I think the Necron Doom Scythe is terrible. That is right, I said it. The “power house” flyer of the Necron army is actually pretty bad. I know it is kind of out their as an idea, but I promise, there is good reason for it.
What Makes a Unit Good
Before, I go into why the Doom Scythe is bad, I want to explain what makes a unit good for me. First, you have to look at all the basic stats and the point value. The best unit in the world isn’t going to be that good if it costs a ton of points. You then must have the unit fill a role or purpose. The unit has to have focus or else it will be waste a lot. Well, after that, you have to find what makes the unit unique. Something has to separate this unit from every other unit out there (unless you are space marines). After all of this, I tend to look for how something synergizes with the rest of the army. The best unit will suffer if it doesn’t fit with the list.
For Example, the Heldrake is a good unit for Chaos Space Marine. It is rather expensive, but that can be overlooked for the stats. It is a tough and it can bring a lot of pain. It fills a very unique role. It is fast and great at breaking open transports, but more importantly, it takes MEQ type units in cover and burns them to cinders. Things like the Aegis Defense Line with Quadgun can make shooting things in cover a difficult task while shooting down flyers. The Heldrake doesn’t care about either of these aspects as his attacks ignore cover and he has a 5+ inv save so he doesn’t have to evade in order to get a save versus the Quadgun.
The focus of the Heldrake is really nice as well, since he can crack open transports during the movement phase and burn the survivors that pour out of the ruins of their transports. This makes him a great unit for killing infantry even if inside a transport. When it comes to synergy, the Heldrake works well because he is a straight kill-people unit. The Chaos Space marine book is really durable, but often has problems killing people. Heldrakes help. Now time to show why the Doom Scythe fails in almost all of these categories for being a good unit.
Stats and Points
This is not a good start for the poor Doom Scythe. It isn’t very tough as it pretty much is a Rhino with hard to hit added on. With a lot of people taking strength 7 weapons, it can rather randomly be taken out with a single luck snap shot from a plasma gun. It will suffer from any damage result it gets with no save if you want to fire the big Death Ray. Speaking of the Death Ray, when it comes to weapons, the only reason you would ever want the Doom Scythe is for the Death Ray. This hurts it because if it has to snap fire (from evading, damage, or moving to far) , then you can’t fire the Death Ray as it doesn’t use Ballistics Skill to determine if it hits. With it’s only other weapon being a twin linked Tesla Destructor, you have a 50/50 chance of losing it to a weapon destroyed result. The random range makes it sometimes difficult to hit the target you want to hit with the death ray. You can at least fire it at anything withing 12 inches in any direction which is nice. If priced right, this would be a rather solid unit, but coming in a good 175 points, This is one glass cannon that suffers from being expensive.
Role and Purpose
This is also another nail in the Croissant shaped coffin for the Doom Scythe. This is a big one for the Doom Scythe. It is a heavy duty anti vehicle/TeQ weapon in an army where even the most basic infantry can destroy the most powerful vehicle in the game in at least four shots. It isn’t the only low ap weapons in the book, so really the high strength of the Doom Scythe is it’s only boosting factor in this category and this only helps when you are facing a toughness 5 Deathstar unit (Nob bikers and Thunderwolf Cavalry) and heavier vehicles as their are other ways to get a pretty high strength and AP2.
To make this unit worse, most targets for the Doom Scythe will have already done quite a bit before the Doom Scythe can come in turn 2. For example, most Land Raiders I see are on top of people turn 2 at the latest. If the Necron Player goes second, than the squad inside that vehicle will be out and on top of something before that Doom Scythe even hits the board and even then, the Doom scythe won’t always have a kill on the Land Raider. Same for the Thunderwolf/Bike oriented Deathstars. It rarely is a one shot kill and because of this, those units will get some hurt where they want to put it.
Worse yet, the unit suffers from a lack of focus. It has a Tesla Destructor which is primarily designed to kill infantry. It gives the Doom Scythe something to shoot which gives it options, but you pay for that Tesla Destructor and it rarely will get to shoot at the target you want it to. It also has to shoot at something hit by the Death Ray. It is wasted efficiency.
There is also an extra purpose for the Doom Scythe besides just killing people. It scares lots of players to death. People will try to keep the targets the Doom Scythe wants to shoot away from them. The problem is, the Doom Scythe is a flyer which is often fast enough to get there anyway. Sure, it scares some people, but not a lot and it isn’t a role that is unique to the Doom Scythe.
It isn’t unique at all. The Night Scythe has all the speed of the Doom Scythe and is even a transport that doesn’t compete for other Heavy Support slots and has the same infantry/light vehicle killing power for 75 points less while dropping off Troop choices in places they need to be. A Doomsday Ark has an almost equally strong gun that has greater range as well as can start firing turn 1 instead of having to arrive from reserves and is even a large blast so it can hit clumped up targets extremely hard. It is even tough and while easy to hit, the shielding making the Doomsday Ark AV 13 makes it pretty tough. Anything with a gauss weapon can kill the heavy tanks like the Doom Scythe. Necron Warriors can kill the same target as a Doom Scythe and can even get a Ghost Ark for durability. You sort of see where I am going with this…
This is what really destroys the Doom Scythe for me. You know what really helps set apart a list of short range, incredibly powerful, dominating fire power? More short ranged, incredibly power, dominate fire power… All kidding aside, the Doom Scythe epitomizes of what Necrons do. It is a tank destroying power house in an army that has so many of them that it doesn’t matter. Everything in the codex is tough enough that the Doom Scythe doesn’t get much for being tough. It is fast, but with the Night Scythe as a dedicated transport, the speed of the Doom Scythe doesn’t help it. It’s range is short, but everything else has a short range as well. Other things do the Doom Scythes job better and cheaper while being more focused on doing that one task rather than not really having much of a focus like the Doom Scythe.
Overall, all of these things just ruin the Doom Scythe for me. I have only ever run a single one and it is mostly for laughs. It has never made it’s points back and when it does, it just never feels worth it. In any other army, the Doom Scythe would be amazing, but in the Necron army, it isn’t that good. There is also one last thing I want to say on the subject of Doom Scythes. They are not really fun to play against. If your opponents dice are hot, it gets blown outta the sky quickly. If they have cold dice, shooting a single one down can be the most infuriating thing to do in all of Warhammer. It was a bit of a turn off, but since mine doesn’t kill anyone, I learned to not worry about it. All of these categories above are the nails for the Doom Scythe in my eyes.
What do y’all think? What makes the Doom Scythe good? I would like to hear from you, because there may be something I missed for either better or worse. Thanks for reading and happy gaming everyone.