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Video Game / Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

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Even in death, I serve the Omnissiah.

From the moment I understood the weakness of my flesh, it disgusted me. I craved the strength and certainty of steel. I aspired to the purity of the blessed machine.

Your kind cling to your flesh as if it will not decay and fail you. One day the crude biomass you call a temple will wither and you will beg my kind to save you.

But I am already saved. For the Machine is Immortal.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is a Turn-Based Tactics game developed by Bulwark Studios and published by Kasedo Games. The game was written by Black Library author Ben Counter, and was released on PC November 15th 2018, and can be purchased on Steam.

Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, the player commands the crew of the Ark Mechanicus Starship Caestus Metalican, which has uncovered the Necron Tomb World of Silva Tenebris. Led by Magos Dominus Faustinius and his (somewhat quirky) retinue of Tech-Priests, the player is tasked with leading the Adeptus Mechanicus' effort to explore the tomb world. Making matters more pressing is the fact that the Necrons are awakening, and the Great Rift cuts any hope of further reinforcement. While the Skitarii hold perimeter against the ever increasing Necron forces, it's up to a small squad of Faustinius' Tech-Priests to perform surgical missions to secure the Mechanicus' victory before the Necron forces fully awaken. Adding yet more complication, Faustinius' advisors all have their own agendas and goals, and it's up to the player to decide whose advice to follow.


The gameplay of Mechanicus consists of missions taking place inside a series of dungeon rooms. Each room offers the player a combat encounter (played in a system not unlike that of XCOM: Enemy Unknown) or decisions the player must make about discoveries and difficulties encountered by the party. Each mission is given by one of Faustinius' colorful advisors:

  • Tech-Acquisitor Scaevola: Head of research, who has cybernetically removed her emotions and is now more machine than human and is very enthusiastic about Necron technology.
  • Lector-Dogmatis Videx: The Id to Scaevola's Superego. Videx' cybernetic actually enhances his emotions. He is The Fundamentalist, an ardent adherent to the Mechanicus' faith, quick to quote the scriptures and always on the eye for Heresy. Videx' role is to fight the corrupting nature of the Necron machines, and uphold the faith and morale of the crew.
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  • Sub-Domina Khepra: The head of Faustinius' Skitarii. A Mother to Her Men, dutiful, but annoyed at the other advisors' cavalier disregard for Skitarii casualties. She will do her duty but will not pretend to like it.
  • Quartermaster Rho: In charge of supplies and of the Caestus Metalican itself.
  • Prime Hermeticon Captrix: An advisor specializing in hunting high priority targets - in this case the Necron leadership.
  • Xenobiologist Tiresus: A protege of Faustinius. Since Necrons lack biology to work with, he is more concerned with translating their language and history.
  • Magos Dominus Reditus: Faustinius' unusually chatty Servo-Skull, made from the skull of the titular Magos Dominus, and who might just be said Magos Dominus.

An expansion, Heretek, released in late July, 2019. In addition to new maps and new units for you to command, the expansion adds a new story involving a Xenarite (heretical Tech Priests obsessed with hording and studying Xenos technology) uprising on your own ship.

The game provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: The Sufferer creates orbs of green flame in its boss battle that can act like this.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Crypteks. In the lore they are necron tech-wizards with such mastery over Necron superscience that they can wrap laws of physics around their thin metal fingers if they wish, and the tabletop game treats them as elite figures leading other necrons in battle. In Mechanicus crypteks are support Combat Medic units who are not particularly dangerous on the field and nor are they even that good in their role as healers.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    • The three options for room events are typically represented by alliterative words (Determine/Defy/Divert, Sanctify/Search/Salvage, Follow/Foray/Flame, etc), accompanied by a short description. If they aren't alliterative, they usually rhyme instead (Defiance/Compliance/Science).
    • The devs had some fun with this while coming up with achievement names: Vivisected Visier, Celestial Cartography Catastrophe, Competent Cohort, Radium Ready, and a few more.
  • Admiring the Abomination: This is the suit that Scaevola wears. Almost every time you encounter a new enemy type, she'll express far more interest in its weaponry or technology than concern about the threat it poses to your team.
  • A Father to His Men:
    • Khepra places a lot of value on the well being and survival of her Skitarii.
    • Faustinius himself, to Khepra's constant surprise. Unlike most Magos of his rank, Faustinius has not completely removed his ability to experience emotions, and as such he still feels empathy for them. While he has no problem with them dying if the goal is justified, he refuses to make them suffer pointlessly or waste their lives.
      Khepra: I am heartened that you are not neglecting the psychological health of our troops. Most Tech-Priests do not give it a second thought.
      Faustinius: Most Tech-Priests are not in command here. I am.
    • Completely averted with Scaevola, who puts no value on Skitarii lives, and would gladly sacrifice hundreds for any scrap of Necron tech. When Khepra points out her mission is likely to cause many Skitarii casualties, her reply is "Error: Damn Not Found." Not even Tech-Priest casualties elicit any concern from her, an attitude Faustinius rebukes her for on at least one occasion.
  • Alien Invasion: Inverted, as it is the (human) Cult Mechanicus forces who are attempting to infiltrate the Necrons' world from their mothership.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Exaggerated in a sense. The Necron characters' voice lines are in English, but the human character's are not, but are instead in the chosen language of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Cant Mechanicus. Both group's text boxes are in English though. However, it is lampshaded by ingame characters as they mention the Necrons broadcast in an omnilingual manner, which is why it sounds like English.
