Necrons in Killteam 2021 (March 2022 update)


Fresh off my Top 4 placement out of 40 players with Necrons at Games Workshop's matched play event last weekend, I thought that I would put together a quick rundown of my thoughts about each of the options, how I play them in this iteration of the game, and also include some tips that helped me get the most of them during the event.


Composition




The Necron killteam can be chosen from any two of the above fireteams with the exception that due to not having a leader option, you can only take Necron Warriors once. Your roster is made up of any 20 operatives available to the faction so my preferred loadout which works well against a variety of opponents is one Warrior, Flayed One, and two Immortal fireteams with two Immortal Leaders with Tesla and Gauss Respectively.

For the reasons I'll detail below, I feel like this gives a solid and flexible core that will work in most games (Warriors and Immortals) with alternatives against very specific matchups.

Warriors




Necron Warriors are probably the best fireteam troop selection you can make (If I could take 10 I would). They have 9 wounds as standard which pushes them into the middle bracket of damage absorption along with living metal and a respectable 4+ save along with some good weapon options.

The most common statline for a weapon in the game is 3/4 (boltgun damage). This means that an infantry with 7 wounds can take a hit and a crit before it dies. 9 wound models such as Warriors need an additional hit or crit to go through before they die which becomes far more unlikely from one shooting or combat attack with this statline after saves. Similarly every 2-3 wounds you increase above this threshold requires an additional hit or crit to kill in one shot. Having 9 wounds makes Warriors quite difficult to kill with normal shooting and being able to regenerate wounds every turn with living metal actually makes them quite difficult to shift from objectives.

My weapon of choice for them is the Gauss Reaper. It may only have a 6" range but at 4/5 damage and Pierce 1 on crits it fits very well into my playstyle which I'll talk about later and along with the Immortals (below) gives every model in the Killteam very respectable killing power. Gauss flayers could be used to try and pick off people from a longer range. However one thing we learned speaking to various marine players is that standard boltguns just aren't doing anything amazing during games. Even in my two 'marine' match-ups, 3/4 damage after saves on 3 defense dice with an auto thanks to cover most of the time means that on average only a few points of damage goes through. Considering Gauss Flayers are exactly the same but on a platform that doesn't get to shoot twice, I would much prefer the stopping power of the Reaper albeit at the shorter range.

Immortals



Immortals are your premium fireteam troop. Generally you will be looking to take at lease one fireteam of these (likely containing your leader also) with Gauss Blasters. They are very bulky with the 3+ save, Living Metal and 10 wounds and offensively will be able to consistently put 8-10+ damage on most things they shoot at thanks to the AP1. That being said there is actually a place for Tesla Immortals in your roster for the specific matchup where you are playing against 5+ invulnerable save troops (mainly Harlequins and Genestealers) as your AP won't work and the extra splash damage on Crits can help push operatives over the edge.

Flayed Ones




I took 5 flayed ones in my roster for one very specific situation; Against a very squishy opponent like guard where having a combat element that can charge and hold up poor infantry and/or providing a credible concealed combat threat to deter objective grabbing.

With the Skulking Killer Strategic Ploy they have access to one of the best combat abilities in the game (being able to do a charge action from concealed) so there is some utility to having them available for use. Aside from this however, I don't rate them as highly as standard Warriors with Gauss Reapers mainly due to their mediocre Flayer Claws (their poor movement is offset by the ability to move up the board largely unscathed with conceal orders and the aforementioned Skulking Killer). Pretty much every other Necron available does more then 3/4 damage and whilst the rending is nice, generally they will need a crit and 2 hits to kill anything more bulky then a guardsman in combat. Perhaps if they either had 3/5 damage on their claws or some sort of re-rolls on their hits it would go a long way to making them a credible combat element. UPDATE (03/2022): As of the latest balance patch they received +1 damage on both profiles making the Flayer claws 4/5. In my opinion this is a big boost as they can now kill guardsmen equivalents with 2 hits or anything with 9 wounds on a hit and a crit. Given their 9 wounds making them quite bulky for the return hits the likelihood of them living to do the damage is quite high. 

Deathmarks




On paper Deathmarks look super strong; The same defensive stats as an Immortal with a better shooting attack. However, I have found that the way killteam boards are setup however (or rather should be setup) with no vantage points in deployment zones, several pieces of cover offering terrain and various heavy terrain to provide obscuring doesn't really lend itself well to what Deathmarks can do. Their weapons have heavy and most likely will have no credible targets turn 1 so they will have to spend it moving to somewhere they might have better lines of fire, though with their move of 4" will have to move/dash up buildings due to the requirement to be able to place the base wherever they move. This only works if they are right next to the climbing points so they will effectively spend 2 turns trying to get somewhere if your opponent goes majority concealed.

