It’s been a while since we had a proper Cruasde rules update in White Dwarf. Things have been mostly quiet since Flashpoint: Nachmund in issue 476 gave us rules documenting the downfall of all of those armies of faith – you can read about those here. But this month White Dwarf is back with the first in what will hopefully be a series of Flashpoint: Nephilim updates, giving us all-new Crusade rules for the Necrons.
As one of the earliest codexes, Necrons suffer from some less inspired Crusade rules – apart from their dynastic epithets, anyways – and don’t have the kind of big faction mechanic that would mark later codexes like the planetary mechanics for Tau or Tyranids, nor have anything tied to their subfactions like Chaos Space Marines would get. This new issue of White Dwarf closes some of those gaps by giving us a set of new battle traits for all Necron units, plus a page of new rules for each of the major Necron dynasties.
New Battle Traits
There are four new tables here for Necron units looking to gain new battle traits, each tied to a specific unit type that wasn’t covered in the Codex. Specifically, there are now tables for Destroyer Cult, Triarch Praetorian, Flayed Ones, and Titanic units to give you pretty much army-wide coverage with custom battle traits for the army. Each of these give you three options.
- Destroyer Cult Traits include an ability to get +1 damage on unmodified wound rolls of 6, turning your Skorpekhs or Lokhusts into absolute monsters with what’s probably the best of the three abilties. Specatcular Overkill is a leadership and attrition debuff for nearby enemy units, and Reanimation Overdrive Protocols lets you turn one RP roll into a 6 every time you make a roll, which can be really helpful for bringing back some of the bigger-wound units.
- Triarch Praetorians have some tasty abilities. Protection Engrams gives them +1 to hit against enemy units in range of an objective marker, while Master of Blades gives them exploding 6s to hit in melee. The least of these is probably Resilient Defenders, which gives them +1 Toughness while near an objective marker.
- Flayed Ones have some very good options here. Shadow Creepers gives them a free use of either Shadows of Drazak or Storm of Flensing Blades use per battle, while Methodical Flensers gives them +1 WS and Horrific Stalkers turns off enemy ObSec within 6″. TheChirurgeon: That last one is by far my favorite since it’s both really cool (always a fan of turning off ObSec abilities) and it’s a nice way to make up for not taking Eternal Conquerors in favor of another, more flavorful dynasty.
- Titanic Units is perhaps the most interesting prospect of the three, since these are traits you’re most likely giving to Monoliths, unless you’re a real pervert, in which case these are going on a Seraptek Heavy Destroyer. Harbinger of Doom lets you count as double wounds remaining for your characteristics and C’Tan power use, while Anthic Energies gives you permanent Transhuman (wound rolls of 1-3 always fail) – a bit of a waste on a T8 body. The real money here is Empyric Designators, which gives your unit +1 to hit with ranged attacks against units that another unit from the same dynasty already made an attack against.
Dynasty Crusade Rules
On top of the new battle traits, there’s a full page of rules for each of the named Necron Dynasties. Each one has an Agenda, a Requisition, a new set of Battle Traits (which can be given to a CORE or CHARACTER unit… so uh, pretty much any unit), and a Crusade Relic. For each Dynasty besides Szarekh, one of the traits will reduce the cost of a specific Stratagem by 1 CP.
The Szarekhan agenda gets the award for coolest name – The Extermination of All Life – and rewards you for basically tabling opponents, or at least dropping them to 25% or less of their starting power level. It’s a big ask, but can pay off big by giving XP to every unit in your army still on the table. They also get my favorite Requisition – Reworked Engrams (1 RP) lets you just replace a Battle Trait on a unit with a new one – an ability I want in every single army I play. The Relic here is the Domination Stave, an Artificer relic that can force a unit within Engagement Range to fight last. This is also amazingly good. The Battle Traits are decent, mostly rewarding you for going after characters and high-value targets.
The Sautekh specialize in fighting other Necrons and get one of the coolest requisitions I’ve ever seen – Dynastic Domination (2 RP) is used after you beat a Necrons opponent. you get to pick any unit on their roster and add an identical one to your own Order of Battle with the same equipment, XP, Battle Honours, and Scars, basically representing the fact that you added their forces to your own. Extremely cool. The Agenda gives a character extra XP for killing enemy characters, and the Stormshroud Relic gives you mortal wounds on 6s to wound. The traits are decent – you can pick from gaining ObSec while in an opponent’s deployment zone, improving your AP by 1 and reducing the CP cost of Methodical Destruction.
