Sunday, 7 June 2015

Cult Mechanicus review part 2

On to the second and final part of the CM review folks. Enjoy.

The units:

Magos Dominus:
Now, as mentioned above this is possibly my favourite GW model in a long time. But how do the rules stack up? He weighs in at just over 100 points and is the only HQ with a pretty good profile: 4/5/4/4/3/3/2/9/2+. Basic weaponry is a volkite blaster, macrostubber, power axe, mechadendrite harness, scryerskull and refractor field, as well as being relentless and having feel no pain. So a pretty good all round character. Where he begins to shine even more is with the Master of Machines rule, which allows him to forego shooting ONE weapon and instead may either repair/restore a hull point to a vehicle he is in contact with or inside, or restore a wound to a model in his unit (CM or Skitarii). This is on a 2+! At a cost he can swap out his volkite for an eradication ray and/or his macrostubber for a phosphor serpenta. Plus he gets access to the relics and special issue wargear (digital weapons, infoslave, conversion and stasis fields). Heck of a lot of options for the old chap, who is effectively going to be best both bolstering a squad/vehicle loaded out with a relic or two. In a squad of Katephrons plus the IWND relic he'd be a beast.

Kataphron breachers:
At long last, the oft mentioned battle servitors have some awesome models. Plus rules to match. These chaps are troops and more suited to close combat. They're profile is 3/3/5/5/2/3/1/8/3+ and they cost half a dreadnought each. As with all units they have canticles and, as you would expect, are very bulky. The squad can be bulked out to 12 total (!) which while expensive (on the wallet too) would be a terrifying unit to face down. The heavy arc rifle and arc claw are the standard equipment, meaning these chaps are loaded out for anti-vehicle duties primarily with all that haywire. You can, however, swap out the arc for a torsion cannon and/or a hydraulic claw, which makess them a bit less vehicle specific but still most suited to anti-vehicle duties. These chaps can take a beating and, thanks to canticles, can hand it out also.  

Kataphron Destroyers:
The ranged equivalent to Breachers, destroyers are a bit pricier but have 2 ranged weapons and a 4+ armour save - other than that they have the same rules/profile/squad size. The plasma culverin comes as standard and can be swapped out for a heavy grav cannon for free. Both these weapons are nasty! The secondary armament of a phosphor blaster can be swapped out for a cognis flamer at a cost. A mixture of the two secondary weapons is probably a good bet so you can both remove cover from enemies and defend yourself from charges with wall of flame. Again, beautiful models and deadly with canticles and its perks.

Fulgurite electro-priests:
A blast from the past, electro-priests are back, and this time they have two distinct flavours in Elites. The more aggressive of the two, the fulgurites, focus more on melee and sucking the energy out of others. At a fairly costly 18 points each, you get a reasonable unit with a guardsman statline but with an extra attack, WS4 and Ld9. As well as canticles you get feel no pain and zealot. These guys can be taken in squads of 5-20. So far not sounding great right? Well, there is more. The voltagheist field gives a 5++, hammer of wrath and ignores the initiative penalty for terrain. The electroleech stave is +2S, AP4, concussive and grants ID on a 6 to wound. One last perk is the siphoned vigour rule, which means if you kill a unit with them their ++ save goes up to 3++. In combination with canticles, careful use of these chaps could make them a terribly destructive unit (S8 and a 3++) but careful play and timing will be key. Great to see them making a comeback to the tabletop.

Corpuscarii electro-priests:
The opposite of the fulgurites, these chaps favour ranged combat and administer electric shocks rather than sucking the life out of their enemies. Effectively the same cost and statline, the only difference is they have BS4 instead and wield electrostatic gauntlets, which while only providing them with +1S in melee grant them a short ranged assault 2 TL attack. The shock rule means each roll to hit of 6 (tesla effectively) grants 2 additional hits in the shooting phase. So a decent ranged anti-infantry unit but TBH I think that range is too short to make them a preferable option to their melee orientated cousins.

Kastelan Robot maniple:
Robots also make a welcome return to 40k. The Kastelan (Based on the old Castellan) comes in a unit of 2-6 accompanied by 1-3 Datasmiths. While the smiths cost the same as a Breacher, the Robots themselves are pretty pricey at about the cost of a vindicator. The robots themselves are 3/3/6/7/3/2/2/7/3+ monstrous creatures, while the Datasmith is 3/4/4/4/2/3/2/9/2+. The Kastelan comes armed with a carapace incendine combustor and 2 power fists, while the Datasmith also packs a power fist and in addition has a refractor field, dataspike and the deadly gamma pistol. Not to be let out, the repulsor grid on the Kastelans also grants them a 5++ against ranged attacks which, if they pass a saving throw against a ranged attack on a 6, allows them to deflect that same shot (same S/AP at the unit that fired. Nice!

Options wise, the Datasmith can take special issue gear and relics, while the Kastelans can upgrade both power fists to a TL heavy phosphor blaster and the incendine combustor to a further heavy phosphor blaster. This gives you a decent amount of ranged firepower which in addition to canticles and battle protocols can be made even better. Battle protocols are chosen at the end of each of your turns and become active the beginning of the following of your turns. If no Datasmith remains alive, you're stuck with the last protocol you used for the rest of the game. You start the game with aegis protocols, and may switch freely between aegis, conqueror and protector protocols throughout the game:

Aegis - feel no pain
Conqueror - Double attacks but can't shoot
Protector - can't move but can fire carapace weapons twice.

