Thursday, 24 November 2011

Necron Special Characters, part Two ~ Overview

Apologies for the delay but here we are again, hopefully getting through the final batch of Necron special characters.

We've a few interesting ones today with some rather interesting rules and abilities (as well as some nasty tricks), although of course there are flaws.

I'm not too sure where I'll go now, I've finished overviewing all the codex contents but might take a look at some list ideas and final thoughts before I finish, we'll see!

Illuminor Sveras
The cheapest and weakest Necron character and as you'll see from the picture above, almost certainly the most visible noticeable!
Fluffwise he was the genius who took the secrets of biotransferance the C'tan gave the Necrontyr and made it reality, in short he physically created the Necrons as they are today. Unlike others he doesn't see the change as bad, instead he sees it as an evolutionary step up towards godhood.
Sveras is not a Necron lord but in fact a Cryptek, however he still takes a HQ slot rather than being a unit upgrade. This difference means many things, firstly he doesn't allow a Royal Court or Command Barge to be taken and secondly he lacks the Str/Tgh 5 of actual Lords, having to make do with a decent 4. He also only has two wounds, but interestingly a surprising four attacks (that many legs must be good for something I guess).
His Cryptek discipline is destruction meaning his weapons/wargear are taken from that discipline list, although he lacks a Solar Pulse he has an Eldritch Lance (36" Str8 Ap2 Assalt1) and Gaze of Flame (defensive grenades for his unit).
His only special ability (other than being an Cryptek character) is Mechanical Augmentation, which allows him to nominate a single unit of Warriors or Immortals and give them either Tgh5, Bs5 or Str5 dependant on the results of a D6 roll.
Considering that apart from the Eldritch Lance he himself seems fit towards light combat (defensive grenades and four attacks), yet lacks the Str/Tgh of a lord I don't feel Sveras will be favoured in many lists since you can't really sort a role for him. His augmentation ability doesn't even make him worthwhile in my opinion, Tgh5 troops are great and Bs5 will make a large unit worrisome but if you roll strength you've pretty much wasted your points.

Orikan the Diviner
Another Cryptek, with an even weaker profile than Sveras (most of the time, see below). With Str/Tgh4, 2 wounds, 2 attacks and only a 4+ save Orikan is certainly not the hardest character (again most of the time).
Orikan's discipline is Cronomancer (Harbringers of Eternity) and he calls himself an astromancer since he calculates future events (through science rather than psychic means). He was the one who predicted the Eldar race will fall, leading to the Necrons sealing themselves away on tomb ships to wait. More interesting, he also predicted the rise of mankind, the Horus Heresy and even the coming of the Tyranids thousands of years before they happened. Its mentioned that his predictions aren't 100% and that he has resorted to travelling backwards through his own timeline to change events so they are correct... I can't help but wonder if he did that to help humanity arise or perhaps get the heresy started.
Fluff aside he doesn't have any Cryptek weapons/wargear but does have a combat staff in the traditions of his order, Orikans however allows him to re-roll to hit and ignore armour saves. He also has a Phase Shifter (3+ Invulnerable save) and Transdimensional Beamer (12" heavy weapon which removes random model in target unit from play on a failed strength test).
What makes him special (and so costly in points) are his abilities, firstly he has Temporal snares which cause all enemy units to count as in difficult terrain on their first turn (or roll one less dice if already in difficult terrain) and secondly he may declare his Lords of Time ability at the start of a turn allowing him to re-roll all failed reserve rolls that turn.
What was all that about his stats being weak 'most of the time' I mentioned earlier you say? Well Orikan's last ability, The Stars Are Right, means that if he rolls equal or less than the current turn on a D6 at the start of his turn he stats change from 4/4/4/42/2/2/10/4+ to 5/5/7/7/4/4/4/10/4+ (interestingly the C'tan profile) until he rolls equal to or less than the turn number at the start of a later turn, possibly causing him to die when his wounds stat drops!
I like Orikan and his Temporal Snares ability is horrifying (it'll be FAQ'd I'm sure but at current it affects units moving onto the board during the Dawn of War mission, meaning if the Temporal Snares immobilise a vehicle it seems it'll count as destroyed (also destroying the unit inside), since the rulebook FAQ states that is what happens when a unit fails to get entirely on the board)! However I'll never use him as the unpredictability of The Stars Are Right (unless is occurs in combat its wasted and if it ends once in combat, he's in trouble) along with his high cost of 165pts for a model with 2 wounds, just aren't good.
If he was cheaper and lacked The Stars Are Right I'd snatch him up in moments, as it is I'll leave it to you.

Anrakyr the Traveller
One of the few Overlords to awake without confusion from the long sleep, Anrakyr has a purpose and it filled his mind clearly from the moment he awoke. He will reunite the dynasties. As such he travels, seeking out Necrons dynasties in danger and tomb worlds that have yet to awaken, helping them survive whatever dangers they face or awaken.
Anrakyr has standard Overlord stats and abilities (including Royal Court & Command Barge options) and is armed with a Warscythe and a Tachyon Arrow.
The abilities that make him impressive (and 35pts more than an identically armed Overlord), starting with the most basic, is that he has Counter-attack and Furious Charge and his army can upgrade a unit of Immortals to be his elite Pyrrhian Eternals who has the same USRs. His more impressive ability is the fact his great strength of will which lets him easily command his forces extends to even allow him to command other technological devices. In the shooting phase can select a vehicle he can see within 18" and on a roll of 3+, he overrides it and can immediately shoot with it as if it were stationary (he can't pivot it however, so weapon arcs are important) and disregards any Crew Shaken/Crew Stunned effects on it. This even extends to Super-Heavy vehicles and in the fluff he also took control of a Space Marine Battle Barge!
A powerful and good character, with some interesting abilities. One of my favourites (especially since he has a warscythe) and not bad for 165pts.

Trazyn the Infinite
Historian and lore keeper, Trazyn has an interesting background in which he 'obtains' artefacts from all over which he feels cannot he trusted with others (even other Necrons) and while he apparently has such items as Sebastian Thor's preserved head, the husk of an Enslaver (nice to see them popping up in fluff again) and also a giant man clad in baroque power armour... Curse GW for such intriguing fluff!
He also has a habit of transmuting living beings into hard-light holograms and using them recreating historical scenes (although he cares more for the spectacle than historical detail).
Rulewise he has standard Overlord statistics and unit/transport options, as well as being a Pharon. He is armed with Mindshackle Scarabs and his Empathic Obliterator, a standard combat weapon with a special rule if he kills someone with it. All models in the combat who share the same name in their profiles as as those slain suffer a wound on a 4+ (armour saves apply as they do for the weapons hits normally).
In addition to this Trazyn counts as a scoring model (he is that interested in the objectives for his collection) and if slain can swap with a random Lychguard, Cryptek, Lord or Overlord on a 2+, allowing them to die and him to be at a number of wounds which they had.
Thazyn is a little expensive at 175pts, but has a weapon which will be devastating against some armies (Orks, Dark Eldar, Guard etc) and is highly difficult to kill, which is always nice for a character and especially nice for a scoring unit (not to mention the number of tricks an independent scoring character can do).
One word of warning tho, the rules for his weapon mean he can hurt his own side if facing another Necron player with similar units!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Necron Special Characters, part One ~ Overview

Imotekh the Stormlord
Getting towards the end, the special characters still to go although that may take a bit of time. As with many recent codexes the Necrons have a decent selection and with the C'tan gone they are all completely new.

Perhaps my plan to take things slow and reread enough to give an overview which is more than a first glance is flawed and most people will already have found out all they want, but I started so I'm going to finish and who knows I might inspire some new idea.

In an infinite universe, anything is possible.

