Warlord Wednesdays: Putting It All Together – Adeptus Titanicus Tactics

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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 taking everything we’ve talked about and pulling them together into a cohesive force. Most pick-up games tend to be played in the 1250-1750 point bracket, so we’ve pulled together some lists that clock in at just shy of 1500 points. If you’re just starting out, hopefully one of these lists might give you an idea of what you’d like to build toward. We’ve got four different lists, each of which has a different focus:

  • Condit’s Legio Vulpa battlegroup leans into his personal preferences to create a fast-moving all-in force that rides a razor-thin line between victory and defeat.
  • Zach Bair’s Legio Vulcanum battlegroup is a more competitive list, focusing on getting the most mileage out of his Titans and delivering an incredible alpha strike by using the Twinned Machine Spirits upgrade to put two Warlords in a squadron.
  • Soggy’s Legio Xestobiax battlegroup makes some concessions to his chosen legion’s fluff, choosing to build a solid force entirely from Warlords and Reavers while still packing some serious firepower.
  • Sulecrist’s Legio Krytos battlegroup is a solid, straightforward list built around the Axiom Battleline Maniple.

We’ve included the lists, together with an explanation of how each player chose what to include in the list, and how they use it in a game. Feel free to use these lists as inspiration for your own battlegroup, and share your own in the comments!

Condit’s Legio Vulpa – 1490 points

Legio Vulpa Ferrox Maniple with supporting Warlord. Credit: Garrett Severson

Ferrox Light Maniple – 1220 points

  • Reaver Titan – 355 points
    • Princeps Seniores (Favoured by Fortune)
    • Reaver Titan Power Fist
    • Reaver Titan Chainfist
    • Turbo Laser Destructor
    • Disruption Emitters
    • Plasma Gargoyles
  • Reaver Titan – 365 points
    • Gatling Blaster
    • Melta Cannon
    • Turbo Laser Destructor
    • Disruption Emitters
    • Plasma Gargoyles
  • Warhound Titan – 250 points
    • Plasma Blastgun
    • Vulcan Megabolter
    • Disruption Emitters
  • Warhound Titan – 250 points
    • Plasma Blastgun
    • Vulcan Megabolter
    • Disruption Emitters

Household Support – 270 points

  • Cerastus Banner – 170 points
    • 2x Lancers
  • Acastus Banner – 100 points
    • 1x Porphyrion

My search for a Titan legion started with two conditions: first, I wanted a set of traits and wargear that would reward me for playing aggressively and getting in close with my opponents. Second, I wanted a striking color scheme that not many other players would be likely to choose. Legio Vulpa offers both, with a legion trait and wargear choice that make them terrifying in melee combined with a paint scheme that definitely stands out on the tabletop.

When I originally bought in to Adeptus Titanicus, I wanted to build a list focusing around Warlords and Warhounds, as I didn’t really like how Reavers looked in 40k. However, after using them in “test” games played with friends, I found that I really enjoyed piloting them, and that they could be kitted out to be quite scary. These days I find myself frequently leaving the Warlords at home entirely, and focus instead on getting the most mileage out of Reavers and Warhounds.

The Ferrox Light Maniple plays to my strategy’s strengths, giving me additional bonuses when I get close enough to benefit from my legion upgrades and making me even scarier when I get within 2”. Unfortunately, only half of the maniple trait works for me – for Reavers and Warhounds, I’m already swapping my WS and BS within 3”, and for Warlords it’s irrelevant since both become 4+ – but the bonus to armor rolls in close makes up for it.

The basic strategy here is fairly simple: I deploy the melee reaver to take advantage of cover, and then try to stay out of line-of-sight of my opponent’s big guns until at least round 2. The Warhounds and melta Reaver advance and take some pot shots to keep my opponent’s attention until the melee Reaver can close. I typically take the Blind Barrage and Scatter Mines stratagems and use them to apply maluses to hit the melee Reaver and cut down on my opponent’s maneuverability so I can more effectively go to work in close. Expect this Titan to be running at Full Stride for the first 2-3 rounds of the game.

