Tuesday, 18 February 2014

5 Changes 7th Edition Codex: Necrons Needs


Well, we all knew this was coming. Out of all the armies which have seen changes in recent years, the necrons are easily the ones who have suffered from the most drastic alterations. With effectively everything they were beyond robots with some relation to the C'tan abandoned, the slate was wiped clean and started again. Instead of necrons, we now had SPESS TOMB KINGZ!!! with more Egyptian iconography and raw broken power than the average Stargate villain.

Now let this be made clear: the Third Edition Codex: Necrons definitely needed changes.
The book had plenty of good ideas, but not all of them were implemented well and quite often what made them so effective was built upon later. The use of the C'tan in particular and emphasis upon their servants' unknowable nature harmed the force as much as helped it. Some of these issues were answered when Mat Ward's Tome of Toasters rewrote everything, but nearly all the new ideas were either mishandled or created new five problems for every one they solved. Not to mention the gaping plot holes the new lore was plagued with. Change is needed once again, hopefully to finally bring out this army's full potential.

With that in mind, here's the top five improvements the next Codex: Necrons needs.

5 - Time Changes All Things



If there is ever a problem which Warhammer 40,000 has suffered from, it would be dealing with the passage of time. All too often elements feel as if they could have been squashed down into a few hundred years rather than the ten thousand which have taken place since the Imperium's birth. Few major breakthroughs seem to be recorded, major cultural shifts or displays of how much knowledge has been lost. The same goes for many factions, with a few like the Tau Empire only just about escaping this curse. The necrons though? They take it to the next level.

Not only did the Necron Empire apparently endure for several times the Imperium's existence, but they have been in stasis for sixty million years. However, despite both having a reign which puts every empire in human history to shame and a slumber just shy between now and when the dinos died out, not nearly enough is done to reflect this. You occasionally have moments where a character thinks back to a long extinct enemy they once fought or the degeneration of their Tomb World, but there is not much beyond that.

These are a species who have seen the galaxy in a different age. A younger age in which gods strode the galaxy, the Eye of Terror had not formed and even the Emperor himself had yet to be born. The only beings they truly know are the eldar, an old foe back from when they held dominance over the galaxy, and little beyond that. They have emerged to find hordes of utterly alien foes, wielding crude technology and worshiping idols of deities dominating the galaxy. Countless planets are broken, burned to husks by war and their old places of power shaken by raging wars which erupted in their times of sleep. Chaos is strong in this time, the orks have countless empires, the utterly unknown tyranids have arrived to consume all. Yet for all this potential in their thoughts, we get nothing.

Almost every time a book covers the thoughts of a Necron Lord, we get little beyond sneering contempt at the barbarians. Some thoughts on their inferiority, the lack of technology in comparison to themselves but that's about it. Just as one of many such examples of how this can create a compelling character, take a look at Mass Effect 3's Javik. He is similarly condescending, but even with a race against time he displays far more depth than just that.

The next writer who handles the necrons needs to understand just how much they would be affected by their slumber on a personal and cultural level. Not just having them shrug it off and realise some of their technology is failing.


4 - Less Ham, More Personality



Of all the problems found in Mat Ward's Codex: Necrons, this is one of the biggest sticking points. It's by no means the worst offense, but because it's so often brought up as some major success. The idea that new characters had been introduced to serve as a face for the necrons and actually retained true personalities was something hailed as a major improvement. It made them stand out from the emotionless legion of C'tan servants they were before and placed more focus on the robots. This is not entirely true. Campaigns and Black Library books gave us Necron Lords who were clearly self aware, and those characters were far more alien in nature. These ones? Those which are not cartoonishly bad are dull beyond belief.


Take a look at these for example, quotes from the codex:

“It is a source of constant consternation that my opponents cannot correlate their innate inferiority with their inevitable defeat. It would seem that stupidity is as eternal as war.” 


“You have ruled this galaxy for ten thousand years, yet have little of account to show for your efforts. Such failure must be as depressing to bear as it is pathetic to behold.” 


"I am not capricious, nor am I given to cruel acts for their own sakes. It is simply a fact that you and your kind have trespassed, and thus invited extermination. Curse you for putting me to this inconvenience."



Unless you were told otherwise, you would never guess these were from three separate characters with supposedly varying personalities. Almost every single character reads like a dishwasher, low grade Ming the Merciless. While many characters in each faction may sound similar, they are least have distinctions to separate them out the display their varying backgrounds. Here? Nothing. It's bad villain dialogue, delivered with no conviction and played completely straight faced.

Of course, there is one exception to this: Trazyn. This however, isn't due to good writing but because the character seemed to have been written with some awareness of the bad movie villain style the army had been written in. Instead of sounding dull, his sections embrace the madness with hamminess worthy of the second edition turning him into the resident necron troll. Now, this would be fine if he were to serve as the humourous character in an otherwise well handled and distinctive army, but instead he's the only one which stands out.

This problem isn't simply exclusive to the codex either. Any time a necron has spoken in any recent Black Library novel featuring them has utterly deflated any sense of menace or threat. Nick Kyme and James Swallow's works are proof enough of that, as the necrons there were only threatening when we saw nothing of their leaders.

Much more needs to be done with any leadership to give them people who are not either boring or so over the top they can't be taken as a serious threat. They need to have elements which make them truly stand out. Nearly all of the necron race are either brain-dead or slowly losing their wits. Why not have a character built upon the tragedy of that aspect, following on from all they have accomplished? How about a sect which still worship the C'tan, making use of those which supposedly escaped death, and are attempting to engineer their return. Better yet, why not have a C'tan who actually did something during the 60,000,000 years the necrons were snoring in their tombs.

