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Chapter Archives - Necrons - The Ancient Darkness

By -Netput - 18th May 2017 - 17:31 PM

Chapter Archives is a new series by our resident Librarian Misiok that examines the Warhammer 40k factions yet to be added to Dawn of War III. It will explain and analyze the background lore of a faction/race (some factions can come from the same race!), how they came to be and how they can be implemented into DoWIII. These are purely speculative based on the lore and tabletop rules. Take a moment to learn a bit of the immensively rich Warhammer 40k lore and how a faction might work in the game!

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When the end comes it will be not at the hand of any mortal being of this or any other realm: death will come at the hands of the ancients, those who determined our fate aeons before we stood erect upon the holy ground of Terra and gazed up into the starry night.

-Second Book of Admonitions, Inquisitor Hoth

In the past they lived short and painful lives, a far cry from the macabre form they possess today. Jealous of the nearly-immortal Old Ones with whom they co-existed, a war was waged and quickly lost. Forgotten by their former enemies, the Necrontyr were left to their suffering.

In time they discovered ancient cosmic horrors, immortal entities that fed on the very stars that lit their planets. These C’tan or “Star-Gods” were somehow contacted and invited to the Necrontyr homeworld. After being given bodies made out of living metal, the cosmic horrors began to feed on the living, devouring their souls; for the stars were tasteless, and the lives of their hosts were delicious. By promising servitude, the Necrontyr were given immortal, metal bodies from their own living metal, and transferred their minds, not knowing that by doing so they became mindless, soulless puppets, urged by the C’tan to harvest more life for them to feed on. But those that kept their minds did not forget this trickery and once their common enemies were dead or fleeing, Necrons turned their awesome weaponry on the now weakened C'tan and in turn conquered their own gods.

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The dead march once more.

Faction mechanics:

Taking into consideration how each of the three current factions work and how it contrasts each of them, a Necron race would most likely focus on a slow and steady advance and gain a foothold by having high survivability and casualty tolerance with many ways to bring back fallen infantry. One element contributing to this resilience is their signature passive which revives a fraction of their infantry losses. “Reanimation Protocols” is such an important quality of the Necrons that there is no way this is not making its way into the game as a potential doctrine as it is integral to the way Necrons play in tabletop. One of the possible ways this might work in the game is by lowering the requirements to activate the passive that brings back lost units.

Army roster:


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Unstoppable, slow, and silent.
The mainstay of a Necron army are their Warriors. They possess little sentience, losing out the most on the mind transference. Their sturdy bodies make more than up for their lack of sentience. They are automatons that cannot be destroyed by anything but the strongest heavy weapons. Equipped with Gauss Flayers, their weapons destroy matter at an atomic level. Should they suffer losses their bodies made from living metal will repair itself quickly. Should they suffer damage that cannot be repaired on the field they will teleport back to their Tomb World, where they will be repaired and sent once more into battle. Losing limbs or even heads is of no issue to them, for it will reconnect itself quickly. They feel neither fear nor pain, and cannot truly be stopped short of obliterating their bodies.

How would they work:

Low cost infantry, much slower and much more resilient to damage than any other HQ infantry, with good ranged damage but weak melee. Their melee stance would be mainly used to tie down melee units before dedicated melee infantry arrives or heavier weapons start firing.

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Nightmares shunned even by the unliving.

Flayed Ones

Victims of madness from prolonged stay in stasis. Afflicted with a hunger for flesh and blood, they strike from another dimension right into enemy flanks to rip and tear, to chase down their prey; their living metal reflecting their madness with long bladed fingers and extra joints on legs to allow for faster movement. With the prey butchered, they stop and smear flesh and gore on their faces, but being machines they have no way to feast and so their hunger is never satisfied.

How would they work:

Similar in cost to Warriors, these units would be the Necron’s Army dedicated melee infantry. Having the same or similar stats to the Warriors apart of greatly increased melee damage, they would be used to deep strike (teleport) into enemy flanks to butcher enemy units.

Necron Immortals

While the ranks of Necron Warriors consists of enslaved commoners and civilians, it is the Immortal caste that houses the minds of former soldiers. These troops are now armed with tireless, unstoppable bodies that are even stronger than their lesser brethren, and much powerful armaments capable of destroying even the strongest of covers or vehicles. Retaining their sentience, their capability for war and tactics is also much higher.

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Bigger, better and more dangerous than Warriors, equipped with Tesla Carbines(left) or Gauss Blasters(right).