  • An Axe to Grind: Power axes are the go-to melee weapons of the Tech-Priests.
  • And Man Grew Proud: Briefly touched on when Videx quotes a scripture urging the cohort not to delve too deeply into Necron mysteries, lest they repeat the disaster that was the Men of Iron. When Tiresus asks Videx what the "Men of Iron" are, Videx admits that he isn't sure, as the quoted scripture was written many millennia ago and no other references to the Men of Iron can be found in his databank.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Once a piece of equipment is obtained, it can be equipped on any number of tech-priests. There are no additional costs to prepare multiple copies, and no additional space is taken up on the loadout screen.
    • Attacks always hit. If the game displays a particular unit as a valid target, it will connect, for both the player and the computer. This allows the player to worry less about hit chance and focus more on things like matching appropriate damage types to particular targets and making good use of cover and lines of sight.
    • Deployed Troops will refund half their Blackstone cost if they survive the entire mission, placing less of a strain on your wallet.
    • When you finish a battle, all loose Cognition Points are automatically collected.
    • You can mix movements and actions as you please, for as long as your CP and movement squares hold out. Also, when planning a move, the game will automatically tag which Necrons are in range of which weapons from the target square, cutting down on guess-and-check.
  • Anti-Magic: Although not strictly magic, your Cognition Points act more or less like Mana by enabling you to use powerful abilities and weapons. Have fun in the Boss Battle against Vizier Mhelob and his unique ability to empty your CP gauge whenever he feels like it.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Blackstone is the universal currency for just about everything in this game. You need it for upgrading your Tech Priests, which means it doubles as Experience Points, as well as for repairing them after battle, paying for the deployment of troops, and whatever else the plot requires.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack:
    • Upon activating the Canticle of the Electromancer, your next several attacks will completely ignore armor values, with the number of attacks increasing with level. Handy on standard deployments, absolutely essential when taking on bosses.
    • Gamma weapons don't deal a lot of damage but completely ignore armor, making them a useful backup weapon against just about anything.
    • Level 3 Skitarii Ranger always deal critical hits, and critical hits always ignore armor.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Videx accompanies almost every line of his with a quote from Adeptus Mechanicus scriptures. He has implanted databanks containing thousands of such quotes, giving him a quote for every occasion.
  • Badass Army: The whole Explorator Crew are this, but the Cohorts that accompany the Tech-Priests are a particular example, and can become better as you unlock further levels of theirs while completing missions.
  • Badass Boast: The dialogue of Necron lords you face as bosses is half this, with the other half being threats and mocking you. Faustinius eventually gets to return the favour when he starts trading these with Overlord Szaregon in their pre-battle dialogue.
    Szaregon: I will show you the true meaning of fear, and stare in the eye of your annihilation.
    Faustinius: And I will show you what happens when you cross swords with humankind.
  • Badass Crew: Your Tech-Priests are this, and become even better as they get upgraded. Technically one can unlock all skill trees on a single priest, but that's horribly counterproductive.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Your Tech-Priests' operations are only a part of a larger conflict happening in the background. While your Tech-Priests engage in smaller surgical operations of strategic importance, the main force of Skitarii are implied to engage with Necrons across the planet in larger-scale conflicts. Many of your Tech-Priests' operations have a goal of assisting these off-screen Skitarii efforts through accomplishing some strategic goal.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Void Admiral Agrolekh's special ability "Nightmare Shroud", which shifts him between 5-point physical armor and 5-point energy armor each turn.
  • Barrier Warrior: One version of the Canoptek Spyder gives all Necron units in its vicinity including itself +3 energy armor at the start of its turn. Seeing how most ranged weapons are energy-based, this can make large groups of enemies nearly immune to your guns.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: The human Imperium was always more than a little fascist and xenophobic, but the Tech-Priests and their brethren are even more bizarre than your average Space Marine (who don't even show up in this game). The only reason they're not the bad guys is because they're up against something way worse, the Necrons, who are horrible immortal skeleton killbots intent on extinguishing all life.
  • Bonus Boss: The Sufferer, a C'tan shard that can only be fought by going through the seven secret missions given by Xenobiologist Tiresus. These missions can only be accessed if the player activates the noosphere overlay on the mission select screen, outside of battle.
    • The Heretek DLC also gives us Epsilus Dammek-Yoth, the leader of traitorous tech-priests aboard your ship.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Skitarii Rangers. Their abilities are very straightforward and probably the least flashy and visually impressive among your available units, but very practical - their attacks have long range, scan enemies with their hits, can disable enemies weapons (which is the most effective way of disabling your foes apart from killing them outright), and if you manage to get them to level 3 their attacks automatically inflict critical hits. Since critical hits ignore armour this tremendously ups Rangers' usefulness.
    • Skitarii Vanguards. They aren't flashy at all, but they have impressive range and excellent Physical damage; a volley of fire from even one Vanguard will seriously hurt most Necrons, and when deploying Canticles and other methods of boosting their output and armor penetration, they can focus down virtually any Necron that crosses their path with lethal efficiency. As the cherry on the cake, they never need to worry about CP at all, other than the 2-point cost to deploy them, and at Level 2 they can fire twice.
    • Infestus mechadendrites deal a small but guaranteed amount of melee damage once per round. It's neither flashy nor meant to win battles, but it's invaluable for finishing off downed necrons without wasting your real weapons on them. It even works on targets whose armor would normally negate the attack, and it's also the only consistent means for non-Explorators to escape melee combat without triggering an opportunity attack.
