Welcome to Warhammer Armies! Armies is a new periodical breaking down everything you could possibly want to know about a faction. Today, we’re breaking down the brand new Space Wolf codex. We’re going to be going over the army’s overall game plan, discussing their main stratagems, relics, warlord traits, and a compendium of recommended units and how to run them! We’ll close out with a sample 2000 point list, along with how to play it. If you’re debating trying the army out, you can just proxy that list in a casual game, and see how it plays, or if you’re struggling, it will provide you with a great starting point for your own list. Buckle up, because we’re about to dive in!
Disclaimer: Space Wolves can be taken as an ally, or many allies can be taken alongside Space Wolves. Unless otherwise stated, the Codex will be being reviewed by itself. Many of the information will be valid if taken as an allied force, or if you are considering adding an allied force to your Space Wolves, but not quite all of the information will stay 100% true.
Space Wolves have a rather distinct playstyle, combining extremely high quality elite units like Wulfen or Thunderwolf Cavalry with strong board control elements, characters that provide lots of synergy, and a surprisingly effective amount of fire support.
Their elite melee threats generally lack ways to move through other models or terrain effectively, which makes them reliant on support from the rest of the army to clear a hole for them. The nature of the design prevents you from running a full gunline or full melee force if you wish to play the army to its greatest potential.
+ Their main bread and butter melee units are bar none some of the best in the game
+ Large amounts of aura based buffs allow you to push units to incredible heights
+ Cunning of The Wolf and Fenrisian Wolves give a surprising amount of board control and objective play
+ Their passive trait makes Thunder Hammers insanely good weapons
+ They’re Space Vikings
– They suffer from running at a relatively low model count, which means casualties hurt.
– Many of their Relics and unique Stratagems are below average to borderline unplayable, and they also didn’t receive nearly as many points drops as most codexes receive.
– They don’t have access to Scouts as a troops option, which makes list building for them fairly difficult given they can be rather Command Point hungry.
– They have a very high skill cap, as the army forces managing elite melee forces along with various support pieces, objective runners, and backfield shooting to really push the army to its full potential.
– They put Wolf in front of literally everything in the army Ad Nauseam.
Many players will notice that Hunters Unleashed is very similar to The Red Thirst, which is the Blood Angel trait. The difference is that where the Blood Angel trait makes all of their units at least acceptable melee threats, Hunters Unleashed really just pushes elite units through the roof. This is because pluses to hit or wound are less impactful the better you already are at something, and Marines are far more accurate than they are physically deadly, generally.
Let’s look at a single example to illustrate. A Space Wolf attacking himself with his trait live makes 1 attack hitting on 2+, wounding on 4+, with a 3+ save. That’s a net average damage of ~.139. If we move the +1 to hit from Space Wolves to +1 to wound as a Blood Angel, we get 1 attack hitting on 3+, wounding on 3+, with a 3+ save. That’s a net average damage of ~.148.
Now granted, that’s not a big difference. But, when we start looking at things like Thunder Hammers en masse, and just the army in aggregate it starts to make huge differences in our damage, especially when other buffs also start coming in. Keep the trait in mind for the rest of the article, because it will be brought up quite often.
For now, just understand that the trait mostly benefits really elite units with powerful weapons like Thunder Hammers. The bonus to Heroic Intervention is just a nice flavorful add on. Just make sure your opponent knows it exists for your regular games. Otherwise it’s going to come across as a “Gotcha!” moment, which isn’t very sporting.
WARLORD TRAIT ANALYSIS
NOTE: The Warlord Traits in the physical Space Wolf codex are incorrect. There is a free PDF put out by GW with the correct Warlord Traits, viewable here.
Space Wolves have access to 6 Warlord Traits, called Sagas. Sagas behave a little bit differently than normal Warlord Traits. Every Saga comes with an objective (called a Deed of Legend) for you Warlord to complete. If your Warlord completes that objective, than his trait transforms into a 6” aura ability that affects other nearby units. Just remember that the Saga transforms into an aura AFTER the phase you successfully complete the Deed of Legend.
1. Saga of the Warrior Born: This model always strikes first in combat.
Deed of Legend: Slay an enemy Character with your Warlord.
2. Saga of The WolfKin: +1 attack if you charged, were charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention
Deed of Legend: Your Warlord kills a total of 5 enemy models in the fight phase
3. Saga of Majesty: If the saga is completed, friendly models auto pass morale tests. Your warlord also adds 3” to any of his auras, excluding psychic powers, Relics, Explodes, Healing Balms, and Battlesmith.
Deed of Legend: Kill the enemy Warlord with your Warlord
4. Saga of the Beast Slayer: +1 to wound against MONSTER or VEHICLE keyword.
Deed of Legend: Get the killing blow on an enemy model with the MONSTER or VEHICLE keyword with your Warlord.
5. Saga of the Hunter: Your Warlord can Advance and charge.
Deed of Legend: Your Warlord successfully completes a charge.
6. Saga of the Bear: When your Warlord suffers damage, roll 1d6 for each point of damage. On a 6+, prevent that point of damage.
Deed of Legend: Your warlord passes a save.
Most of the Saga’s are actually at least decent, but we recommend either Saga of the Beast Slayer or Saga of Wolfkin as your generic go to’s. Beast Slayer will be useful practically every game and it shouldn’t be too hard for your Warlord to accomplish his objective. On the other hand, Wolfkin interacts well with any dedicated melee unit like Wulfen, Wolf Guard, or Thunderwolf Cavalry.
Of course, feel free to use whichever Warlord Traits you desire if there’s another one that really jumps out at you. Just remember to stay away from Saga of Majesty. It’s not only the least impactful, but also flat out the hardest for you to accomplish. This makes it significantly worse than any of the other options.
