The Goonhammer Review: The 10th Edition Adeptus Mechanicus Index

Adeptus Mechanicus bring technocentric body horror to a battlefield near you, and bring with them a brand new set of abilities in Warhammer 40,000 10th edition. Old staples like Doctrina Imperatives and Canticle of the Omnissiah have new rules, and some old faces will take center stage in this new edition (spoilers, it’s Kataphron Breachers).

There are also some, let’s say, opportunities for growth in the Adeptus Mechanicus index. An army-wide 4+ BS will surely ruffle feathers, as will an overall reduction in Armour Penetration and range. But hold your comments until the end of the review, as there are some units who got glow-ups in the migration to 10th edition (Kataphron Breachers, it’s still Kataphron Breachers).

And before we begin, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a review copy of the Index for review purposes.

Army Rule

Skitarii Vanguard Taking Cover
Skitarii Vanguard Taking Cover Not pictured: the other 5 models in this fixed sized, 10-model unit. Credit: Pendulin

An Adeptus Mechanicus classic gets a fresh coat of paint with the new Doctrina Imperatives army rule. If you’re familiar with Doctrinas from 9th edition, then you’ll breathe a sigh of relief as the system is similar, but considerably but simpler now (kind of).

At the start of each battle round, you can select one of your two Doctrina Imperatives: Protector Imperative or Conqueror Imperative. You can select the same Doctrina every battle round if you’d like, no “once per game” restriction. Depending on which you select, all* units from your army will gain that Doctrina’s abilities.
* except Kastelan Robots, Tech-Priests**, and Electro-Priests****
** except when they are leading a unit***
*** except when the bodyguard unit is Kastelan Robots or Electro-Priests****
**** unless led by a Tech-Priest Enginseer who is also accompanied by Servitors
Okay, that’s a little confusing. We’ll cover which units gain Doctrina Imperatives in a second, but before that, just what do the two Doctrinas do?
  • Protector Imperative is the “come at me” Doctrina. It gives out the Heavy ability to all* ranged weapons in your army, which grants +1 to the hit roll if you stand still. Additionally, if you’re on the receiving end of a ranged attack while your within your own deployment zone, then you worsen the AP by 1. Great for standing your ground.
  • Conqueror Imperative is the “I’m coming for you” Doctrina. It gives out the Assault ability to all* ranged weapons in your army, which lets you Advance and shoot. In addition, if you shoot into your opponent’s deployment zone, then you improve your AP by 1. Great for taking ground.

Which Units Gain Doctrina Imperatives?

Not all Adeptus Mechanicus units natively gain the benefits of the Adeptus Mechanicus faction ability. It’s an odd choice, but there’s a strange kind of logic to it if you’ll stick with me for a moment.

Mechanicus Defense Cohort
Credit: Pendulin

Always Has Doctrina Imperatives

Regardless of army composition, these units always gain the benefits of the Doctrina Imperative you choose at the start of each battle round.

  • All Skitarii units
  • Kataphron Breachers and Kataphron Destroyers
  • Servitors

Conditionally Gains Doctrina Imperatives

These units don’t have the Doctrina Imperative faction ability on their own datasheet, but can gain its benefits based on which other unit(s) they are attached to.

  • Tech-Priests Dominus, Manipulus, Engineseer, Technoarchologist
    If any of these units are leading something with the Doctrina Imperative ability, then they themselves also gain its benefits. This is because Doctrinas grant the benefit to “all models in this unit“, which the Tech-Priests are if they, for example, lead a unit of Skitarii Vanguard.
  • Electro-priests
    This is an odd one and takes some army building calculus. If you take a Tech-Priest Enginseer and have him lead a unit of Electro-priests, then they do not gain Doctrina Imperatives. However, the Enginseer may additionally be bodyguarded by a unit of Servitors, which do have the Doctrina Imperatives ability. That ability then affects the whole unit, which means the Electro-priests gain the benefit.

Never Has Doctrina Imperatives

These units do not have, and can never gain, the Doctrina Imperative faction ability.

  • Belisarius Cawl
  • Kastelan Robots and Cybernetica Datasmith

This three-tiered system seems a little arbitrary, and takes some getting used to. But on the battlefield it actually feels pretty natural. Your Tech-Priests need their congregations for them to receive the blessings of the Machine Spirit. That checks out.

