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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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Conclave Acquisitorius, Grand Convocation and Castellans of the Imperium analysis

Welcome to AdMech Knight's standard tactica where you'll find the usual highly flawed analysis, heavily biased viewpoints and unreliable advice. Today we'll be talking about the Conclave Acquisitorius and Grand Convocation Detachment, as well as the Castellans of the Imperium Deatchment, in the recently released Fall of Cadia book, and see what they're all about, how we can or should use them (or not), and the usual stuff. Oh come on, if you've read this blog before, you know what to expect - I did the same for Thousand Sons and the Cadian Battle Group for Wrath of Magnus and Mont'ka last year and 2 years ago.

First though, we shall have a look at Belisarius Cawl, Archmagos Dominus. We will probably not look at Celestine, the Living Saint and Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax (because she's a bitch - well, I did warn you that I'm heavily biased) because this is primarily an Adeptus Mechanicus, Imperial Knight and Imperial Guard blog, so if they aren't Guard characters or Mechanicus characters or nobles from the knightly houses, I ain't gonna bother with them. Besides, a lot of other bloggers and reviewers and writers would have written much better analysis for these guys anyway. So let's concentrate on the Mechanicus aspect. And the combined Imperium forces - the reason why I included the Castellans of the Imperium Detachment is because...Imperial Guard. No, really. This is also an Imperial Guard blog, so I should speak about it as well. Anyway, moving on to our beloved Archmagos Belisarius Cawl...

Belisarius Cawl, Archmagos Dominus

Where do we begin? The dude is a monster. He's an Independent Character, so you can join him with any squad, and he has quite beefy stats, with BS5, WS5, S5, T6. 5 Wounds, Initiative 3 and 3 Attacks. He has the standard Leadership 10 for legendary, unique characters, and a 2+ armor save to make sure he doesn't get killed easily. His Toughness 6 means he is very resilient, and will not be Instant Death-ed by any high strength weapon unless it's a Destroyer weapon. Yes, unfortunately, Cawl does NOT have Eternal Warrior (unlike Celestine), so he is still susceptible to Instant Death such as Force weapons, Strength D weapons and Transmorgify (damn Thousand Sons players rolling sixes on their Tzeentch psychic powers). Otherwise, with 5 Wounds and Toughness 6, he will not be getting squished and obliterated by even Strength 10 weapons, so don't worry about that Demolisher cannon. However, 5 Wounds are pointless if he gets Instant Death-ed, so keep him out of range of those Destroyer weapons and psykers with Force. Poor guy also only has a 5++ invulnerable save because of his refractor field (not conversion field). He does have a decent 5+ Feel No Pain special rule, which is awesome because of his Warlord Trait that allows him to re-roll failed Feel No Pain rolls. So Cawl can't feel pain. Cool.

But what makes him stand out is his Artificer Self-repair Mechanisms, which allows him to recover D3 Wounds lost earlier in battle. Okay, now that's crazy. It also explains why he doesn't have Eternal Warrior, because he'll truly be an Eternal Warrior who can't die (yeah, He Will Not Die). He is equipped with the standard power axe that's master-crafted, and an arc scourge for haywire goodness. He also has a solar atomizer, which blast enemies into atoms with the power of the sun...or for tabletop players, a Strength 10 AP1 meltagun with 12" range (so you need to be within 6" for the melta to work...uh, no thanks). It's also master-crafted and fire off D3 assault shots, so yay. He also has a Mechadendrite hive that gives him a Dataspike haywire attack at Initiative 10, plus 2D6 additional attacks at Strength 4 AP- (what...?!). Uh well, 2D6 S4 AP- attacks aren't that useful anyway, but it will help him chew through a blob of say, Orks, Guardsmen, Cultists, Fire Warriors or whatever cannon fodder with terrible armor saves and low Toughness.

