Friday, 25 November 2011

Rantette: Necron Reception

And we interupt your regular programming (which would have been another Terrain THoughts post about WarmaHordes) to bring you Incarias' (only somewhat late) rantette about the Necron Codex' reception.

And, since I'm lazy, I'll just sprinkle the whole thing with pictures taken straight from the GW webstore.

So, Necrons got a new Codex. At last. It added a lot of diversity, changed a goodly part of the background, and annoyed a lot of people.

I suggest you read DarkWynn's commentary here, to know what I mean.

I think he's at least half full of crap.

First, you all know I'm not a fan of the competitive crowd. Which is probably why this statement bugs me: 'There isn't one thing in the book that screams, "you need to take this!"'. I agree with Darkwynn on this statement, on its own. But he's using it as a negative.

Let's be clear here, the best possible Codex (from a gameplay perspective, not an I'll-beat-the-living-snot-out-of-you-(and-dang-did-this-hyphenation-thing-run-away-with-me) kinda perspective) is one where every single option is worthwhile, adds something to the army and is on an equal footing with everything else from a selection point of view. When one unit shouts 'you must have me, or you'll lose!', that's a failure. When the three choices from one FOC section are always the same, something's wrong.

Which to me says that the Necron Codex works well, internally, i.e. the balance between Necron choices is good. It's external balance and performance in 'the real world' has yet to be tested. Ask me in a year.

Admit it, Necrons would make brilliant snipers. No breathing, no muscle fatigue, no watering eyes...
The next thing DarkWynn rages about that bugs me, is what he calls gimmicks. These are things that he feels are fun but useless, except he doesn't actually call them fun. A book needs useless stuff. This clashes horribly with what I said above, but hang with me. I want every single unit to be viable. I do not require every single piece of equipment to be good. I'm perfectly fine with that one piece of weaponry that does nothing but sparkle prettily for ten games in a row, only to cause the battlefield to turn inside out, transform the enemy commander into a turtle, and wipe out his prize unit in the eleventh. Because this is fun (if it happens rarely enough that the weapon is generally just a waste).

See, most of us don't play this game to win tournaments. Most of us play it for the little men (or whatever your flavour of plastic, metal and resing is) and for the fun. Outrageous moments are fun, if both players have the right attitude ('win or lose, that was fun'), and outrageous moments require a few outrageous pieces of wargear. When's the last time your Tactical Marines did anything truly spectacular?

Let's face it, this guy is supposed to replace the Necron Warrior. I'm fine with this.
I'm going to leave DarkWynn alone for now, 'cause I'm a rather crap bully.

The final thing that has been brought up is the immense changes to the Necron background.

Yes, there are holes in the new stuff. There were holes in the old stuff.

Yes, there are things I might miss. But there's so much more that's been added.

In all, the Necrons have been moved from where they were, to somewhere else. It's a change, and it will take a while for us all to settle in (and some never will) but let's all be honest, where they were was boring. It was a well-lit back alley in the boring parts of time with not so much as a blue dumpster to make it interesting. There was an electric box, a few drain pipes and a couple of units no one used.

I like the new Necrons. They could have been done differently. Better even (do we really need more pseudo-Marines in pseudo-Rhinos?). But I like them.

And that's that for me.



  1. There does seem to be some that do enjoy reading a codex with the aim to streamline to the most effective gaming force. That's fine for them and some are exceptionally good at it but I agree that this may not be the aim for most of us. I enjoy reading their tactics and reasoning for their choices, understand the ideas and then generally ignore it and still go with what I think is cool ( looking at you vanilla scouts and thunderfire cannons!). Where I tend think that it becomes a bit silly is when they presume because it is not 'stomp ya face in' then it is a bad codex that it has no merit (or at least is bigger dissapointment than it may have been) Nice read as always.

  2. Hey Incarias, I think this is a decent article, but I have a few respectful disagreements with you. First off, I'm not certain I would place anything on BoLS with the truly "competitive" crowd, like Stelek and Kirby. I know they CLAIM to be competitive, but so could I--and that wouldn't change the fact that the vast majority of my games are beer and pretzels apocalypse.

