Necron Tactics: Formation: Conclave of the Burning One


Hello all, Medicore Gamer here to discuss the Conclave of the Burning One. Have a hankering to field a shard of an angry caged ancient star god? Look no further, this is the formation for you. If you want to read up on more tactics check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

The Rules

The Conclave of the Burning One is a formation that appears in the Shield of Baal Exterminatus, and is connected with the Mephrit Dynasty. But being an independent formation, it can be included in any Necron army, and you need not field a Mephrit Dynasty Cohort to have access to the formation. The formation is quite simple, it includes one C’tan shard, which can be the basic C’tan shard, or either of the named shards – The Nightbringer, and the Deceiver. The C’tan is accompanied by two Crypteks, and the three form a single unit, even though Independent Characters usually can’t join Monstrous Creatures. No other characters can join this unit, and no models may leave the unit.

While the C’tan lives, the opponent always uses the C’tan’s toughness when rolling to wound anything in the formation. In addition, the Forbidden Knowledge rule says that while both Crypteks live the C’tan has 5+ Feel No Pain, which is reduced to 6+ if only one Cryptek lives, and goes away entirely with the death of the final Cryptek.


This formation has access to all the artifacts from the Mephrit Dynasty, as well as the artifacts from Codex: Necrons. The first you should consider – and in fact the one that is an absolute auto-include – is the God Shackle. This item, from the Mephrit Dynasty, costs a mere 10 points and goes on a Cryptek. While that Cryptek lives, you nominate a C’tan and give it +1 strength and +1 toughness. Oh yeah baby, now we’re cooking with gas!


The God Shackle makes your C’tan toughness 8, which is huge. Because the whole formation uses the C’tan’s toughness value, the formation is now immune to small arms fire. Str 4 bolter fire now bounces off your unit, vastly improving its life expectancy. Even Str 6 weapons, which is the most common of the high strength firepower around, will only be wounding on 6’s.

Beyond the God Shackle, the Crypteks might want to consider a few other items. A Phase Shifter to give a 4++ to the Crypteks can help in keeping them around, which in turn keeps the 5+ Feel No Pain up on your pet star god. Additionally, it is well worth considering (in fact, near mandatory) a Solar Staff and a Veil of Darkness. The Veil allows the unit to deploy, then disappear and reappear among the enemy lines via deep strike. And being only a three-model unit, their footprint makes deepstriking a bit easier and less risky. The Solar Staff gives the unit a poor man’s invisibility, typically used on the turn the formation uses the veil, requiring enemies to hit them on 6’s in shooting once they drop in the backfield. And believe me, you pop an angry star god in your opponent’s backfield and you will be drawing fire – a lot of fire. You may be wondering if having a Solar Staff and the God Shackle is legal. It is. The relics from Mephrit are not categorized the same as the relics from Codex: Necrons. While it is true that you can only ever have one “Artefacts of the Aeons” on a model, and you can only have one “Relics of the War in Heaven” on a model, there is no rule stating that the same model cannot have both.

So what does this all run point wise? Well, let’s assume you run this with Nightbringer. The base cost of the formation is 370 points – the equivalent to a Knight Errant. A tooled up formation, with Nightbringer, a Cryptek with the God Shackle, Phase Shifter, and Veil, and the second Cryptek with Solar Staff and Phase Shifter runs 470 points. It’s costly, but it can be points well spent.




The biggest problem with the C’tan is they’re slow. They’re lumbering slow monstrous creatures without a transport who spend half the game trying to get into combat all the while being shot at with extreme prejudice.  Second, they’re only 4 or 5 wounds on a 4++ save.  This formation and the Veil solve these key problems. And this is also why Nightbringer is generally your best choice.

Nightbringer sacrifices a point of Strength and Ballistic Skill from a normal C’tan. But the God Shackle bumps him to Str 8 anyway. Most importantly, he comes with a fantastic close range ability: The Gaze of Death. This lets you choose a unit within 12″ and have them make a leadership test on 3d6.  For every point it fails by the unit takes an AP 2 wound that ignores cover.  If anyone took a wound the Nightbringer regains a lost wound.  While this ability occurs in the shooting phase, it is not a shooting attack. It doesn’t roll to hit and ignores any of the “aiming” rules for 40k, such as firing into combat, shooting at fliers, shooting at invisible units, etc. What’s more, Nightbringer’s ability to regain a wound from this attack can be used in conjunction with the formation to shift wounds around. Because everyone in the formation is a character, you can choose to Look Out Sir wounds from your Cryptek to the C’tan at key times, and Nightbringer can potentially get those back, thus keeping the Crypteks around a bit longer.

