NIGHT LORDS: SEVATAR TACTICA – UPDATED FOR BOOK 9

“Death to the False Emperor!”

Jago Sevatarion, the first to utter the words.

Note: Sevatar was mostly unchanged in Book 9; but we did get one very good option.

Sevatar is one of the most lethal warriors in the entirety of the Legiones Astartes with his renown placing him alongside other Legion figureheads such as Abaddon, Sigismund, Raldoron and Corswain. He was the first to utter the words “Death to the False Emperor” and has a long list of crimes and blasphemy underscoring his skills over the decades.

Part of Sevatar’s lethality is the fact he is ruthless and dishonourable, no low is too low to stoop for victory. Indeed, he is renowned for deadlocking Sigismund in a sword duel; however, this was attained after 30 hours of honourable combat, underscored by Sevatar headbutting Sigismund – something that was disallowed and earned Sevatar a disqualification from the bout.

Sevatar has suppressed psychic gifts, which when unleashed allow him to become even more monstrously fearsome, pushing his capability to preternatural levels.

“I am a son of a sunless world; VIII Legion to my core

Jago Sevatar

Whilst it’s widely agreed that Sevatar is in need of some rules adjustments, he is mostly on point. It’s key to understand what he excels at, how to get the best of him and that there are some very big pitfalls to avoid.

Base Stats – Jago ‘Sevatar’ Sevatarion – 175-210pts

Sevatar is one of those characters who doesn’t live up to the meme in base configuration. That’s mainly because other characters are imbued with rules they have no right to have (Sigismund – Eternal Warrior for example).

WSBSSTWIALdSv
Sevatar754436493+

Outfitted in Power Armour, despite his armour being described physically and in the lore as worked by Artificers, Sevatar has a 3+ armour save. This isn’t great on the face of it and whilst there is a reason for him to have a 3+ armour save, there is a fairly hefty liability attached to its success. We will get onto that later however. He also has an Iron Halo, giving him a 4++ invulnerable save, which means from the off he has a fairly average resilience provided by that 3+/4++.

His armour is custom wrought and is adorned with Trophies of Judgement. This provides the Fear rule, though it should be noted that Jago isn’t Fearless himself. This means that at the start of each Fight sub-phase, a unit in base contact with him must take a Leadership test before the fighting takes place. If they fail the Leadership test, all models in the unit have their Weapon Skill reduced to 1 for the rest of that Fight sub-phase. Whilst this can prove effective when it goes off, because as mentioned Jago isn’t Fearless, it can work against him too when charged by Fear causing units.

With a Weapon Skill of 7 he is a genuine threat to most of the opponents he faces; Primarchs aside – though if you’re taking on a Primarch with Sevatar, its safe to say some bad decisions have been made.

3 Wounds and an Initiative of 6 means that you stand a good chance of fighting first and surviving against enemies such as Praetors, which really are Sevatar’s main problem, both when designing your army and playing it.

Sevatar has the Independent Character rule and has the Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) special rule. This means that he’s able to join any squad, passes Look Out Sir on rolls of 2+ and has Heroic Morale. These can be fairly useful mechanics to remember when things start going wrong, especially if Sevatar is your Warlord.

Regarding Sevatar being your Warlord there are a few nice rules built into his base statistics. One is Master of Ambush, which is his pre-defined Warlord trait. The FAQ recently confirmed that you’re actually getting two Warlord traits for the price of one due to there being two versions of Master of Ambush. This means that “Your Warlord and three-non vehicle units of your choice have the Infiltrate special rule”. The other part of this is that any friendly Outflanking units have the Acute Senses special rule. The latter one you probably won’t use as the former is so much better and more flexible.

At the most cheddar end of the spectrum, Infiltrate passes to Dedicated Transports too, so there’s nothing stopping you from using Infiltrate to get three Spartan Assault Tanks loaded with Terminators across the table before Turn 1 starts. You’re unlikely to have friends after doing it, but hey, the option is there.

The other really narrative driven rule for Sevatar is Master of the Atramentar. This allows any Legion Terminator Squad using Deep Strike to deploy within 6″ of Sevatar does not scatter. That’s a pretty cool rule, one that’s clearly narratively driven that provides a bit more deployment flexibility. I haven’t used it, predominantly because I don’t use my Terminators like that – if I need fast deployment, I use Sevatar in a Storm Eagle with Terminators. It’s all down to personal choice, but the fact you have a reliable non-scattering effect is a nice nod again to lore such as Prince of Crows.

