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Does the lord have to be in b2b with the charging unit for this ability to work. It states "Models belonging to units that charge into combat with the necron lord". But isn't the lord considered "in" combat (he is technically locked in combat, even if he is not b2b. It is not like he can decide to walk away, also gets pile-in, etc...)? Just kinda curious, cuz it would seem the gaze of flame would be much more usefull.
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A unit and any character attached to that unit acts as one unit in a charge. Any item the lord is carrying that applies to his unit works even if he's not locked in combat
The lord and the unit do not benefit from each other's Kill Zone, but other than that they act like a single unit. Ie they fall back and pursue as one unit
Actually, Independent characters are treated as completely separate units in CC regardless of any unit they are in. Thus, to be considered in combat a character must be in base to base with the unit. It is possible to have say, a necron lord and warriors deep strike with the VOD, then get charged and the lord still not be engaged. This is because the warriors completely surround the lord and there is no way enemies can get into base to base with him.
So to answer your question directly: to use gaze of flame the lord must be in base to base with at least one model in the charging unit.
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Even though the lord counts as a separate unit in CC the gaze of flame specifically mentions the unit the lord is attached to, therefore the gaze works as long as any models in the unit (lord+whatever) gets hit. It's the exact same thing as the lightning field.