Crypteks are the Necrons' equivalent of wizards, although their powers come from an extremely advanced understanding of science, rather than magic. 'Cryptek' is actually the ancient Necrontyr word for nerd.
wizards nerds, they tended to isolate themselves from the affairs of their fellow Necrontyr. Most nobles are happy to leave the Crypteks to their own devices, rather than put in the effort to actually understand how any of their shit works. Like IT, Crypteks are basically allowed to mess around as they like until their boomer bosses forget to plug in the monitor again.
Those that do associate with others generally do so for loot — they join the royal court of an Overlord or Phaeron and lend their powers and advice in exchange for a first pick of the spoils of war, rare technology, or other favors. These Crypteks rarely bother with the political affairs of the noble courts, as they are too occupied with their own inter-academic rivalries and the struggles of organizing D&D groups when your character sheet needs to be engraved on a 30ft obelisk.
Crypteks specialize in one of several disciplines to focus their studies and gain more powerful tools.
- Harbingers of Despair or "Psychomancers" are all about manipulating minds, mostly causing fear.
- Harbingers of Destruction or "Plasmancers" shoot fire and light to wreck things. Now with their own plastic model!
- Harbingers of Eternity or "Chronomancers" play tricks with time -- speeding it up, slowing it down, shifting people into or out of phase with it, or even (in the case of Orikan the Diviner) running it backwards.
- Harbingers of the Storm or "Ethermancers" control the air and weather. In battle, they call down the lightning (ACDC optional).
- Harbingers of Transmogrification or "Geomancers" are rather like alchemists -- they can transmute matter from one form into another, or animate it temporarily (which is good for causing earthquakes). Somehow they are able to rock your armor off, AWWW YEAH!!!!
- Astromancers read the patterns and movement of the stars to predict the future. Yeah, they're basically astrologists.
- Biomancers are the guys who do experiments on organic races.
- Technomandrites are the most advanced and knowledgeable of the Crypteks, and designed practically all of the Necron tech that's currently in use. They were banished by the Silent King because he feared their power, but they were released from exile by special anti-Chaos protocols after the opening of the Great Rift.
There are other disciplines, but the first five are the only ones who go to battle on a regular basis.
All used to be in harmony, and then the 7th struck. Taking away this glorious collection of stuff and gear we were introduced to the HQ that (for some fun reason) costs the same as a 5th lord with a res orb. And fun fact: it is giving them +1 to their Reanimation. Now that would not be so bad were it not for the T4 and the 4+ save...
Still as an HQ if you didn't have the points to make a reclamation legion you did good to take this guy and just simply stick him to the most important unit (that would be Immortals or a huge group of Warriors) to keep them alive. Could also take a little thing that gives a 5++ against shooting.
The modern Cryptek family
9th Edition came in looking to step back the horrible mistake of removing these specializations, as the Indomitus boxed set is including a Plasmancer as a new model and the Cryptek with Canoptek Cloak has been renamed Technomancer (technically been called that since 5th, but 9th just made it their official designation). HUZZAH! Our hopes were high that this meant the other disciplines were also gaining new models. And our prayers were promptly answered when the Psychomancer and Chronomancer have joined the plastic ranks of the New-crons, looking baller as fuck.
As of now, only 4 disciplines have their own individual models and rules. In general, they all share the same relatively flimsy frame but they can get help from a couple murder buckets that won't even take up a slot. With those, your opponent will find itself having to chew on 2x2 extra wounds of T5 Sv3+ (with Reanimation Protocols and Living Metal) scrap heaps before getting to the squishy center while your robot nerd remains untargettable by ranged attacks. What's more, you get two Crypteks slot-free for each detachment with a NOBLE character, so their value has to be analyzed in that context.
A.k.a Cryptek Classic™, you take him in order to buff your Canoptek units, which he can do seamlessly or improve your Warrior's ability to stand back up after they get slapped with bolter fire. Its Rites of Reanimation allows it to pick a <DYNASTY> Core unit within 6" and revive 1 model (or 1d3, if the unit is Warriors). He can even do it one extra time if you use a 1 CP stratagem.
