Monday, May 25, 2015

Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation

I've been excited for Adeptus Mechanicus ever since GW started releasing Skitarii. Even before I had the Skitarii codex in hand, I used the White Dwarf rules to create a 2000 point Skitarii Maniple list (i.e., 2 Troops minimum with the option for 6 more Troops, 0-2 Fast Attack, 0-4 Elites, 0-4 Heavy Support, and 0-1 Fortifications). I even went as far to develop a 2500 point War Cohort list; a War Cohort being composed of three Skitarii Battle Maniples. This was a huge list since each Battle Maniple is composed of 1 Vanguard Squad, 1 Ranger Squad, 1 Sicarian Ruststalker Squad, 1 Sicarian Infiltrator Squad, 1 Ironstrider Squad (either Ballistarii or Sydonian Dragoons), and 1 Dunecrawler Squad. Not only was the total monetary cost of this latter arrangement quite high (around $1,000), but the model count was extremely prohibitive for a slow modeler such as myself.

I was encouraged when the Cult Mechanicus models were released. With the exception of the Electro-priests, Cult models are reasonably durable and worth quite a few points. Since Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus are obviously designed to complement each other, I ditched the idea of a pure Skitarii army in favor of a mixed Mechanicus army. With the release of the Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation Formation in the recent White Dwarf, I began to develop a Mechanicus list around the new Formation.

The War Convocation is composed of a Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation (1 HQ and 2 Troops minimum with the option for 6 more Troops, 0-4 Elites, 0-2 Heavy Support, and 0-1 Fortifications), a Skitarii Battle Maniple, and an Imperial Knight Oathsworn Detachment (1-3 Imperial Knights). Where the Formation goes entirely insane is in the Might of the Adeptus Mechanicus rule:
All weapon and wargear options taken by units in this Formation, including any Relics of Mars or Arcana Mechanicum, are free. Furthermore, all weapons with the Gets Hot special rule carried by a model in this Formation no longer has the Gets Hot special rule.
This rule eliminates several of the Mechanicus' weaknesses. The base weapon of the Kataphron Destroyers is a two-shot plasma cannon, while one of the Skitarii's most potent weapons is the three-shot plasma caliver. Under normal circumstances, the likelihood of frying your own troops might cause you to reconsider your weapons choices. As for costs, with the exception of the Sicarians, Skitarii units are generally inexpensive. However, their wargear can be very expensive and can easily double the cost of a Vanguard or Ranger Squad. Similarly, an Onager Duncrawler with a base cost of 90 points can add upwards of 80 points of upgrades.

For 1985 points (I was unable to get up to a full 2000 points), I built a list that included a Tech-priest Dominus, one Kataphron Destroyer Squad (3 servitors), one Kataphron Breacher Squad (4 servitors), one Kastelan Robot Maniple (1 datasmith, 2 Robots), one Vanguard Squad (10 men), one Ranger Squad (10 men), one Ruststalker Squad (5 men), one Infiltrator Squad (5 men), one Ironstrider Squadron (1 Ballistarii), one Onager Squadron (2 Dunecrawlers), and a Knight Crusader. Alternatively, I could swap out the Knight Crusader for a Knight Errant and take an additional Kataphron Destroyer servitor. Of course I took advantage of the free upgrades, loading the squads up with quite a few options. I would have added more upgrades, but I'll be integrating models into my existing army as I finish them. It could be a very long time before I can play a full War Convocation and I won't be able to take advantage of the free options until then.

Out of curiosity, I calculated how much free stuff using the War Convocation Formation would give me. The cost difference turned out to be a full 395 points, which is more than the cost of most Imperial Knight patterns. [Correction 5/31/15: It's actually 430 points; I forgot to add in the Knight's upgrades. That puts the value of the Formation at that of a Knight Crusader with a battle cannon.] In other words, the Formation is fantastically broken and will almost certainly be one of the most common ways that Adeptus Mechanicus are fielded.
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