Kataphrons Gain Core – Goonhammer’s Guide to Koretaphrons

Everyone calm down, it’s happening – Kataphron Breachers and Kataphron Destroyers have gained the CORE keyword. Not content with just being 3-wound, 5-toughness, objective-secured troop bikers with a 6″ move that can breach through walls like the Kool-Aid Man, Kataphrons have joined the illustrious ranks of CORE in the Adeptus Mechanicus codex, unlocking all the buffs and interactions that they’ve been missing out on for all of 9th edition.

What are these buffs, what are these interactions? It’s a lot.

Like a lot, a lot.

To give a sense of scale, I wrote an article when Ironstrider Ballistarii and Sydonian Dragoons lost CORE, and I tried to count the number of buffs they lost access to. I got to forty-ish, and gave up trying to keep the count accurate. However, those big chicken walkers are Skitarii CORE, unlike Kataphrons who are Cult Mechanicus CORE. This means it’s an entirely different set of buffs and interactions.

And an entirely different headache to track down all the interactions that are now possible. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. I’ve done the homework so you don’t have to. Here’s the list of buffs that Kataphrons gain access to with the CORE keyword:

The Buffs

Kataphron Breachers with Torsion Cannons and Hydraulic Claws
Kataphron Breachers with Torsion Cannons and Hydraulic Claws. Credit: Pendulin

  1. Forge World – Mars – Panegyric Procession: Gain the benefit of a different Canticle
  2. Forge World – Lucius – Luminescent Blessing: Transhuman (wound rolls against them of 1-3 automatically fail)
  3. Forge World – Lucius – The Solar Flare: Teleport to anywhere on the battlefield outside of 9″ of enemy models
  4. Forge World – Agripinaa – Verse of Vengeance: Shoot or fight on death on a 4+
  5. Forge World – Graia – Mantra of Discipline: Heroically intervene up to 6″
  6. Forge World – Ryza – Citation in Savagery: Improve AP by 1 in melee
  7. Forge World – Rad-Saturated Forge World – Radiant Disciples: -1 to strength of incoming ranged attacks outside of 12″
  8. Forge World – Reignited Forge World – Purgation Protocols: Ranged 6s to wound improve AP by 1
  9. Strategem – Electro-shocked: Give out a fights-last
  10. Strategem – Infoslave Skull: Shoot an enemy unit that was set up from reinforcements within 12″
  11. Holy Order – Logi – Analysis of the Logos (initial): Ignore AP-1 and AP-2
  12. Holy Order – Magi – Divinations of the Magos (initial): +2 to advance rolls
  13. Holy Order – Magi – Divinations of the Magos (advanced): Ranged 6s to hit count as an additional hit
  14. Holy Order – Artisans – Fabrications of the Artisan (advanced): +1 strength to ranged attacks
  15. Warlord Trait – Emotionless Clarity: Fall back and charge
  16. Warlord Trait – Cartogrammatist: Deep strike
  17. Warlord Trait – Supervisory Radiance: Reroll all hit rolls in the fighting phase
  18. Relic – Phosphoenix: Target of attacks does not gain benefits of Dense Cover
  19. Relic – Raiment of the Technomartyr: For ranged attacks, ignore any or all hit and ballistic skill modifiers
  20. Belisarius CawlLord of the Machine Cult: Reroll hit rolls of 1
  21. Belisarius CawlLord of Mars: Reroll all hit rolls
  22. Belisarius CawlLead in Prayer: Gain the benefit of a different Canticle
  23. Tech-Priest DominusLord of the Machine Cult: Reroll hit rolls of 1
  24. Tech-Priest Manipulus Galvanic Field: For Galvanic, Arc, and Radium weapons, gain 6″ range and improve the AP by 1


Kataphrons have gained access to 24 buffs. Twenty four. And these aren’t paltry “+1 to leadership” nonsense buffs either. These are things that can significantly impact an Admech army. Before we dive into combos, let’s bucket some of these buffs to make them easier to talk about.


