Oh boy. Regular readers of Warphammer are going to be very unhappy with this post. Not only have I not posted anything for a while, but when I return, it’s with a Xenos article instead of a Chaos article?
Fear not, my Daemonic friends. I decided in the dark days of quarantine that it was time to get a Xenos army. I’ve been practicing with them for a while, so I decided to take them our for a spin in my first ITC event of this season. I had a great time meeting and chatting with friendly people and getting my freshly painted army on the tabletop (finished painting the day before I drove up). Let’s chat Necrons.
My List (12 CP, 1990 points)
- Supreme Command Detachment
- The Silent King
- Mephrit Battalion
- Catacomb Command Barge: Resurrection Orb, Voltaic Staff, Enduring Will
- Chronomancer: Veil of Darkness
- Chronomancer: Countertemporal Nanomines
- 2 x 20 Warriors, Gauss Reapers
- 1 x 10 Warriors, Gauss Reapers
- Hexmark Destroyer: Gauntlet of Conflagration
- 1 x 2 Cryptothralls
- 1 x 5 Lychguard, Sword and Board
- 2 x 4 Scarab Swarms
- Ghost Ark
What I Like About Necrons Competitively
As a Chaos player, I probably think about Necrons differently than most of their longtime players. The thing that stood out to me right away was the ability to take Purge The Vermin (2VP for every table quarter without an opposing unit wholly within it at the end of your turn), While We Stand They Fight, and Raise Banners as a combination of secondaries. Why is that important?
Before each game I think theoretically, “Okay, if both armies do literally nothing all game, who is winning the default board state?” And I love to be the person that wins in that situation, because then the onus is on the opponent to try to win the mission and I just have to block them from doing that. Taking those Secondaries and sitting on objectives near my deployment zone, I can score 45 Secondary points doing nothing besides knock back drinks for five turns unless my opponent aggressively comes towards me. And guess what happens if he or she comes towards me? I’ve got 100 Gauss Reaper shots with various buffs, solid shooting from my Catacomb Command Barge (CCB)/Ghost Ark/Silent King, and a few combat options. You know what unit in the game wants to take that to the face? No one!
The other things that stood out to me as “build around worthy” were two turns of 5+ rerolling Overwatch near the Silent King, and bricks of 20 Warriors with a Chronomancer each. I know some people love Novokh for their Warrior blobs instead of Mephrit, which I understand. But I think the 15″ Reapers are brilliant for the Death Guard and Dark Angel matchups (especially when combo’d with the Countertemporal Nanomines to halve the charge of deathstar units to prevent retaliation). I also love the ability to make 6’s to hit auto-wound and reroll all your hits fishing for 6’s to help the Reapers punch way above their weight class into T7 or T8 targets. The Ghost Ark is also an incredible unit, and arguably one of the best units in all of 9th Edition. The utility in terms of screening, healing/delivering Warriors, and tagging opponents with a large and super durable chassis is invaluable. Once I realized it had a blistering total of 20 S4 AP2 shots within 13.5″ range as Mephrit, I’ve never taken it out of the list. It is just an amazing tool. On to the games!
Round One: Zachery Howdeshell’s Chaos (W, 88-35)
- Thousand Sons Patrol, Cult of Magic
- Ahriman (Death Hex, Warptime, Weaver)
- Winged Daemon Prince (Devastating Sorcery, Infernal Gateway, Glamour of Tzeentch)
- 26 Cultists
- 29 Tzaangors
- Iron Warriors Patrol
- Daemon Prince, Insidium, Prescience
- 10 Cultists
- 10 Terminators with Combi-bolters and chainaxe
- 2 x 3 Obliterators
My Secondaries: Domination, Code of Combat, Raise The Banners High
Gameplan: As soon as he put the Terminators and both Obliterator squads into deepstrike, I knew I could take a huge board control advantage early. His Daemon Prince with the double exploding Mortal Wound powers was going to be trouble, but I had run that exact unit myself before and knew how to play around it. I knew I was going to get rocked extremely hard turn 2 or 3. That just happens sometimes. But I knew I would have the advantage in every other turn and stood a good chance of success.
I deployed with my Scarabs up front in the gaps between terrain and my other units at least 3″ away, so whichever direction he went with his Thousand Sons Daemon Prince he couldn’t get Mortal Wounds into anything else. Turn 1, I just advanced Scarabs onto the mid-field objectives to score Domination and moved up my Warriors a bit, while the Ghost Ark and CCB did some plink damage to some Cultists downfield. I had no desire to overextend, so I took a few potshots with the rest of the army… including the Silent King’s Menhirs shooting their two 6 damage shots into some Cultists. 6 damage shots into Cultists is the kind of efficiency we look for at Warphammer!
