November 28, 2011

Fifth Game With The Necrons

(Beautifully Painted By Sigur)
A BatRep About Necrons? Oh No; This Is The Story Of Vulkan The Un-Woundable...

With the holidays and whatnot, I only managed to get in one game with the Necrons this week. It was a large game, though, which I do enjoy most of the time. This week I wanted to try out a list that I made a few weeks ago that looked good on paper, but I wasn't really sure how it would perform. The list I made had a single purpose; anti-horde. While we don't see much horde in 5th with vehicles being the end-all be-all solution to pretty much everything, the option to make a list is in the pages of the new Necron codex and I wanted to give it a go. Unfortunately I probably ended up losing some friends this week... More after the jump.

As I said, my list's sole purpose was to win against horde armies. Here's what I brought at 1499pts:

165 - Orikan the Diviner
180 - Overlord w/ warscythe, catacomb command barge (proxied)

Royal Court
40 - Cryptek w/ tremorstave, seismic crucible
30 - Cryptek w/ tremorstave
30 - Cryptek w/ tremorstave

85 - Immortals x5
102- Immortals x6
102- Immortals x6

240 - C'tan w/ writhing worldscape, swarm of spirit dust

Heavy Support
175 - Doomsday Ark (proxied)
175 - Doomsday Ark (proxied)
175 - Doomsday Ark (proxied)

So I have Orikan to provide First Turn difficult terrain for my enemies. The Overlord that unlocks the Royal Court. The Cryptek's Tremorstaves that provide difficult terrain when they manage to land a hit. Immortals with Gauss to help with anti-tank just in case. The C'tan providing the board with difficult/dangerous terrain while keeping a 3+ cover save behind some trees or something tall. And finally, three Doomsday Arks to sit and pie-away even Terminators with S9 AP1.

The problem with this list is it needs an FAQ desperately. Sterling brought this up at the start of the game and it's a valid point. Orikan and the Tremorstave's effects note that the enemy moves as if it's going through Difficult Terrain. So the question becomes, does the C'tan force them to take Dangerous Terrain tests? I could see both ways, and I haven't seen any other battle reports on this combo, so I have nothing to go on. Fortunately for our gaming group we have simple ways around situations like this; high-low it. So we rolled and ended up playing as if the C'tan did not effect Orikan or the Tremorstave affects making this list quite a bit less powerful than I anticipated, but still playable.

The setup for our game? 3000 per side:
1500 Vulkan SM (Senior Darrel)
1500 Necrons (Me!)
1000 Nurgle/Khorne CSM (Ghengis Vaughn)
1000 Deep Striking Grey Knights (Sterling)
1000 Drop Podding Dark Angels (Mr. Lemon)

Deployment: Spearhead
Game Type: Seize Ground (4 points)

Senior Darrel and I won Initiative and with 2 points in the middle to middle-right of the board and 2 points pretty close together on the left, we chose the left-bottom corner to deploy in since I lacked vehicle protection for my troops. I set up my Arks in the back with their smexy 72" range and Vulkan's Rhinos and Land Raider along with my Overlord deployed forward to get close to the enemy holding them off from getting to us.

Our enemies deployed as far back as possible for the most part; not wanting to get first-turn Sweep Attacks or assaulted by Termies. While this may seem overly cautious, they had plenty of things Deep Striking in to harass my turtle tactics. Mr. Lemon rolled to steal Initiative and rolled up a 3.

First Turn - Salacrons
The Vulkan's Dread drops in with a direct hit and isn't shy about trying to take out that Psyflemen Dread. Unfortunately he only managed to Immobilize it, and Sterling had no intention of moving him anyway.

With my long-range Arks I fired 2 into the GK Dread, whiffing on one and direct hitting the other causing a Wrecked result! The third one fired into the troops standing on their point and managed to kill 2 of them. Necrons stood still on our points and the Overlord along with Vulkan's transports pushed forward.

First Turn - ChaDaGrrr
Remember those Deep Striking shenaniganz I mentioned earlier for our enemy's? It was game time... Two Dreads dropped from the sky effectively blocking a lot of line of site that my Arks had previously. Damn you, Mr. Lemon...

With one of the Dreads within melta-range, an Ark goes down in flames of rage while the other two stand strong.

