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The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.
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Old 04 Jan 2008, 16:52   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.

I decided a while back that the Alpha Legion was going to represent a significant portion of my CSM army. Having been fortunate enough to have just started playing at the time the new Chaos Codex came out, I don't have to do any retrofitting, but given the nature of the Legion, there's some thematic considerations to note. I know there was a thread on this a while back, but it seems better to start an new one than dig up the dead.

My considerations are largely based on squad composition. I've decided that their role in the overall picture of the army (which incorporates several warbands) is one of "support". They're a team-oriented army, so it seems feasible that they'd be the glue that holds a lot of disparate warbands making up a full army together. But it's that same idea which is in conflict with the overall ethos of CSM, which seems to place a lot of emphasis on powerful individual models such as Sorcerers, Obliterators, Champions, individual special-weapon wielders, that sort of thing.

To start, I figure that the HQ, a regular Chaos Lord, should operate in a sort of "Command Squad", even though there's no such specific term in the CSM army list. I'm of two ideas: One; he gets incorporated into a squad of Chosen, foregoing their Infiltrate rule but assigning them a transport so that they can be relatively mobile, going to where they're needed most on the battlefield to lay down appropriate amounts of punishment, or Two; he gets on Terminator armor and, along with a squad of accompanying terminators, Deep Strikes while the battle is underway, which also seems to suit the many-angles approach to battle that the Legion uses.

Whether the choice is Chosen or Terminators, in a general question, what would be the most practical composition? Chosen seems to lend themselves better to mid-range heavy fire, while Terminators would probably seem more ideal for close combat. How might a Chaos Lord be set up, himself, to work best in a team, if either configuration is used?

On another general note, is there somewhere a cursory guide to the different Chaos units out there in this new Codex and, preferably, examples of specific squad configurations that play best to their strengths? I've seen the guides linked in the stickies, but those that aren't based entirely around the old codex are more like in-depth dissections of just a couple of different unit types. I could spend some time digging around as well, but I figure I'd ask in case someone less relatively new to these forums than I could say.

Other Alpha Legion units I'm planning on incorporating are:
-Transport-assigned Havoc squads for general firepower.
-Infiltrating Chosen with a few big guns and Icon of Nurgle, they'll ideally be able to stand up to the fire they'll inevitably draw and provide a solid beacon for Deep Strikers to home in on.
-A handful of Bikers for hit-and-run strikes and to provide accompaniment for transports.
-Terminators, either for further, durable firepower (Icon of Tzeentch?) or tough close-combatants (Icon of Khorne)

These all seem to involve well-coordinated team compositions as well as help to embody the many-angled approach of the Legion. One slightly un-fluffy thing might be the use of Icons other than Undivided, but it seems just downright practical any way you slice it.

On a completely different note, I was wondering also; if one were to do a pure Alpha Legion army, in theory, might it really be better to use regular Space Marine rules rather than CSM? They're supposed to have been operating amidst the Imperium the whole time, and seem the most likely of the classic Traitor Legions to have incorporated more modern stratagems as well as newer wargear into their arsenal than anyone else. The drawback, of course, is that they obviously couldn't use stuff from the Chaos 'dex at all, of course, if they went like that. It's a slightly tangential thought, but one that does seem worth considering.
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Old 04 Jan 2008, 18:38   #2 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aseran
On a completely different note, I was wondering also; if one were to do a pure Alpha Legion army, in theory, might it really be better to use regular Space Marine rules rather than CSM? They're supposed to have been operating amidst the Imperium the whole time, and seem the most likely of the classic Traitor Legions to have incorporated more modern stratagems as well as newer wargear into their arsenal than anyone else. The drawback, of course, is that they obviously couldn't use stuff from the Chaos 'dex at all, of course, if they went like that. It's a slightly tangential thought, but one that does seem worth considering.
Heya,

If you want a pure Alpha Legion force, the Space Marine codex is more appropriate. Chaos lost its Alpha Legion element completely (no more infiltrate, no more cultists). There's nothing remnant of it at all except the new Chosen who infiltrate (and taking infiltrate away from them due to an HQ attachment or putting them in a Rhino just means you're paying more points for something you're not using and is not very wise). All the other legions are still just as available and can be built just fine with the Legion in mind. But Alpha Legion is literally gone. The Space Marine codex will let you build a much more coherent and appropriate force if you want infiltration and firepower.

