Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Horus the Warmaster

Horus Lupercal. Sire of the Luna Wolves, later known as the Sons of Horus. Horus the Warmaster. Tactical Genius. Charismatic. And ultimately: Heretic.  But do the rules presented in Betrayal do him justice and is he worth the points cost?

Its always a risk putting numbers to legends such as Horus and the other primarchs. Indeed, before Betrayal, the only primarch that I know of with published statistics is Angron in daemon prince form through an apocalypse data sheet. But in the Horus Heresy 30k books, we will (I hope) eventually have statistics for all 18 known primarchs. (Well, 19 if you think there's more than one primarch in the Alpha Legion…! heresy!).

As a primarch, Horus has the "standard" primarch rules associated with him that includes "eternal warrior" and "it will not die" (amongst others). As with his brothers, he is exceptionally tough. But he is far from immortal and can be brought down with highly concerted efforts. Equally, as a Lord of War, he's really only going to be present in large army lists (and presumably, when the opponent allows it).

His other rules are very nice. They range from deploying on the turn of his choice via deep strike (with no scatter!), granting outflank to other units in reserve, +1Ld to his sons, seizing the initiative bonuses, making some of the army count as troops if desired (think: a full army of Justaerin terminators), precision orbital bombardment once per game, excellent armour, awesome weapons (world breaker and the warmasters' Talon which he can split his attacks between at will).

To be clear: he is pricey! But he is also a single handed army wrecker should he get in to the right position. And why wouldn't he when he deep strikes on the turn of his choice with no scatter (along with any body guard). And on the same turn he comes in, he can then call down an orbital bombardment.

There's nothing he can't handle, perhaps with the exception of fliers, when embedded in a strong body guard unit and can readily be used to single-handedly crush all comers. The only defence that I can see are (a) fliers (he'll have a tough time shooting them out of the skies) and (b) rapid armies (he's still fundamentally a terminator and doesn't move as fast as assault elements - he'll have to rely on other elements of his force to catch them, or he'll have to shoot them to bits). Everything else is pretty much fair game to him. And will probably lose. But can he do it in 6 game turns? Maybe not. He can only be in one place at one time. He therefore must rely on other elements of the army to finish the job, or encircle opponents sufficiently to wipe them out. Massed weapon fire directed at him can finish him off, but assuming he has a bodyguard unit (you did give him that, right?) he should survive the entire battle. I suspect most opponents wouldn't waste the ammo shooting at him -- getting rid of the rest of his army is a better priority frankly).

Summing up: he's awesome. He's a one man army in some respects. But he needs other elements in the force to make up for what he lacks (due to inherently being in terminator armour with not much of a shooty weapon). I regard him as worth the points (as are the rest of the primarchs) and he is a modest force multiplier (due to what he can give to other Sons of Horus units -- outflank for anything in reserve, bonus Ld). Used wisely and in concert with other elements, he's going to win battles. But take care. Don't get over-confident. Know his (few!!!) weaknesses and plan accordingly. 


John Stiening said...

I had horus in my list for the nova open narrative event and he was a beast when I could get him into combat.

jabberjabber said...

Sounds awesome John! I think getting him in to combat is the trick to using him well. If he's stuck outside of combat, he's a points sink for most of the game. But inside combat, he's going to make those points back very readily. Hope you enjoyed Nova!

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