Warlord Wednesdays: Titanica Infernus

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.

To Corrupt or Not to Corrupt?

Before we dive in, it’s important to keep in mind that corrupting a Titan isn’t all sunshine and rainbows – there are some significant downsides as well. First, the daemon in your corrupted Titan displaces the god-engine’s machine spirit, so any time the machine spirit would awaken, you instead roll on the Awakened Entity table. Most of the results here are similar to those on the Awakened Machine Spirit table, but are usually a bit worse. There’s one big exception, though: the Stalwart result is completely gone and replaced with Fearful. If you get this result, your Titan will move d3” straight backwards, plus an additional inch for every point of critical damage it’s suffered. What’s worse, if that takes it back further than its boosted speed characteristic, it suffers a bunch of s8 hits to the legs. This normally wouldn’t be that bad, but if you’re banged up enough to move that far, you’ve probably taken some serious damage already. You can avoid this by buying your titan a Traitor upgrade that makes you choose a result on the Awakened Entity Table at the beginning of the game to always apply, which is obviously very good but does add more cost onto already expensive titans. 

Legio Vulpa Corrupted Warlord Vero Intolerabilis | Credit: John Condit

In addition to that table, Corrupted Titans get a -1 to all Command checks, which increases to -2 if they have one or more Additional Mutations. Thankfully, it stops at two, but this penalty explicitly ignores any Legio Traits or Princeps Traits that would normally let you ignore modifiers to Command. Stratagems, Wargear, and other rules still work, but if you want to get around this penalty, you’re going to have to spend. This hurts on Traitors, not only because they lack access to Loyalist-only stratagems like Iron Resolve, but also because the “canonically” Traitorous legios (i.e. the ones in the Traitor Legios supplement) tend to lack tools to manage Command checks. Other bonuses still apply though, your Princeps Seniores still gets +2 for orders. 

Bair: There are a couple workarounds for the command checks such as using maniples which give orders on unmodified rolls like the Perpetua or Myrmidon but also Stratagems which add a bonus to different orders like War Lust giving +2 to Full Stride for a turn. 

A Corrupted Princeps Seniores is not allowed to take a trait from the core rulebook table either, instead having to take from a new table for Corrupted Titans or from their own Legio instead. Not having access to traits like Dominant Strategist or Iron-Clad Tyrant is actually pretty big and the latter means that you’re a step further from getting orders off. 

And if all that wasn’t enough, there’s another quirk of the rules that combines with the two above to make your Daemon Engines truly unpredictable: most of the rules that would allow you to choose the result on the Awakened Machine Spirit table specify that, for Corrupted Titans, you instead roll twice on the Awakened Entity table and choose the result you’d prefer. Again, you can get around this with the Traitor-specific Singular Purpose upgrade, but that’s throwing even more points at a Titan you’re already paying a premium for.

Finally, there’s one serious downside that Corrupted Titans have to deal with that comes from the Loyalist Legios supplement: weapons with the Psi trait add 2 to armour rolls against Corrupted Titans. In other words, a Psi-Titan’s Sinistramanus Tenebrae is all but guaranteed to cripple or outright kill anything smaller than a Warbringer-Nemesis in a single shot, and will dish out heavy damage to even the largest Titans. You’ll need to be prepared to deal with that if you find yourself setting up across the table from one.

The Fall to Chaos

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about how cool these rules are. And believe me, they’re cool – if you didn’t already understand why the Traitor Legios gave in to the temptations of the Chaos Gods, we’re confident you will now.

Base Mutations

Corrupting your Titan starts by choosing a Base Mutation. You have to take one of these before you can take any other mutations and can’t take any of the additional mutations without first purchasing a base. These cost anywhere from 10 to 25 points and help determine what your Titan will do on the battlefield. These also affect which other mutations you can take on top in some instances. 

