Friday, 25 November 2011

Necron Codex review - part III

And here we go again people, time for part three of the review. So lets get stuck right back in there where we left off, with:


All pictures copyright by Games Workshop

----Canoptek Wraiths----
Very mobile, jump infantry with 3 Rending attacks and a 3+ invulnerable save for starters, these guys are the exception to the ‘Necrons can’t fight’-rule. Add in the ability to reduce enemy Initiative to 1 for 10 points and things get interesting. The Wraith also has options for a short ranged pistol weapon and the rather odd Transdimensional Beamer. I for one really don’t see any use for this last option, a Heavy, random shot that hits a single enemy and forces a Strength test simply doesn’t cut it in my book…..especially at 15 points.

----Canoptek Swarms----
Cheap, fast, 3 wounds, 4 attacks and Entropic Strike…….nuff said really. These beasties will be included in virtually all Necron armies, even if only because they are one of the few cheap options in the book. Unless your opponent has a lot of dedicated blast and template weapons he/she is going to dedicate a lot of attention to getting rid of these guys if they show up in large numbers. (which is where Canoptek Spyders come in really handy)!

----Tomb Blades----
Another, short-ranged, anti-infantry unit, something this codex has an abundance off. If it wasn’t for so many other good options in other slots and big competition of other Fast Attack units I’d be all over these guys! High durability combined with reliable firepower and the ability to make it even tougher to be taken down is something we rarely see on a 20 poi nt jetbike-type unit. I’m pretty certain that once the minis hit us (and if they follow the artwork) a lot of players will go out of their way to find a use for them. In all honesty if it would come down to, for example, a Lycheguard or Praetorians unit of 200 points I would much more prefer to take one or two groups of Tomb Blades.

----Necron Destroyers & Heavy Destroyers----
Ouch, these guys went down hard and got kicked while they were down. First off all they’re no longer Jetbikes and having Preferred Enemy on a 1 Attack, Initiative 2 profile has zero benefit. I get it makes sense for a fluff point of view, but it has no practical use what so ever. The basic Destroyer is now a 40 point Jump Infantry with BS 4 that can breach power armour (AP3), though at +20 points they can be upgraded to Heavy Destroyers. These guys get a Heavy Gauss Cannon, which is one of the rare 24”+ ranged weapons. They’re decent at what they’re supposed to do, but they are simply way too expensive for reliably use. Especially since you can only upgrade three Destroyers to Heavy Destroyers in a unit, so you’re looking at 180 points with 2/3 chance of firing three hitting anti-tank shots.


----Doomsday Ark----
The single, long-ranged piece of weaponry in the entire Necron arsenal and at 72”, Strength 9, AP 1 and large blast this thing is to be rightfully feared. Its Doomsday Cannon can be fired at this high strength only if the Ark remains stationary, any movement and you get a 2/3 range reduction and lower damage output. As an added bonus this Ark also has two Gauss Flayer Arrays and has Quantum Shielding to keep it safe from those pesky Missile La unchers. However the Ark needs to remain stationary for it to be at its most effective, which means this 175 point model will need a support group to prevent outflanking enemies from neutralizing it early on. With correct placement and with buffer units around it, its range of weaponry will do considerable damage though I can’t help but feel that it is a tad on the expensive cost at 175 points.

----Annihilation Barge----
I really like the Annihilation Barge, at 90 points you get a Tesla-wielding skimmer with Quantum Shielding that is the nightmare of footslogging middle to low armour infantry. A single pass by on an Ork mob will do a ton of damage by itself, but the twin-linked Tesla Destructor can arc to nearby units. I really expect to see quite a few sacrificial units of Flayers and Deathmarks getting chewed up by Orks only to have an Annihilation Barge swoop in next turn, blasting them into oblivion. You also get the option to switch out the secondary weapon for a Gauss Cannon, whose AP 3 can help tip the scale against power armour units. Do you need the Barge, well not really as the list has tons of infantry-stopping power already. On the other hand, if you have the 90 points, the free Heavy Support slot or want to use the Lord bits for other purposes you do get a very effective vehicle with more than decent staying power at only 90 points!

