Warlord Wednesdays: Legion Focus – Legio Metalica

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 Metalica, who finally got rules with the recent release of the Loyalists supplement. Were their rules worth the wait? We think so.

Legio Metallica Battlegroup. Credit – David Bottomley (@barbalar1979 IG)

Who are Legio Metalica?

Few Legios rival the Triad Ferrum Morgulus, the three founding Legios of the Collegia Titanica, although before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy Legio the Iron Skulls did. Their homeworld of Forgeworld Metalica was one of the first progeny of Mars, making them one of the most ancient of Legios. During their isolation in the Age of Strife they were beset by constant Xenos Invasions, which they repelled and expanded their reach into surrounding systems by conquest – becoming a small empire of their own.

Soggy: I would feel remiss if I didn’t point out that the Forge World of Metalica is a giant metal orb. Heavy metal indeed.

Upon reconnection with their kin aboard the Expeditionary Fleet that found them, the Legio would quickly pledge loyalty to the Holy Mars and join the Great Crusade. Already hardened veterans of many campaigns, they quickly proved themselves to be masters of the battlefield and were sought out by the many Expeditionary Fleets for their aid. 

By the end of the Great Crusade, their prowess had built a reputation that rivaled those of the Triad. It is not surprising that the Warmaster would send delegates to seek their allegiance before the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, however their fate is unknown. Ultimately the majority of the Legio would remain loyal, however their reputation was forever tarnished as many elements of the Legio would declare for the Warmaster. 

Legio Metallica Warlord. Credit – David Bottomley (@barbalar1979 IG)

Painting Legio Metalica

We asked David Bottomley (@bobby) for their approach to painting up their glorious Metalica battlegroup. 

In terms of the painting, here’s my way of painting the different parts;

Basecoat/metals – I used the Leadbelcher spray to undercoat all the metal parts. An all over wash of Nuln oil is used to provide further shading. I then drybrushed selective highlights of Ironbreaker and Runefang steel, trying to concentrate on areas that would be naturally hit by the light.

With the metal heads – I use a recess shade of Guilliman glaze to try and give it a bit of a blue steel type finish. I’ll normally push the highlights on the head a bit further to make it stand out. 

Red – base of Mephiston red followed by a recess shade of Agrax Earthshade. I then tidy up with a bit of Mephiston red and do a single highlight of Evil Sunz Scarlet. I added a second highlight on my Warhounds as they were the first Titans I painted for the force but it ended up too bright so I changed this for the rest of the force.

Black – normal Abbadon black as a base and Thunderhawk blue as the one and only highlight.

White – Celestra grey as a based, watered down to try and make it as smooth as possible. I then shade it with Agrax around the recesses. Highlights of Ulthuan Grey and White Scar then finish it off.

Weathering – I sponge on chips of dryad bark on the red and Thunderhawk blue on the white and black areas. I then go over some of these with runefang steel – sponge is used again to try and give it a random feel. 

Once that’s done, I use dusty earth Oilbrusher by Mig Jimenez and give the entire model a good coverage of that. Makes them look dusty and suitably campaign weathered. 

Legio Metallica Warhounds. Credit – David Bottomley (@barbalar1979 IG)

Metalica in Adeptus Titanicus

Tactical Overview

The Iron Skulls’ rules start out strong, and their Victories Beyond Measure trait reflects their superior situational awareness and uncanny ability to know when to press the advantage on the battlefield. It allows a Legio Metalica Titan to activate immediately following another one once per round – at the cost of two reactor heat, provided neither are in a squadron.

It’s hard to understate how powerful the ability to adjust activation mid-game is, and being able to do so mid-round is even more powerful. Being able to concentrate combat activations will let you focus fire on a particular enemy unit and reduce the chance of return fire. And while typically less useful, this ability can be used during the movement phase allowing you to perform or get out of the way of key charges.

At first glance, it may seem that Metalica would want to take larger-scale Titans, and that’s not wrong. However, the heat tax from their trait is only paid by the second engine, meaning singleton anti-void Warhounds can lead the way for their larger kin. Just make sure you’ve got enough firepower on the board to take advantage of any openings they may create.

Legio Metalica’s deep connection with their Titans allows them to quell an engine’s Machine Spirit automatically after failing the command check when pushing the reactor for one SP with the Harmony and Order stratagem. Not the most exciting effect, but a good tool to have for Battlegroups with large amounts of Draining weapons that requires little investment. The fact that you only have to play it when you actually need it is just gravy.

The Iron Skulls also have access to two unique pieces of Wargear. First, they can upgrade any of their God-Engines with Bastion Armour for 15 points. This negates the effect attacks made against them with the Fusion trait and reduces Rending attacks to +1 instead of D3 on the armour roll. This is a nice points filler, however will only really come into play when fighting certain forces – such as Reaver heavy forces or a Warmaster Titan.

Metalica Titans can also equip the Auditory Barrage wargear for 10 points, which allows them to try and shake enemy banners once per round when they fire a ranged weapon. Like Bastion Armour, it’s possible that this wargear may not have any effect on the game depending on what your opponent has taken; however, it’s priced to move and a good choice to have on midfield units to slow down any Knight Banners that are trying to get too close.

Neither of these pieces of Wargear are particularly incredible, but they do offer some help to their larger engines – Bastion Armour will make it that much harder for melta cannons and chainfists to score that first crit, while Auditory Barrage will help tie down stray Knight banners so you can more easily react to them before they can outflank you. 

The Princeps Senioris of an Iron Skulls maniple can choose to take one of their Legio-specific Personal Traits.

