Armory of the Forge Worlds
Each of these mini-reviews will outline what each wargear choice is capable of and who it is available for; they are written this way to reduce any possible confusion for players new to the Adeptus Mechanicus faction about what any particular option can do and who can use it. All non-weapon wargear choices will be detailed in the sequel article.
Arc Pistol - Compared to other armies pistols, this is definitely one of the stronger ones - it fires a single Strength 6 AP5 shot that will wound most standard sized models on 2s and ignore the armor saves of light infantry. What really gives it great value is that it has the Haywire special rule and can thus inflict a near guaranteed glancing hit on any vehicle it hits, something most pistol weapons can't attest to. The Arc Pistol is available to Vanguard Alphas and Ranger Alphas.
Arc Rifle - The battle rifle equivalent to the Arc Pistol, the Arc Rifle follows the same template; it has an impressive Strength 6 AP5 profile, albeit with an increased range of 24" and the ability to fire two shots at 12" due to the Rapid Fire weapon type. These shots also possess the Haywire special rule and two of these in a unit can easily glance a vehicle as hardy as a Leman Russ to death in a single Shooting phase with relative ease compared to many other dedicated anti-tank units. Keep in mind that Skitarii units are almost universally Relentless and thus these can be utilized and still allow the firing unit to charge in the same turn contrary to the usual rules. The Arc Rifle is available to Skitarii Vanguard and Skitarii Rangers.
Cognis - This is a special rule that applies to numerous weapons in the codex, so I will quickly cover it here. All Snap Shots, whether it be those you fire against Swooping Flying Monstrous Creatures, Zooming Flyers, units under the effects of Invisibility or as part of Overwatch, all are resolved at Ballistic Skill 2 as opposed to Ballistic Skill 1. Going from requiring 6s on to-hit rolls to 5s on to-hit rolls is a significant improvement to any ranged weapon, and the chances of being forced to use Snap Shots in any given game tend to be quite large so Cognis weapons have inherently high value as a result. The Cognis Autocannon, Cognis Lascannon and Cognis Heavy Stubber are all identical to their basic versions with the sole difference being the addition of the Cognis rule, so I will refrain from covering them other than to say that the Cognis rule provides an impressive boost to their general application in a standard match. The Cognis Autocannon and Cognis Lascannon are available to Ironstrider Ballistarii. The Cognis Heavy Stubber is available to Onager Dunecrawlers.
Eradication Beamer - This is an intriguing weapon that follows in the same footsteps as the Conversion Beamer that is its obvious forefather as well as the Tau Blastcannon and Pulse Blaster, operating more in-line with the xenos designs by gaining increasingly powerful profiles based on how close the firing weapon is to the target unit. To work out which of the three profiles to use, you must check the ranges of each profile and determine which is applicable to the target you are shooting at; if it is unclear which profile to use - usually because there might be no easy way to determine whether it is within 9" or 10" as an example - then you as the controlling player get to decide which profile to use, giving you a slight advantage in such scenarios. In all variations of the weapon, it fires a single shot of varying Strength and AP values and is a Heavy weapon. At 18" to 36", the Eradication Beamer fires a Strength 6 AP5 Large Blast - this is perfect for clearing out light to medium infantry. At 9" to 18", it instead fires a Strength 8 AP3 Blast - ideal for hunting Space Marines and other heavier targets such as Bikes or Beasts. At any range lower than 9", the gun spits out a standard Strength 10 AP1 shot - vehicles, monstrous creatures and models with multiple wounds and Toughness values of five or less will be most frightful of this. Overall, it is a versatile weapon that mostly removes the element of choice from determining which target is ideal in any given phase as, aside from moving forward or backward to try and change the profile used, the range determines which profile to utilize and thus what unit is the most suitable threat to fire on. The Eradication Beamer is available to Onager Dunecrawlers.
Flechette Blaster - Though it is regarded as the "weakest" weapon available to the Skitarii forces, the Flechette Blaster is nonetheless one of the more distinct examples of how unusual the technology invented by the Adeptus Mechanicus can be. A Pistol gun with the standard 12" range, the Strength value of two and complete lack of an AP value seems awful at first glance, even with the addition of Shred; it is incapable of wounding Toughness 6 or higher models, it needs 5s to wound Toughness 3 units, and 6s are required against the stock standard Toughness 4 typical of Space Marines, Orks and Necrons. This is where the Burst Pistol special rule serves to redeem the Flechette Blaster and distinguish it from almost all other Pistol type weapons in the game, allowing it to fire a whopping five shots as opposed to the usual one. The low Strength value means that theoretically this weapon is just as effective against the Tactical Marines as it is against Daemon Princes, averaging one wound inflicted per pistol fired at an enemy unit; ideally though it should be used to cut down lighter infantry that suffer closer to three wounds against them (in both cases these are before saving throws are made). The Flechette Blaster is available to Sicarian Infiltrators.