While it’s a little unfortunate that Belisarius Cawl can’t benefit from Doctrina Imperatives, it’s not too bad. He’s still a powerhouse providing massive value to the army that we’ll talk about when we get to the datasheets. Kastelan Robots, on the other hand, would love to get their hands on those durability buffs. Don’t get me wrong, Robots are still more durable than you might expect. But they’re also vulnerable in ways that are possibly unintentional. More on that in the datasheets section, but for now, let’s take a look at Adeptus Mechanicus’s 10th edition detachment.

Detachment Rule

Adeptus Mechanicus are launching into 10th edition with the Rad-Cohort detachment, which passively rains down mortal wounds and debuffs into your opponent’s deployment zone throughout the game.

Snot Goblin Gaming's Modular Terrain
Credit: Pendulin

Detachment Ability

The Rad-Bombardment detachment ability comes in two parts; one that takes effect at the start of the first battle round, and another that triggers at the start of each subsequent battle round.

  • Bombardment First Battle Round
    Deadly radiation sweeps the battlefield, and your opponent needs to make a decision for each of their units within their own deployment zone: become Battle-shocked for the entire first round, or roll a D6 and on a 3+ suffer D3 mortal wounds.
  • Fallout Subsequent Battle Rounds
    At the start of each subsequent round, roll a D6 for each enemy unit in their own deployment zone, on a 3+ they suffer a mortal wound.

On paper, Bombardment seems powerful, but there are some issues with it. At first glance, 2/3 of your opponent’s army taking an average of 2 mortal wounds each sounds great. But your opponent can simply choose not to take mortal wounds and instead be Battle-shocked in the first round. Sure, their OC drops to 0, but Primary Missions can’t be scored in the first round anyway, and Bombardment battle-shock is instantly removed in battle round 2, before scoring occurs. Battle-shocked units get locked out of strategems, and those units may have other abilities that are similarly shut down from Battle-shock.  But if your opponent’s plan hinges on a few key units not being Battle-shocked, then they can choose for just those units to roll the dice on mortal wounds, and shock the rest. The  biggest issue here is that your opponent gets to make all these decisions. Which means they get to pick the most advantageous outcome. A detachment ability where your opponent gets to make all the decisions and decide what’s best for them. It’s odd.

The mortal wounds on subsequent battle rounds, Fallout, isn’t bad per se. Free mortal wounds are free mortal wounds, after all. If an enemy unit sits in their deployment zone all game, they’ll suffer an average of 2.6 mortal wounds from Fallout over the course of the game. That’s not enough to outright kill a unit, but I’ll never say no to chip damage. It can finish off a wounded unit, or help whittle down a massively defensible unit. That being said, 2.6 mortal wounds on the condition they sit in their deployment zone for the entire game is situational at best. If you’re playing against an aggressive melee army that is sprinting towards you, then they could leave their deployment zone on turn 1 and never come back. In that case, Fallout does literally nothing.

It’s important to note that both Bombardment and Fallout occur at the start of the battle round, before the command phase. If Fallout causes an enemy unit to lose a model, this could swing control of an objective in your favor. And if that enemy unit drops below half-strength, then they may have to take an unexpected Battle-shock test.


The index comes with four different enhancements to pick from: Archived Purge Protocols, Excoriating Emanation, Master Annihilator, and Omni-steriliser.

Tech Priest and the Boys
No Imperial Knight mechanics in the index, sorry for the false hope. Credit: Pendulin

  • Archived Purge Protocols is restricted to just Skitarii Marshals, and it lets them pick a Skitarii unit within 12″ and swap their active Doctrina. Want everyone to hunker down in Protector, but have a single unit zip up the board in Conqueror? This is the enhancement for you.
  • Excoriating Emanation grants the Stealth ability while they are leading a unit. Simple, classy, an elegant enhancement for a more civilized player. Be ready to hand this out to a Cybernetica Datasmith, as it makes their Kastelan Robots bodyguards -1 to be hit with ranged weapons.
  • Master Annihilator upgrades the firepower of all ranged weapons in the unit with Sustained Hits 1 while the bearer is leading a unit. Great for pumping up the attacks on units like Kataphron Breachers and Kataphron Destroyers.
  • Omni-steriliser is Adeptus Mechanicus’s only enhancement that solely benefits the bearer. You get to add 3 to the Attacks characteristic of their ranged weapons, and it also grants those weapons Anti-infantry 2+ and Anti-monster 4+. If you have a Tech-Priest Manipulus with a Transonic Cannon, this is a no question must-take.