    As for the internal balance argument--I couldn't agree more with you. This is why I think Dark Eldar are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Just about any themed list you can think of works, at least in a way that won't have you destroyed.

    But reading over Darkwynn's article, I don't think he is criticizing the internal balance. I think he wants EVERYTHING to say "you need to take this!" That way, everything is internally balanced, AND the book is strong against things like IG and SW. What he's saying is, the internal balance is good, but the external balance is poor. That may be a valid complaint, but I haven't done enough analytical thinking about it to decide for myself.

    Perhaps Darkwynn's a stupid tool, and I'm projecting my own views onto him (I do this sometimes, when I think people CAN'T be as unreasonable as they appear to be), but I think you have seriously misread his first point.

  3. @ Abakus

    First, I think you're probably right about the quality of BoLS' competitive crowd, and it not measuring up to the ones you mention (among a number of others). I do feel, however, that in attitude, they fall squarely in the competitive grouping (or at least some of them do).

    As for your second point, you may again be right - I don't pretend to know what Darkwynn intended - but the way it came across, for me, is what I commented on above. Wanting, as you say, everything to be 'must-haves' raises a whole different set of complaints from me - but that's another article entirely.

    Also, and this is not meant as a criticism, just an attempt to clear what I mean, I don't think Darkwynn is necessarily - once again I don't know his mind - stupid; I just feel he's missing a point. If I came across as a Darkwynn hater, that's just me being crap at being clear...


    Glad you enjoy my ramblings. *Someone-likes-me-on-the-Internet dance*

  4. Incarias, if I may press you, why is "Wanting, as you say, everything to be 'must-haves' raises a whole different set of complaints"? From a fun perspective, this is exactly what we as players SHOULD want. It means internal balance is spot on, and the codex is balance externally!

    I started playing in 5th as a Tyranid player, so allow me to couch my argument in those terms. In the elite FOC slot, we have the Pyrovore and the Hive Guard. The Hive Guard is a powerful, but appropriately priced and balanced unit (with awesome fluff, IMO). The Pyrovore is an expensive flamer--a short-range anti-infantry killer in an army that specializes in killing infantry at short range in its inherent design--that lacks any reason to be taken beyond the admittedly gorgeous model.*

    So let's say I have a codex that is perfectly balanced internally. Would I rather have everything be as useful, fun, fluffy, and cool as the Hive Guard, or as pathetic, redundant, and overpriced as the Pyrovore?

    If everything is awesome, there are still no auto-includes. It doesn't make army 1-dimensional. On the contrary, you'll see lots of different variety on the tabletop, leading to more interesting games, and more fun collecting! It means that an army of "things that are cool" will work almost as well as a razorback rinse-and-repeat army. If anything, it's the apotheosis of the uncompetitive player!

    *Please don't say "take it for fun." I've done that. There's nothing fun about a unit that is pretty much a handicap to me, even when playing with my buds. Except for making fun of the Pyrovore as I try desperately to kill something (ANYTHING) with it.

  5. Well, if by saying that everything screams 'you must take this!', we mean to say that nothing screams 'don't take this!', I'm with you.

    I can't, however, feel that this is what the statement means. At the very least not to me, which is all I can speak for.

    A unit that screams 'you must take this!' seems to suggest that it is better than something. If the internal balance of a Codex is good, this means that this something is external (and presumably marks some kind of mid-high level external power). So a Codex that has nothing but units screaming to be taken, is by implication at least, better than this mid-high external yard stick, and the external balance is thus disturbed.

    In this case, we end up in a place where each new Codex must be more powerful than the last, or where one Codex - in its entirety - is what screams 'you must have this!'.

    This is not to say that a Codex can't be full of units that have equal, or at least similar, value to the army and still be good. In fact, I feel that this is what GW has (to some extent or another) achieved with its last three Codexes. But while there is a case to be made for either Paladins or Purifiers, neither is a must-take, and neither is externally broken.

    I come from the same Tyranid background, and when I hear 'you must take this!', I think of Hive Guard and Tervigons. When I look at a Codex and think, 'oh, I really can't do without this unit', I feel something is wrong.

    And one Wall O'Text later, I'm not sure how clear I have been...