Faction Focus: Space Wolves

The 9th ed 40k Space Wolves faction focus via the Warhammer-community page!

Gather the pack and ready your frost axe as the Space Wolves are ready to be unleashed for the new edition! To help provide guidance on how to wield the mighty Sky Warriors in the Era Indomitus, we ventured far, seeking the counsel of a renowned skjald, Brad Chester, for his saga is long and his wisdom deep. Are you sitting comfortably, with a horn of mjød in hand? Very well. Then we will begin…

Who Are They?

The Space Wolves are a savage and fiercely loyal Chapter of Space Marines – traits inextricably linked to the ferocity of their home world of Fenris. They are taught to fight from a young age, for war is not just their peoples’ way of life, but their only means of survival. The death world of Fenris is among the most inhospitable of its kind, with long, cruel winters, brief yet bitterly hot summers and – worse still – it’s populated by many of the deadliest fauna and alpha predators in existence. Those who thrive within such a brutal environment make potential Adeptus Astartes recruits of a quality that is all but unrivalled in the Imperium. Should the aspirants survive the myriad trials and be found worthy of joining the ranks of the Space Wolves, they will live the Fenrisian warrior’s dream, earning a saga as a chosen champion of the Allfather in glorious wars all across the Sea of Stars.

How They Play in the New Edition

Given their nature, it’s a safe bet that the Space Wolves will rise to the challenge of a new edition with all the gusto and verve for which they’re famed. But to make sure your sons of Russ start off on the front foot, here’s some sage counsel from multi-time Grand Tournament winner and Team America stalwart Brad Chester.*

Brad: Let’s talk about the Space Wolves and why you should be excited about them in the new edition or, as we’re calling it, “the best edition yet!” When I was asked what the members of the Rout should be looking forward to most in the new edition, I decided that the only way I could do it justice would be to answer it in the most Brad-esque manner possible…

Basically, everything. I’m serious about this! Smaller average battlefield sizes means those pesky heretics have fewer places to hide, and you get your axes biting their flesh that much sooner. Wherever possible, consolidate into nearby enemy units, as they’ll either be forced to fire at you in the next Shooting phase (if they’re even able to at all!) or flee into the night.

The new terrain rules are amazing, interactive, and a gift sent from Russ himself! Obscure and Dense terrain will shield you from long-range firepower, while Light Cover also offers a bonus to your save against ranged attacks. Even better, Heavy Cover will shield your units from the feeble attempts of your opponents to hurt you in melee… as if they had a chance!

One thing to bear in mind is that you’ll no longer be able to declare charges against everything within 12″, fight twice with Honour the Chapter, then take advantage of consolidation to overcome your limited movement. For the love of the Primarch, you’re going to need to think ahead in the Movement phase. Be especially mindful when positioning your Characters so they can make a Heroic Intervention, as the heroes of the Space Wolves have the hitting power to turn almost any combat to your advantage.

Setting up a high-probability charge, then ending your Consolidation move to engage units with a high volume of shots or damage output is a must. While Monsters and Vehicles may well be able to shoot in combat in the new edition, you can still dictate their target options. So throw that unit with a 2+ armour save and/or a solid invulnerable save into those pesky Dreadnoughts, tanks, and Monsters, and force their hand even as you activate Transhuman Physiology on the unit you made them shoot at. Meanwhile, the rest of your units can get busy earning those sweet, sweet victory points in your Command phase, as they’re safe and sound on the objectives they’ve secured.

Board control and counter-charge is the name of the game with Space Wolves. There’s no need to expose yourself rushing forwards with no plan when the best play is to dominate the battlefield and use the terrain to your advantage. Once your position is secure, you can either set up charges or counter-charges as you see fit, while scoring points in every Command phase. Your Characters are heroes of legend, forging their own sagas for the skjalds to sing, so make sure you have a unit within 3″ to protect them. I made many errors in this area while playtesting the new edition, leaving my Characters out of position only for filthy heretics and xenos to take shots at them. Heed Old Man Brad’s advice and keep this at the forefront of your mind in the Movement phase – protect your heroes so they can go on to earn the glory they so rightfully deserve!

Key Units

If you’re looking to get your hands on the incredible Indomitus set on July 11th, we can officially confirm that your Primaris Lieutenant, as well as the awesome Bladeguard Veterans and Ancient, will all be picking up the Wolf Guard keyword. As such, they’ll fit seamlessly into the elite, hand-picked brotherhood of your Great Company. On that note, if you’ve been hungering for a mighty shield-bearing Jarl to lead your Primaris Space Wolves, look no further than the new Primaris Captain to fulfil that esteemed role!

But in any case, are you wondering which units available to the fierce warriors of the Rout will prove their worth in the new edition? Well, we’ve had some thoughts on that too…

Ragnar Blackmane

Brad: Ragnar’s an absolute beast** with a whopping 10 Attacks on the charge, which turns into an average of 16 hits once you activate the Stratagem Touch of the Wild, and get exploding attacks on each hit roll of 4+. Ragnar can also ride in an Impulsor with a group of like-minded brethren such as Bladeguard Veterans to shield him from harm and make it all the more likely for him to get him into combat, where he belongs. Once he’s there, he’ll be cutting threads all over the place with his many, many Strength 6, -4 AP, Damage 2 Attacks. Finally, you need Ragnar in your army because his model is awesome!

Wolf Lord with Thunder Hammer

Brad: Another hot option is a swift-moving Wolf Lord wielding a thunder hammer and either riding a Thunderwolf or matching the ever-popular ‘Smash Captain’*** with a jump pack. He’s among the very best in this field – with the Hunters Unleashed Chapter Tactic granting him a bonus when charging into combat, he’s hitting on 2+, re-rolling 1s, making him arguably the most deadly thunder hammer wielder in the game. With access to the extra hits on 4+ from Touch of the Wild, he averages a healthy 8 hits on the charge! With a Strength 8, -3 AP weapon that does a flat 3 Damage. I’ll give you a minute because I’m assuming you’re running around the room flailing your arms in excitement right now…


Rightly feared as one of – if not THE – hardest-hitting melee squads in the game, a Wulfen murderpack is a veritable force of nature that leave nothing in their wake save the broken bodies of those unfortunate enough to be in their path. Their combination of brutal wargear and devastating profile means they’re equally at home tearing through a horde of Ork Boyz as they are sending a Chaos Knight crashing to the ground. In the new edition, you’ll be able to make ample use of the new Obscuring terrain rules and their Bounding Lope to dart from cover to cover before wrecking everything in your way in a brutal frenzy of destruction. If you’re worried about enemy Overwatch, consider pairing your Wulfen with a unit of Suppressors, whose Suppressing Fire ability can rob your opponent of their one chance to prevent their unit’s inevitable demise at the hands – or rather, claws – of the Wulfen.

Thanks, Brad! How will you be unleashing the fury of the Space Wolves upon the Allfather’s enemies? Let us know on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page, Instagram and on Twitter using #New40K.

* Brad’s name is actually (maybe) Fenrisian in origin and roughly translates as Beater of Foes.
** He’s obviously taken a leaf out of Ghazghkull’s book!
*** The popular nickname for a Space Marine Captain equipped with a thunder hammer and jump pack – a living missile if ever there was one!

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