Tactica: Siege Dreadnoughts

A lesser known Forgeworld Dreadnought variant is the Siege Dreadnought.

Weighing in at the cost of 24 MBs a piece and with standard “old-school” Dread stats (i.e. WS4 BS4 S6 F12 S12 R10 I4 A2 HP3), this walker comes with some unique and potent wargear:

1 – Flamestorm Cannon — Same weapon that is on the LR Redeemer, being a S6 AP3 Template weapon.

2 – Assault Drill with Built-in Heavy Flamer — Assault Drill is a Power Fist that gains an additional D6 for Armor Penetration against buildings and stationary vehicles. Additionally, whenever it causes at least one Penetrating Hit on a tranport/building, then every embarked model takes a S5 AP4 hit.

Like other Dreads, the Siege Dread can Drop Pod in, allowing it to get up close with your enemy turn 1 and unleash both its templates. This provides tremendous utility to any Marine force or even another force that takes and Astartes ally. Some examples of lucrative targets for a Siege Dread “drive-by flaming” are as follows:

1 – Necron Warrior/Flayed Ones phalanxes — With the ability to drop in and release two templates with AP4 or better and ignoring cover, the Ironclad Dread can deal masssive casualties to tightly packed Necrontyr, even enough to overcome 4+ Reanimation Protocals from Decurion/Cryptek buffs.

2 – Eldar Jetbikes — With the Flamestorm ignoring both their armor and cover saves and wounding on 2+s, this is a great way to hunt down small-medium jetbikes squads with massed Scatter Lasers and take out massive chunks of Eldar S6 shooting before the end of Turn 1.

3 – Ork Loota Boyz/Flash Gitz in Cover — A great way to “napalm strike” Ork fire-base units in a single turn and greatly reduce the synergy of their army, making them much more mono-dimensional (i.e. close combat focused only).

4 – Tyranid hordes with Venomthrope support — Ignoring cover and AP3/4 means that basically every Gaunt/Hormaguant/Ripper etc hit is a dead beasty and is a great way to clean out hordes supporting Tyrranid “monster mash” lists.

5 – AM Blob Squads behind Aegis Defense Lines — With the “Get Back in the Fight” order, AM Blobs can go to ground each turn and get a 2+ cover save, then “recover” next turn and shoot again with basically no penalty. The antidote to 2+ cover saves is, naturally, multiple Ignore Cover templates coming out of a Drop Pod turn 1, especially against tightly packed AM infantry.

6 – Tau Pathfinder Teams/Markerlight Drone Squadrons — These guys almost always deploy in cover to maximize their survivability and abiliy to employ Marker Lights. Dropping in turn 1 and hitting them with two S5/6 AP4/3 templates can kill an entire Pathfinder Team or Drone Squadron in a single volley, in turn dramatically reducing the overall combat power of a Tau army.

7 – Dark Eldar Skimmers/Embarked troops — With S5/6 templates shooting against Open-Topped transports like the Venom and Raider, the Siege Dread can potentially kill the DE vehicles outright or, at the very least, inflict 2D6 Heavy Flamer/Flamestorm hits on the occupants, which should be enough to devastate pretty much any DE passengers outside of maxed out Grotesques.

8 – Skitarri Infantry of all kinds — With only a 4+ save, T3, and no access to transports, the Skitarri are particularly vulnerable to the S6 Flamestorm template, which ignores their FNP and also causes ID to Ruststalkers and Infilitrators. Even Ironstriders and Sydonian Dragoons can be damaged by the S6 templates, since they are only AV11 and open-topped.

9 – Power Armor Infantry of all varieties (i.e. Wolves, Blood/Dark Angels, Grey Knights, “normal” Space Marines, CSM, even Sisters of Battle) — As long as they are not in a transport or building, these units are quite vulnerable to Siege Dreadnoughts and their Flamestorm shooting, not to mention follow-up attacks by the Dreadnought if it survives long-enough to charge into close combat on turn 2.

In summary, basically the only units that are “safe” against a Siege Dreadnought turn 1 drop are medium/heavy vehicles, Monstrous Creatures, infantry with a 2+ save (or very high Invul save), and flyers/FMCs. This means that Siege Dreads have very strong viability in any TAC list, either as part of a base-line Astartes force or as an Ally to another army.

