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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Necrons, Night Fight and Imotek the Stormlord

Imotek is the Internet's new love/hate toy. If you're a Necron Internet Dude (NID) you love him whilst if you're a non-Necron Internet Dude (nNID) you hate him because you think he's going to appear in every list and that's just not on! Poor little Internet Dudes (ID)... oh well! Necrons have a unique ability to impact the board like few other armies currently and this is done vastly through their HQs and Royal Courts. With this post we're going to look at the specific actions relating to Night Fight and how this will affect both the opposing player and Necrons alike. And no don't worry, I won't be using those acronyms again...

Imotekh the Stormlord -

We'll start with Imotekh as everyone and their sisters (not moms) has jumped on this guy because I mean...well who knows. The Stormlord has two abilities you are really paying for. The ability to seize on a 4+ and extended periods of Night Fight every game. What makes this Night Fight so jumpy joy joy for everyone is it will damage any unegaged units of your opponent's on a D6 roll of six with D6 S8 hits (vehicles are hit on side armor). MSU armies beware... The problem here is both you and your opponent are affected by Night Fight and most enemy armies have some way to deal with Night Fight in restricting their shooting. This includes Acute Senses, Night Vision, Blacksun Filters and the always lovely searchlight. Necrons have none of this and whilst they are a medium ranged army (operating around the average Night Fight spotting distance roll), the opponent can more reliably overcome this. Compound this with the inconsistency of this ability - it could stop Turn 2 or continue on to T5, and the requirement of high number of units for its damage to be effective (a standard MSU army is going to take an extra seven S8 hits each turn) and is it worth paying so much for?

225 points is a lot and unlike most other characters which provide neat benefits like this with such a high points cost, Imotekh sucks in combat. Seizing on a 4+ is nice, particularly since his Storm ability activates at the beginning of each Necron shooting phase (which encourages you to want to go first despite it potentially being advantageous to go second). Otherwise? You pay for a 2+/3++ dude who doesn't need a bunch of his stuff and needs further support in Crypteks with Solar Pulses to really be effective. He's good, don't get me wrong, but he's not the "needs to be included" special character everyone is making him out to be.

Solar Pulses -

So let's look at the other major way Necrons can play with Night pulses. Getting one in the army is a piece of cake but two can be a bit more difficult as you require two Overlords (or special Overlords) to access the two different Royal Courts. In short, this is one option you should nearly be taking in every army list since most HQs provide you with a Royal Court and for 55 better have a good reason why you aren't taking one (like in my first list...which didn't have a good reason...bad Kirby). What the Solar Pulse allows to you to do is go second without fear of a hefty alpha-strike. First, you're deploying second so you can refuse flank your opponent pretty easily. This can limit some of their shooting whilst ensuring all of yours will still be in range if you deployed correctly. This is further compounded by Night Fight during their turn only. Now they have to be overly aggressive to ensure they can see you or rely on some decent spotting rolls on searchlights.

And this is important to remember - there are anti-Night Fighting abilities out there so don't expect yourself to be immune. Either way though, it's very likely to greatly reduce the impact an opponent's shooting is going to have on you in that singular phase. Even if they are able to shoot you, their target priority is likely changed as they are unlikely to aim for the units in the back. This gives units behind the front line even more protection than normal and allows for more less durable units to ensure they live to see the light of day (i.e. Night Scythes who do not have quantum shielding). Again, not fool proof but it's going to minimise the damage an opponent can do the turn you use this and allows the Necron army to deploy on the table when going second rather than considering a full reserve option.

Even when going first the Solar Pulse is still going to find use as you can once again deny the opponent the full pleasure of their first shooting phase. The magnitude of the Solar Pulse in this setting is likely to be less than when going second (armies are likely to be closer) but it's still going to improve the durability of the Necron army and mess up target priority for your opponent. And it's 55 points? Yes please. Taking two Solar Pulses allows you to do this twice but also has diminishing returns. As the game goes on, armies get closer and Night Fight is less of an issue but you can also save the second Pulse and use it late game. Last turn and your opponent needs to shoot your Warriors/Immortals off an objective? Night Fight engaged! There are a bunch of uses for a Solar Pulse in this regard beyond the diminishing of your opponent's first shooting phase which are often lost when you only have one. Getting two allows you to open up these options and use them but does require a greater investment in points and does have less of an impact early game.

Solar Pulses can be of a great use to Imotekh as well. Whilst Solar Pulses turning on Night Fight will not trigger the Stormlords Lightning ability, it does allow for the Necron player to maximise the continuous Night Fight he provides. For example, you can play the first two turns defensively and allow the lightning to damage the opponent and then use Solar Pulses during your turns (which stops Night Fight and the lightning ability) to keep shooting whilst the Night Fight still goes on during your opponent's turn. At the same time, if the storm ends early, you can chuck up Night Fight with the Solar Pulses in your opponent's turn to ensure the Necron defenses are as strong as possible. Again though, we're paying a lot of points just for the Stormlord and more points for the Solar Pulses so we have to figure at what point are we spending too many points?

Conclusion -

Night Fighting is something Necrons can manipulate and something they can use to their advantage. Whilst they might not have any specific rules which allow them to fight through Night Fight more effectively, they are able to control it to a certain extent which impacts their opponent's ability to inflict damage upon them whilst ensuring their own army maintains maximum efficiency. This can be a delicate juggling act when using Imotekh to maximise the duration and damage his storm does whilst not limiting his own army's effectiveness. Solar Pulses on the other hand are a lot easier and cheaper to apply but don't provide additional damage to the opponent. Maximising the Necron's ability to manipulate Night Fighting rules to increase their own durability and disrupt their opponent is going to be part and parcel of most Necron lists and will allow generally allow them to get the first big punch in.

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