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 walking you through how to build your battlegroup and command it to glory, including everything from which Titans to include and how to equip them, through to how to command them on the field of battle to secure ultimate victory.
This week, we’re looking at the various maniples to choose from. Together with your legion choice, the maniple you choose will form a major part of your battlegroup’s identity, dictating what Titans you’re required to bring, impacting how you’ll expand, and giving you access to a maniple trait that will give you new rules to use and further define how your battlegroup will take the fight to your enemies. Think about how the maniples on offer interact with your Titan legion’s rules, and choose an option that plays to your battlegroup’s strengths. Remember, your plan to win the game starts at list construction, and choosing a maniple is no different.
After you’ve chosen your maniple, you can choose to fill out your battlegroup in several ways: either by taking the remaining optional elements from the maniple, adding support Titans or Knight banners to your list, or – if you’ve got the points to spare – another maniple entirely. For your first few games, focus around bringing a single maniple with a support element or two. Fielding two maniples is expensive – the cheapest way to get a maniple on the table – a Lupercal with three Warhounds each equipped with a pair of megabolters – will run you 600 points, and you’ll almost certainly want to bring some other options at additional expense. However, if you can fit it in your list, it’s worth considering: each maniple you bring will give you access to a second Princeps Seniores, who comes complete with their own personal trait. Once you’ve got a few games under your belt, try something different – there are an incredible variety of ways to build your battlegroup, so keep experimenting until you find what works for you.
Axiom Battleline Maniple (Core Rules, p56)
The Axiom is the first maniple presented in the book, and for good reason – it gives you access to every class of Titan as well as a maniple trait that can be useful in almost any situation and helps mitigate the penalties associated with a poor roll on a Command check.
Required Elements: 1 Warlord Titan, 1 Reaver Titan, 1 Warhound Titan
Optional Elements: 1 Reaver Titan, 1 Warhound Titan
The first thing you’ll notice here is the broad selection of Titans on offer. You’re required to bring one of each class of the original Titans and have the option of bringing an additional Reaver and Warhound. From this base, you can build anything from an aggressive, close-combat focused list to a battlegroup that uses Warhounds to range out and skirmish as the other Titans providing supporting fire, though you’ll likely most often build toward a balanced, “take all comers” list to get the most use out of your flexibility.
The Axiom’s maniple trait allows you to continue to issue orders to Titans in your maniple even if you fail a Command check for one of them. This may not seem great, but it’s actually pretty handy. First, it lets you make contingency plans that other maniples can’t. For instance, if you want to charge an enemy Titan but fail your command check on your first choice, you can try again if you’ve got another Titan in range.
However, one of the best parts about this maniple is also one of the least obvious. We’ve mentioned in our prior articles how important it is to have a plan and stick to it, from the earliest stages of list creation right through each battle round of your game, but sometimes as situations develop, it can be difficult to identify which decision is best for your strategy. By allowing you to continue to issue orders even after failing a Command check, the Axiom reduces the number of decisions on your cognitive “stack” – in almost every situation, the correct play is to issue orders to Titans in the Axiom first, then move on to other models if you haven’t failed any of those Command checks. Simplifying this aspect of the decision making process will free you up to devote more time to other aspects of the game, something that will be especially helpful when you’re learning the core rules.
All in all, the Axiom Battleline Maniple is an excellent choice for beginners, as well as one worth considering for more experienced players who value the flexibility and ability to mitigate the results of a poor Command check over the more focused benefits of other maniples.
Myrmidon Battleline Maniple (Core Rules, p58)
The Myrmidon is the single most expensive maniple in the game, clocking in at a staggering 1050 points even before you add a single weapon. It’s not going to be possible to field this maniple at less than about 1250 points, and it’ll be a struggle to fit there even if you leave all your legion-specific wargear upgrades at home.
Required Elements: 2 Warlord Titans, 1 Reaver Titan
Optional Elements: 1 Warlord Titan, 1 Reaver Titan
At first glance, the Myrmidon looks like the premier choice for Warlord aficionados, but don’t be fooled – there are better ways to field those behemoths. First, locking yourself into taking two of them dramatically limits your list-building flexibility. A fully kitted-out Warlord will typically run you somewhere north of 450 points, and bringing 2 and a Reaver means you’re not going to have anything else on the table until at least 1500 points.
More importantly, though, the Myrmidon’s maniple trait just kind of sucks. Getting a bonus on First Fire and Split Fire orders sounds nice, but it’s less useful when you factor in that you start at a 3+ Command value for your Warlords and 4+ for Reavers, meaning you’re really only getting a +1 or +2 to the d10 roll until you start taking critical damage or otherwise get a debuff to your Command.
In general, the Myrmidon is probably a trap for the unwary. However, there are a few edge cases where it may be worthwhile. The most obvious one is Legio Krytos, who can use it to take three Warlords in the same maniple. This isn’t an amazing choice, but if you’re dead-set on getting three of these monsters on the board, it’s the cheapest way to do it. You might think that it would pair well with Legio Defensor, but they can actually get a higher chance of successfully issuing those orders in the early turns of the game through their Devotional War Sirens wargear and still take another maniple trait besides. Think carefully before you field a Myrmidon, and while its benefits may be easy to get your head around as a beginner, they aren’t as powerful as some of the other choices on offer.
Venator Light Maniple (Core Rules, p60)
The Venator is a specialist detachment that revolves around a straightforward one-two punch: pound down the enemy’s shields with Warhounds, then get an out-of-sequence bonus shot with your Reaver to get a jump-start on coring them out.
