Adeptus Mechanicus and Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!


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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I'm not Natfka and I shouldn't try to copy or learn from him because...frankly speaking, I'm inferior and I'm not even worth...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Emperor's Finest book review

Once again, when reading The Emperor's Finest, I am reminded of the cynical humor and superb sarcasm that I so love in the Ciaphas Cain series.


This particular book in Sandy Mitchell's long-running series (hmm...but it's been a few years since The Greater Good and I still haven't seen a new full-length Ciaphas Cain novel yet) explores Ciaphas Cain's time with the Reclaimers Space Marine chapter, the same guys who helped graft Ciaphas's new augmetic fingers, and we get to see Scholer, the same apothecary we saw in The Greater Good after roughly 6 and a half decades. Yay. But we finally get to meet Drumon, the guy mentioned but not actually seen in that book (apparently they lost him in the Warp when The Spawn of Damnation made its transit) and the Techmarine who was the closest thing Ciaphas had as a friend among the Space Marines.

The characterization is good, as one would expect from Sandy Mitchell. One of the strenghts of the novel, though, is Ciaphas's self-absorbed narrative, which allows for tremendous amounts of humor, sarcastic quips and cynical observations, all of which had me laughing or cracking a smile when reading. This is how you write a Warhammer 40K novel. Who cares about the Grimdark and whatever serious stuff the Emperor sends you? Humor and self-preservation is where it is at!

The novel, despite the short synopsis, actually takes place on another planet, Viridia, where Ciaphas runs into the genestealers and hybrids at first before following the Reclaimers on a fairly long pursuit of the space hulk The Spawn of Damnation, running into an Ork fleet in the middle (with funny scenes of action and expletives as you would expect from Ciaphas and Jurgen). Hilarious turns of events, particularly when Mira DuPanya, the daughter of the Viridian planetary governor, seeks to turn Ciaphas into a consort and I'm reminded once again of how scary women can be (then again, considering my total lack of experience, I'm not in a position to say that), had me laughing at Ciaphas's dense nature before he finally realized what was going on, and it was fun to see him try to worm his way out of this in a rather similar manner to how he escapes the dangerous situations he reluctantly finds himself in.

I would say it's one of the best novels in the Ciaphas Cain series, even if the "if I had known what awaited me, I would have run off in the opposite direction/run off to an escape pod" lines are getting tedious. Nine novels so far and he always reuse these lines...come on, Ciaphas, I know it's kind of your trademark quote but really, stop saying that. Everything else, from his sarcastic appraisal of cogboys, um, I mean tech-priests, politicians' motives, Space Marines' formality, is top-notch and hilarious. I would read them all over again if I can. And in fact, I'm reminded to re-read Ciaphas's first adventure in Perlia where he led a resistance against Orks beginning from Cainstead...I mean Prosperity's Wells. HA HA HA HA!

I believe I said this before, but I'll reiterate it. The Ciaphas Cain series is the best thing in Black Library and the Warhammer 40K universe. In fact, the Ciaphas Cain novels were what brought me into Warhammer 40K in the first place and led me to become an Imperial Guard player as well as introduced the Skitarii to me. My love for Warhammer 40K, with the exception of Imperial Knights, can almost completely be traced back to Ciaphas Cain. Even the Baneblade, which he mentions more than once and tempted me to google it.

Therefore I'll highly recommend this book, as well as the entire Ciaphas Cain series to old and new readers alike. Longtime fans of Warhammer 40K will find Ciaphas a breath of fresh air and much-needed humor in a usually grimdark universe that takes itself far too seriously while newcomers would find the lighthearted narrative an easy entrance to the series without being turned off by the grimdarkness. Sandy Mitchell is also a huge inspiration to me, and those of you who read my stories can tell that he heavily influenced my writing style - from the first-person narratives to the sarcastic humor and wisecracks my characters make. At least in my manga fiction in Fictionpress if my War Convocation fanfiction is too serious.

Speaking of which, after reading Graham McNeill's Mars trilogy, I realized how far away I am as a writer, how awful my plot progression and writing style are, how shallow my characters are, and I think I'll rewrite a new story completely from scratch. That, I think I've mentioned before, will be titled Freeblade and I'll begin on this new project after I submit my thesis. Priorities and all that, ha ha. Plus I have a ton of novels to read and learn from.

After Ciaphas's hilarious adventure, I'll be moving back to more serious ground and visiting the story of another Commissar. This time, it will be Commissar Yarrick in The Pyres of Armageddon, so I'll read that and write a review on it. I get the feeling I like Ciaphas more because he's the funnier and "better" commissar (well, better is subjective so I won't counterargue if people contest my viewpoint on that). Look forward to it! And after Yarrick's story I'll finally get to read Baneblade by Guy Haley!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Special Mission 2

Today we tried a new special mission, which I hereby dub "Lords of War". Huh, maybe I can create a new series next time. Priests of War, Lords of War and Gods of War. Sounds fun, and they'll feature Imperial Knights heavily in the latter two books and the Adeptus Mechanicus in the first book. Ha ha. I've to start writing Freeblade once I've submitted my thesis. We shall see. I'll need to write Freeblade first, but I'll write a new post for that next time.

In this post, I'll focus on Lords of War. So the staff at Battle Bunker and I were wondering how the new Stormsurge would work against other Lords of War. We read through the Godbreaker clash or whatever it's called in the White Dwarf and agreed that it's pretty boring. Ack. Not our type of game. So we decided to just play normal killpoints, by situating our Lords of War at the back of a 72" table and move them each other for the kill.

The first match was Imperial Knights versus Stormsurge. The rules were simple. KILL! Well, we had this fun thing where we placed as much terrain between our armies as possible, and basically if a super-heavy or Gargantuan Creature walks through the terrain, it gets destroyed. Pretty cool, huh? So it looks like this at first:

The beginning of battle
Anyway, our armies were pretty simple. I brought a Knight Paladin and a Knight Warden, 375 points each, no upgrades. My opponent brought 2 Stormsurges, and upgraded them to the Pulse driver cannons so they were 375 points each as well. Yay. 750-point game, basically. Don't mind the models, we proxied the Riptides as the Stormsurges as nobody had finished building their models yet.

So my Imperial Knights smashed across the table, and I wounded the Stormsurge with my battle cannon at first while I made my Ion shield saves against both cannons. Phew. S10 AP2 is no joke. Same thing with the Destroyer missiles, and man, without the markerlights to turn them to Strength D, the S8 is almost useless against my Imperial Knights, and whatever shots managed to glance got saved by ion shield.

However, 8 wounds made the guy hardy so taking 2 wounds wasn't something to cheer about. Except that once my guys were within range, the Avenger Gatling cannon basically tore a huge chunk of health out of him. Poor guy. But he still wouldn't go down and I failed to charge him because he was too far away. I think my opponent fired back and this time he took off 2 hull points from one of my Knights.

I eventually finished the wounded Stormsurge off with the Avenger Gatling cannon and battle cannon shots while the other Stormsurge took another 2 hull points off my damaged Imperial Knight. I then finally charged the last guy with a vengeance and rolled a 6 with one of my hits (I got 2 hits, I think). Boom. A full-health Stormsurge died in combat before he could even strike back.

Aftermath - destruction is guaranteed!
Yeah, as you can see above, my Imperial Knights basically razed a path toward the Stormsurges, rampaging and destroying the buildings in between to get to their targets. Ha ha.

Conclusion? Basically, the Stormsurges suck against other Lords of War. My opponent reflected that if he had kept the normal D weapon, he would have nuked one of my Knights when they got into such close range. I agreed and pointed out that if he had markerlights, it would have been a very different game, with 4 Destroyer missiles hitting my poor Knight at Strength D (8 if 2 were brought, but why waste all of them on 1 Knight when I have 2?).

Then I remarked that if I had been playing Wraithknights instead, I would be the one getting wiped on the floor because they are so undercosted. That gave my opponent an idea and we decided to repeat the game with Wraithknights this time.

Imperial Knights versus Wraithknights (2 proxies)
As Wraithknights are so cheap, my opponent could bring 3 of them with the Strength D Wraithcannons at a mere 295x3 = 885 points. So I had to upgrade 2 Knights to get 885 points too. That led me to choose my trusty Knight Crusader with battle cannon and Stormspear rocket pod, and I also brought in my Knight Paladin back, this time giving him a Stormspear rocket pod.

