Getting Started with Legions Imperialis – Solar Auxilia Tactics

Most discussions about the Horus Heresy tend to focus on the various Space Marine legions. And that’s not an accident: both the game and the setting put the various Legiones Astartes front and center. Not only are Space Marine models at the forefront of how they promote the game, but many of the stories written about the Heresy focus on the various Legions and their Primarchs, frequently to the exclusion of their merely human counterparts.

And so we were somewhat surprised to see Solar Auxilia units included in the starter set for Legions Imperialis. While they’ve been around in the background of the Heresy for a while, they’ve never really been a huge draw: their models were entirely Forge World-exclusive until the webstores were consolidated recently, and they don’t show up very often in the Black Library novels.

All that being said, since Solar Aux are one of the factions included in the Legions Imperialis starter, there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself considering building an army with them. If you have found yourself staring wistfully at a pile of tiny Lemans Russ, never fear: we’re here today to walk you through the army list and its strengths and weaknesses to help you get started with Solar Auxilia in Legions Imperialis.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Solar Auxilia armies have a lot going for them in this game, and there are plenty of units in the core rules that are definitely worth checking out. When you’re building your list, keep in mind these strengths:

  • Tanks, tanks, tanks: Solar Aux armor is very good. Their Battle Tank choice, the Leman Russ Strike Squadron, has a 2+ save and mounts your choice of an all-rounder battle cannon, or the terrifying Vanquisher battle cannon. And if you’re in need of something heavier, look no further than the Auxilia Super-heavy Tank Squadron, which offers your choice of a Baneblade or Hellhammer cannon, and backs up either with enough supporting firepower to make any opponent think twice about confronting them head-on.
  • Objective Play: 40k calls it Objective Control, LI calls it Tactical Strength. Whichever words you use, the Solar Aux have it in spades. The Auxilia Lasrifle Tercio is priced to move at 30 points for 4 bases, and each of those bases has TS 7 thanks to the Line special rule. And Leman Russ come in detachments of 4, letting you exert a bit more Tactical Strength even with the smallest legal unit.
  • Playing Around Structures: While they may not have anything with the Wrecker trait, Solar Aux have easy access to the Demolisher rule between Malcadors and Baneblades, and Lasrifle Tercios can bring flamers along to burn stubborn infantry out of key structures. And if it’s your units huddling together inside a structure, the Close Formation Fighting rule adds an additional +1 to CAF on top of the bonus they get from garrisoning the structure to begin with, making them that much harder to dig out of a fortified position.

Of course, reasons for optimism are hard to come by in the Horus Heresy, and the Auxilia are no exception. An Auxilia army will come complete with some weaknesses you’ll have to contend with during your games:

  • Slow Movement: Solar Aux tanks are 1″ slower than comparable Astartes offerings, making it that much harder to navigate around terrain to bring your weapons to bear, especially when you consider that a lot of the weapons you’ll be relying on only have 22″ range. And while your infantry choices are just as quick as Tactical Marines on foot, the only transport currently available to the Auxilia is the Arvus Lighter, with no way to bring it as a Dedicated Transport.
  • Lack of Flexibility: Not only does this army tend to be slower than a Space Marine force, their rules limit your options as you play. The Chain of Command rule means you can’t issue any orders other than Advance unless you’ve got a commander around, slowing you down even further and preventing you from issuing First Fire orders.

Mustering A Solar Auxilia Army

As we are at the beginning of the release cycle, with lots of units rules to be unveiled in future supplements, I’d advise you not to go crazy with initial purchases. You will need a couple of infantry boxes (which will support two sub-cohort formations and give you the infantry for two pioneer formations as well) simply because garrisoning buildings and holding objectives is important. Armoured Companies are a great formation for Solar Auxilia due to how good their tanks are, and you have a lot of flexibility built into the Sub-Cohort as a formation. To give you an idea I got three Solar Auxilia halves of the starter and don’t see myself getting more infantry for a while if at all and definitely not more Malcadors.

If you aim to collect around 1500 points to start with (along with 5-600 points of strategic assets, which translates to a box of knights or a Warlord Titan) then you can put this together from the infantry and tanks released as well as the bastion box when that comes out. I would leave taking your army to 3k until the first supplement and accompanying miniatures are released, and you have transport and artillery options added.

Colin’s Solar Auxilia

Solar Auxilia Formations

So far we have three Solar Auxilia Formations, the Sub-Cohort, the Armoured Company and the Pioneer Company.

Solar Auxilia Sub-Cohort

This is the bread-and-butter formation for an Auxilia force, and what it lacks in flash and cool special rules, it makes up for with a flexible set of detachment slots allowing you to customize it to fit your needs.

