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The Cover of the Current Necron sourcebook, Codex Necrons.

In the table-top wargame Warhammer 40,000, the Necrons are a mysterious robot-like race that have lain dormant and largely unknown by the other races of the universe for sixty million years, and are reemerging in the distant future of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.[1] Within the game's universe, the Necrons have become known and feared for their ability to absorb physical punishment, as well as their enigmatic, yet powerful, Gauss weapons and technology.

Most Warhammer 40,000 armies are inspired by fantasy and popular culture to an extent, however the Necrons are noted for combining ideas from dissimilar sources. The Necron concept draws from Star Trek's Borg aesthetically, and the overall feel as an army that is supposed to be soulless, relentless and unstoppable. The Necron Warriors bear resemblance to the Terminators of the Terminator series. The Necrons fill the role of the undead in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and are roughly analogous to the Tomb Kings from Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

Development history

The Necrons first appeared as usable units for Warhammer 40,000 as Necron Raiders. The rules for these were first published in White Dwarf Issue 216 towards the end of the lifespan of the second edition of Warhammer 40,000.[2] At the time, only Necron Warriors and Scarabs were given game rules and the warriors were armed with Gauss-Flayer Guns.[3][4] This was quickly followed up with an expanded army list in the following month's issue of the same magazine. The Necron Lord and Necron Destroyer were part of this slightly-expanded army list. At the time, the lord was armed with the Staff of Light while the destroyers were armed with Gauss-Cannons.[5][6] The issue of White Dwarf also had the Necrons' first major appearance in a battle report in the article entitled Massacre at Sanctuary 101, a battle between the Necrons and the Sisters of Battle. This particular altercation soon made its way into the background material as one of the first times the Imperium officially encountered the Necrons.[7] The first Necron miniatures, all metal, were also released during this time. In fact, a free Necron Warrior was included with issue 217 of White Dwarf.[8]

In the release of the third edition of Warhammer 40,000 in 1998, the Necrons had no usable army list. The first, full-fledged Necron army list for the new edition of the game was printed in the March 1999 issue of White Dwarf. This first army list was very restrictive, with the Necrons having mostly one choice per force organization category. The Necron Lord, Necron Immortals and Necron Warriors were the only available HQ, Elites and Troops choices respectively. This early army list had two units for the Fast Attack selections, Necron Destroyers and Scarabs. The latter were different from their current counterparts in that the original Scarabs were controlled individually and were not swarms on a single base as they are today. The Necron Immortal metal miniature was released at the same time as the publication of the army list.[9] In a later issue of White Dwarf, Games Workshop further expanded the Necron army list by providing different equipment choices (wargear) for the Necron Lord. Along with the Gaze of Flame and Scourge of Light upgrades, this was the first time that the Veil of Darkness wargear was added to the Necron Lord's available options.[10]

The Necrons received their first, full sourcebook with the release of Codex: Necrons in August 2002. The book featured a wealth of background information expanding upon the origins of the Necron race and expanded the scope of the Warhammer 40,000 history by several million years more.[11] A full army list was also introduced in the sourcebook, with heavily revamped rules for existing units and the introduction of new ones. New units introduced in the codex were Flayed Ones, Pariahs, Wraiths, Heavy Destroyers, the Necron Monolith and the infamous C'tan.[1][12] New miniatures were produced and released alongside with the release of the codex. Necrons received their first plastic miniatures kit in the form of the Necron Warriors boxed set, which contained enough parts to make twelve Necron Warriors and three Scarab bases with four Scarabs each. The boxed set was a first for Games Workshop, as it was the first time that transparent, coloured parts were included in a boxed set along with the standard polystyrene parts. The transparent, green rods in this case were meant to be used as part of the Necrons' gauss weaponry. The Necron Destroyer model was also revamped and made into a plastic kit. Whereas the old, metal version was essentially a Necron Warrior riding a flying platform, the new Necron Destroyer plastic kit featured a Necron Immortal torso mounted and merged with a floating platform. The other miniatures released for the army were metal, such as the Flayed Ones, Immortals, Pariahs, Wraiths and the Necron Lord.[13] Two more miniatures soon followed suit - the massive Necron Monolith, the largest miniature kit produced by Games Workshop at the time, and the Necron Destroyer Lord, a Necron Lord mounted on a Destroyer body.[14]