Clowns and Panzers — Harlequin/Armored Battle Group Alliance

Another unorthodox alliance that I think can actually be competitive is using a Harlequin Masque in conjunction with an Armoured Battle Group allied detachment. Consider the following:


-Pros — Highly mobile, powerful psychic options, exceptional in close combat and solid short-range firepower

-Cons — Expensive, fragile, lacking effective long-range shooting, lacking anti-flyer options


-Pros — Highly durable, multiple effective long/mid-ranged shooting options, Objective Secured AV14 units, effective AA shooting

-Cons — Expensive, slow, highly vulnerable in close combat, no Psychic options

As you can see, in may ways these two armies are mirror opposites of one another: one is close-combat focused “glass cannon” force and the other is firepower-based “anvil” type faction.

Because of these differences, I think the two forces compliment each other quite well. Establish a firebase with the Armoured Battle Group to begin impacting the enemy turn 1 and tuck the Harlequin units in behind the wall of AV14 and AV12.

If the enemy tries to out-shoot you, slowly advance your Leman Russes/sheltered Harlequins while pouring on the firepower of the Armoured Company. Then, once you are within range (say turn 2, 3, or 4), have the Harlequins dart out from behind their tank shield and use their 6″ move + D6″ run + 2D6″ charge (all with Fleet) to get into the enemy gun line and chop it up. This can be highly effective against Tau, Astra Militarum, shooty Necrons, Skitarii, Cult Mechanicus, shooty Astartes (of all variants), and even some versions of Eldar (i.e. footdar, gunline Eldar, etc.).

Alternately, if your opponent moves in close to either try and assault your tanks and their vulnerable AV10/11 rear armor (i.e. Tyranids, Orks, Khorne Daemonkin, Grey Knights, Daemons, assaulty Necrons, etc.) and/or use close-ranged anti-tank shooting against them (i.e. Melta Vets, Fire Dragons, Fusion Blaster Crises Teams, Tyrranocyte Zoanthropes, Drop Pod Marines, D-Scythe Wraithguard, CSM Combi-Melta Terminators, etc.), then your Harlequins can “bubble wrap” the vulnerable Leman Russes or, better yet, pre-emptively charge your opponents, thus keeping your tanks safe/still shooting and also tearing them up with your highly potent Harlequin close combat abilities.

Either way, with skillful integration of these two factions, you place your opponent in a dilemma and can combine the best attributes of both factions into you battle plan.

In support of this Harlequin/Armoured Company Battle Group concept, here are what I consider some of the best units to take:


1 – Command Tank (HQ)/Commissar Tank (Elite) — Both have BS4 and access to special Tank Ammo, the best of which is the Monster Hunter ammo (S8 AP2, Small Blast, Instant Death) on Vindicators and Infernus ammo (S8 AP3, Ignore Cover) on normal Leman Russ Battle Tanks. The Command Tank can also issue orders, the best of which enables friendly tanks to target an enemy and force them to re-roll successful cover saves, and they both can take upgrades like Aritificer Hull for +1HP. Overall, these make for strong anti-tank and/or anti-infantry shooting to lead your force, as well as more AV14 saturation.

2 – Siege Tank Squadron (Troops) — 1-3 Demolishers, Executioners, Punishers, and/or Thunderer Siege Tanks (basically a turretless, cheaper Demolisher) in a squadron. With tremendous firepower (i.e. S10 AP2 large blasts or 3 x S7 AP2 small blasts or 20 x S5 Ap- shooting), AV14 in the front and AV11 in the rear, plus Objective Secured for being a Troops option, this squadron type can relentlessly advance, protecting harlequins behind it, and pound the enemy while doing so.

3 – Vendetta Squadron (Fast Attack) — 1-3 Vendettas provide excellent anti-tank, anti-flyer, and anti-Monstrous Creature shooting at long range to round out your Harlequin/Armoured Battle Group task force. Not cheap, but can be your “ace in the hole” unit in many games.

4 – Collossus Bombard Battery (Heavy Support) — 1-3 Collosus Mortars that eahc put out a S6 AP3, Large Blast, Barrage, IGNORE COVER shot per turn. Obviously, this is death to any MEQs, Necrons, Eldar Jetbikes, Wraithguard, Nob Bikerz, Tau Crises Suits, or basically anything without either a 2+ save or a transport to ride in. If you are facing an enemy “gunline” force, then this is one of your best compliments to the tank/harlequin foundation of the army and, even if you are facing an assault-oriented horde opponent (like Ork green tide or Black Templar black tide army), then these mortars can even scale. Finally, they even have utility against medium enemy armor, since they are S6 Ordnance and Barrage (meaning they hit side armor), which can be quite potent against things like a Space Marine Battle Company spamming free Rhinos/Razorbacks.


