Necron Unit Tactica: Deceiver

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The Star Gods are no laughing matter and the choice of one in the scale of Warhammer40k should come with a great deal of thought prior to it. I say this because C'tan really have no place in 40k, yet were included regardless. C'tan are literally Gods and are immensely powerful. Unfortunately, in the 40k rendition of what they are, they're quite limited and not all that inspiring for the massive point cost that they tote with them. They have a huge amount of drawbacks on top of it all, but they do one a few things going for them. The main factor that is in their favor, is simply beingreally cool. Who doesn't want to play with a God on their side? Let's explore that.

~ Who is the Deceiver? ~

The Deceiver is the lesser used C'tan, as the little brother to the Nightbringer, but he still has his own perks and his own abilities which make him work taking, which we will look at.


  • Stat-line built for combat; Main focus on Initiative.
  • Monstrous Creature-Ignores armor saves, blocks line of sight, etc.
  • Movement ignores terrain completely and simply floats over any terrain.
  • Resilient beyond belief due to sheer toughness, wounds and invulnerable save.
  • Necrodermis-If your opponent manages to destroy it; They take serious damage.
  • Drain Life-If a C'tan kills you, you're dead for good.
  • Attempting to assault a C'tan requires a leadership test.
  • The cheaper C'tan of the two.
  • A whole slew of leadership attacks and deployment abilities; which we will cover.
  • Can actually work in combinations with Pariah.
In summation, the Deceiver is a king in combat. He's very fast and strikes very hard. He can choose to assault and cause very large damage, or he can absorbany assault and laugh at it without even taking a single blow, and literally leave the assault to mock them further for even thinking about it, allowing you to then shoot the assaulters and re-assault them if you choose. The Deceiver can take an insane amount of punishment, both in shooting and in assault, so attempting to destroy one would take a huge effort by your opponent. If the Deceiver kills something, it's dead for good. And if someone kills the Deceiver, they will take some serious damage as a result as his Necrodermis is broken, killing everything near by practically. But as a size 3 category unit, he can block line of sight, adding quite a nice function to him in terms of deployment.


  • Independent Character-meaning, he's not scoring victory points.
  • Expensive beyond your wildest dreams.
  • Slow movement.
  • No ranged attacks (only leadership attacks).
  • Many of the leadership abilities are easily avoided in 4th edition.
  • Does not count as a Necron (directly effecting your points towards Phase Out).
In summation, the Deceiver being a potent character in combat, also has it's down sides. The biggest down side of all, is that as an Independent Character, he may not hold objectives, score victory points, etc. And if he takes even a single wound, he automatically will donate half his points as victory points to your opponent (which is a lot!). Add to this that he is slow to get anywhere on the board and has no ranged attack abilities and you may find he doesn't do much early in the game other than move and get shot at possibly. His abilities read well on paper, but in practice, they're not so impressive (some of them). He can effect even fearless models with some of his leadership attacks, but the others are less useful due to the ease of passing leadership for most armies. And of course, as he is not a Necron, his points are points that are not going to be in your Phase Out pool, making it easier for someone to phase you out having less Necrons on the board.
The Deceiver is probably not a good idea if you want to play missions as a non-scoring unit that costs this much and who makes it easier to reach Phase Out. The C'tan should probably only be considered worth while when playing games for fun, and not necessary for competitions.

~ Use of the Deceiver ~

The first and foremost function of the Deceiver is literallydefensive. He's not really an attacker as he usually has to counter, or confuse enemies. That's his strength, in that he supports your army and does notlead so to speak. So let's go through his abilities and talk about them and how to use them.

~ Mobile Terrain ~

The Deceiver is a size 3 category target as a monstrous creature, and therefore, blocks line of sight to anything behind his base. That means, you have a great hiding spot that is safe from your opponent who literally cannot see what you're hiding in the shooting phase. This makes delivery of some units, or protection of some smaller unit size units easier to survive turn one and deliver their attacks as normal. This is a great way to hide your Destroyer Body Lord, Wraiths, Pariah, Destroyers, etc. Anything with small model counts will hide very nicely behind the Deceiver and enjoy not being fired upon first turn when Terrain is scarce for you in deployment. This directly ties into his ability "Grand Illusion."

