Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Ordinatus-Minoris Macro Engine

They're big. They're old. They're very powerful. And they kill things. Frequently. They are legends. Entire mechanicum cults have grown up around them, but even in30k, those in the cults do not possess a full understanding of their inner workings. And more importantly than all of this: they are available to deploy in 30k Mechanicum armies as Lords of War.

As a superheavy they feature a lot of hull points each (14 to be precise) and have a nice front, rear and side AV values to boot.

But where it is really at are the unique weapons. The Sagittar comes with a Belicosa Volcano Cannon more commonly seen on titans with a divinely large pie plate. Whereas the Ulator class comes with a sonic disruptor that sends out a wave of destruction 7" wide from the cannon to the edge of the board and hits everything in said line. Its strength varies as a function of the type of target (infantry get a S=5 hit, super heavies suffer a D class hit). In this way, and if played well, the sonic disruptor is incredibly powerful -- much more so than the volcano cannon in many way. But equally, my preference would be the volcano cannon just for sheer reliability of D class hits all the time.

The engine comes with a 6+ invulnerable save and what is called an ordinatus dispersion shield. Like a hybrid of a flare shield and a void shield, it provides a modifier to both the S of incoming shooting attacks and a negative modifier to rolls on the destroyer table against it.

The dispersion shield is imperfect. Over time, its effectiveness will degrade. The negative modifier to the S and D roll table goes from -3 to -1 over the first 3 turns as it starts to wear thin and burn out. This is clearly a degrading effect, and very fluffy. But its also one to watch out for.

Finally, its worth noting that a meltdown can be very spectacular if it happens with a large radius and high S bound to hit nearby models. Beware.

Well, there's only 2 variants so far for the macro engines: the Sagittar and Ulator. Both have their own strengths. I prefer the Sagittar myself just from the angle of reliable D class hits with a huge pie plate and costing less (points value). The sonic disruptor could be amazing though, there's no denying it. And its worth the additional points. Its just my personal preference that I like the volcano cannon more. That's all. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Macrocarid Explorator

No two macrocarids are the same, being deployed by individual forge worlds and having been tweaked with by their magi on their own terms. This leads to a vast array of front line vehicles that the Mechanicum can field on the battlefield. All of them deadly in their own right and all worth of respect.

The best way to think of the macrocarid is as a customisable land raider. It has transport capacity and it has AV=14 all around coupled with an impressive 4 hull points. The base points cost is actually entirely reasonable and it comes with las cannons on side sponsons, plus a mauler cannon on the hull.

The added rules provide an all round survival quantum, plus other nice rules such as an augury scanner. The only real question is how to configure it for your needs which we look at in the builds section below.

There are few weaknesses here in reality. The macrocarid is a strong choice all told, but like all good choices there is a temptation to splurge a lot of points on the vehicle. This temptation should be resisted, no matter how good things look on paper. A few Destroyer strength hits will take care of this beast and its often better to not have all proverbial eggs in one basket as a result.

Macrocarid Explorator with Exploratory Augury Web (245 points).
I really like the exploratory augury web for its ability to mess around with reserves. But this comes at the price of a reduced transport capacity. Hence it might be the case that this build is a mobile wall or screen for other pieces of your army.

Macrocarid Explorator with Flare Shield and Armoured Ceramite (240 points).
A very tough vehicle for any army to fight against. Put your precious units inside and use them wisely. Add a conversion beamer to taste!

Macrocarid Explorator with Two Irradiation Engines and hull-mounted Graviton Imploder (250 points).
Irradiate your opponents and then mop up with the graviton imploder. Very nasty combination really.

Macrocarid Explorator with twin linked Plasma Phased Fusil and sponson Mauler Cannons (205 points).
Very nice dakka for your enemy marines.

Other builds like having a servo-rig and anabaric claw are all possible, but the above examples are probably superior for generic builds rather than specialised battle smith builds. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Knight Warden

Following on from the Knight Errant, the second of my Knights from the Renegade boxed set has been built as a Knight Warden. I really like the sheer number of shots that the gatling cannon can pump out. But more importantly for 30k is the ability to designate this Knight as an Arbalester -- with sky fire and tank hunters, this can really glance almost anything to death. Lining it up next to a preceptor might be nice as well, but that's a dream for a different day!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Wargames Gallery: Alpha Drake Stand-off

A picture from today's game (part of an on-going Planetary Empires Campaign on the frozen wastes of Fahrenheit's Landing) features an interesting tactical situation for my Alpha Legion to find themselves in: a heavy support squad stare down the maw of a Heldrake, whilst the Storm Eagle soars by.

