" differences in horus heresy 2nd edition, part 2"

Unit Sub Types

Unit Types are not a new concept. An example is Infantry, or Cavalry, which have different basic rules which apply to them. In this addition there is a new layer – “Sub-Types”. These are not applicable to every unit, but does make it clearer how many units are supposed to work. For example, Light units Run faster and can Snap Shoot after Running. 

The main new Sub-Type is “Line”, which makes a unit Scoring and Denial. Another big one is “Heavy” – re-rolling saves against blasts and harder to Pin. 

Otherwise you have some new Types – e.g. Primarch, Daemon and Automata. The biggest change to Unit Types is undoubtedly the new Dreadnought type. 

Dreadnoughts are no longer Vehicles as before – they’re like Monstrous Creatures almost, which are immune to Instant Death. This makes them much more survivable on the tabletop.

Vehicle Rules

The fundamentals of the way Vehicles work is the same as the previous edition:

  • Vehicles have Armour Facings, which are values for the front, side and rear, which you roll against to see if you can damage them.
  • They have Hull Points, which are like Wounds for vehicles. If you glance (roll equal to armour value) or penetrate (above armour value) when attacking a vehicle, you roll on a damage table which has various rules from debuffing its shooting for a turn, to blowing it to pieces.
  • Vehicles have “fire arcs” for their weapons which set out how they can fire them – for example sponsons are more restricted than a 360 turret.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In this newer edition, Vehicles have more HP, move faster, fire more weapons, explode at a higher Strength (8), and carry more men than the older edition. They are, frankly, bloody dangerous. You’ll see a lot of them. 

    My favourite change is easily the increased Capacity across the board for Transports – e.g. 12 for Rhinos, up from 10. Adding Characters to units is now encouraged, as you can have a 10 man Tactical squad and some Characters in a Rhino. You have to start the game inside a Dedicated Transport if you buy one though – a slight tweak.

    Every vehicle has a Movement Characteristic. This has changed the way moving and shooting works. 

    If Stationary, they can fire all weapons. 

    If they move equal to, or less, than half their Movement Characteristic, this is Combat Speed. You can attack with anything which isn’t Ordnance or Destroyer with no penalties, or use a single Ordnance/Destroyer weapon and everything else Snap Shoots. 

    Any faster is Cruising Speed. You can fire a single weapon which isn’t Ordnance or Destroyer at full BS, and everything else Snap Shoots. 

    You will immediately notice the biggest thing about this – you can still move maximum speed (remember this is 14” for a Rhino, for example), and fire your “main gun” at full BS. 

    Added onto this are Defensive and Battle Weapons. Defensive Weapons are anything which is S 6 or below. You can split fire Defensive weapons at the closest enemy Infantry unit within LOS and firing arc. Sponsons have a huge utility as a result as you can have (for example) an anti-tank main gun and anti-infantry sponsons without “wasting” shots. 

    Some weapons are Co-axial (mounted on a turret), which mean if they fire and score a Hit, then the turret weapon re-rolls failed To Hit rolls. This adds a lot more reliability. 

    On top of this are some new types of vehicles. Slow Vehicles always count at moving at Cruising Speed (so limited firepower), but roll 2D6 and discard the highest for damage results. Fast Vehicles always count at moving at Combat Speed, and can move twice their Movement Value at the risk of being Crew Stunned on a D6 roll of a 1. 

    Remember, also, Vehicles can do Reactions. Yes, including Overwatch for certain weapons. 

    Super Heavy Vehicles (the biggest, and strongest) have also been slightly tweaked. Their ability to React is limited, and the way they blow up is slightly changed – S 7 + D3 AP 4 hits within 6 + D6” inches from the hull, forcing Pinning tests automatically (which are riskier in this edition).

Night Fight

Night Fighting plays very differently than before. If either player wishes, the game can be fought at night if the scenario allows for it. 

If this happens, roll a D6. On a 2+, it’s night on turn 1. This continues on turn 2 on a 4+, then ceases (unless you have a special rule which keeps it going). 

Night Fighting really changes the dynamics of the early turns – and makes assault-focused armies a bit more forgiving. All units without Night Vision have -1 Ld and BS (so Ld 6 Legionaries hitting on 4+), and you cannot draw LOS more than 24” away (!), with Barrage Weapons able to do so but having to re-roll any Hit on the Scatter dice. 

This is really nasty – anything with Night Vision will rule the first turn

Reserves/Deep Strike/Flanking Assault

Reserves work more or less the same as in earlier editions, except you now have the Advanced Reaction of Interceptor. Reserves come in on a 3+ on Turn 2 or 3, and automatically from 4 onwards. You can keep most things in Reserve as an option in the deployment phase. Usually they move on from your table edge, unless they’re going in a Flanking Assault or Deep Strike. 

Interceptor means you can shoot at units which come on from Reserve as a potential Reaction option – so a shoot out in the Movement phase. This isn’t that powerful against normal Reserves as usually they come in at the backfield. Where it comes in handy is against Deep Strike and the new Flanking Assaults! Remember, Augury Scanner wargear gives extra Interceptor Reactions.

Deep Strike Assaults are a new way of deploying. When choosing Reserves, you can place units into a Deep Strike Assault (if they have the Deep Strike special rule). You roll a single D6 for all of these units, and bring them all into play at once.

You select one of those units, and deploy it anywhere 1” from an enemy model, table edge, or Impassable Terrain. Scatter it 2D6”. If it ends up within 1” of an enemy model, table edge, or Impassable Terrain, your opponent can reposition it within 18” (so no more Mishaps, but you still end up out of position). 

You then put the rest of the unit down, in coherency (no more base-to-base clustering!)

After that is done, if there are other units in the Assault, then roll a D6. On a 1, there has been a calamity and it is Disordered. The opponent deploys all the other units within 24” of the first unit without them scattering. On a 2+, it’s tightly focused, and you instead deploy all the other models within 12” of the first. 

Once everything is deployed, all enemy units within 6” make a Pinning test (remember, Morale is worse!). The opponent can then make an Interceptor Reaction. 

Once everything is deployed, you cannot Move or Run, but you can Shoot and Assault as normal. 

Ultimately what you’re dealing with now is a very tightly focused attack (so no more Drop Podding all over the table), it’s all over and done with at the same time, and it is much harder to Alpha Strike an enemy army to death as you’ll be all in one part of the table and it no longer happens on Turn 1. 

The alternative is, then, a Flanking Assault. Similarly to Deep Strike Assault, you choose 1+ units with Outflank to go into a Flanking Assault (which can be done additionally to a Deep Strike). 

After deployment, before Infiltrators/Scout moves, place a Flanking marker on any point on the edge of the battlefield, including the opponent’s Deployment Zone. This is the Flanking Assault arrival point. 

Roll a single D6 for the Flanking Assault as per normal reserves. If they come in, roll a D6. On a 1 it is a Disordered Flank, and the enemy player can redeploy the marker within 24” on the edge of the battlefield. On a 2+ it is Ordered and you can instead tweak it 6” either direction. 

After this, you move Flanking Assault units on one at a time, up to their Movement Characteristic, measuring from the marker (anyone who can’t fit remains in Reserve and moves on next turn). Any enemy units within 6” then take a Pinning test, and then Interceptor Reactions. 

You can Shoot and Assault out of a Flanking Assault.

The above sounds complex but is, in reality, really simple – it makes for a more predictable and less “gotcha!” way of playing the game, and I think you will see a lot more Deep Strike and Outflank focused armies now that it is a very reliable way of getting on the field. 

Burning beard

Chief Editor / Author / Commission painter