There needs to be more when it comes to the figureheads of the necrons. They need to be written to be more than poorly handled concepts with personalities consisting of nothing but contempt.


3 - Unit Balance and Variety



This is something of an obvious one. As with everything, while Codex: Necrons improved upon certain aspects, it failed in many others. In fairness, the Codex lacked any dead weight units which failed to have any use. On the other hand, far too much of the book relied purely upon raw power to win battles over tactics.


While they're certainly better than the Grey Knights and Blood Angels, you can see this in many lists. The infamous Cron Air army list showed just how thoroughly broken the codex was in terms of its design. All too often you're capable of winning battles by simply walking forwards and shooting at the enemy until they fall, rather than truly considering when to deploy units, how to implement them effectively or even what equipment to give them. Almost every aspect of the army was buffed to the Nth degree, leaving few to no actual weaknesses which could be truly exploited. Close combat, a previous weakness, is only viable in certain situations and even having forces coming back from the dead went from per turn to per phase.

This isn't to say that the army is completely bereft of tactics. There are some combinations which can be put together which do require thinking or actually challenging lists, but more often than not you can just sit back and watch an enemy crumble thanks to superior firepower. This is at least in part thanks to an FAQ which was less about balance and more about making the army even stronger. A frequent trend with FAQs to Mat Ward's poor excuses for armybooks.
It's saying something when the necrons many to even be considered gamebreaking in Apocalypse of all things. Their formations have become infamously overpowered, with the Monolith Phalanx being derided even in a variant of 40K which encourages turning up with half a dozen Shadowswords.


Quite frankly this section needs an entire list to itself to truly single out all the major failings in terms of balance and capability. To put it simply however: Someone needs to scrap the codex and start again from scratch, with less of an inclination of giving players a big red "I WIN!" button and more about tactical thought. However, if there is one major change which needs to be singled out it is troop variety.

In traditional Ward thinking, the codex is far more about the sheer number of shiny things which make up the other slots, especially HQ choices. Troops were left to rot and looking at the list they seem less like an area thought about and more one left as they were. The closest thing it really got to attention was being used as a dumping ground for Immortals. However, that was apparently only because there was no more room in the Elites slots. They failed to either bring any significant variety to the unit choices or make Troops slots anything more than a basic requirement.

2 - Culture and Identity



No, this isn't referring to individual figures again. This is referring to the army as a whole. The problem is that the necrons have never had a truly distinctive personality trait which could be used for armies. While the original force did have a distinctive style for it, it definitely suffered from a lack of distinctive characters beyond the C'tan and relied heavily upon Black Library novels to flesh out their forces. While this did benefit them over time, building up their mystery and giving the faction much more of an identity, the new necrons are a big step down from even what we had before.

To put this bluntly: The new necrons don't have any distinctive traits so much as a multitude of ideas pillaged from other factions and already covered by other races. Let's ignore all the faux Egyptian influences, Spess Tomb Kingz!!! jokes and efforts and the loss of their previous role as servants of star gods just for the sake of argument. Let's just look at exactly what they are now:

This is a race of fractured race of dying aliens. Ones who have lost the vast majority of their old technology, old superweapons, and regard the younger races like humanity with little but contempt. They will occasionally negotiate and ally with them when their goals align, but follow their own codes of honour and morality. They operate out of a handful of scattered strongholds, seeking to conserve their power while taking back planets they see as rightfully belonging to them. In times of desperation and war they will release the shattered remnants of their old gods upon the battlefield before returning them to their place of power.

This sounds oddly familiar doesn't it. Yes, this is the sodding eldar just with a new look and a fraction of their depth. Intentionally or not, Ward seemed to have ripped the entire basic premise for one faction and slapped it onto another with a visual theme of a Fantasy army.

The only difference is that rather than having one race in decline, a well rounded culture, interesting ideas and fascinating ideas, the necrons lack all of this. Instead they just have sheer power, which is apparently supposed to make up for their sheer lack of depth. It's honestly galling to see just how these necrons have been blatantly copied and pasted from such as well established race. When you look carefully they even have identical events at times, with the game now suffering from having two entirely separate "War in Heaven" events thanks to the new book.

This sheer laziness on the part of the ideas department is not only detrimental to the eldar, it's horrifically detrimental to the necrons themselves. They no longer have a true identity, a singular aspect they can latch onto or a new idea to help make them stand out, just stuff borrowed from other factions. The few attempts to try and better characterise them ultimately come down to giving them more and more power, but that doesn't begin to cover it. Simply taking another army, giving them a new paint job and giving them a bauble which can wipe out every sun in the galaxy doesn't make them interesting.

The necrons need some new angle, an aspect to truly exploit which isn't fully covered by another faction. Some element to make them stand out which isn't a blatant copy of the goals and ideas of another race. The answer to this is obvious and serves as the subject of the number one change the next codex needed to initiate.


1 - Lovecraftian Terror



Not to beat about the bush, this is covering perhaps the greatest mistake of the last codex: The treatment of the C'tan. In an effort to make the necrons stand out, make them more than servants to powerful entities, the author took the worst kind of kneejerk reaction. He proceeded to turn to the opposite extreme, turning the C'tan into little more than Pokemon and minimalising their presence by effectively killing them all. This was detrimental to the necrons as much as the C'tan themselves as. Along with turning their history into an eyebrow raising farce which only works if you accept every omnipotent star vampire was an utter moron, the efforts to turn the necrons into their own race fell flat. We've already covered just what problems the replacement lore had, but there's one other thing which the book completely ignored: The impact of the C'tan on the necrotyr race.


