The Adeptus Mechanicus are a flexible army with an emphasis on reliability and unit synergy, and though mainly shooting focused they maintain a good melee presence, alongside being able to be far more survivable than their base stats would imply.
Adeptus Mechanicus | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- Fantastic shooting, being incredibly accurate and hitting hard
- Strong melee in their dedicated units
- Flexible army rules that can be used on the fly to adjust to lots battlefield scenarios
- A wide variety of units and army styles, from Infantry to Cavalry to Vehicles
- A great range of Stratagems and utility rules that give you a large toolbox to work with
- Most units have some form of special rules, or wargear with special rules, meaning lots to learn or cross-reference
- Heavily reliant on Character rules and synergys, with lots of rules happening in the Command phase that can overwhelm someone not proficient with the faction
- Many of their rules outside of their Army ones only apply to one unit, giving your opponent’s ample opportunity to ignore those with buffs and synergies applied
- Whilst there are lots of options, some verge on being an autotake meaning some units or abilities are seldom seen
- The “new hotness” in terms of rules, with some very powerful builds that rely on units and rules staying as they are and not being updated – in the current era of the game, this isn’t likely to last for long, or will take too long, depending on who you ask.
- Cheap units with expensive kits meaning it can be very costly to build up an army
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so some basic things may not be explained here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to ADEPTUS MECHANICUS models with the same <FORGE WORLD> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no MARS Auras or powers affecting RYZA units, for example). There are occasional exceptions that will affect all ADEPTUS MECHANICUS units, these will be called out.
Lots of Keywords in the AdMech book are quite long, so in the effort of saving typing and reading time, lots will be shortened to one part of their Keyword, eg SERBERYS SUPLHURHOUNDS will be just referred to as a SULPHURHOUNDS, FULGURITE ELECTRO-PRIESTS will be FULGURITES, etc. If there is a rule that affects units with multiple names but with the same part, such as SERVITORS and KATAPHRON SERVITORS, this will just refer to SERVITORS, for example.
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original. AdMech also have access to certain weapons which get 2 Hits on 6s, not just 1, specifically any Taser Weapons, and the CORPUSCARII.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has ADEPTUS MECHANICUS in it(excluding AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM and UNALIGNED units) in it, that Detachment gains the following rules-
- Your Troops get Objective Secured. Your Troops run the gamut of cheap and numerous as well as being buffable, to innately tough to shift, so this gives you nice options for Objectives.
- Knight of the Cog- Every ADEPTUS MECHANICUS Detachment can designate one QUESTOR MECHANICUS Super-Heavy Detachment to give all their models the KNIGHT OF THE COG Keyword, which interacts with a few rules later on and effectively allows you to have your army rules alongside some allied Knights.
- Forge World Dogmas- The Sub-Faction Rules, granting you the usual access to extra rules, as well as a Warlord Trait, Stratagem etc, provided that every model in that Detachment has the same <FORGE WORLD>. There’s some very good ones for Ad Mech, some of which dictate your playstyle, and others which are more universally applicable across the army.
Every ADEPTUS MECHANICUS unit gains a Dogma, depending on the Detachment they are in (explained above), granting them unique abilities, as well as a Stratagem and Warlord Trait. Should your WARLORD have the associated Dogma you are also eligible to have their Relic too.
Dogma- Masters of the Forge
All your SKITARII units get Canticles of the Omnissiah, and everyone can reroll a single Hit roll each time they Shoot or Fight. The second benefit is nice, giving great reliability for your powerful weaponry, but the first aspect really pumps up the SKITARII units, as getting access to both the Canticles and Doctrinas can lead to some potent offensive and defensive abilities across the bulk of the army, stacking to make some very difficult to deal with units. A great choice for Dogma for this alone.
Warlord Trait- Panegyric Progression
In the Command Phase, the WARLORD and a CULT MECHANICUS CORE unit within 6” can be in a Canticle for the Round, including one you’ve already used, and even if different to the rest of the army. Nice to give a key unit an ability that they will need that turn that others might not, though not always necessary given the flexibility of Canticles already.
Relic- The Red Axe
A souped up Omnissian Axe that grants +3A and a hilarious AP-5. Whilst combat isn’t exactly the best place for your Tech-Priests, this can offer a nasty surprise should combat be joined. Not a go to choice, but its ok for a bit of fun.
Stratagem- Wrath of Mars
Let’s a unit inflict an additional Mortal Wound on each 6 to Wound in the Shooting Phase, up to a maximum of 6 Mortal Wounds. Note this is 6 Mortal Wounds done by the unit itself, not on each enemy unit. So be wary if you split your fire, as once you hit that 6 cap, other units won’t be taking any additional damage. Good on pretty much any unit that has lots of firepower, of which AdMech has many, and many of those units will be below 11 PL and thus only cost 1CP, rather than 2CP for the more powerful units.
Dogma- Solar Blessing
Get +3” Range to all your Weapons, as well as +1 to Armour Saves against Dmg 1 Weapons (unless you also have Light Cover). The Range boost is always good, and whilst only against Dmg 1 the Sv boost makes your lighter infantry a lot tougher to shift, both in melee and against shooting, and especially in conjunction with Doctrinas and the various defensive abilities you have access to. Both aspects are always useful, making this a great choice.
Warlord Trait- Luminescent Blessing
Choose a CORE unit within 9” in the Command Phase, they get Transhuman for the round, ie unmodified Wound rolls of 1-3 always fail against them. This overrides any pluses they might have (like Veterans of the Long War), or set rules they might have (Poisoned 2+ for example), and gives a reliable and potent defensive buff to a key unit. Extremely good on blobs of Infantry that are holding Objectives, acting as screening units, or that you just generally need to survive this turn.
Relic- The Solar Flare
The Bearer and an additional CORE unit within 3” are redeployed, following the normal 9” away restriction, and be set up wholly within 6” of each. Redeploys are always very useful, either for Objective stealing, Secondary use, an aggressive push of a part of the battle, or to be used defensively to get out of combat or impending attack. Will generally always be useful.
Stratagem- Legio Teleportarium
A non-VEHICLE unit can be set up in Deep Strike pre-game rather than deploying normally. Handy to have the option, though dependant on your army and foe. Useful to have in your toolkit, and can be built around if you so wish to have a unit in reserve and able to arrive where needed for later turns of the game. Capped at 1/2/3 uses for Incursion/Strike Force/Onslaught missions.
Dogma- Staunch Defenders
Ranged attacks made at units within half range are at an additional -1AP, and when a unit is charged you can Set to Defend (for +1 to Hit for the first turn of combat), or Hold Steady (for 5+ Overwatch). Good offensive benefit to help out your already great shooting, be it on the already good AP or to assist those without it. The defensive benefits are slightly more niche, though can offer a modicum of melee boost to your weaker units, as well as making your specialists a scarier prospect to charge. Whilst you’ll still need to use the Overwatch Stratagem to benefit from Hold Steady, that threat makes it a potential spanner in the works for your opponent’s gameplan if they have to consider weathering tons of shots hitting on 5s on a key unit.
Warlord Trait- Verse of Vengeance
In your Command Phase a CORE unit within 6” can shoot one weapon or make one melee attack when destroyed if you roll a 4+, lasting until your next Command Phase. A decent ability, though reliant on a 50/50 chance, and limited in it’s return attacks. However this can be useful to act as a punisher for key unit that you need to do damage but also under threat, with even your basic infantry helping add some potential return fire when they get gunned down.
Relic- The Eye of Xi-Lexum
Pick an enemy VEHICLE within 18” (doesn’t need to be visible) at the start of the Shooting Phase, and then you get a 6” aura for the for CORE and KATAPHRON units, rerolling wounds against that select VEHICLE. Nice for ensuring maximum reliability, especially if there is a vital target that must be destroyed, though limited by the range and being one target a turn. Useful to have, though by no means necessary.
Stratagem- Indentured Machines
A pregame Stratagem that grants a KATAPHRON unit gets +1 Toughness. Nice for 1 CP, putting them into T6 which makes them very resilient to many of the common weapons that are used to deal with them (Str 5 and 6), almost necessitating them being shot at by anti tank style weapons. Can be used once, twice in Strike Force missions, three times in Onslaught.
Dogma- Refusal to Yield
Autopass Combat Attrition, and get a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds. Obviously far less offensive when compared to the other Dogmas, and even defensively this one is quite limited. However, only ever losing 1 model to Morale essentially means you have to wipe units to the man, and the 5+++ offers a nice boost against the potential those types of attacks can do, be it Psychic Powers, bombs, exploding Vehicles or just general additional wounds.
Warlord Trait- Mantra of Discipline
One CORE unit is selected within 9”, letting them Heroically Intervene 6”. A useful bit of utility, as can help support a beleaguered unit with some combat specialists, to aggressively move a unit into a more advantageous position on the battlefield, or to help bog down a unit with bodies, tying them up for longer than they might want. Not a go to, but can be helpful if you’re expecting lots of combat.
