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Warhammer 40K: Adeptus Mechanicus Is the Most Complex Codex Ever

5 Minute Read
May 25 2021

Let’s talk about a truly mad book from Mars.

The new Ad-mech Codex is coming and it is a doozy. If you were worried that 40K was too simplistic and easy to understand, well then my friend this is the book for you. Gone are the uber-simple days of the 8th ed Index armies, as Ad-mech brings us what has to be the most complicated Codex of all time, a book truly only some sort of half-machine, half-man logic engine could really get. This book has it all, from tons of keywords, complex army rules, massive buff stacks to a flyer whose rules are probably longer than Index Ynnari.  Let’s take a look.


All The Keywords

One of the first levels of complication in this book is just the amount of keywords. The book is broken down between Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus units. There are no restrictions in taking these two together, but a lot of buffs only benefit one of these groups. Then of course you’ve got your subfactions keywords. And lastly, you’ve got core. Plus the infantry and vehicle keywords, which are extra important in this book. Generally speaking, this means your army is going to have four more groups to keep track of:

  • Core Skitarii
  • Non-core Skitarii
  • Core Cult Mechanicus
  • Non-core Cult Mechanicus

This is before we get into unit types. The book is very particular about what units are affected by what rules and it can be a bit to keep track of. This is compounded by some units not having keywords you’d expect them to, such as the Kataphrons, which are troops, but not core. In addition, others can change depending on factors, Kastelans, are sometimes core, sometimes not, and even some subfactions change what rules apply to whom. It’s a bit.

A Bunch Of Ever-Changing Army Rules

Admech have not one, but two army-wide rules that change every turn. Now other armies have wide-ranging rules that can change over the course of a game. Marines have their Doctrines, Drukhari have Power From Pain. The most complicated of these is of course Necron Command Protocols. Admech double down on this with two separate ones, Doctrina Imperatives and Canticles of the Omnissiah. Each of these is picked every turn, giving you a lot of choices, and unlike the other ones, they don’t progress in any kind of manner. Moreover, each of the two rules affects different parts of your army. So both players not only have to remember what rules are being used (and have been used) but which ones affect which units. And oh yeah, other rules can affect how, or which, of these rules affect certain units. Simple!

Just So So Many Buffs

This book has just a stupendous amount of buffs. Aside from the army-wide ones, there are a ton of units that buff other units. As an example:

A single unit of Mars Skitarii Rangers could be affected by:

  • Their Forgeworld Rules (Mars)
  • The current Doctrina Imperatives
  • The current Canticles
  • Buffs from 4 separate Holy Order abilities
  • Auras from the Relics (Exemplar’s Eternity, The Omniscient Mask, and Phosphoenix)
  • Targeted buffs from 5 (yes 5!) Skitarii Warlord Traits
  • Targeted Galvanic Field buff from a Techpriest Manipulus
  • Lord of the Machine Cult Arua from a Techpreist Dominus
  • Targeted Machine focus buff from a Technoarcheologist
  • Control Edict targeted buff from a Marshal
  • Broad-spectrum Data-tether targeted buff from a Dunerider

That’s 20 separate buffs on ONE UNIT, and this doesn’t count stratagems or effects that come from other books. I mean, that’s kind of insane. To think that anyone would be able to keep track of 20 separate buffing rules is ‘optimistic’. To make it even worse, while you could put these all on one unit, you could also switch them around turn by turn, meaning you not only have to keep to track of what’s on the unit, but what’s on the unit this turn, and an ever-changing complex web of rules.

Rules That Change Over The Course Of The Game

This last bit above, touches on one last level of complexity in the army. Its rules change all the time, turn to turn. We’ve already touched on how the army-wide rules change, and how you can swap effects between units freely. But there are also some buffs that can change.

The classic example is the Kastelan Robots who have Battle Protocols. Which of their rules is active can change over the course of the game, giving you more things to keep track of (along with if they are core or not). To add more confusion there are the new  Progressive Abilities, which start out doing one thing, and then you can choose to take an Action to have them do something totally different.  It’s a lot to keep track of and while this army might be good, it’s certainly not for beginners.

The Transvector Flyer

This thing’s rules… not for the faint of heart.

Let us know what you think about the complexity of Admech, down in the comments! 


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