No one had uttered a word, barely dared draw breath for a full minute aboard the vengeful spirit’s grand stratageum. 

Abaddon kept his focus on the pinpricks of light, troop dispositions and geographical relays of Choral city. 

Angron. That dog Angron had run mad. Not only had he launched an unsanctioned assault, but was now running amok in the resupply train set up to support him. He would rip right through their position, compounding mistake upon.

‘First Captain’ Horus’ voice filled the strategeum.

‘Bring my brother to heel. point him in toward the enemy in the West. Let him vent his anger upon his children, not mine.’

Yes! We have a battle report for you. This is the first outing of the Sons of Horus Justearin army I have been collecting during lockdown against my regular opponent Kid Dangerous‘ World Eaters. This was our first time using the Isstvan rules from book one, 1500 points, Centurion. I was taking a small, elite force, with good armour and lots of nasty plasma weaponry, while my opponent was taking a horde of marines with a free Angron on top. I really wanted to play the scenario we chatted about prior, and it seemed like a balanced match-up.

We rolled on the mysterious terrain and got Oracular temple and Deaths Tomb, which we both promptly forgot during the course of the game. And it also occurs to me that night fighting should have been in place the entire game, which we also forgot (give us a break it’s been nearly 2 years since we played!)

Turn 1 

World eaters

Everything advances as quickly as possible. The shooting round is abysmally forgettable but does result in the death of a single Justaerin. 

Sons of Horus 

We stay put and shoot. A smattering of small arms fire fells a handful of World Eaters. All morale checks are passed, the advance continues. 

Turn 2 

World Eaters 

15 assault marines successfully land behind the Sons lines. The howl of the 12th carries over the shattered remains Choral city as the army continues its surge forward. 

A string of failed charges leave the world eaters in no man’s land, however, the Primarch reaches the immobilized Contemptor and runs through it, unmaking the machine without breaking stride. 

Sons of Horus. 

Abaddon and his retinue teleport very close to the table edge and surrounding buildings. Anywhere else and the plan fails. The logisticians on the Vengeful Spirit calculate correctly and Abaddon lands exactly on target. 

THAT close to the table edge.

2 units of Justaerin unlimber the plasma reactors on their combi bolters and fire into Angron and his unit. 4 world eaters die and Angron takes 4 wounds. The Justaerin charge and confront the ugly, martial truth of one of the Emperors sons. 

Justaerin have the Chosen Warriors special rule, which means each of them can issue challenges and be challenged in turn. Angron has the ability to issue unlimited challenges and gain an attack for each champion slain. 3 dead terminators later and Angron is up to 9 attacks. Brilliant. 

The Justaerin hold because of stubborn. Abaddon eyes the combat uneasily. 

Turn 3. 

World Eaters. 

The assault squad charges the Justaerin, wiping them out, but not before the Sgt is killed in a duel with his counterpart. 

Angron finishes the combat with the Justaerin, raging over their corpses like a maddened animal. 

My dead pile. Angron accounts for more than half the kills pictured.

Sons of Horus. 

Abaddon orders the advance, screaming Cthonic curses at Angron. They make the charge and are met with the roar of Gore Father and Gore Child. 3 Justaerin die instantly, but a surviving bodyguard is able to smash down the remainder of the World Eater, opening up a gap for the first captain to strike. Abaddon overcharges his power fist, discharging the entire pack in one thunderous punch. It connects with the Primarchs head, smashing him to the ground. 

Abaddon looks at a god sprawled at his feet, lightning wreathed, bloody, but no longer wrathful. The god regards him.

‘Angron! The enemy is to the West!’

The sire of the 12th stands and takes in the battlefield. Abaddon can only guess what he is thinking, but at least in this moment of lucidity, he can recognize ally from foe. Angron grunts and shrugs, moving off to the West without a word to the First Captain. 

WELL! What a clash! I thought for sure the Sons of Horus were done. The horde of World Eaters absorbed most of my combi plasma and were able to push out so many attacks that it overwhelmed the 2+ terminator plate. Abaddon, on the charge, was able to force 2 wounds through on Angron, who declined to challenge each member of the Justaerin. This was my lucky break and the only way that any kind of victory was possible. But a lot of things had to go my way for this to occur.

Abaddon successfully deep striking without scatter, blowing a big enough hole in Angron’s squad where plasma would start to affect the Primarch, the Justearin holding on until I had the chance to charge with Abaddon…all of these unlikely steps had to occur to get Abaddon’s fist in range of Angron’s head.

Looking at the dead pile, it didn’t feel like a victory, it felt better – it felt like we told a stroy. Abaddon managed to direct the Primarch West at the cost of his bodyguard. The supply lines to the traitors have been secured. The purging of Choral City can continue.

One thing we both noted was the dynamics of Book 1 play. The army lists are simplified at this point, without the rules staking and power creep that occurs in later iterations (not a complaint – the evolution of any game will bring added complexity). The World Eaters we not able to take the extreme version of the butcher’s nails – that occurs after Bodt, after Isstavn III. Abaddon feels like quite a generic character with a couple of added rules – but one of those rules allowed me to deep strike in and win the game. The differences between book 1 legions are slight, so combats felt more significant. The tiny shifts in control across the table was engaging.

Reflecting on my army, I don’t think I take advantage of the Sons of Horus rules enough. I need more gun pigs, basic legionnaires to give more versatility to the scenarios I am able to play. Or maybe I should swerve in a different direction and add an allied force of warm bodies – militia, solar aux, or hell, why not a knight? A super-heavy?

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