Monday, 21 May 2012

How to beat my Necrons - a guide for Blog Wars

I am going to list all the elements of the 1750 army I am taking to Blog Wars 3 on the 2nd June, held at Maelstrom Games.
I will then analyse the missions/scenarios that are to be played at the tournament and discuss how to stop my Necrons from winning those games.
I will do this from a general view point, but I will also look at some of the armies that are heading to Blog Wars and include notes for each of these...or as many as I can.

For those of you who are struggling with Necrons, please read this and also have a read of this guide to beating Necrons.

Why am I doing this? Firstly let me note that whilst I am a good player I am not unbeatable, I am beaten plenty of times at tournaments, plenty haha. But I have won Blog Wars twice and whilst I have played a range of players from our very own Bully and Atreides, Gary Perceival from 40KUK and a number of other UK bloggers at the tournament.. I am not facing a lot of regular tournament players, or so it seems...far more casual relaxed gaming, or the first one was anyway.. there were a number of 'good' tournament players at BW2 including the Sons guys, the 40KUK guys- Gary and Dave..and well, that made up a quarter of the field..alone. There are normally only 25ish players and at a relatively small tournie, the proportions of a regular tournament in terms of player representation are in play...

Blog Wars is a semi-competitive, friendly community event. Except of course, it is a tournament which by its very nature is a competitive even that must have a victor. And then we have the game itself, 40K. It is a game designed to have winners and losers..of course you can draw too, but that's not as likely in tournaments, even if the victory is only on VPs.

Add in to the mix that I like to compete, that I am, by my very nature, a competitive guy. This is what has kept me sucked in and coming back to the game again and again. So for Blog Wars, I have to compete, it is some kind of juxtaposition to go to a tournament and not compete. So I will educate, guide, provide ideas, strategies, tactics etc designed to beat Necrons and in particular, my Necrons.

Firstly then, the list.

Anrakyr the Traveller, Warscythe, Tacyhon Arrow, Command Barge - Gauss Cannon 
Overlord, Warscythe, Sempiternal Weave, Mindshackle Scarabs, Comand Barge - Gauss Cannon 
Royal Court with:
              1 x Harbinger of Destruction, Solar Pulse, Gaze of Flame
              1 x Harbinger of Despair, Veil of Darkness 
 Royal Court with:

             1 x Harbinger of Destruction, Solar Pulse
             1 x Harbinger of Despair, Veil of Darkness
10 x Immortals, Gauss 
10 x Immortals, Gauss 
1 x 5 Warriors - Gauss
1 x 5 Warriors - Gauss
7 x Scarabs
7 x Scarabs
7 x Scarabs
Annihilation Barge - Tesla Annihilator, Tesla Cannon
Annihilation Barge - Tesla Annihilator, Tesla Cannon
Annihilation Barge - Tesla Annihilator, Tesla Cannon



So a pretty standard Necron list in many ways. We have Command Barges, Scarabs, Annihilation Barges, 2 Solar Pulses. In other ways it is not a standard list. I run two units of Veil Immortals for a very mobile, very shooty scoring presence. I also run no Wraiths at 1750, as I find them expensive though very good, but at this points level I prefer the cheap utility of Scarabs. I also find that Wraiths are easier to kill to be honest.
However, 2 large units of Wraiths can be very lethal, I run a Stormlord list with such a combo and find them very dangerous indeed.. another story.

So where are the weaknesses here?
1) the MSU style Warrior units.
2) Ranged firepower specifically anti tank
3) Distinct lack of low AP

To understand the weakness of the army as a whole, it is important that everyone understands the weakness of each individual unit and how they work best for me.