Ultimately, the heavy support squad survived, but the Storm Eagle did not in this particular game!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Arlatax Class Battle-Automata Maniple

Stockpiled by Xana, and with select Loyalist Forge Worlds having limited supplies, dark rumours swirl around these automata. Of course, where there's a bit of smoke there's sometimes a fire, and with these automata the chances of Malifica seem rather high.

Physically, these are Domitars. But they're domitars with jump packs in a nut shell.

As a jump pack monstrous creature, the Arlatax are a huge piece of kit. The toughness alone rules out the chances of instant death from vindicator shells and the stat line features an impressive 4 wounds. Moreover, the initiative is significant as being at I=4 bringing it on par with the average space marine. Of course, Anacharis Scoria can boost this further (as can choices of mechanicum sub-faction!) which can help increase it further.

The equipment is very good. The combination of plasma blasters with inbuilt cannons on the power claws is really nice and can be very powerful on the charge in to close combat. Indeed, I find plasma blasters to be highly valuable for taking out power armour.

The only real option is to swap out the power claws for arc scourges. This provides the rampage rule, armour bane and concussion and is really worth it in concert with the jump pack. One should be getting the charge in here and therefore the scourges can be very powerful against both troops and vehicles when required.

The Arlatax are categorically not Domitars. They lack the sheer resilience of the Domitars and are therefore a bit more vulnerable. In particular their armour saves are nothing particular special at 3+.

Fundamentally, the major concern I have with this unit is how to keep in range of a character with a cortex controller. There are very few that I can think of that would fit this bill.

There isn't too much to talk about in terms of options. However, here are two build.

Arlatax with Arc Scourge and Paragon of Metal (220 points).
With the paragon of metal special rule we are less worried about the cortex controller and it can function omits own very nicely.

Three Arlatax with Arc Scourge (555 points).
Only for very large games here. This maniple is very powerful and will clear out space marine squads with regularity if used and positioned well. Yet, they would still be vulnerable to focussed fire from even small arms like bolters and fury of the legion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Anacharis Scoria

Entrapped within Xana, Scoria was `liberated' by the Imperium during the Xana Incursion, only to turn the Forge World in to the first of the hell forges. As such, it will be of no surprise that Scoria cannot be taken by Loyalist forces. That wording alone is interesting: he could be a traitor ally for the Taghmata or Legio Cybernetica, and also could be unaligned (if such a definition exists).

On his own, Scoria is a force to be reckoned with, even by Astartes standards, thanks to his impressive statistics line and a slew of special rules that would make a Primarch blush (eternal warrior, feel no pain, stubborn and the usual mechanicum rules that you might expect). Seriously, he could probably go toe to toe with the likes of Lorgar (minus psyker powers) and Alpharius very readily. That said, it is his special rules than make him truly shine on the battlefield.

Partis Cybernetica will allow Scroia to join a unit of monstrous creatures with the cybernetic cortex special rule. Clearly this is geared toward units like Domitars and Castellax -- which would be my preferred option here myself.

The Voidian Sceptre is an amazing close combat addition that yields d3 wounds on a hit with no IWND or FNP rolls permitted. This alone makes Scoria able to go toe to toe with Primarchs. He might even be able to stand a few rounds with the likes of Vulkan or Horus to be fair. Really, he's that good.

The Rite of the Beast meanwhile is a Cybertheurgy power. Activated at a small penalty, it provides an initiative bonus as well as critically re-rolling failed to hits (plus some bonuses to charge distance). This urges his use with units like Domitars.

The Homonculex allows Scoria to take some Arlatax automata of his own that he has, erm, experimented upon.

His warlord trait is Forbidden Protocols and means that his machines can sweeping advance and run (so long as they're in range). This, again, is a great force multiplier.

Finally, for a points cost, he can upgrade to have the Xanathite Abeyant. This makes Scoria ridiculous with a bonus to W, A, and a variety of special rules added to his already formidable array like IWND. If you're taking Scoria, you should take this as well. He already has really good base equipment like archeotech pistols, machinator array and the protectiva. Add on a cyber familiar and its truly ridiculous. Try going toe to toe with Horus. I dare you.

Not many here. I will mention that the Homonculex means that is Scoria is removed then any Arlatax that he has with him is also removed from play.

The biggest negative is that he is not fearless. He can totally be swept. Sure, its low likelihood, but the possibility exists.

He is the mechanicum equivalent to a Primarch realistically. And he can take on (and win against!) the weaker Primarchs very readily. With ones like Horus, he will do well and stand a sporting chance of winning as well.
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