Sunday, December 25, 2011

Introducing Bran Redmaw: Rules and Stats

Wolf Lord Bran Redmaw
If you are a Space Wolves player you've probably seen Bran Redmaw's Forge World model and are already aware that he is the Wolf Lord involved in the The Doom of Mymeara campaign book, also from Forge World. The Doom of Mymeara is the 11th Imperial Armour book and the main players in it are the I.G and Eldar. Space Wolves provide the obligatory Astartes presence and while their role is brief (meaning we only get a named HQ and a single Apocalypse Formation) they do get to kick some major xeno ass. Or so I've been told..

But this post is not about The Doom of Mymeara.
It is about Wolf Lord Bran Redmaw...

So like I said, Wolf Lord Bran Redmaw is the only "new" toy we get from the book. He is mentioned in Codex: Space Wolves (p. 16) and the symbol of his Great Company is that of the Bloodied Hunter. He is known to be a very patient and cunning hunter who stalks his prey and then unleashes his hidden Grey Hunters when the moment is right. And when the waiting is over.. the feral bloodshed begins..

He is known as Wolf Lord Bran Redmaw, Curs'd Lord, Wulfen-Kin, The Bloodied Hunter..
He is the epitome of patience and savagery.

His gimmick? He will randomly transform into a 12 feet tall Wulfen until the end of the game and gains a whole different model, stats, gear and special rules.

Bran Redmaw's price tag is 210 points, putting him between Ragnar Blackmane's 240 pts. and Canis Wolfborn's 185 points.

Points Breakdown:
Bran Redmaw has the stats of a basic Wolf Lord (100 pts.)
WS6, BS5, S4, T4, W3, I5, A4, Ld10
He also comes with the standard Frag and Krak grenades and a bolt pistol. Here's the rest of the stuff he comes with. I put the prices of each thing to try and see ho many points he's actually worth, but he comes with all of the things listed below.
  • Wolftooth Necklace (10 pts.) - Always hits models with a WS value on a 3+ regardless of WS. 
  • Rune Armour (20 pts.) - 2+ armor save, 5+ invulnerable against wounds caused by psychic powers. Standard.
  • Belt of Russ (25 pts.) - Identical to a SM's Iron Halo - confers a 4+ invulnerable save. 
  • The Axe of Langnvast (25? pts.) - It is apparently a Space Wolves relic. In-game it is a two-handed power axe that grants +1S in close combat and allows the wielder to re-roll failed roll to wound. It is sort of like a two-handed Frost Axe
He also comes with the standard ATSKNF, IC, Acute Senses, Counter-Attack rules that every Space Wolves HQ has. In addition he has:
  • Saga of the Hunter (10 pts.) - A great, fluffy saga, which gives Bran the Stealth USR. It also allows him to come from Reserve using Outflank and he can be joined by Fenrisian Wolves!
  • Patient Hunters - Perhaps the main reason to take Bran Redmaw! He gives a single Grey Hunter pack the Infiltrate USR or they may use the Behind Enemy Lines special rule as if they were Wolf Scouts!!
  • Curse of the Redmaw: There's a pretty big paragraph explaining this one. Basically as the battle goes on Bran might turn into a scary Wulfen. Starting on turn 2, before any movements are done roll a D6. He succumbs to The Redmaw on a 6+ turn 2, 5+ turn 3, 4+ on turn 4 and then on a 3+. He also gets +1 on the roll for each SW unit locked in combat that turn. 
What can we gather from his gear, equipment and special rules? Bran Redmaw is a utility Wolf Lord who specializes in close combat. His total gear and equipment add up to ~190 points. For ~20 points you get the ability to Infiltrate/Outflank with a unit of Grey Hunters AND Outflank Bran with a pack of Fenrisian Wolves. He is no Ragnar Blackmane in close combat, but he is as fast and deadly as any other generic Wolf Lord. We can say that Bran's special rules and equipment very accurately portray his character and combat style. As I said before.. he is ALL about patience.

The Redmaw:
When Bran turns into a Wulfen he becomes The Redmaw until the end of the game. This form is tough, vicious and visceral.
WS7, BS-, S6, T6, W3, I6, A5, Ld8, Sv -
He loses ATSKNF, but gains in addition to IC, Acute Senses and Counter-Attack (ready for this?).. the following: Monstrous Creature, Fleet, Eternal Warrior, Feel No Pain, Furious Charge, Fearless.

