Let’s talk about the mystery of why Space Wolves don’t have successor chapters.
Out of all the loyalist first founding Space Marine Chapters the Space Wolves are the only one not to have a host of successor Chapters. All the rest have their offshoots, some more than than others. Some of the most famous and storied Chapters draw their linage from a specific first founding chapter and their Primarch, The Flesh Tearers, the Black Templars, The Crimson Fists and the the Rainbow Warriors to name just a few. Some others come from uncertain or hidden lines (Blood Ravens anyone?). Those that share a heritage are often allies drawn together by their origin and oaths. Yet for 10,000 years the Space Wolves stood alone, without a pack. Now that has changed, and yet there is a strange unwillingness, especially rules wise, to acknowledge this. Let’s take a look at what happened, and it all begins with the Wolf Brothers.
Brotherhood of the Wolf
The Wolf Brothers where a second founding Chapter, at the dawn of the Chapter system itself. For most of the history of 40K they where the only acknowledge successor chapter of the Space Wolves. At the time of their founding they where apparently given about half the Space Wolves fleet and some number of their troops. It was planned that they would be only the first of many successor chapters, placed around the Eye of Terror to keep the renegades at bay.
However something went wrong with the Wolf Brothers. Their gene seed deteriorated quickly leading to the destruction of the Chapter with a handful of survivors either falling prey to Chaos Forces or outright joining their former foes. The tragedy and destruction of the Wolf Brothers ended any attempts to create more Space Wolf successor chapters, it was deemed too risky and hard and too prone to failure. Though some have suggested this was merely an excuse to keep the Space Wolves intact and well above normal Chapter size; the Blood Angels after all where able to split up with an equally unstable gene seed. Regardless of the reason, since the failure of the Wolf Brothers the Space Wolves were alone, and there have never been rules for Space Wolf successors Chapters.
That all changed with the introduction of Primaris Marines and the Ultima Founding. Cawl seemingly built equal numbers of Primaris Marines from each Primarch’s line, meaning that tens if not hundreds of thousands of new Sons of Russ were introduced to the Galaxy. While many would have gone to reinforce the Space Wolves, many more would have been formed into new chapters, successors of the Space Wolves and all Sons of Russ. Indeed we know of one in particular, the Wolfspear, a chapter tasked with guarded the Pit of Raukos warp rift (similar to the original plan to have Space Wolf successor chapters guard the larger Eye of Terror). We can assume that this is just one of many new Chapters drawing lineage from Russ, and as far as we know their gene seed remains stable. Though we know that Primaris Marines can fall to the Curse of the Wolfen, they do now seem to be more so.
Here we come to the curious part. The Wolfspear where introduced in the novel Dark Imperium in 2017. When the current Space Wolf Codex was released in 2018 it made no mention of any Space Wolf successor chapters. This could be due to the fact that at the time there were no rules for Successor Chapters out there. However since then we have had the Codex Supplements and the Psychic Awakening updates for the first founding chapters. These have added in rules for fielding successor chapters, including the use of special issue wargear. This practice was used not only for the Codex compliant chapters but also the Blood Angels and Dark Angels.
When Saga of the Beast came out however it’s update did not include rules for Space Wolf successor Chapters. This is from a pure power level prescriptive, not a huge disadvantage. They generally got what would have been special issue wargear in other books at just normal relics for them. However from a fluff and lore preservative it is odd and disappointing. If other chapters get the option to create successors and legally field them, why not Space Wolves? We know that they have all Primaris successor chapters now so it’s disappointing to see them be forgotten.
So why did Space Wolves get cheated out of successor chapters? I’m not really sure, but there are a few option I can see.
- Since Space Wolf successors chapters would only be all Primaris the rules writers where worried that giving Space Wolves rules for successor chapterss would lead to people playing non-fluffy mixed Old and New unit chapters.
- The writers of the rules overlooked that the Wolfspear and other successor Chapters were added in Dark Imperium and so went with the old standby that the Space Wolves don’t have successor chapters.
- All the Primaris Sons of Russ have undergone the same rapid degradation that the Wolf Brothers did and we just haven’t heard about the tens of thousands of crazed Space Warewolves running around the galaxy ruining things and falling to Chaos.
- Though they are of the Blood of Russ the the Space Wolves don’t consider the new Chapters to be their successor or real Sons of Russ due to them not being born on Fenris or part of the chapters ever (thought they have accepted Primaris that weren’t born on Fenris into their ranks.)
- Space Wolves are already so cool that no one could come up with interesting names or color schemes of their successor chapters.
I’m not sure if its one of these options or something I haven’t thought of but it is unusual. It would be cool from a story point to see how Space Wolves deal with having successor chapters and to learn about the interaction there. It would also be be nice for fluff players to legally play a successor chapter. But I guess for now that’s not an option.
Let us know how you feel about the lack of Space Wolf successors, down in the comments.