In the universe of Warhammer 40,000, little is known about the origins of the ancient race known as the Necrons. What little is known (so far) is from the Imperial viewpoint and as such may not be entirely accurate, as the few remaining fragments of the Necron(tyr) language are poorly understood, even by so-called experts. They were one of the early races to appear in the galaxy (the exact time frame is not known). Their world was scourged by the radiation of the massive, violent star it closely orbited, cursing them to experience drastically short lifespans. The Necrontyr spent eons expanding their technology in an attempt to extend their lives. Their technology developed Necrodermis, a "living metal", for constructing their ships with which they were able to leave their planet and endure the "age long voyages between the stars". In their explorations they encountered the Old Ones, who were already well established throughout the galaxy, believing themselves to be the first species to achieve sentience in the galaxy (although this would later prove false), as well the various species which they had nurtured. The Necrontyr were unable to understand why one species could be so long-lived (virtually immortal) while they themselves had such short lifespans. In time this jealousy turned to hatred, and the Necrontyr declared war on the Old Ones. However, while their technology was superior to the Old Ones, they were vastly outnumbered, due to the Old One's ability to use their magic to bring servant species from other worlds to combat the Necrontyr (this may be the origin of the Eldar Webway). The Necrontyr were eventually driven back to a few systems on the galactic fringe, where their hatred grew, until their investigation of the stars in an attempt to understand why their lives were so short yielded unexpected results.

In the oldest dying stars they discovered anomalies that were eventually revealed to be living creatures "spread over areas larger than planets". These C'tan, as the Necrontyr would come to call them, were truly ancient, having evolved in the first few million years of time, "when the galaxy was young and ruled by the incomprehensible power of billions of young suns." As the minds of the C'tan were too diffuse to understand the physical universe, the Necrontyr forged living metal bodies for them to contain their vast power. As the C'tan slowly compressed themselves into their new bodies, their power over the physical world increased, and the Necrontyr came to see them as gods. Due to their alternate view of the physical properties of the universe, the C'tan were able to vastly improve the Necrontyr technologies, giving them weapons of unimaginable destructive power, and "ships capable of crossing the galaxy in the blink of an eye". Now ready to resume their war with the Old Ones, the C'tan had one more "gift" for the Necrontyr. In exchange for their total obedience, they would have their consciousnesses transferred into living metal bodies in imitation of their gods, which led to their race being transformed into the Necrons.

The Old Ones' mastery of warp-craft was now countered with the C'tan's utter supremacy in the material realm, and the Old Ones were driven into a few areas while their children became delicacies for the C'tan to feast on (they preferred the deliciously focused trickles of energy of sentient beings to the nourishing but tastless energies of the stars). While the numbers of sentients in the galaxy decreased, the C'tan "sported" amongst themselves and eventually began devouring each other until only four remained. As life continued to vanish due to the C'tan, even the Old Ones' legendary patience deserted them, and they became desperate. They began creating species with ever deeper connections to the warp, including the earliest Eldar and the Krork(Orks), among others. When the Old Ones retaliated, the C'tan's "empire of destruction was sent reeling." As the C'tan's forces were slowly pushed back, they decided to cut the Old Ones off from their source of power by "sever[ing] the connection between the Warp and the material universe forever." However, before their plan was completed, the massive amount of suffering and death in the material universe was reflected in the Immaterium and triggered a fundamental shift in its nature. Formerly harmless warp creatures were transfigured into vicious predators, and what few predators that already existed became truly terrifying. (There is speculation that these may have become one or more of the Chaos gods.) The vulnerable minds of the young races allowed these creatures to enter the galaxy in ever increasing numbers. The most proficient of these warp-creatures were the Enslavers (not to be confused with true Daemons). The Old Ones brought forth newer species in an attempt to stem the tide, but eventually their entire species was wiped out (although some of their "children" survived). While these plagues could not harm the C'tan or the Necrons, their preferred food source was rapidly disappearing. Their solution was to go into slumber, letting the Enslavers take what they would, and when new lifeforms evolved in the galaxy the C'tan would rise to consume them. There are currently only two C'tan (the Nightbringer and the Deceiver) currently active in the galaxy, with the Deceiver pursuing goals apparently intended to cause as much mischief as possible, and the Nightbringer currently recovering its strength, as it had spent much time in stasis with an insufficient amount of energy to sustain it.