PSYCHIC POWER ANALYSIS
Space Wolves have a decent lore comprising of 6 Psychic Powers. The lore is primarily offensive based, but its best powers are its 2 utility spells. You’ll usually want to bring at least 1 Rune Priest to take advantage of this lore.
1. Living Lightning: Warp Charge Value 6. Allows you to inflict D3 mortal wounds to the nearest visible enemy unit. If that unit dies from these D3 mortal wounds, the power repeats from the wiped out unit again and again until there are no enemy units within 18”, or the power fails to wipe an enemy unit out. This power has the potential to be really fun, especially since there’s a stratagem that improves the D3 to a D6. However most of the time this power is just a Smite with a Warp Charge Value of 6, and it competes with Tempest’s Wrath and Storm Caller. It’s generally not worth taking overall.
2. Tempest’s Wrath: Warp Charge Value 6. Allows you to impose a -1 to hit on an enemy unit within 24” and that’s visible to your Psyker. This is one of your main two powers that you’ll want to always bring along. The targeted -1 has a great range at 24”, and it synergizes with Cloaked By The Storm. Many of your elite melee threats are actually somewhat fragile for their price, and this effectively helps boost their durability. Don’t leave home without it.
3. Murderous Hurricane: Warp Charge Value 5. It allows you to target an enemy unit and roll a D6 for every model in that unit. On a roll of a 6+, you cause a Mortal Wound. If you’re against some kind of melee horde army, like Orks for example, this can be an okay substitute for Storm Caller. Overall though, this power is pretty narrow and generally not worth taking.
4. Fury of The Wolf Spirits: Warp Charge Value 7. Allows your Rune Priest to gain a a Str 5 ap-3 Damage 1 weapon that lets him make an additional 6 attacks. This is a cool power thematically, but it competes with Tempest’s Wrath and Storm Caller. In addition, you really shouldn’t be taking a Rune Priest to try to mow down Infantry. Overall, it’s not worth taking.
5. Storm Caller: Warp Charge Value 8. It allows you to broadcast a Cover aura of 6” off of your Psyker. Normally, this doesn’t sound that impressive. However, Cover cuts the damage that any unit in a 3+ save takes in half, assuming no AP. This is really critical on Thunderwolf Cavalry, as they are very weak to just getting chipped to death by small arms. And even if you take an alternate build, Cover will cut the damage that any 3+ model takes in half, making this power actually very powerful, and well deserving of its Warp Charge cost of 8.
6. Jaws Of The World Wolf: Warp Charge Value 7. If successful, select an enemy unit within 18” and roll 2d6. Subtract the target unit’s movement from your total, and inflict the remainder as Mortal Wounds. This is a really swingy power, since it can’t hit Vehicles and most Infantry have at least a movement of 6, meaning you’ll average just 1 Mortal Wound. This also competes with Storm Caller and Tempest’s Wrath. Overall, it’s generally not worth taking.
So, in conclusion, you’ll want to always bring 1 Rune Priest for Storm Caller and Tempest’s Wrath. Just be ready to use the CP re-roll on Storm Caller, because you’ll probably need to.
Still, these two powers along with the Cloak Of The Storm stratagem allow a Rune Priest to actually be a large damage mitigation source for your army. Taking a second Psyker is generally not recommended, as most of the other Space Wolf powers aren’t that impressive, and if you really need a couple mortals your first Priest knows Smite as well.
Space Wolves actually have a rather small amount of Relics available to them, and unfortunately many of them are rather lackluster compared to relics that we have seen in other armies.
1. Krakenbone Sword– An improved Frost Sword, clocking in at a Strength +1, AP-4, Damage 1 weapon that re rolls all failed to wound rolls. Not actually bad on its own, except it competes with a Thunder Hammer which is simply miles better in most situations. This makes the Krakenbone Sword a rather poor choice.
2. Armor of Russ– Provides a 4+ Invulnerable Save, and allows you to select one enemy unit within 1”. That enemy unit must fight last. If it has an ability that allows it to always strike first, it instead fights normally. The Armor of Russ is, at first glance, actually a rather powerful relic. The problem is that basically every character you would care to put this on will probably end up with a Storm Shield anyway, making the Invulnerable save moot. Its best home is on a Rune Priest on a Bike which saves a few points on Runic Armor. If you have a Wolf Guard Battle Leader and you just can’t afford a Storm Shield for him, than this is also good there. If you can find a good home for it, it’s well worth the Relic slot however.
3. The Black Death– An improved Frost Axe, clocking in at +2 Strength, AP-2, Damage 1, along with a bonus D3 attacks. This relic is actually not all that bad if you want your Warlord to just shred light Infantry all day. The problem is that this is usually a weak use for your Warlord who should be beating up tougher targets than things like Guardsmen or Fire Warriors. Generally, just take a Thunder Hammer instead.
4. Helm of Durfast: Warlord gets to re roll to hit in the shooting phase, and ignore cover. If this was an aura ability, it would be incredible on a supportive Wolf Lord. But it’s just tied to a single model, which makes it basically useless. It’s quite possibly the worst Relic in the entire game, definitely in the Space Wolf army.
5. Wulfenstone: +1 attack aura, doesn’t affect Wulfen, nor does it stack with the +1 attack buff that Wulfen give to other units. Wulfen can be surprisingly frail and require some effort to play around, but this relic allows you to circumvent that by not bringing Wulfen at all. It is a trade-off, since Wulfen also provide a buff allowing you to re roll failed charges, and Wulfen are very dangerous models in their own right. However, the ability to get most of the benefit of Wulfen without eating up an equipment slot is valuable. This is usually the best relic available to you as a Space Wolf player.
6. Frostfury: An improved Storm Bolter, clocking in as an Assault 4, ap-1, Damage 2 gun that lets you dig for a Mortal Wound on a target you dealt damage to but didn’t slay on a 4+. This is actually also a surprisingly not bad choice, if you have a character with a Storm Bolter. It’s not as good as the Wulfenstone obviously, but if you don’t have a use for the Armor of Russ or the stone, this is okay.