6th Edition Update:
In addition to the list above, Monstrous Creature grants The Redmaw the following:
Hammer of Wrath - A single I10, S6, AP- attack the turn you charge. Not too shabby.
Move Through Cover - 6th Edition made this USR amazing as a single model in a unit bestows it upon the entire unit, granting +d6 when rolling for difficult terrain (usually resulting in rolling 3d6 and picking the highest) and ignoring all Dangerous Terrain tests!
Smash - All attacks (except for Hammer of Wrath) are resolved at AP2 and you can choose to halve the Attack Characteristic (5), which after ROUNDING UP (3) still gets you 4 attacks on the charge, resolved at Doubled Strength (6x2 = 12, but maximum is 10) and you can choose to re-roll armor penetration rolls. You can now signle-handedly get rid of vehicles with AV10-13, and you should be able to glance or even easily penetrate to death even Land Raiders!  
Relentless - Does Nothing For You... no ranged weapons.

He also loses all of his equipment except for the Wolftooth Necklace. So no he only has --/5+ due to Feel No Pain but a 5+ invulnerable save, no grenades.
Interestingly enough he does not have Rending like models with Mark of the Wulfen.

As of February 13, 2012, Bran Redmaw's Redmaw form was updated via the IA11 Q&A FAQ:
Pg127 – The Redmaw:
Add Monstrous Creature to the Redmaw’s Special Rules. Note that Bran Redmaw does not gain this ability before he succumbs to the Curse of the Redmaw. 
Note that the rest of the article was written before The Redmaw was considered to be a Monstrous Creature, giving him +1d6 on penetration rolls, power attacks and Move Through Cover. This makes him even better now as he now excels at killing all kinds of units. With S7, I6 and 6 AP2 attacks on the charge, the Redmaw should be able to take care of literally any infantry and most vehicles.

So what's the difference between Bran Redmaw and The Redmaw?
Well, they both have different types of survivability. Bran Redmaw's "human" form is perfect against the more elite units. Things with power weapons, which his 4+ invulnerable save can negate and opponents with good armor, which Bran's power axe can shred through. As such he is perfect against Space Marines of any flavor, especially Terminators without Storm Shields. He can also go against a lot of IC's if you're lucky. The lack of Fleet definitely will slow down his Fenrisian pack, though.
The Redmaw is the opposite of Bran. Where he lacks armor and invulnerable save he compensates with T6, Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain. His super Toughness is kind of wasted when with a lot of Fenrisian Wolves, but if he's getting shot at remember that he still has Stealth. He'll be getting a 3+/FnP in many cases, which is pretty damn good if you ask me. Where The Redmaw shines at is actually hunting vehicles. Yes, you will be hitting them on 4+ or 6+ most of the time, but you'll be getting 6 S7 attacks. Surely they ought to do something against a vehicle, maybe even Immobilize it so your Fenrisian Wolves can tear it to shreds.
The loss of your power weapon makes you weaker against units with good armor, but you should be able to take care of horde units without a problem. Position your character to maximize as many opponents in B2B contact and make them waste their attacks on you, protecting your precious wolves..

I don't think you have to roll for Bran's Curse unless he is on the table, meaning that if you fail to bring him on turn 2, you won't have to make the roll. I am not 100% sure on that one, though, so don't quote me on it.

Saga of the Hunter - With that being said.. I think it's imperative that you Outflank Bran with Fenrisian Wolves. Yes, they will lose on their Fleet Move if Bran is in his human form and yes they will lose on the 12'' charge, but just the psychological effect that a unit of 15 Cavalry models, lead by a psychopath will cripple your opponent's strategy. Remember, Space Wolves excel at fighting in the middle of the table where they can all support each other, so basically what you'll be doing is sort of.. herding your opponent towards it, because the edges of the board are not safe! This is also where Saga of the Wolfkin might come in handy if you plan on running a second, cheaper character. I5 Ld7 on the Fenrisian Wolves will give them the upper hand against I4 armies as long as you don't charge through difficult terrain and if for any reason you decide to remove Bran from the unit they'll at least have a small Ld boost. It's something to think about.