    • Curatio mechadendrites heal the user or an ally within one space for 2-6 hp (depending on tier), with a cooldown of 3 turns and no CP cost. While not as powerful as real Curatio Claws on a proper Enginseer, giving them to all your priests still drastically improves the survivability of the entire team (and reduces post-mission repairs, which are expensive!) at the "cost" of filling a slot with few other standout choices.
    • The few weapons that don't require CP to be used won't win the war for you on their own, but their sheer reliability makes them indispensable. Never let your Tech-Priests go into battle without one!
  • Break Them by Talking: The Final Boss mocks and belittles your cohort all the way through his tomb to erode their will. It's frighteningly effective - every single outcome of the multiple events you have to trigger to reach him is detrimental in some way. Many of his taunts hit so hard that they physically wound your cohort. Worst of all, most of his observations and accusations are actually completely correct.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Purchasing the Omnissiah Edition gives you access to the Arc Scourge, a powerful weapon with multiple unique features. It counts as a melee weapon despite occupying a ranged slot, so your Explorators can wield one without losing their "no ranged weapons" buff. Unlike other melee weapons, the Arc Scourge has a decent area of effect that doesn't deal Unfriendly Fire, and inflicts energy damage instead of physical damage. It's available right from the moment you get access to your armory, giving you a huge boost in the early game, and it's powerful enough to remain useful throughout the whole game.
    • Even if you don't use the Arc Scourge, the simple fact is that the Heretek DLC introduces a set of missions that don't take place in the Necron tombs and thus don't increase the Necron awakening percentage when completed (though the mission structure means you still can't indulge in looting every nook and cranny). This means that all the upgrades and, more importantly, Blackstone you acquire during it are essentially free, letting you upgrade your troops and Tech-Priests without the traditional disadvantage of the ticking time bomb.
  • Cannon Fodder: The game encourages this approach with your units from the Troops category. While useful in their roles, they are more expendable and less effective than your tech-priests, so it's always preferable to sacrifice Troops over your tech-priests. However, no other Troop choice exemplifies this as much as Servitors - they cost no Blackstone to deploy and refund nothing if you keep them alive, they have few useful skills, and they give you Cognition Points when enemies strike them, all of which makes them perfect expendable meatshields.
    • Scaevola sticks out among the advisors for extending this attitude to Tech-Priests as well, stating that everyone is expendable in her pursuit of knowledge. Her colleagues, and Faustinius in particular, are often vexed by her enthusiastically callous disregard for their brothers and sisters.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Faustinius and Khepra chide Scaevola for her overenthusiasm, pointing out that the Tech-Priests and Skitarii are humans, not robots or servitors. Scaevola's response is to admit that they're right - deceased Mechanicus members are valuable research specimens, too! Faustinius and Khepra are less than amused.
  • Combat Medic: The Enginseer discipline is all about keeping the servants of the Omnissiah alive and kicking, affording them boons like self-regeneration, remote repair via servo-skull and decreased CP use for healing tools. Like all Tech-Priests, even a pure Enginseer is no slouch in battle, but a few upgrades from the Dominus, Explorator or Xenarite paths results in a Combat Medic par excellence.
    • Necrons have their own equivalent in Crypteks, who heal other Necron units and can even raise downed ones.
  • Combat Tentacles: Tech-Priests tend to hold their guns in mechadendrites, Doctor Octopus-like tentacles, leaving their hands free for yet more tools or melee weapons. It also allows them to wield far larger and heavier weaponry than they would ordinarily be able to. Some mechadendrites can even be used as weapons directly themselves, though they also have repair or survey functions.
    • There is a specific form of support mechadendrite which can be used in combat, dealing minimal damage but being one of the few attacks in the game that can shove a target backwards.
  • Critical Hit Class: The Xenarite discipline that's part of the Heretek DLC is all about maxing the Tech-Priest's critical hit chance to deal as much damage as possible. This chance can exceed 100%, and seeing how critical hits always deal full damage and completely ignore armor, properly built Xenarites become the most devastating damage dealers at your disposal.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul:
    • Faustinius has deliberately preserved his ability to feel emotions to avoid the pitfalls associated with this trope. He can choose to experience or seal away the responses of his emotion cores if he believes that doing so will be beneficial to the mission, the Imperium as a whole or even simply to his followers.
    • As for the consequences of succumbing to the overly logical thought of a machine mind, one need look no further than Scaevola. She seems to have removed her negative emotions but kept the positive ones... which means she experiences the joy of the cohort's discoveries but no dismay at their losses. Small wonder she's so callous.
    • Notably averted in the case of the Skitarii. They may be your expendable cyborg cannon fodder, but Sub-domina Khepra will mention how your team's victories inspire the Skitarii under her command or (far more often) how the latest Necron threats are demoralizing them. She (and to a lesser extent Videx) routinely offer you missions designed to improve their morale or spiritual well-being.
  • Cyborg: Nothing but. The entirety of the Adeptus Mechanicus consists of humans augmented with varying amounts of cybernetic implants, so every single AM unit and character in the game counts. The only difference is whether they're more human or machine.
  • The Dark Side: The Heretek DLC has this as a theme by dealing with Xenarite Tech-Priests and their minions as new types of enemies. The Xenarite Tech-Priest also become available for the player, along with new plotlines that have Faustinius and company deal with a corrupting influence from within their ranks on top of their mission in the Silva Tenebris.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Scaevola is well aware that she's The Friend Nobody Likes, and frequently uses her Robo Speak to engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat with her detractors.
