I am having a bit of a slow month right now as I had to spend the last week getting things done for an exam I co-ordinated and that took up a huge amount of time. So I couldn’t get any games in last week, though I got some painting done. In my long series of articles about allies, I give you: the Vlka Fenryka, the Rout, the Emperor’s Executioners, the Sons of Fenris or, as they are commonly known, the Space Wolves.
Now why should one choose Space Wolves allies?
First of all, although they themselves claim they are not psykers, Rune Priest are amongst the best psykers in the game, even if they are also the most expensive mastery level one psykers left. They have access to a good range of spells they can choose from without having to roll, such as Jaws of the World Wolf that makes Tau cry by dropping their Riptides into a really deep hole on a 4+ or Living Lightning to maul vehicles with low side armour or they can simply swap them for two rolls on the Divination table. But the icing on the cake is their Rune weapon. It counts as a normal Force weapon (sword, axe or stave depending on your model) that also wounds Daemons on a 2+ regardless of their toughness, but more importantly, it also cancels any psychic power used by an enemy model in 24 inches, even those that don’t target your models. This replaces Deny the Witch, but as it is always at least as good as DtW (which is only 4+ if your targetted unit includes a psyker of a higher level) and can cancel all these annoying blessings and other power-ups that normal psychic defenses can’t touch. In fact, as most -star units like Seerstar and Screamerstar only work due to an accumulation of psychic powers, creating a 24-inch zone where those powers only work half the time causes those armies serious problems and can cost them the win. Granted, Tyranids can cause a similar effect with their Shadow in the Warp reducing the Leadership of Psykers, but it is only 12 inches instead of 24 (so but a fourth of the diameter of the Rune weapon’s effect) and Tyranids have no vehicles to increase the range (as it uses the vehicle’s footprint if the Rune Priest is embarked) or grant a layer of protection to the creature. In addition, Tyranids mostly rely on single monstrous creatures to generate SitW and they can be taken out, especially as they have to move in closely to do so. So a Rune Priest is an important part of any Space Wolves allied contingent to shut down psychic armies and also to generate re-rolls or use the powerful Space Wolves spells. Finally, for a paltry 10 points, he can get a Chooser of the Slain, a creepy, indestructible bird that can be deployed anywhere on the table to prevent infiltration within 18 inches, so doing a nice servo skull impression, whilst also giving the Priest +1 BS if the chooser can draw Line of Sight to the target, helping him fire off those Living Lightning bolts.
Secondly, they bring one of the best Heavy Support infantry units with the Long Fangs. Long Fangs can carry up to 5 heavy weapons, some of which, like the missile launcher, they can acquire for a bargain price compared to other devastator units. In fact, a full unit with 5 missile launchers costs an affordable 140 points. Add to this that their pack leader, who admittedly is normally the first to die as he is the only one in the unit who has no heavy weapon, can let the unit split its fire without having to pass an Ld-check and with as many weapons as they want, as opposed to the one the Split Fire USR allows you to fire at another target, and you have a great unit to sit in a ruin and deal out missile death like it is going out of fashion. Did I mention that the Rune Priest can let them re-roll the to-hit rolls for their missiles too?
Finally, their Troops choice of choice (erm) is also amongst the best in the game: the Grey Hunters pack. For a mere 15 points a model, you get a Space Marine with the Counter-Attack USR instead of a swanky Chapter Tactics rule. In addition, you get a five-point discount on your first special weapon and if you run a full unit of ten, you get a free second special weapon! Yes, free as in 0 points for a second plasma gun provided you bought a first special weapon (flamer, meltagun or plasma gun, the Sons of Fenris are not too big on gadgety grav weapons at the moment) for the reduced price. Not only is the fact that the gun is free a nice thing, but it is important to note that they can carry two special weapons per squad. This is huge as special weapons are on the whole much better than heavy weapons for tactical kind of units, as they can fire for full effect on the move and having two is many times better than having only one. Only Space Wolves and Chaos Space Marines can pull that off on their Tactical Marine equivalents and it is truly a gigantic improvement over the’1 special and 1 heavy weapon’ loadout of Codex Marines. But that’s not all. Every Grey Hunter comes standard with a pistol, close combat weapon and bolter for that price, only losing the bolter for the special weapon, so you get the volume of fire the bolter provides and the bonus attack for having two close combat weapons. This, combined with Counter-Attack, means that Grey Hunters can move up to objectives quickly whilst maintaining full rate of fire, then hold their objectives and defeat all but the most serious assaults through weight of defensive fire and attacks. A full unit with 2 plasma guns can lay down 20 shots at close range, another 20 overwatch shots if charged and then still has 30 attacks thanks to Counter-Attack! They also have the full complement of grenades to charge into cover or take out light vehicles or monstrous creatures. Not happy yet? Well, one of your guys can also buy a power weapon or fist. Though he is only a regular dude, so won’t benefit much from a fist with his 1-2 attacks per round, he has a decent 2-3 attacks with a power axe and as it is a regular dude, he can’t be challenged out, though he also can’t use Look Out, Sir!, so keep him away from characters who can use Precise Strikes to target him in combat. Finally, you get the Wolf Standard for a mere 10 points, so less than the points you saved by buying discount special weapons. Once a game, it lets you re-roll all 1s in one close combat phase. That includes: overwatch fire (so less overheating plasma guns), attack rolls, to wound rolls and also armour saves. As Marines wear power armour, only 2s kill one of your guys outright, with 1s still being good in 2/3s of the cases thanks to the re-roll. Assaulting them just got even scarier, right?
A sample detachment (670 points):
Rune Priest: Chooser of the Slain
10 Grey Hunters: Wolf Standard, 2 Plasma guns, Rhino
10 Grey Hunters: Wolf Standard, 2 Meltaguns, Power Axe, Rhino
6 Long Fangs: 5 Missile Launchers
The Priest goes with the Long Fangs and either boosts their shooting with Prescience or another Divination power he rolled or just blasts away with them using Living Lightning. The Grey Hunter speed forward, then disembark and take objectives.
This detachment gives you 27 bodies in power armour plus 2 tanks. You get two excellent scoring units that can absorb hits as well as any other Marines, but have more mobile firepower and attacks than regular Marines and better morale than Chaos Space Marines. You have 5 Missile Launchers to take on two targets per round or just concentrate all their fire on one tough target. All this without breaking the bank.
Another one, this time with a seat in a ride for the Rune Priest (635 points)
Rune Priest: Chooser of the Slain
10 Grey Hunters: Wolf Standard, Power Axe, 2 Plasma guns, Rhino
5 Grey Hunters: Meltagun, Razorback with Twin-Linked Assault Cannon
6 Long Fangs: 3 Missile Launchers, 1 Heavy Bolter, 1 Lascannon
The weapons in the Long Fangs unit might look a bit ecclectic, but that’s because the only models I have are the really old school ones, so old school in fact that their squad box still had stats for willpower, intelligence and cool on it.
Fits easily into most overhead storage spaces.
Rune Priest Goldilocks
See what I mean? Old School in models and fluff
Some Grey Hunters