Guide to Cult Mechanicus
Disciples of the Machine God
SpoilerCanticles of the Omnissiah
Basically, the more Cult Mechanicus units you have in your army, the better your army gets. Obviously, your army slowly gets worse at the game goes on, as your opponent destroys more and more units, but the fact is that the benefits stick around forever, they're just not as good, as your army slowly gets worse and worse over time. In large point games, where you can have more units, Cult Mechanicus excels. However, in small-point games, where you're lucky to field even five units, the Cult Mechanicus isn't close to being as strong as their Skitarii counterpart. You can use each Canticle once per game.
Iron Soul; Gain special rules related to Leadership. Probably the least useful Canticle, and probably the last one that you'll want to use, for end-game Objective grabbing and making sure you don't run off Objectives. Hopefully by that point in the game you'll have enough units left to make this Canticle matter.
Electromancer; Enemy units suffer multiple S4, AP- hits for every Mechanicus model that they are locked in combat with. Not base contact, locked in combat. That's a lot of models if you get it right. It's pretty good, especially since it happens at the I10 step, and any hits you can get before your opponent are automatically good. Hammer of Wrath is one of the best rules in the game for a reason. This Canticle is like Hammer of Wrath, except you don't need to Charge for it to happen, which means it activates twice, if you're lucky. Once, in your turn, when you Charge. Then, if you're really lucky, you wont obliterate your opponent in one Phase, and then you get to buzz your opponent in their turn. Fairly strong Canticle, even at a low unit count.
Remorseless Fist; Re-roll to Hit in Melee. Not bad, not weak. Electromancer hits automatically.
Shroudspasm; Gain Stealth and Shrouded rules. Is never not good. If you open with it, you get a strong early-game ability to not die. If you lose it late, your last remaining units will at least have Stealth.
Machine-Might; Add Strength. Ironically, not a strong Canticle at all.
Omniscience; Aside from Shroudspasm, this should be your opener. Re-rolls To Hit in the Shooting Phase. If it's good enough for Ultramarines to open with it, it's good enough for the Cult Mechanicus.
1. Eternal Warrior Warlords are where it's at.
2. Gain a Master-Crafted weapon, re-roll.
3. Re-roll FNP. If you can't be Eternal Warrior...
4. Re-roll Mysterious Objectives. Very strong, especially with Domini coming stock with Scryerskulls.
5. Melee attacks gain Haywire. Don't Domini come stock with Dataspikes? ...They do. Re-roll.
6. Warlord and unit always benefit from the highest level of Canticle, regardless of how many Mechanicus units are actually on the board. Very strong.
Eternal Warrior, Re-roll FNP, Canticle-boosting. 3 strong Traits, 3 crap Traits. However, since you have no Skyfire, you should want to play with Mysterious Objectives.
Unlike other Codecies, Cult Mechanicus is actually clear that you can only take one Relic per model, which means each Relic is competing with all other Relics.
Anzion's Pseudogenetor; D6 extra attacks with Shred is neat. But not great.
Mask of the Alpha Dominus; Change Battle Protocols immediately. Make sure to interrupt your opponent when they're speaking for extra ****head points.
The Scryerskull Perspicatus; It's the best Relic, or the worst Relic. Especially if you have the Warlord Trait that lets you re-roll MOs.
Autocaduceus of Arkhan Land; Bearer and unit have IWND. If you don't play with MOs, this is your Relic.
Raiment of the Technomartyr; This Relic isn't even good. Both models that can take it already have 2+ Armour Saves (way to fail, GW), and the Cognis Weapons rule just lets you fire Snap Shots - including at Fliers - at BS2. You're paying the majority points for the 2+ Save which you already have, so, ignore this Relic, even if you really, really want the BS2 'Skyfire', what you actually want is a good Relic for less points.
Uncreator Gauntlet; Pay 35 Points to miss.
