Adeptus Mechanicus and Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

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My blog is primarily my own personal fluff in the Warhammer 40,000 universe regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Imperial Guard...I mean, Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Force, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Adeptus Mechanicus priesthood and Skitarii legions, and perhaps the Titan Legion, Legio Gojira (which will never happen because I don't have money for Forge World Titans).

Oh, and I'll throw in the Thousand Sons from time to time because they're my favorite Space Marine Legion. I refuse to believe that they are Traitors! They're just...ahem...secretly loyal to the Imperium!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Adeptus Mechanicus controversy

I've been surfing through the Internet for Adeptus Mechanicus tactics, news and articles and I came across one major complaint. Apparently, there are quite a few people unhappy (okay, that's an understatement, make that a lot of people very unhappy) about the way the Adeptus Mechanicus codex...or codices were released. I can understand why they feel that way, but I think there is a reason behind the way Skitarii was separated from Cult Mechanicus. There are stuff I agree with, and stuff I disagree with.

Controversies aren't anything new. With the release of Horus Heresy on November 7th, as far as I know, many fans have been up in arms about Games Workshop taking over the board game. As far as Horus Heresy goes, I'm a Mechanicum player who still hasn't gotten my Mechanicum models and am waiting for my copy of the Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List to arrive (I'm not a fan of Space Marines, I prefer Mechanicum and Solar Auxilia). Why bring this up? Because the Taghmata Army List will be important to my reasons and suggestions later.

As an aside, I've been reading all sort of news about the release of Horus Heresy online. Apparently, it's a board game, but it doesn't render Forge World's Battles in the Age of Darkness obsolete or anything. From what I can infer, the starter set is just a...well, starter set. It gives the buyer a small Legions Space Marines army to start with (and I'm not buying Space Marines, sorry). The board is just an extra, but one online source says that these models can be used for the Age of Darkness games, and encourages people to buy the Forge World Horus Heresy books to use these models. You're not required to use the board game or so-called new rules (if they even exist), it's just to give new players an opportunity to jump into the game, and you still need the Forge World Horus Heresy books to play with the models. Keep in mind this is all speculation on my part and do not take my word for it.

But yes, if Games Workshop decide to render the Battles in the Age of Darkness obsolete, they will anger a huge section of the community who have enjoyed Forge World's games for so long. I also wouldn't agree with it but considering I'll just play Mechanicum as a Warhammer 40K army using their 30K points and abilities, it won't affect me much. Still, I do not approve of that (not that they need my approval).

And this then leads to the heart of the matter. Why did Games Workshop separate the codices for Adeptus Mechanicus into two different books? I've seen people online complaining about it, and asking why couldn't Games Workshop combine the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus into a single codex? And we're not even talking about the Imperial Knights here, though as some people have already argued, the Knights deserve their own codex and shouldn't be part of the Mechanicus. There are Mechanicus-aligned houses, but there are also imperial-aligned houses in the fluff, so lore-wise it doesn't make sense to incorporate the Imperial Knights into the Mechanicus codex.

But what about the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus? First, allow me to talk about the Skitarii. I'm afraid I'm going against the grain regarding this, but yes, I agree that the Skitarii deserve their own codex. They have their own fluff, and even within the Adeptus Mechanicus itself they have their own faction. Don't believe me? Just read the Horus Heresy books from Forge World, or even the Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List. The Skitarii Legion is a completely separate military arm from the Taghmata Army, the supposedly specialized branch that oversees all military aspects of the Mechanicum. The Taghmata operate differently and separately from the Skitarii, and thus the Skitarii being a completely different military arm with their own creed, doctrines and traditions should be allocated a codex of their own.

Think about it this way: Skitarii are basically the...well, I don't want to use Militarum Tempestus Scions, but something like them. They have their own minidex and should be run as a separate force from the overall military command of the Mechanicus, who has their own army through the Ordo Reductor, the Myrmidions and Legio Cybernetica. Not least the Centurio Ordinatus, which probably takes up the Lords of War slot instead of the Titans or Imperial Knights (whose houses and lore already distinguish them separately as an an entirely different army). Skitarii are like...maybe the Blood Angels, or the Space Wolves, or Dark Angels, who are completely separate from the overarching Adeptus Astartes codex. They have their place in the lore and hence should be distinguished accordingly from the rest of the Mechanicus.