At present, the Necrons are more of a shadowy presence than a full-fledged force. They strike from nowhere and without warning, slaughtering their enemies and departing before reinforcements can arrive. The origins of these attacks and their motives are unknown, though it is clear that the Necron forces in the galaxy are but the first glimpses of the full might of the Necron war machine. The first recorded encouter between the Necrons and the Imperium took place at an Adepta Sororitas convent designated Sanctuary 101. When Imperial authorities finally arrived there was no sign of the attackers, aside from the mutilated bodies of the sisters that had been "eviscerated in a hideous surgical manner". The only clues to the identity of the sisters' murderers were the few remaining vid logs of the incident, which recorded a fierce battle between the valiant sisters and their assailants. However, due to some form of external interference, the enemy were "little more than half-glimpsed gleaming shadows." The Eldar are currently held to be the only species with any real knowledge of the Necrons' capabilities, and most of that knowledge is contained in myths and legends from the War in Heaven (the Eldar term the war between the Old Ones and the C'tan).

Other than direct battle, the Necrons have infiltrated the Imperium to an unknown extent. Their elite anti-psyker troops, the Pariahs, are a cross-breed with human genes, and it is as yet unknown if the Necrons are acquiring individuals with the Pariah gene by themselves or with the help of Imperial traitors (or possibly even elements of the Adeptus Mechanicus).

Little is known of the goals and objectives of the Necrons. Given that their masters, the C'tan, are interested primarily in consuming the life-energy of living creatures, their goal may simply be to weaken resistance and develop an understanding of the strengths, weaknesses, and motivations of the various species which are currently active in the galaxy.

Necron Forces & Weaponry

Necrons are tall, skeletal figures made of a living metal which provides excellent protection in battle and also has a special self-repair effect, which means even heavily damaged Necrons can quickly return to the battle. Psychologically the Necrons are a shadow of their former selves, it is unknown how much independent thought they are capable of. It is mentioned that some Necrons may have retained memories. In any case, the Necron Lords are the only Necrons that are known to being sentient.[1]

Another phenomenon is the unusual withdrawal of Necron forces. If the Necron are greatly losing a battle, their entire force will vanish in a mist. This even includes "dead" Necrons (those who have not yet repaired themselves) and those already engaged in close combat. Because of this, enemy forces like the Imperium have had great difficulty in obtaining Necron artifacts or "corpses" to analyze.

In the Warhammer 40k story, the names and terms that describe the Necron forces and their weapons, all come from the other 40k races and not the Necrons themselves. Aside from the C'tan, the Necrons rarely communicate to non-Necrons; only the C'tan known as the Deceiver has been observed infrequently communicating with non-Necrons. One exception to this is the "Thing in cell 1" from Xenology. This is revealed to be a Necron, and it also speaks to Shasam, revealing itself as a Necron who still retains memory. It mentions at the time that itself and other Necrons like it have infiltrated the Inquisition and have had a great deal of influence within it. A Necron also spoke to a Pariah during the attack on Lorn V when the Pariah made contact with the invading forces. There is only one other similar incident, during the online article The First Pariah. In this article an unknown Necron entity gives instructions to an ex-Culexus Temple Assassin. The Pariah formerly known as Thomas Macabee, during the Dark Crusade, worked as the spokesman for the Necron Force, often exchanging banter with the enemy commander.