So what does a unit like this give us? Well, it’s effectively an 8 wound, T8 unit with 4++, 5+ Feel No Pain, that shoots 6 Str 5 AP3 shots (from the Crypteks), “shoots” a 3d6 leadership check that’s AP2 Ignore Cover , and in addition does one of the following random shooting attacks:

  1. Antimatter Meteor – 24″ S 8 Ap 3 – Assault 1 Large Blast
  2. Cosmic Fire – 24″ S 6 Ap 4 – Assault 1 Large Blast Ignores Cover
  3. Seismic Assault – 24″ S 6 Ap 4 – Assault 10 Strikedown
  4. Sky of Falling Stars – 24″ S 7 AP 4 – Assault 3 Large Blast Barrage
  5. Time’s Arrow – 24″ D AP 1 – Assault 1 Precision Shots
  6. Transdimensional Thunder Bolt – 24″ S 9 Ap 1 – Assault 1 Tesla

Then, of course, we have to consider the close combat threat posed by Nightbringer. He’s a monstrous creature with Fleshbane. On the turn he charges he’s doing 5 attacks at WS6 meaning he’s almost always hitting on 3s, and wounding on 2+ resolved at AP2.   And thanks to the veil and this formation, you just placed right in your opponent’s lap.

So, in sum, the Conclave of the Burning One is, frankly, the only viable way of bringing a C’tan in the current game. When properly equipped, the formation greatly increases the mobility and endurance of your pet star god. And while it is expensive, it can wreck enough chaos to be worth those points. It is also not so expensive that you can’t support it with other things. I will point out that a Decurion with a basic Reclamation Legion, two full six-strong Canoptek Harvest formations, and the kitted out Conclave only clocks in at 1685 points. That’s a whole lot of early turn pressure applied to your opponent.

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.



About The Mediocre Gamer

The Mediocre Gamer is an attorney and long time gamer living in Portland, Oregon. He began playing 40k with Rogue Trader and has never stopped. He currently plays 40k and Flames of War primarily.

17 Responses to “Necron Tactics: Formation: Conclave of the Burning One”

  1. Avatar
    Vercingatorix December 30, 2015 10:19 am #

    The biggest problem I see with it is its weakness to psychic powers in general and psychic scream in particular. Also misfortune, 30 ork boys(or daemonettes or bolters) will happily drag down that whole unit in a single phase. That’s something that basically makes knights superior IMO.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 30, 2015 10:44 am #

      Fair points. I think this is a great way to put a C’Tan on the table if you are so inclined to do so.

      • Avatar
        Luke December 30, 2015 11:59 am #

        I’ve actually had no issues with just a basic necron CAD. While the formation bonuses are nice, I find that having the nightbringer by his lonesome with a supporting cast of 18 wraiths is more than enough for your opponent to have something else more pressing to worry about. I do like the idea of deep striking him turn 1 though…may have to try it out sometime.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 30, 2015 12:10 pm #

          You had me at 18 Wraiths, lol!

          • Requizen
            Requizen December 30, 2015 12:17 pm

            Funnily enough, I have found 18 Wraiths to be much better in theory than in practice. I’ve gotten much closer to tabled running mass Wraith than I have using anything else.

          • Avatar
            Luke December 30, 2015 1:43 pm

            That is true. Outside of the canoptek harvest, they definitely are far from unbeatable

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 30, 2015 2:49 pm #

      >its weakness to psychic powers in general and psychic scream in particular.

      While Shriek/Scream do bypass its statline, it’s still Ld10 against them an invuln and FNP/RP, which is a lot more resistant than most units get. Even a “perfect” Shriek is still only causing ~2 wounds to the unit.

      > 30 ork boys(or daemonettes or bolters) will happily drag down that whole unit in a single phase

      S3/4 cannot hurt Toughness 8, which the Conclave should be if you built it right.

      The real problems with the unit are its speed and vulnerability to certain weapon types, most notably Grav and Str D. It also is expensive as “standard” deathstars, but tends to not be quite as resilient as them.

      • Requizen
        Requizen December 30, 2015 5:05 pm #

        It’s actually not too bad against Grav. Wounding on 4s isn’t as bad as it is for most power units. Poor Riptides…

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 30, 2015 11:25 pm #

          Typically 4s with a reroll, so 75% wounds. I mean, sure, that’s better than 89% or 97%, but for a unit that is relying heavily on its Toughness value to avoid having to make saves, that is still a problem.