Cult Mechanicus Battle Congregation
1 HQ, 2-8 Troops, 0-4 Elites, 0-2 Heavy. Unlike Skitarii, the Mechanicus actually has HQs, and has Troops units, so you're far better off running the normal CAD, and picking up Objective Secured, since you need to take an HQ and two Troops anyway. Taking the CAD, also gives you an additional HQ slot which you can actually use. This Detachment sucks, there's no reason not to use the CAD, you have more slots (even if the Fast slots don't do anything) and you gain ObSec. For trading ObSec, you gain the ability to use a Canticle twice. The only Canticle worth using twice is Omniscience. But, if you're going to have so many units to make Canticles worthwhile, you may as well run a CAD. Terrible Detachment, unless you're only running the minimum required for the Detachment as a secondary to something else.
SpoilerTech-Priest Dominus: He's the only HQ you've got, it's not like you have a choice. Phospor Serpentas are strong, Eradication Rays don't do what you think they do. Either Marines are <24" away, and they're behind Cover, or they're in your face with Drop Pods. So keep your 15 Points for something else. An Infoslave Skull is very important, for valuable Leadership 10 - don't get Swept. Stasis Fields are fun, but not necessary. Make sure to use your Scyerskull as often as possible.
Each turn, restore a Wound to a friendly Mechanicus or Skitarii model on a 2+. Okay.
So, yeah. It's not like you have a choice. Pick your Relic and go.
SpoilerKataphron Breachers: Unless you really, really, really need to kill Gargantuans or Super-Heavies, don't overload yourself with Torsion Cannons. Heavy Arc Rifles have two shots; S6 will wound most MCs, and Haywire will bust most Vehicles - especially at 36" range. But, with the ability to to switch to all Torsion Cannons, if your meta is playing with big boys' toys, you can upgrade your army to match. You don't need many Hydraulic Claws, one per three models is more than enough.
Three Breachers and an IC fit inside a Drop Pod.
Kataphron Destroyers: Clearly superior to the Breachers, since Destroyers brought two Ranged Weapons, instead of one Ranged and one Melee Weapon. So Destroyers can actually use their Heavy Battle Servitors rule to best effect. GW royally screwed up, here. Heavy Grav-Cannons have more shots, and better range, and don't Gets Hot. Ditch all the Plasma Culverins immediately. If you do have a weapon that Grav weapons wont work against (i.e; models with 5+ or worse armour), Destroyers automatically come with Phosphor Blasters, and can 'upgrade' to Cognis Flamers. Cognis Flamers are great for Overwatching, especially if you have them en masse. That many Overwatch hits is even better than Hammer of Wrath.
The 'downside' to Destroyers is their 4+ Armour, compared to Breachers' 3+ Armour. But, Space Marine Scouts don't care at all about their 4+ Armour, so freely ignore 4+ Armour and focus on the fact that Heavy Grav-Cannons are free. What Breachers give you, is Haywire Melee attacks. Are your opponents spamming Walkers? I doubt it. But, maybe they are?
SpoilerFulgurite Electro-Priests: 5++, FNP and Zealot. Each of them come with a Two-Handed Power Maul that can cause Instant Death. Hammer of Wrath and Assault Grenades (I3) is nice, too. Maybe if there was a way to get them up the board faster? Since at T3, they're not going to live long if they get shot at. Invulnerable save or no, so they want to get stuck in as quickly as possible.
Corpuscarii Electro-Priests: Lose the Fulurites' Power Mauls for a crappy Melee weapon, and the trade-off is for an even crappier Ranged Weapon. Don't use. Don't you already have Breachers, which are Troops, which carry a Melee Weapon and a Ranged Weapon?
The biggest problem with both of these units is the same as the Skitarii's problem. There are ranged options in Troops, and Melee options in Elites. Except, more of often than not, you're in a Detachment that requires Troops, and if you've already got one or two Troops dedicated to Shooting - especially if they're good - why not just keep having more good Troops units and dedicate your army to Ranged combat? Especially since the Mechanicus is not Skitarii, has an HQ, and can be fielded as a CAD, for Objective Secured Destroyers, and then you just keep taking more and more Troops because you actually benefit from that.
Avoid both Elites units, unless you're fielding a Formation that requires them. Fulgurites are passable, but Destroyers are just better.