Legio Vulcanum. Credit – @zachs.hobby

At 10 points, Aetheric Conduit is the cheapest base mutation on offer. It gives all non-corrupted Titans within 6” a -1 to command checks. This includes your own if they’re not corrupt, so steer clear of your own cleaner titans. It’s the cheapest for a reason: causing -1 to command checks is nice, but 6” is also a very small aura and often won’t be affecting charge orders from Reavers since they want to be a bit further away for the extra attacks. Not only that, but there are plenty of rules that render this mutation ineffective. If you’re looking to add an Additional Mutation or two but don’t want to shell out for a more expensive Base Mutation, this is a decent choice. Otherwise, skip it.

If you’re having problems with heat management, look no further than Frozen Soul. It allows a Titan to roll 2 extra dice in each Damage Control phase, but these dice can only be used to vent heat. A great upgrade just to take on its own, especially on Warhounds where it doubles the amount of repair dice it gets to roll to try and vent out of the danger zone on their short reactor track. Also a great pick for Warbringers loaded up with Draining weapons since the other base mutations aren’t generally as useful on it.

Any melee Titan fan knows the disappointment of lining up the perfect charge just to roll a 1 on your first Charge order of the turn and be denied that sweet sweet close combat kill. So it’s no surprise that Overwhelming Rage was an instant hit with Condit, as it allows his claw-equipped Vulpa Warlords to charge without having to roll for it. As a bonus, the Titan picks up an additional dice on all its melee weapons – including Smash attacks – making your charges even more effective than they already were. Since mutated Titans also suffer penalties to command checks this is incredible for melee Reavers and Warlords. Hi Khorne! 

A Titan with the Preternatural Grace base mutation can divert power to locomotors or stabilizers once per round without having to push its reactor. This is an interesting choice that competes with Overwhelming Rage for melee-focused Titans; after all, it’s incredibly frustrating to line up a sick charge only to roll the Awakened Machine Spirit result on the reactor die and have your Titan decide to wander off and do something else. It’s also a great pick for Warhounds which are suddenly sprinting 12” every single turn without any worry of gaining heat, leaving them room for Voids to Full instead while closing (or opening!) the gap very quickly. Slaanesh…is that you?

Condit: For melee Titans, your choice between Overwhelming Rage and Preternatural Grace is largely one of personal taste: Overwhelming Rage makes you hit harder when it goes off, while Preternatural Grace opens up more and better Additional Mutations.

Coming in at 20 points, Warp Conduit gives your Titan a once per game S10 attack from its front arc. This might seem expensive for a once per game single-dice shot, but it hits automatically, ignores voids, and can be used any time during the combat phase, not just when your Titan is activating. Automatically choosing a location to suffer a S10 hit can be amazing…or can do nothing at all. It’s tempting to use this early on since it ignores voids, but is probably best used later on to deal that last point of damage needed for an engine kill or – if you’re up for something a little sneakier – to disable enemy guns before your own units take a pounding. Definitely the Tzeentch one. 

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

Another 6” aura, Corrupting Presence adds d3 additional saves to the hit pool any time a non-corrupted Titan makes void saves. Again, this affects your own non-corrupted titans so steer clear of them so you’re not taking a bunch more void shield saves. An interesting choice in a laser-heavy list – drop this on a Warhound or Reaver, push into the midfield, and pour as much Shieldbane as you can muster onto whatever poor sucker gets caught nearby.

Unholy Vigour is the most expensive Base Mutation, clocking in at 25 points, but it’s worth every point, giving your Titans a significant durability boost. A Titan with this mutation gets to repair Critical Damage on a 4+ instead of a 5+ and also counts each of its Critical Damage tracks as 1 lower for determining what critical effects apply. This won’t stop the Titan from taking Catastrophic Damage after suffering too much critical damage to the same location, but pushing VSG Burnout to 3 critical damage instead of just 2 is huge and can make a massive difference in game. This has some added bonus for Warhounds, as it means the first point of critical damage to the body won’t cause a Reactor Leak, and completely prevents your Titans from suffering the Immobilized or Princeps Wounded effects. If Nurgle’s blessing is what you’re after, you’ll find it here. 

