Horus Heresy Tactica: Allies

Welcome to Horus Heresy Tactica, our series that provides a deep dive in a specific mechanic, interaction or aspect of play in Warhammer: the Horus Heresy.

Horus Heresy 2.0 has been out in the wild for nearly a year now, and here at Goonhammer we’ve dived deep into individual units, list building choices, the maths of how to blow up a Spartan and played many, many games. Today we’re opening up the listbuilding space in unexpected directions, looking at the flexible and potentially powerful options allowed by the Allied detachment.

Allies can be used to shore up your weaknesses, explore the lore and possibilities opened up by pairing less-usual forces, start whole new armies, spring excellent surprises on regular opponents and – most excitingly – finally let us all incorporate some Loyalist Night Lords and World Eaters or Traitor Blood Angels and Imperial Fists into our champions of the Emperor/Horus (delete as appropriate). We’ll make occasional reference to Lupe’s List Building Archetypes to see where these Allied options bring extra value. In this article we’ll be doing all of the above, looking at 500-1000 point Allied Detachments in the Age of Darkness – perfect, incidentally to build from for the Goonhammer Open Heresy event.

Allied Detachments

The Ally Detachment has a separate force organisation chart adding a more limited selection of units to the standard Crusade Force Org we’ve all gotten used to. To build an Allied force, you need 1 HQ and 1 Troops choice as compulsory units, with the option to add on another 3 Troops, 2 Elite, 1 Fast Attack and 1 Heavy support choice. As a way to cram in more of the creamy goodness of the (particularly) Marine list Elite choices, it’s pretty excellent, with a relatively light points requirement allowing you to take new legion specialists or get in some potent choices from the Liber Mechanicum or Imperium. There’s a lot you can do with that slim force organisation chart within 500-1000 points.

NotthatHenryC: Just for fun, the writers have randomly allowed some Legions to use their Rites of War in allied detachments, while others cannot. We can’t see any logic for why this should be and maybe it’ll be FAQ’d one day.

Lenoon: Thank you for all the notes and corrections on this one. Allies are a tricky thing, make sure to read the rites of war restrictions carefully!

Lenoon’s Good Idea – Big Golden Friends

We know that Custodes are in a difficult to beat place right now in the Heresy meta, but they’re also very cool, very cheap (points and, comparatively, money) and a very good side project if you want something quick and deeply effective to add in to your loyalist legion. At 750 points you’re not looking at very much in a Custodes detachment, but whatever you get is better than it has any possible right to be for the points. The really nice thing about this allies list is that it’s just what you get in the Adeptus Custodes Combat patrol.

Vertus Praetor
Vertus Praetor. Credit: Pendulin

Golden Friends, 750 points

Custodes Shield Captain, Guardian Spear

Custodian Guard Squad
2 x Guardian Axe
4x Guardian Spear

Agamatus Jetbike Squadron
3x Lastrum Bolt Cannon

Look, it’s not big, but it’s a baseline Shield Captain (already very good), 6 multi-purpose all rounders who can essentially do anything you require of them and do it incredibly quickly and three Jetbikes who will demolish absolutely anything they charge. You could deploy the Guard and Shield Captain and just sprint them onto an objective in enemy territory and use their potent threat to bully enemy units, or you can just turn them to “blender” setting by applying them, face first, to any unit you fancy. The Axes with their +3 strength (and unwieldy, sadly) are probably overkill against anything other than dreadnoughts, but overkill is the best kind. The jetbikes seem ridiculous at first glance, with fewer attacks than you’d think, but if you can get them into a Nemesis unit, or even strip a few ablative buddies away from a character unit, those S10 AP1 attacks will turn anything without eternal warrior into a fine pink-tinged cream.

Lenoon’s Bad Idea – World Eaters Bomb

This is something I’ve only theory crafted so far, but the models are made and will hit the table soon enough. This is very much a single-use throwaway that a shooty army (like my Ultramarines) can use to pin units down, contest objectives and make a giant mess. That throwaway is 745 points of World Eaters who are extremely mad, bad and dangerous to know.

World Eaters Killteam. Credit: Jack Hunter

Warmonger Cataphractii Consul – Berserker, Lightning Claws, Grenade Harness

Red Butchers – Devoured and Six Red Butchers, Lightning Claws

Assault Squad – Sergeant with Charnabal Sabre and Artificer Armour

There’s no trick to this, and you know how it’s going to work. Deep strike everything in after having your main list to snipe out all those pesky scanners – while you laugh maniacally as the nails bite and you slam down the Warmonger and Red Butchers into a danger close deep strike and charge. Your Assault marines can, if they survive to make it into combat, take out equivalent power armoured squads through sheer weight of attacks, and the Artificer+Charnabal combination on the sergeant will hopefully win you a challenge too. The Red Butchers are comedically fierce if you haven’t encountered them already – Hatred (everything), World Eaters trait giving you additional attacks on the charge (and you’ll make that charge) and lightning claws gives you a preposterous amount of attacks on the charge, all rerolling hits and wounds. Ravening Madmen makes them harder to wound back. In cataphractii plate you’re not able to sweeping advance but who cares? Anything you contact will just melt under the weight of sheer unadulterated rage.

