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Alpha Legion

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Alpha Legion[1a]

Legion Number XX[1a]
Primarch Alpharius and Omegon (twins)[2h]
Homeworld No record[1a]
Current Base They have no known central base of operations, but are known to have set up secret positions within Imperial space[1e]
Chaos Affiliation Diverse, ranging from secretly loyalist[33b] to none[61c] to Chaos Undivided;[3][61c] most make use of Daemons[1f] and Chaos Sorcerers[61c]
Colours Silver, blue and green[1c]
Specialty Infiltration & Covert Operations, Cultists[1f] and Operatives[2c]
Battle Cry Hydra Dominatus[1c]

The Alpha Legion, also known as the Ghost Legion during the early Great Crusade,[35] is the the XX Legion of the original twenty Space Marine Legions. They turned against the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, becoming Chaos Space Marines.[1d] Even before they turned to Chaos, the Alpha Legion were renowned as the most secretive of all the Legions.[1a] The Alpha Legion's most closely guarded secret, unbeknownst to all but a few outside the legion, is that they had two primarchs; Alpharius and his twin Omegon (sometimes referred to collectively as just 'Alpharius Omegon').[2h]

The Alpha Legion's veterans are experts in infiltration, covert operations, and manipulating events in their favor without revealing themselves or engaging in open warfare. Alpha Legionaries have been known to disguise themselves as loyalist Space Marines.[12] Their armies also contain regular Humans known as Operatives.[1a]



Heresy-era Alpha Legion shoulderpad symbol

The last Legion created during the First Founding, work on the XXth Legion was begun only some few decades before the discovery of their Primarch, Alpharius. However, other reports exist that the Legion existed in a prototype form long before that.[17] Indeed, Remembrancers seem to give contradictory reports on when exactly the Alpha Legion was formed.[17] Regardless, it seems the Legion was created in total secrecy on the Emperor's order. Information on the Legion's own Gene-seed was made top secret. Like the Salamanders and Space Wolves, the XXth Legion was formed and established largely in separation from the rest of the Legiones Astartes, likely for a very specific purpose. These three specific legions were obliquely called "Trefoil" by some sources .[23a] The earliest known activities of the Legion saw it conduct abductions, targeted strikes, and assassinations of the Imperium's enemies on Terra and beyond. The designation for this mysterious special operations units, taking orders from none of the Primarchs who had been discovered at the time, was simply 'Alpha'. For reasons unknown approval to rapidly expand the Alpha Units gene-seed group was denied by the Emperor, limiting the force to only around 1,000-2,000 Legionaries. There is some suspicion that this was done because there was a potential problem or flaw within the Legion's gene-seed that the Emperor was not able to rectify. Others speculate that the Legion was deliberately preserved separately as an isolated unit by the Emperor for special gene-seed augmentation in the future that no other Space Marine Legion would ever undergo.[23a]

The Legion all but disappeared from Imperial records in the Great Crusade, but some reports of small Alpha units operating far from the front lines of the Great Crusade in special missions do exist. These warriors were clearly Astartes, but carried no heraldry and sometimes even operated under the 'false flag' of another Legion. The operations they undertook were assassinations, subterfuge, espionage, sabotage, and the recovery of unknown artifacts. They also abducted important individuals from anti-Imperial groups. They made it a policy to never leave any witnesses to their activities. However, rumors still spread across the galaxy of a Ghost Legion. This force became known to bleed enemy forces through black operations and subterfuge before striking from a hundred directions in a mass lightning attack known as The Harrowing.[23a] A dubious account given by Alpharius himself states that he was in fact recovered by the Emperor on Terra himself shortly after the scattering of the Primarchs, and was put in command of his Ghost Legion from its onset. During this time, his existence was kept a total secret from all save the Emperor, Malcador, and later Constantin Valdor.[66a]

Pre-Heresy Alpha Legion Unnamed Veteran Legionary, Unknown Legion Sub-unit, Cryptosi Purgation[23b]

