Necron Review: Heavy Support: Annihilation Barge


Hello, all of the wargaming boys and girls of internet land! Scuba Steve here to walk you through another Necron Review. Today, we are going to be talking about the Annihilation Barge and how you can use it to wreck face on the table top. As always, for more tactics articles, be sure to check out the Tactics Corner!

necron annihilation barges

Sweet, Sweet Annihilation

Alright, let’s get right into this thing, the Annihilation Barge is a swanky little skimmer with a whole lot of attitude; for its point cost it packs a lot of punch and and has a surprising amount of endurance. You don’t see them on the table too often (which is a damn shame), so let’s make to collective decision to get these bad boys on the table! Before any models hit the table, it is good to have an awesome understanding of what the unit has and how you need to use it!


  • Gauss Cannon (Essentially, a twin linked Space Marine/Jet Bike killing gun, use it and love it)
  • Twin-linked Tesla Destructor (Decent strength, extra hits on 6’s, no AP though… but that’s okay, it’s Twin Linked)
  • Quantum Shielding (One of the greatest vehicle upgrades of all time)

Special Rules:

  • Living Metal (Basically, It Will Not Die – but on a 6)


  • May switch out Gauss Cannon for a Tesla Cannon for free. (Decent strength, extra hits on 6’s, no AP, probably not as awesome as the Gauss Cannon)

So, what’s the good and the “just okay”?

  • Gauss Cannon: Good! The two primary weapon options on this vehicle are both Heavy 2, the Gauss Cannon definitely wins out over the Tesla Cannon because all of its shots are AP 3. Being able to pick apart Space Marine and Eldar Jetbike squads is a major asset. Additionally, it has the Gauss special rule, so you auto wound and auto glance on 6’s to wound/penetrate.
  • Twin-Linked Tesla Destructor: Good! Even though this weapon doesn’t have an AP value, it makes up for it by having a high rate of fire AND a high strength value. Additionally, if you roll any 6’s when firing this weapon, you gain an additional two automatic hits!
  • Quantum Shielding: Good! Holy crap, is this ever good, this lets this little vehicle get a front and side armor of 13 until someone scores a penetrating hit against it. Wow… like… wow… Suddenly, you have a little skimmer that is basically indestructible to all small arms fire, you really do need (at least) strength 9 to reliably hurt it.
  • Tesla Cannon: “Just okay”… This is a little bit disappointing when you compare it to the Gauss Cannon, even though it has higher strength, it lacks an AP value AND doesn’t have a high rate of fire (unlike the Tesla Destructor). I would suggest sticking to the Gauss Cannon to reap the benefits of the marine killing AP value.
  • Living Metal: “Just Okay”… When you compare the new Living Metal rule to the old one, this is definitely much worse, however… the unit automatically comes with this special rule, so you may as well use it. The reason this special rule plays against this model is due to its Open-topped vehicle type; the chances of an explodes results taking place is much more possible.


Harness the Power of the Barge

So, how are you supposed to use the Annihilation Barge effectively? I believe that there are three very strong roles that an Annihilation Barge can fill in a Necron army (both competitive and casual).

Role #1 – MSU Hunter: Because the Annihilation Barge doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of firepower, it isn’t the most effective choice to glance vehicles to death with Gauss however, with a high Ballistic Skill and all Twin-Linked Weapons, the chances of you hitting with almost all of your shots is very high. So, the challenge here comes down to targeting the shots you do get correctly. The Gauss Cannon just screams “Shoot me at marines! Shoot me at Eldar! I can do it, trust me!”… and it isn’t wrong… With the proliferation of Eldar and Space Marines in the competitive meta, there are more and more small, 3+ armor, units (Tactical Squads and Jetbikes). These are your primary targets, they are small enough units that your two AP 3 shots from the cannon are enough to dismantle combat squads easily and force the Jetbikes to Jink (which reduces their effectiveness greatly). Additionally, these units are totally unable to hurt the Annihilation Barge because of its Quantum Shielding! Bolters and Scatter Lasers don’t do anything to Quantum Shields, no matter how much your opponent wishes they did. – See example below…

frankie and reece

Reece, Reece, Reece… Tsk… Tsk… Tsk… Bolters do nothing to my Quantum Shields. Have to respect the enthusiasm though… Anyways! Bottom line, you don’t have to worry about the little weapons, your opponent legitimately has to dedicate high strength weapons to killing an Annihilation Barge, which is ultimately a poor choice when you compare the threat rating of an Annihilation Barge to your larger units, this will help to guarantee that the barge will stick around for most of the game.