Galvanic Rifle - Regarded as the standard weapon of the Skitarii forces, Galvanic Rifles are a rather unusual weapon that mixes elements of Space Marine Boltguns and Tau Pulse Rifles to make for a weapon that is strongly comparable to both. It has an impressive 30" maximum range and uses the Rapid Fire type to fire a single shot at ranges of 16" to 30" and two shots at 0" to 15", each resolved at Strength 4 AP4. They wound most units in the game on a 4+ (Toughness 4 is the standard in Warhammer 40,000) and are thus suitable for dealing with anything that is Toughness 5 or lower, but the fact that they are AP4 makes them instantly superior to boltguns (on top of the increased range) because they ignore the armor saves of other medium infantry units such as Eldar Dire Avengers or Tau Fire Warriors. Interestingly, all Galvanic Rifles share the Precision Shots special rule and thus allow you to allocate wounds inflicted by attacks that scored a to-hit roll of six, potentially singling out characters or models wielding special weapons in a squad - though it won't necessarily come into play that often, it adds that extra advantage of singling enemy models out of units to neuter them as desired. The Galvanic Rifle is available to Skitarii Rangers.
Icarus Array - This is a single weapon system that is comprised of three individual weapons, each of which is treated separately to one another and has a distinct profile - however, note that they still must all fire at the same target following the normal shooting rules. Note that all three constituents of the Icarus Array possess the Skyfire special rule and thus will hit at full Ballistic Skill against Flying Monstrous Creatures, Flyers and Skimmers, though they will unfortunately require sixes on to-hit rolls against any other unit type. The first of these is the Daedelus Missile Launcher which fires a single Strength 7 AP2 shot, being the "heavy hitter" of the guns. The second is the Gatling Rocket Launcher that shoots five Strength 6 AP4 shots with the Ignores Cover special rule, cutting through models that rely on Jink saves. The third and last is the Twin Icarus Autocannon that unloads two Strength 7 AP4 shots, each of which is twin-linked to re-roll failed to-hit rolls and uniquely benefit from the Interceptor special rule. This is an incredibly potent anti-air weapon as all three profiles are used simultaneously when firing unless the autocannon was used to Intercept in the opponents' Movement phase. The Icarus Array is available to Onager Dunecrawlers.
Neutron Laser - Functioning as the Skitarii's miniaturized adaptation of a Demolisher Cannon, the Neutron Laser fires an incredibly powerful single Blast that manifests with Strength 10 AP1 and the Concussive special rule. While penalizing models by reducing their Initiative score to one can be very useful when combined with a certain wargear choice that can force models to pass an Initiative test or be slain instantly, the main power is obviously the offensive potential of the weapon itself. Strength 10 and AP1 with a Blast can inflict Instant Death on Centurions and Daemon Princes, potentially maul any vehicle that isn't a Super Heavy class, and generally devastate anything it scores a good hit on. The only units that are typically safe from a Neutron Laser are Swooping Flying Monstrous Creatures and Zooming Flyers, though Gargantuan Creatures and high Toughness Monstrous Creatures aren't likely to be too worried about a single Strength 10 AP1 shot. The Neutron Laser is available to Onager Dunecrawlers.
Luminagen - This special rule applies to three following weapons all categorized under the "Phosphor" descriptor, so be sure to keep this in mind when studying those potent weapons. Any unit that suffers either a single or more than one unsaved wound, glancing hit or penetrating hit by a Luminagen weapon reduces any applicable cover saves it is entitled to by one for the rest of the phase in which it suffered that unsaved wound, glancing hit or penetrating hit. This applies to the same units' shooting attack if there is more than one weapon type wielded by the unit, meaning that you should always shoot any Luminagen weapons in a unit first before firing the others so as to gain the maximum effect. Additionally, any unit that is under the effects of the Luminagen rule subsequently suffers yet another debilitating disadvantage; all friendly units can re-roll their random charge length rolls against the affected unit. This has great practical uses when combined with either of the Sicarian units or Sydonian Dragoons, though reducing cover saves against the powerful weapons that the Skitarii - and indeed, other allied factions - can bring to the table is usually going to be the main draw of the Luminagen rule.
