Crucible Guard Caster Overview
Syvestro – The Man in the High-ron Mask
Crucible Guard are the new kids on the Warmachine block. Sporting big hammers, big guns and big points for style, they’ve captured my heart with their snazzy dress sense and love of huffing fumes. Whilst they’re not making waves like Grymkin were this time last year, possibly due to the slower release of key pieces in faction (Cough. Alyce. Cough), Crucible guard have been getting some major table time in my meta, and they’ve been delivering what Deliverer Skyhammers can’t, namely, quite literally anything.
Today I’m looking at the Army box caster, a certain Mr Syvestro Stallone
Syvestro is a jack of all trades. Rocking a solid 7 focus, he doesn’t lean towards ARM or DEF, which leaves him rather squishy in both departments. An unexceptional 16 boxes really solifidies this guy as a back line support caster. Weapon wise, he’s nothing special, if he’s throwing those decrep. grenades around he’s in too deep, though it could be enough to clear a jamming warrior model… Maybe.
Ability wise, he gets a lot more interesting, as the posterchild of Crucible, a faction that revolves more around model choices on a turn by turn, case by case basis than any other faction in the game, he has 3 special field alchemy abilities, all powerful, all fun. Superfuel is a snazzy +2 SPD for all constructs, if you take Anastasia and almost guarantee that first turn, you can have your toros toeing zones top of one, and the likes of the Vulcan and the Railless running an impressive 16″, almost half way up the board and projecting threat right from the very start. Strong enough to almost build a list around on its own.
Ephemeral Vitae, with his free spell means you can pop a purification without crippling yourself on your own upkeeps, or hotswapping a transmutation and keeping a decent camp, but on feat turn, with the sub-par nuke Stygian Abyss is where this ability comes into its own. You can throw down3 Stygian abysses on feat turns to crit fish, leaving yourself 2 to camp if you keep Alyce around, great if you’re on an assassination run and you need blind to stick. Though, I wouldn’t rely on it, even with 3 applications and the feat, triggering a crit can be a dicey proposition.
His go to ability is his 4″ cloud of super stealth. No longer can Sloan pick off your caster with ease! Nor Kaelyssa steal all your precious focus. Worth noting the likes of eyesless sight DO NOT ignore this ability, Now they just murder the rest of your army instead 😉 Be careful of any anti cloud tech though. If the cloud disappears, you’re left naked and as vulnerable as a buck without any lube.
Syvestro’s power comes from his spells, offering turn on turn support to his army.
Admonition: Crucible jacks are squishy, admonition lets you play that little bit more aggressively and make your opponent work a little bit harder to take them down. On the likes of a Liberator, it can be quite frustrating for the enemy trying to pin down a DEF 15, ARM 19 light.
Explosivo: MAGICAL ATTACKS! The one thing Crucible seems to be lacking in is effective ways to deliver their debuffs to the heart of the likes of Menoth. “Well your Vindicator can just use Psychomorphic Destabilizer!” you say? “BUT I WANT TO USE DECREPITATION! ” I retort like a petulant kitten as I knock Amon off the table in a fit of petty rage. Explosivo, at a budget 1 focus cost has other uses though, on something like a suppressor or a railless, you can tag something with a spray and pop things nearby, and it makes a handy tool for dealing with shield walls. From the front ARM 18+ can be tricky even for pow 12 sprays, but popping the guy behind gives you a second effective POW 12 slap on the back as you ignore the shield wall. Something to remember is that it only triggers on ranged attacks (unlike shatterstorm) and is only single target, not unit (like shatterstorm). But it does RFP (like shatter storm) so it can stop some recursion abilities from screwing with your day.
Purification: Anyone playing against harbinger with the likes of Stryker, Kaelyssa or the like know how crippling it can be to get your upkeeps knocked off, as these casters rarely have the focus to waste putting them back up. Also helps get around arcane shield, the ever hated defenders ward and annoying free dodges everywhere in Circle these days. Also knocks off continuous effects, which is less of an issue in Crucible.
Revive: 3 focus is a steep cost for this. One box, no attacks… Crucible have no units with vengeance, so this is of limited value, costing almost half his stack you COULD bring back 3 assault troopers a turn, just to make your opponent sweat a little, but I rarely find a time that my focus isn’t better spent. Feat can help keep them alive though.
