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I can’t believe that it’s nearly a month since my last Blog entry. It has been a very busy time, both in my ebay shop and on the hobby front, so it’s not as though I haven’t got plenty to write about. I should really catch up with all the new releases that I been listing and those that are due to be released, but instead I thought that I would tell you about my latest exploits with the Necrons!

I had been invited to play in an Apocalypse size game over at a friends house. Pete had a ‘free’ weekend as his Missus was away and given the choice of tiling the Bathroom or playing toy soldiers he did what any sensible person would do and organised a battle! We had decided to play 4000 points per person, so with 4 players, there would be 16000pts of figures in the game. Our opponents, John & Ritchie were playing with a mixture of Dark Angels Space marines, Imperial Guard & Sisters of Battle. Pete & I had 8000 points of Necrons.

The evening before the Battle I laid out my entire Necron force to decide exactly what I would take. The Kitchen Table isn’t exactly the most glamorous of setting for the army but it allowed me to see exactly what I had. The Blue Monolith is awaiting a repaint job, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but the Wife found the Fairy Power spray that I use to strip paint and used it all cleaning the kitchen…….

I digress, back to the Army selection. In the end I went with the advice that I had been given by Rob, an experienced 40K player, and kept things fairly simple. The basic force was the Necron Pylon, 2 Monoliths, 80 warriors in four big squads, two Lords & res orbs, the Wraith Wing plus a tooled up Destroyer Lord, 5 Tomb Spiders, 4 Heavy Destroyers and lots of Scarabs. Pete went for a slightly more exotic force and included plenty of Immortals, Destroyers, Heavy destroyers, a Monolith and The Night Bringer. He also had a few units from a Tempus Fugitive rules set (and I will return to these in a later blog) but for now, the units were Dark Destroyers and Tomb Guard.

I don’t have the details of John & Ritchie’s army but suffice to say that there were 2 super heavies to contend with as well as plenty of other Tanks & Special Characters…it was going to be a tough game. The board was set up in Petes lounge and was about 8 foot by 16 foot with plenty of scenery. To make life simple we agreed on a pitched battle deployment with an 18inch deployment zone on each table side. We lost the roll off for deployment and so set up first. The pictures that accompany the article are all of the initial deployment. Unfortunately, I had flat batteries in the camera…Doh! Again, to simplify the battle, we didn’t use either stratagems or strategic assets. We thought that there was enough going on with the size of the forces deployed. As it turned out, this was a good idea, as it was my first apocalypse battle and I really wasn’t up to speed with all of the special rules. In fact, before the game had started I had made a serious mistake. I had allocated 700 points for the Necron pylon….stupid boy! The Pylon is actually only 420 points, I could have had another squad of Immortals!

So with the deployment completed the Battle started at around 10. 30 ish. Once again, we managed to loose the roll off for first turn, so the Imperial Army started to move & fire….and fire…..and fire! I won’t go through every turn in detail, it would take far too long, but here are some of the highlights & low lights from a necron point of view.

Actually, the first turn was fairly low key with much long range shooting, even more movement but little in the way of casualties. Most of the big Guns were either shooting at the Pylon, which eventually took a hit and lost a structure point, or targeting the Monoliths, which seemed equally resilient. The biggest threat to my side of the battle came from two drop pods containing dreadnoughts, one of which was an Iron clad. That said, my first experience of an Apocalypse battle turn was scary. For about half an hour I was just taking fire from those big pie plate templates and making saving throws. At last it was our turn to shoot back and with a Hellhammer threatening the Centre of our Line, a Stormblade to the right and the Dreadnoughts to the left,there was plenty to aim at. The Pylon hit the Hellhammer and joy of joys, blew it to pieces with its first salvo! I also managed to kill one of the dreadnoughts and attacked the Iron clad with my Destroyer Lord & the Wraith wing. A big mistake, as although they didn’t get killed, they stayed locked in combat with the Dreadnought for the next 5 rounds! The Lord managed to chop off the dreadnoughts’ combat arms but he just could not kill it, even when a Tomb spyder joined the fight! Over on the right wing, Pete’s Necrons were delivering a huge volume of fire but were either missing, or seeing their hits saved. It was a case of fire & fall back.

