Warhammer The Horus Heresy : Liber Imperium Review
The latest ‘Liber’ volume for the new edition of the Horus Heresy game is up for pre-order today! Clocking in at around 175 pages, Liber Imperium contains everything you need to field armies from the Imperial Army or the Agents of the Emperor and even includes rules for adding units from the Divisio Assassinorum to your loyalist armies!
The Horus Heresy : Liber Imperium goes on pre-order today, the 5th of November, for release on the 12th. If you would like to help support the site then why not order your copy of Liber Imperium through our affiliate Element Games and save yourself some money too!
Before we begin with our indepth review we must first thank Games Workshop for providing Sprues and Brews with a free copy of Warhammer The Horus Heresy : Liber Imperium to review.
In this review we’ll take a close look at each of the four aforementioned factions, their unique rules and units in addition to the army list building rules which allow you field armies consisting of said units. There is also a host of new wargear, unit types and weapon profiles introduced in this book which we’ll cover as well.
If you would prefer, you can also watch our video below where we’ll go through the entire book.
For those that remain, let us get started and dive straight into the review. At the beginning of the book there are a few pages which provide all the information you need in order to construct an army using the different units within. In essense this book contains two ‘new’ factions – the Imperial Army and Agents of the Emperor. These are broken down into four ‘new’ sub-factions – the Solar Auxilia within the Imperial Army and the Legio Custodes, Sisters of Silence and Divisio Assassinorum for the Agents of the Emperor from which you can build an army. The Divisio Assassinorum rules are slightly different in that you cannot build an Divisio Assassinorum army itself but rather include the units presented here in other Loyalist armies (occupying Force Organisation slots in those armies). As you’d expect, Legio Custodes and Sisters fof Silence armies must always select the Loyalist allegiance (and cannot be included as allies in any Traitor armies). The Solar Auxilia though can choose either allegiance.
All three army lists use the same Crusade Force Organisation chart we’re all familiar with although it’s worth noting that both the Sisters of Silence and Solar Auxilia have some unique interactions with it that we’ll cover later. The last thing of note to mention here is the interaction of the Agents of the Emperor faction with regards to the allies chart, counting as “Sworn Brothers” to all Loyalist forces.
The Legio Custodes
The Legio Custodes army list is perhaps the most straight forward of the three army lists presented in the Liber Imperium book, with just a single Warlord Trait and no Advanced Reaction. To make up for these lack of options we get the new ‘Nemesis’ rule which all Legio Custodes units pocess. The idea behind this rule is that the Legio Custodes are dispatched to face only the most deadly of threats to the Throne and as such gain a plethora of bonuses when engaged against such foes. So how does it work? Certain units in your opponent’s army are deemed “Nemesis” units if they meet a certain criteria.
Units with a majority of models possessing a value of 5 in either WS, BS, initiative or wounds characteristics would be classed as a “Nemesis” unit, as would a Primarch, Dreadnought, Monstrous, Daemon (and a whole bunch of other types) too. Lastly the enemy’s Warlord (and any unit containing said model) would also qualify. Against such “Nemesis” units all Legio Custodes units gain the following bonuses :
- +1 Attack when locked in combat
- +1 to all charge rolls when targetting a “Nemesis” unit
- Require at worst a 4+ to hit when engaged with a model from a “Nemesis” unit (excluding units consisting purely of the Primarch type or whilst in a challenge with a Primarch).
That’s a pretty nice set of bonuses which means your Legio Custodes army will prove a formidable foe for enemy elites!
I mentioned the single Warlord Trait earlier and to be fair it’s a pretty good one. Firstly a Legio Custodes Warlord has to select the “Golden Exemplar” Warlord Trait and you’re not able to choose one of the generic Traits from the core rulebook. The Trait itself provides a +1 combat resolution bonus to nearby combats containing Legio Custodes units whilst also granting the Warlord himself +1 attack and +1 initiative whilst in a challenge. Legio Cusodes characters are already solid combatants against all but the Primarchs and I think this ‘edge’ might even allow them to hold their own against a couple of the Emperor’s sons themselves!
There are also a few common rules sprinkled across the different Legio Custodes units. All Infantry and Cavalry units have the Skirmish type allowing for a more flexible coherency restriction (3″ instead of 2″) and a bonus to cover saves. Such units also possess Frag grenades, Melta bombs and Misericords (a strength 4, AP-, melee weapon with the Instant Death rule!) and in most cases the Chosen Warriors and Stubborn special rules too. Most Custodes Infantry units are Bulky(3) with the exception being the Aquilon Terminators who are Bulky(4).
You’ll notice I’ve not yet mentioned wargear like Digital Lasers or rules such as Preternatural Skill or Inviolate Psyche – these rules no longer exist. Lightning Blows does return but only on Constantin Valdor’s profile.