    Scaevola: Combat Data Acquisition Opportunity Detected.
    Khepra: And I'm detecting an excellent chance for good men to die lining your cabinet of curiosities, Scaevola.
    Scaevola: [[[Error]]] Damn not found.
    • Upon encountering a Cryptek, Scaevola and Videx discuss the new caste's resemblance to a tech priest, noting that it's simultaneously fascinating and distressing. Upon realizing that she and Videx are in agreement for once, Scaevola announces that she's creating a record of the event for posterity.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: One of the things that makes Mechanicus easier than its contemporaries is the fact that units that go down in battle aren't actually dead. Getting them back on their feet does cost you a non-trivial amount of Blackstone, but they always retain their level, skills and equipment, thus sparing you from having to train up a raw rookie from scratch to replace your veterans if something goes south.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Since the STCs missions or events give you are randomly determined each playthrough, it's entirely possible to end up with very potent weaponry and gear after only a mission or two. However, their early deployment is often hampered by their enormous CP cost at a time when your tech-priest don't yet have access to many CP-generating abilities.
  • Diving Save: Necron Vargards perform a variation where they can swap places with another Necron unit just before they are hit, taking the damage in their stead.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • The entire campaign runs on a timer, so part of an efficient playstyle consists of taking the quickest, most direct route through any given tomb, bypassing anything else to save as much time as possible. Boss tombs are notable for only having one route without the possibility to take shortcuts.
    • Some boss fights are set up in a way that forces you take significant detours to actually get to the boss or deal damage to him. Finding methods to cheese your way past these obstacles makes these battles a whole lot easier, like bringing lots of armor-piercing weapons to bear on a boss with a near-impenetrable shield (instead of bringing down the sturdy generators that power said shield), or using a Secutor's special ability to teleport a Kastelan robot on top of a boss that otherwise requires your tech-priests to ascend a long spiral stairway to reach.
  • Early Game Hell: Like most games of this genre, Mechanicus will put you through the wringer in the early game when your troops have crap weapons, few abilities, low staying power, and few resources for upgrades. It becomes significantly easier once you make it past the mid-game.
  • Egopolis: Each of the various tombs you can explore is named after the Necron Lord that rules over it.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: The fight against The Sufferer happens on a rapidly-descending platform.
  • Enemy Scan: By default you can't see Necron units' stats nor the damage you inflict on them. You need to scan them first, with your servo-skulls being your primary means to do so (though some weapons and abilities also can scan).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: All Necron Lords have extremely deep voices and, unlike your own personnel, actually use them to speak normally instead of spouting unintelligible gibberish.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Shortly after the Flayed Ones begin showing up, Sub-Domina Khepra has a line regarding Skitarii defeats at their hands as a fate worse than death. Given that the Flayed Ones will butcher the fallen Skitarii and wear their skins to their next assault, it's hard to argue with her.
  • Flunky Boss: Lord Ekropis and Lord Ubjao both possess the "Endless Legions" special ability, which summons reinforcements every turn they're alive. Ekropis summons individual necron troops from caskets, while Ubjao summons flayed ones in packs of two or three. Ubjao is also actively strengthened by his flunkies - his "Blood Protocol" passive increases his max HP by 4 points every time a flayed one is killed for the first time. Epsilus Dammek-Yoth also summons a pair of servitors each round, and buffs one of them with a cognitio canister.
  • For Science!: Scaevola is very enthusiastic about researching and acquiring Necron technology, and is endlessly willing to risk any of the dangers and corruption this technology can bring. Though her enthusiasm for it rubs Videx the wrong way, to the point he suspects her of heresy, and even Faustinius becomes suspicious of some of the logical reasoning she offers as the game goes on.
  • Freudian Trio: Videx (Id), Scaevola (Superego) and Faustinius (Ego) for one.
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Averted. Many of your area-of-effect weapons can and will hit your troops and tech-priests that happen to be within the radius.
  • The Fundamentalist: Videx is this through and through. He quotes his scriptures constantly and is not in the least bit interested in the Necrons' history or technology, instead urging you to guard against the xeno blasphemy that oozes from seemingly every corner of Silva Tenebris.
  • The Generic Guy: Quartermaster Rho, who sticks out by not sticking out at all. He has no real personality, lacks any obsessive drives or foibles, and doesn't concern himself with much beyond managing the supply stores aboard the Caestus Metalican.
    Rho: My duty is done, too. Keep them fed. Keep them fueled. Keep them armed. This is the will of the Omnissiah.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Lord Ekropis starts his boss battle accompanied by a quartet of vargards, with more potentially joining the battle over time. This makes Ekropis rather difficult to target, as the vargards will swap places with him whenever he gets attacked.
  • Giant Mook: Unlike your servitors and Skitarii, Kastelan robots are at least twice as tall as your tech-priests and several times more massive. So massive, in fact, that they routinely block the path forward with their bulk if you aren't careful with their positioning, and they actually shake the screen with their footsteps. Kataphron battle servitors are just as bulky, but not as tall.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Tech-Priests in the Dominus discipline are all about dishing out ranged death, increasing the range and power of their firearms until they're blasting Necrons off their feet from well beyond retaliation range. However, unlike Secutors, they don't get many boosts to their HP from class gear and their defenses are are based on repelling energy attacks, leaving them quite vulnerable to physical damage. Even more once they get their final skill, which incentivizes running a Dominus priest with no melee weapon.
