Sunday, 14 August 2022

Warsmith's Words: Legionary Ramblings

 Welcome back to the Vault! The recent weather has been far too warm for painting models, but I have been spending some time assembling some models. If they are built I can play them, even if it's with committing the cardinal sin of unpainted models!

I've also had two games with the mighty Iron Warriors of the IV Legion. There's a lot to learn with a new codex, but I'm enjoying the army so far. My initial lists have centred around what's painted as opposed to what's competitive, but I'll change up the lists as I get more confident with the army.

I have four(!) units of Legionaries painted up; a lot of lists and reviews I've been reading about on the web seem to be minimising Troop choices and prioritising the cheaper Cultists, but I've got a definite lean towards the Power Armoured Spiky Boys as they are the iconic unit for the faction! (Besides if I want to run loads of chaff infantry I'll play my Guard).

My initial load outs have really followed my loyalist marine playing instincts: 5 man squads with a heavy weapon and a power weapon of some sort on the Sarge. Whilst this is basically "ok" the Legionaries offer some distinct advantages over Space Marines, and I want to explore these in lists going forwards:

Access to Chaos Marks
An Iron Warriors Legionaries squad can (optionally) be upgraded to follow one of the 4 Chaos Gods, and gains further benefits if they also have an appropriate Icon:
  • Khorne: +1 Strength; (Icon) -1AP for melee attacks
  • Nurgle: Improved resilience to wounds; (Icon) ranged attacks auto wound on 6s to hit  
  • Slaanesh: Fight first in melee; (Icon) +1 to hit in melee
  • Tzeentch: Ignore the first failed save each turn; (Icon) -1AP for ranged attacks
The Mark also allows the unit to be a valid target for God specific stratagems, psychic powers, and Dark Apostle prayers. 

The points cost of the Mark does not scale with the unit's size, so its arguably more efficient to mark larger units. This plays well into some of the stratagems accessible to the Legionaries (which we'll come back to).

Tailorable War Gear
At the simplest level this can be replacing a boltgun with a chainsword, but we can customise a squad towards ranged or melee combat if we wish.

For ranged combat we could for example give a 10 man squad a Reaper Chaincannon and Heavy Bolter if we wanted to focus on anti infantry fire, with the remaining troops carrying bolters.

For melee combat we could give the Aspiring Champion a Daemon Blade, a Legionary a Heavy Chainaxe, whilst everyone else carries Chainswords.

Add a Psyker to the Squad
Having a Psyker in your troops squads is a fairly unique (albeit expensive points wise) ability. Access to the generic powers of Deny, Smite, Prescience or Diabolic Strength (giving +2 Strength and Attacks to the unit's Sarge is quite funky, especially if he's equipped with a decent melee weapon) is good, but the God specific powers look very strong on a big unit:
  • Nurgle: -1 to be hit
  • Slaanesh: 5+ Feel No Pain
  • Tzeentch: 4+ Invulnerable save.
There is always an argument that these spells and other buffs are better cast on other units, but if you are running a 200 point Legionaries unit, being able to buff it feels quite useful!

So let's have a look at a couple of squad configurations I'm toying with.

Budget Beserkers: 10 Legionaries, all with Bolt Pistols and Chainswords. Mark and Icon of Khorne. (200 points.)

This is 41 attacks is assault at Str 5, AP -2. If we want to invest some CP if we are going into a hard target we can consider:

  • Fury of Khorne: 6s to hit auto wound (and if we are in Wanton Slaughter, those 6s will explode and also auto wound!)
  • Veterans of the Long War: +1 to Wound
  • Hatred Eternal: Fight Twice; very nice if we've stacked any of the other buffing stratagems or powers on this unit.

We've also got some other cheeky tools in this unit with access to Khorne's Scorn of Sorcery deny stratagem if needed!

How much dakka? 10 Legionaries, 8 with bolters, 1 Reaper Chaincannon, 1 Heavy Bolter. Mark and Icon of Tzeentch (225 points).

A variation on the "stick a unit on an objective and shoot" troops role, this is 10 ObSec pretty tough bodies which can reach out and do some damage. Base we have 16 bolter shots at AP-1, and 11 Strength 5 shots at AP-2 which also Ignore Cover due to the Iron Warriors Legion trait.

These can also be enhanced with some stratagems:

  • Daemon Shells: Increased range and another pip of AP on bolt weapons.
  • Veterans of the Long War: +1 to Wound
  • Hatred Eternal: Shoot Twice.

In a pinch the unit can go into anti-tank mode with Tank Destroyers, allowing any unmodified hit roll of 6 auto-wounding against vehicles (and if in the appropriate Wanton mode explode into additional auto-wounding hits). That will combo well with Daemon Shells!

More competitive players will no doubt be groaning at my ramblings above; thinking Veterans (for example) is better used on a unit of Termies or Possessed, etc. Hatred Eternal is unique to Legionaries, and I want to have some fun trying it out. Is it super powerful? Probably not, but half the fun is the experimentation, and by Perturabo, I will be running Legionaries especially as I've got a bunch painted!

Next stop; get some games in and see how these Legionaries can do. I'll be burning CP by the bucket to try some of these combos out!

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