Monday, March 9, 2015

7th Edition Codex Necrons Rule Review

In this latest post I'm going to go over the newest version of the necron codex. I'm not going to go into the fluff or artwork in this review. I'm just going to focus on the general changes to the rules for the various units, if they got better or worse, and if I would personally use them. I've personally played a good 70 or more games with the previous codex, thus my opinion is coming from the perspective of someone that had the old codex mostly memorized.

Let's start with the army wide rules.
Reanimation Protocols: These got better in that now you make the roll immediately after suffering an unsaved wound vs how it used to be at the end of every phase. They got worse in the sense that you can no longer take them against D strength weapons and weapons that have the instant death rule make the role -1. You also can only take a feel no pain, or a reanimation protocol roll, not both, for any unit that may happen to have both rules. In general RP rolls got way better since now your opponents no longer have the ability to stop the role from happening by whipping out a unit before the end of the phase.

Living Metal: Now living metal simply ignores the effects of crew shaken results. It also gives the vehicle it will not die. While it was nice to be able to potentially ignore both stunned and shaken results, the gaining of it will not die means that living metal got better in my opinion.

Warlord traits: Adding these to the codex is nice and you should always decide prior to your game if you want to roll on these vs the ones in the rule book. I am not sure what I was hoping for out of these but I am a little disappointed that none of them seem to have a very necron lean to them. Maybe something that boosted the RP rolls, or something along those lines. I'm not going to put down all the items on the list, but looking at it I believe the best one to get is either the eternal warrior one, or the one that allows re-rolls on morale, pinning, and fear tests.

 Now onto the units themselves.
Overlord: These guys got worse with a point decrease and an increase to WS and BS. The weapon choices stayed the same but the points moved around a bit. Warscythes are doubled in price and are now AP2 instead of 1. The hyperphase sword is still free and stayed the same. The voidblade is now free but is completely different. It will now would anything on a roll of 6 regardless of the target's toughness, and will always remove a hull point from any vehicle (even super heavies) on a armor penetration roll of 6, and its also AP4. The gauntlet of fire doubled in cost but otherwise stayed the same. Mindshackle scarabs are fairly worthless now and only cause a fear test 3d6 (note this won't affect marines), so there is likely never any reason to spend the points on them. Phase shifter got cheaper but is only a 4+ save. Tachyon arrow is slightly cheaper but now "only" has 120" range. The phylactery costs the same but now gives the character the it will not die rule and if he is in the command barge it also extends the rule to the barge. Resurrection orbs changed a lot being slightly cheaper, but only being a 1 use only item that allows a re-roll of any failed RP rolls for the bearer and unit he is in until the end of the phase. The sempiternal weave was removed. You have to have an HQ of some kind but the lack of a 2+ save (without going to an artifact), the downgrade on scarabs, and warscythe do hurt the lord. On the flip side the increase to WS should help with the nerf to scarabs.

Lord: These guys basically became the equivalent of the space marine captain. They now come as a 1 per choice instead of up to 5. They did go up in points but have 2 wounds now. They have the exact same choices as the overlord for equipment. I personally will likely never use a normal lord anymore since they don't give a bonus to RP rolls with an orb, but if you like cheap HQ choices then he is the way to go.

Destroyer Lord: They got slightly better with a points decrease and access to the phase shifter. They are also now jet pack infantry instead of jump infantry. Depending on your play style you may love or hate that as it does hurt them traveling with wraiths. I will likely still use them, but probably not with wraiths. I will probably stick them in with actual destroyers with an orb.

Cryptek: These guys got one of the biggest hits. Gone are all the special crypteks and instead you just have the generic one. He does function like the old rez orb for himself and units he's in, but again he is only 1 per choice. He does have 2 wounds now but with a 4+ save that won't help much. He now also costs the same at the old lord with a rez orb. I will use them because I like the +1 to RP rolls, but beyond that I don't see much reason to take them personally.

Nemesor Zahndrekh: He got better with a point decrease and an increase to WS and BS. Personally I view him as the best special character now in the codex and he will see plenty of use for me.

