When the new Lokust Heavy Destroyer models were previewed around the beginning of 9th Edition I was extremely excited. All of the new Necron models looked amazing, but the Lokust was my favorite. Unfortunately, these new models were extremely underwhelming out of the gate. Out of the two available weapon options neither impressed me. What in the world was my army going to do with a single high damage shot?! No one is playing Knights! 3d3 single damage Blast shots as the other option?! Even worse, I thought to myself, but it is remarkable how a few months (and few Codex releases) can change the usefulness of an originally underwhelming new model. This weekend I have a small RTT coming up and three of these beautiful models have found a way into my army list. Over a few games of testing, and a nice 10 point reduction in the latest Chapter Approved, I have come to appreciate these one shot wonders.
In the current meta the weapon choice is clear in the Gauss Destructor. A single shot feels like a risk, but with the ability to ignore the penalty of moving and shooting a heavy weapon, the ability to re-roll their ones to hit, and the Necron stratagem to automatically wound a target the Gauss Destructor is an excellent answer to two specific threats in the current meta. Both Admech Ironstriders and Drukhari Raiders want nothing to do with an accurate S10 AP4 3d3 damage gun. While Heavy Destroyers aren’t shooting these down on a one for one basis the 60 points price tag allows multiple Heavy Destroyers to gang up on opponents key targets during a game. They key is to gang up on these key targets while staying out of line of sight of the other juicy Heavy Destroyer targets. Which, admittedly, can be tough.
With the popularity of 20 man Skitarii bricks, and the upcoming Ork Codex, the second weapon option may become a viable choice as well. 3d3 accurate shots with Blast at S7 AP1 can do some serious work into hordes, but there are some obvious downsides to this loadout. First, this weapon will still be hard to fit into many Necron army builds since the Necrons are not lacking for high volume, accurate, anti-infantry fire power. That’s what Warriors with Reapers are for. Also, the Skitarii Veteran Cohort allows the large Skitarii bricks to ignore the Blast keyword, and that is going to really suck for those Lokhusts.
Another unique benefit to the Heavy Destroyer (ok, well, to ALL Destroyer keyword models, but this article is about Heavy Destroyers) is the re-rolling 1s to wound benefit the Skorpek Lord, or Lokhust Lord, provide to surrounding Heavy Destroyers. With this aura buff Heavy Destroyers are re-rolling 1s to hit AND wound. Throw in the auto wounding Necron stratagem, and the ability to use a Command Re-Roll, to make the Heavy Destroyers some of the most reliable anti-tank shooting in the game!
Heavy Destroyers aren’t just excellent because they put out respectable firepower for their points cost though. There is also the surprising benefit of including Lokust Destroyers in a Necrons list that is making your opponent deal with three separately annoying targets. At T5, 3+ save, and four wounds the Lokust Heavy Destroyer doesn’t seem incredibly resilient. However, they have access to some excellent rules to increase their survivability. They get the Infantry keyword allowing them to benefit from a 2+ save in Light Cover. Four 2+ save wounds are going to require some serious fire power to move. Probably more firepower then your opponent wants to put into a 60 point model.
The Lokust Heavy Destroyer’s other form of resiliency comes from the Custom Dynasty Trait that gives a 6 inch pre game move. The ability to get your anti-tank firepower in the perfect place after you know if you are going first or second is a huge benefit. This pre-game movement ensures these Heavy Destroyers will either be behind obscuring terrain if your opponent goes first, or moving into the perfect firing lanes with their pre-game movement. Also, don’t forget, Heavy Destroyers get an 8 inch flying move during the movement phase. This coming right after a 6 inch pre-game move when going first can surprise an opponent that thinks they have protected their Raiders only to find your quick Heavy Destroyers can get the angle on them.
Admittedly, not all opponents are going to have excellent targets for 3 Heavy Destroyers putting out 3 high powered shots a turn, but this is where another Custom Dynasty comes in handy. By giving everything in your army Objective Secured with Eternal Conquerors the Heavy Destroyers become excellent backfield objective holders and screening units. With the popularity of Retrieve Octarius Data the Heavy Destroyers large bases are excellent at unexpectedly denying your opponent some Secondary points. If they want to bring in their reserves to get those points they are going to have to put some work into the Heavy Destroyers sitting in cover in the backfield. Sometimes this can be just the amount of firepower your forward Necron units needed to avoid in order to hold the board for the win.
With the fall in usefulness of the Silent King as the Necrons high damage dealing shooting (thanks Raiders and Ironstriders) a giant hole has been left in most Necron army builds. At 180 points for three Heavy Destroyers the Necron Codex cannot find better anti-armor firepower. The next time you are building a Necrons list think about throwing these new models into your army list, and if you aren’t a Necron player don’t use anything in this article against the Necron players in your area. It isn’t allowed.