Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Militia Force Commander and Provenances of War

Today, we're going to start to look at the Imperialis Militia and Cults Army List. To understand this list, we need to simultaneously look at the Force Commander entry (i.e. the main HQ selection) alongside the major benefit it can give to the force he or she commander. In particular the force commander has the "Muster of Worlds" special rule which permits up to two Provenances of War to be selected.

Given the above, the chief strength of the Force Commander is to grant access to an army-wide boon, for an appropriate points value.

On top of this, they are highly customisable, as one might expect of a Force Commander from any number of worlds in the Imperium.

In effect, their strengths are also their weaknesses. By selecting certain Provenances, others become unavailable. Some have strong restrictions that will affect the army build. Ultimately, the character of the Force Commander, and the Provenances they take will almost determine the focus of the army entirely and how it should be deployed. Perhaps this is not surprising, but my point remains: any strength is offset by some restriction or other that needs thought.

Here are a few "standard" builds to toy about with, before we progress to the Provenances themselves.

Force Commander, Power Fist, Melta Bombs, Digital Lasers, Power Armour, Iron Halo, Planetary Overlord (120 points).
For a force commander, this is expensive in terms of points. But it is one that is dedicated to survival and close combat in particular. The Planetary Overlord rule has been bought so that the army can gain access to a specifically selected warlord trait. Ruthless Tyrant is useful for the bonus Ld. But I actually think a Merchant Princeling might be superior! But the there's the Connoisseur of Alien Curios which could be vital in a 30k game for causing fear.

Force Commander, Power Armour, Iron Halo (75 points).
This one is probably the baseline one that I would consider, built primarily for survival and hiding out in a big squad, or inside a transport.

Provenances of War.
The player can select up to two of these. But which ones are any good?

Warrior Elites: By increasing the Ld score of each squad, this makes the warriors much less likely to flee in terror from power armoured superhuman space marine brutes. This can be vital in this arena. For squads like grenadiers, it also means that discipline masters are no longer strictly required. Use for close combat, or in-the-open shooting armies.

Gene Crafted: I really like this one. The bonus to S and I is absolutely amazing. But the penalty of not benefitting from medical staff is a significant draw back. I'd take this one for a close combat orientated army.

Cyber-Augmetics: An increase in an invulnerable save will keep units alive longer than they otherwise would. Equally, I'd prefer feel no pain from a medic to be fair. A suitable upgrade for Iron Hands influenced worlds perhaps?

Alchem-jackers: The ability to not suffer negative modifiers to Ld is simply amazing in this environment -- recall that the stubborn rule is at a premium for all 30k armies. Outside of combat, a unit becomes pinned instead of falling back, which is also really good. This makes the rule good for close combat armies with fire support. In addition, the ability to take Frenzon is a solid boon too. Armies with this will be close combat ones. The World Eaters will respect these mortals and might even work alongside them.

Survivors of the Dark Age: With a bonus to their armour saves, this is an army that will be filled with superior warriors. Indeed, the "drawback" of having to take grenadiers is not a drawback much here: they get an impressive 3+ save. They're therefore just like space marines in that regard. The advanced weaponry upgrade is a good one too. The bonus S cannot be overlooked - but only for things like laslocks and lasrifles to get better than bolters range, but comparable S. The grenadiers might as well have bolters in most other cases.

Feral Warriors: Clearly much conversion work can be undertaken for all of these options, but I'm particularly taken with this one. With bonus WS, and the option of taking the Blade and Fury upgrade for bonus attacks, this is clearly a close combat army.

Abhuman Helots: The genetic mutants gain a toughness bonus, which across the board is simply amazing! Who cares if they get a negative initiative? The discipline collars can take care of some of the issues associated with striking later in combat perhaps.

Cult Horde: Turn your commander in to a possessed daemon; and gain zealot across the board. You'll be allying with the Word Bearers and Emperor's Children no doubt.

Tainted Flesh: Another traitor provenance, the combination of fear, feel no pain and rending in melee is strong and means a close combat orientated task force, combined with lots of conversion possibility thanks to being mutated by the warp. Being able to take Mutant Spawn is nice, but there are strong restrictions in other provenances, as well as unit selections.

I personally like the way that two of them can be combined: feral warriors with survivors of the dark age or even alchemy jackers is a nice one. Gene-crafted is a nice one to combine with some of these as well. Feral warriors and/or abhumans will work nicely with the traitor ones too. Long live the beast men for the abhumans, frankly.

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