Killing The Decurion Detachment

necron-warhammer-40-000-28528-1680x1050The Decurion Detachment is a very interesting creation by Games Workshop in the newest Necron’s Codex. I have been playing it for months since the book came out and have played against it in tournaments like the LVO. It is a very powerful detachment that if you don’t play against correctly can robot walk over unwary foes. Lets take a look at this powerful force and what to do if you face it.

The Basics

Essentially the Decurion for those that don’t know is a detachment made up of formations. A “Combi-Formation” if you will. (TM pending ). You take one core Reclamation Legion formation and then can take 1-8 other formations in the Necron Codex. Each one has it own minimum model count and special rule bonuses if you take them. Lets take a look at the most common formations you will see.

Reclamation Legion

This formation consists of 1 HQ unit, 2 Warrior units, 1 Immortal unit, and a 1 Tomb Blade unit. You can add other units like Lychguard and Monoliths, as well as take the wargear and transports associated with those units. You will most likely see Nemsor Zahndrekh, large Warrior squads, probably backed by a Ghost Ark, and maybe 1-2 Night Scythes depending upon the other formations they pick.

The rules this formation gain are Move Through Cover, Relentless, +1 army wide to their Reanimation Protocols, and your vehicles with Living Metal ignore crew Stunned and Shaken. Huge bonuses and I haven’t felt the lack of Objective Secured (ObSec) even in Maelstrom games.

Canoptek Harvest

This consists of one Spyder, one unit of Wraiths and one unit of Scarabs. At the start of the player turn the Spyder can give Fleet, Shred, and Reanimation Protocols to units in this formation within 12”. Wraiths with a 3+ invul, and a 4+ reanimation roll is just brutal.

43201_889513b3dab2eb9c9e2676066da6507dDestroyer Cult

You will see a Destroyer Lord, three units of Destroyers, and maybe some Heavy Destroyers. They get to reroll wounds and armor penetrations. Combined with Preferred enemy makes these guys devastating.

Judicator Battalion

This has one Triarch Stalker and two units of Praetorians. The Stalker gets to nominate a unit it can see and all units from the formation get to reroll To-Hits, Wounds, and Armor Penetrations.

How Decurion Works

The Decurion Detachment works to synergize off of the other formations to create devastating combos with units and tactics. You can take the Destroyer Lord from the Destroyer Cult and add it to a 20 man unit giving them Preferred Enemy. Park a Stalker next to that and they have BS5. Throw Zahndrekh and they are Zealots as well. Ghost Ark behind to keep the mob filled up to the brim. You will see the Canoptek Harvest shooting up into your lines while the troops move behind to wipe up what’s left. Destoryers will be falling from the sky in your rear arcs to take out key transports and force you back into your deployment zone to deal with them.

Top that off with the unrelenting durability of even the most basic troops, what is a general to do against this monstrosity? Let’s take a look at some things that can really put the hurt on the Decurion.

Kill The Metal Monster

The_Reaping_Begins_by_MajesticChickenPsychic Phase

Necrons don’t have a Psychic phase as they don’t have any psykers. The funny thing is they have the “cast a psychic power” in their Maelstrom deck! Sure, they can ally in Psykers, but you will probably rarely see that happening as the only one they can ally with (at least in the ITC) is Chaos Space Marines.

You can really put the hurt on Necrons in the Psychic phase. I recently got to play against The French Overlord’s Last Laugh Harlequin force and it was a sight to behold. Psychic screams and the like coming from all over. He had special characters and units that messed with the strong leadership value of my Necrons and really put the hurt on many units, negating their armor saves. Other powers like Enfeeble, Paroxyism (Tyranids), and Misfortune can put their units in vulnerable positions.

High AP Weaponry

One weakness in the Necron Codes is their lack of high armor saves. Warriors and Flayed ones have a 4+ and Immortals and Tomb Blades have a 3+. There are only a couple of characters that come with a 2+ and you have to get one of the Relics to otherwise add the 2+ to a generic character. If you can negate the armor save, then you have a much better chance of cleaning out more models and grinding them to the dust.

