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Space Wolves 6th Edition Tactica

Introduction

I've been playing Space Wolves as my main army since 3rd edition. With the release of 6th edition 40K, the Space Wolves' tactics have changed yet again, buffing some units and nerfing others. With rapid-fire Codex releases that Games Workshop has been doing over the last year, Space Wolves have rapidly dropped down to mid-tier. However, due to their flexibility, mainstay units (Rune Priests, Grey Hunters & Long Fangs) and allies they can still compete.

This tactica is split into 3 sections: a Unit Breakdown, Allies and Lists/General Tactics.

In my unit breakdown, I assign units one of 3 self-explanatory ratings - GOOD, AVERAGE and POOR. Note that "good" units are not a "win button", or are they necessarily going to work in any kind of list - they are simply strong choices. Conversely, "poor" units are not useless, they just have limited potential. That's not to say you can't have fun or make a tournament winning list with them, they just require ideal circumstances and lots of skill to pull off properly. The recommended points level is just that - the minimal points threshold where this unit is a worthwhile investment in that it is not going to be a hindrance to the rest of your list's synergy.

In the allies section, I discuss good allies for Space Wolves to join with and potentially good configurations. This section is far from comprehensive, as a good ally will compliment your list and there's only so many combinations that I cover. If you have a list and come up with an ally that works spectacularly that I didn't mention, that does not mean that it's bad - by all means, try it out (and if it's fluffy, even better)!

In the lists/general tactics section, I offer some list suggestions and point out some very general things to keep in mind when playing Space Wolves. There's nothing worse than a generic, flavorless netlist!

HQs

Logan Grimnar

The Great Wolf himself, Logan Grimnar is a good HQ choice. However, he can't just be thrown into a list - he's effectively a center-piece model for the army, one that you should build a whole list around. All-in-all, he is a GOOD choice for a Space Wolves army.

Pros:

  1. Logan Grimnar makes Wolf Guard troops choices. This was a cool but not particularly competitive option in 5th edition. In 6th, Wolf Guard have suddenly become a decent alternative to Grey Hunters (for reasons covered in their own entry), and Logan is essential to making this sort of list happen.
  2. He is a force multiplier. Logan's special rules (particularly the Saga of Majesty, Living Legend and The High King) make all the Space Wolves units around him even better. One unconventional use for this is to put him with a squad of Long Fangs to give them Relentless, but I don't recommend it – it's very silly, and a waste of Logan's abilities. Strictly a “for fun” tactic.
  3. He is a total badass. I have run Logan Grimnar solo up the field, and he's make it all the way to the enemy lines without a scratch on more than 1 occasion. And then he'll proceed to destroy almost any enemy in CC – there are few characters in the game that can go toe-to-toe with Logan Grimnar in close-combat and expect to come out on top. Eternal Warrior and a 2+/4++ save also helps him to have a lot of staying power.

Cons:

  1. He is bloody expensive. 275 points puts him up with some of the most expensive units in the game. Don't get me wrong, he is worth his cost, but it doesn't make it any harder to swallow. It's hard to fit him into a list under 1850pts. Furthermore, using him to make a Wolf Guard army is an expensive idea as well – expect a very low model count and difficulty with objectives missions.

Recommended Points Level: 1850+

Njal Stormcaller

Njal is an incredibly potent psyker, capable of laying armies to waste with ease. He has a lot of special abilities that put him above a regular Rune Priest, although he's very much a "all your eggs in 1 basket" unit. He is, ultimately, a GOOD choice, though your mileage may vary.

Pros:

  1. Njal is easily the best anti-psyker in the game now. In 5th edition, a 3+ to nullify any psychic power within 24" was very good. In 6th edition, with the nerfing of Psychic Hoods and greater emphasis on psykers in general, it's huge.
  2. Njal is the best option Space Wolves have for proper psychic offense. I would personally stick with the Codex powers over the Rulebook ones (since it gives him way more flexibility and variety).
  3. His Lord of Tempests special rule gives him even more debuffing/offensive capabilities, and (best of all) they can't be stopped by psychic defense.

Cons:

  1. Like Logan Grimnar, he's very expensive. You could take more than 2 Rune Priests for the price of Njal - personally, I think Njal's bonuses are worth the cost, but that's up to you to decide in your list building. A lot of people say he's useless for this very fact.
  2. He's a bit fragile. He only gets an invulnerable save when he wears Terminator Armour, but that just makes him even more expensive and not really worth it (especially since he has a 2+ armour save anyway). He also doesn't get Eternal Warrior, so he's vulnerable to Instant Death. And if he's in your army, there's a good chance your opponent's going to throw everything they have at him. Furthermore, due to the changes to Force Weapons, he only has a Force Stave now, so he will have difficulty killing MEQs in close combat (although this balances out somewhat in that he wounds them on a 2+).

Recommended Points Level: 1850+

Ragnar Blackmane

The hot-headed, young Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane has to be one of my favourite Space Wolves in the fluff. He was a tad mediocre in 5th, and has been nerfed in 6th further. In an all-comers list, he is overall a POOR unit because he is too fragile and WAY too expensive. That said, he can be good versus certain types of builds (all-power armoured armies, Xenos, etc), but I can't recommend him in a TAC list.

Pros:

  1. Ragnar is a combat-oriented character. Giving Furious Charge to his unit and +D3 attacks on the charge is great, and his War Howl can swing an assault phase in your favour.
  2. The Saga of the Warrior Born can decimate a horde army - if you fight Orks, Nids and/or blob Guard on a regular basis, he is a mainstay, as long as you have a reliable Wolf Guard or other character to soak up challenges.

Cons:

  1. He's expensive, but (unlike Logan and Njal) he isn't really worth the cost. 240pts is far too expensive for what he brings to the army. His Force Multiplication benefits also aren't that huge either in comparison to Logan or Njal. Furthermore, in order to get the most out of him, you're going to want to run a Land Raider (or some similar assault transport), putting his cost up even more.
  2. With only a 3+/4++, Ragnar is very susceptible to instant death. Not as much as he was in 5th, but he is still rather fragile for a 240pt investment.
  3. 6th edition hurt Ragnar quite a bit. Furious Charge isn't nearly as good as it used to be and Ragnar's Frost Blade is now useless versus 2+ armour saves. The Saga of the Warrior Born isn't as good now either, since he can be challenged. These changes mean that Ragnar isn't very good at going toe-to-toe with enemy characters - treat him like an infantry-killing scythe.

