Friday, 18 November 2011

Necrons: Post Tournament thoughts

The original Overlord ....
The weekend just gone was tournament weekend for the Sons. We attended both Onslaught and Brighton Warlords tournaments and got some great placings (3rd, 3rd, 7th, 21st and a mystery from our new author...cryptic!! But of course, revealed now to be none other than Bradimus Prime of the SW Blog fame...the joys of work slowing down posting this article.. )

For me, the weekend was rough, I played, in no particular order: Dark Eldar, 2 x Grey Knights, 2 x Necrons and BA.
Not the easiest route to 3rd...but all great games.

Necrons were the hot stuff of the tournament. 3 Necron players placed 1st, 5th and 20th.
They tabled about 6 opponents collectively.

2 of the lists were the same:

Overlord - Warsythe, mindshackle scarabs, Sempiternal Weave - 130pts
Command Barge - gauss cannon - 80pts
Cryptek - Eldritch Lance - 35pts
Cryptek - Eldritch Lance, Solar Pulse - 55pts
Cryptek - Abyssal Staff, Veil of Darkness, Nightmare Shroud - 70pts
Overlord - Warsythe, mindshackle scarabs, Sempiternal Weave - 130pts
Command Barge - gauss cannon - 80pts
Cryptek - Eldritch Lance, Solar Pulse - 55pts
5 Necron Warriors - 65pts
5 Necron Warriors - 65pts
5 Necron Warriors - 65pts
10 Necron Immortals - 170pts
Triarch Stalker - 150pts
Triarch Stalker - 150pts
6 Scarabs - 90pts
6 Scarabs - 90pts
Annihilation Barge - 90pts
Annihilation Barge - 90pts
Annihilation Barge - 90pts

The 3rd being slightly different in compostion:

Removing the Triarch Stalkers and adding a unit of 5 Wraiths with a few whipcoils and another Lance Cryptek to port around with his Veil buddy (from another Court of course)
This latter list is the army that won.

I think I still prefer the Stalkers?But see alot of potential in Wraiths...especially with added Destoyer Lord...thanks Alex..

There are 4 main areas I want to talk about.

Scarabs & Entropic Strike
Troops inc. Veil Immortals and their place..
Solar Pulse & How to deal with it.

This is based on playing the No1 and No5 placing Necrons, my experiences with them and from observing the performance of other armies against them.

No arm chair generalship But not a comprehensive knowledge either!! Not yet anyway..

First up - Troops:
I saw 1 large squad of Immortals with an attached Harbinger of Despair (Veil, Staff) and then just 3 x 5 Warrior squads with a Lance Cryptek attached.
This was, in my opinion, not enough..although results would argue with me..however, it was easy to dispose of the small squads. I know 4+/5++ is reasonable (where 5++ is Reanimation) .. but against an army such as Space Wolves (which I run) I got up close and either boltered them to death or just assaulted them.
These 5 man squads all had Destruction Crypteks attached and provided some long range firepower. One shot, can of course, miss 1/3rd of the time, but the rest? Decent anti-transport and can add weight to fire versus termies and MSU squads.
On the otherhand, attaching said Crypteks did boost the small squads up the rankings in target priority, attracting more incoming fire.
The large Immortal units with Gauss and Veil Cryptek were held back in all games I played against and witnessed until around Turn 4. They were then Veiled in close, but not on to, an objective where they torrent the crap out of the holding unit with 20 S5 shots. This done, they then move in and go for the objective.
Against me, this was useful. In both games I played it was DoW/C&C. I pushed aggressively for the win in both, leaving just my babysitter objective unit (5x GH with TDA/CML Guard), 2-3 packs of Fangs (invariably, one was positioned to flank, side armour, unexpected ranged fire etc) and I left a LoneWolf to help out plus kept a plasma GH in HB Razor around midfield to help either push the aggressive ground taking or drop back to help with home objcetive dangers.
This worked for me in both cases, my Long Fangs or Lone Wolves sweeping back into combat with the Immortals to re-contest my home objective.
For me, this was a dangerous strategy, however it was go big or go home, so I pushed. Against an army that played a more conservative "bore-draw" game, this tactic may not have been successful due to the superior firepower potentially on home base.
A second large unit of Immortals though? hmm... very useful me thinks..but then we need another Court..or do we (Blog Wars idea! mwahahahaha)

