Necrons have gotten a bad reputation as the example given to prove Codex creep is real in Warhammer 40k. Each time a new book comes out the rumblings of “Necrons are feeling the effects of being one of the first armies to get a Codex in 9th Edition” begin. While I do not think Games Workshop intentionally makes new Codexes stronger then other armies within the same Edition, it can be frustrating to play an army that is not getting the shiny new innovative rules. One thing within Codex Necrons that was not just a victim of this co-called Codex Creep were the Necron Warlord Traits. When the book was released 40k players knew these Traits were underwhelming, but it didn’t seem like a big issue at the time. The Necrons book was new and shiny, and it was easy to overlook one of the books flaws. Unfortunately, Codex Necrons is no longer the new shiny thing, but they still have to make due with the Warlord Traits they were given. Here are some ideas to help make some of these selections seem a little more palatable:
Enduring Will: This is an excellent Warlord Trait to throw on a Lord on Catacomb Command Barge or Skorpek Lord. This is the one Trait Necron players aren’t talking about when they complain about the Warlord Traits in this book being so bad. With this trait our Skorpek Lord becomes a -1 Damage, -1 to Wound, close combat monster. The Catacomb Command Barge becomes a model that can only be wounded on 4+, -1 damage, and has a 4+ invulnerable save for 1CP. The CCB can also be given Relics like the Blood Reaper, Voltaic Staff, or the Voidreaper to make them a durable unit that has melee threat potential (well, for a Necron character). This trait should be taken in any list that includes a Skorpek Lord, CCB, or Lokust Lord!
Eternal Madness: Ok, now we begin on the Warlord Traits most Necron players don’t bother looking at. While getting a 5+ ignoring mortal wounds save on your Warlord is nice, this Trait is here for the ability to ignore modifiers on Combat Attrition tests. Those 20 man blocks of Warriors can really suffer from morale, and this Trait is a decent option to throw on your Resurrection Orb wielding Lord who hangs out being the blocks of Warriors. Keeping a couple extra Warriors alive after their Morale Test isn’t a bad thing. Also, keep this Trait in mind as more Codexes release. There is definitely going to be a faction that modifies Combat Attrition tests (I have no inside info on this I just believe Games Workshop CANNOT make a rule for Combat Attrition and NOT have the Night Lords thing be modifying it!).
Thrall of the Silent King: This should only be taken on a single model and that model is the Royal Warden. His ability to allow a unit to Fall Back and still shoot/charge is game changing, and having 3 extra inches to project this ability can be a big deal sometimes (no, I will not make the joke you all think is coming). In a perfect world you should make sure that Royal Warden stays within 9 inches of the unit he needs to target with Adaptive Strategy, but I know I have never played a perfect game of 40k. I mis-move things or don’t pre-measure all the time, and this Trait’s extra aura range has helped ensure the Royal Wardens buff goes on the right unit.
Implacable Conqueror: I actually love this Warlord Trait. When Codex Necrons was first released I was playing a ton of Necron Warriors (like 60) as Novok, and I would always bring along a Lord with this Trait. This Trait is still excellent for the Necron Warrior double Objective Secured army by giving you more distance to throw those Warriors onto Objectives with longer charge rolls. The big downside here is that this aura of re-roll charges is Core locked, so it becomes much less useful in Canoptek heavy builds, or builds that utilize less Core units. An excellent Trait for when you are bringing a ton of Warriors or Lychguard, but totally ignore this one if you aren’t.
Honorable Combatant: This Trait has been getting some tournament use by slapping it on a Lokust Destroyer Lord with the Voidreaper. This makes a solid Character hunter by giving the Lord 6 attacks at flat 3 damage ignoring any rules that would negate damage from these attacks. This makes a reasonably durable Character hunter that is capable of scoring Assassination or Code of Combat effectively.
Some of the Dynasty specific Traits are decent, but with the ability to take Relentlessly Expansionist and Eternal Conquerors Custom Dynasty these Traits see less play then even than the basic Necron Warlord Traits. Here are some of the standouts:
Sautekh: Hyperlogical Strategist: If you are running some MSU shooting Necron list (that some people have made work in the tournament scene) that uses the wound re-roll provided by Sautekh this Warlord Trait seems like an easy choice. Farming Command Points back on a 5+ is a super star pick compared to some of the other generic Traits.
Szarekhan: The Triarch’s Will: This is an extremely interesting Trait, and is the one the Silent King comes with. It can be extremely powerful to throw your Novok army into the Hungering Void for two turns in a row, or have an army getting re-roll a reanimation dice per attack per turn twice during a game. Unfortunately, I do not see this being worth it outside of taking the Silent King, and that is a significant investment in your army list.
Hopefully some of this has inspired you Necron players to give an extra Warlord Trait a try during your next game, and it has shown some of the non-Necron players how sad our Warlord Trait situation is. To be honest I think we have decent Warlord Traits that will really shine once the mass of Warriors Necron army list becomes viable again, but until then its Enduring Will always for me.