Striking without warning and often leaving nothing but devastation in their wake, encounters with the warships of the Necrons are on the rise, much to the alarm of Imperial analysts. Like something out of an old nightmare, the ships of Necrons rise from their resting places on forlorn worlds to re-assert the ancient race's supremacy on the galaxy.
Ancient even by Eldar reckoning, Necron ships are known to be unreasonably durable, despite not possessing any shields that could be seen. Any damage done to their hulls repair within minutes, and it takes a truly dedicated assault to overcome this self-repair feature. In many cases, the only way to truly win against the Necrons was through numbers, and even then it's not a guarantee of absolute victory, as the weaponry mounted on Necron Warships are powerful and deadly, usually punching through shields and hull armor as if they weren't even there.
Unbeknownst to many but the highest levels of the Inquisition, Necrons are not a united force, with the majority of its Lords aligned to one of the numerous Dynasties of the old Necron Empire. As such the fleets they command follow the same dictates of those ancient rulers,even if they seem inscrutable to any other race.
Necron Ship Classes
The heaviest type of vessel available to the Necrons, the Tombship is more than a match for any other ship of the same size fielded by the other races. It comes armed with a Star Pulse Generator, short-ranged Lightning Arc turrets and mid-ranged Gauss Whip turrets, and a Portal as standard. Because of their firepower, these are often the flagship of choice for many a Phaeron or Nemesor, and as such feature Sepulcres to command from.
The video game version of the tombship, the Cairn, also assumes that a Sepulcre is built-in, and this is reflected in the Ancestral Terror ability, a short-ranged cone of "fear" that boosts allied ship morale while hitting enemy ships with a morale penalty in return.
A new addition brought by Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, the Scourge is a heavy aircraft carrier, but it can also hold it's own in close combat decently. Just don't expect it to win against close-combat dedicated capital ships.
Essentially a beefier version of the Harvester, the Reaper features more weaponry (offensive and defensive turrets) and Hull Points compared to its relative, but in return is also slightly slower, though it can still keep pace with Imperial Escorts and Cruisers. The Reaper can also do more Troop damage, but in other regards is the same as the Harvester.
The Reaper comes with short-ranged Lightning Arc turrets and mid-ranged Gauss Whip turrets as standard, and can also launch suqadrons of Doom Scythes.
A variant of the Reaper coming from Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, the Ruiner swaps it's Lightning Arc turrets for two close-ranged Lightning Arc batteries and gets two more Gauss Whip turrets.
The main ship of the line for the Necrons, the Harvester is the most commonly-encountered ship by many races. Deceptively fragile-looking compared to Imperial designs, Harvest ships have been notoriously difficult to take down, often requiring squadrons of warships. Add to this their blistering speed -- easily the match of an Imperial Navy Escort -- and suffice to say that encounters with Harvest ships rarely go in the Imperials' favor.
The Harvest Ship is armed with short-ranged Lightning Arc batteries and mid-ranged Gauss Whip turrets. In the video games the firing arc of these weapons are a bit... odd, where they're not quite Broadsides, and yet they have no forward-firing arc either.
The Harvester can also launch Doom Scythes as standard.
A variant originating from Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, the Harrower is the cheapest Cruiser, it has a lot of Lightning Arc batteries, although it lose the Starpulse Wave.
Introduced in the video games, the Cartouche is the former cheapest ship available to the Necrons. Similar design-wise to the Khopesh, the Cartouche is slightly less tougher than the former, but features the same weapons suite, with short ranged side-facing Lightning Arcs. and a front-facing mid-ranged Gauss Whip turret. It also carries Doom Scythe interceptors.
The costliest Light Cruiser available to the Necrons, the Khopesh is the slightly meatier cousin to the Cartouche. It has more Hull Points compared to either the other Light Cruisers, and more defensive turrets, but is otherwise exactly the same as the Cartouche. Like the Cartouche, it was introduced in the video games.
The only Light Cruiser available to the Necrons on the tabletop game, the Shroud is actually less durable compared to the Light Cruisers fielded by other races, with less Hull Points available to it. In exchange the class is blisteringly fast, and still features the same Hull Point restoration shenanigans that Necrons have in general.
