Welcome to Librarium Online!
I've had some of the 3rd ed models lying around since they first came out in 3rd ed (impulse purchases, what can I say! ), so I'm still pondering if I should actually go for an army, or just try and sell them off.
That said, I'm a little confused about the Necrons in a few ways....this is mainly because the only Necron dude I've faced took 3 Monoliths, a C'tan, and hid about 25% of his Necrons in a corner behind terrain. Being a Marine player thats kinda frustrating since I didn't have access to any indirect fire weapons to kill that squad, forcing me to go through a gauntlet of really unsavory targets. I'm not saying he won after pulling that off me, but its not something I'd like to play against again.
Anyway gaming experience aside, after browsing on this forum and another Necron forum, I've come to the realization that most Necron players don't play this way, but still get called "cheesy". Why? Are Necrons THAT competitive? Admittedly my lack of experience against them is talking here, but I can see them having quite a few issues against MeQs or TeQ's (terminator equivalents ).
So anyway, considering how Necrons are difficult to get to look good on the table, if I start them it would be because I love robots (hence the impulse purchase in the past ) and I'd probably want a solid competitive army to stand alongside my Marines, Tau and DE. That said, are they a solid gaming choice? Also, what type of army is most advisable for competitive gaming? Alot of Destroyers? Alot of Warriors? Alot of Immortals? Etc?
Phase out really limits Necrons ability to min max - along the same lines as the Iron warrior army o' doom that wins tournaments.
A lack of AP2 weapons is a weakness of the race (and heavy destroyers aren't exactly great value for points) and to deal with mariens we jsut need to throw bucket loads of fire at them.
For a balanced force you would ideally want a good 30 warriors (your anti phase out mob and jack of all trades troops), a unit of destroyers (for speed + better guns) and probably a monolith (the monolith really compliments lots of warriors).
A scarab unit is also a good choice (even with D fields) since they can tie up dangerous targets like devastator squads, heavy weapon teams etc.
Immortals are also great but they tend to eat away at your warrior /destroyer numbers and (IMO) i'd rather have more warriors or destroyers than immortals.
I'd say Necrons are far from cheesy- they have some pretty big issues and phase out is a pain (which would be why that guy you faced hid a part of his army).
For HQ choices- competitively I'd take a Lord with equipment over either C'tan, though if you want a C'tan the Deciever is better. Equipment for Lords- the resurrection orb / veil of darkness combo is very popular, but a lord with destroyer body, warscythe and a few other items is also pretty good (one obviously being a combat character, the other support).
Elites- Immortals are basically your best choice in this category. Flayedones and pariahs can be good, but immortals are better all rounders.
Troops- 20-30 warriors is pretty normal (20 being the minimum you can take in a standard game).
Fast Attack- Destroyers would probably be the best in this category, though scarab swarms definitely have some very good points too. Wraiths' effectiveness varies greatly depending on opponent.
Heavy support- Almost everyone likes a monolith. They have a lot of uses. Heavy destroyers are expensive but can be good for dealing with 2+ saves (they've never kiled a tank for me). Tomb spyders aren't that bad but I wouldn't consider them good competitively.
Hope the overview helps.
Phase out is definitely a rather hindering issue. Also never use pariahs cause they die to ranged fire have no wwb and have 1 attack!! aghhh! it annoys me!
Immortals are without a doubt, vital. There gauss blaster will make mince meat out of most eldar aspect warriors, guard and marine scouts. i also reccomend tomb spyders. There are harder than shap granite and give your units a chance of coming back if they end up seperated from a unit of the same type. They also make scarabs however with only 2 wounds it could end up killing itself if you go over board
They get called cheesy a lot because they are different, kind of a prejudiced view to put it one way. ''Cheese'' is simply something an opponant finds it difficult to beat without actually putting in much thought.
Havng said that, Necrons definitely arent one of the strongest armies out there. They are still competitive though, just not broken.
A necron force is fairly easy to build, and they have some of the simplest models to paint. You should have a decent looking army in no time. For starters, go with the Battleforce, everythjing in there is useful. Then ofcourse a Lord too, on foot.
Quite a few players swearby Immortals, they arent fast, but can fire on the move. Basially an improved version of the Warrior. Use them for your lords ''retinue''.
Once you hit 1K, definitely look at getting a Monolith (or 2, the apocalypse box of two quiet a good deal)
You also don't need a Monolith to win. I play without one and have a pretty good time (In fact I almost consider this a strength due to the fact that now all their anti tank weapons are wasted on me).
It's also possible to load up a necron lord on a destroyer body and go to town against troops. I've wiped out many a squad with mine.
Wraiths are hard to play with, but against the right opponent they are awesome (I once had 3 wraiths tie up an avatar for the entire game, only 1 died).
If you use a monolith and play your necron force right they are fast. It's a misconception that necrons have to be slow. They can be slow, but we have ways around that.
In fact, the only 2 slow units that we can't deepstrike or have jetbike movements on are pariahs and tomb spiders.
Necrons are slow.
They are really fast at getting from A to C, but getting to B? thats just crazy talk.
(translation: they are adept at covering huge distances but trying to cover 12"-18" with warriors requires expensive monoliths and stuff).
Once you play large games with necrons opponents really get surprised to see your army suddenly hop into their deployment zone in 3 tunrs.
Anyway, sorry about the soap box... [steps down off box, kicks it over];Y
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes
For Termies, Pariahs can kill them, but will take enough casualties that it may not be worth it. Not to mention the cost of bringing them along.
Destroyers are possibly the most useful units; with their footlong move and three 36" shots apiece. They can tear apart enemy troops while staying just out of range of heavy repercussions (like getting shot at). The Veil of Darkness is a fun and useful piece of wargear, but is really expensive. I take a Flying Circus (Immortals+Lord+Veil of Darkness), and teleport around shooting more killable enemies that tend to stay in the back (Heavy Weapons Squads, some command units, almost anything Tau).
If you have no care whatsoever for morals, which I assume you do, with the cheesy question, it would be possible to take 15 destroyers (max) and zip around shooting things. But that can be both kinds of expensive.
But all in all, Necrons tend to be mostly straightforward; and there aren't as many options as other armies have. But they tend to work well.