Greetings one and all,
Today we’re continuing our look into the Horus Heresy, and more specifically, the Legiones Astartes. This time we’re going to look at the Heavy Support choices and due to the sheer number of them (19 units!), I’m going to have to break the coverage of this section into two parts (though I will combine them later for ease of reading).
So, what is in the Heavy Support section? Well, tanks… Basically, lots and lots of tanks. Sure there are a few flyers, a couple of Dreadnoughts and the Heavy Support squad, but if you’re like me and a bit of a trend head then this is the section for you. So, with further ado, let's batten down the hatches and drive into this section.
Legion Leviathan Dreadnought Talon - The BIG brother to the Contemptor Dreadnought Leviathan is a monster of the Emperor's own creation, it’s occupant burning brightly but burning quickly as it roars back into life, a true god of war, before becoming nought but dust. With Armour and Weapons heavier than even that of the Contemptor Dreadnought, this monster dominates their corner of the battlefield.
Looking at the statline, it’s a kinda “where do I even start” situation. The BS and WS are 5, which is great, and the Toughness and Strength of 8 is amazing. Only anti-tank Weapons are hurting this thing, while the 7 Wounds mean that it’s gonna take a lot of them to hit to finally bring the Leviathan down. Lastly, it has 5 Attacks and a 2+ Save, rounding this whole thing into one very nice package. Though, there is one stat that does let the Leviathan down: it has a Movement of 6, which means it can’t react to sudden threats very well at all and could struggle to get into Close Combat. But you can’t have it all and the low Movement does make sense for such a heavy machine.
In terms of special rules, the Leviathan has four: Legiones Astartes, Dreadnought Talon, Hammer of Wrath (3) and Move through Cover. Legiones Astartes means you can apply a Legion rule to this unit, so if you play Iron Hands then this becomes an Iron Hands Leviathan and is subject to any rules that that Legion has. Dreadnought Talon, though, states how the unit should be deployed. When a Talon of Leviathan Dreadnoughts is deployed, they should be within Unit Coherency. After that point, they can move freely and are not treated as a unit. Hammer of Wrath (3) grants them an additional Attack equal to the number in brackets at Initiative step 10, that automatically hits but is resolved at the model base Strength and AP-. It also doesn’t include any special rules like Rending or Furious Charge. Simply, imagine the Leviathan body-slamming into a unit and that’s pretty much it. Finally, we have Move through Cover, which means a Leviathan Dreadnought will not suffer a penalty for Moving or Charging through Difficult Terrain.
The standard Leviathan Dreadnought Talon consists of: one Leviathan Dreadnought armed with two Leviathan Siege Claws with built-in Meltaguns, two Heavy Flamers, and an Atomantic Deflector. The Siege Claws are bloody nice, being Strength 10, AP 2, and Brutal (3). The built-in Meltagun are quite nice to have (because Melta), and I suppose the Heavy Flamers are okay as well, but they’re a bit eh if you’re fighting Marines in my opinion. The Atomantic Deflector grants the Dreadnought a +5 Invulnerable Save and it reduces any Weapon that deals Instant Death to only doing D3 damage for each unsaved Wound instead. But due to its unstable nature, when the Dreadnought is reduced to zero Wounds, every model within D6 inches suffers an automatic Strength 8, AP - hit as it explodes. Even in death I still serve?
As for upgrade options, you can add up to another TWO Leviathan Dreadnoughts to the Talon for a mere 270 points each, up to a maximum of 3 per Talon. Any Leviathan Dreadnought may exchange either of its Leviathan Siege Claws with built-in Meltagun for one of the following; Leviathan Siege Drill with built-in Meltagun, Leviathan Storm Cannon, Cyclonic Melta Lance, or a Grav-Flux Bombard. Any Leviathan Dreadnought may take a Phosphex Discharger, and lastly, may exchange its two Heavy Flamers for two Volkite Calivers.
It should be noted that if either of the Leviathan Siege Claws with Built-in Meltagun is exchanged for a Leviathan Storm Cannon, Cyclonic Melta Lance or a Grav-Flux Bombard, then the Attack stat drops to 4. So that is something to consider.