During the Rangdan Xenocides, a representative of the XXth Legion appeared before Lion El'Jonson. Though identifying himself as Alpharius, the representative acknowledged that their Primarch had not yet been found but that he would be in time. This Alpharius (who in a contradictory account, may have in fact been the actual Alpharius[66c]) offered aid to Lion El'Jonson against the Rangdan in the hope that one day The Lion could be made Warmaster. Another account states that Alpharius used this objective as cover as a way to make his way into the Rangdan warzone to recover his longlost brother Omegon.[66b] Whatever the truth, this Alpharius revealed that the XXth Legion preferred El'Jonson as Warmaster over someone like Roboute Guilliman as they shared similar views on war and secrecy. Though a Primarch, not even El 'Jonson had been explicitly aware of the XXth's existence, though he had been privy to rumors of a "Ghost Legion".[35]

Later when Alpharius-Omegon took open command of the Legion, it was young, zealous and completely committed to embracing the Primarch's directions. Alpharius believed that secrecy and fluidity brought success, and taught his Legion to apply all such military techniques to both their training and their operations. The Legion's victories in the Great Crusade all feature some form of subterfuge, misdirection or rapid, unexpected movement. Such victories required great skill and dedication to achieve, and the Alpha Legion quickly became an insular and proud formation.[1a] It was this martial pride that led to a number of clashes and fights with members of the other Legions, particularly the Imperial Fists, Ultramarines, and Death Guard.[7b][17] Also, Konrad Curze of the Night Lords openly criticized the Alpha Legion's tactics by calling them "sinners in a shroud of lies".[17] The Thousand Sons Legion discreetly shunned and tried to avoid any contact with the Alpha Legion, although the true cause for this is unknown.[17] However, at the side of Horus' Luna Wolves the Alpha Legion successfully campaigned without incident together with the Dark Angels and the Iron Hands.[17]

After Alpharius' disagreements with Roboute Guilliman, the Alpha Legion threw themselves even further into their preferred method of operations, largely cutting themselves off from standard Imperial practices and orchestrating greater and greater victorious examples of their approach to the Great Crusade, even when more conventional attacks would have been more efficient. The most notorious example of this took place on the world of Tesstra Prime, where the Alpha Legion, instead of taking the opportunity to capture the planetary capital to force the world's surrender, allowed the enemy to dig in and defend it so that they could then expertly take the defending forces apart in a number of different ways. After a week of suffering seemingly random mishaps as well as brutal ambushes, the defenders were forced to capitulate, having taken 90% casualties. When asked why the Legion had not taken the simpler strategy, Alpharius is reported to have replied that they avoided it as "it would have been too easy". This campaign brought him censure from almost all of his brother Primarchs; only Horus, always impressed by Alpharius and his work, praised the Alpha Legion's skill.[1a] In the later stages of the Great Crusade, the Alpha Legion withdrew into the empty space on the Imperium's frontiers.[17]

Alpha Legion member dressed in the colors of the White Scars during the Horus Heresy[41b]

With such examples existing in the Imperial records, it is perhaps easy to see why the Alpha Legion sided with Horus when the Warmaster made his pact with Chaos; their martial pride and Alpharius' avoidance of all his brothers apart from Horus seemingly led to their downfall. However, another given reason is that, a scant two years before the Horus Heresy began, Alpharius Omegon was contacted by a Xenos organisation known as the Cabal, which presented the Primarch with visions of the Heresy to come and other predictions of the future as well as knowledge about the nature of Chaos. They were shown that the only outcomes of the Heresy were that, if the Emperor won, humanity's existence would be ensured for ten or twenty thousand years of decay before they and the galaxy were consumed by Chaos and that, if Horus won, humanity would perish inside two generations, taking the Chaos powers into oblivion with them, thus saving the rest of the galaxy. The Alpha Legion was asked to take on their greatest challenge; to defect to the side of Horus and ensure the final destruction of Chaos. Alpharius Omegon appeared to accede to this request.[2]

The Horus Heresy

After the virus-bombing of Isstvan III, the presumed loyal Alpha Legion was one of the Legions sent by the Emperor to destroy Horus at his base on Isstvan V. Assigned to the second wave, the Legion instead turned on the loyalist first wave.[1d]