As a Paragon of Conquest, if you don’t already have a tertiary objective via other means, you’ll gain a tertiary objective. If the Princeps Senioris survives the battle and is in the opponent’s deployment zone you earn 5VP. Making your way across the table can often involve leaving yourself vulnerable due to either overextending or sacrificing attacks for the Full-Stride Order, which makes this one of the tougher tertiary objectives to aim for. That said, on a melee Reaver or Warhound this isn’t a tall order with some canny use of positioning and terrain to stay alive.

A Diligent Commander gets another mini orders phase at the end of the strategy phase, allowing you to issue an order to a Metalica Titan within 6” which replaces their existing one (Emergency Repairs excluded for obvious reasons). This is a really interesting ability for two reasons, you can respond to hostile orders that were made after your own or you can use it to issue a key order if you had earlier failed a Command Check – effectively giving you the Axiom maniple trait.

A Princeps Senioris with Godlike Benevolence guides their smaller allies, allowing the player to attempt to clear Shaken from a Knight banner during the end phase using the Princeps’ command value. The key to why this trait is interesting is that it lets you clear Shaken before the following Strategy phase, meaning that you can free up some Cerastus Lancers that have been hit with a Concussive weapon and issue Charge orders regardless. Obviously not worth taking if you aren’t using Knights, but if you are using a few to complement your force this can help keep them combat effective.

Legio Metallica Warbringer. Credit – David Bottomley (@barbalar1979 IG)

Maniple Choice

It’s not surprising that Legio Metalica are a fan of heavy metal, with several traits that work best with larger engines. Larger engines have bigger guns, making better use of Victories Beyond Measure and are less impacted by it’s heat tax. Larger engines are more likely to need to push for movement or field Draining weaponry, making good use of Harmony and Order. This doesn’t require all of your engines to be larger though, which gives you plenty of freedom when assembling your battlegroup. 

We would lean towards the heavier side of the scale, with candidates like the Corsair, Ruptura and Extergimus jumping out with some interesting potential. As you’ll be running hotter than normal the Perpetua is a solid option to keep your reactor under control. Depending on the points size of your game, you could instead opt for a minimum size Lupercal so that you can field a Warmaster Titan – which can activate immediately after one of your singleton Warhounds has dropped voids on your prey for the turn.

Bair: Would also consider the Dominus, without taking any Warhounds and taking a couple banners of Lancer knights to keep pace and shrug off hits for the Titans allowing them to keep some reactor space by not pushing for voids to full as often. Godlike Benevolence pairs super well here too allowing those Lancers to then take charge orders so long as you can roll that D10 to unshake them. 

Keeping this in mind and with the advent of the new Wargear options, let’s take a look at a 1750 point list which takes advantage of what Legio Metalica has on offer. 

Legio Metalica Battlegroup – 1750 pts

Ruptura Battleline Maniple – 745 pts

Nemesis Warbringer – 410 pts

  • Mori Quake Cannon
  • Gatling Blaster
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Wargear: Plasmatic Binders

Nemesis Warbringer – 420 pts

  • Mori Quake Cannon
  • Laser Blaster
  • Volcano Cannon
  • Wargear: Plasmatic Binders

Reaver Titan – 310 pts 

  • Princeps Senioris
  • Apocalypse Missile Launcher
  • Melta Cannon
  • Gatling Blaster

Reaver Titan – 295 pts 

  • Princeps Senioris – Diligent Commander
  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Chainfist
  • Gatling Blaster

Reaver Titan – 310 pts 

  • Vulcan Megabolter
  • Melta Cannon
  • Gatling Blaster

The Ruptura is one of our favorite maniples as rather than being a static gunline it has some very mobile elements. Metallica takes this to the next level by being able to strip shields and immediately follow up with a Warbringer to deal damage and get the finishing shot for the kill, then giving all the Reavers a free move to get into better positioning is very good. The Warbringer’s reactor is the exact same as a Warlord, and keeping them further back than the advancing Reavers means they’re not using those reactor pips for shield saves. Plasmatic Binders are new, having been introduced along with the other Wargear options in the Loyalist Legios book. We had enough points in the list to give both of the Warbringers this once-per-game upgrade allowing them to vent heat on 2’s instead of 4’s basically allowing you to take some extra heat and recover in a crucial turn reliably to push it right back up again. And Metalica run hot, so expect to see this upgrade on many Metalica engines. 

Lastly the Princeps Senioris is piloting the melee reaver, whose better command value will make charge orders more reliable – combined with Diligent Commander which gives you a second chance on this one.

Playing against Metalica 

The main thing to be aware here of is Victories Beyond Measure, which is going to bring the pain in the combat phase. Try to avoid situations where your Titans are able to be focused down by making use of terrain or Concealment Barrage. This is often unavoidable, in this case try and get your shots off before taking the withering fire that the Iron Skulls are capable of putting out. Choosing which Titan to activate first in the combat phase becomes a bit more crucial, so don’t rush ahead to make what might otherwise be the obvious move if it means it will cost you a Titan elsewhere. 

Otherwise be mindful of any wargear equipped on their Titans and prioritize your targets accordingly – Knights will want to avoid Auditory Barrages and keep their distance from Metalica Titans until it’s time to go in for the kill. Similarly, be aware that you won’t be able to rely on melta cannons or chainfists for early damage like you might be expecting to. 

Legio Metallica Corsair. Credit – David Bottomley (@barbalar1979 IG)

Ride the Lightning

Legio Metalica’s distinction on the battlefield is backed up by some powerful abilities enabling them to crush your foes, so long as your reactors can keep up with you.