Legions Imperialis – Vehicles

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Last week we looked at the infantry out of Legions Imperialis, so today we’re going to be looking at the Vehicles. Hopefully by now you’ve managed to get your hands on the game and have the rulebook beside you. I did get mine and I’m slowly working through the infantry with around 100 marines sitting on my painting desk as we speak. 

Unlike last week, we’re not going to go into the basics of the rules which are largely uncharged for Vehicles, but we will be talking a little about special rules. 

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The first set of profiles we’re going to look at are the tanks. These are relatively simple vehicles that are going to move up, point a big gun and fire. Remember than anything with the Light weapon trait is unable to damage any models of this category or higher. And that was the majority of infantry apart from the occasional missile launcher.

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The first profile we have to look at is the Legion Predator. Move 9 is much faster than the infantry who typically were move 5. The save of 3+ is also much better. Close Assault Factor is +2 the same as the Assault Marines and as this has just 1 wound it will die just as easily in melee. So infantry swarming tanks in melee might be a good strategy to get around their ranged weapons not being able to deal with it. This does make sense, you always see the infantry pop out of the humvees in movies to keep people at a distance. They might not be able to beat a tanks armour, but up close you can pop a grenande down an air shaft.

There are 4 weapons the Predator can have, the main turret can be a Cannon or a Las Cannon. The side sponsons can be heavy bolters or las cannons. The Cannon and Heavy bolters are more focused on clearing infantry, while the Lascannons are better against enemy tanks. The turrent cannons are similar, both have -1 AP, the Predator has 2 dice but the Lascannon gets to reroll misses with that accurate trait. The Cannon’s Light-AP means it works against infantry and vehicles but loses the AP against vehicles. The Lascannons Anti-Tank is the reverse, losing the AP against infantry but usable versus both. I think the Lascannon probably has the advantage with the slightly better To Hit roll of 4+. 

For the Sponsons, the lascannons are extra punch for the main lascannon making this a dedicated tank killer. The heavy bolters are light, so infantry only but do have point defences which means amongst other things that they can target another target to the main attack. When building your predators you can leave the turrents unglued and switch between them which is pretty nice. The sponsons not so much, I’m tempted to say go with the heavy bolters as infantry will always be a thing but honestly I suspect most people won’t mind if you run a different profile to that modeled as long as you’re clear ahead of time.

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Next up we have the Leman Russ. A little slower than the Predator, but with better armour at 2+. CAF is the same and Morale is a little worse. Again we get to pick 2 of the 4 weapons. This time it’s two variants of battlecannon as the primary and the exact same secondaries as we had with the Predator. The normal battlecannon has no special traits which means it’s as good at killing infantry as  tanks. The Vanquisher on the other hand has even longer range at 32 -2 AP and Armourbane. So it’s better range than the Lascannon on the Predator, has better AP and gives up accurate for armourbane. So instead of rerolling misses, it forces the denfender to reroll saves which I probably just as good.

Unlike the Predator, the Leman Russ does have some special rules. The first is Chain of Command which means they can only get Advance orders unless their is a commander nearby. The second is Explorator Adaptation which gives a 6+ invul against barrage or blast. We haven’t really seen these weapons yet but we’re expecting to see these on artillery. Again I believe the turrent options can be both build and left unglued to switch while the hull mounted secondary weapon is a bit to fiddly to bother magnetising.

I do quite like the idea of the Vanquisher out ranging the Predators to take pot shots at them while they can’t be shot back. Then the hull mounted heavy bolters with it’s Point defences can be used to clear out infantry.

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Next up we have the Legion Sicarian. The core profile here is the same as the Predator but slightly faster. Rather than 2 weapons picked from 4 we have 3 weapons picked from 5. You will always have the hull mounted heavy bolter which has the exact same stats when we saw them earlier, as do the Sponson weapons. So we’ll focus here on the primary weapons, the Twin Linked Accelerator autocannon and the Omega Plasma Array. Both are relatively short range with 16 and 12 inches. We don’t have any of those limiting traits like Light or Anti-Tank, so these weapons will work just as well against anything you point them at. Both are -1 AP, but the autocannon is 3 dice at 5+ while the Plasma array is 1 dice at 4+. We’ve already seen accurate, that’s reroll misses, but tracking is new it gives rerolls specifically against fliers, so typically accurate is going to be better.

