Warlord Wednesdays: Legion Focus – Legio Atarus

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 Atarus, a young Legio with a lot to prove and their fresh mindset gives them a fresh perspective to Titan warfare, introduced to the game in the Titandeath supplement

Legio Atarus Warlord. Credit – Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub)

Who are Legio Atarus?

One of the younger members of the Collegia Titanica, the Firebrands were largely untrusted by their peers and the Mechanicum at first during the Great Crusade, due to their Phaeton heritage.

Phaeton was the most productive Forgeworld after Mars and was fiercely independent, leading to increasing tensions which nearly reached a breaking point – until Phaeton gave in to tithe a third of their forces to Mars. Instead of following through, the Techpriests of Phaeton sent the force on a random vector. These forces eventually settled the Forge World Atar-Median, where Atarus were founded.

During the Great Crusade they took part in numerous compliance actions, most notable at War of the Shedim Drifts. Atarus were fielded by the Warmaster as a diversionary attack and ultimately the full demi-Legio was used as a sacrificial pawn while the Warmaster struck elsewhere. During this last stand, Legio Mortis and the Fureans refused to come to their aid – a grudge they didn’t have to wait long to claim on.

At the Istvaan Dropsite Massacre they became the first Loyalist Legio, blaring their warhorns eager to settle the score with Legio Mortis. The maniples present made the traitors pay a costly toll becoming legend, their names being recommissioned and kept in constant service within the Legio.

Legio Atarus Battlegroup at Legio Walks WHW. Credit – Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub)

Painting Legio Atarus

We asked Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub) who Soggy and Bair had the pleasure of meeting at The Legio Walks  Warhammer World how he painted up his battlegroup

Preparation & White Paneling

Start with grey car spray undercoat, then airbrush a gradient from Karak Stone up to Ushabti Bone over all panels that are going to have white on them. Wash and panel-line with thin seraphim sepia (hard to avoid tidemarks so I may swap this for spraying enamel pigment and dabbing off in future). Then added an airbrushed white layer to the gradients for higher contrast on white panels

Red Paneling

The red panels are then done by airbrushing a pre-shade: white over upper parts of panels and black over lower/shadowed parts of panels. Then it’s thinned Fleshtearer’s Contrast paint by airbrush (the Contrast range flows so beautifully through an airbrush) to get that deep red gradient effect.

The rest of the owl

The Metals are nothing special – silver spray, leadbelcher, contrast paints to tint some metallic components bronze/copper etc

Legio Atarus Warhound. Credit – Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub)

Atarus in Adeptus Titanicus

The Firebrands heritage and relative youth is represented in their rules, their fierce independence and flexibility giving them a number of interesting tricks and powerful Personal Traits. 

Tactical Overview

Legion Traits

The Firebrands’ legion trait, Seizing the Initiative, lets them re-roll their initiative roll in the first round. If they use this trat and win, they must take the Opus. If you want to go first in the first battle round (and you often will), this will help you do that. Just keep in mind that if you build a list where you want to give up the Opus round one, you’re essentially giving up a legion trait.

Stratagems

For 1 point, Impetuous Machine Spirit gives you a way to mitigate the impact of an awakened machine spirit. Rather than rolling on the machine spirit table, you instead automatically apply the “Impetuous” result, and add 2” to the distance it moves you. This won’t come into play often, but when it does, you could be thankful for it – avoiding a lost activation is always nice. Particularly interesting on a Warlord, where the average of 5”-6” is the distance you’d be able to move with a push anyway. Just make sure you’ve set yourself up with a clear route.

Soggy: In a world where that 1 point could be Long Retreat or another Obscuration Barrage, I find this really hard to justify and bank on.

Maniple of One is a unique effect that can be a nasty trick if it’s played right. Choose a Titan, and replace its maniple trait with another one of your choice for the round. It doesn’t count as being part of any maniple for that round, but using this stratagem opens up some unusual tricks that could be very useful for you with the right timing – not to mention frustrating for your opponent. Unfortunately, not all of the maniple traits will work here – about half of the maniple traits only work if the Titan is in a maniple with another Titan. Here are the ones you can use:

