Thursday, 12 January 2012

Necrautopsy 6.1: Lychguard Primer

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with different (and some may say silly) list builds rather than the tried-and-true, blood-pressure-raising Tremorstave bonanzas that my serious lists style themselves.

Among the riskiest things in these silly lists is a single unit: Lychguard.  I’ve talked briefly about these guys before, saying that they didn’t really work for me and detailing bits and pieces about them, but never really going in deep.  Well, since playing them more and getting a bit more of a grip on them, I’m prepared to (potentially) rethink my opinion.

Just to sum up, Lychguard are one of the assault options in the codex.  There is a definite hurdle with a lot of the assault units in the Necron book and it’s summed up (for pretty much all of them) in one phrase: Initiative 2.  Assault is tough when you’re going at the same time as your opponent, but going last?  That’s an entirely new form of irritation.  The way most of the Necron assaulters try to deal with this is by being tough, and the Lychguard are no exception.  They are T5 with 3+ saves, lending them decent durability against low quality damage.  Against your standard small arms, they’re just as tough as Terminators.  In fact, they only drop to worse than Terminators when you hit S7.  And that’s not counting the Reanimation Protocols.  Even against your tankbusting weaponry, they can stand back up later, 50% of the time if you’ve got a Resurrection Orb in the unit.  Simply put, they are fantastically hard to bring down with shooting.  They should be just as hard to take down in combat, right?

Unfortunately this is not necessarily the case.  These guys are designed for combat, but you need to be very careful about what combat you throw them into.  Lychguard (like all Necrons) have Ld10, which is nice, but they lack Stubborn, Fearless or any chance for rerolls on Ld tests (chronometrons potentially excepted).  This is their major weakness.  If they lose a combat, they can run and if they run, with I2, they will most probably be swept away.  Then you’ve lost one hell of an expensive unit, especially if you’ve kitted them out.  As they will be striking last in the vast majority of combats, some Lychguard will probably fall before getting their returning blows, reducing the chance of you getting enough hits in to draw or win the combat.  This is a big deal.  If you see a unit that can take down a decent number of your Lychguard, then you have to avoid them until they’re weakened enough to deal with, or just avoid them all together.  This makes them a very odd hammer unit. But against the right opponents, they are one hell of a big hammer.

There are two setups for these guys; warscythes (S7 power weapons that roll 2D6 for armour penetration) or shields (4+ Invulnerable saves and bog-standard S5 power weapons).  There are definite advantages for either option, but I prefer running the Warscythe kit for a couple of reasons: I like halberds.  Don’t know why, I just think they look cool.  The other two reasons are mentioned in the weapon description.  They are Strength 7 and roll 2D6 for armour penetration.  Against most enemy infantry, they’re killing on 2s.  Against most Monstrous Creatures, they’re wounding on 3s and against most vehicles… You can imagine. 

Actually, you don’t have to.  They are penning 11 hits out of 12.  This makes them a riskier unit to use, as you don’t have the Invulnerable save to fall back on when you’re up against big assault threats or Demolisher Cannons, but conversely, it makes them far scarier for the opponent, because the things they are good against they can just tear apart without breaking a sweat.  The S5 power weapon and 4++ are more durable, but they’ll be winning fights through grinding attrition, rather than flat out eating the opposition.  Maybe I’m selling the shield variant a little short.  I haven’t used them, so anything I say about them is probably going to be conjecture.  Apart from this:  They definitely can’t kill vehicles as well.  In a Codex that lacks the amount of hardcore vehicle-killing that this dex does, this makes them a more attractive prospect.

Anyway, that’s the rough run-down of the Lychguard from where I sit.  I’ll go a bit more into how I use them, and how they’ve been working for me, at some point soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this list:

Things Lychguard can kill
Pretty much anything not on the below list

Things Lychguard should stay the hell away from
Furioso Dreadnoughts with Blood Talons
Anything with tonne of Rending or Poisoned attacks
S4 or S5 power weapons en masse (S3 power weapons are an acceptable risk)
Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield Terminators
Full strength Ork mobs (odd case, these guys.  If you charge them, you’ll probably be fine.  If they charge you, you’re doomed)

Any more you want to add to the lists?  Go ahead!

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