Imotekh the Stormlord
Terrible name aside, Imotekh is the ruler of the most powerful Necron dynasty that is currently awake and as the dynasties former military commander he is also perhaps the most skilled ruler in the ways of war.
His statistics are identical to a standard Overlord and he is a Phaeron, so grants the unit he is with Relentless (as well as options for a Royal Court and/or Catacomb Command Barge). In addition he comes with a Phase Shifter, Phylactery and Semiternal weave, giving him 2+/3++ armour and additional wounds when he awakes (probably an idea to keep him near a Lord with a Ressurection Orb to make the most of it).
His only real downside apart from his points cost is he is armed with a Gauntlet of Fire rather than anything that ignores armor, making his combat ability limited against marines but good against some other armies. It especially doesn't go well with his Humiliating Defeat ability, which counts him as scoring D3 additional wounds if he kills a character in combat, since most characters have decent armour saves.
He also has the Staff of the Destroyer, which is an interesting one use weapon. Effectively it draws a line 2D6" long from Imotekhs base and for each model under it, that models unit takes a Str6 Ap1 hit. Powerful but unless he is on a Command Barge (which prevents him benefiting from a Ressurection Orb) he'll have trouble getting into the best position to use it before charging into assault.
His other weapon is used before the game and affects a random enemy unit so Flayed Ones can deepstrike within 6" of them without scattering, which is rather poor both because its random and because the Flayed Ones will then be shot dead or assaulted.
His last two abilities are what makes him most noteworthy, firstly he can seize the initiative on a 4+ unless he is fighting Orks amusingly, where he can't make an attempt at all.

His 'Lord of the Storm' ability, which he is named for, is something people all over have decided tactics for. Firstly it makes the first turn of any game use the Night Fighting rules and as long as he can roll over the turn number each turn, this can continue all game. Then at the start of any Necron shooting phase where Night Fighting remains, he may roll a D6 for each unengaged enemy and on a 6 they take D6 Str8 Ap5 hits!
Whatever some people have said tho, Crptek's with the Solar Pulse wargear are useless with this. Night Fighting activated by the Pulse do not generate lighting according to the ability and since the pulse is activated at the start of the turn and lighting happens in the shooting phase, the pulse can actually prevent lighting!

Over all Imotekh is an interesting character with some nice abilities but he is too reliant on good dice rolls for Lord of the Storm to really be worth his points.

Nemesor Zahndrekh
Another Overlord with standard stats, although he isn't a Phaeron so while he can have a Royal Court and Command Barge he doesn't give Relentless. Zahndrekh (along with his partner Obyron) is one of my favourite fluff groups although again to me personally it is a little too comedic (as is a lot of the necron codex fluff).
Zahndrekh is under the delusion that he is still a living mortal and that everyone he faces are Necrontyr from rebellious dynasties from times before the C'tan even appeared. This makes him the most honourable of the Necron Overlords since tradition dictates one must be honourable against fellow Necrontyr.
Equipped with a Phase Shifter, Semiternal weave and Resurrection Orb, Zahndrekh would be perfectly equipped if he had a Warscythe instead of his Staff of Light. Oh well, he is still great as only 5pts more than an equally equipped Overlord!
And wow does he get some good stuff for that 5pts. Firstly if he is on the battlefield then units in reserve able to Deep Strike (Destroyer Lords, Night Scythes, Deathmarks, Triarch Praetorians, Flayed Ones, Wraiths, Destroyers, Monoliths & Doom Scythes) can choose to do so whenever an enemy arrives from reserve in the enemy turn. Unfortunately unlike the Deathmark ability, the RAW for this at the moment prevents you using the rule in your turn (e.g. if enemy Deathmarks choose to Deep Strike as one of your other units arrived).
His other two abilities (some of the best in the codex) allow him at the start of his turn if on the board to grant either Counter-attack, Furious Charge, Hit and Run, Night Vision, Stealth or Tank Hunters to a friendly unit for the turn... And pick an enemy unit in line of sight and remove all of those abilities from them for the turn!

Giving yourself Counter-attack while removing the enemies Furious Charge or vice-versa has the potential to really alter the game (and mess with the enemies tactics), let alone toying with the other abilities.
While I'm upset over the lack of combat weapon, Zahndrekh is certainly one of the best characters in the codex! - If you're okay with a HQ without a combat weapon.

Oh and lastly, if he is used then Varguard Obyron does not take up a HQ slot. This isn't much as after spending 345pts on them you probably won't be wanting to use the other HQ slot, my question however is does he still count as a HQ for other purposes (deploying in Dawn of War for example)?

Varguard Obyron
Obyron is Zahndrekh's aide and protector, unlike his master tho he fully realises what he is and the reality that faces the Necron race but has given up trying to awake his master to these facts. Dedicated as he is Obyron instead works to tie up any loose ends caused by Zahndrekh's madness, such as making sure that the 'honoured' prisoners of war they capture are 'killed whilst trying to escape'.
Obyron is not an Overlord and thus doesn't allow a Royal Court or a dedicated Command Barge, however he could still take and use someone elses during the game. He has the stats of an Overlord, except for his Ws of 6, far higher than anything else in the codex.
He is equipped with a Sempiternal weave (2+ armour) and a Warscythe! *smiles* In addition he has his Ghostwalk Mantle which is an improved Veil of Darkness, normally available only to Crypteks. Unlike the normal veil, Obyron can use his to leave combat, in fact if Zahndrekh is assaulted by the enemy then Obyron instantly teleports to his side (leaving his unit or transport behind) and doesn't scatter whenever he tries appearing near Zahndrekh (interesting FAQ question will be if they are on opposite sides, does Obyron still not scatter when teleporting near Zahndrekh?).
His other ability is that when it is his turn to attack Obyron gets a bonus attack for every enemy attack which missed him! Unfortunately this isn't of use against Initiative 1 or 2 attacks, but its still nice.

Obyron isn't as much of a bargain as Zahndrekh, 15pts cheaper than an equally equipped Overlord (assuming we use the standard Veil of Darkness cost) is quite good as the improved Veil and additional attacks etc are nice, but its also at the cost of Royal Court and Catacomb Command Barges option..
Still, in an army without any real combat stuff he is nice (if you keep him away from too many power weapons).

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Forgeworld New Releases ~ Irillyth, Phoenix Lords of the Shadow Spectres & Eldar Phantom Titan Power Glaive

 Two new releases from Forgeworld, one highly interesting and almost certain to overshadow the other in the eyes of most people.
Above with have Irillyth, the seventh Phoenix Lord to have a model and rules (I think) and the first and only one from Forgeworld (as of yet).

Once a disciple of Asurmen, first of the Eldar Phoenix Lords, Irillyth the Shade of Twilight founded the Shrine of the Shadow Spectres on the Craftworld of Mymeara. Drawn to the small Craftworld in response to a vision of doom and horror, Irillyth gifted the skills of stealth, swiftness and all-consuming firepower to the warriors of Mymeara. After many years, the Phoenix Lord led a great war host to the legend-shrouded world of Bethalmae to destroy a race that would, many thousands of years later, arise to threaten Craftworld Mymeara. Neither he nor any of his warhost ever returned to the Craftworld, and with the loss of their Phoenix Lord the Shadow Spectre aspect fell into decline.

His experimental rules are also included. He has standard phoenix lord statistics and all the Shadow Spectre exarch abilities which was to be expected. Apart from the weapon I can't see anything of particular interest and while a little disappointed he doesn't grant his unit anything extra (I was quite hoping to use his Bs for Ghostlight or maybe additional shots), he does seem fairly good and of course only one of two phoenix lords with an Invulnerable save!
I can't see him ever combining his shots into a Ghostlight tho (I'm assuming optional like Exarch), which suggests to me his rules will be altered when finalized.

The other new addition is the Power Glaive weapon option for the Phantom Titan (the largest and most powerful of the Eldar titans).
Phantom Titans are deployed when the threat is dire indeed, and the weaponry of these mighty Titans varies depending on the nature of the foe they will face. When ranged against enemy super-heavy walkers a Steersman will commonly arm his Titan with a Phantom Power Glaive, a long and shimmering sword similar in appearance to those wielded by Eldar Aspect Warriors, using the Phantom’s speed and agility to close with and destroy their opponents.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Necron Heavy Support ~ Overview

Annihilation Barge
Getting towards the end now, yet we've several new units and some big changes to old ones to go over and talk about.

Necrons have five Heavy Support options now and since Heavy Destroyers have now merged with normal Destroyers in the Fast Attack section, that leaves more than half the units as new, all vehicles adding to the multitude Necrons now have access to.