Recommended Points Level: 2000+

Ulrik The Slayer

Ulrik is the Wolves' head Wolf Priest, a character of unsurpassed skill. Unfortunately, his rules are rather lacklustre - I would argue that he's [/i]worse[/i] than a normal Wolf Priest in almost every situation. He is a POOR choice, even with an ideal set-up.

Pros:

  1. Against armies with lots of T5+ models (Nurgle armies, Tyranids, Wraithguard and Space Marine Bike armies are really the only ones that can put out a lot of these), Ulrik can be quite potent, allowing rerolled hits and wounds in close combat for his whole unit. In fact, he's borderline broken versus these particular armies in my experience.
  2. Ulrik can actually hurt T5+ models now that his Crozius Arcanum is S6 (the AP4 hurts slightly, but it's a worthwhile trade-off).
  3. The Wolf Helm of Russ can be potentially life-saving in a challenge.

Cons:

  1. Ulrik's Slayer's Oath is far more situational than a regular Wolf Priest's Oath of War (and doesn't even benefit shooting like Wolf Priests now do).
  2. The Mentor and Wolf Helm of Russ special rules are both mediocre buffs, and aren't really worth the extra cost that you're paying for them.
  3. You could almost take 2 Wolf/Rune Priests or a squad of Grey Hunters for the price of Ulrik.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Canis Wolfborn

Canis is probably the silliest Space Wolf in the fluff, but he is quite fun strictly in gameplay terms. Like Logan, he opens up a new way to build your list, centered on lots of Fenrisian Wolves and Thunderwolf Cavalry. He is an AVERAGE HQ choice, as you'd be better off getting a Thunderwolf Lord, but if you want a wolf horde then you can't go wrong.

Pros:

  1. Canis is an inexpensive character, especially considering his statline - an identically equipped Wolf Guard Battle Leader is actually more expensive. In addition, Fenrisian Wolves are inexpensive as well, so an army built around them with have plenty of room for Thunder Wolves (which, of course, can get expensive). Unfortunately, they're also very fragile.
  2. Canis is a close combat monster, easily capable of decimating any MEQ infantry with his Wolf Claws. Like all Thunderwolf Cavalry, his statline is awesome. Throw him into a horde and watch him do his thing.
  3. With the changes to Cavalry units, Canis (and Thunderwolves by extension) are very reliable combat units. 12" movement coupled with 2D6" charge range (with Fleet and Hammer of Wrath!) means that they'll be getting into combat on a regular basis and hit hard when they do.
  4. The Saga of the Wolfkin makes all Fenrisian Wolves in the army much better and can be spammed as Canis makes them Troops.
  5. He can take 2 Fenrisian Wolves to act as ablative wounds for he and his squad (although this isn't as big a deal as it was in 5th edition with wound allocation changes).

Cons:

  1. He doesn't have much protection aside from his 3+ save and T5. He needs to be protected by a blob of Fenrisian Wolves or a squad of Thunderwolves. Grey Knights will mulch him with their Force Weapons (from personal experience).
  2. He doesn't deal with elite infantry, monstrous creatures or vehicles very well. He needs other units to back him up against these threats. He's strictly a horde-killer.
  3. A Thunderwolf Lord can do Canis' job better and more flexibly (aside from making Fenrisian Wolves Troops). However, do note that this is a much more expensive option than simply taking Canis himself, but it really is a worthwhile investment.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Bjorn The Fell-Handed

It's practically common knowledge that vehicles became more vulnerable in 6th edition. While Bjorn holds up a bit better than other Dreadnoughts, he has simply become overcosted and fragile. He is an AVERAGE choice.

Pros:

  1. For a dreadnought, Bjorn is incredibly hardy. AV13 in the front is tough to crack, plus his 5++ save and Venerable Rule mean that he should very rarely be destroyed by a penetrating hit.
  2. He is considerably stronger and more skilled than a regular dreadnought (although he is unfortunately only I3).

Cons:

  1. While he is hardy, he only has 3 hull points. He's not going to be able to take much fire before he goes down. This can, however, be exploited to take advantage of the Living Relic rule.
  2. At 270pts (or 290pts with a lascannon!), Bjorn is far from cheap. Unfortunately, with only 3 hull points he is likely to go down quickly and be a massive points sink.
  3. Bjorn is stuck footslogging - he can't take a drop pod, so the chances of him getting shot up before reaching the enemy are high.

Recommended Points Level: 1850+

Wolf Lord

Wolf Lords are very customizable and powerful centerpieces of a Space Wolves force. They can, however, get very expensive if you kit them out, but this really just reflects their potency. If you're not planning on running one of the special characters, then a Wolf Lord is a GOOD choice.

Pros:

  1. Wolf Lords are strong combat characters, well-suited to kill damn near any unit in the game. Can easily take on most challengers without hesitation.
  2. Wolf Lords have a ton of customization options available, making them suited for a variety of roles (although they are still mostly combat oriented).
  3. They are all-round good leaders with options for unit buffs (eg, the Saga of Majesty), which is important since Space Wolves have only average Leadership in general.

Cons:

  1. Kitting-out your Wolf Lord is an expensive proposition. Expect a reasonably-equipped and specialized Lord to regularly run at least 200pts.
  2. Their expertise is in assault, so don't expect great things from a Wolf Lord in a primarily shooty Space Wolves list. One of the Priest HQs should be used in this case.

Recommended Points Level: 1000+

Rune Priest

Rune Priests are easily one of the 3 mainstay units of any Space Wolves force. They are cheap and provide much-needed psychic offense and defense. They are easily a very GOOD unit in any Wolves list.