    • Skitarii troops initially have about 10 hitpoints and little to no armor, making them rather fragile, but the damage they can dish out is nothing to sneeze at if you use them right. The level 3 versions become pretty resilient, but by the time you can unlock them the necrons already start fielding weapons that can one-shot them anyway with an unlucky damage roll.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Tiresius' fate if you complete his chain of missions. Obsessed with uncovering secrets of the Tesseract Vault, he releases The Sufferer C'Tan shard from it but dies from the strain of interacting with the shard.
  • Ground Punch: Kastelan robots attack in melee by raising both fists over their head, gathering strength for a moment and then smashing their fists into the ground before them. The damage output is average at best, but the animation is surprisingly adorable to behold.
  • Guide Dang It!: Did you know that Tiresusnote  offers his own set of missions that eventually lead to a Bonus Boss? No? Don't worry, you're far from the only one. His Quest Giver portrait appears only when you activate Noosphere Mode in the mission selection screen by holding the spacebar, which you don't know about without looking at the keymapping menu, and has no use outside of combat, so you have no reason whatsoever to ever do this on your own volition.
  • Guns Akimbo: Tech-Priests don't actually hold their guns; instead, they mount them via Doc-Oc style robot limbs, allowing them to dual wield anything ranging from peashooters to BFGs and still have carrying space for An Axe to Grind.
  • Healing Factor: An early Enginseer skill lets the Tech Priest regenerate one hitpoint per round no questions asked. Doesn't sound like much but goes a long way towards improving suvivability.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The end of the Tutorial has the player go from fighting Necron mooks to fighting Agrolekh, a Necron admiral who is more than capable of obliterating your entire squad in only a few hits, and is almost impossible to bring down. Your best bet is simply distracting him with your Servitors and having your Tech Priests leg it for the exit.
  • Horrifying the Horror: Void Admiral Agrolekh, who is a Destroyer Lord and therefore rather monstrous even by Necron standards, finds tech-priests just as horrific as the Imperium finds Necrons.
    Agrolekh: What is this? Flesh and steel combined... a mockery of both! Their every footstep a blasphemy! What manner of galaxy is this to which I have awakened?!
  • Hot-Blooded: Subtribune Xerxetes, introduced in the Heretek DLC. Very aggressive in temperament, he prefers the most straightforward and direct approaches during his mission chain's events.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Captrix's job. Most of her speech is all about hunting and prey and peppered with hunting terms. She only appears when there's a mission to take down a Necron boss, and upon finishing such mission, you won't even have time to catch your breath before she's plotting her next big "hunt".
  • It's Up to You: Doubly-invoked.
    • For the Caestus Metalican, the game takes place after the Fall of Cadia, the Great Rift is making warp travel near-impossible, and the Cult Mechanicus has even more fires then usual to put out, so Faustinius and his cohort are on their own dealing with Silva Tenebris. Oh yeah, and the entire planet is going to wake up and unleash a metric bangton of Necrons upon the galaxy in a couple of days. Just another day in the 42nd millennium.
    • For the player themselves, the entire mission of the game depends on their small squad of Tech-Priests. Faustinius' subordinates will frequently mention Skitarii forces conducting operations on Silva Tenebris, with your squad being deployed only for the most vital engagements. If your squad gets wiped out, the entire campaign on Silva Tenebris will be doomed to fail, and the game ends.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: The most efficient upgrade path for your Tech Priests involves cross-specing each one across four of the six disciplines to cherry-pick the most powerful body augments, which also unlocks multiple useful abilities and leaves the unit with up to 21 hitpoints and balanced armor. From there you can go on to specialize them as you see fit.
  • Job System: Tech-Priests can upgrade and specialize themselves by buying points in one of six "Disciplines", though purchasing ranks in one will not lock out the ability to invest in others at your discretion. While the game advises singular specialization, mixing disciplines to create incredibly potent specialists provides much of the fun and challenge of repeat playthroughs. The six available tracks are:
    • Explorator: A discipline based on high mobility, Explorators can ignore all Attacks of Opportunity, letting them maneuver around the battlefield and secure loot with ease. They primarily deal physical damage and use related damage boosters more cheaply, they automatically reveal the stats of enemies in melee range, and their final trait gives them a number of useful combat buffs so long as they completely forego equipping ranged weapons.
    • Secutor: A support discipline, Secutors are Mook Commanders focused on strengthening your generic troops with buffs. They can order troops to perform attacks outside of their own turns, and can even summon them directly to the battlefield as a 1-CP special ability (bypassing their normal deployment cost).
    • Tech-Auxiliam: A support discipline centered on buffing tech-priests in a variety of ways. Movement, damage, crit chance, whatever their brothers and sisters need to be better at, Tech-Auxiliam can make it happen.
    • Lexmechanic: Yet another support discipline, albeit with a very different focus; they're all about ensuring their comrades have the Cognition Points necessary to perform their tasks. They can generate CP's ex nihilo, reduce the cost of actions, and their servo-skulls can fully drain larger CP sources.
    • Enginseer: A healing-oriented discipline, Enginseers dedicate themselves to the maintenance of the Machine God's charges, both mechanical and mortal. Self regeneration ensures they can survive in the thick of fighting while using healing gear at reduced cost, and their special abilities can provide healing remotely.
    • Dominus: Tech-Priests who walk this path are masters of all aspects of ranged warfare. Their understanding lets them effectively aim at longer ranges, deal more damage with energy attacks, and consume less CP when using advanced guns.