It's true that they will generally do between 8-12 damage to whatever they shoot at but regular tesla immortals tend to do the same thing with their damage profile and have the ability to move about and shoot at the same time. I did plenty of maneuvering with my immortals over the weekend so if an Immortal's move were 3" (dash-shoot) instead of 4" (move-shoot) it would have meant that they would have just stopped short of being able to get around terrain for your cover lines. Especially considering if the cover line just touches any heavy terrain the target will be obscured.

The final thing of-course is that if your Deathmarks can shoot, they can get shot at so ultimately there isn't enough difference between 4 shots, 2+ 4/4 AP1, MW1 and 4 shots 3+ 4/5 AP1 with crits turning a miss into a hit (with starfire cores) to warrant taking them for me.

Equipment




Out of the equipment list available for the Killteam, the standout options are Starfire cores for your Gauss immortals, Sempiternal Weave for your leader (making it very bulky and resistant to shooting) and finally Tesla Weave for your Warriors in the event that you are taking Tesla on the Immortals (vs Harlequins and Genestealers for example where their 5+ invun negates your AP). Hyperphase blades aren't really all that useful in a largely shooting Killteam.

Strategic Ploys




I want to take some time to talk about Implacable March. I have been asked when and how I use it but the reality is that I didn't. Necrons are actually a fairly CP intensive team in that you need to save 1CP/turn specifically for Reanimation Protocols (see below), and in the way I play, Relentless Onslaught on the second or third turns when the Warriors get in range. It's also super important for your gauss to actually kill what they shoot at so I find that the Tactical Reroll ploy gets used quite a bit. 

Implacable March itself, whilst making your guys faster has some conditions that I find are actually very difficult to swallow during a game. You ideally want to use it turn 1 to get into position but this means that the Necrons you use it on need to be engaged and therefore are susceptible to being shot at. Secondly when under the effects of Implacable March, the model can only perform Move, Charge, Shoots and Fight actions which means that it's locked out of actions for mission objectives. Considering the way to win the game is through mission objectives I find the inability to perform those actions quite a steep price to pay.

If you are bringing flayed ones, Skulking Killer is very strong but as I mentioned before, I would only take them under very specific circumstances.

Tactical Ploys




On the first three turns, expect to use Reanimation Protocols each time so its important to save a CP just for this. UPDATE (03/2022): As of the Merch 2022 balance update, Reanimation Protocols now costs 0 CP to use. This is pretty big for the faction as it frees up CP for other ploys like Skulking Killer for the now damage boosted Flayed Ones and more re-rolls for your Immortals. Necrons can sustain one operative dieing each turn easily (whereas other Killteams get weaker over time). When you have 2-3 operatives going out of action in a turn it usually goes downhill very quickly for the Necron player so positioning is important to try and force Reanimation Protocols on the one guy you want to die and not take any excess casualties; This means usually feeding warriors to your opponent and waiting for them to take the bait.

How I play



Having played Necrons in Killteam quite a bit over the last few weeks, I feel like my playstyle and strategy has really solidified into something that is quite flexible during a game.

For Tac-Ops I always go for Security trying to draw Sieze Ground, Central Control and then any one of Hold the Line or Protect Assets. Damage Limitation (1VP at the end of the turning point if none of your operatives were incapacitated) is almost impossible to score consistently and Plant Banner is very difficult in a faction of 4" move operatives. The two main ones (Sieze and Control) are very achievable for Necrons; One involves having more APL of operatives at the center of the board and the other having more APL at an objective that you nominate at the end of the game. For a killteam that has the ability to heal and come back to life, the latter two turns can be a good supply of VPs.

I also quite like to be the defender in my games. Whereas most Killteams want to go first, I feel like deploying first on the side of the table that you want (being able to make full advantage of choosing cover lines and firing lanes). Of course this does mean that in the absence of cover you will generally want to be placing your barricades closer to your deployment zones and have all operatives start the game concealed but being able to relatively safely see what your opponent does during the first few activations and then responding in turn with Infiltrate in the scouting phase to punish poor placement of opponent's active key operatives can be very valuable over the course of the game.

During the game itself, I like to split my Killteam into two or three smaller groups consisting of 1-2 Warriors and 1-2 Immortals each with everything being concealed during the first turning point and the immortals within 1" of the warriors so that they grant cover. The Warriors will advance up the board to capture objectives and the Immortals will hang back slightly to keep in cover/get to good firing positions but will generally stay quite close to the Warriors. From turn 2 the Warriors will be in charge range so it's a case of presenting one of them as a good target (usually on an objective) to try and bait out a charge (as everything is still concealed at this point that's the only way that damage can be done aside from being on vantage points). The Warrior will invariably die but is supported by the other Warriors or Immortals in the group so they will be able to kill whatever did the charging. Ideally the Warrior will be saved by Reanimation Protocols and will be back next turn to move further/ capture the point/etc.

From there it's a case of picking off operatives that decide to activate to shoot with the immortals whilst continuing to apply objective pressure with the Warriors.

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