There are two HQ options in the Legio Custodes army list, the Custodian Tribune and the Custodian Shield Captain. The Tribune can only be included in a 3000 point or more army and must be the army’s Warlord (unless the Captain General himself is present). The Tribune has a fantastic profile, 8/7/5/5/5/4/5/5/10/2+/4++, and a plethora of special rules including Eternal Warrior, Fearless and Relentless. The Shield Captain has a slightly reduced profile and lacks Eternal Warrior and Fearless (gaining Stubborn instead) but otherwise shares all but one of the wargear options. As standard both units come equiped with Frag grenades, Melta bombs, Misericords and Arae-Shrikes (the latter now inflicing a +1 penalty on the ‘Disordered’ roll the opponent must make when performing a Deep Stike or Flanking Assault). There are a variety of ‘Spear’ type weapons to choose from, including the Adrathic and Pyrthite varieties, and a couple of new weapon options in the Meridian swords and Guardian Axes (the latter providing a bit of additional strength and conferring the Unwieldly special rule). We’ll go into a bit more detail on the different weapon profiles themselves below. You also get the option to equip your HQ units with various Solarite weapons (either a strength 10 Fist type or the paired Lightning Claw type version) and Paragon weapons, very similar to the Guardian Spears but with the addition of the Murderous Strike (6+) ability. Praesidium shields also return, now granting a 5+ invulnerable save to the bearer (but preventing them from claiming the +1 attack for using two melee weapons or from using two-handed weapons at all) – I’m not sure why you would take the shield on a Tribune or Shield Captain as they both have a 4+ invulnerable save as standard anyway. The last bit of wargear that’s worth mentioning here is the expensive Teleport transponder array option for the Tribune which allows both the bearer and up to three other Legio Custodes Infantry units (with some additional restrictions) to Deep Strike!
The Elites section contains the Heraeron Guard, Aquilon Terminators and Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought. The Hetaeron Guard are a more elite version of the regular Custodian Guard squard sporting 3 wounds and Ld10 (with a 8/5/5/5/5/3/5/4/10/2+/6++ profile). They have access to full range of spear type weapons which we’ll cover now. The standard spear profile swings with +1S and AP2 with both the Two-Handed and Reaping Blow (1) special rules. The Axe instead swings at +3S AP2 but trades the Reaping Blow rule for Unwieldly. On the shooting side of things the standard ‘bolt’ versions of each weapon are Assault 2, 18″ range, S4, AP4 with Shred. The Pyrithite spears are effectivly 6″ Meltaguns whereas the Adrasite versions are Assault 1, 12″, S5 AP3, Instant Death, Armourbane and Gets Hot – I’d be a bit nervous equipping your 3 wound infantry with such weapons. Hetaeron Guard also get access to the different Solarite weapons, the gauntlet in particular looking very nice at S10 AP1 with unwieldly, and also Paragon blades in addition to Sentinel Blades and Praesidium Shields. The Sentinel Blades themselves still strike at AP2 but lack the strength bonuses and other special rules of the spears although they can be combined with a Magisterium Vexilla (more on this later). The stand out choice though has to be the new Meridian Swords, a melee weapon which gives the bearer three different attack profiles to choose from. One option grants the Rampage(3) special rule and allows a small unit of Hetaeron Guard to strike with a large number of S5 AP2 attacks. There is a single S10 AP1 Instant Death option if you just have to kill that Astartes Praetor and finally a more balanced S+1 AP2, Murderous Strike (4+) option. The flexibility afforded by such a weapon option means that your Hetaeron Guard become a real all-comers type unit – a key strength in such a small elite army.
The Aquilon Terminators are slightly slower than other Custodian infantry and make less attacks with their Solarite Power Gauntlets too – to compensate they gain a 4+ invulnerable save. Aquilon Terminator armour suffers non of the drawbacks associated with Astartes Cataphractii Terminator plate making them surprisingly nimble on the battlefield. There are some nice weapon options for the unit too, Solarite Power Gauntlets can be swapped out for the Power Talon version (S5, AP2, Shred) and the Lastrum Storm Bolter (itself a nice Assault 3, S5, AP4, Shred weapon) can be swapped out for either the lethal Twin-linked Adrathic Destructors or Infernus Firepike. The Adrathic weapon looks a lot more exciting on the Aquilion Terminators, the twin-linked rule granting some defence against the Gets Hot risk.
The Contemptor-Achillus is a Dreadnought equipped to take down elite enemy infantry, vehicles and other Dreadnoughts. It’s WS6 (when coupled with the “Nemesis” rules described earlier) give it the edge against most Astartes equivalents who, if they even manage to survive the attacks from either the Achillus’s Dreadspear or Gravis powerfist, will require 5’s to hit back. The iconic Dreadspear itself now swings at S12 AP2 and it’s Exoshock (4+) rule means this unit is a real threat to enemy armour.
