The Celestial Orrery: Necron Dynasty Overview – Novokh

Hello everyone, Phaeron CytoSlide here with another Celestial Orrery article for your viewing and reading pleasure! Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles and tactics.

The Celestial Orrery

8th Edition Necron Primer Series

Celestial Orrery articles:

Necron Dynasty Overview – Novokh

The Melee Dynasty

These Celestial Orrery Overview articles are designed to get any Necron player quickly up to speed on exactly what each Dynasty brings to the table. They will serve as quick resources while list building so that players can find all of the unique Dynasty rules in one place so they can focus on their units and lists rather than on flipping back and forth between 5+ pages to figure out if their detachment is the correct Dynasty.

Dynasty Code

Holy moly that is an extremely powerful Dynasty Code . . . imagine if all of your Necron units with the Dynasty Keyword had an ability that read like Awakened by Murder? People would be flipping out over how strong it is, especially on our melee units. Charged, were charged, or heroically intervened will come up a lot, and essentially just restricts it from helping our units in protracted melees, but that is not a big issue since this dynasty code by itself helps our units end fight phases more quickly. Without a doubt, this Dynasty Code provides the most “raw power” over any other dynasty code. It is particularly useful on our melee oriented HQs (Destroyer Lords, Catacomb Command Barges (“CCB”)), Flayed Ones, LychguardCanoptek Wraiths, and Canoptek Scarabs, but it also is very strong on our bog standard shooting units because it means after being charged they will hit back a bit harder. Let’s take a look at exactly what re-rolling failed hit rolls does on the majority of Necron units:

Table – d6 probabilities for rolling a given value (and re-rolling based on a 3+ to hit)

Graph- d6 probabilities for rolling a given value (and re-rolling based on a 3+ to hit)

Firstly, as you can see, the average dice roll jumps up from a 3.5 to a 4.17 when you add in re-rolling failed hits (1s and 2s). Additionally, the standard deviation falls from a 1.71 to a 1.42, meaning your rolls will tend to be more “average” or closely distributed (a good thing since we like to lessen randomness whenever we can). The buff is pretty remarkable – there is only a 11.1% chance of failing to hit with any given roll when you are hitting on a 3+ and re-rolling the failures.

And for those math-loving readers, here is the table and graph showing the probability of rolling “at least” a certain value. These are useful if you want to know the chance that any one dice roll will roll “at least” any given number (i.e. normally, a dice roll will be 3+ 66.67% of the time, but when you re-roll any “failed hits” (in this case, with a WS 3+, failed rolls would be comprised of 1s and 2s), the chance of any one dice rolling at least a 3+ after the re-roll is 88.89%).

Table – d6 probabilities for rolling “at least” a given value (and re-rolling based on a 3+ to hit)

Graph – d6 probabilities for rolling “at least” a given value (and re-rolling based on a 3+ to hit)

The table in particular here is useful as it allows you to directly compare your “to hit” chance of a normal roll vs. with re-rolling 1s and 2s.

  • Normal: 66.67% chance to roll a 3+ with one attack – Re-roll: 88.89% chance to roll a 3+ with one attack;
  • Normal: 16.67% chance to roll a 6+ with one attack – Re-roll: 22.22% chance to roll a 6+ with one attack.

Let’s take a look at a couple averages and see how useful this Dynasty Code really is:

Unit of 10 Flayed Ones versus a standard Marine statline – average damage


  • 30 attacks – WS 3+, S 4 (w/re-roll),  0AP, 1D
    • 30* (.667) * (.75) * 1 * (.33) = 5.08 Wounds = ~5 dead tac. marines

Awakened by Murder

  • 30 attacks – WS 3+ w/re-roll, S 4 (w/re-roll),  0AP, 1D
    • 30* (.8889) * (.75) * 1 * (.33) = 6.60 Wounds = ~6-7 dead tac. marines

Unit of 5 Lychguard with Warscythes versus a standard Marine statline – average damage


  • 10 attacks – WS 3+, S 7, -4 AP, 2D
    • 10 * (.667) * (.667) * 2 = 8.90 Wounds = ~4.5 dead tac. marines

Awakened by Murder

  • 10 attacks – WS 3+ w/re-roll, S 7, -4 AP, 2D
    • 10 *((.667)+(.667*.333)) *(.667) * 2 = 11.86 Wounds = ~6 dead tac. marines

Remember that these are just averages, and that our units only receive the Awakened by Murder bonus on turns that they charged, were charged, or heroically intervened.

