Horus Heresy Faction Focus: Imperialis Militia

Welcome, scrubs, to the Imperialis Militia Faction Focus. Power armour and boltguns? Nonsense! Lasrifles and carapace armour? Much too expensive! For us, its lasguns and flak armour and the endless unwashed hordes of 4 point per model infantry, and tanks frankly made of corrugated iron and hope. We make do with what we have, and what we have is volume.

This is definitely a weaker list, but there’s some potential hidden in here for interesting and powerful combinations of units, particularly involving the spam of lascannons and massed infantry. However, there are also a lot of trap units in the list, so a random selections of units from HH1.0 or an imported Astra Militarum army is likely to be extremely underwhelming. If you have the brainpower to theorycraft up a powerful list (and the time and money to build and paint it), a finely tuned list should be able to punch up well and become the stuff of legends.

A Militia commander leading from the front at the Goonhammer Open

Why Play Militia?

You should get a Militia detachment! You owe it to yourself. The Provenances open up endless opportunities for flavourful, joyful and unusual lists that will confound and impress your opponent, even if they might not defeat them.

You can use militia to spam hundreds of respawning levied infantry, fill converted cargo trucks up with grenadiers, field scores of Ogryns, reenacted the Charge of the Light Brigade, deploy stolen Land Raiders, machine-repairing squats, tooled up void-jumpers, tough abhumans, chaotic cultists, summon demons, chained and enslaved beasts of war, cyber-augmented footsloggers, gene-modded rabble, deploy the Ark of the Covenant as a warlord trait, or simply throw up to 30 Leman Russ inside a single Force organisation chart and DARE your opponent to bring enough anti-tank to kill you.

You might lose more than normal, but it’s going to look awesome. The modelling opportunities are endless and it’s so different. I wish every Heresy army list contained this much unfiltered “wouldn’t it be cool if” bullshit. It is impossible to look through the provenances and not get excited about something. I don’t want this list to be balanced, all these guys should be rolled by marines as the lore consistently depicts.

I love Militia with a passion, and anyone who brings them to an event is a king/queen/monarch and we do not deserve them.

Plug your bayonets, we’re going over the top! Let’s start the breakdown.

Steel Legion as Certusian Charnel Guard. Credit: Skails

Standard Rules

A few new unit types here to reflect the shoddiness of the Militia’s troops and armour:

The Militia Unit Sub-Type gives a few disadvantages relating to morale. The unit cannot Regroup if they’re less than half strength. If they’re Falling Back and they get charged, they just die and cannot rally with a Leadership check like normal. If they are charged by a second unit after being locked in combat (unless they’re Ogryn Brutes), they have to pass a Leadership check or they just run away. Most units have this, unless they’re a vehicle or a Heavy Ordnance Battery (who just die if they fall back and abandon their guns).

These are meaningful Morale debuffs, but the army comes with a few ways to interact with them (Discipline Masters and the Ruthless Tyrant Warlord Trait come to mind) so it’s only quite bad on paper, not very bad.

The Third-Line Subtype goes on vehicles. The militia vehicles are older designs, as the commander is forced to make do with what they can. If you Glance a Third-Line vehicle, it Penetrates it instead. This means you explode more often, you are more likely to have destroyed weapons or be immobilised and only your Malcador has Reinforced, so expect to be Shaken and Stunned a lot. Thankfully a lot of your vehicles are very cheap.

Third-Line also means you don’t give away victory points for being destroyed, which is particularly good on your Lord of War Baneblade, so it doesn’t give away Price of Failure. Super Heavies, like the Gorgon and Baneblade, also aren’t as bothered by Penetrating Hits, so this could be messy.

Finally, we have the Mechanised sub-type, which goes on our Sentinels. It’s a bit like the Dreadnought rule, but you aren’t Fearless. A lot of the special rules that work on Dreadnoughts (Haywire, Detonation, Battlesmith, etc) will also work on your Sentinels. We’ll talk more about Sentinels later.

Warlord Traits

There’s a full suite of six of them and they’re super cool! They add a lot of flavour to your Warlord, and tell everyone you’re playing with about what type of commander they are. These are going on our Force Commander, the only non-Support Squad HQ in the list.

  • Ruthless Tyrant: You gain Fear (1) which affects friendly and enemy units, which is hilarious. If a friendly unit is within the 12” Fear debuff zone and falls Back in the Movement or Shooting phase Falls Back, you can just kill D6 guys (or one Monstrous Ogryn) as a casualty. No Invulnerable Saves, Feel No Pains or Shrouds, they just die. The unit then doesn’t Fall Back. This is… funny? I love it. It allows you to skimp on Discipline Masters and Commissar your guys back into the battle, except instead of shooting the officers you just summarily execute half the unit. Comes with an Assault Reaction, which is a shame.
  • Merchant Princeling: The Warlord’s weapons become Master-Crafted, small bonus. One unit becomes the Warlord ‘Lifeguard’ unit and gains Heavy and re-rolls 1s to hit. The Warlord then can’t leave this unit. This is a selfish trait that allows you to make a fluffy combat unit to look after the boss, and make them slightly better in combat. Extra Assault Reaction again. Boo! Hiss!
  • Beloved of the People: When your Warlord dies, your units are inspired! All their allies in the Detachment gain +1 Weapon Skill and Strength, and a 4+ Feel No Pain until the end of your next turn. When the Warlord is alive, this is an extra Shooting Extra Reaction. When they die it becomes an Assault Reaction. This is also very funny and I also love it. The WS and S aren’t too useful with a normal army, but if you can somehow build a militia assault army, that could be a tasty buff. Whatever you’re running, the Feel No Pain might make your suckers die less.
  • Marcher Lord: The Warlord gains Battle Hardened and, if your whole army is Militia, your army is immune to Fear. The first Pinning Check per turn a unit in your army fails is ignored. Sweet. Extra Shooting Reactions are good. The strongest of the set of Warlord Traits, but perhaps the least interesting.
  • Connoisseur of Alien Curios: Your Warlord has brought a batch of xenos relics. Activate the magic box, roll a D6, then get a selection of increasingly wild special rules for your guy. Maybe lightning shoots out of it? Or his unit gains Rage (2) and Furious Charge (2)? Or your Toughness and Strength increases and you gain Eternal Warrior and Feel No Pain? Or just have him and all his friends and enemies take wounds if you roll a 1? This is nuts. Roll the dice and nonsense occurs. Five stars. Terrible. Movement Reactions are useful for running 3” away from Space Marines.
  • Robber Baron: Your Warlord’s unit gains +1 Strength when they charge, but they can’t Sweeping Advance. Iif they would be able to roll for Sweeping Advance, you instead gain d3 Victory Points on a 4+. This might win you the game, especially if you get this off multiple times, but its exceedingly rare even if you do put him on a horse. Sadly, +1 Strength does not help Cavalry, the natural bodyguard for a Robber Baron, because the Militia Lances have a fixed strength of 7 so modifying the model’s Strength by 1 does nothing. This is a real shame. Movement Reactions are good though.