The Custodian Guard and Sentinel Guard squad can be taken in units up to 10 and have a great 8/5/5/5/5/2/5/4/9/2+/6++ profile. The Custodian Guard Squad can be equipped with a mixture of spear and axe type weapons and can also include a single Magisterium Vexilla which allows the unit to re-roll Leadership tests and provides a +1 bonus to nearby combat resolutions. The Sentinel Squad instead gets access to the Solarite type weapons which can be combined quite nicely with their Praesidium shields for a more resilient and potentially harder hitting unit. These are your only Line units in the army list and so will form the mainstay of most Legio Custodes armies.
The Coronus Grav-Carrior is one of two units with a transport capacity in the Legio Custodes list and has a base capacity of 18. With a movement characteristic of 16 and a 13/12/10/5HP profile (including an inbuilt Flare shield) this is a solid vehicle provided you can keep enemies out of that more vulnerable rear arc. The vehicle sports the Power of the Machine Spirit, Outflank and Deep Strike special rules too which give you some great options in a battle. On top of this it comes equipped with some nice ranged weapons, a twin Lastrum bolt cannon and turret mounted twin-linked Arachnus blaze cannon which gives you a fairly reliable anti tank weapon (Heavy 2, 18″, S8, AP1, Lance, Exoshock(6+)).
The Agamatus Jetbike Squadron, Pallas Attack Squadron and Custodian Venatari Squad make up the Legio Custodes Fast Attack options. The jetbikes themselves share a similar statline to the base Custodian Guard albeit with only a 3+/6++ save, an additional wound and increased movement of course. They each come equipped with a Solarite power lance (in addition to a variety of ranged weapons) which is an incredible weapon hitting at S10 with Armourbane and Sudden Strike(3)! In addition they also possess the Outflank and Deep Strike special rules.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the Pallas may have had the Landspeeder ‘toughness and wounds’ treatment but no, the Pallas is still a vehicle with a 11/11/10/3HP Fast Skimmer profile and inbuilt Flare shield. It’s quite a cheap unit too and can be taken in units of three which are able to Deep Strike or Outflank meaning they are able to bring their twin-linked Arachnus blaze cannons to bear against the vulnerable side and rear armour of enemy vehicles.
Lastly we get the Custodian Venatari Squad, a jump pack equipped unit of Custodians who come equipped as standard with Tarsus Bucklers and Kinetic Destroyers – the former offering additional defence against Las, Plasma, Melta, Adrathic and Volkite weapons and the latter being a S7, AP4, Pistol 3 type weapon with Rending(6+). The Venatari as you’d expect possess the Deep Strike special rule and can trade their standard loadout for a Venatari Lance, very similar to the standard Guardian Spear but with an improved ranged profile.
The Heavy Support section of the Legio Custodes army list contains four units, the Sagittarum Guard, Caladius Grav-Tank, Contemptor-Galatus Dreadnought and finally the Telemon Heavy Dreadnought. The Sagittarum Guard share the same Custodian Guard statline and each come equipped with an Adrastus bolt caliver (with the option for one model to take a Magisterium vexilla and Adrathic destructor). The Adrastus bolt caliver is a sort of combi-Heavy Bolter/Adrathic destructor type weapon.
The Caladius Grav-Tank shares a similar selection of special rules to the aforementioned Coronus and has a 13/13/11/4HP profile. The Caladius has access to some seriously powerful heavy weaponry too, the stock Illiastus accelerator cannon seems pretty decent with a Heavy 3, S8. AP3, Rending(6+), Brutal (2) profile which, when paired with the hull mounted twin Lastrum bolt cannon, can pose a serious threat to Astartes infantry. The Enhanced Arachnus Blaze Cannon steals the show in my book though with a Heavy 4, S9, AP1, Lance, Exoshock (6+) profile!
The second Contemptor variant, the Galatus, can perform a solid battle line anchoring role in a Legio Custodes army. Equipped with a Gravis Praesidium Shield, which bestows a 4+ invulnerable save and massive warblade which can be used with great effect against units of enemy Terminators with it’s S8 AP2 Instant Death profile.
Lastly we have the Telemon Heavy Dreadnought, an absolute monster of a Dreadnought with a 6/6/5/8/8/8/4/5/10/2+/5++ profile. The Telemon can be equipped with a mix of melee and/or ranged weaponry. The Telemon Cestus are a great option for punching holes in enemy vehicles with a S10, AP2 Sunder profile (and an inbuilt plasma template weapon). It’s a shame they lack the Brutal(x) rule though – if you want to take on enemy Dreadnoughts you may wish to equip your Telemon with some ranged weapons instead – the Illiastus Accelerator Culverin (itself possessing the Brutal(2) and Rending(6+) special rules) or the Arachnus Storm Cannon for some additional anti-tank firepower. Lastly it’s worth looking at the Spiculus Bolt Launcher which also has the Pinning special rule!