Phosphor Blast Pistol - This is a simplistic weapon that is generally weaker albeit less expensive than the Arc Pistol, firing a single Strength 5 AP4 shot with a range of 12". Though it lacks the Haywire special rule, Luminagen is more of an enabler and is synergistic with the rest of a Skitarii Shooting phase while also pinging off wounds on medium Toughness units. The Phosphor Blast Pistol is available to Vanguard Alphas and Ranger Alphas.
Phosphor Serpenta - While you might expect a significant step-up from the Phosphor Blast Pistol to match the Arc weapons, the Phosphor Serpenta is "merely" an 18" ranged gun that fires one Strength 5 AP4 shot with the Assault type and Luminagen special rule. It essentially pays to be a Phosphor Blast Pistol with a slightly increased range that can't be used as a Pistol and thus activate the dual close combat weapon bonus. The Phosphor Serpenta is available to Sydonian Dragoons.
Heavy Phosphor Blaster - The proper successor to both the Blast Pistol and the Serpenta, the Heavy Phosphor Blaster is more akin to a missile launcher that sacrifices raw hitting power for sheer rate of fire. It shoots a very powerful three Strength 6 AP3 shots at a large range of 36", being the most powerful and furthest reaching of the Luminagen weapons while also being by far the most likely to inflict the particular effects of that rule on any given target - it slaughters Space Marines, pings wounds off of monstrous creatures and does the same with regards to hull points and light vehicles. The Heavy Phosphor Blaster is available to Onager Dunecrawlers.
Plasma Caliver - Though by all standards a truly costly weapon in its own right, the Plasma Caliver is an ingenious upgrade to the standard Plasma Rifle wielded by other Imperial factions; while even riskier to utilize and with a shorter maximum range, it is deadlier by far once an optimal firing position is found. Plasma Calivers output a whopping three Strength 7 AP2 shots with a range of 18", one more than a Plasma Rifle firing at 12" and two more than the same weapon at 18" - though the loss of 6" total range can be a kicker. This is one of a handful of weapons that is the catalyst for Skitarii being deemed a potent short ranged army, as while they can't compete against artillery based armies from afar, once delivered unto the fray the Plasma Caliver is one of many guns that can contribute to an utterly devastating Shooting phase. The Plasma Caliver is available to Skitarii Vanguard and Skitarii Rangers.
Stubcarbine - Yet another rapid firing equivalent to a more common pattern of weapon, the Stubcarbine fires three Strength 4 AP- shots with a range of 18" - nothing more, nothing less. It hurts low to medium Toughness units (anything less than Toughness six) reasonably well despite the lack of an AP value given that it has such a high rate of fire, while the Assault type allows its bearers to declare charges after using them. The Stubcarbine is available to Sicarian Infiltrators.
Rad Poisoning - As all three of the following weapons with the Radium descriptor possess this shared special rule, I will detail it here for ease of reading. The Rad Poisoning special rule confers an additional effect whenever a weapon with the ability rolls a six on a to-wound roll; the model suffers two wounds before saving throws are accounted for as opposed to the usual one per six rolled, while any such dice results also wound the target regardless of its Toughness value and the comparative Strength score of the weapon used. As such, Rad Poisoning weapons can harm any model in the game that possesses a Toughness value, though two of the three weapons in question are utterly useless against vehicles as a trade-off.
Radium Pistol - With a minor range of 12", the Radium Pistol fires one Strength 3 AP5 shot that is generally the weakest of the special pistols available to Skitarii forces, though it is also the most useful wherever a high Toughness model is concerned - usually, the potential to roll a six is offset by the low Strength value for average rolls. The Radium Pistol is available to Vanguard Alphas and Ranger Alphas.
Radium Carbine - The Radium Carbine is the medium-class weapon in the Radium chain, firing a hugely impressive three shots at 18" with the same Strength 3 AP5 profile as the Radium Pistol. Unlike the pistol, firing triple the shots at an increased range massively increases the chances of sixes being rolled on to-wound rolls, making the wielders of these volatile weapons true terrors against all non-vehicle units. The Radium Carbine is available to Skitarii Vanguard.