Focus on Synergy Units

In the last codex, most Necron players wanted to go second so that they could dump their flyer contents on objectives on the last turns and win. Now, Decurion players, especially with the Canoptek Harvest, will often want to go first. This is due to the fact that the special rules from the Spyder happen at the start of the controlling players turn. If you can kill that Spyder, then you can really put the hurt on that formation and it will be much easier to do at the start of the turn. Drop Pods, high AP long range shooting, and just weight of fire can do the trick. If they are smart the Spyder will be out of line of sight or at least in cover so take the advantage and peel off as much of the Wraiths and Scarabs as you can. Focus your templates, blasts, and strength 6+ weaponry at the Scarabs as they are Swarms and T3, and focus other fire at the Wraiths to whittle them down.

Other units to focus on would be Stalkers, key Characters like Zahndrekh or Crypteks/Lord with wargear, and Tomb Blades. Small units of Tomb Blades work just like Eldar Jetbikes, giving Necrons back some mobility to an otherwise slow force.

Box and Screen

Use small disposable units to screen the advance of the Necrons and keep your more valuable units safe. Wraiths are harder as they can move through just about anything, but most other units in the Necron force are much slower. If you can screen their movement and keep them from objectives they will be hard pressed to reach them. Throw small units into their Fearless units to tie them up for as long as possible.

You can also work on boxing them into their deployment zone (credit Jy2) by giving them too many threats to choose from. Any thing you can do to limit their mobility will go a long way to keeping them on their back heels.

14863_warhammer_40k_monster_necrons_dark_crusadeLeadership Woes

Necrons have a great Leadership value with an army wide value of 10, but not many ways to become Fearless or Stubborn. Find ways to use this to your advantage. Sweep them in combat, force moral checks, Terrify them, use leadership modifiers. This can wipe units off the board wholesale as Reanimation Protocols doesn’t save you from a failed moral check.


So there you have it, some tools to take on the Decurion! They can be very difficult to manage if you don’t have an idea as to how the army works and what gives it its power. Focus on those key elements and watch it crumble….as long as you are not playing against my Necrons, then forget everything I said!

Any other ideas on how to take down the Decurion? Post your thoughts below!

About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

26 Responses to “Killing The Decurion Detachment”

  1. Hotsauceman1 April 11, 2015 10:31 am #

    Anything with blind works amazingly against the Crons.

    • CaptainA April 11, 2015 11:13 am #

      Great idea!

  2. Davis Centis April 11, 2015 11:47 am #

    Blind is particularly effective against the ‘crons. You also can not, under any circumstance, aim to wipe them out – you absolutely must play to the objectives! I know a lot of people say this is hard when you’re army’s just melting, and it is hard, but it’s the only chance you got. Necron vehicles are probably their weak spot. They need the Ghost Ark and the flyer to move around, so taking them out should be a priority.

    Anytime you attack a squad in close combat, you need to go at it balls-to-the-walls. Throw everything at that unit, because you absolutely MUST kill more than you lose. They can’t lay the hurt back very well, but they lose so little you really do need to break that symmetry. If they break and run, this is the only chance you’ll get at just removing a big brick of them.

    Strength D weapons are great. Competitively speaking, Adlance tends to wreck the Decurion, as unless it’s been tailored to fight Knights, they will literally walk through them. I wish I didn’t have to suggest using Knights to fight a basic codex army.

    Try to goad them into overextending themselves. Almost everything in their army is 24″ range, so if you can dart in and out of the edges of that range, you limit their ability to kill back. If you can use this to force them movement away from objectives, you’ll have a chance.

    But only a chance…

    • Hotsauceman1 April 11, 2015 11:53 am #

      Thats why you should blind the Squad, then them with AP2+ weapons. Yeah, they will get their save, but it doesnt matter.
      Dont Target anything with a save you cant negate. Just Make sure that Their RP is their only chance of surviving.
      This is all speculation. I have had not much time to play, so Yeah.

      • AbusePuppy April 11, 2015 7:13 pm #

        I think focusing on negating armor is a bit of a mistake- they’ll usually get their cover save anyways (unless you’ve got some strong buffs, like a bunch of ML tokens or Perfect Timing going) so turning a 3+ or 4+ into a 4+ or 5+ isn’t going to be terribly impressive overall. Rather, you’re looking to take advantage of their large squad sizes, something a lot of armies don’t feature- things like multiple barrages, large blasts, and Sweeping in combat are exceptionally effective against Decurion because they almost inevitably have very unwieldy unit sizes.

        The range game is also really important, too- with limited mobility (as they can’t really move more than 6″) and a comparatively-short range, many armies can limit the Decurion’s ability to engage them early and draw them into midfield, where melee elements can be more effective.