Necron Units

In the game, Necrons are powerful due to their devastating Gauss weapons, powerful and versatile Wargear, and their ability to self-repair. Their biggest weaknesses is their low number of unit types and high points cost. If a Necron army is reduced to 25% of its original strength (determined by remaining models in play), the remaining forces "phase out", and the opposing player(s) win instantly.[1]

Special Characters


  • There are currently four remaining C'tan in the 40K universe: The Outsider, The Void Dragon, The Nightbringer and The Deceiver. Of these only The Nightbringer and The Deceiver have been given rules and significant background. While The Deceiver is the weakest of the C'tan, he has been the most active and has well deserved his name. The Deceiver seeks to weaken all the other races by pitting them against each other.[15][16] On the battlefield he has various abilities which target enemy units morale and leadership. The Nightbringer is death incarnate in the 40K universe, and is considered to be the most dangerous of the C'tan, having implanted himself as the personification of death in every species' racial memory (The Krork being the only exception). On the battlefield he excels in close combat.


Necron Lord

  • Necron Lords are the commanders of Necron forces, chosen due to being one of the few Necrons to retain sentience and are currently the only choice HQ available. They are formidable foes on the battlefield, being quite adept with both ranged and close combat weaponry, although their main purpose is to enhance other nearby Necrons. Due to their special position as "leaders" in the Necron forces, they are often equipped with special gear. This gear can be used to either increase the effectiveness of other Necrons around the Lord, such as augmenting their healing factor, while other gear carried can increase the Lord's survivability or his prowess in battle. Necron Lords are also some of the few Necrons who keep pieces of memory remaining from their previous lives. Necron Lords are ranked in staged levels of importance, ranging from strike force level bronze lords, to platinum-level overlords.


Flayed Ones

  • Flayed Ones are Necrons who retained their minds after being transferred to their metal bodies, and have been driven insane by the endless solitude in the tombs. Enemy fighters lose their nerve by just looking at the Flayed Ones. They are quite capable melee fighters, with claws and blades that can flay a man alive in seconds. Flayed Ones also frequently serve as scouts and infiltrators, as they are capable of being teleported in individual squads to almost anywhere on the battlefield. They can sneak ahead of the main Necron force or even bury themselves in the ground to come out anywhere near other necron units. They frequently adorn themselves with the bloody skin of their victims in a horrible parody of the living. In such a state, they are a terrifying sight to behold. In the novel "Hellforged" it was shown that they are capable of folding their bodies in such a way as to hide themselves inside human corpses, although the corpses were in an advanced state of decay (and one would assume, somewhat bloated) at the time. In the same novel there was also an account of a Flayed One which was able to infiltrate a fortress (that was under attack at the time) by pretending to be a fatally injured soldier, in order to open a "back door" and allow the other Necrons access.


  • Those favored Necrontyr who were among the first to give up their flesh and embrace the metal were rewarded by being Immortals. They are more durable, heavy variants of the Warrior and they wield Gauss Blasters, which are a more powerful version of the gauss flayer wielded by the Warriors.
  • In Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, they are described as dealing excellent damage to vehicles and normal damage to other unit types; for game mechanics reasons, units in Dark Crusade tend to be specialized against particular unit types.


  • Pariahs represent the true horror of a Necron-ruled galaxy. They are created by fusing Necron technology with human victims who bear the "Pariah gene" (an incredibly rare and unusual genetic defect which gives the bearer a negative warp presence). Each Pariah is a formidable warrior, and wields a deadly warscythe. They radiate an unnatural aura that severely unnerves their enemies, especially psykers. Interestingly, since Pariahs are partly human, they are currently unable to self-repair, unlike other Necrons.
  • Within the Imperium, Humans bearing the Pariah gene are also known as Blanks, Nulls, or Untouchables. Some (if they are strong enough) become Culexus Assassins, who are used by the Imperium to combat enemy psykers, while others are generally found in an Inquisitor's retinue. It is possible that it was the C'tan who originally put the "Pariah Gene" in humanity's gene pool and have merely been waiting for the proper time to make use of it.



