Thursday, 25 June 2015

Starting a Horus Heresy Army: Mechanicum

Hi all, today I am going to discuss how to start a 30k Mechanicum army. I will not be covering Games Workshop's 40k Adeptus Mechanicus, just the rules provided by Forge World for the pre heresy range.

I will only be covering the HQ and troops options today to give a basic understanding of some of the units you can take to start an army.

Mechanicum are a fantastic army to collect, they are tough, elite robots who's only function is to destroy the enemy. Mechanicum units cost a lot of points, but are durable and can unleash a scary amount of firepower, especially at close/medium range.

Unlike the legion marine rules, mechanicum are well suited to smaller games. This is due to the low number of models needed to field each unit, and that your opponent will find it more difficult to deal with the high durability and toughness of your units in small games.

The rules for Mechanicum are spread over the first three Horus Heresy books: Betrayal, Massacre and Extermination. I would recommend using book 3: Extermination as it containes the rules from the past 2 books along with additional units and rules. Unfortunately there isn't a small rulebook like for the space marine legions.

Firstly, you will need a HQ and two troops.


For  the HQ there are two main options: A Magos and a Magos Dominus.

A Magos is the cheaper alternative, with relatively low durability and wargear options and so is best suited for smaller games.

A Magos Dominus is more expensive to take, but the amount of options to make him an absolute monster are staggering. Upgrades such as an Abyant and machinator array can boost his durability even further, and High Techno-Arcana options can give him buffs that can suit your play style. You want lots of guns? Go for the Myrmidax upgrade as you can shoot 2 ranges weapons. Want a close combat monster? Go for the Malagra upgrade as you get a bunch of close combat buffs.

Forge World provide a suitable Magos model on their site, but in my opinion the new Tech Priest Dominus by Games Workshop is perfect to represent both HQ options. Not only does the model look fantastic, it has the options for multiple weapons and the machinator array.


For troops there are three options: Adsecularis Covenant, Thallax Cohort and Castellax Robots.
It is imporant to note that Castellax cannot be taken as compulsory troops, so you will need 2 units of a combination of Adsecularis and/or Thallax. Trust me though, you will want to be able to fit in some castellax into your army list.

Adsecularis are your cheap, expendable meat shield unit. They are mainly objective campers or distraction units, and can be very good at these tasks for the points you take to field them. They come in squads of 10 but can be upgraded to have 20 for next to no points, and have useful upgrades such as carapace armour, frag grenades and can make their weapons fire extra shots. My favorite upgrade is the Rite of Pure Thought, that makes the squad fearless. Your opponent will need to kill every last member of the squad before he can clear you off an objective which is great for a squad that can cost as little as 80 points for 20 guys and that upgrade.

Forge world have a set of Adsecularis, but I think it looks cooler, and is more cost effective, to get the new Skitarii units from Games Workshop.

Thallax Cohorts start in squads of 3 and are an interesting option to take. They have jet packs and have 3 wounds each at toughness 5 which makes them tough, but they are slightly expensive due to being 135 points for 3 guys. The mobility you get from the jet packs is great, something which is rare in a mechanicum force, but the impact each squad has is quite average. The base guns are called lightning guns and have only 1 shot at strength 7 AP 4 with shred and rending. 1 in 3 guys can take a special weapon,  which vastly improves the damage output of the squad. The special weapon you take depends on what you want the squad to do, and what gaps you have in your list. If you don't have enough anti-tank, go for a multi-melta. If you have problems with marine squads go for a plasma-fusil, or if you don't have enough terminator killing AP2 weapons in your army go for a photon thruster.

I think the models Forge World do for Thallax are fantastic, one of my favourite looking squads of their range. For the rule of cool I almost always take at least one squad of these guys, even just to add some mobility to the list.

Castellax are pretty insane. A toughness 7 monstrous creature, 4 wounds and 3+ armour save for only 85 points and is a troops unit! Their main weapon is great for killing marines as it's strength 6 AP3 with 3 shots. You can upgrade the weapon to be a multi-melta or darkfire cannon, but keeping the base weapon is usually a good option as it is versatile. Even though the base strength of one of these robots is 7, it can be useful to upgrade it with a siege wrecker to give it strength 10 close combat attacks which can be great for killing tanks in combat, especially with castellax having the rage special rule (+2 attacks for charging). An essential upgrade for this unit is enhanced targeters, which gives the model +1BS and the enemy it's shooting at -1 cover saves. The amount of times this upgrade has helped me in games is staggering. It is worth noting that if you take an upgrade for 1 castellax, that same upgrade needs to be taken for all the castellax in the same squad. They start in squads of 1 and then can be upgraded to have more castellax in the squad, so it can be a cheap unit to field.

With Games Workshop's new Adeptus Mechanicus range, you can use their Castellan robots as Castellax for cheaper than getting Forge World Castellax, but in my opinion it's worth spending the extra money and getting the Forge World models as they are much cooler in my opinion.

In conclusion, pre heresy mechanicum have a great selection of HQ and troops options, that are fairly cheap for the initial squads, but can be heavily upgraded and reinforced. If you want me to cover any other unit in particular please let me know, as I have only covered the HQ and troops but there are tons of awesome units in the rest of the mechanicum army list.

Thank you very much for reading!

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