Again, I believe you can make both turrets and switch them, but in this case I suspect the Omega Plasma Array is going to be better, 1 dice hitting on 4+ with rerolls is going to be similar than 3 dice at 5+ without rerolls. Same dilemma with the sponsons, more lascannons to take out enemy tanks or more heavy bolters to take out infantry. I’m tempted to go with heavy bolters just to limit the attacks to just two sets of dice, they will combine with the hull mounted one to give 4 dice versus infantry. As the range on the Plasma Array is quite short at 12 inches it will be good to be able to clear enemy infantry as this tank will have to get into the action.

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Going back to the Auxilia we have the Malcador which has a massive list of options. Again we have 3 gun slots but each have 3 options for a totally bewildering array of combinations. The main profile is similar to the Predator but the morale is a little worse. Importantly, wounds are now 2, so the Malcadors can take a hit and keep going.

The battlecannon and vanquisher are the same as the Leman Russ but fixed forward facing. The Lascannon is similar to the predator, but again forward facing but it also gets an extra dice which is nice. 

The Sponsons and hull mounted weapons are for the most part similar to what we’ve seen before. The Hull Mounted Demolisher cannon though is a new addition and has some special rules of note. We did see the Ignores Cover when looking at the infantry, it’s a great option for dealing with targets garrisoned in buildings. Of maybe more interest is the Demolisher trait which lets the weapon do damage to structures, so this can try take down buildings. That could be good. Notably, out of all these weapons only the Heavy Bolters have point defence, without that special trait everything must target the same enemy. So keep that in mind when working out how to assign your weapons. I think the best approach is to either match them to the primary weapon or go with the heavy bolters to target secondary targets.

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Again we have 3 weapon slots to pick from. The hull mounted and sponson weapons are similar to what we’ve seen before. Keep in mind that you do get 2 hull mounted weapons, but the weapon profile is only for 1, so whatever you go for double the dice. 

The turret has two slots, one of which will always be the co-axial autocannon. Unless I’m missing something here, the Co-axial rule is a bit still here, the idea is the co-axial weapon has to target the same target as the main gun, but unless it has some special rule that says otherwise all weapons have to target a single target anyway. Apart from that, it’s 2 dice with a 5+ to hit and -1 AP against vechicles but not infantry.

For the main weapon there are two choices, the Kratos Battlecannon or the Melta Blastgun. The Battlecannon has two firing modes which is nice, the first is 20 range 2 dice 4+ with -1 AP and no special rules. That seems good against most things. Once we get within 10 inches we can switch to a closer range option which is only 1 dice but minus 4 AP with Armour bane, this is a real tank killer. 

The other option is the melta blastgun which has a very close range of 8 inches and is the same as the close range battlecannon apart from that. The one difference is it does work against infantry and also has the Bunker Buster special rule which lets it destroy structures and doubes the AP against them, so that would be -8 AP against a building which is super good (Note: Buildings save with 2D6 rather than 1D6 so that -8AP is going to be useful).

Switching the turrent weapons on this is a little tricker but I have seen people do it. Rather than two different turrets, the casing above the main gun can be lifted off the the weapon underneath switched.

As to how to field this, I’m not entirely sure myself. The Battlecannon and Lascannons would make this a pretty scary tank hunter. Similarly, the blastgun looks great for digging out garrisoned infantry while a full set of heavy bolters would be 6 dice which could get a lot of work done.

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Last in the tank section, we have the super heavy option for the Auxilia. This is kind of what makes them special. Move 7 making it the slowest tank we’ve seen. 2+ save is about as good as it gets and again we’re seeing those 2 wounds. Morale is 4+ as we expect from the Auxilia while Close Assault Factor is +4 doubling the +2 we’ve been seeing.