Relic- The Cerebral Techno-Mitre
A TECH-PRIEST gets +3” range to their Auras and Command Phase abilities (to a max of 9” each). Simple, though it will be rare that you get the benefit of both aspects, and lots of the Command Abilities are 9” already. Can probably be passed on, though it’s nice to boost the range of the various Holy Order abilities.
Stratagem- Steel Mind, Iron Logic
Deny a power cast within 18” on a 4+. You already have defenses against Smites and the like, so don’t jump to use it on things like that, rather on things like Doom or Null Zone, that will be more impactful in other ways.
Dogma- Shroud Protocols
Units get Dense Cover when attacked from over 12” away, unless they are non-CORE VEHICLE, then it’s 18”. In addition, units that get charged by them can never Hold Steady or Set to Defend. The first part is great, even with the extra range required on certain VEHICLES, though as it is explicitly Dense this does make it susceptible to weapons or abilities that ignore cover. The second part is much more niche, and will really depend on how often those rules come up in your games, though they can be useful to get the drop on units in Ruins or behind Barricades.
Warlord Trait- Veiled Hunter
Redeploy two units at the start of the first Battle Round. Any redeploy is a great ability, and as this is done after knowing who has the first turn this can be used offensively to reposition a unit into line of sight, or defensively to get units out of potential danger. Also useful to bait your opponent in the Deployment stage, essentially knowing you have two “extra” drops can give you some leeway and help you counterdeploy key units.
Relic- The Omnissiah’s Hand
Once per game you activate this at the end of the Fight Phase, causing each enemy unit within 12” to take a Mortal Wound on a 2+, or D3 on a 6. It’s ok, and can spread out a large amount of Mortal Wounds, though certainly not worth relying on. There will be times it can finish off a unit, other times it will barely dent one. Can safely pass.
Stratagem- Clandestine Infiltration
A CORE INFANTRY can be deployed 9” away from the enemy Deployment Zone and other enemy models. Useful, though limited to only once or twice a game depending on game size, so often the infiltrating unit will find themselves needing to last on their own or having less support. Can be brutal if you gamble on a unit of 20 Electro-priests being up there and you win the roll off, but if you lose they could be in a lot of pain. That does however have its own benefits of potentially drawing lots of fire. Useful to have in the toolkit, though not always the best option to use. Match up dependant.
Dogma- Red in Cog and Claw
+1 to Wound in the first round of combat, and +1 to Charge rolls. Great for combat oriented units, and even for your less melee focused units this can be great to suddenly make combat against them a danger rather than a surity. Being an exclusively melee based Dogma, this almost needs to be built around and obviously offers no ranged or defensive benefits, though the benefits can offset some of the melee weaknesses other Forge Worlds might encounter.
Warlord Trait- Citation in Savagery
Pick a CORE unit within 6” at the start of the Fight Phase, giving them an additional -1 AP for their melee attacks that phase. A nice boost to maximise your Dogma’s wounding ability, ensuring help that the damage sticks.
Relic- Weapon XCIX
A boosted Volkite Blaster with +1Str and -2AP. A decent ranged weapon option, capable of inflicting a good amount of damage to a variety of targets. Maybe not a go to choice, but not a bad one.
Stratagem- Plasma Specialists
2CP grants +1Dmg to all of a unit’s Plasma Weapons for a Shooting Phase. Reliable and potent, obviously increases in value the more Plasma is in a unit, as almost certainly not worth the CP on one or two models, though it can of course vary on the situation. The threat of this makes Plasma Destroyers even more of a threat than they already can be.
Dogma- Relentless March
Ignore the penalties for Advancing and shooting Assault Weapons, as well as Moving and firing Heavy Weapons. In addition, enemy units within Engagement Range count as being below Half-Strength. A utility oriented Dogma, giving you greater flexibility in your maneuverability and speed, and the Half-strength debuff can help out your melee units to cause some more morale issues via Attrition. Be wary of any rules that key of Half-Strength (such as Sisters in the Order of the Martyred Lady), as this just flat out puts them there when in Engagement Range, so it can trigger certain rules. Not the most universally beneficial Dogma, though if built around can make an exceptionally mobile infantry force.
Warlord Trait- Tribute of Emphatic Veneration
Impose a -1 to Hit to an enemy unit within 12” at the end of your Movement Phase, lasting until your next turn. Short ranged but useful to help neuter a key enemy unit, and as it is at the end of your Movement you have the ability to move into position for optimal disruption.
Relic- The Adamantine Arm
Grants an extra weapon (though not an extra attack) that can only be make one attack per phase, but it is at Str x3 -3AP and Dmg 4, making it a nasty surprise on a non melee character, but with the limits it has, you probably won’t miss it if you don’t have it.
Stratagem- Deafening Assault
A unit that shoots also selects a non-VEHICLE enemy within 12”, halving their Movement and stopping them from Overwatching or Setting to Defend until your next turn. Short range, so might not be the most useful in preventing charges, but can help shut down a unit moving to grab an Objective, helpful on the charge, or to limit a unit reliably falling back from you next turn. Handy to have in a variety of situations.
Book of Rust Supplement- Coming Soon!
You can create your own Forge World Dogmas by choosing one of the following Forge Worlds. You must use their Primary ability, and then pick one of their Secondary abilities, if any. Compared to the main named Forge Worlds, most of these are quite niche, with their rules applying only to particular units, so if you aren’t building around the rules the named ones are usually better. And as always, you technically have to use these rules, but unlike previous Codexes, your “pick a named one and use their rules” now allows you to use everything. Probably because expecting people to not was silly.
Primary: Radiant Disciples- CORE units impose -1Str to attacks from over 12” away. A good defensive benefit for a variety of units, often pushing common weapons into regions where they wound a lot less easily.
- Secondary: Luminary Suffusion- Your VANGUARD and SULPHURHOUNDS have a 3” Aura of -1S and -1T, instead of Engagement Range. If you have multiple units of these, they can now be great at supporting your ranged elements by imposing the -1T for them, at the risk of being countercharged. Nice if using them.
- Secondary: Scarifying Weaponry- Radium Weapons get +1 Str and -1AP. If you’re going hard in on VANGUARD, this will be a nice boost to them, otherwise pass.
- Secondary: Machine God’s Chosen- Ignore any/all Combat Attrition modifiers. The most generic and widely applicable of the three here, but not really the most useful. Ignoring modifiers can be helpful, though is by no means necessary. If you aren’t focusing on either of the above two and just want the -1Str aspect of the Primary, this is fine.
Primary: Accelerated Actuators- Units get -1AP to their attacks in the first round of combat. A good enhancement for melee units as well as those that need a bit of an extra boost if combat is reached.
- Secondary: Forward Operations- SKITARII CORE can make a 3” Normal Move pregame, stacking with any existing rules that let them do so (so RANGERS and RAIDERS). A great all round choice, letting you establish board presence, react to the turn order, or move into or out of terrain to use that to your advantage. Given these units will form the bulk of your army, you’ll generally get good use out this.
- Secondary: Acquisitive Reach- +6” Range to Rifle and Carbine weapons. A good chunk of your weaponry falls into this category, given you some very nice offense boost.
- Secondary: Rugged Explorators- Ignore the Heavy Weapon penalty for moving and shooting, and VEHICLES ignore the penalty for Advancing and firing Assault Weapons. Can be useful if built around, but the most limited of the three in terms of units affected.
Primary: Magnabonded Alloys- VEHICLES gain a 6+++. Goes without saying, if going tank heavy this is great, otherwise useless.
- Secondary: Omnitrac Impellors- +2” Mv to KATAPHRONS and DUNECRAWLERS. It’s fine, though limited in scope and not amazingly strong.
- Secondary: Autosavant Spirits- VEHICLES heal a wound in each of your Command Phase, and count as double wounds remaining for their Damage table. If you’re going Vehicle heavy, which you probably are given the Primary, this is fantastic.
- Secondary: Servo-focused Auguries- Cognis weapons reroll hits when in half range. Nice to have given your Cognis-toting Vehicles might not have the easiest access to rerolls, though realistically this is going to be useful for Heavy Stubbers, whilst your Ironstriders are benefiting from being Marshals. Probably worth passing on.
Primary: Purgation Protocols- CORE units get -1AP on their Ranged attacks on unmodified 6s to Wound. A good all purpose Dogma, affecting a good number of units and given the large number of shots AdMech get this will stack up nicely.
- Secondary: Data-bleed Generators- Melee attacks against you suffer a -1 to Hit in the first round of combat. A great defensive ability that can blunt a charge, or protect a unit from retaliation when on the attack.
- Secondary: Purified Datasphere- All Auras apart from the ones on your VANGUARD and SULPHURHOUNDS get +3” Range, up to 9”. It’s fine, but probably not necessary.
- Secondary: Engineered Nanophages- Get -1AP on Melee attacks when fighting units with a 3+ Sv. Quite nice when fighting these units, of which there are of course quite a lot, helping your units inflict semi reliable damage when their attacks land, and boosting your melee units even further against these targets.
Primary: Parent Protocols- Pick a named Forge World, get all their rules whilst not being from them. The way these sorts of things should be- covers the fluff of making your own army, without losing out on good rules cos they aren’t painted a certain way.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
The AdMech have a good variety, and whilst the bulk are primarily offensive in nature, they have some nice utility Stratagems, as well as a sprinkling of defensive ones.
