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The Horus Heresy: Reactions

Greetings one and all,


In our previous article, we discussed the basics of how to get started playing Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness. Today, we’re going to start taking a more in-depth look into the game, beginning with one of the newer phases introduced for the Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness; Reactions.



One of the most common complaints I hear about Warhammer 40K is that while your opponent is taking their turn, you have nothing to do bar make Armour Saves, which doesn’t make for a very interactive game. Specialist games that Gamesworkshop produces use a turn-based sequence, but you’re only activating 1-3 models at a time, creating far more free-flowing gameplay. With Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness, they introduced Reactions into the formula, which I think is a nice in-between. So what are Reactions? How do they work? And why are they so important? Read on a find out.


So I’ll state the basics here; in order to understand Reactions, you should also understand the Active and Reactive player roles. If it is your turn, then you are the active player. If it isn’t then you are the reactive player. I know this might seem simple, but best to be clear.


As the Reactive player, you are able to use Reactions. These are a group of rules that allow you to React to the Active player and, ergo, enable you to continue to influence the game. As a standard, the Reactive player will only have one Reaction per phase. That is, one Reaction during the Active players' Movement Phase, Shooting Phase and Assault Phase. Furthermore, Warlord Traits and Character Special Rules can increase the number of Reactions to a maximum of three per Phase.


Each phase has a number of specific Reactions that can be taken in that phase only and as the name suggests, can only be activated when the Active player undertakes a certain move.


Movement Phase Reactions


During the active player's Movement Phase, the Reactive player can declare a Reaction if an enemy unit ends its movement within 12 inches and within line of sight of a friendly unit. The Reactive player may choose to react with either the Advance or Withdraw Reactions.


Advance - The Reacting unit may move a number of inches up to its unmodified initiative directly towards the enemy unit that triggered the Reaction. If the unit has a mixed initiative, then use the highest unmodified initiative within the unit. Vehicles may pivot once up to 90 degrees and then move up to 6 inches.


Withdraw - The Reacting unit may move a number of inches up to its unmodified initiative directly away from the enemy unit that triggered the Reaction. If the unit has a mixed initiative then use the highest unmodified initiative within the unit. Vehicles may pivot once up to 90 degrees and then move up to 6 inches.


Shooting Phase Reactions


During the Active player’s Shooting Phase, the Reactive player may React when the enemy makes a Shooting attack upon a friendly unit. Once the Active player has resolved their to-hit and Wound Rolls and after Armour Saves have been made, but before Damage Mitigation rolls or casualties have been removed the Reactive player may choose to React with either Return Fire or Evade Reactions.


Return Fire - The Reacting unit may make a Shooting Attack targeting the unit that triggered the Reaction and follows the normal rules for Shooting Attacks. Units that are using the Return Fire Reaction may not use Indirect Fire weapons, including weapons with Barrage or with other weapons or Special Rules that ignore Line of Sight.

Vehicles can only use Defensive Weapons [Pg.206.MRB] (pintel mounted weapons or other weapons with a Strength of 6 or less).

Template weapons may only be used if the target unit is within 8 inches and must use the Wall of Death rule [Pg.248. MRB] (automatically inflicts D3 hits at normal Strength and Ap)

Lastly, all units making Shooting Attacks that are made as part of this Reaction are considered to be stationary.


Evade - All models in the reacting unit gain the Shrouded (5+) Special Rule. If the unit making the Reaction has a version of Shrouded this doesn’t stack or increase that rule.

Furthermore, if a Vehicle has suffered an Immobilised result on the Vehicle Damage table, or any unit that has more models within it with a Movement Characteristic of 0 or are not allowed to move this turn may not use the Evade Reaction.


Assault Phase Reactions


During the Active player's Assault Phase, the Reactive player may React when their unit is targeted by a Charge Action. Once the Active player has resolved all Charge rolls, if they were successful or not, but before any models are moved as part of a Charge or Surge move. The Reactive player may choose to React with either the Overwatch or Hold the Line Reactions

.

Overwatch - The Reacting unit may make a Shooting Attack targeting the unit that triggered the Reaction and follows the normal rules for Shooting Attacks. Units that are using the Overwatch Reaction may not use Indirect Fire weapons, including weapons with Barrage or with other weapons or Special Rules that ignore Line of Sight.

Vehicles can only use Defensive Weapons [Pg.206.MRB] (pintel mounted weapons or other weapons with a Strength of 6 or less).

Template weapons must use the Wall of Death rule [Pg.248. MRB] (automatically inflicts D3 hits at normal Strength and Ap)

The unit targeted by Overwatch may not take any Cover Saves from Wounds that are the result of the Overwatch Reaction.

Lastly, all units making Shooting Attacks that are made as part of this Reaction are considered to be stationary.


Hold the Line - The Reacting unit must make a Morale Check (equal to or under Leadership). If that roll is successful and the enemy's Charge was also successful then the enemy's Charge counts as Disordered [Pg.189.MRB] (this means the Charging unit will not gain the +1 dice for Charging). Furthermore, if the Morale Check was successful but the Charge was not, then other Charges against this unit will count as Disordered too.


And that covers the Core Reactions. Needless to say, there are others which are unique to Wargear and certain armies, so it is always advised that you make sure you understand the Reactions that your specific faction gives access to.


Tomorrow's article will cover the first of the main phases, the Movement phase. But until then, I hope this was useful and I’ll see you all tomorrow.



Pg = Page number

MRB = Main rule book




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