Lenoon’s Extremely Stupid Idea – A Carpark of Leman Russes

What if you wanted to use the Liber Imperialis to shore up a key weakness in your army – the presence of only one or two AV14 armoured hulls? Well, then it’s time to turn to Lenoon’s Extremely Stupid Idea – 1000 points of Leman Russ Tanks (and accompanying small guys). As I said, it’s extremely stupid. But it just might work (it won’t).

Valhallan Leman Russ. Credit: SRM

Solar Auxilia – Armoured First Doctrine, 1005 Points

Legate Marshal – 85 points


Auxilia Infantry Tercio – 90 points
1 Rifle Section, Aurox

Auxilia Infantry Tercio – 90 points
1 Rifle Section, Aurox

Armoured Tercio
Leman Russ – 150

Armoured Tercio
Leman Russ – 150

Heavy Support

Armoured Tercio
Leman Russ – 150
Leman Russ – 135
Leman Russ – 135

That’s five Leman Russes and 21 guys who stand around on your back objectives hopefully not being noticed. Refight the battle of Tallarn with a Predator-heavy Marine primary detachment and then go crazy with Outflanking Russes, bringing a huge amount of heavy armour to the table. You’re using those tanks to essentially just have a huge amount of fun throwing big templates around and laughing at the ridiculousness of your list. On the other hand, if you turn up and you can take out any reliable S8+ or Sunder shooting, you’re just flinging pie plates at your hapless enemy and what’s wrong with that?

You can do a much better version of this list using Vanquishers – a very cheap upgrade to the Leman Russ battlecannon that turns it into a genuine threat. I just love throwing big templates around, but heavy 2, sunder and brutal 2 does make Vanquisher battle cannons a much better choice.

Lupe’s Rifles Enough to Make the Sanest Mad

If you want the polar opposite of 5 Leman Russes, the Auxilia list contains another option: the infantry horde. Not just a horde though, a good horde – a horde that can kill power armoured marines surprisingly quickly at high volume and often in your opponents turn. With this list you’re utilising the surprisingly good Laser rifle profiles (Heavy 2, S3 AP6 or S6 AP4), mass fire and the Reborn Cohort doctrine (reroll 1s to hit) to make charging, shooting at or even just walking towards your thick line of rifle sections extremely painful.

Solar Auxilia 30k HH Credit: Magos Sockbert
Solar Auxilia 30k HH Credit: Magos Sockbert

Rifle sections die to a fairly stiff breeze in HH2.0 (though Boltguns, without AP4, just won’t do the trick as you’d like), but to keep them on the board you’ve got a Legate Marshall and plenty of vox interlocks to make sure that Reborn +1 leadership and stubborn goes a long way. The Legate can spread his Leadership 11 to stubborn troops from inside a metal box hiding somewhere on the battlefield likely surrounded by a thick jumper of men. Your enemy will have to kill every single one of your men before they’ll run away. Whatever happens to your Auxilia, they’ll keep shooting those 140 rifles till the bitter end and remember – tercios join up for reactions.

Legate Marshall (85pts; Reborn Cohort doctrine)

Infantry Tercio One (455pts) – command section with command box and aurox
rifle section, vox interlock, augury scanner (20)
rifle section, vox interlock (20)

Infantry Tercio Two (230pts)
rifle section, vox interlock (20)
rifle section, vox interlock (20)
rifle section, vox interlock (20)
Infantry Tercio Three (230pts)
rifle section, vox interlock (20)
rifle section, vox interlock (20)

Is this list going to be a blender mulching all before it? No, unless you’re facing mechanicum or other solar auxilia. But that’s why it’s an allied detachment – imagine this holding your back line while your Justaerin hammer in to clear the enemy off their objectives, or providing an anchor for your lightning strike Golden Keshig, or providing the objective claiming line to an Armoured Fist tank parade. There’s literally no downsides to doing this in our opinion except the real world financial cost of 140 Solar Auxilia rifles – approximately one million pounds.

Soggy’s Chogorian Brotherhood

White Scars Golden Keshig. Credit – Soggy

Speaking of the Golden Keshig, sometimes you gotta go fast. Real Fast.
This example features a rapid multipurpose firebase to claim objectives across the field while your Golden Keshig hammer takes to the field with your main force.

White Scars – Chogorian Brotherhood Rite of War – 1000 points

Praetor on Shamshir Jetbike with Paragon Blade – 190
Golden Keshig Squadron, 5 riders – 220
Sky Hunter Squadron, 3 plasma cannons, artificer – 135
Sky Hunter Squadron, 6 volkite culvirens, artificer – 235
Sky Hunter Squadron, 3 multimeltas, 2 heavy bolters, artificer 220

The White Scars advanced reaction Chasing the Wind turns this detachment up to 11, allowing you to move all of the applicable bikes 15″ away – effectively a free redeploy. There is certainly some room for optimisation or catering to suit, such as as a Cyber Hawk to provide rerolls when your Praetor is attached to one of the Sky Hunter units or apothecaries to keep in the fight. With the advent of the plastic skyhunter kit, this force is significantly easier to pick up.

