Sunday 20 December 2015

Horus Heresy - Alpha Legion Specific Units and Wargear


Today I will be going over the units and special wargear that are unique to the Alpha Legion in 30k. They have some interesting little trinkets and trick up their sleeve as you would expect of the Hydra. Lets start up with the wargear that is specific to the Alpha Legion:

Legion Specific Wargear

I've mentioned some of these already due to the ill-thought out order of these posts but I hope that hasn't spoiled your interest or understanding in previous posts :)

Banestrike Ammunition: Typical Alpha Legion. The only Legion to have developed ammunition specifically for puncturing space marine armour... We are loyalists really! I swear!! This ammo is like a pseudo-rending bolt gun ammunition that is AP3 on a to wound roll of a 6 instead of AP2. However this has the draw back of reducing range of boltguns to 18 inches. Double However it doesn't reduce the range of heavy bolters so suspensor web heavy bolters are excellent at punishing opposing legions armour.

This ammunition can be taken for free by seeker squads but removes their other ammunition option (scorpius rounds etc) or is a paid for upgrade for veteran squads and independent characters. I think this ammunition is a real boon to the Alpha Legion in a tactical marine heavy meta such that 30k is (and to a lesser extent 40k).

But don't feel too special, as being the kind souls that the Alpha Legion are, we have shared this boon with the Son's of Horus so do beware if you are facing them as it might bite you back on the arse!

Power Daggers: 5 points for a S-1 AP3 power dagger. Not bad at all, but nothing special you say. Indeed they aren't until you realise that they are also specialist weapons! Making them the cheapest means to give your power fist or thunder hammer wielding sergeant that extra attack for wielding two specialist weapons. Lovely.

Venom Spheres: These beauties can be taken by veterans, seekers and destroyer squads as well as a handful of HQ choices. They replace the frag grenades of the models and act as assault grenades that also grant hammer of wrath. This is muchos excellent for any squad you want to have extra punch in close combat, either as a back up or as an addition to an already combat dedicated squad.

I feel these will fill the former rather than the latter category but at a flat price of 5 melta bombs per squad they will be best served on full squads of 10 rather than 5's.

Venom Sphere Harness: This is an odd one that can only be taken by a few select sergeant such as the Alpha Legion specific terminator squad (as discussed below). It is a strength 3, assault 2 small blast grenade that is one shot only. With a range of 8 inches and a strength of 3 PLUS an AP- its not going to be doing much damage, but it does grant the bearer squad assault grenades and hammer of wrath on the turn it is used.

Its not that bad but the points you would spend on it are invariably better invested elsewhere unless you are going for full on fluff.

Legion Specific Units

The Alpha Legion have two unit choices that are unique to them, I'll start with my preferred option first:

Lernaen Terminator Squad: The Alpha Legions specific terminator squad. Basely comprised of 4 terminators and a Harrower (the sergeant). Terminators with power axes, cataphractii armour, and volkite chargers as standard with 2 attacks a piece base plus 3 for the harrower.

The harrower can take two upgrades including the aforementioned venom sphere harness and the other being a mastercrafted weapon. Any model can swap their power axe for a power fist or chain fist. They can also take a Land Raider Phobos/Proteus as standard for dedicated transport as well as a dreadclaw if under 5 models and a Spartan Assault tank if above 5 models.

At this point they sound like you want them stuck up in the grill (as the lingo goes these days) of the enemy punching the bejeesus out of everything. And if you go big on these guys I think they are an excellent unit to really run riot without relatively little expenditure on them, 5 men in a dreadclaw is pretty sweet at just over 300 points barebones.

But then you see the other option they can take... For every 5 members of the squad you can swap a single volkite charger for a plasma cannon (OK), a heavy flamer (Yeah cool) OR a conversion beamer (Whut now?).

A weapon which is most effective at vast range on a squad that is entirely kitted out for close combat seems extremely odd. However, I would actually recommend you take it. Too often when utilising my terminator squads against more mobile enemies I have ended up far from the action, but if you have a conversion beamer on you, you can literally threaten anything on the board to some extent or another and you are only giving up a single attack in close combat for it.