Vargard Obyron: He got slightly worse. His points did go down but he will take up an HQ slot no matter what now, his mantle is 1 use only and won't work if you're locked in combat, and his special duty that allows him to automatically join Nemesor's unit no matter where they are if charged, doesn't exist anymore. I will likely never use this guy but he does get attack attacks for every miss by an opponent in challenges. If you like to do challenges then I can see him being good for this use as he does have the highest WS in the codex.

Illuminor Szeras: Another character that got better. His increase to RP rolls has a 6" range which is pretty awesome. He also now causes fear. I never used him before but now I think I will do so. He did go up in points slightly but I think the increase is worth it for sure.

Orikan The Diviner: He got better by a lot. Once empowered he stays that way the rest of the game. He also allows fail RP rolls of 1 to be re-rolled as well as adding +1 to the rolls like all crypteks. The point decrease is also very attractive. This is another character I generally never used but will be getting a lot of use from me in the future.

Anrakyr The Traveller: The one thing that made him a choice for some people got altered enough to make him not worth taking. Now his ability to shoot with an enemy vehicle only happens on a 4+, is only 12" range, and you randomly select 1 weapon to shoot instead of all the weapons. The very slight point decrease isn't enough to make him worth taking.

Trazyn The Infinite: This one a character I was very interested in seeing what they would do to make him worth taking. Prior to 7th edition he was a scoring unit and for that reason I would use him. Once 7th hit I never found a reason to take him. Sadly, they did not fix that problem and in fact gave me less of a reason to take him. Now he can't replace lychguard if he dies. Instead, he can only replace a character infantry model. He did have a huge point decrease, but other HQ choices are a lot more attractive to me personally.

Warriors: Stayed exactly the same but now are a minimum squad size of 10. This hurts people that spammed night scythes but beyond that I see no real harm done with that. I love warriors and will continue to use them.

Immortals: Stayed the same but now tesla guns don't get extra hits if they're firing snap shots. The more games I played the more I liked warriors. The change to tesla doesn't make me want to use immortals more and only makes me want to make sure I have gauss blaster immortals if I'm going to use immortals at all. If you're still going to try to spam flyers this is pretty much the unit you need to do it with. I plan on getting some blaster immortals but I'm not sure how often I will actually use them.

Lychguard: These got a ton cheaper and are some what attractive now. I'm not sure how much I would use them, but I go have some and will give it a go. They pretty much need a night scythe to get where you want them to go. Oh the shield's don't bounce shots anymore but I never had an instance of it doing anything for me so you won't miss it too much.

Deathmarks: They got 1 point cheaper per guy but now only get the 2+ wound rolls on the turn they arrive from deep strike. They can still come in immediately after an opponent's unit deep strikes, and they get to shoot at any unit that arrived from reserve that turn at the end of the opponent's movement phase. The loss of the permanent mark hurts, but being able to screw with your opponent on his turn I think makes up for this. I used deathmarks if I suspected I was going to have to kill wraithknights or riptides and I will continue to do that.

Flayed one: I never used these guy and now that they have a second close combat weapon I still likely won't. It's not that I think they're still terrible, they may be decent now. Rather, the models are finecast and I hate anything made with that material so I'm out.

Triarch Praetorians: These guys are really attractive now. They had a good point drop and their guns are now 12" instead of 6". I will start using these guys on a regular basis.

Triarch Stalker: I used these all the time for the twin linking ability. They no longer do that and instead increase the BS of non-vehicle necron models within 6" by 1 point. They also got cheaper and now come in groups of 1 to 3. I used them before, I will use them now, and I suspect a lot more necron players will find uses for them.