  • Myrmidon – Could be used to get a 2+ on a First Fire or Split Fire order on a key Titan. It’s cute but rather situational. It’s also currently the only way to get the Myrmidon’s bonus onto a Warbringer Nemesis, which could be an excellent candidate for either order with the right loadout.
  • Corsair – Moonwalk out of that Warlord’s firing arc and return fire with any Titan of your choice. Step back to stay out of your enemy’s charge range while still blazing away. Shimmy around that Warlord to poke your chainfist into its vulnerable flank. Use this open-ended movement to do something unexpected for a turn. It’s important to mention that a better version of this ability (as you can use boosted movement and applies to the whole maniple) is available via The Long Retreat for 1 point, so if you know you’re going to want this trick up your sleeve, take that. However, the flexibility offered by Maniple of One makes taking both at least worth considering.
  • Janissary – Can be used to activate a nearby Knight Banner immediately after finishing the Titan’s activation. Normally not really worth it compared to other options, but is more interesting here, where it lets you follow up a Titan’s charge with a charge from a banner of Knights before your opponent has a chance to react. Bonus points if both charges go into the same Warlord.
  • Lupercal – Give one Warhound the ability to get +2 instead of +1 on armour rolls when performing a coordinated strike. You’re really scraping the barrel here if you’re counting on this one.
    • Condit: It’s actually unclear whether this even works. Rules as written, there’s nothing stopping you from putting two Titans in different maniples in a squadron; the only restriction is that you can’t put a support Titan and a Titan in a maniple in the same squad. Since Maniple of One makes the nominated Titan not count as though it’s in a maniple, that could mean that if you use this on a Warhound in a squadron, it becomes a support Titan and loses the ability to be in its squadron, becoming a singleton Titan, at which point it could no longer make a coordinated strike and couldn’t benefit from this rule. However, 
  • Ferrox – The Knife Fighters trait is one of our favourites, granting the Titan of your choice +1 on armour rolls and swapping WS and BS when within 2”
  • Ruptura (Reaver only) – One of your Reavers can use boosted movement for free this turn. Another one that’s pretty situational, but could come in handy if your Reaver needs to get off the board with Vital Cargo/Titan Crew and can’t risk the reactor or machine spirit.

The Ferrox’s trait is a good “default” choice to aim for if no other opportunities arise – letting a Reaver with a chainfist bring its other guns to bear in close for a turn will make your close-in attacks that much more reliable.

The other maniple traits due have their uses depending on the scenario and other battlefield conditions.

Soggy: At 2 points it may initially seem overcosted compared to other stratagems, but what you are paying for is flexibility. Other Stratagems don’t have 6 different effects you can pick from once the game is underway.

Wargear

Infernus Missiles cost 15 points, but aren’t particularly powerful. When you fire them, you leave a 5” blast template underneath your target. Anything standing on it at the end of the round takes a strength 4 hit to the legs, which won’t do much to a Warhound (or anything to a Reaver or Warlord) until you’ve racked up some damage on the structure track, but could be a pain for Knights if you catch a few of them in the template. The hit also ignores voids, which is a mixed blessing, and goes directly to the legs of a Titan. Finally, if you hit a piece of terrain with it, it catches fire and starts burning down, taking a hit in each End phase and dealing a hit to all models standing in it. Not the best option, but if you’ve got the points in your list and took an AML, you might as well.

Personal Traits

Headstrong lets your Princeps keep the order it was issued from the previous turn without making a command check. This sounds cool until you see what else Atarus has on offer.

Unconventional Thinker fills a similar niche as Swift Killer in that it lets you reposition when it’s not your turn. When an enemy Titan declares an action in the movement or combat phase, your Princeps moves d6” in any direction and rotates up to 90 degrees. You can only use it once a game, but it’s a very nice effect. You can use the movement to retreat, close, or even duck behind cover, and the 90 degree turn lets you cover unexpected moves from your opponent in a way that other legions just can’t. 

Shedim Drift Veteran lets your Princeps choose a weapon each round and re-roll all armor rolls from that weapon. Reliable sources of re-rolls are always good to have in Titanicus, and this one is worth it. As an added bonus, if you’re across the table from Legio Mortis or Legio Fureans, you can re-roll armor rolls from all your weapons, not just one. This sounds situational until you get out there and see the sheer number of Mortis and Fureans battlegroups out there – you’ll get a lot of mileage out of this.

Legio Atarus Reaver. Credit – Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub)

Maniple Choice

Unlike some of their peers, the Firebrands’ traits don’t really promote the use of one Maniple over another. This flexibility allows you to assemble a battlegroup and play the way you want. That said, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind while building your battlegroup.

First, Maniple of One gives you some flexibility to try something different and fall back on staples like Knife Fighters when it’d be most impactful, as well as letting you give maniple traits to chassis that wouldn’t normally be to use them, such as letting a Warbringer benefit from the Myrmidon’s trait. You can add to this flexibility with Swift Killer or Unconventional Thinker to let your princeps cover gaps as well.

