The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Necron Codex Review part 4 of 4: Lords of War and Formations


Hey everyone, Reecius here with the 4th and final installment in the Necron Codex review series! As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

Sorry this one is so late, with the LVO and moving, I got way behind my normal schedule. But, as they say: better late than never! Plus, I have now had a chance to play with and against the crons a few times now, so I feel this review will be the better for it.

Let’s get to it!


The Good

Tesseract Vault

What’s not to like? A 14/14/14 9HP vehicle that reigns death down on the enemy and then explodes spectacularly, hopefully while in their lines? Yes please! For 550pts, this is a really solid LoW. It is durable and has a lot of firepower with the upgunned C’Tan powers and 4 Tesla Spheres. Living metal is icing on the cake. The only downside is the random nature of the C’Tan powers and the fact that you measure LoS from the C’Tan model itself, you could cut off LoS with your own model, so be careful when positioning it. I think that while you won’t see this guy a ton due to its points cost, it is a solid unit.

Decurion Detachment

This is a formation of formations that caused a lot of concern prior to it coming out. Rumors indicated it was a way to play “fluffy” Necrons which is true as it enables you to have a walking Phalanx of the metallic undead….but it also makes for absolutely brutal lists, too! My only complaint about it, really, is that I feel the majority of Necron players you go up against in a tournament setting will be using this. But, that is no big deal in the big picture as this is a fun way to play.

All that said, what it is a way to play Necrons that makes them extremely durable with +1 to RP, which is incredible. You have to take a Reclamation Legion Formation but from there can do a ton of different stuff. You can add in any of the other Formations in the book, or add in auxiliary units such as Flayed Ones, Deathmarks, or a C’Tan. A really nasty combo I played against was 20 Flayed ones in this detachment + Zahndrekh who gives them Zealot. The unit was mega durable due to the improved RP, and had 100 reroll to hit and wound, AP5 attacks on the charge: Holy crap! It was brutal on a unit that is also Fearless. I am a big fan of these style detachments as they are flexible, fluffy but still powerful. You really can’t ask for much more than that. Well done GW!

Reclamation Legion

This formation is solid on its own as it gives some really killer benefits (better than ObSec, though? Not sold on that, but still great). It consists of 1 Overlord (which can be substituted for an Overlord named character or Command Barge), 2-8 units of Warriors, 1-4 units of Immortals, 0-2 Lychguard, 1-3 units of Tomb Blades and 0-3 Monoliths. The Formation grants you MtC and Relentless and all units with RP within 12” of the Overlord get to reroll RP rolls of 1. Wow, that is awesome! So, you get a core of solid troop units, that become very durable (typically a 4+RP with rerolls of 1), and Relentless which allows you to double tap and then charge if you want, plus MtC which is awesome for the Tomb Blades and attached vehicles such as the Monolith or any Ghost Arks you take for the Warriors. I good choice for the Overlord is to take Zhandrekh, who comes with Zealot as his Warlord trait. Stick him in a 20 strong unit of Warriors backed by a Ghost Ark, giving them Fearless+Hatred on a mega durable unit that has turbo-charged RP plus the Ghost Ark brings them back to life. Savage! Zanhdrekh+Lychguard is also incredible. This formation will be the core of many Necron armies.

Judicator Battalion

This formation consists of 2 units of Triarch Praetorians and a unit of Triarch Stalkers. These are all good units, already, and in this formation they gain MtC which rocks for Jump Infantry like Praetorians, and an enemy unit in LoS of the Stalkers gets hit with Target Designated, which gives all models in the formation the ability to reroll to hit, wound and armor pen rolls for that shooting phase. This plus the solid ability of Praetorians in melee, bonuses from the Decruion Detachment and the Stalker buffs makes for a really solid formation and the only reason you won’t see it more often is because everyone will be taking Wraiths!

Destroyer Cult

I have grown to really dig this formation. It consists of 1 Destroyer Lord, 3 units of 3+ Destroyers and 0-1 unit of Heavy Destroyers. These are all good units on their own, but in the Formation they all gain MtC, which is awesome for Jet Pack Infantry, but the secret sauce is the ability for all models in the formation to reroll to wound and armor pen rolls! That is really good, especially considering they already have Preferred Enemy. This formations gives you a ton of mobile, effective firepower.

necron night scythe 2

Deathbringer Flight

This is not a spectacular formation, but solid. It consists of 2-4 Doom Scythes. The formation bonuses are: +2 BS to every Doom Scythe that fires on the same target another Doom Scythe in the formation fired on and enemy models within 12” of at least 2 of the formation’s Doom Scythes get -1 ld. That makes firing on the same target super accurate for the second Scythe which helps a lot to get a hit with the powerful Death Ray. Mainly though, this gives an option for solid AA in a Decurion detachment, but is good on its own, too.