Alternatively you can sit them as body guard in the back field for an objective or such barebones apart from the beamer upgrade. It makes this unit actual useful as a defence against deep striking units with at least some offensive edge at distance without the need to invest in the points for a transport for them. Not a big issue if you take the relatively cheap dreadclaw but any of the other transport options require you to go big with your terminators or go home.

Overview: Decidedly odd. I don't think they are a magnificiently competitive choice, but can be run very effectively as a close combat orientated unit, but I can help shake of the concept of giving them a conversion beamer as an actual tactical option. If anyone has tried this approach I would be greatly interested to see how it turned out.

Headhunter Kill Teams: The Alpha Legion specific Seeker squads. These guys come with banestrike ammunition as standard and can upgrade to combi-bolters with banestrike ammunition as well as one in 5 upgrade to a suspensor web bheavy bolters. Standard stats and upgrades for the sergeant known as a Headhunter Prime.

Additional rules include infiltrate and preferred enemy everything as well as being equipped with both venom spheres and power daggers. So absolutely dedicated at anti 3+ save stuff here, with a bit of punch in close combat.

These guys are fine, they really are. However, I just think veteran tactical squads give you more flexibility with your ability to overlap their special rules with mutable tactics and so not be as niche as these guys are. That isn't to say don't take them, but if you run these guys I would recommend it as a squad of 10 with two heavy bolters and a smattering of combi meltas in there to provide at least a little versatility to their abilities. They should absolutely rinse any 3+ save units in shooting and do a half decent job in combat.

But if your opponent brought mostly 2+ saves and armour, then they are stuck being ineffective against everything. Veteran tactical squads can take a melta gun, tank hunter AND banestrike ammunition providing a good level of duality and with the correct rites of war they will also score.

I feel that is both a  more competitive choice and also one that ties better into the fluff of the Alpha Legion with absolute versatility in all roles being aspired to.

Overview: The ultimate tactical marine infantry shredder, but has to be placed in an appropriately balanced list that can cope when this squad doesn't pull its weight quite as effectively due to being put up against armies which render its main benefits ineffective.

Next Time

Last but by no means least in this series is the Progenitor(s) of us all; Alpharius Omegon, the beginning and the end of all that we know.

I hope you guys have enjoyed this series and if you are interested in any other 30k review, let me know and I'll be happy to review individual units, force org slots as well as other legions :)

Peace out,



  1. Nice breakdown. I'm toying with the idea the idea of an Alpha Legion force to run with my Death Guard, so this was really useful thanks

    1. Thanks! I think with mutable tactics the Alpha legion can be extremely flexible to fill gaps in others forces. With regards to the Death Guard, I think the Alpha Legion can be a very effective anvil to the hammer of the Death Guard as they advance with relatively slow pace.

      PS: Awesome name!

  2. Really enjoying this series, after I stumbled onto your blog. Another entry could be combos that the AL can pull off

    1. Thats a good idea Stephen, after I review the Primarch I'll go over a few of the tactics and combos that I've been throwing round in my head

  3. One thing that I overlooked in the Lernaen Terminators when I first looked at them were the fact they had stubborn. This really adds to their appeal a whole lot.

    1. I also overlooked that, I sometimes find the left hand text in the Horus Heresy books hards to digest when they have lots of special rules, I think its the yellowing of the paper... Or I'm just making excuses....

      Do you have any thoughts on the Autilon Skorr ideas by the way?

  4. Great review Rob, very useful as I know little about 30k.

    Just a quick question: Banestrike ammunition is AP3 to wound instead of AP2 on a 6 to wound. Am I missing something here? Why is this better?

  5. It's because they become AP3 as opposed to the regular bolter AP5. It's not better than regular rending but when you will be primarily faced with 3+ saves in 30k it's incredibly useful.

    I'm glad you've enjoyed them :) I'm planning on reviewing the death guard afterwards just out of interest!

    1. Ah, got it now. The text said AP2 rather than AP5.

    2. Ah that's just my poor writing, I was trying to clarify that when I said rending it wasn't the AP2 on a 6 rending we get in 40k but a special AP3 type of rending.

      Apologies for the confusion! I'll fiddle with the text when next I have a pc to hand :)