This time, I stayed where I was while my opponent advanced. I did 2 wounds with the battle cannons at first, and they got closer before running. Phew, I had 1 turn where I survived. The next turn I had no choice but to move forward as they were within range of the 36" Wraithcannons and I basically failed to wound the injured Wraithknight with my battle cannons, Avenger Gatling cannon and Stormspear rocket pods, with him making all his 5+ invulnerable saves. Oh boy.

The next turn, he fired all his Wraithcannons on my Knight Crusader, and only 2 hit. But he only needed 2. He rolled 2 sixes, and my Knight Crusader went boom, no saves allowed. Ouch.

My Knight Paladin managed to take 2 wounds off the injured Wraithknight with battle cannon and Stormspear rocket pod, but failed to kill him, as I expected. Oh well. He survived the next round of Wraithcannons, which thankfully didn't score any sixes on the Destroyer table this time, and made his ion shield saves. Unfortunately, 2 of them charged into him and took 4 hull points off him with their Initiative 5, S10 attacks. OUCH.

I hit back and rolled a 6, thus destroying the full-health Wraithknight. Muahahaha! Combat continued in my turn and I basically lost a 5th hull point but managed to kill the Wraithknight with my Strength D Reaper Chainsword. Phew.

Again, my opponent moved his last Wraithknight forward and fired whatever he had in his Wraithcannon, and I survived by making my ion shield saves (no sixes again). I moved forward and fired whatever I could, but my battle cannon rounds scattered both times and struck my Knight Paladin both times - how unlucky can I get? Fortunately, I rolled ones on both scatters and my Knight survived. I did 3 wounds with Stormspear, but my opponent made all but one of his invulnerable saves. I then charged and wounded the guy with my Hammer of Wrath, which meant the guy took only 1 wound, and 2 in total. Speaking of which I realized my opponent had forgotten his Hammer of Wrath attacks in the last round of combat, but it was too late and he said it was all right. Oh well.

It was his victory anyway. Even with the Hammer of Wrath, the Wraithknight struck at Initiative 5 and blew up my Knight. Even as my Catastrophic Explosion went up, I rolled a 1 on the D table and he basically saved that 1. Sigh. So it ended up in my opponent's victory, his 3rd Wraithknight still on at least half his wounds.

My opponent agreed that Wraithknights are undercosted - and even if we think about it, unlike the Stormsurges, the Wraithknights do not need markerlights or anything to boost their power - and look! They performed so much better than the 360-point Stormsurges! WHAT?! Not only that, I pointed out that with the Eldar Warhost, people could potentially take up to 5 Wraithknights in a 2,000-point list, and in fact we already have people doing that. The winner of one tournament took 4 Wraithknights to cement his first place while his runner-up brought 5 Wraithknights. Just wow. At least Imperial Knights have their counters - a few drop-pods of melta-Marines could easily blow them up as you saw in one battle report, and I remember losing one in combat to Thunderwolves Calvary before being tabled. Sigh. Wraithknights? I don't know, will melta or plasma drop pods kill them? I highly doubt it.

Anyway, that's for better skilled players than me to say and analyze, and I'll continue trawling the Internet for ways and strategies to counter Wraithknights rather than whine and demand that Games Workshop nerf them or something. Ha ha. Oh well, I like the formations anyway. We'll see.

Happy gaming!

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!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Special Mission 1

As I promised earlier, I am going to write a post on the special mission I played yesterday. It was fun, it was brutal, and I saw my poor Skitarii get slaughtered by overwhelming Tyranids. Ouch.

Vanguard deployment
It was not a typical Skitarii versus Tyranids game. I was allocated 500 points and assigned a mission - that is, to reclaim the relic up there. You see that weird-looking elf thingy in the picture? According to the narrative forged in the mission, she is an archeotech statue with a flamethrower that throws down a template attack at S6 AP3. As long as I have one guy touching it, I can use it. Originally she couldn't be moved, but the game organizer changed that rule as it was clear I would have no chance of winning if I couldn't run away with it.

My objective was to claim the relic and survive until Turn 5, because Turn 5 was when the reinforcements arrived and so does a transport to pick up my surviving Skitarii and the relic before flying off and condemning the world to Exterminatus.

Rangers deployment
So I deployed my Vanguard to capture the relic while the Rangers took up position in some ruins (well, I deployed them outside, but I could scout them inside because Skitarii have the Scout and Crusader rules). My Sicarian Infiltrators infiltrated, as usual. So 10 men of Vanguard with plasma calivers and Pater Radium, 5 Rangers and 5 Infiltrators with Omniscient Mask, flechetter blasters and taser goads made up my 500 points.

Genestealers!
On the other hand, my opponent played 1,600 points of Tyranids. It was supposed to be 2,000 points but he didn't have enough models for that. What? It's not fair? Well, he handicapped himself by using all melee units. So he only had Genestealers, a couple of Carnifexes, a single Hive Tyrant and 3 Hive Warriors. All with no ranged upgrades, so they must charge and melee. I think he had a couple of Malanthrope to give his Genestealers and Hive Tyrant Stealth and Shrouded.

Carnifex and Warriors
Damn, that's a very scary lineup. I immediately regretted infiltrating my Infiltrators so close to them, but I had no choice because they needed the 12" range to unload their flechette blasters on the Genestealers. Those things look like they can really hurt my army, and they did. Freaking Genestealers struck at an Initiative 6, faster than my poor Infiltrators. Oh, I forgot that they have -1 to neurostatic aura, so they strike at Initiative 5, which is still before my Infiltrators. Argh.

Hive Tyrant and Malanthropes leading the Genestealers
And so the inevitable charge begins. My opponent rolled first, and the firs tturn he just ran. Nobody charged, and none of his Tyranids could shoot. Phew. The Hive Tyrant doesn't have wings, despite the model, by the way. With a 1,600-point army against my 500-point army, my opponent handicapped himself.

I killed about 5 Genestealers with my Infiltrators' flechette blasters, The Vanguard took out a single Carnifex and wounded the 2nd one with their plasma calivers and radium carbines, and the Rangers did nothing against the Hive Tyrant who had a 2+ cover save from the Malanthropes. Or 3+ armor save. I can't remember.

The next turn, the Carnifex charged in and did one hammer of wrath, which fortunately was avoided by my Infiltrator making his 6+ invulerable save. Phew! And since Carnifex strike at Initiative 2, my Infiltrators wiped him in close combat...well, he was already wounded by the radium carbines, so they did just enough woudns to kill it. I think I have First Blood. The Rangers were wiped out by the Hive Tyrant whose 12" move was crazy. Damn it. They never stood a chance. My Vanguard was still safe.

My next turn, I fired everything I had on the Hive Tyrant with my Vanguard after moving them back, but he made all his cover saves and didn't take a single wound. My Infiltrators took out another blob of Genestealers, I think about 3 or 5, with their flechette blasters, and I stupidly charged them. Genestealers attack at Initiative 6 (5 due to neurostatic aura), so I lost a single Infiltrator before I got my turn to swing. Well, I actually lost 2, but I forgot all about my Feel No Pain rolls, and he promptly made them with a 5 and a 6. Phew! Anyway, I took out another 5 or so in combat, if I remember correctly.

On the third turn, combat continued, and it seemed I managed to make my saves against the Genestealers. However, the Hive Tyrant moved over from my Rangers and charged straight at my Infiltrators, only to wipe them all out. And I wasn't able to even wound him! Damn it! The Genestealers continued to move toward my Vanguard, as did the 3 Warriors by the side, flanking them.

My Vanguard then retreated 6" into an abandoned Imperial Bastion and then killed 2 of the Warriors with their plasma calivers and radium carbines. Oh boy. The Imperial Bastion fired and killed about 3 Genestealers with heavy bolters.

Next turn, the last turn where if I survived this turn, I would win, my opponent threw everything he had at the Imperial Bastion. Overwatch with the flamer template killed the last Warrior, but I used up my Overwatch on them. The Genestealers and Hive Tyrant clawed away at AV12, and while they did some damage and killed 3 Vanguard when scoring a 6 or something (after adding AP2 bonus) where building shakes and occupants take D3 hits, they were unable to bring down the Imperial Bastion. Phew. My Skitarii Vanguard had survived with the relic and made it out of the 4th turn. On the other hand, I fired my plasma calivers and radium carbines on my turn and killed the Hive Tyrant as sweet revenge before flying off on the arriving transport. Not going to assault the Genestealers, nope! YAY!

