As our gaming group is looking to put together a combined Forge World order, I found myself looking at the Horus Heresy: Massacre previews on the FW site again. I noticed that the XVIII (Salamanders) Legion special rules are previewed in all their blurry glory. Some of the details of the Legions have been posted elsewhere (BoLS), but for those who don’t follow every single blog post on the interwebs, I’ll summarize them here.
Legion Special Rules
Strength of Will – Automatically pass Fear tests and MUST re-roll one D6 when a Morale or Pinning Test is failed. This does not help with other Leadership tests (Psykers, mindshackle scarabs, etc.) but notice it just says you “must re-roll a single D6″… Not the highest result, not both dice, just pick one and roll it again. So if you want to fail the test, you can re-roll the low number and keep your highest to maximize the odds of failing.
Promethean Cult – All hand flamers, flamers and heavy flamers in the detachment (including vehicles) are +1S … and if that’s not good enough for you then treat all enemy flamer-type weapons (as defined in the main 40k Rulebook, I would assume) are -1S against models with this rule. Very similar to the 40k Salamanders, who re-roll to wound and can re-roll saves versus flame weapons.
Nocturne Born – Salamanders don’t add their Initiative value to Sweeping Advances, and must subtract 1″ from both run and charge rolls (to a minimum of 1″). In a throwback to the old Armageddon pamphlet codex, these guys are seriously slow. Yikes. Since Legion armies don’t have ATSKNF, Sweeping Advances are quite important.
Force Organization Chart – Pyroclasts are Heavy Support, and Firedrake Terminators are Elites. I don’t yet know what that means in game terms, although Pyroclasts are power armor dudes in the books (Vulkan Lives by Nick Kyme) with funky flame gauntlets, for what that’s worth.
Moving on to the rest of the rules, we start with the special wargear that only Salamanders can use. No gladiator weapons or power scythes, but plenty of other goodies.
Artificer Weapons – Kinda like the new Iron Hands in the SM Codex, every character (sergeants included) can master-craft one of their weapons. They do pay 5 points though, but it’s no biggie.
Dragonscale Storm Shield – Storm Shields don’t exist yet in the 30k universe, so these prototype shields give a mere 5++ or bost an existing Invulnerable save by 1 (to a maximum of 3++). Cost is 10 pts for an IC with no Termi armor, or a Termi IC can swap their combi-bolter for 5 pts. Note: this will restrict their wargear options, as the shooty upgrades all replace the combi-bolter. Like regular 40k Storm Shields, they preclude the model from gaining +1A for two combat weapons. In terms of protection, they offer a bit more than a Boarding Shield (6++ at range, 5++ in melee, plus counts-as defensive grenades) and can stack with an Iron Halo or similar for a 3++. Not an auto include, but worth consideration along with the other Invulnerable save options.
Mantle of the Elder Drake – Another throwback item to the older Salamanders list, this grants a Praetor (Chapter Master equivalent) Eternal Warrior for 20 pts.
Purging Flame – All heavy bolters (and twin-linked heavy bolters) in the detachment can be swapped out for heavy flamers (or twin-linked heavy flamers, respectively) for free. This doesn’t seem all that crazy at first, as many vehicles have the option of either, but the infamous flying dong Jetbikes and Devastators spring to mind. A squad of 10x S6 heavy flamer Devs in a Rhino or a Jetbike unit with S6 heavy flamers really not that bad. They puke out a huge volume of AP4 wounds.
Furthermore, anyone who can take a plasma pistol can take an inferno pistol instead at the same price. OK, that’s not bad either. My first thought for abusing this is a Moritat with two inferno pistols (or one of each). He can pay to master-craft one as normal, and then pay to master-craft the other via Artificer Weapons. Since Moritats have been FAQ’ed to be unaffected by virtually any special rule conferred by other friendly models, including the Rite of War below and psychic powers like Prescience, it’s your best bet for some shoot until you run out of dice shenanigans.
Unique Rite of War – Consort of Fire
Those familiar with the Legion lists know that Rites of War are kinda like the boosted Chapter Tactics provided by some Marine special characters in 40k. Primarchs, Praetors and some special characters allow you to choose one Rite of War, which applies plenty of significant bonuses and penalties to your army. The Salamanders one is pretty rowdy…
Obsidian Forged – All vehicles gain 5++ against all plasma, volkite, flamer and melta weapons, including melta bombs. Yikes! The bad guys might want to pack some krak missiles and lascannons when facing the XVIII. If your plan is to punch a Land Raider to death, the guys inside are probably killing you already.
Veneration of Wrath – All meltas, multi-meltas and inferno pistols are master-crafted for free, and Pyroclast squads may be chosen as non-compulsory Troops choices. Since I don’t know what Pyroclasts are, I don’t know if that’s really a good thing or not. You can already take Tactical Support Squads as non-compulsory Troops and they pack up to 9 special weapons per unit.
Implacable – All models in the detachment gain Move Through Cover.
Looks pretty aggressive! I for one don’t want to stare down a Spartan with armored ceramite, a 5++ save and flare shields to reduce the strength of incoming shooting attacks. You’d never kill the damn thing! There are downsides though.
The detachment cannot deploy models via Deep Strike, also meaning that any unit which must deploy via Deep Strike cannot be selected.
The detachment also cannot take more Fast Attack and Heavy Support (combined) than Troops choices. So if you want all the toys, you need to max out your Troops too.
The detachment may not purchase Fortifications.
The detachment is restricted to one Consul (the specialized Captain equivalent dudes, including Librarians, Chaplains, Moritats, Masters of Signals, etc.). The exception is Legion Champions, who kinda suck but you can fill any remaining HQ slots with multiples of them. Even more free master-crafted weapons and WS6 are neat, but being forced to issue challenges is really a pain in the ass.
This restriction only really makes sense in the context of the Legion army rules. Their Force Organization Chart has three HQ slots instead of two and primarchs are Lords of War, using this unique slot when playing games of 2k or above. So it is actually possible to have multiple Consuls and a Praetor in a single detachment. If using the regular 40k rules, then you’d only be able to take a Praetor (to unlock Consort of Fire) and one Consul so the restriction would be pointless. But I digress…
All in all, Salamanders look pretty good. They are not particularly scary in combat, as they are slow when charging and the enemy will almost always crush them on Sweeping Advance rolls, but they remain as vicious at close range shooting as they are in 40k. Having more durable characters and vehicles, and Move Through Cover on every model are also nice perks. Never worry about your Land Raider getting stuck in the mud again!
Let me know what you think about the Legion special rules for my Sallies. I think they are pretty fun, and should open up some combos that nobody else would be using very often. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go take some aspirin, as all this squinting at blurry rules is giving me a headache…