Lords of War
The Orion Assault Dropship and Ares Gunship make up the Lords of War options for the Legio Custodes, the former is a pretty attactive option for delivering large numbers of Legio Custodes straight into combat. It’s a tough aircraft, with a fairly decent profile and an Eclipse shield which works a bit like a Flare shield and provides a 5+ Shrouded save too. The Orion packs some pretty impressive firepower too with some great anti-tank and anti-infantry ranged weapons and can provide some additional utility with it’s Heavy Spiculus Bolt Launcher able to inflict pinnng on the targeted unit!
The Ares Gunship forgoes a transport capacity and instead mounts even more devastating weaponry. The Arachnus magna-blaze cannon compliments it’s standard ranged weaponry and can threaten even enemy God-machines
Primarch? The Legio Custodes can include Primarchs? Well not quite, you see Constantin Valdor, often called Primarch in all but name, now possesses this unit type. This means Valdor benefits from all the advantages of that particular unit type (Eternal Warrior, It will not die etc.) but does mean you may be unable to include the Ares or Orion in the same list. Valdor himself has an impressive profile, which when combined with the “Nemesis” rules means that he’ll have no problem taking on the majority of enemy champions and leaders in a fight. The Captain General posesses some impressive wargear. The Corinthine Warplate bestows a 3+ invulnerable save whereas the Apollonian Spear is a formidable weapon, with a +2S, AP2, Murderous Strike (4+) melee profile and an Assault 2, S5, AP2, Concussive (1) ranged profile. Constantin Valdor retains the Lightning Blows special rule, which grants additional attacks for each hit roll of 6 and also has access to the teleport transponder array which means he can act as a substantial force multiplier in your army. I’m not sure Constantin possesses enough power to take on enemy Primarchs though (the lack of master-crafted or shred really hurts in this scenario) but his WS7 and 3+ invulnerable save may just allow him to at least hold one up for a few turns.
Overall the Legio Custodes are a powerful force able to take on the most elite units in an enemy army and prevail. They lack numbers for sure and you’ll most likely have few Line type units with which to claim objectives therefore you’ll need to prioritise eliminating your opponent’s own scoring units to even the odds. I think the army is vulnerable to enemy Primarchs and Dreadnoughts, both of which will be able to mitigate the high toughness and multiple wounds of your Custodes units . The “Nemesis” rules can help even the odds slightly in such match ups but it’s certainly something you’ll need to be wary of. It’s a shame the Custodes do not gain access to a unique advanced reaction, this is a really exciting part of the new Horus Heresy game and adds a lot of flavour to a faction in my opinion.
The Sisters of Silence
The Sisters of Silence army, just like the Legio Custodes, is restricted to the Loyalist allegience only. The army list construction rules are slightly more complex than those of the 10,000 however as you’ll see. All units in the Sister of Silence army list have a Silent Sisterhood(x) rule, with ‘x’ representing a specific Chamber. In order to include any units of a particular Chamber in your army you must also include a single HQ option with that specific Silent Sisterhood(x) rule. Each HQ option you select in this way allows you to include three such additional Chamber units. The only exception to this rule is those units with the Silent Sisterhood (Chamber of Vigilance) of which you can include any number in your army regardless of whether or not you also include a HQ unit belonging to this Chamber.
There are three Chambers detailed in the book, the aforementioned Chamber of Vigilance which bestows either the Scout or Infiltrate special rule (chosen prior to deployment) and two others, the Chamber of Oblivion and the Chamber of Judgement. The Chamber of Oblivion grants the Fearless special rule whilst that unit is locked in combat with Daemon or Corrupted unit types whereas the Chamber of Judgement grants the Fearless special rule whilst locked in combat with the Psyker unit type.
Just like the Legio Custodes, the Sisters of Silence also lack an Advanced Reaction which is a bit disapointing. They do however have three different Warlord Traits and they are very cool indeed. Maiden of Blood allows the Warlord and their unit to swing again at the end of a combat (but must test to see if they suffer any wounds in exchange). The Maiden of Resolve Warlord Trait can be used to trigger a once per battle bonus, bestowing Feel No Pain (4+) and Eternal Warrior on the Warlord and their unit for a turn (at the expense of forfeiting all movement for that turn) – useful if you’re already locked in combat or holding an objective. The final Warlord Trait, Maiden of Sorrow, grants +1 attack and +1″ movement to the Warlord and her unit each time they suffer an unsaved wound (it seems this caps at just +1 and lasts only for the remainder of the turn in which the wound was suffered). All three Warlord Traits also grant an additional reaction in the Assault, Shooting and Movement phase respectively.
