Oops, this is for Horus Heresy 1.0! – you might be after the updated article here.
The Space Marine Legions of the First Founding make up the core factions and conflict of the Horus Heresy. In our final article, we look at the Alpha and the Omega, and fill this article with hearsay, lies and facts of questionable provenance, as we look at the XX Legion – the Alpha Legion.
“There is no other Legion like the XX. Of all the mighty forces the Imperium commanded during the Great Crusade, there were none so wound about with falsehood, supposition and paradox than they….”
Well, we made it. Eighteen Legion Overview articles, and it is fitting that the final one looks at the final Legion, the Alpha Legion.
In writing this article, I knew I had to seek out some secret disciples of Alpharius himself (perhaps they are Alpharius? We can’t be sure). I put the word out, and I received a coded message stuffed into my pillowcase, wrapped in snakeskin. Once I’d worked it out, and found a USB hidden inside the Mastodon I’m currently building, I realised it was a wealth of information written by the mysterious @Omegonedge on Instagram – rumoured to be called Josh. As with all things Alpha Legion, it could all be lies…
In all seriousness, Josh is a well known figure in the UK Heresy scene, who has the Hydra tattooed on his heart; a true aficionado of this Legion. He’s kindly given me his insight and thoughts, which I’ve put in the usual “guest writing” way in the body of this article!
“What follows then is a fragmentary, and in parts contradictory, record…”
The Alpha Legion, the Salamanders and the Space Wolves were all members of the “Trefoil,” Legiones Astartes kept veiled and distant from the other Legions in the shadowdays of the Unification Wars. They each had, it seems, a unique purpose, although the exact nature of it is always going to be guesswork. The XX were, even amongst the Trefoil, singular and unique in the level of secrecy and security that the Emperor himself imposed. Little to nothing is known about how they were originally founded, and the historical record has been pieced together from fragments and anomalies; unknown Legiones Astartes units conducting abductions, assassinations and other clandestine missions where no Legion presence is otherwise recorded in the area. The evidence of their operations is partly construed from its absence.
There is no record of the source from which the XX took their gene-seed, but what is known is that the XX were not selected for full implantation and mass recruitment until relatively late on – limiting them initially to a mere few thousand Legionaries as the Unification Wars wrapped up and the Great Crusade began. Their battlefield performance – what is known of it, that is – was generally exemplary, so we can only hypothesise about why the Emperor kept them in “reserve” in this way rather than expanding the Legion as normal. One such theory is that they were a “control group” to measure gene seed deviation or distortion; another is simply there was a manpower shortage in trying to recruit for twenty separate Legions at once. (Editor’s Note: Some light is shed on this in the novel Alpharius: Head of the Hydra – you can read our review of that book here).
In any event, the Great Crusade was well underway before the XX Legion finally became more widely known. They had always been dogged by rumours and “sightings”, primarily related to putting down recidivism and petty rebellion which emerged in the wake of the Crusade’s main thrust; savage and uncompromising covert missions to put these down before they truly began. Thus, stories of the “Ghost Legion” began to spread. Careful and methodical examination of the datastacks and arcanlooms suggests the Alpha Legion played an increasingly wider role in the Crusade as time wore on, even if they always stood apart from their brothers. They held the line with the brothers in the third Rangdan Xenocide, with a mysterious and taciturn Primarch. They were quickly known for secrecy, augmented with talent and misdirection; rigidly organised, but unwilling to work closely with others.
The Alpha Legion, as they became known, were something of an oddity for the Imperialis Logistica, who could not even confirm basic details of their recruitment spheres, livery, operating strength or location. This was not helped by the Alpha Legion seemingly refusing to embrace any sort of consistency, calling themselves different names such as the “Harrowing”, or even using cognomen and phrases from recidivist populations the XX themselves were supposed to have eliminated. Their skill at planning and subterfuge was obviously compared to the Raven Guard, but they seemed to lack the empathy for human populations the sons of Corax harboured.
