Warlord Wednesdays: Adeptus Titanicus Legio Focus: Gryphonicus “War Griffons”

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Welcome back to Goonhammer’s series for aspiring Titan Principes. We here at Goonhammer’s own Collegia Titanica know that Adeptus Titanicus can seem intimidating to players unfamiliar with its particular quirks, but this series aims to equip you with everything you’ll need to play out epic clashes on the battlefields of the far future with your very own Titan Battlegroup. In this series, we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at the various Legios of the Collegia Titanica – exploring their origins and how to use them on the tabletop, from maniple selection and their loadouts, through to how to command them on the field of battle to secure ultimate victory.

[Editors’ Note: This article was last updated on May 5, 2021, and includes updates through the Loyalist Legios book and the accompanying FAQ.]

We’re back! I know it’s been a while, and thanks for bearing with us over our extended holiday break. This week, we’re here with a deep dive into the War Griffons themselves: Legio Gryphonicus.

Introduced in the Adeptus Titanicus core rulebook, the War Griffons have something for everyone – a cool paint scheme, some flavorful rules and a few tricks to boot. They favor aggressive play focusing around self-sufficient Titan builds like melee Reavers and mid-range Warlords. And let’s be honest: if they’re good enough for Duncan, they’re good enough for you.

 

Credit- instagram: bair_paints

 

Who are the War Griffons?

One of the strongest Legions of the Collegia Titanica, the War Griffons have a long and distinguished history which might even predate the Age of Strife. They hail from the forge world of Gryphonne IV, which had become its own interstellar empire spanning eight worlds before their reunification with the Empire of Man. One of the largest Titan Legions not hailing from Mars, recounting their many exploits would take far more space than we have here. As a testament to their long and storied history, more than half of their complement of Titans is made up of the oldest STC from before the Age of Strife: the venerable Reaver-class Titan. Immediately swearing fealty to the Emperor, they joined expeditionary fleets to reclaim and expand the Empire’s borders. With the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, they remained true and fought in some of the most notable campaigns of the setting including Molech, Tallarn, and Beta-Garmon.

Unlike many other Legios which were utterly destroyed at Titandeath on Beta-Garmon (or at later battles in the Heresy), Gryphonicus survived. However, M.41 wasn’t kind to them, seeing the complete overrun of Gryphonne IV by Hive Fleet Leviathan. This wasn’t their last stand: Some survived to fight another on the Fortress World of Cadia during Abaddon’s 13th Crusade. As you’re probably aware, though, that didn’t go so well for them either. The fate of those Titans is currently unknown, though we have a sneaking suspicion that the War Griffons fight on somewhere, bloodied but unbroken.

 

Painting Legio Gryphonicus

We had Bair do a rundown on his paintjob for his new Gryphonicus. 

Credit- instagram: bair_paints

If you’ve read this article before, I’ve completely changed how I painted my Gryphonicus Titans. If you’re new here then great, the good news is it’s a bit simpler with some easier to use paints! I use predominantly Citadel paints however all of my metallic paints are Darkstar because they just go on easier and look better after on compared to any other metallic paint I have tried. There’s a couple other things used mixed in, you’ll see. 

I only keep the plates off that I plan to spray yellow because yellow is awful to paint on by hand and I do not own an airbrush, so this is all by hand, otherwise I built the rest of the model before painting which makes posing just a tad easier too.

Paints used:

Citadel:

Wraithbone Spray

Leadbelcher Spray

Mechanicus Standard Grey

Macragge Blue

Evil Sunz Scarlet

Dawnstone

Nuln Oil

Agrax Earthshade

Magos Purple

Ork Flesh

Army Painter:

Daemonic Yellow spray

Formula P3:

Morrow White

Darkstar:

Old Silver

Bright Silver

Imperial Gold

Copper

Aged Copper

Blackened Bronze

Royal Gold

Whole model: 

Spray with Leadbelcher all over

Skeleton:

Heavy dose of Nuln Oil and drybrushed back up with Old Silver. Add Aged Copper to the pistons, Blackened Bronze to the round hip joints and Copper to taste around wiring and weapons followed by a shade of Agrax over each. 

Armour:

Mechanicus Standard Grey in two thin coats over the armour plates. For striped areas mask off with thin masking tape and then layer on Morrow White in thin layers, this will take at least 3 layers to get a consistent colour with. Macragge Blue on small plates to taste as well as Morrow White (ie for heads, heraldry plates, etc). After applying transfers and allowing to fully dry then shade the entire plate with nuln oil.

