Horus Heresy – Liber Astartes

In addition with the update Horus Heresy rule set (currently not available on its own, just as part of the Age of Darkness set) Games Workshop released two large supplements, covering the army lists for the loyalist and traitor Space Marine Legions.

Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes

Each book is 55 EURs and more than 300 pages thick. Manufactured as a hard cover in full colour, with thick paper and even a cloth bookmark. We're going to look into these separately, beginning with the Liber Astartes. The book for the Space Marine Legions loyal to the Emperor.

The first double page of the book, is a detailed map of the Empire, giving you an overview of the campaign map. With all the planets, home worlds and some further information on some of the troop movement and a brief legend of the icons. As the rules are covered in the main rulebook, the two faction books are all about the army lists and giving you a point to start from, embedded in lore and artwork.

Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes

The table of content gives you a proper overview, on what to expect. It is double sided to cover all the content. As you can see, the first 90 pages are rules for the generic army list and unit entries, followed by another 50 pages covering the Rites of War, armoury, weapons systems and so on.

Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes

The book is well-layouted, with clear diagrams and lovely artwork or scenes embedded into the design. As you can see, the shown miniatures fit the loyal armies, so even as this is shared content with the traitor book, it not just copy and pasted, but prepared in a way, that it fits all together. Small icons are showing the aquila, to show the allegiance of the units / forces in this book.

You get for example and overview on what are fitting allies, with different tiers of how likely these Legions would fight side by side, which is really helpful if you're not that familiar with the books yet. The overall design is toned down a bit, it is lighter compared to 40k, as we're 10.000 years before the actual grim dark and just beginning the Age of Darkness. The design team picked up a lot of things from the former Forge World releases, like the artwork that is not as in a military report or data sheet, but like in a history book. This supports the overall narrative feeling, that you're entering a tale of epic proportions.

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After those pages, the remaining roughly 200 pages of the Liber Astartes cover the 9 different Space Marine legions loyal to the Emperor. As I don't want to spoil you, I'll give you an overview on the lovely layout by the example of the Imperial Fists. Each of the chapters is shown this way, with a brief introduction, the rules for the Legion themself, their rites of war, some legion specific rules that distinguish them from one another. These few pages are always followed by their mightiest Lord of War, their Primarch, along with further army list entries, exclusive to their legion. After the rules there is a double page with the coat of arms, shoulder pads and uniform colour, with a second page showing vehicles in the according Legion colours. Each Legion chapter is then closed by a double page full of painted miniatures, showing their primarch and a mix of different units from their ranks, including both Forge World resins and the new plastic kits.

Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes

I'll give you an overview of the 9 loyal Legions, everyone linked to their summary on Warhammer Community, where they cover the Rites of War and some snippets from their rules. I'll focus on the unit entries, that they have access to in the Liber Astartes, along with some armoury specifics and link these to the different warhammer wikis.

The 1st legion, the Dark Angels of Caliban. Due to their different Wings, they have a bit of different army organisation and you have among other things access to weaponry from the Age of Strife, as well as a Legion Consul that can be a Paladin of the Hekatonystika. Their unit entries cover their primarch Lion El'Johnson, along with two Elite units, the Inner Circle Knights Cenobium and Dreadwing Interemptors, and three HQ units, Deathwing Companions, Paladin-Captain Corswain and Eskaton Marduk Sedras.

The 5th legion, the White Scars, the fast and mobile Lords of Chogoris. This can be seen in their rules and access to specific east-asian and mongolian inspired designs. They have the unique Shamshir Jetbike, a variant of the Scimitar Jetbikes, can field cyberhawks and have a special type of Legion Consul, the stormseer. The horde of Jaghatai Khan, is lead with the army list entry of the primarch himself, followed by two Elite units, the Ebon Keshig and Golden Keshig, as well as an assault unit Kyzagan Assault Speeder and one HQ unit, Qin Xa.

The Space Wolves of Fenris are the 6th legion, and bring their ice-world specific weaponry like the frost blades with them, along with different Legion Consuls like a Pack-Thegn, Speaker of the Dead or Caster of Runes. Their unit entries cover their primarch Leman Russ as well as Freki and Geri as HQ units, with Geigor Fell-Hand and Hvarl Redblade. Their elite units cover Deathsworn Pack and Varagyr Terminators, and the regular units of the Grey Slayers and Grey Stalkers (seems to be a new entry).

