Space Wolves HQ Review: Wolf Guard Battle Leader

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

The warriors of the Vlyka Fenryka are peerless in close combat among the ranks of loyal Adeptus Astartes. Their Great Companies are filled with warriors of great renown and prowess. Among these are the Wolf Guard, the true elite of a Great Company, and among those are the Wolf Guard Battle Leaders. Great warriors often entrusted with leading large portions of the Great Company into battle by their Jarl, Wolf Lord. In terms of game play the Wolf Guard Battle Leader fills the role of the “Captain” that most Space Marine Companies field despite the fact that is not their role in the fluff.


Overview: Generally speaking the Wolf Guard Battle Leaders (WGBL) come in the same basic forms as the Wolf Lord discussed in a previous article. The most obvious uses of a WGBL are to cheaply fill the role more commonly filled by the more expensive Wolf Lord. Many players prefer the Wolf Lord for many reasons, and others have just as many reasons why the WGBL is a superior choice. As with most things it is really personal taste, points limitations, and the meta that will determine which choice is best. The WGBL is often taken in a Thunderstar, or as a cheap foot choice, two less common but very interesting uses are on Bike or with a Jump Pack.



  • Power Armor
  • Bolt Pistol
  • Chainsword
  • Grenades

Special Rules:

  • Independent Character
  • Acute Senses
  • Counter Attack

At 50 points base this guy isn’t half bad with WS5 BS5 A3 I5 W2 Ld10.


Tactics: The general tactics for using a Wolf Guard Battle Leader are the same as the tactics for using a Wolf Lord or Space Marine Captain. The WGBL is basically a cheaper plug in for a Wolf Lord. Keeping in that vein of thought below you’ll find two common builds for WGBL and another less common and less competitive build. The major downside to taking a WGBL over a Wolf Lord is the reduced stat line. WS 5, 3 Attacks base, 2 Wounds, Ld 9 is considerably worse than WS 6, 4 Attacks base, 3 Wounds, and Ld 10.

Thunderstar WGBL: Like the Wolf Lord the WGBL is at his most effective on the table top when taken with a Thunderwolf Mount and thrown into a unit of Thunderwolf Cavalry or Wolfkin Murder Pack in a Wolftide style build.

Wolf Guard Battle Leader:

  • Thunderwolf Mount
  • Powefist and Storm Shield
  • 140 Points

At a full 50 points less than the comparable Wolf Lord build you can see the draw of the WGBL. The downside here, besides the reduced statline, is there is no 4+ invulnerable save via the Belt of Russ and so the Storm Shield is a must take. Leaving out the Morkais Claws or Powerfist/Wolfclaw build as possibilities. Besides acting as a replacement for the more powerful Wolf Lord the WGBL can also find himself as a support asset in a Thunderstar. Particularly if a player wants to use Champions of Fenris and run a thunderstar made up of 4-6 ICs the cheaper WGBL comes into his own. In a build with 1 loaded out Wolf Lord tank and a few WGBL plus Iron Priests you have a unit that is more resilient than just Thundercav and has the ability to split off and attack multiple different units in a turn which can be game changing when done correctly. In a deathstar build points are always at a premium so having a good character that’s 50 points cheaper than the more impressive Wolf Lord is a boon to the list building process.


Foot Leader (Cheap HQ Choice): Again this is a build covered with the Wolf Lord article. Unlike the Wolf Lord version though you take this guy because you’re really lean on points in your build and need the absolute cheapest HQ choice possible. Usually found in very expensive builds like Iron Wolves great companies this guy just fills a mandatory slot. The basic stat lines though for this 50 point model isn’t bad and with just the addition of a Power, or Frost, Axe if you have the points then you can increase his effectiveness in CC exponentially for just 15-20 points.


Jump Pack or Bike WGBL: This is a bit of a weird build out in the current meta of Space Wolf lists. It’s included here because these articles shouldn’t always just be about the most competitive ways to play sometimes it can be about interesting, but still effective, ways to play. This build for a WGBL, or even a Wolf Lord, is especially fun if you’re running a Firehowlers Great Company. With multiple formation requirements for units to be on bikes or Jump Packs the formation makes for a super fast list. If you take the Wulfen Murderpack as your auxiliary choice, not out of the question because the Firehowlers are one of the cheapest Great Companies to field, then the list has the potential to be even faster! Even if you’re not running Firehowlers a WGBL, or WL, in a unit of Wolf Guard with Jump Packs or Wolf Guard on Bikes can be fun to play, and unexpected in the era of the Thunderstar and Wolftide.

WOV_09_KH0039_01_PIt can be fun to run some different units at your opponents. If you want to run a Lord or WGBL with Jump Pack or Bike here is a decent way to go.

  • Bike, or Jump Pack
  • Powerfist
  • Storm Shield
  • 110 points for the Bike version, 105 for the Jump Pack version

I loved running this unit in 5th edition. It carved through enemy units in 5th in an unexpected fashion. Wolf Lord, Wolf Priest, Rune Priest, and 10 Sky Claws. It was fun to play.

The two ways to run a complimentary unit for the WGBL is either a unit of Wolf Guard or the correspondingly equipped Claw unit. 10 Wolf Guard with Jump Packs are 210 points base, add in a few powerfists and you’re looking at 260-285. 10 Skyclaws with Wolf Guard Pack leader 2 flamers and 2 fists runs you 220 points. 10 Wolf Guard with Bikes is 250 points base, add in 3 fists for 325 points. 10 Swiftclaws with flamer and 2x fists clocks in at 265 points. In both these instances I feel like the better unit to take would be the claw versions simply because you’re saving on points. If you’re going to run a Space Wolf list without one of the “stars” you need to make sure you’re bringing the pain in other areas. Smaller “stealth” stars like the kind you can build with Bike or JP units in a Space Wolves lists, will let you bring some Forgeworld goodies in a CAD. A Sicaran or two, maybe a Fire Raptor, and you’ve got a list that can give your opponent a lot of issues.

The Wolf Guard Battle Leader can be much more than just a cheap HQ option for your hyper torqued Space Wolf list. He can be a complimentary character to your Thunderlord, and even part of an unexpectedly well tooled Space Wolf CAD. Trying out interesting load outs on units with as much customization as a WGBL or Wolf Lord have can yield some great results.

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.

3 Responses to “Space Wolves HQ Review: Wolf Guard Battle Leader”

  1. Reecius October 9, 2016 10:18 am #

    The Wolf Guard Battle Leader is an all star unit. I routinely run mine with a T-Wolf, Belt of Russ, Fist and Wolf Claw. He is an absolute stud in every game I use him.

    • SaltyJohn October 10, 2016 8:40 pm #

      I like WGBL on mount too. Great compliment to any unit of Thundercav or Wolftide.

      • Reecius October 11, 2016 11:54 am #

        Yeah, he works so well with the Armor of Russ as he doesn’t already have the 4++

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