Saturday, May 18, 2024

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Solar Auxilia - Cohort Doctrines

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
4/5 stars. Some really great customization and background fluff available through the use of these doctrines!

The Solar Auxilia can all take a cohort doctrine per detachment. There are some that prevent allied detachments, but in principle, you could take more than 1 through the use of an allied Solar Auxilia force. These rules are almost like selecting a legion for your space marines. They give them flavour and background and are well worth thinking about for customization. Below I go through them with some thoughts added.  

Solar Pattern Cohorts. This one is for your elites of the elites; or maybe the most traditional units that can trace lineage back to Jupiter. You move Veletaris (elites) to troops, grant them line, and can take the Arvus as a dedicated transport and the price one artillery and one armoured tercio. Very reasonable overall!

Ultramar Pattern Cohorts. This is for those of you who love large blobs of las weapons in close formations. Rifle sections can be selected up to 6 units worth in a single tercio (wow!) and get +1 to hit when in base contact with their friends in the same unit at the price of going on foot. I think I've said it before, but vindicators are criminally underused in 30k, so you will get away with it most of the time too!

Reborn Cohorts. Veterans who long disbanded, brought back together in legendary units. Ld+1 and stubborn is absolutely amazing for this army and re-rolling 1's to hit is similarly amazing provided they've not moved. They're a bit old though, and so have a problem with sweeping, and don't take more than one artillery or armoured tercio. 

Armoured Fist Pattern Cohorts. I think you will know what this is just from the name. Armoured tercios come as non-compulsory troops, you have to take a leman russ command tank which comes with a 5+ invulnerable and a tasty BS of 5 as a warlord trait. However, all units have to begin the battle embarked or in reserves which is a strong trade-off. 

Penal Pattern Cohorts. Somehow, the elites of the mortal worlds can also be penal criminals. Furious charge is nice to have for them, and they can replace las rifles or volkite chargers with worse weaponry to reflect their lower standing - yay? Feel no pain - even at 6+ - is actually okay for large blobs of troops here. The Veletaris is available but only once, and you don't get close order unit types. This is a cohort that wants to get up close and personal, but can readily hold ground at range too. This doctrine is ideal for anyone wanting to transfer their 40k Imperial Guard to 30k Heresy era!

Feral Pattern Cohorts. Doing what they say on the tin, the feral cohorts are fearsome - and perhaps backwards. They gain fear at a points cost increase which is absolutely worth investing in, and the counter attack they get is sweet. They have to declare charges though - they like their head hunting after all. They are also mistrusted allies for loyalists. I'd be thinking here Catachan models, or even converted Khorne mortal armies in extremis. Heck, I could just about imagine a beastman mutant version.

Siege Pattern Cohorts. Having both artillery and armoured batteries as elites and heavy support choices means you get to have lots of big tanks with guns that never tire. Re-rolling the scatter die is a big bonus here potentially. The price here is that you also have to buy a dedicated transport where the option is given. This is one for the tread heads.

Iron Pattern Cohorts. The Forge World elites who take robots. Take Castellax and Thallax as elites, get a cortex controller option on your HQs, and master of the automata. Very nice. But once again you are limited in artillery and armoured tercios. Very fluffy in my opinion and brings something extra to the tabletop. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Solar Auxilia - Tercios and Close-Order Type

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
3.5/5 stars. Rounded down - just. The baseline rules for the human elites can pack large units. They're still mortals though.

The Solar Auxilia represent the best mortal humans to take to the battlefield of the Heresy. They are spread throughout the galaxy and took part from everything in the Great Crusade through to the Heresy and feature on both sides of the civil war - hence can be taken by traitor and loyalist forces alike. 

The Tercio is the basic formation of the Solar Auxilia. In short, this allows commanders to pack a lot of units (and even more models) into a single force organization chat slot. In game, they in effect act like a single unit at the point of deployment. 

If a tercio is in formation (within 3 inches of each unit that makes up the tercio) then they can benefit from all making the same reaction. Similarly they have to also be deployed together regardless of whether it is standard deployment, deep strike or anything else. However, the rules are clear that units within a tercio don't actually have to stay in formation - they can move apart. But why would you - at least initially - when such large blobs of tercios can all make reactions together.

Close-Order Unit Type.
Critical to understanding the army list is the new Close-Order Unit Type. This allows players to move up to half of their usual rate and still fire heavy weapons as if they are stationary. This is an absolute must-remember rule for your army since you will want those lasrifles firing frequently! 

The price here is that unit coherency is a tiny 1 inch which makes your troops more vulnerable to templates and pie plates. And there's the issue with running (they can't) and reduced distances during a movement reaction. Pity suspensor arrays didn't make it to the Solar Auxilia, but they can't have everything. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

World Eaters Assault Sergeant

When I sat down to consider how to craft a World Eaters assault marine sergeant, I wanted to incorporate a good deal of dynamism into the model as well as some of the rage that the Legion has been exposed to thanks to the nails. This is the result.

The base has a sliced in half barrel for the World Eater to stand on. This naturally puts him at a bit of an angle, but this is more than compensated for by the positioning of the legs, arms, and tilt of the head.

