Traitor Legions: Alpha Legion Tactica


Hey everybody, Adam here, from TFG Radio, and today I’ll be talking about the XXth Legion, the venomous Alpha Legion.

As always, for more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!


The Alpha Legion was one of the last legions whose primarch(s) was rediscovered by the Emperor. As a result, they were always trying to show that they were as good as older and the more established legions that had their primarchs for a while. They sided with Horus during the heresy, for reasons that only they know, and continue to cause dissent and insurrection in the Imperium to this day. This article will go over their rules and formations with the new book.


Alpha Legion Special Rules

  • No unique units
  • Units that have a Mark of Chaos cannot be taken
  • Units that are able to take Veterans of the Long War(VotLW) must do so for free
  • Units cannot be upgraded to take any Mark of Chaos
  • Daemons that are psykers can choose powers from their appropriate chart

No access to the marks is kind of a bummer but fits current fluff. Even with no mark, their sorcerers can still summon daemons. I do wish that Games Workshop would have at least acknowledged their characters from Forge World as there is an Alpha Legion character that could be used as an HQ – Arkos the Faithless. I don’t think it should be a problem if you want to use him in this army.

Alpha Legion Formation/Detachment Benefits

Units in a Alpha Legion Formation/Detachment gain the following:

  • Forward Operatives – Chosen are troops. Chosen, Chaos Space Marine(CSM), and cultists have infiltrate.
  • Many Heads of the Hydra – If your warlord is slain, you may choose another character to be your warlord. You roll again on the Warlord Chart for the new warlord. Your opponent can only get the Slay the Warlord point in a mission by killing all the characters in your army.

Getting some type of non-troop unit as troops seems to be the norm now with the legions and Chosen being troops isn’t a bad thing. This really only matters if you are planning to use a combined arms detachment (CAD). This is still useful as there are formats that only allow a CAD. One of the big things is that you get infiltrate for free for your troop units. This is pretty big as this allows you much more flexibility in your army’s options to movement and really helps with the next rule. The “Many Heads of the Hydra” rule is a new, fun way to troll your opponent. The ability to create a new warlord, when the first one dies, can have a huge impact on your game. It denies the “slay the warlord” victory point until all characters are dead. So, if all your character models are dead you have probably already lost the game.


Warlord Traits

  1. Forward Agent – Warlord has the Infiltrate rule.
  2. Fearless Commander – Warlord may switch places with a character once per battle at the start of your turn.
  3. Expert Timing – After turn 1, a unit in reserve auto-arrives.
  4. Hidden in Plain Sight – Warlord has stealth.
  5. Cult Leader – Cultists with 12” of your warlord have furious charge and feel no pain(6+)
  6. Alpha Strategist – Warlord has acute senses and outflank.

I can’t see any of these warlord traits as anything but useful. Whether it’s infiltrating, stealth or making sure a unit arrives when you want, they are all good for the start of the game. Once the game gets going, however, about half of them are not as helpful. This is still one of the better warlord trait tables I have seen and, if enough guys are dying, you can still roll a suitable one during the course of a game.

Alpha Legion Artifacts

  • Icon of Insurrection (25pts) – Cultist units with 12” of the bearer have the Zealot special rule.
  • Blade of the Hydra (30pts) – S User AP5, melee, daemon weapon, rending, multi headed (for every 6 to hit rolled, roll another die until you stop rolling 6’s.
  • The Mindveil (30pts) – Can move 3d6 and start of movement phase. If locked in combat enemy cannot consolidate.
  • Viper’s Bite (15pts) – 24″ range, S5 AP2, rapid fire
  • Drakescale Plate (25pts) – 2+ save, 2+ invulnerable against flamer weapons
  • Hydra’s Teeth (15pts) – Bolter gets blast, ignores cover, Poison(2+)

All of the wargear for the Alpha Legion is very useful and, I think, costed appropriately. Giving cultists zealot is good, unless you want them to die. I’m not a big fan of the exploding 6 mechanic in generally but this make the Blade of Hydra good, fluffy and only AP 5 so not too overpowered. The two weapon artifacts are ok but don’t really excite me. the armor is good but no regular invulnerable brings it down a notch. The gem may likely be the Mindveil. Being able to move 3d6, instead of your normal move, is nice, but the real prize is being able to, basically, hit and run without rolling an initiative test, and you can do it every turn! The other benefit is that your opponent cannot consolidate, leave them, usually, in a perfect position for your heldrakes.