Required Elements: 1 Reaver, 2 Warhounds
Optional Elements: 2 Warhounds
You’ll want to equip your Reaver with the highest strength weapons you can to take advantage of the free shots. We recommend a melta cannon – it’s strength 11, and its blast trait isn’t much of a drawback as you aren’t likely to call your shot on the first shot to a Titan’s armor anyway. The downside is that you need to be close to 24″, but you can probably make this work. Alternately, you could run a volcano cannon. It’s a little weaker, but has a significant range advantage, being able to reach out and touch your Warhounds’ latest victim from up to 60” away. However, its Draining trait means you’ll need to carefully manage your reactor track to make sure you don’t redline from pushing too hard too fast.
As we mentioned in our Loyalist Legion focus, this is a great pick for Gryphonicus – they can replace one of the Warhounds with a Reaver and split the free shots between them. If you do this, we recommend using a melta cannon on one and a volcano cannon on the other, then play aggressively with the melta to take advantage of its fusion trait while using the volcano cannon to cover firing lanes its partner can’t see. Interfector can also make excellent use of the maniple trait with its Static Rounds, since its Warhounds will absolutely shred shields if equipped with megabolters. Legio Infernus can use this maniple with a Reaver armed with a melta cannon and the World Burner Princeps Seniores trait to fire it three or more times in a single phase – twice when it activates in the combat phase, and then firing again every time one of your Warhounds drops an enemy’s shields.
Taken as a whole, the Venator is a decent choice for your first maniple to build towards. Not including a Warlord means that you can easily build a battlegroup for smaller games while maintaining a reasonable activation count, and since Warhounds and Reavers are less time-intensive hobby projects than the incredibly detailed Warlord kit, getting the models you need for it up to tabletop standard can be a less intimidating prospect. In addition, its maniple trait is straightforward to build around and relatively simple to apply, giving you access to a powerful and useful effect that doesn’t necessarily require a mastery of how the game works to get mileage out of.
Corsair Battleline Maniple (Titandeath, p,60)
There are a lot of things in Titanicus that can seem lackluster to new players but turn out to be absolutely infuriating to play against. The Corsair Battleline Maniple is one of them.
Required Elements: 3 Reavers
Optional Elements: 2 Reavers
More often than not, the movement phase is where you’ll win games. Managing your arcs of fire and dodging your opponent’s counter-volleys requires careful planning, clever play, and a bit of luck. The Corsair’s maniple trait makes this a lot easier by just letting you “moonwalk” your Titans in any direction you choose. This is amazing, and your opponent will be pulling their hair out trying to predict where you’re going to go since the usual rules just don’t apply.
Your first thought may be to take this in Gryphonicus since Reavers are kind of their “thing,” but it turns out they’re not the best choice for it. First of all, only having Reavers as choices moots one of their traits entirely. This isn’t a problem, but it is kind of weird. More importantly, though, neither of their unique wargear options for your Reavers synergize well with the maniple trait: the extra armor from Gravatus Plating is nice, but it slows you down, cutting down on the mobility advantage that you’re taking this maniple for. Motive Subreactors become either/or, since you can’t take advantage of the free boost if you’re moving outside your forward arc with your Corsair.
Instead, look for legions that can benefit from the increased mobility. Vulpa is a great choice here – they want to get up in their enemy’s face but doing so can render their attack path predictable. Shake things up by making it harder to predict where you’re going to wind up and force them to split fire as you move to where you want to be. Astorum is another solid candidate – use the boost from their legion trait to get to the midfield in the first two turns, then sidestep firing arcs to keep your Titans alive while your Veteran Princeps trait and stratagems help you get back to peak fighting condition.
Unfortunately, taking advantage of this can be difficult until you develop a good grasp on the movement rules and how to use the trait to break the restrictions that would typically be imposed on you. The number of Reavers in the maniple is also a limitation: not only do you need to get your hands on the models, but you’ll need to track down additional terminals and weapon cards. Thankfully, Warhammer Community’s downloads section includes print-and-play versions of the terminal that you can use to make as many as you need to play, but you’ll need to track down at least a handful of extra cards to fill out your weapon loadouts.
In skilled hands, the Corsair can be extremely powerful, but getting the most out of it requires a solid understanding of how the movement phase works. It may not be the best option for your first few games, but as you grow to master the game system, you’ll learn how to do some amazing things with this.
Bair: This is definitely a personal favourite of mine, Reavers are the perfect mix of heavily armored/armed and maneuverable and letting them side-step their full 6” is just huge and incredibly fun to play with. It also makes target priority for the opponent especially difficult when you’re fielding 4-5 Reavers with a variety of weapons.
Janissary Battleline Maniple (Titandeath, p,62)
Titans in a Janissary don’t gain any benefits themselves, but instead gain the ability to coordinate their movement more closely with allied Knight banners.
Required Elements: 1 Reaver, 2 Warhounds
Optional Elements: 1 Reaver, 1 Warhound
Reavers and Warhounds deliver a fairly maneuverable maniple with plenty of room to take a Knight banner or two in most lists. That’s important, because the maniple trait you gain here won’t do anything unless you have some Knights keeping stride with your larger pieces. The unwritten requirement to add Knights to your battlegroup increases the effective point cost of your list, not to mention the monetary cost and the additional time you’ll invest in getting the Knights built and painted.