- Zealous Congregation- An ELECTRO-PRIESTS unit autowound on 6s to Hit. At 2CP, this is a high ask given their low number of attacks, though it can be useful. However be wary with the FULGURITES, as you’ll be sacrificing the chance for Mortal Wounds if you use this, and remember the CORPSUCARII each 6 will result in 3 hits, only 1 of which will auto wound. Not confusing at all.
- Dunestriders- An IRONSTRIDER or SERBERYS unit can autoadvance 6”, turns Heavy into Assault, and can fire their Assault Weapons with no penalty. A great utility stratagem that gives any of these units nice speed without sacrificing accuracy, though with no way to charge afterwards, less useful for DRAGOONS, outside of getting them into position for the next turn.
- Assassin Constructs- A SICARIAN unit gets +1A in the first round of combat. Nice offensive boost for only 1CP, simple but effective.
- Electromancer’s Wrath- A non-VEHICLE enemy unit within 12” of an ELECTRO-PRIESTS unit in your Shooting Phase takes D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or 2D3 on a 6. Great for finishing off a unit, sniping a Character, or softening a unit before combat. Note it’s not actually a Shooting attack, so can be done in combat, or used after falling back, giving the unit good flexibility if you need to trigger this.
- Machine Superiority- A SKITARII unit gets +1Str for a Fight Phase. As with Assassin Constructs, this is a nice and simple melee enhancement, however most of your melee units will already be in a decent Str range already, so this isn’t always necessary, but useful to have should it make the difference in wounding move up a bracket.
- Elimination Volley- A KATAPHRON unit automatically wounds on 6s to Hit, provided they are within half range. Most of the time the Kataphrons have a good range so this can kick in fairly often, though the main downside of Kataphrons is more in the hitting then the wounding. Regardless, handy to have to minimise missing out on wounding, and for only 1CP it doesn’t break the bank.
- Dataspike-Used when a TECH-PRIEST chosen to Fight, selecting a VEHICLE in Engagement Range and doing D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or 3+D3 on a 6. A decent way to finish or bracket a Vehicle you might find yourself in melee with, though certainly not something you’ll need to go out of your way to want to use.
- Benevolence of the Machine God- Gives a VEHICLE a 4+++ vs Mortal Wounds for a phase. Handy to have when those pesky Mortal Wounds start to crop up, and a 4+ to ignore them is a great defensive boost, despite the nicheness.
- Tech-Adept- A TECH-PRIEST can use their Machine Focus or Awaken the Machine twice that Command Phase, or heal twice that Movement Phase. Needs to be declared at the start of said Phase, so you can’t use it reactively (though generally you’ll know whether you need to use these abilities once or twice anyways). Nice to have, and can be very strong if built around using the Command Phase abilities multiple times.
- Machine Spirit Resurgent- 1CP to put a VEHICLE on their top damage bracket for a turn. Always a good ability to have, ensuring a key Vehicle is operating at peak efficiency when you need them to.
- Data-Blessed Autosermon- A CULT MECHANICUS unit within 6” of a TECH-PRIEST in the Command Phase is put into a Canticle that hasn’t been activated yet this game, stacking with the currently chosen one as well. Can lead to some nice combos on your Mechanicus units, letting units make the most of both defensive and offensive aspects of the Canticles simultaneously. However at 2CP and the limitation of the second Canticle needing to not be chosen previously, this can be quite limited in scope, so plan carefully before just using it for the sake of it.
- Archeotech Specialists- Your standard “take an extra Relic” Stratagem. There’s some decent ones in the book, though the majority of armies can get by with the one or two.
- Mechanicus Locum- The Stratagem that gives a Character a Warlord Trait. There are lots of very potent Traits in the book, some of which are all but necessary for certain builds to work. You’ll be using this a fair bit.
- Host of the Intermediary- Works like Mechanicus Locum, but instead gives a SKITARII unit champion a Warlord Trait. Combined with the above, and you can have a Warlord Trait to cover pretty much every base you might want to have covered. Obviously locked to the Skitarii Traits, but they’re some of the best ones in the book so getting more isn’t a bad thing.
- Artefactotum- Let’s a SKITARII unit champion carry a Relic from a set list of four. They’re all decent enough, and can work better on certain units rather than on a Character, given their greater ease of using certain Relics, or potentially being in a more advantageous position to be there. The Relics themselves are discussed in the Relic section below.
- Binharic Override- A KASTELAN unit immediately changes one of it’s protocols at the start of any phase, but remains locked into it for the rest of the game. Once per game, but fairly flexible as can be done in any phase, including any of your opponent’s so don’t neglect that.
- Acquisition At Any Cost- Once per game, in your Morale Phase, pick an Objective Marker, and all of your units autopass Morale Checks if wholly within 6” of that Objective. A better Insane Bravery at 1CP, that affects multiple unit, albeit on a limited area of the battlefield. Useful regardless, especially to ensure a unit continues to hold a Primary Objective.
- Machine Spirit’s Revenge- Autoexplode a friendly VEHICLE. Obviously good to punish a unit that destroyed them in melee, but can have fringe uses to punish a unit nearby that might be tying up a friendly unit, or even to kill one of your own friendly units to help you shoot at what they were fighting. Not always going to come up, useful when it does.
- Circuitous Assassins- A SICARIAN unit wholly within 9” of any Battlefield Edge at the end of your Movement Phase goes into Reinforcements, arriving again next turn wholly within 9” of any Battlefield Edge and 9” away from enemy units. Good to help a unit get out of dodge, threaten another part of the battlefield in later turns, or to be used for various Objective shenanigans. Handy to have in the toolkit if you’re using these robots.
- Deeply Sunk Talons- A STERYLIZOR unit prevents a non-VEHICLE unit from Falling Back from them on a 2+. Great to keep a key unit tied up for only 1CP.
- Tactica Obliqua- A RAIDERS unit that is Charged can make a Normal Move provided they aren’t already in Engagement Range. The Raiders can’t Overwatch or Set to Defend if they get Charged by another unit, and the enemy unit can select a new target, but as far as screening elements go this is a great tool to protect your lines, and keep a fast harassment unit alive and doing their job. Don’t also neglect this if it would give you the opportunity to nab an Objective, or even move towards the enemy unit to hem them in and limit any charge move slingshot style tricks they may be trying to utilise.
- Crushing Weight- When an IRONSTRIDER ENGINE or KASTELAN unit finishes a Charge, pick a single enemy unit within Engagement Range and roll a D6 for each of your models that made it to Engagement Range, inflicting a Mortal Wound for each 2+. Overall quite low output given the single wound and the large bases of the models in question, but the reliability to inflict a couple of wounds on the way in can be helpful to finish a wounded model or add some additional damage to a tough unit.
- Electro-Shocked- A non-VEHICLE/MONSTER model in Engagement Range of a CULT MECHANICUS CORE or CHARACTER unit is selected to fight last that phase. A great ability for only 1CP, allowing you to dictate combat flow can be key, be it defensively when charged, on the charge to mitigate special rules, or to preemptively turn off a potential interrupt. The only downside is the CULT Keyword limiting the uses a bit, though given some of your good melee units are CULT this isn’t too bad.
- Booster Thrust- A PTERAXII unit can go back into deep strike at the end of your turn, arriving back next turn. A great utility Stratagem, as anything to grant redeploys is good, but the key aspect of this one is the timing, allowing the unit to Shoot, Fight or perform Actions before the disappear to safety for a turn. Can’t be used on a unit that arrived that turn, so no invincible units.
- Seismic Bomb- A FUSILAVE that moves over a non-TITANIC or non-FLY unit halves their Move, Advance and Charges. Anything which can help mitigate the opponent’s ability is vital in playing the missions of 9th Edition, so this can be a very important Stratagem. There is no reliance for this to be a unit you’ve used your bombs on either so you’ve got some nice flexibility there, potentially damaging one unit and restricting another, or significantly punishing one.
- Chain-Taser Protocols- A unit’s Taser Weapons explode on 5s rather than 6s, which can really ramp up a huge amount of hits. Not so useful on a unit with one or two Taser weapons, but on things like DRAGOONS or INFILTRATORS that are loaded with them, this can be devastating.
- Infoslave Skull- A CORE unit can shoot at an enemy unit that arrives from Reinforcements, provided they do so within 12”. 2CP is costly, but it can wreak havoc on an enemy unit’s plans, especially for units that have to arrive close. Note that the unit only needs to be within 12”, not each model that wants to shoot, so don’t neglect to use all your models.
- Electro-filament Countermeasures- An ARCHAEOPTER unit with a Command Uplink picks an enemy unit within 6” at the end of your Movement Phase, preventing them from benefiting from any friendly Aura abilities. Pricey at 2CP, but shutting down support for a key unit can be vital.
- Arc Grenades- An ARC GRENADE unit (so just SKYSTALKERS) picks a VEHICLE within 6” in the Shooting Phase, inflicting D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or 2D3 on a 6. Just happens, doesn’t need to roll to hit, which is very nice as it remains reliable regardless of any other rules, and despite the short range the option is good to have if you have the unit in question.
