So I’ve been playing quite a bit of 40k over the last four weeks – at least, a lot of 40k for me! – as I attempt to get better at the game, though more importantly, getting better with my Necrons!
I’ve talked about this at length on the blog already, of course, but Necrons are my first army, and I always have such affection for them as a result. It’s always around late August/early September when I really feel that nostalgia flooding back, and so I’ve launched myself on something of an offensive to try to play with my beloved first army more, and try to get the proper feel for them in 8th edition. I’d played them three times during the Index days, and then just twice in very small-point games earlier this year, benefiting from the Codex.
All of these games used a basic build of Catacomb Command Barge, Cryptek, two units of gauss Immortals and one unit of tesla Immortals (in varying numbers) as the basis of my battalion. I also chose the Mephrit dynastic code that has been my standard way of thinking about Necron builds since earlier this year, but mainly forgot about its effectiveness – as well as forgetting about my warlord traits and relics. Because that’s what I do!
So back at the end of July, having moved to the Wirral, I went to check out the local store here with a longtime gaming buddy Kev from my local Games Workshop, and we ended up with a 2 vs 2 game, 500 points each. It was me and my Necrons alongside my buddy’s Harlequins, against the unlikely pairing of Ultramarines and Death Guard.
Outcome: Draw (victory points)
Notable moment: Tesla Immortals taking out a Daemon Prince of Nurgle
Learning points: Keeping Immortals close to the Cryptek to aid with Reanimation Protocols! Also – Wave of Command is too useful to forget!
A four-player game is inevitably a bit of a mess, as everybody has got all of their bits going on. Given the slow speed of the Necrons, compared with the Harlequins, I didn’t have a great deal to do for a lot of the game. My attempt to move my Triarch Praetorians up the field saw them draw all the firepower the enemy could muster at them, which was interesting to me, as I kept hearing the news that they are actually amazing, and need to be taken out as soon as possible. As a result, they didn’t do anything, but it’s useful to hear these sorts of things!
At the start of August, I played a game against a relative newbie JP, who was running Word Bearers. 750 points this time, so in addition to my tried-and-tested battalion of Catacomb Command Barge and Cryptek, and three units of Immortals (two gauss, one tesla), I had the Praetorians and an Annihilation Barge, so that was fun!
Outcome: Draw (though it came close to a Necron victory)
Notable moment: Triarch Praetorians wiping out ten marines in one round.
Learning points: Wave of Command is too good to forget about – shame I forgot about it for the entire game! Also, ending the battle with 6 CP is a waste!
This game was a lot of fun! It helped that my opponent and I really got on from the off, so that made for a really good game. I have a (very) nascent Word Bearers army of my own planned, so it was interesting to see what was going on with them! As a relative newbie, though, I quite the fact that the game wasn’t particularly fast-paced, as we had the time to think through the rules and whatnot. Of course, I still forgot Wave of Command, much to my chagrin, but you can’t have everything, I guess!
It was interesting, to me, to think about how I hadn’t appreciated aspects of the rules such as tesla weapons being assault weapons, so I can freely advance my Immortals up the board for the additional range with merely a -1 to hit penalty, (which would have been negated, of course, by Wave of Command!) Time to think about some better tactics…
Last week, we upped the points value to 1000, which allowed for a few more interesting units to be included in the list. Well – I basically swapped out the Praetorians for two squads of Lychguard (one of each configuration) and some Deathmarks, which were a bit of a meta-choice as I knew JP included terminators in his list. I was hoping to make use of some of the special rules for these “new” units, to see how they work and so on!
Notable moment: Lychguard grouping up to destroy some Chaos Marines – it didn’t quite go to plan, though it was a hell of a moment!
Learning points: Still only used Wave of Command once! Can’t believe it. I still need to remember my CPs and stratagems!
We were playing a Maelstrom of War game this time around, which is something I really enjoy as it hearkens back to my formative days of learning how to play 40k via battle reports. I’ve only been able to convince people to play MoW games twice previously, so it’s always fun to get them in! My cards were just dreadful though, and I think that’s probably why people tend to not play them very often at my store.
The Lychguard sadly got taken out a little in overwatch, so they didn’t get to hit with their full force, but it was as gratifying as it ever has been to see the warscythes make mincemeat of the enemy. I think the sword-and-board Lychguard need to be used more defensively, though, as I wasn’t as impressed with their prowess as I have been with the warscythes. I’m thinking it might be more interesting to have a squad of ten with scythes going out into the wild, while keeping the five with shields back with a high-value HQ or something.
My fourth game took place yesterday, and I was playing against Kev’s Harlequins this time. I’ve played Kev often to know that he is a very good player, with armies that run really synergistically. I’d hesitate to call him a power gamer, but nevertheless, his lists tend to be tuned and optimised, so I was a bit hesitant! But he’s also into Necrons, so I found it quite formative to play against him as he knows the army well.
Outcome: total loss (tabled turn 4)
Notable moments: Canoptek Wraiths are amazing!
Learning points: Canoptek Wraiths are too amazing to leave camping objectives. Also, I’m still forgetting Wave of Command. And – OH MY GOD! – I forgot Reanimation Protocols!
