Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Exterminate! A look at the scarab legion in epic

Exterminate! A look at the scarab legion in epic

Before I'd even started building my first epic army I'd heard about Necrons. Seems everyone has a strong opinion and most of them are negative. For some reason these robotic death bots whose rules break most of the conventions of the game seem to upset people! Must be something about the abundance of teleporting living metal regenerating monstrosities that people can't come to grips with. Despite all these advantages thou we don't see them dominating every tournament that exists! My love for the deathbots began when I read "The world engine", it was so satisfying reading about a whole chapter of marines getting wiped after so many stories where a single marine seems to be able to conquer the world. So if you're like me just accept that the haters gonna hate and enjoy declaring war on every living thing in the universe with your army of terminators.

Army strategy

Before you can really think about what to include in your Necron army you need to think about what you want it to do. Many Necron players believe in literally doing nothing for the first 2 turns of the game and then doing a massive strike in turn 3 to secure to the objectives. Personally I've only had this used against me and never had any problem dealing with it. The big problem with this plan is that when Necron units break they disappear at the end of the turn so clearing them off objectives isn't actually that tricky. Combined with the reality that you're opponent has had 2 turns to get into position, set up over watch etc doesn't make this a good plan in my mind.

My attempts have all worked around a different idea, I tend to go for a big hit in turn 1, regroup in turn 2 and hit hard again in turn 3. It's had some success but I won't claim to be sky net just yet. With that in mind I've broken down the unit options for the list into what I think of as essential and optional.

Essential units

Warriors - One of the best things about Necrons in my mind is the quality of warriors. Great armour, cheap leaders and awesome firefight values makes these guys a flexible and effective unit. The real debate is around how should spend upgrading them. Some players go for a smaller number of units with heaps of upgrades with the logic being to smash whatever you hit really hard, I tend to focus on getting more activations so I don't worry too much about huge units. My list will be below so you'll see what I mean. That said some upgrades are essential, you will want some combination of:

Pariahs - a fantastic unit in both FF and BC engagement and of course that lovely inspiring which can make such a difference. Probably not s good spot to put your lord though because they can't come back with the Necron rule.

Immortals - brilliant FF capacity allows these guys to hit pretty hard, this is usually where my lord would go.

Tomb spiders - a must have if you want to do more than a 1 turn hit. Solid hitting power, an extra leader which makes so much difference when you are keen to get the troops rebuilding and fearless meaning that you're broken unit won't be wiped out... And can then return to full strength in the following turn.

Flayed ones - some will disagree with me but I love mine, started with a single unit and now I include 2 because there are so many armies like guard who suffer from terrible resistance to BC engagement. Flayed ones are cheap and hard hitting with solid armour and infiltrate making them really flexible. Not to mention teleport if you get desperate for portals.

The real trick to engagement is to pick the right unit for the job. Warriors are ideal for a clipping engage on a superior foe whilst you can't really do that with flayed ones so for them it's more about taking a unit on wholesale. Marine terminators for example could be a good target for warriors but would be a terrible choice for flayed ones. In either case be really conscious of things like blast markers. Your troops will kill s few in combat but won't wholesale slaughter like some combat troops can you will rely on winning the engage to hopefully do a bit more damage to the enemy.

Monoliths - yeah just try and run an army without them. The real question is how many and that really is down to personal flavour. Most people run 2 monoliths and 2-3 obelisks per unit but you really do need to experiment. As an idea I generally run about 7-8 portals which will often include a tomb complex and a war barque. Some players will try and do a warrior engagement where they emerge from one portal to conduct the engage and fall back through the other portal in the same unit afterwards which is interesting. I find that clever opponents will target the monoliths heavily so this is not as easy as it seems. You definitely want them for support fire if possible but when teleporting in always be conscious that you will probably lose the first activation roll so find somewhere safe(ish) to hide and use their skimming abilities to double forward and put down blast markers on a target  then retain with a warrior or flayed one unit for a solid engage hit.

Pylons - as the only AA you have you'd be foolish not to include at least 2 of these. Some might go for 3 but 2 generally feels right. The trap to this unit I reckon is its amazing potential for a standard shot as well. TKD3 sounds fantastic but the problem is that it's only a 4+ basic and it's on a dc2 unit that can't move. So most opponents can out manoeuvre you easily or just break you, especially when you consider the 33% chance of a blast marker from the teleport you have to do to get on the board... Recently I've been focusing more on getting them into a spot where they can hold an objective of some sort and use their awesome AA as their main use. If the enemy has no planes then I'll still go for an objective but try and take advantage of a really long range shot if possible. Remember to deploy them in area terrain (ruins/forests for example) where possible to take advantage of the -1 to hit. They aren't going to move all game so pick a good spot to sit for a few turns.