Additional Mutations

Now that you’ve chosen your Base Mutation, it’s time to play jazz and make your Titan a creepy-crawly monstrosity. You’ll do this by adding Additional Mutations. You can’t take any Additional Mutations unless you’ve taken a Base Mutations, and doing so will increase your command penalty to -2 (though it caps there; adding more Additional Mutations won’t make it worse). There’s varying amounts of utility here, but you’ll likely find yourself wanting to add one or two to most engines.

The number of additional mutations increases proportionally with the scale of the Titan your putting them on, starting at 1 for Titans of 5 or less and letting you slap 4 on anything scale 11 or higher. While there aren’t any Titans smaller than the Warhound right now, it’s nice to see a little future proofing here if there ever are.

Condit: Side note for any Legio Infernus Principes out there: your Dark Blessing Legio Trait has been changed to now give all your Titans an additional choice out of this list. Most relevant to you, you can take 3 Additional Mutations on your Warhounds and Reavers, which opens up some pretty nasty options, if you’re willing to shell out for them.

Legio Interfector Reavers. Credit – @Gonders (twitter)

Writhing Carapace available to any Titan with a Carapace weapon. It replaces that weapon with a wriggling mass of warp-stuff that can be reshaped at the start of your strategy phase to any gun of equal or lower points cost than the weapon it started with. If you choose to do this, the Titan can’t take an order that phase, but at -2 to Command checks you’re probably not missing that much. As one example, a Warlord Titan armed with Paired Gatling Blasters at the start of the game could switch to Apocalypse Missile Launchers at the top of round 1 to put some shots on target from long range, then back to Paired Gatling Blasters in a later round for the extra dice and increased punch into armor. However, it can’t swap to Paired Laser Blasters since they’re more expensive than the Paired Gatling. One sneaky use for this is on a Reaver, where you can start with a Warp Missile Support Rack, launch its payload, then swap to another carapace weapon so that you don’t have an empty mount for the rest of the game. This is nowhere near as powerful as the Loyalists’ Vortex Payload, but the added flexibility means Reaver-heavy Traitor lists are likely to be chucking Warp Missiles around more frequently. Note that as written, it’s arguable that you could swap back to another Warp Missile after switching away, which would “reload” the Warp Missile rack and potentially let you fire 3 Warp Missiles over the course of a game. Fair warning: if you’re going to try this, talk it out with your opponent or event organizer first, as not everyone will agree with this reading.

Daemonic Bile gives the titan an additional front arc weapon that uses the flame template and can be used once each round; in other words, if you’re on First Fire orders, you’ll get to fire it in either the Movement phase or the Combat phase, not both.. The weapon fires with D3 hits at S5 with Firestorm and Fusion and cannot be used if the Titan has suffered any Critical Damage to the head. Having an additional weapon that hits without rolling is solid: being able to cause additional shield saves is never a bad thing, and its strength 5 attacks with the Fusion trait means your average roll will be a result of 10, enough to put damage on nearly any Titan location, and its maximum roll of 15 is enough to put critical damage on a Reaver or Warhound. Keep in mind, though, that it won’t benefit from Legio or Maniple rules, so your Infernus Warhounds won’t be able to puke around corners. That being said, it’s still a solid gun at 15 points.

If you want to make your opponent think twice about killing your Titans in close, you can pump them full of Daemonic Ichor. When a Titan with this upgrade dies, it adds 2 to its Scale for Magazine Detonations (increasing the blast size) or Catastrophic Meltdowns (increasing the strength of the explosion). Not every engine kill results in one of these, but at a cheap 10 points this can be great to slap onto some Warhounds, ride their reactor hot to close in, and watch the fireworks. 

A titan with a Chitinous Carapace is no longer allowed to declare Power to Locomotors – though it can still declare Power to Stabilizers – but in exchange, it subtracts 2 from the armour roll of any attack that hits its Body or Carapace. While this will slow down your Titans, it effectively lowers the strength of half of the shots into the armor of anything smaller than a Warmaster by 2. An interesting pick for Warhounds which are usually fast enough anyways and really benefit from the added toughness, and downright infuriating to deal with on a Warlord, where it all but nullifies your opponent’s ability to deal critical damage to any location.