If Chaos is a dark fantasy concept brought into a dystopian future, the C'tan and necrons are a Lovecraftian threat emerging on a galactic scale. You can certainly see traces of that mythos ideas here, the slumbering gods, electrical forces and horrors which are total anathema to all other beings. The necrons themselves have witnessed things which would drive unprepared minds to madness, their very bodies are made of advanced creations which dwarf all other sciences in their dark nature. They are a race, an entire race, which has been forged into an instrument of annihilation by Cthulhu. Whether you want the C'tan to be leading them or not, this should have some massive impact upon both their psychology and how people view them. Even other monsters as the Word Bearers and Ciaphas Cain series showed, and despite the changes at least some of that should have been retained.

The necrons were built for war by alien godlike entities, ones less concerned about their stability and more about inflicting terror as they harvested life for their masters. Just think for a moment what that might do to a being's mind, about how they could be modified. A the very least they would suffer from a kind of ingrained loyalty, perhaps even worship for the C'tan or their senses adapted to accept dimensions and visual aspects which would drive mortal races insane, even finding it aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps they could be found performing rituals and offerings which served the C'tan thanks to ingrained sense of worship for the gods even following murdering them. Or their perceptions altered to the point where they would follow their decrees and instructions no matter the strength of the individual's mind.

Imagine what their forms could have been like. The original necrons were made because their design was specifically intended to inspire fear. They were uniformly one design to emulate the fear of death imprinted by the Nightbringer on mortal races. Whether the necron race freed itself or not, they should have been monstrous in their look. 
Rather than a bunch of prancing spess pharaohs suffering from generic dialogue and memory loss, imagine if their specialist troops were even more monstrous than what we had seen in the previous release. Not the bejeweled figures with overt Egyptian iconography but vast creatures of ever shifting living metal, their bodies emitting maddening colours the human eye could not perceive or signals which drove them slowly insane as they were in contact. This could even extend to basic vocal commands, with their communications emitting in ways which were hostile, even lethal, to any other race which heard them.

If everything else failed, this at least would have allowed them to remain somewhat alien. It would have left some discernible impact from the C'tan on the race, and they would have been more than merely a group of overly humanized cyber toffs. It would have retained a sense of mystery to the race, a sense of the unknown, a sense that they were something more than just what we got. If anything it would have enhanced the sense of tragedy Ward was trying to force upon the race. The honourable, heroic and benevolent Lords (ARGH!) could have behaved in a kind manner, but their actions could have been perceived as being threatening or despotic thanks to how they had been made. It would certainly make better use of the ideas, and it would be far more in line with the grim tone of the setting.

More importantly, making use of their influence would have left the door open to old players. Many were irate at how their army's entire history and lore had been swept away, completely destroyed in favour of Ward's entirely new incarnation of them. Having visible C'tan influence remaining in the army would have left the door open for those players. The programming and alterations could have left the idea that the necrons were being fooled. That their victory was a false memory implanted within their kind and that perhaps the shards they kept under such careful watch were not a prison, but a cocoon. One in which the C'tan were hibernating, waiting until it was time to emerge and continue with their harvest once more. It would have been a better use of them than as substitute Avatars.

Their was truly a wealth of ideas to be found and utilised here, and the next codex needs to truly realise just how much can be done with the original concept. It needs to keep the best elements of both, not simply wipe away one for the other.


So those are the top five changes the next Codex: Necrons needs. Perhaps not everything the book requires to truly improve it, but ultimately the biggest changes to help make it something worthy of the setting.

Many of you likely have your own thoughts and opinions on this subject. Perhaps your own preferred changes to the lore or even just a stance against the army in general. As ever, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I would be interested in hear them.



21 comments:

  1. I've got a few problems with this list, and I think I'll bring them up point by point:

    5: The main problem here is that aside from a select few, none of them can do anything, they can't speak on their own, they can't think on their own, they follow the instructions they've been given to the letter and that's it, the only ones who can talk/think independently are the ones who most likely would have had that mindset already.

    4: So are we ignoring Obyron and Orikan now? Also you kind of cherry picked the quote from Zahndrekh, there's others in the codex that show how stuck in the past he is without realizing it, and I'm not sure how Anrakyr can be considered a villain, there's quotes from Anrakyr where he lets aliens leave tomb worlds before waking them up, and even lets them surrender and leave, that quote is just from him talking to a group that refused to leave.

    3: "The infamous Cron Air army list showed just how thoroughly broken the codex was in terms of its design. " BULLSHIT. this is entirely unfair given that you are saying an outdated codex is broken because the main rules broke it, the 9 flyer list wasn't an issue in 5th edition, it shouldn't be held against it that 6th edition made flyers way too powerful without giving a lot of armies good counters to them, and I could basically apply that sentence to nearly anything in this number.
    I do find it funny you claim you can just walk to the enemy and watch them melt, when the only ones who can do that are their troops, and you then say that the troops are only requirements and not useful.
    "coming back from the dead went from per turn to per phase." So what? it got worse as a whole, and if you fail it, you remove the model, it's essentially a delayed feel no pain save or a delayed invulnerable save that you sometimes don't even get to make (if the entire squad gets wiped out for example), and before they sat on the battlefield and could be brought up any time later, now they can't (just butcher them in close combat or shoot them to oblivion), so I fail to see how this is more broken.

