Perhaps you have been interested in starting Warhammer 40K, or are looking to add another army to your collection. How do you go about picking a force? Generally, the best advice is to go with whatever looks the best to you on the tabletop and whose background you enjoy most, since competitiveness comes and goes with updates, rules changes, and edition shifts. However, some simple play-style features are worth considering as well, regardless of their current standing in the competitive pecking order. With that in mind, let’s take a look into a faction with the newest models but some of the longest standing backgrounds in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and see if The Adeptus Mechanicus is a good fit for you.
Fluff and Personality
The Adeptus Mechanicus is the faction within the Imperium that is responsible for technology and manufacture of weapons, vehicles, and armor. Historically, when The Emperor of Mankind first visited Mars, a pact was forged with the humans that lived there deemed so important that one of the eagles heads on the Imperial Aquila is meant to represent the forces of Mars and the Mechanicum, as it was known then. Mars was the first and most prominent Forge World, converted into a planet wide sprawling factory for the production of war materiel to execute the Great Crusade, and later for the upkeep of Imperial forces across the galaxy.
Despite what one might expect, the Adeptus Mechanicus does not have a particularly firm grasp on the technology that they control and attempt to wield. The overall motto is ‘Knowledge is Power’, and much of their effort goes toward the collection and preservation of knowledge. This is in part due to the fact that the Mechanicus forces do not fully understand how or why some of their devices work, as they were created long ago and the records of their design and the science behind them have long been lost to the ages. When the opportunity arises to attain new knowledge or rediscover older technology in the form of Standard Template Constructs, or STCs, they will leap at the opportunity with all the might their mechanically augmented limbs can muster.
During The Dark Age of Technology, artificial intelligence and sentient machines known as The Men of Iron caused a good deal of problems for mankind into the Age of Strife, and it is well understood that AI is not something that the Imperium is interested in revisiting. As a result, any mechanical operation performed by the AdMech or their devices must be controlled by a human, regardless of whether that human has been lobotomized and made to become a servitor, performing a single task for the rest of its life. In keeping with this, the units available to the Skitarii and Adeptus Mechanicus are neither fully man nor machine, attempting to maintain the best aspects of both in service to the Omnissiah, or Machine God, who they believe to be responsible for much of their success.
The Skitarii and upcoming Mechanicus units have a largely cyberpunk or robotic appearance with plenty of exposed metal mixed in with a grab bag of meaty leftovers. The force is composed mostly of walkers and infantry, and the models GW has put out usually show a robotic body enclosed in a hooded robe. The emphasis on the mechanical is apparent throughout the models range and artwork, and exposed machinery is evident across the line. The army aesthetic is really very unique amongst the forces of the 40K universe, and the models themselves are beautifully sculpted. Many are apparently difficult to glue together and may require some skill at painting, but they truly are a collector’s dream.
The Adeptus Mechanicus and Skitarii have access to some RIDICULOUS guns with all kinds of strange and unique rules that make for an interesting force to field. If you have ever played Warhammer Fantasy, this is something along the lines of Skaven with the type of varied firepower they are able to access. Most units come with the relentless special rule, meaning you will generally be able to shoot while moving around, meaning you will not be trapped in a static gunline formation. While the lack of transports is somewhat discouraging, most things have access to Scout and Crusader rules, so you will still be able to make moves around the field.
The concept of Doctrina Imperatives, much like army-wide Astra Miliatarum Orders, gives you the ability to improve certain stats on all your models for the turn, or further improve one aspect of your statline by sacrificing from another, giving you great tactical flexibility and the chance to gamble a bit with your units’ abilities. They also synergize quite well with the other imperial forces they can ally with, and would be particularly fluffy allied with Imperial Knights. If you’re interested in playing a shooting heavy infantry force with moderate mobility and the capability to destroy enemy vehicles and characters with abandon, then this may just be the army for you. Check out our article on how to win with Skitarii to see more.
Currently these models are being featured in many places since they are the newest faction to be released, and there are indications that we will be seeing more of them in the near future as the release schedule rolls along. You will have difficulty finding anything second-hand, since very few people will be reselling models they are done with, but it is looking like the models are reasonably priced if you are buying new. Most stores should have the full range in stock, and there is a pretty extensive amount of pre-existing fluff regarding this faction in the form of Black Library novels (Horus Heresy included) and bits of background here and there scattered throughout rulebooks and codices for the past few decades, so there is plenty to explore.
Are you thinking of starting a new army? Do Skitarii or Adeptus Mechanicus sound good to you, or will you try something else? Let us know below in the comments.