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 Catacomb Command Barges in 7th Edition

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PostSubject: Catacomb Command Barges in 7th Edition   Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:30 am

by Werner Born


Without question, Catacomb Command Barges (CCBs) are currently a unit that has no true relatives or peers at this early point in 7th edition. The unit which still hails from the 5th edition Necron book has been remade twice now with FAQ and errata updates during the last two 40k edition changes since the Necron codex release, and received a lot of love from the most recent of those. CCBs really were never terrible; heck, I used one in my NOVA 2013 list which got me into the top 16. That said, they received a huge buff in the new rules set, and whether you’ll be considering employing them or coming up against them, there’s a lot to take in about the unit. While there are other Chariot units in the game, none function like a CCB in this edition for a variety of reasons.

For those not familiar, when 6th edition added the Chariot Vehicle Unit type, many of the rules which it adopted originated from the CCB’s codex entry. Particularly Sweep attacks and the ability to fight in close combat while being this quasi-vehicle, quasi-character unit. The dawn of 7th has brought some rather significant changes to how Chariots work―in fact, it is probably one of the largest changes between editions.

Catacomb-Command-Barge-2Even with his own Battle Ram Chariot, Skeletor would be jealous of the new rules his Necron Overlord brethren got.

The first change to state here is that there is an explicit sentence in the rulebook now that says to always treat a Chariot and its Rider as a single model. This has a ton of implications, and causes a ton of headaches at the same time. I’m not going to dive into these because honestly it’s difficult to assess a lot of them and most will ultimately come down to how individual tournament organizers rule things. The one thing this does mean, though, is that Chariots are in no way Transports anymore, and the Rider can never disembark or be separated from the Chariot.

One massive change to most Chariots in 7th was the loss of Sweep attacks. However, CCBs still get them since it is part of their codex entry. This is huge, as it gives the unit the ability to effectively attack multiple units per turn, or to get extra attacks on a particularly critical target. For those of you without a ‘Cron book at your side, you get to make three close combat swings on a target you have moved over in the movement phase. Keep in mind that you do not have to clear the target; you simply have to have the movement distance to pass any part of your Skimmer hull over them. This means you can go 0.00001” over a target unit and sweep attack it, so long as you have enough movement distance to finish 1” away from the target. If you move at combat speed you hit on threes, and at cruising speed on fours.

Where this really starts to take off, though, is that you get to use all of the character’s weapon bonuses, the attacks ignore cover, and against vehicles they hit on Rear Armor. With a trusty War Scythe in hand, this means 3-strength 7 AP1 Ignores Cover swings with 2d6 for penetration on a vehicle’s rear. Now this has been the same since the codex released, so this isn’t really news. What is news is that due to slight wording changes in the rulebook and FAQs, many tournament organizers are now ruling that CCBs can make their Sweep attacks against Flyers and Flying Monstrous Creatures, using their normal hit rolls! This is a huge change and allows you as a Necron player yet another way to dominate the air. Make sure you ask about this ahead of an event, but ATC ruled this way and from what I’ve gathered this is something you will see ruled at many, if not most events.

Another huge buff to Chariots is that they can no longer become Immobilized. Any such results turn into Crew Stunned results instead, which fortunately Necron vehicles ignore on a 4+ thanks to the Living Metal special rule. While you don’t want to be needlessly taking dangerous terrain tests, this is a fairly significant improvement for the unit type. Beyond that, Chariots move like whatever type of vehicle they are; in the case of CCBs that would be a Fast Skimmer. That means you get to move 12” and still shoot your underslung Tesla or Gauss weapon at BS4, Jink for 4+ cover, and go 18” when moving Flat Out. The Flat Out move is key, because it makes reserving CCBs a valid tactic, as you can jump in 30” from your board edge to a spot on the table your opponent has left unsupported.

Probably the biggest change to Chariots is how you resolve shooting attacks against them. Like Transports in the previous two editions, it used to be that opponents were Catacomb-Command-Barge-4only able to shoot at the vehicle. Especially earlier on in 6th edition this was perfectly acceptable since the CCB is AV 13/13/11 with the ability to Jink. Then a huge surge of S7 shooting with Ignores Cover came onto the scene which would end up just glancing out your trusty Barge. But now you don’t need to sweat it, as that’s become a much more difficult task.

Now when resolving shots against a Chariot, the Chariot’s owner gets to decide which hit pools are allocated to the vehicle and which go to the Overlord riding it. To use a Wave Serpent as an example, this means all of those S6 Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon shots which cannot damage AV13 will get allocated to the vehicle; meanwhile all of the S7 Ignores Cover shots will get allocated onto the guy with 2+ armor save. What about Ignores Cover Tank Hunting Lascannons coming at you from a Blob? No worries! Phase shifters giving the Overlord a 3++ make shrugging those off a much more manageable prospect. (Author’s Note: To touch on it quickly – by very strict RAW, yes, I think the 3++ would confer to the CCB, but by RAI almost certainly not. Simply put, ask a TO ahead of time but do not expect any tournament to allow you to use that―because I’ll let you down now that just by telling you, no one will rule it that way.) There also are no repercussions for Jinking other than having to take Snapshots next turn, so you should almost always opt to do so just in case you want to allocate shots onto the vehicle after seeing how many hits your opponent rolled.

It’s important to note that the Necron player only gets to decide where different weapon types go in the shooting phase; in assault the attacker picks which target to swing on. A few other exceptions should be noted. Blasts and Templates are always resolved against the vehicle, and units with Precision Shots can also potentially get to pick which target is suffering their hits.

