Necrons are the hot faction in Warhammer 40k (with permission from the perennial Space Marines). For many of you who are starting with this game, it is a great time to start playing with them, either because you have caught the Indomitus box with a brother or colleague, or one of the 9th edition starter packs.
Although I have been playing with Blood Angels for several years and editions, the necrons have always caught my attention, so I am one of those who has taken advantage of the situation to start collecting another army. And by the way, I have played a few first games.
So I am not going to pretend that I am an experienced necron player, because I am not. But I do find it interesting to share my point of view on how to start playing (and who says play says collect) this faction, now that it is so powerful.
Necron strengths and weaknesses
The first of all is to understand what the essence of the necrons is. This is a reasonably tough faction: their most basic models (the Necron Warriors) have R4 and save 4+. Although they only have 1 wound, in this sense they are as tough as a Marine.
But above all they stand out for their resurrection protocols and for the living metal rule.
Let’s see how the protocols work: when a unit of necrons suffers casualties as a result of an attack, roll 1 die for each lost wound, and these dice accumulate 5+; If the total of dice accumulated equals the wound cost of a model, this model comes to life.
This, in practice, means that for a unit of necrons 1 out of 3 will revive (they can be more, using special combos). This makes them especially tough to kill, and is one of the exceptions in this edition where the bigger the better is worth taking units.
As for the living metal, it is as simple as that units with multi-wound are regenerated, recovering 1 wound each turn. Although not as powerful as the revive protocols, the concept is the same: if the opponent fails to kill a unit / model, it will be reinforced the next turn.
What is the weak point? Psychic Powers: Necrons do not have psychics and are therefore lame in this regard. Although the C’tan have their own powers, they work differently. The reality is that necrons have little or no defense against psychics, in fact the best way to kill necrons is by inflicting mortal wounds on them without attacks (that is, with psychic powers), in such a way that the resuscitation protocols are not activated.
As in any faction, the base of any list is the troops.
Here we have two options: the Necron Warriors and the Immortals . These are somewhat tougher than necrons because they have R5, but in their case I don’t see the point in playing large units because the maximum is 10. Warriors, on the other hand, repeat the 1s when rolling command protocols. So they will work best in massive numbers: units of 20 (watch out for opponent’s blast weapons and consistency).
I stay with the warriors, but if someone wants to play with the minimum, thinking both of investing the minimum of points in troop units and with small units, then the best are the immortals.
In the Indomitus or starter boxes come Necron warriors, by the way, so they are perfect for building this base.
And then what? Well, it’s time to talk about the characters: the Headquarters is another obligation, and here we will have to start thinking about our tactic. I’m not going to go into detail about the VIPs (named characters) because each one belongs to their father and mother, they belong to a specific dynasty or they are dynastic agents (they go on their own), and they have very specific mechanics. But if we look at the basic CG options, we have the following:
- Nobles : a Lord, Overlord, or a Catacomb Command Platform. It seems to me obliged to bring a nobleman on the list , because they activate the command protocols and because they can carry resurrection orbs, which enhance the resurrection protocols. Of all the nobles available, to taste: if we don’t take a VIP (like Imotekh, for example), I recommend the Command Platform for toughness and movement. In the Indomitus box comes an Overlord, which is also a good choice.
- Crypttechnologists: specialists who empower the rest of the army in one way or another. We have the technomancer (power canoptic units), psychomancer (puteo the opponent), chronomancer (improves charges, so better for melee) and plasmante (damage to the opponent).
- Others: depends on the rest of the list. For example a Lord Skorpekh, a Royal Guard or a Lord Lokhust.
That is, I think that any list has to start with a Noble and then it depends on our strategy: if we are going to go to the assault, if we are going to use canoptic units, etc. When in doubt, a Cryptechnologist or a Royal Guard (who improves movement) will always be good picks. In the Indomitus box comes a Royal Guard and a Plasma.
With this we would already have a base for a battalion. For example this minilist:
Overlord with Resurrection Orb - 125p Royal Guard - 75p Necron Guards x20 - 260p Necron Guards x20 - 260p Necron Guards x20 - 260p
That is already a good 980 points, but they are the base on which to build the rest. If we are not comfortable with so much thumbnail, the alternative is this:
Overlord - 95p Plasmante - 70p Immortals x5 - 85p Immortals x5 - 85p Immortals x5 - 85p
Only 420 points. Leaving much more space for the rest of the list, but yes, much looser.
Rest of the list
There are infinite options. But in order to expand the collection, I will try to group them all by categories so that each one can see where to go.
- Lord Skorpekh or Lord Lokhust: mandatory HQ option if we are going to use it with the cult of destruction. In the Indomitus box comes a Skorpekh.
- Skorpekh Destroyers: very tough and hit hard on assault. Almost forced to take a Skorpekh Lord with them. These come in the Indomitus box.