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    1. Okay. I am sorry for taking so long to get back to you. This would have been answered yesterday were it not for unforeseen circumstances.

      5: Perhaps, but even then this could still be used to display age in some way. Perhaps even more so than through the sentient leaders who still retain their wits. For example. The necrons are tasked with carrying out programming as you said, only follow direct orders. As such, there could be groups following out sub-commands or directives from millennia ago, perhaps hunting down some long extinct species or immediately emerging from a tomb and moving off to guard previously strategically vital positions which are of no value. Perhaps a world they were on has even undergone an ice age in that time, a Cryptek comments upon how the alignment of the stars seems to have changed or even contemplating basic things like the Eye of Terror which now looms north of Terra.

      Even these things only display aspects which define them as having been slumbering for a few thousand years, not the millions the book claims. To do so there would need to be massive indications of just how much their homeworld have been altered since the their dormancy. Perhaps entire deposits of a material they relied upon, common in their time, have become rare to the point of being a mythical unobtainium on many worlds or similar aspects. The writer wanted to throw such a massive number into the mix, so he needs to find some way to make it meaningful. More than just a mere statistic which fails to have the impact it really needs.

      4: Well, this is the thing: Those quotes were chosen at random. I realised that any selection made otherwise would bring up accusations of bias or flawed reasoning, so those were chosen by rolling a few D20s and picking out quotes from the pages their total equalled to. Yet despite originating from several different characters, they simply lack the individual “voices” to make them stand out. Each one comments upon their race’s age in some generic way, sometimes their deathless nature, comments upon the inferiority of their foe in some way to show them as weak or meaningless and retain varying degrees of mechanical elements. Few veer away from this and it feels as if each quote was designed by a formulae rather than written after the character was fully fleshed out. Even taking the two examples you cited still ends with the same results. Just to quote the stuff from 40K Wiki:

      "Only the deathless can truly comprehend the burden of unfailing loyalty."

      "Time is a weapon like any other. If nothing else, I can simply wait for my foes to rot!"

      While there are a few differences here which make them somewhat more distinct than their previous personalities, these comments still fall back into the same elements of the previous ones. Repeating them as if those specific themes give them meaning rather than any elements tailored specifically to those characters. A good sign of a well-crafted fictional character is when you can tell it is them purely through their dialogue. Perhaps not so much the subject in question but how they speak of it and certain mannerisms which are unique to them. There really isn’t any of that here. There isn’t enough here in the language used, the structure or even basic aspects to try and show them as truly distinctive personalities.

      I wouldn’t say that this is a unique failing in every codex, especially when you look at the second edition, but at least back then the books could fall back on being utterly over the top. Part of why I think Trazyn stands out from the rest of them. Quite a few of Ward’s characters are not thought up in terms of their personalities so much as their basic concepts. Sicarius and Draigo for example embodied how much the author thought the chapters were better than everyone else. However, that’s not built upon nearly as effectively as it is in other books with personality traits and character aspects to augment this point.

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    2. Ward seems to have built the starting blocks, established elements of their history, but hasn’t gone that extra step needed to fully flesh them out as much as the codex needs. As you pointed out, Anrakyr lets some populations depart from the worlds he arrives on, but his language and attitude fails to reflect anything but villainous intent. It’s not that he doesn’t want to murder his foes in his ongoing crusade to restore the empire, but taking the time to fight others simply slows him down. It still reads as fairly villainous at the end of the day. Some of the basic concepts behind the characters, those which are more than mere excuses to display more power than rival faction, are worth exploring. The problem is that such ideas are only as good as their execution, and require a better author to truly refine them into something great.

      Also, thank you for reminding me of that bit with Anrakyr, I’ll be referring to that in a later point.

      3: True, it was a low handing fruit but it’s easily the most infamous example of the army needing re-working. I am going from personal experience primarily here, games I have witnessed and played, but there seems to be nothing the necrons are actually lacking in any way. They have better mobility than most armies thanks to teleportation, they can outshoot most foes to the point of basic troops being able to glance Land Raiders to death and serve as better marines, cheaper tactical marines, any unit which lacks in combat will ultimately bog down a foe long enough to get something combat effective into range and they seem to lack true weaknesses. Most of the army seems as if its forte does not originate from the player so much as the sheer power on offer.

      So long as players do not pull something truly stupid with their armylists, then basic forces seem to have at least a 50% chance of winning against whatever they are fighting. I’ve seen Destroyer rush forces utterly decimate tyranid swarm lists, not because it was well put together but because the Destroyers themselves could outdo any single unit they faced. I’ve seen seemingly suicidal lists outdo Tau Empire and Imperial Guard lists at their own game, and utterly decimate anything which can’t immediately match it in terms of sheer firepower, characters and durability. The only ones which did were either the aforementioned Blood Angels and Grey Knights, who similarly could rely upon sheer power to win most battles, or forces specifically tailored to fight necrons.

      What makes the new We’ll Be Back! rules broken are how easily they can be used to bog down enemy forces and keep units at high fighting effectiveness. You pointed out yourself it was something akin to having an entire army with Feel No Pain or an invulnerable save. Most forces would kill to have that because of what it offers. The fact the necrons can immediately get back up means they can soak up vast amounts of firepower, diminishing the effectiveness of shooting armies greatly and preventing them from falling to all but the worst weapons. It makes them useful bullet magnets and gunline troops simply because, unlike other armies, enemy players need to fully destroy them one at a time. To focus their efforts almost entirely upon a handful of units at once rather than having the option to ignore them once they fall below half strength in favour of more pressing forces. Combined with their decent toughness and saves, it gives them such a high degree of survivability they simply should not have for their points costs.