Yellow armour:

Spray Wraithbone and let dry before spraying thinly with Army Painter Daemonic yellow, shade with Agrax in recessed areas only.

Gold trim:

Darkstar Royal Gold. This is the best metallic paint I’ve used, it goes on easy, it’s water soluble, and takes shades very nicely, doing trim feels much less like a chore when it only takes one coat with one quick shade of Agrax after.

The gold Aquilas on the Reaver carapaces are done in Imperial Gold (fitting name) for a slightly lighter tone so that it wouldn’t blend with the trim too much, also then shaded with Agrax.

Weapon effects:

Apply a coat of Bright Silver followed by a layer of Magos Purple contrast for the bright lasers.

For the green plasma of the warlord, Old Silver on the coils with Bright Silver on a few coils you want to shine brighter then layered over with Ork Flesh contrast.

 

 

Gryphonicus in Adeptus Titanicus

The War Griffons favor an aggressive play style, which shows in their Legio and Personal Traits. Let’s explore how to make the most of these:

Legio Gryphonicus “War Griffons” have been around since day one. Credit – Games Workshop

Tactical Overview

Lust for Glory

Any Gryphonicus battlegroup should be built around their Lust for Glory trait. This has some serious implications for how you’ll build your list. Where most players will try to focus down one target at a time to remove the threat from the board before moving on to the next, War Griffons players will want to choose a target for each of their Titans in order to re-roll 1s on hit rolls and add 1 to armor rolls. This is a powerful bonus – re-rolls of any sort are hard to come by in AT, and adding 1 to armour rolls is always nice. You’ll want to build to get maximum advantage of it.

This means building self-sufficient Titans that can take some punishment and threaten targets on their own without requiring support from other Titans. As a result, you’re going to want to focus on Warlords and Reavers, then choose targets you think you’ll be able to trade blows favourably with. Mid-range Warlords equipped with plasma and gatling weapons become utterly terrifying with this benefit, though you have to be careful not to allow your quarry to escape. These weapons are also effective at all three stages of attacking Titans, allowing your Warlord the best chance of winning its duel. For Reavers, you’ll generally want to pair one of the melee weapons with a melta cannon or laser blaster. Use the ranged weapon and your carapace weapon to drop shields and start working on armour, then close with the melee weapon and exploit the most damaged location track.

To that end, you’ll want to avoid Warhounds to the extent possible – while they can be utterly terrifying in many lists, that threat usually comes from working together with other Titans, whether from piling more shots on the same target or exploiting the Coordinated Strike rule with another Warhound in the same squadron. If you do decide to take a Warhound, consider taking turbolasers – the standard plasma/bolter loadout is decent at most stages, but the inability to call shots with the plasma blastgun can be troublesome, and the increased effective range of the turbolasers will let you hide it from other Titans more effectively while still keeping its prey in its sights.

Condit: Gryphonicus Warhounds can be pretty nasty, but you have to play them differently than most legions would. Lust For Glory makes their Smash attacks remarkably effective against their called target, and Great Crusade Titans lets them get an absurd number of attacks on the charge. This isn’t a strategy for the faint of heart, but can be incredibly cool if you can pull it off.

Keep in mind that you only lose your claim if another Gryphonicus Titan attacks a called target – this means that Knight support banners and Titans from other Legios won’t cause you to use your claim. The obvious choice here is Acastus (which are still just a little too good anyways) but also the somewhat lesser-looked-at Questoris with Rapid Fire Battlecannons and Rocket Pods become an interesting, if somewhat expensive, choice to help knock out shields. Taking a pair of Warhounds from a different Legio is worth looking at as well, such as a pair of Praesagius Warhounds to help strip shields while still getting their own Legio benefits as well; or maybe a fire-support Warlord from Atarus with Voidbreaker (2) missiles and tracking gyros to sit back field and take shields down quickly. Just remember that you give your opponent 2 stratagem points per Legio you field, so think carefully before you go that route.

Mainstay of the Legion

Gryphonicus also allows you to replace any Warlord or Warhound in your maniple with a Reaver using your Mainstay of the Legion trait. This opens up a lot of very interesting Maniple choices, such as all-Reaver Ferrox maniples loaded up on melee weapons, Extergimus Reavers pushing their reactors for higher strength on guns, a cheaper Dominus maniple that doesn’t need to field a Warlord, the options really are endless! 

