Warlord Wednesdays: Legion Focus – Legio Magna

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 Magna, an incredibly aggressive force which excels at close range combat. However, unlike the peerless duelists of Legio Gryphonicus or Legio Vulpa’s focused fury, the Flaming Skulls are less restrained, limiting their enemies’ options as they close, then going all in with a decisive charge to win the day.

Legio Magna Battlegroup. Credit – @paintingarmoury (twitter/IG)

Who are Legio Magna?

Legio Magna were one of the smaller members of the Collegia Titantica, originally hailing from the Forgeworld of Estaban VII. Throughout the Great Crusade, the Flaming Skulls fought alongside the Sons of Horus and Word Bearers. This resulted in a close bond that would see the Legio walk for the Warmaster.

Legio Magna Titans were the first to open fire in what would ultimately result in the Schism of Mars. Later during the Heresy, after the Titandeath of Beta-Garmon Loyalist survivors fled to Ryza to rally. Estaban’s Fabricator-Locum was responsible for the capture of the world and fielded the Legion alongside Legio Mortis and Vulturum, ultimately laying waste to the jewel of the ‘Furnace of the Shackled Stars’.

Painting Legio Magna

We asked Goonhammer’s resident social media expert Neon to walk us through how they painted their Flaming Skulls.

Legio Magna Warbringer – Credit: Neon (IG: @neon_mentor)

“Prime everything black, preferably a glossy black as colourshift paint takes easier and has the most pronounced effect. Running some gloss varnish or even just Nuln Oil Gloss over regular black primer works.

Naturally, working in subassemblies with the carapace armour unattached is the way to go.

Orange Armour:

-Airbrush any orange armour panels with 4-5 coats of Turbo Dork ‘Ground is Lava’. The first few passes won’t look right but keep going until you’ve got a nice even coating. Depending on the angle and lighting it will shift from orange through to pink/purple so move it about at different angles and elevations to check the effect.

-Panel line/recess shade with 1:1 Contrast Wyldwood/Contrast Medium.

Black Armour:

-Basecoat with Citadel Abaddon Black Air or Scale75 Decay Black.

-Layer Citadel Corax Black, leaving the darker black in the recesses and shadows.

-Highlight Scale 75 Necro Black along the raised curves of the armour.

-Edge Highlight Scale 75 Ryleth Grey

White Armour:

-Basecoat Citadel Corax White.

-Wash with a 2:1 mix of Contrast Apothecary White/Contrast Medium

-Lightly drybrush Vallejo Game Colour Ghost Grey with a makeup brush, small circular motions work well.

-Panel line with a 2:1 mix of Contrast Medium/Contrast Wyldwood. Tidy up with Vallejo Game Colour Ghost Grey.

Legio Magna Warbringer – Credit: Neon (IG: @neon_mentor

Chassis/Mechanics/Guns:

-Basecoat Citadel Iron Warrior, avoiding the tips of the guns about a 1/5 to a ¼ down the barrel.

-Airbrush 4-5 coats of Turbo Dork Miami Sunset on the barrels of the guns left previously. Again tilt and elevate the model to check if the effect is working properly as you go.

-Wash all over the silver metal with 1:1 Contrast Bastilicanum Grey/Contrast Medium. 

-Drybrush the silver metal with Citadel Iron Warrior, then Leadbelcher, then target the corners and raised areas with a lighter drybrush of Ironbreaker. Allow some mild spillover between the colourshift and the silver.

-Panel line and wash any vents, joints and otherwise high-stress areas of the silver metal with 1:1 Contrast Wyldwood/Contrast Medium, re-drybrush with Ironbreaker if needed.

-Panel line the colourshifted areas with Citadel Carroberg Crimson, moving to Citadel Druchii Purple as you near the tip of the gun. Drybrush the entry of the barrel very lightly with Ironbreaker.

Gold Trim:

-Basecoat Scale 75 Necro Gold.

-Wash with 1:1 Contrast Bastilicanum Grey/Contrast Medium.

-Edge Highlight with Scale 75 Peridot Alchemy.

-Edge Highlight the corners with Scale 75 Citrine Alchemy

-Dot the sharpest points with Citadel Stormhost Silver.

Black Trim:

-Basecoat Scale 75 Decay Black.