Stygian Abyss: A terrible nuke. A potentially great assassination enabler. Tagging the likes of Caine with this is a game ender, whilst blind is now shakeable, its still potent, -4 DEF is enough to make most casters sweat as their DEF approaches hittable levels. Combine with some ice cages and even Caine under bullet dodger (why didn’t you cast purification!) becomes a reasonable target. Fishing for crits is rough, but the feat helps. A single target pow 12 is NOT a nuke when it costs 3 focus. #definitelynotjealousofsorsha3
Transmutation: THE quality premier spell of Syvestro. It’s a polisher, its magic, its beautiful. +2 STR and DEF AND Pathfinder for most models/units would be amazing, but in reality, there are few models that can take advantage of all it can offer. Assault troops however, absolutely love it. DEF 15 vs shooting and living models, coming in with POW 17 charges? beautiful. Rocketmen appreciate going up to DEF 18, but don’t get anything else from it. I’ve had success with Steelheads or pressgangers. The buff pushes their defence to respectable levels, and their hitting power to something palatable. Offensively, the spell is a little more situational. With Circle Christmas right around the corner where PP lose track of their modesty, throw caution to the wind and throw around buffs like they’ve got 6 weeks to live, tagging a warpwolf with transmutation makes them very, very sad. Enjoy it, it’s Delicious.
Syvestro’s feat takes a page out of Signs and Portents. Additional die to hit and damage for everything in his generous 14″ control range. Drop whichever die you like then if you kill something, you get to heal D3 on any model in your control range. So, your storm troopers go to town, kill some winterguard, heal that crippled jack who goes ham on a juggernaut. Lovely.
The complication with Syvestro is that he does a little of everything, and is very flexible. But if you try using everything he has at once, you end up with a mess of a list that lacks focus. Transmutation loves a big unit that will act as a tarpit before being hotswapped to a heavy hitter. That means a merc unit or rocketmen. If you’re slinging out transmutations and stygian abysses you probably want an arc node. Want to leverage that threat range for constructs? Railless means you’re 16 points down already. Tricky.
Syvestro works well in both themes so here’s a couple of lists that I’ve been finding really work well with current or soon to be released models:
- Syvestro (+28)
- Vindicator 15 (-13)
- Suppressor 13 (0)
- Anastasia Di Bray 3 (3)
- Mechanik 2 (5)
- Gorman Di Wulfe 4 (9)
- Hutchuk 6 (15)
- Trancer x2 6 (21)
- Assault Troopers 13 (34)
- Storm Troopers x2 32 (66)
- Dragons Breath Rocket x2 10 (76)
- Steelhead Halbs 11) (87)
- Adolpheus Morley 4 (91)
With the Artillery and Hutchuk free, taking off 16 points, this leaves us comfortably at 75.
What we have here is an aggressive list. Whilst it doesn’t project “mad threat” in the same way as Idrians or any caster with snipe, it does have an excellent chance to go first with that +2 roll, meaning you can help stake your claim on zones and prepare to turtle down. The halbs with Morley can call no knockdown tough and run 12″, with the troopers following at 10″ meaning that on turn 2, any enemy that AD’ed and walked 1″, or just ran more than 7″ will be within the storm troopers aiming range. With reposition, the trancers and artillery can get into good positions turn 1 to cover flanks, and the idea of two ambushing mercs is usually enough to push everything a little more centrally for those AOEs. You can even hold off the feat for turn 3 given the tankiness of the troopers depending on what you’re fighting. Heaven help anyone without excess anti ranged tech. Trancers under feat slamming models make great targets for blasts when the enemy is knocked down and the feat tops them back up.
Once Alyce comes out, you can swap her for Hutchuk for more magic weapons and eyeless sight plus some help with focus efficiency. The list doesn’t really leverage the offensive capabilities of Syvestro, making him a rather passive buff bot, but an effective one who always feels relevant.
- Syvestro (+28)
- Liberator 10 (-18)
- Toro x 2 26 (8)
- Vanguard 10 (18)
- Mechanik 2 (20)
- Gorman 4 (24)
- Prospero 5 (29)
- Suppressor 13 (42)
- Combat Alchemists x2 14 (56)
- Dragons Breath Rocket 5 (61)
- Railless Interceptors x2 32 (93)
So again, Alchemists and Prospero are free, for 19 points, leaving us on 74. You could drop the mechanic and the vanguard for another Toro but I find in this list you want a shield guard and an extra source of pathfinder.
The only real targets for transmutation here are the jacks unsurprisingly. Under transmutation the Liberator goes to a nasty DEF 17 vs living and ranged attacks, but when you factor in a rust bomb that POW 17 flail is gonna do some damage. The Railless under feat should clear out almost any infantry you come across, even ARM 21 MoW sweat a little when a dragons breath is dropped on them and the railless’ POW 16 ice sprays come cruising in. All in all, this list is all about projecting that threat, if you can finangle a superfuel to catch both railless and the key jacks (liberator and toros and the suppressor) you can find yourself halfway up the board and in a good position to bully the zones. Outside of feat the alchemists help with any DEF problems the list has, and can provide an excellent cloud wall for Syvestro whilst he’s super fuelling.
So… There are so many ways to build Syvestro the mind boggles. Unlike other casters like Locke (next week!) who tend to find themselves naturally going to one theme or another, Syvestro can work well in either theme. I’ve been having great fun with him as one of only two casters currently released for Crucible… What have you been playing him with, and what have you had success into?