Cawl also has access to the standard Canticles of the Omnissiah, which all you believers of our venerable Cult Mechanicus should already be familiar with. No? Go read my Cult Mechanicus tactics on this blog then, or the Adpetus Mechanicus War Convocation...uh, okay. Maybe they're still under construction. Sorry. Anyway, your standard Canticles of the Omnissiah, in case you don't know, include giving your Mechanicus (and Skitarii AND Imperial Knights if you're using Conclave Acquisitorius or Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation) Stubborn/Fearless, re-rolling failed To Hit rolls in close combat attacks (from a variety of re-rolling ones to all), our beloved Shroudpsalm that gives Stealth, Shrouded or both, Re-roll failed shooting attacks (again from just ones to all), an increase in Strength (plus 1, 2 or 3), and the Eletromancer frenzy where you ca generate 1 to 3 Strength 4 AP- thundershock attacks for each model at Initiative 10 during close combat. The potency depends on the number of Mechanicus units you have using the Canticles, so for example 1-3 units will only have the bare minimum of benefits (only re-roll failed To Hit rolls of Ones), 4-7 will have a slightly better effect (ones and twos), and 8+ is the most awesome of them all (re-roll ALL failed To Hit rolls!). Sweet. Until you remember that your standard, normal Tech-priest Dominus also has this at almost half of Cawl's points, and has additional access to Arcana Mechanicum and other wargear. Huh.

What Cawl does have that our regular servants of the Omnissiah do not is the Canticles of the Archmagos because apprently our Tech-priest Dominus are just lowly Magos. Oh well. Anyway, they are insane. Like the normal Canticles, their power varies, depending on the number of units you have in your army, but as I said, they are INSANE. First one gives you It Will Not Die for all Mechanicus units (or at least those with the Canticles rules, so take the War Convocation or Conclave Acquisitorius), and you get to roll twice if you have 4-7 units, and thrice if you have 8+. Wow. That's just insane. There's also another Canticle that increases your Ballistic Skill from +1 all the way until +3. So you can have BS6 Kataphron Destroyers firing 18-36 grav shots, re-rolling ones (of course you need a 6 for that second time to hit). Okay, that's crazy. And you also have another that gives them invulnerable saves, which...well, isn't that good until you reach that 4++ invulnerable save at 8+ units (starts at 6++, middles at 5++ and maxes at 4++). The thing is that most of your Mechanicus units have 6++ and 5++ saves anyway, so this Canticle doesn't help much unless you're using the War Convocation or Conclave Acquisitorius to give your Imperial Knights all-round 4++ invulnerable save, improve Cawl's own invulnerable save, and make your Skitarii more resilient So the Canticles actually snowballs in potency with the more units you have on the table. Cool.

Cawl is a great addition to any Adeptus Mechanicus force, and he even excels in armored armies that are heavily tank or vehicle based, like the Imperial Guard's armored company. You know, the Cadian Emperor's Fist Armored Company with a Tank Commander and 3 squadrons of Leman Russ tanks? Keep them within 12" of Cawl and they benefit for the Canticles of the Archmagos too - the Canticles not only apply to Cult Mechanicus units or Mechanicus units included in the War Convocation and Conclave Acquisitorius, but also to any friendly Imperium vehicle within 12" of Cawl. So yes, your Leman Russ tanks can now fire at BS6 (BS7 if taken in the Cadian Emperor's Fist Armored Company) and have 4++ invulnerable saves! Can you say awesome?!

Conclave Acquisitorius
Conclave Acquisitorius is the Formation-based Detachment for the Adeptus Mechanicus. It's similar to the War Convocation, but a lot more unwieldy. That said, it does provide quite a few benefits that the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation does not have...but doesn't have a few of the awesome benefits that the War Convocation has.

You need Belisarius Cawl to lead your Conclave Acquisitorius, and 1-2 Skitarii Battle Maniples OR you can just take 1 War Cohort, which is 3 Skitarii Battle Maniples, 1 Holy Requisitioner, 0-1 Cohort Cybernetica (sweet!), 0-1 Numinous Conclave (I'll pass), and 1-2 Imperial Knights or just fuck it and take an entire Baronial Court (hell, yeah!). Funnily enough, I actually have the models to field this army, if I convert my Kataphron Destroyers into Kataphron Breahers, but...I'll get into that later.