If you do want to commit to the new Chaos Codex and stay with Alpha Legion, you basically have to just really get over the fact that you're not playing Alpha Legion but rather whatever the codex will let you take. Terminators? Chosen in Rhinos? Bikes? They're all really noisy, pricey and powerful. All not really Alpha Legion-esque. Chosen who infiltrate? Raptors that are swift to strike first? Fast brutal HQs who are not just buried in a unit? That's more like what Alpha Legion can use out of the new codex. Think fast, silent alpha strikers. Then once they're stuck in, bring in the big stuff since your presence is already clear (like your predators, or havocs, etc).

I would basically build Alpha Legion a lot like I would build Night Lords in the new codex. Focus on Raptors and focus on Chosen. The rest of the list can just fill in the gaps you need, like anti-tank roles or stay power. Obliterators are better than tanks in terms of survivability at range, Predators are the cheapest high power output heavy you can get. Havocs provide the best overall firepower from a standing position at range. And Daemon Princes are more durable and scoring, while Chaos Lords & Sorcs are less durable (can be instakilled) and non-scoring. So it really matters if you play for victory points or not. If you don't, then take whatever suits you. If you do play for victory points, avoid the Chaos Lord probably and avoid singled out vehicle choices.

Example,

Note: Use the marks when they're helpful & cheap. Use specialty marines. You do NOT have to make them look like the mark or make them look like specialty marines. Plague Marines do NOT require the plague marines models. You can take normal marines and say they're your `heavy marines' and use the plague marine rules for example. That's one of the good things in this game is that customization and flexibility of modeling with the rules is wide open. Use this to your advantage.

HQ - Chaos Lord, Jump Pack, Lighting Claws (Mark Khorne for extra attack if you want it)
Elite - Chosen, Infiltrate, Plasma Guns x 5
Elite - Chosen, Infiltrate, Plasma Guns x 5
Troops - Noise Marines, Blast Master (They don't have to be noise marines, use other models)
Troops - Noise Marines, Blast Master (They don't have to be noise marines, use other models)
Fast - Raptors, Plasma Guns x 2 (or meltas if you face lots of high armored vehicles)
Fast - Raptors, Plasma Guns x 2 (or meltas if you face lots of high armored vehicles)
Heavy - Obliterators x 2 (or Predator, with autocannon/lascannon sponsons)
Heavy - Obliterators x 2 (or Predator, with autocannon/lascannon sponsons)

Remember - don't get caught up on the idea of marks of khorne, slaneesh, etc. Just use the rules that they have and call it something else. Noise Marines can be just thought of as Alpha Legion Heavy Weapon teams for example. Use normal marine models, model them like they're Alpha Legion and you're set (just make the blast master gun look like something else so that no one confuses it with a missile launcher or lascannon or something). The mark of khorne on the HQ doesn't mean he's got to follow Khorne theme or something. Treat that mark option as simply "Buy this upgrade for +1 attack." That's all it is. Don't get caught up in names and words. Rules are all that matter in this sense.

Cheers,
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Old 04 Jan 2008, 21:01   #3 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.

I've thought about using the loyalist codex before now as I was initially worried about the loss of infiltrate and cultists with the new codex. Then I realised that Alpha legion aren't just about sneaking through the bushes.

The alpha legion specialises in misdirection and innovative tactics. These include stealth but are by no means limited to it - something the old codex encouraged you to do. They're known for attacking in lots of different directions in as many ways as possible. Hence the hydra legion symbol - multiple heads, multiple attacks, but all from the same creature or in this case, army.

If you look on the black library coming soon section www.blacklibrary.com/comingsoon.asp then you can read the first chapter of the new alpha legion book that is coming out for the horus heresy series. I won't ruin it for you now, but lets just say that the alpha legion are completely united in the way they handle their enemies, each member doing his part towards a greater objective.

So how do you represent this? Firstly, avoid marked units. As Mal said you can use the upgrades they gain you to represent something besides allegiance to a god, so do so if you want the bonuses they gain you. I would avoid daemon princes - the alpha legion are operating inside the imperium and don't generally spend their time in the eye of terror.

