We’ve got some tactical insights from Jason, who recently won one of the most competitive pods in our nearly 80 person league here in San Diego with the much maligned Necrons! Read on to see how we did against some very tough competition. Also, be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles and insights.
Hey all! Before I get into the thick of things, I’ll give a bit of background info on myself: My name is Jason. I started playing 40k in December of 2017. I currently play Necrons, which is my first and only army. When I started this army, I had no intention of playing competitively. I simply chose the models that I thought looked the coolest. However, that changed pretty quickly, as I found out that there were leagues and tournaments that were constantly going on around me. I was determined to be a good Necron player, even if they were widely considered to be a bottom tier army by most of the 40k player-base when it came to competitive play. The YouTube channel from SuperWargamer, along with the people from the Necron Discord really helped me develop my lists, increased my knowledge, and they made sure that I wasn’t buying models that were irrelevant in the current meta.
After a few months of playing around in a mostly casual environment and learning all I could with the core rules, I ventured over to my nearest FLGS to see if they had any types of leagues going that I could join, and boy, did I hit the jackpot. The store happened to have a MASSIVE league going. There were 70+ players that were placed in “pods” to help pair them with people whom had a similar skill level. Supposedly, this league is largest known league in the USA, so I joined up and was placed in pod 6, the lowest skilled pod at the time, as I was a brand-new player and had to “earn” my way to the top tables so to speak.
I’ve learned an incredible amount about the game from all of my opponents over my 3 seasons of play, and I’d like to take a moment to thank each and every one of them who helped me along the way. Without you guys, I’d have never learned about all of the different armies, in such a short amount of time.
LEAGUE START! The first league went very well — I finished 1st place with a 5-0 record and was advanced up a few pods. I joined the next league and was placed into pod 3, which was supposedly filled with people with an above-average skill level, but who were still very competitive, as this pod had mostly tournament net-lists in it or very close variants. I ended up losing 1 game to the new Ork codex, going 4-1 and getting 2nd place, missing 1st place by 2 points. This win moved me up into pod 2 for the next league season, which consisted of multiple GT winners and extremely good players. This particular season just finished on APR 1st and I ended up winning the pod with a 4-0-1 record, which will put me into the top pod of the league next season. (I was the only one to slow him down with a tied game!–Reecius)
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “But Jason, aren’t Necrons supposed to be trash tier for competitive play?” Well, yes, but no. Let me explain: Before Chapter Approved came out, Necrons were basically stuck with Destroyer spam with Tomb Blades and Doomsday Arks to win games. It worked out okay, but really, it was garbage. You really had to out play your opponent and rely heavily on them not knowing all of your tricks in order to win. This was basically the case for me when I was in pod 6, as most of the people there were not playing competitive lists, or they had literally no idea what Necrons did at all.
Then, Chapter Approved (CA) dropped and changed everything up again. Doom Scythes got way cheaper, which made them basically an auto take vs today’s meta of clustered up death balls. Doomsday Arks also got cheaper, which was great, cause every competitive Necron player was already using 3 of them to begin with. With all of the point drops that we got, we were now able to take Imotekh and a minimal battalion with 3×5 immortals or 2x immortals and 10 warriors (Ghost Ark list). This was a big deal, because Necrons were suffering badly from being CP starved, as a battalion was just way over costed before CA. A battalion is still really expensive for us to take, but it’s not impossible like it was before. Destroyers also fell out of grace, because now that everyone knew about extermination protocols, destroyers were the first thing to die every game, which was rough, because they cost you 300 points and didn’t do a whole lot vs the Knight, Ynnari, and horde meta. They are also very easy to kill. After CA, most competitive Necron players who were keeping up with our meta had dropped them for better choices, like Tomb Blades. Wraiths also fell out, as they were considered way too expensive for what they did. Then, LVO happened and a Necron player actually did pretty well overall, showing that we could now compete at high levels of play. Since then, Necrons have been on the rise, as we are great at countering hordes and clustered up death balls. We even do pretty decently vs knights, as Quantum Shielding is awesome, and people HATE IT.
With that being said, I should mention that Necrons are BY FAR the best army to list tailor with. We literally have a tool to deal with everything that we may face. Now, before you grab the pitchforks and torches, let me explain: Our league is 100% okay with this. It’s completely intended and expected of you to do so. Everyone has to pick their major faction before the league starts, which is determined by what keyword your largest point sink is. Everyone knows what army you are going to play before your games begin. So, people know that I’m going to be playing Necrons before they play me. They are free to tailor a list to try and give them an advantage vs me and I have that same luxury vs them. However, like I said before, no one can beat Necrons in the list tailoring game. Especially when you know that the other players are probably just going to bring their tournament net-list that is packed full of their best units. BUT! My 1 loss against the Ork player was due to him playing a vehicle heavy list, while I brought a ton of tesla and anti-infantry. In other words, I got played, as my tailoring backfired on me hard. But that’s the entire point of the league. It adds an element of strategy that you normally don’t get playing in GT’s and Majors.
Though, unfortunately, our greatest strength is also our greatest weakness. Necrons struggle pretty hard when it comes to making an all-comers list. We have to choose between gauss and tesla, which means you really rely heavily on getting a decent match up in GT’s and Majors. Covering anti-horde, anti-knight and anti-MEQ/Custodes in 1 list is very, very difficult. Necrons also suffer from having literally no competitive melee options and only 3 competitive HQ choices. This is really sad, as Necrons have some awesome melee choices with Lychguard, Flayed Ones, Wraiths, etc… They just cost way too much to be useful and we have very little ways to buff our units like everyone else does through Psy powers and large re-roll bubbles from HQs. When stuff gets into melee with us, we don’t like it at all, so we are pretty much forced to take as many things as we can with the “fly” keyword. Reanimation Protocols also needs a pretty major overhaul as well, as it only really works for large units of durable models, like Tomb Blades (basically just Tomb Blades…).
Overall, I think Necrons are in a MUCH better spot than they were before CA came out, and I believe we will start to see much better showings at events, as Necron players start to catch up to our fast-paced meta list changes. Once again, I’d like to thank everyone in the Necron Discord for the continued help, support and discussions, and Reece for letting me blog about Necrons and hopefully this gives struggling Necron players some hope that we can certainly compete with the best people out there!
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