At first glance, you'll be overwhelmed by how many units you've to take. I mean, yeah, that's a freaking lot. The Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation only requires one Skitarii Battle Maniple alongside a flexible Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation and an Imperial Knight Oathsworn Detachment. So you can get away with the minimum number of units. Well, you can do the same with the Conclave Acquisitorius too, because you only need 1 Battle Maniple and 1 Imperial Knight for the minimum requirements, and instead of the Battle Congregation you just take a Holy Requisitioner and Cawl.  The problem is that the Holy Requisitioner locks you into taking Kataphron Breachers ONLY, so you won't be taking Kataphron Destroyers and spamming heavy grav or plasma culverins like I am. Aw, shucks. On the bright side, you do benefit from the Holy Requisitioner special rules, which allows you to Deep Strike your Tech-priest Dominus and Kataphron Destroyers. Best of all, your Tech-priest Dominus will not scatter if you Deep Strike within 6" of an objective marker, and your Kataphron Destroyers also will not scatter if they Deep Strike within 6" of your Tech-priest Dominus. Wow, yay! Not only that, you get to re-roll your Reserve Rolls and have all of them Deep Strike and arrive from Reserve from a single roll. Awesome. Oh, and your Kataphron Breachers get Zealot and Counter-attack if within 6" of an objective marker. So yes, these rules more than make up for the lack of flexibility of the Battle Congregation.

The Numinous Conclave, which gives your Electro-Priests Crusader, and allows the Corpuscarii to fire an additional shot when within 6" of the Fulgurites, and the enemies who suffer a Wound from their shooting become electrified. This means that if they get charged by your Fulguries, your dudes get to re-roll failed To Wound rolls in close combat. Uh, okay. It does make them better than if you were to take them in a standard Battle Congregation, but the problem is that you've to take a minimum of 2 units EACH (max 3 units), and they really aren't worth taking in my opinion.

The Cohort Cybernetica, I probably don't need to talk much about it beause you can see how awesome it is for yourself. Also, giant robots. Your Kastelan Battle Protocol takes effect IMMEDIATELY as long as your Tech-priest Dominus is alive, and your Cybernetica Datasmith and Tech-priest Dominus can re-direct your Kastelan Robots' shooting at different targets (Split Fire, baby!). Plus they count as a single unit (3 for Canticles of the Omnissiah, so you get to have your cake and eat it), making them a psuedo-deathstar unit with majority Toughness 7, many Wounds, 2+ armor save, 5++ invulnerable save that can reflect an enemy's attack on a roll of 6 (yeah, I know, crazy right?), and all 3 units benefit from a single Arcana Mechanicum, for example the Dominus's Autocaduceus of Arkhan Land giving BOTH Kastelan Robot maniples It Will Not Die, and your Datasmith's Raiment of the Technomartyr giving the whole squad Cognis. Complete that with flamers on all your Kastelan Robots, you can snap-fire at BS2, which makes a lot of difference given the amount of dakka your robots can pour out. I will find all sort of ways to force a Cohort Cybernetica into my Conclave Acquisitorius, indeed I will.

The War Cohort is...well, not worth taking, in my opinion. Sure, you get to re-use one Doctrina Imperative that you already used earlier, but...3 of each and every unit? I think the Sicarian Ruststalkers and Sicarian Infiltrators, while awesome as surgical units, are best taken in small numbers. Taking 3 squads of each of them is just going to bloat your points cost, given how expensive they are, and they're so fragile and situational you'll just be wasting them. One squad is good enough. I would just take the bare minimum of 1 Skitarii Battle Maniple.

The Baronial Court on the other hand makes my mouth water. Unlike the War Convocation, your Imperial Knights get to be a Character and Baron, take Knight relics (hell yeah! Helm of the Nameless Warrior for Rampage! Sanctuary for all-around ion shield! Mark of the Omnissiah for It Will Not Die!) AND the Baronial Court rules with Overwatching and Counter-attacking Imperial Knights and improved BS and WS for your Baron, as well as improved ion shield saves on the front. Keep in mind your Knights have to be within 6" of your Baron for the ion shield bonus and 12" for the Overwatch and Counter-attacking bonuses. This makes it almost worth taking the Conclave Acquisitorius over the War Convocation if you're playing massive games.

