Now that I’ve covered one of the Troops choices in the army, I should probably address the half of the double act; Immortals. Now, amongst people who have had a look at the codex, the Immortals are the more popular choice and it’s fairly easy to see why. The have better guns (either bigger Gauss guns or Tesla Carbines) and a better save, allowing them to better shrug off the wealth of AP4 that can be fielded about the place. And they’re only a touch more expensive than the humble Necron Warrior (4pts per guy, or about 33%). However, it’s not all good.
I don’t really see the point in the bigger Gauss guns at the moment. The rapid fire weapon type requires the squad to stand still to use it to best effect, massively limiting their use and the extra strength makes it a bit better against troops, wounding on 3s instead of 4s in the case of MEQs. The AP4 instead of 5 is okay, but there really aren’t that many 4+ saves in the game to make this a major advantage, especially with the preponderance of cover saves in this edition. When it comes to vehicles, all the extra strength does is allow you a 1 in 6 chance to penetrate armour 10s. That’s it. In pretty much any other army, the jump from S4 to S5 is a far bigger deal, allowing the unit to have some effect against heavier and heavier vehicles. Unfortunately, all gauss weapons can have an effect against vehicles regardless of strength, reducing the effectiveness of incremental strength upgrades for vehicle suppression. For these reasons, I always use the far more fun Tesla Carbines as my gun of choice for these guys.
My reasons for this choice are fairly comprehensive (I think). Same strength, so you’re not downgrading. They are Assault 1 weapons, allowing to you to move and still cover a good amount of board space with electrical zappyness. Add in the fun little Tesla rule (any 6s on the to hit roll automatically generate an additional two bonus hits) and these guys tend to average a 100% hit rate when they fire. They can also assault after they’ve fired, which may not sound like much when you’re dealing with an army as deficient in assault as the Necrons, but there are many opportunities for an assault against a weakened unit, or any unit that is more effective shooting than close assaulting in any given game. Having that option there, even if it’s better that you don’t use it, is a plus for me. There are two prospective downsides to the Carbine versus the Gauss Blaster. It is AP-, which means that, of course, everyone will get their armour saves against the wounds. However, given the mass of 3+ saves that proliferate in this universe, the lack of an AP value makes no practical difference in the majority of your infantry culling expeditions. Yeah, those guardsmen with get to use their flack armour, and it’s always nice to see the surprise on the Ork player’s face when he finds out he can use his 6+ save against something at range. Admittedly, the AP- will hurt a bit when dealing with vehicles. Any glancing hits you score will be at a -3 penalty on the damage table, rendering them highly, highly unlikely to do anything lasting to vehicles. But then again, that’s not their role. The other disadvantage is that in the 12” window, the Gauss Blaster is getting more shots than you. However, that’s a sacrifice I’m more than willing to make for the far increased mobile ranged effectiveness these guns can offer.
I mainly use Immortals in small five-man squads rather than the full complement of 10. This is because I normally give them Crypteks to follow them about, creating a relatively durable unit with some funky ranged options with the Harbinger upgrades (I prefer Transmogrification, myself), operating them on an MSU basis. For my army, the main role of my Immortals is to act as satellite units for my big anvil unit of Warriors, providing point defence against any unit that gets a bit too close, providing cover (one five Immortal squad plus the Cryptek can easily provide cover for the whole 22-man Warrior squad) and also providing sacrificial speed bump services against assault units when necessary. I like them a lot for that, and they have ably assisted my anvil unit to victory on many occasions (read: 4) through my brief and probably disgracefully unrepresentative career as Robot Zombie Overmind.
That’s my view on Immortals, at least in the context of how I’ve been using them at the moment. Not as kick-ass units in their own right (which I’m sure they can be), but as a natural partner and complement to other components of my army. Any of you use them differently? Leave comments, etc.