All of their Rhinos push forward; difficult terrain doing nothing to them. The Dread Knight slowly makes his way towards some juicy targets and doesn't manage to do much on us. Missiles and melta fly at the Salamander Dread and his Drop Pod that dropped in managing to remove his melta and stun him and exploding the Drop Pod. The Chaos Dread goes bonkers and shoots up the Tac Squad of Mr. Lemons removing 2 models.

Second Turn - Salacrons
It's time to bring the pain! The Land Raider and uppermost Rhino open their doors to let out the hurricanes of destruction inside. The Overlord pulls a U-Turn over the Dread Knight to get his Sweep Attacks in that manage to give 1 wound, landing safely behind a semi-tall wall to provide cover (since he didn't end his turn outside of 18" from his starting point.) Tac Marines blow the CSM Dread to holy hell while Immortals and Arks fail to harm the Dreads within their proximity other than Stunning them.

Assault Termies with Vulkan assault the 3 Tac Marines and made quick work of them. The stars have aligned and Orikan hulks-out to his beefy statline making him brave enough to tackle a Dreadnought, but doesn't manage to do anything. The Dread kills off an Immortal with ease. The C'tan, worried for his metal masters makes his way to the other Dread and fails to do anything as well.

Second Turn - ChaDaGrrr
Command Squad and Captain ride in on a Drop Pod, further mucking up the Ark's view of the board. They open fire and manage to kill off an Immortal. Both Dreads in the area are tied up by Orikan and the C'tan giving the Necron troops some relative safety until the Command Squad can close in on them.

Khorne Berzerkers launch their assault with crazed eyes, thirsty for blood. All Terminators are slaughtered from the plain and a lone Vulkan is all that's left.

Once again Orikan's face-off with the DA Dread is at a stalemate while the C'tan Shard manages to blow the other Dread into oblivion, consolidating towards the frightening Command Squad.

Third Turn - Salacrons
The Overlord makes another Sweep Attack on a Tac Squad that is tempting the fates of a Salamanders Tac Squad and only manages to kill a single model. 

Vulkan manages once again to save all of his wounds and makes quick work of two more Khorne Berzerkers.

The Land Raider backs up in an attempt to block off an empty Khorne Rhino from pushing forward. The Salamanders Tac Squad, with the Overlord between them and one enemy, shoots the other target in their sites and manages to kill a Tac Marine leaving two standing in the DA's troop choice.

Immortals move back to unleash Gauss on the Command Squad and splits their bodies in two, killing off all but the Captain with all of his wounds. The C'tan, ready to charge, lies in wait while the Guass Flayers from the 2 Arks light him up and manage to take the Captain down to one wound. The C'tan charges in and finishes off the Captain, consolidating back in wait of Grey Knights impending entry from the sky. Orikan manages a Weapon Destroyed on the Dread, removing his DCCW.

Third Turn - ChaDaGrrr
Nurgle Marines disembark into area terrain which is made dangerous thanks to the C'tan making the world his play-thing which kills off two Marines. The Salamander's Tac Squad's Rhino is blown up by these same Nurgle Marines, though, but they hold strong, three men down, unwilling to give up that third critical location; the Space Nipple.

Reserves finally arrive for the Grey Knights who have been lying in wait to drench their weapons of the unclean's blood. Unfortunately they mishap onto a Rhino and are placed in the furthest corner of the board from the Necrons.

Orikan manages to stun the Dread while two Immortals are shown their death forcing the group to Fall Back 2".

The DreadKnight assaults the Land Raider blowing it up with a loud and swift crack of his sword.

Vulkan and the Berzerkers avoid all damage and this fight continues. The Overlord's Command Barge is blown to smithereens which places him in a large crater for a tactical advantage. The Nurgle Marines responsible for such sharpshooting assault the Overlord through difficult terrain and lose their only power weapon to a fateful failed Dangerous Terrain test through the crater, giving the Overlord without an Invuln a chance at victory. In the flailing of melee the Warscythe cuts through two Nurgle Marines leaving the Overlord unharmed.

Fourth Turn - Salacrons
An Ark, far off in the distance, sets its sights on a Tac Squad 69" away and kills three of them in a fiery, green explosion. Immortals and Ark Flayers fire away at a contesting Drop Pod, wrecking it with some lucky Gauss fire. Nurgle Marines are further cut down by the Overlord and his Warscythe, but manage to wound him back.

The Tac Squad of the Salamanders fires back at the Nurgle Marines that decimated their Rhino, but only manage to kill one model. A Salamanders Dread drops from the sky and opens fire on the Nurgle Marines, but only manages to kill off one.

