Friday, August 22, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Vindicator

Genuinely, I'm quite fond of the vindicator as a tank. The Betrayal book explicitly notes that the vindicator finds a lot of use in both Iron Hands Legion and Sons of Horus Legion forces. But for my own part, I regularly use vindicators with my 40,000 Death Guard armies and have won some solid victories through the holes they've manage to punch in enemy lines.

My earlier reviews of Chaos Vindicators and Dark Angels Vindicators still applies in the Heresy era (modulo the daemonic possession stuff in the chaos variant, of course!). I think they make great tanks for many legion armies, but they are competing for a heavy support slot against other viable options here (assuming we're not playing with unbound armies). One interesting option available in the Heresy era is to replace the demolisher cannon with a laser destroyer array.

The only slight issue: we can only take one vindicator per heavy support slot (unlike, say, the Legion Artillery Tank Squadron which can feature up to three tanks, and similarly with the Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron).

Here are a few sample builds to think about.

Legion Vindicator, dozer blade, armoured ceramite (145 points)
I think this is probably the baseline vindicator for the Heresy / Great Crusade era. The use of the armoured ceramite is almost a given to protect against lance and melta a little better and the dozer blade to help the tank get where it needs to be.  Add a machine spirit and/or auxiliary drive to taste.

Legion Vindicator, Laser Destroyer Array, armoured ceramite (150 points)
With a slightly larger range than the destroyer cannon, the need to move around is lessened and I've removed the dozer blade. This is probably the baseline build for the laser destroyer variant.

Legion Vindicator, dozer blade, armoured ceramite, havoc launcher, machine spirit (185 points)
For when you have to get somewhere and you want to pressure the enemy significantly. Half tempted to replace the havoc launcher with a heavy flamer for counter charge purposes. At this price tag, it starts to get expensive though.

Legion Vindicator, Laser Destroyer Array, Heavy Bolter (145 points)
At first glance, this seems kind of odd. But then factor in that the weapons both have the same range and realise that this combination could be a character killer.

Legion Vindicator, dozer blade, hunter-killer missile (135 points)
Cheaper and highly expendable. This one - particularly if taken a couple of times and filling out the heavy support slot - can be a painful experience for an opponent.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Artillery Tank Squadron

The Legion Artillery Tank Squadron is one of the few entries in the Heresy era army list that has a limit of 0-1 on it. The reason for this is found in the background fluff: artillery is the domain of the Imperial Army and its static nature is not best suited to the Space Marine Legions. That said, there are clearly legions that favour such heavy guns -- the Iron Warriors and the Imperial Fists being chief amongst them. Hence for these legions, this kind of squadron is going to be a great (and fluffy!) choice. But for other legions, perhaps less so. Yet that does not mean that they will be bereft of such tanks. On the contrary, they are certainly there for them to use if they wish.

The squadron can select from three different types of tanks. The first is the Basilisk. With an earth shaker cannon (and heavy bolter, which I'll largely ignore!), the basilisk is certainly one of those big guns that the Iron Warriors would favour.

The second is the Medusa. This features the medusa siege gun which is more powerful than the earth shaker cannon, but at a much reduced range. Again, it comes with a heavy bolter, but here it is much better matched in terms of range. Even so. Ignore the heavy bolter.

The third and last is the Whirlwind. Much like the Warhammer 40,000 Whirlwind Tank analogue, this comes with both Vengeance and Castellan missiles in the whirlwind launcher, but the controlling player must select between them prior to firing. But my concern about the tank remains the same: it is fundamentally anti-infantry. That said, we have the option of switching out the standard missiles for pure Hyperios air-defence missiles here (for free) to turn it in to an anti-air unit. This could be rather decisive in some battles and is worth keeping in mind.

Here are a few sample builds to consider. Note that each squadron can contain up to 3 tanks, but I'd suggest that the controlling player should choose all the same type so as not to mix ranges of weapons and purpose of tanks.

Legion Basilisk, extra armour, hunter-killer missile (160 points)
Well, the Basilisk could be taken "naked", but here I've added extra armour for durability (because even if you're hiding these beasts, they're a high priority to take out for any opponent) and a hunter-killer missile just for fun. The hunter-killer missile can clearly be stripped off if not required or not to taste. This is a simple tank designed to sit at the back and do some pummelling. That's what its good at and don't think about doing much more with it!