Bair: I really love taking this on my Mordaxis engines since they’re already not allowed to push for movement. Means there’s no added downside, just -2 to commands and costs 20 points extra on top of the base mutation. Not cheap but definitely fun! 

A Titan with either the Corrupting Presence or Warp Conduit Base Mutations can add the Empyreal Shroud to force all attacks against it to suffer a -1 to hit rolls. This only works against attacks being made from a distance greater than a number of inches equal to the scale of your Titan; a Warlord with this upgrade doesn’t force the negative modifier if it’s being attacked by something within 10” of it, a Reaver 8” etc. This one seems kind of odd at first, as any range at which it’s effective is likely to be too far away for either of the Base Mutations that unlock it to work. But considering how rare re-rolls are in Titanicus, equipping this on a Titan with Corrupting Presence gives your opponent an incentive to move closer, potentially letting you leverage your Base Mutation.

By far the most expensive upgrade at a hefty 50 points, Preternatural Regeneration is pricey for good reason. It adds 2 extra repair dice to your roll during every Damage Control phase (though keep in mind that it won’t affect Emergency Repair rolls). These two extra dice give you a much better chance of bringing shields back online and removing Critical Damage – at 4 dice, a Warhound with this upgrade will more likely than not roll at least one 6, and at a staggering 6 dice, a Warlord will shrug off all but the most concentrated fire. This doesn’t make your Titan any more resilient against coordinated alpha strikes, and with enough sustained and coordinated fire they will still fall apart just as fast. What it does do, though, is force your opponent to overcommit if they want damage they deal to your voids or critical tracks to stick around. If you want to get really silly, you can combine this with Frozen Soul on a Warlord to push it up to 8 repair dice for reactor management, letting you push your reactor multiple times a turn and all but guarantee that you’ll vent it immediately.

Organic Protrusions upgrades your Titan’s Smash attacks, increasing their range to 2” and automatically maxing out your dice value at 3. Moderately priced at 15 points, this is more or less equivalent to replacing your Smash attack with a Reaver Titan Chainfist that swaps the Rending trait for an extra point of strength. Particularly noteworthy on Laniaskara engines which get to make a Smash attack in addition to a normal attack on the charge, but a solid choice on any close- or mid-range Titan without a melee weapon.

Condit: Fellow Clawlord aficionados beware: this is often a waste of points on Titans with a melee weapon, particularly in Vulpa where you stand a very good chance of scoring an engine kill on the charge. That being said, slapping this on a Disruption Emitters-equipped Warhound (or a Reaver with DEs and Shikarian Conduits) creates a terrifying long-distance charge threat that can still pump out respectable damage at mid-range.

Normally only available to a Titan with the Unholy Vigour trait (we’ll get to the exception in a moment), Pestilence Cloud gives the mutated Titan an aura of 7” that subtracts 1 from all  Repair dice rolled by Titans without the Unholy Vigour Base Mutation. And unlike most rules that affect Repair rolls, this one also works on rolls that occur outside the Damage Control phase, like Emergency Repairs. As an added bonus, Titans affected by this aura are unable to re-light void shields unless they’re also adding +1 to the roll (usually from Emergency Repair orders) which can help create a huge swing. 

There’s an exception to those rules, though: Legio Mordaxis Titans get a different ability here. First off, Mordaxis titans – whether corrupted or not – are never affected by this mutation. They also don’t gain the normal ability above, but instead extend their Legio Trait Techno-Toxin to a 6” range instead of a 4” range. While it would have been cool to keep it at 7” – Nurgle’s number – it’s still very cool that Mordaxis get to make use of this very narrative trait for them in a unique way. And to really sell that aspect of it, a Mordaxis Titan can take this as long as it has any Base Mutation, opening up some interesting builds that other legions don’t have access to. 