So, to recap: Your main go to relic should be the Wulfenstone. It’s useful every game, and even has some use if you’re bringing Wulfen. After all, Wulfen can die, and you also might send your Wulfen away from your Warlord. If you don’t want the stone, consider the Armor of Russ, or Frostfury. The other melee weapons generally flat out lose to a Thunder Hammer, and the Helm of Durfast is just pointless. Most of the time you should be planning on spending 1CP for both the Stone and the Armor of Russ however, so you can get the most out of your Relics.
Space Wolves have a variety of new Stratagems available to them, some unique to them and some have been pulled straight from Space Marines. We’ll be going through them in order, briefly describe what they do, and then we’ll talk about how helpful it is and if it’s worth using. We will start a little out of order however, by introducing the most important stratagem for Space Wolves: Cunning of The Wolf. Cunning defines the army’s entire game plan, so it needs to be discussed first.
Cunning of The Wolf (1CP): Allows you to deploy an INFANTRY unit “on the hunt” instead of normally. It can later be deployed onto the table anywhere more than 9” away from the enemy army, and 6” of any table edge. Space Wolves completely run off the power that this stratagem provides. It makes Blood Claws effective, Wulfen insane, and broadly gives Space Wolves the ability to control the entire map from the get go. Many units will transform from being mediocre to highly effective when deployed via Cunning of The Wolf. Any unit that benefits from Cunning will be talked about in its respective Tactica section. This is one of your main go-to stratagems, and you should be building your lists around it. If you’re not using it at least 2-3 times in a regular 2000 point game, you’re probably making a mistake. Just remember that it doesn’t behave like Forward Operatives (the Alpha Legion stratagem), or other similar abilities, and that Cunning is subject to the Beta rule restrictions around Reinforcements if you are playing with those rules.
Orbital Bombardment(3CP): Allows you to make a point on the table visible to a Space Wolves Warlord, and then you have a 4+ to smite every enemy unit within D6 inches of the point. Characters require a 5+ instead of a 4+. You can only use Orbital Bombardment once per game. Overall, Orbital is the most Hail Mary of Hail Mary stratagems ever written. 3CP is very expensive, and it requires your warlord to hold still, which is generally not what a Space Wolves Warlord wants to be doing. In addition, there’s no guarantee that you’ll actually even do anything important with the strat. We generally don’t recommend using this stratagem due to its heavy inconsistency, difficulty of use, and steep cost.
Killshot(1CP): If you have 3 Predators within 6” of one another, you can give all 3 predators +1 to wound and +1 to damage, as long as they shoot at something with the MONSTER or VEHICLE keyword. This stratagem requires you to take 3 Predators, which is a pretty heavy points investment, but the payoff is decent as long as all 3 are alive. We recommend either 1 or 2 of your Predators to have Heavy Bolter Sponsons instead of Las Cannons if you take 3. You simply don’t need 12 Las Cannons with +1 to Wound and +1 damage. We also generally don’t recommend Predator Autocannons over the Twin Las Cannon sponson. The Las Cannons are simply far more damaging than the Autocannons against typical Vehcile and Monster targets, both with and without the Killshot buff.
Flakk Missile (1CP): Allows a single Infantry unit with a Missile Launcher to shoot a special missile at an enemy unit that has the Fly keyword. When rolling to hit with the missile, you add 1 to that hit roll, and if it hits, you simply inflict D3 mortal wounds instead of rolling to wound. A little narrow, but missile launchers will usually wind their way into your list somewhere. This isn’t something to use every game, but it is worth keeping in the back of your head, especially if the enemy has a model that has the FLY keyword and it has a strong invulnerable save, like Magnus The Red or a Flying Hive Tyrant.
Overwhelming Impetuosity (1CP): Allows a Blood Claw unit to re-roll to hit against a unit with a higher Power Level as long as the Bloodclaws charged this turn. This stratagem is pretty underwhelming. For one, Blood Claws really shouldn’t be fighting anything other than basic infantry, which usually won’t have a higher Power Level. Second, Blood Claws are usually going to be hitting on 2+ because of the Space Wolf Trait, which makes this a generic ability of Re-Rolling 1’s to hit, which the Blood Claws may already be benefitting from. Even if they weren’t, this probably wouldn’t be worth the CP just to get to Re roll a couple of 1’s. It does also work with other units with the Bloodclaw keyword, but the same issues apply. You simply have stronger uses of your Command Points, so we generally don’t recommend this stratagem.
Wisdom of Ancients (1CP): Allows any Space Wolves Dreadnought other than Murderfang or a Wulfen Dreadnought to broadcast a RR 1’s to hit aura. We generally don’t recommend Dreadnoughts for the most part with Space Wolves, but if you decide to take one then it’s worth remembering Wisdom. It can be a very impactful stratagem if your Dreadnought is in the right place and next to the right units. Remember that it affects him as well, like any regular aura.
Cloaked by the Storm (3CP): In response to successfully casting a Space Wolf Power, you can spend a whopping 3 command points, and make the Rune Priest that cast the power broadcast a -1 to hit penalty to the enemy army as long as they shoot a friendly unit within 6”. This probably won’t be worth using every game, but there are a lot games where a single use of this stratagem will break your opponent in half by robbing him of a lot damage. Imagine a Rune Priest on a bike or jump pack riding with some Thunderwolf Cavalry, providing cover to the cavalry, giving an enemy unit -1 to hit, and then imposing an army wide -1 to hit to the enemy if they want to try to kill those Thunderwolf Cavalry. Talk about synergy! This is easily one of the best stratagems that Space Wolves have, and should always be on your mind.
