Thursday, 23 June 2022

Horus Heresy: Alpha Legion Preview

Alpha Legion Review.

I have not yet played Heresy 1.0, but have been drawn into this version after it was announced.
Writing a review from my point of view is a little tricky as I don't have much of a point of reference to the current/previous rule set. My last active gameplay of Warhammer 40k was 4th and 5th edition, and I am quite happy that I can see a lot of similarities to those rulesets, so picking this up should be relatively straightforward.
Now that it has been out I have had a chance to take in some of the gameplay videos and other people's views.

So below my interpretation of the special rules and units for the Alpha Legion:

Legion Special Rule
Lies and Obfuscation - This is a very strong special rule, any model with this rule is considered 2" further away for the purposes of shooting, charging and reactions !!

Rewards of Treason you can include a unit otherwise not available to your army list, this is insanely powerful and allows you to field a unit otherwise not available to you, plugging any weaknesses in your army.  There is also the Rites of War Coils of the Hydra which allows you to take up to 3 units.

Advanced reactions
Smoke and Mirrors, a very powerful reaction which can only be used once per battle, but can save a friendly unit from a shooting attack as you can simple redeploy them (within 12 inches and scatter), if you manage to get out of line of sight of the unit shooting you, then they lose their shooting phase entirely!

Warlord Traits
Very interesting rules, they are all worth using, sadly you can only choose 1 !

Mobius Configuration -  An allied detachments units becomes Fellow Warriors and deny VP for the opponent when they are killed, in fact, when they are all destroyed you gain a VP !! (sneaky sneaky), drawbacks are that the detachment may not make reactions of any kind, but the first unit in the primary detachment can do a reaction at no cost, every turn !  

Master of lies - Redeploy 3 units after everything is setup, very strong tactically, and sure to put your opponent on the backfoot.  In addition the Warlord may also make an additional reaction during the opponents movement phase, provided he is not removed as a casualty.

Hydran Excursor - Choose another Legions special rule, your Warlord, and any unit he joins, gains +1 to hit rolls against units who have that particular special rule, in addition the Warlord may also make an additional reaction during the shooting phase, provided he is not removed as a casualty.

Rites of War
Coils of the Hydra - Select up to 3 units using the Rewards of Treason legion rule.  
Although this may sound amazing, as I read it, it is a bit limited as you can only choose the units from 1 Legion and those units will be the ONLY units on the board, they have to be survivable enough to avoid enemy fire, will require some testing but for now it might be better to them as an allied detachment.

Headhunter Leviathal - Take Headhunter Kill Teams as troop choices and fast attack choices.
Slay the Warlord objective is worth an additional +2 VP - seems a little situational as not all missions include this secondary objective
In the first turn all units with Infantry and Legion (Alpha) gain the Shrouded 5+ rule while at least 12" away from enemy units.  Adds a lot of survivability to the units in the first turn.
All vehicles start in reserve and you must take more fast attack than heavy support units.
I like this list but it is less vehicle focussed, so if you are a threadhead this may not be for you.

Armoury/Special Consul
Power Daggers - only Str 3 but AP3 !!!  nice, specialist weapons, sudden strike (1) - increases initiative when charging, and breaching (5+) making them AP2 on rolls of 5+, very nice indeed for a humble dagger !
Banestrike Bolters - Strength 5, Breaching (6+) - if you manage to pull off some 6's there will be dead marines ! It has got a shorter range of 18", but with Headhunters usually infiltrating this should not pose too much of a problem.
Venom Spheres - Strength 1, Assault 6 and Poison (3+), single use

Saboteur - Any Centurion in the army can be upgraded to a Saboteur
Special rule - Infiltrate, Scout and False Colours, this last one is very nice, the model may not be targeted for shooting until the saboteur opens fire himself, basically means you can walk into enemy territory and select a target at will.
He comes equipped with a plethora of Melta Bombs, Breacher Charges and Shroud bombs at no additional cost!

Special Squad/Units
Lernaean Terminators
Nice Terminators with Power Axes and Volkite Chargers, their special Rule, Hydran Excursor,  gives them +1 to hit against specific legions

Headhunter Squads 
Infiltrate, higher strength bolters and ability to pick out characters, sounds good to me !

Incredible character, lone wolf sniper assassin with a list of special rules and wargear which covers 2 pages !
'Assassins eye' means his BS of 6 can never be modified for any reason, great for taking out centurions and other characters.
'The Instrument', his Sniper Rifle, has a number of special rules and firing modes

Must have in any Alpha army if you ask me, (especially combined with Headhunter Leviathal RoW) and definately opens up some very tasty conversion options !

Armillus Dynat
The Harrowmaster.  His Special rule "The Harrowing" allows you to select 3 friendly units and give them Infiltrate, Scout or Counter attack(1)
You can use an additional reaction in the opponent's turn, as long as Armillus is still in play.
He can also split his attacks and the rules for the sword and hammer (the Prince and the Prophet) he carries are very nice as well.

The big man himself!  Alpharius, I presume.

Armed with the Pale Spear, which has the (instant death) rule on it, may have you tempted to get Alpharius charging on the front lines, but even though he is a Primarch, combat is not where his strengths lie.
Alpharius is best used to boost the army's abilities, allowing for a variety of sneaky tactics like infiltration, Scout and Deep strike, for himself and 3 other units.
Once per battle he can also invoke special abilities for the entire army (excluding vehicles), these abilities can give a real boost to gaining the upper hand

I feel Alpharius is best used to cause confusion and cause frustration to your opponent, very much in keeping with the Alpha Legion playstyle.

Overall I feel like the Alpha Legion is tactically very reliable, the inclusion of other legions units and use them as your own is very strong.
The redeployment and other general sneakery is really in keeping with everything the Alpha Legion stand for or against.
This army is also a dream for the painter/converters as it opens up so many things you can do with the Rewards of Treason, characters and units in general. Since the Alpha Legion doesn't follow strict rules on unit markings etc it opens up a lot of personalisation on models.
I look forward to building a force and getting them on the table to try out some of these tactics !
And remember that every model in your army is, or could be, Alpharius !  Keep your opponent guessing ! haha!

Hydra Dominatus!

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