HAIL MARS: iNcontroL’s AdMech List & Tactics

Geoff “iNcontroL” Robinson with what I think is going to be my favorite Adeptus Mechanicus list that I will be running right out of the gates!

First a few words on the codex. I think this is a superb set of rules we can be excited about. As a competitive player I find a lot of really fun and cool possibilities. If you are more into fielding fun lists and having a good time with your mates this codex doesn’t really have any one unit that you would be upset with. Surely some are more optimal than others (looking at you Ruststalkers) but you COULD play a game with them and be moderately happy with how they run around and wiggle their arms at people.

The Omnisiah’s List

With that said lets take a look at the list:

Battallion: Mars
HQ: Cawl 250
HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer 52 (Ax, Servo Arm)
Troops: 3×5 Rangers 120
Heavy: 5x Kastelans (Shooty) 550
Heavy: 2×1 Onager Dunecrawler (Icarus) 260

Battallion: Stygies VII
HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer 52 (Ax, Servo Arm)
HQ: Tech-Priest Enginseer 52 (Ax, Servo Arm)
Troops: 3×5 Rangers (4 arquebuses, 3x Omnispex) 241
Fast: 6x Sydonian Dragoons (Taser Lance) 408

Total: 1985

The Gist of the List

Durability. In 8th edition we often find ourselves in a situation where if we aren’t going first, they have clear line of sight to us or are just alpha heavy we go down hard. Ad Mech introduces some amazing mechanics that mitigate this and make that a more risky endeavor. With MARS and Cawl you get 2 rolls on the canticle chart and the +1/-1 allows for you to have over a 75% chance of getting shroudpsalm (with a CP reroll) that makes your entire army count as being in cover…WOW! Most of your army already has decent saves / toughness so this only strengthens that. The Kastelans START in Aegis protocol which brings them to a 2+/4++ on their own but a 1+ with the canticle. The other half of the list has -1 to hit with Stygies OR -2 to hit with the Sydonian Dragoons…woah! Basically you leave your opponent troop choices (in most cases) to fire at and they have a 3+ or also a -1 to hit. If you keep them out of LoS you are talking about a list that is about as unattractive as it gets for a shooting army.

Additionally, this list hits HARD. Kastelans can drop anything in the game with their “Wrath of Mars” strategem pumping out a tremendous amount of mortal wounds and getting to reroll shots with Cawl. Dunecrawlers are less accurate vs ground targets with Icarus array but Cawl helps mitigate that as well. If they have flyers (which the meta is heavy with) they will drop most flyers together in 1 round of shooting… hitting on 2’s with a reroll from Cawl or a canticle and doing -1 or -3 AP with high damage/strength.. yikes. Rounding out the list is the secret sauce.. Arquebuses are the real deal. High strength, damage and AP means they are a threat to ANYTHING but a menace to characters like a Commissar, Warlord or anything else really. Suddenly our troops have TEETH! I like the snipers to be in Stygies so again it is harder to kill them and they survive that tad bit more. Finally, the Sydonian Dragoons. 6 of these beasts can kill ANYTHING in the game (that they can charge). Three attacks each at strength 8, -1 and 2 damage isn’t super amazing by itself but when you consider that on a 6 to hit they do 3 hits instead of 1 you start to get warmer.. but what if I told you for 1 CP you can make them hit on 2+ and have exploding 4’s? Suddenly 18 attacks on the unit can very realistically become 42+ hits… good luck getting through that. Outside of that they are also decently survivable outside of 12 in particular with a -2 to hit.

The Weaknesses

As always I think a big weakness with Ad Mech is lack of mobility. I love the Lucius combo of deep striking a unit of priests to get around this but that won’t fit in this list.. perhaps another one! I think my minor way of getting around this is the speed and ability to infiltrate the Sydonian Dragoons. That said if something mulches them which they certainly can be.. I am slogging it around fairly slowly.

Another sore spot would be the lack of a screen. Now conventional thought is add in some conscripts or whatever. I personally don’t like that route. I am a competitive player and I definitely have ran a libby conclave in the past with my War Con but this time around I am running a poor dex for me. That being said my list has 20 rangers I don’t really care about and I can use them to buy space and time. Nobody is calling them brimstones but you can be smart here and make them work.