Trophies of Fenris(1/3CP): Take an extra relic for 1 CP, or two extra relic for 3CP. You really only have two seriously worthwhile relics in the Armor of Russ and the Wulfenstone, so you should never be spending 3CP on this. You should find yourself commonly spending 1 CP to get whichever relic you don’t take baseline from the Armor of Russ and the Wulfenstone, however.2
Mentors Guidance (1CP): Allows a Space Wolf character within 6” of a Wolf Priest to RR wounds. This stratagem is a lot more conditional than it originally sounds. You need a Wolf Priest near another character, who presumably has a Thunder Hammer, to be attacking a target that the Thunder Hammer isn’t just going to splat. In addition, you should have a Wolf Guard Battle Leader in the list somewhere too, and he lets you Re-roll 1’s which is often practically the same thing. There aren’t too many targets that come to mind where this strat is helpful, other than Imperial Knights. If you’re staring down a Knight, or maybe a Land Raider, suddenly this stratagem becomes okay. But for the most part, this probably isn’t worth the CP and is generally not recommended.
Lone Wolf (1CP): If you have a Space Wolves infantry unit that has been reduced to a single model, that model receives +2 to its Wounds characteristic and it also gains 2 Wounds (since technically improving its Wounds characteristic wouldn’t actually give it more Wounds). In addition, that model can re-roll all to hit and wound rolls for the rest of the game. This strat is really fluffy and cool, but it’s just not very good most of the time. The model doesn’t gain the character keyword, for one, and for two most models aren’t really equipped with equipment to justify this. You might get something out of say, a Terminator with Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield, but that’s about it. We generally don’t recommend this stratagem.
Chooser of the Slain (2CP): Allows you to shoot at a unit arriving from reserves, as long as the enemy unit arriving is visible to a Rune Priest, and that Rune Priest is within 6” of the unit you want to shoot with. You receive a -1 to hit penalty with whatever you shoot with. This stratagem is both really good, and really awkward at the same time. Rune Priest powers have short ranges, which means they usually won’t be near fire support. However, this stratagem allows any friendly unit to shoot, not just a friendly Space Wolf unit. Expect an FAQ on this, but for now, you can run something like a Castellan with your Space Wolves, and unload your Castellan onto a unit arriving from Reserves with this stratagem. We said no allies, but this is too silly/strong to not mention.
Laugh In the Face Of Death (1CP): Re-roll hits with any INFANTRY/BIKER/CAVALRY unit, as long as the enemy unit has an ability causing a Leadership Penalty. For one, Re rolling all missed hits will usually be a blank buff for Space Wolves, as they hit on 2+ on the first round of combat, and getting a Re-roll to hit roll of 1’s buff from a Wolf Lord is pretty easy. For two, this ability has a very specific condition, since there aren’t that many units in the game that cause leadership penalties. Might be helpful against Night Lords? Overall, this is ignorable, and almost never worth the CP. We generally don’t recommend this stratagem.
Overwhelming Savagery (1CP): Allows a Thunderwolf Cavalry unit to Re-Roll 1’s to wound. Not bad, except Wolf Guard Battle Leaders exist. If your Battle Leader dies somehow, this allows you to replicate the effect. In general though, this stratagem does nothing. You did remember to bring a Wolf Guard Battle Leader, didn’t you? Overall, we generally don’t recommend this stratagem.
Only In Death Does Duty End (2CP): Allows you to fight or shoot with a character whenever a character is slain. You usually won’t have a use for this stratagem as far as shooting goes. However, getting to fight with a Character that dies can be very powerful. Definitely not a stratagem to use every game, but it is worth keeping in the back of your head.
Howl Of The Great Pack (2CP): Used in the Morale Phase, it allows a Wolf Lord to broadcast a 12” aura of “friendly models automatically pass Morale tests, enemies take a -1 to their Leadership” bubble. This is a really narrow stratagem. Most Space Wolf units are too small to really be worried about Morale, and 2 CP to impose a bubble of -1LD is almost never worth it. We generally do not recommend this stratagem.
True Grit(1CP): Allows a unit of Space Wolves Infantry to treat their auto bolt rifles/boltguns/bolt rifles/bolt carbines as being Pistol 2. This is unfortunately another one of those really thematic but not very useful stratagems. It doesn’t allow you to shoot with your regular Pistols, so for the most part you’ll just be adding a few extra bolt rounds. This might be helpful if you’re fighting something like Genestealers or Ork Boyz, where every bonus attack counts. But for the most part, we don’t recommend this stratagem.
Seeking a Saga (1CP): Allows a Space Wolf character to RR Wounds against an enemy character with a higher Power Rating. This stratagem is incredibly narrow. Most enemy characters that are going to have a higher power rating are going to be Monsters or Vehicles. Against an army that can do that, you should just take the Saga that provides +1 to wound against Monsters or Vehicles. That saga and a Wolf Guard Battle Leader make this strat almost never applicable. Hardly not worth remembering, nor is it worth spending the CP most of the time if you do remember. We generally do not recommend this stratagem.
The Wolf’s Eye (1CP): Allows a Long Fang unit to Re roll all to hit or to wound rolls. This stratagem is pretty strong. Practically every Space Wolf list should have a squad of Long Fangs with Missiles, just because this stratagem exists. Against large targets, you can settle for the innate RR 1’s to hit affect Long Fangs have. But against Infantry, you can shoot a bunch of Frag missiles that RR 1’s to hit and RR all to wound, without needing any outside support. Or against T8 stuff, you get Krak missiles that RR to wound. That’s really good. Easily top 5 best stratagems that Space Wolves have and you’ll want to include a unit of Long Fangs to benefit from it.