Now, while usually I would advocate a unit of mixed wargear and abilities, the above obviously favours single purpose units to make the maximum usage of the protocols. So start your melee unit in aegis then switch to conqueror when you think you're about in charge range, and your shooty unit in aegis until you're in cover/melee range. Really nice little set of rules adding a further layer of complexity to this new army and ruleset.


Cohort Cybernetica:
This formation is a tech priest Dominus and 2 Kastelan units all bundled together into a single unit. (counts as 3 for canticles and VPs) They get Adept of the Cybernetica, which grants the Dominus the same ability as the Datasmith with regard to protocols except that you may enact the protocol immediately at the end of the turn. So in effect you can switch from destroyer to aegis and give yourself more survivability in the opponents turn for example. They also get targetting override, which means you sacrifice any number of Datasmiths/Dominus shooting in order to grant a single Robot split fire in effect.  

Elimination Maniple:
This formation is 2-3 units of Destroyers and 1-3 units of robots. The perk comes in the form of elimination volley, which means that if a robot scores 1+ wounds/glances/pens on a unit/vehicle with a phosphor weapon, destroyers gain +1BS and ignores cover that turn! Seems like overkill, but actually if you pair up destroyers with robots you can effectively destroy units trying to seek cover. After all, the destroyers weaponry is all AP2 so not much will be safe.

Numinous Conclave:
2-3 unit of each type of electro priest (equal numbers). They all gain crusader and a couple of addition rules. The Corpuscarii giveth means that Corpuscarii fire an extra shot against units if they are within 6" of Fulgurites and electrify the enemy unit. The Fulgurites taketh away means they get to re-roll to wound against electrified units in melee. Not sure it's worth buying all those priests for but this is a beautifully synergistic little rule.   

Holy Requisitioner:
A Dominus paired up with 2-3 units of Breachers, this formation boasts deep strike and a couple of other rules too. Inhuman avarice gives the Breachers counter-attack and zealot when within 6" of an objective, while apparition extremis means you make a single deep strike roll for the entire formation (which must start in deep strike reserve) The Dominus must be placed first but does not scatter when within 6" of an objective. Likewise, the Breachers do not scatter within 6" of the Dominus. Guaranteed to scare the hell out of your opponent, this would be a great way to get a lot of haywire in your opponents face very quickly and secure an objective into the bargain.  

Adeptus Mechanicus War Congregation:
This was the WD exclusive Formation which I've included here for completions sake. It effectively allows you to merge all the recent 3 codexes together and gain extra perks. You need to take the Knight Oathsworn detachment (1-3 Knights), a Skitarii Battle Maniple and a Cult Mechanicus battle congregation. While this may sound like a lot it's really not - you could run it with a single Knight, 2 units of 3 Breachers, a Dominus and the larger maniple formation from Skitarii. That will account for at least 1300 points, but here are the perks you get. The Dominus gets a Warlord trait reroll, ALL units gain Canticles and, wait for it, ALL weapons, wargear and relic options taken in this formation are free. Yes, completely free. Plus none of  your weapons get hot anymore. Wow, just wow. It's pretty insane. So your Knight can max out on weapons, as can all you Skitarii and your Dominus and it all costs nowt. When eventually I build up an Admech army, no doubt this will be the way to run things.

That's the end of this review. I'm gonna take a massive breather and gear myself up for the behemoth of a review that will be Codex Space Marines, no doubt shortly followed by Codex Dark Angels. Less than a week to go now chaps - check out my other blog for those. Cheers.


  1. A couple of Rules notes:
    - The Kastelans only reflect shots on Saves of a 6, not any successful save. It does work with Armour, Cover, or Invul Saves, but you have to roll a 6.
    - The Cohort Cybernetica is the only way to get a Dominus into a Unit of Kastelans, as ICs may not normally Join Units containing MCs.
    - The Skitarii portion of the War Convocation isn't the regular Maniple Detachment, it's the more restricted Battle Maniple Formation, which requires taking one of basically everything (except Ironstriders/Dragoons, have to choose between those for some reason), so the minimum cost is something like 1330 Points, and that leaves you with just a Knight Gallant and minimum-sized Units everywhere. It fits in pretty well at 1500, tho, and makes an excellent core for an 1850 or 2K force.

    1. Hi Westrider - many thanks for the feedback - I have amended the post as a result. At least I know somebody actually reads these reviews (if you ever fancy proofreading.....). A simple misread for the Skitarii maniple / Kastelans, and forgot MCs can't be joined for the Dominus. Loving the Admech armies though, yet it seems just when you start to get to grips with one set of new rules lately another Codex comes out. The sooner Fantasy is back in action to slow the pace a bit the better. Cheers.

  2. I hear you. As much as I'm loving this flood of AdMech stuff, including things like the Electro-Priests that I've been waiting almost 20 years for, I'm definitely looking forward to a bit of a break for my wallet to recover and my painting table to get a little more cleared off!