Canoptek Harvest

This is an incredibly good formation. It consists of 1 Canoptek Spyder (and yes, that is a single Spyder, not a unit of them), a unit of Canoptek Wraiths and a unit of Canoptek Scarabs. They all gain Relentless and MtC…and, wait for it, the Spyder can choose to give all units in this formation within 12” of it, Fleet, RP, or Shred for a game turn. Good lawd! That is nuts. Wraiths are already brutally tough, this takes it to an extreme. With a 3++ followed by a 5+ or 4+ RP, at T5 with 2W….good luck! MtC is just icing on the cake. The RP also makes that singular Spyder twice as hard to kill and makes the Scarabs really tough, too, as RP works even with ID attacks. This is a formation that will be in a LOT of Necron lists, particularly in Decurion lists. If you go first against this, and can draw LoS to that Spyder…kill it! Kill it with fire! Don’t let them get juiced up or it is very hard to stop.

Royal Court

Another solid formation. This gives you 1 Necron Overlord (which can sub out for a named Overlord character or CCB), 1-3 Necron Lords (which can sub out for Obyron), and 1-3 Cyrpteks (which can sub out for named Cyrptek Characters). They also gain relentless and MtC because hey, why not? This gives you extra HQ slots+benefits. Obviously, this helps a ton if your list needs that, and it allows you to gain access to models such as Orkian, Obyron, or Szeras in your Decurion Detachment which can be extremely useful.

the bad

The Bad


Ye Old Stormlord is just not what he used to be. Now, let me preface that saying on his own, he isn’t bad. He has a lot of cool utility, and is durable, but is a bit pricey and doesn’t have much offense. Plus, he comes in the LoW slot which means you have to take an HQ. That alone is why you will rarely see him as the actual HQ choices are better for less points. That said, if you do want to take him, you won’t be upset about it. His Hyperlogical Strategist is pretty dang good, allowing you to add or subtract 1 to reserve and the seize roll. He also allows Flayed Ones to reroll the deep strike. That is really solid in an army that uses lots of reserves. He also always triggers Night FIght turn 1, which is good in a list built with that in mind (again, favoring a reserves heavy army). He also is a tough nut, with RP, IWND, 2+ and 4++. However, his offense is pretty meh at best. He has a flamer, and a Str 6, Ap2, Assault 3 gun (which in and of itself is solid, but not at his price point). If he had some sort of melee power, he’d be a good all rounder, but he doesn’t, and he is neither fearless nor stubborn, so he is very susceptible to being run down if caught in melee. For all these reasons, you will rarely see Imotekh on the table.

Living Tomb

This formation is a bit clunky and doesn’t really provide much utility at a high price points. It consists of 1 Obelisk and 0-2 Monoliths. All models in the formation must Deep Strike, the Obeslisk automatically comes in turn 2. Monoliths that come in within 12” of the Obelsik don’t scatter. Necron units that are Infantry or Jump Infantry that are in reserves can then move out of the Eternity Gates of the Monoliths. So, if it works, you get a sort of Russian Doll effect where the Obelisk comes in, then Monoliths, then Infantry…but it all hinges on the Monoliths coming in on turn 2, lol. Meh. Expensive, unreliable, not much utility, comprised of not the best units. I’d pass.


The Ugly


This is an interesting unit and one I would love to love, but it has some really poorly written rules. In general terms, it is an AV14/14/14 6HP vehicle that has decent firepower with 4 Tesla Spheres and is really cheap for what you get at 300pts. However, it’s big, cool power, the Gravity Pulse, is worded in such a way that it doesn’t actually do what it clearly (IMO) was meant to do. It forces Difficult Terrain checks on FMCs and Flyers…but all MCs have MtC, which means they auto pass these tests…lol! For the ITC, we voted that it does work on FMCs if they roll a 1 despite MtC, as if that was not the intent, why go to the bother of specifying that they take the test? At any rate, per RAW, it doesn’t do what it says it does, but it depends on your local groups house rules as to how that goes down. Regardless, it is a nice deterrent to flyers as with an 18” radius off of a big model, it covers most of the table. It won’t work all of the time, but it can be really nasty when it does. Otherwise, the unit can start the game in defense mode wherein it has a 3++ which is nice if you find yourself going second. Not a bad unit, it is cheap as chips after all, but not great.

