Guest Editorial: Edwin on Doom Scythes and their Failings.

The noble Doom Scythe

Howdy everyone.  So I was thinking, and I decided to talk about something that I feel very strongly about. It is an opinion that I know many people don’t share.  I want to talk about why the Necron Doom Scythe is actually a terrible unit. That is right, I said it. The “power house” flyer of the Necron army is actually pretty bad.  I know it is kind of out their as an idea, but I promise, there is good reason for it.

What Makes a Unit Good

Before, I go into why the Doom Scythe is bad, I want to explain what makes a unit good for me. First, you have to look at all the basic stats and the point value. The best unit in the world isn’t going to be that good if it costs tons of points. You than must have the unit fill a role or purpose. The unit has to have focus or else it will be a waste a lot. Well, after that, you gotta find what makes the unit unique. Something has to separate this unit from every other unit out there. (unless you are space marines) After all of this, I tend to look for how something synergizes with the rest of the army. The best unit will suffer if it doesn’t fit with the list.

For Example, the Heldrake is a good unit for Chaos Space Marine. It is rather expensive, but that can be over looked for the stats. It is a tough and it can bring a lot of pain. It fills a very unique role. It is fast and great at breaking open transports, but more importantly, it takes MeQ type units in cover and burns them to death.  Things like the Aegis Defense Line with Quadgun can make shooting things in cover a difficult task while shooting down flyers. The  Heldrake doesn’t care about either of these aspects as his attacks ignore cover and he has a 5+ inv save so he doesn’t have to evade in order to get a save versus the Quadgun. The focus of the Heldrake is really nice as well especially since he can crack open transports during the movement phase and burn the survivors that pour out of the ruins of their transports. This makes him a great unit for killing infantry even if inside a transport. When it comes to synergy, the Heldrake works well because he is straight kill people. The Chaos Space marine book is really durable, but often has problems killing people. Heldrakes help.  Now time to show why the Doom Scythe fails in almost all of these categories for being a good unit.

Stats and Points

      This is not a good start for the poor Doom Scythe. It isn’t very tough as it pretty much is a rhino with hard to hit added on.  With alot of people taking strength 7 weapons, it can rather randomly be taken out with a sinlge luck snap shot from a plasma gun. and will suffer from any damage result it gets with no save if you want to fire the big Death Ray. Speaking of Death Ray, when it comes to weapons, the only reason you would ever want the Doom Scythe is for the Death Ray. This hurts it because if it has to snap fire (from evading, damage, or moving to far) , than you can’t fire the Death Ray as it doesn’t use a Ballistics Skill to determine if it hits. With it’s only other weapon being a twin linked Tesla Destructor, you have a 50/50 chance of losing it to a weapon destroyed result.  The random range makes it sometimes difficult to hit the target you want to hit with the death ray. You can at least fire it at anything withing 12 inches in any direction which is nice. If priced right, this would be a rather solid unit, but coming in a  good 175 points, This is one glass cannon that suffers from being expensive.

Role and Purpose

      This is also another nail in the Croissant shaped coffin for the Doom Scythe. This is a big one for the Doom Scythe. It is a heavy duty anti vehicle/TeQ weapon in an army that even the most basic infantry can destroy the most powerful vehicle in the game in at least four shots. It isn’t the only low ap weapons in the book, so really the high strength of the Doom Scythe is it’s only boosting factor in this category and this only helps when you are facing a toughness 5 Deathstar unit (Nob bikers and Thunderwolf Cavalry) and heavier vehicles as their are other ways to get a pretty high strength and AP2. To make this unit worse, most targets for the Doom Scythe will have already done quite a bit before the Doom scythe can come in turn 2. For example, most Land Raiders I see are on top of people turn 2 at the latest. If the Necron Player goes second, than the squad inside that vehicle will be out and on top of something before that Doom Scythe even hits the board and even than, the Doom scythe won’t always have a kill on the Land Raider.  Same for the Thunderwolf/Bike oriented Deathstars. It rarely is a one shot kill and because of this, those units will get some hurt where they want to put it. Worse yet, the unit suffers from lack of focus. It has a Tesla Destructor which is primarily designed to kill infantry.  It gives the Doom Scythe something to shoot which gives it options, but you pay for that Tesla Destructor and it rarely will get to shoot at the target you want it to. It also has to shoot at something hit by the Death Ray. It is wasted efficiency. There is an extra purpose for the Doom Scythe besides just killing people. It scares some people. People will try to keep the targets the Doom Scythe wants to shoot away from them. Problem is, the Doom Scythe is a flyer which is often fast enough to get there anyway. Scares some people, but not a lot and it isn’t a role that is unique to the Doom Scythe.


