Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Necron System Error

Like all good glue fiends, I picked up the new Necron codex this weekend.  In short, my hobby plans for the next few months will not be interrupted...

The blurry iPhone pic above was intended not to display the work I have done on my own 2nd edition collection of pewter robots, but rather to express right off the bat, that I have a vested interest in a viable, playable set of rules for the mini-monster-bots.  I really wanted to see my models come out of the display case.

To me, the codex is a complete failure.  I literally mean complete.  Let's start where the book starts, with the fluff.  The reboot of the background material for these models took the line in a new direction.  Personally, I feel that the flavor of the army has been entirely lost.  While it is true that the story lines now include personalities, I was originally drawn to the army for it's distinct lack of personality.  There is something truly sinister and elementally evil to a collection of soulless automatons, and the Lovecraftian themed C'tan added just enough mystery to the origins of these space undead.  Now we have political machinations, allied Ultramarines, and Necron Lords shooting Inquisitors text messages.

Next up, comes the new models.  To me, the "pimp-bot" style of the Lychguard, which permeates most of the new line, removes the crusty-robot feel of the original army.  Again, I get it:  the change was intentional.  I just wish the change had been for the better.  The Ghost Ark kit would actually be pretty ok, if it wasn't for the alternate build of the model.  The fact that the alternate build, the Doomsday Ark, is just the hull of the Ghost Ark flipped over, makes me feel like the design was a poorly thought-out rush job.  Honestly, it is the fact that the two builds make me feel robbed of two distinct models, that keeps me from enjoying either build individually.  Remember, I have an army of the ugly 2nd edition Necrons, so for me to be complaining...

Let's talk about the rules.  Sure, I am annoyed that all of the models I had built and painted back in the late 90's, are now terrible.  I expected to have to buy new units, but the extent the codex goes in ruining the previous models is almost insulting.  Preferred enemy on Destroyers?  Twist the knife.  Deep strike mishaps for your Monolith?  Glad I didn't waste time installing lights.  Now I don't claim to be a tactical genius, nor do I pretend to understand game design like some of our more number-heavy blogs, so I could totally be missing some synergistic keystone...  but to me, every infantry unit, Lychguard included, will be assaulted, beaten in combat, and chased down.  I am very disappointed in the lack of the "stubborn" special rule, at the absolute minimum.  Maybe someone will find a way to build a list with some tactical flexibility, beyond banking an entire strategy on spamming solar pulse, and hoping the enemy doesn't have searchlights.  Unfortunately, I see "mediocre mono-build" in this army's future.

Again, I showed the photo of my Necron collection at the beginning of this article, to attempt to show that I am not just being a negative-Nancy.  I had something to gain from a useful Necron update, and I truly hoped that this book would bring some value to my ancient collection of robots.  Aside from ebay.

On the bright side, this disappointment has forced me to redouble my painting efforts.  My zombie-corpse is coming along nicely, and I am very excited about trying a new kind of list with my traitor IG.  Silver linings and all that jazz.


  1. Agree 100 percent. IF i keep playing Necrons (a big if) I will make my armies fluff clearly pro- C'tan. We are the loyal slaves fighting to crush the individualistic metal scum that have reduced our gods and creators to mere shards.

    I am Loyal, and if that means i have to play with 3rd ed rules so be it!

    BTW, I am Glad someone else thinks this codex is crap. Because it is.

  2. Um, well...deathmarks look cool.

    Haven't read the codex yet, but I must say I REALLY like the models. Fluff to me is somewhat irrelevant, because I like to create my own fluff...my Tau aren't young idealists, they are jaded professionals like roman centurions. They care little for the greater good, but doing their job- expanding the empire- is paramount. Kroot, a dominated and assimilated culture, are insufferable savages that can't be trusted, but a necessary component of an overall strategy.

    I guess what I am trying to say, don't get too wrapped up in the fluff that GW puts forth. I got into this hobby initially because it allowed me creative expression, to create shards of an imaginary world...one that I own. the game is merely a way I can share that with others.

    The new necron models, the forth-coming waves, are going to wow us all, and other tons of conversion possibilities.

    That said, I like where you are going with expanding your guard..characterful and your own thing. Adepticon? Please say you'll be there. It's my first one and I don't know if there's open gaming but i'd love to throw some dice with ya.

