Tuesday 12 April 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Emperor's Children - The Phoenician - Fulgrim the Illuminator

Hey today,

Today is the end of my Emperor's Children review in the Horus Heresy. We discuss the Primarch Fulgrim, one of the most tortured tales I feel in terms of the fallen primarchs. A man possessed that slew his best friend, the agony of this betrayal cutting through all the lies that had predicated his fall to chaos, his folly recognised this moment of weakness allows the full possession of his body by the warp. Forever remembering the betrayal of a brother.

Primarch Special Rule

Primarchs have a catch all special rule "Primarch" which grants them Independent Character, Eternal Warrior, Fear, Adamantium Will, Fleet, Fearless, It Will Not Die and Master of the Legion (so obviously can take rites of war.

Stats and Equipment

The Primarchs all differ in their base stats to reflect there particular physiology and upbringing that has ultimately led to their style of warfare. Fulgrim's stats are as below:

WS   BS   S   T   W    I    A   LD   Sv
 8       6     6   6    6     8   5     10    2+

The notable aspects here are his high WS and I which will give him the edge against most everything except other Primarchs that are close combat orientated, but he will do very well against many other weaker Primarchs such as Alpharius, whose own skills do not revolve around direct combat engagement but force multiplying, as an example.

Fulgrim has krak and plasma grenades as standard wargear before you get on to his unique wargear: The Gilded Panoply, The Blade of Laer, and Firebrand.

The Gilded Panoply is Fulgrim's armour that provides a 2+ save and a 5++ invulnerable. Which is not particularly striking compared to other Primarchs that come with a 4++ as standard. HOWEVER in assault (not just a challenge), the invulnerable save of the armour increases to a 3++ due to the immense skill Fulgrim possesses as a swordsman.

The Firebrand is simply a master-crafted volkite charger with the shred special rule. This isn't anything special but its still a decent weapon that can cause a good amount of wounds against whatever foe Fulgrim is about to charge.

The Blade of Laer is a S:user sword with AP2, rending, specialist weapon and two-handed. The main issue with this sword is its use of the wielders base strength. This means that against most Primarchs Fulgrim will wound on a 4+ and against a Castellax Battle Automata he will wound on a 5+! Its two-handed/specialist weapon nature matters very little when considering his special rules as detailed below.

Overall Fulgrim has OK wargear (when considering he is a Primarch) but that is more than made up for by his excellent close combat orientated stats and the accompanying special rules he has. Do not be fooled by his low strength as a barrier to wounding tougher opponents.

Special Rules

Finally the rules of Fulgrim, that truly announce him as both a close combat master himself but also a multiplier of this aspect of his Legion.

Sire of the Emperor's Children - Fulgrim has the crusader special rule to make him faster at getting into combat and he must always issue and accept challenges in combat BUT this is only mandatory if the candidate for the challenge is WS5 or higher. So no worries on petty sergeants getting a fist in at him.

Additionally ALL Emperor's Children on the battlefield, including Fulgrim, gain +2 to combat resolution. Meaning you need to, at minimum, beat EC units by 2 to gain a draw. But then consider the rules discussed in previous sections that allow EC to count draws as a win in combat. Therefore with Fulgrim on the field you need a decisive victory of 3 or more in combat to route any EC unit.

Finally this rule allows the re-rolling of reserve rolls for any EC units that are entering play, whether successful or unsuccessful.

Sublime Swordsman - This is the special rule which actually enhances Fulgrim's invulnerable to a 3++ in combat. But its real power is that it grants Fulgrim extra attacks equal to the difference in his initiative with his opponent. So despite having a two-handed weapon, on the charge against a regular marine Fulgrim will have 5+1+4 = 10 attacks!!

Strategic Planning - This does not strike you as the greatest rule at first, but considering all the other shenanigans that the EC can play it has great strength to it. It allows Fulgrim to choose his Warlord Trait from either the Legiones Astartes standard traits OR the strategic traits in the 40k rulebook.

This gives Fulgrim, as a Primarch, an excellent malleability of command and allows you to adapt to your opponent in much the same way the Alpha Legion can, just to a lesser extent.

Synergy with the Legion: Glory in Combat

Fulgrim is one of the simpler Primarchs to use in games of 30k. He is designed to be in combat against almost everyone! Additionally he provides such fantastic bonuses to a legion that is already geared towards combat that ideally you want ALL your legion in combat.

Obviously this does not mean you should throw tac marines at a Dark Fury squad but it does mean that in any given even fight, YOU have the edge with better initiative on the charge AND a guaranteed +2 to your combat resolution with Fulgrim around.

Fulgrim works best in a highly mobile force that is dedicated to close combat. This means making good use of Phoenix Terminators as well as Platine Blades (preferably with jump packs). I don't think you should play EC if aggression is not your by word in playing 30k or 40k. Fulgrim needs to be face to face with his foe, standing proud and arrogant over their bloodies corpses.


I really like Fulgrim as a character and think he will be a fine addition to every EC army in 30k. If he doesn't enhance the army you have chosen to play as EC then I can't help but feel you are playing an EC army that goes against their fluff quite heavily. I am in no way saying you shouldn't play that army however!! Just don't be surprised if you don't get as much out of the Primarch that he can offer army styles that really run off the EC special rules that really match the fluff!

Next up in this series of Legiones Astartes reviews I will be doing Sons of Horus :)

Peace out,



  1. Ok so being a Dark Eldar fan this is EXACTLY how I would want to run a 30k army, fast, deadly in combat (what DE are supposed to be) and like a scalpel rather than a bludgeon.

    Well done Rob, you've 90% convinced me to actually invest in 30k!

    1. Do it! You have excellent experience with the colours from your Dark Eldar! (though I do miss the starsky and hutch scheme still!)

      I think EC and Alpha Legion are my favourite flavour of legion rules so far. Raven Guard are very nice also but the EC rules really push that ferocious scalpel incision play style man.

    2. So the decision is made - it will be slow due to budget constraints, but my HH collection will begin, and will be purple!

      After deciding to sell the DE, i needed to have another purple army in my collection!

  2. You might want to mention Fireblade. It's a free upgrade for Fulgrim's weapon; Master Crafted Paragon Blade that has Murderous Stike on 5+ rather than 6+. Brings Fulgrim to Str8.

    1. Ah yes, that the upgrade weapon that is fluff wise from Ferrus Manus yes? I knew I was forgetting something, will edit ASAP, thanks as always :)

  3. Yikes, good things he's on our side... Wait... What?

    1. Well you know.. he feels bad for what he did :P

  4. Damn you Rob! Damn you and your awesome 30k unit reviews! Thanks to you I am now checking ebay for Betrayal at Calth tactical marines to test out an Emperor's Children colour scheme.

    I hope you are happy with yourself. You make me sick!

    1. Mwahahaha! Yesss... come to the Age of Darkness Mike... come where the space marines do know fear!!! Mwahahaha!

  5. So flipping awesome. So many emp children being bought because of rob. You are awesome rob!