These are all valid options with strong vibes. My favourites are Connoisseur of Alien Curios for nonsense fun, Ruthless Tyrant for allowing you to save points by skimping on Discipline Masters, and Marcher Lord for Shooting Reactions and ignoring Pinning.

A support force of Militia Grenadiers arrive to help in an ongoing battle at Marinus. Credit: Soggy

Provenances of War

These are your equivalent of Legions Traits, earned by taking the compulsory Force Commander. You get two of them. Some can’t be combined (I won’t list ’em here for brevity’s sake). Some of them just make your army better; a lot of them give special rules or allow some to take units in different slots. There are a mighty sixteen in the core book, and three more in The Liberation of Constanix II to do with Adeptus Mechanicus allies. Most of the special rules apply to units with the Militia subtype, so everything that isn’t a vehicle, Sentinel or an Heavy Ordnance Battery.

These are the exciting bits where the glorious bullshit happens.

  1. Warrior Elite: +1 Leadership across the board. Levy gain Support Squad, and Grenadiers lose it. Allows more special weapons and carapace armour. Good if you want an elite army or want to bring an Imperial Guard army into 30k. Bonus Points: this one of two legal ways to play militia in Zone Mortalis (since maxiumum unit size in the mode is 15). The other is Ogryn Conscripts.
  2. Legacy of the Great Crusade: Grenadiers, Command Cadres and Discipline Masters gain +1 BS. An underwhelming one that I wish this applied to more units, but is a good fit with Warrior Elite for high quality armies.
  3. Clanfolk Levy: Lots of horses! You can fill your Compulsory Troops with Cavalry, which gain +1 Leadership. You can also take up to four extra Fast Attack choices with only Cavalry. Up to nine units of 15 horses? If that’s your speed then this is the Provenance for you. It doesn’t give them Line though, so you’ll still need to follow up with lots of infantry to grab objectives. You’ll need to combine this with one of the later melee focused Provenances, because Cavalry are terrible without Provenance upgrades.
  4. Gene-crafted: Roll a D6 for each unit just after deployment. On a 1 they’re Pinned (and have to disembark any transports). On a 2 to 5, your Infantry and Cavalry units get to choose Fleet (2), Move Through Cover or Night Vision. On a 6, these units get Relentless, Stubborn, Adamantium Will (6+), or all of the three previous rules. Very fun and weird. I’ve seen this combined with Connoisseur full RNG shenanigans, but there are generally cooler options available. Night Vision means you might be able to ignore Night Fighting, which could be a huge win in some games!
  5. Cyber-augmetics: Mechanically enhanced militia, gaining Feel No Pain 6+ and Slow and Purposeful, meaning no reactions but they can advance or react, but can shoot any weapons even if they move. I often combine this with Old World Armouries to allow you to move with lasrifles, and save my Reactions for vehicles which are unaffected by the rule. You’re also now Sworn Allies with Mech, so you can use all your repair/buff tech priest stuff on your Militia Tanks, gain access to high LD stubborn characters. Mech are shenanigan central so there must be *something* here.
  6. Alchem-jackers: Your guys are on drugs. No negative modifiers to Leadership in the Assault Phase. If you fail a shooting Morale Check when you are above half strength, you become pinned not fall back. You can also give a unit Furious Charge (1) for 25pts. Just remember this one doesn’t buff horses with lances.
  7. Survivors of the Dark Age: A popular one with lots of rules. Grenadiers and Command Cadres can take Rhinos, Termite Assault Drills or Proteus Carriers from the Legion books, but they gain BS3 and Third-Line. The tanks are much worse and aren’t any cheaper. Also, you can give your Recon Squads two las- or auto- pistols and Jet Packs. A lot of fun, even though it will be a bad unit.
  8. Armoury of Old Night: My favourite option to give your units Solar Auxilia lasrifles as a free upgrade for lasguns. Sadly, unlike the Auxilia, there is no workaround for the lasrifles having heavy (unless you take Cyber-Augmetics, a tasty synergy) so you’ll need to stand still to fire them. Also for 30pts your Grenadiers and Command Squads can swap lasguns to assault needlers or volkite charges, laspistols for volkite serpenta or needle pistols, sniper rifles to needle vulnus, or heavy stubbers to volkite culverins or needles cannons. Your Force Commander can swap a power weapon for a paragon blade and/or a laspistol for an archeotech pistol for 10pts each. Expensive, but gives you access to a lot of toys across the board. Assault Needlers are rotten good and Poisoned (+3) means you’re going to blend your enemies. A good combo with Legacy of the Great Crusade to make that pip of BS count for more than usual, or with Cyber-Augmentics to gain Slow and Purposeful and fire lasrifles on the move. Loading up a Triaros using the Forge Remnants Provenance with 20 Grenadiers with Assault Needlers will ruin anyone’s day!