Lastly, this army is a finesse army. I’ve already lost a few games because I was too urgent to drop anchor with my Kastelans and shoot twice.. it’s something I will have to learn over time with practice! I nuked Mortarion vs Frankie but then lost the unit not too long after. I’ve also allowed for chain charges and had moments where my key units were exposed unnecessarily. Typical mistakes but with this army my damage output is mostly congested in 3 units so losing any 1 of them is devastating. I think a final nod towards how command point heavy this army is, you can go through all your points pretty fast. This army only has 9 to start which is OK but ideally you make a list with more.

That’s it for now! I am excited to practice and get games in while I eagerly await for my next big army release: Tyranids. Can’t wait to see what that codex will bring as well! Let me know what you guys think about this list and other potential lists. I love that no one list will be the best in my opinion! We will see a lot of variety!



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  • OldHat

    Wrathbots and Goondozer. That is all AdMech has to offer. A shame GW dropped the ball so hard on this ‘Dex.

    • Kriddi

      Thoes are just some of the many interesting units that a mechancius list can pull off. You can go the destroyer route and combine that with Agrippina to recycle the destroyers, you can go for deepstriking electro priests, you can go for Sicarian infiltrators into Wrath of Mars alphastrike or the Ryza plasma destroyer combo. Almost every unit in the codex bar the ruststalkers are playable in various lists unless your gunning for top 8 in a large tournament.

      • OldHat

        Or just gunning to not get wrecked in a tournament. Most of the Codex is mediocre. Mars and Stygies overshadow everything else, with Lucius being a wildcard with Corpuscarii. But unless they errata Destroyers to be much cheaper or something, why go outside of the solid options (for a competitive setting at least)?

        And as a Metalica player, I’m salty af. Worst FW rules out of the bunch. Again, GW really dropped the ball, imo.

        • mafiacheese

          Should you feel like starting over, you can happily ship your Metalica units my way, because I’m a slow painter and only have a few units ready to go. 🙂

        • Fergie0044

          Surprised we haven’t had a ‘ranking the FWs’ BOLS article yet. Is admech just not as interesting as marines and chaos?

          IMO Mars is the clear winner. An always useful trait and access to Crawl.

          • Mr.Gold

            they just needed a generic arch-magos ruleset for all forgeworlds…

  • Fergie0044

    I was so excited about Ad-mech back in 7th, but the new codex seems very dull now compared to the death guard. I guess I can try to find a way for my Ryza ruststalkers to matter, but I’m not holding my breath…

    • Randy Randalman

      A lot of “seems” and “I think” from the naysayers. Having played about 10 games with the new book, not only are the AdMech 100% more tournament competitive than Death Guard, they have perhaps the the strongest overall roster, pound for pound, of any codex. Oh, and you don’t need to be Mars to do it.

      • Fergie0044

        Naysayer? I think you’re projecting mate. I’ve got the codex and got a sizable ad-mech force in progress on my painting table. So I’m all aboard the multi-legged spider hype train.
        Just saying they’ve lost a good chunk of flavour compared to 7th edition what with all the nutty special rules and weapons becoming more generic. Don’t care how ‘tournament competitive’ they are – not my scene.

        • generalchaos34

          sure they had tons of weird stuff going on, but as tourney competitive army your only previous choice was War Conclave, now you can run a little more variety at least! plus who the hell knows how many times I forgot to use a dataspike or other crazy rules back in the day

  • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

    Not a cheesy AF list at all. I’m impressed.

  • Dusty

    I’d consider breaking up your space robots from space into two units. I think that’ll help mitigate your concerns about losing 1/3 of your force in a single combat or shooting phase. (I’m assuming your crawlers are in a single unit.)

    • Asmodai

      Onagers are 1 per unit now, no squadrons. Robots are one big unit to maximize strategems.

      • Dusty

        That makes sense. I didn’t catch that the Onagers weren’t 1+ any longer.

        • Mr.Gold

          put the Dunecrawler/s in the Stygies Battalion then you will have space to split the robots. cawl can repair the dunecrawlers, however he just can’t cause them to re-roll to hit. also if you take Neutron Lasers on the Dunecrawlers to save a couple of points to use elsewhere, they will hit most things on 3+ normally, but can get a broad spectrum data teather for free, so if you then still need to kill that flyer (for 1CP) +2 to hit (goes to a 2+ even with -1 from the flyer) with a S10 AP-4 gun…

    • generalchaos34

      if cawl is hanging around them anyways he can easily heroic intervention his way into a fight and really bring some pain, just have to worry about the beserker bomb

  • Dalinair

    My kingdom for a competitive list without cawl