40K: The Balance of Forgebane Forces

At first glance, Forgebane looks like it might be a tad out of balance – but is it really?

When I first saw the contents of Forgebane I was first excited at the prospect of Ad Mech vs Necrons in a boxed set – it’s about time! But the second thought in my head was “are those Knights? Well Ad Mech is going to crush the Necrons. No contest.” However, the more I thought about it, the less sure I was. And then we got a look at the Armiger’s rules and the Necron tidal wave of leaks happened. Now, I think it’s a lot closer than I initially thought.

The Necrons

Let’s start with the underdogs. Well, underdogs in my mind at least.

HQ – Cryptek with Canoptek Cloak

We got a look at his rules and honestly, it’s a mean little package. A Flying HQ with a bonus to Reanimation Protocols and he can regain D3 lost wounds a turn? edit: OR he grants Infantry models within 3″ a 5+ invulnerable. (edit: its Cloak OR Chronometron – I’d go with the cloak in most cases). And he’s still an Infantry model himself. And a Character. So it’s not like those Armigers are going to be able to drop him turn one…unless you position him poorly.

Troop – Immortals

All Datasheets via Super Wargamer’s Discord

These guys aren’t too shabby either. With Strength 5 weapons they can pump out the wounds. The Skitarii infantry should be wary of these guys for sure. The can even threaten the Armiger – it’s S5 vs T7, but that’s still a 5+  to wound. And if you give them Tesla, they can generate a ton of extra hits. It’s a suprising amount of firepower. And don’t forget the benefits of the Cryptek nearby.

Elite – Lychguard

These guys are packing 2 Wounds each and have some pretty dangerous weapons in Close-Combat. If they get their Warscythes out, they are wounding the Armigers on a 4+ and they take away their saves (unless their Ion shields work in CC). Or you can go with how they are loaded out in the picture and they are wounding them on a 5+ but have a 4++ invulnerable save. They might not last long vs the big guys, but with some luck, they might just get back up and cause some issues!

Fast Attack – Canoptek Wraiths

Here’s the secret weapon. The Wraiths are going to cause LOTS of problems. They are multi-wound models that move 12″ and have a 3++ invulnerable save. They can hit pretty hard to boot. They will eat those Skitarii Rangers for breakfast in close combat. Plus, they can Fall Back and Shoot/Charge in the same turn!

Now, vs the Armigers, in Close Combat each failed invulnerable save is a dead Wraith. And with 4 swings with that Reaper Chain-Cleaver, it’s going to sting. But if you really need to tie-one up for a few rounds they make an excellent speed bump.

The Ad Mech

Now let’s take a quick look at the Ad Mech.

HQ – Tech Priest Dominus

The Tech-priest Dominus is one of those units that has answers for everything. You could give him an Eradication Ray for the heavy firepower. You could go for the massed damage of a Volkite blaster. And don’t discount the Macrostubber either. On top of that the Refractor Field is getting him an Invulnerable save and he’s got ways to help your unit perform better and stay alive longer, too. Really, his biggest disadvantage compared to the Cryptek is that he’s relatively slow with a move of 6″ – but he might be better overall.

Troops – Skitarii Rangers

I know the picture above has them equipped a certain way – but bring the Plasma. Their Galvanic rifles do have a 30″ range so you’ll out shoot the Necrons at extreme distances. But if you can get in there with Plasma…well that’s a lot of dead bots. So you can play this unit as a long range firebase – which is fine until they move up – or you can rush in there with your big guys and hope you can pump out the damage to wipe a unit at a time with that deadly plasma. Your call…

Lord of War – Armiger Warglaive (x2)

The real heavy-lifers of this list, they are going to be a problem. As discussed above, the Necrons DO have a way around some of their firepower – but all it’s going to take is one bad round and the Necron’s armor will fail.

We know they are going to be T7 with 12 Wounds and a 14″ move. That’s going to keep them mobile and in the fight. We don’t know if they degrade as they take damage yet. And we can assume the ion shield is going to at least help against shooting. I don’t think that a lone Armiger is going to be able to wipe a unit by themselves. However, if the Ad Mech player keeps them together as a pair…well that’s going to be dangerous. I’d use them to target the Wraiths at range, hoping for a failed invulnerable save or 3. And then mop-up in CC.


We haven’t discussed Canticles, stratagems, relics, dynasties, or any number of other factors that go into an army. Plus there is the board and terrain to think about as well as scenarios – but we’re not going to get into all those factors.

While those will all have an impact on the game, those are variables that we can’t really control – but you should keep all those things in mind before you jump to a conclusion on which side would win on paper.

So Who’s Better?

From the initial reaction I had, to the deeper analysis, I still think the Ad Mech have an advantage – but it’s a lot slimmer than I first gave it. I think the units in the box have a much closer parity and counter each other better than I originally assessed – which is a good thing. If you’re a new player and were looking at this box as a gateway into 40k, the good news is that both sides are good options. If you’re splitting this box with a buddy, I think both are good deals monetarily as neither side has any “junk” units.

But if I had to pick, from a purely competative standpoint, I’d probably say the Ad Mech are better – but we’re talking a 60/40 split here. Maybe even 55/45. All it takes is a bad turn, some hot dice, or a poor play and the game could swing from one side to the other. And that’s why I like this boxed set!


What do you think? Which side is better and why? Let us know what you think of Forgebane in the comments below!

  • YetAnotherFacelessMan


  • John Henry III

    Admech still has this in the bag. the wraiths get 9 attacks as a unit. 6 of them will hit, 2 of them will wound and then the mini knights get a 5+ save plus the dominus can heal them.

    The litch guard simularily have very little in the way of an ability to harm the mini knights unless you give them the sythes in whcih case they wound on 4s. But without that invuln save admech will shoot them off the board before they hit combat.