Even once you bring Knights, though, this is honestly a difficult trait to get used to – you need to develop a sense for when it makes sense for you to advance your Knights’ activations to earlier in the Movement phase. However, the flexibility in when you can activate your Knights can open up some cool tricks, letting you sneak in out-of-sequence Charge and First Fire orders that your opponent may not see coming. In a pinch, you can also use it to clog up the board and stop your opponent from moving in ways you don’t want them to. Outside of these situations, though, the Janissary’s trait can be more of a burden than an asset.
Compounding the problem is the fact that using this maniple trait will decrease your activation count in the movement phase, making your movement phase easier for your opponent to react to since every activation you lose is another unit they have that moves after yours. In some situations, this could come in handy – stepping out of the arc of a Warlord with First Fire orders comes to mind – but you’ll typically be better served by taking another, more powerful maniple trait. The Ferrox and Venator maniples have similar force dispositions and more useful abilities, while the Dominus gives you a stronger and more useful option if you want a maniple trait that applies to your Knights. We recommend looking for a different trait and bringing Knight banners as support.
Regia Battleline Maniple (Titandeath, p64)
Warlords own. Warhounds own. This maniple combines them. What could go wrong?
Required Elements: 2 Warlords, 1 Warhound
Optional Elements: 2 Warhounds
A lot, as it turns out. Warlords and Warhounds typically fulfill dramatically different battlefield roles, and their respective speeds are so different that it’s difficult to keep them at pace with one another – your boosted Warlords won’t be able to keep up with unboosted Warhounds unless they Full Stride, and boosted Warhounds will outpace a Warlord at Full Stride unless the larger Titan boosts twice. Putting a Warhound at Full Stride in the first two rounds will almost certainly prevent it from contributing anything to your defense since it’ll wind up outside 3” of the Warlords that the maniple trait allows it to protect.
As a result, Regia battleplans tend to be somewhat “paint-by-numbers”: set up your maniple in a group, spread out your Warhounds within 3” of the Warlords, issue Full Stride orders to your Warlords, and amble across the board, spreading damage between your entire maniple until you’ve gotten where you want to be, at which point your Warhounds break rank and dash past your opponents, hoping to get shots into side armor while your pair of Warlords opens up with everything they’ve got. Consider deploying your Warhounds outside of squadrons – you’ll lose access to the Coordinated Strike ability, but the increased activation count will help delay moving your Warlords to make them better at dodging firing arcs, and you’ll want to avoid having your Warhounds wind up adjacent to each other anyway to minimize the number of hits you’ll take to your maniple’s voids from blast weapons.
Consider equipping your Warhounds with turbo laser destructors to take advantage of their longer range while you’re waiting for the time to make your final charge. Since your Warlords are likely going to need to Full Stride to keep pace with their Warhound courtiers in the first two rounds, it makes sense to outfit them with shorter ranged weapons they can use once they get a bit closer. Just be careful to give yourself some time to vent heat from pushing to get across the board before you open up with sunfuries on Maximal Fire.
The Regia maniple can be a deceptively durable force given the number of Warhounds it includes, since they can share with the Warlord’s much larger void shield track, but getting the most out of it requires you to set up carefully and will often result in a round or two where none of your Titans are contributing much to the fight – the Warlords won’t be able to fire their longer-ranged weapons at all if they’re full-striding to keep up with the Warhounds, and the Warhounds won’t be able to get close enough to leverage their incredible maneuverability if they’re moving to stay within 3” of the Warlords. However, clever use of your maniple trait can help you keep your voids intact and online for longer than you might otherwise be able to, potentially setting you up for a devastating attack once you get where you’re going.
All in all, the Regia is an interesting choice that will make your force play very different from other battlegroups. It brings a unique “flow” to the game by requiring you to play your Titans in a way that seems contrary to their intended role in the early game in exchange for powerful payoff in the mid-to-late game. Consider legions that help with repair rolls to keep your voids topped off as you’re shuffling hits between your Warlords and their courtiers. The Warp Runners are a standout here, since their Warlords can boost to keep pace with unboosted Warhounds even without Full Stride orders, and their ability to re-roll repair dice will keep their voids from collapsing longer than your opponent might otherwise expect. For the traitors, the tight deployment and closely-coordinated movement of this maniple means that Legio Vulcanum can get great use out of Symbiotic Commands, and you’re likely to get good use out of For the Fallen as your Warhounds get picked off over the course of the game. Legio Oberon offers a lot more to the survivability for this maniple since you’ll be wanting to keep the Warhounds close to the Warlords already, keeping them within 2” instead of 3” to make use of Armoured Phalanx (-1 to armour rolls) is suitably durable.We recommend against fielding the Regia while you’re still learning, but if you want something unique, it could be worth taking for a spin.
Lupercal Light Maniple (Titandeath, p66)
Another excellent maniple choice, the Lupercal focuses on getting the most out of squadrons and the Coordinated Strike rule. Much like the Corsair, its abilities look a little underwhelming at first, but the first time you run into a Lupercal commanded by a skilled player, you’ll quickly learn to fear it.
Required Elements: 3 Warhounds
Optional Elements: 2 Warhounds
Titans in a Lupercal get a +2 to Coordinated Strikes rather than a +1, which is a great effect, especially when given the Warhound’s capability to maneuver into flanking position or the rear of an enemy Titan. With smart play and careful positioning, you’ll often be making armor rolls at a +3 modifier even before you’ve managed to take any structure points off your target, letting your Warhounds reliably punch well above their weight even with low-strength weapons like the vulcan megabolter.