  9. Feral Warriors: All units gain +1 Weapon Skill on the charge but have to charge their enemy if they’re within 12”. Plus, you can swap your close combat weapons for chainaxes for 2pt per model. If you have a chainswords, that upgrade instead costs 1pt per model. Overwhelm your enemies with hundreds of 6pts per model WS4 S4 chainaxes. A good combination with Abhuman Muster, or lots of Ogryns. I’ve never seen it in the flesh but it would be a sight to behold.
  10. Kinfolk Helots: Squats! +1 Toughness, -1 Initiative and Movement. Characters gain Battlesmith (6+), Independent Characters gain Battlesmith (5+). Perhaps a good second choice for Industrial Stronghold.
  11. Abhuman Muster: Beastmen! -1 BS but +1 Strength, gaining Bulky (2). Characters get Hammer of Wrath (1). Independent Characters and Monstrous Units gain Hammer of Wrath (2) instead. (Ogryns already have Hammer of Wraith (2) though. Weird) . Remember vehicles still have full BS since they don’t have the Militia sub-type! Notably, it can’t be combined with Ogryn Conscripts.
  12. Debased Rabble: Traitor-locked. You get Crusader and Hatred Everything, but have to charge if you can and cannot take Grenadiers. Solid with Abhuman Muster, Feral Warriors or Ogryn Conscripts.
  13. Tainted Flesh: Traitor-locked. You gain Fear (1) and Furious Charge (1). Requires you to have lots of Levy, and no Discipline Masters. A minimal benefit for not much of a bonus.
  14. Ogryn Conscripts: Ogryn Brutes squads can be Troops, and Compulsory Troops gain line. Discipline Masters, Medicae and Force Commanders can join Ogryns! A great option that is a lot of fun, and Ogryns are pretty strong. Locks you out of several other choices. Bonus Points: this one of two legal ways to play militia in Zone Mortalis (since maximum unit size in the mode is 15). The other is Warrior Elite.
  15. Industrial Stronghold: All the Russ all the time. Very and effective. Two extra Heavy Support slots that must be filled with Leman Russ. Each Leman Russ unit may include up to five extra Leman Russ at 120pts each. Locks you out of several other choices. Vanquisher Russ are strongest unit in the list in my opinion, so I reckon this is a strong option for auto-inclusion in many lists.
  16. Unending Horde: Your destroyed Infantry and Levy squads can respawn and be placed in reserves on a 4+. Grenadiers becoming an Elites choice. Lorewise this is my favourite option of the bunch, allowing endless waves of chaff to assault your opponents. Sadly, Infantry and Levy don’t do very much damage, so this means they’ll be more annoying rather than game winning. The issue is that when they come out of reserve, they’re arriving on your home board edge. What exactly are Levies or Infantry going to accomplish from there? Levies aren’t even line. Unless they die top of turn 1, you’re at best having a unit with limited range and effect appearing on your home board edge turn 2 or later. In a Siege of Cthonia mission, there’s even less time to have them get back into position, and they lose any support models they took. I can see it having value to respawn infantry in an allied detachment that just wants backfield line units that aren’t worth killing, but for a full Militia list even an infantry horde probably just wants a different Provenance.
  17. Arms of the Omnissiah: Similar to Armoury of the Old Night, but Skittari themed. Lasrifles swap to lasguns on all units. On Grenadiers and Command Cadres, lasguns can become laslocks (for free), sniper rifles can become arc rifles (for 45pts). Force Commanders gain access to corposant staves, radium pistols and servo arms. This unlocks some cool modelling options, and lets you use your Skitaari in 30k. A golden combination with Cyber-augmetics, for good flavour and letting your lasrifles move and fire.
  18. Forge Remnants: Borrowing some Mechanicus vehicles. Grenadiers and Command Cadres, can take Triaros Armoured Conveyors as a Dedicated Transport. You can have up to 3 Heavy Support choices full of Krios Squadrons. Triaros will get your Troops where they need to be alive (with Front armour 14, 5 HP and a Flare Shield for an impressive 135pts). They’re not made of paper or overcosted unlike all the existing Militia transports. As for Krios, lightning cannons and pulsar-fusil offer some heavy and very mobile weapons this army doesn’t normally have access to, but the vehicles gain Third-Line and BS3 so end up overcosted. Combo this with Armoury of Old Night for a good way to deliver those upgraded Grenadiers, and get some breathing room in the very contested HS slots while you’re at it. One of the strongest provenances out there, in my opinion.
  19. Augmented Levy: Your Levy Squads gain +1 Leadership and Stubborn, as well as the The Rite of Pure Thought (losing access to reactions and Sweeping Advances). Like Tainted Flesh, requires lots of Levy, and no Discipline Masters. A flavourful combination with Ruthless Tyrant perhaps? I think I’d rather just run the Mechanicum Krios.

