Competing with Necrons
There is a lot of talk these days about how poor the Necron Codex is, and how broken(in a bad way) it is and why the soulless automaton Warriors should be all but ignored when they rise from their tombs to harvest the living. I would say that this is simply not the case. I’ve been playing Necrons for several years and I have learned a few tricks along the way that allow me to hold my own against what are traditionally tough opponents for our metallic friends.
Now before I get into talking about list building I just want to touch on a few points regarding tactics.
First of all, close combat is not where you ever want to be unless you are certain you are going to win and not be counter charged. The Necrons have some of the greatest mobility in the game, and if you want to win games with them you’re going to need to be taking advantage of this, and in so doing you’ll find that your Warriors and Immortals are going to have the opportunity to get the drop on your opponent’s infantry at times. If you see some Fire Warriors, Guardsmen, Guardians or Pathfinders within 14.99 inches of your Monolith Portal feel free to chop them up with your Gauss Flayer’s close combat attachment. That said… I would tell you to never assault any type of Marine, or anything that’s even marginally good in assault. Just stay away from them. Don’t try to rapid fire at Blood Angels or a large group of Boyz, that’s what your particle whip is for. Just stay the hell away from them. This took me so long to learn, I hope it is a lesson that a beginner would take to heart at the beginning of their journey with Necrons. Stay out of assault range in 90% of cases.
I mentioned mobility earlier, and I would say that this ties directly into avoiding Phase Out. (Note: due to new rules you cannot phase out) This relies heavily on your ability to be on one side of the table where the Ork Boyz are about to charge your Warriors and remove your entire army from the game and suddenly being on the other side of the table and sitting on an objective. I personally never leave home without the Veil of Darkness. You think the Space Marines Librarians have something fancy with the Gate of Infinity? How about a Gate of Infinity with unlimited range and that doesn’t require a psychic check and doesn’t kill a member of the squad if you roll doubles? Those Nobs getting a little too close to a squad of your warriors? Suddenly you’re 60 inches way from them. As a side note, I’ve seen 10 Immortals used in this way to devastating effect. Not only does it allow you to keep a squad of Necrons that should be above your Phase Out threshold out of danger of most assaulting units but you can lay down 20 S5 AP4 Gauss Shots at a 24 inch range. I don’t personally use this tactic with the Immortals but I acknowledge its strength so I thought I should mention it. I like to save those points I’d spend on Immortals for more Destroyers so I find that jumping a squad of 10 or so Warriors around the board keeps me from phasing out just as well, and they’re also scoring so I prefer that in objective missions. The other wonderful tool for mobility that the Necrons have is the Monolith Portal. Again, those Blood Angels getting a little too close for comfort? Make a wall of Monoliths, turn them away from the advancing troops and teleport your warriors into a safe little table corner with 6 inches of living metal between them and the nasty assault unit. For this to work, you’ll need to think about “castling”.
Your best friend!
When deploying my Necrons, I will generally keep my Warriors Squads in Reserve. Since I know I’ll be doing this, in a Seize Ground type mission I will place as many objectives within 12” of my table edge as possible so that my Warriors can wander on later in the game and claim them. I will put my Monoliths near a table corner with my C’Tan (I prefer the Nightbringer, YMMV, more on that later) along with 2 or three squadrons of Destroyers. This will allow me to advance if I feel so inclined, but more often, to wall off a corner for my Warriors to hide in if the situation calls for it. Once the castle is complete, with two Particle Whips blasting away at anything that comes within 24”, Destroyers lighting up anything within 36”, and a Star Vampire waiting to curb-stomp anything that tries to assault the Monolith, you’re in decent shape.
I like to leave a little space at the beginning when I can so it isn't extremely obvious what I'm up to. If things start getting hairy I'll contract into the corner.
One important thing to note here though is that you want to make sure you don’t leave any room in your castle for an outflanking unit to sneak in there and ruin your day if your opponent has that capability. You might think that this would cripple your ability to claim objectives but, late in the game (and if you were smart with setting objectives), you’ll be surprised at how between your Reserved Warriors and Veil of Darkness teleporting Warrior trick how many you might end up controlling. This is particularly true if your opponent decided to try and get into your castle and ended up on the wrong side of the Particle Whip/Nightbringer tag-team.
Your Second Best Friend!
Why do I prefer the Nightbringer? It’s pretty simple, really. I think the Etheric Tempest’s ability to make it impossible for Ork Boyz and Seer Councils and little Tyranid gribblies to assault my lines is incredible, and S10 that ignores any kind of save is really nice against things like Thunderwolf Cavalry. The Deceiver has his good points as well, The Grand Illusion lets you set up good fire lanes for your Destroyers on the first turn and the fact that you can’t keep him in assault if he doesn’t want to stay is really handy. Again, I feel this depends more on your play style than whether one is better than the other. Try them both out and decide for yourself!
If you’re going to make a Necron list, you need to think a bit about redundancy in units and its effect on WBB. I tend to bring several of the same unit, as WBB doesn’t function unless there’s another model of the same type within 6 inches. Whatever unit you’re bringing (Destroyers, Immortals, Flayed Ones), if you are going to bring one unit, bring two and keep them close together. Here’s a 2000 point list that I’ve had great success with in the past.
Over Lord: Mindshackle scarabs, Resurrection Orb,warscythe
If you look at the list you can see how you could follow the tactics I’ve outlined above, and if you think about it, 36 destroyer shots a turn really isn’t shabby. If you are just starting out with Necrons, I hope that this advice and this list will give you a little food for thought and with a bit of practice I’m sure you’ll be out there surprising people when you hand them their butt with your “broken and outdated codex.”
The C'Tan come as-is, and are awesome, so pick the one you want and go with that. When it comes to Lords there are a few considerations.
Chonometron: I'll say this about any assault oriented Wargear except for the warscythe: Don't waste your points.
Destroyer Body: If you are going to run two Necron Lords, consider this for one of them. Toughness 6, jetbike lords with Warscythes can be surprisingly effective. This is the only guy I'd suggest using a Phase Shifter on as well.
Disruption Field: On a Lord, this is horrible. If you want him to be able to harm a vehicle give him a Warscythe.
Gaze of Flame: Dedicated close combat units don't need their charging bonus to beat down Necrons. Skip this one as well.
Lightning Field: If you're going to run a Destroyer Lord, consider joining him to a large swarm of Scarabs to take advantage of this piece of gear. Make them pay for smooshing your little metal bugs! Otherwise don't bother with this.
Nightmare Shroud: There are too many fearless and high leadership units out there to justify the points cost of this, in my opinion.
Phase Shifter: What's better than a T6 Destroyer Lord? A T6 Destroyer Lord with a 4+ invulnerable save! (Note: phase is now a 3+)
Phylactery: I really wish I could recommend this. 2/3 of the time when you use it though, it does nothing.
Resurrection Orb: Kind of a no-brainer for me. There's way too many missile launchers and melta guns out there not to have one of these near your Warriors.
Solar Pulse: Honestly, I've tried this and just don't get it at all. Compared to the good wargear in this section there is absolutely no reason to choose this one.
Veil of Darkness: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways... gets you out of bad situations, allows you to leap around the board with Immortals and make a general nuisance of yourself, lets you take a squad of Warriors to grab an objective that your opponent didn't think he needed to cover since he had you hemmed into your little corner. I don't leave the Tomb World without it.
Now get out there and harvest the living! The Star Gods command it!
READ A BATTLE REPORT HIGHLIGHTING THESE TACTICS HERE
SMALLER GAME VARIATION HERE