As eluded to, Sevatar is a Repressed Psyker. This means he is a Level 1 Psyker with the Precognition power being the only one he can use. Precognition has a Warp Charge value of 1 and is a blessing that targets the Psyker. Whilst in effect the Psyker can re-roll all failed to hit and to wound rolls and any failed saving throws. This is why he has that 3+/4++ instead of a 2+/4++. Because he can re-roll those saves, in addition to cover saves with this blessing in effect.

You cannot use any more than 2 Warp Charges to determined if he can cast it and you must use a Leadership value of 7 if he suffers Perils of the Warp. This is fairly narrative as we’ve seen in Prince of Crows how Sevatar really doesn’t have full control of his ability to repress the psychic gifts he has, left alone actively control them well. For every roll of a 4+, Precognition will go off – so roll both Dice.

The problem here is with Deny The Witch. If your opponent has Level 1 or Level 2 Psykers or is Psychically-heavy handed (ala Thousand Sons, Daemons of the Ruinstorm) then they have a much bigger Warp Charge pool than you do due to Repressed Psyker limiting you. This in turn means that due to Deny The Witch enabling a Psyker to deny a power on the roll of a 6, against this type of army, you’re unlikely to get Precognition off without it being denied.

So whilst on paper and in theory, the 3+/4++ non-blessed save characteristic turns into, on successful casting, a 3+/4++ followed by a 3+/4++ re-roll – in a psychic-heavy meta it rarely occurs. This means that you’re losing a massive percentage of what makes Sevatar any good.

As Sevatar generates his powers wholly from one discipline, he is said to have “Psychic Focus”. This means he has access to Prescience which is the Primaris Power of the Divination Table. It allows, if cast successfully, a single friendly unit within 12″ to be targeted by the blessing. That unit is then able to re-roll all failed to hit rolls whilst it is in effect. The issue here is that it has a value of Warp Charge 2 and you only have a pool of 2 Warp Charges, so it’s both risky to cast and one six rolled by the enemy whilst using Deny The Witch and it won’t go off.

Credit: Forgeworld, Age Of Darkness Rule Book.

Finally, we have two rules that are genuinely integral to using Sevatar properly: Dirty Fighter and Precision Strike. Dirty Fighter draws on Sevatar being known as one of the most dangerous hand-to-hand fighters in the Astartes. It grants him Instant Death for his attacks when fighting in a challenge. This means that if a model fails to save a wound caused by this attack, it is reduced to 0 wounds and removed as a casualty. That’s not “It grants him Murderous Strike”. That’s simply “Instant Death on his attacks”.

Precision Strike means that any roll of a 6 to hit means that you can allocate the wound to a model of your choice in the unit, so if you charge Sevatar into a Veteran Tactical Squad; you can specifically target models that might cause you issues (Power Axes or Swords for instance) if you roll 6+ to hit – this is especially useful if Precognition hasn’t been successful.

Offensive – Ranged Capability

Sevatar doesn’t really have a well performing ranged capability, despite that solid BS of 5, causing the question of “why have such a good BS?” – well, it’s probably down to the way he was designed, which was potentially using a Praetors base statline and modifying it from there.

WeaponRangeStrAPType
Bolt Pistol12″45Pistol

Even so, you might get a wound off here and there, so it’s not entirely useless. Sevatar is, however, steeped in narrative-based character design and pretty much wholly melee focused in the lore.

Offensive – Melee Capability

Where we saw in the previous article that Flaymaster Mawdrym Llansahai had some artistry woven into his melee capability, Sevatars is somewhat hidden in plain sight – but very much exists.

WeaponRangeStrAPType
Mastercrafted Nostraman Chainglaive+13Melee, Rending, Two-Handed

It can be a little disheartening to see Sevatar is rocking a Mastercrafted Nostraman Chainglaive and that’s it – but that’s generally because players forget the supporting rules he has.

Lets look at a typical round where you’ve charged in; First off, Fear test for the enemy! Next, with 4 Attacks base, +1 for the charge, bringing you to 5 Attacks. Remember Two-Handed means you don’t get the extra attack for the Bolt Pistol and Mastercrafted Nostraman Chainglaive in this instance.

Now, that’s 1 less than what a basic 100pt Praetor gets. If you whack Digital Lasers and Mastercrafted Paragon Blade on a Praetor, you get to 180pts and have 2 more attacks than Sevatar. It doesn’t seem like a good start comparatively.

Weapon Skill 7 means that against humble Tactical Squads or Praetors you’re hitting on 3+, but with Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) granting him A Talent For Murder that’s improved to 2+ at Initiative 6.

Now, lets not forget, if it’s Night Fighting with Terror Assault you also gain +1 Initiative, making him Initiative 7. If you didn’t get Precognition off, you’re re-rolling one of those failed hits due to Mastercrafted, but if you did get Precognition off, you’re re-rolling all of them. Suddenly, things get spicy.

