Necron Review: Heavy Support: Transcendent C’Tan


Welcome to another Necron codex review brought to you by the one and only, Goatboy.

Today I want to talk about the model that caused most of the initial Escalation trouble and how GW cut him off at the knees a bit when they updated the Necron codex.  This one time ultimate boogie man of 40k was the Transcendent C’Tan! As usual you can read more tactics at Frontline’s Tactic’s Corner.

I remember when Escalation first hit and the dream/nightmare of using some of the big monsters/vehicles/units caused a lot of community backlash.  It was one thing to have broken normal 40k rules but Gargantuan creatures, super heavy vehicles, and crazy Forge World rules would be the end of the competitive scene as we knew it, according to some.  The biggest culprit seemed to be the initial version of the Transcendent C’Tan and its plethora of rules, abilities, and overall table dominating presence.  Lucky for us – the new rules for this Bad Boy are a heck of a lot tamer and while I think some of its old power should have followed it – I am not sad to see the sheer game brekage of this guy dropped to normal levels.


The Transcendent C’Tan still has his uses as he has a lot of interesting rules to help out the Necron Army.  Sure in this day of new Tau it gets hard to invest in Deep Striking options but it might not be bad to bait out some shooting if you do a complete investment into a shock and awe army list.  The C’Tan is a Monstrous Creature with a serious boost in stats with Strength 8, Toughness 7 and 5 wounds.  It also has a 4+ armor save and Invulnerable save.  I wish it just had the Invulnerable save as it would give it some power against Grav weapons.  It’s still faster then the rest of the Necron army with an Initiative of 4 and 4 base attacks.  Its WS and BS both start at 5 which makes him better then a lot of the other ancient warriors.  There are no upgrades for him and his basic attack is a random d6 with a bunch of different abilities.  I think they should have given you the ability to roll 2d6 and pick one for his point cost but I think the initial backlash on him caused this guy to get nerfed pretty hard.


The Transcendent C’Tan comes with the Necrodermis which grants him a 4+ Invulnerable save and makes every model within d6 inches take a Str 4 Ap 1 hit when he dies.  He also has the powers of the C’Tan which you see below.

1 – Antimatter Meteor – 24″ S 8 Ap 3 – Assault 1 Large Blast – This seems ok – just short ranged and not being Ap 2 it won’t kill a rhino.

2 – Cosmic Fire – 24″ S 6 Ap 4 – Assault 1 Large Blast Ignores Cover – This one is decent as well since it ignores cover.

3 – Seismic Assault – 24″ S 6 Ap 4 – Assault 10 Strikedown – You get a rule we never care about but a lot of shots so isn’t terrible.  Should be AP 3.

4 – Sky of Falling Stars – 24″ S 7 AP 4 – Assault 3 Large Blast Barrage – This is a lot better as we all know Barrage can be good to snipe out guys.

5 – Time’s Arrow – 24″ D AP 1 – Assault 1 Precision Shots – It needs to be assault 2 as only having one D shot just won’t be worth it.

6 – Transdimensional Thunder Bolt – 24″ S 9 Ap 1 – Assault 1 Tesla – This one needs to be 3-4 shots to be worth it.  Could be great at popping Rhinos but again just rolling 1d6 to get your powers hurt.

Special Rules:

He gets the mentioned abilities of a Monstrous Creature (Smash, Move Through Cover, Hammer of Wrath, Fear, and Relentless) as well as Eternal Warrior, Fearless, and Deep Strike.  He also has an ability called Writhing Worldscape which has all enemy units treating open ground within 6″ of the C’tan as difficult terrain.  It also doesn’t follow Natural Law which mean it moves over everything and is only prevented from stopping on top of something it can’t be on (enemy or friendly units, Impassable Terrain, etc.).  If only it could move 12 inches, he’d be a monster! As is, he is pretty slow.


This is hard as this unit is just not fielded much in any Necron army.  Its cost is too high to be worth it most of the time and its random nature for offensive abilities just leaves him on the sidelines in most cases.  I think there could be something fun fielding a few of these as a Deep Striking threats but right now they just don’t put out enough offensive power to be worth it.  I think if they cost the same as say a Dreadnought or something along those lines we could see them but right now there are better things to spend your points on. 3 Canoptek Spyders cost less, give you 3 MC’s, and could give you more offensive punch then one C’Tans in melee, plus make more Canoptek Scarabs which are also, quite good. 

I think if they set up some better power mechanic that would let you pick powers or some kind of “make your own” C’Tan, that would have been a lot more interesting then just a random d6 and hope you get what you need.  Plus, the powers do not feel nearly as devastating as say – some of the Tau shooting that not only costs less, but comes attached to a better unit. I made my own personal C’Tan to try and make a big MC army and every time I looked at the rules I just thought – this isn’t worth it.