The Canoptek Controller gives +1 to hit to Canoptek units within 6", allowing Doomstalkers to fire at the same ballistic skill as Doomsday Arks or turning 3 Canoptek Spyders into a whirlwind of claws (combine this with the Fail-Safe Overcharger for 15+3d3 S8 AP-3 D2 attacks hitting on 3s) and/or a hurricane of S5 AP-0 pebbles. With that alone, he's an autoinclude in any Canoptek-heavy list, sitting behind your monsters giving them high fives.
You can either give him a Canoptek Cloak (the chad Forgebane model) or a Canoptek Controller (the virgin resin one). The Canoptek Cloak allows Crypteks to keep up with speedier units and provide extra healing for any <Dynasty> model with Living Metal.
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Initially introduced in the Indomitus Box, plasmancers are the subclass that delves in high-octane plasma. Officially the Harbingers of Destruction, they are masters of raw energy and can shoot devastating blasts of furious energy and pulses of light that illuminate the entire battlefield from their Eldritch Lances in battle. Their gaze of flickering witch-fire falters the onset of even the bravest attacker.
This ominous title is well earned, as it happens. A Plasmancer is also a master in the art of weaponising the hypertechnology of the Necrons, and the plasmic lance its bears – equally deadly at range as it is in melee – is a fine example of its skills given form. Floaty and frail-looking? Yes. Super deadly at every distance? Also yes.
Hard crunch wise, the Plasmancer's main ability is basically a smite, striking at the closest enemy unit within 18", throwing 3D6 and inflicting a mortal wound for each roll of a 4+. In addition to this, and harder to make use of without throwing him in harm's way, his Lightning Aura deals 1 mortal wound to every enemy unit within 6" on a roll of a 4+ at the start of the fight phase. So don't lean on that too hard.
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Chronomancers are the sub-class that likes to fuck around with time for work and pleasure. Officially the Harbingers of Eternity, they are pretty much exactly what you'd expect. Guys who mess around with the flow of time in the battlefield to give their metallic buddies an advantage over their fleshy opponents. Doing stuff like slowing down incoming fire from the enemy so their own troops can just stroll past without a scratch.
The Chronometron piece of equipment has been made their main gimmick ability. It grants one <DYNASTY> unit Charge rerolls and a 5++ invuln save for a turn. Note that his buff target does not need to be a Core unit. They also happen to move at the same pace as a certain new Destroyer Cult unit...
Also gets a choice of staff, either an 18" anti-tank (with D3+3 damage!) or an assault D3 anti-infantry that ignores invulnerable saves.
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Psychomancers are the subclass that prefers to mindbreak their opponents on the battlefield, mainly sowing the emotion of fear to reap a toll from the enemy. Officially the Harbingers of Despair, they are sadists crazy enough to use tech that channels the Nightbringer, using that visage of dread and death and sharing it around with anyone who may or may not be staring at them funny.
Crunch wise, this means they have the Nightmare Shroud as an aura, making any unit within 6 inches of them subtract 1 from their Leadership as well as from their Combat Attrition tests.
His active ability is also very handy and flexible and allows you to do any of the following to enemy unit within 12" if you roll 3d6 and beat the highest Leadership in that unit :
- They can't perform actions, and if they are currently performing an action, the action automatically fails. Good for objective scoring.
- They lose Objective Secured. Again, good for objective scoring.
- Their Advance and Charge rolls are halved. Extremely effective against high value fighty units.
- They can't fire Overwatch and must Fight Last. Pretty handy, if more situational.
- Orikan the Diviner, an astromancer with some expertise in chronomancy.
- Illuminor Szeras, a spider-bodied
plasmancertechnomancer who has taken up vivisection as a hobby.
- Zaa of Tomorrow, astromancer and faithful sidekick.