  • Necron Warriors are the backbone of the Necron army as they are currently the only troops choice available. They provide strong fire support with their Gauss Flayers, while their high toughness and strong armour, not to mention their self repair abilities, make them extremely resilient. Despite being the Necron's basic troops, their Gauss weaponry allows them to take on many stronger opponents that they would not normally be able to harm, including vehicles.

Fast Attack


  • Destroyers are Necron Warriors (specifically Immortals) fused to fast and agile hover-platforms. Equipped with Gauss Cannons and sophisticated targeting systems which enable them to fire while moving. Destroyers are ideal for hit-and-run attacks or disrupting enemy flanks.


  • Wraiths are one of the more sophisticated Necron units. They lack legs or a lower body (except for the spinal cord) and hover over the battlefield, moving at supernatural speeds. They are fearsome close combat warriors, and they can phase in and out of reality during their flight, becoming ghostly figures (thus the name wraith). This phase shift ability allows them to avoid being slowed when moving through obstructions or even to avoid damage. It has been suggested that Wraiths were murderers or psychopaths before their enslavement. They are armed with several vicious surgical tools on the end of their spinal cord. It is speculated that they can turn anti-psykers into necron pariahs.

Scarab Swarms

  • Countless small, beetle-like robots called Scarabs often appear on the battlefield; these clouds of Scarabs are termed Scarab Swarms by their opponents. These swarms rely on sheer numbers and are difficult to destroy. They are useful for disrupting enemies who are caught unaware, and for tying up fast and/or tough opponents. They can be upgraded with disruption fields which warp reality around their numerous claws. Large numbers of Scarab Swarms upgraded with "disruption fields" can tear apart even the most heavily armored of vehicles and have even been known to completely destroy Baneblades. Tomb Spyders are capable of mid-game production of such scarabs, though at the risk of damaging the Spyder.

Heavy Support

Necron Monoliths

  • Monoliths are massive weapons platforms that the Necrons bring into battle. Shaped like pyramids, these have the power to rip even the most powerful Imperial tanks to shreds, with one huge gauss crystal-powered Particle Whip weapon on the top and several Gauss Flux Arc projectors on each the corners, it also has a portal which can teleport Warrior squads to the battlefield. It can also use its portal to augment the Necrons self-repair capabilities.

Tomb Spyders

  • Tomb Spyders are large, spider-like robots that slowly hover over the battlefield, which are normally tasked with maintaining the Necron tomb complexes. On the battlefield they make resilient fighters who have limited ability to augment the healing factor of the "living metal" on nearby Necrons. They also can use their internal systems to manufacture Scarabs in the midst of a battle at the risk of injury to themselves. They also have a particle projector which is as comparable to the Necron Lord's Staff of Light.

Heavy Destroyers

  • The Heavy Destroyer is a more powerful version of the Destroyer, and is armed with the Heavy Gauss Cannon which is useful for destroying foes with heavy armor (vehicles mainly).


  • Pylons are enormous ground based defense platforms that are capable of taking down spacecraft and ground units alike. Pylons have only been encountered a handful of times by Imperial forces and are believed to be primarily defensive in nature (although ground reports from the first recorded planetary raid by a Necron Harvest fleet mention "strange crescent-shaped weapons" that appeared suddenly at various locations on the planet and began systematically destroying everything in range).
  • In the video game Dark Crusade, they are explained as cosmic radiation beacons that even kill the bacteria, harvesting the entire biomass of the scourged planet (these may be a different form of Pylon).
  • Pylons are the only Necron unit not to appear in the Necron Codex, but instead appear in the Apocalypse Codex.

