Quite unexpectedly, today we won’t talk about the Tau codex. Today we’ll talk about Necrons. Why? The things that have been already revealed about Tau already caused arguments among players. At the same time Necrons’ codex has completely unexpectedly merged into the web, and everything there is much straighter. Please note that this is not the final version of the codex, and the details may change after the release. Therefore, this is not a review.
Codices for the Imperium and Chaos have almost come to an end - therefore here, in the xenos codices we should expect something completely unusual. In general, it is. Mainly, because many special rules which now are usually used as stratagems, have been left to the Neсron units. The legacy of the brilliant codex of the 5th edition works fine so far. Stratagems in this codex are mostly focused on strengthening specific aspects of specific units – reroll of reanimation protocols, shooting/charging after advancing, shooting rerolls, giving reanimation protocols to Canopteks, strengthening lichgards shields (with the chance to throw the attack back), combining firing with three Doom scythes, additional K’Tan powers, and so on.
The stratagems are quite uninventive and simple, but all useful - if you use one or another unit, you definitely will not refuse to strengthen it at the right time. However, there are some special, interesting ones. Detonate the base of scarabs to deal D3 mortal wounds, drop two units at once from scythe or monolith; resurrect a dead character; return a damaged vehicle to the full profile for one turn, or teleport the unit closer to the monolith.
In general, the codex has a lot of opportunities to move units closer to the enemy. Artifact mantle, Obiron, one of the K'Tans, a monolith, along with stratagems, scythes – Necrons’ low mobility and range of fire of is practically not a problem. Of course, this all requires certain conditions when making a roster, but the opportunity to deliver a lot of angry shooting right in front of the enemy at the first turn is worth it. By the way, there is more anti-tank shooting. It has always been a problem for Necrons, but now there are much more options. It’s not the matter of a new codex – mostly this is due to the new edition realities, but still makes Necrons better.
Of course, like with all other codices, here we have a division into subfactions - in this case - dynasties. Like with strategems, it is difficult to choose the most useful one. Nephrekh always run for 6 inches (perhaps the only controversial option), Novokh rerolls to hit after the charge, Nihilakh reroll 1-s in the shooting, it remained stationary, Mephrit - increase the AP at the half-distance. Sautekh consider all weapons as assault if they ran, and do not receive penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons. It looks worse than the others, considering that you do not really need to run. But at the same time, most of the named characters belong to this dynasty, and their warlord trait allows you to return command points on 5+ after spending them. Given the number of useful stratagems, you will certainly need them. Therefore, most likely, you are likely to take Sautekh, even though all other options are really good.
Artifacts are not as interesting as everything else. You will almost certainly take the Veil to teleport closer to the enemy. Everything else is optional, and you may not want to spend command points on it. A huge arsenal of attacking artifacts is traditionally uninteresting. Only an improved Resurrection Orb, and armor can make sense.
Almost all units have become much cheaper. Only the Wraiths went up, but they were given AP -2 and Dmg2, so they are still relevant. Lords now alloy the units reroll to wound rolls - now there is a reason to take them in addition to the Overlords. The latter, by the way, received an honest 4 ++ and the opportunity to take a new, strengthened scythe, similar a Space Marines hammer.
We would also like to mention K'Tan’s. Perhaps, this is their best incarnation. For their 220 (average) points, they are very fast, dangerous, and also strike the enemy with the Powers of K’Tan. The powers, however, are an example game design impotence. All six are almost the same: "roll D6 to inflict D3 / D6 mortal wounds." The eighth edition in its worst manifestation. At the same time, it’s definitely effective and makes K’Tans more useful. Of all three, perhaps, the Deceiver stands out - for the ability to teleport units as close to the enemy as possible. Although it makes sense to try the rest.
So, what do we have in total? The codex is really good. It's amazing, but now the Necron army is more interesting than in used to be in the 7th edition. It's still the same slow and tenacious army, based on mass shooting, nonetheless it has some effective tools for close combat. But now you have tactical opportunities to be mobile, durable, and strengthen the attack where it is most needed. In addition - the units are improved, and now you can actually play almost everyone, and give an adequate response to any threats. Hopefully, the upcoming xenos codices will continue this trend.