Talismanic Shield (1CP): Allows you to deny an enemy psychic power with any Space Wolves Character as if they were a Psyker. This power isn’t quite as good as it reads, since it has to be used at the beginning of your opponent’s Psychic phase, as opposed to them casting a power. So, you have a slight chance of spending the CP and not needing to counter an important power. However, the ability to get a extra deny attempt is very useful against some armies. This is another one of those stratagems that you won’t use every game, but you’ll want to remember it for those games where it matters.
Armor of Contempt (1CP): This allows a Space Wolf Vehicle to ignore mortal wounds on a 5+. There’s not a whole lot of mortal wounds flying around in the game for the most part, but if you find yourself fighting someone who’s just shelling out Mortal Wounds left and right, this stratagem isn’t bad. It’s just extraordinarily narrow and won’t be worth using most games you play.
Hellfire Shells (1CP): Allows you to load a special round into a Heavy Bolter. You only make one attack with the Heavy Bolter, but if the attack hits you immediately inflict D3 Mortal Wounds to the unit. This stratagem is a bit narrower for Space Wolves than other Marine armies, since they don’t have Armorium Cherubs to abuse the stratagem and they don’t have Scouts as troops. However, if you find yourself with an Infantry model that has a Heavy Bolter, keep this stratagem in mind.
Living Storm(1CP): Allows you to boost the damage of the Living Lightning psychic power from a D3 to a D6, as long as you have 2 additional Space Wolves Psykers next to your casting Psyker. Living Lightning is a very inconsistent power, and this stratagem doesn’t do much to alleviate that. However, despite not being a very competitive option it is admittedly a very fun one. Definitely could have some mileage building a list around this power and trying to push the enemy army down to low model count/health and just table them with the power in one go.
Datalink Telemetry (1CP): Allows you to make a Whirlwind automatically hit its target, as long as a friendly Space Wolves Land Speeder is within 12” of the target and the Speeder can see the target. This is actually a decent stratagem in and of itself. The problem is that it requires you to take Whirlwinds and Land Speeders, which are both rather underwhelming unit choices. If you find yourself playing with those models, then you should be using this stratagem around the clock. Overall however, we don’t recommend it because it forces less then desirable list construction choices.
Keen Senses (1CP): Allows a Target Space Wolf unit to ignore penalties to hit in the shooting phase. Do you like Hellblasters? Do you hate it when those Eldar with their tons of to hit penalties make your Hellblasters unable to overcharge? This stratagem laughs at that. You can even use it to ignore the movement penalty for moving and firing Heavy Weapons, if that’s the situation you find yourself in. It might not come up every game, but it’s super strong in the games that it does.
The Emperor’s Executioners (1CP): Allows a Space Wolves unit to generate bonus attacks on a roll of 4+ against any Thousand Sons unit. Bonus attacks can’t go on to make more Bonus attacks. This is a really narrow stratagem as it’s only applicable against one army in the game, but man is it incredible when it’s live. If your trait is active, you’ll get bonus hits on 3+. That’s a huge spike in damage, practically doubling the amount of attacks you get to make. Really situational, but against Thousand Sons, use this bad boy every turn you can.
Honour The Chapter (3CP): Allows a Space Wolves Character to fight again. There’s really not much to say here. It’s a double fight for a character, which is really good when you need it. Don’t use it every game, but make sure you remember it exists.
Linebreaker Bombardment (1CP): Allows 3 Space Wolves Vindicators to pick a point within 24” of all 3 Vindicators, and roll a d6 for every unit within 3” of that point. On a 4+, that unit takes 3d3 Mortal Wounds. The roll improves if the unit has 10+ models, and gets harder if the unit is a Character. Overall this is a really swinging stratagem that again, runs the risk of doing almost nothing helpful, while also possibly doing heavy damage. It also requires you to take 3 Vindicators, which simply aren’t very good models. Between the heavy inconsistency this stratagem has, and the poor list writing decisions the stratagem enforces, we generally don’t recommend this stratagem.
That covers all 27 stratagems available to Space Wolves. For your convenience, we’re going to list off all the recommended stratagems and all the stratagems that are situationally helpful.
– Cunning Of The Wolf
– Cloaked By The Storm
-Trophies Of Fenris (1CP cost only)
– Chooser Of The Slain
– The Wolf’s Eye
– Keen Senses
-Only In Death Does Duty End
-The Emperor’s Executioners
– Honour The Chapter
Regardless of list construction, this should be a list of stratagems that you’re using and keeping in mind from Space Wolves. If you build around an extra stratagem (E.G. including 3 Predators for Killshot) then those stratagems will of course be worth remembering to use as well.
RECOMMENDED UNIT ANALYSIS/TACTICS
Space Wolves have quite a few different units available to them. We’ve gone through them all, and assembled a list of units that you should consider when building your Space Wolf army. These are only recommendations, so you shouldn’t feel bad if your favorite unit didn’t make the cut. If you want to include something, by all means include it. But if you’re struggling about how to build your Space Wolf army, or are new to the army, then these units are a great pool for you to work with. We’ll be going by Battlefield Role, starting with an introduction of who made the cut, and then going through a couple tips on how to use them.
HQ’s: Arjac Rockfist, Rune Priest, Wolf Guard Battle Leader, Wolf Lord, Wolf Priest
Arjac Rockfist: He’s a named Wolf Guard Battle Leader, and he comes with a ton of buffs and improvements over a regular Battle Leader. He gives a +1 attack aura to all WOLF GUARD units within 6”, which includes himself. This means he has 5 attacks total, which is another improvement. He also has a -1 damage ability active at all times in addition to having a 2+ save and a 3++ invulnerable save, which makes him tough as nails. His only problem is his poor mobility, since he’s in Terminator Armor. If you don’t want to run a Thunderwolf Cavalry based list and instead want to include some Wolf Guard, Arjac is fantastic. You can set him up in reserves to perform a Teleport Strike Turn 2 so he arrives on the table with your Wolf Guard Terminators.. If you took Wolf Guard with Jump Packs, just make sure you move your models in such a way that they stay within his 6” aura. Wolf Guard with +1 attack and some gnarly melee weapons will make really quick work of whatever they charge into. If you don’t want to play with a bunch of Wolf Guard, then you’re better off taking a generic Battle Leader instead.