The codex itself is well written, and they are designed to be allies of the Mechanicus, yet at the same time viable enough to run a full, pure Skitarii force on their own (throw in a Titan and you'll have a great fluffy army that can somehow fit under 2,500 points). I've played pure Skitarii and they are pretty good - for some hilarious reason I can outshoot Tau AND wreck them in melee (they have the better range, admittedly), and they can kill more than their fair share of Tyranids (pure luck). If I ever get a Titan, I can play much bigger games with pure Skitarii and the Titan as their Lord of War. A pretty fluffy and good combination that can hold its own against the best without being overly cheesy like Wave Serpents spam (okay, the Titan might be cheesy but at that point I think my opponent will be bringing his own Lord of War - or even Lords of War, so it should be fair). Furthermore, the codex is cheap, at about S$49 (sorry, Singapore currency here, so it translate to maybe US$60?), which is significantly cheaper than the "full" codex. Sure, we don't have a lot of choices and no HQ, but no unit is wasted or useless, and I can run a Battle Maniple with practically every unit from the codex save one (choosing between Ironstrider Ballistarii and Sydnonian Dragoons, and boy I can tell you that's a very tough choice). It has the standard 2 Troops choice, very little Fast Attack (only a single choice) and only a couple of Heavy Support and Elites each. I can't say we're spoiled for choice, but hey we have more variety than the Militarum Tempestus and I like our variety a lot more than the Harlequinns. But all in all, I can't say I have any complaints. I like the codex the way it is, it emphasizes the simplicity and efficiency of the Skitarii.

I do think a little more variety would benefit the Skitarii, though. In the Mars trilogy by Graham McNeill, the Skitarii had access to modified Rhinos and Leman Russ tanks for transport. I think the Heavy Support choice could benefit from more types - in addition to the cool Onager Dunecrawler, why can't we have heavy battle-servitors with similar legs but missiles and stuff? Oh, wait, that's already the Dunecrawler. Huh. But the Fast Attack could be better with fast tanks like Skitarii Rhinos (well, don't use Rhinos, produce a different type of tank, similar to the Krios Venator), stuff with Hellhound's Inferno cannon, I don't know. I also think the Troops could be given more options. In the Ciaphas Cain series, the Skitarii are using hotshot rifles or hellguns. Can't the Vanguard or Rangers swap their radium carbines or galvanic rifles for hotshot lasguns and hotshot volley guns? I think it would actually fit them more, with the heavy backpacks and stuff providing AP3 shots and relentless allowing them to fire salvo. Don't get me wrong, I like the radium carbines and galvanic rifles, but I would have liked the option to change the whole squad's weapons into hellguns.

But other than that, I think giving the Skitarii their own codex is justified, both fluff-wise and gameplay-wise. They are a good standalone army, but at the same time provide powerful options as allies. Leaning how to use their Imperative Doctrina is key to excelling in the battlefield.

As for the Cult Mechanicus...now this time I'll disagree with Games Workshop. Cult Mechanicus, I don't like as much as Skitarii. Maybe it's personal bias, because the whole reason why I love the Adeptus Mechanicus is because I love the Skitarii - having been first exposed to the cog-boys from Ciaphas Cain and wanting to field troops with hellguns or hotshot lasguns. But Cult Mechanicus, other than the Tech-priest Dominus (which I would have preferred if they just called him Magos and allow him to upgrade into an Archmagos as per the fluff), the choices are pretty lackluster. Battle servitors are cool and all, but here really is not much difference between Kataphron Destroyers and Kataphron Breachers other than their weapons and gameplay. But aesthetic wise, they are pretty much the same, which kind of makes them boring. At least the Vanguard are pretty different from the Rangers! The hoods and helmets plus their weapons make them distinct, but other than their weapons, the Kataphrons look...well, Kataphron.