- Incense Exhausts- Impose a -1 to Hit for a SMOKESCREEN unit for the Shooting Phase. A nice defensive boost for the units that can access it.
- Enriched Rounds- Make a unit’s Radium weapons auto wound on 5+ to Hit instead of 6s to Hit. It’s pretty powerful, increasing your odds of bringing down tougher targets quite significantly, and even at 2CP on larger squads it’s a potent tool. With a 20 man squad of Vanguard, this will average 20 Wounds provided they’re all in range. Even without any AP buffs from various sources, you’re looking at a big chunk of damage inflicted just from sheer volume of wounds. Will rack up in cost if you use it at every opportunity on big blobs, so be cautious, but even on smaller units it can give them a good offensive boost that can outpunch their numbers.
- Galvanic Volley Fire- Turns a RANGERS unit’s Galvanic Rifles into Heavy 3 for a Shooting Phase. Whilst expensive at 2CP, a 50% increase in shots is strong, especially if they are set up ready to go or have ways to remove the movement penalty. That and boosting the power of the Rifles is fairly easy to do, making this a nasty combo to have up your sleeve.
- Overloaded Systems- When an enemy VEHICLE loses any wounds to an Arc Weapon, you can use this to make them count as half wounds remaining for their damage characteristics, on a D6 roll of 2+. Nice at 1CP if you aren’t convinced you’re going to kill the Vehicle in question, and as this is declared after the unit loses wounds you’ll have a bit of knowledge whether it is necessary to do so. Costs 2CP for a TITANIC unit, which even then is a good deal to hamstring them.
Any TECH-PRIEST unit can be upgraded with one of the four Holy Orders, giving them two abilities.
The first reduces the cost of a Stratagem by 1CP once per game, depending on the category it is in, as well as a new ability. All of the CP Reduction components are useful, though some sub categories will be more useful to you than others depending on your army makeup so take that into consideration. This is also the only way to get “extra” CP in AdMech.
The second ability starts off doing one thing, the Initial Part, and can be changed to do something else, the Advanced Part, upon completing an Action. It does take the entire turn to do however, and you can’t go back to the Initial Part, so bear those factors in mind. Unless otherwise noted, all these abilities select a single unit within 6” in your Command Phase, and last until your next Command Phase.
Adaptive Mastery- The cheapest at 25pts, making your Battle Tactics cheaper is probably the weakest of the categories, though Dunestriders or Electromancer’s Wrath for 0CP can be clutch.
Learnings of the Genetor-
- Initial Part: Biochemical Aggression- A CORE or KATAPHRON unit autowounds on 6s to Hit in melee. It’s nice, but probably not needed or worth keeping unless you’re focusing on a CORE based melee army and the Advanced Part isn’t useful for you.
- Advanced Part: Hypercybernetic Physiology- A SERVITORS unit is given a 6+++. Can make a unit of Kataphrons particularly annoying to shift, but only a 6+ and needing to activated makes it not worth relying on, being a low chance or even being destroyed or severely weakened before you can even trigger it.
Scriptural Prognosis- The most expensive at 40pts, working on Strategic Ploys. Most of the Strategic Ploys, whilst limited, are great for utility and can help swing a turn in your favour, so this is a solid choice.
Analyses of the Logos-
- Initial Part: Predicted Barrage- A CORE unit ignores AP -1 and -2 until your next turn. Flat out ignores. And despite the name, works in melee as well. A phenomenal defensive ability, making a big blob extremely tough to shift, or buffing one of your tougher robotic type units to be resistant all but immune to small arms fire. Stacks with other defensive abilities, and should be a mainstay of your army.
- Advanced Part: Flaws of the Foe- A CORE or KATAPHRON unit Ignores Cover, which is a good boost to their offensive capabilities. The only real downside is it competes with the Initial Part, however once that is not as required due to casualties or units not being in as much threat anymore, this is a good one to switch to.
Aggressive Subroutines- Reasonably costly at 30pts for what it does, and has the smallest number of Stratagems as Epic Deeds predominantly affect Characters or Vehicles, however they can be useful at times, if somewhat limited in scope.
Divinations of the Magos-
- Initial Part: Predatory Programming- +2” to Advance Rolls for a CORE unit. Handy to ensure a good speed boost onto an Objective or into firing lanes, but generally fairly weak. Doesn’t stack with a unit using Dunestriders, as that explicitly says you don’t make an Advance Roll, so you can’t add to that.
- Advanced Part: Overloaded Safeguards- Probably the main reason you’ll want to use Magi, giving a CORE unit exploding 6s to Hit for Shooting. A great offensive boost, especially on things with tons of shots like Corpuscarii and Vanguard.
Archeotech Modifications- The second most expensive at 35pts, making your Wargear Stratagems cheaper, which whilst most are fairly restricted on the units that can use them, they are all quite powerful when leveraged well, and so even better when cheaper, or even free.
Fabrications of the Artisan-
- Initial Part: Enhanced Biomechanical Interface- Unique among the Abilities, this is done at the end of your Movement Phase, letting a CORE or KATAPHRON unit within 6” Shoot and Charge after Falling Back, albeit with a -1 to Hit for Shooting. Shooting with a negative is better than not shooting at all, especially for units whose main offensive power comes from their guns, and being able to charge as well is great to ensure you have good mobility or are fighting what you want. Combined with other similar rules, and you can ensure the bulk of your army can’t be pinned down.
- Advanced Part: Exquisite Calibration- A CORE unit gets +1Str to their Ranged Weapons. Great on most units, especially those that will get pushed into the Str 5 range, making them much more reliable at dealing with other Infantry and Heavy Infantry units.
There are two separate tables for Adeptus Mechanicus Warlords, depending on if they have the TECH-PRIEST or SKITARII Keyword.
- Emotionless Clarity- Pick a CULT MECHANICUS CORE unit within 6” in the Command Phase, granting them Fall Back and Charge until you next turn. A good number of your CULT MECHANICUS units are melee, or can at least do some work in melee, so this isn’t a bad Trait to have if you have the units to benefit from it.
- Masterwork Bionics- Grants a 4++ and -1 Dmg. A great defensive boost, making your Priest stick around a lot longer than normal, though consider how often they might find themselves in that danger where this is necessary. Cawl has this Trait, for he’s more machine than man now…
- First-hand Field Testing- A non-Relic weapon gets +1 Str and +1 Dmg. Nifty on a ranged weapon, though has its uses on melee if you’re that way inclined, however it’s probably not where you want your Priests to be, so you can
- Necromechanic- Heal flat 3 wounds with your Master of the Machines ability. Nice if you’re running VEHICLE or KATAPHRON heavy, as generally your other multi-wound models will waste the 3. You can usually make do with the D3, though if you have someone babysitting a contingent of tanks, its not a terrible choice.
- Cartogrammatist- A CULT MECHANICUS CORE unit gets to deploy via Deep Strike. It literally can only affect ELECTRO-PRIESTS however, as your KASTELANS won’t be CORE in Deployment. If you have a specific plan in mind for them, it can be nice, but the investment of the trait needs to be weighed up on using it.
- Supervisory Radiance- Pick a CULT MECHNANICUS CORE unit within 9” at the start of the Fight Phase, giving them reroll hits for the turn. A great offensive boost for your melee CULT units, though again the limitation of the actual amount of those specific units makes this essentially pointless unless you’re really going to lean into those units.
All of these Traits are used in the Command Phase on a SKITARII CORE unit within 9”, or a SKITARII CORE DATA-TETHER unit anywhere on the battlefield, granting them an ability until the start of your next Command Phase.
- Multitasking Cortex- Can Shoot and continue an Action. Great for the various Secondaries that rely on Actions, ensuring your minimise loss of firepower.
- Battle-sphere Uplink- Let’s the unit ignore the penalties for moving and shooting Heavy weapons, and Advancing and shooting Assault weapons. Great for the myriad of Assault weapons in the Skitarii units, maximising board control without sacrificing accuracy.
- Programmed Retreat- Fall Back and Shoot. A go to as this is where the bulk of Skitarii damage output comes from, letting you avoid being pinned down and making sure you always can shoot at optimal targets.
- Archived Engagements- The unit gets to fight first, which is fine though not always necessary or worthwhile on the single unit, as they will either be charging, or getting charged and being average in combat already. A combat heavy army may get more benefit to help with multi charges and counter interrupts, but a niche choice otherwise.
- Firepoint Telemetry Cache- Grants Light Cover, or +1 to Armour Saves if they are already on/within terrain and are INFANTRY. A great defensive booster, especially in combination with the multiple other ways to boost armour saves in the book, quite easily getting your key units to be basically unshiftable to conventional firepower.
- Eyes of the Omnissiah- Reroll Advance and Charge rolls, both of which are useful to establish board control and make combat (be it for damage or to tag or slingshot up the board). Perhaps not a go to choice, but a decent one depending on what you’re building for.
Relics with a * can be given to a SKITARII Alpha or Princeps via the Artefactotum Stratagem.