When I play them I tend to go all in with one Weapon set. Either I keep the Leviathan Siege Claws and deploy the Dreadnought via Drop Pod, or I double up on either the Leviathan Storm Cannon if I’m going anti-Infantry, or Grav-Flux Bombard if I’m going anti-tank / Elite Infantry. Depending on how I’m feeling though, I might still use the Drop Pod to get my Leviathan into the most advantageous position. (Seriously, the Drop Pods are a massive help to counter this things low Movement stat.)
Legion Deredeo Dreadnought Talon - This is what happens when you ask the Myrmidons to design a Weapon system that's to be fitted to the Contemptor Dreadnought: a ludicrously over-armed Dreadnought with enough firepower to level several streets, or possibly blow a starship out of orbit.
Looking at the stats, you’ll see they're almost the same as the Contemptor Dreadnought, which has a great statline. To start with, the only difference is the slightly lower Movement of 7 and only 2 Attacks, but as this thing has guns for arms it can be forgiven.
When it comes to special rules it has two: Legiones Astartes and Dreadnought Talon, which you can find above in the Leviathan Dreadnought section where I’ve covered them already.
The standard Deredeo Dreadnought Talon is 1 Deredeo Dreadnought equipped with an Anvilus Autocannon Battery and a Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter, four Boreas Air Defence Missiles, Atomantic Deflector, and a Helical Targeting Array. See, I told you it had a stupid amount of Weapons.
As for upgrade options, you can get one additional Deredeo Dreadnought for 205 points for a maximum of two per Talon. The Anvilus Autocannon Battery can be exchanged with either a Hellfire Plasma Cannonade, Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery, or a Volkite Falconet. The Twin-Linked Heavy Bolter can be exchanged for a Twin-Linked Heavy Flamer, and lastly, the four Boreas Air Defence Missiles can be exchanged for a Aiolos Missile Launcher.
When I run a Deredeo Dreadnought Talon I will tailor it to deal with a specific threat, though I tend to go for a Hellfire Plasma Cannonade and Arachnus Heavy Lascannon Battery, just because I like the high Strength firepower. And with the Helical Targeting Array allowing the use of the Interceptor Reaction, you’re more likely to blow those thin-skinned flyers out of the air. Though, the Anvilus Autocannon Battery can do that just fine too. If you’re struggling with anti-air, bring one of these along.
Model and Paintwork property of https://instagram.com/jomjon73?igshid=MjEwN2IyYWYwYw==
Legion Heavy Support Squad - When you need that sweet sweet heavy fire support, who ya gonna call? These guys! Carrying some of the heaviest Marine portable Weapons these Marines are ready to lay down a withering hail of fire that shreds enemy Infantry, or powerful blasts that rip open tanks and send them spinning into the trash heap.
Let's look at their stats, which as you can see are the same as the Legion Tactical or support squad. There’s nothing unusual here, so we’ll move swiftly on to the special rules of this beast, and we’ll see a very familiar one right off the bat, Legiones Astartes, which I’ve covered above.
The standard Legion Heavy Support Squad is 5 Marines, all armed with; Heavy Bolter, Bolter Pistol, Frag and Krak Grenades and Power Armour.
As for opinions, this unit has quite a few. They may take another 5 marines at 15 points each for a maximum of 10. The squad can take Legion Vexilla, Augury Scanner and Nuncio Vox. All models in the unit may upgrade their Heavy Bolters with the following: Heavy Flamer, Missile Launcher, Autocannon, Multi-Melta, Plasma Cannon, Volkite Culverin, or a Lascannon. Much like the Legion support squad, ALL models must be armed with the same Weapon, so there’s no mixing and matching. Furthermore, the Sergeant can take Artificer Armour.