The Elites I hate, I have never heard of Electro-priests until Cult Mechanicus codex was released, and I have never seen them in the fluff until...after the codex was released. Well, the Sicarian Ruststalkers and Infilitrators were similar, but at least they were referenced to in the fluff such as Dan Abnett's Titanicus, where you do have killing machines with advanced weapons and spindly legs darting around and murdering Chaos scum with unrivaled precision - that's your Sicarians for you! But Electro-priests?! I've never seen them in Mechanicum, in the Mars trilogy, in Dark Adept or any of the lore until the codex, and they truly are not very nice aesthetically and stuff. Maybe they can work well in combat, with their Instant Death stuff and the Litany of the Electomancer, but I really do not like them and refuse to buy them. My Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation does not and will never include them.

And with Electro-priests being the only Elites, I basically have no other choice but to ditch the Elites slot completely when I build my army. And as with the Kataphron battle-servitors, there is no aesthetic appeal to these boring guys either. They just look like monks holding different weapons with little differences to the cog-wheels or whatever behind their backs, but they look too similar. At least the Sicarian Ruststalkers and Sicarian Infiltrators look different enough! One looks pretty cool with the gas masks, transonic blades and all, the other looks more robotic because of their neurostatic aura and Alpha5 heads. I can't tell the difference between the Electo-priests!

And...Cult Mechanicus has no Fast Attack slot and only a single Heavy Support slot. At first I liked the idea of Kastelan robots, and I was happy building a Cohort Cybernetica formation (because I also like the Tech-priest Dominus), but then I looked at Forge World's Mechanicum models and...well, the Castellax looks cooler. But the Thanatar! The freaking Thanatar! Now that's a REAL Heavy Support unit. I want to ditch my Kastelan robots for a Thanatar! Again, that's biasness speaking, but for a Mechanicus army I would have expected a lot more options than just a single type of Kastelan robot!

So yeah, I'm disappointed with the Cult Mechanicus codex. I like the Skitarii codex, and I like some of the lore in the Cult Mechanicus codex (some of which were copy and pasted, particularly with regards to the various Forge Worlds, but that's okay - they had enough differences), but army wise? Not really.

Plus Cult Mechanicus isn't even an army. It's a religion. The codex shouldn't be titled Cult Mechanicus any more than the Imperium's armies be titled the Ecclesiarchy. It's a cult, a religion, the worship of the Omnissiah, it's not an army! I understand dividing the Codex for Adeptus Mechanicus between Skitarii and whatever, and I wouldn't have argued if they came up with all the different codices for Myrmidion, Ordo Reductor and Legio Cybernetica - the Adeptus Mechanicus is a varied force just like the Space Marines and Imperial Guard, but the lack of variety and the boring models just turn me off. Not to mention the slight butcher of the lore such as the sudden appearances of Electro-priests. No...please, just no. They are Mechanicus, they undergo heavy augmentation and should be freaking cyborgs, not bare-chested monks with blindfolds and not much augmetics or mechanical appendages! They don't even LOOK Mechanicus!

But there's no point just whining and bashing whoever came up with the Cult Mechanicus codex. So what I will do is offer suggestions. In fact, there is already a very successful example of how to do the Adeptus Mechanicus right. Actually, I already mentioned it above - yes, now you know the relevance of the Mechanicum from Forge World's Horus Heresy to my post, right?

Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List is a perfect example of how to get the Adeptus Mechanicus codex right, and Games Workshop should really take note of this and follow the model set by Forge World. Instead of coming up with a hashed-up, sloppy codex like Adeptus Mechanicus with attempts to introduce new stuff like...Electro-priests and the failure to mention the MAIN military might of the Mechanicus like the Myrmidions, Ordo Reductor and even Centurio Ordinatus, Games Workshop should have followed Forge World's example and come up with a fully fleshed out army list that is faithful to the fluff and include all these myriad forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Give a general list like the Taghmata, offering the Thallax or cybernetic soldiers for troops (not battle-servitors), the Magos who can be upgraded into Archmagos as the HQ. In fact, I have some ideas on how to make the thing vary.

HQ

Magos or Archmagos

Myrmidion Secutor (well, according to Graham McNeill, the Secutor is the guy in charge of commanding the military arm of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and can even command Skitarii), with Myrmidion retinue

Datasmith, the dudes with the Cortex Controller and indoctrina wafers that make it compulsory to attach them to cybernetica troops - like Commissars, these may not be used to fulfill your mandatory HQ, and you can take one for each cybernetica robot slot in your army

Troops

Thallax or Cybernetic shock troops

Castellax or whatever Legio Cybernetica robot, and if you want to follow Forge World's example, remove Objective Secured from them

Myrmidion troops?