Tech-Priest Dominus and Kataphron Destroyers with Kataphron Plasma Culverin and Cognis Flamers
Tech-Priest Dominus and Kataphron Destroyers with Kataphron Plasma Culverin and Cognis Flamers. Credit: Pendulin

Yes, Kataphrons have access to rerolls now. Previously, their native (and largely unbuffable) 4+ ballistic/weapon skill was painful, and having no access to rerolls (outside of Canticles) was icing on the pain cake. But the reroll floodgates have now been opened with three sources of rerolls: Tech-Priest Dominus (reroll hit rolls of 1), Belisarius Cawl (reroll hit rolls of 1 to all Admech regardless of Forge World, or reroll all hit rolls to Mars), and Supervisory Radiance (reroll all hit rolls in the fighting phase).

All three of these options are spicy, and are worth looking into in detail. When combined with other Kataphron buffs, they represent an absolutely massive increase in damage output. When taking Kataphrons, you’ll want to pay attention to how they can get consistent access to rerolls.

Movement Shenanigans 

Kataphrons have always had a strange movement profile: they are bikers but with a 6″ move, and they can breach walls but not scale them. While that’s neat, it frequently meant they were stuck footslogging it up the board. But now with CORE, they’ve got some interesting options available, with the two most likely to be seen being The Solar Flare (teleport outside 9″ of enemy models) and Cartogrammatist (deep strike). Both of these abilities give this, traditionally slow, unit of Troops an incredible degree of versatility on where and when they can strike.

If your opponent plans on tagging your Kataphrons and locking them in melee, don’t worry, letting them know you have Emotionless Clarity (fall back and charge) will make them think twice. Duck away from your opponent, light them up with an army’s worth of shooting, then charge back in to take an objective. Pair this with Invocation of the Machine Vengeance (3d6 charge, drop the lowest) for a massive amount of movement that your opponent may have not realized they were giving you.

Mechanicus Defence Cohort
Cult Mechanicus is back, baby. Credit: Pendulin

Later on I’ll talk about Holy Order Magi’s Advanced ability, but if you’re taking that, then you’ll have at least one turn with access to Holy Order Magi, Initial (+2 to advance rolls). You don’t typically advance Kataphrons because they only have a single Assault weapon across both their datasheets, but pulling this ability out could be just what you need to reach an objective on the first turn for an early lead.


If you tell your opponent “If you do <thing>, then I’ve got <response>”, chances are they will think twice before thing-ing. Previously, Kataphrons, like the brainscrubbed servitors they are, were relatively responseless. Kataphron Destroyers with flamers had a spicy overwatch, but that was about it.

However, now that Kataphrons have CORE, they have access to tools that can interrupt your opponent’s plans. Infoslave Skull (shoot enemies arriving via reserves) is a notable example, as this creates a massive 12″ threat range for your opponent’s deep strikes. Do they really want to drop those marines near your Kataphrons when, for a couple CP, you can absolutely light them up? For the ultimate sommelier experience, you can pair this with hit rerolls to give your opponent a mouthfeel of blood and broken teeth.

If you are playing Graia, you can also kit your Kataphrons out with Mantra of Discipline (6″ heroic intervention). Get a unit of Kataphron Breachers on an objective, and just beg for your opponent to contest it. This works especially well with Electo-shocked (give out a fights-last) – heroically intervene into your opponent, give them a fights-last, you swing first and pound them into dust.


Kataphrons are big winners in this department, with CORE giving them access to some of Admechs most powerful defensive buffs. Logi (ignore AP-1 and AP-2) and Luminescent Blessing (transhuman) can turn your brick of T5 3W models into something that only anti-tank can remove from the board. And if they do remove a Kataphron or two, who cares? They’re troops. You can field a million of them.

Of slightly less interest, Radiant Disciples (-1 to strength of incoming ranged attacks outside of 12″) is an interesting defensive buff. Chances are you won’t be taking it, because it means using a custom Forge World and giving up access to the powerful Forge World-specific relics, warlord traits, and strategems. But if you want to run an army with a lot of Radium or Rad-saturation, and decide to go with the Rad-Saturated Forge World, then this is a nice bonus to any Kataphrons you happen to shove into the list.

