Warlord Wednesdays: Legion Focus – Legio Astraman

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.

This week we’re looking at Legio Astraman, whose famed tenacity would see them hold the line against insurmountable odds in the Belt of Iron. Their striking green heraldry and unusual set of rules makes them an unusual sight on the tabletop. Read on to see how they can bring their stubborn refusal to yield to the battlefields of Adeptus Titanicus.

[Editors’ Note: This article was last updated November 22, 2021, and includes rules from the Loyalist Legios and Traitor Legios supplements, as well as the FAQ that accompanied the Loyalist Legios supplement.]

Legio Astraman . Credit – Simon Fearn

Who are Legio Astraman?

The Morning Stars hail from Graia, which was the most prosperous Forgeworld in the Belt of Iron. It’s large Titan foundries kept Morning Stars well supplied and gave the Imperium pause when they were rediscovered during the Great Crusade. The Imperium opted to form a treaty with Graia for their obedience in exchange for some nearby conquered words.

The Morning Stars were then quickly put into service to help bring the other worlds in the belt into compliance, forming strong bonds fighting alongside the Raven Guard while also making some enemies. Legio Laniaskara was beaten into submission by Legio Astraman and were eager to settle the score, declaring for the Warmaster upon finding Graia would hold their vows on the outbreak of the Horus Heresy.

Legio Astraman Warlord. Credit – @jarringwharf664 (IG)

Painting Legio Astraman

We asked jarringwharf664 (IG @jarringwharf664) to share his latest Legio and the approach to paint them up with us. 

After painting some Legio Laniaskara Titan’s I wanted to try and paint the Legio Astraman scheme. Crucible of Retribution is my favourite supplement so far and its superbly written background has these two Legio’s as bitter enemies. The green in the artwork was a bit vibrant for what I had in mind though so I tried a more olive green weathered look.

The base of the green is Death World Forest which I roughly highlighted with Straken Green and shaded with Werewolf fur (Armypainter) towards the bottom of the armour panels. This was weathered with Windsor & Newton burnt umber oil paint and Typhus Corrosion. There are scratches which I painted on using Karak Stone.

The white is just Rakarth Flesh and Palid Wych Flesh with Abaddon Black stripes. The weapons are magnetised and painted with (Abaddon) black and yellow (Zamesi desert & Deep Yellow (Vallejo) hazard stripes so I can use them on other Legio Titan’s. 

I usually base my models as an after thought but I wanted this Titan to be stepping down from a rocky outcrop. I tried to blend the Titan’s feet and lower legs so that they looked part of the base. 

Legio Astraman Warhounds. Credit – Simon Fearn

Astraman in Adeptus Titanicus

Tactical Overview

The God-Engines of the Morning Stars refuse to give ground thanks to their Unyielding trait. This trait allows a titan to forgo it’s movement activation to instead increase their reactor twice and get the Stalwart result on the Awakened Machine Spirit table – allowing you to immediately repair. The Titan who does this also forgoes their later Combat phase activation, making this effectively an better version of the shutdown order – your voids stay active, you don’t lose an activation during the movement phase and you don’t need a command check to turn on next turn. 

Although it’s uncommon to willingly give up your combat activation, this trait can pair with Emergency Repair orders and the normal Repair roll for some phenomenal repairs. Be mindful that the two heat will immediately put you into the orange on a Warhound if you choose not to vent the heat, making this a less useful trait on smaller engines. 

The end result is this isn’t a trait you will use every game, but in the right circumstances such as when you are standing on an objective on the final turn this trait can bring victory. 

Condit: Probably the best way to use this trait is in a Regia or a Fortis to take advantage of the fact that you can merge voids. Pair off your Titans and play one as your heavy hitter and another as a dedicated shield battery. Once you make it to the center of the field, as your battery’s voids start to lower, you can take Emergency Repair orders and then also give up your movement phase to be able to repair three times in a round, giving you more and more chances to roll those 5+s necessary to keep your shields healthy. Just be careful you don’t orange-line yourself out of the gate.

Bair: This really had me scratching my head the first time I read it. It still does. Condit makes good points about times you might want to make use of this, but taking 2 heat as well as then not moving and also not activating in the combat phase? I’m not sure if you’ll use this often, but it’s not why you’re picking this Legio so that’s fine. 