        • Kartr April 13, 2015 7:47 am #

          I disagree on the barrage weapons. I fired a TFC at a 10 warrior+cryptek unit on Saturday, 22 hits, 19 wounds, 3 dead warriors that the skimmer rebuilt on his turn. Negating armour saves is huge against Necron forces because if you don’t they save half the wounds and half the wounds they failed armour checks on.

          Basilisk’s would be amazing vs New Necron’s as the do a large number of wounds, negate armour and reduce reanimation protocols. Battle cannons would also be great, and I’m thinking plasma cannon devastator squads are suddenly a must have for Space Marines.

          • AbusePuppy April 13, 2015 9:14 am

            >Negating armour saves is huge against Necron forces because if you don’t they save half the wounds and half the wounds they failed armour checks on.

            Do you think you can find a 100pt weapon that will inflict three casualties (after cover saves/RP) on a squad of Necrons average? Because if you can, I would love to start including them in my army. Negating armor won’t mean a lot unless you can also negate cover- and not a lot of weapons will do both without the benefit of some kind of squad buff.

            Minimizing RP (by using S8+ weapons) is usually much easier to manage and can potentially work in sync. Good players aren’t going to leave their squads sitting out of cover very often, at least not on boards that aren’t just Planet Bowling Ball. If you’re fortunate enough to hit them without cover, that’s awesome, but don’t count on it.

            >and I’m thinking plasma cannon devastator squads are suddenly a must have for Space Marines.

            Ahahahaha no. First of all, there’s Gets Hot, a major limitation to both your firepower and survivability. Second, there’s range and positioning (since Devs are completely static.) And last, _they’re not even that good against Necrons_. Do Wraiths care about your AP2? They do not. Do Warriors care about it? Not when they’re in cover they don’t. (Four Cannon shots, even if you get three guys under every blast and never ever miss, is STILL only three dead ‘Crons when they have 5+ cover- and that’s for 30pts more than the Thunderfire.)

          • Kartr Kana April 13, 2015 1:22 pm

            What about static versions of Basilisks? Can’t you get those via Forgeworld? Because if you use those you negate their armor, negate their RP and since it’s not a vehicle you can give it the Ignores Cover order as well.

            5+ Cover is more wounds than 4+ armor, 4+ cover is a wash. Plus you can always be a dick and play 7th ed cover RAW unless the tournament has house ruled cover back to 6th. Then they have to have at least one model 25% or more obscured from the point of impact (on a barrage weapon) in order to get cover, unless they’re in terrain with a dataslate.

            36″ range can cover objectives and even enemy deployment zones with proper placement. Don’t place your objective in cover when going up against Necrons so that they can’t get a cover save for it. Get a Librarian who can take Perfect Timing, now you have Ignores Cover. You have to worry about 1’s but it’s a 1/6 chance for each Marine and a 2/6 to fail the armor save, not really that bad.

            There’s never going to be a perfect option for every threat, barring the Wave Serpent, someone is always going to get a cover save or an armor save or an invul save, so instead of looking for the perfect option we look for the best available. Outside of the short range Magna-melta from Forgeworld Space Marines don’t have any S8 blasts, and the Orbital Bombardment is a 1shot deal on a single HQ option. So Plasma Guns are the best option as they negate armor, can rack up a lot of wounds (especially if they don’t space their models out) and wound on anything but. Perfect? No. Best the Space Marines have? Probably.

        • Samsa April 13, 2015 10:28 am #

          I agree on many points; but when hard pressed (no CC-Guys about to charge…), running instead of shooting is always great 2 get in range…
          Just to give an impression: I played 2 tournaments with Crons recently, 3 games Maelstrom, almost the same list each time. 14th out if 45 and 6th out of 24. I had’nt a single vehicle, “just” the Harvest and many Blades. But a Culexus-Assassin as an ally was just purest gold…

  3. Black Blow Fly April 11, 2015 3:20 pm #

    Great article !!!

    • CaptainA April 11, 2015 3:36 pm #


  4. Julien April 11, 2015 5:15 pm #

    I would add that anything that can drop their toughness is super-valuable. I played my last game against Decurion using a 30k list with a squad of Templars and an attached Forgelord with rad grenades (-1 T) and it worked wonders, powerfist regain their umph against all those T5 units.