You have to take an HQ detachment, a Support detachment, and two Core detachments, both of which must be Auxilia Lasrifle Tercios (not that you had any choice there). You also have the option to take three Transport detachments, two Support detachments, a Battle Tank, and another Core, then your choice of either Light Armour or Vanguard (which at time of writing means a Heavy Sentinel detachment) and one selected from Artillery, Battle Tank, or Air Support.

This lets you build anything from a bare-bones garrison force, to an infantry swarm, to a combined-arms formation made up of an air mobile drop force carried by Arvus Lighters and backed up by a couple squadrons of tanks. If you’re all-in on tanks, the second Battle Tank slot lets you sneak a few more in here, and you’re left with a formation whose flexibility rivals that of the Astartes Legion Demi-Company.

Solar Auxilia Armoured Company

While the Sub-Cohort offers a flexible set of options, this formation is what you’re likely here for: whether it’s enemy tanks, titans, or anything in-between, the Armoured Company will break them and leave a path of destruction for the rest of your force to follow up. Solar Auxilia have some very strong tanks, and the ability to slam a bunch them into any list without having to take a bunch of “tax” units you didn’t want is huge.

You’ll be required to bring two Battle Tank detachments and one Heavy Armour as compulsory detachments. This is fine, because you wanted to do that anyway. Once you’ve filled out those slots, you can double up with another two Battle Tank and one Heavy Armour, plus one final detachment selected from your choice of Battle Tank, Artillery, or Air Support.

Unlike the Sub-Cohort, this formation comes complete with its own special rule: you can upgrade one tank from a compulsory detachment into a tank commander for +10 points. Since all your tanks have the Chain of Command rule, having a commander with a good save in a unit full of ablative models will keep them alive and let you get use of March and First Fire orders without having to have some foot-slogging models following them around. And even if you don’t spend the points, compulsory Advance orders aren’t terrible for a formation that can do perfectly well on its own\\.

Solar Auxilia Pioneer Company

This is a very useful formation for seizing parts of the battlefield and messing with your opponent. All infantry in this formation get the Infiltrate special rule, which lets you deploy anywhere on the table outside the enemy deployment zone and more than 4″ from an enemy model. The player who controls the battlefield puts the first infiltrating formation down, then alternating. Everything else gets Forward Deployment, meaning they get a “scout” move that ignores terrain before the game starts.

What this means is you can drop an infantry detachment or two accompanied by a couple of detachments of light artillery or tarantulas anywhere outside your opponents deployment zone, letting you set up within range of an objective or near a building you can garrison–just keep in mind that the Infiltrate rule doesn’t let you set up garrisoning a structure outside your deployment zone.

Given how strong Air Support units can be in this game, the ability to create 25″ bubble of air-superiority basically wherever you want it to take potshots at enemy planes in the movement phase is pretty useful.

This formation can also be incredibly cheap: a Command Detachment, Storm Section, and a pair of Tarantulas clocks in at 112 points, while the same formation with Rapier batteries instead of Tarantulas costs 140. Add in a solid selection of optional detachments including —not one, but two Air Support choices–and you’ve got a solid start for a pretty nasty list.


Now that we’ve talked about the formations available to you, it’s time to look at the units you can slot into those formations.

HQ Detachments

Solar Auxilia commanders come in two flavors: the Legate Commander, and the Auxilia Command Detachment. Both have the Solar Auxilia HQ rule, which allows you to give orders other than Advance to detachments with the Chain of Command special rule, so long as the target unit is within range. Pay particular attention to what detachments have Chain of Command, because there are a fair few that don’t, and can thus operate independently without worrying about staying close to the HQ.

They also have the Commander special rule, which you can use to keep them snuggled into a detachment with plenty of ablative bodies to keep your command structure intact. Right now, there aren’t any weapons with the Precise trait, so most of what you’ll have to worry about is melee.

Legate Commander

The Legate Commander Detachment comes with a limit on how many you can take: for every full 1500 points in your army, you can take a single Legate Commander. But for six extra points you absolutely should: not only are this unit’s weapons, CAF, and Morale stat better than the Tactical Command, it also has a larger radius on its Solar Auxilia HQ (10″) rule, and tacks on Master Tactician, which lets you get some additional flexibility out of your orders in a pinch.

Auxilia Tactical Command Detachment

Of course, you may find yourself wanting some backup command units in case someone manages to take out your Legate Commander. If you need another Solar Auxilia HQ to fill in gaps in your command structure, you could worse: this model is an Auxilia Lasrifle base with 1 better CAF and Morale, as well as the Inspire (8″) and Solar Auxilia HQ (6″). You’ll likely attach this to a Lasrifle Tercio, since the units have the same weapons, with lots of ablative bodies to get in the way.

