Hey guys, it’s Dan here with some more Horus Heresy ramblings! Check the Tactics Corner for more articles!
As I mentioned in my last article, one of the biggest draws to the Age of Darkness is the opportunity to play games with some of the legendary characters from Games Workshop’s lore.
I was very excited when Forgeworld announced their plans to bring the Primarchs to the table-top, and over the last few years it has been great to see how well they’ve been realised both in models and rules. I’ve decided to write a series of short articles on the various Primarchs, on what makes them worthwhile and how you can get the most out of them.
Fielding a Primarch in games of 30k is fun, but it can also be beneficial to an army as they com with myriad of rules and buffs. You can purchase one as Lord of War in games of 2000 or more points, however that typically comes at the cost of not being able to field other Lords of War like the impressive Typhon Tank. In much larger games they’ll be competing with things like Titans or the more exotic super heavy tanks that could be armed with D weapons and have the ability to clear out large numbers of units with their impressive firepower.
Remember that when using the 30k Force Org, the Lord of War slot can never exceed 25% of the total cost of your force. There are ways of taking multiple Lords of War but it’s not something you’ll typically see in games less than a 3500 point mark – a level that is far too large for a tournament or a typical pick-up game at your local club.
Anyways, without diverging any more from the subject at hand, let’s get on with why we’re here:
Fulgrim the Illuminator – Primarch of the Emperor’s Chirldren
Fulgrim was famed for being a sublime swordsman and a visionary tactician. Most of the traitor Primachs grew up on desolate or barbaric worlds, but once Fulgrim rose to power on Chemos he was able to transform the planet into a prosperous and relatively nice planet to live on.
On top of their Impressive stat-lines, the Primarch come with a set of default rules which I won’t go into great detail about as most should be familiar to players of 40k. Those rules are: Independent Character, Eternal Warrior, Fear, Fearless, Fleet, Adamantium Will, It will Not Die and Master of the Legion (This provides unique bonuses for each of the Legions should they take their Primarch)
Let’s talk about Fulgrim’s stat-line and his combat ability to begin with:
He is able to wield his sword with an Impressive Weapon Skill of 8 which will put him above most opponents. He’s also incredibly quick at initiative 8. Strength, Toughness and Wounds are all 6, and his Gilded Panoply armour provides him with a 2+ save and a 5+ invul which is increased to a 3++ if he’s in an assault. In addition, if he rolls a 6 to save a wound during an assault, the unit has that caused the wound has to take an initiative test or be blinded. It’s not something you can rely on, but it could further bolster his survivability during combat.
His weapon, the Blade of Laer (The demonic sword that whispered to him), is a two handed, specialist weapon that strikes at ap2 and has rending, but doesn’t modify Fulgrim’s base strength of 6 so It’s not particularly impressive. If you’re willing to convert the model a far superior option exists. Fulgrim can instead take Fire-Blade; a Master-crafted, Str+1, AP2 sword that inflicts Instant Death on rolls to wound of 5+
He only has 5 base attacks, but receives a bonus number of attacks based on the Initiative difference between himself and the unit he’s engaged with in combat. To give an example, if Fulgrim is engaged with a unit of Tactical Marines, he’ll receive 4 bonus attacks as his Initiative is 4 higher than the initiative of the Marines. This makes him very efficient at engaging infantry units on top of being an excellent duellist, he can chew through swathes of Marines and Terminators with ease. If he’s equipped with Fire-Blade he also becomes very proficient in duels with other Primarchs, however that is something you’d generally want to avoid as it can lock him into one combat for an entire game!
On top of his Impressive Close combat capabilities, Fulgrim’s Sire of the Emperor’s Children rule allows you to add +2 to any combat resolution roll, as well as allowing you to re-roll reserves, both successful and un-successful, if you so desire.
Adding 2 to combat resolution might not sound particularly exciting to people who’ve faced Marine armies in 40k, but remember that in the 30k gaming system Marines don’t have the ATSKNF rule. This applies to the whole army, and you’ll potentially be able to overrun units in close combat even if you simply draw combat – Very powerful and underrated ability. Manipulating reserves is also useful but depends on whether your lists I making use of them or not. If you’re running flyers and/or drop pods, it’s certainly very beneficial to your army.
Finally (and this is something which is also under-estimated by a lot of Heresy players) he allows you to select, rather than roll randomly, a Warlord Trait from the ones found in the HH book or the strategic traits in the Basic 40k rule book. This is such a fantastic rule, as it allows you to specifically plan for using the traits that could change how your army is deployed, or how it functions on the table-top. There are 3 particular Warlord traits that can be used to significantly bolster your force:
Conqueror of Cities from the Strategic traits gives all units Stealth and move through cover in ruins. This makes heavy support based and general infantry units that much more survivable in cover, and the move through cover rule is incredibly useful in terrain heavy tables.
Master of Ambush allows D3 units, in addition to the Warlord, to infiltrate. For an army that is somewhat geared towards assault this is a fantastic asset. This also allows more flexibility in terms of deployment and further ways in which to pressure your opponent. A very powerful trait, especially since it can be a guaranteed part of your tactics!
The final trait I’d thought I’d mention is the HH book’s Child of Terra trait. This would allow Fulgrim and his unit to re-roll 1s to wound. It’s decent if you want to increase the close combat capability of the Primarch and his unit.
I do actually think this Primarch is worth fielding. There is a sweet spot for taking these powerful characters, and that is in games of 2000 points. As I mentioned earlier, anything less forbids a Lord of War, and anything significantly more will unlock further Lord of War choices that could operate well on their own and provide more destructive power. Fulgrim requires a transport, and he requires a unit to accompany him so further points will need to be invested. He can slash his way through weak and elite infantry with ease, and provides the army with additional deployment or utility options as well as reserve manipulation. A very fun model to use, and an incredible piece to look at on the table-top! I’ll share further reviews and opinions of other Primarchs in the coming weeks!