SoCal 40k League Won by Necrons!

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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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

16 Responses to “SoCal 40k League Won by Necrons!”

  1. rvd1ofakind April 4, 2019 8:52 am #

    What would be your TAC list?

  2. Jason D. April 4, 2019 9:25 am #

    It depends on what your meta is looking like.

    Airwing with 3x Doom Scythes (Sautekh)

    Min battalion with 3×5 immortals, Cloaktek and Imotekh, 3 DDAs, 1×7 and 1×8 Tomb Blades, 1 gauss and 1 tesla with neb scopes and a Heavy Gauss Stalker (Sautekh)

    I’ll be taking that to a Major next weekend to see how it does.

    There’s variations to that list that substitute the Stalker, 1×5 immortals, and 1 Tomb Blade, for a Ghost Ark and 10 warriors.

    You could also drop the TBs and add in another Ghost Ark and warriors if you wanted to, which is fine.

    The idea behind the Ghost Ark lists, is that you can push them up the field to either quickly clear objectives and take them, or screen for you. T6 14W with QS is a real pain to clear for most people. Then you have your 20 flayer shots and warriors who pop out to give more screen or obj secure. They are a sacrificial unit.

    I also experimented with a Tesseract Ark a few times, but it fell short in most games.

  3. Commander_Sune April 4, 2019 9:42 am #

    Congrats Jason and good luck in the next season!

    It’s really great when you can find a good community weather it’s a FLG or via internet such as the Necron Discord you mentioned. Just talking about your games and lists teaches you a lot and inspires you in your hobby.

    Hey, I think I will join the awesome Discord you mentioned. There seems to be great people there that talk about lists, tactics, models, painting, salt and a lot of other stuff.

  4. Heath s April 4, 2019 11:01 am #

    Gratz! I just finished up my league 5-1 my only loss was to another necron with a similar list getting first turn.

    I’m still doing well in the mid west with necrons.

    • Reecius April 4, 2019 11:14 am #

      Wait, so you went 5-1 in your league with Crons and only lost to another Cron player? That’s funny! Good to see the Robits doing well again.

      • Heath S April 4, 2019 11:34 am #

        Yeah lost to a guy I coached to build his list. So lists were almost identical. He had a unit of destroyers and I had more immortals because I like the tesla. He got first and then my return fire on turn one whiffed hard. I still beat him overall in the league with Higher points and he lost to other lists I tabled.

        I have been running the same list since the CA leaks hit. I have done really well with it.

        • Reecius April 4, 2019 11:48 am #

          Haha, that’s funny.

          Reminds me of a similar situation. Back in 5th ed I ran a fairly unique Bjorn led Space Wolf list that was doing really well for me and led me to a lot of victories. Then one event, I found myself playing my list and it was even painted almost the same way, and he beat me, lol! I was like, I have been replaced, haha.

  5. Fab April 4, 2019 4:43 pm #

    Wait there is a discord devoted to Necrons!?!? How do I get in there?

  6. Nato Sicarius April 4, 2019 8:21 pm #

    Fwiw, I went 2-1 at a 24 person tourney here in Tacoma, WA with Necrons, post-CA. 9 Tesla Tomb Blades murdered Mortarion, and came back to near with a great ERP + cloak cryptek bonus. Typhus and his terminators could not handle the s5 MWBD + T4A 5+= 3 hits reroll 1s to wound.
    Edged out a win against a Tyranid shooty list second by being able hold him off the bonus point objective… the match was 24-25. Best game I’ve played in a long time. Each round we would kill a full 2 units of each others, and my tomb blades chased across his backfield a warlord Zoanthrope in a deadly game of tag (Zoe won!)
    Third game, I lost to a Tau pathfinder blob with so many drones. He was able to outshoot me, pick off key characters early and deep strike a character directly onto an unclaimed objective I couldn’t get to and I was nearly tabled by the end… the Necrons were just outclassed, I wasn’t smart enough to realize his blob wasn’t ever going to move, and I should have just held more objectives and let him pummel me. This guys move phase was 2 mins tops, but shooting was an hour a turn. Lol anyway… 2-1.
    My list is pretty much like Jason says… take all the fly keyword Necrons to be able to move… take the tools for things I knew I’d face (Tau was not one of them), and play for points and maximum fun. Necrons have to take calculated risks… and when they pay off, it usually is for the win.
    My list is a Mephrit battalion-outrider-spearhead with
    Cloak cryptek, who hung out with 1×9 tomb blades. A CCB with staff of light, lightning shield and tesla and warlord trait that lets me target characters at 18″, who goes with 3 wraiths, annihilation barge and the Deceiver to one of the flanks of my opponent like a pretty serious distraction carnifex. ONE Doomsday ark (truly why I lost the last game) who hangs out with 3 units of single heavy destroyers and a TWIN-HEAVY-GAUSS-CANNON Triarch Stalker (love that comic) on backfield objective. The core is 3×5 immortals, void blade lord and warscythe overlord with Veil of Darkness and 1×6 destroyers. They march up the field to one place. Or hide all game.
    Grats on the win, Jason. Great article.