Legion Medusa, extra armour, command tank, auxiliary drive (200 points)
The Medusa is the one tank that we probably want to keep mobile and have a decent amount of protection on. The command tank upgrade should certainly be there if there are three such tanks in this squadron to better keep them rolling and hammering the enemy (but clearly only one command tank can be taken in a group of three, so the other two Medusas in the squadron will only cost 175 points each). Roll up to where you need to be and unleash the medusa siege gun on the target. Devastating really when it pays off.

Legion Whirlwind with Hyperios air-defence missiles, hunter-killer missile (85 points)
Its cheap, and here I've got it set up in the anti-air configuration. I can't see much use for it as an anti-infantry vehicle when I think tanks like the predator can do it more effectively (with the bonus of much better frontal armour!) - and when other infantry units can tackle enemy infantry much better in melee. So air defence it is. Hunter-killer missile to taste only. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Emperor's Might

Combining the good features and quality of books like Betrayal with an artwork rich environment that follows in the line of Liber Chaotica, the Emperor's Might is a nice collation of art from across the Warhammer 40,000 Universe that features the Space Marines near exclusively.

The front cover of the book gives away the content: a mixture of both old and new, materials that has been extensively used before, artworks are are relatively new, some that are underused, and some that have never truly seen the light of day. Note also the satin book mark that adds to the quality of the book (visible in the lower left of the first image).

The older artwork that can be found in the book is still interesting. The front cover of Rogue Trader. The covers of very old games such as the second edition of 40k, as well as "space marine" and others.

Newer artwork is in there, below is one such example: the front cover of the Horus Heresy novels (Horus Rising) which features the Luna Wolves Legion.

Finally, there are other bits and pieces that I've never seen in any codex. Sketches of space marines in charcoal or pencil of them looking at ease, in action, and generally portrait shots. These are all excellent insights and makes the book a collector's item for such artwork and one that I can certainly recommend to art enthusiasts.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron

The Land Raider comes with many variants in 30,000 warfare. For the Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron, there are three such variants to choose between: the Phobos, the Proteus, and the Achilles. Of these, its worth noting that Legion terminator squads can take the Phobos as a dedicated transport (or the Spartan - but we'll talk about that variant in a later review as it has its own entry in the army list!).

The major differences between these three variants are as follows:
(1) The Phobos is treated as an assault vehicle (i.e. squads can assault the turn they disembark) - hence this makes the tank ideal for assault style armies (World Eaters, etc.).
(2) The Achilles has a special rule called Ferromantic Invulnerability. Put short, it ignores the special effects of Lance and Melta attacks and reduces the results of penetrating hits by -1 on the damage chart.
(3) The Proteus has no special rules of which to speak. Which makes it kind of the "vanilla" flavour of the land raider.

Of course, the points values of these tanks are very different, as are their armaments. The Proteus has the traditional lascannons, the Phobos gets them and a heavy bolter, and the Achilles goes in for quad mortars and multi-meltas.

Of the various upgrades, one seems like no-brainers to me. Explicitly: armoured ceramite for the Phobos and Proteus (the Achilles already has it). This helps immensely with survivability.

Beyond that, here are a few build ideas to think through (noting that a full Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron may have up to three land raiders of any flavour in the squadron).

Legion Phobos, armoured ceramite, frag assault launchers, havoc launcher (295 points)
Add a hunter-killer missile to taste. This is the tank to deliver your troops to the front line. Replace the havoc launcher with extra armour if desired, or perhaps add in some heavy flamers if you're using Salamanders or Death Guard. The command tank upgrade may also be nice to have.

Legion Proteus, armoured ceramite, exploratory augury web, havoc launcher (285 points)
The exploratory augury web is a unique upgrade peculiar to the Proteus. In short, it can help your reserves come on the table, or hinder your opponents. This makes it a terrific "manipulator" and I can readily see it being used in sneaker legions like the Raven Guard or Alpha Legion. But even a World Eaters drop pod based army would benefit.

Legion Achilles (300 points)
Naked, its still awesome. Add in an extra multi-melta just for fun - or just to get the job done.
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