The Mephrit specialize in ranged attacks and eradicating things with the power of suns. Their Agenda, Starkillers, rewards you for doing excess damage when killing enemy units with Characters. They have a neat Requisition that represents their tendency to politick and contest leadership – Claim to Rule (1 RP) lets you pick two Nobles of Blooded rank or higher; one is desginated a plotter and gains D6 XP while the other is a Victim, and gains a Battle Scar in the process. The Relic here is the Dominance Scythe, which is just a beefier Scythe, but the extra damage it does is helpful for scoring Starkillers. The traits here are just OK, letting you re-roll out of action tests and debuffing the Ld of nearby enemies. The Stratagem one gives you Talent for Annihilation for 1 CP less when used on the upgraded unit.
Novokh is the melee dynasty and their Agenda reflects this, awarding you XP for killing enemy units in melee. Degraded Sanity Engrams (1 RP) is the faction Requisition, and basically lets you trade out units with two battle scars for a new Destroyer Cult unit loses its scars but keeps all the XP of the unit it’s replacing, plus it gains an appropriate number of rewards. The Relic here is the Bloodshroud, which can do moral wounds to enemy units within 3″ during the Fight phase. The Traits here are melee buffs, while Blood-coated lets you use the Blood Rites Stratagem for 1 fewer CP.
The Nihilakh are very much the epitome of “It’s mine, all mine” and are very big on claiming terroritory with their Secure Borders Agenda. This agenda will reward your Core units for performing the Secure Border (Action) on objective markers. This will net that unit XP as well as install a Dominance Pylon, an aura that allows your units within range of it to be treated as also being within range of a character for the purposes of the Command Protocols abilities. Their Requisition, Lords of Prophecy (2 RP), is incredibly potent if you have the Req to spare. It simply allows you to take an additional Agenda to use during the battle giving you more opportunities to gain more XP for your units. The Yth Engrams Relic is the Astra Militarum Warlord Trait Grand Strategist with the edges filed off. You can gain a Command Point on a 5+ in your Command phase and once per turn reroll one hit roll or wound roll. Traits wise the Nihilakh are winners. Masters of Defence rewards you extra attacks whilst in cover, Optimised Repair Protocols buffs the Reanimation Protocol while you’re in your deployment zone and Dread Reclaimers lets that unit use the Reclaim a Lost Empire Stratagem for free.
The golden Nephrekh Dynastic are an eco-friendly lot with their Agenda Channel Solar Energies. They will Deploy Solar Cells (Action) on objective markers for XP. Afterwards it will allow you to select one of your Core units within range of the objective during your Command phase to use the Solar Enhancement which will increase the Strength characteristic of their ranged weapons by 1 until the start of your next Command phase. The Weapons of Celestial Destruction (1 RP) lets you change up the Powers of the C’Tan on a C’Tan. The Starfire Mantle Relic is almost tailor made for Nephrekh Command Barges. It allows you to still shoot in a turn in which it translocates (the Neprekh Dynastic Code ability) and any enemy units it passed through whilst translocating will suffer D3 mortal wounds on a 5+. Trait wise is an interesting mix, Elite Translocators increases your translocate to 9″, Swift Transmutation makes you harder to hit outside 12″ and Masters of Light lets that unit use the Translocation Crypt Stratagem 1 fewer CP.
TheChirurgeon: On the whole, evaluating Crusade rules like these can be tricky. There are some cool things here, but there’s so much stuff that some of it kind of loses meaning, either thematically or mechanically. Something like an auto-6 RP roll ability is a cool trick for Necrons to have, but I’m not sure why it would only be available to Destroyer Cult models. Likewise the dynastic battle traits have similar issues. That said, the agendas and requisitions do a much better job getting the point across and making the dynasties feel unique.
If you wanted something to further differentiate your favorite dynasty in Crusade, this is a pretty big addition. It’s generally good to see other armies’ subfactions get a full-scale treatment the way the classic factions – Marines, Chaos Marines, Orks, and Eldar – have had for years now and hopefully it helps further establish an identity for each dynasty while making for players who come to enjoy specific dynasties more than just whatever happens to play strongest.
Beanith: I for one welcome the possible return of my 01000011*01101111*01110111*01100010*01101111*01111001 Beep Boop Necron crusade roster with its combination of Nihilakh and Novokh units. It’s great to see Dynasty specific Crusade rules get a amazing update with nothing too cheesy or overpowered.
If you’re looking to fire up a new Necrons Crusade force, head on over to the Administratum app, the premier app for building and tracking Crusade forces in Warhammer 40k.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.