Sons of Alpharius

Next we have the Alpha Legion “Decurion”, so here is what we get.


  • Must include 1 Core and 1 Auxiliary choice. May include up to 4 Command choices and any number of additional Core, and Auxiliary choices.

Command Benefits

  • I am Alpharius – Reroll Alpha Legion Warlord chart
  • Hidden Deployment – All non-vehicle units have Shrouded in the 1st turn
  • Cult Uprising – Each time a cultist unit is destroyed, on a 4+ an identical new unit is placed in ongoing reserves.

Again, rerolling the Warlord chart seems standard and getting shrouded, along with stealth, can help give you a possible 4+ cover save in the open. However both come in a distant second to the Cult Uprising. This rule give you a NEW unit when the old one is destroyed. They do have to come on from your table edge but this is still really good as I will discuss it in the next section.

alpha - Copy

Alpha Legion Insurgency Force


  • Chaos Warband


  • Lord of the Legion


  • Lost and the Damned
  • Helforged Warpack
  • Heldrake Terror Pack
  • Favoured of Chaos
  • Cult of Destruction
  • Fist of the Gods
  • Raptor Talon
  • Terminator Annihilation Force
  • Spawn

Unlike the Black Legion  “Decurion”, the Alpha Legion is able to take advantage of the objective secured special rule from the Chaos Warband. What you will probably see is the Lost and the Damned detachment along with the Chaos Warband. This detachment also has the Cult Uprising special rule as the formation but is worded a bit different. In this version, when a cult unit dies, on a 4+ that cult unit returns and is placed in ongoing reserves and outflanking. What this mean is that for every chaos cult unit that is destroyed, there is a good possibility that 2 will take it’s place. One from the “Decurion” formation special rule, on a 4+, and the other from the Lost and the Damned formation special rule, also on a 4+.  So, after destroying a unit, you could possibly be facing 2 more units coming in from 2 different directions! Add to that the Many Heads of the Hydra rule and you’ll never get slay the warlord no matter how many turns you play.

Overall I think the Alpha Legion rules are very fun and fluffy. I can also see them being a very frustrating army to play against and the troll potential is there with cultists that come back and a warlord that never dies.

~Well I hope you enjoyed this article. “For the Emperor”

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  • Latro_the_Zombie

    Technically the command benifit new cultists also get outflank since its an ‘identical unit’ the unit that destroyed was alpha legion cultists who had infiltrate, infiltrate automatically gives you outflank… maybe amend the article?

    • nurglitch

      The rules for ongoing reserves specifically forbid units in ongoing reserve from outflanking. Presumably it’ll be FAQ’d at some point.

      • Latro_the_Zombie

        That would suggest neither of the units from either of the two rules would be able to outflank.

        • BurpinforDayz

          Fraid so

        • nurglitch


        • Malisteen

          Yes. This is obviously a mistake in the case of the formation rule, which only ever gives them outflank in the first place after putting them in ongoing reserves, so it’s obvious the rules writer thought that worked. It is, in fact, so obvious, that most players I’ve seen take it as a case of ‘specific trumps general’ even though there’s *technically* no direct conflict for that axiom to take effect over.

      • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

        Unless the rule that places the unit into Ongoing Reserves specifies that they use an alternative method to deploy.

        • nurglitch

          A Tide of Traitors says that the unit goes into ongoing reserves and gains the Outflank rule. The Cult Uprising does not, but the Alpha Legion Forward Operatives rule gives all Chaos Cultists Infiltrate which is the same thing. While one gives units in ongoing reserves Outflank, and the other puts units with Infiltrate into ongoing reserves, neither rule seems to have anything suggesting that the ongoing reserves prohibition against outflanking is overridden.