Turn 2 started again with a huge volume of fire from the Marines, the Storm Blade was keeping it’s distance though. Having seen what happened to it’s fellow super heavy, the Stormblade lurked far out on the right of the battlefield, out of LOS. That apart, the onslaught continued with the Marines in rhinos & landraiders advancing to fill the gap in the centre and another wave of drop pods to my left. Just to add to our woes, 5 large squads of bikes were turbo boosting at us, threatening to over run our lines. The Necron Pylon was disabled for a turn and this time , even with the ‘we’ll be back rolls’ the casualties started to mount. Our Monoliths were absorbing a huge amount of fire and despite using the Particle whip, were ineffective at inflicting hits on the opposition. The necrons were also suffering from the short range of the Gauss weapons and so were unable to deal with the long range Las Cannons & Devastator squads. Shooting again was ineffective on the right and apart from suppressing the Drop pod attack on the left, the Necrons made little progress.

If Turn 2 was all about shooting, the Turn 3 saw the start of the assault phase of the battle. However, before the close combat started the Necron Pylon was blown to pieces by a well placed lascannon strike. Just to add insult to injury, about 20 Necrons were blown up in the ensuing explosion…..that hurt! The right wing was also beginning to cave in from the pressure from the Stormbalde and the huge bike squad. In the centre, the Landraider had reached our lines and had discharged a huge Squad of tooled up assault Terminators who were ready to inflict grevious damage on the defending Necron Warriors. However, they had failed to spot that concealed behind the nearest Monolith was none other than the NightBringer. Just as they declared their charge, he used his Etheric Tempest to push them back 2D6. They were now sitting targets for the majority of the Necron army! Meanwhile elsewhere on the board combat was raging between Flayed ones & Sisters of Battle, Wraiths & Marines and Scarabs and Marine Bike squads. The Imperial side won most of the fighting, but at a cost. The exception was the scarabs, who managed to hold up two squads of Marine bikes for a turn!

Turn 4 saw the Necrons making some progress on the left wing with the first wave of marines and their drop pods now battlefield debris. The Necrons had also realised that the most effective use of the Monoliths was to use the portal to transport any threatened squads out of harms way. This also had the added bonus of giving casualties a second we’ll be back roll and re -deploying the squad to enable them to rapid fire the nearest threat. Add to this the fire from the Gauss Flux arc and the Monoliths were earning their keep. They had also absorbed a fearsome amount of incoming fire without even a scratch. Even better, in the Centre the Nightbringer had polished off the Terminators and was munching his way through the following squads. However, there was still the small matter of the Stormblade on the right wing that was beginning to rumble forward and smash everything in it’s path.

The game finished at Turn 5, simply because we had run out of time. The threat on the right wing had continued to grow and by now our Necrons in this this sector had collapsed into the centre and were being ground down by the Storm Blade & the accompanying bike squad. The good news was that the Centre was holding and led by the Nightbringer, our formations were beginning to advance having destroyed all of the major units that had attacked here. The left wing was in the balance. The Necrons had caused as many casualties as they had taken but the next wave of bikes were about to hit. If the Necrons could hold in combat, then they would carry this sector, as Ritchie was running out of troops. The question was never answered….

So who won the battle? On balance it felt like an Imperial victory was likely, although it would be a close run thing. John & Ritchie still had a super heavy on the table and seemed to hold the initiative on both wings of the battlefield. They also held more territory. That said, the Necrons had held out under a ferrocious onslaught and still had a potent fighting force on the table. If they could reorganise their centre and stop the advance on the right wing, the day would be theirs!

My first Apocalpse Battle had been great fun. Apocalypse feels more like the 40K universe as decribed in the background books. This is no place for individual soldiers, this is a battle of heroic characters, battle formations & huge tanks and engines of war. The whole feel of the game is different to a standard 40k game. I think the size and duration of the game lets you forget about winning or losing and allows you to focus on just playing and enjoying the game and of course the Company of your fellow gamers!

Necrons appear to be well suited to the game. Their durability means that they are capable of standing up to most of the weapons that they will encounter (so long as there is a res orb close by). The only shortcoming is the lack of range of the weapons available. The one exception to this is the Necron Pylon, so a note to myself, next time I wont deploy it right in the middle of the battlefield but somewhere else where the 120 inch range will be useful……

So thank you to Pete for his hospitality and letting us use his house for the Battle and for supplying the superb battlefield and scenery. Thank you to John and Ritchie for being such great opponents and making the game such a pleasure to play. I can’t wait for the rematch…..WE’LL BE BACK!