Kataphrons also now have easier access to Shroudpsalm (light cover) via either Panegyric Procession or Belisarius Cawl’s Lead in Prayer. Kataphrons are already pretty durable, but +1 to save against ranged attacks can take them to the next level or durability.

And speaking of Belisarius Cawl, it’s finally time we talk about the mechanical elephant in the mechanical room.

Belisarius Cawl

Belisarius Cawl
Belisarius Cawl. Credit: Pendulin

Okay, Belisarius Cawl is getting his own section.

Belisarius Cawl has spent all of 9th edition paying for his crimes in 8th edition. In 9th edition, if you want rerolls, you take a Skitarii Marshal with Exemplar’s Eternity to gain access to hit and wound rerolls of 1. Given that Admech has access to a 2+ ballistic skill on Skitarii, there was frequently no reason to invest the points on Cawl for his “reroll all hit rolls” ability, when “reroll hit rolls of 1” was functionally identical.

But what about non-Skitarii CORE? Previously, your only options were Electro-priests and Kastelan Robots. Electro-Priests are fun – I’m a big fan of Corpuscarii priests, who couldn’t love their jazz hands? But I recognize that they only shine in certain matchups. Space Elves? Corpuscarii all day. Space Marines or really most other factions? Not so much.

Kastelan Robots are ridiculously fun. I love my big lumbering idiot robots. But their shooting profile is underwhelming, which means when you’re reaching for Robots, you’re reaching for melee. If you want melee Robots to have rerolls, then Supervisory Radiance is the perfect buffs to give them. Pocket them with Lucius Cybernetica Datasmith, toss in Solar Flare, and you have the classic recipe for Yeetbots.

Kastelan Robots and a Cybernetica Datasmith
Kastelan Robots and a Cybernetica Datasmith. Credit: Pendulin

However, Kataphrons gaining CORE changes what Belisarius Cawl can do for Admech in a big way. If you take Mars Kataphrons, then Cawl can give them Lord of Mars (reroll all hit rolls). This is a spicy buff on Kataphron Destroyers, even though they don’t have any melee to speak of. Kataphron Breachers, on the other hand, have replaced that hand with an Arc Claw or Hydraulic Claw. Both of which can put out serious hurt in melee.

Cawl also brought some tricks up his numerous sleeves. Though Cawl himself is locked to Mars, his Lord of the Machine Cult (reroll hit rolls of 1) ability can buff Admech units in any Forge World. Which means if you take Belisarius Cawl as a Supreme Commander in a Ryza detachment, then those Kataphrons are getting hit rerolls, and the melee buffs that Ryza provides.

Last, but not least, is Lead in Prayer (gain the benefit of a different Canticle). Similar to Lord of the Machine Cult, this can be given to Cult Mechanicus CORE from any Forge World, not just Mars. This buff might get overlooked, but can be punishingly strong on Kataphrons. Want to have a brick of Kataphron Breachers with a 1+ save against ranged attacks all game? Bundle them with Cawl, and keep them locked in Shroudpsalm. How about a 5+++ Feel No Pain against mortal wounds? Incantation of the Iron Soul. Extra rerolls? Benediction of the Omnissiah. More strength in melee? Chant of the Remorseless Fist.

Belisarius Cawl and Kataphron Destroyers with Heavy-Grav Cannons and Cognis Flamers
Belisarius Cawl and Kataphron Destroyers with Heavy-Grav Cannons and Cognis Flamers. Credit: Pendulin

Remember that Lead in Prayer provides an identical buff to Panegyric Procession. So if you don’t want to pay the Cawl tax, then picking up that Warlord Trait gives you access to all that Canticle utility without Cawl himself. But Panegyric Procession is only available to Mars Kataphrons.

Cawl himself is a Supreme Commander which (theoretically) means he can be in any Admech army, just not Mars. This means you can mix and match Cawl’s Canticles buffs with the different Forge World dogmas to double-down on defensive or offensive abilities. More strength from a Canticle and and +1 to wound in melee from Ryza? How about 1+ save from Shroudpsalm and an extra +1 to save against D1 weapons from Lucius? “I shoot at your Kataphron Breachers” Cool, I’m saving on zeroes.