When I take the Legion Heavy Support Squad I go one of two ways: I either go full 10 Marines with Lascannons and wipe out all before me, or I take 2 five-man squads, one with Lascannons and the other with Plasma Cannons or Volkite Culverins for Anti-Infantry work. But this uses up two of my heavy support slots, which means fewer tanks
Model and Paintwork property of Devildog Gaming
Legion Predator Squadron - Based on the hull of the always reliable Rhino, the Predator was the Space Marine Legions original medium tank, bringing Armoured fire support to the front line wherever it was needed. At the time of the Heresy, newer vehicles were coming to replace it but the rugged, easy to produce and reliable Predator proved the perfect vehicle for the desperate battles of the heresy and beyond.
Looking at the statline of the Predator, it’s a fairly good medium tank. Though you need to make sure the front is pointed at the heaviest enemy Weapon cause even a Boltgun can penetrate the Rear Armour. The Movement of 14 is pretty decent, so you’ll be able to relocate towards weak points or away from danger. Overall, the stats are not bad. Not great, but certainly not bad.
The Predator only has one special rule which is Legiones Astartes which I covered above.
The standard Legion Predator Squadron comes with a single Predator armed with a Turret Mounted Predator Cannon, two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters and Smoke Launchers.
In terms of options, the Legion Predator Squadron can take another 3 vehicles which means the Squadron can have a maximum of 4 vehicles. Furthermore, any Legion Predator can exchange their two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters for: two Sponson Mounted Heavy Flamers, two Sponson Mounted Lascannons or two Sponson Mounted Volkite Culverins. And again, you can’t mix and match.
Any Legion Predator can exchange their Turret Mounted Predator Cannon with one of the following: Turret Mounted Flamestorm Cannon, Turret Mounted Executioner Plasma Destroyer, Turret Mounted Heavy Conversion Beam Cannon, Turret Mounted Maga-Melta Cannon, Turret Mounted Graviton Cannon, Turret Mounted Volkite Macro-Saker, Turret Mounted Neutron Blaster, or a Turret Mounted Gravis Lascannon. That's a hell of a lot of options and we’re not even finished yet.
Any Legion Predator can have ONE of the following: Pintle Mounted Twin-Linked Bolter, Pintle Mounted Combi-Weapon (any type), Pintle Mounted Heavy bolter, Pintle Mounted Heavy Flamer, Pintle Mounted Multi-Melta, or a Pintle Mounted Havoc Launcher. Finally, any Legion Predator can take any of the following: One hull (Front) Mounted Hunter Killer Missile, Searchlights, and Dozer Blade.
As you can see there is a dizzying array of Weapon options available for the Predator. I’m going to share my favourite load-up, but these are by no means the best ones.
Lascannons - Turret Mounted Gravis Lascannon and two Sponson Mounted Lascannons. Maybe a Pintle Mounted Multi-Melta if you have the spare 20 points. This is built to hunt tanks and vehicles. Simple.
Dakka - Turret Mounted Volkite Macro-Saker, two Sponson Mounted Volkite Culverins, and a Pintle Mounted Heavy bolter. The point of this is just the sheer volume of fire outputting 18 Attacks, with all of them getting the chance to generate more hits. This is great for dealing with hordes like Mechanicum thralls or Guard Militia units, but hey, throw enough dice at something and even Terminators will feel the hits from this combo.
Long range - Turret Mounted Heavy Conversion Beam Cannon, maybe two Sponson Mounted Lascannons. The idea is just to keep as far away as possible and use the Heavy Conversion Beam Cannon to wreck anything it hits. If you can aim at things over 42 inches away then this pays off quite nicely… But it is very weak close in, so maybe have something guarding the tank.
Overall, the Predator is a good point efficient workhorse. The sheer array of weapons means you’ll be able to tailor your loadout to whatever foe your facing. And the rounded turret is really nice too, from a stylistic point of view I think.
Legion Sicaran Squadron - One of the most advanced vehicles introduced near the end of the Great Crusade, this was a fast, well Armoured tank carrying some really big guns. It looked like the Predators' days were numbered and the Sicaran universal platform would form the basis for all future Legion medium tanks. Thanks to the Heresy though, that was not to be the case.
