Anonymou5 Reports: Rune Priests – Slayin’ the Meta

Image by Nekhar

Image by Nekhar

Anonymou5 brings us his take on Rune Priest tactics in 6th ed! For more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!

If you aren’t running Daemons or the Seer Council, and you’re building a list for a tournament, you need to ask yourself why you aren’t bringing a Rune Priest.

“But anonymou5, I’m running Tau!”  Read my opening sentence again, it does not say “if you are bringing Space Marines to a tournament, you need to ask yourself why you aren’t bringing a Rune Priest?  “But anonymou5, I’m running Eldar?  I don’t want him cancelling my powers.”  Read my opening sentence again.  I don’t care about your powers.  You need to ask yourself why you aren’t bringing a Rune Priest.

That’s not to say everyone SHOULD bring a Rune Priest.  But you need to at least consider it.

I would say, if your counter for a Screamerstar is “Hope he fails a Grimoire,”  or if your counter for a Seer Council is “hope I get first turn,” then you are making a mistake by not bringing a Priest.

But that’s simple, let’s break it down.  The Rune Priest is a one man counter to the meta right now.

First and foremost, Rune Priests don’t care about your psychic death stars.  This much is obvious.  They are so drunk that they use the power of runes to cancel powers.  Their AOE psychic defense is fantastic.  Push a Rune Priest to midfield in a Land Raider and he can force a Seer Council or Screamerstar to waste time attempting to get him out of his can, then killing him, and all that time they dedicate to that task, they are 50% more vulnerable to the rest of your Army.  He can just chill mid field sharing Mjod and singing sagas with his Grey Hunter buddies, completely screwing up your opponent’s game plan.   He’s not picky though, he can come in a drop pod.  It’ll be easier for your opponent to remove him, but you can start disrupting powers from turn 1.  Get him near the middle of the field, and pretty much the entire board is a dangerous place for psychic death stars to roam.  A Screamerstar that is afraid to cross midfield is a Screamerstar that is wasting 800 points.

Second of all, Rune Priests don’t care about Riptides.  Do you know another unit that has a roughly 50% chance of killing a Riptide in one shot?  How about three Riptides?  How about three Riptides and a couple unlucky Broadsides that happen to be standing in a line?  Again, he can drive up in his Land Raider and terrify a Tau player.  They know they need to kill the Raider, but their best anti tank assets are usually his Riptides…and they don’t want to get within 24 inches of the Land Raider.  Again, he can come in a Drop Pod, but in this scenario you’ll probably want multiple Drop Pods to help you beat interceptor.

Third, Rune Priests don’t care about infiltrate craftiness.  Farsun Bomb won’t be appearing somewhere you don’t want it and killing you.  Giant waves of Kroot won’t appear and start putting sniper fire into you.  Huron won’t be able to master his deception and sneak beat sticks into your backfield.  Why?  Because the Rune Priest has a bestie, and that bestie is a bird.  He’s called the Chooser of the Slain, and he is emplaced before deployment.  Infiltrators are afraid of birds, and can’t go near him.  As a plus he also boosts the Rune Priests BS to 5, which can be helpful.  If there is no other reason for the Rune Priest to exist, he can take Living Lightning and become a sniper.  This is great against Dark Eldar.  Living Lightning has unlimited range, what’s infinite minus 6?  I don’t know and neither do your Night Shields.  How does D6, BS5, S7 shots sound?  Sounds like Boats dying to me.

Fourth, Rune Priests are actually kind of helpful against a Flying Circus for reasons other than psychic denial.  Stand him in terrain (maybe the wreckage of his Land Raider).  Dare the Princes to come play at initiative 1 for charging through terrain.  50% chance the Prince doesn’t have Iron Arm (assuming he even got it to begin with).   The Rune Priest is WS5, so hitting on 4s, rerolling because you’ll take Prescience versus Daemons, wounding on 2s because his Runic Weapon does that for some reason, and dishing out instant death because Runic also means Force.  Runic also means “mix some Daemon tears in with the Mjod.”

Fifth, Rune Priests aren’t just good against Tau, Eldar and Daemons (and for some reason Dark Eldar snuck into this break down), they’re also good against the other powerful 6ED Army….the one that is Initiative 2 across the board.  Necrons hate Jaws.  Even with the FAQ allowing reanimation protocols against it.   And you know who don’t have Reanimation Protocals?  Wraiths.  And yes, Jaws works on Jump Pack Infantry now….that changed with the edition and how infantry are categorized.   But I look forward to the inevitable argument in the comments.

Sixth, Rune Priests are kryptonite to Nids.  Sure, Nids aren’t a dominant Army right now, but they’re still an extremely viable spoiler Army.  Jaws out ranges Shadows.  Tervigons die easier to Jaws than Riptides do.   Dead Tervigons every turn usually doesn’t work out too well for Nid players.  If he’s focusing all his efforts on killing your Priest, he’s losing the powers that make him survivable against your “real” Army.