Annihilation Nexus

This Formation consists of 2 Anni Barges and a Doomsday Ark. The bonus is that if the Doomsday Ark loses its Quantum Shielding, an Annihilation Barge within 6” can give it back by sacrificing its shielding. Nothing special here. The Formation is comprised of decent units that you may want to use in your Decurion Detachment which is why it is not in the bad category for me, but it definitely flirts with bad.

And there you have it! The Necron codex kicks serious butt, GW did a great job. My only complaints are that Wraiths are a bit too good, the Monolith actually got worse, and some of the formations are just a hair too good and will be very common. In all though, this is a really great book and I can only hope future codex offerings have as much character, variety, and fluffy, powerful builds to offer as this one does.


About Reecius

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

52 Responses to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Necron Codex Review part 4 of 4: Lords of War and Formations”

  1. Black Blow Fly March 13, 2015 3:26 am #

    Great review… Thanks !

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 11:55 am #

      Glad you liked it!

      • Requizen March 13, 2015 12:50 pm #

        Do you think that people will take the Decurion in tournaments? Hard to kill is nice, but then you have issues with not having ObSec.

        • dr.insanotron March 13, 2015 1:16 pm #

          Oh hell yeah you will see the Decurion. Obsec isnt as be a deal in a format that has end of game objectives like Frontlines primary’s

          • Requizen March 13, 2015 1:33 pm

            ObSec is a huge difference in end of game objectives, especially for Necrons. When you have an ObSec unit of Immortals in a Night Scythe that you can drop onto an objective on turn 5, that can win the game. If you went first, they have to completely kill them off, or bring an ObSec of their own. If you went second, then the game ends and you just overrode whatever they had sitting on it.

            ObSec is the difference between needing to obliterate a unit off an objective or just to be there at the same time.

          • dr.insanotron March 13, 2015 1:42 pm

            You would do your self a big favor to forget the way you played Necrons last book. End game oblectives is a game of attrition and new Necrons are amazing at it

          • Masos March 13, 2015 4:48 pm

            I agree with Requizen on this 100 percent. Obsec is huge at contesting and end game pick up.

            Just two days ago i had a lonely necron warrior steal an objective end of turn 6 between two riptides!!!!! haha using BAO scenarios

          • dr.insanotron March 13, 2015 5:56 pm

            I never said Obsec wasnt good. But look at the army that won LVO basically had no Obsec units. If I have a 15 man warrior unit it doesnt matter if you have Obsec because you wont kill me and thus never get with in 3″ of the objective. As I said Obsec is more powerful in maelstrom and less powerful vs survivability in end game missions.

            The question that was asked was will Decurion be played over Cad and the answer is 100% yes. unless the event is 100% maelstrom

          • dr.insanotron March 13, 2015 6:08 pm

            It will also have to do with the type of list you play. for exp. a Illuminar list doesn’t really care about being a Decurion detachment

  2. RexMex March 13, 2015 4:05 am #

    GW did a great job with this codex. It appears well thought out as there are few units that you would never take.

  3. Bob March 13, 2015 5:07 am #

    No Eternal Warrior on The Stormlord is just a joke…

    • Arrias March 13, 2015 5:39 am #

      I think my Swarmlord has a support group he can join.

      • Darkwynn March 13, 2015 9:11 am #

        yeah along with Helbricht… Fleet Chapter master who doesn’t have orbital bombardment

      • Reecius March 13, 2015 9:51 am #

        Lol, Kharn is already there, on the 7th step of 12, haha.

  4. Blacksunshine March 13, 2015 6:09 am #

    The canoptek harvest states 1 spyder, and if you are allowed to purchased upgrades under the opions. Then you are allowed to purchased two more spyder. Plus there a no restrictions under this formation.

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 11:28 am #

      You are free to read how you want to, of course, but all the major events ruled it as being a single Spyder.

