Monday, 18 April 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Arlatax Battle Automata

Hey fine folks,

A review of the Arlatax Battle-Automata. This monster is built on the same frame as the Domitar but comes equipped with a jump pack for a fast predatory creature. I intend to convert one of these from the extra Domitar forgeworld accidentally supplied me with and I'm currently working on how to do that at the moment.

Unit Stats

The Domitar is the bigger brother of the Castellax and shares much with it. It is a monstrous creature that can be taken in units of 1-5 and with a stat line to match as you an see below!

WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  LD  Sv
  4     3    7  6   4   4  3   8     3+

Compared to its Domitar brethren the Arlatax loses a point in toughness but gains a point in both initiative and leadership. The leadership is less important than initiative but it does help combat any leadership based psychic attacks such as psychic shriek. The extra point in initiative is AMAZING however. As a close combat orientated automata this means it will at base stats hit simultaneously with standard troops. However if you stick it in a Legio Cybernetica Cohort then it will gain +1 initiative putting at at 5 AND if you take Anacharis Scoria then you have option of using cybertheurgy to boost this to 6!!!! Which is fantastic.

Additionally it also comes with Atomantic Shielding granting a 5++ versus ranged attacks and a 6++ against attacks in close combat. The Domitar also has an extra pip in strength bringing it to S7 though given its fist based armaments I'm not sure it matters all that much!

As with all battle automata poisoned fire and fleshbane will be ignoring its high toughness, BUT it has the Cybernetica Resilience special rule which forces successful poisoned or fleshbane wounds to be re-rolled. This is nice against fleshbane but HUGE against poisoned weapons with 4+ being the most common form of poison, so reducing those wound by half again on average!

Overall - The Arlatax lacks some of the resilience of the Domitar as well as the Castellax but it makes up with this by being speedier, both in a movement sense as we will see but also in the initiative sense which makes it a match for the Astartes even in a normal taghmata army.

Special Rules

The Arlatax comes relatively light on special rules, with just the above mentioned cybernetica resilience rules which are incorporated in the cybernetica cortex rules. It also has the reactor blast special rule which means it explodes on a 6 when it loses its last wound. HOWEVER it does come as standard with FNP (6+) which you can't ever complain about really!


The Arlatax has two close combat weapon (the additional attack is already figured for in the profile above) so you will generate 4 attacks on the charge. Like the Domitar this is not all that impressive given you will be hitting at WS4, but you will have a single hammer of wrath on top of this and the weapons themselves help mitigate this somewhat. The Rite of the Beast cybertheurgy power which Anacharis Scoria comes with can also help them as it allows them to re-roll all to hit rolls in combat whilst the power is in effect.

Arlatax Power Claw - +2S, AP2, Shred

At +2S the Arlatax will be hitting at S9, so wounding on 2+ mostly but with a re-roll for shred. With this profile any hits you do make are all but guaranteed to wound I would say. So as long as your to hit rolls don't stink you should put out some damage!

Additionally each power claw also comes with a built in assault cannon! This has the following profile:

Power Claw inbuilt cannon - 24", S6, AP4, Assault 3

That's two of these total so you are pumping out 6 shots before the charge which hit on 4's and wound on 2's against the T4 majority that is out there. The lower BS and the fact you have fleet means you should be unlikely to put yourself out of charge range with these guns. The Arlatax is a jump monstrous creature so don't forget that this gives you fleet! EDIT: Just gives you the straight re-roll on charge if you didn't use it in the movement phase!

As well as this ranged weapon you also come equipped with a Plasma Blaster as standard:

Plasma Blaster - 18", S7, AP2, Assault 2, Get Hot

I would fire the assault cannons first, as if you do enough damage with them then it would be best to avoid the potential of a gets hot roll in my opinion and not fire the Plasma Blaster at all.

Bizarrely you have the option of replacing ONE of the power claws with an Arc Scourge. This doesn't decrease your number of attacks but you do need to decide which of these weapons you are fighting with in any given combat.

Arc Scourge - S-user, AP2, Rampage, armourbane, concussion

I would highly recommend this weapon as it grants you the Rampage rule thus upping your attack count. This also makes the Arlatax a prime candidate for Paragon of metal (which you get for free if Anacharis Scoria is in the army) as this will also grant you IWND and RAGE, further increasing your attacks. Since you have to be on your own for Paragon of Metal you will nearly always activate Rampage.

The Arlatax also comes with frag grenades as standard unlike the Domitar.


I really like the Domitar for a bodyguard unit due to their toughness and HoW impact on the charge. However with the Arc Scourge option and the added mobility I think the Arlatax is an out and out better lose combat machine which is actually potentiated much better when they are on their own utilising the Paragon of metal special rule. This both increases their durability with IWND but also increase their overall damage output. 

In squads of 2 or more I think they will be horrific damage machines, but due to the lack of resilient jump pack HQ's to go with them they will be very vulnerable to AP3 fire. This is not because the HQ can tank the wounds as the patric cybernetica rule explicitly states you can ignore the HQ for the purposes of closes model wound allocation; but the HQ does have the ability to repair 2 wounds a turn with his battlesmith roll and cybetheurgy powers. Indeed if he has the Cortica Primus he could repair a wound each on all Arlatax with cybertheurgy and then an additional wound on one with battle smith.

Because you lack this I would suggest take them as a unit of 1 and go full paragon of metal arc scourge with them. If you plan on taking Anacharis Scoria then the paragon of metal upgrade will be FREE so that helps keep the cost down, as otherwise with an arc scourge and paragon of metal you will be looking at 220 points for the single automata. Overpriced for its effectiveness, but when costing 185, a well costed close combat machine.

Peace out,



  1. Is there some special Rule that gives them Fleet for having the Jump sub-type? Normally all it does is give you a straight re-roll on Charge Rolls if you didn't use it in the Movement Phase.

    1. Nope! I just had it stuck in my head for some reason that jump monstrous creatures got fleet as well! you are hawk eyed as ever Rider of the West(eros). Thanks as always mate :)