The Warhounds typically skirmish up the opposite side of the board from the melee Reaver and try to focus down an enemy Warhound or Reaver early on, if one’s available. Their plasma blastgun/vulcan megabolter loadouts give them a solid chance of collapsing an enemy’s voids and cracking open an armor location if they can get in range. The melta/gatling Reaver moves up to support, piling on with everything it’s got to try for an early engine kill.

The Cerastus Knights usually advance with the melee Reaver, and I’ll throw them in to clog up the field and keep the charging lane for the Reaver open. If the opponent takes the bait, they’re just tough enough to act as a distraction so I can move the Reaver forward, and while I’d like to keep them around, I can afford to lose them if it comes to it. If they’re ignored, they’ll get in their with their shock lances the next round and do some damage. The Acastus contributes to the Warhounds’ and ranged Reaver’s attacks, helping tip the balance and secure that early kill. Between them, these two banners give me a reasonably high activation count which means I can afford to run the Warhounds in a squadron for the coordinated strike rule.

Once the melee Reaver makes it across the board, it’s incredibly dangerous. Equipped with Disruption Emitters, its chainfist starts at an effective strength 11 between the +2 from the wargear and the +1 from the maniple trait, and if I can get it into the flank or rear it only goes up from there. If it can make it to within 1” of an enemy Titan, it will do tremendous damage regardless of which class of Titan it’s carving up. Not even a Warlord can walk away from that many strength 11+ attacks unscathed.

One thing I’ve found myself not taking as much as I used to is the Plasma Gargoyles wargear. It’s a really cool-sounding upgrade, but it’s not that useful without a Warlord in the list. Reavers only barely have the reactor capacity to make it worthwhile, and I find it can mess with my positioning when I’m trying to navigate tight quarters with Warhounds. Instead, I save the points and put Disruption Emitters on everything – people rarely expect a charge from the Warhounds or the gatling Reaver, and my improved WS from Vulpa’s trait means that I can do that without sacrificing firepower in the combat phase. I had some points left over in the end here, so I went ahead and slapped the gargoyles on the Reavers anyway, but I wouldn’t think twice about removing them if I were to change the list at all.

Condit’s Legio Vulpa in action at NoVA against Lord_Hambrose’s Legio Elegantus. Photo Credit: Garrett Severson

In larger games, I’ll swap the Cerastus, the gargoyles, and a few sets of Disruption Emitters out for a support Warlord outside the maniple with a quake cannon, volcano cannon, and apocalypse missile launcher. The supporting fire helps me keep my opponent honest and lets me put out some ranged firepower while my shorter-ranged Titans are still crossing the board. Alternatively, a Death Stalkers Warlord with macro-gatling cannon and power claw is absolutely terrifying, but it means I’m leaning even further into pure aggression.

Overall, this is an all-in aggressive list that is a lot of fun to play, but isn’t without its pitfalls. If the melee Reaver goes down early, the rest of this list is a lot easier to deal with, and it’ll fold like a house of cards. If you decide to build something like this, pay close attention to how the terrain is laid out and play around it. If you can con your opponent into forgetting about the threat that thing poses until it’s already crawling up his Warlord’s exhaust pipe, the results will be worth it. In the interim, use the rest of your list to focus down vulnerable enemies in the standard fashion. I typically open with a coordinated strike from the Warhounds to pound down voids, with the blastgun from the second Warhound hopefully going to armor. Follow up with the Acastus’s c-beamers, then called shots with the mortars into the most damaged location. If the target is still standing, the Reaver should fire its melta, then follow up with its gatling and turbo lasers into exposed structure points.

Orders wise, the melee Reaver and Cerastus get Full Stride until they close, then Charge to go in and clean house. Depending on deployment, the gatling Reaver may Full Stride the first round, but future rounds depend on how the board state develops – it can sometimes be a decent target for Split Fire, and if anyone steps to within 9”, I think seriously about making the charge. The Warhounds will usually not take orders for the first round or two, but similarly become tempting Charge targets as the game develops, especially if there’s a wounded Titan with +2 or +3 to armor rolls from mounting damage to structure. The Acastus typically gets First Fire in the first round, then I play it by ear as the situation develops.