      • dr.insanotron March 13, 2015 1:18 pm #

        Yeah its a pretty dead give away when the other 2 units in the formation specifically says unit of spider/scarabs

        • Reecius March 13, 2015 1:25 pm #

          Yeah, I think the intent is crystal clear on this one.

  5. Bob March 13, 2015 6:32 am #

    The living tomb sounds awesome if you can get something for better reserve rolls like a warlord the Stormlords warlord trait (or just get the one who can change every turn). Though the biggest problem i see is that the obelisk Scatters normally which is stupid if he mishappens. Also yeha well the Monolith not beeing able to shoot all its weapons at full BS is also bad. But well could be some funny builds when the obelisk would be pinpoint.

  6. Will Grant March 13, 2015 6:50 am #

    Is it the poor rule wording that sunk the Obelisk to the ugly?

    For the points I would prefer it to the vault, as paying nearly double the price does not yield 24″ Ctan powers and 3 more HP IMO.

    I believe you can take it without a monolith in the Decurion to add some resilient Dakka to your Canoptek Harvest spam.

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 3:23 pm #

      Yeah, you can take it with no Monolith, but it has to deep strike.

      It is a really good value for the points, but it doesn’t hit that hard unless you find yourself playing lots of flyers. Even vs. FMCs, if you play it that they take the test and don’t auto-pass, the odds of it hurting them or grounding them is very low.

      • CaptainA March 14, 2015 6:38 am #

        I’m actually pretty interested in fooling around with the Obelisk. In game two of the LVO, an Obelisk smoked a Dreadknight in one turn of shooting and nearly killed another the second round. He was able to get three of those orbs in arc and was doing 15 S7 Tesla shots! Pretty neat with all those extra tesla hits.

        • Dr.insanotron March 14, 2015 8:41 am #

          What is the firing arc of one of the orbs?

  7. D-ManA March 13, 2015 7:07 am #

    How about this combo. A lychguard unit from the reclamation legion with shield and sword (or warscythes if you want), The overlord or whoever you substitute, and Orikan the Diviner. You have a unit that has a 3+ save reroll 1s and 4+ RP with reroll 1s. A lot of points but hard to kill

    • Requizen March 13, 2015 7:39 am #

      Orikanstar is legit and well known to a lot of Necron players by now. However, it does get pricey (depending on the number of Shieldguard and how many characters you throw in it), has no ranged power, and is just a slow unit altogether (regular infantry moves unless you put them in a Scythe or give them a Deep Strike option).

      On the plus side, it’s all but impossible to kill and will chop the hell out of most things in Assault, so you can weigh that the way you want. I think it’s great, but problematic.

      Most Deathstars you see have the distinct ability to either jump across the board with some sort of Deep Strike (Gate of Infinity, for example, or Webway Portal), or have a 12″ move (Screamerstar and Wolfstar). Lacking this, I don’t know if Orikanstar can really stand up on it’s own, though it does make a lovely deterrent and “wall” for your shooting units.

      • AbusePuppy March 13, 2015 9:58 pm #

        I think the “right” build for it is 10 Lychguard with Shields, Orikan, and Obyron- Oby can tank with his 2+ save (at least for a bit), has a Warscythe (so you don’t just get stuck against a Knight bopping it ineffectually), and lets the unit teleport across the field once. It’s a bit situational, but potentially useable.

    • Dr.insanotron March 14, 2015 8:43 am #

      If you go with the war scythes on them you don’t really need The Lord and the unit is no longer that expensive. 250 for the guard and 120 for orikan

  8. Requizen March 13, 2015 7:45 am #

    The only issue I have with the Necron codex is that there’s too many good things and when I write a list, I don’t know what to take haha.

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 11:30 am #

      Lol, good problem to have!

    • GV March 13, 2015 11:58 am #

      If only ALL the codexes were written this way – and there really is no reason they ALL should not be.

    • Jural March 13, 2015 3:20 pm #

      Same problem my ‘Nids have. Do I choose a Hive Tyrant or a… Errm, or 6? Can I fit 7 in…

      The similarities seem to have been overrated by this author

      • Reecius March 13, 2015 3:23 pm #

        I’m going to play Flyrant-less Nids just to prove a point, lol!

        • AbusePuppy March 13, 2015 9:58 pm #

          Yes, but are you going WIN with Flyrantless Nids? Because that’s a much harder proposition.

