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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Necrons: Triarch Praetorians


One of many new units in the Necron Codex are Triarch Praetorians. They come along with the option for Lychguard in a plastic boxed set of 5. Personally I like the models and the idea of T5 guys with a Jump Pack, maybe you do too. I figured I'd do a review on them and see in what kind of list they could possibly fit.

First thing we need to look at is the cost of them, as without cost you can't judge their abilities at all. They cost a mighty 40 points a piece. That's Terminator cost! Yes it is. Basically combat units around 40 points each get automatically compared with Terminators, that's how it is. However, they have a Jump Pack, which vastly increases their ability to get where they need to be without the need of buying a 250+ point transport. No, they are more like Sanguinary Guard and ironically suffer from many of the same problems.

Because what's the thing: They don't have an invulnerable save. T5 and a 3+ save with potential 5+ reanimation protocol save is what it's at. This simply means they are alright at withering small arms fire but fold like wheat to a scythe to anything ignoring their armour. Not looking great so far. Onto their combat stats and weapons then. WS4 and I2 is extremely 'meh' for elite assault units. You'll practically always hit last and hit on a 4+ against even basic marines. What's worse: they have 1 attack each! I mean, really? You have two ways of fielding them: A 'Rod of Covenant' being the default option. It's simply a power weapon with a 6" S5 Ap2 Assault 1 shooting option build-in. No, you don't get +1 attack for having 2 CCW's, so you'll be charging with a mighty 2 attacks.

Basically, this is bad, real bad. Why? Because a power weapon and Ap2 shooting attack implies they are only good at one thing and that's killing marines and certain elite units. But they don't even do this particular well... beating up some tactical marines and MSU squads is all they do. With S5 they're not really effective against vehicles either.

What's the other option? Partical Casters and Void Blades. I'll admit it right away, I love the look and name of the Void Blade, hopefully this doesn't make me biased ;). Your shooting gets better I'd say, because you now have a 12" range and are S6. Yes you're ap5 now but overall the shooting is much more applicable to a wide range of targets. Instead of a power weapon in CC you now have Rending and Entropic Strike. Not only that, but more importantly: You now do gain an extra attack for having 2 CCW's. What does this all in all mean? You are much better against vehicles now (basically S6 against fast moving vehicles due to Entropic Strike, S8 against combat speed) while you *still* beat up Tactical Marines and MSU squads.

Conclusion: Praetorians at themselves are overpriced combat units. Rod of Covenant makes them very one dimensional while still not excelling at their job, so my preference goes to Particle Caster + Void Blade to make them more all-round. If they excelled at killing infantry with the Rod of Covenant then maybe one could build a list around that but not with how they are now.

Now, let's try and see what we can do to make a list around them and try to work around their weaknesses. We need to look at Wraiths. One Praetorian costs exactly the same as one Wraith with Particle Caster, while the latter has improved mobility (ignores terrain basically), higher survivability (3++ and 2 wounds, albeit T4, is better) and has more damage output (no Entropic Strike, but 3 attacks base and S6). This makes taking Praetorians even more silly doesn't it, when another unit in the same codex does pretty much the same thing but better?

Yes in a sense it does... but you have only three Fast Attack slots. Not only that: What if we take both Wraiths and Praetorians or want to use our Fast Attack slots on something else? It's the unit which has the greatest synergies by far the most with Praetorians:
  • Wraiths are the perfect unit for giving cover saves to Praetorians. They have a 3++ (so don't need cover themselves) and the same speed.
  • Wraiths add more 'tough' Assault units to your force, means your oppenent has more stuff to deal with.
  • Wraiths can take Whip Coils, making opponents (partially) I1 in combat, compensating Praetorians their I2 when they charge in in the same combat.
  • When you somehow manage to get beaten in assault, Wraiths can prevent your Praetorians from getting swept, as they are fearless so will keep locking the opponent. (Pretty rare and something went wrong probably, but good to know I think)
Alright then, we have our base for the list:

2x 5 Praetorians with Particle Caster and Void Blade 400
2x 6 Wraiths with 3 Whip Coils each 480

It's obvious that we are going for a Foot list, *cough* Mech is for pussies! *cough*. In a Foot list you always want a unit of Scarabs I think and it fits nicely with the Praets/Wraiths. So let's add a unit of 10 Scarabs for now.
For such an assault heavy list as this one, I want 2 Solar Pulses in. This way when your opponent goes first you can activate one and then another one during his 2nd turn, to give your Assault units as much protection as possible so they get across the board relatively unscathed.

Two Solar Pulses means two Overlords. For a list like this I want two forward troops with Gauss Weaponry. Why? Because we get plenty of anti-infantry and stunning/immobilizing vehicles means they can be killed easily by one of your assault units. Both Overlords get the Phaeron upgrade then.