And so it was a victory for the servants of the Omnissiah as they sought to further their quest for knowledge. Maybe this relic will herald the sign of a new Inferno cannon or something!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Horus Heresy confirmation

Games Workshop has finally announced the release of Horus Heresy on their website and the countdown as of today marks it as 290 hours! That's about 12 days from now, so look forward to it!

For the Emperor!

Oh, and you can watch the trailer video Brother Against Brother on Youtube.

Apparently they are releasing the Legion Space Marines and Terminator armor as well as Contemptor Dreadnoughts in plastic, taking over Forge World who has been releasing these models in resin but have difficulties in meeting the demand or something. Or so rumors say, but I'm not sure. Anyway, the first release is Betrayal at Calth and I've been reading on the Internet (so take that as you will as you know how "reliable" net rumors are) that there will be a second release of Horus Heresy. So look forward to two releases!

Hmm...as for me, I will wait a little longer and see what happens. I'm a fan of Space Marines so I will be waiting for the Mechanicum releases, if there will be Mechanicum releases. If there aren't any, I will have to buy the Forge World models which cost a lot of money. Money that I do not have. Or have but am reluctant to spend. Anyway, I'll wait and see what happens - if Games Workshop releases plastic Mechanicum models in future, I'll wait for that instead. If not...my savings account is going to hurt.

Another rumor of note is that Games Workshop is merely taking over production and they will not be changing the Forge World ruleset that has proved so popular with fans. Basically you can still use your Forge World 30K models and rules, but this starter set is for beginners to get into the game. Hell yeah, I think. It's a wise decision because Warhammer 30K  Horus Heresy has been so popular (and according to some people, "well balanced" but as you know mileage may vary) among fans that to change and rewrite the ruleset would be heresy. Sorry, couldn't help myself.

If so, I can't wait to assemble my Mechanicum army! FOR THE EMPEROR! Or the Omnissiah. Whichever you prefer.

By the way, I'll post a battle report later. I had a special mission with my Skitarii yesterday.

Gods of Mars book review

Gods of Mars is the last book in the Adeptus Mechanicus Mars trilogy and finally brings to a close the stories of Archmagos Lexell Kotov, Tarkis Blaylock, Abrehem Locke, Roboute Surcouf and Blayne Hawkins. It is a good read, enjoyable, climatic in the sense every final book is - with the full might of the Cadian armored regiment (well, they're actually mechanized infantry), the Skitarii and the Titans of Legio Sirius being brought to bear on the invading crystaliths under the command of a wicked foe.

By now you probably would have guessed - and if you haven't read the book and don't want spoilers, please skip the entire paragraph...actually, just skip this review - the last boss/antagonist/villain is none other than Vettius Telok himself. Damn it, and I was so looking forward to Kotov returning to Mars in triumph. Oh well, such is the grimdark nature of the Warhammer 40K universe.



The author Graham McNeill proves to be a master of his craft...whoops, took that line directly out of The Examiner. But his skill as an author cannot be emphasized enough. The way he ties up loose threads and brings all the dangling ends into a single knot is nothing short of fantastic. Abrehem Locke, who usually remains on the sidelines until his revolution in the second book, comes to the fore in this book, and embarks on his path to become a tech-priest of Mars. A slight spoiler here - I don't like his ultimate fate because I grew too attached to him, but it was nice to see him venerated as a saint of the Omnissiah after his demise.

The synopsis starts off with the usual cliched "a small group of heroes must save the universe" plot, but thankfully none of that is overly emphasized. In between Kotov's group running away from Telok and his insidious predators, the Tindalosi, we get flashes into Linya Tychon's internal battle against the indisputably evil Galatea, we have extended sequences of both Blayne Hawkins leading his Cadians into battle against overwhelming odds while being backed by the awesome Skitarii and their leader, Secutor Hirimau Dahan - who surprisingly has a Catachan nickname Mataleo or Lion-Killer. Ha ha ha!

These sequences turned out to be my favorite, particularly when the Cadian super-heavy tanks and Leman Russ tanks arrived to basically blow the hell out of everything the crystaliths threw at them. The Titans of Legio Sirius also get special mention here, as they truly walk the battlefield as towering gods of war. The Skitarii are also relentless (not just the special rule!), amazing battle cyborgs that fight with brutal efficiency that just touched me somehow. It is very clear that this is the final book, and the climatic battle taking place aboard the Speranza really shows that. A battle to end all battles, and what is more epic than Baneblades, Hellhammers, Stormhammers and Shadowswords rolling into the battlefield, reinforced by 2 Warhounds, a Reaver and a Warlord?

The climax ultimately falls to Kotov's showdown with Telok, and with the Adeptus Mechanicus and Cadian Imperial Guard saving the universe, all the loose ends are wrapped up nicely. The characters are also well developed and I got so attached to them it was sad to see some of them die. As I said, Graham McNeill does an excellent job in developing characters, making them grow and forcibly attaching the readers to them. The Space Marins are meh, and I didn't really care about the Black Templars, but the Cadians, the Skitarii, the Adeptus Mechanicus tech-priests and bondsmen alike, as well as Roboute and his motley crew - they were all awesome. Eldar...sorry, suffer not the xenos to live. I was glad when they were all wiped out, but that's just my biasness speaking, after what they did to the Reclusiarch and all.

Graham McNeill mentions on his blog that the stories involving these characters are not over, He is eagerly looking forward to writing a new book, and if he does I hope he answers the question about poor Tarkis Blaylock. Surprisingly, Tarkis is one of my favorite characters in the trilogy, his growth has been astounding. He used to be someone dead set against the expedition, an arrogant and cold guy who gradually warmed up to the non-Mechanicus, and he feels so human. At the same time he tries to rely too much on logic, but in the end he was shown the way by more spiritual means. If he got taken over by Tyger or some weird dude, I'll be sad. But yes, I really hope Graham McNeill will write a new book about Tarkis and friends.

I would highly recommend this book...actually, I would highly recommend all three books in this series. The Mars trilogy is one of the best series in the Warhammer 40K universe and the Black Library collection, and I think all three of them are worth a read in one go. Please check them out if possible, and you could always borrow them from me. :)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Legio Cybernetica allies

Today I finally found out that the Legio Cybernetica list in Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List allows me to take them as allies. So I'm not forced to take them as a primary detachment, nor do I need 1,000 points or more to take them as allies as I would for a Rite of War for the legions.

What this means is that I can save plenty of money and buy just a single Magos Dominus, 2 Castellax Battle-automata and 1 Thanatar Siege-automata and use them as my allied Legio Cybernetica detachment to my Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation. I can probably sell my 3 Imperial Knights, keeping my Knight Crusader, and maybe even sell my Kastelan Robots maniple. Yay. Not bad at all.

We'll see. I'll eventually build a full-fledged Legio Cybernetica army, but for now I'll stick to a small allied list as I'm really short on cash right now (university application fees, particularly for graduate school) and I already have a Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation that I can use. Yay.

Edit: Actually, you know what? I think I have to focus on graduate school application and graduating first. My thesis has no problem, but all the little details such as abstracts and stuff require my utmost attention - and me being me, a typically slow-witted and not-very-sharp guy, I ended up messing them up. I'm making far too many mistakes and being sloppy with my work. I need to change that.

In other words, I'm going to pull back from Horus Heresy for a bit and focus on getting my act together in school. I will not let my hobbies affect my duties and responsibilities. That said, I'll endeavor to have a good work-life balance and continue with my current Adeptus Mechanicus army.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Battle Reports 4

Yeah, that isn't a typo. This isn't just a battle report, it's battle reports, as in I'm using plural. Why? Well, I promised to write about my Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation versus Dark Angels battle the other day, and I'm doing that in this post. However, I had a second battle today and so I thought I might as well combine the battle reports.

Well, neither will be a full-length report in detail, but rather summaries and analysis, where I had gone wrong and made mistakes. Well, I'll begin with the Dark Angels battle first.

Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation versus Dark Angels

First off, let's start with a picture of my opponent.

