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.
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…