Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Necrons: The better tyranid codex?

I have been playing Necrons in the escalation league at my FLGS for the last couple months and something struck me the other night. Scarab farm lists pretty much play like Tyranids, only with much better units! Stay with me here... Necrons have monstrous creatures that spawn little guys (and the little guys the Necrons spawn are much, much better), they have super fast assault units that strike before the opponent, they have cheap throw away scoring units, and they don't have a specific vulnerability to anti-tank weaponry.

Then you have the ways this type of list improves on tyranids.
  • The Necron HQs are much, much better and affect the board in a way that's beneficial to this type of armies survival. I'm lookin at you, Lord of storms!
  • The spyders never run out of babies to spawn, have 3 more wounds, and are less points than a tervigon
  • Wraiths are faster and more resilient than almost anything in the 'nid codex
  • Psychic defense on a 4+. To be fair, this is arguably worse than shadows in the warp as it only affects some powers. 
  • Night fighting provides cover of darkness long enough for you to avoid the most heavy firepower. Almost guaranteeing that you will make it to their lines
The major strength of the scarab farm lie in it's lack of vehicles.  The meta is heavily geared towards killing rhinos and chimeras. This kind of firepower will definitely kill a couple scarabs, but with 3+ cover from stealth... plenty will still make it to the enemies lines. 

The combination of imotekh's lightning and fast assaulty units is killer. If nids had an Imotekh equivalent... well, they might've made more than an appearance at adepticon. Yet even with all this going for them, there is still something I just don't quite like about the Necrons...

Check out my list and my gripes about the 'crons after the jump

My 1850 list looks something like this

   Royal court w/chronotek
Overlord on barge w/scythe and weave
   Royal court w/vieltek

3 x 5 man warrior squads (held in reserve)
9 immortals w/gauss
6 wraiths w/3 coils and a particle caster
10 scarabs
7 scarabs
2 x 3 spyders w/ gloom prism
3 spyders

Simple and straightforward scarab farm with Imotekh support.  Imotekh is such a force multiplier, it's ridiculous. Your opponent will almost always let you go first due to Imo's 4+ seize, which will let you spawn before they have a chance to shoot. And it gives you the opportunity to position better according to their deployment.

That is close to the list that I have been playing in the escalation league at my FLGS. Now, having played 10+ games with necrons, I am really not all that happy with how they play.  Let me tell you why.

The entire army seems very swingy and luck dependent. Whether it be Imotekh's lightning, or wraiths rending, or even hitting vehicles. Everything needs 6's to be effective.

In addition to that, both the scarab farm and imtoekh's lightning seem very overpowered. Even needing 6's to hit, the lightning will still randomly kill things. And random isn't really my favorite part of this game. It's basically shooting in a list with no shooting that avoids the limitations you are putting on the rest of the table. The scarab farm is just silly. with night-fighting in effect, the scarab farm reaches critical mass by turn 3. Which is about the time you will be assaulting. It seems that after that, the scarabs are impossible to kill. The opponent may kill some bases and may even win combat, but there will just be more next turn. I'm really not a fan of impossible to win scenarios and random things blowing up.

Now, you may think "well, if you don't like it, then why are you playing it?". That is because I feel it's the most viable list in the book. And the one I have models for at the 1850 point level for the league. I would have put it down after the 4th or 5th game if I wasn't playing for money.  I really wanted to try something different (ie not a marine) and they way Necrons played reminded me a lot of Tyranids.

So, here I am... Going into the finals and whining about how OP my army is. Haha, I'm prolly going to lose now! Oh well, what kind of experiences with Necrons do you guys have? Good, Bad, Ugly? Let me know what you think.


  1. I don't think "after the jump" means what you think it means.

    1. It means "After the break in text". As in after the read more link. Thanks for commenting though!

  2. Good analysis. I don't think the list is unbeatable but we'll have to see! Scarab farm is certainly the most viable Necron build so far but I think you could afford to lighten up on the spyders for some more of the good options in the dex like another squad of veiling immortals.

    1. Thanks John. I don't think it's unbeatable at all. I think it does reach a critical mass where most armies can't hang after a certain point though. With a full compliment of spyders, you are generating 27 wounds a turn. All the while, the enemy is trying to deal with the scarabs, the wraiths, the lord on barge, night-fighting and trying to mitigate damage from lightning.

      It presents threats on a lot of different levels and if they can't be swiftly addressed, then it gets out of control.

  3. I disagree on the lighten up on the scarabs sentiment.

    The critical mass Dok is speaking of is game over 99% of the time. Once the first scarab swarm gets locked in, and starts dominating the part of the table it is in, it is only a matter of time before the 2nd swarm is also to much to handle. The thing most people under estimate is how much space the scarabs take up and how 20 bases Dominates peoples ability to move and function. Especially if that 20 bases is engaged with unit. Now you have a large portion of the table being blocked off by a unit that will eventually cause more havoc while a second squad is moving to block off the other half.

    (What I mean by half is, 3 feet wide, not the entire area of 1/2 the table)

    All the mean time you have lightnight and wraiths and surflord moving over and passed the swarms to where you want them to be.

    Scarab farm does what you want, and that is generally bad for the opponent, also, incredibly unfun to play against.

    It's like 40k Aids.


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