Belisarius Cawl has been locked away for his crimes for a long time, and Kataphrons gaining CORE might just be the thing he needs to break him out of CawlStar jail.


Hi, welcome to the article. You may have quick-scrolled to this section to see what firepower Kataphrons gained, but I do recommend you scroll up and check out the rest of their buffs too. 

Regardless of whether you’re new to this article, or a long-time scroller, you’ll be happy to know Kataphrons have gained access to some extremely potent offensive buffs. Let’s start small and work our way up.

Verse of Vengeance (shoot or fight on death on a 4+) is a fun little utility if you find yourself in Agripinaa. Kataphron Breachers are well suited for this, having both a ranged and melee profile. The 4+ roll is a little punishing, but if your opponent kills 3 Hydraulic Claw Breachers in melee, then they are looking at an average of 4.5 swings back that are powerful enough to put dents into even the strongest of tanks.

If you are interested in having more bullets per bullet, then Holy Order Magi, Advanced (ranged 6s to hit count as an additional hit) might be calling to you. If you put this on a unit of 5 Kataphron Destroyers with Heavy Grav-Cannons, then you’re landing an average of an extra 4.2 hits per shooting phase. That’s more than you would get by adding a 6th model to the unit, for the low low price of a single Holy Order.

If you don’t want more bullets, but instead want stronger bullets, then Holy Order Artisans, Advanced (+1 strength to ranged attacks) is exceptionally deadly on Kataphron Destroyers. Find yourself going up against Custodes, Death Guard, Orks, or other T5 armies? Sounds like you might need some S5 flamers and S6 Heavy-Grav Cannons. Even the Kataphon Plasma Culverin going to S8/9 can be important if you are going up against Knights or Tyranids.

Kataphron Destroyers. Credit: Rockfish
Kataphron Destroyers. Credit: Rockfish

I mentioned this in the Belisarius Cawl section, but Lead in Prayer and Panegyric Procesion can be incredibly powerful offensive buffs. You get your choice among: reroll one of each hit, wound, and damage roll; +1 strength in melee; or 3d6 drop the lowest charge. Really powerful buffs that a unit of Kataphrons can have access to for the entire duration of the game.

Because Kataphrons are bikers, they don’t suffer the penalty to move and shoot heavy weapons. This means the ability to ignore that penalty has never been a concern for them, but Raiment of the Technomartyr does let them ignore Dense Cover and all manner of -1 to hit penalties that your opponent could impose. Depending on the matchup, this could be a handy tool to have in your pocket. And if you’ve been taking bricks of 20 Skitarii Rangers, then you’re probably already aware of how powerful this relic can be in unexpected circumstances.

Before we get to the big heavy-hitter offensive buffs, I want to give an honorable mention to the different ways Kataphrons now have access to rerolls. There’s a section somewhere above that lists them in detail, but it’s worth mentioning them again as a consistent source of rerolls should be a staple in any army that takes Kataphrons.

With only two offensive buffs left, let’s first talk about Ryza. This Forge World has always been a fun one, because all models get +1 to charge, and +1 to wound when they charge, are charged, or perform a Heroic Intervention. This made a Kataphron Breacher’s Hydraulic Claw wound on 2+ against T9 or lower – almost everything in the entire game.

Kataphron Breacher with Torsion Cannon and Hydraulic Claw
Kataphron Breacher with Torsion Cannon and Hydraulic Claw. Credit: Pendulin

Now with CORE, Ryza Kataphrons have access to Citation in Savagery (improve AP by 1 in melee). Those same Hydraulic Claws are now AP-3, and Arc Claws are now AP-4 (we’ll come back to Arc Claws in a second, just wait). This buff also works quite well with Kataphron Destroyers, shoring up one of their weaknesses which is having no melee weapons. Put Citation in Savagery on them and, even without melee weapons, they still get three attacks at S5 AP-1 D1. It’s not the strongest melee profile, but it might be enough to get them out of a tight spot.

