Tactica: Hierarch Severius (Sevy2) (Originally by Hashmal) Mar 7, 2017 21:54:40 GMT
Post by spideredd on Mar 7, 2017 21:54:40 GMT
Hierarch Severius (Sevy2)
Sevy2 is one of the Protectorate of Menoth’s strongest ‘casters. Able to play into a variety of matchups, he packs a versatile spell list and can play assassination and attrition games—this is rare for a Protectorate ‘caster. He is exceptionally strong into gunlines, giving him a solid place in the current meta. His Old Man Stats™ put him at some risk, but with the right list Sevy2 can play far more forward than you would expect. He struggles into armor skew, so prepare for this with your other list(s).
NB: I have played Sevy2 for 7 years now. He was one of my top picks in Mk. II and is my go-to in Mk. III. This article will focus solely on Sevy2 in the Mk. III tournament environment and will not include a comparison between his two versions.
Stats, Abilities, Spells, and Feat
Sevy2’s stats are on the weak side. SPD 5 is below average for a Warcaster. MAT 4 and RAT 4 are both terrible. DEF 14 is below average and ARM 14 is almost as bad as it gets. Combined with only 16 wounds, Sevy2 is squishy… at first glance. P+S on his Range 2 melee weapon is 13, which is also low. His FOC 8, however, is beastly. The card rounds out with 26 WJP, low for a Warcaster. The front of his card is by far the least impressive part of him. It gets much better.
Sevy2’s abilities are off the hook.
Arcane Power: Once per activation, Sevy2 can cast a spell on his card for free. No restriction. This ability would be good on any ‘caster and is doubly good on Sevy2, who has several spells worth casting often.
Oracular Vision: Once per turn, when directly hit by an attack, Sevy2 can spend one focus point to not suffer the damage roll. Basically a super version of Overboosting, it can keep Sevy2 safe from the one power shot that manages to sneak through and tag him.
Field Marshal [Oracular Vision]: …and he gives it to his entire battlegroup. This is the ability that everyone will complain about and rightly so—it is incredibly strong. In my opinion, Sevy2 has the best Field Marshal in the entire game.
Admonisher: When Sevy2 whacks something with his melee weapon, d3 models within 4” of the model hit take a POW 10 magical damage roll. It works much like Ashes to Ashes. A neat ability, but will seldom be used or matter.
Arcane Power lets Sevy2 cast one of these bad boys per turn, for free—and he has several choice options.
Arcane Ward: An upkeep that gives a model/unit +2 DEF and makes them untargetable by enemy spells. A solid upkeep that works well on our best infantry choices. Also can keep the old man safe from spell assassination, should that be a thing.
Ashes to Ashes: A COST 3 RNG 8 POW 10 magical damage spell that also bounces boostable POW 10 fire damage to the nearest d3 enemy models within 4”. A great spell and long a staple of Protectorate infantry clearing, it is only made better because Sevy2 can potentially cast this 4 times per turn while remaining a maximum of 25” from the front line. Single wound infantry have a tough time against Sevy2 in part because of this spell.
Awareness: A COST 2 CTRL range spell that allows battlegroup models to ignore cloud effects, forests, and intervening models for LOS purposes for one round. This shuts down denial options typically used by Cygnar, Protectorate, and Circle (and maybe Cryx now). This also turns on ranged assassinations, which must be respected by your opponent.
Creator’s Wrath: Sevy2 gains an additional die on melee attack and damage rolls, and ignores +DEF and ARM modifiers from spells when making melee attacks. This will rarely be cast, but gives Sevy2 far more melee threat than any other ‘caster in the game. You won’t build a list around it, but Creator’s Wrath can pull Sevy2 out of a hole when the game reduces to only a couple of models per side.
Hex Blast: A COST 3 RNG 10 AOE 3 POW 13 spell that strips enemy upkeeps and animi when it directly hits. Sevy2 can punk the upkeeps that annoy him. For free, once per turn. Yeesh.
Rebuke: A COST 2 RNG 10 spell that prevents a model/unit from giving/receiving orders or making power/special attacks. Situationally useful on Warjacks/Warbeasts, this spell shines against melee infantry that rely on charges. A strong control element that further improves Sevy2’s game against infantry.
