Tuesday, November 8, 2011

[Lantz's Corner] Necron Codex Review:
Part V - Elites

Keeping pace with the Necron's FOC section, we'll be going through the Elites next. Last time we took a look at all of the Troops and Transports available to the robot zombies, and this time we'll look at some fairly more powerful selections to protect those Troops and Transports. Of the Elites we have a wide range of unit types from Monstrous Creatures to Walkers. This is one of the larger sections of the Necron FOC, so let's break it down.

Coming in at just over what a Vanilla Assault Marine will cost you are the Deathmarks. With the same statline as an Immortal and the same transport option available to them, these guys come with the ability to DS, RP and the ability to DS in on the enemy turn (so long as the enemy is coming into play via any kind of reserve.) They also come with a free marking system; when deployed they may elect an enemy unit as marked and any Deathmark units that shoot at the enemy unit will wound on a 2+. Equipped with a Synaptic Disintegrator, these are odd weapons. A 24" range Sniper and Rapid Fire weapon with an AP of 5; they're capable of taking down tougher targets.
The more I think about these guys the more they change from bad to good. Essentially they'll typically be used as a suicide unit to come in and take down a Daemon Prince before dying to assault on the next turn. I'm not a fan of suicide tactics, but I'll admit these guys are a pretty cheap option for it.

Starting out at the price of a Vanilla Terminator, Lychguards are some tough cookies. With the statline of a Lord (not an Overlord,) and equipped with Warscythes, these guys can hold their own in combat should they survive the higher initiative attacks. They all come with RP and for a mere 5pts per model, Lychguards trade out their Warscythe for a Hyperphase Sword and a shield that provides a 4++ save and can reflect shooting damage to enemies within 6". As a transport option, they're allowed to take a Night Scythe.
These guys are pretty nice. I'm not a firm believer in putting more than ~30pts into a model with only 1 wound, but a 4++ save can hold its own. The choice between a S7 power weapon and a 4++/S5 power weapon is a tough one, though. The damage reflect is more of a gimmick as you won't find yourself that close to an enemy without being in close combat more than once or twice per game, but as far as I can tell you're not really paying much for this ability. My question is if the rumor about 6th Edition's phases being changed to Movement > Assault > Shooting, will the shield's reflective blocking ability ever see play.

Triarch Praetorians
For the same price and statline (except 1 less attack) as the Lychguard, we have the Triarch Praetorians. Like the Lychguard, these guys come with RP, yet unlike the Lychguard they have the Fearless special rule. It's also worth mentioning that these guys are jump infantry, not just foot-sloggers like the Lychguard. Their wargear is what truly makes them unique; the Rod of Covenant that all Praetorians come with is a 6" S5 AP2 Assault 1 shooting weapon and also counts as a power weapon in close combat. At no additional cost, however, they can exchange their rod (/giggle) for a Voidblade (Rending and ES) and Particle Caster (12" S6 AP5 Pistol.)
In my opinion the choice between to the two weapon sets is obvious; take the Rod of Covenant. While the Particle Caster is higher Str and longer range, the Rod has just as many shots and can take out Terminators. And while the Voidblade will eat armour and has Rending, Scarabs eat armour faster and for cheaper and the Rod will always ignore armour saves rather than Rending which will only do it 1 out of 6 times. The fact that these guys are jump infantry is their claim to fame. With an 18" reach to assault and weaponry that ignores any armour, they're something the enemy can't ignore. My only qualm is no invuln save, so I'd say bring a Destroyer Lord with a Rez Orb to keep you coming back. Or have a Wraith following along to knock Initiatives down to 1, but we'll go over Wraiths in another article.

