Thursday, September 29, 2022

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Legion Breacher Squad

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4/5 stars. The rules are good.

When hazardous boarding actions are required, or perhaps just the fluke of being at the front of the vanguard, Breacher Squads are your friends in almost all legions. Although noted everywhere since inception to be a Zone Mortalis style squad, they can and do see regular action on more ordinary terrain. 

Clearly the boarding shield in combination with the breaching charges is the main attraction here, but don't lose sight of Line, or the customization that is possible with this squad. Choose the build for the purpose where and if possible. I do hope some of you out there still play "tight terrain" games like Zone Mortalis? If so, these squads still rock in such environments.

When breacher squads first appeared, I will freely confess that I was more than a bit circumspect of them. I still am, but I have long since acknowledged and come to the conclusion that they are tools like any other and they simply need to be played to their strengths. It is worth acknowledging the points cost in game, and the price tag in real life for these miniatures as well. I suspect that this is in part why we don't see as much of them as I might otherwise expect?

Difference to First Edition.
Neutral overall. Cheaper in terms of point. But where did the Void Hardened rule vanish to?

As with other troops selections, I provide a small variety of different options here, but the list is not exhaustive so much as indicative.

10 Breachers, Vexilla, 2x Flamers, Sergeant with Power Fist, Artificer Armour, and Melta Bombs (210 points).
One of my favoured builds. Nice to use with objective camping, and also nice within Zone Mortalis.

20 Breachers, all with Volkite Chargers, Vexilla, Sergeant with Power Fist, Artificer Armour (380 points).
The rule for Volkite is to go big. This is a 20 Volkite breacher squad. 

10 Breachers, Vexilla, 2x Melta Guns, Sergeant with combi-Melta, Thunder Hammer, Artificer Armour (235 points).
Melta breacher squad. Take a transport option. Take bonus melta bombs to taste. Swap out the Meltas for gravitons, or las cutters, as required, for a variation of this offensive build. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Legion Assault Squad

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4/5 stars. The rules are good.

Jump pack equipped despoiler squads, these marines are very useful for rapid attack insertions and hit and run actions. Every legion has some, even the more static ones, although clearly legions like the Raven Guard favour them much more strongly. 

As with some other close combat orientated squads, the assault squad can be built in a variety of ways and for some different purposes. Their chief strength though arises from the jump pack and the attractive baseline points cost (in my opinion). On top of this, the Line rule is valuable for the objective mission(s) that the player might be involved in. 

As with other troops choices, I have no real complaints here. I genuinely like assault squads and regularly fielded an Alpha Legion one in first edition that often did well. They are still trans-human stat line, be beware still of the Ld=7 among the base troops.

Difference to First Edition.
Neutral just about. Very similar to first edition. Improved if we compare to first edition original points costings. No thunder hammer here though.

As with other troops selections, I provide a variety of different options here but the list is not exhaustive so much as indicative.

10 Legionaries, Sergeant with Power Fist (160 points).
The bare minimum you should run. You won't see this much as players like to take a more tooled up variation, and that is understandable.

10 Legionaries, 2 Plasma Pistols, Sergeant with Melta Bombs, Plasma Pistol and Power Fist (200 points).
A plasma death squad. Treat as you would a termicide squad. Although the plasma pistol is much maligned, this is still a powerful configuration.

10 Legionaries, 2 hand flamers, Sergeant with hand flamer, Artificer Armour and Power Fist (185 points).
As with the plasma, the flamers are too often maligned as well. The jump packs should enable you to get in position with this, but beware reactions. Expand to 20 men to be sure. 

20 Legionaries, 4 Power Weapons, 4 Volkite Serpenta, Sergeant with Power Fist, Volkite Serpenta, Artificer Armour and Melta Bombs (325 points).
The general rule for Volkite is to go big. This is a general unit able to take on many in the game. The price tag is attractive as well.

20 Legionaries, All with Combat Shields, 4 Power Weapons, Sergeant with Power Fist and Artificer Armour (350 points).
The combat "escort" unit to embed a character (e.g., consul) within. A bit expensive to be honest, but it works. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Legion Despoiler Squad

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4/5 stars. The rules are very good.

A close combat mirror of the humble tactical squad. The despoiler squad does not carry the bolt gun, but uses a bolt pistol and chainsword as standard instead. Their job is essentially to clear a path, and they have flexible armaments to choose from to help them with this task.

As with the tactical squad, the despoiler squad consists of standard space marines with trans-human 4's across the stat line, but a base leadership of 7. You will be wanting that legion vexilla. 

