Friday, 27 February 2015

Necron Codex review part 2 of 3

Welcome to part 2 folks, which covers all the non-HQ datasheets save for formations. These are brief reviews basically looking at what's changed rather than how to use the units and so don't expect an in depth analysis. The more I've read through the book, however, the more Necrons have turned from the army I love to hate into the army I want to love.

Warriors - completely unchanged save for a limit of 10-20 per squad rather than 5-20.

Immortals - again, completely unchanged.

Lychguard - got a massive and much needed points drop. The stats, wargear options and special rules are unchanged, but the wargear itself changed somewhat. Hyperphase swords remain the same as AP3 melee weapons, warscythes are clarified as S+2, AP2, 2-handed, armourbane and the biggest change is that dispersion shields now grant a flat 3++ save. So you can either go for a very tough unit that can dice through 3+ armour easily, or a unit capable of ripping apart vehicles and 2+ armour that is a bit cheaper but more vulnerable to AP3 and below weaponry.

Deathmarks - 1 pt cheaper per head. Hunters from hyperspace changed very slightly in that no nomination of units is needed now in order to wound on a 2+. Ethereal interception also changed in that now it is clarified that you can make a shooting attack when you arrive but cannot shoot in your following turn.

Flayed ones - a much needed improvement. For the most part everything remained the same (save for gaining fear - whoo!) except that these chaps now come armed with 2 flayer claws each, granting an extra attack, AP5 and shred. A much needed boost in melee but may still not make them that desirable.

Triarch Praetorians - like the Lychguard, they also got a lot cheaper. They gained an extra attack and access to a night scythe as a dedicated transport. Rods of covenant are S5 AP2 weapons in melee and gained an extra 6" on their ranged attack also. Particle casters are the same and voidblades are now AP4 base with the new rules for entropic strike (covered under scarabs). Now a much more attractive choice.

Triarch Stalkers - a power fist cheaper and now in squadrons or 3. All else is much the same except the targetting relay now changed so that all Necrons within 6" add +1 to their BS except if firing snap shots.

C'Tan Shard of the Nightbringer - Shards are now separate entities rather than build your own. Probably an IP protecting move but sadly I think it takes away from the uniqueness of the unit. Whereas before you could build a C'Tan to suit your fluff, now you're limited to the 3 that have models. Nightbringer has a slightly different profile to before with WS6/BS4 and retains the eternal warrior, immune to natural law and necrodermis rules. He also gains fleshbane and has gaze of death as standard. This works differently now and rather than being a melee attack is now a shooting attack. A single unit takes 3D6 -Ld AP2 wounds that ignore cover. If 1+ wounds are inflicted Nightbringer regains a wound. Probably a bit cheaper now that his rules are incorporated and not upgrades but still not a great choice for the points - T7 4++ just aint that tough thesedays. Add to that the randomness of the C'Tan powers which I'll cover under the transcendent C'Tan. 

C'Tan Shard of the Deceiver - Same cost as Nightbringer, just shy of a land raider. This chap retains his stats from before and gains a few new rules. Grand illusion is pretty much the same but now he can also hit and run and has dread, meaning models within 12" -2 from their Ld. Less of a beatstick than the Nightbringer and much more of a strategic model to outmanoeuvre and rout the enemy - probably better against slow, low Ld armies.

Night scythe - much needed points increase to make it more balanced, the scythe now has the invasion beam rule clarifying unit disembarkation. Also, the change to tesla is much needed and now clarifies that snap shots do not generate more tesla hits.

Ghost Ark - a bit cheaper and some changes to repair barge meaning you can no longer damage yourself and simply roll D3 to restore models to a unit of warriors. It retains quantum shielding, which is now a fixed 13 for front and side until a penetrating hit is scored. The Gauss flayer arrays are now salvo 5/10 and have independent targetting making them more useful. Speaking of gauss, in addition to auto-penetrating on 6's they now auto-wound on 6's also. Nasty.

Canoptek wraiths - in almost any codex there will always be one unit that stands out above the rest. Already a strong contender in the previous book, the canoptek wraith has gone from good to amazing. A straight 3++ now, plus all the same stats as before including an upgrade to T5, making it much more durable. It is also now a beast unit rather than jump infantry but retains wratihflight in order to bypass intervening terrain. All for a very modest points increase. Whip coils now add 3 to initiative rather than affecting the enemy's initiative value. The transdimensional beamer changed to a S4 AP2 heavy 1 weapons which causes auto-wound/instant death on a 6 and auto-penetrates vehicles on a 6 also.

Canoptek Scarabs - these chaps mostly retain the same stats but have gone up in price a bit and had their save reduced from 5+ to 6+. Also, entropic strike has changed dramatically so that now it is just effectively the same as gauss but in melee. Not as good as before obviously but many would argue they were too good then. 

Tomb Blades - stats remained the same but they got slightly cheaper and all the upgrades got significantly cheaper. What's more, all the upgrades are now useful. Shield vanes remained the same upgrading the blade to a 3+ (so now for the same cost as the old model you get a 3+ save), nebuloscopes now grant ignores cover instead of a pretty redundant (on a TL weapon) BS5 and the shadowloom grants +1 cover save rather than stealth, so presumably it can be stacked with stealth. Several subtle but needed changes mean they're likely to be more commonly seen, especially now they're a compulsory choice in a decurion detachment (more on that later).