Last but not least, the big one, the buff that I’m most excited for, the Tech-Priest Manipulus’s Galvanic Field (for Galvanic, Arc, and Radium weapons, gain 6″ range and improve the AP by 1). Why is this so powerful? First, we only care about the Arc weapons, but also note that this isn’t restricted to ranged weapons – this also includes melee Arc weapons. And on that note, let’s look at Kataphron Breachers.

Tech-Priest Manipulus and Kataphron Breachers with Heavy Arc Rifles and Arc Claws
Tech-Priest Manipulus and Kataphron Breachers with Heavy Arc Rifles and Arc Claws. Credit: Pendulin

Arming a Kataphron Breacher with a Heavy Arc Rifle and an Arc Claw is already one of the cheapest ways you can field them. If you take this loadout then hit it with a Galvanic Field, then the Kataphron will, as we say here at the Goonhammer Corporate Offices, make number go up.

The Heavy Arc Rifle will have a 42″ range, meaning it hits basically anything on the table. And it reaches AP-3. If that’s not good enough, take that unit in Agripinaa with Staunch Defenders (for ranged attacks within half range, improve AP by 1). Kataphrons now have AP-4 guns when they are within 21″ of an enemy. And because it’s an Arc weapon, it always wounds vehicles on wound rolls of 4+. If your opponent doesn’t have an invulnerable save, then they won’t have their models for long.

The Arc Claw, on the other hand, swings at AP-4 in melee with a Galvanic Field buff. Pair it with Ryza’s Citation in Savagery and you’ve got troops walking around (treading around?) with AP-5 melee. Alternatively, Reignited Forge World’s Engineered Nanophophages (for melee attacks against Sv3+ targets, improve AP by 1) is like the opposite of Armour of Contempt, and is another way of getting to AP-5 in melee. Adeptus Mechanicus: Want AP-5? Pick your poison.

Forge World Wombo Combos

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

Kataphrons have gained a lot from gaining CORE. And while these buffs are good in isolation, they become exceptionally powerful when you mix-and-match them. But how do you do that? Some are mutually exclusive and others don’t synergize together. There are enough permutations of the Kataphron buffs that a combinatorics professor would be like “this sucks” and ask you to leave their broom closet office that the Dean of Mathematics said was temporary, but that was four and a half years ago, and three offices have opened up since then, but one became storage and two were earmarked for the Dean’s failson, and …

But back to combos and how you can wombo them. There’s a lot of ways you can mix and match these buffs, so here are a handful of combinations you can think about.

Mars – The Wrath of Mars Classic

  • Kataphron Destroyers with Heavy Grav-Cannons and Cognis Flamers
  • Wrath of Mars
  • Belisarius Cawl

A nice straightforward combo to start us off. Cawl grants the Destroyers full hit rerolls via Lord of Mars. Destroyers only have base 3+ save, so give them permanent light cover with Shroudpsalm via Cawl’s Lead in Prayer. Take a unit of 5 (or 6, if you’re a bad enough dude) Kataphron Destroyers with grav and flamers to maximize the number of shots. If you can get within 12″ of your opponent, then unload on them with both the grav and flamers, and pop Wrath of Mars (6’s to wound deal a mortal wound in addition; cap 6). If they are further than 12″ away, then odds are you’ll only get about 3 MW out of Wrath. Still good, but odds are you won’t hit the cap.

If you get deep striked, Infoslave Skull (shoot an enemy unit that was set up from reinforcements within 12″) will wreak havoc. You won’t be able to Wrath during your opponent’s reinforcement step, but you’ll still have Cawl’s rerolls.

Mars – You Get How Many Rerolls?

  • Kataphron Destroyers with Heavy Grav-Cannons and Cognis Flamers
  • Kataphron Breachers with Torsion Cannons and Hydraulic Claws
  • Belisarius Cawl
  • Benediction of the Omnissiah

That’s right, two different Kataphrons for this wombo combo. You’ll want one giant unit of Destroyers, 5 or 6 models, for the maximum number of shots. Then you’ll want a lot of minimum-sized units of Kataphron Breachers, each with a Torsion Cannon.

