The Wolf Guard are the most elite Veterans of the Space Wolves Space Marine Chapter, comparable to a Codex Astartes-compliant Chapter's Sternguard Veterans. They are the bravest warriors of each of the Chapter's Great Companies, hand-selected by their Great Company's Wolf Lord to serve as his chosen protectors and the vanguard of his forces.
Each Battle-Brother that serves in this elite unit has earned their place by some exceptional feat of arms that marked them out amongst their brethren, for a Wolf Guard is chosen based on his heroic deeds, rather than his age or time served with the Chapter. Therefore, the Wolf Guard maintains a mix of hot-blooded young warriors and stalwart veterans amongst its ranks.
Each Wolf Lord favours his chosen warriors with gifts such as antique weapons, ornate Artificer Power Armour of ancient origin and patterns, and, most precious of all, rare and venerated suits of Terminator Armour. In battle, the members of the Wolf Guard are assigned to lead other units or form a bodyguard to protect their Wolf Lord.
The Wolf Guard are an elite cadre of warriors that fight alongside each Wolf Lord of the Chapter's Great Companies. They are hand-picked Battle-Brothers, the bravest and strongest of the Space Wolves, chosen after proving themselves for achieving some exceptional feat of valour or heroic deed.
It is not by age or maturity that one attains such a coveted rank, but by deed, and so a newly raised Blood Claw has the same chance of joining the ranks of the Wolf Guard as does a veteran Long Fang. It is the dream of every Space Wolves warrior to join the elite ranks of the Wolf Guard, and they will fight all the harder when a Wolf Lord is nearby in the hope that their valour will earn the right to join this legendary brotherhood.
Within the Space Wolves Chapter, battlefield promotion is extremely common, for Wolf Lords are men of conviction and instinct. There is no specific criteria for elevation to the ranks of the Wolf Guard. The surest way is to save the life of a Wolf Lord in the heat of battle. For it is the sacred duty of the Wolf Guard to be the sword and shield of their lord.
These chosen brethren are favoured by their Wolf Lord with the best weapons he has at his disposal -- antique weapons of immense potency and ornate artefacts of ancient origin. Few can stand before these heroic warriors, equipped as they are with the best wargear in the company’s Armoury, making them virtually unstoppable in close combat. Each Wolf Guard is expected to fight in the style at which he excels, for their lord cares little for their former roles in their former Packs.
Few can turn down the lure and raw power afforded by a rare and powerful suit of Tactical Dreadnought Armour, and so a Wolf Lord is often accompanied into battle by a brotherhood of hulking, nigh-indestructible champions, each ready to dispense his own particular brand of death and, if necessary, give their life for their lord.
Not only does the Wolf Guard serve as bodyguards for the lords of the Great Companies, but also as mentors for the younger Space Wolves. They are excellent role models, for their battlefield experience and raw talent has earned them their esteemed position. The members of the Wolf Guard may lead less experienced Packs into battle, or form a retinue for the mightiest warrior of the Great Company -- the Wolf Lord himself.
As such, Wolf Guard are often assigned to lead Packs of Battle-Brothers, the better to guide them in the arts of war. The most heroic members of the Wolf Guard, typically judged by their Wolf Lord as born to the role of command, are sometimes assigned the control of an entire deployed force of the Great Company as a Wolf Guard Battle Leader. Should this leader prove himself capable of excelling above and beyond his liege's high expectations, he may find himself next in line for succession as Wolf Lord of a Great Company when his lord finally passes into legend.
Wolf Guard Organisation
Wolf Guard Battle Leader
The most heroic member of the Wolf Guard, typically the warrior judged by their lord to be a natural born leader, will be granted command of his Great Company's Wolf Guard. Known as a Battle Leader, this Wolf Guard is the Champion of his company, trusted with its overall stewardship in the absence of his liege-lord. To be named Battle Leader is a rare honour that few Space Wolves will ever ascend to, though those that achieve such a position are truly heroes within a company of heroes.
On the battlefield, the Battle Leader acts either as the Wolf Lord's personal bodyguard, tasked with his protection at all times, or as his herald should he fight elsewhere; at such times, the Battle Leader will lead elements of the Great Company in his lord's stead.
With every swing of his axe or deft order issued to those around him, a Battle Leader is responsible for upholding the honour of his lord. If a Battle Leader sufficiently proves himself, and earns the respect of both his fellow Wolf Guard and his Great Company, he may well find himself next in line for leadership when his Wolf Lord finally passes into legend.
Wolf Guard Pack
The Wolf Guard are an elite band of seasoned warriors comprising the mightiest champions of each Great Company. Heroes all, every member of the Wolf Guard is personally handpicked by their Wolf Lord to be one of his trusted huscarls. It is his deeds that mark a Wolf Guard rather than his age, so there are hot-blooded young warriors as well as sturdy veterans amongst their ranks.