      If you know examples or articles of where they have been shown to have distinct weaknesses then please feel free to respond with them. I’ll happily look through them as a counterpoint to the statements here.

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    3. Also, as a final note, I will hold the Cron Air list against the book. You claim that because it was added after the fifth edition it should not be seen as something truly broken about the book and instead against the sixth edition. That might be true were it not for the fact the author of this book was one of the prominent writers on the sixth edition rules. He had promoted fliers with almost every one of his books, often as skimmers, and used them as a major unit time and time again. He was obviously pushing towards their major inclusion and would have had a major say in how they were used. As such I will hold it against this book due to the author, either out of intention or incompetence, openly allowing for such an easily abused list to be created.

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    4. I just want you to know, since I don't want a huge comment string, anything I don't reply to I don't have a big problem with, and can see your side of the issue, so with that in mind:

      "You pointed out yourself it was something akin to having an entire army with Feel No Pain or an invulnerable save. Most forces would kill to have that because of what it offers. "
      Most forces can also get it on large meaty units without too much difficulty too, most forces also have things necron forces don't, either a standard 3+ save, a 30" weapon (let alone having several cheaper 48" weapons teams instead of the 1 that necrons get), or cheaper units, or large teams holding the big guns instead of destroyer squads that aren't too difficult to wipe out, and most armies can put 2+/3++ saves on more than HQ choices. How it's used isn't so much a concern for me as what balances it out.

      "The fact the necrons can immediately get back up means they can soak up vast amounts of firepower, diminishing the effectiveness of shooting armies greatly and preventing them from falling to all but the worst weapons. "
      How? They get up at the end of the phase, after you are finish shooting at them, if you are a shooting army you couldn't hit them again until your next turn so it wouldn't matter if the RP worked at the start of the necron players turn or not.
      Incidentally when I first got the rules I misread them, and thought that it did work at the start of each turn, and having corrected that a while ago (after a few games and re-reading the rulebook after them) I can say that I've noticed next to no difference, either you've killed all of them in the phase or you're not going to hurt them for the rest of your turn (true for shooting armies), the only difference being if you want to assault me after you've shot me, then some might get up and it might make a difference, I might get extra overwatch to miss or bodies to die in assault (which most necrons suck at), given how weak assault is in sixth I'm not sure it's all that big of a problem, if seventh is more assault heavy then I'll agree that it is an issue.

      I do realize though the counterpoint you'll try to make so I'll save you the time: "If it doesn't make much difference then why change it?" And to be honest I don't know.

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    5. "That might be true were it not for the fact the author of this book was one of the prominent writers on the sixth edition rules. He had promoted fliers with almost every one of his books, often as skimmers, and used them as a major unit time and time again. He was obviously pushing towards their major inclusion and would have had a major say in how they were used."
      Do you have sources or is it hearsay? I don't deny that he was obviously really pushing for the new flyer rules, but again I think it makes more sense to either hold it against ward or to hold it against 6th edition flyer rules in general, since Necrons are not the only ones with completely broken flyer lists, just look up the one Grey Knights can get, which is another reason I say hold it against Ward first.
      This might not have even been intended, the flyer rules we got might not have been the ones Ward was thinking of when he originally wrote the codex, since it's been said that 6th edition went through a lot of revisions.
      that being said though, I hate the new flyer rules. They are awful, and the writers did a horrible job with them. I think the best rules are ones that meet the old codex's halfway, but the new flyer rules completely skip past the defences the old codex's had against them and that is why they are so overpowered now.
      If sixth did something different with them (maybe a negative to hit penalty for standing troops vs snapshots for the ones that moved) then 7th introduced the current flyer rules I think we would have been fine, since the army books would still have the skyfire rule introduced.
      You just have to do these things gradually.

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  2. 2: "This is a race of fractured race of dying aliens. " But they're not dying. Fractured yes, but some of their empires are thriving, and they're only continuing to grow as more tomb worlds wake up.
    "Ones who have lost the vast majority of their old technology, old superweapons, and regard the younger races like humanity with little but contempt." Except they don't, they want to live as rulers because that was their former position, and they want to reclaim it, and they HAVE NOT lost their old technology and superweapons, THEY STILL HAVE THOSE. Their superweapons have been the focus of at least a few black library novels, and some are mentioned in their book when they use them to conquer a world.
    "They operate out of a handful of scattered strongholds, seeking to conserve their power while taking back planets they see as rightfully belonging to them." No they don't, they have hundreds of worlds and more are waking up all the time, and they are actively pursuing the goal of waking up other worlds, not conserving their power.
    "In times of desperation and war they will release the shattered remnants of their old gods upon the battlefield before returning them to their place of power." How is an alternate dimensional prison is a place a place of power?
    "This sounds oddly familiar doesn't it. Yes, this is the sodding eldar just with a new look and a fraction of their depth. Intentionally or not, Ward seemed to have ripped the entire basic premise for one faction and slapped it onto another with a visual theme of a Fantasy army." If you generalize that much then you could also say the black templars are identical to the orks, they are both numerous, both love close combat, both don't like aliens and both want to make the galaxy in the image of their gods.

    1: I completely agree, I mostly like the new book with the exception of what they did with the C'tan, and they could fix this very easily without doing the type of rewrite you're calling for, just have a C'tan regain its memories, or fuse multiple shards together.

