Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus guide

Mechanicus guide: intro

If you are looking for a recommendation, it’s got over 4,000 positive feedbacks on Steam (92%); I, too, can give it a big thumbs up if you like the genre.

A lot of the Warhammer games spewed out over the past decade or so are either garbage and or tainted by endless DLCs, pay-to-win, cut corners, and basically any way possible to gouge money out of players. Fortunately, this is one of the better and quite addictive; it’s great; try it.

One of the (few) negative reviews I read (I have to assume a troll!) said it was "too easy". Granted, if you are familiar with turn-based strategy games, then the normal setting is a stroll through, but one of the game’s better features is the settings. Try playing it set to ‘very hard’, while enabling ‘iron man’ (no saves), toss in permadeath, and all the other options to challenge you, such as no canticles, movement restrictions, weapon restrictions, etc. Good luck with that! Doable, perhaps, but easy? Not a chance!


Genre: Single-player, turn-based, explore, loot, buy tech upgrades.

Setting: Warhammer 40k, obviously, clearing a Necron tomb on a planet.

Team: up to 6 tech priests, with support via fodder, melee, ranged and or robots

Missions, glyphs and or encounter choices can unlock gear.
Tech-priests and support are only unlocked by missions.
Canticles are unlocked progressively and can be forced, e.g. by moving, scans, energy or physical attacks, etc. The canticle list in the tech menu gives the requirements for each.


Awakening timer

I did look at a few guides, but some of the things I read were clearly wrong, for instance, how few missions you could do.

A lot depends on your difficulty settings, but if you want to do every mission – and there are around 50 – you need to be completing every mission in under 2 awakenings. I played it on easy mode, clearing every room, did every mission possible and was still around 86% when only the final boss mission was left. Complete in under one awakening and the percentage stays the same. Take three rounds, and it adds 3%; seven rounds or more, 7%. QED: the final time, in the last encounter, matters. Bear that in mind.

At ‘easy’, you can easily average under 2% awakening per mission, visiting every single room. On easy, I finished with 6 tech priests, all between level 21 and level 31 – over 60,000 blackstone worth. I considered soloing the game with one tech priest, wondering if it’s possible to max all the disciplines: it is not. By level 31 the cost is 2,186; 30 to 40 would take around 25,000 or more. Level 50 may be possible. Beyond that, there’s not enough warpstone in the game.

At ‘very hard’ under 2% awakening is still possible, with rollbacks, but mobs are far tougher, and there’s a more of them, while room adds two ticks (or more) to the timer, so it’s a balancing act between looting and taking the shortest path. When I completed the game set to ‘very hard’ mode it was on mission 25, at 59% awakening, so close to 2% on average. (‘Hard’ missions from Captrix (against named bosses like Vizier Mhelob) are fixed at at least 4% awakening).


Exploration in Mechanicus
{ Exploration in Mechanicus }

Exploring: rooms and loot:

There are five room types: empty, glyphs, events, encounters, and quest target(s):


i) Starting zone.

ii) Cleared area: there is no penalty for recrossing these.

iii) Empty area in your path: there IS a time penalty the first time you enter; it is always better to find another path whenever possible.


I have written a separate page for glyphs.

Glyphs can be good, bad, and or indifferent and, on selection, can reward you with Blackstones, gear (STCs), health (or damage), initiative (gain or loss), CPs (gain or loss), and or can hasten the awakening (not good).

Notably, if all options are bad, you can click on the next room; you don’t have to press the glyph. Equally, if it’s good, but you don’t need it yet (e.g. you are at full health or CP), leave it and move on – it’s there if you need it later in the mission.


These do not appear to affect or impact the story progression or endings, regardless of your choices, but they affect the current mission’s rewards and outcomes. They also make interesting reading if nothing else.

You are given three options, some of which can have multiple rewards and or consequences. If you go into difficulty settings and ‘Enable enhanced exploration’ it will put icons below the options giving you a clue to the options and results.

One interesting point to note: if you are at full CP, the CP options instead tend to reward blackstone; double blackstone rewards are possible. (This is not the case with glyphs).

Mechanicus with Enable enhanced exploration option
{ Mechanicus with Enable enhanced exploration option }

gear reward icon This will reward gear – unless you already have the item. As noted elsewhere, there are loot prerequisites: if you want that level 3 mechadendrite you need to get the level 1, then level 2 first.
Whether or not that gear is any good is another matter, hence saving often. (Or taking the hits in ‘iron man’ mode).


blackstone icon Blackstone will always reward one or two lots of blackstone. Note, however, that events can and often do reward blackstone as a bonus; you will only know by clicking the option (or memorising them all!)