This brutality and seeming joy in the spectacle of massacring a confused and off-kilter foe earned the XX many victories in a surprisingly short space of time. It also earned them the ire and scorn of some of their brother Legions, many of whom were suspicious by default of the Alpha Legion’s motives. Guilliman, Mortarion and Dorn expressed their disdain for their brother Alpharius on more than one occasion, and even Konrad Curze openly condemned them.
They did have one, notable, ally – Horus Lupercal. The future Warmaster saw the XX has a unique weapon, and felt he could not ignore their superb military record, particularly in more difficult exercises such as hunting down roaming xenos threats and swift moving nomadic foes. Upon his ascension to Warmaster, Horus gave more autonomy and independence to Alpharius and his warriors, although there is a suggestion that even he began to doubt his own understanding of the XX and his control of them as the Heresy began. As the Heresy loomed, Alpharius withdrew with the bulk of his warriors into the far fringes of known space, lurking in the darkness between stars, further shrouding their disposition and abilities in mystery. This positioned them well to make the maximum impact when the war began.
There is, of course, no point in this analysis trying to determine or discuss the origins and history of Alpharius. Dozens of stories exist, from the primarch being the sole survivor on an entirely dead and haunted world, to having been a prisoner of the grim Slaugth. Whether these are true will likely never be confirmed, though what has been whispered and suggested was that Alpharius had a twin, a twenty-first Primarch, named Omegon, and the two were one soul in twin bodies.
The veracity of that staggering secret is, of course, a subject for debate.
During the Heresy
“What then is the truth, if recorded facts suggest none of these accounts are real…?”
The Alpha Legion were presumed, tragically incorrectly, to be Loyalists at the outset of the Drop Site Massacre. They were among the second wave of Astartes who turned on the Iron Hands, Salamanders, and Raven Guard, slaughtering their brother Legionaries. To the horror of the Loyalists, they discovered that the Alpha Legion had even infiltrated their Legion structure as part of the preparations for their treachery (or simply just in case it was needed). The Raven Guard were particularly hard hit by this.
Masters of disinformation, the XX were instrumental in spreading confusion about what had happened at the Drop Site Massacre, and whether or not Horus had turned on the Emperor. As the Heresy progressed the Alpha Legion continued to scheme and ensnare the Loyalists, focusing in the Chondax System to blockade the White Scars, before the latter broke free – whether or not this was permitted by the Alpha Legion command will never be known. Shortly after was the savage battle of the Alaxxes Nebula, where a weakened post-Prospero Vlka Fenryka were set upon and almost destroyed by Alpharius and his fleet. Only the last-minute, and wholly unexpected, intervention of the First Legion saved the Wolves and forced the XX to withdraw.
Subsequent events are hard to track. It is known that the XX were pivotal to the Traitor cause in laying the groundwork for the Solar War, infiltrating the Sol System to disrupt the defences and protocols of the Praetorian. Matters came to a head in the Battle of Pluto, which was intended to plunge the entire Solar System into chaos through sabotage and preparation. Here, Alpharius seemingly miscalculated, getting mired in single combat with his brother Dorn. After a legendary clash of brothers, Alpharius’ hands were severed and he was seemingly slain by Storm’s Teeth. How this reconciles with the fact a Primarch calling himself Alpharius appeared shortly after to lead delaying actions to disrupt reinforcements reaching Terra is, of course, unknown…
Legion Special Rules
The Alpha Legion have their rules in the Legiones Astartes – Age of Darkness Legions “red book”. Their rules are probably the most potentially complicated of the Legions, but also the most flexible – as you would expect from the XX!
An Alpha Legion army must pick one of a set of special rules when you pick Warlord Traits, which then applies to all Legiones Astartes (Alpha Legion) for the duration of the game. The rules you can choose from are:
- Tank Hunters
- Move Through Cover
- Adamantium Will.
In any mission where secondary objectives are used, and an Alpha Legion army is the primary detachment, your opponent gets +1 VP if more Alpha Legion units are destroyed than that of your opponent at the end of the game.
