Do Necrons in Flyers Take Hits or Not?

Update: The rules for Necrons transported in Flyers were later changed/clarified: The contents do not take hits if the flyer is shot down. Article saved for posterity.


It’s a simple question – Do Necron units inside a Nightscythe that is destroyed take any hits, or are they immune to the damage results from the new Flyer rules due to a rule from their own codex?

What I didn’t originally realise is that there are at least SIX answers to this question in circulation, and that it is one of the most likely to cause arguments simply because the answer is so ‘obvious’ to players, regardless of which answer they’ve chosen.

Fortunately in the run up to the Australian Masters someone asked a very specific question, which means I can give a more useful and specific answer:
“SCP Yeeman: Anyone know how this tournament is ruling the Night Scythe casualty thing? Are the passengers taking hits or not?”

I cannot tell you exactly how GW thought their 5th edition rules would translate to 6th edition, or how you should play flyers at home, or what you should agree on before a pick-up game, but the above is a question that I can answer. And to be frank when it comes down to rules that fairly obviously need an FAQ, all I really want to know is how the tournaments I will attend will rule on them. First though, here are the rules and the various answers I have come across.

  • The Night Scythe has a transport capacity of 15. If the Night Scythe is destroyed, the embarked unit is not allowed to disembark, but instead enters reserve (when they arrive, they cannot deepstrike) (- Necron Codex Page 51)
  • Crash and Burn  – If a Zooming Flyer is Wrecked or Explodes, its flaming debris rains down on the battlefield. Centre the large blast marker over the Flyer – it then scatters 2D5″. Any model under the blast marker’s final position suffers a Strength 6, AP – hit. The Flyer is then taken off the board. If the Flyer is also a Transport, any models within suffer a Strength l0 hit with no armour saves allowed. Survivors are placed anywhere within 3″ of the blast marker’s final position and in unit coherency. Any models that cannot be placed are removed as casualties. – (BRB Page 81)

“Nightscythe Wormhole Gateways are functionally the same as Monolith Eternity Gates”

1) Necrons are never actually inside their Flyers, and do not take hits when the Flyer is destroyed and are not affected by the Flyer’s Stunned or Shaken results.

2) Necrons are never actually inside their Flyers, and do not take hits when the Flyer is destroyed but are affected by the Flyer’s Stunned or Shaken results.

3) Necrons are never actually inside their Flyers, and do not take hits when the Flyer is destroyed and are not affected by the Flyer’s Stunned or Shaken results. Despite the fact that the Flyer is ‘Empty’, no other Necron unit can embark on a Flyer that has been ‘allocated’ to transport a different unit.

“Nightscythe are Flyer Transports that carry units inside them”

4) Nightscythes are functionally the same as any Flyer Transport except if one is destroyed, the contents are placed in Reserve and do not take hits.

5) Nightscythes are functionally the same as any Flyer Transport and if one is destroyed, any models within suffer hits, after which due to a rule in their Codex instead of being placed within 3″ of the blast marker are put in reserves.

6) Nightscythes are functionally the same as any Flyer Transport and if one is destroyed, any models within suffer hits, and then instead because being ‘placed’ is not the same as ‘deploying’, they are placed on the table as with any other unit.

(Just to be clear, I’d never heard answer 6 until last week and it is from a recent post on YTTH, but I am not the Matt who asked the question that generated it. Let me know if you have heard of any other ways Nightscythes have been ruled.)

The Australian Masters used the same ruling as the Western Australian Ultimate Masters, as did the ACT Masters. Explanation text is by TO Malignant.

Are Necrons treated as being on board their transports when they are destroyed?
“There is absolutely no mention in either the codex rules or the Necron rules FAQ that the Necrons are not currently within the vehicle whilst “embarked”. (There is also a precedent set in the FAQ for models on board to be subject to vehicle effects such as having their shooting limited on the turn they disembark due to the speed of the vehicle that turn.) All that is stated is that they move to reserve rather than disembarking when the vehicle is destroyed.

As damage suffered by a unit in the case of a destroyed vehicle is a different part of the process to disembarking from a destroyed vehicle (that is – the unit suffers the damage from the vehicle destruction rather than from the act of disembarking from the destroyed vehicle), the ruling for this event (unless FAQed to the contrary between now and then) will be that all models on board will suffer damage as normal before moving to reserves.