We’ll cover potential army compositions and competitive strategies in articles to come, but I’ll throw out my opinion that the starting point of every Adeptus Mechanicus army should be a Tech-Priest Manipulus with Transonic Cannon and Omni-steriliser. The consistent damage that this combination creates is unquestionable – it melts infantry. Leaving the math as an exercise to the reader, this is arguably the most lethal per-point unit in the faction. Branching out from there, Excoriating Emanation is a great pick for an easy durability buff and Master Annihilator is a solid damage upgrade.

The odd man out is Archived Purge Protocols. It’s possible your army doesn’t even have a Skitarii Marshal in it, as their usefulness has been dramatically reduced in 10th edition.  Further, it can only affect Skitarii which means your Kataphron Breachers and Destroyers aren’t legal targets. Even among legal targets, being able to swap Doctrinas on 1 unit within 12″ is fairly situational. While you could use this for a big play: a surprise turn 1 Conqueror Ruststalker while the rest of your army sits in Protector, or an aggressive army-wide advance while a sole Skorpius Disintigrator stands still in Protector and fires from a distance, it’s also possible that this enhancement remains unused and forgotten. Personally, I would have loved for Archived Purge Protocols to grant the effects of both Conqueror and Protector to a single unit, but alas.


What’s a new edition without some new stratagems? And Adeptus Mechanicus are bringing six stratagems with them into this new edition.

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

  • Lethal Dosage will surely catch your attention. It’s our only 2CP strategem, but it grants a unit +1 to wound with all ranged attacks (except against Vehicles).
  • Baleful Halo is almost the opposite of Lethal Dosage. In the fight phase, one of your units (excluding your Vehicles) becomes -1 to be wounded.
  • Vengeful Fallout lets you shoot back with one of your units that was just shot at. Put this strategem on speed-dial, because you’ll be calling on it time and time again.
  • Extinction Order is a favorite of mine. One of your Tech-Priests get to point at an objective within 24″ and say “drop bombs there.” Each enemy unit within range of that objective get a D6 rolled against them, and on a 4+ they take a mortal wound and take a Battle-shock test.
  • Aggressor Imperative is a return of the old classic, advance and charge with a unit of Skitarii. Unfortunately you can only use it while in Conqueror Imperative, though.
  • Bulwark Imperative makes your Protector Imperative even more durable, granting a 4+ invulnerable save to a unit of Skitarii in the shooting phase.

Vengeful Fallout should be on your mind at all times. Each time one of your units is shot, do some quick mental arithmetic to decide if shooting back at the attacker is worth 1CP. You’ll be surprised how often the answer is yes. And unlike Overwatch, you get to use your full Ballistic Skill when shooting with Vengeful Fallout. You’ve shot me, call an ambulance! But not for me.

And if you’re weighing your choices between Vengeful Fallout and Overwatch, why not use both? When your opponent moves near you, hit them with flamers in Overwatch. Then follow that up with more shooting during their own Shooting Phase with Vengeful Fallout.

Lethal Dosage is powerful, but finding a good unit to use it on is actually kind of tricky. You need a high volume of attacks to make up for its expensive 2CP cost. In 9th edition, a brick of 20 Skitarii Rangers would be the natural choice, but Rangers are limited to 10 models in 10th edition, can’t gain Rapid Fire, have worse BS, lost their AP, and can’t have their AP or range buffed with a Tech-Priest Manipulus. So that option is suspect, at best. Kataphrons Breachers and Destroyers, however, are a spicy choice. We’ll talk about datasheets soon, I promise.

I mentioned Extinction Order as a favorite. I don’t think it’s particularly powerful, but there are some interesting ideas with it. If the game balances on control of a contested objective, then you can pop this strategem in your command phase (before Primary Missions are scored) for a chance at stealing control of an objective just moments before  you score it. You have to land the 4+ roll, and they have to fail the Battle-shock test, which makes this a long shot. But if the dice roll in your favor, this is a strategem that can single handedly win a game.