Breaking these down, Martial Hubris is a debuff but not necessarily a crippling one – just be careful if you field a lot of smaller units or individual models such as Contemptors, which can make it easy for your opponent to rack up unit kills. Mutable Tactics on the other hand is where the money is – a hugely flexible and potentially powerful rule. Note that (while some events might use different rules) you can pick this once you see your opponent’s list. This is sort of deliberate “list tailoring” which is peak Alpha Legion. A gunline enemy? Why not Infiltrate or Scout to put pressure on. Lots of enemy melee? Counter-Attack gives you a good punch! Dense terrain? Move Through Cover is your friend.
I would say Tank Hunters might not get as much use as unless the units have weapons which can use it, it isn’t quite as “army-wide” as the others. Adamantium Will… well, yeah, you aren’t going to use that.
Omegonedge: Kel Silonius, at the battle of Terra, said “The day our legion stays the same is the day we die.” Unlike many of their brother legions, the Alpha Legion pride themselves on their ability to adapt to any and every situation. Mission parameters change mid engagement, sacrifices are made to achieve victory by any means necessary. This allows the Alpha Legion to continuously surprise and overwhelm their adversaries and change their approach to any foe they may encounter.
Mutable Tactics is perhaps one of the most powerful Legiones Astartes special rules in the game. While this rule does not introduce any new abilities, it can completely change the way the army plays, allowing a player to use the same army list in a multitude of ways.
Looking at each in turn:
- Infiltrate – One of the more commonly selected special rules. On a few units this ability is quite useful, allowing you to counter-deploy and respond to where your opponent places their units. When given to an entire force with Mutable Tactics it can be truly devastating. The deployment phase is where the Alpha Legion can truly set themselves up for victory. It allows them to deploy away ahead of their own deployment zone and surround their enemies for a final harrowing. Any unit who takes Infiltrate also gains the Outflank special rule, meaning that they are able to arrive from reserve from turn 2 onwards and cut across the flanks of the enemy. Just bear in mind, units who infiltrate can move as normal, however they can’t charge on the first turn so don’t leave them out in the open…
- Scout – This rule also confers the Outflank special rule. Some advantages of this rule are the ability to redeploy after an opponent’s deployment to correct any mistakes or get within Rapid Fire range with plasma weaponry if you’re able to secure first turn. If you’ve decided to take Assault Marines you can also deploy fairly nearby and in line of sight blocking terrain/cover, for a nasty charge next turn. Just remember, you can’t charge after your Scout move, but you leave your units open to being charged from other units.
- Tank Hunters – If you provide Veterans with Scout (using their own rules) and Tank Hunters, as well as combi plasma weapons, or a Heavy Weapons team,, you could eliminate most of an opposing player’s vehicle in the first turn. Especially if you are able to deploy and get shots on the rear or side armour. It can also help if a unit gets into combat with a Leviathan Dreadnought, allowing you to reroll failed penetration hits, but it is of course a gamble.
- Counterattack – With the ability to upgrade Tactical or Veteran units with close combat weapons, squads which find themselves within charge range of opposing units now have the ability to hold their own by striking back against opposing players and sometimes wiping out other squads. It is however more situational as Alpha Legion should not find themselves in situations where they can be charged.
- Move Through Cover – When fighting on board with a lot of cover, this ability becomes invaluable, it allows the Alpha Legion player to out manoeuvre their opponents and get into positions with relative ease. Use this tactic if you have Legion Seekers or Legion Assault Marines, which will allow you to move or jump into cover without fear of taking casualties.
- Counter Attack – This rule gives a unit +1 attack when they are charged and has no effect if the unit is already engaged in combat. This allows your marines to become quite versatile making up for the weakness of not having a hard-hitting close combat unit in the force.
- Adamantium Will – The unit receives a +1 bonus to Deny the Witch tests. This is very situational and as a result the least useful tactic an Alpha Legion player can take. I believe that is due to the fact that so few players use psykers in their forces. It can come in handy when up against Thousand Sons players, but you’d be much better off choosing literally anything else!
The Alpha Legion have, as you might expect from such a mysterious and secretive Legion, a range of special wargear, including a unique Consul – the Saboteur.
The Saboteur is a 35-point upgrade which gives the Consul free melta bombs and Cameleoline. They are a Lone Killer (support HQ and have to be on their own), and automatically begin the game in Reserve, but do not count towards any Reserves limit. They have Outflank. They cannot take Terminator armour, Jump Packs, Bikes, Jetbikes, Power Fists, Thunder Hammers or Boarding Shields (try sneaking with those!)