SpoilerKastelan Robot Maniple: T7 Monstrous Creatures with 3 Wounds apiece and 3+ Saves, and, unlike Carnifexes, Kastelan Robots can take natural FNP and pretty much keep it for the entire game. Keep your Power Fists, you may need them, because you're a Monstrous Creature, and Monstrous Creatures with natural S10 are the best, shame about the Initiative 2, though. Swap your Incendine Combustor for the Phosphor Blaster every single time, if you want AP5 Templates, you're better off with Destroyers. Not a terrible unit, by any means, since they're MCs with an Invulnerable save and FNP, and that makes them better than most. Only problem with Robot Maniples is that they don't Fly, but, you can't have everything. Indendine Combustors aren't totally bad, though, because they can still Overwatch.
The only other Imperial-centric Codex with Monstrous Creatures in it, are Grey Knights with Dreadknights. Have fun with that.
SpoilerCohort Cybernetica: Field a unit of Monstrous Creatures. It's a pretty strong choice, especially since you can change Battle Protocols on the fly, without Mask of the Alpha Dominus, which is actually a bad Relic if you actually want to use it. Still, if you want to Ally in a bunch of MCs into another Imperial army, you can.
Elimination Maniple: Forgo a Dominus and take units that you were probably planning on taking anyway. Ignore this Formation, a CAD or AD is just better.
Numinous Conclave: The only way that you want to field Electro-Priests, and the only reason to have Corpuscarii at all. The problem is that you need a lot of Electro-Priests, and that money is probably better spent on Destroyers or Robots. In any case, this Formation ups the offensive abilites of Electro-Priests, but, unfortunately, doesn't increase their speed or survivability, and, at the end of the day, they're only T3 with a 5++, FNP is nice, but it can be taken away fairly easily against T3 models.
Holy Requisitioner: A fluffy Formation that is kind of okay. No-Scatter Deep Strike onto an Objective, become Fearless. It's not bad. The problem is that a Dominus and 2 Breachers sounds like the beginnings of a CAD, and two Breacher units that could have been built as Destroyers. This Formation isn't for Cult Mechanicus, it's for putting into another army.
Adeptus Mechanicus War Convocation: From White Dwarf, this Formation sets a horrifying, ugly precedent that makes people very, very mad. It requires three Codecies to field. Cult Mechanicus, Skitarii and Imperial Knights. Normally, that wouldn't be a problem, since you can just choose not to field it, except that the War Convocation is really, really, really good, and there really isn't any reason at all that you shouldn't field this Formation, except for the fact that it takes three Codecies to run. But, in 7th Ed., you'll find that 3 Codecies for one army, actually isn't that rare, and you may just be complaining for nothing, since if you bring 3 Codecies to the table, you get real, tangible bonuses for doing so that aren't just related to Battle Brother shenanigans.
Everything is cheap-as-free! All units in the Formation count towards the Canticle count and weapons with the Gets Hot rule, lose it. So spam that Plasma. But, really, the main bonus is that everything except the models themselves, is free. Pay the points to put models on the board, and then you're done. Take whatever you want at no cost. This means wargear-stacking on every single model, it means taking every Relic that isn't terrible, and it means taking all the options that you'd normally avoid because they're too many points, because now those options are free.
Yes, this is absolutely a 'Collector's Formation' since it requires 'one of everything' (especially in regards to the Skitarii Battle Maniple), but, it's actually really, really good, and who, really, likes punishing 'hobbyists' on the basis that they don't want to just spam the same unit over and over again? Nobody. Hobby is great, and the War Convocation is legit. Yes, it takes 3 Codecies to run, but, as mentioned, that's actually reasonably normal for a 7th Ed. army. That's just the truth.
So, I guess, if you're going to be mad at anything, be mad at how important Allies are to the game. But, then again, without Allies, each army is hamstrung to its own schtick, and we go back to 5th Ed. where we get hard-and-fast 'Tiers' of Codecies because there's no variation on what anybody can do and that's why Allies are important. Because not every Codex can do everything, all the time, and that's good, 'cause if they could, every army would just be the same thing over and over again - remember 5th Ed. Parking Lots? Fun, right?
Allies are great for the game, so...Don't even be mad at that, either. It's like the War Convocation is just a natural evolution the game...Huh. Weird.
Ultimately, the War Convocation sets a precedent, nothing more, and people are just imagining what could be done if GW decides to follow through on a wider scale. But, as yet, they haven't, so there's really no problem...Yet.