Yes. If you're playing massive games. In an earlier post I mentioned that I can field a Conclave Acquisitorius with the current models I have. With a single Battle Maniple, a Cohort Cybernetica (I told you I'll squeeze it in somehow), Archmagos Cawl himself, the Holy Requistioner (proxying my Kataphron Destroyers as Kataphron Breachers or converting them) and a Baronial Court of 4 Imperial Knights, my total point counts tallied up to 4,200.

My Imperial Knights in a Baronial Court costs about 1,665 alone. My Battle Maniple should be about 110+75+170+185+75+450= 1,065. Holy Requistioner should be 105+2x180=465. Cybernetica Cohort would be 290x2+60+30+135=805. Archmagos Belisarius Cawl himself costs 200 points. The total required points of Conclave Acquisitorius should add up to 1,665+1,065+465+805+200=4,200. Now who the hell is going to play 4,200-point games with me? I'll go around asking, but I highly doubt anyone will be willing to play 4,200-point games with me. And to be honest, I'm a bit wary of going into such games because it means I'll most certainly face Lords of Skulls and Wraithknights, which will wreck my armies. Well, I'm bringing 4 Imperial Knights so I certainly cannot complain. But still, that's a bit extreme. And you know what's the funniest thing? This isn't the maximum number of units. Oh, far from it.

Apparently if you bring the maximum number of units in the Formation, which is Cawl, 1 Skitarii War Cohort (3 Battle Maniples, essentially), 1 Holy Requistioner with 3 units of Kataphron Breachers instead of the minumum 2, 1 Numinous Conclave with 3 units of each type of Electro-Priests (Omnissiah, no!), 1 Cybernetica Cohort (okay, this is fine - thank the Omnissiah it's just 2 Kastelan Robot maniples!) and 5 Imperial Knights in your Baronial Court, all units in your Formation gains the Skitarii Doctrina Imperatives. I can tell you that's not going to happen. Not for me, at least. If you pull it off, good luck finding an opponent. I'll be happy to watch your game, like how I follow winters SEO. Speaking of which he just posted Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation versus Eldar yesterday, so I'm going to watch that soon. Anyway, if anyone ever plays the whole damned thing, let me know and I'll even proudly post your video on this website or at least write a battle report for you (or post your battle report). Or if you have your own blog, I'll be happy to read it there. But...let's face it, the odds of that is highly unlikely. Even me, a devoted servant of the Omnissiah, is going to dismiss the 2nd and 3rd Battle Maniples (I don't have that much money), not bother with the detestable Electro-Priests (I told you I'm biased) and cannot afford a 5th Knight. So nope. I'll play a 4,200-point game with my current Conclave Acquisitorius if I can ever find an opponent, but no more than that.

So if you're not taking the maximum units, what are you getting out of this other than the individual formation benefits and Cawl's awesome Canticles of the Archmagos? For starters, all units in the formation get Canticles of the Omnissiah, just like our beloved Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation. With 5 Imperial Knights receiving Canticles of the Omnissiah like Shroudpsalm, or re-rolling close combat hits, this can be worth it. Not to mention they all get It Will Not Die even without needing to be within 12" of Cawl and an all-round 4++ save! And that's in addition to the Knightly house relic and formation bonuses! The same applies throughout your Skitarii, who will definitely benefit from the Ballistic Skill enhancement and invulnerable save Canticles. But...that's it. Really. The other benefit is that all Characters in the Conclave Acquisitorius get to upgrade a weapon to Master-crafted for free, but that's kind of meh. Yeah, your Baron has a master-crafted reaper chainsword now, whoopee, or maybe a master-crafted Stormspear rocket pod/Avenger Gatling cannon if you're using a Knight Crusader instead of the melee variants. Your Skitarii Alphas get to re-roll a single 1 for their guns/melee weapons, as do your Tech-Priest Dominus (and Cybernetica Datasmith, oh the joy of a 6" range Master-crafted gamma pistol). To be honest, that isn't impressive. I've to say the Canticles of the Omnissiah applying across the board is pretty good, though, and should be worth it. Plus you get the individual formation benefits as well which are really awesome, like the It Will Not Die Kastelan Robots with Cognis, almost Deathstar-like unkillability, Split Fire and immediate Protocols effects, Deep Striking Tech-priest Dominus and his retinue of Kataphron Breachers that can capture objectives and do not scatter, and Overwatching and Counter-attacking Imperial Knights with a relic and improved ion shields. If you want to compare this to the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation, you've to take all these into account,

