Friday, March 23, 2012

Necrons: General Overview Part 3: Wargear

 Here we have the third and final section of Chris' general Necron overview. I've really enjoyed having more xenos discussion on the blog, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about his Necron army, as well as his Space Sharks (which will fit in just fine around here). ~CI 

So here we are the: third and final part of my Necron overview. This time were going to have a look at the wargear section and my opinions on each piece.


-Gauntlet of Fire-
Gauntlet of failure is more like it, for 5pts it allows the model to reroll to hit and to wound in CC, oh yeah, also gives you a flamer. It’s not a power weapon and its on models who are only I2, so this is about as close as it gets to worthless in the Necron wargear section. Besides, for 5pts more you could get a war scythe, which is infinitely better.   

-Gauss Weapons-
So here we have the first of the three “families” of Necron weapons, Gauss. The most common of the three weapon families, Gauss is used by everything from the basic infantry all the way up to the heaviest tank. The most common Gauss weapon is the Gauss flayer carried by warriors. While Gauss weapons have many different Strengths, APs, and Types, they all have one thing in common: the Gauss rule, which states that any armor penetration roll made by a weapon with this rule will score a glancing hit on a roll of 6, unless the roll was already sufficient to cause a penetrating hit. This is huge, as even the Necron equivalent of a bolter has a 1-in-6 chance of glancing a Land Raider. While not the best odds, it means even your lowliest grunts have a chance of damaging an enemy vehicle with their standard issue weapon, and, when twin linked, Gauss goes from nasty to down right dangerous. This gives the Necrons some amazing flexibility as most Necron anti-infantry weapons are Gauss, thus anti-tank as well. This is one of the defining rules that really shapes the Necron codex and makes them a top tier army.  

-Hyperphase Sword-
A power weapon, which makes it better than a gauntlet of fire. However it’s still not as good as a war scythe, so I never take it.

-Mindshackle Scarabs-
These are really an excellent investment of 15pts, as they make your Overlords extremely deadly in CC and are a must in my opinion if you plan on mixing it up in hand-to-hand at any point. At the start of the assault, after moves are made, but before blows are struck, randomly select a model in base to base. That model must make a 3d6 leadership test, if failed the victim strikes out at his allies. They inflict d3 hits on their own unit at their own initiative step. This is one of the deadliest upgrades you can get, as it makes going base to base with the Overlord a lethal proposition. There's also the little caveat that came out in the FaQ, which states that if the model is not part of a unit, it instead hits itself, which is utterly hilarious. Nothing is funnier than watching a Carnifex disembowel itself.

-Particle Weapons-
The second family of Necron weapons, they have no special rules and their stats are mediocre at best. Frankly these are disappointing. They’re high strength but not low AP (save for the particle whip) and don’t bring anything to the table rules wise. They are bad and Matt Ward should feel bad about them. 

-Phase Shifter-
Sweet Jesus have mercy, I love the phase Shifter. This bad boy clocks in at 45pts, grants a 3+ invulnerable save and it’s worth every point. I never leave the Tomb world without it. This has saved my Overlord more times than I can count, and is probably one of the best pieces of wargear in the entire codex. If you don’t plan on running your Overlord in a barge, he should definitely have a Phase Shifter equipped; it makes them nigh unkillable.

A one use only item, the Phylactery comes in at 15pts; it allows a model that passes its first Reanimation Protocols roll to return to play with d3 wound. I'm not too big a fan of this one as you use it after you're dead, which means you screwed up at some point, however if you have the points floating, it can be seriously frustrating for your opponents.

-Quantum Shielding-
A mandatory piece of wargear for almost all Necron vehicles, it makes the front and side armor values count as being 2 points higher until the vehicle suffers a penetrating hit. This essentially makes Necron vehicles front and side armor 13, until they suffer a penetrating hit of course. This was an interesting move on Matt Wards part, as it adds a unique and flavorful rule that is very fitting of our undead robot friends. I’ve seen some people on the internet say that it’s a terrible rule because you lose it after a penetrating hit. However, I’ve found that most of the time anything that pens a quantum shielded vehicle usually destroys it, so I don’t feel this is a bad rule at all. Quite the contrary actually, as it allows Necron players to field massed AV 13 without paying the hefty price tag of having actual AV 13 vehicles. In fact, I believe that Quantum shielding is one of the primary strengths of the codex, and should be one of the main things you take in to consideration when constructing your lists.

-Resurrection Orb-
Ye old rez orb comes in at 30pts and allows the bearer and his unit to pass Reanimation Protocol rolls on a 4+, instead of the usual 5+. In an unusual turn of events the FAQ did not nerf the rez orb, but instead buffed it, stating that it allows them to pass Ever-living rolls on a 4+ as well, and can be used even if the bearer was slain in the given phase. I cannot emphasize enough how important this particular piece of wargear is. I mean, for 30pts the Overlord and his unit get back up from any wound in the game half the time, this thing is mandatory in my opinion. Unless your Overlord is mounted in a command barge you should have him equipped with one of these. There is no excuse.

-Sempiternal Weave-
A 15pt upgrade that grants you a 2+ armor save. I never take this particular upgrade since I always take a phase shifter. I know a lot of people reading this are probably scratching their heads wondering “What the heck is he thinking?” Well it’s a little complicated, but the gist is that if I purchase a 2+ armor save my opponent is going to throw all the AP 1, 2, and power weapons he has at my Overlord. Meaning he’ll never actually get to use the 2+ armor save he paid points for. This is the reason you never see terminators without stormshields, outside of GK. When you pay points for termis you’re mostly paying for their 2+ armor, so your enemies hit them with all the plasma, melta, and power weapons they have, hoping to deny you the 2+ armor save you paid so many points for. As I said, I never take the weave since it costs the same price as mindshackle scarabs, which are much more useful.  

