"Only the deathless can truly comprehend the burden of unfailing loyalty."
- — Vargard Obyron of the Sautekth Dynasty
The Lychguard are the elite protectors and emissaries of the Necron nobility. In order to serve as a bulwark against those who would harm their charges, Lychguard were gifted with the highest quality living metal necrodermis bodies, equal in resilience and power to those inhabited by the Necron Lords and Overlords they protect. Lychguard are tall and broad, larger even than Immortals; as befits their status, Lychguard are marked out with tall crests or headdresses and often wear segmented metal tabards or capes.
In addition to serving as wardens, Lychguard often act as messengers and envoys for their masters. In order to better serve in this capacity, the personality and intellect of the Lychguard was preserved through the process of bio-transference to a much greater extent than the Necron rank-and-file. As with other Necrons, the Lychguard fulfil the same roles following the transfer of their consciousness into their undying form as they did in life, though the capability for disobedience has been removed. The Necron Lords and Overlords of the late 41st Millennium need never worry about a treacherous knife in the back from a supposedly loyal guardian, making their Lychguard the last defence against the machinations of rival nobles.
In ancient times, the Lychguard were the wardens of the nobility, said to be incorruptible and utterly dedicated to their charges. Then, such an assertion was as much propaganda as it was truth. Though the Lychguard doubtless possessed greater loyalty than the common run of soldiery, they were still but mortal and prone to all the temptations and weaknesses to which flesh is heir. Now, Lychguard are indeed that which legend made them. They are no longer capable of straying from their master's edicts - careful engram manipulation during biotransference saw to that each Lychguard is programmed with unswerving loyalty to a particular noble, or sometimes to a whole dynasty. This, combined with the fact that they have retained most of their personality intact makes Lychguard the ideal emissaries and lieutenants in situations deemed too dangerous to risk the existence of a Phaeron or his regal subordinates.
Physically, Lychguard are incredibly imposing, housed in the same heavily-armoured forms more commonly reserved for Necron royalty. This is mostly due to practicality -- after all, what use is a bodyguard if he has not might and hardiness enough to defend his master? However, there is also an underlying arrogance to the Lychguards' thickly-armoured design, a brazenness meant to present an irresistible challenge to the noble's enemies. Accordingly, Lychguard can inevitably be found at the heart of any battle, either because their master's army has rallied around them, or the enemy has chosen to make the destruction of their charge, and therefore the destruction of the Lychguard, a priority.
As with much of the Necron army, a Lychguard's armament is decreed largely by tradition. Most are equipped with heavy-bladed Warscythes drawn from their patron's personal armoury - when combined with a Lychguard's prodigious strength, there is very little such a blade cannot penetrate. Phalanxes employed by more influential Overlords instead carry Hyperphase Swords and Dispersion Shields, trading a little in the way of raw might in favour of the incredible protection granted by the Dispersion Shields' interlocking force barriers. Whilst such a squad might make slower progress as they carve their way through a Space Marine strike force, the ability to withstand anything from a siege shell to a Defence Laser blast is ample compensation.
Regardless of armament, a Lychguard always favours a single, dismembering strike over a flurry of lesser blows and will trust its own hardiness to hold the enemy at bay. Unlike lesser Necrons, Lychguard take pride in - and even relish - their bloody work. Indeed, for a Lychguard, anything less than a perfect strike is something to be regretted. Some Lychguard even go so far as to seek forgiveness from their sovereign if they land anything less than an immaculate stroke. So will a Lychguard sometimes stand motionless in the heat of battle, its blade raised and unmoving whilst it awaits the most auspicious moment to strike. When that moment arrives, the Lychguard brings its blade about in an unstoppable arc to sever limbs, lop heads or cleave torsos in twain.