Command Barges:
Savage little bastards, these. I'll typically deploy these centrally. That way, depending on where you are and where you are deployed or likely to move on turn 1, I will throw them forward just over 12" to ensure they get their flat out move save (4+). But, unless you have radically over-reached, they will NOT be looking to strike Turn 1. Be sure to remember that point. The CB will be looking to fly over your advancing vehicles in Turn 2 and cut them open. But most of the time I am a greedy bastard and I want to do this whilst only moving 12", this way I can jump out at the end of the move and charge the contents of a transport.
If I only move 12" I can also fire the Gauss Cannon. Again, this gun wants to be targeting the contents of that transport so I can soften it up for the lord.
Note, I will only charge the contents of a transport with a lord if there are just MSU style marines in there. I'll not charge GKs or Fist-equipped Serg's, nor will I assault large units unless they only hit on 4+ and wound on 5/6's with no power weapons.
How do you stop the CB from Sweep Attacking you? Don't over extend yourself, or if you move into the midfield, move everything into the midfield. If I cannot move at least 1" away from the target, I cannot complete the sweep, throw empty transports or non-essential units out front to tempt me into a sweep, then ensure you have plenty of hulls or bodies in and and around it so I cannot complete the move.
If you think about it, leaving the bodies outside of the transport and running them into a bubblewrap formation may mean the difference between life and death for your vehicles.
Now, I know this is unorthodox and also counter-intuitive.. have you not purchased your vehicles to protect your men and not the other way around? The thing is, most transports also fall into the category of providing supporting fire, in some cases - very effective shooting. The removal of not only protection and mobility but also firepower is a very tempting target and often why it hurts so much when they are sliced in two.
What is the weakness to YOU of leaving your troops exposed? Clearly, they can be shot at which is not usually the case until demeched. However, if you can limit the return fire from the slow moving and limited range Annihilation Barge (more later) then you have less to fear. Scarabs may also charge you, but often they suck in CC versus other troops and will come off worse due to fearless saves, we'll talk more later on Scarabs.
If you have closed on the Necron army like you should have, to negate night fighting and to get close so you can charge, then the prospect of taking down an AV13 vehicle is not at all intimidating. This is an open-topped vehicle. you'll be killing it on a 4+ not a 5+ and with a Melta weapon you'll be killing the vehicle on a 3+. I'd love to take those odds..Blood Angels, Space Wolves and Guard (which make up 9/10 out of 28 armies at Blog Wars) all excel at getting up close, fast and putting in a melta shot. They also all have cheap enough transports that you can happily give one up to draw out the Command Barge and then kill it with Melta.
Remember the lords inside also do not have an invulnerable save and are highly susceptible to melta and plasma fire, once demeched, they can comfortably be gunend down at close range. There is of course the slight chance (33%) that they will get back up again, but this is infrequent and an oddity in practice when this happens, they also only stand up with one wound and can be dealt with once again with ease.
After the barge is gone, the Lords cease to be more than a pain in the arse, if that - swamped by large numbers of troops or very easily killed by dedicated CC units without very much issue. The sweep attacks are what makes this unit so nasty, what is essentially a S7 monstrous creature on the swing, at 24" and hitting, at worst, on 4's.
Lascannons, S10 weapons (thinking Tyrannofex for the 4 Nids at Blog Wars) and Lance weaponry make a mockery of this Av13 open topped platform, it's only real defence in those cases is the Night Fighting from Solar Pulsing and the 4+ flat out save.
Kill the Barge, drive away from the Lord. Nuff said.

Of the Lords, my special character is Anrakyr the Traveller. This chap is a pretty standard Lord with a couple of exceptions. He buffs one unit of Immortals to have Furious Charge AND Counter Attack..whoot! Amazing power, but seriously the use of Counter Attack can be very good. Note: this works in conjunction with the Gaze of Flame from the Harbinger of Destruction and Counter Attack. Gaze of Flame counts as Defensive Grenades, removing the bonuses of charging, mainly the +1A. Counter Attack then weighs in and adds an attack to the Immortals, providing a 2A swing in my favour across the unit. This clearly hurts the attacker significantly as they lose an attack, from a large unit of Gaunts or Genestealers this is a pain in the ass, from a small unit you want to just tie them up with, it means very little.
Next, Anrakyr has a Warscythe and will be flying around like a twat, cutting up Leman Russes.. he also has a Tacyhon Arrow, which is an Infinite range, S10, AP1 weapon. However, he only hits on a 3+ and will be moving too fast to use this most of the time! It is largely irrelevant and most of the time, I use it to blast a Space Marine in the face before I charge. meh.
His coolest rule of all is the "Mind in the Machine" - Anrakyr can take over a vehicle on a 3+ within 18" and make it fire at your own stuff. Shaken/stunned are ignored for this, clearly Weapons Destroyed are not ignored. Now, part of his 'favour' has fallen since the January FAQ to the main rulebook which has a passge regarding drawing line of sight from vehicle's fire points. The ruling states:
"Q: Can models embarked upon a vehicle use its fire