Dark Angels bikers

Damned Darkshroud and their 2+ cover saves with re-rolls

Yes. This was to be the bane of my shooting-based army. Freaking 2+ cover saves with re-rolls. I rolled a lot of hits, he made his cover saves, and the few ones he rolled, he got to re-roll them and save them. In the end I could only kill his enemy through assault. Damned buggers.

I really hate bikes. Oh man, imagine if I had played against an Eldar jetbike or Windrider Host list. *shudders*

Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation
 And so my fearsome Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation has arrived on the table. My opponent took one look at it and said, "that's a very scary list." As it turned out, I can have the scariest list and all the overpowered rules in the universe and still lose by a large margin because of my inexperience and lack of tactical knowledge.

Deployment

Even more deployment
Long story short, I rolled first, my opponent failed to seize the initiative, and I kind of...put all my units in the wrong place? I scouted my Skitarii battle maniple to move them closer, but it's just too bad I can't charge in the same turn, so oh well. Anyway, I basically unleashed lots of shots on them but I failed to kill any bikers all because they had 2+ cover saves with re-rolls and jink. Bloody hell.

My opponent did some damage in the first turn, but not a lot. Skitarii and Mechanicus are tough bastards. I can't say the same for my poor Imperial Knight, though. The poor dude weathered a lot of melta shots, which took 5 hull points off him. In just one turn, he was down to a single hull point. What the hell?!

The next turn went a bit better because I could assault, and as usual I scored First Blood. Adeptus Mechanicus is efficient at killing things, as long as they don't have 2+ cover saves with re-rolls. I wiped out three Biker squads with my Sicarian Infiltrators, Sicarian Ruststalkers and Imperial Knight in combat. I was using a Knight Crusader, but it didn't matter. I didn't need Strength D weapon - S10 AP2 (thanks to Smash) was more than enough to stomp the poor bikers into oblivion. My Vanguard also opened fire and wiped out an entire tactical squad who didn't have 2+ cover saves because the Darkshroud had moved away and they didn't have jink. YAY!

Unfortunately, as usual, the command biker squad with Warlord ran off and continued to endure with their cover saves. Sigh.

This was where I made a mistake. My assault orientated squads were too far away to reach my opponent. My Ruststalkers got wiped out by plasma cannons with only my Princeps left, my Imperial Knight was blown up, and funnily enough I rolled a one so my Princeps survived the Strength D explosion. Hilarious. I think my Infiltrators were also decimated. My first squad of Kataphron Destroyers got wiped out too. I tried to charge my Kastelan robots and apparently one of them died to Overwatch fire and my charge failed so I wasted him. Ouch.

Oh yeah. I learned that plasma culverins are not that useful. I should have stuck to heavy grav-cannons. People complain about the immunity to the Gets Hot! rule being overpowered, but they couldn't be further from the truth. For one thing, I can't spam plasma calivers because I can only take one squad of Vanguard and Rangers each, and the plasma culverins just weren't doing their jobs because of scatter and other stuff. My opponent later told me volume of fire would have worked better than spamming pie plates. The Cognis flamers ignored cover, but the Space Marines' high armor prevented any damage from being done. The game began to turn against me from then on and I slowly watched my units get eradicated one by one. The Vanguard were decimated. My lone Ruststalker Princeps was killed. My Kastelan robot and Kataphron Destroyers were slaughtered in combat. My Rangers were also riddled with holes. My Ironstrider Ballistarius outlasted them all, only to be glanced to death by turn 5.

The only unit that survived and endured were my Onager Dunecrawlers, their AV12 and emanatus forcefields shrugging off whatever fire my opponent threw at them. They did massive damage, wiping out a plasma squad, getting into assault and slaying the Warlord right after my opponent killed mine, and basically wiped out most of the biker squads. I think I had my Rangers kill the missile launcher squad before they died, but other than that, I wasn't able to do much damage.

In the end, I was tabled, my Onager Dunecrawlers making a good account of themselves as they wrecked stuff up in assault thanks to their Cognis Manipulator giving them S10 AP2 in assault. However, the stupid bikers had Hit and Run so they kept fleeing from combat, leaving my Dunecrawlers open to fire from the jinking landspeeders. Argh. BUT my Dunecrawlers actually lasted 7 or 8 turns before my opponent was able to wreck all 3 of them, making a good account of themselves and being a nuisance.

So I lost by getting tabled while my opponent had half his army left.

Later I was schooled by him, with him teaching me where I went wrong. There's a whole list, so I'll list them:

1. Target priority - if I had targeted the Darkshroud in the beginning and assaulted it with my Imperial Knight, he would lose all his 2+ cover saves with re-rolls and become vulnerable to my shooting army.

2. Deployment - I had placed my melee orientated units in all the wrong places. They were too far away to engage the units that really mattered. I also placed my Imperial Knight in the most vulnerable position possible, which led to him losing 5 hull points in just 1 turn.

3. Forgetting my upgrades and Omnispexes. I had invulnerable saves for the Alphas and Princeps which I didn't use. I also forgot about the Omnispexes that reduced cover saves by 1. Ouch.

So he gave me advice:

1. Practice - practice more, have more games, keep playing and gain as much experience as possible. Learn how to play my army and get used to it as much as possible. For example, I realized the Icarus Array with its 5 (15 for 3 Dunecrawlers) ignores cover shots would have fared much better against the damned Darkshroud and Landspeeders. Damn it.

2. Smaller games - play smaller games before attempting large, 2,000-point games where everything is so complex and overwhelming, with so many things to remember. Start at 500 or 1,000-point games.

I took that advice to heart, which led to my 2nd battle today. And as promised, here's the runthrough. I forgot to bring my cell phone, so no pictures for it. Well, I used the Skitarii Battle Maniple, which granted me an extra bonus where units within 12" of my Onager Dunecrawlers get a leadership of 10. Not very useful as it turned out because the majority of my army was pretty far away from my Dunecrawlers. It turned out to be pretty one-sided in the end.

Skitarii (Battle Maniple) versus Tau Empire

This time I ended up starting second and my opponent went first. Both of us had scouts - his was his Pathfinders, mine was my entire army. He also had his Stealth battlesuits infilitrate, and I did the same with my Sicarian Infiltrators.

Turn 1

It started off fairly simple and I had some lucky rolls. His Broadside scored a penetrating hit against my Onager Dunecrawlers, and rolled a 5 on the vehicle damage table, which meant 7 - explosion and wreckage. To my amusement, I rolled a 4 for my emanatus forcefield invulnerable save and my Dunecrawler remained completely unscathed.

I couldn't say the same for my other units. My Sicarian Ruststalkers lost one guy to Fire Warriors fire, as did my Sicarian Infiltrators, so I lost 2 models in one turn. But damn, the Sicarians were tough bastards. Did you know they survived a hell lot of shots? Their 4+ armor save saved them from S5 AP5 shots from the Fire Warriors, and they even had some lucky Feel No Pain rolls - I was fortunate to get some 5's. In addition, they were multiple wound models, so the 3 wounds that made it through meant only 1 model was killed, and 1 model with 1 wound left. I'm so glad the elite Skitarii assassins were so tough - my single-wound Skitarii Vanguard and Rangers with 6+ Feel No Pain would never have survived that.

My turn and I moved all my units closer because Tau are horrible at close combat and my Skitarii are decent melee attackers. The Sicarians aren't just decent, they are monsters in close combat and I pity any Tau who end up meleeing them. Funnily enough, I never got to lock any of the Tau units in combat until near the end, but anyway scouting in the first turn prevents me from charging.

My Vanguard shot the Pathfinders to hell, taking out half of them and forcing them to retreat. My Rangers wrecked a Devilfish by glancing it to death with their haywire arc rifles, but as it is a dedicated transport it didn't count as First Blood. Not that it mattered. My Ironstrider Ballistarius fired at the Broadsides, but they made their cover save. I should really think about replacing him with a squad of Sydonian Dragoons instead. I'm enjoying my assault, particularly my Sicarians, who have turned out to be a delightful surprise. I wonder if I should swap out one Onager Dunecrawler so that I can fit in 4 Sydonian Dragoons...but as this game proved, the 4+ invulnerable save is invaluable.

Anyway, my Sicarian Ruststalkers ran because they weren't in range of anyone. My Sicarian Infiltrators inflicted heavy losses on the 2nd Fire Warrior squad that had disembarked from the Devilfish, wiping out 5 of them with their flechette blasters. Even with 4 of them I had 20 shots, and despite being only S2 AP-, Shred really helped them shred the poor Fire Warriors. Thankfully the blue campers passed their morale check and remained where they were so that I could charge them in my next turn.