Legio Astraman have two stratagems that reflect their tenacious nature. Strength and Resolve costs a single SP and is played on one of your Titans during the Stratagem phase, preventing all attack rolls against it from gaining bonuses to Armor rolls from the structure track. This counts as the Titan’s activation in the Strategy phase, so it can’t be given orders, but will let your larger engines shrug off smaller arms fire and deny your opponent an Engine Kill that they otherwise would have had in the bag. Just be sure not to hold onto it for too long, since this sort of stratagem can often be too little too late.

Stand Firm costs a whopping 3SP and is also played during the Stratagem phase, giving any of your Titans that don’t move the ability to share voids with adjacent Titans as if they were in a squadron. This is a steep price to pay – giving up your movement phase is a huge penalty that can put you in a tight spot if you’re not judicious about when you use it. The ability to share voids across Titans that otherwise wouldn’t be able to is a strong ability, but this is probably a bit overcosted given its limitations.

Condit: There’s potential use for this combined with your Legio Trait if you want to bring a different sort of maniple – a Perpetua in particular could make excellent use of this, as the fact that you aren’t moving will also give you an additional repair die in the Damage Control phase. Consider also a pair of Warlords in an Extergimus combining their voids in a critical turn to deny shots into armor when it counts. This stratagem is still probably too expensive for general use, but if you’re willing to take a flier on building around it, there might be something there worth trying.

The Titans of Legio Astraman can upgrade their weapons with the Ordinance trait via their Maglock Shells Wargear. A weapon upgraded gains +1 bonus to all armor rolls, at a cost of +5 points per dice of the weapon. Ordinance weapons typically have a high rate of fire, meaning this upgrade can get expensive quickly – Reaver gatling blasters will run you 45 points, Warlord macro-gatlings will cost you 60, and paired gatlings on a Warlord will run you a staggering 90 points.

This high cost is often worth it, though: the pairing of the +1 bonus and the Ordinance trait’s rerolls is beautiful, giving you some unusually nasty weapons and turning what’s already a solid weapon into one of the best finishers in the game. Gatling blasters often require a few solid hits into armour before they can finish off a target, and this equipment lowers this threshold for Reavers, and turns your Warlord’s macro-gatling into a legitimate threat against nearly all targets.

Bair: This. This is why you’re choosing this legio. Damn this is cool. 

The Princeps Senioris of the Morning Stars have three different personal traits to choose from.

A Princeps with the Steadfast trait can override their engine’s machine spirit, allowing them to choose the result when failing a Machine Spirit test at the expense of having to increase the reactor again. Unfortunately, you’re probably putting your Princeps in a Warlord or Reaver, which means you’re passing Awakened Machine Spirit checks at 3+ or 4+ respectively. This wouldn’t normally be amazing, but if you shove your Princeps in a Fortis maniple’s Reaver, you could push aggressively for Voids to Full! and have about a 1-in-20 chance of picking the most advantageous result on the Machine Spirit table every time someone fires at your Titan.

A Princeps with the Diligent trait can issue Emergency Repairs without command check. We would suggest taking another trait as a Princeps’ command bonus will often make passing any orders easily and in the case of modifiers that made this challenging you could use Iron Resolve to auto-pass this or any other critical orders – after you’ve failed the check.

Lastly, a Legio Astraman Princeps with the Immovable Bastion trait allows you to smash or melee attack back after being charged. Unfortunately, most Titans that are going to charge you either don’t particularly care if they take a hit in return (chainfist Reavers fishing for VSG Burnout) or can all but guarantee the kill into a Reaver or Warhound. Potentially interesting on a Warlord with power claw, since it might be able to survive the charge and threaten to kill whatever charged it. Not great on anything else.

Legio Astraman Warlord. Credit – Simon Fearn

Maniple Choice

Legio Astraman’s abilities are flexible and can complement most maniples and the God-Engines within them. Regardless of which maniple you bring, make sure you’re taking at least a handful of gatling blasters and macro-gatlings – the Morning Stars’ Maglock Rounds wargear can make these into real monsters.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a 1500 point list which takes advantage of the unique rules Legio Astraman offers. This list is a solid starting point for a beginning player, but also has plenty of options for a veteran to play around with:

Legio Astraman Battlegroup – 1750 pts

Fortis Battleline Maniple – 1550 pts

Reaver Titan

  • Princeps Senioris – Stalwart
  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Chainfist
  • Gatling Blaster
    • Maglock rounds
  • Wargear: Bastion Shielding