Nothing mind-blowing here, but it for sure makes an impact in terms of adding another ~1-3 more unsaved wounds for a half-size unit. To make the most of this Dynasty Code, you’ll want to bring melee oriented units (and try to keep more units in range of any other buff auras like Anrakyr’s, a Lord’s, or any HQ with Crimson Haze), and it makes the most impact for our units with high S, high D, lots of attacks and low AP attacks (like our HQs, Wraiths, Flayed Ones and Lychguard).  This Dynasty Code alone is enough reason to bring at Novokh detachment in order to get Awakened by Murder on our melee units.

Warlord Trait

Take note of the unmodified hit roll of 6, the fact that it only buffs friendly Novokh units, and that the aura is units within 6″ (which means daisy chains are a good idea for bigger units, as long as the chain isn’t absurdly long such that you miss out on a significant number of attacks). It simply states “in the Fight phase”, which means that it buffs our units in both our own fight phase and in our opponent’s fight phase. On a natural 6, we get to make one additional hit roll (this is not like tesla where we simply get additional “auto” hits upon rolling a 6).  The fact that the attack/hit roll must be on the same target prevents any of the auto-generated attacks from bleeding over into another unit, and it makes allocating attacks to particular targets that much more important. This Warlord trait is a good melee force multiplier that works best with our more mobile HQs (Destroyer Lord, CCB) or if it is combined with The Veil of Darkness Artefact of the Aeon. Try to get as many Novokh units as possible within the 6″ aura to get the most out of this Warlord trait.

And for those curious Necrontyr kitties out there, yes, this Warlord trait does play very well with the Awakened By Murder Dynasty Code. Since re-rolls happen before modifiers are applied, if you re-roll your failed hit rolls and get additional 6s, those still count as “unmodified” 6s, and therefore generate hit rolls under Crimson Haze. (Rulebook, pg. 178, sidebar).


We got ourselves a big fish weighing in at 3 CP! The other 4 Dynasty specific stratagems are either 2 CP or 1 CP, so let’s see why Novokh’s is being classed as a heavyweight.

Blood Rites can be used “at the end of the Fight phase”, meaning it can be used on either our own turn or on our opponent’s turn, which is nice. The downside is that it means the unit has to survive the return-attacks they receive from the opponent before they will be able to “double dip” with Blood Rites. The selected unit “immediately fight(s) for a second time”, which means that each model in the unit gets to use its full attack profile. This stratagem is very expensive, but I view it as a “I need it dead now” button.

Its use is best reserved for units that have high damage output (large unit of Flayed Ones, Scytheguard, Wraiths or a melee-beat stick HQ) and against targets that we do not want to be able to activate again (or if we specifically want one of our units to be free at the end of the opponent’s fight phase so they can move and charge a different unit once our turn comes around).

At its core, this stratagem effectively doubles a unit’s melee damage output in any given turn, if they don’t lose any models in between their first and second set of attacks. A great tool to have in the tool box. It is particularly alluring when you stack it with all the other Novokh buffs so that you get to fight twice with your Awakened By Murder, Crimson Haze, MWBD’d units. Throw in Anrakyr’s buff for the probably the highest damage output seen in melee for Necrons in any edition.

Best Uses: On melee-crafted HQs (with The Blood Scythe or at least a melee-oriented Warlord Trait) or units of Wraiths, Lychguard or Flayed Ones.

