Welcome to Part 1 of an undetermined amount of parts reviewing the Necron Codex and the units within. First what you need to know; My name is Lantz and I'm a 'cron-o-holic. I've been playing Necrons for almost three years and I know the Necron 3rd Edition codex in and out. Consequently I also cut myself from depression...but no more! The Necron's 5th Edition codex is out and I'll be your guide through its entirety. Throughout this codex review I will go over the important pieces of each unit, what has changed from the last dex, how it will affect game play and in green, my personal opinion on well, everything. Fear not; I haven't been wrong about anything since 1992. So let's begin with the information we'll need to know for the rest of this series: Army Rules and Wargear.
Reanimation Protocols (RP)
This is essentially We'll Be Back, renamed and retooled. There are some minor tweaks for better and worse. First, the bad news. WBB was a 4+ and RP is a 5+. There are ways to increase this to 4+, but we'll get to that soon enough. That's the bad, what about the good? Well, instead of waiting a full turn to bring your robot-zombies back to life, you make these rolls at the end of each phase. Still not good enough? Well, you can attempt RP no matter what you were wounded. Power Sword? No problem. Instant Death? We'll see about that. Lastly, I suppose another tidbit of bad is if the unit is Falling Back before rolling for self-repairs they lose the chance to do so. Overall I think this is an improvement and makes infantry cheaper. Yes, that last bit is worse than the last dex, but it flows better and doesn't slow down the game with wonky rules (as the book continues this clean-up method of sorts,) so I'm for it.
This rule was more of a tack-on to the Res-Orb in 3rd Ed. Basically if you have this rule on a model, he/she can get still use RP even if the rest of their unit isn't there. You'll mostly see this on HQs as a caveat to the RP rule of not getting back up without your buddies around. Not much to say here, pretty straight forward.
Entropic Strike (ES)
As we make our way through this dex you'll find that the cries and tears of the leaked information were for nothing and things are quite toned down compared to what the internet shared. However, ES is not one of these examples; it's as good as the leaks implied. This is that armour-eating rumor that's been flying around for months and here's how it works. If Necron with ES or a weapon with ES wounds a model one or more times its Armour Save is reduced to literally nothing. In addition, if you attack a model with Armour Values you will roll a D6 for each successful hit. For every 4+ result the model will immediately lose 1 point of armour on all sides and is destroyed if any side reaches 0. While everyone seems focused on the AV portion of this rule (and don't get me wrong, I'm drooling,) I'm quite curious how the models with wounds will have their armour save affected if they are also a Necron. If they get back up, is their armour save still jack diddly? God, we're only 3 rules in and we already need an FAQ! Not much to say on this; it's new, it's unique, it's awesome.
Living Metal (LM)
Ah yes, the rule that made everyone cry cheese until it was given to Blood Angels 7 years later. Well, guess what? Necrons don't get it anymore...instead of being immune to melta/lance/rending weaponry LM now ignores Crew Shaken on a 2+ and Crew Stunned on a 4+. This is pretty disappointing as the previous version was so much more powerful and yet the new rule isn't even as good as Grey Knight's Fortitude. However, just like RP; this thing has been toned down so it can be given to almost everything in this book. I suppose this is a nice change in that respect, but why Crew Stunned on a 4+? Why aren't they both a 2+? The tales of Matt Ward's Cheese-ness has failed me on this one.
Gauntlet Of Fire
A close combat weapon that re-rolls failed to-hit and to-wound in close combat. It can also fire a flamer. Boring, moving on.
Anything Gauss still glances on a 6, no change there. However, Gauss Blasters are Rapid Fire instead of Assault. Gauss Cannons have one less AP, Str and one less shot, but are now Assault instead of Heavy. Heavy Gauss Cannons are changed to Assault as well. Finally, the Gauss Flux Arcs can shoot at one target each (targets can be different than other weapon's targets on the vehicle still,) range is doubled, has the S/AP of a Bolter instead of a Heavy Bolter and fires three shots instead of D6. These changes are mostly disappointments, especially the substantially weakened Gauss Blaster and Gauss Cannon and even more of a decimation, the Gauss Flux Arc. My reasoning for disappointment should be obvious, moving on.
A power weapon, nothing special.
