Welcome to our first Warhammer Unit Focus: Kastelans! As we find more and more impressive units in 8th edition we’ll take some time and do a quick write up. We’ll be posting a second article soon all about the math behind this great unit. For now here’s Dernicus:
Beep-boop. Let’s talk about the giant robots who hurl walls of phosphorus flares into their enemies without a flicker of emotion. Kastelan Robots from the Adeptus Mechanicus of course. Relics of the days after AI was outlawed in the Imperium of Mankind (basically a little Skynet situation that the Mechanicus would rather not talk about), these guys were awesome to field in 7th edition, if a bit pricey. Come 8th edition and these robots have stomped through the walls like a series of Koolaid-men with high powered flare guns for hands. You can find more of these suckers here. Ohh yeah!
For the most part, these mindless behemoths have retained their 7th edition statline with a few updates to keep with the edition. The changes come in the form of a new movement stat of 8” (whereas they moved 6” previously), and an additional Attack. They strike at ranged and in melee on 4+ (though they do subtract 1 if they move as their ranged weapons are Heavy).
Defensively each sports the same Toughness 7 and 6 wounds as before, along with their 3+ armor save. Furthermore, they retain their Repulsor Grid, which gives them a 5+ Invulnerable save versus Shooting attacks, and the ability to reflect shots in the form of a mortal wound on the roll of a 6+. With a Leadership of 10 they will likely never have a situation where they might lose any models from Moral and against Leadership effects such as Psychic powers they are quite resilient.
Each still retained the Canticles of the Omnissiah ability, along with their Battle Protocols. Both have changed, though I will only go into their Battle Protocols in particular: Each begins in Aegis Protocol which adds 1 to any Armor and Invulnerable, where they previously gained a 5+ Feel No Pain. This alone is a huge advantage as it puts these monsters to a 2+ armor and a 4+ Invulnerable save by default.
When in the presence (i.e. within 6”) of a Datasmith, which is now a separate unit choice, you can change the unit’s Protocol to one of the other 2, Conqueror or Protector. The first allows the controlling player to fight twice but cannot shoot, the second prevents the unit from moving or charging but their ranged weapons fire twice (including in Overwatch). Regardless of which mode one changes the unit into, it only takes effect on the turn after it is declared, so it takes some planning and gives the opponent a turn to respond.
Probably the biggest changes for these guys is their wargear. They still come base with a pair of Kastelan fists and a shoulder mounted Incendine combustor. Their Kastelan fists can be changed with a pair of Heavy Phosphor Blasters, and the Incendine combustor can be swapped out with a Heavy Phosphor Blaster as well. Ironically, the cost of their base loadout is higher than if one exchanges both Fists and Combustors for Blasters. In this loadout, each robot can fire 9 Strength 6, AP -2, 1 Damage shot that ignores any cover saves at 36” range. Should you enter Protector Protocol, that becomes 18!
Strategies and Tactics
Now take that robust statline, add the staggering amount of quality shots, and mix in the abilities of the various characters available and you have quite a force to be reckoned with. Generally speaking, you should always have some number of Datasmiths to tag along with the Kastelans. The little techpriest allows you to change Protocols, which means doubling down in melee or shooting, and he can also repair D3 wounds to a Robot within 3” using his Master of Machines ability. In addition to the Datasmith, an AdMech army with Kastelans benefits greatly by the baddest of the Archmagos, Belisarius Cawl himself. He also has Master of Machines, which can be used on a different Robot from the Datasmith, but he also has Lord of Mars, allowing any Robot units within 6” to reroll any failed to hit rolls in shooting. This is huge, opening up the accuracy of the Kastelan’s Heavy Phosphor volley.
We’ve done the math, but let’s just say a single robot can cause some serious damage on just about anything that has the misfortune of getting into range. With an average of 6.75 hits per robot (assuming Cawl is nearby), they can dish out enough firepower to eliminate a unit of infantry, or do a fair amount of damage to light to medium vehicles.
Recently, our team attending the American Team Championship in Chattanooga TN had a player fielding these beauties. With 3 units of 4, he was able to table several opponents, including a Guard player whose forces filled an entire Dawn of War deployment zone. The sheer level of pain is hard to imagine any but a handful of armies standing firm if in the 36” threat range. Even our Guard player, who faced one of the enemy lists filled with Robots had to pull out quite a few tricks to keep in his game despite fielding Leman Russ tanks and a Shadowsword.
A handful of Kastelan Robots, accompanied by a few characters, can make an awesome firebase in any Imperial force. When taken en masse, the wave of destruction they can unless is nigh unstoppable. The drawbacks being any mission requiring significant mobility, as well as armies with a strong melee presence. Furthermore, armies with multiple Toughness 7+ units can give the mechanical men pause. Despite these drawbacks, the Kastelan Robots are an amazing tool in the Adeptus Mechanicus arsenal. I for one, cannot wait to put these walking guns on the table more often and I can expect to see them more often at tournaments as the Edition proceeds.
Again you can find these guys on the GW store or online at Amazon.
Remember to keep a look out for our article all about the math behind these guys! Let us know below if there’s a unit you have found particularly interesting in this new edition.