- The Uncreator Gauntlet- A Dmg 3 Power Fist that grants +1A, doesn’t have the -1 to hit, and also inflicts an additional Mortal Wound on VEHICLES each time it hits. The downside being only a DATASMITH can use it, and with WS3 and 2A base, he’s not the greatest melee combatant. If however you’re using melee KASTELANS and want a little extra punch on the Datasmith that’s running around with them, it’s not a terrible choice, though far from a first pick.
- Raiment of the Technomartyr- The bearer gets a 5+++, which is nice by itself, but they also can grant a CORE unit within 3” in your Command Phase the ability to ignore all hit and Ballistic Skill modifiers. The second part alone makes this a great choice despite the low range and is really the main aspect of the Relic, ensuring you have a unit that is always hitting on 3s or even 2s, with the shrugs being a decent defensive bonus to come along with it.
- The Skull of Elder Nikola*- At the start of the Shooting Phase, each enemy VEHICLE within 12” of the bearer takes 1 Mortal Wound on a 2-3, D3 Mortals on a 4-5, and flat 3 on a 6. Decent range, and especially useful on PTERAXII for arriving from Reinforcements, or SERBERYS to use their innate speed. However anti-tank is not exactly something AdMech struggle with, depending on build, so whilst this can inflict some pretty nasty damage, it often isn’t necessary,
- The Purgation’s Purity- A mega Radium Serpenta for your Skitarii Marshal, upgrading it with +6” Range, +2 Shots, +1 Str, AP-2 and Dmg 2, as well as making it’s auto-wound component work on 4+ all the time. A nice little ranged Relic letting your Marshal do stuff other than buffs, however you’ll rarely see this as the next Relic exists…
- Exemplar’s Eternity- Turns your MARSHAL’s Aura from Reroll 1s to Wound into Reroll 1s to Hit and Wound. Basically an autotake, letting you effectively not need to bring a DOMINUS to buff your SKITARII CORE. This frees up points as well as HQ slots for other elements of your army.
- Phosphoenix- A super shiny Phosphor Serpenta, with 3 shots AP -3 and Dmg 2. In addition a unit hit by it becomes “Exposed”, and all CORE units within 6” of the bearer Ignore Dense Cover vs that Exposed unit. Decent enough, though limited by only affecting Dense and the reasonably short range of the weapon itself.
- Pater Cog-Tooth- An Omnissian Axe with +1 Str and +1 Dmg. Your Tech-Priests aren’t the greatest in combat and shouldn’t be looking for melee, so whilst this can offer a nasty surprise, it’s not really worth the Relic slot unless there’s nothing else that really takes your fancy.
- Anzion’s Pseudogenetor- Grants an additional 3D3 Attacks at Str +2 -1 Dmg 1. As with the other melee Relics, this is fine to offer some additional punch to a character that finds themselves in melee, but certainly not a go to pick unless no other Relic suits your plan.
- The Omniscient Mask*- Grants a 6” Aura that gives SKITARII CORE units exploding 6s in melee. Handy on your generic guys, but of course gets exponentially better on your melee units like INFILTRATORS (4 hits on a 6 with Taser weapons is hilarious). Useful on a Champion that will be heading to combat, allowing them to operate on their own without the Character needing to hang out close to melee.
- Sonic Reaper- Makes a Transonic Cannon with +1 Str and AP, and also causes unmodified 5+ to Wound to do 2 Mortal Wounds instead. The base stat boosts are fine, though the Mortal Wound element can be seen as a sidegrade, as it causes you to miss out on the potential of the main 2 Dmg, though not needing to deal with Invuns is nice. It’s fine as a secondary Relic if you’re so inclined, but it can probably be passed on.
- Temporcopia*- An enemy unit within 3” at the start of the Fight Phase is chosen to fight last. A nice support Relic, anything that dictates the flow of combat is useful, and especially if near melee units, or on a SKITARII unit that you are expecting to see combat.
- The Cage of Varadimas*- If the bearer hits a non-VEHICLE unit with a melee attack, that enemy unit is at -1 to Hit for the rest of the phase. Can be useful, but only if you get the drop on the enemy unit and are expecting them to live to fight back. Pretty niche given the time frame where the negative applies, and would rarely be missed if you didn’t have.
The following are available if you have a ADEPTUS MECHANICUS WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one ADEPTUS MECHANICUS Secondary per game regardless of its category.
Purge the Enemy - Eradication of Flesh
Score 3 VP at the end of each Battle Round if you have at least one friendly VEHICLE on the battlefield, and you’ve destroyed more enemy INFANTRY units this Round than friendly VEHICLES have been destroyed by enemy units. There’s a fair few hopes to jump through here, not least needing units to match Keywords, being destroyed, and keeping your own units alive. It’s not a bad Secondary, but it is circumstantial, and could be fairly easy to get denied depending on your army build.
Purge the Enemy - Accretion of Knowledge
Score 3VP at the end of the game for each enemy model destroyed that has either a Warlord Trait, a Relic, or is a VEHICLE with 14+ Wounds. Again circumstantial, as there will be games where other Purge Objectives like Assassination are going to score more or easier to score points. The VP don’t stack either, so you won’t pick up 6VP for a model with a Trait and a Relic, which given that will be how many Characters are run, will result in trickier scoring as the VP will be condensed into a few Characters. If your opponent has Relics sprinkled amongst unit champions as some armies can do, it might be worthwhile looking at, but generally if there are 3+ Characters in an army and no big VEHICLES, Assassination is better.
Battlefield Supremacy - Uncharted Sequencing
Before deploying, designate an Objective Marker for each Battle Round, with each Objective only eligible to be selected once. If you control that Objective at the end of the corresponding Battle Round, score 3VP. These are noted on your Army Roster so cannot be hidden from your opponent, and as they are end of Round scoring, this can help dictate your opponents movement as they need to try and move to deny you holding one which could put them out of position, or try to hold one you’re looking to get, possibly giving up board control. All told a pretty decent choice, especially if you’re looking at grinding up the battlefield holding Objectives as you go, though obviously less useful on missions with lower numbers of Objectives or have unfavourable Objective positioning. Good if you have 2 to 3 in or near your Deployment and you’re confident you can hold the line for the majority of the game.
Battlefield Supremacy - Hidden Archeovault
Before deploying your Opponent picks one Objective Marker that isn’t in their Deployment Zone. Score 2VP at the end of each Battle Round if you control it, and 5VP if you control it at the end of the battle. Can be good, especially on missions where the Objectives are going to be fought over in the middle and you can get access to it early, though being quite heavily loaded on VP for holding it at the end of the game could potentially come and bite you as you need to be aware of the final grab or deny possibilities going into Turn 5.
These are the two rules that apply to every model in the Adeptus Mechanicus army, however they are essentially split between Cult Mechanicus units (Canticles of the Omnissiah) and Skitarii units (Doctrina Imperatives). In addition, every model in your army must be ADEPTUS MECHANICUS, AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM, KNIGHT OF THE COG or UNALIGNED in order for these to come into effect.
At the start of each Battle Round, pick one of the following rules to apply for that Round. Each can be selected once per battle, and these will generally only affect CULT MECHANICUS, though can be given to SKITARII via the Mars Dogma. There are six to choose from, but don’t feel that you must, especially if the benefits would be minimal, or you can look to use one at a later time with greater impact.
- Shroudpsalm- Grants Light Cover, offering a great ranged defensive boost, albeit less useful for the ELECTRO-PRIESTS. Great to ensure you aren’t caught out when outside of terrain, or the terrain in question won’t offer Light Cover. A good choice for Turn 1, though again don’t feel you must, especially if you’ve deployed well or have the bulk out of LoS.
- Chant of the Remorseless Fist- +1 Strength, it’s nice and simple and gives a decent melee boost. Good for the ELECTRO-PRIESTS, bumping them to Str 6 with their melee weapons, though less useful for KASTELANS as it will make them Str 11 which offers little benefit unless there is rule reducing their Strength in effect.
- Incantation of the Iron Soul- Ignore any/all Combat Attrition modifiers, as well as 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds (or 4+++ if you’re Graia). Can be useful if running big blobs, or want to ensure your Kastelans have some Psychic defense, however probably the least overall useful one. Can be more useful for Mars over others, as lets your SKITARII units offset one of the main defensive shortcomings they have.
- Benediction of the Omnissiah- Reroll a Hit, Wound and Damage roll when Shooting. There’s a reason why double and triple dipping on these sorts of rerolls were removed from things like Salamanders and Deathskulls, cos it’s very good, but at least this is only for one turn. However often that can be all you need, especially with MSU KATAPHRONS or Mars units. Use this when you have the bulk of you army able to shoot with impunity and reap the massive force multiplier.
- Invocation of Machine Vengeance- Roll an additional D6 for Advance and Charge Rolls and discard the lowest. Great reliability booster, especially if going melee heavy or are just looking to push board presence.
- Litany of the Electromancer- Gives -1 to be Hit in melee, offering a great survivability boost. Like with Shroudpsalm, this is universally useful, but obviously you will get more bang for your buck if activated prior to big or important combats.