This flexibility is also best paired with a list that offers you a variety of options in engaging your opponent to best take advantage of your ability to focus tightly on a particular tactic in a crucial phase. Make sure to bring at least one fire-support Titan and at least one close-range brawler, then fill out the rest of your list to taste.

On the equipment side of things, Infernus Missiles aren’t the strongest upgrade, but are great for filling the gaps in lists these days now that you can’t just get an Acastus Banner for 100 points when fielding Reavers and Warlords. If you’ve got the points and an AML in your list, you might as well take them. Use them on Warhounds and Knights until you’ve put a point or two of damage on larger models.

Shedim Drift Veteran is one of the strongest Personal Traits in the game and is almost worth building a Maniple around by itself. It’s best on “hybrid” weapons, like the Sunfury plasma annihilator, laser blasters, or a macro-gatling blaster, making it a better fit for larger chassis.

All in all, Atarus wind up having some surprising flexibility for a legion that’s supposed to be headstrong and impetuous. They can have an answer for every situation, though it will take some finesse to get the most use out of them.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at a sample 1500 point list that takes advantage of the unique rules Legio Dauntless offers. We’ve written a few 1500 point sample lists by now, so while the double-minimum Ferrox Maniple is certainly a tempting choice here, we’ve gone with something we think is a bit more interesting to build around.

Legio Atarus Battlegroup – 1465 pts

Ruptura Battleline Maniple – 1465 pts

Reaver Titan – 315 pts 

  • Princeps Senioris – Shedim Drift Veteran
  • Turbo Laser Destructor
  • Chainfist
  • Laser Blaster

Reaver Titan – 325 pts 

  • Apocalypse Missile Launcher – Infernus Missiles
  • Melta Cannon
  • Gatling Blaster

Warbringer Nemesis Titan – 430 pts 

  • Bellicosa Volcano Cannon
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Laser Blaster

Warbringer Nemesis Titan – 395 pts 

  • Mori Quake Cannon
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Laser Blaster

The Ruptura Maniple isn’t something you’ll see too often at this point bracket, but with the Firebrands traits this is a fun list that will give some opponents pause. You’ve got 4 fairly durable Titans with a load of firepower which will require your opponent to focus fire if they want to reduce your number of activations.

The Reavers will push up the field using the free boost each turn, together with the burst of speed whenever one of the Warbringers manages to take something down. The Princeps Senioris is a Shedim Rift Veteran, with two weapons that will make good use of the trait – the Laser Blaster and the Powerfist. Consider taking Maniple of One to give them the Knife Fighters trait to do some serious damage when they get into charge range. 

The Warbringers will drop pie plates everywhere, levelling terrain and vaporizing Knight Banners. This’ll be even more fun with terrain destruction rules, as the sheer amount of firepower combined with the other Reaver’s Infernus Missiles will set the table ablaze, making for an interesting stiuation. 

Try to drop voids with the Reavers first to allow the Warbringers the chance to make the most of their anti-armour weapons and trigger the free movement. The boosted move from the Ruptura’s maniple trait will give you a little more room to push for Shield Bane to chip away at those voids.

Playing against Atarus

While not as immediately strong as some other members of the Collegia Titanica, there are a number of things to consider when facing the  Firebrands. They will more likely than not get first turn if they want it due to Seizing the Initiative. It’s unlikely you’ll want to pop Dominant Strategist immediately, but something to bear in mind during deployment.

Watch out for their Princeps Seniores as their traits can decide the outcome of a battle. A Shedim Rift Veteran will chew up any targets without voids, so try and deny them shots before you can take them down. An Unconventional Thinker is a wildcard, a challenging target when you get close as they can avoid charges or move into your flank before you fire – try and focus them down from range to avoid being caught out.

Lastly, be aware of shenanigans from Maniple of One. While certainly not game breaking, your opponent could choose to put one of their Titans into their own Corsair or Ferrox for the turn, making them a dangerous target up close.

Legio Atarus Warhound. Credit – Peter Martin (IG: @waaagh_uzgub)

Prove Your Worth

Upstarts before the Istvaan Dropsite Massacre, the headstrong Firebrands’ approach to the battlefield comes with some powerful tricks up their sleeves between Maniple of One and their Princeps Traits. Their rules can work well with any force you want to run, but will require a little bit more finesse than some other Legios.

Have any questions or feedback for us? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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