There are a lot of combos here, I’m going to hit you with my favourites:

  1. Warrior Elite and Legacies of the Great Crusade: Elite grenadiers with high Leadership and BS. I use this to run a 30k guard army in Heresy.
  2. Industrial Stronghold and Kinfolk Helots: Lots of tanks, and characters with Battlesmith so squads can heal their Russes. OR swap Industrial Stronghold with Forge Remnants to play your Leagues of Votann in 30k.
  3. Abhuman Muster and Feral Warriors: Hundreds of beastmen with chainaxes and S4 is a good combo. You know those beastmen you can’t use in AoS any more? Don’t put ’em on square bases and play The Old World, use them in Horus Heresy! Those big guys can all become Ogryns with Hammer of Wrath. Bray!!!
  4. Ogryn Conscripts and Feral Warriors: Lots of murder Ogryns with improved Weapon Skill.
  5. Arms of the Omnissiah OR Armoury of the Old Nighty with Cybernetic Augmentations. Fancy heavy weapons and the ability to move and fire ’em? 6+ Feel No Pain? Who needs reactions? Choose depending on the flavour of infantry you desire.
  6. Warrior Elite + Survivors of the Dark Age. An army based around Grenadier armoured assault in land raiders. Contributor TeeDog67 has run it a bunch and said “it’s awesome”.
  7. Armoury of Old Night + Forge Remnants: Triaros full of Assault Needler Grenadiers? Some Krios Venators to fill out the Heavy Support Slots? Need I say more?

There are literally dozens of flavourful, lore impactful and exciting combos available here. If I was going to give one buff to this army, I would let players choose a THIRD Provenance, and I think this would immediately bring Militia in line with other options. I might try this at the next Goonhammer Open Horus Heresy event and report back.

This, astonishingly, is 750 points of militia Credit: Lenoon

Unit Spotlights

Let’s start running through the lists! General note, buy carapace armour whenever you can get it because no saves again boltguns is *rough*.

A few global notes:

  • This list is completely lacking Augury Scanners, so Deep Strike will mess you up good and proper.
  • Since the Provenances are so good, everything is overpriced since they’re sort of assuming you’re only going to run units buffed by your Provenances.
  • A lot of the time units have ‘lasguns’ or ‘laspistols’, but you can actually always take autorifles or autopistols instead. They have exactly the same stats, so I’m just going to say refer to the lasweapons across the board. Shout out to Autopistols though, which are 2 shots at a 9″ range, so a definite upgrade on laspistols if you don’t need those 3″.


Only one of these options is not a Support Squad, which means in an allied Detachment you always have to have a Force Commander.

Force Commander

You’re always bringing one of these, as it’s your only non-support squad HQ. At a hefty 100pts this guy almost costs as much as a 120pts Praetor, but comes with flak armour and with a laspistol and basic close combat weapon. Has upgrade options for carapace armour (4+ for 10pts) or power armour (3+ for 15pts), and the option to upgrade the refractor field (5+ invuln) to an iron halo (4+ invuln for 20pt), and the option of a 10pts cyber familiar, so capping out at a 3+ invulnerable save. You can also put them on a horse for 20pts.

They’re all together lacking good weapon options, with no options for paragon blades (unless you take Armoury of Old Night) or thunder hammers. Your paltry mortal statline of Strength, Toughness and Initiative of 3 make this model very disappointing in melee. In addition, their Leadership is 8.

This expensive model is a delivery vessel for a Warlord Trait. Tooling one up for melee with a power fist and 3+ invuln will set you back 145pts and likely isn’t worth the cost.

Discipline Master Cadre

These are sort of like Commissars. You can take up to 12 of them per HQ slot slot. They join infantry units like Apothecaries or Techmarines do (or cavalry if you buy them a horse), and offer Leadership 8 and Instill Order, which allows the unit to suffer D3 Wounds to re-roll a Morale Check. The statline is not shabby for 20pts, coming with 2 attacks and 2 wounds, I tend to give mine bolt pistols and carapace armour for 7pts each, but don’t bother with chainswords.

Sadly, they do nothing about modifiers, so Fear and losing combat checks will cause you to re-roll your check and still run away. 20-30pts is probably not worth the upgrade on a 20 man Infantry Squad, but probably is worth it on a big unit of Grenadiers or Levy.

Rogue Psyker

Traitor-locked. 50pts for a Leadership 7 psyker with the same powers as a Legion Esoterist Consul. This unit lets you summon in up to 3 Elite/Troops units of Bound or Ruinstorm Daemons with Breach The Veil. Sadly, unlike their Marine equivalent their low leadership means your demons will often scatter, the total lack of invulnerable save or armour makes you insanely vulnerable to being sniped, and you Void Darts power will hit on 5s since they’re BS2.

This is a health list of downsides, but access to Daemons Brutes, Beasts, Swarms, and Lesser Demons gives this army some relatively cost efficient melee punch they’re otherwise lacking. Chuck one and a squad into a Cargo-8 Hauler and have some Brutes do Breach The Veil charge nonsense. Demon summoning psykers in a pickup truck is a hell of a vibe, very Mad Max, but using a Arvus Lighter means you can assault at even sillier ranges.

The bodyguards are very expensive. Twice the cost of Infantry Squads with the same statline. Rogue Psykers have Independant Character, so I’d just hide them in a Grenadier or Infantry squad instead. There is a weird built where you spam double blast pistols for a lot of damage, but it still feels overcosted at 9pt per model.

I wish they let you choose other Psychic Disciplines. I would run more of these if it was an option.