Possessed are an option though. An index astartes article describes how the legion often hide mutations and then reveal them when close to the enemy, the shock of the mutation helping them in an assault/firefight. They also fit into the alpha legion theme of being unpredictable. Once deployed, your opponent won't know what they are capable of and they can potentially rip apart ANYTHING if they roll right. The main benefit of the possessed is that they are unpredictable and dangerous to your opponent. Plague marines could also fit the mutation theme.

Chosen are a must as Mal said. They give an extra dimension to your game with infiltrate and multiple special weapons.

Those are just a few ideas. The new codex gives a new life to the alpha legion, instead of just being infiltrating chaos. Make up some sneaky tactics, use different unit types, and then slaughter your opponent with a well orchestrated attack. Think like the legion and you can't go wrong.

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Old 05 Jan 2008, 08:45   #4 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.

Whoah. One thing I gotta say--I didn't know that sample chapter was there, and I just read it. I am now...inspired. >

I'm gonna take all this into account. The suggestion of using the bonuses of the Chaos Icons but altering the theme somewhat is one I like, and plan on using. The idea of using their element that has contracted mutations as psychological warfare tools is an excellent point as well. I think a nice mutational theme to adhere to would be of a highly "reptilian" motif--in accordance, of course, with their imagery of the Hydra, but it's something that'll be reserved, perhaps, for very significant units such as the Chosen.

I'm still going to use the CSM 'dex for rules, but given MalVeauX's suggestions I've got some ideas on how to use the rules effectively while still maintaining strong Legion imagery. Raptor squads with ordinary Space Marine jump packs is one that springs immediately to mind, probably a far more tactically as well as thematically sound alternative to bikers. Off the top of my head, including those, here are some units I'm considering which'll represent the Alpha Legion element of my army:

-The aforementioned Raptors.
-Heavily-fortified, heavily-armed Chosen squad (Icon of Nurgle bonuses), dug in behind enemy lines with the Icon serving as a beacon for deep-strikers.
-Chosen squad with close combat weapons, made with Dark Angels Veteran and Chaos Possessed Sprues--shrouding robes cast aside as they close in for the kill, revealing their mutations to their enemies' inevitable horror. (Icon of Khorne bonuses--might as well get in a few extra swings while the enemy is collectively wetting itself. > )
-Terminator squad, undecided as to whether they'll be geared for CC or heavier guns. Might just make both and field one or the other as seems more suited to that particular game.
-At least one regular Chaos Space Marine squad, probably with a flamer or melta and a powerfist, and a dedicated transport. Simple and effective.
-A regular Chaos Lord, armed with a power weapon, using whatever Mark seems appropriate at the time. I'm uncertain still as to how he might be accompanied, though, since it just seems wrong for the Legion to have anyone operating alone no matter how 'special'. It would look very impressive to give him a personal squad of Chosen and a well-appointed Land Raider to see him across the battlefield, but not particularly practical unless it's a high-point or even an Apocalypse game. Alternatively, I could put him in Terminator armor and have him deep strike with a similarly-equipped squad. (If anyone asks, his name is Alpharius.)

The rest of the army--well, that's all up to the Emperor's Children and Thousand Sons (and disparate Khornate warbands who just seem to keep turning up) who are allied with Lord Commander I-Am-Alpharius in this dastardly venture.

That's just musing. If anyone's got suggestions, I'll certainly welcome it--the feedback that you two gave me so far is greatly appreciated. I'm glad I came here!!
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Old 05 Jan 2008, 10:39   #5 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aseran
-The aforementioned Raptors.
-Heavily-fortified, heavily-armed Chosen squad (Icon of Nurgle bonuses), dug in behind enemy lines with the Icon serving as a beacon for deep-strikers.
-Chosen squad with close combat weapons, made with Dark Angels Veteran and Chaos Possessed Sprues--shrouding robes cast aside as they close in for the kill, revealing their mutations to their enemies' inevitable horror. (Icon of Khorne bonuses--might as well get in a few extra swings while the enemy is collectively wetting itself. > )
-Terminator squad, undecided as to whether they'll be geared for CC or heavier guns. Might just make both and field one or the other as seems more suited to that particular game.
-At least one regular Chaos Space Marine squad, probably with a flamer or melta and a powerfist, and a dedicated transport. Simple and effective.
-A regular Chaos Lord, armed with a power weapon, using whatever Mark seems appropriate at the time. I'm uncertain still as to how he might be accompanied, though, since it just seems wrong for the Legion to have anyone operating alone no matter how 'special'. It would look very impressive to give him a personal squad of Chosen and a well-appointed Land Raider to see him across the battlefield, but not particularly practical unless it's a high-point or even an Apocalypse game. Alternatively, I could put him in Terminator armor and have him deep strike with a similarly-equipped squad. (If anyone asks, his name is Alpharius.)
Looks like a nice plan there - chosen are one of the best units in the new codex. The squad in cover with MoN will be very difficult to shift. I'd give them plasma weaponry, lots of plasma. This way they then are a threat to anything in the game except AV14 so should help you dictate the movement phase. As a rule, if you're against and eldar player, you get the first turn and can target his falcon before it moves, do it!