Pros:

  1. Rune Priests are dirt cheap - a basic 100pt Priest doesn't need any upgrades whatsoever to kick some ass (although some enjoy the merits of a Chooser of the Slain). There is little excuse for not being able to fit at least 1 Rune Priest into your army.
  2. Runic Weapons were good in 5th for their 4+ psychic nullification (which, at the time, tended to have better odds against most opponents than a psychic hood). Now that psychic hoods have been nerfed, Runic Weapons provide amazing, unrivaled psychic defense.
  3. The Space Wolves psychic powers are very good (especially Living Lightning and Murderous Hurricane), although I'm sure you can find as much use for the new rule-book powers as well. Divination in particular is a very popular psychic discipline. On the whole, the variety of powers at their disposal makes them very flexible and able to fit into almost any list.

Cons:

  1. Rune Priests are fairly fragile. If they reach combat then they are unlikely to survive long, since they lack invulnerable saves.

Recommended Points Level: Any

Wolf Priest

Wolf Priests got a buff in 6th edition. Previously they were largely outclassed by the special characters and Rune Priests, but with the new changes they have opened up new options for Space Wolves players. Wolf Priests have become a fairly GOOD choice.

Pros:

  1. Oath of War has been changed so that units get to reroll 1's to hit and wound in both shooting AND assault versus a specific enemy type chosen at the start of the game. This allows you to be flexible in an all-corners setting, whilst making the Wolf Priest himself a more flexible unit in his own right. A particularly nasty combo is to pair the Wolf Priest with dual-plasma Grey Hunters or Sternguard-style combi-plasma Wolf Guard and use the rerolls to avoid Gets Hot!
  2. The Fang of Morkai is no longer a double-edged sword - giving Fearless to the Priest's unit is now an awesome benefit with absolutely no drawback (unless, of course, you wanted to fall back).
  3. Wolf Priests are practically mandatory in a list utilizing Blood Claws, negating/mitigating most of their drawbacks.
  4. The Saga of the Hunter opens up options for a Space Wolves player - they can outflank the Priest, his unit and any transport should they wish. I'm sure you don't need me to spell out the sorts of shenanigans you could pull with that... Perhaps more importantly, it confers stealth onto the Wolf Priest's unit - this means that if you took a bastion or Fortress of Redemption, he and his unit would be getting 2+ cover saves on the battlements!

Cons:

  1. Wolf Priests have rather modest statlines. Utilize them for their force multiplication abilities, not their combat prowess.
  2. Wolf Priests are stuck with a Crozius Arcanum, a +2S AP4 power mace. It's decent against Xenos units, but those who fight Marines on a regular basis may find it an underwhelming weapon. That said, wounding on a 2+ rocks, and it's actually the best weapon versus every armour type except for 3+, so this might actually be a pro.

Recommended Points Level: Any

Wolf Guard Battle Leader

Essentially a demi-Wolf Lord, Battle Leaders are 30pts cheaper for a reduced statline and most of the same equipment. Personally, I don't think the lower stats are worth the 30pts saved, and as a result they are simply an AVERAGE unit. If you want a close combat character, go for the real thing: get a Wolf Lord.

Pros:

  1. Are cheaper than Wolf Lords, with most of the same options. Still pretty good in close combat as well.
  2. Have access to the Saga of the Hunter. With the changes in 6th edition, this now means you can outflank the Wolf Guard Battle Leader and (for example) a unit of plasma gun Grey Hunters with a combi-plasma Wolf Guard pack leader.

Cons:

  1. -1WS/W/A/Ld for 30pts...? Arguably not worth it. If you want a combat character, then go for the full price of a Wolf Lord unless you are incredibly strapped for points and/or want to utilize the Saga of the Hunter. Basically, go big or go home.

Recommended Points Level: Low points levels

ELITES

Wolf Guard

Wolf Guard got a bit of a boost this edition. Previously they were only really good as a combi-melta delivery system, pack leader or an expensive Terminator squad. Wolf Guard are a GOOD unit, although many people will go without to save points.

Pros:

  1. They're very customizable. Whether you want the good ol' Sternguard-style combi-weapon death bomb, a squad of Terminators or whatever, Wolf Guard can fit the role. Furthermore, they can mix and match their equipment to be more flexible (and to cut costs). One of the best for this are Powerfist/Wolf Claw Wolf Guard Terminators - the Fists and Claws cost the same points, but due to Specialist Weapon rules you can switch between them for extra versatility and still get +1A for having 2 close combat weapons!
  2. Basic Wolf Guard Terminators are actually very cheap (only 33pts). With the boost Terminators got in 6th edition, Space Wolves can spam Tactical Terminators fairly easily (although you will want to upgrade at least some of them, which will make your costs go up quickly). They are also a way to get Cyclone Missile Launchers for a missile-spam list.
  3. Pack leaders are handy for their Ld9. Give them a combi-weapon to make up for the special weapon their squad loses (if they're in a transport), because Ld9 makes a bigger difference than you'd think. Having a character for challenges is also very handy.
  4. Arjac Rockfist. The man is expensive, but he is worth it. He can take on anyone in a challenge and expect to come out on top with ease, and is a total beatstick.

Cons:

  1. As with most of the elite Space Wolf units, Wolf Guard get expensive quickly. This is doubly so for thunder hammer/storm shield Wolf Guard Terminators, which are 13pts more expensive than their Vanilla counter-parts. Expect any Wolf Guard-centric army to have a very low model count.
  2. Wolf Guard pack leaders became very vulnerable in 6th edition. They are best kept cheap, because they will probably be either sniped or challenged. Personally, I run my pack leaders with a combi-melta and power weapon: a reasonable 33pts. The old mainstays (powerfists) are much riskier now, and harder to justify when an ax is nearly as effective.

Recommended Points Level: 1000+

Dreadnought/Venerable Dreadnought

Like I said in Bjorn's entry, Dreadnoughts took a hit this edition. Regular Dreadnoughts are much more fragile, but at only 105pts you can at least spam 2-3 of them with ranged weaponry - they are a thoroughly AVERAGE unit against an opponent with any sort of anti-tank capability. Venerable Dreadnoughts are now far too fragile and overcosted for a model that will die to 3 glancing hits, and are ultimately now a POOR choice.