Each has fought hard to earn his place, for only those that consistently prove their heroism through acts of valour and skill are deemed worthy to join such hallowed company. In battle, they form their Wolf Lord's sharpest blade; bearing their choice of specialist wargear, they lead the Great Company's battle line or seize vital targets in strength.
Wolf Guard Terminators
Every Space Wolves warrior dreams of a place in the Wolf Guard. To be a member of this select company is to wield the very deadliest weapons of war, for a Great Company's armoury is always open to the personal guard of its Wolf Lord. So do many Wolf Guard choose to don suits of sacred Terminator Armour, the most formidable personal plate available to the Chapter's warriors.
The actions of these mighty warriors can turn the tide of any war; Packs of Wolf Guard Terminators form the spearhead of many a Space Wolves attack, where they can scorn the foe’s defensive firepower as they advance to tear the throat out of the enemy battle line. On rare occasion, a Great Company will armour all of its Wolf Guard so and commit them to a single war zone, deploying them as a hammer blow to crush all resistance.
Thunderwolf Cavalry units are a sub-group of the Wolf Guard. According to official Imperial records, the Thunderwolf Cavalry does not exist and the Space Wolves keep them as a closely guarded secret. Thunderwolves are giant Fenrisian Wolves that stand about the height of a Terran rhinoceros and are used as mounts by the most elite members of the Wolf Guard. Many Fenrisians venerate the Thunderwolf as a spirit totem, for the beast is undoubtedly the apex predator in the frozen realms at the top of their world.
Thunderwolves are solitary creatures that usually attack each other on sight -- it is as if every Thunderwolf strives to be the alpha male of an entire world. These hulking beasts carve out a solitary existence that involves an eternal cycle of hunting, eating and sleeping. Their primary food source are the native creatures that live within their habitat, but they will devour any unfortunates that trespass upon their snowy realm without hesitation.
Physically, Thunderwolves are monstrous, reaching as much as eight Terran feet in height at the shoulder. They are clad in a shaggy coat of rough fur as tough as matted steel wire, and their jutting jaws are so strong that they are able to chew through steel. Rather than tracking their prey over time like their smaller cousins, Thunderwolves bear down upon their victims in a terrifying charge, snatching their prey in their massive maws and tearing the unfortunate creature's head off with a violent thrashing motion and their gnashing, grinding bite.
Only the Space Wolves have the constitution to hunt the creatures that haunt the Mountains of the Maelstrom on Fenris, where perpetual ice storms can flay the skin from a lesser creature in the space of a single day. In an extreme version of the Lone Hunt, senior Space Wolves have tracked down and "broken in" Thunderwolves. This practise, thought to be an initiation ritual required for entry into the upper echelons of the Wolf Guard, has given rise to the legendary Thunderwolf Cavalry -- a small but dauntless elite within the ranks of the Wolf Guard who remain conveniently absent from any official Imperial records.
The Thunderwolves used in this near-mythical unit of legend are often augmented by the Chapter's Iron Priests with Adamantium jaws, Imperial bionics, and back-jointed metal limbs that end in razor-sharp blades. The havoc that these creatures are capable of wreaking is said to be startling to even a hardened Veteran of the Adeptus Astartes. Though there exists a high-calibre vid-capture of a trio of Space Wolves cavalry riding into battle against a large mob of armoured Orks, the Space Wolves deny the practise of riding beasts to war. Yet rumours abound across the Fenris Sector about the glorious charges of the Thunderwolf Cavalry.
- Artificer Power Armour
- Runic Power Armour, used by Wolf Guard Battle Leaders
- Close Combat Weapon, including Frost Blade, Frost Axe, or Power Weapon
- Bolt Pistol
- Frag Grenades
- Krak Grenades
- Terminator Armour (Optional)
- Storm Shield (Optional)
- Cyclone Missile Launcher (Optional)
- Storm Bolter
- Fenrisian Wolves (Battle-Leader only) - A Wolf Guard Battle-Leader is sometimes accompanied on the field of battle by a pack of semi-sentient Fenrisian Wolves. These fierce animals consider the Astartes warrior a pack-brother and will follow him fearlessly and fight ferociously at his side. Should their pack-brother be wounded, they will stand guard at his side, or attempt to drag him to safety.
- Thunderwolf (Thunder Cavalry Wolf Guards only) - A Thunderwolf is an extremely large Fenrisian Wolf. This gigantic apex predator is so large and strong that it can be used as a steed by a Space Wolves Astartes. As fast as a more mundane Assault Bike, the Thunderwolf has no ranged weapon to offer to his rider, but more than makes up for that lack with his ferociousness at close quarters.
