Although traditionally Varangur has been seen as the faster cousin of the Northern Alliance, I thought I’d share my own experience of running an infantry-based Varangur force over the past few years.
This is especially the case, given that CoK 22 has made foot Varangur much more viable, as a result of the Lord upgrades (marks and horse), as well as a return of decent ranged options with unit strength, since Varangur light shooting outside the magus conclave was weakened at the start of third edition.
Anyways, without further ado, here is the units I consider central to foot Varangur, as well as some support elements.
Although some people see human clansmen as a bad option, a horde of clansmen with the staying stone is often one of my first picks in my lists (along with the defence 5 upgrade if I have the points for it). With average nerve, high defence and integrated crushing strength, they form the cornerstone of my frontline. Wild charge also allows them to outrange other average speed infantry in the charge war. The only downside is their melee 4+, which means of they are hindered, they are going to lose their half decent damage output.
With CoK 22, these guys are slightly cheaper, and benefit from lower defence options, the bloodbound keyword (magus support), as well as the marks of the foot lord.
As close as Varangur gets to foot blenders, these guys will generally put a dent in anything they hit. With integrated fury, I avoid giving regiments (and they should be regiments) of these any items to keep their cost down. Given their lowish nerve for their posts cost, they need decent chaff support to get where they need to and to protect them from heavy cavalry. As a unit, they are enormous fun to use.
In CoK 22, they also get the bloodbound keyword, which allows them to be used in conjunction with draugr and magus support. They also benefit from foot lord marks.
A cheap option in an otherwise expensive army, Draugr can be used in multiple ways. Some people use them in regiments, as cheap unlocks or objective holders.
My own preferred use is as a horde to protect the flank of my huscarls/clansmen as they advance up the board. They can usually be relied on to take two turns of combat against one enemy hammer, and, if left alone, can push away chaff and capture objectives in the middle of the board. Draugr often helps Varangur players feel less outnumbered in unit strength, but don’t expect them to kill anything more than chaff.
Since the CoK 22 changes, they can finally take damage from the more important units in the Varangur battle line with magus support.
With CoK 22, my beloved night raiders are back to being a good option. Although they lost the integrated scout (you can buy back if you want), with range 4+ and 12 attacks at regiment size, a unit with bows can again help win the chaff war (or shooting duels, with integrated stealthy).
Recently, I have been playing around with troops armed with throwing axes (in place of snow foxes), with good results. They sit behind the main battle line before moving in front of frontline units to throw their axes and disrupt chaff/mainline units. They themselves then can act as chaff after causing disruption with their shooting. My only concern is their low nerve, as stealthy won’t save them from a waver in front of your battle line, bottling everything up.
With pathfinder, regiments of these guys sit in woods to get the best from stealthy and can hit quite hard in combat, especially in the flank. Just remember that they have average nerve and are only defence 3 (therefore they will die to a stiff breeze).
I usually never leave home in my foot list without a regiment with bows. At the very least they can provide accurate fire support against chaff and enemy shooting, and hold objectives in your own half.