Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Necron HQ, part Two: Royal Court ~ Overview
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.
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.
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.