However, the other half this maniple trait is what makes this scary: you can declare squadrons each turn and can put as many Titans in this maniple in a squadron as you like. To start with, you can play a kind of “shell game” with your Warhounds’ shields, moving them around to maximize how much defense any given Titan has at any given time. Taking a Warhound down to 1 on the void track only to have it squad up the next turn with a full-strength comrade is infuriating.
More importantly, though, is your ability to control your number of activations. You can increase your number of activations as you move to set up the kill shot, forcing your opponent to commit their movements before the majority of your force is locked in, then squad up your entire maniple when you’re ready and go for one of the most devastating alpha-strikes in the game. Most Legios will get the same amount of use out of this maniple as others. Vulpa can make great use of the hounds as battering rams with disruption emitters and follow up with more accurate aimed shots thanks to their +1 to WSwhen within 3” of an enemy target. Mordaxis can increase the template of a plasma blastgun from 3” to 5” at the cost of -1S, which is offset by the maniple trait when making a Coordinated Strike. These large pie plates of plasma could do a lot of work against Knights and enemy Legios and Maniples that want to stick closer together.
Like the Corsair, this is a maniple that rewards players for mastering the game, but this time it’s less about movement shenanigans and more about recognizing when to commit your resources for an alpha strike while taking advantage of your high activation count to keep those resources on the board until you’re ready to use them.
Fortis Heavy Maniple (Doom of Molech, p30)
Fortis Heavy Maniples are nearly as expensive as Myrmidons, but trade more reliable access to offensive orders for the ability to merge voids across a maniple composed entirely of Warlords and Reavers.
Required Elements: 1 Warlord, 2 Reavers
Optional Elements:1 Warlord, 1 Reaver
At first glance, this seems like a solid “stand-and-shoot” maniple, and it can do very well built that way. If your Titans are in base-to-base contact and didn’t move, your opponent won’t get bonuses to armor rolls against them from structural damage or flanking. Since the standard strategy for taking down Reavers and Warlords is centered on exploiting those bonuses, a pair of vulnerable Titans could use this trait to gain some protection from harassers while they focus on destroying something in their forward arc. However, giving up your entire move to get this bonus really hurts, making it a neat bonus when it applies, but not something to count on.
It’s the other half of this trait that interests us, though – it lets you merge the void shields of any Titan in your maniple. Pair up a Warlord and a Reaver, and that’s nine points of shields your opponent needs to chew through before they can get to the interior of your Titan. This will make you more vulnerable to blast and template weapons, but the tradeoff in survivability against the most common shield-breaking weapons is worth it.
Again, Legio Astorum is a good choice here due to their ability to re-roll repair dice to keep voids up, and the 2” bonus to boosted movement really comes into its own, especially if you take two Warlords. Legio Fureans is another interesting option – the larger Titans here can handle running a little hotter than most, and Offensive Surge will be easier to set up when your Titans are sharing voids. Legio Defensor may also be worth considering, since the larger Titans on offer here let you really push their first-turn alpha strike as heavy as possible, and they don’t mind standing still in order to take advantage of First Fire or Split Fire orders as the game goes on.
The Fortis winds up being a flexible, if expensive, maniple that allows you to leverage its unparalleled durability to advance on your opponent’s Titans and laugh disdainfully as their best shield-breaking weapons roll off your Titans’ merged voids like so much water. Compared to the Regia, the ability to merge Warlords with either Reavers or other Warlords gives you more flexibility in how you apply hits to voids, but losing any Titan in this maniple winds up being a huge blow.
Ferrox Light Maniple (Doom of Molech, p31)
If you want your Titans to get in close enough so that your Princeps can wave to his opposite number before tearing out his enemy’s generator core, the Ferrox is the choice for you.
Required Elements:1 Reaver, 2 Warhounds
Optional Elements: 1 Reaver, 1 Warhound
Titans in a Ferrox maniple want to get up close, where they add +1 to armor rolls against nearby targets. This is a great bonus for weapons like the Warhound’s vulcan bolter, since you can stack it with flanking and the Coordinated Strike rule for +3 or higher on your armor roll, allowing you to start threatening anyone on the field. The second part of their trait allows all Titans in the maniple to choose between their BS or WS within 2”, allowing you to use all of your ranged weapons without penalty when you’re close enough to ignore your opponent’s voids.
This maniple can be devastating in the right hands, arc dodging in the first turns and getting into your flank straight away to reap the benefits of their traits. One downside of this approach to combat is that it involves you being very close to your opponent, which comes first with the challenge of getting there intact. Perhaps more importantly, though, is that you’ll be at ground zero when the Warlord you just flanked catastrophically melts down – leading to some hilarious results which we all love to see in AT. Be careful with how much you commit to taking down any particular Titan so you don’t wind up trading two of your Titans for a single engine kill.
Being a light maniple, the Ferrox is a great choice to build a force around using supporting elements such as knights or a fire support warlord for stripping shields at range. Many different legios are a great complement, including the Warp Runners who can use their legio trait War March to move up the field aggressively to get in range to take advantage of the bonus to armor rolls. Also consider Gryphonicus: Motive Subreactors will help your Reavers close with power fists or chainfists, and Lust for Glory can increase the potency of one of your Titans against a particular target while the rest of your battlegroup focuses their fire on other targets so you can create a favorable 1-on-1 fight. Mainstay of the Legion also opens up the option to run 2 Reavers and 1 Warhound. On the traitor side, Fureans can use their aggressive legion traits and wargear to close in for a devastating round with Offensive Surge. Vulpa gets an honorable mention here, but isn’t an optimal choice – while Distortion Fields does stack with the +1 to armor rolls for being in close, the other half of Ferrox’s trait is redundant with Vulpa’s legion trait. However, having melee and smash attacks that start at +3 to armor could be nasty, and there’s nothing better than the look on your opponent’s face when he realizes that his prize Warlord is about to get sawn in half.