Both Aggressor Imperative and Bulwark Imperative are solid choices. You can’t go wrong with advance and charge, and a 4+ invulnerable save can be clutch. It’s unfortunate that Bulwark is restricted to the shooting phase, restricted to Skitarii, and restricted to units in Protector Imperative. But if the stars align, then it’s a tool that could save your bacon. Baleful Halo is a bit more lenient in its restrictions, giving a defensive buff to any unit in the fight phase, so keep it in mind when searching through your memory warehouse for things to keep your units alive.


Alright, we’re finally ready to talk about datasheets. Before going over the major categories of units, let’s take a quick dip into some highlights:

Five Coolest Units

Belisarius Cawl
Belisarius Cawl. Credit: Pendulin

  • Belisarius Cawl is up to his old tricks in 10th edition, bringing a rare Aura to the battlefield. Each battle round you can pick one of his three Canticles of the Omnissiah auras to benefit all units within 6″: reroll Leadership and Battle-shock tests, reroll hit rolls of 1, or gain the Stealth ability (-1 to be hit with ranged attacks). With Cawl’s massive base, that 6″ aura could grant the majority of your army a powerful offensive or defensive buff. More on Cawl below.
  • Kataphron Breachers are no strangers to hitting on 4+, but now natively reroll all hit rolls of 1. To make it better, if they are within 6″ of any Battleline units (Skitarii Rangers and Vanguard), then Kataphron Breachers instead reroll all hit rolls. This is crucial in a faction with an army-wide 4+ BS, making Breachers among the deadliest units in the faction. Coupled with toughness 7, and some defensive buffs from Belisarius Cawl and a Tech-Priest Dominus, they’ll be hard to kill as well.
  • Tech-Priest Dominus can lead six different units into battle (most notably Kataphron Breachers), and while he’s leading a unit, they gain a Feel No Pain 5+. Not FNP against mortal wounds, not some sort of conditional FNP with Goldilocks zone, just-right timing restrictions, no. Dominus grants a flat, unconditional Feel No Pain 5+. Fantastic. And that’s not even the end of his abilities, but we’ll get to that below.
  • Kastelan Robots and Cybernetica Datasmith are like peanut butter and jelly, if PB&J could punch you to the moon. Kastelans are equipped with a mounted flamer or blaster, but the reason you take them is the punching. If you double-fist your robots, then you’ve got melee at Strength 12, rerolling all wounds with Twin-Linked, AP-2, flat 3 damage. They’re hitting on 4+ (like everything else in the faction), and they get 4 attacks with this base. Pair them up with a Datasmith, though, and it can be buffed up to 6 melee attacks per Robot. Vehicles are a tough nut to crack in 10th edition, but Kastelans are walking nutcrackers. They’re also the perfect choice for the universal Tank Shock strategem, as it converts 1CP into an average of 4 mortal wounds on the charge, with decent odds at the full 6 mortals.
  • Serberys Sulphurhounds have lost almost all their AP, with a scant -1AP on their Sulphur Breath. But they make up for it with their Line-Breakers ability: when they charge, roll a D6 for each Sulphurhound in the unit, and on a 4+ they deal a mortal wound. If the Sulphurhounds start the charge within 6″ of Battleline (Skitarii Rangers or Vanguard), then they get to add +2 to that roll. This means a unit of 6 Sulphurhounds will deal an average of 5 mortal wounds on the charge. And this ability triggers on any Charge Move, which means it happens when these flamedogs Heroically Intervene. Hot!

It’s also worth going over the various Tech-Priests in the faction, just to cover how they behave in 10th edition.

