Monday, March 5, 2012

Necrons: General Overview Part 1: Background

Today we have the first article by a new guest author, Chris. You may remember Chris from when he soundly thrashed my Blood Angels with his Necrons. He has kindly agreed to write a series of articles about the Necrons, the first of which follows here. I'm looking forward to these, and I hope Chris will become a regular contributor to the blog, bring both a Xenos perspective and another Badab War player! ~CI

Hello all, my name is Chris. Codicier Ignatius has invited me to do a series of guest articles for Fourth Company Librarium. First, I’ll give you a little background about myself. I got sucked into the wonderful hobby of 40k by the original Dawn of War computer games. I’ve been playing and modeling for over 3 years now, and have won a good number of local tourneys, so I like to think of myself as a more competitive war-gamer. My original army was IG, and then I picked up Chaos Marines and Tyranids. After a time I found that the Tyranids and Chaos Marines just weren’t my style so I sold them and started my Space Sharks. A few months after I started the Sharks, Foregworld released IA VOL. IX and X, the Badab War. So of course I was excited, but the change in Space Sharks to Carcharodons has slowed this army’s progress. So as I save money for Forgeworld Heresy Era armor and practice my painting skills, I’ve decided to pick up a new army, Necrons. As such most of my guest articles will focus on one of my two armies, either Necrons or Space Sharks.

 Today were going to talk about the new Necron codex penned by none other than Matt Ward. My Overview will be broken down into three parts: Background, Rules, and Wargear.


The new Necrons Codex has given them a serious face lift in this area. In their original iteration they were mysterious soulless slaves to star devouring gods called C’tan, who sent them out into the galaxy to harvest all organic life. That was all anyone knew about them. Many people who defend the original background say that the lack of information lends them an air of mystery. The truth is though, that a lack of background does not a background make. So Matt Ward, decided to throw most of that background out, keeping only key parts, and reinvented the Necrons, thus bringing them into line with other well written factions in the 40k universe. Instead of soulless, mindless slaves serving star devouring gods who themselves have no direction, purpose, or plan other than to eat (which is already covered by and done better by Nids), Matt decided to turn them into Tomb Kings in space.

This is a good thing though, as it gives them a lot of character and breaths life into an otherwise dull race. So now that you have a little perspective, let’s dive right into their background. The Necrons' story is one of ancient betrayal. Aeons ago, millions of years before the 41st Millennium, the Necrontyr race reigned supreme over the Galaxy. However as their great empire grew ever wider and more diverse, the unity that had made them strong was eroded and bitter rebellions known as the First Wars of Secession erupted as entire realms fought for independence. The Triarch - the ruling council of Necrontyr - realized that only the threat of an external enemy would bring unity once more and saw the Old Ones as the perfect subjects for the wrath of their race. Already jealous of the Old Ones seemingly eternal lifespans, the Necrontyr went to war with the Old Ones, the separatists’ realms abandoned their rebellion, and the War in Heaven began.

The War in Heaven was one of the bloodiest wars in history, and it soon became apparent that the Necrontyr could never defeat the Old Ones and their mastery of the Immaterium despite their advanced technology. On the verge of total defeat, the unity of the Necrontyr began to fracture once more in the Second Wars of Secession. The Triarchs again desperately searched for a unifying force, and their prayers were answered by the ancient and godlike C'tan, who were drawn to the Necrontyr by the beacon of their raw hatred for the Old Ones. Seeking the aid of these all-powerful star gods, the Necrontyr sought the favor of the C'tan and constructed bodies of living metal to contain their essence. So it was that a C'tan, later known as the Deciever, came before Szarekh the Silent King, lord of the Triarch. Telling the Silent King that his kind had also fought and been defeated by the Old Ones and were now looking for vengeance. Promising them not only victory in the War in Heaven but also the immortality every Necrontyr craved, the Silent King and Triarch eagerly agreed to an alliance, and so forever doomed their race.

Beginning the great biotransferance, the weak flesh of the Necrontyr was replaced with immortal bodies of living metal. The C'tan drank off the torrent of cast-off life and energy and grew stronger as Szarekh, now in a machine body himself, realized he had made a terrible mistake. The Necrontyr may now be immortal and unified, but they had lost their souls in the process. Thus the soulless machines known as the Necrons were born. With the C'tan and Necrons fighting as one, the Old Ones were overwhelmed and defeated in a bloody purge across the Galaxy that saw whole systems devoured by the reality-warping powers of the Star Gods and legions of immortal Necron warriors, who managed to infiltrate the Webway and assail the Old Ones at every corner of the Galaxy. Ultimately the increasingly desperate Old Ones were themselves wiped out after mistakenly unleashing Warp-spawned perils such as the Enslavers. Throughout the final stages of the War in Heaven, Szarekh bided his time, waiting for the moment where the C'tan would be most vulnerable. With the Old Ones finally defeated, the Silent King struck, and led a Necron revolt against the weakened C'tan. The Necrons focused the unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the C'tan to endure. The C'tan, almost impossible to destroy entirely due to their very nature, were instead shattered and ensnared in shards.

Yet even with the defeat of both the Old Ones and C'tan, the Silent King saw that the time of the Necrons was - for the moment - over. The mantle of galactic domination would soon pass to the Eldar, who had fought alongside the Old Ones in the War in Heaven. The Necrons, weakened by the War in Heaven and the revolt against the C'tan, could not stand against them. Yet the Silent King knew that the time of the Eldar would pass, as did the time of all flesh. So it was that the Silent King ordered the remaining Necron cities to be transformed into great tomb complexes threaded with stasis-crypts. The Necrons were laid to rest, ordered to sleep for millions of years and then reawaken, ready to rebuild all that was lost and restore the Necron dynasties to their former glory. Yet the Silent King did not join his subjects. Destroying the command protocols by which he had controlled his people, the Silent King left the Galaxy, there to find whatever measure of solace or penance he could.

For millions of years the Necrons remained in their deathless slumber in their tombs in what became known as the Great Sleep. As time passed, many Tomb Worlds fell prey to malfunction or ill-fortune. Some were destroyed by marauding Eldar. These failures destroyed millions, if not billions of dormant Necrons. But when the Tomb Worlds did begin to rewaken, it was not simultaneously. Some awoke to see the Great Crusade, others during the Age of Apostasy. Most however awoke during the later years of M41, but even still billions of Necrons lay dormant.

So there you have it, the new Necron background. In my opinion it’s a vast improvement that brings the Necrons more in line with the concept of 40k as a whole. If I had to give this new background a rating on a scale of 1 to 10, I would defiantly give it a 9. This is some of the best quality story and writing to come out of GW proper in its entire 25 year history. Now that I’ve covered the background material, stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll discuss their army rules.


  1. The new fluff makes Necrons more understandable from the point of view of a human, but I don't think it's that good. I know all fluff is made up but a great deal of it feels like Matt Ward was written into a corner by his predecessors and just made stuff up to get out of it, such as Star God killing weapons. You've written a good article though, keep it up.

    1. Hello

      Thank you for reading and replying, look for part 2 of the article, which should be posted soon.


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