Necron Weapons

In the game, Necrons are renowned for their devastating Gauss weapons, their Warscythes, and other powerful Wargear, as well as their ability to self-repair. All Necron weapons listed as Gauss Weapons have the ability to damage opponents, even those which due to their high toughness cannot normally be harmed. In the tabletop, a roll of 6 on a dice scores a glancing hit automatically on a vehicle, and an instant wound on non-vehicle units (effectiveness against vehicles has been dramatically reduced with 5th edition). Their biggest weaknesses are their low number of unit types and high points cost, not to mention the fact that they vanish if three quarters of their force are defeated (phase out).[1]

Gauss Flayer

  • Gauss Flayers are the most basic Necron weaponry. They are described in the codex as "asynchronous linear induction motors" and, when fired, project a beam of green energy towards their target. This beam is calibrated towards disrupting the molecular bonds of a target. As each 'layer' is exposed, it is broken apart and stripped away, accounting for the 'flayer' name of this weapon. Other Gauss weapons use exactly the same method of destruction, however due to their higher strengths the process is much more rapid.[1]

Gauss Cannons

  • Gauss Cannons are one of the most powerful weapons wielded by the Necron armies. Its high strength, armour-piercing characteristics, and high rate of fire allow this weapon to cut down swathes of light infantry, as well as damage even the heaviest tanks due to the "Gauss Weapons" rule.
  • Heavy Gauss Cannons are an anti-tank variant of the Gauss Cannon, which are wielded by Heavy Destroyers. Sacrificing firing rate for a single high-strength shot, the Heavy Gauss cannon is almost guaranteed to destroy lighter armoured vehicles with a single shot, and hardly need rely on the "Gauss Weapons" rule to damage heavier fighting vehicles.
  • In the Necron codex section which describes the (believed) process and effects of Gauss weapons, an Imperial tech adept(scientist) remarks on the effects of the Gauss Cannon. He observes a pict-capture(video feed/still picture) which shows the beam from "one of their light skimmers" (silhoette appears to be a Destroyer) passing through both armoured sides of a Land Raider with no visible deflection. He further remarks that Imperial technology was unable to accomplish a similar feat using any weapon mounted on anything smaller than a Titan or starship.

Gauss Flux Arc

  • Gauss Flux Arc projectors are mounted on the Monolith and Pylon, and are primarily defensive weapons in battle. Being similar to the Gauss Blaster although boasting a superior rate of fire, the Gauss Flux Arc is an excellent weapon for combating infantry. Due to its modest strength, however, they find it more difficult to penetrate heavier vehicle armor.

Particle Whip

  • Particle Whips are the main weapon of the Monolith as well as on the Necron capital ships although these are much more powerful and longer-ranged. They are normally generated by large green crystals of unknown origin. When fired, a particle beam is used determine the range to the target. When this beam strikes a target, an energy bolt travels along the beam with enough force to "crack the beam like a whip," hence the name.

Staff of Light

  • The staff of Light is carried exclusively by the Necron Lords and is used both as a symbol of the Necron Lord's power and as a potent weapon, being able to be wielded as both a ranged and melee (power) weapon in the same game turn.


  • Warscythes are the strongest melee weapon that the Necrons have at their disposal. Made from the same material as the C'tan themselves, it has the capacity to carve holes in tanks and cut straight through the thickest of bunker walls. Carried only by Pariahs and Lords, it is a weapon that is seldom employed in standard combat, but they can't be underestimated as they can easily cut through energy fields. Pariah-carried versions have a built-in Gauss Blaster as well. The blades do not allow armour saves or invulnerable saves, making them extremely dangerous.

Tesla Carbines

  • alternative weapon available for Immortals.