C'tan Shard
Ah the C'tan Shard, or as my friends liked to call it, "Are you kidding me?" The C'tan Shard starts out at an expensive but fair price of just under the cost of Vulkan He'stan of the Space Marines. With a statline that would make a Daemon Prince blush (5 5 7 7 4 4 4 10) and a 4++ save, it's worthy of the name Star God. With Eternal Warrior and Fearless, the C'tan also ignore all effects of terrain while moving, (but not while assaulting from the way I understand how it's read.) In addition, when the C'tan dies, everything within D6" takes a S4 AP1 automatic hit. But that's not where the C'tan's abilities end. Every C'tan Shard must purchase two powers from a list that range from 10pts to 50pts in cost and no power may be selected twice per army. These powers are vast and diverse ranging from the ES ability, to removing a model from play on an Initiative test, to exploding all flame/melta weapons on the board on a roll of 6, to DSing mishaps for close enemies, to creating dangerous terrain for your enemies. Some powers are lackluster while others are very powerful, but all are costed accordingly.
These guys are tough as nails. Having played with one on the tabletop, I can attest to its power. I ended up testing ES and removing models on an Init test out and while ES was lackluster as ES's true shine is in large numbers of attacks, the Init test removal proved to be worth its weight in gold (it's perfect for getting rid of those Power Fists, which is one of the few things you're actually scared of.) The Toughness of 7 is what really climbs this thing's potential to the skies as S3 weaponry doesn't even have a chance of wounding you and Bolters only wound on a 6. With Eternal Warrior, your enemy has no choice but to just deal with this thing and that's a hard task to accomplish. In my game with the C'tan he ended up taking out 8 Terminators, 8 Nurgle Marines, 4 Space Marines and a Rhino before getting taken out by a Missile Launcher to the face. If you can manage some 4+ rolls for his invuln save, this model should pay for itself and then some.

Flayed Ones
Next up is Flayed Ones. What was once a lackluster waste of points in 3rd Edition might now prove to be worth it. With the statline of a Warrior aside from 3 base attacks and a BS of 1 (which doesn't matter since these guys don't shoot anything,) their modest point cost of 5pts less than they were in 3rd Edition is a steal. They've kept their RP, DS and Infiltrate from 3rd Edition, but lost their Move Through Cover. There's really not much to say about these guys, they lost their Terrifying Vissage so now they're straight-up close combat attack bodies.
I'm torn on whether these guys are worth it or not. If anything they'll be hiding in cover or behind your Monoliths to get into combat, but with the loss of Move Through Cover it's hard to see taking these guys over some of the other options in this FOC slot. Regardless, 4 attacks on the charge isn't something to scoff at and if these things are on the table your opponent will have to deal with them.

Triarch Stalker
Finally we have the Stalker; the main reason people will think twice before taking any other Elite choices. As you'll find looking through this codex the Necrons lack long-range fire, specifically reliable long-range tank-busting. Despite being mid-range, the Stalker is one of the few options for reliable tank popping and with good reason. This thing is an Open-Topped Walker with 11/11/11, but comes with Quantum Shielding which will boost up the front and sides for a time. He comes with Living Metal, Move Through Cover and an ability called Targeting Relay. Basically anytime this thing shoots at something and gets at least one hit, anything else that shoots at that target gets Twin-Linked for that shooting phase. Now, this may seem strong enough, but you'll then see that the Stalker comes with a Heat Ray. The Heat Ray is a 2-shot Multi-Melta, but may also fire as a Heavy Flamer. Not seeing the point? Flamers auto-hit, so marking something is automatic if it's within the Heavy Flamer's reach. With all of this going for it, the Stalker is still cheaper than the base-cost of a C'tan Shard.
As I was writing this the Move Through Cover rule is glaring at me. In the game I played with this thing it didn't get to do much because it kept rolling 1's for moving through cover. Unfortunately for me I didn't look at my rules close enough. Anywho, aside from the reliable Melta shots, the providing Twin-Linked to other things is awesome. A cheese-move would be to hit something with the Stalker so it's Twin-Linked, then have something that can shoot at multiple targets shoot that target first and then shoot at something else and still have Twin-Linked. The wording states that the model shooting at the target counts all its weapons as Twin-Linked for that phase, so I read that as legal. The only problem with this Walker is that he has to be relatively close to make his mark and if a melta or powerfists get in its face that 13 armour isn't going to save you and without a Dread CCW it's not going to be winning any fights.

