Hvarl Red-Blade – Critique & Reflection

For the wolves 2019 has started on a very positive note with Forge World previewing the much anticipated Hvarl Red-Blade model at the New Years Open Day.

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Hvarl Red-Blade is a mighty character and leader of the Rout, with a rules set that puts him up there among some of the leading characters in the Horus Heresy game. While for the most part the model meets the expectations that the rules have cultivated, there are a few areas where the model falls short of what could have made it exceptional (albeit leaps and bounds better than the Varagyr models, especially the fur!).

To critique the model, there are a couple of detail items that don’t quite make the mark;

  • The grenade harness is missing.
  • The heavy bolter is a power armour varient, not altered to be carried by a warrior in terminator armour, the result being it looks like he’s picked it up mid-battle rather than going into battle armed with it. To solve this the trigger and grip would look better if they were further forward on the gun casing, and the arm would look better with a guarding like that on the Tartaros Heavy Flamers and Tartaros Reaper Autocannon.
  • The shoulder fur doesn’t sit naturally upon the model, only seeming to be present on the pauldron itself. The model would greatly improved if the fur was a larger pelt, draped across the top of the armour and overlapping the cloak.
  • The hand on the axe is low for the stance and pose, it would be more natural to have the hand higher of the shaft better balancing the weight of the weapon (the axe blade being particularly large)

Whilst these are minor items, they would greatly increase the attention to detail on the model and put it on par with some of the more remarkable models the Horus Heresy Character Series.

The above observations not withstanding, the model really is fantastic. The additions of the wolf skull strapped to the leg armour, the inset rune stones and the pyramid stud plates seal the model as clearly of the Vlka Fenryka’s aesthetic. The lowered gorget and decorated surround mimic that of the Cataphractii Varagyr, a nice detail that frames the head well. The head is nicely detailed, with an aggressive expression and war-torn visage. The skull trophies are a particularly welcome detail, adding to Hvarl’s narrative as the headsman of Koltok.

The axe is remarkable and with some minor alterations to the hand position along the shaft, it will be a superb representation of the reforged Necron weapon from Hvarl’s background.

Until Next Winter…

‘Best Loyalist Army’ – Legion of Peterborough

In June of last year the Legion of Peterborough held a fantastic Heresy event, ‘Blood & Steel: The Battle of Laernan Prime’ which consisted of a number of small centurion based games.

It was humbling and pleasing to get the peer vote from my fellow hobbyists for the ‘Best Loyalist Army’

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(re-sculpting all that Varagyr fur was clearly worth the effort)

Until Next Winter…

Objective Markers

Using some resin skulls from a jewelry store on etsy (https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LeanderOrnaments) objective markers have been created.  The bases were found on eBay.

The concept behind these is that they are symbolic makers, a Gothi’s collection of blood stained wolf skulls, marked with runes and blessed for protection or marked for death. I very much liked the idea that the Vlka Fenryka mark their passage with runes and shamanistic carvings, hung fetishes and totems. These are such an item, one of superstition and mystic belief rather than objective markers of weapons or information caches.

Until Next Winter…

Forge World Book Seven: Inferno! (and rules)

Whilst this book remains, In my humble and bias opinion, one of the best Horus Heresy books released by Forge World to date there are undoubtedly a number of rules and in particular their wording that have lead to widespread confusion within the 30k and Vlka Fenryka community.

Caveat: I am in no way an authority on the rules nor am I able to offer any more than my opinion and considered interpretation on such, that said I firmly believe that discussion among the community and an open-minded approach to rules is the best policy. Where rules are ambiguous they need to be considered and approached with care, there are two major considerations in this, firstly the context of the rule(s) within the Vlka Fenryka legion and secondly the context of the rule within the wider 30k game and its rule set.

This post is intended to help those like-minded hobbyists and gamers within our community and provoke critical analysis of the rules for fairer game play.

 

The first area of rules I would like to tackle, and by far the most contentious is within the Space Wolves Army Selection criteria regarding HQ choices and Characters:

“Detachments with the Legiones Astartes (Space Wolves) special rule must fulfill their compulsory HQ choice with either a Praetor or Centurion (representing a Wolf Lord or Claw Leader). Other HQ choices or Consul Types may not be selected as compulsory HQ choices.”