Finally, before we move on to the army list itself it’s worth taking a closer look at the Anathema sub-type rules which apply to the majority of Silent Sister units in the book. Units with this sub-type cannot be targetted by any Psychic Powers or gain the benefit of any Psychic effects. Attacks inflicted from weapons which have been granted to units via a Psychic Discipline or from Force weapons will automatically fail to wound (and any other effects will not apply too). It’s possible for a unit with the Anathema sub-type to be joined by characters lacking said sub-type (or vice versa) and in these cases incur a -2 leadership penalty. In addition, nearby units also suffer a -1 leadership penalty too, increasing to -2 if that unit has the Corrupted sub-type. It’s worth noting that the Stubborn special rule provides no defence against this effect! To compliment these abilities pretty much all of the Silent Sisters units (bar the vehicles) also have the Hatred (Psyker, Daemon, Corrupted) special rule too.
There are seven HQ options in the book, four with the Silent Sisterhood (Oblivion) and three with the Silent Sisterhood (Judgement) rules. Jenetia Krole is here, an Oblivion option with a unique Warlord Trait that, amongst other things, unlocks an additional two Obllivion units (on top of the usual three per HQ option). Krole seems like she could be quite deadly in a fight despite only having a base strength and toughness of 3. Her high WS, 4+ invulnerable save and Eternal Warrior special rule means she can comfortably go toe to toe with most Astartes characters in melee. It’s here we see the first instance of the Ex Oblivio special rule, a really cool ability which allows you to select a single enemy model in base contact and reduce their Weapon Skill to 1 for duration of that turn! There is a small chance Krole will suffer a wound in exchange but this is still a very useful tool for disabling non-Primarchs.
The other three Oblivion options are the Knight Abyssal, Knight Centura and Raptora Cadre. The two Knight options are very similar (with the Centura having a slighly inferior statline, Stubborn in place of Fearless and a lesser version of the Precision Strikes/Shots rule). Both options have the Scout, Fleet (1), Hatred (Psykers, Daemons, Corrupted) and the aforementioned Ex Oblivio special rules. In terms of weapon options both units get access to selection of melee weapons and pistols and come with Artificer armour and Voidscale cloaks as standard. Voidscale cloaks provide a 5+ invulnerable save which increases to 3+ against Template or Blast weapons. Both options also come equipped with a selection of grenades including Psyk-out grenades which prevent a charged unit from declaring any reactions!
The Raptora Cadre are a Retinue option of between 3-9 elite Silent Sisters with the Chosen Warriors special rule. Each Sister has two wounds and has access to a range of melee, pistol and special weapons (including the Adrathic Destructors and Snare guns, the latter having a chance entangle and slow down targets).
The three Judgement HQ options follow a similar pattern, two Independant Character options and a Retinue but unlike the Oblivion options these each fulfil slightly different roles. The Silent Judge has access to several different ranged weapon options (in addition to the standard melee options) and comes equipped with some interesting wargear. The Excretia Armatus looks really cool, preventing target units from making reactions to either shooting attacks or charges in addition to granting additional victory points for securing the Slay the Warlord secondary objective. The Silent Fury on the other had is a cool ‘Erinyes Jetbike’ mounted HQ option with access to the Needle cannon, a nice Poisoned (3+) weapon that can inflict Pinning on targets. FInally the Questora Cadre are a combat focused Sisters unit that come equipped as standard with Vratine Bolters which they can swap out for a variety of special weapons such as Flamers or Assault needlers! There are a few different Vratine weapons in the army list which in effect add the Psy-Shock special rule which can inflict Perils of the Warp onto specific targets.
In the Elites section we get two Vigilance options and a single Oblivion unit. The latter, the Oblivion Knight Cadre, are a single wound unit of Sisters equipped as standard with Execution blades, a +2S, AP3, Rending(6+) two-handed weapon. These can be swapped out for a variety of different melee weapons including Charnabal weapons and Proteus neuro-lashes, the latter granting +3 strength and benefiting from the Deflagrate special rule. This unit also get access to number of different pistol options, including Plasma pistols and Needle pistols.
The Eradicator Cadre prefer to fight at range and come equipped as standard with Vratine Bolters which can be swapped out for a variety of different ranged weapons. Interestingly this unit also gains access to an augury scanner.
The last Elite option are the Knight Vestal Covenent which is unit consisting of between 1-3 Indpendant Characters that can be ‘split up’ post deployment. These come equipped with a Narthecium and therefore perform a similar role to Apothecaries in an Astartes army.
In the Troops sections we get the Prosecutors and Vigilators, lesser versions of the Eradicator Cadre and Oblivion Knights really and both from the Vigilance Chamber. Both units have Stubborn and Line which make for a decent unit to hold onto objectives.
