When your army is basically all heroes in their own right, it takes a special sort of warrior to stand above the rest as a leader. Enter the Auric Runeson.
Astride a mighty Magmadroth, the Auric Runeson rides into battle. Depending on how you decide to build your hero, you can equip your Duardin prince to fighting hordes or monsters, and will no doubt turn the tide of almost any conflict you throw him into. Let’s take a look.
Like all the Fyreslayers heroes, the Runeson is a monster in combat, so you’ll want him to get there as soon as possible. While you CAN put a Runeson on foot and have him trudge along with the rest of your army, his mounted command ability is insanely good, and you’ll want the added speed to get him stuck in quickly. While mounted and undamaged, he has a speed of 12”, 14 wounds, and a 4+ save.
For weapons, he can be equipped either with a Wyrmslayer Javelin or an Ancestral War-axe, each with their own strengths. The Javelin, as the name suggests, is better for fighting big boyes, and gives you both a ranged and melee attack. The ranged profile is a single throw with 12” range that hits of a 4+, wounds on a 3+, has a Rend of -1, and deals d3 damage, while the combat profile has a single 3” attack that hits and wounds on a 3+, has a -1 Rend, and deals a single damage.
While this might not seem like much on paper, should the attacks target a monster, the Damage of both versions increases by 2. If you can wing one of these things at a scary Monster (like a Zombie Dragon or one of the new and improved Stonehorns) and then smack them with it in close combat, you can easily bracket them at least once if not twice. The War-axe, on the other hand, is a bit better at burst damage than dealing with a single big target.
It gives the Runeson 3 attacks that hit on a 3+, wound on a 4+, have no Rend and deal d3 damage each. While this could conceivably be good for taking down a footslogging hero, I think it is better served in wiping out a few lightly armored troops, as they are less likely to have the powerful armor that most heroes do.
All Runesons also come with Fyresteel Throwing Axes, a single ranged attack with 8” range that hits and wounds on a 5+ and deals 1 damage with no Rend. While it has the chance to knock an additional wound off a hero or take down a single wound enemy, it is not very likely to do so, so it doesn’t register much on the power radar.
In addition to what the Runeson brings to bear, his fiery mount has a huge arsenal of hurt to unleash as well. First, the Roaring Fyrestream shooting attack can easily soften up a potential charge target, and gets even scarier the closer you are. It has a 12” range, and while undamaged, allows you to roll a d6 and, should you roll equal to or below the number of models in the target unit, it suffers d3 mortal wounds.
However, if you are within 6” of the unit, it suffers d6 mortal wounds instead! Since you can shoot at targets you’re engaged with, this gives you even more reason to get your ‘droth in combat asap.
Speaking of close combat, the Magmadroth also gets to swing with its Claws and Horns, and take a bite out of its master’s enemies with its Blazing Maw. The Claws start with 6 attacks, deteriorating as it takes damage, that hit on a 4+, wound on a 3+, have a Rend of -1, and deal 2 damage each, while the Maw is a single attack that hits on a 4+ but wounds on a 2+, with a Rend of -2 and d3 damage. And once combat is all said and done, should the Magmadroth still have any surviving enemies, it can attack with its Lashing Tails. To do that, roll a d6 for each enemy unit within 3”, and if you roll less than the number of models in that unit, it suffers d3 mortal wounds.
While this isn’t great against heroes or single model units, it could be just enough extra damage against bigger units to push them over the battleshock threshold.
Aside from their devastating combat prowess, the Runeson has a handful of fun abilities as well. Aside from the already decent 4+ save, the Magmadroth gives the Runeson a bit of extra protection in the form of its Volcanic Blood, which returns a mortal wound back to any model that wounds it with a melee weapon on a 4+. If you want to increase the already staggering combat power of your Runeson, bring one or two more to take advantage of the Vying for Glory ability.
This allows you to re-roll hits for any attacks this model makes while it’s within 6” of another Auric Runeson. While this is a bit of an expensive order, it could be well worth it to make a death ball of angry fire lizards.
To add to the damage the Runeson does, it also has the aforementioned Molten Battering Ram command ability. This ability allows you to pick a Magmadroth within 12” (so…this one) and after it charges, pick one enemy unit within 1” and roll a d6, dealing d6 mortal wound on a 2+. Combine this with the Wyrmslayer Javelin’s increased anti-monster damage or the Fyrestream’s anti-horde damage and you could potentially wipe a unit a turn.
To really stoke that flame, give the ‘droth the Flame-scale Youngblood trait, which allows you to pick an enemy within 1” after you charge and roll a number of d6 equal to your charge roll. For every 6, you deal a mortal wound, and you can do that IN ADDITION to your command ability. Watching your opponent’s finally crafted strong-arm unit melt in the face of your scaly comet will be a satisfying sight, I assure you.
What’s your favorite Fyreslayer hero?