Core Detachments

Not much choice here: there is only one Core Detachment at the moment; though in a Pioneer company, you’re required to take a Velataris Storm Section as the compulsory Core detachment. We’ll talk about those in the section on Support Detachments in a bit.

Legions Imperialis – Solar Auxilia. Credit: Pendulin

Auxilia Lasrifle Tercio

A standard infantry model, with a 10″ range Light weapon, 0 CAF, 6+ save and 4+ morale, this is very similar to classic Imperial Guardsmen from previous editions. But while their offensive capabilities may not be worth much, they shine in the utility they can bring to your list: the Line special rule pushes their Tactical Strength to 7, letting a minimum-sized detachment steal objectives clean out from under most opposing units, and Close Formation Fighting transforms their humble 0 CAF into a respectable +3 when they’re garrisoning a structure.

Unfortunately, this is a Chain of Command unit, so you have to keep an HQ close if you want them to do anything other than Advance, which you probably will to take advantage of the triple-speed March they get thanks to being Infantry. Keeping the HQ in range of them won’t be hard though: you can add it to this detachment if you like thanks to the Commander rule.

You can also expand this formation with more lasrifles, or you can add flamers, Veletarii or Ogryn Charonites. Flamers can’t be taken as a separate Support detachment, so they’re perfect to add to Lasrifle Tercios thanks to their ability to Ignore Cover, which means they can toast stubborn Infantry hiding in buildings while increasing the size of a detachment containing a Solar Auxilia HQ model to give them more meat shields.

Veletarii and Ogryns both add elite assault troops to the detachment and do so at a bargain price (Ogryns at 7.5 points per base instead of 12.5 points in their Support detachment). This discount is necessary though, since you’re tying them to a Chain of Command detachment. While they do gain the Independent rule here, the limitations on that rule can make these units difficult to get mileage out of, and it’s not the easiest rule to understand anyways: there’s an entire page in the Special Rules section dedicated just to this rule.

With Upgrades, you could get your Tercio up to 16 models with a maximum cost of 120 points (if you add 12 Ogryns). That’s a lot of infantry tied up in one detachment, though, and their 6+ save means that if a building they’re garrisoning collapses, they’ll all die immediately to the automatic AP-1 hits.

Support Detachments

The Ogryn Charonites and Velataris Storm Sections show up here as separate units. Both are useful detachments to have going off on their own, since neither has the Chain of Command rule. And they need that flexibility, because their loadouts focus on melee.

Legions Imperialis – Solar Auxilia. Credit: Pendulin

Auxilia Ogryn Charonite Section

The best assault infantry in the game so far, these big boys CAF +3 and Furious Charge, which adds another +1 to their CAF in a turn where they Charge at least 1″. Add to this the Rend trait on their weapons, and they’re rolling 3d6 with an effective CAF +5 in a turn where they charged. This will give you solid chance to murder anything short of a Knight, with the exception of a Leviathan dreadnought, where you’re dead-even. And while their 5″ move means they’ll really benefit from a transport, they don’t have the Bulky rule, so you can pack them into Arvus Lighters if you feel like a taking the risk of finding out how much anti-air your opponent packed.

These guys are great for taking objectives by shredding their way through anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in the way. They’ve got no guns and a “T-shirt” 6+ save, so don’t leave them in the open, but at 50 for the detachment and aggressively-costed extra bases, fielding a large detachment or two of these won’t break the bank. You’ll likely want to take at least a few of these guys, and we think they’ll get mysteriously more popular if Solar Aux get a better transport option than an unarmed aircraft with not much more than a Jink save to rely on.

Auxilia Veletaris Storm Section

Where the Ogryns are your offensive melee threat, these guys are better for scrapping over objectives. They have laspistols, which you’ll never use, but are also toting power axes with the Rend trait, so they’ll add 3d6 to their +1 CAF in a turn where they didn’t charge. Add in Steadfast for an extra point of Tactical Strength, and these guys are great for flipping objectives. They only get better if they can do so while defending a structure, where the garrison bonus and Close Formation Fighting bonus will bump their CAF up to +4, letting them punch nearly as hard as the Ogryns. At movement 5″ and 6+ saves, they’re as slow and fragile as the Ogryns, but they’re a bit cheaper at 40 points for 4 bases, and adding extra models is even cheaper.

On their own they’re a decent infantry detachment for assaulting enemy objectives or holding your own, though they don’t have quite as much punch as Ogryns. They can also add some real close combat spine to Lasrifle Tercios, especially garrisoned ones.

As to the choice between these and the Ogryns, that’ll depend on what you’re looking for from the unit. If you want them to kill stuff, then the Ogryns are definitely better at that, especially on the charge. But if you want a unit that can scrap a bit more effectively over a contested objective than Lasrifle Tercios while still bringing some additional Tactical Strength, the Storm Section is definitely worth a look.