Personally I'm unhappy about the rapid moving additions to the army, I've always imagined Necrons as a slow implacable force with limited faster units like Wraiths/Destroyers on the flanks stopping foes escaping or encircling them. With the Night Scythe transporting units and various Jump Infantry and Jetbikes about the whole army seems very different to me, luckily only one of the Heavy Support is quick.

Doom Scythe
As it'll likely share a box with the Night Scythe when/if GW releases models, the Doom Scythe is similarly very fast with the Deep Strike, Fast, Aerial Assault & Supersonic rules. Unlike the Night Scythe it even has two weapons allowing it to make use of Aerial Assault.
Like all Necron vehicles it has living metal and like almost all it is armour 11 on all sides. As with the Night Scythe is lacks Quantum Shielding tho, rendering it highly vulnerable for its astounding 175pt price tag, so unless 6th edition does change the rules so faster moving vehicles are harder to hit I'd advise not using it.
Some people however will not think much further than its weaponry (which are admittedly good). Firstly it is armed with a Twin-linked Tesla Destructor but that will likely be overshadowed by its aptly named Death Ray.
The Death Ray is fired by selecting a point within 12", rolling 3D6 and picking another point within that many inches of the first. You then draw a line between the points and for every model under the line its unit takes a Str10 Ap1 hit!
This'll come across as amazing and if the enemy clumps together it will be, on average you'll have a 10" line and only one end of it needs to be near the Doom Scythe. However most of the time you'll be lucky to hit two vehicles or more than half a dozen infantry, which isn't much better than a large blast marker.
For the points, I just don't see it performing well at the moment. Especially as it will certainly be shot down the moment it has moved close enough to fire its Death Ray.

Doomsday Ark
Another vehicle I expect people will get so caught on its weapons and disregard other thoughts, not to say it is bad (The Doom Scythe certainly isn't bad either). While not fast, the Doomsday Ark does have Quantum Shielding and the potential for longer range which makes it a less risky choice than the Doom Scythe, at the same points cost. However it is Open-Topped so if its Quantum Shield is beaten it will be in trouble.
Like the Ghost Ark it has a Gauss Flayer Array on each side which can target units separately from each other and the Ark's main weapon, but since its role will usually involve it keeping distance and facing the enemy these will likely be forgotten in general play. The Ark's main weapon is the Doomsday cannon which is a name I'm less fond of.
The Doomsday cannon has two profiles, one quite powerful and the other much weaker. Unlike other weapon-mounted weapons in 40k its different profiles are used depending on whether it moved or not, the fluff for this is the cannon requires so much of the vehicles power that using the power for anything else (such as the engines) weakens the cannon. The weaker profile is 24" Str7 Ap4 with a small blast, while the more powerful profile is 72" Str9 Ap1 with a large blast.
The reason I put the weaker profile first is that with a limited 45 degree firing arc, I can imagine you having to adjust the Doomsday Ark's facing at least once during a game which counts as moving weakening the blast. This drawback alone puts me off the vehicle before considering that it isn't Ordnance.

Annihilation Barge
With its 90pt price tag, the Annihilation Barge can be seen as the little cousin to the other Heavy Support options (I've not got to the Monolith yet remember), however it perfectly matches the Doomsday Ark defensively and arguably beats it since its smaller model and higher mounted gun gives it an edge at gaining cover saves.
Weaponry-wise it has a either a Tesla or Gauss Cannon as well as its main weapon, a Twin-linked Tesla Destructor and it is on this weapon I'll take the time to talk.
It is possibly that many of you have faced Autocannon Dreads since 5th edition since they are great for punching through transports, injuring Monstrous Creatures and even badly bothering infantry units. Well its shorter range and Ap aside the Tesla Destructor does all that and more. 24" isn't a bad range in 40k and for 90pts with front/side of 13 (even if just while its shield last) you shouldn't be too concerned moving the Barge towards mid-field and while its Ap- limits its ability to break transports it'll still suppress them perfectly well and the chance of additional hits due to the Tesla rule should balance things out, with the hits on nearby units as an extra bonus.
Why is the Annihilation Barge my favourite of the Heavy Supports so far? It is far cheaper than an autocannon dread with superior armour, while outstipping it against most Infantry, Monstrous Creatures and even suppressing vehicles (which your Scarabs can than happily land on and terrorize!).

Probably one of the more recognisable things in 40k (every player will likely recognise a Monolith even if they can't tell Eldar vehicles from each other or Tau ones) and most certainly one of the first things to come into peoples minds at the mention of Necrons. This is rather unfortunate since the vehicle is far less impressive than it used to be, perhaps GW decided that since so many players own them they'd push players towards buying other Heavy Support options..? (Okay, I'll admit to being a little bit of a cynic).
The Monolith is only 200pts now, yet with the change to Living Metal it is now vulnerable to Melta weapons and Monstrous Creatures which is unfortunate as its weapons are short-mid range. It has kept its ability to Deep Strike (in fact if placed in reserve it has no option to arrive otherwise), but can now suffer a Mishap like normal units. In addition it is the only Necron 'tank' and has the 'Heavy' type which is so far unique to the Monolith and restricts it to Combat speed but allows it to count as stationary when shooting, which doesn't actually do anything currently if you look at its weapons.
The only real beneficial change is that the Monolith can now use its Eternity Gate and its Particle Whip in the same turn, but since the Particle Whip is Ordnance its shooting is limited whether it would count as stationary or now. The Whip itself has dropped in strength to Str8 Ap3 but has kept its large blast and 24" range.
If not firing the Particle Whip (perhaps because as a weapon it can now be destroyed) the Monolith has its four Gauss Flux Arcs, which can each fire three Str4 Ap5 shots at different units. Since these are defensive weapons they'd be able to fire at Combat speed anyway, even if also firing its last 'weapon'.
Its last weapon? The Eternity Gate! It can still bring units from reserve or elsewhere on the board to it (even units it couldn't before although be careful with Scarabs and other large based things that will have trouble getting within 2" of the gate), however doing so will not grant any repair bonus now.
Its weapon use is rather strange, it is powerful in that all hit must pass a strength test or be removed from play yet its range is randomised at D6", which means that unless previously assaulted it has a 1-in-6 chance of the enemy always being out of range.

Canoptek Spyder
As well as the name change, Canoptek Spyders have been boosted considerably since their last edition. Their downsides are one less attack and while you can still take up to three as a single slot they now remain as a unit instead of being independent, however in exchange for that they have gained +1 Ws, Bs and a wound (I'd rather a wound than an attack with these any day), while dropping in cost by 5pts!
As before they are Fearless Monstrous Creatures and have the ability to create Scarab bases. These must be attached to a unit of Scarabs within 6" but at least allows the Scarabs to make use of their movement etc, as before each swarm has a 1-in-6 chance of causing a wound to its Spyder creator yet this is less of a worry now they three wounds.
Wargear options have changed, they may not exchange an attack for a ranged weapon but for 25pts a Spyder may gain one with 24" Str6 Ap5 twin-linked blast. Its second wargear option costs 15pts and allows the Spyders unit and friendly units within 3" (yes 3" I'm hoping its a typo but tis unlikely) to nullify enemy psychic powers targeting them on a 4+ which is perhaps interesting if you've multiple of them. Its last option and the only one I'd consider is the cheapest, it costs 10pts and allows the Spyder to repair to repair Weapon Destroyed & Immobilised results similar to Techmarines. While this could be useful if you have a couple of the other Heavy Support units (many of which suffer if you destroy their main weapon), I'd only really consider it for its low cost to allow a wound allocation advantage.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Necron Fast Attack ~ Overview

Onto the Fast Attack section and as you can see from the picture there is a new face here as well. As detailed in the HQ part One review for Destroyer Lords, models with destroyer bodies now count as Jump Infantry which allowed GW to add actual Jet Bikes.

I'll say now that for its points, abilities and role it performs one of the options here will likely see far more use than the others with two of the other older ones being seen as the owner wants to make use of old models. The new addition therefore may not be seen too much.