Dominus Battleforce Maniple (Feb 2019 White Dwarf, p131)
If you want to bring Knights and have them interact with your maniple trait, the Dominus is your go-to choice, bringing some added durability to your Titans by turning your Knights into miniature bodyguards.
Required Elements:1 Warlord, 2 Reavers, 1 Questoris or Cerastus Knight banner
Optional Elements: 2 Warhound, 1 Questoris or Cerastus Knight banner
The Dominus leverages vassal Knight houses to act as their bodyguards. Knights in the maniple never benefit from cover due to ECM defenses they employ, but shots fired at any friendly Titans within 6” suffer a -1 penalty to hit if both the Titan and the Knight were visible to the firing model. Titans in the maniple also have the ability to pass off hits they take to the banners within 6”, which is great for avoiding that last shot dropping your voids or, in very dire circumstances, allowing a Knight to dive in front of that volcano cannon blast fired at an unshielded Titan.
The Dominus is a solid maniple with a useful trait and well-rounded selection of Titans. Its ability is considerably less useful with the advent of Knights Acastus, however; the rules as written only allow you to use the maniple ability with Questoris or Cerastus banners, and with how dominant Acastus are right now, it’s hard to justify . If GW ever update these rules to include Acastus, taking a pair of them will help you create an incredibly durable firebase that can deal with threats from any position, but in the meantime, taking a few full banners of Questoris to use as chaff can help you can get your other Titans into position still intact.
A number of Legios have some synergy with this maniple but one we want to call out is Legio Fortidus for their ordinarily less-impressive trait, Children of Mars. This trait allows Knight banners to reroll Command checks to avoid being shaken while they are in line of sight of a Dauntless Titan. This will allow you to keep your sacrificial pawns moving and hopefully in the game a bit longer. Also consider Solaria, whose somewhat expensive Cameoline Shrouding will stack with the penalty to hit from this maniple trait, making most attacks against them hit on 5+ and making called shots impossible. They can also swap one or both of the mandatory Reavers for a Warhound, which can free up some extra points and give you more flexibility in building your roster.
Canis Light Maniple (Shadow and Iron, p40)
Warhounds, lots of warhounds. This maniple is actually explicitly only for the use of Legio Audax, so we will be covering how this maniple works in depth in our Legion Focus: Audax article, but we’ll hit the highlights here.
Required Elements: 3 Warhound Titans
Optional Elements: 2 Warhound Titans
The Canis revolves around deployment shenanigans, giving Audax access to something similar to 40k Genestealer Cults’ Cult Ambush ability, but with a twist. When you deploy, rather than placing the Titans in your Canis, you deploy markers anywhere on the board more than 6” from your opponent’s deployment zone. Then, once your opponent has finished deploying, you drop all of your Warhounds at once, and can place them anywhere within 3” of one of your markers. There’s a catch, though: if your Titan would go outside your deployment zone, it has to be more than 50% obscured from all enemy units.
This is the first and (so far) only legion-specific maniple in the game, but it’s a doozy. First, advance deployment with Warhounds means you’ll have a good chance of getting wherever you want to go on the first turn and are less likely to have to issue Full Stride orders to get there, letting you advance rapidly while still being able to shoot.
Also keep in mind that you don’t pick up the deployment marker when you deploy a Titan, making your deployment even harder to read – are you going to spread out amongst all the markers, or pile 2-3 Titans around that single marker hidden behind that skyscraper? How wide should your opponent spread their forces to restrict your deployment? This can turn the deployment phase into an interesting mini-game in its own right, adding additional strategy to deployment.
Arcus Battleline Maniple (Shadow and Iron, p41)
This maniple focuses heavily on the Warhounds acting as spotters for the Warbringer allowing the Warbringer to fire all of its weapons at any target a Warhound has line of sight to, even if the Warbringer itself can’t see them.. Additionally, the Warbringer’s Blast weapons will only scatter D6” instead of D10”, almost guaranteeing a hit with large blast weapons against larger targets such as Warlords. This definitely a strong maniple choice for casual and experienced Titanicus players alike, and can work wonders as a second maniple in a larger game as a fire support base if you stick to the minimum requirements.
Required Elements:1 Warbringer Nemesis Titan, 2 Warhound Titans
Optional Elements: 2 Warhound Titans
The first obvious bonus on this is that the carapace weapon on the Warbringer will be able to fire at targets out of sight as many of us expected it would be able to anyway. However, gaining the ability to fire the arm weapons out of line of sight is also very strong. You’ll generally want to stick with longer ranged weapons and depending on Legio choice you may even want to take Volcano cannons on the arms since the reactor can handle a bit of heat. This loadout would also allow you to sit comfortably behind a piece of terrain and either be blocked or be shot at a -2 penalty for survivability whilst your blast weapons are only scatter D6” when they inevitably miss, still hitting your target of choice often. The Quake Cannon on the back of the Warbringer is easy to dismiss at first as well when there’s a choice for a Belicosa Volcano Cannon boasting 3 extra Strength, easily causing critical damage to any location on a Warlord titan if it hits. However, the Quake cannon is much cheaper than the Belicosa, it does not have Draining, and it can cause many issues for your opponent, slowing their units and potentially causing collisions with terrain and other enemy titans.