D3+2 enemy non-Warcaster, non-Warlock living or undead warrior models in Sevy2’s CTRL area suffer a boostable POW 12 magic damage roll. Any that are boxed are removed from play and become a 4” AOE cloud that causes a POW 12 fire damage roll and the Fire continuous effect to all enemies who enter or end activations within it. This is yet another coffin nail for infantry armies vs. Sevy2. There is also strong scalpel play here, as you can remove models that rely on Field Promotion with ease. Krielstone Bearers, the leaders of Stormguard units, the leader in Croe's Cutthroats (I know, he's not an Officer... weird!)... all of these are vulnerable to being scalpeled out and greatly reducing the unit's effectiveness.
Sevy2 excels at two things: fielding a survivable battlegroup empowered by Oracular Vision and punking infantry. He brings control elements (Rebuke, Feat) to keep some in place while whittling others down with Ashes to Ashes. His weaknesses, clearly, are his personal survivability and the fact that he does nothing for our threat ranges or our damage output.
Sevy2 has several strong options that can be considered when building an army list. His spell and ability lists are so versatile that many things can be taken with him and perform well. He prefers a ranged game, as he does nothing for our threat ranges, things with high DEF that appreciate Arcane Ward, and survivable Warjacks to further skew Oracular Vision and your opponents’ sanity. In the interests of future proofing this article and saving some space, I will note only the things I have found that have good to great synergy with him. If something isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean it is bad—rather, it just means that they either don’t complement his gameplan or that he does nothing to really help them out.
Special note: Sevy2 gets a ton out of Warjacks with Shield Guard. Not only does this allow you to shunt damage away from critical targets, but it can then be ignored with Oracular Vision. I have used this tactic to *entirely* shut down gunlines, to the point where Kara Sloan is not played against me any more if I am fronting Sevy2. I’m writing this here rather than in a particular model entry, because each Warjack we have that has Shield Guard can feasibly see play with him—and we have many.
The following are the Warjacks I like taking with him.
Blessing of Vengeance: Shield Guard already puts him in contention, and it just gets better. His bond with Sevy2 gives Sevy a +2 to attack and damage rolls for one spell arc’d through Blessing per turn. That free Hex Blast you just cast is coming out at effective Magic Ability 10 and POW 15. Add into this that Blessing has Repulsor Shield for shenanigans (see Biscuiting), MAT 7, Defensive Strike, and Powerful Charge and you have an incredible little dude. He’s expensive (13 points), but only 3 more than a standard Revenger and much better. I do not leave home without him.
Devout: Shield Guard makes the Devout worth it. Defensive Strike is okay, and Spell Shield keeps Sevy2 safe from many spell assassinations. However, he can already do this with Arcane Ward if it’s an issue. The Devout is the most situational of our Shield Guards and while I recommend him, he is the last one I would take.
Redeemer: Benefits from Awareness and allows you to hit those smoke bombing Trenchers or those squishy Circle dudes on the other side of the forest wall. Also works well with Rhoven & Honor Guard (below) to scalpel out Sentry Stones. Worth considering, but not universally recommended because Sevy2 is so good against infantry already. I take one in almost every list, but that’s because I think the Redeemer is our best Warjack.
Vigilant: Roadblock makes Sevy2 DEF 18 versus guns, DEF 20 if you decided to get cheeky with Arcane Ward. Sevy2 appreciates Girded with a base ARM of 14. Plus, there is little more disheartening for your opponent than shooting at a Vigilant with Oracular Vision. A strong pick for a list that wants to get Sevy2 forward.
Crusader: We are all looking for that ‘caster who can run Crusader spam and make it the next big thing. Sevy2 is not really it, but the Crusader takes up a worthy slot with him in melee-focused lists. It’s a cheap beater who appreciates Oracular Vision, both to tech against shooting and to Enliven away safely after getting charged (which will happen, thanks to SPD 4). The main reason I can recommend the Crusader is that it helps Sevy2’s anti-armor game by naturally hitting hard. Considering you can get two for the price of one Eye of Truth, it merits consideration. Not an auto-include, but not a bad drop either.