Living Metal

Living Metal (also called Necrodermis) is the basis of Necrontyr technology. It is extremely durable and can dynamically restructure itself to change shape or to adapt to an outside effect to resist it, as well as having the capability to mend itself when damaged. The physical shells that contain the C'tan are made from it, as are the metal bodies of Necron troops and vehicles, including starships. It can be imbued with gauss or phase technologies and thus incorporated into some of the Necron weaponry, the C'tan Phase Sword and C'tan Phase Knife also use similar technology. Literally, the name Necrodermis means "corpse skin" (from Greek νεκρος as discussed earlier, and δερμις dermis). The Necrodermis represented in the table-top game as a special rule granted to necron units. Based on the roll of a die, a dead Necron may come back to life. Furthermore, close-combat attacks of certain units with weapons made of the living metal are more powerful against tanks and armor.

The C'tan (Star Gods, in the language of the Necrontyr) are encased in Necrodermis to contain their "vast energies" and allow them to manifest themselves physically. On the battlefield, if this Necrodermis is somehow ruptured or broken, either by means of weaponry or accident, the C'tan encapsulated inside the Necrodermis will escape, resulting in a massive release of this energy. This creates a blast with a large radius, damaging nearby Necrons and enemies alike. When a C'tan is destroyed in this manner its essence will return to a Necron tomb world and reform into its god-like form of pure energy, before taking on a new Necrodermis shell.


There are currently only a few classes of Necron ships that are known to exist, but are generally considered to be more than a match for most the other species on a class for class basis. Their ships are the fastest in the game for straight line speed, and even the Eldar and Dark Eldar vessels (known for being highly maneuverable) can find it difficult to outmaneuver them, this is in contrast to their planetary forces which for the most part are fairly slow. The weapons utilized by the Harvest Fleets (as they are known) include: Lightning Arc batteries, that are mounted on all ships which, when fired, are described as a forest of living energy tendrils that on striking a ship's hull will search for and attack any weaknesses; Particle Whips, which are mounted only on capital ships and are a much more powerful and long-range version of the one mounted on the Monolith; Solar pulses, which are mounted only on capital ships and release a pulse of stored solar energy(hence the name) which cause damage to all enemy units in its area of effect; and Portals, which while not a weapon in and of themselves allow ships equipped with them to make a varying number of hit and run attacks on any unshielded ships in range. At this time the Necrons are the only species whose ships do not use shields, relying instead on their living metal hulls which provide them with a saving throw using a dice which represents the hull's adaptive qualities. It should also be noted that the Necrons are the only major species (possibly the only species in the galaxy) whose method of interstellar travel does not utilize warp technology in any way, as there are no records of any Necron ship translating to or from warpspace. It is currently believed within the fiction (and verifiable in the rule book) that they use some form of inertialess drive to achieve faster than light travel, which appears to render them undetectable to the other species(as far as is known), however, it should be noted that they are not able to perform precise maneuvers while doing so, as the few times that one of their fleets have been detected approaching an inhabited planet they have been seen to be visibly decelerating.

Tombships Cairn class Tombships are the largest (regularly) encountered vessels in the Harvest Fleets. They are extremely powerful, easily capable of defeating any of the other species battleships (the largest common ship type in the fiction). They come armed with Lightning Arc batteries, Particle Whips, Portals, a Solar Pulse and also a unique weapon system called a Sepulchre, which emits some form of psychic field that causes enemy ship's crews caught in it to go insane, reducing their leadership and causing damage to or even (in rare cases) the destruction of said ship.

Harvest ships Scythe class Harvest ships are the "workhorse" of the Necron fleets as they have been present in almost every encounter with Imperial forces, and like other Necron vessels are more than a match for similar class vessels. Their armaments are similar to the Tombships, although being less powerful and lacking the Sepulchre.