Tech-Priests in 10 Edition

Tech-Priest Dominus. Credit: Rockfish
Tech-Priest Dominus. Credit: Rockfish

  • Belisarius Cawl has Canticles as mentioned above, but he also regenerates D3 wounds per turn, and is a Lone Operative (can’t be shot unless the attacker is within 12″) while within 3″ of another friendly unit. His Solar Atomiser got buffed to 18″ range and S14, which is a nice upgrade. And the new rules for Blast means he’ll feel pretty good unleashing the fury of a star on larger bricks of models.
  • Tech-Priest Dominus grants the Feel No Pain 5+, as mentioned above. But if leading a unit of Electro-priests, it gets upgraded to a Feel No Pain 4+. Additionally, the Dominus can Data-spike a vehicle its unit is engaged in melee with, with a 50% chance at dealing a massive D6 mortal wounds and a -1 WS debuff.
  • Tech-Priest Manipulus grants the Lethal Hits ability while leading a unit, and once per game can grant a 4+ Invulnerable Save for an entire phase. The Manipulus is also an easy choice for Omni-steriliser enhancement for a punishing amount of mortal wounds against infantry.
  • Tech-Priest Enginseer doesn’t actually grant any abilities to units it leads. In fact, it loses its Lone Operative ability if its leading a unit which is, hilariously, redundant based on the phrasing of the Lone Operative ability. However, you can use an Enginseer to daisy chain Doctrina Imperatives from Servitors onto Electro-priests. The Enginseer is also the only source in the faction for repairing other models, bringing back D3 lost wounds. His repair ability also grants a 4+ Invulnerable Save if used on a vehicle, which goes well with a Skorpius Disintigrator, who has also always been notably missing an invuln. Lastly, if he’s within 12″ of a friendly vehicle when it dies, then the Enginseer goes Super Saiyan and upgrades from 3 melee attacks to 6.
  • Technoarcheologist grants +1 to OC while leading a unit, and kept his 12″ reinforcement denial ability from 9th edition.
  • Cybernetica Datasmith still buffs Kastelan Robots with protocols, but now the choices are +2 melee attacks, +2 ranged attacks, or +1 toughness, and you must succeed a Leadership test in your command phase to switch protocols. While leading a unit of Kastelan Robots, the Datasmith himself gets a Feel No Pain 4+. Notably the Robots don’t get the Feel No Pain, but that only scratches the surface of how odd Datasmiths and Robots interact in 10th edition. We’ll get back to that.

And not a Tech-Priest, but still worth mentioning:

  • Skitarii Marshal grants full hit rerolls to one unit of Skitarii Rangers or Skitarii Vanguard, provided that Marshal is leading that unit. It’s worth noting that Rangers and Vanguard have their unit size fixed at 10 models in 10th edition, no more, no less. So you can forget about a giant brick of 20 Rangers. Additionally, Skitarii Marshall lets you use a strategem on his unit even if it’s already been used this phase, and that strategem can be used even if the unit is Battle-shocked.

Five Biggest Changes From 9th

Skitarii Vanguard. Credit: Rockfish
Skitarii Vanguard. Credit: Rockfish

Simpler Command Phase

No more thirty minute Command Phase. No more spreadsheet of abilities with daisy-chained and stacking effects. Maybe use a strategem, repair something with a Tech-Priest Enginseer, roll for Battle-shock if applicable, and that’s it. It’s over. It’s done.

Absolutely Dumpstered Shooting

Okay, that’s harsh. But Adeptus Mechanicus gets a solid “Room For Improvement” on its progress report. With a few exceptions, Adeptus Mechanicus have an army-wide 4+ BS and WS in 10th edition. Native 3+ BS is a thing of the past, and you can outright forget a one-round-per-game 2+ BS. AP has been reduced across the board. Skitarii Marshall hit and wound reroll aura is gone. Tech-Priest Dominus rerolls are gone. Mars rerolls are gone and Agripinaa AP is gone too. Cawl still grants hit rerolls, but only hit rolls of 1, and you have to give up the powerful Stealth aura (-1 to be hit in shooting) to get it. Even Ironstrider Ballistarii, once a bane to those on the other side of the battlefield, got hit with the nerf bat. They get 1 shot with their lascannon and, like everything else in the faction, are hitting on 4+. It’s a powerful shot, with Sustained Hits 1, Twin-Linked S12, AP-3, and D6+1 damage. But with a 4+ BS, you miss half your shots, every time.