  5. Maelstorm April 12, 2015 10:21 am #

    I just ran an 1850 Decurion list with double Destroyer Cult: 2 Destroyer Lords, 22 Destroyers and 6 Heavy Destroyers, very brutal and very efficient – Rerolling 1’s to Hit and rerolling every Wound and Pen, 48 AP3 Gauss shots, 6 AP2 Gauss shots. Adding 5 Tomb Blades with S6 ignores cover small blasts removed scoring troops from cover quickly. This is going to be a tough nut to crack in tournaments….

    • CaptainA April 12, 2015 11:25 am #

      Yeah I played against a Destroyer Cult and Judicator Battalion double formation and it was super close with my Centstar! Praetorians are great!

  6. Jason April 12, 2015 1:50 pm #

    I find the tactics presented here to be very shallow. I main necrons, and some of the stuff I know to be SUPER effective vs us aren’t even mentioned in passing here. You also ignore things like the idea that the Judicator can have 3 stalkers, not just one (thats how I run it), which makes it able to punish anyone who rushes the stalkers.

    • Reecius April 12, 2015 1:58 pm #

      Well, why don’t you share some of the more in depth tactics you feel are lacking? For example, why do you take 3 Stalkers? Simply stating that you do may have meaning to you as you know the why of it, but the rest of us may not see the significance. Any other tactics you have to share, please feel free to do so as it sounds like you have more to share. As of now, it sounds like you are simply casting a stone at CaptainA without much to back it up. That may not be the case though, so I invite you to offer a bit more.

    • CaptainA April 12, 2015 3:17 pm #

      I’m all ears Jason, just trying to get the conversation rolling!

  7. Zombiedon77 April 12, 2015 2:40 pm #

    In my opinion (I primary necrons) Decurion will be second to CAD due to obsec. Durability won’t win you games alone. Yes, a 20man warrior blob led by zhandrehk will be durable but in a game of objectives all it takes is a summed squad of nurglings to contest the objective and deny your durability

    You want a 4+ reanimation protocol, buy a chronomancer.
    You want a formation, pay the points and take one as an ally.

    Of course it’s all list dependent and personal playstyle, just my opinion.

  8. Dash2021 April 12, 2015 2:56 pm #

    Curious to see how easily available Fearless or the like is to the Necrons. My default solution to necrons has always been to sweep them in CC, and shoot wraiths. I typically play eldar, and with the new Harlie dex this has kinda become my answer for everything tbh. I’ve found my Cast of Players never dissapoints with the amount of dmg they put out, especially against enemies that they can sweep.

  9. MikeN April 12, 2015 4:04 pm #

    This made me LOL 😀

    “One weakness in the Necron Codes is their —lack of high armor saves— ”

    NEWSFLASH! Armor 4+ and 3+ is high armor to more then half the armies in 40k. 2+ is godlike. Necron are the toughest most durable force in the game, so whatever weaknesses they might have this certainly isnt one.

    But I do appreciate the article for some general ideas on coping with this psychotic build.

    • CaptainA April 12, 2015 4:39 pm #

      I guess coming from the Centstar arena where everything of mine has a 2+, my glasses are a bit rosy. What you don’t have a 2+? What’s wrong with you!

      My point is that while a 3+ and a 4+ are not bad, there are lots of things in this game right now that cut through that.

      • AbusePuppy April 12, 2015 6:49 pm #

        4+ armor in particular is very lacking compared to 3+; there are a ton of common weapons that cut through 4+ armor (not the least of which being Broadsides) and statisically it works out a lot worse than a 3+ against many things.

        Necrons no longer have easy access to 2+ armor on all their characters, which also makes a big difference. While I wouldn’t call their armor saves WEAK overall, they’re definitely weaker than the 2+s and 3+s that you see a lot of running around- they rely on RP to keep their models going, which is why limiting or negating it with Str8/10 hits is so important.

  10. Leth April 14, 2015 5:38 am #

    I run a combination of shooting and assault and I dont find them too bad. T-Wolves at str 10 solve a lot of problems and having the ability to kill the vehicles at range also removes a lot of synergy(sicaran with tank hunter woohoo!!!)

  11. N.I.B. April 14, 2015 6:14 am #

    Newcrons, in short swept away by Demonkin Flesh Hound spam.

    • CaptainA April 14, 2015 6:22 am #


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