How would they work:

Definitely T1 infantry, high cost, comparable with Tactical Space Marines. Would come in two variants - standard anti infantry and low vehicle damage Gauss blasters, or dedicated anti-infantry Tesla carbines which could work like Space Marine Devastators with an AOE effect on damage.

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A Destroyer living up to its name.

Destroyer squads

Suffering from a different form of madness, Necron Destroyers are Immortals, Deathmarks or Lychguards who truly abandoned their mortal origins and fully accepted their new forms and purpose; that is to eradicate all that lives.

How would they work:

In squads of three as jump-jet heavy infantry, these units would function as very mobile heavy weapons platforms with a Heavy Destroyer variant that would work as tank hunters.

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A Tomb Blade, fast and deadly.

Tomb Blades

Their origins as a space fighter, with the now robotic Necrons no longer needing to breathe, modified these jetbike vehicles to better suit their new needs. Very maneuverable and fast, Tomb Blades operate ahead of the Necron forces, searching for lightly-defended positions to destroy or harass.

How would it work:

Very similar to Space Marine Land Speeders or Eldar Vypers, cheap early game harass unit, they would come with Tesla Carbines to counter enemy infantry with an upgrade to Gauss Blasters to be able to destroy enemy vehicles.

Ghost Arks

Originally wooden constructs dating back to the ancient times of the then mortal Necrontyr, who used them to ferry their dead to their final resting places. They were repurposed at a later time to ferry the then-living to be transferred to their new, metal forms.

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A Ghost Ark once taking the dead away, now bringing them to the front-lines.

How would it work:

Comparably cheaper than other transport vehicles, it would be faster than the Eldar Falcon but have no weaponry by default. Upgrading the HQ to Tier 3 would allow the player to upgrade them to a Doomsday Ark, a variant that abandons transport capabilities in favor of overwhelming firepower.

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A Doomsday Ark delivering death.

Triarch Stalkers

Built like an enormous spider, a Triarch Stalker looms over the battlefield, advancing with a speed and jerking gait befitting that of a spider, providing support to allies and death to enemies and controlled by high-ranking Triarch-Praetorians.

How would they work:

A Necron walker unit equivalent, fast and capable of moving through all terrain, coming with two variants - an anti infantry type and a more expensive tank destroyer type. Stalkers would rely on their high mobility to outmaneuver enemy vehicles and fire upon their weak rear armor.

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Fast and big, supporting allies and destroying foes.


A terrifying fortress, slowly hovering above enemy forces. Slow, powerful and nigh-unstoppable, blasting foes apart easily with eldritch arcs of energy. It is a heavy assault vehicle that also counts as a troop transport for it can spawn more deathless Necron infantry to overwhelm its foes. And the most terrifying aspect of a Monolith is that it can teleport: teleport away should it be damaged enough, or right into an unsuspecting enemy force.

How would it work:

A super heavy tank with troop transport capabilities. Slow and unwieldy, floating in the air like a skimmer type unit being able to avoid all terrain obstacles, a monolith would deal very good damage against vehicles and heavy infantry and above average damage to normal infantry. Its transport function would work similarly to Eldar webways, allowing Necron infantry to teleport to the Monolith as well as reinforce from it.

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A house of horrors.

Elite units

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Those who control the laws of the universe.


Necron engineers and technologists, they are ones who study and maintain their ancient technology. Similar in power with Psykers of other races but fueled by their very advanced technological prowess and mastery of universe’s fundamental forces. Theirs is a power that can also be described as magic.

How would they work:

A low tier cost elite coming with a buff to Reanimation Protocols as long as he is on the field. Equipped by default with a Chronometron - an item that grants him the ability to slow the flow of time, slowing projectiles in an area around the Hero. Since Crypteks mirror Psykers in reality-bending powers their function in the game could very well be a support equivalent to Space Marine Librarian with a different set of support abilities and tools.

Necron Lords

Necrons are lead by Lords - nobles and rulers who kept their minds intact during the transference. Ancient and patient, with an unstoppable army of mindless, immortal and indestructible soldiers, they do whatever they please. Trading with aliens, collecting antiques and baubles or waging war with each other. After defeating the C’tan and with the Old Ones long gone, they’ve went back petty struggles among themselves, creating enclaves of separate kingdoms. However, each Lord is equipped with the most powerful technology and artefacts their race has to offer; each piece of equipment allowing them to adjust to the tides of battle.

