Welcome back, once again, Losties! Let’s log out of the matrix and head for Zion to take on the machine city!
To date, there is only one model we’ve been left waiting for in Convergence of Cyriss, but it’s a doozy–the Transfinite Emergence Projector and Permutation Servitors. This is the Convergence battle engine. While much can be derived from the profile, we haven’t seen them on the table yet [Soon – Gday]. The question of whether or not to field battle engines for other factions has come down to two factors–does it do something unique enough for the faction strategy that it warrants taking an operational slice of your available points (as they are usually a substantial 9), and is that place not better occupied in your force by a heavy warbeast or warjack?
While many factions like Cryx and Skorne have found that the typical answer to both is often no, several factions like Retribution, Khador and Trollbloods have found that the first question is an affirmative, and occasionally find a war wagon or a death cricket in their lists. In some, like Protectorate or Everblight, their battle engines have even answered both questions in the affirmative on occasion, and so will be fearsome with their battle engines on the board. Certainly for Convergence, the second question is a harder answer than it is for most factions because it is frequently easier to field larger numbers of heavies than in other factions. The first, however, is much more likely to be answered in the affirmative even than it is in other factions. As such, one should expect to see one or even two in the occasional list, largely replacing infantry options for how it operates.
The Transfinite Emergence Projector has a single attack, which it emits as a large and lightly powered spray from it’s monolithic aperture. It is a 10″ spray with power to match. It does have gun platform, meaning it will continue to shoot in melee as well. It also has autofire 2, meaning it can fire two sprays against targets within 2″ of the first, so it will have great potential in removing infantry. For a battle engine, it features a modest profile. Spd 5 with arm 19 and 20 hit boxes, with a very meager rat 4. This means that while the spray is most certainly geared towards removing infantry.
Where the device shines is in its very unique permutation servitors. It will almost always have three somewhere in orbit around it. The servitor satelites rule means that each time it activates, it removes however many it has left from play, and immediately places three of them within 1″ of itself. These may not activate, and so do not move, meaning counter effects like counter charges and slams, defensive strikes and so forth cannot remove them before they take their primary effect–the projector’s firing formulae rule. Where the servitors are placed determine their effect on the projector’s aperture pulse attack. For *each* in the left field of fire, the weapon gains an additional die on attack rolls. For each in the right field of fire, the weapon gains an additional *damage* die. For each in its back arc, the weapon gains an additional auto fire attack.
This means that with one servitor in each arc, the weapon fires three spray 10s, hitting def 14 on average, and doing damage to armour stats as high as 19 on average–ideal for removing shield-walled infantry. If the targets are particularly high defense, the projector may place two in the left field of fire, and one in the back arc for *four* attack dice on three sprays. If targetting even something as large as a heavy warjack or warbeast (with particularly low def), they may even place two or even all three servitors in the right field of fire for two strikes at pow 10 with *five* dice of damage.
Right about now, the flexibility of this monstrous creation may be sinking in, and you may be thinking about how to remove its fearsome visage from the board. Before you think about firing on it, however, all those servitors it just spent a turn placing and making use of have shield guard. So it will be notoriously difficult to shoot. Furthermore, it is hardly an object easily damaged over time. It rests as a huge-based construct in a faction readily able to repair it, so if it is going to be killed, either ensure the repairing models are dead already, or kill it in one go, because it will be fully functional again in remarkably short order.
This model is a fixer. It will be able to negotiate extremes with its highly versatile firing solutions, and connect with a number of different targets as well. That the weapons are sprays allow it to deal with a number of different defensive abilities not a great deal else in the army can–like stealth. This model will be an ideal solution to bane thralls, for instance, and thus when playing a Cryx army, it will be advantageous to remove. It will also negotiate cover with ease, and so dug in farrow brigands, Idrian skirmishers, or a unit going to ground under the command of Jonas Murdoch will present no obstacle to it. It will also be able to engage and spray beyond the front lines, connecting with journeymen warcasters, support staff or even warlocks and warcasters–something they can ensure they both hit *and* damage.
