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In the Horus Heresy books Leman Russ indicates that the whole purpose of the Space Wolves is to act as the Emperors Executioners/Enforcers dealing with all threats to the Emperor and, it is suggested, were involved in fall of the 2 lost Legions, as well as being sent to bring Magnus back.

By the 41st Millennium has Games Workshop referred to this role? Are the Space Wolves still used in a similar way, or, with the break up of the Legions into Chapters have the Space Wolves become just like any other chapter?

  • You might be interested to know that even the Space Wolves were "policed" - in fact more so than other legions (except perhaps the World Eaters) due to their ferocious tendencies. The legions all had disciplinary corps. It's detailed in Forgeworld's book 'Inferno' but here's a link to a pic pro.bols.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/… – TommyBs Oct 18 '18 at 18:09
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They've never officially lost the title, but the Inquisition would probably fill this role now

It's important to understand they earned that name by going up against and destroying other Space Marine legions. No one could really accomplish such a feat these days.

And as the Emperor doesn't really give orders anymore, the next best thing would be the High Lords of Terra and the Inquisition.

The Inquisition only answer to the High Lords / The Emperor and they can basically do whatever they want. They have the capability and permission to overthrow planetary governments and requisition entire Imperial Guard armies, they could also destroy entire planets if they found a reason.

Not as tough as the Space Wolves from back in the day, but about as close as the Imperium can muster now.

  • Interestingly I would argue from the Beast Arises that the Inquisition don't even answer to the High Lords but only to themselves, and even then there's a lot of infighting! But then again no one ever expects the Imperial Inquisition... – TommyBs Oct 18 '18 at 14:58
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The Space Wolves themselves no, but the Minotaurs probably have that role moreso now though it's never been confirmed to my knowledge.

The Space Wolves never lost that title I believe, but I highly doubt that they still have this role due to their bad relationship with the Inquisition. Right now the Wolves are mostly just a chapter, though not really a codex-compliant one. And mostly minding their own business in protecting Fenris and purging xenos and heretics.

The role of executioner (and I guess lap dogs of the high twelve) at the time of the 41st Millennium would go to the Minotaurs. They are mysterious and are believed to have ties to the high twelve themselves.

The Minotaurs are big players in combatting other Space Marine chapters having utterly defeated the Lamenters chapter during the Badab war, and they almost eradicated the Ultramarines successor chapter the Inceptors during the Macharian heresy.

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The Space Wolves are not the current day executioners of the Emperor. In truth the Space Wolves legion always fulfilled a role that was most needed in the society of the Imperium, during 30k and the great crusade/Horus Heresy they were the executioners, being one of the few legions before the HH that felt OK with fighting other space marines.

Many times during the HH books it has been described that Space Marines would never have even imagined fighting other Space Marines, the Wolves did not have such restraint.

As you said yourself it was heavily hinted they were the ones to deal with the lost legions but they also were the ones that actually fought with the World Eaters legion when Angron was called to a halt.

Now however they are saviors It is well known that in current 40k compassion and a sense to do what is right is far fetched. However, not with the Space Wolves. During the first war for Armageddon, that is the invasion of Angron with loads of daemons the Space Wolves came to help the population and together with the Grey Knights they drove them off and banished Angron.

However, due to the absolute secrecy of both daemons and the Grey Knights the world and its population was to be purged and refilled with other colonists from other worlds.

The Wolves, however, did not just fight off a daemon invasion and save the world just to let the Grey Knights purge the population after and actually engaged in a short scale (and mostly non-lethal) war against both the Grey Knights and the imperial Inquisition!

I think it speaks volumes about the current day Space Wolves that they were willing to do this, just for some civilians (I mean look at the Black Templars) and I'm willing to bet that almost no chapter save the Salamanders would have even attempted to stop the Grey Knights and save the population of Armageddon.

Also as @Nino Memelink pointed out the Minotaurs chapter are the ones currently fulfilling the role of executioners because of their eagerness to fight other Astartes and seemingly great effectiveness. Also heavily implied they are backed by a High Lord of Terra so there is that.

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