Fair warning for this article: I run a double Rune Priest build and I used to play Everquest. Now that I have gotten that off my chest, let’s go back in time about 12 years. Everquest shaman: great class that made its money making other characters and groups better. Wizards blast, Clerics heal, Druids taxi and Tanks tank – but the Shaman could universally make them all better. Using their buffs that give you bonuses to Health Points, Stamina, Strength and even speed the Shaman could dramatically increase the combat effectiveness of any group or, at higher levels, entire raiding parties with their AOE spells.
Why is this important now? Because it shapes my thinking about how to use Rune Priests and what they should be doing. In 5th Edition the big deal was JOTWW, Living Lightning and Murderous Hurricane – that was it, end of story. Every Rune Priest took a combination of those and they were all geared towards offense. The Rune Priest was a support character only for his Runic Weapon, that all powerful bubble of 24” where in nothing is cast uncontested. In respect to psychic powers the Rune Priest was a one man wrecking crew laying waste to Tyranid monstrous creatures and any other low initiative model wandering too close to the ‘line of death’.
So now here we are in 6th and our Rune Priests retained their Runic Weapons for psychic defense while everyone else saw their hoods nerfed. We have a slew of new psychic powers and even newer ways in which to use them. As a Space Wolf we have access to both of the best psychic ‘trees’ out there, Biomancy and Divination. Both of these contain great psychic powers and their primaris powers are not too shabby either. What it really comes down to when selecting your powers is what type of player are you – and what do you expect your Rune Priest to do for you? Where you place your Rune Priests in the game and what units they are with will also have a great deal of influence over what you expect them to do.
In my army my Rune Priests have gone from being a Wizard to being a Shaman – as I think it should be. I don’t ask my Rune Priests to blast away at the enemy as I did in 5th Edition, I ask them to make everyone around them better. In the Divination tree the primaris (default) power is Prescience, this allows you to pick a single unit with 12” and give them the ability to re-roll failed ‘to hit’ rolls. An easily overlooked application of this is not just in shooting, but in close combat and skyfire situations as well. This is a power that multiplies the combat effectiveness of a unit, making them better as a result. Additionally, because it is a blessing – it is not subject to ‘Deny the Witch’ like JOTWW would be.
There are numerous other examples in the Divination tree of granting units the ability to ignore cover with their shooting (hello night fight), granting a 4+ invulnerable save and even forcing enemy units to re-roll their successful saving throws (good night Paladins). All of these powers are buffs designed to increase the effectiveness of your army and your units, making them better and doing their job – destroying the enemy.
In the interest of keeping this article manageable for the people out there, like me, who are easily bored – I thin that about does it for this one. Next week I will take a look at the Biomancy ‘psychic tree’ for guys who are looking at a bit more offensive capabilities from their Rune Priest.