Heresy Legion Tactics: Veteran Tactical Squad


Today Centurions, we study how to master a Space Marine Legion.  Veteran Tactical Legionaries are a precious resource – use them well.

Welcome to the Legion FOC Recruits

30k has FOCs (force organization charts) just like 40k and there are some good ones too such as the standard Age of Darkness (AoD) which allows you to field terminators and veteran tactical squads as troops which are both scoring units by selecting the Pride of the Legion (PotL) Rite of War (RoW). You’ll need an HQ that has the Master of the Legion (MotL) special rule that allows you to take a RoW.


It might seem a bit confusing at first but once you get the hang of it you’ll be cruising in no time. For example PotL allows you to field a first company composed solely of terminators for your troops which all score… This is how I run my Sons of Horus army.



Note that scoring units in 30k are not objective secured so most any other enemy unit can contest them… It’s a 30k thing. Also the AoD FOC allows you to field up to three HQ and four Elites plus one Lord of War which is fantastic. It has been said that the Battle for Calth boxed set was designed around the PotL RoW which while true to an extent can easily be used to design your army for other RoW simply by using the appropriate bits.



Tactical Veteran Squads

Veteran Tactical Squads (VTS) while expensive and fragile are a heavy hitting unit on par with the 40k Space Wolves Grey Hunters plus a full squad of ten can select up to two heavy weapons and/or special weapons… So for example a full squad could select one plasma gun and one heavy bolter with a suspensor belt which makes the Marine relentless firing at half range when he moves.

VTS also have access to power weapons and I typically kit mine with four to five power axes so they can dice terminators in melee. The sergeant has artificer armor for the 2+ save, a power fist and combi-flamer to round out the squad.

VTS also have access to veteran skills, one of which is the Sniper universal special rule (USR) which grants precision shots and rending for all shooting attacks which includes tossing a krak grenade and flamers. Sniper in my opinion is the best USR for VTS since it makes their shooting attacks extremely lethal. A rending flamer is lethal versus enemy terminators if you can get a clustered shot of prothemium… Of course it simply vaporizes Marines. The heavy bolter and plasma gun both excel at killing infantry plus armor too –

– Heavy Bolter: full range 36″ + 1/2 range 18″ – S5 AP4 – Heavy 3
Rending S5 is a maximum of S14 (5+6+3) so it can glance down land raiders.

– Plasma Gun: full range 24″ + 1/2 range 12″ – S7 AP2 – Rapid Fire
Rending S7 is a maximum of S16 (7+6+3) so it can easily penetrate land raiders and even Spartans with flare shields while maintaining AP2 for the +1 on the vehicle damage table since it’s a plasma weapon.

The heavy bolter and plasma gun are a great combination since it gives you great synergy between the two… Together they are deadly versus infantry and vehicles. Some will say not to mix weapons – for instance two heavy bolters combine for two more shots and high rate of fire is best for generating rending wounds plus you can shoot and assault but with the abundance of cover taken into account I’d rather go for more versatility.

Rhino Horus Heresy

I run my VTS in Rhinos with extra armor, dozer blade and a pintle mounted combi bolter. Alpha Legion can select their veteran skill (Sniper) and infiltrate or outflank as well due to their legion tactics which when combined is simply very dirty. VTS need a transport to keep them safe and the the Rhino is the most economically viable option. VTS is ideally a midfield unit unless they can outflank plus the transports protect them until you really need their guns blazing. The pintle mounted combi-bolter is cheap and helps to prevent immobilizing the Rhino if the transport should ever suffer one weapon destroyed result from an enemy attack.

VTS equipped as mine with some power axes are no slouches in close combat and have more attacks than the standard terminator. The sergeant is swinging his power fist for the instant death attacks… If you play Imperial Fists you can replace the power fist for a Solarite Gauntlet which functions just like a power fist, is AP1 and isn’t a specialist weapon so you benefit from the +1 attack due to the sergeant’s bolt pistol. I actually also opt for a combi flamer since its sniper as well and because its a template there is the possible opportunity to cover a good number of enemy models.

Effectiveness and Fragile
VTS are fragile with the majority 3+ armor save and aren’t cheap. Effective units in 30k tend not to be cheap though so “in for a penny, in for a pound” as the old saying goes. As I’ve stated above a transport is a great investment. Play smart and wait for the right opportunities to strike. Eventually an enemy unit will expose itself if you’re patient enough… You can get the drop. In terms of points players tend to field larger armies (e.g., 3k is typical) so really it’s a wash.