Nonetheless, the projector has a few noteworthy weaknesses.
It has no melee weapon or gunfighter, so cannot charge. It is therefore ponderously slow. You will be able to hit it first. It also has very low rat. While the defense debuffs in Convergence are everywhere, it does not want to be trying to take advantage of a 4″ AOE def debuff when it can simply generate an additional die. It is rarely going to risk aiming for extra damage at the expense of *all* extra attack dice. Unless it is targeting a very dodgy target, expect three attack dice and three to four damage dice, depending on the number of shots it wants. Remember that there are peaks to consider. Armies with access to the defender’s ward spell will want to cast it on armoured targets to make them hit peaks of arm that the projector cannot breach while maintaining levels of def that the projector will need at least one servitor to hit.
The auto fire rule, again, has a limitation as well. The ideal counter to this machine, in my opinion, is the shield walled cataphract cetrati with defender’s ward from Archdomina Makeda. They pair up and spread wide, meaning the projector will only be able to target one pair at a time, require an additional attack dice to hit on average, and even with four damage dice, will only do a few points of damage each to the cetrati’s impressive arm 22. Black Dragon pikemen can accomplish a similar feat in Khador, as can temple flameguard or mini-feated holy zealots. Even with defender’s ward, small based exemplar cannot hit the peaks of arm required to avoid death by aperture pulse, however bastions will, as they can spread widely enough to avoid the limitations of auto fire. Another weakness of the projector is that despite it’s laser-like nature, it is not a magical weapon, so Blackbane’s ghost raiders will sail right by it. Also, what it cannot see, it cannot shoot, so use cloud effects and terrain to obscure line of sight!
Bear in mind, however, that there is a strategy the projector can employ to ensure it is not limited by the auto fire restrictions and line of sight issues, which is targetting its own troops closer to its base, spreading the distance the sprays diverge, and thereby bypassing a lot of your clever strategies. Despite the apparent ease with which it does this, I would speculate that rather than displacing a heavy vector in a list, the projector will more readily replace a crowd controlling infantry unit like obstructors or reductors, and would therefore find available targets less easily available to it.
One should always plan for the worst, however, and play the game of using heavy infantry or dedicate a heavy warjack or beast to removing it from play in one activation. It has modest arm and hit points for a battle engine (only the projector, the celestial fulcrum, the wraith engine, the sacral vault and the arcantrik force generator have 20–the lowest–while the storm strider, gun carriage, war wagon, siege animantarax and the meat thresher all have 22, and the vessel of judgement and throne of everblight both have 24), and so it is relatively simple to remove by conventional means. Just bear in mind that it really needs the devoted attention of heavier operators. Don’t ignore it, or it will get close enough to start sparking up your fleshy support behind your front lines, and take advantage of the pre-deployment rules. It will have a hard time repositioning and you can therefore almost always prevent it from sinking teeth into ideal targets!
So that does it for the huge bases! This thing is a hard one to speculate on, but we’ll have to see just how often it graces the tabletop. While I don’t play Convergence myself, and I don’t often play games with battle engines, I think it says a lot that this one would grace a great deal of my lists. Not to mention, it fits the whole ponderous, UFO laser beam theme of the army.. Scary!
Next on The Machine Stops, we’ll be *finally* moving on to the unifying force of the mighty mechanists, the warcasters! Hardly fit for a single article, lord knows this category will go long, but it will be worthwhile!
Special note: On the very day of drafting this article, the model for the transfinite emergence projector was posted on the Privateer Press site. I call it DIVINE PROVIDENCE!! Or coincidence, whichever is more likely.
Good luck and keep the EMP charged and ready!
The Machine Stops series, by Autojack:
- I: Army Composition
- II: Vectors
- III: Support Models
- IV: Support Models Pt2
- V: Light Infantry
- VI: Heavy Infantry
- VII: Prime Axiom