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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
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Friday, May 28, 2010

Armies in 5th: Psychic Powers: Space Wolves

Now we’re getting into some serious psychic power territory. So, no one really thought psychic powers were in anyway a part of regular 5th edition games (bless their ignorance!) until Space Wolves came out. This is after IG w/PBS and SM w/Null Zone & Gate tactics and still when everyone cried abuse on Lash... okay. What the Wolves did bring was some impressive anti-psy to rival that of Runes of Warding. Bare bones, I don’t care what your Ld is, 4+ denial within 24” (3+ if you’re Njal...3+!?). Add in extra protections like Wolf Tail Talismans and psychic armies don’t like versusing Space Wolves. Let’s look at their powers which are a lot harder to ‘order’ due to use in different builds. I do think there are two clear stand-outs though in terms of automatic first pick and automatic second pick (being LL & Tempest respectively).

Living Lightning – Your staple power. Unlimited range, S7, assault weapon w/D6 shots...sold. This is the perfect compliment to a midfield scoring Rhino to shoot out of the hatch or in a Long Fang pack hanging back in midfield (use Logan for S8 lols).When every army which can take psychic defense should take psychic defense, this spell is the automatic tick for not having a specialised role but is very useful. Any Rune Priest can make use of this multiple times a game.

Storm Caller – An improvement on the SM version but not as good as the BA version, this is your staple spell for a RBack spam list as you can move into the open to take clear shots at your opponent. Add in you’ll not always be able to provide cover for your vehicles with so many and not wanting to pop smoke early on, this is the spell to reduce incoming damage as much as possible. It affects an area so it’s best used from a tank to provide a bigger effect range but has to be used during the Space Wolves turn. It has okay utility as a secondary power but its real purpose is in a mech list.

Tempest – The biggest no-no since Null Zone, this power just screws over certain armies. Any army that extensively uses Skimmers, Jumpers, Jetbikes or Deep Strikes is at a serious disadvantage if this goes off. Effectively, it gives the Space Wolf player extra chances to kill those specific units every time they move within its range which is very well worth it. It is therefore a fantastic utility spell but not a main spell due to its complete ineffectiveness against some armies. It’s going to have a massive effect on some armies and minimal effect on others where Storm Caller or Living Lightning are often better options.

Murderous Hurricane – The little brother to Tempest, this is another utility spell to be used alongside LL or SC. Whilst this power can inflict an impressive number of S3 hits, the real advantage lies in the automatic dangerous slowing process it places on a unit. Whilst it is super effective against hordes, Space Wolves don’t need much help there. However, it can slow super units and the ability to get free ‘shots’ in is always worth it. Tempest though is usually going to have a greater impact in a tournament setting however but if you’re taking two Priests this is an excellent ‘4th’ spell.

Jaws of the World Wolf – heralded as the end of GW balance and doom to all who play 40k...not really. Although GW oddly FAQ’d it to snipe models (really GW? Really?) the chances of killing most powerful models are very slim. Whilst it is great for lols in most games when it does happen, it’s nothing to be relied upon, even against MCs. It can have its advantages coming out of a Pod 2nd or 3rd turn though if it can line up assaults. Due to the nature of assaults if there are roughly even occupants, lines can be drawn which cover an extensive number of individual enemy models. However, if not in a Pod I’d put it far down on the list of spells to use due to its unreliable nature.

Thunderclap – Again, Space Wolves don’t really have trouble with anti-infantry which is the role this power plays. Useful if you’re lacking in anti-infantry though I might prefer murderous hurricane for its slowing & dangerous effect. Wouldn’t really see this much unless someone had a lot of Rune Priests with the same primary psychic power. Short-range is its downfall, effectively needing to be within 1” to get a good amount of hits.

Fury of the Wolf Spirits – Same problem with Thunderclap in low range and lack of real punch. 5 shots isn’t great and only 2 have any decent AP but they are S4. Again, murderous hurricane is more likely to cause more damage or be of more use.

Whilst the last two are really no shows in terms of use, the first four powers, in particular LL and SC are very potent spells. Whilst people still believe Jaws is an effective primary power, it’s too unreliable to be of any use (you have to get through psychic defences and then through initiative where most powerful models have higher I than average) and it’s hard to get a significant number of hits without using a pod or bike. LL is generally your best primary power unless using a specific build around RBack spam with Tempest being a good utility power to just screw over certain armies. SC however is still a good primary power in the right setup but slips a bit in utility compared to Tempest and Hurricane.

The first question of importance then is whether or not to upgrade our Rune Priests to Master of the Runes? In 99.9% of cases, no. The majority of the best power combinations either rarely need the utility power (i.e. Tempest) or when it is used, it is far above and beyond what the other power could do (i.e. Tempest against a pure Jumper army) or are two shooting powers (i.e. Living Lightning and Murderous Hurricane). The only combination that jumps to mind as potentially useful to double cast would be Living Lightning/Murderous Hurricane and Storm Caller. In most situations however, one of those spells is generally needed more than the other (i.e. Storm Caller for RBack spam) so it's not worth the 50 pts to get the second power off.

5 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

<3 Lightning and Tempest.

The Wolf's Lunch said...

<3 Space Wolves

I really don't see any use for Thunderclap or Fury of the Wolf Spirits. I usually take Living Lightning due to the unlimited range, and occasionally I roll a 6 and it's always fun hitting on 2s and wounding on 2s (:
Secondary powers I don't really use much, usually take Hurricane just for the sake of it, but may start taking Stormcaller to protect the tanks.

In my second list that I'm going to make (the 13th co one), my rune priest is going to be riding a rock (drop pod) into battle, so I was thinking Stormcaller (to survive the initial round of shooting) and jaws to add a bit of scariness to them (and ultimately take shooting off of the thunderwolves/uberwulfen). What's your opinion (and the pink army's opinion) on these powers?

Chumbalaya said...

Thunderclap has its uses if you ride in a Rhino/Razor. It can go off anywhere from the vehicle, so use it in conjunction with a flamer after tank shocking and you might do something cool.

I wouldn't bother with storm caller, you can just drop near terrain or hop behind the Pod for cover. Jaws can surprise some people, and Murderous Hurricane or Tempest's Fury can hinder your opponent's counter attack.

Anonymous said...

Good Review... I take 2 Rune Priests in my list with LL and Murderous Hurricane and Tempest's Wrath....

For me, I have a hard time justifying Niall for an all comers list... What are your thoughts?

Kirby said...

There's an incoming 'Tactica' for Rune Priests on request from Lunch. Njal will be covered later.

I'm really not a fan of Jaws as I think other spells you can get so much more mileage out of.

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