Motive Sub Reactors can be taken by any Gryphonicus Reaver, and they’re a steal at 25 points. This upgrade allows you to use the Reaver’s boosted movement speed whenever it would move without needing to push the reactor. This is obviously just plain good for keeping your reactors nice and cool, but it also means you’re not accidentally awakening the machine spirit and then just sitting there doing nothing when you should be moving towards the enemy. There’s a catch, though: if you take a critical hit to the legs, you’ve got a 50/50 chance of taking some heat as well. However, reliably moving as fast as possible all of the time is very much worth the slight downside of maybe taking heat when suffering a critical hit to the legs.

Gravatus Plating, also for any Reaver, isn’t quite as good, but has its uses. The upgrade increases the target number for a Direct Hit on each of the Reaver’s structure tracks by 1, making it tougher against weaker weapons out of the gate, though it won’t do much against dedicated anti-armor weapons at S10 or higher. The plating also reduces the Reaver’s normal and boosted movement values by 1 meaning it can only move 5″ or push for 8″ of movement, hardly faster than a Warlord without the staying power. You won’t use this often, since you can’t take both on the same Reaver at the same time and Motive Sub Reactors is generally more usable. 

Finally, we have Enhanced Auspex Array, which is the odd one out here. For Warhounds only, it’s cheap at 10 points but allows any Gryphonicus Titan to pre-measure weapon ranges to any enemies that are within 12″ of the Warhound before declaring any targets. This is odd since it goes against one of the core concepts of Titanicus, which is pre-measuring, and even then only allows you to do so right before declaring a target of an attack, not during the movement phase when you might actually want to use that ability to help move into range. However, if you’ve got a Warhound or two that are playing aggressively, this might let you

Personal Traits

Unlike many of the other Titan Legions, all three of the War Griffons’ personal traits are useful. The most obviously powerful of these is Reckless Maverick. This trait allows the Princeps Senioris to immediately activate a second time in either the movement or combat phase at the cost of raising your reactor three times. This can allow for some incredibly powerful activations, like moving a Reaver at a dead sprint 27″ across the field using their boosted movement on Full Stride, or a Warlord Titan moving 12″ and being able to fully turn around in a single phase. It also allows for some interactions which aren’t immediately obvious: for example, if you have charge orders and activate twice in the movement phase, you can perform two charges, letting you pile on the attacks with a melee weapon or slam attack.

This trait is absurdly powerful and can ensure a quick and decisive engine kill to weaken your opponent when they least expect it. Be mindful of the tax on your reactor, and avoid use of draining weapons or pushing your reactor for movement beforehand. Motive Sub-Reactors can turn a Reaver with this trait into an absolute terror, all but guaranteeing its quarry’s destruction.

Credit- instagram: bair_paints

 

Your other two choices are nothing to sneeze at either. Hunter Without Equal lets you re-roll all failed hit rolls against your Princeps’s claimed target, forcing your quarry to break line of sight if it wants to be safe from your attacks. Master Duellist lets your Princeps re-roll failed hit rolls against targets within 8″, allowing a melee Reaver or another aggressively-positioned Titan to pose a threat to any enemy so long as it can close the distance. Hunter Without Equal will give a fire-support Titan powerful bonuses without having to move across the board, while Master Duellist will make a close- or mid-ranged Reaver into a serious threat even after its claimed target has gone up in flames.

Maniple Choice

Given the War Griffons’ love of Reaver-class Titans, you might be thinking that they’d excel with a Corsair, but since they can turn nearly any maniple into a Corsair by swapping in Reavers, there might be other choices which will work better. That being said, side-stepping 6″ with a load of Reavers is never a bad thing! 

Instead, you’ll want to lean towards maniples that let you swap out Warhounds and Warlords. Extergimus and Ferrox are both excellent choices that still allow you take advantage of their maniple trait. 

In a Ferrox, you’re more concerned with the Motive Sub-reactors wargear – since you want your Titans to be in close to take advantage of the maniple’s bonus to armor rolls, getting free boosts to movement and maneuvering is huge. Bring a healthy complement of power fists and chainfists to take full advantage of the maniple’s Knife Fighters trait.