Tomb Blade
Effectively standard Warriors on Necron Jetbikes, with an array of pre-programmed flight data in the bike itself to help counter the slow reactions and lack of intellect of the pilot.
With basic warrior stats augmented by the +1 Tgh provided by the Jetbike at first glance they are easier to kill than Space Marine bikes but have slightly better weapons, having the same options as Immortals for free except twin-linked. They can however be taken in units of 1-5 which is quite unique amongst bike units in 40k.
They have an array of options to add onto their standard 20pts which can get expensive.
Firstly the unit can exchange its weapons for Particle Beamers for 10pts, which fire a 24" Str6 Ap5 Blast shot, allowing some interesting anti-infantry but I wouldn't say its worth it.
Their cheapest at 5pts per model, the Nebuloscope, increases the units Bs to 5. At the cost tho I'm not sure this is needed as unless they upgrade to Particle Beamers they have twin-linked anyway and if using Tesla Carbines I'd prefer to re-roll 2's in the hope of getting a 6.
Shield Vanes and Shadowlooms are the last two options at 10pts each, Shield Vanes increase their save to 3+ while the Shadowlooms provide Stealth. I feel the looms are far better, if you can keep to cover they'll be providing a 3+ save anyway (and cover so ignoring Ap's) and in addition if you Turbo-boost you'll be getting 2+!

Necron Destroyer
Destroyers have dropped 10pts to 40pts each and are identical in stats, except for counting as Jump Infantry rather than Jetbikes which is unfortunate for moving but at least they are still Tgh5. As mentioned elsewhere Gauss Cannons have changed a bit, their range and number of shots dropping but their Ap increasing to 3, this is the most important difference than before. The second most important difference is that Heavy Destroyers are no longer a Heavy Support slot of their own and are just upgrades for Destroyer units, with up to three of the 1-5 destroyer unit being upgradable at 20pts each which is fantastic especially since Heavy Gauss Cannons have only one change which is to become Assault rather than Heavy so Jump Infantry can use them.
Lastly as noted in HQ part One, Destroyers are deranged and murderous which manifests as Preferred Enemy (everything!). At current this isn't of use to a shooting unit but perhaps 6th edition will change that.

Canoptek Wraith
Firstly, Wraiths are no longer Necrons! They are automatons created to oversee, repair and protect tomb ships similar to Scarabs and Spyders. Gameplay-wise this means they do not have Reanimation Protocols, so once dead they stay dead. This is somewhat balanced by them becoming Fearless.
They have also dropped in points a bit, gained a wound (but lost Initiative like all Necron units), now have Rending attacks (allowing them to threaten vehicles) and move as Jump Infantry although they still ignore all Difficult and Dangerous terrain.
Their maximum unit size has doubled to six, although they can still be taken singularly. Lastly they have access to a number of wargear items, e.g. for 5pts they can have a Str6 Ap5 pistol. Their best option however is Whip Coils which for 10pts reduce the Initiative of enemy models in base contact to 1, since Wraith wargear don't have to be taken by all models you can even mix this to reduce the majority of attacks while allowing some wound allocation with mixed wargear.
Their last and most expensive option is one I can't see anyone taking, for 15pts they gain a 12" range weapon which causes a random model in the unit hit to take a Strength test and be removed from the game if they fail. However since this is a Heavy 1 weapon, it completely goes against the Jump Infantry assault role of the Wraith.

Canoptek Scarab
This is the unit that will be appearing in every Necron players army, often in mass numbers and even mass units. For 15pts each you can get a unit of 3-10 Scarab bases. While their Ws/Bs2 Str/Tgh3 and 5+ save is certainly underwhelming they also have three wounds and four attacks each.
Those who remember the old codex will be thinking "Wait a minute, they have increased in points for their three wounds and only gained an attack!", those observant few will be more shocked as they are now Beasts not Jetbikes and lack Deep Strike.
What they have gained however is the Entropic Strike special rule, which means if a 10man (150pt) unit charges an immobile vehicle on average its armour values will drop by 25pts on all sides! Even against a vehicle going Combat Speed they'll on average reduce its armour values by 12, destroying all but Land Raiders and Monoliths!
Unless you've Str6+ area weapons which ignore cover (Inferno cannons, Flamestorm Cannons, Incinerators) I suggest thinking up an idea of how to deal with these, as 30wounds per unit with 3+ cover on average thanks to Stealth from Swarms they could often be troublesome.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Necron Elites, part Two ~ Overview

With fully marine equivalent stats (aside from typical Necron factors of Ini & Ld), an interesting weapon, an array of special rules and a good points cost for an elite unit. Despite fluff-wise being dishonorable assassins these will certainly see use in a lot of lists, which is a shame as I'm personally not too fond of the model (head is nice, rest is meh).
Their weapon can be described simply as a Rapid Fire Sniper weapon, which still sounds utterly bizarre, but single 24" shot or two 12" shots wounding on 4+ with rending cannot be frowned upon.
The special rules mostly revolve around their deployment, they can be kept in reserve to Deep Strike and if the enemy bring on reserves they can immediately Deep Strike down as if they passed their reserve roll (in the enemies turn!) and what makes this so good is one arriving enemy can cause any number of Deathmark units to appear.. Marines with Drop Pods will soon become annoyed I'm sure.
Their last ability is representative of their assassin nature, when they deploy they may select one non-vehicle enemy which their weapons wound on a 2+.

Triarch Praetorians
Former bodyguards of the leader of all the Necrons before they went into hibernation, Praetorians are now enforcers of honours within Necron society, travelling independently and making sure the Overlords aren't dishonorable in their actions so that the old Necron ways are preserved so that the old Necron way can one day return.
At first glance Praetorians are identical to Lychguard, their points are identical and apart from their attack values so are their stats. Praetorians only have one attack but are also fearless and are Jump Infantry which gives them a better chance of closing with the enemy compared to Lychguard.
Their Rod of covenant is treated as a power weapon in combat and can also be fired as a ranged weapon before they charge which is almost as good as their melee attack (6" range St5 Ap2). Alternatively they can exchange the Rod for a Voidblade & Particle caster, giving them a different ranged attack (12" Str6 Ap5) and an additional attack from two weapons, personally I'd prefer the Rod as Voidblades don't appeal.
They are a little expensive, but I expect to see them regularly as they are very nice models and an impressive unit. They can't select a Night Scythe, but you can't have everything.

Triarch Stalker
The first and only Necron Walker (pictured above), these are an interesting unit and perhaps the only dedicated anti-tank choice in the codex, unless you change its weapon to something more anti-infantry.
With standard Necron AV values, Living Metal and Quantum Shielding they aren't bad defensively, despite being Open-Topped. They also have Move Through Cover, three attacks and are Str7 but lack any option of combat weapons which let them down, still they are able to kick Rhinos to death.
At 150pts their main weapon is a Heat Ray which each turn can be fired as either a Heavy Flamer or a two-shot Multimelta. For a few points more they can exchange this for a 24" Str7 Ap5 Large Blast cannon or for 15pts more a twin-linked Heavy Gauss Cannon which is 36" Str9 Ap2.
Their defining ability is their Targetting Relay which means if they hit a unit, all friendly models can count their weapons as twin-linked if targeting the unit they hit in that shooting phase.
The pictures are very intriguing and I cant wait to see the model but the stats themselves make me unsure of it, the Heat Ray is lovely and a couple of them are bound to ruin vehicles they shoot at (aided by the targeting relay) but they will surely suffer getting close.

Necron Elites, part One ~ Overview

Elite slots are going to result in some tough decisions when designing a Necron army, there are so many fairly nice choices and none that jump out as must haves.

This section of the codex has been changed a lot, rule and fluff changes are heavy on most of the old returning units while several new units have been added as well.

Before I go into the choices, I'll first note that Pariahs are gone. While their models can be used for Lychguard, none of the units have abilities or fluff matching the Pariahs, although the fluff does note that many Necrons wish to return to flesh so who knows...

I'll start with the older, better known units before getting into the new.

Flayed Ones
Another Necron 'disease' or perhaps a curse in this case (said to be caused by a C'tan that was actually destroyed entirely), flayed ones are outside of Necron society and hated by every civilised Overlord and most of the more renegade ones, yet they are able to teleport to battlefields themselves in order to prey and feed (despite the fact the bits fall through their ribs) on the living.
Their stats are similar to those of a Necron Warrior, which is good as their points are identical. Their Bs is lower than an Orks, but since they lack a ranged weapon this doesn't matter. In exchange for the lack of range they have three attacks each and are able to Infiltrate or Deep Strike. Whilst perhaps able to challenge large groups of Ork Boyz, I expect their low initiative will cause them trouble against most other enemies, making them probably the worse elite option.