This pertains directly to the Force Organisation Chart (FOC) that is being used to build the army, for example the standard Age of Darkness FOC has a compulsory requirement for one HQ choice and two Troops choices. Thus in the case of the Space Wolves army this singular compulsory HQ chart slot must be filled with a Centurion or Praetor. In the case of the Centurion they may not have any consul upgrades and no Unique/Named characters may be taken in this slot. For clarity that is precludes the use of Hvarl Red-Blade, Geigor Fell-hand and the Priests of Fenris as the compulsory HQ for the FOC chart. Whilst this presents a potential ‘character tax’ in that you will always have to have a Centurion or Praetor within your list, this only becomes prohibitive at smaller points where you can’t afford the characters in your list too. Additionally the following rule needs to be taken into account:

“Any detachment with the Legiones Astartes (Space Wolves) special rule must include at least 1 HQ unit per 1,000 points or part thereof in the army regardless of the Force Allocation chart being used.”

So you need to take a HQ choice for every 1000 points, rounding up, even if the FOC wouldn’t normally allow for it. So it you play a 5000 points game with a standard Age of Darkness FOC you must take five HQ’s even though the FOC only has 3 slots, one of these must be a Centurion or Praetor.

To clarify:

0000-1000pts Centurion/Praetor

1001-2000pts  Centurion/Praetor + 1 HQ of your choice (2 total)

2001-3000pts Centurion/Praetor + 2 HQs of your choice (3 total)

3001-4000pts Centurion/Praetor + 3 HQs of your choice (4 total)

4001-5000pts Centurion/Praetor + 4 HQs of your choice (5 total)

Whilst a presumption, it seems reasonable that Command Squads, Deathsworn Command Squads (for priests) and the Wolf-Kin of Russ are not counted within this tally and essentially exist outside of the FOC for the purposes of this rule. However they can be considered a HQ Unit and thus could be argued to count, in truth a Forge World FAQ needs to be published to clarify this.

Taking these two rules into consideration there is a lot of discussion as to whether Hvarl Red-Blade can count as the compulsory Praetor and likewise whether Geigor Fell-hand can count as the compulsory Centurion, as the wording is very specific in ‘Other HQ choices or Consul Types may not be selected as compulsory HQ choices’ I do not believe they can. As discussed this appears to be open to some interpretation and should be discussed and agreed with your opponent prior to games, or at least until a Forge World FAQ is published to remove this ambiguity.

 

The second area of rules I would like to discuss is within the Space Wolves Army Selection criteria regarding Grey Slayer squads:

“Only Grey Slayer units (see page 230) may be taken as compulsory Troops Choices by any Space Wolves detachment. All other Troops choices found in the Legiones Astartes Age of Darkness army list gain the Support Squad special rule if they are in a Space Wolves army (if they do not already possess it) and if taken as part of any Allied Detachment using the Legiones Astartes (Space Wolves) special rule.”

Like with the HQ choices discussed above, this pertains directly to the Force Organisation Chart (FOC) that is being used to build the army, for example the standard Age of Darkness FOC has a compulsory requirement for one HQ choice and two Troops choices. Thus in the case of the Space Wolves army the two compulsory chart slots for Troops must be filled with Grey Slayer units. If you are using a variant FOC then its specified number of compulsory Troops slots must be filled with Grey Slayer units. You can then take Tactical Squads, Assault Squads, Support Squads, Breacher Siege Squads, etc… as non compulsory options. These can never be taken to fulfill the basic FOC requirement as within a space wolves army they are given the Support Squad special rule.