I am aware that this isn’t necessarily what the fluff represents, but rules > fluff I’m afraid. If GW want to it work differently, then they need to write it accordingly. It’s a slippery slope for us to start interpreting fluff as correct intent for poorly or incorrectly written rules.”

This is the equivalent of answer number 5 above. It was not the first choice of the Necron players, but to the best of my knowledge no player changed army because of it, reduced the amount of Nightscythes, or reported that it had a big impact on the actual games (several Necron players got through the majority of their games without actually losing a single flyer).

This may not be the answer everyone is looking for, but in the absence of an official FAQ it is a specific answer to how the Tournaments I have attended have treated this rule.

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114 Responses to “Do Necrons in Flyers Take Hits or Not?”

  1. JesseS says:

    Not that it has ANY bearing on the rules but our in-house rule at the FLGS I play at it is that the unit inside takes the regular S4 hit of a normal transport being destroyed before being placed in reserve but not the (much harsher) flyer transport rules.

    We figure that, fluff-wise, this represents the models that didn't make it to the teleporter in time to escape the crashing ship.

    We figured this was a good balance between the intended rules as shown in the fluff, and the actual rules as written, which are much harsher on Necrons than other armies because if any models DO manage to survive the rest of the unit can't RP because it goes straight to reserves.

  2. MadmanMSU says:

    Love this post. Would have been nice if you had gone on to analyze what the impact of each of the rulings would be, but its great to see this issue being addressed.

    Can you do another one on the Bale-flamers issue?

  3. _Garnet_ says:

    I honestly don't see how a fair-minded person could come to any conclusion but #5. There's simply nothing in the Night Scythes' rules that even suggests the flyer's transport systems works any differently from any other flyer transport. Sure, the fluff up above says otherwise, but since when are wholly new rules invented based on what it says in the unit description?

  4. Valtiel says:

    Personally, I’d wager that if GW ever get around to FAQing it, they pick option 4. It seems like the only sane balance between fluff and rules, because frankly any rule that states the Necrons are not actually inside their transport is going to be far too complicated.

  5. Sly says:

    I agree with the ruling. The FAQ states that Necrons can re-embark onto a Night Scythe… if you can disembark from it and re-embark from it, why would you not be in it when it's destroyed? Regardless of the fluff answer, there is nothing in the rules that in any way implies that the Necrons are not embarked on the Scythe when it goes down.

    So, if they're embarked, the Crash and Burn rule says that they take the S10 hit, without mentioning disembarking or being placed on the table (until after the hit(s) are all resolved). Therefore, any rules that the Night Scythe may have that modifies how passengers may exit a destroyed Scythe, would not take place until those passengers have survived the S10 hits.

    The only ambiguous part of the rules is whether Placed =/= Disembarked, ie: whether the survivors are placed on the board or in Reserves.

  6. mr_darkness says:

    I really don't know. In my head, I feel it should be four. I think that is what they meant by it, but in terms of rules, nothing really refers to the point, so The arguments just go on and on.

  7. BaselessElm says:

    The way I see it is we have two events as simultaneous triggers-

    When a flyer is destroyed, the unit inside suffers hits.

    When a Night Scythe is destroyed, the contents are placed in reserve

    and so the way this interaction works is completely dependent on how you handle simultaneous events. We've been playing it so that when two rules have simultaneous triggers, the player whose turn it is decides the order of resolution. I could have sworn it was an actual rule, but I can't seem to find it; so now I'm thinking that maybe it's just a house rule that our group came up with…

    Assuming that the rule I described above isn't complete bullshit, this gives an obvious answer- the player whose turn it is decides whether the unit takes the hits- they can decide to either resolve the hits first and then send the unit back to reserve, or send the unit back to reserve and then resolve hits on what's inside (which at this point would be nothing). It means that generally speaking, the unit will take the hits, as generally planes will crash during the opposing players turn, and hence the person who just shot the plane will probably choose to damage the unit. If the plane crashes during the controlling player's turn (due to being killed by movement shenanigans or an interceptor gun) then the unit won't take hits, as the unit's owner will generally decide not to have their unit go down in a blaze of glory.