The iconic Kharon Pattern Acquisitor is a tough transport option for the Silent Sisters with a 13/12/11/4HP profile and ability to transport 16 models. The vehicle is able to Outflank or Deep Strike and has the Assault Vehicle special rule making it a great option for getting your elite combat units into the fight. It also doubles up as a respectable battle tank with some interesting ranged weapons too. The Hellion heavy cannon array is a useful anti-infantry weapon with the Pinning special rule which can be swapped out for twin-linked multi-melta should you wish. It also comes equipped with two Vratine missile launcher, pretty much regular missile launchers but with the addition of the Psy-shock rule!
There are some really interesting Fast Attack options in the book. The Oblivion Chamber Pursuer Cadre are a fairly standard Silent Sisters squad who get the option to include a variety of ‘cyber-pet’ models in the unit. There are four options to choose from which between them have a selection of special rules such as Fleet, Furious Charge, Rage and Shrouded. I’m not sure how effective such a mixed unit would be in battle but it would certainly look cool! The Judgement Chamber Subjugator Cadre ride the Erinyes Jetbikes in to battle giving you a mobile unit able to lay down some substantial ranged firepower with either their Snare cannons, Adrathic destructors or Needle cannons.
We also get the Firebrand Cadre, another Judgement Chamber option, that come equipped with Flamers which can be exchanged for the Vratine grenade launcher or snare guns. Compression Tanks look like a good upgrade for this unit and can be used once per battle to buff the strength of all the Flamer attacks the unit makes. Finally the Termite Assault Drill appears in the Fast Attack slot as well.
We get a Vigilance and Judgement Chamber option in the Heavy Support section with the Sanctioner and Expurgator Cadre. The Sanctioners look very strong, all equipped with Nemesis bolters and access to a range of upgrades such as the augury scanner or Vratine Nemesis Bolters! The unit also has the Marked for Death special rule which allows you to re-roll wound rolls of 1 against a nominated enemy unit. The Expurgators fufill a similar role to a Heavy Support squad in an Astartes army. They come equipped as standard with Heavy Flamers which can be exchanged for either Adrathic destructors, Snare cannons or Vratine missile launchers.
The Sisters of Silence have access to really interesting and unique units but I feel they lack the tools to deal with Dreadnought and Vehicle heavy opponents. They certainly have the tools to disrupt opponents who rely on Daemon or Psyker heavy army compositions and I feel they would really compliment Legio Custodes and Loyalist Astartes armies when taken as an allied detachment. Certainly in the case of the Legio Custodes they provide some additional cheap Line options and some defence against enemy Pskyers and, let’s be honest, a combined Talons of the Emperor style army would look great on the battlefield.
The Solar Auxilia
The rules for the Solar Auxilia offer a player a much different playstyle and experience when compared to the more standard Astarts type armies (and to a degree, the Legio Custodes, Sisters of Silence and the Mechanicum). For a start the armies are usually much larger, both in terms of model count but also unit count too thanks to their unique Tercio rules. Many of the units on offer in the Solar Auxilia army list belong to a Tercio (think of it as a ‘platoon’ perhaps). For example there is an Auxilia Infantry Tercio which itself consists of 0-1 Solar Auxilia Line Command Section unit (a basic Imperial Army Command Squad really) and then an additional 1-2 Solar Auxilia Rifle Section units (your basic Imperial Army infanty squad). A Tercio option only ‘consumes’ one slot on the Force Organisation chart (in this example a single Troops slot) and therefore allows you to build a much larger army when compared to the Legio Astartes for example. Units that make up a Tercio group must be deployed in formation, that is, each unit must have a model deployed within 3″ from anothe unit within that Tercio group. If it’s not possible to deploy the Tercio units to meet this requirement you must instead place them in reserves. Once the battle has begun you’re free to move them out of formation although you may want to think twice before doing so. Units belonging to a Tercio are able to participate in joint reactions so long as they are within that 3″ formation range. For example, all four of our Auxilia Infantry Tercio units above would be able to make a Return Fire reaction in response to just one these units being targetted by a ranged attack. This is a really fun and actually quite powerful mechanic, allowing you to make much more efficient use of your reaction points limit and allowing individual units to provide support of other units in their Tercio grouping (provided they stay in formation). This is the key trade off really, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth sacrificing a bit of manoeuvrability for these advantages.
Alongside the Tercio rules we also get some interesting Cohort Doctrines rules which work a little bit like Rites of War in a Legio Astartes army. Provided you have a model with the Cohort Doctrines rule in your army (a Solar Auxilia Legate Marshall really) you are able to select from one of eight different Cohort Doctrines rules that will apply to the entire detatchment. Some, like the “Reborn Cohorts” Doctrine apply some straight forward bonuses, in this case a +1 leadership bonus to all Infantry units and a re-roll failed hits of 1 effect if such units remain stationary. Others, like the “Ultramar Pattern Cohorts” Doctrine mix up the army list construction rules, in this particular example granting access to a new Tercio choice which consistes of additional Auxilia Rifle Sections (amongst other bonuses). There are options that are more suited towards an armour heavy playstyle, a more melee focussed force, artillery based armies and even an option that allows you to include certain Mechanicum Automata units.