    Don't take this the wrong way, I like your articles, but I just seem to disagree with you more often than not with the views we have on the new necrons.

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    1. 2: Now to answer your replies in turn:
      “But they're not dying. Fractured yes, but some of their empires are thriving, and they're only continuing to grow as more tomb worlds wake up.”

      Consider all we know so far: Almost their entire race has been lobotomised with many others losing elements of their personality and even sanity as time goes by either due to their long sleep, failing technology or Flayer Virus. They have no means to restore the minds of those lost or even to increase the numbers of their race. Furthermore, unlike the previous incarnation, Games Workshop has gone out of its way to show necron forces being permanently destroyed, shut down and lost irreplaceable elements of their forces. They’re not only slowly losing the remaining members of their race still in control of their faculties, but because they have no way to replace their losses, they’re undoubtedly suffering from a shrinking population. One which can only be bolstered by new tomb worlds being active, many of who are in no state to fight or even still possess true sanity. Each to their own of course, but it does sound like a dying race to me.

      " Except they don't, they want to live as rulers because that was their former position, and they want to reclaim it, and they HAVE NOT lost their old technology and superweapons, THEY STILL HAVE THOSE. Their superweapons have been the focus of at least a few black library novels, and some are mentioned in their book when they use them to conquer a world. "

      Yes, they want to live as rulers but their every comment about the governing powers and state of the other races result in mocking their perceived inferiority. Either how their governments are not as technologically effective as the necrons, as a race they are not as long lived or insults relating to the opposing race’s comparative youth. The few times any have shown any degree of respect or true communication beyond letting a foe live have been extremely rare and even those tend to be on an individual basis. Plus, that same desire for supremacy matches the attitudes of at least one major craftworld who desires to see their empire restored once more and openly fight to do so.

      As for their superweapons, there are still some about. I’ll definitely admit it was dumb of me to forget their version of the Death Star which showed up in a previous space marine codex, but they seem to have lost a great deal of what they were capable of. It’s noted that a number of tombs which have been encountered have been plundered or broken down in some way. Plus their weapons were supposedly once so great they consisted of “unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the Star Gods to endure.” We’ve seen nothing to reflect this sheer power at any point since their awakening. They have fought multiple Imperial strongholds, eldar forces and even one another but we have seen nothing of that level. This is not to mention that the eldar themselves were noted to have hunted down and destroyed a number of prominent necron war assets, primarily the Dolmen Gates but even entire tomb worlds. Combined with their lack of use, it’s likely they have lost all if not nearly all of their truly powerful weapons to age or foes. As for Black Library novels, I read both of the major novels involving the new necrons. Neither contained any superweapons to my knowledge, at least nothing outside of their normal armoury.

      Ultimately, combined with their losses in the Great Sleep, the necrons are a shadow of their former selves trying to regain their strength. Surviving long enough to strike back and building upon what assets they have, much like the eldar themselves to a fair degree.

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    2. “No they don't, they have hundreds of worlds and more are waking up all the time, and they are actively pursuing the goal of waking up other worlds, not conserving their power.”

      Yes, but with each of those worlds awoken comes a new faction desperate to vie for power with their leaders’ minds often dulled and suffering from severe technological problems. None of the various Dynasties seem to be working as a single organism save for some rare exceptions, instead pursuing their own goals and ambitions away from the rest of their race. Only moving to retake the worlds they view as directly belonging to them, which is as before a trait which is distinctly eldar. This is not to mention the thousands of Severed Worlds encountered so far where the necron occupants of their tombs have awoken brain-dead and without life.

      They have a difference in approach, that much I will definitely give you and unlike the eldar they are on much more of an open crusade. That said, they still consist of separated, warring factions devoted to their own personal interests and with little desire to openly assist one another. They are still comparatively few in number to many other races and are still heavily reliant upon single stronghold locations as places of power, namely their tomb worlds. Which were also used to ensure their race’s long term survival a-la the craftworlds in the face of the Eldar Empire’s rise to power and what would follow.

      “How is an alternate dimensional prison is a place a place of power?”

      It’s not, that was a mistake on my part. I think I was too focused upon trying to make the comparison between the two obvious than reflecting the C’Tan prisons. However, you can see the comparison can’t you? Both utilise the shattered remnants of their gods in times of war and desperation, when they are required the most to emerge victorious from a conflict.

      “If you generalize that much then you could also say the black templars are identical to the orks, they are both numerous, both love close combat, both don't like aliens and both want to make the galaxy in the image of their gods.”

      Except the Black Templars and orks at least have distinctively different approaches. Generalisations do compare them yes, but their overall histories, events of their existence, presence of units, characters and even attitudes towards other races and allies show significant differences. They might serve a similar purpose and have elements which show signs of being alike but there is still enough there that a basic description will instantly show they are not the same.
      By comparison, the eldar and necrons are almost outright copies of one another in many respects. Atop of everything else, both now use the webway for travel and have highly placed figures in their society who can see into the future with a great degree of accuracy, not to mention their sudden attitude in many times of war to have their foes do the fighting for them. Notably instances where they have pulled out from attacking Imperial strongholds to let the tyranids do the bulk of the fighting or re-directed forces towards their foes, or try to set up natural disasters in the long run to completely destroy an enemy. Namely predicting the position of a craftworld in several years’ time and firing a giant piece of space debris in that direction.

