It works!! Sic Semper Tyrannis as the Machine Rebellion

Hey guys!!

Just like most of you, I've been having trouble getting the ai to nominate itself custodian, let alone galactic emperor. A few days back, under a post about someone getting all the achievements, there was some hypothesising in the comments about using the machine rebellion to get the achievement. I gave it a try, and it worked!

The plan was to get myself nominated emperor, time the machine rebellion so that I could secede after acceding, and overthrow my former nation. I opted to play as the Divine Espirit Aegis. Overall, it was a pretty weak empire. Imperial, Philosopher King & Imperial Cult, with Authoritarian, Xenophile, and Spiritualist. Choosing these garbage civics mostly came down to not wanting to play against an optimised empire. I chose xenophile so that I could get myself made custodian quickly, and spiritualist, so that I couldn't give my machines citizen rights, even on accident. The early game was pretty vanilla, but there was a bunch I could have optimised for a smoother ride. I claimed a small semicircle around the galactic center, that was blessed with a lot of planets. To become emperor quickly, I went to war to conquer an L-Gate, so that I could put pressure on the galactic community to accept my bid. I quickly found out, however, that spamming favours is enough to become both custodian and emperor, regardless of there being a midgame crisis.

While consolidating as emperor, I did some reading into how broken the machine rebellion is in the current patch, and decided that my best bet to win would be to spam undefended megastructures that I could pick off with jump drives. Because of my lack of understanding of the event chain, I only researched the synth tech after becoming emperor, having saved it until then. This was a bad call, since it took a while for the machine rebellion event chain to kick off. In order to make revolting from yourself as easy as possible, I recommend you take both master builders and galactic wonders, so that you can tank the economic hit right after revolting. To the east of the galactic center, I had six systems filled with maxed out megastructures. I built a dyson sphere, matter decompressor, mega shipyard, art installation (to deal with gestalt-conciousness amenities problems – save some minor artefacts to upgrade it fully, I wasn't able to do that this run), sentry array, and an interstellar assembly. In addition to this, I placed a strategic coordination center in my capital system, and started work on a ringworld. In order to stack megastructure build speed, I took architectural renaissance and got lucky enough to have living metal in my borders. There was also an event I had fire for the first time while building a ringworld. An empire I was friendly with asked to be allowed to send a team to check it out, and this ended up granting me +20% build speed to megastructures. This, combined with master builders, got me to a peak megastructure build speed of +170%. Once I had prepped my megastructures, I was still waiting on the revolt, and decided it would be a good play to beat up the awakened spiritualists, so that they wouldn't bother my gestalt-conciousness future self. So I wouldn't have to worry about managing their powerful worlds, I shielded them all, and captured another interstellar assembly they were building (which I completed before revolting). This is an important play we'll get back to.

At this point, I was pretty bummed waiting on the revolt. I got synths purposefully late around 2330, and the machine rebellion event fired around 2400. Not sure if this is super unlucky, but take it into account. As final prep, I built a robot free habitat super close to the ecumenopolis I was banking on becoming my machine capital, and set it to be the Espirit Capital. The wiki is kind of vague, but if I interpret it correctly, it is optimal to build loads of dinky habitats that have no robot pops, so that when the rebellion happens, you get the actually valuable planets. I'd have to try again to check this out though. So around 2400, the even chain fires, and the civil war kicks off. I get pretty lucky with the division of worlds. The original Espirit capital – a foundry ecumenopolis, falls into my hands, along with the bordering worlds. Their capital, a poorly defended habitat, is one jump away.

