- "Wit is not required in my vassals: they need only the ability to fight and die in the furtherance of my boundless glory. Only the most merciful and beneficent of rulers would spare their subjects from the burden of independence, do you not agree?"
- — Thaszar the Invincible, Phaeron of the Samekh Dynasty, Supreme Warbringer of the Crownworld of Zapennec
Necron Warriors are the primary infantry troops of the soulless, undying mechanical monstrosities known as the Necrons. They were created from the majority of the ancient humanoid Necrontyr species who agreed to be bound to the will of their Star Gods, the terrible entities known as the C'tan. The Necrontyr's consciousnesses were transferred into robotic bodies made of the living metal called necrodermis. Over a long period of time, the new unliving bodies dulled the Necrontyr's minds and their abilities to feel emotion or pleasure. Over many millennia, the ultimate outcome of this process of gradual desensitization was that the Necron Warriors became little more than souless automatons, the warrior-slaves of the still-sentient Necron royalty and military elite who seek to rebuild their star-spanning empires across the portions of the galaxy now controlled by the "lesser races."
Hundreds of thousands of Necron Warriors form the cold heart of a Tomb World's armies. They are implacable, emotionless and terrifying soldiers -- the inexorable emissaries of death itself. Yet on closer inspection of a Necron Warrior, aberrant details become visible that act against the image of the inevitable reaper. Its reactions, though precise, are slow. Its limbs, though strong and sleek, are pitted and corroded, covered with an oily fluid seeping from aged joints. Its movements are jerky, and every so often it struggles as corroded and eons-old engrammic synapses misfire. In truth, the Necron Warrior would almost be pitiable were it not for the merciless gleam flickering in its eyes and the pervasive sense that it is less a sentient creature than it is one of the walking dead.
Grim and remorseless machine-creatures, each Necron Warrior carries the dimly echoed remains of a living mind bound into eternal servitude. They are implacable and ruthless killers, largely ignorant of their own nightmarish condition. But despite their shambolic gait, they are all but unstoppable; their bodies able to repair almost any harm done to them and, compelled by the will of their lords, they are tireless as agents of destruction.
The rank and file of the Necron armies are the Necron Warriors. Silent as the grave, Necron Warriors move with slow, erratic, yet exacting movements. Despite this sluggishness, Warriors are capable of great accuracy at range and devastating blows up close. Like all Necrons, a Warrior's living metal necrodermis body is incredibly durable, capable of absorbing truly horrendous amounts of fire with hardly a scratch to show for it. When enough punishment is heaped on a Warrior to actually damage it, advanced self-repair protocols undo all but the most severe damage in moments. These seemingly indestructible machines carry weapons the Mechanicus has dubbed "Gauss Flayers". To date, no reliable sightings have been made of a Necron Warrior equipped with any other weapon. While an Imperial Guard commander may expect such uniformity and lack of specialised weaponry to be a weakness, this is far from the case for the Necrons. Gauss Flayers utilise theoretically impossible science to strip their target apart on a molecular level. These potent weapons can strip the adamantium from a battle tank's hull as surely as they strip the flesh from a man. Even Power Armour and the enhanced constitution of a Space Marine provide limited defence.
While the Necron nobility retained their personalities and intellects intact, Necron Warriors did not come through bio-transference so fortunate. Warriors possess but a dim spark of life, relying in battle on instinctual reactions and programmed attack patterns rather than any self-direction or intellect. In fact, Warriors deprived of leadership will simply continue carrying out the last order received, or even cease all activity other than firing on any enemies who happen too close. Likewise, Necron Warriors display not an inkling of personality. The billions of Necrontyr citizens who were transformed into Warriors, at one time each an individual with hopes, fears, and ideas, now form ranks of faceless, emotionless automatons. If any shred of their former selves remains, it is trapped behind walls of encoded subservience.