C'tan Shard
No longer immortal 'gods' but simply shards of power taken and used as weapons of war when direly needed. C'tan are thus no longer special characters but a elite choice which can be taken multiple times.
Their stats have dropped considerably, even just comparing the lowest stats of the two old ones (generally the Deceivers but not always) they have lost two strength, one toughness and one wound. Their stats are still good ( 5 5 7 7 4 4 4 10 4+/4+ ) but for me that loss of toughness together with the wound dooms them, the rift between Tgh7 & Tgh8 being vast since Str4 is so common.
Points costs are hard to compare as the new C'tan Shards are required to have two powers taken from a list, which they much pay for giving them a points cost somewhere between 205pts and 280pts, depending on what abilities you want for it.
Two powers is less than either of the old C'tan, although some replicate old abilities (minorly changed in some cases). There are eleven powers to choose from, although each can only be taken once per army (no matter how many C'tan you have), ranging from the cheapest which gives the C'tan the Entropic ability on his melee attacks (pretty much useless as few things'll survive his hits anyway) to the most expensive Gaze of Death which unlike Nightbringers version allows the blast to be placed over it in combat while still making attacks, its strength is only three now tho. As well as a variety of shooting attacks the list of C'tan powers includes giving nearby melta/flame/fire weapons a chance to explode, causing difficult terrain to become dangerous for the enemy and redeploying units before the game.
Lastly, they do still explode but the strength has been reduced to strength 4.
They are powerful and add some interesting abilities to the army, but are far less appealing with their lower stats and high cost.

With their powerfully stats and decent options these are a good unit but with some drawbacks preventing their use becoming common in many armies. With Str/Tgh5 and 3+ armour they are going to be difficult to budge and dangerous in combat. They are the best combat choice in the codex as they have two attacks and are armed with Warscythes, making two of them equal to a C'tan offensively, albeit at a lower initiative.
At 40pts each they are fairly costly (although 5pts cheaper than an identically armed & statted Lord) and while I've heard that if you include Reanimation Protocols their armour is equal to a terminators and by the maths this is true, assuming you are happy losing melee attacks and risking leadership test because Reanimation Protocols kicks in after all that. Their high toughness will likely be the deciding factor here.
As an option you can exchange the units weapons at the cost of 5pts each so they are armed with Hyperphase Swords (power weapons) and Dispersion Shields. The shields provide a 4+ invulnerable save which whenever its passed against a shooting attack causes an enemy unit within 6" to suffer an identical hit (just the hit the save protected, not the whole blast that caused it). This is interesting but since you must use the best save available to a unit it only affects Ap 1, 2 or 3 hits.
The main drawback I see preventing their regular use is how to actually get them in combat? They can select a Night Scythe but since those are fragile you are taking a risk (especially as the unit will be then dropped in reserve and be unlikely to ever reach combat). Veils of Darkness and the portal on a Monolith both prevent them charging, so however you use them they risk being destroyed by shooting before engaging.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Necron Troops & Dedicated Transports ~ Overview

The basic warrior used to be the only troops choice available to Necrons, yet this is no longer the case. however as with Lords, there has been some important downgrades in this area.
Both Warriors & Immortals have been downgraded somewhat, with Warriors having their armour save reduced and Immortals a large section of their stat-line dropped so they are effectively identical to the old Warriors (albeit with better guns).

As well as detailing the two troops options, I'll also be detailing the remaining dedicated transport options available to the Necron army in this post.

Necron Warrior
Warriors still maintain their 4 4 4 4 1 2 1 10 stat-line, however their saves are now only 4+ which together with the difference between We'll be Back and Reanimation Protocols has actually doubled the chances a warrior will die from a low-ap wounding hit. On top of that, obviously Ap4 weapons are now a huge danger, which certainly makes the warrior seem far weaker, despite the fact they now have better protection from Str8+ & power weapons.
Fortunately they have also dropped 5pts, to be only 13pts each. Some feel this is still a little expensive but with the Sisters of Battle point increase I can't say I'm surprised, I'd have expected 12pts but I'd also place Sisters at 11pts so what can I say?
Either way they are somewhat cheap, especially since they can now be taken in 5man units so many lists will still use them I expect. Interestingly not only do they have access to dedicated transports now like most Necron units, but one of the transports (The Ghost Ark) can only be selected by Warriors, making it strange that GW released this model first and not the more regularly select-able Night Scythe.

Necron Immortals
Whilst downgraded from their previous stats (which the new elite units inherited) they still have full marine equivalent stats (Ini/Ld aside), which together with Reanimation Protocols makes them slightly more survivable than marines (outside of combat, I'd say marines And They Shall Know No Fear still makes them far better there).
Their basic weapon also had its stats downgraded, yet they still have one of the best standard weapons available to troops choices. Gauss Blasters have both one higher point of strength and one lower Ap than bolters, as well as having the Gauss rule enabling them to glance any vehicle.
Immortal units are also able to exchange these for Tesla weapons (24" Str5 Assault 1) for no points difference, enabling the option between better Ap & more shots at close range or a chance at additional shots at any range. I'd still take the Gauss personally, not only due to the Ap but because of the Gauss rule itself.

~ Dedicated Transports ~

Ghost Ark
The most expensive transport at 115pts, although not much more than the Night Scythe and of course the Ghost Ark is only available as a dedicated transport choice for Necron Warriors (although it can also transport Overlords, Lords, Crypteks & the special characters).
Like all Necron vehicles it has all round 11 armour, but it has Living Metal and Quantum Shielding which gives it considerable starting protection for a troops dedicated transport, although it is Open-Topped. It is also a skimmer (like all Necron vehicles) and can hold up to ten models limited to the types noted above.
Armament-wise it has two sets of five Gauss Flayers (the standard bolter-like statted weapons used by Warriors) which are able to target a different unit each. This alone makes the transport quite unique and maintains a moderate array of fire as it moves 6" about, although line of sight may become an issue looking at the model.
The Ghost Ark's iconic ability and what makes it such a dedicated transport is its ability to repair Necron Warriors. At the start of each Necron turn it can add D3 Warriors to a unit within 6", although as its repairing this can't take the unit above its starting number. Unfortunately there is a 1-in-6 chance the Ark will take a glancing hit each time it does this.

Night Scythe
The main Necron transport, available to quite a number of units. It unfortunately lacks Quantum Shielding (yet does have Living Metal) making it one of the weaker vehicles but makes up for this by having the Deep Strike, Aerial Assault & Supersonic rules (the latter two enabling it to fire all its weapons at cruising speed and go 36" flat out), although since it only has one weapon its a mystery as to why it needs Aerial Assault.
The weapon itself is the powerful Tesla Destructor which is twin-linked as it always is, enabling it to potentially damage a multitude of units if clumped together.
The transport capacity of the Night Scythe is entirely unique. It can transport up for 15 models and unlike other vehicles it can carry Jump Infantry and Jetbikes (taking 2 & 3 spaces respectively), although since such units in the codex can't take a Night Scythe I don't see this occurring except in really long games.
The most unique feature of the transport capacity is that the models in transit aren't inside the Night Scythe but on the far side of a wormhole it creates. Whilst this allows the vehicle to count its entire base as an access point, it has the rather odd downside of if/when the Night Scythe is destroyed the 'embarked' unit cannot disembark from the wreckage but are placed in reserve (where they can't deep strike from, even if normally able to).
This is a big downside in a great many cases although it does mean you can, towards the end of the game, embark a unit and your characters in order to prevent their destruction in Kill Point missions.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Necron HQ, part Two: Royal Court ~ Overview

As mentioned in part one, each Overlord you take allows you to take a Royal Court.

Royal Courts do not take up a slot on the force organisation chart  and are perhaps the biggest rule/gameplay change to Necrons apart from the introduction of transports and are almost certainly where the biggest customization could occur.

