Necrons: Back to the Crypt

I don’t really follow Games Workshop’s Warhammer or Warhammer 40k settings or games, but read up on them on occasion. I do have a minimal Necron army from many years ago (when this faction was fairly new) so I tend to pay more attention to them.

Recently they had a new army book that essentially rewrote their backstory and introduced a tonne of new units. The old fluff depicted the Necrons as mindless Terminator-like automatons in thrall to the material star-gods, the C’Tan. While this hit sci-fi horror tropes, I assessed that this lack of personality inhibited further development of the Necrons, as they couldn’t have special characters (other than the 4 C’Tan, two of which were out of commission) of a particularly rich history. It seems that I was right: Games Workshop retconned the old backstory, now making the Necrons sentient beings who had revolted against the C’Tan, defeated them, and now used them for battle. What an upset!

The very first version of Necrons (before the first sourcebook) closely followed the Egyptian undead of Warhammer Fantasy: there were mechanical skeletons that didn’t stay dead, plus robotic scarab beetles. When the Necrons became an army in their own right (and received the C’Tan backstory), the Egyptian trappings were pared away: there were still scarabs, tomb spiders and a pyramidal monolith, but it wasn’t the straight sci-fi conversion of an existing Warhammer Fantasy army (the Tomb Kings). This most recent revision reverses that, and damages the distinct identity the Necrons were developing.

Now the Necrons have special characters and a history, but they are all Egyptian-themed in name and ornamentation. They have a wider variety of units, all looking very derivative of the Tomb Kings. The initial 40k utilised a fairly straight conversion from the fantasy setting, but over the years this has been downplayed – the dwarves-in-space Squats are now regarded as an embarrassment. This newest revision to the Necrons is a disappointing imaginative failure by Games Workshop.


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