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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rune Priest 'tactica'


This was going onto Space Wolves blog but putting here as wasn’t what Adam was looking for and links closely with my Armies in 5th: Psychic Powers articles. I covered the psychic powers of Rune Priests before and am expanding on the conclusions to write an in-depth discussion of Rune Priests; call it a Tactica if you’d like. The conclusion from that analysis is for competitive play in most armies, Living Lightning is your best primary power with Tempest, Murderous Hurricane and Storm Caller all excellent secondary powers. These are secondary powers because they are more limited in their application whilst Living Lightning is pretty much always effective. However, Storm Caller is also a capable primary power in certain lists such as RBack spam where mech is abundant and the army benefits from the additional cover compared to the extra shooting which Living Lightning provides. Thunderclap & Wolf Spirits were largely considered useless powers in comparison to the others, especially in light of Space Wolves anti-infantry ability, and Jaws of the World Wolf is too unreliable to use as a primary power due to its inability to hit a significant amount of units or be able to actually kill an important model. Whilst it has its uses, the four earlier mentioned powers are much more applicable in a tournament setting.

Space Wolf armies should rarely leave home without one of these bad guys and there is some basic equipment I believe the 1st Priest of every army should take; more on that later. What the Rune Priest brings to the army is the immediate filling of an HQ slot cheaply. Whilst Space Wolves don’t really have to scramble for HQs like some armies (i.e. Marines outside of Librarians, Captains on Bikes or Vulkan, etc.) having good HQ choices in Wolf Lords & Battle Leaders, Rune Priests don’t need to be tailor fit to an army. 100 pts spent and with a little use of your brain and picking of powers, the Rune Priest is going to fit into a Space Wolf army smoothly. They also provide psychic defense which is very important in today’s 40k environment and outside of Eldar Runes of Warding, is the best defense going around (Njal’s is even better).

So what basic equipment should a Rune Priest have? 1st off is Chooser of the Slain. It really hurts armies relying on infiltrating and gives a BS boost when in LoS, very nice. It’s also a great opportunity to model a cool raven or something. I also believe Saga of the Beastslayer is an excellent buy for your first Rune Priest if you aren’t using it on a Wolf Lord and are using Living Lightning. This may seem obsolete with BS5 from the Chooser, but the Chooser can be blocked from LoS and we all have felt the terror of needing one roll to hit and coming up with a “1.” This is a little bit of insurance on your Living Lightning and is a worthy investment if not used elsewhere and you have the points.

Whilst the Rune Priest has a mildly impressive combat statline (he is a Space Wolf), he really shouldn’t be wading into CC on purpose. With only 2W, no invul and IC status he generally won’t last long. I therefore don’t recommend any combat or weapon upgrades (there is also little point in upgrading his shooting weapon when he has much more impressive shooting psychic powers). The Rune Priest, like most Imperial psychics, has moved into a support role and should be equipped as thus so don’t throw your Priest willy nilly into assault like you used to be able to do. Even with 4A, WS5 and a Force Weapon he’s no longer built for combat.

I would also move away from Runic & Terminator armor. Whilst they both increase survivability, they really are a bit too expensive when you consider how often the Rune Priest should be taking hits (by keeping him out of combat, not many). A better buy would be a Wolf Tail Talisman, for ¼ the points you get the same protection against psychic powers Runic Armor does but you’re still lacking an invul.

Movement upgrades are a potential possibility but for the most part, Space Wolves don’t use Jump or Bike Marines well though the added movement for the Rune Priest can get it from squad to squad and therefore better firing positions without compromising his survivability (hiding him in a Rhino can also do this). I’d therefore generally steer away from these unless you have the points spare, like to move the Priest around like that or are using Jump Pack or Bike Marines (which BA and Vanilla SM really do better).