Just make sure you name your Cyberwolf Summer..
Patient Hunters - The entire "herding the enemy" mentality is reinforced by this rule and what a great rule this is. Grey Hunters with Behind the Enemy Lines! You will surely want to capitalize on that, by having a decently decked out pack of Grey Hunters. I wouldn't leave the Fang without a 10-man unit with at least 2 Meltaguns and a Wolf Standard. This is where the rest is tricky. Do you get a plasma pistol, knowing that you might be able to get rear armor on some vehicles? Do you go for a Power Fist on one of the Grey Hunters as well, knowing that you'd probably try and multi-assault some vehicles, given the big footprint of your unit? What about Mark of the Wulfen.. heh. You also should totally have a Wolf Guard leading them. You need that third melta (even thought it's a combi-weapon) and I would totally spend the 5 extra pts. to give him a Thunder Hammer, rather than a Power Fist. Now, if running a Terminator Wolf Guard is your cup of tea go ahead and get him a Chain Fist.
Basically you can afford the extra points of gear, because this unit won't be needing a Rhino.

Despite the possibility of killing a bunch of things on turn 2 by appearing behind your enemy, I would rather have them appear on turn 3 or 4, unless I'm playing Annihilation. Why? Because they are a Troops choice and you can kind of steer them in the direction - towards the objectives. This is where the Grey Hunters will outshine the Wolf Scouts - you don't feel bad for running a full squad of them, because they are a Troops choice and they are not super specialized. 3+ trumps 4+ as well.
Obviously the best way to take advantage of this rule would be to make sure that your army can support the Grey Hunters. Running two units of Wolf Scouts + the BEL Grey Hunters + Bran's Outflanking Wolves is going to give you 4 units with an alternative deployment, which is nice.
It is going to freak out your opponent, especially if those Wolf Scouts are 10-man units lead by Wolf Guards.

 Running two Drop Pods is also a nice trick. One can drop near an objective in your side's vicinity or toward the middle OR drop empty. The other one is going to be there to support your outflankers. Simply roll for reserves and if you happen to have your Drop Pod with your outflankers make sure to roll the Drop Pod's location and scatter dead last. You'll drop it where your outflankers will need the support OR in the table edge that's without support. We're trying to herd them towards the middle, remember?

So is Bran Redmaw worth it?
Yes. Yes, he is. Despite his randomness and his unpredictable gimmick Bran Redmaw is worth it if you are willing to invest in his patient hunt. For 210 points you get a slightly above average close combat monstrosity that's good against both elite and horde armies (if you are lucky) and whose combat and tactical utility is worth every point. Like any other special character you need to build a list around him, which is not very hard when you pretty much only need Wolf Scouts and Grey Hunters. Bran provides a new and refreshing way to play your Space Wolves, while also letting you field the army in a very fluffy and traditional way. It's sort of like playing Raven Guard, I suppose? Remember - as Bran Redmaw you are the stalker. You are the hunter and not the prey. You are the patient, cunning wolf. You dictate the outcome of the battle, not your opponent.
Since the addition of the Monstrous Creature rules to his Redmaw profile I would say that given Bran's utility he can be considered an auto-include in any Space Wolves army list based on mobility, surprise, outflanking and simply outmaneuvering. 

Do I agree with the "Warhammer 40,000 seal of appoval"?
Yes. I am a Space Wolves player, though, so I might be biased, but I don't see any ways to abuse any of Bran Redmaw's rules, and while he is certain going to be a pain in the butt with his outflanking capabilities, he is no Kayvaan Shrike of the Raven Guard, he is no Kor'sarro Khan of the White Scars and he is no Al'Rahim. He isn't even Snikrot, haha. He's definitely going to be a challenge when a part of a proper list, which is always good. For being a Special Character I believe that his points are if not spot on, then slightly too much for what you get, because he ends up losing a lot of gear when he turns into the Redmaw, but the outflanking shenanigans that he provides are well worth the price tag in my opinion.

I've also written 3 achievements that have to do with Wolf Lord Bran Redmaw - This Has Never Happened to Me Before, I Swear; Premature Lycanthropy; What Does the Auspex Say About His Power Level? You can find the achievements here

And last but not least, Bran Redmaw does not have a model yet.. but this limited edition Skinwolf from Forge World is just asking to be converted into The Redmaw.. 

21 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, I'm waiting for Doom of Mymeara to appear in my local GW so I don't have to pay postage!

    It's interesting that you can pay for his equipment or "go naked" I wonder which will be more effective in the long run. Only playtesting will tell I guess.