As well as having Heart of the Legion (great for objective camping), they gain here the Spite of the Legion special rule. This one is interesting. It grants a bonus attack if certain conditions are met (e.g., the charged enemy is pinned, or lacks a character - both are reason enough to think about using this squad). 

This is all complimented very well by the customization that can be undertaken with the squad. Power weapons and the like are all possible, along with pistol swaps, and a large range of choices for the sergeant. This is a squad that is good for combat, but not necessarily the legion's best. It will do nicely against many other legion targets. 

For what they are and what they do, I once again have no real complaints here (cf., my entry for the tactical squad). I will add though that despoilers are going to be more suited to some legions than others though. e.g., I'm sure World Eaters will get much more out of them than Alpha Legion players. 

Difference to First Edition.
Improved. Before they were just a tactical squad variant. This is a distinct entry now. I like the Spite of the Legion rule here - its a great addition. 

Below is a flavour of despoiler squads. There is a lot of customization possible, so this list should be regarded simply - and only - as an indicator of what is possible.

10 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, Sergeant with Power Fist (125 points).
A bit bland, but the buried power fist is always going to be a favourite for this kind of squad. 

10 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, 2 Power Axes, Sergeant with Power Fist, Artificer Armour (145 points).
Chop, chop! Add melta bombs to taste. I suspect this squad will see use. 

20 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, 4 Volkite Serpenta, Sergeant with Power Fist, Volkite Serpenta, Artificer Armour (260 points).
If you are taking volkite, might as well go big and all in. Nice price tag here. And a great screening unit to boot, if required.

10 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, 2 Plasma Pistols, Sergeant with Power Fist, Plasma Pistol, Artificer Armour (165 points).
Plasma death squads never get the respect they deserve. Largely due to killing themselves by the same plasma they should be shooting, I guess. But in the right place at the right time, they are a massive asset. [Aside: take hand flamers all round for an objective camping squad - but a bit of a waste in the main part I think].

10 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, all with two bolt pistols, Sergeant with Power Fist, Artificer Armour, melta bombs (155 points).
I have only rarely seen twin bolt pistols like this used. I think it will become more common to be honest. Take a rhino and unload. Then charge. The price tag is attractive enough for this to work as well.

10 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, 7 Heavy Chainswords, 2 Power Axes, 2 Hand Flamers, Sergeant with Power Fist, Hand Flamer, Artificer Armour (174 points).
This is a bit of a unique build, but one you might plausibly see. The heavy chainswords provide an addition to the S of the unit in melee, while the flamers are handy for whittling down opponents and providing wall of death type reactions. Doubles nicely as an objective camper. A bit pricey though. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Legion Tactical Squad

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4.5/5 stars, rounded down. The rules are great. Could have given it 5/5 almost.

They are space marines. They are the mainstay of many armies. The humble tactical squad is where many of them see deployment and action. They have been responsible for the prosecution of the Great Crusade. And now they are at the forefront of the civil war. 

Everyone (well, almost everyone) likes the tactical squad, including me. Players should be seeing them used in many, many armies after all!

Firstly, I want to focus on the price tag in terms of points cost. These marines are cheap. Ten points each. This is astounding if you compare the points cost from previous editions of 40k (not quite directly comparable as they have "And They Shall Know No Fear", admittedly, but also contrast against chaos space marines from earlier editions as well), but it is still amazing for what they provide in terms of the standard 3+ save and the trans-human 4's across the board for the stat line. 

Fury of the Legion grants them an additional shot for not moving or running with their bolt guns - this is perfect. 

Heart of the Legion grants feel no pain and stubborn when within striking distance of an objective - this is also fabulous. More than this, they are also Line troops. 

For what they are and what they do, I have no complaints here. Yes, we could talk about having 1 wound and Ld=7 (or 8 with the sergeant still alive), but that's what you get for the points cost. Take some upgrades like the vexilla. Add in a character. Put inside a rhino. Be happy. Honestly these troops are superb compared to other armies. 

Difference to First Edition.
Improved. We could talk about the differences between Fury of the Legion here, but it is roughly equivalent, arguably, and with the introduction of reactions in the second edition, people will be on edge about the fire power of the tactical squad reacting to their approach.

Rather, I want to highlight one main thing here and that is the addition of bayonets and chain bayonets as an optional upgrade for the unit. Both give S+1 to the marines for an impressive S=5 close combat attack, and the chain variant adds shredding on top of this which enables re-rolling of failed to wound dice. Both are recommended by me if you are thinking about close combat for your tactical squads. 