Shroud Shrouds are designated as light cruisers and their main function seems to be surveillance and recon more than fleet engagements. Although their only weapon is a Lightning Arc, it is slightly more powerful than that found on the Scythe. They are also unaffected by mine fields, which was demonstrated during the infamous "Mars Gambit," where five Shrouds entered the solar system and penetrated the martian defense systems. Although all five ships were eventually destroyed, it was extremely costly, as four of the vessels managed to enter the martian atmosphere where the Imperial ships couldn't follow. As a result Imperial forces had to rely on atmospheric capable fighters and bombers to destroy the Necron capital ships, which were weaving through the canyons of the Noctis Labyrinthus mine works destroying everything (the exact reason for this is unknown at this time, although theories include either an attempt to awaken the Dragon, or provide the Deceiver (posing as Reston Egal, an Imperial Tech priest) with a reason to fusion bomb and then seal the site to prevent his awakening). As far as is currently known, this is the first, and only, incident since the Horus Heresy of non-Imperial space forces successfully entering the Terran system and came as quite a shock to Imperial authorities, who until this time had believed themselves to be "unassailable."

Raiders There are two classes of Necron Raiders classified as Jackals and Dirges. Jackals are the larger, more heavily armed of the two with a Lightning Arc and a Portal, while the Dirge is the smaller and faster of the two, being armed only with a Lightning Arc. The speed of both ships (the Dirge in particular) is sufficient to outrun even torpedoes and bombers of the other species.

It should be noted that while Necron ships are powerful, they do suffer some drawbacks, in keeping with the spirit of fair play. The most glaring is the method by which victory is calculated, with other species ships being worth anything from a fraction to the entirety of their points value to the opposing player. The Necron ships are worth anything from half to three times their points value, which (due to their high points value) can make the lose of even a single capital ship devastating. Their weapons are also seen as being undergunned for the ship's points value.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Chambers, Andy; Haines, Pete, McNeill, Graham, and Hoare, Andy (2002). Codex: Necrons (3rd ed.). Nottingham: Games Workshop. ISBN 1-84154-190-7. 
  2. "Necron Raiders - Background". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 217: 27–31. February 1998. 
  3. "Necron Rules". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 217: 32–34. February 1998. 
  4. "A Desperate Mission - Scenario: Imperial Guard vs. Necrons". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 217: 35–36. February 1998. 
  5. "Necron Onslaught". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 218: 24–27. March 1998. 
  6. "The Valley of Death - Necrons Background". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 218: 73. March 1998. 
  7. "Massacre at Sanctuary 101 - Battle Report: Sisters of Battle vs. Necrons". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 218: 28–37. March 1998. 
  8. "New Releases - Necrons". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 218: 122–123. March 1998. 
  9. "New Releases - Necrons". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 230: 114. March 1999. 
  10. "Chapter Approved: Necrons". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 239: 73–75. December 1999. 
  11. "Index Xenos: Resurgent Evil - The awakening of the Necrontyr". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 271. August 2002. 
  12. "Chapter Approved: Codex: Necrons designers' notes". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 271. August 2002. 
  13. "Necron Awakening: A look at the Warhammer 40,000 Necron miniatures released this month". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) 271. August 2002. 
  14. "Turn One: New Releases - Necrons". White Dwarf (US) (Games Workshop) 271: 4. August 2002. 
  15. Index Astartes IV, p.9
  16. CodexNecrons3rd,p.31

External links

  • Necrons and C'tan @ the Unofficial Warhammer 40,000 Encyclopedia
  • Xenos Imagnifier - Imperial map of the galaxy highlighting Necron encounters.
  • Count Necrons Count Necrons Project - To see how many Necron players and models are out in the galaxy

{{ Navbox | name = Warhammer 40,000 | title = Warhammer 40,000

| group1 = Forces of the Imperium | list1 = Imperial Guard · Space Marines · Sisters of Battle · Daemonhunters

| group2 = Forces of Chaos | list2 = Chaos Space Marines · Chaos Daemons · The Lost and the Damned

| group3 = Alien races | list3 = Dark Eldar · Eldar · Orks · Necrons · Tau · Kroot · Vespid · Tyranids · Demiurg · Squat

| group4 = Spin-offs | list4 = Aeronautica Imperialis · Battlefleet Gothic · Dark Millennium · Epic · Gorkamorka · Inquisitor · Necromunda · Space Hulk · Warhammer 40,000 novels

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| group7 = Film | list7 = Ultramarines: The Movie |}

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