Zach Bair’s Legio Vulcanum – 1495 points

WIP Legio Vulcanum Regia Maniple. Credit: Zach Bair

Regia Battleline Maniple

  • Warlord Titan – 535 points
    • Paired Gatling Blasters
    • Belicosa Volcano Cannon
    • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator
    • Twinned Machine Spirits
  • Warlord Titan – 515 points
    • Apocalypse Missile Launchers
    • Janus Pattern Missiles
    • Macro-Gatling Blaster
    • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator
  • Warhound Titan – 220 points
    • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
    • Plasma Blastgun
  • Warhound Titan – 220 points
    • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
    • Plasma Blastgun

Zach’s Thoughts: First off, this is my absolute favourite loadout for a Warhound. It just does a lot of work. The plasma can take out banners of knights, the mega bolter is amazing for stripping shields, and position it right and it can make the final blow on enemy titans as well with a lot of aimed shots mid-late game. The Warhounds most likely will not be in a squadron in this list, or else I’d knock myself down to a measly 2 activations (see twinned machine spirits below).

The Regia Maniple is a staple for Legio Vulcanum for a few reasons that I’ll get into below, but being able to share shields between the Warhounds and the Warlords, and get that order across from my Seniores to the other Warlord without a roll is huge. This gives a more reliable order to my second Warlord as long as I don’t roll a 1 on the first one!

Legio Vulcanum has a couple really cool upgrades I’m using here. First is the Janus Pattern Missiles which lets me split off some shots from my main target to any other enemy unit within 12” of my original target. This means if I don’t really need 10 missile shots going only the enemy Titan without shields down my corridor, I can instead have up to 9 go off into another enemy within 12” of my target, and it doesn’t even need to be in my corridor! Just line of sight and range. Being able to do this opens up a lot more flexibility with the list.

The other upgrade that is actually the lynch pin to why I’ve taken these options is the Twinned Machine Spirits upgrade for Vulcanum. The Warlords act as a squadron, they can share shields and can activate together. I think shield sharing in a time of Acastus blasts is a huge mistake though and a bit of a trap. It sounds amazing across two Warlords but they can still drop, and when they do you’re stuck with 2 large targets that have hindered their own movement to be able to share shields and are ready to be shot at. The upgrade however lets me activate both Warlords at the same time, and while this cuts down on my number of activations, the amount of destruction 2 Warlords can cause by going right after one another is massive. Nearly all of the time I’ll be activating the one with the Belicosa first. One of the Warhounds should have already helped strip some shields off of a target with its Mega Bolter, the missiles from the Warlord hopefully take the rest off, the Belicosa then goes in since it cannot target a location, and the plasma fires without aiming as well. This should cause at least one point on an enemy unit to become compromised with at least one modifier now applied to remaining hits. If you’re really lucky both weapons will hit the same location, either way the second Warlord is standing by ready for the kill. The second one fires as needed, most likely with plasma first, then aimed shots with the Gatling and if that fails to get the engine kill then the missiles should now be hitting at essentially S8 (+3 for end of status track and +1 from combined fire). The extra damage potential off of paired Warlords is huge, and with the right positioning I’ll be able to take out a Warlord per turn almost. That’s the theory behind it anyway!

