Warlord Wednesdays: Warmaster Hot Take

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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 taking a more in-depth look at the various Legios of the Collegia Titanica – exploring their origins and how to use them on the tabletop, from maniple selection and their loadouts, through to how to command them on the field of battle to secure ultimate victory.

It was only two days ago that we were sharing our predictions for the upcoming Warmaster Titan and Warhammer Community have put us to shame by sharing the rules for it. We’re here with our initial thoughts and how we see this changing the game.

 

Always outnumbered, Never outgunned

The Warmaster Titan knows how to make an entrance, with a command terminal twice as large as any Titan that has come before it along with several new mechanics.  This extra space is needed to make room for its five weapons systems and other abilities.

No longer do we wonder what the “Special” result on the die will be eventually used for – these hits being applied to the shoulder might make taking it down a bit harder, although without knowing the detonation values on the flipside of the shoulder weapon cards we can’t math this one out yet.

The Warmaster relies on an Ancillary Reactor, which lets you customise your engine with a trait or ability. This is a really nice mechanic, allowing you to tailor your engine further for its role. Plasmatic Loctomotors give your Warmaster some extra movement, making it as fast as a Warbringer. There’s a cost, though: a -2 penalty to hit with all non-Melee weapons if you push for speed or maneuverability.

Soggy: I can’t help but notice the mention of weapons with the Melee trait, currently this only applies to any Smash attacks but this does mean we may see additional weapons in the future. 

Infusive Supercoolant may seem overkill, but sometimes you need the peace of mind that you’ll be able to get your reactor under control in a critical moment, giving you the extra heat you need to keep firing on all cylinders. This is a solid pick if you’re going to be running very hot from using Draining or Maximal Fire weapons (of which you have no shortage) or Legio abilities such as Defensor’s or Fureans’.

The Warmaster has a lot in common with the Warlord, sharing the same Command, Ballistic Skill, and Weapon Skill values. However, it’s far more agile when boosted, gaining 3 turns when pushing for maneuverability and having the potential to get up to 7” movement with Plasmatic Locomotors. These extra pivots make it hard to outflank for something of its size, and it can be a surprisingly effective brawler. 

Its Void Shield, Reactor, and damage tracks are each 1 pip longer than a Warlord’s. Each damage track has 1 extra pip before giving a bonus to armour rolls, and there are 4 Critical Damage areas with the second Critical Damage effect of any other Titan not happening until it has suffered 3 Critical points of damage, making VSG burnout harder to get to. Also, the numbers needed to score Direct, Devastating, and Critical hits are nearly identical to a Warlord, the only difference being the only way to score a Devastating to the Head or Legs is by rolling a 16 – a 15 will deal a Direct hit instead. 

Bair: This is honestly not as tough as I had expected, I was thinking the Critical damage needed would be higher, but it’s nice to see that this won’t just be an absolute unkillable power house. 

Its real durability comes from its staggering 6 Servitor Clades, allowing it to get more mileage out of the Damage Control phase than anything else we’ve seen in the game so far – regaining an average of 2 voids each repair phase, and having about a 2-in-3 chance of relighting voids every time you roll.

Fielding the Warmaster

As we predicted on Monday the Warmaster is an Auxiliary Titan, the same as a Psi Titan – meaning you can only take one per Maniple; unless you’re playing massive games then you’re only really taking 1 ever. 

Bair: I really wanted to pair two together as Vulcanum but I guess this is fair enough…I might still pair it with a Warlord for stupid amounts of shields. 

This thing is not cheap. Starting out at 850 points before you add any weapons, the absolute cheapest this will come in at, given all the weapons shown today, is 1060 points. 

Ever wondered what would happen if a melta cannon and a Sunfury plasma annihilator had a kid, and that kid was just utterly hateful? Meet the Suzerain Plasma Destructor, currently your only choice for the Warmaster’s arms. Not that you really care, as they bring 3 shots each at S11, and can use Maximal Fire to get up to S13 in a pinch. and then being able to also push its reactor for Fusion within 16.

Soggy: This thing hits harder than a Belicosa with more dice and can make targeted shots. Losing voids in front  of the Warmaster is akin to a death sentence.

We’re both surprised and happy to see the number of shoulder weapons, which also have the full front arc and don’t have the Carapace rule – meaning that the usual tactics of flanking or getting in close that smaller engines or Knights use against Warlords do not apply.

The variety of options combined with the Plasma Destructor’s versatility means it can play pretty much anywhere on the table depending on loadout. If played as a brawler, taking twin vulcan mega-bolters will allow it be entirely self sufficient – stripping shields, cracking armour (or outright killing) with the plasma destructor, followed by called shots to the damaged location with either the other plasma or other mega-bolter.  Otherwise, it can play from further afar, equipped with TLD’s to shield bane down shields and land high damage shots between its plasma destructors and the Revelator missile launcher.

Bair: No options for the arms yet, but lots of options for the above-arm Special location and I think the Vulcan Mega-Bolter is the winner to take two of here, so that it can both strip hideous amounts of shields as well as go in for finishing aimed shots when needed. 

If having no voids and being hit by the Plasma Destructors wasn’t bad enough, the Revelator Missile Launcher says hello. Unlike the Apocalypse Missile Launcher which excels at breaking voids, the Revelator excels at going into armour thanks to it’s high strength paired with the Ordinance trait. Adding insult to injury, it also has the Concussive trait, possibly sending you into another engine or exposing your flank. Plus, the accuracy bonus at long range makes it that much easier to pick up a kill with called shots into a damaged location. Just don’t forget that your larger scale will make it easier for your prey to get within minimum range.

