As I am sure, everyone loves Mat Ward and as the lead writer for the Necron Codex it is interesting to see what he thinks about his latest creation. With the Necrons receiving a major rework I thought it a good idea, to put together a collection Mat Ward ramblings on the subject. This is a little experiment of sorts as well, to see if Mat Ward vision of the Necrons will be the same way the competitive community ends up utilizing them. In a few months we will revisit this topic and see what predictions if any have come true.
Another reason for this post is so people don’t have to jump back and forth between the cumbersome pages on the GW site, nor should anyone have to shell out $9 bucks for a White Dwarf that tells us nothing we won’t know in one week.
Before we see what Mat Ward has to say about the Necrons let us see what GW website writer Simon Grant has to say:
The Rise of the Necrons
— Article by Simon Grant
After more than 60 million years, an ancient race of machines has awoken from their slumber. The revivification chambers on every Tomb World are working constantly to ready the Necrons for war, their goal nothing short of reclaiming that which was once theirs – the entire galaxy and everything in it. They will stop at nothing to accomplish their aim, and woe betide any race brave or foolish enough to oppose them.
Assailed by solar winds and deadly radiation storms caused by their home world’s proximity to a burning star, the ancient people of the Necrontyr were doomed to suffer short lives, riven by pain and loss. Even their mastery of incredibly advanced technology could do little to sway their fate, and so they set forth into the stars to colonise other worlds until much of the galaxy answered to the rule of the Necrontyr dynasties. But war with the enigmatic Old Ones stymied their expansion, and after many hundreds of years of conflict, the Necrontyr were driven back.
Then came the C’tan, star-gods of near-unlimited power whose hatred of the Old Ones saw them seek common purpose with the Necrontyr (or so the C’tan would have them believe). Promising immortality and a panacea for their physical ailments, the C’tan earned the trust of the Necrontyr people, though they could little comprehend the cost. So began biotransference – replacing weak-bodied flesh with enduring forms of living metal – and thus did the organic essence of the Necrontyr give way to the soulless machine bodies of the Necrons whilst the C’tan feasted upon their life-essence.
With the C’tan and the Necrons fighting as one, the Old Ones were doomed to defeat. But though the C’tan finally defeated their hated enemies, their triumph was short-lived. The Silent King, supreme ruler of the Necron dynasties, led them in revolt, seeking vengeance for the curse wrought upon his people. The C’tan were caught off-guard and overwhelmed by the unimaginable energies unleashed by the Necrons, their shattered essences bound within thousands tesseract labyrinths. The Necrons were once more in command of their destiny, yet even in this moment of victory, the Silent King saw that the time of the Necrons was over – for the moment at least. He ordered the remaining Necron cities to be transformed into great tomb complexes threaded with stasis crypts. The Necrons would sleep until the time was right to emerge once again to dominate the galaxy and restore the dynasties to their former glory.
Now, after 60 million years, that time has finally come…
Necrons on the Battlefield
To field an army of Necrons is to command a legion of implacable machines that advance inexorably towards their foe, unleashing some of the deadliest ranged weaponry in existence. Having transcended beyond mere flesh and bone, the Necrons are incredibly resilient and can often self-repair damage that would slay even the most tenacious Space Marine. As the phalanxes close on their prey, floating vehicles made of adaptive, living metal and protected by the technological marvel of quantum shielding drift in their wake. To face the Necrons in battle is to suffer the relentless application of superior firepower from an enemy that cannot truly die.
They’ll be Back!
Immortality has its perks. So too does being made of living metal. This manifests in two special rules: Ever-living and Reanimation Protocols. If a model with the Reanimation Protocols rules is removed from play, there is a chance that it will self-repair and return to play at the end of that phase, providing the model’s unit has not been destroyed. Only by annihilating your squads completely (which against Necrons is never easy in the first place) can your opponent hope to emerge victorious. However, the more powerful a Necron is, the better his self-repair mechanisms, so a model with the Ever-living rule can always attempt a Reanimation Protocols roll!