1 – Solitaire (Elite) — Normally considered somewhat mediocre, in this list I think he shines. As a single model that can easily hide out of LOS behind advancing Leman Russ platforms, he cand wait for the opportune moment, then dash out 12″ (or even use his Blitz ability, if appropriate), then run another D6″, then charge another 2D6″ to single-handedly tie up (or even destroy) an enemy squad. In this he maximizes his excellent close-combat abilities and also serves as an effective “economy of force” unit for you army (i.e. if he ties up a squad of TWC about to multi-charge your expensive Leman Russ Executioner squadron and rip it to shreds, then he has basically made his points back already). Don’t forget he has I10 (so can basically auto-win Sweeping Advance rolls) and Hit and Run, so he can charge, beat up a unit, then H&R out to allow him to charge another unit next turn.

2 – Shadowseer (Elite) — Another great froce multiplier unit, with each Harlequin Troupe probably needing one of these psykers attached to it for Veil of Tears if nothing else. Combining an AV14 armor wall to block LOS with Veil of Tears (for any enemy units that are fast enough to zoom up the flank and actually get a bead on the Harlequins) on each Troup and you can all but ensure that the enemy will not harm them until you are within charge range for your deadly clowns (which is where you want them, of course đŸ˜‰ ). Also, the Shadowseer can “defang” critical enemy units like FMCs, Centurions, Superheavies, etc. with powers like Fog of Dreams (basically “reverse Invisibility” cast as a malidiction on an enemy unit and forcing it to Snap Shoot and only hit on 6+s in combat for a turn) or, alternately, combine the Mask of Secrets Relic (-2 Ld on nearby enemies) with Psychic Shriek power to inflict signficant witchfire damage on even very tough enemy units.

3 – Harlequin Trooupe (Troops) — Your “bread and butter” close combat unit. If take on foot in squads of 8-10 with the right close combat upgrades, then sheltered behind friendly armor/with Veil of Tears until they can charge, this squad can hit well above its weight and provide exceptional close in protection for your slow, lumbering, vulnerable-to-assault tanks. Personally, I think the Harlequin’s Caress is the most versatile upgrade option, making them Troupe a threat to infantry, MCs, and vehicles alike and combining quite well with the supporting firepower of the Leman Russes and Collosus Bombards at range.

4 – Skyweaver Jetbikes (Fast Attack) — With all the advantages of Eldar Jetbikes (i.e. ridiculous mobility, making them tremendous for grabbing objectives), plus the option to either take ranged Haywire shooting or lots of ranged Shurikan Cannon shooting, plus the ability to become potent close combat units on the charge (i.e. 4 x S5 AP2 I6 attacks on the charge with Zeiphergalive upgrade and the option to Hit and Run out of combat to “rinse and repeat” this tactic), Skyweavers bring an element of hyper mobility and specialized shooting/close combat that really compliments Harlequins Troupes on foot and massed Imperial Tanks. Consider these guys your QRF (i.e. Quick Reaction Force) which can dart around the battlefield and do whatever role you require of them, be it grap objectives, assault an enemy shooting unit far from you DZ, or add specialized shooting to support the firepower of your Leman Russes and artillery.

Rapier Batteries and HQ Support

Rapier Batteries are a little unknown gem to many Space Marine players that can potentially add quite a bit to your army.

Coming in units of 1-3 in the HS section, with 2 Marine crewman per Rapier, they have either a Quad Bolter (i.e. 6 x TLed Heavy Bolter shots) or a Laser Destroyer (S9 AP2, Ordnace 1, TLed), and they cost 8 MBs or 11 MBs per model, respectively, so they are an extremely good deal for what they bring to the battle.