Each Cohort Doctrine though also has some form of drawback, whether that be some restriction on what units can be selected in an army, limits on the number of specific Tercio groups and even some changes to the way units behave in battle, such as having to declare charges or reduced run distances. Overall I really like the Cohort Doctrines rules, they really give the player plenty of options in terms of playstyles from just a single army list.
Before we move onto the army list itself it’s worth just looking at some of the common special rules that apply to most Solar Auxilia units. Mosty Infantry units posess some form of Void armour which in it’s most basic form provides a 4+ armour save. There are options for Heavy Void armour which provides a 3+ save and then some units possess a reinforced version which grants the Heavy unit type. Another rule which appears on many unit profiles (as part of the unit type) is Close-order. This is a very interesting rule and requires such units to maintain coherency of 1″ rather than 2″, obviously making them much more vulnerable to template weapons. In addition such units reduce their initiative value by 1 for the purposes of determining how far they move as part of a reaction and are unable to declare a run at all! There is one advantage though and that’s such units are able to move up to half their movement value and still fire Heavy weapons as if they had remained stationary. They can also delcare a Charhe even if they fired with Rapid Fire or Heavy weapons too! The majority of Infantry units in the army list have the Close-order type.
The first HQ option, and one that you’ll have to include if you want to take advantage of the Cohort Doctrines rules is the Solar Auxilia Legate Marshall. He comes base with a Refractor Field and Heavy Void armour and has access to a large range of pistols and melee weapons. It is possible to create a fairly decent combat character (Artificer armour, Iron Halos, Paragon Blades are all options) but I think his real advantage is his Leadership 10 characteristic, something that other units in your army are able to benefit from via the Command Vox and Vox Interlock wargear that can be taken by many units.
We also get our first Tercio choice here as well, he Auxilia Tactical Command Tercio which consists of 1 Command Section (basically a Command Squad) and 0-2 2 Companion Sections, a Veteran style unit which have 2 wound each, Refractor Fields and access to a variety of special weapons.
In the Elites section we get access to another ‘Veteran’ style Tercio in the Auxilia Veletaris Tercio which consists of 1 Command Section, 1-3 Storm Sections and 0-1 Vanguard Sections. The Storm Section units come equipped as standard Volikite Chargers but can also be kitted out for a more melee focused role with Heavy Void Armour and Storm Axes, a +2S, AP2, Two-handed melee weapon with Murderous Strike (6+)! The Vanguard Section looks super useful too equipped as they are with Rotor cannons.
We also get access to an Apothecary equivalent unit in the Solar Auxilia Medicae Section, whose models can be distibuted across other units in your army in the same way as their Astartes equivalent. There is even a unique special character version too, the Surgeon-Primus Aevos Jovan who has some really interesting (and potentially quite strong) special rules which allow you to prevent a neaby friendly model within 12″ from being removed as a casualty depending on the result of a dice roll. He also dishes out a small leadership debuff to nearby units (friend or foe) and has a fun little ability that can protect a unit he has joined from being targetted with any kind of shooting attack from outside of 12″ (provided he or his unit do not open fire first!).
Rounding out the Elites section we get the Charonite Ogryns, big, tough, multiwound combat monsters with reasonable defensive capabilities with their Void armour and Feel No Pain (5+) rules.
In the Troops section we get the Auxilia Infantry Tercio which consists of 0-1 Command Sections and 1-3 Rifle Sections. These are your bread and butter Imperial Army units with equipped as standard with Void armour and Lasrifles. They have options to take the aforementioned Command Vox and Vox Interlink which allow you to make use of your Character’s higher Leadership characteristics and and a range of upgrades from Bayonets, Augury Scanners, Auxilia Vexillas (which provides a +1 combat resolution bonuse and some improvements to Fallback mechanics). Like most Solar Auxilia Infantry units, the non-Command Sections can be taken in units of up to 20.
There are two options here, the larger Dracosan Armoured Transport and the lighter Aurox. The Dracosan comes as standard with a Gravis Lascannon which can be exchanged for a Demolisher cannon and further supplemented with a variety of Heavy weapons from Heavy Flamers to Multi-lasers. The lighter Aurox has a smaller capacity of 10 and can be outfitted with a single weapon, a Heavy Stubber, Multi-laser or Heavy Flamer.
In the Fast Attack slot we get access to two Divisio Aeronautica aircraft, the Primaris-Lightning and the iconic Thunderbolt. Both aircraft are able to fulfil multiple roles, be that anti-air, anti-tank or anti-infantry.