Eye of Truth: A souped up Reckoner. He already comes with Oracular Vision, so that bit is wasted, but Holy Light effectively provides Blessed to Sevy2’s ranged ‘jacks and infantry, saving Sevy2 a Hex Blast he may not have wanted to cast. He also has a Shield for doubling down on tankiness and MAT 7 with a POW 18. For only 4 more points than a Reckoner, you might want to find some room for this guy. Also, I just learned that if Eye is within 5” of Sevy2, Sevy can ignore +ARM upkeeps and animi with his Feat. I expect some errata on that, but that is a sweet interaction.
Guardian: A decent pick for Sevy2. He helps heavies survive to reach the front and appreciates the native defensive synergy that exists with this 'jack (Arcane Ward + Set Defense = DEF 14 versus charges, also known as Warpwolf level DEF). The extra Arc Node is useful for furthering board presence and threat projection. And it hits as hard as a Crusader and far more accurately, which Sevy2 definitely appreciates with his lack of damage buffs. However, in many ways the roles that the Guardian fills are better served with other 'jacks. I'd consider him in theme, but probably not outside of it.
Indictor: Special props to this guy for having a Shield and contributing to Sevy2’s spell hate game by being untargetable by enemy spells and situationally preventing the casting, channeling, or upkeeping of spells. MAT 7 is appreciated, as well. The Indictor brings nothing else, so I consider him a marginal pick. He’s better than other straight melee options, though.
Reckoner: Sevy2 likes guns. The Reckoner is a solid workhorse of a Warjack that supports most ‘casters well. It appreciates Awareness and its gun can provide a MAT boost to your army through Flare as well as strip Stealth from a key target, which is the one thing Awareness doesn’t get around. I recommend at least one. Be careful of going in on assassinations with Awareness, though, as Sevy2 provides nothing to help the Reckoner’s poor RAT 5.
Scourge of Heresy: Scourge provides Sevy2 some powerful hitting ability and can also support a strong spell denial list with Arcane Vortex. This gets Focus intensive with Oracular Vision, but the option is good to have.
Templar: It’s an ARM 21 heavy with Shield Guard. Very worth taking with Sevy2. I take one or two in most lists.
Revelator: Our unreleased Colossal works exceptionally well with Sevy2. It natively ignores Stealth and thus the one weakness of Awareness. It can also light up Stealthed targets for the rest of his army. The Revelator, being a Colossal, additionally shores up Sevy2’s melee damage output and gives him a huge base to hide behind, reducing the need for purely defensive tech like the Vigilant. When it comes out, expect to see this guy and Sevy2 together. A lot.
Units taken with Sevy2 fill a different role. He does very little for his infantry, so what is taken should be pretty self-sufficient and benefit well from a DEF buff. He appreciates things that keep his Warjacks free and clear to do what they need to, as well as units that have a long threat projection. This, unfortunately, limits many of our options.
The following are the units I like taking with Sevy2.
Choir: You’re taking Warjacks. You’re taking the Choir.
Flame Bringers: Flame Bringers are, in my opinion, the second best infantry unit in the faction. They have innate Pathfinder, something Sevy2 appreciates, and a long threat range (12.5”). With DEF 14 and ARM 15, they appreciate Arcane Ward—this can take them up to DEF 16 and removes spells as an option for removing them once they’ve engaged. With 5 wounds apiece, they are resilient to small arms, too. Crit Grievous Wounds is situationally awesome for making damage done from your ranged battlegroup stick. They make many of my lists.
Idrian Skirmishers: Our best infantry unit, only slightly beating Flame Bringers in my opinion. They bring everything: Prey to allow them to threaten both infantry and heavies, high threat ranges because they have powerful guns, Pathfinder with SPD 6, and a DEF 13 that appreciates Arcane Ward (DEF 19 when dug in). I personally prefer Flame Bringers, but Idrians are awesome and are well worth considering as your main unit instead.
Temple Flameguard: A fast, cheap speed bump unit that appreciates Arcane Ward (DEF 15, 17 versus charges). I prefer these guys if I’m going all in on the battlegroup. Their damage output is not high, but they can keep your battlegroup from being charged for a turn, which may buy you the time you need to close. While a decent buy, I generally do not take them because I use Sevy2 heavily versus Cygnar and TFG are a poor drop against them.