Bair’s Teleporting Recon Company (with storm shields!)

instagram: bair_paints

Imperial Fists are one of few Legions that can just take deepstrike on their terminator units as a wargear option. It’s not super cheap at 25 points per squad (20 for a character in terminator plate) but can give incredible flexibility and drop in to support where you need on the table mid-game with a sniper support squad that gets +1 to hit rolls thanks to snipers being modified bolt weapons and a nuncio vox and scanner to help deter enemy infiltrators as well as give you a safer deepstrike (if you want to use it for that). Snipers are very good this edition between picking out apothecaries/characters/special weapons in units and causing pinning that Imperial Fists just make better with the bonus to hit rolls.

The thought here is incredibly simple: it’s just under 1k points to get 2 more Line units in your army, some even with 3++ invulnerable saves and enough S10 and Brutal mixed in to be a problem for anything you charge into. For flavour you can swap the command squad out for Huscarls if you’d like and shave off a few points, but they don’t get to sweeping advance, are slower, and are not Line, so it’s a hefty downgrade. The only terminator in this list without a storm shield is the standard bearer because it’s not allowed one. Coward. 
That normal Terminator squad takes the vexilla just to help with combat, being only WS4 is not a great spot for them, they want to punching down where the Praetor and command squad can more happily punch above their weight and live to tell the tale.
It’s amusingly the heaviest looking recon company you might see, loaded up with terminator plate instead of loads of scouts/recon marines. It meets the minimum requirements (a recon squad) and gives your army re-rolls on seize the initiative as well!


Total: 985 points

Praetor in Tartaros Armour – 165
– Solarite Gauntlet
– Storm Shield
– Teleport Transponder
– Pride of the Legion RoW

Retinue Squad of 5 Tartaros Terminators – 330
– Banner with thunder hammer
– 4 Storm Shields
– 4 Solarite Gauntlets
– Teleport Transponder

5 Tartaros Terminators – 335
– Sergeant with thunder hammer
– 5 Storm Shields
– 4 Solarite Gauntlets
– Veilla
– Teleport Transponder

5 Recon Marines – 155
-5 Nemesis Bolters
– Nuncio Vox
– Augury Scanner

That’s it. That’s the list. Solarite gauntlets and thunder hammers are both 15 points so feel free to mix and match as you like, the Brutal (2) of the hammers will be better against things like dreadnoughts and almost anything that’s a space marine, however the solarite gauntlets are a favourite because they wound all dreadnoughts on a 2+ and are instant death to things like Gal Vorbak, Custodes, and any marine that’s sitting with Battle Hardened (1). They’re also just flat out better at killing tanks, too. It’s a much more versatile weapon.

NotThatHenryC’s Recon Ravens

If there’s one thing I like in heresy it’s going first and shooting lots of the enemy dead before they get started. The recon company, with its reroll for the first turn roll and seize the initiative, is pretty exciting. Less exciting is being forced to take two reconnaissance squads if using it as primary, and not being able to deploy heavy units on the board. An allied recon company gets you all the benefits and removes most of the penalties.

A recon force also feels like a thematic choice as an allied detachment. These guys have been sneaking about, identified a target/threat and called in whoever your main force is to destroy it.

Ravenguard Legion Seeker Squad
Ravenguard Legion Seeker Squad. Credit: NotThatHenryC

I’ve picked Raven Guard for this detachment because it’s my main army. It would work fine as other Legions but I think there’s some synergy here.

Total: 990 points

Praetor – 180
– Thunder hammer
– Corvid Pattern Jump Pack

Legion Reconnaissance Squad – 145
– 5 Nemesis Bolters
– Infravisor

Legion Tactical Squad – 160
– 5 Additional Marines
– Augury Scanner

Legion Seeker Squad – 200
– 5 Additional Marines
– Combi-disintegrator
– Infravisor

Dark Fury Squad – 305
– 5 Additional Marines
– 2 Additional Choosers of the Slain

Ok so the Praetor and Dark Furies are just an incredibly dangerous melee threat. I’d usually like to run a Chaplain in this unit for Hatred (and initially wrote that on instinct, till reminded it wasn’t legal!), but in an allied detachment you obviously need a Delegatus or Praetor for the Rite of War. They’re not Line but you don’t mind if they die.

I’ve put a tactical squad in because I find them one of the best things about playing Raven Guard. They can set up in midfield (though not too close to scary things!) and start blazing away with fury of the Legion from turn 1. They can outflank and threaten back-field objectives. You can even use them as a screen. You could definitely take two or three of these squads and/or use outflanking despoilers to clog up the enemy DZ.

Between the recon squad and seekers, enemy characters will have a bad day, briefly. Seekers seem like one of the most underrated in the Heresy to me and this Rite lets you take them as troops – though without Line. In his seven games so far my Sergeant has disintegrated two special character Praetors. The rest of the squad just keeps killing marines and terminators all day, except when I get greedy and leave them where somebody can catch them.

That’s all on our allies post – more to come as we explore some of the weirder and more wonderful corners of the Heresy lists. We hope you’ve found this article useful; if you have any comments or feedback, please let us know here or at contact@goonhammer.com.