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Jungle: Yblis’ Centurions (updated 12/2012) by
Battle, endless battle, on a thousand, thousand worlds, for a thousand, thousand years. Millions fought, millions died—were they memories, or dreams? The captain had slept for so long that he no longer knew.
I was never a big Necron fan, but it seemed a shame to see such a nicely-done army go. So I bought it from Pat and set to work on making it my own.
Modeling and Painting
As I mentioned, I liked the army, and when I first purchased it from Pat, the only changes I made were to add Pariahs and the Deceiver. I initially hadn’t intended to use Pariahs: they cost a lot of points, were limited to one unit, and didn’t count as Necrons for Phase Out under the old codex. But I found some miniatures from the VOID game (see below) in my bitz box, and rather than just throw them out or ignore them, I decided to paint them up, using Pat’s paint scheme, and use them.
When the latest version of the Necron codex came out in late 2011, I dropped the Deceiver from my list and counted the former Pariahs as Triarch Praetorians. Yes, the models would make good Lychguard, too, but I prefer the Praetorians. Instead of jumping through the air like real Praetorians do, I imagine that they teleport across the field like Eldar Warp Spiders.
I also added some Crypteks with eldritch lances for much needed anti-tank, and Night Scythes for mobility. Rather than dish out $15 each for the five Crypteks I wanted, I spent $33 to buy a box of Immortals/Deathmarks, and made my own using bits from each type. To make each Cryptek's lance, I used most of a tesla carbine with the barrel of a synaptic disintegrator.
In December 2011, when I was looking for models to use as Night Scythes, Games Workshop didn't have any, so I drew on the inspiration for my army's background (see below) and found some 1978 Cylon Raider toys on eBay. Why use these toys? First, I've always liked the looks of the Raiders from the original Battlestar Galactica TV series. Two, they were relatively inexpensive: one cost me $10, the other $20; even with shipping and handling, my "Scythes" were a lot cheaper than what GW would want. Three, there were quite a few to be found, even after almost 35 years since they had been manufactured.
Some gamers might sneer at turning "toys" into 40K units, as if none of them are playing a game of "toy" soldiers. But hey, that's all right by me: they can keep paying more--much more, in most cases--and putting in more effort. Me, I have better uses for my money and time.
I peeled off the stickers that came on the Raiders, glued their wings shut (they popped open to fire "missiles"), and primed them black. To have them coordinate with the rest of my army, I painted most of each in Dwarf Bronze, with some parts Brazen Brass. The Jade Green that Pat had used for accents years before was no longer available, but a found a comparable shade--Emerald--from Vallejo.
By happy accident, each Raider has a screw right in the exact middle of the toy's underside; I took out the screw and was pleased to find that the toy didn't fall apart, which makes me wonder what the screw was for in the first place. The spindle of a standard GW flying base fits perfectly in the hole for the screw, and the toy balances fine on top of the flying stand. However, the standard GW flying base isn't nearly tall enough (as you can see from the photos above) to allow Necrons to embark and disembark from the access point underneath the model, so I got some taller flying stands.
Shortly after I had found the Raider toys on eBay, I visited my a hobby train shop near my home and found well over a dozen Battlestar Galactica models. Included in the treasure horde were Raiders from the old and new shows, at $25 each, as compared with the $45 that GW currently wants for Night Scythes. I scooped up several kits.
The Raider models
are at least twice as big as the toy versions, and for a while, I
was going to count the toys as Triarch Stalkers and have the model
versions be Night Scythes. But then I came to my senses and
realized that Flyers are the way forward in 6th Edition, so now I have
five Night Scythes. Yeah. Seriously.
Proxied Doom Scythe, using "new-version" Cylon Raider model
Worse (for those of you who hate Flyers), I have two Doom Scythes, using Raider models from the newer TV series (the one you younger gamers are probably more familiar with). Having test-driven this new, Flyer-heavy version of the army, I have found that my 'bots have gone from chumps to champs overnight. Accordingly, I warn people ahead of time how many Flyers it has, so as to avoid hard feelings.
Long-time Jungle visitors might remember that this army used to have Flayed Ones and a Monolith. I was never a big fan of either unit, and over the past summer, I traded both for a 5 Guys gift card. Because yes, I would much rather have bacon double cheeseburgers.