My Onager Dunecrawlers fired 3 neutron laser shots, all were a direct hit. Awesome! But...BUT! BUT!!!! But my opponent's damned Crisis Commander, who had a shield generator (meaning 4+ saves), tanked the 9 wounds all by himself. He made 8 freaking saves, rolling 4s, 5s and 6s 8 times before finally succumbing to the last shot. Meaning those 2 dangerous Broadsides were still in play. After barely surviving an explodes! result from a penetrating hit, I was worried.

I think people have underestimated the Sicarians way too much. They are tough, difficult to kill if you don't have S6 AP4 weapons that can cause instant death, and very fast and deadly both in melee and shooting. Well, the Ruststalkers' meager 8" Mindscrambler grenades might suck but I'm sure they'll wreak havoc on vehicles and monstrous creatures if given the chance. It's just too bad my opponent only had one Devilfish so far away. They really have been an awesome delight, my Ruststalkers standing toe-to-toe with a superior Thunderwolves Calvary and dealing damage to them, and my Infiltrators just ripping things apart with their flechette blasters and taser goads.

Turn 2

My opponent tried to take out my Ironstrider Ballistarius with his Broadsides, but as per last turn, he only had one hit out of two twin-linked shots, and he...rolled a one. So the poor guy didn't even manage to wound my Ironstrider Ballistarius.

The Fire Warriors and Stealth team fired at my Sicarian Infiltrators and Sicarian Ruststalkers. Needless to say, a combination of 4+ armor save and 5+ Feel No Pain (plus a lucky miss from the Stealth battlesuit's fusion blaster) meant that I only lost one Ruststalker, and my four Infiltrators escaped with only one wound. I saw criticism on the Internet, particularly by the famous Abusepuppy (I think it's him, sorry if it's not you, Abusepuppy! I know how respected you are in the community), about the 2 wounds being useless on a T3 model, but when I see things like this I kind of understand now that it really depends on the enemy and how I use them. Against a horde army with S5 and below weapons, the multiple wounds and Feel No Pain really makes a difference regardless of T3.

He failed his Deep Strike, by the way, so his Commander never got to come in.

My retaliation was brutal. In one turn I almost wiped out his entire army. My Vanguard mercilessly butchered his 10 Fire Warriors with their 30 radium carbine shots with Rad Poisoning, dealing a total of 21 wounds (I think there were about a few sixes that dealt double wounds). He rolled his cover or armor saves (both 4+, so no difference) and took 10 wounds. That meant 10 dead Fire Warriors, and the whole squad was wiped out. My Ironstrider shot the remaining Pathfinders and killed one of them, leaving 2 of them.

On the other side of the table, my Onager Dunecrawlers fired their neutron lasers and finally - FINALLY! - disintegrated the 2 annoying Broadsides with their dangerous heavy railguns. Phew. They even made 4 saves out of 6, thank the Omnissiah for Instant Death from S10 weapon. My Rangers continued to pepper the Fire Warriors and only killed 2 of them, leaving just 3 (they made quite a lot of saves).

Now comes the hilarious part. My Sicarian Infiltrators were getting ready to charge the Stealth team as they had 2+ cover saves and I was thinking there was no way they would die. So I unloaded 20 burst pistol flechette blaster shots into them and...well...inflicted 5 wounds in the end. So my opponent rolled his 2+ cover saves and...he rolled 3 ones. Yes, 3 ones. Meaning all 3 Stealth battlesuits were killed by S2 AP- flechette blasters.

His luck was so bad I actually felt sorry for him. I know how it felt because I had a similar roll during the Dark Angels game. Sigh. Hilariously enough, this meant that neither my Sicarian Ruststalkers nor my Sicarian Infiltrators had anyone to charge at because their targets were eliminated. It was my Ironstrider Ballistarius who did the charging, assaulting the 2 remaining Pathfinders who missed their Photon grenade. Stupidly enough, I missed all 3 attacks with his poor WS3, BUT I killed 1 with my Hammer of Wrath (Ironstrider Ballistrius is a walker, remember?). Phew. With no way of harming an AV11 walker, the last surviving Pathfinder threw down his pulse carbine and Markerlights, claiming that "our weapons are useless!" and fled...only to run off the table and leaving just 3 Fire Warriors behind.

Ouch. That was so brutal I felt pretty bad.

Turn 3

My opponent's Crisis team finally succeeded in Deep Striking behind my Onager Dunecrawlers. As always, his Fire Warriors failed to wound my Infiltrators, but his Crisis team had more luck. The fusion blaster scored a penetrating hit, I failed my invulnerable save, and he rolled a 1 (wow, his dice rolls are really bad). Fortunately, AP1 meant a 3 on the vehicle damage chart and one of my Onager Dunecrawlers was now immobilized. He then jump-jeted his Crisis suits away.

I had all my units converge on the Crisis team, with the exception of my Rangers who moved into the building where the happy blue Tau Fire Warriors were camping. A brief firefight erupted, and 3 Fire Warriors bit the dust. Oh well. I did have 5 Rangers after all. The 2 neutron lasers missed, the 3rd Dunecrawler being unable to pivot and fire behind, but I did catch 2 drones, which promptly blew up under the S10 AP1 attack. I continued heckling the beleaguered Crisis team with my Infiltrators, shredding another 2 Drones to death with flechette blasters before charging them. However, as they were placed in a narrow alleyway, only my Infiltrator Princeps could actually reach them, so it was a one-on-one duel where my Princeps took the Crisis battlesuit apart with frightening ease without suffering even a wound.

Yeah, Tau really suck in close combat. Hah!

Unfortunately, the 2 surviving Tau Crisis suits made use of their Hit and Run! to jump-jet out of combat and run away.

Turn 4

And so my units continued to close in, after my opponent fired his fusion blasters again and took 3 hull points off (I think one penetrating hit) my Onager Dunecrawlers - only for me to roll 3 saves - 2 fives and a six. Man, he was really having a bad day to the point where I just felt for him. If I were in his shoes, I would absolutely be cursing the Greater Good for giving me such poor dice rolls. As for me, I should probably convert to Cult Mechanicus and begin constructing shrines in praise of the Omnissiah.

Though I'll only do that if I beat the Dark Angels in my next game against them. Ha ha.

Anyway, I retaliated, and he was forced to Go to Ground. He made a 6+ cover save against my Ironstrider Ballistarius, and I then fired 2 neutron lasers at him. Needless to say, he wasn't able to roll 3 sixes, and both his crisis battlesuits were Instant Death-ed.

And so the game ended, with my opponent being completely tabled and me losing only 2 Sicarian Ruststalkers and a single Sicarian Infiltrator. It was so one-sided I couldn't help but feel bad.

Analysis

I don't think this happened because the Skitarii are overpowered or anything. In any case, my battles against the Space Wolves and Dark Angels have proven that they can be beaten. I think my opponent just isn't used to using his Tau yet (he had just only recenly started, like me), and made some poor decisions or something. Add to that his incredibly bad luck and terrible rolls, and he got tabled. I mean, seriously?! It has to be the worst luck ever to roll 3 ones out of 5 when all he needed was a 2+ cover save!

Unfortunately, even if his rolling had been better, I still can't say the game would end in his favor. After all, I had my Infiltrators ready to charge him, and if my Ironstrider had been wrecked by his Broadsides, my Ruststalkers would have charged and killed the Pathfinders instead.

It's also how he built his list. Maybe he has too little Broadsides, or perhaps he would have been better off using the Farsight Enclaves supplement, given how he was so proficient in using Crisis battlesuits. In fact, his Crisis battlesuits did the most damage, and were the most versatile units while his Fire Warriors...sad to say, were cannon fodder.

Anyway, the both of us will carry on playing no matter how devastating our defeats are! We will never give up! I'm still raring to go and eager to challenge the Dark Angels again, and I want a rematch with the Tyranid player with 4 flying Hive Tyrants! I also don't mind playing against the Space Wolves again, that would be fun.