    Assuming that I'm right on that rule, that is…

  8. Albert says:

    As I see it, a wrecked/explodes result first triggers the S10 impact, then comes the placement/disembarkment of the surving 'crons.

    It's kind of funny this argument has gotten so popular when you consider the small number of times in which it gets to be applied.

  9. Kevin says:

    In that case does a dread in a stormraven take a s10 hit when it crashes? If so which facing does it hit?

  10. yazchar says:

    Sounds like a Imperial player gave this "answer"! The sad reality is we would not be having this argument if the rule was from a Space Marine codex, it would be assumed they wouldn't have to make saves.

  11. ru486baby says:

    In little old Adelaide, we play it that that don't take hits.
    The argument is not based on how the flyer rules work / don't work it has to do with re-animation protocols.
    If the models are never placed on the table then you can never place the re-animation marker, never getting your roll.

  12. Sokhar says:

    I just want GW to pick a direction and not give us some bullshit like option 5. If you want me to take hits, fine. Let me place my surviving models afterwards. If I don't take hits but go into reserve, awesome. But this idiocy of taking the hits but going into reserve is over the top. Its like the necron equivalent of Wiley E. Coyote where a necron plane explodes, warriors come tumbling out, crash to the ground, and two seconds later the "magic phase-out device" triggers and whisks away the mangled remains of the warriors, never to return. Just stupid.

  13. Matais Yohansen says:

    Me and my friend independently came to the conclusion that option 5 was how it worked, given the current wording of the rules in question. Plus I personally figure (as a Necron player myself, mind you) that the Night Scythe is such a stupidly strong option in the codex right now, it's gotta have some drawbacks, and having the guys inside take hits if it crashes seems only fair.

    Because honestly, I don't see how you can have something as good as the Night Scythe and then be like "oh yeah, they also don't take the massive damage from crashing Flyers that other armies have to deal with."

  14. Threadmiser says:

    Option 6 is pretty clearly mistaken as it ignores a codex specific rule, which still take precedence over the BRB unless something has changed.

  15. Jasonc says:

    Just as a heads up, I’ve been told at least one prominent player from a different state than my own (in the original top 10) didn’t attend because of this ruling.

    Not that I disagree with the ruling but it did have an effect.

  16. BS11 says:

    Slippery slope indeed. This is the most dissapointing rules interpretation for me in 40k. Firstly for fluff reasons and not only the fluff in the rule but the codex entry as it talks about protecting the unit inside. I completely accept that rules > fluff, but when there is ambiguity in rules then shouldn't we rely on fluff to guide our interpretation?

    Next there is the rules themselves. As I see it it hinges on there being a strict definition of 'disembark' that is applied consistently throughout the BRB, likewise there is a strict definition of 'place' and that when the codex uses 'disembark' they meant that strict definition and not just 'unit gets out of transport' or some general and non-specific way. Frankly this only holds up if every term in the BRB has a strict definition and is applied consistently and we know this is not the case, e.g. See when a model is removed from the table or removed from play or removed as casualty.

    So we end up in bizarro 40k where we are now told that a rule in a codex written for 6th no longer applies or has any effect or worse still only half the rule applies. (That in itself is unbelievable)

    We as a community interpret ambiguous rules and the most obvious recent example of this is Garran not making purifiers as troops. Everyone or suggested that was the case because the rule referred to Garran and the codex entity was Castellan Crowe was laughed at and quite rightly too. Of course GW meant Crowe/Garran could take troops. BUT if we apply strict RAW all the time then…. (Which is my point)


  17. Scuzgob says:

    this is why i get my guys out of the scythes as soon as possible. or run them empty.

    oh hell with it, everybody on the table takes a S10 hit.

  18. warboss redtoof says:

    In the Ork codex, when a trukk is destroyed, you roll to see what occurs because a specific rule says this happens. Imo, if a scythe is destroyed, that effect should similarly occur, after which the RP rules apply. Logically, no fluff beats a flaming crash inferno mess, they take the hits.

  19. Tift says:

    So…you guys realize that when GWS finally faqs this that option 4 will be the way they choose right? Think about it, why would they engineer a system fora teleported that works after the guys take a hit.

