After a year of Necrons and multiple tournaments I’d like to present to our readers my manifesto. This series will outline my theory craft and play style as it relates to Necrons. I really love the depth this codex has and how it plays (with robotic consistency). I believe that until recently with the release of chaos, Necrons really stood apart from and above every codex out so far. Yes, time will age this post, but I hope to pass along what I’ve learned so that others can explore the depth of this codex and learn to adapt to future books as they release.
For HQ I first want to compare two choices for the same build; Imothek and Overlord with a barge.
I admittedly have not explored much past the command barge. Though there are other options the barge has a very unique role as being the only effective anti-armor in the book. I saw a lot of people shy away from it with sixth because now the sweep must happen in the movement phase, which limits it to a 12” threat range as opposed to a 24” threat range in 5th. People turned from the barge because it basically became less of an easy button. The trade off is that you now get a total move of 30”. This lets you get much deeper into the back field were a lot of juicy tanks are lingering for your lord to flip over with his Warscythe spatula. Generally speaking, in 5th I did not get many first turn tank flips, so in either edition the barge’s star turn is still turn 2 despite a 12” threat. You just need to plan better now.
The load out I take is the barge with gauss and the lord with a Warscythe. At 190 points this is the most expensive unit in my army. The biggest toss-up I have is to take mind shackle scarabs or not. 90% of the time I don’t, simply because my points are so tight I can’t, but if I had 30 extra points for both the barges to have them I’d do it. Running into an MC with scarabs is the best feeling a boy can have; seeing a Tervigon itch herself to death then explode all over her babies is awesome. But, the fact that there are few MC’s out there and that my lord has a job already (flippin’ tanks) just means you’re more likely to make a bad choice. Hopefully there is more than enough strength 7 shots to take out any MC they can throw at you…sadly those strength 7 aren’t nearly as effective a can opener vs tanks as the Warscythe.
The other HQ that is relatively popular is Imotekh. Personally, I’m not a fan, but I can see the appeal. 225 points plus the 40 point chrono-tek just isn’t worth it to me. He was border line for me in 5th because he could really deny a lot of shooting and level the 24” playing field but now, things still get shots at 36” so your opponent can still out range you. Most units in your army have a 3+ so the cover save isn’t helping much either. I just find the night fight to benefit the opponent more than me. Suddenly their rhinos are getting cover saves in the open against your weapons that are just scraping by to hull point them to death. Generally your vehicles are getting a jink and though the added bonus is nice, I’d rather have an AV 13 with a 5+ and a opponent with AV 11 no save rhinos than the bonuses my barges would get. If I had a flak jacket on, and my opponent didn’t, I wouldn’t let my opponent have one just so I could wear two.
So, aside from the night fight his perks are lightning and a 4+ seize. The lightning is nice, I’ve seen it wreck things (i.e. space marine AV 13 wall because side is only 11) and I’ve seen it flop hard. In short, to save as much space as possible, I don’t like things that aren't consistent and the lightning isn't consistent; bottom line. And for seize, Necrons aren’t huge on alpha strike and typically need things to move in a little closer to get full effect. That combined with last turn objective grabs makes going second for the Necrons fairly appealing.
The benefits of Imothek just do not make losing the slot of a barge worth it to me. I've had two barge produce more than Imothek could do in support; a lightning strike isn't going to kill a landraider, but a barge will when nothing else in your army can.
The last HQ I want to touch on is the Destoryer Lord. I’m keeping him out of the barge/Imothek comparison because a Destroyer Lord usually has an army built around him, which is very different than an army build for 2 barges or Imothek. Short story is that if you want wraiths, then a destroyer lord is a must. Preferred enemy conferring to the squad of 6 wraiths turns them from an almost killy tar pit to a death star. Put mind shackle scarabs on him and he’s easily worth rolling on the personal traits tables to be the murdering center piece of your army. My biggest beef with him is no invulnerable save. He can be a 2+ but if you want to go toe to toe with true killers from other books, you need more than toughness 6 and a handful of wounds. Lastly it’s easy to make him a points sink; Scarabs, orb, weave…it can nickel and dime you into a 190 point model. Finally, something to keep in mind is that he does not open up a royal court slot. That means limited missile-teks, and weaker Colombian Death Squads (only one abyssal-tek, sad-face).