The main reason you want a Saboteur is for the Sabotage ability – when the Saboteur enters play, you make a Sabotage attack, which is on a single enemy unit or fortification (although not Independent Characters in units, or units in transports). The unit takes D6 S 6 AP 3 hits, or a single automatic AP 2 penetrating hit, with no cover saves allowed. This is a bit of a mixed bag, in my view – quite expensive and an HQ slot, but also hilarious and very fluffy. Consuls are no joke in a fight so a Saboteur with some upgrades could cause a ruckus in the enemy backfield as well.
Omegonedge: One of my favourite units, due to his sheer rage-inducing effectiveness. Unlike other Legions who see infiltration, assassination and sabotage as cowardice, the Alpha Legion excel in this area through their unrivalled ability for covert ops. Saboteurs wreak havoc and discord whenever they reveal themselves, often devastating enemy supply lines or killing key units before the enemy has a chance to respond. Somewhere between a Vigilator and a Seeker unit, these guys are incredibly fluffy and effective.
- Power Daggers – +5 pts for any character model with Legiones Astartes (Alpha Legion), these are S -1(!), AP 3, Rending. The real secret is that they are Specialist Weapons, meaning you are effectively buying +1 Attack for things like Paragon Blades or Power Weapons. Sneaky sneaky…Omegonedge – an absolute must on any Character or Independent Character. The key point is the Specialist Weapon part, as this negates the loss of an attack if your character is equipped with a specialist weapon. Allows your Praetor to unleash up to 7 attacks on the charge.
- Venom Spheres – A Praetor, Centurion, Consul, Techmarine or Apothecary with Legiones Astartes (Alpha Legion) who has frag grenades can take these for +5 pts, or Veteran Tactical, Seeker or Destroyer Squads can take them for +25 pts per squad. These grant Hammer of Wrath. Not too bad. Omegonedge: highly effective when multiple models are able to get into close combat.
- Venom Sphere Harness – A One Shot weapon which is an upgrade for Terminators, giving an Assault 2, Blast, S 3 AP – 8” shot, but then giving the benefits of Assault grenades and Hammer of Wrath. Again, not too bad.
- Banestrike Bolter Rounds – Mysterious shells fielded by the Sons of Horus and Alpha Legion, these can be given to Legion Seeker Squads in exchange for the Scorpius ammunition, or +20 pt upgrades to Veteran Tacticals or Terminator Squads. You can also give it to Independent Characters for +5 pts. It only works in Bolt weapons, reducing their range to 18”, but giving them Banestrike, which is AP 3 on a 6 to Wound. Not too bad, but quite expensive and situational. Omegonedge: pretty useless against units in power armour, mainly as it’s so expensive and most squads have a character in Artificer plate.
Legion Rites of War
The XX have two Rites of War, The Coils of the Hydra and Headhunter Leviathal.
The Coils of the Hydra
A really, really fun Rite of War, this is intended to represent a classic shadowy, deceitful force, confusing and putting the foe off-balance. To take this Rite, you must take an additional compulsory Troops choice, you cannot take any Infantry which cannot either Infiltrate, Deep Strike or have a Dedicated Transport, and you can only take a single additional non-Vigilator Consul, and no allies or Fortifications.
The advantages are great. Subterfuge gives +1 to the first turn roll, and allows a re-roll of Seize the Initiative – which can be very damaging to the opponent! Signal Corruption puts enemy reserves at -1, which is hugely powerful given you often have to buy very expensive units or upgrades to impose that. Now… the really fun bit, The Rewards of Treason. An Alpha Legion force using this Rite of War in their Primary Detachment can take a Legion Specific unit belonging to another Legion as an Elites choice, but it has Legiones Astartes (Alpha Legion), not the rules of that Legion. Oh boy… Tyrant Siege Terminators? Firedrakes? White Scars heavy speeders? The list is endless – and the painting and modelling opportunities are too. I have seen some amazing conversions done for this, and it is definitely a rule which attracts a lot of people to this army. Don’t forget they would get Mutable Tactics, so things like Tank Hunters can suddenly be very interesting.