We have a ton of weapons, this time we’re seeing 4 distinct weapon points. Lascannons on the sponson turrets, two hull mounted weapons with the demolisher and heavy bolter, two turret weapons a coaxial autocannon with either the demolisher or helhammer. Then sponson weapons, either heavy bolters, autocannons, or heavy flamers. This time we have a ton of point defence weapons, with the all the sponson options having it along with the hull mounted heavy bolter 

The baneblade is a universal problem solver with range 25 and -3 AP. The Hellhammer is actually similar but at half the range, as a bonus you get demolisher and ignores cover. So you can either go round a building or just straight through it. The hull mounted demolisher cannon does similar.

We do get a new option here with the flames which are point defence, so you can target a tank with the main gun and still incinerate infantry. This is 2 dice at 4+ ignoring cover but they’ll still get their normal save. 

Again a bewildering array of options. You will always have the co-axial autocannon, lascannon sponson turrents, demolisher cannon, and hull mounted heavy bolter. So you’re just picking out the main gun and the sponsons. I’m tempted to go with the heavy bolters just for the sheer joy of rolling lots of dice, while the main cannon seems the most flexible. We’ll have to see how the garrisoning impacts the game play as having the option for the hellhammer to destroy buildings and the flamers to clear them out could be a good counter play.

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And that was all the tanks, although we’ve kept the Rhino’s in reserve for the transport section later in the video. Next up we’re going to look at some of the fliers. These have their own set of rules that’s all wrapped up in a couple of traits. 

First of course is the flyer trait. At the start of the game, flyers are not deployed and instead stay in reserve. A flyer in reserve can only be given the Advance or March order.

When you activate them in the movement phase, you place them with the rear of the base at the board edge. That can  be your deployment board edge or any point within 8 inches of your board edge. The flyer then moves in a straight line and can turn once up to 90 degrees during that movement. They can move over models and terrain. After that movement they will be on the board ready for the combat phase.

As they are in the air, they are considered to have line of sight to all models and all models have line of sight to them. They can’t control objectives. Hitting them is hard, and requires 6s.

During the end phase they are removed from the board and head back to reserve for another run next turn. There is one exception to this, if they have the hover special rule they can stay on the board but they lose the flyer trait and gain the skimmer trait instead. On later turns, they can choose to lose skimmer trait and get back the flyer trait just before flyers are removed from the board. 

A skimmer can move over terrain and models but can’t end their movement overlapping. During first fire stage they can do a pop-up attack which lets them trace their line of sight from 10 inches above their current position. They stay that way until the end of the first fire stage, so enemies do have a chance to fire back. 

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First up we have the Lightning Fighter. No CAF and no Morale, but a speedy 30 move along with a 4+ save and a single wound. At the bottom we have a few special rules. We’ve already mentioned Flyer. Interceptor is new, this lets the model take a bonus attack at the end of it’s move with a single weapon against an enemy flyer but with a -2 penalty. We can see the weapons have at best 4+ so any of these shots would be on 6s. It is a bonus attack though and you can still fire the weapon later so there really is no downside. The last special ability is Jink of 5+ which essentially is an invul save. You do need to move to get it, so a first fire order means you lose the jink save, but this lightning never has that order as an option. 

The primary weapons are the twin lascannon or the twin multi-laser. Range is a factor here but as the Lightning is arriving at the board edge, moves 30 inches and the board size will usually 48 inches deep, range shouldn’t be a problem. The choice here essentially is whether you want to go after infantry or tanks. The Lascannon is anti-tank so it loses the -1 AP against infantry. The multilaser is Light AT so it would lose AP against vehicles but it doesn’t have any AP anyway. You’re going to get more hits with the multilaser but the Lascannon does have that nice AP. These both have the Skyfire trait which lets them target aircraft normally, so it doesn’t require 6s to hit. Skyfire also lets us have a second target as long as that is a flyer. So we can drop the hellstrike missiles onto a tank as a primary target and use those lascannons against an enemy flyer as a secondary target.

We then have the 3 underwing weapons, the hellstrike missles, skystrike missles, and phosphex bomb clusters. We will see these repeat across the various aircraft.

