Of the new units in the necron codex, the Lychguard has been one of the more fascinating ones for me. In particular, I really like the option of arming these guys with dispersion shields as I find the new models very appealing and the rules for them fluffy and fun. Driven by this interest in them, I wanted to explore how I would potentially use them on the battlefield.
Generally speaking, the biggest challenge when fielding these guys seems to be the point cost of them. At over 200 points for just 5 of them with shields, fielding them in any real numbers can be difficult unless they are intended to be the focal point of the army. Even as the center of it, they are still expensive enough that any supporting units need to be selected carefully. Bottom line is that for the cost, these guys cannot be treated as a throwaway unit.
Another interesting thing about Lychguard is that they can be armed with either a warscythe, granting them +2 Str power weapon in CC, or a power weapon and the before mentioned dispersion shield. The dispersion shield is an interesting option as it gives the model a 4+ invulnerable save and can reflect shooting attacks stopped by the invulnerable save at another enemy unit within 6” of it. Not a game breaking ability, but one that can have an impact and potentially cause an opponent to second guess whether or not to target them. Between the two choices, I believe the PW/shield option is the better choice since each model has Str 5 and 2 attacks, thus wounding most things they should target on a 3+. The warscythe seems more suited for monster/vehicle hunting, something that I feel the Lychguard would perform poorly at on the battlefield.
Elite Strike Force
One approach that I intend to experiment with is using a reasonably sized unit (6 – 8 models) of Lychguard as an elite strike force in games at or below 1500 points. In these types of games, I would likely mount them in a Night Scythe for increased mobility and a little extra protection before deployment. Once deployed, I believe my primary tactic would be to use them to contest objectives that my scoring units would be incapable or less likely to capture.
When it comes to using lychguard in this fashion, I anticipate the biggest challenge being when their Night Scythe is destroyed before they are deployed into position. I like that the Night Scythe rules allow for the unit to return to reserves, but depending on when this happens, I could find the Lychguard to be useless because of their location on the battlefield.
The Reflective Wall of Difficult Choices
Another approach I am interested in trying is to use multiple units of Lychguard as a barrier between large units of warriors and immortals that would be marching behind them. My tactic here would be to push forward with everything until my shooting units are within the magical 24” range of their weapons. At this point, the Lychguard would continue to move forward and engage the enemy as needed. I like this approach to using Lychguard in bigger games as I feel their ability to be an elite killing unit diminishes as more big stuff floods the table.
Overlords & Royal Court Characters
When it comes to including a model from the royal court options, I think it would be useful to include a Necron Lord with a Rez Orb in each unit of Lychguard in order to increase their survivability and maybe add to their damage output in CC. I don’t think any of the Cryptek options would be ideal, but I could see using one with the Veil of Darkness as an alternative approach. Finally, when it comes to including an overlord with them, I can see the pros and cons either way and think it really depends more on how the overlord will be used than the actual presence of the Lychguard. However, with any of these options the overall cost of the combination should weigh heavily into decision of whether or not to attempt it.
Special Operations: Killzone
I am a little behind on my Killzone rules, but I am really considering one of these guys as the centerpiece to a Killzone team. In my experience, Killzone games tend to be close and personal affairs, so the shield's ability to reflect shots seems like it could pay-off quickly. Typically, I don’t believe I would include more than a single model of them, but maybe 2 or 3 with some warriors for support could make for an interesting team.
Ultimately, my goal is to include these guys in some fashion every time I field my necrons. Like Pariahs from the last book, I am simply in love with the idea of them and hope to figure out how to apply them every time they take to the battlefield.