CHAIN MAIL: Space Wolves Help!

"Hi, mkerr, first of all, thank you for taking the time to read this email! So, onto real business. I've been working on my Space Wolves army. I work with a very specific fluff for my list, the prime one being that I do not want a vehicle-based list. I don't want my list to look like every other MEQ-in-Rhino force, plainly.'s what I have for my current 1500 list.

Thanks for the email, Justin! I completely get that you are interested in avoiding a vehicle-based list, but that's a tall order for Space Wolves.

Walking marines is possible, but only Black Templars and Blood Angels can really pull it off in 5th Edition -- Space Wolves, with their lack of long range shooting, has a realy hard time with it. Let's look at your list. You have three distinct elements: a) static Long Fangs, b) walking Grey Hunters, and c) fast-moving Skyclaws. So you've basically broken your army into three sections that don't really support each other well.

Since almost every army is going to have better long-range shooting, they can focus all of their shooting to deal with the bite-sized piece of your army that is most threatening to them. A gunline army may focus on the Sky Claws, a mechanized army may focus on the Long Fangs, etc. Once that piece is dealt with, they can move to the second most threatening piece.

By building an army that can't focus its punch, you are letting your opponent dictate the direction and momentum of the game. That's never a good thing. You want to keep that control for yourself.

So there are a few things you want to consider when you build an army -- one of the most important is how the individual pieces work together to accomplish your goals in the game. Every part of your army should be able to support every other part. Sun Tzu said "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat". Even for 40K general, it's worth keeping in mind when you start building an army.


Rune Priest (Master of Runes w/Living Lightning and Storm Caller or Jaws), Chooser of the Slain
-- Goes with a Grey Hunters pack

Wolf Guard Battle Leader (Jump Pack, Power Fist, Wolftooth Necklace
-- Leads the Skyclaw Pack

3 Wolf Guard (Power Fists)

-- Attached to Grey Hunters packs

10-Man Grey Hunter (Flamer, Meltagun, Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Totem)
10-Man Grey Hunter (Flamer, Meltagun, Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Totem)
10-Man Grey Hunter (Flamer, Meltagun, Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen, Wolf Totem)

10-man Skyclaw pack (Flamer, Power Weapon, Mark of the Wulfen)

5-man Long Fangs (2x Lascannons, 2x Heavy Bolters)

5-man Long Fangs (2x Lascannons, 2x Heavy Bolters)

My trouble is that whenever I use the Skyclaws, they never seem to really do much. Sure, they have a bunch of attacks, but ws3 really hurts them. I'm thinking of taking them out to re-tool the list, but I'm not sure what would be a good replacement for them. Any suggestions?"

Here are some general comments:

0. I really recommend that you re-consider some sort of transport for your Space Wolves. I love Grey Hunters, but they just aren't tough enough (even with Storm Caller and as much cover as possible) to walk across the board. It's a lot cheaper to add transports to an army that to shift to something like a Canis + TWC + Fenrisian Wolves build.

1. Claws of any sort require a Wolf Priest attached to the unit. I love my Sky Claws -- I have fun everytimt I use them, but you MUST have a Wolf Priest to compensate for that pesky WS3. I usually keep them behind a Rhino that's got Grey Hunters and a Rune Priest. The Rune Priest uses Storm Caller to put a 5+ cover save on both the Rhino and the Sky Claws.

2. Only use Flamers in mounted units. If you want walking Grey Hunters, then you'll want to go with Meltaguns.
3. I haven't tried out Wolf Standards on my Grey Hunters yet. At 10pts, they seem pretty cheap (and re-rolling all 1s in an Assault Phase sounds pretty awesome). I'm going to work them into my next list and I'd love to hear your experience with them.

4. I'm stopped taking Power Fists in my Space Wolves army. In the few cases where I really needed a Power Fist, my MotW marine has pulled his weight nicely. It means I have to be a bit careful around Dreadnoughts and Defilers, but JotWW means I don't have to worry as much about Monstrous Creatures or upgrade characters (even in close combat). I recommend trying a few games without Power Fists and seeing if you really need them.

5. My (mechanized) Grey Hunter units looks like this:
-- a. 9 Grey Hunters (Meltagun, MotW -- sometimes a Power Weapon) + 1 Wolf Guard (Combi-melta, MotW) in a Rhino -- I usually take two of these units.
-- b. 9 Grey Hunters (Meltagun, MotW -- sometimes a Power Weapon) + 1 Wolf Guard (Combi-melta, Wolf Claw) in a Rhino -- I usually take two of these units.

The cool thing about these units is that they are cheap and effective. I get enough melta to deal with mechanized opponents and with counter-attack and 2 models with MotW, I win close combats.
6. If you decide to go with a Wolf Guard Battle Leader, I recommend a Frost Blade over a Power Fist. You should give a Sage of the Warrior Born Wolf Lord (or WGBL) a spin. I find that most close combats last at least two Assault phases, and SotWB pretty much guarantees you an auto-win.

7. I usually recommend a Meltagun for Sky Claws over a Flamer. I know that it's BS3, but it's worth 10pts. Sure it misses 17% more often than a BS4 one (but it also mosts 33% less than most BS4 Meltaguns -- so you still turn a profit, lol). Besides, it's cool having a Jump Pack marine with a Meltagun!

I'd love to hear what you settle on and how the army plays -- best of luck and thanks again for the email!

>>Comments are welcome and feel free to email me your lists or questions -- I'm going to endeavor to respond to every email (although it may take me a few days, lol). Just send them to me at And, as always, your mileage may vary.

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