      Finally, consider what else you just said earlier. Anrakyr is running into worlds which previously belonged to them in older years, prominent worlds within their empire, forcing new inhabitants to leave under threat or outright destroying them. They then use them as a part of their dominion and guard them carefully. This is very much the same behaviour the eldar display when encountering Maiden Worlds, especially the more aggressive craftworlds such as Beil-Tan and Saim-Hann, who are noted to perform the exact same thing because they view them as belonging to them.

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    3. “Don't take this the wrong way, I like your articles, but I just seem to disagree with you more often than not with the views we have on the new necrons.”

      Hey, it’s completely within your right to make counter arguments against what’s posted here. The only ones I block are those who are obviously trying to waste time, trolling or use it as an excuse to throw abuse at people. I do appreciate you taking the time to do so and paying such interest in what I’ve written.

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    4. "Plus their weapons were supposedly once so great they consisted of “unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the Star Gods to endure.” We’ve seen nothing to reflect this sheer power at any point since their awakening."
      That's because they're mostly in the tie in fluff/games like battlefleet gothic (their superweapons are in space, not on the ground). I guess they didn't want to use them in regular board battles because they'd either have to be completely broken, or underwhelming (which is a real shame either way). Incidentally for the might that you quote, I think they're talking about the celestial orrery, since it has the power to rupture worlds and make stars go supernova by slightly manipulating it, but since it's all but impossible to know the exact outcome of manipulating it, they choose to almost never use it otherwise they might end up destroying themselves.
      It's certainly a device that could be used (and most likely was) to shatter the C'tan if they were linked with it.

      "the necrons are a shadow of their former selves trying to regain their strength. Surviving long enough to strike back and building upon what assets they have, much like the eldar themselves to a fair degree."
      Much like the eldar, and much like a Tyranid hive fleet in their new book, and much like the imperium as a whole in the 41st millennium.
      The problem I have is that there's too much re-used plot points in 40k, most of the races/armies can be summarized with that quote (omitting the part about the eldar).

      "This is very much the same behaviour the eldar display when encountering Maiden Worlds, especially the more aggressive craftworlds such as Beil-Tan and Saim-Hann, who are noted to perform the exact same thing because they view them as belonging to them."
      And it's also similar to how the imperium treats alien trespassers.
      But these aren't exactly standard tactics with the necrons, most of the others are fine with gunning down the "trespassers" and moving in, there's even a fight scene in the book where Anrakyr respects a regiment of imperial guardsmen, and decides to spare their lives, but his ally went over his head to place a kill order on almost everyone in the regiment.
      Also the necrons have the praetorians who can decide whether or not a race actually needs to be moved/culled from one of their worlds, if the praetorians see necron influence in them (I don't know how they decide this) they opt not to kill or deport them.
      Not to mention I think having thousands of your people already on the planet gives you a far better claim to it than you just terraforming it thousands of years ago.

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    5. "This is not to mention the thousands of Severed Worlds encountered so far where the necron occupants of their tombs have awoken brain-dead and without life. "
      Remember the thousands of eldar craft worlds where they all went brain-dead after a 60 million year sleep? What about the ones driven crazy thanks to malfunctioning technology? What about all of the current wars the eldar are fighting each other in?
      I'm just saying that I can't quite see the connection aside from the races both being ancient.

      "are still heavily reliant upon single stronghold locations as places of power, namely their tomb worlds. Which were also used to ensure their race’s long term survival a-la the craftworlds in the face of the Eldar Empire’s rise to power and what would follow. "
      Just like the imperium is reliant on it's hive/forge worlds, and the Tau are reliant on their main worlds, this can also apply to both orks and daemons since both rely on strongholds (orks live inside, daemons use the artifacts in their storngholds to enter the material world).

      "Both utilise the shattered remnants of their gods in times of war and desperation, when they are required the most to emerge victorious from a conflict."
      Every race does this bar the tyranids, just replace gods with machines, although I see what you were going for.

      "Except the Black Templars and orks at least have distinctively different approaches. "
      They do? I suppose sometimes the orks might go a little sneaky (kommandos and all that), but otherwise their assaults are almost entirely full frontal.
      "Generalisations do compare them yes, but their overall histories, events of their existence, presence of units, characters and even attitudes towards other races and allies show significant differences. "
      As do the necrons and the eldar, the overall history of the necrons are that they lost (depending on your view) the war in heaven, hid away until when they thought the eldar would be weak, and are now emerging no longer under a single unified rule, their units are not defined by the paths they walk in life, but the body they currently inhabit, the characters are entirely different from the eldar, their attitudes to other races might be the same in most cases (Though Imotekh really likes the black templars and Trazyn likes Inquisitor Valaya), but I must have missed the part where they Eldar don't trust/hate other Eldar and in some cases are planning on forcing other Eldar to live under their banner either through compliance of the leaders, or mind control.

      "Hey, it’s completely within your right to make counter arguments against what’s posted here. The only ones I block are those who are obviously trying to waste time, trolling or use it as an excuse to throw abuse at people. I do appreciate you taking the time to do so and paying such interest in what I’ve written."
      Thanks.

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    6. A little later reply covering a point I already went over because I just realized something about it: "Plus their weapons were supposedly once so great they consisted of “unimaginable energies of the living universe into weapons too mighty for even the Star Gods to endure.” We’ve seen nothing to reflect this sheer power at any point since their awakening."
      We have actually, in the form of the doomsday cannons, which are just as destructive as the power source providing them, if you were to feed them nearly limitless power, say from some star gods who are helping you fight a war in heaven (or just one of the many stars that died), it would probably be simple to turn your fleet on the C'tan when they're at their weakest and fire every single cannon you have into them, that'll shatter the gods, and it would give a reason why an escaped shard would be so dangerous, if it took hundreds of cannons (the entire race was united at the time) to shatter them before, and the current dynasties don't have that many cannons now (let alone the power they'd require), then there's a pretty definitive reason as to why they haven't done so well against the transcended shards.