Pros:

  1. Regular Dreadnoughts are cheap and can be outfitted with a variety of ranged weaponry. Unfortunately, their effectiveness isn't really all that great, and you're going to want 2-3 podding in to put up any sort of resistance.
  2. Against weak enemies, Dreadnoughts can be literally unbeatable (although cannot infinitely tar pit a unit anymore because of the Our Guns Are Useless rule).

Cons:

  1. Hull points make them too vulnerable.
  2. Venerable Dreadnought is horrendously overcosted now.
  3. Now that grenades hit on WS, Dreadnoughts are far weaker in close combat. Hide your Dreadnoughts in ruins and give them twin-linked Auto-cannons, put multiple Dreadnoughts in drop pods with suicide meltaguns, or leave them at home.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+ (1850+ for Venerable Dreadnoughts)

Iron Priest

Iron Priests (and Techmarines in general) have always been a poor choice. 6th does little to improve their standing outside of very specialized roles that probably shouldn't even be bothered with. They are a POOR choice with 1 exception - if you are running a Thunderwolf Cavalry spam list, then Iron Priests can be a great addition (not so much for the special rules they bring to the field, but because a Thunderwolf Iron Priest with Cyberwolves is good in combat).

Pros:

  1. Can repair vehicles and restore hull points.
  2. Has a decent statline, although only having 1 wound sucks (I guess that's what you get for 50pts).
  3. Can be mounted on a Thunderwolf. This helps for mobility and makes him deadlier, but I would only recommend it if you can't afford a Thunder Lord, Canis, Fenrisian Wolves or additional Thunder Wolves. Iron Priests are just too fragile.

Cons:

  1. Yes he can repair vehicles, but it's a really unreliable ability. For one, he has to be in base contact with the broken vehicle in the first place, hoping that the enemy didn't blow up the 1 vehicle he was assigned to defend in the first place. Then he has to pass his repair check (on a 5+ without any Thralls). If this is successful... congratulations. You repaired a single hull point. Whoop dee doo. The only time I could see this being worth it is if you're running a Bjorn-themed list and need him to have extra protection. For obvious reasons though, this seems like just way too many hoops to jump through to make you list work.
  2. Worse than a normal Techmarine (which already sucks enough as it is), in that he can't bolster defenses or take a servo-harness.

Recommended Points Level: 2000+ (do you really have nothing better to spend those points on...?)

Wolf Scouts

Wolf Scouts took a hit as well in 6th. Now that they can't assault the turn they arrive, they've lost a lot of their former punch and options. However, I've come to re-evaluate the unit as a suicidal backfield knockout punch - a role they actually do extremely well in my experience. I like to run 1-2 units in my lists: I'd say that they're a GOOD unit if equipped properly. Due to the loss of assault on arrival, I'd argue that the ideal way to run Wolf Scouts is 2x Plasma Pistols and a Plasmagun. This will give you a fair amount of dakka on arrival for a reasonable cost that can damage rear armour and enemy backfield units, and force your opponent to dedicate some attention to them.

Pros:

  1. Behind Enemy Lines is still a very cool ability, one that can catch an enemy with their pants down. Coupled with Acute Senses, they should almost always get to come in on the enemy's board edge and wreak some havoc. This can also be a good way to get a Linebreaker VP and make your opponent have to dedicate forces to their backline.
  2. They're surprisingly good at destroying small, unprotected backfield units - infantry and vehicles. If their opening plasma gun/pistol volley doesn't do the trick, then their close combat attacks and/or krak grenades should!

Cons:

  1. Now that they can't assault when they arrive, certain loadouts of Wolf Scouts are much more vulnerable. Any unit that doesn't take 3x plasma weapons has to be either a "roll and pray" suicide bomber unit toting a meltagun (and maybe a couple plasma pistols) to blow up artillery, or hide in cover and hope they survive to cause some damage next turn. You could always consider turning them into an assault unit with a Mark of the Wulfen, Flamer, 2 power weapons and an outflanking character or 2... but that's a huge gamble. More often than not, you're banking on your 2/3 chance of the meltagun hitting and then hopefully destroying the target.
  2. To make matters worse, Independent Characters and Wolf Guard can't use Behind Enemy Lines anymore, so Wolf Scouts are going to have to slug it out by themselves if you want to attack the backfield.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Lone Wolves

I personally love Lone Wolves, they have to be one of the most characterful units in the Space Wolves arsenal. I've had one of these reasonably-equipped bad boys take down Mephiston, a Khorne Daemon Weapon Lord, a Talos Pain Engine and Cronos Parasite Engine - all single-handedly. Even when he dies, he goes off in spectacular fashion. I heartily endorse the Lone Wolf in a fun list, but their lack of mobility makes them AVERAGE in general.

Pros:

  1. These guys are dirt cheap, which makes sense for a suicide unit. You can build a deadly Lone Wolf for anywhere between 35-105pts (the "best" load-out being Terminator Armour + Chainfist + Storm Shield... a measly 85pts)!
  2. They're deadly as sin if they can reach combat. With 2 wounds, Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain, Lone Wolves can absorb a ton of punishment with nary a scratch. They also excel versus the toughest targets you can throw them at, meaning they will likely cause far more damage than they're worth, or soak up a lot of firepower.
  3. You want them to die. This seems like an odd "pro", but it means you can just plain cut them loose. Watch as your enemy wastes a disproportionate amount of firepower into them. Throw them straight at the biggest, nastiest model in your opponent's army, and watch and see if they can bring that sucker down. If not... oh well! Seriously, these guys are one of the funnest units in the Codex, and the cheap price tag just makes their saga-worthy exploits more feasible as you don't have to worry about breaking the bank all on 1 guy.

Cons:

  1. Lone Wolves have 1 major flaw - they seriously lack mobility. You can counter-act this by throwing them in someone else's Rhino on Turn 1, but it's not a particularly elegant solution. Movement + Running for a couple turns is going to be your best bet.
  2. Lone Wolves are great versus big nasties and warlords, but against a horde and/or massed small-arms fire, they will die. Keep them away from hordes and close to elite units.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

TROOPS

Grey Hunters

Grey Hunters are still easily one of the best Troops choices in the game. They are fairly cheap and have a lot of flexibility and great upgrades. Almost every Space Wolves list should have a strong core of Grey Hunters. They are a very GOOD unit.