~ Counter Assault ~

Simply looking at his stats will show you that he's quite capable of killing nearly anything in close combat. He's got a fast initiative of 5, meaning he will strike on par with most super characters and in general will strike before almost all infantry out there. Add in his insane toughness and wounds and you will quickly see that he's not being harmed any time soon. It takes a lot to even scratch him in the assault phase, where it's more difficult to muster high strength attacks as his toughness prevents anything that is under strength 5 from even having a chance to harm him. So if you want to lock down 30 infantry models in assault who don't have a way to kill the C'tan, then he will hold them there, killing them, as they cannot even touch him. The Deceiver is great at counter assault because he's slow, and your other units are not so slow if you're teleporting around or using unit that move as jetbikes. The C'tan can happily join in on an assault such as that, and finish it off. Add in his ability to break off of assault and you can effective control assaults with your Deceiver. They cannot harm you, you can harm them-and you can break away from combat before they even strike during their assault phase. What this does, is it leaves the unit out of combat, and in the open, begging to be fired at by your army. This is an effective way to make "safe from shooting due to combat" an illusion, as you deny that.

~ Deceiver ~

Decieve isthe power of the Deciever, in terms of it actually being one that effects all models in the game. In the shooting phase, the Deceiver basically chooses any unit within line of sight which is not in close combat and forces a moral check or a pinning test upon them. And it even works againstfearless units who normally would automatically pass these tests. This power is quite useful because there are many units out there who would take very poorly to being pinned suddenly when normally moral is no problem. Let's look at some examples.
Chaos Space Marines Against Chaos, we have quite a useful ability because this directly will effect quite a number of units. The main target would literally be the Daemons within a Chaos army, who have a lower leadership level, and instead of taking moral checks, are forced to take instability tests. Your moral attack literally can kill Daemons who fail moral and some of them are leadership 7 to 8. You can quickly pick off packs of Nurglings and Furies, while causing grief to the other Daemons as well (though not Blood Letters). The ability is less useful against the Marines, as they have a naturally high leadership value and will easily pass the test. Chaos cultists and daemons, however, are prime targets.
Daemonhunters: The daemons hunters are all high leadership value units, or even worse, an Inquisitor Lord-who chooses to pass or fail (ie: literally immune to Deceive). But the ability does effect greatly the Storm Troopers and elite Inquisitors. You will not be able to really effect Grey Knights, Assassins or even enemy Daemonhosts, but you will be able to effect inducted allied Guardsmen and the normal Storm Troopers in general.
Dark Eldar:The entire army is based on leadership 8, so you should be able to use the ability on any unit you please and they do not have great leadership buffs from other sources. So expect it to be mildly useful, but not overly impressive.
Eldar: Eldar are another leadership 8 army, with no real way to effect moral tests other than taking them. So you can freely target squads of your choice. Some squads have higher leadership values and will be harder to pin, but you can try the normal squads such as Guardians none the less.
Imperial Guard: Guardsmen on their own are easy prey. However, due to Officers and doctrines, it's easy for the Guard to shake off your moral attacks. Your prime targets would be anything fast moving like Rough Riders, as well as the normal heavy weapon teams or any assault assault team trying to sneak close with a Demolition Charge who are too far away from an Officer to get moral support.
Necrons: Forget it. Everything is Leadership 10 and easily ignores your attack.
Orks: Now we're talking about real punishment. Orks have an average leadership of 7 through out the army and generally rely on strength in numbers in order to carry on. The Mob Up rule only happens if they fail a test, and even then only the big mobs will be able to carry on, regardless. That means, you may successfully pin a unit, but they will carry on even after that, due to the Mob rules. Small squads will fail these Mob checks though and they're your prime targets (10 or less models can easily be scared off the board or pinned).
Space Marines: The average leadership is 8, and they are no immune to pinning. This gives you a chance to pin an assault squad or a heavy weapon team or some Scouts or even Bikes. The down side is that now, in 4th edition, we have the Rites of Battle ability of the Commander in the Space Marine force, which makes it less of a useful ability. What you can do however, is force a moral check on a unit which is which is already below 50% starting strength, and possibly cause them to fail it and if so, pushing them backwards even still. On the whole, don't expect much use here.
Tau Empire: Tau are an army that do not like leadership attacks. It's leadership 8 on the whole with characters and many units are less than that. You can easily frighten off Gun Drones with their leadership 7, or send squads of Kroot to the hills with a fast moral check. Using the ability on battle suits will be less productive, but hitting the smaller support units as mentioned above will be quite useful and successful.
Tyranids: Now we're talking about some serious trickery. The hive mind works through synapse to avoid using leadership on their lesser bugs. The gaunt specifically, which is the most basic unit you will find. Gaunts have low leadership, 5, and since they are forced to take a moral test even with synapse around, you can make them fail, and fall back. This is very useful to prevent those fast moving assaulters from reaching your firing lines. Most other things in the Tyranid force have high leadership, but the Gaunt is begging to be scared away.
Witch Hunters: Most units in the Witch Hunters have naturally high leadership or can escape it through wargear means (the book of lucius). However, there are some units who operate offfailing moral. So you do not want to use this power on Repentia or Zealots for example in a Witch Hunter force as it will help them to come to you even faster-which is what you do not want. You can still effect things like Storm Troopers and Elite Inquisitors though, but it won't be very often.
--- Note that if combined with the abilities of Pariah, you can effectively use this power as well as other powers, more effectively against most armies.