As you might know, there are a lot of Sicaran variants and so I’m going to cover the basic stats and the “standard” model, before looking at the main differences in the other variants.
Looking at the stats, the Sicaran is fast with a 16-inch Movement. It even has better Armour than the Predator on the rear, which is nice. The Sicaran also has 1 more Wound than the Predator for a total of 4, but the base version of the Sicaran is 190 points, while the Predator is only 120. That's a 70 point difference which is a fair chunk of points.
All of the Sicarans have the Legiones Astartes special rule which I've covered earlier in this article.
So, what do you get for the “basic” Sicaran Squadron? Well, you get 1 Sciaran armed with Turret Mounted Accelerator Autocannon, 1 Hull (Front) Mounted Heavy Bolter, two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters and Smoke Launchers.
Those Accelerator Autocannons are nothing to sniff at either, as you can see from the stats below.
As you can see there, it is Strength 7 with Heavy 8, Rending (+6), and Exoshock (6+), making them deadly versus Infantry and Vehicles.
In terms of options, the Legion Sicaran Squadron can have an additional Sciaran for 175 points, so the second one is cheaper than the initial purchase.
Any Legion Sicaran can exchange their two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters for: two Sponson Mounted Heavy Flamers, two Sponson Mounted Lascannons or two Sponson Mounted Volkite Culverins.
Any Legion Sciaran can have ONE of the following: Pintle Mounted Twin-Linked Bolter, Pintle Mounted Combi-Weapon (any type), Pintle Mounted Heavy Bolter, Pintle Mounted Heavy Flamer, Pintle Mounted Multi-Melta or a Pintle Mounted Havoc Launcher. Lastly, any Legion Predator can take any of the following: One Hull (Front) Mounted Hunter Killer Missile and Searchlights.
When I take a Sicaran, I tend to either stick with the two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters if I’m feeling cheap, or I might use the two Sponson Mounted Lascannons to really get the most anti-tank I can for my buck. I like to try and keep the same type of Weapons in my units so I’m not trying to hurt a tank with a Heavy Bolter while overkilling a Marine with Lascannons.
With the base version covered, I’ll go over how the next 4 versions are different. (But won’t repeat anything I’ve already covered, so please scroll back through this article if you would like to find out more information.)
Model and Paintwork property of Devildog Gaming
Legion Sicaran Arcus Squadron - If a Sciaran and a Whirlwind had a baby, this would be it. The Sicaran Arcus Has a Turret Mounted Arcus Missile Launcher (with Arcus Warheads), 1 Hull (Front) Mounted Heavy Bolter, two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters, and Smoke Launchers.
The Arcus Missile Launcher is kinda snacky. It comes with the Arcus Warheads but can be upgraded to carry Skyspear, Pyrax and Neutron-Flux Warheads too.
Arcus Warhead is pretty good and great for stripping Wounds off Vehicles with its high Strength, and low AP does help on the Vehicle damage table, so that's a win. Also, instant death vs most Infantry.
Skyspear Warheads, again, aren’t bad at all especially when considering that most flyers don't have a great deal of Armour or HP. So it’s completely possible to wipe out an incoming Fire Raptor Gunship with a few good rolls.
Pyrax Warheads are Heavy High Explosive munitions. They have an okay Strength, Wounding Marines on a 3+, but still grant an Armour Save. However, it is the pinning that's of interest here, as this allows you to pin an enemy unit and give a unit of say, Despoilers, the chance to charge and get their Spite of the Legion special rule off. It is certainly a support Weapon in this role, but one it’s really well suited for.
Lastly, Neutron-Flux Warheads. Okay, let's not mess around here, these are used for killing anything with the Automata unit type as the Neutron-Flux special gives any Weapon with this the instant death special rule vs Automata. Tie that in with Breaching (5+), and you’ve got a Weapon the Mechanicus would be terrified of (and they were).
The only other thing of note is that the Sicaran Arcus can take a Helical Targeting Array, which allows the use of the Interceptor Reaction if you’re not carrying the Skyspear Warheads.
