Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Necrons codex synergy review part 2 - elites

Back to the necron codex this week everyone, and part 2 of their synergy review, Elites!

First things first. I love the deathmark models. I don’t love deathmarks though, mainly because I don’t like the sniper rule, the old hits on a 2+, wounds on a 4+ made far more sense to me for models with such advanced targeting equipment, sure they can mark one unit to increase their rolls to wound to 2+. Deathmarks ameliorate the average 'to hit' roll to a point, because unlike most sniper weapons theirs are rapid fire, so a full unit is perfectly capable of achieving 6 wounds or more, but that’s still statistically only going to produce 1 rending wound, so there’s little point taking them to thin down heavily armoured elite units, and they just don’t do enough damage to target horde squads (at least not considering how close they have to get to do so). I might be tempted to take a small squad if they had the instant death rule and simply use them as character assassins, but that’s just wishlisting really.

On that basis I don’t really see an ideal target for the Deathmarks, and so I can’t justify them in a practical list.

Lychguard are the heavy hitters of the Necron Codex, particularly in assault. They still suffer the same problems as all Necrons of having a very low initiative, but once you get them to hit, anything they are facing stays hit. Able to take on armour and elite infantry with ease, their attacks strike at S7 and AP1 with the armourbane rule – even one hit getting through on a vehicle is going to scare its owner, even if it’s a landraider! The only downside to them is an average WS, and a high cost giving the unit a relatively low number of attacks in close combat.

Their alternate weaponry costs them two points of both strength and AP, but grants them a 4+ invulnerable save that’s able to deflect shooting hits onto nearby units and gives each model an extra attack, enabling them to take on larger units more easily. These attacks are still made at S5 however, and the high toughness of the unit means they’ll take less damage than most.

Triarch Praetorians

Triarch Praetorians are your fast moving unit, being fearless jump infantry and armed with S5 AP2 weapons that are usable (just) both for shooting and in close combat. Like any Necron unit, the Praetorians are tough to take out, specifically due to their high toughness, good save and reanimation protocols special rule. Again however, like all Necron units, the Triarch Praetorians suffer from very low Initiative, meaning they need to be tough to get the chance to fight in a melee.

Unlike many jump troops therefore, Triarchs are by no means dedicated assault troops, but more a high speed very short ranged shooting unit. I am of the opinion that this plays very much to their strengths however, as they are of sufficient threat to elite units like terminators that they can’t be ignored, but their very toughness means that they are an extremely viable distraction unit, able to divert the enemy’s more powerful units from their tasks, thus protecting your own troops units and leaving them open to claim objectives.

Their main option is to arm themselves with particle casters and voidblades, where they can fulfil more of a traditional jump troop role gaining three attacks on the charge, however their low initiative and extravagantly high points cost means that there are too few of them to seriously threaten an infantry blob, and their weapons are not sufficiently dangerous to threaten more elite units.

In synergy terms therefore, I consider they work best using the Rods of Covenant, as a threat to more elite units of infantry where their high mobility and low AP weaponry lets them get in, cause some significant damage and hopefully survive the reprisal.

C’tan Shard

One of only two models in the entire codex with an initiative greater than 2, with the only other one subject to a random dice roll to get up to 4, but at a minimum of 205 points it's a choice not to be taken lightly. 

Entropic strike lets it wear down tough vehicles to the point where its strength causes real damage.
Gaze of death is great for throwing the C'tan into the deep end against hordes.
grand illusion helps you to get the drop on your opponent during deployment.
Lord of fire is perfect for taking on salamanders, and seeing the look on their faces when that multi melta blows up in their faces.
Moulder of worlds combines well with gaze of death against hordes, as does pyreshards
Sentient singularity is a disruption power, throwing vehicles and deep striking units out, whilst swarm of spirit dust helps with combat.
Times arrow, ironically, is best against necrons themselves! or Tau, since it's casualty removal works on initiative, whilst transdimensional thunderbolt is an anti vehicle power. Finally, writhing worldscape makes difficult terrain dangerous for your opponent, and dangerous terrain twice as dangerous.

Flayed One Pack

These are possibly the most one-dimensional models I've seen, their ballistic skill justifies their lack of guns, but with a high number of base attacks, only their initiative lets them down, plus of course the lack of any kind of ap to their close combat attacks. They're great for taking down lightly armoured horde troops, but then that's something the necrons really don't struggle with, generally with troops that are capable of something else as well.

Triarch Stalker

The Triarch Stalker is my favourite synergy unit in the Necron codex, not only enhancing the efficiency of other units in your army but also subliminally urging you to concentrate your fire on a particular target. Individually its weapons are decent enough, with the only drawback being that the default heat ray option is best employed against vehicles (being a multi-shot version of a multi melta that duals as a heavy flamer). That being said, for a pittance this can be upgraded to a particle shredder, which is a high strength infantry killer, or for a few more points can be taken as a twin linked heavy gauss cannon. The Gauss weapon has the best range available but with only a single shot is also really limited to targeting vehicles or characters vulnerable to instant death via their toughness. As such, my preference is to use the basic heat ray, as it comes in handy against both vehicles and infantry, whilst having enough shots to give you a decent probability of getting that hit that lets you target the unit more efficiently. Plus with the Stalker being a walker, you can use the heat ray during overwatch.

In conclusion therefore, the triarch stalker stands out as the clear favourite synergistic choice, with triarch praetorians and lychguard very useful tools in your locker. The C'tan can be adapted to suit almost any role, but I'd leave the flayed ones and the death marks at home.