Rune Priest: Effectively these are the Space Wolf Librarians. The two main powers that Rune Priests will be using are Storm Caller (6” aura of cover) and Tempest’s Wrath (target enemy unit receives a -1 to hit), along with the Cloaked By The Storm stratagem, effectively imposing an army wide -1 to hit on your opponent if they shoot units near your rune priest. You have two main options: You can have your Rune Priest support your fire support, or your melee threats. The downside to keeping him in the backfield is that you will sometimes struggle to have a meaningful target for Tempest’s Wrath, since it only has an 24” range. If you run him up with your melee threats, everything he does will be fully online, but it’s a dangerous position for him. Make sure you give him a jump pack. You will have games where you need him in the backfield and games where you need him up front. The pack allows you to do either effectively while keeping him safe. Consider the Armor of Russ on games where he’s running with the melee threats, as you can straight up delete counter charge units by making them unable to swing until after they get punched first.
Note: If you are positive you only want him to support your gunline, consider Njal Stormcaller. His bonus power known and +1 to cast make him more consistent and flexible, but he has mobility issues preventing him from keeping up with the frontline. His inability to keep up and change between backfield support and running with the frontline cut him from the recommended list, but if you only want backfield support he’s a good choice.
Wolf Guard Battle Leader: These guys are the Lieutenants everybody dreams of. They can ride on a Thunderwolf, they can take a Storm Shield, they’re fantastic. If you want a really heavy ranged support element, consider taking a basic Battle Leader on foot with no upgrades. Just make sure you have one to run with your melee element. As far as weapons go, we recommend a Thunder Hammer. It’s expensive, but it’s very powerful, and unusually accurate because of the Space Wolf trait.
Wolf Lord: Effectively these are the Captain equivalents for Space Wolves, and their tactics and recommendations are pretty much identical to the Battle Leader. Make sure you bring a Thunder Hammer, and probably you’ll want him on a Thunderwolf unless he’s babysitting your fire support, in which case honestly he can probably go bare bones as well, possibly with a Power or Frost weapon of choice if you felt like splurging a bit.
Wolf Priest: Space Wolves wrap their Apothecary and Chaplain into one model, and that makes them a very attractive choice if you’re taking a lot of Thunderwolf Cavalry/characters on Thunderwolves. Wolf Priests are able to heal an injured model every turn with no failure rate, simply recovering D3 wounds to any Space Wolf INFANTRY/BIKER/CAVALRY unit within 3”. In addition, he provides an aura of Re-rolling all missed hits in the Fight Phase, and broadcasts an improved Leadership value as well. A marine with a Thunder Hammer normally has a 50% accuracy rate. With the Trait active, they jump to a ~67% accuracy rate. The Chaplain boosts you to a ~89% accuracy rating. Although you only jump up about 22% accuracy wise, your overall damage dealt goes up by a whopping 33%. That’s a huge multiplier. And, in the unlikely scenario you find yourself in a drawn out combat, his Re roll buff becomes even more impactful, as you will move from a 50% hit rate to 75%. That looks like a 25% boost to accuracy, but it’s actually a 50% boost to your overall damage, which is a massive improvement. The math is different if your weapons don’t have a -1 to hit penalty, but in most situations the Wolf Priest is a significant improvement over a Wolf Lord in terms of damage dealt. His only weakness is he really can’t do anything on his own, and strictly exists to make other models better. Still, in the right hands, he’s a great inclusion.
TROOPS: Intercessors, Bloodclaws
Intercessors: Intercessors are your go to regular Space Marine of choice. They enjoy a large amount of benefits over Tactical Marines while being at a fairly reasonable price point. They’re more effective if they get charged, their weapons have a better range, and they have an extra wound which makes them very resistant to small arms fire. You’ll want to keep the squad sizes small, and don’t bother upgrading their weapons either. The main role of Troops is easy access to command points, not heavy lifting. Just take the bare minimum on these units, and spend those points where it’ll really make a difference.
Bloodclaws: Bloodclaws are one of your premier unit choices to use Cunning of The Wolf with. Effectively, they’re Space Marines with Chainswords that get +1 attack on the charge. A squad of 5 on the charge will get 16 attacks hitting on 2+, which isn’t bad at all! Cunning of The Wolf allows them to get where they need to be quickly. You don’t have great odds of making a charge with just one unit, but taking multiples gives you redundancy . They do just enough damage to be a threat to light infantry and some supporting characters, or to take out a unit sitting on an objective in the backfield. Just make sure you don’t take too many units of Bloodclaws, as they do suffer diminishing returns, and they also eat up your command points before the game begins.
Elites: Aggressors, Company Ancient/Primaris Ancient, Redemptor, Wolf Guard, Wulfen
Aggressors: Aggressors are one of the most efficient anti Infantry models in the game, and they even do respectably in close combat since they effectively have powerfists. Their main weaknesses are their range, their poor mobility, and the fact that they aren’t very accurate from the -1 to hit on their fists. The Space Wolf Codex solves all 3 of these issues, turning Aggressors into a very powerful unit option. Cunning Of The Wolf allows them to get where they need to be immediately, effectively solving both their range and mobility issues. In addition, the Space Wolf trait mitigates their poor accuracy. Most deadly Space Wolf melee units don’t have a good way to circumvent screening units that are there to get in the way. Aggressors mow these kinds of units down, promoting strong internal synergy with the codex. They aren’t quite mandatory, but they are very good at what they do, and easily worth including. Just make sure you Cunning them, or else they become significantly worse.
