Wednesday 2 March 2016

Horus Heresy Review - Thallax

Good Afternoon,

Following on from my update on Thallax painting progress, today I am going to review them as a unit that fulfils an excellent troop slot in any 30k Mechanicum army. These are some absolutely fantastic troops that have toughness, mobility and a good swiss army knife of options to tailor them for specific goals. 


Thallax are mini monstrous creatures with an excellent strength and toughness coupled with 3 whole wounds! As a basic troop! They are pricey at 40 points each with only a 4+ save, but they also have a 6+ FNP to mitigate that somewhat as well as their base toughness making them harder to wound and multiple wounds requiring some seriously dedicated fire power to take them out. Bear in mind they will also only be insta-killed by S10 weaponry or instant death/remove from play special rules. 

WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  LD  Sv
  3     4    5  5   3   2  2   8     4+

Thallax also come with the stubborn special rule, so with a marine competent level of leadership 8 they will not often be breaking. As jet pack infantry they are also bulky, which has little pertinence unless you are considering taking them in a Triaros armoured conveyor, however I will cover this build in a separate post for the Triaros.

Finally its worth noting that with some of the special rules and equipment upgrades available to this unit, they can be pretty decent in close combat with 2 attacks base. A base squad of 3 will put out 9 strength 5 hits on the charge which is nothing to sniff at in a pinch, even before you upgrade them. If you just add additional bodies, of which 6 can be taken, then they will do a fair number!


Baseline equipment for the Thallax are the Lightning Gun and Djinn-sight. Djinn-sight represents their enhanced sensory system which is boosted through their augmetic helm. This beautiful piece of equipment causes -2 (2!!!!) to your opponents cover save when you shoot at them. This is absolutely fantastic and is key to how you utilise the Thallax. In terms of their basic guns, they have the following profile

Lighting Gun - S7, AP5, Heavy 1, Shred, Rending, 18" range.

At strength 7 you will be wounding most things on a 2 with a re-roll. Albeit this is a low rate of fire, but on a 6 you will ignore any armour. These guns don't excel at a great deal to be honest and so you will invariably want to give them some upgrades. Available to the Thallax are melta bombs (whole squad), a Photon Thruster, Phased plasma-fusil, multi-melta, multi-laser and an Irad-cleanser (1 per 3). The multi-melta and multi-laser are as standard but the other profiles are as follows:

Phased Plasma-fusil - S6, AP3, Salvo 2/3, 24" range.

Photon Thruster - S6, AP2, Heavy 2, Lance, Blind, Gets hot, 48" range. 

Irad-cleanser - S2, AP5, Assault 1, fleshbane, Rad Phage, Template.

The phased plasma-fusil is essentially 24" assault 3 due to jet pack infantry being relentless and so is an excellent troop killer with that AP3 and relatively high rate of fire. Its range is short but better than your standard guns which plus your mobility shouldn't be an issue. The Photon thruster has excellent range and a brilliant AP2 but you can ignore lance as you shouldn't be shooting at anything above AV12 and gets hot makes it a no-no for me. You can bleed wounds on a heavy 2 with only a 4+ save. Unlike battle-automata such as the Castellax with a Darkfire cannon you can't regain wounds. 

The irad cleanser is beautiful, yes it has a low AP5 but fleshbane you will wound on 2+ and rad phage will PERMANENTLY lower S and T by -1 for the rest of the game!

The multi laser adds a nice rate of fire to the squad but the multi melta should be skipped as melta bombs are better, with 3 attacks and circumventing armoured ceramite. You also have the option to take heavy chainblades for each thallax to increase their attacks to S7 and AP4. 

Thallax also have the option of an augment upgrade which gives them additional rules to help specialise their role, these range from 10-25 points:

Icarian: If stationary the Thallax gain skyfire and move to heavy support instead of troops. This doesn't sound amazing to begin with on basic troops, but even with the lightning guns you have to remember that you are putting -2 to there cover save so jinking on a 5+ at best! that will be 3 to glance the weakest vehicles and so they make a great little anti-air threat in a list low on flyers.

Ferrox: Grants rage and rending to close combat attacks. This gives them 4 S5 rending attacks on the charge. Though they now can't upgrade their lightning guns.

Destructor: Grants Tank Hunter special rule, brilliant when you give them melta bombs to ensure a big bang.

Empyrite: Gains a teleportation deep strike, which plays a role in Zone Mortalis but can be ignored here really. 

Overview - Thallax have a whole host of options and permutations open to them that allow you to really customise them as a unit. This is great but also can lead to the trap of investing to many points on a unit that only has a 4+ save.


Personally I like to keep these squads small with 3-5 members and relatively low on upgrades. Melta bombs and Ferrox put a 3 man squad at 175 points. But they can literally threaten everything now, even charging a blob will put out 12 attacks, they can take pot shots at high toughness units and can melta bomb any vehicle into non-existence. If you have the points however, 6 man squad with plasma-fusils is a nice build. The 4 Thallax with lightning guns can still rend and take out 2+ saves and you have 6 S6 Ap3 shots pumping out of this unit. Icarian as an upgrade really does add some much needed skyfire ability to this list and any of the high rate of fire guns like the phased plasma-fusil/multilaser will help saturate flyers with their reduced jink saves. Though icarian plus melta bombs does allow you to tickle flyers as well as take out tanks. 

Overview - Much more so than Castellax, Thallax are a pick and mix unit and I couldn't possibly cover the whole scope of builds possible with them, but I would always suggest that you keep them focused on one priority with contingency for another, melta bombs are I think the best contingency as they will always present a threat to tanks on such a mobile unit, beyond that you can choose as you like. 

Peace out,



  1. Rob, doesn't the heavy chainblade make the attacks S7 (str +2) AP4?

    1. Spot on David! Already corrected :) thank you! Its always good to have readers work as editors for free :P

  2. Good article again. I like using Thallax as 3 wound deep striking troops. Always upgrade with melta bombs. Units of 5 become very difficult to kill

    1. Absolutely agree with the melta bombs gives them such extra threat capability. Though 2 thallax got into combat with a spartan tank on wednesday and rolled 14 and 10 on their armour pens :(

  3. It may not be the best option, game-wise, but the Mad Scientist in me can't say no to anything with a Lightning Gun :D

  4. I will point out the Rad-phage only effects toughness, unfortunately this doesn't stack after the first wound taken by the model. And Djinn-sight offers a massive restriction to opposing models infiltrating between your models.

    1. Whoops! Good spot you unknown man/lady of mystery! Also great point about the Djinn-sight, will update both of those in a bit :)