My list has changed again, this time bringing scarab swarms and Wraiths in place of the Lychguard and Deathmarks.
Canoptek Wraiths are a unit that I haven’t used since 7th edition, and I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was going to do with them at first. But they were fairly impressive, I have to say! Even if the Wraith Form ability has been nerfed to prevent them from charging through buildings, it is still a hell of an ability, and well worth the inclusion of these gribblies in my list! They are quite a hefty chunk of points, as I had kitted them out with the guns because I was originally planning to go Sautekh with my dynasty. I see a lot of advice with regard to ditching the guns, of course, but it’s always handy to have a particle caster in melee, as it’s just an extra attack if needed, and I think there should be a case made for just one transdimensional beamer, simply because it’s important (I feel) to have the ability to dish out mortal wounds.
I am so annoyed with myself for forgetting about Reanimation Protocols in this game – I mean, it’s like the defining trait of the army! I think I need to think of myself as a total newbie when it comes to playing Necrons, and try to forget about my history with them. Kev suggested making notes on my army list with the sequencing, starting with Reanimation Procols, Wave of Command (or My Will Be Done), and then into the movement phase, etc.
I had two big units of Immortals, both of which were tied up in combat in fairly short order as it happens, nullifying their effectiveness. So annoying! There were a lot of learning points in this game, but I think when playing a melee-orientated army, I need to think about my own melee capability, and not assume that I’ll be able to weather the storm simply through staying true to my nature (massed firepower).
So where do I go from here? First of all, the crib-sheet idea of getting my sequencing down through note-taking is gold, and I will definitely be employing that in future games. Both of my opponents in these games have armies that have some significant melee presence, but I can’t rely on the fact that I might be able to dodge out of combat and stick to shooting people. Praetorians and Wraiths are a decent start – I think Lychguard might be too specialist at lower points levels – but I’m thinking about points efficiencies here, and I might be making some radical changes to my general list soon enough!
Also on Friday, I bought a box of Necron Warriors. Shocking, I know! Well, for my entire 40k career, I’ve written these guys off as being horrible-looking models, and have stuck to Immortals as my troops of choice. However, if I’m going to be playing in the big leagues, or at least if I’m gonna be building out from my core list, I really need to think about these. 110 points for 10, as opposed to 75 points for 5 Immortals, is pretty decent, and there are some intriguing possibilities that I’ve been mulling over for my next couple of games, that might see some decent stabs at a win!
I’ve had the C’tan Shard of the Deceiver built for over four years now, it seems, and in that time I think I’ve managed to prime him and nothing more! I’ve never seriously looked at the C’tan Shards, mainly because the cost is almost prohibitive, but now really is the time to be looking at pretty much the entire book, and see what I can do with all of my little plastic people. The Deceiver has a special ability called The Grand Illusion, which allows me to re-jig my deployment with him and/or D3 other units, so long as they end up more than 12″ away from the enemy. How interesting, given that Necron Warriors are armed with rapid fire weapons: a blob of 10 can be dishing out 20 shots, hitting on 3s and wounding – most likely – on 4s, with -1 AP. Not bad for the basic troop choice! D3 other units guarantees at least one unit of Warriors can be re-positioned for optimum rapid-fire goodness, but the option to also bring some gauss Immortals is also really interesting. The trade-off, of course, is do you move them out of the range of Wave of Command, which could have had them hitting on 2s?
Certainly something to think about!
Rerolls are hard to come by for the Necrons, it seems, but the Triarch Stalker is a model that I’ve talked about before on my blog as being useful for this, as a unit only has to be targeted by the Stalker for other units to then get rerolls of 1 in that shooting phase when they target the same unit. I have two, one of them is having the paint stripped so I can start again, but I think I need to get a move on there!
I’m still really keen to get on with painting my Doomsday Ark as well, a model that I keep hearing so much good stuff about online. Given that this is almost three years in pieces for me now, I think it’s probably the time to get moving at long last and finish this thing off!
I think the only casualty of moving house was the Tomb Stalker, my first Forge World experience and still one of my all-time favourite models. I do have a second one waiting to be built, but I think it would be remiss of me to not attempt to revive this guy and see if I can perhaps bring him up to date with the rest of my army. I’m hoping that I could maybe use lots of thin layers of paint just on the top of the carapace, to bring him into the dark grey and blue scheme I have now, rather than the gold and green of my last attempt at a Necron army!
I’ve only used the model once, and he did precisely nothing but draw fire, so I’m thinking it might be time to try again with this guy on the tabletop.
I have a lot of plans for the future for my army, including all of the above but also moving into Destroyers, and even Flayed Ones! I’m actually thinking, much the same as my Drukhari, I’d like to have at least one of every model in the range. So I’ll doubtless be picking up all of the named characters once again! So that’s exciting.
In fact, my entire future with the army is exciting me – I don’t think I’ve felt this way about Necrons since those heady days of 2014! Stay tuned for some serious thoughts on my list building once again, as I delve into the pages of the codex! You know you love my rambling thoughts blogs!