Well, it turns out my Necrons and I were not the hero anyone wanted, needed, or deserved. Finishing last weeks GT at a disappointing 2-3 was not where I wanted to end up, but I learned a ton about the new Admech meta competitive 40k will be living in for the foreseeable future. Honestly, I think some serious changes are needed for the Admech Codex. There are too many buffs that can be applied to too many units too cheaply. Other armies just cannot keep up with the pace of the game an Admech player can set. It isn’t all bad news though as I learned a ton about playing Necrons at a competitive level, and played 5 awesome games against 5 amazing people over the weekend. The lesson’s learned have made me re-think the way I will play my Necron army in the future, and while I don’t know if it will be enough to get me onto the top tables, I thought I could share some of my lessons learned with some Necron (or really any armies) players out there to see if we can’t come up with a way to make those top tables look a little more diverse.
First off, I had an amazing time at a well run tournament at Tables and Towers in Westminster, MD. If you are ever in the area sign up for a tournament to enjoy their massive gaming space! This gaming space is quickly becoming the premier spot for 40k tournaments in the Maryland area.
Now on to the lessons learned from the games I played. The first thing I took away from this GT was Ctans are in a bad place. My list had a Transcendent and the Void Dragon. At no point during the GT did I feel like my opponent worried too much about my Ctan, and I even played a Farsight Tau list. Once my opponent heard my pre-game speech about the Ctan only being able to take 3 wounds PER PHASE they immediately began scheming on how to get rid of my trapped star gods. The hard truth I learned over the weekend was that 9 wounds is just not enough for a model that cost 270-350 points even if they can only take those 3 wounds per phase.
Just sitting back causing mortal wounds with Ctan powers is not enough for such a heavy points investment. This is how the Ctan become problematic to include in your Necrons list. A Necron army is already hurting for points with their basic troop costing 13 points per model. Spending 600 points of your list on 2 models better mean those models make a massive impact on the game, and I felt the Ctan just lacked that impact.
When a Ctan charges in it better kill what it attacks because taking any wounds in your own combat phase is a HUGE deal for the survivability for these models. A Ctan will not have a chance to gain a wound back from any wounds taken in your own turn, and missing out on the opportunity to heal up a bracket to ensure the Ctan lives longer is crucial. Some of you may be thinking, just charge only things that you know the Ctan can kill without getting attacks back. Unfortunately, 40k does not play out this way on the table top. Your opponent knows which of their units are dangerous to your Ctan and they will make sure those units end up in the star god’s path. With just an 8 inch move your opponent wont have to work too hard to make this happen.
Lesson two came in my game against an extremely talented Admech player. In my article last week I covered how a unit of Rangers firing into buffed Necron Warriors, on average, did not wipe the unit of 20 Warriors. Unluckily for me, my opponent used a block of 20 Vanguard with ALL the Admech buffs. With an Omnispex, Manipulus, a Relic, and the right Doctrina, 20 Vanguard fire 60 times hitting on 2s, re-rolling 1s, ignore cover, and ignore negative penalties to hit. Oh, they also auto-wounded on 4+ to hit. My opponent did an excellent job of screening his precious brick of Vanguard with his Infiltrators, Ruststalkers, and Fulgurites in boats leaving me very little options to deal with them.
So, what is a Necron player to do against this Admech menace? Well, my answer is going to be attempting to play a heavy multiple small unit (MSU) style Necrons list. Throughout the weekend the custom Dynasty of giving everything in my army Objective Secured, along with the 6 inch pre game movement, was extremely strong. This allowed my units who had been whittled down over the game to hold objectives for much longer, and these units effectively denied my opponent primary points much longer then they should have. The problems started when my opponent could remove 20 Warriors that were placed on an objective quickly (like those darn Admech), and because my army consisted of a few larger units in 20 man Warrior bricks and Ctan, my opponent could focus their entire armies damage output very effectively.
By breaking the army down into smaller units opponent’s attempts at killing my units will become less efficient. Sure, go ahead and kill those 3 Wraiths, there are 2 more squads of them floating around, and any extra damage my opponent causes while killing the first squad is wasted potential.
Now I fully admit I have not practiced with Necrons yet as an MSU army, and there could be some flaws in this plan. MSU armies are going to have a hard time putting out the amount of damage a more conventionally built army can produce. Stratagems in this game generally affect one unit, so players tend to build up those larger units in order to maximize the benefits their Codex is providing them. I hope the ObSec and 6 inch pre-game move Dynasty gives the army enough board control and mobility to win through denying primary points and taking Secondaries that focus on board control instead of killing enemy models.
While I am not the best Necron player out there by far, I learned a ton over the weekend. Admech seem super efficient in all aspects of the game, and I hope to find a way for Necrons to go into that matchup feeling like there is some chance to not get shot off the table. During my other games I did not feel like it was the Necrons book that was holding me back from a win, but more the mistakes I was making during the game (such as relying on my Ctan to do too much of the heavy lifting for my army). It will be interesting to see if my new Necron MSU concept will work out. Unfortunately, my next tournament will not be until August, so we will have to wait until then to find out (outside of practice games of course).