Vulkan slays the remaining Berzerkers whose Daemon Sword has betrayed them and makes his way unscathed towards his next target.

Orikan regroups and makes his way towards the second point, but only manages 5" between movement and running. The remaining Dread near the Necrons is Stunned by an Ark with incredible accuracy, while the C'tan finds cover behind a Drop Pod, still waiting for Grey Knights to show themselves.

Fourth Turn - ChaDaGrrr
Things are coming to a close as the Salacrons are in the lead 2-0 with a third point uncontested nearby. The Overlord finishes off the Nurgle Marines without losing any more wounds and thrusts his Warscythe in a nearby Tac Squad's direction; green flames bursting from his eyes.

Grey Knights drop in safely and prepare their assault. The Dread, stunned, must wait to recuperate from the damage last player turn.

The Grey Knights that were forced to the other side of the battlefield make their way to Vulkan, lusting for at least one wound to breach his statline.

The Nurgle Marines get back in their transport, but not before having to move through the C'tan Writhing Worldscape and in a fateful moment lose both meltas leaving their leader with no one to command. The Rhino and its passenger drive off towards Vulkan as well.

The Dread Knight, lining up his weaponry behind a ruined wall fires all he's got at the Salamander's Tac Squad and removes all but three from this world.

Fifth Turn - Salacrons
Vulkan reaches the Tac Marines and makes corpses of them before consolidating towards the critical point behind him.

An Ark fires off at the newly-arrived Terminator Squad and green energy crashes into two of the Grey Knight decimating their innards. The C'tan charges forward with 3 wounds left hoping to mop up the remaining vat-borne monstrosities, but both parties fail to land a blow.

The Salamander Dread pierces the Rhino from the back with a Multi-melta, wrecking it and the lone Nurgle Marine jumps out. Still anxious to capture his point, he's cut short as the Dread climbs over the burning heap of Rhino to reach the Nurgle Marine in assault.

Vulkan's Tac Squad fires into the Overlord's target of Tac Marines and manages to kill off two from their bolter barrage and flamer spray. The Overlord assaults the remaining two Tac Marines and leaves the fight unharmed back into the crater from which he came.

Fifth Turn - ChaDaGrrr
The C'tan Shard and Grey Knight Terminators fight on valiantly, but are unable to damage their opposing foe.
Grey Knights reach their target, Vulkan, and manage 4 wounds on him that will be instant death if not saved. Fortunately for the Chapter Master, his invuln keeps him alive and unharmed throughout the battle. The Dreadnought and Nurgle Marine battle continues without anyone making a dent.

We roll to see if the game continues and it does not. The Salacrons win, 2-0 with the Dread contesting the Nurgle Marine's point and the Necrons unable to reach the uncontested third point in time. Immortals and a Tac Squad hold the two remaining points uncontested.

What I Learned
All right, imaginative dialogue and pictures of crotches aside, let's get down to the rules. This game was a slaughter and while Vulkan SM, a half melee/half heavy shooting army is the perfect compliment to the Necrons, a half medium shooting/half heavy shooting army, a lot of this win came down to luck which I'll go over in detail.

Grey Knights Deep Striking:
One squad was mishapped across the board and the other didn't come in until turn 4. The Dreads and Command Squad that dropped in took quite a while to deal with, had there been a single additional element in the enemy's favor, my bubble of defenses would have collapsed. That whole area was really scary for a while and I barely managed to keep the upper hand.

Writhing World Scape Is Lucky As Hell:
If you read through the whole battle rep you'll notice two major things happened with this ability that saved my team's life. First, my Overlord with no Invuln save went into melee with seven Nurgle Marines and came out clean. How? They lost their only power weapon to a Dangerous Terrain test. Second, there was a Dreadnought that kept the enemy from capturing a point. How did this happen? The only 2 melta on that side of the board both died at the same time to Dangerous Terrain. This ability is more of a deterrent for your enemies to choose their movement carefully, but when forced, can save the day if luck is on your side.

Doomsday Arks Have Eagle-Eye:
On a rough estimate, I'd say all of my Arks hit their target at least 60-70% of the time. Statistically, that's lucky depending on all of the target's size and placement. Had their shooting been less spot-on, things would have gone down quite differently. A GK Dread might have lived to shoot for a turn or 5, a Tac Squad may have been around to capture a point. A DA Dread might have been able to crumble my troops into nothingness. Grey Knight Terminators may have had those precious few attacks needed to kill off my C'tan. So many things could have gone wrong for us had my aim been off; luckily I had 3 Arks from the start so I could afford to whiff here and there.

