It's been a long time coming, but the Necron codex is finally out and they can now continue their quest of eradicating all life in the universe in earnest. After reading through this book it has impressed upon me that the Necrons are the Rocky Balboa of the Warhammer universe. Just about every other army does most things better than them, they are too slow, too small, and what little offence they do muster is pretty short range, but no matter how many times you beat them down they are just going to keep getting back up screaming "AAAADRIAN!"
And that is where their main strength lies, in their durability. Their Reanimation Protocols special rule can take a unit that has suffered an extensive amount of casualties and nearly completely replenish the unit with boosts and multiple chances to use it's Reanimation Protocol.
At the start of EACH turn, for each unit with this special rule, roll a D6 for each model that has been slain, on a result of 5+ that model is returned to it's original unit with full wounds. It must be set up within coherency of a model from the original unit that has not also returned from RP, if it can't be set up within coherency it does not rejoin the unit. Do not roll for models that have fled from failed Morale, and do not roll for units that have been completely destroyed.
Now normally, you get to roll for RP once, at the start of your turn, and normally a model is returned on a 5+, but that is not always the case. If there is a Cryptek within 3" of the unit, you add 1 to all RP rolls and top that with a stratagem to re-roll results of 1. An Overlord can use a Resurrection Orb (or the Orb of Eternity which adds +1 to your RP) to allow an INFANTRY unit within 3" of him to roll for RP, for a second time. Think about that on units like Lychguard, with 2 wounds and who are absorbing hits that would otherwise be hitting characters, popping back up like spring daisies. Now the Res Orb is only one use only, and 35 points to boot, but do you know what isn't one use only and affects ALL Warrior units within 3" of it at the end of the movement phase, the Ghost Ark. It's becoming pretty common to see 3 big units of warriors walking around next to a Cryptek and a Ghost Ark, if you can't destroy a 20 man unit, there isn't any point in even shooting at it as it's getting back 75% of all casualties in it's next turn. Oh, I almost forgot, that Cryptek will likely have a Chronometron which will give a 5++, vs ranged attacks, to all friendly INFANTRY units within 3" of it.
While this awesome, characters and vehicles don't have Reanimation Protocols, instead they have Living Metal and Quantum Shielding. Living metal restores a lost wound at the start of each of your turns, again making the unit difficult to kill unless you commit to taking it out in one turn. Quantum Shielding is a fucked up rule all together and can really ruin your opponent's day. When you fail an armour save, before applying the damage result of the weapon, roll a D6 for each failed save, if the result of the die is LOWER than the damage output of the weapon then all of the damage is negated. So if your unit is hit, wounded and fail the save of a weapon with 3 damage, if you roll a 1 or 2 your unit takes NO damage. If your unit is hit, wounded and fails the save of a lascannon, your opponent rolls a D6 to see what the damage is, then you roll a D6 for QS and if the result is lower all that damage disappears.
While they are extremely durable, the Necrons just don't sit there and let you punch the shit out of them. They can fight back and their biggest threat is that huge mob of Warriors. While most armies basic troops are not terribly reliable when it comes to killing stuff, the lowly Necron Warrior's Gauss Flayer is a bolter with -1AP. With an Overlord's My Will be Done giving a +1 to hit, a Lord's The Lords Will re-rolling wound rolls of 1, the Solar Fury dynasty code boosting the AP by 1 when within half range, and the Talent for Annihilation stratagem, a unit of 20 Warriors within 12" will kill 16 MEQ's or take out a Rhino. This looks like it's a lot of things that need to come together, but other than the warriors, all you need is 2 characters and a stratagem.
If you are not into the massive amounts of infantry that's needed to make the above situation work, you could simply swap the Warriors for a unit of Immortals. The Tesla Carbines are looking at getting more hits than shots resulting in 12 dead MEQ's, while the Gauss Blaster won't get as many shots, but with the higher AP it will kill the same number of models. As you go to weaker targets, the Carbines really step out in front, the extra shots becoming far more effective. The final insult comes when you combine either of the above combos with the Veil of Darkness and jump a unit straight across the table. You may have to leave the Lord out of it unless you know a way of getting him across the table as well, but that does not greatly affect the results.
