Space Wolves HQ Review: Wolf Lord

Hello everyone SaltyJohn here from TFGRadio bringing you a new review of the most take HQ choice from the Space Wolves Chapter, the almighty Wolf Lord! For more reviews, bat reps, tactics discussions, and analysis check out the Tactics Corner!

Wolf Lords of the Vlka Fenryka are among the mightiest heroes of the Adeptus Astartes not to mention the Imperium of Man. Born of the sea barring tribes on the death world of Fenris all members of the Space Wolves were hardened to extreme climates, monsters, and warfare long before walking the halls of the Fang. Those who gain the respect of their brothers through peerless acts of martial prowess, strategy, cunning, and in some case wanton destruction will be voted by their battle brothers to lead a Great Company of Russ as a Wolf Lord, or Jarl. The Jarls of the Vlka Fenryka lead their massive companies of superhuman Space Wolves into combat for the glory of Russ and the All-Father in the hopes of one day becoming the Great Wolf or die trying.

200235_md-Canis, Pre-heresy, Space Wolves, Thunderwolf Cavalry, Thunderwolf Lord

MMMMMMM… 5th edition Thunderlords…

Wolf Lords in Warhammer 40k are usually an excellent choice as a tank character. The ability to mount them on a Thunderwolf, give them a 2+3++, and maybe even re-rolls with Veil of Time means they can take a massive amount of fire for your death star. Even on foot in Power Armor or Terminator armor the Wolf Lord can be a scary prospect to take on in Close Combat. Mounted on a bike or with a Jump Pack the Wolf Lord can compliment Swiftclaws or Skyclaws in equal measure. Ultimately the most common way you’ll see a Wolf Lord fielded is on a Thunderwolf.



  • Power Armor
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Chain Sword
  • Belt of Russ (4++ Invulnerable Save)
  • Grenades

Special Rules:

  • Acute Senses
  • Counter-attack
  • Independent Character

Only 105 Points! His statline is on par with a Chapter Master, not a Captain. Much better in the Special Rules department as well. I’ll take Counter-attack over a single Orbital Bombardment every time.


Tactics: The devil is in the details with the Wolf Lord choice. If you aren’t running him as a super killing machine on Thunderwolf than more often than not you would be better off picking the Wolf Guard Battle Leader to lead your force of Space Wolves. He’s a lot less points and still a good Tank with access to all the best wargear available to the Lord. There are several great Character Wolf Lords available to SW players from both the codex and Curse of the Wulfen. The problem with most of the Character lords is points cost efficiency. Namely they are points cost inefficient. Ragnar is great but with an AP3 weapon he just can’t hack it in the current meta. Krom is fine but he’s on foot. The list goes on. If you want to run a Wolf Lord it is best to build one yourself from the ground up. Many of the Great Companies in Curse of the Wulfen allow you to build your own Wolf Lord, or Wolf Guard Battle Leader, rather than take a character lord. So unless you’re insistent on running Blackmanes etc you’ll be good with building your own. So, how to go about it. Below are three good builds for a Wolf Lord and their uses. These are the three most common and probably the most points efficient in each category. The categories are: Thunderlord, Terminator Lord, Foot Lord. Of those the first is the most common, and easily the best option.

The Thunderlord has a basic load out as follows.

  • Runic Armor
  • Storm Shield (or Wolf Claw)
  • Powerfist
  • Thunderwolf Mount
  • Helm of Durfast

This load out gives you an absolute beat stick of a character who re-rolls his misses in Close Combat and is a tank for wounds with a 2+ 4++, or 3++ if you took the Storm Shield. The claw v Storm Shield debate has raged online among SW players for a while. Really, as with most things at the high level, it boils down to personal preference. Do you want your lord to survive better or have the option to swing at various initiative level with varying AP per round of combat? No single idea trumps the other in this case and is probably more reliant on a players’ local meta as to the choices they make. The Thunderlord will generally be run with one of three units. A unit of Thunderwolf Cavalry is always a decent choice to run a Thunderlord with. They share the same unit type and all hit like a ton of bricks with a varying array of weapons. Another option is to go Champions of Fenris and create an IC unit with Thunderlord, or two, plus a few Wolf Guard Battle Leaders on TWM, and a few Iron Priests with Cyber Wolves on TWM. This super unit is quite expensive and requires the player to know when to go “transformer” and split up the unit to attack multiples and when not to. That does take some nuance, practice, and more than a passing knowledge of your opponents army. The third option is a new one thanks to Curse of the Wulfen and that is to throw him into a Wolftide. Sticking him into a Wolfkin formation of 45-90 Fenrisian Wolves supported by a Librarius Conclave on Bikes and maybe a Wolf Priest on Bike is an excellent way to give that unit some much needed High Strength low AP attacks. With re-rollable 2+, 3++ saves with a possible 4+ FNP and Eternal Warrior, thanks to Veilt of Time and Endurance respectively, and that tank Lord has become the ultimate in wound tanking for a unit that’s already nigh unkillable. It’s easy to see why the Thunderlord is far and away the most popular Wolf Lord build.


The next two Wolf Lords are not one’s you will see very often on the table top at top tables of a Major, GT, or even RTT event. Still they are cool builds that have their uses and fit several different niche aspects many Space Wolf players like. The Terminator Lord is usually going to be run along side Wolf Guard Terminators. Not a surprise there. Some Space Wolf players really like the idea of a Stormwolf filled with Terminators. This was more common when all Imperial Knight Armies were a thing in the Meta. You’ll see why in a moment. The load out for this lord is normally as follows:

  • Terminator Armor
  • Thunderhammer, or Chainfist
  • Storm Shield
  • Helm of Durfast or The Wulfen Stone

The basic load out of CF/SS/Helm is 195 Points. It is a real steal for a model that can cleave through anything in the game, even an IK if it gets lucky and the Knight has one Hull Point down. Again, because this load out was popular among SW players to counter IK the Chainfist is arguably the better choice, but your mileage may vary in a more modern meta. The most common unit for him to go with is Wolf Guard Terminators in a Stormwolf. The unit clocks in at 543 points and is designed to eat through at least 2 Imperial Knights through shooting and Assault.