          • winterman

            There’s a marked difference between the two. Having infiltrate and giving outflank in the same rule that also created the new unit and placed it into ongoing reserve is significantly different.

          • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

            A Tide of Traitors does, because they don’t gain Outflank until after they enter Ongoing Reserves.

  • Nyyppä

    I’m waiting for the WB one. The equivalent of this article seen in TFG main site was written by someone not knowledgeable enough (in the context of the game and/or the parent codex) to write such a thing. Summoner sorcerers without spell familiars is just….it has to be better than that.

    • Deacon Ix

      Interesting idea, when I summon Daemons (yes I am that person and I am ashamed) with Daemons I just throw enough dice at it to be statistically successful (7 normally does the trick) the chance of rolling a double is 1 but as daemons only peril normally it’s not normally a problem (I have lost a herald to it tho), my plan for my WB was to take a bucket load of lvl 1 Sorcerers throw 5/6 dice at the summoning, take the perils but gain a unit of Horrors to replace the Sorc – if it dies.
      I am going to have to run the numbers to see if the points value of the Familiar offsets the number of dice needed to be successful and in so doing reduces the chance of a perils. After all 4 familiars is another Sorc.

      • Nyyppä

        How do you manage to spam lvl1 sorcs? Is it not just cheaper to buy the horrors and drop the CSM part from the equation?

        • Mr.Gold

          cyclopia cabal: 3-5 sorcers in a formation

          • Djbz

            Which is a Black Legion formation and he was on about Word bearers

          • Nyyppä

            It’s a black legion formation. You can’t WB it.

        • Deacon Ix

          Lords of the Legions – 4 Sorcerers
          Chaos Warband – another
          Termi Formation – another (if you want)
          failing that an allied detachment with a Sorc as an HQ and some Cultists with ObSec love.
          I currently take daemon allies – Herald and a squad of pink horrors, the thinking behind my Sorc spam is 2 fold, a basic sorc is 60pts, horrors are 90, so a small saving, but if I’m honest it’s because taking Daemon allies doesn’t quite feel right to me, this way I can play a pure WB army and if my Sorcs die summoning that seems right too.

          • krisbrowne42

            The only problem I see is the taxes cost being prohibitive. If you are using the Infiltration detachment, you need an auxiliary, which could be the Termie force but that skims down how many other units/models you’ll fit overall.

            Separately, does that mean you’re rolling Malific for all 4-6 Sorcerers?

          • Deacon Ix

            Not sure what you mean by Infiltration detachment?
            I’m looking at the WB Grand Host,
            1+ Core – Warband – which has the 0-1 Sorc
            0-4 Command – 1 or 2 DPs and max out with Sorcs.
            1+ Aux – haven’t decided yet but either as cheap as possible or something fluffy.
            Then either some allied cultists + sorc or see if another grand host will fit with a lost and the damned and 4 more sorcs and a cheap Aux. Haven’t yet made up my mind 🙂

            Quite possibly I would go Malific for all, previously I have taken other powers and have only used them with the 1 or 2 left over dice from summoning with very little effect, and the redundancy can’t be over looked 😀

          • Nyyppä

            How is it “right” that your units die for nothing, for no other reason than that GW has no idea of what they are doing?

          • Deacon Ix

            ‘Right’ is subjective and probably not quite the right word, from a fluffy perspective they are summoning Daemons and that is not a good thing and often goes wrong but being WB their devotion to Chaos would see them sacrifice themselves to summon the followers for the gods they worship.
            If I where just being completely logical I would spam DPs and use them to summon almost with impunity, I’m just not a huge fan of DPs, when they allow Chaos undivided DPs tho…

          • Nyyppä

            Risky, sure, but don’t you think they might have developed a method for doing that that lets them survive the ordeal more often than once? I mean, them being as bad as they are in the one thing they should have been good at is just….wrong.

    • BurpinforDayz

      None of this gives WB anything competitive, your best bet would be to run a summoning list is to take 2 ML3 nurgle princes in a CAD with wings, still wont be decent though.