    Do you really think ward wrote a unit that double penalizes itself? Or do you think it is more likely that ward intended this rule to be an advantage to the unit. I think the people arguing for taking the hits are being a bit unreasonable. I think the roi is pretty clear but once again becAuse of lack of unity in the GWS writing staff raw goes against roi.

    Im surprised that this even came up. Why would anyone assume that the unit would have a built in teleported that handicaps rather than assists the unit inside. Pretty silly stuff.

    Before anyone quotes the raw excuses, I already know how the raw is written. This is the same situation as the harlequin mess up where they have harlies both old an new night fighting. Just a temporary mess up that will be cured in time.

  20. incubus says:

    Play the Game for fun and think about making the game enjoyable, for you and your opponent.
    That is why some times I don't want to be bother playing some of this guys.
    I know it is impossible for some, have to hate and win at all cost, rules lawyers, fine play a game your way then play another the other way and see if it makes a difference.

    Terminators can not pursuit, so you would think they react slow. (boom got hit)

    Instead the argument should be that the rules are not very clear.

  21. incubus says:


    Try to touch on to many topics at once.

  22. Listen_to_me says:

    Reading this thread is very frustrating. It's obvious that Necron units *take the hits* when the flier blows up, but why does everyone glaze over the fact that *they don't go back into reserves*??????

    i.e.- the difference between #5 and #6

    #6 is correct, people!!!!!!!!

    Quite simply, the rule states that survivors are placed within 3". Bam. So you do. The *only* time the codex rule trumps, allowing the unit to go into reserves, is in the case that you do so *instead* of *disembarking*. So if the flier isn't zooming- go for it. Don't take the hits and go back into reserves. But if the flier zooms, the rule in the codex means absolutely nothing. NO DISEMBARKING OCCURS. NONE. THERE IS NO DISEMBARKING. SO YOU PLACE THE UNITS DOWN JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE.

    So so frustrating.

  23. abusepuppy says:

    To add yet another option to the list for strict RAW interpretations: the Crash and Burn rules do not say that they override the normal transport rules for when a vehicle is destroyed. So you can make a valid argument that an exploding Night Scythe does a S4 hit to everyone on board, a S10 no-armor hit to everyone on board, and then places them on the table.

    Eight and counting!

  24. BS11 says:

    I still don't understand why people argue for the night scythe's embarked unit to take hits, to me it is obvious they don't. If you remember in 5th this rule sucked: everyone else had their guys disembark and if unlucky lost one or two but were still on an objective and could still capture and contest. Necrons could end up 30+ inches away from where they needed to be and might have been off the board for a turn or two more. It is just obvious that this rule was meant to stop the unit inside taking a hit with the downside being that it had to go into reserves. It can still end up miles away from where they could be useful. This vehicle doesn't have a hover mode so the codex rule has to apply and the codex trumps BRB. It is only the people who are stuck in the strictest possible interpretation of RAW that say because the codex says 'disembark' and the BRB says 'place' then we play bizarro 40k and we can pick which part of a rule to apply or just ignore it completely place units or put them back in reserve.

    I now immediately disembark units as the NS flies on and never embark any units onto it during the game. Not worth the angst of arguing.

    I can go through pulling codex background, codex rules,BRB rules, break down the process step by step, etc but the site does it better. I suggest you find their 'ruling' on it. In the end it comes down to whether you can accept that disembark can be a general term for getting off the vehicle or not.

    Finally I think that sometimes analysing the rules is a bit like farting: If you have to push too hard it's probably poo. Don't think too hard about this game it is supposed to be for fun and just accept how it is meant to be played.

  25. Ste Amigo 1 says:

    I dont understand the complication half of this.

    IF THE NECRON CODEX (which admittedly I have not read, apart from the above rule) DOES NOT state clearly in the rules (not background material) that the unit being transported is not embarked on the flyer then they do take the S10 hit.

    Similarly IF THE CODEX DOES state clearly in the rules that the unit being transported is not in embarked on the flyer then they do not take the s10 hit.

    To me that part is straight forward. The second part I thing is more tricky to understand, but as I would think that the unit goes back into reserve as stated by the codex rule.

    Again I will say that I do not own/have read a necron codex, so there may be more information that I have overlooked. I was just using th info to hand.

  26. […] discussed previously on 3++, a number of Tournament Organisers had resorted to event FAQs to handle this interaction and avoid […]

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