The parts used here feature falax blades on both arms combined with Khorne berserker head to highlight the nails digging in, and a shoulder pad from the same range largely because they look cool and the legion icon is very visible. No de-chaos-ifying has been needed here at all thankfully. The model fits the brief that I had in my head when I sat down too. This readily will serve as either loyalist or traitor, depending on the need, and is one of the first miniatures for my World Eaters allied detachment that I am creating. I might add a melta bomb yet - I'm undecided!

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Horus Heresy 2e Review: The Battle for Beta-Garmon - Overview

Warpstone Flux Rating: 
1.5/5 stars. Rounded up. A mixture of flaws and highlights that I will explain in the review below. 

I have been postponing publishing my review of The Battle for Beta-Garmon for some time. Part of the reason for this is that I wrote to Games Workshop to complain about the book and wanted to hear their response. I have now given them sufficient time (over a month) and there has been zero movement. So here we are.

The good.
The background to the battle itself is very good. There are loads of little bits of detail that lore-mongers will genuinely like - myself included!

Rules for the Blackshields are amazing. Highly recommended and so tempting that I might make an allied detachment of Blackshields for fun. I'm stoked!

The reasonable. 
New rules for other legions are good (e.g. Hibou Khan, Company Command Squads and so forth). 

Similarly, the new rules presented for the Solar Auxilia (and the legion auxilia) are solid. I don't have any complaints, and there's some nice and flavourful things that players can now do with legion auxilia that I think are really good. Tempting to have an allied detachment of them too - but not right now.

The flaws.
Shattered legions are simply not playable. In fact, the designers themselves don't recommend their own rules for play! Its mind blowing that this has happened. I am so incredibly disappointed with the new rules for the Shattered Legions that I can never see myself playing them now. Even though I've got a really nice set of Salamanders, Raven Guard, and Iron Hands all made and ready. 

In the printed book that I received, the page numbering is hopeless. Two sections are mixed up, and the internal referencing is legitimately appalling. How could this have happened? I am utterly dismayed at the quality control. Yes, mistakes happen, but for a company as large as Games Workshop to go ahead with such a flaw is not a good look, even if it does happen once in a while. 

This is really a book that I had such high hopes for. It could have been utterly superb. And parts of it certainly are superb! The background, the missions, the blackshields are all superlative. I want more of this. But it is hard to overstate how incredibly sad I am about the Shattered Legions rules. Its obvious that some of them haven't really been thought through (e.g., Night Lords flaw trait sticks out like a proverbial sore thumb) and the checking every phase for changes in unit composition is a book-keeping hellscape (yes - I tried it). At this point I really must tip my proverbial hat to Alan Bligh once more. His untimely passing is sorely missed for Second Edition. First edition did it better by orders of magnitude. The page numbering was just the killer for me and pushed me over the edge to complain directly to Games Workshop. I wrote to them about these top two issues. 

They responded to my quickly to state that they have forwarded my message upward in the chain of command. 

I have heard nothing since. 

I would very much like to have a book that doesn't have the page numbering and cross referencing flaws. That would be my minimum. I could accept the Shattered Legions if it looked like it had been play tested. It really is a mess though. It needs simplification and I look forward to a future FAQ for the Shattered Legions that will make them much more playable and eligible for competitive environments and casual games alike. Almost no one is going to be playing Shattered Legions outside of masochistic small points values engagements. And I do love casual small points value narrative play myself as my long term readers will certainly know, but these rules push me beyond the will to field my Shattered Legion forces. It is possible, but no thanks. Might as well select some Blackshield rules and apply them to the Shattered Legions forces to be quite honest. Sorry to sound so negative folks. Let me finish on an upbeat note then. The Blackshields are back with a vengeance in second edition thanks to being super fluffy and narratively compelling! We will be reviewing the rules contents of this book in due course in a lot of detail. 

Friday, May 10, 2024

Wargames Gallery: Iron Warriors Assemble!

A bit of a "glamour shot" of my growing Iron Warriors force before action. Not included are the tanks and more recent additions (this was taken several weeks ago in fact). 

Still a bit of work to do before this primary detachment is declared "done"! I'm getting there now though! 

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Horus Heresy 2e Review: Expurgator Cadre

Warpstone Flux Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
3.5/5 stars. Rounded up - just. A very reasonable entry for the final unit in the Sisters of Silence army list.

Purge with fire. Keep the knowledge of what you did secret. Or, you know, take to the open field with those heavy flamers. 

This is the equivalent of a heavy weapons squad for the Sisters of Silence. There are four main options, the default heavy flamers (reasonable enough), adrathic destructors (excellent), snare cannons (okay, but you should take the other options for the slot), and Vratine missile launchers (good). Take some compression tanks for the heavy flamers if needed and you have a nice squad that can be taken for a ride in an Acquisitor to get into position for a solid turn of firepower output. 


Expurgator x5, Heavy Flamers with Compression Tanks, Mistress with Power Sword (120 points).
Take a transport and go flame some stuff.

Expurgator x5, All with Missile Launchers, Augury Scanner (170 points).
A backfield unit. 

Expurgator x5, All with Adrathic Destructors, Mistress with Power Sword (195 points).
This will need a transport but is massively effective when you get in range to shoot. Yes, this unit is expensive, but it is worth it when you get to blast things. 

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