In your Command Phase pick Benediction of the Omnissiah (reroll one hit, one wound, and one damage roll), then have Belisarius Cawl use Lord of Mars (reroll all hit rolls) on the big unit of Destroyers, and make sure he’s within 6″ of the Breachers for Lord of the Machine Cult (reroll hit rolls of 1).

In this combo, the Destroyers are your shock-and-awe. Shooting either 25 or 30 times with full hit rerolls means that something on the other side of the battlefield is going to have a bad day. But that’s only the first half, because it’s then the Breachers turn to shoot.

With a minimum-sized unit of Breachers, each unit only gets three shots. The Mars Dogma, Masters of the Forge (reroll one hit roll) plus Benediction (reroll one hit roll) and Lord of the Machine Cult (reroll 1s), means that you have good odds for 2 or 3 hits. With Torsion Cannons being S8, and Benediction giving you a wound reroll, you’ve also got good odds of a couple wounds. And then you’ve got a damage reroll as well to make the most out of the D3+3.

Lucius – Katapaults

  • Kataphron Breachers with Arc Rifle and Hydraulic Claw
  • Technoarcheologist with Solar Flare and Supervisory Radiance
  • Tech-Priest Manipulus with Luminescent Blessings and Holy Order Logi
  • Data-Blessed Autosermon for Invocation of Machine Vengeance

The idea of Katapaults is to throw a unit of incredibly durable, incredibly dangerous Kataphrons right in front of your opponent, and let them figure out how to deal with it. Either they ignore the Kataphrons and you can run amok, or they try to kill them with their army’s anti-tank weapons. If your opponent is inexperienced with Admech, then they might try to split the difference – waste a bunch of small-arms attacks, kill nothing, and leave you open to do whatever you want.

In your Command Phase, pick Shroudpsalm (light cover) and then use Data-Blessed Autosermon to give the Kataphrons the additional Canticle, Invocation of Machine Vengeance (3d6 charge, drop the lowest). This way they have a 1+ save against range and decent odds on their soon-to-be 9″ charge.

Pump them up their defenses further with Logi (initial) (ignore AP-1 and AP-2) and Luminescent Blessings (transhuman). Remember that in Lucius they also have Solar Blessing (+1 to armour saves against D1 attacks), which stacks with light cover to give them a 0+ save. Even if your opponent ignores light cover, you’ve got Logi ignoring AP-1 and AP-2, meaning anything shy of AP-3 and you are saving on 2+.

One last buff to hand out, give them Galvanic Field for an extra point of AP on their shooting, and you’re off to the races.

Adeptus Mechanicus - Daedalosus
Technoarcheologist. Credit: Pendulin

In your movement phase, use Solar Flare to teleport the Technoarcheologist and Kataphrons to just outside of 9″ of your opponent. This can even be done during the first battle round if you want that hyper aggression. Remember that the Technoarcheologist has Omni-scrambler (deny reinforcements within 12″), which can mess with your opponents plans to bring their own deep strike units. And while you’re here, check if there are any actions that your Technoarcheologist can do. While his pistol isn’t the worst, any amount of victory points he can score via an action will likely be a better use of his time.

In your shooting phase, make sure to target an enemy unit other than the one 9″ away, as you don’t want to make your charge harder.

When it comes time to charge, you’ve got a 3d6 drop the lowest charge from Invocation which, at 9″ away, the charge succeeds 52% of the time (77% with rerolls). Hopefully you make it in and can punch away with some armor-buckling melee. But if both the charge and the reroll fail, don’t worry. The defensive buffs on this unit are incredible, and your opponent will have to think long and hard about whether they want to put the resources in to killing them.

The nice thing about this setup is that if the Kataphrons die, then you’re really not losing anything significant. Solar Flare can only be used once, so no loss there. The key player in this is the Manipulus, who is safe at home with its Galvanic Field, Luminescent Blessings, and Logi abilities. If they kill your unit of Kataphrons and Technoarcheologist, then no big deal. They served their purpose, and you can place all those defensive buffs on a second unit of Kataphrons and walk them up the board.