On the field of battle, the Lychguard form the core of any Necron army. Whether standing tall and proud between their lord and master and any danger, or patiently waiting for the teleportation signal from their Night Scythe transport to boldly bring the battle to an enemy commander, the Lychguard always find themselves in the thickest of the fighting, anchoring the Necrontyr battle line, and lopping heads and limbs from their opponents with wide sweeping slashes of their arcane weaponry. Lychguard have a well-earned reputation among the Necron royal courts as consummate warriors, and seek always to meet these expectations. In keeping with the logical efficiency that drives many Necron activities, Lychguard make it a point to slay their enemies in a single, powerful blow. To this end, Lychguard often allow their nigh-indestructible necrodermis form to weather the blows of their enemies until they are ready to strike a fatal blow.
Without a doubt, Lychguard present one of the greatest Necron threats an Imperial military force might face. Even the mighty weapons of the Adeptus Astartes are hard-pressed to damage the living metal frame of a Lychguard, while a Lychguard's weaponry and abilities can fell even a Space Marine in a single blow. Perhaps what makes Lychguard even more dangerous is a capacity for independent thought not seen amongst the ranks of the Necron dynastic armies. Like all Necrons, Lychguard have an unerring recollection of the most effective combat tactics ever devised. Unlike lesser Necrons, however, Lychguard are perfectly capable of deviating from these tactics and stratagems when necessary, adapting more quickly and effectively to new situations. Lychguard are also capable of leading a Necron legion in the absence of their Lord. Space Marine and other Imperial forces combating Lychguard must contend with a foe that is more than a match for nearly any Astartes in single combat, and can form an effective response to even the most unexpected route of attack.
Lychguard can be deployed onto a battlefield by Night Scythe transports, providing their support where it is needed most.
- Charnel Lychguard - The Charnel Lychguard of the Maynarkh Dynasty have been infamous since the days of the War in Heaven for their savagery across the domains of the great Necron dynasties, and have long formed the elite shock troops and bodyguards of the Maynarkh legions. The terrible fury of what few remain -- whilst no more than a dark echo of what was -- remains terrible to behold. Their murderous charges into the heart of a battle end most often in weltering blood and the screaming rout of their foe as their methodically precise blows hack down any that would dare to oppose them. Even in their machine-state, their malice is a palpable thing. It is perhaps this reason more than any other that the Curse of the Flayer weighs so heavily upon them. Many have been laid low by this cursed affliction, distorted into mindless, death-hungry shadows. In battle, it is common for Charnel Lychguard to be accompanied by Flensing Scarabs into battle, for the voracious constructs greatly help the Lychguard in their slaughter of the enemy.
- Necrodermis - Like all Necrons, Lychguard have endured the biotransferance process, housing their sentience in a machine body made primarily out of the living Necrodermis metal. As befits bodyguards, the Lychguards' forms are larger, stronger, more durable and possess better self-repair capabilities than those of the average Necron Warrior.
- Warscythe - The traditional weapon of Necrontyr nobility and their bodyguards for eons, a Warscythe is an energy-bladed battle-staff. The energy field that encompasses the Warscythe allows it to cleave through almost anything with ease. Heavy and ungainly, these weapons are only effective in the hands of an untiring Necron combatant.
- Hyperphase Sword - A Hyperphase Sword is a sword outfitted with a molecular agitator that "excites" the constituent molecules of the blade, allowing it to oscillate between quantum states and cutting through almost any material easily. A Hyperphase Sword has destructive capabilities comparable to the other starfaring races' much cruder Power Weapons.
- Dispersion Shield - The force barrier projected by a Dispersion Shield can be used to fend off close combat attacks or repel incoming enemy fire, similarly to the Imperium's Storm Shield. However, unlike the brutish Storm Shield, the much more refined Necrontyr Dispersion Shield allows the Lychguard to actually deflect incoming fire upon an enemy nearby, turning his opponents' firepower against them.
- Black Crusade: The Tome of Fate (RPG), pg. 115
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 25, 35
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 46, 152
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pg. 131
- Imperial Armour Volume Twelve – The Fall of Orpheus, pg. 117
- White Dwarf 383 (UK), "Warhammer 40,000: New Releases - Necrons," pg. 12