When Raven Guard Commander Branne Nev arrived at Istvaan V to retrieve several of what remained of the Loyalist forces including his Primarch Corax the Alpha Legion tried to help Corax escape, going as far as killing the commander of a World Eaters Battle Barge which could have delayed the superior Raven Guard fleet.[10] The Alpha Legion had Apothecarii that were masters of face transplantation. They took the faces of fallen Raven Guard Marines to transplant them onto their own Astartes. Together with the knowledge gained by digesting the brains of the dead Raven Guard, three Alpha Legion Astartes were able to infiltrate the Raven Guard Legion.[19a] Later about 50 Alpha Legion Astartes in the colours of the Raven Guard were sent as reinforcments for this agents.[19b] While Omegon could retrieve the data these infiltrators obtained, all of them were killed by the Raven Guard.[19b] Learning of the infiltration of the Raven Guard, Horus ordered Ezekyle Abaddon to find Alpha Legion agents inside his own Legion at all costs.[19a]

During the Horus Heresy, the Alpha Legion split off from the main body of Horus' forces early and did not attack Terra, instead embarking upon a series of delaying actions in an attempt to hold Imperial reinforcements in place. A notable earlier example was attempting to block the White Scars at the Chondax System, but Jaghatai Khan was able to maneuver out of their trap.[28] Alpharius' or Omegon's dubious agenda came to light at Chondax, where they were under orders from Horus to recruit the White Scars. Instead, the Alpha Legion fleet there engaged in hostile actions to seemingly provoke the Scars into a fight after blockading them long enough for them to get word from Rogal Dorn of Horus' treachery. Indeed this message was only delivered because Omegon had dispatched forces to destroy an Alpha Legion-occupied Pylon array blocking the White Scars' communications. Subtly, the Alpha Legion or at least elements of it made sure that Jaghatai Khan would join the Emperor.[28][11] Not even the Alpha Legion itself was spared from their own schemes. Alpharius was able to manipulate a strikeforce of members of the Shattered Legions under Shadrak Meduson into eliminating a cell of seemingly loyalist Alpha Legion.[32]

An Alpha Legionnaire in MKVI armour

During the Horus Heresy the Alpha Legion also engaged in smaller actions, defeating a White Scars force on Tallarn. During the Battle of the Alaxxes Nebula, the Alpha Legion nearly succeeded in destroying the Space Wolves until the loyalists were saved by the Dark Angels.[29] In addition, a squad of Alpha Legionaries disguised as Ultramarines under Aeonid Thiel nearly succeeded in assassinating Roboute Guilliman on Macragge.[32]

Alpharius was eventually charged by and with Horus himself to spearhead the traitor advance into the Sol System. Alpharius himself led a large fleet against Pluto in the opening shots of the Solar War. During the battle, Alpharius was seemingly killed by Rogal Dorn but Omegon effectively took over his responsibilities.[31c]

Alpharius later reappeared during the muster of traitor forces on Ullanor in the prelude to the Siege of Terra, giving Horus a detailed map of the Sol System's defenses before quitting the war effort.[34] After the setback at Pluto, the Alpha Legion defied Horus' orders to muster for the Siege of Terra and instead delayed Roboute Guilliman's advance as he attempted to reach the Throneworld.[73] Despite Alpharius's absent from the Siege of Terra, scattered Alpha Legion elements are known to have taken part in the traitor effort.[75] In addition, an Alpha Legionaire identifying himself as Alpharius was seen alongside Actaea in her attempts to aid Ollanius Persson and John Grammaticus in their quest.[67] This Alpha Legionnaire informed the group that his other brothers on the planet that were now activated would aid them in fulfilling their objective.[69]


In the aftermath of the Horus Heresy, the Alpha Legion did not retreat to the Eye of Terror like the other Traitor Legions; instead they moved on into the Galactic East, following new objectives of their own. Whether or not being brought into battle with the Ultramarines was one of these objectives is unknown, but it occurred all the same.[1a]

Alpha Legion shoulderpad symbol post-Heresy

On the world of Eskrador, the Alpha Legion was assaulted by Ultramarine forces. Alpharius (or Omegon, who had since assumed his mantle since the Battle of Pluto[31]) was reportedly happy with such a development, as it allowed him to demonstrate the superiority of his flexible, multitudinous and unexpected military strategies on the notoriously precise, methodical and perhaps even moribund Ultramarines. However, the Alpha Legion Primarch was apparently taken by surprise when Roboute Guilliman departed from his own strictures and led a surprise assault by his elite units on the Alpha Legion headquarters. In the resulting personal combat between Alpharius-Omegon and Guilliman, it is believed that Alpharius-Omegon was killed. The Alpha Legion responded, not by breaking and fleeing as Guilliman expected, but by turning on the Ultramarine detachment and harrying them so mercilessly that by the time they had returned to the main body of the Ultramarine force their casualties were almost total. The Ultramarines were driven from the planet in the subsequent battle.[1a]

