Space Marines Legion of the Damned – Useful Again?

Space Marines the Legion of the Damned

One popular conspiratorial rumour has it that Games Workshop is always tweaking their rules to give their latest releases for Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40K a slight advantage in the game, and players a reason to buy the newest stuff.

Whether that claim usually holds or not, a curious “new” arrival to Space Marines tactics discussions these days appears to be one of the oldest still-available sets, one of the few remaining finecast-remnants of the Space Marines range: The Legion of the Dead (or LotD).

And with surprisingly few changes in the Space Marines Codex at that.

#1 – What Changed?

  • Point Costs

For a start, the Legion of the Damned received a huge discount as point costs go. The basic unit of 5 got almost 20% cheaper, losing a full 30 pts. Additional Legionnaires also got 5 pts. cheaper. That, in itself, made Legion of the Damned more interesting, especially compared to Sternguard, who received a more modest point-reduction.

Weapons options, especially for heavy weapons, also had some points shaved, which is big part of the appeal of a deep-striking slow-and-purposeful unit. The Legion of the Damned in 6th Edition only pay 1/3 of what they used to for a multi-melta or heavy flamer.

  • Ignore Cover

The one new rule the Lost of the Damned gained, which underlines their rivalry with Sternguard, are their Flaming Projectiles, allowing the Lost of the Damned to ignore cover.

A very useful ability to have.

  • Fear

Be afraid! The Legion of the Damned now cause Fear.

#2 – What Didn’t Change?

Even in 5th Edition Warhammer 40K, the Legion of the Damned had a lot going for them, if you were willing to commit the points.

  • A 3++ save
  • Slow and Purposeful
  • Deep Strike with Re-roll (but must start in Reserves)
  • Fearless
  • 2 Special/Heavy Weapons in a unit of 5

#3 – Why the Legion of the Damned Is Useful

In a nutshell, the Legion of the Damned are useful because everyone and their dog fields an Aegis Defense Line (or something similar) with a back-field shooty unit these days. Even more so than “Drop-Pod Sternguard”, Legion of the Damned excel at clearing those out.

On top of that, Legion of the Damned are also good at “vehicle-assassination” deep strikes, coming down close to a vehicle (ideally those relying on cover saves for some protection) with lots of melta-weapons (very 5th Edition-retro!).

Still, sending the LotD after heavy weapon units is a perfect fit, as return-fire from Devastators, Dark Reaper and similar units isn’t hurting Legionnaires much more than small-arms fire. Fearless means they’ll stick around, even through lots of interceptor-fire, and slow-and-purposeful + ignore cover means they’ll get to hurt the back-fielders, no matter where they may be hiding.

Legion of the Damned are a near-prefect antidote to the “hide-behind-my-aegis-line” lists. The only real downer is that there is no new kit for them comparable to the new Vanguard and Sternguard.

  • Have you considered including some Legion of the Damned in your Space Marines list?
  • If so, how did they work for you?
  • Do you think they are worth their (newly reduced) price?