Horus Heresy Shadow War: Opening Engagement

With the recent release of The Horus Heresy book Retribution, my friend and I decided to take part in a campaign presented in the book. Shadow War details the battles between two Astartes legions or mercenaries (known as Blackshields) fighting at the fringes of the Imperium of Man. These battles take place far from the main conflict, but may prove to have a wider reaching effect than either side could predict. Since this is a fringe war, we decided that neither side should have access to named characters, as they would likely be fighting elsewhere in the galaxy.

One thing I really like about campaigns is that it allows each player to create their own narrative and really immerses the player into the game. Each battle has the chance to change the overall flow of the game, potentially crippling or bolstering a side. And even when all seems lost, victory may still be achieved.

Setting The Stage

The Blood Angels have been sent on a recovery mission to reclaim a lost communications relic. Reports state that the relic will greatly increase the loyalists communications network, allowing for better communication through the warp. A small force of Blood Angels have been sent down to locate the relic. Once the relic has been found a larger force will be sent to guard it until a Mechanicum detachment can ensure its safe relocation.

The Alpha Legion has caught wind of reports of the relic being located on the deserted planet, and have sent their own force to destroy it.

Opening Salvo

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The opening engagement of the Shadow War, featuring 3D printed terrain.

A small group of Blood Angel Tactical Marines have located the relic just as night fell on the uninhabited world, and take up a defensive position inside the ruins in which it was found.

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Had the Blood Angel in the archway deployed a few inches closer I would not have been able to deploy the Veterans at this location.

Having studied the Blood Angels Sentry movements, the Alpha Legion Veterans were able to deploy within 300 meters of the objective. Moving through the cover of darkness the Alpha Legion approached the relic and attempted to destroy it quickly with a burst from one of their Melta gunners, but were unable to as the invisible shield around the relic deflected the shot.  The Blood Angel Sentries nearest the failed Melta shot moved towards the sound to investigate, and found nothing suspicious enough to raise the alarm.

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The Veteran squad rushes forward for one last shot at the relic, waiting until the last second possible to fire.

Realizing their Melta guns needed to be closer to be effective, the whole squad moved forward, revealing themselves to the Blood Angels Sentries in hopes that they could destroy the relic before they could retaliate. Again the melta gunner fired and hit his target square but the invisible shield once again prevented the shot from damaging the relic. The Veteran Sergeant then leveled his Combi-Melta and fired at the communication relic this time bypassing the invisible shield which had protected it for eons. With a thunderous explosion the Sentries were knocked off their feet, allowing the Alpha Legion Veterans to slip off into the night. Seeing the explosion in the distance the Alpha Legion Commander Alpharion geared up his troops for the upcoming assault of the Blood Angels positions.

The Alpha Legion, masters of subterfuge, have once again proven their prowess and ended a threat to the insurgency before it could be used against Horus and those loyal to him. But now the Blood Angels know they are not alone on this uninhabited world, and will seek vengeance in the name of The Emperor against those who seek to destroy all he has built.

Game Notes

Only 200 points were allowed per each side. The attackers (Alpha Legion) were allowed to take units from Troops, Elites, and Fast Attack. While the Sentries (Blood Angels) could only select a Troops choice. Additionally each model could be deployed as though each was their own unit. My opponent selected a Tactical Squad with a Rhino as transport. Realizing that stealth was the name of the game this round I selected the Veteran unit, which has the great benefit of granting the Sniper special rule to all models in the unit. In this mission Sniper prevented the Blood Angels nearest to the Veterans from raising the alarm when the Veterans opened fire against the relic.

Due to terrain, and my opponents deployment, keeping the Veterans as one unit was the obvious choice. They were able to deploy close enough to the relic to be able to get off one Melta shot Turn 1 in hopes of ending the mission before the Blood Angels could be reinforced. However, the relic proved to be tougher than it appeared. With the mission at a critical point I decided to throw caution to the wind and move forward in one last ditch effort to destroy the relic before the Blood Angels had a chance to retaliate. Luckily for me, the Veteran Sergeant was able to score a hit against the relic causing it to explode

Stay tuned for the next installment of Shadow War!


Hey all, Alpharion here. I picked up wargaming back in veterinary school as a way to relax and forget the stresses that comes with being a veterinary student. Since then I've enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for this hobby with anyone who cares to listen. I look forward to sharing any, and everything, GW with you all!

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