This is an old Edition's tactics. 5th Edition Tactics are here.
Why Play Necrons
Necrons are space robot zombie ghosts.
They don't talk, and they are pure evil.
What is not to love about them?
Oh, and they aren't Marines. Honestly. Ignore their WS/BS/S/T 4 statline, their S4 AP5 Rapid Fire guns, and their 3+ armor save, they totally aren't Marines.
- Necron Lord - Your basic HQ choice. His main job is to carry a Resurrection Orb to help your Necrons stand back up. He can take the fearsome Warscythe (and I suggest you do) to make him nasty in hand to hand combat; however, the Staff of Light gives him a shooting attack and still ignores armor. Pick your weapon depending on how many invuln saves your enemy can take. He also has access to several other nice pieces of wargear, such as the Veil of Darkness, and the ability to take a Destroyer Body to become a T6 Jetbike.
The Following are special characters
- The Nightbringer - A hand to hand monster. He's S10, T8, with 5 attacks and a 4++ save. Nasty. He also gets a 24" range Lascannon, and the ability to knock weedy gits aside, or simply make everyone around him explode.
- The Deceiver - Almost as nasty as the Nightbringer in Hand to Hand, the Deceiver's power comes from being able to force your opponent to take moral check, simply walking out of combat, and allowing you to redeploy at least one unit before the game starts.
- Flayed Ones - Can Infiltrate or Deep Strike. Forces foes to take a LD test or hit them on 6s. Are essentially marines with 2xCCW. Meh. On paper they seem like an interesting choice, once they hit the table top they will never surprise you with anything other than a bland performance as a speed bump. With the plethora of leadership 10 units their Terrifying Visage ability is guaranteed to pretty much never work, unless they are working in tandem with Pariahs, and if you're taking Pariahs, why bother with Flayed Ones, who don't pierce armor and only have S4? Damn shame, because they certainly look awesome. They work a lot better in DoW, and it gives them some pretty cool effects.
- Immortals - Bigger, tougher (T5) shootier (S5 assault 2 guns) and more expensive Warriors. Most armies will have at least one big unit of these guys. A resilient (even for Necrons) point and click unit. Walk, shoot and watch things die. They have the same chances of getting back up from We'll Be Back rolls, just with T5. S10 shots will deny them their WBB roll, but that's fairly uncommon and rather wasteful. Beware of power weapons, especially power fists; Immortals aren't much better than Warriors in assault and the fist will eat them for breakfast. Turns things like Gaunts and Guardsmen to mush and causes Tactical Space Marine squads to shit bricks. Keep them out of assault.
- Pariahs - Fearless Immortals with Warscythes. They knock all nearby enemies to LD 7. And force psykers to take LD tests. Sounds awesome, right? Pity they're not "Necrons" and, as such, don't benefit from all the cool special wargear and rules. They tend to get shot to pieces before making it within 12" of the enemy... And they're also horridly expensive. Easily the best H2H unit in the Necron book, if they make it there. Great at chopping up Tyranid Synapse creatures, Hammernators and psykers. Pariahs are a real situational bunch so it's a good idea to think if you do need a slow, psyker hunter squad to go in your army, otherwise you could invest the points elsewhere.
- Necron Warriors - Your bread and butter, formerly your grilled cheese sandwich. Players use these as your main buffer against Phase Out. In 4th edition they could rip apart any vehicle within range, but with the change to the vehicle damage tables they can "only" successfully stall vehicles all game long. They have also been hurt even more in melee. The combat resolution modifiers mean that when an assault unit reaches your ranks, you will lose entire squads at a time, without even your famed WBB roll. Begrudgingly take these because you have to. Your first 360 points of any list are these guys. Use the rest on other units.
- Destroyers - The second most common unit in a Necron force. They are effectively an Immortal with a bigger gun on a jetbike. These are useful as fast mobile firepower to threaten flanks or isolated units. Their high strength and rate of fire makes them excellent at popping open light vehicles and making a mockery of anything with a 5+ armor save (thus making blobguards bloborks and blobnids cry). Take as many of these as you like. They will not let you down.
- Wraiths - They're fast, have Strength 6, and a 3+ invulnerable save. But that's it. Their primary weakness is small squad sizes coupled with a single wound. Their average toughness means they will fall to massed small arms fire. Usually all it takes is a single round to rapid fire shooting to take out a squad. They don't even have power weapons. Unless you want to run a wraith wing skip 'em.
- Scarab Swarms - The best swarm in 40k. Fast as all get out and can turbo-boost for a 2+ cover save. Cheap with a shit ton of wounds they are the Necron's ultimate tar pit. Toss on Disruption Fields they are able to damage any vehicle in hand to hand. Their main weakness are templates. High strength templates and flame templates eat them for lunch.
- Heavy Destroyers - The Necrons' only dedicated anti-armor unit. A very expensive lascannon on a jetbike. Not many people use these. They suffer from the curse of having what looks like a fuckawesome gun crammed in a tiny squad. This causes them to act as a terrific fire magnet.