Warlord Titan

  • Macro-Gatling Blaster
    • Maglock rounds
  • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator
  • Paired Gatling Blasters
  • Wargear: Tracking Gyroscopes

Reaver Titan

  • Gatling Blaster
    • Maglock rounds
  • Melta Cannon
  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Wargear: Bastion Shielding

Reaver Titan

  • Laser Blaster
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Apocalypse Missile Launcher
  • Wargear: Bastion Shielding

Knight Support – 200

Cerastus Knight Atrapos Banner

  • 2x Knight Atrapos

While bringing a Fortis might seem odd in a legion that has a strat that lets you share voids anyway, consider that taking this lets you potentially get mileage out of your legio trait without having to spend the 3SP, as well as letting you still share voids while you’re moving to get into position early. This list will give you a tough to crack set of Titans that can recover from all but the deadliest salvos and return fire with a vengeance.

The play here is pretty straightforward: move up, grab your objective, and never let go. The Warlord is your standard Brawler loadout with even more punch than usual thanks to maglock rounds on the macro-gatling. Similarly, the two Reavers with gatlings get to fire them at an effective strength 6, potentially letting you get the killing blow in on a key target an activation or two earlier than you might otherwise.

One of your Reavers will advance up the field with the Warlord and plant itself in base to base contact to merge its voids against serious threats – think carefully about which one you plant in front, as one of them will screen for the other. While your opponent’s force is still at range, consider using the Emergency Repairs order in combination with your legion trait to potentially repair three times a round, keeping your voids lit even under punishing fire. The other gatling-equipped Reaver will do the same while protecting your laser/volcano Reaver. Then, when they get closer, two gatling Reavers can move forward to block movement and potentially get in a charge while the Warlord and volcano Reaver dish out some serious pain once voids are down.

The Knight Banner here is really fun and goes alongside all the Reavers well, it adds a speedier element to your list with Knights that are a little less prone to being blow up immediately by some blast weapons, decreasing their strength when hit. They’re great at hitting larger Titans too with re-rolls of 1 to hit against Scale 7+ targets (that’s anything bigger than a Warhound) with Concussive blast weapons that can cause hilarious collisions or mess up their arcs. Their S6 Fusion arms might not seem like much, but since they’re always using D10’s for armour rolls you have a worse chance of straight up failing, average the same as S8 weapons rolling D6’s, and have a higher potential threshold getting up to a 16 result if you’re lucky.

If you wanted to change up wargear, you could shift things around to give another Reaver a chainfist. You could also change which Titans have maglock rounds – putting them on the Warlord’s carapace weapon is expensive at 60 points, but if you can get a round or two of shooting with them into armour, it’s likely to be worth it. Just be careful of your minimum range so smaller targets don’t duck under them.

Stratagem-wise, Great Crusade Titans is a great pick to make Charge orders easier to make combined with adding a bunch of bonus attacks – use it to throw your Reavers at a target you want to destroy and fish for VSG Burnout on the charge. Iron Resolve is always a great insurance policy in case a 1 is rolled on a Command check, letting you get the orders you need when you need them. The best options for the rest of your SP will come down to the mission and the terrain – if there’s no obvious candidate, Concealment Barrage or a Tertiary objective would do nicely.

Playing against Astraman 

Keep in mind that any upgraded gatling weapons are going to sting that much more so be ready for them, especially the macro-gatling, which becomes an effective S8, letting it potentially cause critical damage to Warhound bodies even without being tracked and making it a legitimate threat to nearly any target.

Try to finish off any targets in one combat phase after dropping voids, as Strength and Resolve will shrug off incoming bonuses to damaged structure in the following turn – potentially denying vital Engine Kills. And once those shields are down, don’t expect them to stay that way – between their legio trait and stratagems, they can throw an awful lot of repair dice toward relighting voids while sharing shields to keep exposed engines in the fight.

Legio Astraman Reaver. Credit – Simon Fearn

Objective Secured

Legio Astraman’s options can be a bit tough to get mileage out of, but if you’re able to leverage them and open up a target, you’ll be able to quickly bring them down under a withering hail of Ordnance weapons. Just be aware you’ll need to be careful with your positioning – getting the most out of their kit will require you to find a spot to defend and give up your movement to stay in the fight.