Bastion Detachments

Auxilia Rapier Battery

Rapier Batteries come in three flavours, each with distinctly different roles. They unfortunately have the Chain of Command rule, so you need to keep a Solar Auxiliary HQ unit close by if you want to issue orders other than Advance, which is particularly useful if you’ve taken either of the weapons that can fire indirectly. At the moment the only Formation these can be taken in is the Pioneer Company, where they gain the Infiltrate rule. This means that the relatively shorter range of some of their weapons is much less of an issue. They’re also Infantry, so they can garrison buildings, which is a great way to keep them alive: between their 6+ save and CAF +0 they’re not very durable.

As for weapons, with 15″ range and 2 dice at 4+ AP-2, the laser destroyer array are great for hitting enemy armour, and a battery of three is actually reasonably menacing to a tank squadron. Just don’t expect them to do quite as well against Astartes infantry due to their Anti-Armour trait.

If you’re looking for something more flexible, the quad launcher is a decent choice. It has two fire modes, one with Barrage and Light, letting it put out a lot of firepower against Infantry targets within 30″, and another with a 16″ range and the Demolisher and Light AT traits. The Barrage version of this gun is a solid option for shelling infantry, especially when you combine it with the Infiltrate special rule from the Pioneer formation. The other firing mode is better than nothing if you’re presented with a harder target, but if you are worried about tanks, look at other loadouts or units.

Finally, the mole mortar comes with the Burrowing special rule, so it always counts as hitting in its target’s Rear Arc and bypasses void shields. This means it’s actually not a terrible weapon into large targets, since its effective AP will be -2. And since this weapon doesn’t have the Anti-Armour trait, it’s reasonably good at taking out Infantry as well. Finally, at 20″ range, you can sit them in a building and threaten targets reasonably far away.

Auxilia Tarantula Battery

A dirt-cheap Bastion unit that comes with the Automated Sentry rule. This rule is a double-edged sword, though: it bypasses orders and allows you to deploy a detachment with different loadouts that can split its fire. It also lets the entire unit fire in the Movement phase, potentially catching your opponent off-guard. The downside is that you don’t get to choose which detachment they shoot at: Tarantulas equipped with lascannon batteries must fire at the closest enemy detachment that is a vehicle or larger, while those with Hyperios air-defence missiles have to shoot at the closest enemy flyer. If no such target is in range, they don’t get to shoot at all that phase. Don’t worry, though: if a Tarantula doesn’t have a target in the Movement phase, it can still shoot in the Advancing Fire step of the Combat phase.

All of this has some interesting knock-on effects. First, unlike situations where you may have forgotten to issue an order to a unit, Automated Sentries just aren’t issued an order at all. So while the rule allows you to activate them during the Movement phase in order to shoot, they don’t have an Advance or First Fire order to cash in for Overwatch. That means your opponent can safely ignore them during their own movement, making them a lot easier to play around. Second, there is no way for a Tarantula to shoot at Infantry: in order to be allowed to target them, you’d have to have one with a Light weapon, and neither of these have that keyword.

The loadout choices here are pretty straightforward: the lascannon battery is a 2-shot lascannon that only hits on 5+, which means each Tarantula has a decent chance of hitting something, and a detachment of them can spike pretty high if your dice catch fire. Your other option, the Hyperios air-defence missile launcher, is a single shot with Skyfire and Tracking, making it reasonably accurate against fliers. Either choice presents a potent threat to any enemy unit foolish enough to park itself within range.

The detachment is 36 points, but can’t move after deployment, and with -3 CAF it’s hard to lose a combat against them. Thankfully, you only have access to these guys in the Pioneer you can Infiltrate to stick them near the middle of the table, as you can’t deploy in garrison. They don’t need orders or HQs, and 36 points is cheap enough you can use Tarantula Batteries as entirely expendable speed bumps to slow your opponents advance towards objectives.

Vanguard Detachments

With only one Vanguard Detachment so far it’s really handy it’s a good one. Both the Sub Cohort and Pioneer Company can take Vanguard Detachments so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to use them.

Legions Imperialis – Solar Auxilia. Credit: Pendulin

Auxilia Aethon Heavy Sentinel Patrol

The Solar Auxilia answer to dreadnoughts if the answer was also to stand far away from them and shoot. Forward Deployment and a move of 7″ means these will get across the table fairly fast, and a detachment of 4 is 60 points. For that you get a decent support platform and potentially a lot of dice getting rolled. The Sentinel Missile Launcher is the better weapon with a 20″ range and a choice of two dice hitting on 4+ and ignoring cover (but Light) or 1 dice with -1 AP and Anti Tank. The multi laser is good to have and still outranges infantry with a 14″ range as well as Light AT, but hits on a 5+.