Mat Ward, author of Codex: Necrons, defines the army as an ‘elite shooty army’. Indeed, a quick glance over the Necron Wargear section will leave even the most stalwart Tau or Space Marines player green with envy. From the gauss flayer and particle caster to the soon-to-be-infamous tesla destructor and doomsday cannon, the Necron armoury is loaded with devastating weaponry that enables them to comfortably outshoot any opponent. And I haven’t even mentioned the tachyon arrow yet…
The Necrons may display a preference for engaging the foe at range, but this doesn’t mean that they are especially vulnerable to the enemy in assault. A combination of their incredible technology and powerful, mechanical frames makes a Necron army more than capable of handling itself. In fact, the Triarch Praetorians and Lychguard are utterly deadly close-combat opponents, armed with terrible weaponry that can cleave through armour as if it were paper. Flayed Ones, on the other hand, prefer to rip their opponents to pieces with their grisly assortment of hooks and blades, but at 4 Attacks each on the turn they assault, they are more than capable of tearing through all but the most elite enemy combat units.
Besides the whole they are awesome and you should go buy a million boxes part, what really sticks out for me is the Ward’s quote about Necrons being the, “Elite Shooty army” par excellence. So the question really is, will Necrons out shoot most armies?
Does Mat Ward continue that shooty claim with his break down of various units in the Necron codex?
The follow quotes are expressed under the “fair use” in accordance with copyright law. The intent of use is not for commerical use, but for criticism for purposes of illustration or comment.
Mat Ward from Games Development says:
Overlords are the supreme masters of the Necron race, and amongst the most formidable characters in the Warhammer 40,000 game. It’s up to you whether your Overlord is a stately, lead ’em from the back type (resurrection orb), a technological assassin (mindshackle scarabs and a tesseract labyrinth), or a rampaging close combat bruiser (phase shifter and sempiternal weave). All of these combinations can be a real headache for your enemy – especially when he’s backed up by a suitable retinue of Lychguard or Necron Warriors. When you’re a Necron Overlord, it’s good to have your minions about you – if only so they can applaud.
Imotekh the StormlordImotekh is a grand strategist, and cares not for sullying his hands with the personal slaughter of primitives (unless it’s amusing). In the early turns of the game therefore, you’ll want him marshalling your forces from the rear, sending his fearsome lightning bolts arcing through the enemy ranks. This is particularly effective as Imotekh can keep Night Fighting in play for a prolonged period, allowing your Necrons to advance largely unmolested by the enemy tanks and heavy weapons. As the battle goes on, Imotekh’s patience will tire and his lightning storm will end – at which point, you’ll want to get him in close where his Staff of the Destroyer (hits everything under a 2D6″ line with a Strength of 6 and AP 1) can rip the heart out of a tough enemy unit.
Trazyn the InfiniteAh, Trazyn, everyone’s favourite mad librarian. If you want an Overlord that’s almost impossible to kill, Trazyn’s your man-shaped robot. Why? Because if he’s removed from play, he can come back by taking the place of another character in your army. This, combined with that fact that Trazyn is also a scoring unit, can be a real headache for your opponent.
Trazyn’s also no slouch in combat. Whenever his empathic obliterator kills an enemy, it has a chance to kill all other enemies of the same type in the same combat – perfect for Ork mobs. This isn’t so useful against characters, but that’s why Trazyn also carries a clutch of mindshackle scarabs – why kill an enemy when you can take over his mind and have him kill for you…?
CryptekA Cryptek is one of the most flexible units in the Necron army list, and it’s simplicity itself to tailor one to meet your needs. You’ll certainly want to upgrade him to one of the five Harbingers. My favourite is the Harbinger of Despair, with his teleport-enabling Veil of Darkness, and terror-inducing Abyssal Staff. That said, there are plenty of other combinations waiting to be unleashed. Harbingers of Destruction add some anti-tank firepower, as well as enabling you to dispel or induce Night Fighting (through the Eldritch Lance and Solar Pulse respectively). Harbingers of Eternity grant re-rolls to their unit and sap the fighting ability of enemies (Chronometron and Aeonstave) whilst Harbingers of the Storm excel at blasting deep-striking and charging enemies with bolts of Strength 8 lighting (Ether Crystal and Lightning Field). Finally, Harbingers of Transmogrification use their mastery over the living rock to slow and stun their enemies (Seismic Crucible and Tremorstave). Armed with this knowledge, all you need now do is sit back, steeple your fingers, and cackle manically to yourself as you plan how your Cryptek can best humble your foes.
Still can’t decide which to use? Then take several Crypteks and form them into a Royal Court to accompany your Overlord – that way, you can sizzle, slow, sap, terrify and electrocute your enemies in one go…
Necron LordAs the backbone of your Overlord’s Royal Court, Necron Lords can form a hard-as-nails bodyguard, or lead units of Necron Warriors, Immortals, Lychguard or Deathmarks. For smaller games, you’ll want to use them in the latter role, giving your mainstay units a little extra punch. In bigger games, where points aren’t quite so tight, give your Overlord the retinue he deserves – pile all of your Necron Lords into the same Royal Court and go hunting for enemy characters and super-elite units.