Visgoth Rhoven & Honor Guard: Sevy2 loves our character unit. Rhoven provides one model per turn with Eyeless Sight, allowing a Reckoner to remove Stealth for the entire battlegroup, or a Redeemer to punk a Sentry Stone with ease. Rhoven’s bodyguards each come with Shield Guard. While they don’t benefit from Oracular Vision, that is still two 8 wound ARM 16 models that you can shunt shots to, which frees you up to take more offensive options in your battlegroup. As I play Sevy2 with a focus on range, this unit always makes my list. Note: I expect that to change once the Revelator hits.
Sevy2 does very little for infantry in general. Cases can be made for taking some infantry with an Attendant Priest (Steelhead Halberdiers, Croe’s Cutthroats), but I find that to be cost inefficient versus in-faction options. Generally, I would not consider Mercenary units when building a Sevy2 list.
The Protectorate has many competitive solo options that merit consideration with Sevy2.
Allegiant of the Order of the Fist: A self-sufficient, high DEF, cheap scenario piece. For added hilarity, slap Arcane Ward on him and watch people turn purple trying to hit him. Adds to Sevy2’s scenario game by just being a pain on his own and needing nothing from Sevy to be so.
Covenant of Menoth: Worth considering to protect your battlegroup from ranged knockdown options. Sevy2 will be focus-strapped, so every bit you can save on standing up is appreciated. Shutting down spells or granting Fire to weapons is situationally useful. Also, it’s a big, hard to remove base to hide Sevy2 behind. Not sure it is worth it any more, but it is not a bad inclusion.
Hierophant: If you are going pure guns-blazing spell-slinger, consider the Hierophant. Sevy2 has less need for one than other spellcasters because he gets a free spell per turn that the Hierophant cannot influence. However, if you are leaning on Sevy2 to do the brunt of your infantry lifting, you will want to consider him for the focus efficiency he provides.
Vassal Mechanik: In my opinion, an incredibly important solo. Few things are more frustrating than having shots shunted all over the place because of Shield Guard, only for most to be ignored because of Oracular Vision, and the few that manage to land have their damage repaired. This little guy gives you a ton of longevity.
Vassal of Menoth: A solo that sees high use in Sevy2 and supports his game well. Sevy2 wants extra Focus on his Warjacks, so Empower sees a ton of play here. Plus, Oracular Vision can be used to negate free strike damage suffered from Enliven moves, giving this ability some legs.
Wracks: Cheap filler solos that Sevy2 can utilize well thanks to his large CTRL range and tendency to bleed Focus.
There are a few Merc solos that support Sevy2’s game.
Alten Ashley: Ranged Grievous Wounds is awesome. Take him if you are planning to play a predominately ranged attrition game with Sevy2.
Eiryss1: Expensive, but useful for her Disruption, further feeding into Sevy2’s denial game. Plus, Disruptor Bolt must always be respected.
Rhupert Carvolo: Rhupert hands out Concealment on a stick to Sevy2 and his infantry, which synergizes well with Arcane Ward. Pathfinder is also good, though the best infantry Sevy2 takes already have it. And nobody hates getting Tough. Not an auto-include, but worth considering.
Sevy2 can play into our currently available theme forces, preferring The Creator’s Might over Guardians of the Temple.
Guardians of the Temple: This theme force is okay (overall) but doesn’t do much for Sevy2’s game while restricting his options. Warjacks gaining Girded is very good for him, allowing him to stay safe from things like Khador’s High Explosive shooting. Free Flameguard attachments and available solos are pretty good. He synergizes with several Flameguard options (TFG, Flame Bringers are best) and will give the TFG CA a pass, but this is a way to get free Vassals. Daughters gaining Ambush are a wash, since he does very little for him and they don’t address any of his weaknesses—you’re basically taking them because they’re in his theme benefit. However, no Covenant, no Rhoven, and no option for Idrians are steep penalties for Sevy2 and he’s not going to capitalize on the free models to the extent other theme lists can. I’m not crazy about this theme, but he can play into it.