These are worth taking as skirmishers and more Ignores Cover is always worth having, because a detachment of 4 will on average inflict 4 hits on infantry in cover to winkle them out.

Battle Tanks

The Solar Auxilia has a lot of good stuff in their tanks (some of them) and I think most Solar Auxilia forces once they get to about 2k will be fielding at least 8 Leman Russes if not more.

Legions Imperialis – Solar Auxilia. Credit: Pendulin

Leman Russ Strike Squadron

The favourite child of Solar Auxilia tank squadrons, these have unfortunately lost their sponsons from their previous outings in epic (if you could give them all sponsons they’d be incredible though). 175 points gets you four of these babies, and you can up your detachment to ten models to have a full tank company if you like for an extra 220 points (but watch out for Warp Missiles).

You have very simple armament choices to make here. You can choose a Vanquisher or Battlecannon for the turret, and the Vanquisher is massively better for shooting at tanks with Armourbane to force successful saves to be rerolled, and the Battlecannon is slightly better for shooting at infantry in the open because it keeps it’s AP -1 whatever it shoots at.

For the hull you can either choose a lascannon, with a single dice and -1 AP against armour, or a heavy bolter for two point defence dice.

You can make a use case for the battlecannon in situations where you want to shoot at infantry all the time and give them -1 to their armour, but you also have infantry to do that and longer range, -2 AP and forcing your opponent to reroll the saves they pass makes the Vanquisher my favoured choice.

This is where I go on a rant regarding battlecannons, because these are an option on both Leman Russes and Malcadors that really struggle to compete with Vanquisher cannons. The Kratos battlecannon has two profiles, one for a general use round with longer range and one with a specific AT round with great AP and Armourbane. This represents AT and HE rounds in a way that reflect real world tank weapons (and the introduction of variety in tank rounds and multi-role tank artillery in the run up to and during WW2 is a bit part of the evolution of the tank).

If battlecannons had a shorter range HE round (maybe 2 dice, 4+, AP-1, Light or Light AT) then battlecannons suddenly jump back into being a viable competitor for Vanquishers and have a good use case in anti-infantry builds. As it is battlecannons are only better for firing at infantry in the open, getting a -1AP vs a 0AP, and are no different or significantly worse at other targets.

Having options that are no brainers isn’t good game design, you want players to have to think about choosing between main gun options and not just always Vanquishers. Anyway have fun getting all your Vanquisher barrels stuck in case foam peeps.

For the hull guns it depends on the role the detachment will play. If they’ll be supporting infantry then some point defence in the form of hull heavy bolters is useful, if the squadron is for targetting armour then it’s lascannon time.

Russes are the best single wound tank in the game point for point at the moment, and a reinforced squadron will flat out murder a lot of the armoured targets out there (and with Vanquishers having a 32″ range, potentially from where they can’t be shot back at) because they’re just so good. They’re certainly much better in tank duels than Sicarans or Predators.

Malcador Tank Squadron

The Malcador is slightly faster than the Russ with a 9″ move, and has 2 wounds, but a worse save at 3+ and exactly the same CAF. What it has is a variety of armament options. It has more turret options, with the same vanquisher and battlecannon options as the Russ but a double lascannon turret as well (and it does get two lascannon dice out of it), and more hull options with not just a lascannon and heavy bolter but a demolisher cannon (with Ignore Cover and the ability to target buildings with -3 to AP) and autocannon. You also then have sponsons with the options of lascannons, heavy bolters and autocannons.

This sounds great, doesn’t it? I’ll get to why this isn’t ideal.

You could go heavy point defense, and have whatever turret you like (vanquisher would be a good choice) with hull and sponson heavy bolters. The Vanquisher shoots at enemy armour in the normal step and the heavy bolters shoot 4 dice at infantry during movement, letting you use the point defence rule to always split your fire.

You could go all lascannon, and throw 4 lascannon dice around, though if you are going anti-armour you can take a vanquisher turret instead and force your opponent to reroll successful saves on their armour. If you want a long range duellist then this is the build to go for.

But everyone will be tempted to take the Demolisher cannon and use it to blow up buildings/ignore cover. The issue with that is if you’re firing at the building then you are choosing it as a target and none of your other weapons can hurt it, so they’re wasted, or if you are firing at garrisoned infantry everything else is hitting on a six. If you’ve got point defence weapons then you can fire those in the movement phase instead. Remember you can just shoot the Demolisher at normal targets like tanks as well, and -3 AP is great.

You can also go crazy with autocannons and get four autocannon dice (light AT for killing infantry and lighter vehicles and 16″ range) so you are just throwing a lot of dice around, but these still only hit on 5+ and are AP 0 on tanks.