-Staff of Light-
The starting wargear for Necron Overlords, the SoL is a shooting weapon with an ok profile, STR 3 AP 3 assault 3, but has a dismal range of 12 inches. If the SoL had been a power weapon (like they used to be), you could maybe have made a case for keeping it, but I suggest trading this thing out for a warscythe, because honestly the SoL sucks.

-Tachyon Arrow-
A one shot weapon, the TA has an Infinite range and is STR10 AP 1 assault 1. Sounds really good, until you see how ridiculously overpriced it is. It’s a whopping 30pts, for a one use anti-tank weapon on a BS4 model, thanks but no thanks. I really can’t recommend this piece of wargear under any circumstance. Well, unless of course you playing Apoc, in which case take as many as you like.

-Tesla Weapons-
The third and final family of Necron weapons is also the newest, Tesla. The Tesla special rule states that a to hit roll of 6, the target suffers 2 additional automatic hits. This is essential an “exploding 6s” style mechanic that you might find in other war games, and I have to say I can’t even begin to describe how much I love the new Tesla weapons. It's absolutely an exhilarating feeling to roll 6s with a tesla weapon; you feel like you just hit the jack pot. These are absolutely devastating to any infantry unit in the game; even terminators are threatened through shear weight of fire. Units equipped with Tesla weapons also make excellent partners for your Triarch Stalkers, as twin-linking Tesla weapons takes them from stupid good to stupid broken, which is totally awesome.  The most common Tesla weapon is the Tesla carbine, with a good profile of STR 5, AP-, assault 1, 24ich range, which you can switch out for immortals' gauss blasters for free, and I strongly suggest you do so as Tesla carbines are some of the best anti-infantry in the game. The next step up is the Tesla cannon, with an increased STR 6 and higher rate of fire with its assault 2. Tesla cannons are found on command and annihilation barges, and make excellent light anti-tank and anti-infantry weapons. The last type is the Tesla Destructor, a truly terrifying weapon with an even deadlier profile. It has an increased STR 7 and has an even higher rate of fire with its assault 4. It also comes twin-linked on the annihilation barge (making it stupid good), and has a unique special rule, called the Arc rule. The Arc rule means that once the initial shot has been resolved roll a d6 for each other unit within 6 inches of the target. If you roll a 6, that unit suffers d6 automatic STR 5, AP- hits. As you can see this would be very problematic for horde style armies as it can result in excessive “free” hits against surrounding blobs of enemies. Overall, I really feel like the design studio hit the mark with these rules, creating deadly, exciting and characterful rules.

-Tesseract Labyrinth-
A one use only 20pt upgrade that can be used in lieu of regular CC attacks, the victim must immediately roll equal to or under its remaining wounds on a d6 or be removed as a casualty with no saves allowed. So a waste of points, nothing to see here folks, moving right along….

-Transdimensional beamer-
…To another piece of useless junk, the beamer. This has a 12inch range, heavy 1 and the exile ray rule. The exile ray rule means that models hit by this must pass a STR test or be removed with no saves allowed. Again, utterly useless and a waste of points.

-Void Blade-
A free upgrade for Triarch Praetorians, the void blade has both the rending and entropic strike rules. This means their exceptionally good at slicing even heavy tanks open, and Praetorians equipped this way are best used as can openers.

Here we are folks, the baddest power tool in the shed, so to speak.  For 10pts, you get a two handed power weapon that adds +2 Strength, and rolls 2d6 for armor penetration. This is the no brainer choice of the Necron codex, as for 10pts you turn your Overlord into a STR 7 monstrous creature. I always take a warscythe It’s the go to weapon choice as it chops up Terminators and Carnifexes just as easily as Landraiders. I can’t say enough good things about the warscythe, it’s pulled me through all of my games.

So there you have it, my wargear overview. There are a lot of bad pieces of gear in the Necron codex, like the Gauntlet of Fire, Particle Weapons, Staff of Light, Tachyon Arrow, Tesseract Labyrinth, Sempiternal Weave  and Transdimensional beamer. However, there are some good pieces of gear like Gauss Weapons, Hyperphase Swords, Mindshackle Scarabs, Phase Shifter, Phylactery, Quantum Shielding, Resurrection Orb, Tesla Weapons, and Warscythes. The wargear section is filled with slightly more good than bad, so overall I think the Necrons have a healthy selection of wargear that allows them to compete with other top tier codices. I’d love to get the readers thoughts on the matter. Tell me what you think I got right and wrong, and tell me what your own experiences have been. I look forward to reading your comments.


  1. Wait. Tachyon Arrow is one-shot? As in, once per game? Wow. I had no idea. I totally wouldn't have lost that game if my opponent hadn't screwed that one up...

    1. Yes, Tachyon arrows are one use items, as in once per game. Sorry to hear that you got cheated on that.

  2. Nice articles, Chris. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the Crypteks and their gear/powers, as well as some of the units that don't yet have models, like the Wraiths, Stalkers, and Tomb Blades.

    I'm pretty new to 40k as a whole (less than 2 months) but I'm glad to see we have similar opinions on many of the various bits of Necron awesomeness ;)


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