In writing up some background material (or “fluff”) for my Necrons, I took most of my inspiration from the 1970’s TV show Battlestar Galactica, which I had watched as a kid. BG concerned itself with a group of space-faring humans searching to find planet Earth. They were pursued by a race of robots, the Cylons. Cylons spoke in buzzing voices, were lousy shots (of course), and wore bulky armor. But they always had the advantage in numbers and were relentlessly bent on “the annihilation of the life form known as Man.” (Shortly after I decided to use Galactica, I learned about the new, darker series: while I sorta liked the episodes I saw, I really didn't get into it, and thus, didn't borrow anything from that version)
For quite a while, I was also influenced by the 1980's video game Berzerk, which featured evil robots that tried to hunt down and shoot a "humanoid" (controlled by the player) trapped in a maze. The robots in Berzerk could speak, yelling "Get the humanoid!" when attacking and "Chicken! Fight like a robot!" whenever the player-figure ran away. The robots were pretty dumb and were no better shots than the Cylons, but they were led by a spherical, smiley-faced being called Evil Otto, who could pass through walls, couldn’t be killed, and would annihilate whatever it touched.
So for several years, I used "Bzrkx" in the army's name, and I used The Deceiver to replicate Evil Otto. After all, being invulnerable and able to move through walls sounded like something a C'Tan could do, and I was sure that The Deceiver would be able to change its form. For the model, I used a transparent smiley-face ball with electronic doodads inside it that I had found at a party store: it cost about a dollar. I drilled a hole in the bottom and glued a standard flying stand under it.
After awhile though, I thought that mixing Berzerk with BG with the undead + Egyptian look of the Necrons was too many motifs to throw together, so I dropped the references to the video game. So what do I have here to make my army distinct from other Necron armies?
Yblis The Deceiver. In BG, the Cylons served a shadowy, robed figure they called “Imperious Leader.” Viewers never got a good look at Imperious Leader, but he didn’t seem to be a robot. Nor did he sound like one: the British actor Patrick Macnee (most famous for his role in TV’s The Avengers) provided his voice.
In two episodes, Macnee also played Count Iblis, a miracle worker who promised to save the human protagonists from the Cylons if they swore allegiance to him. One character pointed out that Iblis and Imperious Leader had the same voice, but the connection was never explained. Iblis was eventually revealed as a demonic entity in human guise.
The characters of Imperious Leader and Count Iblis inspired me to choose The Deceiver, under one of his many names, as the ultimate leader of my Necrons under the previous codex. “Yblis” is a combination of the two BG villains: a satanic figure bent on destroying humankind through his mechanical minions. The name “Yblis,” by the way, is pronounced “EE-blee” (the “s” is silent).
In the new version of Codex: Necrons, the C'Tan were overthrown by their mechanical minions, who now sometimes uses "shards" of their former masters' divine essences in battle. Whatever. My army still serves The Deceiver, meaning that either the story of the C'Tan's downfall isn't true (oh, please, let that be made so in the next version of the codex) or that somehow a "shard" of the Jackal God has managed to trick an army of Necrons into believing that they are still his to command.
Lucifer. The idea of a human-like Necron leader has always appealed to me; in the fictionalized battle report New Year, New Enemy, I assigned some human characteristics to Lord Thoth. Though the Necrontyr long ago submitted themselves to become machines, it seems quite reasonable to me that the Lords—presumably the strongest-willed of the Necrons—kept some aspects (even some emotions, perhaps?) from their mortal lives. Hence, in the fictional piece that begins this article, I have the Necron who becomes Lucifer recall (or imagine?) past battles and victories. The new codex takes this idea and runs with it, with the various Necron special characters having all sorts of personalities.
Experience has taught me that in games over 1500 points, two Lords are better than one. Rather than create two characters, I thought it would be more in keeping with the robotic theme to have The Deceiver create two versions of the same Lord and have them share their programming. Thus, Lucifer, a former captain in the armies of “Crystalord” (The Deceiver in another guise), appears as Version 1.1 (an Overlord) and as Version 1.2 (a Destroyer Lord). One mind, one personality, two bodies.
Lucifer takes his name from a more intelligent, more articulate, more human-appearing Cylon (see below) from the original Battlestar Galactica series. “Lucifer” is a Latin word meaning “bringer or bearer of light” (and is, like “Iblis,” another name for the Devil).