The C’tan may be broken servants, but they’re no less effective for all that. They’ve got a Greater-Daemon-menacing profile, and that’s before you purchase the two mandatory C’tan powers. These are where your C’tan Shards really come to life – you can grant them ranged attacks (the tank-busting Transdimensional Thunderbolt comes to mind) close combat abilities (like Entropic Touch, which rots the armour of your opponent’s troops) and weird game-changing mad science abilities (like Lord of Fire, which makes flamer and melta weapons explode!). There’s loads of freedom in creating a fragment of Star God that suits your playing style, so just dive in and try a few out.
If the Nightbringer is my C’tan Shard, I’ll normally go for Gaze of Death and Transdimensional Thunderbolt as its power.
When I want my C’tan Shard to represent the Deceiver, I normally choose Grand Illusion (redeploy D3 units) and Swarm of Spirit Dust for its powers.
Lychguard are close combat heavies, and excel as bodyguards for your Overlord, or shock troops fit to sweep the foe aside. If you’re expecting heavy firepower, make sure your Lychguard are upgraded with dispersion shields – not only do these provide a 4+ invulnerable save, they can also rebound hits onto nearby enemies. Otherwise, stick with the mighty warscythe – Strength 7 attacks with no armour saves makes quick work of anything short of a Land Raider.
NECRON TRIARCH PRAETORIANS
The Praetorians are one of the few versatile units in the Necron army, geared up as they are for both melee and ranged combat. Whilst their weapons are short-ranged, Triarch Praetorians are also jump infantry, and so rarely have long to wait before they can begin the killing. If in doubt, stick with the default armament of rod of covenant – Strength 5, AP 2 shots can solve an awful lot of problems.
Immortals are the ideal Troops choice for a Necron Overlord who means business. Every Immortal is as tough and skilled as a Space Marine; granted, they’re not quite as quick-witted, but the extra resilience of Reanimation Protocols (dead models get back up on a 5+) and the massive firepower of either the Gauss blaster or Tesla carbine (your choice) more than makes up for it. Whether you’re storming the enemy’s defences, or hunkering down on an objective, you’ll be glad to have some Immortals at your beck and call.
The Deathmarks are shadowy assassins who excel at turning up just when your opponent wished that they hadn’t. Deathmarks are at their best when deploying from Deep Strike, and unlike other units in the game can do in your opponent’s turn – they just have to wait for an enemy unit to arrive from reserve! Better still, as soon as the Deathmarks arrive, you can have them mark a single enemy unit you don’t like the look of. From that point on, any Deathmark unit that shoots at that unit (or attacks it in close combat) will Wound on a roll of 2+.
Flayed Ones are your berserker combat troops. With 4 Attacks each on the charge, your opponent simply can’t afford to ignore them. Whilst you’ll not often want to Deep Strike your Flayed Ones, you’ll almost always want to Infiltrate them close by a suitably vulnerable unit of heavy weapons troopers. With careful positioning, you can keep your Flayed Ones out of the line of fire, and their 4+ armour save and Reanimation Protocols should prevent most of the damage from the shots that do get through. After that, it’s a simple matter of loosing your Flayed Ones into the fray and laughing manically…
Troops: (Necron Immortals and Deathmarks see above)
Necron Warriors are the heart of your legions; they’re tough, dependable and put out lots and lots of firepower. Whilst Necron Warriors might not have quite the same staying power as Immortals, they’re still better fighters than many of their foes, and almost impossible to shift without a lot of time and effort on the part of your opponent. Furthermore, the gauss flayer’s knack of auto-glancing vehicles (on any armour penetration roll of a 6) means that there are very few enemies who can weather a volley from a phalanx of Necron Warriors.
NECRON GHOST ARK
The Ghost Ark is a transport vehicle and repair platform all in one – not only can it scoot your Necron Warriors around the battlefield, it can replenish their numbers once casualties are suffered (D3 each turn, if anyone’s interested). It’s also a very effective anti-infantry vehicle, able to deliver two blistering broadsides of 5 or 10 gauss flayer shots each turn. As you might expect, this can make the Ghost Ark a particularly enticing target for your opponent. Happily, and like many Necron vehicles, the Ghost Ark has an array of quantum shielding that boosts its front and side armour values until it suffers a penetrating hit.