On the other hand, the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation is a lot less unwieldy and can be played at lower points, such as 1,850 or 2,000. To field a proper Conclave Acquisitorius, taking just the minimum number of units and sacrificing the Cybernetica Cohort, you'll still essentially need 2,105 even with minimal upgrades. And that gives you just 1 Imperial Knight, no Kastelan Robots and no Baronial Court benefits. At least you still get the Deep Striking Tech-Priest Dominus and Kataphron Breachers with no scatter, and Cawl. On the other hand, if you take the War Convocation, you get essentially 700 points of free wargear and Arcana Mechanicum, as well as immunity to Gets Hot! rolls (so spam those plasma calivers!), and the flexibility to take Kataphron Destroyers with heaavy grav instead of being locked into Kataphron Breachers (no Deep Striking though). I guess it really depends - if you're playing lower-point games that are 2,000 and below, then the War Convocation is for you. If you're playing high-point games that reach up to 3,000 and above, then go for the Conclave Acquisitorius and abuse those individual formation benefits to the max. Personally, while I'm tempted by the Baronial Court and Cohort Cybernetica in the Conclave Acquisitorius, I ultimately still feel that the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation is still the superior choice, especially in lower-point games, and the free wargear is just too tempting. Of course, it's not exactly a friendly army, so for the sake of the Omnissiah, do not use them against newcomers who have just started the hobby.

Combined Imperium Forces

Grand Convocation Detachment
The Grand Convocation Detachment is a special detachment that allows you to field your Adeptus Mechanicus models in one combined army. So if you're like me, who has a disparate bunch of Adeptus Mechanicus models (which was designed solely for the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation, but hey, let's be friendlier and experiment with other methods of playing the army), you can probably play this. And honestly, this is a lot easier to field and play than the Conclave Acquisitorius as it has the flexibility to go under 1,850 points. Phew.

The requirements are different from your standard Combined Arms Detachment or even the specific detachments for your Adeptus Mechanicus codex (Skitarii Maniple for Skitarii, Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation for Cult Mechanicus and Imperial Knight Household Detachment). You must take at least 2-4 HQ choices, 4+ Troops choices (no limit!), 0-6 Elites, 0-6 Fast Attack, 0-6 Heavy Support and 0-3 Lords of War in any combination. You must also take at least two different Factions, so no "I have 2 Tech-priests Dominus and 4 units of Kataphron Destroyers - this is my Grand Convocation!" shennigans. Take some Skitarii Vanguard with your Kataphron Destroyers and Tech-priest, for Omnissiah's sake. Your HQ choices are Belisarius Cawl, the usual Tech-Priest Dominus and Enginseer (and Servitors if you so desire) from Imperial Guard. Uh, Astra Militarum codex, or the Imperial Agents one if you prefer that one, since he gets the Canticles of the Omnissiah from that. Your Troops are Kataphron Destroyers, Kataphron Breachers, Skitarii Vanguard an Skitarii Rangers, so they are actually pretty decent. I daresay you have some of the best Troops in Warhammer 40,000, I mean which other Troops allow you to spam heavy grav? And Skitarii Vanguard are actually excellent in maxed out squads with their rad carbines, so go for it! You have the 2 Electro-Priests, which by now you'll know I do not recommend taking, and Sicarian Infitrators and Sicarian Ruststalkers for the Elites. As always, the Sicarians are the better choice, to me anyway, but they do cost a lot more than the Electro-Priests. Your only Fast Attack choice is the Sydonian Dragoons, so not much option there, and it's best to take them in squadrons because their taser lances can snowball and give you lots of hits when you roll sixes. Worth it, really, and they're pretty cheap and effective, plus do a good job. For Heavy Support you have the Ironstrider Ballistarii, which from my experience so far isn't exactly good because he misses all his lascannon shots. Probably should take them in a squadron for more effective tank hunting. However for Heavy Support I like the Kastellan Robot Maniples and Onager Dunecrawlers a lot better, even though they're more expensive. They are worth their points - Kastelan Robots are tough Monstrous Creatures that are extremely hard to kill and they pack a very powerful punch with dakka - both normal and twin-linked S6 AP3 shots that can annihilate a Space Marine and its equivalent squad. Onager Dunecrawlers provide the best anti-air in the game, as well as have S10 AP1 neutron lasers that can utterly obliterate anything from tanks to Terminators. Plus the Power of the Machine Spirit that the Grand Convocation provides, you can now have all the different weapons in the same squadron and shoot them at different and appropriate targets while retaining the awesome 4++ invulnerable save their field harmonics provide. So no more overkill with 3 Icarus Arrays, yet having 50% chance of avoiding that melta shot's explodes result! Last of all, your Lords of War is pretty much the standard 5 Imperial Knights that's all the same except the way they're equipped. Knight Crusader, Knight Errant, Knight Gallant, Knight Paladin and Knight Warden. Take your pick, and you can have up to 3 of them in any combination. Have fun making up your mind!