I’m a fan of carrying at least two kinds of Warheads just to give that tactical flexibility. I really like the Pyrax Warheads, but if I know my opponent is bringing flyers, then the Skyspear or the Helical target array goes on.
Legion Sicaran Punisher Squadron - Sciaran go Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
The main selling point of the Sicaran Punisher is the Turret Mounted Punisher Rotary Cannon, which is a little bit of a beast. Infantry fall like wheat before a scythe, and light Vehicles get chewed up into a paste.
Thats a lot of shots. So you’re more or less guaranteed to kill something in the unit you aimed at, and then it’s pinning test time with a minus 1 to Leadership due to the Shellshock (1) special rule. It's a fun tank to bring to a fight and versus squishier targets like Guard, it’s going to cause bloody carnage everywhere it goes.
I don’t see the need to get rid of the two Sponson Mounted Heavy Bolters, they just add more Dakka. Run it as it is and have fun.
Legion Sicaran Venator Squadron - Let’s mount a Weapon we bearly understand onto a brand-new Vehicle and see what happens. What happens is you create a great anti-tank hunter that might explode itself…. Okay, maybe not the best idea.
It also has an additional special rule Containment Breach, which means if this vehicle suffers an explosion result on the vehicle damage table, then roll D6+3 to determine the radius of the explosion.
The Sicaran Venator has an awesome Centerline Mounted Neutron Beam Laser though.
So to say this thing kills tanks is an understatement, but being Ordnance 2 it really needs to not have moved to get the full benefit out of the Weapon. Concussive (3) is a great thing if your Sicaran is supporting other units as any unit that suffers one or more Wounds, Saved or not, must make a Leadership test and if the unit fails has their WS reduced by the number in brackets. In this case, 3. Shock Pulse is another rule that pins down this weapon's role as an anti-tank Weapon. If any vehicle (including super heavies), Dreadnought or Automata suffers a Penetrating Hit or unsaved Wound from this Weapon, they can only fire snapshots on the following game turn. The downside to this Weapon is that it suffers from the Gets Hot rule, which means on the roll of a 1 the player rolls a D6. If a 1 or 2 is rolled, the vehicle suffers a Glancing Hit.
Personally, I’d slap two Sponson Mounted Lascannons on this thing. That way if I’m not moving, I can fire everything and really hurt tanks, and if I move I can still fire the lascannons at full BS to pick off targets if needed while moving the Neutron Beam Laser into a better position.
Legion Sicaran Omega Squadron - If you thought the Venator was unstable, allow me to introduce the Sicaran Omega, which has a Turret-Mounted Omega Plasma Array. Or as I like to put it, two massive Plasma Cannons mounted in the open with very little Armour… I’m sure mounting a highly Volatile weapon in a place everyone can see and hit them is a great idea.
Okay okay, enough bashing the interesting design, choice let's talk about the main selling point, that being the Omega Plasma Array.
As you can see, the Weapon has two profiles; the low setting is actually pretty good, with an okay Strength, Heavy 8 and Breaching (4+) it’s gonna hurt, but won’t instant kill 2 Wound Marines, so it isn’t the best versus elite units like terminators.
The high setting on the Omega Plasma Array isn’t bad either. High Strength and Rending (4+) is nice, but it’s the Plasma Burn special rule that really drags this up from being a bit rubbish to actually pretty decent. What the Plasma burn does is if a vehicle has suffered the loss of a hull point due to a Weapon with this special rule, roll a D6. On the roll of a 4+, the target model loses another D3 hull points with no Cover saves. Invulnerable Saves of damage mitigation rolls are only allowed if you roll really well, because this thing can one shot any non-Lords of War Vehicle.
When I take one of these, I again go with two Sponson Mounted Lascannons just to keep those high Strength Weapons all on one package.
And that, the first half of my look at the Heavy Support Choices. I feel like we covered the 'medium' Heavy Support options in this first half, but rest assured, in the next half we’ll be looking at the real heavyweights of this section.
Until then, I hope you all enjoyed and have a great week.
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