Lucius – Katapaults, Now With Actions

Same as above, except drop the Data-Blessed Autosermon. The reason for this is that you won’t be charging with the Kataphrons. The Technoarcheologist can use Machine Focus to let your Kataphrons shoot and do an action without failing (and that action is done as if the Kataphrons had the Infantry keyword).

Depending on the mission, this might be an interesting option. The Technoarcheologist is already free to do an action, but there might be multiple actions you want to do at the location you teleport to. Using Machine Focus means you get all of the Kataphron’s shooting, without having to burn one of their shooting phases.

Alternatively, use Machine Focus on a different unit of Kataphrons, one that the Technoarcheologist leaves behind and teleport away from. That unit will likely not be close enough to charge anything, but may still have targets for their ranged attacks as well as some action they want to perform. Now they can do both – the best of both worlds.

Agripinaa – All The Armour Penetration

Kataphron Breachers. Credit: Corrode

  • Kataphron Breachers with Heavy Arc Rifle and Arc Claw
  • Tech-Priest Manipulus
  • Indentured Machines
  • Optional: The EYe of Xi-Lexum

Take a big brick of Kataphron Breachers and buff them with the Manipulus’s Galvanic Field (for arc weapons, gain 6″ range and improve the AP by 1). Because they are in Agripinaa, they passively have Staunch Defenders (ranged within half, improve AP by 1). This is a simple combo, but boy does it wombo.

You’ve now got a unit of Breachers with AP-3 shooting out to 42″ and, if you can get a bit closer, AP-4 within 21″. If these boys get into melee, they are still sporting AP-4.

Though not strictly part of this combo, if you’re in Agripinaa then consider spending a command point and using Indentured Machines (+1 toughness) to make them extra durable for the entire game. You’ll enjoy the look on your opponent’s face when you tell them that your 2+ save, 3 wound, obsec bikers are also T6.

If you play in a vehicle-heavy meta, then consider picking up Agripinaa’s relic, The Eye of Xi-Lexum (reroll all wounds against one vehicle unit per shooting phase). It’s not an auto-include because your Tech-Priest needs to be within 18″ of the target vehicle, and some armies don’t include any vehicles at all. But situationally it can be quite powerful.

Graia – Play a Different Forge World

  • Your models

Take Your Models and use them to play a different Forge World. That’s about the most fun your can have in Graia.

Okay, joking aside, is there fun to be had in Graia? Some neat combo you can pull off to take your opponent off guard?


Stygies VIII – Dense for Me, None for Thee

  • Raiment of the Technomartyr

There’s not a lot that interacts with the passive of Stygies, Shroud Protocols (Kataphrons have Dense Cover outside of 12″ of enemies). And unfortunately Kataphrons aren’t Infantry, and so can’t use the Stygies strategem Clandestine Infiltration to forward-deploy.

That being said, there’s a little bit of fun to be had here with Raiment of the Technomartyr (for ranged attacks, ignore all hit and ballistic skill modifiers). Having this relic in your army means, not only do you benefit from being -1 to hit outside of 12″, but if you are shooting through Dense Cover, then one of your units isn’t suffering the penalty. It’s a small wombo, but it’s an honest combo.

Ryza – The Turn Two Hydraulics

  • Kataphron Breachers with Heavy Arc Rifles and Hydraulic Claws
  • Cartogrammatist
  • Invocation of Machine Vengeance
  • Citation in Savagery
  • Tech-Priest Enginseer with Supervisory Radiance
  • Terrax-pattern Termite

This is some fun stuff. Take Cartogrammatist (deep strike) and put a big unit of Kataphrons in deep strike, then play is cool for the first turn. Once second turn hits, chose the Invocation of Machine Vengeance (3d6 charge, drop the lowest) Canticle, and then deploy your Kataphrons just outside of 9″ of an enemy unit you want to be particularly dead.

