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 – Mephrit
The Powerful Shooting 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.
Solar Fury is extremely strong for shooting armies, especially since it almost always comes into play when our units overwatch! It is easiest to make use of with long range weapons like heavy gauss cannons and the doomsday cannon, or with units that can take advantage of high mobility (whether innate like on Tomb Blades & Destroyers or added on via the Veil of Darkness and transportation units). The majority of our ranged weapons in the 8th edition codex have 24″ range, which means our units will need to get into the dangerous 12″ range band to put Solar Fury to good use (16 out of 28 (57%) non-relic ranged weapons in the codex have 24″ range).
12″ is an important distance for two reasons:
- It is very likely that any unit or models that we do not destroy, if they so choose, will be able to charge us during their turn (they will be able to move and then charge);
- It is great for rapid fire weapons as it means that we are not only doubling the number of shots we are putting out, but we are also getting those shots with an improved AP.
At first glance, Mephrit looks like the absolute shoe-in choice for standard Necron shooting units & shooting detachments – but in order to make use of it, our units need to be within half-range, which as addressed above usually puts them within charging range of enemies. Compare this with the Nihilakh Dynasty code which makes our shooting more effective, but comes with the drawback of the units being unable to move prior to shooting.
Doomsday Arks (“DDA”) and Heavy Destroyers have longer than 24″ shooting range, but don’t really need AP -6 or AP -5 (although DDAs love Solar Fury on their gauss flayers). Night Scythes, Monoliths & units transported via the Veil of Darkness can make good use of the Dynasty Code since they can close the distance to half-range quickly. Solar Fury is also appreciated by destroyers, but they don’t really need the extra AP, especially in exchange for being within 12″ of their target instead of 24″. “Too much AP” is a true First World Problem, but it becomes relevant when enemy unit’s invulnerable saves are already triggered by the base AP. Deathmarks are also mobile enough to make great use of the code by getting into half range quickly.
In summary, the Mephrit Dynasty code is fantastic for giving our low AP weaponry some increased teeth or making our already deadly weapons more deadly – but it needs to be carefully applied since it forces us to get our units within half range. Its best uses involve using focused fire and the increased AP to eliminate any given target completely so that the enemy unit doesn’t survive and close the gap and charge.
Adding 6″ to our Warlord’s assault weapons is wonderful – an increased shooting threat range keeps our Warlord safe and also makes it easier to trigger the Solar Fury Dynasty Code to get better AP. The second half of Merciless Tyrant makes our Warlord into a tip top character assassin. The best HQ choice for this Warlord Trait is the Catacomb Command Barge (“CCB”) by a large margin. The other options will only get to take advantage of the trait with their Staff of Light/Artefact of the Aeons (i.e. upgraded SoLs). This trait is probably not worth taking if it is only enhancing a 3 shot weapon, with the exception possibly being if you take the Voltaic Staff (where the upgrade to the statline might make the wielder a decent character assassin).
On a CCB equipped with a SoL and Tesla Cannon, the warlord trait transforms it into a medium-ranged killing machine:
- Range 18″ x3 S5 AP-2 D1 shots (with AP-3 at 9″); and
- Range 30″ x3 S6 AP0 D1 tesla shots (with AP -1 at 15″).
Upgrade the CCB to the Voltaic Staff and becomes capable of dishing out 15 wounds + 3 mortal wounds in a single shooting phase if your dice can’t stop rolling 6s, which can take down most characters in the game. The CCB can also charge in for 3 more attacks in the fight phase to finish off anything left close to dead.
In summary, Merciless Tyrant is best left home unless you are: 1.) Bringing the Mephrit relic on your Warlord; or 2.) You are bringing a CCB and are building your Warlord to be a character hunter. It simply doesn’t provide enough benefit (adding 6″ of range and unrestricting characters to a SoL’s 3 shots isn’t very impressive) over other warlord traits unless you make sure to bring the right Assault ranged weapons.
Before we discuss whether the stratagem is good or how to use it, we need to take a moment and dissect the language for some nuances. The stratagem must be used before a unit attacks in the shooting phase. It also only increases the number of hit rolls on an unmodified 6 roll, and these additional hits cannot create further hit rolls. This means that it can indeed stack with tesla shots, because tesla “causes 3 hits instead of 1”, meaning it is generating further hits, not hit rolls.
A simple formula for determining how many extra hits a unit will get from spending 1 CP on Talent for Annihilation in a normal circumstance (without other buffs etc.) is:
[# of shots] * (1/6) * [hit chance]
It gets a little more complicated if you have tesla and / or have a Triarch Stalker‘s Targeting Relay allowing your units to re-roll hit rolls of 1, but the best uses of the stratagem don’t really change.
Cyto, I’m intrigued – what does “a little more complicated look like?”
10 tesla Immortals with MWBD, targeting relay & Talent for Annihilation – averages
20 shots. 6.66 tesla procs, 3.33 misses, 3.33 6s, 10 normal hits.
