Welcome to the second article in my series on taking those first steps towards building a Horus Heresy army. In this article I will discuss the next big hurdle you'll have to... um... hurdle... on your way to completing the Horus Heresy army building race metaphor. If you're playing along at home then you will have just picked what Legion you're going to collect. Using my hypothetical war gamer (and a name that a friend of mine uses in bars), Jerome Pleasure-Town, we'll quickly pick a Legion.
Following my five question system Jerome came to a number of speedy conclusions. Jerome likes blue, it's a manly colour and he feels it accentuates his eyes. Next JPT realises he's new to the game and not an expert when it comes to using green stuff so he's looking for a Horus Heresy line that is mostly released. He wants an army with the rules already released and is keen to gear his army towards close combat. This leaves Jerome with two viable choices, Night Lords or World Eaters at a stretch (noting they're mostly white). Put off by Ty's already impressive World Eaters force, Jerome chooses Night Lords as his first Legion army.
But what to buy? The FW website is full of choices and there aren't any pre-formed bundles like on the GW website. Hell. Jerome realises he doesn't even know the rules. This is the first purchasing decision point and one that I myself really struggled with. For only £60 you can get yourself all the rules for the HH game and the first 12 Legions in this newly available compact collection. However these books don't have the plethora of artwork and background fluff (information about the HH universe) that the magnificent original HH series do, though to get the same amount of rules will cost £210. Steep no? Luckily I have a mate who already had the third HH book and could access the Iron Warrior rules. So I decided to start with the HH Betrayal book as they're absolute pieces of art and I couldn't miss the opportunity to own them, and hold them, and gently whisper to them late at night. My plan is to buy them over a year or so, spreading out the cost.
Jerome however is a lone wolf with no such access so he gets the compact collection. But he also doesn't want to wait until his FW order, coming all the way from the Motherland, arrives before deciding on what miniatures to add to his fledgling army. For any HH army, no matter what you're collecting. There are a few safe bets. You're going to need compulsory troops. While some armies flip the FOC chart around and have their own troop choices, the basics are always useful and good practice to start painting on anyway. You've only really got three choices for compulsory troops (not considering the multiple FOC swapping options). Tactical Squads, Assault Squads and Breacher Squads. You'll also want to get your hands on an HQ choice but let's not rush into anything for this purchase.
As Jerome wants to defeat his enemies in close combat, staring into the panicked whites of their eyes, he's decided to go with a Tactical Squad and an Assault Squad as his two compulsory choices. No matter what future directions Jerome's army takes these two units will be useful. A gamer focused on shooting may decide on two Tactical Squads, while a gamer with a theme in mind may lean toward using Terminators or Legion specific units as compulsory troops choices. The key to choosing a unit is considering manoeuvrability, purpose and synergy. Eventually Jerome is going to want to find a way to get his Tactical Squad up in the enemies' face and to have a helping hand while they're there, but we won't spoil that discovery for him right now.
Jerome also does a bit of research and, using Macca's handy Armour Guide, chooses MkIV armour for his Night Lords. So here's what you want to buy Jerome:
This will give Jerome a fledgling army with two minimal troops choices, a good basis from which to expand. In the next article we'll talk about the magic behind Horus Heresy HQ choices and how that will impact your entire army and future list building. In the meantime, enjoy and keep the dice rolling.