Role #2 – Objective Grabbers: Even though the Annihilation Barge isn’t a fast skimmer, it is still a vehicle and has the ability to move 12″; with TL weapons, you don’t mind snap firing, if you really need to. Even though they aren’t the fastest unit in the entire game, when you compare them to your slow moving Necron infantry, these things are real speed demons. In conjunction with the role discussed above, the Quantum shields make it so that this unit cannot be easily blown off of an objective. Ultimately, if your opponent is going to dedicate heavy weapons to try and kill an Annihilation Barge, simply Jink. With AV13 front and side, the chances of a glance/pen are relatively low with anything strength 8 and below, then you add another layer of dice to the stack by Jinking. Your opponent can waste a great deal of heavy weapons fire trying to blow this unit off of an objective (Let them waste all the shots they want on this little skimmer, it simply means they are ignoring the other parts of your army, the longer they ignore the Necron blob walking up the table, the more difficult the end of the game is going to be for them).

Role #3 – Flank Guards: Because of the Annihilation Barge’s sturdiness, it is a good strategy to have them flank the table, they can snag objectives on the edge of the board, target opposing Outflanking units, and deter your opponent from dropping their meltaguns near them (If your model is hugging a board edge, your opponent will not be inclined to dedicate a pod of marines to try and kill it, if they do… watch the dice gods reap their vengeance on that player’s prideful nature – #livingforthemishap). You can even set up the effectiveness of this strategy by placing an objective closer to a board edge, so it is easy to snag with the barge. Additionally, your opponent’s Outflanking units are usually very small (scout squads, deffkoptas, rangers, etc…) and as we discussed above, the Annihilation Barge kicks some serious ass at destroying units like this.

So… Why don’t we see them more?

I believe that the Annihilation Barge is left on the shelf most days because it doesn’t easily fit into the Decurion Detachment. The formation that includes Annihilation Barges (the Annihilation Nexus) requires you to take a pair of them AND a Doomsday Ark (Little over 400pts); so… it’s expensive, and when you want those points to squeeze more Canoptek Wraiths into your army, letting the Annihilation Barge go can be an easy choice. Additionally, if you’re playing a Combined Arms Detachment, they unfortunately take up a Heavy Support slot. When you compare it to the other Heavy Support slots (Heavy Destroyers and Canoptek Spyders), you have to make some pretty difficult choices. But, in the sake of fairness, the Decurion Detachment does give them the ability to ignore Shaken and Stunned results, which can be very useful.


Final Thoughts

The Annihilation Barge may not be the most popular choice in the Necron Army, but it does have a place and is actually very useful in many different ways. Ultimately, the inability to easily drop them into a Decurion Detachment drastically reduces their presence on the battlefield, however… Necron players, I challenge you! Work these little gems into your list! They have such an awesome model, strong rules, and can be used very effectively on the table top! Follow these steps and the Barge will not disappoint.

Good Gaming

Scuba Steve – Signing Out


19 Responses to “Necron Review: Heavy Support: Annihilation Barge”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius December 25, 2015 12:45 pm #

    That picture of Frankie and I is so funny, lol!

    But great write up, Scuba! Really in depth, lots of good information. I still think the Anni Barge is a great unit, you just don’t see it as much now as other parts of the Cron book are so good.

  2. Avatar
    Allornone December 25, 2015 1:08 pm #

    Living metal ability to repair hull points works only on heavy vehicles.

    Also it makes the annihilation immune to shaken results and in a decurion to stunned, which male it superior to the hold one that required a dice roll to do that.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 25, 2015 1:22 pm #

      Good catch, I will edit it.

    • Avatar
      NotreDameGuy December 25, 2015 7:18 pm #

      I said this in 2 previous entries of this neuron analysis…

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 25, 2015 8:12 pm #

        Neuron analysis?

        • Avatar
          NotreDameGuy December 26, 2015 8:45 pm #

          Necron* (autocorrect)

  3. Requizen
    Requizen December 25, 2015 8:58 pm #

    These guys used to be a staple, 3 in each army, almost no exceptions!

    The price hike hurt them a bit. 120 isn’t a super high amount for AV13 with good guns, but given that a lot of things got cheaper and better, while the ABarge got more expensive and arguably worse – no more extra shots from 6s while snapshooting, which makes them worse after Jinking, moving over 6″, or shooting at Flyers – it’s a bit harder to justify putting them in a list.

    The other issue is that the game, as is noticeable, has moved a lot away from vehicles, unless they’re free or cheap and used to move your troops around. Gun-tanks are rarely seen in my experience, the only exceptions being flyers from what I’ve seen. Drop pods, D guns, and the like are all pretty prevalent.

    I think they’re… ok. If you’re going to bring them, you might need to go full ham and go AV13 wall with 3 ABarges, a few Ghost Arks, maybe a CCB if you can fit it. As with anything relating to vehicles, you don’t want just one or two. The only issue is, with the price increase, 3 current ABarges cost the same as 4 did before. That’s not exactly negligible, so you can’t exactly spam it out thoughtlessly as you could with the old codex.