 C'tan Shard of the Night Bringer: This is one of the biggest changes in the codex. Rather than having generic shards they brought back the named guys. He is pretty good on paper but I'm not convinced of his viability on the tabletop. He costs about as much as 19 necron warriors which is a good chunk. He has fleshbane which is nice. He has a unique ability where he can make a unit take a leadership test on 3d6 and for every point they fail by, the unit takes an AP2 wound that ignores cover. The power is only 12" but he can use it in addition to 2 of the random powers they fire every turn. Speaking of which, the random powers are what makes me hesitant to declare him really good. I'm not a fan of not knowing what my "gun" is going to do prior to me shooting it. This is why I don't play orks. The powers range from mid level strength and AP to a d weapon, but you won't know which you're firing until you roll for it. You do have to choose your target before you roll which means if you really need to take out that land raider, you only have a 2/6 chance of rolling a power that can kill it. This model is another finecast one and I don't personally own one. I fooled around a couple times with the shards in the old codex borrowing a friend's model and never felt the need to purchase one for myself. This is a model I may get if I can find an older metal one to play with. I see potential, but I also see issues with the randomness.

C'tan Shard of the Deceiver: His unique power causes enemy units within 12" to subtract 2 from their leadership. He also allows you to redeploy himself and/or up to D3 units or place them in reserve once scout moves have been made and all models deployed. He has hit & run. Deceiver is the same exact number of points as Night Bringer and because of that I will certainly never use him. At least with Night Bringer I essentially have a monstrous creature that is shooting 3 weapons. The leadership thing is nice, but not amazing. This is another finecast model I don't own and have no reason to buy it to use it in any game. If you really want to redeploy a couple units I suppose that could come in handy but the points are just too high in my opinion.

Night Scythe: This unit got smacked with the nerf bat hard but I think everyone knew it was coming. Tesla no long gets extra hits on snap fire and destructors don't arc anymore either. The points went up by 30%. I used the before and I will continue to use them. I was never a guy that did the flyer spam but I know several people that have and are likely stuck with a couple of these they will not be able to fit into normal games anymore. Its a good flyer though, just not a broken one anymore.

Ghost Ark: This is a case of a good vehicle getting amazing. It had a point drop and now it never loses hull points when making new warriors. Also, those awesome independent firing flayer arrays? Yeah those are now salvo 5/10. So ghost arks now fire 20 shots at 24". This unit is really stupid good now and will replace all those lost night scythes for a lot of players.

Canoptek Wraiths: Another amazing unit that GW decided needed to be more amazing for some reason. Slight point increase but gave them toughness 5 instead of 4 and made whip coils less points. Also, whip coils now just make the wraiths initiative 5 instead of lowering their opponents. Oh and whip coils don't care about base to base either anymore. If anyone cares the transdimensional beamer got better but still takes away from whip coils. It didn't get good enough in my opinion to give up whip coils. Oh wraiths are now beasts, so they lost the potential hammer of wrath hit but I'd rather have fleet thank you very much. I only have 6 of these, I need 12 more.

Canoptek Scarabs: This is a unit I've had a debate on with several players I know. I think they got worse but others think they got better. Now they hurt super heavies, but they don't reduce armor values or take away armor saves from multi wound models. They always wound on a 6 and always glance on a 6. They're basically crawling gauss weapons now that can also hurt stuff like wraithknights which a normal gauss flayer can't. They also got a point increase and max squad size dropped to 9. I'm just not a fan of the changes and likely won't find much use for them.

Tomb Blades: These got a ton better and are very much worth taking. A huge point drop on the basic unit and on the upgrades. Another unit I only have a small number of that I will be buying more of.

Destroyers: The points stayed the same, except for the heavy destroyer which went down. Destroyers now have 2 wound and are jet pack instead of jump pack. I think they're a ton better and will be using them a ton to jump shoot jump my enemies into a pile of slag.

Heavy Desroyers: Now you can take an entire unit of these guys by themselves if you want. I can see these guys being imperial knight hunters for sure. Also one of the few guns in the codex that shoots over 24". They only come in squads of 3, but I will certainly find a use for them.

Canoptek Spyders: Pretty much stayed the same with the upgrades going down in price. The gloom prism is now 12" instead of 3. I don't really use these guys, but if you're having a hard time of it with the psychic phase getting ya down, maybe they can help with that. I just don't personally have a use for my playing style, but monstrous creature spam is fun.