Artefact of the Aeon (Relic)

The Blood Scythe can only be wielded by Characters with a warscythe or voidscythe, which makes the list of eligible models all of our standard HQs except for Cypteks:

  • Lord(Warscythe)
  • Overlord (Warscythe or Voidscythe)
  • CCB (Warscythe)
  • Destroyer Lord (Warscythe).


When you are creating your list, if you plan to bring The Blood Scythe, do not pay the extra points for a voidscythe since it is a strict waste of 9 points (warscythe costs 11 points, voidscythe costs 20 points) and The Blood Scythe has the same stats regardless of whether it is replacing a warscythe or voidscythe. The Blood Scythe has the same +2 S, AP-4, 2D profile as a warscythe, but it grants the bearer an additional d3 attack every time the bearer fights.

This Relic can be a core component to creating a melee beat-stick HQ. Re-rolling failed to-hit rolls with the Novokh Dynasty Code and gaining D3 attacks from The Blood Scythe on top of the warscythe’s already impressive profile makes for a very dangerous HQ choice. Tack on your choice of survivability or melee-buffing warlord traits and your HQ can seriously mess some stuff up. The two best options for this relic are easily the Destroyer Lord and the CCB since they are innately tanky, mobile, and good in melee. An Overlord would not be a bad idea either since it hits on a 2+, and even a Novokh Lord can do some damage with re-rolling failed to-hit rolls and the D3 extra attacks. The D-Lord has 4 base attacks over the CCB’s 3, it it also has a standard 4+ invulnerable save and has access to the phylactery for more survivability, but it has WS 3. The CCB has better WS, more wounds, Quantum Shielding, is 2″ faster and can explode when it gets killed. Both are fantastic options to equip with The Blood Scythe. 

Named Characters

There are unfortunately no named Novokh Characters at this time.

However, we will take a quick moment to note that our two Dynasty-lacking named characters can be good selections for a Novokh detachment for two primary reasons:

  1. They apply buffs that compound or synergize with Novokh’s melee emphasis; and
  2. If you don’t want to invest points into a melee-oriented HQ, these selections can go around buffing anything in your army since they lack Dynasty restrictions, so they work great in a small Vanguard or Outrider detachment with the minimum 3 non-HQ units.

Illuminor Szeras

One of his randomly determined (but you can CP re-roll it in the movement phase which is nice) permanent buffs is +1 Strength – great for Awakened By Murder Warrior and Immortal units. In a normal Necron army, we are hoping for the +1T or Ballistic Skill improved by 1 – but in a Novokh army, all three become great options as re-rolling to hit, S5 Necron Warriors & Immortals become relatively fearsome in the fight phase! Szeras is the most expensive Cryptek option in the codex at 143 points, but his ability to permanently augment one unit of Warriors/Immortals per turn in addition to his eldritch lance & Master Technomancer ability make him a solid choice (He also has 5 Wounds and Movement 6″).


Anrakyr the Traveller

Another great HQ choice for a Novokh detachment at 167 points. He is an Overlord equivalent so he comes packing a strong statline & MWBD buff, but he uniquely has the Lord of the Pyrrhian Legions ability which fits extremely well in a Novokh detachment. Adding 1 to the attack characteristic of all friendly Necrons Infantry units within 3 inches is incredible. A unit of Flayed Ones or Lychguard will become absurdly powerful if they charge in with both MWBD and Anrakyr within 3″. 2+ to hit (MWBD), +1 to charge distance (MWBD), re-rolling hit rolls on the charge (Novokh Dynasty Code), +1 A (Anrakyr) makes for a very dead enemy! Anrakyr also has a fun Mind in the Machine ability which lets him potentially hijack an enemy vehicle and shoot with one of its weapons.

