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The Horus Heresy: Assault Phase

Greetings one and all,

Yesterday I covered the Shooting Phase, where you can decimate enemy units with overwhelming firepower. But what happens when the unit you were firing at is still standing afterwards? Well, the answer is simple; fix bayonets and charge! As such, today I will be covering the Assault Phase. So, let's get stuck in.

The Assault phase is broken into two Sub-Phases; the Charge Sub-Phase and the Fight Sub-Phase.

The Charge Sub-Phase is broken down into the following steps:

1 - Declare Charge - Choose a unit for your unit to Charge, the target of a charge cannot be outside of the maximum Charge Range. Furthermore certain effects, such as being Pinned or already being in Combat, prevent you from declaring a Charge.

2 - Roll Charge Distance - Roll 2D6 and add any bonuses granted by the unit's Movement characteristic. Regardless of the roll, the maximum distance a unit can Charge is 12 inches. If you fail to roll high enough to get into Combat, then you must still move half the amount you rolled, rounded up, towards the enemy unit.

3 - Charge Move - Starting with the closest model, move the unit into Base Contact with the targeted unit, avoiding Impassable Terrain and friendly and enemy models of other units.

4 - Declare the Next Charge or Finish the Charge Sub-Phase - Move on to the next Charge you wish to perform or finish the Charge Sub-Phase.

Once the Charge Sub-Phase has been finished, the Fight Sub-Phase begins,and it can be broken down into the following steps:

1 - Choose Combat - This is as simple as it sounds; pick which Combat to fight. Take note that if more than one is occurring, you must fight them all. This is more a chance to “pick which order” you’d like to fight the combats, as they’re all, technically, happening at the same time.

2 - Fight Close Combat

  • Models in close combat go in order of their initiative, going from 10 to 0.

  • During a model's Initiative Step, the model can pile in up to 3 inches.

  • Determine who can Attack: models in base-to-base contact and those within Unit Coherency are the ones that can Attack.

  • Determine how many Attacks each model can make: when calculating how many Attacks each model has, add the sum of the models Attack Statline and any extra dice such as; a Charge Bonus, Two Weapons, any other Bonuses.

  • Roll to Hit: to calculate what you need to roll in order to Hit a model, compare Weapons Skills and then consult the To-Hit table on page 186 in the main rulebook.

  • Roll to Wound: to calculate what you need to roll in order to Wound a model, compare the Attackers' Strength (and any bonus granted by Weapons and such) against the Defender's Toughness and then consult the To-Wound table on page 186 in the main rulebook.

  • Allocate Wounds. The opponent then decides what models they are allocating wounds to.

  • Make Save Rolls. Once wounds have been allocated, any Saves that are to be made should be rolled at this time.

  • Move on to the next lowest Initiative and repeat.

3 - Determine Assault Results - Determine who won the Combat. The loser makes a Morale Check with any minuses that are applicable. If the Morale Check is passed, the Combat continues. But if the Morale Check fails, the unit Falls Back and that Combat ends for the round. If the unit falls back, the winning unit can make a Sweeping Advance; both units roll a D6 and add their unmodified Initiative, if the unit making the Sweeping Advance rolls higher than the unit falling back, the unit Falling Back is completely wiped out.

4 - Choose Next Combat or Finish Assault Phase - This is as it says; if there are other Combats, move on to one of them. Or, if there are no more Combats, then move on to the End of the Active Players' Phase.

As with the Shooting Phase in yesterday's article, the Assault Phase has particular rules for Weapons that can be used up close and personal. After all, an axe to the face is a better prospect when your enemy is within touching distance, as opposed to that grenade launcher that will no doubt do as much damage to you as any foe stepping on your toes. But how do they work and what are their stats?






Power Axe




Melee, Unwieldy

You’ll notice that weapon is broken down into five stats;

  1. Name - The name of the Weapon. In this case, a Power Axe.

  2. Range - The Range of the Weapon in inches. Nearly every Close Combat Weapon doesn’t have a Range Value, as they can only be used while in base-to-base contact. Therefore our Power Axe has a range of (-) because it has no Range Stat available.

  3. Str - Short for “Strength”; this is the Strength of the Weapon. Close Combat Weapons rely on the user's Strength, but particularly big or Heavy Weapons can hit harder than the user's pure Strength. Our Power Axe grants a +1 to our Strength, giving a normal Marine Strength 5 for the purposes of Wounding another model in Close Combat.

  4. AP - Meaning “Armour Piercing”; some Weapons in the 30th Millennia are so powerful that they cut right through even the toughest of Armour. Our Power Axe has an AP of 2 and so ignores any Armour with a Save of +2 or more.

  5. Type - Each Weapon will have a type that influences how it is used. In the case of Close Combat Weapons, they will have the type Melee and then additional other rules that tell you specifically how the Weapon works. In the case of our Power Axe, it has the type Melee and Unwieldy.

Close Combat Weapons have a huge number of additional rules that are far beyond the scope of this article to cover, but these rules can be found in the main rulebook from page 116 onwards.

And that's the basics of the Assault Phase. Go forth and rip and tear your foes apart! Tomorrow, I’ll finally be giving Vehicles some love in an article all of their own. So until then, have a great day.

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