What makes them even better is supporting them selected HQ choices. The following are some examples:

1 – Tigurius attached to 3 Rapiers (Quad Bolters) — Tigurius gives the whole battery strong Deny the Witch and Ld 10, plus he benfits from majority T7 and can cast a whole array of powers on them. Best powers include Perfect Timing (gives Battery Ignore Cover), Endurance (gives Battery Relentless, Eternal Warrior, and FNP(4+)), and Invisibility (makes it very difficult to hit the battery with shooting or close combat). Additionally, he can use his Storm of Fire WL Trait to make all 18 shots in the Battery Rending, giving the unit the ability to threat Heavy Infantry, MCs, and even medium vehicles.

2 – Tarnus Vale attached to 3 Rapiers (Laser Destroyers) with another 3 Rapiers (Quad Bolters) within 12″ of him, all behind an ADL with a Quadgun — Vale gives his Rapier Battery Ld 10, Stubborn, and Tank Hunters to make them excellent vehicle destroyers (S9 AP2 Ordnance with re-rolls to failed glancing/penetrating rolls makes them even better than Railguns). Vale can also use the same Storm of Fire WL trait that Tigurius has to buff the nearby Quad Bolter Rapier battery and give them rending, in essence buffing the shooting of two different units a turn. Finally, Vale himself can man the Quadgun with his BS5 and Tank Hunter to shoot down enemy flyers and skimmers with Interceptor firepower.

3 – Ahazra Redth attached to 3 Rapiers on top of a Imperial Bastion with Comms Relay — Redth gives Ld and Deny the Witch bonuses, plus can cast Mirage on the Battery to give them a 2+ cover save (4+ from the Bastion wall + Shrouded). He also can draw on Divination, possibly getting Perfect Timing (for Ignore Cover shooting for the unit) or Misfortune (for making all attacks against a designated enemy target Rending). Finally, his WL Trait gives the Rapier Battery Night Vision and Interceptor, making them a potent “counter-punch” unit against any enemy units arriving from Reserve within 36″ of them.

4 – Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor with Psyocculum, Servo-Skulls, the Tome of Vethric Relic, and PML(1) attached to 3 Rapiers (Laser Destroyers) — Inquisitor gives the unit Ld 10 Stubborn, plus makes them BS10 when shooting at anything with a Psyker in it and can roll on Divination table to try and get Ignore Cover or Misfortune. He also uses his Servo-Skulls to keep enemy Infilitrators/Scouts at bay and, depending who you are fighting, uses the Tome of Vethric to give Rapier Battery one of the following:

*Eldar: Split Fire
*Dark Eldar: Night Vision
*Necrons: Tank Hunter
*Tyranids: Monster Hunter

5 – Land Raider Excelsior and Rhino Primaris next to 3 Rapiers (Laser Destroyers) — Each turn, the LR Excelsior can buff the Battery with either Tank Hunter, Skyfire, Interceptor, Split Fire, Preferred Enemy, or Fearless, all of which make the Rapier Laser Destroyers measurably more effective. The Rhino Primaris can, once per game, make the unit Fearless and, also once per game, make it shoot Snap Shots at full BS. A great combination of these two is to have the Rhino Primaris give the Rapier Battery snapshots at full BS and also have the Excelsior give the battery Tank Hunters during the same shooting phase. This means the 3 x TLed Laser Destroyers can hit Flyers on re-rollable 3+s, get two die a piece for penetration rolls (take the highest) with re-rolls for any failed attempts due to Ordnance/Tank Hunters. Even against heavy flyers like Stormravens or Heldrakes, this combo has a very solid chance of killing them in a single volley. Finally, if you want to use the Rapiers as a form of “heavy sniper,” then grant them Preferred Enemy from the LR Excelsior and shoot them at Terminators, Obliterators, Centurions, Tau Broadsides, MCs, or some other kind of high value enemy infantry. With re-rolls to Hit and to Wound and S9 AP2, they should be able to snipe down several wounds on these tough enemy troops (or even kill multi-wound models, as long as they are T4 or below, due to the Instant Death rule).

As you can see, Rapier Batteries supported by these HQ choices (I am sure there are other good ones out there as well, such as the Cult Mechanicus Tech-Priest Dominus) are a very affordable and effective unit on the tabletop.

Deathbringer Flight + Farsight Enclave

Since Tau and Necrons are Allies of Convenience, they can be ally without the major drawbacks of Desperate Allies or Come the Apocalypse.

Ironically, Tau actually are somewhat weak in terms of high strength, anti-tank shooting since Broadside Heavy Rail Rifles are not only S8 AP1 and S10 shooting is only found on Hammerheads these days.