For the Omnissiah!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Lords of Mars

First, I would like to apologize for my long hiatus in updating War Convocation, but I've been busy with other stuff - especially a new, original story for my Fictionpress account that is written in the mold of a Japanese light novel. I will try to get to writing the new chapter on Saturday, but no promises I'm afraid. I'm also due the not battle report, and one thing I learned is that the immunity to the Gets Hot! rule is not as overpowered as it seems. For one thing, I can't spam plasma calivers, being limited to only 1 squad of Vanguard and Rangers each, and spamming plasma culverins on Kataphron Destroyers are not very useful. I was better off with heavy grav guns.

But enough of that. We're here for the book review of Lord of Mars.


Lords of Mars is a good book that continues the vast scale of the Explorator fleet, bringing the armada to a couple of mysterious planets. Not much to say here, the typical adventure fare, explore a new world, face new threats, filled with the usual action we have come to expect from Graham McNeill. The incredible firepower of the Titans are brought to bear, and even the Warhound Titan's battles are a delight to read, with the Warlord Titan just destroying everything on Katen Venia. Again, Graham McNeill delivers enjoyable action and fleshes out the mysteries surrounding the planets competently.

The epic scale of the narrative is brought to the fore as entire star systems are created, reborn and reshaped by the miraculous technology known as the Breath of Gods. In the face of such wonder, the fleet had to deal with threats both within and without - I already mentioned the Titans annihilating the threats on Katen Venia, but Hypatia presented geological dangers instead of enemy soldiers. Aboard the Speranza, the tech-priests have to deal with an uprising as well as the insidious Eldar who have snuck upon the ship.

Abrehem Locke's circumstances are compelling and sympathetic, and even the Acro-flagellant Rasselas X-42 gets character development. A traitor who was a former Eccelesiarchy cadinal known as the Impaler Cardinal, Lukasz Krol. That was nicely done, as was the agonizing process of transforming a man into an Acro-flagellant. Abrehem himself was fleshed out even more, growing into a reluctant savior who finally accepts his role as the Machine-touched.

It's pretty funny because in the same week I was reading this book, the module in which I'm a teaching assistant in is teaching on worker strikes, labor unions and employment in Japan. And then I go and read about the menials and servitors go on strike aboard the Speranza, demanding better working conditions, food and treatment. They eventually get it, but I was amused by the similarity between what I read in Warhammer 40K fiction and the readings I do for college. Who says fiction and reading leisure cannot be applied to academia?

The Eldar, I'm beginning to really hate. I particularly detest that bitch Bielanna Farelle, and I hope she dies horribly. That arrogance, that cold disregard for humanity, that condescending manner, and her reason for killing good citizens of the Imperium...damn her. I hope Roboute Surcouf will not be forced to do anything stupid, but what she casted on him doesn't bode well for him.

Predictably, the Explorator fleet finally meet Archmagos Vettius Telok face to face at the very end, thus opening for a conclusive third book in the trilogy. That's not a spoiler, it's already revealed in the synopsis of Gods of Mars. Anyway, given how impressive the tale is, to the extent I just couldn't put the book down, I would definitely recommend this book. The whole Mars series must be read as a trilogy, however, so readers jumping straight into Lords of Mars without first reading Priest of Mars would get lost. But I highly encourage fans of Warhammer 40K to read all three books, or at least the first 2 books - as of now, I have yet to read the final book in the trilogy but I'm looking forward to it.

As a side note, in addition to buying Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List from Forge World, I managed to get myself a copy of Cybernetica, a direct sequel to Mechanicum in the Horus Heresy series! It's a limited edition book and there are less than 400 copies left, so please head over to Black Library and buy the book before it's sold out! I'll write a review for it once I get my hands on and read it, so look forward to it! Don't worry, I'll make sure to finish Gods of Mars, The Emperor's Finest, Baneblade and Commissar Yarrick: The Pyres of Armaggedon before then.

The description for the limited edition of Cybernetica reads as follows:

"Contained in a full colour wrap around dust jacket, over a clockwork hardcover, this new limited edition is every centimetre a Horus Heresy collectors item. On the first page of your book, you'll find a signature from author Rob Sanders, as well as the unique number of your copy. Also included is a fold-out colour section, featuring new artwork and background, as well as a full four-page spread of the Cybernetica cover art. Every page is gilt-edged and a bronze marker ribbon completes the package."

So yeah, I think it's worth the 30 pounds. Additionally, Rob Sanders is the writer of the awesome books Skitarius and Tech-priest, both of which I have already written book reviews for (just search under book reviews in my blog). You can order Cybernetica from the Black Library website, and hurry! There are fewer than 400 copies left!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mechanicum stuff

All right, I went and bought the Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List. It should arrive at my house in around 2 weeks.

I've been experimenting with several lists (and Forge World being as expensive as it is, I ended up trying to cut costs) and go for the cheapest. The Tech-thralls aren't cheap...or should I call them Adseularis Covenant? They cost about 35 pounds per 10 Tech-thralls, which means...uh, I'm spending 35 pounds on 35 points worth of units. I'll save more money if I buy the 3 Thallax for 29 pounds (cheaper, too!), which cost about 160 points. Well, 20 Tech-thralls with upgrades and maxed out is about 125 points at 70 pounds, which I can get a 300-point or 345-point Thanatar. As I'm building a 2,000-point Mechanicum army, I think it's cheaper to get the expensive units in terms of points. By the way, I can get 445 points of a 9-men Thallax Cohort, or even bump it up to 520 points if I throw in Photon Thrusters (not very fond of that, I prefer Darkfire cannons on my Castellax).

I'm wondering if the Cybernetica Battlegroup is worth it. But none of the Castellax there has any Darkfire cannons so I'm a bit turned off by that. Oh well. I don't think I can convert the multi-meltas to Darkfire cannons. Besides, I'm not really eager to get the Thallax Cohort otherwise I wouldn't bother with Legio Cybernetica in the first place. We'll see. Once I get the Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List, I'll review my options.

By the way, I had a game yesterday and I got schooled. Totally and literally. My opponent was kind enough to teach me where I went wrong, how I should play, how to place the units, etc. I'll make sure to learn from my total defeat. I wiped out half of his army. Well, I'll write a mini-battle report. It's not really a battle report because I forgot most of what happened during the battle in my efforts to remember what I did wrong, so I only remember my mistakes, which I'll list them in the...well, not battle report. I'll do a separate entry for that as I haven't uploaded the photos. It was Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation versus Dark Angels and due to my misplaced deployment and horrible target priority, I lost the game. My opponent could re-roll 2+ cover saves which meant nothing I fired at him could hurt him. Ouch.

Anyway, I'll write a review and analysis of Mechanicum Taghmata Army List once it arrives, and I suspect I'll be able to write a whole post regarding the lore of Mechanicum or Adeptus Mechanicus once I get it. How Skitarii is a different branch from the Militant Mechanicum and all that. So look forward to it (or avoid this blog like Nurgle and his plagues if you hate reading my blog...in which case why are you here?).

Right now my plans, which are far from being final, consist of just buying a Magos Dominus, 4 Castellax Battle-automata to fulfil the Troops choice because apparently I must take Castellax Battle-automata as my compulsory Troops and field at least 2 of them in each unit, a Thanatar Siege-automata which I always want to get, 3 Vorax Battle-automata and either 3 Myrmidon Destructors (which I'll throw in an extra Volkite Culverin that's actually for some Contemptator Dreadnaught) OR a Krios Venator. I'm inclined toward the Krios Venator because I love tanks, but the Myrmidon Destructors seem like they'll be more useful in battle. 2 Volkite Culverins and 1 Irradiation Engine? Oh wow. I love those weapons...but I also like the plasma fusil on the Krios Venator. Decisions, decisions. Besides, the Myrmidion Destructors are cheaper and I think they get Preferred Enemy. We'll see. Anyway, Fleshbane Template is just awesome.

I already have a Knight Paladin or Knight Errant to fill my Lord of War slot, and being 2,000-point games, each is way under the 25% but if it's less than 2,000 points (1,999), I can't bring them. Heh. Anyway, I'll await for the Omnissiah's teachings to enlighten me. Yay.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Questoris Knights PLUS a new Forge World Knight!