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  2. Oh, there seems to have been a misunderstanding. He comes with all of the upgrades and gear I listed below, I just put the codex values to try and see how many points he adds up to be! :)

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  3. Bran looks like a really interesting, and potentially very powerful character, thanks for the useful write-up Skarvald :)

    I'm very tempted to try running him, might have to pick-up a Hordes Warpborn Skinwalker model to proxy him for the time being: (been looking for an excuse to paint up one of these guys as a Space Wolf for ages now anwyay!)

    http://privateerpress.com/hordes/gallery/circle-orboros/units/warpborn-skinwalkers

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  4. @Skywards: Thanks for reading, Skywards. And yeah, I know about the Skinwalkers, my buddy plays Circle and even though he doesn't have the models I am very familiar with them. They just look so COOL.
    BUT, as far as I know FW is supposed to release both of the models pretty soon. I am curious to see The Redmaw model. It should be pretty sick and demented lookin'!

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  5. When I looked at the draft of the book at GD UK Redmaw was supposed to be a monstrous creature... All the better to bust those tanks with :

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  6. :-) Heh, finally a use for some of the Rackham Wolfen I have around...

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  7. Thanks for the write up scarvald, I really cant wait for the models to be released. My wife is in for a fun filled week watching me paint those when they turn up ;)
    Until that time, I had to make do with my own conversion.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cai0v_J9IEo
    Let me know what you think.
    Thanks again
    Mike.

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  8. @mike13: Oh, wow! A very, very nice conversion, sir. AS the other comments on your Youtube video state, you have absolutely captured the movement and ferocity of the beast within. It is also a sweet way to portray the shedding of the runic armor while turning into The Redmaw.
    I might actually steal your idea for a Wulfen Conversion one day..

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  9. @Skarvald: have put up a tutorial of the wulfen conversion, thought you may fancy a butchers.

    http://www.mastercraftedscalpel.blogspot.com/

    Cheers
    Mike

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  10. they did update his rules, his rules on the FW website. The added that he does now have the monstrous creature rule.
    http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/Downloads/Product/PDF/i/IA11Q&A.pdf

    Inthimk that now puts him intot the BAd Ass part of the spectrum.

    Johnny from "The Tyrants Due" Podcast.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tip, Johhny B. I have now edited the article. It's up to date now.
      - Cheers

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    2. Just an added note to this, you still have his Furious Charge as +1 to initiative, which I believe is no longer the case in 6th Ed.

      Great post! This entry actually inspired me to get IA11 and convert up models for Bran and The Redmaw. He's got some great gimmicks (Patient Hunters might even be a little too good), and MCs really got a boost this edition. However, everyone should remember to be careful when outflanking with Redmaw and his Fen wolves, as you can no longer charge on the turn you come in from reserves.

      Delete

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  12. I've asked to Forge World some questions about Bran Redmaw's rules.
    Believe it or not, but The Redmaw comes with a regular base (not even terminator size). So the skinwolf is too big for any conversion.

    I made my conversion with this model :
    http://www.waylandgames.co.uk/secrets-of-the-third-reich/german-infantry/jager-werewolf-wolfgang/prod_6033.html

    For Russ !

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    Replies
    1. Yikes, really? Was this after the 6th Ed update to his rules, because I thought MCs were supposed to have a somewhat standard base size (daemon prince/dreadnought size)?

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    2. According to FW, the "MC" rule is supposed to represent the fierceness of his attacks, not his size. (I hope my english is not too bad so you can understand what I mean).

      My conversion here : http://fenrisien.over-blog.com/all-bran

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  13. @Logan Grimnar: I don't think the model is too large to be converted on a small base. Also, I am pretty sure that the rules allow you to put a model on a larger base if I am not mistaken.
    I'm curious to see your conversion, however and wouldn't mind posting it here. :)

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    Replies
    1. On my blog :

      http://fenrisien.over-blog.com/

      Section : All Bran, last picture...

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    2. Just to add one thing,

      Wolf Priest with Saga of the Hunter attached to either a 15 strong Blood Claw pack with WGPL or 10 strong GH pack with WGPL adds another outflanking unit.

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  14. What kind of list would you even run with him? Maybe some with Canis, and a Rune Priest with x3 scouts, and greyhunters?

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  15. Why not Put bran into a 10 man GH unit? then Run either a Wolf Priest or a Wolf guard Battle Leader with Saga of the Hunter joining another 10 man GH unit with a unit of scouts with give You 2 outflanking GH units as well as 2 units with BEL rule. just a thought.

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