Saturday, 14 May 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Calix-Class Siege Automata

Good afternoon,

Following my recent acquisition of a Calix-Class Siege Automata I'm going to run through a review of it and give my thoughts on its uses in 30k. 

Unit Stats

The Calix is built on the basic Thanatar chassis and so shares a lot of its basic feature. Of course it is a monstrous creature but it can only be taken as a unit of 1 unlike the standard Thanatar which can be taken in units of up to 3.

WS  BS  S  T  W  I  A  LD  Sv
  3     4    8  8   4   2  2   8     2+

The Calix statline is identical to its standard pattern brother, with a BS of 4 relative to a WS of 3 it is not a front line monster designed for melee. A 2+ save marks this as bigger class of Battle Automata than the Castellax or Domitar and makes it a much more resilient threat especially when coupled with T8 making it immune to small arms fire. Additionally it again comes with Atomantic Shielding granting a 5++ versus ranged attacks and a 6++ against attacks in close combat.

Additionally his S8 is fantastic if you ever do get him into close combat, though with his measly WS and attacks I don't recommend that, but you will be doubling out any T4 models like foot Praetors and most tanks you will be at worst glancing them on a 4 (assuming AV12 rear) or penning on a 5/6. Not worth throwing against a landraider at all.

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!

The Thanatar also has the special rules Reactor Blast and Lumbering Advance. The former rule causes the Thanatar to explode on a D6 roll of a 6 after it loses its final wound, which can be handy if in combat all alone. The latter rule means that the Thanatar cannot make run or sweeping advance moves. 'Cos he's a bit chunky.

Overall - Very tough and hard to take down, low on attacks and so should be kept out of combat but he will be instakilling T4 models as well.


The Calix has a much more defined battlefield role than the normal Thanatar which you can see in it load out.

Shoulder mounted weapon

Sollex Pattern Heavy Lascannon - 60" S10, AP2, Heavy 1

Its a real shame this is only a 1 shot weapon. Compare it to the Krios Venator which costs 100 points less and gets 4 x S9 AP2 shots with Ordnance as well. However with enhanced targeting you will only be missing on a 1 and you will be lowering cover saves by 1. So against any mech army, this gun has a decent chance to render most tanks impotent for a turn by making them snap shoot or even blow them up. 

Wrist mounted weapon

Twin-linked Mauler Pattern Bolt Cannon - S6 AP3 Heavy 3 pinning 24 inch range bastard

This will ruin your regular tactical marines day quite handily and is probably more relevant to the Calix as is has a much greater desire to get up close and personal with the enemy due to its close combat weapon...

Close Combat Weapon

Graviton Ram

Assault - S10, AP1, Armourbane, Concussive, Structural Collapse

Shooting - Template, Heavy 1, Concussive, Graviton Wave, Haywire

In assault it is going to punch everything armoured to death, also doubling out any T5 monsters as well. Structural Collapse makes this a D weapon against any buildings or fortifications. This is very tasty, BUT they will be far away most likely and you are VERY slow. So not as good as you might think.

In shooting, Graviton wave makes models take a strength test on a D6 or take a wound, so useful against T3 4+ save troops certainly. Additionally morale checks caused by this weapon are taken at -2 LD. But mostly you want it for the haywire, which if attacking a squadron could hit multiple models if placed right.

An Infravisor that grant night vision but you test for blind on initiative 1 comes as standard with the Thanatar instead of as an upgrade and given your I2 anyway who cares about blind?

Other Upgrades

Enhanced Targeting System. Like with the regular Thanatr this is an absolute must take, it adds +1 to your BS and -1 to the cover save of the unit you are shooting at! For the price (15) it is an absolute must take. This will help ensure that you A) hit your target on a BS of 5 which is improtant with only one shot and B) they are less likely to make their cover save if they have any.

Paragon of Metal. This can be selected for a unit of only one Thanatar and means the battle automata is free from Programmed behaviour and so can act without the need of a cortex controller. It also grants this monstrous creature IWND making it even beefier and Rampage to make it more useful in combat. However the Thanatar can never count as a scoring or denial unit even in special missions where he might normally be able to. And finally if you roll a cybertheurgy mishap then a Malefica result always applies which means 1 pissed of beast turning on you as you lose control and it becomes hostile to the closest units.

The Calix is a pretty good option for Paragon of metal as it will give it endurance with IWND and allow it to pump out more attacks with its S10 Ram.


This is another monster who you don't want tar-pitted. That would reduce him to a glorified bug crusher sadly. This model does however work incredibly well with Anacharis Scoria as he allows all cybernetica to run and make sweeping advances even if not normally allowed to do so, which makes the Calix much better at getting out of combat unless your opponent is fearless.

Paragon of metal is a very good option for the Calix, as it allows you to lumber up the board laying fire down until you come into range of any mechanised unit, building, fortification or even a weakened unit that you can polish off with your now 4 attacks on the charge.

Overall though, I would suggest that you would be better off as a whole with the regular Thanatar. Their S8 AP2 large blast does well against light and medium armour, barrage meaning it hits side armour usually and equally it is S8 AP2 in close combat so isn't a slouch against light to medium armour. Plus you can buddy them up in squads.

For me, the Calix is not a necessity for any army and my purchase has more to do with the completionist inside of me to have one squad of each type of battle automata than for competitive reasons. The basic Thanatar has most of your needs covered, and the Cynis class Thanatar (no model yet) looks likely to do close range death better. I'll cover that in a review in the coming month and then do a comparison of all three Thanatar types. 

Peace out,



  1. Nice run down. Would agree though, the vanilla Thanatar is better value (especially as it is 45 points less than this guy).

    1. Yeah its a shame, I think I would rather not have the D weapon thing and a +1 or 2 to the shots of the gun