A Titan with the Preternatural Grace Base Mutation can opt for Immaterial Shield for 25 points, which subtracts 1 from all hit rolls against the Titan so long as its voids are still up. This is an incredibly powerful effect that can make your Titans a real pain in the ass for opposing players to deal with. And if the penalty to hit weren’t enough, it also gives the Titan a 5+ save against attacks that would ignore voids, so long as it still has voids up. In other words, you get a 5+ save against Warp Missiles, ursus claws, or – and this is really good – a Warlord-Sinister’s Sinistramanus Tenebrae. As with any void shield, though, this upgrade has no effect though from any attack made within 2” of the Titan, so melee weapons are never affected.

A Titan with the Overwhelming Rage Base Mutation can spread its rage around a bit with the Aura of Fury Additional Mutation. Whenever another Titan within 12” is issued an order other than Charge, it has to take a Command check or it suffers some heat or, if it’s a Knight Banner, it’s immediately shaken. The only units not affected by this aura are other Titans with the Overwhelming Rage Base Mutation making it an all-or-nothing proposition: you’re either running a load of very angry Reavers messing up enemy commands or you’re not really taking this much. 

Corrupted titans with the Frozen Soul base mutation can slap on a Gelid Aura, allowing all Titans within 6” to vent heat on a 3+ instead of a 4+. However, any affected Titan that doesn’t have the Frozen Soul Base Mutation has a harder time repairing critical damage to its legs, requiring a hard 6 to make those repairs. This is an interesting one, particularly for gunline legios – sticking a Titan with this upgrade in the middle of your force can make it a lot easier to manage heat across the entire list, and the fact that it’s an aura means you don’t need to buy it on every Titan.

Finally, a Titan upgraded with either Aetheric Conduit or Preternatural Grace can further mutate itself to put out a Malicious Cacophony, which subtracts 1 from the Command checks of non-Corrupted units within 12”. If it’s a check to issue an order, you subtract 2 instead, making this an excellent way to keep your opponent from getting key orders when they need them. This is cumulative with the Aetheric Conduit base trait and any other negatives you can stack on through legio traits, upgrades, or other rules.

Corrupting in Practice

So, that’s a lot of options and allows you to mutate your titans to be able to do a lot of different things, but what should you actually do with all of this? Let’s look at a few example titans and how their corruptions work within their legio. 

Bair’s Mordaxis Warlord

Mordaxis and mutations just seem to go hand in hand. From their Legio roles they already feel like you’re playing a Nurgle corrupted Legio – which was the big draw for me – and taking mutations just cranks that up to 11. So I’ve chosen mutations to really make it feel like a truly disgustingly resilient machine. 

Starting with the base mutation, I chose Unholy Vigour to make it easier to repair critical damage and for critical damage to mean a lot less when it starts taking big hits. For additional mutations, Warlords can take up to 3 which can make it cost a lot of points (as you’ll see below). Daemonic Bile adds another close ranged weapon, especially great for use against annoying knight banners trying to get to close. Preternatural Regeneration adds to the toughness of the Titan, giving it more repair dice together with the easier Critical repairs on 4+ means it’ll be back in tip top shape against anything that stops short of killing it. Chitinous Carapace adds even more resilience to this God-Engine, making all hits against its Carapace Weapon and Body location suffer a -2 penalty on armour rolls. That means that your opponent will be needing to roll an effective 18+ for Critical hits on the body. In other words, a Belicosa Volcano Cannon needs to roll a 6. This does mean that the legs become the next best option, which are still better armoured than the Body normally is. This brings the total up to a whopping 495 points for the Warlord before adding any weapons or other upgrades. 

Warlord Titan – 670 points

  • Paired Gatling Blasters
  • Macro-Gatling Blaster with Corrosive Payload
  • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator 
  • Upgrades: Tracking Gyroscopes, Singular Purpose 

Condit’s Legio Vulpa Warhound

Now, the obvious choice here is to mutate a Warlord, and while I could walk you through doing that, it’s not hard to work out what you’d be looking for there. Instead, I’d like to walk through a slightly different approach: a close-combat Warhound for deployment in a Mandatum or Ferrox maniple.

