Last week was a lot of fun, looking at how I can build up some really iconic armies for larger-scale games of Warhammer 40k, and I think I’d like to continue that with looking at some of my more established armies, and how I’d like to take them in a similar direction.
Necrons were my first army, and while I’ve come to love so much more about the 40k universe, I think they will always remain my first love in this game. I’ve played the army at 1500 points before, back in 7th edition, but things have changed so much in 8th that I feel like I’m starting again, really. Which is kind of the point of this blog, really. Last Thursday, I had a small, 500-point game at my local GW against this guy Nick, who was getting back into the game with some Tempestus Scions. I quite liked the sound of that, as I also have some Scions and I’d like to see what they can do. So I decided to bring along my Necrons, as I could muster about 500 points of them in my new Thokt-dynasty scheme, so made up a battalion of a Catacomb Command Barge, Cryptek, and three squads of Immortals: one squad of five with tesla carbines, and two squads of six with gauss blasters. It was my first game with the undead space robots since the Codex had arrived, almost eleven months ago, so I was keen to see what they could do!
It was a lot of fun. I was playing as Sautekh dynasty, which has been my plan since I wrote up one of my favourite blogs in recent memory as it happens, The Necron Codex – tactical thoughts. In that blog, I wrote up a 2000-point list, and went through the thought processes behind all of the unit selections as they occurred to me. I’m probably not going to write as much in this blog, but you may well be wondering what the purpose of this particular post is, seeing as how it was only back in September that I’d already had a 2000-point list worked out.
That list has changed quite a bit following the release of Chapter Approved – but as I discovered in the linked blog here, my 2000-point list had just over 220 points shaved off it following the points decreases, and so I’ve been considering some changes since Christmas, really. However, following my game last week, I’ve decided to change up the dynastic code to Mephrit, which has really caused me to re-think the entire process.
My 500-point game was a lot of fun, but having finally played a game with the army, I’m hungry for more, and so I’ve already drawn up a mid-point 1000-point list, and have also taken it up to 1500-points, so I have it pretty well mapped-out how I want this list to grow in the near future!
So this is the list at 1000-points. At this moment I’m focusing on using units that I really enjoy, and that I feel will be useful to me. So I’m not too concerned with how I can organise them for the best command benefits. I still only have the same bare-bones battalion, but I don’t mind at this point. The important thing, for me, is that there are units in here that I feel excited about playing, and I think I should be able to do some real work with.
I’m playing Mephrit Dynasty, which improves the AP of all shooting attacks made at half range by 1, so those gauss blasters on the Immortals are spitting out 12 S5 shots at AP-3 when they’re in rapid fire range! The tesla carbines are also really good, should I actually manage to roll some 6s, so I’m really keen to see how I can develop this with the army at large. It sounds like it should be really good, and my local GW manager was recommending it to me while we were playing, so I think it might be worth looking into!
My warlord is the Catacomb Command Barge, to which I’ve given the warlord trait Merciless Tyrant, adding 6″ to all assault weapons (that is, the staff of light) that he has as well as being able to shoot at enemy characters regardless of whether they’re the closest model. Being Mephrit, there is a big argument for changing up the configuration of my Barge to have a tesla cannon on there, rather than the gauss cannon, as the tesla is an assault weapon while the gauss is just a heavy weapon. But I’ve built it with gauss, so for now it’ll have to stay that way. Finally, I’ve actually replaced his staff of light with the Voltaic Staff artefact, which is a slightly improved stat line but with the added benefit of dishing out additional mortal wounds on a wound roll of 6+ in the shooting phase. Great stuff!
I really enjoy the Triarch Stalker’s targeting relay ability, so that is being kept in the list at this stage, and the Annihilation Barge is in there for the sheer firepower – 8 shots at S7, and three at S6, now with AP-1 because Mephrit, and the hope that I get at least a couple of 6s to cause three hits instead of one for each 6 rolled. Should be a wonderful thing. Finally, I’ve got a unit of five Lychguard in there, because what is a Necron army list without them, right? I’ve gone for sword-and-board simply because of the stratagem that allows me to bounce back the shots fired at me. Lovely!