Centurions. As I mentioned earlier, the rest of the army (from a “story” perspective) is a collection of automatons devoid of personality. Carrying further my inspirations from Battlestar Galactica, I imagine that my Necrons talk, albeit in buzzing, distorted tones unpleasant to the human ear. Being unemotional and not innovative thinkers, they would probably speak only to relay information to Lucifer (“The humans are massed on the southern hill”) or to acknowledge orders (“As you command!”). This is not to say that my Necrons are stupid, just that they don’t stand around reciting soliloquies. One shouldn’t expect witty dialogue from Necrons, anyway.
Thus, I haven’t made up other characters or given their vehicles names, or anything like that. But because I wanted the army as a whole to have an identity (and not just be “my Necrons”), I needed a name for them. If you read through Jungle battle reports prior to 2006, you'll find that I called them “Yblis’ Marauders,” borrowing the name of the mutant supervillain group from the “Mutant Massacre” issues of the X-Men, back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. But the Marauder name introduced an element that didn't mesh well with the Galactica and Berzerk influences, so down the Memory Hole it went.
In trying to come up with another name, I decided that with "Yblis" and "Lucifer," the army had enough Galactica references, so I would lean towards the Berzerk game. I thought of calling the army "Yblis' Berzerkers," but I thought that might cause people to think, God forbid, that I own a Khorne army. Eventually, I settled on the collective name "Bzrkx" (pronounced "biz-URKS") for the units under Lucifer's master. So "Yblis' Bzrkx" it was for a long time.
Overlord Lucifer 1.1, with Resurrection Orb and Staff of Light
But eventually, as I mentioned, I came to believe that I had too many references and motifs going, and so I dropped the video game homage. In doing so, I've changed the army's name to "Yblis' Centurions," using the name of the Cylon foot soldiers from the original series. Yes I know, "centurion" means a leader of soldiers, not the common infantryman. Don't blame me, blame the original show's writers.
Using the Army
The 5th Edition rules significantly weakened the Necrons' survivability in the Assault Phase and nerfed gauss weapons' ability to destroy vehicles; I kvetch quite a bit about that here. The new codex basically throws up its hands about Necrons being easy to take out in close combat and attempts to give the 'bots more anti-tank punch with some new weapons (such as the eldritch lance) and vehicles. However, the 6th Edition rules made gauss weapons effective again (as enough glancing hits will strip off Hull Points and wreck vehicles), so I'm a happy tin tyrant again.
In light of the latest codex, I look at the "new" Necrons as an army whose tabletop capabilities lie in the middle ground between Space Marines and Tau: they aren't as tough as the former, and they don't have the long-range firepower of the latter. Based on that premise, and using what I have available, I devote most of my army's resources to shooting the bejesus out of opponents before they can get in assault range.
Old-school Immortals with gauss blasters, painted by Patrick Eibel
Warriors are mostly what I have (60 total), so Warriors is what I base the army around. I have five squads, conveyed in Night Scythes to move into enemy territory, each accompanied by aCryptek with an eldritch lance. My Immortals stay with Lucifer 1.1 and hold objectives in my deployment zone.
To add mobility and much-needed counterpunching to the army, I have 9 Triarch Praetorians, who can escort Lucifer 1.2 (the Destroyer Lord version). If need be, they can knock the enemy off objectives and then a squad of the Scythe-mounted Warriors can hold it, but I would prefer them to hang back and deal with enemy assaulters, tying them up and wearing them down. With his Resurrection Orb and Warscythe, Lucifer Part Deux should be able to weather some blows, then dish them out.
I own Destroyer models, but I'm not wild about them. I count them as Tomb Blades with particle beamers and shieldvanes. For more anti-tank, I have Scarabs, of course, and Canoptek Spyders to back them up; they can also counterattack enemies who get too close to my lines. The aforementioned Doom Scythes round out my Heavy Support choices.
There are several Necron units I could add, but the army is plenty big already. I certainly don't want Wraiths, Lychguard, or more Praetorians: my army is based around shooting, and I don’t want to spend a lot of points on units that don’t shoot.
So there you have it. My friend Pat assembled what I thought was a solid foundation, and after some extensive stealing—errm, "borrowing"—from an old TV show, I’ve come up with what I think is an interesting army. Hopefully, you agree.
First posted May 2004.
Revised August 2006, June 2008, February 2012, and December 2012
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