So to summarise:

• You should nearly always have a Rune Priest in a Space Wolves army
• Living Lightning is your bread and butter spell
• Storm Caller, Murderous Hurricane and Tempest are excellent utility spells
• Master of the Runes isn’t really needed
• Rune Priests benefit greatly from Chooser of the Slain and Saga of the Beastslayer should be considered
• Rune Priests are no longer combat beasts so should avoid combat and not be equipped for such
• Don’t need many upgrades outside Chooser or Beastslayer

In essence, Rune Priests are support and utility HQs. Whether it’s short ranged fire support in midfield from a Rhino or long ranged fire support from a Long Fang unit using Living Lighting or Murderous Hurricane, to the utility of Tempest or plain old psychic defense, the Rune Priest will change the game dynamic in a way Space Wolf players may be unused to. However, they are an excellent buy and well worth every penny.

This is my basic build with a backup Priest as well. These two guys can fit into most Space Wolf armies with nary a hiccup and are excellent general purpose units. For more specific rules, use the analysis above or drop me a request.

Rune Priest w/Living Lightning, Tempest, Sage of the Beast Slayer, Chooser of the Slain

Rune Priest w/Living Lightning, Murderous Hurricane, Chooser of the Slain

Both of these Priests gain advantage of Chooser of the Slain and the first Priest is extremely comfortable in a Long Fang pack providing support from backfield. If against an army where Tempest is useful, can switch roles with the second Priest and be more aggressive. The second Priest generally rides up with Grey Hunters in a Rhino and provides punch out of the top hatch and pushes the Wolf anti-psy bubble closer to the enemy.

I’ll cover Njal at another time as working on assignment atm.

8 pinkments:

The Wolf's Lunch said...

Shame that it was not what Adam wanted, but it is certainly good for what I was after. Now tempted to swap out for an extra rune priest instead of a Wolf Priest.

Chumbalaya said...

Rune Priests are gold for Space Wolves, solid gold.

Saga of the Beastslayer is a nice and cheap way to make him an appreciable threat against things that need the loving attention of his force weapon, though I4 is still a huge problem.

Meister_Kai said...

I was able to beat one of the local SW players in a 500 pt game with that Dark Eldar list even though he took living lightning (I gunned for the RP before all else) and he still managed to take down 2/3 Raiders before it was downed. It honestly is their bread and butter spell, without its unlimited range he would of been soundly defeated.

I am fairly convinced though that if LL was an Eldar spell for instance, it would be str 6 instead of 7 :( Oh well.

Auretious Taak said...

LL in multiples is hilarious against a DE Nightshield boat army. "What's its range, take 6" off it Luke...Ummm Unlimited minus 6" is unlimited range Alex...shit!" lol. :p

Dverning said...

I think Adam's problem is that you didn't simplify enough or put a positive spin on everything. You also leave too much open to personal interpretation rather than dictating obvious choices.

Me? I think you have a good article. I think you're a little over zealous on your derogation of JotWW though. It does have uses as a secondary power choice or for a RPriest in a Pod. Not something I'd *rely* on, but amusing when it happens to work out. I'd lump it about even with Murderous Hurricane for utility. (As for Murderous Hurricane, I think it suffers from the same pros and cons you talked about the Night Spinner having... only with 1/4 the range.)

I think you're right on the money with the rest of the article.

Kirby said...

Ah I lost days of sleep because Adam didn't accept it :( lol. Different blog themes as well but will be trying to put something else together for him. Also since I linked the article back to the psychic powers on here rather than explaining them over there I think.

@Kai; Eldar wouldn't really like LL having no fire points...imagine Serpents w/Fire Points. Hey why is everyone buying storm guardians? lol

@Taak; who play's DE in our area!? Is it a real DE list <3?

@Dverning; aye I do poop on JotWW but I do use it in my TWC list from a Pod. I think the other 4 spells offer better power or utility but if you can get a line off, JotWW works much like the old Libby power. MH does suffer just like Night Spinner but when you're taking 2 (or 3!?) Priests, it's an effective 2nd option for attempting to slow super units or loling at hordes and you're not losing a Heavy slot.

Still need to do Njal...silly FAQ.

Ian said...

Wolftail Talisman is also an excellent 5pt filler choice, providing a second layer of psychic defense for whatever squad he's with. Less important for full-mech lists, but as I said, filler.

Marshal Wilhelm said...

I am late, but timeless ;)

Your RP costs 100-120 pts

Long Fangs w/ 4MLs is 115 pts

Would you ever not bring the RP and bring the Fangs instead, as LL is your power of choice?

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