Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Necrautopsy Part 3

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.


Nick said...

I haven't yet managed to get a game in, still collecting the army, so most of this is TheoryHammer but here goes:

I'm doing the exact opposite and planning on taking 10 man Immortal squads mainly with Blasters but also a squad with Teslas. Teslas are better at range against infantry (interestingly the AP4 only makes the blaster better for troops with exactly a 4+) but the step-up at close range seems to good to pass up alongside the extra versatility of gauss.

When you get to MEQs though the difference in damage output between a blaster and Tesla Carbine ends up at about 1 marine? And I think the lists I have in mind will need the anti-vehicle threat from the gauss that I can afford to give up 1 marine.

Part of this is due to where I'm coming from, which is Orks. Elite shooty Immortals are a pretty nice change from 30-Ork boyz mobs.

At the other end of the scale, I can remember how rarely I've managed to munch a 10-man marine squad in a turn that 10 Immortals seem like a really hard unit to shift. If it holds up assaulters for a turn, allowing the counter to hit homw, it'll be worth it.

Really enjoying the autopsy (of the undead?), thanks dude!

Meatshield said...

Glad you're enjoying my dissections! I'd be interested to hear how the Necrons treat you in practice. It's always good to get another viewpoint on a unit.

I tend to use Immortals in small, borderline sacrificial units (they're only 115pts with a Cryptek) rather than big squads so I can target different units and not worry about throwing them away as distractions and speedbumps. They definitely work better in this role than the Warriors do, what with the 3+ save and everything.

I plan to continue my autopsies for a little while as gain more experience with the army. There are many units that I haven't even touched yet, so there's plenty of scope for exploration, which is one of the joys of a new codex for me.

Thanks for the comment, I hope to hear from you again at some point!

Nick said...

I can certainly imagine that 5 of them would be really annoying to deal with. They need to be killed, but also properly over-killed to be sure of the job and that 3+ save is a beautiful thing.

I can understand where you're coming from with the exploration of a new codex. I've been planning a second army for a while now and have been through 4 codices looking for one. It's the moment of cackling as a new evil idea forms, that does it for me.