  • 6 Wolf Guard Terminators
    • 2 with Thunderhammer and Storm Shield 4 with Chainfists and Combi-meltas
  • Stormwolf
    • 2x Multimelta upgrade, coupled with the Twin-linked Las Cannon and Twin-linked Hellfrost Cannon you can put a lot of hurt on Imperial Knights and GMC.

This is a build that excels at hunting big time threats like Knights, GMC, Super Heavies, you name it. It can also be a lot of fun to play. In a post Curse of the Wulfen world I would probably run the Lord with a Wulfen Stone instead of the Helm of Durfast. For 20 more points you get Rage on the Lord and Furious Charge for his unit. Strength 9 Chainfists are nothing to be sneezed at. In Close Combat this build also has the added benefit of being able to tarpit a Deathstar for a little while before dying. Another bonus is this load out for a Lord, unlike the Thunderlord and IC bomb/Wolftide, doesn’t rely on a Formation or special detachment to work. You can take a SW CAD with this load out and still have room for chaff units with obsec and a Sicaran or two.


Mmmmmm, allied Stormwolf…

The Foot Lord is most commonly used like the Foot Captain in other Marine lists. A cheap way to fill out a required slot in a meta detachment like Battle Company. In this case probably an Iron Wolves Great Company.


A Wolf Lord in power armor starts out at a hefty 105 points, so normally if you need a chaff character in SW you’ll go with a 50 Point Wolf Guard Battle Leader. Sometimes though a player wants an HQ choice that can do a little bit of work when necessary so they go with the WL instead. As mentioned above the Iron Wolves are a great example of this. That Great Company formation with all its free vehicle upgrades can be pretty cool, but it is also an expensive Great Company to run. You could potentially do the Terminator Lord build above in that GC but you cap out on points fast. Many Iron Wolf players have take to the following load out for their Iron Wolf leader.

  • Lord in Power Armor
  • Storm Bolter
  • Frost Axe

Foot Lords, FTW?

At only 130 points you have a character that can be stuck into a unit of Blood Claws, Grey Hunters, or Wolf Guard in Power Armor and do soem work in Close Combat late in the game to clear or hold an objective. With a 3+4++ and 4 base attacks at Str 6 AP2 he isn’t a character most armies would want to send a normal unit into. That’s why many SW players who are serious about trying Iron Wolves know that the strength of that build is in the vehicles but having a lone character whose able to hold or assault late in the game can be useful. Just don’t load him down with a ton of expensive wargear.

imagesThe Wolf Lords of the Space Wolf Chapter are deadly in both the fluff and on the table top. Even the most basic Wolf Lord is better than a basic Captain from any other Chapter and with minimal effort, and in some cases not many points you can make them into some of the best Close Combat monsters in 7th edition 40k.

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.



About SaltyJohn

John has been playing Warhammer 40k since the 3rd edition box set with Space Marines, Dark Eldar, and weird green palm trees were in the set. He is currently a 40k Head Judge for the Las Vegas Open, the largest 40k tournament in the world. An avid board gamer, a huge fan of video games, and a guest spot on Geek and Sundry as a "Historian" during an episode of "Game the Game" round out his geek credentials. You can catch "Salty" John on TFG Radio's Twitch Show, and Podcast, as well as find him streaming video games on Twitch on the TFG Radio Twitch page from time to time.

7 Responses to “Space Wolves HQ Review: Wolf Lord”

  1. WestRider September 20, 2016 10:09 am #

    Why the Storm Bolter on the foot Lord? Seems like it would be both cheaper and more effective to just leave him with a Bolt Pistol.

    • SaltyJohn September 20, 2016 10:26 am #

      It’s only 5 points and gives him just a little more firepower to help whatever squad he is in during the shooting phase or overwatch. Using it won’t preclude the unit from charging like a bolter would and it doesn’t matter for helping him with his number of attacks as the axe means he gets no bonus. Really I suppose it is personal taste. Maybe in your meta, or how you want to use him, a meltabomb would be better for 5 points!

      • Dakkath September 20, 2016 11:44 am #

        The frost axe isn’t a specialist weapon, though. So you’d get the +1 attack from the pistol.

        • WestRider September 20, 2016 12:52 pm #

          Yeah, that’s the source of my confusion. There’s nothing preventing him from getting the +1 Attack from the Pistol/Axe combo, and that seems way more useful than an extra shot or two.

        • SaltyJohn September 20, 2016 9:28 pm #

          Nice catch, I missed that! Pistol and axe it is then.

    • Trixie October 5, 2016 5:33 am #

      Th’ats going to make things a lot easier from here on out.

  2. Quinn September 20, 2016 2:40 pm #

    We have seriously different ideas on running TW Wolflords. Nowadays I would never use the Helm of Durfast on anything but a Runepriest in a Wyrdstorm Brotherhood, that unit is absolutely critical if you want to do anything in an ITC SW build in my opinion. When it comes to the actual WLs, I like 2 of which is Runic Armor with Morkais Claws and the other one that I use more often is Runic Armor, SS and the Krakenbone. Both of these builds are pretty effective, preferred enemy vs characters in challenges helps also (CoF). I still think Harald is great in any build with a lot of TWs or a Wolfkin star, his added rules more than make up for his so-so setup. I played a local ITC this past weekend and he was critical, the only game he died in my whole army was obliterated anyways lol (Renegades who I had no answers for).

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