Pros:

  1. At 15pts each, Grey Hunters are cheap for the flexibility they give.
  2. Grey Hunters are incredibly versatile due to their default load out. They can perform well in both shooting and assault without sacrificing anything (unlike Tactical Marines or Assault Marines).
  3. Grey Hunters have some excellent and unique unit upgrades that put them head-and-shoulders above other units. From experience, I can say that Wolf Standards are amazing (and now affect Overwatch shooting!!!) and can totally swing an assault phase in your favour. The Mark of the Wulfen is also great (and is AP2 to cover against Terminators and the like), and can tear through nearly anyone. If you take 10 Grey Hunters, you can also take a 2nd special weapon for free. Note however that this means that they can't take a Wolf Guard if they are planning on taking a dedicated transport (and I would typically recommend that Wolf Guard). Finally, while an expensive option, Grey Hunters can take power weapons/fists, allowing you to have a special close combat weapon that can't be neutralized in a challenge. Personally, I'd recommend taking the Wolf Standard and Mark of the Wulfen in almost any squad configuration, while the power weapons and 2nd special weapon come down to your play style and/or preferences.
  4. With Counter-attack, Grey Hunters are strong defensive units. A common tactic is to zoom up to a unit, rapid-fire into them and then be assaulted, using Counter-attack to get their bonus attack.

Cons:

  1. Grey Hunters have relatively average Leadership (only Ld8 since they don't get sergeants). This can be neutralized with Wolf Guard (the cheapest option) or other characters (Wolf Priests are probably the "best" solution).
  2. They can't be combat-squadded. Not a terrible thing, but would be handy in multiple objectives matches. You might want to work in a small unit to cover backfield objectives so that you're not dedicating a ~230pt unit to babysitting away from the front lines.

Recommended Points Level: Any

Blood Claws

Poor Blood Claws. They aren't a terrible unit, but they are just completely outclassed by Grey Hunters. 6th edition has done them a couple favours, but they're still easily second (or even third) class citizens. They are technically a POOR unit, simply because there is no real reason to run them.

Pros:

  1. Getting 2 attacks on the charge is great, they become essentially a mini-Death Company.
  2. Lukas the Trickster has become one of the best duelists in the game. He has a decent statline and equipment, and it is hard for enemies to land any blows on him. Even better, when he dies there is a decent chance he could drag the enemy (and all models in base contact) down to hell with him! Note however, that his Rebellious rule is very dangerous to his squad. A Wolf Priest will compensate in most cases, but it makes using Counter-attack more difficult.
  3. You can take squads of up to 15, which is handy for "horde" style Space Wolves and/or footslogging forces.

Cons:

  1. Blood Claws lack the versatility of Grey Hunters. They're horde assault units through-and-through. Unfortunately, their offensive output is really only a marginal difference compared to Grey Hunters, especially since they don't get access to Standards or Wulfen.
  2. If you're going to run Blood Claws, then you can't skimp on them. They need you to invest a lot, or they're going to underperform. The "ideal" Blood Claw loadout is 15 Blood Claws with dual flamers and a Wolf Priest in a Land Raider Crusader. Obviously though, this is a massive investment and isn't really worth it until you're hitting 2500pts.
  3. Lukas is a decent model, but he costs nearly as much as his unit, and his drawbacks are a pretty hefty price to pay as it is.
  4. Lower WS/BS hurts Blood Claws' performance in both CC and shooting (although a Wolf Priest helps a lot).

Recommended Points Level: 2000+

FAST ATTACK

Thunderwolf Cavalry

One of the most notoriously deadly assault units in the game, Thunderwolf Cavalry are total monsters and a nightmare for all but the most powerful of combat units. I've had a unit of Thunderwolves chew through a maxed-out Guard blob without suffering a single casualty. Thunderwolves are a very GOOD unit for anyone looking for a strong assault punch with good maneuverability.

Pros:

  1. Thunderwolves have a great statline, their T5 will make them difficult to wound, while their S5 and mass of attacks make them fearsome in close combat.
  2. They can be given Storm Shields. These keep them in the fight longer and make them an even more fearsome deathstar.
  3. As Cavalry, Thunderwolves are extremely mobile, allowing you to be a more ranged threat. This also provides them with Fleet and Hammer of Wrath, 2 abilities that are very handy for Thunderwolves. They're probably our best option for catching and killing Wave Serpents too.

Cons:

  1. The new edition got rid of Thunderwolves' former wound allocation shenanigans, making them a bit more susceptible to damage. On the other hand, this means they don't have to buy as many Storm Shields.
  2. They're expensive (moreso if you give them Storm Shields - and I definitely recommend giving them to at least a couple), but typically make up for their investment. They should also be put with a Saga of the Bear Wolf Lord, driving their cost up by around 230-280pts typically.
  3. Without Storm Shields or a Wolf Lord with the Saga of the Bear, Thunderwolves are vulnerable to instant death from S10 and (especially) force weapons. Not usually something to worry about (unless you're fighting Grey Knights), but something to keep in mind for your costly investment.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Swiftclaw Biker Packs

Swiftclaws don't really fit a Space Wolves philosophy, but they are largely a flavourful unit. They are an AVERAGE unit, but one that I'm sure you can make work if you like the idea of Space Wolves biker units. Overall though, I'd say these are better options than an actual Blood Claws pack.

Pros:

  1. They're fast Blood Claws, which is pretty awesome - most biker units are poor in assault, but Swiftclaws are built for it. Their speed means that they will likely be getting into their element quickly too and once there will get a free Hammer of Wrath attack!
  2. With the new edition changing their stats to a straight-up T5 and gaining the Jink special rule, they're hardier than ever before.
  3. Nowhere near as expensive as Blood Claws, since you won't need to buy them a transport and they can be in squads of 10 maximum.
  4. They don't compete with Grey Hunters.