NECRON CATACOMB COMMAND BARGE
For the Necron Overlord who wants to take the fight direct to the foe, the Catacomb Command Barge is the only way to go. Not only does the Command Barge grant your Overlord the protection of its armour and quantum shields, it allows him to attack any enemies it moves over – just the thing for a spot of summary execution. Worried that your opponent might disable the Catacomb Command Barge? Don’t be – your Overlord can expend Wounds to prevent immobilised and weapon destroyed results.
Fast Attack:Necron Destroyer
Even by the standards of other Necrons, Destroyers are a little bit mad – essentially, they want to scour all life from the galaxy. Happily, this means that they’ve grafted some really big guns onto their bodies, making them an excellent fire support unit for the rest of your army. A small unit of Destroyers close by your phalanxes can give them extra oomph – particularly against Space Marines and other high-armour enemies.
Heavy Destroyers provide long range firepower for a Necron army. Their speed and weapon range makes them perfect for sniping enemy vehicles and elite units. At strength 9 and AP2 the Heavy Gauss Cannon will penetrate even the thickest armour. Your Heavy Destroyers can also be used to give you an advantage in the deployment phase. By deploying a Heavy Destroyer first you can wait and see where your opponent puts his own choice before committing a more expensive unit like a Monolith. Again, using a single Heavy Destroyer, you can push your opponent right back into his deployment zone. By deploying your Heavy Destroyer as far forward as possible you will force your opponent to deploy his units 24″ back into his own table half, your Heavy destroyer can then turbo boost to a more sensible position on the first turn.
WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
Heavy Destroyer 4 4 4 5 1 2 1 10 3+
Unit Composition: 1 Heavy Destroyer
Unit Type: Jump Infantry
War Gear: Heavy gauss cannon
The Monolith has long been a much-feared opponent, and now it’s deadlier than ever. Whilst it’s tempting to deploy the Monolith at the start of the game, it’s almost always wiser to keep it in reserve – that way you can Deep Strike it onto an enemy-held objective. Once the Monolith has scoured the foe from the immediate area (try and eliminate melta weapons first – they can be a real problem) you can then use its eternity gate to teleport in a suitable scoring unit and take the objective for yourself. When the enemy counter attacks, simply switch the eternity gate into its portal of exile mode, and suck the primitives to their doom!
BS Front Armour Side Armour Rear Armour
Necron Monolith 4 14 14 14
Type: Vehicle (Heavy*, Tank, Skimmer)
Wargear: Eternity gate; Four gauss flux arcs; Particle whip
Special Rules: Deep Strike*; Living Metal
NECRON DOOMSDAY ARK
For those Necron Overlords who can never have too much firepower, the Doomsday Ark is a truly invaluable vehicle. Like the Ghost Ark, it has quantum shields and two gauss flayer broadsides. Unlike the Ghost Ark, it has a massive doomsday cannon (bwahahahahaha!). This gun really is as good as it sounds, putting out a not-so-subtle Strength 9 AP 1 Large Blast if the Doomsday Ark doesn’t move – ideal for taking the starch out of some Terminators, or slagging down an enemy tank.
BS Front Armour Side Armour Rear Armour
Doomsday Ark 4 11 11 11
Number: 1 Doomsday Ark
Type: Vehicle (Open-topped, Skimmer)
Wargear: Doomsday cannon; Two gauss flayer arrays; Quantum shielding
Special Rules: Living Metal
NECRON ANNIHILATION BARGE
The Annihilation Barge is nothing less than a massive gun platform, and when the massive gun in question is a tesla destructor, that’s no bad thing. As with all tesla weapons, the destructor scores two extra hits every time it rolls a 6 To Hit, which can quickly turn a troublesome volley into a unit-obliterating salvo. Where the tesla destructor really shines however, is when you fire it into a clump of enemies – after the first shot is resolved, the lightning bolts have a chance of arcing through any other nearby units. This does include friendly units, mind, so pick your initial target with care…
What else does Matt Ward think about Necrons? Well he talks and even plays a rigged game in the latest White Dwarf you can read here…
What do you think is Matt Wards intentions with this new codex or will Grey Knights, Space Wolves, and IG still have nothing to fear?
Here right off the presses Mat Ward in video flesh!
Oh, and for fun GW put up a 6min YouTube video of ominous music and rotating models!