Command Cadre

A retinue for your force commander, this lieutenant and five lasgun, CCW and laspistol model with flak armour sets you back 45pts, with a lot of fluffy but not punchy upgrade potential on the basic guys and refractor field, powerfist, and power weapon on the lieutenant. They share a lot of the same upgrades as the Grenadiers (including Provenance specific ones), as well as optional carapace armour. For 10pts you can get a banner which gives them Stubborn and +1 score in combat, and you have the option of the all important nuncio-vox for re-rolling those blast attacks. Additional models cost 8pts each (with the statline of the normal 4pts , with a max squad size of 20.

I tend to just run by Commanders in basic squads because they’re so much cheaper, but I’m sure there is a use case for this squad with certain Provenances.

Janus Draik by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms
Janus Draik by Crab-stuffed Mushrooms


It’s chaff time!

Infantry Squads

20 lads in flak armour with lasguns and frags for 80pts. You can take up to three in a Troops slot thanks to Strength in Numbers. You can give bayonets for 10pt, krak grenades for 10pts, swap the lasgun for pistols and CCWs. You also have the option to upgrade the lasguns for shotguns, lascarbines or stubcarbines, all of which trade range for more strength or shots. I’d stick with the lasguns for the superior range, but there might be use cases if you’ve modelled them a certain way. Honorable mention for the grenade launcher or sniper rifle just to add an extra pinning threat. Maybe worth getting a Krak Grenade upgrade as 20 S6 grenades will bust a tank with low rear armour pretty fast. You have the option to pay for kinda expensive special weapons. They have a paltry leadership of 5 (with 6 on their sergeant), so Discipline Masters are a good idea.

This unit is going to deal very little damage and their bane is AP5 rapid fire weapons common to most of the Legions arsenal. A 10 man Tactical Squad with Fury of the Legion will kill about 10 in a single round of shooting at 24”, or 15 if they’re within 12”.

They’re pretty terrible, but it was exceptionally difficult to write any lists which did not contain about 120 of them, mainly so you still have a few warm bodies with Line left by the end of the game. You win with Militia by weight of numbers alone.

It is worth mentioning the absolute lethality of melee tools up Infantry with the right Provenances but we’ll talk about that more in sample lists.

Levy Squads

All the stuff that was true about Infantry Squads is true about these guys too. They do no damage and die to boltguns in droves, but they come in at half the price. They very sensibly lack Line at 40pts for 20, and have a max of 50 models for 100pts. They come in at WS2 and BS2 with no frag grenades. They’re also expendable which means your opponent doesn’t get victory points for killing them.

You could run a 500pts allied detachment with 200 of these idiots and a bare bones force commander, plus the ability to respawn them with Undying Horde. What a fun modelling project!

Since you can take 3 per Troops slot, hypothetically you could run up to 900 of Levy for 1800pts, leaving 700pts (or 1300pts at 3k) for anti-tank, compulsory HQs and Discipline Masters. Someone out there has to be levy maxing somewhere. Send me an email.


Gosh these cost a lot for what they do! Carapace armour, lasguns, laspistols, and CCWs for 75pts. Lots of fluffy and pointless options to buy expensive guns on BS3 models. If you buy a boltgun for 2pts per model, this unit comes out at 5pts less than the same number of Tactical Marines.

However, for 20 man squads, 135pt is a better price point. A lot of the Provenance Upgrades are paid for by the unit, not the model, and that’s when things start looking good. There are some solid and spicy guns available with certain Provenances (lasrifles, needlers, arc rifles, or volkites) and this is where this unit comes into real play. I really can’t overstate how much better carapace armour is than flak armour, since boltguns and boltpistols at AP5.

20 of these in a Triaros with Assault Needlers is one of the best units in this list, and there’s lots of interesting options available. That said, unless you have some kind of Provenance based plan, I think if you want to run an army with these kinds of carapaced armour units, you’re better off looking into Auxilia and using Veltaarii or basic Rifle Sections.

Fire Support Squads

20pts per 2 wound model with heavy stubbers. 5pts each gets you a mortar. 10pts each gets you a multi-laser, heavy bolter, missile launcher or autocannon. 15pts get you a lascannon. 35pts for a 2 wound flak armoured, T3, BS3 model with a lascannon costs 10pts more than a Legions Heavy Support Squad model.

They cost about twice as much as they should and are the first of a few units in this list that I’d honestly just leave at home. GW is scared of Heavy Weapon Squads after the Liber Astartes/Hereticus and this unit pays the sins of their Return Firing cousins.

Reconnaissance Squads

A 50pts squads with five flak armoured lads with shotguns. They have Scout, Infiltrate and Move Through Cover to get them where they need to be. Extra models cost 5pts and you can give the unit similarly short range las/stubcarbines for 10pts. Up to 5 models can take longlas or sniper rifles for 10pts per model.

I’ve run a bunch of these, with both snipers and without, to sit up the board, deny objectives in early turns and get killed. I wish they were better. The sniper weapons are neat by cost about twice as much as they should, and 50pts should get you ten models and not five.

Edit: They don’t have Line. Why don’t they have Line? God dammit James Workshop.

A lot of the analysis of this list looks like ‘this is worse than the equivalent marine unit,’ but there are a lot of things in Horus Heresy worse than Recon Marines with Nemesis Bolters that still see play! The triple combo of USRs means they’re supremely mobile and help you get into the midfield and backfield.

Majestic 13 Hazmat Team. Credit: Fowler


Medicae Detachment

40pts for three models, each being assigned to an Infantry unit (not Ogryns) and granting the squad a Feel No Pain (6+) with their Auto-Medicus. Extra models (up to 12 total) only cost 12pts. The Feel No Pain doesn’t stack and Militia has no access to Heart of the Legion. T3 means your Feel no Pain only works on attacks with S5 or less, which is not many of them.

These are a little on the weaker side, but not useless, so expect to see a few about.