Great Company Ancient: Ancients effectively allow you a chance to shoot with things as they die, which is great in any army with a dedicated ranged component. Ancients naturally synergize well with the ranged components likely to be found in most Space Wolf armies. At nothing else, you’ll have a squad or two of Long Fangs, and the Ancient is a cheap, although not necessary, way to increase the damage of these units a little further. If you feel like splurging, take a Primaris Ancient instead. 6 points for +1 Wound and +1 attack is actually a very cheap upgrade, but you usually won’t benefit from it since ancients are typically stuck in backfield.
Redemptor: Redemptors are your main go to Dreadnought option as far as the Codex is concerned. They’re simply far more durable than most other Dreads, but they suffer from being a bit narrow in terms of effective loadouts. We generally recommend a Heavy Onslaught Gattling cannon along with a regular Onslaught Gatling Cannon and Fragstorm grenade launchers. Once you’re in range, you can unload an acceptable amount of anti-infantry firepower. Although Aggressors do the Redemptors job better, Redemptors don’t require a CP for Cunning, and Redemptors also open up the Wisdom of The Ancients stratagem, which can occasionally be helpful. If you want to include a Dreadnought of some kind, consider the Redemptor.
Wolf Guard: Wolf Guard make a fantastic complementary unit to Thunderwolf Cavalry, Wulfen, and you can even build an army around them in their own right. Generally, you’ll want to take Packs and keep the loadouts simple. For example, a Squad of 10 with 4 Frost Swords and 2 Thunder Hammers clocks in at 250 points even, and provides a strong amount of threat against pretty much any unit while not totally breaking the bank. If you are considering Wolf Guard, you’ll want to take Arjac. Arjac’s buff along with a squad of Wulfen or the Wulfen stone means your Wolf Guard are rocking 4 attacks. That 250 point unit that we build makes 20 Chainsword attacks, 16 Frost Sword Attacks, and 8 Thunder Hammer attacks. That’s a lot of damage, especially tied with character buffs and the Space Wolf Trait! Don’t bother taking Storm Shields, as they almost double the price of the model and don’t offer too much in the way of bonus survivability. Alternatively, consider a smaller squad size with just Frost Weapons to run alongside a Wulfen or Thunderwolf blob to dig deep behind the enemy lines by taking advantage of your increased mobility due to fly.
Wulfen: Wulfen are one of the strangest units in the entire 40K game. They’re effectively melee lawnmowers that also provide significant buffs to other units. They pay for this combination of utility and offensive capability however, both in terms of their lackluster defenses and expensive point cost. If you keep them barebones, they become reasonably affordable at 28 a model, but they suffer from becoming relatively so-so at killing anything other than basic Infantry. Increasing this conundrum is the fact that their main defensive option is also tied to one of their most expensive melee options. So, given all these facts, there are two main ways to run Wulfen. You can run a naked squad of 5 barebones to use Cunning of The Wolf with to allow them to show up where you need them to provide their Re-Roll charge buff to make your charges more likely. Or, you can take a large squad primarily equipped with Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield combos along with a few other selections of your choice as your primary melee component. We recommend the small, bare bones option if you are aiming to play a full Wolf Guard army, or want to ensure that your Thunderwolf Cavalry make their charges. Otherwise, you should be building your army around the fact you’re planning on taking a 10 man unit that clocks in around 450-500 points. Just remember that any unit that benefits from the Hunt ability can’t benefit from the Kill ability that Wulfen have, and that Wulfen are permanently immune to the Kill ability.
Fast Attack: Cyberwolves, Thunderwolf Cavalry
Cyberwolves: Wolves make for simple but efficient objective runners to sit on midfield objectives, and in a pinch they can try to slow down enemy for a turn. They’re paper thin, but they have a very low profile which means that on a table with proper amounts of terrain, you should be able to hide them most of the game. In addition, your opponent will usually have far more pressing concerns than killing a single Cyberwolf. We don’t recommend taking more than 1 or 2 units, but taking just a couple can be surprisingly impactful in terms of board control/denial. We also primarily recommend Cyberwolves over Fenrisian because of the difficulty of seeing a single model with a low profile, and the very cheap investment of 15 points instead of 40 for 5 Fenrisians.
Thunderwolf Cavalry: Thunderwolf Cavalry are the main bread and butter unit for Space Wolves. They’ve come up constantly, and for good reason. They’re fast, they hit hard, they can be made to be very durable with the right set up, and they’re probably the best unit in the codex. Their only restraining factor is how expensive can be. Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield sets up clock in at a whopping 66 points a model. For a full squad, that’s 396 points for 6 models! We recommend that at least 2/3rd’s of your unit be equipped with Thunder Hammer Storm Shield, and the rest can mostly be equipped to suit your fancy. Just remember you don’t need to concern yourself with being tarpitted for long against any one unit, as the basic wolves also make 3 attacks a piece, and there are a variety of ways to push the attacks on Thunderwolf Cavalry higher. Their main weaknesses are that they are Cavalry, which prevents them from scaling buildings or ruins, their inability to move through models, and their overall weakness to small arms fire. Luckily, Storm Caller covers their weakness to small arms fire nicely, if you can get the power off, and good use of fire support can clear a hole to priority targets and help you remove units in buildings.
Heavy Support: Hellblasters, Longfangs, Predators
Hellblasters: Hellblasters are one of the mainstay units for most Space Marine armies, and the same is true for Space Wolves. You’ll often find yourself playing with Intercessors, and Hellblasters and Intercessors synergize nicely due to their identical range. We recommend you keep them stock with regular Plasma Incinerators, as they are not only the cheapest, but also the most flexible. Space Wolf Hellblasters are also unusually effective against to hit penalties, as Keen Senses can allow you to ignore them, which is critical since hit penalties are usually the death of any overcharged Plasma weapons. Use them along with your Intercessors to cover the midfield and provide a more responsive element of fire support to your army.