      • Nyyppä

        It does not have to be competitive. It has to be working though. Easier summoning for something that does not summon is pretty damn moot.

    • Aaron

      I ran a WB CAD the other day with two tooled up level 3 princes with a psyker artifact each and spell familiars, I summoned around 1000 pts of daemons by turn 4 and almost wiped tau with it

      • Nyyppä

        You can not duplicate the artifacts. Together they produce enough dice to summon once and every 6 you roll on the WC dice let’s you summon another. If you rolled a 6 on the artifact that’s one summon too. Essentially you got immensely lucky.

        Calculate the average and let’s talk about that.

  • benn grimm

    I very much doubt they intended there to be two respawn rolls for cultist squads to be replaced, potentially giving you three for one. If it had been the intention I’m sure there would have been an explanatory note, as is, it just looks like a duplication due to bad proof reading.

    • Kaylum Dicks

      I don’t know, cut the head off a hydra two more grow in it’s place. If it is a misprint, then it’s an ironic one

      • benn grimm

        They already have a rule about heads and hydras, nothing to do with cultists, I’m sure if it was the intention they’d have made more of it.

        • BurpinforDayz

          The people who design the rules at GW are 100% clueless, they literally have no idea what they’re doing. It feels like they spend all their time going over the artwork and the fluff and then they have 10 minutes left before deadline day and go, well hey might as well CTRL C/CTRL V all that from another book, No need to proof read or any of that nonsense. I do not honestly think they put any time into the rules section of the book it’s a professional joke is what it is.

          • Noveltyboy

            Which explains why the Black legion items weren’t recosted to bring them in line with the other Legions.

          • BurpinforDayz

            Yup, the rules designers didn’t get the memo about Chaos Marines getting some buffs and decided to make sure Black Legion got kicked in the shins a bit. GW’s design lag.

        • BT

          Easy solution is to just ignore the cultists or whittle them down to nothing. Just don’t kill them on your turn, force your opponent to waste a turn by charging you to get them killed in melee.
          If you look at it with that kind of prospective, the two 50% chances to get replacements that have to foot slog in to do something isn’t that bad. If you are actually playing this list, you want to play an aggressive one, specially with the cultists early on. That way, if they do die and get replaced, you can hope they arrive to be late game home Objective Securers.

          I guess to me… they are cultists. We are talking cultists here. Not scatter bikes or grav Centurions, but cultists.
          It is no worse than Chenkov and the regurgitation whiteshield squad, which was a auto success.

          • benn grimm

            For sure, cultists aren’t going to break the game, I just think it’s a case of a wrong interpretation and kind of smells a bit of people deliberately suspending common sense to gain an advantage. If you read the two rules they are pretty much identical, no where is it suggested in black and white that there should be two rolls, they both state the same thing; that there should be a single roll.

            I think it’s just there as an option, so that if you take cultists as part of a standard Alpha Legion CAD, rather the formation, they still get the respawn.

          • BT

            Oh, you are totally right that there are some people out there that liberally interpret the rules to get an advantage. Gaming the game as some would say. But I honestly would be ok with it being two roles to make two units. Now if you come across someone trying to get Typhus in there to turn them into Zombies through some grade A B.S. through sketchy rules interpretation, that is when you get the baseball bat out.

            The real problem is pretty much your core problem with the situation… GW not clearly stating that these are either two rolls or the same rule and thus overlapping. A single added sentence to each rule (or at least the last one created) stating ‘This stacks with… ‘ or ‘This does not stack with… ‘ and everything is crystal clear.

            The unit itself doesn’t matter, it is GW slipping into this BS after working pretty hard after 6th ed to clean this stuff up. Let’s face it, pre 6th was just horrible due to using codices from 4th through 6th and GW being lazy in their Errata and FAQ section to actually fix this stuff.

    • Huntard

      I don’t think that a 4+/4+ for new cultist units that doesn’t reroll is on par with either summoning, horror splitting or Gladius free transports.

