The necrons are available for pre-order at GW now. Overall, its looking like the necrons are receiving a well-deserved upgrade coupled with a slight re-boot (nay: retcon?). The firepower that the necrons promise to be able to pump out sounds great. Although I've not seen the codex or the unit costings, the new necrons certainly look like a formidable foe. Perhaps it is time for me to dust off my old Verdus Prime necrons once again?
Whilst some things appear (on the surface) to be missing (Wraiths, Tomb Spiders), the new models looks great and the prices are largely in-line with recent releases. The necrons gain new transports which appear to be highly versatile and fire-power deadly (and indeed, the background emphasizes that the necrons were once masters of arcane technologies). But the one thing that struck me most was the re-written background for them, as exemplified by the "C'Tan shards".
It appears that the necrons will no longer be the effective slaves of the C'Tan, but more in control of their own (soulless; robotic) destiny. The C'Tan are described as "Shards" -- broken bits of their former selves. In game terms, they feel like a greater daemon, with two must-buy special powers to make them a bit more unique. I'm looking forward to reading the new codex rules here. But in terms of background, the necrons (have now) rebelled against the C'Tan after the War in Heaven (agains the Old Ones) instead of still being pawns of the C'Tan. After that, they went to sleep (for reasons not adequately presented in the updated GW background on their website ... I hope the codex presents a coherent argument for that!). And 60+ million years later, they're now awaking to re-take the galaxy and bring it back under their heel.
I am a bit more taken with this re-write than the previous necron codex. Somehow, it sits a lot better with me than the old kill everything to make the warp quiet plotline they used to have. But I suspect I could be in a minority.