Warlord Wednesdays: Legion Focus – Legio Audax

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.

Who are Legio Audax?

Soggy: Even if you don’t want to read all of the Horus Heresy books, if you haven’t read Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden you totally should go do that now.

The Ember Wolves were defined by their doctrine of war, which was uncommon and put them at odds with their peers in the Collegia Titanica. They exclusively used Scout Titans, fielding them in hunting packs and used their agility to allow them to ambush and strike their prey on their own terms.

During the Great Crusade, they were assigned to the “Bloody Thirteenth” Expeditionary Force where they would fight alongside the 12th Legion, the World Eaters. This pairing was a natural one, as both were estranged from their peers and favoured the direct approach of crushing their foes in close.

It was during their compliance actions that they would liberate the Forge World of Sarum, who would gift both Titan Legio and the Word Bearer’s flagship with Ursus Claws. These weapons were the Ember Wolves signature weapon, allowing their hunting packs to surround and topple the largest of God-Engines.

Painting Legio Audax

We asked @sonoffenris (IG) to share his Ember Wolves Battlegroup with us and how he replicated their trademark mottled ember paint scheme.

Legio Audax Warhound – Credit: @sonoffenris (Instagram)

Base Coat: GW Chaos Black Spray
Metal Chassis: Drybrush of GW Leadbelcher, followed by wash of GW Nuln Oil
Panels: Stippled GW Mephiston Red with an old makeup brush
Trim: Vallejo Oro 77.725 Gold
The Panels are then washed with GW Agrax Earthshade and some 2mm brass chains found on ebay to finish off.

Audax in Adeptus Titanicus

Tactical Overview

Legio Audax is the Traitors’ premier Warhound-specialist legion. Everything they have is focused around making their Scout Titans as effective as possible. Their Wolves Among Prey trait prevents them from taking any Titans larger than scale 6, which means that they can currently only bring Warhounds. In exchange, they can form squadrons of up to five Titans, and can form squadrons with Titans that aren’t in the same maniple. This isn’t something you’ll use often, since it doesn’t play well with the Lupercal’s maniple trait (if you squadron across maniples, you’re stuck with that squadron until the only surviving Titans are in the same maniple), but if you bring a pair of Canis maniples it might be worth considering. Really, this traint is the price you pay for the other options that Audax brings.

Their other trait, Stalk Unseen imposes a -2 penalty to hit Audax Titans that are 25% obscured in the first round rather than the usual -1. This lets them play more aggressively as they move to cross the board and makes it that much more likely that their voids will still be up at the top of the second round. It’s not a huge buff, but it does mean that they can risk grouping up a little more to try to merge voids in the first turn if you want a little more staying power since your opponent’s shooting is much less reliable.

Reinforced Plating is one of the better wargear choices in the game. For 15 points, it imposes a -1 penalty on all armor rolls against the Titan it’s equipped on. This not only lets them shrug off lower-strength firepower, it also makes it harder for enemies to land devastating or critical hits on them. Equipping this on your Warhounds won’t make them as durable as a Warlord, but it might give them just enough durability to turn the tables in your favor.

Bair: This upgrade is amazing, always take it. 

Audax’s other legion specific wargear isn’t an upgrade you buy. Instead, it just makes one of the weapons they could already take better: it improves the strength of their Ursus Claws from 3 to 4. This is a hefty improvement in effectiveness for the claws and is fitting that Audax are one of the best legions at using these incredibly cool-looking weapons. There’s just one problem: Ursus Claws are bad.

We regret to inform you. Credit: TheChirurgeon

Here’s the thing: while Ursus Claws do have the potential to do a whole pile of damage to their target, there’s also always a minimum 1-in-6 chance on every hit that you’ll deal a devastating hit to your own Titans, and then a further chance that all the Ursus Claws you committed to that attack will be disabled without the ability to repair them. And while you might drag down a Warlord with enough of them, even the Ember Wolves need at least 3 of the things to actually hit to have a 50% chance of not tearing their own legs off in the process. In order to use this weapon, you need to close to within 12″ and take the risk that you’ll damage yourself. All this comes together to make for an unreliable and risky weapon.