At the start of each Battle Round, pick one of the following rules to apply for that Round, provided you have a DOCTRINA ASSEMBLER on the battlefield, basically meaning you need to have at least one CHARACTER alive and not in a Transport or Reserve. These will affect SKITARII units, granting a positive (Optimisation) and a negative (Deprecation) effect, and each can only be chosen once per game. You only have four, compared to the Canticles six, and as with them you don’t have to declare a Doctrina is being used, allowing you to save them for a key turn.
- Protector Imperative- +1BS but -1WS. Given your units are predominately shooting, this is a great offensive boost, pushing everything into BS2 terrority. Given a good chunk of your forces are middling in combat already, making them worse is probably not a major issue, though it will depend on the flow of the battle, as . If you’re expecting mele to happen however, perhaps be a bit more cautious, especially if you do have melee units that you can’t afford to lose efficiency on.
- Conqueror Imperative- Gain +1WS for -1BS. If shooting opportunities are lower, or combat is imminent, this can help make your infantry a little more effective, and of course make your dedicated combat units even better. The drop from BS3 to BS4 can be tough to swallow if you still have plenty of shooting but need the combat punch, however it still hits BS4 plus support elements, so don’t worry about the drop too much if combat will help you flip a turn.
- Bulwark Imperative- Improves your Armour Save by 1, to a max of 2+, but reduces your Mv by -3”. The Move reduction can be a big ask given the importance of board control, however many of your units are reasonably quick even with that reduction. The survivability boost is however significant, pushing pretty much everything into a 3+ or 2+ save, all before other boosts like cover or other rules. If you can afford a turn of lesser board control to ensure an alpha strike is blunted, or you are in a position to not need to move too much that round, this is a massive boost to your longevity.
- Aggressor Imperative- The inverse, granting +3” Mv for -1 to your Armour Save. Establishing board control, nabbing Objectives, getting into range or threatening charges. The survivability drop can be significant however, though it will depend if there are other factors to offset it (cover, Lucius etc), or if the Sv drop is moot, eg being a 4+ Sv or a 3+ Sv on an IRONSTRIDER is moot vs AP -3 or better weapons given you’ll be on your Invulnerable anyways.
Many of the Adeptus Mechanicus units effectively have two versions with the same main Keyword and virtually, if not completely, identical stats, for example KATAPHRON BREACHERS and KATAPHRON DESTROYERS. As much of what is said about one applies to the other, these units will have a general summary of their common features before expanding on the separate units themselves.
All of your units have CORE barring CHARACTERS, SERVITORS and VEHICLES.
All of your HQs apart from the MARSHAL have the TECH-PRIEST Keyword and have the Master of Machines rule, letting them heal a unit within 3” at the end of the Movement Phase for D3 Wounds, useful for ensuring a multiwound model sticks around a little longer, put VEHICLES back up a bracket, or just bringing themselves back from the brink of death.
Comes stock with a Omnissian Staff (it’s a +1 Dmg Power Staff), some token Mechatendril attacks, and a choice of a Magnarail Lance for a single 36” Range Str 7 -3 Dmg 3 shot, or the Transonic Cannon for 5pts more, giving them an AP-1 Dmg 2 Flamer that does an additional Mortal Wound on 6s. Their Galvanic Field lets them pick a CORE unit within 9” in the Command Phase, granting them +6” Range and -1 AP to their Galvanic, Arc and Radium weapons until your next turn, effectively making your SKITARII Troops, as well as RAIDERS, much more potent in terms of damage output (no it doesn’t stack, stop it). With T4, 5W and a 2+/5++, they’re decently tough, though always make sure they’re protected. Vital if you’re running SKITARII Troops, and a bargain at 80pts for what he grants, but useless otherwise.
The same statline as the MANIPULUS, though trades his Staff for an Axe (a Power Axe with +1 Dmg), and swap out the tendrils for an extra gun. Can choose between a Volkite Blaster for some Mortal Wound fishing, or pay +5pts for an Eradication Ray for better AP at the cost of random shots, and pack a paid side arm of the Phosphor Serpenta for a midrange single shot at Str 5 -1 or the free
Macrostubber ADMECH UZI granting 5 Pistol shots at Str 4 AP 0. The key aspect of the Dominus is the standard reroll bubble of 1s to Hit for CORE units, granting great reliability on top of your already accurate shooting, as well as offering a bit of support for melee. A good choice to support your units.
A mini TECH-PRIEST, with lower stats (-1 to WS/BS, -1W, A and Sv) though one in each Detachment doesn’t take up a HQ slot if you have a DOMINUS or MANIPULUS in the same Detachment, letting you add a little more healing capability. Denies Reinforcements from arriving within 12” of him, which can help you backlines be a bit safer from any cheeky deep strikers, and also picks a CORE or SERVITOR unit within 6” in the Command Phase to Shoot and still perform Actions, and also lets KATAPHRONS act as INFANTRY for the purposes of Actions, both until your next turn. Kind of needed for KATAPHRONS if you’re looking at Action based Secondaries, but can be useful for other units to maximise your offense whilst still performing Actions.
The only SKITARII Character, designed predominately for support offering little in the way of direct offense, but provides a 6” Aura of reroll 1s to Wound for SKITARII CORE acts as a great force multiplier. In addition he can pick a SKITARII unit within 9”, or a DATA-TETHER unit anywhere on the board, and lets them ignore the Deprecation aspect of the active Doctrina until your next round, fantastic to ensure the downside of Doctrinas are ignored on a key unit, be it one that needs the affected stat, or to just enjoy the benefits of a stat boost without worrying about a negative.. Not the toughest Character around, being only T3 4W and a 4+/5++, so protect accordingly, but cheap at only 55pts whilst offering far more than their points worth in support to your SKITARII elements.
Another mini TECH-PRIEST, with the same lesser stats and ability to be taken as slotless in the same Detachment as a DOMINUS or MANIPULUS (though note only one can be chosen per big PRIEST). In the Command Phase they grant a non-KASTELAN VEHICLE model within 3” +1 to Hit until your next turn. Model is the key bit there, so no getting +1 for a full unit of IRONSTRIDERS, but useful for DUNECRAWLERS or SKORPIUS if you’re using them.
Ostensibly MARS, and with rules that benefit them greater than other Forge Worlds, the wannabe Fabricator General is a Supreme Commander and can be taken in other Forge Worlds without removing their Dogmas, so he can be slotted into them if desired. A beefier DOMINUS with greater Toughness and Wounds (especially as your Warlord for the 4++ and -1 Dmg he gets), as well as auto repairing himself each Command Phase, though he is a MONSTER which limits certain interactions so be wary of that. His reroll 1s Aura and Master of Machines affect any Ad Mech unit, and he can also pick a MARS CORE unit within 6” in the Command Phase to get full rerolls. On top of that he has a version of the Mars Warlord Trait Panegyric Progression but for any CULT CORE unit, letting him shift himself and another unit into a different Canticle for that turn. Whilst his offense is short ranged and melee focused, he’s pretty decent at those, though he’s not a dedicated specialist himself. A good all rounder that has a good spread of rules and impact on the battlefield, however at 180pts he pays premium for his abilities, so if the reroll aura is all you’re expecting to use, just bring a DOMINUS.
Both SKITARII units come with a fairly standard profile of T3 and 4+, but this belies their relative toughness thanks to their 6++, myriad ways to boost their survivability and cheap cost at 9pts each, and ability to horde in units up to 20. At BS3+ they are a solid shooting unit, and can take a number of special weapons to further emphases this, though you are limited to 1 total in units less than 10, or 1 of each per 10 models.
The Arc Rifle gives them some extra oomph and anti-tank options at the expense of shots, the Plasma Caliver giving a longer ranged Assault 2 Plasma Gun, or the Transuranic Aquebus for some sniper shenanigans.
They can also take special wargear (one if under 20 models, or two at 20), either an Omnispex letting them ignore Light Cover, or an Enhanced Data-tether to give them +1 Ld and the DATA-TETHER keyword, which interacts with the Marshal and the various Skitarii Warlord Traits. Neither is that cheap at 10pts a pop, but both offer good upgrades to their units.
Both units are solid and will form the mainstay of your force, being flexible to run in different roles, whilst contributing a good amount of firepower and not breaking the bank as they do so.
The longer ranged SKITARII, with their basic gun packing Str 4 AP-1 and Heavy 2, they’re great at peppering enemies from the backfield whilst holding Objectives, and though the Heavy will impose a -1 to moving most of the time, there are lots of ways to mitigate it. On top of that they get a pregame move, which whilst only 3” can help them set up firing lanes or establish board presence a little earlier than normal.
The mid-ranged version, sacrificing base Range, Strength and AP for more shots, becoming Assault, and auto-wounding on 6s to hit vs non-VEHCILES. Great at storming the mid-field and contesting Objectives, they kick out a ton of firepower, especially when buffed up, and are useful in melee in a pinch thanks to their Rad-saturation, imposing a -1S and -1T to enemy units in Engagement Range, letting them stick around a bit longer, or act as support to your dedicated melee units.