So you’ve hit at Initiative 6 (or 7) and at Strength 5 due to the Nostraman Chainglaive, so you’re wounding anything Toughness 4 on 3+; however as Sevatar has Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) he has A Talent For Murder for the 1+ to Wound, bringing us nicely to 2+ to wound. This is fairly raucous, but we are forgetting Precognition again at this point, which means if it went off we are re-rolling all failed wounds.

Furthermore, if you entered into a Challenge – and you should have – then all of your attacks now have Instant Death.

“Yeah bwoi, SPICY!”

The Spice King, Ainsley Harriot when reading of Sevatars buffed up abilities.
The king of Spice, Ainsley Harriot approves of Precognition.

It’s safe to say that as long as you get Precognition off, it doesn’t get denied and you go first in the fight then you’re causing utter carnage, even against enemy Praetors. Again, as long as Precognition goes off, then you’re able to re-roll your Iron Halo 4++ so even if the enemy Praetor with Paragon Blade gets a six or two (remember they don’t get Dirty Fighter so the Murderous Strike rules apply to them) there’s a high chance of surviving and wiping them out in the next turn. However, you’d be unlucky to not kill the Praetor considering all of the bonuses a fully buffed up Sevatar can have.

Book 9: Artificer Armour & Night’s Whisper – 35pts

Sevatar gains the ability in Book 9: Crusade to take “later Wargear suitable for representing him when he takes command of the VIII Legion after the Battle of Sheol”.

Just take this as read – This is what Sevatar should always have been.

First off; Artificer Armour grants him the 2+ armour save many wanted. If you’re getting Precognition off in your meta; this simple act turns Sev into quite the resilient monster, having a 2+/4+ re-rolling failed saves. This accounts for 10pts of the required 35pts.

The remaining 25pts are taken up by Night’s Whisper – which is an archaeotech Nostraman Chainglaive in form. Yes, once again – it’s just what he should have already had.

RangeStrengthAPType
Night’s Whisper+12Melee, Two-Handed, Duelists Edge, Master-Crafted

There’s a few new rules stuffed in there with what is frankly, a permanent-rend Mastercrafted Nostraman Chainglaive. The Duelists Edge rule means that when fighting in a challenge, Sevatar strikes with a +1 bonus to his Initiative. That’s big.

Especially when you look at the fact that he is already Initiative 6. If you’re looking at using him in Terror Assault and you still have Night Fighting in effect – that’s a truly great Initiative 8 in a challenge.

Summary

Sevatar is one of the characters in the Night Lords who is divisive, however Book 9 has most certainly put him where he needs to be rules wise.

Those who’s meta doesn’t involve huge amounts of psychic enemies will have a Character model that is second only to the Night Haunter on the table – and costs a significant amount less. He is truly great when buffed up with Precognition. Those who routinely face enemies like Daemons of the Ruinstorm or Thousand Sons will still continue to struggle with avoiding having Precognition denied, but he is also a significant magnitude better than he was before when taking him at the 210 point “all options” configuration. You’ll still have to be careful to avoid Instant Death though.

His Warlord trait, Master of Ambush is genuinely brilliant. Even without Dedicated Transports, you can infiltrate Terminators using Sevatar alongside infiltrating Terror Squads in a Terror Assault based army and effectively create a broad face of high threat in Turn 1 that puts the enemy on the back foot almost immediately. Alternatively, if you want to experiment with The Master of the Atramentar and the Night Lords Legion equipment of the Teleportation Beacon and Deep Strike a force in – that’s entirely viable.

As with everything melee in the Night Lords, you really need to work A Talent For Murder into your plan from the off. It’s a common saying that if a Night Lords player isn’t getting A Talent For Murder off in game – they’ve done something wrong. It’s true – as it’s our strongest trait, which is why so many of us run big squads so that we can absorb casualties and still not have it affect us too much.

Although on paper the basic configuration Sevatar seems poor in comparison to a standard Legion Praetor at 175pts, it’s clear that even taking his key benefits in isolation that he is worth the cost to players in a permissive meta. At the 210 points mark, Sevatar totally outclasses a Legion Praetor, without a shadow of a doubt.

For those wondering about him vs Corswain; I rolled the dice in a playtest before writing this update. It’s actually fairly even, with the Precognition working well to counter Corswain’s 3++. Both get Instant Death in a Challenge but Sevatar is fighting first. In short – it’s up for grabs in a straight up fight.

The big issue comes with Stasis Anomaly weapons being involved; even with Precognition I just couldn’t save the attacks coming in and Sevatar died every time.

Sevatar is a great narrative driven Character – now thanks to Book 9 with some very sharp teeth – and ones that can be enhanced with Precognition.

Ave Dominus Nox!

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