There is no getting around that Necrons are in the worst spot they have been in since their Codex released at the beginning of 9th Edition. With the release of Codex Necrons and Space Marines each faction looked like they were on a level with each other. Sure, Space Marines had some more layers than the Necrons, but that was to be expected of Games Workshop’s poster army. Even further down the release line Necrons still felt relevant, but now, with the release of Drukhari, Admech, and Orks, Necrons are showing the downside of being the first Codex in a new Edition.
It is not all downside though. According to data gathered from the ITC Battles app Necrons are still sitting around a 50% win rate. They are a solidly mid-tier faction, and I truly believe a skilled player can go far with them to include winning a GT. Now that skilled player is going to have to rapidly adjust to the changing meta in the face of Admech and Orks (I actually think Necrons already play well into Drukhari), and now is the time to take a look at some things in the Necrons Codex that may have not seen competitive play since the Codex’s release.
The Mephrit Dynasty was all the rage when the Necron Codex was previewed and during the time when the Codex was fresh on the tournament scene. It was quickly outpaced by close combat Novok builds, or builds utilizing the custom Dynasty of Relentlessly Expansionist and Eternal Conquerors. However, the meta has made the benefits of the Novok Warrior army trivial with the ease in which Admech can fall back and shoot from combat, and the favorite custom Dynasty combination is starting to lose some of its shine as well.
The custom Dynasty combination is still extremely powerful, but I find myself not utilizing the 6 inch pre-game move to its fullest potential in a lot of games. With the majority of armies teaching to blast 20 Skitarii, 20 Necron Warriors pre-game moving out onto open mid-table Objectives has become a death sentence (well we cant actually die but you get it), and with the points costs of the Necron’s units, we can’t afford to throw away anything as important as a 20 man Warrior squad so early in the game. The positive side of this recent disappointment in pre-game movement has allowed me to stumble onto a Dynasty I had not considered since the Codex released.
The Mephrit Dynasty traits of adding 3 inches of range to everything except pistols, and adding an extra AP on ranged weapons at half range seems good at first glance. Maybe not as good as giving your entire army Objective Secured though. That is what I thought until I realized that the extra 3 inches of range is exactly what my Reaper wielding Warriors needed to Veil over to 20 Skitarii and blast their stupid little bodies to pieces. By coming down outside of the 12 inch range of the Admech intercept stratagem, which allows them to fire their roughly 1 million Skitarii shots into a Veiling Warrior squad, you can avoid taking casualties in your own turn. Immortals are even better suited for this task with their 30 inch Rapid Fire guns getting an extra AP at half range getting them to an important break point in killing Skitarii troops.
A savvy opponent will screen their Skitarii blocks from a Veiling Necron player, but usually they leave their fully defensively buffed squad out as bait. This squad can only be wounded on a 4+, ignores up to AP2, and can have multiple sources of save bonuses to get to a 2+ save. The AP3 of Mephrit Immortals swings the math back in the Necron players advantage, and by using My Will Be Done or Solar Pulse this play can become even more devastating.
Another bonus from the Mephrit +3 inches of range comes in the form of allowing more freedom of movement with your Reaper Warriors on the battlefield. I find most of my games against Admech revolve around me knowing whatever squads I send out to take objectives are going to get blasted off the table, so I play a game of hide behind obscuring terrain until it is the right time to pop out with my Warriors. This game becomes extremely difficult against a skilled opponent who recognizes the weakness in this plan is the Reaper’s short range. Mephrit’s slightly longer Reaper range can make a real difference in the impact a unit of 20 Warriors firing 40 Reaper shots have over the course of a game.
Finally, we will take a quick look at the Mephrit Stratagem. 1CP to get a chance at up to 3 mortal wounds in the Shooting Phase is a solid gain for a small CP cost. This Stratagem pushes the massed shot, low damage, Necron shooting unit to another level by getting those last few wounds through on targets that are hard to shift. Drukhari Raiders, Admech troops (especially things like Rustalkers which have built in Save bonuses to normal wounds), and soon to be Orks all won’t appreciate picking up additional models they weren’t planning to because of the Mephrit Stratagem.
I will need to do some testing in the coming weeks, but feel free to let me know how you feel about this Dynasty in the comments below! Oh, and as a bonus, the Mephrit Relic Gauss Blaster is fantasic and worth the CP to put on a Royal Warden. 6 shots within 19 inches S6 AP3 2 Damage?! Yes please.