It is possible that the Necron Warriors lack of intelligence and self-identity are merely side-effects of the biotransference process that transformed the Necrontyr into the Necrons. In the Necrontyr's Time of Flesh they were not soldiers, but artisans, merchants, farmers, scribes -- indeed any occupation but creatures of battle and death. As Necrontyr citizens of lesser status it was inevitable that their conversion would be neither so careful nor so precise as that of the Necrontyr soldiery or royalty. Even more disturbing is the idea that the Necron Warriors' dull-wittedness might well have been a deliberate part of the design; that those Necrontyr nobles who oversaw biotransference deliberately stripped their vassals of personality, character and self-awareness to ensure that they would have loyal and unswerving foot soldiers in the endless conflicts to come.
Unlike other forces at a Nemesor's command, Necron Warriors are in no way autonomous. They are bound entirely to their commander's unyielding will. Outside of simple instructions, a Necron Warrior's tactical awareness is almost nonexistent. Without more specific orders, a phalanx of Necron Warriors automatically settles into a guard routine, repelling enemy attacks with rippling volleys of precision Gauss Weapon fire. All this they do in utter silence, for Necron Warriors never speak -- vocalisation was a luxury deliberately denied them by design. However, if heavily damaged, a Necron Warrior emits a modulated electronic scream, a tooth-rattling shriek that is an eerie parody of a living creature's cry of pain. It is impossible to say whether this death wail is intended as a warning to other Necrons, or is simply a half-remembered reflex reaction to the onset of oblivious eternity.
What Necron Warriors lack in intuition they more than make up for in determination and durability. Once orders have been received, they are completely single-minded and will follow commands through to conclusion without question. Furthermore, individual warriors can suffer truly grievous damage before they cease fighting. Even dismemberment or decapitation cannot be counted upon to stay a Necron Warrior's advance, for its sophisticated self-repair systems can return it to the fray within only minutes.
Despite its tenuous sensory connection to reality, a Necron Warrior is not entirely fearless. Though most of its animalistic instincts have long since been expunged or degraded into nothingness by the long eons of stasis, a need for self-preservation still has some purchase on its limited mind. That said, such a reaction requires it to have registered the danger at hand, something which is by no means always certain. Should this survival instinct go untriggered, the Necron Warrior will carry its fight to almost unbelievable degrees, marching heedlessly through minefields, bombardments or other battlefield hazards that will surely see it destroyed.
In battle, their massive numbers and superior firepower overwhelm their enemies before they retreat back to their tomb complexes, awaiting the next call to battle from their Necron Lord. The skeletal forms of Necron Warriors are a spine-chilling sight to behold; kinetic projectiles and lasblasts bounce harmlessly from their metallic limbs. The Gauss Flayer which they wield is no less terrifying, as it strips its targets to atoms, dissolving skin and muscle in a heartbeat and then disintegrating bone until nothing remains.
Necron Warriors can be deployed onto a battlefield by Night Scythe transports, providing their support where it is needed most.
- Infinite Phalanx – No intelligent race of the galaxy can match the Necrons for the sheer relentlessness of their armies’ advance. When the Necrons go to war, hundreds upon hundreds of Necron Warriors will march in complete unison, every step echoed a thousandfold, the screech of misaligned metal or decayed servomotors reaching banshee pitch. Such a density of Necrons allows their reanimation Nanoscarabs to overlap their functions, abandoning unsalvageable forms in order to tip the balance elsewhere. The nature of this effect means that a Necron Warrior's natural regeneration is amplified greatly as the numbers of fellows around him grows, and can increase to such a point as to make them nigh indestructible. Thus the Warriors of an Infinite Phalanx can withstand an assault beyond reason, yet still return to the ranks within moments of their apparent destruction.
- Gauss Flayer - Gauss Weapons are the most common of all weaponry carried by the Necron soldiery and vary in appearance. Unlike more conventional directed energy weapons, a Gauss projector does not deliver a cutting beam of coherent subatomic particles or bolt of electromagnetic force. Instead it emits a molecular disassembling beam, capable of reducing flesh, armour and bone to their constituent atoms. Necron Warriors make use of the ubiquitous Gauss Flayer.
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pg. 33
- Codex: Necrons (3rd Edition), pg. 18
- Apocalypse (6th Edition), pg. 171
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pg. 128
- Imperial Armour - Volume Twelve - The Fall of Orpheus, pp. 62, 96-97, 113