Long Fangs: Long Fangs are another one of the high value units available to Space Wolves. They don’t require a Wolf Lord to babysit them as they can provide themselves with a Re-Roll 1’s to hit buff, and they can benefit from both Keen Senses and their own unique stratagem, The Wolf’s Eye. The Wolf’s Eye allows you to either Re-Roll all to hit or to wound rolls with a unit of Long Fangs, transforming Missile Laucnhers into one of the most effective catch all weapon types in the game, at least for the unit using the stratagem. In addition, a squad of 5 with 4 missiles only clocks in at 170 points, which is very cheap for the firepower it brings. You should never leave home without at least 1 unit, and we would generally recommend 2 units.
Predators: Predators are, in general, worse versions of Long Fangs. They’re less accurate, have far more narrow weapon options, and depending on the opponent can die as easily as Long Fangs. However, you can change up the core build of Space Wolves (a combined arms force) by using 3 Predators along with lots of other fire support to create a decent gunline. In addition, one Predator can help compliment Longfangs by bringing a few Lascannons to help really injure enemy armor. If you bring one Predator, go all in on the Lascannons. If you want to go for all 3 with Killshot, then 1-2 should take Heavy Bolter Sponsons instead. You should never take the Predator Autocannons, as its lackluster strength, poor AP, and random shots make it very unreliable at attacking armor.
ARMY RECAP/SAMPLE LIST
Most of the units that made the cut for our recommended list are not Vehicles. This is because Cunning of The Wolf doesn’t interact with these models, and Wulfen/Thunderwolf Cavalry/Wolf Guard simply outperform most of the other mobile options in the Codex. In addition, even these optimal unit choices mostly require some amount of support to make it across the table in one piece, and to avoid getting roadblocked for multiple turns. Let’s take a look at a sample 2000 point list build strictly from our recommended units that you can use to put up some serious work on the table.
Space Wolf Battalion
-Wolf Lord with Power Sword 78
-Rune Priest With Jump Pack, Runic Axe, Bolt Pistol, Storm’s Calling, Tempest’s Wrath Armor of Russ 124
-5 Intercessors with Bolt Rifles 90
-5 Intercessors with Bolt Rifles 90
-5 Intercessors with Bolt Rifles 90
– 5 Long Fangs with 4 Missiles 170
-5 Long Fangs with 4 Missiles 170
-10 Hellblasters with Plasma Incinerators 330
-6 Thunderwolf Cavalry with Thunderhammer, Stormshield 396
-Cyber Wolf 15
-Cyber Wolf 15
Space Wolf Battalion
– Battle Leader on Thunderwolf, Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield, Wulfstone(1CP), Warlord 140
-Wolf Priest with Jump Pack, Crozious Aracanum, Bolt Pistol 97
-5 Blood Claws with Bolt Pistol/Chainsword 65
-5 Blood Claws with Bolt Pistol/Chainsword 65
-5 Blood Claws with Bolt Pistol/Chainsword 65
So, there’s our 2000 point list, right on the dot. The list aims to have above average board control by using Intercessors and Hellblasters to control the midfield while Longfangs hold the rear and the Thunderwolf unit and all the characters except the Wolf Lord on foot run with them. Our Wolf Lord moves with our Intercessors and Hellblasters to help keep them accurate and prevent our Hellblasters from killing themselves if they overcharge. We use Cunning on 2-3 units of Bloodclaws to come in on later turns to either help box our opponent in, or take his backfield objectives. Our giant deathstar of Thunderwolf Cavalry and characters moves right up the board. Our Rune Priest keeps our Thunderwolf Cavalry safe by providing Cover and a targeted -1 to hit, and if necessary an additional blanket -1 through Cloaked By The Storm. Cyberwolves help deny boardspace to stop our enemy from deepstriking in and killing our Longfangs, along with our Intercessors and Hellblasters of course. After turn 3, they can run off and sit on far off objectives on their own.
– Remember that you have a 6” Heroic Intervention, and that Heroic Intervention works regardless if your opponent charges or not. If they try to park a unit within 7” of you to stall you, simply Heroically Intervene with your Warlord and both supporting characters. The Armor of Russ prevents the unit you tumble into from attacking, and since nobody charged you’re all free to fight normally. Your 3 characters will wipe the unit out in short order, and you’ll free to move normally on your turn and run right through the hole you make for yourself.
– The Wolf’s Eye is a fantastic stratagem, but use it with purpose. If you don’t stand to seriously benefit from it, don’t use it. You only have 9-10 CP to work with, and you’ll probably be spending 3 of it on Cloaked By The Storm, 1 on a bonus relic, and 1 on a CP re-roll for Storm’s Calling. That means you really only have 4-5 CP to play with, so use it wisely!
– If you find yourself fighting a dedicated melee army, don’t bother outflanking your Bloodclaws. Instead, use them as a first line of defense. You aren’t as all in on the melee gameplan as your opponent in this case, so it’s you who needs to stall them. Luckily, Bloodclaws and even your Cyberwolves to some degree can slow your opponent down while your fire support whittles them away. If you need more time, sacrifice your Intercessors. Don’t engage your Thunderwolves untill you have to, as Thunderwolves can easily die to simply massed attacks. A regular squad of 30 Ork Boyz with a Nob Banner, for example, make 120 attacks, get 100 hits, around 33.333 wounds, which is 11 or so damage. That’s practically 4 out of 6 Thunderwolves killed on average. You just can’t afford to eat tons of light attacks, flat out.
Well, that wraps it all up. Now, you’re equipped to go out and win glory in the name of the Allfather, or to stand fast against these mighty warriors of the Imperium. Either way, make sure to check out our other Warhammer Armies articles while you enjoy your Nights At The Game Table.