40K Necron Tactica: Of Gimmicks, Robots and Land Slides

A guest article by Edwin on running a gimmick Necron list.

I have played a gimmick list. My necrons over 1500 points are a gimmick list even to this day. When  resorting to my favorite list, I go with my angry earth (Tremorstave Crons).  The Internet hates this idea. No matter what gimmick you pick, they find the idea insulting.  They don’t consider anything about the list and go straight for the gimmick. They focus on that fact so intensely that they refuse to give merit to any other aspect of the list. Today, I am going to give yall some examples of how to build a gimmick list and have it be a good solid list while boggling the minds of those you play by showing them a dimension of gimmick armies that most people don’t consider.  Here is the list that I will be talking about today.

Angry Earth!



Overlord: warscythe, mind shackle scarabs, semp weave, phase shifter in Command barge

Orikan the diviner

3 Harbingers of Transmogrification


Ctan shard: writhing world scape, Gaze of death


7 warriors: ghost ark

7 warriors: ghost ark

7 warriors: ghost ark

Heavy Support

doomsday ark

doomsday ark


The gimmick of this list is simple. You put people into terrain and when they move, they take dangerous terrain tests. Certain units have to test even if they don’t move. Skimmers for example must test even if they sit still. Lets run through the pros of this list.

I love you Google


  • Fully mechanized– Can be a fast force when you need it and that is a very important aspect of how this list plays. On top of that, it is a tough av 13 wall that can do damage at range. Stay out of meltagun range and you will be fine. Keeping people away is a specialty of this list.
  • Gauss fire– With 5 vehicles that can broadside people and 21 Gauss flayers a turn, they ability to stun vehicles and kill hordes are incredible. Each ghost ark can pump out 17 Gauss flayers a turn firing out.
  • Just enough random to be consistent-Certain elements of the list either force randomness onto your opponent  or have something that becomes amazing out of no where and that often plans can fall apart because of this simply when they try to happen . Sometimes, you try to do something and the randomness of it all stops you. Good stories happen when things start getting crazy and often can demoralize an opponent if things start to pile up. That alone beats certain opponents.
  • Forced planning-With so much chance for mobility limitation, people have to devote to their plans early or risk not having a plan come to fruition. Its amazing how far an objective seems when you have everything working against you.
  • Tough solid close combat units– Shooting withers people, assault kills units. In the current edition, marines rarely all die to shooting. You have to get someone in there that can lock down elements of an opponents army. Ctan, overlord, and sometimes orikan are just nasty when they charge into a unit not built for assault. The ctan has toughness 7, with a 4++, the overlord has decently high toughness and an assault terminator save, and orikan can become toughness 7 and always has a 3++ save.
  • Pouncing on objectives– This list is about keeping your options open and forcing you opponent to commit. Once that happens, you can jump at the objectives and weak points that your opponent has left wide open.
  • Surprising guns- There are surprising amount of odds and ends in this list. Most people don’t know that orikan the diviner has a 3 plus invulnerable save. A lot of people don’t know that doomsday arks can fire their gauss flayers with their doomsday cannon. Orikan has a transdeminsional beamer. No one expects a 2+/3++ save on the overlord. Few people expect doomsday cannons to reach a massive distance across the table.
  • Dawn of War– I didn’t mean for this to be a bonus, but when dawn of war deployment happens, we usually roll a new deployment type. Orikan is a surprising aspect. Vehicles that immobilize themselves when coming onto the board are destroyed because they can’t deploy. If a unit can’t fully get its base onto the board it dies. Its more annoying then anything. We did it once and half the army just died.
I hate you Google


  • Gotta move-Some armies don’t move. This can be a problem when you don’t get to use any of those nice movement manipulation aspects. The bright side is that shooting rarely completely destroys. Shooting withers people, assault kills units. Necrons are incredibly hard to shoot off the board. Also, if my ghost arks get blown up, they provide cover for anyone in the wreckage. I can turtle well, but it turns into a really boring game.
  • Not broken so much as tedious-This list often gets tedious to play. Dangerous terrain checks are done on a model level and not unit. If a meltagun walks into dangerous terrain alone, it can kill him. I have played the extreme aspect of this con in playing grey knight terminators with wound allocation. Games that took an hour were doubling that in time.  It also can be really frustrating to people to have 7 assault marines be fine while both meltagunners get their faces chewed off. It is demoralizing even if you aren’t trying to be. while that beats certain opponents, it just makes others annoyed even if you don’t mean to.
  • Not enough killy-sometimes the list can’t kill enough. It plays like a massive shield often. When it gets down and dirty, sometimes you don’t kill people. I have had the overlord go toe to toe with Uriah Jacobson and his battle coven of 3 crusaders and 2 death cult on turn 2 and at the end of the game, they are still punching each other in the face. If they are standing on the objective contesting, then all is well. If the unit isn’t doing anything important, then that can be a waste
  • Plan heavy– Make a plan. Remember this and try to stick to it. “Be polite. Be efficient. Have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”-The Sniper. It is a very skill heavy list. You have to sit down and come up with a plan right then and there or else you risk everything. Everything must happen for a reason.
  • The Most Important Rule– Don’t let the gimmick ruin the fun of everything. In my area, this list has steamrolled people. I tabled my first opponent with this list. He practically gave up turn 3. He played a blood rodeo list versus this. It was my first time playing and  wrecked him to both of our surprise.  You gotta be social and nice. Even being a nice and fun person , this list still may not win you any friends. For us, this list got us joking about land sharks and random rocks biting the faces off marines.We generally cut up when things got bad sometimes. It helps ease the going when the going gets tough.

