This past weekend I took my Necrons out to the Flames of Autumn Major at Tables and Towers, located in Westminster, MD. For my last few events I was running double C’tan along with the all Objective Secured Necron’s Custom Dynasty, but for this event I was really worried about Admech Bombers, Drukhari Bombers, Thousand Son, Grey Knights, and Orks being able to put down a C’tan with the amount of wounds those armies can cause in various phases of the game. Instead of the Star Gods I decided to go with a smattering of Necron close combat units that were all ObSec. During the event I played exactly zero Admech, Drukhari, Thousand Sons, or Orks. I was slightly bummed for not keeping the faith in the enslaved Star Gods, but this past weekend did teach me about the effectiveness of another Necron unit.
Canoptek Wraiths were a large part of my plan for this event as my army ran 3 units of 5 of the quick buggers. Going into the event I knew the Necron’s only real trick was playing a durable army where everything has the ObSec keyword, and Wraiths do this better then almost any unit in the Codex. With 3 T5 4++ wounds with Reanimation Protocols and Living Metal a unit of 5 Wraiths takes a lot of firepower to shift off of an Objective. This firepower undeniably exists in the game, so what makes Wraiths so effective at playing the Objective game?
Wraiths are not only extremely durable, but they are also extremely mobile. With a 6 inch pre-game move from the other half of the Custom Dynasty a unit of Wraiths can move an impressive 18 inches on the first turn of the game (19 inches if you picked Sudden Storm as your Command Protocol for Turn 1). Remember, while Wraiths don’t have the Fly keyword, they can pass through terrain and other models as if they were not in their way. In almost all of my games the quick movement of ObSec Wraiths allowed me to stake Stranglehold with the confidence of scoring well. In all of the games I took Stranglehold I scored 12 points except one game where I got shot off the table where I still was able to score 9 points.
Another mobility trick the Wraiths bring to the table is the ability to fall back and charge. This little gem of an ability won me my first game after my opponent charged my Wraiths sitting on a mid-table objective. After failing to kill them all my Wraiths were free to Fall Back overtop of my opponents models onto an Objective my opponent thought was solidly in his control. This little maneuverer managed to swing the Primary score in my favor to a close 90-80 win.
Outscoring your opponent on the Primary is key to using ObSec Wraiths. Necrons do not have a reliable third Secondary choice like Oaths of Moment, so ensuring the points swing from the Primary goes your way is the only way to ensure you score more points then your opponent (unless you built into a Code of Combat scoring army but that’s a topic for another tournament).
Unfortunately, the Wraiths are not all up side. The unit has some real weaknesses, and their main weakness is hitting on 4s in close combat. Going into the tournament I thought a unit with 20 attacks hitting on 4s with S6 AP2 2 damage attacks could get some serious work done, but this just wasn’t the case. If I were to do it over again I would ensure I took at Technomancer with the Canoptek Control Node to give Canoptek units +1 to hit within his aura range, and I would even go so far as to give the Technomancer the Thrall of the Silent King Warlord Trait to make that aura as large as possible. The Technomancer is slow, but with a 9 inch aura he should be able to give some Wraiths the boost they need in close combat.
Another issue I had with the Wraiths were their awkward model and base size. Sometimes you just need to pile as many bodies onto an Objective as possible, but the Wraiths size makes that difficult in some situations. There is not a lot to be done about this, but it is important for a Necron player to understand these models take up a significant amount of board space.
An issue with my army list was also that once the Wraiths got stuck in the rest of my army did not have the damage potential to out attrition my opponent. I had other units, like Lychguard and Triarch Pretorians, that could threaten my opponent, but I think this list really needs some sort of gunline element behind the fast moving Wraiths. With everything in the army being close combat focused my opponents shooting units got to take part in a Necron shooting gallery for more of the games I played while I had little response except to re-move onto Objectives I had been shot off of. I still have not figured out what shooting elements from the Necron Codex I would add to the list, but that may be the focus of my next article (hint: I think its something the Necrons are severely lacking in).
While I only went 2-3 at the tournament all of my games were close, and I feel that the Necron ObSec Wraith rushing list is an extremely fun way to play Necrons. The speed and durability of the Wraiths really made my opponents second guess moving too far up the board during the early turns, and this gave me the initiative in some of my games. The tricky part is keeping that initiative with a Codex that is in desperate need of some points adjustments.