Condit: All this being said, Audax is probably the best at using claws – the extra strength is really handy and makes them a little more reliable into all targets. Just be aware that one bad roll on a coordinated strike could have catastrophic consequences.

This isn’t to say that Ursus Claws are useless – bring enough of them and you can do serious damage to an enemy’s legs even before dropping their voids. However, they won’t compete with the standard vulcan megabolter/plasma blastgun loadout for raw damage output. Bring them if you think they’re cool, but they’re definitely a weapon where you need to prepare for the worst, even as you hope for the best. If you’re dead set on using them, keep in mind that they’re more effective against smaller targets, since you don’t need additional hits to pump up the strength. Use them to take away smaller Titans’ agility, then go in for the kill once they’re sitting ducks.

The Ember Wolves have a solid set of princeps traits that are all worth a look. Pack Alpha lets friendly Legio Audax Titans within 3” of the princeps reroll 1s on command checks. Combined with the bonus from issuing squadron orders, this will make orders reliable despite your Warhounds’ 5+ command stat.

If you’d rather focus on making your princeps deadlier in its own right, look no further than Cull the Weak – this trait lets you re-roll failed armor rolls against a location that’s already suffered critical damage. A princeps equipped with turbo-laser destructors and vulcan mega-bolters could use this trait to deliver consistent finishing blows to wounded Titans. You probably won’t want it as your first trait, but since you can only bring Warhounds it’s even easier than usual to fit in a second maniple.

Master of Ambush allows your princeps to benefit from the Stalk Unseen trait for the first two rounds of the game, allowing them to shrug off more damage as your trap springs on your prey. Of the three traits, this is the hardest to make the best use of due to its limited use. Probably skip it.

Legio Audax Warhound. Credit – WarhammerCommunity

Maniple Choice

This one’s a lot easier than usual, as they really only get two choices. Wolves Among Prey means they can only take Warhounds as of this writing, and the only maniples whose only elements are all Warhounds are the Lupercal and the Audax-exclusive Canis Light Maniple. Luckily for Ember Wolves principes, both of them are excellent choices.

The Lupercal is as good here as it is anywhere, and only gets better when combined with Audax’s Reinforced Plating which allows them to play a little more aggressively to take advantage of the maniple trait.

The Canis is the star of the show, though, and you’ll want to bring one in every battlegroup. Rather than deploying normally, Warhounds in a Canis place “Pack Ambush” markers on the board anywhere more than 6” from the enemy deployment zone. Then, after the deployment phase, those Warhounds are set up anywhere within 3” of one of the markers, with the caveat that if they’re placed outside their deployment zone, they have to be at least 50% obscured from all enemies.

The control over your deployment here is incredible. With smart placement of your ambush tokens, you’ll be able to deploy aggressively to start bringing the fight to your enemy in the first turn, denying them that first round of uncontested shooting that most Warhound-heavy lists have to worry about. The biggest restriction here is obstruction. This makes the Canis better on maps with lots of terrain where you can credibly threaten to deploy far forward on the board without giving your opponent an opportunity to deny you that deployment.

Legio Audax Warhounds – Credit: @sonoffenris (Instagram)

You’ll also want to keep in mind the restrictions that aren’t there. The biggest one here is that you aren’t limited to deploying a single Warhound to each ambush token. Look for opportunities to place tokens in places where you might be able to drop more than one Titan, then use that to try and draw your opponent’s deployment into a disadvantageous position. You’re playing a shell game here, so keep them moving and shuffle your pieces around to take advantage of your opponent’s mistakes.

Soggy: Due to its low point investment, it’s very worthwhile considering ‘splashing’ Legio Audax and taking a small Canis maniple to complement another Legio. The deployment shenanigans of the Canis Maniple are easily worth the 2SP it will grant your opponent.