By using the right combinations to create your army list it’s possible to field VTS as a compulsory troop with Implacable Advance (i.e., scoring) which is a big deal. Properly played VTS are are a heavy hitting unit on par or even more effective than the 40k Space Wolf Grey Hunters. They have lots of great options and with the Sniper USR I’d rate them over the 40k Space Marine Sternguard.

~Now get out there Legionaries, the Heresy won’t fight itself!

  • Shiwan8

    Actually useful article, here. I’ve seen it all. Now, if we could just keep this direction and make something like this for everything in HH.

    • SilentPony

      Ehh…no not really. A lot of the information in the article is factually wrong. Lots of misreading of rules or simply not knowing what rules apply where.

      • Shiwan8

        Please do enlighten us of the mistakes he made.

        I’m still enjoying this more that the endless GW apologist rants.

        • SilentPony

          Sniper doesn’t cause Rending on 6s. You get no additional D3 S against vehicles, and heavy bolters have no chance of glancing a Land Raider to death.

          • Shiwan8

            That is true. I don’t see this marginal error making the article otherwise less useful. Minor mistakes or the lack of do not make or break an article.

  • Parthis

    Veteran squads are immensely powerful. I like to run a couple in my Raven Guard. Give them Rhinos, infiltrate them and hope Rending does some work. I tend not to give them special or heavy weapons – they’re infantry killers when run barebones with Sniper. The Mechanicum player in our group *hates* Vet squads 🙂

    For anyone wondering why you’d bother tacking normal tactical squads, four words… Fury of the Legion!

    But yeah, a good article and well written. I had to double check the site I was one. More please!

    • Shiwan8

      I’m more of a tac squad user. Those 50+ shots really do hurt pretty much anything not a vehicle or primarch.

      • Parthis

        They absolutely have their place. One of my regular opponents has some T6+ (and a couple of T8!) Mechanicum that standard tacticals struggle with, so I tend to gravitate towards Vets in metal boxes.

        Which legion do you play?

        • Shiwan8

          Word Bearers. They are the pinnacle of CSM, the army I would play if GW would reasonably let me do so. I love it how the wall of cannon fodder from cults charges forward while their masters do the meaningful stuff.

          • Word Bearers are my next army brah

          • Shiwan8

            Should have been your first!

            Seriously though, if you want to really dive in be prepared to paint cultists. 😀

          • Definitely plus some daemons too !

          • Shiwan8

            Do not forget to summon. We are the only ones that can. ^^

      • OldHat

        Plus they are dirt cheap for what they do.

    • Tigirus

      It really depends on the Legion, I play Imperial Fists so I much prefer 20 man tactical blobs. They all fire at BS 5 and as long as 1 guy is in cover the unit is stubborn. Combined with a legion Vexillia they’re really hard to shift.

  • I am trying to build something that would look like 2 Veteran Squad in Land Raiders with HBolter and plasma, one contemptor and one unit of palatine blades (emperor children). The idea is to have the land raider do the anti-tank role and infantry units fight other infantry.

    It’s around 2000pts. Any comments? I think that it’s really illustrates what is a pride of the legion for a small one like the emperor’s children.

    • An_Enemy

      I think you’d get tabled pretty fast personally.

      • 20 veterans, 2 LandRaiders, 10 Palatineblade with jumppack, 1 dreadnought, 1 HQ with JP and 1 Apothecary.

        The article here explains that veterans are good. So the only thing a bot expensive is the land raiders (rather than rhino). But they are AV 14 packed with twin-linked lascanon.

        What would be the weak point?

        • Eric Buchanan

          only having 33 models on the table in a 2000 pt army. You dont have enough bodies to ride out a few bad armour save roles.

          Land raiders are decent anti tank, but the Sicaran is in my opinion much more suited for the role (6 strength 6 shots with rending means it can glance or even pen anything but a spartan basically to death.)

          I think the price you pay for the combined transport and weapons of the land raider is too high. I’d use a rhino and sicaran the price wouldnt be that different. maybe 35 points.

          I want landraiders to be awesome but I think their cost is to great.

  • Mike Linke

    Sniper does not grant rending. Against models with toughness, it grants a rule very similar to rending. It does not grant the extra d3 strength against armor.

  • SilentPony

    Seriously Bells, where are you getting this information?! Do you guys even read the rulebooks at all?! This, plus that woeful podcast about the new FAQs…

    Sniper does NOT grant rending. It simply treats 6s as AP2, and I’m quoting here “Against Vehicles, shooting attacks from weapons and models with the Sniper special rule count as Strength 4”

    No additional D3, no Rending.

    • Everyone makes mistakes and this is just a hobby for some of us .

  • Alpharius

    You cannot use Rites of War with the alternate organization charts.