So finally we have the first wave and its irrefutable, skitarii are here! Model wise, love them, they look imperial, but more off the wall and with gubbins that is expected of the Mechanicus. Some of the basic rules have leaked, still missing army wide rules and the other bits, but overall each unit looks to be good, some looking really good. There are supposed to be more models on the way, with the dunewalker one of them.
First is the Ironstrider Ballstar, for 55 pts you get an opened topped walker with a similar profile to a scout sentinel, but better. Key items is that it is BS4 and armor 11 all around, two attacks and Hps, and I 3. It has a twinlinked cognis autocannon, cognis allows you to fire snap shots, including overwatch, at BS2 instead of 1, which is great. These will make decent AA in a pinch, especially in a group. They have a broad spectrum data tether, which allows friendly skitarii within 6" with the doctrina imperative to have their leadership improved by 1 till start of next turn.
Don't know what doctrina imperative looks like yet, so this is a key piece of the puzzle. They also have a searchlight. Special rules wise, they have crusader, precision shots, dunestrider which gives them a +3"to movement, running, and charges. Doctrina imperatives are the last special rule. Options, you can take five more for six in a squadron, and for 20pts you can replace the autocannon with a TL'd cognis lascannon. Right now it looks to be a heavy support choice.
Overall I like. These are going to be compared to sentinels, which is understandable. They are better. Compared to scouts, though 20pts more, they are nearly twice as fast once you factor in run moves + dunestrider + crusader, they shoot better - BS 4 + TL, and have better armor. Though front is lower than armored sentinels, they have better overall. Still opened topped, but not a huge concern. Big thing as well, they are somewhat usefull against air, with TL and cognis, they can engage multiple targets.
To me these will work good in squadrons of three or four stock, run around blasting autocannon shots at ground and air targets, and take advantage of precision shots to pick off special and heavy weapons, or characters. Also key to note is that we don't know what doctrina will do for them as well. As is though, they are good, fairly priced IMO. The lascannon upgrade is spendy, but useful and not too bad for a pair of them or upgrading one in a squadron.
Next is the Sydonian Dragoon. It's 10pts cheaper, with very similar profile. Minor differnce is WS4 and 3 attacks, otherwise same as above. Wargear is same, except weapon is the Taser lance instead of ranged weapon. The taser lance is S +3/+2 melee, joust, taser. Joust doubles it's initiative on the turn it charges, and taser causes two additional hits on a to hit roll of 6+. Special rules wise it is the same as above, but instead of precision shots, it has incense cloud, giving it a 5+ cover save.
Options, it can have same number in a squadron as the Ballstar, any model can replace it's taser lance with a radium jezzail for free, or a model can take a phosphor serpenta for 10pts - this doesn't replace the taser. The serpenta is 18" S5 AP4 assault 1, luminagen - which in short reduces the cover or a unit by 1 if it suffers a wound or glance/pen hit, plus units charging that unit can re-roll charge range.
Over all, not a bad cc unit. It is fast, which is usually the weakness of cc walkers, its relatively cheap, and has an inbuilt cover save to help it survive. This will hurt vehicles a lot on the charge, as it ups them to S8, and they can potentially hurt land raiders. Though thats not what they should go after. The jezzail is an interesting choice, its a 30" 2 shot sniper with rad poisoning, which cause 2 more wounds on a to wound roll of 6.
For me, I would keep them mostly stock with maybe two serpenta in a squadron of 4. Stick to cover an move up a flank towards a nice vehicle target or infantry unit with little dedicated anti tank weapons. They have speed and a cover save, helping with the main weaknesses of cc walkers. They aren't terribly expensive either. I like them and see them working as a good counter attack unit.
Rangers are on of the troop choices, at 65pts for 5. Same basic profile as vets, but come stock with a 4+ and a host of special rules. The ranger alpha is leadership 9 and has 2 wounds and attacks. They all have galvanic rifles, which is 30" S4 AP 4 rapid fire. They are relentless, move through cover, feel no pain (6+) and doctrina imperatives. Can have 5 more rangers, 11 per. The alpha can take items from ranged, melee, special issue, and relics of mars. If the squad is 10 man, they can take 3 special weapons, if not they can take only 2. They can take on enhanced data tether or omnispex. Omnispex reduces the cover save of targeted unit by one from shots against a unit that has it. The data tether is similar to the one the walkers get, but only effects the unit and is not cumulative.
The special weapons are good, but really here I would take ten man squads with omnispex and keep stock and plink away. Maybe some transuramic arquebus which is range 60" AP3 sniper, armor bane.
Vanguard are ten pts cheaper with same profile. They are armed with radium carbines, which are 18" S 3 Ap5 rapid fire with the same radium special rule (2+ wounds on roll of 6+ to wound). They have the same special rules minus move through cover. Options, they can take 5 more for 9pts per, the alpha can take same options. And same options regarding special weapons and wargear. Now these guys could use some special weapons. Two on my list are the plasma caliver which is 18" S7 AP2 assault 3, or the arc rifle, with is S6 AP5 rapid fire, haywire.
Depending on transport options (they can always borrow one) they can make a mean tank killer up close. Overall, there is nothing bad about them. They are good at killing infantry with their basic weapons and can get weapons to hurt tougher targets or vehicles.
Almost forgot they have another special rule, called rad saturation which causes units locked in combat with them to subtract 1 from their toughness. Not bad.
There is the list of all the leaked items and stats. Overall they have some really good weapons and options. They are priced right in my opinion, with the troops being cheaper than scions and comparable to them. Big thing is what is doctrina imperatives going to look like. But as is, nothing bad here. Some well rounded options to deal with armor, flyers, horde, and tough units. Plus they have cover save modifying tricks as well. So not bad.
Really can't wait to see more, looking great so far.