    • Malisteen

      Considering that there are many other rules that provide free things – from gladius transports to the recent horror rules – and that literally the only way to include cultists in the formation that grants a new unit on a 4+ is via the formation that also grants a new unit on a 4+, I have to imagine it was in fact intentional, yes.

  • SilentPony

    I don’t know what all this gibbery goo is, but there is NO Legion or Astartes group named the Alpha Legion. They don’t know, and have never, existed.

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      …Hail Hydra.

      • Djbz

        Hail Hard-drive

      • euansmith

        “All right, all right, put your arms down Kaminsky. You look like a West Texas cheerleader at a pep rally.”

  • nurglitch

    First of all, the detachment is called the Alpha Legion Insurgency Force, much like the Necron detachment is called the Decurion. Secondly, the Blade of the Hydra is Rending, so those multiplying hits are going to be AP2. There’s also something to be said for a weapon with +1D6 attacks and Rending to do a number of AV12 or less vehicles.

    • Mike Tooze

      Im gonna give it to a flying demon prince of tzeench, smash rule makes all attacks ap2, and with the formation shrouded on turn 1, thats a 2+ jink, re-rolling rolls of 1 🙂

  • Deacon Ix

    I’m not sure about the cult uprising thing, when I read it (and I have just reread it) it seems like a duplication of the lost and the damned. Which sucks for the Alpha Legion as the only way to take a cult is through the lost and the damned formation.
    It seems like bad writing on GeeDubz part (quelle surprise) and wishful thinking).
    I would admit that with would be a cool (and fluffy) rule for the alpha legion to have so either way it does need clarifying.

    • Matteo Hee

      I think you get 2 rolls…
      Cut off 1 head, and 2 more grow back.

      • BurpinforDayz

        I think it turned out that way but it wasn’t GW’s intention, they’re just clueless.

    • grendal1989

      GW has been very adamant that you cannot double up if you have two identical rules. These are two differently named and have slightly different rules (aka one specifically gets outflank) so it would be consistent with their rulings to apply them both.

      • Mr.Gold

        both of them get outflank – cultists in Alpha Legion gain infiltrate which allows you to outflank.

        • krisbrowne42

          The effect is the same, but the wording is different. As has been raised elsewhere, it seems deliberate and fluffy.

      • gbc343

        Exactly, even if one rule does something similar to another you still apply both if they are different rules. They made the rules different because The Lost and the Damned has to have the outflank rule for other legions, Alpha Legion don’t have that problem.

        For example Shrouded offers a better save than stealth but you can have shrouded without it overriding stealth.

    • benn grimm

      Agreed, it seems pretty clear it’s an unintended duplication.

      • Malisteen

        Does it? Literally the only way to include cultists in that detachment is via that formation, and that’s basically the only thing the formation does, so… it’s a pretty glaring oversight otherwise, even by GW standards. I think this is more a case of you not liking the rules, rather than the rules being a mistake.

        • benn grimm

          I think the mistake is people assuming that it means you get two rolls, but hey each to their own.

          • Malisteen

            people assuming that the rules that clearly state you get two rolls mean you get two rolls? This is like arguing that FNP isn’t supposed to stack with other forms of saves.

          • benn grimm

            But it doesn’t state you get two rolls and it says nothing about stacking in the way that the fnp rule does.

          • Malisteen

            both rules say exactly what they do. Nothing about them implies any sort of conflict, and one can only be applied to units that already have the other. You may not like the rule, but there are no grounds to claim they are unintentional. They might be a mistake in terms of being bad rules, but there is no reason to believe they’re a mistake in terms of being accidental.

          • benn grimm

            Yeah, not convinced. It’s basically the same rule printed twice, resulting in one roll per squad lost as far as I’m concerned. I’ve spoken to the only guy I know who’s likely to play AL about his take on it, luckily were on the same page. I do hope they FAQ it though.

          • Malisteen

            Then I have a question for you. Do you believe that Night Lords Veterans in a Murder Talon detachment get +1, or +2 cover save while the night fighting rules are in effect? Their detachment gives them a +1 cover save… but they already have +1 cover save from the stealth rule. That’s basically the same rule printed twice, so by your logic you should ignore the detachment bonus.

