Part 3: Grand Finale

Which Primarch would win in a fight? Over the last two days, we’ve been answering this very question. First, we set the Loyalist Primarchs against each other in a well-organised, gentlemanly contest that saw Lion El’Jonson come out on top. Next, we put all the Traitors in an arena and came back to find Horus atop a heap of battered bodies. Now, we have the Grand Finale.

In the blue corner, weighing in at… heavy, we have the Master of the First Legion, Son of the Forest, Lord of Caliban: Lion El’Jonson!

In the red corner, you know him, you love him (or at least fear him). He’s the Favoured Son, the Warmaster, the Breaker of Tyrants: Horus Lupercal!

Two Primarchs. One arena. Only one can win. Let the dice rolling commence!

With his Initiative 7, the Lion struck first, lashing out with the Lion Blade. Horus’ armour, the mighty Serpent’s Scales, deflected the blows, and the Warmaster casually swung the Warmaster’s Talon, rending the Leonine Panoply and taking a wound from the Lion.

The Disabling Strike ability of the Talon reduced the Lion’s Weapon Skill and Strength by 1 each… but it didn’t matter – the Dark Angels Primarch’s Absolute Focus and the Fleshbane trait on the Lion Sword meant that he’d still be hitting on 4+ and wounding on 2+ regardless. The vengeful Lion caused a wound to Horus, who retaliated with his mighty mace Worldbreaker, stripping another wound from his opponent and reducing his Initiative to 1 for the next combat round thanks to the Concussion rule.

Horus attacked first this time, Worldbreaker once again smashing aside the Lion’s defences, causing two wounds. The Lion’s Choler kicked in big-time, raising his Attacks value to 7, and his flurry of blows with the Lion Sword sent Horus reeling, having suffered another wound. The 1st Legion Primarch was feeling the pain, still at Initiative 1, and the advantage lay firmly with the traitor Warmaster.

Horus cast aside Worldbreaker, intent on finishing the Lion off by impaling him on his talon, but the First Primarch parried his attack. The Lion’s riposte caught the Warmaster by surprise, and – helped by a trio of 1s on Horus’ save rolls – caused three damage, reducing Horus to his final Wound! Tzeentch must have been distracted for a moment…

With the concussive effects of Worldbreaker subsiding, the Lion pressed his advantage, but the Dark Gods protected their champion, with Horus saving no fewer than nine wounds across the two rounds! Such was the ferocity of the Lion’s attack that the Warmaster found it difficult to strike back – there were a lot of low rolls. What few hits he did manage were deflected by the Leonine Panoply.

The Warmaster and the Lion circled one another warily, each bleeding freely from their wounds. This was it – the final clash that would decide once and for all which of them was the mightiest. Jonson’s higher initiative allowed him to strike first, getting four hits from his 7 Attacks. All four wounded, and breath was stilled as the save rolls rattled around the dice tray… including Horus’ breath, as one of them failed, robbing Horus of his last wound.

Horus fell and the Lion held his sword aloft. Battered and bloodied, he nevertheless remained unbowed, first among equals.

And there we have it – the dice have had their day. Maybe the wrong Angel fought the Warmaster on the Vengeful Spirit… Would the Horus Heresy have ended differently if the Lion had made it to Terra? Did Jonson get lucky not to fall earlier in this clash? Would another Loyalist have taken the traitor down quicker, or perhaps the Lion could have been tamed by Angron or Magnus? Let us know what you think of this outcome – and be sure to check out Black Library’s Horus Heresy series to see all of the Primarchs in action!

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