Cognition Points:
cognition points icon CP will generally reward CP – unless it drains it! It will not take you beyond your capacity though, but if you are at full CP it can and often does reward blackstone, which is often better in the long run.


Tech priest:
event tech priest icon This appears to have no addition story-related significance, but it generally involves loss of health and other negative consequences, indicated by any accompanying icon. It can have rewards, too, sometimes. Generally, I avoid these or reload a save, but sometimes the reward is worth it. No pain, no gain!


Initiative icon Can be good [- -], or bad [+ +], just means the Necron move sooner in the fights, it not.
I think of it like this: sometimes you move faster (boots), sometimes slower (blue, ice, slippy).
If you have the Heretek DLC and equip the stealth augment (Cog Occultaris), you are untargetable until you attack, countering the Necrons’ initial first move.


Necron awakening icon Appropriately, it looks like a coffin. These speed up the Necron awakening. This is never a good thing. Can be mitigated and rolled back by destroying scanners (always try to move to first and loot!)



They are avoidable, but I nearly* always complete them for three reasons:

1) They are easier to defeat than the main events

2) Each kill rewards a little blackstone – it add adds up.

3) They often have ‘scans’. Land on the scan, get blackstone. Destroy the scan, setting back the awakening two notches. This is critical.

*(Early on, when you are poorly geared, in ‘very hard’, the damage taken can outweigh the rewards)


Mission event room(s):

You have to do these, so you may as well get on with it.

Save before entering, in case you mess up. (At more challenging levels, a miss click can be a wipe).

As with Encounters, above, interacting with and, ideally, destroying the scan units should be a priority.

Mechanicus scan unit
{ Mechanicus scan unit }

Save just before finishing: sometimes there are options for extra rewards, it makes a difference. These rewards take the same form of the ‘Events’ rooms and can include gear and or blackstone. (This is separate from and in addition to the mission briefing rewards, which are fixed)

Pick a side!

There are achievements for siding with Tech-Acquisitor Scaevola (the avaricious techie) or with Lector-Dogmatis Videx (the fire and brimstone preacher) – I know who I side with, really. Still, as it’s a mutually exclusive achievement, you may end up doing one or the other at some point. Ideally, save just before the critical point and play as two separate endgames.

Both quest givers offer 12 missions. Scaevola wants you to acquire Necron technology, while Videx wants you to destroy it. (He’s big on burning hereteks, and destroying anything not in his Omnissiah scriptures – enough said, really).

Awakening progression allowing, it is perfectly possible to do all 24 of the mission in the same save game, but the one you complete 12 of first decides the achievement and its corresponding end cut-scene. There is a third ending (no achievement), where you defeat Overlord Szaregon without the 12th mission with either of the above. Here Scaevola is unhappy she’s left loot behind, Videx is unhappy he’s left forbidden loot behind (and intact), while the Captain is just happy to be done with the place.

Discipline and gear choices

Optimal discipline tree:

This varies slightly with your starting gear, and progress rewards, which are random*, but may be connected to difficulty.

The higher the level, the more thought you need to put into the choices, and with hard, very hard, permadeath, you may well want to save as you go incrementally. If you throw in the Iron Man option (autosave only, so essentially, no saves), getting it wrong is not an option. The first and subsequent mission choices are also a factor*, as are tactics, of course.

*For instance, start a new game and look at the missions, mission order, and weapons and accessories (e.g. mechadentrites) on offer. No good? Just go back to the start and begin again, see what is offered the next time. It doesn’t matter much on normal, but it does in harder settings.

For instance, in my current game (very hand), I started with a pistol and axe, with Lex Mechanic for CP at the start, if needed. By the second round I had the option of a Volkite Blaster, it does a lot of damage but needs 3 CP to fire, so you need cognitive freedom from tech auxillium, so the next point goes into tech again, for the chest (4 health and 1 physical armour).

By the end of the game you will need 18 health and all the armour you can get, balancing physical and energy, so, regardless of the tree, optionally, you need:

Five points in Lex Mechanic for the head armour (1 physical and 1 energy) and the gauntlets (2 health and 20% dodge).
This also gives you one CP per round (if you are out) and one CP for every mob you kill.

Three points in Tech-Auxilium, for the chest armour (4 health and 1 physical), a further 1 physical from talents.
(Dominus and Enginseer offer energy and 3 HP as an alternative).