The option to take Skitarii Vanguard or Rangers as troops? Maybe with hellguns and hotshot volley guns?

Elites

Battle Servitors, maybe, which may be taken as a retinue or bodyguard for Magos?

A Legio Cybernetica robot that is Heavy jump infantry, so can jetpack here and there

Myrmidion Destroyers? They play the role of Terminators

Tech-priest Enginseers from the Imperial Guard codex, they repair stuff and can take Servitors

Fast Attack

Vorax or whatever Legio Cybernetica robot with Scout, Dunestrider and Fleet

A Mechanicus walker similar to the Skitarii's Dragoons, but with servo-arms or something

Modified Rhinos or fast tanks like we see in the Mars trilogy. Y'know, a Rhino that isn't a Rhino, or a dedicated transport? The Triaros Armored Conveyor? Could be an Ordo Reductor thing.

Drop pods (just joking)

Heavy Support

Thanatar or whatever Legio Cybernetica robot, heavy fire power, high toughness, many wounds

Krios tanks or equivalent. Can make them spider-tanks if you so please.

Ordo Reductor tanks and artillery - instead of Imperial Guard artillery, give them exotic stuff like death rays, radium blasts, neutron laser stuff

Heavy battle servitors, much bigger than the Kataphrons (who I suggested being moved into Elites), they carry giant cannons not out of place on Ordo Reductor artillery and have much longer range than the Kataphrons but slower and have lousy melee but higher toughness and more wounds

Lords of War

Centurio Ordinatus artillery thing, maybe something similar to the macro-engine from Forge World. With this, all the arms of Mechanicus gets a part in this overall list, right?

And then, as Games Workshop loves their new Formations or Detachment, we can create some sort of Decurion/Cadre/Battle Company/Warhost thing for the Adeptus Mechanicus. Maybe name them Legions or Maniples or something! You know, an optional Command HQ that requires a mandatory Archmagos, optional Myrmidion Secutor, and their respective bodyguards. And then a Core maniple with some Troops and Elites along with a single Archmagos or Magos.

Then the Auxillary Maniples, such as the Ordo Reductor Maniple with its own special rules and whatever (all vehicles get Objective Secured and Walkers in Ruin), where the Fast Attack and Heavy Support vehicles are mandatory, a Legio Cybernetica Maniple with at least one cybernetica robot from each slot, the Elites, Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy Support, and all of them benefit from a single Datasmith instead of needing a Datasmith for each slot as per the normal rules, and as long as the Datasmith is alive, they get bonuses like...I don't know, an extra shooting or melee attack. And then the Centurio Ordinatus Maniple which consists of a single macro-engine or something. And then the elite Myrmidion Maniple that grants bonus attacks, Rage, Crusader and Fleet. I don't know.

The reason for this suggestion is because the Rites of War thing used in the Taghmata Army List is applicable to Horus Heresy and Battles in the Age of Darkness but not easily ported over to Warhammer 40K. Hence I modified the Rites of War into bonuses into the 40K formations thing. Yeah, people are going to complain about Formations being broken and stuff, but I like Formations and I'm using the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation formation myself, so I have no complaints (I actually like them).

I don't think these suggestions will ever be read, but hey, as a 40K player who doubles as a massive Adeptus Mechanicus fan (admittedly, former Skitarii fan who realized that there was a lot more to Skitarii when I read more books than Ciaphas Cain), I'm doing this to open up discussion and stuff. Assuming, of course, if anyone bothered to trawl through this super-long post and reached the end. I should post the suggestion as a separate post. Whoops. Anyway, let's have fun and enjoy the game as much as we can!

3 comments:

  1. Why are there no comments? This is great stuff and I completely agree. The changes I think would create a ton of variety and stay true to the lore.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Why are there no comments? This is great stuff and I completely agree. The changes I think would create a ton of variety and stay true to the lore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I guess nobody else reads this, or if they do, they disagree?

      I did hear that a combined Adeptus Mechanicus codex will be released sometime in the future...if that rumor is true, I hope it does something similar to my suggestion, but I'm not holding my hopes too high up for it.

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