It just so happens that, for the cost of 32 MBs per Flyer, Necrons have access to a formation called “Deathbringer Flight” which allows them to take 2-4 Doom Scythes and grants them the following bonuses:

1 – Doom Scythes firing their Death Ray get +2BS for each Doom Scythe from the formation that has previously targeted that same unit that same shooting phase.

2 – Enemy units within 12″ of two or more Doom Scythes suffer -1Ld

Combine all this with each Doom Scythe’s S10 AP1 Lance Small Blast shooting against ground targets and its TLed Tesla Destructor, which puts out 4 x S7 AP- shots at either ground or air targets (with bonues hits from rolls of 6+ to Hit), and you have a very versatile flyer that can provide tremendous fire support to an allied Tau cadre.

Now, how can the Deathbringer flight combine with Tau effectively? I would offer that the Farsight Enclave is an excellent counterpart to a Necron flight of 4 Doom Scythes. Consider the following:

— TAU CAD — (1360)

HQ (288)

-Tau Commander with Fusion Blaster/Plasma Rifle, Vectored Retro Thrusters, 2 x Shield Drones (144)

-Tau Commander with Fusion Blaster/Plasma Rifle, Vectored Retro Thrusters, 2 x Shield Drones (144)

TR (348)

-Crises Team with 3 Suits, each with Fusion Blaster/Plasma Rifle and Target Lock (174)

-Crises Team with 3 Suits, each with Fusion Blaster/Plasma Rifle and Target Lock (174)

FA (120)

-Pathfinder Team with 5 x models (60)

-Pathfinder Team with 5 x models (60)

HS (604)

-3 x Missilesides with HYMPs, 2 Target Locks (208)

-3 x Missilesides with HYMPs (198)

-3 x Missilesides with HYMPs (198)


-Doom Scythe (160)

-Doom Scythe (160)

-Doom Scythe (160)

-Doom Scythe (160)

As you can see, you have a solid firebase, with Missilesides to engage light vehicles and infantry, Crises Teams and Commanders to DS in and engage heavy infantry and vehicles, and Pathfinders to “force multiply” the entire battle group with Markerlights.

Additionally, everything in this task force is backed up by the Deathbringer flight, which really is the “hammer” of this army list, providing the Tau with S10 AP1 and massed S7 shooting support once they come in. Against enemy hordes, you can use the HYMPs, Smart Missiles, and Doom Scythes. Against MEQs and light mech, you have the Crises Suits and torrent of fire from the Missilesides. Against TEQs and MCs, you have the Crises Teams and the Doom Scythes.

Overall, I would say this a pretty versatile force that employs the varying strengths of both the Tau codex and the Deathbringer Flight formation.

Ravenwing Support Squadron

This may very well be the best formation in the new Dark Angel codex (and perhaps the best formation available to any Astartes faction, with the possible exception of the Skyhammer Annihilation Force).

So, what does the Ravenwing Support Squadron bring to the fight? Well, first of all, it is made up of 3-5 RW Landspeeders and either a RW Darkshroud or a RW LS Vengeance. All of these models are combined into a single “super-unit” of 4-6 Land Speeders.

Outside of this unique grouping, the formation also gives all its modesl Grim Resolve (so BS2 overwatch, which usually vehicles do not get), Interceptor, Strafing Run (so BS5 when shooting against basically any non-flyers/FMC units), and the Ravenshield special rule. Ravenshield allows this formation fire overwatch in support of any friendly Ravenwing unit that is within 24″ of it. Combined with BS2 overwatch (from Grim Resolve) or even Overwatch at full BS5 (from being part of the Lion’s Blade and getting Supreme Fire Discipline rules), this makes for a highly effective defense against RW units being charged. Note that, since this formation itself is made up entirely of RW units, it can choose to fire overwatch when it is charged itself!

Beyond the Overwatch shenanigans, I think where the RW Support Squadron really shines is in two areas:

1 – The ability to attach a Darkshroud to a unit of RW Land Speeders. This means that the entire unit gains Scout and Shrouded from the Darkshroud (both of these abilities confer to the entire unit if even just one model has them). This means that, if the formation Jinks, it has a re-rollable 2+ cover save every time. If it does not, then it at least has a permanent 5+ cover save, which can be increased by hiding in terrain, potentially even providing the a 2+ cover save without moving/jinking (say the unit hovers behind an Aegis Defense Line). Addiing Scout to formation just further enhances its versatility, allowing pre-game mobility or the option to Outflank and come in turn 2 for shots against enemy weak side armor.

