Saturday, March 18, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Leman Russ

With tanks named after him and a veritable legend of achievements, few could doubt the martial prowess of Russ. However, he was also a bit misunderstood. His brothers might have regarded him as a mere barbarian more akin to Angron or the Night Haunter. But the truth is much more than that. His legion and Russ himself were more nuanced and cultured than most imagined. More than this, Russ was the ultimate loyalist unto the end of days. A fact the Horus exploited by changing his orders when Russ was released to sanction the Thousand Sons.

The best way to view Russ is as a loyal analogue to Angron. He is simply splendid in close combat and can be relied upon to take on (and win against) almost anything else in the game. This includes other primarchs statistically. Even Horus would be rather likely to fall to Russ in a one on one arena. On average.

He has a number of special rules that help set this up. Like Horus, he can split his attacks between his two weapons. Balenight is a sword with "sever life" -- take a toughness test if you've taken wounds or suffer more. Helwinter is a sunder weapon which is always nice. His side arm is a Vulkan forged affair that has lots of short ranged shots and rending at AP3. Also very nice.

What really sets his melee component above everyone else though is his armour. At a base level is it 2+/4+, but he gets a 3+ save against flames, plasma and so on. The main effect though is to reduce the opponent's effectiveness with a -1 to hit in round 1 and -2 in every round after. This is really what sets him above and beyond other primarchs realistically.

Other than that he provides a Leadership bonus to his sons and howl of the death wolf which is very nice when pulled off well. He himself has a bunch of other special rules like night vision that help him along and he unlocks Varagyr Terminators as troops.

He price tag is fabulous for what he is capable of doing. But the main problem is that his is not a force multiplier in the same way Alpharius or Guilliman is. He is a close combat expert that gives a cute Ld bonus, and that is it for his team. He has to be treated accordingly -- get him to the fore of the combat and let him loose and the rewards will be reaped. In isolation, he will not be effective. He needs to be leading from the front. World Eater players will no doubt recognize this play style. But he needs to look out for hit and run units with big bonuses on the turn they charge.

He's a loyalist analogue of Angron. Treat him accordingly and he is absolutely amazing. Just watch you don't have rings run around you and take some accompanying units.

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