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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

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Necrons: Prime Contenders

So I already posted my not-a-review talking over some initial thoughts. Since then, I've spent a lot more time looking at the book, reading other people's ideas, and pondering. I'm still not going to do a review yet because we still don't know how the book really works yet; seriously, folks, stop saying that so-and-so is broken, or worthless, or that the book is useless, or limited, or overpowered, or any of the million other things that the internet has already decided about Necrons. We've barely even scratched the surface of things yet, it's a little early to make wide, sweeping pronouncements.

So here are some wide, sweeping pronouncements.

All of the Necron transports are quite good. Command Barges are amazing- the ability to deliver S7 power weapon attacks with 2d6 pen is very nice, and the fact that you're AV13 with 4+ cover while you do it is extra-good. If you want to trade survivability for hitting power, you can also flyby someone, disembark, shoot with the Barge, and then charge- that's a ton of S6 and S7 hits going out. Now, the Barge isn't cheap, but it gives your mandatory HQ a really useful way to contribute to the battle.

Ghost Arks are really good at staying alive; I ran the math on them in my last article, but it's also important to note that they have two useful guns on them and can consistently keep a foot Warrior squad standing against significant firepower. Open-topped lets you shoot out from them with your Warriors- and more importantly with Crypteks. If you're looking to be tough as nails, Arks + Warriors is probably what you want.

Night Scythes are like DE, except minus all the disadvantages. AV11 and non-Open Topped means you're pretty survivable and Fast + a good weapon makes you non-ignorable. Inability to Tank Shock is a downside, but it's really not something I'd be too worried about. Night Scythes are good for ride-swaps if you have a Warrior squad to big to fit into a transport.

Crypteks are super-key to the army; there is really no reason not to be using some of them, and you'll almost always want Destruction (for the Lance) as at least one of your choices. Transmorgification seems to be coming in a decent second place, since slowing the enemy down is pretty handy and the Harp is a decent gun. Some kind of Transmorg-based army may be a possibility for basically grinding the enemy to a halt, but I'm not sure how or if it works yet; I think Scarabs might feature prominently to punish vehicles that choose to sit still and further bog down the enemy. Despair is pretty good at wiping out infantry (it basically works the same as Breath of Chaos, killing on a 4+) and firing out the top of a Ghost Ark is a nice trick. Storm is iffy; it gives you some defense against DS units, but the Staff is awfully short-ranged to see much use most of the time. Eternity just ends up being bad; if you could get one with a Rez Orb reasonably cheaply it might be interesting, but with the Staff being trash and the upgrades generally uninspiring, your opportunity cost of not taking one of the others is just too high.

(Incidentally, there is a rules issue with Royal Courts that will need a FAQ- it's possible since that the court allows "only one model from the Royal Court," there is a strong argument from being able to send over two Lords/Crypteks, one from each of your Courts, into a unit. I doubt this will be allowed, but if it does work it would be a huge boon at 1850+ where running multiple Overlords is viable.)

Imotekh, while a fine choice in larger games, just doesn't work at 1750 or below, I think. He really pushes you to use Night Scythes and Doom Scythes to take advantage of their ability to manipulate distance and they rely on him to keep their otherwise-fragile selves alive. And yes, you still want Solar Pulse in this army because you're banking heavily on Night Fighting staying around; you don't want your whole strategy to collapse immediately because you rolled a '1' on the second turn.

Warriors aren't bad. Stop saying Immortals are "just better" than them. They fill different roles in the army- Immortals are good for being reasonably tough in small squads, whereas Warriors are better suited to larger squads and there specifically to claim objectives.

Triarch Stalkers aren't the auto-include everyone seemed to think they were. They're good, but they have limitations.

Don't overestimate (or underestimate) Wraiths and Scarabs. Wraiths are pretty okay melee combatants, but it's not all that hard to drag them down with weight of attacks, and they cost about as much as a Terminator. Scarabs are scary, but they're no longer nearly as tough as they used to be and aren't guaranteed that second-turn assault, either. (Expect the Scarab/Spyder trick to be FAQed out relatively quickly.) In neither case are they mandatory.

Tomb Blades are making some waves as tough, mobile anti-infantry, but I'm not sure if that's strongly needed in this book. Will have to see.

Heavy Destroyers are good, a lot better than they have been given credit for. They're more-differenter Attack Bikes; lack of a second wound often won't be a big thing, because T5/3+ lets you shrug off random shooting and bigger guns would ID a bike anyways.

Annihilation Barges are fantastic. They, along with Crypteks, are going to be very, very common units in Necron armies. They're a little slow, but since you can still get four TL S7 shots off on the move, this isn't a huge issue. Dakka Preds are good, so are these.

I've softened a little on the Doomsday Ark and Praetorians, but both still feel a bit like marginal choices. Sword/Pistol Praetorians I am not sold on- three Entropic attacks for 40pts is not actually going to do a whole lot and when you get charged by even a middling opponent, you'll see why Rending isn't enough to take most things down.

The obvious army builds I see are Imotekh-based Night Fight (which I now dub "Less Than Joan" preemptively), AV13 spam, and some sort of mobility-crippling thing that may turn out to be awful. Armies that I'm pretty sure won't work are MC spam, large blobs of foot Warriors (and most, but not all, other foot-exclusive lists) and anything that relies on Veil of Darkness shenanigans to keep the whole army alive. Also the "shoot, shoot, shoot, die"-styled armies that have no actual mobility or defense against CC. Also anything that uses Monoliths- I'm sorry, duders, but they're bad. They're expensive, die to Meltaguns, and don't really do anything. S8 pie plate, huh? Yeah, IG gets those and they don't save the army by themselves. Str-test-or-die? Most people pass that 66% or more, and range is mega-short. Flux Arcs got better, not worse, but they still aren't good. Now that you don't have goofy exceptions to every rule in the game, no one cares about you anymore.

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