That's all for the Elites section! Stay tuned for some really powerful stuff in Part VI where we'll look at the Fast Attack choices.


  1. Isn't C'tan rule is basically what flip-belts on Harlequins do, and basically the same thing? Harlequins and C'than ignore difficult terrain, so if Harlequins can assault in cover on initiative without having grenades, so can C'tan. I can't see how it differs, at all.

  2. The Harlequin's Flip Belts reads "They ignore difficult terrain."

    The C'tan, however reads "...ignore the effects of difficult and dangerous terrain while moving."

    So the question is does moving mean just the movement phase or moving at anytime like when assaulting? And if it is all the time, then why is it worded differently than the Canoptek Wraiths; "...are never slowed by Difficult Terrain..." which is a much more clearly stated rule.

  3. Well, does let's say Move Through Cover USR helps you when you roll the dice for assault through terrain, talking strict about movement? The idea is similar to what happens to C'tan. Assault phase a part movement, so if MTC applies, why won't C'than rule apply, there's no logical explanation.
    Ground for rule lawyering is here however, because there's a power that gives C'than assault and defensive grenades.

    No idea why wording is different other than fluff reasons (like, wraiths do not ignore terrain, they are so amazing and shifty so they just as fast in it), but it ultimately creates a lot of problems with stuck up RAW players.

  4. Advance Notice: I am talking out my ass here, with no knowledge of GW's plans (or, generally speaking, game strategy).

    First: Thanks for the codex review posts, Lantz! I haven't gotten to lay hands on one yet, so I'm living vicariously through you. =)

    Second: I wonder if the Lychguard shield deflection might increase in value a bit if 6th flips assault and shooting phases. I'm assuming that assault weapons could be fired on a charge (WARNING: see first part of note above), which (assuming the unit was in 6" when charging) would mean that units with pistols, assault weapons, or the relentless USR would face a bit of a decision due to the inability to torrent fire first, and then rely on "mopping up" in assault:

    1) Fire while assaulting, risking getting hit by your own weapons (the only reason I can think for the 6" range on the deflection ability).

    2) Hold fire when assaulting, leaving out some firepower going into a fight with a CC unit (who, unless they wipe you out, wouldn't be targetable in the following shooting phase).

    I don't know if it would be a huge benefit (see second part of note above!), but it would at least potentially be interesting in certain situations.

  5. I'd be very surprised if they cared about DT during assaulting.

    The difference in wording might be an editing gaffe, or it might be a distinction that matters in 6th.

  6. @Torgrimm
    That was the other thing that pushed my thinking towards them not getting to ignore terrain in assault; the power that gives grenades to them. But I agree, RAW players will make this a nightmare.

    I'm very glad to hear you're enjoying it. I'll be posting the rest of the review every day this week.

    I actually hadn't considered this, but if you were allowed to shoot in the assault phase so long as you're assaulting the unit, that would make these shields worth the 5pts and then some. Careful consideration on the repercussions would be made with every assault. If this ends up being the case in 6th, you know I'll be running these guys every time.

    The problem is, as Torgrimm put it, RAW players. While I value their stances on the game, GW's rules are never perfect and FAQs are pushed out too slowly. In the spirit of the rules; I'd say they ignore DT, but I can see a couple of arguments against it. IE; the power that gives grenades and the different wording from Wraiths.

    That's a good point on 6th Edition; all of these oddly worded rules could make perfect sense in 6th edition.

  7. T7 cant be wounded by Str 4 weapons of the Ctan part. It takes Str 5 or higher

  8. T7 can be wounded by S4 on a 6+. Your chances are low, but still possible.