This is intended to represent another staple of the Alpha Legion – discrete, powerful forces working independently, deep behind enemy lines on specific, clandestine missions. To take this, you must put any vehicles in Reserves, cannot take Allies, and if you fail to kill the enemy Warlord, the opponent gets D3 extra VP. You must also take Headhunter Kill Teams as compulsory Troops (and they generally become Troops). In terms of the specific benefits, you can re-roll the dice for first turn with Sudden Strike and have the False Flags ability, which means in the first game turn, the enemy must take a Leadership test to shoot an Alpha Legion unit – if it fails, it cannot then fire at all, although Overwatch is unaffected and no test is needed if the Alpha Legion have already shot at that unit.
I want to like this Rite, I think it is a cool idea. False Flags though, being only turn 1 where the incentive is for you to have the first turn (and so shoot and negate its benefit), is very underwhelming. Many units in Heresy have great Leadership – 9-10 is not uncommon – so this is not going to do very much to protect your men as they move up. It is also a shame that the killing the Warlord is only ever a negative thing if you fail to do it – I would have thought some bonuses for taking out the leader would be cool.
Legion Special Units
Technically, if you take Coils of the Hydra, all special units are Alpha Legion special units… but lets not split hairs! The Alpha Legion have some great looking characters and units to choose from, as outlined below.
Headhunter Kill Teams
A variant on the Seeker Squad, refined and perfected by the XX into aggressive kill teams, focused on causing chaos and sowing confusion into the enemy ranks through targeted assassinations, infiltration and subterfuge.
A Headhunter team is 175 pts for 5 models, which have standard Marine statlines, albeit with BS 5. The main benefit comes not from their stats, but from their equipment and rules; they all have Infiltrate and Precision Shot, and come with power daggers, combi-bolters with Banestrike ammunition, and Venom spheres. Note they have been FAQ’d to also have Preferred Enemy: Infantry and be scoring, which is helpful.
This is a nice loadout, but at +25 pts each and a relatively limited number of upgrades to then take (mainly just combi-weapons for 7 pts, or a Heavy Bolter with a suspensor web and Banestrike ammunition), I am not sure exactly what these guys are supposed to do. It doesn’t seem worth it to put them in a Rhino or Dreadclaw (as their Dedicated options) as they then lose Infiltrate, but I suppose if you take these then you can use a different Mutable Tactic. Precision Shot is a bit lame, and I just feel they aren’t going to be doing much that another Fast Attack choice could be doing.
But what do I know… let’s ask Omegonedge:
Omegonedge: Probably my second favourite units in the 30k universe, these have a rather cool concept being elite Legion Seekers, however they are more of a mid to close range unit. They are, in my view, let down in three areas – they are overcosted for their role, they only have one type of specialist ammunition, and its not clear what role they are designed to fulfil (Lord Twisted: Hah! I knew it!)
Headhunters trade all their variants for Banestrike, which means they need to get close to do dirty work, and cannot charge after rapid firing. Power daggers and venom spheres are useful, but, again, you can’t charge after rapid firing. That being said, I have found a lot of success using Headhunters in my own forces. The unit comes with Infiltrate and Preferred Enemy: Infantry, allowing you to delete opposing units easily especially when equipped with combi plasma weapons at +7 points per model, which is unfortunately +2 points more expensive than their Seeker counterparts. They can also take a Dreadclaw or a Rhino, allowing them to reposition fairly quickly. Lastly the units have Implacable Advance and thus count as Scoring units.
Lernean Terminator Squad
The Lerneans, like many parts of the Alpha Legion, are shrouded in mystery; but this is not necessarily because they try to cover up their existence, but rather because they leave no witnesses behind when they strike. When the Lernean are deployed, subtle action and clandestine warfare has been abandoned, and instead the Hydra’s teeth are unleashed to rip the enemy to pieces.
