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Introduction to Warhammer 30K Part I: Crusade Army List

Submitted By: Caustic Date: May 4, 2014, 02:58:11 PM Views: 119
Summary: An introduction to Warhammer 30K for those interested in playing this type of game but don't yet own the expensive and exhaustingly detailed Horus Heresy Books. Part I provides a brief overview of the Crusade Legion Army List and how it plays differently from a normal Space Marine Army.

The purpose of this article is to prove a brief overview of the Horus Heresy Books and the Space Marine Legion Army list presented within. A Space Marine Legion is structured differently then a Chapter, and this is apparent throughout the substantial and interesting Army List. These volumes are large and very complex, so it wouldn’t make sense to go into too much detail here. If you are interested just in my conclusions, then feel free to skip the summary at the bottom of the article. In beginning my discussion, I’ll start with the main differences between a Legion and a Chapter on the battlefield:

Space Marine Legion:

-   ATSKNF is replaced with Legions Astartes special rule, which says that you can always regroup on your normal leadership score (so single marines don’t need insane courage to rally). This means that Legion Marines can be instantly destroyed via Sweeping Advances, don’t auto rally and need to make Fear tests, making them less reliable then their 40K successors 

-   The Legion Force Chart has an additional HQ slot (for a total of 3) and an additional Elites slot (for a total of 4) during Age of Darkness battles. In addition, there are optional slots for a Fortification and a Lord of War. This means that a Legion list can bring a super heavy vehicle or Primarch(!) in a normal game of Warhammer without Escalation, but this selection cannot be worth more then 25% of your army. So no Horus or Angron in games smaller then 2000pts sadly…

-   Space Marine Legion armies can only ally with the Imperial Army (no rules yet), Adeptus Mechanicus, or other Legions. Some Legions are battle brothers with each other, while others didn’t get along even before the Heresy and are treated as Distrusted Allies. An example of the former is Ultramarines and Blood Angels, while an example of the latter is Thousand Sons and Space Wolves.

-   Broadly, Legion Army units start expensive but get a bulk buyers discount the more models you add for a squad. This means that if you use multiple small units in a Legion army you will be taxed heavily, while if you use 10-20 model units you will end up paying a lot less per model. This amount is roughly 33% overpriced for a minimal squad, and 33% underpriced for a max size squad. The drawback to this approach is, naturally, Legion armies spend a lot of points per unit either way.

-   Legion Marines have their own Warlord Traits table, which has 3 okay traits devoted to close combat, 2 deployment related traits, and one which is great which gives D3 Blast/Template armed units in your army Shred. If you have a Praetor as your Warlord, you get to roll twice and pick which one you like which is nice.

-   Rites of War: These are unique configurations of your army based on a certain style of fighting. Only one rite of war can be chosen per army, and then only if you have a model with the Master of the Legion special rule (ie Legion Praetors and Primarchs or certain Special Characters). Each Rite of War comes with both benefits and drawbacks, and there are four universal rites of war plus one unique one for each legion (like the World Eaters, Sons of Horus, etc).

Rites of War:

-   Orbital Assault: All squads that can take Rhinos can swap them for Drop Pods, Dreadnaughts can take Drop Pods, Terminators can Deep Strike (normally they can’t). Drawback is that units that can NEVER Deep Strike or take a Drop Pod cannot be chosen in your army. Also no Fortifications.

-   Armoured Spearhead: All units that can take Rhinos as transports can take Land Raiders instead provided they can fit inside. Tank shocks penalize your opponent’s leadership. Drawback is all infantry units must take transports and be riding in them at the start of the game.

-   Angels Wraith: All jump pack models gain the Hit and Run SR. All units that can take Rhinos may take a Storm Eagle instead as a transport (similar to a Stormraven). Drawback is that only Jump Infantry, Skimmers, Jetbikes and Infantry in transports may be taken. No Tanks (unless also a Skimmer) or Fortifications allowed.

-   Pride of the Legion: All Veterans and Terminators count as Troops. Command Squads can take Land Raiders as Transports. Drawback is you may not take Allies, and if all your Veterans and Terminators die your opponent gets an additional VP.

Legion Army List:
HQ:

-   Legion Praetor: Essentially a Space Marine Captain with +1 Attack and a large selection of exotic wargear that’s broadly similar to his 40K successor but there are a couple of surprises. Most important is his Master of the Legion rule, which makes him a must-include in larger armies if you don’t have a Primarch to unlock Rites of War.
-   Legion Centurion: A Captain with -1 WS, Wounds, and Ld. Options are less impressive then a Praetor, but that’s not why you take this guy. He has the option of upgrading to a wide selection of specialists, including a Chaplain, Legion Champion, Apothecary Primus, Librarian (access to ALL schools), Master of Signal (Signum for a WHOLE squad), Forge Lord, Sniper Lord, Siege Breaker, and Chemical Lord. Many of these stand out as exceptional support HQs, meaning that the extra HQ slot is bound to be filled fairly frequently.
-   Legion Command Squad (3-5 models): Taken as a Praetor’s retinue, they are similar to the Chapter version but all models have +1 WS, Artificer Armour and may be Terminators or may take Jump Packs, Bikes, or Jetbikes. Their banner gives nearby units and themselves Fearless, making them a good anchor for a Legion army. Somewhat strangely, all models are characters. Useful if given some mobility and Power Weapons to maximize their abilities.