So what happens if you field your army in this manner? For example, I can field Belisarius Cawl, a Tech-Priest Dominus with Autocaduceus of Arkhan, 2 units of Kataphron Destroyers with heavy grav cannons, 10 Skitarii Vanguard with omnispex, and 5 Skitarii Rangers also with Omnispex. That bare minimum will be 200+135+180x2+110+75=880. Then I can throw in 3 Onager Dunecrawlers, one with Icarus array, and 2 with neutron lasers, all with Cognis heavy stubbers to bring the total to 880+370=1,250. A Kastelan Robot Maniple might cost another 320, bringing it up to 1,570, and adding a Knight Warden will bring it to 1,990. The rest can be upgrades, like conversion field for the Tech-Priest Dominus, refractor field for Vanguard alpha, etc. to round it off to 2,000 points. If I want 1,850 points, then I suppose I can swap the Knight Warden for another 2 Kastelan Robots, which will cost me 1,840, and again I'll round off the points with upgrades. I mean, if this is a friendly match, I'll probably not use Imperial Knights, but if I need an Imperial Knight, I'll just swap out the Kastelan Robots for a Knight. That will be 1,670-1,720, giving me 130-180 points to play with. I guess I could get rid of omnispex on the Rangers and add Sicarian Infiltrators and give conversion field to my Dominus to round off the points if I have to. Or I can just replace the Tech-Priest Dominus with an Enginseer (from Imperial Guard), saving myself 95 points, remove the Stormspear rocket pod from my Knight Warden and omnispex from the Skitarii Rangers to squeeze in the Kastelan Robot maniple. So it'll be 200+40+180x2+110+65+370+380+320=1,845.

What do you get if you build an army like this? All vehicles in the Grand Convocation get It Will Not Die - which is why I was trying to fit in an Imperial Knight into my list instead of the Kastelan Robots. Vehicles benefit most from this list! It's just too bad you can't take vehicles as your Troops. In addition, all vehicles that are within 6" of a HQ get Power of the Machine Spirit. Hence my decision to upgrade my Onager Dunecrawlers with cognis heavy stubbers. I can fire the cognis heavy stubbers at some infantry, then use Power of the Machine Spirit to fire my Icarus Array at a flyer or skimmer, and then fire the 2 neutron lasers elsewhere. Pretty cool, huh? There's also one more point about this Detachment - if you take the maximum number of units in this detachment, meaning you take 4 HQ, 4 Troops, 6 Heavy Support, 6 Elites, 6 Fast Attack and 3 Lords of War, they all get Canticles of the Omnissiah. Awesome...except that once again, you'll never be able to take all of them in low-point games. You'll probably need almost 3,000 points just to max out the list, and seriously taking 6 Elites for Mechanicus is not worth forget about that unless you're ready to play Apocalypse-class games. If that's the way you roll, then I suggest you just take the Conclave Acquisitorius instead. It's way cheaper and more effective anyway.