With Ryza’s passive, Red in Cog and Claw (+1 to charge, +1 to wound when charging, charged, or Heroically Intervening), you have a 68% chance of success on the charge, 90% chance of success with a reroll. Pretty good odds. If you land your charge, then oh boy, here’s where the fun starts.

Hydraulic Claws have strength 10, which means you’re already wounding almost everything in the game on 2+ or 3+. With the other part of Ryza’s passive (+1 to wound), then that becomes a 2+ for just about everything.

The tricky thing here is that you still suffer from the Kataphron Breacher’s 4+ weapon skill. This means you want rerolls, and fortunately Supervisory Radiance (reroll all hit rolls in the fight phase) fits that bill. Unfortunately however, this buff is handed out at the start of the fight phase, which means getting it onto a deep strike unit can take some work.

Terrax-pattern Termite Assault Drill
Terrax-pattern Termite Assault Drill. Credit: Pendulin

A personal favorite of mine is to give Supervisory Radiance to a Tech-Priest Enginseer, embark them into a Terrax-pattern Termite, and place the drill into deep strike. On turn 2, deploy it and disembark the Enginseer to be right next to the Kataphrons. This way, when the Kataphrons complete their charge, they’ll be within 9″ of the Enginseer, and can gain the Supervisory Radiance reroll buff.

A bonus wombo for this combo is that you now have a Terrax within 9″ of your opponent. If you thought the Kataphron’s S10 melee was powerful, just wait until you look at the Terrax’s S14, D3+6 damage against vehicles. And if your Enginseer lives until the next turn, they can use Awaken the Machine and give the Terrax +1 to hit.

Ryza – A.B.O, A-Always B-Be O-Overcharging Plasma

  • Kataphron Destroyers with Kataphron Plasma Culverin and Cognis Flamer
  • Tech-Priest Dominus
  • Plasma Specialist
  • Incantation of the Iron Soul

Unlike many plasma weapons in the game, if you roll a 1 to hit with a Kataphron Plasma Culverin, then the model is not slain. Instead, they just suffer 1 mortal wound and go about their day. Let’s go ahead and abuse this.

In your Command Phase, pick Incantation of the Iron Soul (5+++ feel no pain against mortal wounds). Alternatively, use Data-Blessed Autosermon to give them that buff if you don’t want to pick it army-wide.

Park a Tech-Priest Dominus next to a big unit of Kataphron Destroyers, pick your target, use Plasma Specialist (+1 damage to plasma weapons), and overcharge everything. With a max-sized unit of 6 Destroyers, you’re averaging 12.25 hits and rerolling all 1’s to hit. On average you suffer only 0.4 mortal wounds with the 5+++ from Incantation of the Iron Soul.

And that’s 12.25 hits at S8, AP-3, D3 with a 36″ range. Pretty dang spicy for the Forge World most known for its melee.

Metalica – Play Skitarii

Kataphrons gaining CORE has little impact in Metalica-specific interactions. Kataphrons are bikers and so don’t suffer the hit penalty when moving and shooting heavy weapons, so the Metalica passive to ignore that penalty doesn’t do anything. Similarly, the only assault weapon Kataphrons have automatically hits, which means the passive to ignore advance-and-shoot penalties is also moot.

However, if you enjoy playing Metalica, then you can make a variant of any of the above wombo combos with some list-building finesse, or grab a random handful of their new buffs, throw them at the battlefield, and see what sticks.

One Metalica interaction you can try is, if an enemy unit has suffered losses during their turn, then get a unit of Kataphrons in engagement range with them. This way, Metalica’s passive Relentless March (enemy units in engagement count as below half strength), means they are fleeing from attrition on 1’s and 2’s. If the enemy unit survives, then you can use Emotionless Clarity (fall back and charge) to open them up as a shooting target,  and give yourself some extra movement.

In Conclusion

By just adding a single keyword, Game Workshop has opened an entire smorgasbord of buffs and combos that Adeptus Mechanicus players have been dreaming about for years. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of everything you can do. My body couldn’t withstand the amount of coffee I’d need to drink to cover every permutation. But it should be enough to whet your appetite for Kataphrons, dust them off the shelf, and see what you can do with them.

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