Two points 2 points in Enginseer for the leggings (2 health and 1 energy armour)
This also gives you cleanse to remove any acid or burning conditions.

Finally, you want three points in Explorator to get the Escape talent, which you really want to avoid all the Opportunity attacks, especially if you need to move back a step to fire a ranged weapon.

By now, you have an extra 8 health, protection from 3 physical and 2 energy damage, a 20% chance to dodge incoming attacks and a 100% avoidance of opportunistic melee attacks. Early on, you will primarily take energy damage, but as the game progressive, physical becomes more frequent.

From here, you can be a healer or support class, a mixed class, or if you (eventually) specialise in power axes (Explorator) or ranged (Dominus), the final talent in the spec give 2 more armour, extra damage, and more. I have a strong preference for multi-class, as below:

Rank and total augment capacity:

1) (Start point)

2) Lex mechanic (1): enhanced analytics (+1 cp if empty at the start of round)

3) Tech-Auxilium (1): cognitive freedom (next attack costs 2 CP less)

4) Enginseer (1): Cleansing anointment (remove acid/fire DOTs)

5) Enginseer (2): leg augment (2 hp and 1 energy armour)

6) Tech-Auxillium (2): chest augment (4 hp and 1 physical armour)

7) Tech-Auxillium (3): Defensive protocol: servo-skull (1 physical armour)

8) Lexmechanic (2): head augment (1 energy and 1 physical armour)

9) Lexmechanic (3): Extraction protocol: servo-skull (get distance CP points)

10) Lexmechanic (4): arm augments (2 hp and 20% dodge)

11) Lexmechanic (5): Dead analytics (1 CP per kill)

12) Explorator (1): Noospheric scan (reveal energy stats if in melee range, including passing)

13) Explorator (2): ~

14) Explorator (3): Escape (plus 3m to movement and avoid opportunity attacks)

15) Dominus (1): Enhanced weapons (+4 to range)

16) Dominus (2): ~

17) Dominus (3): Attack protocol: servo skull (skull does 1 damage on use)

18) Dominus (4): ~

19) Dominus (5): Angered Spirit (Machine spirit does +2 damage)

20) Explorator (4) ~

21) Explorator (5): Angered Spirit (Machine spirit does +2 damage)

22) Tech Auxilium (4): ~

23) Tech Auxilium (5): Bless (+2 damage, or +2 energy and +2 physical armour to all)

24+) …

You might note the absence of Xenarite options; this isn’t because of a lack of the DLC, it is because the class is garbage, only the first step (zealous metals, +1 hp per round) being of much use or interest.

Magos Jerimiah
{ Magos Jerimiah }
Mechanicus heretek discipline tree
{ Mechanicus heretek discipline tree }

Arming up, literally

Given the tech-priests effectively have six arms, not unlike Spiderman’s nemesis Dr Octopus, there are more than a few slots to fill. Also, each slot, besides armour, needs up to 3 levels to maximise so it will take some time. Twenty-three levels to cap, to be precise.

Bear in mind early Necrons have energy or physical armour you have to negate; later on they can have substantial armour of both forms, as high as 7 for some.

Armour aside, the very best early items – most if not all of which can be available with the first 2 missions – are:

Power axe, melee, drains energy and physical armour if machine spirit ready (cost 1 CP)

Arc pistol, ranged, does splash damage, good for clearing bodies (no cost).

Volkite Blaster, ranged, does 6 to 8 energy damage (cost 3 CP, 1 if machine spirit ready)

Cog Occularis, augment, gives stealth mode at start (no cost) (Heretek DLC)

Cognition mechadendrite, (melee range), draw 1 or more CP from Necron, scans etc. Can equip two.

Curatio mechadendrite, heals 2 or more health (no cost)

Curatio claw, heals 2-4 or more health (cost 1 CP)

Also decent:
Sanctus Canister, augment, which improves moves, crit chance, and damage for a round.

Cognis Flamer, ranged), notable for doing physical damage, plus additional burn damage. (Cost 2 CP)

Middle game onwards, besides level 2 and 3 versions of the above are the following melee and ranged weapons:

Xenarite Axe, power axe with additional acid damage (Heretek DLC)

Plasma Caliver, passes through targets for 5-7 energy, machine spirit buff also removes armour (cost 3 CP)

Plasma Culverinpasses through targets for 6-8 energy, remove 1 energy armour, machine spirit also removes armour (cost 4 CP)

Xenarite Pattern Volkite Blaster, ranged, does 6 to 8 energy damage, plus splash damage (cost 3 CP)(Heretek DLC)

Torsion and or Heavy Grav Cannon, only does 5 -7 energy, but has massive AoE blast (expect friendly fire casualties) (cost 5 CP)

Also decent:
Incendine Combuster, (ranged), notable for doing physical damage, plus additional burn damage. (Cost 4 CP)

Don’t die!

