Saturday, 31 January 2015

Guest Review: Necron Codex Cryptek Edition by Mauler.

It's been a while since I've written anything proper so while I've (appropriately) got October Tide playing and it's snowing outside (think of it as ash, then its appropriate too) I figured I'd do a sort-of mini-review of the nifty Cryptek edition of the new Necron codex. This is not a codex analysis but rather a look at what you get.

First off, this is my first collector's edition codex for 7th edition, my others (Dark Angels, Tau, Farsight Enclaves, Eldar, Iyanden & Tyranids) are all the previous edition releases: smaller but cheaper with just a natty cover and numbered owner's certificate. The current edition's collector's releases are significantly more expensive at £100 vs the old £60 price, so what extra did I get instead of a box of Tomb Blades and the C'Tan that I want to get my hands on? Well these releases are a lot more involved than the previous edition's; with the Cryptek edition your £40 above the 6th edition's offerings gets you an additional "book" containing a Necron galactic map/Decurion detachment poster, six metal objective markers, a whole bunch of datasheets with a unit from the codex on each side as well as the codex with an awesome cover, all wrapped up in a fine black and gauss-green slipcase.

Is it worth an extra £40? Well, that depends. Most Necron players would say yes seeing as there's only a thousand of this release in the world and you get cool stuff specific to your army. By GW's standards it's reasonable; the metal objective markers would probably retail for £10-15 as would the poster (which is still cheaper than their artwork available at Warhammer World but the artwork IS generally far nicer) and the datasheet cards. Looking at the individual items and adding their estimated value to the old cost of a limited edition book then yes, in that context it's a reasonable deal...if you consider Games Workshop's prices to be reasonable. Otherwise from a non-hobby perspective you're paying £100 for a book in a slipcase with some extras thrown in which is somewhat...steep. Still, books are valued by the wise and the Cryptek edition sold out on the evening of release so GW still have the scales weighted in their favour with pricing.

Once the slipcase is slid open a gauss-green inner edge is revealed with the pack's #xxxx-1000 ID number printed on it. A nice touch, while not as personal as the certificates accompanying some of the previous edition's collector's books this is much harder to misplace or get damaged. Within the slipcase is the codex with it's unique Overlord artwork on the front cover and a second "book" or case containing the extras with new Cryptek artwork on show.

The codex book itself cuts a fine, fine figure of a tome in that it's flat and pretty. A subtly mottled matte black background surrounds an embossed gauss dakka green Overlord wielding a warscythe and resurrection orb. Necron glyphs & circuitry edge out of the picture which lacks any form of title but Codex: Necrons is printed on the spine as usual, embossed on the matte finish in a gloss black. Betwixt the covers is the standard codex on 120 black-edged quality pages with an electric neon yellowy-green marker ribbon. The brightly coloured ribbon I find oddly excellent, it makes a change from the usual black ribbons in some of the other codices.

The second "book" has a pocket for the poster on the inside front cover, opposite this is black foam-like material with a recess for the datasheet envelope and six cut-outs for the objective markers.

The poster doesn't need much describing really, on one side there is an org chart of a Necron Decurion detachment with every unit depicted which I find rather dull personally while the flipside is a galactic map overlaying awakening Necron tomb worlds and associated Dynastic territories onto the standard Imperial galactic map that we're used to seeing. Very cool if you like your background and lore as you can see exactly which sectors (and associated Marine chapters) are about to have their danglies grasped by the cold necrodermal grip of a robot hand.

There was some confusion initially between the Necron datacards and the datasheets contained within this release, but they are indeed two separate things. The datasheets are double-sided A5 cards containing the codex's unit & formation pages scaled down and are absolutely not the much smaller C'Tan powers & mission objective cards found in the Necron datacard pack. Those still have to be bought separately if you don't want to use the powers & objective lists found within the codex. This is the first time I've seen unit datacard pages scaled-down in an official product and I think it's a really good idea. Once you're familiar with the general & weapon special rules for Necrons (some are the same, some aren't) all you need are the cards for just the units you've fielded and the back page of the codex with the unit & weapon summaries. Obviously not as handy as just searching a digital codex for keywords but still less effort than flipping through a book.

The objective marker tokens are great. While not as splendid as they would be if polished, the tokens are coins with the Necron ankh rune on one side and a number on the other with a brushed metal finish. As someone who has zero proper objective markers these are far nicer than anything I could've made myself so they will see plenty of use no matter which army I'm fielding. The brushed metal feels suitable for the faction, lacking the brilliant shine of a metal newly polished and, yay, they're not plastic. I'm impressed, grimly, of course.

Overall I think that this release is a job very well done by GW, despite the fairly high price tag. The poster, IMO, is of questionable use but the other items certainly are practical and will be useful for most players. The quality of the package is of the usual high standard throughout and it feels like a premium product.

As for the codex itself from what I've gleaned so far it's a step up from the old book with a more resilient Resurrection Protocols mechanic, some wargear improvements and a fair few points drops for units that seriously needed it. Lychguard & Praetorians got significantly cheaper even with Dispersion Shields bumping up to 3++ from 4++ and Rods Of The Covenant getting their range doubled to 12" so expect to see more of both of those units. Gauss weapons went back to their old mechanic of glancing/wounding on rolls of To Hit of 6s instead of "just" glancing. Wraiths got a sideways move from Jump Infantry to Beasts, trading HOW for a constant 12" even before charging. Some utter psycho also bumped them up to T5 now while keeping their 3++ save for only 5 points more, which is kinda baffling. All Destroyers are now Jetpack Infantry which means they lose their unused HOW in exchange for more mobility and a further move on average. They also gained a wound. Scarabs had their Entropic Strike changed to be a melee version of Gauss (damages everything on a 6) but no longer lower a vehicle's armour value.


A fair few other things got changed, mostly for the better due to lower costs, better rules and/or more wounds/power. The C'Tan are now absolute monsters with two new (but random) shooting powers available per shooting phase, some of which are proper nasty. Flayed Ones became a LOT less LOLworthy and over 25% more killy thanks to being armed with a pair of claws now for an extra attack and AP5 Shred. It's not all dark sunlight and rainbows of death for everyone; if you're a bit of a cheesemonger and like to spam units like either Scythe and Annihilation Barges you're going to be gutted because Tesla Destructors no longer arc into adjacent units and on top of that ABs and Night Scythes both went up in cost by 30 points (so you'll have to put some real thought into your lists for a change :P). Cryptek wargear got stripped right back to just five items and HQ characters no longer get widespread access to cheap Sv2+. Mindshackle Scarabs got a proper stamping, down to a simple 3D6 Fear check. Warriors are now 10-models minimum and a Ghost Ark still has a max cap of 10, making it impossible to attach a character and embark a full squad. I said this wasn't really a codex review and I guess that was half a lie. I like this codex, it got the work it needed to be more flexible and balanced. That's pretty much it. Thanks for reading if you made it this far! M.


  1. Nice review! Looks great! Always good to see the collectors editions!

    1. Thanks! :D I think it'll be my last one for some time until Dark Angels roll around in a year or two...

  2. Necron Lord was spoiled in the Shield of Baal books.The new Tyranid Warriors were spoiled in some astute battle photography much sooner than the kit was declared or reputed anyplace.The plastic Demon Prince was,obviously,indicated over a year prior to the kit dropped.
    This is happening more with GW.
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