AdMech are the defenders of knowledge and technology. If you see them in Kill Team they’re probably murdering Xenos so they can autopsy them, delving into Necron ruins (also Xenos, but Xenos made of technology!), or murdering loyalists because they’re between a Tech Priest and the archaeotech they want. If you like scouring planets for scraps of technology from a civilization gone for more than twenty thousand years, denouncing new and Xenos technology as vile and/or heresy, and you pray to the machine spirit inside your car before you start it, then an Adeptus Mechanics Kill Team might be for you!
So plug in, because today we’re talking about how the Adeptus Mechanicus play in competitive Kill team.
- Every AdMech model can do something well – Skitarii Gunners have high quality firepower, Fulgurites wreck things in melee, Corpuscarii can tear through hordes. If you take an AdMech model and point it at the right target it will do work.
- Canticles give flexibility – Most of the canticle effects are powerful. The fact that you can only choose each one once forces you do decide when you need the effects. Played correctly they can change the tide of a battle.
- Your models are relatively elite – You’re not on the same level as Marines but you’ve still got 4+ saves and BS 3+ standard.
- In-Between Horde and Elite – AdMech lack spammable models in the 4-7 point range. At most you’ll have 10-11 models, but if you did you’d be taking things that are relatively ineffective. You have to play between elite and horde styles and change how you play every matchup.
- Your models are bad if they’re up against the wrong targets – Plasma isn’t great into a horde and Corpuscarii and Infiltrators aren’t great against elite models, If you don’t bring the right tools you’ll have problems.
- AdMech aren’t that tough – They’re not exactly weak but you’ll often have ~13 point models that are T3 with a 4+ save. You tend to have weak extra invulns, but you’re worse on two rolls than a marine.
Canticles of the Omnissiah
Each turn you can either choose a Canticle or roll a D6 and use the randomly determined Canticle. You can’t choose the same Canticle on two different turns, but you can roll a Canticle randomly and choose it later or choose one turn and later roll it.
- Incantation of the Iron Soul – You can re-roll failed nerve tests. This is a little awkward because you choose it at the beginning of the turn and use it at the end, but it’s ok in the right circumstances, mostly late game to keep your models going.
- Litany of the Electromancer – In the Fight Phase and on a 6+ deal 1 mortal wound to each enemy within 1″ of one of your models. This isn’t reliable but if you find yourself swarmed this is powerful for a free effect.
- Chant of the Remorseless Fist – Re-roll 1’s to hit in the Fight phase. This makes your melee 7/6 as good, which is nice if you have melee units but mediocre if you’re just boosting Skitarii.
- Shroudpsalm – If you’re obscured enemy models are at an additional -1 to hit. This is one of the best Canticles (probably the single best) since it helps you survive both shootouts and advancing on the enemy with melee models.You’ll probably pick this turn 1 or 2.
- Invocation of Machine Might – Add 1 to your Strength. This can be good or worthless depending on your models. If it helps you hit a break point then it’s a significant boost to melee power.
- Benediction of the Omnissiah – This is your other turn 1-2 Canticle. Re-roll hit rolls of 1 in the shooting phase. The important thing here is that rolling a 1 to hit with overcharged plasma is bad, and this lets you prevent that so you can overcharge and still be relatively safe.