This wargear is pretty spiffy, even if it is a gimmick. Basically, randomly select a model in base contact with the Necrony fellow with this wargear. That enemy must make a Ld check on 3D6, and if failed the enemy model will strike his own allies in the combat; D3 attacks using all bonus' the model would already get. This effect wears off after the round of combat it was activated in. I like this ability, but like so many things in this book it's extremely situational and is based on luck. Having to randomly choose your target is awful and then only getting D3 attacks. This might benefit you if the model only has 1 or 2 attacks, but chances are if you're playing Necrons you're not going to go out of your way to get into melee anyway.
There's really nothing special about these weapons. They're all S6 or higher and range from Pistol to Ordnance. There's no super effect that comes along with them, just straight shooting.
Previously this wargear offered a 4+ invulnerable save. For 5th, it's a 3+ invulnerable save and can be taken on a lot of different options in this book. Jesus tap-dancing Christ this thing got better. I am pleased.
This works similarly to its 3rd Edition counterpart. This time, it's a one-time use only item that gives you D3 wounds after passing a RP roll. I don't understand why this isn't an 'always active ability' considering it's the same points cost it was 9 years ago. Perhaps the reasoning is there's no longer a cap on wargear an Overlord can take, who knows. Either way, I don't see anyone taking this option.
This is vehicle wargear and a staple to the 5th Edition Necron codex. Any vehicle with this wargear counts front and side armour values as 2 higher than its statline. Once a penetrating hit occurs on any facing this armour increase is removed for the rest of the game. I love love love this thing. For anyone else sick of fighting rhino-spam this will shake things up a bit. Even with high vehicle costs in this book I believe we'll be seeing a lot of Armour 13/14 walls in lists to come.
RP checks are on a 4+ instead of 5+ for the model with this wargear and any unit he is apart of/has joined. Far different than before, and arguably worse since it no longer has that bubble range. Though it is 10pts cheaper than it was 9 years ago, this is essentially an expensive way to get the old WBB check for a single unit...lame.
That's right! Necrons now get some 2+ armour saves here and there!
Staff of Light
This thing is exactly what it was before, but no longer counts as a power weapon. Once again another piece of wargear that got nerfed to hell for no reason. Cheers..
Once per game a model with this wargear can fire a S10, AP1, Assault 1, Infinite range shot. Pretty hot, right? Well, with it being once per game and costing a whopping 30pts, you may consider not spending the points. I sure as hell welcome some access to S10 AP1, though.
All of these weapons are Assault, all are 24" range, all are AP '-', range from 1 to 4 shots and range from 5 to 7S respectively. The tack-on to the Tesla weapon type is that for every roll to-hit of 6, the target enemy unit suffers 2 additional automatic hits. Now there is one weapon called the Tesla Destructor that can spread to other units within 6" of the target unit on a roll of 6. If this occurs the other unit(s) will suffer D6, S5, AP '-' auto-hits. Yet another weapon that relies on 6. While I do like it, there's already some better options for killing infantry. Literally 80% of the units in this dex are made for killing infantry and there are more reliable options.
A one-time use item (seeing a pattern, here?) Used in place of making close combat attacks for a round of combat. Target a MC or IC in base contact with the wielder of this wargear; the victim must roll equal to or under its remaining Wounds on a D6 or be removed from the game with no saves allowed. This wargear is one of many you'll see with things getting removed from the game without any saves. While this item is very situational and one-time use, it's a 50/50 shot of removing a lot of ICs and MCs out there for the same price as Mindshackle Scarabs. I'm curious to see how often this item comes up in lists.
A shooting attack: 12" range, single-shot strength test or be removed from the game with no saves allowed. See? We've only looked into three pages of the book and we've already gotten two ways to remove models from play. This thing is equally as reliable though as your target is random from the unit you're shooting at and most MCs and Walkers aren't going to have an issue passing a S test.
A CCW with Rending and ES. Removes armour values and rends? Yes please.
Just like some CCW tomfoolery in the GK dex, this weapon has arguably gotten worse. Everything is the same as it was before except you will be exchanging the ignoring of invuln saves for +2 Str. Personally I would rather have the ignores invuln, but I do see extra Strength having its uses.
That's it for now, folks! In Part II we'll be going over some of the HQ options, so stay tuned!