Royal Court
Unlike other command type units there is no minimum size of a Royal Court you can simply select from 0-5 Lords and/or 0-5 Crypteks.
More interestingly these do not necessarily have to remain as a unit, before each game you have the option for each unit of Necron Warriors, Necron Immortals, Lychguard and Deathmarks, of splitting a member from the Royal Court and assigning it that unit. If you have two Royal Courts it seems you can do this for each Court, giving such units a possible of two Lords/Cryptek's.

As mentioned in part one, Lords are much weaker now as Overlords have taken their old position in the codex. Necron Lords are still Ws/Bs4 and Str/Tgh5 with 3+ armour but only have a single wound and two attacks.
They come with a Staff of Light as standard for 35pts, which give them a relatively decent price compared to marine sergeants. Their weapons and wargear options are the same as an Overlord at the same points, although they can't select a Phylactery (they only have one wound anyway) or a Tachyon arrow.
These will mainly provide some additional combat support for units but as you'll generally be best avoiding combat with Necrons and that the Lords improved toughness will be effectively valueless in a unit, I think the only times you'll regularly be seeing Lords will be for giving Resurrection orbs to additional units although that will get costly.

Here is where the real value in Royal Courts lie, oddly the fluff says that Crypteks are only occasionally recruited to serve in Royal Courts as it can be politically dangerous but by the rules its obvious that these will see far more play than Lords.
Crypteks are basically the techpriests of Necron society, while the Overlords generally consider themselves at the top and above all lesser matters, it is the Crypteks that actually keep the Tomb Ships and other advanced technologies maintained. Because of this the Crypteks possess some of the most interesting pieces of Necron technology and Necron technology being as impossibly advanced as it is (well beyond Eldar or Tau by the fluff), this means that many of their devices are easily mistaken for Psychic ability.
Crypteks have marine equivalent stats (apart from the unbending Ini2/Ld10 of all Necrons), with only 4+ armour, as such while still armed with a Staff of light they are only 25pts basic.
With their options things get interesting, there are five conclave types which specializes in different fields of techno-sorcery and to purchase wargear you must first upgrade your Cryptek to be a member of one of these conclaves (costing between zero and ten points), which automatically exchanges the Cryptek's Staff of light as well. You can freely mix conclaves or have multiple of the same type but a Cryptek may only be part of a single conclave.
Each conclave opens up two items of wargear, although unfortunately each item can only be selected once per Royal Court (even if you have multiple Crypteks from that conclave).

Harbringers of Despair
For 5pts this gives the Cryptek a flame weapon which strikes at Str8 Ap1 yet uses the targets leadership instead of toughness, which is of course a very potent weapon when up close.
You can also purchase a Nightmare shroud for 10pts, which instead of shooting lets you force an unengaged unit with 18" to take a morale check and/or a Veil of darkness which similar to the old one removes his unit from the board and immediately deep strike elsewhere, although this can't be done from combat now.

Harbringers of Destruction
The most expensive conclave at 10pts, but gives the Cryptek with a 36" Str8 Ap2 Assault 1 shooting weapon. Additionally he can for 10pts select Gaze of Flame which grants him and his unit defensive grenades and/or a Solar Pulse which while a little costly at 20pts has huge game changing potential because once per game it enables or disables the Night Fighting rules for one players turn.

Harbringer of Eternity
The only combat armed Cryptek's and one of the conclaves which it is free to join, these Crypteks are armed with Aeonstaves which while being normal combat weapons are interesting against multiple wound models because any enemy who suffers an unsaved wound has their Ws, Bs, I & A values reduced to 1 for the rest of the game and additionally lose Fleet if they have it.
More impressive in my opinion is the Cronometron, this bit of wargear costs 15pts but allows the Cryptek of his unit to reroll a D6 roll each phase. For 15pts whether acting in the manner of mastercrafting weapons or granting armour save rerolls or perhaps most potently for leadership rolls I find this a powerful device. The other option is a Timesplitter Cloak which grants a 3+ invulnerable save for 30pts (cheaper than a phase shifter for a Lord).

Harbringers of the Storm
Another free conclave, this one grants the Cryptek a 12" Str5 Ap- Assault 4 weapon with the Haywire rule making it fantastic against vehicles. Wargear-wise they can select a 15pts Ether crystal which causes D6 Str8 Ap5 hits on units Deep Striking within 6" or the fantastic 10pt Lightning field which deals D6 Str8 Ap5 hits on units assaulting the Crypteks unit, which could potentially keep Walkers from risking the assault.

Harbringers of Transmogrification
For 5pts this arms the Cryptek with a 36" Str4 Ap- Assault 1 Blast weapon which causes all units hit to treat open ground as difficult terrain in their next movement phase. This is especially interesting if you then purchase a Seismic crucible for 10pts, which allows you to nominate an enemy unit and reduce their assault move by D3" if they attempt to assault the Crypteks unit, together this can potentially reduce their assault move to zero.
The other wargear item available is the 25pt Harp of dissonance which is an assault 1 shooting attack with unlimited range, dealing a Str6 Ap- hit with Entropic Strike.

Last Thoughts
Necron players are going to have to think carefully to avoid overspending on their Royal Court/s, although the assignment ability really does allow you to tweak lists before each game depending on your opponent which will be a great boon in tournaments.
I do expect Cryptek's to be far more commonly seen than Lords, as even without conclaves they provide the same powerful Staff of light attack at the same Bs for cheaper. Each of their weapons including the Staff of light but excepting the Aeonstave are useful and good, while a lot of the wargear simply makes you wish you could take it more than once per Royal Court.
I expect to see Solar Pulse, Lightning Field, Seismic Crucible and Veil of darkness in a number of lists especially, maybe even Gaze of Flame. A number of the others are too expensive or situation for regular consideration tho.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Necron HQ, part One ~ Overview

Continuing my overview of the new Necrons with HQ slots, I'll not be including any of the numerous special characters just yet as I'm going to leave them until towards the end of this series, as many do deserve detailing and I'd rather take my time without delaying the important Troops, Elites, Fast Attack and Heavy units.

There is a slight name mix-up between codex's in regard to HQ units, Overlords take the role formerly filled by Lords, while Lords themselves exist as command squad/sergeants.

Special Characters aside, Necrons have two choices when considering HQ slots:

Similar stats to the old Lord, although all Necrons have been reduced to Initiative 2 now. With a Ws/Bs of 4 they are somewhat behind other armies HQ's, yet their Str/Tgh of 5 helps make up for this. They are also only 90pts which is fairly impressive as that is 10pts cheaper than a Space Marine captain and Overlords get a better default weapon with a Staff of Light (12" Str5 Ap3 Assault 3), however they do not have an Invulnerable save as standard.
Each Overlord allows you to take a Royal Court (detailed in part two).

Weapons & Wargear etc
This is where characters are made and Overlords have a decent selection, weapon options all exchange the Staff of Light so Overlords are limited to one weapon. Options are Hyperphase Sword as a free exchange, a Gauntlet of Fire for 5pts or a Voidblade or Warscythe, both at 10pts (all detailed in previous post).

Wargear items I'll split into types. Starting with the defensive you have Sempiternal weave, 15pts, which increasing their save to 2+, and Phase shifter, which provides 3+ Invulnerable save, albeit at the very high cost of 45pts!
You also have a Phylactery, 15pts, which gives the Overlord D3 wounds the first time they get back up (assuming they pass the test), I feel this one is a waste tho as you'll only get a benefit just over 20% of the time (33% of the time if you have a Resurrection orb).
Talking of Resurrection orbs, they cost 30pts and allow the bearer and his unit to pass their Reanimation Protocol rolls on a 4+ (making them like old Necrons).
There are also two interesting combat pieces, Firstly the Tesseract labyrinth, 20pts, which allows you to pick a character or Monstrous Creature in base contact, its controller rolls a D6 and if the result is more than its current wounds it is removed from the game with no saves! Potentially very powerful tactic affecting but only one use.
The second combat item are Mindshackle scarabs which I really like *smiles* For a fun 15pts you get to randomly select an enemy model in base contact in each assault phase and if it fails a leadership test on 3D6 instead of its normal attacks it makes D3 attacks at its own unit using whatever weapons the Overlords player wishes!
The last wargear is the Tachyon arrow I detailed previously costing 30pts, very costly for a one shot weapon!