Today I'll be talking about the Questoris Knights. As I've discussed the Mechanicum, I think I should include the Questoris Knights because they also use the "Mechanicum" line on the Allies Matrix chart. So I'm sticking to the theme today. Furthermore, there is a new Cerastus Knight from Forge World! Introducing the Mechanicum Cerastus Knight-Atrapos, a pretty insane Cerastus Knight with a Destroyer weapon that can both fire at range (8" though, which kind of sucks) and be used in melee! Can you say awesome? Well, the short range isn't a problem because it's a Cerastus Knight, meaning you can run 3D6" instead of shooting, so you'll be destroying stuff in the 2nd turn (as long as your Knight doesn't get destroyed before then). More on it later.

For now we'll focus on the Questoris Knights. The Questoris Knights use the Questoris Knight Crusade Army Force Organization Chart, which is a unique type of core detachment that we can use in the Age of Darkness games. As a primary detachment, the compulsory slots are 1 HQ and 1 Troops, and the optional additions are 1 more HQ, 4 more troops, 3 Elites, 2 Fast Attack and 2 Heavy Support. Yippee. Ah, and the obligatory Lord of War chocie, but no Fortification. As per other Horus Heresy armies, it also has an Allied Detachment, which if you've been following the past few posts, I'm considering adding a Mechanicum Allied Detachment. I'll talk about that later.

Apparently you can also use the Questoris Knights as allies. As long as you fulfil the compulsory requirements of 1 HQ and 1 Troops as stipulated in the Allies Detachment for other armies (meaning a minimum of 2 Questoris Knights as allies, that's a heavy investment of points), there isn't any problem - hence I can either ally my Questoris Knights to my Mechanicum army, or use my Mechanicum army as allies. Very flexible.

Now, what do you mean by HQ and Troops for Knights? Aren't all Knights just...Lords of War? Fortunately, the Questoris Knight Crusade Army Force offers special rules and choices to turn your Knights into the respective slots, and these are called Household Ranks. Each comes with bonuses at the cost of points, while some, like the Troops choice Scion is free but grants no bonuses. Household Ranks are something related to the fluff - in a Knight household, each Knight is ranked accordingly and thus serves different roles. I'll go through each and every Household Rank.

HQ

Ah. the compulsory HQ slot and you can take 2 of them. Can you say awesome?

The first Household Rank is Seneschal, which costs 50 points. Basically your Knight adds 1 to both his Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill and also his invulnerable save (Ion Shield, for example, turns into 3+). Awesome. Just awesome. Expensive, but perhaps worth it to give your Knight that extra protection and making sure his attacks hit.

Second Household Rank is Lord Scion at 25 points, which grants the +1 to Ballistic Skill and Weapon Skill but forgoes the invulnerable shield. Still a good choice.

Troops

The next compulsory slot, Troops. Like HQ, there are 2 of them. Regardless of what you choose, both Household Ranks grant Objective Secured. Very useful for claiming objectives with your giant Knight.

First is Scion Martial, which is free and basically "impose no modifiers". So what you see is what you get.

Next is Scion Aspirant, which allows you to deduct 35 points from your Knight's cost. However, the Ballistic Skill, Weapon Skill and invulnerable save are all reduced by 1, making your Knight less likely to hit and less likely to survive. Additionally, you are limited only to half your Knight army - meaning if you have 6 Knights, only 3 can be the Scion Aspirant. Well, I'm not exactly fond of this so I won't use it.

Elites

There are 3 Household Ranks for Elites, including Freeblades which is...huh? Well, anyway...

The first is Preceptor, which costs 25 points in exchange for improving your reserve roll by 1, gives all Knights in the same detachment that is within 6" Interceptor and allows them to fire Overwatch including Hellstorm templates. Sounds awesome.

The second is Aucteller, which is a whooping 35 points. A Knight with this Household Rank chooses an enemy Warlord, Lord of War or a Gargantuan Creature or Super-heavy vehicle as his Sworn Enemy, and by destroying this Sworn Enemy the controlling player earns an additional D3 Victory points. Yes, in addition to the points gained from Slay the Warlord or Super-heavy stuff. Conversely, if the Sworn Enemy survives at the end of the game, the opponent gains 1 Victory point. Well, law of equivalent exchange. Oh, and if the Aucteller's Knight is destroyed in combat with the Sworn Enemy, he can make an additional single close combat attack against the Sworn Enemy before blowing up. With a D weapon (unless you chose your Castigator), that sounds pretty fun. I'll take you down with me! Ha ha!

Legendary Freeblades are legendary. I don't see any Freeblades in this book so they must be in other Horus Heresy books. I think. Oh well.

Fast Attack

Fast Attack makes your Knights faster. I guess.

Starting with Scion Dolorous at 25 points, your Knight gets to re-roll failed charges and failed sweeping advances. And he must charge an enemy Knight, Walker, Monstrous Creature, Primarch, Super-heavy vehicles or Gargantuan Creature during the assault phase, if the opponent has any in range.

Scion Uhlan is free! YAY! It gives your Knight the Scout and the Hit and Run special rules, but in turn they have their Armor value of their front reduced by 1, dropping it to AV12. Ouch. In addition, they can only make snap shots with their weapons at targets greater than 24" away. WHAT?! That pretty much sucks....unless you're using a Knight Acheron, which I believe this rule was made for. Hellstorm template doesn't suffer much from the reduced range, after all.

Heavy Support

Now this is the Household Rank I love the most. Well, there are 2 of them, but I think you know which I will like more. Yay. It makes my Knight a lot more useful and covers their weakness to Flyers. Woohoo!

First up is said favorite Scion Arbalester at 25 points. Knights with this Household Rank gains Tank Hunter and if they didn't move during movement phase, they gain Skyfire in my subsequent shooting phase if I want. Very, very useful. I can substitute my Knight Warden as a Knight Castigator (since the Avenger Gatling cannon resembles the Castigator bolt cannon a lot) or maybe even the Knight Styrix though that's less convincing and throw up 8 S7 AP3 shots or 5 S8 AP3 shots into the air at enemy flyers. Sounds good to me.

The second is the Scion Implacable at 35 points.which is pretty cool. They can wreck buildings, adding a 1 to the Building Damage table roll, which is pretty lackluster (who runs their Knights all the way up to destroy buildings?!) but they do have the ability to re-roll Stomp results as well as have a 5+ invulnerable save against grenade and melta bomb attacks in assault. Unfortunately they can't make sweeping advances, but you probably already wiped out the infantry with your Stomp and Destroyer attacks. I hope.

That's it, I suppose!

Anyway, here is the introduction to the Mechanicum Cerastus Knight-Atrapos!

Mechanicum Cerastus Knight-Atrapos
You can buy it at Forge World. Right now, if you buy any Forge World Knight, you'll get a free Knight Scion. Huh. Well, offer only runs until 12th November 2015, so if you really want the free Knight Scion, don't miss the deadline!

As with all Cerastus Knights, the Atrapos has initiative 4 and 4 attacks, making him deadly in melee. He costs a whooping 435 points, though, making it the most expensive Knight in 30K and 40K, even more expensive than the 425-point Knight Crusader (430, if you upgrade to rapid-fire battle cannon). But of course, as this thing is utterly deadly.

It possesses an Ionic Flare Shield that reduces the strength of any shooting attacks by 1, and 2 if the attack was a blast or template. Pretty nifty. Furthermore, any shooting attack he makes against Super-heavy vehicles and Gargantuan Creatures becomes twin-linked.

He possesses an Atrapos lascutter which can be fired as an eight-inch beam but with Destroyer strength and AP2, and wield it in melee as a Strength D AP1 weapon with wrecker. His secondary weapon is a Graviton singularity cannon that has Armorbane and is large blast. 36", S8 AP2, I can destroy vehicles reliably with this! Furthermore, it has Collapsing Singularity, which has the risk of taking a hull point off your Knight if you roll a one. Basically it has the Gets Hot! rule. BUT! BUT!!! If you roll a 6 instead, the attack has the Vortex special rule! In other words, it becomes a Destroyer weapon, and pretty much behaves like Barrage (meaning you determine wounds by assuming the shot came from the center of the blast template). The marker isn't removed from play but remains on the table as impassable terrain. At the beginning of every subsequent player's turn, the marker scatters 2D6" until someone rolls a double (NOOO!). After the scatter, any model who ends up being unlucky to be under the marker's new location is hit with a Destroyer Strength attack. Woohoo.