I feel strongly Malcadors aren’t in a great position. Both Vanquishers and Demolisher cannons are great weapons, but they don’t necessarily synergise well unless you’re within 12″ of the enemy, and with CAF +2 on a pricey tank, that isn’t necessarily where you want to be.

However a squadron of 2 Malcadors is 165 points while a squadron of 2 Baneblades/Hellhammers is 190 points, only 25 points more with a better save, CAF and more and better guns. Malcadors are more expensive than the Kratos as well, which again has a better save and more guns.

In background terms Malcadors are everything you love about Imperial design. You’ve got all the expense of a turret and then you put superstructure on the back of it so it can’t rotate. You’ve got sponsons but they’re built into not out of the tank so that the weapons inside can’t fire directly forwards. You’ve got loads of exposed tracks that can get damaged and thrown. It’s got design problems that the first tanks built in human history didn’t have because after watching 36,000 years of human technological development the Emperor has gone ‘you know what I really liked? The Mk I tank from WW1, let’s do that again’ and then he pulls out a blueprint in crayon while everyone is wondering what a World War One is.

In some ways the Malcador is not as well designed as this, the Mk IV (Female, as it has machine guns) – Credit GFDL 1.2,

I think Malcadors will struggle to find a place in comparison to Russes, especially when more options with Demolishers are released for Solar Auxilia but I want to love them (just look at the model!) and make them work. If they were even just 20-30 points cheaper they might, because then they’d be less than a Kratos and you could just deal with the poor synergy.

In short, Malcadors are the worst relationship choices you could make in miniature form and I expect to see them in everyone’s armies.


Heavy Armour Detachments

Auxilia Super-Heavy Tank Squadron

It’s Baneblade time. The Baneblade Scout Tank has significantly more firepower than the Malcador, a better save and CAF, and is actually only slightly more expensive.

There are several fixed weapon systems – the lascannon turrets giving you two lascannon dice, the heavy bolter turret giving you two point defence dice, the Demolisher cannon giving you AP -3 Ignores Cover and the co-axial autocannon on whatever turret you use giving you two AP -1 Light AT dice.

You then pick your main gun, either a Baneblade cannon with a 25″ range and -3 AP to hit armoured targets at range, or the Hellhammer cannon to with a 14″ range but gaining Demolisher and Ignores Cover. Choosing the Hellhammer gives you two AP -3 attacks that can knock down buildings, but means you have to get closer to them leaving you open to infantry counter attacks and shooting at building means you are wasting everything else that isn’t point defence.

For sponsons you have a choice of heavy bolters, heavy flamers and autocannons. All of these get point defence and are 360 degrees. This then makes it about the role you want the tank to play. Heavy Flamers Ignore Cover but have a 6″ range, which means they pair nicely with the Hellhammer cannon to try and clear infantry from buildings. Heavy bolters give you four more point defence dice (for a total of six). Autocannons give you 16″ Point Defence weapons with Light AT, letting you move, plink some light vehicles or infantry, then unload the big guns into heavier armour or titans. The choice I feel people will probably go with is autocannons on Baneblades (you don’t need to get them close to things with the guns they have) and heavy flamers on Hellhammers for building clearance. You could replace either with heavy bolters for that intermediate step, but that’s just not wanting to commit to things.

The Baneblade/Hellhammer is your biggest armour stick at the moment (hopefully Shadowswords are coming but we haven’t seen them previewed) and short of titans, the centrepieces for your army. They’re competitively priced as well, clocking in at only slightly more than Malcadors per model, and giving you a lot more bang for your buck.

Air Support Detachments

There’s a lot of choice here, as the Imperial Navy were never short of choices in Aeronautica, and they all cost basically the same. You also have Air Support slots in every formation, so you can take a lot of planes if you like. Flyers are able to get line of sight to everything on the board (but in turn are seen by them) so can create huge areas of the table where they can threaten enemies. You would do well to work out where the enemy Skyfire weapons are though, because you haven’t got great armour and even one hit kills you dead.

Solar Auxilia Marauders. Credit: Colin Ward


Every Solar Auxilia Air Support Detachment can take Ordnance (sometimes two choices). Rather than talk about Ordnance several times I’ll break down the common types here.

Hellstrike Missiles – Air to Ground – these have a 30″ range, 2 dice, 4+ to hit, -1 AP and Armourbane, forcing enemies to reroll successful hits. Great against tanks or titans with their shields down, as rerolling successes really helps against 2+ or 3+ save models.

Skystrike Missiles – Air to Air – again a 30″ range, so useful for punching out enemy aircraft that are far away, again 2 dice 4+ -1 AP. Tracking means you reroll misses against flyers, which helps make sure you get some hits in. A good option if you are arming an aircraft to be a dedicated interceptor.