          • Reecius March 14, 2015 8:49 am

            Maybe! lol

  9. Ghost Valley March 13, 2015 10:42 am #

    I love the Good, Bad, and Ugly format, Reece. Thanks for doing these. Big help for me as I have been thinking about starting some ‘crons.

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 11:54 am #

      Very glad to hear that you enjoy them =)

  10. Hollismason March 13, 2015 12:21 pm #

    Zandrekh is a great add to the Flayed Ones, but it should be mentioned that with the new wording and FAQ on Infiltrators he can’t join them during deployment so it would have to be during your movement phase which can be problematic if you don’t go first.

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 12:27 pm #

      Yup, true story. I have been seeing folks walk him into their unit on turn 1, but it does leave them slightly vulnerable before he joins them if you can hit them with a leadership based attack of some sort.

      • Requizen March 13, 2015 12:49 pm #

        Not to mention that if you start them somewhere he can join them, they then have to slog all the way across the battleground. Not a pleasant journey, really only a tactic if you’re using them as backline defense.

        • Reecius March 13, 2015 1:27 pm #

          Ah, I am not so certain. I played a Decurion Cron army in Hammer and Anvil, and he conga lined the Flayed ones back to his line, Zan joins and the were in assault by turn 2. They’re hard as hell to kill, too, particularly with cover. I wiped them, but it cost me a powerful unit of my own.

          • Requizen March 13, 2015 1:34 pm

            Must have been a big unit to line back that far. I guess it really depends on deployments and if the opponent kites away from it or not.

          • Reecius March 13, 2015 1:42 pm

            Yeah, it was a full 20.

  11. Siphen March 13, 2015 4:10 pm #

    Thanks for the great review, Reece! Out of curiosity, how do you interpret the Canoptek Harvest benefits from the Spyder? Do the Wraiths/Scarabs immediately lose Reanimation Protocols if the Spyder is killed (or moves out of range)? Or does the Spyder give the buffs at the start of the turn, which stick around no matter what?

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 4:53 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it! I read it as lasting the turn regardless if the spyder lives or not.

      • CaptainA March 13, 2015 6:33 pm #

        I love you.

  12. dr.insanotron March 13, 2015 6:00 pm #

    So here is a question for you Reece. Since you guys separate out a Ally detachment from a CAD and make it its own thing does it still get OBSEC even if taken with a codex specific detachment ?

    • Reecius March 13, 2015 6:24 pm #

      Yeah, one of the command benefits of an AD is ObSec.

  13. Chris March 13, 2015 10:02 pm #

    The Destroyer Cult is a real gem (my friends already hate it to death). I’m looking at doing No Vehicle Necrons, with a Reclamation legion packing 40-odd warriors,, the minimum of immortals Zandrekh, a LOT of Tom Blades (2-3 squads totalling 15 or so) and the Destroyer Cult with 9 destroyers 3 hevy destroyers and a lord. That’s about 1750 give or take…..I’m liking the imagery of skimming pew pew robots all over the board!

  14. Nathan March 17, 2015 4:37 am #

    I always get a lot of good advice from these reviews. After getting my butt whooped by the new canoptek scarab farm at Crucible Orlando I decided I’d give the Necrons a whirl (Necrons won the GT there too, I think a basic CAD and the destroyer cult formation). But they do seem to lack lots of ranged firepower aside from ctans or a couple vehicles. But their crazy RP durability will mitigate that, plus their beasties are fast.

    Nice thing is they can ally with my CSM conveniently so I can alpha strike with Dreadclaw obliterators and summon daemons in there face, and then bring in the wraiths and/or destroyers. I feel they can hate everything equally as well as my Sons of Malice

  15. Blacksunshine78 March 17, 2015 6:17 am #

    I still believe in the scarabs farming list. I had 10 spyders 12 Wraiths and 2 units of scarabs flooding the board. My list did ever well at Crucbile, even though it was the first time using this list.

  16. Honestly Buttburned March 28, 2015 12:32 pm #

    Is there any other “good way” to defeat Orikan/Obryon/SordnBord-star that doesn’t require fielding allied Lightning Claw Terminators or hoping they’re in a flyer that can crash to death with them in it.

    I’ve been running tests with maximum drone crisis squads and broadside suit squads separately and have been only able to kill 3 lychguard at maximum.

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