Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Necron Codex Review

So I know a lot this will be old news to most of you true 40k heads, but I’ve finally got caught up with enough work/home stuff to do a review of the Necron Codex.

Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to release a steady stream of initial impressions, ideas and thoughts about the codex. Without further ado…

First Impression –

Overall, the codex is an improvement over the prior, but that basically had to happen as the Necrons had no where to go but up. I think they’ve been fully brought into the 5th edition metagame, meaning that you’ll be able to get a few playable lists out of them and no longer have to resort to outright gimmicks to wins games. I also believe the new models are great, and if the wraiths, spyders, nightsycthes, etcs to follow are as on this level us hobbyists will be spoiled for choice.

That’s said, the book was disappointing from the standpoint that it wasn’t a full out rejuvenation ala the Dark Eldar – meaning there are still FOC areas in the new codex that are markedly weak, the special HQ choices don’t unlock further FOC possibilities, and focus on vehicles has rendered this army somewhat similar to the MSU + vehicles meta that has come to dominate the game. This last point is especially disappointing, as I felt GW really had an opportunity to step outside the mold with this army, and utilize their teleport fluff to make a fast, elite, foot-based army that relied on teleport mechanics to compensate for lack of vehicles.

Over the next few weeks I’ll try and do a per-subject review, but I figured I’d start with some of the meta stuff, as this is what most gamers focus on to begin with.


So now instead of the Necrons being the utterly mindless bitches of the C’Tan, the tables have turned; HQs have all the personality (say this as you do jazz hands please) and the C’Tan are literally broken shards of their former selves.

I’ve heard chatter both ways on this, ranging from “I like the new background,” to “This is a betrayal of everything I hold sacred about this army.” My initial thought is yes, GW did change the fluff around, but this isn’t the first time they’ve done this so it’s not without precedent.

That said, I’m not much of a fluffer, and therefore don’t have an emotional stake in it, but I think the changes are fine. Quite frankly, the old fluff for the Necrons was a bit bland, and I’m happy to see some personality (jazz hands!) in this list. I’m also happy they fixed what I saw as a 4th wall breaker with the old C’Tan – you know the part where the Star Gods themselves where literally present on the field – which seemed like a big HUGE undervalue for something that could supposedly bend stars to their will, but needed to find cover if Long Fangs were present (sad jazz hands!).

Anyway, better says I, and if you count that sort of things as critical, add one point for GW.

Army Rules

WEBB = Reanimation Protocols

So instead of the cumbersome old WEBB mechanic they’ve trimmed it up with a universal 5+ save done at the end of every round. Not sure how the probability curve figures here, but my suspicion is that it ends up being pretty close by the time you factor in all the saves you’ll be allowed to take for heavy weapons and specials.

I also like that its done “at the end of the current phase” rather than start of the turn, as this cleared up a huge frustration I had from WEBB that arose from “wiping” a unit of destroyers down to one model (and thus putting them out of mind) only to have your opponent make 4 WEBB rolls after your turn was completely over and see them come rushing into your flank.

I haven’t head much discussion of this fix, but I think it is clear, speeds up game play and is still keeping with the Necron resilience theme. So big win for GW on this one.

Entropic Strike

Not sure why things was in the army wide area, as with the exception of some HQ choices its essentially a scarab thing. The fact that every hit has a 50% of lowering the AV of a vehicle before you roll to wound is pretty big, especially when you are throwing 5A per scarab base on the charge. Nice parking lot antidote if you can manage to get your scarabs that close.

Living Metal

Ignoring shakes and stuns goes well with the Necorn theme and their low AV means that they’d otherwise be getting shaken and stunned a lot without some help. Works for me.


Okay this isn’t an army wide rule per say, but if you flip to the back you realize this is something you need to consider on an army wide basis. Most of your stuff only has a 24” reach, including your super star heavies. Yeah, heavy gauss goes to 36”, the Doomsday cannon reaches out 72” and there is a war gear that can go anywhere, but basically, you aren’t going to be getting in any ranged fights (and winning). You need to get close. This is an issue as Necrons are still weak in the assault department. More on this later though.


Again, not an army wide rule, but something a potential Necron player should consider. If you were running a destroyer spam like me – your shelf probably has a lot of troops, 15-20 now useless destroyers (more on that later), some scarabs, and some now outdated immortals. This means if you are going to play Necrons you need to have your wallet ready. If you run a complist be prepared to drop $200 on ghost arks, $100 annihilation barrages, $100-200 on everything else. Then again, if you play GW you probably already knew this wasn’t going to be cheap.

Well, that’s it for the big picture – a nice fluff tweak, some solid rules changes and spendiness. Welcome to 5th ed Necrons.

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