            Or what is the initiative of a Black Legion chaos lord with the mark of slaanesh and spineshard blade, 6 or 7? The spineshard blade grants +1 initiative, but so does the Mark of Slaanesh, basically the same rule printed twice, so I guess those don’t stack, either?

            Literally the only way to include cultists in the Alpha Legion detachment is via the Lost and the Damned formation. The only way to have a unit with that rule is to have a unit with both rules. If you say they can’t be used together, what you’re doing is removing fully half the benefits of the Alpha Legion detachment. Every other legion detachment gets two benefits, but apparently you think Alpha Legion alone among all of them is only supposed to get one, despite being printed with two.

      • gbc343

        Sorry but I do believe it was intended, the wording is different to allow other legions to benefit from the formation but the Alpha legion rule allows a unique improvement for them when taking Lost and the Damned for fluffy purposes.

        I really don’t see how it could possibly be seen any other way. I will certainly be playing it that way.

        • benn grimm

          The wording is almost exactly the same, the only difference is the outflank bit. I think if it had been intended that two rolls should be made, they’d have made it clear.

          • gbc343

            I don’t think it was necessary to do that as I don’t think the interpretation could go any other way. One roll for each rule. Similiar to how other similar rules work together.

            They probably didn’t include that so there would be no confusion for any changes to the base codex in the future. As this supplement was most likely intended to outlast the current codex and there would likely be changes to how the Alpha Legion detachment works with new releases (I suspect things like their primarch and new formations will be added to them in the future, like new cultist formations for instance).

          • benn grimm

            I think if they intended two rolls, one per each rule, they’d have stated that categorically.

    • kingcobra668

      Isnt you saying the RAW is wrong wishful thinking on your part?

      What rules have you written or what psychic communion do you claim to posses that you have such a say as to RAI?

      RAW you get 2 rolls until it’s FAQed.

      RAI becomes increasingly RAW shaming. It’s always followed by a veiled or overt insult. We, as players, have no choice but to play using the rules on the page, no matter how much someones insists they know the truth better than anyone else.

      • Deacon Ix

        I feel I rubbed you up the wrong way… I interpret the rule as a duplication and GW has stated in the past that duplication doesn’t double up, as the end of my comment I say that I think it would be cool if they did have it, I just don’t read it that way, wishful thinking?

        As for my rules qualification – I write National and International standards for the Electricity industry and if you think that War Gamers are picky they are nothing compared to people who have millions on the line…

        This is not an RAI and RAW issue, I’m not going to presume to know what GW intended, but what they have written is a duplication, you have chosen to interpret it one way, I am questioning that.

        • krisbrowne42

          I don’t think it’s a duplication – The AL detachment benefit has explicitly different wording, despite the outcome being the same… It could be that the _intent_ was to make use of the legion benefits to create the same result without calling it out as an exception to duplicate rules.

          The annoying problem with that is the potential conflict tied to the outflank+ongoing reserves question, which seems like a RAI issue, where the other is a RAW issue.

          • Deacon Ix

            It’s really just sloppy writing, I don’t play AL and don’t know anyone who does so realistically it’s probably never going to come up in a gaming situation that I am in. Hopefully it will be FAQ’d soon, GW have recently been very good at sorting out the ambiguities, I hope it falls in favor of the AL as it is a nice fluffy rule and compare to C:SM not particularly OP.

  • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

    Is it possible for AL to take a Daemon Prince? ‘Daemon of’ isn’t the same as ‘Mark of’. That daemon weapon would be good in the hands of a monstrous creature. Plus would be cool to represent Voldorious.

    • nurglitch

      It’s perfectly capable. Daemon Princes are listed under Lord of the Legion, a 0-4 Command choice of the Alpha Legion Insurgency Force.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        Reason to get my AL DP painted!

  • Crablezworth

    How to get alpha legion wrong:

    Step 1:

    Put GW in charge of it instead of forge world

  • LordKrungharr

    If I didn’t loathe using Cultists so much I’d make an army of Alpha Legion, I love their shiny greenish-blue color scheme!