Ogryn Brutes

One of the list’s only dedicated melee units. Our 3 Wound Brutes have 4 attacks each at WS4 S5 I2. They come with Flak Armour, but after the Carapace Armour upgrade they cost 125pts for three, and 30 for extra models. The Boss is another auto upgrade for an extra leadership and attack, and access to a power weapon or thunder hammer (Monstrous units Unwieldy, so you’ll be swinging at full Iniative, which is only I2).

The downside of this unit is the poor AP of their melee attacks. They come with basic close combat weapons, and while they can grab an extra ccw, ripperguns, thunderstubs or boarding shields, there’s no possibility of power weapons or anything fancy apart from on the Boss. They’re BS2, so the Ripper Guns are best left at home. Take thunderstub pistols over CCWs, as some shooting is usually better than none.

This unit looks a little underwhelming right now, but there is room to go upwards with Provenances. Try Feral Warriors for +1 WS and Chainaxes (for +1 Strength). You could use Abhuman Muster to up their S to 6 and give them Hammer of Wrath (2). Alternatively, Ogryn Conscripts could make them Line Troops, and give them access to Discipline Master and Medicae. My favourite option is Beloved of the People.

If we combine, Abhuman Muster with Feral Warriors and manage to get your beloved warlord killed, you can swiftly gain access to WS6 S7 Ogryns. You don’t need AP when your 42pts models can punch like that! I have dreams of pumping a Gorgon full of ten of these guys, but I probably shouldn’t be allowed.

Field Gun Battery

These are meant to represent Field Ordnance Battery at 45pts for the Kalliope Mortar (like a Frag Quad launcher but swapping Barrage for Pinning and Shell Shock (1)) or Thunderblast Cannon (S7 AP4 small blast with Pinning and Barrage), or 65pts for the Heavy Lascannon (a S10 lascannon).

These seem worse than a Rapier Destroyer with more inefficient weapons, and while they’re both made of paper, the Field Gun Battery might be slightly tankier in some situations and a little cheaper. The good news is that while the Militia Heavy support slot is very contested, the Elite choice is much less so. While these compare very unfavourably to a Heavy Support Squad Marine, pretty much everything in the game does so there is a concrete place for these in a list screaming out for more Heavy Support slots.

Damned painted as Ultramar militia, credit: Lenoon

Fast Attack

Some hilarious options here, adding some transports, Sentinels and a few (expensive) assault units:

Arvus Transport

40pts for a flying Rhino with 2 HP and room for 12 infantry. No room for Ogryns or anything else bulky in here thanks to Infantry Transport, but there is a really strong use case for these. Sadly they can’t squadron so are very slot inefficient. I don’t know what you’re meant to put in them; Grenadiers perhaps? Rogue Psykers??

Cargo-8 Haulers

More of a “improvised fighting vehicle” than a proper APC. This is a list without Auroxes or Chimeras and other dedicated transport options (unless you take Survivors of the Dark Age), so the trucks from Necromunda make an appearance as a Fast Attack option. They fit 22 models in with a 12 Front AV and an otherwise Rhino-like statline. You can buy three of them in a single squadron, 50pts for the first model and 40 per model thereafter. There are a few upgrades to give them smoke launchers, dozer blades or a couple of ineffective weapons, but the interesting choice is the Armoured Container, which increases Side and Back armour by 1 and reduces capacity to 12, for carrying more elite troops. This is a cheap and cheerful option to get boatloads of models around the board.

Three heavy stubbers for 75pts and a good transport is a lot of choom!


If you want to duplicate the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Horus Heresy then you absolutely can, but you really shouldn’t.

50pts for 5 then 8pts per model rewards you with WS3 S3 1 attack cavalry that die to a light breeze. 2pts per model for carapace armour you should buy. The sergeant can grab a power weapon, but the only melee weapon the rest of the unit can have access to is the militia lance, a S7 AP3 weapon with Brutal (2) and Sudden Strike (2), as well as Ungainly, meaning you can only attack when you charge and are capped at once.

I own 40 Cavalry based on Perry Russian Ulhans with Les Grognard Gask Masks heads and I run all of them in my 40k Astra Militarum list. I yearn for the coconut shell clack of the cavalry charge, but they will lose in a melee to any dedicated combat list from any other faction and they are priced fine but not fast enough to move (the squad with all the bells and whistles comes out at 165pts).

A lot of the S buffing Provenances won’t help going to help with the fixed S7 of the lances. The Feral Warriors/Abhuman Muster unit with chainaxes and the Beloved of the People buff probably has legs, but I’m not modelling 45 cavalry with chainaxes to find out the hard way. Using Feral Warriors and Beloved of the People to buff the lances to WS6 also might have legs? I’ll try it when I get a chance.

Grognard Cavalry, Wargames Atlantic. Credit: Lenoon


I wish this unit was good. Three handlers with flak armour, laspistols and CCWs for 50pts, with each one costing 8pts more. You can buy one Beast per handler, with three cheap flavours and one expensive one. 10pts get you either a chewy Mastiffs (dogs with Furious Charge and S4), a pouncy Felidae (cats with Rage (1), M8 and I5) or a squishy Raptors (birds with M8 and Shrouded (4+)). Alternatively, 15pts each gets you a Caiman (Crocodiles with Feel No Pain (5+), W2, S5 and T5 but much slower since they’re only M6).

So the fast ones are going to be slowed down by the handlers, who cost twice as many points as their Infantry Squad equivalents. None of the models have any AP on their melee weapons, or access to extra attack. I think point for point this melee unit loses in a fight to a Tactical Squad. They need AP or to be cheaper or both.