However, if you do want to use the Transcendant C’Tan, I recommend Deep Striking him in almost all cases unless you find yourself up against an army that will be coming at you, in which case you will want to keep him in your lines for counter assault. When Deep Striking, you want to toss him into the enemy backfield where he can cause maximum disruption. Targeting non-dedicated combat units works great where he can be a big bully and take out support or MSU scoring units. You can take him in a Decurion Detachment in the Star-God auxiliary formaiton which does satisfy the requirement for the Decurion, so that is a possible solid use for him!

You can also explore using him in a Conclave of the Burning One formation from the Mephrit Dynasty in the Shield of Baal Exterminatus book. This is a cool formation that attaches 2 Crypteks to the C’Tan (it can also be used for The Deceiver and The Nighbring C’Tan, also) who give him a 5+ FnP if they’re both alive, a 6+ FnP if one is alive and no save if they both die. The entire unit uses the C’Tan’s Toughness value, and this can be further buffed with the God Shackle relic, which grants the C’Tan +1 Strength and Toughness so long as the Cryptek holding it is alive. Not bad for 10pts! This dramatically increases the C’Tans durability as going up to T8 means many weapons can’t hurt him, and the FnP bonus is–obviously–awesome.

In the end, this is a mid tier unit. It will often die before doing anything useful, but when it has a big game it will be a lot of fun and make a big impact.



11 Responses to “Necron Review: Heavy Support: Transcendent C’Tan”

  1. Avatar
    WestRider December 12, 2015 5:00 am #

    Even just being able to roll for his power before picking a target would be a substantial improvement. The C’tan have always been a cool concept, but GW’s never managed to get the Rules for them dialed in right.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 12, 2015 7:16 am #

      They suffer pretty badly from “foot MC syndrome,” yeah. GW really seems to think that walking MCs are deadly and get into combat, so they set their cost pretty high, but against anyone even vaguely competent they usually just eat Autocannons and die.

      Rolling before choosing your target would help, or alternately having all of the gun profiles be at least marginally useful against targets. Having so many of them being middling strength, middling AP, middling range, and no special abilities to speak of is not at all exciting.

      • Avatar
        westrider December 12, 2015 9:21 am #

        I’m pretty sure no one in GW’s Dev Team or playtesting group has the slightest idea of how to play against an Assault Army/Unit. It’s the only thing I can think of to explain the continual nerfs to Assault over the last 4 Editions, both in core Rules and individual Units.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 12, 2015 9:18 am #

      Yeah, rolling after picking the target is a major bummer.

      • Avatar
        blight December 12, 2015 9:29 am #

        Will also point out the shield of baal campaign item the God Shackle. You can use it in conjunction with any C’tan to grant them +1 S and T for about 10 points. You have to take a SoB detachment and give it to a Cryptek or use a very special formation.
        The formation is two Crypteks and a C’tan of any kind. They form a unit that can’t split up but they give him FNP. They get to use his toughness all the time even in CC. Since it’s a SoB formation you can take the god shackle in it and also regular necron relics for a veil. Also the wordING on the SoB items simply says you can take these wargear items and makes no mention of them being from the relic list so it’s possible to take the shackle and a solar staff.
        I’ve run it with the Nightbringer for pretty great results.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 12, 2015 9:30 am #

          Very good point, will add that to the article.

  2. Avatar
    Punchymango December 12, 2015 11:40 am #

    Terminator armor is not made of matter, apparently. Would also explain why warp talons can “cut through the fabric of reality itself” but still bounce off terminator saves.

  3. Requizen
    Requizen December 12, 2015 10:49 pm #

    C’tan are basically unplayable in this version aside from Nightbringer in a Conclave with a Shackle. And even that was made bad when Eldar came out.

    Not much else to say about these guys.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 13, 2015 10:00 am #

      I wouldn’t go so far as to say unplayable, but most certainly sub-optimal, I will agree with you on that point.

  4. Avatar
    C-Stock December 13, 2015 5:32 pm #

    He’s a fun unit. That’s about all he has going for him. Kinda fun. So I use him when I play my friends with ample beer & pretzels.

  5. Avatar
    Krubarax November 8, 2016 2:34 pm #

    We just had a game, and a situation came up.
    You FIRST select target. THEN roll up what the power does.
    Three of the powers have plast markers.
    Three of the powers do not.

    So what happens if you select a target. Roll up a power with a blast marker, and then have your own models covered by the blast?

    BRB says you can never place a blast marker so tht it touches any part of a friendlt model.
    But you do not even now if you get a blast marker or not (or what type) before you roll the D6 to see what power you get.

    So if you roll 3, 5, 6: there is no problem.
    If you roll 1, 2 or 4 – you suddenly can not use the power?
    Or do you hit your own dudes?
    Or do you have to try all the different blast markers BEFORE you select the target and roll the chart?

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