Horus Heresy

The Horus Heresy Card Game: Strategies, Rules, and Deck Building in the Warhammer Universe


The Horus Heresy CCG is a collectible card game set in the Warhammer 40,000 (WH40k) universe, specifically during the Horus Heresy – a period roughly 10,000 years before the current 40k setting where the Emperor’s finest creations, the Primarchs, are rebelling against His rule and empire. This period is a dark chapter in the Imperium’s history, where brother fought brother and the galaxy was torn apart by war.

The game itself, released in 2003, is a strategic battle between two players, each taking on the role of a faction from the Warhammer 40k (technically 30k, but whatever) lore. You’ll build decks, play units, and use tactics to outmaneuver and defeat your opponent. It’s a game of wits, strategy, and a bit of luck. The cards are rich with lore and artwork that fans of the series will love. In my opinion, WH40k has some of the deepest sci-fi lore out there, honed since the 80s into a vast collection. The Horus Heresy original game cards are no longer in print but are findable online (though some sets might be harder to find than others). Because it’s Warhammer, there’s a dedicated community out there, so it’s worth checking out your local collectors and groups.

Quick Tip for Horus Heresy CCG

Always keep an eye on your resources. Managing them wisely can make or break your game!

Rules for playing Horus Heresy Card Game

Getting into the rules of Horus Heresy can seem daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a blast. The game is played in turns, with each player drawing cards, playing units, and engaging in battles. The goal is to reduce your opponent’s life points to zero. You’ll need to balance offense and defense, as well as resource management.

Each turn consists of several phases, including the draw phase, the energy phase (where you gather resources), the main phase (where you play cards and attack), and the end phase. There are also special rules for initiating challenges, resolving combat, and using unique abilities that can turn the tide of battle.

Card Types for Horus Heresy

In Horus Heresy, there are several types of cards you’ll encounter:

Sectors – The critical areas of the planet which serve as the main stages for the conflict are known as divisions of the battlefield. Each division card details the requisite troop count needed for occupation, along with any unique powers or influences tied to the territory. These cards are exclusively utilized during the initial game arrangement and are not included in the active play deck.

Ships – Orbiting at high altitudes around the planet, the cards representing ships denote the fleet’s array of battleships and transport vessels, which have the capacity to provide support to the combat operations occurring on the surface, either through direct engagement or indirect aid.

Assets – Asset cards symbolize various elements on the battlefield that are neither soldiers nor units. These encompass elements like the influence of a significant commander or the strategic advantages gained from a nearby command post.

Units – The bulk of the cards fall into this category, representing either infantry units or vehicles engaged in ground combat, vying for dominance over a specific region.

Your deck is made up of a combination of these cards, and starter sets are available to help new players jump in. These sets are balanced and themed around specific factions, making them a great starting point for learning the game.

How to Play Horus Heresy and Game Mechanics

The key game mechanics involve deploying units, engaging in combat, and using tactics to outsmart your opponent. Here’s a quick rundown:

  1. Setup: Each player starts with a deck, a handful of cards, and a set amount of life points.
  2. Gameplay: Players take turns drawing cards, gathering resources, and playing cards to attack the opponent or defend.
  3. End of the Game: The game ends when one player’s life points reach zero.

At the start of every turn, each player places one card face-up in every sector that has not yet been claimed. Then, each player draws a set of six cards and takes turns placing cards face-down, one by one, onto a sector that is still up for grabs. The objective is to strategically allocate an appropriate mix of troops and other resources across the sectors to secure a win against the adversary. Concentrating reinforcements in one sector may fortify it, but at the expense of leaving another exposed, demanding careful consideration in the distribution of cards.

Once deployment concludes, the player on the offensive selects a sector to challenge, and upon the outcome of that conflict, the player on the defensive picks a different sector to contest, providing any remain unoccupied. A battle’s conclusion might result in one player gaining control of that sector, or it might end without either player taking it. Regardless, after these two confrontations, the turn wraps up and a fresh one initiates, accompanied by new deployments.

How to Win at Horus Heresy

Winning at Horus Heresy requires a mix of strategy and adaptability. Beginners should focus on learning the cards and basic strategies, while intermediate players can start to explore combos and more complex tactics. Advanced players will often think several turns ahead, anticipating their opponent’s moves and countering them effectively.

Best Strategies for playing Horus Heresy game

To really excel at Horus Heresy, you’ll want to:

  • Understand your faction’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Build a balanced deck that can handle a variety of situations.
  • Learn to read your opponent and predict their moves.
  • Use sneaky tactics like bluffing or setting traps with your cards.

Deck Building and Best Cards in Horus Heresy

Building a strong deck is crucial in Horus Heresy. You’ll want a good mix of unit, tactic, and equipment cards. Pay attention to the synergy between cards and aim for combos that can give you an edge in battle.

Best Cards in Horus Heresy

Some of the best cards in Horus Heresy include powerful units like the Primarchs, game-changing tactics, and equipment that can turn a weak unit into a powerhouse. Keep an eye out for these when building your deck.


During the game, you might find yourself in tough spots, like facing a much stronger unit or running low on resources. The key is to stay calm and look for ways to turn the situation to your advantage, whether that’s through a well-timed tactic card or a strategic retreat.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Horus Heresy game

Here are some common questions and answers:

Q: How many cards can I play in a turn? A: As many as you can afford with your resources.

Q: Can I change my deck between games? A: Yes, as long as it follows the deck building rules.

Q: What happens if my deck runs out of cards? A: You reshuffle your discard pile to form a new deck.

Additional Tips and Tricks

Don’t forget to practice! The more you play, the better you’ll understand the game’s intricacies. Also, joining a community can be a great way to learn from other players and stay up-to-date on the meta.

For those interested in the lore behind Horus Heresy, check out the Black Library, where you can find novels and stories set in the Warhammer 40K universe.

Horus Heresy Legions is a newer iteration of the Horus Heresy CCG, playable on mobile (Android and iOS)