There’s also not a single instance of Firing Deck anywhere in the index, which is frustrating given that the Skorpius Dunerider is clearly modelled after a Higgens boat used in the Normandy landing, has a wide open top, and a literal deck (ladder and all) that the Skitarii could access to fire their guns from. The Skorpius kit even comes with a Skitarii model that’s standing half out of a hatch, pointing the way forward. But alas, if he’s a Skitarii embarked in the Dunerider then he can’t fire his weapons, he can only point.

I mentioned the exceptions to the army-wide hitting on 4+. This largely comes from your Tech-Priests with 3+ BS and WS on most of their weapons. Electro-priests also get access to 3+ BS and WS, for some reason. The exception that feels especially spiteful is Servitors who don’t have a 4+ BS, but instead have a 6+. This is in contrast to the Astartes Servitors who, despite an almost identical datasheet, enjoy having a 4+ BS. I guess Space Marine Servitors are just 3x as accurate. For reasons.

It’s not all bad. There are some units that have abilities which help their accuracy quite a bit. The Archaeopter Stratoraptor gets +1 to hit against non-Fly, and the Skorpius Disintigrator gets +1 to hit Infantry with indirect, and +1 to hit Monsters or Vehicles with the Ferrumite Cannon. And in addition to those, most units in your army have access to the Heavy ability on their ranged attacks via Protector Imperative, meaning standing still gets you +1 to hit.

The biggest saving grace is Kataphron Breachers, with their access to full hit rerolls, Anti-Vehicle 4+ and Rapid Fire 2 on their Heavy Arc Rifle (though it hilariously doesn’t have the Heavy ability), and Anti-Infantry 2+ and Blast on their Torsion Cannons. These guys are absolute beasts. Take three units. Take 18 models. Cheat a few more onto the board. Kataphrons spilling out of your pockets and Kataphrons hidden up your sleeve. Kataphron Breachers must be bodybuilders, because they are carrying Adeptus Mechanicus.

Friendship Ended with Skitarii Rangers. Now Vanguard are my Best Friends.

Actually both have a place. While Skitarii Rangers lost all their AP and Rapid-Fire, they picked up Objective Scouted (sticky objectives) ability. This is handy because, with their 5+ Save, you’ll be scooping the unit as soon as they are targeted by a stiff breeze. Skitarii Vanguard, on the other hand, passively reduce the OC of all enemies within 3″ by 1, making them great at stealing objectives. Their radium carbines are also packing Anti-Infantry 4+. Want to wound Space Marines? 4+. Terminators? 4+. Custodes? 4+. Kastelan Robots? 4+.


Wait, Kastelan Robots?

What? Surely that’s a typo.

Okay, let’s talk about it.

Kastelan Robots are Infantry. Kind of.

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

When a character leads a unit, then the combined unit is vulnerable to all abilities that target either keywords of the leader unit or keywords of the bodyguard unit. If you hide a Psyker character with some non-Pskyer bodyguards, for example, then those bodyguards are still vulnerable to Anti-Psyker.

This means that when you take a Cybernetica Datasmith (which has the Infantry keyword), and attach it to a unit of Kastelan Robots, then those bodyguard Kastelan Robots are vulnerable to Anti-Infantry while led by a Cybernetica Datasmith. They’re also vulnerable to Anti-Vehicle, Anti-Walker, and abilities that target character units. This means Kastelan Robots, when led by a Cybernetica Datasmith, are vulnerable to almost all Anti weapons in the game. Their improved toughness of 9 doesn’t mean much when Skitarii Vanguard are wounding them on 4+.

This doesn’t mean Kastelan Robots get the benefits of having the Infantry keyword, either. They can’t embark into transport, walk through the walls of Ruins, or gain cover from craters. They can’t do these things because the Kastelan Robot models don’t have the Infantry keyword. Only their combined unit does. And Anti cares about the unit, not the model.

If you want to bump their durability, then you can equip the Datasmith with Excoriating Emanation to give the Kastelan Robots the Stealth ability. However, you might find yourself playing against an opponent with loads of Anti-Infantry. In that case, the Datasmith could be doing more harm than good. If that happens, it might be advantageous to purposefully self-destruct the Datasmith once protocols are set, just to get rid of the Infantry keyword. Position your Datasmith so that it’s only in cohesion with a single robot, and allocate all wounds to that robot. When that Robot dies, so too does the Datasmith (at the end of the turn) by virtue of being out of cohesion.

