Friday, March 16, 2012

Necrons: General Overview Part 2: Special Rules

Hey all, Chris here again. This post is the second part of the Necron general overview. This time we will go over all of the unique Necron rules. 

The Necrons have a number of army specific rules that really set them apart from other factions.

-Reanimation Protocols-
This is the defining special rule, the heart of the Necron codex, so to speak, and replaces the old “We’ll Be Back” rule from the last version of the codex. The way Reanimation Protocols (from here on referred to as RP for short) works is that when a Necron model with this special rule is removed as causality it becomes a RP counter for it’s unit. At the end of the phase in which the model was removed, after moral checks have been made, if the unit did not break and flee, you may roll for each RP counter in the unit. On a roll of 5+ the model is returned to play within 2 inch coherency of a model from that unit, that itself didn’t return to play via RP this turn. The only limitation is that if all models of that unit are removed, they cannot attempt a RP roll. So if you have 5 warriors, and 4 are wounded and removed, as long as the unit passes any moral checks the 4 removed warriors can attempt an RP roll. If all 5 are wounded and removed then none of them may attempt a RP roll. However, that said, this is an amazing rule for a number of reasons. First, unlike the old “We’ll Be Back” rule from previous editions, no matter what removes your model, whether it be AP 1, 2, Instant Death, power weapons, it doesn’t matter what removed your model, you always get your RP roll. This in essence means that Necrons get 2 saves against damage, making them the only faction in the game that can have a chance to save twice against the same wound. The second thing that makes this rule so amazing is the tactical flexibility it gives you, specifically in the form of a maneuver called “rubberbanding.”  

The concept behind “rubberbanding” is that you are using part of the RP rule, specifically the part about models being returned to play within 2 inch coherency of a model from that unit, to your advantage. Were going to use a unit of Lychguard as an example. Let’s say you have 5 Lychguard, and you want them to assault your opponent’s closest Tactical marine squad. Its your opponents shooting phase, he measures from his nearest Tac marine to your nearest Lychguard, they are 13 inches apart, so just outside of rapid-fire range, but more importantly this also tells us that your Lychguard are not going to be in range to assault them next turn. Now let’s say your opponent shoots and manages to kill one of your Lychguard, you then remove the Lychguard at the back of your unit, furthest from the fight. You then roll for his RP, and sure enough it’s a 5, he returns to the fight. Now this is where we are going to be “rubberbanding”, we take the Lychguard who was wounded and removed from the back of the unit, and using RP, place him within 2 inch coherency forward of the lead Lychguard. Now our nearest Lychguard is only 11 inches away, close enough to launch an assault in your next turn.

This rule is a special version of RP given to Overlords, special characters, and royal court members. It reads exactly like RP, except a model with Ever-living (referred to from here on as EL) doesn’t become an RP counter. Instead where the model was removed from play, you place an EL counter. On a roll of 5+ the model is returned to play within 3 inches of the EL counter. The key difference between RP and EL, is that models with EL may attempt an EL roll even if they are the last of the unit. So if a squad of warriors with an attached Cryptek is wiped out in the enemies’ shooting phase, the Cryptek can still attempt his EL roll.

-Entropic Strike-
This is an interesting rule that really shows that the design studio at GW is not afraid to innovate. The rule says that a model that suffers an unsaved wound from a weapon or model with this rule immediately loses its armor save. This part of the rule while interesting is not game changing since most models have only a single wound. Where this rule is useful is against monstrous creatures without an Invul like Carnifexs and Tervigons. However the second part of the rule states that for each hit a vehicle suffers roll a d6, on a 4+, the vehicle loses one point of armor on all facings, if any facing is reduced to 0, the vehicle is destroyed. Now this is what makes this rule so intriguing, as it gives them a new form of anti-tank. Unfortunately the only really effective way to use this rule is to use Scarab swarms. I was originally very excited by this rule as I felt it could level the playing field against mechanized armies. The truth is that after play testing, I feel that relying too heavily on this rule is a very bad idea.

-Living Metal-
In tournament level play people often talk about suppression, the concept is a simple one. Some times it is not always necessary to destroy an enemy’s vehicle; sometimes you need only suppress it, to take it out of the fight for a turn or two, usually by stun locking them.
Necrons are one of only two codexs to have some form of built in suppression immunity, the other being Grey Knights. This suppression immunity comes in the form of the Living Metal rule. Living Metal stats that if a model with this rule suffers a crew shaken result, that on a roll of 2+ it is ignored. Similarly if a model with this rule suffers a crew stunned result, on a roll of 4+ it is ignored. This is huge, as unlike Grey Knights Fortitude power there is no way of nullifying Living Metal, it always happens. This gives Necrons the toughest vehicles in the game, bar none. Not only does this mean that Necrons are well built for the missile/Autocannon spam meta of 5th, it also gives them a much subtler advantage. It gives them a fighting chance if going second against lists built for alpha strikes, as other armies might have half their vehicles stunned or shaken, Necrons going second will have the majority of their vehicles largely functional.  

-The Big Picture-
So what does all this mean, what’s the big picture? These army specific special rules mean that Necrons are the toughest bastards in the entire game. Between Reanimation Protocols and Ever-Living, your opponents are not going to be able to simply fire on targets of opportunity, they are going to be forced to focus down your units or risk your models getting back up and into the fight. Living Metal is also going to force your opponents to pour an inordinate amount of firepower into your vehicles to destroy them, rather than simply fire off a couple of anti tank weapons at them and shake or stun them.
Their survivability is through the roof and a well built Necron list will hit just as hard and often outlast other top tier armies.  

Stay tuned for part three of my Necron general overview, where I will discuss war gear in detail.


  1. Don't forget Daemonic posession, that one-ups both of you! :D Fortitude removes it at the beginning of their phase with a psychic test, which is an important distinction. First, the psychic test is vulnerable to psychic defense, so a psychic hood, runes of warding, or if you're close, SiTW or a gloom prism could keep vehicles down. Second, if 6th edition introduces something that causes stacked shaken/stunned in one turn to do more damage, living metal and daemonic posession will prevent it, while fortitude will not. This would also make tesla weapons better, as ap- could cause more damage via several shaken/stunned results.
    also of note is that if an independent character has joined a squad, and the squad is wiped out except for the character, the squad may not attempt RA.
    The fact that RA cannot be attempted if the squad is eliminated leads to an interesting point: when fighting necrons, one must completely eliminate a squad or cause it to fall back, as opposed to just shooting it until it's useless: this leads to inefficient shooting on your opponents part: do you want to rapid fire bolters at the 15 strong squad of warriors, or at the 2 warriors that have taken 13 casualties?
    I'm curious what your opinion is on quantum shielding...

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting SnaleKing, I intend to try and reply to ever comment. First, your right I forgot daemonic possession, that does technically one up both Necrons' LM and GK fortitude, however both powers have no actual drawback unlike DP that lowers BS, which is minor at best. What I probably should have said was that Necrons and GK get a form of built in suppression immunity that neither costs them points or has any inherit penalty. Also your correct about the squad not being able to attempt RP, but I didn't include it as I thought it was a given. I am currently working on part 3 of the overview, where I'll discuss quantum shielding and other wargear options fully. Hopefully this article was helpful.


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