Lerneans have absolutely amazing models – I love the scale armour, and have used it in my Salamanders conversions. They are 225 pts for 5 Cataphractii Terminators with WS 5, and Power axes with Volkite Chargers. They are Stubborn and scoring. Quite a nice start, and the upgrades can be fun – they can take a Conversion beamer, which is hilarious, and up to 10 Lerneans, with Power fists not too expensive. Overall though, I again question slightly what these are doing which normal Terminators can’t do – the Volkite are nice, and Stubborn is create, but you are paying a little over the odds for essentially WS 5. Still… those models…
Omegonedge: The Alpha Legion Elite terminators. Unlike their Power armoured incognito brethren, Lernean Terminators are heavy blade of the Legion. They’re generally an excellent unit although being one wound hurts them. Despite that, having WS 5 means and being armed in Cataphractii armour means they can hold their own against most Terminator counterparts. However I would day their greatest advantage comes from their versatility. Being armed with Volkite chargers is nothing to sleep on, and I’ve seen the Deflagrate dispose of entire units. Being able to take the Conversion Beamer allows this unit to take an objective and still have influence over the battle from afar. You will probably want this unit in mid to close range firefights, however, where they can bring all of their weaponry to bear.
Legion Special Characters
Armillus Dynat – Harrowmaster of the Alpha Legion, Griefbringer, Instar-Nine
The Legion disposition and structure of the Alpha Legion is almost wholly unknown, so the fact there is even a pict-capture of Dynat is astonishing in itself. Whether he is a senior officer or otherwise is, of course, a mystery, but his efficacy and bearing suggests he may be the equivalent of a First Captain (to the extent the XX bother with such rigid chains of command).
Dynat, as a Traitor-only Harrowmaster, is a Praetor statline with a 2+/4++, Venom spheres, a Thunder hammer, Power sword, Phosphex bomb and a Cognis Signum, meaning his wargear alone makes him ready for anything. He has Weapon Mastery, meaning he can use both the sword and hammer simultaneously, splitting his 6 Attacks on the charge as he wants, with Precision Strike. This is nothing to joke about, as it means in a combat he can use his I 5 for some hits, and then mop up with the hammer at I 1.
Dynat then is a Master of the Legion and has the Hammerstrike Assault Warlord Trait, giving a unit Deep Strike for free, with a re-roll on the scatter; really nice and flexible! He also must be the Warlord unless Alpharius is present.
Finally, he has The Harrowing ability, which means when in the enemy deployment zone, all Legiones Astartes (Alpha Legion) and Alpha Legion Dreadnoughts can re-roll Sweeping Advance rolls and add +1 to Vehicle Damage results. This is huge, as it means you can Explodes! vehicles without needing AP 2 or better. Use that Deep Strike ability and go wild.
Omegonedge: Like the rest of his HQ counterparts , Dyant, despite being armed with a Thunder Hammer and Power Sword, is a support commander. He focuses on surveying the battlefield from afar and confers some excellent special rules that enhances the effectiveness of the units in his detachment. The Harrowing means if you put this guy at the head of an orbital assault list, give the Legion the mutable tactic Tank Hunters, you will wreak havoc amongst your opponents’ line as you proceed to delete their forces. With his Warlord Trait, can I suggest Deep Striking Saboteurs or Lernaean Terminators?
Autilon Skorr – Consul-Delegatus
Skorr is found in Book 6: Retribution, and is an Alpha Legion Consul who led a doomed attack on Epsilon Stranivar IX, marring his otherwise spotless battle record. With this disgrace he was exiled to distant battlefields, ending up fighting the Mezoan campaign… and earning the ire of his Iron Warrior allies with his utter disregard for their lives in doing so.
Skorr is a cheap 125 pt Consul with a Master-Crafted Power Axe, Artificer Armour, a 2+/5++ and Master fo the Legion. He’s also Desperate For Glory which allows him to automatically choose to play another game turn rather than rolling for it, if there is Variable Game Length. During that final turn, he gets Feel No Pain (3+) and Fearless, which is brilliant fun! He can also choose his Warlord Trait, which is pretty good.
All in all, in smaller games he is definitely worth a look, in my opinion. Flexible, can pack a late-game punch, and not bad equipment for his cost.