-Carefully highlight Scale 75 Despair Green. On the pictured mini I was selective with which edges I picked out, trying to follow a single light source.

-Edge Highlight the very peaks of the previously highlighted areas with Scale 75 Innsmouth Blue.

Legio Magna Warbringer – Credit: Neon (IG: @neon_mentor)

Glowy Bitz:

-Basecoat Citadel Corax White. Ensure a smooth, even basecoat.

-Wash with Citadel Tesseract Glow, any spillover is fine. Wash with a 2:1 mix of Tesseract Glow/Contrast Medium if areas look patchy.

-Highlight prominent areas with Scale 75 Fluor Speed Yellow to add a bit more punch.

-Dot with pure white of choice.

Legio Magna in Adeptus Titanicus

Legio Magna favours the direct approach, preferably applied via a Reaver’s chainfist or melta cannon. They have a great set of rules that complement this playstyle, while still remaining distinct from other close-combat specialized forces.

Legio Magna Reaver. Credit – @paintingarmoury (twitter/IG)

Tactical Overview

The God-Engines of Legio Magna go to war blaring Howls of the Damned, which instill sheer terror in their enemies. What this means on the table is that all non-Magna Titans reduce command check rolls by 1 and can’t re-roll failed checks while they’re within 8” of one of your Titans. This is a useful trait once you have closed on your prey as it can prevent counter-charges or last ditch First Fire orders. There are some fine details to notice though – it applies to all Titans that belong to other legions, including your own, so splashing in another maniple is even less palatable here than usual. It also completely ignores Knights, which means you don’t have to worry about your own Knight banners, but does mean this does nothing against a Knight Household force.

Bair: I think this reads on paper as being kind of meh but in practice could do a lot of harm, especially to Legios with innate re rolls trying to get crucial orders off. 

Depending on how you want to engage your enemy in close range, you have two powerful stratagems for each approach. Do you want to crush the enemy engines in melee combat or at short range with a devastating salvo?

If you’re looking for a decisive charge, look no further than Battle Fervour. This stratagem allows you to issue charge orders to all Flaming Skulls titans without a command check for 3SP, and allows those Titans to reroll 1s to hit with melee weapons that round. This is not a cheap stratagem, but having guaranteed charges and re-rolls to make sure those hits land is massive when focusing around close combat tactics. Just watch out for a Vox Blackout…

Soggy: The amount of times I’ve seen Condit roll a 1 to charge with his melee Legio Vulpa force is heartbreaking.

Condit: How rude.

Bair: So starting Legio Magna when Condit…? Remember that time (pick one) when you actually did get the charge off only to roll multiple 1’s to hit?

Condit: 

Their second stratagem, Spearhead Assault, gives all Magna Titans +1 to hit and +1 to armour rolls against targets within 8” of them, but gives up a +1 on armour rolls to incoming attacks from enemy Titans that target your side or rear arc.  This stratagem is very powerful but does require some finesse to use – a cunning opponent will be wise to this and try to keep outside of 8” where possible to prevent this from paying off. At 2SP, it’s a steal for its incredibly powerful effect, and can be combined with other strats to give you a powerful closing strike. 

Soggy: Despite its name and description, I think this would be best used if you can get in on the flank, favouring Warhounds with Vulcan Mega Bolters and Plasma Blastguns – you get some hefty bonuses from coordinated strike and possibly the Ferrox’s Knife Fighters trait as well.

Bair: Used in a Lupercal or Ferrox especially this can be nuts. Coordinated strikes giving +3 armour rolls to the FRONT arc or Reavers gaining +2 on close targets is incredible. The +1 to hit makes it even better: that’s 2+ called shots with a gatling within 2” of an enemy in a Ferrox. 

Condit: Just be careful using this against enemies who can outmaneuver you, or who are packing weapons with the Concussive trait. If any of your Titans get caught out on the turn you use this, you’re probably going to lose at least one of them. Plan your turn accordingly.

Legio Magna can upgrade Melta Cannons with Directed Pressure Outlet, which extends their short range by 3”, letting you benefit from the Fusion trait up to 15” out, but making the weapon as expensive as a Belicosa in the process. This makes a Flaming Skulls Reaver into one of the best platforms for a melta cannon in the game, and in particular can make a melta-toting Reaver in a Venator a serious threat. This combines well with Spearhead Assault to let you make strength 12 shots with the Fusion trait from slightly further away, giving you a little more room to play with in case you don’t correctly eyeball your ranges and making it harder for your opponent to get around to your side arc.

