SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 18

Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes.

If I ever worked with someone who called themselves a “Technomancer”, I would assume:

  1. They work, or want to work, in IT
  2. They want to drive, but cannot afford, a Tesla
  3. They have invested in no fewer than 3 separate varietals of cryptocurrency, and none have returned on their investment

It makes one wonder if this is a pun that Necron society is aware of, or if the Games Workshop writer who came up with it had a punny idea for a placeholder Necron name and wanted to break for lunch early. I respect that potential lack of hustle. It’s not quite on the level of my coworker with a pickup truck lifestyle brand tattoo who smokes weed in the walk-in, but it’s getting there.

The Magazine

Technomancer With Canoptek Cloak. Credit: Rockfish
Technomancer With Canoptek Cloak. Credit: Rockfish

As this issue is all about Technomancers (having the word appear no fewer than thrice on the cover) so it should be no surprise that we open on a page all about their gear and role in Necron society. Curiously, it never says what the Tomb Spyder-looking guy on his base is, so I’ll just assume it’s his weird dog. I hope you’ve got your Cheesecake Factory menu worth of Necron titles and epithets ready, because you need to bust out that previous list to deck out our new dude here. Of the 6 spots to roll on tables here, 4 are just names and titles coming from previous lists. I’m not going to lie to you: it owns.

Eknotath The Merciless, Conqueror of the Unworthy, Scourge of the Living, was trying to teach his pet Canoptek construct how to speak. The newly built machine had been given life by Eknotath’s weapon and symbol of office, the Staff of Creation. Despite this enlightened piece of ancient wargear, the construct did not understand a single word, and rolled over in the ruddy dirt of Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV. Eknotath tried to tempt the spider-limbed construct with a treat – a somewhat uncommon hunk of Imperial ceramite, but the dim creature was too busy scuttling around the dirt. In all his eons, this was the dumbest creature Eknotath The Merciless had ever known as a pet.

We get a crash course on power armor next, defining the difference between power armor, Terminator armor, Gravis armor, Phobos armor, and the barely scratched surface of Omnis armor. The whole spread reminds me of how stumpy and awkwardly proportioned Terminators look next to their newer brothers, and how the only way you can get those Omnis-armored Suppressors at this point is to buy the $150 Space Marine Combat Patrol. Still, it points out the differences between these armors without going as far into the weeds as those armor through the ages pieces you see every so often. It doesn’t really matter that the reinforced grundle plate on Mk III armor was made due to too many xenos sack taps or whatever as it doesn’t affect the rules in any way.

In a somewhat out of place fashion, we get a quick overview of Drukhari, or Dark Eldar if you’re over 30. It’s again an in-universe PowerPoint by Inquisitor Gallius Shaarn and it’s written succinctly to fit on a single double-sided page. It doesn’t exactly make me want to play the slave-taking raiders who, in the words of the article, make attacks that “often have no military objective.” Maybe it’s because instead of an edgelord I was at most an edgelad, but Dark Eldar never really clicked with me. 14 years of getting my vehicles darklanced off the table on turn 1 also doesn’t help, but who can truly say.

Lastly, we have a short story. These are always fun little nougaty treats at the center of the magazine when they arrive. This one, March of the Machines (emphasis theirs) has an ill-fated Adeptus Mechanicus maniple/manpile trying to get prometheum from a fuel depot. Mysteriously, it has been left unstripped by the Canoptek constructs that had been breaking down all the other structures in the area. Naturally, it’s a trap, and a Necron ambush takes them by surprise. It’s the kind of story that sets up a tabletop battle effectively enough, and it’s written to a fairly decent standard. It kind of glosses over the fact that the Skitarii troops were just going to carry the barrels of fuel out of there by hand, so maybe that ambush was going to happen either way.

The Hobby Materials

Necron Technomancer
Necron Technomancer. Credit: Pendulin

The tutorial for building and painting this issue’s Technomancer is fairly helpful, as it’s a kinda wackadoo model. The contact points are genuinely buckwild, with some spindly little spider legs connecting to the ground plus a roboi suspended over the ground by his techno-cape. What you are looking at is something of a plastic magic trick. When I spoke with my friend about his experience building this fella, he didn’t struggle much, save for the legs of the tiny Tombspyder/weird dog.

Painting the Technomancer involves frequent twisting and turning for a particular angle, as there are many surfaces to paint that are under or behind other parts of the model. This is where I would recommend the use of the Citadel Buttplug Painting Handle that was included with this package of Imperium issues, but the 50mm base on the Technomancer is too big for the Handle’s spring-loaded jaws. It’s an otherwise lovely little device, but it’s frustrating that it can’t be used on a model it was included with. There is a larger one available, but unless you get crafty gluing a spare base under this 50mm and clipping into that, this handle won’t do the trick.

The Gaming Materials

Black Templars Aggressors. Credit: SRM

Excitingly, this issue contains a whole new foldout playmat, featuring not one, but two Moons Base on which a Klaisus can be had by all. That sentence might make no sense to you, in which case, congratulations! You haven’t spent as much time around Greg as I have. Heretically, this new map is Tsiphos, not Klaisus Secundus or even Tertius, but it can be paired with the mat from Issue 4 for a bigger board. This mat isn’t used until issue 21, where a preview image has it bedecked in newfangled terrain that I am rubbing my raccoon-like mitts together in anticipation of.

The actual mission this week is Hunting the Technomancer, in which a group of 3 Primaris Aggressors and a Primaris Lieutenant must do exactly that. The Technomancer is backed up by his own running crew of Skorpekh Destroyers, making for a neat elite + support HQ mirror match. Worryingly, the Technomancer has his repair ability to patch up his spider-limbed murderbois, but the Lieutenant forgot his inspiring aura at home. It truly is an equal parts grim and dark future. Victory is achieved by the end of the fourth turn; if the Technomancer survives, the Necrons win, if he dies, the Marines win. This mission seeks to introduce rules for this new floaty repairman, but also one of those few soft rules – Wobbly Model Syndrome, wherein a model that can’t quite fit somewhere is put to the side and the players agree where they “really” are. This is demonstrated by a 3D model of a Skorpekh precariously hanging out on a 3D model of an ammo crate. It’s a bit of a common sense rule, and not quite as necessary as it was in the days of metal (or god forbid, metal/plastic hybrid) models, but it had to be included somewhere.

Final Verdict 18/80:

Technomancer. Credit: Daniel “Zuul the Cat” Rucker

This particular Technomancer is sold as a Cryptek for $35, which makes the $13.95 price tag of this issue pretty compelling. I don’t think anybody needs more than one, but it’s a lovely model. Short stories are a bit of a rarity in Imperium, and to my knowledge these stories aren’t printed anywhere else. “Exclusive short form fiction” is hardly the selling point of this magazine, but it’s a pleasant surprise when it shows up. The mission is on the weaker side, but with a whole new gameboard and a decent enough lore section, this issue is a solid one.

See you next issue, warhams.

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