points to draw line of sight to a unit to use special
rules or wargear (other than shooting)? (p66)
A: No."
Many people thought at the time that this meant Anrakyr had dropped in value, being unable to fire his Mind in the Machine ability whilst mounted on the Barge.
This is nonsensical however, Open Topped vehicles do not have fire points, any point of the model can simply be used to draw line of sight and range from.
Anrakyr can be used dangerously from the CB to move 12" and then Mind in the Machine a vehicle, now if this is a Chimera, then its no biggie, but of course it can be lethal.. a Ravager can be destructive versus it's own paper plane army. The answer here is to keep fire support units (which typically have good range and or mobility anyway) back and protected, or to ensure that LOS to vulnerable units is minimal.
The other way to exploit this is to bait me with a tempting 'MitnM' target.. a Leman Russ or something, a Land Raider etc.. something that can have potentially destructive fire power, but to simply accept a loss. Then, using your movement, ensure that you have a lethal counter attack unit within striking range, but to try and keep this element out of immediate radar...let me take the sweep and or ''MintM'' and accept the fallout, then in your turn, bring in the plasma/melta or CC unit to sweep in and kill Anrakyr.
At Blog Wars, this strategy is very useful. You may not want to lose a unit, indeed with the damage table as it is, you may not even lose a unit, but the removal of Anrakyr is very important as he is the special character in the army and with the scenarios Alex has written for Blog Wars, he can claim table quarters, count as holding two objectives and is worth 2 KPs in Annihilation games. Very important that you kill him.
Don't forget that with Anrakyr, I have 3 highly mobile 'troop' units (2 x Veil Immortals, Anrakyr Barge). Each of which is pretty damn durable.. so the removal of Anrakyr has all kinds of benefits.
He has NO invulnerable save and only 3W. He does have a 2+ save, but low AP weapons don't care, nor do power weapons, rending etc. For the 4 DE players, Wyches with Agoniser equipped Serg's are spot on for Anrakyr killing duties as are Broodlords & Genestealers, huge Guard blobs *cough* Straken *cough*, Grey Knights, of pretty much any type, I2 blows so don't worry about Halberds. BA will do it through Furious Charge and power weapon serg's or Priests.. Mephiston or Sanguinor or Dante or Astorath or DC Chappie ... all will smush him.. Swarmlord will rape the poor bastard..

A final note on Anrakyr. If you kill his Barge I will endeavour to maximise his mobility by using all the tricks I can. I will move him into coherency with a Veil Immortal unit or even teleport one near him and then move him into it wherever possible. The next turn they will Veil away and Anraky will leave after that. In that move I am thinking at least 2 turns ahead to consider where I want to drop Anrakyr off and how that will impact the game. In the case of Blog Wars this will inevitably be in a table quarter to claim it or to contest or he will teleport onto an objective, then the unit will teleport away leaving him to claim one, which remember counts as 2 objectives when held by a special character, the unit can claim what is effectively a 3rd next turn. Please remember as well that in KP games he is worth 2 KPs.. If you kill his Barge I will dump Anrakyr in a corner somewhere out of sight and bring the Immortals back into the fight.
Just a trick to maintain mobility from a character that gains primarily from keeping moving.
Full disclosure.

Veil Immortals
These are my favourite troop unit in the book (until we see Fliers) and are frankly, my signature move/finisher. I have been using them since the codex came out and I love them. I always use Gauss Blasters as they are S5 Rapid Fire weapons that can truly make a mess of most units. The units are 10 strong and 20 shots can level a lot of units to the ground. However, they are not that lethal. Consider the math. 20 shots, 15 hits, 10 wounds, 3/4 dead marines...not that bad. Vs non-power armoured creatures.. and for Blog Wars I am thinking about IG and Nids, both of which there are 4 of at the tournament.. please remember that I will typically be wounding on 2's and killing on those same 2's as they are AP4.
Stay in cover and watch me weep.
On the other side, these boys are only the equivalent of 10 marines. So bring whatever firepower or assault capability you would bring to take down 10 marines and you are sorted. They are only T4 and 3+. Plasma makes a sorry mess of them, as does mass dice will fail.
In combat they are I2 and once weakened will not throw out too much of a punch. The other principal benefit of engaging me in CC is that it neuters their mobility.
This unit (or units I guess) makes its name for me by dropping in on a unit, blasting the crap out of it, then teleporting away in the next turn. If you charge me, I cannot escape. I put out very little in offensive CC, therefore if you tie me up and then support that assault in future turns, I will be pinned to the ground and slowly ground down. Remember, I will be doing these teleporting shenanigans in the middle turns of the game and most commonly not thinking too far ahead. I generally do not consider placement of the Immortals until Turn 4 when the game could end T5. Keep me locked in CC and I am typically going to be out of position and that could potentially steal the game.
Other points of note. The Pyrrhian Eternals (Anrakyr's buffed unit as discussed under Anrakyr) will have the -2A swing in my favour from Gaze/CA so remember this if you are pinning any hopes on killing the Immortals in one round of combat. I am not in anyway suggesting that this cannot be absolutely can be, I am merely saying remember it! Bring more assaulty goodness than perhaps you normally would versus 10 MEQ.
The final point on that is the weighting that you should give to Reanimation Protocols. It's only a 5+ but I make a freakish number of them, especially when you only put down one or two droids.. If you are thinking of shooting before charging, I will remove the nearest units and then when they get back up, place them at the back/rearmost point away from you to try and maximise the chances of charge failure due to range. This is highly situational, but bear it in mind.
As a post script to Immortals.. they will be in a clump for 90% of the game.. flamers, demo charges, hellhounds...big nasty templates, plasma cannons, thunderfires etc that can pump in the wounds..these are prime targets for those weapons.