Another option you have is to upgrade the Overlord to a Phaeron for 20pts, this doesn't change his stats or anything but grants him and his unit the Relentless USR.
Since Overlords only have access to assault weapon and Necrons don't have heavy weapon units like Devastators etc, this isn't as great as first seen.
All it can really improve are the Rapid Fire weapons of Warriors, Immortals or Deathmarks (not that improving them isn't a good thing).

Catacomb Command Barge
This is a special dedicated transport option that is only available to Overlords (and Overlord special characters). They have a single transport slot and can only transport Independant Characters, making them very unique in 40k. At 80pts I feel they are pretty great.
They are Fast, Open Topped Skimmers with Armour 11 all round, but with Living Metal and Quantum Shielding making them 13/13/11 early on and armed with a Tesla Cannon or Gauss Cannon (Str 6 Ap- Tesla or Str5 Ap3 Gauss, either way you get 24" range and Assault 2).

With an Overlord on board however they really shine, not only can he negate Weapon Destroyed & Immobilized results by reducing his number of wounds by one as long as it wouldn't kill him (very useful considering how dangerous Immobilized is if it goes Flat Out) but he can make three special attacks with his melee weapon at a single enemy unit it moves over, with hit rolls only dependent on speed moved (his speed not the targets, so its great for hitting Flat Out enemy vehicles), more impressively if he rolls a 6 to hit he gets to choose which model its allocated to!
These attacks ignore cover saves but are not noted as being combat attacks, so combat only defenses (such as Grey Knight Warding Staves) do not seem to apply.

Destroyer Lord
Fluffwise certain Necrons have a mental derangement that causes them to be utterly obsessed with killing (thus why they get called Destroyers) and because this makes them embrace their machine nature unlike normal Necrons, they exchange their legs for repulsor platforms to help them find prey faster.
In the rules this means for 35pts more than an Overlord you get some nice upgrades, but at the cost of fewer wargear options and an inability to upgrade to a Phaeron, take a Royal Court or Catacomb Command Barge. The derangement itself manifests as the Preferred Enemy USR against everything! The leg replacements do not count as Jetbikes like before, instead they turn the model into Jump Infantry and also increase base toughness by one (making Destroyer Lords Tgh6!).

Weapons and Wargear
Destroyer Lords come with a Warscythe as default (further reducing the apparent difference in costs with Overlords) but can exchange it for a Staff of light or Gauntlet of fire for free. Alternatively they can swap it for a Voidblade for 5pts.

As I said, wargear options are fewer for Destroyer Lords. They can only select from: Sempiternal weave, Resurrection orb, Mindshackle scarabs and Tachyon arrow, at the same cost except for Mindshackle scarabs which are 20pts for a Destroyer Lord.
Destroyer Lords are obvious beat-sticks with their faster move and higher toughness (lack of an invulnerable save lets them down a bit, but Phase shifters are expensive anyway).

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Necron Common Weapons and Wargear ~ Overview

Necrons have quite a lot more weapons than they did before, many of their more powerful ones are specific to one unit so I'll note them when I do those units rather than here.
One limited select-ability weapon of real interest however is the Tachyon Arrow, which despite being one shot with a high cost have unlimited range, Str10 and Ap1!
Another of mild interest is the Gauntlet of Fire which as well as shooting as a Flamer allows you to re-roll to hit & wound in combat.

Gauss weapons are still similar to before, although they are no longer capable of wounding Tgh8+ creatures (Wraithlords really need changing). Gauss Blasters changed from Assault 2 to Rapid Fire and Gauss Cannon got a reduced range & strength, but better ap(24", Str5, Ap3) and both cannon and heavy cannon became assault (little importance but covers that destroyers no longer have relentless).
Looking at the codex I feel these will remain the mainstay of the army.

Tesla is a new series of weapons available to the Necrons, they are moderate ranged with decent strength but are all Ap-. Their main feature is the new 'Tesla' rule which means every roll of 6 to hit causes an additional 2 hits, interesting but unpredictable.
The Tesla Destructor (the most powerful Tesla weapon) also has a rule where it can hit other units (friend or foe) within 6" of the target, which potentially may have a huge effect on deployment and movement for their opponents.
Apart from the Destructor I'm unsure how often we'll be seeing these, the other Tesla weapons are always interchangeable with equivalent Gauss weapons and since Gauss weapons have strong Ap values I expect these to be favoured over the Tesla's slight chance of additional hits.

There are a few others with decent stats but no striking abilities, all the other really interesting ranged weapons are limited to certain unit types, so I'll be leaving the such weapons including the interesting Heat Ray and aptly named Death Ray. I will note that while their shooting ability remains the same, Staffs of Light can no longer be used in combat.

Combat Weapons
Warscythe's are still potent, while they have lost their ability to cut through invulnerable saves they still allow 2D6 armour penetration and now also grant +2 Str while being power weapons.
Voidblades are a new combat weapon, which grant both the Rending and Entropic special rule. How these will work out its hard to say, quite potent but with Lords at least I expect Warscythes to be more preferable.
Lastly is the Hyperphase sword, which is simply a power weapon.

Quantum Shielding
The only wargear widely available (and built-in for everything that can have it) is Quantum Shielding. This applies for every Necron vehicles apart from the Monolith and their new supersonic vehicles.
This means the vehicle counts its front & side armour values as 2 points higher until it takes its first penetrating hit, since all Necron vehicles (except the Monolith) are armour 11 on all sides this takes many of their vehicles up to 13 / 13 / 11 for the first stages of the game.

Necron Rules ~ Overview

Yes, I've mixed up the title a little from previous articles. I feel this way works better.

Well the first questions regarding an army is what makes it unique and how does it play? In this case Necrons special rules have always made the army highly unique and memorable, while as mentioned before the army plays using mass overwhelming firepower and shoiting.
As such I'll start with the rules and then go to weapons & wargear in the next article.

Well firstly, Phase Out is gone. No matter how much of the army is cut down, they'll fight on until defeated of until their mission is complete or unable to be completed.

We'll Be Back has also disappeared, although its replacement Reanimation Protocols provides a virtually identical role, and despite rumours to the contrary it does not apply to vehicles, C'tan, Wraths, Scarabs or Spyders. It does for all the Necron-looking models however (No Pariah-like unit this time, in fact Pariahs themselves don't exist!).
Anyway, Reanimation Protocols has a few major differences compared to We'll Be Back. The most important of which is that it is done at the end of the phase when the Necrons were slain, no more waiting until your next turn. This makes wiping out units a little harder as you can't shoot & assault to build up kills and you will want to wipe units out as Reanimation Protocols cannot be used if the unit is wiped out, whether their are similar Necron units nearby or not. Lastly Reanimation Protocols require a 5+ roll instead of a 4+.
You can of course gain a little extra movement by placing the returning models in a different position from where they died (removing models from the back of the unit and placing them back at the front for example).

Some models, characters in particular have another rule which allows them to return even if their unit is wiped out. This can be overcome however by placing units so there is no space within 3" of where they died that isn't within 1" of an opposing model, assuming of course it didn't die in a combat which is still ongoing.

The two other special rules are Entropic Strike and Living Metal.

Living Metal is not as good as it once was in my opinion, no longer does it prevent Melta weapons or Monstrous Creatures from making holes in your Monolith but now they act as the Necron answer to Crew Shaken/Stunned, granting a 2+/4+ save against such results. Unfortunately, unlike the Grey Knights Fortitude power this is not done at the start of their turn, nor is it taken at the end of the phase like Reanimation Protocols. Instead it is taken at the moment the result would be applied, meaning that if you can apply multiple results the chances are the Necrons will fail a save.
I'm also disappointed that the Crew Stunned save doesn't have a third possibility where it reduces the result to Crew Shaken (similar to extra armour).