Legio Synergies

Let’s be honest, any legion will be able to make use of this incredible amount of fire power, but there are definitely a few that stand out to us as well:

  • It’s fitting that Legio Ignatum of the Triad Ferrum Morgulus are one of the scariest users of this engine thanks to its huge number of weapons. Between We Loyal Few giving rerolls to hit in close range, Gravitonic Sensor Array mitigating cover, and Punish Their Folly allowing it to overwatch against charges, there’s nowhere to hide.
  • Legio Praesagius can use Pinpoint Accuracy and Precision Volley to devastate their foes from afar, particularly when opting for weapons with shorter range like the Plasma Blastgun. Against the Impossible is incredibly powerful, as it allows you to perform an Emergency Repair with 6 clades out of sequence in the Combat phase

Soggy: I already feel for the player who finally lands a crit on a Praesagius Warmaster, only to see it reignite voids and repair the critical damage in response.

  • Legio Vulcanum have two tricks, Two-Faced God allows them to take the Warmaster as a second Princeps Seniores (and is the only Legio that can make it a Princeps Seniores) as well as being able to use Twinned Machine Spirits upgrade to squadron it with another Titan to merge shields and fire coordinated strikes for even more damage. 

Bair: Cannot wait to twin this thing up with another Titan for even more shields and be able to give it a trait, probably Devoted Servant of the Machine to help guarantee re-ignition of shields if/when they drop. 

  • Legio Mortis’ Reaper’s Tally should rack up a few kills, gaining a re-rolls each time it performs an Engine-Kill. 
  • Legio Defensor can try to secure a quick Engine Kill by using Day of Retribution to get an extra shot out its Vulcan Megabolter at long range, aiming to drop the voids, then using Righteous Fire to shoot twice with the Revelator into armour at long range if someone is foolish enough to stay parked in Carapace Arc. Your reactor will thank you for taking the Infusive Supercoolant.

Stratagems and Synergy

Given the huge investment to field a Warmaster, you’ll want to plan around getting the most mileage you can out of it. Here are a few stratagems you can use to do that:

The latest White Dwarf stratagem, Venerable Machine Spirit, making it BS2+ WS4+ and being able to go on Emergency Repair without rolling a command check, at the expense of -3 to its command value. The machine spirit will awaken far more often however and the automatic result of Belligerent will be moving the Warmaster D6″ closer to the enemy each time it happens, not necessarily a bad thing though since most of its weapons receive bonuses tp hit on short range and the only weapon system that is Carapace is the missiles above its head. 

Experimental Locomotors is a great choice to get into position as you no longer have to risk the reactor roll. An interesting side effect is that using this with the Plasmatic Locomotors reactor will let you get the benefit without the -2 to hit afterwards – moving 7” a turn freely toward your prey. Just don’t roll a 1 on the D10 in the End Phase or you lose the upgrade and take a Devastating to the Legs. 

In the unfortunate instance that the Warmaster does fall, Last Ditch Effort is crucial – it lets you decide what direction it will fall in, guaranteeing a 12” fall at strength 12, potentially forcing your opponent to pay dearly for daring to kill your centrepiece engine.

While the Warmaster does have a significant reactor track, it does also want to push a lot, so Enhanced Coolant will go a long way in the game, giving you a chance to reduce incoming heat from the reactor die by 1 every time you roll it as well as potentially stopping heat from Maximal Fire. 

Credit: Warhammer Community

Fighting Against it

It might be huge and able to kill things in one go, but it’s still a single Titan, and there are plenty of ways of tripping it up. (Bair: And no, Ursus Claws are not one of those ways.) Avoid trickling in a single engine at a time, as it’s got more than enough firepower to credibly threaten to destroy anything if it can bring all of its weapons to bear. And unlike a Warlord, it honestly doesn’t care if you sneak in under carapace range, as the only weapon it’s giving up access to is its Revelator. And if you stay far enough away that it can line you up with it, 3 strength 8 shots with Ordnance are going to do something.

As a result, you’re going to want to take advantage of any opportunity to actually put damage on this thing. In a 1750-point game, it won’t be able to take much more than a Lupercal or possibly a stripped down Venator or Ferrox, so take out a Warhound or two and make use of the opportunity to outflank it. Once you start in on it, don’t let up – every time it’s shield drops, it needs to take at least two points of critical damage to make it worth the effort. Otherwise, its six servitor clades will give it a decent-to-good chance of repairing off the crit and reigniting voids.

Be careful about getting in close, as standing within 16” of it gives the Suzerains +1 accuracy, allowing it to make 4+ called shots into the location of its choice and puts any engine within range in danger of immediate death. If you’ve got to present a target, make it choose between more than one spread far enough apart that it will have to present its flank – if you can get behind it, you’ve got a solid chance of putting in some damage.

It looks like it’s still on a Warlord-sized base, so a nicely placed Concealment Barrage will usually prevent it from doing anything useful for a turn. And as unreliable as it might usually be, taking Sabotage could lead to hilarity by removing whatever order it wanted to be on, and forcing it onto another random one, potentially even putting it on shutdown orders. Quake Shells will move it about and any collisions will then be at S12, all but killing whatever is unfortunate to be hit by it. Strafing Run and Titan Hunter Infantry will also do more to help bring its shields down, one of the toughest aspects of the Titan. 

An Absolute Unit

The Warmaster Titan is the apex predator of the battlefield and will be the center of attention in any game it is in. We absolutely cannot wait to get our hands on one.

 

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