Okay I believe we had reached the Salamanders.....
No. 18 - Salamanders.
Handily for Salamanders players they have a special character in the Space Marine Codex (namely Vulkan) that makes both Flamer and Melta weapons better by making them twin-linked. He also improves Thunderhammers by making them 'master-crafted'. As Flamers are free in 10 man Tactical Squads (with a Meltagun being a mere 5 point upgrade) and Multi-meltas also being free in the same 10 man squad we can see that making a characterful and 'Fluffy' Salamanders army using the 'Vanilla' Marine Codex is a piece of
The most distinctive feature of the Salamanders is their preference for 'heat' based weapons *...
* Which I've always found a bit odd on a planet basically made of lava. Surely a water cannon or gun that fired beams of ice would be far more of a status symbol on a planet where most of the Predators are actually made of fire or eat volcanic rock or are made out of volcanic rock and eat fire.....
...as well as their extreme strength and resilience. If only there was a way of taking elite troops with up to 5 Meltas and/or Flamers, heavy weapon teams with up to 4 Meltas and/or Flamers, Extremely tough troops that could take 2 special weapons and small elite Terminator units that could wield Combi-weapons and a Heavy Flamer.....Oh wait.....That's Chosen, Havocs, Death Guard and Chaos Terminators isn't it.....Before the 'Fluff Nazi's' start planning my brutal assassination** bear in mind that I'm just listing possible alternatives here ;-)
No. 19 - Raven Guard.
As with the Salamanders, Raven Guard have a special character in the Space Marine Codex (Shrike) that is specially designed for them. He exchanges 'combat tactics' for the ability to Fleet as well as enabling you to infiltrate the unit that he's with. This has unfortunately brought about the rather unfluffy tactic of infiltrating 10 Assault Terminators with Shrike which always seems like a good idea to idiots until an experienced player torrents them to death, feeds them sacrificial units while destroying the rest of their army or (in the case of Space Wolves) just puts a 'Chooser of the Slain' in front of his army and then looks smug. Obviously this is a perfectly legal and viable tactic so go ahead and do it if you like it's just not very 'Ravenguardy' imo.
The downside to using the Space Marine codex is that it limits you to 3 Assault Squads which are quite expensive for what they do and an Honour Guard that becomes stupidly expensive once you equip them properly.
Luckily the Blood Angels Codex helps us out here for a number of reasons. Assault Marines as troops, reliable Deep Striking, viable Vanguard Veterans are all highly in character for the Raven Guard. I'd rather give my Assault Squad Sergeants Power Fists for effectiveness but there's nothing particularly wrong with giving them Lightning Claws if it's the 'look' you want. Also due to the chapters background of genetic instability it's not unreasonable that they would have a high number of Apothecaries (Sanguinary Priests) keeping an eye on things (that can have a Lightning Claw themselves if they like). I already wrote a list for a friend of mine that can be found here if anybodies interested.
No. 20 - Alpha Legion.
The Alpha Legion were known for their use of flexible and unorthodox strategies. Many of their victories were bought about by subterfuge, misdirection or rapid attacks from an unexpected direction. They also commonly recruited non-Astartes as agents to perform covert actions for them or simply as spies. To all intents and purposes they operated the same after the Heresy as they had before so that doesn't really factor in our choice of codex for them. In game terms the basic character of the Alpha Legion is best represented by the Infiltrate, Outflank or Scout rules or with any rule-set that allows allies.
So we need to represent a tactically viable force or one that has other people doing the work for them. One way to do this could be to use a standard Marine force that utilises the 'Combat Squads' and 'Combat Tactics' rules to represent this tactical acumen but that (though viable) is a bit boring. We could also take advantage of Kor'sarro Khan's Chapter Tactic which allows all of the units to outflank as well as giving his own unit Hit and Run as well as Furious Charge (both of which can represent superior tactics with little imagination on either players part). As Khan can be taken without a bike (if you like) you don't necessarily have to use your army as White Scars with an Alpha Legion paint job if you don't want to.
Alternatively taking the approach of having a small 'Marine' element supported by other units can be done in a number of ways.
Editors Note : Both of these suggestions are going to annoy 'Fluff Bunnies', give 'Fluff Nazi's' a heart attack and possible piss of the last remaining 'Counts-as' hater who has yet to have a contract put out on me.....Fortunately I've already worked out how to defend my home should the Zombie Apocalypse ever happen so defending it from a few offended 'Fluffers' shouldn't be an issue.....
Firstly, the Grey Knights codex allows us to adopt this approach with minimal difficulty. With Inquisitors as 'Cult Leaders' and their retinues as 'Cultists' we can build an elite Marine force with a few allies. If we use Corteaz as our Cult Leader then we can have six lots of 'Cultists' and a minimal number of actual Marine units to represent their Alpha Legion masters. Taking a Grand Master enables you to even more efficiently represent the Alpha Legions unusual tactics by virtue of the 'Grand Strategy' ability. The psychic abilities of the Grey Knights can be easily explained as daemonic Gifts and as many of their anti-daemon abilities work against other things as well can be put under the 'sneaky Alpha Legion tactics' umbrella. Using these ideas it's entirely possible to have an Alpha Legion army represented with remarkable similarity to how they are portrayed in their various literary appearances.
Secondly, If only there was a way of representing an entire planetary defence force, Guard regiment or other military force under Alpha Legion control.....
Of course a large compliment of Imperial Guardsmen would be the best way to represent.....well.....a large compliment of traitor Imperial Guardsmen, but where do we get a Marine stat-line in the Imperial Guard Codex to represent the Alpha Legionnaire who has single handily corrupted them. Well he'd need decent Weapon Skill, Toughness and Strength of at least four, a 3+ save with perhaps an invulnerable save to go with it and the ability to improve the units around him.....Does such a unit exist in the Guard Codex?
Yes it bloody does. May I present to you Colonel 'Iron Hand' Straken ;-)
No, I'm serious. He has a better than Marine Stat-line, makes his unit Fearless and dishes out Counter Attack and Furious Charge to any unit within 12" as well as having access to all the Imperial Guard orders. The rest of the army would be as WYSIWYG as you like. The only explanation necessary would be what a Marine in Alpha Legion colours is doing in the middle of an Imperial Guard Command Squad and that shouldn't take long now should it?
Well that bombshell is probably the best place to end this particular series of articles. Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.
Editors Note : If people would like example army lists for any specific legion then let me know in the comments section and I'll see what I can do ;-)