How would they work:

Main hero unit, very likely a named character with special rules, potentially costing about 5 elite points, possible mechanic of a Necron Lord is possessing upgrades in a similar way to the Space Marine Ironmaw elite: once summoned, a player can specialize him to suit the needs of the battle. Will probably be a melee utility support with a teleport with an upgrade to turn him into a melee assassin but foregoing more utility based abilities and items.

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Those who lord over death.

Potential Overlord artefact upgrades:

Resurrection Orb
One of the possible customization options mid-battle, a player could pick this upgrade to heal/reinforce his army during a battle or outright revive fallen units. To balance it, the item would grant an ability that charges when the Lord suffers damage or the player’s infantry dies or a slow charge like Wraithguard and Wraithblade soul recall ability.

Nightmare Shroud
A device designed to project the worst excesses of Ut-Hekneth’s madness, assailing nearby enemies with phantasms of dread as potent as any mortal danger.

Another option; this item works on morale, but since Dawn of War 3 does not have morale implemented it could instead confer blindness or stun units in a decently sized AOE area around the Lord.

Solar Staff
“Set loose, the staff’s energies blaze outward in a mighty flare, as though a new sun was born.”

An item to let the Necron army counter mass ranged armies. I can see this working exactly how it did in Dawn of War 1 - create a pulsing beam of light; by revealing units hidden by stealth or cover and blinding enemy units that are near the beam of light which can be negated by moving away.

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Those who seek destruction of all.

Destroyer Lords

Lords whose minds fell to madness. Shunned by their own brethren, theirs is a single purpouse now - to quench any and all life. They modify their bodies, replacing legs with grav-platforms, arms with cannons to live up to their namesake: to destroy. Nothing that they consider prey can hope to live.

How would they work:

A fast skimmer unit that costs about 7 elite points. I would compare them to Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought but working more as a mid to late game damage dealer Hero unit with passive bonuses to Destroyer squads.

C’tan shards

The C’tan were living gods of the physical plane, who possessed incredible power with which they could shape reality to their whims. Necrons were cheated out of their souls and free will, but the C’tan did keep their end of the bargain and helped with the war against the Old Ones. Not all Necrons lost their sentience however, and those that retained self-control revolted against the Star-Gods and struck them down. Now they exist as nothing more than shards of their former selves, on beck and call of their former subjects. They are called forth during the biggest of battles, to sow destruction as they did once on their subjects and galaxy of old.

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The Deceiver - the C'tan who proposed the plan to change the Necrontyr into what they are now.

How would they work:

C’tan would be suited as being a high cost unit, possibly 9 to 10 elite points. No longer being whole and existing only in the form of shards they are much weaker now but still beyond mortal comprehension. Nightbringer being one of the most powerful Star-Gods would very likely be a melee oriented attack/tank Elite with powerful abilities, while the Deceiver a support/heavy crowd control with possible abilities like taking over enemy units for a duration or casting illusions.

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The Night Bringer - responsible for causing fear of death in most mortal races.

Potential Superweapon

Hard to say what a race that can shackle physical gods could still consider a super weapon, but for the purposes of balance and gameplay, one of potential options is a Death Sphere bombing run. A death sphere is a warhead containing a piece of anti-matter existing in a separate dimension until it is required. A Night Shroud is used to deliver the payload, a bomber aircraft built for the sole reason of delivering the anti-matter bomb. It would be a powerful ability with plenty of warning for the enemy players to avoid, so smart use of tactics would be required to fully utilize its potential.


Necrons as a faction offer unique gameplay possibilities; plenty of unique, powerful abilities and customizable Hero units for counterplay would add more variety to the already unique factions. Early infantry being rather weak and slow but with the ability to revive fallen units would be a great balancing addition to their slow and powerful forces, forcing a Necron player to fight hard for ground, but once it is theirs to have an easier time holding it. Their gameplay would mirror their lore - ancient undead slowly rousing from their slumber and leaving their tombs to lay destruction upon the living, to let the player feel like he is commanding legions of undead robot abominations.

With the faction poll results there is a growing interest in them, what with getting a new codex rulebook, giving them more characterisation and personality and very possibly acquiring more fans.

The idea of ancient murder-robots that would give Skynet Terminators a run for their money, of a race that conquered their mortality, however huge was the cost, and even shackled and enslaved physical gods that could create or destroy stars with their thoughts is very interesting and objectively how cool it is for a sci-fi race to go from short-lived mortals to masters of the galaxy and who are now once more going for round two. Necrons are badass.

Article written by Misiok, Edit by Jelly

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