After a decent showing with my Necrons at an Incursion tournament I have decided to stick with the shiny metal zombies throughout this ITC season. Before the Adeptus Mechanicus Codex was released I was fairly certain Admech would be my army going forward. I even took them to a Major in my area pre-Codex release planning to continue with the army post new Codex. Unfortunately, after playing a local league with the new Admech book I realized I wanted no part in the PhD course that is the new Admech book. I even have enough models to run a Skitarii horde, but I choose to play Necrons. I wouldn’t use the word hero, but I won’t stop any of you if that is the word that comes to mind.
Necrons have been the target of a lot of negative press with the release of the newer 9th Edition Codexes, and some have even dubbed them as the worst of the 9th Edition books. Compared to Drukhari, or even Admech, Raiders some of the Necron units seem priced to sit on the shelf, the whole “my army is full of durable T4 bodies” thing is almost laughable when compared to the amount of firepower the recent Codexes can dish out, and looking over the Warlord Traits or Relics from the Necron book REALLY hurts after reading the same from the Admech Codex. After stating some of these cruel facts, I have to agree that the Necron book is no Drukhari or Adeptus Mechanicus, but I still believe they have potential in the current meta.
Let’s start by looking at the Necron’s mainstay unit in the Warriors. The bad news is there are more and more units in the game that can wipe a block of 20 Warriors from the table in a single shooting or combat phase. 80 shots from Admech Rangers is going to hurt when your opponent gets those Rangers within Rapid Fire range with the Stratagem to make their Galvanic Rifles Rapid Fire. Many players will assume this volley will wipe out 20 Warriors with no problem, but is that how the math works? On average 80 Ranger shots, assuming they are hitting at AP 2 with a Manipulus (because those bad boys are deep striking down as Lucius to use this strat) are killing 22 Warriors. That’s the entire squad dead with no chance of reanimation, but let’s add in a buff most Necron lists will be bringing along.
With the 5+ Invunerable Save from a Chronomancer those 80 shots from a full squad of 20 Rangers Rapid Firing kills 17 Necron Warriors on average. Now, on an average roll, those Warriors get a shot at bringing some of their friends back! If you are the Necron player going second you know that Chronomancer buff will not be in place for the first punishing enemy shooting phase, but the Necrons Command Protocols have an answer. Getting the benefit of Light Cover during the first turn with the Protocol of the Eternal Guardian enhances your entire armies survivability, and will keep your Warriors alive just the same as a Chronomancer buff against AP2 guns. I can hear the laughter already….why should you care about getting 5 or 6 Warriors back when basically an entire squad was wiped out?!
40k is not as simple as a single Ranger squad killing Warriors. Just by surviving one of the most punishing volleys in the game your Warriors now have the chance to reanimate in the Command Phase with a Resurrection Orb, or they simply just survive on an objective allowing the opportunity to score points. Obviously, your opponent could roll above average and wipe out those 20 Warriors, but thems the breaks in a dice game sometimes. The important thing when playing Necrons is to understand the average amount of damage your tough units can soak before they become combat ineffective in order to leverage the Necron’s best strength.
The Necrons still have one of the best army wide rules in the game in their custom Dynasty combination of Relentlessly Expansionist and Eternal Conquerors. Handing out Objective Secured to everything in the Necron army is extremely powerful in a game that revolves around holding objectives for both Primary and Secondary points. Necron Warriors get even better ObSec with Relentlessly Expansionist by counting as two models when determining who control an objective. Now those five or six Warriors that were life alive on that objective count as ten or twelve. With the pre-game mobility of Eternal Conquerors combined with the powerful swing in Primary points Relentlessly Expansionist can provide Necrons are not in as bad a place as people make them out to be.
While it will still be an uphill battle for Necron players there is hope! Playing the mission by leveraging the Necrons super Objective Secured can still allow a skilled Necron player to beat the new hotness in Admech and Drukhari. Hopefully, I will be able to prove myself right with a decent showing at the GT I am playing this weekend that will be covered in next week’s article.