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April 30, 2009

40K TACTICA: Necrons in 5th Edition

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As the most established Necron playing Fly Lord, it falls upon me to develop tactics and strategy for playing them. No easy task. With the coming of 5th edition, my Necron army has seen few sunny days and has spent most of it’s time in the far reaches of my gaming closet. However, nostalgia and my fondness for the little robots means I have to dig them out every once in a while for a few games.

Everyone knows that Necrons took the biggest hit with the release of the new rule book, but why…?

Assault
The new and far bloodier assault was definitely a nail in the coffin for the metal warriors. Their low initiative, low strength, low number of attacks trifecta of fail mean that in even an average assault squad will do serious damage and have a good chance of winning combat. An enemy unit tooled for assault will simply wade through them barely even stopping to admire the destruction.
The best to deal with assault is to simply try to avoid it. You can take 3 monoliths and try to block the main assault troops from getting to you. You can also try to take the assault troops head on with a C’Tan. The Necron units designed for assault are mediocre at best. Warrior squads will be wiped out pretty easily if any assault squads get to them. As anti-assault speed bumbs, 180 plus point warrior suicide squads really don’t make sense. There are other more exotic tactics for avoiding assault, but we will save themf or future in depth articles.

Vehicle Damage Table
With the new vehicle damage table, glancing hits can’t destroy vehicles without help. With the lack of high strength, ap 1 weaponry the Necrons have real trouble with heavy armor. As gauss was supposed to be the Necron answer to armor, the change is pretty devastating.

Discounting gauss, the other anti vehicle options are limited. The particle whip is really the best option. The ‘basilisk-like’ str 9, ap3 large blast ordinance shot means most light vehicles will fall pretty easy to it. It has a harder time with the heavier armor. C’Tan can easily take down any vehicle in close combat, but they are slower. Heavy destroyers are weak in comparison but at least combine punch, range, and most importantly jetbike mobility.

Running
This may fall somewhat under the ‘Assault’ category, but anything that will get units into assault faster is not good for the Necrons.

To defend against runners, the tactics are basically the same as avoiding assault. You can also avoid a flank run using the monolith or Veil of Darkness teleportation abilities. Super squads like Pariah’s will die far too easily to plasma, missiles, or any other low ap item. At 36 points and not having the Necron rule, it makes them a very dicey choice in most cases.


Missions
With 2/3 of the missions defined in the rule book dealing with objectives, a more mobile force, more resilient troops, or sheer numbers all have a better shot at holding a spot than warriors do.
In 5th edition, the best bet for grabbing objectives is all of the teleportation tricks that the Necrons can use. Pre-game objective placement becomes very important, close objectives that can be claimed with a slow push forward. Far objectives for stealing toward the end of the game, turbo-boosting destroyers or teleportation are the best bet. For Capture and Control, again the best bet is to simply try to wall yourself off so no one can get to you and steal your opponent’s objective with tricks if you can.

Cover
Now that cover saves are so prevalent, elite troops with lighter armor (Eldar, guard) can easily find cover giving them a save against any of the Necron weapons. The Necrons generally don’t benefit from the same cover saves as they have to be near the lord to take advantage of the res orb.

Unfortunately, there’s little that necrons can do about cover saves. Without the benefit of flamer template weapons or any ‘ignores cover’ choices, Necrons really just have to try and use their high amount of fire to force a large number of saves. So if you need to, dont shy away from planting your little robot feet in the dirt, and blazing away with all you have.

Scout/Outflanking
With the addition of outflanking to the scout USR, it means that nearly every army has an easy way to get around your forward defenses. A major problem when any hand to hand combat usually spells doom.

The best way to combat scout is to try and block with monoliths. If you can castle up with monoliths protecting your flank it can keep some of the outflankers from getting into the heart of your force. This can also give you an opportunity to teleport away from any danger. Also, filling an entire corner with models also protected by monoliths can at least give you a chance to take your shots at the outflanking squad before they get to you.

~Bushidoredpanda here. This is the start of an ongoing set of discussions and tactics working through the Necrons. What are you seeing out there on the tabletop my fellow Necrontyr? Whats working and whats not? Lets hear all about your 5th edition experiences.
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