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:
- A Codex Necrons Tactical Primer (Unit Buffs)
- Necron Thunderdome: Lychguard vs. Triarch Praetorians
- Dynasty Overview – Nephrekh
- Dynasty Overview – Novokh
- Dynasty Overview – Mephrit
- Dynasty Overview – Nihilakh
- Dynasty Overview – Sautekh
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.
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, Lychguard, Canoptek 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:
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%).
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.
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)
- 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.
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:
- They apply buffs that compound or synergize with Novokh’s melee emphasis; and
- 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.
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!
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