2 – The ability to use BS5 Interceptor shooting. With Interceptor ability being quite rare, especially for Astartes armies, this is invaluable addition to either a Dark Angel force or as an allied supplement to another army. If you kit out the RW Land Speeders with Cyclone Missile Launchers, then you have between 6-10 BS5 Krak Missiles with Interceptor, plus additional Heavy Bolter fire from this formation. Against deadly DSing opponents, such as D-Scythe Wraithguard with WWPs or Skyhammer Annihilation Force troops or Farsight Battlesuit deathstars, this can be a complete game-changer, potentially eliminating these dangerous threats before they even get the chance to engage your army.

Even if you don’t use the Interceptor and Overwatch special abilities, just having multiple Speeders with long range, Shrouded, and BS5 (which can be boosted by Prescience to give them 97% accuracy when shooting), this formation is highly versatile, surprising durable (thanks to the Dark Shroud), and provides a potent firebase for your army.

Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne… leveling the playing field for Chaos!

As many have probabaly seen already, Forgeworld has release new Chaos versions of Imperial Knights and has also released the Kytan Daemon Engine of Khorne:


As you can see from the rules, the Kytan Daemon Engine is like a “normal” Imperial Knight, but has better WS, I, A, and also has Rage, Fleet, and Crusader, making it ideally suited for getting into and exceling at close combat. The Kytan is no slouch in shooting either, with a S8 AP3 Heavy 8, 48″ range Gatling Cannon that also has the Pinning rule (the medoicre BS3 somewhat detracts from this, but with the special Daemonforge rules that allows re-rolls to Wound once a game, it can be quite an effective fire support platform as well).

Combined with Super Heavy rules, 6HPs, AV13/13/10, IWND, a 5++ save on all sides from the Daemon USR (vice a 4++ on a single side against shooting that normal Knights get from their Ion Shields), and D strength close combat attacks, it is a tremendous addition to any Chaos Space Marine/Chaos Daemon/Khorne Daemonkin army that takes it as a Lord of War choice.

Based on all this, what is the best way to competitively integrate a Kytan Daemon Engine into a Chaos army? Well, first off, you can supplement it with Psychic powers from allied Sorcerors/Daemons. While this is not fluffy (i.e. Khorne hates psykers and all), it can make the Kytan even more potent:

1 – Prescience from an allied Crimson Slaughter Sorceror with the Balestar of Mannon Relic — Allowing the Kytan to re-roll all to Hits (both shooting and combat) makes it significantly more dangerous in damage output and allows it to maximize its value all game long.

2 – Invisibility from allied Belakor — No one needs to be told how potent Invisibility would be on this Lord of War, making it all but immune to enemy shooting and much more survivable against even the toughest close combat troops.

3 – Allied Chaos Psyker with Cursed Earth from Malefic discipline — Since the Kytan counts as a Daemon, this means it gets a 4++ save if within 12″ of the caster. Combine this with Grimoire and suddenly you have the potential for a Lord of War Super Heavy Walker with a 2++ save!

Finally, outside of Psychic powers, there are a few small other ways to buff the Kytan with allies, such as keeping it within 12″ of Abbadon when fighting Space Marines (Abaddon’s Black Crusader trait gives all friendly units within 12″ Preferred Enemy: Space Marines). Generally, the best way to integrate the Kytan into a Chaos faction army is to cause target saturation for your opponent with lots of other dangerous melee units so that he is on the horns of a dilemma… i.e. does he shoot at your Kytan and ignore the rest of your massed Maulerfiends and allow them to rampage into his DZ, or does he focus on the rest of your army and allow the Kytan to move up with its 12″ move and Fleet/Crusader running and threaten his army in that way.

Lias Issadon and the Cohort Cybernetica

As I study the new Cult Mechanicus book, one of the formations that jump out at me is the Cohort Cybernetica. For those who are not familiar with it, it consists of (1) Tech-Priest Dominus and (2) Kastelan Robot Maniples, all grouped into a single unit (which the Dominus cannot leave).

In practice, this means you have a minimum of one Dominus, two Data-Smiths, and four Kastelan Robots, with the option for up to four more Datasmiths and eight more Robots, though that becomes ridiculously expensive very quickly.

