In my last Lychguard post, I waffled a little bit and tried to explain my choice for Halberds versus Shields. Obviously it’d be cooler if we could mix and match, but you can’t have everything. Unless you’re a Grey Knight Player. In which case you get everything, and at a discount. I chose halberds as being my equipment of choice (I know they’re called Warscythes, but look at them: they’re bloody halberds!). This choice does render the unit less durable than their more expensive shielded brethren, but ups the punching power to monstrous levels. Monstrous Creature levels, to be precise. As such, there are certain things they’re very good at killing, and certain things where the entire unit will collapse.
I’m used to dealing with that kind of mentality with my Dark Eldar. There are just some units you know can take you apart, so you stay away from them and attack the softer targets while picking away at the scary one. However, the Dark Eldar are speedy, dodgy little bastards, in stark contrast to the lumbering metal beasts of the Necron army. They have the ability to pick and choose their targets. What can the Lychguard do? The answer is simple: bring a Harbinger of Despair.
The Harbinger of Despair can take a groovy little piece of kit called the Veil of Darkness. It’s a teleporter. Provided the Harbinger’s unit is not in combat, then they can Deep Strike anywhere on the board instead of moving. It is a key piece of equipment to get the most out of the Lychguard and I probably wouldn’t take them without it. It doesn’t come without significant downsides though. The veil and attached Harbinger is a pretty expensive combo, totalling 60 points (70 if you want to give him the Nightmare Shroud, but I wouldn’t bother; if you can’t assault, you should be running instead). There’s also the risk of Deep Strike Mishaps on what is a pretty expensive unit. 260 points running at the bare minimum. You need to pick your strike zone carefully, bearing in mind that they’ll be the target of a lot of attention wherever they land.
The other thing I tend to do with this squad is attach an Overlord to it, which is really doubling down on the risk/reward ratio. The Overlord is useful for the equipment he can bring to the unit, but not as essential as I feel the Harbinger is. The Resurrection Orb is a must-have for him, the Warscythe is always my go-to weapon for Necron characters and the Sempiternal Weave allows him to reliably soak up those krak missiles. The Phase Shifter is ridiculously expensive, but a valuable addition to give the Overlord a bit of survivability against otherwise unstoppable damage. Unfortunately, kitting him out with the above-mentioned trinkets runs the character at a hefty 190 points. Whether that price tag is worth paying is very much a question of personal preference. I like it, but can see why it could just be too much.
I tend to start off with these guys in a fairly unobtrusive place so they can be ignored by most of the enemy fire. Thinking about it though, they could be used as a handy piece of walking cover for the rest of your army although, again, that could prove quite risky in practice. Quite where I teleport the Lychguard depends entirely on my opponent. A lot of the armies that I’ve been going up against with my Necrons split themselves into a forward element (typically assault-focussed units) and a back table firebase. The aim of the Lychguard is to attack the firebase. As I’ve previously mentioned, too many assault units can exploit the weakness of the Lychguard for it to be worth trying to go toe-to-toe with them. The mainly shooty targets at the back however are a completely different story, comprising primarily of the soft targets that the unit can just walk through. When it looks like my opponent’s assault element are too far forward to easily backtrack, the Lychguard teleport into the backfield, run to spread the formation out a little, weather the enemy fire and then go to work. If they survive to the last turn they can even teleport to contest an objective (don’t worry about Mishapping with them at that point. What else are they going to do?).
So, that’s my take on the Lychguard thus far. A very expensive unit, but effective when applied to the correct target.
And a lot of fun to play as well.