With all that out of the way, now I will tell you the key to making  this gimmick list. You have to write a list that plays completely without the gimmick. Each element this gimmick lists pulls its own weight.  Every single unit does what it does without any other units on the board. I didn’t include a ctan so that I could throw Writhing world scape on it. I had a ctan with gaze of death and needed a second power. I took writhing world scape. I didn’t buy orikan the diviner for his  temporal snares ability. I bought him because I love him as a character and he is brutally tough and a ticking time bomb. Assaulting him out of an open top transport while the unit inside fires in all directions is an amazing sight to behold.  I didn’t buy the overlord to gain access to the crypteks. I bought him so that he could fly around the board and cause mayhem and destruction where ever he goes. I don’t run the transmogrification crpyteks to interact with Writhing world scape. I bought them for their potential to slow people down while Gauss fire withers people.

Here is the example that I have to show how the list works. The last time this list played it played against a scarab farm list. Here is the list

At one point, there were 40 scarabs on the board



2xdestroyer lords- semp weave, void blades (cheap tough power weapons)


2×10 warriors (troops)

Fast Attack

2×6 wraiths-whip coils (pressure units)

10 scarabs (the seeds)


3×3 tomb spyders- particle casters (the farmers and lay down anti horde)

There was a rules mess up. My opponent claimed that the scarabs, spyders, lords, and wraiths weren’t effected by terrain.  On top of that, they wanted to play on annihilation and pitched battle. I was going to correct them when I remembered what I had told many people who encountered this list. I decided to go with the flow and not use even difficult terrain for them. The game was nasty, at 2000 points, I through in an extra doomsday ark and some other stuff since it was all I had with me. Orikan was an amazing tar pit for wraiths. He killed a destroyer lord before powering down. He then lasted an entire turn because of his surprising 3++ save. My overlord moved flat out towards his warriors claiming one squad by turn 3. The massive scarab army claimed a ghost ark and doomsday ark before being left in the open and taking 2 doomsday cannon shots.They caused 20 wounds before doubling out. We had another rules mess up. Instead of killing 2 bases a wound (vulnerable to templates causes 2 wounds for every one and each one instant deaths a base. 20 wounds kills 40 bases), they only take 20 thinking that it instant deaths before it double wounds letting 10 bases live where they all should die I didn’t find out till after the turn what happened, but I didn’t care enough to say something. A unit of wraiths die to massive Gauss fire and a ctan charge. game is called at turn three because opponent has to leave.

Positions and future turns? Two ghost arks and their warriors are untouched on the right side of the board. Same thing for a doomsday ark setting up its shot to murder the last 10 scarab bases who bunched up to kill the second doomsday ark. The contents of a dead ghost ark and a random 5 man warrior squad are over on the right board edge with all of his left over wraiths and a single D. lord on the far left side. The ctan with almost all his wounds about to assault one unit of spyders. All 3 spyder groups are clumped together. The unwounded overlord is about to assault his second warrior squad.  It was pretty much tied in kill points up to turn 3, but my opponents killing power was completely neutered due to range and being outclassed and was about to die. My entire army was ready to deliver a death blow to my opponents entire army. It was the moment that all of my plans had been coming too. Then my opponent wasn’t feeling well and had to leave. Little bit of a let down, but as a nice guy, I won’t keep someone there who doesn’t want to be. I feel overall that I won the game and I felt proven in my point.

Whats the point? You must write a gimmick list that doesn’t need its gimmick. It takes time, patience, and skill to write a list that truly functions this way, but if it is how you want to play, go for it. I love my list and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Its amazing in how it works. You just have to see it play to believe it. Thanks for sticking with me this long and I hope you enjoyed the article.

Happy gaming yall.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!
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10 years ago

I love the article name

10 years ago

I love gimmick lists! Wraiths do ignore difficult and pass dangerous but I can’t believe he argued lords scarabs and spiders ignore terrain. Destroyer lords are jump infantry and do not ignore difficult terrain if landing in it so I’m guessing it was a new gamer?

A few more questions though. If orikan assaulted the destroyer lord and wraiths wouldn’t he strike last due to lash coils? Also how are you getting 21 gauss flayer shots per turn? The unit inside the vehicle counts as moving if the vehicle moves if I remember correctly since you don’t use phaeron upgrades. Rapid fire weapons on vehicles are always counted as stationary when moving? I need to look into that.

10 years ago
Reply to  Defeatmyarmy

So turns out you get full range for vehicles firing their weapons, however the units count as moving if the vehicle moves, so would only have a 12″ shot. I would strongly recommend droppijng everything on your overlord but the warscythe and get a res orb and get a pulse tek. If you go flat out and then the vehicle gets immobilised/destroyed the destroyer lord dies and has to make his ever living roll. The res orb will make his chances of standing up 50/50 instead of a 33% chance.

10 years ago

Wasn’t a new gamer at all, just someone stuck to the idea. Also, the 21 Gauss flayers are the total a turn was for when the warriors get into rapid fire range or sit still and fire which they do almost all the time. The combat with orikan saw him strike last, but since he has a 3++ save and toughness 7 when empowered, when with a mass of str six, they didn’t get a single wound through on him. he died when he powered down, but he still claimed his kill point. Would have claimed another if the other destroyer lord would have moved into base to base with him instead of wraiths

10 years ago

You have a great list there, I fought against a similar list at my local game store and was able to pull out a draw (i was very thankful to get that) . I wonder if the new edition will make this list better with the rumors about the rapid fire weapons.

10 years ago

Your list seems really nice. I see where an immobile would hit you hard, and I feel that you are relying on the terrain to take care of the majority of vehicles. However, I feel like it’s a good list to mess someone up with. Just remind me not to take my ‘Nids or Daemons against ya 😛

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