Some Legios will definitely make better use of this than others though, of course. Praesagius is an obvious one that comes to mind, taking only blast weapons on the Warbringer and being able to sit back field whilst re-rolling the location so that you are more often hitting the part of the titan you want, to get the engine kill or to cause other critical damage to slow the advance or cause VSG burnout. Legio Mordaxis can upgrade the arm weapons of the Warbringer from 3” to 5” blasts, lower the Strength by 1 but when only scattering D6” all but guaranteeing some hits on enemy units. This is one of few maniples that allows Legio Solaria to make use of their rule to squadron 4 Warhounds at once instead of only up to 3, however limiting maneuverability by decreasing the number of activations.
Ruptura Batteline Maniple (Shadow and Iron, p42)
Required Elements: 2 Warbringer Nemesis Titans,1 Reaver Titan
Optional Elements: 2 Reaver Titans
Ruptura Battleline Maniples focus on faster Reaver movement alongside Warbringer support. Once per round, one of the Reavers may use it’s boosted movement speed (9” instead of only 6”) without pushing its reactor. This can be used in the movement phase, or could be used during a Full Stride order. The second rule of the maniple gives an out of sequence free move to any of the Reavers whenever one of the Warbringers causes Catastrophic Damage to an enemy unit. This can be incredible if you’re able to make the killing blow with a Warbringer.
To help make these killing blows with the Warbringers you may consider taking Laser Blaster or even Gatling Blaster as one of the arm weapons so that you can make aimed shots at the target, instead of having to roll randomly every time with blast weapons. Warbringer movement isn’t bad either and will be able to get those shorter ranged weapons in range fairly quickly, especially if playing against Reavers and Warhounds moving towards you. The Reavers can happily be armed with shorter ranged weapons and even a melee weapon with the free boosted speed on one per round as potential free moves getting them down the board quicker.
As ever, some Legios will make better use of this maniple. Legio Vulcanum can make interesting use of this Maniple, using Twinned Machine Spirits to connect the two Warbringers allowing them to merge shields, but more importantly allowing them to make coordinated strikes, giving +1 to armour rolls against a shared target making the engine kill a little easier to give the free move to the Reavers. Legio Praesagius is able to reroll location when firing at Long range with their Titans, making it easier to keep the Warbringers further back and firing long ranged blast weapons to hit already weakened targets to finish them off. Legio Vulpa in particular will appreciate being able to boost a melee Reaver’s movement without having to push its reactor, and their legion trait and wargear makes the Warbringers more of a threat if they do happen to get stuck in combat.
Mandatum Battleline Maniple (Shadow and Iron, p43)
Required Elements:1 Warlord Titan,2 Warhound Titans
Optional Elements: 2 Warhound Titans
The Mandatum brings a force disposition we’re excited to see: one Warlord with a pile of Warhounds running around giving it cover. If you’ve got a Warlord and want to bring it in smaller games, this is an excellent way to make that happen, clocking it at just shy of 1000 points for the mandatory elements with an average loadout. This gives you plenty of room to add in some Household Support or another Titan or two in smaller games, something that most Warlord lists haven’t had the luxury of to this point.
The maniple’s trait is solid, even if it isn’t flashy: as long as the Warlord is alive, the Warhounds get +2 to command checks, effectively giving them the same command value as a Warlord. In addition, the Warhounds excel at running interference for the Warlord, and get +1 to hit rolls against targets within 12” of their commander. You’ll want to build your Warlord with a somewhat aggressive loadout so that you can get close enough to give the bonuses to hit rolls.
Legio Oberon can make use of this maniple well as long with Armoured Phalanx, keeping your Titans closer together makes them far more survivable with -1 to incoming armour rolls as long as they stay within 2” of each other. This may seem like a small difference but effectively decreasing the strength of all incoming weapons can save the Warhounds from strong hits such as volcano cannons and melta cannons; the Warlord becomes nearly impenetrable to smaller weapons fire. This is a solid choice for Legio Mortis, using their stratagem to gain an extra move before the game really starts allowing the Warlord to get closer sooner and the Warhounds to get into a better position. Legio Vulpa makes great use of the additional +1 to hit ability as well, letting them make targeted shots with turbo laser destructors at 3+ to hit. Combined with coordinated strikes for +1 to the armor roll, the Warhounds can get in under the shields, aim for the body to cause VSG burnout, and if that doesn’t get the kill then your Warlord can finish the job.
Perpetua Battleline Maniple (Defense of Ryza, p50)
Some Princeps prefer to be the aggressor, pushing forward rapidly and running their foes down before they can react. Others would rather be the immovable object, laughing as incoming fire banks harmlessly off their Titans’ armor and repairing damage as fast as their enemy can inflict it. If you find yourself in the latter category, the Perpetua might be for you.
Mandatory Elements: 1 Warlord, 2 Reavers
Optional Elements: 2 Reavers
One of the lightest of the Battleline maniples, the Perpetua deploys a single Warlord in support of a maniple full of Reavers. The Stand Firm maniple trait lets you issue Emergency Repairs to any Titan in the maniple on a 2+ regardless of modifiers, allowing you to be sure you get those extra repair dice when you need them. In addition, any Titans in the maniple that haven’t moved before the Damage Control phase roll an additional Repair die during that phase, letting them stay in the fight longer.
