Warlord Wednesdays: Legion Focus – Legio Vulturum

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 Vulturum, a Titan legio hailing from Xana II, whose origins and homeworld are both shrouded in mystery. They bring a potent combination of solid wargear and deceptively powerful stratagems that combine to make a force that will often be frustrating to fight against, even if they won’t always win. Read on to find out how you can apply their particular strengths to befuddle your opponents and destroy your enemies.

Legio Vulturum Maniple. Credit – Rhu IG:@rhuairidh_minis Twitter: @_rhubard

Who are Legio Vulturum?

Answering this question requires looking at their home Forge World of Xana II. Discovered late in the Great Crusade by a Rogue Trader, Xana II posed a paradox to the Cult Mechanicum as its discovery was too good to be true. A Forge World alone in the void, followers of Mechanicum Doctrine, its prodigious output to rival all but Holy Mars. Its production was grossly in excess of its own need, equipped with it’s own void fleet capable of Warp travel and a Titan Legio on par with the Triad Ferrum Morgulus. All of this was impossible given there was no record of its existence in the Martian records.

When pressed on their origins and access to their data vaults, the Lords of Xana declined and refused to submit their independence to the Imperium. The Imperium weighed up the cost of taking Xana II by force, which would require a Full Space Marine Legion and several Titan Legios, versus making some concessions. In the end a treaty was formed in which Xana would maintain it’s autonomy, provided they obeyed the Emperor’s restrictions on certain technologies. In exchange they were supplied with raw materials for their obedience.

The Titans of Xana II were split into two, the forming Legio Vulturum and Legio Kydianos (Death Cry). Legio Vulturum relished being let loose, bringing their might to bear in one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Great Crusade, the Rangan Xenocides. They quickly earned a fierce reputation with their brutal approach to warfare paired with their secretive bespoke weaponry.

Xana II was a prime ally for Horus, independent and seeking the removal of the Emperor’s restrictions. Xana would pledge their might to Warmaster.

Painting the Gore Crows

Rhu (IG: rhuairidh_minis Twitter:@_rhubard ) is famed for his thoughtful and sometimes menacing conversions. If you wanted to use his battlegroup scheme as inspiration, Soggy asked him how he did it, and then pulled together this outline based on what Rhu was kind enough to share.

Basecoat: Leadbelcher Base everything
Tan Panels: Balor Brown base, initially stippled with Zandri Dust and finished with another stipple of 50/50 Zandri Dust/Ushabti Bone.
Black Panels: Abaddon Black, followed with a very light Leadbelcher stipple
Trim: Iron Hands Steel (try not to cry if you go over)
Details: Pick out void shield generators and other details with Screaming Bell

Finishing up:
Wash everywhere with 50/50 Seraphim Sepia and Nuln Oil and apply another light stipple of Ushabti Bone on the lighter panels. Apply Troll Slayer Orange Air as a panel liner where the two colours meet.

Legio Vulturum Reaver. Credit – Rhu IG:@rhuairidh_minis Twitter: @_rhubard

Vulturum in Adeptus Titanicus

Tactical Overview

The Gore Crows are Relentless Killers and have the trait to match, giving all of their surviving engines +1 to hit for the remainder of any round in which an enemy suffers Catastrophic Damage. No doubt a strong trait, but what’s interesting about this is that is specifies this triggers regardless of source of the Catastrophic Damage – if your Thermal Mines were lucky to nuke a Warhound after it dared moving earlier in the turn, or you’re using a mix of Legios and a friendly Titan hailing from another forge world has made an engine kill, your Vulturum engines will still get this boost.  

Soggy: Having +1 to hit is already solid, but this gets all the sweeter given their signature Wargear gives a -1 to hit outside of 8”.

Storm Frag Shells. The upgrade every Legio wishes they had. The bane of all enemies that stumble across Vulturum. This upgrade effects any Vulcan Mega Bolter, or Vulcan Mega Bolter Array (unlike the MURDER LORD’S static rounds) at 25 and 45 points extra respectively. Each weapon is upgraded separately, so if you’re running a Warhound and want two of these it will cost an extra 50 points on top of cost of weapons. Once upgraded, the weapon gains the Maximal Fire trait but suffers a -1 hit modifier at long range. This does drop its effectiveness between 8 and 20” somewhat, but it turns your bolters into very deadly 6 shot weapons. 