      • Avatar
        Pascalnz December 30, 2015 6:07 pm #

        he mentioned misfortune, so I presume it was misfortune + horde of orcs. that would work…. we all see so many weirdoes out there.
        more likely though, imperial guard blobs firing away with misfortune on the shard..bye bye

      • Avatar
        westrider December 30, 2015 6:34 pm #

        The bit about 30 Ork Boyz or Bolters was in reference to if it’s got Misfortune on it. Once all those shots are Rending, they don’t care about its toughness.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 30, 2015 11:37 pm #

          Misfortunate kills just about ANYTHING, so at that point it’s not really the Boyz that are a threat.

  2. Requizen
    Requizen December 30, 2015 12:05 pm #

    I love this formation. Mostly because I love my Nightbringer and it’s by and far the best way to bring him.

    While 470 points might seem like a lot, you compare that to the price of other Deathstars and it’s pretty comparable. And let’s be real: this is a mini-deathstar. It’s not a general purpose unit, and it’s definitely not a MSU unit. It’s something that has to do a lot of damage and, often times, does.

    Now, I voted Tournament Worthy, because I think it is on the whole. However, it might be something like low-tournament worthy, something like middle of A-Tier rather than S-Tier for Necrons. It is one of the few Necron units that requires finesse.

    While it’s immune or at least extremely resilient to small arms fire, it will go down eventually. This isn’t the Orikanstar with 3++ rerolling 1s followed by RP, this is 4++ with RP/FNP, which is much less durable. The Crypteks get ID’d by Melta or stronger. And T8 W4 4++ isn’t bad by any means, if the opponent wants it dead, it’ll die just fine.

    While Fleshbane WS6 is pretty amazing, a kitted out Assault unit (like TWC or a Khorne Lord with Hounds) will kill this unit just fine. A WK with the D-Sword or an Imperial Knight will make it cry. All these things are pretty prevalent in the game right now, but if you have a plan to play around them, you can survive.

    It’ll make short work of MSU lists. Gaze is great against most MSU, and all the AP3 shooting will rip down most small units quite easily (including those pesky Eldar Jetbikes). And most MSU doesn’t have mass amounts of heavy fire, so that’s good. Grav only wounds on 4s, and you’ll have more saves than average against Grav.

    Overall, I’d say it depends on your meta moreso than most Necron units. If you live around lots of Wraithknights, it’ll die more often than not. If you play against less of that and more MSU or just standard style lists, it’ll be well worth the points. I love bringing mine, but my local tournaments feature a loooooot of Eldar and it’s become a lot less powerful. Especially with Adepticon allowing 2 WKs, it’s a bit harder to justify. In an ITC format, I think it’s perfectly fine.

  3. Avatar
    chad December 31, 2015 1:22 pm #

    Solar thermacite and the nightmare shroud for a 2+rerollable cryptek.l

  4. Avatar
    Castle January 1, 2016 3:58 pm #

    I honestly think your better off leaving the shifters off the crypteks. While it does decently increase their save it’s expensive. With only 3 models it’s pretty easy to position the unit such that only the C’tan with his natural 4++ will tank all the hits. Having him tank the shots also gets more value out of Feel No Pain and Gaze of Death. Plus he is still a character so he can look out sir (on a 4+) shots that won’t break the crypteks armour.

    I’ve run this unit a lot and it’s far and by the best and really only way to run a c’tan(and at that it only really works with the nightbringer). However it has a very high cost and will not kill an equivalent amount of points(unless your stupidly lucky with the random powers).

    Unit is almost tournament worthy, it still suffers from the primary drawback of the c’tan though. Namely you don’t know what power it’s going to use. Picking a target before finding out if your power is useful just keeps the c’tan and this formation from every seeing serious play on the top tables.

  5. Avatar
    Hush January 6, 2016 5:32 am #

    Tried this out the other day. Didn’t put shifters on crypts to save points as didn’t see the benifit in the points. I was underwhelmed, its the best way to run a C’tan and would use in fun play/ local tournament but anyhig competitive I would leave it on the shelf. Ultimately I don’t think the points are worth the game impact.

  6. Avatar
    Ellowryn January 18, 2016 12:32 pm #

    I do have a quick question though about this formation as awesome as it seems, and that is this: As this formation was originally made for use with the 5th ed Ctan Shards, is there an actual faq or errata stating that you can use with any of the new Ctan? Allowing to be used with the generic Ctan seems reasonable but without any actual ruling from GW i can’t really see using it with the named ones.

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