Forge World Dogmas
Mars – Glory to the Omnissiah
If you randomly determine Canticles, roll two dice instead of one and take both Canticles. If you’re happy with most of the Canticles this can be good but most teams have 1-2 that they really want and they’d rather just pick them. It’s a weak Dogma but it’s also a generic upgrade so it can make sense to take it. C
Graia – Refusal to Yield
If a model on your team is reduced to 0 wounds, on a 6 it goes back to one wound. You also pass nerve tests on an unmodified 6 as well as a 1. You also can’t retreat or fall back unless you have a Commander on the field. This one’s just strange. The nerve test thing is kind of nice, the can’t retreat clause really sucks unless you’re a pure melee army (and even then removing a whole option like that is pretty bad) and the extra FNP is worded differently than everything else and will cause a bunch of rules arguments. If you’re interested, it stacks with other Feel No Pain abilities since it doesn’t trigger on wound loss, but it probably doesn’t stop attack sequences because it never lets an injury through. D
Metalica – Relentless March
Rapid Fire weapons can be shot as if they were assault weapons (Rapid Fire 1 goes to Assault 1) if they advanced, and assault weapons don’t have penalties for advancing. Very solid. AdMech have a number of good assault weapons and this lets you play very aggressively with them. Do note that it does nothing for Sicarians because they have pistols. A
Lucius – The Solar Blessing
Treat AP-1 attacks as AP0 attacks. You don’t have a lot of control over how good this is. Some armies like Guard are mostly AP0 (flamers) or AP3 (Plasma). Some, like Tyranids, have a bunch of random stuff with a single point of AP. If you could choose when to take this it would be better. C
Agripinaa – Staunch Defenders
Overwatch hits on a 5+. This is another solid Dogma, there isn’t anything that isn’t obvious but it gives you some extra protection against being charged. A
Stygies VIII – Shroud Protocols
Your models are obscured if they’re more than 12″ from an enemy. We’ve seen this quite a few times and it’s always the same. Kill Team terrain rules are generous enough that you can get the same effect by playing well. F
Ryza – Red in Cog and Claw
Re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the fight phase. This is a 7/6 multiplier to your output in melee, which is always nice. Melee isn’t usually plan A for AdMech so this is rated a little lower but if you want to build a melee team it’s a solid option. B
Adeptus Mechanicus Units
Skitarii Rangers and Vanguard
These are mostly the same, so I put them together here. The core difference is that they have different default weapons, and Vanguard give enemies in melee range -1 toughness. The guns aren’t too different (I feel like the Radium Carbine is better, but the difference is small), but the fact that Vanguard get a strict upgrade in their special ability with no extra cost means that if you’re choosing between the two for gunners or leaders you might as well fill in the Vanguard slots first. The difference isn’t large though so don’t stress out about it.
All Skitarii have a 6+ invulnerable save.
Skitarii with no upgrades are your cheapest models, but they’re not particularly good. They’re not really tough, fast, or good at killing without the Gunner weapons. You’ll probably still take a few because you need objective holders and they’re not actually bad, but spamming them isn’t really a good strategy.
Both Rangers and Vanguard can take a single basic model with either an Omnispex or Enhanced Data-Tether. That means that one Ranger and one Vanguard can each take either upgrade, you can’t double up and have a Ranger with one and another Ranger with the other. These are both very powerful upgrades for shooting armies. Omnispex + Comms lets you shoot through cover without penalty and gives +1 to hit, which means you’ll hitting most targets on a 2+. Enhanced Data Tethers unlock a +2 to hit stratagem, which will do the same thing most of the time.
Upgrading a Skitarii to a gunner gives them an option of 3 guns:
- Arc Rifle – 24″ Rapid Fire 1, Strength 6, AP -1, Damage 1 – This is the cheapest upgrade. It’s very cost efficient, but it’s not a real killer like the other two options.
- Plasma Caliver – 18″ Assault 2, Strength 7, AP -3, Damage 1, You can overcharge for +1 strength and +1 damage, but if you roll a 1 to hit your model is taken out of action. This is your most efficient option against power armored enemies, and you have several ways to keep the drawback from hurting too much.
- Transuranic Arquebus – 60″ Heavy 1, Strength 7, AP -2, Damage D3, If you move you can’t shoot and if you roll a 6 to wound you deal a mortal wound. This looks good, but the “no moving and shooting” penalty seriously limits where you can use this. If you think this is good then you might want to think about putting more terrain on the board.
With plasma calivers, think about Sniper specialism (to avoid overheating) or the Heavy specialism so you can go up to 3 shots. You’ll also want to pair it with Omnispex/Comms models to accurately hit your target, and Benediction of the Omnissiah to give everyone the Sniper ability for a turn.
