There's been a lot of discussion on how to beat necrons lately so I thought I'd write something about it. I've written a summary of necron capabilites and how to deal with them.
I originally intended to include some stuff on what to take in a tau force, but T0nkaTruckDriver's original MTT article is fine already. Follow the link a few posts down. I do think some words need to be added regarding new options available since Tau Empire was published though.
Tactica Tau vs Necrons
Tau players widely regard necrons as one of the hardest armies to beat. This article aims to provide you with the information to recognise and exploit necron strengths and weaknesses.
At first glance the necron army appears to present a similar problem to the space marines, both have T4 and Sv3+. There are however big differences in manoeuvrability, durability, armament and armament distribution.
The necrons have three movement types available to them: infantry, jet bike and teleportation/deepstrike.
For tau, the jet bike troops are the most dangerous, these include mobile firepower units (destroyers and heavy destroyers) and fast assault units (wraiths and scarabs). The destroyer types are capable of applying firepower in normally secure areas, making JSJ tactics more difficult. The assault units can tie-up and destroy our units by turn 2, making for a potent threat in the lines.
Infantry units (the rest) are slow, tough and can put out respectable firepower. Basic warriors will probably be more static as they use rapid fire weaponry. Immortals (and more rarely pariahs) have much better assault-type weapons, capable of destroying fire warriors with ease.
Teleportation is a force multiplier, gained through necron-lord wargear and the monolith. It only applies to units specifically classed as â€˜necron' i.e. not pariahs, scarabs, tomb-spyders or monoliths. It works in two ways, one is to remove a lord and accompanying unit from their location and deepstrike them elsewhere, the other is to teleport through a monolith from within 18". A common tactic is teleporting a lord with a squad of immortals into an advanced position, possibly in your deployment zone. Another one to watch out for is a deepstriking monolith being used to reposition units more rapidly than you expect.
Durability is the necron army's principal gimmick, much like tau jetpacks and firepower. In addition to high toughness (4 to 5) and armour saves (3+), the resilience comes from a rule called â€˜we'll be back' (WBB). At its simplest this means that each model you kill, that is classed as â€˜necron', will keep fighting if your opponent rolls 4+ on a D6 at the start of their turn. Over the course of a game this will, on average, double the number of necrons you have to destroy compared to a similar number of marines.
There are weaknesses to WBB though.
Weakness 1: It will not work if a model is killed by an attack that causes instant death, or a close combat attack that allows no armour save.
Weakness 2: It won't work if there are no active necrons of the same type within 6" (lords excepted).
Weaknesses 3 & 4: There's no WBB if the unit is wiped out in a sweeping advance or during a failed death or glory attempt.
The necron commander also has a few ways to counter these weaknesses. The Resurrection orb (almost every lord will have one) counteracts weakness 1 for all units within 6". The tomb-spyder helps with weakness 2, if it's within 12" and another unit of the same type is on the board. The monolith allows failed WBB rolls to be re-rolled for the unit that it teleports that turn.
Exploiting the weaknesses in WBB is the key to defeating the necrons.[b] So apply instant death (or O'Shovah's attacks) beyond the range of the resurrection orb. Destroy whole units before moving on. Remove the WBB infrastructure where possible/necessary.
As a counterweight to WBB the necron army also has the â€˜phase out' rule. What this does is give you automatic victory if over 75% of enemy models classed as â€˜necron' are dead after the necron player makes their WBB rolls. This may affect your targetting priority re. shooting dangerous units vs. going for phase out.
Armament and its Distribution:
Necron armament is distributed in a similar manner to tau. This means units with uniform armament, with the heavier stuff entirely in a few key units. As tau players you should be familiar with the advantages and disadvantages this will cause a necron commander. Suffice to say no â€˜meatshields' for their good stuff, but also no deadweight either when they shoot back at you.
The necrons have very few options for their units, only the commanders have any real choice of wargear.
Necron weaponry on the whole is fairly low power for shooting at heavy (Sv 3+) infantry. It gets markedly better vs 4+ saves though, so firewarrior based armies need to be careful. The main thing to note about necron weaponry is that, apart from the staff of light, every gun can potentially hurt everything. Even so, the necrons' only serious anti-tank weapon is the heavy gauss cannon, every other gun will rely on rolling a few 6's. Even your fast-moving, fully-upgraded hammerhead can be shot down by a basic necron warrior, so beware.
The necron army's manoeuvrability is comparable with the tau. Large parts are static in nature, but the more powerful units have much greater ability to move. These fast, powerful units present the main threat to a tau army.
Necrons' low overall weapon strength and extremely high durability lend themselves to an attrition style of play. They'll grind you down slowly and you'll do the same to them. Unfortunately they can get up again, so you have to make your attacks hit hard for minimal return fire and stop the WBB rolls to win. (This will apply to any opponent of course, with the exception of WBB.)
Thanks for reading.
Last edited by Prophaniti
on Aug 02 2006 06:30, edited 1 time in total.
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