Soggy: The Storm Frag Megabolter is the perfect all rounder. Great against voids and structurally damaged locations, it is also more than capable at starting a track in a pinch – failing that you can very easily pick off weapons from a fully armored Warlord.

Consider this in a Ferrox Maniple after you’re within range for the boosted +1 armour roll alongside a coordinated strike within a squadron you are looking at effectively 6 S8 shots with Rapid. Take it in tandem with a non-upgraded mega molter on a Warhound to absolutely shred shields between the 12 shots while still having a decent chance of blowing through armor once they’re down. The only thing you’re going to need to watch with this is your heat – when firing with maximal fire, you’re more likely than not to pick up at least one heat. This may be best suited for a Reaver carapace due to its longer reactor track – those 6 shots become far more useful against targets without shields in the mid-to-late game, and that extra reactor capacity could be the difference between getting there intact and having to roll on the reactor table. 

Bair: This is one of my favourite weapon upgrades ever. High-risk high-reward. Reactor in orange? Who cares, there’s no enemy in front of you any more. 

The Gore Crows show their prey no quarter and will exploit any weaknesses. When an enemy titan tries to arc-dodge you, the legio-specific stratagem Cull the Weak allows you to fire at it out of turn in exchange for 1 heat and 1SP.  This will make that Corsair Reaver think twice before sliding out of sight. This will make your opponents think twice before trying to make an out-of-arc move to keep a damaged engine alive.

When a Gore Crow deals critical damage in the combat phase, you can activate an unactivated Gore Crow immediately with Scent of Blood and finish their target off for 2SP. Out-of-sequence activations are always useful, and while this stratagem is expensive at 2SP and 2 heat, jumping ahead in activation like this could let you deny return fire when your opponent wasn’t expecting it.

The Gore Crows have two traits worth considering, depending on how you’ve built your list.

Shrouded in mystery, an Enigmatic Princeps Senioris is allowed to redeploy their Titan during the first strategy phase of the game. Redeployments and the mind games associated with them are always fun, although can be limited by the scenario or the terrain being used. This is an incredibly powerful effect, if you play it right.

Known for their Merciless nature, a Princeps Senioris with this trait can purchase the Cull the Weak stratagem multiple times, although can only use it once per phase. With a maniple with few activations and/or heavy hitters that will be likely arc-dodged such as an Extergiums, this is a decent pick and can create some mind games for your opponent as they don’t know how many times you have invested in it. It’s also worth considering as a second trait in a two-maniple list.

The Dark Mechanicum tech-priests give their Princeps Senioris every edge possible, turning their Titan into an Experimental Vessel which allows them to automatically repair a disabled weapon once per game when they are activated during the combat phase. Probably not worth taking, though.

Legio Vulturum Warbringer-Nemesis. Credit – Rhu IG:@rhuairidh_minis Twitter: @_rhubard

Maniple Choice

The Gore Crows’ esoteric weaponry and unforgiving cruelty suits a balanced mix of God-Engines. The out of sequence attacks granted by their stratagems get the best mileage on larger Titans. Storm Frag Shells give some serious anti-armor punch to what’s already one of the best anti-void weapons in the game but will require getting close and puts your reactor at risk. 

Soggy: Overheating a Warhound is OK if it’s going to meltdown in the middle of your enemies forces mind you.

One thing true of both Storm Frag Shells and Cull the Weak is that they both benefit from getting closer to your prey, which favours Ferrox Maniples and Warlords equipped with Vulcan Megabolter Arrays.

We would consider the maniples below when assembling a Vulturum Battlegroup:

  • Ruptura: A prime candidate for making the most of their traits, SPOILERS We’ll explore this more in depth shortly
  • Ferrox: Getting in close to use the Knife-Fighters trait pairs nicely with the Storm Frags Wargear, being one of several ways to push your bolters to effective strength 7 (or 8 with a squadron of Warhounds).
  • Lupercal: Not for your primary maniple, but as a second maniple is a great choice for activation shenanigans, a second Princeps Senioris to take Merciless and making great use of Storm Frag Shells getting a further +2 on armour rolls when performing a coordinated strike.
  • Venator: Taking double Megabolter Warhounds each with a single Storm Frag Shells upgrade will ensure that your enemy struggles maintaining voids, triggering Opportunistic Strike 

We could keep going, as the Gore Crows can excel with most maniples. Let’s move on and create a sample 1500 point list which has an interesting trick up it’s sleeve.