His turn 1, his Tzaangors moved up and multi-charged my Scarabs and moved around to touch a Warrior blob. This was annoying, as he had cast Weaver and Glamour onto the Tzaangors to make them a 4++ invuln, -1 to Hit brick. It was a bit of an “Oh no! Anyway…” situation as I could just swap into the fall back and shoot protocol. Turn 2, my gameplan was to evaporate his Tzaangors in the middle with all my Reapers, pick up the Daemon Prince that would no longer be screened, and finish off the small Cultist unit with my Ghost Ark and CCB to clear out his ObSec. His Daemon Prince was out in the open now, and it was my time to deliver the pain. I unload my CCB and Silent King into his Daemon Prince… and do literally 2 Wounds total. 4++ invulns aren’t to be trifled with. That was annoying, but I knew after picking up two of his three ObSec units that I was in a good spot.
Speaking of 4++ invulns, bottom of turn 2 he drops down and one shots my Silent King with an Obliterator squad that received Veterans and Endless Cacophony. It happens, that’s what his Obliterators are in the list to do. I had made sure to move my Chronomancers far away from the Silent King to avoid his potential explosion. He Tide of Traitors the big blob of Cultists into my deployment zone for his second Scrambler, which I was fine with because I knew he was running out of units to scramble the middle.
Turn 3, my Hexmark drops down and kills 17 Cultists (love this tech piece, nothing else in the army can do something like that without committing real resources) and my Lychguard finish them off with a charge. My big Warrior blobs pick up all the Terminators and an Obliterator, and my 10 Warriors in the Ghost Ark disembark and charge the Tzaangor Shaman near another Obliterator squad to pile in and tag them. Meanwhile, my CCB picks up his Daemon Prince in shooting and fighting. At this point, we just talk out the score.
I think Zachary had an interesting idea to combine the Thousand Sons’ Mortal Wound output with the Iron Warriors’ shooting, so we had a good chat after the game about some ways to optimize this style of list. He played well, but I think he had too many units all competing for the exact same buffs. The final score was 88-35 in the Necron’s favor.
Round Two: Tim Huebscher’s Sisters of Battle (W, 73-72)
- Order Of Our Martyred Lady Spearhead
- 2 x 5 Battle Sister Squads
- Hospitaller: Litanies of Faith
- Imagifier: Heroine in the Making, Tale of the Stoic, WL Trait: Indomitable Belief
- 3 x 3 Heavy Bolter and Flail Mortifiers
- 2 x 10 Retributors with 4 Multi-Meltas and other random stuff
- 1 x 5 Retributors with 4 Multi-Meltas
- Bloody Rose Patrol
- Canoness: Blessed Blade, Null Rod, Warlord
- 1 x 5 Battle Sisters Squads
- 2 x 7 Repentia
- 1 x 5 Seraphim with some Hand Flamers
My Secondaries: Code of Combat, Domination, Raise the Banners High
My Protocols: +1″ Move, 5+ Overwatch, Shooting, can’t remember, +1″ Move (Bad pick in hindsight, should have just doubled up on 5+ Overwatch)
Gameplan: What a terrifying list! For those that don’t know Tim, he is one of the sharpest Chaos guys out there (one of the top Chaos finishers at LVO with his triple Lord of Skulls build). He finished #1 Chaos Space Marines for two years running. So of course, when two well regarded Chaos players finally met in person, we were playing… Imperium vs Xenos. Good times.
We ended up on the table with the middle wide open and The Scouring deployment, which created an interesting dynamic. We both knew my Silent King was dead instantly if he was involved in the middle of the field. When he took Cut Off The Head, I knew I was going to get rewarded for doing exactly what I wanted to do: Have the Silent King chill in the far back corner until I had dealt with some of the Retributors.
I also knew I couldn’t afford to have Repentia get into my Warriors turn 1 before I had my Chronomancer invuln and 5+ Overwatch up, so I used the Ghost Ark and staying 27″ away from his Repentia Rhino to keep the Repentia from being able to hit my Warriors turn 1. He picks up the Lychguard with some Retributors, which is fine with me.
Turn 1, I ignore my own rule to not use Veil of Darkness offensively and throw a block of Warriors to pick up a Retributor squad. Tim’s list was so ridiculously deadly that sitting back and playing the mission for five turns wasn’t an option. I needed to pick up some of his damage dealing units early or I would just get tabled too quickly. I didn’t realize the Retributors had a 4++ invuln so it was a sweat, but I just managed to kill one of the squads. The other Warriors advance and shoot some Mortifiers, knocking a squad of 3 down to 1 model. I’ve got one squad screening out the other with the CCB and Chronos in between, so I felt I won’t get rocked too hard. I disembark 10 Warriors out of my Ghost Ark and they move onto an objective to raise a banner, while my Chronomancer on the right side raises another banner.