    • skoffs April 22, 2019 5:55 am #

      … wait, are you saying you used MWBD on Tomb Blades against Typhus and his terminators?

  7. Pyrothem April 5, 2019 9:00 am #

    I would love to hear your take on dealing with Double Spear Special Space Elves. They seem to out kill, be harder to kill and faster to take all the objectives so I have yet to find a list or strat to crack them.

    Thanks again for the write up.

    • Jason D. April 5, 2019 3:49 pm #

      The 3 Doom Scythe ATD stratagem just murders them hard. Imotekh can also storm them if there’s any left. Whatever is left you can just take out like you kill anything else. Tesla with the +1 Sautekh stratagem or multiple DDAs or Ghost Arks firing 60 to 80 flayers at them will always wipe them. Make sure that you ALWAYS deploy as defensively as possible, as Necrons are NOT a super Alpha strike army other than the 3 scythes. You can also bait with your Scythes. No one in their right mind will let you use that stratagem twice, lol. So they really have no choice but to try to kill one or 2 with their spears on turn 1. You basically auto win after that.

  8. mortetvie April 5, 2019 11:14 pm #

    Cool to see Necron success. I have a pet project that is in the works where everything is converted from Tomb King bits (e.g., Ghost Arks are Warsphinx models with Ghost ark bits, etc.) and really want to try and make a Necron Warrior/Ghost Ark army work… Any insight on how that is possible currently or can I expect to just have a cool army but lose most all games lol?

  9. Mauler June 28, 2019 12:51 am #

    Man, it’s good to see someone point out how good Necrons are. It irritates me that people online say they’re a rubbish army but when one of our two Necron players is currently 20W 1D 0L with his 2×20 Warriors which are impossible to shift from objectives supported by 1×10 tesla Immortals, an Overlord and a Cryptek it’s kinda baffling to see. He uses them in the most basic way but it what’s they’re designed to do, with a few Destroyers, Wraiths, 2 Doom Scythes, a Stalker or two all for support. It’s been like this since the Index hit.

    I shelved my Necrons when I saw that GW still had the “everything combined” RP rule unchanged from Index to Codex; it was way too powerful for blobs and wasn’t changed. In previous books RP was either a token with a single roll then removed or a persistent wound-cancelling roll like Feel No Pain was. Now, it’s both: the token is placed but is persistent until the unit’s gone. Too much.

    • Mark A Johnson April 21, 2020 6:31 am #

      Mauler I think you’re giving RP WAAAAY too much credit. It’s not a bad ability, but a good player is going to do their best to simply wipe the unit from the board. Even if you do get to use RP, it’s only a 5+, 4+ with Cryptek, and 3+ with Cryptek & Enhanced RP stratagem. With only a 5+, it’s meh. At 50% chance with a Cryptek it’s better, and 66% chance with a Cryptek and strat it’s pretty good. That all said, HQs are a premium in Necron for not much in return (outside of Imotekh) and Necrons are CP starved so using the strat each turn will eat into that. Overall, you’re paying a lot of points at a premium for an ability that goes from meh/nice-to-have to good when you pay a lot of points for an otherwise unimpressive HQ and CP.

      Compare this to Primaris Marines these days….5 Necron Immortals at 75 pts and 5 wounds (without support) that can come back on a 5+, or 5 Primaris Intercessor Marines at 85 pts and 10 wounds, which is better. While the Immortals are 10 pts cheaper, they are 5″ move, T4, S4, A1, and W1. The Intercessors are M6″, T4, S4, and W2. While having RP is nice, it’s a lot easier to wipe out 5 wounds of guys with T4 than it is to wipe out 10 wounds of guys at T4, both have a 3+ SV. If you want to compre to Tactical Marines, then the Immortals could be argued are better thanks to the guns and RP, but you’re also paying 15 pts more for 5 Immortals compared to a Tactical Marine squad.

      Bottom line, you’re paying a hefty premium in points for RP that good players will make irrelevant and bad players will be frustrated by because they don’t concentrate their fire. In general, I agree with Jason, Necrons are not a bad army….they can be a very good army. The problem with them is the Dynasty abilities compared to other armies are somewhat mediocre, the best HQ in their toolbox basically dictates you play Sautekh, and because of the premium you’re paying in points for necrons, it leaves little variance in army lists. Compared to other armies, Necrons are fairly expensive point wise for what they do. There’s a reason DDA and Doomscythes are pretty much a given 3 of each….they are really the only units in Necrons that are fairly priced in comparison to equivalent units in other armies. Add in that 40K 8th edition is pretty much a shooting game, and lacks of strong melee dynasty abilities, some of the more interesting Necron units considering their cost are just not worth playing (like wraiths). Aside from DDA and Doomscythe, almost every unit in the necron codex nees to have further point drops before they are on par with other armies, or attractive enough for someone to use them.

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