Exodus – The Assassin
Mysterious even by the standards of the Alpha Legion, and potentially multiple individuals using one name, Exodus is an elite assassin operating under the command of the upper echelons of the XX. He is a Consul statline, costing 115 pts, with a 3+ save, Venom spheres, Melta bombs, a Power dagger, Cameleoline, and a weapon simply called The Instrument. This is a unique sniper rifle which has either a Rapid Shot, or an Execution Shot. The Rapid Shot is 26” S 5, AP 4, Salvo 2/4, Rending, and the Execution Shot is S 6, AP 3, Heavy 1, Rending, Ignores Cover and does 2 Wounds on any unsaved hit. Exodus has an Assassin’s Shot, meaning he hits on 2+, but if you roll a 4+ to hit then you can choose which model is hit, as long as you can see it in the unit. He then has Scout, Move Through Cover, Infiltrate, Acute Senses and It Will Not Die, and also cannot be the Warlord, is a support HQ, and can only join a Reconnaissance squad or Headhunter Kill Team.
Overall, I love the fluff of Exodus, and he’s not that expensive. However, the AP 3 and AP 4 (even with Rending) is what absolutely lets him down; if he was AP 2 you could try to punch away Sergeants and Apothecaries all over the shop, which would be amazing, and finish off enemy Praetors and the like. As he is… well, perhaps save him for narrative games.
Omegonedge: Exodus in contrast to Dynat is a bit underwhelming. He is a harassment unit and suited to picking off high profile units, but at 115 points and his ineffectiveness at achieving that goal there are better units to spend the points on. Rapid shot isn’t really a problem, if you expect him to be on the move, but you are more likely taking him for the Execution Shot profile, which is again underwhelming as :
- Most characters wear Artificer Armour or have an Invulnerable save; and
- Units with FNP can shrug off the wound.
That being said, if you really do want to take him, have him focus down special weapons Infantry or characters not wearing Artificer armour.
Alpharius – Primarch of the Alpha Legion, the Aleph Null, the Hydra, The Threefold Serpent, the Final Configuration
“Of all the Primarchs of the Legiones Astartes, Alpharius is without doubt the most steeped in mystery, legend, contradiction and deliberate falsification….”
Truer words were never spoken (ironically, given it is the XX)… Alpharius is completely unknowable. Coming in at 415 pts, he has a standard Primarch statline save for WS and BS 7. So, he’s about average cost, and about average stats… why would you take him?
Well, Sire of the Alpha Legion is extremely good. It gives Alpharius Preferred Enemy (Everything), Counter-Attack, Move Through Cover, Scout and Crusader once his presence is revealed (see below), and gives Legiones Astartes (Alpha Legion) Preferred Enemy (Everything) when he is revealed on the table. That is absolutely stunning as an upgrade, as it massively boosts the output of nearly all your units. Truly game-changing.
Alpharius is One of Many, which is a really, really fun rule! You can, if you wish, choose to deploy Alpharius in a very unique way. After both sides are deployed, you secretly write down which Infantry unit Alpharius is in. From Turn 2 onwards, you can reveal this note to your opponent, and Alpharius then replaces a single normal (non-Character) model in that unit, which is lost. Alpharius can even do this in a transport, as long as there is room for him (he is Bulky). It automatically rallies any falling back units, and happens automatically on Turn 5.
This is great, and so fluffy. I’ve had him pop up in a Tactical squad I had dismissed, and proceed to butcher half my battleline – absolutely iconically Alpha Legion!
Alpharius is an Insidious Mastermind, “perhaps the most devious commander in the Imperium.” He allows the Alpha Legion player to Seize on a 4+ (!), add +D3” to the movement of Outflanking models, and best of all, from Turn 2 onwards when your opponent brings in a unit from reserve, and the Alpha Legion have a unit of the same type in reserve, on a 4+ they can bring the Alpha Legion one on instead. That is absolutely hilarious, and they can then Outflank in doing so.
He has Venom spheres, a Master-crafted plasma blaster, Cameleoline, a Nuncio-vox, and then The Pale Spear and The Pythian Scales. This makes him, by default, quite flexible and augments other troops in your army.