Elites:

-   Legion Veteran Tactical Squad (5-10 models): A squad of Veteran Marines with the ability to take one special ranged weapon per 5 models or all power weapons. If they take a heavy weapon, it counts as assault but its range is halved. Their main allure is the ability to select one special rule from a list of five: Fearless, Sniper, Furious Charge, Outflank and Tank Hunters. Sniper is the obvious winner, especially since it’s been FAQed to work better with high strength guns like Plasma and Melta.
-   Legion Destroyer Squad (5-10 models): A specially equipped squad of Marines with double pistols, rad grenades, and Counter Attack USR. They can also take up to three Phosphex Bombs (think poisoned Demo Charges) and come in the Jump Pack or Rhino mounted variety. The Rad Missile Launcher (anti-MEQ poisoned blast) is kinda neat as well… Elder Wraith units are going to just love getting shot with it. Overall, these guys work best with Death Guard since they are immune to all the radioactive death clouds floating around after use.
-   Legion Terminator Squad (5-10 models): Nearly identical to Chaos Terminators but without the Marks and warping. Oh and they are Scoring too, which is a very compelling reason to include them in a Legion Army.
-   Techmarine Covenant (1-3 independent models): Similar to Space Marine version, and suffers from a similar set of problems (not the least of which is the lack of Independent Character). Probably rarely taken in any army that’s not Iron Hands.
-   Apothecarion Detachment (1-3 independent models): Apothecaries can be attached to your squads similar to Wolf Guard and Commissars. This naturally means they are very good and will find their way into many Legion army lists. Artificer Armour is practically a mandatory upgrade for these guys. Strangely, they can’t be attached to Assault Squads or take any mobility upgrades. Oh well… the Apothecary Lord can so that’s where he goes.
-   Legion Dreadnaught Talon (1-3 independent models): Dreadnaughts can be selected in groups of one to three, after which time they operate independently. Pretty handy to have the option to take more in one slot, since Elites is a popular slot in a Legion army.
-   Contemptor Dreadnaught Talon (1-3 independent models): Same as above, but with Contemptor Dreadnaughts which are more expensive but a lot better.
-   Legion Rapier Weapons Battery (1-3 models): A battery of artillery manned by Legion Marines. Comes in the anti-tank (Laser Destroyer Array) version, anti-horde version (Quad gun), and the strange version (Graviton Cannon).
-   Legion Mortis Dreadnaught: A single dreadnaught that comes equipped with two gun arms, and gains Skyfire/Interceptor if it remains stationary. A bit vulnerable, but an effective gun platform nonetheless.
-   Contemptor Mortis Dreadnaught: As above, but with the increased survivability and firepower that comes with being a Contemptor Dreadnaught. Never a bad choice.

Troops:

-   Legion Tactical Squad (10-20 models): Here is where things get interesting. Tactical Squads have doubled in size, and can no longer take any special or heavy weapons. This arrangement works pretty well because it gives the unit a clearer role – advance and fire. The variety of support HQs and additional characters make these guys more interesting then their Chapter based counterparts. They also have a Bolterstorm rule that is similar to the old Bladestorm – double shots but can’t shoot next turn.
-   Legion Assault Squad (10-20 models): Similar to the Chapter based version, but in the Legion Army these guys are double sized and Troops right from the beginning. This is really handy because it supports more Close Combat based builds without having to be a specific Chapter/Legion or picking a certain character. Also has the ability to take unique pistols and Power Weapons on a 1:5 ratio which is excellent. World Eaters are a big fan of these squads.
-   Legion Breacher Siege Squad (10-20 models): A tougher Tactical Squad that can take special weapons, but is naturally more expensive. Sacrificing the mobility of a transport, their Boarding Shields and Hardened Armour give them a variety of survivability benefits. Taking them vs. normal tactical squads is a matter of personal preference.
-   Legion Tactical Support Squad (5-10 models): From the Support Squad rule, these guys cannot be taken as Compulsory Troops, but that makes sense when you consider their equipment load out. The entire squad has special weapons… that’s right… ALL of them. However, they all must have the same one. This means they can be a squad of Flamers, Meltaguns, Plasmaguns, etc. Never leave home without at least one squad of these guys…
-   Legion Reconnaissance Squad (5-10 models): Also a Support Squad, these guys are Marines with Scouts, Outflank, and Acute Senses as well as a collection of equipment normally only available to Scouts. They make great objective holders when run as Snipers, and swap their Power Armour for Recon Armour and Infiltrate, Move Through Cover.