Legio Vulturm Battlegroup – 1490 pts

Ruptura Battleline Maniple – 1490 pts

Reaver Titan – 335 pts 

  • Gatling Blaster
  • Melta Cannon
  • Vulcan Megabolter – Storm Frag shells

Reaver Titan – 330 pts 

  • Princeps Senioris – Enigmatic
  • Laser Blaster
  • Chainfist
  • Vulcan Megabolter – Storm Frag shells

Warbringer Nemesis Titan – 395 pts 

  • Laser Blaster
  • Mori Quake Cannon
  • Volcano Cannon

Warbringer Nemesis Titan – 430 pts 

  • Gatling Blaster
  • Melta Cannon
  • Belicosa Volcano Cannon

The core of this maniple revolves around the interaction between the Ruptura’s Artillery Bastion trait and Vulturum’s Scent of Blood stratagem. One of your Reavers gets a free push each turn, letting them close more effectively to make use of their carapace-mounted megabolters. Then, if you can pick up a kill with one of the Warbringers, your Reavers get an immediate out-of-sequence move that you can follow up with a full Combat activation with the stratagem. 

Condit: And to make things even better, if either Reaver you move with the Artillery Bastion trait is under Charge orders, it’ll move “as if it was in the Movement Phase,” potentially letting it make a second charge before it activates again. This might not be intended, but it works RAW, and in any case it’s cool as hell.

Bair: …assuming that works, take these guys as Loyalists for Adaptive Tactics to be able to First Fire with the Reaver, switch to Charge orders, get the kill with a Warbringer, and a free immediate Charge with it…

Condit: Hang on – Bair with the off-the-wall ideas? I really need to up my game here.

We’ve put the Enigmatic trait on the chainfist-equipped Reaver so that you can set it up to get the best route to your melee targets while sticking to cover. Deploy it first in the normal deployment phase to get as much information out of your opponent as possible, then redeploy it at the end to effectively get a fifth drop after your opponent finishes. And as a bonus, as a Princeps Senioris, it’ll take Full Stride and Charge orders on a 2+.

This battlegroup is pretty firm in it’s Stratagem selection, assuming 5SP are available. Scent of Blood is vital for the combo and Warp Displacement will ensure you are in optimal position for your charge(s). The last Stratagem point is open depending on the battlefield on the day, although Cull the Weak is a great choice to punish anyone who tries to avoid your guns.

Playing against Vulturum

The Gore Crows excel at brawling and will often want to close on their prey.This is a Legio with some outstanding short to mid-ranged weapons to do the heavy lifting and get the kills. Mori Quake Cannons will be your friend to help stall their advance, as well as stratagems such as Quake Shells and Thermal Mines. A few Tracer Clouds could be an interesting pick as well, a template placed down that becomes a no-go zone but still allows you to shoot through it, to help keep them back or else risk being shot up quicker than usual. 

Condit: Be careful taking this, though – Tracer Clouds aren’t great now that the FAQ restricts them to being used in the stratagem phase, making them much easier to dodge. It’ll help you control their movement, but don’t expect to get the +1 to hit.

Unfortunately, losing one of your Titans makes theirs stronger for the round with +1 to hit, so make sure to be careful when you’ve got multiple damaged engines. Scent of Blood and Relentless can very quickly turn a game against you, so it might be worth trying to present only one “obvious” target at a time if possible. Consider playing aggressively with damaged Titans to force them to focus it down.

If that wasn’t enough, think twice when attempting to arc dodge, as Cull the Weak could potentially ruin your day. This turns into an interesting mind game during the movement phase of trying to bait this out of your opponent. However, if they haven’t opted for a Merciless Princeps Senioris, once they use the strat you’re free to arc dodge with even the most frail of Titans.

Legio Vulturum Warlord. Credit – Rhu IG:@rhuairidh_minis Twitter: @_rhubard

Show No Mercy

Legio Vulturum has an excellent wargear upgrade in Storm Frag Rounds that turns Vulcan Megabolters into a serious, if somewhat short-ranged, threat to almost any target. Add to that a pair of interesting Princeps Traits that could be very useful in the right situation and you’ve got the beginnings of a powerful list.

To top it off, their stratagems and Legio Trait give them some unusual combat tricks that might lead to some incredible turns, but don’t expect that to go off every time. If you’re the sort of player who thrives on that one game in ten where everything goes off perfectly but is willing to take the risk that you might be playing one of the other nine, the Gore Crows could be for you.