MSU Warrior Units.
These are pitiful little bastards. They sit in reserve until, hopefully, late in the game and then walk onto a table quarter of choice or to a home objective. I do not often use them offensively, but combined, they can put out a reasonable amount of rapid fire shooting. Matt Greenwood may remember they gunned down his Vindicare Assassin at Jolly Toys in January...they are coming back for more bitch! lol.
Seriously, these guys suck big hairy dog dick.
They have a crap save.
There is only 5 of them and 2 units...this makes up 50% of my normal scoring capacity.
Don't let this fool you into thinking I care about their survival though .. I will not change any plans or redirect any forces to save these measly droids.
They really are not the droids I was looking for.
However, if you do not kill them they will cost you the game when they claim the difference making table quarter or objective.
Long and short, you need to kill them, don't devote too much firepower to it, but get it done. I can't make full use of the Veil Immortals knowing that I have to bring them back to claim or even contest my home objective/quarter, they are like a safety net of sorts that means I can lash out with impunity. Remove the safety net and everything else does not work as well.
I don't think anyone needs guidance on how to kill 10 4+ save goons. If you do? You need more than this little guide! Sorry..

Flamers, templates, Death Cult Assassins with Rad grenades, tough troop units, Dreadnoughts with these fuckers hurt Scarabs..As do S6+ guns.
Kill them or say goodbye to your vehicles. Does anyone need more than this?
Everyone and their mother knows about Scarabs.. they have even fallen foul of popularity in the UK in favour of 2 Wraith units.. I love those guys, but I also love the Scarabs and at 1750, it's Scarabs all the way for me.

Annihilation Barges
Limited range of only 24" and 30" effective, open-topped and slow to redeploy due to not being fast. Die on a 3+ to meltagun fire. Will decimate troop units in the open, especially combined. Do not be worried about Tesla arcing and let that factor into any movement or placing considerations as it is far too random to have any impact on the game. If it happens it is a fluke and freakish occurence.. it s 16% chance. Don't let that stop you from carrying out your most effective plan. Guns are AP- so whilst I may cause a high number of wounds, if you hav cover or decent armour I really wouldn't worry about them!

I'm not saying a lot about the Scarabs and Anni Barges, not because they are some secret top trump, but because they are the most common elements of the army and really are not too hard to master/control.

Now, combined with the how to play with/against Necrons guide from earlier in the year (Feb) you have a very solid understanding of how to play the game against me. I do this to try and make the event as fair as possible and for their to be no ill will or feelings of hatred towards me...if I happen to win a 3rd time!

Again, can I close with saying that this is not in any way meant to come across as arrogant or anything like that.. think of me as an addict that wants to stop, but simply can't.. this is my cry for help.. UK bloggers, help me..beat me like the red headed step-child I am!

Even if you are not attending Blog Wars, I hope this is in some way useful in your battles against evil, Imperialist droids..


  1. interesting. i took my normal guard list with harker instead of a chimera. i mean, i have to at least attempt to stop you right?

    1. That will do certainly have the tools. We both know you have the skill to do it. Demo vets still in? scarabs or veiled immortal units , probably immortal units are a great target there...
      Did you fibd this useful or is it all too obvious?

    2. personally i knew this stuff already, but it doesn't make it any easier to beat the bastards. Necrons are a very tough match-up for me.