Soggy’s Legio Xestiobiax – 1495 points

Fortis Maniple. Credit: Soggy

Fortis Batteline Maniple

  • Warlord Titan – 490 points – Princeps (Swift Killer)
    • Paired Gatling Blasters
    • Macro Gatling Blaster
    • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator
  • Reaver Titan – 310 points
    • Vulcan Megabolter
    • Gatling Blaster
    • Melta Cannon
  • Reaver Titan – 300 points
    • Apocalypse Missile Launcher
    • Gatling Blaster
    • Volcano Cannon
  • Reaver Titan – 295 points
    • Vulcan Megabolter
    • Gatling Blaster
    • Reaper Chainfist

Household Support – 100 points

  • Acastus Banner – 100 points
    • 1x Porphyrion

++Mustering the Legio++

When I was looking to pick a Legio for Titanicus, I wanted to go with a faction that had awesome livery and fluff. Both options I initially leaned towards didn’t have rules at the time: 

  • Legio Audax, famous users of the Ursus Claws
  • Legio Xestobiax, defenders at the Burning of Prospero. 

After having just painted a load of Blood Ravens, I was sick of painting crimson and so the choice was made. 

One big advantage of going with a Legio without rules was I could chop and change my rules depending on what mood I’ve been in as I’ve learned to play the game. From the start I had always been a fan of Warhounds, leveraging Venator and Ferrox maniples to put as many as I could on the field. With the advent of the July 2019 Crusade Legio rules, I was rolling my own Legio rules which I used at the 2019 NoVA Open which was a blast and was covered in The Road to NoVA series. 

With the end of the 2019 coming, Warhammer World have published their events for the first quarter of 2020, one of which is a Titanicus Weekender. Despite living in the UK for the past few years, I’ve yet to make the pilgrimage to Nottingham, so I slammed the buy tickets button the second they became available.

The 2020 Titanicus event at Warhammer World has a nice player’s pack, with games varying in size between 1000 and 2000 points. There are some interesting calls on it which may set the standard for events going forwards:

  • First of all, White Dwarf Crusade Legio rules were off the menu. This makes sense as this has some auto-includes and allows people to cherry pick the best of the Legios of College Titanica. 
  • Limiting the number of Knight banners per m<niple and most notably limiting a Knight Household force to a single Knight Banner of Acastus Knights. As we’ve mentioned previously, the Acastus Knight is very cost effective and I wouldn’t be surprised to see other events follow suit with this ruling.

Upon buying tickets for the traitor faction I had inadvertently put myself out of my comfort zone as I hadn’t read the pack yet. Up until now I’ve normally run as Legio Dauntless or a Traitor Splinter of them using the White Dwarf Rules. Both of these were no longer an option. Oops.

One aspect that I hadn’t fully embraced was the Xestobiax fluff – who were famous for shunning Scout Titans in favour of Reaver and Warlord Titans. Given this is a narrative event, it’s about time I owned this and stop taking three Warhound Titans to every game…

Soggy’s last game at NoVA vs the Loyalist Warlord. PC: instagram.com/wh40kcouple/

++Assembling the Maniple++

The first decision to make was what Maniple I wanted my force built around after which other aspects, such as Legio Rules, would come later. The Fortis Maniple sang to me with its good number of Reaver and Warlord slots combined with the fantastic ability of being able to share voids when in base to base contact. There is nothing worse than finally dropping shields on a larger engine only to have to do it again if it survives the turn and is reinforced by another.

With the Maniple chosen, I decided against fielding two Warlords at 1500 points as this would sacrifice too many activations and instead went with more Reavers. Each unit has a role in mind:

  • The Princeps will lead by example in their Warlord and stride into the fray as quickly as possible. Assuming we are allowed to pick Princeps traits, with the Swift Killer trait I’ll be able to mitigate being arc dodged in shorter range and hopefully one-shot some titans.
  • Melta Reaver is the second heavy hitter in this list, hoping to weaken armour for the rest of the maniple to do the job.
  • Chainfist Reaver will serve as a distraction Carnifex and draw some fire while everyone else gets into position
  • Reaver with the AML and Volcano Cannon will hold the back line and hopefully take care of any Knights that threaten to get too close to the Princeps.
  • The Acastus is there to round out the last hundred points and strip the shields off of anything it can see. Given the amount of hate these can draw, if someone spends an activation or two shooting at this lone Knight instead of my of my engines it has already paid off it’s investment.