----Necron Monolith----
The Monolith, much like Destroyers, has been seriously hit by the nerfhammer. Though now 35 points cheaper it has lost a lot of durability now that Living Metal no longer helps against armour penetration bonus weapons like Melta. The upside though is that the Monolith’s weaponry has been made less random, has greater reach (though still only 24”) and has a nice AP3 Large Blast weapon. Not too bad given you can potentially hit five different targets and still suck a surviving unit into the Portal of Exile, shame it is even more mid ranged, anti -infantry fire. The Necron list is pretty much filled to brim with this already, luckily the Monolith has a few more tricks up its sleeve.

Enter the Eternity Gate – that can both pull units from elsewhere on the battlefield to its position and can suck in enemy units. Both nice abilities, but the Monolith quite simply isn’t fast enough to be of much use for army redeployment purposes. I think this big, iconic block of a vehicle will be mostly used as a suicide unit, dropped into enemy lines for a wave of decent shooting, inserting some Cryptek nastiness and maybe a quick suck of its portal before it gets blow into oblivion. To get the most out of this vehicle you either needs to Deep Strike bringing it within reach of the tons of anti-armour weapons out there. Or you need to keep it in Reserve l ong enough to place it somewhere useful where it can redeploy friendly Necrons, turning it into a fallback position with some serious firepower. To truly use it for this purpose you will need multiple ones and that gets mighty expensive.

----Doom Scythe----
This more shooty version of the Doom Scythe is one of the more interest new entries in this codex for me. Not only am I really looking forward to seeing how the model will turn out, it is also a very cool mixture of vulnerable armour and devastating firepower. Like the Night Scythe is also has a twin-linked Tesla Destructor, can move at cruising speed while stil l being able to fire all weapons and can flat out up to 36”. It really gets interesting when we come of the main weapon though – the Death Ray. This doomsday type of weapon only has a range of 12”, but it works quite differently from your everyday 40K weapon. You nominate a point within 12”, a second point within 3D6” of the first and draw a straight line between them. Every unit, friendly or not, will suffer a number of Strength 10, AP1 hits per unit equal to the number of models hit in that unit (read: underneath the Death Ray’s path of destruction). Note though that if you use the Death Ray, you can only fire the twin-linked Tesla Destructor at one of the units hit by the Death Ray. So though the Doom Scythe is a tad fragile with only AV11 all round, it has a lot of maneuverability and provides the Necron Player with a weapon that:
- Can do a ton of damage to infantry, ranging from light to very he avy armoured;
- Can hit multiple units with a single shot high power shot, which can potentially take down an infantry unit and their Dedicated transport in a single fell swoop;
- And is also very reliable at hitting and damaging tanks, which combined with the unique line of effect rules can lead to multiple pieces of vehicular armour tak ing fire in a single turn.

For me the Doom Scythe is the exception to many of the other units in the codex. Yes it has a somewhat random damage output due to the 3-18 inch Death Ray damage line, is good at taking out infantry, but at the same time it is also capable of dealing with heavy armour , is a self-reliant unit and allows the Necron player to take the initiative rather than responding to their opponent’s choices. One of the few units that can stand on its own!

----Canoptek Spyder----
Sigh, as a Tyranid player I feel utterly screwed over. Our Carnifex went to hell in a handbasket in the last codex, while the Spyder gets the treatment we should have gotten. That said, the Spyder is a great addition to any Necron army. For only 50 points you get a durable Monstrous Creature that can spawn Canoptek Swarms and has access to three extra upgrades. First we have the Fabricator Claw Array that gives the Spyder the ability the repair vehicles, something which both Meks and Techmarines hardly get to do either. Not that much used of all that useful if you ask me. The Gloom Prism is something of a mixed bag as well. It is indeed the sole piece of Psyker defense in the codex but is only has a range of 3”. Finally we have a twin-linked Particle Beamer, which is yet another short-ranged, anti-infantry weapon. It is a decent weapon, but quite frankly you should already have plenty of this type of weaponry in the army. It is better to keep the Spyders cheap so you can buy more of them and pump out multiple Swarms each turn. And, to be frank, at 50 points the Spyder is an utter steal.

And that does it for all the units in the codex, later today I'll be rounding off this review with some closing thoughts and some of the rules issues I've come across.

Check back tonight for the final part of this review, which will focus on the overall army and some of the rules problems I've ran across while browsing the codex

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