Turn 2, he shoots a Retributor squad at the Silent King but some good invulns keep him around with only one Menhir lost. The key point comes when 7 Repentia get out of the Rhino and charge my 10 Warriors. With the 5+ Overwatch and full rerolls from the Silent King nearby, the Warriors kill 5 of the 7 Repentia in Overwatch. This keeps the objective in the Necrons’ hands, as 2 Repentia only kill 3 Warriors after reanimation. The Warriors on the other flank aren’t as lucky, as 7 Repentia come from deepstrike without overwatch. The 5++ invuln from the Chronomancer makes a huge difference, as I only lose 5 or 6 Warriors on each of their activations (he paid the CP to fight twice).
My turn 2, I pick up 9 Code of Combat points. The Silent King’s Menhir picks off a lone Mortifier, his melee picks up the 2 Repentia, the CCB picks up a 5 woman Battle Sister Squad in shooting and mostly finishes off the Repentia in melee.
Turn 3, his 5 model Retributor squad coming in from reserves picks up the remaining Menhir and the entire Silent King. Tim is a smart player, and screened my Hexmark from being able to come in within 18″ of the Retributors to shoot them first. At this point though, with both Repentia squads out of the game, I realized I’ll end the game with enough Warriors to keep playing the mission for all five turns. I pick up a trio of Mortifiers with my Reapers, and basically start a fighting retreat to the terrain on the right side of the board.
Turn 4 is just Tim picking up my midfield Chronomancer and nearly killing one of my Warrior squads. I thankfully kill a wounded Mortifier in Overwatch with my remaining large Warrior blob before it can deliver its 15 attacks to my squad. I start my turn with a Warrior blob down to 2 models and just outside of 6″ of my CCB, so I don’t get the perfect chance to use my Resurrection Orb. I get another Code of Combat kill with my screened CCB’s guns, maxing that Secondary (all those strength 6 shots are amazing at picking up random T3 bodies and T5 Mortifiers around the board)
Entering turn 5, I had 8 Warriors and my CCB hiding behind the Obscuring terrain near the bottom left objective in the pictures. His Retributors can move to get Line of Sight to my CCB but not my Warriors, meaning he needs to kill 6 to get their count below 3 so he can target my CCB. He only kills 2, so the melta Retributors don’t get to fire.
I was down exactly 17 points, and saw a narrow path to victory. I had almost run out of resources, but his objective holders were pretty depleted too. If I could shoot him off one objective across the board, move the CCB to the center objective, and have at least 1 ObSec Warrior survive on the objective stuffed with Sisters, I could hold 2 objectives to his 1 and score 15 on Primary and 3 on Domination for an 18 point swing. My CCB does it’s job, grabbing the center objective and killing a Mortifier off another objective to leave it empty. My 6 Warriors charge the Retributors, losing 4 in Overwatch, and I position them onto the objective so no Character can intervene. The Retributors don’t kill any Warriors in combat, and my 2 Warriors end the game holding the objective. I hold 2, he holds 1, so I get 18 points for a final score of 73-72 for the Necrons. What a game!
Tim is a great player, and we both agreed we were going to get a rematch in sometime and chat Chaos builds down the road.
Round Three: Brandon Blum’s Custodes (W, 78-73)
- Shadowkeepers Patrol (All The Bikes!)
- Jetbike Captain with +2 Wounds and 5+++ Feel No Pain
- Jetbike Captain with -1 to Hit
- 1 x 3 Custodian Guard with Shields
- 1 x 5 Custodian Guard with Spears
- 1 more unit of Custodian Guard, can’t remember details
- Vexilus Praetor: Vexilla Magnifica
- 5 Jetbikes with Missile Launchers
- 5 Jetbikes with Missile Launchers
- Culexus Assassin
My Secondaries: While We Stand We Fight, Purge The Vermin, Raise Banners
My Protocols: +1″ Move, 5+ Overwatch, Shooting, can’t remember, +1″ Move
Gameplan: Custodes usually have no way to Fall Back and Shoot or Charge, and their Jetbikes aren’t that scary in melee unless they charged and are re-rolling wounds. My gameplan was basically to abuse that by drowning them in Reaper shots and then touching them with Warriors or the Silent King if they got close.
I love seeing Custodes on the tabletop. They’re the universe’s ultimate badasses, and combine strong rules with great models and lore. Brandon was a really friendly opponent, and we had a very clean game played fully by intent.