Which leads into the Royal Court and specifically, Crypteks. I find myself only running two types; Abyssal-teks and Destro-teks. I’ve experimented with storm teks and the chrono-tek, both are fun, but more one trick pony, limited use types for me to want to play competitively. Like I said earlier, I run two barge lords, which means two courts, which means two teks per squad (thank you FAQ).
I run two simple, effective builds; Abyssal-teks with 5 death marks (Colombian Death Squads)and/or missile-teks with 5 warriors. 35 point missiles are a little pricey but for lack of strength 8 the premium is understandable though it still gives me a sour taste simply because the army functions well enough without strength 8. Plus, when you bargain shop, two missile-teks is 20 points short of an annihilation barge, which for its points is the best value I’ve ever seen in 40k. I laugh every time I say “The annihilation barge was only 90 points” but more on that later.
The big super star of the court is the abyssal-teks. The Columbia Death Squad. The squad checks in at 155 points and will murder nearly anything on the board at will. I generally don’t even include the cost of the Night Scythe just because that functions well enough on its own to get its own points back. Unlike a rhino tax, the cost doesn’t need to be recouped by the squad. I’m still floored by the FAQ giving the scythe the invasion beamer as well as letting Hunters from Hyperspace confer to a cryptek. To allow things to disembark like normal at 24” and fire full force and to let the strength 8 AP 1 flamer wound on a 2+ instead of vs LD is just too much. It’s the perfect murdering razorblade blender of killing whatever it wants to.
The Death Squad can threaten up to 38” from your side of the board the first turn it shows without the possibility of response. At best something with interceptor may respond, however it still gets to complete its move and dump its troops before you can shoot at the scythe (or arguably the deathmarks) so unless your 4 autocannon shots are super lucky chances are it won’t matter much. The only list I don’t have these guys produce against every time is demons, and only because they have an invulnerable save.
These guys fit into the ‘go second’ mentality. This allows the opponents death stars to get closer to your board edge and deeper in the 38” ‘kill box’. You’re gun line can typically weather the storm; it’s an AV 13 wall. Whittle a few off the death star if you like or bait it hard and fast into your side of the board by making the opponent over confident, then bring in the punch and your opponent will be picking up any squad you tell them too.
Another pro-tip I’ve picked up with these guys is that focus fire is your friend; you can focus fire a squad and the flamers don’t count in. That means you can focus fire the handful in the open with the Deathmark snipers and deny the cover to rends but still have the flamers pour into the entire squad (pg 52) Generally it doesn’t matter because the Abyssal-teks are more than enough to kill the target, but occasionally the I needed the Deathmarks to kill a guy or two. Pretty savvy.
Last thing I want to mention in this part is the over looked storm tek. Dropping two of these from a scythe is just as effective for killing any vehicle now in 6th as the barge lord or logan bomb. Firing 8 haywire grenades into a vehicle is sure to hull point it to death. It’s the Colombian Death Squad of vehicles. I’d play one if there were more av 14 vehicles, but locally there isn’t, so until then, two Columbia Death Squads it is.
And just to sprinkle it in, the chrono-tek is a must for imotehk just to reroll keeping night fight up. No brain buster there, but definitely needed to assure 2-3 even 4 turns of night fight and lightning.
1600 words later and I’ve covered all of….HQ? Maybe this will be a manifesto. Thanks for reading, I’ll keep going until I cover the whole book. If anyone wants to know my experiences with or feelings about a certain unit let me know what you’re curious about and I’ll address it when its force org slot is up. I’d love to hear what people are doing besides Necron Airforce. Until then, keep checking back for the next installment.