Friday, 11 November 2011

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.

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