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Warhammer 40k Kataphron Destroyers Review

Updated on May 22, 2015
The 13th Legion
The 13th Legion
Kataphron Destroyers Review
Kataphron Destroyers Review

Kataphron Destroyers Review

Ben Murphy, here, presenting a Kataphron Destroyers review and tactics! The eminent release of the Cult Mechanicus Codex is bringing us new models like the Kataphron Destroyers, among others, and tabletops everywhere will soon see these mechanical monstrosities mowing down mortals with mindless abandon.

The new boxed set from Games Workshop actually creates two unique units: Kataphron Destroyers and Kataphron Breachers. These two units are like twins; only that one twin prefers to stand back and blow things up very large guns, while the other twin likes to wear American football pads, and charge forth with shorter ranged munitions and a taser. While that IS a pair of super heroes I'd like to see on the big screen, for the purposes of this review, we are going to look at the shy twin of the pair, the Kataphron Destroyer

Kataphron Destroyers Review
Kataphron Destroyers Review

Kataphron Destroyer Stats

The Kataphron destroyers are mindless servitors, once mortal men or women that have left behind them all sense of individuality. Perhaps they were captured criminals, or perhaps they black market slaves. The Adeptus Mechanicus cares not for where the flesh comes, only that it can be re-purposed to serve the advancement of the Machine Cult.

The mortal remains of the kataphron destroyers have been gene-bulked so that they can carry the heavy load of their weaponry, power sources, and ammunition. To aid with this effort, their limbs have been surgically removed and replaced by a treaded vehicle much like a small tractor. Similarly, their arms have been removed and replaced with deadly weapons. The kataphron destroyer is now less a man than it is a machine, but the remaining mortal cortex provides the animus to propel the machine forward. These monstrosities are at their core still a human being; a disturbing fact to all who face them.

Kataphron Destroyer Stats - WS3 BS3 S5 T5 W2 I3 A1 Ld8 Sv4+

Special rules: Canticles of the Omnissiah, Very Bulky, Heavy Battle Servitors*

* Models with this new rule cannot Run in the Shooting Phase, but they may fire up to two weapons. They also count as having remained stationary for the purposes of firing Heavy or Salvo weapons, and they may even charge in the Assault Phase after firing.

Kataphron Destroyer Wargear

In their base loadout, kataphron destroyers come equipped with kataphron demiplate (a basic 4+ save) and two weapons:

  • Plasma Culverin: Range 24" S7 AP2 Heavy 2, Blast, Gets Hot
  • Phosphor Blaster: Range 24" S5 AP4 Rapid Fire, Luminagen*.

* A unit suffering one or more unsaved Wounds, glancing or penetrating hits caused by the Luminagen special rule counts its cover saves as being 1 point worse than normal until the end of the phase. Also, other units can re-roll the dice to determine their charge range against the afflicted unit until the end of the turn.

Looking at that stat line, these are some tough Troop choices. Toughness 5, two Wounds, and a 4+ save is pretty beefy, but not too beefy as to make these Elites or Heavy choices. Keep in mind that these are the basic foot soldiers of the Cult Mechanicus! Concentrated fire WILL take them out. The base set of weapons are quite nasty, but there are some drawbacks. Fortunately, the Kataphron Destroyers have other options to choose from.

Kataphron Destroyer Review
Kataphron Destroyer Review

Kataphron Destroyer Options

The kataphron destroyers are typical Games Workshop unit in that they have a few options to choose from. This is the meat of choosing an army in 40k, first choosing which units you will bring, but then further choosing what equipment those units will bring to the field. As a gamer, I love being forced to choose between two equally viable options. Yes, part of me screams "why can't I take BOTH?!", but the other part of me is happy to be given an actual choice. There is nothing worse than having wargear in a book that nobody ever takes because it is inferior in 99% of situations. Do the Kataphron Destroyers give us such a heart-breaking choice? Or it really a choice in name only?

First, you can bring up to nine more kataphron destroyers in a unit (for a total of 12 possible). Okay, unit size aside what can they bring to kill heads?

  • ANY model can replace (for free) its plasma culverin for a Heavy Grav-cannon: Range 30" Str* AP2 Salvo 4/6, Concussive, Gravitron
  • ANY model can replace (for a few points) its phosphor blaster for a Cognis Flamer: Range Template Str 4 AP5 Assault 1, Cognis Flamewall*

* Cognis Flamewall - a model firing overwatch with this special rule automatically inflicts 3 hits upon the charging unit, rather than the typical d3.

Excited yet? Every one of these options is great. Do you want blast markers that destroy hordes of troops, no matter how lightly or heavily armored they are? Or do you want to take out heavy infantry, armored MCs (bye, Bloodthirster!), and immobilize vehicles? That cognis flamewall ability is quite tempting, too! If your local meta has a lot of assaulty armies, then it could be worth the few extra points. Not sure? Keep reading.

Kataphron Destroyer Tactics at The 13th Legion
Kataphron Destroyer Tactics at The 13th Legion

Murphy's Take on Tactics

Wow, those are some choices. Fortunately I have some detailed ideas about which wargear is preferable and for which situation. I could talk for pages about which weapons are the best for different situations (and I do), so follow this link to my main page for tactics discussion:

Check out the video of these amazing models below. I can't wait to display my own painted models, all in the Forge World Metalica scheme! Below the video are my closing thoughts and link to other articles.

Kataphron Destroyers Video

What's the better weapon choice?

See results


I am very excited about the release of the Kataphron Destroyers and I hope to have my own painted up very soon. The models look fantastic and will fit right along side my fledgling Blood Angels, Skitarii, and the two Imperial Knights I have painted up. I'm just not sure which weapons to equip them with . . . if only I could find my rare earth magnets buried somewhere in my house.

I want to take a moment to thank the 13th Legion gaming group out of central Florida. Without their support I couldn't keep involved in the hobby I love. We are extending memberships (and our buying power for deep discounts!) to people across the world. If you are interested in our club or how to get GW products at more than 30% below retail prices, just shoot me an email in the banner below. Alternately follow me on Twitter @BenMurphy and keep track of new articles and my own hobby updates.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this review, revenge of the twins: Kataphron Breachers!

-Murphy Out

13th Legion Gaming Club
13th Legion Gaming Club


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