Entropic Strike however is quite lovely and totally unique and new. Scarabs have all got this rule and it can be given to a few other units through wargear or special abilities.
If a creature takes an unsaved wound from an Entropic Strike attack and survives (by virtue of having multiple wounds), its armour save is change to '-', no matter what it was before. Vehicles hit by this rule have the armour values on all facings permanently reduce by 1 for the game (being reduced to zero is the same as the wrecked result).
Unfortunately, it is hard to say whether Feel No Pain counts as saving the wound as its not technically a save. Also whether Entropic Strike takes place before or after penetration rolls and whether vehicles saves (Flickerfields, Shield of Faith etc) apply will likely become subject of heavy internet debate.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Overview ~ Necrons, part one ~ Introduction and Background

As I had planned to do with each new codex as it comes out I'll do doing a series of guides with the new Necron rules, starting with an overview of the army and then detailing different sections.

I'm sure those who intend to play the army will likely already have their hands on the codex, so in part my articles will be focused on non-Necron players, giving them a guide of what to expect. However hopefully Necron players will still find some interest and help from these articles.

I'll start with a quote from the codex:
"The Necrons are masters of ranged combat and win their battle through overwhelming firepower - indeed, their ranged weaponry can be ranked as amongst the most powerful in the Warhammer 40,000 game."

Quite a lot has changed from the older codex, but in places the old bones can still be glimpsed in a somewhat deformed form. However the new parts are quite interesting in places (if rather silly in others). The real background about how they came to be is set, as before, further in the past than any other codex and interestingly gives some hints as to the Eldar.
The Necrontyr still evolved on a horrific planet where powerful solar winds and radiation storms left the race morbid and used to death, in desperation they took to the stars in stasis chambers aboard slow ships to colonize other worlds. As their hold on the galaxy grew, they fell apart with numerous realms waging wars of independence. Their ruling council, known as the Triarch, decided that they needed to unite their people and that conflict with another foe would be the best way to do this.
The Old Ones were the first sentient life in the galaxy and the only race great enough for their needs, fortunately for the Triarch the Old Ones had long refused to share their secret of immortality, so the excuse for war was simple.
Unfortunately the Necrontyr underestimated their foe, while the Necrontyr had technology and numbers the Olds Ones mastery of webway portals made them impossible to counter and defeat. After centuries the Necrontyr were pushed back and their society began to break apart once more and civil war erupted again.
It was then that the C'tan appeared, who quickly became worshiped as gods. With their technology the Necrontyr built bodies of living metal so they could walk amongst their worshipers.
The C'tan, later to be revealed as the Deceiver, said that the C'tan also wished to defeat the Old Ones and promised the Triarch what they had always wanted: Unity and Immortality. It also said that no price would be asked for such gifts given to valued allies.
The C'tan taught the Necrons how to replace their weak-bodied flesh for living metal. Once this was done the  leader of the Triarch realized an emptiness within him and knew there had been a cost and that it had been their souls, which the C'tan had feasted upon. However immortal bodies allowed immortality free of radiation and age, while a command protocol embedded in the Necron mind ensured Unity of the race.
The new Necrons alongside the soul-empowered C'tan were too much for the Old Ones. Whole suns were extinguished and black wholes summoned to devour entire star systems, while the Necrons themselves breached the webway.
However at the moment of the two allies victory, when the C'tan were the most drained from war, the Necrons revolted. The C'tan, in their arrogance, did not realize the danger until it was too late, however the C'tan were truly immortal and part of the fundamental fabric of actuality and could not be destroyed entirely. Instead each C'tan was shattered into thousands of fragments which were then trapped and bound in pocket dimensions of Necron creation.
The Necrons were themselves now weakened and knowing that control of the galaxy would now pass to the Eldar, a race which had fought alongside the Old Ones and survived to hate the Necrons greatly. Knowing that in their weakened state they could not defeat the Eldar they decided to let time, no longer an enemy to them, do so instead.
All the remaining Necron cities were transformed into vast stasis crypts allowing the Necrons to sleep for sixty million years. The last command of the Triarch leader before they slept was awake ready to rebuild all they had lost, to restore their dynasties to their former glory... After that he destroyed the command protocols he had used to control the Necrons and took his ship into deep space, seeking solace or penance for failing his people.
Now the Necrons are awaking and the only thing sparing the galaxy is that some of the tomb ships were lost  during the years and those that were not are rising in fitful starts, however if all those still sleeping are allowed to awaken the galaxy will surely fall to the Necrons.

The Fluffy Necron
Fluff-wise the basic Necron Warrior remains the same, almost-mindless implacable automatons at the behest of their leader, armed with Gauss Flayers, weapons designed to disassemble their targets at the molecular level, while the Necrons themselves are able to repair damage and even reattach severed limbs or return from decapitation. If you do manage to damage one beyond typical repair many will simply teleport or phase away to be repaired elsewhere over time, those beyond even that level of repair self-destruct in a flash of green so similar to the glow of the teleportation that it is often difficult to determine whether the Necron was truly destroyed or not.
What is new is the information that before they Necrontyr transferred themselves into their metallic forms, the Necron Warriors were not warriors but artisans, merchants, scribes and farmers. Whether by accident due to lack of care over the transferrance of lesser status citizens or perhaps through design, they were stripped of personality and character, yet as they were once alive a faint instinct for self-preservation remains and while weak in can trigger. However at other times it will not.

Other Necrons are different however, the higher their rank before the transferrance the better the technology which preserved their minds. As such, the Lords and Overlords of the Necrons have as clear (if not clearer) minds than they did when they were alive.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Apocalypse ~ Formation: Land Raider 'Iron Exemplar' Command Spearhead

I've been distracted recently by a doubles tournament which I attended teamed with a friend at Warhammer World. In addition this year I've decided to take part in Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month, which of course November is), both of which took or are taking up time (I needed to paint most of an army four the tournament).
Despite this I still plan to at least maintain some posts for Igota4. So here we have another Apocalypse review, this time from Imperial Armour Vol.9 - The Badab War, part 1.

Counted within the pages of the Codex Astartes as a particular formation of Land Raiders for use by elite Space Marine forces engaged in open armoured warfare, the 'Iron Exemplar' formation is intended to ensure the maximum survivability of those onboard during spearhead attacks in order to reach their targets. The concentrated power of the Land Raiders is used to punch a hole in an enemy defense line, while the marines on board, led usually by a captain, force a breach through which the rest of the Space Marine forces can advance.

Formation Makeup
One Land Raider or any type with a Space Marine Captain (including such special characters) and Command Squad, as well as two-four Land Raiders of any type each acting as dedicated transport to one of the following: Tactical Squad, Terminator Squad, Terminator Assault Squad, Sternguard Veteran Squad or Vanguard Veteran Squad.
Before including the 100pt formation cost this obviously makes the formation rather expensive in models alone, since the minimum three Land Raiders are not cheap, not to mention the Captain, Command Squad and additional units.

Formation Rules
The common 'Strike Force' rule is replaced with a rule named Command Vehicle and works almost identical in that the Land Raiders must be deployed or come on from reserve within 12" of the command vehicle. However in this case it also seems to suggest that the command squad must be aboard their transport at such a time.
The first main beneficial rule of the formation is Inviolate armour, despite a rather large text box containing fluff and modelling notes the rule simply just negates the first Penetrating hit (caused by a non-destroyer weapon) each Land Raider suffers.
The last ability is Hearts of Iron, which grants Space Marine units that are part of the formation the Stubborn USR as long as they are within 6" of their dedicated Land Raider.

Thoughts, Opinions and final Review
Costly in points, but certain units in Land Raiders can be seen as a powerful force in Apocalypse (Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators are wonderful against Super-Heavies etc) so I'll only really consider the cost of the formation itself, in which case it seems rather good. For the effective cost of 20-33pts per Land Raider you can ignore a Penetrating hit which is quite lovely. Add that you also get Stubborn for the units in the right circumstance and you're great, especially since Stubborn & And They Shall Know No Fear work especially well together in combat.
Unfortunately Destroyer weapons ruin this formation since Inviolate Armour would not negate such a hit, which is most unfortunate and stops the formation being a wonderful anti-super-heavy formation. Considering that you generally need Destroyer, Lance or Melta to penetrate AV14 then the ability not applying to one of those three makes it seem rather unfortunate.

End Result
A lovely formation if you'd intend to use multiple Land Raiders and better than the other Land Raider formations (except perhaps the Lucifer Armoured Task Force) in my opinion. However Inviolate Armour's inability to affect Destroyer weaponry really lets it down, making it highly dependent.