A genuinely chunky (for militia) quasi-dreadnoughts with T6 and a 3+ save but only 3 wounds. The forgettable weapons are cheap at a 60pts model, and the expensive ones like multi-meltas and lascannons will be 75pts. These are sincerely paying for the sins of the dreadnought and lack a brutal 3 melee weapon but are cheap enough to maybe have some use as scouts. The light Auxilia ones are cheaper and the heavy Aethon ones are much tankier.

They do have more weapon options than the Auxilia options. Giving a unit with a Multi-Melta Scout might have some legs! I’ll do some testing.

Curiously these are mechanised infantry so can get in some vehicles, unlike the Auxilia ones which are mechanised cavalry. How about 8 of them in a Gorgon? Maybe they fold up like chickens?

Thunderbolt Fighters

A cheap as chips fighter at 120 with four autocannons and two lascannons. This will be able to get easy access to the rear armour of most vehicles. It sadly costs the same as the Auxilia one which doesn’t have Third Line. One of these is only 30pts more expensive than 4 soldiers in flak armour with lascannons, or the same price of two Heavy Lascannon Field Guns.  Obviously if your opponent has Skyfire and Augury Scanners this is going to disappear quickly, but it’s worth paying 120pts to maybe have to tangle with that risk.

Heavy Support

Finally some good fucking food! I think the main obstacle to this list is the number of Heavy Support slots available.

Rapier Battery

5pts cheaper than the Auxilia equivalent, you can get a laser destroyer for 55pts, a quad launcher for 50pts, or 30pts for a gravis heavy bolter or a multi-laser battery. This is points efficient shooting, however it cannot react and you just have to kill three flak armour bodies per big gun to make it stop firing. Sadly, the fancy quad launcher shells are not on offer, as the Militia have no access to phosphex, incendiry or quake shells.

Six of these can be grabbed in a single Heavy Support slot, and that 330pt unit with 12 laser destroyers shots will vaporise anything in the whole game, but melt in turn when shot at. The heavy bolters are 8 shots each and twin-linked, so can put some hurt into infantry at a 48″ range. Might be worth grabbing some bunkers to hide these behind, since Relentless gives them a few inches of movements and lets them shoot at least once? It’s worth saying the Quad Launchers aren’t bad either, just overshadowed by the Laser Destroyers.

Malcador Heavy Tank

It’s Third Line, but 185pts compared to the Auxilia’s 225pt. You sadly lose access to Flare Shields. Steer clear of the battle cannon (I cry when I think about the profile of a Heresy-era battlecannon). One of these with Vanquisher and Lascannons all over, plus a demolisher, is a bad tank at 265pts, but unlike most other stuff in the Militia list it will reliably deal damage so is a solid option.

Leman Russ

It’s Third Line, but 120pts compared to the Auxilia’s 150pt, or the Assault Variant for 200pt. 140pts for a unit with a demolisher cannon and Front AV 14 is solid, and the Vanquisher is 125pt. Pop a lascannon on it for 20pts. No sponsons for you sadly. Gosh. Almost makes you wish you could run 30 of them. This unit is so good that it makes Industrial Stronghold a near auto include.

The issue with this unit is that they are points efficient, but not slot efficient. They cost half as much as the tooled up Malcador. I would run Malacdor if you value slot efficiency, and Leman Russ if you value points efficiency.

Heavy Ordnance Battery

Basilisks are not very strong in this edition, but Ordnance Batteries look cool as hell. 75pts each is an okay price compared to the 200pt Legions or Auxilia equivalent. You can assign up to 20 infantry to each gun at 2pts per model, and add extra guns for 65pts. I don’t think they are great, but there are certainly worse ways to spend 200pts than on a trio of these.

Gorgon Heavy Transporter

A 250pt Super Heavy Transport, front armour 15 and 8 HP with some token guns and space for 40 soldiers inside. This would be absolutely ACE in a Legions list, but right now I don’t think Militia has anything worth paying the price to get safely to a location, especially since it’s movement 8. Ten Ogryns perhaps? 65pts could add six lascannons though… It’s too expensive to be a solid battle tank, but again it’s not awful.

Non non non, we drive on the other side of the road! Wargames Atlantic command pieces on GW Leman Russ. Credit: Lenoon

Lord of War

It’s a Baneblade! Remember, you can always go to another faction and grab one of their Lord of Wars. A Knight Castigator or Porphyrion could be both strong and fluffy.

Baneblade Super Heavy Battle Tank

Sadly just one option here, with no alternate turret options for the various Astra Militarum or Legion vehicles available. This is very cheap at 400pts (450pts after the usual heavy bolter + lascannon sponsons).  The fact a baneblade cannon is only AP4 and a large blast this edition leaves me crying myself to sleep. 100pts cheaper than a Stormhammer (and 250pts cheaper than the Legion Baneblade) means it is priced poorly and not insultingly. I’ve got mixed feelings on this; Third Line means it will die quite quickly, but because of that same rule it’s never going to give away points for Price of Failure in relevant missions. It is only a little more expensive than a fully equipped Vanquisher/Demolisher/Lascannon Malcador, and has more guns and is way tankier, so I’d definitely consider it worth running.

Honourable Mention

This army desperate needs cover saves! Perhaps reach into the Fortification Slot and pick out a Defense Line! 35pts gets you a pile of cover you can put in front of your army, which helps massively with your poor saves. It also forces enemies to reroll successful wounds with blast weapons, which is nice.

Whenever someone makes a fortification work in Heresy it puts a smile on my face! Perhaps there’s a place for it here!