The Creator’s Might: This theme force, on the other hand, is a solid option for Sevy2 builds. The biggest weakness The Creator’s Might faces is the lack of reliable and affordable anti-infantry options. Since Sevy2 pretty much pwns infantry, he covers a weakness of the list. The theme allows him to take stuff he wants and gives him free stuff for doing so. You can play it heavily ranged, banking on Rhoven to negate Stealth skews, you can play it melee with Templars running amok and nothing ever getting hurt, you can Crusader spam (I’m considering this…), and you can play with the Revelator. Solos/Choir getting Reposition 3 helps them keep up. Free upkeeps first turn is pretty bad, but it’s not a great benefit to begin with so Sevy2 isn’t unique in feeling underwhelmed there. You lose out on access to Eye of Truth, Scourge of Heresy, and Idrians/Flame Bringers, but gain 9-10 points in free solos. Oh, if only the Choir was free… All in all, it’s not necessarily the optimal way to play Sevy2, but it is a strong choice and you won’t go wrong building for it.
After seeing the models that work well with Sevy2 above, a pattern emerges and list building becomes much easier. Sevy2 armies exist along a similar spectrum, varying between heavy ranged presence and heavy, durable melee presence.
For a heavy ranged presence, you are likely to see 3+ ranged ‘jacks (Reckoner, Redeemer, Eye), Blessing, Idrians, Rhoven and Honor Guard, and support. When the Revelator comes out, you will see this as well. For a heavy melee presence, you are likely to see multiple Templars, some hard-hitting heavies (Crusaders, Scourge of Heresy), Blessing, Flame Bringers, and support.
The advantage of the heavy ranged presence is in presenting a durable shooting force that must be answered by your opponent quickly. It’s a good feeling to be able to win the gunfight. The disadvantages are that it is not the most durable look Sevy2 can front as, with few to no Shield Guards your ranged ‘jacks can still be focused (difficult with Passage and Oracular Vision, but doable) and this look puts Sevy2 at more personal risk of assassination.
The advantages of the melee-centric force lie in leveraging Vassals for Enliven to soak charges, being highly resilient to shooting that gets through because of Shield Guard, and generally being able to get where you need to go. Sevy2 is also highly resilient against ranged assassinations. The downside is the lack of threat ranges inherent to the Protectorate, which Sevy2 does nothing to fix. The list is slow, will be alpha’d, and stands a good chance of being crippled against a force with focused melee offensive output and answers to Enliven.
I personally favor a middle ground on the spectrum and take a Reckoner, a Redeemer, Blessing, and a Templar supported by Rhoven and his boys. It’s a balanced list that allows me to play into a variety of matchups, but it is a little light on good hitting power and thus I don’t excel into any particular matchup, save one (Sloan).
Sevy2 lists are pretty straightforward to play. Because the Hierarch has some of the worst natural defensive stats in the game, you are going to want to take measures to keep him safe. This can come in the form of a Vigilant to provide Cover, moving to a terrain feature for Cover or Concealment, having Rhupert toot Dirge of Mists onto him, casting Arcane Ward on him, blocking line of sight with bigger models, surrounding him with Shield Guards, or, ideally, a combination of these tactics. I typically utilize what my friends lovingly term Fort (insert bovine-related defecation epithet here). Sevy2 bunkers up behind a wall of ‘jacks that get Passage, then moves up the field camping with his wall of metal Shield Guarding anything that might come onto him, or might threaten to open LoS. This formation allows Sevy2 to play into Killbox far better than his stat line suggests. It can be very hard to kill him—the Protectorate is fortunate to have as many defensive options as we do.
Sevy2 typically does not care if he goes first or second. First is good when playing a melee-centric list, or because you get to do some ranged damage on the top of Turn 2. Second is good for a ranged list because you truly don’t mind being shot first and because you have first crack at scoring. It’s a bit rougher for a melee list because of our slow speed, but you can still run into position on bottom of 1 and be in scenario contention (generally) before moving on Turn 2. Regardless, measures must be taken to keep Sevy2 safe.
Against heavy control ‘casters or those with a Feat that locks you down (Haley2, the Deneghras as examples), make sure you’re in position before the Feat goes off so you don’t cede offensive power in scrambling to stay relevant on scenario. Sevy2’s forces don’t tend to be particularly quick.
Sevy2 tends to prefer central scenarios that enable him to march up the field behind his Fort. He has a tougher time when he is forced to split his army. He is able to dominate zones and flags on his side of the board pretty well when supported and don’t discount him for a late game flag grab on scenarios like Recon.
