Sunday, September 21, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: World Eaters Legion Rules

The World Eaters were well known to be savage and blood thirsty even prior to joining Horus in his rebellion against the Emperor in the days when they were the War Hounds. Their specialities are shock assault and exterminatus assaults (plus anything else that involved up close and personal bloodletting, such as space hulk boarding actions and so forth).

The special rules for the World Eaters, and the unique equipment that they have access too, are sympathetic to these memes.

The first rule is Incarnate Violence. The ability to have furious charge should not be under-estimated -- it is an assault winner. But not having access to it immediately is an issue. To best play to this rule, I think the World Eaters should have large squad sizes and get in the melee as rapidly as possible. This probably calls for drop pod style assaults, or deployment from land raiders with assault ramps. Having a large number of World Eater squads doing this across the board is probably going to be the key to their victory: hit hard and early and them don't stop!

The second rule is a mixed blessing. Under Bloodlust, the marines must consolidate toward the nearest enemy they can hurt. So if you have krak grenades, I'm sorry, but you're going to be heading toward the dreadnought over there. A low chance of success does not correlate with a mathematic chance of being able to hurt the enemy. Loyalist World Eaters on Isstvan III will happily charge Angron. And so forth. Gaining Rage can be very useful though, particularly in concert with Incarnate Violence -- do not underestimate how hard this can hit in the right circumstances. This rule is replaced later on in the heresy (see Massacre) whereby Rage is the norm for all World Eater traitors under the Blood Madness rule. If you're going for an assault style force (and why wouldn't you be with the World Eaters), then you are going to probably want the Massacre version of the rule.

The World Eaters also get access to Chain Axes if they wish (free exchange for chain swords). This should almost be a given (but then again, AP4 isn't going to help much against marine opponents, but you might as well take it if you're going to be fighting xenos/all-comers).

The Caedere weapons represent gladiator weapons from where Angron was a slave. Although they cost a bit more to upgrade, in some cases it is well worth it -- particularly on a Praetor or other upper level commander. Or even on a squad sergeant that you are drop-podding in. Select the appropriate one based on your target frankly! Otherwise, just stick with the power fist … just to be sure.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Garviel Loken

Ascending to the Mournival - Horus' closest advisors that included Abaddon - in the latter parts of the Great Crusade, Loken is not only a character of note, but arguably one of the prime characters in the first three Horus Hersey novels produced by the Black Library (Horus Rising, False Gods, Galaxy in Flames).

Loken, naturally, is a loyalist who holds himself to the highest standards of the Luna Wolves of old. In the Isstvan III campaign, he can only be selected by the Loyalist side, and is noted for having led the loyalist Sons of Horus to take a bloody toll out of his former brethren for their traitorous actions.

His rules and statistics are interesting, with I=6, he's going to be attacking first quite frequently (one would hope), and the paragon blade should be doing some damage to enemy troops. Although he is in standard power armour, he does have an iron halo to help keep him alive.

Speaking of keeping alive, the unique rule that Loken has is the "Born Survivor" rule. Basically, he has a 5 in 6 chance of ignoring the first death caused to him in a single game. This ties in very nicely with his survival exploits in the black library serialisation and is a great characterisation in my opinion.

Other than that, he is a Master of the Legion and can function in the same manner as a praetor by being able to deploy certain rites of war should he choose.

I regard him as a characterful HQ selection. He's not a specialist in the same way as Abaddon (i.e. terminator assault), but rather, he is a troopers trooper. Take him with a large mob and get stuck in to the enemy. He won't be disappointing, but equally he is cheaper than Horus or Abaddon, but slighter pricier than a praetor but without the artificer armour. I actually think a praetor is probably more bang for the price tag. But Loken will survive longer in all probability. So there are pros and cons here. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Ezekyle Abaddon

Long before he became Abaddon the Despoiler, Ezekyle was a hero of the Imperium with a fanatical loyalty to Horus himself. Believed to be a direct clone progeny, Abaddon's rules attempt to live up to this in a number of ways.

Firstly, he is a master of the legion. This means like a Praetor, if you have him as a HQ, you can select any rite of war that you like. This is handy if you wanted to (for example) choose the Pride of the Legion and field a Justaerin terminator based army.