Your cheapest Leaders. You’ll often take one equipped however you want as a Leader. It doesn’t really matter, Leaders are a resource to defend, not a model that gets into the fighting. Alternatively Vanguard Alphas can make for reasonable combat models. They’re not really good, but their major upgrades are 0 points and the -1 Toughness aura is slightly better than +1 Strength. The Arc Pistol and Phosphor Blast Pistol are both fine, and the same is true for the melee options. The Arc Maul is the best option against a lot of targets, but depending on the opponent one of the others might be better.
Sicarian Ruststalkers and Infiltrators
These are also pretty similar. They’re both 2 wounds, 8″ movement and have a 4+ save and a 6+ invulnerable save.
These Sicarians are melee only. They get 3 attacks base, and an option of Transonic Blades or Transonic Razors and Chordclaw. The difference is Strength 5 vs a single attack that can deal D3 damage (and an extra point). Blades are usually the better option but it depends on the target.
These have a mix of ranged and melee weapons and a few special abilities. Enemies within 3″ of a Sicarian are at -1 to their leadership, which makes flesh wounds slightly better, and if you have Elites then they can Deep Strike. They have two sets of melee options, Stubcarbine (18″ Pistol 3, Strength 4) with a power sword (AP-3), or a Flechette Blaster (12″ Pistol 5, S3) with Taser Goad (+2 Strength, on a 6+ to hit deal 3 hits). The choice isn’t easy, the Taser Goad option generally hits harder but the Power Sword variant has more consistent performance against elite models and their pistol has better range.
The Alpha upgrade for either is a no-brainer, you’re taking these as melee models and it gives an extra attack for a point. They can be leaders, but it’s not a great competitive option since you’ll want to put Sicarians in danger.
Neither Electropriest has any upgrades, but they come stock with a mess of special rules. Voltagheist Field gives them a 5+ invulnerable save and if they successfully charge they can deal a mortal wound on a 6+. Fanatical Devotion gives them a 5+ Feel No Pain (on a 5+ they ignore wounds). Vision of the Motive Force lets Corpuscarii ignore penalties to hit obscured targets. They also have Electrostatic Gauntlets, which are slightly unusual weapons. They have both a ranged and melee profile at Strength 5 with 3 hits on a 6 to hit, and they have 3 BS 3+ attacks at range and 2 BS 4+ attacks in melee. The melee profile is not a modifier (ie. +2 Strength), so Zealot does nothing for their strength.
I wasn’t optimistic when I first saw these, but they’re very good against the right teams. A lot of horde factions are very vulnerable to massed Strength 5 firepower, and Electropriests can afford to get up close with them since they keep a similar profile in melee. They’re also good on overwatch since a 6 to hit triggers their 3 hit ability.
Similar to Corpuscarii, but instead of Visions of the Motive Force they have Siphoned Vigour which gives them a 3+ invulnerable save if they can kill another model and Electroleech Staffs (Strength +2, AP -2, D3 Damage, and on a 6 to Wound they deal D3 Mortal Wounds). This is another model that I wasn’t hot on until I tried them. The weapons they have are good enough that they will reliably kill even relatively elite models like Space Marines and Terminators, and the opponent can’t afford to throw sacrificial models into them because they’ll kill them off and gain the 3+ invulnerable save.
One of the Blackstone Fortress models. He’s the most expensive core model, and he doesn’t have the offensive output to really make his points back, but he’s one of the toughest models in the game. At T5, with a 3+ save and 3 wounds (and regenerating a wound each turn) he can take the full output of some teams like Thousand Sons or Grey Knights. I have a hard time recommending him but he’s not bad.
He doesn’t get any Canticles because he’s a secret Man of Iron.