But we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of these named characters in their own Celestial Orrery articles. For now, you just need to know that in a Novokh army or Novokh detachment, Anrakyr makes a very, very powerful HQ choice (especially when you get him into position to buff your charging Infantry units). You can bring Anrakyr in a Novokh detachment and he can buff  your Novohk infantry units or go off and buff the other Dynasty infantry in another detachment. A unit of 20 warriors rapid firing their 40 shots, then charging with MWBD (hitting on 2s) and having 40 attacks at S5 (if you pop the Disruption Fields stratagem for 1 CP) is exactly as scary as it sounds, whether the unit is Novokh and has Awakened by Murder or not! Anrakyr is a fantastic HQ choice for any detachment whenever you are expecting melee brawls. We’ll talk more about him in his own article – so stay tuned!

Sample Detachment & Warlord

Novokh Outrider (+1CP) – 755 pts

  • HQ – Anrakyr the Traveller – 167 pts
  • FA – x6 Wraiths, particle casters – 354 pts
  • FA – x9 Scarabs – 117 pts
  • FA – x9 Scarabs – 117 pts

A max unit of wraiths in a Novokh detachment justifies the fear and focus fire that wraiths are known to get in any game. 18 attacks at S6, -2AP, 2D with re-rolling WS 3+ is a lot of accurate damage output. They can still advance, shoot and charge with the use of Adaptive Subroutines, and on an average advance roll, they only lose 2.5″ of charge threat range versus a Nephrekh wraith unit. On an unlucky roll, they have 5″ less, and on a lucky roll they have the same threat range, but have a 88.88% hit rate instead of 66.66%.

Anrakyr does absolutely jack nothing for his detachment. He cannot buff the scarabs or wraiths, but they can at least screen him if need be. Anrakyr’s job is to saunter over to other detachments and start buffing infantry with his two excellent abilities, and consistently hit something in the face 3 times for 6 damage!

The scarabs are exceptionally cheap, consistent damage output in a Novokh detachment – 36 attacks with a 75% hit chance and always wounding on a 5+. The Novokh dynasty code makes the 9 man squads worth taking and you’ll probably love the screening and bubble-wrapping benefits so much you might never go back to min or medium sized scarab squads! Since they are a fair nuisance, your opponent will probably be tempted into pouring enough shots into them to kill the unit off which fulfills the scarabs roll as a damage soaking distraction.

Melee Beatstick – Ghetto Celestine 

Destroyer Lord – Warlord, Honourable Combatant, warscythe, phylactery, the Nanoscarab Casket 131 pts

4 attacks base, 5-7 attacks versus an enemy character at S7, AP-4, D2 all at WS3+ while re-rolling failed hit rolls thanks to being Novohk. Throw on Blood Rites if you feel like you want to double your attacks. He would be more of a beat stick if he had the Blood Scythe, which is a good option, but with the Nanoscarab Casket our D-Lord becomes an absolute bear to put down.

This guy heals d3 wounds at the beginning of your turn, and then another d3 wounds at the beginning of your opponents turn. Your opponent is now all but forced to try to kill your D-Lord in a single fight phase, or face it healing over, and over, and over again. Now let’s say your opponent manages to “kill our D-Lord.” Surprise! On a (CP re-roll-able) 4+, our D-Lord gets up with d6 (CP re-roll-able) wounds! Even after your insane d3 healing per turn, if your opponent somehow manages to put down your warlord again, you can still use Resurrection Protocols to bring your D-Lord back on a 4+ (and CP re-roll if need be)! The fun seriously never ends!

Oh, what’s that? You killed my D-Lord? Oh interesting, well, 75% he gets back up with d6 wounds, and then continues to heal d3 every turn. And then for 1 CP or 2 CP it’ll have a second 50-75% chance of getting back up again, and keep healing.

There are lots of ways to build the Novokh melee monstrosity – CCB or D-Lord, Lightning Field, Nanoscarab Casket, or the Blood Scythe. Eternal Madness or Honourable Combatant. Lots of options all backed by the re-rolling to hit rolls in the fight phase after charging, being charged or heroically intervening.