However, it can get a lot more interesting when mixing Reavers and Warlords. Mid-range “brawler” Warlords are already one of the strongest builds out there, with the macro-gatling blaster/sunfury plasma annihilator build posing a serious threat to any target at all stages of the game. But what if you could re-roll 1s on hits and get +1 to armour rolls for both weapons? The sunfury in particular benefits massively from Lust for Glory, both being less likely to miss (but still generating heat on any 1 before being re-rolled for Maximal Fire) and making any hit against a target with AV 12 or less all but guaranteed to cause damage. As a bonus, a macro/plasma Warlord packs enough firepower to take down just about any target all on its own even without Lust For Glory, making it a serious threat even after you flatten its chosen nemesis.

If you’re looking to bring a Warlord, an Axiom or Fortis will let you bring a Warlord backed up by a couple of Reavers, which is probably the ideal setup. The Axiom gives you the security of being able to keep issuing orders even if you miss one, which can be vital for ensuring a charge on your quarry. And as a bonus, you don’t have to take any Warhounds, meaning you don’t have any pieces that might have difficulty taking advantage of Lust for Glory. The other reliable-order maniple, the Precept, can be interesting as well set up as a Warlord, Warbringer, 0-1 Reaver, and 1-2 Warhonds, turning that into a Warlord, Warbringer, and 2 Reavers could be very tasty, just make sure to have some Knights or non-Gryphonicus Titans to help do the shield stripping for the Warbringer as it often lacks the firepower to do so. Alternatively, an Extergimus with that same force disposition will be able to put out some terrifying firepower.

Whatever you wind up taking, leave some room for some Knights. Since they’re not Titans, they won’t cause your War Griffons to lose their claim on anything they attack, so you can use them to help drop shields early and put in a few points of structure damage here and there so your god-engines can really go in for the kill. Knights Acastus and Questoris are generally best here. If you decide to go with Questoris, kit them out with rapid-fire battle cannons and rocket pods, and fill out with melee weapons to keep their points cost manageable, as well as giving them some serious punch if they manage to close. Use the Knights to pound down shields, then let your Titans take out their called target with impunity.

There are a couple of

Using this knowledge, let’s make an example 1750 point list and look at the decisions made to make this force:

Ferrox Maniple – 1505 pts

Reaver Titan – 390 pts

  • Princeps Seniores – Reckless Maverick
  • Melta Cannon
  • Power Fist
  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Motive Sub-reactors
  • Bastion Shielding
  • Hardened Casing (on each weapon)
  • Spark of Vengance
  • Aquila Benedictus

Reaver Titan – 380 pts

  • Gatling Blaster
  • Chainfist
  • Turbo Laser Destructor
  • Motive Sub-reactors
  • Bastion Shielding
  • Hardened Casing (on each weapon)
  • Spark of Vengance

Reaver Titan – 380 pts

  • L:aser Blaster
  • Power Fist
  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Motive Sub-reactors
  • Bastion Shielding
  • Hardened Casing (on each weapon)
  • Spark of Vengance

Reaver Titan – 400 pts

  • Melta Cannon
  • Power Fist
  • Turbo Laser Destructor
  • Motive Sub-reactors
  • Bastion Shielding
  • Hardened Casing (on each weapon)
  • Spark of Vengance

Knight Support Banners – 200 pts

Knight Atrapos Banner – 200 pts

  • 2x Knight Atrapos

At a total of 1750 points, this is an incredibly aggressive list with a lot of medium- to short-range punch. With the update to the Gryphonicus rules from the Loyalist book now every Reaver can take the motive-sub reactors upgrade as I’ve done here, but also all Warhounds/Warlords from a maniple can be swapped for a Reaver, no more Ferrox requiring one awkward Warhound! Reavers are not wonderful at stripping shields and doing damage in the same turn like Warlords can be, so leaning into melee weapons means that these Titans can really hunt down their Lust for Glory targets without being hindered and without feeling a need to coordinate fire at one particular target, thus losing the benefits. 

