After an inspiring 2-1 run with my double C’tan Necrons over the weekend at a small RTT (yes, I hear your cheers, I am a hero to the common folk) I really wanted to take an in-depth look at the powers of the C’tan. These powers are basically mortal wound bombs that can’t be denied, cast on a single roll, and can even ignore line or sight or character targeting rules in some cases. There aren’t a lot of armies in the game who can deal the amount of mortal wounds that the Necron Codex can produce, and it is a viable alternative to built a list around this mechanic rather then spending points on a ton of Warrior bodies.
Antimatter Meteor- This is one of the best powers a C’tan can have, and it should be included in every Necrons list where a C’tan is included. For a 3+ roll the closest enemy unit suffers flat 3 mortal wounds, or 3+D3 for a roll of a 6. While this power does give your opponent some ability to play around it since the power needs to target the closest enemy unit the fact that it is going to do flat 3 mortals 66(ish)% of the time is going to put a hurt on even horde screening units. While your opponent is busy making sure their important units aren’t taking the brunt of Antimatter Meteors a Necron player can pile their ObSec models onto objectives as their opponents screening elements melt to mortal wounds.
Time’s Arrow- This is my favorite power. Not because it is the best power, or because you should ever choose this as one of your C’tan powers, but because spending that 1CP to cast an extra power and using this to kill an Admech Manipulus on a 5+ makes my heart warm. There is no way you can play for this as a Necron player, so I do not have much advice to give. You will know in your heart when it is time to roll up Time’s Arrow as your extra power.
Sky of Falling Stars- In the current meta, where Admech, Sisters, and Orks are some of the most popular armies, this has become the best C’tan power. This is the power that should be taken in almost every game. Simply by rolling under the number of models in a target unit (a 6 still fails) this power deals D3 mortal wounds to 3 units within 24in. The biggest benefit from this power is that it does not require line of sight. Hiding a C’tan behind obscuring terrain for a turn or 2 and just letting it pump out mortals with this power is extremely powerful. I can’t think of another ability in the game that can drop mortal wounds on three separate targets out of line of sight. Obviously not good against Knights. Just don’t forget to switch out this power during the Command Phase for 1 CP when you realize this power will no longer be useful due to your opponents unit sizes.
Cosmic Fire- At first glance this power seems incredible strong. Everything within 9 inches takes D3 mortals on a 4+?! This makes a C’tan into a super mortal wound bomb! Unfortunately, it will not play out like that on the tabletop. The key to getting the most out of a C’tan is to ensure those 9 wounds last for as many turns as possible. A Necron play cannot afford to have their C’tan take wounds in extra phases outside of their opponents turn, and the one time this is going to happen is during your own combat phase. Charging a C’tan in to use this power on multiple units within 9 inches is a great way to have a dead C’tan earlier then planned. Just for the simple fact it will tempt a Necron player into getting their C’tan into bad situations this power should almost never be selected. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have spent the CP to cast an extra C’tan power and been extremely happy I rolled into Cosmic Fire, but this is so hard to plan for it is just a happy accident.
Seismic Assault- If Cosmic Fire is the power I get happy about casting as a third random power Seismic Assault is the one I find comes up when I am playing Knights and I get to roll a single dice to do a mortal on a 6+. Rolling 6+ for every model in the unit to cause mortals is not terrible into some matchups, but because your C’tan powers need to be selected during list construction, this is one I would never include in an army list. This is also a power where a solid Sky of Falling Stars, or our next power, are almost always better choices. While Seismic Assault can spike a lot of mortals onto a large unit it will do 3 on average to a unit of 18 or more, and it needs line of sight with a range of only 18 inches. These restrictions just make Sky of Falling Stars and Transdimensional Thunderbolt better choices.
Transdimensional Thunderbolt- This sneaky C’tan power can create some horrifying mortal wound bombs when combined with other abilities within the Necron Codex. Select a unit (not a Character unfortunately) within 24 inches and cause D3 mortal wounds on a 2+ is already respectable, but this power also gives you the opportunity to do a mortal wound to all enemy units within 3 inches of the original target on a 4+. A single splashing mortal wound might not seem like a lot, but the Necrons Codex has the ability to splash extra mortal wounds with the Malevolent Arcing stratagem. A couple turns of causing mortals to everything around a target can really put a hurting on enemy Characters or small units of objective holders who may be hiding just out of line of sight.
While I go into almost all of my games having selected Sky of Falling Stars, Anti-Matter Meteor, and Transdimensional Thunderbolt the C’tan power changing stratagem to spend 1 CP in the Command Phase is an extremely effective tool no Necron player should forget about. Some of these C’tan powers can be extremely devastating in the right situations during a game, and for the low cost of 1 CP the flexibility to switch into a power that could snipe an enemy Character when your opponent thought they were safe with Time’s Arrow cannot be beaten.
Also remember the 1 CP Stratagem to cast an extra power happens immediately after a C’tan has casts a power, so think carefully which C’tan on the board will be using this Stratagem if there are multiple Star Gods on the table. Many of the C’tan powers have a range of 18 inches, one even has a range of 9 inches, so avoiding wasting this CP on a C’tan who is sitting back behind obscuring terrain casting Sky of Falling Stars. its roughly a 16% chance you will roll that 3 of get to cast a second Sky of Falling Stars.
Necrons are in a tough place right now, but they can do one thing better then a lot of armies out there in spamming mortal wounds with C’tan. The key to making this style of Necron army work is keeping the C’tan alive longer than your opponent can afford by keeping them out of harms way for a turn or two. A Necron player who can master the ability to maximize the mortal wound output of a C’tan list while keeping their C’tan around for turns 4 and 5 will be a scary matchup for a lot of good armies in the competitive meta currently.