John O and I got in a game Friday evening pitting his 30k Mechanicum against the Kingbreakers. We played 1500 pts to match with the Berks Team Tournament the next day, though I already knew I would be changing my list quite a bit. Some photos are in the Flickr gallery. I wasn’t particularly sold on the robots from Forge World’s pictures, but he’s made them look really good. Definitely a nice looking army to play against. I particularly like how the metallic, corroded paint job has made the Scions work really well as Tech Thralls.
My army was more purely aggressive than my larger battles of late: Captain Angholan (Vulkan), Sternguard Pod, Tactical Pod, Tactical Pod, Tactical Rhino, Scouts, Predator, Knight. A Combat Squad and the Scouts hung back, but otherwise everybody went forward to pen the apparently untrustworthy Mechanicum into a corner. Sternguard slagged a Krios Venator on the drop, then were ambushed and engaged in an interminable combat with a Dark Angels Dreadnought creeping in the shadows. Angholan slew the opposing Magos but was then crumped by a Castellax Maniple. Sgt Harbinger dropped to try and save his ailing leader, but his squad was flattened by a deluge of Mechanicum shooting. Meanwhile, yet more treacherous Dark Angels arrived, rushing up to assault the Tacticals controlling the center of the battlefield. At this the Knight Errant Greenheart finally had enough and went rampaging, kicking the Dark Angels into the rocks, shattering the Castellax automatons, stomping the remaining Tech Thralls, and smiting a Thanatar to clear the battlefield.
My current take on the Mechanicum in 40k is that it’s well equipped to fight fairly standard Marine-ish armies. There’s a lot of big dudes with high toughness and many wounds that kind of shrug off small arms fire and chainswords. Ditto on light tanks and hordes, it has a fair amount of high strength shooting and access to large blast shots. But the crazier stuff it’s not really prepared for on its own. Those high wound, high toughness robots are basically exactly the kind of thing a Knight and similar D-weapon equipped units are designed to engage in combat. That makes some sense given how 30k is mostly Marines fighting Marines.
More generally, this kind of thing highlights the Imperial Knight as a unit with definite phase shifts in effectiveness: If you’re not really prepared to fight one, it’s devastating. If you are prepared, it’s pretty manageable. On the far right of that spectrum, you can definitely bring units that will almost completely nullify a Knight. Between each of those three there isn’t much of a continuum, you can’t just ignore it and weather the effects, nor will it hold up long against units chosen to take it down. Against a large spectrum of opponents it’s either crushing face or getting crushed, and in the middle of the spectrum it’s probably fighting another solitary Knight.
Again, more photos are in the gallery.