The hellstrikes are straightforward vehicle killers, Armourbane means successful saves by the enemy must be rerolled. The Skystrike missles are anti-aircraft, tracking means misses against a flyer can be rerolled. You can of course use these against ground targets and then they’re basically the same as hellstrike but lose the amourbane. Last are the Phoxphex Bomb Clusters which I think are very interesting. They have a rear arc and no range, so basically you fly over the target and drop them. This is all wrapped up the Bombing run trait. This does happen during the movement phase, so you fly over them and resolve it straight away. They are particularly good against garrisoned troops. It has the ignores cover rule and the bombing run trait lets you do damage to both the infantry and the building at the same time. So you target the building which takes normal damage and every detachment within that building gets half dice rolled against them, so in this case you’d roll 2 dice against the building and 1 dice against every detachment in it.

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Next up we have the Avenger Strike Fighter. Slightly slower than the Lightning but better armed. Here we always have that under nose bolt cannon and we always have the rearmounted heavy stubber. The bolt cannon has rapid fire, so a 6 will count as 2 hits and with 5 dice there’s a good chance of getting at least 1. It’s Light Anti Tank so that -1 AP only works against infantry. The heavy stubber has point defence which means it can attack additional targets or as overwatch. Both skyfire and point defence weapons talk about a secondary target, you might interpret that to mean a the second target or you might interpret an additional target. The point defenses rule specifically says that all point defense weapons must target the same target, so that to me suggests you can have your primary target, a secondary target with the heavy stubber’s point defence, and a third target with skyfire. From Aeronautica, the heavy stubber would only target aircraft on the same level or higher than it, but we don’t have that rule here so I’m expecting the Avenger pilots to fly upside down to they can target ground troops.

The primary bolt cannon is supported with either a lascannon or autocannon. The autocannon is similar to the bolt cannon but without the rapid fire. The lascannon has less dice but better range and hits on 4+ rather than 5+. Again, I’d be tempted to match the bolt cannon with the autocannon so you have similar range and to hit values.

We have those same special rules and the underwing weapon options. When it comes to the models, the kit should have the options and once you get a few kits you’ll have lots of options. In aeronautica typically people ignored whatever was modelled under the wing and went by the cards instead. If you’re worried about it, you could model without anything and say it’s modelled for after they’ve fired it. Alternatively it is possible to magnetise them with 1mm by 1mm magnets but it is a bit fiddly. 

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The star of the Imperial Navy is of course the Thunderbolt. Slower again at 25, that might be a factor for the bombs if you run them but with even the 16 range you should be able to move from the board edge and target anything you want on the table. The save is still 4+ so the real difference here is going to be the weapons.

The quad autocannons are the same as the avengers as are the lascannons. This time though you do get both. You can upgrade the autocannons to bolt cannon for a small points increase, again these are the same as the version on the avenger. Overall, it’s a pretty similar fighter.

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Next up we have the Xiphon Interceptor, the first of the Legion aircraft and a bit of a beast. At move 30 it as fast as the lightning. It’s also got a better save than all the previous aircraft with a 3+. There are no options with the weapons, you always get what you get. That’s a Lascannon array and missile launchers. Both quite similar, lascannon is anti-tank which just means it’s worse at infantry while the missiles are equally good against both. Lascannons get rerolls with accurate but the missiles get rerolls versus enemy aircraft with tracking. Both have Skyfire which means they roll to hit as normal against enemy aircraft and one can be split to a secondary flyer target. So each is 2 dice with 4+ to hit and rerolls with a -1 AP. With that Interceptor special rule we’re going to be able to get double duty with one of those weapons, so it’s essentially 6 dice. That’s pretty good. Unlike the Navy, no under wing weapon options.

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Next we have the Fire Raptor. Again we have that better save of 3+ and it’s still fast enough with 25 move. This has Avenger bolt cannons in the nose, tempest rockets under the wings, and a selection of options for the batteries. When you’re building this, you can stick magnets in the body of the craft before you seal it up. Then you can put a ball bearing in the turrents before you seal them up. Then you can switch the turrets in and out and they will still move.