Yes, that's how awesome he is. I'm so tempted to purchase him BUT I don't have the money and I can't afford him. Especially since I'm sticking to building a Mechanicum army and I already have at least 2 Knights (3 if I'm allowed to proxy my Knight Warden as a Knight Castigator or Knight Styrix). So nope. But I'm so tempted! DESTROYER WEAPON! And being a Cerastus Knight, the 8" means nothing as he can run 12" during movement phase, 3D6" in his run phase (though no shooting or charging that turn), and if he survives until your next turn he'll be destroying pretty much everything with his Destroyer weapon. Awesome.

By the way, I did some changes to my Taghmata Army List to make it more affordable and to include the Knights in it. I was thinking of using Mechanicum Allies, so I could either go for pure Legio Cybernetica allies (I wonder if this is legal? Can I field just 1 maniple of 2 Castellax Robots and say they're my compulsory troops choice for allies?) or I could just go vanilla Taghmata, use a Magos Dominus instead of an Archmagos, field a Thallax cohort of 9 Thallax shock troopers with 3 Phase-plasma fusils alongside 2 Castellax Battle-automata with Darkfire cannons and siege wreckers and a single Thanatar Siege-automata with Paragon of Metal. Since Castellax robots are support troops, I've to make this list allies instead. So my primary detachment would be Questoris Knight Crusade Army with a Knight Paladin Seneschal and a Knight Errant Scion Martial.

If it's legal to use Legio Cybernetica even for allies, then I would rather go for an Archmagos Dominus with the Cortica Primus, 3 Castellax Battle-automata in one single troops slot, 3 Vorax Battle-automata with poisoned ammo, and a Thanatar Siege-automata with Paragon of Metal. Again, my Knights remain the same. Again, I'll appreciate it very much if anyone can leave any advice here. PLEASE! I need advice! Suggestions! Anything!

We'll see. I'll have to find myself a copy of the Taghmata Army List before I make any decision. The Omnissiah protects!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Ordo Reductor

All right, today I'll be talking about the changes to the Ordo Reductor as specified in Forge World's new (well, not really new, I'm more than a month late) book, Mechanicum: Taghmata Army List.

As an aside, I've decided to get myself a Legio Cybernetica army, so Ordo Reductor isn't my kind of thing. I'll either buy the Battlegroup Cybernetica and a 2nd Thanatar or 3 Thallax shock troopers with phase-plasma fusils and a 5th Castellax robot, this time with Darkfire cannon. However, I think I'll just go with what my heart says and give up on trying to fit Thallax shock troopers in (just so they can help with skyfire with Icarian upgrades and anti-vehicle duties) and go with an all battle-automata theme - the TRUE Legio Cybernetica and the reason why I'm playing it in the first place. Giant robots!

So I think the list I'll most likely get is 1 Archmagos Dominus, 4 Castellax robots with 2 Mauler pattern bolt cannons and 2 Darkfire cannons, 3 Vorax robots with poisoned ammo for their rotor cannons and 2 Thanatar siege-automata. In this way, with my Knight Paladin filling in the Lord of War slot, my list turns into a true Legio Cybernetica army with nothing but giant robots. Awesome. Go for fluff and theme instead of trying to make it competitive, that might be a good advice. Alternatively, I can field the Legio Cybernetica as allies to my Questoris Knights, where I have a Knight Paladin as my lord scion, a Knight Errant scion, allied with an Archmagos Dominus, 2 Castellax robots with siege wreckers, 1 Castellax battle-automata with Darkfire cannon, 3 Vorax robots with poisoned ammo for their rotor cannons and 1 Thanatar siege-automata. If games go up to 2,500 points as is usual for Horus Heresy (right now my list stands at 2,000 points), I'll  use Legio Cybernetica as my primary detachment alongside an allied detachment of 2 Questoris Knights for 2,500-point games (1 Archmagos Dominus, 2 Castellax robots with siege wreckers, 2 Castellax robots with Darkfire cannons and automata power blades, 3 Vorax battle-automata with poisoned ammo for their rotor cannons and 2 Thanatar siege-automata with Knight Paladin Seneschal with 1 bio-corrosive heavy stubber and Knight Errant scion).

Anyway, we'll see. Besides, this is a post for the Ordo Reductor so without further ado I'll move into that.

Ordo Reductor

Basically, the Ordo Reductor is like a Rite of War, and it has the following restrictions and benefits:

Unlocks Magos Reductor, which can be upgraded to an Archmagos Reductor as per the Magos Dominus, but apparently he's 10 points cheaper than the Dominus. Different from the Magos Prime.

Unlocks Minotaur battery and artillery battery. Can you say awesomeness? Except that if I want artillery I would have stuck to Imperial Guard. Well, not too bad because it seems there are benefits to using artillery in this list. 12 Medusa-cannon artillery tanks, all with upgrades? Yes, please.

Compulsory HQ choice must be Magos Reductor or Archmagos Reductor, or some special character called Caleb Decima who apparently is an Archmagos Reductor. Well, as per Legio Cybernetica, duh. Besides, he's cheaper but has no Feel No Pain.

Compulsory Troops choices must be Thallax cohorts. Again, duh. That's why I'm playing Legio Cybernetica. I love Thallax cohorts, but I love Castellax robots even more. Anyway, not a bad chocie, they're incredibly versatile and I would field 9-men Thallax cohorts with 3 phase-plasma fusils, upgraded with Icarian or Destructor. Yay. Except that it would take away points from my artillery, so...nope. Bare bones would do, with the necessary Icarian upgrades.

If you're taking Battle or Siege-automata, you can only take less than half your army. Dude, why are you playing this list then? Go play Legio Cybernetica instead. This is for the Reductor artilleries! Minotaur and artillery batteries!

Artillery tank squadron starts out as a Whirlwind at 85 points, I believe, you can take up to 3 of them in each slot, and upgrade them with various weapons like the Demolisher cannon, quad lascannon, dual melta cannon, Earthshaker cannon, Medusa cannon, Colossus Bombard cannon. Other options are heavy flamer or heavy bolter, +1 front armor and Blessed Autosimulcra (I believe the Knights get this for 10 points each).

Minotaur artillery tanks are no longer super-heavy, are 70 points cheaper (still expensive though, but probably worth the cost?), can be squadroned in threes, has 5 hull points instead of 6 and a rear-facing flare shield, with a twin-linked massive blast Earthshaker cannon. Scary. Very scary.

And the Ordo Reductor has its own special Force Organization Chart. Titled the Matrix of Ruin, as below:

Matrix of Ruin

Compulsory: 1 HQ, 2 Troops, 2 Heavy Support (what? You were taking Ordo Reductor for the artillery tanks anyway and if you weren't, you're doing it wrong)

Optional: 1 HQ, 3 Troops, 2 Elites, 2 Fast Attack, 2 Heavy Support and 2 - yes, TWO - Lords of War. Yup, I'm gonna throw in 2 Questoris Knights if I ever try the Ordo Reductor out (nope, still sticking to Legio Cybernetica, sorry). Yahoo!

It has a special rule, The Unfettered Wrath of the Machine, which means all Tanks are scoring in the enemy deployment zone in Age of Darkness missions (30K or Horus Heresy missions), or gain Objective Secured in Maelstrom of War missions. Can I say awesome? 4x3 Artillery tanks with Demolisher cannons rolling up to objectives, park there and secure them for the rest of the game, blasting enemy troops into oblivion? Yes, please.

And again, 2 Knights. Yes, 2 Knights. Probably the 2 Macro-engines from the Ordo Ordinatus can fit in here somehow in higher-point games, but...they are too expensive. I prefer Titans.

Anyway, there you have it. The new Ordo Reductor! A potential list would be a Magos Reductor with Machinator Array, 2 Thallax Cohort with their Icarian or Destructor upgrade (3 troopers each), 3 Kios Venator, 2 Medusa artillery batteries of 3 each (making that 6), a single Minotaur artillery tank because it's too expensive otherwise, a Questoris Knight Paladin and a Questoris Knight Errant as the 2 Lords of War. Sounds scary, doesn't it?

I think I'll stick to Legio Cybernetica. My wallet simply can't afford that amount of awesomeness. And I like my giant robots a lot more than artillery. Thanatar walking up to a Minotaur and saying hello before wrecking it - that's more my style. Anyway, we'll see.

May the Omnissiah grace us with more knowledge (and knowledge is power! The first creed, remember that!)!