Soggy: Pedantic note to make is that the trait as written only applies to weapons with the Melta trait – which doesn’t exist. I take this to mean all weapons with the Fusion trait.

Condit: While that extra 3” may not seem like much on paper, the difference between 12” and 15” can be utterly game-changing, especially when you’re fishing for free shots in a Venator – every shot with the Fusion trait is that much more likely to be a crit.

The Princeps Senioris of Legio Magna have a mixed bag of traits to choose from. Their best trait, Slayer of Kings, is a repeat of the Fureans Titan Stalker trait. It gives the Princeps Senioris +1 to armour rolls against Titans of equal or larger scale within 12” of them. Best used on a Reaver, this trait has strong synergies with all of the Legion’s close-range abilities and stratagems and also stacks with the bonuses from a Ferrox or Lupercal maniple.

Messenger of Death extends the Howls of the Damned trait to 15” from the Princeps Senioris. Not the strongest ability, but makes the trait easier to use and could pair nicely on a Melta Reaver equipped with Directed Pressure Outlets, letting you take advantage of the legion trait while still hovering at the edge of Fusion range.

Bloodthirsty allows the Princeps Senioris to fire a disabled weapon – although afterwards you suffer a detonation. This ability has limited use, although it could be useful on weapons with the Specialised trait like the Ursus Claw which can’t be repaired. Probably not worthwhile, though.

Legio Magna Warbringer – Credit: Neon (IG: @neon_mentor)

Legio Magna already has some strong stratagems to pick from, but there are some nice options you can slot in depending on the game. Warp Displacement is, as always, a great option for extra maneuverability when using melee or brawler Titans. Experimental Locomotors can be a good pick for a Reaver especially, but is useful on any Titan you’re trying to get close and mixed into the fray.

Consider taking Wails of the Damned for an additional -2 to command checks for the enemy on the turn it’s used. Causing -3 to command checks pushes Warlords to a 6+ and Warhounds to an 8+ making orders extremely unreliable for a turn. Probably best used turn 2 or 3 when it will affect the most enemies after you’ve pushed some Titans to mid-table.

If you’ve opted for a Spearhead Assault, War Lust on turn one can get Titans bolting down towards the enemy even quicker, gaining 2” of speed, or up to 4” if Full Striding.

Condit: A melta/chainfist Reaver moving 22” turn 1 poses a serious threat that your opponent won’t be able to ignore.

If you’ve opted for the Battle Fervour approach, Bloodthirst could be used to give +2 to hit your weapons without the Melee trait once you’ve made your charges. Otherwise if you do have some melee engines but can’t quite fully justify the 3SP for Battle Fervour, Bloodthirst is a decent substitute for a third of the cost.

Maniple Choice

Legio Magna’s aggressive playstyle lends itself to maniples that want to get in close so they can make use of their powerful stratagem and unique wargear.

The most obvious choice here is the Ferrox maniple, which favours picking apart your enemy in close range and pairs well with Howls of the Damned and Spearhead Assault. Between the Knife Fighters trait and Spearhead Assault, you’re starting at +1 to hit and +2 to armor rolls when you’re in close. This lets gatling blasters hit like a Warlord’s macro-gatling, and makes a melta cannon an all but guaranteed critical into most targets. Squadron a pair of Warhounds and your megabolters are firing at an effective strength 7 with the Rapid trait for the turn as they follow up on strength 11 plasma blastguns (and that’s without using the Maximal Fire trait).

While they can’t take any weapons with the Melee trait, Lupercal maniples certainly excel in short range combat and getting into flanks quickly. Having more Titans on the board will allow you to trigger Howls of the Damned more frequently and change up your squadrons at just the right time to allow for a devastating alpha strike with Spearhead Assault.

Legio Magna Warhound. Credit – @paintingarmoury (twitter/IG)

A bunch of Reavers with melee weapons in a Corsair Maniple sprinting headlong down the table is terrifying with any Legio really, being able to side step out of the way of buildings and backing off when needed with ease. Magna just makes it even better when you can guarantee charges with re rolls for that one turn they’re really gonna mess stuff up. Bring chainfists and Battle Fervour and watch the fireworks from up close.