3.33 misses get rerolled into:
- .55 actual misses
- .55 6s
- 1.10 more tesla procs
- 1.665 normal hits
3.33 sixes + 0.55 sixes = 3.88 extra hit rolls from Talent for Annihilation
3.88 extra hit rolls =
- .646 misses
- 1.2933 tesla procs
- 1.94 normal hits
.646 misses rerolled into:
- .107 actual misses
- .323 normal hits
- .215 more tesla procs
Tesla Procs: 6.66 + 1.10 + 1.2933 + .215 = 9.27 procs = 27.81 hits
Normal Hits: 10 + 1.665 + 1.94 + .323 = 13.928 hits
Total hits: 27.81 + 13.928 = 41.738 hits
Compared with 10 tesla immortals with MWBD & targeting relay – averages
20 shots. 6.66 tesla procs, 3.33 misses, 10 normal hits.
3.33 misses get rerolled into:
- .55 actual misses
- 1.10 more tesla procs
- 1.665 normal hits
7.76 tesla procs = 23.28 hits
+ 10 normal hits + 1.665 normal hits = 34.945 total hits
Under the above circumstances, using Talent for Annihilation resulted in a 16.3% increase in hits.
I’m sorry I asked . . . as soon as I saw your numbers I just started skimming – can you just give me a tl;dr?
Best Uses: Use this stratagem when you have the weight of a lot of shots coming in and try to combine it with hit re-rolls to help roll more 6s so you generate additional shots. 20 Warriors rapid firing at a targeting relay’d unit, a unit of 6 destroyers shooting at something with the Extermination Protocols stratagem in effect, or just a standard unit of tesla immortals are all good examples.
This stratagem is not something that should be used every turn, but it is useful enough for 1 CP that it can be worth it when you know your unit might need a little extra “ooomppff” to take out or finish off their target.
Artefact of the Aeon (Relic)
The Voltaic Staff is a powerful Relic that can be brought by any of our non-named, non-C’tan Necron Characters wielding a staff of light, which makes the list of eligible models fairly broad with:
The best fit is probably the CCB or Destroyer Lord for their mobility and survivability to make the most of the extra damage output, or a Lord to make use of his own re-rolling failed wounds aura. While debatable whether this beats out the utility of the Veil of Darkness, the Voltaic Staff is up there in terms of its offensive capabilities. A strict upgrade over a standard SoL, it has one higher S, one better AP, and 1 extra damage per shot.
But that’s not all folks! Its ability adds in some mortal wounds to the mix, though they won’t crop up a lot because it only has 3 shots per turn and it needs the 6+ on the wound roll to go off. Get the user to be within a Lord’s aura for failed to-wound re-rolls and you increase the chance of getting more out of this relic! All said and done, this weapon has the potential (extremely rare, but still there) to dish out 9 wounds with its 3 shots if all 3 hit, and then wound with a roll of a 6! Again, this will probably never happen for you, but its fun to know that it could happen! The verdict on the Voltaic Staff is that while it may have a sadly unreliable mortal wound mechanic *cough – deathmarks’ synaptic disintegrator – cough*, its base statline upgrade over a SoL (especially the 2D) makes this a great option if you want to spice up one of your characters, and it is an absolute necessity if you’re taking a CCB character assassin via the Merciless Tyrant warlord trait!
There are unfortunately no named Mephrit Characters at this time.
Mephrit Battalion (+5 CP) – 711 pts
- HQ – Overlord, Staff of Light – 94 pts
- HQ – Lord, Veil of Darkness, Staff of Life – 83 pts
- T– x19 Necron Warriors – 228 pts
- T– x9 Tesla Immortals – 153 pts
- T – x9 Tesla Immortals– 153 pts
A bare-bones Mephrit core that you can add additional modules/units to as you see fit. Another good option here would be to trade out the Necron Warrior unit for a unit of gauss immortals – either way the plan is for them to be teleported with the Lord’s Veil of Darkness into rapid fire range, preferably somewhere in cover or on an objective. One Overlord can handle (i.e. buff) two units of tesla immortals thanks to our 1 CP Phaeron’s Will stratagem. The idea here is that there is very little dead weight – the Lord buffing and Veiling a unit of gauss warriors/immortals into rapid fire range is going to dish out a lot of damage. MWBD’d tesla immortals go absolutely bonkers once their targets are within 12″, and otherwise they enjoy the safety of their full amount of shots while skirting their 24″ range. Any of the troop units can be decent targets for Talent for Annihilation if you know you are going to need a few more hits or wounds – and the best part is this compact Mephrit core earns a fantastic 5 CP!