Putting It All Together

  • Provenances are a lot of fun. There are some wicked combos available and every option sparks joy and exciting modelling possibilities. I don’t think there are really any dead options, so whatever you pick, something cool will happen.
  • A lot of the time, Provenances give out lots of free buffs to every unit. A lot of the units feel like they’re costed for optimum Provenance usage, so are horrifically expensive even compared to Marine equivalent units.
  • Third Line and Militia subtypes are both very punishing. These could honestly be removed and the army would still be underpowered balanced.
  • Glorious modelling opportunities for allied detachments.
  • Some solid Heavy Support options with poor slot efficiency mean you’re begging for more slots.
  • Levy Maxing / Russ Maxing / Chainaxe Maxing: There might be meat on these bones. If you have won lots of games at events using this kind of list, please comment below so I can get in touch and update the sample lists to genuinely potent ones.

Malcador Heavy Tank. Credit: Lupe

Sample Lists

Trying to put together 3000pt Militia lists felt like a fever dream. You usually run out of slots before you run out of points, and end up suggesting weird skew heavy lists. We only have a few genuinely strong lists, so the plan is generally to pick an archetype, work out which provenances boost it, then buy those until you run out of slots. I’m going to try to squeeze something I think that could genuinely compete out of this PDF and it’s not going to look pretty.

First up is a full tank list with Industrial Stronghold and Kinfolk Helot, taking advantage of the Battlesmith on characters to keep the tanks healed up and moving. I’m using a lot of Discipline Masters here, as in the units both the Sergeants and the Discipline Masters can Battlesmith.

Rather than fully commit on a meme quantity of Vanquisher Russes, I have added 12 Laser Destroyers and a Malcador with Demolisher. 15 of them with some infantry to hold objectives is probably better than this, but I’m not writing a sample list with 15 identical tanks in it on principle.

In addition, 3 Cargo 8 Haulers and 60 Grenaders will go out and grab objectives, and another 60 Infantry to screen my precious tanks from pesky troops with jump packs or infiltrators. This list spits out about 60 lascannon shots a turn and not much will survive that much AP2, has 120 spare infantry and has so much bloody redundancy. At 250pts, I’d drop the Malcador and run 3 units of 3 Rapier Laser Destroyers instead of 2 units of 6, and maybe slim down on Force Commander upgrades.

Click here to expand list

Provenances: Industrial Stronghold, Kinfolk Helots

Force Commander: Warlord Trait: Marcherlord, Iron Halo, Cyber Familiar, Plasma Pistol, Power Axe 150pts

Discipline Masters: 6 Man Squad with Bolt Pistols and Carapace Armour 162pts


Medic Squad, 4 Man: 57pts


Infantry Squad 80pts

Infantry Squad 80pts

Infantry Squad 80pts

Grenadiers: 20 Model, 2 plasma guns 145pts

Grenadiers: 20 man, 2 plasma guns 145pts

Grenadiers: 20 Model, 2 plasma guns 145pts

Fast Attack

Cargo-8 Hauler 50pts

Cargo-8 Hauler 50pts

Cargo-8 Hauler 50pts

Heavy Support 

Rapier Batteries with Laser Destroyers x6 330pts

Rapier Batteries with Laser Destroyers x6 330pts

Malcador: Vanquisher Cannon Turret, Demolisher Cannon, Lascannon Sponsons 260pts

Leman Russ with Vanquisher Cannon Turret and Lascannon Turrets x3 435pts

Leman Russ with Vanquisher Cannon Turret and Lascannon Turrets x3 435pts

Credit: genola

For list two, I return to the much lauded Feral Warriors/Abhuman Muster Provenances with the Beloved of the People Warlord Trait. If it all goes off, buff probably has legs, but I’m not modelling 45 cavalry with chainaxes to find out the hard way. Using Feral Warriors and Beloved of the People to get access to potential WS5 S5 Shred infantry with chainaxes, and nastier Ogryns. I could have spent points on trucks, but instead I have just gone for volume. If you hate yourself and love batch painting, you could swap the two Ogryn Squads for another 80 infantry each.

We start off with a casual 240 Infantry with chainaxes (all given Medicae for the FNP), add a pair of massive chainaxe Ogryn units and finish off with some anti-tank and 12 Rapiers. Due to Abhuman Muster,  the Militia Gunners will drop to BS2, but the gun itself will stay at BS3 if I understand the rules correctly. If anything in this list reaches enemies lines it will punch up on points, very hard.

At 2.5k, I would lose one of the Ogryn squads, or a couple of Infantry Squads and trim down to 9 Laser Destroyers.

Click here to expand list

Provenances: Feral Warriors/Abhuman Muster

Force Commander: Warlord Trait: Beloved of the People, Power Fist 125pts


Medic Squad, 12 Model: 148pts

Ogryn Brutes: 10 Models, Chainaxes, Carapace Armour, Thunderstub Pistols, Boss with Thunder 440pts

Ogryn Brutes: 10 Models, Chainaxes, Carapace Armour, Thunderstub Pistols, Boss with Thunder 440pts


Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with Chainaxes 120pts

Infantry Squad with 10 Chainaxes and 10 CCWs 100pts

Heavy Support 

Rapier Batteries with Laser Destroyers x6 330pts

Rapier Batteries with Laser Destroyers x3 165pts

Rapier Batteries with Laser Destroyers x3 165pts

Praetorian Breachers get stuck in


I’m afraid this is all hypothetical. I have used a lot of allied Militia, and mainly Militia with allied troops, but I don’t own this many Laser Destroyer Rapiers (yet) or that many chainaxes to make either of the above lists. If you have run a “good” militia list with something I missed, let us know how it went and I’d share any interesting lists I get here.

Thanks for reading, good look on the battlefield!

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