Now I mentioned that in assault, the attacker decides whether to swing on the Overlord or the Vehicle. This is true, as it has been in previous editions. However, unlike in the past editions, if the attackers choose to attack the vehicle in close combat, they must do so against Front Armor and against the rider’s Weapon Skill. This is a huge deal. Let me repeat that: This is a HUGE deal. It means that standard tactical squads can’t punk you by hitting Krak Grenades on AV11 on threes. Now Krak Grenades are utterly useless if Quantum Shielding is still up. Even Melta bombs now take a hit because they have to swing against the Overlord’s WS4. Sure, it still hits on a four, but across a game or across a tournament that’s a huge difference from hitting on threes (not to mention having to then pen AV13 instead of laughable AV11).

GW made a few other key changes to assault phase functionality. Chariots now lock into combat, which is a bit of a mixed bag tactically. You no longer get to take free movement phase sweeps before charging back in. On the flipside though, you’re also now able to hide from shooting in combat, which is itself a big deal and probably outweighs getting to occasionally take some freebie swings. As a Necron player you just have to be careful not to leave your CCB exposed to a tarpit charge, which it is susceptible to. When getting charged you’ll only have Mind Shackle Scarabs and 3x WS4 attacks to bail you out. Even if they are AP1 this can make it very difficult to get out of combat. If you chose to include these awesome units in your lists, it is paramount that you make sure you are the one doing the charging and not the other way around!

Chariots also are capable of Piling In and performing Sweeping Advances now (yeah, I2 is still terrible but at least there’s a chance). To round out your close combat needs, don’t forget Chariots get D6 S6 AP- Hammer of Wraths and you’re almost surely going to be bringing some Mind Shackle Scarabs (MSS) along with you, which brings me to the last big combat change.

Chariot riders can now challenge and be challenged. For anybody who’s not familiar with how MSS and challenges work, they are one of the many pairs of things in the game that occur “simultaneously” and so the current active player gets to pick the order of operations. 99% of the time as a Necron player you will want to issue challenges before MSS goes off. This makes the challenge additionally risky for the opponent, as even an Ld10 BAMF will on average fail MSS tests. This often leads to opponents opting to decline much of the time for fear of hurting themselves in addition to the S7 AP1 swings you will bring.

Where this starts to really become huge, though, isn’t just against meaty enemy HQs but in units like tactical squads. Now that sergeant with a Melta Bomb is screwed. His choice is to either take a 3d6 Ld test on Ld8, or to just not swing altogether. It’s important to mention here that if you haven’t brushed up on the new challenge rules, there are some drastic changes to them related to being able to hit models in a challenge once there are no other available targets. This means your opponent will get to take all his swings on your Overlord regardless of whether you issued a challenge or not, but it still gives you the opportunity to force MSS on the beefy character in the unit and focus your attacks on things on a specific model. Also don’t forget Overlords are T5 and have that lovely 2+/3++, so they can reasonably soak up a decent amount of S4 swings before going down, which brings me to my next point… Whenever you lose the unit there’s at least a 1/3 chance you might just get your CCB back!

Catacomb-Command-Barge-3Having a 33% or 50% chance that your beater unit will get back up after your opponent put tons of effort into downing it can be devastating to their morale.

Command Barges now have Everliving! If your opponent gets through that third Wound or third Hull Point, you place an Everliving counter just like you would for any other Necron character model. Now, how this should exactly be played will likely be up to the tournament organizer, but I’ll tell you how ATC ruled it this past weekend. They instructed me to place the Skimmer base anywhere within the area that the hull occupied, and use that as the counter. There’s really no RAW for this, and I can’t say other events will rule it this way versus other possibilities such as using an infantry-sized counter, or that the counter should be the size of the entire CCB. Regardless of how they rule it, you need to be aware ahead of the event so that you can maximize your use of it.

Smart opponents will try and block you from resurrecting, but take note that you need only be within 3”, NOT wholly within 3”. This means you only need the tiniest edge of your barge within 3” of wherever the counter was placed, dramatically increasing the radius you can pop up in. Though I personally don’t think the points are ultimately worth it, you could also opt to give your Overlord a Resurrection Orb to improve to a 50% chance of returning to battle.

I’m going to mention one final issue here that seems to be getting a lot of attention on the interwebz and in game clubs – the Quantum Shielding debate. While we may need to wait for GW for an official ruling on this, it seems fairly clear to me that you should not get it back if you died after the vehicle had been penetrated. There are other scenarios which are pretty similar to this, such as Celestine or a Necron returning to battle after suffering an Entropic Strike wound, and I see no difference here. While I’d love to suddenly pop back to AV13, I don’t think there’s any justification for that, and that’s OK. You’re still getting a 250-300 point unit back that will probably do damage next turn just by moving over something.

There are just a couple last quick notes to take in which came from the 7th edition Necron FAQ. First and foremost, no special characters may purchase a CCB anymore. This is unfortunate as some of them like Anrakyr have some legitimate usage in a Barge. The other major FAQ tweak is that Symbiotic Repair was completely changed. Now instead of granting the option to eat Hull Points, Weapon Destroyed, or Immobilized results as wounds it simply turns any Weapon Destroyed results into a Crew Stunned result instead (which once again, Living Metal denies on a 4+). As I mentioned before, the FAQ also states that vehicle is no longer a Transport, and once purchased the Overlord becomes its permanent Rider.

So that’s a quick overlook on Catacomb Command Barges as they function in 7th edition and why you’re likely to see them back on the table after taking a bit of an eternal slumber from most tabletops

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PostSubject: Re: Catacomb Command Barges in 7th Edition   Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:10 am

That's HUGE!

Attacking fliers and fmc's. Almost a must for Cron armies. Imagine 2 Overlords on barges rampaging your lines...... Brutal!

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