Play defensively. There are rarely reasons to hang a piece out far in front of your army where it can easily be isolated and destroyed. Sevy2 does not generally ask questions of your opponent—he brings answers. You should focus on keeping Blessing as safe as possible, which keeps Sevy2’s spells live until late game. Sevy2 can be relied upon to clear and control a sizeable amount of infantry. Do not forget, either, that because Oracular Vision works on him too he can take a hard shot to the chops and come out smiling. Do what you can to make sure it’s not three or four, though.
Matchups and Pairings
I’ll conclude with a brief discussion of matchups Sevy2 likes and doesn’t like, and what can be done to ameliorate this with his second list (or third too).
Sevy2 is generally strong into gunlines. They rely on a limited number of attacks to attrition before scenarios force melee engagement. It is hard for these lists to focus enough on one target in Sevy2’s list to cause sufficient attrition, between Passage, Oracular Vision, and potentially Shield Guard/Repair. Thus, the most prevalent gunline ‘casters (Sloan, much of Cygnar, Legion gunlines) will have trouble with him. A notable exception here is Haley2 because she brings a split focus on guns and spells. He is certainly playable, even strong, into this matchup. It’s just tougher than other ones.
Sevy2 is strong against any list that is using forests, clouds, and models to deny LoS. He is a strong drop into High Reclaimer, also because his Feat can RFP key models. Though many Circle lists can pose a challenge for Sevy2, he typically does fine against Wurmwood because Awareness limits what the tree is willing to do. Finally, lists that rely on Colossals to hide squishy ‘casters will quickly realize that to be a poor tactic.
Sevy2 is strong against infantry spam. He himself can reliably clear between 6 and 12 (or 8 and 16, if you took the full focus support boat) single wound infantry per turn, not counting Feat. Add in the rest of his army and it is not uncommon for between 1 and 2 units of infantry to be scythed down per turn. To rub salt in the wound, what isn’t killed can be controlled with Rebuke.
Sevy2 has trouble against Warjack spam. His ranged armies bring mediocre range and decent, if low volume, damage. It can be difficult to deal with his forces before they close. A high ARM melee group may have more success as it hits harder on average in combat and packs resiliency to soak charges. Whether it’s enough, I do not know as this is not a matchup I have played yet. The notable offenders here are Karchev, Harkevich, and Vyros2.
Sevy2 does not like blanket infantry spell immunity. His lists lean on him to do some heavy lifting and when this is denied, he gets very sad. There are not many lists that do this, however. The most notable offender would be Doom Reaver spam, if this ever became a thing again.
Sevy2 does not like fast, Warjack or Warbeast-focused alpha armies. Armies that present multiple heavy targets while only giving him one turn to respond can be very problematic and put him excessively on the defensive. This is commonly found in Circle—I am not a fan of him into Kaya2, Kaya3, or Una2 (even post-nerf).
Sevy2 pairs well with any list that helps him overcome his deficiencies—namely, things that can take on Warjack spam or a fast ‘jack/’beast-focused alpha. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:
Kreoss3: The Boss Man. My go-to pairing and my favorite ‘caster in the game. Kreoss3 has insane damage potential and shifts playstyles from defensive to offensive. He is typically weak to gunlines and infantry spam, which Sevy2 covers well.
Thyra: I like Thyra with Sevy2 because she plays more melee-focused, is generally quicker, and has great damage potential. Again, the focus here is on offense to complement Sevy2’s defense.
Vindictus: Where Sevy2 focuses on defensive Warjacks, Vindictus crams a billion infantry down your throat with an offensive-defensive playstyle. If built right, his lists can handle Warjack spam (basically, build Exemplar-spam lists) and be vexing to play against. Requires a specific build to work, but can be a great complement.
High Reclaimer: Post nerf, the guy is still great. He plays far more attrition-y than he did before, though. His damage output remains high and his defensive tech asks questions. Still a solid pairing with Sevy2.
Amon: Likes Warjacks as much as Sevy2 (okay, more) and is the antithesis to Sevy2’s playstyle. He fields a fast, hard-hitting, and Pathfinder-enabled battlegroup. Another strong pairing with Sevy2.