I wasn’t sure I could make a list I’d be happy with without Warhounds, but I think I’m there and I haven’t made my mind up on what Legio’s rules to use! Looking at the list, two main candidates spring to mind:

  • Legio Tempestus – The heavy hitters in this maniple would benefit quite a lot from Glory in Death, although counting on losing your Titans is an interesting gambit.
  • Legio Fureans – I would hate to be on the other side of an Offensive Surge of this Maniple. Being able to attack twice with a second weapon on each Titan on turn two should hopefully cripple my opponent. If I could squeeze in a Hunting Auspex on my Warlord I’d be even happier, but this is quite tight already.

I’m personally leaning towards the the Fureans, although let us know what you think as I’m open to feedback and have loads of time ahead of the event. I’m looking forward to playing a fluffy, well rounded force.

If any of you are attending the Titanicus event in Feburary, don’t be afraid to say hello!

Sulecrist’s Legio Krytos – 1490 points

Battlegroup Conciliatus

Legio Krytos Battlegroup. Credit: sulecrist/@prosecutorpainting (Insta)

Axiom Battleline Maniple

  • Anticipation Of A New Lover’s Arrival, The (Warlord Titan) – 535 points
    • Belicosa Volcano Cannon
    • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator
    • Paired Laser Blasters
  • Credibility Problem (Reaver Titan) – 295 points
    • Gatling Blaster
    • Chainfist
    • Apocalypse Missile Launcher
  • Xenophobe (Warhound Titan) – 220 points
    • Inferno Gun
    • Inferno Gun
  • Frank Exchange of Views (Warhound Titan) – 220 points
    • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
    • Plasma Blastgun
  • Attitude Adjuster (Warhound Titan) – 220 points
    • Vulcan Mega-Bolter
    • Plasma Blastgun

This list is kind of a mess because it’s not designed for specific points levels. I usually play with the Matched Play rules from the core rulebook, which is why this list looks kind of crappy–it’s not actually designed for 1500 points, but this is how I have built it events (e.g., for the 1500-point tier in Nova’s escalation campaign). Normally, this is the “Confrontation” tier (1250-1750 points, with rewards for every 200 points by which my list is smaller than my opponent’s), so I either drop Attitude Adjuster or else add a fourth Warhound so that I can run Axiom + Lupercal. Axiom is incredibly flexible and user-friendly, without being a pain to play against; Lupercal is an insanely satisfying treat that lets mobile Warhounds not only assassinate substantially heavier enemies, but also keep up with enemy Knights. At 1500 exactly, though, I usually keep FEOV and AA squadroned separately and put Xenophobe in the Axiom, since it needs Full Stride most turns to work. I know that Knights would be a better use of my ~230 flex points, but I enjoy Warhounds too much not to take them whenever humanly possible.

Legio Krytos’ rules are godawful and I get too many complaints when I use the White Dwarf DIY rules, so I usually take the 2 bonus Stratagem Points instead of Legio benefits.

I don’t think hyper-specialization pays off in normal-sized games of AT, so all of my Titans are designed to fulfill multiple roles, even if none are jacks-of-all-trades. Credibility Problem can seize and hold/move objectives, drop shields, and make called shots. The VMB/PBG Warhounds push into enemy territory, capitalize when shields collapse, and often serve as executioners by putting called shots into heavily damaged Warlords’ or Reavers’ compromised armor locations. Xenophobe challenges Knights, pushes into enemy territory, and wreaks havoc. AoaNL’sA,t moves forward steadily, putting consistent fire into enemies with low or collapsed voids and doing massive damage to vulnerable enemies.

What’s Next?

If you’ve been with us from the beginning, we’ve gone through the options available to you to build your list, from legion and maniple traits up to how the various Titan classes work. In our next few articles, we’ll start looking at some ways to improve your gameplay by getting the most out of the rules available to you. We’ll start by going over some of the stratagems on offer and help you decide which ones to take, which ones to leave at home, and which ones might be situationally useful.

 

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