Destroyers - Now jet pack infantry which is great as they can use the old Tau tactic of move-shoot-move. The cost remains the same, but now destroyers are a much needed 2 wounds rather than 1. The unit size maximum is now 6 and only a single model may be upgraded to a heavy destroyer for half the points cost of before. But.....

Heavy destroyers - ...they now have their own unit to compensate in the heavy support slot. A 1-3 unit and each is effectively 10 points cheaper than before and, as above, has jet pack and an extra wound. Destroyers are looking like an attractive option this edition.

Canoptek Spyders - Same points as before but with cheaper upgrades. The Particle cannon and fabricator claw are the same, whereas the gloom prism now grants admantium will to all units in 12". The scarab hive is pretty much the same except that the scarab base is automatically generated now regardless of whether you roll a 1 and wound the spyder. Slightly better due to the points adjustments, though the scarab nerf may make them less desirable overall.

Doom scythe - Slightly cheaper than before, the doom scythe has had the same tesla-snap-shot nerf as other units, but has also seen changes to the death ray. Instead of drawing a line 3D6 long, you now simply fire with a 24" range. It is still S10 AP1 but now has blast and lance, making it even more deadly for a single vehicle or heavy infantry unit.

Monolith - This unit may have gotten a little worse. It's the same points cost and has the same weapon profiles but is now officially counted as a heavy vehicle, meaning pretty much the same as before and it can attempt to regenerate thanks to living metal. The eternity gate can be used to transport friendlies still but not to kill enemies anymore.

Annihilation Barge - this chappy saw a much needed tone-down in the new book. Not only did tesla get changed to not apply its special rule to snap shots, but the points cost for this unit shot up 33%. Much more balanced this way.

Doomsday Ark - never a particularly popular choice in the old book, the Ark has only gone down in cost marginally and has had a few tweaks to its doomsday cannon. It's main fire mode still needs the Ark to remain stationary, but is now a S10 AP1 large blast which has the primary weapon rule for the penetration bonus. It's secondary fire mode is also improved somewhat, being S8 AP3 blast now. These slight adjustments may make it a bit more popular now. 

Transcendent C'Tan - This chap is now a heavy support choice and is markedly toned down from his previous incarnation - a good thing IMO as he was overpowered before and cropping up regularly at tournaments as a result. He has the same base rules as the other C'Tan (fearless, eternal warrior, necrodermis and immune to natural law) and a better stat-line than the other two, with 5 wounds and S8. Writhing worldscape is incorporated into his rules now and makes open ground within 6" of the C'Tan difficult. He also has deep strike for when you want to ruin your opponents day. The C'Tan powers now have a very random mechanic to them. You roll a D6/pick a card AFTER choosing a target each turn and then apply that power. This is pretty poor IMO and would work much better if you got to choose the power and then designate a target, as some powers are good against certain units and terrible against others. All these powers are available for all 3 C'Tan and have a range of 24". Here's a rundown:

1 - Antimatter meteor - S8 AP3 large blast
2 - cosmic fire - S6 AP4 large blast ignores cover
3 - Seismic assault - S6 AP4 assault 10 strikedown
4 - Sky of falling stars - S7 AP4 assault 3 large blast barrage
5 - Times arrow - SD AP1 precision shots
6 - Transdimensional thunderbolt - S9 AP1 tesla

Obelisk - A monolith with 2 more hull points that is also a skimmer and packs 4 tesla spheres. It's 50% more expensive than a monolith and can either deep strike or lay dormant, the latter of which gives it a 3++ until you decide to activate it. Tesla spheres are reasonably potent, each being S7 heavy 5. The other perk of an Obelisk is that it has a gravity pulse, which makes all non-ground based units take a dangerous terrain test if within 18". I'm not really sure how effective an Obelisk would be in-game by looking at the stats. It would be tough to shift and an annoyance for your opponent  but not really a game changer unless you came up against say a Saimm-Hann list.

Tesseract Vault - A lord of war and the most expensive unit in the book. Effectively an upgraded Obelisk with 4 Tesla spheres, 50% more hull points and, most importantly, the ability to use the coalescent powers of the C'Tan. These are all BS5 and fired from the C'Tan itself using better profiles than the regular C'Tan with twice the range. Antimatter meteor and cosmic fire are apocalyptic blast, Seismic assault is 20 shots, Sky of falling stars is assault 6 apocalyptic barrage, Times arrow and Transdimensional Thunderbolt are assault 2 instead of 1. It's intimidating for sure, but when the powers are so random it's a lot of points to invest. If it ever gets to the point of exploding though beware as it always blows up big!

Imotekh the Stormlord - Now a Lord of War, Imotekh is essentially an Overlord with a badass staff of light (S6 AP2 assault 3). He also packs a phase shifter, gauntlet of fire and has it will not die. Bloodswarm nanoscarabs allow more accurate deep striking for flayed ones, whereas his lord of the storm rule grants both auto night fighting on the first turn and can hit every unit within 48" with D6 S6 hits on a 5+ once per game. He retains his 2+ save and is a bit cheaper than before but note that he lost some other rules as well as not being able to access a Command barge. He's not bad, but not great either.

That's all for part 2, part 3 will cover formations, the decurion and supplemental material. Cheers. 

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