    • Xenarite: Introduced in the Heretek expansion, xenarites are radicals who dabble in alien technology, utilizing augments derived from reverse-engineered necron devices. Xenarites are pure damage-dealers with plenty of hit points, built around dealing lots of critical hits (with their crit chance increasing as they lose health).
  • Keystone Army: When the last of Silva Tenebris's Necron Lords is killed, the Necron army's strategic coordination vanishes, and each warrior mindlessly falls into a passive patrol loop.
  • Kill It with Fire: Hosing down incredibly advanced KillerRobots with burning fuel doesn't sound like the most intuitive thing to do, but properly supported and deployed flamethrowers are among the most devastating weapons at your disposal. It gets insane when a Secutor buffs a Kastelan robot, which can have up to two separate flamethrower attacks, with a piece of support gear that gives the robot 100% chance to crit on its next attack. Take aim and watch entire rooms full of Elite Mooks melt like butter in a fusion reactor.
  • King Mook: The various bosses are stronger versions of normal enemy types with some special abilities that are fought on custom-made maps that give them the home field advantage.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Epsilus Dammek-Yoth demands this from Faustinius the first time they talk, offering to spare him and his followers if he turns the command over the mission and Caestus Metalican to him.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The tooltip for the Tech-Auxiliam describes it as an oft-overlooked discipline overshadowed by the other branches. You'll be hard-pressed to find players or guides that put any emphasis on this discipline, with most ignoring it altogether aside from its very useful starter skill and one equipment option.
  • Large and in Charge:
    • Overlord Szaregon, the Final Boss, is significantly taller than any of the other bosses and regular Necron units, possibly even taller than Agrolekh, who's mounted on a hovering Destroyer chassis.
    • Epsilus Dammek-Yoth, the Arch-Heretek, has rebuilt themself into a great hulking beetle-thing easily as big as a Kataphron.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Blending the Explorator and Xenarite paths will turn your Tech-Priest into a cyborg ninja, gaining both disciplines' speed boosts, the former's power to ignore attacks of opportunity and the latter's high crit chances.
    • On the Necron side we have Destroyers, war-forms with a large antigrav module instead of legs. They're some of the most resilient regular enemies, pack some of the most powerful weapons, have a huge movement range, and can act twice each turn. If your tactical awakening gauge is at 3 or higher, you have only a single turn to destroy disabled Destroyers before they revive, which often makes them the most dangerous units on the map. Their only weakness is their lack of a melee attack.
  • Magikarp Power: Most of your troop types start out somewhere between "largely useless" and "moderately helpful" at best, but get them promoted to level 3 and even the humble servitors turn into a force to be reckoned with, not to mention the more advanced Skitarii units. The only exceptions are the Kataphron and Kastelan, which start out very powerful and get downright game-breaking when fully upgraded.
  • Make Sure He's Dead: Downed Necrons auto-revive after a maximum of three turns unless something damages them while they're prone, so putting some more rounds into any incapacitated necrons is practically mandatory.
  • Marathon Level: In two flavors.
    • Mission difficulty mostly determines how many battles you'll have to fight. Easy missions have one, normal missions have two and hard missions have three battles on average, which means the latter can take up to an hour to complete.
    • The maps leading to Boss Battles are long, completely linear chains of rooms without any shortcuts to cut down on travel time. While this allows you to collect CP and gain useful buffs like lowered necron initiative, it also means your awakening gauge will be at 3+ at the very least by the time you reach the boss.
  • Master of All: You're free to max out all six disciplines on a single Tech Priest if you're so inclined. However, it's practically the definition of Cool, but Inefficient due to how hideously expensive it is, thus leaving you with few resources to upgrade even one other priest.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: As is usual of the Mechanicus. Most visible with Videx' missions. He'll have you broadcast religious chants, spread incense, etc... You wouldn't think going around spreading smoke around the tomb would hinder the necrons. Yet it does.
  • Mechanical Monster: You could say that Necrons as a whole qualify, but more specific example comes in various Canoptek creatures - Scarabs, Arcantrites, Spyders and Wraiths - you meet during missions.
  • The Medic: A pure Enginseer has one job: keeping himself and the rest of the cohort alive. However, most players prefer to give them a few offensive capabilities as well, so the average Enginseer acts more like a Combat Medic instead.
  • Minion Master: Secutor Tech-Priests focus their skills on enhancing and commanding your Troops on the battlefield, from simple buffs and a few free Canticles to letting them attack out of turn order or even deploying them early for a single CP. The discipline tends to be Difficult, but Awesome thanks to relying entirely upon having enough troops within range or on deck to make the CP cost worth it.
  • Mook Maker:
    • Canoptek Spyders spawn scarabs each turn in addition to their regular actions.
    • Most maps have sarcophagi lining the walls that release necron reinforcements when one of your units passes by them or does something of note, like interacting with a mission target.
  • Multiple Endings: The game's ending changes depending on which of the two (later three via a patch) main quest givers you supported the most throughout the game.
    • If you primarily support Scaevola, Faustinius decides to preserve Silva Tenebris and its Necron tech for future study, regardless of how operating Xeno tech violates Mechanicus doctrine, and the planet becomes a haven for the Xenarite techpriests. Outraged, Videx threatens to report the entire ship to the Inquisition for heresy.