It isn’t. The Night Scythe has all the speed of the Doom Scyhte and is even a transport that doesn’t compete for other Heavy Support slots and has the same infantry/light vehicle killing power for 75 points less while dropping off  Troop choices in places they need to be. A Doomsday Ark has an almost equally strong gun that has greater range as well as can start firing turn 1 instead of having to arrive from reserves and is even a large blast so it can hit clumped up targets extremely hard. It is even tough as while easy to hit, the shielding making the Doomsday ark AV 13 makes it pretty tough. Anything with a gauss weapon can kill the heavy tanks like the Doom Scythe. Necron Warriors can kill the same target as a Doom Scythe and can even get a Ghost ark for durability. You sort of see where I am going with this.


This is what really destroys the Doom Scythe for me. You know what really helps set apart a list of short range, incredibly powerful, dominating fire power? More short ranged, incredibly power, dominate fire power… All kidding aside, the Doom scythe epitomizes of what Necrons do. It is a tank destroying power house in an army that has so many of them that it doesn’t matter. Everything in the codex is tough enough that the Doom Scythe doesn’t get much for being tough.It is fast, but with the Night Scythe as a dedicated transport, the speed of the Doom Scythe doesn’t help it.  It’s range is short, but everything else has a short range as well. Other things do the Doom Scythes job better and cheaper while being more focused on doing that one task rather than not really having much of a focus like the Doom Scythe.

The Verdict


Overall, all of these things just ruin the Doom Scythe for me. I have only ever run a single one and it is mostly for laughs. He has never made his points back and when it does, it just never feels worth it. In any other army, the Doom Scythe would be amazing, but in the Necron army, it isn’t that good. There is also one last thing I want to say on the subject of Doom Scythes. They are not really fun to play against. If your opponents dice are hot, it gets blown outta the sky quickly. If they have cold dice, shooting a single one down can be the most infuriating thing to do in all of Warhammer. It was a bit of a turn off, but since mine doesn’t kill anyone, I learned to not worry about it.  All of these categories above are the nails for the Doom scythe in my eyes. What do yall think? What makes the Doom Scythe good? I would like to hear from yall because There may be something I missed for either better or worse. Thanks for reading and happy gaming everyone.



About Reecius

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

11 Responses to “Guest Editorial: Edwin on Doom Scythes and their Failings.”

  1. mike January 10, 2013 1:10 am

    The only thing I think you missed here is psychology factor… The doom scythe scares the crap out of terminators and tank car parks. That gives the necron player the power to dictate setups and encourage poor decision making. I’ve even seen this from good players. Is the doom scythe likely to go bonkers and ruin your army.. No…. But it does have some potential to.

    • edwin January 10, 2013 2:00 am

      But you know what scares terminators even more than a Death Ray shot? A Doomsday cannon firing first turn to anywhere on the board. S9 AP1 large blast really hurts any squad. Sure , their is a psychology factor, but since the Doom Scythe is a flyer that can get anywhere and usually shoot a Death Ray shot, you can’t really let it dictate action.

      • Darthdiggler January 10, 2013 5:02 am

        A Doomsday Cannon? Really? Isn’t that the gun that can only shoot if it doesn’t move at all? Why would Terminators ever be in LOS of that thing?

        • edwin January 10, 2013 3:32 pm

          Cause you put them in lanes of fire. I run 2 and they sit in fire lanes and shoot anyone who tries to move down said lanes. Also, with a 72 inch range, you don’t need to move.

    • Alex January 10, 2013 10:58 am

      Any good player will take AP2 weapons and blast into account when they put termies or tank car parks in their list. They are prepare for that so not much psychology factor more you force them to go tho with their plan.

  2. Darthdiggler January 10, 2013 5:15 am

    I have to disagree with you on the Doomscythe in almost everything you said. The Doomscythe has one of the longest range guns in all the Necron army. It moves 36″ and fires 12″+ for a 48″+ range gun. This is unique for a codex steeped in 24″ range weapons.