Personally, I'm not sold on Orikan. He has his place, and he's dirt cheap, but he doesn't unlock a Royal Court, he has lackluster stats including only 2 Wounds and his beefy statline will on average only last 1 turn instead of 2 like it did for me. His re-roll to reserves did nothing this game and more importantly his first-turn Terrain trickery. If it gets FAQed as not coinciding with the C'tan Writhing Worldscape, I've lost all interest in him. The real tipping point for me is if I want a Royal Court I'll need another HQ. If he was an Overlord instead of a Cryptek, I think I'd like him a lot more.

So, even though this wasn't the choice enemy for my list, I still think it performed well. Literally the first 3 turns the C'tan worldscape didn't do jack diddly, but this is what I was expecting. Your opponent(s) aren't going to willingly go into difficult terrain if they don't have to. However, in those last crucial turns of the game your enemy will have to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible; this is where the C'tan's power truly shines and will force your opponent to make critical decisions on his models' next move.

Which brings me to my next point when it comes to the newest codex; critical thinking. Everywhere I'm reading it's Necrons are horrible this, they suck that. As Mr. Lemon and Ghengis Vaughn pointed out during our game; these claims are what we assume to be from those who are used to spam lists and haven't attempted playing Necrons. There's an added element to the Necron codex that we have yet to see in any codex so far. I'm talking about actual skill in list building.

Let the tourney players cries reign down upon me, I'm saying it, those who think Necrons suck either haven't had to fight someone who knows what they're doing or you've never fought them and your brain is incapable of building a competitive list for them. There are certain elements in this codex in the ways of wargear and units that just don't mix and match. The Solar Pulse isn't going to be worth it for every list (gasp!) Scarabs are not always your best option for Fast Attack. The Triarch Stalker isn't going to be the best Elite option all the time.

For every one thing that works with another in the Necron codex, there are one-hundred things that don't work together. This is what I mean by skill in list building. The days of spamming Unit A and calling yourself a genius are over is my hope. Units that work awful with one unit and work phenominally with another is the direction I hope this is all going. The way the book looks for 5th every unit has a purpose, every unit will be played (except Flayed Ones in Senior Darrel's opinion.) That's more than you can say for IG, Nids, Space Wolves, Space Marines, Eldar, etc. A new dawn is upon us and its name is 6th Edition. I hope they keep this style of codex going.

Later days.


  1. There is one other thing I would like to point out about writhing worldscape that made it such a pain in this list. The only way to survive a Str. 9 AP 1 large blast is to get in cover, but most of the cover is now dangerous terrain. We were taking wounds while trying to avoid wounds. It was a lose lose situation.

  2. I hadn't thought about how effective the pie plates would be. The reason I brought them was because pie = anti-horde. I hadn't considered how well they would coincide with the terrain stuff going on.

  3. I don't know if I fully agree with the 3rd sentence of the last paragraph, but I play Orkz and Genestealers, err I mean Tyranids lol so yea. I don't think spamming unit A or B for the win is right, but some armies are purty much forced into it. A boy is a boy is a boy.

    As for necrons NOT being viable...after reading through their codex and theorycrafting necron lists with you, I have to like really really disagree with those saying Necrons are weak as well. The thing I like about Necrons is they have sooooooo many options to choose from, but you are right, a lot of options only really work well in certain configurations and suck in others. In that essence it is about list building.

  4. Naturally some armies are forced to spam to compete or even be playable. I didn't mean towards armies like Orks, Nids and Eldar who more or less try and keep their heads above water against GK and SW. The examples in my head were more along the lines of PsyDread spam or Missile Spam.

    The more I read reviews I think it's apparent that strategists who have just read the dex think it's weak and those that have tried it out have their minds changed. Time will tell as a whole.

  5. Just a heads up, you can't have more then 2 crypteks with tremor staves if both your HQ's have access to royal courts. It stats in the codex (which I don't have handy to quote from) that cryptek gear can only be given out ONCE in a royal court. Trust me I was trying to do the same thing.

  6. Crypteks can't take more than one ability per Overlord that unlocks a Royal Court. You can take as many staves as you want. There's no limit on how many Harbingers of a certain kind you can have.