  3. DK: thanks for the support. Glad I'm not the only one who likes the stoic space-invader trope.

    OSH: I am not sold on adepticon. I don't trust taking models on a plane, so I need to get over that hurdle. As for getting a game in... Are you planning on coming up to NYC for conflict again this January? They bumped the tourney down to 1750, but there were a ton of players last year. You have a place to crash here, so long as you can endure my gf's cats...

  4. And he's not creepy. I can swear to it. :P

  5. Ugh, I had a large response and it got et.

    Don't sell your Crons. The codex isn't bad at all. More detail when it's not midnight.


  6. I'm glad that the Lovecraftian monoculture is gone (I never liked armies that don't have room to project oneself onto), but I will defend to the death your right to like it, preserve it, and embody it in your own armies - because it was kinda cool for what it was. It just wasn't something I was especially interested in. Besides, C'tan loyalist Necrons is a damn fine idea for an army.

    Nice second edition models, too. I wish I'd been able to afford a whole army of them at the time... could only ever manage one squad, and they were mostly bad guys for team Gorkamorka games. Happy days...

  7. Yeah, with the wife and kid I probably can't make the Conflict this year. Adepticon will probably be the only time I travel for hobby next year. If you haven't signed up yet, then I wouldn't bother. There are very slim pickings on events right now. I only got the infinity tournament, and two painting seminars.

    we're driving up so the transport thing is a non-issue.

  8. You can still play the old mindless "kill all humans" Necrons, you know. They're still in the book. Yes, they discarded their old flavor for the most part in favor of the new stuff, but that's because the old Necrons were... well, boring in the opinion of most people. You have a right to your opinion, though.

    I'm not sure why you think "everything you built and painted is now terrible." Scarabs? Fucking awesome still. Warriors and Immortals? Staples of the army. Destroyers/Heavy Destroyers? Not great, but the latter is quite usable. Wraiths and Spyders? Actually good now. Flayed Ones are still bad, but I don't think you can complain that they got worse. Pariahs don't exist, but if you don't like the look of the new models, just use 'em as a stand-in. Monoliths weren't good before (sorry, internets) and they're pretty middling now, I think, but meh. So many other things got better in so many ways I don't feel bad about the one over-the-top unit not having special exceptions to every rule in the game anymore.

    Call your old Destroyers Tomb Blades or Praetorians (since very few people will recognize them as Destroyers) and you're basically good. Sucks about that one Monolith, but seriously? Can you name a codex update that DIDN'T invalidate at least one "good" unit from the old book?

  9. I have to agree with ABP. A lot of the units I barely ever used (wraiths, spiders, scarabs) just became a lot more attractive. Plus, now you get the perk of your Necrons being able to assault straight out of an AV13 skimmer. They have more anti-tank and better heavy support choices too. The extra perk for Necron players like us is that it's not even a big investment to upgrade. Sure, Destroyer wing armies aren't anymore but hey, you have to evolve.

    Does the fluff suck?

    Well, yes, Matt Ward wrote it.

    It could have been worse. Would you rather have great fluff and a shit army from, say, Jervis? I nearly dumped my Deathwing terminators in a Simple Green bath after I read that.

    Yes, the Doomsday ark is kind of half-assed, design-wise but when the company fails (and they do, often) it's up to us as modelers to make things look good if we don't like 'em. Really, the thing needs a prow: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ARyCHIqabVY/TBo8kOOkLcI/AAAAAAAAA2g/IUvVYFgked0/s1600/11.jpg

    Maybe not a big gay skull: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ARyCHIqabVY/TBo8KIaOTuI/AAAAAAAAA2Y/NlXefKfHYuI/s1600/10.jpg

    But a prow of some kind.

    And take a moment to think about Tesla weapons. They're AMAZING anti-infantry guns. Sure, you can't torrent tanks to death with them, but fire a brace of the things at a troop formation and you'll be mowing 'em down. Look at your local ork player and grin, because you'll be turning his mighty hordes to green past in no time. And the DE skimmers. And the Rhinos and anything else lightly armored. Tesla=a good idea.

    One of the gripes I have is how everything is crescent-shaped. Looks like you're riding a bunch of orange slices into battle...

  10. The Monolith is drek now, but it was never a big threat to most players, they just went for the phase out.

    Scarabs and spyders rocked long before now ,but the internet said they didn't so only the truly awesome used them. Now everyone is scarab/ spyder crazy. It gives me a real high school "poser" flashback vibe.

    When people get tired of their initiative 2 army getting pasted and swept every other game (by units that cost the same and do it better), then the Necron ranks will once again dwindle. it is sad to think that, since these guys were my 1st and favorite 4th ed. army.