I had the chance to have a friend over last week to catch a game of 40k. He is relatively new to the hobby - just started painting and has a fledgling Necron army. It has a fairly wide variety of models - so it fits well with the kinds of armies I am used to seeing and it might reflect a little of my own bias for diversity.
Since it seems most of my games come during tournaments - I think I have played less than 5 non-tournament games in the last 6 months - I really appreciate the chance to grab a laid back 40k game. This is especially true with my own hobbying stuck in a bit of the doldrums. I have a ton of unfinished models and I am struggling to find time to paint them - when I do have time it is a bit overwhelming. I think a set of 'painting challenge' posts may be necessary to kick start myself a bit.
Regardless, this is about playing a Necron army with Daemons and some thoughts some thoughts on unit performance, strategy and list building. I brought with me the following 1750 list:
Somehow, I keep showing up with a horde of Daemons
Keeper of Secrets w/ 2x Greater Gift, Mastery 3
Lord of Change w/ Mastery 3, Exalted Gift
CSM Sorcerer w/ Mastery 3
4x Blood Crushers
3x Plague Drones
Daemon Prince w/ Slaanesh Dedication, Warp Forged Armor, Mastery 2, Exalted Gift
This list really loads up on the monstrous creatures - something I do not usually do - and on the high toughness models. It is relatively fast and has some interesting tricks if I can get Invisibility, Forewarning or some interesting Greater Gifts. Naturally, I got none of those things! I snaggeda Grimoire on the prince and rolled him on Biomancy to be a buffer. I then rolled up the other 8 Psychic powers plus, the Horrors and realized that this is way too many psykers. It is not that I am afraid of Space Wolves or Eldar - it is too much for me to keep track of at this point. In the future I plan to share plans for some card stock 'cards' to help keep track - but until then I would recommend no more than 8 Mastery levels in an army. Especially since I rolled deep into the trees.
Notably this army has very little shooting - I normally have more than this but I wanted to experiment a bit with units I do not use as often.
I was facing off against the following Necrons:
This one is good in CC
Lord, Minshackle, Sempiternal, Phase Shifter, War Scythe
Lord, Minshackle, Sempiternal, Phase Shifter, War Scythe in Command Barge
5x Lychguard w/ Dispersion Shield
10x Tesla Immortals
10x Warriors in Ghost Ark
10x Warriors in Ghost Ark
6x Wraiths w/ 4x Whip Coils
There is a lot of small arms in this army and some decent assault elements. Importantly, those transports do not go away easily. With the meta going more towards plasma, I think Ghost Arks are going to continue to get better. The only real hit against them is how good Night Scythes currently are.
We ended up with The Relic and Vanguard Strike and I had first turn. That meant the Lord of Change could snag a Grimoire and everything could advance. I kept the Flamers and Plagues in Reserve - and after deep striking the plagues realized again how slow they are. I keep trying to make them work, but I really dislike Slow and Purposeful. The real battle hinged around the set of Wraiths which assaulted into the crushers and reminded me how fragile they are. In spite of that - the extra wound on each really helps mitigate the damage. I put the Keeper and Prince into the unit and they barely got through all the 3++ invulnerable saves as my opponents dice were hot.
it was close as my troops were being shot to pieces before I could get the Relic, but I managed to grab the objective with a Rift Bringer summoned units of Daemonettes on Turn 5 to push the win past. The Keeper ended with 1 wound - but a few dice rolls could have changed the outcome. Playing Daemons is definitely a roller coaster ride - but I do like the amazing things they can do on the table when 'the stars align.'
The Keeper demonstrated how good the Greater Gifts can be - snagging Feel No Pain 4+ and Daemonic Resilience 3+. The synergy between a Precognition Lord of Change buffed by a Grimoire was also apparent as he remained unwounded for the whole game while flying around tipping over vehicles and making a nuisance of himself. It is like having Fateweaver but with 5 wounds, 5 attacks, T6 and no fleeing the battlefield - not forgetting everything is rerolled so he puts down a sick number of wounds.
The real disappointment of the match was the Plague Drones - the Crushers also did poorly against the Wraiths but that was my own fault. They hit a unit of Immortals and just stuck there - even losing combat a few times. I think at the least they need a Plagueridden with an Etherblade to give them more hitting power. A banner is also not a bad idea to provide +1 combat res (and an icon to Deep Strike from).
As for the Daemon Prince - the jury is still out on him. I wanted him to be a Biomancy buffer, but he ended up with Warp Speed and then failing to take it to any wraiths. For some reason the 4 wound marks appears to be just a little easier to hit than 5 and the lack of T6 really hurts. With Iron Arm or Endurance I think he becomes much more effective - or even Enfeeble for that matter. I will probably try him again, cheap, but maybe with wings in place of a second HQ centered MC to make room for some heralds.
Overall I am still really adjusting to having to deploy Daemons at the start of the game - it drastically changes how some units work - and there is much more waiting to get units into play. I think the key for my playstyle - which is fairly aggressive - is going to be to bring shooting elements to start on the board - along with units that need Psychic Support - while Deep Striking assault units or units I want to get in close like Soul Grinders.
Next game is going to feature a bit more shooting - I might try to include a Forgefiend if I can find my painting muse. That naturally means keeping the CSM allies - the casting power of a Sorcerer cannot be underestimated - using a small CSM unit to hide behind the Aegis.