Codex Adeptus Mechanicus – 10th Edition: Points Review

With a fresh codex in hand, Adeptus Mechanicus now has an even fresher update on their point values. For the sake of this review, we’re pretending the points printed at the back of the codex simply don’t exist, and instead we’re comparing points to the latest Munitorum Field Manual (v1.4).

Games Workshop provided us with an early copy of these points, which let us dig into changes: the good, the bad, and the still-desperately-needed. With a new codex and new rules, we’ll be looking at units that changed in cost, as well as units that stayed the same but are nonetheless notable for cost. Everything’s fair game in this town, so let’s break it down.

The Changes

If you’re used to the points from the Munitorum Field Manual, don’t expect a lot of changes: plus or minus 5 points to a handful of units. The biggest change is for Sydonian Dragoons, whose datasheet is now split in two among their weapon options, with Radium Jezzail Dragoons getting a big 15 point decrease.

Mechanicus Defense Cohort
Mechanicus Defense Cohort. Credit: Pendulin

Here are all the changes, including added/removed datasheets from the codex:

  • Archaeopter Fusilave – Down 5 points to 150
  • Archaeopter Stratoraptor – Up 5 points to 170
  • Belisarius Cawl – Down 5 points to 180
  • Corpurscaii Electro-Priests – Up 1 point per model to 60 points (5 models)
  • Pteraxii Sterylizors – Down 1 point per model to 65 points (5 models)
  • Servitors – Removed
  • Sydonian Dragoon with Radium Jezzail – Down 15 points to 45
  • Sydonian Dragoon with Taser Lance – Unchanged at 60 points (datasheet split from index)
  • Sydonian Skatros – Added at 65 points
  • Tech-Priest Enginseer – Up 5 points to 45

The Winners

Sydonian Dragoons with Radium Jezzail costing a scant 45 points buys you a dirt-cheap unit with Stealth, 7 toughness, 7 wounds, 3+ save, and a 5+ invulnerable. And while their gun hasn’t changed from the index, it’s rare to find units that hit this spot on the cost-vs-durability chart. It’s also rare to find a unit that hits their spot on the dollars-to-points chart, so break into that piggy bank if you want to break into sniper Dragoons.

Ironstrider Ballistarius. Credit: Rockfish
Ironstrider Ballistarius (Pendulin: pretend they’re carrying Radium Jezzails). Credit: Rockfish

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests did get a minimal point hike, however the codex also gave them an incredibly powerful debuff to hand out in your Shooting Phase: -2″ move, Advance, and Charge. That alone makes them worth their points and, if you factor in their lethality in the new Data-Psalm Conclave detachment, they look better and better.

The melee build, Fulgurite Electro-Priests, are also an interesting option especially in the Data-Psalm Conclave detachment.

Corpuscarii Electro-Priests. Credit: Rockfish
Corpuscarii Electro-Priests. Credit: Rockfish

With their new, native wound rerolls, and access to a lot of powerful synergies with the new detachments, Pteraxii Sterylizors are also in a good spot at 65 points for a unit. Cheap enough to throw into an army to handle “Break Glass For Backfield Shenanigans” scenarios, and now with the offensive capability to pop smaller units off objectives with auto-hit guns and full wound rerolls (while within 6″ of Rangers or Vanguard).

My biggest complaint with this unit is unchanged from their first appearance in 9th edition: the Pletarxii Alpha must have been late to the mission briefing, because they left their phosphor torch at home and instead grabbed an inferior flechette blaster. It’s not common for me to pick the Alpha of a unit as the first to die, but for Pteraxii Sterylizors, I’ll make an exception.

Pteraxii Sterylizor
Pteraxii Sterylizor. Credit: Pendulin

Last, but not least, Kataphron Breachers are a winner of this points update, as they managed to escape it with no point changes. With Breachers dominating Adeptus Mechanicus army lists, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see them eat a points hike. I would have been sad, but I wouldn’t have been surprised. Thankfully, the backbone of Admech’s Shooting Phase remains at 145 points for 3 models.

Kataphron Breacher with Heavy Arc Rifle and Hydraulic Claw
Kataphron Breacher with Heavy Arc Rifle and Hydraulic Claw. Credit: Pendulin

The Losers

Not to name names, but there’s one named character in Adeptus Mechanicus, and he’s in a rough spot.

Belisarius Cawl
Belisarius Cawl. Credit: Pendulin

Belisarius Cawl needs more than a 5 point drop. A lot more. The only functional change he received in the migration from index to codex is that his aura now grants Cover instead of Stealth. Given how easy it is to gain the benefits of Cover in 10th edition, this is a fairly substantial nerf. Additionally, his “re-roll hit rolls of 1” aura, short range shooting, and lackluster melee is nowhere near strong enough for him to cost only 20 points shy of a Redemptor Dreadnought. He needs a significant drop in cost, or his abilities to be buffed, for him to be worth it.