The other core BSF model. He’s a Servitor with a Grav Gun and a Hydraulic claw. Both are decent weapons, but they’re hampered by his low BS and WS. He’ll often be hitting on a 6, which is too unreliable to be useful. For the cost he’s a reasonably tough model (T4, 4+ save, 2 wounds), but it’s not enough to be worth taking either. When paired with a Tech-Priest he gets upgraded stats, but that only comes into play in Commanders games.
Adeptus Mechanicus Commanders
If you’re planning on playing competitively the best option is a cheap Strategist commander. If you’re playing a more friendly game (and Commanders are usually a friendly option) then the rest are all pretty good.
The cheapest option, and usually the best. He doesn’t do anything particularly interesting, but he’s got a couple of decent melee weapons and he’s a cheap model you can defend for an extra CP a turn.
For 1 CP he can give friendly models within 3″ a 6+ Feel No Pain.
The big chonky boy. He’s seriously tough with a 2+ save, 5 wounds, 5+ invulnerable save and regenerating D3 wounds per turn. The problem with him is that his weapons aren’t really capable of killing enough to make his points back, even the more expensive ones. It’s hard to recommend him if you like winning but it’s a cool model and he can be fun in a multiplayer game.
If you spend 1 CP friendly models within 6″ can re-roll 1’s to hit in the shooting phase.
Another commander that is tough enough, but doesn’t do enough damage for the points. It at least has a few options for multi-damage weapons so it can kill things in either phase, but again I have trouble recommending him if you want to win.
If you spend 1 CP you can add 1″ to the movement of friendly models in 6″.
An upgraded tech-priest on the logistics path (which is a mark against him, Strategist is better). He has a once per game ability to either heal a wound or deal a mortal wound, the ability to give nearby models +1 to hit in shooting against a single enemy, and an upgraded pistol. It’s possibly worth an extra 30 points, but again if I’m trying to win I’m taking the Enginseer.
Adeptus Mechanicus Tactics
Protector/Conqueror Doctrina Imperative – 2 CP
These are two tactics, one works in melee and one works in shooting to give a model you control +1 to hit (+2 if there’s an enhanced data tether in 6″). You’d usually rather use a re-roll for a CP, but if you have extra CP or you have a multi-shot attack with the enhanced data tether nearby it can be useful. D
Dunestrider – 1 CP
When a model advances, roll two dice and pick the highest for the advance roll. It’s a good tactic if you absolutely need to make a high roll on an advance, maybe to get on a point or get an angle for a shooting attack. B
Gloria Mechanicus – 1 CP
Re-roll your canticles. This won’t reliably get you your canticle but if you have extra CP in later turns it can be worth burning the CP if the canticle you got was worthless. D
Infiltrators – 1 CP
You can deep strike up to 3 Infiltrators with this. Place them on the battlefield more than 5″ from any enemy models at the end of the movement phase. B
Transonic Attunement – 1/2 CP
A Sicarian Ruststalker gets +1 to wound in the fight phase. This helps them trigger their mortal wounds, but it was printed twice with two different prices. It’s probably balanced at 1 CP, but the most recent printing was 2 CP. Check with your TO what the cost will be. B
Scryer Skull – 1 CP
If your opponent picked traps in the scouting phase you can force them to reveal whether they trapped a terrain piece near your Leader. Nobody uses the scouting phase in competitive so you’ll probably never use this. F
Hyper-penetrative Shot – 2 CP
A Transuranic Arquebus ignores all penalties to hit and injure from cover. If you take the gun then it can be useful, but even then I’d probably rather take a comms/omnispex Skitarii instead. D
Auto-tracking Software – 1 CP
One model overwatches on a 5+. This is a tactic that’s pretty obvious. If you want to make an overwatch, use this to double the chance. B
Re-knit Circuitry – 1 CP
At the beginning of the morale phase, remove d3 Flesh Wounds from a model in your team. That’s Flesh Wounds, not wounds, which means that you’re able to bring them back to operating normally and since it happens at the beginning of the morale phase it can prevent a nerve test. A
The Machine God’s Will – 1CP