This then seems to be debated further with the complication of Rites of War, in my opinion the Grey Slayers as a compulsory are only for the base list building, once you introduce a Rite of War or Special Character (Russ) that has further amendments to the FOC and army selection criteria this supersedes the base rules. For example Russ’ rule ‘The Circle of Varagyr’ which allows for Varagyr Terminators and Veterans to be compulsory troops, this clearly replaces Grey Slayers. Likewise taking a Rite of War such as ‘Armoured Breakthrough’, which for example makes Predator Squadrons compulsory troops will override the Grey Slayers requirement. Grey Slayers are the Space Wolves’ base troops unit, like other legions have Tactical Marines, Assault Squads, Breacher Siege Squads, etc…

 

This rules insight and critical analysis is here only to provoke discussion and offer my opinion on how they could be interpreted. As above until an official Forge World FAQ is published, ambiguity will remain. I would in the meantime advise all gamers to discuss these rules with their opponents and fellow hobbyists and make considered decisions that are free from the bias of wish listing, are not attempting to find advantage in rules manipulation and remain firmly in the spirit of the game and its bountiful narrative.

Until Next Winter…

Vlka Fenryka – Legion Structure

Taking inspiration from the collation of information by Drake Setta at Battle Bunnies following the release of Inferno the following post looks to replicate and build upon this documentation to outline the fighting structure and organisation of the Rout:

Legion size, estimated at the time of the Burning of Prospero to be 95,000 to 100,000 legionaries. Inferno outlines information on eleven of the Greay Companies, totalling 73,200 legionaries as part of the Censure Host. The list below looks to build on this within information collated from Horus Heresy sources:

The legion is divided into Thirteen Great Companies:

Onn Company ‘the Breakers of Rings’
Jarl: Gunnar Gunnhilt ‘Lord Gunn’
Terminators of the Varagyr and Legion command elements
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 3,000 Legionaires

Twa Company ‘the Thread Cutters’
Jarl: Unknown
Veteran infantry and Dreadnoughts
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 800 Legionaires + 60 Dreadnoughts

Tra Company ‘the Eagle’s Keepers’
Jarl: Ogvai Ogvai Helmschrot
Close assault infantry and support armour
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 9,800 Legionaires

For Company ‘the Blood-Worm’s Masters’
Jarl: Hvarl Red-Blade
Heavy Infantry (including Breacher and Assault Units) and Artillery
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 8,600 Legionaires.

Fyf Company ‘the Blood-Ice Storm’
Jarl: Amlodhi Skarssen Skarssensson
Mixed infantry and Light armour
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 10,000 Legionaires

Sesc Company
Jarl: Unknown
Composition Unknown
Numbers  committed to Prospero: Zero

Sepp Company ‘the Wight-flame’s Wielders’ – Landayvan
Jarl: Unknown
Black Cull, Destroyer and Immolation units, Siege weapons and Artillery
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 5,200 Legionaires

For-Twa Company ‘the Slaughter-Fire Heralds’
Jarl: Unknown
Reconnaissance and Infiltration units
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 9,500 Legionaires

Tra-Tra ‘the Serpents of the Battle Moon’
Jarl: Sturgard Joriksson
Heavy Weapons, Rapiers and Infantry Support units
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 7,800 Legionaires

Dekk Company 
Jarl: Unknown
Composition Unkown
Numbers  committed to Prospero: Zero

Dekk-Onn Company ‘the Sea-Flame’s Bearers’
Jarl: Varald Helsdawn
Veteran infantry (high Terran numbers)
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 9,200 Legionaires

Tolv Company ‘the Shield-Gnawers’
Jarl: Jaurmag / Oki ‘Scarred’
Close Assault Infantry and Ground Assault vehicles.
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 8,700 Legionaires

Dekk-Tra Company ‘the Corpse-renders’
Jarl: Jorin Bloodfang
Pursuit and Assault units.
Numbers  committed to Prospero: 600 Legionaires.

It is acknowledged that this list leans heavily upon the Forge World publication of Inferno (Book VII of the Horus Heresy series), some Jarls and their place within the company differ in the Black Library publications.

Until Next Winter…

Book VII – Inferno

With the seventh installment of the Horus Heresy campaign books almost upon us i can reveal that, not only will i getting this tomb but i will be reviewing it on none other than the 30k channel with my old Thousand Sons adversary @1kson, be sure to check out his work on instagram.

inferno

Until Next Winter…