However, the point of the Grand Convocation is for you to field a slightly more flexible army that you can still field in low-point games. As the games get larger you can add another Imperial Knight without needing to go over 2,500 points, but at least staying below that so as not to play Apocalypse sized games like the Conclave Acquisitorius. Ugh. And it's friendlier than the War Convocation too! When I return to Singapore, I suppose, I can play 1,850 points without the Imperial Knight (kind of suck for me, but hey, friendly games, so...).

Castellans of the Imperium Detachment
This is for the other Imperium forces that are not Adeptus Mechanicus. Don't worry, you can still take Imperial Knights. So yay. As with the Grand Convocation, you need 2-4 HQ, 4+ Troops, 0-6 Elites, 0-6 Fast Attack, 0-6 Heavy Support and 0-3 Lords of War.  All your units in this detachment get Hatred. Yay! If you take the maximum number of units, which again isn't feasible in low-point games so there's no point, all of them get Zealot. My life for Cadia! And all that. Of course, you'll need to field from at least 2 different Factions, so if you're going to field nothing but Imperial Guard models, stick to the damned Combined Arms Detachment. You'll get your Objective Secured there anyway.

However, the rule that makes it stand out is the Flock to the Front Line. It's like the Chaos's Cultist rule thing (I think, I don't play Chaos). Basically, every time a Troops unit from your Castellans of the Imperium is destroyed, you roll a D6, and on a 5+ you get to place a new unit into Ongoing Reserves that is identical to the one just destroyed. Then you can bring them in next turn from Reserves. Best of all, even if this new Troops is destroyed after arriving from Reserves, you get to roll a D6 AGAIN to see if you get yet another clone Troopers. Awesome. Well, you only have 1/3 chance of reviving them, so maybe it's not awesome (it'll be game-breaking otherwise), but this allows you to build an army around expendable Troops - more on that later.

What can you take? There's too much to write, so I won't list all of them, but basically any unit from the Asassins, Imperial Guard I mean Astra Militarum, Adepta Sororitas, Death from the Skies, Inquisition, Imperial Agents, Imperial Knights, Miltarium Tempestis and Space Marines plus their Amgels of Death supplement (for Cataphractii Terminators and Contemptor Dreadnoughts). Take note that you can't take the special snowflake Space Marines like Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Grey Knights, Blood Angels, etc. but you can take the normal Space Marines with standard Chapter Tactics like Black Tempars, Ultramarines, Iron Hands, Imperial Fists, Salamanders, etc. I think you're allowed to take Legion of the Damned, but I don't know how these guys work or are different because I don't have Imperial Agents. Oh, and for Lords of War, you can take up to 3 Baneblade variants or Imperial Knights just because. Who says the Imperium can't have good things?

One good way of fielding this is spamming Militarum Tempestus squads. Cheap suicide melta squads, Deep Striking from everywhere, and every time they're destroyed, just roll a D6, put on a troll face and place them on Ongoing Reserves again, only to Deep Strike them again next turn. Now you have a good reason for making cheap suicide melta squads and abusing them to the max without worrying whether they'll make up for their points cost! Hooray! And another supposedly must-take model is Inquisitor Cotaez from Imperial Agents, because his Warlord Trait apparently gives all your non-vehicle models Objective Secured. So you can have Objective Secured Terminators, Centurions, Devastators, Seraphim, Celestians, Bikers, etc.!

Another thematic way to line this up is Power Armored Sisters of Battle alongside Leman Russ tanks, or Crusaders alongside Leman Russ tanks, if you think Imperial Guardsmen are too fragile, but want to field their superior tanks instead of the Space Marines' lackluster Predators and overly expensive Land Raiders. Have the various forces of the Imperium march side by side, and yell, "For the Emperor!" I'll personally use my Militarum Tempestus Scions as Troops, cheap suicide melta squads that Deep Strike and steal objectives or kill tanks, and field Leman Russ Tanks in the Heavy Support. Ironically I can't field Skitarii or Cult Mechanicus alongside my Leman Russ Tanks, but whatever. Throw in Celestine as a HQ because why the hell not, and you'll have a Castellans of the Imperium raring to go! Or something...