Okay, that’s six reasons why Rune Priests are awesome.  But why did I tell an Eldar player to run one?  Won’t that mess with his own powers?  Let’s look at the standard Eldar list now, what really needs twin linking?   Wave Serpents?  Let’s not kid ourselves, you have Wave Serpents.  They’re already twin linked.  And honestly, the rest of your powers probably don’t matter because your Farseer is probably in his own Wave Serpent.  Oh wait, you run a Bike Seer?  I guess you like giving your opponent Slay the Warlord.  Oh he has the laughing mantle?  I guess you live in a world where other Eldar don’t run Wave Serpents.  Where Riptide Deathstars aren’t ignoring cover from across the map.  Where my 4 FMCs aren’t vector striking him to death on Turn 3 when I plan my redeployment.  In fact, many Eldar players complain that they don’t know what to do with their Farseers anymore.  Guide/Prescience is nice, but they don’t NEED it.  Possible solution?  Don’t run a Farseer.  Take the Autarch, control your reserves, save points, and bring in a drunk member of the Rout to handle the problems your elves cannot.

Don’t take it from me, look at Mike Brant’s list from Battle for Salvation.  He placed second by the way.  Wave Serpents and the normal Eldar stuff…but also a Rune Priest, 5 Grey Hunters, a Land Raider (Crusader I think), a Lone Wolf (TDA, Fist, Storm Shield) and likely some booze.  The Lone Wolf followed the Land Raider and punched things that got into melta range.   11th Company Neil?  He ran Tau with a Rune Priest, 5 Grey Hunters, and a Land Raider.

Stop complaining about the meta, think creatively.  Rune Priests answer most of the problems.  If you’re running Marines, put him on a bike or in a pod.  Or just walk him with a squad.  He also brings you prescience that he can share.  And maybe he’ll teach your men a few things about how your “precious codex” is stupid.  If you’re running Eldar or Tau, a Land Raider makes a lot of sense.  Imagine jump shoot jumping from behind a sideways turned land raider.  Mobile LOS blocking for your suits.

I’m not saying EVERY list MUST have a Rune Priest.  But you need to think about why you aren’t bringing one.  You need to think how you’re going to handle invincible death stars, Daemons, and Riptides without one.  If you don’t have an answer, there’s probably a drunk psychic who can give it to you.

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26 Responses to “Anonymou5 Reports: Rune Priests – Slayin’ the Meta”

  1. salamanders4lyfe November 14, 2013 5:57 am #

    The title of your next article will be something like, “Why aren’t you bringing a Vindicaire assassin? Tired of that rune priest jawsing everything? You need to ask yourself why you don’t have a vindicaire assassin to snipe his ass”

    • white925 November 14, 2013 12:48 pm #

      Haha im sold! i need a vindicaire now.

  2. anonymou5 November 14, 2013 5:59 am #

    I plan on starting an arms race

    • salamanders4lyfe November 14, 2013 7:46 am #

      Where is your ebay store stocked with “pro-painted” rune priests at $50 a pop?

  3. Madcore November 14, 2013 6:04 am #

    I own a rune priest but i never used him before…being an Imperial guard player, i bought it at the beginning of this edition telling me that i would use Space Wolves allies but i never did…

    Having no experience with SW, i would you field it with IG?

    • Captaina November 14, 2013 8:28 am #

      Rune priest would be great with IG. GIves that blog ATSKNF, gives you some more puch with long fangs, grey hunters in drop pods or on foot or a rhino can help your mobile scoring as well.

    • anonymou5 November 14, 2013 9:31 am #

      On my phone so this will be shorter than it could be…

      RPs are amazing for Guard. They are great anchors for blobs. Prescience benefits no Army more than it does ig. Twink linked manticores are ridiculous. Grey hunters work well with Guard, as they’re actually passable for counter assault, something very few troop units in the game can do. You can go expensive and bring 3 allied drop pods if you want, two with GHs and one with WG. Lone Wolves compliment ig well too. I wouldn’t bother with long fangs though. They’ve aged very poorly and are actually a really bad unit now. Which is a shame, I own 20+ lol

  4. Hotsauceman1 November 14, 2013 6:13 am #

    Im waiting for th inquisition codex, I have a feeling they will brong thier own psychich canceling shanigans

    • anonymou5 November 14, 2013 9:32 am #

      We shall see, but I doubt it. The 6ed trend has been away from large scale anti psychic (runes of warding, psychic hood)

      • Hotsauceman1 November 14, 2013 10:00 am #

        Which is why im weary of buying Space Wolves, when they come they might not have that.

  5. Jason Brown November 14, 2013 9:54 am #

    What happens when the 6th Ed codex comes out and the RP gets the bat? We all know that his powers and abilities are far beyond the reach of his point cost, once that thing comes out the rune staff is getting a massive nerf.

    That being said, till then it sure helps. I am actually looking at running some GK with my eldar with a ton of skull servitor things due to the massive number of drop pod armies I am seeing.