    But, that said, an AV13 list can work. Mass immunity to small arms fire is nothing to sneeze at, even those pesky Scatbikes are negated. There’s a reason that MSU is the game of the game, but I think a well put together and controlled AV13 list *could* work.

    • The Mediocre Gamer
      The Mediocre Gamer December 25, 2015 10:42 pm #

      I think AV13 quantum spam has some potential. Like you indicated, you have to go all in, or not at all. Barge, couple of warrior arks, annihilation nexus, maybe a judicator battalion for the stalker. And while the game may have moved away from vehicles, I feel that has changed dramatically. I’m growing very sick of Rhinos and Drop Pods, which I’m seeing constantly now.

      • Requizen
        Requizen December 25, 2015 11:12 pm #

        Well, the thing about Rhinos and Drop Pods isn’t that they’re vehicles, it’s that they’re cheap (or free, thanks Battle Company) and move ObSec Troops around fast. Ghost Arks do that too (not as cheaply, but not terribly expensive), but Doomsday Arks, ABarges, and Stalkers are basically just guns on vehicles, which is a completely different beast altogether. When they get instagibbed by Melta or D, it’s a lot of points gone and there’s no unit that pops out and camps the nearby objective.

        Which is where the downfall is. Battle Company or just Drop Pod lists have a good number of vehicles – but they’re backed up by foot troops. AV13 Necron spam… not so much. An army with enough antitank has a chance of tabling it quite quickly, at which point there’s only the Warriors to do much of anything else.

  4. Avatar
    Morollan December 26, 2015 1:51 am #

    To be honest, I think the best role for these is vehicle hunting. Using them against troops seems a waste due to the lack of AP on the primary weapon. Even with a couple of extra shots from the Tesla rule you’re only killing 1 or 2 MEQ with the main gun each turn. Not terrible but not exactly brilliant either. But firing them at vehicles likely to wreck light armour and put a few hull points on medium stuff.

    They certainly lost out with the change to the Tesla rule in 7e but I still think they’re decent value. It’s just hard to take them because so many of the other choices in the Necron codex are so far beyond decent!

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 26, 2015 10:25 am #

      They are quite good for popping things like Rhinos and with Battle Company so popular, that is a valuable resource.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 27, 2015 1:06 am #

      Wrecking light tanks is typically their ideal role, yeah, but they can cut up light infantry pretty effectively as well.

      The advantage to the Barge is that there isn’t really anything its guns are _bad_ against, as with most Autocannon-type weapons. These days there is a lot more of an argument to be made for the Gauss underslung, though.

  5. Avatar
    westrider December 26, 2015 6:28 pm #

    I think a big part of why we don’t see them more often is longer-term Necron Players comparing them with the previous incarnation. As someone who only started Crons with the current Dex, the current version is solid, but not amazing. Certainly not the near auto-take that it used to be, but I’ve never regretted having mine on the board.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 27, 2015 1:04 am #

      The big issue is that they can no longer Jink or shoot at airplanes while still making good use of Tesla- the combination of a large points increase (almost 50%) and a major drop in effectiveness was a bit too much overall.

      • Avatar
        westrider December 27, 2015 2:28 am #

        Yeah, I get that, but when you’re not looking at it comparatively with the old version, it’s not as underwhelming as it is if you’ve got that previous experience with it. It definitely got nerfed harder than it needed to, but I still don’t think it’s outright bad.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 27, 2015 3:44 am #

          I wouldn’t say bad, no, just not particularly impressive. Comparing it to a Wave Serpent it’s approximately as tough, shorter-ranged, more expensive, slower, and has a firepower output that is about on par- and the Wave Serpent is considered a mid-tier vehicle. The Barge is okay against most things, but will very rarely come across as particularly exciting, especially since the Tesla Destructor is available on other vehicles that aren’t so hindered by its mediocre range.

  6. Avatar
    AngryPanda December 28, 2015 1:11 am #

    These articles are neat but what is it with getting Living Metal wrong every time?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 28, 2015 8:53 am #

      Obviously a lot of the article authors missed that rule. It’s no biggie though, easy to fix.

  7. Avatar
    derklonk May 11, 2016 1:13 am #

    For me, the ABarge did quite a good job against bikes once…
    But for heavy support, I’ll always prefere a unit of 2 Heavy Destroyers instead. Its cheaper, you get the 36″/S9/AP2 and after moving and shooting they can move 2D6 back into cover. And maybe, they are part of a Destroyer Cult…!
    I give in, that the role and tasks of the ABarge on table is another one, but I fill this role with other units so I realy don’t miss them on the table.

Leave a Reply