The Custodes player took Assassinate, Engage on All Fronts, and Grind Them Down. All reasonable picks for a jetbike heavy Custodes list… but I took a look at the Secondaries at the start of the game and knew I was going to be 3-0. This is no disrespect to my opponent, I had heard Brandon was a good player. But as soon as I saw the Secondary picks I knew it was going to be nearly impossible for me to lose because my Secondary advantage was just too huge. I think his Secondary choices would have been much better against something like Blood Angels or Drukhari, who want to engage with you and have units Custodes can reliably kill.
I have an exceedingly boring turn 1, moving my Silent King to take some potshots that whiffed and sneaking some Scarabs up the side of the board. My Lychguard, Hexmark Destroyer, and Cryptothralls raise banners across my three objectives. In return, he moves up and fires some Jetbikes into my Silent King, knocking out one Menhir and wounding another. He then charges his Jetbikes into my Ghost Ark and Scarabs in the middle, killing the Scarabs and doing a handful of wounds to the Ghost Ark.
At the top of the second battle round, we prepare to deliver the solar fury of the Mephrit dynasty to those Jetbikes. It takes my entire army’s shooting, but 40 Warriors, the Ghost Ark, and my characters manage to kill all 5 Jetbikes in front of us. This was despite Brandon using the Emperor’s Auspice stratagem to turn off any re-rolls from the Silent King. Necron short range firepower is pretty ridiculous.
My Scarabs sneakily moved up again and charge his Culexus on his back objective. I use the stratagem to sacrifice a base to do d3 MW on a 2+, knocking his Culexus to half strength. The Culexus fails to kill any Scarabs back. In his following turn, I do the same thing and manage to kill his Culexus with another exploding Scarab! My unit dies in exchange, but it cost him a piece that he could use to hold his back objective. Making Custodes commit resources to holding objectives and doing nothing is always a painful tradeoff for them.
Bottom of turn two, Brandon pours his firepower into the Ghost Ark but the combination of Quantum Shielding and 4++ invuln strat keeps it alive. He charges the bikes into some Warriors, but an intervening Silent King kills a Jetbike before they can fight and the 16 Jetbike attacks don’t do significant damage to our Chronomancer protected Warriors.
Turn 3 is basically a repeat of the previous turn, with my army’s entire firepower picking up the next squad of Jetbikes. In his turn, he gets some Guardians with Shields touching my objective to contest it while his Jetbike Captains engage my Silent King. Brandon smartly focused on pulling ahead in Primary (spoiler alert, he finished up 45-30 in Primary points), but on turns 4 and 5 I just bogged him down in Warriors and Silent King/Ghost Ark bad touches and he couldn’t accomplish his Secondaries.
The final score ended up being 78-73. We both had a ton of models still on the table, with the Custodes having still around 800 points on the table while the Necrons had around 1500 points.
Warriors need, need, need to be accompanied by a Chronomancer. Without 5++ invulns, my 40 Warriors would have been much more vulnerable to things like Custodes Jetbikes or Repentia. If you told me that for some reason I couldn’t run Chronomancers in my list, I would never bring Necrons to a tournament again.
This tournament was my first time running the CCB with the Voltaic Staff, and I loved the value it provided. It was incredibly tanky, with a Daemon Prince and Sisters melee character bouncing clean off it in combat. Most importantly, the CCB provided another way to farm Code of Conduct points if the Silent King went down.
And speaking of the Silent King… I love the buffs he provides for the army, but he is absurdly fragile and doesn’t do much damage. I think he works currently, but if strong anti-tank artillery becomes common again then he could become hard to play. If Astral Aiming squads of 10 Paladins or large blocks of Hive Guard start popping up everywhere, I could easily see an iteration of this list that drops the Silent King for another set of Warriors in a Ghost Ark and spends the remaining points on something like a Psychomancer and more Scarabs. Tomb Blades are another option I’m looking into, as I love that they can buy a 5++ invuln as a wargear upgrade instead of needing a Chronomancer to babysit them.
Going forward, I really want to experiment as running this list as Eternal Conquerors/Healthy Paranoia (ObSec/+3″ range). I am also intrigued by an army focusing on Warriors in Ghost Arks and Tesseract Arks/Annihilation Barges/CCBs in a custom ObSec/Vehicles Fall Back and Shoot dynasty. Thanks to everyone who made it this far, and I hope you enjoyed reading about the event as much as I enjoyed playing in it!
I’ve been working on the comprehensive guide about playing Chaos Soup in 9th Edition for a while now, and it’s getting close to completion. Check back in the next week to read all about unlocking the strengths of Chaos as a super faction. As always, stay safe, have fun, and may the Dark Gods (or C’tan) bless your rolls!
Interested in learning more about playing Chaos? Check out the Warphammer Discord here: https://discord.gg/SgBcXW5s6R
Published: April 6th, 2021. Last Updated: April 7th, 2021.