Again we’re seeing a lot of skyfire which means you can pick secondary aircraft as targets, but I’m probably more interested in the Quad Heavy Bolter batteries which also have Point Defence. That’s because I see the Fire Raptor as a support craft using the Hover rule to sit on the board and help out the Marines below. While that might seem right in my head, I’m not sure it’s the right call. Hover as we’ve mentioned before lets us switch the Flyer rule to Skimmer and not leave the battle. That will let us give the Fire Raptor a first fire order which they couldn’t otherwise get. We do lose a lot of mobility though. Keeping aircraft in reserve at the end of the turn lets us place them exactly where we want them. On the other hand, being able to First Fire could let us take out key enemy before they have a chance to fire themselves. This is getting quite expensive, but the good news is we have a bucket of dice to roll between 8 and 10 depending on what weapons we pick.

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Last in the flyers we have the Marauder Bomber. This one is a bit weird. It is essentially a dedicated bomber. Where the previous aircraft could have Wing Bombs, this has the bomb bay built in. This means we want to fly over our target. We also have Lascannons pointing forward and heavy bolters putting backwards. So you’re trying to get into a position where you can maximise your targets. That could be tricky.

It does have the better 3+ save we’ve seen with the Legion aircraft and with 24 move it is the slowest we’ve seen so far. You get to pick two from the under wing options and notably you can double up, so you could take two Wing Bombs and drop 6 dice onto a buildings all with -2 AP which is very likely to destroy a building and means anyone inside takes 3 dice worth of damage each and then has to deal with the building exploding.

There are also two variants of the Maurader.

The Colossus gives up on the lascannon array at the front replacing it with bolter turrents with the same profile as the rear. It then upgrades the bomb bay to a Colossus Bomb which is a once use only, has 6 dice, 3+ to hit, -4 AP, Bombing run and Bunker buster which doubles the AP against structures. Right now we’re living in a Civitas world, so this is overkill but if we ever see proper fortification enter the game this could be a way of dealing with them.

Another variant is the pathfinder which gives up the bomb bay, switches the lascannon for the bolters, In exchange for this it gets the Auger Array which lets barrage weapons in the detachment ignore the -1 penalty for indirect fire if this mode can see it. Something that will be more important when we get batteries.

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Finally, and my favourite, we have the Maurader Destroyer. It costs 10 more points but trades the nose lascannons for an Autocannon Array and adds Assault cannons. Combined they are both 9 dice in total and Light AT which means they only get the -1 against infantry. This makes the destroyer a good infantry killer and it can also use it’s bomb bay and wing mounted options. As it’s coming out of reserve each turn and can reach out up to 40 inches, I figure it will be a good problem solver. I definitely see this as the A10 Warthog of this game and look foward to making the appropriate noises as I tear into the enemy.

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Alright, that was the flyers and yes we’ve missed a few and that’s because we’ve got them listed in the Transports. There are 4 transports special traits: Transport, Assault Transport, Large Transport, and Large Assault Transport. After each is a number in brackets, this is the number if infantry bases each one can hold. 

Your infantry can start the game in their transports, but if any of the infantry bases from a detachment deploy in transports then all of that detachment must be in transports and those transports must all come from a singe detachment. So if your tactical detachment is going out in Rhinos, everyone in that detachment must be in a rhino. Things can get a bit messy later when you start taking loses though, but if you end up in a weird position where you don’t have enough transport for all the infantry you can mount some but then the entire unit needs to stay in coherency.

Even though they are in the transport, the infantry will get orders as normal, but they can only be advance or march. To disembark from a transport, the infantry detachment chooses to do so during the transports activation in the movement phase. 

I think you can activate infantry in transports which seems a bit weird to me. Do all the marines stick their bolters out the window and shoot? I’m not sure, if you know please tell me in the comments.

Once they do disembark, they can then activate. So you can get a march order with your transport and a march order with your infantry, zooming them across the board. The transports will often has guns as well, so there are reasons to go with advance as well. They also add some support after they’ve deployed their troops.