Venator maniple will get even more mileage than usual out of a melta cannon thanks to Directed Pressure Outlet, which will make it that much easier to benefit from the powerful Fusion trait when you get those free shots. Spearhead Assault will also make putting in the killing blow with your Warhounds that much easier by making their short-range weapons that much more reliable.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at a 1500 point list which works with Legio Magna’s playstyle and can squeeze as much mileage as possible out of Spearhead Assault.

Legio Magna Battlegroup – 1430pts

Lupercal Light Maniple – 660 pts

Warhound Titan – 220 pts 

  • Princeps Senioris – Dominant Strategist
  • Turbo Laser Destroyer
  • Turbo Laser Destroyer

Warhound Titan – 220 pts 

  • Turbo Laser Destroyer
  • Turbo Laser Destroyer

Warhound Titan – 220 pts 

  • Turbo Laser Destroyer
  • Turbo Laser Destroyer

Venator Light Maniple – 770 pts

Reaver Titan – 330 pts 

  • Princeps Senioris – Slayer of Kings
  • Gatling Blaster
  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Melta Cannon – Directed Pressure Outlet

Warhound Titan – 220 pts 

  • Vulcan Megabolter 
  • Plasma Blastgun

Warhound Titan – 220 pts 

  • Vulcan Megabolter 
  • Plasma Blastgun

This battlegroup makes use of two aggressive maniples which align with Legio Magna’s playstyle. The six engines will exert strong board control, each projecting their Howls of the Damned Aura to reduce the effectiveness of your opponents orders.

Unlike most battlegroups which employ a mixed assortment of roles, this list doesn’t do subtlety and will take the direct approach and close. Unlike a list which focuses on melee, this list won’t be crippled by the inability to close in – but that is where all the fun happens.

If you are able to close with the majority of the battlegroup, Spearhead Assault will provide withering fire on anything within range. Upon first inspection of this list you may wonder why the Warhounds in the Lupercal have turbo-lasers. They’ll be firing at effective strength 11 when performing a Coordinated Strike while Spearhead Assault is up – with improved accuracy to allow for those vital called shots – enough to threaten any target and let you pick apart wounded enemies with ease.

The Venator maniple will be played in the normal manner, with the Warhounds trying to drop voids where possible, letting the Reaver make effective use of their Melta from longer range thanks to Directed Pressure Outlet. The Slayer of Kings trait will help increase its effectiveness on starting a damage track on the toughest enemies to crack.

The Lupercal’s hounds can operate at any range thanks to the Turbolasers, but ideally they will want to close for those juicy called shots once the one’s from the other maniple have dropped voids. The Princeps Senioris in this maniple has Dominant Strategist to take the initiative on the turn where you’re planning to unleash your alpha strike – make sure to keep them alive until you’ve used it. 

After Spearhead Assault, your stratagem choices will depend on how you expect the game to unfold, but there are a few favourites to pick from. War Lust will help get the engines up the board in turn one without having to push your Warhounds and minimizing the number of times you need to issue Full Stride in order to close. Concealment Barrage will protect your fragile Warhounds as they get into position to flank and start being a nuisance. Warp Displacement is always handy, but as there isn’t a dedicated melee Titan here, it’s a lower priority if the scenario doesn’t call for it. 

Playing against Legio Magna

Legio Magna have a pretty obvious gameplan, the question is what can you do about it? If they have a number of melee engines, Vox Blackout will be critical to use on the turn they are likely to make their charge orders – this is even more powerful if you play it after they have used Battle Fervour, which will cut down on their ability to benefit from the strat. Other than that, try to keep your distance. Not only will this let you avoid their Howls of the Damned trait, it’ll also make it harder for them to use their powerful stratagems.

Quake Cannons will help slow their advance and Scatterable Mines will always make a Warhound think twice about pushing ahead. If you’re concerned about failing orders, as a Loyalist you can use Iron Resolve to pass a failed order in a pinch as it’s not a reroll.

March to War

We’re always happy to see another close-ranged focused Legio added to the game with their own distinct take, and Legio Magna doesn’t disappoint. Bringing potent alpha-strike potential in mid- and close ranged fights, the Flaming Skulls can go all-in on a decisive turn that few other legions can match.

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