I did actually enjoy being able to use some of the stratagems during my game, though I hadn’t taken enough of the right units to allow me to benefit from them as much as I would otherwise have liked. Unlike a lot of armies, there are a lot in the Necron book that require specific units, almost as if every unit has their own stratagem. If you don’t take those units, then about half the stratagems will be unusable for you in-game – 12 of the 22 non-dynastic-specific stratagems specify what unit they work on, which feels inordinately high in my view, but it could just be that I’ve always taken a much wider spread of models in my other armies, so haven’t really noticed the narrow focus too much! I certainly like the ability to use My Will Be Done / Wave Of Command on a second unit in a turn, and the Sautekh-specific stratagem that gives +1 to hit for units attacking a unit already shot at that phase also came in quite useful during my game.
The Mephrit-specific stratagem, however, is actually really nice for allowing exploding 6s to hit on a unit in the shooting phase. I mean, it’s not quite in the same league of tesla, which just gives you additional hits – the stratagem gives you additional rolls, but I think played on a high-output unit like massed Immortals or maybe the Annihilation Barge, and paired with the Triarch Stalker’s targeting relay that will allow you to re-roll 1s to hit anyway, it could be really juicy! I can imagine a full unit of 10 Immortals with gauss blasters that have closed to rapid fire range, shooting off a volley of 20 shots at S5 AP-3, re-rolling 1s and any 6s causing additional dice to be rolled. I’m terrible at the odds, but I reckon there should be a few 6s in that roll, it should be pretty nice!
But that brings me on to the second part of this blog, taking the army up to 1500 points.
At 1500 points, I’ve got a spearhead detachment in here as well for +1 command points. I’m still staying away from having almost-redundant HQ choices in here just to allow me to get additional command benefits – while we’re playing at a comparatively middling range, I want to keep things as tight as I can. I’ve bumped up the troops so that I have two full squads here, and I think when I decide to take this to 2000 points, I’ll probably max them all out. I’ll most likely include either more Lychguard or some Deathmarks, at which point I’ll also bring along a Lord so that I can have a vanguard detachment and pull in ten command points. (I also want to get more Tomb Blades on the horizon, but I’m in real danger of getting ahead of myself now!)
Between the Command Barge and the Overlord (and the stratagem), I can issue the +1 to advance, charge and hit rolls to three units, so the dream of both ten-man infantry squads having a ridiculous damage output should be quite attainable, if I’m honest! Obviously I can’t use the Mephrit stratagem to go too crazy with them all, but there are a good number of ways to make this army really quite formidable, I think. Army-wide Leadership 10 is also a benefit, and of course, Reanimation Protocols are key to making sure I don’t get blown away!
At 1500 points, I feel it’s really time to bring in the big guns, as other armies will be having all manner of tanks and such. The Doomsday Ark is an iconic unit, and for me personally it’s going to be a real boon the day that I finally get that painted and assembled (it’s still in sub-assemblies in a bag somewhere in my pile of shame). I’ve gone for a second Annihilation Barge because I have fond memories of the Annihilation Nexus from 7th edition, which granted a sort of overlapping quantum shielding for the units in the formation. Obviously, that doesn’t exist here, but still!
So I’m well on the way to bringing the army up to the sort of place where I’m going to be very happy to start playing it more regularly. I have been in a similar position with my Dark Eldar for a while of course, where I have a very good supply of units from which I can draw to make a lot of the sort of lists that I want to play, so I’m hoping I can get there with my undead space skeletons soon, as well. It hasn’t felt right to me for a long time, my very first army being in this state of limbo as I try to re-paint them in a more exciting scheme (and hopefully, do a better job with them as well!) During 2018, I managed to get somewhere quite decent with the amount of Thokt dynasty units I churned out, so I’m hoping 2019 continues that trend, and I get the army that I want to play to the table for some games!
As ever, stay tuned to the blog for more updates!