Friday, April 24, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Armillus Dynat

As with much of the Alpha Legion, his past is somewhat shrouded to say the least. And it is rather likely that there have been several individuals to have carried this name over the history of the legion. What is known is that following the events of Isstvan, he became a bit more of a legend as his name became "known" for the first time. That's not to say he was unknown before - he had his differences with the Ultramarines over tactics for sure. But it is to say that he probably left few alive to tell the tale. He is characterised as being a fairly unorthodox commander. And he has intelligence alongside this that ensures he is able to tear apart enemies from intricate attack plans and integrated tactics before imparting the killing blow. He is also the only named HQ that can fill an ordinary HQ slot for the Alpha Legion -- Alpharius is a Lord of War, and Exodus can never be taken as a warlord or compulsory HQ choice. Hence Dynat is going to see a lot of use in Alpha Legion armies when the points cost are below 2000ish.

There are a number of aspects to Dynat that set him aside from a regular praetor or other commander of similar rank. We'll start by looking at his special rules. Firstly is his warlord trait: hammer strike. This allows one infantry unit to gain deep strike. This could even be Dynat if desired. And they get to re-roll the deep striking dice on top of that - this is very handy for getting the right unit to the right place.

His prime special rule is the Harrowing. In the enemy deployment zone, all Alpha Legion marines and dreadnoughts gain a bonus to vehicle damage results, and can re-roll their sweeping advance rolls. This is huge and begs to be taken advantage of: pin the enemy in their zone and take advantage of them as quickly as possible! 

On top of this, he can split his attacks as he chooses. Speaking of which, he has a thunder hammer and power sword to select between. This is great really. High initiative with the power sword when required, and serious damage from the hammer if needed. On top of this, he has all the grenades you can think of (including phospex) as well as artificer armour and an iron halo. 

The best way to think about playing Dynat is to realise that he is a thunder hammer terminator in all but name. And one with four wounds. As such, he is a close combat character and one that will cause serious damage if allowed to go unchecked. But keeping him alive due to the Harrowing rule is also important.

Finally, remember that you can buy a power dagger for Dynat if you want (see Alpha Legion Rules). This is a truly cheap way to give him a bonus attack that could come in very handy! The simple advice here is: do it.

There is one prime weakness that the Alpha Legion player needs to be aware of. Specifically, Dynat does not have any ranged weapons. To me, this seems odd. I would have at least expected some kind of side arm like a bolt pistol. Or archeotech pistol. Or something. At best, he will be lobbing grenades it seems. Speaking of which - don't forget that phospex bomb at a critical moment!

There are a number of ways to play Dynat.

At a base level, one way to do this is to simply give the army infiltrate through Mutable Tactics and use that to push up in to the enemy deployment zone and reap the rewards of The Harrowing. Tank Hunters can also be employed to devastating effect to give the legion a solid chance against tank heavy armies if required. 

Alternatively, have Dynat take Pride of the Legion and give himself deep strike so that he can keep up with a terminator squad.

Orbital assault could work well as well. And you can deep strike a 20 strong legion tactical squad on to the board as desired with his special rule and team him up with a veteran squad in a drop pod. And those close combat dreadnoughts cannot be overlooked for this kind of army either.

There are some other combinations that would be good as well. Consider this: deep striking a legion tactical support squad armed with melta guns right next to an enemy tank in their deployment zone and simultaneously taking advantage of The Harrowing to melt away a predator or some other deadly tank that you just want gone. I think this is a really good tactic personally - and one that I'll be employing in the absence of some of the above. For maximum effect, have an alternative squad that could come in such as a plasma gun heavy squad, or a terminator squad to be fully flexible.

Now, in addition to this, he can shut down deep strikers nearby him due to his Cognis Signum. As a bonus, he can also give BS5 to a selected squad due to the same piece of equipment. Therefore his presence in a full legion tactical squad firing with fury of the legion could be amazing. Or maybe a heavy support squad too. But to some extent, unless the enemy is tank heavy, he's much better off with a tactical squad, or a terminator squad. Remember: Dynat is fundamentally a close combat terminator with 4 wounds and bonus pips in WS and BS, but this has tension with some of his rules.

Overall, Dynat can be the core of a powerful Alpha Legion build and in my opinion is well worth the points so long as the army is built around his abilities. I'll certainly be using him when I can.

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