Ignore all modifiers to nerve tests for a single model. This is basically another autopass morale tactic, if you need two it can be helpful, but the default one is usually better. C
Stabilization Actuators – 1 CP
Use this before you take a falling test. You can re-roll that test and any other tests that turn. If you could use this after failing a fall test it would be fine, but fall tests are rarely dangerous enough to be worth it. F
Zealous Disciples – 2 CP
This lets you pick a canticle that you’ve already picked. Canticles are generally much stronger than tactics if used correctly so if this gives you an extra turn of extra cover or sniper re-rolls for everyone it can turn the tide of the game. B
Optimal Conditions – 1 CP
Use this at the beginning of your movement phase. All of your models get +1 to charge rolls. Melee AdMech is viable so this can help you get your charges in. B
Alpha Target Proximate – 1 CP
Re-roll wound rolls of 1 in the fight phase for one of your models. There’s a pattern you’ll see where AdMech have a bunch of tactics that are just OK, but they’re separate tactics that affect the same thing so you can stack them. This is another “make a model better in the fight phase” tactic and it’s not amazing, but if you need to stack it’s there. D
Neurostatic Shock – 1 CP
Double the effects of an Infiltrator’s leadership aura. This can help you force multiple units to break, but it’s very conditional. C
Trauma Override Protocol – 1 CP
Use at the beginning of the movement phase to improve a model’s invulnerable save by one (up to 3+). This can make Electropriests very tanky against high quality firepower that would normally rip through them. You need to do it at the beginning of the turn so your opponent will be able to work around it. B
Playing Adeptus Mechanicus
Before Elites came out the answer was simple. Take a bunch of plasma (and maybe a Sicarian or two) and hope for the best. With the new units AdMech have models that are good in every category but they’re all specialized so you have to use the right tool at the right time.
Admech tend towards models in the 13, 14 or 15 point range, with a few models like the leader, comms/omnispex Skitarii or base Skitarii being cheaper. This means that your sweet spot is roughly 7-9 models unless you’re taking UR-025 in which case you’re closer to 6-7 models. You can technically take a team of up to 11 models (10 basic Skitarii and an Alpha), but your basic models aren’t good enough to make this sort of semi-horde work.
Another important concept is that your stuff isn’t that tough. You pay a similar cost to a marine scout for something that’s T3 instead of T4, and the 6+ invulnerable save doesn’t make up for that. You have 4+ saves on most of your models and electropriests have the 5+ invulnerable and 5+ feel no pain which is pretty similar, but bolters, genestealers, flamers, etc are all a serious threat and your models tend to be expensive enough that a lot of higher quality weapons are somewhat cost effective.
AdMech make up for this by having models that do their job. A Comms/Omnispex support gives a model effectively +2 to hit pretty cheaply, plasma is one of the best guns in the game and you can take 6 of them, Infiltrators can deeps strike with 5 shot guns and Fulgurites have a high strength, medium AP multi-damage weapon. You’re also generally at a 3+ base skill for your primary weapon so you can hit somewhat reliably even if you’re shooting at something that’s obscured or long range.
Don’t forget your Canticles. The two important ones are the -2 to hit for Obscured one (Shroudpsalm) and the re-roll one’s to hit in shooting (Benediction of the Omnissiah), but the others are all conditionally useful. You want a plan that isn’t just rolling every turn. Sometimes it’s “Turn 1 I’ll Shroudpsalm so I can move in safely, then I’ll use Benediction of the Omnissiah to safely overcharge plasma”, sometimes it’s different but you should always have a plan based on your matchup and the terrain you’re using.
Things don’t change too much for AdMech in Arena. You already have a few “coward” models like a random Skitarii and your leader that can afford to open doors and a lot of your models will be advancing anyway since Metalica is one of the stronger Forge Worlds and it removes penalties for advancing. The biggest change is that your first turn is often just movement so you can afford to roll a random canticle if you don’t expect to be fighting turn one.