Cons:

  1. They still suffer from poor WS/BS and Headstrong, meaning that you will probably need to get them a Wolf Priest on a bike to babysit. However, at least the twin-linking of the Bolters on the Bikes helps a bit.
  2. There's no option to make them a Troops choice, which would have been nice. If you want an army with this sort of unit, Vanilla Marines or Ravenwing (HERESY) are probably a better option to be honest.

Recommended Points Level: 1850+

Skyclaw Assault Pack

6th edition has helped Skyclaws them out, but they're still outclassed by other Fast Attack units. They're an AVERAGE choice, but can be decent if used well. Overall though, I'd say these are better options than an actual Blood Claws pack.

Pros:

  1. Again, they're fast Blood Claws, which is handy for an assault unit (and means you don't have to waste points on a transport). They also get Hammer of Wrath if they use their jump packs to assault an enemy.
  2. Cheaper than Swiftclaws if you're on a budget.
  3. They can take the Mark of the Wulfen!!!

Cons:

  1. They still suffer from poor WS/BS and Headstrong, meaning that you will probably need to get them a Wolf Priest with a jump pack to babysit.
  2. There's no option to make them a Troops choice, which would have been nice. If you want an army using these sorts of units, Blood Angels would probably be a better option.

Recommended Points Level: 1850+

Land Speeder Squadron

Ah the humble Land Speeder. Cheap, disposable, maneuverable and deadly. Always a solid choice with the right loadout. However, they're extremely fragile now. Land Speeders are an AVERAGE unit.

Pros:

  1. Dirt cheap. Only 50pts for a base model is a good deal! I would recommend either giving it a multi-melta/heavy flamer or 2 for a suicide configuration, giving it an assault cannon or (best of all) a Typhoon Missile Launcher.
  2. They're really fast, so you can get them to where you want them to be in a heartbeat.
  3. Used correctly, a Land Speeder can be a fire magnet. For a model that's typically <100pts, that's awesome.

Cons:

  1. Despite Jink and squadron rules, Land Speeders will still die extremely easily. Take advantage of cover to stay out of line of sight, but don't get too attached to them because 2 hull points will be stripped away by a single Tactical Squad with bolters on average. My advice: take them as a suicide unit or a missile delivery system (in the case of the Typhoon).

Recommended Points Level: 1000+

Fenrisian Wolves

Fenrisian Wolves are the "odd" choice in the Fast Attack department. They don't seem all that great at first glance, but that's ignoring their greatest asset - they're dirt cheap and can be spammed easily. At best, Fenrisian Wolves are an AVERAGE unit on their own. However, with the proper army configuration, they can be quite good.

Pros:

  1. Beasts got buffed by the 6th edition changes, making them one of the most reliable unit types to expect to actually reach assault.
  2. They are very cheap and can be run in a horde - 15 of them with a Cyberwolf is only 128pts!!! This frees up room for more expensive supporting units (such as Thunderwolves).
  3. Any model with the Saga of the Wolfkin suddenly makes Fenrisian Wolves much scarier, adding +1I and +2Ld. This doesn't sound huge, but it means they'll be striking before Marines, and will be able to get off a mass of attacks before they strike back. If you plan on running more than 1 squad, definitely take a model with this Saga.

Cons:

  1. They are very reliant on your army's build. If you plan on running them, a model with the Saga of the Wolfkin is almost mandatory. If you plan on building a list around them, I would also recommend Canis Wolfborn so that you can spam 3-6 units of them. Note, however, that they can never score objectives, so you should leave room for a squad or 2 of Grey Hunters, or fill your Allies slots with scoring Troops choices.
  2. With only a 6+ save, they're vulnerable to overwatch shooting. They also struggle versus more elite units since they can't bypass saves.

Recommended Points Level: 1000+

HEAVY SUPPORT

Long Fangs

While their dominance has diminished somewhat, Long Fangs are still the best ranged anti-tank choice for Space Wolves. They are a GOOD unit.

Pros:

  1. They're cheap for what you get. A unit of 5 missile launchers is only 140pts!
  2. Split fire is a handy ability for when you have 2 targets you need to kill (although it is overrated in my opinion. If you're going to suffer casualties, the sergeant should ALWAYS be the first to go, and volume of fire is more important than risk typically).
  3. They are fire magnets. Most opponents will dedicate a lot of resources just to kill your Long Fangs squads. You can dictate the flow of the battle if you're skilled at countering and taking advantage of such attacks.

Cons:

  1. Infiltrating units such as Chaos Chosen, Genestealers, etc. can give Long Fangs a hard time if not in cover, guarded by other units or just at the edge of the board.
  2. Missile Launchers are a little underwhelming now, but they can be effective in massed numbers. Unfortunately, Lascannons are quite expensive. A good compromise is 2x Lascannons/3x Missile Launchers.
  3. Heldrakes have made Long Fangs an endangered species...
  4. Their rate of fire is lower than what other armies can spam now so they're somewhat outclassed.

Recommended Points Level: 750+

Predator

With Heldrakes making Long Fangs vulnerable, Predators are actually pretty decent now. For those who are looking for a mobile Wolves force, a Predator is a GOOD choice, although (again) Long Fangs are the best choice in general.

Pros:

  1. Good front armour, and actually benefits from the addition of hull points since it never has to worry about not shooting.
  2. Can move and shoot reliably, unlike Long Fangs.

Cons:

  1. Vulnerable to enemy anti-tank (like all vehicles) and a priority target for such units.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Whirlwind

One of the most underwhelming units in the entire Space Marine arsenal. They're decent against Orks, Tyranids and Imperial Guard, but against most enemies they are just plain outclassed by all the other choices. In an all-corners list, Whirlwinds are an AVERAGE choice, although I don't like them myself.

Pros:

  1. A good main weapon for thinning out horde armies and can ignore cover. With many opponents running fortifications (particularly Aegis Defence Lines), Whirlwinds can actually be somewhat useful.
  2. Barrage and ignores cover is key in an edition where Stealth, Shrouded and cover are handed out like candy.