The Novokh Dynasty has a very narrow but useful role in Necron armies – it makes units better at melee. The Novokh Dynasty makes it a fairly competitive option to bring a melee-oriented Necron army. Necrons generally favor shooting, but Novokh makes all of our melee options very strong, and makes even our melee-weak units more competent in the fight phase.

In terms of what Detachments it should be used in, Novokh finds a good fit with Vanguard, Outrider and Supreme Command detachments since that is where our best melee units reside. In a melee-focused Necron army, a Novokh Battalion would not be the worst thing ever, but in most competitive lists this won’t be favored because our troops (which we are forced to take to get the Battalion) strongly favor shooting – but heck, even Necron Warriors & Immortals can bring a bit of pain in the fight phase if they are re-rolling their 3+s to hit.

Much more commonly, competitive players who are looking for a competent melee component will be bringing a single Novokh Outrider detachment in their armies in order to get the Awakened by Murder buff for their scarabs and wraiths. Vanguard detachments are a decent option as well, but many Necron players don’t like the price-tag of Flayed Ones and have trouble affording the points for transporting Lychguard – so while Vangaurd detachments in general are more rare – if bringing these Elite units, absolutely consider making the detachment Novokh. Novokh is the absolute best Dynasty choice for our melee units – and correspondingly, it is usually our worst option for shooting units.

Stayed tuned for our next 8th Edition Celestial Orrery installments!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Cyto

Believe those who are seeking the truth; Doubt and question those who have found it.
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4 years ago

Another great article, Cyto. I agree that Novokh is excellent and I think they may actually be the best all around Dynasty for certain playstyles. That buff to combat is huge.

4 years ago
Reply to  Cyto

Oh, I agree 100% on not having a “best,” however in internet parlance that is what people want to hear. it is either “garbage” or “broken” for most of the loud voices online.

I absolutely believe anything in the game can be used effectively in the right circumstances. Things are simply more or less efficient given the situation they are in.

So yeah, good point. To clarify, I think for my play-style, Novokh will likely be the consistently most useful Dynasty suite of abilities.

4 years ago

I feel like i’ve been waiting for the next article like a Piranha hoping for some meat to drop in a brazilian jungle. Thank you in advance…now I’ll go read the article. Yum Yum Yum…

4 years ago
Reply to  Akaiyou

Ah, to bask in knowledge…and increase one’s own understanding of things. What a treat. So thanks one more time for the article, I think i will put some thought into a supreme command detachment using Novokh in the future. I am thinking of doing so as follows:

CCB (geared for melee + veil of darkness)
10x Lychguard – warscythes

Going with this set up because i only own 3 wraiths (yay forgebane)
Any thoughts or recommendations on load out for the CCB? Lightning field or Blood Scythe for example?

BTW if you want to see a batrep of my second game using Necrons take a look, but I warn you I noobishly used RP on a couple models that had fled.

I’m looking forward to the Mephrit article you will play the role of a Mythbuster on that one. I wonder if we should believe the hype

4 years ago

> “Anrakyr makes a very, very powerful HQ choice (especially if you Veil or otherwise transport him into position to buff your charging Infantry units).”

I thought because he lacks a Dynasty keyword he can’t use transports/vehicles or the Veil? (which both are restricted to Dynasty infantry models).

4 years ago
Reply to  Skoffs

This is correct, and a large reason why Anrakyr is less effective than he looks. It’s just not practical to get him anywhere.

4 years ago
Reply to  Cyto

Do people actually put Necron units in transports these days? I sure haven’t seen it. Not being able to Veil technically limits him, but how often are you using Veil to transport a single named character, anyways? I would say it’s pretty irrelevant.

4 years ago
Reply to  Cyto

So how do we make sure the address these glaring omissions they’ve somehow missed three times in a row? (Chapter Approved, Necron Codex, most recent FAQ)

4 years ago
Reply to  Cyto

That is what they mean, yeah. I spoke to them about it. I encourage you all to spread the word and to play it that way yourselves. I have already instructed our judges to rule it that way at our events.