This roster was run by Alex Squires at the RTT: Socal Open Prep. All models are Metalica faction.
- Vanguard Alpha – Radium Carbine – Leader
- Fulgurite Electropriest – Combat
- Infiltrator Princeps – Flechette Blaster and Taser Goad – Combat
- Ruststalker Princeps – Chordclaw and Transonic Blades – Veteran
- Skitarii Vanguard – Radium Carbine and Omnispex – Comms
- Skitarii Vanguard Gunner – Plasma Caliver – Sniper
- Corpuscarii Electropriest
- Corpuscarii Electropriest
- Corpuscarii Electropriest
- Fulgurite Electropriest
- Sicarian Infiltrator – Flechette Blaster and Taser Goad
- Sicarian Infiltrator – Stubcarbine and Power Sword
- Sicarian Infiltrator – Stubcarbine and Power Sword
- Skitarii Ranger – Omnispex
- Skitarii Ranger Gunner – Arc Rifle
- Skitarii Ranger Gunner – Plasma Caliver
- Skitarii Vanguard
- Skitarii Vanguard
- Skitarii Vanguard Gunner – Plasma Caliver
- Skitarii Vanguard Gunner – Plasma Caliver
This follows what I was talking about pretty well and is a good default list. We’ve got 4 Plasma Calivers for taking on Marines or other power armored enemies, 3 Electropriests to help clear hordes,a mix of Sicarians and Fulgurites to fight in melee, a pair of Omnispex to keep everything hitting accurately and a few other random models to make the points work. The default plasma team looks like it would have nine models with a Alpha leader, 4 Plasma Caliver gunners, two Omnispex and two Skitarii Vanguard, and against hordes you’d swap out the Plasma and Omnispex for Corpuscarii and Sicarians.
Playing Against Adeptus Mechanicus
Take a look at what I wrote about playing AdMech; their models are effective against the right target but bad against the wrong target, and they’re not that tough. Figure out their plan and dismantle it. If they have a bunch of plasma and omnispex, kill off the plasma since it’s not any tougher than the rest of their models and it’s what they rely on to do the killing. Don’t get in fist fights with Fulgurites. Don’t rely on cover against Corpuscarii. If you understand what their models do there’s usually a plan, so don’t play into it.
Painting and Modeling Adeptus Mechanicus
For Sicarians and Electropriests just buy the box. Each will give you enough for five models of either type which is enough to fill out a roster. There’s no real tricks or gotchas. Tech-priest Enginseers and Dominus are similar in that they have a blister pack you can buy, but if you want a Dominus look on Ebay; it was part of the Start Collecting AdMech box and if you wanted a Dunecrawler and a Skitarii squad then GW was more or less paying you to take the Dominus.
UR-025, X-101, Daedalosus and the Tech-Priest Manipulus all come in boxes with other models. UR-025, X-101 and Daedalosus in Blackstone Fortress and the Manipulus in the Theta-7 Kill Team box. You can source these boxes if you’re interested in the whole thing or you can go to a bits store or ebay and grab the model themselves.
Skitarii are where it gets rough. You want at least 3-4 Plasma Calivers and they come 1 to a box of 10 Skitarii. That means you need to buy 40 skitarii to get what you need from GW. Normally I’d just tell you go to Ebay to pick up the bits, but Plasma Calivers are weirdly popular so you almost never see them being sold by themselves. If you don’t want to convert your own plasma or buy third party bits then the best option is the Secutarii Peltasts upgrade which fits the Skitarii models very well, generally looks like an assaulty plasma weapon, doesn’t have kill team rules and is still genuine GW resin.
Adeptus Mechanicus are fun and powerful, but they have a high burden for game knowledge and modeling. They’re reactive in that you win by knowing your opponent and building the team that beats them. If you lack the game knowledge to do that you’ll have plasma gunners fighting off Harlequins in Melee or Fulgurites charging Imperial Guard flamers. If you can master that aspect of the game then AdMech have answers to everything in the game with the right roster.