Solar Pulse x 2 & Dawn Of War?
Damned effective dirt.
As every self-respecting Sons' fan knows, I love me some shooting. How very dare they remove my fun times!
I didn't overly mind in this mission though, as I knew I'd be pushing troops on to his objective to get close him..
But what abot more traditional, gun-line armie? typically used to keeping the enemy at range and slowing their advance through blocking and sacrificial units... These will struggle, they are not designed to close with the enemy.
I felt the best way to deal with the SOlar Pulse was to abuse Acute Senses and the close ranged nature of the Space Wolves. The meant pushing my Melta Hunters into the face of the enemy, backed by Lone Wolves and TWC. This was an effective approach as the Necrons are still very much an army that does not want to be in close combat.
On the otherhand, Wolves favour this approach. Lone Wolves in particular are very difficult for the Necron army to remove. The 2+, W2 and Eternal Warrior/FNP of the Lone Wolf makes for a very hard unit to kill for the Necron army that has so very little in the way of Low AP firepower. Yes, we can torrent our way through a Lone Wolf, but it does require substantial firepower directed at it.
When the Necron army is presented with a whole host of other targets, this can make for very hard work indeed.
This is further compounded by the target priority issues - ramming 4 vehicles full of Grey Hunters as well as TWC and LW's can make for some tough decisions.
Once the Melta is in your face, no amount of Quantum Shielding can help you survive vs massmelta, which receives +2 on the damage chart due to AP1 and Open-Topped.
In addition, the Chainfist of the LW will really make a mes sof MSU necron units as well as tanks..they really have no way of handling this guy, let alone a pair.
Wraiths were quite effective, but unless they rolled 6' and Rended the armour, the 2+ save and FNP kept these guys in the fight.
Mindshackle scarabs were the most effective way of dealing with them, making the LW's hit themselves on a 3D6 LD roll at the start of every assault phase.. my poor old Lone Wolf was chainfisting himself to death with alarming regularity!
What is the overall impression then with Solar Pulse? Get close, hit them hard and alot of Necron armies do not have either the numbers in troops, nor the mobility to redeploy totally. They cannot escape the trap once set. Close combat is a safe place for most armies against Necrons.
The Solar Pulse will be a real plague for many armies that do need to stay away though...but this is nothing you didn't already know.

Is as good as you thought.
Absolutely superb weapon.
On the Annihilation Barge anyway.. really, this point is more about this vehicle than any other.
Whilst very easy to kill up close, this is still a pain in the arse to kill from range due to its Av13 Quantum Shielding. When we combine this with night is pretty damn effective. On the other hand, the application of night fighting does not completely protect this vehicle as it is relatively short ranged for a heavy support weapons platform. It operates at 24" range for the guns and can only float 6" and still shoot.
This is not an impossible distance for a night fight roll.
So first turn, the vehicle moves 12" up into position and then can open up turn 2 (unless its spearhead, then clearly it could be firing turn 1), but from here out you can likely shoot it too.. so night fight suits this guy perfectly as it means that it will almost always get to shoot at least once before you kill it...the same cannot be said for all vehicles.
It is nicely balanced with its open-topped and AP- weapons.
These factors take the sting out of the "2 extra hits per '6' rolled" ...
Because that will be happening alot.
Arcing? Not as likely, not as dangerous, but for an army with multiple small units of infantry out in the open after transports have been wrecked? Shit, it's dangerous. This mechanic perhaps best used at the later stages of the game, but can be equally useful to throw a few more wounds around.
On a 6 though...not that likely... it's not just infantry that have to worry though, at S5 it can hurt alot of transports and even with AP-, it's an extra result that you were not planning for.. Razorspam beware..

Scarabs and Entropic Strike
For me, the use of scarabs does not require an FAQ. They will be immensely useful regardless of whether Entropic Strike is another stage in the process of hitting then penetrating a vehicle (the current accepted take is that ES applies "immediately" as it says in the codex and rolling to penetrate occurs after the lowering of AV has occurred) or occurs after the initial strike.
Because, at the end of the day, that tank now has lower Armour than it did a few minutes ago and it lasts until the end of the game.
In the tournament last weekend, the Scarabs really were the icing on the Necron cake.
Against myself, the Scarabs were a nuisance. A 90 point nuisance, but still they had to be dealt with. How did I deal with them? During one game, I rapid fired plasma at them and just removed them, they were annoying me that much! In others, I just threw my fast distraction units at them, mirror style..granted mine was a giant wolf-riding space marine and they are puny bug-robots, but hey ho..oh, the bug-robots won that one but were drastically reduced in operational capabilities. In other games, I just flat out ignored them. I had better things to kill. Not more pressing, but better.
FOr me, just running 4 transports, my marines were in place before the scarabs could get to them and really impact their role - delivering mass space marines into the lines of the enemy. Even midfield (which was the worse position one razorback got) was not too bad as the marines were then in position to move up and contest objectives regardless.
But, I am an exception, or was this weekend. I saw a lot of vehicles per army. Of course I did, mech is king. I play by those rules too.. But Guard armies were literally eaten up by the swarm..especially those that for some reason had swapped out Heavy Flamers on thier hulls for Heavy Bolters.. I get that decision, but don' t personally agree.. anyway, those fuckers couldn't just burn away the bugs.. Dark Eldar vehicles were not even safe, even moving 12" or more...the weight of dice just got through.
It is an incredibly dangerous little unit. One lad said "points value? best unit in the game" over the weekend..I'm not ready to go that far...but I'm not unconvinced by the argument.
The guys at the tournament ran 2 units of 6.
I am either going to run one unit of 10, or I will also run 2 x 6 with Spyder support. I like the idea of pumping out alot of them, but I don't want to build an army around them..
And I think that that last point is one of the most crucial.
Don't build an army around them necessarily, just be open to using what is, absolutely, a fantasticly fast distraction unit.
They will boost the whole army when those Immortals move up to rapid fire 20 S5 guns at a Land Raider and penetrate it.. yeah, that'll be happening on tabletops near you..