- Ophidian Destroyers: Combat Destroyers. They have DR. Personally, between these and the Skorpekh I prefer the latter because they already come in the Indomitus box. But watch out for DR.
- Cursed Destroyer – A character who makes 6 shots and is very annoying.
- Lokhust (and Heavy) Destroyers: More shooting destroyers. These are the usual ones.
- Spiders: Units of 1 to 3 flying monsters that shoot and hit and also resuscitate beetles. Good idea to use them in pairs.
- Beetles: flying swarms. They only hit melee, but they are cheap, fast, and annoying.
- Specters: very fast and very lethal in melee, and very tough thanks to their 3H and invulnerable save.
- Resuscitator: vehicle that threatens almost nothing, but improves resuscitation protocols. It comes in the Indomitus box, but it’s bad because it’s too soft.
There are four options. They are very broken, especially the Night Bringer. Personally, I recommend not focusing the lists on their use, since it is a matter of time before they are adjusted by GW so as not to be so broken.
In any case, you can only wear one per detachment, but it is worth it: they are a monster that is going to mess it up in their own way.
Also, magnificent miniatures.
- Scythes of death and night : flying, the famous croissants. The most interesting thing is the stratagem with which a basic unit in reserve can be deployed 3 “from the scythe but not more than 9” from the opponent, with which you can deploy an assault unit in its face.
- Stalkers of the triarch: a vehicle of 12H and R6 (squishy) but with the wonderful quantum shields and that shoots a lot.
- Annihilation Platforms: Like the Stalkers, long shot and with quantum shields.
- Ark of Extermination: another vehicle with a lot of fire and quantum shields, and with 14H.
- Ghost Ark – Much less shooting, but carrying ability.
- Skinners: large units (I mean a lot of models) that hit a lot, have DR, and take leadership away from the opponent.
- Blades of the Necropolis: motorcycles, very good at taking distant targets and reasonable shooting.
- Praetorians of the Triarch: heavy infantry (R5 2H) fairly fast (move 10 ″) that shoot well and fight well. Although I think there are better options in the codex.
- Necroguards: Melee Only Heavy Infantry. With shield they put 2 + / 4 ++ on save, so they can be very tough.
- Omnicidal: snipers (can target characters). They’re not a big deal, honestly.
I will not go into detail because if you are starting the collection, I personally think that you should not focus on these: huge miniatures (watch out for the price) with a lot of destruction capacity and very hard.
But if you are thinking of buying one, without a doubt the recommendation is the Silent King, a brand new miniature that has just arrived in force. They are 450 points but they are worth it.
Perhaps before deciding where to shoot you should review the dynasties to see which one will convince you the most. Again without going into too much detail, and without counting the dynastic traditions by which you can make a custom dynasty, the options are the following:
- Mephrit : Specialists in shooting, especially at close range.
- Novokh: the best to assault.
- Nephrek: Specialists in translocation, which is an advance ignoring miniatures. In other words, very good mobility.
- Nihilak: everything has a guaranteed objective. Also by stratagem they can perform actions and shoot. This is probably the most popular dynasty today.
- Szarekhan: No pain 5+ against mortals (very good against psychics, who can also be nullified by stratagem) and repetitions to wound. They have the Silent King Szarekh.
- Sautekh: Improves rapid fire range to 18 ″, and better on morale rolls. They have Imotekh, Obyron and Zandrekh.
The truth is that there is no bad dynasty. If you are going to play Silent King, you obviously have to choose Szarekhan; and the most versatile is Nihilak. But any choice is good if it suits your style of play.
How to play with necrons?
I will not tire of repeating it: the ninth edition is won by controlling the table. You have to control objectives and take actions. And for this there are three keys: stamina (the entire necron army has it, so good out there), mobility and assured objective (hence Nihilak is so popular).
Starting from the base that I have explained before (the minimum to build a battalion), it remains to be seen how we will take advantage of the rest of the list.
We should carry a C’tan as long as they work this well, but it’s not required.
And the rest is to choose what best suits us: while the necron warriors occupy targets and shoot, the rest of the army will do damage, be it shooting, assault, flanking … If we are going to assault, always better to use a basic unit with a scythe to secure the assault on turn 2.
When in doubt, a motorcycle will always be a good choice.
In order to take advantage of what is already in the Indomitus or in the starter boxes, let’s say that what is not basic are the Skorpekh Destroyers and the Scarab + Reanimator, so it may be good to expand the collection from there. For example with some spiders, specters and a technomancer.
If we go after the Silent King, then nothing, Szarekhan dynasty full. It’s not really mandatory, as their auras apply to any dynasty. But man, it’s his thing, right?
And nothing more. I’m already working on the Necron Game Guide , where I’ll go into all of this in depth, so keep an eye out for the news.