Despite there being a limited number of upgrades, players are likely to encounter all manner of different uses for tactical squads, and here I hope I give a reasonable selection.

10 Legionaries, 1 vexilla, Sergeant with Power Fist (125 points).
This is my "go to" squad configuration. Yes, we could take other things such as artificer armour for the sergeant (135 points total) if we are worried, but this is the squad that many people see and many people prefer -- it is not just me that uses this configuration!

10 Legionaries, 1 vexilla, 1 nuncio-vox, 1 augury scanner, Sergeant with Power Fist, Artificer Armour, and Plasma Pistol (165 points).
The swiss army knife of the above. Beware the points cost increase though. You may not make use of some of the kit.

20 Legionaries, all with chain swords, 1 vexilla, Sergeant with Power Fist and Artificer Armour (335 points).
Drop into position and be able to choose which set of weapons (bolt pistol plus chainsword, or bolt gun) you want to use in the situation before you. You will notice by now that each of my builds has a vexilla contained within it. Take one every time. Take melta bombs to taste.

10 Legionaries, chain bayonets, 1 vexilla, Sergeant with Power Fist and Artificer Armour (155 points).
This build is rapidly becoming my favourite. It is just like the first one, but with chain bayonets. Add in 10 more members for a total cost of 275 points.

20 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, Sergeant with combi-melta, power fist, melta bombs (245 points).
A lot of bodies to carry forth the melta to where it might be needed. Expendable in the extreme?

20 Legionaries, 1 Vexilla, 1 Nuncio-Vox, 1 Augury Scanner, Sergeant with hand flamer and artificer armour (242 points).
Sit at the back and camp on an objective. Add an apothecary for fun. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Converted Tactical Squad Sergeant

Rounding off a bit of a hobby day, here's a little conversion that I made earlier. The basis of the miniature is still the beaky armour from the Age of Darkness boxed set. I wanted the model to be holding a bolt gun one handed (or at least a bolt pistol). Of course, there's no left handed bolt pistol that comes with the set, so it had to be a full bolt gun. Happily though, there is a left handed plasma pistol that comes with the set - and that in turn provides the hand for this conversion. 

As with any long term collector and gamer, I have a reasonable bits box to draw down upon. Here, I have selected an old chaos space marine bolt gun to be the weapon of choice. There are no particular chaos markings on the weapon, and I like that, yet it also perhaps is suggestive of an eventual slip to the darker powers. This is a theme that I like for the armies that I use in 30k (especially those of dubious loyalty of alignment: I like to play as both loyalist and traitor rather than stick permanently to one side or the other). 

Slicing the fist away from the original plasma pistol was a tricky operation, but with some careful scoring and fore-planning, this can be done relatively quickly. The bolt gun itself required the handle and trigger to be removed and filed down. When glued together, it is fairly seamless. I have rounded this conversion off by adding a chain bayonet to the front of the bolt gun. Although it doesn't quite align fully, it is close enough that no one will notice - doubly so once I get around to painting this one up. 

The miniature is rounded off by a power fist for the right hand, along with a bolt pistol holster and un-helmeted head. A great little conversion for the squad I feel. 

Hobby Update: Lightning Claws Cataphractii Terminators

A small hobby update today in the form of lightning claw armed cataphractii terminators from the Age of darkness boxed set.

Three of the terminators are standard lightning claw affairs direct from the boxed set. I like the poses of these terminators very much - particularly the dynamism shown. In wielding the claws I think it follows what would happen if a person had two swords - the weapons would flow in the same direction in the main part to prevent self-injust, and this is what is seen in the miniatures as well - both claws tend to be veering left together or veering right together. Someone has clearly thought out how such claws would operate in a practical manner.

The fourth is a heavy flamer plus power fist. This might seem like an odd adjunct to a lightning claw squad. However, for charging out of a land raider, the template shot can be quite powerful and I must admit that I like it for defensive purposes as well (including wall of death). The power fist provides a way to tackle units that might otherwise laugh at the claws.

The final miniature - the sergeant - is a conversion. I have used the lightning claws from the Chaos Lord plastic boxed set for this, along with more 40k shoulder pads, as well as a grenade harness. These claws are markedly different to the standard cataphractii affairs, but they speak loudly "30k" to me personally. And they've been sat in my bits box for too long without any love, so this was a great excuse to use them. I am contemplating adding some leather from the bottom of the shoulder pads like other cataphractii would have by using green stuff, but I'm not sold on that just yet. 

Hope you like this unit!

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