Wolf Guard Pack Markings
When a Space Wolf is elevated to join the Wolf Guard, he puts aside his former Pack loyalties and regalia and commits himself wholly to his Wolf Lord. As a symbol of his status, a new Pack marking is engraved upon the right shoulder plate of his Power Armour.
Although this marking is unique to each Great Company, it is always rendered in stark yellow and black, the traditional colours of a Fenrisian noble. Wolf Guards wearing Terminator Armour bear the Great Company icon on their right shoulder plate. Their Pack mark is displayed instead on their knee guards and weapon casings.
Notable Wolf Guard
- Ragnar Blackmane - Ragnar Blackmane is the youngest Space Wolf Astartes ever promoted to the rank of Wolf Lord by the Chapter. He is exceptional in every sense of the word. When Ragnar was a young, impetuous youth he was elevated directly from the ranks of the Blood Claws to the esteemed Wolf Guard of his Great Company. This near-unheard of promotion was accomplished after Ragnar slew the Ork Warlord Borzag Khan in close combat and subsequently dispatched the Warlord's retinue of Ork Nobz one after another.
- Arjac Rockfist - Also known as The Man-Mountain, Grimnar's Champion and the Anvil of Fenris, Arjac is the personal Champion of the Great Wolf Logan Grimnar. Arjac was formerly a blacksmith of the Bear Claw tribe of Fenris, whose true skills lay not at the forge, but in the crucible of battle. His incredible strength and fortitude so impressed the Great Wolf that he was made his personal Champion even before he was inducted into the Space Wolves as an Astartes and made the leader of Grimnar's Wolf Guard.
- Canis Wolfborn - Canis Wolfborn is an unusual Astartes of the Space Wolves, for he is a loner, a warrior who is more at home in the company of wolves than men. Though he is a member of the Wolf Guard of the Wolf Lord Harald Deathwolf, his saga has proven very different from those of his peers, and his prowess in combat is unmatched. The Wolf Priests theorise that Canis was lost in a snowstorm as an infant, abandoned after his tribe was killed in the wastes and raised as a whelp by a brooding she-wolf. In battle, his mettle and courage are beyond question, and wolves both great and small instinctively obey his commands. Canis is well known for his terrifying battle frenzy, and to this day rides the largest of his kin into battle, a terrifying Thunderwolf of immense proportions.
- Mikal Sternmark - Sternmark is the Wolf Guard Champion to Wolf Lord Berek Thunderfist. Mikal had to take charge of Thunderfist's Great Company during the Charys Campaign. At the height of the fighting and the sorcerous influence of the Thousand Sons, Mikal succumbed to the call of the Wulfen and in a fit of rage slaughtered the Imperial General Lady Commander Athelstane. He was placed under the care of the Wolf Priests for some time, but returned to serve as Berek's Champion one last time in his final stand and died at the side of his Wolf Lord. Mikal wielded the relic Power Sword Redclaw.
- Thorin Shieldsplitter - The former Champion of Berek Thunderfist's Great Company, the aging Thorin was replaced by the upcoming Mikal Sternmark but remained a loyal and dependable warrior. During the Charys Campaign it was Thorin who stood over the bier of the Wolf Lord Thunderfist with his two-handed Power Axe, prepared to defend the comatose Wolf Lord with his life if need be, and should he recognise death as imminent, his task was to trigger the Melta-charges planted within Berek's bier and make sure that the enemy would not get the chance to sully the body of the Wolf Lord.
- Brynngar Sturmdreng - Wolf Guard Brynngar was a senior officer of the VI Legion during the later days of the Great Crusade and the beginning of the Horus Heresy in the early 31st Millennium. Brynngar was stationed on the Vangelis way-station awaiting pick-up along with a scattered group of Space Marines from other Legions including some of the grizzled Veteran's contemporaries from the Ultramarines Legion. Captain Cestus of the Ultramarines was fighting alongside the Space Wolves on Carthis against the Kolobite xenos. Brynngar had saved Cestus' life during that battle but had lost an eye in the process, though in true Space Wolf fashion, he had the mandible of the creature that took his eye fashioned into the Rune Axe Felltooth.
- Codex: Space Wolves (7th Edition), pp. 12, 33-34, 37, 39, 42-43, 71-74, 76-78, 80-81, 111-112, 156-162, 174-175
- Codex: Space Wolves (5th Edition), pp. 30, 34, 72-74, 85-86, 90
- Codex: Space Wolves (3rd Edition), pg. 8
- Codex: Space Wolves (2nd Edition), pp. 13, 36, 46
- Deathwatch: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 48
- Warhammer 40,000: Index Astartes - Tactical Dreadnought Armour (Digital Edition)