You know what else costs 180 points and isn’t worth it?

Skorpius Disintegrator with Ferrumite Cannon. Credit: Rockfish
Skorpius Disintegrator with Ferrumite Cannon. Credit: Rockfish

The Skorpius Disintegrator is unchanged in cost, and unchanged in being over-costed. It’s a solid mid-tier tank with respectable weapons, including an option for a cheeky indirect gun to clear out poorly-held objectives. But at 180 points, it’s costed as though it was a top-tier premium tank with all the bells and whistles, but instead this hover boat just has a cowbell and slide whistle.

And falling furthest from their former glory, the Sicarian Ruststalker is a shadow of its former shadow. Even costing only 14 points per model, a full brick of them might kill two Space Marines in combat, fewer if they have a 2+ save or Armour of Contempt, before being completely wiped out in return.

Sicarian Ruststalker Princep
Sicarian Ruststalker Princep. Credit: Pendulin

Fortunately their counterpart, Sicarian Infiltrators, are just the opposite. They cost the exact same as Ruststalkers, but Infiltrators come with extremely handy abilities like -1/-2 to nearby Leadership/Battle-shock, forcing a Battle-shock test in the fight phase, and the ever-useful Infiltrators ability. If you want to run some cyborg ninja, you can easily use your Ruststalkers as proxies for Infiltrators, and nobody will know the difference.

Kataphron Destroyers are also in need of improvement. Compared to Breachers, they have worse shooting (no rerolls), worse melee (no melee weapons), worse durability (one fewer toughness), and there’s no justification for taking them.

Tech-Priest Dominus and Kataphron Destroyers with Kataphron Plasma Culverin and Cognis Flamers
Kataphron Destroyers are in rough shape (the pictured Dominus is great though). Credit: Pendulin

And last but not least, one of my favorite units, Kastelan Robots and Cybernetica Datasmiths are dire. Every change they received in the codex was a solid buff – no more leadership tests to change protocols, automatically starting the game in a protocol, and no more Infantry keyword when led by a Datasmith. Despite all these changes, they still cost a staggering 100 points per model, have a 6″ move, can’t move through ruin walls, have unimpressive shooting, and grant the Datasmith a Feel No Pain 4+ which is useless under the vast majority of circumstances. These need a significant change to the datasheet, wargear, detachment interaction, or points to be worth bringing to the table.

Adeptus Mechanicus - Kastelan Robots and Cybernetica Datasmith
Adeptus Mechanicus – Kastelan Robots and Cybernetica Datasmith. Credit: Pendulin

In addition to the above, there are several other units that still need some TLC to properly hunt for STCs. The Onager Dunecrawler and Archaeopter variants (specifically the Fusilave) need some help. And the new Sydonian Skatros, while having some pretty decent abilities, can be replaced with a Vindicare Assassin for only 15 points more, those 15 points get you a significantly stronger sniper. A 10-15 point drop on the Skatros would be great to see.

Sydonian Skatros. Credit: Pendulin

The Impact

These new points and new codex give Adeptus Mechanicus a much needed breath of fresh air. Just one breath though, as there are a lot of missed opportunities in the codex that could be resolved with some additional points changes or datasheet updates.

The new detachments unlock a handful of playstyles: Skitarii Hunter Cohort offers a significant durability with Skitarii-wide Stealth, Data-Psalm Conclave is just the thing that Electro-Priests have been looking for, and Explorator Maniple has all sorts of tricks for taking objectives. These are great, and each give your army a different flavor: all the way from Vanilla ice cream to French Vanilla ice cream.

The issue is that, regardless of which detachment you take, you’re almost certainly starting the army the exact same way: 6 to 12 Kataphron Breachers with Arc Rifles, each led by a Tech-Priest Manipulus or Tech-Priest Dominus, at least 2 to 3 units of Skitarii Vanguard, a unit of Skitarii Rangers, at least one Skorpius Dunerider, and then as many Ironstriders and Dragoons as you can afford. You’re building a significant portion of your army via autocomplete without making any unique or interesting decisions.

Why do you use that as the core of your army? Because Admech simply doesn’t have any other option, not with these datasheets and not at these point values. Nothing in the army offers offensive consistency like Kataphron Breachers. The only way to get close to that consistency is by spamming units, lots of chickens – Ironstriders and Dragoons, lots of cheap units clogging up the board, vying and dying for objectives.

It would be great to see some additional point drops or datasheet changes. There are a lot of great models in the faction, but there’s no reason to take a lot of them. And until then, until there’s a good reason to take Ruststalkers and Robots, we’ve got Kataphrons and chickens. And in the wise words of an impatient man: At least I have chicken.