Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Necron Hybrid Mech Part 1: The 1500 Pt Core, Thoughts from Experience

Old School here with some thoughts from the table tops. I have always believed that Experience Creates Generals and Netlists Create Generics, so while the web loses its collective mind over Necron Air Forces, I want to talk about a list concept I have run since picking the codex up in 5th Edition and how it has translated to 6th edition based on my experience with some secondary information provided through observations of CVinton's performance with a similar take on the Crons. I will say now that this article isn't meant to create another netlist or say "This is the best," it is simply an article about a single concept based on a year of play with the new codex and with these units in particular.

The core of the Hybrid Mechcrons list is best observed in action at the 1500 point level where it looks like this:

Necron Overlord with Warscythe on Catacomb Command Barge with underslung Tesla Cannon

Necron Overlord with Warscythe on Catacomb Command Barge with underslung Tesla Cannon

10 Tesla Immortals
10 Tesla Immortals
10 Guass Immortals - Night Scythe
6-10 Necron Warriors (depending on whether or not you give the lords some toys) - Night Scythe

Annhilation Barge, underslung tesla cannon
Annhilation Barge, underslung tesla cannon
Annhilation Barge, underslung tesla cannon

This will put you just below 1500 points and allows you room to run either Mind Shackle Scarabs on the lords or one resorb on the overlord ect. Is it spammy? Sure, but this is a tournament style list and if that offends you, please enjoy the lovely Yellow Robot Zombies in my pics!

In a local tourney, I took this list with 6 warriors (in the slot labelled 6-10) and had scarabs on both lords and a resorb on one of them. The first thing you will notice here is that there is a lot of AV 13 and yes, a heavy dependency on ...

... Tesla. Right! The foot bound troop choices of this army and the vehicles that surround them are all armed with it. Why? The backwards math of Tesla weapons often means that squads like these are hosing their enemies in 10 - 12 hits at S5 from 24 inches away and the immortal frame is a tough troop choice between high LD, a 3+ save and RP bringing them back to life 1/3 of the time.

In 5th edition, this core (the immortals and tanks) served both CVinton and I well in games, though Melta guns were very problematic when they were able to get close. As I have gained more experience in 6th edition, I have seen less vehicles and more reliance on troops armed with plasma and even more autocannons and heavy bolters. This has only strengthened the core of this list, but what are its true merits on the table top?

The Tesla Destructor is a wonderful gun and while I am not a numbers guy, I can tell you that the weapon generally hits six times each time I fire it and the underslung gun sometimes gets lucky too. The Annihilation Barge is the platform of choice or this weapon as it is a cheerful 90 points to field. The fact that it is a skimmer and subject to the Jink save while also having AV13 (until I get penned) is also very handy.

Those extra hits I mentioned along with strength 7 means that the weapon is deadly to vehicles (particularly AV12 and below) and also troops. Most people will tell you "AP - can't hurt Marines." I can tell you and most veterans of this game can tell you that if you put enough rounds on a squad, even terminators fall.

The next great benefit of the gun is that being twin linked and tesla means that you are likely to roll at least one 6 and that 6 will equal three hits on a flier that you are attempting to knock down. In a tournament I recently played in, the fliers I took down were all put down by Annihilation Barges, not my fliers. In a pinch the Tesla Immortals can take down light fliers as well, but it would be a cold day in robot hell before I resorted to that as a main plan.

That's fine but what about AV 14?

That's what the Catacomb Command Barge is there for. In this build the CCB is there to move 12", turbo boost into position and then start flipping over tanks in the back field - or - killing those pesky havok and Long Fang Squads. The Warscythe paired with the barge bonuses to his armor and the barge's impact hits usually allows the lord to best most backfield units. The warscythe alone is enough to take care of most armor as well. I recently used it to fly over chimeras, pop the tank in the movement phase, then assault the occupants. I also used it to remove a leman russ and a basilisk in the same turn.

The actual abilities of the CCB aren't it's only benefits. The fact that it is flying into the opponent's face means that it can buy time on the table for the A. Barges and your troops. It will often turn close combat troops back into the backfield to deal with it. This also buys time for the A. Barges to focus fire more units into the ground. In this list, it is how units work together that makes the whole force work, rather than superstar single units.

Now I know that isn't the greatest answer to AV 14 ever, but at the 1500 point core, it has worked for me and in most games, the lords eliminate the targets and then get into secondary targets before being taken down - all while changing the opponent's gameplan and playing into my game plan.

My back-up team for armor and my general killing blow squad is the 10 Guass Immortals in the Night Scythe. I can put them anywhere I need them and either have a good chance at stripping a hull point or two - maybe killing a light tank - or just dumping a lot of shots into infantry. In any case, this particular group has shined due to its mobility and rapid fire in each game I have played them. They have been known to take out a backfield troop choice (with support from other units) and then hop in their spot while their flier moves around tearing up the board.

This brings me to the Night Scythe. The scythe is often hated for it's tesla destructor or it's points cost and Dedicated Transport slot, but the real strength of this flier is in the ability to place troops accurately on the ground while zooming, which other fliers cannot do. This often means I have the squad's weapons and the scythe's weapons to bring to bear on some poor unit as far as 36" into the board.

In a recent game of the Relic mission, an opponent brought a Guard squad up to capture the relic when only a single tesla immortal squad was nearby, only to find the next turn, that he now was faced by that tesla squad, a guass squad and also a squad of warriors. The night scythe gives you the ability to add support where needed for the foot portion of the list as well as a way to take objectives and kill small units.

Overall, this list functions well together, covering targets together to eliminate whole enemy units. It also works well if faced with light vehicles, which it chews up pretty easily. I would say it struggles against AV 13 walls, but the only army like that aside from crons is going to be Space Marine variants, particularly BA, which also suffer from having side armor 11, which we can take care of. In the past weekend alone, this core concept saw victory in two separate tournaments by DFG members. While I am not trying to create a netlist, I am trying to stem the tide of CronAir Netlists I see with different takes on the codex like this.

The last lingering question I am likely to be asked is "Why would I take this when I can take CronAir?" Well, you can, but I just don't think it is as effective and I think it is a flash in the pan (as the dexes go on, more people will be able to deal with it). I also have seen the results of Barge Crons vs CronAir. In that match, barges are great for shooting down scythes, while scythes are not very good at killing barges.

Another advantage is that Mechcrons are not as likely to have their ground forces tabled in turn one as the CronAir lists have been and honestly, it's just more fun to meet your opponent on the ground, where he feels he has a chance and to beat him there in the mud and the blood of the field.

I will touch more on this in the second half of this article where we take the list to 1850. That article will also take us out of the core of the army and into some of the units that work to make the army style better at higher points levels and to better fit the unique tastes of the player.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the core of this concept, your experiences on the table against or with Crons and any other meaningful feedback you may have.


  1. I think you are definitely right about the wiping a CronAir list off the board, it can definitely happen, and I am surprised it has not happened more often.

    Also like the Johnny Cash quote you got in there

  2. Wiping the squads of cronair depends on the deployment, and the general range of your army's shooting power. It's not all too easy when the immortals are deployed out of los, or if you put obyron there, they can switch position easily enough. Just sayin.

  3. It comes down to general ship is what I take from that Ice Reaver and that is what makes it brakes any army.