Who Are The Necrons?

The Necrons are another of the numerous Xenos forces occupying the universe that continually threaten the Imperium of Man. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the Necrons, who’s implacable, soulless, metallic, humanoid warriors have slumbered in stasis on their tomb worlds for more than sixty million Terran years, with the history of their empire beginning far longer ago even than that of the ancient Aeldari. The Necrons weren’t always the metallic warriors that threaten the Imperium. They were actually created from a humanoid race called the Necrontyr. When the seemingly immortal Old Ones – the first sentient, space faring race in the galaxy – were spreading across the stars and glorying in their power, the Necrontyr were struggling to survive, living incredibly harsh and often very short lives wracked by radiation storms and plasma blasts from the sun of their native worlds. They turned to science for their salvation and were able to achieve space travel, but were unable to overcome their own biological weaknesses. They did however begin to colonise other planets, sending out ships full of Necrontyr in stasis pods, and brought much of the galaxy under the rule of their dynasties.

A horde of Necron warriors, supported by various heavy units and war machines, advance towards a small unit of Space Marines.
Necron warriors ceaselessly advance on a cadre of outnumbered Space Marines. Image courtesy of Warhammer Community.

This brought them into contact with the Old Ones and led to jealousy that they were gifted with such long lifespans. With the unity that had led the Necrontyr to colonise eroding, and civil wars threatening their empire, the Triarchs, rulers of the Necrontyr, turned their people on the Old Ones as a way to gather them against a common foe, beginning the War in Heaven. This incredibly violent and bloody war exploded across the galaxy, but it quickly became apparent that the Necrontyr had no hope of overcoming the Old One’s mastery of the warp despite their technological advances. Within centuries they were all but annihilated, driven back to fringe worlds. Their power fractured they once again returned to infighting and civil wars raged. Desperately searching for another way to unify their people, and a way to strike back against the Old Ones, the Necrontyr eventually found exactly what they asked for – the C’Tan. It’s not clear how these all powerful beings were discovered by the Necrontyr, but contact was made and seeking a favour from the C’Tan, the Necrontyr built them bodies of living metal – a material they had perfected and used to protect their spacecraft. Thus a C’Tan, now referred to as The Deceiver, came before Szarekh the Silent King, leader of the Triarch, promising all the Necrontyr wanted – victory over the Old Ones and immortality for every Necrontyr. The alliance was struck, and the Necrontyr doomed.

In a process known as biotransference the flesh of the Necrontyr was destroyed, and they were reconstructed with immortal bodies made of living metal. Too late, as he was himself already encased in his new metal form, the Silent King realised the error of the alliance, as the very souls of the Necrontyr had been sacrificed, and the C’Tan drew further power from their discarded life forms. Only a few of the very strongest retained any sentience, though often even that was diminished. Instead the soulless automatons that are now known as the Necrons were all that emerged from the biofurnaces. The process may have cost the Necrons everything, but they got their wish. Fighting alongside the C’Tan the immortal Necrons were unstoppable, and the galaxy once again burned. The combined force obliterated the Old Ones on all fronts. Stars and solar systems were engulfed in flames and absorbed by black holes. Even the webway offered no sanctuary, as the Necrons crossed into this realm of the old ones and assaulted every Old One stronghold. Ultimately the warp itself began to mirror the carnage of the galaxy and fuelled by the souls felled in this inferno of war older warp entities became predatory, shattering the Old One’s ability to maneuver. Scattered and broken, with no strongholds or safe havens, the Old Ones were utterly broken. In their final, desperate attempts to resist, they seeded worlds with other life forms to help fight the C’Tan, including the Orks and Aeldari.

The Silent King, leader of the Necrons, has returned. Does this spell doom for the rest of the races of the galaxy? Image courtesy of Warhammer Community.

But as this victory was won the Silent King launched his own coup. Turning the energy of the living universe against the C’Tan, the Necrons unleashed unknowable forces against their hated overlords. The revolt was a success and while the C’Tan couldn’t be killed outright given their own incredible power they were shattered into shards and scattered throughout the universe. His victory won Szarekh recognised that the time of his people was over. The Aeldari, who had fought with the Old Ones, were rising to domination and the Necrons, weakened by their successive titanic, galactic conquests were unable to stand against them – but they could outlast them and whoever came after them.

So the Silent King ordered the remaining Necron strongholds be converted into Tomb Worlds, vast complexes of stasis-crypts that would sustain his people in the great sleep for as long as was required. They were ordered to re-awaken in sixty million years, ready to rebuild what they had lost and return to their rightful place as the lords of the galaxy. The Silent King did not join them, instead departing with the Triarch Pretorians to only he knows where to seek whatever answers he could for his followers’ futures, and solace he could find for his role in their past.

In the intervening years between the entombment of the Necrons and the 41st millenium many of the Tomb Worlds have fallen to various causes. Decay, desolation and ultimate destruction have all claimed countless worlds full of slumbering Necrons. Many more intact worlds still survive, and their inhabitants are beginning to awaken, slowly and in a sporadic pattern. Billions upon billions of warriors await their turn to awaken and begin the reconquering of the galaxy – no matter who or what stands in their path, lead by the wisdom of the returned Silent King.

If you liked this article you might be interested in learning some of the lore of the various Chaos factions, check out our posts on Khorne, Tzeentch, Nurgle and Slaanesh!

Did you enjoy this article or found it helpful? You could always tip the author with a coffee (or something stronger). If you want to pick up any Necrons for your own army (or buy something else) then check out Element Games. They have up to 25% off on a wide range of units, box sets and accessories. Finally, make sure you’re following us on Instagram to stay up to date and get involved in our community!

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