  2. Just so you know Andy, Anrakyr can't use his vehicle control ability from inside a Barge? Just to let you know :)

    Scarabs don't scare me, it's wraiths, so I'll be fairly comfortable playing you Ven with that :p

    1. i agree, Wraiths consistently take my entire armies' shooting and emerge unscathed, bloody things.

    2. Why Alex?
      I've quoted the FAQ. The rulebook stipulates that Open Topped Vehicles do not have fire points. You do not treat the whole vehicle as a fire point, they simply do not have them.

    3. Also, this is a Blog Wars army, it is tough but not the best. I have been using Wraiths in at full blown tournaments since Jan..but don't like them for 1750 or in this build. As for taking your whole armies shooting Atreides.. is that also true for a unit of 12 Space Marines.. they are the same thing.. the weight of fire you can muster can drop 12 marines right? Just through lasgun fire even!
      I know they are 3++, but they still drop to weight of fire.. as does everything dude.

      Alex, you'll never be comfortable playing me bitch :p

    4. UK tournaments will say otherwise :P

      Bring it ;)

  3. That's an organisers ruling then? based on what rules?
    Check open topped vehicles in the rulebook.. they do not have firepoints.. this FAQ from Jan'12 does not apply to open topped vehicles.
    Think mate. It's illogical and unsupported to suggest otherwise.

    The spirit nor word of 40k law does not follow on this one bra'h..

  4. So how does a unit shoot out of an open topped vehicle? Open topped = one giant firepoint.

  5. It says this where in the rulebook mate? Cause in mine it says that open topped vehicle don't have firepoints?


    Please note, this is playful banter bro..

  6. If they don't have firepoints, then how do they shoot out the top ;)

    It';s up to you but the ETC have ruled it that way, as has every major UK tourney :( Up to you how you play it though :D

  7.'s OPEN topped. They lean over the freaking side of the chariot.. they rotate their arm and point in something's general direction.. Fire points are restrictive due to the constraint of being INSIDE a chuffin vehicle!

    I'll ask the tournie organiser, but there is no logical/rules grounding for an open topped vehicle to be restricted..

  8. The problem is, the rulebook defines precisely what to do when *shooting* from a vehicle, and... that's it. It doesn't define how to draw LoS for units inside a vehicle at all. The FAQ clarified what happens when you have Fire Points, it doesn't say anything for when you haven't. Considering this, there are 2 ways to play IMHO:
    - Follow the Fire Points rules for open-topped vehicles. Anrakyr can not use his power.
    - Follow the base rules for drawing LoS out of an open-topped vehicle. There isn't any, therefore he can not shoot either...

    I do agree it's idiotic and should be clarified better in the FAQ (Either by mentioning open-topped vehicles in the questions/answers or by adding a specific question for drawing LoS from them)

    In the meantime, if you want to use Anrakyr, I suggest to make sure tournament judges/opponents agree with you on how to handle this situation, to prevent conflicts...

  9. Argh, I said "he can not shoot either", poor wording considering the whole problem is that's it NOT shooting :-) Please read "he can not use his power either".

  10. Anonymous - if you a sat inside your car, with passengers, is it plausible to only shoot out of the window, not hurting said passengers or damaging the vehicle? This is the fire point.
    If you are the sole occupant on a motorbike, can you freely point your gun abd shoot? this is the benefit of an open topped vehicle.
    The rulebook tells us to draw los and shoot, measuring from any point of the hull.
    The rulebook also tells us that open topped vehicles do not have firepoints.
    Sorry bud, it is utterly moronic to suggest that we are not given any guidance on this, nor is it a sensible conclusion that a character /model will sit around in confusion because he can't see a firepoint on his OPEN topped vehicle.

  11. Final note on this.. tournament organiser has ruled that he can use Mind in the Machine from on top of his Barge.

    you know, the Barge with an unobscured view of his surroundings.. easy for him to you know..look at machines and take them over with his mind..

  12. Glad that he ruled with you - common sense agrees that you can "see" out of an open topped vehicle.

    However! Common sense also says you can "see" out of a fire point. To use your example above, saying you can't "see" out of an open car window is just about as non-sensical as saying you can't "see" out of motorbike. That point of the FAQ bugs me for that very reason - you should be able to draw LOS out of either, by common sense. Sadly, they FAQ'd that you can't "see" out of a fire point except to fire, and I can't think of any good common sense argument that allows you to deny LOS from a fire point that doesn't also deny LOS from an open topped vehicle.