    Most duel kits are unbalanced, people buy them to get into the game or to split with a friend cause they have a very good deal price wise. This one is just a lot more unbalanced than most.

    • Matt Halkos

      The wraiths also have 2 damage on their profile and can be upgraded to the ranged weaponry. Not sure if this affects anything. We don’t know the full armiger profile yet.

      • John Henry III

        we know it has 12 wounds and a 3+ save, is T7 and has a move of 14. the best scenario for the necrons is that the wraiths survive a turn of shooting from the mini knights guns, survive a round of combat with the mini knights . Retreat and charge the admech infantry. Thats not a good position to be in.

        the litch guard are too slow to keep up and the immortals will plink a wound off here and there but thats it.

  • JD Robertson

    If you’re just using the box contents and they use the same frames as the regular Skitarii box, you’ll only have one plasma caliver to play with. Not really game changing. Also, I’d probably run Vanguard (same kit) for this theoretical matchup.

  • Nico Jürgensen

    The cryptek can either reg W3 OR give a 5+ invu (just vs ranged) not both. Look it up in the codex

  • Apocryphus

    Considering that the Cryptek can take a Canoptek Cloak OR a Chronometron, as stated in the datasheet in the picture, and the box comes with the Canoptek Cloak which only helps characters and vehicles…the Necron force is in an okay but not great spot. The primary problem I see is how easy it will be for Ad Mech to focus down a single unit of 5 models and prevent reanimation, and the Lych Guard want to run Dispersion Shields to survive the Thermal Lance shots, but will struggle to drop the Warglaives without Warscythes. Not great balance, but I’m not buying it for that. 😛

  • Randy Randalman

    “A Flying HQ with a bonus to Reanimation Protocls and he can regain D3 lost wounds a turn? He also grants Infantry models within 3″ a 5+ invulnerable.”

    No he doesn’t. He has to choose between the flying + bonus healing and the invulnerable. Says so right on his data sheet for the wargear options.

  • benn grimm

    My moneys on red.

    • euansmith

      As your Aunt Petunia says, “Always bet on the unfeeling engines of death”; so I’m not sure which way she would go in this match up.

      • benn grimm

        Red. Definitely red. Or maybe metallic black. With lil green lights… A toughie to be sure.

  • OctopusVolcano

    If only the dominus could heal the armigers properly…or them benefit from his aura. Or canticles. Ya, know, something to let them work together as they should…sigh.

    • Fraser1191

      you’re making too much sense, take that kind of language elsewhere

  • briandavion

    It’s generally standard for the IoM to have the edge in a boxed set.

  • el_tigre

    It’s worth remembering that these sets usually come with a few scenarios to play through. You won’t use all of your forces in all of the scenarios, and when you do they may have special rules to balance things, maybe letting the necrons respawn a unit or something.

    Also worth noting that in a couple of the other sets the rules for these scenarios seemed to be testing things that were coming down the line. If I remember right the angels/nids one had a kill team type scenario, and the deathwatch/quins had one which used alternate activation and a combat phase that was a little closer to 8th as a result.

  • chris harrison

    This doesn’t seem like a starter set for Noobs, rather its for people who probably already have Necrons or Admech.

    • Pat H

      Yeah the start collecting box for Necrons is a better first choice.

      • ZeeLobby

        Which is funny, because those vary widely in power level as well.

  • Spacefrisian

    Its obvious they want the new knights to shine, and make people feel a bit better when they buy a dex with what is just 2 entries for full dex price.

    Oh and they can repeat this with renegade knights that doesnt hide the fact that the multiple Imperium versions are the same.

  • n000ir

    Have someone calculated the relative point value for the two factions?

  • euansmith

    I guess that the Necron player might get to use the speed of the Wraiths and the Cryptek to menace the Ad Mech’s squishy units while trying to stay out of the reach of the gruesome twosome. Meanwhile the Necron dudes can concentrate on being a nuance. There might not be much point in actually trying to tackle the big ‘bots.

    • Matthew Pomeroy

      I could see an immortal painted like the “general lee” giving it a try …just because 😀 “hold muh beer, Im goin for the biggun!”

      • euansmith

        “Just the good ol’ ‘bots
        Always meanin’ some harm
        Beats all you never saw
        Been in trouble with the Slaan
        Since the day they was spawn”

        The ‘Bots of Hazard-Stripes

  • Josh Felstead

    “This article is sponsored by your friendly neighbourhood Games Workshop.”

    • BClement

      Wait, I’m confused – I thought BoLS was pro-FFG cause of all the Star Wars Legion stuff and anti-GW. Or was it the other way around?

      I think this article is brought to you by “I ran out of things to write about so here is a sneaky way to show off some of the new necron datasheets.”

      • Josh Felstead

        Haha, generally speaking yes they are pro-FFG, and you’re right about their lack of article ideas. However, I’ve seen more than enough posts that get over excited with GW’s goings-on, giving them praise where praise is not due and portraying them in a less than evil light. This of course must mean that GW has a hand in ‘nice’ articles because GW is undeniably inherently evil and therefore cannot justifiably or believably have that many nice things written about them.

        “You like their box set AND you think it’s more or less balanced? You must be a HERETIC and/or a devout Wardite. In either case, judgement is exterminatus.”

        Edit: Furthermore, as a BoLS commenter I am strongly obligated to throw any and all kinds of abuse at the article’s author, for the Greater Good.

  • AmorousBadger

    This could have solved a lot easier by running a couple of actual games using a few ‘counts as’ pieces for those that aren’t actually available to use yet.

    • OldHat

      I don’t think the Armiger’s points are known yet, so that isn’t doable.