Now let’s talk wargear, ’cause there’s a lot packed into this list. Bastion Shielding is a cheap upgrade that’s almost always worth taking. I put it on the Princeps Seniores first and then at the end of writing the list had 30 points spare so stuck it on the other Reavers as well. Getting to keep shields up that much longer when trying to cross the board is extremely important, especially since it’ll save reactor room for you to do other stuff when you need it. Spark of Vengance on each is an easy pick as well, since the only time you’re pushing the reactor on these engines is either for more turns (but not often), shield saves, or for the Shieldbane on a laser weapon. Then, if the machine spirit does awaken, automatically getting to choose a weapon to fire with (albeit at BS4+) is a pretty sweet deal. Oh, you’re hitting my shields? Well have a melta cannon to the face! This also pairs extremely nicely with Aquila Benedictus which causes all Loyalist Titans within 6″ of the equipped Titan to roll on the awakened machine spirit table if that Titan dies, but Spark of Vengeance has you automatically apply the result to attack with a weapon! Depending on board layout it’s very likely that these melee Titans will be running close enough together and, while you don’t want your Princeps to die, at least if they do the rest of your battlegroup will get to fire back. Hardened Casing on each of the weapons just makes them less likely to be knocked offline – moving the needed result from a 10+ to an 11+ might not seem like a lot, but it suddenly means that S4 weapons aren’t able to take them offline at all and that S5 weapons such as gatling are much less likely to do so. Worth taking when points allow, especially when you’re requiring your Titans to act independently of each other.

Normally power fists aren’t something that I would take or recommend as they only have a +1 to hit modifier, and on a WS4+ Reaver you’re not as likely to actually hit your target. However, when taken in a Ferrox maniple the Reaver can elect to use its BS3+ stat instead, allowing it to hit on 2+ with re-rolls of 1 against its chosen target from Lust for Glory. This turns it into an incredibly punchy Titan thanks to the Ferrox maniple’s +1 to armour rolls in close, meaning that the power fists will be hitting those targets at an effective S11 and the chainfists an effective S10, both able to cause Critical hits straight off the bat without need for previous damage or lucky rending rolls.

The banner of 2 Atrapos are here for support, to intercept enemy units trying to flank or charge, and also add a 5th, cheaper, activation to the list. Their concussive guns can line up to make some very funny and devastating collisions, and their fusion melee weapons can tear into smaller Titans with ease on a charge.

As far as stratagems go there are a few obvious picks for this list, and I’m writing this assuming that you’re going to have 5 to spend from the points and assuming playing against 1 enemy Legio. First pick is the Loyalist-only Only Forwards at 2SP, which seems expensive for something that might not have been necessary at all, but the first time you fail a command check round 1 to put your melee Reavers on Full Stride, you’ll wish you’d taken it. Next up is Great Crusade Titans which is here to make those charges even more devastating as it effectively adds 2 dice to your charge attack on the turn you play it, as well as giving +2 to rolls when issuing Charge Orders so those orders go off even easier now on a 2+ instead of 4+. The last point is then spent on either Iron Resolve to auto-pass an order on a Titan after it failed, or on Last Ditch Effort so that when one of your Titans does die and rolls a result that makes it fall, it’s not going to accidentally fall into any of your own units or – even better – might cause some extra damage to your opponent’s engines as it goes out.

 

Credit- instagram: bair_paints

Playing against Gryphonicus

Most of the time in Titanicus, you’ll be focusing fire on your priority target while trying to deny your opponent the ability to focus their fire. Lust for Glory forces your opponent to split their fire if they want to make the most of their trait – abuse this. Manoeuvre your Titans so that your opponent has to work for their vow by hiding behind cover to dodge arcs, or hide behind cover yourself to make them choose between not capitalizing on Lust for Glory or giving it up entirely. Remove their Knight Banners fast so that your shields only have to worry about one Titan firing at them a turn. You want them to deny them the benefit of their legion trait while exploiting its weaknesses. Vox Blackout is always worth considering as well against any melee-heavy list, even now that it’s 3SP. If that’s the flavor of War Griffons you’re facing then definitely don’t dismiss it out of hand as too expensive: it can stop that dreaded charge turn from happening and give you the chance to hit back when they move in close.

Be mindful of their Princeps Seniores, as any of their personal traits will allow them to pose a serious threat to your game plan. The main trick to be aware of is Reckless Maverick, as this allows for frankly unreasonable manoeuvrability or shooting when it goes off, but either of their other traits will add some serious punch as well. 

The War Griffons March to War

With the changes from Loyalist Legios, Gryphonicus have become a really fun Legio to put together and play around with. They can pose a serious threat against any opponent while still requiring smart list building and clever play to get the most out of. However, their traits force you to think about your Titans’ loadouts in a different way and equip them so that each one is a legitimate threat standing alone. If you want to take the honourable approach to Titan warfare and wouldn’t dare disgrace yourself by ganging up on an opponent when there’s a perfectly good duel to be had, you may find yourself at home with the Legio Gryphonicus.

 

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