The new Imperial Knights Armiger unit, the Helverin is a solid addition to any Imperial army. Now that you can help fill out a Super Heavy detachment with them for 3 CP thanks to the recent Imperial Knights FAQ (although you still need at least 1 Titanic Knight in there), they’re a lot more appealing than they already were. These outrider Knights support their bigger cousins and act as skirmishers and an opportunity to learn for new Knight pilots, often under the supervision of a Knight Perceptor.
Let’s jump in and take a look at what makes them good and look at some tactics for making the most of them.
What do they do?
Beyond looking awesome, the unit sports some pretty impressive stats at a very reasonable price point. Let’s look at some highlights:
- Unit size 1-3, each Helverin becomes an individual units after being set up on the battlefield
- 170 points base, +4pts for the Heavy Stubber as your cheapest load-out but can take a Melta Gun
- 14″ movement
- Toughness 7, 12 wounds, a 5++ save vs. ranged weapons with their Ion Shield
- WS and BS of 3+
- No penalty for moving and shooting their heavy weapons
- Solid firepower with 2 Armiger Autocannons: 60″ range, Heavy 2D3, Strength 7, AP-1, 3 Damage
- Decent melee with 4 strength 6 attacks, hitting on 3’s.
That’s a LOT to be excited about! Speed, reasonable durability, hitting power. Checks pretty much all the bases. So what are the challenges in using them? It can be pricey to put them on the table if you want to also get CP and Household bonuses. However, there’s pretty much an inbuilt list building strategy which is to take a single Knight Preceptor with them and as many Helverins as you please so long as you have at least 2 units of them to unlock the 3 CP. If you’re not overly concerned with the CP, you can just look to pick them up in other detachments in your army and focus solely on the Helverins.
Using them is fairly straight forward for basic on the table tactics. They want to skirmish, staying out of your opponent’s threat ranges and hammering vulnerable units with their considerable firepower. 4D3, 3 damage shots a pop is no joke. If you’ve got that Knight Percetpor, too, they’re re-rolling 1’s to hit bumping their accuracy up to 78%. That makes them quite deadly to a wide variety of targets, particularly heavy infantry like Bullgryn or Plague Drones which are prevalent in the meta at present, and also to heavier targets such as Magnus or T7 vehicles. If you can snag mission objectives while doing this, all the better! It’s easier to accomplish this when you have units playing aggressively, getting in your opponent’s face and forcing them to deal with them, leaving your hard to reach Helverins as lower priority targets.
It really is that simple with these guys on a basic level, lol. Run and gun and use your superior range and speed to stay out of harm’s reach as best as possible. Beyond that though, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of looking for combos and ways to force multiply the Helverins.
We’ve already touched on the rather obvious Knight Perceptor combo. However, it bears mentioning that there are some inherent challenges in pulling this one off and that is namely that the Perceptor has relatively short range compared to the Helverins at 36″ vs. 60.” In order to really make it work, you’re going to want to get into optimal threat range for the Perceptor as well which means you will likely have to screen them as Helverins do not want to be in melee. If anything tags them, they aren’t shooting the next turn as they do not have the Super-heavy Walker special rule. If you go this route, strongly consider going with a Questor Mechanicus Household as you can then take the amazing Helm Dominatus relic which gives you the ability to choose an enemy unit within 24″ and all of your Armigers that fire on that target gain a +1 to hit which again, if near the Perceptor giving them a re-roll of 1’s to hit means you jump up to a ludicrous 97% accuracy! That’s a nasty combo but requires you to get up close so think about how you will keep your Helverins safely out of melee and firing away to pull it off turn after turn.
Alternatively, if you go Questor Imperialis, you can opt to use the awesome Sally Forth! strat to outflank a unit of up to 3 Helverins. This is fantastic as for 3 CP you get to keep three of your Helverins off of the table to have perfect alpha strike defense. So long as you can keep a space open for them to come on to the table, you are assured to get at least 1 round of shooting out of them. This is a great way to play them, particularly if you just want to take Helverins without investing much into supporting them. It’s a fairly self-contained and very effective strategy.
Regarding which Households benefit Helverins, they all have something to offer but the standouts in my mind are the following.
- Hawkshroud: Largely ignoring the damage table to keep firing at full effect is incredibly useful. You have to go down all the way to 3 wounds before you degrade the first time and then to your last wound for the bottom tier. If you do decide to make a Helverin your Warlord, their Warlord Trait is also solid, giving you +1 to hit vs. a specific target all game long.
- Griffith: Is not the most optimal choice but their stratagem Dragonslayer is solid for a Helverin. +1 to wound means you will be wounding most 10 wound+ targets on 3’s instead of 4’s which makes you far more reliable in taking them out.
- Cadmus: Like Griffith, not the most beneficial but has some good combos. Their strat allowing you to intercept is very good for establishing board control, and their relic giving you ignores cover is also solid.
- Mortan: Their strat allowing you to ignore modifiers when shooting is fantastic for a Helverin who with it can make short work of units that can be very difficult to take out such as Alaitoc flyers, Nurgle units, etc. Their Warlord trait is also very good (again, assuming you actually make a Helverin your Warlord) is quite good as they will almost always be at more than 18″ away from the enemy making that -1 to hit very efficient.
- Raven: Has a lot to offer Helverins. The ability to advance and still fire normally is awesome as it takes the already zippy Helverins and makes them super fast. Combo this with the awesome Landstrider Warlord Trait and your Helverins will be going between 17″ and 22″ a turn while still firing at full effect! That’s starting to approach flyer levels of speed and means very few targets will be able to hide from you. Their strat, Order of Companions, while a bit pricey for a Helverins, is quite good. Re-rolling 1’s to hit, wound, damage and umber of shots is no joke. Lastly, the Warlord Trait is quite good for helverins as they are more likely to draw AP-1 firepower and this makes you proof against that.
- Taranis: The 6+ FnP style save is always good, and their strat that keeps a Knight on the table on a 4+ after it dies is obviously just good in general. Lastly, the Warlord Trait to get an additional -1 AP on a 6+ to wound for Armigers is very useful if you opt to go for it.
- Krast: Generally speaking not an optimal choice but if you decide to make a Helverin your Warlord, their trait and relic are very solid giving you re-rolls of 1 to hit and increaseing your already impressive damage by +1 vs targets with a wounds characteristic of 10+ or +2 vs. Titanic models. Not always useful but when it is it makes that Helverin seriously deadly.
- Vulker: Re-rolls of 1 to hit vs. the closest target is great for Armigers and one of the most obviously useful Households. Their stratagem is likewise very good for them, giving you 2 hits for every 6 to hit rolled. The Warlord Trait is very good for a Helverin as well, as being T7, ignoring 1’s, 2’s and 3’s to wound will kick in a lot more frequently than it will for a T8 Knight.
For my money, Hawkshroud, Raven and Vulker are the most appealing. The increased durability of Hawkshroud is amazing and the ability to just outflank 3 of them is very useful. Raven is fantastic and my personal favorite for a Helverin force. It really benefits from taking a Perceptor as well as you can then use the Helm Dominatus as described above, and then opt for the Landstrider Warlord Trait for a crazy fast, accurate Knight Lance. If you need to, you can use the Machine Spirit Resurgent strat to keep a wounded Helverin operating at max efficiency. And of course, if you pair with Mechanicus, you can repair them on the fly, too. Lastly, Vulker gives you the ability to re-roll 1’s to hit without any other buffs which is great, and with the Helverin’s speed you can often position yourself to get it to kick in on the units you want.
What is your favorite way to play Helverins?
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!