Now the list builds itself, as its simply a matter of available points for your troops:

Phaeron 110
Phaeron 110
2x Solar Pulse Cryptek
10 Warriors 130
10 Warriors 130
5 Warriors 65
5 Warriors 65
5 Praetorians 200
5 Praetorians 200
6 Wraiths; 3 Whips 240
6 Wraiths; 3 Whips 240
10 Scarabs 150
Total: 1750

Solar Pulses join the small Warrior units and act as backfield objective grabbers. Phaerons each join the large warriors squads and move up. Wraiths give cover to the Praetorians, who give cover to the Scarabs themselves usually.

There you go, my view on Praetorians. Yes, the list sucks, I know. Be my guest and post a better one with Preatorians in it if you can!

7 pinkments:

Rob Godin said...

I've been using a list based on the nemesor's phased reinforcement ability, and find these guys work well in the list. Able to ds land 18inchs approx from the enemy, preferably behind cover, then able to move, shoot and almost garentee assault in your turn is great. They work well with deathmarks, both focusing fire to wipe out a unit, then moving on.

Kaelis-Ra said...

Zjoekov, don't forget Praetorians are fearless! Wraiths don't need to operate as "sweep" preventors. I completely agree that Wraiths do what Praetorians do better... but they're just so cool lol. Particle casters + void blades are the way to go. Good article!

Kirby said...

Not sure why the comments system has reverted here guys. Have contacted support but it seems to be a localised issue.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, my variation was the Praetorians (pistol & CCW) with 6x Wraiths (3xWhips), Stormlord and Destroyer Lord with Orb & Mindshackle (currently).

Had to go with the Stormlord because I wanted to guarantee at least two turns of Night Fight and only the Destroyer Lord can bring an orb to the Praetorians (another strike against them IMO).

It wasn't too outrageous a cost or idea, it is too limiting. Now if you can set it up with the Wraiths pinning down most everything to I1, then it can work real well. I don't like depending on getting that close a coordination between two units to get them to do the job I want them to.

AbusePuppy said...

Ugh, comment screw-up ate my previous reply to this and it doesn't look like it's coming back, but short version:

The army really feels like it lacks anti-tank (10 Scarabs 10 Praetorians, that's it?) and I don't really see it functioning very well. I think there are some foot and semi-foot Necron lists that might work, but it just feels like it has no good plan for the game. Also, remember the Eldar lesson: specialists don't need assistance to handle their favored target. If you need Wraiths with you win a fight, you aren't a melee unit. If you need something else to stun/immobilize a tank, you aren't an AT platform.

Pistol + Voidblade feels very weak to me- it lets you pretend to be a Scarab in CC, but your shooting gets significantly worse (jump infantry makes it more likely you'll be able to make AP2 relevant.) You also trade a power weapon for Rending, which is a huge downgrade given that S5 means your PW attacks are rather dangerous to most infantry, even if you aren't getting very many of them.

However, overall the Praetorians just don't feel worth it. They have okay, but not great, survivability. Their melee ability is somewhere between okay and dreadful, depending on what you're facing and which setup you have; I2 and one attack base are just real killers. They aren't as flexible or as dangerous as Terminators, Nobz, Sang Guard, or other 40pt models- not to infantry, not to vehicles. There are better countercharge units in the codex and there are better "punisher" units to take advantage of weak points in the enemy's lines. I just don't feel like Praetorians seem like a good choice.

Darligulv said...

I feel their AP2 shot reads like an extra attack. It's the same profile as their CC attack. S5 that ignores armor.

Thinking about it like that, one could theoretically say on the charge a unit of them (5) is getting 15 S5 Power Weapon attacks. 5 of which happen before CC and hit on 3's (the shots).

What really kills them for me, is their low initiative. If they had I5 and still only 1 attack I might consider them. Because 15 power weapon strikes at I5 is pretty solid to put a unit down. (or at least keep retaliation to a minimum)

Or the inverse, if they had I2 but 2-3 attacks I'd take them, the number of attacks could compensate for loses before their turn in CC.

Even a 2+ armor would persuade me.

However as is...low Initiative and low Attacks...not a good CC unit.

You say there are better units for countercharge and acting as "punisher"s. Are you referencing units other than Wraiths?

AbusePuppy said...


Yes. Wraiths can be good countercharge, to be sure, but they're not the only ones. Lychguard are also reasonably nasty, if expensive- I'm not sure they have a place, but at least they have some stuff going for them. Spyders will tear through anything that doesn't carry a Power Fist, and Scarabs can pour attacks into stuff like TH/SS and drown them in saves. Necrons _do_ have some options for CC.

Wraiths, Scarabs, and Spyders all make good potential "punishers" as well, since they can really make a tank pay for not moving.

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