In terms of Special Rules, as long as the Dominus is alive he allows the Kastelan Robots to change their Protocals instantly at the end of your turn (rather than waiting until the start of your next turn for the change to take effect) and every Dominus/Data-Smith in the unit can sacrifice its shooting to allow a single Kastelan Robot to shoot a different target than the rest of the unit. Finally, the whole unit yields (3) Victory points if it is completely destroyed (which is quite difficult to do) and also counts as three units for the purposes of calculating Canticles of the Omnissiah.

So, how to use this unique formation? First of all, I recommend having all the Kastelan Robots replace their Incedine Combustors (i.e. Torrent Flamers) with Heavy Phosphor Blasters. Not only do these have 36″ range, S6 AP3, and 3 shots a piece, but they also have the Luminagen rule, potentially serving as “quasi-Makerlights” if they inflict an unsaved wounds/glance/penetrating hit). While the Torrent flamers are nice, I think the Heavy Phosphor Blasters are much more versatile (they can even be used against light vehicles in a pinch) and force multiply the rest of your army as well.

Shooting aside, where the Kastelan Robots really shine is in close combat with the Conqueror Protocol activated (this doubles their base Attacks, but at the cost of not being able to shoot at all). This means that, with Conqueror Protocal on, each Kastelan Robot has T7, 3W, a 3+ save, and 6 x S10 AP2 attacks on the charge, all at I2 (so still slow to strike, but importantly striking before any enemy PFs, THs, or other Unwieldy weapons). Using the Cohort Cybernetica, with its minimum of four Kastelan Robots, that’s 24 x S10 AP2 attacks on the charge, plus another 6 x S8 AP2 Unwieldy attacks from the attached Datasmiths and another 4 x S5 AP2 Power Axe attacks from the attached Dominus. Given that the entire unit is Fearless and goes with majority T7 (at least until two of the Kastelan Robots are killed), this is a brutal formation in close combat which can threaten any and everything it gets close enough to assault.

The difficulty, of course, is getting this formation of Monstrous Creatures and attached characters close enough to the enemy to get into combat to begin with. Since it can only move 6″ a turn, cannot ride in vehicles, cannot DS, and cannot have additional ICs attach (ICs cannot attach to a MC or unit containing MCs unless given special rules to do so, as is the case of the Dominus in this formation), thus preventing use of Psychic Powers like Gates of Infinity or Levitation to improve its mobility, there is a very real possibility that a savvy opponent will simply “kite” this unit all game long, shooting it to death or ignoring it while never allowing the Cohort to get into close combat.

This is where Lias Issadon comes in. With his WL Trait allowing him the ability to Infiltrate himself and 3 other non-vehicle units, he can Infiltrate the Cohort Cybernetica to within 18″ of the enemy DZ (or 12″, if you have blocked LOS) before the game even begins. Better yet, he can infiltrate the unit into cover and turn 1 you can activate the “Shroudpsalm” Canticle, giving them either Stealth, Shrouded, or Stealth+Shrouded, depending on how many Cult Mechanius units are in you army.

Combined with terrain, that means the unit has between a 4+ and 2+ cover save in addition to its 19 wounds at majority T7, 3+/2+ armor, and the Dominus’ ability to repair a single wound each turn on a roll of 2+. Use the Aegis Protocol in conjunction with all this to give the Kastelan Robots FNP and give the Dominus the “Autocaduceus of Arkhan Land” relic to give the entire unit IWND and, even if your opponent dedicates his entire army’s firepower toward the Cohort, you will likely be able ot weather the storm with plenty of combat power left in the unit.

Once you get to turn 2-3 move up, shoot as required, and charge your opponent’s DZ with the force of a unit of T7 Monstrous Creatures. Basically, infilitrating a Cohort Cybernetica is what Carnifex Broods would kill to do, but the Cohort does it AND still has effective shooting between the Kastelan’s Heavy Phosphor Blasters (switch to Protector Protocols if you need to shoot and then you are putting out 24 x S6 AP3 shots a turn), the Datasmith’s Gamma Pistols, and the Dominus’ Eradication Ray and Macrostubber. Intelligent use of the Canticles of the Omnissiah and split firing the Kastelans as required only makes this battle group even more effective and truly adds a balanced, capable, and potent “anvil” unit to your army.