    • If you primarily support Videx, Faustinius decides that the Necrons and their tech are too much of a threat to let remain, and resolve to arrange an Exterinatus for Silva Tenebris. Enraged at the loss of so much Xenos tech, Scaevola flees the ship for a Xenarite base, vowing revenge.
    • If you primarily support Khepra, Faustinius decides that Silva Tenebris is ultimately above his jurisdiction, and as such resolves to report the group's findings to the Martian priesthood and let them make the final judgement. Both Scaevola and Videx are mildly disappointed, but they don't outright turn against him, and Khepra thanks Faustinius for helping her and her Skitarii.
  • No-Sell: Armor functions as a simple subtractive modifier for incoming damage, so 5 points of damage hitting 3 points of armor result in the loss of 2 hitpoints. This means that sufficiently strong armor can completely negate lower-powered attacks. You get a "DMG absorbed" message when this happens. Bosses are infamous for this due to their massive armor values. The only way to bypass this mechanism is via the rare Armor-Piercing Attacks, the most common of which are critical hits.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • Faustinius has "Neural Vaults" he uses to seal emotions away, allowing him to choose which one he experiences. This allows him to balance his machine logic and human empathy. When the party encounters the Lord of the Flayed Ones, he admits the sight of him and his lair is so gruesome his Neural Vaults are having trouble containing his disgust.
    • Scaevola proudly talks about how she's purged all her human emotions, but her actions and dialogue makes it clear she's not as "pure" as she'd like. She is so obsessed with Necron technology that she gets positively sardonic at Videx whenever he speaks in opposition. Faustinius also expressed doubts on some of Scaevola's reasoning for some of her requests. Scaevola's interest is not simply based on logic towards completing the mission, but an actual personal obsession.
  • Puzzle Boss: Grand Architect Neftusk is protected by a shield that grants him 15 physical and energy armor, essentially making him immune to all but the most absurd amounts of damage. You need to destroy a collection of shield generators around the arena, whereupon he loses all armor.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Faustinius is one to both the Adeptus Mechanicus under his command, and the Skitarii.
    • On the AM side, Faustinius serves as a balancing influence on his underlings, keeping their quirks and tendencies in check while providing guidance and assistance for his tech-priests whenever any of them has an emergency, making sure that the mission as a whole ends successfully.
    • On the Skitarii side, he stands out all the more. In a setting where billions of lives are casually spent by the Imperium on a regular basis, and We Have Reserves is the accepted attitude for Imperial commanders, Faustinius does what he can to minimize casualties. He'll send his troops to their deaths if he sees fit, but only if he's sure it's for a valid cause. Some of his most pointed questions to Scaevola and Videx concern whether their latest proposals are worth risking the lives of their men.
  • Reviving Enemy: Necrons need to be killed, then shot again to make sure they stay dead, or else they just keep coming back. Killing a Necron with a critical hit will prevent this entirely.
  • Robo Speak: Scaevola's speech is peppered with symbols and computer code. She'll literally weight arguments or pros and cons using mathematical signs in her sentences. She doesn't use sentences so much as computer code that passes for speech. Note that this doesn't stop her from being surprisingly sassy; for example, voicing "I don't give a damn about that" as "Error: Damn Not Found."
  • Robot Buddy: Every Tech-Priest is accompanied by a servo-skull, who provide them with a bevy of useful functions on the battlefield, which can be further upgraded according to their owners skill progression. Basic skulls can draw Cognition from any source on the battlefield or scan Necrons for data, but they can be used to improve performance, chip away at targets, enact repairs and more. These little guys are half the reason your Tech-Priests are so damn important.
  • Save Scumming: Although the actual battlefields vary between reloads, the strategic maps are fixed for each mission, as are their special encounters including the choices they give you. It's therefore completely viable to save before entering each room and keep reloading until one identifies the best available outcome. Some of these choices award randomized equipment that can quickly fill your armory with Disc-One Nukes if you're patient enough to reload until you get a favorable roll.
  • Shout-Out: At one point, Scaevola comments that "to face an enemy unknown is to fight in the dark" - a very apt shout-out, considering how much influence the game takes from that title.
  • Sinister Scythe: Overlord Szaregon wields an enormous glowing-green war scythe as his primary weapon.
  • Speaking Simlish: All the Mechanicus characters speak in heavily modulated electronic voices that are impossible to understand without the accompanying dialog boxes. This is intended to represent Lingua-Technis, the language of the Mechanicus. Necron NPCs avert this by speaking to the tech-priests in Gothic, and thus are voiced in English.
  • The Spook: Necron Wraiths are a gameplay version of this - they are impossible to scan by any means, and thus you can never learn their stats nor if your attacks against them are particularly effective.
  • Status Effects: Downplayed but still present. The only SSE you can inflict on the Necrons is Burning to deal 2 points of damage per turn for a few turns on top of the flamer's base damage. Necron scarabs have acidic melee attacks that have the same effect, and the Immortals' rare Tesla Carbines inflict a "reduced movement" debuff on anything they hit.
    • With heretekal Xenarite weapons installed, you can inflict Acid and Reduced Movement yourself.
  • Stern Teacher: Faustinius has taken both Tiresus and Khepra under his wing, and while he doesn't hesitate to question their logic or critique their decisions, he tends to cushion it as counseling instead of the outright rebukes and castigation he doles out to the more senior members of his cohort.
    • Tiresus is actually Faustinius' student from before the expedition. While the senior Magos makes it very clear he didn't bring his student along as a sign of favoritism, he expresses a measure of pride that his pupil was able to accompany him, and deliberately seeks opportunities for the junior Magos to exercise his expertise at studying xenos.