If you want a lighter gunline, you could do worse than the Perpetua. The force composition is well-balanced and lends itself well to fire-support Titans. You’ll almost certainly want to kit your Warlord out in a fire-support role, and the additional dice on the repair roll will not only help keep a stationary Warlord’s shields topped off, but will also vent heat from repeated firing of Draining weapons. Laser blasters and turbo-lasers are also worth considering, as you’ll find it easier to vent heat from their Shieldbane trait as you pound down your opponent’s voids. And while standing still does make you an easier target, consistent access to Emergency Repairs will let you keep your reactor cool enough to use Voids to Full more or less at will.
Astorum and Crucius can both get excellent use out of this maniple with their access to re-rolls on repair rolls, letting them abuse their reactors even harder than before. You could also look at this as an option for a lighter Defensor gunline to offset the increased heat drain on your Reavers from firing earlier in the round. Mordaxis players might also enjoy this maniple, as their lists need to be built around their inability to push for speed, so the additional survivability from their trait will be appreciated, especially as they push even more frequently for voids to full or for Draining weapons.
Extergimus Battleline Maniple (Defense of Ryza, p51)
Some people say it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. They were wrong.
Mandatory Elements: 3 Warlords
Optional Elements: 1 Warlord, 1 Warbringer-Nemesis
The Extergimus is nothing short of excessive. With a lineup of mandatory God-Engines that were only previously accessible to Legio Krytos, now you too can turn things up to 11 and destroy your enemies from afar.
With the aptly named Scorched Earth, each time you make a ranged attack you may choose to add two Strength to the attack before rolling to hit. Each time you do this your reactor will increase by 1 or 2 if the attack has 5 or more dice. With the ample reactor capacity on all titans in this maniple you can now almost guarantee those crits to finish off a target without voids or annihilate entire banners of knights. Just to give you some ideas consider some of the options you’ll have on this:
- On a Macro Gatling you now have S9 with Ordinance with a high number of shots, capable of shredding a weakened track on any target
- Didn’t have points for a Belicosa Volcano Cannon? A Mori Quake Canon becomes nearly as powerful, dropping S11 large templates with more predictable reactor usage
- If you can afford the heat and need to make some called shots to a weakened but not completely tracked location, AMLs with S6 or Paired Gatling Blasters with S7 and Ordinance will finish off most wounded targets.
- Consider a Plasma Annihilator with the Overcharged Cannon stratagem to hit at S14 with called shots to the location of your choice.
Bair: I actually like a Mori better than a Beli in this maniple. You’re going to be running hot as it is, and S11 WITH quake trait slowing down your enemy and bouncing them around is just amazing, plus it’s guaranteed 1 heat with no machine spirit activation.
This maniple has raw power that makes other gunlines such as the Fortis or Myrmidon blush. However, you may find that all that power is too concentrated and that you’ve got all your eggs in too few baskets. Having so few activations with lumbering God-Engines can leave you at risk of your firing arcs being dodged and give your opponent activation advantage. Use everything available to you prevent this from happening as you vaporize the battlefield:
- Focus down targets to reduce your opponents activation advantage
- Consider using Princeps Senioris Traits like Swift Killer to prevent being flanked
- If terrain allows, deploy in the corners to allow line of sight to the table
- Use Wargear such as Tracking Gyroscopes to allow you to use your carapace weapons more often
- Use stratagems such as Scatterable Mines to slow your prey and set up a killing field in the middle of the table
When playing a maniple like this you will need to pray to the Omnissiah that you don’t roll up Cargo or Retrieval as an objective. Luckily though, Defense of Ryza also introduced the Tactical Reassessment stratagem, allowing you to mulligan your objectives – just don’t roll the same ones again…
There are some Titan Legions we would be remiss to not mention that can make good use of this ludicrous complement of titans.
Vulcanum can use their Two-Faced God trait to have a second Princeps Senioris in the maniple, allowing you to have two Swift Killers – making it very hard for your opponent to dodge your firing corridors with carapace weapons as well as pairing two of the Warlords for even more stopping power with Coordinated Strikes.
Gryphonicus could take a trio of brawler Warlords and use the Lust for Glory trait to provide you with bonuses to destroy each of your vows quickly off the bat. With Mainstay of the Legion, you could look to sub a Warlord out for a Reaver to bring costs down, letting you also soup up a Gatling Blaster into a Macro Gatling when you need it.
Firmus Light Maniple (Defense of Ryza, p52)
The Firmus utilizes skirmishing Titans to screen one another to deny any attempts to focus them down.
Mandatory Elements: 1 Reaver, 2 Warhounds
Optional Elements: 2 Reavers
Deciding what Light Maniple to field your Titans in can be a tough decision, especially when the Firmus, Venator and Ferrox all have the same mandatory elements but differing traits and additional engines.
The Firmus maniple’s trait Defensive Engagement requires a fair bit more finesse than using the Knife-Fighters or Opportunistic Fire of its peers, but when executed correctly will cause lots of frustration for your opponent. When a member of the maniple is targeted by an attack, you can choose to make your opponent only fire at a closer member instead – at least 50% of the new target must be visible and they have to fail a command check. Each attacking Titan can only be affected by this ability once a turn – so you can’t attempt to stop a Titan on First Fire twice. However, if a Titan with Split Fire orders fails this check, it loses the benefit of the order as it’s forced to fire only at your chosen target.