A great addition to the Battalion is a unit of Tomb Blades. Both tesla and gauss are extremely fearsome on such a fast unit that can easily get within half-range to take advantage of the extra AP. If you opponent can’t muster the firepower to wipe the full unit, they are in for an absolute nightmare. Resurrection Protocols, falling back and then unloading from 12″ away over and over will be demoralizing as his potentially full unit gets blasted into oblivion. A full unit gets to 36 S5, AP-3 shots with gauss blasters, and 36 S5 AP-1 shots from tesla carbines will melt both of their prime targets even without access to MWBD or other buffs. A nice little example module:
x6 Tomb Blades, gauss blasters, x3 shieldvanes, x2 shadowloom – 211 pts
I often don’t pay the 2pts per model for the nebuloscopes because ignoring bonuses to saves for being in cover doesn’t come up that much, and when it does, I’ve found using the Solar Pulse stratagem to be a much better use of resources. We will get into the nitty-gritty details of some of the best ways to outfit Tomb Blades in a future Celestial Orrery article, but for now it is good to start thinking about two concepts when bringing them in your army lists:
- How many per unit – you don’t want too few because unlike Immortals, Tomb Blades can’t be targeted by MWBD or WoC or many of our other HQ buffs – and we also want to take advantage of RP. Too many, and you run the risk of a bad morale roll hitting hard.
- Which wargear options – sure, if you want your Tomb Blades to the be the Touring trim level, throw some shieldvanes and shadowlooms on all of them! But if you’re looking to trim and skim some points, having a variety of wargear options potentially lets you optimize. Any AP-3 or stronger goes on the shadowlooms, any AP-2 or weaker goes on the shieldvanes, and any mortal wounds immediately get thrown onto the naked Tomb Blade. This kind of ‘kit only makes sense if your opponent attacks your unit with a variety of attacks, which can often be a reality once they realize it is hard to put down a full unit of T5, W2, 3+/5++ re-animating, -1 to hit flying bikers!
The Mephrit Dynasty makes Necrons better at what they already do well – shoot things dead in our 12″ – 24″ range band. With our codex still being fairly new in 8th edition, many players default to the Mephrit Dynasty because it seems like it will always be useful. Many of our units tend to go for half-range anyway in order to get additional rapid fire shots. Heck, even if we have all assault weapons and try to stay at max range for tactical/objective reasons, the increased AP will still be relevant in every single game due to overwatch (unless, of course, we are getting out gunned – but I would argue in those match-ups we will be looking to close the distance for rapid fire/melee anyway).
Mephrit makes a great Battalion or Brigade choice because the extra AP really makes a difference when we have lots of shots, and a full unit of 20 Warriors shooting 40 S4, AP-2 shots after getting Veil’d up the battlefield is a lot of firepower for a cheap basic troop choice unit. Immortals and Warriors can make great use of the extra AP if you are planning on transporting or hoofing them into rapid fire range regardless. Just make sure you aren’t letting the power of the sun blind you: don’t go making poor tactical decisions to get the extra AP when it puts you in a disadvantageous position. But this caveat applies with any Dynasty Code bonus: don’t fail to move to get a Nihilakh code bonus, or advance to take advantage of the Nephrekh bonus, or advance to take advantage of the Sautekh bonus, or charge a shooting unit into melee to get the Novokh bonus when the situation doesn’t warrant it.
Luckily, the Mephrit bonus itself helps with one of its own biggest downsides: the increased AP should help our units completely wipe out the targeted squad so that we don’t get punished by being charged after getting within our half-range. One of the great joys in Necron life is getting to roll 10 man Mephrit tesla Immortal unit’s overwatch against big squishy assault units (ork boyz, nid units etc.).
They average 10 hits at S5, AP-1 if the enemy unit charged from within 12″!
At the advent of 8th edition when we were playing Index crons, I wept a few salty tears at our lack of flamers and jealously watched IG players bring flamers en masse and heavy flamer chimeras. Little did I know our Mephrit tesla would turn out to be the equivalent of having ~3 heavy flamers when it came to overwatch (x3 HF = 3d6 or an averages 10.5 auto-hits at S5, AP -1).
Mephrit is a good option for an Outrider if you are bringing a couple of units of tomb blades or destroyers or if you’re wanting to bring along a CCB assassin. A Spearhead could also be a good idea if you’re bringing along a few DDAs or the likes. Their Doomsday cannon certainly doesn’t need the extra AP, but the gauss flayers (especially in rapid fire range) will melt through enemy infantry with AP -2 thanks to Solar Fury. Don’t have a Novokh or Nihilakh detachment for your unit of Wraiths with particle casters? Toss them into your Mephrit detachment and enjoy zesty pistol shots that now sting!
Mephrit is a great dynasty that provides some useful options and bonuses – all favorable for what Necrons do best: shooting. I don’t think Mephrit is the end-all-be-all or default dynasty to use, but I think it is probably one of our better options (along with Nephrekh) for Battalions since the dynasty code provides great benefits to our troop choices, and it is already being seen in most current tournament lists (as of May 2018). The Mephrit stratagem provides a great little boost to a unit’s damage on a critical turn and Mephrit overall provides a few fun options that makes Necrons more deadly at long range . . . err . . . while shooting from half-long-range, so medium to close range. Mephrit is a great dynasty option for shooting detachments, but so is Nihilakh – currently one of the more maligned dynasties – and the focus of our next Necron article!
Stayed tuned for our next 8th Edition Celestial Orrery installments!
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