~ Grand Illusion ~

The Grand Illusion is probably one of the more tactical and useful abilities of the Deceiver. It's not perfect though and is based on chance. What it does, is it allows us to potentially redeploy most of our units. And we get to do this after all infiltrators and scout moves are made, allowing us the chance to respond to our opponent and put what we need where, in order to counter them. One unit is guaranteed to get redeployed. So it's wise to select a unit first, which you really want to move-such as Destroyers or repositioning your Wraiths if your opponent is evading you or has line of sight on something you don't want to lose. You will roll a D6 for this, so it will work at least once. But if you roll higher, you can do it to another unit. And each time you're successful on that higher roll, you may redeploy another unit, potentially doing so to the entire force (think of it, as a 4+ to redploy other units after the first). So it's a 50% chance each time to get to keep going. If you fail it after the first though, that's it. This is perfect for goading your opponent into putting all his anti-tank guns in range to blast away a squad of Destroyers out in the open in the front of your force-and then moving them to safety after deployment and before the game starts, leaving your opponent sitting there out in the open, without their prized target anymore.

~ Dread ~

This ability forces a leadership test that will help you out in assault, however, it's far from perfect. It doesnot effect fearless models who automatically pass the leadership test. Because of this, it will be less and less useful because most assault based armies are fearless or near it with high leadership. You will probably see very little effect from Dread in the assault phase, even against weak leadership armies. Regardless, you should use it each chance you get, for the chance even if it's a low one, against non-fearless armies. A failed test will result in the unit of your choice within range only being able to hit on a roll of a 6 (just like Flayed Ones). Don't expect much from it.

~ Misdirect ~

Misdirect is another of your hallmark skills for countering assault units. The beauty of it, is that you can pull out of assault on your opponent's assault phase before he even gets to attack you. That means, if he assaults you, you can just leave his combat and laugh. What this does, is it takes his assault unit out of assault and then passes it to your turn, where they're not open to be shot at in the shooting phase. This also means, if you were to initiate an assault, stay in assault for a turn, and then break off in your opponent's turn, you would effectively assault, break out, shoot and re-assault again on your turn for a pretty nasty effect on small horde armies who rely on combat to avoid being shot up by your Gauss.

~ That's a Wrap ~

Knowing that the Deceiver can be a fun and powerful character is a great way to enjoy him, however if you're looking to have a competitive game he's probably not for you. I would definitely suggest you avoid him in mission based games. Otherwise, given the information above, he can be a great unit in casual fun games, to trick your opponent and support your force.

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