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  3. My final thoughts on the matter though, I'd like to see necrons get a supplement more than anything else, Ideally one that focusses on the C'tan that have broken free and are trying to bend the necrons to their will, you could bring back the eldritch horror idea with the C'tans nearly limitless power, and create all sorts of creatures with how they can reshape reality, with games workshop releasing supplements so often I fail to see why we can't have the old necrons with the new ones.
    I do agree that the current necrons don't seem to fit in with the setting, but I think they require more of a tweaking to fit in rather than a do over.

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    1. Honestly, the idea is good but I really do hope they do not use a supplement to try and return to the old ideas. Nearly every supplement we have had so far either made a mockery of the army they represented or served as an outright hate letter to everything they were. The Iron Hands' one was especially bad, as it erased just about everything unique about the chapter beyond bionics, turned their few remaining unique elements into weaknesses, ignored even the most basic lore surrounding Chaos and did the next best thing to turning Ferrus Manus into a daemon prince. If we are going to get this back, and see some of the old elements done right, it would have to be in a main codex.

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    2. I was thinking of mentioning this in my original posts, and since I've been comparing the two in replies, I think the Necrons really have ripped off the imperium post-heresy far more than the eldar, and I can't think of a really good way to incorporate the old necrons as well as the new ones without either ripping off what the new space marines did (chapter tactics) or getting really restrictive like the old editions (3rd edition radical daemon hunters for example), but on second thought that might not be too bad of an idea, this is an example:
      Have a C'tan HQ but if you take him you cannot take any necron that has any semblance of free will (so lords, crypteks, immortals, lychguard, any triarch and preatorians are all gone), add in special units that become stronger with the C'tan HQ (as in re-add pariahs), with a few tweaks I think they could do it.

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  4. All right, I'm writing this several hours later because while at work, I realized something about one of these points, number 4, less ham, more personality, this can be excused as one of Matt Wards biggest problems, he never likes writing for more than one faction, and almost every necron named character is from the same dynasty, the only one that definitely isn't is Trazyn the Infinite, which is why he stands out so much (anrakyr and szeras are debatable), it's the same problem Ward had when making the space marine book where almost every character was an Ultramarine, I've said before that I don't think the necrons need a do over, and I still stand by that, I think they need an expansion into the different dynasties.

    I'd like to see a necron dynasty creating Pariahs again because they realize that their numbers will never increase from how they are now, unless they try to make other races like them, or maybe they want to make other races like them because they have a cyberman-like mentality, maybe they offer it to other races of planet that they plan to take over, they extend an offer to become immortal, join their growing empire and leave the dying imperium behind.

    I'd like to see a dynasty that might still worship the C'tan (the silent kings betrayal was pretty quick and I don't recall him telling all of his subjects about what they did), so they've freed some shards, and want to find the others to recreate their god, or maybe a shard of the deceiver got free and is controlling them while making them think they still have free will.

    I'd like to see an expansion into the canoptek caretakers, look into the dynasties that have woken yet (or maybe they'll never wake up) maybe some of them have an intelligence controlling their caretakers, still preparing for when their dead masters will walk out and take control, you could even have the tomb risen, which is why the canopteks need to defend it, maybe defending the tomb somehow caused the intelligence to form.
    This option doesn't need a lot of work either, add acanthrites to the book and make them an elite choice (balance their stats vs points first though, seriously, these things are broken), make swarms troops, add in a canoptek HQ and now you can have an all canoptek army, playing necrons without technically using any necrons.

    There's so many things you can do with the new necrons, and I think expanding the hundreds (if not thousands as according to the necron book) of surviving dynasties would help a lot in giving them personality, just have the sautekh dynasty be the base newcrons, and all of the other branched out into different directions.

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    1. While I don't agree with all of that, it seems a fair stance to take. By a do-over I mostly meant removing a lot of the more erogenous elements from the army while re-introducing older aspects which worked better from a lore stand point. That and actually closing up quite a few plot holes, especially surrounding how easily the C'Tan were taken down. Perhaps more than a do-over it just needs a new perspective and a different author given licence to change what he wants in the army without destroying its identity.

      Also, I am getting to your other replies. I just want to get the time to reply to them in full given you took the time to make such lengthy counter arguments. Also to explain one or two things which may have not been clear the first time around.

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  5. wow tbh it feel like you wrote that 1d4 chan matt ward article every single meme about matt ward was present in this article although i agree that the fluff is lacking at this point only the harcore fans of 40k care about the fluff , at least for me there is so much grimdark i can stomach

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  6. I consider Necrons as like Pokemon, with their entire culture revolves around the C'tan and maintaining their empire and bringing rouge C'tan Shards to heel. I would use the dynasties just like pokemon gyms with the Overlord as a Gym Leader Gotta Shard Them ALL

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  7. Honestly, as I don't play the tabletop, the change in nature for the Necrons was for the better in my eyes. It became possible to do DIY armies with actual personality vs this is the tombworld's color scheme. I do agree that mini-dex's for different concepts would be amazing. A Canoptek Hive army, C'tan harvesters(For that classic feel), and Assimilators(Who bio-transfer others to fight for them) are all amazing concepts. Two of which I had contemplated for DIYs myself.

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