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40K EDITORIAL: What’s the Fuss About Necrons?

3 Minute Read
Nov 22 2011

Necron players have been waiting for a long time – hoping to get new units, and a bunch of shiny toys. Games Workshop had a perfect opportunity to bring something cool, and make the army really great. I think they failed horribly.

Before you rage on me, please hear me out. I am coming from a pure competitive tournament player’s perspective. If you’re playing for fluff and fun, then this article doesn’t really matter to you, right? The book’s failures comes down to these things, in my opinion:

1) Basic principles of the book
2) Weapon load out based around Gauss and Tesla mechanics
3) Gimmicks/synergies

Necrons have kept their same core concept of the army [they are still the walking dead], which is great. Players were hoping to get new units, and we did. But, here is the problem: everything looks like it’s shoehorned into the army list. There isn’t one thing in this book that screams, “you need to take this!” Not one single unit in the book is strong; they are all mediocre at best. People will think the Stormlord is a great buy, but in reality he is expensive and can’t fight his way out of a paper bag. Lychguards and Praetorians are horribly overcosted and bring nothing to the table. Deathmarks are isolated units that by themselves won’t sway a battle. C’Tan Shard are, again, over costed and expensive – plus you need to buy other units to make them effective. The list goes on. Any time you try to build a effective tactical list you run into a point problem. They have put too many choke points on builds to make the book effective. Which gets me to the next topic…

Where is the anti-tank? You have some gimmicks you can do with Nemesor, Triarch Stalkers, Doomscythe, and/or Crypteks armed with Eldritch lances… after that you’re basically back to hand to hand combat or Entropic strike. The designers try to supplement this problem with Gauss weaponry, but it just doesn’t work because there is a scaling factor that comes into play. For the Gauss Weaponry to be effective you need to invest in a Overlord with Phaeron and loads of Warriors. Any other option will have too few shots, and your likelihood of getting a result that is worthwhile on anything else is slim to none. In any typical army build you can expect maybe 2-4 reliable tank killers, at best, and any good player shouldn’t care about that one piece because they will be easy to dismantle like the toasters they are. I could go on and on about this, but my point stands: Necron players will have to rely on gimmicks to make their army work. Which brings me to last point…

Not even Plastic Dudemens is this bad. It looks like the designers thought it would be cool to have a lot of combos, or tricks that when items stack you can do x,y, z. In reality, it looks like they got carried away. For example: C’Tan shard with Withering World, and a Royal court with Tremor staves. It looks great on paper, but in reality it’s not going to do much and is over-costed. Once you take into consideration the C’tan, Crypteks, and Warrior squads you need to put the combo on the table it is not worth it. That and playing it in tournaments would be daft – once you take out one part of the chain the whole combo falls apart rapidly – which a good opponent WILL do.

Overall the book feels like it was shifted from game designer to game designer with no clear goal. That being said, this book could have very well been designed for 6th edition – with its performance in 5th being an afterthought. It could easily get a boost when 6th edition comes out based on the rumors that are floating out there, but only time will tell. Till then my heart goes out to the Necron players who have been hit by the Ward Disease.



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