Wing Bombs – Air to Ground – these have the Bombing Run rule, so are dropped during the movement phase as described in the rules, can damage buildings and have special rules regarding interactions with buildings and units garrisoned in them. 2 dice, 4+ to hit and -2 AP make them fairly nasty against most things, but they can’t target flyers.


Auxilia Thunderbolt Squadron

A solid workhorse fighter that can be equipped for a variety of roles with ordnance. It is absolutely worth upgrading the autocannons to an avenger bolt cannon for 3 points, as it gives you an extra dice of firepower and Rapid Fire, so if you roll any sixes you get two hits. You potentially have a lot of dice to throw around in attacking the enemy, with 5 bolt cannon dice and 2 lascannon dice, and two more dice from ordnance. You have the Interceptor rule, so can fire a weapon at -2 to hit at the end of your movement as long as the target is another flyer, and this should probably be the Bolt Cannon fishing for 6s with five dice.

You have a 4+ armour save and a 5+ Jink save, so not as good as a Xiphon, but this literally only matters if you are hit by Tempest Rockets from a Fire Raptor, a Turbo Laser from a Thunderhawk, or non-Skyfire weapons hitting you on a 6.

This is a solid workhorse BUT I’d ask you to consider the Avenger for just two points more.

Auxilia Avenger Strike Fighter Squadron

Future histories version of the Stuka, this is wrapped round an Avenger Bolt Cannon and has the option for either lascannons with exactly the same stats as the Thunderbolt or an autocannon battery giving you four Light AT dice. This means you either have the same bite as a Thunderhawk or trade it for rolling 9 Light AT dice with -1 AP, great for murdering infantry in the open.

You gain a rear mounted heavy stubber, which has Light AT because otherwise it couldn’t hurt aircraft, and this has Point Defence which makes it marginally useful considering it hits on a 6 and for some reason has a 14″ range.

Avengers also have a speed of 28″, making them faster than Thunderbolts, and also carry one choice of Ordnance and have Interceptor. I think the two points are worth it.

Auxilia Lightning Fighter Squadron

What if you left Bolt Cannons behind in favour of two Ordnance choices? Lightnings have less guns so are less suitable for fighting aircraft, but have an interesting ordnance choice only they get, Phosphex Bomb Clusters.

Phosphex Bomb Clusters are an Ignores Cover 2 dice 4+ to hit -1 AP bomb, and you can take two of them. This gives you a nice additional option for clearing out garrisoned infantry as you can bomb them during your movement, complete your move and fire at an enemy aircraft using Interceptor, and then strafe or fire at enemy aircraft again.

You have to choose between lascannons or multilasers (getting 2 dice of lascannons or 4 dice of multi-lasers but trading range and AP for more dice) and I feel lascannons are the better choice.

The Lightning is interesting but lacks the raw firepower of the Thunderbolt and Avenger and while it is very slightly faster (30″ vs 25″/28″) it is just as expensive. At 70 or 75 points it would be a contender, but at 85 points you are better off taking a different choice.

Auxilia Marauder Bomber Squadron

What if you just want to paste something from high up? The Marauder has the Marauder Bomb Bay (a 3 dice version of Wing Bombs) and can take two Ordnance choices (so two lots of Wing Bombs if you like). This gives you three attacks you can drop during your movement, splitting them up onto different targets or all at once, and remember that bombing a Garrisoned building you attack the building and then halve your dice rounding up to attack each Detachment in the building, so the bomb bay gets 3 dice on the building and 2 dice on each detachment inside.

7 bomb dice aren’t guaranteed to take down buildings, but do give you an average 3/4 hits to try with.

You also have 2 lascannon dice in the front and 3 light AT dice in the back, but Xiphons or Thunderbolts will destroy Marauders pretty easily, and Tarantula Hyperios batteries aren’t exactly your friend either.

Auxilia Marauder Pathfinder

What if you had a Marauder with no bomb bay you really didn’t want to put near the enemy? Here’s the Pathfinder. You sacrifice the bomb bay for an Auger Array, which means friendly units with Barrage or Heavy Barrage don’t suffer from -1 to hit for firing indirectly if this model can see the target, which it can as it’s a Flyer and can thus see everything on the board.

If more artillery units come out with Barrage and Heavy Barrage then this could be incredibly useful. If they don’t then it kind of sucks. You can still take two ordnance choices, and two lots of Hellstrikes give you four dice for blowing up enemy ground targets 30″ away.

Auxilia Marauder Colossus

What if you were reconciled to the fact that your Marauder was only going to last a turn but you really really wanted to blow one thing up?