For the Emperor! Cadia STANDS!


  1. Hey so quick question do you think you can use the canticles of the archmagos at the same time as canticles of the omnissiah? So 2 buffs for the whole army at the same time? Or does his canticles of the archmagos options apply instead of the original 6?

    1. If you're to look at Rules as Written, then unfortunately no. You cannot use the canticles of the Archmagos at the same time as canticles of the Omnissiah. Rule as written: These work in exactly the same way as Canticles of the Omnissiah - therefore, you have to treat them as an extra Belisarius Cawl-exclusive Canticles of the Omnissiah rather than as separate and different canticles altogether.

      I hope that makes sense. :)

  2. Very informative! Thank you!

    I'm a bit sad to see neither of the Mechanicus formations is anything to write home about. The Conclave Acquisitorius is hampered by how restrictive and expensive in points it is, even moreso than the War Convocation. That it then offers less benefit than the War Convo is just silly. They should have made the requirements a Skitarii Maniple plus some unit tax, like one squad of e-priest or an Ironstrider Cavalier formation.

    And the Grand Convocation I hear suffers from design flaws. Is it true that engineseers wouldn't get Canticles since they wouldn't be taken from the Engineseer Congregation formation?

    1. Actually, I think you can take the Enginseers from the Imperial Agents book if you want the canticles. True, the one in the Astra Militarum codex (ugh, Imperial Guard codex, that was so pretentious) doesn't have the canticles, but if you notice the wording, it says Imperial Agents as well. So yes, you can take the Enginseer from the Imperial Agents codex, which gives the guy Canticles.

    2. Thank you for the quick reply!

      Well, that's something. Now if they could use their Awaken the Machine Spirit power on anything that's actually _in_ the list...

      Still, it's probably going to be the best way to go about playing Mechanicus where I am at the moment. Around here, 1850 points is considered high-end and more than three formations in total is usually not allowed. It's weird that the detachment buffs the one thing Cult Mechanicus itself doesn't actually have (vehicles), but Onager and Knights will love it to pieces.

    3. Don't forget the Ironstrider Ballistarius and Sydonian Dragoons!

      The Awaken the Machine Spirit power is for the Onager Dunecrawlers, I suppose. Being able to shoot their cognis heavy stubbers at one target, then have them shoot their primary weapons at different targets. In this way, you can have a squadron of 3 Onager Dunecrawlers with different weapons - for example, one with an Icarus Array and 2 neutron lasers, so they don't have to shoot at the same target and have part of the squadron snap-firing or unable to fire, and still benefit from the 4++ invulnerable save.

    4. Hmm. You're right. I guess that would make the Grand Convo an alternative to the bigger Skitarii detachments. Excepting the knight, all vehicles would come from that list. Fill up the HQ requirements with Engineseers and you don't even need a single unit from the Cult Mechanicus. So, maybe a Grand Convocation with lots of Dragoons and Onagers and a Cohort Cybernetica as anchor, or a Holy Requisitioner to increase your reach since you lose scouting from the maniples...

      It's supposed to be a comprehensive list, but it might really work better supported by additional formations.

    5. Indeed. That's actually quite the good idea, but you can add Kataphron Destroyers since grav apparently rules the meta right now. THe Holy Requistioner doesn't have Kataphron Destroyers, they require Breachers instead, so you might want to add a squad of Destroyers in the Grand Convocation itself.

      Not to mention while the Enginseer is a cheap HQ option, the Tech-priest Enginseer is much better because of his ability to repair on a 2+, which keeps your vehicles alive for that much longer.

      But yes, adding a Cohort Cybernetica would go a long way in helping it out!

    6. Yeah, that could work out too. I guess I was too down on these new detachments after all. Thank you very much for showing me that!