If for some reason transports do start getting destroyed while troops are in it, each infantry makes a 4+ save or takes wound. Anyone who survives is deployed within 2 inches of the destroy transport. That’s all the transport basics. If you upgrade to Assault Transport you can also include bulky infantry and you can assign the charge order in addition to advance and march.

For the Large transport, you can also add walkers and bulky models. Bulky only takes up one space for the large transport while walkers count as 2. The Large Assault Transport is the best of all worlds, so it’s the same as large transport and you can assign the Charge order as well as advance and march.

Alright, lets look at them. The first is the classic Rhino.

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Move 9, save 4+, 1 wound. It does have twin linked bolters so it can add some fire but it’s not much. Honestly, these are kind of infantry level weapons and it’s very similar to the normal bolter. So think of this more as way to expand out your infantry detachment. It makes them faster and you still get the extra bolter for similar points. Initially I was thinking I wouldn’t upgrade and just keep this cheap, but it might make sense if they’re carrying a detachment with a specific task or as a way to deal with problems the infantry can’t handle. That said, my gut says keep it cheap.

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Speaking of which, here we have the Arvus Lighter. Unfortunately these are resin and pretty expensive for 2 but on the table they’re a cheap 12 points that turns your infantry into flyers. This can carry 2 infantry, so you need 2 for even a basic 4 base detachment. They won’t start in play but can currently appear and drop in. So one moment they’ll be in reserve and the next you’re deploying your infantry detachment into position. There is a special rule with flying deployments, the transport must have hover and when it deploys it loses flyer for the rest of the turn. So this is going to drop in and deploy then stick around until the end of the next turn when it can be removed as a normal flyer. You can also keep it on the table and use it to ferry other troops around which might be useful. Be careful though, if a flyer is destroyed with troops in it, they don’t get a save and are just destroyed.

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The Storm Eagle is a step up, now we have Transport of 5 and can finally add an entire detachment in one transport. Usually groups will be in 2s so you’ll end up leaving a slot free. You can of course add more Storm Eagles to round things out or you can use that slot for a single base like a Legion Commander. So it is possible have multiple detachments in the same transport.

For weapons you get everything here. The main heavy bolter is worse than the bolt cannon on the Fire Raptor, but the Lascannons are similar. So you’re trading out a little firepower but not a massive amount to get that Assault Transport 5.

It’s also Assault Transport! That means you can deploy your Assault troops with their bulk backpacks and they can get the charge order. So this is a pretty impressive way to get your close combat troop into the fray. As a bonus, the jump packs mean the Storm Eagle never needs to stop and hover, instead it can fly off again and be back in reserve for next turn. 

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Then last of all we have the big daddy, the Thunderhawk Gunship. Like the Storm Eagle it comes as is. With 2+ save and 2 wounds it’s basically a heavy tank and it has the firepower to back it up. The main turbo-laser is range 40 3 dice 4+ accurate with -3 AP. The hellstrike missiles are going to go after the same target, then the lascannon can use the Skystrike to target an aircraft while the heavy bolters use point defence to target some infantry. 

This is a Large Assault Transport, so you can deploy 4 walkers in it. This could be a way to drop 4 dreadnaughts straight into the action. Alternatively it’s a host of tactical troops who can go straight into key buildings to hold objectives. The the Thunderhawk can get back to work killing things, probably cruising around with the skimmer rule and acting like a baneblade.

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And that’s it! We’ve managed to get through all the Vehicles out so far for Legions Imperialis. We still have the Titans and Knights to go, but that can be for later.

I hope you enjoyed, what essentially was a read through connecting all the dots from the various rules. I don’t really have any big conclusions about what you should or should not field as I honestly have no idea, but I do feel we’ve learned a lot about what the various models can do in this game. 

As I said at the start, I managed to get my boxes, so I’ve currently got sprues of little men partially painted to work through. Please do comment if you have any thoughts on the game, I’m hoping I’ll be able to get everything ready for my first game sometime after the holidays.

If you have any comments or feedback please post them in the comments section below. Check us out on the Optimal Game State website, Mastodon, and YouTube channel for more discussion about the Games Workshop Specialist Games.