This week sees the launch of the hugely anticipated Forge Father Artificers. After first teasing these new miniatures during a Mantic Online Preview way back at the end of 2019, we’re pleased to finally be able to deploy that to containment zones across the galaxy! In today’s blog, we’re going to talk a little bit about the background of the Artificers and look at how they play in the game.
The genesis of the Artificers goes back to a conversation here at Mantic about wanting some Forge Father miniatures that looked a little more like ‘space dwarfs’. You see, although the Steel Warriors are very clearly squat warriors, they’re so heavily armoured that it’s hard to really tell they’re actually dwarfs. In fact, the joke that it could be goblins under those helmets led Rob to start creating his own goblin-themed Forge Father Strike Team. Then again, he doesn’t need much of an excuse to do any hobby involving goblins.
This philosophy to make it clear that these are actually dwarfs led to the idea that these are not helmet-cladded warriors. Instead they’re engineers that are pressed into combat when things get desperate in a containment zone. As a result, they don’t have the Hailstorm Rifles that are associated with Steel Warriors and, instead, are armed with engineering tools that can hastily be turned into weapons. After all, a hammer can just as easily whack nails as knock an Asterian Marionette’s head off.
The overall design of the Artificers was partly inspired by Ogan Helkkare from Star Saga. Here was a Forge Father that was very clearly a beardy dwarf, and he had a cool mechanical arm to make him look even more bad ass. Therefore, early in the design process it was decided that the Artificers should have mechanical arms that could carry additional tools/weapons. For the leader, we really wanted to take this idea of additional arms to another level, so instead of having just one extra appendage, the Master Artificer has four, tentacle-like arms to help him carry out his engineering duties a lot faster, so he can head down to the bar and start drinking some Forge Brew.
Finally, we wanted the Artificers to have their own vehicle too. We threw around various mining equipment ideas before finally settling on the concept of a mining mech with different weapon options… and thus the Juggernaut was born. Similar to the Artificers clearly being dwarfs, we wanted the Juggernaut to be piloted by a dwarf that was still visible. This means there are two build options – one with an open cockpit and another with a more solid cockpit. Either way, the fluff explains the Artificer’s potentially exposed head is protected by a force field… it’s just a tad hard to sculpt an invisible force field :p
We’re absolutely delighted with the look of the Artificers and we can’t wait to see what people do with theirs!
HOW DO THEY PLAY?
Ok, so now you know a little bit about the design process behind the Artificers, let’s talk about how they play in the game. When we originally conceived the Artificers, we imagined they would often be teamed up with the Brokkrs in a containment zone. As a result, the Master Artificers’ Gun-Toting special ability is applicable to both Artificers and Brokkrs. Admittedly, the Fire Control keyword isn’t much use for a Brokkr… but that Weight of Fire (2) can certainly come in handy. Meanwhile, if you’ve equipped your Artificer with a Welding Laser, along with a Burst Pistol or Magma Rifle, then you can make use of that Fire Control ability to shoot both weapons as a single action.
The Master Artificer himself is no slouch when it comes to getting stuck into combat. With Ranged, Fight and Survive stats of 4+, plus Armour 1 and Energy Shield (2), this is a leader you won’t have to keep in cover at the back of the board. In fact, survivability is one of the key aspects of the Artificers, as they all have Survive 4+ and Armour 1, plus Headstrong helps to stop them potentially recover when Pinned.
One thing you will have to watch out for with the Artificers is that, although they’re pretty good at shooting (5+), most of their weaponry is pretty short range – the Magma Rifle and Burst Pistol are both only R3. Therefore an Artificer-heavy list is one that needs to get into combat quickly (well, as quickly as a Forge Father can). However, once in combat you can start taking advantage of those additional weapons carried by the Artificers because the Buzz Saw and Power Claw upgrades both have the Companion keyword, which grants them +1 die in close combat.
Talking of combat, it’s worth pointing out that the Artificers all have the Dismantle keyword. “A model with this keyword has a special knack for finding the weak spots of mechanical objects. Whenever this model causes damage to a model with the Vehicle, Walker or Construct keyword, increase the HP lost by 1.” Dismantle is a keyword that’s had a boost in Third Edition because it now applies to Constructs, as well as Vehicles and Walkers. Now the likes of Marionettes or D.O.G. Drones will be vulnerable to even the slightest damage from the Artificers.
Unlike a normal Forge Father list that relies on lots of long-range shooting, it’s worth considering equipping your Artificers with smoke grenades. This will grant them some additional cover while you close in to take advantage of the Buzz Saw and Power Claw. On the other hand, you can team them up with a few Steel Warriors – or use the Juggernaut’s R8 Mining Laser – to lay down some covering fire while the Artificers creep forward.
However, no matter how you choose to play them, the Artificers are an exciting new addition to Deadzone. Let us know if you’re planning to add them to your Forge Father Strike Team!
THE ARTIFICERS BOOSTER AND JUGGERNAUT ARE SHIPPING TO STORES THIS WEEK. YOU CAN ORDER NOW FROM MANTIC OR YOUR FLGS.