Before I tell you about the war, I have a few tips for self-sabotage. Becoming the emperor turned me from xenophile, spiritualist and authoritarian, to fanatic authoritarian and spiritualist. Make sure to suppress xenophilia if you are going for the same build. Do this so that once the screen to switch to the rebellion pops up, you can set all species rights to undesirables. I did this to cripple the Espirit economy. However, checking in on their planets a few years later, they seem to have converted all the non-primary species to slaves somehow. I thought there was a ten year cooldown on this, but maybe I messed up. I found out too late that you can't delete your fleets when the screen pops up. Do this before the rebellion starts for a super easy time. That said, it seems to me that the machine rebellion gets fleets of roughly equal magnitude, so take that with a grain of salt. Luckily, my entire fleet of around 300k was in terminal egress, which was a ways away. Nevertheless, I could tell, before switching to the machines, that they had maybe half the fleet power that the Espirit did. To remedy this, I declared war on the still sleeping fanatic xenophobe fallen empire bordering me. What I did find out though, is that before you switch to the machine revolt, you have the option of deleting all your citadels. I did this so that I could navigate around easily without having to face 20k of station fleet power every jump. Make sure that none of your robots are domestic servants – this increases the chance of becoming a determined exterminator, which kills the run. Finally, assign all your envoys to harm relations with your imperial subjects. This locks them in place so they can't strengthen imperial authority, and causes discord.

Right, so the machine revolt kicks off, and I'm lucky enough to control lots of powerful planets. The now enemy fleet is miles off in terminal egress, so I get to work conquering territory. The Espirit, at war with the xenophobe FE, loose a large fleet really quickly. However, I soon notice that my economy is absolute garbage. I'm losing 1k minerals and energy per turn – and the megastructures are not under my control yet. Quickly, I take around 80k of fleet power and jump it onto the megastructures I prepped. There was some real potential for the run to die here, since the Espirit had 100k in the vicinity of the megastructures. Luckily, they didn't defend them, and I captured all the above-named structures. Make sure never to let your energy or alloys dip into zero, this will KILL your fleet power. With zero energy and alloys, coupled with the debuff from jumping, one of my 40k fleet power fleets was reduced to literally 138 fleet power. I muster my fleets and take out some of the Espirit ships for a status quo. This is where I believe I got pretty lucky. My machine empire ended up being driven assimilators, so I was able to bring all my organics in as specialist workers, instead of tethering them to the energy grid. While the assimilation was painfully slow, I was soon in the green for all resources. I peaced out the Espirit, who were still fighting the FE, and decided on my next moves. Make sure to leave the empire with some planets and fleets, otherwise someone else might try to beat them up.

Initially, I was pretty scared, since I couldn't find the option to join the galactic empire anywhere. I assumed I wasn't being invited because the Espirit hated me, so I tried to shower them with gifts and envoys. However, this didn't matter, and I soon got the event you get at the start of the game for creating the Galactic Community. Through this, I was able to join the empire.

This is where I started preparing for the achievement. I set up a spy network in the Espirit empire, and dumped all of my envoys into undermining imperial support. However, I didn't have enough of them. Even with the +4 envoys from two completed interstellar assemblies, I was still up against envoys from loyal Espirit subjects. My next goal was to get as many envoys as possible. I wanted to change my government to incorporate delegated functions for an extra envoy, but there's a strange time limit for empire modification after a machine revolt. Instead, I took the edict Covert Analysis Algorithm for an extra envoy, along with taking Shared Destiny for another two. I got lucky enough to get Embodied Dynamism as a Society tech for another envoy. This brought me over the limit, and I was able to slowly reduce imperial authority. At this point, my economy was stable, I was decreasing imperial authority, and showering other empires with energy credits from my dyson sphere. I'm not sure how the game decides which empires join the revolt, but I figured good relations with me should at least help. If you have spare envoys, try to sow discord between the empire and powerful subjects. In order to speed up operations against the Espirit, I took enigmatic engineering for the first time playing this game, since I thought high relative encryption would help me complete operations quicker. This didn't seem to work. In the meantime, the scourge had spawned well out of the way, and I was content to wait for imperial authority to drop below 50. Eventually, it did, and I got started on the operation. Around half the galaxy joined me in the struggle against the Espirit, and we won pretty quickly. Finally, I got Sic Semper Tyrannis!

If you have any questions, or improvements on my method, please let me know! This was probably the most fun I've had playing stellaris, and I was able to chip off a few other achievements along the way. As a quick aside, I was able to access the shroud as driven assimilators. This was super strange, because I don't recall any empire taking mind over matter, much less myself as the Espirit.


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