Written by Jeff Jongko
Winner, Best Painted Squad, Warhammer 40K GT 2010
(Photos courtesy of Neutral Grounds)
The Iron Priest ... to use or not to use ... relegated to a benchwarmer, the Iron Priest has seen little action since the earlier tourneys of 2010, Keso and Sigismund Cups. The ultimate form over function unit, looks cool and can do quite a but of damage but used improperly is just ... roadkill. But a lot of work went into converting and painting this model ... the image of a bright red power armoured techmarine on a cybernetic thunderwolf in a vast sea of grey Space Wolves simply captures the imagination too much to be ignored. But too many times has this unit died miserably and failed to live up to its potential. Thunderwolf Cavalry seemed much more useful and it seemed that the Iron Priest would never see action ever again.
But my initial GT list felt lacking. It had Thunderlords, Thunder Cav, Rune Priests and a ton of Grey Hunters but it just wasn't the same without the big red guy. After the list died miserably to Joel's Chaos list during the pre-GT practice session at the Bunker, I decided to re-evaluate what I had since I would need to paint lots of stuff to make the GT deadline. In the end, the Iron Priest had a third squad of Grey Hunters to thank for its inclusion in the army; I didn't have time to paint anything else which includes the other Thunderwolf Cavalry I needed to make "The Magnificent Seven".
After submitting the list to Ian, he commented I was crazy to use such a list. Not only did I completely ditch the Thunderwolf Cavalry and replaced them with 15 Fenrisian Wolves and the Iron Priest, I replaced both Rune Priests with Njal Stormcaller. And so another benchwarmer comes into play, my Rune Priest in Terminator Armour now newly converted to match Njal's specs (including that damn bolt pistol). I figured if you were going to go the look cool route, go all the way, so the Iron Priest got some newly converted Cyberwolves with matching red color scheme.
So came the first test game with Ian at the Bunker. Mission 3. Complete disaster. Not only did the Iron Priest and his dogs die in on close combat with a Trygon, Njal could not negate psychic powers on a 3+ if his life depended on it. And so another dismal defeat. Maybe they should have stayed on the bench afterall, and Henry suggested to take the late list penalty and change my list. But I was committed to this course.
GT day 1 ... I had just finished painting everything needed the night before and was rather drowsy and needed some coffee. It was still early and went to Starbucks 6750. Kent was there just like in the Keso Cup waiting for Jojo. Little did we know that Kent and I would fight the first round.
Game 1: Was thoroughly thrashed by Kent's list ... Iron Priest was held in back to claim objectives. Near the end of the game, Iron Priest bravely tried to save the Long Fangs from a group of plague marines. A galant charge ... but he missed 5 3+ to hit attack with his thunderhammer and servo arm, failed his morale check, ran off the table and lost all the objectives he was holding. Njal fared better slugging it out with daemon princes but was blown to bits by a plasma cannon. Was only able to squeak a win due to the Thunderlord taking all the objectives and running off.
Game 2: Goodie ... Ryan's Salamanders ... again. Looks like history repeating itself. Njal finally got his game face on ... blocking Ryan's libarian's successful psychic checks for Gate of Infinity and Null Zone. His Lord of Tempests making life miserable for the walking Hammer-nators. Njal eventually died to the Hammer-nators in a sudden last turn continuation and the Iron Priest was shot to death in a fusilade of bolter shots. Last turn win for Ryan.
Game 3: Jesse's White Blood Angels ... Not much happened here thanks to Njal's Tempest Wrath scaring off the big assault squad and his Living Lightning killing some vehicles. Iron Priest didn't do much except sit in the back. Managed a minor victory here.
Game 4: Jun Ubay's Tau ... Redemption. Benchwarmers carry the whole battle. Njal does a daring drop on the Tau managing to assassinate the Tau commander with Jaws of the World Wolf. Tempest Wrath messed up the Tau's movement doing some damage to the battle suits. Iron Priest runs beside a rhino to support Njal. Njal runs amok doing massive damage with Living Lightning and Chain Lighting for several turns All Tau vehicles blown out of the skies in a swirl of lightning and tornadoes. Complete and utter victory.
Game 5: Lucas's Dark Eldar... Defeat. Cheezed to death. Njal died turn 1, Iron Priest fails to hit 5 4+ to hits on the Dais of Asdrubael Vect which could have changed the result of the game. But the Iron Priest managed to kill most of the wyches forcing Vect to run off like the cheezehead he is. So while it was a good effort, no cigars at the end of this battle.
In the wake of the stupendous victory against Jun's Tau, the Iron Priest and Njal made appearances in their respective painting categories. Surprisingly the Iron Priest even took home the plaque for Best Squad. A benchwarmer's moment in the sun. All in all I was very happy with the performance of my list and these two benchwarmers this GT. As I tell all the statistic-spewing folk out there no matter what odds are, believe.