The Sons of Dorn, the 7th legion of the Imperial Fists. The rules fit with their stern role of being the best defenders, and among other options they can make their Legion Consul a Castellan. The unit entries start with their Lord of War, Rogal Dorn, and an elite and assault unit each, the Templar Brethren and Phalanx Warder. And they are one of the few legions, having multiple HQ units right from the start, Sigismund, Alexis Polux and the recently added Fafnir Rann.

The Blood Angels from Baal are the 9th legion. Their rules don't cover a unique legion consul, but they are doing incredibly well in close combat. Led by their primarch, Sanguinius, and two more HQ units, with Dominion Zephon (was released along-side Fafnir Rann) and Chapter Master Raldoron, they have amazing looking elite units, with the Dawnbreaker Cohort, Crimson Paladins and Angel's Tears, as well the assault unit, Contemptor Incaendius Dreadnought.

From their homeworld of Medusa, the 10th legion, the Iron Hands. It is very focussed on the engineering / manufacturing aspect of the legion, build around their Ironfather, with their own type of terminator armour and some other buffs. Their unit list is rather short, as you only have Ferrus Manus, who dies rather early into the Horus Heresy, and the two elite units of the Gorgon Terminators and Medusan Immortals.

The most numerous of the Space Marines legion, the Ultramarines are the 13th legion. Very infantry focused army and beyond that - I don't want to call it vanilla - that what you would expect from the Legion that wrote the Codex Astartes. Their unit entries cover as Lord of War Roboute Guilliman himself and Captain of the 4th company Remus Ventanus as an HQ unit, as well as the Invictarus Suzerain and Praetorian Breachers in the elite unit choices.

The Salamanders are the 18th legion and originate from Nocturne. Their focus is set on flame, plasma and volkite weaponry, along with their own set of unique weapons, based upon dragonfire. Once again a rather short list of new unit entries, led by their primarch Vulkan, and two elite units, the Firedrake Terminators and Pyroclast.

The final loyalist legion of the book, is the 19th legion - the Raven Guard. They are all about being sneaky, stealthy and stabby, from what I get with the Rites of War and special rules. And that's where their strength lays, as beside their primarch Corvus Corax, they only have an elite unit, Mor-Deythan, and an assault unit Dark Fury, in addition.

After that, we "only" get another double page artwork and the campaign map again, to close the book.

Horus Heresy - Liber Astartes

But, hidden in plain sight, is this Land Raider on the Ultramarines showcase. And do we notice something? Oh yes, we do. The tracks have studs, and that's something only the new plastic kit has and not the resin kit. So, this is one variant of the new Land Raider plastic kit, that share parts with the Spartan Assault Tank we covered earlier this week.


We get a 300+ pages hard cover right from the start, covering just the loyalist legions. With another book, just covering the traitors. And for me, that is a pretty solid start. If you're just in there for your own legion, you might have the feeling that they could have gone into more detail about it, but be honest. You have to start somewhere, and I think they did a pretty decent job with it. Are the Forge World Horus Heresy books more detailed? Have more artwork? Yes, they do. But we're not finished. This is basically your Codex Army Lists, your Ravening Hordes for the Horus Heresy. But done with far more love than those "booklets" covered. You get everything that you need to start your own legion force, with a lot of options to give your army the character that you have in mind. Almost role-playing game level of character, because remember you are able to field the traitorous parts of these legions as well.

I won't cover any meta insights or rule balancing topics, there are other pages that will provide that for you in a more appropriate way, if you're looking for this, for example like Goonhammer. But simply from a value point. You're already down at least 200-ish EUR for the starter kit, giving you all that you need as a base for your own project, so having a 350-page army book for 55 EUR is a proper investment and compared to ~200 pages for ~40 EUR for a regular 40k codex, not that bad of deal either. And to keep in mind, the Forge World books were ~95 EURs each, sold out quickly and some of them are triple that and more on the second-hand market.

Beyond that, Games Workshop has already announced a lot of PDFs and available army lists in the near future to keep you playing (and give access to the profiles of the AdMech units, that some of the Legions may add to their forces). But what I am really looking for are the first new campaign books, probably starting with a re-release / update on Betrayal, covering the battles in the Isstvan system.

Warhammer 40,000 and The Horus Heresy are brands by Games Workshop.

The reviewed product item was provided by the manufacturer.

Posted by Dennis B.

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