Pretty obvious in permadeath mode, but dying or taking a lot of damage is bad for progress. If you ‘win’ but you have wounded tech priests, each point of damage costs you 10 blackstone in repairs, a tech priest reduced down to a single hit point will lose 170 blackstone; with 4 tech priests so damaged that would be 680 blackstone. Even one point of blackstone can mean the difference between enough for another upgrade – or not.

So, always try to be at full health by the end of the last fight of the mission – unlike these guys below:

Mechanicus damage can be expensive
{ Mechanicus damage can be expensive }

Tempus fugit

In this game, the clock is always ticking (unless you disable it, but that disables achievements).

Increments of a round don’t matter, but whole rounds do and unless you can roll the clock back by destroying scanners and or finishing very fast, it hastens awakening towards 100%, at which time all but the end mission are removed. Time matters in a fight, as each increment enhances the Necrons.

Mechanic awakening timer
{ Mechanic awakening timer }

Awakened level:

Level 0 – No effect
Level 1 – Your presence is detected (I’m not sure how this differs from 0!)
Level 2 – Additional Necrons spawned
Level 3 – Necrons resurrect 1 round faster (e.g. in 2 rounds)
Level 4 – Additional Necrons spawned
Level 5 – Necrons resurrect 2 rounds faster (e.g. in 1 round)
Level 6 – Necrons attack first in battle
Level 7 – Necrons resurrect 3 rounds: instantly

Resurrected Necrons have 50% health but hit at full strength – a resurrected heavy destroyer can still do a lot of damage. It depends if you are playing for time, or blackstone, if you kill them twice (the second time they stay ‘dead’), you get extra blackstone, but the clock ticks on, which can (I think) affect end blackstone rewards.

Hidden missions and False Gods

I have to say, this one had me baffled, so hats off to Wuerfelwise and anyone else that discovered it. To unlock the seven ‘secret’ missions, corresponding achievement, and uber hidden canticle Binaric Harvest (max CP and health), you must:
Press Spacebar in the mission select screen to enter the noosphere to make Tiresias visible and his missions selectable.

Tiresias is unlocked with the space bar
{ Tiresias is unlocked with the space bar }

It’s not all rose-tinted

Good as it is, and it is good, Mechanicus has a few niggles and lost opportunities.

First, and this really does annoy me whenever I play – they did not separate mechadentrites (lower ancillary augments) from upper scan and buff-related augments in the cohort STC fragments section. Similarly, ranged and melee should have been separated. It’s not a big deal, but it’s annoying all the same. For instance, in support mechadentrites can only be equipped in the lower ‘limbs’, everything else can only be equipped in the upper ‘limbs’.

Given the panels are scrollable anyway this seems mean-minded rather than an oversight, it was done to shave development costs. Needlessly, I’d argue, as most of the code was clearly already written.

Secondly, the Xenarite discipline tree – is garbage. Why even bother? The rest of the Heretek DLC (gear, missions, storyline) is worth the cost; why make the class so weak. Certainly they should have had an acid/radiation damage over time option in the tree.

Thirdly, though trivial, they could have added achievements for each tree. There are two for Explorator (Melee machine and AoE phobia), so why not the rest? Similarly, there are options for playing as a fixed discipline but no achievements for doing so – there is an achievement for completing two disciplines on one character (One with the machine).

Fourthly, perhaps as an option with or without achievements, they could have added a cost to re-traversing rooms.

Finally, staying with achievements and movement, options in the difficulty setting for disabling extended moving, making the game considerably harder, or 1 CP per extra movement, which can be equally hard as you’d drain your CP trying to reach a point.

Links of interest

Mechanicus 40k site

Buy Mechanicus on Steam (~ £30 with Heretek DLC, 92% positive feedback)

Buy Mechanicus on GOG (also ~ circa with DLC, 4.5/5 positive feedback)

Cult Mechanicus fandom (background info, separate from game)

A guide to Warhammer 40K Mechanicus glyphs (Ackadia)

Full armour guide: Discipline-Specific Augments

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