Following the battle on Eskrador, the Alpha Legion fractured in order to hide from the Imperium.[1a] Small, autonomous warbands were left in Imperial space where they set up secret bases in asteroid fields, Space hulks and on barren worlds.[9] These units launched frequent attacks against military targets that were weakened by the Horus Heresy[1a] and still pose a threat to ships, settlements and garrisons. They further spread and coordinate Chaos Cults throughout the galaxy in order to instigate massive revolts against Imperial rule. These insurrections are often used to lure Imperial forces away from worlds the Alpha Legion wants to attack, paving the way for large scale assault from inside the Eye of Terror.[9]

Heresy Alpha Legion attacks en masse[25]

The Alpha Legion's role in spreading heretical cults has earned them the loathing of the Inquisition,[9] which has devoted considerable resources to finding and destroying their secret bases.[1a] So far, the Alpha Legion has been declared wiped out by the High Lords of Terra no less than three times, in M31, M32 and M39. These claims have always been disproved by the continued assaults of the Legion.[1a]

Despite their many heinous acts, at least some elements within the Alpha Legion still view themselves as loyal sons of the Emperor. These Alpha Legionaries, such as Occam, see themselves as the most loyal sons for it is they that damn themselves to work from within traitor cells to purge both weak elements of the Imperium while dealing with serious heretical threats. They see themselves as the "Emperor's test", challenging his servants to see if they are worthy to serve him.[33b]

Notable Engagements



Alpha Legion unknown Terminator Strike Leader who led the initial orbital raid on the Panopticon Complex of the Paramar Terminus facility[23b]


Alpha Legion post-Heresy
Alpha Legionnaires[7a]


Extensive preparations are made before actually attacking an Imperial target, including using spies and corruption to weaken an enemy's resolve. Not only is an enemy attacked from every angle, but every attack is often coordinated to achieve the most destructive results. Many actions are planned to utilise and support local Cultist activity. These cults go to considerable efforts to spread propaganda, perform sabotage, and carry out acts of unrest and rebellion, providing a distraction and weakening the enemy before the Alpha Legion strikes.[1a][8] Furthermore, the Legion has been known to ally themselves with anti-Imperial forces including other Traitor Legions and Xenos.[1a] On worlds far away from the Eye of Terror, Daemons are less relied upon since they cannot remain stable for long enough to be useful. If the Alpha Legion succeeds in securing the belief of a local Chaos cult they are summoned to add to the variety of their attacks.[1a][8]

The Alpha Legion does not fight like any other Chaos Space Marine Legion or warband. They prefer to avoid direct combat, using subterfuge, infiltration, sabotage, brainwashing, and meticulous multi-year plans to destroy their enemies as opposed to a simple attack. The very identities of Alpha Legion Marines is the subject of mystery. Their supposed identities are frequently aliases which are shared by cell members, meaning the name and identity of one Alpha Legion Marine could actually refer to many. Genetic face-changing technology is utilized to change the appearance of Legionaries to confound Imperial authorities as to their real identity. Due to this habit of shared aliases, members of the Alpha Legion often refer to themselves as part of a greater collective identity. When they do show themselves, Alpha Legion Marines prefer to let their cultists and underlings do most of the combat while they themselves wait for the decisive moment to strike or make their escape.[15] The final overwhelming push by the massed forces of the Legion at the precise moment when the enemy is at its weakest from subterfuge is known as The Harrowing.[17]

Unlike most of the other Chaos Space Marine Legions, the Alpha Legion rarely operates within the Eye of Terror itself. As a result, they have not been subjected to the time distortion that the Warp has affected other Traitor Marines with, leading many in the Inquisition to debate how the Legion, now, ten thousand years after the Horus Heresy, can still be active. According to Inquisitor Kravin, the Alpha Legion acquires new recruits, genetically modifies them and then trains them for missions all within Imperial territory itself.[14]

Post-Horus Heresy Alpha Legionnaire[16]

Known special units:

Even before the Horus Heresy, the Alpha Legion was known to develop special weapons and technologies in secret without Imperial approval or knowledge. Alpha Legion forces were known to operate secret arms factories and caches both inside and outside Imperial space. The Alpha Legion was the first Legion to produce Bolter shells specifically designed to penetrate Ceramite Power Armour, which gave them an early advantage during the Drop Site Massacre. The Legion was also able to acquire small numbers of Mark 6 Corvus Pattern Power Armour and reverse engineer it as the "Corvus-Alpha" pattern.[23b]

The Alpha Legion is known to possess chameleon technologies that allow them to outwardly change their appearances and mimic not only other legionnaires but also unaugmented humans.[33b]



All Space Marine Legions set arduous tasks and trials for potential recruits, but prior to the Horus Heresy the Alpha Legion set these initiation tests for squads, not individuals. Squads succeeded as a group or not at all - foolhardy heroics were frowned upon. The overall plan was paramount and more valuable than any one Space Marine.[1a] This was an extension of the Legion's philosophy that they were a body of one that could strike in many places at once. This complete solidarity with each other expressed itself in other ways. Decisions within the Legion were made in a fairly open and reasonably democratic way, with all ranks - including the Alpha Legions' non-Astartes Operatives - allowed to interject and comment freely during planning sessions. This freedom was allowed not just on military matters - the Alpha Legion internally discussed matters of philosophy and galactic policy that would have been forbidden or frowned upon in other Imperial institutions. Later recruits for the Legion were selected by the Primarch primarily based on high intelligence and personal initiative.[2c][2e]

Alpha Legion equivalents of companies, battalions and chapters were known as "Harrows", "Cohorts", "Hosts" and "Instruments". However, those structures have never stayed permanent and were formulated and broken down on an as-needed basis.[17]

During the Great Crusade-era some Alpha Legionaries were notably tall even for members of the Astartes, physical attributes which suited Alpharius' focus on misdirection.} For the Primarch put into place a directive that, as far as possible, all Alpha Legion Marines had to attempt to look alike; and the face they patterned themselves on was that of Alpharius and Omegon.[2d] When asked by non-Legion members, all Legionaries gave their names as "Alpharius", even when more than one was present.[2b]

The Legion also made a habit of recruiting non-Astartes specialists in every theatre and campaign they entered, commonly members of the Imperial armed forces.[2c] These operatives often remained in their original position, ready to respond to Alpha Legion commands.[2f] Compromised operatives were not discarded if it could be avoided, and Alpha Legionaries would go to great lengths to retain them or hide their existence, lengths that included the fatal silencing of other Imperials. Operatives were tattooed with a small hydra symbol.[2c]


Alpha Legion Chaos Space Marine[40a]

Even less is known about the internal organisation of the Alpha Legion since the Horus Heresy than was known before. On occasions there have been successful assassinations of members of the Legion thought to be high-ranking officers, but their removal has had little visible effect on Alpha Legion operations.[1a] It is believed that since the Heresy the Alpha Legion operates as independent cells hidden throughout the Imperium, coordinating various Chaos Cultist activities to subvert Imperial rule. While these cells operate independently of one another and destroying one will not affect the effort of their overall mission, the Legion still loosely coordinates its actions across the Galaxy. Who is coordinating these efforts and how they are doing so is largely a mystery to the Imperium, but many believe they achieve this through "Operatives". These figures are apparently human, but have undergone limited psycho-hypnotic therapy to make them absolutely loyal to the Legion. These operatives, fully infiltrated into Imperial society, act as the link between Alpha Legion cells and cultists and are their primary method of galaxy-wide communication.[1b]

The Legion's symbol, the hydra, is a multi-headed mythical beast which could keep fighting even if one of its heads was cut off. This legend seems to reflect the Alpha Legion's command structure, as well as echoing its doctrine of multiple attacks.[1a]

Alpharius believed in planning and coordination; he always sought alternatives and multiple solutions to any given problem, with different elements working together for the end result. These doctrines, thoroughly embraced by the Legion as a whole, have apparently been continued by the traitors and have proved effective, especially in the disparate and secretive way they now operate.[1a]

Known Chaos Cults

Noted Elements of the Alpha Legion

Alpha Legion Space Marines of the Unsung[61a]

Alpha Legion Armoury

Main article: Alpha Legion Armoury


Notable Members of the Alpha Legion

Heresy Era
Unique Troops

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