4 years ago
Reply to  Cyto


Where you planning on posting that in the FAQ section of the Champs Missions, so everyone knows?

4 years ago

Sorry but its no good saying, “ignore the rules and play it this way” rules are there for a reason, and people play using them. This makes me wonder how many other rules the testers and gw are playing different to what they have written and because of that they think things are balanced, while people play by the written rules that they don’t really mean people to play with!

Totally ridiculous – if they mean something to be played a certain way then write that in the rules for crying out loud! Its not rocket science!

4 years ago
Reply to  Sunset

Le sigh.

Lol, you get yelled at for trying to help, you get yelled at when something is good, you get yelled at when it is bad.

Sometimes you just can’t win, haha.

Do what you want, man. I am just trying to get questions answered and bridge the gap. If you want to play RAW, do it. Have fun. If your group has some flexibility, then I am telling you what the rules writers meant. It is written in a way–inadvertently–that indicates something different. It was an accident. These things happen. It’s very easy to cast stones looking at it from this side, but the rules writers aren’t perfect, they make mistakes. They did try to indicate the units play the way I am describing but due to the way some of the language came out it gets confused.

Anyway, haha, no reason to get mad about it. You are free to play it how you like and I am sure this issue will get fixed sooner than later.

4 years ago
Reply to  Reecius

It has nothing to do with what me and my friends play as, not everyone only plays the game with a close group of friends, some people play with others who play by the rules, since that is what we have, if we second guess every rule and everyone plays by what they think/want a rule to be why have rules to begin with!

I am not saying they should be infallible, that’s what errata is for. They know the rule is wrong, they know what it should be like as they have said, why don’t they actually write that in a line in th errata instead of saying, oh ignore what the rules say and do this to someone behind closed doors that other groups can (quite rightly) claim is not the rules but just what someone says.

As i said it also calls into question other rules that may say one thing but should be ignored and played a different way…

4 years ago
Reply to  Sunset

I understand what you’re saying but you’re getting mad and then crafting this narrative about why this hapenned and jumping to conclusions form there.

The answer is very simple if you apply some logic. If you wrote a rule thinking it said one thing but then, on accident, a combination of rules actually indicates something different as a result you wouldn’t even know there was an issue at all (because again, you think you did it correctly the first time) until someone brings it up to you. Right?

So, in all likelihood, they have been unaware of the issue. I personally talked to them about it as I had been playing it “wrong” myself, treating them as normal transports because that is the intuitive thing to do and the way the majority of Necron players use them I am willing to bet. To see that it doesn’t work the way you think it should you have to check another set of rules in the BRB, etc. It isn’t readily apparent that it works oddly. Does that mean that I make mistakes sometimes, too? Yup. All of us do. You pick something up, read it, it makes sense to you so you don’t question it until you encounter someone else that reads it differently and then with that knowledge you look at it again and see where they are coming from. It’s normal. Everyone in the hobby doesn’t read the rules, interpret them the way you do and then look at any deviation as an obvious mistake. Language is imprecise.

So, now that it is on their radar I am sure it will get fixed. You assume they knew about it in time to go on the errata. What if they didn’t? Then the current situation makes sense, right? It’s not some nefarious plot or what have you, it’s just very busy people working very hard to update the game to 8th ed and missing a few things. It will get fixed.

In the meantime, as Necron players asked me about it, I wanted to try and help, got an answer and then shared the info so that those that can use it, will. I am strictly just trying to help. Would you prefer I not answer these questions when I can, lol? If it means getting less people yelling at me, may make sense to do that, haha. Get too many gamers giving me grief as is.

4 years ago

I’m amazed at the quality of these articles. They’re as good as Abusepuppy’s! Do you only play Necrons or other armies as well? I’d love to see articles of this caliber for other factions (not to downtalk Necrons of course, they just aren’t my army of choice).

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x