If you have bigger fish to fry, and want to do it from a little further away, might I suggest a unit of Destroyers accompanied by a Destroyer Lord, or better yet the Extermination Protocols stratagem. While the Destroyers only have a range of 24", this is it's only real downfall, which is mitigated somewhat by it's 10" move. A unit of 6 is 300 points, which seems like a pretty steep price to pay, but when you look at the damage output, and the resilience of them, it becomes easily worth it. With them being INFANTRY, they can gain the benefit of the Destroyer Lord's Resurrection Orb and the Cryptek's Chronometron and Technomancer abilities. All of that with the fact that Destroyers have W3 and T5 means that you REALLY REALLY REALLY have to kill the whole unit before you move on to another target. Yes they are durable, but why would your opponent bother shooting them at all? Because of the fact they can kill a Leman Russ in one round of shooting while only using the Extermination Protocols stratagem. 3 shots each, S6, AP-3, Dd3 while re-rolling everything is fucking scary.
So far we have been looking at a fairly typical gun line force that takes a beating as they plod forward only to get back up and keep fighting. Not all of the army works like that and in fact, some of them work quite the opposite. Wraiths and Scarabs for example, are quick and nearly exclusive to the close combat club.
Wraiths got a pretty big improvement from the index, but their overall use didnt' really change. They are tough, quick, and can cause some damage in combat, but their main use is to disrupt target priority. Even with the Novokh code, allowing them to re-roll failed hit rolls in the fight phase the first turn of combat AND with the 3CP stratagem allowing them to attack a second time, they are only killing 14 MEQs. Now I say "only" because you are paying nearly 400 points for this unit, where as compared to another dedicated combat unit, say 350 points of Khorne Berserkers, attacking twice and re-rolling hits you can kill twice as many MEQ's. Where the Wraiths show their true colours is that they are T5, have W3, a 3++, AND can use a stratagem that allows them to roll for Reanimation Protocol. They are DURABLE, which is an over arching theme in this army, and they can cause enough damage in combat to make your opponent think twice about his target priority. Especially if you just Veiled a unit of Immortals in the back field and nuked over 20 Guardsmen.
Necrons don't have to rely solely on their high movement units for board control though, they have several other ways to get those slower units into position, one of which I talked about, the Veil of Darkness. Another is the Night Scythe and the Monolith, which use Invasion Beams to bring units onto the table from reserve. At the start of the battle you can choose to deploy any number of INFANTRY units, of any size, on their "tomb world". Those units may then "disembark" from any Night Scythe or Monolith prior to it moving. This is awesome as it allows you to choose which vehicle you can bring your units out of. If you keep them well spread out then you can pretty much bring in a unit anywhere you need. There is a downside, and that is if all of your Night Scythes and Monoliths are destroyed, you have no way of bringing the unit left back home into the battle and they are considered destroyed. This isn't that big of a problem though as there are 2 stratagems that can help with this, the first allows you to deploy 2 units from a single vehicle, the other allows you to deploy a unit when the last Monolith or Night Scythe is destroyed, and from the looks of things you can actually combine these 2 do deploy 2 units when the last Monolith or Night Scythe dies. I really like this method of deployment for units like Lychguard who can hit pretty hard in combat but lack the mobility to make their way across the table safely.
That concludes this codex review. Now, I know I left out quite a few units, and I did that on purpose because these write ups were getting really long. The things I left out are either fairly straight forward, or not worth using. For example, heavy destroyers are not as good as normal destroyers. Canoptek Spyders are way too expensive just to grow back a single Scarab base or fix a vehicle for a couple wounds. Tomb Blades are basically REALLY fast Immortals. C'tan Shards are scary monster mortal wound machines.
Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts please let me know in the comments.
Until next time, keep them dice rollin.
As always, this codex review is sponsored by Maxx Collectibles located in Winnipeg MB, at 835 Cavalier Dr. Check out his Facebook page as he updates it regularly. He sells EVERYTHING nerd at his shop including but not limited to: action figures from Play Arts, Kotobukiya, McFarlane, Warhammer, Infinity, Malifaux, paints and hobby accessories, and all the latest comic books from DC, Marvel, IDW and Dark Horse as well as a huge selection of back issues from all the way back.
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