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30k Horus Heresy Tactics – Know Your “Tactical” Units!

5 Minute Read
Dec 11 2015

Our yearbook photo turned out so well

Today’s lesson at Primarch School is how to be “tactical” in your troop choices with the Crusade army list.

Tactical Squads exist in a few different ways in games of 30k, and to use them effectively you must first understand what they can do for you on the battlefield. We’ll be talking about the three variants of tactical marines in the game, the differences between them, and how to best use them as you are fighting your way across the galaxy.

This article is from Captain Morgan, a contributor on the Forge The Narrative podcast.   He is going to break down the three different ‘Tactical’ Squad options.  They are a little different than their 40k counterparts.

Let’s get to it!

Legion Tactical Squads – Your Bread and Butter

Legion Tactical Squads are the mainstay of your legion force. For one thing, they are troops, which means they are scoring. Remember, brothers, that in 30k per the Forge World FAQ on scoring units, battles in the Age of Darkness do not count all units as scoring like in 7th edition 40k. For this reason, these guys are especially important.

More than that, these guys also operate differently that the 40k tactical squads you are used to. Here are the main things to remember:

  1. Minimum squad size is 10 (9 marines and the Sergeant) and lets them take Rhino APC’s as dedicated transports
  2. Maximum squad size is 20 (19 and the Sergeant)
  3. They all have bolters (unless you kit out the Sergeant)
  4. They do not have “And They Shall Know No Fear”
  5. You can kit out the Sarge with artificer armor and all the nifty fixins

Essentially, you want these guys locking down objectives. While #4 up there can be cause for concern (anyone that’s had their 20 man blob swept has cried the tears of many Xenos), there are ways you can mitigate that. A Chaplain consul with make the guys essentially fearless, or you can purchase a vexilla (a standard) that lets them re-roll failed leadership tests. Stick an Apothecary in there to give them Feel No Pain and suddenly you’ve got a rock-solid 20-man blob in your backfield. Watch out for Thudd Guns though…

One last thing to remember is their special ability: Fury of the Legion. Essentially, it lets you double your bolter shots if you didn’t move at all in the previous movement phase. So, at rapid fire range, you’re looking at 80 bolter shots from one squad. Just don’t plan on shooting the next turn. They aren’t your only troop choice, but they are definitely a great one.

quad mortar


Legion Tactical Support Squads – Opening a Ceramite Can of…

Legion Tactical Support Squads are another example of a troops choice you can take in your crusade army list, with some caveats. These guys serve a very important purpose in 30k, which will depend on the role you want them to fill. Each guy in this squad is equipped with a special weapon (not a heavy weapon), and they come stock all equipped with flamers. These can be switched out for plasma, melta, rotor cannons, or volkite calivers/charges. Some important stuff to remember for these squads is:

  1. They cannot be your compulsory troop choices, so plan on bringing your bolter-buddies up above first.
  2. All of them must have the same weapons (though you can upgrade the Sergeant)
  3. Minimum squad size is 5
  4. Maximum squad size is 10
  5. They can take a Rhino APC as a dedicated transport.

You want to buy these guys with a purpose in mind. Wanna lay down some terminators or lay the heat on another Primarch? Plasma is a good idea. Want to take down some vehicles? Melta is a good option (but watch for an abundance of armored ceramite). Want to kill lots of dudes? Volkite is good for that (causes extra hits for unsaved wounds).

If you bring a Praetor, you can pull some drop-pod shenanigans by picking the Orbital Assault Rite of War. That is a reliable delivery mechanism, but has its own limitations. Just watch out, because these guys eat up a lot of points so you want to be able to use them before they get killed. Personally, I like to keep it at five guys with meltas.

marine flamer

Legion Veteran Tactical Squads

Lastly, we have these guys. Legion Veteran Tactical Squads are an Elites choice in your force organization, and have some neat tricks up your sleeve. While they are a bit more limited in special weapons, they still have access to a large group of weapon options for both close combat and ranged purposes. For every 5, you can pick two with special weapons. They all come stock with 2 attacks, and can switch their bolters for Volkite Serpentas, and they can all take power weapons. One of the neatest things about these guys is that you can choose one of the following special rules for the squad: fearless, furious charge, outflank, sniper, tank hunters. For 25 points, you can give a whole squad of 10 guys melta bombs.

These guys have some versatility, but are expensive when you give them all the toys. If I were to run them, I’d probably give them tank hunters, but they are flexible enough that you can kit them out to do whatever task it is that you want them to accomplish. Just have that specifically in mind, and give them the rule they need to accomplish it.

ec vets


Bell for Recess Has Rung…

Okay, Brothers. That concludes this session of Primarch School, but remember what you have learned! Vice Principal Malcador does love his pop quizzes…


If you like this sort of banter we also do a live webshow every Monday at 10pm EST. You can find those posted over on the FTN Google + Page. The rebroadcast is over on our YouTube page. Please update your subscriptions in iTunes if you listen to us there.
Catch Episode 123 right here!

Paul Murphy
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