For me, I am almost complete with my Necrons.. I need a couple of boxes of new Immortals, which are in the post as we speak (or you read) and I have play tested (just once) my list for Blog Wars 2 - the last 1750 tournament of the year for me and some of the Sons.

We went earlier this year and it was great fun, but it is only a small event 20-30 people.. importantly, I won it earlier in the year with my Dark Eldar (kabal of the pink fuckers...and boy, were they pink!) and now am taking more Xenos up to the Maelstrom in Mansfield to attempt more alien glory.. Over the next 2 weeks you'll be seeing alot more in the way of lists, tactics and ideas for the Necrons...but then, you just have to look at the whole blogosphere for that..



  1. Really nice write up, and good to see it coming from actual gaming experience rather than theoryhammer.
    Having had a Landraider reduced to AV3 by two units of Scarabs even after it moved 12inches I know how dangerous they can be but like you I reckon there are more important things to kill unless you are a full mech army.
    I'm curious to see how many dual necron lists will be at the 40k doubles in Feb at Warhammer World.

  2. I can't see why the net is raging over this codex, i picked it up last night and had a good read of the rules and units. I can see some really good options and units so far which could make for some interesting lists. In my opinion there aren't any point and click trainIng wheels units like psyflemen dreads to spam that's why the nerds are raging.

    Hmmm two units of immortals with veil of darkness krytptec and two solar pulses elsewhere are looking good.

  3. I reckon it's like the DE codex, there is powerful stuff in there it just needs the list to be both built and played properly for it to be effective, as Mr Prime says nothing there for people who aren't willing to put in a bit of effort into the tactical part of the game.

  4. great write-up, this will give my guard some serious issues. just as i finally get a handle on how to beat mech BA anohter challenge arrives!

  5. I think a lot of their victories came from people not knowing how to deal with them

    Also the first few games they were playing Solar Pulse wrong. They were playing it as "Night Fighting that only affects the enemy", not normal nightfighting. This isn't so, giving them a huge advantage of just hanging back and shooting with immunity

  6. @Rusty Nail.. I think you are right mate, they are definately along the same lines as Dark Eldar.. leading us into...
    @Bradimus.. I don't think the internet is raging over this it? I like it alot and whilst there are no really obvious units like Psyflemen in GK's, there are a tonne of choices and units that are extremely viable, allowing for a codex full of options and different builds..
    @Atreides.. I don't think IG should have too many problems once Night Fight is gone.. Its just a case of "how many hulls do I lose in that period?"...

  7. From what I read on the forums and some of the blogs the initial response was pretty poor, by that there was no OMFG response like there was when the Gayrights book was released. I think the penny has slowly dropped and it is actually a really good book.

  8. @cerri, they played it right bud, nightfight induced by pulse only lasts that turn. Where turn is player turn...

  9. I Am confused by the list shown. On the Cryptex HQ page every cryptec upgrade type has an asterix next to it. On the bottom left it says you can have all Cryptexs upgraded but only to one type per court. I thought this meant that if you have 2 courts you can only have two types which would mean that the list you showed should not be able to have two solar pulses.

  10. Hi Anonymous..
    The lists used in the tournament have 2 Overlords, each with their own Courts, therefore the "unique wargear per court" rule is still observed.

  11. It is good to see some game information on these guys, I am pretty sure I can theorycraft to my hearts content (and I will lol) but its how they perform on the table that tells the story. Myself I wouldnt expect armies with troop choices so small and no tin cans to hide in to do well, however this is me taught.

    The best bit about this codex (i think) is that i want to own all the models and I want to try out all the different models and characters in game. A lot of my other armies just havent had that effect. Yes its gonna take a lot of work to get it figured out, but in the end I reckon it will be worth it when the right balance is found.

  12. No what I meant is if you take despair in a court all up to 5 Cryptexs have to be despair per rule book. If they had two solar pulses then he could not have any other type of cryptec war gear aside. so in the above sits the Abyssal guy shouldn't have been valid as with two pulses all should have been the eldrich lance guys

  13. Thats a misreading on your behalf bud, that bit is to ensure no one cryptek is a Harbinger of more than one type, but any number can be upgraded to a single type, the only restriction being that the wargear is unique..