Between the new Necron codex and Tamurkhan: The Throne of Chaos, I have had plenty to read on flights this month. While I am still digesting both books, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the new Necron codex. I have been a long time fan of the necrons, still owning a full size army from back when they were released in second edition. The concept of machine men who could repair on the battlefield and had mysterious motives was just one that grabbed at my imagination. When the full codex was released in 3rd edition, I quickly developed a new color scheme and built a force that fit my approach to the game. I enjoyed playing them for years, but eventually my interest in 40K waned and the necrons went into storage. Now, two editions later and a new book in my hands, I am again exploring whether or not to crank up the Pink Flyod and sing along to “Welcome to the Machine”.
One of the first things noticeable about the new book is that GW was determined to expand every aspect of the necrons. From the fluff, to the models, to the play styles, the necrons have more options than ever before. While in general this was a good idea, the execution could have been better on all accounts. When it came to the fluff (die kitty, die), there are some interesting changes, but the handling of the C’tan was such a swing in the opposite direction from the last book that I found it disappointing. While the changes to the C’tan were disappointing, the changes to how the necrons travel about the galaxy and the idea of the Dolmen Gates was such a huge departure from prior fluff that I found myself angry the first couple times I read it. Outside of those points, I general like the new fluff and think the addition of tomb worlds and different dynasties was a smart one and can only help broaden the appeal of the army.
Moving past the fluff into the actual army list, I felt a sense of subdued excitement as I read each unit. I was happy to see new things, but most of the new stuff felt old already and with the exception of the new flyers and lychguard, nothing that grabbed at me or sung for my attention.
(Side Note: Since I have noticed a recent spike in new followers, I just want to mention that I tend to focus more on what interests me from a modeling or hobby standpoint than an actual tactical one. I do look at and explore tactics, but my first impressions are based more on what makes me want to sit down and paint and write stories than what will win me battles.)
I think the problem for me when it came to most of the new units was that GW didn’t take any real risks with them. What I think I was hoping for were units that were scary, but balanced in some fashion to the old phase out rules. You didn’t have to beat the whole army, just enough to scare them off. I know a lot of people didn’t like phase out, but I always thought it was a very cool army rule and forced me to play differently from other armies. The new units just seem more like an exercise in designing stuff to meet a checklist. Necrons need a couple of transports, check. Necrons need another troop choice, check.
Moving past my initial disappointment, I do admit that I like the new tesla rules. I am toying with ideas on how I can build an army themed around the new weapon type. I also think that the new flyers are very cool, but since they were not part of the first wave of releases, I will hold off on including them until a proper kit is available. Finally, I think the crypteks and lycheguards make for some fun additions and give the army a couple of cool ways to play. I especially like the dispersion shields and cannot wait to use them on the battlefield.
In the end, the necrons are still my favorite army in 40K. The new book gives me more options, even if many of those options are not that exciting for me. I think from a tournament standpoint, the new book is competitive, but more on the scale of the new Dark Eldar book and not the Grey Knights. As a person who likes to design different themed armies, I can see potential with the new book and look forward to developing them as more models are released.