Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ode to the Totem Hunter

I apologize to the readers, as it's been a bit since I've managed to update this bloody thing. I blame that in part on the scattered apocalypse that hit northern AL the other week.

That aside, I offer up an analysis of one of my favorite minions: the Totem Hunter.


If you think of the Totem Hunter like a Predator that left his guns at home (to make it more sporting, you know...) you have a good start on what the Totem Hunter does.

If you need a fast harasser in your Hordes army and you have 3pts to spare, then the Totem Hunter is for you.


As you'd expect for a 3pt solo, he's fairly burly. DEF 14 is solidly above-average and may want a boost. ARM15 over 8 boxes mean he'll generally laugh off blast damage, and can probably survive a couple of boosted blast damage rolls. He's also got got Stealth, which makes the whole 'resistant to blast damage' thing important. Also, SPD7 with Pathfinder is about as fast as it gets.

As far as killin' goes, you have MAT8, a PS14 reach spear for stabbin' and a PS11 non-reach shield for punchin'.

Special Rules

These are where the Totem Hunter gets his teeth. You're looking at four happy little special rules:

Hunter - Ignore forests, concealement, and cover for LOS purposes. Totem Hunter Sees You.

Jump - If you make a full advance with your normal move, you can then place the Hunter completely within 5" of the current place; but you can't Jump if you can't charge.

Prey - after deployment but before the first turn, pick a unit/model. You get +2 to attack and damage rolls against it, and +2 movement if you start within 10". Pick new prey as you slag it.

Sprint - Chopped a head off this turn? Make a full advance when you're done.

The Fun Part

So, what do you do with this hideously fast, accurate death-machine? You go hunting units/solos. Against your prey, MAT10 and PS16/13 means you WILL put a dent into your target. That'll handle most solos, and easily KO single-wound troopers. You have the speed to get the first strike in, and then evade.

What To Prey? To answer this, you've got to keep two things in mind. Initially, can you kill the solo in one round? If it's a unit, can you get to them without a ton of trouble? Finally, can something else get to it? If the enemy sees you Prey something, they might just keep it way away from the totem hunter.

On the Approach Ideally, you want to hit the enemy from the side. Why? You want to make sure you can engage the enemy one chunk at a time. You want to make sure it's difficult for them to vector reinforcements in there, and leave yourself an exit.

Get the Drop You have a basic charge move of 10" in a straight line. You can move 7" and place up to 5" for a good 12" move. You can also do fun things with the Jump like get a line on the enemy officer, which is great fun when they have a wonderful 'granted' ability or an as-yet-unused minifeat. There is no such thing as a 'screening unit', there's just 'does he have space to land or not?' If 'yes', you killed something important, and hopefully got away.

The Old One-Two Remember that the Totem Hunter is NOT in fact immune to free strikes. When engaging an enemy infantry unit, you want to be careful in your placing. If you commit, you want to minimize the number of enemy infantry actually engaging the hunter. He prefers none-reach infantry. Why? Land within the 0.5" melee range, and try to deck your first target with the shield. If you miss, try to stab it in the face. If you KO the target with the shield, use your reach-stick to claim a second victim.

Play Keep Away Remember that question about 'can you kill the stuff in a hit or two?' You want to put in a kill each round to trigger sprint. Sprint is how you keep the Totem Hunter alive. He can survive for a little bit against infantry, between the DEF, ARM, and 8 boxes. He's NOT a tar pit, though. You want to kill something, and then sprint out of the enemy's melee threat range. Better yet, get out to the flank or behind him. Force him to either keep taking losses, or divert something to deal with the hunter.


Ignoring Stealth Obviously, this guy kind of LIKES to not get shot at. Some casters and the like can ignore stealth, and DEF14 ARM15 on 8 boxes doesn't eat heavy direct firepower. Oh, and something like the Ravagore is a potential nightmare for the Totem Hunter, as it'll probably one-shot the guy with a 2-fury expenditure.

Multi-wound/Tough Infantry If the totem hunter can't make a kill, it can't get away with sprint. While the Totem Hunter isn't weak, it's not hefty enough to survive dedicated attention.

Lack of Infantry/Soft Targets The Totem Hunter exists to pick off solos and infantry. If there's not a lot of that out there, then the Totem Hunter isn't going to seem as useful. He'll be good for harassing the enemy, though; take out support and then try to threaten the caster.

Incorporeal Stuff That's a poking stick, not a MAGICAL poking stick. Worth remembering, since your strength is the first strike and without magical weapons, you cede first swing to the incorporeal guy.

Buffs with 'Faction' model in them Ok, this isn't so bad, since there's a good chance this guy is operating way out on the flank away from your support. He doesn't NEED the support much anyway, since he's hideously accurate and hits hard enough to kill most of his intended targets.

The Totem Hunter in a Game

Honestly, with the Totem Hunter (and any other model with Prey and no Advance Deploy) I can live with going second, as it lets me place him in response to his intended prey. If the enemy has an infantry unit of decent size that I need to whittle down prior to its arrival, I'll put that out there. If they've got some nasty flanking solo that he's got speed on, I'll shoot for that one. At that point, the Totem Hunter goes into pursue/harass/engage mode: hit the other guy, KO the target or whittle a couple troopers off, then sprint behind the other guy. Why? He's got to go after the hunter, or the hunter takes a bigger toll / hunts support solos.

If you DO run out of infantry/solos to KO and the game's still one, there are two ways to go for Prey: 1) find a wounded beast/jack, try to charge it and feed it a virtually auto-hitting POW16 hit, or 2) target the caster and make them sweat. MAT10 hits most casters, and they may not really want a POW16 and POW13 for breakfast.


If you want to bedevil your opponent and have 3pts for a spare minion solo, the Totem Hunter is your guy. He hits and fades with the best of them, and can get an absurd 21 inches of movement in a turn (9" advance to Prey, 5" jump, 7" sprint = LOL. Seriously.). He's pretty resistant to being gunned down at range, and everyone's going to have some support that this guy can turbo-shank. Give him a shot, if you play Hordes.

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