Doom Scythe: I call this one a wash. The beam is now the smaller blast template, but it does have the lance rule. Also a point drop. The nerf to tesla obviously hurt it. I think it still has uses, but you likely won't be hitting multiple tanks in one shot unless you get really lucky. I never used more than 1 of these in any game and I will still stick with that.

Monolith: This is a unit I really can't justify taking. The points stayed the same but they took away the ability for the gate to suck guys in. This isn't a huge loss, but it is a loss and I really didn't get much use out of the one monolith I own now. This change doesn't give me any more reason to do so.

Annihilation Barge: The point increase and change to tesla still means you'll see these all the time. Maybe not 3 in every game, but they're still good.

Doomsday Ark: A slight point drop and beefing up of the big gun, plus the salvo flayer arrays means these are actually worth taking for sure. I used mine against mob armies like orks but the changes mean I will likely use them against stuff like marines or eldar as well.

Transcendent C'tan: The term nerf isn't strong enough to describe what happened to this guy. He is now only a monstrous creature. His unique power makes enemy units treat open ground within 6" of him as difficult terrain. Oh boy. Again he uses the same random powers as the other 2 and is slightly higher in points because he has 5 wounds instead of 4. I didn't use him before because I thought he was broken. I won't use him now because I think he's worthless.

Tesseract Vault: Another nerf here in that this model also rolls for random powers each time it shoots. Fun fact, no where in the book does it explain how many times the vault gets to use those powers. It does have 4 tesla spheres which is like having 4 destructors except they get 5 shots each instead of 4. At the cost of more than 2 C'tan, I personally don't see a reason to use one. I used mine a few times under the old rules. I don't know that I will bring it out in the future. The issue I have with this unit isn't that I can't shoot a bunch of stuff. The problem I have is when comparing it to other super heavies I take issue with having a weapon that fires with a random profile, and that I don't know how many times it fires.

Obelisk: It got better with an armor increase to 14 and I believe a point drop. The gravity pulse causes all enemy flyers, skimmers, jetbikes, and flying monstrous creatures within 18" to treat open ground as dangerous terrain. I don't own the model because it wasn't worth taking, but now I will likely use one just for the 4 spheres. 4 spheres are better than 4 annihilation barges I would need and this unit is cheaper as well. It's actually cheaper than 3 barges at the moment. It only has 6 hull points but its a super heavy with armor 14 all around. It is a lord of war choice, but I think for the points it's the best choice in the codex.

Imotekh the Stormlord: He dropped in points but got nerfed enough that I won't use him. The lightning strikes only happen once per game and are now strength 6 instead of 8. The strikes do happen on a 5+ instead of a 6 now, but that's hardly worth it. He also only seizes the initiative on a 5+ instead of 4, but that isn't affected by orks. If you are going to take a lord of war, he isn't the one you should take. Sadly my model won't be seeing the table top in this edition.

After all of those entries you have a bunch of new and fun formations. I view formations as something that can really ramp up your game, particularly if the formation has stuff in it that you were planning on using it any. Whatever extra ability you get for the formation is an even better free bonus in that event.

Reclamation Legion: 1 Overlord, 0-2 units of lychguard, 1-4 units of immortals, 2-8 units of warriors, 1-3 units of tomb blades, and 0-3 Monoliths. You can switch out the overlord for a command barge, Nemesor, Trazyn, or Anrakyr if you want. For taking this you get mover through cover, relentless, and the overlord gets to reroll reanimation rolls of 1 and any units within 12" of him get to do so as well. Personally I love this formation as it gives me free stuff for using what I already plan to use.

Judicator Battalion: 1 unit of triarch stalkers and 2 units of praetorians. You get move through cover and another awesome rule. At the start of your shooting phase you can nominate a single enemy unit that is within line of site of a stalker. Your units from this formation get to reroll all failed to hit, to wound, and armor penetration rolls against that enemy unit until the end of the shooting phase. I think that's pretty awesome and is just like the stalker's old ability only better.