The CULT MECHANICUS Troop, being more elite and specialised than the SKITARII, running at units of 3. Being BIKERS (that can still ignore Breachable Terrain), they’re not quite as flexible in term of terrain and objective interaction (specifically Actions), and their potent arm-6aments are offset by their average WS/BS 4+, with improvements to that being limited. They are tough however, with T5 and 3W, and a 6++ to help out a little against extreme AP. However they are not CORE, and with no way to get the Keyword they are difficult to buff or enhance outside of some niche abilities. As standalones they’re pretty good as a “fire and forget” unit that doesn’t need much in the way of babysitting and support (by virtue of little interaction with CORE abilities).
The melee/anti-tank version. THe cheaper of the two at 35pts, and coming with a 2+ Sv making them even more resistant to small arms fire. Shooting wise you can have an Arc Rifle for two shots at Str 6 -2 and Dmg 2, though vs VEHICLES they’ll wound on a 4+ regardless at Dmg 3, or pay 10pts for a Torsion Cannon for one shot at 48” at Str 8 -4 D3+3 Dmg. Either is good against their desired targets, though the Arc Rifle can pull some double duty vs anti-heavy infantry whilst the Torsion Cannon is better against T6 tanks and MONSTERS, though whether it is worth the 10pts is debatable. Melee wise they can run with an Arc Claw for +1Str, -3 and +1Dmg, and whilst only Dmg 1, they do have the same anti-VEHICLE rule as the Rifle, albeit only up to Dmg 2. Alternatively you can run them with Hydraulic Claws, being Dmg 3 Power Fists without the -1 to Hit, which whilst having less attacks is more universally useful against more targets outside of light infantry (which your Breachers should be avoiding really). All told they’re decent at their intended targets, but outside of them they will struggle to make an impact, though they’re innate toughness makes them good at holding objectives should they have no good targets.
Your ranged support, able to deal with a variety of Infantry targets, as well as tanks in a pinch. More expensive at 40pts, and with a lesser Sv of 3+, they’re a bit less forgiving than their Breacher brethren, and that’s before looking at weapons. Come stock with a Heavy Grav-cannon for their main weapon, 30” and flat 5 shots at AP-3 grants nice reliability, however Str 5 often means you’re looking for 3s to Wound, and Dmg 1 against anything with a 4+ or worse Sv, or Dmg 2 against 3+ Sv, means they’re tailormade for the lower end of heavy infantry and light Vehicles. On the flipside is the Plasma Culverin, which grants a 36” Range D6 shot Plasma cannon (with all the overcharge stat increases you’d expect, though only taking 1 Mortal Wound on a 1 to hit, not just outright dying), and Blast helps with horde clearance, however at a whopping 10pts more it begins to creep the cost of the squad up high, though the devastation can be significant. As a side arm you get a Rapid Fire Phosphor Blaster, or a Cognis Flamer (a Flamer with +2 Shots) for 5pts, both geared for light infantry killing. Overall the Destroyers are good backfield support able to deal with a variety of targets, but they pay the cost for it, and their potential is reliant on naturally good dice rolling.
A weird little unit that basically has to be near a TECH-PRIEST to do anything useful, though at least they don’t take up any slots if one’s in the army. They can add some cheap but incredibly flimsy Servo-arm attacks, or a couple of heavy weapons but given their stats that’s a trap. They are useful as an Action caddy for Secondaries, however that is game dependent, and there are a few ways to let you still do Actions and Shoot so this isn’t novel. Can be safely skipped unless you’re banking on Actions being a part of your Secondary plans in most games and want to really spread out the ability to do them.
The ELECTRO–PRIESTS are the only main CORE unit of the CULT side, and whilst not the toughest profile at T3 and 1W, they do have a 5++/5+++ to give a little bit of bit more survivability, though they still more lean towards the glass cannon side of things. With 2A each they aren’t throwing out tons of attacks, though both fit a different role for those attacks. They also inflict Mortal Wounds on the charge, rolling a D6 for each model that finishes in Engagement Range and doing a wound on a 6. At 15pts each and units of 5-20pts, they can get fairly pricey quite quickly however, so protect them as best you can, be it via terrain, transports or Reinforcement style rules.
Pure melee specialists, with WS3+ and packing a +2Str -2 Dmg2 Staff, that does 2 Mortals on 6s to Wound instead of normal damage (no additionals here). In addition, if they destroy a unit they immediately get a 4++ and their Mortals on the charge triggers on 5s instead of 6s. Their focus on melee obviously means every turn not doing that, or at least getting to a position to do it, wastes their potential, and they can pump out a great amount of damage when they get there.
The more shooty, anti horde version, with BS3+ that can also ignore all modifiers. Their Gauntlets are effectively Taser weapons in both melee and shooting (though without interacting with any Stratagems), and with 3 shots a piece at Str 5 -1 they can tear through light infantry and even threaten heavier units by sheer weight of numbers. Let down by a 12” range however, though with the same stats in melee (albeit at WS4+), they can still inflict a fair toll.
A mini TECH-PRIEST ala the HQ versions, with basically the same stats, though more potent offense and a much narrower role, revolving entirely around helping KASTELANS function. The Datasmith doesn’t take up a slot in the same Detachment as a unit of KASTELANS, gives them the CORE keyword when within 3’”, as well as having an Action that you can use to shift a unit of KASTELANS within 6” into another Protocol (see their entry). However where the Datasmith falls apart a little is the timing of these rules. The Action runs from the end of your Movement and completes at the end of your next Command Phase, which means they won’t be CORE for any rerolls, or for any “select a CORE unit” abilities in your next Command Phase, but they will have been in the preceding one as they just had the CORE Keyword. And do they lose any of those abilities when they lose the CORE Keyword, no one knows?! (But seriously they probably keep the abilities as they had the Keyword at the time to be able to select them.) Look they’re a weird little unit, and by no means necessary to run KASTELANS, though giving them CORE does open up some significant combos, and you can just use the Stratagem to bypass any contradictory issues.
SKITARII that are pretty much just a cortex on an assassin style metal body, taking the basic Troop chassis and giving them melee boosts across the board with +2”Mv, +1WS, +1Str, +1W and +1A, as well as a 5++. Both are melee units at heart, with various special rules to help them get there and offer some niche defensive boosts. At 19pts for either variant, they’re quite aggressively costed for their punch, but as with other SKITARII units their base stats make them glass cannons (discounting all the rules that make them, well, not) so use cautiously.
The jack of all trades version, who as their name suggests, can deploy in the mid board, able to threaten units turn 1, deny your opponents own infiltrators, capture objectives early, or get the ball rolling on Secondaries such as Octarius Data or Engage. Anyone within 12” that attacks them can’t reroll the hit or wound, and takes -1 Ld if within 3” as well. There are two weapon sets, either Stubcarbines and Power Swords, or Fletchette Blasters and Taser Goads. Whilst the ranged armaments are very similar, being Pistols for very light infantry killing (with the Flechette Blaster trading range and Str for more shots), the melee offer slightly different roles, with Power Swords for some heavier infantry hunting, and the Taser Goads to murder hordes with Str 6 and Taser. Generally the Goads are the better option as you can drown heavier infantry in more attacks, and often with a better chance of wounding.
The purely melee version, who whilst not getting any deployment tricks, they do have other ways to help them get to the foe, ignoring any negatives to their Movement (outside of the Bulwark Doctrina), as well as Advance and Charge rolls, and also getting an additional +1 Sv vs Shooting when benefiting from Cover. When they do hit combat, they have a further +1A, and a choice of a Transonic Razor and Chordclaw for an extra attack at lesser stats, or Transonic Blades that are basically Power Swords but lose the Claw attack. Either Transonic weapon does an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound letting them throw out a bit more damage than their Dmg1 weapons would indicate.
Essentially a RANGER or VANGUARD that gets a pet greyhound-horse-robot to ride into battle on, becoming CAVALRY and getting +6” Mv, +1T, +1W, +1A and a 5++. Neither are astounding in combat so avoid it unless you’re looking to finish off a severely weakened unit, or there is more macro reason like tying a unit up, or using the charge to establish further board and objective presence, and their mounts do make some additional attacks that might help out with some chip damage. Both units follow the trend of other SKITARII units, being fragile on paper but through various rules and synergies they can end up absorbing a fair bit of damage, as well as boost their output up even further. With 3-9 in the unit, they make good move blockers and harassment units, as well a fast response unit for dealing with lighter units.
The RANGER version, with a pregame move (a full Normal Move this time), and coming with a Galvanic Carbine (essentially a shorter ranged but Assault version of their Rifle). They can also ignore Look Out Sir and do Mortals on 6s to Wound when shooting, making them good at threatening support Characters and trying to pierce through units with Invulnerables. With their Cavalry Sabres they have a bit better punch in combat, though again try to avoid unless you have a good reason. Can also take an Enhanced Data-Tether like the Troops, useful to give them buffs from a distance whilst they move into the mid board. At 20pts they’re quite expensive for their potential damage output, but the shenanigans and harassment they can employ makes them a worthy consideration.
Rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ cowboys who replaced their dog’s face with a flamer. With a ton of Pistol shots with good Str and AP, that either auto hit or ignore Dense, act as Assault weapons should they Advance, they can pounce on light and even heavy infantry and drown them in shots. As the VANGUARD equivalent, they also have the Rad-Saturation Aura which makes them a little tougher in melee by way of the Str Reduction, as well as being a good support element for your heavier hitters, though with no Melee weapons themselves outside of the Alpha and the dogs themselves they won’t hit too hard themselves, but given the majority of their weapons are Pistols, woe betide anyone in combat with them in your Shooting Phase. Every 3 models can take a Blast Carbine, getting more shots at better Strength and Range, at the expense of not being a Pistol, though you do however keep one of your Pistols and can fire this alongside the Pistol so it’s a pure offensive boost when at range. The major downside of these guys is their cost and role, as 20pts base and a compulsory +10pts for the Alpha (due to their Wargear) makes them the most expensive non-VEHICLE SKITARII unit, and their great anti infantry firepower can be done elsewhere often more efficiently. On the other hand- Rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ cowboys who replaced their dog’s face with a flamer.
The Da Vinci Batmen from Mars, basically rocking a SICARIAN statline with +4” Mv and FLY. Both versions have the ability to arrive from Deep Strike giving you good flexibility for them to arrive and threaten units that thought they were safe, or to play for Objectives. In either unit, the Alpha comes with a Fletchette Blaster and Taser Goad ala INFILTRATORS, with no other options.
The more melee based one, getting +1A on the first turn of combat as well as the ability to Fall Back and Charge. Their attacks are only Str 4 -1 Dmg 1 however, so they aren’t massively punchy, and with AP -1 Flamers for ranged they’ll generally do a better job on average, especially as they won’t need to roll to hit. They are good for tying units up however, especially with their Sunken Talons Stratagem, and being able to Fall Back and Charge allows them to target units they want to without worrying about being tied up themselves. At 19pts they’re one of the more expensive SKITARII, but they can do work on light infantry and tie up things that might not threaten them back such as VEHICLES or support units.
Far more niche in their use, with a decent enough light infantry gun, and whilst the ability to Fall Back and Shoot is nice, their main strength resides in their overall cheapness at 16pts, coupled with their speed or Deep Striking making them ideal for Action usage, Objective grabbing or Secondary duty. If you can find the extra points to make them STERYLIZORS, it’s probably worth doing so, unless you’re really adamant on using the Arc Grenades Stratagem, know that you’re never really going to shoot or fight with them, or are tightening the points down to the wire.
SKITARII chicken walkers with a fast and decently tough statline at T6 6W and a 3+/6++, and the ability to grant DATA-TETHER and +1 Ld to a CORE unit within 6” in your Command Phase. They can benefit from certain buffs, but will generally be reliant on their own statline. Be cautious with their large bases however, as you can sometimes find yourself hemmed in by your own models, so be wary when deploying and moving.
The shooting version, with either a 6 shot Autocannon, or a D3+3 Dmg Twin Lascannon, both of which are also Assault Weapons which coupled with with good movement already, helps ensure they can draw Line of Sight for the majority of the game. Fantastic fire support given their reliable armaments and their extreme cost efficiency, running at 65 or 75 respectively. A few of them can cover your anti tank needs without much hassle whilst leaving plenty of room for other things.
The sort-of melee version, though come stock with Radium Jezzials to act as a sort of sniper unit (without Mortal Wounds), though you have RAIDERS if you want to do that. Instead they should be running with Taser Lances, which whilst making them 15pts more expensive, does mean they can make the most of their 4A, and at Str 8 -2 Dmg2 Taser, they can really put out the hurt on a wide variety of units. Their built in -1 to be Hit helps them to get into melee, and stay there when they get stuck in. You could also pay to give each a side arm Serpenta, but it’s not really worth it.
Big CULT Robots that pack a beefy defensive statline and flexible offensive options, as well as the ability to inflict mortal wounds on ranged attackers, and a trio of stat boosts that occur depending on what Battle Protocol you are in. Whilst you need a DATASMITH to change them throughout the battle, you always have the Binharic Override Stratagem to fall back on, and realistically you won’t need to change more than once. Starting in a 2+ Sv, they can shift to a melee based one with WS2+ and reroll Charges, or a shooting version for 3+ BS (though at the cost of only being Move via Pile In and Consolidations). Weapons wise you come with a shoulder mounted AP -2 Heavy Flamer or a Heavy Phosphor Blaster, and for your arms you can have a strong melee fist or a Kastelan Phosphor Blaster for 5pts, essentially a Str 6 Heavy Bolter with 24” Range and ignoring Dense. You can mix and match as well, giving you nice flexibility if you don’t want to specialise, but given the generally short range of the weapons, combat will likely happen so a Fist might not be a bad idea, unless you are confident you can screen well, and you should still pick your fights fairly well as without an Invulnerable in combat, and only WS4+ outside of the Conqueror Protocol, you might find yourself struggling. At 90pts base, they aren’t too badly costed, but they will rack up the points quickly.
With T7 and 12W, these tanks are fairly survivable, and have the same Data-Tether rule as the IRONSTRIDERS making them a good backline support element. Coming with a varied assortment of weapons, with three anti infantry Cognis Stubbers, their jack of all trade Disruptor Missiles and their choice of turret, opting for the ignoring line of sight Belleros Cannon for further anti-infantry fire, or the Ferrumite Cannon for dealing with heavy infantry. Good at dealing with a variety of targets, though with no weapons better than 3 Dmg, they can struggle against particularly tough VEHICLES, and will generally be better suited for hunting Infantry or lighter tanks if they can. A touch cheaper than two Lascannon IRONSTRIDERS, they aren’t a terrible choice, though they don’t synergise all that well with other aspects of the army, but that’s generally par for the course in 9th for VEHICLES.
Tachikoma SKITARII crab tank, which goes a bit slower than the DISINTEGRATOR and loses a Wound but gains a 5++. Their main weapon is a choice between four options, the anti-infantry Twin Phosphor Blaster, the anti tank Neutron Laser (with underslung Stubber), a versatile trio of Missiles, Rockets and Autocannons, or finally the anti heavy infantry Eradication Beamer. All of these choices are quite good, so you can go for a specialisation you don’t have covered elsewhere, or a jack of all trade support unit. Can also be given a pintle Stubber for 5pts, and has a choice of a Broad Spectrum Data-Tether to give it the same rule as the IRONSTRIDERS, or Smoke Launchers. As with the DISINTEGRATOR, they don’t synergise incredibly well with the plethora of rules your Characters have, but at around 115pts they’re quite cheap and can offer some nice backline support.
A cheap TRANSPORT able to carry a nice 12 INFANTRY models, and provides a bunch of anti infantry fire support with their Stubbers, as well as the Enhanced Data-Tether ability. Only T6 does make them a bit susceptible to lighter anti tank weapons, but 12W should still be sufficient to take a fair bit of punishment, but their main issue is at just shy of 100pts, you could just take more bodies. They do give you a bit of extra protection and speed, but these are not really things the SKITARII struggle with, though they are fairly crucial for the ELECTRO-PRIESTS if you’re not looking to have them arrive by Deep Strike in some capacity.
More Italian Renaissance inspired units, these plane-helicopter-ornithopter hybrids all rock T7 and 10W making them reasonably tough for AIRCRAFT, as well as having the ability to pivot up to 90° once at any point during their movement, or go into a Hover mode, giving them good maneuverability to stay on the board, block parts of battlefield or ensure they can threaten units that thought they were safe. Come stock with a 3” Aura of +1 Ld and granting the DATA-TETHER Keyword to SKITARII, which can be swapped out for a Chaff Launcher for a points increase, giving them the SMOKESCREEN Keyword and -1 Dmg, giving them good defensive benefits.
A sort of Transport and Drop Pod mix, which only can transport 6 INFANTRY, but you get two for one slot, and if you do have two you can have them combine their capacity to carry up to 12, but they still have to deploy in coherency with each when they arrive. It’s…weird, and very clunky, but it does somewhat make sense after using it, and does offer some nice flexibility, able to insert a key unit with support on turn 1, though with the same weapons as a Dunerider they’re only really able to deal with very light infantry. Not a particularly strong choice, and at 110pts base it can add up quickly to run multiple.
Trades out the Transport Capacity for a Twin Cognis Lascannon and upgrades it’s Twin Stubbers to two Heavy Phosphor Blasters for extra Strength and AP at the cost of a shot, this gunship pumps out a good amount of anti infantry and anti tank firepower, though at 70pts on top of the Transvector it’s quite high in cost.
Instead of carrying Infantry you can carry bombs! With their stubbers they can help soften lighter targets, but their main strength is their Bomb Rack, rolling up to D6 for each model in an enemy unit they fly over, or 6D6 for each VEHICLE/MONSTER instead, and doing a Mortal Wound on each 4+. Great for dealing with heavily armoured units or those with high Invulnerables, the Fusilave is fairly affordable at 150pts, able to offer support in dealing with tougher units your other units can’t quite shift, or just to add it’s own damage to the rest of your army.
No. They’re stupid in 30k, they’d be stupid here.
You basically get Knight allies without losing any army rules, that should be sufficient.
You’re not bringing forges with you, that’s weird even for the Ad Mech.