  6. anonymou5 November 14, 2013 10:16 am #

    The Rune Priest is getting nerfed. No doubt. But that’s gotta be at least six months away (nids ig and orks are all coming first, at least). I wrote this article in regards to the current meta. A single RP and a few GH is a cheap (financial) addition to any Army, fun conversion and painting, and often can be created with models that players already own (who doesn’t have assault on black reach marines sitting around, for example)

    • Hotsauceman1 November 14, 2013 10:27 am #

      Good point, And they do have divination…… They just seem so expensive compared to my librarion, but canceling psychic powers with a 48 inche bubble, that is good.

      • Sly November 14, 2013 10:43 am #

        Right now, they are expensive and great.
        When they get a new Codex and the Rune Bat of Nerfing becomes a Nerfed Rune Bat, they will probably a be a lot cheaper with the standard 25pt cost for each additional Mastery Level.
        So even when the Codex drops, I doubt that they will become a bad investment. It’s very likely that they will retain Divination, and any Psyker with ATSKNF plus Divination is welcome in many low places. Or high.

        • Hotsauceman1 November 14, 2013 1:25 pm #

          Yeah, but forgeworld chapter tactics allow divination. Im mostly looking at the psychic defense TBH.

          • anonymou5 November 14, 2013 1:33 pm
            #

            Model him creatively and you can use him as FW Librarian or a Rune Priest, depending on the list. Right now I think 95% of Marine based lists are making a mistake if they don’t bring in Space Wolves allies. That may change after the Runic Weapon gets nerfed, but it may not.

            I think it’s fairly likely that Space Wolves maintain their own psychic tree. Jaws will be nerfed or removed, but they may retain something unique and awesome.

  7. Mr E November 14, 2013 10:32 am #

    hey man your forgetting the eldar player that leaves his poor jetseer out in the cold to die a terrible fiery death while your “warlord” (spirit seer) is chillin in your one and only wave serpent singing to the D-cythes and waiting for the two wraithknights to do their work and the 3×7 warp spiders to finish of any tid bits while 5 man squads of dire avengers duck and cover

    • anonymou5 November 14, 2013 1:31 pm #

      That player is covered under “That’s not to say everyone SHOULD bring a Rune Priest”

      That said, it’s still worth considering. Is Battle Focus for Wraith Units more important than entirely shutting down Daemons, Seer Councils and Screamerstars? That’s up to the Eldar player to decide, but it’s worth considering.

  8. bigpig November 14, 2013 4:20 pm #

    Good read. I wish I could ally Wolves with my ‘nids. Nids HATE the Rune Priest in drop pod. There is no answer (aside from reserving all the slow MCs) to it except a lucky Deny the Witch roll a big deviation putting the pod/priest within shadows range. Otherwise its rolling 2 or less to keep those Tervigons from falling off the board. Very frustrating. Now, exactly how drunk do we have to get that rune priest before he becomes chummy and pals around with the swarm?

    • anonymou5 November 14, 2013 6:06 pm #

      The problem with Nids and The Rout allying actually lays with the bugs. Lukas slept with a Nord Queen and didn’t call her back, relations have been sour ever since.

  9. jy2
    jy2 November 14, 2013 4:21 pm #

    I used to run 3 Rune Priests back with grey hunters in rhinos back in 5th.

    Nowadays, I run 3 Rune Priests in 4 Forge World Land Raiders for tournaments that allow it. 😉

    • anonymou5 November 14, 2013 6:06 pm #

      Haha, yeah that Rune Priest/Land Raider list is hilarious. I loved those batreps

  10. Anonymous November 14, 2013 10:33 pm #

    This is a great article, and I agree wholeheartedly. Great reason to pick up RPs again, after I foolishly dropped them in a hissyfit after Farsight Enclaves received Talisman of Arthas Moloch to offset JotWW.

    Should armies that can take SW as desperate allies still consider taking them?

    • anonymou5 November 15, 2013 1:01 am #

      A) Thanks for the kind words
      B) Way to steal my handle, haha
      C) I think for Desperate Allies, they are still worth considering, you just have to ask a few more questions

      1) Do I have the mobility to work around the Space Wolves?
      2) Can Grey Hunters compliment my game plan operating unsupported?
      3) Do I have enough organic scoring that I do not need allied scoring at all?

      Fortunately Grey Hunters are pretty useful even outside of a scoring role, and two of the DAs (DE and Necrons) have insane mobility. So they are at least worth considering. I would highly reccomend the RP/Land Raider/Grey Hunter combo though, because they can just drive to midfield and be annoying. Just keep objective placement in mind. As you don’t want them near any objectives you plan to score.

  11. James March 1, 2014 2:00 pm #

    I bet this is somewhere… Does the Storm Caller power only grant a 5+ cover save? Does it confer being in cover as well for the purpose of being assaulted from enemy units?

  12. BurritoBrain May 7, 2014 8:51 pm #

    Problem with the Rune Priest killing Riptides is that the tau player is probably going to have 2 hammerheads chilling in the back to pop the land raider, and then destroy the rune priest and his unit with and over-charged ion accelerator from the riptide. 😛

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