Warbarque - in my mind one of the best units in the Necron army but others will disagree with me, usually because a unit of monoliths can do most of what this guy can.  I love it because it's a fearless WE portal with great FF and some not bad shooting. But I really love it as my Supreme commander. Many Necron generals use the C'tan as their commander and that has merit but I've always found that they tend to get broken easily meaning they are off the board for the rally phase thus no reroll which can be terminal. The Warbarque by contrast doesn't phase out so as a commander is much better. Probably the most contentious thing in my essentials list so just experiment and decide for yourself.

Optional Units

This list is not to suggest these are bad options, I don't really think there are bad options in the approved Necrons, just that some options work better in general and with my style of play.

C'tan - technically there are two choices, the Deceiver and the Night Bringer but if you decide to bring a Night Bringer you will be the first person ever, kudos to you. Peoples run the Deceiver simply because he has a 4BP disrupt barrage backed by solid BC engagement making him super versatile. I used him extensively at the beginning and think he's great... But... As a Supreme Commander he's seriously sub par. It's all because of the phase out and my experience may be different to yours. Whenever I've played with or against him he inevitably gets broken every turn because he's such a big target and then the amount of times he doesn't rally really does taint my opinion. On a side note mine is particularly cursed because the amount of times my retelling of his role in a game ends in "and then he took a crit and exploded.." is legendary.... Experiment and see

Tomb complex - I didn't include one originally but I've come around to it because of the flexibility of being able to Marshall a unit through it turn 2 and reassemble them. Also I find that by its nature Necrons are aggressive and your blitz can be a long way away and easily exploited by fast forces like Orks and marines.

Destroyers - I've seen people's use them and I can see why, they are a good unit. It's just that in my build warriors and monoliths do everything I would ask of destroyers so I don't bother with them, you might think differently.

Abattoir and Aeonic Orb war engines - these things really are awesome, especially the Abattoir which has so much damage dealing potential... But to include one at 3000 points means no supreme commander, basically no AA and a fairly low activation count. All critical problems for me. So I'll include one in larger games but never at 3000 if I'm trying to make a rounded and competitive build.

So when you put it all together there are heaps of different list designs but they do all end up looking somewhat similar, it's the nature of the core Necron list. If you want variety go look at the Sautech Necron variant being produced on Taccoms, it's radically different and will give much more build flexibility. As an example I've included one of my current Necron builds here for reference.

Sample Build - 3000pts

6 Necron Warriors  - Necron Lord (225)
6 Necron Warriors  - Necron Lord (225)
6 Necron Warriors  - Necron Lord, 1 Immortal, 1 Pariah, 2 Tomb Spyders (425)

2 Monoliths / 2 Obelisks (275) 
2 Monoliths / 2 Obelisks (275) 
2 Monoliths / 2 Obelisks (275) 

6 Flayed Ones - Necron Lord, Tomb Spyder (275) 
6 Flayed Ones - Necron Lord, Tomb Spyder (275) 

Pylon (200) 
Pylon (200) 

Warbarque - Supreme Commander (350) 

So basically you have small warrior units for support/killing smaller formations. 7 Portals to allow for heaps of engagement opportunities, a solid BTS formation that should be able to give most things a solid thumping... Not a Warlord Titan though... Never a Warlord Titan... and 2 units of Flayed ones who can teleport in if needs be or just come through the portal to hit whatever looks squishy. Round out the build with a couple of pylons for solid AA and a warbarque for a bit of shooting, bit of portaling and a Sup Com that won't phase out and it looks solid to me! Also 11 activations which feels about right for Necrons. 

Final thoughts: what objectives should I focus on?

Break Their Spirit - you have the flexibility from teleporting and heaps of engagement that makes killing the enemy BTS possible, tricky if it's a fearless one but it's definitely a possibility. Be conscious though they the enemy will almost definitely go for yours. Yours doesn't need to be killed just broken in turn 3 and that counts which makes it one of the weakest BTS units in the game.

Hold the line - if you have a tomb complex it's much easier to hold the 3 home objectives, pylons can be good babysitters here too.

Take and hold - absolutely one I go for. To me rons are the opposite of guard and their objectives reflect this. The best for of defence is attack and and keep attacking because nobody does attrition like Necrons. Get up in their face and deliver your enemies a solid dose of freedom at point blank range.

They Shall Not Pass - Getting into the enemy's half of the table really shouldn't be a problem but it can be tricky hunting down all the random enemy stragglers that break and run into your half. See how you go.


Blitz - definitely one I'm going for every game, but always conscious of not losing mine in the process again the tomb complex makes this a bit easier.

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