Are Necron Nebuloscope’s worth upgrading Tomb Blades with?

A quick break from the recent Tau postings as we look at the Necron Tomb Blades with their twin-linked Tesla carbines. Reading through the Necron codex for the first time I was really interested to see that the Tesla weapons that many Necron’s have cause an additional 2 hits for every 6 they roll To Hit with. Sounds pretty wicked to me!

On reading the specific section on Tomb Blades I learnt you could also boost their BS from 4 to 5 by paying for a piece of wargear called a Nebuloscope; surely this is just military gold. Units that can hit often and reliably, combined with even extra hits. However this upgrade got me wondering…

Are Tomb Blades Nebuloscopes really worth paying for?

A Necron Tomb Blade armed with twin-linked Tesla Carbines
A Necron Tomb Blade armed with twin-linked Tesla Carbines

At first glimpse, a Nebuloscope wargear extra that boosts your ballistic skill from 4 to 5 sounds like an obvious thing to take, I mean who doesn’t want to hit on 2s rather than 3s (that’s an extra 16% of hits per attack).

On second glance though you’d ideally want to be rolling 6s To Hit, as they grant a further 2 hits. So surely being able to use their twin-link re-roll more would lead to more 6s being rolled?

Further to the mathematical and strategical problem Nebuloscopes cost 5 points, which is an additional 25% points on top of the model cost. So are 4 Tomb Blades with Nebuloscopes worth more than 5 Tomb Blades without them?

As I write this I realise it’s getting more and more complicated to answer the question – ‘are Tomb Blades Nebuloscopes worth paying for?’

Calculating Nebuloscopes usefulness

Firing 100 shots from normal Tomb Blades

Without the addition of the BS boosters, 100 shots with BS4 should produce on average of 67 hits on the first role. As they’re weilding twin-linked Tesla carbines, the 33 that missed get re-rolled and produce a further 21 hits. So out of 100 shots, you’d on average get a whopping 88 hits – pretty impressive already.

Now as those 88 hits are fired from Tesla weapons, any To Hit of a 6 produces an additional 2 hits! Awesomeness.

So from 88 hits hitting on a 3+ you’d expect 25% of them to be a 6, which equates to 22 of the dice. So 22 of the hits cause 2 additional hits, bringing our total hits from 100 dice to…

132 hits! Yikes.

Firing 100 shots with the Nebuloscope wargear

Now we’ve boosted our ballistic skill of our Tomb Blades from a 4 to a 5, we’re hitting on 2+. Who doesn’t like going into combat with that statistic behind their fast attack units.

So from 100 shots we’re now landing 83 initial hits onto our enemies. Using the twin-linked weapons we get to re-roll the 17 that missed, producing a further 14 hits. This brings out total initial hits to 97, unsurprisingly higher than our unmodified Tomb Blade units in the above example whom only scored 88 hits.

However from our 97 hits we’d expect only 20% of them to be 6s, lower than the 25% used in the previous example.

This means that from 97 hits we’d see approximately nineteen 6s rolled.

97 plus our additional 19 Tesla 6 rolls cause a total of 135 hits on our foes.

Nebuloscopes – the verdict so far

Without Nebuloscopes your fired to hit ratio is 1:1.32

With the Nebuloscope wargear upgrade your hit ratio improves to 1:1.35

A small, but none-the-less existing advantage. So yeah buy Nebuloscopes for all your Tomb Blades?

necron lightning banner


Hold your metal horses commander!

Before you go wielding Tomb Blades with Nebuloscopes in every future confrontation, you have to remember the fact its costing you an additional 5points per model in their unit. So lets re-work those numbers, incorporating the fact that commanders must use their points limit wisely.

2000 points of unmodified Tomb Blades firing

If you took 2000 points of Tomb Blades into battle with you, that would be 100 Tomb Blades. So we know from the above calculations that that would produce 132 hits.

2000 points of Tomb Blades with Nebuloscopes

With the additional wargear purchased for each Blade, we can only afford to take 80 of them now. Boo. This means we can now only land approximately 106 hits on to our enemy!

The real verdict on Necron Nebuloscopes

Taking the cost of the units into account, which of course we must, the ratios are now:

Without Nebuloscopes 1:1.320

With Nebuloscopes 1:1325

Therefore the Nebuloscopes bring an even smaller mathematical improvement to our unit than we first calculated.

My verdict therefore would be to take 25% extra Tomb Blades by not having the wargear upgrade; that means the enemy needs to land an additional 25% of wounds onto your unit before they get wiped out. This reduces the chance of not getting to roll for reanimation protocol (which you don’t get if the squad is wiped out), or the odds of your opponent getting first blood from targeting your Tomb Blades.

Also in the course of a battle the dice averages won’t be statistically close enough to the ‘perfect’ ratios calculated above, further nullifying the benefit of wielding Nebuloscopes.

So ignore the seemingly obvious advantage of the Nebuloscope when kitting out your Tomb Blades, stick with numbers of units over the alluring better ballistic skill. I hope the above article has pointed out their true value.

Let me know if you find this article interesting or helpful

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