Warhound Titan – 310 pts

  • Plasma Blastgun (30 pts)
  • Vulcan Megabolter (10 pts)
  • Disruption Emitters (35 pts)
  • Singular Purpose – Blood Hungry (15 pts)
  • Overwhelming Rage (15 pts)
  • Organic Protrusions (15 pts)
  • Daemonic Ichor – (10 pts)

This little guy is a bit pricey for a Warhound, clocking in at about the average cost of a Reaver, but it can pretty handily punch well above its weight. Overwhelming Rage is the go-to Base Mutation here, since you’re looking at a 7+ to issue an order without it, and you’re going to want to: between Organic Protrusions and Disruption Emitters, this Titan is dishing out a minimum of 4 attacks at strength 9 if it can close to within 2”, with the threat of up to 8 attacks if it makes a full 12” charge. Singular Purpose helps get the most out of this, letting you guarantee what is effectively an 8” charge against the nearest enemy if the Titan’s bound daemon awakens at an inopportune moment. Finally, since this engine is probably going to be running hot, Daemonic Ichor will help you make the most of the increased chance to suffer a Magazine Detonation or Catastrophic Meltdown when this Titan is destroyed, giving you another chance to bring down any enemies at close range.

Soggy’s Legio Furean Warlord

Being the Timmy of the group, I gravitate towards a somewhat predictable and overcosted Warlord loadout. I’ve gone all in on a mid range brawler that seeks to ruin its opponents from 12-24” away. 

The general theme of this build is to push the reactor as much as possible via firing the Volkite with the Beam trait, Shieldbane on the lasers, or when taking Void saves. Thanks to the Fureans’ Machine Rage trait we will be taking command checks more often, as well as failing them due to the -2 from having mutations. This is where Singular Purpose kicks in, allowing us to pick the Wrathful result on the Awakened Entity Table – allowing us to fire all of our guns again.

Tracking Gyros and Hunting Auspex are there to ensure we get the most from our weapons, ignoring the -1 on the Lasers at long range and allowing us to keep using them if prey dodges the carapace arc.

Being hit with repeated Volkite and Laser Blaster hits should make short work of voids, allowing the Sunfury to go in for the kill. The Hunting Auspex also helps out here if your target is at range, giving you easier called shots with the Sunfury, but if they are already close you get free called shots with the Volkite’s Beam trait. If you were feeling spicy you could opt for the Over-Charged Cannon stratagem, to give it a bit more punch and increase the chance of Critical hits.  

Don’t forget that a Fureans Offensive Surge can be used to increase the chance of you one-shotting your targets – at the cost of more heat. Which begs the question, how are we going to keep this reactor under control? 

Thankfully our two mutations come into play here, Frozen Soul giving us another two clades for the purpose of venting heat only, combined with Gelid Aura, which enables us to vent heat on 3+. Six servitor clades is a boat load of repair dice, however if you wanted to make this almost as expensive as a Psi-Titan you could opt for the Preternatural Regeneration upgrade to get it up to eight.

Warlord Titan – 610 pts

  • Volkite Destructor (40 pts)
  • Sunfury Plasma Annihilator (45 pts)
  • Paired Laser Blasters (50 pts)
  • Wargear:
  • Hunting Auspex (20 pts)
  • Tracking Gyroscopes (25 pts)
  • Singular Purpose (15)
  • Mutations:
  • Base: Frozen Soul (15 pts)
  • Gelid Aura (15 pts)

Embrace the Corruption

While none of the options that are available to Corrupted Titans pack the raw power of a Warlord-Sinister, the wide range of options and the fact that you can easily bring more than one in a list means that Traitor players now have more ways than ever to make their list their own. Just be wary of the temptation to take too many mutations – spend too many points on a single Titan and all you’ll accomplish is giving your opponent an easy target.