  • Teleport Spam: Necron Deathmarks use their Phase Shift ability to teleport to a random location on the battlefield every time they suffer damage, usually followed by going into Overwatch. They can also teleport at will during their own turn.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Faustinius is prone to this. While he has not severed his ability to feel emotions, he has neural vaults he can use to "seal" his emotions away, to choose which ones he wants to experience or not. He is thus very prone to just stating his emotions out loud. Scaevola as well, though she expresses her emotions in an even more terse manner due to her Robo Speak.
  • Timed Mission: The whole game is one, and in two layers, to boot. On the tactical level, the longer you take exploring and fighting in any given tomb, more and more necrons awaken to oppose you. Maxing out this tomb awakening gauge makes the mission a whole lot harder but not impossible to beat. The strategic layer, however, is a hard counter that advances depending on how well you perform on the tactical layer, with every level of tomb awakening translating to 1% of the entire planet's awakening. The strategic gauge hitting 100% automatically locks out all other missions except the Final Boss. This is particularly frustrating for completionists because it's virtually impossible to 1) explore every room on the tactical maps lest you lose too much time and 2) play all 46 missions (and even more with the Heretek DLC) in any one campaign. Good players manage ~30 missions before the game ends.
  • Turn-Based Combat: Where the game differs from most turn-based strategy games is that the action points, or "Cognition Points," are a shared pool among your units, used to activate all but the weakest weapons and most special abilities, as well as to deploy troops. The other original thing about Cognition Points is that they are harvested from the environment (such as by siphoning data from Necron monoliths) or enemies. The metagame is therefore completely different from contemporary strategy games like XCOM.
  • Uniformity Exception: The Mechanicus is mostly made of stoic, sometimes almost alien priest-engineers whose odd views conflate technical skills and theology. Lector-Dogmatix Videx is the odd man out, almost unique to this game, where the stern, scowling man is much more priest than he is techpriest, specializing in theology much more than he does engineering. He looks to make sure that the crew's xenophobia and spiritual integrity are kept intact with righteous anger and disgust at the xenos wonders and abominations. While his technical skills are unknown, Videx is odd amongst Mechanicus personnel in that men like him are much more at home among the Eccleiarchy than the AdMech (two Imperial institutions that are not known to have the best of relations), and stranger still, he appears to be typical of his office.
  • Unperson: The fate of Epsilus Dammek-Yoth after you kill him. Once his remains are disposed of, most of Caestus Metalican crew's memories of him are wiped to remove all traces of him and his heresy from existence.
  • Unwinnable by Design: After letting you fight your way through a bunch of weak mooks, the tutorial mission ends with your two low-level Tech Priests and a few servitors, all of them possibly half-dead already, going up against Lord Agrolekh, one of the game's bosses. The guy has heavy armor, tons of hitpoints, an enormous movement range and enough attack power to One-Hit Kill almost everything you have. This trope is deliberately invoked to teach you a lesson about a) how losing a mission doesn't mean losing the game, and b) how utterly shitty the 40K universe is. You actually can beat Agrolekh with the right tactic, but unfortunately, the game doesn't recognize this aside from unlocking the boss achievement. The debriefing will still talk about the mission as if you got your arse kicked, and you still have to hunt down Agrolekh for real later on.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: No they don't. Various flamers are available as weapons to your tech-priests and to some troops. They tend to have short-to-mid range and average damage, but their ability to hit multiple targets per attack and inflict damage over time by setting foes on fire turns flamers into useful weapons with unique role on the field. The top-tier version, when wielded by a Dominator and buffed with damage-increasing gear, is a hideously destructive weapon that can kill an entire room full of necron Elite Mooks in a single blast. They're also the only decently powerful ranged weapons that deals physical instead of energy damage, which in itself is tremendously useful.
  • Visual Pun: Cognition Points are visually represented as small gears or, if you will, "cogs".
  • Wham Episode: The tutorial serves as one. After clearing out a few easy rooms, your cohort bumps into one of the Necron Overlords guarding the tombs - and it speaks to the team in Low Gothic, aka English, immediately freaking out both the team and the player (likely because the Ad-Mechs have thus far being speaking in robotic muffles and static). This immediately establishes the Necron threat as much more than an Alien Invasion, and also reveals that more intelligent Necrons can serve as both powerful units and dangerously intelligent adversaries.
Agrohlek: ''I wake with the turning of aeons. Stars yet burn. Life yet blossoms. Is it truly time?
  • We Have Reserves: Servitors, your starting Troop units, are good for little more than being living guinea pigs and meat shields for drawing off enemy fire (and providing you with useful cognition points when doing so). They cost no Blackstone to deploy and are thus pretty expendable. Skitarii troops are a little less expendable, but you're still not as severely punished for losing one as you would be for damaging (much less losing) a Tech-Priest. On the other side of things, the Necrons don't mind throwing as many troops at you as they can muster, since a) they are nearly immortal and b) you're invading their world with all its massive Necron tombs.
  • Wolfpack Boss: If you fail to kill all of the Necron lords before the final mission, the survivors will fight you as a group before Overlord Szaregon's appearance.
  • Zerg Rush: Necron Flayed Ones can neither take nor deal a lot of damage, but they tend to come in large packs that converge on whoever hit one of them last. While this does make them highly exploitable, it can also make them very dangerous if you don't know how to handle them properly.

Even in death, I serve the Omnissiah.