee you’ll get optimal output from the shots you roll for. It also doesn’t get CORE so no rerolls either. Until this thing gets a decrease in points or some it’s quite bad. Unless your opponent has no shooting…

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Winners and Losers

Loser: Helfrost Weaponry

With no stratagems or support to make them overly useful, our chapter-specific ranged weapon on Dreads are essentially just inferior to most other options.

Winner: Rune Priests

Between 3 different useful Psychic Disciplines, Rune Priests have never had so many good options before. Between Tempestas, Cloaked by the Storm, and even 2 fun narrative relics, they got a lot of love in this book

Loser: Mortal Wound spam

After losing Vicious Executioners, Crushing Assault, and the MW damage on Morkai’s Teeth my old list of MW spam fell by the wayside. I’m ok with it as we got some great tools, but it was a build I had fun with for a few weeks.


Winner: Wulfen and other Non-CORE units

“What??” you say. “They were nerfed into the ground with the index!!” Well, how about this, not a single stratagem or psychic power is CORE locked. That means you can shield Wulfen with psychic powers giving them a 2+/4+, you can remove their negative to hit with Keen Senses making them hit on 2s, and you can give them +1 to wound among other things.

They still don’t get litanies and character auras, but they absolutely got better from the horrendous place they were in the index. Maybe not top tier competitive but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see them on the table as a hard-hitting distraction carnifex.


Loser: Wolf Guard

The most disappointing thing in this book is that the Wolf Guard keyword literally does nothing. There are no stratagems or special rules for them. It is literally just wasted words from a matched play side of things. There are some crusade rules that help but seeing the synergies Blood Angels and Dark Angels have for their special units it does make me a bit jealous. Oh well, I’ll just have to destroy heretics with my Wolves that can charge across the battlefield!

Winner: Space Wolf Players

I think after this book every Space Wolf player can rejoice. Are there somethings not to like? Sure. I however think this is a powerful but healthy book that does a great job of capturing our flavor. It’s strong competitively with a ton of tools to boost both offense & defense, force fight last, and have our best units always in the Assault Doctrine.

We have insane movement capabilities compared to where we were. There is Outflank for infantry, 3 charge bonuses, 3 reroll charges, 3 consolidate/pile in buffs, our whole army can heroically intervene, and a unit can do a 6” HI. On top of that 4 fight last rules, 3 ways to get to assault doctrine, and plenty of relics to support dominating the fight phase.

Overall, this is an incredibly fun book that will let you play however you want to play. Take away your favorite bits from this Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics article and see just how fun it is!

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: Preliminary List

This piece for Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics wouldn’t be complete without an army list for you to consider. Check out my preliminary list down below!

2000 Points – 8 CP
Secondaries: Oath of the Moment, Heroic Challenge, Engage on all Fronts

HQs

Primaris Wolf Priest on Bike

  • Master of Sanctity
  • Hero of the Chapter: Wise Orator – 1CP
  • Vox Espiritum
  • Canticle of Hate
  • Exhortation of Rage

Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf

  • Warlord: Resolve of the Bear
  • Warrior of Legend: Wolfkin – 1CP
  • Relic of the Chapter: Pelt of the Balewolf – 1CP
  • Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield

Phobos Rune Priest

  • Relic of the Chapter: Tome of Malcador
  • 1CP – Murderous Hurricane
  • Stormcaller
  • Mind Raid
Troops
  • 2 x 5 Incursors
  • 5 Intercessors
  • Powerfist
  • Bolt Rifles
Elites
  • 2 x 5 Bladeguard Veterans
Fast Attack
  • 2 x 5 Thunderwolf Cavalry
  • 2 Thunder Hammer and Storm Shields
  • 3 Chainsword and Storm Shield
  • Cyberwolf
Heavy Support
  • 3 Eradicators
  • Heavy Melta Rifles
Dedicated Transport
  • 2 x Impulsor
  • Shield Dome

Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics: List Breakdown

Keep the Bladeguard because they are so good and tough to remove with access to both Savage Strike and Exhortation of Rage, they can shred almost any target.

Add in a Psyker for some sweet new powers and the option to farm command points. We’ve got the ultra-competitive Wolf Priest for charge bonus and the amazing +1 to wound litany.

Bring in a Bear/Pelt TW Lord and gave him Wolfkin to try to get more attacks and keep everyone nearby with charge bonuses.

The Lord will also be looking to issue a challenge and smash some poor enemy character.

Incursors allow some play with the Pack Hunters strat and are great troops while Intercessors act as backline objective holders. The 2 big blobs of Thunderwolves will be absolute terrors, capable of doing anything you need them to.

The Cyberwolf helps with Engage on all Fronts, which will be easy with TWC, Impulsors, and Incursors.

Eradicators provide a shooting threat to remove nearly anything. Oath of Moment allows you to get to mid-board with Bladeguard and farm VP all game while the Wolf Cav gets some kills.

You should be able to get 10 VP from Heroic Challenge minimum and it means you get to smash stuff more freely rather than be on objectives.

I’m so excited about this book. I’ll be making more lists soon, but this is crunch meets some new stuff and I’m quite excited to try it out! I hope you enjoyed this codex breakdown for Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Space Wolves Tactics.

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