His statistics are impressive in the WS department, but then distinctly average (much like a chapter master or equivalent) for the rest. And, he does not have eternal warrior, so can be single shot killed. If you're campaigning in a narrative series of events, this may be less important as he has the "marked by dark fates" rule and can re-roll any result so that he has a better survival chance to the next game.

What he does have (that is lacking in many other characters) is fearless. This can clearly be a great boon! He also has a teleport homer which can re-roll any deep strike mishap -- unlike Horus, he does scatter when he comes on to the board. But he can deep strike in any game, regardless of the mission (normal terminators cannot do this unless the mission allows it).

His equipment is an eclectic mix. He is inside enhanced terminator armour (2+/4++) with a power fist, combi-bolter and grenade launcher. I would much sooner him be wielding a bladed weapon to be honest, but I guess powerfists are the norm on characters anyway. And in challenges, he's going to do okay regardless, should he come across some lightning claws by chance. I'd be a bit concerned about force weapons, but otherwise, I think Abaddon is going to win very well against other characters and squads -- particularly if he is inside a squad of terminators himself.

I regard him as a very capable HQ selection for the Sons of Horus, but somewhat pricey at the same time. As with Horus, his use is clearly going to be dependant on getting him in to the fray where he is needed. A few turns out of combat, or being run around by assault / fast troops and he won't be collecting his points back. But otherwise, he's an excellent choice.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Horus the Warmaster

Horus Lupercal. Sire of the Luna Wolves, later known as the Sons of Horus. Horus the Warmaster. Tactical Genius. Charismatic. And ultimately: Heretic.  But do the rules presented in Betrayal do him justice and is he worth the points cost?

Its always a risk putting numbers to legends such as Horus and the other primarchs. Indeed, before Betrayal, the only primarch that I know of with published statistics is Angron in daemon prince form through an apocalypse data sheet. But in the Horus Heresy 30k books, we will (I hope) eventually have statistics for all 18 known primarchs. (Well, 19 if you think there's more than one primarch in the Alpha Legion…! heresy!).

As a primarch, Horus has the "standard" primarch rules associated with him that includes "eternal warrior" and "it will not die" (amongst others). As with his brothers, he is exceptionally tough. But he is far from immortal and can be brought down with highly concerted efforts. Equally, as a Lord of War, he's really only going to be present in large army lists (and presumably, when the opponent allows it).

His other rules are very nice. They range from deploying on the turn of his choice via deep strike (with no scatter!), granting outflank to other units in reserve, +1Ld to his sons, seizing the initiative bonuses, making some of the army count as troops if desired (think: a full army of Justaerin terminators), precision orbital bombardment once per game, excellent armour, awesome weapons (world breaker and the warmasters' Talon which he can split his attacks between at will).

To be clear: he is pricey! But he is also a single handed army wrecker should he get in to the right position. And why wouldn't he when he deep strikes on the turn of his choice with no scatter (along with any body guard). And on the same turn he comes in, he can then call down an orbital bombardment.

There's nothing he can't handle, perhaps with the exception of fliers, when embedded in a strong body guard unit and can readily be used to single-handedly crush all comers. The only defence that I can see are (a) fliers (he'll have a tough time shooting them out of the skies) and (b) rapid armies (he's still fundamentally a terminator and doesn't move as fast as assault elements - he'll have to rely on other elements of his force to catch them, or he'll have to shoot them to bits). Everything else is pretty much fair game to him. And will probably lose. But can he do it in 6 game turns? Maybe not. He can only be in one place at one time. He therefore must rely on other elements of the army to finish the job, or encircle opponents sufficiently to wipe them out. Massed weapon fire directed at him can finish him off, but assuming he has a bodyguard unit (you did give him that, right?) he should survive the entire battle. I suspect most opponents wouldn't waste the ammo shooting at him -- getting rid of the rest of his army is a better priority frankly).

Summing up: he's awesome. He's a one man army in some respects. But he needs other elements in the force to make up for what he lacks (due to inherently being in terminator armour with not much of a shooty weapon). I regard him as worth the points (as are the rest of the primarchs) and he is a modest force multiplier (due to what he can give to other Sons of Horus units -- outflank for anything in reserve, bonus Ld). Used wisely and in concert with other elements, he's going to win battles. But take care. Don't get over-confident. Know his (few!!!) weaknesses and plan accordingly. 
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