This section is, as you’d probably expect, huge with ahost of different Tercio and non Tercio options. There is the Auxila Armoured Tercio which allows you to build formations of Leman Russ Battle Tanks and Demolisher Tanks lead by a Leman Russ Command Tank (with Scout). There is an Auxilia Artillery Tercio which allows you to build formations of Rapier and Tarantula Batteries and then finally a selection of heavier tanks which you’re still able to take in units of between 1-3 (even though they wont benefit from the Tercio bonuses). These include the Malcador Heavy Tank, Basilisks, Valdor Tank Destroyers and the adorable Cyclops Demolition Section.
Lord of War
To round out the army list we get two LoW options in the Malcador Infernus and the Solar Auxilia Stormhammer. The former able to be decked out in a variety of heavy weapons and forming a solid anchor unit for the other tanks in your army and the latter mounting the impressive Stormhammer cannon, a S8, AP3, Ordnance 1 weapon with the Massive Blast (7″) special rule!
The Divisio Assassinorum
The last sub-faction covered in the Liber Imperium tome are the Divisio Assainorum and rather than a standard army list instead we get a selection of individual Assassin units which can be included in other Loyalist armies as a HQ option (counted as a Distrusted Ally). I suspect at some point we’ll also see some Traitor options for use in armies loyal to the Warmaster. The Divisio Assassinorum units do gain access to a unique Advance Reaction, Tactical Displacement, which allows the Assassin to move out of range or line of sight of an opponent’s ranged attack.
There are seven different Assassins to choose from – four that most Warhammer fans should be familiar with (the Vindicare, Culexus, Callidus and Eversor) and three new options which include the Adamus, a melee focussed assasin adept at dispatching enemy characters in a duel, the Venenum, a master of toxins and poisons able to neutralise those opponents who would ordinarily rely on brute toughness or high wounds to overwhelm an opponent and finally the Infocyte, an assassin that specialises in disrupting enemy battle plans and degrading enemy automata.
All the Assassin options share a core set of special rules which include Infiltrate and Scout. The six of the seven assassins also come equipped with the Panoply of the Assassin which grant a 4+ invulnerable save (only the Infocyte lacks this option). As you’d expect each Assassin comes equipped with a range of weapons, wargear and special rules associated with that particular temple. The Adamus for example comes equipped with a deadly power weapon and is able to match the opponent’s Weapon Skill and Initiative when fighting in a challenge. It also has the Decapitation Strike special ability which allows the Assassin to make a incredibly powerful single attack which is all but guaranteed to eliminate the target character.
The Venenum is a really interesting option suited to countering those opponents that rely on toughness or high wound count as a primary form of defence. The Venenum’s main weapon has a special rule called “The Venem” which can apply a ‘damage over time’ type effect to a unit wounded by this model’s Hookfang weapon, itself an AP3, Poisoned (3+) melee weapon. Even a Primarch could potentially be laid low (or at least left vulnerable) from an attack by this Assassin!
The Vanus Infocyte is the most unusual of the bunch in that it has a very specific function. Firstly it will give those opponent’s who field lots of Automata type models nightmares thanks to its Noospheric Interloper abilty which allows it to easily inflict D3 wounds (with no saves or damage mitigation allowed) to a nearby Automata model). If this model is destroyed the Assassin gets to pick another and repeat the process (although only once). The Infocyte also has a unique Interceptor Advanced Reaction ability that allows it perform such a reaction using the defensive weaponry of a nearby vehicle (friend or foe!). To continue this theme of disruption the Infocyte also prevents enemy infiltrators from deployng within 18″ as well!
Overall I think the Divisio Assassinorum units each offer some additional flexibility and tactical options to any Loyalist force looking to add a bit of a wild card or perhaps shore up some weakness in their primary army.
I really enjoyed reading through the new Liber Imperium book and I think the army lists presented here offer some unusual playstyles when compared to those of Legio Asartes. Each army list has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, be that the small numbers of the Legio Custodes to the lack of high quality anti-vehicle/anti-dreadnought capabilities of the Sisters of Silence. What’s really cool though is that you are able to build a combined arms force using the allied detatchment rules to help create a more rounded army using combination of both these particular army lists. The Solar Auxilia as well offer some fresh stratagies and playstyles with the inclusion of their Tercio and Cohort Doctrines rules. Finally it was great to see such a well established faction as the Diviso Assassinorum expanded with the additon of three new Assassins. I look forward to learning if we’ll get some countepart for this faction that is alligned with the Warmaster at some point in the future!
That concludes our review of the Liber Imperium book. Thank you to Games Workshop for providing Sprues and Brews with a copy of Warhammer The Horus Heresy : Liber Imperium to review.