Cons:

  1. More expensive than a Predator!
  2. Whirlwind missile launcher is very weak against non-horde armies.
  3. 1 weapon destroyed result, and it's a fancy battering ram. Also, is built on the Rhino chassis and thus has poor armour.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Vindicator

In my opinion, this is the main unit I could see someone reasonably shelving a unit of Long Fangs for since it does something they can't - brings a massive S10 AP2 pie plate to the board! I love (and rightfully fear) Vindicators, they are a GOOD unit.

Pros:

  1. The Demolisher Cannon is powerfully destructive and scares the living daylights out of most opponents.
  2. Is a fire magnet, but has good armour to make up for it. You can almost guarantee your opponent will waste a lot of fire on it.
  3. Hull points mean that it can always fire even if it's glanced.

Cons:

  1. The Demolisher Cannon's range is only 24" so you'll have to get close and leave yourself open to being shot up by the more destructive and common anti-tank weapons.
  2. 1 Vindicator isn't enough - always run 2-3 Vindicators to maximize their potential.
  3. Against vehicles you're only getting a maximum of 1 penetration roll per vehicle (as opposed to 0-5 per Long Fang unit). Useless vs flyers and not so great versus vehicles in cover because they lack the weight of fire to be reliable.

Recommended Points Level: 1500+

Land Raider (Godhammer, Crusader and Redeemer)

I'll cover the 3 Land Raider variants here as they have a lot of similarities. In general, Land Raiders are a gamble - they're expensive and can be a huge pain to kill. Also, they're the only option Space Wolves have for an assault transport, so you're going to want 1 in an assault army. However, they can also be 1-shotted by melta weapons (particularly out of a drop pod). With Hull Points, they also become susceptible to being glanced to death. It's also a huge neon light on the battlefield yelling "KILL ME!!!" Finally, taking one as a Heavy Support choice is something worth mulling over since it limits your other options. If you're considering a Land Raider, then you should also consider taking it for a Wolf Guard squad since they can take them as dedicated transports. Bottom line though - they're risky, but can pay off in spades if you have some luck on your side.

The "Godhammer" variant is (in my opinion) the worst, as it doesn't act as a transport very well - it's more like an expensive Predator. Worse, it has a very small transport capacity. However, as an (expensive) gun platform it is a rather AVERAGE choice, especially if you're taking it a non-Dedicated Transport.

The Crusader variant is much better. With a greater transport capacity and enough anti-infantry firepower to decimate a Guard platoon, these can make for a deceptively deadly package. They can also fire all their guns when they move (they might have to do snap shots, but still, all the weapons are twin-linked). Used properly, a Crusader is a GOOD unit.

The Redeemer is the controversial choice. The reduced transport capacity generally doesn't make much of a difference for me, and the Flamestorm cannons are incredibly deadly to Marines when you get a chance to use them. While the reduced range hurts (A LOT), and being forced to snap-shot one if you move really sucks, the payoff and cheaper points cost make it worth it if you get the chance to use them. Redeemers are also an AVERAGE unit, although they're best used as a pure transport.

Pros:

  1. With AV14 all around, Land Raiders are tough nuts to crack for most units.
  2. They're the only assault transports Space Wolves have access to, so you should almost always load your Blood Claws or Terminator Deathstar into one of them.
  3. Power of the Machine Spirit is very helpful and means that you'll be able to put out more firepower with greater mobility.

Cons:

  1. They're freaking expensive and a huge gamble - some games they're amazing, others they get shot on Turn 1 and cost you the game as a result. There's no denying that they're fun to use, but the 250pts you spend on them might better be used buying another squad of Grey Hunters or Long Fangs, and just making due with a Rhino...
  2. As a transport, they have to get close to enemy lines... and their AV14 contingencies (such as meltaguns, meltabombs and haywire grenades) as a result. Vehicle assault changes have made them more vulnerable in close combat.

Recommended Points Level: 1850+

ALLIES

The introduction of allies has been a surprisingly refreshing addition to 40k. That said, some allies fit better than others and they can be a useless addition if you use them poorly or don't take the overall list into account. In general, Battle Brothers are by far the best choices for a potential ally since they can count as scoring units and can pass on any applicable bonuses to your forces. When looking into a potential ally, I would always start by looking at your force's battle brothers and then work from there. Allies of Convenience and Desperation are a riskier alternative and should be only used if you're certain they compliment your list well.

Battle Brothers

As an Imperial faction, Space Wolves have plenty of choices for strong allies since they are Battle Brothers with the Black Templar, Blood Angels, Imperial Guard and Space Marines. Do keep in mind though that your allies are just a detachment of your main force - you shouldn't be sinking all your points into them while neglecting your main one! Make sure your primary detachment has a solid core before looking to units of allies (with the exception being that you're using allies to fill in that core).

Blood Angels - Blood Angels allies provide Space Wolves with a lot of options. They can give us quick assault units (Assault Marines with jump packs), or you can get more cheap mechanized squads for your army (Assault Marines in Razorbacks, Baal Predators, etc). Furioso Dreadnoughts are also a tempting unit, as they absolutely murder infantry with their blood talons, and Stormravens provide Space Wolves with a Flyer. Finally, Death Company are an inviting prospect as well - 6th edition has buffed them up a lot, and they are quite fearsome to see in action (and can be a great 13th Company Wulfen proxy). Do note however that Death Company (and Blood Angels in general) are very expensive, and spending too many points on an ally weakens your main force! All-in-all, there are a lot of options you can pursue with a Blood Angels ally, although their expense makes them a POOR choice.

Imperial Guard - Probably my favourite ally for Space Wolves, since they can give you a ton of firepower for a relatively low price tag. Imperial Guard allies provide Space Wolves with dirt cheap scoring infantry units (both Infantry Platoons and Veterans are good choices) and the deadly Vendetta gunship. I also enjoy taking a Primaris Psyker for a little extra cheap psychic coverage, or a Lord Commissar if you're feeling cheap. If you're less frugal than I, indulging in the Guard's artillery is great too - who couldn't use a squadron of Leman Russes or a Manticore? Guard are a very GOOD choice to take.