- Monolith - The only Necron vehicle. It's a big floating pyramid that blasts gauss death from every edifice. Have at least one for larger games. Its high armor and Living Metal special rule render it immune to armor destroying trickery from lance and melta weapons. If you are able to take out or render combat ineffective any high strength weaponry your Monolith will be free to hover with glee about the battlefield. It is also useful for pulling units with the Necron special rule away from dangerous situations, or to put them into dangerous situations. In apocalypse, if you have two or more of them you can place them in the monolith phalanx formation (a formation of 3-5 monoliths) and they will create a field that grants all sorts of cheesy bonuses to the Necrons inside them like 5+ invulnerable saves and bonuses to their we'll be back rolls turning an already hard to kill army into a practically unkillable engine of death. Expensive as hell, and horribly slow, but so worth it.
- Tomb Spyder - A T6 monstrous creature, the cheapest monstrous creature in the Necron force (and the only one, apart from the C'tan). Can generate Scarab Swarms (though might take a wound). Low WS/BS and number of attacks make them pretty mediocre in hand to hand, but still one of the best offerings the Necrons bring to the melee table.
- Pylon - A Super Heavy artillery piece. Great for putting holes in other Super Heavies with 3 S10 AP1 shots that have incredibly long range. Three of these can pretty much wreck a mech army's shit in one turn. Now you see a healthy Leman Russ company, now you see nine smoking wrecks. They are unparalleled tank destroyers (they are only exceeded by titans, Terminus Ultra's have a risk of blowing themselves up and only have S9 AP2 weapons, and Baneblades are less efficient) and that's just the icing on the cake. With Armor 14 and living metal rules, they are a bitch to kill, their teleportation lets them be where they need to in a snap, their special effects are just sweet, and they allow you to use some really overpowered formations (5+ invulnerable saves...for your whole army...)
- Tomb Stalker - Not the Tomb Stalker from the Medusa V campaign (sadly... those were the Necron equivalents of titans and much like Necron ships they could slaughter enemy superheavies of greater size with ease). The Forge World model is a mix between a Tomb Spyder and a Wraith. It is a deep striking monstrous creature.
Building your Army
- Dry Brushing - The only technique you will need to use to paint any sized Necron force.
- Dip - An alternative to Dry Brushing. Spray everything chrome or a shiny metallic color. Then dip all the models in a brown wash. Blam, done. After assembling, you have any sized Necron force done in 30 minutes. Put some green as an added bonus.
- Destroyer Armada - The basic premise behind this Necron build is to cram as many Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers into your list as possible. Warriors and the Lord are there to supplement (and give you less points to spend on) the shooty power of Destroyers.
- Wraith Wing - Just like the Destroyer Armada, only focusing on Wraiths. This force is a glass sword. Very difficult to use correctly, but can be devastating when you don't fuck it all up.
- Tons of Warriors - Look at the cover of the Necron Codex. Then use that as a base for your Necron army. Toss in as many Warriors as you can (97 Warriors and a Lord with Resurrection Orb at 1850). Then practice the time honored tactic of stand and shoot. Worked very, very well in 4th edition and was pretty much unbeatable in 3rd edition as the sheer number of gauss weapon rolls would slaughter any vehicle through glancing hits and murder any infantry through auto-wounds and still mulches infantry centered armies in 5th with auto-wounds and can rather quickly rob vehicles of their weapons (a baneblade that has had all of it's guns removed is just an overglorified piece of moving cover), but it's past it's prime now thanks to 5th edition vehicle damage rules and the fact that Warriors aren't the best in close combat.
- C'tan's Floating Castle - Three Monoliths. Drop pie plates and enjoy the aroma of your opponent's newly filled pants. Then get into an argument about if Melta Bombs work against Monoliths.
- Scarab Swarm - Exploit the cheapness of Scarab Swarms. You simply fill your Fast Attack slots with Scarabs instead of Destroyers. Attach a Destroyer Lord with a Lightning Field and other close combat supporting Wargear and watch the Scarabs scratch away at your opponents and cause many wounds in return from the Lightning Field. This build is not the most effective, but it is one of the most entertaining builds for a Necron player.
- Monolith Phalanx one of the most HATED tactics in apocalypse, simply plonk 2-5 monoliths on the field and watch as all of your troops gain 5+ invulnerable saves which usually isn't much but consider that every, single freaking Necron will have it and gain bonuses to their we'll be back rolls and you'll have an army that will simply refuse to fucking die no matter what's thrown at it. Since Monoliths are absurdly durable and a large number of them is bound to fuck up even a Titan's shit (especially if one or more of them is a doomsday monolith), you will win almost all the fucking time even with 5th edition gauss weapon nerfs. If you convince your opponent to play with 3rd or 4th edition vehicle damage rules then you will be pretty much invincible. Keep a troll face on at all times while using this tactic and watch your opponents rage impotently.