Radium Jezzail - The Radium Jezzail functions more as an evolution of the Radium Carbine rather than a straight upgrade given that it has a few important distinctions, Firstly, it has a greatly increased range of 30", though it fires two shots with the Heavy type instead of three shots with the Assault type. However, these shots are also resolved with the Sniper special rule and thus wound all targets on a 4+ - unless they are Gargantuan Creatures - while also allowing the weapon to harm vehicles by being treated as Strength 4 against any target with an armor value. The real value comes from the combination of Rad Poisoning and Sniper when rolling sixes on to-wound rolls; each six ignores the armor save of the target due to the Sniper rule, and each six also inflicts two wounds rather than one due to the Rad Poisoning rule. As such, the Radium Jezzail terrorizes both Monstrous Creatures and Gargantuan Creatures while cutting through Terminator equivalents with some lucky rolling. The Radium Jezzail is available to Sydonian Dragoons.
Transuranic Arquebus - Billed as the heavy weapon available to the basic Skitarii infantry squads, the Transuranic Arquebus is somewhat unusual; it is a Sniper weapon and thus wounds all targets with a Toughness value (barring Gargantuan Creatures) on the roll of a four or more, while it also ignores armor saves on to-wound rolls of six. It is AP3 and thus is quite capable of killing Space Marine equivalent or lesser models and stripping wounds off of standard Monstrous Creatures, with the former unit types suffering greatly from the possible Precision Shots. However, it is also designed as an anti-tank weapon with the Sniper rule conferring a Strength value of four against vehicular targets while the weapon itself benefits from Armorbane shots, meaning it rolls 4+2D6 for armor penetration against vehicles and buildings. The average armor penetration roll for the weapon is a mediocre eleven, meaning it just barely glances a Rhino most of the time, while its anti-infantry uses are similarly mediocre given that fires a single shot that always wounds on a 4+ regardless of the targets' Toughness value. It pays for its mammoth 60" range and versatility, while the Heavy type is no problem whatsoever for the Relentless Skitarii infantry, but it is nonetheless a middling weapon in contrast to its competitors in the form of Arc Rifles and Plasma Calivers. The Transuranic Arquebus is available to Skitarii Vanguard and Skitarii Rangers.
Arc Maul - In much the same fashion as a Power Maul, the Arc Maul provides the wielder with +2 Strength and AP4 on their close combat attacks, combining particularly well with the Vanguard Alpha to inflict Instant Death on Toughness 3 opponents due to their Rad-Saturation special rule. Striking at Strength 5 AP4 with up to four attacks on the charge dependent on wargear is fairly useful for cutting up medium to lightly armored units, but the special rules really elevate this weapon to a high class. While the Concussive rule is only really useful against individual models with multiple wounds, the Haywire special rule renders each individual attack made with an Arc Maul easily capable of inflicting a glancing or penetrating hit on a vehicle regardless of how well it is armored. For reference, an Alpha equipped with an Arc Pistol and Arc Maul should destroy a four hull point non-walker vehicle in one turn assuming average rolls which is truly incredible power for a mere squad sergeant. The Arc Maul is available to Vanguard Alphas and Ranger Alphas.
Cognis Manipulator - If the Arc Maul is a more stylized and potent Power Maul, the Cognis Manipulator would be similarly linked to a Power Fist. Both weapons double the users' Strength value - usually up to ten in the case of the former - and are Unwiedly, but the Cognis Manipulator otherwise features only improvements. For starters, it is AP1 and thus ignores all armor saves while also adding a +2 modifier to any rolls made on the vehicle damage chart. While it is a Specialist Weapon and Unwieldy, neither matter to the model that wields it as Walkers (spoiler alert) ignore the effects of the latter rule and the former doesn't apply to a model that otherwise lacks a melee weapon. However, it also provides the model with the highly useful It Will Not Die special rule which, while often an overpriced upgrade for many vehicles, actually makes sense for the available party given their exponentially improving defensive stats based on squad size. The Cognis Manipulator is available to Onager Dunecrawlers.
Prehensile Dataspike - Possibly the most unique melee weapon available to Skitarii forces, the Prehensile Dataspike is a weird mish-mash between a special Hammer of Wrath attack and a Servo Arm. It can be used as a standard weapon to make attacks at the base Strength of the user with an AP value of five, adding the Haywire and Specialist Weapon rules to taste; the former grants the wielder a mess of anti-tank attacks, the latter stops the wielder from benefiting from a bonus attack in the context that any possible user of this weapon cannot have access to any other specialist melee weapon. It is useful for a Ruststalker Princeps so as to make four Haywire attacks on the charge rather than just one if they armed with Mindscrambler Grenades, or to ensure the unit can still threaten vehicles if they take paired Transonic Blades. Should you elect not to use the Dataspike in favor of another weapon, you can still make a "Dataspike attack" at the Initiative 10 step in addition to the models' regular attacks whether you use the Dataspike or not; it is essentially just a bonus attack made with the Dataspike profile, though it doesn't trigger a Pile In move. The Prehensile Dataspike is available to Ruststalker Princeps'.