    It is not designed primarily to take down Land Raiders. It’s designed to take down hiding barrage vehicles and tank parking lots. While a unit of immortals can trudge along to get within 24″ to fire gauss at a Chimera/Rhino/Predator/etc.. The Doomscythe can swoop in and target a set of vehicles 48″+ from your deployment zone. It has the real potential to target and destroy 2-3 vehicles in one turn. The Tesla Cannon makes sure the primary target dies – which is light to medium armored vehicles. The rest of the Necron can shoot those same vehicles, but with much shorter ranged weapons.

    The Doomscythe, being a flyer, can avoid fortifications and positional deployment which can give those enemy vehicles cover from your 24″ range gauss shooting.

    The Doomscythe can manuever into position to strike an enemy foot unit at the angle which will cause the highest probability to kill a special/heavy weapon or a character. The immobile Doomsday Cannon can not do that.

    The Doomscythes ability to instantkill Nob Bikers, Thunderwolf Cav, Nurgle Oblits, and any other T5 unit is not to be underestimated. The rest of the Necron army can be designed in such a way as to make a full throttle turn 1 charge by unsupported Thunderwolf Cav a fools errand. This gives the reserved Doomscythe the time it needs to get on board and decimate those high toughness units.

    Finally I can’t stress the psychological factor of facing a Doomscythe enough. Just knowing one will come out is enough to make most players adjust their preferred style of play and overthink a situation. Once outside their comfort level the probability of making mistakes increases greatly and gives the Necron player a higher chance of winning the game without ever firing the Doomscythes weapons.

    • Alex Yuen January 10, 2013 12:28 pm

      I think this post and this response is an good example on what i call “planning in a vacuum”. Might not be a good place to post this tho.

      First i want to define “good player”. he is someone that equal or higher in skills and planning as i am.

      When i building a list, I start by asking questions on how will i deal with xxx units/list/problem/situation. Then I ask “how will a good player deal with my army?” And i put myself in the other end of the table. I don’t care about bad players, by definition, i have higher skill level than he does and i will beat him 100% in a absent of luck.

      For a good player, he already takes all those into account when he build and play his list. We both have counter for each other tricks we are equal until the dice start to roll. So for me there are only 2 ways i can will against a good player. 1. I am lucky and dice favor me. 2. He made bigger mistake aka not playing according to his plan than I did. By definition, lucky happen less than 50% of the time. 50% of the time is call avg. So can’t count on luck. Therefore when i play against a good player i make him exe as many of his counter plan as possible and slow his plan down and in hope he make mistake that I can explore.

      Back to my point on the reply. 1. psychological factor to me mean i make him go tho with his counter plan with me; in this case doomscythes. 2. we exchange army list before hand so when he put his barrage vehicles and tank parking lots or T5 stuff. he did that because that part of his plan and he had counters for me already. So when doomscythes does take out that barrage vehicles is either he plan it or got lucky. Most likely he plan for it and is that what I wanted. IFF that the plan and no other plan that is better than this one; sure take a doomscythes and be a great unit. What Edwin saying is that most likely that not the case. What MY POSITION good/bad unit is that unit useful to me in this army. I NEVER say a unit is good/bad. I only say it is a good/bad unit as part of an army.

      I always find player don’t understand, they are playing against other human being. If you are better than avg then ur w/l ratio is above 50% so whatever you said came true more than 50% of the time because you should win 50%+ in absent of luck (aka long time). But doesn’t mean it will came true if u play only good player. I find on the net there are 2 school. 1 school saying i do xyz with those units and i win games. The other school is saying bring xyz units and force him into abc situation and hope he make a mistake somewhere and I win.

      Off topic.

      For school 1, they build army list what i call “down play list” where you build an army design to beat anyone that not at your level therefore no counter with few your tricks and crush them. When such a list comes across a good player, either lucky wins the day or a lost. Stelek is a good example.

      • Darthdiggler January 12, 2013 5:03 am

        Sorry Alex. I ran this response through Google translater and I still don’t understand half of it. Oh well. I think your are disagreeing with me. That’s fine.

  3. David Key January 10, 2013 8:44 am

    I think everyone missed the biggest advantage here…. a delicious buttery breakfast treat! I like mine with bacon and tomato slices.

    • Reecius
      Reecius January 10, 2013 12:29 pm

      I enjoy mine with some smoked salmon and capers! =)

  4. jy2
    jy2 January 11, 2013 12:40 am

    I’m hungry.