Love the close combat chosen ideas - be sure to post pictures in the hobby section when you're done.

On the subject of the lord choice, why does he have to lead the army fluffwise. Game mechanics of course he does, but every alpha legion marine from the heresy would be skilled in their type of warfare. The idea I've been toying with recently is similar to Lurtz and Saruman in LoTR. How about a captured world eater (with a few of his buddies) who've been worked on psychologically and surgically by the alpha legion to be shock troops. Give a lord mark of khorne, daemon weapon and send him on his way. The weapon will probably kill him, but thats ok, its what the legion intended. Just an idea, keep thinking outside the box.

I am Alpharius.
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Old 05 Jan 2008, 11:23   #6 (permalink)
Kroot Warrior
 
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Default Re: The Alpha Legion today: Thoughts on composition.

That's a thought. I like that Daemon Weapon thing...'cept me, I've decided that all the elements I may use that have a significantly random/backfire-prone element (like Dreadnoughts, Possessed, Daemon Weapons, Khârn) all openly belong to the Khornates (which does seem hilariously appropriate on many levels), but I digress.

Fluffwise as far as my Chaos Lord goes, he's one of the three ringleaders of the larger army, along with a pair of sorcerers (one of Tzeentch, one of Slaanesh). Thing is, unlike the other two, his identity and true position in his army is unknown--for all anyone knows, he's a complete figurehead, or it's not even the same guy each time he shows up. His only identifying characteristic is that he wears the helm of a Space Marine Company Champion and wields an ornate, heavy power sword. Needless to say, he's quite the shady character, and appears to be cooperating with the other two simply because he (or whomever is really calling the shots there) enjoys a challenge, like a true son of Alpharius.

In the game, I actually had a few ideas. He could be represented in different ways honestly depending on just what seems appropriate for any given game. Placed in a Raptor squad, mounted on a bike, deep-striking in Terminator armor, or just foot-slogging it with the troops. It might be neat as well to model and paint the same character in different weargear, just for it's own sake.

One idea I'm sort of liking is to set up a squad of about ten completely ordinary Chaos Space Marines using the Space Marine Command Squad sprues, paint them up to look ridiculously impressive for their own sake despite their relative mundanity (a nice big "HYDRA DOMINATUS" mural on that big giant banner they've got), and thusly have an excessively grandiose yet highly cost-effective escort for the big guy. In a way, it'd almost be like bait, since his actual, tactical use in the game isn't something I figure is going to be that enormous in most instances.

Or, costlier but amusing in it's own way, do the same thing, but pay the point cost to field them as Plague Marines instead. Mechanically it'd just be a great squad in it's own right, as Plague Marines are, and on sort of a meta-game level it feels like, given the roundabout, deceptive, and oftentimes deliberately ironic nature of the Legion, there'd be something appropriate about giving Nurgle's blessing to a squad that looks like something that'd make Ultramarines envious. And just stick the Lord in the middle of that when he feels like marching along in security AND style...and of course, the same "bait" principle applies, but this time, they can't even just die like they ought to! ;D

Glad you like the close-combat Chosen idea. It's something I plan on spending a lot of time carefully painting and modeling, too, along with everything else in the army. 40k's as much art project as it is a game, as I see it. As soon as I figure out how to get my camera to take decent shots of these tiny little men, I'll post something.
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