I’m a huge fan of the Battle of Phall, and like the idea of a Void War themed IF army - I like Alexis Polux for a commander, but I’m struggling with a proper Rite of War.
If you go with the standard Crusade List, a thematic inclusion of lots of Breachers gets expensive, and if you’re having lots of troops come in via the Dreadclaw and Kharybdis, you’re going to be using lots of slots just for transports. On the other hand, if you use the specialized IF formation, shield-bearing types get really nice, but you’ve utterly lost out on Deep Striking, negating Polux’s rule, and some serious flavor in the form of the Dreadclaw and Kharybdis.
There are a number of considerations, and I can readily see from your email the dilemma. To some extent, the choice of whether to go with the Imperial Fists' legion specific rite of war, or another one, is down to personal preference and play style.
With the Stone Gauntlet rite of war, we are forced to pretty much march the troops to where they are needed to be. This is not necessarily a bad thing as the increase in toughness is amazing and means they can survive relatively intact whilst the wander around. That said, they're slow, and can be outpaced by other faster armies, or torn apart by the more infiltrating types. And, transports like Kharbdis cannot be taken as they must deep strike when entering play. So there's a bind there.
Alternatively, we could think about a different rite. The main two that stand out to me is the pride of the legion and orbital assault.
With pride of the legion, we could imagine taking plentiful terminator squads and using Polux' ability to deep strike a large blob of them in to position near the start of the game. Load up other squads in to Kharybdis and the like, and its good to go. Alternatively, deep striking a specialist squad such as a plasma filled support squad, or a breacher squad with graviton guns, or even a destroyer squad has a strong attraction. With mechanised elements backing them up, this would be a balanced force able to tackle most things in the game.
For orbital assault, its going to be terminators again, coupled with drop podding dreadnoughts / contemptors, and other assorted infantry. At least one of these units will not require a drop pod as Polux can do it for them, as above. The advantage here is that they can readily get in to position and do not require land raiders to get where they need to be.
Stone Gauntlet plays as a slow, foot-slogging army that is very tough.
Pride of the Legion plays as a balanced, mechanised army with Kharybdis, Caetus rams, and arguably land raiders to help out.
Orbital Assault plays as a pure deep striking army with plenty of troops.
If its the Battle of Phall, then any of these are viable to greater or lesser extents. But for ship to ship combat, I think the orbital assault rite stands out to me. The ability to deep strike the terminators and troops in to place, as well as something like a fully loaded out plasma gun support squad or graviton breacher squad is invaluable. Plus, I would contend it fits with the background of marines torpedo'ing and teleporting to where they're needed. On the other hand, I think even with the increased toughness, the Iron Warriors would be able to outmanoeuvre the Stone Gauntlet force (unless there really is a lot of dense scenery being played with in a Space Hulk / Mortalis style game board).
(Conversation reproduced with the permission of the correspondent. Further comments, thoughts and feedback most welcome from my reader base!).