In the video games the Shroud features the longest detection range of any Necron Cruiser. Coupled with their speeds, they can act the part of forward scout on top of their regular role as heavy escort.
It is armed with front-facing short-ranged Lightning Arc turrets that have a very wide firing range, as well as Doom Scythe interceptors.
Introduced in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, the Sekhem become the cheapest Light Cruiser, losing it's ability to cloak, but getting the Star Pulse Generator and having more Lightning Arc batteries than the Cartouche, making it more close-ranged.
Escorts are the smallest and most common ship available to the Necrons. Vessels of this class are generally grouped into two types: with frigates being relatively bigger and better armed, while Destroyers are much more quicker by comparison.
In the video games, due to their lack of any sort of shields and low Troop count, Necron Escorts are especially vulnerable to Assault actions like Lightning Strikes, while being unable to assault in return.
Another issue Necron Escorts have in the games is their limited and forward-facing firing arcs, which force them to sit still to attack, rather than circle-strafe like smaller ships from other races. As such, abilities like the Plasma Bomb are pretty much the bane of a inattentive Escort skipper.
Slightly bigger than the Dirge, the Jackal is also slightly slower, though it makes up for this by having more Lightning Arc turrets and Hull Points. It's also a little more costlier by comprarison.
Relatively fragile as far as Necron ships go, the Dirge is one of the fastest units anywhere, able to keep pace with even the most nimble Eldar Destroyer.
The Dirge is armed with front-facing short ranged Lightning Arc batteries.
In Battlefleet Gothic
The ships available to the Necrons are some of the toughest and most dangerous units available in the tabletop game bar none, with excellent armor on all sides (and actual Armor saves!) and weaponry that punch through shields like they weren't there. Some of the cheesetastic stuff available to the Necrons are the following:
- Inertialess Drives: gives a massive movement bonus when using the All Ahead Full order, and the choice to turn after a certain point.
- Portals: give an additional Hit and Run attack.
- Reactive Hulls, which make their ships super-tough and immune to Damage, Leadership, and Movement penalties brought up by solar flares and such, and gives it a higher chance to repair.
- Sepulchre: bumps a fleet's Leadership to 10, forces a Leadership penalty on a target ship if it fails its save and destroys ordinance on another.
- Star Pulse Generator: gives the ship an attack that ignores shields and hits every hostile ship within a certain radius around the Necron vessel.
Critical Hits also don't effect Necron ships in the same manner as other races, so they have their own table to check the effects of such hits on vessels.
To offset all this cheese, Necron ships are on average much more expensive points-wise than every other race's ships AND if their ships are defeated, give increased Victory Points. In a campaign, Necron ships also cost more Repair points to restore their hull points and replenish their ships.
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2
Reflecting their reputation on the tabletop, the Necrons were tough and dangerous juggernauts in the first game. In the second game... not so much. Necron ships are heavily reliant on their Armor (equal to that of Space Marine ships) as none of their ships have shields. Not only that, they're easily two or three times more expensive compared to their opposite numbers in other races, which means that the Necrons will often have less ships deployed than even the Space Marines.
That said, Necron warships are more than capable of bringing the pain, helped by the fact that Necron weapons never miss (except when the target is blocked by debris or another enemy ship), with Gauss Whips punching through both Shields and Armor. Ouch.
Necron vessels are still durable thanks to their Reactive Hulls, which are immune to Fires, heals critical damage after a certain point, and repairs a turret and replenishes troop strength. The ship hulls also heal damage dealt to them, but reduce the max Hull Points of the ship in question for each point restored (though these reset every battle).
While not exactly the most nimble ships around, Necron ships can skip ahead to a point much further down their current course thanks to their Inertialess Drives. In practice, this allows players opportunities to get more favorable firing lanes on their enemies less-protected sides and backs.
Reflecting the implacable nature of their troops, Necrons gain a bonus to Bravery, and have excellent boarding abilities and troop damage thanks to their Portals. Finally, Necron ships bigger than an Escort also have the capability to launch Doom Scythes to defend and harry enemy ships.