The Inevitable Necron Article…
You all knew it would happen eventually, so don’t act surprised…..
So after many years of waiting the Necron players have finally got themselves a new Codex and I suppose the big question is “was it worth the wait?”
Lets look first at the obvious changes to the background and how that effects Necrons as a whole.
Firstly, They’ve decided to give Necrons a bit of personality as for many people the Necrons were …..well…a bit fucking dull…..They may have had a point……However…..
Giving each Tomb World a distinct set of motivations has allowed the personalisation of each army so a Necrons players choice of customisation is no longer a matter of picking which metallic colour scheme to choose or scouring the internet for plastic rods of a slightly different shade of green. Many believe this new concept idea is going to allow a myriad of different armies to be seen on the tabletop which is great I suppose…except…
They’re no longer really the Necron army that players started using now are they?
In my opinion Necrons have never been particularly competitive so it’s unlikely that they attracted masses of power gamers eager to crush their opponents under the relentless march of hordes of robotic feet. If were being honest here then the models can’t have been a particular draw either…..
So were left with the idea that people were drawn to the underlying concept of a relentless horde of soulless mechanical beings systematically harvesting world after world in an steady but unstoppable wave of silent death…..
C’tan were from a background point of view basically gods incarnate and it’s never going to be possible to represent that on the tabletop to any acceptable degree. This isn’t solely a problem with C’tan…Daemon Princes command entire planets of minions yet are apparently quite happy to team up with another Daemon Prince and a couple of squads of Marines and nip into real space in order to beat up thirty Marines and a couple of tanks, The Swarmlord turns up to destroy minor Imperial Guard outposts and Mephiston seems to involve himself in every minor Skirmish that the Blood Angels attend. The fact that most of these mighty beings can be destroyed by a couple of units of Long Fangs or any Marine list with three Predators in it doesn’t really help either.
So rather cleverly Mr Ward* has ret-conned these aspects of the C’tan as mere shards of the original star gods but has nicely put in the ‘get out clause’ that there are still a load unaccounted for in order to not invalidate other Games Workshop ‘Fluff’ that involves them.
* Yes I said something good about Matt Ward…..don’t get too excited. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally.
So you can still field your C’tan models in an army if you wish and that’s fine. However back to my original basic point…”are Necrons actually Necrons any-more?”
well the answer is ‘not really’.
Sure the models are prettier, the units are certainly more effective in the majority of areas and ‘we’ll be back’ no longer takes a twenty page FAQ and three hours of arguing just to decide whether ‘model A can get back up as part of unit B…..’ and that’s obviously good.
My criticism of the codex is not really a matter of whether it’s now competitive (It is) or whether the model range is more interesting (It is) or even if Matt Ward has done a hatchet job on the background (he has, but it probably needed one) but rather that we now have just another 5th edition army that’s just like all the others.
We have HQ’s which effect how you build an army or that are there purely for one ability in particular that benefits the army, we can use MSU units using the 1+1 principle (unit and a transport) and we have the equivalent of Storm Shields and other similar Marine weapons in many FOC slots across the board. There are a few extra bells and whistles (Scarabs, Soloar Pulses and the like) which will appear in EVERY competitive army and it won’t be long before you can to all intents and purposes paint your Marine army green say it ‘Counts As’ Necrons and you could most likely proxy most units without creating a great deal of confusion.
Is that an oversimplification?
Probably…..but it doesn’t change the fact that this is effectively a new army that fits the Marine template almost exactly. I mean how difficult is it to write a Codex that could have allowed the deployment of a viable foot army? Did we really need to turn Necrons into another Marine equivalent army?
An additional issue that I touched upon earlier is that though you can now give your Necron army it’s own individuality without compromising the ‘fluff’, certain units and wargear options are so much better than others in their FOC slots that you’ll inevitably see them in lots of armies. Certain HQ’s have abilities that will annoy most current army builds and certain units are so cheap and effective for their points cost you’ll get bored of seeing them by the 2nd tournament and/or hobby event that you attend. When you look in any section of a Force Organisation Chart and there’s only one choice worth taking then the designer needs to admit that he’s failed on a fundamental level.
So Necrons players have a new Codex with prettier models and are going to win a few games till people work out that Necrons suck in assault and that torrent of fire kills Scarabs just fine and they have to start to get inventive with the other unit entries and I’m very happy for them…..
I was just hoping for something that was actually…..well….new…..Still at least it’s better than the Tyranid and Chaos Daemon codices I suppose and that’s got to be a move in the right direction…
Thoughts and Comments are (as usual) most welcome.