Fast Attack:

-   Legion Seeker Squad (5-10 models): A surprising gem, these guys are Marines with +1 BS, access to Special Ammo, and gain the Preferred Enemy rule against a single enemy squad you choose. While their Ammo is not as amazing as the ones Sternguard Marines get, they are all still useful in some way. There are Kraken Bolts (same), Tempest Rounds (-1 S but gains Blast), and Scorpius Rounds (changes type to Heavy, but gains Rending and Shred). Woe betide the Legion army that doesn’t have at least one squad of Seekers.
-   Legion Outrider Squad (3-10 models): The Legions version of Bikes, shockingly they may all exchange their TL Boltguns for TL special weapons like Flamers, Meltaguns and Plasmaguns. This option is very expensive though, and the whole squad must have the same weapons making them not as flexible as one might like. Still, a squad of bikers with TL Plasmas is nothing to laugh at…
-   Legion Attack Bike Squadron (1-5 models): Another really good unit in the Fast Attack slot, Legion Attack Bikes can be taken in larger groups and have a larger selection of sidecar weapons (gain Heavy Flamer, Autocannon in addition to HBs and MMs). Good value, speed and toughness make these guys an exceptional addition to a Legion army.
-   Legion Jetbike Skyhunter Squadron (3-10 models): Imperial Jetbikes! This is before they were banned or lost by the Imperium, and they are pretty neat. Each comes base with a Heavy Bolter and for every 3 models one Jetbike can exchange for a MM, Plasma Cannon, or Volkite Culverin (kinda like a mid range Autocannon with more shots). Give the Eldar a run for their money.
-   Legion Land Speeder Squadron (1-5 models): Land Speeders, in a squadron, pretty much the same as they have always been. Some new options like Plasma Cannons and Hunter Killer Missiles though. Still a little weak for the points.
-   Legion Storm Eagle Gunship: A Stormraven that has +1 HP and a large variety of weapons options, all of which are quite expensive. Has double the capacity of a Rhino though, which makes them a unit worth considering especially given the Rite of War that makes them dedicated transports…
-   Tarantula Sentry Gun Battery (1-3 models): These automated artillery turrets have a variety of weapons and can buy Shrouded (1st turn) and Scout but they have the Fire Modes special rule which means you have next to no control over them unless they are Hyperios Anti-Air. Essentially, this means you are only going to take them for their AA and rarely use any other version.
-   Primaris Lightning Strike Fighter: A fragile but well armed flyer that you can take in a Legion Army. I’d have my doubts about including it simply because no matter how much firepower it has, with only slightly more survivability then a Land Speeder its probably just going to die to Interceptor fire the turn it arrives.
-   Legion Javelin Attack-Speeder Squadron (1-3 models): Now these guys are decent units compared to normal speeders. With higher armour on the front and side faces, Outflank, and Twin-Linking on their Cyclones for only a moderate points increase a squadron of Javelins is an effective and useable fast strike unit.

Heavy Support:

-   Legion Heavy Support Squad (5-10 models): Similar to a Space Marine Devestator squad, only ALL models including the sergeant have heavy weapons, and there is a full selection available. They can take Heavy Flamers, Autocannons, Heavy Bolters, Missile Launchers, Plasma Cannons, Lascannons, Volkite Culverins, and Multimeltas. The drawback is they all have to take the same weapons – no mixing and matching. Given that no mixing is generally a good strategy for maximizing your firepower, its not that big of a deal. Practically an auto-include for a Legion Army especially if bolstered by HQs or Pyschic Powers.
-   Legion Predator Strike Armour Squadron (1-3 models): Now we get to probably the best unit in the Codex. Legion Strike Predators are exceptional for their cheapness, variety of effective turret weapons and sponsons, and ability to be taken in squadrons compared to their Chapter equivalents. Their Diemos Autocannons get double the shots of a normal autocannon for no price increase, and they can swap it for a Flamestorm Cannon, Executioner Cannon, Heavy Conversion Beamer or Magna Melta Cannon at cost. Combine this with the ability to take Ceramite Hulls (immune to Melta rule) and Power of the Machine Spirit and these tanks are amazingly nasty. All Legion armies should include at least one squadron of Strike Predators.
-   Legion Land Raider Battle Squadron (1-3 models): Unfortunately this unit isn’t as strong as might be thought on first glance, since Crusaders and Redeemers don’t exist yet. The options include Godhammer Land Raiders, not so useful Command Land Raiders (they modify the opponents or your reserve rolls like the old Astropath and Officer of the Fleet), and near unkillable Land Raider Achilles. Unless you are bringing an Achilles to annoy your opponent (and annoy it will) this squadron will generally be avoided because of the appeal of other HS choices and the fact that most units that want a Land Raider can take it as a Dedicated Transport.
-   Legion Artillery Tank Squadron (1-3 models): The only unit in the codex with a 0-1 Limit (Ten bucks says Iron Warriors ignore this limit when they come out), the choices are Legion Basilisks, Legion Medusas and Legion Whirlwinds. Since Whirlwinds generally aren’t that good anyway, if you use this unit its going to be Basilisks or more likely Medusas for the long range Demolisher Cannons. Notably, Whirlwinds can exchange for Hyperios AA missiles which isn’t a bad idea for some anti-flyer weapons if you aren’t in an artillery mood.
-   Legion Vindicator: A Vindicator with no squadron option that can swap its Demolisher Cannon for a single shot tank smashing Laser Destroyer Array. Take it or leave it. Can also upgrade to Power of the Machine Spirit, which is kinda nice on short range artillery tanks.
-   Legion Spartan Assault Tank: A heavy Land raider with double TL Lascannon sponsons, 25 passenger capacity, and +1 HP. Nice place for a 20 man large assaulting infantry squad or 10 Terminators. It’s 45 points more expensive, but it seems kinda worth it to me if you are a fan of death star units or Iron Hands.
-   Legion Caestus Assault Ram: A flyer that zooms in, rams something, then offloads its cargo. A neat trick, and something worth including if it suits your plan. Notably, it can transport 10 models and ignores the restrictions of the Bulky special rule… so a good Terminator delivery system.
-   Deathstorm Drop Pod: Drop in, shoot the crap out of everything around it, then probably die. Comes in anti-horde and anti-tank varieties. Any unit that takes a morale or pinning check from it’s weapons and succeeds must reroll the test, which is a useful bonus if your goal is to keep opponents away from a certain area of the board. I’d probably pass over this unit however for a more useful Heavy Support option that starts on the board though…
-   Legion Whirlwind Scorpius: Hallelujah a Whirlwind that’s actually incredibly useful! For a very reasonable price, this artillery tank with +2 AV on the front and +1 AV on the sides and fires exploding krak missiles across the battlefield. If you don’t move, the number of rockets increases from 1 to 1+D3 making this tank a unit your opponent cannot ignore, as its going to erase handfuls of marines with each turn its left unchecked. Practically an auto-include for a Legion Army.
-   Legion Sicarian Battle Tank: Continuing the trend of very useful tanks, this Fast Predator with excellent armour on all faces has the TL Accelerator Autocannon of doom, which is Rending, has triple firepower, and ignores Jink Saves. Can also take standard predator sponsons, and it makes a lot of sense to do so because you’re fast. Heavy Support is getting crowded isn’t it?

SUMMARY:

Where a Space Marine Chapter is like a scalpel, a Space Marine Legion is like a hammer. A Legion brutally crushes its opponents in a tide of bodies, but the difference is those bodies are Marines instead of guardsmen. Expect squads of Legionnaires to be more homogeneous and specialized, but have the tools to confront every problem head on if loaded out correctly. The flexibility here is not to be found in the individuals, but in the squads you select from the army list which in essence makes the army extremely effective at whatever you want it to do, but not good at everything at once.

That said, there are good and bad units and the following really stand out as exceptional:

-   Legion Praetors for their ability to completely change the structure of the army with Rites of War
-   Legion Centurions for their ability to bolster any squad with the right specialist upgrade. Divination Librarians, Masters of Signal particularly stand out.
-   Apothecarion Detachments for their ability to give almost any squad Feel No Pain
-   Legion Terminators because they are always Scoring Units
-   Tactical Support Squads because they all have special weapons
-   Legion Seeker Squads because of their impressive ranged capabilities
-   Legion Attack Bike Squadrons because they are larger, cheaper and have more options then in any other Space Marine codex
-   Heavy Weapons Squads for their firepower
-   Predator Strike Squadrons for their cheapness, size and firepower
-   Javelin Attack Speeders because they are THAT much better then normal ones
-   Whirlwind Scorpius because they massacre whole squads reliably while hiding because LOS blocking terrain.
-   Sicarian Battle Tanks because of their speed, toughness, and amazing armaments

One could in theory make a great army using just the standard Legion list presented here in this article, but things truly come to together once you have chosen which Legion you want your force to represent. Legions like the Sons of Horus and Iron Warriors have what amounts to Chapter Tactics on steroids, with unique Rites of War, Characters, Units, Rules, Wargear and their own Primarch whose presence further defines the character of the Legion you’ve chosen. In the next article, we will discuss in detail the different Legions that currently have rules and how to begin collecting your 30K army.

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