Posted on November 6, 2011
The New Necron Codex
I am happy to report that the new Necron codex is not only the necessary shot in the arm to get my beleaguered robots back into steady game play, but I won’t need to drop $500 updating my army with new models. Not that there aren’t some mighty fine looking new models, but that’s another blog post. Perhaps the most surprising things about the new codex are the all of the rules that they didn’t change. I suppose since the old Codex was so lean that they had to pad it out with a painting tips section, it makes sense that this newer codex is more about addition than simply revision.
There are some pretty big revisions. First, “we’ll be back” is now called the Reanimation Protocols. I approve of this change, despite my love of the first Terminator. And instead of “coming back” on a roll of +4, it is now a +5. I suppose with the prevalence of Feel No Pain in other codexs, they had to make it a little different. But it also makes sense from a point system perspective. A lot of units from the old codex are quite a bit cheaper in the new one, and almost everyone of them has the Reanimation Protocols. Necron Warriors used to be 18pts in the old codex, and now their 13pts (they also lost a point in their armor save, from +3 to +4). They remain otherwise identical to the old book. Same stat line, same max group size of 20. The Resurrection Orb has been been streamlined as well. Its now just a buff for the Reanimation Protocols, improving any model in a unit with one to a +4.
Another big revision is the removal of the infamous Phase Out rule. Now that the Necrons are fully awake in all their fluffy glory, they no longer disappear if there numbers drop too low. Let me just say on behalf of all Necron players: Halle-fucking-lujah.
Pariahs are gone. But the Lychguard are in, and they are more versatile. Not versatile enough for me to ever plan on using them, but more versatile than sad sack Pariahs ever were. The Lychguard remind me a lot of the Sanguinary Guard from the Blood Angels. They have great new models, they are poised to be an Elite close combat chose but fall short. Initiative of 2 for anything less than a Thunderhammer means you are going to get chewed up too quickly for a 40pt infantry choice.
Necrons now have more than one transport. The Ghost Ark is the one model I plan on buying at least one of. It’s a cool looking model for one thing, and secondly its fucking Games Workshop so if you go full-on footslogging you’re probably going to get cornholed. The Monolith has gone under some rule changes but is still a must have for any medium sized to larger games. There is a fast skimmer that looks a little like a Cylon ship called the Night Scythe. It doesn’t have a model yet, but I have the feeling I’m going to want one when they do. Then there is the Catacomb Command Barge, which is a transport for one Independent Character to cruise around on and lop off heads with due to a cool Sweeping Attack rule it has. Even though I would like the game to be balanced a little more fairly so you didn’t need to rely so heavily on transports (the unwritten Rhino Rule) as much as the current game does, they are some great looking models with refreshing new rules.
Necrons are touted as being the most elite shootie army, and they do have devastating shooting attacks in spades. I am all for this shootie emphasis (and I do realize shootie is a stupid word, so bear with me) because had they made Necrons bad ass close combat fighters it would start to make the game developers at GW look fucking lazy. Necrons are still painfully slow for the most part. Aside from a couple of models, everything slogs at an Initiative of 2. Of course, everyone still has a Leadership of 10 and MEQ stats so its hard to complain. And the Necron Codex isn’t without some close combat punch. One of my favorite close combat rules is for a special character named Trazyn the Infinite. His Empathic Obliterator staff will deal out additional wounds to like models within a unit he’s engaged in close combat with. Meaning, if he wounds an Ork Boy, all other Ork Boys in that unit take a hit that wounds on a 4+. As the book says:
It is… the ideal weapon for a being such as Trayn, who disdains exhaustive physical combat and far prefers a single telling blow at the opportune moment.
In other words, he’s an ancient robot despot who gets an important fact about being a ruler right- fighting is for filthy, expendable peasants. But if he must fight, then he like to be tidy about it and get things over quickly. He also has an Initiative of 2, so he’ll have to survive attacking last most of the time to use his sweet power.
The C’Tans are back, although as the fluff tells us they now serve the Necrons as shattered versions of themselves. The newly renamed C’Tan Shards are an elite Monstrous Creature that start at 185 points. Then the Shard has to pick at least 2 out of 11 nasty powers. Some are old rules that have been rewritten, like Gran Illusion (which, sadly, does not cause the band Styx to start playing). Some have great names like “Sentient Singularity,” which makes deepstriking units and vehicles deal with mishaps and dangerous terrain. Some of the powers have silly names “Swarm of Spirit Dust,” which, among giving it defensive and offensive grenades, actually gives the C’Tan Stealth. This is a big deal, since the old C’Tans were almost always visible, per the old rules. Now those giant horrors can hide just like a SM Scout. Crazy. This level of customization makes the C’Tan very useful. They get expensive quick, but man, some of there powers are great.
One last thing before I sign off. My only real beef with the new codex is that there are only two Troop options. This is an improvement over the last edition, which only had one, but still falls a little short. Now Immortals are Troops, which is ok. Flayed Ones, to my dismay, are still Elites. It doesn’t break the codex, it just seems a little surprising given all of the Troop options most 5th edition codexs have been getting.
I could go on, because there is a lot of great rules in the book. Like Lord of Fire, which allows C’Tan Shards to detonate nearby flamers and meltaguns. There are also great new units, like a Necron walker and the Crypteks. The new codex definitely stands out as different than any other in the 40k range, and they managed to maintain the elements that made Necrons fun to play in the first place.
Now its just a matter of actually playing a game.