Taser - As the following two weapons with the Taser descriptor both possess the titular special rule, I have elected to cover it here. Being yet another special rule that is dependent on lucky dice rolls, any attack made by a weapon with the Taser special rule that rolls a six on a to-hit roll inflicts two additional automatic hits on the target, essentially turning any single hit roll that rolls a six into three hits. As you can imagine, this immediately gives the Taser rule a place as a horde clearer even though the high Strength values of these weapons allow them to power through high Toughness opponents as well through sheer weight of wounds.
Taser Goad - A simple melee weapon with a Strength value of +2 and no AP value to speak of, the Taser Goad combines suitably well with the titular special rule to inflict mounds of hits upon those foes unlucky enough to be on the receiving end of one. It relies on forcing massive amounts of wounds or glancing hits to overwhelm a targets' defenses, though the lack of an AP value can prove problematic against a foe with lucky dice rolls. The Taser Goad is available to Skitarii Vanguard, Skitarii Rangers and Sicarian Infiltrators.
Taser Lance - Functioning as an impressive upgrade over the Taser Goad, the Taser Lance is wielded by a larger and more mobile model that can make the most of its increased benefits. The basic profile is the same - it increases the Strength of the wielder by +2 and lacks an AP value - but it gains special bonuses on a turn in which the user made a successful charge. In such an Assault phase, the weapon provides +3 Strength - making the model easily capable of taking on most targets in the game and even glancing AV14 vehicles - while furthermore doubling the Initiative value of the bearer. In the hands of the fondly named "chicken walker" this effectively means the model will output four Strength 8 attacks at Initiative 6 on the charge; underestimate the effects of such a weapon in conjunction with the Taser rule if you dare. The Taser Lance is available to Sydonian Dragoons.
Transonic - The remaining three entities in the Melee Weapons section all benefit from the Transonic special rule to be detailed here. Functioning in a similar fashion to the Rad Poisoning special rule, any weapon that harbors the Transonic ability provides additional effects provisional on sixes for to-wound rolls being made with it. Such strikes will wound the target automatically regardless of their Toughness value and be resolved at AP2 as opposed to the weapons' usual AP value, making wielders of these weapons a tangible threat to any model with a Toughness value that they encounter in close combat with armor being no deterrent against their attacks. What differentiates Transonic weapons from Rad Poisoning guns is that after the first round of an ongoing close combat - meaning the Assault phase of the player turn after the unit wielding Transonic weapons has charged into combat or been charged - all attacks made with Transonic weapons replace their standard AP value with AP2, ensuring that sustained combats featuring these weapons will end in disaster even for the most elite enemies that lack strong invulnerable saves.
Transonic Blade - The middle class form of the armor-attuning weapons, the Transonic Blade provides some fairly simple bonuses; it increases the Strength of the user by +1, has an AP value of five and benefits from the incredible special rule of the same name. Even such a seemingly trivial weapon can scythe through Terminators and Gargantuan Creatures with lucky rolls, or even standard rolls depending on the opponent and the current round of combat. The Transonic Blade is available to Sicarian Ruststalkers.
Transonic Razor - The real entry point to Transonic weapons is the much more mild Transonic Razor, losing the Strength bonus of the Transonic Blade but otherwise functioning identically to that weapon. The choice between a pair of Blades or the combination of Razor and the Chordclaw is a tough one as your standard attacks are weaker, but one of them is guaranteed to wound any target on a 2+ and you also get to keep the incredible Mindscrambler Grenades. The Transonic Razor is available to Sicarian Ruststalkers.
Chordclaw - With a profile copied straight from the Transonic Razor, the Chordclaw complements the aforementioned weapon with the aptly named Molecular Dissonance ability, allocating the superbly useful Fleshbane special rule to any one of the attacks made by the wielder. This makes up for the Strength deficiency between the Blades and Razors by ensuring at least one of the attacks will pretty much always wound the target, though keep in mind that it replaces a single attack rather than contributing one of its own like the Prehensile Dataspike, and it is also still reliant on making the usual to-hit roll. The Chordclaw is available to Sicarian Ruststalkers.
Thank you all for reading this article, I hope you enjoyed it! The Children of Mars have some of the most advanced and dangerous weapons in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, their technologies archaic but undisputed in their raw power. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the tools wielded by the Skitarii and what they have accomplished in your games. Thanks again!