Space Marines - Vanilla Marines have a few nice choices that Space Wolves could only wish for - most obviously, the godly amazing (and considerably cheaper than their Wolf Guard counter-parts) Assault Terminators. Taking White Scars opens up some cool opportunities as well, and is very fluffy. Stormtalons are a cool option and good gunship too, filling in for the Space Wolves' lack of flyer support. Thunderfire Cannons are also an extremely awesome choice. They also get troops fairly cheaply and with some awesome choices for chapter tactics, so there are a ton of flexible ways you can work them into your army. They're definitely a GOOD choice for an ally.

Inquisition - The Inquisition Codex is stupid-broken as an ally: you can add a fancy Inquisitor and scoring troops for ridiculously low cost... why the hell you you not do this? With all the neat tricks and stupidly cheap units available, Inquisition allies are ridiculously GOOD.

Imperial Knights - If you're looking for a cheap way to get a super heavy in your army, you can't go wrong with an Imperial Knight. While I find the entire concept of Escalation distasteful, if you're willing to join the derp then Imperial Knights are a GOOD choice for an ally.

Allies of Convenience

Allies of Convenience are a much riskier addition to a Space Wolves army. They are treated like enemy units, so Njal's storm will affect them, as well runic weapons and other such effects. You'll have to write your list around such an ally.

Dark Angels - I love that they're Allies of Convenience - it's so fluffy! Fluff-adherence aside, only being Allies of Convenience with Dark Angels isn't a big deal. The Space Marines Codex pretty much outclassed Dark Angels in every way though, so they're a rather POOR choice unless you're desperate for a shield-generator Librarian.

Eldar - With the new update, Eldar have become very dangerous with some great choices for allied units. Farseers are great for psychic support (although if you are running them, do not take a Rune Priest since his Runic Weapon will affect them), Wraiths are just plain brutal in a Wave Serpent and even the lowly troops choices are worth consideration. Eldar are definitely a GOOD choice. Also, THANK GOD that Runes of Warding got nerfed into oblivion.

Grey Knights - When Allies were first announced, everyone thought Grey Knights would be in everyone's list. Turns out, though, that they are just too untrustworthy! Personally I wouldn't mind using a Mastery Level 3 Librarian for some much-needed psychic offense. I think the best use of a Grey Knights ally though would be using Inquisitors, Henchmen and Assassins, but the release of the Inquisition Codex made this pretty much irrelevant. As a result, they're basically an AVERAGE alternative.

Sisters of Battle - An okay addition to the Wolves repertoire. I think Saint Celestine is basically a no-brainer if you go this route as she is absolute cheese. Battle Sisters themselves aren't that great, so you'll probably also want to take either Seraphim or Dominions for a short-ranged shooting punch. Outside of Celestine though, Sisters aren't a particularly good ally. They are AVERAGE at best.

Tau - With their update, Tau have become practically tailor-made allies. A squad of Broadsides are enough to scare off even Heldrakes, and Riptides are a no-brainer choice as well. Even Fire Warriors aren't so bad when there's a line of pissed off Grey Hunters ahead of them. If you're looking for fire support and Imperial Guard aren't cutting it for you, then Tau are a GOOD ally.

Allies of Desperation

These are the hardest allies to justify, and require extra maneuvering on your part to use. You should always try to stay at least 6" away from them on the off chance they decide not to act at all for a turn. Allies of Desperation should be just that - your very last resort. If you've exhausted all your other options, then maybe consider one of these armies.

Dark Eldar - The nicest thing that Dark Eldar offer is speed, and tons of it. Their assault units have been nerfed by 6th edition's changes though, so they have limited options as a potential ally. Personally, I would use them to gain access to Warriors in Venoms, cluster caltrop Reavers or some of the more arcane wargear available to Archons, but ultimately they don't provide enough to be worth allying with over a more trustworthy army. They are a POOR choice.

Necrons - With access to a ton of flyers and some lethal shooting abilities, Necrons are a formidable foe. This also makes them a decent (if risky) ally. Command Barge Overlords and Crypteks are a must. I would highly recommend Wraiths as well for an assault army, and Annihilation Barges. For an army in need of Flyers, Doom Scythes are handy, and Night Scythes for the Necron Troops can keep the heat off of your other vehicles. I wouldn't recommend Imhotek however, since his lightning strikes will hit your own army as well as the enemy's. All-in-all, Necrons are a GOOD ally, despite their status as a Desperate one - keep in mind that it is a risky venture though.

Orks - The only real reason I can see someone running an Ork ally is if they want some flyers or to run a miniature horde inside their Space Wolves list. It's actually pretty feasible too, you can fit 60 Ork Boyz into the ally force organization chart. Do note though that such an army has a large footprint and the chances of incurring the One Eye Open rule go up significantly. Taking some Ork flyers also gives you access to Bommas and other air support units which don't have a counter-part in other armies. If you're looking to run a horde list with Orks or want some flyers, then they're an AVERAGE choice.

Lists/General Tactics

Good list building is one of the most important aspects of 40k. You could have all the fanciest units in your army's Codex, but if they don't mesh together and support one another, you're going to lose more often than not. This guide is for those who are looking for a fairly all-corners/semi-competitive list - if you looking to play very casually or are tailoring then go to town, there's nothing I can do to help you.

I'll give a basic rundown of the philosophy of an all-corners list. The idea is to make a list that can conceivably take on any challenger and come out on top. To do this, make sure your list has flexibility, synergy and redundancy. Your list should have no “filler” units, everyone should have some sort of job to fulfill, and you should have ways to deal with the majority of the threats you would face (be it Terminators, hordes, flyers, etc). When writing a list, you need to figure out what you want to do, build a strong core before adding specialized units.

Space Wolves have a lot of flexibility, opening up many options for list builds. In general though, you should always have your bases covered - bring anti-tank, psychic defense and anti-infantry. Also, have a plan to deal with flyers (either shoot them or ignore them). That said, GW has basically made all-corners lists impossible now, so just try to shore up your weaknesses and be able to take on the common lists in your meta. Good luck!

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