The Pythian Scales give him a 2+/4++, and immunity to Poison and Fleshbane, which is quite nice. The Pale Spear is an esoteric, and potentially Necrontyr, weapon, giving him AP 1, Armourbane, Instant Death attacks; extremely nasty and makes Alpharius massively flexible.
Overall, Alpharius fundamentally changes the way your list will play if you take him – he is not a one trick pony like, say, Vulkan, but a bit more like Perturabo; a support Primarch as well as one who can get into a fight and walk away the victor unless against a top tier opponent like Horus or Guilliman.
So, what does Omegonedge think of him?
Omegonedge: So finally, we’ve made it to the big boy himself, The Hydra, The Final Configuration and The Lord of the XXth. The meme made manifest, Alpharius is the master of espionage and deception. He is one of, if not the, best force multiplier in the game is no slouch in combat with a dizzying array of weaponry. This Primarch allows the user to lay plans within plans, lies within lies…
Looking at his wargear, the Pythian Scales is not the best invulnerable save but not the worst. Remember the immunity rules as they are quite useful and easy to forget – just in case a sneaky player tries to out sneak you! The Pale Spear is a truly terrifying weapon; it makes Alpharius one of the few Primarchs with the Instant Death as a base special rule, and allows him to deal with Dreadnoughts with Armourbane. You don’t get the extra attack for two “melee” weapons but it is irrelevant when you have Instant Death!
Despite the above armaments my brother (LordTwisted: Wait, brother? Who is passing this secret information to me?! Is that you, Alpharius??) does not excel at close combat, and you want to keep him out of danger due to the army-wide buffs he can confer just from being on the table. Whilst its true, he is a Primarch and will make short work of lesser beings, when up against an opponent with Eternal Warrior he may struggle.
Looking at his passive abilities… Sire of the Alpha Legion more than pays for his points by giving everything Preferred Enemy: Everything, and keeps him mobile and protects him if he gets charged. The One of Many rule can be a very useful ability to ambush an enemy, but I would caution it might not be the most optimal use of this Primarch. Remember, while he is hidden you do not benefit from Sire of the Alpha Legion, and Bulky means you cannot put him into transports unless there is space, and you kill a model by replacing him, so this needs to be factored into the points.
Sample Army List
Alpha Legion are hard to write a sample list for, as frankly you can do an enormous amount with them as an army, and take them in a large number of different directions, all of which play really well as they can use Mutable Tactics. What I am going for here is something which provides a good core in 1,500 pts for you to then take in your own direction.
Rite of War: Coils of the Hydra
- HQ – Praetor with Paragon Blade, Iron Halo, Paragon Blade, Power Dagger, Melta Bomb, Digital Lasers, Jump Pack
- HQ – Saboteur with Volkite Charger, Power Dagger, Power Weapon
- Elites – (Rewards of Treason) – x5 Tyrant Siege Terminators in a Land Raider Phobos
- Troops – x14 Assault Marines with a Power Dagger/Power Fist/Artificer Sergeant
- Troops – x15 Tactical Marines with a Power Dagger/Power Fist/Artificer Sergeant
- Troops – x10 Tactical Marines with a Power Dagger/Power Fist/Artificer Sergeant in a Rhino with a Dozer Blade
This is a fair block of troops, but I think it gives flexibility with Mutable Tactics to do a lot of Scouting, Outflanking or Infiltrating. The Tyrants and Praetor squad are your heavy hitters, with the Tactical Marines providing backup. The Saboteur is there to be a backfield threat and damage a valuable enemy vehicle with an AP 2 Penetrating Hit.
To expand this, it depends how you like to play, but I would suggest some Land Speeders, Apothecaries, and Contemptors.
We Are Alpharius
It’s not clear whether anything written above is true, or accurate; with the Alpha Legion, the best you can do is guess. With a wide variety of possible paint schemes to go for, you can have a lot of fun with this particular army, and they have a great theme and amazing decals. Now… we’ve reached the end of the road. No more Legions remain, so we will have to cogitate upon what is up next. Check out the rest of the amazing articles on Goonhammer in the meantime, and if you have any questions or feedback, or future requests, shoot us an email at email@example.com.