Destroyer Cult: 1 Destroyer Lord, 3 units of destroyers, 0-1 unit of heavy destroyers. You get move through cover, the lord can reroll his warlord trait if he's your warlord, and you get to reroll all failed to wound and armor penetration rolls in the shooting phase. I think this immediately becomes the way to take destroyers every time you play.

Deathbringer Flight: 2-4 Doom Scythes. All enemy units that are within 12' of at least 2 doom scythes from this formation have -1 to leadership. When a doom scythe from this formation shoots at an enemy unit, add 2 to it's ballistic skill for each doom scythe from this formation that has already fired at that enemy unit. The fear thing is nice I suppose not not amazing. The ballistic skill thing could be good if you're trying to keep that small blast template on a specific spot like the gap between 2 vehicles so you hit them both. Free bonus stuff makes this cool, but not amazing.

Living Tomb: 1 Obelisk and 0-2 monoliths. All the models have to be placed in deep strike reserve. The obelisk always comes in on turn 2 and the monoliths won't scatter if placed within 12" of the obelisk. The turn the monoliths arrive you can teleport an infantry unit from reserve out of the eternity gate if you wish. I asked myself why I would use this formation and the answer is simple. The obelisk as a formation doesn't count as a lord of war. The monoliths do nothing for more, but the idea of using multiple obelisks in a game is awesome if expensive dollars wise.

Annihilation Nexus: 1 Doomsday ark and 2 annihilation barges. You get the ability to shut down a barge's quantum shielding to grant it to the doomsday ark in the event it has lost it, provided the barge is within 6" of the ark. I suppose its a neat trick but what isn't clear is if the barge's shield stays gone and if the arks shield stays on after that turn. I imagine this is something you have to choose to do turn after turn but sadly I see not explanation for that. In general I like this formation but I don't know that I would ever get a great use out of the shield thing.

Canoptek Harvest: 1 unit of scarabs, 1 unit of wraiths, and 1 spyder. You get relentless, move through cover, and get an amazing gift from the gods. At the start of each of your movement phases you get to pick a special rule for the spyder, either fleet, reanimation protocols, or shred. All units within 12" of the spyder also get that ability. So wraiths with reanimation protocol roll? Yeah that's a thing now. Also the relentless means that you can actually take the exile gun on wraiths, move and shoot at normal BS. This is probably the single best formation.

Royal Court: 1 Overlord, 1-3 lords, and 1-3 Crypteks. You can use Imoteck, Nemesor, Trazyn, Anrakyr, or a command barge as a sub for the lord. Vargard can take the place of a normal lord, and Illuminor and Orikan can replace a cryptek. You get relentless, move through cover, and can reroll the warlord trait if rolling on the codex list. This is what you have to use to get the numbers of crypteks you're gonna need if you want to use them for better RP rolls. This is a must use more than likely for me.

We come to the last section of this review, the new necron decurion detachment. It's essentially a new battle-forged detachment that lets you take the various formations to make an army. You have to take 1+ reclamation legion, and that gives you access to 0-1 of the royal court formations and 1-10 of any of the others. Models in this detachment get a +1 bonus to reanimation protocol rolls, and anything with living metal ignores crew stunned and crew shaken results but still loses a hull point. I think its pretty self evident that if you're playing necrons and want to be really competitive, you need to always be using the decurion detachment to make your lists.

This review is fairly long, and took a while to put together. I hope you get some good information out of it, and perhaps an idea or two for how to run your necrons in the newest codex. Thank you all for reading.

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  1. Great review mike, pretty much agree with the whole thing lol. Playin cron primary right now really likin the book so far

  2. Interesting note on the reanimation protocols. If you read the rules in the rulebook as written, they state that the last step is setting the number to it's set amount.

    ie, if RP can never be better then 4+, that is the final step.

    So it is still possible to get a 4+ RP vs an instant death wound with the right buffs in place. Necrons have definitely changed this edition...they are mega mega resilient. They really do not die.