Legio Audax Battlegroup – 1460 pts

Canis Light Maniple – 685 points

  • Warhound Titan – 215 pts
      • Audax Ursus Claw
      • Vulcan Megabolter
      • Reinforced Plating
      • Princeps: Pack Alpha
  • Warhound Titan – 235 pts
      • Audax Ursus Claw
      • Plasma Blastgun
      • Reinforced Plating
  • Warhound Titan– 235 pts
    • Audax Ursus Claw
    • Plasma Blastgun
    • Reinforced Plating

Lupercal Light Maniple – 695 points

  • Warhound Titan – 225 Points
      • Turbo-laser Destructor
      • Vulcan Megabolter
      • Reinforced Plating
      • Princeps: Cull the Weak
  • Warhound Titan – 235 Points
      • Plasma Blastgun
      • Vulcan Megabolter
      • Reinforced Plating
  • Warhound Titan – 235 Points
    • Plasma Blastgun
    • Vulcan Megabolter
    • Reinforced Plating

This list is built to play aggressively, leading off with forward-deployed ursus claw Warhounds to stop outflanking threats while the remaining Titans strip shields, then pivoting to attack with a pair of three-activation coordinated strikes that will threaten to overwhelm anything you point them at. We’ve equipped every Warhound with Reinforced Plating, which will help keep them alive once their shields vanish later in the game.

The first thing you’ll notice is the three ursus claws in this list. While we did say ursus claws are bad, they’re also cool as hell. So as long as we’re here, let’s do what we can to get use out of them. The Lupercal doesn’t give a bonus for it, since instead of getting the flat bonus to coordinated strikes, ursus claws scale with the number of hits you can land. Instead, we’ve put them in the Canis maniple to take advantage of the forward deployment shenanigans to get them within 12” as soon as possible. Use the terrain to your advantage and deploy all three as a squadron. Then choose a target, run in, and bring them down. With the Audax upgrade, a single Warhound will damage a Warhound on a 3+, or a Reaver on a 5+. Take out their fastest movers first, then combine your efforts to immobilize the big stuff. Try to set up for Split Fire orders as well and add the bolter and plasma shots to your Lupercal’s fire to bring down shields on other targets.

In early turns, you’ll want to play the Lupercal as three separate activations. Use the megabolters and turbo-lasers to knock down shields, then set up for a pair of three-Titan coordinated strikes to destroy your targets. Start with the plasma/bolter hounds to open up armor, then identify a weak spot and use the laser/bolter Princeps to Cull the Weak for those delicious re-rolls on the armor roll.

You’ll want to strongly consider bringing both Profane Blessing and Obscuration Barrage. Obscuration Barrage will let you shut off firing lanes, and can also give you the 25% obscuration you need to get the -2 to hit your Titans turn 1. Put at least one copy of Profane Blessing on a Warhound in the Canis – it’ll let you re-roll a failure to damage a Titan with an ursus claw so you don’t damage yourself.

Playing against Audax

Audax is all Warhounds, which means they’ll be running towards you to get into range. Try taking Tertiary Objectives such as A Score to Settle, Titanic Decapitation, or if you’re playing a loyalist force then Just for the Fallen; each of these are easier to score than normally against a list of only Warhounds (and maybe Knights). Other strats to consider would be Thermal Mines which can nuke a Warhound on its own with some luck, Scatterable Mines to help deter the enemy from pushing up as quickly, and Strafing Run to help strip the shields off the shorter shield tracks of Warhounds. 

Be careful of their deployment games with the Canis maniple – you’ll probably see this in every game, and while it’s a pain to deal with there’s definitely counterplay. In order to deploy to a forward position, your opponent will have to place the tokens in a location where you won’t be able to get vision on it. If you can deny your opponent use of one of their ambush tokens, that will drastically cut down their aggression. Just keep in mind that they’re able to deploy more than one Titan to the same token, so if you’re not careful on your deployment you could have several Warhounds pop up at the same forward location.

Don’t be afraid to use effects that give you a bonus to hit or let you re-roll hits early. Warhounds aren’t as effective until they can close, and Stalk Unseen lets them mitigate your first turn’s firepower unless you’ve got some way to get around it. Consider focusing on Warhounds in Lupercals early on to cut down on their ability to game their activation count – Titans deployed to a Canis are stuck in their squadron for the game, but Lupercal Titans get more flexibility.

Legio Audax Warhound. Credit – WarhammerCommunity

Unleash the Hounds

Legio Audax favor aggressive play where they can make use of their Warhounds’ speed and agility combined with some surprising durability to outwit their opponents and deliver powerful counter-blows. Drag down your opponent’s God-Engines and show them that Warhounds are not to be underestimated.