To rub salt in the wound, if a Datasmith isn’t deployed as a leader of Kastelan Robots, then he does a big sad and just dies. Literally. You legally cannot deploy a Cybernetica Datasmith by himself. Instead a solo Datasmith must stay off the battlefield and is considered destroyed in the first battle round. The rules on the datasheet drive this point home, letting you attach multiple Datasmiths to a single unit of Kastelan Robots. Why would you want to do this? I suppose you get multiple attempts at changing protocols each turn. And the idea of 2 Robots running around with 3 Datasmiths in tow is pretty funny. It’s not good. But it is funny.

Archaeopters Are Back On The Menu

Stratoraptors get +1 to hit against non-Fly targets which is great in an army of 4+ ballistic skills. The Fusilave’s bombs have been made significantly more consistent, and you now roll six D6 and each 3+ deals a mortal wound, a lower mortal wound ceiling than before, but much better at picking off a lone enemy infantry model left alive and hiding. And the transport rules for the Transvector are no longer a convoluted mess. They are, however, oddly worse than the Skorpius Dunerider.

The Dunerider can hold 12 models, but the Transvector can only hold 11. For reasons. Also, the Transvector can’t hold Electro-priests, but the Dunerider can. For reasons. Neither can carry Kataphrons or Cawl, but that’s nothing new. What is new is that Pteraxii can no longer embark in the Dunerider or Transvector. Kind of a shame, that. On the plus side, the Transvector can deep strike on turn 1, without needing the weird two-models-as-one ability from 9th edition.

Wrap Up

There’s a lot to unpack with this faction. Some good, some mediocre, and a lot that needs some TLC. But among the good, I haven’t even gotten into Sydonian Dragoons with their eye-watering Anti-walker 2+ Taser Lance, which shreds Knights and Dreadnoughts alike. Or Serberys Raiders who get a free move each turn that an enemy moves near them, potentially resulting in them getting 3 full moves during a single battle round. Or Pteraxii Skystalkers who have 6 attacks with their Flechette carbines and can move after shooting. The Onager Dunecrawler has a native 4+ invuln and walks over terrain 4″ or shorter, and the Skorpius Dunerider can advance and disembark.

It’s easy to look at the nerfs and feel disappointed. The 5+ save on Skitarii Rangers and Vanguard hurts, an army-wide 4+ BS is rough on a notionally “shooting” army, and Ruststalkers getting hit with an absolutely massive nerf feels unwarranted (summary of the Ruststalker nerfs: take all the things they were good at, and get rid of them). The complete absence of Firing Deck on any transport is annoying. Kastelan Robots being vulnerable to Anti-infantry is just weird, and Ironstrider Ballistarii only getting 1 attack with their lascannon means you are paying $60 USD for a single 4+ hit roll each round. It’s rough.

But despite all this, the index gives you enough tools to create some exceptionally powerful tactics. Charge with three units of Sulphurhounds for an average of 15 mortal wounds. Get a Tech-Priest Dominus in melee with a vehicle for more mortals. Park that Dominus with some Kataphron Breachers with Toughness 7, 3W, 3+ save Infantry with a Feel No Pain 5+ and full hit rerolls. Charge with Kastelan Robots and deal mortals on the charge. Advance some Skitarii Vanguard onto an objective and watch their OC plummet, then open up with anti-infantry 4+ guns. Point at an objective marker and say “Extinction Order” to Battle-shock control of it away from your opponent.

It may not be the flashiest index, but there are some gems in the rough. Enough to make your games fun, and more than enough try out different army compositions and see what works for you. Spamming flyers? That’s probably viable. Three Disintigrators with three babysitting Enginseers and three Dunecrawlers so you have six different vehicles with 4+ invulns, repairing 3D3 wounds per turn, and giving all of them -1 to be hit with Cawl? That’s probably viable too. Upending a bucket of Kataphron Breachers on your opponent like Gatorade after the Super Bowl? That’s definitely viable, encouraged even.

So don’t rule out the faction just because there are some bad datasheets. There’s a lot you can dig into. And Goonhammer will be right there with you, digging into them with casual an competitive guides as we see how 10th edition shapes up for the Adeptus Mechanicus.

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