The Colossus Bomb replaces the bomb bay, can only be used once, but is a 6 dice 3+ to hit -4 AP attack with Bunker Buster (so against buildings it is -8 AP). This virtually guarantees killing a structure, so if there’s a nice big building garrisoned with infantry you’d find really hard to shift then this is a great tool for the job. It’s also great against Titans with their shields down, and if they have a shield or two up you can knock them down using wing bombs, move an inch and three drop the Colossus. You may not have Engine Killer but 6 dice hitting on 3+ with -4 AP is going to make even a Warmaster’s eyes water.

You have two ordnance choices as well, and you may as well got for even more bombs. In terms of defences you’ve got two heavy bolter turrets throwing out 3 dice but hitting on 6s, so I’d recommend against Colossus crews starting any long books. You also have a speed of 22″, so a Charge order lets you move 44″, drop your bombs and point defence fire your heavy bolters.

Auxilia Marauder Destroyer

What if you covered a Marauder in guns? You pay ten points and change the guns on the Marauder to be significantly better, but lose a bomb bay dice.

This is an interesting aircraft, because you want to bombing run using your ordnance in the movement and then attack using all your guns by getting side on to your target at the end of your movement (because your rear assault cannon doesn’t have Point Defence and you can’t split fire. If you position well using this you can throw 9 Light AT dice at something, hitting on 5+ with -1 AP. It’ll be fiddly, but you’d make a mess of infantry in the open.

Transport Detachments

Solar Auxilia only have the Arvus Lighter available at the moment, but the Dracosan has been previewed and will hopefully be with us soon.

Auxilia Arvus Lighter

Do you want an aircraft transport that is very vulnerable to getting shot to pieces but potentially incredibly fast?

The Arvus has the Flyer and Hover rule, which means it can start the game in ‘Hover’ mode, exchanging Flyer for Skimmer and just becoming a 25″ movement transport that ignores terrain. It has no guns so you won’t be doing pop up attacks, but a pair of them (costing 24 points) can take a 4 stand Ogryn or Storm Section unit and drop them off virtually anywhere on the table (where they can then advance straight into a building/onto an objective).

The only thing really holding you back on using these is the prohibitive cost in terms of cash, as these currently clock in at a pound a point.


Solar Auxilia are a combined arms force, and while there are some releases that they are desperately waiting for (Dracosan Transports, Artillery, Light Armour) the currently available units let you put together a reasonable army.

The Pioneer company can be incredibly cheap to field as a formation, and as all infantry in it Infiltrate, you can set up 2-3 companies in the middle of the table, garrisoning buildings/seizing objectives in turn 1 and placing Tarantula Hyperios batteries to make life unpleasant for enemy aircraft. Make your opponent dig you out.

You can tank some very good tanks, with the Leman Russ being the best 1 wound tank in the game in terms of points for punch. Baneblades are a really solid heavy tank, but don’t go above two in a detachment or you are asking to get Warp Missiled.

Sub-Cohorts give you an infantry horde with access to cheap Ignores Cover weapons in the form of Auxilia Flamers, as well as even more options in terms of supporting detachments.

Solar Auxilia have a lot of fairly cheap, fairly good stuff. You will lose units, and don’t worry about it because it’s the Imperial Guard and it’s always been this way, but play to the objectives, and if your opponent gets some of his key detachments delayed and bloodied fighting a sacrificial Pioneer company while you get your Lasrifle Tercios dug into an objective, then that’s life.

You have access to two of the best assault infantry units, Ogryns and Storm Sections. Don’t hesitate to take a whole bunch of them, and as neither have Chain of Command they can be put in Arvus Lighters and flown around the board.

Aircraft are a choice, and don’t get too attached to them because once the Bastion boxes hit the shelves there’ll be Tarantulas all over the place. The idea of dropping a Colossus bomb on a key fortified and garrisoned structure or a big titan with the shields down is fun and also funny especially combined with humming the Dambusters theme, but it’s the heroes in iron coffins and poor bloody infantry that are going to win you the game.

Chain of Command will have to be carefully managed, especially when units are released with the Precise rule that can choose who hits are allocated against when they shoot at the detachment your HQ is in. The Night Lords Legion rules make a lot more sense if marines are going to get something like Recon marines with Sniper Rifles at some point in the future. However if you’ve previously played Guard in Epic then Chain of Command holds no fear for you because this is certainly toned down compared to 2nd edition.

Solar Auxilia are a striking cohesive army that looks a lot more like the modern concept of an army on the tabletop, and there are a lot of units that are straight up gems among your choices.

Put together a small force, play a couple of starter games, get a feel for them and then find out what you enjoy. Whether it’s an infantry horde of napoleonic space gun lines, or companies of tanks sweeping across the plains, or sweeping and clearing buildings in Space Stalingrad, Solar Auxilia let you do it.

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