Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts on Special Characters - Part 7: Arjac Rockfist & Lukas the Trickster

We've come to the final part of this series and it's a double header of "upgrade" characters. These guys can't be taken on their own so they aren't the usual special characters. However, they're pretty potent in their own right. The other main difference between them and the HQ choices is that they don't enhance the unit they're tied to (in fact Lukas makes them worse if anything!). Let's start with Arjac.

Arjac Rockfist, The Anvil of Fenris
Arjac Rockfist can be taken in a squad of Wolf Guard but it doesn't have to be a terminator squad. He costs 170pts plus 18pts for the WG he upgrades from. This makes him the same basic cost as Ulrik or Canis. Bear in mind that like other WG he can go off to lead other squads such as Grey Hunters but not Scouts because of his terminator armour. This means you could include him along with the usual WG that you put with your Grey Hunters and have him attach in the same way they do. The advantage of this over conventional ICs is that he can't be targeted separately in CC and he doesn't have to charge first like ICs do whilst still getting the protection of being in a squad. 

His basic statline is quite nice. The most noticeable things are the S5 and 3 attacks, couple this with his thunder hammer and that's strength 10 and a couple of bonus attacks on the charge (1 for charging and 1 from his shield, which even works when he's been charged). So that's a whopping 5 S10 attacks which combined with the obligatory Wolftooth necklace means bad times for anything he comes across. The rest of his stat line isn't so exciting. BS and WS 5 are nice but since he has a necklace anyway and he only gets one shooting attack (I'll come to that later) he doesn't really need either. His toughness 4, 2 wounds and terminator armour make him just as difficult to kill as two terminators with storm shields. Saga of the Bear ensures he's not at risk from instant death which is handy to protect him from pesky lascannons and meltaguns.

His special rules are the standard Acute Senses, ATSKNF, Counter-Attack but with the addition of Stubborn which doesn't take effect until he's on his own. Grimnar's Champion gives him a nice re-roll to hit against ICs and MCs. It does however, mean that he has to direct attacks to ICs which you'd probably do anyway. The Anvil Shield is just a storm shield but as I've mentioned you get an extra attack in the first round of combat. The foehammer can be thrown 6" with S10 and AP1 making it the world's shortest ranged railgun! This might not sound brilliant but it does give a combat heavy terminator squad chance to de-mech a target before clobbering the occupants. 

I'd use him with 4 terminator buddies in a drop pod. Perhaps something like Arjac, 3 wolf claw terminators and a cyclone/PF combo. The wolf claws give you some I4 attacks and then Arjac and the fist can wreak havoc last. It may be worth swapping out a claw terminator for another hammer and shield to give you added protection. That or put him in a drop pod with an 8 man grey hunter squad and see what you can get to fight you! The other more obvious alternative is to put him with a squad in a land raider and pile into your enemies strongest unit. I'd even consider a redeemer so he's gets 7 friends to ride alongside.

PS Thanks to Cathexis on DakkaDakka for the inspiring Arjac conversion that I'm working to emulate with a few differences (I'll post about this when he's done).

Lukas the Trickster
The first and most obvious thing to notice about Lukas, and the reason he doesn't get used, is that he's an upgrade to a squad of blood claws. I think the problem people have with Blood Claws is that they cost the same as grey hunters and don't offer enough to compensate for the loss of those bolters. Anyway, let's look at Lukas and I'll come back to this issue.

Lukas costs 140pts plus 15pts for the BC he replaces, at 155pts he's the cheapest "special character". He's pretty tooled up for the points too. He gets a necklace, talisman, wolf claw, a plasma pistol and his pelt (which we'll come to later). His statline is quite nice, he gets 2 extra points in WS & BS over his squad mates, an extra wound, 3 attacks and that all important I5. His leadership is a measly 8 but it also can't be increased by adding a IC to the squad which also applies to the rest of the squad. This can easily be mitigated by adding a Wolf Priest to his squad which gives them all Fearless and Preferred Enemy. Speaking of which preferred enemy is pretty vital with Blood Claws given their low WS.

Anyway, his special rules are what make him, well... special. The most infamous of these is his Last Laugh ability. Should Lukas find himself in combat and your opponent lands a killing blow then you roll off to see if you can remove all the models that were in base contact with him! This affects both friend and foe so be careful who you put next to him but the possibilities of this rule are endless. Charge him into a land raider and let the occupants get out and attack you. Should they kill you and you win the roll off then it's bye bye land raider! His pelt on the other hand has been a little bit screwed by the FAQ. Since he isn't an IC you can't allocate attacks to him separately so you opponent is unlikely to have to re-roll many hits. In practice this means that he has to be on his own for it to do anything at all and to be honest once he's alone you almost want him to die so that he can play his final trick.

For me Lukas is best in a full strength squad of blood claws (15 including him) and a vanilla wolf priest. For them to be truly effective they need a land raider crusader to get them into a (nearly) guaranteed charge position. Throw in a power weapon for one of the claws and a multi-melta for the crusader and it's over 600 points for this unit. Can't see many people finding space for them in their lists but in high points games (at least 2500) he'd be a fun little addition. This unit will have about 66 attacks on the charge with a good chunk of them as power weapons. Add in the preferred enemy and you've got a good chance of annihilating a large squad. The Wolf Priest also gets rid of the annoying Headstrong. In my post yesterday I talked about distraction units and he's certainly that. Anyone who knows about him will be understandably cautious about getting into combat with him which you can play to your advantage. 

The alternative is a smaller bodyguard for Lukas and stick him in either a razorback or rhino and pile them forward as quick as possible. Park up, hope not to get de-meched them charge out and make a mess of someone. Either way I doubt you'll see anyone using him at a tournament. I have to agree that BCs aren't as good as GHs but they're certainly more fun!

Right, that's it then. The next post in this series will be the last and it'll be a handy summary of the pros and cons of each character so you can choose which, if any, you'd like to try out!


  1. Hi hope i did not produce to much multiple entries, but it doesnt seems to work to post properly. I have a question regarding the Hammer of Arjac. Does the rule of thunderhammers to reduce the initiative to one when causing a wound also applies when the hammer is thrown ?

    I really loved to read your blog. I was a little bit uncertain about using arjac :)

    1. Yes it still has the thunder hammer effects when thrown. it's in the space wolves faq.


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