This maniple trait is honestly not the strongest. The best thing it’s got going for it is probably the psychological impact it may have on your opponent: should they target the Titan they want to shoot at and have a chance of missing? Or should they turn to fire on a Titan that’s closer but on the flank to guarantee that they’ll get to fire at something?
To make the most of this ability you’ll want to be deliberate and purposeful with your moment and have a clear idea of which Titan you want your opponent to shoot at each turn – consider movement stratagems like The Long Retreat or Experimental Locomotors to allow you to dance your Titans back and forth. A Crusade Legio with the Masters of Defence trait can do this exceptionally well.
Getting your opponent to fail their command checks will make this trait more reliable and there are a raft of options to achieve this including Wages of Betrayal, a Vulpa Princeps Seniores with a Razor Tongue or Legio Magna’s Howls of the Damned.
Rules as written, you could choose the nominated target to be out of the firing arc of the firing Titan. This is because the nominated target has merely to be visible to the firing titan, rather than to its weapons – you don’t check arc until after the target is selected. With this in mind, use your positioning to split your opponent’s focus and get in their flanks.
Ignus Light Maniple (Crucible of Retribution, p56)
Mandatory Elements: 3 Warhounds, 1 Banner of Cerastus Knights (Acherons only)
Optional Elements: 2 Warhoudns, 2 Banners of Cerastus Knights (Acherons only)
Another light maniple, this one focused around flame weapons. It adds 1 to the dice of all Flamestorm weapons, as well as letting those weapons re-roll 1s against armor, effectively giving them the Ordnance trait. As it stands, inferno guns are somewhat underwhelming, generally being outperformed by everything except laser weapons and suffering from incredibly short range to boot. Adding an extra die and making them more reliable against armor makes them even more threatening against Reavers and Warhounds, but still probably doesn’t push them over the top against more heavily armored targets.
The maniple also includes 1-3 banners of Cerastus Knights Acheron, and the maniple trait applies to their weapons. As a bonus, if a banner is within 6” of a friendly Titan that receives First Fire or Full Stride orders, they can take the same order for free. Since you’ll want to be moving forward aggressively anyway, this sounds neat until you work out that, as long as the Lord Scion is alive, Cerastus Banners actually have a better Command value than your non-Princeps Warhounds. It does still save you a roll though, which makes it less likely that you’re going to lose your orders step altogether. Also, if you’ve got a trait, strat, or wargear that makes orders more reliable on your Titans, you can use this trait to filter them through to your Knights. Probably most effective mixing this with War Lust if you’re a Traitor, giving an additional +2 to Full Stride Orders and an extra 2” of movement on the Warhounds when they push power to locomotives.
All in all, this could be an interesting option if you’re a fan of flame templates and close quarters warfare.
Legio Infernus are the best option for this maniple for sure, giving an extra 2” range to flamestorm weapons and a re-roll which can be used on determining the location when firing template weapons, making them more reliable for killing and not just doing a lot of damage to random different points. Bair tested this out in (HMO Flamers), and the results were rather spicy.
Precept Battleline Maniple (Crucible of Retribution, p56)
Mandatory Elements: 1 Warlord, 1 Warbringer, 1 Warhound
Optional Elements: 1 Reaver, 1 Warhound
Indecisive? Want to run one of everything? Have we got the maniple for you! The Precept lets you field a Warlord, a Warbringer, a Reaver, and two Warhounds in full. This somewhat eclectic mix lets you bring a well-rounded list that can be built in many different directions. The mandatory elements of a Warlord, Warbringer, and Warhound free you up to take a mid-ranged brawler Warlord to run up the board with your Warhound, then pad it out with either a Reaver or another Warhound and some knights. Alternately, a fire-support Warlord together with a Warbringer makes for a devastating long-ranged threat that’s still fairly cost-efficient.
The maniple trait is interesting, particularly given the mix of chassis you’ll be bringing. At the beginning of the Strategy phase, you choose an order for each Precept maniple in your force, and the Titans in that maniple can take that order on a 2+, ignoring all modifiers. This is an interesting take on order reliability that remains flexible throughout the game. Take the Iron Clad Tyrant to re-roll a failed command check and you almost can’t fail that charge or emergency repair you desperately need. Just expect Vox Blackout to hit when you really don’t need it to. The only downside is that you’re choosing which order happens on a 2+ before any Orders are made, showing your hand a little in the coming phase and letting your opponent choose their first order off that information.
All Legios can make very effective use of this maniple, and Legios that allow for swaps of chassis to happen love it because the trait is not specific to the types of Titans, so Fortidus, Gryphonicus, Venator, Tritonis, Solaria, etc for very unique and very flexible forces.
Bair: I really like this. It’s an Axiom. But it’s not. It still feels unique and lets you get a Warbringer and a Warlord in the same maniple with some smaller engines to fill points in lists.
Soggy: I see this being a relatively popular choice for midweight maniples as it lets you bring all of your toys and get a benefit. It’s very rare that I field an Axiom and probably even more so with this option available to me.
Now that you’ve chosen your Titan legion and the maniple you’re going to field, it’s time to start filling out your battlegroup with Titans. In the coming weeks, we’ll be looking at the various classes of Titans you can field and how you can best equip them to fill various battlefield roles. We’ll start with the fast and agile Warhound Titan, helping you get the most out of its fast speed and incredible maneuverability to run circles around your opponents even as you tear their Titans apart.