I just picked up a 40K Necron codex today and I am rather astonished. They appear quite overpowered to me. Then again, I play Orks and Imperial Guard, so maybe that's why they appear so.

My question is for the experienced Necron players: what are the disadvantages in playing Necrons? There's the low initiative (offset by being reasonably tough and numerous), most of the armor values are relatively low (offset by vehicle abilities) and the weapon ranges seem to cluster around 24" (not so bad). So what do you have to watch out for or compensate for when playing your Necrons?

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    It's been a while since I saw a Necron codex (so leaving this for someone else to answer), but my recollection was they are expensive in points, and your army "fades away" when you drop below 25% strength, so it's somewhat easier to lose. Commented May 16, 2012 at 21:16
  • This is an extremely broad and subjective question. I don't think this is the right venue for it. You would be better served by searching the 40K blog community for reviews on the Necron codex.
    – CaulynDarr
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 21:48
  • @CaulynDarr Point taken, thank you. At the same time, the comment from ire_and_curses is exactly the sort of answer I was seeking. Commented May 16, 2012 at 22:03
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    @CaulynDarr - Personally, I think this question is ok. Each 40K army has broad features which aren't subjective. For example, Tyranids excel at close combat, Tau are excellent ranged, Space Marines cost a lot but are tough. In that vein, I could imagine writing a general answer to this that would be useful - if I had a copy of the current codex. ;) Commented May 16, 2012 at 22:17
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    @David Pointer - Thanks, but I'm confident you'll get a much better answer in due course. Don't worry about site acceptance. Challenging questions are much more valuable, IMHO. :) Commented May 18, 2012 at 16:56

2 Answers 2


Necrons are a fairly solid codex right now. They don't have any glaring issues like some of the older codexes do. They come with very impressive shooting and decent resilience. I would say they are a top-tier army this edition, but they aren't all-powerful.

They are not the greatest army in melee. They have units that can be good at melee(Overlords, Wraiths, C'Tan, several of the elite choices), but the core of the army(Warriors and Immortals) won't stand up very well in assault. And those units that are good tend to be fairly expensive. Lynchgaurd and Pretorions cost the same as TH/SS Terminators but are just not quite as good. 6th edition is shaping up to have an even bigger emphasis on troops than 5th, so it's probably not wise to overpay for average quality assault units. Wraiths and Command Barge Overlords tend to be the exception. These are assault units that will find their way into most competitive Necron armies. Scarabs are a special case since they are really only effective against vehicles, but, boy, are they effective:)

While the Necrons at first glance seem very resilient, a competent opponent that knows your codex can compensate for that advantage. High strength/low AP weaponry can make short work of Necron vehicles even with their Quantum Shielding. Since Necron vehicles are opened top any penetrating AP1 hit will destroy you on a 3+. Reanimation protocols can also be overcome if your opponent focuses fire effectively. If a whole unit is knocked down, no one can get up. Plus the inclusion of precision shots could allow opponents to knock out your res-orbs at an inopportune time.

Necorns also don't have as wide a range of allies open to them as some other codexes. Though they need them to be competitive a lot less than some others. And they can ally with Grey Knighs...'nough said about that.

I had mentioned how many Necron assault units where expensive. That's a trend with many of the options in the codex. While there are many units that are cheep and effective(Warriors, Nightscythes, Annihilation Barges) there are others that can end up costing too much. The special characters are all very expensive. The rest of the HQs are decently priced, but you should be weary of giving them too many upgrades. You won't get a good return on investment if you give them more that 2-3 options. Most of the Elite choices are expensive for what they do. The efficiency of the cheaper options won't always compensate for the more costly ones. Necrons are typical of xenos armies with the amount of dead entries present in the Codex.

  • I actually followed most of that! +1. But what's a dead entry? Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 9:51
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    @Pureferret a dead entry is an entry in a codex for a unit that won't see serious competitive use in an edition. In other words a useless unit.
    – CaulynDarr
    Commented Sep 7, 2012 at 11:39

You're right; Necrons are awfully powerful. WH:40K isn't as carefully balanced as it should be. Their downsides are mainly high points-cost, but they also have less variety than other armies, and tend not to be terribly mobile (this may have changed in the 5th edition codex, but it was certainly the case before). Their anti-vehicle options tend to be sub-par (and less varied) than other races.

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    The new codex has apparently changed a lot, so I'm not sure how much this still applies. They still have a narrow range of anti-vehicle options, but the new scarabs definitely don't seem to be 'sub-par'.
    – Tynam
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 8:04

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